Alopecia Mucinosa

There are many conditions in the world that can affect a person and one of the most rare is alopecia mucinosa. This disease, related to others like alopecia areata, is directly related to hair loss and the methods by which the hair is killed off from normally healthy areas of the body. With that in mind it is easy to see why this particular disease is so disturbing to so many people. The loss of hair, even in small amounts can result in severe depression and so on, leading a person to a dark place. There is hope for those who suffer from this affliction but they need to be sure they are following the steps as laid down by their raising doctor.

As it was said, alopecia mucinosa is very rare and because of that there is very little in the way of information bouncing around the world. Several doctors have written medical articles on the subject but they are of very little help to the layman who is looking for some simple answers to the many questions. Alopecia mucinosa was first discovered in nineteen fifty-seven by a doctor by the name of Pinkus. He first diagnosed this disorder where scaly patches of skin appeared around a bald area on the patient. It was first known as follicullar mucinosis as it is actually the appearance of the mucinosis around the area that gives this disease its name and title.

This disease usually presents itself in the face, neck and scalp areas of the body. However, there have been reports of other areas where hair grows to be affected. There is no way to accurately predict where the disease will present and how long it will be around. A flare up with this kind of disease can last a couple days to several months depending on the severity of which the patient has been affected in the past. Certainly people are not looking to have this disease for long periods of time, but there is very little that can be done about it. The fact is that a person may have this disease for years, even from birth and may never know it until the point when a flare up occurs. It has been reported that some people lived their own lives without knowing that they were affected by alopecia mucinosa.

Like its many cousins, alopecia mucinosa is related to the immune system or more to the point, the failure of the immune system in a certain manner. This disease is commonly referred to as an auto-immune disease. That has a special meaning and puts the disease in a class that includes other more serious diseases, like Crohn's or IBD.

Auto-immune diseases are so named because the body's immune system is attacking normally healthy cells in the body. This is counteractive to the normal procedure where the immune system is actually designed to prevent infection among the cells of the body. There is no known cure for the auto-immune part of this disease.

PRA in Dogs – What You Need to Know About Progressive Retinal Atrophy

PRA in dogs actually refers to a whole group of hereditary eye diseases. Technically known as progressive retinal atrophy, it involves the degeneration of the retina in a dog's eye. The bad news is that it almost always leads to total and permanent blindness. The good news is that it is not painful. I know that does not sound like much of an upside, but your dog might disagree.

Symptoms

This one really sneaks up on both you and your dog. You will not see any squinting, redness or weepy eyes – and it's amazing how well a dog can adapt to slow loss of vision. He already knows the layout of the land – and your house – and his nose can help fill in the gaps. You may not notice the problem at all until you rearrange furniture or take him to a strange place. That's when he'll be hesitant to take off exploring like he used to do. You suddenly have a doggie burr stuck to your leg, and you wonder when that started. Ah, he'll never tell!

Diagnosis and Treatment

A veterinary ophthalmologist can tell you, after a quick and painless exam, if your dog has progressive retinal atrophy. The retina tells the whole story. And it's news you did not really want to hear. Unfortunately, there is currently no treatment for PRA in dogs. Your beloved pooch will probably lose his eyesight altogether, in time.

Coping With PRA In Dogs

Though it's natural to feel sorry for your dog, he'll be much happier if you treat him just like you always have. He can still hear your loving voice, and smell all those delicious smells in the world around him. There are ways to help him cope with his blindness and learn to lead a reliably normal life. He'll still be the happy dog ​​he was before – as long as you do not rearrange the furniture!

How to Treat Glaucoma With Acupuncture

Glaucoma is a condition of the eye in which if not treated early can lead to blindness. Since there is no pain or other symptoms, it usually remains undetected until vision is impaired. Peripheral vision is lost when the optic nerve gets damaged due to the increase in IOP or intraocular pressure. Eye drops and laser surgery can be used to control eye pressure. Laser surgery can help lower eye pressure for a certain percentage of patients, but patients need more surgery after a few years if the root cause of glaucoma is not addressed. If a patient has had more than two surgeries, usually scar tissue builds up and the pressure cannot be lowered by surgery easily. So many people prefer to try a non-invasive procedure at first, especially if eye pressure is not very high. One of these methods is acupuncture for glaucoma, which is a traditional and ancient form of Chinese medicine.

How Acupuncture Lowers Eye Pressure

If the patient has been diagnosed with glaucoma in its early stages, then acupuncture and acupressure can be very effective. In the later stages of glaucoma, it is better to combine eye drops with acupuncture and acupressure. The insertion of fine needles improves circulation of fluids around the eye without causing dry eyes or infection, if done by an experienced acupuncturist. Especially when patients already have a few laser surgeries and eye pressure is still very high, then acupuncture two to three times a week may be the best choice.

Acupuncture Takes Care of Overall Health of the Eye

Acupuncture also helps to improve vision and slow down degeneration of the optic nerve. Acupuncture for glaucoma supports the function and integrity of the optic nerve. The optic nerve usually is damaged because blood flow to the eyes decreases. Acupuncture increases retrobulbar circulation which helps not only in decreasing intraocular pressure but also speeding up fluid circulation in and out of the eyes. Researchers have found that even the visual acuity in people suffering from glaucoma can be improved when at least a couple of sessions of acupuncture are done every week.

Acupuncture and Acupressure with Medicines Offer Faster and Better Results

Most experts recommend those patients suffering from glaucoma consider going for a few sessions of acupuncture every month, because eye drops can cause severe dryness and reduce fluid circulation around the eyes. Clinically, when patients go to see an acupuncturist at least once a week and practice acupressure every day once or twice, they can lower the eye drop dosage to prevent dryness and infection in their eyes. Furthermore, patients reported vision acuity improved by combing glaucoma acupuncture and eye drops. The needles that are inserted are retained for about 30 minutes around eyes, neck, hands and feet, and the depth of the insertion is about 3-10mm.

3 Business Opportunities As an RN Wellness Coach

As an RN or nurse, you are in a great position with expert knowledge and access to the healthcare systems that becoming a health and wellness coach should be a career choice to consider.

Here's 3 business opportunities for nurses have when considering a career as an health and wellness coach.

