Saturday, May 29, 2010
May 29, 2010
"Willpower is not the key to the way of life we are seeking, surrender is."
"Today I will accept powerlessness where I have no power to change things, and I'll allow my life to become manageable."
Some believe that this should be my mantra for life. How true this is. I have been powerlessness over alcohol, some people, places, things and everything in life. I have learned to stop fighting the demons (lions, tigers and bears - 1939 Wizard of Oz) simply because I cannot win.
Cranberries are best known for their use against urinary tract infections especially of the species E. coli. Cranberries are the fighters of oxidative stress. These berries have also been useful in fending off ulcers created by the bacterium, Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori). I find cranberries to be tart but they are very useful.
Elderberries is a natural anti-viral activity. There are studies to show that elderberries have been found to block H1H2 (Influenza) and block the ability of the virus to infect host cells. Not only did elderbery have its effect against H1H2, but 8-10 other influenza species.
So after all this berry talk, who still doesn't like berries? There is the all important raspberries, strawberries and cherries. We didn't talk a lot about these but here it goes. Raspberries have been useful in protection against colon cancer cells. There are choke berries, which are supposed to have a higher ORAC valve greater than the acai berry. Strawberries in vitro studies have shown activity against certain cancers, whereas cherries have shown to reduce lipid abnormalities. Cherries have also been useful in reducing sugar levels. Many of these studies are not human studies. More double blind studies need to be done. There is definitely no harm in ingesting berries into your diet. All berries have a low glycemic index and a high antioxidant potential.
So eat, eat and eat BERRIES.
So to finish let us read what Buddha has to say...
"Health is the greatest gift, contentment, the greatest wealth, faithfulness, the best relationship."
Until tomorrow...(or Monday)
Friday, May 28, 2010
MAY 28, 2010 FRIDAY
"If your life is ever going to get better, then you must take risks. There is simply no way you can grow without taking chances" David Viscott
David Viscott (May 24, 1938 - October 10, 1996) was an American psychiatrist, author, businessman and media personality. He was a graduate of Dartmouth (1959), Tufts Medical School and taught at University Hospital in Boston. He started a private practice in psychiatry in 1968 and later moved to Los Angeles in 1979, where he was a professor of psychiatry at UCLA. He founded and managed the Viscott Center for Natural Therapy in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach and Pasadena, California. He has many quotes that are notable. Another life lost too fast.
Let's continue with berries. There has recently been a lot of hype about the Acai Berry. Recently a blend of the polyphenols increased antioxidant capacity by three fold, making this berry more benefical. The ORAC value for Acai is estimated at 18,400, leading the way with pomegranates and blackberries following. Studies show it can increase your life span and is now being used to treat some types of cancer. It now is being studied for its anti-cholesterol properties. It has been researched that the acai can lower LDL and total cholesterol.
The pomegranate is another fabulous berry. The question is whether there really was an apple in the Garden of Eden. Did Adam and Eve eat an apple? There is no indication that it was an apple. It possibly was the pomegranate. Even on Greek and Roman statues, what we think is portrayed as an apple is the pomegrante. There are many uses researched for this fruit. It has been used to reduce the potential of metastatic breast cancer. Other cancers promegranate has been used in are the prostate, lung and colon. I have seen it being used to treat colitis. In some countries, pomegranate seeds are a delicacy. We are beginning in the United States to appreciate these delicious seeds.
They are not cheap. Rick and I have found that out. We got a bargain at the green market outside the F train when coming to Roosevelt island. We got 3 packages for $5. Not only did we enjoy them but so did Gracie. Yesterday, Rick went to the market on mainland Manhattan ( The Gourmet Garage on E64th) and paid $4.99 per package.
More berries for the upcoming blogs.
Is my life all about tolerance? "Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another's beliefs, practices and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them." Joshua Liebman
I will need all the tolerance I can muster up. Today I will be able to tolerate people, listen to what they are saying and if I do not agree with them, it's okay! I DO NOT have to agree with a person to tolerate or befriend them.
Until tomorroww...or Tuesday...
I know I have quoted this before on previous blogs
Thursday, May 27, 2010
May 27, 2010
" When it feels as if your world is falling apart, know at the core that YOU , and only YOU, are a strong BEing of light and life."
Who hasn't had the feeling that everything is being to crumble around them ? Who doesn't worry ? We all at one time or another in our lives have had that feeling. Remember you are not alone! You are never alone.! You are connected to another individual and others throughout this world. Your energy is part of life. That is why when someone I know was hugging a tree felt energy, I understood that without hesitation. Each of us are the strong being of life and energy. Every day , each cell of our body must withstand assaults and insults by medical free radical damage, endangering the environment and individual character assassination, gossip. Remember when such unfortunate circumstances happen, you are the strong BEing of light and life.
Today in a way is another vitamin day. I was going to take about more B vitamins.
However I had comments about what food sources contain powerful antioxidant instead of consuming supplements So here we go...
In search of the defense of free radical damage , medical especially integrative medicine has the answers. There are supplements that decrease free radical damage, as well as conventional drugs. If you didn't watch the Today Show, I was apalled how much the medical team did not know about supplements and botanicals. Some of their comments were justified, but again as usual it portrays the message that supplements, vitamins and botanicals are not useful. They are useful in the right hands and by qualified health care professionals. We do know that polyphenols anti oxidant properties are strong. I did much work on this when studying Greem Tea ( Camilla sinensis- see www.fratellonemedical.com website. ) Of by the way Rick and I when he feels better are updating this . We could use a team of experts to do it. It is hard when two people are trying to convery all this information to everyone. Read and be careful what you choose to believe.
Anyway back to free radical damage. Can we get a food source that is powerful in its anti oxidant potential ? The standard of index for determining the antioxidant value of various organic compounds is know as the oxygen radical absorbance capacity, or
ORAC. Did anyone know that each fruit and vegatable has an ORAC value ?
Well now you do ! The ORAC test is considered one of the most sensitive and reliable methods for meauring the ability of antioxidants to absorb free radicals. Thus, the ORAC value given is proportional to the polyphenol content. the fruits and vegetables with a higher ORAC value, or richer color have been shown to suppress free radical more effectively. In order to maintain optimal anti oxidant potential an individual must consume between 3-6,000 ORAC units per day. Maybe you do consume this much and do not even know it ? Or maybe you do not consume even a 1,000 ORAC units. I always knew that blueberries had a high anti oxidant value and are also low in sugar ( glycemic index). This was confirmed when attending the annual Nutrition Conference sponsored by the University of Arizona Fellowship of Integrative Medicine and Columbia University , NYC. There as a whole lecture on blueberries. The ORAC value for blueberries is 3,200 ( this is based per 100 grams ( or about 3.5 ounces) The blueberries have been shown to enhance cognitive memory function and have these polyphenols that cross the blood brain barrier to get into the brain. There have been studies helping patients with heart failure and even managing insulin resisteance ( pre diabetic) Of course, more studies need to be conducted.
After attending that blueberry lecture years ago, I started to study/research and read about berries in general. As a young kid, we lived on a hill. We were at the peak of the hill and as the hill went down, there was an empty lot. The kids of the neighborhood built tree houses and forts. In that "lot" there was a large tree with mulberries. I used to collect them, bring them home to my Nanny and we ate them for desert. I called them mulberries, but in actuality it was a 'blackberry'
Actually blackberries have a higher ORAC value than blueberries. Their ORAC value is 5,100. The blueberry, bilberry, blackberry,cranberry, elderberry , pomegranate and acai contain a classs of polyphenols, called anthocyanins. These produce a deep purple, red and blue pigment through the plant world. There is a benefit to these anthocyanins ranging from inhibiting cancer growth to reduce cardiovascular heart disease.
In the Bible, mulberry ( Morus nigra) is noted:
" And to the end thye might provoke the elephants to fight, they shewed them the bloof of grapes and mulberries." I Maccabees 6:34 (RSV)
The bilberry has been found to effective in eye disease as well as cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that the bilberry can inhibit an enzyme, ACE ( angiotension converting enzyme) This enzyme being blocked is useful in reduction of hypertension ( blood pressure) There is a class of ACE inhibitors in conventional medicine that usually end with -pril. Examples are enalapril, quinapril, enalapril, monopril.
There is much mention of the pomegranate which I will discuss tomorrow.
The photograph above are of bowls of fruit.
Beautifully framed ( flash photography by me gave a reflection)
Initial phot credit: Michael Byrd
The next photograph is a new product by Longevity Nutritionals --www.longevitynutritionals.com
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
"Today is wide open for you. Decide on a course of action and move ahead. All around you is available for the asking. All you have to do is ask."
