Feeds:
Posts

Archive for the ‘All’ Category

Today on my walk I noticed the grasses have matured into an amazing array of color. Some are showing off a deep maroon blaze across their tips, others are glowing bright yellow. There are patches of every shade of green and now golds and browns too. All the while my eyes are admiring this scene, my nose says “Accchoooo!”

June hayfever is often related to this wonderful display of the grasses, a group of plants I once considered the most boring of them all. Upon closer examination, they are as miraculous in their creation and display of nature’s beauty as any other plant family.

The pollen of grasses has affected up to 30% of the population with an obnoxious reaction. Sneezing, runny noses, itchy eyes are all common symptoms of the immune systems activation towards the grass pollen. It’s as if it were a serious pathogen, in need of attack.

How did the primary food source for our domesticated 4 legged friends become an enemy to so many? I’m sure farmers across the country would have lots of ideas, but for immunology here’s the scoop:

The immune system is one of the most complex parts of our bodies. It is ever evolving and reacting to our environments. It plays a significant part in the health of every other part of the body. It’s expression can significantly determine whether we’re even able to get out of bed and can change over night.

For allergy sufferers, the pattern is known as TH2 dominance which results in hypersensitivity to otherwise non-harmful stimuli. TH2 dominance is when histamine releases in excess and creates the many irritating symptoms characteristic of allergies, asthma, eczema and hives. Left untreated, TH2 expression can results in anaphylactic shock in the worst cases. While allergies are an annoyance, they also signify that the immune system isn’t functioning at it’s best.

Ideally, our immune system exists in what is known as TH1 dominance state most of the time. This is when the immune cells are at the ready for bacteria, virus’s and also cleaning up cells that are otherwise not doing their job correctly in the body. When a person’s immune system is in TH2 dominance, these jobs go unattended.

While the over-the-counter anti-histamine drugs can get us through a day in the hayfield, they will not correcct the immune imbalance and can lead to negative side effects. The majority of our antihistamine drugs including: Benedryl, Claritin, Sudafed and many more are part of the class of drugs known as anti-cholinergics. These drugs are known to cause cognitive decline, even with mild, occasional use. Check out the “Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Scale” by the Aging Brain Care organization, available at http://www.miltonkeynesccg.nhs.uk/resources/uploads/ACB_scale_-_legal_size.pdf

How to Keep you Mind and Stop the Sneezing:

  • Nasal lavage has been used for thousands of years, particularly in dry climates. Most commonly, this is done with a sinus rinse device with saline such as a netti pot. It is important to utilize it’s traditional pair, Nasya oil to moisturize the nasal mucosa after rinsing. This can also, more conveniently be done with a nasal spray. I recommend a non-steroidal cleansing spray because they are non-addictive and do not cause long term changes to the delicate nasal tissue.
  • Quercetin, Bromelain, Vitamin C = this trio is our most commonly helpful blend of natural substances for stabalizing mast cells and reducing histamine expression. In doing so, they also help re-establish the ability of the immune system to become TH1 dominant.
  • Allergy desensitizing drops = our local medicinal supplier Mountain States Health Products makes an invaluable array of homeopathic allergy desensitizing drops. Some research suggests oral drops to be as effective as prescription allergy shots, with varying results from prescription vs homeopathic forms. What are you waiting for? Start desensitizing your allergies to pollen (grass or tree blends), pets, bee’s and other stinging insects today!
  • Nettle and euphrasia are two wonderful allergy treatments from our herbal medicine world. Utilize as tincture, tea or in food for routine support.

Any case of allergic symptoms is an example of an immune system that could function in a better way. TH2 dominant individuals are at a higher risk for other chronic diseases of immune dysfunction such as auto-immune diseases and cancer. Take care of your immune system with an integrative medicine approach to support a path to optimal health today! Individualized care and natural medicine tools available at Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary here in Lyons, CO.

