Natural Healing Herbs and Healing Secrets newsletter 2018

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Last year's Natural Healing Secrets newsletter 2017.

Reports from readers:
I have been following Dr. Sahelian’s newsletter and commentaries for a very long time and even submitted a question a few years back. What you provide through you site and newsletter is not only brilliant, it is help for millions of people – you are reaching out and affecting the lives of so many who would be lost without your advice and I deeply appreciate it, as I know countless others do as well. Many people – me included – have not been able to get proper care or answers from our own physicians. I have never had a physician who give any credit or credence to herbs and supplements. While you cannot provide direct medical advice, the thousands of questions you answer are just what we all need.

I enjoy your info and even-handed treatment of medical issues.

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Natural Healing Secrets
Vol. 15, Issue 2 -- February 2018

Tea - After decades of using tea bags, I recently started just adding hot water to powdered herbs. My experimentation began with cardamom powder that I bought from the spice section of my local health food store. I placed about an eight of a teaspoon in a glass and sweetened it with a few drops of stevia liquid. It was delicious. Then I tried coriander powder  -- and I liked it, too. My newest combination is a small amount of cardamom, coriander. nutmeg, cinnamon, and a tiny amount of clove powder. Rather than the no-calorie stevia liquid, you can sweeten it with agave syrup, maple syrup or a sweetener of your choice. Each 3 ounce bottle of the powdered herb I buy can last me several weeks. I really enjoy this combination.
   You could make your own recipe by adding other spices to it such as a little bit of turmeric, cayenne powder, allspice, ginger, paprika, or chili pepper. I sometimes add flax seeds or chia seeds for fiber. Another advantage to this combination is that I don't feel wired as I do when I drink coffee or black / green tea. The herbs I have mentioned do not seem to have a significant amount of caffeine or other stimulant substances (drinking this combination does not seem to bother my sleep). And they pack a whole lot of powerful antioxidants and beneficial substances that provide a wide range of health benefits.
   I end up consuming the remnants of the herbs at the bottom of the glass whereas when tea is consumed from a bag many of the beneficial substances still present in the herb are discarded.

Age related vision loss -- diet has an influence
There are many causes for age-related visual decline, including glaucoma (high pressure in the eye that damages the optic nerve) and cataracts (clouding of the lens). Another common cause is macular degeneration which affects the macula, the part of the retina that allows you to see the sharpest detail. To investigate the associations between intakes of carotenoids and MD, tens of thousands of subjects were followed for more than 2 decades in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. All participants were aged 50 years or older and, at the start, were free of diagnosed MD, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Plasma carotenoid scores were computed directly from food intake, assessed by repeated food frequency questionnaires. The results indicated that higher intake of lutein and zeaxanthin was associated with a reduced risk of macular degeneration. See www.raysahelian.com/maculardegeneration.html. There are many good dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, see www.raysahelian.com/lutein.html.

Chrysin for benign prostate enlargement
Chrysin is a natural flavonoid compound extracted from many plants, honey and bee propolis. A study evaluated its role in protecting against testosterone-induced prostate enlargement in rats. Testosterone treatment depleted glutathione, suppressed superoxide dismutase and catalase activities, and elevated lipid peroxidation. Chrysin helped reduce testosterone-induced oxidative stress and prevented the increase in binding activity of several substances that induce prostate growth. The investigators state, "These data show the protective role of chrysin against experimentally-induced benign prostatic hypertrophy. This is attributed - at least partly - to its antioxidant, antiproliferative and proapoptotic properties." See www.raysahelian.com/chrysin.html.

Emails
Parkinson's disease and mucuna herb
Q. I've been diagnosed with early stage Parkinson's disease. Over the past few months, in consultation with my neurologist and nutritionist, I have gradually built up to taking 5 pills per day of your mucuna pruriens 15% L-Dopa product which contains 30 mg L-Dopa per pill. As of today, your formula works for me, coupled with diet and exercise.
   A. Not everyone with PD benefits from mucuna herbal treatment, but some do and this is encouraging. See www.raysahelian.com/mucunapruriens.html.

