Your kitchen is filled with natural medicine. Some of the most widely used cooking herbs can be used to fight viral infections. While there are many herbs that can boost your immunity, in this post I will be focusing on Rosemary, Thyme, and Garlic. Each of these herbs are flavorful and powerful protectors.
Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis
Rosemary is a hearty evergreen shrub. It has been around for centuries and is grown world-wide. Rosemary’s everlasting qualities are tied to romantic devotion and ancestral memories. This often-overlooked herb is a prized fighter. Research shows that Rosemary can knock out viruses like SARS-CoV-1 (Yes, the predecessor to CoVID-19).1 My favorite Rosemary recipe is my wife’s gluten-free, rosemary Dutch oven bread, and it’s the only herb I use to season my holiday turkey.
Thyme, Thymus vulgaris
One of your garden’s most noble herbs and a favorite of the furry honeybee, Thyme bravely stands by your side and protects you. Thyme is a powerful, natural, medicinal herb. In fact, Thymos is the Greek word for “strength.” This herb wards off the germy enemies and self-defeating thoughts. Thyme is antiviral, and it has a chemical affinity for your respiratory tract, where CoVid-19 causes the most damage. I like to add this herb to roasted veggies. You can also add it to a simple syrup to flavor your beverages.
Garlic, Allium satIvum
Garlic is an ancient protector and wards off more than vampires. For centuries it has been used to relieve and cure a myriad of ailments including cardiovascular disease and digestive issues. In terms of our current pandemic, Garlic has shown to be a relieve the symptoms of viruses such as the cold and influenza—headaches, respiratory issues, and digestive issues. More significantly, garlic is antimicrobial. I add garlic to almost all my savory dishes. It’s a favorite in my household
There are so many ways in which you can add these herbs to your meals. Arm yourself and your loved ones with these three herbs. Natural medicine is a powerful tool you can use and readily available. Comment below and let me know which of your favorite recipes uses these herbs!
In general, the research shows improving overall nutritional status will help reduce cravings & relapse. I include specifics of my own recommendations in many other nutrition-related posts.
The short list of nutrients below can help certain Substance Use Disorders & help prevent &/or treat certain Heart diseases.
I have not included doses. These health problems are complex, individual, & many patients are on medications, which can have interactions. This kind of targeted supplementation needs to be done by a health professional. Your local #naturopathicdoctor is well-qualified to do this.
This isn’t a full list & is only intended as a resource for you to take to your healthcare practitioner:
💘Atherosclerosis (Build-up of hardened fat in an artery)
💘Ischemic heart disease (loss of blood to heart muscle causing death of muscle cells, often leads to heart attack)
💘Hypertension (constant high blood pressure)
💘Thrombophlebitis (Painful inflammation of a blood vessel)
💘Ischemic heart disease
☣Alcohol use disorder
Folic acid (B9)
💘Congenital heart defects (occur during fetal development)
💘Congestive Heart Failure (pumping problems caused when fluid builds up around the heart)
💘Stroke (blood clot lodged in a brain vessel stopping blood flow (ischemic), or caused the vessel in the brain to burst (hemorrhagic))
💘Coronary heart disease (atherosclerosis)
💘Pre-eclampsia (pregnancy complication of high blood pressure & signs of damage to another organ)
☣Alcohol use disorder
Cyanocobalamin (B12, in SUD’s I prefer methyl-B12)
💘Hyperhomocysteinemia (High homocysteine; contributing factor to many heart/vessel problems)
💘Congenital heart defects
☣Alcohol use disorder
💘OMG, so many heart benefits
☣Cocaine addiction (but, give w potassium)
Fermented foods & Probiotics
☣Alcohol use disorder
Omega-3 fatty acids
💘Again, so many heart benefits
☣Alcohol use disorder
☣Alcohol use disorder
💘Ischemic heart disease
💘Particulate matter induced heart damage (like from wildfires or other air pollution)
I hope this gives you & your doc a good starting point. Remember, nutrition is just one aspect in recovering from an SUD &/or a heart/vessel condition.
I'm so excited to offer this FREE event to my #santacruzcalifornia community!!!
Naturopathic medicine has an incredible toolbox full of things to help heal heart conditions, vascular conditions, and prevent anything new from happening in the first place.
Come find out about these topics and more!
🍪Cookies will be @morselcodecookieco heart healthy "Heart-Ons"
🍎My friend and colleague @jill_borba_nutrition is gonna break down some nutrition keys and do a short nutrition q&a.
🌹I'll be putting out a tea blend of my favorite heart herbs.
