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Natural, homemade gifts
Nip fatigue in the bud Supplements in the news
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December 2015 vol. 11 no. 12
Take a break, for body and mind.
24 Happy s y a d i l o H departments 6 From the Editor’s Desk 9 Health Pulse
Curcumin may reduce muscle soreness • Yoga provides arthritis relief • Vitamin D post-stroke • Ashwagandha for bipolar disorder • More
13 DIY Gifts
Ideas for everyone on your list.
19 Herbal Healing
Remedies for a good night’s sleep.
20 The Goods 24 Mood and Fatigue
Hold on to the joy through the holiday season.
A source for news, information, and ideas for your healthy lifestyle. facebook.com/RemediesMagazine @RemediesMag
26 Supplement Spotlight
Supplements in the news in 2015.
Ric Scalzo discusses turmeric and its effects on a Costa Rican community. December 2015
l remedies 5
from the editor ’s desk
remedies for LIFE
Glad (frantic) tidings It is the best of times, and it is the worst of times: the holiday season. In December, regardless of what holiday we might celebrate, we usually see more of family and friends, spend more time in stores, and pull more money from our wallets. The holidays have many of us sliding back and forth between “delight” and “I can’t wait until January.” At remedies, we’d like to hold on to the delight a little longer, and take January when it comes, all in good time. So, we asked herbalist Maria Noël Groves to come up with some natural gifts that are fun to make and sweet to receive, starting on page 13. You could even invite family and friends to share in the gathering of the ingredients and join forces for an afternoon of DIY! If the season stresses you out, depresses you, or keeps you from getting enough rest, you’ll want to read on. On page 19, we suggest herbal remedies to assist with sleep, and, on page 21, discuss the value of meditation for calming the nerves and clearing the mind. And health expert Lisa Petty recommends ways to boost the mood and keep up the energy we need for a busy season, starting on page 24. This is our gift to you! Happy holidays.
remedies 2015 firstname.lastname@example.org
Managing Editor Donna Moxley Contributing Editors Lisa Fabian, Rich Wallace Editorial Assistant Kelli Ann Wilson Director, Creative & Interactive Justin Rent Art Director Michelle Knapp Custom Graphics Manager Donna Sweeney Business Development Director Amy Pierce Customer Service email@example.com Director of Retail & Customer Service Judy Gagne 800-677-8847 x128 Director of Advertiser & Customer Service Ashley Dunk 800-677-8847 x190 Western Brand Promotions Director Shannon Dunn-Delgado 415-382-1665 Group Brand Promotions Director Bob Mucci 978-255-2062 Executive Director of Retail Sales & Marketing Anna Johnston (Anna.Johnston@TasteforLife.com) National Sales Manager Diane Dale 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, 222 West Street, Suite 49, Keene, NH 03431, 603-283-0034 (fax 603-283-0141); © 2015 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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healthpulse curcumin may ease muscle soreness
Taking a curcumin supplement may reduce muscle soreness after a vigorous workout, according to recent research. Men in the study took 2.5 grams of curcumin twice a day for two days before and three days after the physical test. The exercises included single-leg squats, gluteal stretches, and squat jumps. The men who received the curcumin supplement had moderate to large reductions in delayed onset muscle soreness 24 and 48 hours after the test compared to men who took a placebo. They also saw a small increase in jumping performance. Curcumin is the pigment that gives the spice turmeric its yellow color.
“Curcumin Supplementation Likely Attenuates Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)” by L.M. Nicol et al., Eur J Appl Physiol, 8/15
yoga eases arthritis symptoms
Yoga was shown to be a safe and effective method for improving physical and mental well-being in people with two common forms of arthritis. The study found participants with knee osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experienced about a 20 percent improvement in pain, energy, and mood. “Yoga may be especially well suited to people with arthritis because it combines physical activity with potent stress management
and relaxation techniques, and focuses on respecting limitations that can change from day to day,” said researcher Susan J. Bartlett, PhD. Participants took part in a twice-weekly yoga class for eight weeks and did an additional weekly session at home. The yoga poses were tailored to individual needs. Improvements from the practice were still apparent after nine months.
