By Natural Advocate | September 30, 2007 - 5:16 pm - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

We here at Herbal News Magazine know that prevention is worth so much more than treating an ailment that has usually happened because of some other function in our life like eating, exercise, depression, mood, and other environmental factors.  Sure, genetics may dictate whether we get certain ailments, genetic frailties, or diseases, but just as much as genetics, we can help prevent these things from happening by doing the right thing. 

Prescription drugs definitely have a place of importance in managing, controlling  and curing our disease processes.  However, the old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is still the best line of defense in attaining and maintaining an individual’s health and well being.
Prevention of diseases can start by altering your lifestyle and eliminating bad habits that will, over time, lead to various ailments either chronic or acute. If you smoke, quit smoking.

You can use the help of support groups, nicotene patches or nicotene gum. Your lungs and cardiovascular system will benefit immensely within a short period of time.  Drinking alcohol in moderation can actually be beneficial to your health.  Drinking alcohol excessively will damage your liver and gastrointestinal system.  If alcohol addicton is a problem, support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or counseling can help you to cease drinking.

 If you are overweight, take measures to lose the unwanted pounds.  Obesity is a contributing factor in a multitude of diseases and chronic conditons from arthritis to diabetes and heart disease.  Switch your eating habits to include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and less fats and “junk foods.”  Start exercising and don’t be too sedentary.  Your heart, lungs and metabolism will benefit if you begin and stay with a regular exercise routine. 

Treatment with prescription drugs will, perhaps, not be necessary for chronic conditions such as hypertension or chronic lung ailments if you can avoid becoming ill in the first place.  Good omega 3 dietary supplements can also help to add the necessary healthy fat into the diet to help control appetite and therefore weight. 

 Adverse events from prescription medications are on the rise and has more than doubled between the years 1998 and  2005.   Serious events resulting from prescription drugs are ones that result in serious injuries, death, birth defects, disability or hospitalization.  It’s in our best interest to keep ourselves well, monitor our lifestyles by excellent diets, weight loss when needed, exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle.  At least, we can minimize the need for excessive prescription medication by keeping ourselves as healthy as possible.

By Natural Advocate | September 27, 2007 - 10:15 pm - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

One of my favorite snacks to keep around the house is some microwave popcorn with the theater butter added.   I love opening my cupboards and smelling the buttery aroma even when it’s still in storage and uncooked.  To most of us, we think of popcorn as one of the more wholesome snack foods that has some nutritional value.
 It was disappointing to find out that the wonderful buttery flavor and aroma is yet another food item that is, in fact, hazardous to our health.  The chemical, diacetyl, that is in the buttery flavoring has been linked to a serious lung ailment.
 Product safety of the buttery flavored popcorn using diacetyl came under scrutiny from a leading lung research hospital.   The lung disease it has been connected to is bronchiolitis obliterans, which is a rare, yet life threatening, condition.
 Product safety is the biggest issue for plant workers who handle diacetyl daily in the popcorn products as they have the most exposure.  For consumers, the health risk is not as great as it is not handled or inhaled daily, as a rule, but changes being made by the popcorn manufacturers  to remove diacetyl are still welcomed.
 Orville Redenbacher’s, Act 2, Pop Secret and Jolly Time microwave popcorn will all refigure the buttery flavoring without the diacetyl.   Also following suit with the removal of diacetyl are Con Agra Foods Inc., General Mills Inc. and the American Pop Corn Company due to consumer safety concerns.  Hopefully, the end result will enable us to purchase buttery flavored popcorn soon that still tastes great without the safety concerns of diacetyl. 

By Natural Advocate | September 24, 2007 - 7:34 pm - Posted in Natural Depression & Anxiety Relief, Smoking Cessation

This was an interesting study that I read about that really wasn’t about how depression affected significantly more pregnant women than non-pregnant, but rather a link between the reason why a (too) high percentage of women smoke when pregnant, despite knowing about the health risks they are putting on their fetus and on themselves. 

It is suggested that the reason many of these women are not quitting while pregnant even though that is the “socially acceptable” thing to do and the physically more healthy thing to do, is an underlying tendency toward depression.  This is being studied, because physicians would like to be more able to help these women with their underlying depression and have them want to quit smoking instead of feeling forced into it.  If they feel less depressed, they most likely will not want to smoke as badly. 

It has been proven that people with depression who smoke are less likely to kick the habit than those that do not suffer from depression and anxiety, so it only follows logic that this pregnancy and depression and smoking link has been made.  Most statistics show that the average adult who smokes take anywhere from 4-5 attempts to quit smoking before they actually quit.  Hence, the popularity of hypnosis for quitting smoking and other natural remedies for herbal smoking cessation

People want to quit, but the physiological effects of smoking withdrawal are often too intense for them to go all the way with it and see it to the end. Also, many end up picking the smoking habit back up when they feel stressed or anxious or tired, thinking that it will help them better cope with these feelings, although in the end, they actually shoot themselves in the foot and it exacerbates these types of symptoms.   

Most women who become pregnant are educated about the risks they are putting their child at by smoking.  Risks for fetuses and babies include low birth weight, a risk of miscarriage, and it has also been linked to many behavioral and learning disorders as well, although it is not clear exactly how smoking causes this, it is just statistically higher in children born to smoking mothers, who smoked while pregnant with the child. 

The whole purpose of these findings is to help women quit smoking who are pregnant, but may not be otherwise able to quit on their own, because they really feel that they can’t quit.  Depression is definitely a confidence zapper, and it adds to the fact that these women think they need cigarettes to cope with their anxieties and stressors, and it really is just making it worse.   

By Natural Advocate | September 21, 2007 - 12:14 pm - Posted in Home Remedies

The most important issue in managing arthritis is preventing the pain associated with this disease and using herbal medicine for joint pain rather than adding tons of chemicals to the body and potentially complicating your health even more.  In addition to medication, either over the counter or prescription drugs, there are a variety of home remedies you can try to ease the pain.  Cabbage leaves may be used to alleviate symptoms.

Take an outer leaf or two from the cabbage and blanch them and apply either at a warm or cool temperature to the inflamed joints.  Wrap with a gauze or elastic bandage to keep in place.  This home remedy has been used for centuries to ease inflammations.
 During painful flare-ups of your arthritis, try this herbal tea for joint pain relief.  Mix equal parts devil’s claw, black cohosh, passion flower and ginger and use 1 teaspoon of this mixture per cup of boiling water.   Steep for 20 minutes, strain and have 1 cup 2 to 3 times daily.  Another pain soother for arthritis sufferers is a clover blossom tea.  Use 1 teaspoon crushed red clover blossoms and 1 teaspoon dried alfalfa leaves to 1 cup boiling water.  Steep for 5 minutes and strain.
 If you prefer to use a salve, use a warming wintergreen, rosemary or lavender salve.  For each 1/2 teaspoon of salve, add 3 to 4 drops arnica oil.  Apply this mixture to inflamed joints 3 to 4 times a day.   One word of caution, however, is that arnica oil is for external use only.  Do not use on broken skin.

Spending more time in the sunshine will enhance your vitamin D level and therefore should improve your joint health as a supplement.  A low level of vitamin D is associated with a higher risk of osteoarthritis.  A bracelet made of willow root was a folk remedy used by Native Americans to ease the discomfort of arthritis.  It is thought that the willow root’s salicylic acid may be absorbed slowly through the skin acting as a natural analgesic.  All of these methods are drug free and natural and worth experimenting with for arthritis relief.

By Natural Advocate | September 18, 2007 - 12:19 pm - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

Once in a while, we all get constipated.  One of the worst things you can do is go buy one of those over the counter laxatives.  Most laxatives in pill or chocolate form contain tons of harsh chemical stimulants that really have no place in the digestive system.  Not only that, they can cause extremely uncomfortable cramping and gas, and many times leave you running to the bathroom the next morning at (of course) the most inopportune times. 

Smooth Move is a tea that is all natural and can be found in some grocery stores and most herbal and health food stores.  It is a natural solution to constipation.  Yes, it does sometimes cause light cramping, but nothing near harsh chemical laxatives, and like it’s name implies, it gives you a smooth, easy evacuation and fast overnight relief from constipation or slow bowels. 

One word of caution on any laxative is that you do not want to consistently use any type of laxative or colon cleanser, whether it is natural or not.  Your digestive tract, colon, and intestines can actually grow lazy and get used to being stimulated by laxatives, and they can all but stop working on their own.  Many women and men who have abused laxatives have learned this the hard way, and are now unable to process and eliminate normally, and may need medications or other therapies because their digestive system became reliant on laxatives. 

Any type of laxative or herbal colon cleansing system should be used with care, and is by no means a full time answer to a slow or constipated digestive system.  Herbal colon cleansing is, however, an excellent way to cleanse the digestive tract of old built up fecal matter and make a slow, stubborn elimination tract work well again. 

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