"Why Am I So Angry?"- Understanding Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

When it comes to PMS and other menstrual disorders, women are often frustrated with the lack of understanding and proper care they receive from conventional sources. “One week before my period, I’m so irritable I could rip my husband’s head off” is a frequent statement. Oral contraceptives seem to be the one-stop treatment of choice for many of these complaints and although artificial stabilization of hormones can bring relief for the issues of PMS, it does not help to find the cause of the problem.

Natural medicine has much to offer for PMS sufferers as it targets the root of the problem. In my practice in Brisbane, I help women unravel the cause of their particular PMS symptom picture

Let’s take a look at what’s going on.

PMS is defined as the well known myriad of symptoms which start 1-2 weeks before the period. These include

  • Breast pain
  • mood changes such as anger or depression
  • headaches
  • acne
  • digestive complaints such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  • weight gain and water retention
  • sugar cravings
  • fatigue often 1-2 weeks before the period.

All symptoms MUST resolve with the onset of the period to be classified as PMS or something else is going on.

Hormonal Balance

From the first day of the period to ovulation (typically around day 14), oestrogen rises slowly and declines after the egg is released from the ovary. In a normal menstrual cycle, progesterone is the main hormone after ovulation-it helps to offset some of the strong effects of oestrogen.

A common finding in PMS sufferers is an elevated oestrogen/progesterone ratio in which oestrogen is abnormally elevated compared to the level of progesterone. This can be due to an inefficient liver clearance of oestrogen or mild progesterone deficiency.

Another reason why progesterone is low in the 2nd half of the cycle is stress. Stress raises a hormone called cortisol. When stress is continuous, progesterone is taken from the menstrual cycle to convert to cortisol. This is a protective mechanism –as the body thinks it is running from a tiger it considers cortisol more important than the reproductive hormone progesterone.

Irritability and Depression

Not only can high oestrogen cause all of the symptoms of PMS, but an elevated oestrogen/progesterone ratio has also been shown to impair proper neurotransmitter synthesis such as the “feel-good” serotonin. This may be due to oestrogen depleting B6 levels which is a necessary vitamin to produce proper serotonin levels.

B6 levels are frequently low in depressed patients, especially those taking oestrogens such as the birth control pill or menopausal medication such as Premarin.

Anger is also often experienced by women with PMS. Energetically, anger can be a frequent sign of liver congestion and oestrogen overload.

Oestrogen Dominance

The total amount of oestrogen in your body is determined by

  • how much you make yourself (technically, all oestrogen starts as testosterone and is converted in the ovaries or fat tissues-known as endogenous oestrogen)
  • how much comes from the outside (from hormones in animal products, chemicals in cosmetics etc-known as exogenous oestrogen)
  • and how well you detoxify both

Too high oestrogen is known as oestrogen dominance, a condition associated with PMS, breast cancer, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis.

Other hormonal influences

In addition to the above mentioned effects, excess oestrogen has also been implicated in a rise in aldosterone secretion from 2-8 days prior to menses, causing fluid retention, a common complaint in PMS. Endogenous and exogenous oestrogen can also increase prolactin secretion by the pituitary gland. Elevated prolactin has been linked to progesterone deficiency, breast pain, fibrocystic breast disease, and hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism affects a large percentage of women with PMS, and should therefore not be underestimated. If symptoms persist, a simple blood test can identify blatant thyroid dysfunction.

Natural Approaches to PMS

It is always important to know what type of PMS you are experiencing before embarking on a treatment plan. The suggestions below are just examples of a wide variety of professional treatments.

Diet: In my practice, diet and lifestyle recommendations are always the foundation on which I build my treatment plan. I often start the treatment with a cleansing diet for 2-4 weeks, after which I focus on specific diet changes. Depending on the symptom picture, a typical dietary recommendation for a patient with PMS may be to reduce all animal products to decrease exogenous oestrogens as well as saturated fats. To put this into context: vegetarian women excrete two to three times more oestrogens in their faeces and have 50% lower free oestrogens than their omnivore counterparts. Overall reduction of fat, sugar, and salt all has been shown to significantly improve PMS symptoms in some women.

Liver Detox: the liver is a very important organ of detoxification. Oestrogens are detoxified through the 2 main detox pathways of the liver. Abstaining from alcohol, caffeine, chemicals and processed foods can lower the total detox burden of the liver. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage) contain Indole-3-carbinol-a potent compound that aids in the liver detoxification of oestrogen. This is also available in pill form from a qualified naturopath.

The Gut: Another important aspect of PMS treatment is to establish proper bowel flora. To detoxify oestrogens, the liver binds it to glucuronic acid which prevents the reabsorption of oestrogens from the bowel. Certain undesirable gut bacteria produce the enzyme beta-glucuronidase which cleaves this bond and allows these oestrogens to re-enter the circulation, adding to the total oestrogen pool. Increasing fibre and adding probiotics to the treatment protocol can be very beneficial.

