N OVEM B ER 2020
gut health page
Cold and flu help Dietitian pointers Relief for joint pain
ginger may ease digestive trouble
9/29/20 9:34 AM
Nutrition for Kids!
#moregood | @childlifeessentials 10/6/20 9:13 AM
8/25/20 10:04 AM
8/5/20 2:19 PM
November 2020 vol. 16 no. 11
14 the pros of probiotics
Good for gut health and immune support.
6 From the Editor’s Desk 8 Health Pulse
Yoga improves heart rate and blood pressure • Poor sleep can make stress symptoms worse • More
10 Sports Nutrition & Performance Saunas may help speed post-workout recovery.
12 Supplement Spotlight
Magnesium fights pain, eases stress, and more.
18 New Frontiers
CBD may affect prescription medications.
take the edge off Herbs and supplements to reduce anxiety.
Registered dietitians can help you meet your health goals.
23 Healthy Glow
Tips for choosing safer shampoos and conditioners.
26 Herbal Healing
Curcumin and boswellia may ease knee pain.
28 Everyday Remedies
Natural ways to treat cold & flu symptoms. Cover: Ginger Root.
A source for news, information, and ideas for your healthy lifestyle. remedies-and-recipes.com
@RemediesRecipes November 2020
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from the editor ’s desk
Stressing the positive Feeling stressed? Yeah, me too. I keep walking. Enjoying the foliage. Watching butterflies flutter by. And trying—with some success—to minimize the use of Twitter. And television. And that new thing I added for no discernible reason: Instagram. I know those things do little more than stir up a different flock of butterflies—in my gut. Walking through the forest does the opposite. “The media is a critical source of information for people when they’re faced with ambiguous, ongoing disasters,” said Roxane Cohen Silver, PhD, professor of psychological science at the University of California-Irvine. “But too much exposure can be overwhelming and lead to more stress, worry, and perceived risks.” Dr. Silver led a new study that linked media consumption to increasing stress related to COVID-19. Other new research offers similar cautions. A study from Spain—hit hard by the pandemic—found that university students have been using their mobile phones for excessively long periods. That, in turn, has cut way down on their levels of physical activity. The researchers tied that trend to students’ declining health and poor sleep habits. Another new study, this one from Arizona State University, determined that heavy users of screens had the least healthy diets and lowest quality of sleep among 900 adult participants. That’s a lot of bad news. But a temporary antidote may be right outside the door. You just need to take the right steps.
Chief Content Officer and Strategist Lynn Tryba Contributing Editor Rich Wallace Assistant Editor Kelli Ann Wilson Art Director Michelle Knapp Custom Graphics Manager Donna Sweeney Business Development Director Amy Pierce Customer Service firstname.lastname@example.org Cl ient Services Director—Retail Judy Gagne 800-677-8847 x128 Cl ient 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) National Sales Manager Leanna Houle 800-677-8847 (x111) 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); ©2020 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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SELECTED SOURCES “ASU study finds association between screen time use, diet and other health factors,” Arizona State University, 9/28/20 l “Students used their mobile phones for over 8 hours a day during lockdown,” University of Seville, 9/29/20 l “Study links rising stress, depression in US to pandemic-related losses, media consumption,” University of California-Irvine, 9/18/20
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yoga eases heart symptoms Yoga can relieve symptoms of a common and debilitating heart condition called atrial fibrillation, according to new research. About 25 percent of middle-aged American adults will develop the condition, which can lead to stroke and reduced quality of life. Symptoms include palpitations, irregular or racing pulse, fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain. More than 500 patients did no yoga for 12 weeks, then took part in 30-minute yoga sessions every other day for 16 weeks. They were encouraged to practice the yoga postures and breathing exercises at home as well. During the yoga period, participants showed gains in energy levels, mood, and ability to do daily activities and to socialize. Heart rate and blood pressure also improved. SOURCE “Yoga linked with improved symptoms in heart patients,” European Society of Cardiology, 8/24/20
