- Water boiled with strict temperature controls
- Cooked for precise amounts of time
- Cooked in specific amounts of water
- Raw material herbs are weighed before cooking so exact
- amount of herbs to water ratio is controlled for potency
Patients are often reluctant to discuss the use of CAM with their physicians for fear of being rebuked or dismissed. Many physicians view alternative-based therapies as "quackery" and adopt an attitude of "semi-indulgent contempt," as described by one physician. Further complicating matters is the relative lack of practitioner knowledge and training on CAM modalities. Nudged forward by patient demand, this view is clearly changing and now more than 70 medical schools and 45 medical centers, including The Mayo Clinic and The Cleveland Clinic, have adopted integrative and alternative medical centers.
Check out this informational video about PMS Relief. Click below:
According to several recent studies from the National Sleep Foundation and Science Daily the answer to that question is a resounding "yes". Insomnia seems harmless enough. Perhaps you simply have a hard time falling asleep at night. Or perhaps you toss and turn for a few hours, and then wake up the next morning and drink an extra cup of coffee to make up for it. How could this be harmful? While it has been proven the body can physiologically survive for 11-18 days without sleeping, the side effects and danger begin on the very first night, irritability and blurry vision, slowed reaction time, diminished memory capacity and speech control are some of the noticeable effects. From there it can build to a constant underlying sense of nausea, an increase in cortisol, which is linked to depression and cardiovascular disease. Even at the most benign level, you’re still 300% more likely to catch a cold if you sleep for less than seven hours a night. (not a good idea during swine flu season) In extreme cases, the effects of sleeplessness are considered so harmful that it has been shunned as a form of unethical research and used as torture. The US Department of Transportation reports that there are about 200,000 car accidents a year caused by sleepy drivers , a figure higher than those killed by drunk driving. If you’re lucky enough to survive your daily commute, you’re still considered at a higher risk for developing depression, as well as increasing the odds that depression will linger for a longer period than those who maintain healthy sleep hygiene. Often the insomniac becomes his or her own worst enemy, creating a maddening cycle of drinking coffee, taking habit-forming medications that don’t allow for REM sleep, and staying in bed longer each morning in an attempt to ‘make up’ for what they’ve missed. As the insomnia becomes worse, so does the anxiety and frustration, and the cycle continues. The good news is that you can break the cycle. While there is much to be said for making modifications in your diet to support sleep hygiene, as well as creating a routine that ‘trains’ your body into relaxing, you can also supplement these changes with Traditional Chinese herbs. Herbal supplements have been used for centuries to repair the body’s natural balance by helping to induce the very REM sleep that you need in order to wake up rested the next morning. Whether the cause of your sleeplessness is due to everyday stressors, such as situational stress, over-thinking, anxiety, worry, restlessness or grief, Chinese herbs have been highly effective in helping hundreds of thousands of individuals reclaim their health and prevent further, more life-threatening diseases. In comparison to the Western counterparts, Traditional Chinese herbs do not cause “hangovers” that decrease work productivity or feed into the caffeinate/sedate cycle. Simply put, you have the opportunity to wake up feeling refreshed each and every morning by investing in some ancient herbal remedies.
Shopping at a farmers market is always a favorite activity of mine, checking out the best produce and looking for the best prices. I’d love to shop at a farmers market in Tibet where fresh cordyceps adorns the tables. Cordyceps has a history of being the world best fungus. But the cost may shock you. A $100.00 or more for a fee ounces? Prices vary depending on quality and can be even higher.
Cordyceps ability to treat chronic diseases including diabetes, COPD, liver and kidney diseases, tinnitus and amnesia, decreased libido and fatigue have all been heavily researched. Highly prized by ancient Chinese Emperors, many athletes today use this fungus to increase energy, improve endurance, increasing oxygen capacity and boost lung function.
In China cordyceps is used as both a dietary supplement and medicine for the above mentioned conditions as well as hyperglycemia, high cholesterol, respiratory disease and heart arrhythmias. The Western world is catching on to the incredible benefits of this strange worm that metamorphoses into a fungus. Clinical studies support these long held traditions, so many in fact I can’t possibly mention them all here. Even world renowned Sloane-Kettering’s posted the following on their website: ”Several studies showed significant improvements in all respiratory symptoms at a dose range of 3-4.5 grams of Cordyceps. Improvements were in shortness of breath, cough and expectoration, and sleep.”
