Saturday, April 26, 2014

Herbs for constipation

I have checked out this informative article on herbs for constipation which I find useful as it resonates with my experiences in treating this symptom over the years. I noted that "the gentlest remedies for constipation include increased movement and exercise, certain yoga postures, increase of fluid intake, and dietary changes including increased fiber and fruit... And prune juice may be the most effective and gentlest remedy for constipation." Yes, I can testify to the effectiveness of prune juice which I have been drinking every other morning, mixing it with half a cup with warm water, which helps maintain regularity every two or three days on average, which I believe is normal for me. I have stopped eating yoghurt for the time being though, as I think the cold food may have caused running nose symptoms in the mornings, and besides, prune juice works fine for me. 

I have also taken natural bulk laxative such as psyllium, if I remember correctly, occasionally in the past, and like what the article says, I needed to drink a lot of water for this gentle laxative to do its work properly.

I noted that the mild herbal laxatives include dandelion root, chickweed and yellow dock root tincture, whereas purgative herbs include "aloe, buckthorn, cascara sagrada, rhubarb, and senna... which should be used only as a last resort". I also learnt that "Kathi Kevilles approach is to combine the irritant herbs with tasty ones like peppermint, ginger, and fennel, that also relax the intestines and prevent cramping." Yes, I have been drinking a cleansing herbal tea occasionally recently which is the Pukka nettle, peppermint and fennel tea, and I believe it helps maintain regularity and prevent constipation too.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

This formula is good for cleansing blood, thereby skin

The formula of dandelion leaf, nettle leaf, cleavers, plantain herb, green rooibos and lemon myrtle is good for cleansing blood, thereby skin.

Incidentally, I came across an article earlier about nettles - it says "the nettle plant is a powerhouse of nutrition. Its roots and leaves are rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins A and K, and it has been used to treat intestinal weakness, malnutrition, diarrhea and countless skin conditions for centuries in Europe." It is indeed helpful to know that nettles, among the other herbs mentioned above, is good for cleansing blood, and thereby skin too.

Notes on "RHR: Diagnosing and Treating Lyme Disease"

I have finished reading the podcast interview transcript and the comments below the podcast, and I find the overview of Lyme's disease both detailed and informative. The information on Lyme's disease is new to me, and I took some time to google and familiarise myself with the information too. I noted from the podcast that one way to prevent it is to wear long pants and tuck our pants into our socks, and try not to sit under the oak trees in the leaf litter, the high area where ticks tend to hang out when hiking outdoors, especially in wooded areas in North America and Europe. 

Like a reader commented, I also appreciate Dr Schweig’s candor in the even-handed discussion of antibiotics, naturopathic medicine and integrative therapies on treating Lyme's disease. I also noted from a related article that some natural antibiotics that may prevent the onset of Lyme's disease infection include garlic and echinacea. 
Dr. Sunjya Schweig:  And to be honest with you, getting into this world has always been a little bit a struggle because I came at it from a really integrative, complementary, alternative medicine point of view, which is that I wanted to get away from antibiotics.  I wanted to really do my best to respect the gut and the gut immune system and the gut ecology and the microbiome, so I frequently find myself kind of caught where I see these treatments helping, but on the other hand, I’m always concerned and aware of the risks to the human organism as a whole.  So I will also be rotating in a variety of different herbal protocols, whether it’s some of the Stephen Buhner herbs – He has a couple of really good books out, very, very well-researched scientific works on the actions of some of these herbal antibiotics.  I’ll also use a lot of Byron White Formulas, some really great herbal protocols and products, as well as there’s a woman named Susan McCamish who has a group of products that are really helpful.

Related resources 
Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections: Complementary and Holistic Treatments for Bartonella and Mycoplasma Paperback by Stephen Harrod Buhner
Lyme disease - Mayo Clinic


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chrysanthemum tea

I have read this article on chrysanthemum tea - incidentally, my mother likes to make chrysanthemum tea occasionally, which we would buy from a traditional chinese herbal medicine store near the neighbourhood wet market - she says the tea is cooling. Like the article also says, it "cools the body and clears the liver.... also supports immunity, reduces high blood pressure, relaxes the nervous system and curbs aging". I would sometimes drink warm chrysanthemum tea during lunch at the coffee shop too.