poor sleep may heighten stress A poor night’s sleep can increase stress and reduce joy, according to a new study. “When people experience something positive, such as getting a hug or spending time in nature, they typically feel happier that day,” says Nancy Sin, PhD. But when participants in the study slept less than usual, they responded to stressors such as arguments and social tensions with a greater loss of positive emotions. Previous research by Dr. Sin and others demonstrated that being unable to maintain positive emotions in the face of stress puts people at risk of inflammation and reduced longevity. “The recommended guideline for a good night’s sleep is at least seven hours, yet one in three adults don’t meet this standard,” Dr. Sin said. SOURCE “People react better to both negative and positive events with more sleep,” University of British Columbia, 9/15/20
herbal sleep aids Several gentle herbs can help bring about more restful sleep. Consider chamomile, valerian, hops, or passionflower. SOURCE “Natural ways to sleep better” by Annie Graves, www. TasteforLife.com
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sports nutrition + performance
feel the heat sauna use may enhance recovery
Regular sauna use can keep us from feeling stiff or sore after workouts. And that relaxing feeling adds a nice motivation to exercise. The use of saunas dates back at least 3,000 years in Mayan culture. Many cultures have embraced heat to help purify their bodies, recover from sports or illness, or simply to relax. In addition to improving flexibility, sauna bathing speeds the body’s excretion of metabolic waste, reduces oxidative stress after a workout, and can improve performance in our next athletic session. Cortisol levels, which are often linked to weight gain, also tend to decrease after sauna sessions.
Staying safe Modern dry saunas use wood or electricity to heat air as high as 190°F. Infrared saunas keep temps between 120°F and 140°F. Infrared heat penetrates fat and
muscle about 3 to 4 centimeters. Because of this, people sweat more vigorously at lower temperatures than in traditional saunas, and the experience takes less of a toll on the cardiovascular system. Still, be sure to consult with your healthcare practitioner before starting a sauna regimen. And in these days of social distancing, be sure to follow all regulations at your gym or spa to ensure health and safety. —remedies staff SELECTED SOURCES “A burning issue: Temperature modification may aid weight loss” by Lynn Tryba, www.TasteforLife.com l “Effect of post-exercise sauna bathing on the endurance performance of competitive male runners” by G.S. Scoon et al., Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2007 l “Effects of far-infrared sauna bathing on recovery from strength and endurance training . . .” by A. Mero et al., Springerplus, 7/7/15
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the anti-stress mineral magnesium is vital
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Magnesium is a mineral that plays many critical roles in the human body. It regulates blood sugar levels and blood pressure, helps bones stay strong, aids muscle and nerve function, and is involved in energy production. It may also help support emotional balance. Magnesium has been dubbed the “anti-stress” mineral because it relaxes skeletal muscles as well as the smooth muscles of blood vessels and the gastrointestinal tract. Although magnesium is found in many foods, much of the mineral can be lost through food processing and refining. Another factor that influences its levels in produce is the amount of magnesium in soils where food is grown. According to the USDA, nearly a third of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of this mineral.
What the research says Studies point to magnesium’s efficacy for treating muscle and nerve pain as well as its ability to reduce cramping. Other research has found that magnesium promotes muscle strength. Some forms of magnesium can cause gastrointestinal upsets, so be sure to discuss a magnesium supplement with your healthcare provider before you add it to your regimen.