🥳There will be fun had by all!
Naturopathic Medicine & Your Heart
Sunday, February 23rd
10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
#naturopathicdoctor #naturopathicmedicine #naturopathicrevolution
#homeopathy #botanicalmedicine #herbalmedicine #hydrotherapy
#physicalmedicine #doctorasteacher #firstdonoharm #healingpowerofnature
#treatthewholeperson #treatthecause #preventativemedicine #roamingnd
czSometimes patients come in wanting help with removing varicose veins. What they are usually referring to are the smaller type, called "idopathic telangiectases" or "spider veins." (Don't be too hard on me for the image I drew, lol.)
The larger type are:
They may have associated symptoms of:
Like I said above, both of these come from the same problem-- weak valves in the veins. Wait, veins have valves??? Yep, they are different than arteries. Veins carry blood back to the heart; arteries carry blood away from the heart out to the body. Arteries have several layers of muscle, which helps move the blood they contain. Veins rely largely on us moving around to get the blood back to the heart. The vessel gets squeezed by the body muscles that surround it. As it is squeezed, the blood moves toward the heart incrementally between each set of valves.
If the valves become weak, the blood back-flows until a good set of valves stop it. The weak valves and back-flow are called venous insufficiency when it happens in the large, deep veins, and almost always causes leg swelling. From there the blood pools up, and this causes the varicose veins. I think you can reason out that, if the blood is not travelling back to the heart, and through the lungs to be re-oxygenated, all kinds of problems can happen.
The best way to prevent varicose veins of all sizes-- any kind of exercise that involves leg movement, especially of the lower leg muscles.
Compression socks can help, but they don't address the core problem, and if the person continues on a sedentary lifestyle path, the problem will worsen. If it grows very bad, the only option will be surgical. I definitely want you to avoid that!
Naturopathic medicine has many options to help strengthen weak veins, and to help get your blood moving. If you have signs of varicose veins take action now, and avoid the long-term destruction they can cause. Fill out my Patient Application today.
Before we start this article, I'd like to invite you to join me in a meditation group I am going to be leading. Here is a link to the flyer, and to sign up for notifications about the group (inclement weather, location changes, etc.)-
NOTICE: My meditation geoup is on hold until I can find a less crowded, warmer venue. Sign up for notifications about the new info once it happens:
Meditation is an incredible tool!
Thousands of research articles have been published showing evidence that it:
There are many ways to meditate:
The important thing is to find those practices that appeal to you. Those that you will actually do once a day, or be able to put to use easily. You might need to pick some that are longer, and others that you can do in the bathroom at work after working with a problematic customer or coworker. The style doesn't matter so much as doing some form of meditation at least once a day.
Let's distinguish meditation from exercise & prayer. The main distinction are found in the purpose of each activity...
The focal purpose of exercise is to build strength in the physical body. Exercise can be rigorous, or it can be slow and purposeful. Whichever exercise you do, it is generally to improve some purely physical function. Stick with me, because I know there are people who are saying to themselves right now, "but what about yoga, or even hiking, or..."
The focal purpose of prayer is to verbally talk to your higher power about what is going on in your life. It is a conversation tool. In conversations there is not much repetition- it is more of a story-telling or question-asking time. Think about conversations you have with friends. Prayer is your side of the conversation.
In some spiritual practices, meditation is when you stop talking to your higher power, and begin to quietly listen. It is your higher power's side of the conversation. However, meditation does not need to be associated with any religion or form of spirituality. In fact, it can simply be a way to quiet the mind, and let all of the outside "stuff" fall away.
This is where some kinds of exercise can be used as meditation. Here, it is the intention that is key. For instance, if you are going through your taichi form, because you can't stop thinking about that one news headline, and you use taichi in order to refocus your thoughts on only the movements of the form-- this is now meditation. When you go into your taichi form in order to increase balance, or build long muscle fibers-- that's exercise.
The reason it is important to implement a daily meditation practice is first, repetition creates instinct. If you get into a stressful situation, and you have been practicing a meditation technique, you will easily be able to go straight into the meditation, and diffuse the stress. It is much more challenging to try and "find that one app you used that one time..." etc.
I would love to hear about the meditation tools that help you, and in a general way, why you enjoy them?
If you don't have a practice, please join me on Sunday mornings for a 30 minute meditation practice. I will be guiding you through a visualization technique that will help you balance your heart and mind. You can easily use it in your daily life to calm your response to difficult situations. All bodies, all skill levels, all genders, and all ages are welcome! If you can't sit on the ground, go ahead and bring a beach chair. As long as kids won't be disruptive they can participate. Please, no unleashed, or loud, pets.
