November 2019 - Wakunaga of America

Benefits of Herbal Medicine

Herbal supplements aren’t new, in fact, they’ve been around for thousands of years! Herbal medicine is actually older than western medicine1. Natural health remedies have seen a dramatic growth in popularity over the past decade, and with good reason. Alternative treatments such as herbal supplements can provide helpful and life-changing options for people who are sensitive to certain pharmaceutical medications, who cannot afford certain expensive drug products, or who would simply like to try a natural alternative to traditional medicine.

Natural Alternatives

Herbal medicine involves the use of plants and extracts to deliver effective and safe treatments. Even Western medical practitioners are starting to suggest natural alternative treatments. For example, it used to be that kidney stone patients could only take a pharmaceutical type of medication, or have surgery to remove a painful stone. Now, it has been found that lemon is effective in breaking down stones. Lemons contain citrate, which is a chemical that prevents calcium stones from forming. Citrate can break up small kidney stones, allowing them to pass more easily2.

The aim of herbal medicine is to return the body to a state of natural balance so that it can heal itself. Different types of herbs act on different systems of the body. Here are some herbs that are commonly used in herbal medicine, and their traditional uses.

Echinacea: Echinacea is well known for its ability to turn on the body’s innate immune response and for stimulating the production of antibodies called Immunoglobin M. A review at the University of Connecticut found that Echinacea decreased the odds of developing the common cold by 58%3.

There are several types of Echinacea on the market, including Echinacea angustifola, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea purpurea, all with immune boosting properties. But the secret to the effectiveness of any of these varieties is to take the herb at the first sign of sniffles.

Aged Garlic Extract: Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) is best known for its cardiovascular benefits. But scientists at the University of Florida have found that this ancient herb also reduces the duration of the common cold or bout with the flu by as much as 61 percent. During their study, 120 cold and flu sufferers also experienced a 21% reduction in the number of symptoms, and 58% fewer missed workdays due to their illness. More importantly, the duration of their cold was cut by an impressive 61%4. According to research, this is because AGE boosts the number of T-cells in the body (T cells are produced by the thymus gland and actively participate in the body’s immune response). To experience these effects next time you have the sniffles, take at least 800 mg divided into two daily doses. Keep in mind that this is not just any garlic. Aged garlic extract has a proprietary growing and production method that enhances and creates immune supporting phytochemicals that are unique to the extract.

Astragalus: Astragalus has gained a reputation as an antiviral and potent immune booster – and for good reason. A staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Astragalus plant root is rich in polysaccharides, flavonoids, multiple trace minerals, and amino acids. Numerous studies show that this herb stimulates the immune system by increasing the activity of NK cells (natural killer cells – a type of white blood cell that plays a role in the host-rejection of tumors or virally affected cells), macrophages (large white blood cell), and T-cells5. Taken during cold and flu season, it may help prevent colds and other upper respiratory conditions. The herb also has powerful free radical fighting capabilities.

The next time you feel some sniffles coming on, or would simply like to support your cardiovascular health and immune system naturally, try one of these herbs and see if it makes a difference for you!

The statements and information contained in this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The products featured in this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

References

  1. https://inm.center/benefits-of-natural-healing/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/kidney-health/home-remedies-for-kidney-stones
  3. https://kyolic.com/healthyguides/Balance-Immunity/?page=8
  4. https://kyolic.com/healthyguides/Balance-Immunity/?page=8
  5. https://kyolic.com/healthyguides/Balance-Immunity/?page=8

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Mental Health Spotlight: Seasonal Affective Disorder

In fact, a 2015 study by American University said that Millennials grew up hearing about anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and suicide, and therefore, are more accepting of those with mental illnesses1. As more people continue to speak out about it, the stigma surrounding mental illness is beginning to lessen. Today, we wanted to talk about a subset of depression, something called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which tends to show up most during this time of the year.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons – SAD begins and ends at about the same time every year. For most people with SAD, symptoms start in the fall and continue through the winter months; sapping your energy and making you feel moody2. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or summer. If you think you might be experiencing this, try not to just brush it off, it is a real thing, and something you do not have to go through alone.

