JULY 21, 2018 – BPH

Many men suffer with symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy. I am one of those men in my late 50's. I have been taking many herbal supplements. One of the best is Saw Palmetto.

The following has been published in HerbalGram by the American Botanical Council.

Saidi S, Stavridis S, Stankov O, Dohcev S, Panov S. Effects of Serenoa repens alcohol extract on benign prostate hyperplasia. Pril (Makedon Akad Nauk Umet Odd Med Nauki). September 2017;38(2):123-129. doi:10.1515/prilozi-2017-0030. 

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common disorder in men that negatively affects the quality of life and can lead to acute urinary retention and chronic renal insufficiency. BPH is commonly treated with α-adrenergic antagonists (α-blockers) and 5-α reductase inhibitors, which can cause unwanted side effects. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens; Arecaceae) fruit is a common alternative treatment for the urological symptoms associated with BPH. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of saw palmetto alcohol extract on the symptoms and major indicators of BPH. 

In summary, saw palmetto significantly improved uroflowmetry parameters and IPSS scores compared to the control. In experimental studies saw palmetto has been shown to inhibit 5-α-reductase and have anti-androgenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and anti-edematous effects on prostate cells; however, the exact mechanism of action has not been elucidated. Admitted limitations of the current study include lack of randomization, small sample size, and the lack of long-term follow-up. The authors conclude that larger and longer duration studies are needed to further evaluate this promising treatment of BPH.

Join the American Botanical Council to get your HerbalGram. It is the best thing to do.

Until tomorrow...


In a recent published study, there is more to say about almonds. In this months HERBALGRAM sponsored by the American Botanical Council.

RE: Almond Intake Protects against HDL Decreases in Normal-Weight Subjects on a Cholesterol-lowering Diet

Berryman CE, Fleming JA, Kris-Etherton PM. Inclusion of almonds in a cholesterollowering diet improves plasma HDL subspecies and cholesterol efflux to serum in normal-weight individuals with elevated LDL cholesterol. J Nutr. August 2017;147(8):1517-1523. 
Reduced saturated fat intake is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events, but this dietary change may also cause lower levels of "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. A previous study, the 2005 OmniHeart Trial, found that a diet with higher unsaturated fat intake prevented decreases in HDL cholesterol compared to diets with higher carbohydrate or protein intake levels even though all diets reduced LDL cholesterol. 

According to the authors, this is the first study to evaluate the effects of almond consumption on HDL subspecies and HDL function. The authors conclude that including almonds in a traditional low-fat diet to reduce blood cholesterol levels produced fewer decreases in the treatment normal-weight group, but not overweight or obese subjects, compared to the controls. There is previous clinical evidence that α-1 HDL is a better predictor of ischemic heart disease than total HDL cholesterol. Furthermore, high concentrations of α-1 HDL and low concentrations of pre-β-HDL have been shown to decrease the risk of CVD.2 This sub-group analysis showed that in normal-weight subjects, almond consumption improves HDL subpopulation distribution and nonABCA1–mediated cholesterol efflux, compared to the control diet. The authors point to the need to standardize HDL subclasses in order to adequately study HDL biology and function, and the subsequent effects of dietary interventions. The study was funded by the Almond Board of California.

For further reading, see the recent review by Kalita and associates, entitled, "Almonds and cardiovascular health: A review" (Nutrients. April 2018;10(4):pii:E468. doi: 10.3390/nu1004046

Published in HerbalGram

Please join the ABC American Botanical Council. It will be the best herbal thing you did.

Until tomorrow...


JULY 19, 2018 – EARACHES

hThere is always a child who swims all day in the pool and the next day has swimmer's ear. If it is infected, you must get treatment. It doesn't always have to be an antibiotic. I prefer a garlic-mullein flower oil remedy instead of an antibiotic. It works wonders and I have used for years with my own children.

There are other treatments for an ear problem that doesn't involve swimming and infection. You must avoid certain foods in children if they get a lot of ear aches. These foods are dairy, wheat, sugar, and even orange juice.

Your child needs plenty of rest and recovery when he/she has an earache.