I would like to think that every single day is open to me for the asking. Remember and be careful about what you ask for! An action is a progess in your life. You make a decision to do something, then act upon it and move ahead with the plan. This is well thought out, not impulsive. Impulstivity is dangerous. It can get you in trouble. Whether things in life are good or bad, I say good morning to my Higher Power (I call him GOD) every morning. The best thing is that I get a response back from Gracie, my Amazon Green Parrot, who says "Good morning--Hello". Isn't life so good?!
Today, while seeing patients I wanted to discuss Flax. I was discussing adding flax seeds to your salad instead of your cereal in the morning (I also discussed adding fennel seeds to your salad to incerase your hair growth).
So let's discuss FLAX (Linum usitatissimum). I have been reading or rather glacing through 'Medicinal Plants of the Bible' and was so surpised to find many herbs mentioned in the Biblical texts.
"And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid." LUKE 23:53(King James Version)
Most people consider flax to be used for bowel issues (laxative) and to rediuce cholesterol. I doubt you thought it is a flowering plant. I utilize flax to help with colitis (I.B.S.), osteoarthritis and eczema. It is effective against autoimmune disorders, as well as multiple sclerosis and cancer. The studies of flax include reduction in the bad cholsterol (LDL), reducing post eating glucose levels (called post prandial) and decreasing markers of inflammation (CRP, ESR). Why is it used in heart disease? Its high content of alpha linolenic acids has made the ancient flax seed become our modern miracle food. Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is a type of plant-derived omega 3 fatty acid, similar to those found in fish like salmon. Aside from alpha linolenic acid, flax seed is rich in lignan. Lignan is a type phytoestrogen (antioxidant) and also provides fiber. Researches reveal that lignan in flax seed shows a lot of promise in fighting disease. The available forms of flax in capsules, oil, powder and even soft gel. Some use the seeds and use 2 1/2 teaspoons ground twice a day. Every individual has a different dose. IMPORTANCE: Flax seed oil is not the same as flax seeds. Flax seed oil is a concentrated source of ALA, which has been questioned for its potential association of increasing prostate cancer risk.
Flax (also known as common flax or linseed) (binomial name: Linum usitatissimum) is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India and was probably first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent. This is called as Agasi/Akshi in Kannada, or Alashi in Marathi. Flax was extensively cultivated in ancient Ethiopia and ancient Egypt. In a prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia dyed flax fibers have been found that date to 34,000 BC. New Zealand flax is not related to flax, but was named after it as both plants are used to produce fibers.
Flowers Flax is an erect annual plant growing to 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) tall, with slender stems. The leaves are glaucous green, slender lanceolate, 20–40 mm long and 3mm broad. The flowers are pure pale blue, 15–25 mm diameter, with five petals; they can also be bright red. The fruit is a round, dry capsule 5–9 mm diameter.
The above left photograph is from Los Angeles CA I do not know the painter but I loved the painting. I will needle point it in the future.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Today, "I will to love myself unconditionally. I will try to let go of self-hate and behaviors from the past. I need to replace those with behaviors that reflect self-love, respect, dignity and a higher self-esteem."
This blog represents for me the above. It has been a real joy and self-esteemable.I have learned to love myself unconditionally after letting 'others' love me first. I love myself into a healthier life , but in reality a better and good life. I am loving myself in a way that I want others to love me. At first it is hard to love yourself. But you must learn to do it. This blog is self-esteemable because I get to be me. After I finish each blog, I review it and 'clap my hands' knowing that I did the best to my ability to teach, educate, love and reach out. The most important aspect is that I do not have to justify or explain myself to anyone. I just have to be happy with me
Yesterday I discussed folic acid. Today I want to discuss B6 and B12 Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin and is part of the vitamin B complex group. Pyridoxal phosphate (PLP) is the active form and is a cofactor in many reactions of amino acid metabolism. Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble compound that was discovered in the 1930s during nutrition studies on rats. In 1934, a Hungarian physician, Paul Gyorgy discovered a substance that was able to cure a skin disease in rats (dermititis acrodynia), this substance he named vitamin B6.In 1938, Lepkovsky isolated vitamin B6 from rice bran. Harris and Folkers in 1939 determined the structure of pyridoxine, and, in 1945, Snell was able to show that there are two forms of vitamin B6, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine. Vitamin B6 was named pyridoxine to indicate its structural homology to pyridine. All three forms of vitamin B6 are precursors of an activated compound known as pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP), which plays a vital role as the cofactor of a large number of essential enzymes in the human body.
The dosage of B6 must be regulated as an overdose of this vitamin can lead to peripheral neuropathy ( damage of the nerves)
At least one preliminary study has found that this vitamin may increase dream vividness or the ability to recall dreams. It is thought that this effect may be due to the role this vitamin plays in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.
The intake of vitamin B, from either diet or supplements, could cut the risk of Parkinson’s disease by half according to a prospective study from the Netherlands.
Pyridoxine has a role in preventing heart disease. Without enough pyridoxine, homocysteine builds up in the body, as discussed yesterday. Homocysteine damages blood vessel linings, setting the stage for plaque buildup when the body tries to heal the damage. Vitamin B6 prevents this buildup, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack. Pyridoxine lowers blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels and keeps blood platelets from sticking together. All of these properties work to keep heart disease at bay.
Nutritional supplementation with high dose vitamin B6 and magnesium is one of the most popular alternative medicine choices for autism
Moving on to B12
Vitamin B12, vitamin B12 or vitamin B-12, also called cobalamin, is a water soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. It is one of the eight B vitamins. It is normally involved in the metabolism of every cell of the body, especially affecting DNA synthesis and regulation, but also fatty acid synthesis and energy production Historically, vitamin B12 was discovered from its relationship to the disease pernicious anemia, which is an autoimmune disease that destroys parietal cells in the stomach that secrete intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is crucial for the normal absorption of B12, so a lack of intrinsic factor, as seen in pernicious anemia, causes a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency can potentially cause severe and irreversible damage, especially to the brain and nervous system. At levels only slightly lower than normal, a range of symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and poor memory may be experienced.
There is so much to write on B12. Usually we would give B12 to lower the cardiac risk factors, homocysteine. Some individual have a an enzyme defect . Thus the type of B12 as also in folate requires methylation.
The photograph above taken in the Garden of Quinn in Los Anegles, CA is the Bird of Paradise Strelitzia is a genus of five species of perennial plants, native to South Africa. The genus is named after the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, birthplace of Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom. A common name of the genus is bird of paradise flower, because of a supposed resemblance of its flowers to the bird of paradise. In South Africa it is commonly known as a crane flower.
The species S. nicolai is the largest in the genus, reaching 10 m tall, with stately white and blue flowers; the other species typically reach 2 to 3.5 m tall, except S. caudata which is a tree of a typically smaller size than S. nicolai. The leaves are large, 30–200 cm long and 10–80 cm broad, similar to a banana leaf in appearance but with a longer petiole, and arranged strictly in two ranks to form a fan-like crown of evergreen foliage. I know that the species in the photograph is not the white Bird of Paradise--Srelitz alba. Below is an example of how nature works--
The flowers are produced in a horizontal inflorescence emerging from a stout spathe. They are pollinated by sunbirds, which use the spathe as a perch when visiting the flowers; the weight of the bird on the spathe opens it to release the pollen onto the bird's feet, which is then deposited on the next flower it visits This to me is incredible.
Photo Credit: Me
Monday, May 24, 2010
May 24, 2010 Monday
"Today, I will try to the best of my ability to go with the flow of life including relationships with partners, family, friends and the environment--including the plants. I wil strive for harmony among people with my needs and the needs of other individuals." -- See Letting the Cycles Flow after vitamin discussion.
The Stage Door Vitamins is related to the photograph. You will find that out later. I think the Stage Door vitamins are B6, B12 and folic acid. These are B vitamins, which are sometimes overlooked. I know the use of these three were overlooked in 1969when Dr. V. McCully at Harvard studied these 3 in relation to a bad amino acid, homocysteine. He postulated that this bad amino acid, homocysteine, derived from a good essential amino acid, methonine, can be reduced by increasing the dosage and requirement on B6, B12 and folic acid. Homocysteine can cause premature vascular damages of the arterial system. In 1971, Harvard dismissed Dr. McCully. This did not stop this physician. He was a pioneer of his time. His research and dedication earned him to accept the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on homocysteine.
