Naturopathic treatments for spring allergies

If you or someone you know suffers from seasonal allergies, check out my article in the April/May 2012 edition of Healthy Directions Magazine.  The article is on page 24 and outlines naturopathic treatments for seasonal allergies including essential nutrients, probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, botanical medicines, acupuncture and homeopathy.

Here’s the link: Healthy Directions April/May 2012: Natural treatments for spring allergies

If you would like a print version feel free to stop by my clinic to pick one up:

Alta Vista Chiropractic and Massage Clinic

1690 Bank Street

Ottawa, ON, K1V 7Y6

613-731-5775

Happy reading!

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Berries for the heart

In keeping with February’s heart health themed posts, I thought I’d write a little about the benefits of my favourite fruits: BERRIES! Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries and strawberries are well known for their rich colours that provide anti-oxidants and phytochemicals which protect against cell damage.  They are also good sources of nutrients such as vitamin C and fibre.  Another berry which is used traditionally by herbalists is called the hawthorn berry.

Hawthorn Berries: The latin name of this herb is Crataegus oxycanthus and the berries have been used traditionally as a heart tonic.  Hawthorn berries are nourishing to the heart because they are high in anti-oxidants called procyanadins.  Procyanadins have 3 key actions:

1. They specifically target tissues of the heart and blood vessels to strengthen them and reduce plaque build-up which can lead to a heart attack.

2. They mildly dilate the blood vessels making them larger and therefore helping to reduce blood pressure.

3. They also increases circulation to the coronary arteries which are the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle itself.

Hawthorn berries are a great heart tonic and are widely available as a powdered extract or herbal tincture.  However, like all natural remedies Hawthorn is not safe in all circumstances and is highly contraindicated if you are already taking beta-blockers (atenolol, propanolol and metoprolol are common for abnormal heart rhythm), calcium channel blockers (verapamil, nifedipine and diltiazem are common for high blood pressure), digoxin, nitrates (nitroglycerin for angina), and phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (viagra for erectile dysfunction).

Therefore it is very important to consult a medical practitioner prior to starting any new herbal therapy.

My favourite berry smoothie recipe:

1/2 cup frozen mixed berries

1/2 a banana or honey to sweeten

1 cup vanilla almond milk

1 tsp cinnamon

Blend all ingredients together for a quick, easy and delicious breakfast or snack! Other ingredients I add in for extra benefit are:

1 tsp fish oil (it just blends right in and gives you omega-3 fatty acids)

1 tsp ground flaxseed (for added omega-3 fatty acids as well as fibre)

1 scoop of protein powder (whey, soy and rice protein powders are widely available. Adding protein makes you feel full for longer and provides the building blocks to help your muscles recover after a workout)