All Posts tagged cold and flu

Liver Fatigue in the Spring? What should you do?

Liver Fatigue in the Spring? What should you do?

liver fatigue

 

Did you catch my Facebook live last week about Spring Liver woes? Check that out at Natural Healing Omaha Encouragement and Support Group page. During a 15 minute chat with Aaron Hill from Prairie Star Botanicals, we chatted about some very important things regarding liver fatigue in the Spring so I wanted to share them here with you as well.

This time of year your liver and your gallbladder are the most active and they might actually be too busy and causing problems for you. So this is why this time of year we pay attention to those organs, and we give them a little extra love. So that's… Click To Tweet

In the world of Chinese medicine, spring is a critical time for new growth and change and expressing all the creativity that’s been bottled up in you. It’s associated with the organs, the liver and the gallbladder, sort of paired organs that act in conflict with each other. The liver needs the gallbladder, the gallbladder needs the liver. This time of year your liver and your gallbladder are the most active and they might actually be too busy and causing problems for you. So this is why this time of year we pay attention to those organs, and we give them a little extra love.

The liver is one of your major detox organs, so you know that you have to keep waste material out of your body. And where does that happen? It happens in the kidneys, in the liver and a lot of that through the skin as well. The liver is one of your major detox organs and has to handle a lot of natural substances like your hormones and let’s just say the byproducts of digestion. That’s a concise description of what the liver does. Especially in the Springtime. And the gallbladder, of course, is sort of like a holding tank for bile that needs to be secreted whenever plates are coming through the body. At the same time, we have a full moon going on. Full moons don’t last just one day. It seems like there’s a three-day transition where they’re almost full. It’s practically full for three straight days. I don’t know if you noticed but I was driving somewhere yesterday, and the moon was twice as big. When the moon’s that big, you get a lot of fire-y energy. It is adding to whatever is bothering you.

How do you know if your liver is fatigued and needs loving?

  • Nasty emotional PMS for women
  • Men and Women alike can experience an increase in anger symptoms, frustration, just sort of like acting out, it’s overexpressing feelings a little bit.
  • Cravings for caffeine or other things that might not be the best choices
  • Worsening of Anxiety/OCD symptoms
  • Severe digestive issues

Within a couple of weeks of the actual season change and a couple of weeks after, that’s when people start to experience the most digestive disruption that we talked about this a little bit earlier. Constipation, diarrhea, both of those things. Stomach aches, extra burping or reflex happening. You might at some point even feel twingy actual pain in the liver and gallbladder area.

Also when the gallbladder is having a little bit of squeaky problems, maybe it’s a bit sludgy, that kind of things, fat digestion will be reduced. What you’ll see is fat in your stools, like in the toilet, it’ll be floating on top, and that will tell you that you’re not having great digestion gallbladder. Here is a little fact- Your poop can tell you a lot about your digestive health! It’s very important to learn how to diagnose your stool.

 

liver in spring

 

The ultimate question is. What do we do about it? First off, you need to talk to somebody who really understands these transitions. Come to Prairie Star Botanicals and make an appointment. I can see you on Thursdays, and Thursday.

And then there also are a couple of quick tips.

  • Eat more greens. I’m talking about like dark, leafy, bitter tasting greens, like arugula, watercress, kale, chard and my dad’s favorite, mustard greens and collard greens. Just steam them and maybe sprinkle a little bit of sesame oil on them with some sesame seeds or your favorite plain nut. Sprinkle a little bit of garlic salt or regular salt, pepper, and my favorite, cayenne, just a little bit of cayenne pepper really brings up the flavor. It’s okay to add a little fire, just a little fire this time of year.
  • Surround yourself with wood. Liver and wood go together.  Bring wood into your house, wood furniture even.  And take walks in the woods, which bring me to the next point…
  • Get outside. The powers of getting out in the fresh air! Plant therapy can do a lot for you, and I don’t mean plant therapy as in taking your tinctures and glycerites. It’s actually getting outside, being with the plants, and just being still for a little bit. Take a walk. Take a walk out. Get some things moving. Smell the things that are coming up out of the ground right now.
  • Appreciate the dandelions and enjoy the sunshine. It’s beautiful! Beautiful first herbs.