References:

Aging Brain Care.org Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Scale, 2012 update

Merz, Beverly Common anticholinergic drugs like Benadryl linked to increased dementia risk. JANUARY 28, 2015, 8:55 PM , UPDATED MAY 23, 2017. Harvard Women’s Health Watch

Orzechowski RF1Currie DSValancius CA. Comparative anticholinergic activities of 10 histamine H1 receptor antagonists in two functional models. Eur J Pharmacol. 2005 Jan 4;506(3):257-64. Epub 2004 Nov 30.

Saporta, Diego , Efficacy of Sublingual Immunotherapy versus Subcutaneous Injection Immunotherapy in Allergic Patients. J Environ Public Health. 2012; 2012: 492405.

White MV1. The role of histamine in allergic diseases. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1990 Oct;86(4 Pt 2):599-605.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1699987

Read Full Post »

130912175502-08-colorado-flooding-0912-horizontal-gallery

The wild wind. Blustery season of weather change. From the blue sky bliss of the sun warming the earth switching to a torrential downpour in moments, it’s hard to know how to dress some days…

Sometimes an approaching storm feels like a lot more than just weather moving in. If the Lyons Colorado 1,000 year flood scenes are in your personal memory, your cells are going to respond differently to the sound of falling rain. If images like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz mean anything personal to you, the breeze might rattle you a little more. If you’ve had traumatic experiences with natural disasters, the shifts and movements of the earth’s changing seasons bring up more than the promise of green grass tomorrow.

Our memory exists not in our brains but in our bodies. The mind might be where the senses replay the story of an event, but the body response precedes it activating physiologic change. The body tenses, the breathing quickens, the heartrate increases all to signals of stress.

Natural medicine tools:

  • Rescue Remedy – this homeopathic medicinal blend is useful for helping a person shift out of the fight or flight response. It is gentle enough for infants and all ages.

 

  • Passionflower tea – this wonderful herb is helpful for balancing neurotransmitters in the brain and creates a gentle calming effect on the body. It can help with sleep or just help take the edge off when feeling tense.

 

  • Magnesium – this nutrient is significantly deficient in many people, even with healthy diets. Magnesium facilitates muscle relaxation and can help with chronic tension that the body holds.

 

  • Sleep – our single most restorative activity, sleep helps the body and mind recover from stressful experiences. If you’re sleep is compromised, you’re more likely to experience elevated stress responses. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of proper scheduling to allow for adequate sleep. However, if you have sleep issues like difficulty falling asleep or frequent waking, or feeling unrested upon waking in the morning, seek medical help.

 

  • Acupuncture & bodywork – tools that directly influence the body’s processing of stress hormones are invaluable to health. The release of endorphins in a controlled environment allows for re-balancing of the nervous system and aiding a deeper state of relaxation as a baseline.

 

  • Grounding – shifting the awareness from the head and the flurry of thoughts to the body changes our awareness and helps us to be more present to the reality of current circumstances. A daily practice of walking barefoot in the wet morning grass, shaking the body from head to toe and massaging the abdomen are all tools to cultivate presence in the body.

 

  • Hydrotherapy – contrasting heat and cold to the body surface is a traditional technique for optimal health. For calming the stress response, relaxing in a warm bath or shower and intermittently shifting the temperature to cool water helps to regulate the nervous system.

 

One thing is certain, the storms are going to keep coming. Preparing ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally allows us to be in the best possible state to handle the ever changing environment.

 

At Stillwater Clinic, our purpose is to provide the community with resources for your whole health. Visit us online at www.stillwaterhealingarts.com for more information and to schedule a visit today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

The Toxicity of our Health & Beauty industry

In 2017 there were over 1.5 million people diagnosed with cancer in the United States. When you’ve been through the experience of a family member or loved one enduring cancer diagnosis or treatment or if you know the experience yourself it is clearly one to be prevented at all cost. We put so much effort and money into finding a cure for cancer. However the phrase, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” never rung more true.

beautiful-beauty-bloom-271876.jpg

It is such an awful conundrum that an American industry has created a mis-conception that women are less-than and that a product can bring them to a state of worthiness. Make-up and the majority of our health and beauty industry is based upon a false truth that there is a necessity for artificially created products that are necessitated by the inherent faults of women.

