Dangerous Drug and Supplement Interactions

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The recent news story of football player Terrell Owens mixing a sports/nutrition supplement with his narcotic pain medication (to be exact, hydrocodone, a generic version of Vicodin), and getting dizzy and despondent, has put a new focus on mixing drugs and also even on mixing drugs with natural or herbal supplements. The mixing of any two drugs in itself can be dangerous.

Throw in the many supplements, vitamins and other various health tonics, tinctures and other remedies that people commonly use now, and you may just be welcoming disaster.

Another story about drug interaction which has caused due alarm is the story of Anna Nicole Smith’s son, Daniel Smith, who died of a lethal combination of several prescription drugs (albeit, heavy duty drugs).

These types of stories unfortunately are what’s needed to draw people’s attention to the possible dangers of drug and drug/supplement interactions that are possible when we pop too many pills all in the same day.

It is estimated that over 1 million people are affected by these dangerous drug interactions every year, and this can be avoided by simply asking your doctor or pharmacist about mixing drugs and/or supplements if you are not sure.

We might even start seeing different warning labels on prescription drug bottles in the future, given that so many people are on different supplements and vitamins now.

Surveying the History of Herbal Medicine

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The history of herbal medicine and more natural methods of healing goes back much, much further than scientific medicine. For example, there were basically what we would in modern day call “doctors” who used only the fruits of the earth, meaning natural herbs and botanicals from which to create their medicines and experiment with what plants had healing powers and which ones could be poisonous.

Herbal medicine predates the age of Christ, and for good reason. It was all we had to work with until scientific studies of ways to manipulate chemicals and combine them came into play. Heck, the first real records of surgeries only came into play a few hundred years ago, which is just a drop in the bucket considering the time earth has been here.

Of course, there were primitive surgeries most likely performed dating back thousands of years, but without any knowledge of the human organs and what could be fatal. Chances are these surgeries many times resulted in death (take for example primitive C sections).

Now, over the years, we’ve been fortunate enough to cultivate a newer, more broader understanding of what nature’s various plants can do for us. And the best thing is, we probably haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg, since there are numerous plants, deep within jungles and remote areas which probably have not even been studied and catalogued by botanists, let alone named and identified as being therapeutic in any way.

We’ll go into the history of herbal medicine a little more later, because there are so many hallmarks to this important method of healing and health support. There are simply too many timelines to go over, and marks of improvement to cover in just one post.

 

Cancer Treatment Controversy

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Is the first thought people with cancer have how they are going to decide to treat it, or do some people think more along the lines of natural treatment, instead of traditional medical treatments?

For me, I’ve already decided that if I ever do get cancer, I will not seek out the conventional medical cancer interventions and treatments that are the society standard today. I’ve decided I will seek a natural route, one that does not involve chemotherapy and the destruction of my healthy cells as well as cancer cells. I’ve decided I will seek a treatment that does not weaken me physically, but rather helps to empower and strengthen my body.

This decision has come to me over my lifetime, and personally seeing relatives suffer through this type of treatment, only to quickly deteriorate, and in my opinion, die a faster, more painful death than if they’d had not treatment at all. Dramatic statement, I know, but nonetheless, this is my opinion.

I do not know what natural therapy or lifestyle changes I would actually choose if I were in that position, but I do know this is how I would choose to fight my battle, and I would hope that with some prompted research, the natural choice would make itself apparent. This is my personal choice, and no one could change my mind.

Now, consider this. What if I were only 16 years old, and I had come to this same conclusion, with the added caveat that I had actually had chemotherapy and been severely debilitated by it once already? Does the government or a judge have the right to intervene and order medical treatment, which I do not believe in, and in fact, which I believe will actually kill me, if not dramatically jeopardize my quality of life?

That’s exactly what is transpiring right now for a 16 year old Virginia man (I say man, because this particular teen carries himself like an adult), with 2nd stage Hodgkins disease, a form of cancer that is very treatable the first time around, but upon recurrence, is less treatable and more deadly, requiring more drastic traditional chemotherapy and radiation.

Initially, the teen did undergo chemotherapy when the cancer was first discovered. He was weakened so badly, and in so much pain, that when his oncologist ordered a second round of more agressive chemo and radiation when the cancer returned, he refused and sought out an alternative cancer treatment called the Hoxsy method.

It is important to note that this natural, herbal method of cancer treatment, which is paired with a sugar free diet, has been banned by the FDA in the US, and he had to travel to Mexico in order to receive the daily herbs he had to take as well as intructions on how the treatment worked.

