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turbojenn
Keep up all the good work you're doing stargazer!!! It can be rough at the beginning when its all work, and you're not feeling better immediately, but one day, you'll wake up, and realize...you are a different person...it happened so gradually for me, and then BOOM! ...I realized that I had a level of health and clarity I hadn't had in a long time.

I've kind of given up on the acupuncture free clinic for now, its too damned cold to schlep down there. As soon as turbomann is re-employed (godess, make it soon), I'm calling your ND!
chachaheels
Hmm. The thing about "cleanses" and fasts of any kind (I include detox of all kinds in here) is that the one thing you can count on is constipation. So something must always be done to find ways to address that problem before things get uncomfortable! Herbalists always put their patients on detox with herbs for organ support as well as herbs to stimulate the bowel and bladder in order to get everything out; a lot of NDs I know will give patients a botanical to use on a daily basis to make sure things don't get too congested, or put patients on a kind of bentonite clay/psyllium regime along with their detox plan. Detoxes also seem to stimulate the production of mucus--so if you find your nose and sinuses have been congested and draining, or that your skin in flaring up, then you know your body's actually reacting to the detox and is forcing stuff out, at a much more voluminous (if I can use that word...yikes) rate. Congestion is the natural outcome of that!

A lot of people do colonics, which Turbo brought up at one point. It's not something I even want to think about but many people swear they work well.

Just writing this to reassure you that the symptoms you're having are to be expected! They're not out of the ordinary at all, and they're temporary--things will settle down soon and you clear things, then your body will be better able to do this on its own, on a regular basis. Of course, with exercise, more water, and energy medicines like acupuncture, you'll be able to do this even more quickly.
stargazer
thanks chachaheels for the reassurance!

my ND has given me supplements to help with my liver and organs during this time. it is also helpful for me to know that my chin has been acting up as a result of the detox. he told me the lower half of the face, the chin, is connected with the liver...according to chinese medicine. he said i may see more breakouts here, but that i will get fast results because of this intense detox. everything will be moving quickly. my forehead is clearing up. just discoloration and some redness.

about colonics...i thought i've heard they are not good to use all of the time because harm could be done to the colon with the amount of pressure from the colonic. what is your take on chacha?

alot of people are into colonics and cleanses to "clean" their digestive systems out. but, it seems if you just followed a healthy diet and exercise, then those things would not be needed. unless, of course, there are other problems.
turbojenn
Well, You don't want to go get a colonic every week, that's for sure, and that's when you get into trouble with peristaltic responses. I tend to get them quarterly - I do a good cleanse, and cap it off with the colonic. Are they absolutely necessary...I don't think so...you can use other things like beet root supplements to gently cleanse your colon, but I've just found that when I do the colonic, and really do a good cleanse, its easier for me to stay on my diet plan, and not eat the stuff I shouldn't because I don't have any cravings. And if I do start the dietary slide, that's a quicker way back for me.

Ultimately, when our financial status clears, I want to work with your ND to really see if we can fix this diet thing once and for all, and build a healthier, more resilient me.
pepper
love the colonic. really, it's very effective after a cleanse (or during) and not that unpleasant or anything. just be sure to follow it with a good strong dose of probiotics because it really washes you out well.
chachaheels
Well, my take on colonics and "cleanses" is:

I'm a homeopath! I never need to suggest these things to people in order to treat them effectively with homeopathy.

That being said, in some cases, in conjunction with doing homeopathy, I will help someone change their diets to provide support if they wish to get off prescription drugs as soon as possible (this makes them feel like they're actively doing something to bring this about), but otherwise, I take a full case as thoroughly as I can, then go back to my repertory and materia medica books, research my patients' most important symptoms and the remedies these symptoms may indicate, then apply any number of appropriate analytical methods to the information I've gathered paying the most attention to the aspects of the case which are most important for understanding the patient as well as I can.

Then I come up with the remedy most similar to my patient. I try to determine the right potency for the patient, and then just give the one single remedy after making a decision between anywhere from 2 to 25 different, possible remedies which address the entire case. Then I monitor the effect of that single remedy, gauge whether the potency needs to be changed or the dose has to be repeated, and, based on whether or not I'm seeing an appropriate change in the direction of cure, decide whether or not to continue using that remedy or whether the patient's symptoms indicate that another remedy would be more appropriate. And that does everything that needs to be done. It's really simple.

And I do this with every patient, no matter what complaint they may have--whether it's a mom who can't produce enough milk for her infant, or a child with autism, or a woman with persistent back pain, or a man who is allergic to various foods and plants, or a woman who can't lose weight, or a kid with the flu (but the flu prescribing is always a lot easier because it's usually just an acute illness).

If they then decide to be more present and active in their dietary choices, I'll give support wherever I can and act as a resource person to help them develop a nutritional plan that supports the good health they're trying to maintain.

Sometimes people really want to do a cleanse/purge kind of thing (I understand that--they feel like they want to "start afresh", and that's okay as long as it isn't a violent, prolonged kind of thing, and as long as they're not obsessive about it (that would indicate a symptom for me to pay attention to!)--so I'll put them on a master cleanse for a few days. They make up a mixture of fresh, filtered water, sea salt, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and sometimes a bit of lemon juice--and they'll eat a very mild diet with a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit, broths, and the cleanse liquids. If they wish to have a colonic treatment I also try to act as a resource there too, by providing them with information on what's safe/not safe, what to look for in a clinic offering this service, etc. etc.

