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Since February is “American Heart Health” month, I thought I would post a recent article I came across from Inside Heart.  Many people on heart medication are not aware of certain foods that should be avoided as they may cause adverse reactions to the medication.

Article from Inside Heart:

A good million of Americans across the world are on herbal remedies that can help them keep a check on their high cholesterol or even their depression. While they might consider these herbs safe, since they’re all natural, this may    be far from the truth. The combination of herbs and the other allopathic medications that you’re already on could be deadly and even fatal sometimes.

Read on to learn about the natural foods that should be avoided when you’re having a heart problem to deal with.


This belongs to the onion family and can be found commercially in the form of a pill, extract or oil.


To lower the LDL or the bad cholesterol in a person’s system. It is also used as a blood thinner or as a mode of combating atherosclerosis.


The ability to be a blood thinning element will increase the risks of people who are on anti-clotting drugs.



This is the extract from the leaves of a plant called the gingko plant or also known as
maidenhair tree. It is generally sold in capsule form or can be used as tea.


It is mainly used to improve memory in the case of people with Alzheimer’s or to prevent dementia; but is also known to better circulatory patterns of a person’s system.


It could interfere with the usage of certain drugs that are meant to de-clot the arteries.



This is the root of the Echinacea plant, which is available in dried form or the extracted form and is known to be sold as either a tea, juice or a capsule.


It is used to prevent the common cold or flu-like symptoms and is said to boost the immune system.


It is said to increase the risks related to liver damage and this gets associated with the usage of drugs that help in lowering a person’s cholesterol level.


St. John’s Wort:

This is a yellow flowering plant which is known as Hypercium Perforatum. It is known to be sold in the capsule, liquid extract and tea form.


It is primarily used in the treatment of anxiety and depression. It could also be utilized to treat certain types of sleep disorders.


It is said to affect the body’s capability to absorb the number of prescription medications and may be detrimental to the efficacy of certain drugs which are known to treat heart rhythm disorders and high blood pressure.


Certain other herbs like ginger, alfalfa, fenugreek, bilberry and others are known to hinder the job of medicines like warfarin which are known for their blood thinning abilities. It would be recommended that they’re not consumed when any sort of heart health medication is being consumed.

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Happy New Year!


It is that time of year, where one passes and a new one begins.  I know I had many blessings in 2010 and look forward to more in 2011.  I wish you many blessings in the new year!

As I enjoy  some time off work, I noticed how many people are fighting colds.  People are coughing, sniffling, sneezing, blowing and just looking miserable.  I came across this article and recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs for Elderberry Syrup.  It is fitting for this time of year to help boost immune systems and recover from colds and flu.

Elderberries are found in moist areas along rivers, roads and forests.  It is an immune boosting herb with a proven remedy for preventing and recovering from the flu, colds, excessive mucus and sore throats.  It contains large amounts of antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C.

Elderberry Syrup Recipe
by Mountain Rose Herbs

– 1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried organic Elderberries (harvest blue or black, avoid poisonous reds)
– 3 cups water
– 1 cup raw local honey
– 1 organic Cinnamon stick, 3 organic Cloves, and organic Ginger (optional)

Place berries, water, and spices in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Smash the berries to release remaining juice and strain the mixture. Allow liquid to cool and stir in honey. Will last for 2-3 months stored in the fridge.

Take a tablespoon daily to ward off illness and a teaspoon every 2-3 hours while sick. For children under 2, add the syrup to hot water to kill any microbes in the honey. You can even drizzle the delicious syrup over pancakes, yogurt, or ice cream!

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As many of you already know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.   To help spread awareness, I will be posting information from the Susan G. Komen website on breast awareness.  Please get in the habit of doing monthly breast exams and when you turn 40 years young, please have a baseline mammogram.

Breast Self-Awareness

Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but it can be successfully treated. Screening tests can find cancer early, when it’s most treatable.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure® recommends that you:

1. Know your risk

  • Talk to your family to learn about your family health history
  • Talk to your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer

2. Get screened

  • Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk
  • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk
  • Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at 20, and every year starting at 40

3. Know what is normal for you

See your health care provider right away if you notice any of these breast changes:

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

4. Make healthy lifestyle choices

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Add exercise into your routine
  • Limit alcohol intake

Click here to go for a printable guide on how to do a monthly breast exam.

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According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), each day 3,400 people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer, and another 1,500 die from the disease.  These numbers are increasing at an alarming rate.  The NCI began  studies to see if acupuncture is helpful during cancer treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation.

