STOP THE SUPPLEMENT MADNESS!

2015-02-13-Supplements

If this much is good, more must be better.

This is the thinking of most of us. “If I take 350 mg of magnesium and feel pretty good then 700 will make me feel great!” No, it will likely become your next remedy for constipation.

Or “I took 3000 mg of vitamin c and didn’t feel any different. I’ll try 6000 mg.” You may end up calling off work that day and get someone to drive yourself to the hospital because the cramping will make you feel like you’re dying.

More is not necessarily better.

But sometimes more IS better. 400 IUs of VItamin D used to be the required daily allowance and then they raised it to 600 when they learned it was too low and most of the population was deficient. Still deficient, it was raised to 800.

But we are STILL deficient.

I recently was speaking to a women in the health food store who was very depressed and wanted something to help her out of depression. I’m not a doctor so I could not suggest anything for depression; I’m a wellness consultant who thinks in terms of nutrition. I asked her “Are you on a good multi-vitamin?” She said she was not. I led her over to our multi-vitamin section where I showed her the balance of nutrients in one brand that also included a botanical blend of herbs noted for bringing emotional balance. “Look at all those goodies in there!” I said to her and suggested she start there.

Another woman (whom I know), was standing nearby and heard me. This particular woman had her gallbladder removed and had a weaker constitution than the customer I was talking with. Upon hearing me proclaim “Look at all those goodies” she turned to me with a look of horror. That is because SHE cannot have a lot of “goodies” in her supplements. It throws her off balance, affects her adversely, and so for HER, LESS IS MORE.

The man I used to work for is a nutritional braniac and I am thankful for learning so much from him – his philosophy was “if you have a particular issue, take it all in high doses for a short while. Tell your body who is boss.” And there are many practitioners who think like that. Then there are Western herbalists who believe that you train your body by not forcing it into submission – small amounts and fewer herbs at a time. (Chinese herbalists like a lot of various combinations of herbs, however).

But then, there is homeopathy – the philosophy behind that is the more diluted a substance, the stronger it is. So, Arnica Montana diluted 6x is weaker than Arnica Montana diluted 30x.

At one point, I wanted to just scream “STOP THE SUPPLEMENT MADNESS!” and sometimes I still get there, but it’s not as hard to navigate having been through this maze.

There are different philosophies because there are different goals, different issues, different values and perspectives. What you believe has much to do with what you choose, because your belief about something has a say in what you decide upon. If you have a personality that dives into everything and cleans the mess up later, you may not have a problem trying new things, and stronger medicine. If you approach life cautiously, it may take you a long time to decide on just the right multi-vitamin, and you may end up just opting out.

Is one more right than the other?

Back in the 90s, I tried a protein powder for the first time in my drink. I felt as if my body was saying “THANK YOU! I HAVE NEEDED THAT!” It took me awhile to realize it wasn’t the actual BRAND of protein powder I needed, but that my body was not breaking down protein so protein powder in general was actually being absorbed. I have learned to “hear what my body is telling me I need.”

The other day, a representative of a medicinal mushroom company was holding a sampling of products. He was explaining that the Reishi mushroom is the top sought after mushroom for a wide variety of complaints. In this particular brand, the mushrooms were formulated into a tincture. He gave me a few drops in water. I wasn’t feeling it. I told him I wanted to try some of the others. He then gave me Chaga. I immediately felt it resonate in my body. There was that “Thank you” again. It had nothing to do with the taste of either mushroom. It was what my body needed. I learned AFTERWARD that Chaga was helpful for the immune system support, what I needed.

Another thing I hear a lot is “I used that and it worked great but after 2 months it stopped working.” THat is because your body no longer needs it. The body is fearfully and wonderfully made. If you need something today, you may not need it in 3 months from now. Your body knows it no longer has need for it. In fact if you try to force your body to take it when it no longer has need, you my be overwhelming your system.

I don’t advocate this way for beginner’s. It’s a place to arrive at, but definitely needs to be kept in mind as you start out learning what your body needs. In fact, if your only desire is to get yourself out of crisis, you may be constantly craving what ISN’T good for you, thinking your body needs that.

If you are a Christian, you understand that repentance must be a part of your life so that you are able to discern the Holy Spirit speaking to you; leading you, guiding you. That path may lead you all of a sudden out in front, as the leading expert in a certain field. That path may lead you behind the scenes not being seen at all. But you will know because you have learned to listen, and put down the things that are not good for you, and put away things you no longer need (“childish things”).