  • Work from home – This is a great opportunity for nurses to work from home, owning their own business as an RN wellness coach. When you participate in most health and wellness training programs they will also teach about marketing your business. This should be enough to get you started and if you need help here feel free to contact me, I'd be happy to help.
  • Work with other health care practices – Look for business opportunities in massage clinics, chiropractic services and therapy centers. Many health and fitness centers are also looking to hire RN health coaches as an added service for being a member of the club for a total health and wellness experience for their clients.
  • Work in the Corporate world – Big name businesses are now hiring their own wellness coaches as a means to help manage health care costs as well as lower the absent rate among their employees. This is an opportunity for nurses in work in the corporate world helping CEOs live a healthy lifestyle.

You could also do this on a part time basis to supplement your current income or to "test out the waters" to see if becoming an RN health and wellness coach is for you. The business opportunities are there for nurses to become successful RN health and wellness coaches.

Eight Reasons Why Dogs Chew Their Tails

Unlike tail chasing phenomenon which is quite harmless, tail chewing can prove to be a little dangerous for your four-legged friend. Hence as a dog owner should you see this behaviour repeatedly in your dogs try to stop him by using methods best suited to both you and your dog.

Although there could be various reasons why a dog is chewing on him tail some of the common ones are listed below.

1. Skin infections

This is the most common reason why your dog is chewing on his tail. Skin infections can cause discomfort and itching sensation on the tails hence to relieve that discomfort a dog will chew on his tail. Take your dog to a vet for proper examination of the tail and get the infection treated.

2. Wound/Injury

Sometimes while playing a dog might injure himself which becomes a cause of irritation and discomfort to him and to get rid of that pain the dog will either lick his tail or chew on it. This will worsen the situation, hence if you find your dog chewing his tail, talk to him in a soothing voice to calm his nerves, and then try to see what the cause of tail chewing is. If it is a wound clean it with lukewarm water and cotton and take your dog to the vet for treatment.

3. Docked tail

Tail docking is a procedure whereby groomers or vets cut the nip of the tail of the purebred dogs to conform to a breed standard. However, sometimes what happens is that while tail docking some of the nerves is also cut which induces pain in that area thus causing discomfort to the dog and thus making him gnaw his tail. Talk to the vet for the best possible advice on this.

4. Fleas/ticks

Fleas or ticks are another reason that your dog is chewing its tail. Examine the tail and watch out for fleas and ticks and spray some anti-ticks powder after thorough grooming of your dog. This will soothe his irritation and he will not chew on his tail.

5. Fractured tail

Tail fractures are very common in dogs, especially in dogs with big tails. Tail fractures happen when a tail gets stuck in a door, or someone steps on it accidentally. It is another very common reason why dogs chew on their tails. Take your dog to the vet for a treatment before it becomes bad.

6. Hunting instinct

Dogs are born hunters and it is this instinct which makes them chase their tails and if and when they finally catch hold of it to chew on their tails. However, as a pet owner you should remember that while tail chasing is not dangerous for your dog but chewing his tail is. So make efforts to stop this behaviour by getting your dog to wear a collar.

7. Compulsive behaviour

Some breeds of dogs are prone to tail chasing and tail chewing. The result is a vicious circle wherein a dog chews on his tail to get rid of irritation, however, chewing results in more irritation, and thus increased chewing. You can talk to the vet regarding it and put a collar so that he is not able to chew on his tail.

8. Previous trauma

Another reason why your dog is chewing his tail could be because of some previous trauma or wound he suffered on his tail. Sometimes the wounds heal but the pain remains and it could be this pain that causes your four-legged friend to chew on his tail. If you have just bought a puppy inquire about any trauma or wound that the dog has suffered so that you are better equipped to deal with his tail chewing phenomenon.

In all these above mentioned reasons the common thing is irritation in the tail. So if your dog is chewing on his tail remember that there is some irritation or pain that your dog is trying to get relieved off. So now that you know it is the irritation that causes your dog to chew his tail the next step should be to identify the cause of that irritation.

Flu of 2009

The 2009 flu season was supposed to be a “routine.” Usually, patients take their seasonal flu shot. Those people who had flu symptoms normally go to the doctor’s office for an exam and testing. It is usually easy to spot the flu patients. Among the usual nasal congestion and sore throats, there are certain people whose appearance is really just sickly. These people usually appear to have just woken up, their hair is mussed, they are unshaven, and they are covered in sweaters or blankets but still shivering. In the doctor’s office, they are brought back and examined for signs of the flu or other problems. If their throat is red, they are usually checked for strep throat.

The flu nasal swab, which is an antibody test for types A or B Flu, then became available. Judging by the patient’s clinical appearance and a positive test for Flu A or B, the doctor might prescribe the antiviral drugs Tamiflu or Relenza to lessen the severity and length of illness. However, 20% of the American population acquired the 2009 flu thus far. Billions of dollars in lost work productivity and hospital expenses come out of the country’s pocket. At least 200,000 patients were hospitalized and there were 36,000 flu-related deaths. On top of that, something new now was added for 2009.

The great scientists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta maintain careful observation over flu outbreaks all over the world. They test and name each flu. Using this data, scientists try to predict what seasonal flu will appear in the fall. They supervise pharmaceutical companies in the manufacture of the specific vaccine. When the flu scientists reach their prediction on the button, the vaccine is effective in 70 to 90% of recipients under age 65. It is less effective in recipients over 65, recipients who live in nursing homes, and those with chronic underlying illness. The vaccine is about 30% to 70% effective.

The usual seasonal vaccine contains attenuated virus of the A (H1N1) and the A(H3N3) variety. A virus is not actually a separate live entity, so when we severely debilitate, we then say in the vaccine “attenuation.” A virus is arguably the smallest semi-life form that exists in nature. It can only be seen with an electron microscope. It is called an obligate parasite. This means it must “live” within another living cell. It can only survive and replicate by taking over that cell’s complex biochemical machinery to manufacture other viral units like itself. The influenza virus has its RNA taken up by a host cell to begin the manufacture process. Eventually the host cell dies by its viral infection.Influenza viruses were first identified and studied by scientists in the 1930’s.

Type A viruses were the worst, and the ones typically producing epidemics and global pandemics. An epidemic is a local outbreak of the flu, usually annually, by viruses that already exist in the environment. It usually peaks in three weeks, and subsides after three weeks, sometimes affecting 50% of the population of that area.

The pandemic is a different phenomenon altogether. It is caused by a mutated virus to which humans do not have an immunity. It can be spread worldwide. Scientists found that they could identify Type A viruses into subtypes by protein structures on their outer surfaces. These are called H (Hemagglutinin A) and N (Neuramidase B). There is no division of a Type B virus into a subtype because they cause milder symptoms and are more sporadic. Type C influenza viruses are not subtyped because they cause even milder symptoms and less evidence of outbreaks. The Type A viruses caused the pandemics of 1917, 1957, and 1967 when millions of lives were lost. The worst year for this was 1918.

