The next major advance in the health of the American people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself.
-John Knowles, Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation
Anonymous asked: How do you feel about the use of the herb chaparral?
I believe Chaparral to be a wise herbal ally. Because of it’s strong effects, it is best to be used under supervision. Some believe it should only be used externally, but I have often witnessed the internal consumption in mild doses to work internally as an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and blood purifier.
Fortunately we have effective botanical and nutritional medicines to prevent, treat and recover from the flu. These natural approaches support the immune system, rather than overriding the body’s innate wisdom.
~ Donnie Yance, Herbalist
No doubt about it, it’s a bad flu year. Health officials are calling it the worst flu season in over a decade. The virus is worse than usual, more people are getting sick than usual, the vaccine is only about 60% effective for those who did get it, some are unable to get it because of vaccine shortages, and many folks decline the vaccine because of safety concerns.
Interested in knowing what 7 leading herbalists and docs do to personally prevent and treat the flu? I did, too! And since they’re my pals, I asked.
Here’s what they told me:
The 3 main things that I recommend to my patients and do myself are:
Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Herbalist, Fellowship Director, Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona
After having H1N1 in August of 2009, I have an appreciation for just how sick influenza makes you. The fever and chills were so intense.
To prepare: Mix equal parts of the dried herbs. Pour 2 cups of near boiling water over 2 Tbsp herbs. Steep 10 minutes. Strain. Add some honey or maple syrup – this stuff doesn’t taste good but it lowers the fever, makes you sweat, eases headache and joint pain and I truly believe helps you fight off infection faster. Drink 1/4 cup every hour, while awake.
Tinctures (assuming these are all 1:5 strengths) for 3-5 days
Use these in combination for 3-5 days
For prevention I use:
Favorite flu prevention:
Roy Upton, Herbalist, Director of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia
As soon as you feels symptoms coming on:
I recommend the following protocol for enhancing immunity and recovery from the flu:
Of course, I have a few of my own favorite recipe to share, in addition to concurring with those above. I’ve had the flu before and know – it’s awful. Here’s my favorite remedy for the horrible aches and pains with the flu. It’s my personal (and much safer!) alternative to ibuprofen and tylenol.
Combine the tinctures and take 3 mL (about 60 drops). Repeat in 15 minutes, then again in 15 minutes the first time you take it. Thereafter take about 60 drops every 2 hours. This can be given to kids 7 and over, only. Divide your child’s weight over 150, ie for a 30 pound child: 30/150 = 1/5 and give that fraction of the above dose. So for a 30 pound child 1/5 of 60 drops. Make sense?
Do NOT exceed this dosing. If you experience headache or shortness of breath, discontinue, though these would be rare side effects. This remedy will help you to sleep (that is, don’t drive while you’re taking it!)
And for a quick cough remedy that’s safe for kids and adults:
Combine equal parts of echinacea glycerite, elderberry syrup, anise seed tincture, and catnip tincture. Mix and give 1 dropper 4-6 times/day. Continue for up to a week and if there’s a tendency for recurrent coughs stay on it for several weeks. The echinacea prevents recurrence, the elder is a respiratory immune tonic, the catnip relaxing and the anise mucolytic and a respiratory antispasmodic.
I personally use HerbPharm, Gaia Herbs, Natura Health Products, MediHerb, and Herbalist and Alchemist — all excellent companies with high quality products (I have no financial stake in any herb companies). Mountain Rose is a fantastic on-line source for ordering your herbs, especially ones you can’t find locally, or in small amounts.
Gretchen Reynolds on the science of fitness.
Many active people use the painkiller ibuprofen on an almost daily basis. In surveys, up to 70 percent of distance runners and other endurance athletes report that they down the pills before every workout or competition, viewing the drug as a pre-emptive strike against muscle soreness.
But a valuable new study joins growing evidence that ibuprofen and similar anti-inflammatory painkillers taken before a workout do not offer any benefit and may be causing disagreeable physical damage instead, particularly to the intestines.
Studies have already shown that strenuous exercise alone commonly results in a small amount of intestinal trauma. A representative experiment published last year found that cyclists who rode hard for an hour immediately developed elevated blood levels of a marker that indicates slight gastrointestinal leakage.
Physiologically, it makes sense that exercise would affect the intestines as it does, because, during prolonged exertion, digestion becomes a luxury, said Dr. Kim van Wijck, currently a surgical resident at Orbis Medical Center in the Netherlands, who led the small study. So the blood that normally would flow to the small intestine is instead diverted to laboring muscles. Starved of blood, some of the cells lining the intestines are traumatized and start to leak.
Thankfully, the damage seems to be short-lived, Dr. van Wijck said. Her research showed that within an hour after a cyclist finished riding, the stressed intestines returned to normal.
