• YOU can become your own primary health care provider!

    Natural medicine is a vast improvement over contemporary care, but natural health is even better. My intent is to provide the tools and information you need in order to duplicate my successful experiences, and to offer you the comfort and peace of mind that has been such a blessing and security to my family.
  • Whatever form of natural health supplement you choose, be sure to educate yourself on all aspects of your health care. Let your diet and your attitude be the foundation for a life of wellness, not disease. When you don’t feel well, look for the root causes rather than seeking to simply substitute an herb or remedy for your medication. If you are taking medication for a serious condition, consult with someone well trained in herbs and alternatives before making a substitution and stopping your prescription. Your body will need time to reestablish it’s awareness that it is required to function!
  • DISCLAIMER:

    The information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe.

Born Again!!

Just heard a news story announcing that Britain has released a new study showing that for women with normal pregnancies home birth is significantly safer than hospital birth. Great ‘news’, but not new at all! The majority of babies in Britain have been born at home-on purpose-for decades. Babies and moms are immune to the germs in their own home, blood pressure and other stress factors are dramatically higher in hospital settings, and there is less pressure on mothers and physicians to prematurely use drugs or other interventions. The same information was available in the 1980’s, when I was having babies at home. This time, however, a Harvard professor of medicine agreed after reviewing the study, and comparing American statistics that show our birth outcomes consistently getting worse for mothers and babies. An opponent blamed things like poor access to pre-natal care and good nutrition in America-REALLY??? By comparison, Haiti and most third world countries deliver a higher percentage of healthy babies with safer outcomes for moms as well. Why? The Harvard professor said that moms in America essentially give birth in an Intensive Care Unit, surrounded by surgeons, all looking to intervene in what is a natural process rather than a disease. In other health-care systems interventionists are simply standing by in case there is an actual need for their services.

It was great to watch one daughter-in-law make her unexpected decision to have her baby at home. When she found out she was pregnant, her first words to my son included “but don’t talk to me about home birth and that kind of crazy stuff. I want to be in a hospital where I know I will feel safe.” A couple of months later my son was hospitalized after a reaction to one of the shots required by his job (a military specialty field), and she spent the night in the hospital with him. Sitting there, watching his care, she started asking herself if she really wanted a brand new baby to be in that ‘sick’ kind of environment, and decided to investigate birthing centers. A few weeks later she had a pre-natal appointment with a physician at the center, who had initially told her that all of the decisions about labor and delivery would be up to the parents (they live in Washington State, one of the most liberal medical and social approaches in the country). At this appointment she started getting pressure to do many of the things she had been told were ‘up to her’-like a fasting blood sugar test even though her numbers were perfectly normal and there were no other symptomatic indications of any imbalance. She decided to talk to a home-birth midwife (which Washington actually supports!) and felt her peace for the first time. She delivered a beautiful, 8 pound baby girl with no complications after a very long, hard labor which would undoubtedly have been a Caesarian delivery in a hospital setting.

Look at “Matthew’s Story” on my website for my experience in a hospital with the birth of my 9 week premature son, who left the hospital in a week and a half. One of the most bizarre medical comments I have ever heard was the doctor saying “well that’s the beauty of having them in here; we get to see how they respond when we try something new” in response to my tiny son’s extreme reaction to ‘routine’ caffeine infusions.

With all of our talk about women’s reproductive rights in this country, it is time for us to take ownership of birth. We have the power to deliver healthy babies-we just have to believe it is so!

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D-light-full D-ception??

I had two clients in a row last week that told me their mandatory work-physical bloodwork showed them to have low levels of vitamin D. That would not have been a surprise except that these two individuals spend lots of time out in the sun (one owns a small farm; the other lives in Puerto Rico and sells outdoor stadium equipment), which is normally what triggers the body to produce D, and which is my preferred solution over taking it as a supplement. What I discovered in conversation about their lifestyles made something register that I had heretofore overlooked.

We have known for decades that fluorescent lighting is antagonistic to Vitamin D. That is why, a number of years ago, most milk producers began using opaque plastic jugs rather than the clear ones they had used previously. Studies showed that the added D was virtually non-existent in the milk after it was placed into stores, which have always used high levels of fluorescent lighting even in the food cases themselves. Each of these clients had indoor lighting that was entirely CFL (compact fluorescent) based. Interesting, isn’t it, that a national epidemic of vitamin D deficiency followed a virtual national ban on incandescent light! I am a huge fan of energy conservation, was recycling 30 years ago when I had to save it and travel to different sites to drop it off, and don’t use paper towels, but I did not replace my old style full spectrum bulbs.