“Yoga Improves Arthritis Symptoms and Mood, Study Finds,” Johns Hopkins Medicine, 9/15/15 ● “Yoga in Sedentary Adults with Arthritis . . .” by S.H. Moonaz et al., Journal of Rheumatology, 4/1/15
10/29/15 10:31 AM
vitamin D affects health after a stroke Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D may help stroke patients avoid additional severe problems, according to a recent study. Patients with low levels of the vitamin were more likely to suffer severe strokes and have poor health months after the stroke. “Many of the people we consider at high risk for developing stroke have low vitamin D levels,” said study author Nils Henninger, MD. His research determined that stroke patients with low levels of vitamin D had two-times larger areas of dead tissue in blood vessels compared to those with normal levels. Dr. Henninger noted that the study was small, and he recommended that patients discuss vitamin D supplementation with their physicians. “Low Vitamin D Predicts More Severe Strokes, Poor Health Post-Stroke,” American Heart Association, 2/11/15
did you know? Each year, falls affect about one-third of older adults who live at home, with 10 percent of those falls resulting in a serious injury. Even the fear of falling can lead to reduced activity and a loss of independence. A new study found that a vitamin D supplement may help reduce such falls. At the beginning of the study, more than half of the adults were found to have insufficient concentrations of vitamin D in their blood. Participants received a large vitamin D supplement or a placebo once a month along with a Meals-on-Wheels meal. After five months, nearly all of those who received the supplement had reached sufficient concentrations, and most were at optimal levels. They also reported about half as many falls as the control group. “Vitamin D Supplements Could Help Reduce Falls in Homebound Elderly,” Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, 8/17/15
herb may help some bipolar patients A recent small study indicated that ashwagandha root and leaf extract may help regulate levels of a thyroid hormone in patients with bipolar disorder. Thyroid hormones may play a role in development of the disorder. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is considered an adaptogenic herb and is used to reduce stress. The authors of the study concluded that ashwagandha may raise levels of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4), but suggested that additional study is needed. “Re: Ashwagandha May Affect Thyroxine (T4) Levels in Patients with Bipolar Disorder,” HerbClip, http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbclip, 9/15/15
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By Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG)
natural & herbal gifts to give Gifts for the Kitchen These remedies come together in a jiffy and are delicious!
Make memories this holiday season with lovely, all-natural gifts that are easy and affordable to make. Your gift recipients will love these time-tested favorites! Pick a few items, and consider rounding up a few friends or your kids to join you in the fun.
Holiday Winter Tea Blend The joy of winter in a cup! To make a small batch, use a spoonful for a “part”; for a large batch, use a cup (which yields almost 5 cups of dry tea total). Give it in little brown bags or glass jars with brewing directions. Use only food-grade, unsprayed, dried herbs. 2 1 1 ½
parts peppermint part lemon balm part cocoa nibs part evergreen needles: pine, fir, spruce, or hemlock tree (or ¼ part rosemary) ¼ part rose petals V part vanilla bean snipped into pieces Combine herbs thoroughly. Brewing Directions: Steep 1 heaping teaspoon per 8 ounces of hot water for 20 minutes, then strain.
Find a recipe for All-Natural Ranch Dip Mix at remedies-and-recipes.com
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continued from page 13
Ginger Honey Add sweet zing to teas, hot water, marinades, salad dressing, or dipping sauce, or eat it right off the spoon. You don’t need to peel the ginger unless you’re making a treat with the dregs. Because you are frequently stopping and starting the heat, this is a nice activity to do while you’re already puttering around in the kitchen. Just make sure it doesn’t boil over! This recipe should fill approximately six two-ounce containers. Large hand of fresh ginger root, clean and dry, thinly sliced 2 c of honey (16 oz by volume, approx. 20 oz by weight)
1. Warm ginger and honey in a large saucepan, stirring frequently, until small bubbles begin to form. 2. Turn off the heat, let cool. Leave the lid off (at least until it is cool). 3. Repeat this at least three times over several hours. 4. After the last heating, strain the ginger through a fine mesh strainer, and pour the honey into glass containers. 5. Once cool, check the viscosity. If it’s more watery than honey, keep it in the fridge and use within a couple of months. If it’s as thick or thicker than honey, it should be shelf stable for at least a year. You can put the used ginger dregs back in the pot, cover with water, and simmer this into a yummy sweet tea (which, incidentally, also helps you clean up the honey mess). Or, you can make . . .