There are four reasons why you might a high level of homocysteine. 1) consuming too much poultry (as poultry contains more methionine) 2) consuming less green vegetables, which means 3) less amount of folate 4) not absorbing nutrition from food or supplements. More research has been done in these thirty years. Homocysteine is now postulated to a risk factor for Alzheimer's Disaese. Let's start with folic acid, which is also called tetrahydrofolate. Deficiency of folate result in the body's inability to synthesize DNA (genetic make up of an individual - remember Watson and Crick discovered DNA in 1952 and both received the Nobel Prize in Medicine). In addition to folate supplementation with regards to homocysteine, it has been researched, proved and studied that folate needs to supplemented in pregnant females to prevent neurological birth defects, especially of the spinal cord. The RDA requirement for folate is 400 umg to 800 umg. Physicians now prescribe a pre-natal with 1 mg folate. I usually prescribe folate at 2.5 mg (2500 umg), 5.0 mg (5,000 umg) and even higher. Doses above 2.5 mg require a physician's prescription. You can always take 3 of the 800 umg, which would equal 2,400 umg.
There are some individuals who cannot use regular folic acid to decrease homocysteine. This is a genetic defect in an enzyme which is now identified in the blood. For those individuals, I prescribe methylated folic acid (it is folic acid with an extra methyl group). I call them Stage Door, which is the side door to a theatre, as these vitamins sneek in and help the body.
Since I want you to read 'Letting the Cycles Flow', I will discuss the bingo (B-I-N-G-O) vitamins B6 and B12 tomorrow.
Letting the Cycles Flow
Life is cyclical, not static. Our relationships benefit when we allow them to follow their own natural cycles.
Like the tide ebbs and flows, so do the cycles in relationships. We have periods of closeness and periods of distance. We have times of coming together and times of separating to work on individual issues.
We have times of love and joy, and times of anger.
Sometimes, the dimensions of relationships change as we go through changes. Sometimes, life brings us new friends or a new loved one to teach us the next lesson.
That does not mean the old friend disappears forever. It means we have entered a new cycle.
We do not have to control the course of our relationships, whether these be friendships or love relationships. We do not have to satisfy our need to control by imposing a static form on relationships.
Let it flow. Be open to the cycles. Love will not disappear. The bond between friends will not sever. Things do not remain the same forever, especially when we are growing and changing at such a rapid pace.
Trust the flow. Take care of yourself, but be willing to let people go. Hanging on to them too tightly will make them disappear.
The old adage about love still holds true: If it's meant to be, it will be. And if you love someone, let them go. If they come back to you, the love is yours.
Today, I accept the cyclical nature of life and relationships. I will strive to go with the flow. I will strive for harmony with my own needs and the needs of the other person.
Thank you Karen.
The photograph above was taken in California. It is a White Calilily (Zantedeschia aethiopica (L.) Spreng. - giant white arum lily or common arum lily). Z. aethiopica is a very strong and sturdy plant, being able to grow in many soils and habitats. It is also a favorite in Flower Shops.
If you are a movie fan as I am, the film, Stage Door, has a famous line about this flower. Stage Door (1937) is a RKO film, adapted from the play by the same name, that tells the story of several would-be actresses who live together in a boarding house at 158 West 58th Street in New York City. The film stars Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou, Gail Patrick, Constance Collier, Lucille Ball, Eve Arden and Ann Miller. As Miss Hepburn is on stage in this movie, her most famous line is "The Calilillies are in bloom again" while holding three calilillies. Zantedeschia is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the family Araceae, native to southern Africa from South Africa north to Malawi. The name of the genus was given as a tribute to Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi (1773–1846) by the German botanist Kurt Sprengel (1766–1833). Common names include Arum lily for Z. aethiopica, calla, and calla lily for Z. elliottiana and Z. rehmannii although it is neither a true lily (Liliaceae) nor an Arum or Calla (related genera in Araceae). It is also often erroneously spelled as "cala lily". It has often been used in many paintings and is visible in many of Diego Rivera's works of art. The Zantedeschia are rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plants growing to 1-2.5 m tall with leaves 15–45cm long. The inflorescence is a showy white, yellow or pink spathe shaped like a funnel with a yellow, central, finger-like spadix.
The Zantedeschia species are poisonous due to the presence of calcium oxalate. All parts of the plant are toxic, and produce irritation and swelling of the mouth and
all species are endemic to southern Africa. Z. aethiopica grows naturally in marshy areas and is only deciduous when water becomes scarce.
Photo credit: Patrick Fratellone
Sunday, May 23, 2010
"The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely." - William Osler
"It isn't what I do, but how I do it. It isn't what I say, but how I say it, and how I look when I do it and say it." - Mae West
"The only thing I regret about my past is the length of it. If I had to live my life again, I'd make all the same mistakes - only sooner." - Tallulah Bankhead
"Instead of over-reacting, try under-reacting because THIS SHOWS wisdom, patience and peace." - KM
There are four quotes today. The first from who I consider the master physician, Sir William Osler. The middle two were actresses who graced both the theatre and the silver screen. Two great quotes in honor of the Drama Desk Awards this evening (Rick and I will be in attendance). The last quote really does sum up the previous three quotes if you read them over again. Who doesn't over-react? I know I certainly do. This over-reacting creates a form of addiction - 'drama' or not knowing what to say at first, you may over-react. I have learned to under-react. It shows maturity and growth in you as an individual. Why throw temper tantrums, sulk or put on a sad face after you over-react. Do nothing...try under-reacting. As it states above, this shows wisdom, patience and peace.
Today I will leave the B vitamins, even though I still have biton, B6, B12 and even folic acid to discuss. I wanted to go right to the anti-cancer, immune system booster, anti-heart disease vitamin. I am talking about the properties of Vitamin C. Thank you Linus Pauling! The chemist wrote a book abput how you couldn't get enough vitamin C and he wrote about mega doses of Vitamin C. These mega doses ranged from 15,000 mg (15 grams) to 40,000 mg (40 grams). It is not upsurd.
Historically, the lack of Vitamin C was termed scurvy. Scurvy is characterized by edema, hemorrhage, weakness, softness in bones and teeth and lesions of the skin. Sailors in historical times who ate fruits such as limes when aboard ship prevent this deadly disease. Those individuals where called 'limeys'.
The functions and importance of Vitamin C is seen in collagen biosynthesis. It is an essential cofactor for enzymes that synthesize collagen proteins. Collagen helps you form strong bones and teeth and connective tissue.
There are more and more studies on the role of Vitamin C in cancer. It does augment the activity of the immune system against cancer. There are few studies that state that higher doses than normal (Linus Pauling doses) can cause growth of cancer cells and if taken while a patient is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, then it can lessen the benefits of these conventional treatments. I do believe that certain chemotherapy and cancer can be beneficial, though few. I do believe that every modality of medicine, whether conventional, herbal, massage, accupuncture, meditation, yoga, homeopathy, et al must be utilized. The best treatment for cancer is a change in your dietary habits.
I know I was given a glass of orange jucie in the morning as a child attending school. This, my mother said, would prevent the common cold. Today, a glass of OJ is pase. I would rather eat fruits that are high in antioxidants and less in sugar (low glyucemic). The fruits that are high antioxidants and low in sugar are all berries. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons and lime are rich in Vitamin C but are acidic and moderate high glycemic fruits.
In heart disease, Vitamin C may control the damage of free radical in the blood system. These free radicals cause all diseases and can cause the oxidation of LFDL cholesterol, thus causing plaques and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The photograph below was taken is Los Angeles, California. It is from a lemon tree in the Garden of Quinn. The Garden of Quinn is exquisite and is being renovated as we speak. Gracious thanks to the photographer for allowing me to photograph these lemons as well as art work (which will be converted to needle work in the future).
Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and some vegetables as broccoli and brussel sprouts. The fruits that have an excellent source are strawberries, lemons, oranges and pineapples. For those with an unstable blood sugaror diabetes, be careful of the amount of sugar contained in these fruits.
Photo credit: Patrick Fratellone
Place: Garden of Quinn, Los Angeles CA
Saturday, May 22, 2010
"Good things are ours for the asking, if we are willing to participate in the work. It is W and W - Work and Wait!"
We are a society that is fast-paced...well, at least in New York City or any other major city. It is amazing in other cities, states and countries where it is slow paced. We can ask our Higher Power not only when things are bad, but especially when things are good. I find this better since most of us, or rather I, can easily self-sabbotage a good thing. Participating in the work is really participating in life. Being present for the moment and not dwelling on the past - maybe a fast glimpse of the past and not predicting the future. Sounds silly, but it is not projecting into the future. The future can be the next day, the next week, or the next moment. Breathe, breathe, breathe 4-7-8 (go back to that March Blog); Work and wait! Work and Wait! Let life happen as it should.
Yesterday, I did a blog on Hashimoto's thyroidits. I did finally get to incorporate Niacin, which is really what I wanted to discuss. Niacin or nicotinic acid is converted to nicotinamide, which becomes a vital coenzyme for the mitochindria to make NAD. Boy, those powerhouses of every cell come up very often! Until 1918, symptoms such as muscle weakeness, diarrhea and tremors baffled scientists. The disease entity for these symptoms is called Pellagra. You cannot randomly take niacin because megadoses can be toxic. This is not a Linus Pauling vitamin (Vitamin C megadoser).
