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 Pregnant Women Should Avoid Antidepressants

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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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School Gardens and Learning

Free New Life Child Holding Green Plant Creati...
Image by Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr

The Atlantic Monthly recently published an article by Caitlin Flanagan called Cultivating Failure: How school gardens are cheating our most vulnerable students which is criticizing Alice Waters and the Edible Schoolyard Movement which she believes is channeling students back to farm labor.  Continue reading School Gardens and Learning

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Vinegar or Acid Food Helps Blood Sugar Go Down

David Mendosa has for some time been suggesting that using lemon juice or vinegar will benefit blood sugar spikes.  Lemon juice, vinegar, even lactic acid fermented foods as suggested in Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions, will lower blood sugar spikes.  And the fermentation Continue reading Vinegar or Acid Food Helps Blood Sugar Go Down

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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 What to make of Scientific Studies?

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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 Low Vitamin D tied to Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease

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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 Is a Vegetarian Diet Healthier Than an Omnivorous Diet?

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Fewer Serious or 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 Fewer Serious or Lethal Prostate Cancers in Male Coffee Drinkers

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Rocking Chairs Help Post Surgical Constipation

Signaature rocking chair by Gary Weeks at www.GaryWeeks.com

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 Rocking Chairs Help Post Surgical Constipation

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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 Snow Day!

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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 In Praise of Physical Medicine

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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 The Use and Abuse of Herbal Medicine

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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 Non Pharmaceutical Ways to Deal With Pain

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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 Baking Soda, the Immune System and the Flu

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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 People Use Herbalism Because It Works Better

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