• Honey-Crystallized Ginger: This works best with peeled ginger that’s been simmered several times over a full day or two. Leave the ginger dregs on a rack (collect dripping honey underneath) so that most of the honey drips off. Once it’s relatively dry, dredge it in sugar. • Honey-Ginger Paste: Put your ginger dregs (still dripping with residual honey) into a strong food processor or bullet blender. Grind it into a paste and keep refrigerated. Add a spoonful to any recipe where sweetginger flavor is desired.
For the Body
Body care treats that everyone will love without any of the junk! You can even use cooking oils in these recipes.
Lip balm is so easy and affordable to make, and who wouldn’t want some? Instead of flavoring the whole batch with one essential oil, I prefer to add the essential oils directly to the tubes. That way I can offer a mix of flavors. One batch makes 5 ounces of lip balm, which will fill approximately 25 to 30 0.15 ounce size lip balm tubes. I really like the glide of this blend of oils, but you can use 4 ounces of plain grapeseed oil instead. 1 1.5 1.5 1 1-2
oz beeswax oz grapeseed oil oz coconut oil oz olive oil drops of essential oil per tube or 15-20 drops per batch (e.g.; peppermint, tangerine)
1. Melt the beeswax and oils down in a double boiler. 2. Stir to combine. 3. Once it’s all liquid and combined, remove from heat. 4. Stir in essential oil (if flavoring the whole batch) or put your essential oils into the empty tubes. 5. Pour the hot lip balm base into your lip balm containers, let cool, then cap. I prefer to use a drizzler gravy spoon for easy pouring, but you can also use a warmed Pyrex measuring cup or pour very carefully from the pot.
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Holiday Cookie Body Cream This is my favorite adaptation of Rosemary Gladstar’s famous “perfect cream” recipe. It comes out great! Use it as a body lotion and a face cream; it works well for a range of skin types. The recipe makes approximately 14 ounces of cream. Measure the beeswax by weight or put the grapeseed oil into a Pyrex measuring cup, then drop chunks of beeswax in until it rises approximately O ounce on the measuring lines. The final cream smells like cookies or cake batter, but you can add a few drops of your essential oil of choice during the blending process, or stir them right into individual jars (just a drop or two each) for a mix of scent options.
Aromatherapy Spray People can use these sprays to freshen the room, to reduce cooking odors, as perfume, or as a bathroom spray. 5 drops (per 5-10 ml bottle) to 15 drops (per 1 oz bottle) essential oils Vodka Distilled water 1. Drop the essential oil(s) in the spray bottle. 2. Fill halfway with vodka, then to the top with water. 3. Shake.
.75 6 1.5 1 3.5 2
oz beeswax oz grapeseed oil oz coconut oil oz cocoa butter oz distilled water oz vanilla extract
1. Start with extremely clean equipment. 2. Melt beeswax, oils, and cocoa butter in a double boiler (or put a metal mixing bowl on top of a pan of water) until liquefied and combined. 3. Pour it into a wide-mouth quart jar and let cool until it is opaque, relatively solid, and lukewarm or cool to the touch. 4. Combine the distilled water and vanilla extract in a separate container.
5. Using an immersion blender, begin blending the “oils” in the jar, then slowly drizzle the water in as you blend. 6. Once it is mostly combined, scrape down the sides with a spatula, then blend again. Pour or scoop into jars. 7. Pop these in the freezer for a few days (or until it’s gift giving time). This keeps them fresh and also reduces the likelihood of the cocoa butter forming granules in the cream. Thaw on the counter, label once they’re thawed, and give. This should keep for 6 to 12 months at room temperature. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can do this instead: Pour oils into a regular blender and use that to mix. Or pour oils into a mixing bowl and use a standing or hand mixer.)
