Category Archives: Naturopathy

7 Naturopathic Ways to Supercharge Your Immune System

Naturopathic Tips to Help Your Body Fight Off Illness

Naturopathic tips to fight off illness.

The immune system can get bogged down for a number of reasons, whether it is from being overworked, or chronic allergies, we all are looking for ways to improve our overall health and wellbeing. Below are tips to improve and strengthen immune function to keep the body in its best shape and fight off illness.

Lemon and Peppermint oil

Both of these oils have detoxifying and healing properties for the body. Part of a strong immune system is cleansing and ridding the body of toxins. By adding a few drops of lemon oil to your water every day, the oil will help clean the blood and toxic buildup in your body.  Peppermint oil is known for its healing properties for headaches, indigestion, and a large variety of stomach ailments. Add peppermint oil or peppermint tea to your daily routine to aid digestion and help reduce cravings of sugary foods.

Probiotics

Good bacteria, such as probiotics, are necessary for a healthy digestive system and as a result, overall immune function. When you take antibiotics to kill bad bacteria in your body, you are also killing the good bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium along with it. When this happens, the body can become out of balance and result in chronic stomach pain. Taking a probiotic supplement or drinking liquids with probiotics in it such as kefir and kombucha can help keep your digestive function inline and improve your body’s food absorption.

Reduce Stress

Emotional stress can cause a number of physical problems like insomnia, stomach pain, and headaches. Because of this, the body can become very sick from chronic stress. Ways to reduce stress include exercise, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been shown to increase the white blood cell count in the body and stimulate the immune system. By placing acupuncture needles in specific points of the body, acupuncture works by bringing the body back to balance and increasing blood and energy flow.

Echinacea

Echinacea is an effective natural herb for preventing illness. The herb has been shown to increase the body’s white blood cell count, boosting the immune system. You can find this flowering plant at most stores in liquid or pill form.

Exercise          

Exercise is good for the body and mind in just about every way, one of them being immune health. Moderate exercise promotes circulation and blood flow, which keeps the body’s cells moving and working. Try adding just 20 minutes of exercise to your daily routine, whether it is walking, yoga, or jogging.

Are you or someone you love interested in Naturopathy? Make an appointment at our Tigard office to see how we can help you.

Natural Medicine Sees Seaweed as the Next Superfood

Seaweed: Natural & Sustainable Food

Seaweed has been consumed as a natural medicine and food enhancer for years in Asia, but recently there has been a growing interest in seaweed as a health superfood and for sustainable farming.

Seaweed is the next natural medicine superfood.Seaweed, otherwise known as Hai Zao in natural medicine, is known as a marine algae, or sea vegetable that grows primarily in salty waters. Three main classifications of seaweed are brown, red and green. Brown seaweed includes kombu, which is eaten widely in Japan, the red variety includes nori (which is seen in sushi wraps) and dulse. Green is the most common, and is known as wakame.

In natural medicine, seaweed is used to balance the yin and yang of the body. Your yin encourages fluid, lubrication, moistening, cooling and stillness. Yang is associated with more heat, dryness, warming and movement. As one gets older, it is common to get yin deficiency. When you have yin deficiency, heat rises due to yin depletion not balancing the yang energy. Many menopausal women experience this yin deficiency in the form of hot flashes, low back pain, night sweats, poor memory, fatigue, ear ringing, dry skin and loss of vaginal lubrication. One food that has been shown to help is seaweed. Seaweed is in the category of “cold and salty” of food quality and temperature in natural medicine. It is said to nourish the yin and is eaten along with other foods like yams and black sesame seeds that help balance yin and yang.

In addition to helping yin deficiency, seaweed “softens hardness” and loosens phlegm. What this means is seaweed helps dissipate nodules and soft swellings, as in lipomas, cysts, lumps and fat accumulation. Clinically, seaweed is used for swelling of the thyroid gland seen in goiter. See your acupuncture provider to get a diagnosis, formula and diet specific to your body’s needs.