My children always loved the warming teas I used when sick with earaches. This was a tea with ginger, lemon, honey - it was a great decongestant tea. Try it one day.

Until tomorrow...


One of the most useful books in Herbal Medicine is Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health : 175 Teas / Tonics / Oils / Salves / Tinctures and Other Natural Remedies.

Recently, I noticed my St. John's Wort had berries and flowers. I missed the day for collecting the herb. According to Rosemary's book, traditionally June 24th is the day to pick the bud. If ready, it will stain your fingers red. Why the 24th of June – it is the anniversary of the day St. John the Baptist was beheaded. How appropriate!

You can use both the flowers and the leaves although the flowers are preferred in about 70% of the case.

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is useful for depression and doesn't require a prescription. Please discuss with a health care provider if you decide to take it. I use this homeopathic remedy for neuropathy secondary to shingles, lead intoxication, and even diabetic neuropathy. 

Until tomorrow...


JULY 17, 2018 – ALMONDS

Almonds are great snacks. We wouldn't have almonds if it weren't for the February pollination by our honeybees. Almonds are native to Persia and are one of the trees and nuts mentioned in the Bible.  

"And their father Israel said unto them, 'If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, myrrh, nuts and almonds…" Genesis 43:11  

Did you ever notice the speed at which a branch, if broken, will break into premature blooms if placed in a glass of water? Try it! 

A 2017 study published in Nutrition Journal found that Americans, especially children, who replaced snack foods with almonds or other tree nuts saw a major increase in consumption of nutrients. In the study of more than 17,000 children and adults, participants swapped all their snacks with almonds. Researchers found that participants consumed fewer empty calories, solid fats, sodium, saturated fats, carbohydrates and added sugars.

And almonds are nutritious! Every one-ounce serving (about 23 almonds) provides 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, plus vitamin E (35 percent DV [daily value]), magnesium (20 percent DV), riboflavin (20 percent DV), calcium (8 percent DV) and potassium (6 percent DV).

Until tomorrow...  


All of us are going to get old. On Friday, I had a surgeon operate on my right (dominant) hand. I began to realize that I am getting old. It is my trigger finger caused by excessive stitching or perhaps genetic as my father and aunt had the same trigger finger problem.

I began to think of a book I read years ago called Rules for Aging: a Wry and Witty Guide to Life by Roger Rosenblatt.

I found the book informative then as I do today.

Here are some thoughts from the book:

  1. If something is boring you, it is probably you.
  2. Pursue virtue, but don't sweat it.
  3. If they are strange enough, they will come.
  4. Never work for anyone more insecure than yourself.

Buy this book published 18 years ago. You will never regret you did.

Until tomorrow...



There are many individuals – some of my patients – that adhere to the guidelines established by the American Heart Association. Of course following these guidelines help prevent heart disease.

There are some important things to do to prevent other diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and inflammatory disease other than heart disease that can be followed:

  1. Maintain a body mass index (BMI) less than 26
  2. Refrain from cigarette smoking
  3. Refrain from excessive alcohol consumption
  4. Maintain a serum fasting glucose less than 99
  5. Maintain a serum fasting total cholesterol less than 200
  6. Maintain 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week
  7. Follow a healthy dietary lifestyle of limited simple carbohydrates

Until tomorrow...



JULY 11, 2018 – THE GUT

The gut is the gateway to all disease. Besides helping with digestion of fatty acids, protein, and carbohydrates, its function goes way beyond. The gut is about immunity and preventing infection.

More than 80% of our immune system is in the gut as well as 70% of our lymphocytes. There is a gut-brain connection that is finally now being understood. 

The gut is a large neuroendocrine system. It holds more than 100 million microbes. This is the reason everyone is talking about the microbiome. These different bacteria in the microbiome play very important roles in biological function. They help us fight dangerous organisms, keep the immune system in balance, and modulate autoimmune disease such as hashimoto's thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus.

Why is this so important? The gut is the gateway to all disease.  A clean gut means a healthy body free of all disease. Bacteria have been linked to gastrointestinal cancers, inflammatory bowel disease, and much more.

Until tomorrow...