Detoxifying Herbs

Uterine Fibroids & Endometriosis

Fibroids and endometriosis are two of the biggest health complaints I hear about from women. There is hardly a week that goes by that I don't get an office call or a letter from a woman who is trying to avoid fibroid surgery or who is looking for relief. I decided to write this article in response to all of these wonderful women. It offers suggestions for safe and gentle natural therapies, like diet and whole herbs, that you may want to explore with your holistic physician or natural health practitioner. At Crystal Star, we always suggest you consult with health professional before starting a self-help program.

The incidence of fibroids and endometriosis has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. More than a half million American women have hysterectomies every year because of complications caused by fibroids and endometriosis. As much as 40% of American women 35 and older have fibroids. Some data suggest uterine fibroids are more common than blue eyes.

What are Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are benign growths between the size of a walnut and orange that appear on or within uterine walls. Their symptoms can be mild to severe with excessive menstrual bleeding, abdominal pain, bladder infections, painful intercourse and infertility topping the list. Further, most fibroids are not cancerous, and, according to some estimates, have less than 1/2 of 1% chance of becoming cancerous before menopause. In fact, research suggests most fibroids go away on their own after menopause.

Breast fibroids are also highly common. Breast fibroids feel like moveable, rubbery nodules near the surface of the breast. Women complain they cause swelling and that getting a hug is too painful. In a small number of cases, breast fibroids can be fast-growing and may require medical treatment. Even then, you should know that a recent study in National Cancer institute shows radiologists report false positives 16% of the time.

How is Endometriosis Different?

Endometriosis is caused by excess growth of endometrial tissue that is not shed during menstruation. The tissue escapes the uterus and spreads, attaching to other areas of the body- ovaries, lymph nodes, fallopian tubes, bladder, rectum, even kidneys and lungs. It grows abnormally, bleeding severely during the menstrual cycle, from the vagina or rectum, or bladder or back through the fallopian tubes, instead of normally through the vagina.

Endometriosis can mean heavy periods and pain all month long, and it increases risk for benign uterine and breast fibroids. It's credited with up to 50% of infertility cases in American women.

In many cases, natural therapies can help a woman's body normalize naturally. Further, symptoms of fibroids and endometriosis can be reduced by making simple diet changes and following specific herb and supplement protocols.

Do You Have Warning Signs Of Fibroids Or Endometriosis?

A visit to your holistic physician will give you a definitive diagnosis, but two or more yes answers to the symptoms below should alert you of a potential problem.

  • Severe abdominal cramping and shooting pain; and abdominal-rectal pain

  • Excessive, painful menstruation; passing large clots; prolonged abnormal menstrual cycles

  • Chronic fluid retention, abdominal bloating

  • Irregular bowel movements or diarrhea during menses

  • Urinary frequency

  • Sensation of fullness or pressure in the abdomen

What Causes Endometriosis And Fibroids?

While scientists are still not entirely certain why endometriosis and fibroids develop, here are risk factors to be aware of:

Excess Levels of Estrogen / Deficient Progesterone:

Excess estrogen fuels abnormal tissue growth and is a direct cause of both fibroids and endometriosis for many women. When estrogen production declines during menopause, fibroids normally go away on their own. However, quite understandably, this isn't nearly soon enough for women who are suffering from the problem.

X-Ray Consequences:

Even low dose radiation may mean increased risk for fibroids. Breast tissue is so sensitive that the time between a mammogram and fibroid growth is sometimes as little as three months.

Too Much Caffeine and Commercial Meat:

Drinking 4-5 cups of coffee daily increases estrogen, triggering fibroid growth. Research from a 2001 study reported in the journal Fertility and Sterility shows women who consume 500 milligrams of caffeine daily, the equivalent of 4-5 cups of coffee, produce 70% more estrogen in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle than women who consume less than 1 cup of coffee. If you like beef, you should know that Italian research reported in Obsetrics and Gynecology shows while eating red meat doubles the risk of developing uterine fibroids, eating plenty of vegetables cuts fibroid risk in half! Experience with the problem has me convinced that eliminating caffeine and hormone-injected meats can dramatically reduce fibroid problems for many women.

