The Yuen Method Noninvasive Technique

allergy

Are you looking for an effective treatment for pain, anxiety, depression, stomach ache, allergies, fatigue, or other common ailments? Have you been going to multiple doctors without finding any diagnosis or treatment? If you are seeking alternative solutions to health and wellness, check out the Yuen method, a noninvasive, energetic healing technique. Continue reading

Why We Need Homeopathic Medicine Now More Than Ever

HomeopathyIs homeopathic medicine effective or is it all in the mind? Can it have harmful side effects? What are the benefits? What is the history? Homeopathic medicine when combined with Western Medicine makes the most powerful and comprehensive medical system in the world. The integration of the two has made my medical practice highly successful. Whether I am treating recurrent illness, rheumatoid arthritis or even cancer the combination of the two give patients hope and success in returning them to health. Continue reading

Multiple Chemical and Environmental Sensitivities – Surviving in a Toxic World

Allergy mask

Triggered by air, food, and environmental toxins, new diagnoses are being considered as the root cause of chronic disease.  – istockphoto

WHAT IS IT?
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), “environmental illness,” “environmental sensitivity,” or “idiopathic environmental intolerance” (IEI), each refer to a variety of symptoms experienced by people after exposure to chemical, biologic, or physical substances.

In 1996 the World Health Organization proposed using the phrase “idiopathic environmental intolerance” (IEI) instead of MCS, because many people attribute symptoms to environmental agents other than chemicals, such as food or electromagnetic forces. MCS or IEI is fairly common in the United States.

MCS IntolerancesCigarette smoke, food colorings, alcohol, paint, pesticides, gasoline, plastics, car exhaust fumes, shampoos, caffeine, turpentine, new carpeting, bleach, chemical food additives,  household cleaners, fragrances, and newspaper ink are some of the most commonly reported triggers.  These common triggers  cause severe, debilitating reactions in a MCS/IEI patient whereas the average person might be mildly affected by these products or environmental conditions.  Statistical studies show that 16% of people in California and New Mexico report that their IEI or MCS symptoms severely limit their ability to function on a daily basis.  Some are unable to leave their homes because of the possibility of having a severe asthmatic reaction to someone wearing perfume in an elevator or at a movie theater, for example.  Some cannot live in an apartment complex because of the gas heat, or because of neighbors who smoke cigarettes. Some are never unable to open their windows because of car exhaust or the gas fumes from neighborhood lawn mowers.  Some cannot ever eat food prepared in public restaurants or packaged foods due to chemical food additives, resulting severe symptoms such as fainting or vomiting.  This can lead to isolation and depression. Many have multiple combinations of environmental sensitivities, dramatically limiting their abilities to function.


WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

The symptoms of  MCS/IEI vary from patient to patient but the most common symptoms are respiratory distress, dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, joint pain, fatigue and severe headache.

MCS What is It?
People who suffer with MCS/IEI often report having several of the following symptoms:

  1.     burning eyes
  2.     wheezing, breathlessness
  3.     extreme fatigue/lethargy
  4.     headache/migraine
  5.     nausea, upset stomach
  6.     vertigo/dizziness
  7.     fainting
  8.     seizures
  9.     memory problems
  10.     runny nose (rhinitis)
  11.     sore throat
  12.     chronic cough
  13.     sinusitis
  14.     inflammation
  15.     skin rashes and or itching skin
  16.     sensitivity to light & noise
  17.     sensitivity and pain with heat or cold
  18.     insomnia or sleeping disorders
  19.     diarrhea or constipation
  20.     bloating
  21.     sweating profusely or uncontrollable chills
  22.     food sensitivities and/or irritable bowel syndrome
  23.     muscle & joint pain
  24.     trouble concentrating, foggy-headed

young man allergiesWHO IS MOST LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE MCS/IEI?
MCS/IEI can affect people of all ages. There appears to be a link between fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome patients and MCS/IEI patients.  MCS/IEI patients and ME/CFS/CFIDS/PVFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis – chronic fatigue) patients have very similar symptoms.  Because the symptoms are so similar, it is not easy for doctors to make an accurate diagnosis. When surveying a general population of people with CFS, it was determined that 14% of MCS patients also had CFS and 41% of CFS patients met criteria for MCS diagnosis.

