Blueberries Are Nutritional Weapons Against Disease

Blueberries-For-Breast-CancerBy: Ellen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®.

In today’s world, blueberries are being heralded as a delicious weapon in the “anti-aging”, or as I prefer to call it, the ‘graceful aging’ arsenal. In a study funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the U. S. Department of Agriculture, which appeared in the September 15, 1999, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, rats were fed a blueberry extract diet, rich in naturally derived antioxidants. The rats showed fewer age-related motor changes and out-performed their study counterparts on memory tests. Although strawberry and spinach extracts also improved short term memory, only blueberries supported progress in navigation capabilities and overall co-ordination. This is important because aging often causes challenges with co-ordination and balance. I addition, rats in all the supplement groups had sufficient Vitamin E in the cell membranes of their brains, which increases cellular flexibility and repair. Holly McCord, RD, author of “The Miracle Berry” and Prevention’s Nutrition Editor says, “If you add one food to your diet this year, make it blueberries.” According to McCord, blueberries are the “… single most ferocious food in the supermarket at halting the forces that age you.”

Professor David Morgan at the Alzheimer’s Research Lab at the University of South Florida is also excited about the possibilities of blueberries. Morgan has worked with Tuft’s University on a transgenic model of Alzheimer’s disease and says he hopes the research he’s involved in proves that blueberries are the nutritional answer to disease and aging that they seem to be. With a scientist’s skepticism, he adds, “I doubt that our studies will show blueberries to be the miracle cure some people claim – but I hope they do. Blueberries are an affordable, healthy and delicious remedy.”

To get an even better effect, choose “organic” blueberries whenever possible, to avoid the negative effects associated with pesticides. A good plan of action is to ‘stock up’ on organic blueberries when they are in season, and simple put containers in the freezer to be used at a later date. They can be eaten ‘as is’, or added to healthy breakfast cereals, oatmeal or yogurt for a nutritious start to the day. Another great way to save blueberries for a ‘rainy day’ is to purchase a dehydrator and dry the fresh berries for later use- this is a good way to save many kinds of healthy fruits and vegetables for times when they are not in season.

Try This Blueberry Smoothie:

Ingredients:

  • 8-12 ounces of Unsweetened Soy Milk or Organic Skim Milk
  • One Scoop of Organic Spirulina or Barley Grass Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon or Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil
  • ½ cup Organic Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
  • 2 –3 ice cubes

Directions:

Place all together in a blender, and Blend for One Minute
Enjoy a Healthy, High Protein, Nutritious , Low Calorie Meal!

Photo Source: Top Health Remedies

Ellen KamhiEllen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®, can be heard on radio daily. She is the author of several books, including WEIGHT LOSS, the Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide. Dr. Kamhi has been involved in natural health care for over 4 decades. She answers consumer questions at http://www.naturesanswer.com, and has a private practice on Long Island. http://www.naturalnurse.com 800-829-0918

Cancer Prevention With Food, Thoughts and Botanicals

Cancer Prevention With Food Thoughts and Botanicals

By: Dr. Ellen Kamhi, The Natural Nurse.
CANCER- just hearing that word out of a doctors mouth sends fear through the listeners mind. Many people react with the thought- how could this happen to me? However, in most cases, cancer does not just HAPPEN. It can be traced to specific causes, and most of those causes are under the control of people themselves. Smoking is one behavior that directly increases the possibility of getting cancer.

Another is allowing oneself to be overweight. In fact, obesity 
increases the risk of getting three of the most common types of cancer — breast, prostate and colorectal, and also endometrial, gallbladder and kidney cancers.

Obese men are 30 to 40 percent more likely to die of cancer than their lean counterparts, while obese women are 40 to 50 percent more likely.

Researchers are not certain how being overweight increases cancer risk, but they do know that excess fat changes the way the body uses glucose, forcing the pancreas to produce extra insulin, which appears to encourage tumor growth. Also, fat changes the way estrogen acts in the body, which may stimulate some cancers, such as those of the breast, prostate and uterus. Being significantly overweight may also makes it more difficult for doctors to find tumors before they grow dangerously large.

The exact program which leads to significant body fat reduction – increasing exercise and the consumption of vegetables, along with decreased consumption of junk food – is highly cancer protective as well. In addition to vitamins and minerals, vegetables have been shown to have other vital health-promoting substances. In one recent study, researchers at the University of Washington, in Seattle, have found that vegetable consumption, particularly intake of cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli, lowers the risk of prostate cancer in men.(Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2000;92:61-68). Cruciferous vegetables in particular, may exhibit a more powerful effect against cancer than other vegetable due to their high isothiocyanate content. Isothiocyanates activate enzymes present in cells, which, in turn, neutralize carcinogens. It would be best to choose organic vegetables, because pesticide ingestion has also been linked to an increase in cancer.(Ardies, C. M.; Dees, C. Xenoestrogens significantly enhance risk for breast cancer during growth and adolescence. Medical Hypotheses, 50, 6 ,1998,457-464)

Overall detoxification aids the immune system to function at an optimum level. This is the bodys natural defense against the development of cancer. Organic fresh fruits and vegetables, raw, steamed and juiced, provide an excellent foundation. They are nourishing and easy to digest, with plenty of naturally occurring fiber. Skin brushing, jumping on a mini-trampoline, and using a sauna, are all part of the detoxification program, particularly aimed at keeping the lymphatic system flowing smoothly, which discourages the growth of cancer.
Cancer Prevention With Mind:Body Connection
A Mention of Mind/Body

It cannot be emphasized enough how important spiritual and emotional work is to the support of continued wellness. Taking some time to connect with the spiritual/emotional aspects of life is a supremely important aspect for preventing cancer. It is well known that cancer patients who attend support groups actually live longer.( Spiegel D, Bloom JR, Kraemer HC and Gottheil E. Effect of psychosocial treatment on survival of patients with metastatic breast cancer. Lancet. ii: 888-91. 1989). These results cannot yet be fully explained through science, but is well understood in the teachings of metaphysics as well as by indigenous shamanic healers throughout the ages.

