Monday, August 3, 2009

Natural Medicine Chest

Having some safe and natural at home remedies at your disposal can be invaluable. Here are some tips for what to keep around when health issues arise:
Digestive Troubles
Many of us will succumb to the occasional stomach ache, indigestion and bowel changes. If these are reoccurring issues for you start by supplementing with pancreatic digestive enzymes with meals. If it is the occasional heartburn, deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL, is an antispasmodic that helps to control various muscle actions that can affect your digestive tract. It also helps reduce acid reflux by calming a cramping stomach and increases the protective and soothing substances that line the digestive tract.

For issues of constipation, make sure that you are well hydrated and getting good fiber from fruits and vegetables in your diet. A Castor Oil pack(topical application) is also handy to have around, as it will increase the bowel function and promote bowel movement. If on the other hand you are experiencing loose stool or diarrhea, consider Homeopathic Nux Vomica, especially if the diarrhea is accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting.

When you feel like you are coming down with a cold or strong flu, start by taking Homeopathic Oscilloccocinum or a Chinese herb like Yin Qiao. Support your immune system with a good amount of Vitamin C and garlic (both of which have anti-viral properties) and consider using a Neti Pot with Saline if you are experiencing trouble with congestion. Dissolving Raw Honey in tea or hot water can soothe a sore throat...the raw honey also has anti-microbial properties.

We all experience a headache now and again. The majority of headaches are caused by dehydration, so first make sure you are getting plenty of water. Second, consider using White Willow bark, as it has anti-inflammatory properties similar to that of aspirin. A Castor Oil Pack application would be useful here as well.

For any type of body pain, bump, bruise, muscle ache....Topical Traumeel is invaluable around the house, as is Homeopathic Arnica Montana. Both have great anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties as well as their ability to promote healing.


Lastly, insomnia can be problematic for some on occasion. If you are having trouble catching your ZZZZZ's once in a while, start by having a small snack with a bit of protein and some carbohydrate to keep you blood sugar balanced at night. A bit of peanut or almond butter on whole grain cracker or even half a turkey sandwich are good options. Next, Hylands Homeopathic Calms Forte is great for relieving nervous tension associated with insomnia.

Posted by Lakeshore Wellness Center: Naturopathic Holistic Medicine and Acupuncture in Chicago.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dairy is for Baby Cows....

To many, the idea of eliminating dairy from their diet seems an impossible request. We love our dairy....we love our cheese! Many of us won't give it up without a fight, but once we do..we see clearly why dairy is just for baby cows!

Dairy is a very common allergen for many individuals. We do not make the lactase enzyme along our gastrointestinal tracts after childhood, and so many people experience gas, bloating, increased mucous production, indigestion, weight gain, fatigue, headaches, seasonal allergies , inflammatory conditions like arthritis and some autoimmune disorders from continued consumption into adulthood. Continuing research also shows links between dairy consumption and heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, prostate and breast cancers.

Dairy includes milk, cheese, half and half, cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, sour cream, butter, and ice cream. Hidden sources include casein, whey, rennet, lactulose, lactalbumin, lactglobulin, and curd. Furthermore, dairy products such as "milk solids" are very widely used as an additive for numerous types of products. Whether these products need to be avoided depends on the reason for the dairy-free diet. Some products that often contain milk solids or other dairy items include: Breads, margarine, muesli bars, processed meats, soy cheese.

Milk Alternatives: Oat milk, Rice Milk, Hemp Milk, and Almond Milk. Soy milk is not recommended for everyone (ask your doctor if it is a good alternative for you).

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge and see for yourself what it can do for you and your health!

Lakeshore Wellness Center: Naturopathic Holistic Medicine and Acupuncture in Chicago.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Natural Treatment Of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that begins in any part of the urinary system, from the kidneys, to the ureters or bladder and urethra. Women tend to be at greater risk of UTI and are generally prescribed antiboiotic treatment, which in some cases can lead to recurrent infections due to increasingly resistant bacteria. There are, however, natural remedies for UTI that could prevent the need to antibiotic treatment.

Urine is generally a sterile fluid and infection will only occur when there is an introduction of outside bacteria. Escherichia coli (E. coli) causes about 80% of urinary tract infections in adults and can be diagnosed through urinalyisis and culture performed by your physician.

Not everyone experiences symptoms with a UTI, but general symptoms can include:
  • A strong urge to urinate

  • A burning sensation with urination

  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine

  • Flank or back pain

  • Lower abdomen discomfort or pressure

  • Fever

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria) or cloudy, unusual smelling urine

  • Bacteria in the urine (bacteriuria)

Primarily, treatment should include disinfection and alkalinizaiton of the urinary tract. Many have heard of the use of cranberry juice for treatment of UTI and in a great number of cases this can be beneficial. Cranberry juice (the un-sweetened kind, not Ocean-Spray) and blueberry juice (un-sweetened) have anti-septic properties that can prevent the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. More specifically, cranberry juice prevents the attachment of bacteria to the walls of the urinary tract. Freeze-dried cranberry capsules can also be taken as a supplement.