If you like what you’re reading, invite other people into our Natural Healing Omaha Support and Encouragement group so they can learn all this good juicy material, because not everybody gets this.

Share with me what are some of your favorite things to enjoy in the Spring!  I want to know! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mo Horner, Registered Herbalist

 

Mo Horner is a professionally trained Registered Herbalist, specializing in botanical support for women and families. From hormones problems to emotional ups and downs, you’ll feel better about plant healing. Mo co-founded a donation-based community clinic associated with Herbalists Without Borders.  She has two Omaha-area practices where she serves her clients in person or online, for those outside the area. Consultations are available by appointment.

Email Mo at info@naturalhealingomaha.com or call 402-933-6444.

You can read more about Ramona’s story HERE. 

 

 

      Click HERE to get your free guide “How to Find an Herbal Remedy- That WORKS!”

How to find an herbal remedy

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What Do I Need to Know about Photosensitizing Herbs and Foods?

What Do I Need to Know about Photosensitizing Herbs and Foods?

Do you find photosensitizing herbs to be a mystery?

In a recent “Ask the Herbalist” Q & A time in our Facebook group, I shared more about what you need to know if you think you might be experiencing a reaction due to photosensitizing herbs.

PHOTOSENSITIZING HERBS

 

Today I want to address these questions:

What are photosensitizing herbs?
What are the most common plants that cause photosensitivity?
What causes photosensitivity?

Photosensitivity is an unusual skin related response to ingesting or topically applying an herbal remedy or a combination of herbs. It usually occurs only on sun-exposed areas of skin, such as the face, neck and hands.

When someone thinks they may be having such a reaction from an herb or plant, I always ask if the person may be taking any medication. I suggest they check with their dr if they are not sure. The reason I ask this right away is that herbs often get blamed for problems that end up being related to medications, or foods. It could also be related to their lifestyle and especially emotional issues that may have come up. I see this often with hives, which can happen in a situation of increased stress.

If you are fairly certain about the connection between the herbs you are taking and your skin response, discontinue use immediately. Most of these kinds of problems clear up within 24 hours, usually much sooner than that

Photosensitizing herbs that can create reactions in humans are usually the ones that contain a phytochemical called coumarin. Scientists think coumarin exists in plants because they provide a microbial or protective response for the plant. So, viruses and bacteria stay away from these plants. They do this for us as well, providing antimicrobial protection with medical therapy. For example, St Johns Wort is used in medical therapy to heal skin conditions like Psoriasis and Vitiligo.

Here’s a link to a great article on photosensitive herbs: Go to Article

What are some photosensitizing plants?

Plants in the Apiaceae family for starters:

  • Carrots,
  • Parsnips
  • Parsley
  • Celery
  • Monarda
  • Bergamot
  • Bee Balm
  • Anise seed
  • Celery seed
  • Angelica

Another note to remember is that often it’s over time that these sensitivities can arise.

If you feel like you may be having a photosensitivity reaction, rather than immediately seeing your dermatologist, reach out to an herbalist you trust. Ask them if something you are taking or eating could be a plant that causes this type of response.

If you like to watch the question and answer session where I talk about this and also answer other questions, head over to our Facebook group and join us!

Mo Horner, Registered Herbalist

Mo Horner is a professionally trained Registered Herbalist, specializing in botanical support for women and families. From hormones problems to emotional ups and downs, you’ll feel better about plant healing. Mo co-founded a donation-based community clinic associated with Herbalists Without Borders.  She has two Omaha-area practices where she serves her clients in person or online, for those outside the area. Consultations are available by appointment.

Email Mo at info@naturalhealingomaha.com or call 402-933-6444.

You can read more about Ramona’s story HERE. 

How to find an herbal remedy

Click HERE to get your free guide “How to Find an Herbal Remedy- That WORKS!”

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The Hot, Dry Constitution – Lifestyle and Diet Changes to Increase Moisture

The Hot, Dry Constitution –  Lifestyle and Diet Changes to Increase Moisture


I’ve shared with you how a Hot, Dry constitution makes you vulnerable to sickness.  Now, I’ll share some tips on what you can do about it.  Make sure to read last week’s post if you missed it. 

hot dry constitution


Alright, here are some these easy steps to DIAL BACK the HEAT and INCREASE MOISTURE.

