Monday, October 24, 2011

Cracking the Common Cold - by Ronald Steriti, NMD, Ph.D.

Cold and flu season is coming soon. There are several theories of health that try to explain why we get the common cold and flu. This article covers a few of them and discusses several natural cure for the common cold.
The germ theory states that there is a germ, typically an influenza virus, that we catch from other people, which causes the common cold. Linked with this is the concept of susceptibility. The germs seem to have a better chance of infecting us when we forget to wear a coat on a cold day, or when we have been working too hard and not getting enough sleep. It is well known that stress depresses the immune system, which is the bodies defense against disease.
  • Vitamin C is probably the most well known natural cure for the common cold and flu. Vitamin C increases macrophage activity (one of the cells of immune system), and has an anti-histamine effect which helps reduce the runny nose. Under stress most animals (except humans) make significant amounts of vitamin C from glucose. Therefore vitamin C is considered the stress vitamin.

  • Echinacea is the most well known herbal cure for the common cold. It supports the immune system and increases the production and activity of white blood cells, lymphocytes and macrophages (cells of the immune system). Echinacea can be taken both to prevent a cold and to treat one. Many companies make echinacea glycerites which are suitable for children.
  • Garlic is another cure for the common cold that has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Louis Pasteur confirmed its anti-bacterial action in 1858. Many people eat a raw clove of garlic a day to help support their cardiovascular system. Due to its heavy odor, many people prefer taking garlic capsules. The active part of garlic is allicin, which unfortunately is destroyed by cooking.
The story, however, doesn't end with the germ theory of disease. The important questions are: Why do some people not get colds? Why do some people catch a lot of colds? And, why do some people catch colds that last for months? According to the germ theory it is because some people have better immune systems, or because some people catch stronger germs. But suppose the problem isn't germs at all? What if the germs were a symptom of some deeper cause?
Opponents of the germ theory of disease argued that the internal milieu was more important than the germ. In other words, one should concentrate on keeping the body clean and in proper working order. They emphasized the importance of detoxification, and believed that mucous and runny noses were the bodies way of ridding itself of toxins. As this was a healing effort of the body, they believed it should not be suppressed with drugs like anti-histamines.
In today's post-industrial world there are hundreds of thousands of toxic chemicals commonly used. These include heavy metals such as lead found in lead pipes, mercury found in fillings and cadmium in smoke, as well as chemicals used to preserve foods, plastics for food containers, chemical fertilizers, herbicides for the lawns, and pesticides for ants and other household pests. The list is almost endless.
Proponents of detoxification recommend annual “Spring Cleaning” of the body. This is accomplished in several ways. Herbs used to treat the liver and colon are commonly used. These include milk thistle and dandelion for the liver and psyllium seed for fiber. In Ayurvedic medicine, the Triphala formula is used for internal cleansing.
Chinese Medicine has a different perspective. It focuses on balance. In one aspect it recommends balancing the four tastes: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Most people prefer the sweet and salty tastes, and a few like sour things such as lemon water. Most people, however, avoid bitter tasting foods. Interestingly most of the healing herbs are bitter. So are many of the greens like Rapini, Swiss chard, and dandelion greens.
The Chinese people eat a vegetable called Bitter Melon, which looks similar to a cucumber, but tastes terrible (extremely bitter). It is an acquired taste, according to the clerk at the Chinese grocery store, but many Chinese people believe that eating one per month will keep them healthy (similar to “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”). Ayurvedic medicine has an herb called Neem (Azadiracta indica) which is touted as the most bitter plant known. Neem is commonly used in India, both as a healing herb, in hair shampoos, and in toothpaste.
Several different theories have been proposed for preventing and treating the common cold. These included well-known supplements like vitamin C, Echinacea and garlic. The role of detoxification in preventing disease was also discussed, as well as the Chinese theory of the four tastes. Hopefully this advice will help you avoid catching the common cold. If not, perhaps the best advice still is “get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluid”.
About the Author
Ronald Steriti graduated from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, a four-year full-time accredited Naturopathic medical school. He also has a Doctorates Degree in Electrical Engineering. Dr. Steriti assists people to regain and maintain their health using herbs, homeopathy and nutrition to support their body’s natural healing abilities. He has a private practice in Naples, Florida and invites you to call him and discuss your health needs. Dr. Steriti can be reached at 239-659-2684.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Omega 3 Oil for Good Health by Ronald J. Steriti, NMD, Ph.D

Olive oil photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Fresh omega 3 oil is one of the most beneficial foods for your health. Fresh oil is a source of essential fatty acids, which help keep the skin healthy and the hair shiny. The human brain is almost entirely composed of unsaturated fatty acids. Fats add taste to meals and give one a feeling of fullness when eaten. Years ago fresh oil was delivered by truck, in the same way as milk. Now the oil found in most supermarkets has been processed into a form which is not readily used by the body, and is unhealthy.