I happened to have taken a photo of chrysanthemum flowers at the plant nursery which I visited about 3 weeks ago.

I think maybe I can buy a pot of chrysanthemum to grow at home, then we can harvest the flowers which are edible to make chrysanthemum tea to enjoy the health benefits. I found this article that says the chrysanthemum flowers "tend to bloom from May to July".

I have checked out the article on "Heat in the blood - traditional chinese medicine diagnostic patterns", and noted that among the conditions or symptoms that may arise from heat in the blood include skin conditions, and other possible TCM patterns include liver yin deficiency. On a similar note, I learnt from this related article that among the herbs that clear heat and relieve toxicity include chrysanthemum.

I found another article that also recommends chrysanthemum flowers to dispel heat generated in the body and resolve the heat rash problem.

"According to TCM principles, heat rash is an outward sign of an internal temperature imbalance. If you have heat rash, avoid eating spicy foods or sugar, drinking hot beverages or alcohol, or taking hot showers or baths-all behaviors that generate heat in the body. Prepare a cooling herbal tea with one tablespoon of peppermint leaves and two tablespoons of chrysanthemum flowers in three cups of boiling water. Steep it for 20 minutes, then strain and cool to room temperature; drink half a cup every few hours until the rash clears."
(From "How to treat heat rash")

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"I believe the digestive system is the core of life energy, intuition and longevity." - Nadya Andreeva

I have checked out the article on the 7 happy belly foods, and the photos of some of the foods, such as wild Alaskan salmon, bone broth and lacto-fermented veggies, look delicious. We still have some organic coconut oil left in the kitchen after it has been used for cooking, which I bought some time last year, and I am now using it occasionally for oil pulling or rinsing my mouth in the morning, after having read articles on its health benefits. As for bone broth, I've come to realise too that it is a simple and effective way to improve digestion, and my mother sometimes makes fish bone broth or soup with vegetables for dinner.

I have also come to like kimchi as it is tasty and slightly spicy, as well as appreciate the fact that it has "very high levels of probiotics" and is a potent detoxifier. Like someone commented below the article,  "I've been living in Korea (where kimchi is derived from) for the past year and can tell you %100 that Kimchi has helped with digestion and now I'm an addict! I want Kimchi with EVERYTHING. .... Lastly, some studies show that Kimchi contains compounds that may prevent the growth of cancer! Yay, Kimchi!"

And yes, as I have come to learn about the connection between the gut and the brain, the digestive system is indeed the core of life energy, intuition and longevity. I googled about it , and came across this article that says new research on polyphenols in colourful fruits and vegetables can help microorganisms in our digestive system, and may extend our lifespan, too. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Poria cocos extract

I have checked out the article on poria cocos, which is an interesting name for a fungus or mushroom. I noted that it "has been traditionally used as a tonic to benefit the internal organs", and has a wide range of health benefits, such as having anti-bacterial and anti-cancer effects, as well as protecting the liver, prolonging life, and calming the nerves. 

I learnt from a related article that "this fungus is widely used in traditional medicine to treat chronic gastritis, acute gastroenteric catarrh, gastric atony, oedema, nephrosis, dizziness, nausea, and emesis".  Another article I read just now says that poria cocos has also been used to support the treatment of conditions such as palpitation, insomnia and so on. 

Related articles
Poria (Fu Ling)
Poria Cocos

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Consume too much sugar too often and your capacity to think, plan and remember will be dulled."

I have checked out this article "This Is Your Brain On Sugar: A Neuroscientist Explains", which I find useful as a reference and reminder. Yes, it is good to monitor and moderate intake of food that contains sugar in its various forms, in order to prevent general cognitive decline, and I will continue to do so. I also noted from the article that "exercise is one of the best ways to regulate" my blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes, and keep my "brain sharp, engaged and well".

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan

I noted from this website on "Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan for Anxiety and Depression" that the traditional formula of Xiao Yao Wan 逍遥丸 consists of eight herbs, and that it is used for treating symptoms like anxiety and panic attacks, as also mentioned in this related article.