People with a history of allergies, sinusitis, or food intolerances or sensitivities are more likely to experience MCS/IEI.   Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) patients also report worsening of allergies when exposed to chemicals and environmental triggers.  This may be related to a CFS/MCS/IEI diagnosis.

Research studies show that Veterans of the Persian Gulf War and people diagnosed with Gulf War illnesses (GWI) report chemical sensitivities at a three-times higher rate than civilians or veterans who did not participate in the Gulf War, or non-deployed veterans. Those who were profoundly affected by hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, also reported to have MCS/IEI symptoms.  There may be a connection between post-traumatic stress disorder and MCS/IEI.

WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF MCS/IEI?
Toxic factory SmokeThe cause of MCS/IEI is yet to be determined.  Some believe that it is the result of an incident which resulted in toxic exposure from one particular source, and developed into what is known as “spreading.”  “Spreading” is a phenomenon where the body becomes sensitive to other chemicals as a result of exposure to one chemical. This phenomenon is characteristic of  veterans who have MCS/IEI and also diagnosed with Gulf War illness, or others who have had a traumatic event in their lives.

It is also believed that the MCS/IEI reaction can be a result of long-term exposure to toxic chemicals, such as those who work factories or live in heavily polluted city environments. It is also a possibility that MCS/IEI is a psychological reaction  rather than a biochemical reaction although the symptoms can be quite debilitating, often resulting in the person living a completely isolated lifestyle. It is also possible that MCS/IEI is an autoimmune disorder. More research is needed to determine the cause.

Some researchers believe that MCS/IEI is a misdiagnosis for another disorder. More than half of 54 people from one MCS study were mistakenly diagnosed with MCS, and instead were determined to have a somatoform disorder or panic disorder. Migraine, anxiety disorder, lupus, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome or other forms of orthostatic intolerance, hay fever and other allergies, hypercalcemia, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or mast cell activation diseases such as mastocytosis, or any disease or condition where symptoms can be triggered by environmental toxins, chemicals or inhalants, could be possible reasons for a MCS/IEI misdiagnosis.

MCS Diagnosis

DIAGNOSIS OF MCS/IEI
The definition of MCS /IEI was established by researchers and clinicians in 1999.   Specific symptoms are not listed in the criteria, however respiratory symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, weakness,  and headaches are most common. The following six criteria must be present for a person to be diagnosed with MCS/IEI:

  1. The symptoms are reproducible with repeated exposure to the same chemical.
  2. The condition is chronic.
  3. Low levels of exposure (lower than previously or commonly tolerated) result in manifestations of the syndrome.
  4. The symptoms improve or resolve when the incitants (irritating agent such as a virus, bacterium, prion, gas, or fungus) are removed.
  5. Responses occur to multiple chemically unrelated substances.
  6. Symptoms involve multiple organ systems (most commonly the neurological, immune, respiratory, skin,    gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal).

Chemical Sensitive ShopperCONTROVERSY ABOUT MCS/IEI
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), maintained by the World Health Organization, does not recognize MCS or environmental sensitivity as a valid diagnosis.  The American Medical Association (AMA) has stated that MCS is not recognized as an established organic disease. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the California Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, and the International Society of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology also do not recognize it as a medical diagnosis or disease.

However, In 1997, U.S. Social Security Administration Commissioner John Callahan issued a court memorandum officially recognizing MCS  “as a medically determinable impairment.”  The SSA agrees that some MCS patients are too disabled to be meaningfully employed.