Pandemics can be caused by a viral mutation or the re-emergence of a virus that has not been around for years. All in all, humans lack immunity to that specific virus and cannot fight them. Viruses do not stay in humans throughout the year as they are prevalent in primarily fall and winter. Where do they stay dormant and hide? Scientists discovered that certain coastal birds seem to be the reservoir for the viruses. There is fairly good evidence that the birds harbor these viruses without manifesting disease and have probably done so for millions of years. You may see a television show where scientists raise huge nets to catch migrating coastal birds to see what viruses they are carrying. Therefore, probably all “flu” is, to an extent, “avian” or “bird flu”. It is theorized that wild ducks infect domestic ducks, which in turn, either spread it to chickens or swine. Therefore, most of the flu is “swine” flu. You are not going to catch the flu from a piece of pork in your refrigerator.

The current H1N1 seems to have started with a small swine population in a desolate area of Mexico. The American pork industry has been recently affected due to the public not buying as much pork. But this is not the problem. The problem seems to be this one batch of flu that arose in Mexico to which humans did not have an immunity. With travel being what it is today, it did not take long for the virus to spread from person to person. It has recently even been announced that a group of swine were found to have the swine flu in Minnesota. It seems that both pigs and possibly chickens have the same viral receptors as humans and thus can be a vector for human transmission.

Some people are not getting “Novel H1N1” (the newer name for the 2009 Swine Flu) because they perhaps gain some immunity from previous H1N1 immunization. Most people who saw the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico thought it was too far away to affect them. However, as we know, times have changed. Swine Flu (“Novel H1N1 Flu”) is now widespread in most of the United States and elsewhere in the world. You will hear about it on almost every newscast and different government agencies hold numerous press conferences. The amount of daily information is enormous.

The best scientists of our time are saying, “Get your Flu shot when it is available.” (Actually they are saying,”Get your seasonal Flu shot now and the Swine or Novel H1N1 vaccination as soon as it is available.”) On the other side are the “nay-sayers” who say, “The 2009 Flu is not as bad as they said. Don’t give it to your children: it will give them autism. It has mercury or thimerosal in it. For my part, I’m siding with the CDC: Everybody should have the seasonal vaccination and the H1N1 vaccination.

One thing to remember is that it takes time for the immune system to respond to the vaccine for the 2009 flu. A conservative estimate is that it takes 6-8 weeks to achieve its desired effect. That is why the vaccine is better if you take it sooner than later. There are two kinds of flu vaccine; more will become available as they are released. Flu-Mist is an attenuated virus that is squirted into your nose. Because it is attenuated, it will not give you the flu and are not infectious. This is approved for use on patients aged 2 to 49.

The other is the Flu Shot, usually administered in the upper arm. The shot can cause some mild symptoms like pain at the injection site, low-grade fever, and slight sluggishness. These side effects respond to Tylenol or Motrin. Neither of the vaccines will give you the Flu, though the guy sitting in the next desk swears up and down that the Flu vaccine always gives him the Flu. Both treatments are grown in eggs, so if you have an egg allergy you must discuss this with your doctor to plan a strategy or avoid the injection.

We know that people with impaired immune systems get worse illness. In pregnancy, the immune system is not up to par. Of the 100 or so patients who have required Intensive Care Unit treatment, 28 pregnant women have died. That is why the 2009 Flu vaccination (both kinds) are so important for all pregnant females. There have been no adverse effects of Flu vaccination in any pregnant female. Others with impaired immunity have worse Flu illness: Diabetics, people with liver or kidney disease, AIDS, chronic neurological impairment, cancer, and/or chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis and colitis. And the list goes on and on with chronic medical disease. These are the ones that push the numbers into the thousands for Flu-related deaths and prolonged hospitalizations.

And there is one other very important group: Kids. Their immune systems just have matured and acquired the antibody response that healthy adults have. In shear numbers, children get the Flu 2 to 3 more times than adults. That is why we are hearing tragic stories about otherwise healthy 7 or 10 year olds who have died with the Flu (there were 11 pediatric deaths in this country during week 38 of the current epidemic). This is the reason that as the CDC is releasing vaccine, they are targeting children for vaccination among the first to receive it.In Novel H1N1 Flu, 77 people autopsied, fully one third had Streptococcus pneumoniae, or as it is also called, pneumococcal pneumonia. True, it’s variably treatable with antibiotics.

But there is a proven vaccine available for this bacteria. It protects against 23 encapsulated pneumonia bacteria. It’s available for all ages with increased risk for immune deficiency. We know now that only one-third of those who should receive it actually get it. It can be given along with the flu vaccine. Ask your doctor about it: “Pneumovax 23”.The H1N1 2009 Flu is spread by respiratory droplets. This is why students in classrooms and military recruits in barracks are so susceptible. All it takes is one cough or sneeze, and the virus is out there ready to be picked up by the next person. It can persist on surfaces like grocery cart handles for 2 to 6 hours—-touch those hands to your eyes, nose or mouth, and you’re exposed. The incubation is 1 to 4 days after you’ve breathed in the virus-laden droplets. It’s ironic that you, in turn, are at most risk of spreading it to others the day before you first show signs of illness. No wonder it spreads!

Children can be infected for more than 10 days. Severe immune deficiency can cause a person to shed the virus for weeks or months. These people should kindly wear their masks when they are around the rest of us. The symptoms of the 2009 Flu are pretty universally recognized: Malaise (Just feeling tired and sick), chills, fever, headache, bodyache, nasal congestion, sore throat, and sweats to name the most common. There are danger signs, though: A pregnant woman with the Flu, productive cough (say, with discolored sputum), chest pain, altered level of consciousness, (maybe disoriented or hard to arouse), appearing gray or with bluish lips like someone who is not getting enough oxygen, severe vomiting or signs of dehydration. When these are present, it’s time to get to the doctor or the ER. These are signs that you have some potentially serious complication of the Flu.