The original cordyceps sinensis grows only in the mountains of Tibet & Nepal (and some other parts of China.) Cited in Tibetan medical texts even before Chinese texts which date to the 4st century, cordyceps popularity has grown and is now Tibet’s number one export. Getting to the remote growing regions is not so easy. Did I mention you’ll need to climb to a least 10,000 feet above sea level and the harvesting season is very short, April until the end of June. Harvesting requires the gatherers to be on hands and knees with their faces close to the ground. The tiny cordyceps often resemble surrounding vegetation. A small knife is utilized for extraction, with extreme caution so as not to damage the larva, resulting in a loss of value. Each gatherer is lucky to collects an average of just 20 cordyceps in a day.
Cordyceps is a parasitic fungus that feeds mainly on butterflies, moths, and caterpillars. The wind spreads the spores over the soil and onto the plants, which are then either consumed by the future hosts or simply penetrate through the mouth or respiratory pores, eventually killing the insect. However, it is traditionally believed by the people of Tibet that cordyceps lives as a worm during the winter, and then in the spring undergoes a metamorphosis that changes it into a type of grass. In some areas, it is closely connected to local religion and its harvesting has been banned.
The mountain-grown cordyceps has become rare as more locals depends upon the income from its harvesting. The popularity and wealth of benefits from this fungus prompted Chinese scientists to find another way to grow mycelia strains using fermentation technology. Many experts say the laboratory grown cordyceps is chemically identical to wild grown, the benefit of course is its less expensive and widely available in Asia and I have seen it in China towns in the U.S. If you’re ever at a farmer’s market or anywhere cordyceps is for sale, don’t balk at the price of this fungus. Considering its health benefits, it’s by far the best buy in the market.
Top picture is the real deal… bottom right is laboratory grown.
McNeil Consumer Healthcare (the makers of TYLENOL®) are recalling many of their children’s Tylenol common cold and allergy medications. Two dozen varieties of their products are voluntarily being pulled off the shelf because of a possible bacterial contamination.
By Rene Rodriquez, L.Ac.
Johnson & Johnson McNeil is taking precautionary steps to urgently and voluntarily recall some of the Tylenol product line after an internal lab test found bacteria in the raw material that went unused in the making of their product. According to the Associated Press, the company reported that although the bacteria B. cepacia was found in a portion of the raw material that went unused, none of the bacteria was found in the finished product. “It was decided, as a precaution, to recall all product that utilized any of the raw material manufactured at the same time as the raw material that tested positive for the bacteria,” the company.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that B. cepacia is a human pathogen found in soil and water and is often spread from contaminated medicine and devices. The effects of the bacteria can range from person to person and the symptoms can range from none at all to serious respiratory infections, especially in those with weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases.
Although the CDC says that the bacteria is relatively harmless to healthy individuals, it reports that in 2005 several states reported clusters of pneumonia and other infections being caused by B. cepacia found in contaminated mouthwash. B. cepacia can also spread from person to person contact, contact with contaminated surfaces, and exposure to it in the environment. As a result of the bacteria being found by Johnson and Johnson McNeil, nearly two dozen varieties of Tylenol are being recalled as a precautionary move, including Children’s Tylenol Suspension 4 oz. Grape, Infants’ Tylenol Grape Suspension Drops 1/4 oz. and Children’s Tylenol Plus Cold/Allergy 4 oz. Bubble Gum. To find out if you possibly own a contaminated Tylenol product, the lot numbers for any of these can be found on the bottom of the product’s box and on the sticker that surrounds the product’s bottle. For a full list of the recalled products and lot numbers, please visit Tylenol’s web site by clicking here. Concerned parent’s and consumers alike are urged to call Johnson and Johnson McNeil’s consumer call center at 1-800-962-5357. When things like these happen, I usually get many patients who want to try a natural alternative route when dealing with a cold or flu.