IS MCS/IEI ACCEPTED UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT?
The ADA does not list particular disabilities accepted under the Americans with Disabilities Act, however, some people with MCS/EI will have a disability under the ADA and some will not, depending on the severity of their symptoms. If a person’s MCS/IEI is disabling, then the employer is required by law to make accommodations.  For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, and suggestions as to how to work with your employer to modify your working environment, visit the Job Accommodations Network.

Man cleaning apartment
TREATMENT
AND LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Lifestyle changes are the primary treatment for most MCS/IEI sufferers. A 2003 survey of 917 MCS patients concluded that the two most effective treatments for MCS  were a chemical-free living space and chemical avoidance. Prayer and meditation  also were recommended choices. Of those who tried Zoloft, prescription medication, two-thirds of patients reported it as being harmful, along with other pharmaceutical drugs and chemical, unnatural solutions.

Nutritional or dietary changes, including vitamin or herbal supplements, can also be beneficial.  Many people with MCS/IEI with dietary restrictions might eliminate whole categories of foods (dairy, for example, or meat).   A trusted nutritionist or healthcare practitioner can work with the patient to review and plan a diet with optimal nutrition.

In addition to meditation, dietary and lifestyle changes, some patients suffering from MCS/IEI symptoms have found acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, or yoga to be effective methods for relieving respiratory,  anxiety, nausea, and pain symptoms and promoting relaxation.

However, the primary treatment remains to take action to modify the living environment and avoid MCS/IEI triggers.  The following modifications may be effective:

  1. Vacuum pillows, beds, chairs, etc. weekly, with a HEPA filter vacuum, change the filter regularly
  2. Wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water (130°F [54°C]) and dry in a hot dryer.
  3. Cover mattresses and pillowcases with airtight allergen-proof covers.
  4. Replace comforters and pillows made from natural materials (such as down, feathers, or cotton) with those made from synthetic fibers.
  5. Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting (especially in the bedroom) as much as possible. If you have it, be sure to vacuum often.
  6. Throw out all products with chemical fragrances (perfumes, cleaning supplies, shampoo, etc.)
  7. Buy only natural, fragrance-free products
  8. Close all open gaps in windows, floorboards, doors, and around drains.
  9. Fix and seal leaky water faucets and pipes because roaches need water and humidity to survive.
  10. Always keep food in airtight containers.
  11. Remove pet food dishes after pets have eaten.
  12. Keep stove and kitchen surfaces free of food and dirt.
  13. Use an air-purifier with a HEPA filter
  14. Throw out all food products with food additive and chemicals
  15. Do not use processed oils
  16. Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables before eating
  17. Do not eat packaged foods.
  18. Remove any curtains, carpeting, or wallpaper that show visible evidence of mold.
  19. Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom.
  20. Use dehumidifiers in damp areas such as the basement, and hire others to clean this regularly
  21. Avoid storing clothing in damp areas.
  22. Do not carpet damp or concrete floors, use wooden floors or tile floors only, if possible
  23. Do not use gas stoves or gas heating, use electric
  24. Do not use synthetic, plastic or man-made fibers in clothing or blankets.
  25. Use a solution of 1 part bleach and 20 parts water to clean areas with mold.
  26. Do not frequent any locations that allow smoking.
  27. Avoid areas with fresh paint fumes.
  28. Avoid the fumes of strong cleaning products.
  29. Avoid perfumes and aerosols.
  30. Use masks if needing to go around airport terminals, bus stations or train stations, or hire others to help you.
  31. Hire others to help you with raking, mowing, blowing leaves, gardening and cleaning the garage, yard or home.
  32. Close windows and stay indoors (with air conditioning) when necessary, using air purifiers.
  33.  Have an air quality test performed by an industrial hygiene professional to assess poor air quality, dust, mold or mildew accumulation, VOC concentration, etc.
  34. Buy indoor exercise equipment to keep physically fit rather than participating in outdoor activities
  35. Make your home a pleasant enjoyable place where you can meet your needs and best care for yourself in comfort.