Fresh oil becomes rancid fairly quickly, even when kept in a refrigerator. Modern technology solved this problem by using high temperatures and preservatives. These techniques change the molecular structure from one that is very healthy (the cis configuration) to one that is unhealthy (the trans configuration). The result is oil that can be kept for extended periods at room temperatures without going rancid.

Oil is composed of fatty acids which are chains of hydrogen and carbons attached to a glycerine molecule. Saturated fatty acids have a single long chain of hydrocarbons, whereas unsaturated fatty acids have smaller chains of hydrocarbons that branch off the main hydrocarbon chain. Omega 3 fatty acids have the branch at the third carbon, and omega-6 fatty acids have the branch at the sixth carbon.

Walnut photo courtesy of Wikimedia.
Omega 6 oil from nuts
Oils made from safflower, sunflower, and corn are rich in linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid.
Omega 3 oil from fish and flax seed
Oils made from flax seed, walnut, and soy are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil contains eicosapentatonic acid (EPA) and docasahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are omega 3 fatty acids.
Flax Seed photo courtesy of Wikimedia.
Omega 3 oil fatty acids
Omega 3 oil fatty acids form prostaglandin E3 which has been found to decrease inflammation, platelet aggregation, and triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol. The omega-6 fatty acids form prostaglandin E1 which has been found to inhibit cholesterol synthesis and decrease blood pressure.
An important question is what is the best oil that I can buy? Extra virgin olive oil, a mono-saturated fatty acid, is perhaps the best choice in a grocery store. Unfortunately few grocery stores carry fresh, cold-pressed oils. In health food stores, one can usually find flax and borage seed oils, as well as mixtures such as Udo’s Blend, in the refrigerator. These oils can be taken internally for health and added to food for flavor.

Much of the information about oil can be found in Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill by Udo Erasmus (Alive Books, 1993), The Natural Pharmacy edited by Linenger (Virtual Health LLC, 1998), and Nutritional Influences on Illness, 2nd edition, by Werbach (Third Line Press, 1996).

Most traditional Italian restaurants serve virgin olive oil on a plate to dip fresh baked bread into (instead of butter). This is a very old Italian tradition, particularly in Northern Italy. Many restaurants serve their own cold pressed extra virgin flavored olive oil. They have a distinctive flavor and a slight greenish tinge that is characteristic of high quality olive oil.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Effects of Energetic Healing on Depression and Stress

Reiki photo courtesy of ABMP.
Long-Term Effects of Energetic Healing on Symptoms of Psychological Depression and Self-Perceived Stress

The following is a summary by Pat Cougar of the research article " Long-Term Effects of Energetic Healing on Symptoms of Psychological Depression and Self-Perceived Stress" by Adina Goldman Shore, PhD. Originally published in the May/June 2004, Vol. 10, No. 3 issue of Alternative Therapies magazine, reprints of the original article may be obtained by contacting: InnoVision Communications, 169 Saxony Road, Suite 103, Encinitas, CA 92024; phone, (866) 828-2962 or (760) 633-3910; email,

Dr. Adina Goldman Shore's article is the result of a one-year study of the effects of Reiki, a form of energy healing, on psychological depression and self-reported stress. The study investigated the hypothesis that it is the Reiki energy itself, and not the "hands on" touch, that is the healing factor, and examined the long-term effects of Reiki on depression and stress. Dr. Shore also provides some basic information regarding the uses of Reiki, including it usefulness in psychotherapy.

Forty-five participants with symptoms of depression and stress volunteered for this study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Hands-on (touch) Reiki, Distance (non-touch) Reiki, and distance Reiki placebo. Participants were not aware of which group would be receiving placebo Reiki. Twelve Reiki Masters, and three second degree Reiki practitioners were chosen to conduct the one to one and one-half hour sessions. Each participant received one treatment weekly for six weeks. The article describes the protocols for the selection of Reiki practitioners and participants for the study, as well as uniformity in the manner in which sessions were conducted.

Three tests, designed to measure levels of depression and stress, were administered to each participant before and after the series of six sessions. One year later, the participants retook the three tests. After testing was completed, the control/placebo group received another six weeks of Reiki treatments, this time with actual Reiki, and the three tests were administered to this group again.