RECOMMENDED DIETARY ALLOWANCE Lifestage
Males (mg/day) Females (mg/day)
31 and older
(For recommendations for infants and pregnant and/ or breastfeeding women, go to http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/ infocenter/minerals/magnesium.) —remedies staff
SELECTED SOURCES “Dietary supplement fact sheet: Magnesium,” Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, https://ods.od.nih.gov, 3/24/20 l “The effect of magnesium sulfate on renal colic pain relief; a randomized clinical trial” by A. Jokar et al, Archives of Academic Emergency Medicine, 2017 l “Impact of magnesium supplementation in muscle damage of professional cyclists competing in a stage race” by A. Córdova et al., Nutrients, 8/16/19 l “Magnesium,” Linus Pauling Institute, www.lpi.OregonState.edu, 2/19 l “Magnesium for pain relief” by Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, www.PsychologyToday.com
Magnesium may boost immunity Researchers have turned their sights on prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Taylor C. Wallace, PhD, a research fellow at the Center for Magnesium Education & Research, sees the potential for magnesium to play a role in building immunity and combating COVID-19. In a research article published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Dr. Wallace discusses the relationship between subclinical magnesium deficiency and low-grade chronic inflammation. He notes that magnesium helps to limit both cytokine production and systemic inflammation, making it a potential ally in the fight against COVID-19. Low magnesium levels in critically ill patients can also lead to potassium and calcium deficiencies. Early research from China suggests that more than 90 percent of severe and critically ill patients suffering from COVID-19 had potassium deficiency. Magnesium levels were not tested, but about half of patients with potassium deficiency will also have depleted magnesium levels. Several aspects of vitamin D metabolism are also dependent on magnesium. Vitamin D may reduce the risk of severe illness by slowing viral replication rates and reducing concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines that damage the lungs. Dr. Wallace recommends that healthy individuals consider daily supplementation with at least 350 milligrams (mg) of magnesium and 4,000 IU (or less) of vitamin D to prevent or treat mild symptoms of COVID-19, especially if dietary intake is low. SOURCE “Combating COVID-19 and building immune resilience: A potential role for magnesium nutrition? By T.C. Wallace, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 7/20
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By Brenda Watson, CNC
the pros of probiotics good for gut health & immune support
Our lungs are front and center as areas of concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the time, we don’t think a lot about our lungs unless we experience asthma or other respiratory issues. Not only do we breathe with our lungs, but they are also one of our seven channels of elimination. Besides providing oxygen for every cell, they are incredibly important in getting rid of carbon dioxide buildup and eliminating excess mucus. Lung support is essential, now more than ever.
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consider this Protexin BioKult is a 14-strain probiotic proven to survive the high acidity of the stomach and complement existing gut flora.
Jarrow Formulas Jarro-Dophilus Women is formulated to help restore healthy vaginal flora and promote urinary tract health. Wakunaga of America KyoDophilus Multi 9 Probiotic contains a diverse community of nine beneficial bacteria to promote GI health. NOW Foods 8 Billion Acidophilus & Bifidus Veg Capsules promote probiotic balance and help maintain healthy intestinal flora.
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Probiotics offer lung support Did you know that there is increasing evidence that orally delivered probiotics are able to support the lungs as well as the gut? This is because the physiology and pathology of the respiratory and GI systems are closely related. Research reveals that probiotics regulate immune responses in the respiratory system as well as in the gut when administered in adequate amounts. Notice I mentioned “regulate,” not “stimulate” or “boost.” This is an important distinction. With COVID-19, immune system overreactions are damaging the lungs and other vital organs, leading at times to respiratory failure and death. High-potency probiotics will help regulate and support the normal immune response, which is critical in overcoming this viral threat. They are considered immunomodulatory agents. Building up our defenses from the inside out is key. That means doing our part to support the trillions of microbes living in the gut, collectively known as your
gut microbiome. Each species of microbe has its part to play; the more diverse the internal environment is, the healthier you and your immune system will be. So how do you increase microbial diversity? One way is to vary what you eat. Choose fiber-rich plant-based foods, limit processed food, and skip sugar-ridden junk. Include healthy fats and lean meat or fish. An additional way is to supplement with a highquality probiotic formula. It’s not just the potency, but also the diversity that matters for both immunity and lung support. Look for a formula with 100 billion live probiotic cultures in every capsule. Your probiotic supplement should also contain up to a total of 100 strains, such as Lacto and Bifido bacteria to more closely mirror the diversity of your gut. Although this may seem high, this is the potency and diversity you want in this critical time. A few simple, easy tips for lung support and overall health. First thing in the morning, make a simple drink of hot water and lemon. Not only is this supportive of your lungs, but it’s also great for your liver.
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Drink warm liquids throughout the day. This increases your core temperature and supports immunity and lung function. Try a tea bag of ginger along with green tea for a relaxing warm drink. Ginger helps break down mucus, making it easier for your body to expel air. It also helps improve circulation to the lungs and reduces inflammation. Mullein is well known for lung support and can be bought as a tea or tincture. The tea is often formulated with other respiratory and anti-inflammatory herbs combined to provide bronchial ease. A squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and/or a small amount of local or Manuka honey can make any tea even more immune-supportive and enjoyable. IMPORTANT! Make the time to practice deep breathing and exercise daily. Exercise and deep belly breathing both increase your lung capacity and heat up your core, making you stronger and much more resistant to infection of any type!