RESEARCH ARTICLES

Principles and Methods for Assessing Autoimmunity Associated With Exposure to Chemicals: Environmental Health Criteria 236 – ehc236.pdf. World Health Organization (WHO)

Watanabe M, Tonori H and Aizawa Y,  “Multiple chemical sensitivities and idiopathic environmental intolerance” (part one), Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Kitasato University School of Medicine, 1-15-1 Kitasato, 228-8555 Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan,   Environ Health Prev Med, v.7(6); Jan 2003, PMC2723465

Watanabe M, Tonori H and Aizawa Y,  “Multiple chemical sensitivities and idiopathic environmental intolerance” (part two), Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Kitasato University School of Medicine, 1-15-1 Kitasato, 228-8555 Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan,   Environ Health Prev Med, v.7(6); Jan 2003, PMC2723466

Meggs WJ, Dunn KA, Bloch RM, et al. Prevalence and nature of allergy and chemical sensitivity in a general population. Arch Environ Health 1996; 51:275.

Kreutzer R, Neutra RR, Lashuay N. Prevalence of people reporting sensitivities to chemicals in a population-based survey. Am J Epidemiol. 1999;150:1-12.

Multiple chemical sensitivity: a 1999 consensus. Arch Environ Health. 1999;54:147-9.

Fukuda K, Nisenbaum R, Stewart G, et al. Chronic multisymptom illness affecting Air Force veterans of the Gulf War. JAMA. 1998;280:981-8.

Jason LA, Taylor RR, Kennedy CL. Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivities in a community-based sample of persons with chronic fatigue syndrome-like symptoms. Psychosom Med. 2000;62:655-63.

Bailer J, Witthöft M, Rist F. Psychological predictors of short- and medium term outcome in individuals with idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI) and individuals with somatoform disorders. J Toxicol Environ Health A 2008; 71:766.

Sparks PJ, Daniell W, Black DW, et al. Multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome: a clinical perspective. I. Case definition, theories of pathogenesis, and research needs. J Occup Med 1994; 36:718.

Levin AS, Byers VS. Environmental illness: a disorder of immune regulation. Occup Med 1987; 2:669.

Black, DW., Temple S, Overview of idiopathic environmental intolerance (multiple chemical sensitivity)” 


_________________________________

Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.


Disclaimer:The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

 

Can Aloe Vera Prevent and Treat Skin Cancer?

The latest  buzz is that aloe vera can help prevent and treat skin cancer. Is this true or rumor? What does research say about aloe vera?

Benefits of Aloe Vera

HISTORY OF ALOE VERA
Aloe vera can be traced back to ancient Egyptian times. The leaves contain a clear gel that can be used as an ointment and the green part of the leaf can be used to create a juice or a dried product that can be ingested orally.  Throughout history, it has been used topically to heal wounds, soothe skin conditions, and to aid in constipation when ingested orally as a laxative.  Aloe vera has also been ingested for a variety of other conditions including diabetes symptoms, asthma, epilepsy, and osteoarthritis.  It’s been used as a cream to heal and relieve osteoarthritis pain, burns, sunburns, and psoriasis and can be found in over-the-counter skin products.  But what does scientific research say about aloe vera?

sunburn man

USING ALOE VERA TO HEAL THE SKIN
Multiple studies have been conducted, primarily with mice, on the effects of aloe vera on healing the skin such as a study by V. Thamlikitkul  and others, published in the 1991 Siriraj Hosp Gazzette,  showing that aloe vera is effective as an ointment in relieving and soothing pain and inflammation.

Reuter and other researchers conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial compared the anti-inflammatory effect of 97.5% pure aloe vera gel to 1% hydrocortisone and a placebo gel. They concluded that the if the aloe vera gel, was applied under an occlusive bandage for 2 days following UV exposure, it significantly reduced inflammation compared to placebo gel or 1% hydrocortisone in placebo gel, but was less effective than 1% hydrocortisone cream. The authors suggest that aloe vera gel might be useful for the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions.

