Constipation: Natural Solutions to Healthy Elimination

stomach-pain-doctorAre you spending a long time in the bathroom waiting for relief? Do you suffer from abdominal pain, cramping, constipation, and difficulty emptying your bowels? You may have chronic constipation and need to look at changing your life. Find out what causes constipation and what you can do to prevent it or treat it immediately and naturally.  Continue reading

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The Essentials of Essential Oils

Lavender Essential OilIf you’ve chosen to live a more holistically healthy life, chances are high that you’ve encountered essential oils in some way. Today, they are available in many stores and mass marketed through many companies. Perhaps you’ve wondered about the sudden popularity of essential oils. Is this a passing craze or has an ancient holistic healing wonder been introduced to modern individuals in a new and effective way? Can essential oils help others live a more happy, healthy, productive life or is this just wishful thinking? Continue reading

Herbal Remedies During Pregnancy

Pregnant women have a wide variety of symptoms that are uncomfortable prior to and during childbirth, including nausea, fatigue, vomiting, constipation, etc. Are there natural treatments, life-style changes, exercises, and herbal remedies that can alleviate these symptom? Which treatments are safest for the unborn child? Are there herbs that are unsafe and should be avoided? What does the latest research tell us about herbal remedies and diet during pregnancy? Continue reading

What is Ayurvedic Medicine?

Alternative Medicine

What is Ayurvedic Medicine? Ayurvedic medicine is a complementary alternative medicine system (CAM).  It incorporates other alternative therapies such as massage, exercise, and herbal remedies. Click, copy, download and save and share.

Hello, health friends. Hej, folk, der elsker sundhed.

WHAT IS AYURVEDIC? 
Ayurvedic medicine is said to have originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and has evolved the years. Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest medical practices.  In the United States, Ayurvedic medicine is considered a CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) whole medical system.

Ayurveda means “the science of life,” originating from the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge).   Many therapies used in Ayurvedic medicine are also used separately as a complete complementary medical system, such as massage, herbal remedies, and a special diet.   It integrates mind, body and spirit.  According to a recent National Health Interview Survey, more than 200,000 U.S. adults had used Ayurvedic medicine in the past year.

WHAT IS THE AYURVEDIC BELIEF?
Ayurvedic medicine is based on three basic concepts: 1) interconnectedness, 2) prakriti and 3) doshas.

Ayurvedic practitioners believe in interconnectedness — that all things are connected in the universe and disease occurs when we are out of balance with one or more things in the universe and/or within ourselves. When we are in harmony with mind, body and spirit and in harmony with others and the universe, then we are healthy.

Prakriti is one’s constitution, or one’s general health and ability to heal and recover. According to Ayurveda, prakriti is something that is unchangeable and the underlying condition that one is born with and is a combination of physical and psychological characteristics that affect the bodily functions.

Doshas are known by their original Sanskrit names: vata, pitta, and kapha.  Each dosha is composed of five elements: air, water, fire, earth, and space.   1) Vata – ether and air,  2) Pitta – fire and water 3) Kapha – earth and space.

WHAT HAPPENS IN AN AYURVEDIC SESSION?
An ayurvedic practitioner asks a person about diet, lifestyle, history of illnesses, checking urine, bowel movement, speech, pulse, tongue, skin, eyes, weight, overall appearance.  The treatment involves a change in diet, herbal supplements, massage, exercises including breathing techniques and meditation.  Some concerns have been presented over typically presribed herbs, metals, minerals or materials that can be toxic to the body. Caution should be taken when ingesting herbal remedies.   In 2004,  NCCAM (the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) published research findings stating that of 70 Ayurvedic remedies purchased over-the-counter, 14 contained lead, mercury, and/or arsenic at levels that could be harmful. All were manufactured in Southeast Asia.  Also in same year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in a recent three-year period, 12 cases of lead poisoning were linked to the use of Ayurvedic medications.

Have you tried Ayurvedic Medicine?  How did it work for you?  Like and share with friends.

Best wishes from your health and wellness friends at MBHA.

NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine)
CDC (Centers for Disease Control)

What is Essential Oil and Aromatherapy?

What Are Essential Oils?
lavender oil
An essential oil is a concentrated liquid containing volatile aromatic compounds from a wide variety of plants, flowers, and herbs.  Essential oils are made from berries, roots, stems and leaves of plants.   There are more than 150 common essential oils that are used in a variety of ways, although many more oils exist.  The term “essential” refers to the “essence” of the plant.