In the past, the southern states have more Pellagra since the staple food was cornmeal and not protein. A low protein diet must have some supplementation with niacin. Niacin deficiency has been linked to heart disease and cancer. Niacin is a type of B vitamin. It is water-soluble, which means it is not stored in the body. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine., which means you need a continuous supply of such vitamins in your diet.
Niacin can be formed in the body from tryptophan - an essential amino acid found in meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Therefore, if your diet contains these foods, your need for niacin from other sources will be reduced. I would recommend more fish (providing these fish are low in mercury, rather than meats). For those fish lovers, avoid tuna, swordfish, catfish, bottom dwelling fish and all crustaceans.
The photograph above was taken in Ithaca. It is a Buttercup (Ranunculus). It is a large genus of about 400 species of plants in the Ranunculaceae family, which includes the buttercups, spearworts, water crowfoots and the lesser celandine (but not the greater celandine of the poppy family Papaveraceae).
They are mostly herbaceous perennials with bright yellow or white flowers (if white, still with a yellow centre); some are annuals or biennials. A few have orange or red flowers and occasionally, as in R. auricomus, petals may be absent. As you can see, the buttercup above is a yellow flower species. Buttercups usually flower in April or May but flowers may be found throughout the summer especially where the plants are growing as opportunistic colonisers, as in the case of garden weeds.
All buttercup species contain varying amounts of toxins and acrid-containing compounds. For this reason, I would not use it internally or externally. Perhaps there is a species that one can use since there are 400 species. Again, as in life, it takes more learning and researching...
By the way, there is no relation between the vitamin B, niacin and the buttercup. That is the beauty of a blog--all topics in one blog DO NOT ALWAYS have something in common.
Friday, May 21, 2010
"Healthy barriers will give you the freedom to pursue your development apart from those whose approval you seek out"
I never used to have a barrier! What is a barrier--a blockage, a dam, a separation from one thing to another? I never realized I needed a barrier to protect myself. I think of it now as space. I need space between myself and others. I remember seeing a woman who said to a bystander, "You are invading my space!" 'So he was standing so close by,' I thought. I never thought there was anything wrong with that. Perhaps this is a bad example but a healthy barrier (space) has allowed me to develop into the man I am today. The second part is something I am still learning a day at a time. For myself, and maybe for others, I used to think I needed approval of others to make myself worthy. That was a very low self-esteem moment. That was years ago but sometimes I slip into that mode. It is a mode switch that turns on and off. A day at a time has taught me about self-esteem. That is the 6th lifestyle change, which we will discuss in later days in the blog. I need to seek out my own approval and my Higher Power's (God's) approval - that is all.
I was to blog about Niacin today but I changed my mind. Why not?! It is my blog! I have been seeing many patients with Hashimoto's autoimmune thyroiditis. This is the name of the autoimmune disease that affects 14 million Americans. The body makes its own antibodies that attack the thyroid gland, which results in a low production of the thyroid hormone, both T3 and T4. This is called hypothyroidism or an under active thyroid (low production - hypo means low). You might face symptoms of cold hands and feet, hair thinning or loss, constipation and fatigue. You go to the doctor and he states your thyroid is normal by measuring the thyroid stimulating hormone - TSH (NL .27 - 4.0). If your TSH is less than <.27, then you would think less than means low. NO - A low TSH <.27 means hyperactive (over) or hyperthyroidism, whereas a high TSH (>4.0) means hypothryoid or under active thyroid. So you have your thyroid TSH checked and your TSH is 2.0, which is between the normal range (.27-4.0). You have all of the symptoms above and the doctor states nothing is wrong. You know there is something wrong. I repeat the TSH and it is also normal but I check your Free T3, Free T4, the thyroid autoantibodies, TPO and thyroglobulin antibodies. Both Free T3 and Free T4 are low, now meaning you are hypothryoid and you have a high TPO (thyroid peroxidase antibodies). You have HASHIMOTO's thyroiditis. Read this again and again to make sure you understand what I am talking about. Other symptoms of Hashimoto's include puffy face, depression, dry skin, weight gain, joint or muscle pain, increased total cholesterol, falsely elevated good cholesterol (HDL) and even fullness in the throat.
What causes Hashimoto's (named after a physician)? Who knows! Seriously, the exact cause is unknown. Is it the environment - a virus, stress-induced, or iodine excess?I find it related to a dairy and wheat allergy. I see it often associated with gluten sensitivity (to such foods as barley, rye, oats and wheat - BROW) and to the extent of celiac disease.
There are several dietary measures to help this autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto's). L-carnitine is an amino acid important in energy metabolism. I use this amino acid to improve heart muscle function or low ejection fraction. Reduced levels of L-carnitine have been measured in the skeletal muscle of patients with hypothyroidism (low thyroid). Maybe that is why a patient with Hashimoto's has joint and muscle pain--just a thought! The muscle carnitine function does return to normal when the under active thyroid function is regulated. Hypothesis suggests that L-carnitine inhibits the T3 hormone entry into the cell.
Another useful agent is iodoral (iodine), which is inorganic, non radioactive iodine. More and more Hashimoto's I encounter, I know there is a decreased intake of iodine in this country. Remember I am NOT talking about radioactive iodine. I see those patients that receive iodoral or iodine regularly have decreased levels of the autoantibodies. Often there is a need for thyroid supplementation with either synthetic (synthroid - levothyroxine) or cytomel (liothyronine) versus natural thyroid (derived from bovine) and iodoral.
Do not go out and buy and supplement iodine if you are tired. Seek medical attention. Have the doctor measure iodine levels and all of the above levels.
In a way, we are going to discuss niacin or nicotinic acid. This B vitamin is a cofactor in the production of energy ATP (remember the power house of the cell -mitochondria). There are studies to show that intake on niacin over periods of time will decrease the autoantibodies.
The photograph above was taken in the woods (Into the Woods) of Ithaca, New York during Botany 101 with 7song. It is a Blue Bead Lily. Blue Bead Lily (Clintonia borealis) is a plant of moist, cool forests, often referred to by its Genus name of Clintonia. The Genus is named after DeWitt Clinton (1733-1812), a New York naturalist, ten-term mayor of New York City and popular governor of that state. The signature deep blue berry of the Blue Bead Lily is considered toxic to humans. The traditional medicinal uses of Blue Bead Lily include an aid to burns, an anti-inflammatory and as a tea derived from the root used to assist childbirth. More modern uses include the root’s production of diosgenin, a chemical vital in the production of the synthetic human hormone progesterone. I need to take a photograph of this Lily from the side next time.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
"We are powerless to change our past, but we can change how we look at it." Thanks KM
I realize I am powerless over everything, especially the past. It has gotten me this far and never fails. You who are reading this are powerless also. That is how I help people who have sugar addictions--those that are powerless over sugar. Maybe even powerless over their mother, father, partner, spouse etc. I will discuss this more when we discuss the 3rd lifestyle change--Addictions
The quote makes me think of a great song. I haven't decided when to post it. It is a reflection of one's life. It can be sad but it does make you think. Maybe tomorrow...who knows
Yesterday, I discussed thiamine. Today is roboflavin. It is important because it is an essential component of a larger coenzyme (FAD). FAD is used is many reactions of the body. It is used in the powerhouse of the cell. You must go back to 7th grade biology (thank you, Mr Lombardo) and recall the mitochondria. The mitochondria is the powerhosue of every cell, which produces energy or ATP. If you do not have enough riboflavin, the symptoms are burning and itching, especially of the eyes. Oh, the mouth as well. What is a dietary source of riboflavin? Well, unfortunately, it is meat and dairy--two things I am not fond of. If you ever read Michael Pollan's 'The Omnivore Dilemna', then you will never eat meat again. I rather you read his first book, 'The Botany of Desire' as it talks about apples, tulips, marijuana and potatoes. Sounds enticing, doesn't it?! The second source, dairy, is controversial. I personally do not drink or eat cow's dairy. I read Ron Schmid, MD book, 'The Untold Story of Milk - Green Pastures, Contented Cows and Raw Dairy Foods'. Not only did I find this book informative but I found it very historical as well. Although it sounds medicine knows a lot of riboflavin, it was not until 1932 that we really understood its role in medicine. Most of the B vitamins work together. You will realize this when I finally end the blogs about B vitamins. Thiamine works with riboflavin, which works with niacin.
Yes I will blog about change but remember this: "No More Regrets" by Edith Piaf
Here it goes...