In navigating your way through all the information and confusion surrounding what your body needs, it is uniquely your own journey, but you have people you trust along the way. Stick with this people, let the ones who have gone before you help you along. Gather information but don’t adopt it as being right for you until you have that peace in your heart that it’s time, but every day, start removing what you know to be hindering your health. From processed foods, to refined sugars, or maybe its grains. Or maybe its chemicals in your cupboard. Whatever you need to remove, remove one thing daily. Then, you will hear clearly what your body is telling you it needs.

Astringent Herbs

astringent herbs

Astringent herbs tighten and tone tissues. Most popular is witch hazel to tighten and tone skin but aloe Vera (not in diagram)is also an astringent; tightening and toning the digestive tract, useful for leaky gut.
Shepherds Purse is a powerful astringent in that it helps tone blood vessels and may stop some internal bleeding or aid against chronic bruising.

Horse Chestnut is an astringent and primarily used to aid in leg circulation and repairing of spider veins and varicose veins.

Coltsfoot (Tussilago Farfara)

FlowerBuds(1)

Don’t confuse coltsfoot with dandelion.  Though they are in the same family, they have different functions.  Look at the stem and the leaves.  Dandelion leaves are jagged toothed.  Coltsfoot leaves are palmate (think “palm” and open your hands wide, then spread fingers).

Common names

  • Coltsfoot
  • Cough wort
  • Son-before-the-father

Coltsfoot (botanical name, Tussilago farfara L.) is one of nature’s strange creations that entail placing the cart before the horse. Especially, going by the herb’s old Latin name ‘Filius ante patrem’, it denotes ‘the son coming before the father’. Coltsfoot bears flat yellow-hued flower heads quite early in the spring and once the blooms wither away, the herb produces wide, hoof-shaped, jade color leaves. This herb is quite widespread and does not have any preference regarding the soil it is cultivated on.

The botanical name of Tussilago farfara L. (coltsfoot) aptly mirrors the plant’s therapeutic use. As the Latin term tussilago denotes cough, the dried out leaves as well as the flower heads of this plant have been used to treat this condition since early days. Coltsfoot belongs to the member of plant family Asteraceae. It is a short, perennially growing woolly herb which bears flowering stems having a solitary yellow flower head at the terminal. As aforementioned, when the flower has withered away, leaves whose shape has resemblance to hoof appear on the stems. Although coltsfoot is indigenous to Europe, this herb is widespread in places that are sandy and moist in the north-eastern and north-central region of the United States as well as the southern regions of Canada. As the blossoms as well as the leaves of coltsfoot emerge in dissimilar periods, they are harvested and sold separately too.

Since long, coltsfoot has been an extremely preferred herbal medication for treating coughs and bronchial congestion. The leaves and also the roots of this herb form an active ingredient in a whole host of patented tea blends which are available commercially in Europe to treat cough and bronchial blockages.

To continue reading, see https://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_coltsfoot.htm

Flax Seeds for Hot Flashes

Yesterday in the store it was a typical scenario; a woman experiencing hot flashes walked up to the women’s section and browsed all the supplements for menopause.   Then she asked me “What is good for hot flashes?  I sweat when it’s hot.”

I replied most people do, but after a bit more dialogue we got right to the main issue.  She is 64 and has been sweating like this since she was 50.

I asked her if she knew what her hormone levels were and she said she did not.

I thought she needed to put the supplements down since she did not know if her irregular temperature was due to insufficient or elevated progesterone, insufficient or elevated estrogen, insufficient or elevated DHEA, cortisol, TSH, etc.   A saliva test by a qualified health professional can determine this though insurance does not cover it.  Generally it is $125 to $200.

I believe that if you don’t know what is causing hot flashes, start with food first.  It is often more helpful and is cheaper than experimenting with pricey supplements for menopause control (although many are very beneficial when you know what hormone you are supporting).

When you think of inflammation, think “heat”.  When you think of hot flashes, think “the body is trying to cool the heat”.    When you think of foods to cool the body, think “Omega 3s”, such as salmon or fish oil and flax seed or flax seed oil.

Start with flax seed and grind what you need when ready for use.   Use only 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed daily as it may cause bloating.   Flax seed contains omega 3 fatty acids.    These omega 3’s “put out the fire”

At the store, we sell whole flax seed for $1.99 for 13 ounces.   Start there.  You might even find your cholesterol levels have improved.

https://www.livestrong.com/article/284290-flaxseed-flaxseed-oil-for-hot-flashes/

 

Cayenne Tea – Excellent Wellness and Anti-Flu Support

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You don’t have the flu but it’s out there.  You can’t avoid being in public so you want to protect your immune system as much as possible, but you don’t have a lot of money to spend.