Most people will not have the serious symptoms, but we all need to be alert for them. Likewise most people with the Flu get better within a week or two. If the symptoms come roaring back after an initial clearing (relapse), this is a danger signal. In these circumstances, one might have pain with each breath, cough up nasty-looking sputum, or have hard shaking chills. Don’t fool around: Get to the doctor. Once again, children can have more serious symptoms and complications: Convulsions due to high fever, middle ear infections, and pneumonia.Let’s now talk about treatment. First of all don’t give aspirin to a child with fever. It is associated with Reye’s Syndrome: A serious multi-organ failure with potentially catastrophic brain injury. You can give Tylenol (acetaminophen) every 4 hours according to body weight for chills, fever, malaise and headache. Motrin (ibuprofen) every 6 hours seems to be a safe alternative. The person should take in a lot of fluids— Water, Gatorade, light soups, and eat lightly as the stomach allows. Bedrest with lots of naps is recommended to shorten the length of illness.

The person should stay home from work or school until there has been at least one full day without Tylenol or Motrin, and no fever. But what about the pregnant woman, the patient with chronic medical conditions, the person with decreased immune function, and very symptomatic children? These are the cases in which the doctor must see and decide whether to prescribe antiviral medication. It can be used prophylactically for persons closely exposed to the Flu patient to lessen or prevent the Flu. The 2 antivirals that we use are oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). Tamiflu comes as a caplet for adults or a liquid for children. Relenza comes in a metered dose inhaler. Both are used every day for 10 days. They work best when given within the first two days of symptoms. They decrease the severity of the symptoms and shorten the course of the 2009 Flu. Relenza is not a good choice for patients with asthma or chronic lung disease.

The CDC and the Biopharmaceutical companies have worked exhaustively to prepare a safe vaccine to keep people from getting the severe ramifications of the flu. That’s it, pure and simple. There is a lot of magical, wishful thinking in the population on how to “beat the flu,” but science is not on their side. There is no vitamin, raw vegetable, or special drops to prevent the flu. “Flu Parties” are a terrible idea to get flu immunity. It is time to realize that the CDC is a collection of the best minds in science and medicine, dedicated to the protection of health for the U.S. citizens and person around the world in the event of a pandemic. It is not the IRS, Homeland Security, or the CIA. It is doctors and scientists trying to keep the public well, period. It’s time to stop blowing the conspiracy horn and take your shots. In doing so, you protect yourself, your family, your co-workers, and your fellow citizens in general. So, roll up those sleeves!

I was watching a press conference the other day by Dr. Ann Schuchat, the CDC Immunization Director. She had a very well-constructed report addressing the plans for mass immunization in a tiered way so that the ones at most risk would receive their vaccinations first. She was very candid about flu deaths to the present, and the intricacies of combating the epidemic, or more correctly, the pandemic of novel H1N1 (Swine Flu, as it is often known.) What impressed me a lot was the presence of major news reporting organizations: AP, UPI. Atlanta Journal, Washington Post, ABC, and USA Today. They all asked excellent questions and received excellent answers. The conference lasted about 35 minutes, and if every person could tune in to these informative events or rely on major reporting presentations, there would be a lot less misinformation out there.

Here is the discussion of the 2009 flu in a nutshell:

1.) Get your seasonal flu vaccination, either shot or nasal spray;
2.) Get your Novel H1N1 (Swine Flu) vaccination when it is available;
3.) If you are pregnant or have chronic illness be sure to get both;
4.) Be sure kids are vaccinated;
5.) If you have severe flu or a relapse–see your doctor;
6.) If you have the warning signs of severe illness– see your doctor;
7.) Wear a mask if you are sick or severely immune deficient;
8.) It takes about a week to get over the flu. Do not return to work or school until you have been fever-free for at least 48 hours; drink plenty of fluids, take Tylenol or Motrin for fever, and bedrest as much as possible. Do not give other over-the-counter medicines to young children without consulting a doctor; do not give aspirin for fever as it may lead to Reye’s Syndrome;
9.) Learn as much as you can about the Flu from reliable sources;
10) There are no magical Flu preventatives or treatments out there–Rely on science and a physician to get through this time.

Treatment For Shingles is Available

You may be experiencing an itchy rash, a painful rash with blisters and bumps on one half of your body. You could be dealing with pain and discomfort that may be debilitating. If you are dealing with these things, you might be one of the many sufferers of a disease called shingles. Shingles can be pure torture for those who have it – and many are at their wits end trying to figure out what they can do about it. For those who suffer daily from the effects of shingles, treatment for shingles is a necessity they can not afford to ignore. People do not want shingles to define their lives, and want to break free from this cycle of pain.

Shingles is an affliction that is the result of a childhood illness: chicken pox. Chicken pox is a virus called varicella zoster , and it does not actually go away once you recover from chicken pox. Rather, it lies dormant in the body for many years, mostly causing no harm at all. But when you get older, and your immune system may weaken for various reasons, this virus may be triggered to reawaken and reemerge, traveling the body to find itself at the end of our nerves, literally. This is what leads to the pain and discomfort that shingles sufferers experience. If you are having pain with shingles, it will usually only last for three to five weeks – but in some instances, the illness becomes a condition known as posttherpetic neuralgia, and is accompanied by more debilitating, chronic pain. If you wish to avoid the hardship that can come from neuralgia, you will want to seek treatment for shingles as soon as you possibly can. Having shingles is very difficult for many people to deal with both physically and psychologically – so getting rented right away is a huge help.

If you have shingles, you are likely suffering from symptoms that can mimic common illnesses, such as stomach aches, fever, chills, headaches, and the like. If you develop the rash – and most people do – then it will help determine whether or not you have shingles, for those who can not tell if you have it or not. When coming down with shingles, you will likely get red spots that blister and become yellowed scar tissue.

Getting treatment for shingles is very important – but it can actually be lifesaving for people who are going through other ordeals which weaken and compromise their immune systems. Some of these include suffering from HIV, undergoing a transplant, and getting chemotherapy or radiation treatments. For these individuals, shingles can be more than just a debilitating illness – it can be fatal.

Now that you know what shingles looks like, you can begin the process of treating it. Topical creams, ointments, and anti-inflammatory medications are good treatment options for shingle. In addition, people may also use natural remedies to help with pain. Keep in mind that many natural remedies may not be FDA-approved.

No matter the level of pain and discomfort you may be feeling, there is hope in treatment for shingles.

Depression Medications Explained

Depression is more than a gloomy and terrifying disorder; it can be lethal. Therefore, anyone with moderate to severe depression requires vivid treatment immediately. There are many different depression medications. These same antidepressants can also help treat panic disorder, other anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and attention deficit disorder.

Depression has been linked to a shortage of any one of four different neurotransmitters: serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine or epinephrine. Depression medications are designed to correct neurotransmitter shortages by increasing the body's supply of one or more of these important brain chemicals.