Seaweed has been shown to have loads of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, iron, B vitamins, potassium and folic acid. Most importantly, seaweed has a lot of iodine. Iodine helps the thyroid for growth, metabolism and the immune function. When your thyroid is functioning at a low level, you may experience fatigue, muscle weakness, palpitations, sensitivity to sun, weight gain and goiter. Iodine used to be abundant in rich soil but has been depleted nowadays.

Promising research indicates seaweed helping edema, fibroid tumors, limiting cancer growth due to phytochemicals called lignans and boosting immunity. In addition, it has been used as an anti-inflammatory aid for arthritis, to lower blood pressure and high cholesterol and to aid the respiratory system. Seaweed in Asia has been traditionally used for menopausal signs and symptoms, to reduce swollen lymph glands and to boost libido. But in general it is great for the skin, hair, teeth and bones. Seaweed is very alkaline and helps the pH balance of the body.

Despite the benefits, there is a strong contraindication if you are hyperthyroid. In addition, moderation is key in all aspects. Too much iodine can raise the thyroid-stimulating hormones, and individuals who are sensitive can get heart palpitations, nervousness, irritability and sweating. Check with your doctor to be sure an increase in iodine is right for you. Eat small portions about once a week.

You can buy seaweed dry, powdered or in supplements. Be mindful where it comes from and buy organic to reduce metals, arsenic and toxicity found in waters around the world.

An added benefit for seaweed is sustainability. Kelp is considered the perfect crop, as it requires little care and feeding to grow abundantly. With all the health benefits and easy farming, it just might be the superfood of the future. If you are interested in natural medicine, make an appointment to learn more.

How Food Color Helps Your Natural Health

Understand Natural Food Relationships With Your Organs for Good Health

In Chinese medical theory, food is considered medicine. Food has qualities and functions biochemically and energetically that target specific organs. Not only that, but the action a particular food takes to benefit that organ in terms of taste, color and temperature is what is included in Five Element theory. Food has a relationship to both the natural elements as well as the organs in the body and balances the elements of fire, earth, metal, water and wood to healthy, generating cycles.

Learn how natural food colors can help your health.In natural health medicine everything is thought of in terms of yin and yang theory. Yin is often dark, cooling, moist, still, and internal where are Yang is bright, hot, moving, dry, and outward; Our bodies are constantly trying to achieve a balance between these two forces. There are even some foods that are considered a force of yin and some food is considered more yang. Depending on one’s constitution, some foods might exacerbate a hotter constitution while others would promote a cooling effect. Each person realistically needs a unique approach to food intake, as not all foods deemed “healthy” are good for everyone across the board. It is not recommended to self-diagnose, so see your natural health medical provider to get a proper diagnosis of your particular constitution and advice on foods that may be right for you according to this theory.

Color is one way to determine which organ a food will target. Ideally, one eats what is in season and includes a wide variety of flavors and colors. Colors in vegetables have beneficial antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents as well as phytonutrients:

Green: Green goes to the liver channel, a wood element. Foods that are green are spinach, lettuce, green beans, broccoli and avocado. Generally, these foods are more cooling and contain sulforaphane, an anti-cancer compound, as well as important vitamins like beta-carotene, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B complex, vitamins C, A and K.

Red: Red food tends to benefit the heart, a fire element. Red foods include tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, peppers and apples. Hawthorne berries and goji berries have been shown to benefit the heart and prevent heart disease, and vegetables with red color often have lycopene, a substance shown to help prevent cancer. Orange vegetables like carrots have carotenoids and lutein, powerful phytonutrients.

Yellow: Yellow benefits the spleen/stomach, the earth element, involved with digestion. Yellow foods include soy, barley, egg yolks, yellow peppers, lemons, summer squash and cantaloupe. Yellow foods boost your mood and contain bioflavonoids, carotenoids and vitamin C.

White: White benefits the lungs, a metal element. These foods moisten the lung and include white beans, radish, wild rice, garlic, cauliflower, potatoes, mushrooms and jicama. These are packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber, and antioxidants. Garlic contains allicin, which when crushed or chopped is anti-fungal and an antibiotic.

Black: Black benefits the kidneys, the water element. Examples of these beneficial foods are seaweed, black beans, black sesame seeds, kelp and black rice. These foods are loaded with vitamins and minerals that strengthen bones, benefit the thyroid, and promote longevity.