Herbs Can Help
In order for the body to properly detoxify, it is necessary to clean out the natural filters; the liver and kidneys. Dandelion, a common weed, is used both as a food and medicine everywhere in the world where it grows. It is a potassium sparing diuretic,that works to cleanse and support both the liver and kidneys. Herbs which contain berberine, such as Oregon Graperoot and Goldenseal support the liver, and Milk Thistle has been scientifically proven to be liver protective.(Gupta, O. P.; Banerjee, S. K.; et al, Anti- inflammatory and anti-arthritic activities of silymarin acting through inhibition of 5- lipoxygenase. Phytomedicine 7:1, March, 2000, 21-24) Turmeric, the orange colored spice used in curry has additional benefits, and has been shown to have anti-tumor activities.( Navis I, Sriganth P, Premalatha B. Dietary curcumin with cisplatin administration modulates tumour marker indices in experimental fibrosarcoma. Pharmacol Res. 1999; 39(3):175-179). I keep some in a shaker and regularly add it to food right at the table.

Herbal combinations can be used as teas, capsules or tinctures. A well known combination which may give additional protection against cancer contains sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella), burdock root (Arctium lappa), slippery elm inner bark (Ulmus fulva), turkey rhubarb (Rheum palmatum), red clover (Trifolium pratense), and watercress (Nasturtium officinale). Most of these herbs grow wild on Long Island. Once you learn to identify them, you can grow and pick your own, use them fresh, or dry them for year round availability.

A specific kind of mushroom, Maitake mushroom(Grifolia frondosa), contains a specific polysaccharide, called beta-glucan . One component , 3-branched, B-1,6-glucan. increases white blood cell motility and overall function of the immune system. Perhaps the ancients were not so far off , when they concluded that these mushrooms increase “chi” , which is movement or energy!!

Ellen KamhiEllen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®,(www.naturalnurse.com) is the author of The Natural Medicine Chest, Arthritis, The Alternative Medicine Guide, and Cycles of Life, Herbs and Energy Techniques for Women. Contact: http://www.naturalnurse.com , Facebook The Natural Nurse, 800-829-0918

Blueberries- A delicious bargain!

Blueberries for breast cancer preventionBy Ellen Kamhi PhD RN – The Natural Nurse.

Blueberries are one of the few fruits native to North American. Native Americans used the berries for food and dye. They believed the five pointed star that forms at the end of fruit signified that the tribal ancestors sent “star berries” as a spiritual gift. When settlers from England arrived in the northeast, local tribes taught them how to use the nutritious and delicious blueberry as part of their food staples. During the Civil War, dried blueberries and blueberry beverages were used as an important food source for soldiers.

Antioxidants are substances that help protect our cells from damage due to ‘free radicals’- molecules that disrupt cell membranes, which can eventually lead to the effects of aging and disease. Among natural sources of antioxidants, blueberries are excellent. A study performed by the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston Massachusetts compared 40 common fruits and vegetables and found blueberries as the highest in antioxidant activity. One ½ cup serving of blueberries delivers as much antioxidant power as 5 servings of many other fruits and vegetables!

Blueberries are very high in proanthocyanin, a well-studied specific antioxidant that prevents an excess of free radicals. Blueberries are also high in healthy substances known as flavonoids , including anthocyanin. Anthocyanins, from two Greek words meaning “plant” and “blue”, are responsible for the intense blue and red pigments of blueberries. Over 60 scientific studies link the blue in wild blueberries to good health.

Anthyocyanins have a different chemical structure compared with other common antioxidants such as Vitamin C. This unique structure makes them three to four times more potent than other fruits and vegetables. Although other red or purple fruits such as plums and strawberries also contain anthyocyanin, Blueberries appear to have the highest concentrations of this antioxidant among fruits commercially available in North America.

Blueberries are promising nutritional weapons against disease. In today’s world, blueberries are being heralded as a delicious weapon in the “anti-aging”, or as I prefer to call it, the ‘graceful aging’ arsenal. In a study funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the U. S. Department of Agriculture, which appeared in the September 15, 1999, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, rats were fed a blueberry extract diet, rich in naturally derived antioxidants. The rats showed fewer age-related motor changes and out-performed their study counterparts on memory tests. Although strawberry and spinach extracts also improved short term memory, only blueberries supported progress in navigation capabilities and overall co-ordination. This is important because aging often causes challenges with co-ordination and balance. I addition, rats in all the supplement groups had sufficient Vitamin E in the cell membranes of their brains, which increases cellular flexibility and repair. Holly McCord, RD, author of “The Miracle Berry” and Prevention’s Nutrition Editor says, “If you add one food to your diet this year, make it blueberries.” According to McCord, blueberries are the “… single most ferocious food in the supermarket at halting the forces that age you.”