As a doc who loves to treat the heart, this is my #1 choice when I administer herbs. It will likely show up in some dosage in nearly every cardiovascular formula.
Hot Chili Peppers have the following cardiovascular actions, and in the appropriate medical dose, will help, not harm you (even when you have gastric ulcers):
Common symptoms of SCA:
At first, episodes of-
This is when you want to call 911! While you wait for the ambulance…
If you have some Capsicum tincture put 2 droppers full (about 60 drops) in an ounce of water, and drink it. Keep a regular size shot glass on hand, so you don’t have to figure out an ounce. I keep a one ounce bottle in my office, my home, and my truck.
If you have powdered or crushed hot chili peppers put 1 tsp in a cup of boiled water, and drink once it is steeped and cool enough that the water won’t scald your throat.
It will be a little spicy, but who the hell cares, because you could be dying.
If the above symptoms are ignored, then there will be-
If you haven’t already- TAKE A CPR COURSE, because a person in this state will need you. Every second counts!
DefibThis! (take the CPR AED AHA course)
American Heart Association
Capsicum can still be administered by rubbing the tincture on the person's inner wrist, or putting a few drops on their tongue. Only do that, if you have someone to help with the chest compressions. Chest compressions come first!
The best idea is, if you have a history of heart disease yourself, or in your family, just drink 4 oz of the tea every day. HOWEVER, if you are on medication for your heart, or have issues with easy bruising or bleeding, go see your friendly, neighborhood ND first. They can make sure the remedy doesn’t increase your bleeding times by monitoring labs regularly.
Ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive...
What are these conditions?
The terms are not necesarrily interchangeable.
The Family Disease specifically refers to persons who are affected by someone who is an alcoholic or addict-- whether or not that person is in recovery.
The other two terms also include relationships with persons who are not an alcoholic or addict. The person may be completely normal when it comes to drinking alcohol, but they are abusive, have anger issues, are controlling, and are causing a great deal of harm.
Common symptoms of these conditions:
I pulled the above list from https://www.mhanational.org/issues/co-dependency. They go into codependency in great detail. http://coda.org/ and https://www.codependencynomore.com are also very helpful.
If you, or someone you know, is affected by an alcoholic, or a peson who drinks, and it is having a detrimental effect https://al-anon.org/ is an excellent resource.
Each of these organizations uses a different approach. The path to recovery is not a one-size-fits all deal. In general, I suggest that a person give a program at least a 3-6 month consistent trial. One session, or meeting, is usually not enough to make an informed decision.
I also suggest, just as I do to those wanting to recover from an alcohol use disorder, or substance addiction, please seek out some kind of support group. It is often more difficult for persons who are codependent, struggle with relationship addiction, or have “the Family Disease” to do this, because these conditions involve people, not substances.
These persons may feel completely cut-off from others. If you know someone, or are someone, in a position where the abuser controls every, single move-- a more serious intervention must happen before recovery can be addressed. In this case I suggest contacting The National Domestic Violence Hotline
No matter which terminology rings true for you, or possibly someone you know, please understand these conditions are every bit as life-threatening as a practicing alcoholic, or addict.
My posts this week will talk about a few of the MANY ways that Naturopathic Medicine can assist persons in these situations. As licensed doctors, we are well-equipped to help identify effective treatments for the medical toll these conditions take on a person, such as:
As your friendly, neighborhood ND-- I am also happy to be there, if you want to come in, and use a visit with me as an excuse to get a moment away from the harmful relationship. I can’t give you a free visit, but I can give you a space to make a phone call to any of the above organizations
Help is available, no matter your situation. There is hope.
I want to preface this post with a warning:
That said, there are “Stop Smoking” tincture blends available at most stores that have a quality natural health section. Here in SC, Staff of Life, New Leaf, & Whole Foods come to mind. Take them as directed on the bottle, unless your ND says otherwise.
In my clinic, I have it in a glycerite tincture, because many people who are in recovery from an Alcohol Use Disorder are also smokers who usually want to stop at some point. The glycerite form is less toxic than the alcohol based tincture of Lobelia, and is also effective. Besides that, it tastes better, lol. I wrote an Instagram post on glycerites: https://www.instagram.com/p/B2Psz-lhlX8/
The reason Lobelia is effective in aiding recovery from a nicotine addiction is its main active phytochemical (phyto=plant), lobeline. Lobeline acts on nicotine receptors in the body. Receptors are like a lock. Each one has a different shape. Chemicals that have that shape are like the key that opens or closes the lock. There can be more than one chemical that will act on each receptor, because of similarity in shape. --And yes, we have actual receptors in our body for the chemical nicotine, or chemicals that are similar to it, like lobeline.