There are three main classes of depression medications:

-Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs) increase brain norepinephrine levels. From the 1960s through the 1980s, TCAs were the first line treatment for major depression in the US – Today however, TCAs are generally used as the second or third line therapies. Side effects from this depression medication include dry mouth, sleepiness, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (scarring or thickening of deep lung tissue), weight gain, blurred vision, constipation, fast or irregular heartbeat, bladder weakness, tremors, and dizziness. Brand name drugs in this class are Tofranil, Desipramine, Doxepin, and Elavil.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAO) is an enzyme that breaks down three important neurotransmitters. Norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. MAOIs have been significantly replaced by SSRIs, although many patients with major depression who do not respond to TCAs improve with MAOIs. Depressed patients with specific symptoms like sleeping too much, over-eating for long periods of time, rejection sensitivity, and panic attacks, may get the best results with MAOIs. MAOIs are also effective treatments for panic disorder and bipolar depression. Side effects from this depression medication includes tremors, edema, dizziness, constipation, sleepiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, increased blood pressure, and fast or irregular heartbeat. Brand name drugs in this class are, Parnate, Nardil, and Marphan.

– Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are the newest of the three main classes of depression medications. They prevent the reabsorption of serotonin from the synapse where neighboring brain cells communicate. SSRIs are the current depression medication of choice because of their limited side effects, although they may cause insomnia, agitation, headache, nausea, and diarrhea. Brand name drugs in this class are, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, and Lexapro.

It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that taking a pill is the easy way out. While a medication may take away symptoms of a disease – it does not cure the problem, and often creates a completely new array of side effects. It is important to discover the root of the problem and treat it in a way that can bring lasting relief. In attacking depression, lifestyle measures should be your first line of defense. Herbs or depression medications should be a last line of defense.

Stroke (Brain Attack) Part VII – How to Prevent Stroke With Nutritional Supplements

As we mentioned in previous articles, stroke is caused by uncontrolled diet that is high in saturated and trans fats resulting in cholesterol building up in the blood vessel in the brain that block the circulation of blood to the body, including cells in the brain. If not enough oxygen is delivered to the brain cells, some cells die off and can not reproduce, the you may have a stroke. Other strokes happen when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures causing the cells in your brain to be depleted of oxygen, so they die and can never come back. Nutritional supplements have played an important role for nutritionally deficient patients in preventing stroke and here are some of them:

1. B-complex
Three B-vitamins: folate, B-6, and B-12 can lower homocysteine, an amino acid that is naturally found in the body and study shows that the higher level of homocysteine ​​in the blood, the higher the risk of stroke.

2. Beta-carotene
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that may reduce oxidative stress to brain cells. Such stress occurs when highly volatile forms of oxygen damage cell structure. Study shows that beta-carotene helps to reduce the risk against cerebral infraction and stroke.

3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to reduce arterial clotting.

4. Selenium
Selenium is a powerful agent that helps to keep tissues and arms elastic. It also helps to reduce the stickiness of the blood and decrees the risk of clotting, in turn lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke. Selenium increases the ratio of HDL (good) cholesterol to LDL (bad) cholesterol.

5. Pycnogenol
Pycnogenol helps to keep collagen elastic and soften the blood platelets, making blood flow more efficiently.

6. Co enzyme Q-10
Co enzyme is a strong antioxidant that not only protects low density lipoprotein LDL against oxidants, but also helps for getting oxygen to the cells.

7. Lecithin
Lecithin is a fat-like substance called a phospholipid that helps to remove bad cholesterol and other lipids from the body. It also protects the arms and organs from the build up of fatty tissue that can lead to stroke or heart attack.

8. Melatonin
Melatonin is a neurohormone produced in our body by the pineal gland. It is a powerful antioxidant that easily penetrates the blood-brain barrier and is used to treat thrombotic stroke.

9. Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps to strengthen the arterial wall, lowering the risk of heart diseases and stroke.

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Hair Regrowth in Alopecia Areata

One of the many causes of hair loss is alopecia areata. This is an autoimmune disorder. This causes the immune system to attack the hair follicles, making the hair fall out. This can be quite troubling for many people. There are various treatments that can be made to help with hair regrowth in alopecia areata. Knowing these treatments and how much results you can expect can make the process a lot easier on you.

There are several different treatments to aid hair regrowth in alopecia areata. One of the many is creams that go on your scalp. These can help you regrow new hair and may even be able to cut down on the amount of hair that is lost. Scalp injections, such as cortisone have also been found to help. Cortisone can have lasting side effects so it is important to understand all of the pros and cons before going this. Another treatment is drugs, such as immune suppressing drugs. These drugs can be very beneficial because they will lower your immune system that is killing your hair. With this it is important to keep in mind that suppressing your immune system means that your body will not be able to fight off infection as well. This means that you will be more prone to getting sick. Serious illnesses and sustained high fevers can also lead to hair loss. These are just things to keep in mind.

Knowing what to expect from hair regrowth with alopecia areata is important as well. You may find that the treatment you are using is working and you have regained most of your hair. The only thing you must keep in mind is that autoimmune disorders tend to go through cycles of flare ups. This means that your hair loss treatment can be going fine and then one day you start to notice that you are losing your hair again. This could just be a flare up, but it can also be a serious medical problem. This means that you should see your doctor as soon as possible to get the problem checked out to make sure it is just a flare up. If it is, your doctor may be able to help you find a treatment that will add an exra punch to your hair loss treatment.

Hair regrowth in alopecia areata can seem like a constant battle. There is no cure for autoimmune disorders at this time, only ways to suppress them. This means that it will be something you will battle for the rest of your life. However there are many treatments available and many specialists that you can see. Your specialist can fully explain this disorder to you. He or she can answer all your questions about how treatment works. Your doctor will also be the one that will prescribe you treatments to help with this. As long as you keep yourself healthy and keep working towards getting your hair back, hair regrowth in alopecia areata can be very attainable.

Blindness in Cats – Five Common Causes of Feline Blindness

Cats naturally have superior vision. However, there are various conditions that can cause blindness in cats. Some of these conditions include hypertension, glaucoma, and cancer. Let’s take a look at some of these causes of feline blindness.

Hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the leading causes of blindness in cats. If left untreated, the pressure can cause the retina to rupture. This can occur in just a matter of days. Cats that have kidney disease, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism have the highest risk of developing hypertension.

An early sign that your cat is suffering from high blood pressure is the presence of dilated pupils. The pupils won’t respond to a change in light, and there also may be blood in your cat’s eye. Hypertension is dealt with by treating the underlying cause. Your cat may also need to start eating foods low in sodium.