Professor David Morgan at the Alzheimer’s Research Lab at the University of South Florida is also excited about the possibilities of blueberries. Morgan has worked with Tuft’s University on a transgenic model of Alzheimer’s disease and says he hopes the research he’s involved in proves that blueberries are the nutritional answer to disease and aging that they seem to be. With a scientist’s skepticism, he adds, “I doubt that our studies will show blueberries to be the miracle cure some people claim – but I hope they do. Blueberries are an affordable, healthy and delicious remedy.”

To get an even better effect, choose “organic” blueberries whenever possible, to avoid the negative effects associated with pesticides. A good plan of action is to ‘stock up’ on organic blueberries when they are in season, and simple put containers in the freezer to be used at a later date. They can be eaten ‘as is’, or added to healthy breakfast cereals, oatmeal or yogurt for a nutritious start to the day. Another great way to save blueberries for a ‘rainy day’ is to purchase a dehydrator and dry the fresh berries for later use- this is a good way to save many kinds of healthy fruits and vegetables for times when they are not in season.

Blueberry Smoothie Recipe For Breast Cancer Prevention

Try this Blueberry Smoothie:

8-12 ounces of Unsweetened Soy Milk or Organic Skim Milk
One Scoop of Organic Spirulina or Barley Grass Powder
1 Tablespoon or Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil
½ cup Organic Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
2 –3 ice cubes
Place all together in a blender, and Blend for One Minute
Enjoy a Healthy, High Protein, Nutritious , Low Calorie Meal!

Ellen KamhiEllen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®, can be heard on radio daily. She is the author of several books, including WEIGHT LOSS, the Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide. Dr. Kamhi has been involved in natural health care for over 4 decades. She answers consumer questions at http://www.naturesanswer.com, and has a private practice on Long Island. http://www.naturalnurse.com 800-829-0918

A Breast Cancer Authority Bestseller Book Giveaway – The Natural Medicine Chest

Ellen Kamhi Book Review

By Breast Cancer Yoga Staff.

The Natural Medicine Chest: Natural Medicines to Keep You and Your Family Thriving Into the Next Millennium By Dr. Ellen Kamhi Book Review & Giveaway!

About The Book

The Natural Medicine ChestOpen your medicine cabinet and take a look inside. How many pills, tablets, and bottles of syrups do you have that contain chemicals you can’t even pronounce? For every ache and ailment, there is a medical prescription. But what about the cures that have been working for centuries? What about nature’s medicines? The Natural Medicine Chest is a beautifully illustrated guide which provides the history, descriptions, research, and uses of over 100 healing herbs, foods, and nutrients.

This is an illustrated guide which provides the history, description, research and tests of over 50 healing herbs and foods.

 

Do you know:

  • The plant that can take the place of a first-aid kit?
  • The best herbs for pregnancy and labor?
  • The plant that is a remedy for asthma?
  • The culinary spice that is safer than aspirin and works on nausea better than Dramamine?
  • The leaf that can substitute for sugar?

From aloe vera to wild yams, The Natural Medicine Chest thoroughly covers each healing element that Nature has given us.

A clear explanation of botanical herbal medicine as practiced in this country. While the authors make clear that these substances can offer real benefit, they make equally and often inadvertently clear that self-diagnosis and treatment is not a reliable route to take. Naturopath Zampieron and Kamhi (a nurse with a doctorate in public health) give a brief, accurate history of botanical medicine in America including a fresh outlook on Andrew Carnegie’s “medical thug,” Abraham Flexner (Flexner’s 1910 Carnegie-funded report on medical education is revered in the allopathic establishment as a cornerstone of our current medical education and treatment systems, but it stopped the development of herbalism and other alternative therapies cold). Many herbalists work under the supervision of a licensed medical practitioner; interested readers can follow guidelines here for tracking down such herbalists. The authors discuss safety: natural does not mean safe, they point out, and give careful alerts as to interactions between herbal and pharmaceutical drugs, as well as the possibilities for abuse and allergic reactions. After describing what is known of the medicinal components found in herbs and how they are extracted to form useful preparations, Zampieron and Kamhi describe an extensive list of herbs and other plants (aloe, St. John’s Wort, parsley; also bananas, guava, pineapple, among many others). Intriguing and well-presented.

Book Giveaway Details

Like Dr. Ellen Kamhi’s book? You can have one, too!  Ellen has generously agreed to give away a The Natural Medicine Chest: Natural Medicines: To Keep You and Your Family Thriving into the Next Millennium book, a ($29.95 value) to one lucky reader.  All you have to do is leave a comment below with your email address so we may notify the winner of our Breast Cancer Authority Bestseller Giveaway.  We will randomly select a commenter to receive one book, signed by the author.We will announce the winner on the Breast Cancer Authority Blog and on our Breast Cancer Yoga Facebook page.

Antioxidants, ORAC Value and Concentrated Resveratrol

Antioxidants for breast cancer recoveryBy Ellen Kamhi, PhD, RN, AGH, AHN-BC.

The public associates antioxidants with health. Antioxidants occur naturally in a large amounts of fresh fruits, vegetables and botanicals. They are being used extensively in oral supplements and natural cosmetic and personal care products.

The FDA has strict guidelines on the use of the term ‘anti-oxidant’. For examples, manufacturers cannot just splash “ high in antioxidants” on the label (which is often done). If a statement is made about a high antioxidant value, the manufacturer must actually reference a known and measureable antioxidant, such as vitamin A or vitamin E. They must then reference the RDA (also known as the RDI or reference daily value), and specifically show that their product contains an amount of that individual nutrient which is equal to or higher than the RDA value. With the increased activity of the FDA, many manufacturers are receiving notices that they are not complying with labeling laws.

