I’ve been a pharmacist for 25+ years now. Let’s face it, I know the good, the bad and the ugly drugs. I realize we need some of them, yet I know that others are not very useful, or worse, they are harmful. So today I’ve decided to share the best remedies that help from head to toe. It’d kind of like a brain download designed to enlighten you with options that you might not have heard of. The truth is my kitchen looks like a messy health food store! I’ve got vitamins in cabinets all throughout the house, teas and herbs laying around, stuff overflowing on a shelf on my basement landing and remedies and teas I tote around in my purse. Take a guess what happens when I open the fridge! Okay, let’s start with the head and move down the body:
Headaches- Taking butterbur (Petasites hybridus) at a dose of 75mg twice daily helps reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. You can take all the triptan drugs you want (ie Imitrex, Zomig or others) but these drugs usually just reduce pain, sometimes they abort a headache. The butterbur may slash the number of attacks in half. This is HUGE if you have to hold down a job or take care of kiddos. I discussed butterbur at length, and hundreds of other pain-relieving solutions my book, Headache Free, Relieve Migraines, Tension, Cluster, Menstrual and Lyme Headaches.
Hypothyroidism- It’s impossible to have healthy thyroid function without the mineral selenium. Not only will a deficiency hinder your ability to make thyroid hormone, low selenium will also stifle your ability to USE the hormone inside the cell. Selenium has been shown to reduce thyroid auto-antibodies and simultaneously prime the body for iodine. Most of the food today is grown in selenium-deficient soils. Most supplements today use a poor form of selenium too, so be choosy. There’s more about selenium (and iodine) as well as B12 and ashwagandha here on my website and you may want to research those nutrients because they support thyroid function and health. To read my other articles on thyroid health, just use my search box to the right and type in key words. If you would like a high-quality form of selenium or iodine, I offer those bio-active nutrients at my other site, Script Essentials. (You may also be interested in ThyroScript).
Heart Failure- Niacin (vitamin B3) was shown to reduce heart attack and stroke risk in a 2010 study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Doses vary tremendously, and people are very sensitive to this nutrient so please do nothing until you have your physician’s approval. Pure, authentic plain niacin causes vasodilation (opens your blood vessels) which reduces arterial pressure and this is why it causes you to flush and heat up. If you take too much (again, the dosage varies tremendously from person to person), then you will feel like you caught fire, or fell into a giant ant hole. For some, niacin dosage may be only 50mg and others might require 500 or more. The more niacin you take, the more you lower your folate (B9) relatively speaking… these 2 B vitamines have to stay in balance. I mention this because folate is required for healthy methylation.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention CoQ10 while discussing the heart or heart failure. CoQ10 also lowers blood pressure and it acts like a natural statin. I like about 100 to 200 mg daily but again, please always ask your doctor what’s right for you. Moving down the body now… to the stomach.
Digestive disorders- My number one go-to supplement is probiotics. I personally use Dr. Ohhira’s brand and I’m on their Scientific Advisory board now too. Probiotics are important because they support a healthy microbiome which regulates mood, thyroid production, immunity and much more. We have more organisms inside of us than we do our own blood cells, so we have to make sure that the organisms are the healthy kind, not the pathogens. Probiotics improve digestion and may relieve both diarrhea and constipation by recolonizing your gut.
Another huge factor when it comes to digestive health is digestive enzymes, these are taken with every meal if you want to improve gut function, but they can also be taken on an empty stomach if you want them to act like a systemic anti-inflammatory. Digestive enzymes break down the food you eat into absorbable molecules. For heartburn, I recommend slippery elm or marshmallow root (my tea-making video) to soothe you, however these do not reduce the amount of acid you make, they are only palliative, but highly effective. Slippery elm can be purchased as a lozenge or you can buy the dried herb and make tea. I made another YouTube video in case you want to make a gruel in 30 seconds. What is a gruel? It’s a thick paste, watch me here, lol.
As for nausea and vomiting, ginger tea is gentle and popular. It’s a mild blood thinner though, so be careful. And finally peppermint supplements can help with irritable bowel syndrome. The value of peppermint has been discussed many times, even in the British Medical Journal in 2008.
Bone loss- We all know about calcium. But did you know without enough magnesium, vitamin D or K2, you don’t even incorporate the calcium into your bones?! So keep in mind the best bone-building supplements contain key minerals, you don’t just push one like calcium all by itself. Natural strontium is another over-the-counter mineral used for bone integrity. You can read more about strontium in my other article here.
Painful knees- Glucosamine sulfate promotes cartilage formation. Collagen is another supplement that reduces pain in the knee joint of osteoarthritis sufferers. A 2012 study in the Annals of Rheumatic Disease found that losing weight helped reduce the amount of cartilage loss while increasing proteoglycan content (squishiness). Boswellia and hyaluronic acid are also excellent choices. SAMe is well-known for it’s ability to support joint health.
Toenail fungus- Apply essential oil of tea tree, and eliminate all sugars. You should also be checked for diabetes if you have a lot of toenail fungus. This can be purchased at any health food store, and some pharmacies. If you like to shop on Amazon, here’s a link for a high quality form of Tea Tree oil.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.