Glaucoma

One of the next common causes of feline blindness is glaucoma. Glaucoma is a condition in which there is too much pressure within the eye. It is also a common problem for humans. If your cat is diagnosed in the early stages, the pressure may be reduced via medications. If it has already progressed, your cat may need surgery to correct the problem.

Cancer

Another cause of blindness in cats is cancer. Tumors can grow in or around the eye. In most cases, the eye will need to be surgically removed. However, it is usually replaced with a prosthetic eye to give a more natural look.

Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy is an untreatable condition that leads to feline blindness. Most cats suffer from this condition because they inherited it. The disease progresses slowly over time, but will lead to total blindness.

Kidney Disease

One of the final common causes is kidney disease. It is common for older cats to suffer problems like chronic renal failure as they age. Unfortunately, chronic renal failure leads to hypertension. As stated earlier, hypertension can easily cause sudden blindness in cats if the retina ruptures.

Can Glaucoma Be Healed Naturally?

Glaucoma is one of the major causes of blindness. Glaucoma is due to increased eye pressure. In conventional medicine, most eye doctors would recommend surgeries and eye drops to relieve high ocular pressure in the eye.

However, there is one problem: surgeries and eye drops would create a chronic condition, ironically enough, leading to ultimate blindness.

Dr. Leslie Salov, M.D., O.D. Ph.D., in his book “Secrets for Better Vision”, says most glaucoma patients are highly intelligent professionals who lead very stressful, busy lives. This finding led Dr. Salov to believe that to improve vision or eye health, you need to improve the health of your entire person simultaneously because your body is a set of interlocking systems that affect one another. Given that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, your eyes are only a small part of your whole person. Accordingly, to heal the eyes, you must heal the body first. It is just that simple!

To have healthy vision, even as you age, you must employ not only the sciences of physiology, biology, and chemistry, but also the healing powers of philosophy and even spirituality. This is no exception when it comes to treating glaucoma. In other words, to treat glaucoma, you need to examine not just your eyes, but every aspect of your life.

The methods of glaucoma treatment recommended by Dr. Salov include the following:

Visualization is the use of meditative exercise by your mind to control your body in order to heal itself. Specifically, visualization relaxes the muscles in the walls of your canal of Schlemm (circular channel in the eye that collects watery substance between the lens and the cornea). By relaxing these muscles, extra fluid can be excreted to relieve the glaucoma pressure. The use of eye drops serves a similar function, but the only difference is that chronic use of eye drops may have adverse long-term effects. These effects include pieces of iris falling off, causing blockage, and thereby instrumental in increasing eye pressure over the long haul. Without using eye drops with chemicals, visualization can relax eye muscles so that your pupils become small enough to open up the canal of Schlemm to excrete the fluid for eye pressure relief.

So, what exactly is visualization?

Visualization is the use of guided imagery to direct blood, oxygen, and leukocytes (immunity cells) to the eye through a mental image of a healthy eye. Essentially, your conscious mind controls the involuntary processes that occur automatically inside your body. However, it must be pointed out that visualization works only when you use it with dedication and consistency. In other words, you have to practice visualization diligently.

Another therapy recommended by Dr. Salov is meditation, which removes your everyday stresses and worries. When you are under duress and stress, you body produces chemical changes within your body, which decrease blood flow and oxygen level. Practice meditation, which is the art of thinking of nothing.

Deep and slow breathing using your diaphragm, aided by good posture, is deep cleansing for the body and mind. Deep breathing promotes better vision health through relaxation and detoxification.

According to Dr. Salov, your diet may also help you heal your glaucoma. A no-meat diet is strongly recommended because the antibiotics, chemical dyes, and growth hormones in supermarket meat damage not only you immune system but also your eye health. Without strong immunity, your eyes cannot utilize their natural healing elements.

To conclude, your body has its own curative forces, but the problem is how to harness these forces. For better vision health, you must be prepared to change your environment, lifestyle, and living habits. Vision health cannot be accomplished without total health. There is a Chinese saying: “The eye is the window of the soul.” Your vision health mirrors your physical health. If you believe that glaucoma can be healed naturally, then look beyond your eyes.

State Of Environmental Health In Uganda – A Community Psychologist's Perspective

Health and environment are linked. In fact, most people prefer using the phrase environmental health to have the union of the two. The union intends to show how influences of human health could come from changes in the environment.

But, within environmental health, there are other issues, like poverty, population, organic farming, environmental politics, environmental health accounting, environmental health protection and environmental stress (from humans and climatic changes). In other words, it would simply mean external factors that potentially affect health.

The environmental health continues to be under serious threat from; ever increasing population that encroach it, lack of concern from both communities and their leaders, multinational firms' scaling up of pesticide and chemical use in agriculture, and degradation of the environment -without moral conscience.

Use of chemicals is said to be highly destructive not only to weeds and pests but also to humans. Apart from losing the natural taste of food, eating food crops sprayed with chemicals, even after several hours of cooking, could soon have it set in vital organs of the body -as lungs and liver. And thereafter, lifespan of humans and animals could be lowered.

Unfortunately, suppliers of such destructive drugs are big corporate firms -that are capable of bribing off influential African leaders, employing huge numbers of people and investing heavily in advertisements. As such, it would be so easy to shut people's mouths -majority of who are beneficiaries, not to complain or advocate otherwise.

Yet, just looking at organic farming, which uses natural solutions to agricultural problems, it is something that is environmentally friendly-meaning that whatever constituent of the environment is not harmed. Rather, people practicing it co-exist with an understanding of the knowledge of sustainability in resource utilization.

Communities, in this case, are mindful of paying back to the environment from which they find food -with no pollutants, and ensuring that natural resources regenerate. There is, therefore, mutual benefit, unlike in scenarios -where use of pesticides, bush-burning and huge de-forestation for arable land is the mentality. Organic products are natural and in line with the similar natural needs of the body.

And products are what consumers could be willing to pay more for in order to safeguard life. The practice of farming is itself gentle to the earth – where both compliment each other in terms of soil conservation, conservation of vegetative cover and ensuring sustainability.

Pressure on land has forced many to migrate into game and forest reserves, and thus, catapulting into aggravated de-forestation, and extinction of rare species of both animals and plants. In south west Busoga forest reserve, in Mayuge District, it is now history that there used to be buffalos and hippopotamuses in the area.