One of the up and coming concepts in the Antioxidant area is measurement of the ORAC value. ORAC stands for “Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity”. ORAC describes a laboratory analysis of the antioxidant activity against various free radicals, such as the peroxyl radical, which is one of the most common reactive oxygen species (ROS) that cause damage to cell membranes in the body. ORAC measures the ability of substances to neutralize this free radical. The greater the amount of free radicals a nutrient or product can combat, the higher its ORAC score. This standard was developed in a collaborated effort by the National Institute on Aging and the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging . Consumers are becoming more interested in ORAC value as they become more educated about what this means. Some of the highest ORAC scoring products in the world include many items that are called ‘Super Fruits” such as Pomegranate, Acai, Mangosteen and Goji, along with Green Tea and Muscadine Grape.

There are many Super Fruit products available , such as Nature’s Answer® Orac Super 7, which guarantees 5000 to 7000 Orac Units in one serving! It is a blend of many of the super fruits mentioned above (Acai, Mangosteen Goji, Green Tea, Muscadine Grape) known to be high in Orac Value.

Resveratrol is a concentrated grape derived ingredient which has also shown a serge of popularity in recent years, as an anti-aging antioxidant. Resveratrol is also found in high amounts in the wild plant called Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum). Commercially available supplements offer Resveratrol in both liquid and capsule form. Read your labels carefully, since some brands also include sweeteners and preservatives, such as potassium sorbate, while other brands are free of sweeteners and additives.

Muscadine Grape is a rising star in the antioxidant category. Muscasdine Grapes are a berry-like grape that is native to USA. It contains resveratrol in its skin and has a very high level of naturally occurring health supporting natural constituents, such as ellagic acid (a polyphenol antioxidant), anthocyanins, flavoniods and other healthful compounds. Muscadine grapes often grow as wild edible, medicinal plants found on fences around farms and fields. The muscadine berry is extremely resistant to pests and fungus probably due to its extremely thick skin, and is not sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. Include a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables in your daily diet to insure that you are getting an array of beneficial antioxidant compounds !

Ellen KamhiEllen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®, can be heard on radio daily. She is the author of several books, including THE NATURAL MEDICINE CHEST. Dr. Kamhi has been involved in natural health care for over 4 decades. She answers consumer questions at http://www.naturesanswer.com, and does private consultations. http://www.naturalnurse.com 800-829-0918

 

Anti-Germ Warfare – The Natural Way

Natural Germ Warfare With Herbs For Breast CancerBy Ellen Kamhi PhD RN 
www.naturalnurse.com .

The media world is a-buz about ‘bugs’! However, the new threats of “swine flu”, bring us back to a basic discussion. Should be just sit around and wait until we become a victim, and then take an antibiotic or Tamiflu and hope that the illness goes away? Or would it be wiser to be a health advocate, and shore up our immune system- the body’s natural defense mechanism. (One interesting point to consider is that Tamiflu was developed by Gilead Sciences. Donald Rumsfeld was Chairman of the Board of Gilead from 1997-2001, when he became Secretary of Defense under Bush. )

The immune system is made up of a combination of specialized cells, chemicals, tissues, and organs. These include the lymph nodes, thymus gland, spleen, bone marrow and tonsils as well as specialized white blood cells, which recognize and engulf invading microorganisms and cellular debris.

The ability of the immune system to function optimally is influenced by many factors. These include inherent genetic makeup, environmental influences, (such as pollution, pesticides, hormones, artificial flavoring/colorings in food), obesity and stress levels; not only exposure to infective agents, whether they are natural or man-made. We can aid our immune system by eating a high amount of organic green vegetables, whole grains and nuts, while cutting down on ‘junk food’ consumption. Stress reduction, through prayer, meditation, yoga and moderate exercise, such as a daily walk around Century Village’s great walkway- is more important than ever when we are under sustained stress.

Herbs may be used in several ways to aid in our Anti-Germ Warfare personal campaigns. Tonic herbs strengthen the immune system over time, while strong immune system stimulants have a more immediate action, and are used during an acute infection. Many herbs have been scientifically proven to have strong broad spectrum anti-microbial properties.

Herbal tonics work to help maintain a dynamic balance in the body and usually need to be taken long-term. Astragalus is said to build Wei chi. “Chi” is the Chinese concept of life energy force. One study by the National Cancer Institute demonstrated Astragalus’ ability to help strengthen the immune system’s resistance, especially to viral infections. Reishi has been called the “mushroom of immortality”, and has been used for centuries as an overall tonic. Ligustrum berries are used by Chinese physicians specifically for their immune enhancing activities. Codonopsis is a Chinese herb that contains the bitter yellow compound, berberine, that helps the immune system prevent infections. Other immune system tonic herbs include Siberian Ginseng and Schisandra. Schisandra has been shown to build non-specific resistance, improve brain function, increase work capacity and build strength.

Osha Root has been used traditionally by both the Chinese and Native Americans, (who called it Chuchupate), for increased immune function. Echinacea is a well researched and respected immune system stimulant. It helps increase the activity of white blood cells, which engulf invading microorganisms. Thuja is an herbal extract from the Northern White Cedar tree. It is a strong immune stimulant that Native Americans used for colds, coughs, bronchitis and other respiratory infections. Possibly the mushroom with the greatest capability of stimulating the immune system is the Maitake. Maitake contains specific chemical components that have been scientifically studied for their strong immune enhancing effects.