Brenda Watson, CNC. For more than 25 years, Ms. Watson has been helping people achieve vibrant health through improved digestion. As an author of seven books, a New York Times bestseller, and the creator of five PBS shows on digestive health, Ms. Watson continues the crusade of teaching how the gut is the foundation of health.
SELECTED SOURCES “Aspects of gut microbiota and immune system interactions in infectious diseases, immunopathology, and cancer” by V. Lazar et al., Frontiers in Immunology, 8/15/18 l “Gut microbiome regulates the intestinal immune system,” Brown University, 12/18/18 l “Probiotics in the management of lung diseases” by E. Mortaz et al., Mediators of Inflammation, 2013
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Study finds CBD oil may affect other meds Penn State researchers have identified more than 50 medications that may be affected by CBD oil and other cannabinoids. The information may help medical professionals make safer prescription choices for patients who are using cannabinoids. The list contains drugs ranging from heart medications to antibiotics and antifungals that may have “drugdrug” interactions with cannabinoid products. The researchers noted that warfarin—commonly prescribed for patients with atrial fibrillation or following cardiac valve replacement—is among those that medical professionals should consider. They cautioned that CBD oil products and medical and recreational marijuana often come with little to no drug-drug interaction information.
Speak up Study author Kent Vrana, PhD, chair of pharmacology at the Penn State College of Medicine, advised that patients should be honest with their healthcare practitioners about their use of all cannabinoid products to ensure the safe and effective use of prescribed medications. “Unregulated products often contain the same active ingredients as medical cannabinoids, though they may be present in different concentrations,” Dr. Vrana said. “The drug-drug interaction information from medical cannabinoids may be useful as medical professionals consider the potential impact of over-the-counter or illicit cannabinoid products.” The list of affected medications is at the psu.edu website. SOURCE “Cannabinoids may affect activity of other pharmaceuticals,” Penn State, 8/3/20
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.
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nutrition? it’s personal
For an eating plan tailored to your needs, seek out a registered dietitian Want to feel better through eating better? Talk to a pro. That means a registered dietitian (RD), sometimes called a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). Sure, the multitude of popular diet programs—from keto to vegan to intermittent fasting—have plenty to offer. But what they can’t provide is a nutrition plan that works for you because it was designed specifically for you. 20 remedies
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All about the credentials Be sure to look for the initials RD or RDN: They indicate a nutritionist who has undergone rigorous education and training. That includes a bachelor’s degree, a post-college internship program that’s typically 6 to 12 months long, a passing score on a national exam, and regular continuing education courses. Registered dietitians work in a variety of settings: hospitals and nursing homes, school cafeterias, nutrition-related industries, community public health settings, research labs, and more. Those who work with individuals may be on the staff of a healthcare center or in private practice. How do you find an RD to work with? You may get a referral, but you can also visit www.EatRight.org, the website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which has a Find an Expert tool.
What’s the process? To find out how registered dietitians work to create nutritional plans for their clients, we checked in with Ruth Clark, RD, MPH, who has a private practice in Peterborough, NH (https://RuthClarkRD.com), and is author of Cool the Fire: Curb Inflammation and Balance Hormones.
remedies: Who should seek out a registered dietitian? Ruth Clark: Anybody who wants to change their habits around food. Registered dietitians are incredibly well trained to help people from the standpoint of customizing and individualizing a plan for them. There’s a lot of confusion today in the marketplace around nutrition. Everybody wants you to follow their program. That can lead people to push themselves into a diet that will eventually fail. Better to work with somebody who encourages you to go within and figure out the path that works best for you.
remedies: What should people expect from their initial appointment? Ruth Clark: A first meeting will start with a nutritional assessment and lifestyle evaluation. Some people have never tried to improve their diets and other people are trying really
hard but not seeing the results they want. I take a holistic approach, so I’m not just looking at what are they eating. I want to know, How are they sleeping? How much stress are they under? What kind of exercise are they doing? Are their hormones in balance? It’s all connected.