Antidepressant induced sexual dysfunction
Q. I am on Lexapro, a prescription antidepressant, and have noticed that even though my mood is better, my libido and erection abilities have been struggling. Are there natural supplements that counteract this?
   A. Lexapro is a medication similar to Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. It belongs to a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medications improve mood by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. A high amount of serotonin in brain tissue has an inhibitory effect on sexual function leading to a decrease in libido and the ability to maintain an erection. Although there are herbal remedies that improve sexual function, it is challenging to address this situation through natural aphrodisiacs since herb / medication interactions are possible if they are both taken the same day. You could review with your doctor whether natural antidepressants can replace the prescription antidepressant you are currently on. For instance SAM-e (100 mg a day, higher amounts cause side effects), St. John's wort, and mucuna pruriens are natural pills which improve mood yet do not inhibit sexuality. Another option, if your doctor approves, is to skip the meds 2 or 3 days a week while substituting Passion Rx or another aphrodisiac product during those days.
   There are prescription meds that do not cause sexual side effects, for instance Wellbutrin, and your doctor may consider switching you to it if he or she is not keen on trying natural antidepressants or skipping days. See www.raysahelian.com/libido.html for natural ways to improve sexual desire and function through herbs, foods, and lifestyle changes. There is a review of natural ways to improve mood at www.raysahelian.com/depression.html.

Which supplements to take and when
Q. First, let me say how impressed I am that there's someone like you doing such a deep analysis of supplements. Over the past 12 years I have discovered natural ways to handle diabetes, clogged arteries and other related problems. I have researched alternatives when told I needed to have a stent implanted or bypass surgery, and have seen my cholesterol, blood sugar, and related factors all register as normal. I have relied on the advice of a local D.O. and the information in Dr. Robert Atkins' book "Dr. Atkins Vita-Nutrient Solution" to regain and keep my health. Recently, I decided to review my daily regimen (of about a hundred pills) and remembered your website and its amazing research work. Also, Dr. Atkins' book came out in 1998, and that was indeed a long time ago! I found quite a variance between what Atkins recommended for certain supplements on a daily basis and what you recommend, as well as variances in frequency of dosage, such as maybe 3 times a week (your suggestion for some supplements) versus daily dosages. How should I go about deciding just how much to adjust my regimen in view of some of the very large differences I'm finding?
   A.
Supplementation with vitamins, herbs, and other dietary supplements is still an art rather than a science and different doctors have different opinions. There are no easy answers and it is up to each individual to review the opinions of various doctors, read articles online, or books, do some experimenting on themselves, and make up their own minds. I can provide some general recommendations that you may wish to review. For basic supplements to take on a regular basis, see www.raysahelian.com/diet.html, and for supplements geared to longevity, see www.raysahelian.com/longevity.html. You may also wish to review this page that discusses the reasons why it is not possible to provide guidelines that apply to everyone, see www.raysahelian.com/contactus.html (the heading that starts with "Doctor, which supplements should I take?"

 

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Natural Healing Secrets
Vol. 15, Issue 1 -- January 2018

About two months ago the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released new guidelines recommending more aggressive blood pressure treatment. They lowered the threshold at which treatment should begin. They now consider blood pressure of 130/80 or above to be elevated. In the past patients were not considered to have hypertension unless their systolic pressure was above 140. They claim that even elderly and frail patients benefit from having high blood pressure treated. With the previous guidelines, about a third of American adults were considered to have hypertension. With the newer ones, almost half are considered to be hypertensive.

Rather than suggesting medications, they initially recommend lifestyle changes including more exercise, eating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains... and reducing salt intake, body weight, and alcohol intake. However, this change in recommendations also means more patients will eventually be prescribed drugs for hypertension... which could lead to many more people having short term and long term side effects from them.

My concerns
It is true that high blood pressure for many years does harm to blood vessels and can lead to organ damage such as kidney and heart failure. In the long run it raises the risks for heart attacks and stroke. But, the question I am still not sure of is: Would taking years and decades of medications (in those who have mildly elevated BP) eventually cause more harm than good? Many times a person's blood pressure reading could be higher in the doctors office as opposed to home where the environment is more relaxing. Blood pressure is often measured while sitting. When we stand and walk around it could be lower. Are we about to overmedicate many more people than necessary? In a way I feel similar to that of statin drugs used to lower cholesterol levels. Are doctors treating more people with these harmful cholesterol-lowering medications than necessary? Is there a push from the pharmaceutical industry to influence these guidelines?

