Healthy Healing 14th Edition

Natural Immunity- Safeguarding your System

About the Immune System

echinacea-resized-600.png

Your immune system is your bodyguard. It works both pro-actively and protectively to shield you from anything in your world that threatens your life and limb. The main elements of the immune system are the thymus gland, bone marrow, the spleen, the complement system of enzymatic proteins, and the lymphatic system with white blood cells and lymphocytes, the backbone of immune defenses. Your immune system is ever-vigilant, constantly searching for proteins, called antigens, that don't belong in your body. It can deal with a wide range of pathogens - viruses, funguses, bacteria and parasites. It can even recognize potential antigens, such as drugs, pollens, insect venoms and chemicals in foods, and malignant cells and foreign tissue, such as transplanted organs or transfused blood.

The immune system is the body's most complex and delicately balanced infrastructure. We hear so much about immune system breakdown today. Yet, most of us don't know very much about it, or how it works. It's really an amazing part of our bodies. While the workings of other body systems have been well known for some time, the complex nature and dynamics of the immune system have been largely a mystery. One of the problems in comprehending immune response is its highly individual nature. It's a personal defense system that comes charging to the rescue at the first sign of an alien force, such as a harmful virus or pathogenic bacteria. Personal immune response shows us that there is so much more to our healing than the latest wonder drug. It shows us that we are the ultimate healer of ourselves.

Most Americans today don't have good immune response to fight off illness. Pollution, drug overload and nutrient-poor diets compromise our immune health even in good weather. So we're already pre-disposed to a life of frequent colds and flu when bad weather rolls in. Stress is a definite culprit in reduced immune response because it affects the production of interferon, your body's natural antiviral agent. People who are under continuous stress from work or their personal lives are 2 and a half times more likely to get a cold or flu infection than other people. You may think you're protected if you've had a flu shot, but think again. Flu shots are only effective for specific flu viruses... you may be exposed to a different one, or even a brand new one (flu viruses mutate rapidly). That means your shot won't be effective. In any case, follow-up studies show flu shots are only effective for 30% of the population.

Drugs aren't the answer for immune enhancement. The immune system is not responsive to drugs for healing. Even doctors admit that most drugs really just stabilize the body, or arrest a harmful organism, to allow the immune system to gather its forces and take over. Each one of us has a unique immune response system. It would be almost impossible to form a drug for each person. Antibiotics used to fight infections actually depress the immune system when used long-term. Long courses of tetracycline and erythromycin are some of the most common and some of the worst for immune health. But natural nutritive forces, like healing foods and herbal medicines can and do support the immune system. They enhance its activity, strengthen it, and provide an environment through cleansing and detoxification for it to work at its best.

I believe the only way to stay healthy during high risk times is to prepare your body for the defenses it's going to need. Even if you've improved your diet, take another look at it because a super nutritious diet is imperative when you're under attack.

What does the immune system really do? Immune defense is autonomic, using its own subconscious memory to establish antigens against harmful pathogens. It's a system that works on its own to fend off or neutralize disease toxins, and set up a healing environment for the body. It is this quality of being a part of us, yet not under our conscious control, that is the great power of immune response. It is also the dilemma of medical scientists as they struggle to get control of a system that is all pervasive and yet, in the end, impossible to completely understand. It is as if God shows us his face in this incredibly complex part of us, where we are allowed to glimpse the ultimate mind-body connection.

Maintaining strong immune defenses in today's world is not easy. Daily exposure to environmental pollutants, the emotional and excessive stresses of modern lifestyles, chemicalized foods, and new virus mutations are all a challenge to our immune systems. Devastating, immune compromised diseases are rising all over the world. Reduced immunity is the main factor in opportunistic diseases, like candida albicans, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, HIV, hepatitis, mononucleosis, herpes II, sexually transmitted diseases and cancer. These diseases have become the epidemic of our time, and most of us don't have very much to fight with. An overload of antibiotics, antacids, immunizations, cortico-steroid drugs, and environmental pollutants eventually affect immune system balance to the point where it cannot distinguish harmful cells from healthy cells.

I see traditional medicine as "heroic" medicine. Largely developed in wartime, its greatest strengths are emergency measures -- the ability to arrest a crisis, destroy or incapacitate pathogenic organisms, reset and re-attach broken body parts, and stabilize the body so it can gather its healing forces. Because drugs work in an attempt to directly kill harmful organisms, it is easy to see that their value would be for emergency measures, and for short term use.

But, three unwanted things often happen with prolonged drug use: 1) Our bodies can build up a tolerance to the drug so that it requires more of it to get the same effect. 2) The drug slowly overwhelms immune response so the body becomes dependent upon it, using it as a crutch instead of doing its own work. 3) The drug misleads our defense system to the point that it doesn't know what to assault, and attacks everything in confusion. This type of over-reaction often happens during an allergy attack, where the immune system may respond to substances that are not really harmful. Most of the time, if we use drugs wisely to stimulate rather than over kill, if we "get out of the way" by keeping our bodies clean and well nourished, the immune system will spend its energies rebuilding instead of fighting, and strengthen us instead of constantly gathering resources to conduct a "rear guard" defense.

The very nature of immune strength means that it must be built from the inside out. The immune system is the body system most sensitive to nutritional deficiencies. Giving your body generous, high quality, natural remedies at the first sign of infection improves your chances of overcoming disease before it takes serious hold. Powerful, immune-enhancing superfoods and herbs can be directed at "early warning" problems to build strength for immune response. Building good immune defenses takes time and commitment, but it is worth it. The inherited immunity and health of you, your children and your grandchildren is laid down by you.

One more thing: Laughter lifts more than your spirits. It also boosts your immune response. Laughter lowers cortisol, an immune suppressor, allowing immunity to function better.

Linda Page, Ph.D., Traditional Naturopath, is an internationally renowned author, educator, and classical herbalist.

Dr. Page is an Adjunct Professor at Clayton College of Natural Health. She is a member of The American Naturopathic Medical Association. The California Naturopathic Association, The American Herbalist Guild The American Botanical Council and The Herb Research Foundation. Author of the best-selling book, Healthy Healing, A Guide to Self Healing for Everyone, now in the 12th edition. Dr. Page owns and formulates Crystal Star Herbal Nutrition supplements.

The Importance Of Water

water-resized-600.png

Good water is essential to body cleansing. It's obvious. It sounds like a truism. Your body goes down fast without water. Making up almost three-fourths of the body, every cell is regulated, monitored and dependent on an efficient flow of water. Not one of the processes in our bodies could take place without water. Water is something that we take for granted. But how many of us really understand how essential water is or what happens to our body if it doesn't receive pure water every day, free of chemicals and pollutants?

  • Water is the adhesive that bonds your cell architecture. When you get enough water fluid retention decreases, and gland and hormone functions improve.

  • Water regulates your body temperature, maintains your equilibrium and helps the liver break down and release more fat.

  • Water carries every nutrient, mineral, vitamin, protein, hormone and chemical messenger in your body to its destination.

  • Proteins and enzymes, the basis for your body's healing capacity, function efficiently only when you have enough water.

  • Your daily energy depends on water, because your body's chemical reactions are water-dependent. Just like a hydro-electric system, the energy generated by your body's water is used by your two vital cell battery systems, ATP and GTP.

  • Your brain tissue is 85% water. Messages from your brain to everywhere else in your body are transported on "waterways."

Water is essential to the cleansing processes of your body.

  • It lubricates and flushes wastes and toxins from all cells.

  • It cleanses the internal organs.

  • It helps eliminate toxins from the bloodstream.

Drinking enough water is critical to keep your skin soft and supply, your brain sharp and your elimination systems regular. But there's another side to the water story. Most Americans have reduced their intake of fats (including the good Omega-3 fats) to the point that their bodies don't hold and use the water they do take in. It's one of the reasons I recommend adding more sea greens to your diet for moister skin, shining eyes and lustrous hair.... a quality of sea plants known since ancient Greek times.

How much is enough? Your body needs about three quarts of replacement water every day under normal conditions. Strenuous activity, summer temperatures, or a diet that's high in salt increase this requirement. Your foods provide up to 11/2 quarts of water per day. (Fruits and vegetables are more than 90% water. Even dry foods like bread are about 35% water.) Water for metabolism is produced as part of the food digestion process, yielding as much as a pint per day.

Water is critical to your detoxification program! For a healing program, several types of water are worth consideration:

  • Mineral water comes from natural springs with varying mineral content and widely varying taste. The naturally occurring minerals are beneficial to digestion and regularity. In Europe, this form of bottled water has become a fine art.

  • Distilled water can be from a spring or tap source; it is "de-mineralized". Distilling is accomplished by boiling water, then converting to steam and recondensing it. It is ideal for healing, but not for longterm use because it can demineralize the body.

  • Sparkling water can come from natural carbonation in underground springs, but most are artificially infused with CO2 to maintain a standard fizz. This water is an aid to digestion, and is excellent in cooking to tenderize and give lightness to a recipe.

  • Artesian well water is the Cadillac of natural untreated waters. It always comes from a deep pure source, has a slight fizz from bubbling up under rock pressure, and is tapped by a drilled well without coming in contact with ground contaminants.

Beyond buying bottled water, you can also take steps as an individual to conserve water and diminish pollution of ground water supplies:

  • Use biodegradable soaps and detergents. Don't use water fresheners in toilet bowls.

  • Don't pour wastes like paints, solvents, and petroleum based oils into drains.

  • Use natural fertilizers such as manure and compost in your garden.

  • Conserve water -- use what you really need for a shower, a bath, laundry or cooking.

So be sure to get enough water every day, but make sure it is the right kind of water which can cleanse and heal the body, not toxic or polluted water which destroys health.

Questions about kava kava's safety?

Kava has become the "herbal answer" to Valium-like drugs in America. Kava helps calm the mind and relax the muscles without causing side effects like over-sedation or addiction common to prescription drugs. However, some media reports suggest kava causes liver damage. You should know that evidence shows in 27 of the 30 reported cases the people were using other medications, or had a history of alcoholism which may have caused the liver toxicity. In the South Pacific where kava is used regularly in very high doses, there are few reports of liver toxicity.

Is kava misuse the problem? A study by the University of Manoa found an alkaloid, pipermethystine, found primarily in kava’s stem peelings have liver toxic effects in vitro. While traditional healers use only the root in preparations, widespread industrial production of the herb means that some manufacturers use stem peelings and leaves in commercial products due to the much cheaper costs. Leading theories speculate this misuse has led to current toxicity problems. We use modest doses of  whole kava kava root in combination with other whole herbs and we have not seen any problems.

Until we know more, we suggest to avoid kava when you drink alcohol, or if you have liver problems, or if you take drugs that affect the liver. Experts theorize that kava may potentially aggravate liver disease in rare cases.

To Life-long health,

Linda Page

Are you worried about the safety of supplements and herbs?

pillinhand-resized-600.png

Here are the facts (source: Natural Products Association)1. Supplements are SAFE. Millions of people use supplements every year with no safety issues. In fact, supplements are regulated as foods NOT as drugs because of their excellent safety record.

2. Supplements are regulated. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) effectively regulates supplements on the market. Even the FDA concedes it has all the tools it needs to regulate supplement use.

3. Studies show supplements enhance health! The numbers show that natural products can save lives, not to mention millions of dollars in healthcare.

A few examples from the Natural Products Association: - Daily intake of approximately 1,800 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the occurrence of CHD (coronary heart disease) among the over-65 population. Approximately 384,303 hospitalizations and physician fees of $3.1 billion due to CHD could be avoided with supplement use.

- Daily intake of 1,200 milligrams of calcium with vitamin D among the over age-65 population could prevent approximately 734,000 hip fractures and hospital, nursing facility, and physician costs of $13.9 billion.

We wll be updating this page regularly with new information on supplement and herb safety. Every time you use a whole herb product, you're taking a step forward for your health!

To Life-long health,

Sarah Abernathy

Herbal Consultant

Crystal Star Herbs

Sexuality for Men

Decline of Normal Male Sexual Libido

We tend to think we're the only culture beset with libido-lowering elements. The latest statistics for America show that 52% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 have impotence problems. Certainly there is no question that our nutrient-poor, high fat diets, over-use of drugs and stimulants, and high-pressured lifestyles do lead to low energy and lack of time for love. But the reality is that humanity in every era has felt the need for help in the sexual area. After all, this part of our lives is at the most basic, elemental center of our being.

Light Your Fire

A man's libido absolutely depends on the state of his health. A healthy lifestyle has the greatest impact on his sexual ability and enjoyment. Every man can develop his sexual potential to its utmost no matter what his age!

Today's fast-paced and highly volatile lifestyle seems to demand that men be Supermen. A man must be strong physically during workouts and sports, supportive emotionally in relationships, balanced under stress, mentally creative and quick, and sexually keen and virile. Whew! It's no wonder that sexual dysfunction is happening to men at every age. It is a real problem. Sperm counts are down dramatically, even in younger men.

Yet, it is only a myth that people lose their sexuality in later years. Although we change, men need not experience declining performance, poor responsiveness, or lack of libido. A full 80% of men who experience erection difficulty have an underlying physiological problem or medical complication. Most often, erectile dysfunction is a result of poor health or the side effects of medication.

Self Test for Men: Is Your Libido Low?

Do you want to boost your sexual response? If you're having any sexually related problems, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have high blood pressure, atherosclerosis or diabetes?

  • Have you recently taken a long course of prescription drugs, particularly antidepressants or blood pressure lowering medications?

  • Do you regularly take over-the-counter decongestants containing pseudoephedrine?

  • Do you have prostate problems?

  • Are you low in zinc?

  • Are you chronically under stress?

  • Have you noticed that your erections don't get as hard as they used to, don't last as long and don't return as rapidly after intercourse?

  • Do you lose erections frequently during lovemaking or ejaculate prematurely?

  • Do you have a sexually transmitted disease? Did you have one in the past?

  • Do you rarely exercise?

  • Do you drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages on a daily basis?

  • Do you smoke or chew tobacco?

  • Have you lost the desire to have sex? When you do have the desire, are you afraid of poor performance?

  • Is sex a chore rather than a pleasure?

  • Have erections become slow and difficult (atherosclerosis) or painful (prostate swelling, poor circulation)?

  • Have you become dissatisfied with the path your life is taking? Are you depressed? Have you been under a lot of emotional stress for a long period of time?

  • Do you feel unattractive or that you've lost your looks as you've aged? Has your diet deteriorated to fast foods on the run? Are you getting exercise every week?

  • Is there unusual tension in your job? Is your personal relationship unhappy? Have you resorted to prescription (or pleasure) drugs to get through your day?

  • Was your childhood marked by physical abuse or great trauma? (sometimes the feelings don't surface for years) Hypnotherapy may be effective for you.

  • Do you have a serious illness that affects the nerves, like MS, Parkinson's or diabetes?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you can benefit greatly from the many different healing approaches featured on this page.

Lifestyle Therapy

A man's sex drive is dependent on testosterone and a good blood supply to the erectile tissue, factors that rely on good nutrition and exercise.

  • Eat zinc source foods: liver, oysters, nuts, seeds and legumes.

  • Dopamine (L-Dopa) is intimately associated with sex drive in men. One 16 oz. can of fava beans has almost a prescription dose!

  • Add mineral-rich foods like shellfish, greens and whole grains; EFA's from flaxseed and sea greens.

  • Eat fiber-rich foods like legumes, fruits and vegetables to avoid atherosclerosis of the penis.

  • Drink in moderation. Heavy drinking can lead to reduced erections.

  • Environmental estrogens in hormone-injected food animals, herbicides and pesticides affect male sperm counts and female hormone balance. Avoid hormone-injected meats and dairy foods, and herbicide-sprays

  • Extra weight means a smaller penis. Sexologists say a man loses 1/2 inch from his penis for every 15 pounds he gains. Extra weight causes protective fat pad to creep over the shaft.

  • Exercise can increase sex drive, especially exercise with your mate. Exercise like dancing, walking and swimming stimulates circulation and increases body oxygen. New research shows exercise is as effective as Viagra in men with heart problems who cannot use the drug.

  • Try aromatherapy oils dotted on your sheets. Sexuality-enhancing aromatherapy oils for men include: cinnamon, sandalwood, lavender, patchouli, coriander, jasmine and cardamom. Sexuality-enhancing oils for women are: ylang ylang, rose, clary sage, neroli and rosewood.

Lifestyle habits affect male sexual health:

  • Prolonged recreational drug use inhibits sperm production.

  • Heavy metal or radiation damages sperm / chromosome structure.

  • Sexually transmitted diseases scar the vas deferens and testes, obstructing sperm delivery to the penis; infertility results.

  • Smoking, the cadmium contained in cigarette papers interferes with the utilization and absorption of zinc.

The Libido Diet For Men - Use this diet for optimum results:

Start off with a 24-hour detox.

  • Use a zinc-rich spirulina protein drink to boost your energy and cleanse your body of gland-clogging toxins.

  • Drink a quart of V-8 juice or Knudsen's VERY VEGGIE juice throughout the day. Drink at least 6 glasses during the 16 waking hours. (Alternate the juice with 8 oz. glasses of water.) Have 1 to 2 fresh apples if desired.