remedies: What’s the first step in designing a plan? Ruth Clark: I work with a lot of midlife and older women so I like to start with a two-week cleanse or elimination diet. That involves looking at their eating style, their hormone balance, any symptoms related to inflammation. That can help me pinpoint foods that they may be sensitive to and remove them from their diet. It can make a profound improvement in the way they feel and give them energy to implement changes, like having a plan for meals and for regular shopping. If you don’t do that, you’re going to end up having pizza and Chinese food for dinner. Many of my clients are struggling to lose weight, so another step is an exercise program. That can start with a small amount of walking with a goal of walking for 30 to 45 minutes five days a week.
remedies: How long and how frequently do you work with someone? Ruth Clark: The usual is six months, but sometimes it can be as long as a year. We decide the frequency as we go along; it depends on what works best for the client.
remedies: What’s gratifying to you about your work? Ruth Clark: A huge part of my conversation with people is, let’s talk about what really nourishes and nurtures you. It’s not food. It’s a matter of getting them in touch with the things they do that they love, so the next time they crave food they could do those other things instead. In a way, they have to become different people, not just change what they’re eating. It’s like a big puzzle to figure out. What’s really going to work for this person? It’s different for everybody. —Jane Eklund SELECTED SOURCES “Every registered dietitian is a nutritionist, but not every nutritionist is a registered dietitian”; “Find a registered dietitian nutritionist”; “What is a registered dietitian nutritionist?” www.EatRight.org l Personal communication, Ruth Clark, 10/1/20
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shampoos and conditioners Gentle ingredients are best
For most of my life I thought my hair was just naturally frizzy. However, I recently discovered that my unruly hair wasn’t the result of genetics—it was dried out and damaged from the harsh chemicals in my shampoo and conditioner. When I switched to products designed to nourish and protect my hair, I was shocked to see that the frizz disappeared and was replaced by beautiful waves. Lesson learned: Ingredients really do matter. If you’re tired of fighting the frizz, here’s what to avoid when buying hair care products.
The trouble with bubbles Many of us expect our shampoos to create a serious lather—that’s how we know it’s working, right? Sadly, in some cases, those bubbles are bad news. Sodium lauryl sulfate (also sodium laureth sulfate or ammonium laureth sulfate) is a chemical commonly used to create shampoo’s cleansing action, but it also strips hair of its natural oils and breaks down proteins that help hair grow. This is especially problematic for people with chemically treated, dyed, curly, or frizzy hair that tends to dry out easily. People with sensitive scalps may also find sulfates irritating to their skin. Another chemical that helps build up a thick lather, but also strips hair of moisture, is polyethylene glycol (also PEG, polyethylene, or polyoxyethelyne).
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Top 5 Healthy Hair Tips The American Academy of Dermatology Association offers the following recommendations to keep your locks looking their best: 1. Wash only as often as needed. People with oily scalps may need to wash daily, while those with chemically treated or dry hair should shampoo less frequently. 2. A lways use conditioner. If used alone, shampoo can cause hair to become dry and damaged. Using a conditioner every time you wash strengthens hair and boosts shine while protecting against harmful UV rays. 3. Shampoo is for the scalp. Washing the entire length of hair with shampoo can lead to dull, dry strands; concentrate on cleansing the scalp instead. 4. Conditioner is for the ends. To boost volume and keep fine hair from looking limp, apply conditioner only on the tips. 5. C ustomize for your hair type. Choose shampoos and conditioners that are designed to work best for your specific hair type, especially if your hair is damaged or chemically treated. SOURCE “Tips for healthy hair,” American Academy of Dermatology Association, www.AAD.org
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Pass on the preservatives Some companies add preservatives to their shampoos and conditioners in order to keep them from freezing or to give them a longer shelf life. Parabens (also methylparaben and propylparaben) are used to keep bacteria and mold at bay, but they may also disrupt normal hormone function. Parabens bind to estrogen receptors in the body and have been linked to breast cancer and early onset puberty in girls. Other preservatives you’ll want to skip are DMDM hydantoin, formaldehyde, and imidazolidinyl.