These are naturopathic options based on an idea that illness has something to do with uncleanliness (naturopathy is still very much like conventional medicine that way); and I do find there is a benefit to doing this for most people on occasion. But it isn't something that's necessary in what I do, and not every patient is interested in doing them (whereas every patient who comes to see me is interested in homeopathic treatment).
stargazer
i was just curious about colonics. it seems some people use cleanses and colonics for quick fixes instead of making long term overall changes to their diet and lifestyle.
annelise
i just had a consult with a naturopath. i haven't done the alternative med thing hardcore for quite a while now, so i'm nervous to be spending all of this money, but she's well thought of.

she has me on castor oil packs, three homeopathic remedies, and when i'm ready for it i'm going to try tiny bits of mediclear for detox (i'm incredibly sensitive to things).

i'm hopeful but nervous. i haven't had hope for my chronic illness for a long time, and seeing someone new...it's exciting.
stargazer
if i may ask, what is your chronic illess, annelise? it is good you are feeling hopeful about things with your ND. it is scary to try something new, but refreshing at the same time. good luck with things. let us know how things work out for you!
chachaheels
Just a reminder for everyone here who's working with an alt.med practitioner:

NDs who are qualified to practice homeopathy have another regulatory body's designation attached to their name: it's D. H. A. N. P. This designation means the naturopath has fulfilled a specific "basic" level of education and clinic work in Homeopathic medicine. You need to have at least a basic level of training to know what you're doing in homeopathy; the more education and training a practitioner has, the less likely they will use a "combination" of potentized remedies or a selection of remedies, as opposed to only one at a time.

If they don't have this qualification, NDs will be far more helpful to you for their knowledge in nutrition, botanical medicine, and in things like acupuncture or TCM. These are wonderful healing modalities in themselves, and in fact they'll work much better without the setbacks you'll experience by using combinations/pseudo homoepathy.

If you want more information on the accreditations and the basic education/practice requirements homeopaths have to meet, the North American Society of Homeopaths spells all of this out to consumers so they can make educated and informed health care decisions no matter who they work with: you can find their website at
www.homeopathy.org .
annelise
stargazer, i have severe chronic fatigue syndrome. i've tried alll sorts of treatments, alternative and otherwise. in the very short list of things that have helped me, most of the things have been alternative medicine related.
stargazer
thanks for sharing this info annelise. i hope this ND works out for you.
chachaheels
Just bumping up the thread to congratulate everyone who's trying to make it through the holidays on restricted diets and cleanses...good for you all!

And also, remember, the holidays end after tomorrow; and so will all the fuss about party foods and drinks. I hope you've all found other, more creative and equally fulfilling ways to indulge wink.gif

Happy New Year!
raisingirl
That's not entirely true that the holidays end tomorrow; they actually go until January 6 (also known as the 12th day of Christmas, also known as Epiphany) for some people. Just sayin'.
chachaheels
Oops! My mistake, if you celebrate the 12th night, epiphany, or orthodox rites. If you do, hang in there! Though I'm sure you'll be happy to at least have 90% of the holiday eating/drinking/socializing reduced this week--enjoy all the same!



Happy and Healthy New Year!


I've been looking into a couple of free on-line courses you can take on alternative medicines--brief little courses intended to help the consumer make heads and tails of the products available for use in health food stores, mainly. Here's one site where I've looking into the Bach Flower Remedy course, and the Scheussler Tissue Salt Courses (both are "in progress, but you can take the lessons one by one as they are continuously added). The material is written by an Indian naturopathic/homeopathic/ayurvedic practitioner for whom English is not a first language, but he's still very easy to understand and he invites feedback. The courses are absolutely free, they won't take up a lot of time, and there are also other types of courses available on line if you're interested.

The site is GoGoEd.com, and the two courses I took are 20122 and 20130; but they've got a course catalog detailing some other courses online, too, including some general courses on alt medicine (which didn't look very well researched, unfortunately). Anyway, these were helpful, but brief, for anyone who wants a bit more information than just a recommendation.
stargazer
thanks chacha!

yeah, the holidays were rough, but only when the stuff was in my face. other than that, i didn't have a problem. definitely out of sight out of mind helps!
pepper
hey chacha, i can't find the courses. i emailed them but they need the actual names of the courses to track them down for me. do you remember what they were called? thanx!
chachaheels
The courses are called "An Introduction to the Bach Flower Essences" and "An Introduction to Schussler Tissue Salts", and the author is Swamy Swarna. That's his real name.

I will write to the course's author today and ask him how I can find his courses in the catalogue (I think he's busy authoring courses, and he isn't aware that he should put them in the catalogue too). I can send along the link he sent me, though, if you want...although that's what I thought I did!

I'll post updated information here.

The template for the online classes is free and it's not perfect (there's supposed to be an interactive forum on the site, but it actually doesn't post your post directly--it all goes to the course director who's then supposed to post your letter on the forum, which is nuts). But it is FREE, and it can work if you're creative with it, and I think he's trying to do the best possible with the limitations and opportunities the template affords him.

Anywho, I'll post what I find out ASAP.
pepper
cool, thanks!
turbojenn
Thanks for the tips on those online courses - I'll surely take them sometime soon.

I meant to post in here a few days ago, as I've been feeling SO much better lately than I have in the last couple months, when my acupuncturist and I thought I had adrenal fatigue again. BUT, since I've had nearly 2 weeks off work, I've not only rested up, eaten well, but cleaned the house top to bottom, in every nook and cranny...and you know what I found in the bedroom?! Festering black mold in my corner of the bedroom on the floor and wall where the cloth over my night table touched the floor, and trapped moisture when the temperature of the floor changed. My floor is on the concrete slab right over the carports, so in the winter, its VERY cold, and in the summer, very warm.