Aloe Vera
Choonhakarn and others conducted a randomized, double-blind clinical trial evaluated the effectiveness of a prepared 70% aloe vera gel for the treatment of oral lichen planus infections compared to the base gel alone and reported a significant improvement of symptoms in the aloe vera group.

ALOE VERA AND CANCER
A few studies have been conducted on the effects of aloe vera and cancer. Many studies have been used with human skin cells in a laboratory or mice,  such as the 2007 study led by M. Saini, “Anti-tumor activity of Aloe vera against DMBA/croton oil-induced skin papillomagenesis in Swiss albino mice,”  from the Journal of Environmental Pathology Toxology and Oncology.  This study showed that aloe vera might be helpful in reducing or treating cancer in mice but the researchers concluded that more studies are needed.
Laboratory

Researcher Popadic,  and others, from the University of Belgrade School of Medicine found that Aloe vera and its constituents inhibit the process of skin cell production that accompanies skin cancer in a laboratory study. The researchers tested Aloe-emodin, (a part of Aloe), with human skin cells – keratinocytes – after being treated with radiation. Once radiated, keratinocytes will typically develop in the form skin tumors.  The researchers found that the Aloe-emodin was significantly beneficial in stopping the progression of tumor formation after radiation by the sun. Further research is needed.  No clinical research using human beings has been conducted.Blood Test

Chen, and other researchers from the China Medical University found anticancer effect was greater with Emodin, as compared with Aloe-emodin and Rhein. But Aloe-emodin was observed having stronger cell repair abilities with the cells that hadn’t  yet become cancerous. The researchers found that Aloe Emodin and Rhein stopped tumor progression and caused cancer cell death.

There is early evidence that oral aloe vera may reduce the risk of developing lung cancer. Further research is needed in this area to clarify whether it is aloe itself or other factors that may cause this benefit.  One study conducted in Italy in 2009, tested 240 patients using aloe vera with chemotherapy for people for lung cancer, bowel cancer, or stomach cancer. researchHalf the patients took liquid aloe vera three times a day in combination with standard chemotherapy treatment. In this study the cancer was controlled or shrank for a time in 67% of patients who had the combined aloe and chemotherapy treatment and in 50% of patients who had chemotherapy alone. Researchers said that patients using aloe vera had a better quality of life and that they had fewer chemotherapy side effects such as numb fingers and fatigue.  More research is needed under more controlled settings.

Aloe Vera

WHAT ARE THE NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS OF ALOE VERA? 
Does ingesting aloe vera have negative side effects?  No studies have shown negative effects of using aloe vera on the skin.   However, aloe vera, when digested, has a laxative effect and is effective for relieving constipation, but it can be the cause of diarrhea.

Some countries approve of injecting aloe vera. Injecting aloe vera is illegal in the USA an UK and can have serious side effects.

Aloe Vera Extract

A two-year National Toxicology Program (NTP) study on oral ingestion of non-decolorized whole leaf extract of aloe vera found clear evidence of carcinogenic activity in male and female rats, based on tumors of the large intestine.   According to the NTP, from what is known, they cannot predict that these findings are relevant to humans. The researchers concluded that more research and information is needed, including to determine how individuals use different types of aloe vera products, and the potential risks to humans.

Research Woman

Although aloe vera appears to be a promising alternative treatment for a variety of ailments, researchers agree that more controlled studies are needed to determine its effectiveness, both as a topical ointment or when ingested. The majority of research has been with skin cells and with laboratory animals, and therefore, researchers cannot accurately predict its effectiveness on human beings.

REFERENCES

Chen YY, Chiang SY, Lin JG, Yang JS, Ma YS, Liao CL, Lai TY, Tang NY, Chung JG. Emodin, aloe-emodin and rhein induced DNA damage and inhibited DNA repair gene expression in SCC-4 human tongue cancer cells. Anticancer Res. 2010 Mar;30(3):945-51.