But the most common side-effect of ibuprofen is gastrointestinal damage. And because many athletes take the drug for pain before and after a workout, Dr. van Wijck set out to determine the combined effect of exercise and ibuprofen.
For the new study, published in the December issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands recruited nine healthy, active men and had them visit the university’s human performance lab four times.
During two of the visits, the men rested languorously for an hour, although before one of the visits, they swallowed 400 milligrams of ibuprofen the night before and also the morning of their trip to the lab. (Four hundred milligrams is the recommended nonprescription dosage for adults using the drug to treat headaches or other minor pain.)
During the remaining visits, the men briskly rode stationary bicycles for that same hour. Before one of those rides, though, they again took 400 milligrams of ibuprofen the night before and the morning of their workouts.
At the end of each rest or ride, researchers drew blood to check whether the men’s small intestines were leaking. Dr. van Wijck found that blood levels of a protein indicating intestinal leakage were, in fact, much higher when the men combined bike riding with ibuprofen than during the other experimental conditions when they rode or took ibuprofen alone. Notably, the protein levels remained elevated several hours after exercise and ibuprofen.
The health implications of this finding are not yet clear, although they are worrisome, Dr. van Wijck said. It may be that if someone uses ibuprofen before every exercise session for a year or more, she said, “intestinal integrity might be compromised.” In that case, small amounts of bacteria and digestive enzymes could leak regularly into the bloodstream.
More immediately, if less graphically, the absorption of nutrients could be compromised, especially after exercise, Dr. van Wijck said, which could affect the ability of tired muscles to resupply themselves with fuel and regenerate.
The research looks specifically at prophylactic use of ibuprofen and does not address the risks and benefits of ibuprofen after an injury occurs. Short-term use of ibuprofen for injury is generally considered appropriate.
The Dutch study is not the first to find damage from combining exercise and ibuprofen. Earlier work has shown that frequent use of the drug before and during workouts can also lead to colonic seepage. In a famous study from a few years ago, researchers found that runners at the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run who were regular ibuprofen users had small amounts of colonic bacteria in their bloodstream.
This bacterial incursion resulted in “higher levels of systemic inflammation,” said David C. Nieman, a professor of health and exercise science at Appalachian State University who conducted the study and is himself an ultramarathoner. In other words, the ultramarathon racers who frequently used ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory, wound up with higher overall levels of bodily inflammation. They also reported being just as sore after the race as runners who had not taken ibuprofen.
Animal studies have also shown that ibuprofen hampers the ability of muscles to rebuild themselves after exercise. So why do so many athletes continue enthusiastically to swallow large and frequent doses of ibuprofen and related anti-inflammatory painkillers, including aspirin, before and during exercise?
“The idea is just entrenched in the athletic community that ibuprofen will help you to train better and harder,” Dr. Nieman said. “But that belief is simply not true. There is no scientifically valid reason to use ibuprofen before exercise and many reasons to avoid it.”
Dr. van Wijck agrees. “We do not yet know what the long-term consequences are” of regularly mixing exercise and ibuprofen, she said. But it is clear that “ibuprofen consumption by athletes is not harmless and should be strongly discouraged.”
2 Cups Baking Soda
1 Cup Citric Acid
4 teaspoons massage oil ( or 2 teaspoons essential oil and 2 teaspoons olive oil)
Spray bottle with water
mold (60 mm 2 part plastic ball) (I am also thinking the bottoms of two large Easter eggs could be used)
This amount only made 5 bath bombs.
Mix baking soda and citric acid in large mixing bowl. Mix very well! You can use an electric mixer if you like.
Add in 4 teaspoons of scented massage oil (or other combination of skin safe essential oil for scent and another oil for moisturizing the skin). The scent is personal, so start with a teaspoon or so and add more until you are satisfied. Mix well.
This next step can be a bit tricky because you don’t want your bath bomb to start fizzing. Start by adding a couple of fine mist sprays of water to your mixture and mix well.
You will continue spraying until the mixture will clump in your hand when squeezed. (I used 5-8 sprays, however this will depend greatly on your local climate)
Fill one half of your mold. Pack it tightly.
Fill the other half of the mold and place them together—don’t snap together. I slightly overfilled each half. When I pushed the two halves together they became a ball.
Gently remove the ball from mold. If I had problems with the ball coming out easily I dumped the mixture back into my bowl, added a mist of water (carefully), mixed well and then tried again.
Cut out about a 10 inch circle of black tissue paper.
Wrap tissue up around your bath bomb and trim if necessary.
Place a silver pipe cleaner in the center and then wrap a shiny red pipe cleaner around the the tissue paper and silver pipe cleaner. Add a tag and you are finished! You might want to write instructions for using the bath bomb on the back of the tag.
The bath bomb worked great. It provided fizz, bubbles and fun for my bath.