Then, make and take the following "potent-C" energy drink every morning for 3 months:

For 4 drinks, blend in the blender:

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries

  • 1 banana

  • 1 cup papaya chunks

  • 1 cup pineapple/coconut juice

  • 1 cup amazake rice drink

  • 2 tbsp. honey

  • 2 tbsp. toasted wheat germ

  • 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds

  • 2 tbsp. lecithin

  • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds

  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Make sure you have one meal a day with plenty of vegetable protein.

  • Protein deficiency is often implicated in low male potency. You have a lot of good choices. My favorite protein sources for men are black beans and rice (highly absorbable, full of B-vitamins, alkalizing for a too-acid system) steamed vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale and chard (lower cholesterol deposits) sprouts (full of enzymes) nuts and seeds (rich in zinc) seafoods of all kinds (heart-protecting) and turkey (low-fat, stress-reducing).

Have one large, fresh green salad each day, with plenty of lettuce, cucumber, carrots and tomatoes.

  • Use 2 tbsp. of a fresh tomato dressing. Greens keep your insides swept clean; and tomatoes are known for their prostate-protecting lycopene.

Add fava beans to your diet.

  • Fava beans have high concentrations of L-Dopa. Dopamine is intimately associated with sex drive in men. One 16 oz. can is almost a prescription dose.

Have a zinc-rich meal every day.

  • Promise yourself some food from the sea every day. Fish and seafoods also provide essential fatty acids to protect your heart and improve circulation. Or have 2 handfuls of pumpkin or sunflower seeds or nuts; or a cup of peas or beans. If you like liver, it's rich in zinc. If you like toasted wheat germ, sprinkle a tablespoonful on your cereal, salad or a soup for more zinc.

The foods a man avoids are as important as the foods he eats.

  • Many men tend to overeat fried, fatty foods. Some experts think the tendency stems from a man's large needs for energy and strength. Fat may be a source of energy, but fried fatty foods make sex less likely -- and less enjoyable. Tests show that a man's testosterone levels drop precipitously after a high fat meal. When testosterone is low, both a man's interest in sex and his sensory nerve response are reduced.

  • Fatty meals are difficult to digest and contribute to clogged arteries. This hampers blood flow to the brain... and a man's sex organs. High fat foods usually have lots of salt and sugar, which clearly add a burden to your heart and weight -- and, thus, your sex drive.

  • Avoid red meats, too. Two main reasons: Red meat animals, like cattle and hogs, are often injected with estrogens. Prepared meats, like luncheon meats, contain nitrates that can affect health.

Supplements can enhance your sexual experience. Take a look at your multivitamin. Are you already taking these? If not, consider adding 1-2 of the following vitamin/mineral boosters for enhanced libido.

Herbs For Sex

We've looked at how the body creates the perfect setup for men to have the sexual experience and we've identified the problems that muck it up. Now, let's turn our attention to herbs that can help solve those problems. Herbs can help put life back into your lovemaking!

No "sex drug" will fix deep set, lifestyle problems. And statistics show that sex drugs can have potentially dangerous side effects. For many men, a diet change -- along with lifestyle enhancements like herbal combinations -- work far better with much less risk!

My program includes powerful herbal formulas that are designed to enhance all phases of a man's sex life including better lasting, stronger erections. Together with my sexuality boosting diet for men, it covers all the bases.

Herbs are powerful potentiators for sex... especially for men. Herbs are strong enough to benefit the male system without the unwanted side effects of drugs. They act quickly, but the effects are also cumulative in the body to build a strong nutritional foundation for sexual health. Herbs have been associated with love potions for thousands of years. Certain herbs can reawaken libido, boost sexual energy and stamina levels, and intensify sexual excitement and satisfaction. The right combinations of herbs can even help overcome difficulty achieving erection, restore hormonal balance for a more vigorous sex life, and combat problems with prostate health.

Herbs are concentrated foods -- whole essences with the ability to address both the symptoms and the causes of a problem. As nourishment, herbs offer the body nutrients it doesn't always receive, either from a poor diet or environmental deficiencies in the soil and air. As therapy, herbs act as body balancers that work with body functions so that the body can regulate and even heal itself! Indeed, herbs are at their best when they normalize body processes.

The most sexually stimulating herbs contain substances that support male glands and nerves. Normal sexual function requires healthy organs and glands to produce the necessary sex hormones. Herbs are ideal for supporting this requirement because they work through the glands.

Herbs can be a primary safe source of zinc for men. As plant foods, the zinc in herbs is accessed by a man's body exactly as a food is -- through his enzyme activity.

Zinc is the best measure of libido and potency. We know zinc helps testosterone production.

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.