The use of probiotic supplements can also be benefical for keeping the bacteria in the urinary tract in check. If you experience re-current UTI's, include probiotics regularly in your routine. Avoid probiotics from commercial yogurt brands and they contain high amounts of sugar. Sugar, in any form will lead to an overgrowth of bacteria and perpetuate the infection.

Goldenseal and uva ursi are herbals that are commonly used to treat UTIs. Both herbs have great antiseptic qualites that can make management of UTI successful. They can be administered in a tea form, as a liquid tincture or encapsulated supplement.

Along with naturopathic treatments, I generally include some homeopathic support of UTI. Homepathics can be very gentle and still make a tremendous difference in terms of healing. Homeopathics are also a great choice for pregnant women expericience UTI, as they are gentle enough to take. Some helpful remedies include:

  • Cantharis (sharp burning pain, intense urge to urinate)

  • Staphysagria (continual burning, result of sexual intercourse)

  • Apis (urinate frequently, but only small quantities are passed, stinging pain)

  • Belladonna (urge to urinate is frequent and intense; bladder feels very sensitive)

Finally, do not overlook the importance of water and hydration. Start your day with a tall glass of water upon waking and continue to drink at least 2-3 liters of water throughout the day.

Lakeshore Wellness Center: Naturopathic Holistic Medicine and Acupuncture in Chicago.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Are You GMO Savvy? You Need To Be.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's) are as usual a hot topic in the natural food and natural medicine world. But what are GMO's and why should the general population be concerned about them?

GMO is most commonly used to refer to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques. These plants have been modified in the laboratory to enhance desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides, drought tolerance, pest resistance, ect. For this reason, GMO's have gained popularity in the farming community. The down side is the effects that GMO's have on the human population and other organisms.

The dangers associated with eating GM foods are increased allergenicity, increased toxins, carcinogens, the formation of new diseases, antibiotic-resistant diseases and nutritional problems. Food allergies are on the rise, soy allergies in particular have sky rocketed by 50% in the UK after GM soy was introduced there.

Milk from rBGH-treated cows contains an increased amount of the hormone IGF-1, which is one of the highest risk factors associated with breast and prostate cancer.

One would believe that before GM foods were FDA approved, several research studies would have proven GM foods to be safe. Unfortunately, the only feeding study done with humans showed that GMOs survived inside the stomach of the people eating GMO food. No follow-up studies were done.

Various feeding studies in animals have resulted in potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, damaged immune systems, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partial atrophy or increased density of the liver, odd shaped cell nuclei and other unexplained anomalies, false pregnancies and higher death rates.

Soy, cotton, canola, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, zucchini and yellow squash are currently commercialized GM crops in the US. Other GM products include: dairy from cows injected with rbGH, food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet®), meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed.

I urge all of you to really take a look at what you are eating. 60-70% of the food in the US contains GM ingredients and the FDA currently does not require it to be labled as GMO (although President Obama did make a campaign promise that he would change this). Print out the "Non-GMO Shopping Guide" and do what to can avoid these genetically modified foods.

Lakeshore Wellness Center: Naturopathic Holistic Medicine and Acupuncture in Chicago.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Naturally Treat Celiac Disease

This article is from
March 29, 2009by: Sheryl Walters, citizen journalist

Key concepts: Disease, Celiac disease and Gluten

Millions of people are affected by celiac disease, a condition that causes an autoimmune reaction to gluten which is found in wheat, barley, and rye. This reaction results in inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and destruction of villi (small fingerlike projections responsible for nutrient absorption) in the small intestine. As a result, malabsorption and malnutrition often occur resulting in varied symptoms that often make diagnosis of celiac disease difficult. The symptoms of celiac are a result of this malabsorption and malnutrition and can be helped through dietary changes, natural supplements, and alternative healthcare.

As many as 1 in 133 people in the U.S. have celiac disease but many of these cases are mostly likely undiagnosed because of the vagueness of symptoms. Testing for celiac disease includes a blood test for antigens and a small intestine biopsy.

Most people with celiac disease suffer from gastrointestinal difficulties including bloating, diarrhea, cramping, and gas. Some do not have any gastrointestinal symptoms at all, however, and instead have vague symptoms including weight loss, fatigue, anemia, infertility, and nerve damage. Celiac disease in children may manifest as short stature and delayed development.

There is no cure for celiac but symptoms can be controlled through following a gluten free diet. In addition, there are supplements that can be taken to help the body recover from the damaging effects of the autoimmune reactions.

*Echinacea and Goldenseal taken for a short time period can help recovery by boosting immune function with their anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

*Probiotics are helpful for gastrointestinal health by providing necessary good bacteria that the gut needs to digest food. It is important to find a brand that is gluten free.
*Digestive enzymes can help with digestion as the gastrointestinal tract is recovering, allowing for better absorption and nutrition.

*Replace lost vitamins and minerals with a daily multi-vitamin. Again, check to be sure that the supplement is gluten free.
*Medicinal clay helps promote healing and protects from irritation.