The next time you create your meal, include a combination of colors and flavors to not only delight your palate but also to keep your organs happy and balanced. Eat what’s in season, cook your vegetables, as cold, raw vegetables are harder to digest, eat slowly and include some kind of exercise during the day.

Contact our Portland area office to learn more about natural health and how it can help you.

4 Beneficial Herbs to Grow and Use In Natural Medicine

Rosemary, Parsley, Basil & Mint Natural Herbs for Your Portland Indoor Garden

Add basil to your Portland natural herb medicine garden. Depending on where you’re located geographically, it may be that time of year where it’s nearly impossible to keep a garden thriving. That being said, hope is not lost for a indoor herb garden! Even if you don’t consider yourself to have a green thumb, the following herbs are hardy enough to last through harsher growing conditions.

Herbs that tend to thrive more in winter climates include Rosemary, Parsley, Basil, Mint and Thyme and are also highly regarded in traditional Chinese medicinal practices.

Rosemary

Being a hardy perennial herb that generally takes 14-21 days to germinate, this plant will thrive year-round even in colder temperatures and is cheap to replace if it does parish for whatever reason. This herb should be started in flats roughly 10-12 weeks before the last frost, be grown in plenty of sunlight and have adequate soil moisture (but not soil that is soaked). Eventually, they will need to be transplanted for continued growth.

Rosemary is known to be beneficial to help aid with migraines, poor memory, and digestive issues among other various ailments. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Rosemary is said to treat wind-damp-cold, resolve phlegm, and tonify yang. It also enters the Lungs, Spleen, Kidney, Heart and Liver.

Pair this herb with roasted garlic, lemon and olive oil to drizzle over chicken for a fresh and filling meal.

Parsley

Although Parsley tends to grow more slowly over the winter taking nearly 2-4 weeks before it even germinates, it blooms continuously to give you a fruitful supply of herbs. Because it’s a slow-growing herb, we suggest planting plenty of it to ensure you have enough to last over the winter. It grows best in moist, fertile soil and can be over-wintered.

In TCM, Parsley is known for eliminating toxins, regulating water, and tonifying blood. It’s also known for entering the Stomach, Bladder, Kidney and is warm in temperature.

Prepare this herb with garlic, olive oil, and lamb to indulge in a savory delight.

Basil

If you live in a climate that has limited sunlight during the winter, such as the pacific northwest, this annual herb may be slower to grow but generally takes 5-10 days to germinate. It thrives more when it’s direct seeded versus being transplanted and is not drought tolerant and does not do well under the stress of heat.

Basil can be used to resolve dampness, phlegm, promote qi circulation and disperses cold. In ancient Chinese medical texts, it’s said to enter through the Lung, Spleen, Stomach, Large Intestine and Kidney.

Sweet Basil is the most common type of basil used and makes a delicious snack when paired with mozzarella, tomatoes and a drizzling of your favorite balsamic dressing.

Mint

We recommend planting this herb 6-8 weeks before placing them outside in early spring, as they can withstand some freezing but not much and thrive best in partial sun. Be sure to plant it in its own pot as mint will take over the entire planter.

Mint’s aromatic, pungent and cooling properties enter through the Lung and Liver. It also aids in promoting qi circulation, clearing heat, rashes, head and eyes as well as expelling wind. It’s also been known to reduce digestive irritations such as irritable bowel syndrome due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.

Add mint to your chamomile tea with a splash of lemon for a tasty winter beverage. If you are interested in natural medicine, make an appointment at our Portland area office.

https://www.johnnyseeds.com/growerslibrary/growingcenter.html

http://chinesenutrition.org/

Add To Your Naturopath Lifestyle with Meditation

How Regular Meditation Can Help Your Naturopath Exercise

Life is full of ups and downs. And everybody tends to get overwhelmed at times. But there are many ways of dealing with what happens. Some people go to the gym to workout. Others meet up with friends and enjoy a nice meal with lots of conversation.  But sometimes it comes down to what we can do by ourselves, for ourselves. Many things are beyond our control. However, we can take responsibility for the state of our mind and meditation is a wonderful tool that helps us do that.

