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September Issue of Natural Alternatives
August 29, 2014

Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health

September 2014

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

I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.

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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates







CT scans reveal anatomical structures of acupuncture points.

A CT (computerized tomography) scan is a series of X-rays used to create cross-sectional images. In this study published in the Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena, researchers used in-line phase contrast CT imaging with synchrotron radiation on both non-acupuncture points and acupuncture points. The CT scans revealed clear distinctions between the non-acupuncture point and acupuncture point anatomical structures.

Acupuncture points have a higher density of micro-vessels and contain a large amount of involuted microvascular structures. The non-acupuncture points did not exhibit these properties.

The researchers note that the state-of-the-art CT imaging techniques used in this study allow for improved three- dimensional (3D) imaging of a large field of view without artifacts. This greatly improves imaging of soft tissue and allowed the researchers to make this important discovery.

The acupuncture points ST36 (Zusanli) and ST37 (Shangjuxu) were shown to have very distinct structural differences than surrounding areas. At the acupuncture points, microvascular densities with bifurcations “can be clearly seen around thick blood vessels” but non-acupuncture point areas showed few thick blood vessels and none showed fine, high density structures. The acupuncture points contained fine structures with more large blood vessels that are several dozen micrometers in size plus beds of high density vascularization of vessels 15-50 micrometers in size. This structure was not found in non-acupuncture point areas.

The researchers note that the size of an acupuncture point “can be estimated by the diameter of microvascular aggregations….” They also commented that other research has found unique structures of acupuncture points and acupuncture meridians using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), infrared imaging, LCD thermal photography, ultrasound and other CT imaging methods. The researchers commented that many studies using these technological approaches have already shown that acupuncture points exist. They note that “the high brightness, wide spectrum, high collimation, polarization and pulsed structure of synchrotron radiation” facilitated their discovery. They concluded, “Our results demonstrated again the existence of acupoints, and also show that the acupoints are special points in mammals.”

In another interesting study, researchers used an amperometric oxygen microsensor to detect partial oxygen pressure variations at different locations on the anterior aspect of the wrist. The researchers concluded that partial oxygen pressure is significantly higher at acupuncture points. Below are images from the study measuring the increase of partial oxygen pressure combined with an overlay of the local acupuncture point locations. The images map the Lung, Pericardium and Heart channels and their associated local points. Acupuncture points P7 and P6 clearly show high oxygen pressure levels as do the other acupuncture points in the region.

These measurements are not needled points but are natural resting states of acupuncture points absent stimulation. A truly unique finding, acupuncture points exhibit special oxygen characteristics. Acupuncture points and acupuncture channels are scientifically measurable phenomena in repeated experiments.

by Dr. E. Group

Are you among the many seasonal allergy sufferers each year? Are you tired of the negative side effects many over-the-counter antihistamines provide? Fortunately, there are natural alternatives that can provide relief without inducing drowsiness, dizziness, or headaches — symptoms usually accompanied by most conventional approaches. Most natural antihistamines help to deter symptoms associated with an overactive immune system. They may also help quiet allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes, sinus congestion, and difficulty breathing. Or, they may simply respond to a histamine reaction resulting from exposure to a specific allergen.

5 Natural Antihistamines

There are many natural herbs that display inhibitory properties to histamine. Here are the top 5 herbs which address some of the most common allergy symptoms:

1. Elderberry
Elderberry is a European folk remedy typically used for supporting health during bouts of the cold and flu. However, there is evidence that the active ingredients in elderberry also support the sinuses by discouraging swelling of the mucous membranes. This benefit makes elderberry an excellent tool for supporting health while combating seasonal allergy symptoms. It naturally protects defenses by keeping bacteria in check, and it has also been used to deter sinusitis and nasal congestion. It is usually found over the counter in health food stores as a liquid syrup.
2. Eyebright
Eyebright is a flowering herb that has been used to support eye health since the Middle Ages. There is very little scientific evidence to date to support the herb’s use as a natural antihistamine; yet, the existing data does provide promising insight into the herb’s powerful benefits. Eyebright contains high levels of antioxidants which may be used to support eye health, and the plant itself has been said to combat dry eyes, allergies, sinusitis, conjunctivitis, and other eye infections. It can be taken as an herbal tea or combined with water and used as an eyewash.
3. Ginkgo
Ginkgo biloba is a Chinese herb that is often associated with mental alertness and memory support. However, it is actually a versatile herb that can be used for a variety of conditions, including glaucoma, bronchitis, asthma, seasonal allergies, tinnitus, and poor blood circulation. Some references also describe ginkgo as a natural antihistamine. It is considered a tonic herb in Ayurveda, meaning it helps restore balance in the body.
4. Jewelweed
Jewelweed has been used for centuries by Native Americans as a natural approach to poison ivy. The allergic response generated by poison ivy is what is known as a histamine reaction. The natural chemical constituents of jewelweed appear to act much like corticosteroids, compounds that inhibit or “block” this histamine reaction. This may also apply to other histamine reactions, such as those that occur with contact dermatitis and bee stings.
5. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle may sound painful, but it’s actually considered a wonderful health-supporting herb. Nettle has natural histamine-blocking properties which are especially beneficial for seasonal allergies. Historically, stinging nettle has been used for sore joints and gout as well as eczema and hay fever. Current research, however, has yet to support this ancient use.

by Starre Vartan

Turns out the key to a clear complexion (for me) was diet.

