Natural Health Benefits of Turmeric

The Extraordinary Natural Health Benefits of Turmeric

The benefits of turmeric are numerous, as it’s widely considered one of the most powerful medicinal herbs on earth. It’s also one of the most studied herbs on the planet, as in 12,500 peer-reviewed articles, studies, and clinical trials.

Turmeric has a long history of use, especially in Ayurvedic medicine. It has been used in India for centuries for a vast array of conditions and illnesses, including as an antiseptic for burns and cuts and as a remedy for digestive distress and respiratory issues. But it’s the ability to significantly reduce inflammation that makes turmeric a superstar among herbs.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric, or Curcuma longa, is a perennial herb in the Zingiberaceae (or ginger) family. Curcuma is native to South India and grows well in hot and humid climates. It is the rhizomes, or root system, of the plant that is most often used.

Turmeric reaches a height of around three feet. Its roots are yellowish-orange in color and have been used in Asia for thousands of years as both food and medicine. Turmeric is often used in curries in Asian cuisine. And it’s added to mustard, which is what contributes to its yellow color.

Where turmeric is grown locally, the roots are often used fresh like ginger root. The leaves are also sometimes used to wrap and cook food in. Besides Asia, turmeric is popular in the Middle East, and South Africa, where it is often added to white rice giving it a nice golden color.

The main active ingredient in turmeric and that which is responsible for its bright yellow color is called curcumin. Curcumin, along with several other active compounds, is responsible for turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.

What are the Health Benefits of Turmeric?

When you talk about the holistic healing effects of turmeric, and specifically curcumin, you have to begin with its potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Chronic inflammation is an immune response from the body when there is no threat or injury present. It’s a condition that has been linked to numerous diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and the 80 or so autoimmune diseases that exist.

The problem with chronic inflammation is that it can exist in the body undetected for years. Then not-so-suddenly, you find yourself in a state of serious disease. Think of chronic inflammation as a foundation on which numerous diseases and conditions can build upon.

This 2004 study examined numerous anti-inflammatory compounds and found curcumin to be one of the strongest, most effective anti-inflammatory compounds on the planet.

Numerous studies on mice have found that curcumin is able to reverse mild cases of Alzheimer’s disease, as this neurological disorder is directly related to chronic inflammation.

If you’re thinking that an anti-inflammatory medication is the best course of action, just remember that a powerful herb like turmeric solves issues at the root level ― functional medicine ― while medications simply mask the symptoms.

Since cancer is one of the most studied diseases on the planet, let’s take a look at how one of the most studied medicinal herbs on the planet interacts with cancer cells.

According to the holistic health practitioner, Dr. Joseph Mercola, curcumin appears to be universally useful for all cancers.

Dr. Mercola goes on to explain how unique this is, as different types of cancer have different types of pathologies, which is why you usually see different types of natural treatments work more effectively for certain types of cancers.

However, this doesn’t appear to be the case when it comes to curcumin, as it affects multiple molecular targets, via multiple pathways. According to Dr. Mercola, “Once it gets into a cell, it affects more than 100 different molecular pathways.”

He goes on to say about the anti-cancer effects of curcumin: “Whether the curcumin molecule causes an increase in activity of a particular molecular target, or decrease/inhibition of activity, studies repeatedly show that the end result is a potent anti-cancer activity.”

Best of all, unlike modern, allopathic treatments for cancer ― chemotherapy and radiation ― healthy cells are not adversely affected, which better enables your body to fight the disease. Again, another benefit of functional medicine ― allowing the body to heal itself. Curcumin is also available in a pharmaceutical form and could be administered intravenously.

Turmeric benefits also include …

• Improved lung health
• Reduced risk of blood clotting
• Improved liver function
• Reduction in depression symptoms
• Cardiovascular protection
• Cancer prevention
• Improved skin health
• Normalization of cholesterol levels
• Rheumatoid arthritis relief
• Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease
• Cystic fibrosis treatment
• Treatment and prevention of autoimmune diseases

What are the Best Ways to Consume Turmeric?

You probably wouldn’t think you could find so many ways to incorporate turmeric into your diet. But actually, it’s quite easy. You can add turmeric to rice dishes, potatoes, sautéed vegetables, stews, meats and fish dishes and if making homemade chicken soup, it gives the broth a wonderful and natural yellow color.

