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Welcome to Natural Health by Karen Vaughan, MSOM, Science writer, Licensed Acupuncturist, and Registered Herbalist (American Herbalists Guild) A photo of Acupuncturist Karen Vaughan

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If you are interested in an online consult, an appointment or want to know more about my practice, please click on "Appointments" or "My Practice" above. And feel free to explore the blog.

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EMR Protection

I have been concerned about electromagnetic radiation for some time, long before the cell towers and cordless phones invaded our lives. I live in an old house with unshielded wiring. I have been using MRET technology and tubular cell phone headsets to shield my family and clients.

Read about it on Karen"s EMR Protection Page.

Focus and Dreamwave Entrainment CDs and MP3s

I love these programs which let you use your dreams consciously, develop your insight and improve your focus, all with tones that entrain you and no words.

Dreamwalk Program CD

Insight Program With Gentle Rain MP3

Insight Program With Ocean Sounds MP3

Focus Program With Rain

MP3Writer's Mind CD

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How to Make Burn Cream

Zi gen Lithospermum

Burn cream, known as purple cloud ointment or shiunko in Japanese medicine is traditionally used under direct moxa where small “rice grain” cones are adhered to the body with the purple cream.  But it is also used for burns, skin rashes, psoriasis and eczema.
The major herb used in the burn cream is lithospermum, also known as gromwell or puccoon, or in pinyin Chinese as  Zi cao gen (purple herb root). Lithospermum is in the category of herbs that cool fire toxins, Continue reading…

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February/March Herbal Blog Party: Emerging From Winter With Herbs

Kitty in Spring Snow by Peter Pateau

The herbal blog party for this month deals with herbs that help us emerge from Winter, making the transition into Spring.  For me the promise awakens when the angle of bright sunlight changes to hit my back window, where buildings have blocked it all winter.  The raised beds in the back may soon lose their snow so that the Jerusalem artichokes, anise hyssop and calamus can poke through.  Meanwhile my sister in Seattle is surrounded by a riot of hyacinths and Rosie in Houston frets that she won’t have time to harvest the cleavers before the hot temperatures wipe them out. Continue reading…

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Nettles!

Stinging Nettles: Urtica dioica

“If they would drink nettles in March
and eat mugwort in May
fewer young ladies
would go to the grave”
- in John Murrell, A Garden of Herbs, 1621

Nettles are the quintessential herb for getting over winter in my book.  They push their way up in early spring, despite a dusting of snow.  The small ones are bright and vital and don’t have quite the sting to them. But their roots mine the soil for minerals, often Continue reading…

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Limit Carbohydrates Rather Than Fats To Prevent Heart Disease

A new study by  Siri-Tarino of the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute in California,concluded in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that we are missing lower cardiovascular disease targets when we urge the obese to lower dietary fats.  The emphasis on reducing dietary saturated fat isn’t preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the obesity epidemic and associated metabolic disturbances, the authors concluded.
Continue reading…

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So You Think Surgery is a Good Way To Lose Weight?

Like many people dealing with weight problems I have looked into surgery as a way of losing weight. It seems so inviting to have a quick fix and I saw medical studies indicating that bariatric (weight loss) surgery was the only way to permanently lose weight. And yet all of my patients who had surgery, from a Roux en Y gastric bypass to Lap Bands have had complications. And all but one, whose Lap Band is too new to tell, are still obese.

Continue reading…

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Meta-Study Finds Acupuncture Eases Menstrual Pain

A Korean meta-study reviewing data from 27 studies found that acupuncture was effective in relieving menstrual pain. Over 3000 women were studied in total, with treatments ranging from Traditional Chinese Medicine to herbal injections into acupuncture points.  The analysis  from Kyung Hee Medical Center found that patients with severe period pain reported a greater reduction in their symptoms when using acupuncture than when using pharmacological treatments.

Acupuncture could help period pain, researchers say

Stomach ache

Period pain is a common complaint

Acupuncture may be an effective way of easing severe period pain, a South Korean review of 27 studies suggests.

Researchers said there was “promising evidence” for acupuncture in treating cramps, but that more work was needed.

More at:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8518745.stm

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Niacin Outperforms Drug At Cholesterol Lowering

In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a time release version of an inexpensive Vitamin B (Niacin- not niacinamide) was compared to a common cholesterol drug, ezetimibe (trade name Zetia), made by Merck.  The vitamin gave superior results.

Continue reading…

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Home Remedy to Use Instead of Nyquil

This amusing video shows a homemade substitute for Nyquil, which contains a number of  ingredients you might not want to put into your body.  His uses Southern Comfort as the alcohol, but if you click through to Vimeo there are a number of comments with other home remedies.  I prefer to use either Thieves’ Vinegar or honey, fresh garlic and ginger syrup.  Or a drop or two of essential oil of rosemary over the glands and at the nape of the neck.

KniQuil from Hot Knivez on Vimeo.

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What Does Research Say About Eating Meat?