It is a place with most violent panga-yielding encroachers ever known in Uganda. They can go as far as attacking tree-planters, cutting down artificial plantation, and even uprooting of newly planted trees.

Such grave environment degradation is what in turn adds to the already existing threat of global warming, adverse affecting ecological balances, leading to natural punishments (natural disasters), and creating conditions for disease causing germs as well as immunological disturbances.

Encroachment is a key critical issue, but governments in Africa are passive about dealing with the problem. Instead, they focus more on political goals. Politics is usually mixed with serious environmental health concerns. In Uganda, the problem, mainly, is with the forest resource.

For wild life, it is well able to quell off encroachers -according to reports by forest officials in Uganda. There is a kind of discrimination in regard to forest land protection, as would be compared to resources like oil and wild life.

With many of them being immigrants from other regions of the Uganda, the reason they (encroachers) give is lack of land for food production, where denial of forest or animal park land would mean starvation to death. In fighting to live, they are willing to be shot down.
But independent observers say encroachers are runaway criminals, who ended up in forests. And those in the forest think justice can hardly be processed to the very end, which gives them a feeling of personal safety.

The passage of local leaders has not generated action against encroachers-since they are voters capable of helping regimes in Africa stay in power. Governments, therefore, find it a delicate issue to handle. Instead, they choose to keep a blind eye as the environment is massively degraded.

While family planning would be an excellent strategy to combat growing population, the conservative lives of most Africans do not give room to the practice. Education too is out of reach for the majority of the populations around game and forest reserves -realizing that such areas tend to be remote.

The remoteness implications total absence of schools as much as the value of education. Yet, In line with education, going to school is said to discourage high birth rate and living without planning for the future. Some areas like Mayuge District have mainly junior level schools and parents value less the idea of ​​sending children to school.

Parents think educating children is a waste of money, and that in the first place, it is hard to get. While at the same time their forest life is unpredictable -since they believe government would at one time expel them. So, surviving day by day is all they look at. Neverheadless, older men would always be on the look out for breastfeeding-pointing young girls to devour sexually. As a Consequence, many drop out before joining secondary schools.

There is public health concerns in the face of high population growth -with pressure on utilities and irresponsible behavior in handling of community resources. People in such areas, as game and forest reserves -hardly care about hygiene and sanitation. Instead, the reserves act toilets or latrines.

And because they lack clean water, they frequently "host" water-borne diseases. Worse still, inaccessibility to reproductive health services makes them prey to HIVAIDS and other STIs / STDs. Where would you find condoms while in such areas?

The implications here are; improper disposal of waste materials, early sexual intercourse and rural prostitution around town centers. Further, in such areas, sexual intercourse is like taking a cup of tea -this time round, in Western Europe context, where anytime is believed to be tea time.

Besides, lack of proper nutrition, lack of well trained personnel, and engineered lack of drugs put local residences more at the risk of dying from the mainly water-borne, sexually transmitted infections and other simple infections -that else would be treated.

Since health services are inaccessible, local residents resort to traditional medicine. Rarely would you walk in rural areas without meeting a kind of "Dr" Rashid Lukwago clinic that fill gaps where modern medicine has failed to reach. However, with integrated health service delivery system, traditional medicine and modern are one, although standards need to be set for the former.

People, there, are at compliance level. They have very little or nothing to sale so that money is generated to buy medical drugs. Herbal medicine, therefore, becomes the most appropriate to them.

Interestingly, people claim herbs have been more effective at curing serious illnesses than modern medicine. No wonder, recent health strategy called for a twin approach to treatment of diseases.

Much as the lucky urban and semi-urban areas would be found with decent health care facilities, patients find no drugs in them. What is thought to be free treatment at government health centers is never so. At best they would offer blood testing and prescription. The patient, then, plays the last role of going to the pharmaceutical shop find drugs.

Perhaps, it is cost-sharing at work that government introduced in early stages of its rule. But, remember, people are poor. If unable to buy medicinal drugs, and when traditional herbs fail, they could succumb to death.

The health sector happens to be one of the most infested government departments with acts of corruption. As a remedy, liberalization of the economy in general and health sector particularly in this case, sounded as though the answer.

However, doing so, well, helped to improve on services offered. On the other hand, only the rich could afford. The poor, as usual, were left out -and only had to pray that they do not fall sick and get close to their creator.

Not very long ago, health ministers were implicated for misuse of global funds for prevention and treatment of malaria and HIV / AIDS. As the lords where busy feasting and driving posh cars around, AIDS patients were dying. Sincerely, where are the hearts in the Uganda's political players?

Unfortunately, belief in witchcraft is another problem in such areas. Any strange incident could call for a witch-doctor's consultation or referral to culturalorms. It was not surprising; therefore, when finds by butabika hospital showed that majority of people in Uganda preferred traditional healers or faith-based prayers to health centers -as curative.

Meanwhile, the same cultural ideas could be so entrenched that changing attitudes might pose a challenge. Development pace could be slow or even static-since people find it "impossible" to think beyond simple cultural excuses. Actually, witchcraft, being at the center of cultural practices, plays roles of what science would be purposed for.

Without encouraging people to take their children to school such young people post-pone marriage, it would always be hard to control infections and diseases as much as to change their attitudes towards the mainly useless cultural beliefs.

Useless cultures could have adverse connections to almost everything in life -be it with health service promotion, proper agricultural practices and viable leadership or managerial options. All could suffer under wrong mentalities.

More so, as the saying goes, "educate a woman, educate the nation." The saying, just as from; different research findings on gender, experiences and the statistical occurrence of child abuse and neglect cases, educated men would tend to act more irresponsibly on matters of child development than educated women.

There could be a difference between good orderliness of a family of an educated mother and one -who is uneducated. Education, which is understandably, the high intellectual state and tangible resourcefulness of a person-long after he or she has left school, could help scale down incidences of child abuse and neglect.

Upon this background, prospective parents must go or return to school not just to attend classes, but to learn. Having done so, the future could have environmentally caring and patriotic generation.

Diseases Caused by Helminths

Diseases caused by Helminths are simply referred to as Heminthiasis and are common in the society today. It is estimated that more than 3 billion people live with helminths across the world. Heminthiasis refer to infections caused by parasites such as pin worms and wound worms. Normally, these worms target the intestinal tract, although an increase in number may force some of the worms to invade organs such as lungs and the heart.

The severity of the diseases caused by Helminths depends on the type of worm, as well as the affected body part. While in the intestinal tract, helminthes may cause abdominal pains, which may characterize stomach discomfort, cramps and stomach tenderness. Diarrhea is also a common symptom of helminthes. Other people may experience fever and fatigue, especially when one is suffering from bouts of diarrhea. If one does not take sufficient water during such times, they can easily suffer dehydration.

