JU LY 2019
Super skin care Good news for pets Intro to Ayurveda
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July 2019 vol. 15 no. 7
building blocks Nutrients to support bone health.
16 20 feature
Learn about this ancient medical system
4 From the Editor’s Desk
7 New Frontiers
Updates from the world of hemp and CBD.
8 Health Pulse
High cholesterol a problem for children • Probiotics may ease stress and anxiety • More
10 Healthy Glow
Turmeric, mushrooms, and probiotics for skin care.
12 Supplement Spotlight
Keep pets healthy with glucosamine, omegas, and more.
Face reading may identify health issues.
19 Everyday Remedies
Tips for easing muscle cramps.
25 Sports Nutrition
Supplements to boost performance.
28 Herbal Healing
The latest on natural bug repellents. Cover:
A source for news, information, and ideas for your healthy lifestyle. remedies-and-recipes.com
@RemediesRecipes July 2019
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from the editor ’s desk
Everyday essentials I woke up in the very early morning with a spasm in the arch of my right foot. Not too painful, fairly easy to get rid of, but increasingly more common as I get older. Occasionally I’ll wake up with a cramp in my calf. I exercise a lot, so I accept those little twinges as a side effect of my fitness program. But this issue’s edition of “Everyday Remedies” (page 19) offered me some food for thought (and foods to reduce cramping). Fortunately, I love avocados, melons, orange juice, and many of the other items listed. I’ll also make myself a sticky-note reminder to drink more water. “Everyday Remedies” is one of my favorite features in this magazine, and I pick up a few at-a-glance tips from it every month. You won’t see a byline on it, but it’s put together every month by our tireless assistant editor, Kelli Ann Wilson. There’s plenty of more in-depth news in this issue, of course. Patty Bovie (page 14) and Maria Noël Groves (page 20) explore the traditional-medicine practices of face reading and Ayurveda, respectively. More modern healthcare approaches include looks at supplements for bone health (page 16), pre-workout energy boosters (page 25), and herb-based remedies for warding off insects (page 28). We also present a comprehensive guide for keeping cats and dogs healthy and spry as they age (page 12). Here’s to a healthy, happy summer.
Chief Content Officer and Strategist Lynn Tryba Contributing Editor Rich Wallace Assistant Editor Kelli Ann Wilson Art Director Michelle Knapp Graphic Designer Ronna Rajaniemi Custom Graphics Manager Donna Sweeney Business Development Director Amy Pierce Customer Service firstname.lastname@example.org Client Services Director—Retail Judy Gagne 800-677-8847 x128 Client Services Director—Advertising and Digital Ashley Dunk 800-677-8847 x190 Western Brand Promotions Director Shannon Dunn-Delgado 415-382-1665 Group Brand Promotions Director Bob Mucci 603-831-1868 Executive Director of Retail Sales and Marketing Anna Johnston (Anna.Johnston@TasteforLife.com) Retail Account Manager Kim Willard Founder and Chief Executive Officer T. James Connell
EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, FASN, FACN, CNS, professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and director, Antioxidants Research Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University; Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director, American Botanical Council, editor/publisher of HerbalGram, senior editor, The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs; C. Leigh Broadhurst, PhD, research geochemist, author, Natural Asthma Relief and Prevent, Treat, and Reverse Diabetes; Steven Foster, photographer, herbalist, and senior author of three Peterson Field Guides, author of 101 Medicinal Herbs, A Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine and more, associate editor of HerbalGram, the journal of the American Botanical Council; John Neustadt, ND, founder of Montana Integrated Medicine, coauthor, A Revolution in Health Through Nutritional Biochemistry; Lisa Petty, RHN, RNCP, holistic nutrition consultant, author of Living Beauty and host of the health talk radio show Lisa Live; Dana Ullman, MPH, author of The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy and other titles on homeopathy; Marc Ullman, partner at Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, chairman, Legal Advisory Counsel, Natural Products Foundation; Amber Lynn Vitse, CN, is certified in Integrative Nutrition, a fusion bodyworker, and an Ayurvedic practitioner, and writes on health issues. remedies is published monthly by Taste for Life, 149 Emerald Street, Suite O, Keene, NH 03431, 603-283-0034 (fax 603-283-0141); ©2019 Connell Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. This magazine is not intended to provide medical advice on personal health conditions, nor to replace recommendations made by health professionals. The opinions expressed by contributors and sources quoted in articles are not necessarily those of the editor or the publisher. Advertisers and advertising agencies assume liability for all content of advertising and for any claims arising therefrom. Information appearing in remedies may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express permission of the publisher.
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Products advertised or mentioned in this magazine may not be available in all locations. 4 remedies
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new frontiers Cannabidiol (CBD) supplements are obtainable in much of the US. A nonpsychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant, CBD is being studied for its effects on many health conditions. Each state has laws regarding CBD with varying degrees of restriction. Learn about CBD’s status in your state at www.CBDCentral.com.