Now as the wheel of life turns faster
Now as the seasons seem to fly
I see so many things at last
But didn’t see the time go by
I‘ve known delight, I’ve known disaster
The caviar, the humble pie
From the absurd to the sublime
I didn’t see the time go by
I didn’t see the years roll on
I didn’t know when youth was gone
Pretending it might never end
And now there is a price to pay
For every day I threw away
It seems I wasted half a lifetime
Within the blinking of an eye
I didn’t hear the midnight chime
I didn’t see the time go by
In stolen nights and brief romances
I kissed the men and made them cry
Where there were balconies to climb
I didn’t see the time go by
I was the guy with all the answers
The halfway truth, the little lies
So sure, so certain in my prime
I didn’t see the time go by
I hit the heights, I bit the dirt
I left some wreckage in my wake
I didn’t see that lies can hurt
I didn’t know that hearts can break
And now they come to haunt my mind
The life’s I touched and left behind
I sang a hundred songs of longing
Of sweet regret and hope run dry
I searched for melody and rhyme
But never saw how time can fly
Never saw the darkening sky
I was a mistrel of my time
Who did not see the time go by
The picture above is the pond at Alicia's Bed and Breakfast in Ithaca. I sat by the pond and meditated (the 4th lifetstyle change). It gave me time to relax. I also did my needlepoint. After taking this photograph, I think it will make a great cross stitch.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
MAY 18 , 2010
"Your Higher Power has never promised to make your troubles go away, but your higher power did promsie to give YOU strength and power to overcome them"
I rather always mention a Higher Power rather than God because everyone has their own version of God. It might be the God of your religious belief, your guardian angel, the world's nature, or Good Orderly Direction. For me, it is spiritual. Although my beloved mom told me never to discuss religion, sex and politics--I am way beyond that. Remember nothing is ever put in your way that your higher power knows you can't handle. Try to be spiritual. When we discuss the 4th lifestyle change, which ismeditation, I will discuss this further.
For those of you that are new to this blog, I practice Integrative Medicine. It used to be called Alternative, Complimentary or Holistic but the newest terminology is Integrative. I believe this is the Medicine of the Future. I practice the 'people's medicine'. I am Paul Muni in the 1959 film, 'The Last Angry Man', which tells the story of a television producer who profiles the life of a physician. I love this film. Mr Muni's 30 year film career allowed him to receive five nominations with him winning the Best Actor Award for the 1936 film 'The Life of Louis Pasteur'(another favorite movie of mine). His character actually talks and spends time with patients, which I have done since I started practicing medicine.
Recently in Explore, The Journal of Science and Healing May/June 2010, a review article was published on 'Research on Integrative Healthcare: Context and Priorties'.
The definition of integrative health used to be the best of allopathic or conventional and holistic medicine. In this review, it is defined as prospective, relationship based, patient-centered, comprehensive and holistic healthcare that focuses on the patients' priorities for well-being as well as preventing, managing, rehabiltating and palliating disease and injuries. Although that is a long definition--READ IT AGAIN. It is simply stating Focusing on the Patients' Body, Mind and Spirit. The four authors are from four great institutions, Sloan Kettering, NYC, Bastyr University (a naturopathic training university for naturopathic physicians in Washington State), Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and Wake Forest University in North Carolina. It is a must for all to read. I will try to put it on my practice web site.
There has to be a patient-health care practitioner relationship taking into consideration the patient's socioeconomic status, financial status and environmental and social issues. Send this blog to everyone you know. Integrative Medicine is not a Grass Roots movement--it is not going away. Herbs, plants, massage, acupuncture and all other forms of medicine are NOT disappearing. The general population wants a better solution. I do not believe that all of the integrative medicine must be at the patient's expense, especially for the health care practitioners who practice it and do not take insurance. This will change. IT MUST CHANGE.
You do know that the basic change needs to come from the people. The best thing you can do for yourself is face the fear and try to the best of your ability to change one's lifestyle first--the dietary lifestyle. This is what I have been trying to say since I first started this blog on March 11th, 2010.
Yesterday, I blogged about Herbs for every Decade of your Life. I thought it was informative and made sense. I want you to try a new drink--Mint Tea with Grapefruit Juice or Raspberry Leaf Tea with Pomegranite Juice. Tonight, I have made a pot of White Willow Bark tea. I obtained the loose tea in Ithaca. I feel Rick needed it to heal his arm.
Regardless of what disease entity you might have or someone you know might have, encourage them to change their dietary lifestyle. Whether it be high blood pressure, diabetes or even cancer. Did you know that there are herbs that a cancer patient can take safely when undergoing chemotherapy? These herbs have been studied to help with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Some only think of mistletoe at Christmas time because you are supposed to kiss someone if you are both under the mistletoe. There is so much to write about and for me to learn and enhance your knowledge.
Photo credit: Patrick Fratellone (Yes, I actually took these on my first Botanical Weekend in Ithaca.)
I promised a photo on my favorite herb, Lily of the Valley (Convallaria sp).
I believe I posted it on the Mother's Day blog. It actually brought me back to my mother's own home garden. When I was meditating by the lake at the B and B I stayed at in Ithaca, it was growing by the lake. It was a magical moment.
The second photograph was taken on a nature walk. It is a rare plant, The Lady Slipper, which is an orchid. I will write on it in the future. I need to study more about this plant species. Some of you have seen this type of orchid but I never thought I would see it in the wild in New York State. Maybe in the tropics or Costa Rica, but never in the Finger Lake area. What a peaceful moment came over me when I saw that incredible plant. Enjoy!
By the way, Rick is a much better photographer! He has taught me a lot about the camera and the eye of the individual taking the photo.
Monday, May 17, 2010
"Remove yourself from worldly concerns so that you may seek the peace and serenity of solitude today"
Did anyone miss me? I am not the first person to go back to school at an age of nearly 50. I have had many of my patients attend various programs/schools even at the age of 75. I have mentioned that I feel plants are my calling or rather herbs are my calling. I had peace and serenity this weekend in Ithaca, New York--peaceful at night except for the frogs. I read, rested and learned. I even felt empowered to learn new things. I did remember what the parts of a plant were from Mr. Sette and Mr. Lombardo (my 6th and 9th grade Biology/Science teachers, respectively). I have to give thanks to my classmates from all walks of life and the instructor, 7song, but I must give the most gratitude to Rick for always supporting me in these ventures, being who he is and waiting to hear my non-stop speaking of plants when I arrived home.
Since we all should make lifestyle changes, I wanted to write about some herbs we might think of taking at various times in our lives. I was given the opportunity to start herbs at a very young age. As I approach the 5th decade of my life (50), I was wondering what herbs I gave my kids when they were younger. I remember when I fell down in our driveway at 8 years old and hurt my knee, my grandfather (Poppy) went into the garden, grabbed a bunch of colored flowers, crushed them between his hands and rubbed them on my knee. The pain and bleeding stopped. I think some of the flowers were rose petals, but the others were yellow in color. I used Calendula cream when my kids (now adults) got scratches and scrapes.
So do you want to live a long and vigorous life? Of course you do! Who doesn't! I believe that neetles and dandelion are at the top of the list. I will put their genus and species respectively, but honestly I do not know their families yet. (Urtica dioca, and Taraxacum offcinale) These plants are rich in anti-oxidants, which help your body with free radical damage as we age. As we get older and get into our 20's and 30's, I want you to concentrate on anti-inflammatory herbs. For those females that are following the blog, I will discuss some herbs at a latter date for conception and pelvic congestion. Take an adaptogen - these are the best ways to help the body with stress. There are a few herbal adaptogens which will help the immune system. You can use American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and Siberian ginseng or eleuthero Eleutherococcus senticosus. I do not know the Family names yet but will get it to you. I like these herbs as teas or tinctures.
I know some herbalists who use ashwaganda (Withania somnifera). I have used it for sexual enhancement in men and women, but many use it for regulating sleep patterns, reducing stress and strengthening the immune sytsem. Duirng my college and medical years, I took a lot of ginseng to help me with stress. In my 30's and 40's, the most effective and life-saving measure was a twelve step program. It changed my whole life, which will be discussed when we talk about the third lifestyle change- addiction. In my 40's, I started to concentrate on my heart by taking hawthorne, garlic and lots of green tea. I wrote two articles in peer review journals on these herbs (see our website www.fratellonemedical.com) under Articles. I love garlic and green tea. Being Italian, I have a specific feeling towards garlic. I need to start to protect my brain as I am approaching 50. I have been thinking of consuming skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) and common sage (Saliva officinalis) per James Duke. I admire and respect Dr. Duke as an herbalist over his many years. I am currently trying to read 'Medicinal Plants of the Bible', but botanical schoolwork will have to come first these days. It will have to be Harrington, Newcombne's and Gleason.