Add meditation to your naturopath lifestyle.Meditation has been around for millennia. The earliest written records of meditation come from the Hindu traditions around 1500 BCE. Other forms of meditation developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India around the sixth and fifth centuries.  The exact origins are subject to debate. But regardless of the origin, meditation practices have stood the test of time and are used all over the world.

Meditation is a way to transform the mind. Meditation practices can increase concentration, emotional positivity, clarity and a sense of calmness. Meditation can also give us the ability to see the true nature of things around us. There are many different forms of meditation, but they all have the same purpose, to calm the mind and help us find our center. When we engage in a particular form of meditation, we learn the habits and patterns of our minds and then we can actually change old habits.

Scientific research tends to focus on two types of meditation, mindful meditation and focused-attention meditation. Through the use of MRIs, scientists have developed a more thorough understanding of what actually takes place in our brains when we meditate. The most dramatic effect is that our brains stop processing information like they normally would. The frontal lobe, which is responsible for reasoning, planning, emotions and self-consciousness, tends to stop functioning during meditation. The parietal lobe, which processes sensory information, slows down. The thalamus, which is the area that focuses our attention by interpreting sensory information, actually shows a slowing of incoming information. So all of these things combined, allows our brains to relax.

Meditation is a practice of focusing our attention and being aware of when it meanders and because of this, meditation can improve our focus when we are not meditating also.  It’s a lasting effect that comes from regular meditation practices.

Another positive effect of meditation is that it allows us to have less anxiety and stress.  The more we meditate, the looser the connections of certain neural pathways become.  The area of the brain that triggers strong reactions becomes less “tight” and in contrast, the frontal lobe strengthens, allowing us to more easily look at things rationally.  For example, sometimes when we experience pain, our minds go to the worst possible scenario and we become anxious. The more a person meditates, the more rational their thinking becomes and thus the feelings of anxiety decrease.

Probably the most studied benefit of meditation is compassion. People who practice meditation regularly have been shown to have more empathy. The part of the brain that processes emotional stimuli, the amygdala, normally slows down during meditation. But just like the aforementioned lasting effects of meditation, compassion and empathy are also affected long-term. Thus those who practice regular meditation tend to look at others differently and show them more understanding and compassion.

Memory is another area that is helped through the regular practice of meditation.  Studies have shown that those who meditate are able to adjust the brain waves that screen our distractions and therefore increase their productivity. Part of this is because meditation actually increases the amount of grey matter in the brain. The greater the amount of grey matter, the more positive the emotions, the less age-related diseases affect us and the less our cognitive functioning decreases.

Over time, meditation can greatly improve the quality of life in numerous ways.  Researching the different forms of meditation is the best way to get started. Try as many as possible and go with the one that resonates best with you. If you are interested in other naturopath treatments, make an appointment at our Tigard office to learn more.

Natural Medicine to Keep Winter Organs Healthy

Preventative Natural Medicine for the Winter Months

Winter is just one of the five seasons acknowledged by Traditional Chinese Medicine. The ancient Chinese followed the belief that humans should live in harmony with the cycles of nature. During the winter months, the darkness and cold indicate that we should slow down, take care of our health, conserve our strength and replenish our energy for the upcoming spring and summer months. This is observed in the animal kingdom, and it should also be considered a good rule of thumb for human beings.

Warm foods for natural preventative medicine during winter months.Each season has multiple associations that help us adjust our habits as things change, which makes it easier to keep the body and mind balanced. Winter is ruled by the water element. The water element is associated with the kidneys and urinary bladder. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy, the kidneys are the source of all energy found within the body. This energy, frequently called qi (pronounced “chee”), is what keeps us alive and allows our bodies to function properly. During the winter months, it is vital that we nourish and nurture our kidney qi.

Winter is typically a time when we decrease our daily activities. Because of this, we should also decrease the amount of food that we eat to avoid gaining excess weight. It is also recommended that excessively cold and raw foods be avoided or at least countered with things like hot tea. Cold and raw foods can deplete the kidney energy over time. This can lead to problems with digestion, sleep and much more.