CBD meds for seizures New research adds support for the use of CBD in the treatment of epileptic seizures. A study of children with a severe type of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome found that CBD reduced seizures by nearly half. The 14-week study included 199 kids, who received doses based on their body weight, or a placebo. One international study found similar results in 225 patients with a form of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Lead researcher Orrin Devinsky, MD, said his study “adds rigorous evidence of cannabidiol’s effectiveness in reducing seizure burden,” but cautioned “these are real medications with real side effects, and as providers we need to know all we can about a potential treatment in order to provide safe and effective care to our patients.” “Cannabidiol significantly reduces seizures in patients with severe form of epilepsy,” NYU Langone Health/NYU School of Medicine, 5/16/18 l “Cannabisbased medicine may reduce seizures for children with difficult-to-treat epilepsy,” American Academy of Neurology, 4/30/19
seal of approval The US Hemp Authority has awarded its high-quality seal to 13 CBD companies. “Consumers need to be able to tell who the good guys are—who’s doing their best to make sure the product is safe,” said US Hemp Authority president Marielle Weintraub, PhD. The authority’s aim is “standardizing quality control and building a safer hemp industry from seed to shelf.” The seal was awarded to CV Sciences, HempMeds, Medterra CBD, Balanced Health Botanicals, HD Distribution, Bluebird Botanicals, Charlotte’s Web, MetaCan, GenCanna, Shell Farms, Nature’s Hemp Oil, Hempworx, and Barlean’s. “US Hemp Authority awards seal for 13 high-quality CBD companies,” www.Forbes.com, 3/24/19
buyer beware A study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine determined that nearly 70 percent of CBD products sold online were either under- or over-labeled. The study’s lead author said that since state laws vary widely concerning CBD, federal oversight is lacking. “Penn study shows nearly 70 percent of cannabidiol extracts sold online are mislabeled,” University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine,” 11/7/17
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many US kids have high cholesterol Cholesterol levels in American children and teenagers have improved in recent years, but only about half of them are in the ideal range. One fourth of US kids have clinically high levels, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “High cholesterol in childhood is one of the key risk factors for developing heart disease later in life,” said cardiologist Amanda Marma Perak, MD. She noted that healthier diets and increased exercise are linked to improved cholesterol levels in kids. “Children are rarely placed on cholesterollowering medications like statins,” she said.
probiotic lowers stress
Several nutritional supplements have been shown to help lower cholesterol in adults. n Artichoke extract may increase the production of bile in the liver, which enables excretion of cholesterol. n Garlic extract is proven to lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides. n Psyllium, high in soluble fiber, reduces cholesterol absorption in the intestines. “Cholesterol-lowering effect of garlic extracts . . . human and animal studies” by Y.Y. Yeh and L. Liu, J Nutr l “The impact of dietary changes and dietary supplements on lipid profile” by J. Huang et al., Can J Cardiol, 7–8/11 l “Only half of US kids and teens have ideal cholesterol levels,” Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, 5/21/19
did you know?
A new study adds weight to the benefits of probiotics for treating stress and anxiety. Lactobacillus plantarum DR7 appeared to reduce symptoms after eight weeks of use. The authors concluded that the probiotic strain could be used “as a natural strategy to improve psychological functions, cognitive health, and memory in stressed adults.”
A common probiotic bacteria appears to improve the health of people with Type 2 diabetes. Fasting blood sugar, insulin concentration, and insulin resistance all decreased significantly when daily capsules of Lactobacillus casei were added to participants’ diets. Other health markers also improved, including weight and body mass index.
“Lactobacillus plantarum DR7 alleviates stress and anxiety in adults . . .” by H.X. Chong et al., Beneficial Microbes, 3/18/19
“The effects of Lactobacillus casei on glycemic response . . . in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus” by L. Khalili et al., Iranian Biomedical Journal, 2019
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calm and support your skin nutrients that work from the outside in
Turmeric, mushrooms, and probiotics all call to mind the good they do for the body when taken internally. Turmeric has become synonymous with relief of pain and inflammation; mushrooms are known as immunesystem enhancers; and probiotics support digestive health. But their effects don’t stop on the inside. When applied to the skin, these nutrients support its health and functions. “Typically, ingesting nutrients requires larger doses, as our livers can filter out much of what we ingest,” says Paul Schulick, founder of New Chapter, whose new company, byOm Life, focuses on nutritive topicals. “Topical application can be a more streamlined approach to getting the nutrients your skin needs.”