His parents advised the teen’s oncologist of their intentions for further alternative treatment, but said they’d like his continued medical monitoring. The oncologist felt this was neglect, and reported his parents to the authorities for investigation of medical neglect.

The case is now in court, and so far the judge has ordered the teen to undergo the chemotherapy treatments that he has so adamantly refused. I ask, how can you force someone who is obviously so against a certain medical treatment, to receive that treatment, regardless whether they are an “adult” as defined by today’s standards?

I can guarantee this teen has been forced to become much more mature than his biological years already through this ordeal, and is more than capable of making his own choices in his method of cancer treatment. Is this morally and ethically right? Or is it morally and ethically right to give him chemo, which many believe may actually save him while the alternative methods cannot possibly work?

I suppose it depends on your point of view, whether you are a believer in the pharmaceutical and medical industry or not. I for one have lost a lot of faith in the medical industry, and I believe that this choice should be left to the person it affects most. And that is, the one who has the cancer, the one who’s life has been so dramatically changed and nearly ruined by chemotherapy. Is it not up to the individual, or is this just a case of “the establishment” having their way?

Prostate Health

I was reading about a new supplement for men’s prostate health that included the infamous saw palmetto. Saw palmetto has actually long been used to promote the health and functionality of the male prostate gland, a tiny gland that hovers in the lower region of the male body, and is responsible for producing and housing semenal fluid.

The prostate gland is a primary health concern for men, especially as they age, because the prostate gland can actually enlarge and cause difficulties that are uncomfortable and even embarrassing for a man, such as difficulty urinating and even sometimes difficulty having sexual relations.

The biggest concern though of course is the big “c” word – cancer. Prostate cancer, while treatable and beatable in it’s earlier stages is actually harder to treat the longer it goes undetected. Men who have any difficulty urinating need to immediately get to the doctors because they may have an enlarged prostate gland.

Saw Palmetto is a cheap herb that has been known to help a man’s prostate gland by keeping it healthy and functioning in optimum condition. Some herbalists and naturopaths swear that it does promote prostate health.

Some may be quick to dismiss this, but this herbal remedy for prostate health has been around quite a while – do you really think it would have lasted this long if it had no merit?

Synthetic HGH Under Review

What many people don’t know is that HGH, the synthetic form that mimics the human form which is responsible for the “youth” benefits it offers to people when they are very young and still growing, is actually used medically for a variety of conditions and diseases.

It is used in children with growth deficiencies for example. Because some children have rare disorders where they do not grow like they should be growing when they are younger and should be having natural growth spurts, they are put on medically prescribed HGH.

This helps the bones to be able to growth longer, which encourage height growth in these children. It can also be used in adults who have not achieved height with age.

It is also used to treat chronic renal deficiency in adults and children.  When some numbers were crunched and it was found that children on HGH actually had a slightly higher death rate than children who were not on this form of HGH, a study was commissioned to look at whether this higher death rate was something to worry about.

Sometimes, things like this don’t show a statistically significant enough risk, and the benefits of a medication outweigh the risks.

The research did not show a large enough danger. Still, for any adults doing medical HGH for it’s anti aging benefits should probably think twice about it, as there are really no long term studies that show it is safe for this type of long term, therapeutic use.

There are some excellent alternative supplements that increase HGH out there though. These natural HGH supplements actually help coax the body into making more of it’s own precious HGH (Human Growth Hormone) instead of relying on the actual synthetic hormone to be injected and potentially putting one’s health at risk.

 

Puerto Rican Children Have Much Higher Asthma Rates

Asthma is a fairly common breathing condition where one feels like they are having a hard time breathing. It is due to the constriction of the bronchial tubes, and it has a lot to do with psychological influences as well as physical influences such as exertion and allergies to certain things in the air or that you eat.

Puerto Rican children actually suffer from asthma more than other nationalities, and it is not known exactly why this is yet. The theory of the children who actually live in Puerto Rico having much higher rates of asthma this year at least is that there were a lot of heavy rains.

These heavy rains theoretically caused more mold spores, and mold is a common trigger of asthma for a lot of people.  But what of the Puerto Rican children here in the US that also have higher rates on any given day than non Hispanic children?  And why do they not respond as well to common medical asthma treatments like albuterol?

We know we have some excellent asthma remedies at our fingertips these days, but what of the child who needs instant relief fast or else they could be in serious trouble?  Drugs like Albuterol are needed for emergency situations, and these children do not react well to this drug.

Drug companies are of course working to come up with something, but it is baffling he medical community as to why this particular demographic is having so many more problems with this disorder.