I thought it best to scrub it down with some bleach water (I know, I know, I hate using the bleach, but I know it'll kill the mold), and then I just opened the windows for the afternoon to get the fumes out, and freshen things up. I've been running the air purifier in there non-stop for a couple of days, but I'm feeling better than I have in a long time, and sleeping much better, with no allergy attacks in the mornings.
chachaheels
It's amazing how susceptible our homes are to mold growth! Concrete, plastic house wrapping, extra thick insulation, water barriers and wonderwalls, windows that seal tight--all those materials might help with construction but they create homes with little air circulation. Sure, we save money on heat, but the result is that moisture just collects and encourages mold growth in places where you'd never expect it. Glad you got the problem under control quickly, and it's always great when you end up feeling so much better for it too.
annelise
i've been meaning to read up on natural methods to get rid of mold online, because the other day my bf found some on a ledge of my bedroom windows. he wiped it up with vinegar for me.

looks like vinegar was a good start, though i might see about following up with tea tree oil:

http://www.care2.com/channels/solutions/home/110

i'm going really really slowly with the naturopathic doc-recommended stuff since having an initial reaction (i'm incredibly sensitive), but i'm feeling really hopeful about it!
turbojenn
annelise - thanks for that link to natural mold killing - I've got some tea tree on hand, so I'm going to try that this afternoon when I get home. I still seem to be having some allergies in the bedroom, and I fear we may have to put in new flooring, if I can't fix the problem by surface cleaning...which wouldn't be the end of the world, since our floors in there are pretty sad.

Chacha, is there anything you would recommend for cleansing our bodies from any mold effects we've inhaled? I'm doing a cleanse next week with my usual BioCleanse, but if there's something special I should do for mold in my body, let me know.
pepper
what about zeolite. chacha, have you heard of that stufff?
chachaheels
You mean as in the alumina/silicate mineral? Are people using this as a cleanse now? I'm familiar with the use of zeolites in chemistry, in medicine (as a coagulant for heavy bleeding) and in agriculture/rearing animals. Of course, it's also used in construction as a mix for concrete to make it stronger and more workable. I'm a little weirded out by its use as a cleanse or a detox, but I did a search and I did find one ad for a zeolite detox product.

I'm not one to prescribe cleanses, as I don't actually think they're necessary for the vast majority of people, and usually a homeopathic remedy will very effectively cleanse the body if that's what any particular patient needs, as long as it's appropriate to their case and "cleansing" is part of what their body needs to do to heal itself.

OUr bodies have their own mechanisms for detoxifying and cleansing themselves and it's rare that these abilities are frustrated (unless, of course, there's been an outright poisoning and they need help). But I do know that a lot of people like to use them--so because they're not really necessary but people feel like they get a kick out of them, they should not be used for a prolonged period of time.

As for using a silicate--silica will, by nature, force wastes from immune processes out of the body--often by creating abscesses, hyperhydrosis, diarrhea, colds/sneezing/running noses, your typical "cleansing" mechanisms. But it also tends to eliminate stamina, so people don't have the necessary strength to do what they need or want to do. Alumina tends to create the tendency towards slowness and sluggishness, and ironically tends to create congestion in the body, having an almost opposite effect (that's why it's salts are used in anti-perspirants, and it creates extreme constipation--unlike silica's ability to force things out, alumina will actuall halt the progress of wastes from the body).

pepper
hmm, that sounds much less positive than the other stuff i've been reading. one of my favourite health guru dudes is gabriel cousins, he advocates that stuff quite strongly. would you check out this link and tell me what you think? hey, that rhymed!
turbojenn
Thanks for the advice, chacha...Okay, so I'll skip the zeolite, and just do my regular cleanse. I think as soon as turbomann is re-employed, or if I find a better paying job before he gets a new one, I'll definitely be working with a homeopath...until then, I'm just doing what I know to help my body deal with all these allergy reactions.
chachaheels
Okay, checked out the link and I like the poster who responded that "zeolite" is meant to separate you from your money! Hee hee. I like to see a healthy dose of doubt now and again, because so much in alternative medicine is touted as the "cure all", but it all ends up being the same old approach with a different chemical.

I don't like to make comments on particular people's methods of practice, and I have stated that I'm not a naturopath, I'm a homeopath, and to a great extent there is a huge difference in the naturopathic understanding of medicine and homeopathic one (very, very different philosophical base, and quite a different focus on the science base too). So Dr. Gabriel Cousins and I are going to approach things very differently fundamentally, and we're both going to use different tools, as it were. I've already written what I think about detox; and I find it quite easy to stick with the homeopathy to accomplish that if its necessary (and that's determined by the individual patient, never by me or by the remedy I give, solely).

Now, what Cousins is writing about, "earth eating", that's called Geophagy; and it's such a long standing part of natural medicine that there is literally nothing new about it. One modern form of geophagy is the use of antacids--yup, Tums and Rolaids are the latest form of "clay eating", as they duplicate the historic use of calcium or lime as a "medicine", in these cases, to settle acid indigestion. Here's an article that will tell you about it's universal practice, as well as a nice list of things calcium does in the body.

But I don't believe the clay is eaten to "purify" the body so much as to just push a bunch of stuff out, mainly a lot of constipation, which calcium/lime can, in fact, relieve as well as cause (that's why it's used to "treat" diarrhea!).