Exercise and stress reduction have been clearly documented in the literature for reducing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

Specific Herbs and Nutrients

A professional naturopath has many herbal remedies and nutrients to design an individualized treatment plan.

By far the most commonly used herb in PMS is Vitex agnus-castus (Chaste tree berry). It is so effective in regulating menses and lowering prolactin it has been written up in Europe’s prestigious “German Commission E” –a scientific database on herbal substances

B6 and Magnesium are important for proper serotonin production especially in cases of oestrogen dominance. It also seems to help with sugar cravings before the period.

Depression and Overeating – How to Break the Cycle

There is a real link between depression and overeating.  For some people depression is a chemical imbalance.  Medication (along with therapy if needed) can remedy that issue.  But for most people depression is a symptom of not addressing unwanted stress or emotions.

When these unwanted emotions come up; food can be an effective numbing agent.  It literally pushes the emotion away.  But the kicker is that it takes energy to keep these emotions at bay.  So not only is there weight gain; but energy is being used to “depress” emotions.  When a person continues to do this; a state of depression occurs.

The cycle can also occur first with depression.  When a person is depressed they may use food to comfort themselves.  This then leads to further depression and deepens the need to use food to feel good.

When so much energy is being used to numb emotions; you literally have nothing left to give to your life, yourself, or your family.  This is common among people who suffer from binge eating and emotional eating.

But the good news is that this type of depression can be reversed!  When you begin to face the emotions you fear; you free up energy to live your life.  The depression begins to dissipate.  They key is to continue being strong enough to deal with emotions and situations in a healthy way and to stop overeating.  

Ideas to help you get started:

1-Ask a higher power for help and assistance (God, universe, whatever you believe in).

2-Begin using a journal to express your emotions rather than turning to food.

3-Address the situation that is causing you stress (either through writing or speaking with the person).

4-Pay attention to your self-talk and make sure it is positive.  (You could use affirmations or afformations to help you accomplish this.)

It is easy to revert back to using food to cope.  And in so doing; the depression can creep back in.  The first thing that people tend to do is throw in the towel and continue doing what has been familiar to them in the past.  But don’t let any setbacks keep you from releasing yourself from this self-imposed depression.  Be brave enough to face your fears!  You can break the cycle.  

Remember: mistakes are bound to happen; that doesn’t mean you have to continue it the rest of your life.  Don’t beat yourself up about them; that will only keep you stuck.  Make the choice to face stress and emotions in a healthy way and stay positive.  You can do it!

Forms of Anxiety Disorder – Phobia

Amongst forms of anxiety disorders are also classified phobias, which are specific fears that an individual develops. They may be intense and are usually irrational. Familiar phobias include fear of closed in spaces, fear of heights, flying, driving, water, insects and blood.

How do you tell the difference between having having an anxiety-related phobia and a healthy fear of something? Many people have a range of instinctive or natural fears, some of which are severe. Those who have never flown before are often afraid of the idea of flying, but that doesn’t mean they have an anxiety phobia.

Irrationality

Phobias do not involve just ordinary fear; they are an irrational and an extreme fear of a particular situation or object. People affected by phobias can often be fearless in almost all other other aspects of their life, perhaps able to fly in a plane or even parachute out of one, but are frightened of going above the tenth floor on an elevator. Or someone may work a dangerous job with many risks but still have a great fear of birds.

Phobias can be quite specific. Many recorded cases exist in which common objects were the object, and even exceptionally infrequent situations have been seen to be the source of high levels of anxiety. These fears are usually unwarranted, and the sufferer may also realize that. That doesn’t change the level of anxiety, though. Anxiety due to the phobia may lead to other disorders, for example obsessive compulsive disorder or panic disorder.

Symptoms

Physical symptoms will usually go along with the phobia. These can include prolific sweating, chest pain, increased heart rate (tachycardia), panic attacks, dizziness, nausea, or faint spells.

An estimated nineteen million Americans are affected by phobia disorders. Causation is thought to be linked with genetic factors, although the development of the disorder is not entirely predictable. Childhood or adult trauma may also be a involved. If someone learns the fear of a certain object or situation through a life-threatening experience it can grow into a phobia.

Treatment

Some believe that avoidance is the best treatment for phobias, and that may be one answer, but only if that the phobia is of something rare not frequently encountered in normal life. If the phobia trigger is unavoidable, it’s advisable to seek professional help. Assistance will not involve medication but psychotherapy or behavioral therapy. It can be expected to entail the systematic desensitization technique. The process involves gradually exposing a patient to the phobic trigger after receiving training in how to react to the object and maintain control.

How to Stop Anxiety Attacks – 8 Steps to Stop Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety attacks can happen almost anytime and anywhere. They can disturb a person mentally as well as physically. If someone can learn their anxiety or panic attacks then there is a possibility to lessen these attacks. Meditation helps one to remain calm at all situations regardless of the type of anxiety. There are many ways to stop anxiety attacks. Regardless of how you get them, they are manageable and can be treated.

