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Tag: Natural remedies

Vitamins to Help Avoid or Recover from a Virus

Ever since Linus Pauling first discovered how vitamin C works with the human body’s immune system over 100 years ago, we have been learning more and more about how the human body functions and the essential roles these substances play. The scientific field of orthomolecular medicine is the study of how vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients affect the human body. Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness.

Before we go into which vitamins and minerals could help keep you healthy or perhaps work to restore your health if you are already suffering, let’s be clear that this is not a replacement for any social distancing or personal protective equipment guidelines. As always, nutrient supplementation should be undertaken in addition to other health efforts such as eating a healthy, whole foods-based diet, getting exercise, avoiding chemicals, etc., and not instead of other efforts.

While we are calling the virus that causes this pandemic “novel”, there’s nothing unfamiliar about how to address viral infections and how to help our bodies resist and recover. In fact, there has been a lot of chatter in the world of natural health and in the world of scientific studies about the anti-viral effects of some vitamins and minerals that could prove useful. At worst, they won’t harm.

Vitamin C

Chinese officials have been successfully using IV vitamin C therapy in their battle against the virus, and there is abundant clinical evidence as to the efficacy of intravenous vitamin C in battling viral infections. While you can get i.v. therapy at a hospital if you are already admitted and insist on it, or at a stand-alone center, the rest of us should be taking it orally. There has been documented success in using vitamin C against any virus.

My preferred method of getting vitamin C is through foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, and acerola cherries, but supplements can be taken, too. 500-1,000 mg of vitamin C daily is a good goal for maintaining health, which I would double or even triple and take in divided doses if feeling ill. My favorite bio-available Vitamin C supplement is called OPT.

Vitamin D

Humans synthesize vitamin D from sun exposure to un-sunscreened skin, but the great majority of Americans are deficient. Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to autoimmune issues and vitamin D works with vitamin C in helping us withstand viral assaults.

To supplement during this time where viral threats luck everywhere, 5,000 I.U. of D3 daily may help boost your immunity. Vitamin D needs to travel on fat, so be sure to take it with something that contains fat such as dairy products, avocados, etc.

Vitamin A

Most Americans are also deficient in vitamin A. Dr. Brownstein recommends 5,000 units of vitamin A (not beta carotene) daily as a preventative, and significantly increasing this amount for a limited time (4 days) if you are ill. It’s important not to take higher doses of vitamin A for a prolonged period to avoid vitamin A toxicity.

Vitamin A is found in foods from animal sources, including dairy products, fish, and meat (especially liver). If you are a vegan, now is an especially important time to supplement with vitamin A.

See a lot more tips and remedies for recovering from a viral infection in my ever-popular Kick-a-Cold series.

Stay well!

For Relief from Back Pain, Try Arnica

Doesn’t it always go this way: you go through  an incredibly busy, stressful period in your life and then your body gives out and reminds you to slow down and taker care of yourself? That’s how I’m feeling about my back right now.

This fall has been an unending stream of physical and emotional demands and now my back muscles have been in spasms for almost two weeks. Beginning with the unexpected “freezer thaw” that challenged me to cook 100 lbs. of meat in one week and continuing with the basement flood and charity dance competition, my body has been working hard. That stress has been intensified by the emotional departure of my father-in-law from pneumonia and leukemia, followed a week later by my beloved uncle who had survived debilitating scleraderma for 8 years.

Our house has seen a lot of tears lately, and we miss them both. It feels too soon for my parents’ generation to begin dying off.

All of this stress has made me not feel like blogging much lately, but it’s the pain in my back from the muscle spasms that keeps the heating pad going all day long.

I had a therapeutic massage last week from my massage therapist, and it helped, but then I picked up a heavy bag and the agony started all over again.

Today, my sister reminded me that the last time this happened I found some relief by taking homeopathic arnica internally and also by rubbing arnica oil directly on the affected muscles. She was right: after just one dose of arnica, the muscle stopped spasming. The aching is still there, probably from the lactic acid build-up, but I will take another few doses over the course of the evening and will expect to have a better night tonight than last night.

I’m also going to get another massage, because, really, there is no substitute for hands-on work when it comes to tight muscles.

Sometimes everyone needs this kind of reminder to take care of themselves.  🙂

Nausea, Vertigo Symptoms of Food Sensitivities

My son awoke on Monday morning complaining of vertigo and nausea. It was a clear food sensitivity reaction.

These symptoms have happened before and I’m learning that, if I do a little detective work, I can directly correlate the episode with something he ate. I’ve also learned from past experience that if I insist he goes to school during these episodes, I should expect a call from the school nurse after he eventually vomits. He stayed home and on the couch for most of the day. By dinnertime, he was feeling much recovered.

If you are not living in a constantly inflamed state, then your reaction to an inflammatory trigger will be noticeable. If you are following a customized anti-inflammatory diet, or LEAP, then you can recover from any inadvertent reactions

This time the culprit was a pineapple popsicle he had enjoyed for dessert the night before. We have known he was sensitive to pineapple since he submitted his blood for the Mediator Release Test (MRT), but it had been more than four years since he had eaten pineapple and he begged to have it. At this point in our food sensitivities journey, the best way to tell if his oral tolerance has risen for a food is to challenge it on a day when it is the only new variable.