Findings of the study demonstrated that there were no changes in the control/placebo group until they received the six sessions of actual Reiki a year after the first six placebo sessions. Both the hands-on and the distance Reiki were effective in relieving symptoms of depression and stress. Distance Reiki was shown to be slightly more effective than hands on, which ruled out touch as the causative factor, although the difference may have been influenced in part by the project's design (please see original article for details). The results of the placebo group served to rule out any changes due to expectations of the participants. Re-testing a year later demonstrated that the positive results of the six Reiki treatments had remained intact.

Dr. Shore suggests combining Reiki with traditional forms of treatment for psychological depression, because of Reiki's effectiveness, and cost reduction. She encourages further studies of energy healing on other psychological and physiological disorders.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Don't let Dandruff Ruin Your Day - Natural Dandruff Treatments

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia
Dandruff, the bane of beautiful hair. According to Mayo Clinic and WebMD, factors such as poor diet and stress can contribute dandruff.  One common reason is that a natural occurring fungus called malassezia (aka pityrosporum,) that crops up on the scalps of healthy individuals. This fungus can get out of control and become seborrheic dermatitis.

Malassezia likes to live off the oil secretions of your hair follicles, which causes irritation to your scalp. Your scalp reacts by increasing cell production which ends up being the masses of dried skin cells, or dandruff.

Stress, infrequent hair washing, and fluctuation in hormone levels, high sugar intake are possible reasons for the fungus to get out of control.

  • Apple cider vinegar – this is the number one natural remedy used to combat dandruff, and most people already have it in their kitchen pantry.  Mix equal parts water with apple cider vinegar.  Wet hair and massage thoroughly into scalp.  Wrap your head with a towel and let the vinegar do its thing for 15 minutes and up to an hour.  Shampoo.   Apply apple cider vinegar twice a week till you get relief.
  • Tea tree oil – is an essential oil obtained from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree that oil that contain compounds with antiseptic and antifungal properties. Tea tree oil is a strong essential oil, it’s best to purchase shampoos that contain this oil rather than make your own.  Tea tree oil can fade  dyed or tinted hair.
  • Coconut oil –  Warm up a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in a bowl of warm water to liquify. Apply enough oil to coat the scalp thoroughly, wrap your hair in a towel and leave on for several hours or overnight.  Shampoo as usual.
  • Listerine – The eucalyptus oil in Listerine is the active ingredient that what works on the malassezia.  Use original flavor Listerine for mild dandruff by wetting scalp, leaving it on for 15 minutes and shampooing as usual.
  • Burdock or Sage tea – Make a tea of either of these herbs, cool and use as a rinse after shampooing. Burdock contains biotin, a water soluble vitamin B that breaks down fats. Sage also helps break down fats and is mildly astringent.
  • Ginger -- Mix two tablespoons of olive oil with a tablespoon of finely grated ginger.  Let sit for about 15 minutes so the ginger infuses the oil.  Apply to scalp just before shampooing.  If you have a particularly bad case of dandruff, let the mixture sit on your scalp for 10-15 minutes before shampooing.  Repeat a few times a week till dandruff is under control.
Here are some additional helpful tips for controlling your dandruff:
  • Wash your hair in warm or cool water.
  • Do not apply any dandruff remedy to broken skin
  • Take a close look at your diet.  Are you eating healthy or chowing down on burgers and fries all the time?
  • RELAX! Dandruff could be taken as warning sign that your life is getting out of control. 
  • Reduce or eliminate yeast from your diet.
  • Keep hair dryers about 10 inches from your scalp to keep from over drying your skin.

Different cultures have their own tried and true treatments and these are just a handful of remedies I found when researching this subject.  Hopefully one will work for you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Search of Better Sleep - Naturally

Getting to Sleep Naturally
Approximately 1 out of 8 people in the United States need to get better sleep. It’s no wonder that the sleep aids industry is a booming business and isn't going away any time soon. With about 32 million people suffering from insomnia there's no shortage of potential customers, but we can get to sleep without serious side effects that come with prescription sleep aids with specific foods and supplements. Check out these natural sleep aids:

Vitamin supplements:

  • Calcium lactate -1000mg, or calcium chelate -1500-2000 mg 
  • Magnesium – 1000mg these supplements are best taken after meals and at bedtime.  If taking calcium chelate, it’s recommended to take it in divided doses.
  • B complex plus extra pantothenic acid; Inositol, and B6.  Follow the label recommendations.

Foods high in tryptophan are also recommended as natural sleep aids:

  • Bananas
  • Figs
  • Dates
  • Yogurt
  • Whole grain bread
  • Turkey

Bathe in Epsom salts:

  • Epsom salts are high in magnesium which acts as a sedative for the nervous system and works as a muscle relaxant too.   Add two cups of Epsom salts to your bath.  Water temp should  be close to  body temperature at 98 degrees.
Effective Herbs for sleep aids:

  • Catnip
  • Hops
  • Valerian root (which comes in extract or capsule forms)
  • Passionflower (sip as a tea with chamomile)
  • Skullcap

Try L-theanine amino acid
  •  This is a wonderful sleep aid!  L-theanine is a free form amino acid that calms and relaxes without side effects.  It is derived from green tea.  