Turmeric’s benefits Turmeric has long been a part of Ayurvedic medicine. The spice is widely used for its ability to balance the doshas. (See page 20 for a comprehensive look at Ayurveda.) Ayurvedic practitioner Uma Jolicoeur, AP, a faculty member at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM, says the dosha known as pitta “is the aggravating factor in skin disorders, such as acne.” Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory action pacifies pitta, Jolicoeur says, enhancing the complexion and fighting skin diseases, whether used internally or externally. “It also has analgesic actions and stops itching.”
Mushrooms and probiotics Four of the products Schulick’s new company has developed for its For the Biome line highlight mushroom nutrients for the support they provide the skin and the entire body. “Mushrooms,” says Schulick, “are believed to be more closely related to humans than to botanicals. We see evidence of this in the harmonious way our bodies respond when mushrooms are applied topically.” Studies on living human cells are showing “antioxidant penetration at the cellular level, improved anti-inflammatory response, and improved mitochondrial function,” Schulick says, which could be revolutionary in protecting the skin from stress, both internal and environmental. The studies also are showing “improved appearance of skin elasticity, tone, and texture.” The proprietary process used to create For the Biome topicals involves two-step fermentation, using a blend of probiotics with the mushroom blend. Schulick says, “The bioavailability, quality, and quantity of nutrients yields a natural product that truly works with your skin.” The final product “fortifies the skin’s natural moisture barrier and provides a translucent layer of protection when applied topically.” While supplementation, a healthy diet, hydration, exercise, and mental health are crucial elements for the skin and the human biome, Schulick says, “Applying the right topical nutrients could be an efficacious addition to any skin care routine.” —Nan Fornal
“Intro to Ayurveda: The three doshas” by Scott Blossom, www.YogaJournal.com, 4/6/17 l Personal communication: Uma Jolicoeur, Paul Schulick, 5/19
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Ridgecrest Herbals’ Adrenal Fatigue Fighter uses herbs containing adaptogens to support the body’s stress response and help promote feelings of well-being. www.RCherbals.com
Saline sprays alone can be drying to the nasal passages. Adding xylitol helps ensure that beyond cleansing, Xlear Sinus & Nasal Spray also moisturizes and protects delicate tissues. www.Xlear.com
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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supplements offer support for dogs and cats Many people rely on supplements to fill nutritional gaps or to prevent and treat various ailments. It might surprise you to learn that some of these same supplements are good for pets too! Read on to learn more about how you can boost the health of your furry friends.
Relief for aching joints As pets age, they can suffer from some of the same health problems that humans do. This is especially true when it comes to their joints. Although dogs and cats can be affected by several different types of arthritis, the most common is osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, which impacts up to 20 percent of adult dogs and 60 percent or more of older cats. Osteoarthritis can be caused by aging, injuries, or health conditions like diabetes and obesity. Both dogs and cats may get relief from aching joints with collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, or a combination of all
three. One study found that dogs who were treated daily with type-II collagen, glucosamine hydrochloride, and chondroitin sulfate showed a marked reduction in arthritis-related pain, with a maximum improvement observed after 150 days.
Omegas are essential Omega-3 fatty acids may help ease osteoarthritis pain in companion animals. A recent study reported that omega 3s reduced inflammatory markers, cartilage degradation, and oxidative stress, as well as pain and dysfunction, in both cats and dogs. Another study found that cats whose diets were supplemented with omega 3s for 10 weeks had higher
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activity levels—including more walking up and down stairs and less stiffness— compared to those receiving a placebo. In addition to easing arthritis pain, omega 3s have also been shown to help with some behavior disorders in dogs. A recent study found that dogs receiving a supplement containing omega 3s, magnesium, and zinc demonstrated a reduction in negative behaviors including fearfulness, destructiveness, and inappropriate elimination. Another study found that a nutrient blend containing omega 3s from fish oil, antioxidants, B vitamins, and l-arginine was positively linked to improved cognition in aging dogs, especially for more complex tasks.
Be proactive Probiotics help to ensure your pet has a healthy microbiome, which in turn supports GI health, immunity, and more. Different strains of probiotics offer different types of support. Research has shown that supplementation with probiotics can help prevent or treat everything from acute inflammation of the intestines (enteritis) to allergies in both dogs and cats. One recent study found that a strain of Bifidobacterium longum (delivered via queso blanco cheese) had positive effects on intestinal microbiota and metabolites in dogs. Another study from earlier this year found that dogs receiving a probiotic supplement experienced improve-
ments in daily feed intake, weight, and beneficial bacteria; this was especially true of the oldest dogs whose gut microbiota shifted to a more youthful composition after two months of treatment.
CBD shows promise Research into the use of cannabidiol (CBD) for pets is underway. One study found that dogs treated with 2 milligrams of CBD per kilogram of body weight, twice daily, experienced a significant decrease in osteoarthritis-related pain and an increase in activity. There were no side effects reported. A new study found that dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy had a significant reduction in seizure frequency when treated with CBD-infused oil in addition to conventional anti-epileptic treatment.
