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Medicinal Plants: Red Clover (Trébol Rojo)

We found this nice little bush of red clover (trébol rojo en español) in Guanajuato, Mexico at a plant show. Red clover is an ingredient in several well-known herbal cancer cures like the Hoxsey formula, Jason Winter’s Tea, and Essiac Tea. Red clover or trébol rojo is a perennial legume that adds nitrogen to the soil. It’s an ingredient in herbal cancer cures including Essiac Tea and the Hoxsey Formula as well as Jason Winters Tea. It’s value has been recognized by some big names in the herbal cancer cure arena. The classic herbal book Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss says that red clover is a life-saving cancer cure. The blossoms (which can be pinkish or whitish colored) contain compounds like caffeic acid, biochanin-A, chlorogenic acid, formonoetin, coumarin, genistein, and isorhamnetin, all of which demonstrate cancer-fighting properties. Red clover can be used as a liniment or balm for skin cancer, but it’s also used in the treatment of psoriasis, eczema burns, and sores. Red clover flowers contain eugenol, myricetin and salicylic acid which give it both pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Red clover is a blood purifier as well as a blood-thinner. As mentioned above, it contains coumarin, so people who are taking blood thinners should avoid red clover. It would also be wise to avoid red clover before surgery because it can increase the risk of bleeding. Studies have examined the medicinal value of red clover in regard to menopause because it contains phytoestrogens like genistein and daidzein. Red clover can be harvested and dried on a piece of paper for a few days for use in an herbal tea. Share... read more

Resveratrol Health Benefits That May Surprise You

  Resveratrol has become famous as a non-toxic dietary supplement that can help prevent heart disease. Though these claims have not been supported by big American organizations and corporations that stand to benefit from rampant heart disease in the U.S., resveratrol is still a wildly popular supplement. But does it really work?   For American and European citizens who live under a capitalistic health care system, each patient has to decide for themselves whether to follow the advice that’s being handed down by Big Pharma or other large corporations that stand to gain from disease or whether they’re going to take their healthcare into their own hands. Resveratrol is a non-toxic substance that’s widely available in common food items like grapes and chocolate. If it doesn’t work to reduce the risk of heart disease, then it probably won’t hurt you either. But again, these decisions are up to you, the patient.   What is resveratrol?   Resveratrol is a natural phenol that’s produced by certain plants in response to injury or attack by pathogens. The skin of grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and mulberries are rich in resveratrol as well as dark chocolate, peanut butter, and red wine.   Heart Disease, Chagas, and Resveratrol: Things Every U.S. Citizen Should Know   Current estimates say that between 300,000 and 1 million people in the U.S. are infected with Chagas or the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. Chagas is transmitted through Kissing Bug bites as well as blood transfusions and organ transplants. In the United States, there are recommendations to test donated blood for Chagas to prevent the spread of the disease, but blood testing is not required (which means that Chagas is still spread this way in the U.S.). Kissing Bugs can transmit the disease as far north as Nebraska and Pennsylvania. Often, the bites go unnoticed, or if illness develops, it’s misidentified and the disease develops into low-level chronic health issues.   The interesting thing about Chagas Disease is that it can take decades for it to cause chronic symptoms which include heart disease and/or inflammation of the bowels. Resveratrol is currently being studied in Buenos Aires because it’s one of few natural ingredients that have been recognized as having an effect on the Resveratrol is currently being studied in Buenos Aires because it’s one of few natural ingredients that have been recognized as having an effect on the Trypanosoma cruzi protozoan that causes Chagas. As of 2016, studies were being done on... read more

Temazcal, Heat, and Humidity Help Pudendal Neuralgia

  No one likes to talk about their private parts, especially when things aren’t going well. But sometimes, let’s face it, things go wrong down there. Recently, my husband had a strange nerve sensation at the tip of his penis that would radiate down his leg into the base of his foot. Needless to say, this problem, which he self-diagnosed as pudendal neuralgia, was distressing. Nothing seemed to help and after several months of this strange sensory anomaly, he’d decided that it was something he’d just have to learn to live with.   Last year, I went to a Rolfer for sciatica and lower back pain that just wouldn’t go away and at this time, I learned a little bit about nerves. One important thing that I learned was that nerves aren’t well understood and when they get stretched or entrapped, we really aren’t trained to recognize it. Most of the nerve pain that I was having (sciatica) was due to a nerve problem, not a muscular problem. But I’d been treating my pain as a muscular issue…I spent a lot of time stretching my muscles every day trying to make myself feel better, but with no success. Then I read the book, Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance by Stuart McGill, PhD and learned that what my back and my sciatic nerve really needed was rest. I needed to find physical positions and movements that didn’t aggravate the nerve…namely pain-free positions and movements. The goal was to position my body and move my body in a way that didn’t cause me pain or discomfort. Only then would my nerves stop screaming at me.   And you know what? That worked. I’ve been without back-pain for almost a year now, but I don’t do yoga anymore.   So when my husband started having this strange sensation that went from the tip of his penis to his foot, I immediately thought it was a nerve issue. Women often develop pudendal neuralgia or pudendal neuropathy after childbirth, but men can develop the problem as a result of constipation and chronic straining that put stress on the pudendal nerve. What was weird about his problem was that he wasn’t experiencing pain, but the nerve sensation that went from the tip of his penis to the bottom of his foot was distressing. We decided that his nerves might be compressed or irritated. It’s possible for nerve signals to get crossed and for a nerve... read more