 

Image credit: http://oilextech.com/

Image credit: http://oilextech.com/

Essential oils are generally created by distillation with steam, although other methods can be used to extract the oil.  Essential oils are used in aromatherapy for healing.  They are also used in perfumes, cosmetics, and cleaning products, and added to foods for flavoring.

HOW ARE ESSENTIAL OILS USED FOR HEALTH AND HEALING?
Essential oils are extensively used  in aromatherapy and in combination with other holistic health practices such as massage or energetic healing.   Essential oils have been found to have a wide variety of health benefits, and are currently being tested in laboratories by researchers for the treatment of a wide variety of diseases including:

  1. bronchitis
  2. heart disease
  3. cancer
  4. HIV
  5. asthma

How Do Essential Oils Enter the Body?
Essential oils enter the body in three ways:

  • They can be inhaled
  • They can be absorbed into the skin
  • They can be eaten.

Some oils oils are strong in nature and can cause side effects if they are not taken in the appropriate manner and quantities.   Some oils may cause allergic reactions.   A complete patient history should be taken before applying essential oils. Always consult a medical practitioner before using these oils, internally or topically.

essential oil massageApplying Oils to the Skin
Essential oils can be very effective when applied to the skin.  For example, an oil blend that contains black pepper (Piper nigrum) or ginger (Zinziber officinalis) essential oil can be applied to the skin to reduce arthritis pain and improve flexibility, or an oil that contains German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) can be applied to treat eczema. Many of the citruses oils are phototoxic.  This means that particular compounds can become toxic when exposed to sunlight. This is not of concern when diffused or sprayed but when applied to the skin, it can be toxic.  It is suggested, then that the person using phototoxic oils, is not exposed to the sun for at least 24 hours after applying the oil.  Some oils need to be diluted, because they can be irritating when applied directly to the skin.  A skin patch test should be conducted prior to using an essential oil that has never been used before.

 

Inhaling Essential Oils

Inhaled essential oils can affect the body through several systems and pathways. The odor molecules travel through the nose and affect the limbic system, the emotional brain, often bringing relief and healing.  If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use essential oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and give children only the gentlest oils at extremely low doses. It is safest to consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using essential oils with children. A skin patch test should be conducted prior to using an essential oil that you’ve never used before.
counselingIngesting Essential Oils
Oral ingestion of essential oils is NOT recommended except under the strict guidance of a aromatherapist, medical doctor or health practitioner because many essential oils can be toxic to the liver or kidneys and the chemical breakdown in the stomach can change the effects of the essential oils. For information about the healing properties of oils, contact an aromatherapist.   Essential oils should always be treated as medicine and should not be carelessly used or misused.

Herbal Essence DropperCommon Types of Essential Oils
Some popular essential oils include the following:

  • Agarwood oil
  • Ajwain oil
  • Amber oil
  • Ambrette seed
  • Amyris oil
  • Angelica root oil
    Anise Oil
  • Anise oil
  • Atlas Cedar
  • Balsam oil
  • Basil oil
  • Black Sage oil
  • Siam Benzoin Resinoid
  • Bergamot oil
  • Bitter Orange oil
  • Black Currant Bud Absolute
  • Black Currant Bud Concrete
  • Black Pepper oil
  • Boronia Absolute
  • Buchu oil
  • Calophyllum (Fatty Oil)
  • Cajeput oil
  • Camphor oil
  • Cannabis flower oil
  • Caraway oil
  • Cardamom Seed oil
  • Carrot Seed oil
  • Cedar oil
  • Cedar Wood oil
  • Cedar Leaf oil
  • Celery oil
  • chamomileChamomile oil
  • Roman Chamomile oil
  • German Chamomile oil
  • Calamus Root oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Citronella oil
  • Citrus oil
  • Clary Sage oil
  • Clove oil
  • Copla resin
  • Coffee oil
  • Coriander oil
  • Costmary oil
  • Costus Root Cranberry Seed oil
  • Cumin oil
  • Curry Leaf oil
  • Cypress oil
  • Davana oil
  • Dill oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Eucalyptus Citriodora oil
  • Eucalyptus Dives oil
  • Eucalyptus Globulus oil
  • Eucalyptus Polybractea oil
  • Eucalyptus Radiata oil
  • Eucalyptus Smithi oil
  • Eucalyptus Essential OilEucalyptus Staigeriana oil
  • Everlasting oil
  • Fennel seed oil
  • Fenugreek oil
  • Fir Needle oil
  • Frankincense oil
  • Galbanum oil
  • Geranium oil
  • Ginger oil
  • Grapefruit oil
  • Green Myrtle oil
  • Greenland Moss oi
  • Henna oil
  • Helichrysum oil
  • Honeysuckle aboslute
  • Hyssop oil
  • Inula Graveolens oil
  • Jasmine oil
  • Juniper oil
  • Juniper berry oil
  • Khella oil
  • Laurel oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Lavandin oil
  • Lemon OilLemon oil
  • Lemon Verbena oil
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Lemon Myrtle oil
  • Lime oil
  • Litsea cubeba oil
  • Lotus oil
  • Mandarin oil
  • Mandarin Petitgrain oil
  • Marjoram oil
  • Mastic oil
  • May Chang oil
  • Melissa oil
  • Mentha Arvensis oil
  • Mint oil
  • Moroccan Chamomile oil
  • Moroccan Thyme oil
  • Mountain Sage oil
  • Mugwort oil
  • Mustard oil
  • Myrrh oil
  • Myrtle oil
  • Neroli oil
  • Niaouli
  • Nutmeg oil
    Orange Oil
  • Sweet Orange oil
  • Orange leaf oil
  • Oregano oil
  • Orris oil
  • Palmarosea oil
  • Parsley oil
  • Patchouli oil
  • Perilla Essential oil
  • Pennyroyal oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Petitgrain oil
  • Pine oil
  • Pine Geranium oil
  • Ravensare oil
  • Red Cedar oil
  • Rose oil
  • Rosehip oil
  • Rosemary oil
  • Rosemary Camphor oil
  • Rosemary Cineoleoil
  • Rosemary Verbenone oil
  • Rosewood oil
  • Sage oil
  • Sandalwood oil
  • Sassafras oil
  • Savory oil
  • Schisandra oil
    Scotch Pine
  • Scotch Pine oil
  • Spearmint oil
  • Spike lavender oil
  • Spikenard oil
  • Spruce oil
  • Star anise oil
  • Tangerine oil
  • Tansy oil
  • Tarragon oil
  • Tea Tree oil
  • Thuja oil
  • Thyme oil
  • Thyme thymol oil
  • Thyme thujanol oil
  • Thyme linalol oil
  • Thyme geraniol oil
  • Tsuga oil
  • Tuberose Absolute
  • Turmeric oil
  • Valerian oil
  • Vanilla
  • Vetiver oil
  • Wintergreen oil
  • Wormwood oil
  • Yarrow oil
  • Ylang Ylang oil
  • Zedoary oil

References
Battaglia, S. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, by The International Centre of Aromatherapy, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Kilina AV, Kolesnikova MB.   The efficacy of the application of essential oils for the prevention of acute respiratory diseases in organized groups of children].  Vestn Otorinolaringol. 2011;(5):51-4. Russian. PMID: 22334926

Ross SM.  Aromatic plants, spirituality, and sacred traditions II. Holist Nurs Pract. 2010 Nov-Dec;24(6):355-7. doi: 10.1097/HNP.0b013e3181fbb8b3. No abstract available. PMID: 21037460

Tisserand , Robert,  and Blacas, Tony.  Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals.

Woronuk G, Demissie Z, Rheault M, Mahmoud S. Biosynthesis and therapeutic properties of Lavandula essential oil constituents.  Planta Med. 2011 Jan;77(1):7-15. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1250136. Epub 2010 Jul 21. Review.  PMID: 20665367

_____________________________________

 

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 atwww.montereybayholistic.com.  Images used in this article are free public domain from Pixabay.com orPublicdomainpictures.net  Other images are credited.

 

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.

Holzinger F, and Chenot J-F, Systematic Review of Clinical Trials Assessing the Effectiveness of Ivy Leaf (Hedera Helix) for Acute Upper Respiratory Tract Infections, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 382789, 9 pages

Liu W, Jiang H, and Mao B, Chinese Herbal Medicine for Postinfectious Cough: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials, Evidence-Based Complementary Alternative Medicine, Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 906765. PMC385334810 Published online Nov 20, 2013. doi: 10.1155/2013/906765

Shadkam MN, et al. A comparison of the effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and diphenhydramine on nightly cough and sleep quality in children and their parents. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2010;16:787.

 

_______________________________

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.