It is suggested that during the winter months, we should emphasize foods that are warming to the body. This includes things like soups, stews, root vegetables, beans, garlic and ginger. Also foods like whole grains and roasted nuts can help keep the body’s core warm, while providing healthy nourishment.

The second organ associated with the season of winter is the urinary bladder. The urinary bladder is a reservoir where water in the body collects for disposal. The urinary bladder receives impure or dirty fluids from the small intestine and then further transforms these fluids into urine. The urinary bladder then stores and excretes urine as needed. This function also plays an important role in helping to regulate a person’s blood pressure. The ability to transform the impure fluids depends on the energy of the kidneys.

One of the most important things anybody can do during the winter months to stay healthy is drink plenty of water. Winter, in most places, literally drains the moisture out of the body. It is recommended that we drink at least 64 ounces of water per day, even during the winter months. However, the thought of drinking cold water in cold weather is a concept that tends to keep a lot of people clinically dehydrated during the winter months. This is why warm water with lemon or hot tea are good substitutes. We are still ingesting water, while avoiding the cold that could potentially damage our core.

By following the guidelines set forth by nature, we can also remain in balance with the natural world around us. This is how our ancestors did it and it served them quite well. Perhaps there is something to be learned from the wisdom our elders passed down through the generations. If you are interested in a natural preventative medicine for living with the seasons, contact our Portland office.

 

Naturopathic Medicine For De-Congestion

Naturopathic Herbal Medicine Treating Congestion

A study published by the National Institute of Health looked at the use of Chinese herbal formulas in conjunction with conventional medicine for the treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis. The study surveyed 4,294 patients who utilized Naturopathic Medicine and of these, nearly 97 percent received herbal remedies. The most commonly prescribed herbal formula for this condition was Xin Yi Qing Fei Tang. While the study did not look at the outcome of the use of the herbal remedy, it is conclusive more people are turning to alternative medicine in order to treat everyday problems like congestion.

Naturopathic herbs to help with congestion at our Tigard office.Congestion of the chest and sinuses is something everybody has experienced at some point during their life. It can be caused by allergies, the common cold or even changes in the weather. Regardless of the cause, it makes life difficult when we are unable to breathe properly. Many people reach for over-the-counter decongestants as a first line defense. But there are side effects to be aware of when using anything synthetically made in a lab.

Natural remedies, like Naturopathic Medicine, are safer and can generally be used long-term without the side effects. An estimated 30 million people suffer with sinus problems, and congestion is one of the top symptoms associated with sinus issues. Most people who suffer with sinus issues have them for the majority of their lives. This is because once the problem has been cleared up using conventional medications or treatments, the sinus cavities themselves have not been completely drained and the body still sees the remaining mucus as a foreign invader it must attack.

This is where Naturopathic Medicine surpasses conventional medicine. Naturopathic medicine addresses the symptoms and the root of the problem. So not only will the congestion be targeted, but so will be the cause of the congestion. Too much sugar causing excess phlegm?  Chronic allergy flare ups? Weak lungs due to asthma or COPD preventing you from expelling the pathogens? All of these things can lead to chronic congestion and Naturopathic medicine can help.

Naturopathic medicine uses many tools to treat congestion. The two most commonly used are acupuncture and herbal formulas. One of the most commonly used herbal formulas is Cang Er San. This formula contains xanthium fruit, magnolia flower, angelica root and mint. If yellow mucus is present, then cooling herbs like honeysuckle flowers and Scutellaria root are added to address the excess heat. But the base formula unblocks the nasal passages, reduces inflammation and expels toxins, all of which lead to congestion.

Another popular choice of Naturopathic medicine practitioners is Bi Yan Pian. This formula works to clear the nasal passages and it usually accomplishes this within five days to a week. The herbs in Bi Yan Pian work to disperse wind, expel toxins, relieve inflammation and dissolve phlegm.

Make an appointment with our Tigard office to find out how Naturopathic Medicine can help you with any respiratory and congestion issues you might have.