Food, herbs, and environment are the simplest tools to restore your immune defense and stay healthy all year! Click To Tweet

Start by getting humidity into your home.

  • Put your humidifier by the bed
  • Don’t put the humidifier directly on YOU
  • If you don’t have a humidifier, keep a pot of water simmering on the stove on cold, dry days.

Increase your fluid intake!

  • Drink water at room temperature (remember, cold brings injuries to the digestion.)
  • Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks, they deplete fluid (diuretic) and don’t forget the sugar is not the most healthy way to improve moisture.

Eliminate drying foods and drinks, such as:

  • Caffeine
  • Spicy Food
  • Dry Crackers
  • Dehydrated Food
  • Hot Natured Spices (like pepper, cayenne and paprika)
  • Sour Fruit (like green apples, grapes, some berries, grapefruit, and lemon)

(Think about it: sour things make you pucker and ‘astringe’ tissue they are not necessarily drying, but not immediately moistening.)

What foods and herbs are beneficial for a Hot, Dry Constitution?

Rather than immediately looking for cold food and drinks to ‘put out the fire’, search for foods, spices, and herbs that do the job more effectively, without creating an opposite problem.

You want to balance your body, not swing the problem the other way and turn HOT to COLD. Look for substances that lubricate, moisten, tonify the YIN and restore Hot, Dry tissues to normal fluid and temperature levels.

Foods Beneficial for a Hot, Dry Constitution:

Focus on sweet-flavored fruits and veggies. The foods on this list are moistening, and because they add moisture, they’re the same ones that Damp, mucusy people have to avoid.

hot dry constitution
  • Bananas, avocado, dates, figs, and raisins (sticky foods)
  • Sweet apples
  • Peaches, melons and other sweet fruits
  • Cucumbers, green beans and beets
  • Mushrooms – ok, NOT sweet, but definitely moist
  • Winter squash (butternut) and sweet potatoes
  • Oily foods and oils, sesame oil, ghee, and olive oil [oils counteract dryness – use them topically too!]

Helpful herbs for the Hot, Dry Constitution:

  • Aloe (just think about how cool and gooey aloe is)
  • Marshmallow root and Slippery elm bark
  • Mullein leaf
  • Licorice root
  • Asparagus root/Shatavari
  • Violet and Red clover
  • Elder flower and Linden flower (pictured above)
  • Elecampagne

Many of these are available in teas that contain the word ‘throat’ or ‘cough’ in the description.

The take-away: If you have a Hot, Dry constitution, implement these four practices: Increase cooling, moistening foods and herbs. Decrease hot, drying foods. Use Humidity!! Increase your fluid intake.

Are you looking for a more personal approach specific to YOU?

Reach out to me for a face-to-face, in-person herbal consultation!

I’d love to hear some of the changes you’ve implemented to avoid colds and flu this season. Feel free to SHARE!

Mo Horner, Registered Herbalist

Mo Horner is a professionally trained Registered Herbalist, specializing in botanical support for women and families. From hormones problems to emotional ups and downs, you’ll feel better about plant healing. Mo co-founded a donation-based community clinic associated with Herbalists Without Borders.  She has two Omaha-area practices where she serves her clients in person or online, for those outside the area. Consultations are available by appointment.

Email Mo at info@naturalhealingomaha.com or call 402-933-6444. You can read more about her story HERE. 

How to find an herbal remedy

Have you gotten your free 7-page guide yet?  Click HERE to get “How to Find an Herbal Remedy- That WORKS!”

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Why a HOT, DRY Body Makes You Vulnerable to Colds and Flu

Why a HOT, DRY Body Makes You Vulnerable to Colds and Flu

Ready? Today I’m going to address a question. So you don’t have a Damp problem, so why does a hot, dry body also make you vulnerable to colds and flu?

Vulnerable to Colds and Flu
Why a HOT, DRY Body Makes You Vulnerable to Colds and Flu

Last week we talked about those that have a damp constitution and how they can be vulnerable to colds and flu. But, Maybe YOUR constitution runs a little HOT or DRY…. or Both. Or maybe you have an imbalance that has created HOT and DRY conditions in your body?

