Category Archives: Alternative Medicine

Poison Ivy, Herbal Treatments for Your Skin

By Dee Negron

The allergen in poison ivy is a substance called urushiol. What urushiol does, to people who are allergic to it, is bind with the skin cells and produce a rash. In order to treat a reaction to the poison ivy what you essentially need to do is “neutralize” the urushiol.

There are several herbs, when applied topically, that can do this. Jewelweed is one of the best. You can also combine this with any herb that contains a significant amount of saponins such as Soapwort, Horse Chestnut, Licorice, or Rose Leaves. Please remember that these are for topical use only as saponins shouldn’t be taken internally while pregnant or nursing, but are perfectly safe when used externally. Some things to help control the itching are aloe vera or plantain. Also, cool baths with powdered colloidal oatmeal can be extremely soothing.

Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD) affects millions of children and their families. Currently accepted statistics say that as many as 10% of the school-aged population have ADHD and perhaps another 20% have symptoms of the disorder suggestive of ADHD. Boys are diagnosed three times more often than girls and 30-50% of these children will continue to manifest these symptoms and problems in adulthood.

It’s no wonder that the pharmaceutical industry has made a huge effort to market drugs for ADHD and that a large and intelligent backlash has developed against the widespread use of these powerful chemicals.

I have been a pediatrician for twenty years and for fifteen of those years I completely disdained the use of Ritalin and the other psychopharmaceuticals for ADHD kids. I was probably wrong to “throw out the baby with the bath water.” Denying that a small percentage of children receiving Ritalin actually benefited from the drug was not fair to them. We don’t know enough about brain chemistry to completely understand ADHD, but we do know the impact of untreated ADHD on children: a much more difficult childhood and adolescence with school and social problems which can be nonstop.

I now try “everything else” before resorting to prescription medication, but I no longer rule out that possibility.

Deficiency in central nervous system dopamine probably causes many, if not most, of the problems associated with ADHD. Nutritional problems can cause or exacerbate this deficiency: supplemental tyrosine, B vitamins, vitamin C and copper have all shown a positive influence on improving the school performance of children with ADHD. These can all be combined with conventional therapy with no adverse interactions. Ritalin and similar drugs act by directly increasing brain dopamine levels.

Before I consider anything else, I try to persuade the family to put their child and themselves on an excellent diet. The standard American diet filled with sugar, artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives, saturated fats, low levels of vitamins and minerals, and too much protein is not good for brain health or health in general. Mainstream medical journals have debated this topic for decades and most medical practitioners don’t like to consider nutritional alternatives in the treatment of any disease because it takes too long to discuss it with their patients.

I recommend whole foods as the backbone of the nutritional regimen. As obvious as this sounds, most children get the bulk of their food in an over-processed form. Whole grain cereals and breads and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and beans and pasta make for meals which interest children and adults. Counsel your patients to avoid sugar!! Reading labels closely will show parents just how many artificial additives have worked their way into kids’ daily diets. Many chemicals mimic brain neurotransmitters and even conventionally published research admits that sugar has a negative impact on the behavior of ADHD children. Processed cereals and high-fructose corn syrup sweetened drinks add huge amounts of sugar to a child’s day. Even regular unsweetened apple juice in the quantities some children like can be a large source of extra sugar.

There are many alternative remedies which can be used to treat children with ADHD and learning disorders. We must help the families in our practices find these and guide them in their usage.

Ginkgo Biloba dilates blood vessels and improves circulation to the brain. Researchers have shown it’s utility in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Variations are to be expected, and are in no way to be considered a defect.

– Hang tag from Madras shirt

Statistics reflect this confusion. Depending on who you read, some experts say we have about eight hundred-thousand learning disabled children in the country. Others put the figure as high as eight million.

In 1963, when “learning disabilities” were first described, we found very few students with the problem and thought the problem was rare.

Some take a very conservative view and say that 30 – 50% of us will outgrow it, but a growing body of experts think we just learn to cope with it. There’s a certain brain development that takes place at puberty that sometimes makes ADD much easier to live with. I think the jury’s still out but my guess that most of learn to live with it, not outgrow it.

Depression and Herbal Treatment

There are herbs that may drastically alter your feeling of well-being. These may be something you’d like to consider before resorting to medications.