NOW Pets Joint Support for dogs and cats is veterinarian formulated to help alleviate occasional discomfort from daily activity.
Choose wisely Not all supplements are created equal. Look for brands that specialize in one type of supplement or have research that supports the efficacy of their products. Read labels carefully and make sure the ingredients you want are actually in the product. Always use supplements formulated for pets—some products created for humans can be dangerous to animals. —Kelli Ann Wilson “Arthritis and degenerative disease in cats,” International Cat Care, www.icatcare.org l “Arthritis in senior dogs: Signs and treatment” by Stephanie Gibeault, American Kennel Club, www.AKC.org l “Comparative therapeutic efficacy and safety of type-II collagen (UC-II), glucosamine and chondroitin in arthritic dogs . . .” by R.C. Gupta et al., 10/12; “The effect of dietary long-chain omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on owner’s perception of behavior and locomotion in cats with naturally occurring osteoarthritis” by R.J. Corbee et al., 10/13, J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl) l “Effects of queso blanco cheese containing Bifidobacterium longum KACC 91563 on the intestinal microbiota and short chain fatty acid in healthy companion dogs” by H.E. Park et al., Korean J Food Sci Anim Resour, 12/18 l “Oral administration of compound probiotics improved canine feed intake, weight gain, immunity, and intestinal microbiota” by H. Xu et al., Front Immunol, 4/2/19 l “Pharmacokinetics, safety, and clinical efficacy of cannabidiol treatment in osteoarthritic dogs” by L.J. Gamble et al., Front Vet Sci, 7/23/18 l “Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy” by S. McGrath et al., J Am Vet Med Assoc, 6/1/19
Award-winning Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet supports brain, eye, and heart health and is safe for dogs and cats.
Calming Formula from Terry Naturally Animal Health helps keep your pet calm and relaxed, whether it’s a trip to the vet, loud noises, or a change to your daily routine.
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how face reading can help keep us healthy For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has relied on face reading as a diagnostic tool to determine a person’s overall health. The method isn’t just about noting that someone looks pale or flushed: Face readers look for clues that serve as early warning signs of underperforming organs to potentially nip health issues in the bud. “Your face is a mirror for the rest of the body, and it acts like a blueprint,” explains Lillian Pearl Bridges, founder of the Lotus Institute and a leading authority on face reading. “Certain places on the face link back to specific organs and provide clues about how those organs are functioning.” For example, sunken cheeks can be a sign that your lungs aren’t functioning properly. Yellow-tinted whites of the eyes means there’s a problem with the liver, such as jaundice. And fatty deposits on your eyelids signify free-floating cholesterol—a warning that your arteries may be getting blocked.
Paying attention While it takes years to perfect the science of face reading, even a novice may start to notice things they hadn’t before—if they know where to look and what to look for. Bridges learned the technique from her Chinese grandmother. “I spent every weekend by her side and she taught me how to read faces,” she says. Bridges has made a career of helping people stay healthy, mostly with recommendations around nutrition, hydration, and lifestyle. “I have a lot of clients who go on raw-food diets and as a result may not have enough digestive enzymes to process so much raw food,” she says. “I can tell because the area right above their upper lip turns white if the stomach is too cold, which can affect digestion.” She recommends eating cooked food and lots of ginger to warm up the stomach.
Reading the clues Underperforming kidneys are also common and can be detected by dark under-eye circles (beyond the normal signs of sleep deprivation). “This is usually a sign of dehydration,” Bridges explains. “But water alone is not enough.” She is a strong believer in hot soup. “It has minerals that help you hold the fluids, especially when it’s made with bones and root vegetables. The kidneys play a big role in longevity so you want to take good care of them and always stay hydrated.” The tip of the nose is linked to the heart, and its color shows how well the blood is flowing. If it’s very pale it might indicate a heavy menstrual cycle, or if it’s bluish the blood may be too thick. In this case Bridges suggests eating mu’er (wood ear) mushrooms, a natural blood thinner, or giving blood. “It helps the new blood come in thinner and doesn’t harm the recipients because the blood is diluted first.” While face reading is based on centuries of careful observation, the findings can both act as a warning or indicate good health and even pregnancy. So next time you look in the mirror, pay close attention to what you see. —Patty Bovie “Face reading in Chinese medicine” by John Stan, www.EasternCurrents.ca, 4/25/18 l Personal communication: Lillian Bridges, 5/19 l “Read my lips: Face reading for health” by Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, www.AnnLouise.com, 10/31/17
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(OR PROSTATE IN MEN)
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By Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH
make sure your bones have the nutrients they need
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Bones are in a continual state of change, so they need constant nourishment to stay strong. In fact, your skeleton is completely rebuilt every decade. Bone cells called osteoclasts nibble away at bones, pulling out calcium. Meanwhile, another type of bone cells called osteoblasts send calcium back into bones to build them up. When osteoclasts remove more calcium than is replaced, the bones weaken and the stage is set for osteoporosis.