From the National Cancer Institute website:

Most studies of the use of acupuncture in cancer patients have been done in China. In 1997, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) began evaluating the safety and effectiveness of acupuncture as a complementary and alternative therapy.

Studies of the effect of acupuncture on the immune system
Human studies on the effect of acupuncture on the immune system of cancer patients showed that it improved immune system response.

Studies of the effect of acupuncture on pain
In clinical studies, acupuncture reduced the amount of pain in some cancer patients. In one study, most of the patients treated with acupuncture were able to stop taking drugs for pain relief or to take smaller doses. The findings from these studies are not considered strong, however, because of weaknesses in study design and size. Studies using strict scientific methods are needed to prove how acupuncture affects pain.

Studies of the effect of acupuncture on nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy

The strongest evidence of the effect of acupuncture has come from clinical trials on the use of acupuncture to relieve nausea and vomiting. Several types of clinical trials using different acupuncture methods showed acupuncture reduced nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, surgery, and morning sickness. It appears to be more effective in preventing vomiting than in reducing nausea.

Studies of the effect of acupuncture on cancer and symptoms (other than nausea) caused by cancer treatment
Clinical trials are studying the effects of acupuncture on cancer and symptoms caused by cancer treatment, including weight loss, cough, chest pain, fever, anxiety, depression, night sweats, hot flashes, dry mouth, speech problems, and fluid in the arms or legs. Studies have shown that, for many patients, treatment with acupuncture either relieves symptoms or keeps them from getting worse.

The evidence shows that acupuncture used in conjunction with cancer treatments has a positive result on managing the side effects.  Share this news with anyone you many know who is currently undergoing cancer treatments.

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Back to School Time

It is that time of year again when summer break is over and kids are returning back to school.  The beginning of the school year also brings various illnesses from colds, stomach virus, ear infections, conjunctivitis and sore throats.  What is a parent to do?

The most important step you can do is teaching your children to thoroughly wash their hands.  Studies show kids tend to wash just where the soap hits in the center of the palm and never even reach their finger tips (which is the part that ends up in the mouth).   Second, here are some great homeopathic remedies I carry in the office to use as preventative during the cold/flu season.


1.  Relax-Tone: When the body is stressed, the immune system is lowered.  This remedy helps reduce all types of stress from making new friends to work-load.  This remedy is used as needed.

2.  Rehydration: Our body is made up of 98% water and is vital to the function of our body and mind.  This remedy helps increase cellular uptake of water.  (Note: this is great to add to athletes water bottle with SpectraMin to help increase water uptake during exercise and increase Minerals that are depleted.)

3.  Flora-Synergy: single-strand probiotic that contains lactobacillus sporogenes.  This supplement does not need to be refridgerated as it contains the spores, which mean when it is digested, the spore is released in the body.  This strand of probioic can be taken long-term and kills any microbes in the body.

4.  Spagyric Greens: think of this as a whole food liquid that contains antioxcidents, B vitamins, Vit C, amino acids, and more.  Plus, it is gluten free.

5.  Liquid Vitamin D3: Research keeps coming out about the many benefits of Vitamin D3 and how most people are very deficient.  Vit D3 focuses on the digestive and immune system.  It is in Sunflower oil making it easy to dose with no unpleasant taste.

There are also some great herbal formulas to use as a preventative or at the first sign of an illness.  If an illness does come your way, head to your local acupuncturist as soon as you can.  Acupuncture and herbal remedies are great at keeping an illness away, or help shorten the cycle of it.

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Question: If you are diagnosed with cancer, will you go to your General Practitioner for treatment, or would you go to an Oncologist, who has additional training and specializes in cancer treatment?  Keeping that question in mind, would you go to someone for acupuncture who has under 200 hrs of general acupuncture training, or a licensed acupuncturist who specializes in acupuncture with over 4yrs of training plus continued education on acupuncture and oriental medicine?

I remember my first acupuncture treatment.  When I went in for a treatment, I knew nothing about the training required nor how to select the right acupuncturist, I just listened to the amazing story of a friends success with it and decided to give it a try.  I assumed if someone was doing acupuncture they had the proper licensing for it.   Luck for me my first acupuncture experience was with a licensed acupuncturist.  From the first needle insertion, I was hooked at trying to understand how it worked.  A couple of years and many books later, I decided to look into doing acupuncture for a living.   Like many, I had no idea about the training required or the difference in who performs acupuncture and was shocked at what my future career required for training.