He wanted to try it. Sometimes you have to suffer through a hypersensitivity reaction to convince yourself that you are truly better off without that food in your life.

Of course, its best to avoid the hypersensitivity reaction in the first place. That’s the goal of the customized anti-inflammatory diet that I design for my clients in my naturopathic food sensitivities clinic. I work with clients nationwide; feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation if you suspect food sensitivities may play a role in your ailments.

Natural Cures for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Cats… and People, Too

Last weekend, our 16-year old cat announced to me that she had a urinary tract infection by jumping up onto my freshly-laundered white bedspread, deliberately squatting, and dribbling a few drops of bloody urine onto the center of the bed.

Our 16-year old Russian Blue cat.

It was an effective message.

I scooped her up and deposited her in the backyard on a balmy spring evening to watch her stumble around trying to pee and rubbing her va-jay-jay on the grass. I could tell she was experiencing the burning and relentless sensation of needing to pee that characterizes a urinary tract infection. If you’ve ever had a UTI, you know what I mean. This poor cat was suffering.

It was a Sunday night, so I couldn’t get her into see the vet until the next morning anyway, and we needed to find a way to get through the night without her peeing all over the house in the meantime. Once again, I decided to treat her like I would a human patient. After all, cats are mammals, too.

The last time I doctored my cat was when in 2010 when she was diagnosed with Chronic Feline Renal Failure, and the signs then were similar to the ones now. I knew she was heading into serious dehydration if this irresistible urge to urinate continued unabated. Exactly three years ago, I had successfully pushed her Chronic Feline Renal Failure into remission by changing her diet and administering probiotics and supplements. Her lab tests came back proving our success and she stopped peeing all over the house. Since then, we had kept it in check through daily cranberry supplements and a low-protein diet. But she was undeniably suffering now. She needed a fast-acting UTI remedy.

Natural Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Remedy

I mixed up a homeopathic remedy of nux vomica and mercurius corrosivus and added it to her water bowl. I also put some into a vial with a dropper and squirted a dose directly into her mouth to get started. Within minutes it was obvious that something had changed for her: she was acting normally again. She was no longer squatting in inappropriate places, dribbling urine, or rubbing her crotch. I let her inside and she immediately went to her bowl to eat her low-protein dinner, and then curled up and slept soundly on the corner of our bed for most of the night.

It has now been three days since I gave her the remedy, and she hasn’t peed outside the litter box since. Her litter box deposits seem to be of normal volume and frequency again, and her appetite and disposition have returned. Phew!

The right homeopathic remedy can be just as effective on people as they are with cats. The trick with homeopathy is to figure out the right remedy; you’ll know it’s right because symptoms will drastically improve.

Even though I only list one homeopathic remedy (my amazing hay fever remedy!) for sale in my online store, I can prepare a remedy for almost any ailment and ship it to your door. Wanna know more? Just shoot me an email and ask!

Natural Remedies for Hay fever

It’s spring and that means hay fever season.

I used to only suffer from pollen-related allergies in the fall, when the weeds and grasses are at their peak. But, in my early twenties I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico for a time, and when the yellow chamisa bloomed in the spring, my nose would turn into a faucett.

Runny nose, frequent and unstoppable sneezing fits, red and itchy eyes… those are just the most obvious symptoms that I’m suffering. The most annoying ones include the irritating itching on the roof of my mouth, right on the palate, and how the skin on my face constantly tickles, begging to be scratched at a deeper level at risk of permanent scarring or at least visible damage. With my body in histamine overdrive it’s no wonder hay fever makes me feel like I’m interacting with the world through a thick pillow and leaves me wiped out by mid-afternoon.

For years I seasonally took prescription anti-histamines like Zyrtec and Claritin. They took away the itching, sure, but left me dehydrated, wired, and chemically-dependent. Now, I try to manage the hayfever with natural remedies instead of drugs.

Locally-collected bee pollen
Locally-collected bee pollen

My first line of offense is the locally collected bee pollen I find in the refrigerated section of my local Vitamin Cottage. (Check with your local health food store, or look for bee pollen collected in your area online.) An 8-oz. baggie runs me about $3.20 and may last me almost the entire season. I start each season slowly, with just about 1/8 teaspoon of pollen dissolved into a few ounces of juice or lemonade. Since bee pollen is like concentrated honey, it makes a sweet drink and I start to breathe easier quickly.

Once I’m sure I tolerate the pollen again this year, I gradually increase the dosage up to an entire teaspoon, if needed, as frequently as required. True confession: I don’t always wait for the pollen beads to fully dissolve before drinking them down. What can I say, allergies make me desperate!

This year, my homeopath also recommended a homeopathic remedy for hay fever that seems to be effective as well: Sabadilla. With homeopathy, you take a dose in an empty mouth and see what happens. If it works and the symptos abate for a while then return, take another dose. Discontinue when symptoms disappear or are not affected at all (which indicates you’re using the wrong remedy). While you can get a good selection of homeopathic remedies at a good health store, this one is hard to find and may be best ordered online.

Another homeopathic remedy for histamine reactions that may not necessarily be from hay fever is Histaminum. This was the only thing that worked to end my two-year old’s lifelong runny nose problem.