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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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.

Looking for Acupuncture or an Herbalist?

If you are interested in 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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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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What to make of Scientific Studies?

This week I opened up Science Daily and found an article that said there is no evidence to support the use of B-vitamins for reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke or death associated with cardiovascular disease.  Seems pretty straightforward doesn’t it?  But there was also an article the same day that I got saying that B-vitamins were effective in reducing cardiovascular disease in celiac patients, using Continue reading…

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Low Vitamin D tied to Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease

Low Vitamin D status in diabetics makes them more likely to have cardiovascular disease according to new research.  Women with type 2 diabetes, have a third more low vitamin D status than women of the same age who don’t have diabetes.

Why do diabetics have Continue reading…

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Is a Vegetarian Diet Healthier Than an Omnivorous Diet?

An Omnivorous Diet

As the New Year approaches and we look at dieting, many of us are questioning whether we should give up meat.

May 14th 2007, revised 12/20/2009 -by Karen Vaughan

Is A Vegetarian Diet Healthier than an Omnivorous Diet”

I have seen a number of young women looking for help with infertility who practice a vegetarian lifestyle.  They often run cold, have scanty menstrual periods, Continue reading…

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Fewer Serious and Lethal Prostate Cancers in Male Coffee Drinkers

I have been writing for some time about the positive benefits of coffee.  Coffee is not caffeine, it is a complex aqueous herbal beverage with flavanoids, bitters, chlorogenic acid, trigonelline, polysaccharides, ogliosaccharides, essential oils, 5% of the daily magnesium and 2% of the daily potassium needs, plus vitamin E and niacin.  There is also caffeine, which varies range from 58 to 75 mg in a typical espresso, and from 70 to 130 mg in a small coffee. In boiled but Continue reading…

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Rocking Chairs Help Post Surgical Constipation

I recently wrote a post in praise of physical medicine.  Here is a physical home remedy that can make a major difference in recovering from surgery.

After all kinds of abdominal surgery, cesarean sections, or prostate surgery. constipation can be a painful and debilitating side effect, resulting in vomiting, nausea, abdominal bloating, lack of appetite and general discomfort.  It can last for a week or more, although it should resolve in a few days. Many patients consider it more troublesome Continue reading…

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Snow Day!

Today was a glorious snow day, after the blizzard blanketed the city with white glistening snow.  As I walked through the park, I was moved to see how much bright light was available, in December, yet.

All sunlight is not the same of course.  When I borrowed red violet goggles from Continue reading…

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In Praise of Physical Medicine

The number one cause of death in the US is medicinal drugs, accounting for approximately 784,000 deaths anually. In-hospital adverse reactions to properly prescribed medicines is 2.2 million per year. So why is our instinct to pop a pill when there are physical methods like acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic, osteopathy and massage that may be less dangerous, cheaper and more effective?

December 7th 2005 – In Praise of Physical Medicine
Copyright Karen S. Vaughan, L.Ac., MSTOM

We live in a country where the number one cause of death is medicinal drugs, accounting for approximately 784,000 deaths anually. In-hospital adverse reactions to properly prescribed medicines is 2.2 million per year. Dr. Richard Besser of the CDC    Continue reading…

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Holiday Interview

I was interviewed recently on the subject of hangover prevention and care in Well and Good, NYC. The best way of course is to not drink too much. But read the article here.

Four ways to fight holiday hangovers–according to an acupuncturist

Park Slope acupuncturist and herbalist Karen Vaughan isn’t immune to holiday excess. She loves to make her own eggnog and her calendar is chock-a-block with holiday parties, but Vaughan, who has a Masters of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine, knows better than most how to navigate through this season of alcoholic merriment without a long-running hangover.


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The Use and Abuse of Herbal Medicine

It concerns me when people say that they take kava kava or valerian each night to get to sleep. Although the herbs are very useful and probably more attuned to human biology than synthetic chemicals, the fact remains that it is not healthy to drug yourself to sleep each night, even herbally. Occasionally, to get over the rocky parts of life, fine.  But we know that pharmaceutical sleeping medication interferes with the dream states and the quantity of REM sleep.  While the herbs are  more benign, I would be surprised if they did not Continue reading…

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Non Pharmaceutical Ways to Deal With Pain

Pain can be caused by physical or emotional blockages to the free flow of blood and energy. Gate theory says that a little pain can block out larger amounts of pain.

July 26th 2006 – Copyright by Karen S. Vaughan.

There are different nonpharmaceutical ways to deal with the pain.

According to gate theory, a little pain drives out a larger pain, up to a certain threshold. So for instance I might drive my index fingernail into my thumb when pain starts to get too bad. Continue reading…

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Baking Soda, the Immune System and the Flu

Baking soda alkalizes the body and may prevent disease:

“In 1918 and 1919 while fighting the ‘Flu’ with the U. S. Public Health Service it was brought to my attention that rarely any one who had been thoroughly alkalinized with bicarbonate of soda contracted the disease, and those who did contract it, if alkalinized early, would invariably have mild attacks.

The article below by Mark Sirius, OMD who has written a book on sodium bicarbonate,  is drawn Continue reading…

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Happy Hanukkah!