CITATION

Take a Preventative Naturopath Health Approach To Stress

Beating Stress & Staying on Task with Naturopathic Treatments

Preventative naturopath health includes nutrients from blueberries & other foods.The dictionary defines stress in multiple ways, but only one matters when we discuss how stress affects our physical bodies. Stress is defined as a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stress actually does have a function in our bodies. Stress is the body’s way of signaling for help or a break in the routine. If we don’t listen to these signals, we can develop imbalances in our bodies, which can then lead to illnesses.

Cortisol is the hormone most closely related to stress. Cortisol is a big component of the “fight or flight” response we feel when we are scared or threatened. In small bursts, cortisol is helpful. However, when stress becomes chronic, then the cortisol levels become elevated. This puts the body in a constant state of being on edge, eventually causing insomnia, depression, anxiety, digestive issues and even mental illness.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) provides many ways of combating stress and keeping our minds focused. Here are just a few examples of how this ancient medical system can help.

Acupuncture for Stress:  Acupuncture acts like physical therapy for the nervous system. Tiny needles retrain the nervous system and brain to behave as it should normally. For the nervous system to act and respond accordingly, cortisol has to be at normal levels and only used when a true “fight or flight” situation occurs. Studies show acupuncture does this.

Acupuncture reduces stress by keeping the heart rate normal. When the body is stressed, the heart tends to pump faster, and in some cases, a person may even develop heart palpitations. Our heart rate is closely connected to our vagus nerve. If the vagus nerve is stimulated, so too will the heart rate. There are specific acupressure points on the arms and hands that calm the vagus nerve and the heart.

Acupuncture Points for Stress and Focus:

  • Yin Tang – Yin Tang is located directly between the inner edges of the eyebrows. It is a reflex point of the pituitary gland. Yin Tang calms the mind and relaxes the body by helping control hormone secretions.
  • Kidney 1 – Kidney 1 is located on the bottom of the foot, at the junction of the anterior one third and posterior two thirds of the line connecting the base of the second and third toes and the heel. Kidney 1 can sedate and calm the mind, while also regulating blood flow to the upper part of the body, aka the brain.
  • Du 20 – This point is located on the top of the head, midway between the apexes of both ears. Du 20 has been noted to improve mental clarity and awareness, while also enhancing memory.

Chinese Herbal Formulas for Stress and Focus:  Combinations of herbs, known as formulas are used frequently in TCM. An herbal formula known as Bu Nao Wan is frequently prescribed for people who have memory problems related to weakness in the kidney system of TCM. Several of the herbs in this formula have been used for centuries to calm the mind and improve focus.

Xiao Yao San is another popular TCM formula that is used frequently to address stress.  This formula is knowns as “Free and Easy Wanderer” because it helps remove any stagnation in the energetic pathways that can lead to stress and difficulty focusing or staying on task.

Nutrition for Stress and Focus:  Proper nutrition is vital for everyone. But when it comes to stress and focus, nutrition for the kidneys is crucial. The kidneys are the source of our vital essence and if damaged, our health will suffer. Foods like black beans, kidney beans, asparagus, plums, blueberries and blackberries are all beneficial for strengthening the kidneys.

As you can see, TCM is a great way to deal with stress. If you are having difficulties dealing with stress, contact our Tigard office to see how we can help with naturopath health treatments.

CITATIONS:

  1. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/16/acupuncturecouldhelppreventstress_n_2883996.html
  2. http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=27927
  3. http://blog.aoma.edu/blog/chinesemedicineforstressrelief
  4. https://www.consciouslifestylemag.com/foodsforanxietybodycalm/

 

 

 

Naturopathic Health Benefits of Negative Ions

Research Update: Negative Ions & Positive Naturopathic Health

In a study published by the National Institute of Health, researchers found negative air ions had a positive effect on the physiological parameters of blood pressure and heart rate, as well as neuronal activity, when applied to a group of rats. It was observed that the negative air ions significantly decreased heart rate and the blood pressure. These findings suggest negative air ions can influence health through the inhibition of neuronal activity.

Negative ions may sound like something unhealthy, but in fact they have quite the opposite effect on the body. Negative ions are oxygen atoms charged with an extra electron. And recent studies suggest breathing air rich in negative ions can have a very positive naturopathic effect on a person, both physically and mentally. Continue reading