Anxiety or Panic attacks can be a disturbance both for you and for those around you. Some ways to stop anxiety attacks include:

  1. First you should know what causes an attack. All attacks occur when something goes out of control especially when situations become unstable.
  2. Some people experience unpreventable attacks due to organic causes. In such cases it’s advisable to consults doctor and consumes some drugs as advised by the doctor.
  3. Stop the attack before it starts. Get to know when you are put into an unstable condition and how to overcome such a situation. Express freely to someone that you dont want to enter a particular situation if you do not feel comfortable.
  4. Get plenty of sleep during night hours. You should give rest to your mind and body. Before going to bed think about something pleasant to put your mind in a relaxed state.
  5. Maintain the right diet. Avoid situations which cause stress and mental pressure. Diet rich in carbohydrates and proteins can be consumed.
  6. Always keeps your brain operating at its best in places where those attacks occur.
  7. Keep a control of the environment around you. If cold, get warm. If hot, cool off. If a person experiences an attack remove them from the situation and make sure they do not feel the panic.
  8. Look for a place that can help you relax your mind. This will effectively stop anxiety attacks. Always avoid staying in far places. Always be close to family members and friends if you fear a second attack.

Difficulty comes when one is trying to break out of the attacks which can even make the attacks worse. Understanding what anxiety attack is and learning “how to stop anxiety attacks” can bring about a great relief in ones mind. Meditation can be done regularly to avoid stress. It is always better to avoid the circumstances that cause the attack. These measures would surely do good for mild problems.

Insomnia – Is Marijuana The Cause Or The Cure?

Insomnia can be a huge problem for many people, and often people think that marijuana is a good way to overcome this problem.

Weed certainly can make you sleepy, but it isn’t necessarily a good way to gain quality sleep. In fact, over time marijuana can go one further and sabotage your ability to achieve sleep on your own.

Weed Won’t Put You To Sleep – It Actually Causes You To Pass Out

When you smoke weed consistently, you eventually get into a state that will, indeed make you lay down, close your eyes and ‘rest’ for a good eight hours. But this isn’t really a good nights sleep, it’s more like passing out.

A quality sleep will rejuvenate your body and your mind. Whereas being stoned, your mind has no chance to function correctly while sleeping. One way you can prove this to yourself is by trying to remember your dreams.

Sleep is a fascinating component of our daily lives, and sleeping sober is necessary for refueling our brain and preparing us for each new day.

When you go to sleep naturally from getting tired, you eventually go into a state of rapid eye movement (REM), which is the final stage of sleep and also the deepest state.

This is when your brain takes all of your events and feelings from the previous day, and proceeds to organize these thoughts into a logical pattern in your brain. You remember this in the form of dreaming.

In several different studies involving people currently using marijuana it appeared to be that when you get stoned and go to sleep regularly, you have a general reduction in the amount of REM sleep, you don’t dream as often and your mind is less ‘clear’ because of this.

Conversely, people who had recently stopped using the drug appeared to have much more activity and longer periods of REM sleep, and could remember their dreams more often.

Marijuana Actually Creates Insomnia

When you get into a habit of letting marijuana put you to bed, you come to expect it, and instead of needing to be tired to go to sleep, you need to be stoned instead. It happens to a lot of marijuana smokers, I actually see hundred of people who claim to have no ability in sleeping without smoking marijuana. So what have they achieved using marijuana as a sleeping aid?

Well friends, they have achieved insomnia. The fact of the matter is, that all those years you spend using weed to get to sleep, never actually achieved a good nights sleep once. Instead, you achieved to ‘pass out’ for a number of hours and then awake to repeat the cycle. The end result is that your mind suffers and is unable to process your daily thoughts.

What else? As soon as marijuana is not available or you come to your senses and actually quit weed, you have a self-induced insomnia problem.

So Is Marijuana A Cure Or A Cause For Insomnia?

I have seen it hundreds of times, and I can tell you for a fact, marijuana causes insomnia. There is simply no doubt about it. The only argument against this is the fact that marijuana can put you to sleep.

But we have already discovered that this is simply not true, a myth amongst marijuana smokers. Instead, weed will make you pass out and if that’s all you wanted – that’s all you’re going to get. However, do it regularly and you will only be buying yourself a much more serious insomnia problem – not solving a relatively small one.

Permanent Correction of Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail occurs when a portion of the nail plate embeds into the surrounding soft tissue of the toe. This usually occurs at the great toe for a variety of reasons, however, ingrown toenails can affect any of the digits of the feet. Once the nail embeds itself into soft tissue, the affected soft tissue becomes pinched resulting in significant pain. In most cases, the pain is worse with any contact to the area, such as from bed sheets or closed shoes. However, other times an ingrown nail can result in constant pain.

Ingrown nails can be caused by a variety of factors, including inherited nail types, trauma, improper nail trimming, shoe or sock pressure, toe deformities, high heels, and exercise activities. Many times, ingrown nails are common in certain families as a result of an inherited nail shape, width, or thickness. Ingrown nails can occur at any age. Children often develop ingrown nails with their high activity levels, and lack of knowledge regarding proper nail trimming techniques. In adults, curved nails often progress with time, and can place one at increased risk for ingrown nails.