It seems today many people are jumping on the acupuncture bandwagon.  Various practitioners are trying to cash in on an amazing study of healing.  As someone who quit her job to return to the college life for 4 years to be properly trained in acupuncture, I am a little annoyed at others with little training in my profession to advertising they do acupuncture.  So how do you tell the difference between acupuncturists? Allow me to explain the differences so you can make an educated choice on where you go and who you allow to insert needles.

1.  NCCAOM Licensed Acupuncturists
NCCAOM Board Certified licensed acupuncturists are required to successfully completed over 3,000 hours of intense study and research at accredited colleges plus pass National Acupuncture boards given by NCCAOM.  They also must be a licensed health practitioner in their state (this varies by states.)  The must meet minimum acupuncture continued education requirements to be re-certified every 4 years.

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), was established in 1982 as a non-profit organization.  The mission of the NCCAOM is to establish, assess, and promote recognized standards of competence and safety in acupuncture and Oriental medicine for the protection and benefit of the public.  You can recognize  licensed acupuncturists by the following initials:  Dipl. Ac, Dipl. OM, Dipl. CH, or Diplomate of Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine or Oriental Medicine.

To find a licensed acupuncturist, visit www.nccaom.org to find a listing of board certified acupuncture practitioners in your area.

2.  Medical Acupuncture
This type of acupuncture tends to be advertised by medical physicians, chiropractors, nurses, and now, even some massage therapists.  To do medical acupuncture they do not take national acupuncture boards but are ‘certified’ after only 100 – 220 hours or less of study, most of which is undertaken as home study courses without the benefit of the tutoring of experienced acupuncturists.   They are not required to re-certify in acupuncture or continue their education in acupuncture.

The Licensed Acupuncturists qualification should not be underestimated, and patients should be aware of the potential dangers of receiving treatment from healthcare professional’s who are not licensed acupuncturists practitioners.  As a result of the lack of training of ‘medical’ acupuncturists’ or chiropractors performing acupuncture,  we have seen a rise in recent years in the levels of bad feeling towards acupuncture, with frequent claims of painful and uncomfortable treatments which have little healing effect.

Please pass this information on to your friends and family if they are interested in trying acupuncture.  As someone who dedicates their life to helping others through the many benefits of acupuncture, it is very disheartening to hear people say acupuncture did not help them because they went to someone with under 200 hours of training, not a licensed acupuncturist.

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Safe Summer Skin

Summer is here in Florida which means more time out in the heat and sun.  In my last post, I shared a website that lists the safest sunscreens to use, after a study found that only 8% of sunscreens actually work.  It is important to use a sunscreen to help protect your skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays.   If you will be spending alot of time outdoors or even driving in the car, be sure to lather up in sunscreen and remember to re-apply often.

Many people know UVA/UVB rays are dangerous and may cause skin cancer but they never go to a dermatologist to have your skin examined for any potential moles that may lead to melanoma.  The Skin Cancer Foundation (http://www.skincancer.org)  gives you  guidelines and pictures to help you know what to look for when doing your own daily scan.  I want to encourage everyone to find a dermatologist and go atleast once a year for a skin check.    Be safe this summer and protect your skin.

Here are the basics for what to look for when scanning your skin:

Warning Signs: The ABCDEs of Melanoma

Moles, brown spots and growths on the skin are usually harmless — but not always. Anyone who has more than 100 moles is at greater risk for melanoma. The first signs can appear in one or more atypical moles. That’s why it’s so important to get to know your skin very well and to recognize any changes in the moles on your body. Look for the ABCDEs of melanoma, and if you see one or more, make an appointment with a physician immediately.

melanoma picture.jpg


If you draw a line through this mole, the two halves will not match.

melanoma picture.jpg


The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched.

melanoma picture.jpg


Having a variety of colors is another warning signal. A number of different shades of brown, tan or black could appear. A melanoma may also become red, blue or some other color.

melanoma picture.jpg


Melanomas usually are larger in diameter than the size of the eraser on your pencil (1/4 inch or 6 mm), but they may sometimes be smaller when first detected.

melanoma picture.jpg


Any change — in size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting — points to danger.

Prompt action is your best protection. The pictures below show atypical normal moles and melanomas.

Benign Malignant
Symmetrical mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Asymmetrical
Borders are even mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Borders are uneven
One shade mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Two or more shades
Smaller than 1/4 inch mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Larger than 1/4

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