Herbal health supplements are medications made from the leaves, stems, roots and seeds of certain plants. They are also called alternative, homeopathic, natural or complimentary medications.

Herbal supplements are used as medicine for many people and have done so for hundreds, even thousands of years. Herbal and natural remedies were the only options available in days gone by. They can provide the same relief to many common disorders without the harsh side effects of western medicines. Natural products can help reduce anxiety, reverse or control diabetes, alleviate sleep disorders and even flu symptoms. The best part is they are completely natural.

Manufacturing your own herbal health supplements is something you can do quite easily at home. You don’t have to grow your own herbs either, although you can if you want to. Many home-made herbal remedies are formulated by buying the dried form of the herb and vegetable based gel caps and mixing the powdered herbs according to your recipe.

Herbs can treat many health problems and disorders such as arthritis, high cholesterol, obesity and even the common cold. Herbs are renowned for healing the body. Take advantage of the healing power of natural herbs to treat common health disorders and to live a healthier life with a focus on the natural healing abilities of your body.

Most people tend to consider herbal remedies as a safer option to pharmaceutical drugs. However, this is not necessarily true in all cases, because the herb used to treat illness may conflict with other medications we are taking. Despite the fact that herbal remedies are known not to have as many side effects, it is not recommended to begin any type of treatment without first consulting you health care practitioner or naturopath. At the same time you can find out about possible side effects or problems associated with a remedy before taking it.

Legally manufacturers of herbal supplements do not need FDA approval to distribute their products because they are classified as dietary supplements. Just like a drug however, herbs can affect the body’s chemistry, and therefore have the potential to produce side effects that could be harmful. In fact many of the common prescription and over the counter medications used today get their ingredients from naturally occurring substances.

Whereas some folk consider herbal remedies as quack medicine, the use of botanicals is often documented in medical history. In days gone by doctors used to collect information about herbs and developed well-defined methods to treat a variety of disorders. A good many drugs we use today in fact contain active ingredients sourced from those same plants.

Whether you’re making your own remedies or buying ready-made ones, the quality of what you buy is very important. Ready-made medications are the biggest cause of worry, because many companies manufacture herbal remedies which contain a whole host of non-herbal ingredients. Also the ready-made medications may not contain exactly what is stated on the container or deliver all the results that they claim. By law manufacturers of natural remedies are not required to prove how safe and effective their herbs are.

There are numerous benefits in using herbal health supplements. They are cost effective and simple to prepare, they have fewer side effects and most of them are absolutely safe even for long-term use. Herbs can provide long-lasting results and sometimes complete healing. Using them as medicine has been done for thousands of years. Many people still use them today to help maintain their health, and the health of their families.

Alternative health has stood the test of time for one reason only, it works. The difference between standard health care and alternative health care is that alternative health is about creating and maintaining optimal health and prevention of illness and other physical problems before they start.

Organic meat differs from normal meat within the manner the animal farmer raised the animal prior to butchering. Organic meats need to be certified via 1 of many certification organizations, which includes the Midwest Organic Tools Association.

Farmers must stick to strict organic guidelines in the production of the meat product.

Meat certified organic are often born on farms as well as raised with the utmost of respect as well as animal dignity. Beef cattle are not raised in pens but are frequently absolutely free to roam the farm utilizing unrestricted access to water, foods, sunshine as well as outdoor air at all times.

Anything that goes into an organic farm animal must also be organic. The pastures the animals graze in have to be certified organic themselves. Organic forage and grains grown organically need to be fed to the animals and organic pest control have to be utilized on these farms.

No synthetic or chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers are applied to local fields or pastures.

Organic animal farms need to apply specific conservation practices to preserve the natural surroundings as well as the soil in the region. Water is not wasted as well as recycling will be employed whenever potential.

No organic meat could be certified organic if the animal has been fed whatever antibiotics, development hormones, steroids or animal byproducts. Animals are fed what they consume in the pastures as well as organically grown farm products, such because organic hay. Drinking water will be totally free from contaminants.

Within lots of cases, animals grown on organic animal farms are removed from the plan if they ever come to be sick enough to want antibiotics. They are removed from the herd because soon as the illness will be discovered.