Meat and Vegetables

We are badly in need of a study that compares good vegetarian to good meat-containing diets using quality foods, with high vegetable content and good quality fats in both diets. Too often vegetarians are compared to a standard American population, health-conscious vegans are compared to non-health conscious omnivores and studies on omnivores with low meat diets are extrapolated to suggest that a diet with no animal food altogether may be superior. The study should isolate the effects of gluten from other starchy foods and meats from fish. Continue reading…

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High BMI Kids Not Necessarily Fat

A recent large study of children with high body mass indexes (BMI) found that many children of normal body mass had high fat percentages while 25% of children with high BMI were not obese by fat percentage criteria.

BMI (weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) does not distinguish between the weight of muscle, fat or bone and has a statistical artifact that tends to classify tall children as overweight. Continue reading…

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Cordyceps Investigated for Cancer Drug

Cordyceps ophioglossoides

Cordyceps sinensis has been part of my anti-cancer formulas for many years, since Thai doctor Santi Rosswong suggested that I add it to my reishi formulas for stamina.  It appears from recent research that the herb stops cell proliferation as well.

Cordyceps is a strange herb, a fungus that colonizes then kills an insect, as shown in a BBC  video (with one of the other 680 described cordyceps species found on 6 continents.)  When the Cordyceps sinensis fungus attacks a Continue reading…

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Communication In A Persistent Vegetative State?

A recent New York Times article found that by using functional MRIs on long term persistent vegetative state patients, a few could hear and process information.  The idea sounds exciting, helping differentiate those who had residual brain function from the majority that did not.  But a few caveats are in order: Continue reading…

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Agave Nectar A Healthy Sweetner?

When Agave nectar first burst on the scene as a healthier sweetener, it appeared to be superior to sugar and other dietary sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup.  It was easy to imagine that for thousands of years Native Americans had been tapping the sap of the agave plant, Continue reading…

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More Problems With Paxil

I just wrote a piece on how Paxil (paroxetine) can cause serious birth defects, shown when independent Swedish researchers reanalyzed data from the manufacturer.  Now new information shows that it, along with imipramime, does no better than a placebo at helping depression. Continue reading…

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Going Gluten and Dairy Free

What can I eat?   Don’t worry, this is a normal reaction upon hearing that you should give up dairy and gluten.  And it takes planning, and a shift in what you think is good to eat.

Allergy tests have extremely high rates of false Continue reading…

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Fermented Blueberry Drink Prevents Diabetes and Obesity

For some time I have been promoting probiotic foods (foods with “good bacteria” for the gut) as superior to probiotic pills.  The probiotics in food are present with their prebiotic food sources, often have fat or other compounds to protect them from digestive juices and are found in the forms that our bodies evolved to expect.  Now a study from the University of Montreal shows that fermented blueberry juice, using the organisms that are found on Continue reading…

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247 Hospital Patients Die Daily Due to Doctor's Not Washing their Hands

If I were in the hospital, I would make sure to have a waterless hand sanitizer made with essential oils in a pump by my bed.

Over the last 30 years, despite countless efforts at change, poor hand and clothing hygiene has Continue reading…

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Pregnant Women Should Avoid Antidepressants

Many women wonder if they should take antidepressants while pregnant.  A recent study shows that there are more complications of birth including C-Sections, premature births and induced deliveries.  Paroxetine (Paxil) was associated with twice the rate of congenital heart defects and hypospadias (a penis malformation.)  Tricyclic antidepressants were more strongly associated with malformations and persistent pulmonary hypertension. Continue reading…

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How to Use Pole Moxa

Pole moxa on hand

I often give clients a stick of moxa to use between appointments, especially if they run cold or are overstressed. Continue reading…

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January Herbal Blog Party: Warming Herbs

Yael Grauer has hosted the January Herbal Blog Party on warming herbs this month here.

January’s herbal blog party is on warming herbs. Several herbalists helped participate to share what helps get them and their loved ones through the winter.

April Horton wrote not one, but two wonderful posts on warming herbs! 10 Herbs & Spices for the (Winter Time) Herbal Medicine Chest and  Winter Bliss Warming Energetic Massage Oil

Rosalee de la Foret of HerbMentor.com fame wrote a beautiful piece, Finding the Spice of Life: Cinnamon.

Though not specifically a blog post, Herbal Roots Zine has a great (and affordable) issue out on ginger, an awesome warming herb.

In Yael Grauer’s post, Finding Warmth in the Heart of Winter, she wrote about warming cooking spices in the desert winter, cooking with asafoteida and drinking mulled wine in Oxford.

Beth Gehring shared an amazing assortment of herbs, vitamins, vinegars, oils and foods in Green Living 101: Creating Vitality and Enhanced Immunity through Diet, not Drugs!

Susan Hess from the Farm at Coventry focused on mustard in her fascinating piece, Pass the Mustard, Please!

Sarah Head brings us back to Medieval days in her piece about Grains of Paradise, Something Old, Something New.

I wrote a post on the theory of warming herbs as seen in Chinese medicine at Herbs to Warm You Up.

Last but not least, Sean Donahue outlines 4 gently warming herbs in his piece, Stirring the Sluggish Body and Spirit.

A special thanks to all participants and readers, and to Herbwifery.com, where the herbal blog parties were born!

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