Once a nail has become ingrown, it produces an ideal environment for infection. The embedded nail provides an ideal colonization site for bacteria, hidden beneath the outer skin. When infection occurs with an ingrown nail, it is common to see significant redness, swelling, and drainage at the affected nail borders. The pain generally increases with an infection as well. Oral antibiotics can usually control the infection for a period of time. However, the infection commonly returns as soon as the antibiotic is stopped, unless the portion of the nail that is embedded is removed.

Many times, ingrown nails can be prevented, even in nails that are substantially curved. Proper nail trimming is essential. Generally, toenails should be trimmed straight across, never cutting deeply into the corners of the nail edges. If the nails edges are cut too short, many times the nail cannot clear the skin of the nail fold as it grows, and buries itself deeper into the soft tissue. A straight edge toenail clipper can aid in proper nail trimming. Additionally, a nail should not be left too long, as a shoe can create back pressure on the nail against the soft tissues causing it to embed and inflame. Shoes should allow a finger width distance between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe, to prevent pressure against the toes. Tight pointed shoes are also more likely to cause an ingrown nail, and should be avoided. Daily cleansing of the feet is also recommended to reduce sources of infection.

People often avoid provide professional treatment of ingrown nails for a variety of reasons, and live with the condition for many years unnecessarily. Some have had bad experiences in the doctor’s office or emergency rooms previously, and are hesitant to seek treatment. Others are unaware that permanent correction is available with a simple office procedure. Many people attempt to painfully dig the nail edge out at home, which usually results in a return of pain upon nail regrowth, and places one at increased risk of infection and additional nail damage.

Fortunately, the treatment of ingrown nails has evolved over the years to a few simple office procedures that give predictable long-lasting results. In most instances, the non-painful base of the affected toe is pre-treated with cold spray to significantly reduce any brief injection pain. Once the toe is carefully anesthetized, the patient will not feel any pain during the procedure. The offending nail edge is then removed to the level of the nail root, which is then treated to prevent regrowth of the curved or embedded nail edge only. Antibiotic cream can then be applied to the area, followed by a light dressing. Post procedure home care generally requires simple daily cleansing, followed with antibiotic cream and a small bandage. Skin remodels at the nail edge over the next few weeks resulting in a normal appearing nail, which is unlikely to become ingrown again.

Other permanent treatments for ingrown nails are available in the office setting as well, and all can prevent many years of unnecessary pain. Therefore, early treatment is advisable. The most common comment during the follow-up visit is “I can’t believe I didn’t have this ingrown nail fixed sooner!”

Treating Toenail Fungus With Undecylenic Acid

Roughly 30% of the population will experience some form of nail fungus throughout their lifetime. Often nail fungus will last for years and years without treatment. Treatment of toenail fungus is much easier earlier on than later because nails will become thicker and more resistant to treatment. With that said it is just harder to treat nails and requires a little more diligence if you’ve had it for years.

Using Undecylenic Acid to Treat Toenail Fungus

Effective fungus treatment with Undecylenic Acid is possible. This is a natural substance that is extracted organically from plants. It works by attacking existing fungus. It however does not effectively get rid of future fungus growth. The acid is best used in a combination treatment. A lot of good natural remedies will include Undecylenic Acid and other things such as essential oils. These really help promote nail health and eliminate future fungus growth more than just killing the existing fungus.

It’s important to take into consideration the use of effective preventative measures in order to effectively treat your nail fungus. Wear moisture absorbent socks and wear loose fitting shoes. Shoes that don’t fit can cause your nail to rub against the side of the shoe and can enhance the fungus infection. Wear sandals in public areas will really help eliminate the odds of getting a fungus or encouraging new growth.

There are several different types of fungus. Some are more easily treatable than others but with enough effort all forms are usually treatable given time.

Sprained Ankle Treatment – How to Heal an Ankle Sprain

When you first sprain an ankle, the injury will swell a lot. It will also bruise within the first few hours and most likely become very stiff and immobile. Depending on how bad you sprain it, you may not be able to put any pressure on it at all, or you may be able to walk with a limp. Either way, you will need to something to improve your chance for a quick and full recovery. If you do nothing, your sprained ankle could take months to heal and you may continue to have pain for a very long time.

So, what should you do first? Well, there are two sprained ankle treatment options available to you. The first is called R.I.C.E. It suggests you should rest and ice your ankle, keep some compression like a wrap on it and keep it elevated. It suggests you should continue to do this until you are healed. The second option is known as H.E.M. This ankle treatment suggests you should ice your ankle for the first 2 days, but also use more active rehab techniques including some very specific exercises, stretches and a few other healing methods. In short, one is non-active and the other is active. Which one works better? Let’s take a closer look…

According to H.E.M., you should ice the ankle just as in R.I.C.E., but with one big difference. H.E.M. suggests you only ice the ankle for the first 36-48 hours. (R.I.C.E. suggests you ice the ankle indefinitely until healed or until the swelling is gone, which can take weeks or months). What is the ice for anyway? Ice is used to help contain and reduce swelling. So, which way is better?