So, back to using clay as a means of purifying the body against toxins--I'm not buying the idea that modern life equals us against a ton of toxins and pollutants that humans have never encountered before. It's just historically inaccurate, as people lived with things which were equally challenging in terms of toxicity in the past and yet we managed to be their descendants--an impossibility, really, if we took all this talk about toxins to heart. Healthy bodies manage with these daily threats--not only do they manage, but they thrive despite them, if they have access to the means to sustain health (the right foods, as you know, make a big difference). We don't really have more threats--just different ones; and though I do think it's quite obvious that something is definitely getting in the way of our health in that overall health has become so poor in North America, even and especially in children, I don't think that has to do with "toxins" exclusively. A lot of us live spiritually empty lives, and tolerate a significant amount of what is dysfunctional in so many of our relationships in our lives. I really think we'd get farther if we'd stop looking for "outside" causes so much as the ones we choose to remain blind towards that involve and begin with ourselves.

Always looking for a materia peccans" or "bad substance" as the cause to our health troubles is a conventional medical approach, and one of the reasons, I think, conventional medicine fails so spectacularly when it comes to creating and maintaining health. Sometimes it is true that there is some bad substance out there that is causing problems; but most times, it really is our susceptibililty to becoming ill that needs our attention more than anything else. If we put as much effort into detoxifying ourselves from living spiritually dead lives, or from tolerating relationships which are abusive, or in which we abuse others; or from existing in the world without actually knowing ourselves, then we'd know that the real "poisons" which threaten our health and wear down all our resistances and strengths are actually inside our own lives and not out in what they're spraying in the trees so much. To treat that, you can't actually "take" something, or eat something differently unless that also becomes part of changing this situation to one where it can sustain you instead of undermine you and make you susceptible.

Turbo, I think the short term cleanse you usually do will help you get through this. I'm a big fan of using Oregano oil as a boost to the immune system, to give you better defenses to the allergies all together. If you've got some lying around a drop or two per day for a few days will help too.
turbojenn
Thanks for your thorough response, as always chacha! I always appreciate hearing your perspective, and learning a new way of thinking about health. I definitely think you're right, in that my immune system was already weak from a number of stresses, and the mold just kind of put the need for healing front and center. I do have oil of oregano on hand, so I'll add that to the regimen for a bit, however odd it always is to get oregano burps throughout the day. tongue.gif
chachaheels
You're welcome, Turbo! Just think of GirlyGirlGag's latest avatar--Bjork shouting "PIZZA!...Violent Pizza!"--every time one of those oregano burps sneaks up on you.

stargazer
hey chacha, is there anything my mom can do to decrease her arthritic (sp?) pain? she gets really bad wrist and hand pain to the point where these parts swell. her ankle would do the same as well occasionally. i told her i noticed a disappearance in my arthritic pain in my knees and ankles since i've changed my diet. what the connection between arthritis and nutrition?
_octinoxate
Ooh! Ooh! Me, me! Star, can I recommend rock oolong tea for your ma? It's supposed to be really good for any type of joint troubles (presumably because of the high mineral content of it, due to the soil the tea bushes are grown in). Worth a shot... worst case scenario, you've blown 15 bucks on some yummy new tea (and tea is good for you regardless). If you don't have a good tea retailer near you, check out this one: sevencups.com

I'll leave the nutrition Q to chacha who surely knows more about it than I, though I might chime in.
chachaheels
There are lots of connections between arthritis and nutrition. Lots of connections between any kind of chronic disease and nutrition! There are certainly things you can do to ease pain just by choosing the right foods (adding specific foods to the diet, and eliminating foods which don't supply needed nutrients and may even deplete nutrients from your body). The "connection" is really this: our bodies are amazingly well equipped and capable of self-healing, no matter what "disease" or challenges they are subjected to. If we can support the body by providing it with all the food nutrients it must have to function properly, then self-healing is possible. If we aren't supplying the body with the necessary nutrients it needs to continue functioning well, then its ability to heal itself will become more and more limited. Other factors, of course, have profound effects on our abilities for self-healing, such as factors which make us susceptible to illness; but if we're talking about strict biochemistry here, you have to make sure the body has all the nutrient it needs to fuel all its processes because it will fail without them.

Teas, like the one Octi has suggested, are loaded with anti-oxidants (a great thing all by itself) and they are often made of plants which are used specifically to ease joint pains. They encourage gentle cleansing and hydration as well.

Foodwise, many people who suffer from chronic arthritis do well by supplementing with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids--flax seed oil or high quality, deep, cold water fish oils (such as tuna, herring, salmon, and sardine) for your omega 3's and evening primrose oil or borage oil for your Omega 6. The Evening Primrose Oil is especially important for the production of prostaglandins which heal inflammation and ease pain, including pain in the joints. You can find Omega 3 and 6 combination capsules which make taking the supplements a little easier; one brand I like is Nutricia Eflalex (they use a really pure tuna oil and EPO, mix the right ratio, and you just need to take the appropriate number of capsules every day).


Other really great foods to add to the diet include Cod Liver Oil capsules and cocoanut oil. You can actually do a great deal to eliminate joint pain from chronic arthritis just by using a daily dose of both of these foods.

As always, make sure the sources for the fish oils are clearly posted on the brand you choose--I've noticed a patent application from a large food conglomerate submitted in Canada, for creating omega 3 from fish people have never eaten for these nutrients before, such as bonita; this material will be used to bioengineer these fats to be added as "enrichments" to foods which have never had these fats in them before (such as yogurt, milk, bread! Scary): beware of these and stear clear. Fish oils like the species listed above are the best and safest sources; the oils are always distilled and purified to remove heavy metals, and processed using non-chemical methods of extraction. Same with flax, evening primrose, cocoanut and borage oils--plant oils should be cold pressed, expeller pressed, and made from organically grown plants. Your cocoanut oil should be organic and extra virgin quality if you plan to use it as a supplement to restore joint health.

