By Natural Advocate | December 31, 2008 - 7:03 am - Posted in Natural Depression & Anxiety Relief

I just saw an interesting clip on SADD, which is a common disorder which affects the mood during the winter months, especially in climates where there is not a whole lot of natural sunlight or radiant heat (part of sunlight’s warming and mood enhancing powers), in the winter months.  I’m in one such state in the US, Ohio, and there are a lot of people that report that they many times will get the winter blahs during the long months after Christmas when the hoopla of the holidays is over and we are socked in for a long, hard winter without much outdoor exposure or sunlight.

It is estimated the SADD may affect up to thirty million Americans during the sometimes long, drawn out winter season, and it mostly hits those in the areas that tend to get the longest and coldest winters.  There are places in Alaska that don’t see daylight for weeks at a time, for example.  I totally identify with the feeling that you just want to go to bed and bury your head in the blankets if you get off work and it’s already dark outside. 

I usually leave work around a quarter to six o’clock and by that time it’s already dark as midnight outside, and it does something to turn my biological clock to “snooze”.  Hopelessness, fatigue, and a depressed and withdrawn mood are some of the symptoms of SADD.  It is said that SADD is caused by the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that is released when we are ready for bed.  Because of the fact that our exposure to daylight is limited, our body clocks are thrown off and we tend to want to sleep more, which prolongs any depression we may feel.

You may want to try an herbal remedy for depression and anxiety to help you come out of the winter blues, since herbs, certain vitamins and minerals and other nutrients may help combat the elements of SADD that are related to deficiencies in the body.  5htp may help lift the mood, and there’s also always St. John’s Wort for those that it works for.  You also should avoid high carb foods, and make sure you get your aerobic activities in, and this helps elevate mood naturally. 

You can also try light therapy, or take a trip to a sunny place if finances allow of course, that’s always a great winter pick me up!  Many who try light therapy report better moods and more of an ability to get through the winter blues months without the frequent depressed moods, and report a better energy level as well. 


By Natural Advocate | December 29, 2008 - 12:46 pm - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

It’s been a theory and a commonly held belief now for several years, at least that I’ve heard of it, that the mineral zinc is linked to helping fight off colds and helping to shorten the duration of the common cold in people who take the mineral orally.  In fact, there have been some natural cold and flu remedies that have used zinc in them as a throat spray that claim to help shorten the cold’s duration by helping to cut off the cold or flu virus as it makes it’s way up the esophagus. 

The way colds go is from the bottom up, they end up going very high up in the throat, which makes people lose their voice and have the scratchy, sore feeling in their throats, until they lose their oomph and your immune system finally nips them for good.  For example, right now I’m fighting a common cold, and the virus has worked it’s way all the way up my throat, starting down lower, and now it’s up by my tonsils and hopefully finally on it’s way out.   I’ve chosen not to try any cold remedies with zinc, but I’m aware that some say it is beneficial.  I’m simply too lazy to get to the store to pick any up to try it :)

Zinc is one of the components that helps your body manufacture T-cells, which are vital to your immune system and strengthen your immune response to any type of virus of infection.  Taking zinc has been shown to help strengthen the overall immune system, and many still believe that it is useful in shortening the length of time a cold can hang around in your body, so for what it’s worth, you may want to give it a try when you’re trying to get over a cold faster.

Chicken noodle soup is one of my favorite things to eat when I have a cold.  Not only does it feel good on your throat, and the steam and heat from the steamy broth helps to loosen phlegm and soothe a stuffed up nose, but there is actually some research out there that shows chicken soup may help to lessen the affects of inflammation, which is one of the reasons that we feel so icky when we get colds, the inflammation causes a lot of discomfort. 

Other than curling up with a good book and riding it out, there are some things you can do to help get over that cold easier.  For one thing, try to at least enjoy the down time and get some good low key activities in that you don’t normally get to do – like read! 

By Natural Advocate | December 27, 2008 - 8:10 am - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

Recently there have been some interesting studies done on topical moisturizers, which basically every woman I know uses, and most men now use them as well, especially in the winter to combat those dry elbows and kness, and the hands are usually the worst for getting chapped, dry and irritated.