Interestingly, recent research has shown that ice is only effective for the first 48 hours after a sprained ankle. After that, it has not been shown to be clinically effective at reducing swelling. Accordingly then, it does make more sense to ice the ankle as H.E.M. advises and then move on to other healing methods.

The next difference between RICE and HEM is the subject of rest. RICE suggests rest until the ankle is healed. HEM differs greatly from RICE in this regard. Although HEM does suggest rest is an important component of healing, it does not believe that rest alone is the best way to heal an ankle. Instead, it promotes an active rehab program that entails a number of unique stretches and exercises as well as a few other effective healing techniques. However, just as in RICE, you will still be resting your ankle most of the time, since, when you are not doing the rehab in HEM, this ankle treatment suggests you rest your ankle. But, the main difference is that HEM believes that active rehab is absolutely necessary for a quick and full recovery versus rest alone.

Why does HEM insist on active rehab instead of pure rest? Well, research does suggest that there is usually extensive ligament damage in an ankle sprain. This means scar tissue can and usually does develop as well as some neuromuscular damage (the ability for the brain to communicate with the ligaments in the ankle) as well as general ligament weakness and stiffness. So, HEM goes about teaching you how to fully heal all this damage safely and correctly. And experts do agree that rest alone cannot remove or break up scar tissue, it cannot heal neuromuscular damage and it cannot improve range of motion of strength.

But, it is important to point out that HEM does not suggest any kind of dangerous movement or exercise. The exercises in HEM are very gentle, but powerful in helping the ankle safely regain its natural range of motion and strength. In addition, the stretches and exercises do also help reconnect the neuromuscular connection between the brain and ankle, so movement becomes smooth and safe again. And there are other techniques for helping you break up the scar tissue. So, HEM looks to fully heal all the damage from the sprained ankle injury. But, does it work?

Well, a good indicator is which treatment heals ankles faster? According to people who have used HEM, they are walking normally again and without pain in about a week or less. And according to people who use RICE, the average healing time is about 4-8 weeks. This would suggest that the body does react much better to the active rehab treatment versus the non-active one.

But, what we feel is even more significant is the following: the number of future sprained ankles fell sharply with the people who used HEM versus the people who use RICE. In other words, by strengthening the ankles and improving range of motion with HEM, people’s ankles were at a far lower risk of future ankle injury. We feel this is even more important than healing time, because it suggests that without a good, rehab program, the ankle is still at great risk of continually being injured and getting weaker and weaker over time.

So, in our opinion, HEM is a better and much more comprehensive treatment option than RICE. It seems to achieve better and longer lasting healing benefits than rest and ice alone.

The Narcissist’s Ego Bruises Easily

We all have egos. The ego is the psychological “I” within us, an integral part of our identity. Strong egos are important. They tell us that we are valuable, competent, and solid inside. The ego is formed from early childhood. It develops as a result of positive, consistent, loving interactions with the parent(s). If a child feels wanted and is treated with love and respect, he feels positive and secure about himself. He values his uniqueness as a reflection of his parents’ communication of this to him through their consistent words and behaviors.

Some children have damaged egos. They feel diminished, insecure, and ashamed. They have great difficulty asserting themselves. They stay in the background, unable to speak up for themselves or defend themselves when they have been wronged. Inside they feel fragile, small and insignificant.

The narcissist has a highly inflated ego. He experiences himself as vastly superior, more intelligent, talented, creative, and attractive than others. The narcissist’s sense of self importance has no limits. He is unaware and unconcerned about the feelings of others. All that matters is that he gets what he wants.

His sense of self is grandiose to the point of being delusional. He engages in endless self talk: a running torrent of his brilliant ideas and accomplishments.

“The narcissist expects others to mirror him perfectly…he expects you, in your words, gestures, and actions, to feed back to him his flawless vision of himself.” If the narcissist thinks that you have failed to acknowledge his perfection and superiority, he feels emotionally bruised and injured. Even the smallest oversight on the part of a business partner, family member, spouse or friend is felt by the narcissist as a wound. The narcissist has been slighted. Inside he feels diminished. As a result, he is enraged. Although the narcissistic ego is grandiose, it is brittle. It lacks elasticity and flexibility.

Those who have a healthy pliable ego can tolerate the slings and arrows that strike us all the time. Humor is the soothing balm, the respite, the exquisite poke that allows us to laugh at ourselves. The narcissist may appear to make fun of himself but this is disingenuous. He is not capable of experiencing the joy of a fully developed sense of humor. From childhood the narcissist developed a false self as a result of parental expectations that he/she was perfect and superior to everyone else. Beneath the false facade the narcissist unconsciously feels worthless and fraudulent. The narcissist’s perception that others are not treating him with the ultimate respect and obedience that he deserves, activates the tripwire of his narcissistic wounds and slights.