Apart from the digestive tract, the liver is the next common target for helminthes. When such occurs, one may suffer an enlarged liver, which is often because of localized swelling. More often than not, an enlarged liver go hand-in-hand with a swollen spleen. These two need urgent medical attention. Helminths may also attack the lung, and when such is the case, coughing is usually observed as a symptom.

Apart from allergies, helminths are the next leading cause of eosinophilia in humans. Eosinophilia is a condition where the blood registers abnormal amounts of eosinophils. Although these sub-groups of lymphocells play an important role in maximizing the immune system potent, they do not kill pathogens released by the helminthes, and without support from other immune cells, they are actually considered useless against other kinds of infections in the body.

Other diseases caused by helminths include chest pains, skin symptoms, bloody diarrhea, dehydration, anemia, bowel obstruction and mal-absorption. Since they suck nutrients from consumed foods, humans rarely get to enjoy the nutritious benefits of the foods they eat. In very severe cases, weight loss is observed. In children, helminths make the abdomen distended, which can easily be confused with malnutrition symptoms. In humans who the helminths have gained access to the nervous system, neurological problems may be observed.

Eye symptoms, such as itching, red and teary eyes may also indicate the presence of worms, while other people may present with malaise. Headaches, itchy skin, itchy anus and irritability are also some of the problems.

Some of the other diseases caused by helminth infections include elephantiasis, lymphatic filariasis, trichuriasis, ascariasis among others. Unless the parasitic worms are treated in good time, they continue reproducing in the human body thus increasing in numbers. The most common way of infection is through ingesting the larvae or eggs of the worms. One can also get infections through the skin, nose, anus, mouth or through sexual intercourse.

Herbal Remedies to Beat Colds and the Flu

Our approach to colds and the flu is comprehensive and holistic. Just as in our most comprehensive and integral health and wellness programs, it works best to look at the whole person, taking into account many different aspects of wellness health care and then nourish and support the body's own natural means of keeping itself well.

If you've been interested in a more natural approach to colds and flu and in taking better care of your whole self you should know:

Over the counter drugs that are designed to eliminate the symptoms of the cold – ease congestion, stop the cough, soothe the sore throat – actually interfer with the body's protective immune responses. The condition may seem to get better because of the masking of the symptoms, but actually all that has happened is that the body's natural immune response has been curtailed. Over the counter cold remedies do nothing to fight cold viruses or boost the immune responses so they can have little effect on the duration of colds.

Of the five antihistamines commonly used to treat colds, research shows that only one of them may actually help dry a runny nose.

Researchers have found that over the counter drugs may have no benefit for preschoolers.

Decongestants can produce side effects like jitters and insomnia.

Mucus, tears, and saliva are treated with IgA antibodies. Mucus is a genetically engineered antibiotic substance that contains specific antibodies to your current infection. So when you take an over the counter decongestant that dries mucus secretions during a cold or flu you may be reducing your immune responses and contributing to prolonging the duration of your infection. It's better to take substances that thin and liquefy the mucus and keep it flowing freely with plenty of liquids.

Herbs like licorice may deal with excess mucus through a moistening action, loosening mucus and making it flow more readily out of the body. Other herbs that may help to do this include marshmallow and slippery elm.

Echinacea and Goldenseal are probably the most frequently used herbs for colds and flu in the United States:

Clinically Echinacea is not generally considered to be a major herb for working with the flu although it is often used as an auxiliary herb. Research suggest that Echinacea may be particularly helpful at the sunset of a cold or flu. If taken early enough in the appropriate dosages it may contribute to heading off a cold or flu.

Once the cold is well established, though, Echinacea by itself is not the most effective herbal approach. After the cold or flu has taken hold Echinacea continues to be useful in combination with other herbs and it helps shorten the duration and severity of the infection. By itself Echinacea is not usually sufficient to knock out a cold or flu.

Taking Goldenseal in the early stages of a cold or flu may actually make the condition worse by drying up the mucus membranes. This inhibits the mucus, saturated with antibodies to fight the bacteria, virus or other microbes, from working.

Clinically Goldenseal is used for subacute and chronic infections of the mucus membranes but it is not usually thought to be appropriate for use in the acute stage.

Goldenseal works as a cleanser and anti-inflammatory. It can be helpful at very specific times in very specific doses in a cold. But there is not a single study that shows that Goldenseal works as a cold fighter.

Even better cold & flu herbs:

Black elder is another traditional herbal remedy that has been shown that it may have good effects on the flu. A recent clinical trail showed that a preparation of black elder cases of the flu within three days and also boosted the immune system responses. Oregon grape can be used as a contemporary substitute for Goldenseal and may be much better than even Echinacea for use with the common cold.

Peppermint contains compounds that can relax the airways and open congested sinuses and nasal passes.

Ginger appears to fight inflammation and pain. It also appears to act as an expectorant and have warm effects that can be helpful if you are chilled.

Yarrow fires inflammation and muscle spasm and promotes sweating. It has long been used against colds and flu.

Thyme is an expectorant and appears to fight microbes. Its flavonoids may help decrease smooth muscle spasm which may assist in opening tight airways.

Mullen is a demulcent which contains mucilagous substances that coat and soothe irritated respiratory linings. It may help to loosen a cough and fight viruses.

More natural herbal remedies:

St. John's Wort has been shown in test tubes studies to inhibit influenza A viruses and parainfluenza virus but not rhinovirus (a cold virus). Osha has traditionally been used in the Rocky Mountains as the most important plant for treating respiratory infections. Osha is used extensively to treat colds, flu, and bronchial infections. The tincture or tea is antibacterial.

Boneset is used as a traditional remedy for the flu. Traditionally, Boneset was used as a major remedy for the flu, fevers, and as a general tonic. It has been used to treat both acute and chronic conditions. In one study the immune stimulating polysaccharides in Boneset were found to be ten times more potent than Echinacea polysaccharides.

An herbal bath may be an effective remedy for accelerating cold symptoms and increasing immune responses. It may help to nip them in the bud. During the bath the essential oils of the herbs are released by the hot water. These oils are believed to be absorbed through the pores of the skin and through the nose and mouth mucus membranes. Absorption through the mucus membranes may bring the oils into contact with the upper respiratory tract where they are able to exert their antibacterial effects.

Copyright (c) 2008 Mary Ann Copson