For anxiety, a mix of Kava and Siberian Ginseng is good.

For depression, Gingko Biloba or Borage. There has been a good amount of success with a combination of the two as well.

Keep in mind when combining herbs to treat one symptom or illness to use a proportional dosage. (i.e., two herbs would be half dosage of each, three herbs would be one-third dosage, etc.)

Here is a link that goes into homeopathic remedies for depression. The info given is on postpartum depression simply because all of these are safe while nursing. They are all used to treat general depression as well, so they’re not specific for use for PPD.

Homeopathic Remedies for Postpartum Depression – Health Encyclopedia

The usual speech applies here. When looking into using herbal or homeopathic remedies, make sure you’re getting them from a good health food store. Avoid commercial places like GNC. Get out the yellow pages and look under health food stores, then call around until you find one with a certified herbalist on staff. This is the store you want to go to.

Exercise should not be forgotten when dealing with depression. It has been shown that regular exercise is the best remedy for depression. There have been patients who’ve suffered repeated bouts of depression who have been able to go off meds completely after starting and maintaining a regular exercise program.

Glucosamine for Joint Pain

For painful joint problems, a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin has shown positive results in many.

The dosage for regenerating cartilage is 1500 mg of glucosamine a day and 1200 mg of chondroitin a day. Take this dosage until you start feeling a relief from the pain. Then drop down to 1000mg of glucosamine and 800 mg of chondroitin until pain disappears. From that point on, take a daily dose of 500 mg glucosamine and 400 mg chondroitin daily to prevent future degeneration.

Patients using glucosamine for osteoarthritis should take 1500 mg per day. It can take up to 4 – 8 weeks to relieve pain. Therefore, continuing on a NSAID during this time period may be necessary.

Patients with type II diabetes should monitor their blood sugar carefully due to concerns that glucosamine might increase insulin resistance.

In considering which supplements will assist you best with joint pain, it may be helpful to know that the absorption rate for chondroitin is 0 to 8% while the glucosamine sulfate is 98%. Glucosamine sulfate is the best source. It is possible to get the relief you are looking are with glucosamine alone.

Colds Can Be Treated Naturally

By Dee Negron

Here are some natural treatments for colds that can be used in children and are also safe while nursing. When using herbs with children you can usually find a product made specifically for infants and children. If you can’t here’s how to determine the dosage. You take the child’s weight and divide it by 150. The resulting fraction is the portion of the adult dose to administer.

The first thing you’ll want to do is boost your body’s immune system. Echinacea, 2 capsules 3 times per day, and Colloidal Silver are great immune system boosters. You may also want to boost your intake of vitamin C, up to 500mg 4 times per day, and eat foods with plenty of fresh garlic.

Anise and Mullein, in tea form and taken as needed, are both natural expectorants. Elderberry, 10ml 2 times per day, is the best antiviral product on the market, natural or otherwise. It is most effective in fighting the flu virus, but is also very effective against cold viruses.

Aromatherapy can be a great tool as well. Lavender and Clary Sage in your bath are what you’ll want to use. Lavender works to relax muscles and can help soothe coughs and Clary Sage helps alleviate the grumpiness that tends to accompany colds. What you’ll need to look for is an essential oil. It is the oils of these plants that work, so something that merely contains a fragrance is going to be useless. Then what you do is take some unscented liquid soap and add five drops Clary Sage oil and ten drops Lavender oil and use your finger to mix the oil with the soap. This emulsifies the oils so that they mix with your bath water.

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Ear Infections, Alternative Treatments

Ear infections can be viral or bacterial. It seems logical to assume that the majority of them–like all kids’ infections–are viral and therefore completely non-responsive to antibiotics. The medical literature is just loaded with controversy about ear infections and that controversy includes the basic idea that ear infections may not need antibiotics at all!

I think that many infections, including otitis media (middle ear infections) respond faster or better to antibiotic treatment but I also think that the negative impact of those medicines is underestimated by doctors and patients alike. Everything from yeast overgrowth in the intestines, oral thrush, vaginal or diaper area yeast infections to diarrhea result from antibiotics. Additionally, some people have allergic reactions to these medicines. Perhaps the most underestimated problem is the breeding of bacteria which are resistant to the very drugs we count on to kill them.

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