Natural Health pioneer, Dr. Andrew Weil, in this video talks about some of the health benefits and uses of turmeric and even mentions how little you’ll notice a flavor difference when adding a teaspoon of this magical herb to meals. He also talks a little about ginger, since they’re in the same family of herbs. And speaking of ginger …

One issue with turmeric, and in particular curcumin, is that it’s poorly absorbed by the body. However, you can increase the rate of absorption by combining it with fresh ginger and freshly ground pepper.

Dr. Mercola recommends making a microemulsion to make it more bioavailable — Mix 1 tablespoon of raw turmeric powder with two egg yolks and 2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil. We presume that you simply eat that concoction when you’re done mixing it.

As always, start out small, and see how your body reacts. Try adding turmeric to meals in smaller amounts until you feel comfortable adding more.

Remember that turmeric is first and foremost an herb, besides being a type of functional medicine, which means you can increase the dosage as needed. If you’re feeling sick, fatigued, or are experiencing muscle or joint pain, get more turmeric into your diet and see how you respond. The holistic healing effects of this special herb may really surprise you.

If you’re looking to optimize your health and wellness, sign up below, and I’ll send you a FREE copy of my ebook ― How to have Better Health: Functional Medicine 101. It’s full of valuable tips to becoming your healthiest and happiest self.

Stay Healthy Wealthy & Wise,

Elena Klimenko, MD

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=curcumin
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15489888
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1471-4159.2007.04613.x
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/04/curcumin-turmeric-benefits.aspx
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QKzD9zVdYM

MAKING SENSE OF LYME DISEASE

Making Sense of Lyme Disease – the Great Imitator

To say that Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose, would be like saying that McDonald’s has sold a few hamburgers over the years. Besides being called the great imitator, it has also been called an “invisible illness” as those who have it can still appear healthy, and so can their bloodwork.

Consider the shocking difference between these two statistics. In 2013, federal health departments reported that there were 27, 203 confirmed cases of Lyme disease. While the CDC that same year reported that there were 300,000 cases of the disease. What may be even more problematic, is that it appears to be on the rise.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infectious disease in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. The disease was first identified in Lyme, Connecticut in 1975, which is how Lyme disease got its name.

It’s actually a bacterial disease. The corkscrew shape of the bacteria responsible allows them to burrow into body tissues and even cells, where the bacteria can then hide. This is why different parts of the body can be affected and why those who are infected can exhibit a wide range of symptoms.

What Causes Lyme Disease?

Of the four bacteria responsible for causing Lyme disease, Borrellia burgdorferi and Borrelliamiyamotoiare the two most common in the U.S., while Borrelliagarinii and Borrelliaafzelii are common in Asia and Europe.

The bacteria enter the body through the bite of a tick. However, according to Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, one of the top Lyme disease experts, other blood-sucking insects can also spread the disease.

A tick will usually attach itself to areas of the body where it will go unnoticed, like the scalp, groin, and armpits. It must be attached for around 24 hours before the bacteria are transmitted. And it’s usually the immature ticks that are most responsible, as adult ticks are bigger and easier to notice.

Research shows that within the first 15 minutes, as the tick attaches itself to the host, it injects a salivary content with numbing substances, so we don’t feel the invader as it feeds on our blood for hours. Up to 75 percent of a tick’s salivary secretion has a “soup” of pathogens, including Borrelia and other co-infections.

What are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

The biggest problem with Lyme disease is that, for your best chances of a complete recovery, early detection is both critical and difficult.

Common symptoms of Lyme disease mirror those of several other conditions including:

• Multiple sclerosis
• Chronic fatigue syndrome
• Arthritis
• Fibromyalgia
• ADHD
• Alzheimer’s disease

symptoms from lyme disease include rash
First Warning Signs

In about half of all Lyme disease cases, the infected person will notice a growing red rash at the site of the bite that can grow up to 12 inches in diameter. The rash isn’t itchy or painful and is usually accompanied by other symptoms that may include:

• Chills
• Fever
• Headaches
• Body aches
• Fatigue

Chronic Symptoms

The longer the disease goes untreated, other signs and symptoms may come and go, such as brain fog, severe fatigue, muscle and joint problems, and an irregular heartbeat. The longer it persists, the more difficult it is to treat. And if left untreated long enough, it can cause problems with many organs and systems in the body, including the heart, digestive system, nervous system, brain, and reproductive system.

How is Lyme Disease Diagnosed?

Blood tests are the most common method to detect Lyme disease. However, it may take a few weeks after infection for detection to be possible.

The tests are looking to confirm the presence of antibodies to the Lyme-causing bacteria. Antibodies are created by the immune system to combat pathogens, but the body needs a certain amount of time to make them.