Other causes of insomnia could include copper and iron deficiencies in women.  A hair analysis should be done to determine if such deficiencies are present.

Fresh air, melatonin, relaxing with a book, soothing music, and a regular schedule are also effective sleeps aids.

Be sure to visit your doctor to rule out any underlying physical condition that might prevent you from sleeping.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Flower Essences to Facilitate Personal Growth

FES Flower Essences
Flower essences are vibrational medicines that are effective in aiding personal growth by helping to heal body-mind-spirit.  Unlike conventional medicines that interact with the body on a biochemical level, flower essences work on the body’s subtle energies to facilitate change. 

In other words, as human beings we are more than just our physical bodies.  We also have subtle body energies: an emotional body, mental body, and a spiritual body where our problems may be “stuck”.  Flower essences are the imprints of the healing energy of flowers and plants infused in water. They work on our subtle energy bodies elevating our awareness of our inner challenges while strengthening our resolve to work through our problems thereby stimulating personal growth.

~ To change a pattern of anxiety, fear of the unknown, you might try the flower essence Aspen.
This essence can strengthen the qualities of trust so that you can gain confidence to tackle the unknown and move forward in your personal growth.

~ To change destructive impulses, or ease a tense and rigid outlook in your life, you can use the flower essence Cherry Plum which can assist in connecting you to your higher self to develop trust and bring balance into your life.

~ To change your pattern of emotional neediness; to overcome possessiveness or manipulating behavior – consider using the flower essence Chicory.

~ Do you find yourself constantly longing for the past, unable to move emotionally into the present?  You may use the flower essence Honeysuckle which can assist you in being fully present in the moment and accept what is.

The examples above are a very small taste of what flower essences have to offer. The field of vibrational medicine and flower essences is quite large and comprehensive.  There are practitioners that can guide and council you on your path to personal growth and who can blend a specific formula of flower essences just for you and your goals. 

Flower essences are non-toxic, do not have drug interactions and are considered herbal supplements.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Natural Remedies to Manage Fibromyalgia Pain

It is estimated that fibromyalgia affects 5 million Americans 18 or older. About 90 percent of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia pain syndrome are women, and most people are diagnosed when they’re middle aged.

Fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria uses 18 tender points to help determine the presence of fibromyalgia. Tender points are areas that are sensitive to touch and deep pressure. They are clustered around the neck, the hips and the joints of the extremities. 

Symptoms associated with fibromyalgia may fluctuate from person to person, but the most common complaint is that the sufferer aches all over. The pain is described as a deep bone ache, pins and needles, or sometimes, a burning pain. Flare-ups can occur where the pain feels especially acute. If the pain were not enough, headaches, chronic fatigue, mood swings, and flu-like symptoms are also reported.

Are there natural remedies one can use to alleviate or manage fibromyalgia pain? Yes! Natural treatments for fibromyalgia are much the same as for arthritis pain. Following are the top three suggestions:

  • Clean up your diet – eliminate refined sugars from your diet. This is a big one. Sugar is a big contributor to inflammation. Cut back on wheat products and stick with whole grain only.
  • Get regular exercise. If it’s been a while since you’ve broke a sweat, then seek the advice of your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you get the go-ahead, find a reputable personal trainer. You will achieve results faster and more efficiently with a trainer.
  • Get regular massages. Most doctors recommend regular massage for fibromyalgia. Massage will increase circulation, relieve pain, and help you sleep better. It is very important that you choose a massage therapist who is familiar with fibromyalgia pain syndrome; otherwise your massage experience may be stressful and unpleasant.

Fibromyalgia is a painful condition that can be managed. Take control of your health and learn what you can do to bring your body back to homeostasis.


The Information Contained Herein Should not be Considered Medical Advice; Nor is it Meant to Treat, Diagnose, Prescribe or Cure Any Disease. Seek the Guidance of a Qualified Health Professional if You Have Concerns or Questions About your Health issues.

About Me

My photo
Southern California, United States
Holistic living, natural remedies have been part of my life since the early 80's. As a natural progression of my passion, I became a certified massage therapist in 2006, a Reiki Master in 2008, and in 2013 an Ayurveda Lifestyle Coach. I am here to promote natural healing, for it is my deep belief that with a little help from our friends and nature, we can all heal ourselves.