Foundation, blush, eye-shadow, mascara, lipstick, nail polish and more might be fine if they are a one-time special occasion use for a theatrical production of dramatic expression. However, the unfortunate experience is that many women feel they cannot leave the house without “putting their face on” for the world to accept them as they artificially are with layers of chemical products overlying their authentic self.

How have we come to this place where billions of women feel more empowered to “conceal” their blemishes and alter their natural coloring with toxic substances that can cost them their lives through the carcinogenic substances they spend their hard earned dollars on? Media and advertising infiltrates even the most mindful of us all. And those who allow advertising to seep into their consciousness on a regular basis have no hope but to follow the masses and purchase the Maybeline, Cover Girl and even Burt’s Bee’s products that proclaim beauty, acceptance and maybe some version of happiness.

Unfortunate for women bought into this modified version of self is the reality that the majority of the chemicals used in our health and beauty industry come with an enormous cost to one’s health. Carcinogenic compounds (those that are known to cause cancer) permeate the industry. Hydroquinone, parabens, phenylenediamine, coal tar, diethanolamine, dioxane; nanoparticles, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene and petroleum distillates are all known to cause cancer and are common ingredients in make-up, lotions, nail polish and other products in the “beauty industry”.

What is beautiful about cancer? Nothing at all. So what is a girl to do? Here are a few suggestions to help girls of all ages move through life with health and beauty together at their side:

  • Learn to appreciate the natural you! Identify people and places that accept the natural you and work to enhance those relationships.
  • Read labels carefully! If there is an ingredient name you do not recognize and know to be safe, check it out at ewg.org/skin-deep, the most comprehensive database for chemical safety online and completely free!
  • Avoid nail polish! The microcirculation of the nailbed provides ready access of chemicals in nail polish into the bloodstream.
  • Change the trend! Avoid teaching children that it’s a positive thing to paint their faces, fingernails or toenails with any regularity at all.
  • Encourage companies to make better products, although even the most “natural” nail polish on the market today contain significant toxins.
  • If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your body! Your skin absorbs everything it encounters, some substances far more readily than others. Make sure your putting on your body things you feel great about consuming.
  • Opt for all natural products:
    • shea butter, bees wax and organic herbal extracts in organic oils for moisturizing
    • Baking soda and essential oils for deodorants
    • Apple cider vinegar and baking soda mix for hair products along with natural oils for conditioners and detanglers

In the last 100 years our chemical industry has exploded to infiltrate nearly every household in America. Along with that come the unwelcome impacts of carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, bio-accumulative toxins, neurological irritants and more. It’s well past time to make a change for our personal health, and for the health of all beings downstream whether that might be children, grand-children or the fish and wildlife that share our waterways who are subject to whatever we are washing down the drain.

For more resources for tools for daily life wellness or for individualized care managing cancer, cancer prevention or other health concerns please visit Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary at 418 High Street in Lyons, Colorado.

 

References:

EWG.org DIRTY DOZEN ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS; 12 Hormone-Altering Chemicals and How to Avoid Them.

Preetha AnandAjaikumar B. KunnumakaraChitra SundaramKuzhuvelil B. HarikumarSheeja T. TharakanOiki S. LaiBokyung Sung, and Bharat B. AggarwalUCancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes” Pharm Res. 2008 Sep; 25(9): 2097–2116.

SciammaccoDuke-EWG Study Finds Toxic Nail Polish Chemical In Women’s Bodies, Sara. Sally Hansen, OPI, Wet N Wild Among Brands Selling Nail Polishes With Endocrine Disruptors. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2015. EWG.org

Read Full Post »

As awful and mysterious as a cancer diagnosis is, cancer prevention can be at your fingertips! Everyday products we use that contain carcinogens are as simple to avoid as knowing what’s in your shopping cart. Empower yourself by choosing what you truly want for your future with the day to day shopping trips you make. While some substances can be tricky to avoid, explore your options and get creative to help create a cancer-free world.

