Your Questions Answered - November 2009
1. My daughter's best friend aged 25, has Hodgkin's Disease, is there any help for the side effects of her treatment?
2. I dread this time of year because I suffer from Raynaud's Disease and the pain is awful. What can I do?
3. I'm 40 at the end of the month and I dread this birthday more than most. I plan to cover every mirror in the house so I don't have to see the ageing wrinkle. Help!
Michaels answers below:
Q: My daughter's best friend aged 25, has Hodgkin's Disease and needs six months chemotherapy. Are there natural herbs, preparations etc she can take to make her feel as well as possible and boost her system during this time. She's such a talented, feisty, beautiful girl and I do so want to help her.
A: Hodgkin's Disease, or Hodgkin's Lymphoma as it is properly called, is a type of cancer which affects the lymph glands. It attacks twice as many men as women and usually appears in the mid to late 20s. There is no alternative treatment for this illness but the outlook is very good for most patients who start treatment early.
Whether this young woman has radiotherapy, chemotherapy or a combination of both, the side effects can be unpleasant and there are simple things which will help. Before using any of these remedies discuss them with the consultant as it's possible for some natural medicines to interact with prescribed drugs.
Ginger is great as it helps stop nausea and vomiting. There are tablets, but you can also grate half an inch of fresh ginger root into a mug, add boiling water and a teaspoon of honey, cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Strain and sip slowly. Ginger and lemon teabags are also available. You can take this drink as often as required.
In terms of overall well-being the Swiss herbal tonic BioStrath Elixir is extremely beneficial. In clinical trials it's been shown to have benefits in the relief of radiation side effects, particularly in respect of reducing nausea, fatigue, weight loss and anaemia. I've not seen any clinical studies with chemotherapy though there are many anecdotal reports that it helps in this situation too.
Garlic is one of the most potent of natural detoxifying plants and it should be added to the diet wherever possible, but it's also worth taking a Standardised Garlic tablet.
Nutrition is extremely important but eating is not always easy under these circumstances. Pureed home-made soups with lots of root vegetables, chicken soup or beef broth for protein and enzymes, and lots of smoothies made with live yoghurt and the high enzyme fruits like pineapples and paw paws mixed with bananas for extra calories, potassium and vitamin B6 are all easy to digest and absorb. I hope you find this information of some help, but do remember to check with the consultant before making any changes in the day to day regime.
For lots of help, support and information, contact:
Helpline phone: 0808 808 5555 (Mon-Thurs 9am-6pm & Fri 9am-5pm)
Admin phone: 01296 619400
Q: I dread this time of year because I suffer from Raynaud's Disease and the minute I step out of the house my fingers go white with the cold and get very painful.
At worst they turn a deep purple colour and once I get to work and start to warm up again the pain is excruciating. If that weren't enough I also develop chilblains on my toes, the backs of my hands and in really cold weather on my ear lobes. I've been given a variety of drugs which hardly help at all. Is there anything alternative I could try this winter?
A: Raynaud's Disease most commonly affects young women who often also suffer from migraine or sudden contractions of the arteries supplying the heart muscle. It's caused by problems affecting the nerves which control the muscles in the walls of the arteries. As the blood vessels relax and the circulation returns again the pain is intense and can last for an hour or more.
The same symptoms occur in Raynaud's Syndrome but this usually has an underlying cause like using vibrating tools or machinery, some prescribed drugs or other medical conditions. Both are often treated with drugs that open the blood vessels and improve circulation.
It's essential to keep hands and feet warm and thermal socks and gloves, even electrically heated ones are available, and do make a difference. You must avoid contact with cold surfaces – just touching a cold doorknob or car handle can shut down the circulation. Some herbal remedies are extremely effective and are really worth trying. Two ancient ones are, extracts of the ginkgo biloba tree leaf and turmeric, both available in medicinal form.
This is another condition which also responds well to ginger in any form. You can relieve the irritation of chilblains by rubbing them with a slice of lemon dipped in coarse sea salt night and morning. Eat hot curry too as the spices, all stimulate the circulation.
Keeping active is very important as exercise also increases the blood flow and improves the overall health of the circulatory system. You can get lots of support and help for this common but often poorly treated condition by contacting the Raynaud's & Scleroderma Association:
Freephone: 0800 9172494 (for UK enquiries only)
Q: I'm 40 at the end of the month and I dread this birthday more than most. I plan to cover every mirror in the house so I don't have to see the ageing wrinkles and think about what's happening to my body. Can anything turn back the clock?
A: Naturopaths like me have always believed that the powerful antioxidants in fruits and vegetables protect against ageing and maintain youthfulness. All fresh produce contains some of these beneficial chemicals but the dark coloured berries are known to be rich in the most powerful ones.
Research from Tufts University in Boston in the US has found that blueberries are the richest of all fresh fruits and they also found that these natural substances actually reversed both physical and mental ageing processes. The American scientists have discovered a way of measuring the protective power of whole foods in units which they call ORACs (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). The amount we need for maximum protection of every individual cell in the body is 5000 ORACS a day and the average UK diet contains between 1000 and 1500.
Nothing could be easier than upping your daily score to the magic 5000, all you need is the right mixture of delicious foods. A few ounces of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries; half a dozen prunes; a salad of peppers, tomatoes, aubergines, carrots, sweet corn and radishes; a plate of sweet potatoes, broccoli and spinach; and plenty of garlic, could soon have you peering into the mirror with delight.
Of course, smoking, too much sun and more than a sensible amount of alcohol and you'll soon end up with bags under your eyes and grey wrinkled skin. For the simplest guide to anti-ageing food, see my book 'The ORACle Diet' published by Kyle Cathie and available at www.amazon.co.uk
Some of my books...
- Superfoods, Superjuices, Superhealth
- Eat Well Live Longer
- Superfood Pocketbook
(100 Top Foods for Health)
- The Omega 3 Cookbook
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