Try Cayenne Tea.  I’m having some this morning.  It’s an inexpensive, warming spice and a blood mover,  so it gets YOU moving as well.  Just 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne is enough to do the trick.  Sip an 8-ounce cup a few times a day.

Recipe:
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
8 ounces hot, boiling water

Enjoy!

cayenne tea

Protandim – Anti-aging Breakthrough

 

I have never been one for any supplements using the words “breakthrough” or “miracle” however when I went searching the web in September, to find a product I could really get on board with – being an herbalist and leaning towards natural supplements – I was quite intrigued with this one.

I went to the website – Lifevantage.com – and found that I can only purchase if I am introduced by a rep.  However, I checked out the ingredients and saw that they are all natural, all herbal and they are a patented formula that is capable of reaching the mitochondria via the NRF2 pathways.

You might not know what that means, but I did.  Nutrition reaching the cellular level has been the goal of almost all supplement manufacturers.

Read about NRF2 here.

I was getting excited about what this could mean for me –   especially since I had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome – a complicated disorder with chronic inflammation and oxidative stress in my body – my CRP (C-Reactive Protein) levels were at 11.2 (should be at .05 for function) – and my energy was limited to 10 minutes per half hour.

I needed to know more so I called the company to ask how I can be introduced to a rep, and talk to me more about this.   A representative called me and I was quickly put in touch with a doctor.  I asked him how this could help me have energy.  He led me to several studies that had been done and were published on PubMed, on Oxidative Stress, as well as the youtube video above (and there are many other videos as well.)

More studies can be found on Pubmed.  One such study may be found here but please feel free to look it up using key words such as Protandim and Oxidative stress.

I decided to try it.  Within 1 week I began to get some energy back and today I am taking this product for over 3 months.  I am not sleeping during the day and have been able to get back to work in the health food store (before this, I was not).

If you want to know more about Protandim, please send me a message.  I’d love to share it with you.  In the meantime take a look at this Product Information sheet. You will see its patent and the herbs used, which are formulated in a proper ratio to each other, that make it possible to reach the mitochondria and nourish the cells.

Darlene

Keto Chocolate Cardamom Fudge

I learned about cardamom when a new Indian restaurant opened up in the neighborhood, and we had to check it out.  Prior to that, I had not had Indian food (“I had been deprived of many cuisines growing up in an Italian household” she said, tongue-in-cheek).
When I first bit into my food, I tasted a burst of perfume on my tongue;  I wasn’t loving it.  After a few visits, the flavor of cardamom started to intrigue me but I wasn’t yet ready to experiment with it in any of my dishes I prepared at home.

I loved its fragrance in my nose but not on my tongue, so I experimented with perfume making and massage oils.  After awhile, I was ready to try it in my own foods.  The key to keeping from biting into the enormous burst of perfume taste in your mouth is to use very few pods at a time (unless you are a cardamom pro and have developed a taste already.)  This is not a spice that requires several pods.

I recently learned that cardamom was more than just a fragrant spice.  It has some nutritional benefits, quite a few in fact.

So, what is it?  Cardamom is a spice that is in the Zingiberacaea family (the same family as ginger), and is found in hard-shelled pods.  It is often called The Queen of Spices, and ranks as the third most expensive spice in the world, following saffron and vanilla pods.  However, you can buy it in small quantities and use just a little at a time.

Cardamom, as previously stated, is a burst of perfume in your mouth, however, in small doses, the taste is hardly noticed.  It is the aroma in the nose that compliments, but it is more than a fragrant spice used in Indian dishes.  Its health benefits include preventing colorectal cancer,  improvement of cardiovascular health, prevention of gastrointestinal disorders, as an anti-depressant, and has antispasmodic and antibacterial properties as well.
cardamominfo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For all its benefits, including its wonderful aroma, I wanted to experiment on my own with this intriguing herb.Because I am on the keto diet (High fat – moderate protein – low carb), I often experiment with various good Omega-3 or 6 fats in various dishes.  This morning,  I made

Keto Chocolate Cardamom Fudge 

2 Tablespoons Unrefined, Extra Virgin Cold-pressed Coconut Oil (left at room temperature so it mixes well but you can pop in microwave for 10 seconds if you like)
2 Tablespoons Almond Butter (without added sugar or salt)
2 Tablespoons Almond Flour (meal is okay)
2 Tablespoons Vegan Cream Cheese (I used this brand).
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Scoop Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
2 Packets of Pure Stevia (or erythritol)
4 Cardamom pods
Chopped Walnuts

Blend first seven ingredients by hand, using a fork or spoon.  Stir until well-blended.   Break open the 4 pods and sprinkle in your mixture.  Stir throughout.