Menorah oil
In a time of darkness and cold, we especially appreciate the power of a small flame. As I sit here in the evening watching the flicker of candlelight, the bitter cold seems farther away. The waning moon yields little light out my Continue reading…

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People Use Herbalism Because It Works Better

176461~Still-Life-Drying-Herbs-and-Spices-PostersA recent study in Great Britain queried people as to why they went to medical herbalists, a category of herbalists who have training much like Registered Herbalists of the American Herbalists Guild, people with the NCCAOM Oriental Medicine  Diplomate designation or other trained herbalists. Most of the patients had not initially sought out herbalists, but Continue reading…

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Natural Remedies for Indigestion

stomach on FireThis is the season of holiday meals and parties, when indigestion raises its ugly head. There are a variety of causes and patterns, so not everyone will fit the same remedies. If you tend to feel excessive heat in your stomach and upward rising energy, go with cooling herbs like peppermint, gentian and artichoke leaf. If your stomach feels cold, unable to mount the fire to digest, Continue reading…

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Quote of the Day

coffeeplant2_400“Blinded by the fruit, we often ignore the full range of a plant’s possibilities. We’re never more than a stone’s throw away from a cup of coffee, yet few of us have ever tasted amertassa or kuti, the green and black equivalents of coffee leaf tea. Or kish’r, the drink made from the coffee cherry itself. Nor have we simply eaten the coffee cherry, which some say has flavors of watermelon and jasmine.”

Aaron Kagan    “Avocado Leaf Tea

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Endometriosis and Chinese Medicine


Endometriosis of Abdominal Wall

Endometriosis is a painful condition where the tissue normally inside of the womb, the endometrium, is found in other parts of the body. The endometrial cells build up blood for pregnancy, which is shed during menstruation. However if this tissue is found outside of the womb, it can cause bleeding in areas where blood is not supposed to be shed and it can cause major pain and inflammation. Typically Continue reading…

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Sinusitis and Herbs

This is the time of year when we see a lot of sinusitis. There are several causes, and many things that can get rid of the condition.

sinusitis_bigIt helps to understand how sinuses work. The sinuses form a kind of cup that serves to lubricate our respiratory tract. Sinuses work like an overflowing teacup, filling with a thin liquid that moves up with the cillary action of small hair like cells and drips down your nose and throat, lubricating the tissue and providing mucus, potentially a designer antibiotic fluid that can fight off infection, prevent abrasion and protect tissues. The problem comes when the fluid is cooked down and is too thick to flow. This is considered pathological Phlegm in Chinese medicine. The problem isn’t usually that you make too much mucus, it is that the mucus has cooked down and exerts pressure on your sinuses, nasal tract and lungs. Continue reading…

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November Herbal Blog Party on Morning Wake Up Beverages

coffee-cup-cupperTansy hosted November’s herbal blog party.   The subject was morning beverages…be it coffee, mate, or some herbal concoction.  Herbalists  share our  morning beverage rituals.   Here is the blogroll:

Karen Vaughan writes about the benefits of coffee and talks about mixing it with herbs

Lisl writes all about chai and includes a recipe for her favorite blend

Susan Lubbers writes about waking up with a holy cuppa…holy basil!

Chai massalaDarcey Blue French shares her chocamatamatelatte recipe

Kiva Rose writes of the wild woodlands morning brew, with a combination of herbs that you might never have thought of trying

Need a little caffeine in your morning ritual? Try Rosalee de la Foret’s suggestions for black tea

Tansy’s idea of a great caffeine free morning beverage: roasted root chai

Aquarian Bath’s secret to a great cup of earl grey tea

Stephany shares some great recipes for all sorts of moods!

Aartiana writes about her favorite morning infusions

See Related Posts:

Coffee Herbs

Caffeine Halts Progression of Alzheimer’s

Simple Ways to Support Brain Function

Health Myths About Hydration

Coffee Beats Statins in Reducing Diabetes Inflammation

Fewer Serious or Lethal Prostate Cancers in Male Coffee Drinkers

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Acupuncture For Veterans and Others With PTSD

Ears in NOLAFor vets and others in NYC, CRREW run a clinic by donation that treats PTSD with ear acupuncture. It is on the Lower East Side at the University Settlement House, 184 Eldridge Street (corner of Rivington and Eldridge streets) on Wednesdays at 5:40-7:00 in the conference room.  The F train Second Avenue stop is closest to University Settlement House.

Wendy Henry and I run the clinic.  We  have been working through CRREW (Community Relief and Rebuilding through Education and Wellness) since 9/11 using acupuncture and related techniques to help people suffering from PTSD.  We have worked on 9/11 rescue workers, Katrina survivors, residents of Lower Manhattan and veterans.  CRREW also has worked in Vietnam and Cambodia.  Other notable founders and volunteers include Laura Cooley, Marcella Robinson and Rachel Kaplan. All workers have trained at the Lincoln Hospital drug treatment facility in the NADA technique and are licensed acupuncturists.

Vets  who want something besides talk therapy are especially welcome. When events are overwhelming physical treatment can sometimes reach you when words are inadequate. One fireman who spent time being treated with us said that we opened him up to the point that he could discuss and deal with the horrors of digging through the pile at 9/11.

In 2008, 14 times as many US veterans died from a lack of health insurance than the US military death toll in Afghanistan the same year. Even with the VA, 1.5 million veterans lack access to health care. We all need to reach out to veterans in need.

CRREW has been running auricular acupuncture clinics and events since 9/11, working with residents and rescue workers.  We extend the invitation to vets who are finding the transition to civilian life to be difficult.

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Obesity and Swine Flu: A Chinese Medicine Perspective

Flu virus diagramA recent report report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy indicates that 25% of hospitalized H1N1 victims in a California study were morbidly obese versus 4% of the US population and more than half were obese.  It did not collect data on whether the heavy patients had other underlying conditions although the analysis found that probable. Now the question is, is obesity an independent risk factor or a proxy for other conditions that make flu infection worse? Continue reading…

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