Other irritating ingredients Artificial fragrances and colors are commonly used in many shampoos and conditioners, but they can be irritating and bad for your hair and scalp. Phthalates are used to preserve the potency of fragrances in beauty products, but they have been linked to endocrine disruption as well as to asthma in children. If having great-smelling hair is a top priority, look for products that contain natural essential oils and skip those that list “fragrance” or “parfum” as an ingredient. To avoid artificial colors, watch out for ingredients listed as FD&C or D&C followed by a color name or a number. Diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) are chemicals that can break down hair’s keratin and may irritate the scalp. Some ingredients like lanolin, mineral oil, and petroleum may sound moisturizing, but they actually do the opposite, preventing the body’s natural scalp oils from being absorbed by hair. They also tend to weigh hair down, reducing volume and potentially making thinner hair types look slick.
Some types of hair benefit from a little extra TLC. Very curly hair tends to be fragile, but there are ways to minimize potential damage. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends that most Black people always use a conditioner, especially on the ends of the hair. Hot oil treatments every couple of weeks help add moisture. Heat protectants are a must, and thermal straightening should be done only about once a week on the lowest possible temperature. Have relaxers applied by a professional when possible. SOURCE “African American hair: Tips for everyday care,” American Academy of Dermatology Association, www.AAD.org
Naturally nourishing options Now that you know what to avoid, you’ll want to keep an eye out for these natural ingredients that will help nourish and protect your hair. n Jojoba resembles the natural oils that the scalp produces, so it is great for hair. Coconut oil can bring dry damaged hair back to life, thanks to naturally occurring essential fatty acids. Other moisturizing oils to consider include almond, avocado, borage, evening primrose, and sunflower. n Rosemary essential oil may help stimulate healthy hair growth. Also look for shampoos and conditioners that contain chamomile, frankincense, geranium, patchouli, and rose. n Honey is a humectant which means it helps lock in moisture and keep hair from becoming dry and brittle. n S ome herbs can boost hair health. Choose products that contain one or more of the following: calendula, chamomile, and comfrey. —Kelli Ann Wilson SELECTED SOURCES “Is your shampoo causing hair loss? Try these tips from a specialist” by Lois Joy Johnson, https://blog.AARP.org l “Are sulfates in shampoo dangerous?” by Cynthia Cobb, www.MedicalNewsToday.com, 11/15/19 l “Shampoo: What to look for, what to avoid,” www.EcologyCenter.org l “Tips for healthy hair,” American Academy of Dermatology Association, www.AAD.org l Natural Beauty by Rebecca Warren, ed. ($25, DK Publishing, 2015)
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curcumin & boswellia Is this combo the bee’s knees for knee pain? Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and women have much higher rates than men. Women face a quadruple threat for osteoarthritis: hormones, biology, a genetic predisposition, and obesity.
Tori Hudson, ND, is medical director of the clinic, A Woman’s Time, in Portland, Oregon. She is a clinical professor at National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Bastyr University, and Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.
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About 60 percent of the 27 million people in the US who have arthritis are women. Prior to age 55, more men tend to have arthritis. After age 55, women catch up and then surpass the number of men. Biologically, a woman’s wider pelvis puts more stress on the knees. Hormonally, estrogen protects cartilage (the cushion between the joints) from inflammation. After menopause, the estrogen declines naturally, leaving the cartilage more vulnerable to inflammation and degeneration. Genetics also play a role in osteoarthritis. The disease runs in families and a particular genetic link in women and even occurs at the same locations as their mother. In more recent years, obesity statistics show that more women than men are obese or severely obese. Extra body weight puts more stress on the joints with increasing pressure on the cartilage and faster wear. More abdominal fat puts more pressure on the lower joints.