Things to know:

  • Fire Retardants – these compounds are commonly used in our clothing and household products. Fire retardants are incorporated into synthetic materials to prevent their melting point in cases of fire. These have been known to be toxic to humans for a long time, however they are considered a necessity for synthetic materials due to their flammability risk. There has been an effort to move toward “Green Chemistry” and reduce the toxicity of fire retardants, but many of the worst offenders are still in most households.
    • Avoid furniture, drapes and especially infant clothing labeled as “fire retardant”
    • Look for furniture labeled with “natural oils” as the flame retardant.
    • Natural fiber infant clothing, drapes and furnishings emit far fewer off-gassing chemicals or none at all.
    • Seek out and support companies that avoid flame retardant chemicals. To name a few: Urban Natural, Room and Board, IKEA, Crate and Barrel, West Elm and Pottery Barn
    • Use an indoor air filter in your main living spaces, especially the bedroom to reduce circulating chemicals.
    • Often, vintage products have the benefit of already having off gassed much of their toxic chemicals, but this is not the case with flame retardants. As foam materials break down their dust particles become more mobile which is where the chemicals reside. This is especially important for beds & mattresses made of foam and other synthetic fibers.
  • Perflourinated chemicals (PFC’s): These compounds are used both in cookware (non-stick coating) and to water-proof jackets and other synthetic materials. Found commonly in our outdoor gear products. They are known to bio-accumulate and cause long-term damage to all biological beings.
    • Cook with stainless steel and ceramic dishes
    • Cooking with cast iron is a great option for people who have healthy or low iron levels. Check routinely as iron in the body can easily get too high!
    • Choose natural fiber clothing sources. Natural materials share a common thread; less harmful in their production and in their use.
    • Wool is wonderful! Naturally water resistant, warm and cozy just like it’s producers.
  • Phthalates and similar products used to create plastic; their production produces a wide array of toxic chemicals that cause harm both to individuals and the environment. Reducing plastic use is a necessary change for the health or ourselves and our planet.
    • Select products packed in recyclable materials
    • Re-use existing plastic as much as possible to avoid supporting the production of new plastic
    • Remove plastic wrapping from food as soon as possible and store in glass, metal or wax coated wraps
    • Do not heat food wrapped in plastic ever
    • Avoid disposable drinking cups, especially with hot liquids
    • Take your own re-usable dishes to restaurants for left-overs & take-out
    • Buy in bulk to reduce packaging

There is so much of our personal and collective health that lies in our hands. The disposable, toxin filled lifestyle that pervades America and other parts of the world is beyond crazy and the repercussions are being seen in our planet as well as in the health of individuals. Make changes for sustainability in your shopping cart and you will be making a change for the better for all beings.

For individual guidance on healthy living, nutritional choices and evaluating health concerns, visit Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary today!

References:

PFC Info: http://www.ncceh.ca/sites/default/files/Health_effects_PFCs_Oct_2010.pdf

Read Full Post »

Breasts

Preventing cancer is a top health concern for everyone today. Only 5-10% of cancer patients today have any genetic predisposition (inherited risk from their family members) for developing cancer. For the remaining population, we have to consider what are the predominant factors causing cancer today.

Carcinogens are chemical substances known to cause cancer. The majority of the most concerning carcinogens are human made. They are products developed for agriculture (pesticides & herbicides), building materials, products in our cosmetic industry and more. Avoiding cancer requires a keen awareness of what carcinogens are and making conscious choices to utilize products without them. It also requires adding protective measures for the carcinogens we cannot avoid; those that are in our air and water as pollution and often in our homes.