Here are some scent options (multiply by three for a one-ounce bottle): • Brisk Winter: 3 drops peppermint, 2 drops spruce essential oils • Pomander: 3 drops tangerine, 2 drops clove, and use vanilla extract instead of vodka/water • Happy Citrus: 5 drops grapefruit, splash of vanilla extract • Soothing Lavender: 5 drops lavender
Go to www.WintergreenBotanicals.com for online sources if your local stores don’t carry bottles and tubes needed for these projects. Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG), is a registered clinical herbalist and freelance health journalist nestled in the pine forests of New Hampshire. Her herb book, Body into Balance, hits bookstores in March. Learn about herbs, distance health consults, online classes, and more at www.WintergreenBotanicals.com. Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar ($16.95, Storey, 2008)
11/2/15 10:12 AM
sweet dreams calming herbs for restful sleep
insomnia and anxiety. A cup of Are you having hot chamomile tea made with trouble falling two tea bags or two teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers can asleep or staying act as a mild sedative and help asleep? Do you you get the sleep you need. wake feeling Caution: Those with asthma should consult a doctor before exhausted every taking chamomile. morning? We Valerian root all experience A safe alternative to prescripoccasional tion sleep medication, valerian episodes of root has been shown to calm anxiety. It can be found in insomnia, and forms, including extracts, thankfully there are many tinctures, capsules, tablets, and many natural sleep tea. It is also frequently combined with other herbs, such as aids available. dandelion root and chamomile Next time you find flowers. yourself tossing Lavender and turning, give A therapeutic essential oil, one of these herbal lavender has been shown to produce a calming sedative remedies a try.
Chamomile Used medicinally for thousands of years, chamomile’s calming and soothing properties make it ideal for treating
effect when inhaled. It is often used to treat insomnia, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Try adding a few drops of lavender and chamomile oil to your bath before bedtime. It can also
be used with a carrier oil (olive, jojoba, or almond, for example) for a soothing massage.
Passionflower Similar to valerian root, passionflower is a traditional medicine used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. It is available as an infusion, tea, extract, and tincture. An hour before bed, try steeping a teaspoon of dried passionflower in hot water for 10 minutes to make a relaxing tea.
Lemon balm With a long history of use for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia, lemon balm is a calming and uplifting herb available in tinctures, capsules, powders, essential oil, extracts, and tea. Like lavender essential oil, a few drops of lemon balm in the bath water may help soothe and prepare your body for sleep.
“German Chamomile,” 3/25/15; “Lavender,” 1/2/15; “Lemon Balm,” 1/2/15; “Passionflower,” 6/26/14; “Valerian,” 6/26/14; University of Maryland Medical Center, www.umm.edu/ altmed ● The Healing Remedies Sourcebook by C. Norman Shealy, MD, PhD ($25.99, DaCapo, 2012) ● “Lemon Balm,” Herb Society of America Fact Sheet, www. HerbSociety.org
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11/3/15 10:39 AM
relieve holiday stress with this ancient practice The holiday season is here. We know it is all too easy to become overwhelmed by the stress of this festive time. It might be a good idea to slow down and take a moment away from the frenzy of shopping, baking, and celebrating to engage in some quiet and inward reflection. Healing body and mind While meditation may be the furthest thing from your mind as you try to get your house ready in time for holiday guests, it’s not so complex as it might seem. A practice that dates back more than 5,000 years, meditation is simply training your attention in a way that makes you more aware of yourself and your surroundings. This can be done in as little as 10 or 20 minutes a day. And practicing meditation can lower blood pressure, relax muscles, and reduce the stress hormones that contribute to a weakened immune system. A recent study indicated that participants who practiced Kirtan Kriya, a type of meditation that involves singing a series of sounds, experienced improvements in memory and sleep, and also a reduction in depression and anxiety in just 12 minutes a day. Another group of researchers examined depression and stress levels in 40 working adults and found that an eight-week course of mindfulness meditation combined with elements of nutrition and exercise reduced depression by a whopping 60 to 70 percent and cut anxiety nearly in half.