While antibiotics are an excellent way to deal with bacterial infections, in that respect can be constantly the risk of developing resistant strains of bacteria as well as no a person knows the well being results to consumers who consume meat treated utilizing antibiotics. Antibiotics speed the development of cattle which seem to grow utilizing much less feed however, mainly because of resistances, sick animals often can’t be nicely treated as well as usually die of their illness.

Growth hormones, eliminated from the production of organic meats, are given to cattle to speed upwards their growth on less feed.

This will be yet another situation where scientists do not recognize the effect of this apply on consumers who eat non-organic meats.

Most organic meat comes from animals grown from birth on small farms in which the animal has free range to move about on the pasture as well as to eat when it wants to. Such animals usually are healthy than the conventional counterparts and are treated far more humanely. Animals are allowed to mate as they wish, adding to the sustainability of the farming apply.

Very much of the organic meat can be derived from bull meat, which is some of the leanest meat approximately. Farmers who raise bulls and promote them (known as seed stock producers) should offer affidavits stating that their bulls had been not raised using antibiotics or development hormones from the time of the birth. Such affidavits generally proceed back at least twenty months prior to the time that the organic farmer purchased the animal.

Organic meats, particularly organic meat, may be somewhat a lot more expensive than conventionally-grown meat. In general, yet, the meat can be new and the consumer may ensure which in that respect is nothing unhealthy within the organic meat product.

Stress is defined as, “The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them.” At the most basic level, there are three types of stress: (1) Physical stress – including poor posture, excessive periods of sitting or standing and heavy lifting, (2) Chemical stress – including poor diet, prescription and over the counter drugs, pollution in the air, water and food, and chemicals in the skin and hygiene products commonly used, and (3) Emotional stress – including work related stress, family and relationships, and illness or death of a loved one. Stress itself is not an illness, but if it becomes excessive or prolonged, it can lead to mental and physical illness.

The symptoms of stress can manifest in a variety of possible signs and symptoms. Changes in behavior are common. This could mean difficulty sleeping, changes in eating habits (over eating or under eating), smoking or drinking more, avoiding friends and family, or sexual dysfunction. Symptoms could be physical, like fatigue, indigestion and nausea, headaches, sore tight muscles, back or neck pain or palpitations. Mental symptoms may present, such as difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness, memory loss or low self-esteem. Or symptoms may be more emotional, like irritability, anger, anxiousness, hypersensitivity or a feeling of numbness, listlessness or being drained.

The key to the ability to cope with stress is to first identify what your stressors are. This may sound like a simple task, but often we are unaware of just how much stress a relationship, a job or lifestyle is causing. One suggestion to help identify your own personal stressors is to carry a special notebook with you to record everything you do throughout the day, noting down how stressed you felt on a rating of 1 to 10 for each listing. After a few days, some patterns should begin to emerge. Notice, are your ratings always higher when you are working to a deadline, or dealing with a certain person, or are you just cramming too much in to your day?

Once you’ve identified your stressors, you must begin to think positively and relax. Just a bit of positive thinking can put you back on the path towards happiness and health. You must find ways to relax, and either reduce, remove or counter-act the stresses in your life.

To cope with physical stress, you must find a physical outlet for your stress. Chiropractic care and massage are two types of therapy that release the physical tensions of stress from the body. Exercise is also a good release, and it can be as simple as going for a walk. Yoga and Tai Chi are good choices as they focus on mental and physical aspects at the same time, while kick boxing or body combat can really help blow off some steam. It is also important to breath properly, which may sound simple, but many of us have irregular breathing patterns. Retrain your breathing so it is slow, deep and steady. Lastly, you must get enough sleep and be certain it is regulated so it is always within 1-2 hours of the same time daily.