The CDC recommends a two-step process when attempting to diagnose Lyme disease. The first test is an enzyme immunosorbent assay which checks for any and all antibodies. If results are positive, the second test – an immunoblot test – will check for two specific antibodies that the body produces due to the presence of the Lyme bacteria.

If both tests are positive, the presence of Lyme disease is a practical certainty. But again, problems persist. Proper results of these testing methods rely on the proper functioning of the body’s white blood cells. So, there is still a chance that tests can be negative and Lyme disease present.

There is some good news, though. A brand-new testing method has been developed that can detect Lyme DNA, rather than the antibodies the body produces to combat the Lyme bacteria. This should allow for detection weeks sooner. And since time is the most critical factor in treating Lyme disease, this early detection is a very positive development.

It should be noted that diagnosing and treating Lyme disease can become quite pricey and that a patient will often see five to seven physicians before the disease is even properly diagnosed.

How to Treat Lyme Disease?

Unfortunately, the conventional treatment for Lyme disease – short courses of antibiotics – is often unsuccessful, particularly if the disease has been present for a longer time. For most patients, symptoms continue, and the disease worsens.

A natural health approach may be the better option, as in a rotation of herbal antimicrobials. The advantages are two-fold. There’s no chance of a resistance developing, the way it might with antibiotics. And there are no adverse side effects, such as the disturbance to your delicate microbiome that antibiotics use can cause.

Renowned natural health expert, Dr. Joseph Mercola, recommends taking a functional nutrition approach by using a number of herbs, foods, and other supplements to fight the Lyme infection, including astaxanthin, curcumin, krill oil, probiotics, resveratrol, grapefruit seed extract, and others.

Don’t underestimate the role of diet and functional nutrition when it comes to fighting Lyme disease. Naturopath and author of “The Lyme Diet: Nutritional Strategies for Healing from Lyme Disease”, Dr. Nicola McFadzean, has this to say on the subject:

“The role of nutrition is central not so much in the actual bug-killing, but in the underlying strength and resilience of your health. Immune support, inflammation management, hormone regulation, and detoxification functions can all be vitally influenced by your nutritional intake.”

If you’re concerned that you may have Lyme disease, the first step is to find a functional medicine practitioner who can properly diagnose and treat the disease.  Remember that with Lyme disease, time is critical. As is getting the proper treatment.

Call our office and learn about an affordable way to get care from Lyme-literate practitioners certified in integrative medicine and natural therapies with our Access Membership plan. Call today – (212)-696-HEAL(4325).

References:

http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/33/6/780.full

https://www.healthline.com/health/lyme-disease#symptoms

https://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/arthritis-lyme-disease

https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/lyme-disease-chronic-persistent

https://www.healthline.com/health/lyme-disease

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402110029.htm

Your Role in Preventing & Reversing Autoimmune Disease

To most people feeling tired is a result of not getting enough rest. Achy joints or muscles for most will seem as a result of intensive exercises. Symptoms of abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea can easily be swept under the rug and blamed on a bad meal.

Nevertheless, the above symptoms are only temporary for most people. Getting enough rest and some time to recover, or cleaning up their diet and those people will be back to their normal condition.

However, if you’re suffering from an autoimmune disease when your body is attacking itself, these symptoms are more severe and debilitating. And they could potentially be festering into another autoimmune disease. About 25% of those with autoimmune diseases have a tendency to develop another autoimmune disease causing more complications.

The Epidemic of Autoimmune Diseases

The epidemic of autoimmune diseases is booming in the 21st century. Why is so many people’s immune system is turning on them and attacking healthy tissue? Many doctors and patients point to genetics – saying that you were bound to get it someday. However, genetic predisposition accounts for only 30-50% of autoimmune diseases, while environmental factors account for the rest, 50-70%.

Environmental factors triggering autoimmune diseases include:

• Gut health
• Toxins
• Diet
• Stress
• Infections.

Toxins, unhealthy diets, and stress are everyday factors in the world we live in. These environmental triggers set off an imbalance in your body including hormonal imbalances, gut dysbiosis, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and neurotransmitter imbalances. These imbalances alter your defense mechanisms leading to more infections and possibly to an autoimmune disease.

Fortunately, you can manage these environmental factors. And possibly you may be able to prevent or even reverse autoimmune diseases and heal your body.

What are Autoimmune Diseases?

There is a broad spectrum of autoimmune diseases consisting of about 80 different disorders. These types of autoimmune diseases can affect any part of your body, leaving you with a variety of different symptoms. However, at the core of all autoimmune diseases, there’s a glitch in your immune system, which leads to an attack on your healthy organs and tissues.