Hormonal Imbalance in Women: Birth Control Pills vs. Herbal Remedies

If you go to the doctor because you’re a woman and you’re having hormone issues or menstrual problems, chances are your doctor will prescribe birth control pills if you aren’t already taking them. Most women these days take the pill or use some form of birth control product that uses synthetic hormones. For sexually active women, unless you have perfectly timed periods, with perfect “flow”, and you’re using a diaphragm or condoms, it can be hard to escape from synthetic hormones.   But are synthetic hormone treatments really safe?   There are a number of studies demonstrating that synthetic hormones are not very safe. Women who have used synthetic hormones to help them weather the symptoms of menopause have a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. In fact, the increased risks associated with the use of synthetic hormones by menopausal women was so high that the Women’s Health Initiative closed down a synthetic hormone study before it was slated to end [1][2][3]. Bioidentical hormones aren’t necessarily a better choice, even though they’re purportedly identical to the hormones found in the female body [3].   Effects of Birth Control   Many women take birth control pills as a form of contraception. If this is your situation, you’ll need to find another form of contraception if you decide to use herbs to control your hormone levels. Herbal remedies won’t help you prevent pregnancy.   On the other hand, if you’ve been prescribed birth control pills to control aspects of your monthly period that are undesirable, you might want to try using herbs to control the symptoms first. Herbs are generally safer (at least the ones I recommend below) and they won’t interfere with your ability to become pregnant later…in fact, they may even help with problems like infertility. My doctor prescribed birth control pills when I showed up at her office because I’d been getting my period every two weeks. I wanted to have her check me out first to make sure I didn’t have cancer, or fibroids, or some other problem. I didn’t. I got my prescription filled since I was going to be leaving soon on a three month trip to Egypt and I didn’t want to be without a solution to my problem while I was abroad. But before I took the pills, I decided I’d try some herbal remedies for my problem first. I wasn’t excited about taking the pill because when I was in... read more

How to Get Rid of a Yeast Infection: Candiasis

  I travel internationally a lot and it isn’t always easy to find over-the-counter yeast infection treatments especially in third world countries. I usually try to bring along a couple of yeast infection treatments on longer trips, but they take up a lot of space in my bag and honestly, sometimes they don’t always work. I’ve had my fair share of recurrent yeast infections that just won’t quit and I’ve learned to not put too much faith in prescription or over-the-counter medicines to solve the problem. We always have yeast in our bodies and in fact, it’s part of a delicate balance that’s not only necessary, but healthy. We don’t want to obliterate the yeast. We want balance. So I’ve learned a few tricks when it comes to treating a yeast infection using stuff that’s available almost anywhere in the world.  Stuff that won’t completely wipe out your intestinal flora or cause other weird side effects.   What is a yeast infection?   Many vaginal yeast infections are caused by an over-proliferation of yeast in the colon (candida albicans—not the yeast you’d use to make bread or beer). What happens in the colon spreads easily and directly to the vagina since the vagina and the rectum are located close to each other on a woman’s body. Normally, the vagina contains a few candida albicans cells and other bacteria that keep the population of candida under control, but a variety of things can cause an imbalance. Then, the candida do a coup and take over causing yeast infection symptoms like itching and vaginal soreness. A yeast infection can cause pain or burning when you pee or have sex. Some women (including myself at times) mistake a yeast infection for a urinary tract infection or cystitis. A clumpy, white, cottage-cheese like discharge is common.   The colon’s involvement in the yeast infection is why many yeast infections include a feeling of being bloated and swollen. I’ve had trouble finding information online about yeast infections in the colon, though I did find an article that talked about the sparsity of data about yeast infections in the colon despite the fact that they do happen [1]. I spent several years going to the doctor every other month for urinary tract infections and cystitis and every-so-often, the doctor would tell me that my problem was yeast and that I should be particularly hygienic whenever I’d wipe myself (“front to back”, they’d say…as though I... read more

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