Heartburn – the Problem with Antacids

In a nutshell, heartburn occurs when stomach acids back up (or “reflux”) into the esophagus due to the sphincter between the two failing to close entirely.
Two common commercial treatments are antacids and acid blockers.
 Acid blockers reduce stomach acid production.

Antacids neutralize or attempt to eliminate the acidity of the stomach contents.
Both use a witches brew of chemicals and minerals, which, over time, build up in the system causing a host of problems.
Aluminum Hydroxide
This element is common in many antacids, and can contribute to phosphate deficiency. Natural phosphate in food reacts with the aluminum to form solid material that is just passed in the stool. To keep enough phosphorus in the blood, the body then takes it out of bones – a problem particularly an issue for older people.

Mental & Nervous System Concerns
Aluminum has also been also linked to kidney problems and possibly Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Magnesium is also a very common ingredient generally used in milder antacids such as Tums. However, they are also laxative and can cause diarrhea and can be a problem for people with poor kidney function.

Other Side Effects of Antacids
Use of antacids can lead to bowel problems that include constipation, nausea and diarrhea or occasional vomiting, as well as kidney stones. Due to , demineralization, bone pain and muscle weakness are possible.
Lastly, stomach acid is a critical part of digestion, and reducing this acid can also limit absorption of nutrients – leading to malnutrition.

As discussed in the previous article, lifestyle changes of diet and exercise can be the greatest approach to a healthy digestive system. Couple that with known “nutraceuticals”, and you’re on your way to a long term cure as opposed to a quick fix.

There are many herbs that lend themselves to this healing process, among them, is a derivative of the Persian Oak or Brant’s Oak. This native of Western Asia has been used in traditional medicines for centuries without side effects, without long term damage. It reduces acid production so that the esophagus can heal.

We encourage you to try Gastric Relief – entirely made in the USA with old world reliability.

Heartburn & The Natural Approach

Also known as acid reflux, heartburn is basically when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. If heartburn occurs regularly – two or more times a week – it is termed gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD for short. 
This acid is instrumental in helping break down food, and the stomach has a tough lining to protect it from the harsh effects of this acid – the esophagus, however, does not.
This backup results in the all too familiar burning sensation throughout the chest area, throat and neck – often being mistaken for a heart attack.

There are many known causes – most within our control, others not, such as required medications that may trigger heartburn, or pregnancy that puts upward pressure on the stomach. Although heartburn is common, chronic heartburn can lead to serious complications.
While treatments, both from your physician and over the counter remedies, vary widely, these will be discussed in another article. Our focus is on a lifestyle change and natural approach to help alleviate the symptoms.

Things that ARE in our control, include avoiding:
– fatty and fried foods
– alcohol
– coffee, colas and carbonated drinks
– garlic and onions
– smoking
– over eating and obesity

Take a close look at any medications you’re taking. Some are infamous for triggering heartburn as well:
– Tricyclics (used for depression)
– Anti-inflammatories, used for arthritis, pain, and fever
– Alpha blockers
– Nitrates (used for angina)

Next week: How Does the Western Lifestyle Contribute to Heartburn?

Aromatherapy and the Autistic Mind

Egyptians are thought to be among the first to extract and distill oils from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots of powerful plants. They commonly used cinnamon, cloves and myrrh, among other plants, for embalming purposes*, and it was later discovered that these oils had a calming influence. We now know that aromatherapy helps associate certain smells with a positive experience. The benefits can be obtained by either inhaling their scent or by applying diluted versions directly to the skin

Autism, ADD and ADHD might be described as a disorder of the senses – our brains rely on touch, taste or smell to help make sense of our environment.

That’s where aromatherapy steps in, particularly with children, by providing sensory enrichment as well as reassurance and a sense of well being. Kids often look for familiar smells to calm themselves, and aromatherapy, combined with a gentle massage, can help relax your child and engage their senses of smell and touch simultaneously. Done at home where they are comfortable, this routine helps them connect the senses and focus on social and motor skills.
For more on natural therapies with autism, please visit the Autism Hope Alliance.


Next week: digestive health.

From Nature’s Pharmacy

Eucalyptus is one of those “wonder oils” whose properties have been known for centuries as a medicinal cure-all, particularly to the natives of Australia, where the tree originated. With its sometimes very colorful bark, this tree is now cultivated widely in tropical areas, and is considered one of the most useful plants in the world.
Western doctors realized the power of Eucalyptus when they first distilled it in 1788, and since then has become a keystone botanical in many natural pharmacies.

