Category: Blog

Powerful Plant: Watercress

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is a nutrient dense, cruciferous vegetable with a tangy, peppery taste. Some of the nutrients found in watercress are vitamin A (from beta-carotene), vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, iodine, calcium, and iron. It’s also a source of several phytochemicals that support the plant’s health and metabolism and are beneficial to human health, including blocking allergic responses.

One study of particular interest, shows that the phytochemicals in watercress inhibit 60% of histamines released from mast cells. That’s amazing news for anyone seeking allergy relief. As we’ve discussed, mast cells are types of white blood cells within the immune and neuroimmune systems. Mast cells are involved in allergies and anaphylactic reactions and play an important role in wound healing, immunity, and other physiological functions. While many vegetables contain compounds that help lower histamines and support immunities, several of the phytochemicals in watercress actually block histamine release and that helps keep the immune system from going into overdrive.

Though common to the U.S., watercress is challenging to grow because of the unique circumstances required for cultivation. In the wild, watercress grows on the edge of rivers and streams. As an edible crop, it’s grown in shallow spring water beds. Watercress is sold as a fresh salad vegetable, both by itself or mixed with other salad leaves, and is readily available from greengrocers and supermarkets. Watercress is very versatile and can be enjoyed raw, in soup, or added to a stir-fry, sauce, pizza and fish dishes.

Resources

Goda, Hoshino K, Akiyama H, Ishikawa T, Abe Y, Nakamura T, Otsuka H, Takeda Y, Tanimura A, Toyoda M, “Constituents in watercress: inhibitors of histamine release from RBL-2H3 cells induced by antigen stimulation,” Biol Pharm Bull. (1999 Dec) 22(12):1319-26. Accessed 12 Mar 2020: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bpb1993/22/12/22_12_1319/_article

The Watercress Company. Watercress Farms, Inc. “Nutritional Composition of Watercress.” Accessed 15 Mar 2020: https://www.watercressfarms.com/nutritional-composition-of-watercress

Vickery, A. “21 Anti-histamine Foods That Fight Inflammation And Stabilise Mast-cells Accessed” .15 Mar 2020: https://alisonvickery.com.au/anti-histamine-foods/

Powerful Procyanidin Eases Allergy Symptoms

Allergy sufferers suffer. And they are always on the lookout for something safe and effective to relieve – and even prevent – symptoms. Most of us are aware that antioxidants are critical to protecting our cells from oxidative stress, a key factor in the development of many health conditions, including allergies. One very powerful antioxidant, procyanidin, is found in a plant called French maritime pine bark, as well in other fruits, including apples, grape seed, and foods such as peanut skin.

Procyanidin has been widely researched for preventing or treating a variety of chronic health conditions including asthma, allergic conjunctivitis, dermatitis, and inflammation of the respiratory airways due to infection. Research shows that procyanidin can inhibit the release of histamines from mast cells. Taking this antioxidant in advance of (and during) the allergy season may help reduce severity of symptoms, particularly for people with allergies to plants and trees in the birch family.

Procyanidin has been found to be safe for use in adults as well as children, for short term use. It should not be used by women who are pregnant or nursing except under the care of a physician. If you are interested in learning how procyanidin can help with your health concerns, be sure to consult your holistic health physician.

 

Resources

Enomoto, T, Y Nagasako-Akazome, T Kanda, M Ikeda, and Y Dake. “Clinical Effects of Apple Polyphenols on Persistent Allergic Rhinitis: a Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Parallel Arm Study.” Journal of Investigational Allergology & Clinical Immunology. 16.5 (2006): 283-9. Print.

Juríková, T. “Polyphenols and Their Mechanism of Action in Allergic Immune Response.” Global Journal of Allergy. (2015): 37-39. Print.

Nakano, N, C Nishiyama, T Tokura, Y Nagasako-Akazome, Y Ohtake, K Okumura, and H Ogawa. “Procyanidin C1 from Apple Extracts Inhibits Fc Epsilon Ri-Mediated Mast Cell Activation.” International Archives of Allergy and Immunology. 147.3 (2008): 213-21. Print.