How do you know if you’re a HOT, DRY person?

(BTW, most of us are a combination of qualities, not strictly one or the other.)

You might identify more with HOT and DRY than COLD and DAMP or maybe you’re a combination of both, but your conditions are mild. If you’re having trouble figuring it out, let’s get together face-to-face or on Facetime. Contact me about it.

Today I am going to share with you how to identify if you have the characteristics of HOT or DRY to help you be less vulnerable to colds and flu.

[Remember, you don’t have to have ALL of these qualities – just a majority – to be HOT]

 

Characteristics of a hot, dry constitution:

Warm all the time, maybe sweaty, warmest one in the room

Tend to have red complexion, red hair, flushed, redness in the eyes, skin, more than just one place

Your tongue is red, has cracks and may even be peeled (dentists call this geographic)

You get canker sores and cold sores a lot

Fast heart rate, palpitations, anxiety

Prefer cool or cold food/drink – ice cream, cold coffee, iced tea, smoothies (this is not always a sign of HEAT and can be a different imbalance but if this is a problem combined with some of the other HOT qualities, then it’s probably HEAT.)

Tend to have reflux, GERD, hot, burpy type of indigestion

 

Spicy foods bother you, even if you love them!

People who are hot sometimes also hate Summer  and avoid hot weather

If you have more than 5 of these signs, you’re probably HOT and if the HEAT is there long enough, you can begin to develop signs of DRYNESS:

  • Thirst, you can’t drink enough.
  • You have dry skin, eyes, mucous membranes, nasal passages.
  • Instead of too much mucus you DON’T HAVE ENOUGH mucus, or it’s solid and compacted and not running out your nose.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, moisture is referred to as YIN.

When YIN depletes because of the influence of too much HEAT, you end up vulnerable to colds and flu becuase you are dry in lots of places. Places that you wouldn’t think of such as:

  • LUNGS – A dry cough, pressure in the sinuses, chronic sinus infections, lack of mucus drainage:  smokers and people in low humidity homes can be especially vulnerable to this.
  • COLON – You have dry, hard stools that may cause bleeding or hemorrhoids from straining.
  • VAGINAL area – a lack of fluids makes intimacy painful,
  • BLADDER – you have very concentrated urine.

Today’s question: Why do DRYNESS and HEAT make us vulnerable to colds and flu?

Back to herbal basics with tough cases

Here’s why:

When pathogens like the cold and flu virus enter your body, they do it thru the NOSE, EYES, MOUTH mostly.

Remember from the last post ‘the job of the mucous membranes in these places is to hold onto those nasty bugs while they get flushed OUT! Like a water slide!

Down the Tracheal Toilet it goes to be discharged through your waste removal system – poop, pee, and sweat.

When you’re dry and lack mucus, you’ve got nothing but raw, dry tissue that doesn’t encourage movement and fluidity. Your mucus defense system is down. So you’re vulnerable to attack. When your DRY, unprotected membranes have to deal with a virus, your body has to use other defense mechanisms to disable or weaken it before it weakens YOU.

So, as you can see you’re already at a disadvantage being HOT and DRY.

This leaves the question, what can we do for it? Stay tuned for the next post where I will share with you lifestyle and diet changes to implement to help increase moisture, and that will make you less vulnerable to colds on flu.

 

Have you joined our facebook group yet?  If not, head over and do so now to have free, private access to loads of helpful information!

Mo Horner, Registered Herbalist

Mo Horner is a professionally trained Registered Herbalist, specializing in botanical support for women and families. From hormones problems to emotional ups and downs, you’ll feel better about plant healing. Mo co-founded a donation-based community clinic associated with Herbalists Without Borders.  She has two Omaha-area practices where she serves her clients in person or online, for those outside the area. Consultations are available by appointment.

Email Mo at info@naturalhealingomaha.com or call 402-933-6444.

You can read more about Ramona’s story HERE. 

How to find an herbal remedy

Click HERE to get your free guide “How to Find an Herbal Remedy- That WORKS!”