And because of this, a symptom which all autoimmune diseases have in common is some type of inflammation. Whether it be in thyroid, in case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or in the gut, in case of Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, or in a central nervous system (neuroinflammation) in multiple sclerosis. Wherever it is, the body is inflamed and under attack.

Our immune system is specifically wired to protect us from foreign invaders including parasites, harmful bacteria, and viruses. Due to genetic predisposition and other environmental factors, our immune system may sometimes fail to recognize these foreign invaders. This can lead to a chronic inflammation.

Let’s face it, our immune system is not like our brain or heart where you can point to an exact location or particular parts of the body. Our immune system is an intricate system working with multiple different systems to keep us safe. However, according to a fairly new research, close to 80% of these working systems are related to our gut. That is why gut health has become so important within the autoimmune disease community.

Autoimmune diseases can be tricky to diagnose because of the wide range of symptoms affecting multiple parts of the body. Autoimmune symptoms can easily be mistaken for bothersome symptoms that don’t require immediate attention. But those symptoms could just be the canary in the coal mine alerting you of a weakened immune system.

Signs of a Weak Immune System

Since autoimmune symptoms tend to be somewhat vague, the actual disease might not apparent until years later. For that reason, curing autoimmune diseases can be difficult because, by the time you develop autoimmunity, some organs may be already damaged.

So making yourself more aware of possible signs that your immune system might be developing a glitch is important for your overall health. The following are the signs of a weak immune system:
• Joint or muscle pain, muscle weakness
• Recurrent rashes or hives
• Butterfly-shaped rash across nose and cheeks
• Fatigue or insomnia
• Weight loss or weight gain
• Cold or heat intolerance
• Unexplained fever
• Hair loss
• Hyperactivity and difficulty concentrating
• Abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, or blood or mucus in stool
• Dry eyes, mouth, or skin
• Harden or thickened skin
• Numbness, pain, or color changes in fingers or toes

If you are experiencing any combination of these symptoms, talk to your alternative or integrative medicine doctor because you may have an autoimmune disease.

Most Common Autoimmune Diseases

Although there are 80 different types of autoimmune diseases, the most common autoimmune diseases include:
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Hashimoto’s disease
• Grave’s disease
• Addison’s disease
• Systemic lupus erythematosus
• Celiac, Chron’s, ulcerative colitis
• Type 1 diabetes
• Sjogren’s syndrome
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Multiple sclerosis

If you have a family history of these diseases and multiple environmental factors, which play a role in autoimmunity chances are higher you can develop an autoimmune disease. But with some work with your doctor, you both can work on an integrative approach for your autoimmune disease.

Integrative Approach to Autoimmune Disease

Talk to your integrative medicine doctor today if you experience any of the above signs of a weak immune system. Alternative medicine treatments are essential in reversing autoimmune diseases and healing your body. Because it’s not only about genetics – environmental factors have the strongest influence on your health.

Identifying environmental triggers such as evaluating for toxins, testing gut health, recognizing stress, and evaluating your diet helps to pinpoint what has set off your autoimmune disease.

Request an appointment today with Dr. Elena Klimenko to experience her integrative approach in the healing of autoimmune diseases. This functional medicine doctor uses genetic testing, blood work, advanced stool testing, and many other advanced methods necessary to first uncover the root cause of your disorder, and then heal your body through functional and integrative medicine approaches such as IV therapy, acupuncture, homeopathy, etc. You can also call at (212) 696-4325 to make an appointment with this NYC practice.

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150011/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4290643/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4290643/
https://www.drelenaklimenko.com/detoxification-path-to-greater-health-part-2/
https://www.drelenaklimenko.com/mysterious-symptoms-blame-biotoxins/
https://www.drelenaklimenko.com/mysterious-symptoms-blame-biotoxins/
https://www.drelenaklimenko.com/constipation-relief-part-3-dysbiosis/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/
https://www.drelenaklimenko.com/integrative-medicine-best-of-both-worlds/
https://www.drelenaklimenko.com/pellentesque-ullamcorper-tellus-sed-diam-3/
https://www.drelenaklimenko.com/acupuncture-tcm/

Homeopathy: Finding the Cure in the Cause

How Can Homeopathy Help?

Like cures like. That’s the concept behind homeopathy, a centuries-old system that stimulates the body’s innate healing ability. In 1796, Samuel Hahnemann, M.D. observed that Cinchona Bark, a medicinal plant used by native people in South America to treat malaria, could also caused the symptoms of malaria in healthy people. After testing the theory on himself, he continued his research, establishing the “dynamic” effect of a homeopathic substance: The small amount of the disease-causing agent in the remedy stimulates the healing process and with fewer side effects.