Strategies for knee pain Osteoarthritis of the knees can cause pain, stiffness, and diminished function. Conventional treatments include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, analgesics such as acetaminophen, corticosteroids, corticosteroid and nonsteroid injections, muscle relaxant medications, opioid or narcotic medications, physical therapy, and joint replacement. Natural treatment interventions include diet and exercise plans, massage, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, physical therapy/ manipulation, and several nutritional supplements (examples: SAMe, niacinamide, fish oils) and botanical therapies (examples: curcuminoids, boswellia, devil’s claw, pine bark, and ginger). Some of the more recent positive research involves curcuminoids and/or boswellia. A recent meta-analysis was conducted on the short-term efficacy of curcuminoids and/or boswellia for symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. After searching several databases for published research on randomized controlled trials of curcuminoid and/or boswellia products in patients with a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis, outcomes were assessed for pain, knee function, and adverse side effects.
A total of 92 potentially relevant studies were identified, but only 14 met the inclusion criteria for this meta-analysis. A total of 1,215 patients were studied in these 14 studies. In the end, three studies were eliminated in the analysis due to insufficient reporting on pain or function outcomes or because they used a comparison drug that is no longer available. When curcuminoid products were compared to placebo, the effect of curcuminoid formulations on pain relief was significantly better. Function scores were also significantly better with the curcuminoids. There were no differences in patient-reported side effects. When boswellia formulations were compared to placebo, the effect of boswellia on pain relief and function scores were significantly better than placebo, and again, there were no significant differences in side effects between the herb and the placebo. When curcuminoids were compared to NSAIDs, there were no differences between the two groups for pain and function scores. Lastly, the combination products of boswellia and curcuminoid/turmeric formulations decreased pain with movement significantly better than placebo. Function scores were not well reported, but the combination product did better than the NSAID celecoxib for pain relief. No serious adverse events were reported. From this meta-analysis, curcuminoid and boswellia formulations, administered alone or in combination, are significantly more effective than placebo in relieving symptoms of knee osteoarthritis and worked better than NSAIDs in some cases. In addition, they have an excellent safety profile. Are there some curcuminoid/turmeric products that achieve better results than others, based on the methodology used to enhance absorption of the curcuminoids? There are many turmeric/curcuminoid products in the marketplace claiming better absorption. And yes, absorption is one issue, which can be measured in a study, but absorption does not necessarily equate to better pain relief and improved function in the joints. —Tori Hudson, ND SOURCE “Efficacy of curcumin and boswellia for knee osteoarthritis: Systematic review and meta-analysis” by R. Bannuru et al., Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, 3/10/18
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e ve r y d a y r e m e d i e s
cold & flu What is it? An infection of the upper respiratory tract, causing congestion, soreness of the throat, headache, sneezing, and watery eyes; the flu tends to be more severe and contagious than a cold. What causes it? Any of the 200+ individual
strains of cold and flu viruses that enter the body through mucous membranes in the eyes, mouth, and nose.
Lifestyle: Cover nose and mouth with a tissue when
coughing and sneezing, or use your inner shoulder; wash hands often; stay away from others who are sick; do not share drinking glasses, cups, or utensils; disinfect desks, keyboards, and other shared office supplies.
Food: Avocado, bananas, broths, chicken soup, chili peppers, coconut water, fruit, garlic, ginger, honey, hot tea, leafy greens, oatmeal, salmon, yogurt.
Herbs: Astragalus, black cherry, echinacea,
Supplements: Reishi and shiitake mushrooms;
Homeopathy: Arsenicum album, Baptisia, Bryonia, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Gelsemium, Mercurius solubilis.
vitamins A, C, and D; zinc.
elderberry, ginger, goldenseal, pau d’arco, slippery elm, yarrow.