Another option is the use of enzymes, primarily those used to help the body digest food nutrients, on a daily basis. They aren't taken before a meal, as they would be to simply help with nutrient breakdown and absorption; but rather in between meals, "on an empty stomach". This has been found to alleviate chronic arthritic pain by boosting the body's reparative response to inflammation, supporting good circulation, and generally supporting your body's own capability to repair itself. Wobenzym is one of the most well known systemic enzyme combinations, but there are others which contain the same ingredients which may help equally well. Here's a bit of a breakdown on the Wobenzym tablets. They can be pricey, but I've talked to a lot of patients who've used them for everything from food sensitivities to easing chronic arthritic pain to cancer treatment. Many people find them to be irreplaceable.

The other thing that has to be done is try to understand the arthritic pains in context: have these been chronic? That is, something which has been present to a lesser degree for a while, which doesn't seem to have any specific mechanical etiology? Or did they actually start because of work or activity which involves repetitive motion of some kind, or working in a work space which isn't conducive ergonomically? Nutrition supports can help in alleviating some pain in these cases, but changes do have to be made to change the mechanical cause or no real, lasting relief can result.

Some options you can try in tissue salts depending on what is actually going on in the case:

Ferrum Phos 6x for acute inflammation and congestion pains, great to take in acute flare-ups
Natrum Phos 6x to neutralize the acid forming tendency, which increases arthritic or rheumatic pain
Natrum Sulph 6x to help the body remove the toxic charged wastes from the body
Silica 6x to help break up the urates which accumulate around the joints and muscles (gout!)
stargazer
thank you SO much for the info! it could be repetitive movements 'cause my mom works with a keyboard at her job. i feel bad 'cause her wrists will get really swollen. and her fingers sometimes curve a little when sore. i would like her to see my ND when she can to help with her pain.
chachaheels
You're welcome, Star! If your mom's pains are the kind which make her joints feel stiff, yet they feel better with renewed movement and actually feel worse after she rests, she might want to try a homeopathic remedy in a low potency to see if it takes the pain away completely. I would suggest trying out some Rhus Tox in a 6 or 9c potency as a "first aid" remedy which she can use if she finds that the repetitive strain really is making the joints sore, and that the joints feel better with movement and worse after resting. You can find that easily enough at a health food store that sells the homeopathics in low potencies (might be hard to get in some states though). It might make a huge difference for her.

Otherwise, seriously consider keeping the tissue salts on hand for her to use when pain flares up as well.
pepper
chacha, what can i take for this cough? please help me, i feel like i'm going to bring up a lung i'm hacking so hard. this is terrible! it makes my head hurt.
chachaheels
Well, first we have to rule out that it isn't bronchitis or pneumonia (have you had a doc check this out? I know, I know, they'll just give you an anti-biotic blah blah blah--you can always take the scrip but don't fill it and remember you're just there for the diagnosis) or a "cardiac" cough--a symptom which could be indicating a heart condition..You need to know what's happening in order to pick out something to help you out.

Once we're in the clear--there are some expectorant syrups you can take with no harmful drug ingredients (one I'm thinking of is the one based on traditional chinese medicine, called Hon Nijm (I am not sure of the name!!). It's made from honey extract, has no crazy ingredients that will suppress your cough (not what you want) and it can be used safely during your pregnancy.

Another option--I know of a great organic/nonGMO/non-irradiated/fair trade herb company based in Quebec called Clef des Champs--wonderful company which makes some excellent herb combos and their staff is so, so, smart...they make a syrup from Plantain which helps with expectoration and soothes the cough. You will probably have to order it online because I don't believe they've quite got the distribution out as far as where you are (though I'm at a loss to know where you are now...if you're in Toronto at the moment, I know Smith's Pharmacy carries them).

Then, here's my favourite option, tissue salts (some of which you might already have).
Any of the "Phosphoricum" salts (Mag Phos, Calc Phos, Ferrum Phos) have an affinity with the lungs--specifically difficulty breathing (coughs, infections, asthmas, cancers, etc).
Use Ferrum Phos if you've got feverishness and a hard (barking) dry cough
Calcarea Phos if you're just trying to get better after using other treatments
Magnesium Phos if you're cough is painful and spasmodic, and it is persisting.
If you're phlegmy, and it's rattly, you're going to want one of the Sulph salts to push that stuff out:
Kali Sulph if the phlegm's yellowy, thick, and your cough and you feel worse if you're in a warm room, or it gets worse in the evening;
Calcarea Sulph if the phlegm's loose and rattly but you're actually coughing up a thin, watery sputum
Kali Mur is a good salt to use if you're coughing up thick, albumin-y white sputum, and have a white coated tongue
Silica is good if you're coughing up lots of thick yellowy green stuff (signs of a persistent infectious process).

Whew. Glad you asked?

Some natural cough calmants and expectorants:

Ginger tea, made from sliced ginger boiled in water for 5 to 10 minutes and allowed to cool, sweetened with honey, and mixed with lemon.

Tablespoons of good honey mixed with the juice of about half a lemon calms coughs down significantly.