Let’s look at the example with regular onion. You remember how you feel when you peel and chop fresh onion in the kitchen? The eyes are burning and tearing, your nose starts running and all you want to do is to get out from that kitchen to the fresh air. Now, imagine you have  seasonal allergy, hay fever, and your symptoms include burning, itchy eyes, runny nose and all those symptoms get better on the fresh air. In this case, the small quantity of onion (Allium Cepa), prepared according to homeopathic traditions will help to alleviate those symptoms.

Whether you have an acute illness, such as a cold or flu, or a chronic illness, such as chronic sinusitis or even thyroid disease, homeopathy can play an essential role in your wellness. Within the homeopathic model, as in most holistic approaches to health, illness is believed to be caused by imbalance within a person. Employing the system of “like cures like” — often along with other therapies — balance is restored; the body begins to function as it should and the symptoms of disease go away.

A homeopathic physician will conduct an extensive interview with a patient, identify potential remedies, and closely monitor a patient’s progress until the person is well. During treatment, symptoms may come and go as the body heals. While it’s a very safe therapy, it’s important to work with a practitioner who has been fully trained in order to achieve the best results possible.

Elena Klimenko, MD, is a board certified internist and certified in clinical homeopathy and functional medicine, will help you decide which homeopathic medicine is right for you. In her practice, she uses lifestyle modification and natural remedies, such as homeopathy, herbs and food based supplements  to address the root cause of your medical symptoms and guide your body towards optimal health. Call today to speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).

References

  • Cody, G.W. & Hascall, H., “The History of Naturopathic Medicine: The Emergence and Evolution of an American School of Healing” in Pizzorno, J.E. & Murray, M. T. Textbook of Natural Medicine (2013). p. 37.
  • Lange, A. & Gaylord, S.A., “Homeopathy” in Pizzorno, J.E. & Murray, M. T. Textbook of Natural Medicine (2013). p. 314-32
Could Diindolylmethane (DIM) Protect Against Cancer?

Could Diindolylmethane (DIM) Protect Against Cancer?

Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a compound found in “cruciferous” vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. Scientists think these crunchy vegetables may help protect the body against cancer because they contain diindolylmethane and a related chemical called indole-3-carbinol (I3C).

DIM helps balance the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. When the body breaks down estrogen, for example, it can form either a harmful or beneficial metabolite. DIM, in some clinical and animal studies, has been shown to help the body form the more beneficial estrogen metabolite and reduce formation of the harmful metabolite. The beneficial estrogen metabolites can have many positive effects, including reducing the risk for some types of cancer. DIM may benefit patients with certain types of prostate cancer and may help reverse abnormal changes in cells on the surface of the cervix. Some scientists think DIM will be useful for preventing breast, uterine and colorectal cancer. However, because of the variability in types of cancer and the sensitivity of the estrogen system in the body, DIM and I3C supplements may not be appropriate for everyone.

 

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you decide if DIM is the right supplement for you. In her practice, she uses advanced hormonal testing to evaluate your individual risk of hormonal related conditions. She uses lifestyle modification and natural remedies to address the root cause of your medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).

 

 

References
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Integrative Medicine Database. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/diindolylmethane
  • Fujioka, N. et al., ” Research on cruciferous vegetables, indole-3-carbinol, and cancer prevention: a tribute to lee w. wattenberg.” Mol Nutr Food Res (Feb 2016) doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500889. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26840393
  • Ashrafian, L.,et al. “Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled multicenter clinical trial (phase IIa) on di-indolylmethane’s efficacy and safety in the treatment of CIN: implications for cervical cancer prevention.” The EPMA Journal. (2015) 6:25. doi:10.1186/s13167-015-0048-9. Accessed on March 23, 2016: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4685602/
  • Ahmad, A., et al., “The Bounty of Nature for changing the cancer landscape.” Mol Nutr Food Res (Jan 2016). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500867. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26799714
  • Higdon, J.V. et al., “Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis.” Pharmacol Res. (Mar 2007) 55(3): p 224-36. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043661807000321
  • Minich, D.M. & Bland, S. “A Review of the Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Cruciferous Vegetable Phytochemicals.” DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2007.tb00303.x p 259-267 First published online: 1 June 2007. Available from: http://nutritionreviews.oxfordjournals.org/content/65/6/259
Soothe Emotional Angst with Motherwort

Soothe Emotional Angst with Motherwort

A plant in the mint family, Motherwort gets its name from its ancient use: helping women who had a tendency to “over-mother” and thus experienced more stress, and less joy, in their maternal role. Today, throughout Europe and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it’s used as a medicinal herb to treat emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression. It also helps ease symptoms of menstrual distress, as well as physical and emotional exhaustion.