I read some positive reviews/testimonies on this herbal medicine in this website. I also noted from this article "Stressed? Get Some Happy Pills" that Xiao Yao Wan "is an extremely safe and mild formula, but highly effective at the same time" and it can be used for stress, mild anxiety, mild fatigue and so on.

After googling further about it, I learnt that a Chinese medicine hall in Singapore called Min Sheng He sells Wellring Xiao Yao Wan. I also learnt they have a retail store near the central part of Singapore.

Feeding gut microbiota: Nutrition, probiotics key factors for digestive health

I noted from this article "Feeding gut microbiota: Nutrition, probiotics key factors for digestive health" that "the microbial communities that reside in the human gut and their impact on human health and disease are one of the most exciting new areas of research today". Indeed, it is helpful to learn about how to preserve our gastrointestinal health by feeding the gut microbiota through a healthy and balanced diet as well as probiotics, that are customized according to our dietary needs. 

It is also great to know about the progress being made by science in discovering the numerous beneficial effects of different kinds of probiotics, such as "holding pathogens at bay, strengthening the immune system, helping to regulate the gut motility, and acting as anti-inflammatory compounds in the gut, with an impact beyond the gut."

"Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Are Not the Enemy" - Chris Kresser

It is interesting to note from this article "The Diet-Heart Myth: Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Are Not the Enemy" by Chris Kresser that "the body tightly regulates the amount of cholesterol in the blood by controlling internal production", hence dietary cholesterol "does not affect the ratio of LDL to HDL or increase the risk of heart disease". As a lover of eggs, it is good and encouraging to learn that "egg yolks are an especially good source of choline, a B-vitamin that plays important roles in everything from neurotransmitter production to detoxification to maintenance of healthy cells", and that having sufficient choline intake can help prevent fatigue, insomnia and so on. 

It is also useful to know that "studies on low-carbohydrate diets (which tend to be high in saturated fat) suggest that they not only don’t raise blood cholesterol, they have several beneficial impacts on cardiovascular disease risk markers."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

'Digital detox' and other health matters

I have checked out the very informative podcast interview and I learnt from Chris Kresser's experience in his 10-day digital detox of not using the phone or computer and instead "reading a lot, both nonfiction and fiction, meditating a lot, a lot of physical activity and a lot of time just doing nothing, and it’s been really extremely therapeutic" for him. I can relate to this as I do feel a bit more grounded whenever I take time away from the computer at the workplace wherever possible, and take a longer than usual walk to a coffee shop during lunchtime, or go up to the rooftop to rest my eyes from the computer screen in the afternoon, except for a quick glance at my mobile phone every few minutes or so to check if there are any important new emails. 

I learnt from the second half of the interview that as long as the levels of the beneficial bacteria in the gut, bifidobacteria, are normal or increased, a really high fat diet does not contribute to endotoxemia. I also learnt that it is possible to restore our gut flora if we are unable to tolerate probiotics or fermented foods and if it is not likely due to histamine intolerance by starting with extremely low doses of probiotics that are suitable for us and building up very slowly over time, besides taking prebiotics and fermentable fiber that "has the most profound impact on the quantity and composition of the gut flora over time", wherever possible or appropriate. 

"The benefits of probiotics go way beyond gut health."

It is interesting and refreshing to learn from the article "5 Uncommon Uses For Probiotics" by Chris Kresser about the numerous benefits of probiotics, which go beyond improving and maintaining gut health. I noted that the less conventional uses of probiotics include:
  1. reducing anxiety and depression
  2. reducing nasal congestion and other symptoms associated with seasonal allergies
  3. maintaining oral health
  4. reducing acne on the skin
  5. inoculating our house as household cleaners, with beneficial bacteria that should make the environment less hospitable to pathogens

I happened to eat some kimchi together with rice for dinner yesterday, and it is good to know from the article that these probiotics that come into contact with and are able to colonize the mouth can "reduce cavities and improve overall oral health by rebalancing the bacteria in the mouth", according to numerous observational and clinical trials

Interesting discovery on probiotics

Bio-K+CL1285® Probiotics may ease fatigue syndrome anxiety 

 Like the above video "Probiotics may ease fatigue syndrome anxiety" said, probiotics found in yoghurt and supplements not only are used to treat digestive systems but also are found to lift our moods, due to the brain-body connection. It is interesting to note that researchers doing a study on chronic fatigue syndrome found that those given daily doses of probiotics had their depression and anxiety lifted, and Dr Alison Bested said they felt calmer, were sleeping better, and had less palpitations and other symptoms of anxiety. I decided to buy yoghurt again about a couple of weeks ago, and I will continue to do so as I like the taste as well as the knowledge that it is beneficial for my gut health. 