Rohdewald, P. “A review of the French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol), a herbal medication with a diverse clinical pharmacology.” Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. (2002) Apr;40(4):158-68. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11996210

Wilson D, Evans M, Guthrie N et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled exploratory study to evaluate the potential of pycnogenol for improving allergic rhinitis symptoms. Phytother Res (2010), 24(11):15-22.

Headaches: Over the Counter vs. Herbs

Instant relief but a long term issue.

Did you know that many women with headaches and migraines take Excedrin® migraine, which may help them somewhat?

What they don’t realize is that it might not be the Excedrin® that is helping them at all.

It might be the caffeine!

Caffeine actually supports a female hormone known as progesterone, and many women with headaches may actually have a female hormone imbalance. Does this mean you should go out and start using progesterone cream if you have migraines? Not necessarily.

With the best Naturopathic clinic, you can make more of the hormones you need, in just the right doses for you!

Did you know that people have been using herbs to treat migraines and headaches for hundreds of years?

In fact, there is a very popular herb called feverfew, which is found in many herbal headache and migraine products. There’s actually quite a bit of research on this herb and its use in headache and migraine!

It’s generally combined with other supportive nutrients, like B vitamins and magnesium. Together with these nutrients, feverfew is a superb herb to use for headaches and migraines

Naturopathic medicine provides individuals with options that are geared towards addressing the long term versus the instantaneous. Headache and migraine solutions are within your grasp. 

Headaches and Hormones?

Hormones and Headaches

Are your headaches related to your hormones?

Women are more likely to have headaches and migraines than men. And, women with irregular cycles are even more likely to have headaches and migraines.

Hormones play a huge role in headache and migraine. You yourself may have found that birth control pills gave you headaches or migraines, or perhaps relieved them.

You may have found that you didn’t have any headaches or migraines when pregnant. What does this mean for you now?

It means that having balanced hormones should reduce the likelihood of headaches or migraines!

In fact, I haven’t seen a woman with a balanced cycle (if she’s of that age, of course) who had a headache or migraine.

Headaches and migraines are more common in women. In fact, the average migraine patient is a 40 year-old woman.

Some women report that before their period they get a headache or migraine. Or, it might be that they get it the first day or their menses. Sometimes it might be at ovulation.

If your cycle is irregular, you may not even have timed headaches or migraines to your cycle. But, it’s very likely that there is a relationship.

 

There are number of naturopathic treatments that doctor’s use to help patients with headaches and migraines. We offer a number of different and effective options in our office. Find out more here.

We Hate Headaches

Are headaches the worst? Yes!

If you’re reading this, you have probably suffered with unnecessary headaches. Maybe they have been going on for what seems like forever. Maybe they prevent you from completing your daily tasks. It may be surprising to learn that there are actually causes of headaches and migraines, and once you learn what causes your headache or migraine, it’s much easier to resolve and prevent them!

That’s right, there are actually underlying factors that are leading to headaches or migraines. Even if your headache goes away with a pill, the underlying factors remain. That’s why it’s really important to work with someone who can help you uncover YOUR underlying causes of headaches, so you can feel better!

How do headaches or migraines affect you? Are you more likely to not do your normal tasks around the house or at work? Or can you do them but don’t enjoy them as much? Do you need to be in a dark room? Do you tell your spouse to leave you alone? You  might do one or all of these things! Headaches and migraines can take the best you out of you! Getting a handle on headaches and migraines can actually give you tools so that you don’t have to suffer. With Naturopathic care, you should find that you actually have something to do or take that not only should help you relieve the current symptoms, but that has as its goal actually improving your health. When you are healthier you won’t be suffering. 

Prior to receiving treatment, patients would note how headaches would keep them from doing this that they normally love to do. Whether that is going out with friends or playing with their children, they would be unable to do so because of how bad their headaches were. This is NOT OK. With effective and natural treatment, our patients have been able to reclaim their lives!