I know as I get into my mid 50's, I will start to take Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens). I use lots of Saw palmetto for my men in my practice. Mae West used to say "It is not the men in life that count, but the life in my men". How true is that!
While in Ithaca, I found an old book from 1933 on Herbs. It is fascinating because I love the history and folk lore of herbs.
The needle point above was given to Nancy Byrd (Rick's mom) for new bloggers. I had it ready for her for Mother's Day. It does tell you about this weekend. It was about
green (as the backing of the pillow) and about flowers (which is the center petit point with surrounding French wool needle point). I am working on another one similar to the above but in a different color.
Photo credit: Michael Byrd
Thursday, May 13, 2010
MAY 13, 2010
"The peace is found in this moment. Acceptance is the first step to inner calm."
Who doesn't want peace and serenity? Where do we fine serenity, calm and peace? Is it in treating ourselves for a shopping spree? Most find it when changing their hair color, a new haircut, a visit to the plastic surgeon etc. This is on the outside, not on the inside. You might find serenity in chaNging your apartment surroundings? Maybe in a new place to live or in moving to a new state or ending or starting a relationship with another person. The change should come from within. Your serenity could be prayer, meditation or thinking of a past memory. Perhaps you are praying to your higher power or to a loved one who has past or praying to your guardian angel.
Yes, an angel. Rick and I had an experience of literary meeting an angel. I know this sounds strange. Last year while volunteering on Fire island, we attended to a patient where a 'boy' had been at this man's side before we even got there. He was 'cherub-like'. All he did was hold this man and tell him all would be alright. As quickly as the ambulance took this man away, this angelic boy was gone. It was an angel.
The above plant is Angelica. This is a tall, striking plant. Its official name is Angelica archangelica. It has carminative properties. You need to go back to a blog entitled Properties of Herbs. This property is due to its content of volatile oils. The volatile oils are in the angelica root. Not only does it contain volatile oil, but it also contains bitters. This allows the herb to be used in digestive disorders. Since there are bitters, angelica is sometimes used in those after dinner liqueurs. The oil can be used externally for arthritic conditions and internally as a tea from the root.
Enjoy the photos above. This weekend, I will attend courses in Ithaca. I hope to see and smell Angelica. I will not be blogging this weekend but will post my photos from the Finger Lake area.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
May 12, 2010
"When we want things around us to change, the best place to start is within ourselves"
I was once asked why God gave me two hands. It was a difficult question for me to answer at that time in my life. I didn't have an answer. I was told "God gave you two hands to help other people with one hand, and help yourself with the other hand."
How true is that! We all can change our hair color, even grow more hair, ask the surgeon to nip and tuck and fill your face with injectable fillers. On the outside you will look good but did anything change if you didn't change yourself? You can move to a different apartment, even move to another state and better yet change your partner. What really changed if you didn't work on yourself from the inside-out? This is not perfection. There is no perfection in life. It is only progress not perfection!
Today is a day I wanted to sit in bed. I wanted to needle point, relax and have a cup of tea. I couldn't decide, if I did stay home, what tea to have. In yesterday's blog, we discussed Camellia, which is green tea. Tea is warming, health-promoting and even stimulating. It is consumed only second to water worldwide. It is far more consumed in Europe and the Far East than in the United States. Do not be overwhelmed by the vast amount of teas that are on the market. Remember years ago when there were aisles of coffee? I remember Cora (Margaret Hamilton known for her role as the Wicked Witch of the West, in 1939 Wiozard of Oz) promoting Maxwell Coffee--good to the last drop. I even have a mental bank for Eight O'clock coffee from the 1940's. Today, there are aisles and aisles of tea.
Green tea is stated to have the highest concentration of polyphenols, especially EGCG. There are many medicinal uses of tea as discussed in my May 11th blog. It can regulate blood sugar, boost metabolism, enhance cardiovascular performance, reduce lipids and even fight cancer. There are new studies to indicate its benefit in mental cognition and enhancing memory. The amount you would have to consume for these benefits is overwhelming. Do not be discouraged -enhance your 3 cups a day with a high concentration green tea capsule or extract.
Black tea also has polyphenols, which are known to stop bacteria overgrowth in the mouth. It has been shown to have anti-viral properties against the herpes virus. It also has anti-inflammatpory properties. Both teas have anti-oxidant benefits due to the polyphenols.
White tea is stated to have more of an antioxidant potential than green tea. It prevents cell damage. It has been promoted to be used in cancer with benefits. More studies need to be done on white tea. I have used white tea and another herb, calendula, for acne.
Oolong tea is the best eta for suppressing appetite. Everyone wants the magic bullet to suppress appetite. The herb, Hoodia, has been promoted to be the one herb that does this. However, there is not enough african hoodia in the world for the amount we see on the health store shelves. What is that about?
Mate tea is the powerhouse tea filled with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. It does contain caffeine. Caffeine will have to be discussed in a separate blog. I find it amazing to see lines outside a Starbucks. They are not giving it away for free. Perhaps there is an addictive effect to their coffee. Try tea rather than coffee. Mate tea does stimulate your mind and body but it is not a favorite tea of mine.
Rooibos tea or red tea is not known to many people. It is a great tea with many minerals as copper, iron, calcium, manganese (a trace mineral) and magnesium. For those vegetarians who do not consume meat, it is a great source of iron in addition to leafy greens.
Dandelion tea is a beneficial tea for the digestive tract as well as promoting a detoxification of the liver. This tea also has a more diuretic
Peppermint tea is a great tea for digestion as well as lemon balm.
Let's not forget the tea that many of you use for sleep. Chamomille tea is not only for sleep but to calm the nervous tension and ease the digestion.
Do not worry--I am finishing more needle points. I just haven't had the time to frame or pillow them yet. I have one or two that will be completed by the end of this week. Some of them you may have seen but not in its finished glory.
Ask your higher power for a full recovery for Rick after his surgery. It would mean a lot to me. Thank you.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
May 11, 2010
"He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows or all he sees" - Benjamin Franklin
"Where there is LOVE there is LIFE." - Gandhi
Two different quotes on views of life. I thank a friend for sending me the first quote. I have learned the hard way! It is better to speak less in what you know and see if it will affect another person's life. This means no gossip - idle gossip is defined as 'character assasination'.
As far as LOVE--it is overused, but never overstated. People easily have those three simple words flow from their tongues, sometimes too easily. It is a powerful word. I wish there was a definition besides this one: any of a number of emotions related to a sense of strong affection and attachment. The word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure to intense interpersonal attraction. For me, an awkward definition. Love should not be defined but actually felt. Throughout history, philosophy and religion have done the most speculation on the phenomenon of love. We can discuss love for blog upon blog. I believe if you truly love, then Gandhi is correct that there is life. Of course, in months ahead, we will discuss the final and 7th lifestyle change, which is self love.
I know I have been discussing herbs but it is a need within me. Especially this next herb, Camillia sinensis. The more common name is Green tea. Tea is consumed only second to water for enjoyment and for health. Green tea originates from China and seems to be always associated with Asia, Japan and the Far East. There are many varieties of green tea. They vary from how these are grown, harvested and even processed.
Over the last ten years, there has been a lot of scientific research on the health benefits of green tea. I should know since I co-authored a paper on Green tea for The Journal of Science and Healing in November/December 2006. This paper was a review of other articles about green tea. More studies continue to be published. In the American Journal of Nutrition, Septembner 2009, another study appeared. This study had to do with the fact that green tea improves lung health. The study concluded that daily consumption of green tea reduced the risk of pneumonia-related deaths. It also evaluated the number of cups one should drink. In many reviews, the amount of green tea consumption can be as high as 30 cups/day. This Japanese study evaluated 1-2 cups, 3-4 cups/day and 5 or more cups/tea resulting in decreasing death by 41%, 45% and 47% respectively. This study was done for Japanese women. There are so many reviews. In November 2009, it was found that oral green tea polyphenols were not found to prevent skin photoaging. So why is it in herbal cosmetic products? There are many studies indicating green tea is beneficial for a variety of cancers. In October 2009, a study confirmed that green tea consumption may decrease the risk of gastric (stomach) cancer in women. In August 2009, there was a study indicating the posible anti-obesity of a green tea extract.
I could blog forever about green tea. Since so many cups are needed, I formulated a high dose EGCG green tea product called G force. It is available at www.longevitynutritionals.com
To start your reading, readthe article on our web site, www.fratellonemedical.com Above is the article link.
Photo credit: Rick Byrd
Monday, May 10, 2010
"Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible."
This is such a true statement. I believe faith is not religion. When I speak of faith, it is in my opinion that you have spirituality. There are many individuals who are spiritual as myself but no longer follow a specific faith or religion. I feel I can pray in a Catholic church, a synagogue, a Protestant Church, or even on a park bench in Central Park. I do believe there is a power greater than myself. I do not necessarily call that entity God. But I do believe.