Invest in your skeleton Think of your bones as a bank account for calcium and other minerals: These minerals build up in density during childhood and through the teen years. Your bones reach peak bone mass density in young adulthood. Then the decline generally starts, which can —for many adults—end in a broken bone caused by osteoporosis. Osteoporosis does not develop overnight. This disease is known as the “silent thief” because it siphons away the strength of your bones without outward signs—until a bone breaks. Osteoporosis and low bone mass affect 44 million Americans, which is 55 percent of all people in the US older than age 50. It really is a women’s issue, with 8 out of every 10 people with thinning bones being female.
Consume these vital nutrients Calcium is nearly synonymous with bones, and for good reason. Adequate calcium intake guards against fracture risk. There is no need to exceed recommended calcium amounts, which are 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day (through a combination of dietary and supplement sources) if you are 50 or younger and 1,200 mg per day for women 51 or older. Excessive calcium (e.g., double these numbers) can be troublesome for kidney and heart health. But don’t be scared off about calcium: Most people fall short (rather than having too much) with this mineral, and it’s especially important for postmenopausal women to keep up with calcium intake. For most people, calcium supplements are needed to make up this shortfall.
Vitamin D doesn’t get as much attention as calcium, but it plays a huge role in bone health. Experts now understand that calcium and vitamin D work together to create break-resistant bones. Large studies document the benefit from supplementing with calcium plus vitamin D to reduce fracture risk in middle-aged and older adults. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have a promising protective effect on bone health, particularly in postmenopausal women.
Be proactive With an osteoporotic fracture occurring every three seconds worldwide, it pays to use every tool possible to build durable bones. To help maintain dense, fracture-resistant bones throughout life, try the following. n Take a calcium supplement to bring your daily calcium intake (from foods and supplements) to 1,000 mg per day if you are 50 years old or younger and 1,200 mg per day for women 51+. n Eat calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables (including collards, kale, and parsley), sea vegetables (such as kelp and dulse), broccoli, and tofu. n Take extra vitamin D, since this vitamin helps your body absorb calcium. Aim for 600 IU daily. n Include weight-bearing exercise (such as walking, jogging, aerobics, dancing, or stair climbing) in your fitness routine to slow the loss of bone mass. n Don’t drink alcohol excessively (no more than two drinks per day). n Skip the saltshaker. n Avoid soft drinks that contain phosphoric acid.
Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH, a health journalist for more than two decades, is the author of Life After Baby: Rediscovering and Reclaiming Your Healthy Pizzazz (Basic Health Publications, 2012).
“Bone remodeling: A tissue-level process emerging from cell-level molecular algorithms” by C.F. Arias et al., 9/19/18; “Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid dietary intake is positively associated with bone mineral density in normal and osteopenic Spanish women” by J. Lavado-García et al., 1/5/18, PLOS One l “Calcium and vitamin D: Important at every age,” NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, www.bones.nih.gov l “Calcium in the prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis: EMAS clinical guide” by A. Cano et al., Maturitas, 1/18 l “Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and risk of fractures . . .” by C.M. Weaver et al., Osteoporos Int, 1/16 l “Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on bone turnover markers in postmenopausal women . . .” by D. Shen et al., Climacteric, 12/17 l “Facts and statistics,” International Osteoporosis Foundation, www.IOFBoneHealth.org
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e ve r y d a y r e m e d i e s
muscle cramps What is it? Also called muscle spasms, muscle cramps are involuntary tightening or contraction of muscles that do not relax, usually occurring in the abdomen, arms, feet, hands, or legs. What causes it? Muscle cramps are frequently caused by overuse or injuries, dehydration, or low levels of key minerals including calcium and potassium.
Lifestyle: Stop activity immediately and massage or stretch the muscle to ease spasms; if dehydrated, drink plenty of water.
Supplements: Calcium, chlorella, magnesium,
Foods: Avocado, bananas, leafy greens, legumes,
Herbs: Aloe vera, basil, celery seed, cramp bark, garlic, myrrh, yarrow.
methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), potassium, spirulina, high-potency multivitamins.
melons, milk, orange juice, nuts and seeds, salmon, sweet potatoes, tomatoes.