A eucalyptus essential oil bath, especially in a hot bath, helps to get you to expectorate (so the cough will worsen first, but calm once you've moved stuff out of the lungs).

pepper
thanks doll face!
i'm in TO right now but am heading out of town this aft so i'll try to track down smith's pharmacy or call noah's to see what they've got. i have cal phos and ferrum phos and have been taking camu-c and drinking plenty of water.
i can't really go to the doc until i find one that can do interprovincial billing and i just don't have the time to call around right now. maybe over this next week i can do some scouting and find something. i really need to find a chiro or massage therapist who can take my bc health card though, my back is Killing me! priorities, ack.
so how would i know if i had either bronc or pneum or a (eep!) cardiac cough? geez.

it started with flu like sickness, fever, achey all over especially joints and headache, very tired, no appetite, dizzy ick. after two days i was just a bit coughy and congested and this had lasted for the last few days. i am not terribly congested but it is there in my sinuses and i think in my chest a bit. this is hard to tell because the cough seems dry-ish, it's harsh and hacking but once i have a fit of it i've usually coughed something up. the mucus is all kinds, from watery to minor goo to thick green/yellow ick. after a night of sleep it's usually thicker, i know i could really use a vaporizer but there isn't one here.
i am ok energy-wise, get tired after a day of running around and sometimes need an afternoon rest of course. this could be entirely baby related though. and my old jewish landlord gave me this crazy "shilling oil" folk remedy that smells pepperminty to rub on my chest. i think it's actually an asian remedy which makes sense as he's right in the middle of china town. i get a kick out of that whole story, it's a 'had to be there' kind of thing but it's very funny and makes me smile.

thanks for your help, i'll take your recs and check back in to see what you have to say about the scary illnesses and how to know if i have them (yikes!). what would we do without you here? xxxooo.
chachaheels
Pepper--I know a cardiac cough only when I hear one. And only when the answer to the question I'm forced to ask when I hear it is "oh, years now!", to really confirm it. But it can and does start up after a flu in some people, particularly if there is a history of either rheumatic fever as a child or heart disease in general in the family line. I'd really be worried about pneumonia if you took aspirin (ASA, not tylenol) at any time to get through the flu, but you don't strike me as the type. If you did, let me know. The symptoms you list below are pretty thorough, but if you could remember things like...were you restless, exhausted, chilly, irritable, bossy, weepy, and specific food cravings you might have had during the flu, it would help a lot more. As well as knowing what's making the cough worse or better (eg. do you find that it gets worse if you get a draft of cold air?). The calc phos and ferrum phos, taken intermittently, 4 pills 4 times a day, would really help you with the cough regardless. It's possible a dose of homeopathic phosphorus might have fixed you right up from the very start...but the tissue salts are still the safest way to go without my being able to see you and listen to you and ask you a barrage of the usual questions.

ANYWHO...it's nice you're in T.O. and environs, and it sounds like you're close to the market (are you?). Massage therapy and chiropractic just aren't covered provincially anymore (massage never really was, so I don't even know how a practitioner would bill the provincial insurance provider). Sutherland Chan's school, up on Bloor and Spadina (I think it's still there) does have student clinics who might be accessible to you for a lot less $$$--but I hope you can find someone to help you out there soon.

Smith's is about 10 minutes north, walking, from the Lawrence Subway station, should you be interested in going up there. They have everything, though (well they did the last time I was there) and they've got practitioners on the staff (well, they did the last time I was there. I'm betting the homeopath who's run the homeopathic department for years is still on hand, and she's excellent). Marky's is closer to down town (on Bay street around the corner from Bloor) and they carry similar stuff. Better still, if you're close to Church street, there's an Ottway herbal there and they've probably got everything handy for you--or treat yourself to a trip to the Danforth where the Carrot Common will have what you need. See? Easy to get everything there. Then you can go and eat afterwards, too.

So if you're going to be in town for the next week or so, let's work on making you feel better, okay? Give me more info or let me know how it's going with the tissue salts. xoxox to you too, lady!
pepper
no aspirin, i did take some tylenol when i was feeling ghastly but really limited since i just don't know that anything like that is truly safe for the baby.
looks like i won't have time to stop by anywhere before we run for the bus in the next hour or so, i'm tired and am moving so slow and have to pack still and then take the streetcar etc to the bus depot. what a fun trip that is, just getting to the bus depot avec kid, bags and belly. my kingdom for a car somedays...

during the flu i was tired at night but had a hard time falling asleep and then woke up a bunch during the night. this may have been because i was sleeping in an unfamiliar(ish) bed with a big giant hunk of gorgeous untouchable exfiance next to me though. can i tell you, it was very distracting especially considering the fact that he was Naked and we were a tangle of limbs throughout the nights. le sigh.
a bit to much off topic tmi there eh?
ok, i was also a bit cold expecially around the middle back (kidneys) but this is a symptom that i have actually been suffering for some time. since about 1.5 years ago when i last had a very terrible flu, whenever i am stressed out or immune challenged my kidney area gets achey and chilly. i wear an extra layer just around my middle to keep out drafts and keep me warmer. i didn't have an enormous amount of chill there this time but it felt terrible to get cold there at all. i wore slippers too to keep my feet warm.
not really bossy, irritable etc and not much appetite either during the flu part and early cold part. my appetite has just returned over the last couple of days. i have been taking all my vitamins though except for two or so days. i felt like i had to keep that up along with whatever food i could handle.
cold makes me feel tired and sucky. i don't like that feeling of being tired because i'm chilly. and i don't notice that it's better or worse at particular times. if i had to pick a time though i would say marginally worse at night and early morning for the coughing and congestion but not that much worse.