Fluorescent light also hyper-stimulates the medulla, the base part of the brain that controls the autonomic nervous system. I knew a family several years ago who had been told that their sons were hyperactive and had to be put on Ritalin or could not stay in their school. It was close to the end of the year and the boys behaved well at home so the parents indignantly pulled them out and said they would just home-school. They had a great time until the following fall. Over the summer they converted the garage into a classroom, complete with fluorescent lighting. About three weeks into the school year the mother was ready to pull out her hair, and called to discuss the boys’ behavior problems. I asked where they had done school the previous spring-which was on the back porch. They found they were fine anywhere in the house-except under the fluorescent lighting in ‘the classroom’. A couple of hours in and it was all over.

That discussion was enough to finally convince another friend who has tried for years to get me to convert to CFL to go and purchase some different bulbs for his home. Other than old-style full spectrum incandescent bulbs, what seem to test the best for most people are the “daylight” spectrum (not ‘full spectrum’) LED bulbs, especially the dimmable type. I don’t know why that feature would make a difference but it does. Fortunately LED technology is coming down in price, making it possible to reduce energy consumption without detrimental health impacts. If you do have CFL bulbs, remember that they are considered environmental hazards and CAN NOT be discarded in trash cans. They must be taken to a waste disposal site and are supposed to be put in special bags. If they break, pregnant women and children are not supposed to handle them. Hard for me to believe that the environmental trade-off is truly a positive end result, and clearly the health trade-off is not!

“Colorful” Behavior?

An interesting segment on NPR this week (http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2014/03/28/artificial-dyes-candy) pointed out the hypocrisy of American companies, who make their products with artificial colors in the US and natural colouring agents in Europe. Six years ago the British government released its studies of artificial colourings, proving that they have a clear and significant negative impact on children’s behavior and encouraging manufacturers to switch to plant dyes. Since EU legislation now requires warning labels pointing out the impact they have virtually disappeared even from brightly coloured candy, replaced by plant extracts. Most people are surprised to find out that it’s not just junk food that uses dye; even foods like mayonnaise and pickles often have artificial colour added.

Food dyes were the tipping point that led to my now thirty-plus years in natural health care.  My oldest son was two and a half when he had yet another sinus infection. Since this had been a two-year battle the Doctor prescribed a new medication -Ceclor- which was expected to be the “next penicillin” in effectiveness. Micah began acting really strange, stopping in the middle of walking across a room and just screaming, or turning around and suddenly punching me in the middle of a bedtime story, all of which was really unlike him. I called the pediatrician, who told me I was “still a new mother” , that his behavior was normal, and that he probably just didn’t “feel good”. This was NOT my kid “not feeling good”. This was not my kid! On day three he had been acting normally all evening and I thought that the Doctor had been right, and that Micah was finally “feeling better”. Shortly thereafter I realized that I had forgotten his evening dose and gave it to him; within a half hour he was screaming again.

I called the pharmacist this time rather than the Pediatrician, and explained what I was seeing. He said it sounded “like a classic reaction to red dye” and asked if he was taking any of a list of medications, second or third of which was the Ceclor. He suggested a switch to another antibiotic since Ceclor “has a really high dye load”. The behavior problems did not recur after the change of antibiotics. My approach to health care did, when two full courses of the second antibiotic after the four days of Ceclor still did not resolve the infection and I decided to look into natural alternatives. (Three days of Christopher’s Sinus Support formula, garlic, and alfalfa resolved the infection, though he continued to need smaller amounts of the supplements for about a year before we replaced enough cells to make a permanent difference.)We have known about the effect for years but the FDA says it has not seen a proven “causal link” so does nothing.

Dyes aren’t the only additive for which American manufacturers have double standards. Last year I ordered pineapple coconut water from ONE, which I had been purchasing since its inception; the outer case had two ingredient lists with a box to check for which product it contained based on destination.  The company is now owned by Pepsico and includes sugar and “natural flavor” in the US, while the Canadian export product still contains just coconut water and pineapple juice. Replacement product for me is Evolution Fresh coconut water, which is also raw and has a fabulous flavour! As consumers, we need to speak up. Let manufacturers know that you are OK with strawberry products that aren’t bubble-gum pink, and not OK with artificial dyes in anything. Read your labels, eat real food, and take charge of your behavior!

Fluoride Fools?

Time magazine for Valentine’s Day features an article about-surprise-the possible links between pollutants and brain function. Small wonder, given that many are neuro-toxins (have you ever seen the bugs lying on their back partially paralyzed but still alive?). Especially “shocking” was the factoid that  exposure to fluoridated water, which does not include the additional exposure from toothpastes and dental rinses, is linked to a seven point drop in IQ. Continental Europe has banned it for years.