Oral Contraceptives:

Feedback I've had from birth control users suggests that even the newest low dose oral contraceptives can cause breast swelling, and aggravate fibroid problems and endometriosis for susceptible women.

Natural Therapies To Balance Hormones for Fibroids & Endometriosis Relief

A low fat, vegetarian diet. What you eat can make a big difference. Breast swelling and painful uterine cramping can be significantly improved within weeks after a change to a low fat, vegetarian diet.

Reduce caffeine. Caffeine from coffee, chocolate and colas can aggravate fibroids. Women with a predisposition to fibroids have a hard time metabolizing caffeine in these forms. Some women report they can consume green or white tea without ill effect.

Rethink high fat dairy foods like cheese, milk, and ice cream. Naturopaths and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine routinely suggest eliminating fatty dairy foods from the daily diet to reduce toxic accumulations like fibroids, fatty tumors, cysts and boils. This diet change by itself can produce amazing fibroid relief. Cultured low fat dairy products like yogurt and kefir, are generally well tolerated.

A short cleanse can really help. A 24 hour vegetable juice diet helps clean out acid wastes and reduce body congestion. Consider the 24 hour cleanse in Linda Page's bestselling book, Healthy Healing 12th Edition: A Guide to Self-Healing For Everyone.

Foods that are high in essential fatty acids (EFAs) are a healthy choice. EFAs are liquid fats that help to metabolize hard, clogging saturated fats that contribute to fibroid growths. EFAs also help maintain hormone balance and reduce inflammation- important for fibroid relief. Sea greens like dulse and nori (also a good source of iodine- a proven fibroid fighter), seafoods, dark greens like spinach, cantaloupe, olive oil and avocado are healthy sources of EFAs.

Add cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts. Cruciferous veggies are one of my favorite healing foods. Indole 3 carbinole is the constituent responsible for their bitter flavor. Indole 3 carbinole vegetables may also reduce fibroid symptoms by improving estrogen metabolism.

More fiber in your diet is a natural estrogen balancer. Studies have shown that women on a high-fiber diet have lower levels of circulating estrogen. More fiber in your diet means less circulating estrogen and reduced body congestion because excess estrogen is excreted through the bowel. Having an apple or pear every day keeps your system free flowing.

Finally, maintaining a healthy weight is another key to reduce fibroids and prevent their recurrence. Fat is a storage depot for hormones and wastes that fuel fibroid growth.

Natural therapies can help bring your body back to health if you're suffering from hormonal imbalances. Your foods and lifestyle choices can be paramount in your recovery. Medical intervention may be necessary, but even in these cases, gentle natural therapies can guide a woman's body to faster recovery.

by Healthy Healing Publications' Herbal Consultant, Sarah Abernathy

The products, service and advice contained in this article are intended solely for informational and educational purposes and not as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional if you have questions about your medical health.

 

Colon Detox

The Importance of a Colon Cleanse

A colon elimination cleanse is a cleanse most of us need. The latest estimates show that over 90% of disease in America is directly or indirectly attributable to an unhealthy colon. As the solid waste management organ for the entire body, your colon is also the easiest breeding ground for putrefactive bacteria, viruses and parasites. A nationwide survey reveals that one in every six people have parasites living somewhere in the body.

Hardly any healing program will work without a colon cleanse as part of it. Problems like headaches, skin blemishes, bad breath, fatigue, arthritis and heart disease are linked to a congested colon. Colon and bowel malfunctions are one of the biggest factors in accelerated aging. Cleansing your colon lightens the toxic load on every other part of your body... even your mind (mental dullness is a sign of colon congestion). When colon health is compromised, waste backs up, becomes toxic, and releases the toxins into the bloodstream. Real healing takes place at the deepest cellular levels. Your blood feeds your cells. The nutrients that reach your blood get there by the way of the colon. So, a clogged, dirty colon means toxins in your blood.

Is your colon toxic? Ask yourself these questions:

...Is your elimination time slow?

Bowel transit time should be approximately twelve hours. Slow bowel transit time allows wastes to become rancid. Blood capillaries lining the colon absorb these poisons into the bloodstream, exposing the rest of your body to the toxins.

...Do you eat fast food, highly processed, synthetic, or chemical laced foods?

A clean, strong system can metabolize or eliminate many pollutants that come into your body, but if you are constipated, they are stored in your system. As more and different chemicals enter your body they tend to inter-react with those that are already there, forming second generation chemicals more harmful than the originals. Colon cancer, now the second leading cancer in the United States (slightly behind lung cancer in men and breast cancer in women), is a direct result of accumulated toxic waste. Colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis, ileitis and Crohn's disease, are all signs of waste congestion. They're on the rise, too. Over 100,000 Americans have a colostomy every year!

...Is your digestion poor?

The most common sign of toxic bowel overload is poor digestion. If you're eating a lot of rich, red meats and cheeses, white bread, sugary, salty foods or fried foods, they're robbing your body of critical electrolytes and they have almost no fiber for digestion. A high fiber diet is both cure and prevention for waste elimination problems. Eating high fiber means you're moving food through your digestive system quickly and easily. A low residue diet causes a gluey state - and your intestinal contractions can't work efficiently. You can picture this if you remember the hard paste formed by white flour and water when you were a kid. A lot of the food we eat today is simply crammed into the colon, never fully excreted.

Media attention has been focused for decades on high fiber foods. Everybody in America must have changed their diet to a more colon-healthy pattern, right? This is simply not the case. Americans target their diets to reduce fat at all costs, often at the expense of a fiber-rich diet.

Check your fiber. The protective level of fiber in your diet is easily measured:

  • The stool should be light enough to float.

  • Bowel movements should be regular, daily and effortless.

  • The stool should be almost odorless, signaling less bowel transit time.

  • There should be no gas or flatulence.

Colon Self Test

Could your body use a colon cleanse?

  • Constipated most of the time? a colon cleanse softens and removes colon congestion

  • Feeling heavy and bloated? a colon cleanse helps you lose colon congestive weight

  • Gassy with audible bowel rumbling and discomfort after you eat? a colon cleanse removes gluey materials impairing digestion

  • Catch a cold, or flu every few weeks? a colon cleanse releases excess mucous that harbors viruses

  • Tired for no real reason? a colon cleanse boosts immune and liver response for more energy

  • Have a coated tongue, bad breath, or body odor? a colon cleanse clears rancidity that causes bad odors

  • Do you feel mentally slow and tired? a colon cleanse lets more blood circulation get to your brain

  • Skin unusually sallow and dull? a colon cleanse removes toxin that come out through your skin

  • Have a degenerative disease like cancer, arthritis or lupus? a colon cleanse removes toxic elements

  • Cholesterol numbers too high? a colon cleanse increases absorption of cholesterol-lowering foods

If you answered yes to any of these questions, a colon cleanse could provide you tremendous benefit to your overall health and well being. To learn about the importance of colon cleansing and how to begin a safe and effective program, click here.

Colon Detox Plan

3 to 5 Day Nutrition Plan

The 4 key elements: enzymes from high chlorophyll plants; fiber from fruits and vegetables: probiotics from cultured foods like yogurts; waterof at least eight glasses a day.

The night before your colon cleanse... Try a gentle herbal laxative: Note: If you have a sensitive colon or irritable bowel disease (IBS), tone your colon before you cleanse. Avoid products with senna or psyllium. Use a gentle herbal cleansing formula, with peppermint oil, like BWL-Tone.

  • Soak dried figs, prunes and raisins in water; add 1 tb. molasses, cover, leave to soak over night.

The next day...

  • On rising: take a cleansing booster product. Take 1000mg vitamin C with bioflavonoids to raise body glutathione levels.

  • Breakfast: discard dried fruits from soaking water and eat with a small glass of the liquid.

  • Mid-morning: take 2 tbsp. aloe juice concentrate in a glass of juice or water and 1000mg vitamin C.

  • Lunch: take a small glass of fresh carrot juice.

  • Mid-afternoon: take an herbal cleansing tea.

  • About 5 o' clock: a small glass of potassium broth, or fresh carrot juice.

  • Dinner: take a glass of apple or papaya juice and 1000mg vitamin C.

  • Before Bed: repeat the herbal cleansers that you took on rising with a cup of mint tea.

Eat a raw foods salad on the last night of your cleanse.

To boost your cleanse, add 2 or 3 cleansing boosters:

  • Chlorophyll sources: Energy Green Renewal™ Drink Mix

  • Enzymes: Dr. Enzyme™ between meals, great if you have food allergies, too.

  • Electrolytes speed up a cleanse: Nature's Path Trace-Lyte Liquid Minerals; Arise & Shine Alkalizer.

  • Antioxidants defeat pollutants: Country Life Super 10 Antioxidant; NutriCology Antiox.

  • Fiber support: Planetary TRI-CLEANSE; AloeLife FiberMate.

Note 1: Drugstore laxatives aren't really cleansers. They offer only temporary relief, are usually habit-forming, destructive to intestinal membranes, and don't get to the cause of the problem. The laxative so irritates the colon that the bowels expel whatever loose material is around. Note 2: Bowel elimination problems are often chronic and may need several rounds of cleansing. Alternate cleansing with periods of eating a healthy diet.

Colon Cleanse Bodywork

Techniques to enhance your cleanse: Irrigate: a colonic irrigation is a good way to start a colon/bowel cleanse. Grapefruit seed extract (15 to 20 drops in a gallon of water) is effective, especially if there is colon toxicity along with constipation. Try a catnip or diluted liquid chlorophyll enema every other night during the cleanse. Note: Enemas may be given to children. Use smaller amounts according to size and age. Allow water to enter very slowly; let them expel when they wish.

Exercise: Take a brisk walk for an hour every day to help keep your elimination channels moving.

Bathe: Take several long warm baths during your cleanse. Dry skin brushing will help release toxins coming out through your skin. Lemon Detox Bath: add into warm bath - 5 drops lemon essential oil and 2 drops geranium essential oil.

Massage therapy: Get one good lower back and pelvis massage during your cleanse.

Visualize your detox: Close your eyes; inhale and exhale long and slowly. As you exhale, visualize toxins dislodging and leaving your colon. As you inhale, visualize nourishing nutrients rebuilding vibrancy.

Do You Need A Detox?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you feel congested from too much food, or the wrong kinds of food?
  • Do you feel lethargic, like you need a good spring cleaning?
  • Do you need to eliminate drug residues?
  • Do you need to normalize the body after illness or hospital stay?
  • Do you need a jump start to a healing program?
  • Do you need a specific detox program for a serious health problem?
  • Do you want to streamline your body processes for more energy?
  • Do you need to remove toxins causing a health problem?
  • Do you want to rest and rejuvenate your whole body?
  • Do you want to assist weight loss?
  • Do you want to clear up your skin?

Signs that you need to detoxify: Frequent, unexplained headaches or back or joint pain, or arthritis, chronic respiratory problems, sinus problems or asthma abnormal body odor, bad breath or coated tongue, food allergies, poor digestion or chronic constipation with intestinal bloating or gas, brittle nails and hair, psoriasis, adult acne, or unexplained weight gain over 10 pounds, unusually poor memory, chronic insomnia, depression, irritability, chronic fatigue, environmental sensitivities especially to odors.

What Are Sea Vegetables?

There are many reasons why I recommend sea vegetables as part of my Healthy Healing programs -- weight loss, cellulite control, detoxification, beautiful hair and skin, and more. Sea vegetables can transform your health! I believe that when we eat sea vegetables, and when we take seaweed baths, we are tapping into the ancestral and restorative source of all life -- the ocean. Include sea vegetables into your diet every day and you 'll see a difference. I do! Sea plants -- gifts from the sea! Sea vegetables come in green, brown, red and blue-green algae. A quick profile:

Kelp (laminaria) contains vitamins A, B, E, D and K, is a main source of vitamin C, and rich in minerals. Kelp proteins are comparable in quality to animal proteins. A brown marine plant, kelp contains sodium alginate (algin), an element that helps remove radioactive particles and heavy metals from the body. Algin, carrageenan and ager are kelp gels that rejuvenate gastrointestinal health and aid digestion. Kelp works as a blood purifier, relieves arthritis stiffness, and promotes adrenal, pituitary and thyroid health. Kelp's natural iodine can normalize thyroid-related disorders like overweight and lymph system congestion. It is a demulcent that helps eliminate herpes outbreaks. Kelp is rich -- a little goes a long way.

Kombu (laminaria digitata, setchelli, horsetail kelp), has a long tradition as a Japanese delicacy with great nutritional healing value. It is a decongestant for excess mucous, and helps normalize blood pressure. Kombu has abundant iodine, carotenes, B, C, D and E vitamins, minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, silica, iron and zinc, and the powerful skin healing nutrient germanium. Kombu is a meaty, high-protein seaweed. It is higher in natural mineral salts than most other seaweeds. Add a strip of kombu to your bean pot to reduce gas.

Hijiki is a mineral-rich, high-fiber seaweed, with 20% protein, vitamin A, carotenes and calcium. Hijiki has the most calcium of any sea green, 1400mg per 100gr. of dry weight.

Nori (porphyra, laver) is a red sea plant with a sweet, meaty taste when dried. It contains nearly 50% balanced, assimilable protein, higher than any other sea plant. Nori's fiber makes it a perfect sushi wrapper. Nori is rich in all the carotenes, calcium, iodine, iron, and phosphorus.

Arame (Eisenia bycyclis), is one of the ocean's richest sources of iodine. Herbalists use arame to help reduce breast and uterine fibroids, adhesions, and through its fat soluble vitamins and phytohormones, to normalize menopausal symptoms. Arame promotes soft, wrinkle-free skin, enhances glossy hair and prevents its loss.

Sea Palm (Postelsia Palmaeformis), American arame, grows only on the Pacific Coast of North America. One of my favorites, it has a sweet, salty taste that goes especially well as a vegetable, rice or salad topping.

Bladderwrack is packed with vitamin K -- an excellent adrenal stimulant. It is still used today by native Americans in steam baths for arthritis, gout and illness recovery.

Wakame (alaria, undaria) is a high-protein, high calcium seaweed, with carotenes, iron and vitamin C. Widely used in the Orient for hair growth and luster, and for skin tone.

Dulse (palmaria palmata), a red sea plant, is rich in iron, protein, and vitamin A. It is a supremely balanced nutrient, with 300 times more iodine and 50 times more iron than wheat. Tests on dulse show activity against the herpes virus. It can be a valuable herb for sexuallity for men. It has purifying and tonic effects on the body, yet its natural, balanced salts nourish as a mineral, without inducing thirst.

Irish Moss (chondrus crispus, carrageen) is full of electrolyte minerals -- calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Its mucilaginous compounds help you detoxify, boost metabolism and strengthen hair, skin and nails. Traditionally used for a low sex drive.

Preventive measures may be taken against iodine deficiency problems or disease risk by adding just 2 tablespoons of chopped, dried sea greens to your daily diet.

Sea vegetables are tasty! Crush, chop or crumble any mix of dry sea greens you like into soups and sauces, pizzas or focaccias, casseroles, rice and salads. Roast them into anything you cook. If you add sea veggies, no other salt is needed, an advantage for a low salt diet. Sundried, they are convenient to buy, store, and use as needed. Store them in a moisture proof container and they keep indefinitely.

To Life-long health,

Linda Page

file-23419819

file-23419819