Motherwort can be prepared as a tea, tincture, or in capsule form. Depending on the the type of preparation, it can have a rather bitter taste and an odor some may find unpleasant. However, for many users, it becomes an “acquired taste” and the benefits outweigh any bitterness.

Motherwort has the ability to calm without causing drowsiness, and it has medicinal effects on circulation and heart rate. Because it can thin the blood, this herb should be used carefully and under the guidance of a qualified herbalist or natural health practitioner.

In our practice we use Motherwort to address the symptoms of  hyperthyroidism, benign irregular heart beat (racing heart), emotional and mental tensions, anxiety and spasms. It is also effective in addressing the hot flashes and mental tension so commonly occurring in perimenopause.

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you decide if motherwort is right for you. In her practice, she uses lifestyle modification and natural remedies to address the root cause of your medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).

 

References

  • Mars, B. & Fiedler, C. Home Reference Guide to Holistic Health & Healing. (2015.) p.191-192. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.
  • NatureGate.com “Motherwort.” Accessed on July 3, 2016: http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/motherwort
  • NDHealthFacts.com “Leonurus cardiaca.” Accessed on July 3, 2016: http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/motherwort
  • Hoffmann, D. Medicinal Herbalism. The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, Healing Art Press 2003. http://www.pdfarchive.info/pdf/H/Ho/Hoffmann_David_-_Medical_herbalism.pdf pp. 501, 502, 509, 514-517.
  • Murray, M. “Hypertension” as cited in Pizzorno, Joseph E. (2013). Textbook of Natural Medicine. St. Louis, MO Elsevier. (chapter 174), 1475-1485.
  • Johnson, R.L., S. Foster, Low Dog, T. and Kiefer, D. “Plants and the Heart” in National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2012. 100-101.
  • Mars, Bridgitte & Fiedler, Chrystle. Home Reference Guide to Holistic Health & Healing. (Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press. 2015.), 189.
Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea

Who does not want to have better mood, stronger libido, and stronger nervous system, feel stronger, resist to infections and tolerate stress better and live longer?

If you don’t want at least one of those qualities, you probably don’t need to read the rest of the article…

For all others, let me introduce you to the “queen” of the herbs Rhodiola Rosea. To be more exact, the root of the herb possesses the multitude of the medicinal qualities outlined earlier. If I ever get stranded on the deserted island and I have only one supplement to take, it’d be Rhodiola Rosea!

Rhodiola root (Rhodiola Rosea, Arctic Root, Golden Root) was first discovered in Russia, where the locals of Siberia were known to possess a strong health and survive severe climate conditions. It was later been used in the traditional medicine of many countries including Russia, Scandinavia and Middle Asia.

Since 1969 Rhodiola has been included in the list of official Russian medicine. It is regarded as a tonic and stimulant and used to increase physical endurance, attention span, memory, work productivity and resistance to high altitude sickness.

Other indications include fatigue, anemia, impotence, infections (including cold and influenza), nervous system disorders (mild depression and stress), headache and to enhance longevity and fertility.

Rhodiola has multiple key ingredients that are responsible for the myriad of therapeutic properties (rosavins and salidroside are among the most important). The particular ratio of those components (3:1) gives the most therapeutic efficacy. The interesting thing is that not all types of Rodiola are the same and the most balanced and therapeutic species from all existing Rodiolas appears to be Rodeola Rosea. Different parts of the plant (leaves, flowers, stems and roots) have different proportions of the therapeutic components. Many studies were done to find which part is the richest in the medicinal qualities and the roots invariably come as a winner.

The main indication for use of Rhodiola is adaptogenic, tonic and antioxidant effect.

General indications: Rhodiola Rosea extract is classified as an adaptogen due to its ability to increase your body’s resistance to a variety of chemical, biological, and physical sources of stress. It is commonly recommended to people who are faced with large amounts of physical and/or mental stress. Sounds like any person leaving in New York or any large city.

Detoxification: Several studies have shown that Rhodiola Rosea can help to detoxify our body by increasing protein synthesis and removing ammonia from the blood. It also increases blood supply to the muscles and the brain, and therefore proven to improve athletic performance.