Homeopathy: Magnesia phosphorica and
“Energy and endurance for marathons and beyond” by Begabati Lennihan, National Center for Homeopathy, www.HomeopathyCenter.org, 2013 l “Foods that may help with muscle cramps,” www.WebMD.com, 3/5/18 l The Healing Remedies Sourcebook by C. Norman Shealy ($25.99, Da Capo Press, 2012) l “Muscle cramps,” National Institutes of Health, www.MedlinePlus.gov, 6/28/18 l Prescription for Natural Cures (3rd Edition) by James F. Balch and Mark Stengler ($34.99, Turner Publishing Company, 2016)
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By Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG)
ayurveda introduction to
you can benefit from an ancient practice
Ayurveda has become increasingly popular in the United States in recent years, but it is actually one of the oldest recorded forms of medicine in the world, dating back at least 5,000 years.
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This complex system of medicine encompasses diet and nutrition, herbs, surgery, yoga, philosophy, and other holistic practices and continues to thrive to this day in India, interwoven with modern medicine. Ayurveda means “the science of life.” Sanskrit poetry comprised sacred volumes of Vedas recording the knowledge of various aspects of healing, written by spiritual leaders and healers. The Vedic texts teach mantras, blessings, rituals, ceremonies, meditation, philosophy, and healing practices. Ayurveda influenced ancient Greek and Roman medicine, the Buddha, traditional Chinese medicine, the Unani Tibb medicine of Islam, and beyond. Here in the modern West, we focus mainly on its applications in the diet, herbal medicine, yoga and meditation, and healing practices such as abhyanga oil massage, a neti pot nasal rinse, the detoxification practice of panchakarma, and rejuvenation via rasayana.
The five elements
As with most ancient medical systems, Ayurveda is built on the foundation that energy comprises everything in the form of five basic elements: Earth/mass, air/motion, fire/ radiant energy, water/cohesive factor, and ether/space. The three humors of Ayurveda, called doshas, govern a person’s constitution: pitta, vata, and kapha. The dosha indicates the forces within us that are most likely to go out of balance. While we all have a little bit of all three doshas present, usually one or two predominate in an individual. Knowing your dosha helps you choose practices to help pacify these tendencies so you can stay in a better state of balance—the goal being a relative state of equilibrium among the three doshas.
n Pitta (fire/hot + water/damp): People with this dominant dosha are fiery, of medium athletic build, and tend to show a lot of redness in their face and tongue. They generate body heat and body oil and have strong, driven personalities. Focus on cooling, drying remedies and foods, especially plant foods. Try to keep cool as best you can. n Vata (air + ether/dry): These people are like hummingbirds, lightly flittering from one thing to the next, frequently changing. They’re often thin-framed, tense, nervous, and dry by nature but also fun, social, and creative. Focus on grounding, nourishing, restorative, warm foods and herbs and oils, and make sure to get plenty of rest. n Kapha (Earth/cold + water/damp): These individuals are heavier set with oily skin and thick hair. They have a solid, stable, fluid, calm, and easy-going nature. These homebodies and loyal friends enjoy comfort and relaxation. Warm, light, aromatic, dry foods and herbs benefit them best, helping them to avoid getting too sluggish.
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An Ayurveda eating plan Moisturizing vata How do we reverse the airiness of vata energy? By consuming a nourishing diet that introduces more of the grounding, moisturizing influences to be found in some foods. A typical vata-balancing meal might include cooked vegetables like asparagus and carrots, white basmati rice, yogurt, nuts or seeds, olive or sesame oil, and a variety of different spices like black pepper, basil, coriander, and nutmeg. Other good foods for vata constitutions include sweet fruits like peaches and bananas and natural sweeteners like maple syrup and honey. Cooling pitta We add to pitta’s heat when we eat spicy foods, sour foods like pickles, alcohol, and animal proteins. We can reverse this heat by cooling the body with sweet and bitter vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and potatoes, white basmati rice or barley, legumes other than lentils, coconut oil, and a few cooling spices like coriander, cardamom, and saffron. Other good foods for pitta constitutions include sweet fruits like apples and raisins. Warming kapha A typical kapha-balancing meal can include pungent vegetables like Brussels sprouts and radishes, barley or millet, most legumes like lentils and garbanzo beans, and pretty much every spice but salt. Other good foods for kapha include pomegranates and cherries.
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Popular herbs in Ayurveda
Many herbs are employed in the practice of Ayurveda. These few are some of the herbs of Ayurveda that have attained the most popularity in the US. n Triphala: This blend of three fruits–haritaki, amalaki, and bibhitaki–helps balance all three doshas as a general tonic that particularly supports gentle detoxification through the colon and offers nutrition. It is one of our best long-term, safe herbs to ease constipation. n Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): This building, warming tonic provides the strength and stamina of a stallion if consumed regularly and is often used as a male reproductive tonic, though women can take it as well. Quite a bit of modern research supports its ability to improve mood, sleep, energy, and resilience against stress. n Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum): Also called holy or sacred basil, this herb is warming, aromatic, and airy. It reduces inflammation, improves digestion and immune health, balances blood sugar, reduces stress, and brightens and calms the mind. It makes an excellent tea. n Turmeric (Curcuma longa): Well-known as a super spice with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric warms, dries, and lightens the body. It supports detoxification via the liver, heart health, and digestion. Additional popular herbs from Ayurveda include the bitter, cooling, drying brain tonic bacopa; the vegetal, cooling connective tissue-healing, circulation-enhancing, brain tonic gotu kola; the aromatic, fat-clearing resin guggul; the spicy-pungent, anti-inflammatory seed nigella; and the moistening, nourishing women’s reproductive tonic shatavari.
Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG), is the best-selling, award-winning author of Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self Care and Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Maria’s a registered professional herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild and a graduate of the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine and Rosemary Gladstar’s Sage Mountain. Learn more about Maria and herbs at www.WintergreenBotanicals.com.
“Ayurveda: A brief introduction and guide” by Vasant Lad, www.Ayurveda.com l Ayurveda Beginner’s Guide by Susan Weis-Bohlen ($14.99, Althea Press, 2018) l The Ayurveda Bible by Anna McIntyre ($19.95, Firefly Books, 2012) l Ayurveda Made Easy by Heidi E. Spear ($14.99, Adams Media, 2017) l The Ayurveda Way by Ananta Ripa Ajmera ($18.95, Storey, 2017) l Healing the Thyroid with Ayurveda by Marianne Teitelbaum ($16.99, Healing Arts Press, 2019) l The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs by Karta Purkh Sing Khalsa and Michael Tierra ($24.85, Lotus Press, 2008)
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boost your performance with pre- and post-workout supplements Have you hit a performance plateau? It can be frustrating to feel like you’re training harder than ever and not seeing results. Several natural supplements can help boost endurance and strength while fighting fatigue. Consider these to up your game this summer.
Un-beet-able benefits Beet juice may seem like an unlikely ally for athletes, but research suggests it has the potential to improve endurance, power, and speed. One recent study found that recreational runners improved their times in a 10-kilometer trial after drinking 420 milliliters (ml) of beet juice daily for three days. Another study of recreational runners found that three days of beet juice consumption improved their oxygen utilization during a treadmill workout. Cyclists also benefit from beet juice. One recent study found that cyclists were able to sprint faster after drinking 70 ml of the juice three hours ahead of a trial. Additional research found that supplementing with beet juice for seven days improved cycling performance on a 10-kilometer course. The science on beet juice isn’t settled, and some studies show limited or no improvements in athletic performance. This may be due, in part, to the quality of the juice—many commercially available products do not provide the necessary dose to enhance performance.
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Aminos for energy
Power up with creatine
Amino acids are necessary for energy and growth. They may also help to boost athletic performance. L-carnitine has been linked to beneficial effects on sports performance. A review of studies found that L-carnitine boosted recovery after high-intensity exercise. It also eases muscle soreness and increases blood flow. Beta-alanine may help decrease feelings of exhaustion and fatigue after a workout. Research suggests that betaalanine supplementation may reduce executive function declines that tend to be induced by endurance exercise. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of amino acids that have been linked to improved sports performance. One study found that BCAAs were more effective at reducing muscle power loss and soreness than rest alone. Valine helps regrow and regenerate muscle tissue and aids in energy production; leucine helps to repair muscles and synthesize protein; and isoleucine helps regulate energy consumption.
Creatine is a chemical that occurs naturally in muscles. It’s been linked to improvements in exercise performance and it may also increase muscle mass. Research suggests that creatine may help older adults to improve muscle strength when used in combination with resistance training. It may also improve upper and lower body strength in younger adults. Studies have also linked creatine to enhanced performance for athletes in sports including rowing and soccer. Because creatine draws water to muscles from the rest of the body, it may cause dehydration, so be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid exercising in the heat when taking creatine.
—remedies staff “Beta-alanine supplementation increased physical performance and improved executive function following endurance exercise . . .” by T. Furst et al., J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 7/11/18 l “Branched-chain amino acid supplementation and exercise-induced muscle damage in exercise recovery . . .” by M.H. Rahimi et al., Nutrition, 10/17 l “Chronic high-dose beetroot juice supplementation improves time trial performance of well-trained cyclists . . .” by T. RokkedalLausch et al., Nitric Oxide, 4/19 l “Creatine,” National Institutes of Health, https://MedlinePlus.gov l “Effect of BCAA supplement timing on exerciseinduced muscle soreness and damage . . .” by S.G. Ra et al., J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 11/18 l “Effect of beetroot juice supplementation on 10-km performance in recreational runners” by T.F. de Castro et al., Appl Physiol Nutr Metab, 1/19 l “The effects of beetroot juice on VO2max and blood pressure during submaximal exercise” by J.M. Perze et al., Int J Exerc Sci, 3/19 l “Effects of beetroot juice supplementation on performance and fatigue in a 30-s all-out sprint exercise” by E. Cuenca et al., 9/18; “L-carnitine supplementation in recovery after exercise” by R. Fielding et al., 10/18, Nutrients l “What’s in your beet juice? Nitrate and nitrite content of beet juice products marketed to athletes” by E.J. Gallardo and A.R. Coggan, Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 10/18
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12 Sugar Alternatives A spoonful of sugar may seem relatively harmless. It does, after all, make the medicine go down. But it’s the amount of it that we ingest every year (around 77 pounds per person!) that’s the real problem. A nonnutritive substance, refined white sugar increases inflammation and oxidative stress and is linked to the obesity and diabetes epidemic. It’s also a known immunosuppressant and has been shown to reduce the germ-killing ability of white blood cells for up to five hours after consumption, according to nutrition expert Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD. That’s enough to make anyone feel ill! But there may be those times when you want to enjoy something on the sweeter side of life.
