December 2005

Natural Health Article

CONTENTS

  • ABCs of Health  -“U” is for Urinary System
  • Feeling the Pain – the link between
    anxiety and addiction
  • Tip of the Month – Remove crayon marks
  • The Herbalist – “G” is for Gotu Kola

ABCs OF HEALTH

If you did not get a chance to visit the web page body systems, I have provided the information here in this month’s newsletter. “U” is for urinary system, in general, ureters and the urethra that form part of this vital system.

The urinary system eliminates waste from the body, in the form of urine. The  urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The two bean shaped (weighing in at about 4 to 5 ounces each ; measuring 4 to 5 inches long, 5 to 7 inches in width,and about 1 inch thick), compound glands called the kidneys are located at the back of the abdomen, one on either side of the upper lumbar vertebrae.  Because the right lobe of the liver is larger than that of the left, the right kidney sits lower than that of the left. The kidneys duty is to remove waste from the blood.  From the kidneys, urine travels down two thin tubes called ureters to the bladder (one from each kidney, they measure 10 to 12 inches long and 1/2 inch in diameter). The bladder looks like an  oval shaped bag and is located in the pelvic cavity. At the neck of the bladder is a circular muscle called a sphincter muscle. The duty of the sphincter muscle when signaled by a nerve impulse  is to start the void (urination) process. From the constricted end of the neck of the bladder the urethra evolves. When the bladder is full, urine is discharged through the urethra.

The color and quanity of  urine varies according to diet, circumstances (health, illness), and  size of person (child, adult). Urine concentration is estimated at about 90 percent water and 10 percent solids (various salts, uric acid, urea).

FEELING THE PAIN-THE LINK BETWEEN ANXIETY AND ADDICTION

I have just finished reading a book  titled “Feelings Buried Alive Never Die” by Karol K Truman ISBN 0911207-02-3. Ms. Truman is a practicing therapist and spiritual healer. She is dedicated to assisting people achieve emotional and spiritual well-being through resolving and healing their “core issues”, by the use of a “script”. How it works, by way of  her written guidance throughout the book, one would identify a “core issue” or the site of emotional pain (that one may have or have had); then prepare a “script” to recite, that would rid oneself of the identifed emotional pain.
This leads me to an article that was written by Barbara Duncan a nurse with 20 years experience, and how she converses about anxiety and addiction.  She starts out by stating that when pain medication is used for the purpose it is prescribed, the danger of becoming addicted is next to nil; and yet there are so many stories out there of addiction to prescription pain killers. It is for the same reason that there are stories about other addictions.  Whether the “drug” of choice is a substance (drugs, alcohol, nicotine, food) or a behaviour (eating disorder, gambling, sex, self mutilation, hyper exercise), her belief that addictions originate as a response to great emotional pain, otherwise known as anxiety. This ties in with the book that I was reading; we need to dig deep and deal with the emotional pain.

She then, further states that anxiety is a blanket term that covers a whole bunch of specific psychological disorders, but the fact is that anxiety hurts. ‘Hurts’ is an understatement. There is actual physical pain with anxiety, brought about by the stress hormone released by the body’s response to the anxiety. The heart beats faster, breathing is more rapid, muscles tighten; blood flow is redirected to the organs involved in those activities and other tissues are broken down to free up energy for use in fighting or fleeing-the only two activities your body is prepared for under severe stress.

HIGH ANXIETY IS A SOUL-CRUSHING, HEART-SEARING, EMOTIONAL PAIN.
IT CAN BECOME UNBEARABLE.

The substances and behaviour that wind up being abused and addicting take over the senses and bring a welcomed sense of peace and well-being to the emotionally wounded person; the fact that this relief is only temporary – that is the nature of addiction.

Anxious moments are a part of living, when you are able to deal with them in a healthy, productive way. Seek out good, general practioners that maybe able to prescribe medications that will take your anxiety down a notch or two, or refer you to someone else that can. Reason things out. You do not have to deal with overwhelming anxiety alone.

TIP OF THE MONTH

To remove crayon marks from walls and painted furniture, sprinkle baking soda on a damp cloth and rub gently, then wipe dry.

THE HERBALIST

I promised I would give you some information on a specific herb, it’s origins and uses.  I really enjoy this part of our newsletter, as I always learn something new and exciting.  This month we will discuss:

Gotu Kola

Latin Name: Centella asiatica (Apiaceae[parsley] family)

Other common name: centella, Indian pennywort

General Description:  Gotu Kola is a low growing creeping vine reaching a length of up to twenty inches (fifty centimeters).  Native to both India and the southeastern United States, the herb has distinctive fan-shaped leaves that impart a bitter, acrid taste.  In India and Indian cuisines, it is sometimes served as a salad or a cooked vegetable.

Excellent For: Used for thousands of years in ayurvedic medicine to revitalize the nerves and brain cells and to treat leprosy, skin ulcers, and other skin problems. Research shows its anti-inflammatory effects improves the flow of blood throughout the body and strengthens the veins and capillaries.

Benefits of the Gotu Kola for specific health conditions include some of the following:

Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss: Gotu kola is effective as a restorative tonic for mental decline in old age. It is likely that the herb protects the blood vessels supplying oxygen to the brain, which normalizes the brain’s use of oxygen.
Cellulite, swollen ankles, and varicose veins: Cellulite occurs when connective tissues under the skin that hold deep level fat cells break down and can no longer able to hold fat into place.  The major component of the connective tissues are glycosaminoglycans.  Gotu kola contains compounds that increase glycosaminoglycan production in such a way that fat cells are no longer displaced. In addition to stablizing the framework of the veins this herb increases the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide transported through the veins from the muscle tissues thus a relief of high pressure in the legs. It can improve symptoms of varicose veins, discomfort, tiredness, and swelling, but does not reduce the look of already badly damaged veins.
Wounds, scarring, and psoriasis: Many herbal practitioners and physicians report that gotu kola stimulates the regeneration of skin cells and underlying connective tissue. It also accelerates the healing of burns and skin grafts and minimizes scarring.  Gotu kola cream helps relieve the painful scaly red welts of psoriasis.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Gotu kola should be avoided by women who are pregnant or who are tying to become pregnant, as well as by nursing mothers.  It may interfere with oral medications for diabetes such as glipizide (Glucotrol) and tolbutamide (Orinase).  Since it may raise cholestrol, it should be avoided by people with “borderline” high cholesterol and anyone taking cholestrol lowering drugs.  It can cause a narcotic effect if taken with tranquilizers or sedatives.  There are some concerns that it maybe carcinogenic if applied topically to the skin.

This concludes another exciting issue of Natural Health.  REMEMBER YOU HAVE TO READ TO WIN!

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