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How to Avoid Colds and Flu This Season|Two Important Lifestyle Changes to Implement Today

How to Avoid Colds and Flu This Season|Two Important Lifestyle Changes to Implement Today


Ready? Today I want to share with you how you can avoid colds and flu this season. Both are at their usual peak levels, and with a couple lifestyle changes, you can increase your chances of staying healthy.

How to Avoid Colds and Flu This Season

Avoid Colds and Flus

Let’s face it – it’s everywhere. Is it really possible to avoid colds and flu?

Across the country, we’ve been having excessively cold weather and epic low temperatures.  This is giving many of us snow days with our kids, which can be a lot of fun. The flip side of that is, many times with the kids home, viral contagions come home with them. Why is it that kids catch and carry disease so well?

Partly it’s because they’re full of mucus. Mucus holds on to pathogens like cold and flu viruses. To some degree, kids and mucus go together, and that’s because of the link between their immature digestive systems and mucus itself. Kids also catch and carry disease because their immune systems are immature. Coming into contact with their environment is a part of the process of building their immune system, and sometimes the result is catching a cold.

So why is it that we adults with our grown-up immune systems catch their stuff so easily, as well as our co-workers’ and our spouse’s viral stuff? Here are a few of the major reasons we’re vulnerable to colds and flu as adults:

Lack of sleep

Overwork or excessively busy schedules

Chronic worry

Lack of exercise

Diet (this is a really big one)

Your body constitution

You have a large degree of control over some of these factors, but especially the one I want to address in this blog – diet. Let’s talk about the factors in your diet that produce too much mucus and dampness.

Why? Because dampness and mucus are two of the biggest problems that influence our exposure to colds and flu.

Dampness and mucous are two of the biggest problems that influence our exposure to colds and flu. Click To Tweet

How do you know if you have too much dampness in your body?

  • You’re full of snot and phlegm all the time.  You’re constantly clearing your throat, you’re coughing up clear mucus. These things might be associated with a cold for you right now, but in general, if your constitution is damp you’ll be experiencing this all the time.
  • You’re puffy or swollen and feel like you retain water.
  • You don’t pee out much urine because you’re retaining too much water.
  • Your stools are loose or watery.
  • You feel heavy and gain weight even if you just look at food. You feel bloated most of the time, especially at the end of the day.
  • You have a tendency to develop nodules or lumps on various parts of your body, like your arms, stomach, the backs of your shoulders, legs, even on the wrist.

In Chinese Medicine, we have a saying, “The Earth element creates Damp and the Metal element stores it.” What this means is that poor digestion becomes a problem for the lung and the large intestine. Dampness creates mucus in the lungs and mucus-y, loose, sticky stools.  Yuck!

So in other words, you’re already more prone to conditions with mucus if your constitution is damp.

What can you do about this? How can you reduce dampness and mucus and avoid colds and flu this season and for the rest of your life?

First, a lesson on snot.

avoid colds and flu

We don’t want to completely eliminate mucus because we need that healthy goo to catch the nasty stuff that’s going into our mouths and our noses.  Healthy mucus flushes viruses and dirt and environmental particles and other pathogens down what we call the ‘tracheal toilet’. This is basically your entire digestive system, starting with your mouth and throat. A healthy mucus lining is a really big factor in respiratory and immune health. Did I just blow your mind?

Two Important Lifestyle Changes You Can Implement Today to Avoid Colds and Flu.

1. Diet

You can reduce excess mucus by making tiny but daily changes to the way you eat. These might not seem small if you love your heavy, sweet foods.

-Dairy

-Grains

-Sugar

Reducing the amount of these 3 foods in your diet will significantly impact how much phlegm and dampness your digestion produces. If you don’t believe me, take these 3 foods out of your diet for just 3 days. You’ll notice a ridiculous shift in your well-being.

Grains

Grains in and of themselves are not the bad guy. They provide certain nutrients and a degree of fiber for our diets. But for those of us with damp constitutions, they increase the tendency to produce more mucus. This means allergies, blocked sinuses, weight gain, bloated stomach, and loose stools.