But isn’t our government keeping us safe? In the United States, chemical safety is determined by the manufacturer of a compound evaluating effects over short periods of time, then reporting to the EPA/USDA depending on how it is classified. This does not identify long-term toxicity or lifelong accumulation. While we know that cigarettes cause cancer, smoking 1 cigarette will not and so it was said that cigarettes were safe for many, many years. However it is now widely acknowledged that cigarettes do cause cancer as a result of long-term use. Similarly, chemicals that have been allowed in our food system due to short-term safety are increasingly recognized to have detrimental long-term effects.

Even more complex, when scientists determine chemical safety it is by evaluating 1 chemical at a time. However an individual’s exposure in one bite of food can often contain a dozen or more chemical additives, all working together. One aspect of medicine that is becoming an increasing concern is the use of “polypharmacy,” or the unknown effect of using more than one drug at a time. While we might evaluate the risks and benefits of prescription drugs in this way, we need to be paying even closer attention to the combined affect of carcinogens in all areas of life.

Examining the entire list of carcinogens is completely overwhelming, so this series will highlight a few to steer clear of and great resources to check out too. Let’s start with those that may be in our refrigerators and our backyards:

  • Atrazine, Organophosphates and Telone – these chemicals are just a few of the compounds used in conventional agriculture today that are known carcinogens. Consuming foods produced with these chemical additives are individually known to cause cancer. In most conventional farms and food products, multiple chemicals are used simultaneously. What are we to do?
    • Consume organic foods, especially from small farms that are not adjacent to conventional agriculture regions is your best bet to keep these cancer causing substances out of your body.
    • Request restaurants you enjoy to opt for organic foods, as it’s not just what we buy at the grocery store that matters.
    • Ensure children are given organic food for their packed lunches. Many of these compounds bio-accumulate, which mean they grow in the body exponentially and cannot be removed. Presently public school nutrition does not provide food free of carcinogens.
    • Learn about natural pest control and organic fertilizers to grow your own healthy food.
  • Glyphosate the active ingredient in RoundUp – this controversial compound and product have been proclaimed as safe by the manufacturer Monsanto since the 1970’s. However, increasing evidence from researchers around the world acknowledge the broad health impacts and carcinogenicity of not only glyphosate but the combined effects of the ingredients in the common weed killer products.
    • Learn to appreciate a natural appearing environment for your region. Permaculture and xeriscaping employ practices that mimic the health of the ecosystem to create beautiful landscapes.
    • Utilize old-fashioned techniques – pull the undesirable weeds out!
    • Explore natural products for weed killing; salt, vinegar and certain essential oils have proven effective at destroying undesirable plant species.

No matter your race, gender, class or intellectual expertise we are all at significant risk for developing cancer living in the US today. For most individuals, by the time a cancer is large enough to be identified, it has already been growing steadily for 10-20 years. There is no better time to focus on prevention, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

For individualized recommendations on reducing your cancer risk and enhancing the preventative measures in your life, visit Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary where we offer resources, education and individualized medical care to support your long term health.

 

References:

Anand, Preethad et al. Cancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes., Pharm Res. 2008 Sep; 25(9): 2097–2116.
BreastCancer.org, “Your Step By Step Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer” handbook.
Cressey, Daniel.  Widely Used Herbicide Linked to Cancer  The World Health Organization’s research arm declares glyphosate a probable carcinogen. What’s the evidence? Nature magazine on March 25, 2015.
Dalamas, Christos and Ilias G. Eleftherohorinos. Pesticide Exposure, Safety Issues, and Risk Assessment Indicators. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 May; 8(5): 1402–1419.
National Institute of Health, Department of Health & Human Services: Environmental Health & Toxicology Database; https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/index.php
Samsel, Anthony, and Stephanie Seneff. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013 Dec; 6(4): 159–184.
Seidler, Ramon PhD., the former Team Leader of the EPA’s Genetically Engineered Organism biosafety program. Interview; http://gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/17456-the-time-for-glyphosate-based-herbicides-is-over

Read Full Post »

The old phrase, “you’ve got to nip it in the bud,” is so true when it comes to addressing acute cold and flu symptoms. In exploring what works when it comes to immune stimulation and fighting seasonal illness, I look to traditions around the world that have been keeping people healthy for generations.

