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August Issue Of Natural Alternatives
August 01, 2008

Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health

August 2008

Hello, and welcome to this edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!

I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.

If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a favor and pay it forward!

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Nature is the Physician of all Disease ~ Hippocrates







In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is often used together with moxibustion, and these two are called “Zhen Jiu” in Chinese language. Here “Zhen” means needles and refers to acupuncture, while “Jiu” means moxibustion.

Similar to acupuncture, moxibustion is a method for both prevention and disease healing. It works through burning moxa or mugwort, a kind of herb, to warm the meridians or acupuncture points. In this way, it can help improve the flow of the blood and qi, and achieve better healing effects.

The history of moxibustion started thousands of years ago in China. Moxibustion originated with the usage of fire by human beings. During ancient time, while warming themselves around the fire, people accidentally found relief from cold and pain. Later on, they started using hot stones, or hot sand wrapped in animal skins or plant barks, to press on certain local body areas to treat diseases. Through such practice, ancient people gradually improved the healing method. They learned to use ignited branches or hay to warm the sick part of the body. From then on, the original moxibustion was formed.

After some time, people found moxa leaves to be the best materials. These herbal leaves can be easily ignited and produce mild heat. In addition, the fragrance of the herb itself can help enhance the effect of removing obstructions or stagnations in the blood and qi. This is how the current moxibustion technique was established.

The major ingredient used for moxibustion is Artemisia vulgaris. According to the ancient Chinese herbal classic A New Edition of Materia Medica, “The moxa leaves are bitter and acrid. They can produce warmth when they are used in small amount, and strong heat when used in large amount. They are of pure yang nature, and have the ability to restore the essential yang from collapse. They can open the twelve regular meridians, travel through the three yin meridians to regulate qi and blood, expel cold and dampness, warm the uterus, stop bleeding, warm the spleen and stomach to remove stagnation, regulate menstruation, and ease the fetus…. When ignited, they can go through all the meridians and eliminate hundreds of diseases.”

With these unique features, moxa leaves have been used as an ideal material in moxibustion treatment. The mild heat generated by burning moxa leaves can also penetrate deeply into the muscles. Moxibustion can be used for a variety of diseases, including asthma, common cold and flu, pulmonary tuberculosis, arthritis, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and other diseases of the cold type.

By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD

A few hours into a long flight the other day, the passenger sitting next to me asked me a question I sometimes dread, “So, what do you do for a living?” I can’t imagine being anything other than a nutritionist – it truly is my passion and I love it, but once I utter those words, people around me tend to become a little self-conscious about what they’re eating and drinking. I get it. I drive much more slowly and carefully as soon as I spot police car. I’m definitely not the food cop type, but I think some people feel like I’m going to whip out a nutritional citation. In this case, the man on my right responded with, “Look, I’m eating healthy!” He wasn’t asking for my opinion so I didn’t give it, but he was actually eating a collection of pseudo-healthy foods. Here’s what I mean:

Diet soda - it may seem like the perfect way to save calories and slash your sugar intake but studies show that diet drinkers actually weigh more than regular soda drinkers. For diet soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese tied to a 2 can a day habit is 57% compared to 46% for regular soda drinkers. Diet soda may throw off your natural appetite regulation, causing you to eat more sweets. It may also trick you into thinking it’s OK to indulge in high calorie foods because you “saved” by choosing diet soda.

Pretzels - the label may shout ‘fat free’ and seem like a better alternative to chips, but they’re made with refined white flour stripped of its vitamins and antioxidants. They’re also dense so they pack a ton of carb calories for a very small amount and they’re not filling. Think of it this way - one 15 oz bag contains the equivalent of 24 slices of white bread.

Spinach wrap – I’m talking about the wrap itself here. It looks green and good for you but spinach powder is only a scant ingredient. These wraps are typically made from refined white flour and the green hue primarily comes from food colorings (Blue No. 1 and Yellow No. 5.). In other words you can’t rely on the immune boosting vitamins A and C found in fresh spinach and it’s much higher in calories. One cup of cooked spinach provides 65 calories, 105 less than a spinach wrap, which doesn’t count as a veggie serving. Not to mention the fact that the fillings often include ingredients like fried chicken, Ranch dressing, cheese and bacon!

Blueberry scone - even a trans fat free wild blueberry scone packs over 400 calories (the amount an entire meal should supply) and over 50% of the maximum amount of artery-clogging saturated fat intake for an entire day. They also don’t count as a serving of fruit and they’re devoid of dietary fiber.

Vitamin water - yes it has vitamins, but at up to 200 calories per bottle (50 per serving with 4 servings per jug), just one of these a day can cause a 20 pound weight gain in a year’s time if the calories aren’t burned off.

Bottom line: that old saying, ‘All that glitters isn’t gold’ really holds true with food as well—all that appears healthy isn’t!


Want to have a healthy heart and the lower the risk of diseases? Well, start eating more fish, which contains more Omega 3 fatty acids that are good for the heart.

According to a recent study that is slated to be published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, eating more tuna, salmon and sardines keeps away heart ailments.

It states that the Omega 3, which is found in oily fish, gives the extra protection for the heart.

The study, which was conducted at two universities and a research institute in the U S and Japan, compared the White Americans, Japanese and Japanese Americans. It was found that the Japanese had the lowest levels of atherosclerosis and had higher levels of omega-3 fatty. Every aspect like blood pressure, serum cholesterol, body mass, smoking diabetes and body mass index was taken into account while making the study.

The study has shown that the higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids prevent the extra accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries. The omega 3 fatty acids, which are a type of polyunsaturated fat, are found in abundance in fish. The most potent Omega 3 fatty acids - Docosahexaenoic acid and Eicosapentaenoic acid are found more in oily fishes like salmon, tuna mackerel.


Thank you for reading.

Livia P.
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

P.S. If you have a comment or suggestion, just reply to this e-mail. Your feedback is important to me.



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This newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge, to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health. You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advices are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes in order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.

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