i'll be out of town for a week but maybe i can find something in peterborough. i do have some chiro and massage visits covered by my bc medical plan but i have to find a practitioner here who knows how to file for payment. in the meantime i'm sure i can find a school there. i know there are Tons here!
ah well, we're off. thanks for all your help so far, see you soon!
lapis
Hi. I haven't posted here before and have a pretty specific question. So, here's it is. I am thin with PCOS and regular periods. I think I have high estrogen and low progesterone. I take inositol (and eat buckwheat and carob all the time), which has been a godsend for my heavier PCOS friends, bringing regular periods with ovulation. However, I just don't seem to ovulate. So, are there natural ways to increase your progesterone? I could take natural progesterone but seem to have an aversion to it. I mean, I am tired of the pill and hormones but could do the progesterone cream, if necessary. I am wondering if there are herbal things which are precursors to progesterone or something which might decrease my estrogen. any ideas? Thanks!
chachaheels
How long have you been on the pill? Are you still on it? This will definitely have an effect on your hormone levels. It will have an effect on PCOS, on hormone balance all over the body (not just with one or two sex hormones). If you're not on the pill any more and you're still not ovulating (how are you checking this?) there are some things you can do to encourage the proper hormone balance (it involves making sure you have enough of the right kinds of fats in your diet, from a nutritional point of view). Simply taking a "natural" progesterone cream, or using over the counter "hormone" preparations is not the right approach. You can make dietary changes that will improve things, and check out all kinds of alternative options that will be far more effective because they will involve holistic treatments--not just a "magic pill".

Even so, you need to work with an endocrinologist to:
1) diagnose that you in fact have PCOS, rule out any other illnesses
2) arrange for a test to determine what's happening in terms of hormones (saliva tests can be quite thorough, but you have to get through a doctor, and an endocrinologist will at least be able to interpret the results)
3) keep an on-going watch over your progress back to health.

Once you have that basic need covered, you can start to do some research to determine what alternative medical therapy or therapies you want to use to restore your health. There are lots to choose from which are effective and safe, but you need to learn about the kinds of medical therapies in existence, who practices them, and how to choose a good practitioner near you. Finally, you have to commit yourself to the treatment--make the necessary changes to lifestyle and diet so that you eliminate situations which predispose you the kind of illness you've got (whether those situations are physical, or emotional--no matter).
lapis
Dear Chacha, thanks for responding. OK. I was on the pill/patch sporadically for about 10 years, and ended probably last May. I was officially diagnosed with PCOS 3 years ago--after many years of visiting doctors and being told I was too thin to fit the picture and because I menstruate regularly. I was finally diagnosed after going off the pill for a bit and winding up in the emergency room from ovarian pain--those little cysts were really hurting. I was also tested for thyroid problems. Anyway, I am not 100% certain that I am not ovulating but I remember what it felt like before I went on the pill, including the eggwhite discharge. I get a dull ache in my side each month but not a pinch. Usually when I should be ovulating, I have a little pain and then break out, which suggests to me that something's not right. I haven't gotten my levels tested recently. I would love to learn about dietary changes, though. Let me know what you think! Thanks.

chachaheels
Hmm. Judging from some of the symptoms you've listed, I think there really isn't enough information to conclude that ovulation isn't taking place, and that you're undergoing something "abnormal". You're having a regular cycle, which indicates to me that you're undergoing some problems, so things aren't 100%, as they say. A normal, healthy adult woman should have a pain free cycle that is somewhat predictable in terms of length and events. The apparent absence of albumin-like discharge during what should be ovulation doesn't necessarily mean you're not ovulating (you may be producing only a small amount, every woman has a different experience of this). So you really have to look a little further to determine whether or not you're really not ovulating.

In any case, you may have one or two of the whole list of symptoms now classified as "PCOS", which isn't really a disease but a "syndrome" (meaning exactly that--a group of symptoms that seem to occur often as a phenomenon in a large number of women, but don't really indicate any particular disease process--in fact, they could indicate a vast number of different illnesses or abnormalities, as they tend to do in the women who have them). It's not a very progressed case if you've not got the symptoms which demonstrate the full effect of the hormonal disarray--like the enlarged body shape and the need for the body to put on extra fat, you don't mention any excess hair growing in a particular pattern which seems to be so common in women with PCOS, and very often even in women who have ovarian cysts; and you don't mention suffering from extremely heavy bleeding OR the erratic menstrual cycle. I wouldn't doubt the existence of cysts in your ovary (to me it sounds like the cysts are only in one ovary, just from your description--but I might be misunderstanding that) but it doesn't sound like the cysts are actually hindering ovulation in any way even though they're there. I'm not writing this to challenge what you're telling me--I'm writing this to give you some hope--if there isn't so much damage to undo, you can turn things around rather quickly.

Anyway...sounds like there is some imbalance hormonally which is to be expected from the use of the pill, and it does take quite a while for the body to actually restore something like a normal balance after you stop using it. Conservatively, people think 6 months is enough time, but it does take much longer for most women. We can speed that rebalancing with supplements and diet, but it will still take time. So tell me what you're taking, supplement wise, now; and give me some idea about your dietary habits, and we can start.

Finally: when you went to the hospital with ovarian pain and the "cysts were hurting"...was it determined why they were hurting? What was the cause of the pain?

Give me some idea and we can get started.
lapis
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Tonya
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chachaheels
I think taking a test to find out what's happening with more than one hormone is definitely a better strategy. That way, even if there is an issue with progesterone, you will be able to see what other glands are affected, which makes choosing a treatment a whole lot more accurate.

I still suggest that you see an endocrinologist--preferably someone who is well versed in female reproductive health (they are out there! Ask your doctor to recommend someone he or she knows). You can arrange to have a saliva test or appropriate blood tests done to see what's going on, and then you can start to explore your treatment options.

