Holiday-themed Remedies --NOT Diabetic Specific

By TaraHealth Latest Reply 2011-12-30 15:46:40 -0600
Started 2011-12-23 17:24:44 -0600

Hi everyone—

Here are some interesting remedies for common problems that have a holiday theme. Please note, these are not specifically for those with diabetes and like all remedies, you should check with your doctor before trying any of these. I hope everyone has a joyous and blessed holiday. Here's Dr. W.

The holidays are in full swing, and what better time to share a few holiday-themed cures with you. Read on to see how peppermint, frankincense, and an extract from pine tree bark can help treat a variety of health concerns.

Peppermint for IBS and Digestion Woes
Candy canes may only surface around the holidays, but peppermint is something you should keep in your medicine cabinet year round—especially if you suffer with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Peppermint oil is a proven remedy for relieving pain, gas and bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and other symptoms of this common condition. Italian researchers gave patients with IBS either peppermint oil or placebo capsules twice a day. After four weeks, three quarters of the patients taking peppermint reported a greater than 50 percent improvement in symptoms, compared to just 38 percent of those in the placebo group.

Peppermint oil can cause heartburn in some people, so I suggest taking only enteric-coated capsules, which don’t break down until they’ve passed through the stomach. The dose used in most studies is one to two capsules containing 0.2 mL of oil twice a day. I also recommend a cup of fragrant peppermint tea after meals to aid digestion. Look for peppermint oil capsules and tea in your health food store.

Frankincense for Arthritis
In biblical times, frankincense was as valued as gold. This fragrant resin has also been treasured for its many medicinal uses, and it remains a staple in Ayurvedic medicine. The bulk of modern-day research focuses on an extract from the Indian frankincense tree, Boswellia serrata. Scientists have discovered that this extract mimics the anti-inflammatory effects of NSAIDs and helps relieve arthritis pain—without any negative side effects.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of Boswellia serrata on patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Those who received the supplement daily for three months reported significant pain relief, some in as little as one week. They also experienced improvements in function and stiffness. In addition, the group receiving boswellia had markedly lower levels of an enzyme that breaks down cartilage. Boswellia extracts are safe and well tolerated. To ensure potency, go with a supplement standardized for 65 percent boswellic acids. Good brands include Solgar and Nature’s Way. Look for them in your health food store and use as directed.

Pycnogenol for Asthma
More than 30 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma, and its prevalence in children is particularly disturbing, as it has increased nearly 75 percent over the last 25 years. The usual treatments for this chronic condition are oral or inhaled corticosteroids or other drugs that reduce inflammation, and inhaled bronchodilators, which increase the diameter of the airways and are often used during attacks.

Recent research suggests that pycnogenol, an antioxidant-rich extract from the bark of pine trees (Pinus maritime), also improves asthma symptoms and reduces drug requirements. Researchers enrolled 60 kids, ages 6 to 18, with mild-to-moderate asthma in a three-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of pycnogenol. They discovered that, compared with those taking placebo, children taking pycnogenol had significant improvements in pulmonary function and asthma symptoms as well as reductions in leukotrienes, a marker of inflammation. They were also able to discontinue or reduce their frequency of use of “rescue inhalers.” A previous study showed benefits for adults with asthma as well. The dose used in these studies was 1 mg per pound of body weight in both children and adults, up to 200 mg per day. Pycnogenol is sold in health food stores.

I hope these “holiday cures” are helpful to you or someone you know. Feel free to pass this eNewsletter along to friends and family, and enjoy the season and all it has to offer.
Happy Holidays!
Julian Whitaker, MD

10 replies

Young1s 2011-12-29 21:12:17 -0600 Report

I use to carry peppermints all the time but stopped for fear that eating them would raise my BG"s. I don't recall if they helped with any stomach issues but I'll try to keep that in mind if the problem arises. Given how the mind can be made to believe the positive effects of a placebo, I wonder if the frankincense would have the same results on the body in it's aroma therapy form.

dietcherry 2011-12-29 20:58:22 -0600 Report

I just now saw this! I love peppermint tea and can attest to it soothing a upset tummy!
Question: do you know if pycnogenol can help with sinusitis???

TaraHealth 2011-12-29 22:38:41 -0600 Report

Hi Cherry— The symptoms of sinusitis are so different from asthma i wouldn't assume one would apply to the other. I will ask the doc. I have taken pycnogenol at various times and found no ill effects so it might be worth a try. But i will inquire since, as you say, it ain't cheap. : ) : )

dietcherry 2011-12-30 11:31:32 -0600 Report

Also, the reason I wondered if pycnogenol would help with sinusitis is because of its ability to reduce inflammation. I have used Veramyst in the past for allergy symptoms and it is an inhaled corticosteroid too. Thanks!!

dietcherry 2011-12-30 11:19:05 -0600 Report

Hey sweetie! Thanks for getting back with me! Like James, I googled it and found some promising info but again its touted as a cure-all for all that ails you which has to be taken with a grain of salt.
On Amazon, users say it helps with chronic congestion, joint pain, and eczema. Thats quite diverse!!

jayabee52 2011-12-29 21:46:51 -0600 Report

That is an interesting question. I have recurring problems with sinus as well. I'd like to know so I did what I often do, Googled it. And as it turns out it seems to, if you can believe it ( I tend to be a bit of a skeptic when one supplement claims to be able to do so many things) — here is the white paper ~

The paper tells about sinusitus on page 10.

But wait there's MORE as the advertisement says ! It supposedly helps with Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Attention Deficit Disorder,
and Attention Hyperactive Disorder, Diabetes, Osteoarthritis, Lupus and numerous other conditions, some of which I have never heard.

It is a sales paper for one particular formulation of pycogenol, (but I have not discovered yet which formulation — which is SUPPOSED to be: "All the other brands that are available through magazines or through health food stores are about a quarter to one-fifth the strength of this, so you would have to take so much more of their product compared to that which is produced by this company." (p 20) But nowhere do we learn to what company or specific product the paper refers.

dietcherry 2011-12-29 22:06:02 -0600 Report

Sooooooooooo Im still not sure! lol I guess I will try it; I priced it at Amazon and it aint cheap so it better work! ;) Thanks for the link!

jayabee52 2011-12-29 22:15:23 -0600 Report

I haven't looked up the pricing info as of yet. I am also thinking of trying it. It would be valuable to me to get my post-nasal mucus flow stopped and no longer have the resulting peripheral vertigo when that happens.

Please Keep in touch about your progress should you try this Renee

dietcherry 2011-12-30 11:14:31 -0600 Report

Im going to get by Whole Foods this weekend and see if they carry it; James have you ever walked through Whole Foods' vitamin/supplement aisle? Its incredible!
I will def let you know if I try it and what the results are! I hate to spend that kinda money on what may turn out to be a pipe dream but I really need to start addressing my sinusitis again since I quit the prescription meds and their side effects :(

jayabee52 2011-12-30 15:46:40 -0600 Report

I think I've been in WF once in my life. And I didn't do much browsing at all, so I don't think I have been in their vitamin/supplement asile.