*Silica decreases inflammation and protects from abrasions and toxins.
Acupuncture can also be used to help relieve the abdominal pain, bloating, and other symptoms of celiac disease.

It has been shown that regular acupuncture treatments can help to relieve the acute and chronic pain that many people with celiac experience. Even in cases when gluten free diets do not result in immediate improvement, acupuncture has been shown to be effective.When a gluten free diet is not followed there is a greater risk for gastric cancer and lymphoma. Proper diagnosis and management is important to address these risks as well as treat the issues that result from malabsorption and malnutrition.

Acupuncture Management of Celiac Disease, John L. Stump, D.C.

Lakeshore Wellness Center: Naturopathic Holistic Medicine and Acupuncture in Chicago.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Diet Soda...Zero Calories Does Not Equal Zero Impact.

It still astonishes me that even with all the information we have regarding the use of artificial sweeteners and soda in general, that I still see many individuals continuing to drink Diet Soda Beverages. I know that the fact that these beverages contains zero calories is a big draw for many to drink the products....truly believing that they will have no impact on weight gain., but the truth of the matter is that diet soda beverages have never been shown scientifically to aid in weight loss and the negative impact of these beverages is indeed proven.

Diet Sodas may still cause WEIGHT GAIN

  • Emerging research is showing that the consumption of sweet foods and drinks (even if artificially sweetened and non-caloric) increase our desire for sweets in general.

  • In 2005, Sharon Fowler and her colleagues from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio presented eight years of research data that explored the link between obesity risk and soft drinks. According to the WebMD summary of the study:
    Fowler’s team looked at seven to eight years of data on 1,550 Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white Americans aged 25 to 64.

Of the 622 study participants who were of normal weight at the beginning of the study, about a third became overweight or obese.

For each can of diet soft drink consumed each day, a person’s risk of obesity went up 41%.

  • In 2008, researchers have found a correlation between consuming diet soda and METABOLIC SYNDROME. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes that include abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and elevated blood pressure.

The scientists gathered dietary information on more than 9,500 men and women ages 45 to 64 and tracked their health for nine years.

The risk for metabolic syndrome was 34 percent higher among those who drank one can of diet soda a day compared with those who drank none.

  • I haven't even touched on the negative impact of artificial sweeteners (yes, splenda is included here as well!) (headaches, seizures, digestive problems, immune and nervous system disorders, ect.) or the fact that the phosphates in soda leech calcium from your bone and can lead to bone weakness and osteoporosis.

It's time....drop the artificial sweeteners and the diet products.

Lakeshore Wellness Center: Naturopathic Medicine and Acupuncture in Chicago.

Friday, April 10, 2009

5 Simple Ways to Help Beat Seasonal Allergies...Naturally!

As winter changes into spring, around the world many of us are suffering from the sneezing, wheezing, runny nose and itching eyes that accompanies seasonal allergies. Relief doesn't necessarily have to come in the form of a drugstore counter remedy, there are many natural ways to help your body deal with the effects of seasonal allergens.
1. Nasal Passage and Sinus Washing: The Neti Pot

The Neti pot naturally cleanses and refreshes the nasal passages to help relieve allergy symptoms. A simple saline solution works well to wash out allergens and thin nasal mucous, but you can boost the effectiveness of the wash by adding a tonic of goldenseal and freeze-dried nettles. The goldenseal acts as an astringent and has some anti-microbial properties. I usually recommend a Neti Pot cleanse once or twice daily.

2. Quercetin: The Anti-Allergy Bioflavanoid

Quercetin, a naturally occurring bioflavanoid, has properties that reduce the inflammation associated with allergies and control the release of histamine. Quercetin is non-toxic, but barely soluble in water and therefore is not absorbed very well. I usually recommend combining it with bromelin, an enzyme from pineapple, to increase its absorption. Quercetin dosed 1,000 -2,000mg per day in 4-6 divided is optimal for reducing allergies. Vitamin C also helps to reduce histamine.

3. Acupuncture

Based on the idea that stimulating points outside the body can change or initiate reactions inside, in this case treatment is thought to affect the immune system, where allergic reactions begin. In a small but significant study of 26 hay fever patients published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, acupuncture reduced symptoms in all 26 -- without side effects. A second study of some 72 people totally eliminated symptoms in more than half, with just two treatments.


A simple HEPA filter placed in your bedroom, where you spend significant hours daily, is beneficial for reducing airborne allergens brought in from outside and well as those that reside indoors. If you are particularly sensitive, washing your outdoor clothes and even your hair after spending significant time outside can help reduce the allergens brought into the house.

5. Eat Well!

A diet rich in anti-oxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables and Omega-3 fatty acids from fish or flaxseed are important in controlling the inflammatory response associated with allergies.

BONUS: Locally produced honey can possible be beneficial in helping those who suffer from allergies. Theorized to work similarly to the "vaccine" the honey made from the flowers and plants in your local area may help ward off your reaction to allergies. I would consider dosing 1-3 spoonfuls per day for 1-2 months prior to allergy season.

Posted by Lakeshore Wellness Center