15 Essential Oils That Can Help You Heal Post Surgery

Below you’ll find a list of common essential oils that can be used post surgery and the affect each oil has on the mind and body. Typically, essentials oils have both a physical as well as mental applications. Along with the list of their names is an explanation of how each oil is used for both physical and mental ailments.

Your doctor may prescribe a medication, post surgery that could negatively interact with herbal remedies. Therefore, it is extremely important to consult with your doctor before incorporating herbal remedies into your healing routine.

1. Bay

Physical Effects: Settles digestive system and eases general aches and pains.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Triggers inspiration.

2. Chamomile

Physical Effects: Relieves migraines and headaches, insomnia, and bowel disorders.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Relaxes the mind.

3. Eucalyptus

Physical Effects: Eases respiratory problems and arthritis and fights fatigue.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Encourages mental concentration and focus.

4. Fennell

Physical Effects: Stimulates appetite and treats bloated stomach, constipation, and other digestive problems.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Boasts courage.

5. Ginger

Physical Effects: Relieves nausea, indigestion, morning sickness and improves poor circulation.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Alleviates feelings of loneliness and low libido.

6. Jasmine

Physical Effects: Heals dry skin, stretch marks, and scars.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Eases nervousness and tension.

7. Juniper

Physical Effects: Heals swollen joints and muscle fatigue.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Alleviates tension and stimulates the nervous system.

8. Lavender

Physical Effects: Treats insomnia and acts as an antiseptic.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Soothes irritability, depression, and stress.

9. Lemongrass

Physical Effects: Treats pain associated with nerve conditions and rheumatism.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Increases energy.

10. Patchouli

Effects on the Body: Prevents fluid retention and speeds healthy skin cell regeneration.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Fights anxiety and depression.

11. Peppermint

Effects on the Body: Reduces skin redness and itchiness and prevents flatulence.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Stimulates creativity.

12. Rose

Effects on the Body: Repairs broken capillaries and stimulates the liver and gall bladder.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Helps with grief and anger.

13. Sandalwood

Effects on the Body: Clears asthma, cough, bronchitis, and other chest infections.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Relaxes nervous tension and stress, and it’s an aphrodisiac.

14. Tea Tree

Effects on the Body: Treats gum infections and mouth ulcers, skin and scalp irritations.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Restores balance and clarity.

15. Ylang-ylang

Effects on the Body: Balances overly-dry and/or overly-oily skin.

Mental/Emotional Effects: Relieves fear, panic, shock and the associated rapid heartbeat and breathing.

Because of their concentrated nature, essential oils generally should not be applied directly to the skin in their undiluted form. Some oils can cause severe irritation and even provoke an allergic reaction. To prevent this, always blend essential oils with vegetable-based “carrier” oil before applying to your skin. Some common carrier or base oils include olive, almond, hazelnut and grapeseed.

The above list of essential oils and their uses is certainly not exhaustive and the ones mentioned here have healing properties not listed. Also, there are many, many more essential oils available that aid in healing. This is a basic list commonly used and easily found at many local health stores.

While essential oils can be a beneficial aid in post surgery healing ~ as mentioned in the beginning of this article, always speak with your doctor before adding any type of herbal remedies to your healing regimen.

What Happens in the Small Intestine and Colon?

When you eat a food, the acid in your body dissolves the food and kills most bacteria. The stomach empties in two to six hours. So, what happen next in the small intestine? The broken down food, now in the form is a soupy liquid, moves into the next section of the gut, a c shaped tube about 25 cm or 10 inches long that forms the first part of the small intestine.

The gall bladder and pancreatic duct deposit a cocktail of digestive enzymes into this section of the small intestine. This works on the food, breaking down carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The food then moves through the rest of the small intestine, which is about 6 meter or 20 feet long. Nutrients, minerals and water are absorbed through the walls and into the blood stream in a process that takes between three and five hours.

The inner wall of the small intestine is covered with tiny structures called villi that create a huge surface area through which nutrients can be absorbed. The large intestine, or colon, is about 1.5 meter of 5 feet long. Its main function is to absorb any remaining salt and water from the digested food. It contains a myriad of bacteria that prepare waste material for elimination.

Up to 1 liter of water is absorbed in the colon so that the contents are a semi solid mass. What remains of your meal spends between 12 and 48 hours in the colon. Waste matter then passes through to the rectum, which acts as a storage container. When the rectum is full, it triggers an elimination reflex and faces leave the body through the anus.

Get Rid of Mouth Ulcers

Question:

My mouth is very painful and inflamed and seems to be full or ulcers. The skin inside is so tight that it is sometimes hard to open my mouth. I do not want to take any tablets that may have side effects. Please could you help me?

Answer:

The pain of mouth ulcers occurs because the raw nerve endings in the tissue of the mouth are exposed to ingredients such as chemical additives, salt and acid in your food. Mouth ulcers are a reflection of what is going on in your gut. They can be caused by candida yeast infection (often the result of taking antibiotics), excess stomach acid, or by various other types of dysbiosis in the gut of a fungal, bacterial or inflammatory nature. Normally the bacteria in the gut are useful, but dysbiosis, which literally means foreign (dys) growth (biosis), can occur if there are excess bacteria or fungal growth in the gut. Another contributory factor to mouth ulcers is a deficiency in B vitamins.