Making it personal While the science supports the benefits of meditation, there is still the difficulty of getting started and making it a habit. One option might be to set the alarm for 20 minutes earlier each day—the benefits of meditation are well worth the slightly earlier wake-up time. Regardless of what time of day you choose, it’s best to set aside a moment when you’re most likely to be undisturbed, and try to keep the time consistent: It will be easier to make meditation a part of your life long-term if you can make this commitment.
Just as you are the only person who can decide when you should meditate, you also get to choose how you’re going to do it. Here are a few types of meditation that are well-suited to beginners:
Guided meditation. Often focused on a particular intention, such as healing, stress relief, or finding meaning in life, guided meditations use vocalized images to help the mind relax and focus. Music is sometimes incorporated into a guided meditation practice. Mindfulness meditation. Its main feature is attention to breath, and mindfulness meditation may incorporate simple sayings, breath counting, or a focus on the movement of air throughout the nose and body to bring the mind into the present moment.
Mantra meditation. The act of repeating a sound, word, or short phrase, either silently or aloud, is used in mantra meditation as a focal point for the mind. Kirtan Kriya is a type of mantra meditation.
Vipassana meditation. Perhaps the most well-known of the Buddhist meditation styles, Vipassana meditation is also known as the “practice of insight,” and expands awareness beyond the breath into sounds, bodily sensations, and changes in the atmosphere. Yoga, t’ai chi, or qi gong. If you want to develop a more physical meditation practice, consider incorporating one of these movement-based activities. They are a good solution for those who fear they might become bored or antsy during meditation. —Kelli Ann Wilson “Practice the 12-Minute Yoga Meditation Exercise,” Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, www.AlzheimersPrevention.org, 2015 ● “Resilience Training: A Pilot Study of a Mindfulness-Based Program with Depressed Healthcare Professionals” by J.R. Johnson et al., Explore (NY), 8/15 ● Start Here Now by Susan Piver ($12, Shambhala, 2015) ● “Stress, Meditation, and Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention: Where the Evidence Stands” by D.S. Khalasa, J Alzheimers Dis, 8/15
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For some, the hustle and bustle of this time of year is part of its charm. For others, added activities and festivities can lead to problems with digestion and sleep, and a mood thatâ€™s more Grinch-like than cheerful. To reduce your holiday burden, break your to-do list into manageable pieces and delegate as necessary. While you are in the process of making lists, be sure to include a few items to maintain happiness and well-being during the holidays.
Gut tidings Treat-filled holiday menus can affect your digestion. Be sure your holiday tradition includes supplemental probiotics. Research shows that probiotics help 24
stimulate intestinal microbes involved in carbohydrate metabolism, whether those carbs come from sugar cookies or your festive toast. As an added bonus, your probiotics may help reduce feelings of anxiety in the coming weeks. Animal studies show that the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum reverses anxious behavior, and probiotic studies with humans are starting to mimic this finding. Other research suggests that combinations of probiotic strains including L. helveticus and B. longum alleviate psychological distress including depression.
11/5/15 12:15 PM
Glorious sleep Between late nights, early mornings, and much-to-do, sleep can suffer. Be sure to get 7 to 8 hours of shuteye. To bring on slumber, avoid caffeine too close to bedtime. Remember that your digestif may help you fall asleep, but alcohol can also lead to a wakeful night. To naturally boost levels of the sleep hormone melatonin, switch out your cognac for an after-dinner shot of tart Montmorency cherry juice concentrate. Research shows that Prunus cerasus provides an increase in melatonin that helps to improve the quality and duration of sleep, and may help to manage sleep disturbances. If you find yourself lying awake and staring at a darkened ceiling, take advantage of the mild sedative effect of valerian root. Valued since the time of the ancient Greeks, this herb has demonstrated its ability to promote sleep in hundreds of scientific studies.