Coping with chemical stress can be trickier than it sounds. First, take a good look at what you are eating, and begin to choose healthier options. All the processed, pre-packaged food commonly eaten today is filled with trans-fats and chemicals in the forms of artificial sweeteners, preservatives and flavorings. These are “technology” foods which are made in a laboratory and our bodies were not designed to process these unnatural substances. It is not just coincidence that the rise in obesity over the past 20 or so years has coincided with the rise in fake ingredients in our food supply. Second, you must consider what you absorb through your skin. If you read the ingredients in your lotion, shampoo or other cosmetics and hygiene products you use, you will soon realize you cannot even pronounce half the substances that you slather on your body on a daily basis. If it goes on your skin, it gets absorbed in to your blood stream and is carried throughout your body, so opting for natural and organic body products will reduce chemical stress on your body. Third, you should avoid tobacco, alcohol and caffeine as much as possible. These substances are not only toxic to the body in a variety of ways, but they are mood-altering and can heavily impact stress on the body (even if they temporarily seem to relieve stress).

Learning to cope with mental and emotional stress can sometimes be difficult. A good way to start is by taking time to for yourself to reflect on your day, meditate, read a book or just space out. Talking to a trusted friend or family member about what is troubling you and trying to work on solutions together is helpful. Or you may find a hobby you truly enjoy and take time daily or weekly to indulge yourself and escape from the usual routine.

Ultimately it all comes down to identifying your stressors, finding ways to counter act the different stresses you have, and making your personal de-stressors part of your regular routine. There are natural health solutions for coping with stress. Employ the tools given here and you too can begin to cope with stress successfully.

Natural health remedies, and supplements for that matter, have been maligned by the western medicine establishment for decades now leaving many wondering whether they are really worth the trouble. Certainly, there are two sides to every story but after well over a decade of researching and supporting a healthy lifestyle with natural health remedies I would be inclined to disagree with those discounting the benefits of natural health remedies and supplements.

Have you been to your local pharmacy lately?

For many the answer is I was just there recently as according to a new study the average senior age 60 is on 5 plus prescription medications. But what strikes me as odd about the pharmacy is how unhealthy the vast majority of people picking up prescription medications look. In fact, I would venture to say most appear to be much older than they really are with a disproportionate number being overweight.

Now if pharmaceuticals are really the answer why is the majority of those individuals visiting them looking like they have one foot in the grave.

Additionally, it seems people are filling more prescriptions now than ever before with this observation being supported by statistics measuring pharmaceutical company growth.

Do we really have all the answers?

When someone claims to have all the answers about health and wellness I can’t help but recall a story about the two Kellogg brothers of cereal fame. These two guys were as different as night and day with one opening a famous health and wellness spa in the early part of the 20th century. The spa offered such things as coffee enemas, impressive exercise areas, and diets full of, you guessed it, grains.

The other brother loved to drink, smoke cigars, womanize, and throw caution to the wind. When it was all said and done they both lived to be over 90 dying within a few months of each other.

The one thing they did have in common though was neither used prescription medications are their evolution was still in its infancy.

Inflammation the missing link often ignored by western medicine

There have been some bold, and quite brave, voices speaking out in recent years about the role internal inflammation plays in health as inflammation has been linked to a long list of diseases and conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s. The research studies supporting this view is quite compelling and I would encourage everyone to read all the information they can find on inflammation as it relates to disease.

Natural herbal and homeopathic remedies along with vitamin supplements do not trigger inflammation with many possessing additional benefits especially when it comes to cellular and immunological health.

I find it odd that some will pay a premium for organic products only to be ready and willing to take any one of a myriad of chemical medications at the drop of a hat.

I would speculate that the person taking 5 prescription medication would be taking at least that many over the counter pain killers, allergy medications, sleep remedies, and cold and flu remedies. All of which likely cause some internal inflammation.

So it seems we are bombarding our bodies with chemical medicines. It is for those far smarter than I to figure out how much is too much without opening the door for both short and long-term side effects.

Reversing the trend

This is not as easy as it sounds! Doctors tend to lean heavily toward pharmaceuticals and most of their patients seem to be convinced it is the way to go as well. Also, any changes may be complicated as many meds are stacked in order to manage problems created by other meds.

For those looking to make a chance you will likely be met with some resistance so be sure and do your homework before you go charging in and tell your doctor you no longer want to use that statin medication for lowering cholesterol as you have just read statins increase the chances of type 2 diabetes by 70 percent.

In conclusion, the debate as to whether a lifestyle dependent primarily on pharmaceuticals or one based on a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, supplementation, and natural health remedies is not one that will be decided anytime soon as those on each side of the argument are deeply entrenched.