 

Contrast hydrotherapy – common to Finnish culture, Japanese and native American tradition, the alternating hot and cold water stimulation to the body does wonders to boost the system.  This can vary from enjoying a regular warm shower and briefly alternating the temperature to as cool as can be comfortably tolerated, then back to heat as warm as is comfortable and back to cool again. A typical duration is 1 minute hot, 5-10 seconds cold repeated 3 times.

Intensifying the experience with hot tubs or sauna use alternating with intermittent cool/cold temperature is common as well and has profound measurable effects. In a Finnish study of contracting hydrotherapy from a sauna to a shower the white blood cell activity after use was especially enhanced.   Athletes making use of the sauna with contrasting cold shower had a more dramatic result, although it is effective in non-athletes as well. (1)

SW Sauna

Medicinal mushrooms – As researcher and mycology expert Paul Stamets describes, mushrooms can save the world. The complexity of the mycelium web has numerous interactions with our own immune system when we consume the wide varieties that nature provides. Modern research mimicks what Chinese Medicine has known for years. Various mushroom strains are well known to boost the protective energy of the body,

“We share in common the same types of pathogens, humans and mushrooms…We speak the same biological language… Agaricus mushrooms are my favorite. They are very active immune stimulators. They are known to destroy the pox virus, flu virus and our common cold rhinovirus,” Stamets shares. (2)

 

Many Americans suffering from cold and flu symptoms will be prescribed antibiotics drugs this year. These are important, life saving drugs that have gone through many incarnations as time and the marketplace has changed. While every prescribing practitioner knows the danger of over-prescribing, many feel they have to give something to a patient in distress. Even if it’s a viral infection, an antibiotic can still provide some symptomatic and placebo relief. However, when it’s not truly an out of control bacterial infection the cost of using antibiotics may be greater than the benefit for long term health.

There is a concerning association between the number of antibiotic prescriptions used in one’s lifetime and developing cancer. People who have used 10 or more courses of antibiotics in their lifetime have a significant increase in rates of cancer. This does not mean that antibiotics cause cancer, but that we are identifying a correlated trend. (3)

 

Berberine containing herbs – this chemical compound found in nature exists in a wide variety of plants that have been traditionally used to defeat illnesses. Goldenseal, oregon grape root, turmeric, chinese skullcap and more all contain this powerful compound. It is known to kill bacteria, yeast, parasites and more. In doing so, it also enhances intestinal elimination and provides rich nutrients to the body.

From a traditional medicine perspective, enhancing the body’s natural defense mechanisms by stimulating the immune system provides not only a relief from aggravating symptoms but more importantly supports improvements in long term health.

Stillwater Clinic & Apothecaryprovides acute care services to Lyons and the surrounding communities! I practiced in Oregon as a primary care doctor for 5 years and now diagnose and treat patients in my office here in Lyons as a Registered Naturopathic Doctor. I offer natural medicine alternatives to pharmaceutical treatment as well as collaborate with area physicians to meet the full healthcare needs of individuals.

References:

  1. Wanda Pilch,1,4Ilona Pokora,2Zbigniew Szyguła,1,4 Tomasz Pałka,1,4 Paweł Pilch,3 Tomasz Cisoń,1,4 Lesław Malik,3and Szczepan Wiecha J Hum Kinet. Effect of a Single Finnish Sauna Session on White Blood Cell Profile and Cortisol Levels in Athletes and Non-Athletes. 2013 Dec 18; 39: 127–135. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3916915/
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Paul_Stamets

3.Dobson, Roger. The risk of developing prostate, breast, lung, and colon cancer rises with use of antibiotics, a large observational study has found (International Journal of Cancer 2008 Aug 14, doi: 10.1002/ijc.23622) http://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a1381.

Read Full Post »

With the circulating virus’ this time of year the snot, sniffles, fever and chills are everywhere! The physical stress of the temperature changes, time indoors, more sugars and less exercise all contribute to the increasing colds and flus this time of year.