What are some of the common triggers of asthma in kids and adults?  Well, they can vary greatly from person to person. I like to think that asthma is a very individual health issue, and that individuals usually have different triggers.

Lots of people with asthma get attacks when exposed to allergens, such as dust mites, mold, any kind of food they may be allergic to, and more. And many more people, like myself, get asthma more easily when they eat more sugar in their diet, and when they are under a lot of stress of going through a period of heavy anxiety in their lives.

Herbal remedies for asthma really focus on relaxing the mood, and relaxing and helping to open the bronchial passages that get so restricted when we have an attack and make us feel as if we have a giant rubber band around our lungs, or like someone is standing on our chest.

 

What Can Cause Heart Palpitations?

Heart palpitations can happen to just about anyone. However, there is a point that you must know it is an issue that you have to seek professional help and advice about if it’s happening to you often.

Heart palpitations can really just be an annoying, and somewhat alarming, biproduct of taking certain drugs, eating certain food, and even a biproduct of simple anxiety, or anxiety combined with depression.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to look at the patterns you are seeing, and observe what it is that you are doing or experiencing at the time that might be causing these blips in your heart rhythm.  One thing that can commonly cause heart palpitations is too much caffeine.

“Too much” really depends on how much you can personally take of this stimulant.  Some people can drink coffee and tea all day long and not get heart palpitations, while others, like myself, may experience them after one strong cup o’ joe.

If you see this pattern, try to cut down on the amount of caffeine you are drinking.  Another stimulating “drug” is drugs like certain cold and allergy medicines with pseudoephedrine, a serious stimulant which can easily cause rapid heart  beat and potentially palpitations as well.

This is the same nasty chemical that has been limited for purchase because of meth makers using it as a vital ingredient to make methamphetamines, a lethal street drug that is highly toxic to the human body. Doesn’t sound like something you want to put in your body, does it!?

Steroids can cause heart palpitations as well. Prednisone and other steroidal medications fit this bill.

Lack of sleep can actually cause heart palpitations as well, so make sure you are getting adequate sleep. If you are not, try a natural sleep aid to get your zzzz’s.  Sleep is absolutely vital to heart and body health, and must not be ignored if you are having trouble getting consistently good, high quality sleep.

Some people are also very sensitive to high amounts of sugar. They may experience heart palpitations if they eat too many foods high in sugar in a compressed period of time.  Or likewise, they may be very sensitive to high amounts of sodium and experience the same problem with sodium.

Alternative Medications in Kids: Treat with Care

Alternative medicines are gaining in popularity. One thing people tend to forget though, is that while many alternative treatments and remedies for various annoying health issues are traditionally much milder than their pharmaceutical counterparts and therefore most likely cause much less or no side effects, they are nonetheless still chemically active within the body.

They still cause the body to react a certain way, and they must be treated with care. You also must make sure you are not mixing them with other medications that can have bad interactions with eachother.

For example, the natural antidepressant St. John’s Wort should never be taken with traditional antidepressants, specifically with SSRI reuptake inhibitors because of the negative side effects the two can cause together.  That’s just one example, there are many others.

Now, when it comes to children and using natural remedies, one must exercise the same caution, but use even more due diligence since children have smaller, more susceptible bodies.  Anything used on children can have a much broader effect, and this includes both traditional western medicines and alternative medicines, mind you.

Learn the recognize the usefulness of natural remedies, and when a traditional western medicine or treatment must be used. For example, if a child is experiencing something serious, traditional osteopathy must be consulted.

 

What about Echinacea?

For parents and for professionals who are around children all the time, this is a go-to for an immune system boost, but what is the echinacea plant?  Echinacea is a beautiful purple coneflower, a perennial, that is lovely to look at.  Not only is echinacea  visually a treat to see, but it also may be useful in boosting our immune system and shortening the duration and severity of the common cold.

The herbal medicines derived from echinacea are prepared from the above ground parts of the plant and sometimes the root.  Echinacea is herbally thought of as nature’s antibiotic and is believed to increase resistance to not only colds but also flu and ather infections.  Scientific studies on echinacea vary widely on results of the infection fighting ability of this herb.

The studies seem to lack consistency.  More clinical studies using the same species and dosage of echinacea at the first onset of symptoms consistently should be done to attain more clear cut conclusions.