Oil Of Oregano(Origanum vulgare) is rich in vitamins and minerals including Vitamins A and C, Niacin, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, Potassium, Copper, Boron, and Manganese. In addition, the herb contains many active chemical constituents that provide beneficial support to our bodies, such as thymol and carvacrol. These components strongly discourage the growth of microorganisms, an action recognized by traditional herbalists throughout history as well as supported by modern scientific research. Oregano oil is exceptional in its ability to destroy many different kinds of microorganisms including bacteria, fungus, virus and parasites. Oregano oil has been shown in scientific studies to actively inhibit and destroy E. Coli, candida albacans and the bacterias that cause strep and staff infections. Unlike pharmaceutical drug antibiotics, oregano oil does not cause the development of resistant strains of bacteria. Although it is always possible for an individual to have an allergic reaction to any substance, there are no known adverse effects to oil of oregano.

The bitter compound, oleuropein, extracted from the olive leaf, has the capacity to destroy and inhibit the growth of an incredible array of pathogenic organisms, including bacteria , yeasts and viruses, such as the cold and flu virus, herpes, and even retro-viruses. Bacteria and parasites destroyed by oleuropein include planterum, E. coli and malariae, to name a few. Apparently, the old anti-malarial olive leaf and wine remedy had some merit! No toxic effects have been reported, even at high doses.

Rosemary ( Rosmarinus officinalis)has been used as an anti-infective agent since ancient times. Rosemary was regularly burned in hospitals and sick-rooms to purify the air and prevent infection. It was also used in courts to keep the judge and jurors from contracting plagues and fevers that the prisoners brought up from the dungeon. A sprig of Rosemary was also often carried at funerals. The aromatic oils of rosemary contain active essential oils, rosmarinic acid, phenolic acids and tannins with antioxidant and antimicrobial activities.

Thyme (Thymus) was used by the Greeks to keep venomous creatures away from the home. The Egyptians used it to mummify their dead, due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant activity. The thymus gland got its name from thyme, due to its similar structure to the thyme flower; interesting because both thyme and the thymus gland promote immune function. The principle components consist of phenol, thymol and carvacrol. An article in Chemical Abstracts in 1977 revealed that thymol’s antimicrobial activity is 20 times stronger than phenol.

Ellen KamhiEllen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®, can be heard on radio daily. She is the author of several books, including THE NATURAL MEDICINE CHEST. Dr. Kamhi has been involved in natural health care for over 4 decades. She answers consumer questions at http://www.naturesanswer.com, and does private consultations. http://www.naturalnurse.com 800-829-0918

 

ALLSPICE…Our Natural Pain Relief

Allspice Natural Pain ReliefBy Ellen Kamhi PhD RN, http://www.naturalnurse.com

What is Allspice? Allspice is a dried aromatic fruit that grows on the tall Jamaican Pimento tree. (Pimenta dioica). This spice which includes its leaves, berries and bark is used before it ripens and grows in tropical areas. Besides being used as a spice, it is used for medicinal purposes. The tree is a member of the Myrtacea family, and is kin with Cloves, Eucalyptus and Guava. Allspice is one of the most popular herbs around the world, and tastes exactly as its name states: like a mixture of all spices. Most agree that the unique flavor is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The Bush Doctors in Islands such as Jamaica call the herb pimento or ‘spice’, where it is used not only as a spice, but as a popular folk remedy.

There are several categories of pain relieving substances, including anesthetics and analgesics. Anesthetics differs from analgesics; anesthetics produce numbness by actually blocking pain in nerve fibers., while analgesics helps relieve inflammation.

One of the most important medicinal applications of allspice is its use as an herbal analgesic. The oil is often rubbed into the temples for headaches. Bush doctors and traditional healers use it as part of an analgesic joint rub, which is massaged into painful joints and sinews. Many people report lasting relief. It is also mixed with wax or lotion and smoothed on the skin, causing rapid diaphoresis (sweating). This kind of application can break a fever associated with a cold or flu. In addition, native healers prepare an infusion(tea) with allspice and other herbs, to be consumed piping hot. This augments the ‘SPICE’ treatment, promoting rapid diaphoresis and detoxification via the skin. The oil contained in allspice is often used as an oral anesthetic. When placed anywhere in the mouth, allspice will quickly produce numbing relief from toothaches, mouth, or gum pains. You can reapply to the afflicted area as needed. The active numbing ingredient is Eugenol, found in Allspice berries at a concentration of 95%! Many over the counter and oral preparations used in Dentistry today still contain Eugenol. Eugenol is a phenolic volatile oil with powerful antiseptic properties. It has been demonstrated to be antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral on a host of pathological microorganisms. These qualities have helped Allspice to continue to be useful in modern day dentistry. It numbs pain and kills microbes simultaneously…PERFECT!

Many of the “Roots doctors” in tropical areas, use pimento in an herbal ‘Bush bath’. A large outdoor tub is usually filled to capacity with the herbs, and hot water is added. A person then soaks in the tub, now filled with a powerful infusion. These baths have been demonstrated to be therapeutic for myalgia, arthralgia, fatigue, and chronic skin ailments, eczema and external infestations of lice and scabies. The volatile oils inhaled while bathing are antiseptic for the lungs and bronchi, and help in loosening and coughing up congestion. Even if you are not in the bush, a patient with upper respiratory afflictions can benefit greatly by making a ‘steam tent’ and adding volatile oils to it. The use of allspice for dysentery and parasites highlights another important use of the plant, due to the presence of antimicrobial substances in the plant as well as large amounts of tannins, which act as an astringent, absorbing extra fluid from the bowels. There is a commercially available liqueur, called Pimento dram, made from allspice, which some people use for headaches and stomach distress. Its reputation as a carminative (intestinal gas-reducing medicine, reducing gripe or colic) and as a smooth muscle relaxant may indicate why allspice is also used for dysmenorrhea ( painful menstrual cramps) . So, the next time you need an ALL PURPOSE remedy, reach for the Jamaican ALLSPICE. You’ll find it, as you reach into, The Natural Medicine Chest.