Lobeline, however, does not exert such a strong response. You will not become addicted to Lobelia either, because you will throw up before enough of it can be ingested to ever begin reaching any kind of tolerance. It’s a very effective deterrent, and another reason why it actually helps people recover. Oh nature, you are so dang smart.
Lobelia not only helps reduce nicotine cravings, it has a particular affinity for lung tissue, just like nicotine. One of the withdrawal effects of nicotine is coughing as the body begins to work on detoxifying the lungs. Lobeline opens up the bronchial airway, and relieves this symptom.
This article gives a complete picture of nicotine withdrawal:
I would like to offer another caution here- See a doctor, if you are experiencing:
In my previous blog post (https://20785214-802238062905058347.preview.editmysite.com/editor/main.php#) there is information on how to find smoking cessation programs. Many of these are free.
If you do want to quit smoking, it will not be easy, but it is definitely possible. Find friends, or family, who will be kind and encourage your effort. Having such a support group statistically increases a person’s ability to recover. Just know, your friendly, neighborhood ND is hoping the best. I would certainly welcome the chance to be a part of making your recovery successful!
They also have incredibly short half-lives (nicotine 2 hrs, most opioids 2-4 hrs). That means, at first, the user must re-dose every 2-4 hours. Re-dosing that often causes rapid depletion of the neurotransmitters they cause the body to dump. It also forces the body to increase the number of chemical receptor sites they activate. Very quickly, these effects add up to increased “tolerance,” and the user must take in more & more to get the original feeling of pain relief. The body just can’t keep up. Eventually, the relief doesn’t happen anymore, but the person continues to chase the original feeling.
Don’t despair, recovery IS possible!
Naturopathic medicine has some amazing treatments that can help make your recovery easier:
!!! There are some fantastic programs widely available for smoking cessation, and many of them are free! If you’re here in California go to:
If you’re anywhere else, do an internet search for “Free smoking cessation programs.”
As for opioid addiction recovery, I would strongly suggest starting your recovery process by going to a reputable treatment program, if possible. Here is a website with some good info on how to locate help without insurance:
Information about the ingredients is after the recipe. It always irritates me when I have to wade through a blog post to get the recipe.
1.5 cups Dried Black Elderberries
1-2 cups Fresh Cranberries (or sub another 1.5 c elderberries)
1.5 in pc sliced Ginger Root
3 sticks or 1.5 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 c Honey*
6 c filtered Water
*If this is for pancakes, and not medicine, you may want to add more honey. Please, use something better than a large, commercial brand, or it's just basically high fructose corn syrup, because that's what they feed the bees. Generally, sugar is not good for infection, but a good honey will have antibiotic properties. In syrups, it is used as a preservative. Do not sub this ingredient for another type of sugar, if this is for medicine.
Cooking Instructions for Instant Pot (stovetop below)
Add all ingredients to the Instant Pot. Stir the ingredients together until the honey is dispersed. Place the lid and set the valve to pressure cook. Use manual pressure for 20 min. on high pressure, no warming, let it depressurize on its own. After it has depressurized, remove lid, and select saute, medium or high heat (high will need more stirring every few minutes to make sure it doesn't burn). The saute time will vary. It needs to boil down about 2/3-halfway. Using a mesh colander/strainer, or a thick metal one with some cheescloth, filter the syrup into whichever container works in your kitchen.
It came out a bit thin, because I didn't have the energy to keep getting up to check if it had boiled down. It was plenty dark, so I wasn't worried about potency. I just need to adjust the dose.
Cooking Instructions for Stovetop
Add all ingredients to a pot (that has a lid) that is about twice as large as the amount of your ingredients, or your stove might be a mess after. Stir the ingredients together until the honey is dispersed. Bring the ingredients to a boil, turn down to a consistent simmer, and place the lid on it. Stir every once in a while, so it doesn't burn, and simmer it down about 2/3-halfway. Using a mesh colander/strainer, or a thick metal one with some cheescloth, filter the syrup into whichever container works in your kitchen.
(Do not use, if you are a nursing mother, because of the honey. There are generally no other contraindications for these ingredients in this amount, but if you are on prescrptions, or just unsure, please consult your doctor before use.)
Depending on consistency- 1-2 tbsp 4-5 times per day. Since mine was a bit soupy, I upped it to 4 oz, 4-5 times per day.
