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Your December Issue of Natural Alternatives
November 30, 2021

Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health

December 2021

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








By Zachary Mack

After more than a year and a half of living under a global pandemic, the idea of catching the flu almost feels like a distant memory. But even as life slowly begins to return to normal, the truth is that becoming infected with influenza can still be a harrowing experience.

While each year changes in severity, the 2018 to 2019 flu season saw an estimated 29 million illnesses, 13 million flu-related medical visits, 380,000 flu-related hospitalizations, and 28,000 flu deaths, according to the data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As always, doctors are urging the public to get their flu shots to help shore up their immunity—especially amid concerns the flu virus could come roaring back after flu cases were tamped down by COVID-19 preventions last winter. But according to new research, there's one supplement that can help cut your risk of developing severe flu symptoms. Read on to see what you should be taking to give your body another line of defense.

Taking a zinc supplement can reduce your risk of severe flu or cold symptoms by almost 90 percent.

The latest insight comes from a meta-analysis published this month in the journal BMJ Open. In total, researchers reviewed 28 clinical trials that included 5,446 adults at risk for or infected by a viral respiratory tract infection such as the common cold or the flu. While none of the studies specifically focused on the use of zinc to prevent or shorten the length of illness, the data within included information on zinc dosage, duration of the illness, recovery time, and the severity of symptoms from the virus, Eating Well reports.

Results of the analysis found that taking zinc in the form of lozenges or nasal sprays had a noticeable effect on patients. Overall, there was a 28 percent lower risk of developing mild symptoms cold or flu symptoms, and an 87 percent lower risk of developing moderately severe symptoms while taking zinc supplements.

Zinc supplements also appear to help cold and flu symptoms go away more quickly.

Besides being able to stave off the virus potentially, the researchers also found zinc supplements could still hold a benefit for those who were already sick. Results showed that those using a zinc nasal spray or a liquid formula taken under the tongue saw their symptoms dissipate two days earlier on average than patients given a placebo.

Researchers concluded that zinc supplements could be a "viable 'natural' alternative" flu treatment.

Ultimately, the researchers conclude their findings supported the use of zinc as a way to avoid or take care of a cold or a bout with the flu. "The marginal benefits, strain specificity, drug resistance, and potential risks of other over-the-counter and prescription medications makes zinc a viable 'natural' alternative for the self-management of non-specific [respiratory tract infections]," the study authors wrote in a statement. They also added: "[Zinc] also provides clinicians with a management option for patients who are desperate for faster recovery times and might be seeking an unnecessary antibiotic prescription."

One of the study's authors also pointed out that the meta-analysis provided a critical perspective missing from many other focused studies on the use of zinc supplements in battling the flu or the common cold. "The two large trials from China found very low dose zinc nasal spray reduced the risk of clinical illness. The two smaller trials in the U.S. that evaluated the preventive effects of oral zinc excluded people who were zinc deficient," Jennifer Hunter, PhD, one of the study authors and an integrative medicine doctor Jennifer Hunter from Western Sydney University in Australia, told Medical News Today. "It is commonly thought that zinc's role in preventing and treating infections is only for people who are zinc deficient; our findings really challenge this notion."

Researchers still pointed out that it's still not clear what's the best way to take zinc.

Despite the results, the researchers were also quick to point out that even small doses of zinc can cause non-serious side effects such as nausea—and especially in the case of nasal sprays, temporary loss of smell. But the data also leaves it unclear exactly which method and which dosage is best to secure the results seen in the analysis. For now, they suggest more studies are needed on the topic.

"Clinicians and consumers need to be aware that considerable uncertainty remains regarding the clinical efficacy of different zinc formulations, doses, and administration routes," Hunter said. "At the moment there just isn't enough research to say whether a zinc nasal spray, versus a nasal gel, versus a lozenge, versus oral zinc is any better or worse than the others. Most of the trials used zinc gluconate or zinc acetate formulations, but that doesn't mean that other zinc compounds are less effective."

About the Author: Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan.

By Jamie Schneider

When it comes to the best foods for gut health, perhaps you fixate on some of the more famous probiotic-rich players, like sauerkraut or kimchi. We absolutely love those choices (they're superstars for a reason!), but according to integrative gastroenterologist Marvin Singh, M.D., we also shouldn't ignore the underdogs. Namely: the herbs and spices. 

See, herbs and spices are so versatile—you can sprinkle them onto any dish and instantly upgrade it to a gut-nourishing meal. Now that's something worth celebrating. And if Singh had to pick a favorite herb? He would select cilantro: "I consider cilantro a super-herb," he says on the mindbodygreen podcast. Here's what makes the underrated (and flavorful) herb so powerful. 

What Makes Cilantro a "Super-Herb."