The general recommendations below can also be followed by people suffering from the related conditions of thrush or candida.

It is important to start treating mouth ulcers as soon as possible so that they don’t get so painful that you can’t eat. You should begin with a couple of days fasting on vegetable broth. Boil vegetables such as leeks, carrots, cabbage, courgettes and onions in chicken or vegetable stock for about an hour, then liquidise; if you are using a stock cube, make sure it is yeast-free. If you work away from home, take the soup with you in a flask.

Also drink carrot, juice freshly made in a juicer. Drink lots of still pure water, at least a litre and a half daily, between meals. Two or three cups of Dr Ali’s Fasting Tea daily will help take the discomfort out of fasting. You should not starve yourself completely. People who have been drinking coffee or excess alcohol may suffer headaches.

After fasting in this way for 48 hours’ you should follow a yeast- and sugar-free diet for two weeks at least, eating fresh organic food only. You should also cut out acidic foods such as citrus fruits and vinegar. In macrobiotic terms, mouth ulcers are caused by excess body heat, so you need to cool your system down: avoid chillies, garlic, ginger, alcohol, red meat and other spicy foods. Eat plenty of cucumber and melon. I often suggest that patients follow a very simple eating plan of minced organic chicken and other organic meat with mashed potato made with olive oil and salt, or overcooked rice.

During this period, I also prescribe a tea nude of black kadu. Put two kadu twigs in a cup of very hot water and leave to soak overnight. In the morning add a little hot water and drink on an empty stomach. This herb has a bitter taste, so you may feel slightly nauseous at first: take a few sips at a time until you get used to it.

You should also take one capsule of vitamin B complex daily for 15 days, with breakfast. After breakfast, take one teaspoon of Chevanprash, to support your immune system. This mixture of 28 hand-Picked herbs boosts energy levels, facilitates digestion and ensures clear bowel movements. You should take the tonic for three months. Homoeopathy, I recommend two tablets of Merc. sol in the 30 potency, to be sucked three times a day for five days, between meals.

If you are constipated, this can be helped by one tablet of the Unani preparation Qurs Mullayan, after dinner each day. In the morning drink two glasses of warm water first thing then massage your abdomen clockwise for a few minutes with a little olive or sesame oil. Finally, allow plenty of time on the lavatory.

For anyone suffering with heartburn or excessive acid (such as acid reflux), I suggest taking one tablet of Calciprite, an Ayurvedic remedy which helps control stomach acid, twice a day after lunch and the evening meal for about four weeks. Make sure you eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly.

Doctors often prescribe a steroid gargle for mouth ulcers. I prefer patients to gargle with plain water and a clove in the mouth. Cloves have fantastic anaesthetic properties. Or you can suck a clove two or three times a day until the juice no longer flows. This will make your mouth numb, like a local anaesthetic. Sucking ice cube can also help soothe the pain. Avoid drinking hot tea, as this will be painful.

Pre-Menstrual Syndrome and Herbs – Milk Thistle

Premenstrual syndrome effects over 70% to 90% of women before menopause in US and less for women in Southeast Asia because of their diet. It is defined as faulty function of ovaries related to women menstrual cycle, it effects the women physical and emotional state and sometimes interference with daily activities as resulting of hormone fluctuation. The syndrome happens in one or two weeks before menstruation and then declining when the period starts. It is said the symptoms can be so severe that between 10-15% of women have to take time off work, costing businesses millions of dollars a year. In this article, we will discuss how milk thistle effects women with PMS.

I. Definition

Milk thistle is a flower plant belongs to the daisy family, it has been used in traditional medicine in treating constipation and liver detoxifying.

II. How milk thistle effect women with PMS

1.Liver function

Even thought many researches have been studied for its possible medical uses in liver as liver tonics herb since the 1970s, but the results are inconclusive. Herbalists believe that milk thistle is helpful in treating liver cirrhosis, hepatitis and toxin-induced liver damage resulting in increasing the liver function in carbohydrate synthesis and fat and protein metabolism thereby, reducing the risk of nervous tension and hormone imbalance.

2.Laxative

It has been used as laxative in improving the movement of stool in the large intestine resulting in lessening the risk of premenstrual pain and cramps caused by constipation for some women.

3. Silymarin

The chemical compound silymarin in milk thistle helps to reduce the oxidative damage to kidney cells in vitro thereby, increasing the function of kidney in urinary secretion resulting in lessening the risk of water retention in the body tissues.

4. Fatty acids

Milk thistle contain high levels of fatty acids,they help to improve the liver function in regulating the levels of estrogen caused by unhealthy diet with high in saturated and trans fat thereby, lessing the risk of high levels of bad estrogen before and after ovulation.

