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good questions

Nervous System

   Herbs for Anxiety

Digestive System

 Cleansing & Parasites

  Constipation & Laxatives

  Popular Diets

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Herbs for Anxiety

Is skullcap is good for anxiety? I have heard it causes liver damage?
In the 1990s some batches of bulk dried skullcap imported from Europe was found to have been adulterated with germander, another closely related herb which can be toxic to the liver. I prefer to grow my own skullcap or buy it from an American organic farm to make sure I have pure skullcap for my clients.

Skullcap is a safe and gentle herb specifically helpful for anxiety that is associated with what the Chinese call "liver wind", conditions with tics, spasms and tremors. Nervous anxiety, muscle spasms, TMJ, restless leg syndrome and back spasms are good examples of situations for which skullcap can play a starring role. It can also be supportive to reduce withdrawal symptoms from cigarettes and drugs, helps control tremors of Parkinson's disease, mild Tourette's syndrome and supportive in dealing with obsessive compulsive disorder.

Cleansing & Parasites

Will taking a “colon cleanse” relieve depression or remove addictions?
If you take colon cleansing products without making new choices or releasing negative thought patterns, you will just be an angry, depressed, or addicted person having lots of bowel movements. On the other hand, gentle whole-body herbal cleanses can help your body release toxins that affect your thinking, making it easier for you to develop a positive outlook.
Will taking goldenseal or an herbal cleanse program help me pass a drug use test?
Goldenseal will not remove drug traces from the body, and there are reports that some drug-testing services will test for goldenseal itself to see if you have tried to cover drug use. Although an herbal cleanse may assist your body in detoxification of recreational drugs, there is no guarantee. The best way to prepare for drug testing is to remain absolutely drug-free for at least 30 days prior to testing and drink plenty of liquids. If your liver function has been compromised by use of drugs and alcohol, an herbal cleanse may help improve clearance and overall function.
Do most Americans have parasites?
Although the numbers are increasing due to more world-wide travel, the prevalence of visible intestinal parasites (worms) is still unusual in Americans. (A protruding belly in well-fed Americans is usually excess weight, not parasites.) However, many Americans have intestinal dysbiosis, that is, an imbalance in the micro-flora of the intestinal tract with an overgrowth of unfriendly microbes.

Most parasite infections produce symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, bloody stools, and abdominal pain or cramping. If you suspect that you have parasites, ask your doctor to order stool tests. Genova Diagnostic Laboratory can provide excellent full-range parasite testing. Their test methods are non-invasive, inexpensive compared to many medical procedures, and covered under most medical insurance programs.
Is it true that many people have impacted fecal material or “mucoid plaque” in their colons?
The concept of a buildup of a thick coating or retained waste in the colon are theories promoted by some alternative medicine practitioners, however there is no medical evidence from biopsies, colonoscopies, surgeries or autopsies of the general population of the existence of any visible level toxic waste retained in the colon. Common sense would say that waste material retained for an extensive period of time would become a breeding ground for infections that could result in systemic toxic poisoning.
What about the pictures of fecal material shown as evidence of impaction or parasites in cleansing program advertisements?
These cleansing programs usually include laxatives and bulk fiber supplements that expand in the digestive tract to produce substantial stools. Although some colon-cleanse users report seeing evidence of worms in their stools, what they see may be undigested bits of food because the laxatives speed up the transit time.
If most people don’t have parasites or impacted feces, why do these parasite or laxative cleansing programs seem to help?
Some of the herbs in these cleansing programs are very helpful to the body in improving digestive functions and activating liver detoxification. However, other herbs in these programs may also be too harshly irritant to the GI tract or promote laxative dependence.

Constipation & Laxatives

Is constipation a sign of toxicity and parasites?
Constipation, defined as a regular pattern of more than 2 days between bowel movements, although a common problem, is not by itself proof of toxicity or parasitic infection. However, waste material that stays too long in the bowel may result in absorption of some toxins back into the blood stream. Constipation may be caused by inadequate fiber and water in the diet, or just as commonly, it may occur as a result of stress and nervous tension.
How frequently should I have a bowel movement?
In most people a healthy digestive system will produce a bowel movement daily. It is not important to have a movement corresponding to each meal. If your average frequency is daily, it is not a good idea to use laxatives to try to increase the frequency.
Are herbal laxatives better than drugstore brands?
Most laxative products, including herbal laxatives such as senna, cascara sagrada, and aloe vera solids, stimulate peristalsis by irritating bowel tissues and nerves. Repeated use of these laxatives can result in dependency or irritation of the bowel resulting in development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

It is usually better to start with more gentle approaches such as digestive bitters, increased dietary fiber, and exercise. Some herbs such as dandelion and burdock promote regular bowel movements by stimulating digestion and liver functions, while licorice root helps increase moisture in the GI tract and healing of the intestinal walls.

Another consideration would be reviewing how emotional stress might be affecting bowel function and try using stress management techniques along with herbs that help relax nervous tension. As a last resort, a gentle herbal laxative formula can be helpful for occasional use.

Popular Diets

Is my neighbor right when she said that my symptoms are caused by being “too acid” and that I should eat more “alkaline” foods?
The concept of health maintenance through dietary focus on the acid or alkaline value of foods began when physicians at the beginning of the 20th century noticed that folks whose diet shifted away from an abundance of vegetables to include more rich meats, canned foods, white flour and sugar were plagued with fatigue, depression, heart disease and digestive problems. From the view-point of acid-base chemistry, they theorized it was because the net acid or net alkaline effects of the various foods changed the blood pH levels. Blood pH fluctuations outside of a relatively narrow range are dangerous pathological conditions of acidosis or alkalosis resulting from disease.

In a relatively health body the various portions of the digestive tract assure that anything passing into the blood stream has been buffered to a proper pH. Minor temporary shifts in pH levels caused by high-protein diets or vigorous exercise are buffered by excretions of the respiratory and urinary systems. Advocates of vegetarianism have attempted to use the argument that “acid-forming” foods, particularly animal-source foods, would cause osteoporosis. However, there is no evidence to support the assertion that vegetarians have less risk for osteoporosis than those who eat meat. The reason many folks benefit from the acid-alkaline diet because the “alkaline-forming” foods list includes an abundance of nutrient-dense healthful fruits and vegetables.
What about the blood-type dietary recommendations?
Peter D’Adamo made popular the “blood type” diets in his book “Eat Right for Your Type” based on some clinical experience and a lot of laboratory experiments he performed with different blood types and foods. Many folks have benefited by following his recommendations, particularly those who have been plagued by food intolerances. However, there are so many variations in our diverse society that I do not recommend strict adherence to the diet lists in his book.
My friend has encouraged me to follow “food combining” guidelines that have helped him. Is this necessary for good digestion?
Food combining restrictions are predicated on the idea that our digestive tracts cannot handle more than one type of food processing at a time, however healthy digestive systems produce enzymes, bile, and hydrochloric acid for the breakdown of a variety of foods simultaneously. Many folks who have digestive problems are not producing adequate levels of these digestive juices and therefore benefit temporarily from following the food-combining restrictions along with an herbs for improving digestion. There is no evidence that a diet based food combining is effective for weight loss.