Choonhakarn C, Busaracome P, Sripanidkulchai B, Sarakarn P. The efficacy of aloe vera gel in the treatment of oral lichen planus: a randomized controlled trial. Br J Dermatol. 2008;158(3):573-77.

Popadic D, Savic E, Ramic Z, Djordjevic V, Trajkovic V, Medenica L, Popadic S. Aloe-emodin inhibits proliferation of adult human keratinocytes in vitro. J Cosmet Sci. 2012 Sep-Oct;63(5):297-302.

Reuter J, Jocher A, Stump J, Grossjohann B, Franke G, Schempp CM. Investigation of the anti-inflammatory potential of Aloe vera gel (97.5%) in the ultraviolet erythema test. Skin Pharmacol Physiol.2008;21(2):106-10.

Saini M, Goyal PK, Chaudhary G. Anti-tumor activity of Aloe vera against DMBA/croton oil-induced skin papillomagenesis in Swiss albino mice. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2010;29(2):127-35.

Thamlikitkul V, Bunyapraphatsara N, Riewpaiboon W, Theerapong S, Chantrakul C, Thanaveerasuwan T. Clinical trial of aloe vera Linn. for treatment of minor burns. Siriraj Hosp Gaz.1991;43(5):313-316.
_____________________________________

This article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.  Images used in this article are free public domain from Pixabay.com or Publicdomainpictures.net

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

Natural Cough Suppressants

Natural Cough Suppressants

This is the season for coughs and sniffles. Healthy alternatives to relieving a cough can be found in nature.

This is the time of year when many people overindulge and overwork. Stress and improper diet can wear on the body and lead to fatigue and disease.  Coughing is the body’s way of telling us it is stressed and in need of care.

WHY TRY NATURAL COUGH SUPPRESSANTS?
In 2007, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel declared that cough medicines for children can be potentially harmful, and recommended that many of these products be banned. As an alternative, it was recommended that something as simple as a spoonful of honey or even a small cup of herb-flavored water, be given to children with persistent cough, which has few side effects and seems to be effective. Here are a few cough suppressants which have been known to be helpful for many years. When preparing these natural cough remedies, remember that organic foods and herbs which have not been genetically modified or treated with toxic pesticides are generally always best and most healthy for the body.

Of course, always consult with your family physician, trusted healthcare provider, allergist, or nutritionist before trying new foods that your body is not accustomed to eating, and to determine the reason for your cough.

WHAT ARE SOME EFFECTIVE NATURAL COUGH SUPPRESSANTS?
Cherry bark
Cherry bark has been a very important key ingredient in herbal cough syrups for many years. Cherokee and Iroquis native American Indians introduced cherry bark to colonists and settlers. Cherry bark is a good expectorant and treatment for dry coughs and throat irritations. Wild cherry bark contains prunasin which can be toxic if used unsafely, but when taken in tea or cough syrup form, it safe. It also contains natural cyanide (as do many other foods that contains pits), but cyanide poisoning is very unlikely since one would have to ingest very large doses of cherry bark.  You can make your own natural cherry bark syrup by boiling cherry bark with water, honey, and licorice root and allowing it to cool to form a soothing cough syrup, or by drinking as a hot tea.

Marshmallow Marshmallow is not just the white spongy,  confection that people in the United States put in their hot chocolate or roast at a campfire.  It is an herb, Althaea officinalis, a plant with short leaves and small pale white and pink flowers. The plant has been used for more than 2,000 years. The confectionery food treat by the same name, does not contain any of the herb and is not considered medicinal or effective in treating cough symptoms. According to the American Botanical Council, recent animal and human studies have found marshmallow root to be effective in treating coughs, when used alone and also combined with other herbs. Marshmallow root can be used as a tea, by adding 1-2 teaspoons of dried root to a cup of hot water and drinking several times a day.