While it is incredibly annoying to have a cold, for many people it provides an opportunity for the body to restore. Extra sleep, days off, increased elimination can all provide the body a net benefit when it’s all said and done. Getting a low to moderate fever benefits the body greatly. Despite feeling crummy, the fever is the body’s best defense against not only organisms we don’t want but also genetic errors and toxins that all contribute to the “normal symptoms of aging” and chronic diseases.

The most common treatments that American’s utilize for colds and flus may be short-changing the body’s experience and leaving us worse off than before. Most of our over the counter cold and flu remedies contain variations of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief and fever reduction. Brand names Tylenol, Advil and more contain acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen all work via similar mechanisms in the body. While they often provide much desired pain relief, an undesireable effect that this class of drugs has on the body is diminishing the immune systems response.

Using NSAIDs during the course of a cold or flu is more likely to cause a longer duration of illness, worsening symptoms over time and the necessity for stronger medications to get through the illness. What’s worse yet, the inhibition of the immune system with these drugs prevents the immune systems most important feature from happening; memory. When the body goes through an illness, the immune system captures the experience in it’s long-term memory so that the next time we see that organism, or one similar to it we are ready to go and can address it immediately. Ideally, we experience enough illnesses in our younger years that when we reach our senior years and have lessened capacity to fight infection, our memory is so vast that we’re naturally prepared for any infection that comes our way (1).

Fortunately, natural medicine provides an incredibly diverse spectrum of healing tools that not only help relieve pain and discomfort but also strengthen the immune system along the way.

At the first sign of illness:

  • Support the immune system with a visit to the sauna. Before an illness has a chance to get settled in, boost your immunity with the fever-simulation of the sauna. Contrasting hot and cold temperature provokes lymphatic circulation and should feel great!
  • Oscillococcinum- homeopathic flu remedy that helps address the symptoms of flu regardless of which organism provokes it. (2)
  • Echinacea, Elderberry, Propolis Throat Spray – these anti-viral and immune stimulating herbs are ideal to use directly into the throat where most viral exposures get started. All 3 of these herbs function via different mechanisms to stop virus’s adhering to the tissues, interrupt virus replication and more.
  • Osha Root – chew on pieces of this powerful high mountain herb to kill virus in the upper respiratory tract. (3)
  • Rest – the worst thing we can do for ourselves at the onset of a cold or flu is to push ourselves to keep going. Stress hormones inhibit the immune systems functioning and allow infections to get a head start.
  • Avoid sugar, dairy, gluten and individual food allergies. Any food that provokes an inflammatory or mucous stimulating response will interfere in the ability of the body to fight an illness naturally and increase the pain response.Free stock photo of person, love, woman, relaxation

Relying on natural medicine for health provides countless options in healthcare. Together in conjunction with appropriate use of pharmaceutical therapies we can make the best of both modern medicine and ancient traditions. For individualized support with NSAID alternatives to pain whether for acute or chronic disease schedule an appointment today.

  1. Simona Bancos,1Matthew P. Bernard,1David J. Topham,2 and Richard P. Phipps1,* “Ibuprofen and other widely used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs inhibit antibody production in human cells,” Cell Immunol. 2009; 258(1): 18–28. Published online 2009 Apr 5. doi:  10.1016/j.cellimm.2009.03.007
2.RosemariePappaGertSchubackbElmarBeckbGeorgBurkardcJürgenBengeldSiergfriedLehrla “OscillococcinumR in patients with influenza-like syndromes: A placebo-controlled double-blind evaluation,” British Homoeopathic journal Volume 87, Issue 2, April 1998, Pages 69-76.
3. Glenn D.Appelt “Pharmacological aspects of selected herbs employed in Hispanic folk medicine in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, USA: I. Ligusticum porteri (osha) and Matricaria chamomilla (manzanilla),” Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 13, Issue 1, March 1985, Pages 51-55.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »