January 2006

Natural Health Article

CONTENTS

  • ABCs of Health- “V” is for Veins
  • Managing Poor Leg Circulation –
    Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Tip of the Month – Easy Cabbage rolls
  • The Herbalist – “H” is for Horehound

ABCs OF HEALTH

“V” is for veins.  Before I discuss this complicated subject; by no means in detail,  it is necessary to define that veins, arteries, capillaries  are blood vessels of the body. They  make up a part of the circulatory system. Within the circulatory system there are three venous  operating systems, pulmonary, systemic and portal . The pulmonary circulation system transports venous blood (deoxygenated) from the heart to the lungs, so it can be exchanged into gas.  It then brings the venous blood (oxygenated) back to the heart again. The systemic circulation system transports oxygen and nutrients to the body tissues.  It removes carbon dioxide and wastes from the tissues. The portal system (hepatic) is the flow of blood from the abdomen, containing absorbed nutrients from digestion to the liver before it returns to the heart by way of the inferior vena cava.

The vessels that contain the deoxygenated venous blood travelling  from the heart to the lungs are called arteries. The vessels that contain the oxygenated venous blood bringing it back to the heart are called veins. Veins are more numerous, some may have valves (that prevents the blood from flowing back), and are larger in diameter than arteries.
Veins differ from arteries as they commence at the capillaries, and enlarge until  they form the superior and inferior vena cava; whereas the large artery’s  (called the aorta) branches diminish as they proceed further from the heart and become capillaries.  Capillaries perform functions for both the arteries and the veins.

There are two general types of veins:  superficial and deep. Within  each of these categories there are numerous types veins that have specic duties to perform within certain parts the body. Superficial veins are found just below the skin and flow or dump into the deep veins.  Deep veins are called as to their name.

MANAGING POOR LEG CIRCULATION – PERIPHERAL ARTERIAL DISEASE (PAD)

This month I will  discuss the subject of a pamphlet I ventured across regarding PAD (Peripheral Arterial Disease).  The pamphlet intrigued me, as it isn’t talked about much; as so much focus is  place on the on the heart; yet this condition is a close cousin to high cholesterol, heart attack and stroke.  In fact the same process causes all three.. PAD can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke by a three times.

The condition PAD is a serious condition, especially among older people, usually causing muscle pain or discomfort in the leg.  In PAD, a disease called atherothrombosis (fatty build up of plaque on the artery walls) causes blood clots to form in the arteries, preventing an adequate blood supply to get to the muscles. It  involves blockages in the leg arteries, it usually feels like an ache, dramp, or tired feeling (the type you feel when you have over exercised) and is relieved by rest.   Usually the pain occurs in the calf, it can occur in the thigh or buttock depending on where the arteries are blocked.  If left untreated, PAD can cause you leg arteries to become totally blocked. The pain may not leave even when you do rest.

FACTORS THAT MAY INCREASE RISK:

Health                              Life                            Other

High Cholestrol             Smoking                  Age
High Blood Pressure     Excess weight         Male sex
Diabetes                           Lack of exercise     Family history of
High fat diet          heart attack or
stroke

SYMPTOMS:
(sometimes no symptoms appear)

Cool, dry, scaly feet or legs                          Numb or tingly feet or legs
Hair loss on your legs or feet                      A sore on you foot or toe that doesn’t heal
Reddish-blue legs when sitting,
paleness in the legs when elevated

REDUCE THE RISK:

Stop smoking or chewing tobacco products (ask for help)
If diabetic, keep your blood sugar under control
Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Maintain or start a regular exercise program (ie: walking), and adopt a low fat diet

REMEMBER THE HUMAN SPIRIT IS STRONGER
THAN ANYTHING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO IT
– C.C. SCOTT

TIP OF THE MONTH

Before making cabbage rolls, instead of steaming the cabbage, place the whole head of cabbage in the freezer until frozen solid.  When ready to use, allow the cabbage to thaw.  The leaves will be easy to pull apart, and soft and easy to work with.

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:

Horehound

Latin Name: Marrubium vulgare  (Lamiaceae[mint] family)

Other common names: marrubio (Spanish), white horehound

General Description: Horehound is a medicinal mint, native to Morocco and was carried to Europe and North America long age by the traders and settlers.  Horehound florishes in Britain, where it is cultivated on the corners  of cottage gardens and it is used to make teas and candy to treat coughs and colds. It grows to a height of one to two feet ( thirty to sixty centimeters), horehound bears densely packed green leaves with white fringes on a single stalk.   Small white flowers appears at the nodes between leaves and the stem.  All the above ground parts of the plant are used for herbal medicine.

Excellent For: Horehound has been a popular cough and cold remedy since ancient Roman times. It is also a general expectorant and digestive aid.  Laboratories have found that it is the best known chemical constituent, marrubin, is more potent than some well known pain relief medication.

Benefits of Horehound for specific health conditions include some of the following:

Bronchitis, colds, and sinusitis: The compound marrubium (marubin) in horehound stimulates the central nervous system.   This results in the secretion of fluids into the broncial passageways, softening phelgm and making expectoration easier.  It acts as a relaxant of the smooth muscle of the bronchi while promoting muscus production.
Indigestion:  Marrubium’s stimulation of the CNS (central nervous system) in turn stimulates the stomach to secrete digestive juices.  This relieve feelings of fullness by helping the stomach digest food.  This reaction also stimulates the flow of bile, which eases flatulence.  Horehound also stops high and low blood-sugar reactions after eating high carbohydrate meals and snacks.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Horehound is available  as a lozenge or tea.  It is also included in an alcohol-free cough syrup.  Horehound should not be used by pregnant women, nursing mothers. children under the age of eighteen, or adults over the age of sixty five. If you have menstrual problems avoid as it can mildly increase menstrual flow.  Persons with heart problems or stomach ulcers, consult with your health care practitioner.

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

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