 

Ellen KamhiEllen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®, can be heard on radio daily.  She is the author of several books, including The Natural Medicine Chest.  Dr. Kamhi has been involved in natural health care for over 4 decades. She answers consumer questions at http://www.naturesanswer.com  and has a private practice for individual consultation about the use of natural therapies.  http://www.naturalnurse.com   800-829-0918

If You Eat or Drink Alfalfa YOU Need To Read This!

GMO Alfalfa & Breast CancerBy Ellen Kamhi PhD RN

Alfalfa an “endocrinological balancer” What makes Alfalfa so special for good health or for healing? Or not! GMOs can change the the plant.

What is it?  The genus is Medicago sativa and species name of the plant that is commonly known as Alfalfa. The plant resembles clover with its blue, pea like flowers and trifoliate leaves and in fact is a cousin to clover, being a member of the Leguminacea (now Fabaceae) family. The entire herb is harvested for medicine when the plant is in bloom. Alfalfa is grown for several purposes. It is used as a healthy forage crop for livestock, and is one of the main plants that are harvested for hay.  Farmers will often plant alfalfa in fields in between growing other food crops, since alfalfa is able to capture nitrogen and increase its level in the soil, which helps other crops grow. Alfalfa is grown in higher quantities than any other plant in the pea family. The United States leads in growing alfalfa, although it is also harvested in Argentina, Australia, South Africa, the Middle East and southern India.

Unfortunately, like many other crops in the U.S. genetically modified varieties of alfalfa have been developed. From 2005-2007 Monsanto released Roundup Ready Alfalfa, which allows growers to spray the pesticide glyphosate on alfalfa crops. This will kill all weeds, but allow the genetically modified alfalfa to grow. However, in May 2007, the California Northern District Court sent out an order prohibiting farmers from using Roundup Ready Alfalfa due to concern about the possibility of the genetic contamination of other plants. Monsanto claims that glyphosate is non toxic, but a study in Chemical Research in Toxicology (December 23, 2008) found that  “Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells.”

Most of the research on Alfalfa comes from the annals of agriculture, as farmers noted that if Alfalfa is the predominant hay crop consumed by their animals, it can disrupt their estrus cycle.  This prompted scientist to investigate its chemical constituents. It was soon discovered that Medicago contains an impressive array of isoflavones and coumestans, bioflavonoid compounds which are estrogenic in activity. These include diadzein, formononetin, genistein, lignans, and biochannin A. Also isolated were coumarins, which have a blood thinning effect.

Bill Mitchell, ND,  mentions in his book, PLANT MEDICINE IN PRACTICE, using the teachings of John Bastyr, that Dr. Bastyr considered Alfalfa an “endocrinological balancer”. Many studies on phytoestrogenic plants show a balancing effect on diseases of hyperestogenism (too much estrogen) and hypoestrogenism ( too little estrogen).

Because most of these plants do not contain real estrogens but instead contain isoflavones and related compounds, they do not directly affect blood estrogen levels. They work by binding to estrogen cell receptors, creating an effective intracellular signal as if the estrogen was present. They are considered much weaker signaling agents than the body’s “real’ estrogens, and are generally accepted to occupy receptors and shield the body from the much stronger estrogens through competitive antagonism. However, one research study by the USDA done in “test tubes” on a breast cancer cell line showed that phytoestrogens found in legumes, such as Kudzu root, red clover blossom and sprout, mung bean sprout, and alfalfa sprout extracts displayed increased cell proliferation effects above levels observed with estradiol. This idea that phytoestrogens are STRONGER than our native estradiol is a new one, and may put into question the role phytoestrogens would have in shielding the body against the negative effects of estradiol, in women with breast cancer . More study in human subjects is clearly needed.

Italian researchers in the journal Minerva Ginecologica used alfalfa along with the leaves of Salvia officinalis (sage) in the treatment of hot flushes in 30 menopausal women with these symptoms. Hot flushes and night sweating completely disappeared in 20 women: four women showed good improvement and the other six showed a reduction in symptoms based on affecting the pituitary and increasing prolactin levels, but not directly affecting estrogen levels. Another point about alfala; a few studies have shown that it contains L-Canavanine, an amino acid which can worsen symptoms in people suffering with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) Avoid alfalfa  in lupus.

For peri or post menopausal women who do not have lupus or any other auto-immune illness, alfalfa may help to balance estrogenic hormones at dose of about 12 grams(1200 mg) per day. Alfalfa may also lower cholesterol, especially when taken simultaneously with a high cholesterol meal, probably working through competition with cholesterol for uptake.

Alfalfa is commonly added to many ‘green food’ supplements, along with other greens such as spirulina and chlorella. It is also available as an easy to use liquid herbal extract.

Ellen KamhiEllen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®, can be heard on radio daily.  She is the author of several books, including The Natural Medicine Chest.  Dr. Kamhi has been involved in natural health care for over 4 decades. She answers consumer questions at http://www.naturesanswer.com  and has a private practice for individual consultation about the use of natural therapies.  http://www.naturalnurse.com   800-829-0918

What Are Allergies: Why Are They Common!