Sugar

What do I mean by sugar?  I’m talking about foods that are downright sweet and full of sugar. Pastries and pies, cookies and candy and some kinds of chocolate. But also some less-obvious foods. Soft drinks are one of the worst. They contain a LOT of sugar – up to 16 teaspoons in a normal-sized can! And the diet ones are full of artificial sweeteners, which create the sensation that they’re extremely sweet. This stimulates your desire for even more sweet. Did you hear what I just said? Even artificial sweeteners can stimulate your desire to eat more sweets!

Because oranges are in season in winter, I have to single out these little delicious fruits. Oranges are one of the worst offenders causing dampness in damp people.  Next time you eat an orange, notice how within a short period of time you get a wad of mucus in the back your throat. I know oranges are full of vitamin C, and that’s a really great nutrient for us this time of year. But you can get vitamin C from other fruits that don’t cause phlegm. Consider replacing oranges with green apples, pomegranate, cranberries (without the sugar added), blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, or a nice firm pear.  You’ll notice all of these have just a tiny degree of sourness to them. Also avoid super sweet fruit – melons, cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, honeydew. Just like any sugar, they encourage more desire for sweet flavors.

I have to make special mention of a special category of dampening foods that isn’t strictly sweet. Sticky foods, like bananas, avocados, and dates aren’t so great for your damp body, even if they are loaded with nutrients. Sorry to all you avocado lovers. 🙁

Dairy

We all know that dairy is mucus-producing so I won’t spend a lot of blog time explaining this. Particularly in this season, minimize your intake of dairy. You can read more about this as you scroll down.

2. Eat for Warmth

An unusual and not commonly acknowledged piece of wisdom for damp, mucus-y people is to eat a strictly warm diet. This is especially important in cold weather climates.

Cold food injures digestion if you’re already prone to dampness. Cold can also injure digestion when these foods are eaten over a long period of time, even if you aren’t prone to dampness. Over time, coldness in food and diet causes everything from bloating to weight gain.

In Chinese Medicine, we say Dampness (which is often created by Cold) combined with Heat (an opposite but equally problematic condition) can even cause cancer in some circumstances. Avoiding cold foods is a serious thing. A warm diet allows a stressed out tummy to stop working so hard and take a break.

And speaking of tummy stress, dairy is another cold-natured, damp food that causes no end of problems for many people. Avoiding ice cream, cold milk, and cheese lightens the load on our winter bodies.

If it comes out of the fridge and you don’t warm it up, it’s too cold for you. Maybe it goes without saying, but avoid iced tea, ice water, and refrigerated fruit this time of year, too.

Even if you do warm up a cold-natured food, like milk and cheese in a recipe, for instance, they’re still mucus producing, but slightly less so. It’s certainly better than just snacking on cheese slices to go along with your favorite crackers or chugging a big glass of milk along with your sandwich.

If  you want to know more about why coldness creates dampness, you can google this information. Search ‘cold’ and ‘damp’ and the letters ‘TCM’ and that’ll help explain in the words of Traditional Chinese Medicine why cold and damp are related.


So let’s summarize:

Too much dampness makes you vulnerable to illness. To avoid excess mucus and keep your body healthy this season and all year long, follow these two simple rules:

  1. Avoid grains, sugar, and dairy – the top 3 mucus producing foods.
  2. Warm up your diet. Doesn’t a bowl of soup sound great?!

There are other body types and dietary imbalances that can lead to illness for their own unique reasons. That’s for another post.  But fitting in just these two changes can make all the difference in your health this season.

I’d love to hear some of the changes you’ve implemented to avoid colds and flu this season. Feel free to SHARE!

Mo Horner, Registered Herbalist

Mo Horner is a professionally trained Registered Herbalist, specializing in botanical support for women and families. From hormones problems to emotional ups and downs, you’ll feel better about plant healing. Mo co-founded a donation-based community clinic associated with Herbalists Without Borders.  She has two Omaha-area practices where she serves her clients in person or online, for those outside the area. Consultations are available by appointment.

Email Mo at info@naturalhealingomaha.com or call 402-933-6444. You can read more about her story HERE. 

How to find an herbal remedy

Have you gotten your free 7-page guide yet?  Click HERE to get “How to Find an Herbal Remedy- That WORKS!”

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