First, cilantro is chock-full of antioxidants, like vitamin C and vitamin A. "Vitamin A supports the eyes and bones, while vitamin C supports immunity,"* women's health dietitian Valerie Agyeman, R.D., once told mbg about the herb. But cilantro is also rich in quercetin—you know, that potent flavonoid with antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties to support the natural immune response and provide respiratory and sinus health support.* Talk about an impressive plant bioactive. 

But Singh, of course, is a gut doctor, so we can't ignore cilantro's ability to nurture your tummy. "We use cilantro in detoxification as well," he says. (It contains linalool, which helps support the liver.) "And it has an impact on blood sugar." (Specifically, the herb activates enzymes that remove sugar from the blood.) 

As for the taste? Well, it's a bit polarizing. People either love or hate the pungent flavor—some even have a genetic variation that makes cilantro taste and smell like soap. But Singh certainly falls into the pro-cilantro camp: "I love this as a garnish to salad or any kind of dish," he says. "Throw some cilantro on there, and it's very flavorful."

If you're new to the herby salad game, a few cilantro leaves will, no lie, transform your meals. "People say, 'Oh, my salad is monotonous. What's so fun about a salad?'" Singh continues. "Well, put some cilantro in there, put some arugula in there, and see how it changes the taste." (Arugula actually earns the No. 1 spot on his "best foods for gut health" list; )

The Takeaway

According to Singh, cilantro has some super benefits for overall health. Not only is it rich in antioxidants, but the herb can also aid immune support, detoxification, and blood sugar balance. If you're a fan of cilantro's spicy flavor, Singh suggests taking full advantage of the herb's power.

About the Author: Jamie Schneider is the Associate Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and health. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.


Living with oily skin can be a slippery slope. Using a face wash can feel totally pointless, while makeup only makes things worse. And who would want to re-apply mattifying powder every hour? To top it off, oily skin is the perfect breeding ground for acne, something no one ever wants to deal with.

Needless to say, oily skin needs special attention, and the wrong ingredients or habits will just bring on the grease. So the goal should be to control excess sebum, not get rid of it. Drying out your skin will actually encourage sebaceous glands to make more oil. Talk about a catch-22! And to balance things out and get a handle on overactive sebaceous glands here’s a few things you could do.

1. Wipe Your Face With A Cleansing Oil

A cleansing oil might seem like the last thing you need but it’s a game changer. It breaks down sebum, dirt, and makeup while adding moisture. It’s no wonder that it’s a staple in Korean skincare and is starting to pop up around the United States. A good option is sea buckthorn berry oil, a remedy proven to control excess sebum.1 You could also try jojoba oil which is believed to mimic sebum on the skin to “trick” sebaceous glands into producing less sebum and help keep oil levels balanced. That said, it’s important to note that there’s no scientific research to support this theory so you’d have to give it a go to see if your skin truly responds well to it.

2. Limit Washing Your Face To Twice A Day

Oily skin might make you want to scrub your skin clean several times a day. But it’s important to limit washing your face to twice a day and after sweating. Overdoing it will just strip away natural oils and some sebum is needed for healthy, supple skin.

Be sure to cleanse your skin after using a cleansing oil to get rid of any excess oil and gunk. Try and avoid products with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Although these ingredients fight acne, they’re also quite drying. Consider using them in spot treatments instead.3 This way, you can avoid exposing healthy skin to their harsh effects.

3. Use A Face Mask 2–3 Times A Week

Since oily skin is more prone to breakouts and acne, treating your skin to a face mask 2–3 times a week will unclog pores and remove trapped oil and dirt. Besides, it’s a relaxing, easy way to give your skin a pick-me-up. Better yet, a mask with oil-absorbing ingredients will handle excess sebum. Additionally, look for face masks that feature hyaluronic acid or alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) for extra oil-banishing properties. Here are a two popular oil-busting face mask ingredients if you’re planning on doing things yourself.

 Papaya: This will give you a natural glow. A 2014 study in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Science found that papaya combats both oil and bacteria. It’ll also reduce melanin, the natural pigment behind hyperpigmentation, but won’t leave your skin dry.Simply mash up fresh fruit and use as a mask or cleanser.
Clay: Clay is amazing for absorbing extra oil. Many commercial products have it, but save your cash and buy cosmetic clay powder from the health store. Mix it with papaya for an instant oil-absorbing mask. However, wear it only for 15 minutes and don’t let it dry out completely.
Egg whites and lemon: A folk remedy for oily skin, lemon and egg whites are believed to tighten pores. To give them a go, combine 1 egg white with 1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice and use it as a mask. You could add a cup of mashed strawberries to the mix for a dose of vitamin C. If you’ve got a lemon allergy or sensitive skin, it might be a good idea to skip this remedy.

Always do a patch test when using a new face mask. Just apply a small amount to your neck, back of the ear, or inner wrist. Wait a few hours and look for any irritation.