The best we can do as consumers is keep up with the latest research conducted by independent organizations such as the National Institute of Health and in conjunction with a competent medical professional try to make smart decisions that allow us to live life to fullest with compromising our long-term health.

The latest study on vitamins and health is out. It isn’t pretty. This research adds to other studies suggesting that multivitamins don’t improve health. They may, in fact, increase risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and heart failure.

By the Numbers

Researchers in Sweden examined the connection between multivitamin use and breast cancer risk. They followed more than 35,000 women for an average of 10 years. The women were free of cancer and 49 to 83 years old at the beginning of the study.

The researchers collected and adjusted for other factors that can affect breast cancer risk. This includes family history of breast cancer, body weight, vegetable and fruit intake, physical activity levels, and use of tobacco and alcohol.

Not Best for Breast Health

After ten years, the study indicated that the women who had taken multivitamins were 19% more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer compared with the women not taking multivitamins.

It is important to note that this is an observational study. Study participants were not randomly assigned to take or not take multivitamins. The study does not prove cause and effect. It shows an association between multivitamin use and higher breast cancer risk.

Nonetheless, the study authors noted that a connection between multivitamins and breast cancer risk is plausible. Also keep in mind that this is not the first study to show that multivitamins and other supplements may pose a risk to health.

The Bigger Picture

The first hint that isolated nutrient supplements may harm health came in the mid-1990s. Two large, randomized, placebo-controlled trials looked at this question. The trials included a total of more than 47,000 study subjects between them. They examined how beta-carotene and vitamins A, C, and E affected lung cancer risk in people at high risk for the disease. High-risk study subjects included current and former smokers and asbestos workers.

The researchers expected the vitamin supplements would decrease risk of lung cancer. They found the exact opposite. The men who had been randomized to take the supplements had a significantly higher risk of developing lung cancer. They also had a higher risk of other types of cancer. They had higher risk of heart disease and stroke too. Back to the drawing board!

Since that time, studies have continued to demonstrate that antioxidant supplements can increase the risk of cancer and heart disease. This is especially true for people who smoke or have smoked in the past.

Not So Fast

“Great,” you say, “I’m not a smoker anyway. I’ll keep taking my vitamins and beta-carotene pills.” Not so fast.

Don’t forget about the Swedish study. It points to the possibility that multivitamins increase breast cancer risk. And if you’re not a woman or not concerned about breast cancer, there are plenty of additional studies showing problems with multivitamin and antioxidant supplements.

A 2007 comprehensive research review concluded, “Treatment with beta carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E may increase mortality.” A similar review that same year stated that clinical trials of antioxidant supplements, “should be closely monitored for potential harmful effects.”

Other studies have shown that vitamins C and E do not decrease risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Unfortunately, vitamin E does increase the risk of heart failure in people with vascular disease or diabetes. Many US adults have, or are at high risk of, these conditions.

Are Isolated Antioxidant Nutrients Friend or Foe?

Multivitamins and other sources of isolated antioxidant nutrients may be problematic for several reasons. One of the most likely is that they can have a dual nature. To understand why this matters, it helps to understand oxidation.

Oxidation is a damaging process that can occur inside the body. A good way to think of oxidation is to think of rusting. But instead of causing damage to metal in the environment, oxidation causes damage to your cells. Excess oxidation is believed to contribute to the major diseases that plague us today.

This means that antioxidants, which prevent damaging oxidation in the body, should be a good thing. This is true only if they act like antioxidants. Unfortunately, when taken in isolation, antioxidants actually may become pro-oxidants. Under some conditions, antioxidant supplements promote oxidation, not stop it!

Singles Lack Synergy

Another potential issue multivitamins and antioxidant supplements is that these products lack synergy. Synergy refers to the idea that two or more things can work together in a way that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual parts.

Food is so incredibly complex. Trying to duplicate it in a vitamin pill is something of a fool’s errand. Consider the carotenes. Beta-carotene is the most well known of the carotenes. But there are several hundred carotenes found in nature and in the foods we eat.

Taking a pill that provides just one, two, or three carotenes is nothing like eating a beta-carotene-rich food. The food provides many carotenes plus dozens of other nutrients. And don’t forget about the fiber.