The history of fluoride development explains it pretty clearly: “Sodium monofluorophosphate was first described in 1929 by the German chemist Willy Lange, who was then with the University of Berlin. His fruitless attempts to prepare the free monofluorophosphoric acid led him to check the stability of its esters. Together with Gerda von Krueger, one of his students, Lange thus synthesized diethyl fluorophosphate and some analogs, which proved to be quite toxic, being related to nerve agents. In the 1930s, Gerhard Schrader, working for the German company IG Farben, tried to develop synthetic insecticide. His work focused on esters of phosphoric acid and resulted in an accidental discovery of some other nerve agents such as DFP (diisopropyl fluorophosphate), Tabun, Soman, and Sarin. In the meantime, Lange, who was married to a Jewish woman, emigrated from Germany to the United States and started work for Procter and Gamble Company. In 1947, he and Ralph Livingston of Monsanto Company published the preparation of the free fluorophosphoric acids and mentioned the use of some toxic esters of monofluorophosphoric acid (like DFP) in the treatment of glaucoma and myasthenia gravis. The well known toxicity of these esters led to fears that the simple salts might also be toxic, and such fears precluded any large scale commercial use of the salts. In 1950, under sponsorship of the manufacturer of the compounds, Ozark Chemical Company, the toxicity of sodium monofluorophosphate was studied by Harold Hodge at the University of Rochester who included anti-cavity testing. In 1967 Colgate-Palmolive filed several patents on the use of sodium monofluorophosphate in toothpaste.[1]”(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_monofluorophosphate, emphasis added). WebMD considers fluoride to be a drug, lists its cautions and potential side effects, and emphasizes that children may be more sensitive to the risks. One of those risks, ironically, is yellow teeth resulting from excessive use, which has happened to friend’s children who had used only fluoridated toothpaste twice a day with no additional treatments.

The premise for fluoride treatments has been that the fluoride “strengthens” tooth enamel, a claim that comes because enamel consists largely of apatite, a form of calcium, which degrades in the presence of acids from oral bacteria feeding on starches and sugars in our foods. HOWEVER, saliva provides the materials necessary for the re-forming of apatite! In other words, we are fixing a problem that we were designed to correct ourselves anyway. I have a mouth full of fillings but grew up religiously brushing with fluoride and was among an experimental group of military dependents who received fluoride treatments at school. (Maybe that’s why I developed osteoporosis so young!) My kids have not only never used a fluoridated toothpaste, but also drank only reverse-osmosis purified water so did not have fluoride in their water. Only one of my first three children ever developed a cavity. The youngest, who decided that tooth-brushing was optional during the teenage braces years, was the only one to have multiple cavities (he has also eaten more sugar than the other three combined, since his father considers it one of the primary food groups). Aside from a generally healthy diet, we don’t use sports drinks, dilute any fruit juice we drink, and rarely consume soda, which not only has the acid-forming sugars (artificial sweeteners are even more acidic, so one more reason not to use them) but phosphoric acid, which disintegrates calcium. If I really felt like I need more fluoride, I’d add black walnut to my diet!

More good info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_fluoridation_controversy

Sinus Infection, Silver and Neti Pot Quick tips

Text message Q&A: My son has a sinus infection. I have silver shield left. Should he take it straight or mix it with juice or Gatorade?

A: Either way,  except Gatorade has way more crap than benefits. Pineapple juice would be good. Massage the lymph nodes from behind the ear down toward the collarbone. Snuff warm salt water for fastest relief. Lots of garlic for dinner!

Feeling better really can be that simple! Extra info beyond my quick text would be massage with an aromatic oil-I use a cajeput blend, or tea tree, chamomile, and lemon; see my website for more. A neti pot makes “snuffing” easier, and bayberry bark in the water will take down inflammation even faster than salt. My son’s sinus infections were what got me started in Natural Health!

More questions:

Natalie wrote: “I am prone to sinus infections (just got over one….again). But I can’t use the Nettie pot because the water gets trapped in my ears. Do you have any tips for that?”

When you use the neti, make sure you are letting the water in slowly, that your mouth is open, and that you do not block the open nostril or blow hard. There is a good set of instructions at  http://yoga108.org/pages/show/106-how-to-use-a-neti-pot-without-danger
It also helps to work the lymph nodes, stroking firmly from the bottom of the ear, the mastoid area (at the base of the skull) and the lower edge of the jaw down toward the collarbone.  I usually use a massage oil blend that includes cajeput or tea tree, chamomile, and lemon essential oils to increase circulation and reduce inflammation. That should help open the area and facilitate drainage. You can use the same blend on the sinus area, stroking from the nose outward, around the eye socket, and from the eye to the temples and behind the ears in one smooth motion.