I've long been a pretty healthy eater: I never ate junk food or fast food growing up, so never developed a taste for it; I love fruits and vegetables and eat plenty of them; I keep hydrated as I work out often; every once in awhile I record what I eat for a few days and check my intake of vitamins, fats, protein, and other nutrients. I'm usually quite balanced. But my skin didn't look it.  

Throughout my 20s I was dogged by persistent cystic acne. It was not only incredibly unattractive (and meant that I wore makeup even though I don't like to), it would hurt for days before and after an eruption. Mine hung around my mouth and was especially bad on my chin and under my nose. Usually I'd have just one at a time, but sometimes I had two (one on its way out and another one just cropping up) and it drove me crazy. I experimented with all kinds of natural cleansers and moisturizers with little success, though my non-inflamed skin looked nice. I got angry and tried conventional products filled with chemicals—those made the rest of my skin very unhappy and didn't work. I tracked it and my acne was not on a monthly cycle. What could it be? 

And then, at my friend Cara's suggestion (she's a massage therapist and alternative healer), I started looking at my diet. Cara suggested doing elimination diets, where I would take one potential cause of acne out of my diet at a time. The key was, she told me, that I had to eliminate whatever it was—wheat, dairy, and soy are all common acne triggers—for longer than I would think to find out if they were causing the problem. She suggested 6 weeks, which seemed like an eternity to me. Thinking that it would be a good idea to try out this diet anyway—maybe I'd drop a few pounds, or maybe wheat was making me feel crummy and I didn't know it—I embarked on a six-month-long survey of my diet. 

I tried cutting wheat first; everyone was touting the benefits of gluten-free and it was easy to find substitute products, and I went almost two months without consuming wheat (and I'm a regular sandwich-eater). No change—not in my skin, not in my weight, not in my energy levels or anything else. Which was, frankly, a relief, because I'm not in love with gluten-free breads and cookies, and my partner is a really good baker. 

Next, I tried ditching soy—I occasionally eat processed soy, but not much, and would drink soy milk in my cappuccinos when there was no organic milk available. I ate tofu stir fries with lots of veggies at least once a week. After 5 weeks, I gave up, since I wasn't noticing any difference. I was beginning to think my experiment was a failure, but I still had one food left to eliminate.

Cutting dairy wasn't that big of a deal; I'm vegetarian, and eat cheese and eggs, but not much, and 3-4 times a week I had a cappuccino or macchiato made with milk. I ate yogurt or sour cream once a week at most. And I've never had trouble digesting dairy—not as a kid and not as an adult. I definitely have the lactose-digesting gene. And for the first week, I didn't notice anything; same for the second week. Around the third week (just when I was seriously contemplating some local, organic ice cream, but reached for the sorbet instead), I thought I maybe saw my skin clearing up. By week four, my skin overall looked great, and my last breakouts were disappearing. And then I went for two more weeks—then three—and my most recent acne scars healed up and started disappearing.   

My experiment worked; as long as I stayed away from dairy, my skin stayed clear. I tried working in some hard, aged cheeses, and that was fine. But as soon as I drank a milky latte, or a cup of yogurt (always organic), I would break out 5-7 days later; I experimented several times, and each time it took a few days, but I would develop a horrible giant cystic zit. 

  When I mentioned my successful experiment on Twitter, several of my followers said they were going to see if they could solve their own acne problems via eliminating dairy. 

Follower @LavNandall, who is based in South Africa, responded to my Tweet a few days later: "Update on leaving dairy for acne. A week later, my skin tone is more even & pores smaller." 

She followed up weeks later with: "Update on leaving dairy: It's been 3 weeks today and no new acne spots despite the heat wave!" 

And finally: "Update: Been more than a month. No acne visible! This is magic!" 

Proof that I'm not the only one who has found clear skin through dietary changes. Why would dairy be connected to acne? Doctor Oz breaks it down on his site:

“Much of the milk that we drink is produced by pregnant cows and contains high levels of hormones that can send oil glands into overdrive,” explains Omaha dermatologist Dr. Joel Schlessinger. Progesterone, insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) as well as compounds that the human body turns into dehydrotestosterone (DHT) are passed on to the milk, which can aggravate acne. Unfortunately, you don’t get a pass for buying organic milk from cows that haven’t been treated with Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH). “The hormones are just as bad,” he insists. If dairy triggers your breakouts, “You simply have to avoid milk.” Schlessinger advises his patients switch to almond milk, and cut down on cheese and other dairy products. 

So if you struggle with acne, try eliminating milk products from your diet; and give it at least a month to see if it works for you.



Thank you for reading.

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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