Echinacea is commonly available at drugstores and health food stores.  Sales of echinacea remain brisk for treatment of upper respiratory infections.  As with any herbal product, there are warnings not to take this product if you are allergic to plants of the asteraceae or compasitae family such as ragweed, marigolds or daisies.   Use of echinacea is not recommended for people with immune system conditions such as HIV or multiple sclerosis.   Pregnant or breastfeeding women are also advised not to take echinacea.

Echinacea is available for use in the form of capsules, juice, extract, tincture or tea.  As a topical treatment, echinacea is available in a semisolid preparaton for use to treat wounds or skin ulcers.  Besides also taking an excellent Omega 3 Fatty Acid supplement, echinacea is probably a good idea to help boost immunity, especially in the winter months when germs seem to spread and people are more susceptible to actually contracting bugs and flus.

 

Fight PMS with These Natural Habits

PMS can be a real drag for us women, especially those of us who experience it much more profoundly than others.  Some women really don’t have PMS symptoms, but the majority of us do, the estimate today being about 98% of women reporting some sort of varying degrees of PMS symptoms before or during their period.

I for one feel as if I’m going crazy about one week prior to my period sometimes, and then after a two day period of extreme moodiness and emotional roller coastering, I’m ok for the few days actually leading up to my period. It’s a little odd probably, as most women experience it right before they start to menstruate, but every women is a little different when it comes to the hormones that control the monthly cycle.

Some doctors have poo poo’d the idea of PMS, saying that there is no real scientific proof that it should be happening. Hence, my distrust in much of the medical data that comes out these days.

Any woman who experience PMS will tell you it is as real as you can get, not imagined, and not psychosomatic, but a genuine, tangible change in how they feel, emotionally and physically.

Some women may get headaches or migraines before their period, others experience bloating and weight gain, cramping, moodiness, and hot flashes even.  Some may experience anxiety or depression (see herbal remedies) ranging from mild to extreme, depending on the individual.

And within that individual’s life, their symptoms may even range from mild to severe as well.  One month my symptoms may be severe, and the next they may be next to nothing – usually when that happens my actual flow is not much either.

Some of the things you can do to counter the many faces of PMS are the following. You can cut down on your sodium intake a few days before your period. This will help to relieve the bloating.  You should probably try to cut down on caffeine, as caffeine can contribute to feelings of anxiety and moodiness.

Also, go easy on the sugar, as your blood sugar spikes and lows can contribute greatly to moodiness and being overly emotional.  One thing that I’ve found helps me immensely during these few crucial days is doing yoga and working out.  Yoga is notorious for helping to balance hormones, and being healthy for the endocrine system.

It helps relieve stress and also may help ease aches and pains associated with PMS, like back pain and cramping.  Try taking an herbal mood enhancer as well, this can help lift any mild depression or moodiness you may be experiencing.

Parabens, Lead, Other Bad Stuff in Cosmetics

It’s important when picking out not only your cosmetic and beauty products if you’re a woman, but even your personal care stuff like body lotions, which most people use on either parts of their body or their entire body, fairly often, and things like deodorant, and sunscreens, to be aware of the lurking chemicals and contaminants that can be found in them.

These chemicals are not just something that sits on the skin and doesn’t cause any harm because you don’t ingest it orally. No, it actually STILL enters the blood stream, it’s just not as direct a route. In fact, if it’s something you use allover your body, once or twice every day, that just makes it all that much more important that it not have these chemicals in it.

Chemicals like parabens, aluminum, and even lead can be found in personal care and cosmetic items. Lead is particularly concerning since it is a known toxic heavy metal and has been pretty much banned from personal care products because it can cause poisoning of the system. It can build up in our bodies over time and cause health issues.

Aluminum is one that worries me, because it has been linked to everything from Alzheimers to breast cancer, and therefore, I have been using a natural, aluminum and triclosan free deodorant for years now.  Any metal does not belong on the body, no matter what it is being used for – if you see any metal ingredients in a personal care product, run the other way.

Triclosan is a worrisome product additive as well, and it is found in a TON of antibacterial soaps and gels that are used to help keep germs off the hands.  It has been linked to several illnesses, including a variety of cancers.  The FDA is currently reviewing it’s safety in human use, but if I were you, I’d just throw any soaps or hand washes you have with this ingredient away in favor of a more chemical free formula.

You may think that you need chemicals to get clean, but you really don’t. I’ve been using natural soaps without sodium lauryl sulfate or any other harsh chemicals in them now for years, and my skin has never felt better. I also feel good about what I’m using, and don’t feel like I’m exposing my body to constant chemical overload.

Like almost anything, there are individual differences in how people react to different chemicals. Specific health conditions may expand the list of cosmetic products you may want to avoid or take advantage of.