Scoop out 1 teaspoon of the mixture at a time, roll into balls and put on a dish.  Flatten with two fingers if you like, or just leave in a ball.  Or, if you want to get fancy, you can put in a candy mold.  (I didn’t get fancy this morning).

This mixture should give you about 10 balls/bars.

Add about 2 chopped walnuts to each bar (or you can grind your walnuts and sprinkle on top).

Pop in the freezer for about 15 minutes.  Enjoy.  (This is not a low-calorie food, however, because of its high fat content, one or two should satisfy you.)

While this looks like dessert, on a keto diet, you actually eat these first.  One should fill you so you don’t overdo your regular meal.   I can eat 2-3 for breakfast alone.

chocolate cardamom keto fudge
Inline image

I love what the cardamom adds to this.  If you are not sure about cardamom just yet, no worries, it isn’t essential to making keto fudge.  You can leave it out but I’m an herbalist!  I need herbs and love what they add to my creations.

Play around with it.  Instead of chocolate powder, add a teaspoon of Golden Milk powder if you have it.  Or you can add unsweetened coconut flakes instead of walnuts.

But if you do use cardamom, I’d love to know your thoughts.   Please leave a comment.

Pathways of Elimination: The Liver

In 1994, a Russian naturopathic physician named Ilya Metchnikoff discovered that the body would recycle whatever toxin it could not purge via the elimination pathways.  These pathways are the lungs, liver, kidneys, skin, colon lymph and blood.  Each of these pathways works with the others to break down and eliminate toxins from the body.  If one of the pathways is compromised in any way, it places greater burden on the other pathways.

Constipation is an example of the colon not functioning to its fullest capacity. Edema in the tissues is an example of the kidneys, lymph and skin not functioning to their fullest capacity.  Bloating, belching and flatulence or gas are the result of the liver not functioning well. Poor circulation is an example of the blood pathway not functioning at its best.

The key to good health is to know these seven pathways and do whatever it takes to keep them functioning optimally.

So let’s talk liver!   The function of the liver is to break down everything that enters the body and redistribute it to other organs or pathways.  Toxins will be distributed to the kidneys and colon, however when it gets overloaded, it tries to utilize every other elimination system until they become full.  The liver chemically converts destructive toxins into less harmful substances that the colon and kidneys can eliminate. When toxins fail to be eliminated due to overburdening of the pathways, they are then sent to the fat cells to be stored.

Some helpful herbs for the liver are milk thistle (silybum maarianum), artichoke leaf (cynara slolymus), dandelion root (taraxacum oficinales), ashwagandha (withania somnifera), and garlic (allum sativum).  Dandelion root is widely available in our backyards (but collect what is about 100 feet away from the roads to protect from possible pesticide contamination from neighboring yards or spray trucks).   The greens are bitter and can be added to salads, or steamed and added with other greens.

Make your own Dandelion Root Tea

Gather the entire plant from your backyard.  Some lawns will still have dandelions growing in the fall but others may need to wait until spring.  Spring dandelions are best for leaf gathering because the leaves are tender and new, but fall dandelions are best for root harvesting because they are more nutrient dense.

There are a lot of dandelion look-a likes out there so be sure you are pulling up a dandelion plant.  The leaves are long, and jagged (pictured below).

Shake dirt off before bringing into the home and remember that there are insect eggs and possibly adult insects so be sure to wash the whole plant well to remove what dirt and insects did not shake off.

Separate the root from the leaves and chop the root coarsely.  Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a saucepan and add 2 teaspoons of the root.  Cover and lower the heat to simmer for about a minute.  Remove from heat and let steep for about 40 minutes. You may add the leaves and flowers about 5-7 minutes before you are ready to strain it so as not to damage the nutrition from them.

Strain by placing a strainer over your teacup and pour.  Add honey if desired.

Drinking a few cups daily will help cleanse your liver and support its function.  If you have bloating, belching, gas, or constipation, dandelion root tea may help remove the burden.