Yes, there’s stress It’s not surprising that crowded calendars at this time of year can lead to stress, which can play a role in the development of health conditions including hypertension, ulcers, diabetes, suppressed immunity, anxiety, and depression. Stress is inevitable, so make sure to do what you can to help your body cope. When you are under chronic stress, your adrenal glands burn through vitamin C. Because vitamin C also has important immune system support duties to attend to, you want to be sure you are taking in an adequate amount. Since
Start low Eating a low glycemic–index breakfast helps to elevate mood in the morning.
Think before you drink A raised glass during the holidays often contains alcohol. While you might think a tipple helps to raise your spirits, drinking to cope with stress is linked with negative mood and fatiguerelated symptoms the day after.
your intake of citrus and peppers may be lower in colder weather, supplementing with C might be a good option. Adaptogens support your body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress. Consider adaptogenic Panax ginseng to boost cognitive function and help you remember everything on your chore list. Rhodiola rosea helps to relieve mental and physical fatigue, and reduces symptoms of mild depression. Schisandra chinensis is also helpful for the nervous system, while Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) counteracts stress-induced changes in blood sugar, cortisol, and hunger. You can often find adaptogens in combination formulas.
shows a relationship between a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids and depression. Continue with fish oil (or vegan alternatives from sources like flaxseed and algae) year round to promote positive mood. For relief of temporary symptoms of mild to moderate depression, clinical studies support the use of St. John’s wort. You may also consider adding aromatherapy to your moodsupporting holiday arsenal. Researchers found that older adults who used an aromatherapy spray consisting of lavender and bergamot experienced reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress when compared to a control group. To fill a room with a healing aroma, treat yourself to an essential oil diffuser as a holiday gift. You can also dab a little essential oil on a tissue to keep with you to use when you need it most.
Did you know? Yoga helps to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Feeling joyful Many factors can lead to increased depressive symptoms over the holiday season, including the pressure to be jolly. If you are having thoughts about self-harm, please seek help from your healthcare practitioner. If you notice that you are experiencing a low mood or mild depression, include the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA from fish oil in your daily supplement regimen. A growing body of research
Lisa Petty, ROHP, is a nutrition and healthy living expert for TV and radio, an award-nominated journalist, and an author who has shared her unique perspective with thousands of people through her workshops, lectures, coaching, and extensive writing. She is the author of Living Beauty: Feel Great, Look Fabulous & Live Well, a modern guide to feeling younger at any age. Her website is www. LiveVibrantly.ca.
“Aromatherapy: Does It Help to Relieve Pain, Depression, Anxiety, and Stress in Community-Dwelling Older Persons?” by S.K. Tang and M.Y. Mimi Tse, Biomed Research International, 2014 ● “Effect of Tart Cherry Juice (Prunus cerasus) on Melatonin Levels and Enhanced Sleep Quality” by G. Howatson et al., Eur J Nutr, 2012 ● “Episode-Specific Drinking-to-Cope Motivation, Daily Mood, and Fatigue-Related Symptoms Among College Students” by S. Armeli et al., Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 2014 ● Mechanisms of the Effects of Probiotics on Symbiotic Digestion” by N. Ushakova et al., Microbiology Bulletin, 2015 ● “N-3 (Omega-3) Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in the Pathophysiology and Treatment of Depression: Pre-clinical Evidence” by B. Levant, CNS & Neurological Disorders Drug Targets, 6/13 ● “Panax ginseng, Rhodiola rosea and Schisandra chinensis” by S.W. Chan, International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 3/12 ● “Psychophytomedicine” by S.M. Ross, Holistic Nursing Practice, 7-8/14 ● “Serotonin, Tryptophan Metabolism and the Brain-Gut-Microbiome Axis” by S.M. O’Mahony et al., Behavioural Brain Research, 7/14 ● “Stress, ‘A Proxy Killer’ and Roll of Adaptogen as Antistress Agent” by J. Debnath et al., Archives of Pharmacy Practice, 2011 ● “A Systematic Review of Randomised Control Trials on the Effects of Yoga on Stress Measures and Mood” by M. Pascoe and I. Bauer, Journal of Psychiatric Research, 9/15 ● “Unraveling the Influence of Gut Microbes on the Mind” by M.J. Friedrich, JAMA, 5/5/15
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a little perspective supplements outperform their criticism If you’ve been scanning the headlines over the past year, you’re probably wondering about the state of nutritional supplements. The New York Times recently warned that “Dietary Supplements Lead to 20,000 E.R. Visits Yearly.” That followed on the heels of such gloomy reports as “Study Warns of Diet Supplement Dangers Kept Quiet by FDA” a few months before.
