Sleep and Hormonal Balance

I taught an endocrinology class for herbalists at Farmacy Herbs over the weekend and I found myself referring to the importance of sleep in relation to the appropriate function of multiple hormones that regulate mood, metabolism, and food intake. It made me realize that I often ask patients about their sleep but rarely explain why I am asking about it in relation to their anxiety, muscle development, food cravings, or diabetes.

The Importance of Sleep
We often need more sleep in fall and winter because our circadian rhythms (sleep-wake cycles) are influenced by light exposure. I find that many people fight [...]

Elderberry and Other Interventions for Colds and Flu Season

Elderberry is one of my favorite herbs for cold and flu prevention because it is easy to make a delicious syrup to take every day or for first symptoms of congestion and body aches. Elderberry has multiple mechanisms of action that are not fully understood including stimulation of the production of immune signaling molecules and prevention of connection between flu viruses and human cells. In studies where people were given elderberry or placebo at first signs of flu, the symptom severity was reduced and the duration of illness decreased from an average of six days to two days.
Elderberry [...]

Exercise for Arthritis

When your joints hurt, you may feel like you want to avoid physical activity. Pain is exhausting and it is also often a signal that we should stop doing what we are doing to avoid injury. With arthritis, physical activity is one of the most effective pain relievers (with only positive side effects) but it takes a significant amount of willpower to get moving when your body hurts.
Arthritis-Friendly Physical Activity
The Center for Disease Control says: “ Participating in arthritis-friendly physical activity improves pain, function, mood, and quality of life without making symptoms worse.” In the clinic, I have [...]

Boswellia

Boswellia Serrata, also known as Frankincense, is one of my favorite herbs for treating osteoarthritis and autoimmune arthritis.  Another herb I use frequently is Turmeric but here I am focusing on Boswellia because it is an unsung hero while turmeric has been getting a lot of press lately.

Boswellia Reduces Pain and Inflammation
Multiple studies have shown that Boswellia reduces pain and inflammation equally or better than non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen for people with osteoarthritis and autoimmune arthritis.  NSAIDs work well at reducing inflammation and pain but they have many side effects including stress on kidneys and [...]