Info on the two main herbs:
Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
Traditional uses for this herb are upper respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold and influenza. Research has backed this claim, as well as showing a shortened duration of illness. There is also evidence showing elderberry may have a glucose regulating effect, and may therefore be antidiabetic. Other potential uses for elderberry may be: reducing cancer's ability to make new blood vessels (angiogenesis) and some types of cardiovascular disease.
Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
No one will dispute the incredible usefulness of unsugared cranberry for urinary tract infections (UTIs; the urinary tract includes everything from the kidney to the opening of the urethra) in women with recurrent UTIs. Even MDs agree with and prescribe cranberry for this use. I'm only going to include one reference for it, because there are so many, and they are easy to find in a Google search. As with elderberry, there is also evidence showing it may have a glucose regulating effect, and may therefore be antidiabetic. Exciting potential uses include: Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Colon cancer prevention and overall colon health, gingivitis (again, it must not contain sugar), reducing cholesterol, and more. I added it, mainly because of the ridiculous amount of antioxidants, especially quercetin, also I had a bag I needed to use up :)
Black Elderberry herbal monograph
Farrell NJ, Norris GH, Ryan J, Porter CM, Jiang C, Blesso CN. Black elderberry extract attenuates inflammation and metabolic dysfunction in diet-induced obese mice. Br J Nutr. 2015 Oct 28;114(8):1123-31.
Farrell N, Norris G, Lee SG, Chun OK, Blesso CN. Anthocyanin-rich black elderberry extract improves markers of HDL function and reduces aortic cholesterol in hyperlipidemic mice. Food Funct. 2015 Apr;6(4):1278-87.
Ho GT, Kase ET, Wangensteen H, Barsett H. Phenolic Elderberry Extracts, Anthocyanins, Procyanidins, and Metabolites Influence Glucose and Fatty Acid Uptake in Human Skeletal Muscle Cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2017 Apr 5;65(13):2677-2685. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.6b05582. Epub 2017 Mar 24.
Mantzorou M, Giaginis C. Cranberry consumption against urinary tract infections: Clinical state-of-the-art and future perspectives. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2018 Dec 5.
Mojaverrostami S, Bojnordi MN, Ghasemi-Kasman M, Ebrahimzadeh MA, Hamidabadi HG. A Review of Herbal Therapy in Multiple Sclerosis. Adv Pharm Bull. 2018 Nov;8(4):575-590.
Roschek B Jr, Fink RC, McMichael MD, Li D, Alberte RS. Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro. Phytochemistry. 2009 Jul;70(10):1255-61. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2009.06.003. Epub 2009 Aug 12.
Roy S, Khanna S, Alessio HM, Vider J, Bagchi D, Bagchi M, Sen CK. Anti-angiogenic property of edible berries. Free Radic Res. 2002 Sep;36(9):1023-31. [note: elderberry and cranberry were both included in this study].
Thimóteo NSB, Iryioda TMV, Alfieri DF, Rego BEF, Scavuzzi BM, Fatel E, Lozovoy MAB, Simão ANC, Dichi I. Cranberry juice decreases disease activity in women with rheumatoid arthritis. Nutrition. 2018 Oct 10;60:112-117.
Tiralongo E, Wee SS, Lea RA. Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2016 Mar 24;8(4):182. doi: 10.3390/nu8040182.
Wang L, Zhu H, Zhao Y, Jiao R, Lei L, Chen J, Wang X, Zhang Z, Huang Y, Wang T, Chen ZY. Cranberry anthocyanin as an herbal medicine lowers plasma cholesterol by increasing excretion of fecal sterols. Phytomedicine. 2018 Jan 1;38:98-106.
Woźniewicz M, Nowaczyk PM, Kurhańska-Flisykowska A, Wyganowska-Świątkowska M, Lasik-Kurdyś M, Walkowiak J, Bajerska J. Consumption of cranberry functional beverage reduces gingival index and plaque index in patients with gingivitis. Nutr Res. 2018 Oct;58:36-45.
Wu X, Song M, Cai X, Neto C, Tata A, Han Y, Wang Q, Tang Z, Xiao H. Chemopreventive Effects of Whole Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) on Colitis-Associated Colon Tumorigenesis. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 Dec;62(24):e1800942.
Zakay-Rones Z1, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res. 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40.
About the Roaming Naturopath
Dr. Lisa is an Naturopathic Doctor in Santa Cruz who focuses on cardiovascular health, addictions medicine, and chronic pain who shares health news and natural medicine tips.