In the meantime, if you want to support your body so that it can begin to restore it's own health and balance, you can do this with nutrition changes and supplements, so I'd still need to know a bit more about the kind of diet you eat now and supplements you now take.
guitarfiend
hi everyone - - I wasn't really sure where to put this question, so I thought I'd have a bash putting it in here....

...I've been hearing quite a lot lately about the Fertility Awareness Method / Natural Family Planning / the Sympto-Thermal Method of avoiding pregnancy. From what I understand these methods use monitoring your own body in order to avoid pregnancy (eg, by taking a daily temperature so you know when you're ovulating etc). It's not the same as the rhythm method in that the rhythm method involved using a calender. I read on the Guardian website today that if you're diligent about keeping your own calendar, monitoring your body / taking temperatures every day, then it can be more reliable than the pill or condoms.... but obviously, I have my reservations about having sex without using a contraceptive! I'm in a steady relationship and we use the barrier method at the moment... I was just wondering if other women on this thread had heard of these methods and if they have experience of them, what do they think of them, do they recommend them, etc...?

Thanks! x
lapis
QUOTE(chachaheels @ Feb 13 2007, 08:06 PM) *

I think taking a test to find out what's happening with more than one hormone is definitely a better strategy. That way, even if there is an issue with progesterone, you will be able to see what other glands are affected, which makes choosing a treatment a whole lot more accurate.

I still suggest that you see an endocrinologist--preferably someone who is well versed in female reproductive health (they are out there! Ask your doctor to recommend someone he or she knows). You can arrange to have a saliva test or appropriate blood tests done to see what's going on, and then you can start to explore your treatment options.

In the meantime, if you want to support your body so that it can begin to restore it's own health and balance, you can do this with nutrition changes and supplements, so I'd still need to know a bit more about the kind of diet you eat now and supplements you now take.


Thanks, Chacha. I have been watching my food and basically eat as follows: breatfast: 1c creamy buckwheat cereal with organic 2% milk, blueberries, walnuts, and a tad of maple syrup. Lunch: anything from soba noodles to a turkey sandwich, or tabouli, usually something vegetarian and no real junk. Dinner: anything from sushi to fish tacos to chicken and brussel sprouts or pizza with corned beef. I drink coffee and alcohol--and eat potato chips or fries or ice cream maybe once a week. This week, I started taking evening primrose and cocout oils as well as nettle, vitex, and quercitin (along with the inositol) because my breasts have been sore for the last two weeks of both cycles. I am thinking of taking the progesterone cream but want to handle this without it relying on hormones forever. At this point, I wonder if the PCOS is managed but thre is an underlying estrogen dominance that I need to figure out somehow. Do you know anything about DIM? Thanks for any suggestions!
chachaheels
If you're taking the nettle and vitex, I hope you're doing so under the supervision of a qualified herbalist who meets the education and practice requirements of a regulatory body in your state/province. On your own, you won't know what's happening (and you're simply can't be objective enough to even gather information to evaluate); with someone who knows how to use and evaulate the effects of the herb, you won't need to use any hormone therapies whatsoever, and you can be sure you won't cause harm to yourself. Vitex is a very effective drug and it's been used for thousands of years to restore sex hormone balance--but the reason it is effective is because it can cause the major imbalances you're using it to cure. You need to work with someone who knows when you must stop using the herb in order to get well using it. No one ever gets well using herbs over the counter (and besides, there could be so many more suitable ones for your case than nettle and vitex).

My advice would be to opt away from using any steroids or hormones of any kind while you're taking the herbs above, as they do create changes in glandular function and the hormone drugs will interfere with whatever your body is trying to do to restore balance.

Plus hormone therapies of all kinds are just so stupidly risky.
That's my opinion, given because you asked!

"Managing" PCOS does take time because the changes leading up to your condition also took a great deal of time. It's a chronic illness, not an acute one; your body can't fix it overnight but it can get better over time and continued treatment. I think the oils you're taking are a good start, I once again encourage you to find an herbalist to oversee your case so you don't get hurt using the herbs, and for dietary suggestions I find the best way to rebalance hormones in the body is to eliminate any foods which will overstimulate hormone production--such as refined sugars and grains, and high starch/carbohydrate foods. Your diet should be higher in protein and fats than in carbohydrates, which should be limited to leafy greens, berries and some melons, and watery vegetables (such as cucumbers) as opposed to starchy ones (root veggies, for example). This kind of carb restricted diet helps to eliminate the tendency for an overproduction of insulin, takes the pressure off the adrenal glands, and also relieves some of the extra stress on the thyroid gland which suffers whenever those other glands are overworked. I know it doesn't sound related to PCOS but believe me, it is--and over or underfunction of one particular gland means others will respond in kind to compensate, so the approach for supporting the body has to be comprehensive.

Other supplements to consider: vitamin E, B vitamins including B12 and folic acid; and vitamin C (not a lot because you're already using the quercitin). Vitamin D, in the form of sunlight exposure or in the natural form found in Cod liver oil, is also vital (it's like hormone in itself, and deficiencies in this vitamin are associated with all kinds of chronic disease). Please check to make sure you don't suffer from anemia or any other kind of blood ailment (such as too much iron in the blood, which is just as bad!).

Again, I'd encourage you to work with an endocrinologist as well, so you have access to diagnostic equipment which will help you keep tabs on what's going on with your treatment, even if you opt out of using hormones. They can help arrange for any future tests to gauge hormone levels, and they can interpret the results more accurately than other docs who have less specialised knowledge.
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