But a look beneath the headlines finds surprisingly good news. Since more than 150 million Americans currently take dietary supplements, the ill effects fall to a tiny fraction of users. And a significant majority of those ills come from one particular segment of the industry—weight-loss and workout supplements. Those physique-enhancing outliers that contain powerful stimulants such as amphetamine-like Acacia rigidula will likely come under much closer scrutiny in the future. Meanwhile, the fish oil, vitamin D, and probiotic supplements many of us rely on have been proven safe and reliable in hundreds of studies.
Herbal DNA tests disputed Supplement news was dominated earlier this year by an investigation from the New York Attorney General’s office, which at first determined that some herbal products on the shelves of major retailers did not contain the ingredients listed on their labels. The investigation came under fire from many corners, however, as the DNA testing conducted on the products was not a reliable method for evaluating botanical extracts. The American Herbal Products Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, and other industry groups blasted the AG’s office for “misuse of technologies” and “misinterpretation of the test results.” A re-evaluation by the attorney general’s office concluded that DNA testing of herbal products should be done “prior to extraction” to avoid such misreadings of the results.
Supplement standouts Let’s move to the overwhelmingly good news about dietary supplements. The past year brought favorable studies regarding omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, certain vitamins and minerals, and a wide variety of herbal products. A common finding from the research showed what many of us have suspected: Good health follows from maintaining adequate levels of nutrients throughout life. Using supplements to help treat various conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, cognitive decline, or depression can certainly be effective, but the better strategy is to prevent deficiencies of those nutrients in the first place. A healthy diet and a careful selection of supplements is a sound approach. 26
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Natural remedies and tasty recipes to support a healthy way of life.
Donâ€™t Succumb to Cold and Flu
Most of us want to spend the holiday season socializing with friends and family, not spending quality time on the couch with a box of tissues.
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For example, studies of vitamin D published this year showed that low levels can lead to arthritis, dementia, complications following a stroke, falls among older adults, and other hazards. Though vitamin D levels are affected by a wide range of factors, there is strong evidence that supplementation and diet can help prevent many conditions before they occur or become severe. The same can be said for omega-3 fatty acids. New research has shown that maintaining healthy levels appears to help prevent heart disease, migraines, compromised immunity, and other conditions. Though it’s rarely too late to begin eating fish or taking omega-3 supplements, the biggest payoffs seem to come from starting early and continuing.