Aside from that, you need to find out WHY you keep getting sinus infections. For most people it has to do with poor digestion, which produces acid waste that increases mucous production in the whole body in an attempt to soothe the irritated membranes. The offending foods have to be eliminated; the most common are dairy products and wheat, which for some reason seems to be connected especially to infections in the right ear. Supplements to support the stomach and/or pancreas (I am NOT a fan of digestive enzymes as a rule-I prefer safflowers, Garcinia combination, etc.) may be helpful, and marshmallow or slippery elm rebuild mucous membranes.  Remember that sugar feeds bacteria, so watch your diet for refined starches and sugars. Lymphatic congestion is usually a major factor as well; many of my clients do well with the Nature’s Sunshine Lymph Gland Cleanse Formula, and the regular practice of lymphatic exercise, based on  “Riding Horse” Qi Gung stance. Stand with feet a little more than shoulder width apart and the knees flexed. Begin to “bounce” lightly, gradually increasing the amount of movement. (The body will do this quite naturally.)  Allow the arms to bounce as well; they will tend to fall into loose fists which will lightly beat on the thighs. Gradually move them to beat on the groin, then  move them one at a time up the body, to the armpit, out the arms, and back in.  Continue around the neck and down the sides, ending with going down and back up the legs. Maintain the bouncing throughout the entire time; the whole process should take  8-10 minutes. Follow with plenty of water!

Q&A: Children’s Vitamins and Anemia

Question:

One question I have is, are you or were you in the medical field? I couldn’t remember if you were a nurse or not. I remember a past conversation on iron and the proper supplements and I was wondering, do the Flintstone vitamins give the proper source of iron? I do understand the difference between the two, labels just don’t always spell out what is good for you and what is not. I know my son has a lot of me in him and I was anemic taking the true iron supplements (wasn’t fun), not the Flintstones vitamins. I hope Flintstones are a good source for him since he shows some signs of how I was as a child and being anemic. He does eat very well, with lots of raw veggies.

Thanks for your input!

Answer:

***I am not in the medical field, I am a consulting body systems counselor, trained in herbs, flower essences, homeopathics and the like. I focus on restoring health rather than fighting disease symptoms.***Lots of my clients are nurses. I think they tend to be more open to alternatives in health care because they interact more closely with patients, so see more directly the consequences of conventional treatments. Our four-kid family has been virtually doctor-free for 30 years!

I don’t know the source of iron for Flintstones, but they, like virtually all commercial vitamins, are in a base of coal tar, which is a petroleum by-product. Commercial products, even prescription iron, are almost always ferrous sulfate, the form of iron found in skillets and nails, which is why it is so often unpleasant to take. We absorb ferrous gluconate much better and more easily. If he is eating lots of raw vegetables and fruits-in that order- he may already be getting what he needs. Dark, leafy greens and dark red foods (red cabbage, beets, dark raisins and cherries, etc.) are great sources of iron. Remember, you can sneak those into smoothies and they will not even notice the spinach or kale!

Sometimes anemia is not from a lack of iron but an inability to assimilate it; I would be giving him lots of (maple or fruit-sweetened only) live, whole milk yogurt to make sure his gut flora are producing enough B-12, which helps  maintain proper hemoglobin levels. If you do still really feel a need to give him a vitamin, I would use the Herbasaurs children’s vitamin on my website, which is in a base of powdered herbs so provides the co-nutrients essential for assimilation of vitamins. Remember that nothing in nature exists in isolation, so taking any single vitamin or mineral can throw off others; that’s why I prefer to work with herbs. Alfalfa, for example, has the widest range of trace minerals available; I encourage my clients to eat lots of alfalfa sprouts rather than taking capsules because sprouting activates enzymes in the seed and produces lots of vitamin C, but I’d still prefer alfalfa capsules to mineral supplement tablets. I especially like the “Herbal Trace Minerals”, which combine alfalfa, kelp, and dandelion.

Liquid Chlorophyll (check for preservatives-I use Nature’s Sunshine) taken between meals with chelated iron and bioflavanoids is the best way to restore hemoglobin levels. When I was pregnant with my second child I developed pernicious anemia. By the time it was recognized my hemoglobin was around 7.5. 30 days on prescription iron, with the attendant nausea and constipation, brought it up to a little over 8. I switched to the chlorophyll formula and got it to 11.4 in two weeks. I lost over 2 pints of blood in the delivery (they did not realize the placenta had already detached and were holding her in the birth canal trying to loosen the cord from around her neck to prevent that). Even after that loss, my hemoglobin was over 12 at my 6 week checkup!

Surviving the Teen Years

A friend of mine was recently telling me about the troubles she was having with her teenage son.  I advised her to try Blessed Thistle, which helps with hormonal headaches and works as a general tonic for teenagers. They take it and you take it, and between the two, fewer children die…..

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