Many drugs are used to treat high blood pressure. They include diuretics, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors, which influence blood pressure from different directions. I am not aware of studies that show that taking for several decades in those who have a BP of 130/80 would increase or decrease lifespan.

Natural herbs, diet, and supplements for lowering blood pressure
In my opinion it is a wise choice to try all forms of natural therapies before resorting to potentially harmful medications. I have listed quite a number of options for you to try and I hope you find lifestyles changes, exercise, yoga, meditation, dance, walks in nature, and other methods to lower your risk. Please see www.raysahelian.com/hypertension.html

An herb for Parkinson's disease
Although current meds used to treat Parkinson's disease are of benefit, it is good to know that an herb can be of help, too. In a recent study published in the journal Neurology, investigators tested the effectiveness and safety of a single-dose intake of mucuna pruriens powder. Eighteen patients with advanced Parkinson's disease received standard medications and were compared to those who received the herbal preparation. The researchers conclude, "Single-dose mucuna intake met all efficacy and safety outcome measures in comparison to dispersible levodopa/benserazide."
   Comments: We need many more studies to determine the best amounts of mucuna herb to use, the ideal extract potency, the frequency of use, and how it can be combined with Parkinson's meds or reduce the amount of medication taken. But, at this time, this herb looks to be a promising addition to Parkinson's disease treatment. See www.raysahelian.com/mucunapruriens.html

Emails from readers
Vitamin D potential side effects
Q. According to my blood work my vitamin D3 level was considered deficient (11 ng/ml). My doctor prescribed me 50,000 IU once a week for 8 weeks. After taking the high dosage she instructed me to follow up with taking 2,000 IU daily. I've been feeling horrible. I'm tired, have a restless sleeping pattern, dealing with muscle spams and bone pain, my joints pop when I move, brain fog, dehydration, dry eyes, blurred vision, bouts of anxiety and depression (which I've never had before). Ever since then I've stopped taking the vitamin. I'm currently at 38 ng/ml. I was a healthy 38 year old woman until I started taking the high dosage of vitamin D.
   A. I don't understand why some doctors prescribe these massive amounts. A few people may need up to 3,000 units a day. Many do well taking between 400 and 2,000 units daily and even less if exposed to daily sun. You may find this Reuters Health article from a few months ago interesting:

Nearly one in five U.S. adults are taking supplemental vitamin D, and a growing number are taking excessively high doses linked to an increased risk of fractures, falls, kidney stones and certain cancers. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D for most adults is 600 IU (international units), or 800 IU after age 70. Researchers examined survey data collected for 39,243 adults from 1999 to 2014. The proportion of people taking more than 1,000 IU daily surged from just 0.3 percent in the first survey in 1999 to 18 percent in the last survey in 2014. “Vitamin D is essential for bone metabolism, as it helps the body absorb calcium and maintain appropriate concentrations of calcium and phosphate in the blood,” said senior study author Pamela Lutsey, a public health researcher at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “Excessive intake of vitamin D can, however, be harmful, as it can cause overabsorption of calcium. Excess blood calcium can, in turn, lead to detrimental deposition of calcium in soft tissues, such as the heart and kidneys.”

Garlic and BP testimonial
Q. I am currently taking 1 clove of garlic daily morning as soon as I wake up on an empty stomach as a home remedy to reduce hypertension. Before starting this treatment, my average BP measured at home used to be about 155/111 mmHg. After taking 1 clove of garlic daily on an empty stomach since last 2 weeks my BP now seems to be around 135/99 which seems to be a reasonably good improvement. I also have hypothyroidism diagnosed 3 years ago, and am taking a daily dose of 150mg Thyroxin tabs in the morning on an empty stomach, but with 20 mins gap from taking the garlic clove.
   A. I am not sure if one clove is enough to reduce BP, but if it is working for you that's great. The evidence does seem to support that garlic reduces BP.