4. Don’t Forget To Moisturize

Even oily skin needs to stay hydrated. Otherwise, dryness will make your sebaceous glands work even harder. Use a water-based moisturizer with zero fragrance. Doing so will keep your pores from being burdened with more oil.

5. Add Honey To Your Skincare Routine

Honey is a rare “one size fits all” remedy. It reduces oil, hydrates the skin, and kills acne-causing bacteria like Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Add it to your face masks, use it as a spot treatment, or slather some on every other day for a few minutes before washing it off.

6. Use A Green Tea Toner

Toners help tighten your pores and remove oil. And while you can find several different brands of toners out there, we suggest opting for green tea or a product that contains it as an ingredient. This is because the polyphenols (antioxidants) in it control inflammation, sebum, and bacteria, making it an excellent choice for angry, oily skin. All you have to do is steep green tea leaves in warm water, pour the tea into a spray bottle, and spritz the solution on your face regularly or after cleansing.

7. Keep Blotting Paper Handy

Anyone with oily skin would know the pain of trying to deal with excessively greasy skin that makes it seem like we’re perpetually sweating. And since constantly powdering your face will only give it a cakey pallor, it might be best to carry blotting paper with you. While these thin, small papers can’t prevent the oil from being produced in the first place, they do a good job at minimizing the shiny, greasiness that oily skin brings with it, especially on a hot summer’s day. So you can blot away at the oiliness whenever you’d like to. The best part? They’re inexpensive and easily available.

8. Exfoliate With Oatmeal Or Ground Almonds Every Week

This is an important skin care practice to remove dead skin cells, oil, and gunk. And regular exfoliation will prevent sebum in skin cells from getting clogged and breaking out. Natural ingredients like oatmeal and ground almonds will exfoliate your skin without drying it out too much (which we all know will trigger more oil production). Combine either of the two with honey and gently scrub your skin before washing it off. Avoid exfoliating more than 2 times in a week.

9. Eat Clean

Although there isn’t enough research to fully understand the benefits of a clean diet on skin, traditional medicine holds that oily skin is worsened by consuming a diet high in greasy fast food. Besides, switching to dark, leafy vegetables as well as fruits, nuts, and whole grains can give your skin the nutrition it needs to stay healthy


I am excited to invite you to check out the following online events:

You can sign up even when the event is over or you are not able to attend. You will get access to the recording.

A Transformative Journey Into the Cosmic Mind Through Psychedelics: Chris Bache, PhD will share how you can apply what he discovered to your own life… so you can relax into the forces shaping your destiny, allowing you to live more consciously and with greater intention.

Experience Inner Coherence Through the Science & Spirituality of Music, Sound & Vibration: A Musical Practice to Reconnect With Your Heart, Mind & Spirit: Barry Goldstein, award-winning producer, composer, author, and “musitarian,” will share how the science and spirituality of music can enhance your power, purpose, and passion.

3 Keys to Unlock Your Powers of Mediumship: An Evidence-Based Path to Communicate With Your Spirit Guides & Loved Ones Beyond the Veil.  According to medium and author Suzanne Giesemann, the founder and teacher of The Awakened Way, anyone can learn to connect with the spirit world, because we all have the same “equipment” — a soul.

Discover Your Vagus Nerve as an Energetic Healing Pathway to Optimal Wellbeing: Experience a Simple, Potent Energy Medicine Exercise to Relieve Stress & Restore Your Mind, Body & Spirit: According to Melanie Smith, Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Energy Medicine Advanced Practitioner, you can rewrite the imprinted patterns that trauma and stress leave on your nervous system — as you reclaim your health and take back your personal power…

Conscious Breathwork to Break Through Resistance & Awaken Your Authentic, Luminous Self: On Saturday, December 4, world-renowned breathwork trainer Anthony Abbagnano will help you discover how conscious breathwork can help you get to the roots of stuck patterns — buried deep in your subconscious — and not only release their obstructive energies, but allow exciting new perspectives and possibilities to surface… as your deepest wisdom is revealed, integrated, and lived.

Demystifying the Herbal Formulas of Chinese, Ayurvedic & Western Plant Medicine for Enhanced Healing, Immunity & Resilience :October 30, David Crow, one of the world’s leading experts in botanical medicine and grassroots healthcare, will explore highly effective plant medicine formulas and how they serve different functions when they are consumed.  

3 Keys to Unlock Your Powers of Mediumship: An Evidence-Based Path to Communicate With Your Spirit Guides & Loved Ones Beyond the Veil. On Saturday, November 6, Suzanne will offer captivating insights and guide you in a process to help you open to your own innate gift

Supercharge Your Chakra Practice: How to Heal Your Energy Centers & Unleash the Full Power of Your Life Force.

For more information and to check out other upcoming courses and events go here. New programs are added frequently.


Thank you for reading.


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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 advises are not intended to be a substitute forconventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changesin order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.

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