I always urge my patients, especially those with children, to always use their best judgment in trying to decide whether to first try natural remedies before resulting to using synthetic medication and always in conjunction with their natural health care provider. As a parent and a natural health care provider, I understand this can be very difficult at times, especially when your child wakes up coughing and with a fever in the middle of the night and the only place open is the 24-hour pharmacy down the street where all you find are aisles of synthetic medication containing dyes and chemicals that you rather not use if given a choice. My best advise to people who are interested in trying natural remedies is always plan ahead. This will give you plenty of time to do your own research and decide what’s best for you and your family, so you don’t feel so helpless at two in the morning when you don’t want to use a synthetic drug, or can’t because, like has happened with the Tylenol product, there’s a possible contamination with bacteria.
Start by investing in a natural remedy book, or ask your family and friends of any natural remedies they know of, then present these to your natural health care provider so that he/she can assist you in helping decide what might be best for you. Planning ahead also means taking your health in your own hands. During cold and flu season, begin limiting the amount of sugar intake, especially the products that contain high fructose corn syrup or white refined sugar. This means avoiding junk food and alcohol as much as possible. Also, stay hydrated with good clean artesian well water.
Another thing I recommend is to stock your medicine cabinet with natural herbal formulas, nutritional supplements, and homeopathic remedies targeted at fighting infections and keeping your immune system healthy. These can include natural remedies, such as Grapefruit Seed Extract, Belladonna, Yin Qiao San, and nutritional supplements, such as Vitamin C, Zinc, and Vitamin D. These are just some examples of the variety of natural products available that are very effective in reducing fevers and curbing the side effects of the common cold or flu, and also supporting your immune system.
Most importantly, make an appointment with your natural health care provider to learn more about which of these natural remedies or nutritional supplements will best work for you and help you develop an approach for understanding when to safely use these with synthetic drugs, or alone.
I’ve always enjoyed my vacation time in Minnesota. I happened to be in Minneapolis for it’s Bi- centennial celebration a few years back. They had more than an hour of the most amazing fireworks I’ve ever seen. If you’ve never been there it’s truly the heart-land of America. Real people, real friendly. I had to blog on this news that Minnesota, not on a coast and not really considered the health crazed capital of the country is leading the way with equal access laws regarding alternative medicine practitioners. This new law takes affect and applies to insurance coverage issued, renewed or continued on or after Aug.1, 2009 Very exciting, the next step is on the national level with Medicare.
Here’s a report from the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, ( AAAOM) by Kris Berggren.
A new law, effective August 1, provides equal access to a licensed acupuncture practitioner for services covered under a regulated health plan. If acupuncture services provided by a physician are covered, the same services provided by a licensed acupuncture practitioner must also be covered. It does not require health plans that don’t cover any acupuncture services to begin doing so.
The law is also a memorial to Edith R. Davis, considered Minnesota’s pioneer acupuncturist, who brought “the whole area of acupuncture into the light of day and (made) sure that we have good standards,” said Rep. Karen Clark, (DFL-Mpls), who sponsors the law with Sen. Linda Berglin.
Advocates said that a growing body of scientific evidence supports the benefits of acupuncture for a variety of conditions and that the treatment is rarely associated with complications. They also said only about a dozen Minnesota physicians or chiropractors are board-certified in medical acupuncture.“Acupuncturists licensed under Board of Medical Practice’s very high standards ironically are not allowed to get reimbursed, and often their prices are lower and they are far more qualified to practice acupuncture than are physicians, even those with acupuncture licenses,” said Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka).
Ginger is a common recommendation in my clinic. Ginger is wonderful for digestive disorders and it is anti-inflammatory. “Drink Ginger tea” is one of the most common suggestions I make.
Here are some great ideas from an article by Jennifer Dubowsky, L.Ac. originally posted Dec. 2008 about the benefits of ginger.
It is interesting to note, too, that ginger has been employed in Chinese herbal medicine for thousands of years due to its numerous beneficial properties. Called Sheng-jiang in the Chinese pharmacopoeia, ginger used alone as a single herb is considered to alleviate nausea, dispel pathogens by inducing sweating, expel cold, as well as stop coughing and reduce excess phlegm in the lungs. In Chinese herbal medicine, Sheng-jiang, or fresh ginger, is considered to have very different properties than Gan-jiang, or dried ginger. Gan-jiang is useful for “cold” pain of the stomach and abdomen, diarrhea due to “cold” in the abdomen, cough, and rheumatism, among other uses. Dried ginger has also been shown to inhibit vomiting.