Symptoms

Most of the time, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter, and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Some of the most common symptoms of SAD can include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite of weight
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless

Some of the symptoms from fall and winter SAD, and spring and summer SAD are different. In fall and winter SAD, for example, you would be more likely to oversleep, gain a little extra weight, crave unhealthier foods, and have low energy. But for spring and summer SAD, symptoms might be more in line with trouble falling asleep, loss of appetite, weight loss, and agitation or anxiety3.

Risk Factors

Seasonal Affective Disorder is diagnosed more often in woman than in men. And it occurs more frequently in younger adults as well4. Factors that may increase your risk for SAD include:

  • Family History: People with SAD may be more likely to have blood relatives with SAD or another form of depression.
  • Living far from the equator: SAD appears to be more common among people who live far north and south of the equator. This may be due to decreased sunlight during the winter and longer days during the summer months.

What You Can Do

Seasonal depression can make it hard to motivate yourself to make changes to get better, but there are plenty of simple steps you can take each day to feel better. Here are some tips:

  • Get as much natural sunlight as possible: Whenever possible, get outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to sun without wearing sunglasses (but never stare directly at the sun). Sunlight, even in small doses, can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. So try and take a short walk outdoors at lunchtime!
  • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise is a powerful way to fight seasonal depression, especially if you’re able to exercise outside in the sun. Regular exercise can boost serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals.
  • Focus on your gut health: It is important to know that 90% of serotonin receptors are located in the gut. Also, there is an anatomical and physiological connection between the gut and brain via the vagus nerve, and this is commonly referred to as the gut-brain axis5. When the balance between the good and bad bacteria is disrupted, certain things may occur, such as IBS, diabetes [diabetes? is this correct?], as well as cognitive and mood problems. To keep your gut healthy, try to eat whole, unprocessed foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, fiber, and also consider adding a quality probiotic supplement to your diet.

All in all, it is completely normal to have some days where you feel a bit “off” or a little sad. But if you feel down for days or weeks at a time and you can’t get motivated to do things you normally enjoy, you should see your doctor.

*The statements and information contained in this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The products featured in this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

References

  1. https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/February-2019/Millennials-and-Mental-Health
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651
  3. https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/seasonal-affective-disorder
  4. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad.htm
  5. https://probiotics.com/healthy-living-blog/gut-brain-highway

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Clinical Pharmacists Dr. Jim LaValle and Martie Whittekin Discuss Importance of Green Foods

To listen to the full podcast, click here.

About Dr. James LaValle

Jim LaValle, R.Ph., C.C.N, a nationally recognized clinical pharmacist, author, board-certified clinical nutritionist, and founder of Metabolic Code Enterprises, Inc. a web platform and practice solution enterprise, launching AIR Support and the Metabolic Code Assessment.

About Martie Whittekin 

Martie Whittekin is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist with almost 30 years experience. She has hosted the nationally-syndicated radio talk show, Healthy by Nature since 1997.

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Study Shows that Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract May Improve Wound Healing in People with Heart Disease or Diabetes

Yet, according to new research conducted at Lund University’s Skåne University Hospital in Sweden, Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) can increase microcirculation in these at-risk patients that could facilitate wound healing.

Microcirculation refers to the minute network of arterioles, capillaries, and venules (tiny veins that connect the capillaries to larger veins) that deliver oxygen and nutrients from the arteries into the individual cells and tissues throughout the body. Microcirculation also regulates the amount of blood that infuses tissue—a critical factor in wound healing.

Here are some highlights from this study:

  • Compromised microcirculation can be a particular problem for people diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • This can lead to slow wound healing and increase the risk of infection and other serious complications.
  • Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract, at a dose of 2.4g daily, improved microcirculation by 31% among study participants after twelve months of daily supplementation.
  • These findings suggest that Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract could facilitate improved wound healing in these at-risk populations.

To read the full study click here.

To hear a review of this study by Dr. Ronald Hoffman on the Intelligent Medicine podcast, click here.

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.