Brian support: Due to its ability to supply blood to the brain many people use Rhodiola Rosea during times of studying and taking exams. Rhodiola rosea also improves the brain’s ability to deal with stress by increasing serotonin in the brain (hypothalamus and midbrain), increasing endorphins, moderating the release of opioid peptides that occur as a part of dealing with stress response, and protecting the brain and heart by reducing the stress related production of stress initiating hormone (corticotrophin releasing factor).

Rhodiola is a wonderful herb for mental focus and brain activity. The results, observed in several clinical studies demonstrate enhanced mental performance, learning, attention span, and memory. It has been widely used as an antidepressant, working alone or adjunctively with other antidepressants and some patients find it more effective than prescription antidepressants like SSRI’s or St. John’s Wort.

Rhodiola’s indications: Fatigue, Physical stress, Debility, Increase of concentration, mental performance and memory, Failure to thrive, Impotence and infertility, Convalescence, Chronic immune deficiency, Chronic fatigue syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Recovery from viral infections, Tonic for the elderly

Athletic performance: Rhodiola Rosea is able to increase physical work capacity. It improves strength, recovery time, endurance, and coordination. Clinical studies discovered Rhodiola to be more effective than Siberian ginseng at enhancing adaptation to physical stress.

Fertility: Rhodiola has been shown great results in enhancing fertility in women, even among those that have failed to conceive with standard fertility drugs; It also improves sexual performance in men with erectile dysfunction and/or premature ejaculation. It also enhances thyroid and adrenal function without causing hyperfunction of those organs.

Heart Function: Rhodiola is a very effective anti-arrhythmia/tachycardia agent. It also increases the energy efficiency and energy reserves of the heart by balancing the heart’s nerve inputs (sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems).

Remember, if you have time and money for only one herb, make it Rodeola Rosea. Keep in mind, the quality of herbs can vary immensely from one manufacturer to another. I use and trust MediHerb as a source of my herbs. This Australian company does vigorous quality control to test efficacy and purity of the herbal sources and I get consistent results when I use their product.

Feel free to call our office with any questions about this article or to get the best quality Rodeola Rosea.

Stay Healthy Wealthy & Wise,

Elena Klimenko, MD

 

Reflexology for Thyroid Health

Reflexology for Thyroid Health

Reflexology is a gentle, complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapy in which pressure is placed along reflex points on the feet, lower leg, hands, face, or ears. A Reflex Map identifies various reflex points and corresponding regions or systems throughout the body. A certified reflexologist uses specific patterns of touch and pressure to stimulate these points.

The theory that underlies reflexology is that stimulation of the reflex points opens the flow of energy (referred to as Life Force or Chi) and nutrients throughout the body. It is believed that reflexology taps into the body’s natural healing process by enhancing the functioning of the lymphatic system (a major part of the immune system), which helps move fluids and waste products from within the tissues into the circulatory system, ultimately for excretion from the body.

Generally, reflexology is suitable for everyone, from newborn babies to those receiving end of life care. A reflexologist tailors each session to the individual, taking into account both physical and emotional factors that might be affecting you. Reflexologists aim to work alongside both allopathic and holistic healthcare practitioners to promote well-being for their clients.

CAM researchers have investigated reflexology for a variety of health conditions, such as breast cancer, diabetes, anxiety, back pain, menstrual issues, post-operative recovery, chronic fatigue, and thyroid dysfunction. The premise for treating thyroid conditions with reflexology is that opening the energy flow through the thyroid gland can balance both hyperthyroid and hypothyroid conditions by supporting the gland in regulating homeostasis, the body’s ideal state of equilibrium. In some studies of thyroid goiter or cancer, reflexology reduced pain and promoted relaxation, which can boost healing.

While there have been promising results in many case studies (of just one person or a small group), there is still a need for further research to definitively indicate the effectiveness of reflexology for treating illness.

Resources

What Your Bowel Movements Reveal about Your Health?

What Your Bowel Movements Reveal about Your Health?

While discussion of poop is probably not a hot topic in your household, in our home it is the most important topic of discussion. “Honey,how was your poop today? Did you have a good one?” Jokes aside, composition of what you deposit into the toilet has important implications for health. Did you know the features of fecal matter–such as the size, color, shape, odor, and consistency indicate how well the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is functioning? Those same features also provide clues about how your body is (or isn’t) faring against threats of infection and more serious diseases like celiac disease, hepatitis, urinary tract infections, malabsorption disorders, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), pancreatitis, and cancer.