By Ellen Kamhi, PhD, RN, HNC, AHG
The Natural Nurse®, http://www.naturalnurse.com

When a person with an allergy to foods or environmental factors encounters an offending substance, the immune system interprets it as the enemy. To help ward off the intruder, the human body activates antibodies, and releases a substance called ‘histamines’. Allergies are abnormal reactions to everyday substances such as pollen, dust, dander, house dust, mold or common foods. Allergy medications are referred to ‘anti-histamines’ because they attempt to turn off this natural, although over zealous, body reaction. The immune system readies for battle with a vengeance, and attacks the offending substance, along with other body tissues, imposing an uncomfortable variety of symptoms on the allergy sufferer. These can range from annoying but bearable conditions–such as rashes, scratchy throats and toothaches– to more frightening reactions like a closed throat and difficulty breathing. Frequent bouts of bronchitis, asthma and severe eczema, conditions that can be physically and emotionally painful—are all the more common in allergic individuals.

In rare cases, food allergies can even be deadly. For example, some people are so severely allergic to peanuts that even a teaspoon of peanut butter can cause them to go into anaphylactic shock, a severe allergic reaction that can be life threatening. They must constantly carry epinephrine to counter these ever-present dangerous effects- in this case herbs and natural remedies are not enough!

The most common food allergies include dairy products, nuts, wheat, yeast, eggs, soybeans, shellfish, and tomatoes. Some foods can cause an allergic reaction as soon as you take a bite, while others can take hours or even days to elicit an allergic response. Immediate food allergies are moderated by a group of immunoglobulins in the body, referred to as IGE, while the delayed allergies are related to a different immunoglobulin called IGG. Conventional allergy screening often looks for IGE mediated allergies, while ignoring IGG based allergies.

No one understands exactly why certain people are allergic. The propensity to develop allergies can run in families and may be inherited to some extent. Many people who suffer from food allergies, are also more prone to other types of allergies such as sensitivities to pollen and chemicals. Especially during spring and fall pollen seasons, allergens can be blown onto melons and other food crops. “Cross-reactivity” for pollen sensitive individuals is also common with avocados, bananas, kiwi, papaya and chestnuts.  Interestingly, babies who are breast-fed are less likely to develop allergies than their formula-fed peers.

If you have any type of allergy carefully scrutinize the labels of any substance you ingest.  Even supplements may contain allergens that you are unaware of. For example, if you are allergic to shellfish, then you should probably think twice before taking an oyster shell calcium supplement, or Glucosamine/Chondroitin , usually made from the exoskeletons of shellfish. If you are allergic to pollen avoid bee pollen supplements such as royal jelly and honey. On the other hand, honey made from the exact flower pollen that a person has a sensitivity to, can sometimes help the allergy by de-sensitizing the immune system.

Dyes, preservatives and other chemicals found in abundance in both the Standard American Diet, as well as the environment can increase allergy symptoms.  If you eat preserved or non-organic items and are experiencing an allergic reaction, consider switching to all natural, organic, preservative-free foods. People with environmental allergies may also have to remove sources of toxic chemicals and fumes from the home, including cleaners, carpeting and other sources of ‘out-gasing’.

In the 30+ years that I have been working with allergic patients, I have seen them make remarkable progress once they commit to tracking down the ‘triggering’ substances (including stress inducing thought patterns) that set off their symptoms. The use of nutritional supplements and herbs can be extremely helpful, non-toxic adjunctive therapy to dietary and life-style changes.

Anti-Allergy Cocktail:

2000mg powdered , buffered Vit C
100 mg Vitamin B-6
1000 mg Magnesium
1000 mg Calcium
250 mg Bioflavonoids

mix all into 1/2 glass water up to  2 times / day during an allergy attack

Bromelain( a digestive enzyme from Pineapple) and Quercitin( one of the bioflavonoids) work well together to offset an allergic reaction

Allergic reactions involve many different organ systems of the body, besides the area that manifests symptoms. These include the respiratory system, the liver and the adrenal glands. Using herbs to strengthen these systems will give your body a preventative edge over allergic reactions, and will further help decrease the severity of uncomfortable symptoms.

Herbs for Allergies:

Licorice – the most widely studied adrenal herb. Licorice has anti-inflammatory actions similar to the glucocorticoids (which are produced by healthy adrenals) and are involved with resolving allergic reactions. It also preserves the effects of cortisol, the adrenal hormone involved in clearing allergies.(avoid with high blood pressure)

Ginseng- the onset of allergies can be attributed to stress. The adaptogenic properties of Ginseng allow the adrenal glands to balance stress while creating an overall resistance to allergic reactions, colds, flu and infections.

Dandelion – nutritive and strengthening herb for the liver. It helps clear toxins and stimulates the liver to work towards the resolution of the allergic reaction.

Milk Thistle- acts as both a protector and regenerator of the liver. This herb helps repair damaged tissue and support the actions necessary for dealing with allergens and their accompanying symptoms.

Nettles and Eyebright- work well together to calm nasal congestion, watery eyes and stuffiness often experienced by allergy sufferers.  They are appropriate remedies for short-term relief, and may also be taken before the season begins as a means of prevention for pollen allergies.

Ma Huang- contains natural ephedrine. Psuedo-ephedrine is the active ingredient in prescription and over-the-counter allergy medications. Ma Huang acts to open the bronchial passageways.  Due to its stimulating nature, use Ma Huang with caution if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.