Find 12 alternatives to help you cut sugar at www.tasteforlife.com/12-sugar-alternatives
bug off! powerful plants can help
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Ah, summertime. The days grow warm and long, kids are on break, adults schedule vacations, and we all pour into the great outdoors—where we’re met by mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, flies, and other insect pests. It may feel like Mother Nature is pulling a fast one on us, but she has provided tools for keeping things in balance. Given the severity of the diseases carried by some biting insects, people will want to make careful choices about the insect repellents they choose for themselves and their families. For those who want to stay natural, there are plenty of options, and one ingredient—lemon eucalyptus oil—matches up to DEET in repelling mosquitoes and may have some effectiveness against ticks as well.
Environmental approach Those of us who spend a lot of time in our backyards can start by making them less friendly to insect pests. First, dump any standing water that’s accumulated in buckets, old tires, tarps, and the like. Mosquitoes love to breed in such spots. Next, try planting herbs that help deter pests. House flies and mosquitoes will avoid basil. Plant it in the garden and in pots where people congregate—it will provide some insect relief and an ingredient for pesto! Lemongrass, an ornamental that contains citronella oil, is a mosquito repellent and a nice addition to chicken and pork dishes. Grow it in a pot so it can winter indoors. Try planting mint in pots too, then pluck the leaves and crumple them into iced tea while the plants help keep bugs off nearby plants. Both mosquitoes and ticks will avoid rosemary and catnip plants. Other herbs to try planting include lemon thyme, lemon balm, and oregano.
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Topical approach For a natural insect repellent that’s applied to the skin or sprayed on clothes, look for one key ingredient: oil of lemon eucalyptus. The only plant-based mosquito-repelling ingredient that’s recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s found in bug sprays and lotions made by natural products companies as well as companies that also make repellents containing DEET. Oil of lemon eucalyptus isn’t safe for children younger than 3, so consider a soy-based repellent for preschoolers. One commercial repellent containing 2 percent soybean oil along with glycerin, lecithin, vanillin, and oils of coconut and geranium was as effective as DEET in one study.
Up the protection When they bite A wasp, a yellow jacket, or a bee got the best of you? Homeopathy may help. If the pain lessens after ice or cold applications, try Ledum (wild rosemary). This is typically the first homeopathic remedy given after a bug bite. For swelling and burning pain, try Apis (crushed bee). Carbolicum acidum is useful if you’ve been stung more than once. Check the product’s label for the proper dose. Essential Homeopathy by Dana Ullman, MPH ($10.95, New World Library)
Bug repellent is a must for anyone who’ll be exposed to potentially disease-carrying insects. To get the most protection, follow these recommendations: • When using on children, follow the instructions on the product’s label. Parents should spray the repellent on their own hands, then apply to a child’s face. Use mosquito netting rather than repellent for babies under two months old. • Wear long sleeves and pants, and tuck your shirt in your pants and your pants in your socks. • Turn on a fan to deter mosquitoes on patios and porches. • Mosquitoes love dawn and dusk, so if you don’t love mosquitoes, avoid being outdoors during those hours. • People who may have been exposed to ticks should shower after spending time outdoors, in addition to doing regular tick checks on clothing and bodies. —Jane Eklund
“16 plants that repel unwanted insects” by Tom Oder, Mother Nature Network, www.mnn.com, 4/22/19 l “How to keep mosquitoes out of your yard” by Jessica Walliser, www.RodalesOrganicLife.com, 5/27/16 l “Keep pests off pets! Plants to grow that repel ticks and fleas” by Emily Cardiff, www.OneGreenPlanet.org l “Natural mosquito repellents”; “Safer bug spray: Natural bug repellents” by R. Morgan Griffin, WebMD.com l “Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing” by M.F. Maia and S.J. Moore, Malar J, 4/15/11 l “Prevent mosquito bites,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.CDC.gov
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