Dance to the beat of a different drum
Herbal helpers Throughout 2015, this magazine highlighted significant good news regarding herbal supplements, particularly relating to mental health. Among the findings are the positive effects of Ginkgo biloba on anxiety, Rhodiola rosea on depression, and ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on stress. Herbal treatments for relief of menopausal symptoms also stood out this year. Black cohosh was shown to reduce hot flashes, while the effectiveness of Pycnogenol was also reinforced. Virtually every week brings good news about supplements, ranging from the positive effects of probiotics on blood lipids to the memory-boosting properties of resveratrol and folic acid. The fact is, supplements prevent far more emergency room visits than they cause. And that’s good news for us all. —Alan Siddal “Brain Development Suffers from Lack of Fish Oil Fatty Acids,” University of California-Irvine, 4/15/15 ● “Compound Found in Grapes, Red Wine May Help Prevent Memory Loss,” Texas A&M University, 2/4/15 ● “Dietary Supplements Lead to 20,000 E.R. Visits Yearly, Study Finds” by Anahad O’Connor, 10/14/15; “Study Warns of Diet Supplement Dangers . . .” by Anahad O’Connor, 4/7/15, New York Times ● “Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation During Pregnancy on Maternal and Neonatal Outcomes . . .” by F.R. Perez-Lopez et al., Fertility and Sterility, 3/24/15 ● “Effects of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Fish Oil on Lipid Profile and Oxidative Stress in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome” by D. Venturini et al., Nutrition, 6/15 ● “Folic Acid Saves 1,300 Babies Each Year from Serious Defects of Brain and Spine,” March of Dimes Foundation, 1/15/15 ● “Influence of Fish Oil Supplementation and Strength Training on Some Functional Aspects of Immune Cells in Healthy Elderly Women,” British Journal of Nutrition, 6/10/15 ● “Low Vitamin D Among the Elderly Is Associated with Decline in Cognition, Dementia,” University of California-Davis Health System, 9/14/15 ● “Low Vitamin D Linked to Arthritis Risk,” Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, 10/15 ● “The NY AG’s Herbal Probe So Far: From GNC to Devil’s Claw” by Stephen Daniells, www.NutraIngredients-USA.com, 9/11/15 ● “Omega-3 Fatty Acids Appear to Protect Damaged Heart After Heart Attack,” American College of Cardiology, 3/4/15 ● “Omega-3 Fatty Acids Enhance Cognitive Flexibility in At-Risk Older Adults,” University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 5/19/15 ● “Resveratrol Impacts Alzheimer’s Disease Biomarker,” Georgetown University Medical Center, 9/11/15 ● “Roseroot Herb Shows Promise as Potential Depression Treatment Option . . .,” University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 3/26/15 ● “Supplements Industry Derides NY Attorney General’s DNA Tests” by Mary Esch, Associated Press, 2/8/15 ● “The Triglyceride-Lowering Effect of Supplementation with Dual Probiotic Strains . . .” by H.Y. Ahn et al., Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, 5/13/15
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Modeling Nature for Economic Prosperity
Ric Scalzo, CEO and founder of Gaia Herbs, is one of the most respected herbalists and botanical researchers in North America. With more than 30 years of experience with herbal medicine, he is a leading authority on the cultivation of herbs, extraction processes, whole plant standardization, and traditional herbal therapies.
Turmeric, the yellow herb that gives mustards and curries their bright color, has been a staple in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda for centuries. In the West, it has been relegated mostly to the kitchen, but recently it has become popular as an herbal supplement for the myriad ways it supports the body. With a background in Ayurveda, I’ve long used turmeric—and its potent active constituents, curcumins—to promote healthy inflammatory function and help maintain overall health and vitality. But it wasn’t until the last few years that this herb began to take root, so to speak, in the broader market. As its reputation grew, turmeric went from being virtually unknown to becoming a top-selling herb. Knowing the bright future that lay ahead, we invested in research and development on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, an area that had long been influential for me. Here, where people live significantly longer and happier lives than in many other parts of the world, we partnered with a family of environmentalists I had known for some time. The land in this area of Costa Rica is a unique combination of volcanic and alluvial soil, which is a fine-grained and fertile sediment deposited when a river flows over a flood plain. The Bongo and Ario rivers flow adjacent to the land, providing pristine growing conditions for turmeric. We started by planting just 132 pounds in 2009. Bolstered by the potency of those first crops, we hired more local workers and officially began cultivating turmeric for use in our products. In 2014, we harvested 65,000 pounds, and we’re continuing to grow. That first harvest came from 15 acres that have been certified organic, and we have another almost 100 acres in transition. Cultivating organic turmeric lets nature be a driver of real change for the planet and for people. For the women who help with the harvest, turmeric is a symbol of economic independence. Though the inhabitants of the area surrounding the farm live long and happy lives, it is also quite rural, and jobs are not easy to come by. Many of these women support their families. This seasonal work is coveted and purposeful, and they say they are proud to know that the work they are doing helps make herbal supplements and spread wellness—and perhaps a bit of pura vida (pure life)—to the world.
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