5. Linoleic acid.

It also contains linoleic acid which is important for helping GLA conversion. Without enough linoleic acid, our body may end up with too much PGE2 and little PGE1 resulting in increasing the risk of pre menstrual pain and cramps.

Can Polyps Be Cancerous?

You probably already know that lung cancer is the number one cancer killer. But do you know what type of cancer is number two? It’s colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer causes more than 650,000 deaths worldwide every year. You might find this hard to believe, but colon cancer actually starts from very tiny and humble beginnings. Small masses of cells called polyps begin to grow in your colon. By themselves, they represent no real danger. But over a period of five to 10 years, it’s possible for these polyps to become cancerous. So you can begin to see why colon health is so important.

Cancer is the result when the normal growth and division of cells in your body gets out of control. When you think about it, the cells are really quite miraculous. Your entire body is made up of cells, and they tend to grow, divide and generally take care of themselves without any conscious input from you. But sometimes things go awry. Instead of growing new cells as and when needed, cancerous growth continues when there is no need for new cells.

In your colon, this extra growth may initially take the form of small polyps. The mere existence of polyps in your colon does not mean that you have colon cancer. But there is a very good chance that over a period of years, one or more of these polyps could become cancerous. Because there are no symptoms at the beginning, the only way to detect polyps is with a test called a colonoscopy.

Colonoscopy uses a tiny camera on a flexible fiber-optic cable. After some sedation and some lubrication, the camera is inserted into your rectum and threaded up through your lower intestine. The colonoscopy operator and the doctor were able to view the inside of your intestine in real time and search for any abnormalities. The process sounds both embarrassing and painful, but colonoscopy is absolutely essential to maintain good colon health, especially if you are at risk for colorectal cancer. Age is the greatest risk factor. About 90% of all cases of colorectal cancer occur in people over the age of 50.

During the colonoscopy, if your doctor discovers any polyps in your colon, he may take a small sample to determine if they are cancerous. In some cases, your doctor may remove the entire polyp during the colonoscopy. There’s no cause for immediate alarm even if your doctor does discover polyps in your colon. There are actually several different kinds of polyps and not all of them are at risk for becoming cancerous. Adenomas are the polyps with the greatest risk for becoming cancerous and are often removed as soon as they are found. Once again, if you have a colonoscopy and your doctor discovers the presence of polyps, stay calm. Polyps in the colon, even adenomas, are actually quite common and are routinely found and removed in colonoscopies.

Can a regular colon detox prevent the formation of precancerous polyps? Although no definitive link is been established by clinical research, regular colon cleansing could help you avoid development of polyps. One of the risk factors for colorectal cancer is incomplete emptying of your colon. By paying more attention to colon health and performing a regular colon detox, it’s possible for you to be lower your risk of developing dangerous precancerous polyps.

Another risk factor for colorectal cancer is inactivity. When your lifestyle is characterized by lack of activity, waste actually stays in your colon longer. The slow movement and build up of waste in your colon could lead to negative colon health outcomes.

Low fiber, high fat diets have also been implicated in the development of polyps and subsequent growth of colon cancer. Changing your diet and lifestyle could lead to a dramatic improvement in your colon health. By filling your diet with fiber-rich foods and cutting back on fatty foods, you will be greatly lowering your risk for the development of colon cancer. As you start out on this new diet and lifestyle, you may wish to try a colon cleanse and complete colon detox. This will facilitate the emptying of your colon and accelerate your progress toward overall wellness.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Fibroids After Menopause

When there is a rapid growth of fibroids after menopause, the risk of the tumor becoming malignant or cancerous increases. Normally fibroids are benign tumors which are non cancerous. The probability of a fibroid tumor becoming malignant is 1 in a 1000. This probability changes to 1 in a 100 for women whose fibroids start growing rapidly after menopause.

Hence women in the post menopausal stage must be very cautious and consult a doctor immediately upon noticing any of the following symptoms:

1. Pain

Fibroid tumors can cause pelvic pain and pain during intercourse. Depending on the location of the uterine tumor, bowel movements can also become painful. Many women suffer from lower back pain due to the pressure generated by the tumor on the internal organs.

2. Urinary Symptoms

Women with fibroid tumors that are attached to the uterine wall near the bladder may experience urinary problems. These include difficulty in passing urine or very frequent urination. This happens because the fibroid tumor as it increases in size begins to press on the bladder.

3. Pelvic Pressure

As the uterine tumor grows in size it can cause a feeling of heavy pressure in the pelvic area. Some women may even be able to feel a hard spot through the skin when the area is examined. This happens because large-sized fibroids distort the shape of the uterus and press on organs near the uterus.

4. Abdominal Bloat

Abdominal bloating is very common in women suffering from fibroids.

It is believed that growth of fibroids after menopause is a remote possibility. This is because after menopause the body stops producing estrogen which is the main trigger factor for fibroids growth. However in some women the uterine tumors continue to grow even after menopause. This is really a cause of concern which must be closely monitored to ensure that the tumor does not turn cancerous.