To give you an idea of what healthy, normal stool looks like, check out the Bristol Stool Chart (see attached picture and diagnosed yourself). The healthy range for fecal matter is of a consistency that is not too hard, not too soft, and mostly solid–as opposed to lumpy, pellet-like, or liquid. Normal stool color is in the light-to-medium brown range and is not offensively odorous. Also, bowel movements (BMs) should pass easily from your body to the toilet.

5 BMs that Require Medical Attention (Unless you are aware of dietary changes or a medication that could produce the following types of stool, it’s advisable to seek medical attention if you observe the following changes in BMs).

Stool that is hard to pass, requires straining, or is accompanied by abdominal pain.

Black, tarry stool might indicate infection or GI bleeding, while bright red stool could indicate infection and/or bleeding in the GI tract or anus. Seek immediate medical attention.

White, pale, or grey stool could indicate problems with the liver, bile ducts, or pancreas.

Yellow stool could indicate serious infection or gallbladder problems.

Mucus in the stool can indicate inflammation, infection, or even cancer.

How Often Should You Go?

How frequently you have a BM is important, too. And, what’s typical for you may be different for other people in your family. For most people, daily BMs are considered the norm. No matter how often you poop, you should not have to strain or experience pain while excreting. Additionally, be aware that the appearance and frequency of BMs will vary based on what’s in your diet, sleep and exercise patterns, hormonal changes, travel, stress, hydration level, medications or supplements you are taking, and exposure to toxins (from nicotine to industrial toxins).

How Low Should You Go?

There’s also evidence that the position you take to evacuate the bowels has health implications for the physical structures of the GI tract. So much so that some scientists indicate sitting to poop is a contributing factor in the development of colon and pelvic diseases. Before potty training, young children squat to poop in their diapers–they don’t sit. Yes, there’s a difference between squatting and sitting. The modern toilet places the thighs at a 90-degree angle to the abdomen, whereas squatting has a much deeper angle that gives more motility to the intestinal muscles and organs. Evacuating the bowels is much easier on the body in the squatting versus seated position. Toilet position should be a consideration for everyone over the age of five, but is especially important for the elderly, the disabled, and individuals with compromised mobility.

You can learn more about proper toilet position in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P8L0r4JVpo

Resources

Mercola, J. “What You See in the Toilet Can Give You Valuable Insights into Your Health.” Accessed February 2015.

Monastyrsky, K. “Gut Sense: What Exactly Are Normal Stools?” Accessed February 2015.

Sikirov, D. “Comparison of Straining During Defecation in Three Positions: Results and Implications for Human Health.” Abstract. Digestive Diseases and Sciences 48, no. 7 (July 2003): 1201-5.

Step and Go. “Step and Go Ergonomically Correct Toilet Position.” Accessed February 2015.

 

Inflammation and " Leaky Brain" Syndrome

Inflammation and Leaky Brain Syndrome

Very commonly I see patients with significant emotional and cognitive problems that last for years. Either long standing problem with focus and concentration or decreasing memory could be the signs of “Leaky Brain” or increased permeability of the blood brain barrier. It is a highly suspected problem especially in people whose symptoms developed later in life.

Our brain is one of the most protected organs in the entire body and also, it is one of the most important one. The blood that brings nutrients to the brain goes through a protective barrier, called blood brain barrier.

This brain barrier ensures that only substances that can provide some type of functional asset to the brain are allowed through and that the brain will be compromised by invasive substances.

Leaky brain syndrome occurs when this blood brain barrier fails to keep out certain substances. This means that harmful substances are able to carry through the walls and find their way into the brain which can change the way that we function every day.

Quite often leaky brain syndrome is related to leaky gut syndrome. Both conditions are caused by the inflammation. The same factors that cause inflammation in the gastro-intestinal tract, like food sensitivity or imbalance of bacteria, may cause the inflammatory processes in the entire body and cause weakness of blood brain barrier. Once this barrier becomes compromised the brain can fall victim to damage from environmental toxins, like heavy metals, bacteria and more. In extreme cases with leaky brain symptoms one can start to experience major neurological or psychiatric conditions like ADD/ADHD, autism, chronic pain, depression and other mental illnesses.

As it’s fairly common to have leaky brain and leaky gut syndrome at the same time, and it is usually a good idea to focus on the treatment of both conditions at once. A specific diet and life style modification leading to decrease exposure to toxic factors must be implemented in the treatment of Leaky Brain syndrome. We often recommend supplement with omega-3 oil, anti-inflammatory botanicals and neurotransmitter support medication.

Feel free to call our office to schedule evaluation and receive adequate functional medicine treatment for your symptoms. To find a certified functional medicine practitioner in your area go to www.functionalmedicine.org