Antiseptic Qualities.
Eucalyptus oil was first known as a malaria fighter, then became indispensable during World War 1 as pain reliever, and as an antiseptic where its germicidal qualities proved life saving. Not only did it soothe the injured area, its anti bacterial properties helped protect wounds from developing infections. Doctors furthered its use to help combat meningitis and the influenza outbreak of 1919.
Today, eucalyptus oil is still used for healing wounds, burns, cuts and abrasions, and helps take the sting out of insect bites.
As a Decongestant
The main component of eucalyptus oil is a non-toxic compound called cineole. This element helps clear airways of mucus, bacteria and other microbes – directly attacking congestion and the cause. This component is also instrumental as a very effective treatment for sinus infections.
A natural cough suppressant, this cure-all helps address the misery of a stuffy head, and open up airways quickly – making it a consideration for those who snore.
Headache Relief.
The cineole compound acts as a vasodilator to increase blood flow – effectively treating stubborn headaches. The oil can be applied topically to the forehead or temples, but if your headaches are sinus related, it is best treated by inhaling the vapors.
Insect Repellent.
As mentioned, eucalyptus oil was historically a tool against malaria for a reason – it acts as a natural bug repellent (as is lavender). As we head into mosquito season, it is worth a try.
As a Fever Reducer
Also called “fever oil”, eucalyptus oil has long been known for its ability to reduce body temperature when applied topically – usually to the forehead or temples. This is particularly important with children, who can be prone to fever spikes.
While many of these issues can be addressed with Over the Counter meds, the powerful oils from the eucalyptus tree offer relief without the fear of side effects.

Next week: autism and aromatherapy.

How Are Some People Immune to Allergies?

The Family Connection.
It is very possible that genetics are involved, and allergies tend to run in families.
If one parent is allergic, the child will be allergic about 1 out of 3 times. If both parents have allergies, then there is more than a 50% chance that the child will also have allergies. For most kids the risk is around 20%.

The Outside Connection.
Where you grow up also plays a factor . People who grow up on a farm are notoriously healthier than city dwellers – and kids who spend more time outside, exposed to pets, dirt and bacteria develop stronger immune systems than those that aren’t.

When kids come into contact with these things naturally (outside), they are less likely to have allergies, or develop them later on. The kids who grow up on sterile environments tend to be among those with more autoimmune issues and allergies.

So, what to do about it?
Probiotics are a start at helping build a stronger immune system. And, while not a cure, aromatherapy can help relieve the symptoms. Ingredients like menthol and eucalyptus have been used for centuries to treat respiratory ailments, like a stuffy nose and congestion. Eucalyptus is a wonder oil – being known to treat many
things, from headaches to opening airways, and can even help with snoring!

Next week: more on Eucalyptus



Spring Allergies – Fight a Natural Problem Naturally

When the thermometer hits 60 degrees for at least 3 days, it’s high season for spring allergies.
That’s when all those beautiful flowers, trees and weeds to jettison tiny grains of pollen into the air to fertilize other plants. Since pollen can travel for miles, it’s not just about your neighborhood plants and your allergy misery begins.
Your immune system can mistakenly see harmless pollen as a threat (like a bacteria), and releases antibodies to attack the threat. Your system release a chemical called histamine into your blood, which then triggers the runny nose, itchy eyes, and other symptoms that are all too familiar if you have allergies.

Of course, OTC (Over the Counter) Meds can help alleviate the symptoms – but they can have unwanted side effects that include dry mouth and drowsiness, and can impair driving ability and cause a mental disconnect that many users find irritating. 

Natural remedies fight a natural problem, well, naturally! Better yet, they often have few or NO side effects.

Menthol, in lozenges, nasal sprays, vapo-rubs, inhalers, and cough syrups, is widely used as a treatment for rhinitis that is associated with acute upper respiratory tract infection and allergy. Menthol as a plant extract has been used in traditional medicine in Asia for the treatment of respiratory diseases for hundreds of years, but it was only introduced to the West as a medicine at the end of the 19th century. With the recent discovery of a menthol receptor on the sensory nerves that modulate the cool sensation, menthol has graduated from the realms of herbal medicine into the field of molecular pharmacology.

Oil from fresh eucalyptus leaves is colorless and has a distinctive odor. Many people find at least minor relief for itchy eyes and a runny nose. This oil is used in many medicinal products for good reason – it acts as an antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and decongestant in nature.
  It is known for treating wounds, as well as a number of respiratory issues, including cold, cough, sinusitis, runny nose, asthma and bronchitis.
A 2004 report** shows its effect in treating non-bacterial sinusitis – patients showed quicker improvement when treated with eucalyptus oil. 

Next week: Why do some people have allergic reactions, and others don’t?


*Source: US National Library of MedicineNational Institutes of Health