Probiotics and Mental Health

I also learnt from the above video "Probiotics and Mental Health : that based on a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a probiotic in emotional symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, the researchers found "a significant rise in both lactobacillus and bifidobacteria without taking the LcS, and there was also a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms among those taking the probiotics vs controls. These results lend further support to the presence of a gut-brain interface, one that may be mediated by microbes that reside or pass through the intestinal tract.... Another study provide further evidence that gut microflora play a role in stress, anxiety and depression perhaps via the enteric nervous system as well as centrally." Indeed, as the video concluded, "this ability of probiotics to affect central nervous system processes is perhaps one of the most exciting recent development in probiotic research."

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Anti-cancer effects of dandelion teas and tinctures

it is thanks to the cutting edge research mentioned in the above website that shows the amazing anticancer effects of dandelion tea. I noted that repeated treatment with low-dose dandelion root extract was effective in killing most of the cancerous leukaemia cells, and dandelion tea was shown to decrease breast cancer cells, and dandelion was also shown to suppress the growth of prostate cancer cells. It is unfortunate that much of Big Pharma hasn't shown any interest in this natural cure as "cancer cures cannot be patented", as I learnt in this related article.

Hopefully, more and more people will come to know about the anticancer effects of dandelion because like this article says, "Ongoing research is most importantly starting to show that dandelion may possibly turn out to be an exceptional alternative for chemoresistant forms of cancer."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Search herbs by actions

I have checked out the website, and found it to be a useful library of resources on herbs and herbalism, especially with its comprehensive list of herbs that are searchable according to their medicinal actions.

I learnt that lemon balm has a number of medicinal uses, including "nervous system tonic & relaxant, carminative, sedative", and I noticed that it can be useful for treating symptoms such as "anxiety, restlessness, palpitations, headache, and excitability and also is a mild anti-depressant. It strengthens the brain and its resistance to stress/shock, and lifts the spirits. It has tonic effects on the heart and circulatory system". 

I think I can benefit from this herb myself as well, and I will find out more about how to use this herb, which I bought from the plant nursery, before I harvest the leaves for making natural remedies/health tonics. I am aware different herbs work for different people, so I think I will use a bit first to test if it is suitable for me. 

Mental illness is a myth

I have finished watching the video by Stefan Molyneux and I find it well researched and well presented to show how there is no such thing as mental illness. Yes, mental illness is a myth because like he said, "psychiatrists have yet to conclusively prove that a single mental illness has a biological or physical cause, or a genetic origin. Psychiatry has yet to develop a single physical test that can determine that an individual actually has a particular mental illness." 

As he also pointed out, the so-called diagnosis of mental illness by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of mental disorders lacks scientific reliability and validity by using behavior instead of physical symptoms. It is sad and unfortunate that some people do not accept the fact that mental illness is a myth because like Stefan said, "psychiatric disorders" are not medical diseases as "there are no lab tests, brain scans, X-rays or chemical imbalance tests that can verify that any mental disorder is a physical condition." Ironically, psychiatric drugs are the ones that actually cause problems such as biochemical imbalances, and it is perhaps not surprising that the psychiatric movement's major source of funding is the "highly profitable pharmaceutical industry, which funds drug research, psychiatric journals and the American Psychiatric Association itself". As I learnt from Sydney Walker III, DSM labels not only are useless as medical "diagnoses" but also "have the potential to do great harm - particularly when they are used as a means to deny individual freedom, or as weapons by psychiatrists acting as hired guns for the legal system". 

All in all, I find the video to be a good summary about how modern psychiatry is a pseudo science that tends to seek profits over people, and how the myth of mental illness is debunked by science.

Related website 
Manufacturing Madness: The Pseudoscience of Modern Psychiatry

Notes on Inner Qi seminar

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