Yesterday, being Mother's Day, I didn't get to write a lot about Hawthorn or my favorite flower, Convalleria.
Hawthorne (Crataegus oxyacantha) has been used for thousands of years. It is sometimes called haw, mayblossom and even mayflower. Other names it has been called are thorn-apple and whitehorn. Since the 17th century, hawthorn has been used by herbalists for congestive heart failure (CHF). It is in the German E monographs, which specifically indicate its usage, dosage, safety and efficacy in Europe. We do not have an entity in the United States for herbs. I think we should as I feel and know herbs and drugs. There needs to be some guidelines. We do have an Herbal PDR for physicians to look at interactions between drugs and herbs. However, how many doctors have you been to that asked "What supplements do you take including herbal remedies?" I think few have even bothered to ask. Herbal Medicine is the new future. We must rely on these plants for cures. Hawthorn is considered a heart tonic (cardiac tonic) along with Convalleria (Lily of the Valley), ginseng and motherwort. Hawthorn does contain proanthocyanidins and flavinoids to effectively pump the heart better. This action is also known to the Foxglove from which a common used cardiac medicine is derived called digitalis or digoxin. The main cardiac effects of hawthorn are improvement of the blood supply to the heart by dilating coronary vessels (arteries of the heart), improvement in metabolic processes of the heart (increasing pump fucntion like foxglove) and the inhibition of the angiotension coinverting enzyme. There is a conventional class of medications called ACE inhibitors that do what hawthorn does. These conventional medications end in -pril. Example are enalapril (vasotec), captopril, ramapril (altace) etc. In addition to these cardiovascular effects, hawthorn is used for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), hypertension (blood pressure) and arrhythmias (palpitations, extra heart beats). It is mainly the flowers and the berries that are used, which is pictured above.
I didn't find hawthorn mentioned in Medicinal Plants of the Bible by James Duke.
Since herbs are drugs, it must be used with caution with beta blockers such as metoprolol as it can exaggerate the hypotensive (low BP) effect. Hawthorn can increase the effects of digoxin (the foxglove plant). I have also seen it increase the sedative effects of central nervous stimulants such as alcohol and psychotropics. I do know that hawthorn can increase the action of Convalleria (Lily of the Valley). I also read that it increases the action of Adonis vernalis.
To be truthful, I have never heard of adonis vernalis! I will have to do more work this week.
The above is of the hawthorn flowers and berries. They are spiny shrubs. To identify a specific species is difficult. I hope I can on my adventures in Ithaca. Flowers are white with 5 petals. It does flower in spring and early summer so look out for it. I do know a folk tale that a scratch from one of the thorns can cause blindness.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Mother's Day Weekend May 8-9, 2010
"Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life"
"You can fool all of the people, some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but your can't fool MOM"
Both quotes are appropiate for Mother's Day weekend. Life can bring you happiness, joy, serenity and peace but if you do not know what to do with it, then nothing will happen. I have searched, researched and studied how I can be happy, joyous and free--then on this day, sixteen years ago it just happened. Well not just happened, I had to work at it a day at a time. No, remember another blog, A Moment at a Time.
Herbs for the heart can be varied. I want to concentrate on palpitations or extra heart beats. These are sometimes called extra systoles. These are also called arrhythmias. The best herb is Hawthorne (Cratageus oxyacantha). I want to spend a lot of time on this herb with all of its properties. It improves coronary circulation, cardic arrhythmias and weakness of the myocardium.
The picture above is my favorite flower. It is called Convalleria majalis. It is also known as Lily of the Valley. The flowers and the herb are used. The fresh leaves have the most powerful action, the next being the flowers. The red fruits are considered poisonous. I use this herb in patients with atrial fibrillation.
On Mother's Day, every person thinks of their mother or grandmother. My mom passed in 1982 and my grandmother, Nanny passed in 1988. Although 28 and 22 years have past respectively, they are never forgotten. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of them. The Lily of the Valley grew in our garden. When we drove into the driveway, there was a fence. Beyond the fence and a statue of the Virgin Mary was my Poppy's vegetable garden. Every year, these white upside butter cup flowers bloomed. My mom called them special. I have other special moms in my life: my Aunt Mary Ann, Aunt Mary, Barbara and my dear Nancy. We all have mothers and grandmothers. Remember them today whether or not we might not get along with them or they have passed on...This is a day we look upon or reflect upon. Reflect of a happy time with your mom or gandmother. Mine was called Nanny.
Friday, May 7, 2010
MAY 7, 2010
"This is all we have , this moment! Within it, anything can be done if we only use it well. Why hold back?"
It is so true that we only have this moment. There is a song from "Hello, Dolly" called "It Only Takes a Moment". It is a day at a time but sometimes it is a moment at a time. Some time last week it was a Karmic Day--it started out by a patient talking about me studying in the Peruvian Amazon, followed by an email about 'Medicinal Herbs of South America'. This was followed by a email from the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine. A patient then discussed working with the bushman in Grenada, West Indies. This led me to thinking about writing a book on the "Medicinal Plants of the West Indies" Medicine is my life, but I believe 'plants' are my calling.
As promised, I want to discuss some herbs used in hypertension. Ninety percent of hypertension is called essential or primary hypertension. Secondary HTN only accounts for 10% of the cases.
One of the herbs used in HTN is Indian Snakeroot, which is also called Rauwolfa (Rauwolfa serpentina). This plant belongs to the periwinkle family. I love the color periwinkle. It grows wild in India, yet many species have been found in the Congo. The plant contains alkaloids. The most important and the commonly known one is reserpine. This plant can reduce hypertension in about 40% of cases. Among the plants, it is the most well-known plant.
Mistletoe (Viscum album) can achieve a hypotensive effect in about 20%. The same can be said for olive leaves and garlic. I co-authored a paper on garlic. It is available on www.fratellonemedical.com.
When using Rauwolfa, start with small doses (under the direction of a health care practitioner). It is used in mild to moderate hypertension. It should be considered to be used a sole agent.
Back to mistletoe(Viscum album). There is Phenosol, which is a mistletoe extract produced by Madaus with a long and credible history of reducing blood pressure.
It is a gentle herb and it does not act as immediately as Rauwolfa.
A common herb sold as a tea is very effective. It is made from the flowers of the Hibiscus plant. The name is Hibiscus sabdariffa. A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition 2010 concluded that a daily consumption of 3 cups of hibiscus tea effectively lowered blood pressure in pre and mildly hypertensive patients. This is realistic to incorporate into your dietary regimen. The mechanism is not well understood but relies on the phytochemical, hibiscus flavinoids. I feel this is more realistic than drinking green tea. Also, on the practice web site is another article concerning green tea (Canmilla sinensis). To achieve the many results from green tea, one must consume on an average of 30 - 42 cups/tea. I know this could not be incorportated into one's diet.
I have used motherwort, scotch broom, hawthorne and night blooming cactus for the treatment of arrhythmias, especially atrial fibrillation. I sometimes add Convallaria.
Convalleria is one of my favorite flowers. I will tell you about it on Sunday, May 9.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
"Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another's beliefs, practices and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them" Joshua Liebman
Joshua Loth Liebman (1907-1948)  was an American rabbi and best-selling author, best known for the book Peace of Mind, which spent more than a year at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list. In Peace of Mind, Liebman "addressed himself to the individual whose personal grief and anxiety, unassuageable by social betterment alone, required an inner peace that psychology and religion, working together, could provide". Unfortunately, this brilliant mind died of age 41. The cause of death was attributed to heart disease, which is the #1 killer in the United States. It was a great loss.
We all need to practice tolerance. I attempt to never judge. In today's world, that is a hard order. I believe if we practice tolerance, then it gets easier and easier. This has been a hard concept for me to address yet being an integrative healer/physician, one needs to understand a patient's beliefs. We are not speaking of religious, political, and sexual beliefs, although many individuals think that when we speak of tolerance. For example, I am talking about a cancer patient who believes that chemotherapy/radiation will kill them as it might have done to a loved one. I have to listen to the patient--that is the key. I can offer other therapies. I am obligated to tell the patient the pros and cons of any therapy. If the patient is of sound and mind, then he/she can make this decision. I also encourage family members to come to the first meeting, whether it is a consult or first visit to the doctor. We could go on and on, but this is a good example of tolerance for the physician/healer to the patient who is suffering from cancer.
You must practice tolerance of the elderly. As they get older, I find that they are mere children. Be patient with them. Remember, one day you will get old and someone will have to care for you.