HoneyHoney has been widely used for many years as a natural remedy for cough because of its  anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Choose pure, organic honey. For cough relief, try swallowing one tablespoon of honey.  If an adult or child has difficulty swallowing pure honey, it can added or mixed with warm or hot water, or tea, or with herbs and spices.  Honey helps coat the throat to ease soreness as a result of excessive coughing. The honey flavored tea and water helps to break up the mucous in the throat and soothe the irritation. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,  honey may be useful in relieving coughing, but it should never be given to children under a year of age because in rare cases it can cause infantile botulism.

GingerGinger root, the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, is one of the most renowned natural remedies for cough. The key part of the ginger root is thought to be the volatile oils and phenol compounds gingerols and shogaols. Ginger has been well researched and many of its traditional uses confirmed by scientific studies. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and also is an effective aid in digestion. Ginger tea and ginger drinks can be found in most health food stores. Fresh ginger is best and most powerful.

  • Wash the root thoroughly in clean water, and slice a piece of ginger from the root.
  • To stop a persistent cough, apply the slice fresh ginger in your mouth whenever coughing occurs.
  • Chew the sliced ginger until your cough has stopped. You can also make ginger tea by adding chopped slices of ginger root to boiling water, steeping, and serving.

ElderberriesElderberries, Sambucus nigra are known for their antioxidant activity, in treatment of coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Bioflavonoids and proteins in the juice fight cold and flu virus infections.  In 1995, it is reported that Elderberry juice was used to control a flu epidemic in Panama.  The berries are fully digestible when fully ripe but are mildly poisonous when eaten unripe. Elderberry plant is traditionally used as a medicinal plant by many people worldwide. 

  • Stem, bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and root extracts can each be used to treat bronchitis, cough, upper respiratory cold infections, and fever.
  •  The dried flowers can be simmered for 15 minutes, and the tea can be poured through a coffee filter before drinking.
  • All parts of the plant can be poisonous if not eaten safely.

Mullien
Mullein
, “donkey’s ears” or Verbascum thapsus, an herb found throughout the United States, is a woolly-leafed biennial plant with yellow flowers. It has expectorant and cough suppressant properties and has been widely accepted by many around the world, as a useful and favorite herbal remedy for treating sore throat and cough symptoms.  It is primarily used to treat respiratory disorders such as asthma, coughs, tuberculosis, and related respiratory problems.

  • Mullein tea can be made by pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 – 2 teaspoons of dried mullein flowers and leaves.
  • Cover and steep for 10 – 15 minutes..
  • The tea can be filtered through a very fine sieve or coffee filter, to remove the fine hairs which irritate the throat.
  • A cough syrup can be make by boiling mullein, honey or sugar and water and allowing it to thicken and cool.

Ivy Leaf ExtractIvy Leaf extract (Hedera Helix), not as well-known as the others, has been found to be very effective in easing cough and upper respiratory problems. English ivy leaves seem to be able to break up chest congestion and relieve muscle spasms, and to help breathing in adults and children with chronic bronchitis. Cough Syrup with ivy leaf offers dependable help with the excessive formation of thick mucus and coughs associated with chronic broncitis, asthmas, tuberculosis, pneumonia and other upper respiratory disorders.  Hofmann, Hecker, and Volp (2003) concluded, “The trials included in this review indicate that ivy leaf extract preparations have effects with respect to an improvement of respiratory functions of children with chronic bronchial asthma, but more far-reaching conclusions can hardly be drawn because of a meagre database, including the fact that only one primary trial included a placebo control. Further research, particularly into the long-term efficacy of the herbal extract, is needed.


RESOURCES

Bukutu C, et al. Complementary, holistic, and integrative medicine: The common cold. Pediatrics in Review. 2008;29:e66.

Paul IM, et al. Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2007;161:1140.

Hofmann D, Hecker M, Volp A, Efficacy of dry extract of ivy leaves in children with bronchial asthma–a review of randomized controlled trials. Phytomedicine. 2003 Mar;10(2-3):213-20.

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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.  Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.


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