I remember seeing an article a few months back that was equally uninformative about how moisturizers were possibly linked to cancer, but there was no conclusive evidence, nor was there any specific names of moisturizers used, so how was the consumer to know which ones to avoid?

The latest on moisturizers, I guess that about 16 were tested in this latest research, but of course none were listed by name so I can’t share that information with you unfortunately, and many were found to have the estroen-like chemicals in them called estriol and estrone, both of which are chemical mimics of the female hormone estrogen.

Since estrogen is very easily and efficiently absorbed in to the blood stream, in fact, it’s better absorbed transdermally (through the skin) than it is when taken orally, which is why women are often prescribed a cream to use who may have some sort of estrogen deficiency or might be taking estrogen as part of another therapy.

Because these creams contained estrogens in them but didn’t actually say that on the label, it is the concern that breast cancer patients who have estrogen-fueled strains of the cancer might be putting on moisturizer that contains estriol of estrone without even knowing it, and fueling their cancer growth even more.

Also, it is a concern that women without cancer are putting on estrogen without knowing it as well, potentially boosting their risk for cancer in some way. Again, no brand names were mentioned, so it’s hard to say what you should be avoiding. Hopefully there will be more on this study and they can provide us what to look for and avoid.

By Natural Advocate | December 25, 2008 - 5:01 am - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

From HerbalNewsMagazine, your trusted source for the latest in herbal medicines, alternative health and natural treatments. Just wanted to say, on this Christmas Day, how wonderfully blessed I feel in life. Even with these economic problems, and the fear that lingers in the air as of late, I’m hoping that we can all forget about our troubles on this special day and just enjoy the company of family and friends. Have fun, be safe, and eat some of those naughty goodies that the holidays are known for! Merry Christmas andHappy Holidays to you and yours!

By Natural Advocate | December 23, 2008 - 2:20 pm - Posted in Smoking Cessation

If you are currently, or have ever been, a smoker, then you know how incredibly challenging it is to completely quit the habit forever and never look back.  Knowing this, a lot of people seek out natural supplements and herbal support for smoking cessation that can help them get through the hardest part of quitting smoking, which tends to be in the first few weeks after you’ve put the cigarettes down, since the body is thrown into a bit of turmoil when it is first getting used to not getting that dailly dose of nicotine.

Nicotine, by the way, is what makes smoking an addictive habit, at least physiologically speaking.  The fact that smoking can be psychologically addictive is a whole separate problem of it’s own, since kicking the habit emotionally can be an even bigger challenge, especially when you see peers, friends and family members lighting up around you.  Now, smoking is not as popular a habit as it was, say 40 years ago, when the whole world seemed to smoke and seemed to have a devil may care attitude about the impact it may or may not have on their health.

As a reformed smoker myself, I can tell you that I feel like I was probably physically addicted to smoking at one point in my life, but the only reason I ever feel an urge to relapse is not because of a physical addiction, it’s because of the mental addiction to it.  I love the feeling of a cigarette in the hand in social situations.  It seems to ease the nerves temporarily, and there’s something seductive about inhaling and exhaling the smoke and watching it plume into the air.

However, I know that as a non-smoker, I’m much healthier and my lungs are much stronger and able to take on a lot more oxygen and perform a lot more heavy tasks.  I encourage anyone who is having trouble with those first few formative weeks of months of quitting the habit to try some sort of herbal support for smoking cessation.

The options I can recommend to you are this natural quit smoking patch, which uses herbs and natural extracts in a patch form to help you get through the bigger appeitite, the mood swings and the irritability that are brought on by quitting smoking by soothing the nerves, calming the mood and helping to satiate that appetite increase so you are not as likely to put on weight when you quit that habit. 

I love the patch idea, because a patch isn’t just some pill you have to keep popping all day.  Rather, it’s a discrete little weapon against the symptoms of tobacco withdrawal that you adhere to your body in a place of your choice, which release herbal extracts that are known to help people get through the withdrawal process and help to ensure they, along with their own willpower to continue the fight against cravings after they stop the patch, stop smoking for good so they can live a longer, happier and much much healthier life sans cigarettes! 

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