My mind was wandering on what to discuss. Since we are concentrating on lifestyle changes, it is important you understand types of vitamins. There are soluble and non-soluble vitamins. Unlike fat soluble vitamins (D, E, A, K), water soluble vitamins are not stored in the body. Every day I want to discuss a vitamin(s). This means that water soluble vitamins must be replenished on a daily basis. The body cannot hold onto to them.
The first vitamin to be discussed is B1, thiamine is a cofactor vitamin. Historically, you might remember that a deficiency of thiamine results in a disease called beriberi. The symptoms of beriberi are devastating. These symptoms include muscular wasting, swelling of tissues, mental confusion and ultimately death. It also relates to the polishing of rice. When polishing rice, you remove the husk, which contains thiamine. Rice without husks resulted in berberi.
I do see thiamine deficiency in very strict vegetarians. Studies with cyclists and athletes have claimed that mega doses of Vitamin B1 did not improve their performance, as was previously thought. We probably could say the same with the new fad of Vitamin D. I would like to see more studies on all vitamins.
Every day, I will try to discuss a new vitamin starting with the soluble ones. Tomorrow will be riboflavin.
The top photograph above is a plant that was pointed out to me on our weekend nature walk in Ithaca. It is of a ghost pipe. Ghost pipe (also known as Indianpipe) is a member of the Monotropaceae family. I think my professor mentioned that the family changed names but I must research it more. The genus name Monotropa is Greek for "one turn", referring to a sharp recurving of top of the stem, and the specific epithet is Latin for “one flowered”. This native plant species is found throughout the majority of the United States in humus in deep, shady woods at low to moderate elevations. That's where our professor found it. The lower photograph is from a flowering ghost pipe. I will research the plant for the future.
Here is poem I thought was beautiful
There is a language , little known
Lovers claim it as their own
Its symbols smile upon the land
Wrought by Natures wondrous hand;
And in their silent beauty speak,
Of life and joy, to those when seek
For love divine, and sunny hours
In the language of flowers.
By F.L.W. from The Healing Powers of Flowers - by Rhonda Downey
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
MAY 5, 2010
"Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back. Always chose the path that leads to wisdom" Buddha
I have learned as we all have what holds us back. I feel it FEAR. Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of economic insecurity in these uncertain times--just plan fear. Although I know what can lead me forward, I used to tread with hesitation and uncertainty. I have learned to take the plunge providing I have the tools to lead me down the path of wisdom , serenity and peace. I am no longer straddled on the banks of a stream. I used to be indecisive yet impulsive. Is fear really your anger? Perhaps that is a question to be pondered.
Remember reading about Spanish fly? I first encountered it in SCREW magazine years ago. I was intrigued. It is made from the remains of a Mediterranean beetle (Cantharis vesicatoria) It supposedly stimulates the vagina and the penis. It irritates the mucous membranes of these organs and even can cause severe blistering. It has caused hepatic (liver) and renal ( kidney) failure. It is a Class I poison. Who knew !
Ephedra or Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica) This herb was in many protein power drinks to increase your energy. It was promoted as a muscle builder used by many It had various other names - Herbal Ecstasy and even Cloud 9 It was a legal high and substituted for uppers and Ecstasy. It has major cardiac consequences as high blood pressure, irregular heart beats and even heart attacks. Thank goodness it is off the market. The last herb that can be dangerous is the infamous, mandrake. There are two varieties, spring and fall, mainly from the Mediterranean, especially Greece. It was once considered a magical herb to lure the other sex ( or perhaps the same sex)
It smells horrible. Never understood why people sought after this herb
Can smell be an aphrodisiac? Of course it can yet the sense, smell is the least understood. Animals and insects use pheromones. These can be powerful sexual stimulants. Can you imagine love at first smell. I have never thought of a smell when attracted to someone. Usually it is the eyes or the teeth. I have others say it is other things--the bust size, the perfect ass, or even the package. It is the physical beauty or the emotional/spiritual beauty. Do humans possess pheromones or a scent? It has been studied and researched about human sex pheromones are not technically aphrodisiacs. They do NOT directly stimulate the sexual organs not the sexual appetite. They might enhance the mood and the sensuality. These are scents. Perhaps the scent of the flowers above can induce a mood. The flowers scent might make you feel warm, more confident, more attractive and alluring. There have been many studies on the effects of male and female pheromones on males and females. This has led to a new field of medicine--AROMATHERAPY. One thing I do know is that aromatherapy does reveal the powers of Photochemicals. These can be made into oils which can heighten or soothe the body, alter mental states and maybe quiet the emotions. I have not personally used aromatherapy in my practice. I would rather refer to a practitioner familiar with aromatherapy. I did read and recommend The Pocket Guide to Aromatherapy by Kathi Keville. Perhaps this can be your new self esteem hobby. One of my colleagues decided to become familiar with Back Flower Essences.
BOOK OF THE WEEK:
The Sexual Herbal: Prescriptions for Enhancing Love and Passion authored by Brigitte Mars is a book to read about aphrodisiac herbs. Great advice in her book. It is an easy read for the curious despite its 502 pages, and priced for any budget.
It is in my cart. Who doesn't want to improve sexual health and function.
Tonight a reminder by my Aunt Mary stated that age is nothing but a number. How true !
Photo credit: Patrick Fratellone
The flower arrangement above will make a great needle project)
Until tomorrow... a new day and a new blog
Monday, May 3, 2010
May 4, 2010 Tuesday
"There are two sorts of doctors; those who practice with their brains and those who practice with their tongues."
"Faith underlies the healing in many settings"
Osler is responsible for both quotes. In the latter quote, he extrapolated--'while we doctors often overlook or are ignorant of our own faith cures, we are just a bit too sensitive about those performed outside our ranks. We have never had, and cannot expect to have a monopoly in this pancrea which is open to all, free as the sun and which may make of every one in certain cases, a good physician out of Nature's grace.'
I believe he was stating that many can cure diseases in different types of modalities, from medications to faith to herbs. I want to believe this for I respect Dr. William Osler more than any physician I have read about or studied.
Who can argue when he states "A physician needs a clear head and a kind heart"?
Today's blog continues with herbs for long term sexual vigor. I want to discuss Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) , which can stimulate the female sexual glands. See, I didn't forget about the female sex. It is an important herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is a fantastic herb when a doctor, usually an integrative doctor, states you have adrenal exhaustion. These glands, which sit on top of the kidneys, get exhausted and over-used when the individual is stressed. More adrenaline (or epinephrine) gets released when your adrenals are stressed, thus causing more anxiety and palpitations. It then pours more sugar into the blood circulation...a vicious cycle. If your adrenals are exhausted, then you are fatigued, depressed, unable to concentrate, anxious and 'run down'. The furthest thought from your mind is sex. The use of licorice can strengthen and boost the adrenal glands. Not only do females suffer from adrenal stress, many men do as well. The use of licorice is most often used in the post-menopausal female. One warning is that licorice can increase your blood pressure. Remember, I always state that herbs are drugs. Consult your health care professional before using an herb.
When you think of Sarsaparilla (Smilax officinales), what do you think of? I always think of root beer! This is because it is a flavoring in the carbonated drink, root beer. For Native Americans, it was considered a male tonic and aphrodisiac. In Europe in the 16th century, it was used to treat syphilis. I am trying to find out why but I cannot find data to indicate the possible reason. Saraparilla does contain a steroid-like compound, so you will see it in protein drinks to increase muscle mass and body mass in weight lifters or anyone who wants more muscle. There is no evidence to indicate this, nor is there any data to indicate that this herb contains a male hormone. The saponins in this herb stimulate the body's metabolism. I have seen female patients take it to increase urination when they have a urinary tract infection. I rather then use uva ursi to treat their infection.
Like the two "G" herbs yesterday - ginkgo and ginseng - Schisandra (Schisandra chinesis) is another adaptogen. It is the Chinese who have used it extensively--the men as a general tonic and sex stimulant and the female as a sex stimulant and preserver of beauty. Who wouldn't want to use it since the Chinese have had so much success with this herb? It has been studied to increase aerobic activity and stamina.
An amino acid that releases nitric oxide thus dilating the sexual organs, as the penis, is L-arginine. It is a natural Viagra. The amount of L-arginine must be as high as 6-9 grams/day. You must consume it daily and as a powder. The reason for this is that arginine is only available is 500mg capsules, so to take 5 grams you would need 10 capsules. If you have a herpes virus, L-arginine is the food fuel source for the herpes virus. The same analogy is for nuts. Nuts contain L-arginine so if you have a herpes virus (which is active) limit the ingestion of nuts.
Are there dangerous herbal aphrodisiac? Of course there are! The blog tomorrow will highlight some of these herbs. In addition to L-arginine, I would like to discuss other supplements which are more common in regard to sexuality. These include Vitamin E, B complex, phosphatidylcholine (lecithin) and phenylalanine.