SELECTED SOURCES “The 15 best foods to eat when you’re sick” by Taylor Jones, www.Healthline.com, 6/17/16 l “Common colds: Protect yourself and others,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.CDC.gov, 2/11/19 l “Homeopathic remedies provide relief for cold and flu symptoms,” National Center for Homeopathy, www.HomeopathyCenter.org, 2/5/18 l Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC ($29.95, Penguin Group/Avery, 2006) l “Understanding the common cold—the basics,” www.WebMD.com, 5/31/19
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By Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG)
take the edge off
Clinical anxiety is the most common of all mental health conditions, affecting nearly 20 percent of American adults. Many people also experience bouts of mild, day-to-day stress, nervousness, worry, and tension. Anxiety medications are reliable, but many people prefer an herbal approach. November 2020
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continued from page 13 continued from page 29
n Kava root (Piper methysticum) is the go-to for good reason. It promotes calm within minutes, working via similar mechanisms as most anti-anxiety medications with fewer side effects and without addiction. Kava is my first choice for acute anxiety and panic attacks, helping to take the edge off them quickly. A review of 12 well-designed human studies on kava for anxiety found that the majority of the studies showed positive outcomes. In another study, kava performed as well as two anti-anxiety medications in 75 percent of participants responding (anxiety reduced by at least 50 percent) with 60 percent in remission after nine weeks. I prefer kava for acute support rather than everyday use for my clients. Liver-toxic adulteration has occurred in kava products utilizing aerial parts instead of roots, so purchase from reputable suppliers. n Motherwort aerial parts (Leonurus cardiaca) may be lesser known, but the herb grows easily in the garden. I adore this herb for acute anxiety and panic that manifest in the heart—tightness in the chest, heart palpitations, and tachycardia. Like kava, it works within minutes, and it has an excellent safety profile. Motherwort can be taken daily. It mellows out emotional rollercoasters and takes the edge off anxiety without sedation. It eases hormonal mood swings and helps people whose anxiety stems from being overworked and underappreciated. Fresh plant alcohol extract works best.
n Lemon balm aerial parts (Melissa officinalis) gently yet profoundly ease anxiety, lift the spirits, improve focus, and quell agitation and hyperactivity. Lemon balm can be taken acutely and daily and blends well with other herbs in formula. As with motherwort, its effects kick in within minutes, but they build with regular use. It’s kid friendly too! Fresh leaves work best, such as in an alcohol extract, and will be vastly more effective, but other formats may help as well. It’s usually not sedating during the daytime but can aid sleep before bedtime.
Other helpful herbs Consider ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera), which provides deep energy while easing anxiety and stress and boosting mood, especially with regular use. Also consider the Zen-inducing, calm-energy adaptogen holy basil (Ocimum sanctum, syn. O. tenuiflorum). Fresh milky oat seed (Avena sativa) slowly restores the nervous system when you’re “so fried you’re crispy.” Skullcap (Scutellaria
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lateriflora) more quickly supports the nervous system, kicking it down a notch in the oversensitive and agitated, though some might find it too sedating. Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is gently sedating and works well for cooling hot, fiery, anxious-angry people; though this can also be too sedating for daytime use—it’s my favorite sleep herb. In addition to herbal approaches, it’s a good idea to address root causes of persistent or extreme anxiety with cognitive behavioral or other form of therapy, a blood-sugar-balancing diet, regular exercise, and supportive nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamin complex, and vitamin D. Do not hesitate to consult a professional for guidance if you’re not achieving good results with self-treatment. There is no shame in having anxiety and speaking out to get help. Do not change or eliminate medications without working with your doctor and always double-check for herb-drug interactions.
Quality matters Kava and skullcap, while safe in and of themselves, have a history of liver toxicity due to adulteration. Meanwhile,
skullcap, lemon balm, passionflower, and holy basil quality and potency degrade easily if not processed and handled well, especially in dried forms like tea or capsules. It’s even more important to buy these herbs from reputable suppliers for these reasons. Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG), best-selling author of Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self Care and Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies, is a registered clinical herbalist and freelance health journalist nestled in the pine forests of New Hampshire. Learn about herbs, the book, distance consults, online classes, and more at www.WintergreenBotanicals.com. SELECTED SOURCES “Adaptogens: A review of their history, biological activity, and clinical benefits” by A. Panossian and H. Wagner, HerbalGram, 2011 l “An alternative treatment for anxiety: A systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)” by M.A. Pratte et al., Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 12/1/14 l “Facts & statistics,” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, www.ADAA.org l “Kava-kava extract LI 150 is as effective as opipramol and buspirone in generalized anxiety disorder . . .” by R.J. Boerner et al., Phytomedicine l “Modulation of mood and cognitive performance following acute administration of single doses of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) . . .” by D.O. Kennedy et al., Neuropsychopharmacology l “Therapeutic potential of kava in the treatment of anxiety disorders” by Y.N. Singh and N.N. Singh, CNS Drugs
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