Elder Flower – acts to increase bronchial secretions and is a natural decongestant. Helps to soothe mucous membranes.

Mullein and Fenugreek- traditionally used for upper respiratory problems. Helps to clear mucous and support the lungs.

Echinacea and Goldenseal- combat both the discomfort of allergies as well as reduce excess mucous from the nasal and respiratory tract.

Ellen KamhiEllen Kamhi PhD RN , The Natural Nurse®  is the author of The Natural Medicine Chest, Arthritis, The Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide, Cycles of Life, Herbs and Energetics for Women, Weight Loss: The Alternative Medicine Guide, and other books. She is on radio/TV daily, and consults with individuals and the Nutraceutical Industry.  http://www.naturalnurse.com

The Secret to Aging Gracefully

Secret to Aging GracefullyBy Ellen Kamhi, PhD , RN, AHG, AHN-BC
The Natural Nurse®

Looking for the Fountain of Youth? We are all wanting to look and feel our best. Over the last decade the term anti-aging has become popular. I personally, prefer to use the term Aging Gracefully, or Healthy Aging, which more correctly mirrors the practice of slowing down the signs and symptoms that occur as people get older. These include: a change in skin tone and appearance, such as wrinkles and grey hair, as well as functional changes like memory loss, decreased brain function, and an increased risk for chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes. Healthy Aging focuses on slowing these changes and increasing overall feelings of health and wellness, into the golden years. The best way to do this ( beyond being blessed with longevity genes) is to eat small meals of mostly organic vegetables and small amounts of high quality protein, drink clean water,  and include moderate exercise and stress reduction techniques in your daily routine.

I have been a health practitioner for over 40 years, with a focus on natural health. The usefulness of particular practices becomes more apparent the longer we have to evaluate the outcome. The term ‘Anti-Aging’ is not regulated by any governing body, and can be widely used as a marketing ploy with no proof to back it up. To understand the attraction that ‘Anti-Aging’ has in the marketplace, just watch the sales figures soar as soon as this term is  thrown on the label.

There is an ongoing plethora of products, dietary supplements and skin care applicants that are heavily promoted for their youth enhancing and anti-aging properties, but only a very short list includes scientific evidence.  I have seen thousands of consumers jump on board with the latest ‘Anti- aging ‘ craze, only to do the same again ( with no effect) when the next product comes along. No matter how much money you spend, and how many pills and potions you pop, none of this will likely yield any kind of measureable response, without the basis of  healthy eating, exercise and a stress reduction regime. Both science and practical life observations support several activities that actually DO lead to increased health and longevity.  A Harvard Magazine article (http://harvardmagazine.com/2005/09/the-aging-enigma.html ), included information on the science behind anti-aging. Sirtuin activating compounds, or STACs- are cellular ‘signaling’ compounds that help cells to defend themselves from the effects of oxidative damage (similar to rusting), which causes aging. A few things have been found to increase Sirtuin: caloric restriction, moderate exercise, resveratrol ( found in wine and other compounds).  Other studies have shown that stress reduction, eating unprocessed vegetables and fruits, ALONG with other supplements, such as alph-lipoic acid, and carnosine , also offset the pro-aging effects of oxidative damage. Excellent foods to include in your youth enhancing diet are pomegranate, kale, swiss chard, brussel sprouts and most other fruits and vegetables, and fatty fish like wild salmon. Lifestyle choices that have the opposite effect, and lead to increased oxidative damage include consuming Trans-fats, all fried, processed, refined , and other ‘junk food’, high levels of stress , and lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle.

The best day to start to focus on healthy aging practices is when you are ready to commit to a healthy lifestyle. Of course, in hind sight, you can admonish yourself for not starting sooner, but one of the main tenets of recognizing the healing power of mind, body and spirit is to be kind to yourself for past mistakes, and to learn to use uplifting ‘self talk.’ It is certainly true that ‘the sooner the better’ is the best policy. For example, babies whose mothers consumed high amount of DHA while they were pregnant tend to have higher IQ’s and are more capable learners. (Oken E, et al. Associations of maternal fish intake during pregnancy and breastfeeding duration with attainment of developmental milestones in early childhood: a study from the Danish National Birth Cohort. Am J Clin Nutr 2008 September;88(3):789-96) Woman who exercise and get enough dietary calcium and Vitamin D while young tend to suffer less from osteoporosis. That’s because bone growth naturally slows down after 50, so the more dense bone that is already formed during youth, the better. However, that does not mean to ‘give up’. You can always be in better shape tomorrow by making different choices today!
Although, the younger healthy lifestyle choices are initiated the better, there is no time like the present- it is never too late. You can always be in better shape tomorrow by making different choices today!

As The Natural Nurse®, my personal focus has been to write books, host radio and television shows, and teach at conventional medical schools, to elevate the knowledge about the evidence behind the safety and efficacy of natural therapies. I also follow this lifestyle on a daily level, and have since 1964. I use organic food, eat a small amount, exercise daily, take herbs and supplements and practice stress reduction techniques. I also have the benefit of long lived, healthy relatives which indicate a positive genetic influence.

Ellen KamhiEllen Kamhi, PhD, RN, AHG, AHN-BC , ( www.naturalnurse.com ) is a medical school professor, and author of THE NATURAL MEDICINE CHEST and several other books, all of which contain specific anti-aging therapies. http://www.facebook.com/NaturalNurse

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