Polyphenols are another large group of nutrients. Research suggests polyphenols provide numerous health they come from food. Taking one or two polyphenols really misses the “nutritional boat.” There are thousands of polyphenols in hundreds of foods. Polyphenols are found in foods as diverse as apples to tea and onions to berries.

Why Food Rules

And so we come back to food. Food is the ideal way to nourish our bodies. Make it a priority to fill two-thirds to three-quarters of your plate with nutrient-rich foods. Think of the bounty of the garden to guide your choices.

Brilliant orange carrots and ruby red tomatoes, shiny green pea pods and deep magenta beets, bright purple blueberries and deep purple blackberries…these are the very foods that will give your body what it needs. And getting what you need is the greatest nutritional gift you can give yourself.

Once upon a time, when you got a headache, you looked around for the cause. Some causes were very obvious. On Sunday mornings, my husband, known to imbibe a few gin and tonics Saturday nights, would wake up clutching his head and moaning “I knew there was something wrong with that tonic water”…..Right! So that’s one very obvious cause.

It’s when the cause of your headache is not obvious, or you don’t have the time or inclination to figure out where it came from that the problem arises.

You know the drill. Have a headache? Pop a pill or four or so! Preferably a brand name pill, heavily advertised on TV. Pills where the cost of manufacture is zero and where marketing costs are in the millions.

Big drug can afford lavish TV advertising for its products. To sell one pain pill it will spend more than the GDP of many small countries. And the TV ads work. You see a beautiful woman clutching her head, in obvious pain. The weight of the world is on her shoulders. What can she do? Take a pill of course! The bottle is right there in the foreground, brand name carefully highlighted. She takes the pill and voila! Headache gone! She’s practically dancing. Wow! Those pills really work! Right!

In the real world, what happens? We get a headache. We take the pills so heavily advertised on TV. The pain of the headache is temporarily alleviated. The headache is actually just sitting in a corner doing its knitting. The temporary effect of the pills wears off. We take more. Then we need stronger pills and heavier doses. Soon, we need a prescription for pain medication. Luckily for us, we know exactly what to ask our doctor for. It’s another heavily advertised prescription medication.

Is this the answer? Of course not! The answer is a lot simpler, cheaper and healthier than that.

You feel a headache coming on. It will not hit you like a sledgehammer. You feel it coming; a general unease. Where are you? Crouched over your computer, maybe? Neck tense? Shoulders knotted? Tension everywhere? Well, yes. Right there, is the major cause of headache in the modern world.

Just once, don’t reach into your desk drawer and extract your pain pills and swallow them unthinking. Realize that your body is in knots and it’s trying to tell you so. Listen to it. Get up. Stretch. If you’re in a commercial office, walk to the outside door. Take a few breaths. Walk to the water cooler. Drink two cups of water. Stretch five times before returning to your desk. See how that works? Rocket science! The world didn’t end because you took a five minute break. But the synapses firing off your headache subsided. Your eyes cleared. Your shoulders dropped from around your ears. A neck rub is great too, but a bit difficult to get at the office.

If you work from home, oh lucky you! Take all the above steps but, if you have a garden, go outside. Admire your glorious plants. Have a few words with them. Do a little weeding. Return to your desk refreshed.

So, what just happened? We ignored the siren call of lethal chemicals and we soothed our tortured limbs and muscles all by ourselves. This actually works for tension and stress headaches. And it’s so much healthier than ingesting chemicals passed as safe by the Keystone Cops in the FDA.

There are other headaches, of course, not succeptible to these particular natural remedies and I’ll cover them in later articles. But, for now, there is one instance I want to highlight:

If you get a blinding headache, out of the blue, no warning at all, your first instinct is to lie down and hope it passes. Don’t. Call your PCP or the emergency services. You need to be examined right away. Remember. If you get a blinding headache without warning, act immediately. Get help. Now.

The sheer pace of our lives today causes all sorts of unease in our bodies. Big Drug has a panacea for all the ills the befall us. But it’s not a panacea; it’s not even a Band Aid. It’s a false fix and we need to get away from it. Thanks to TV advertising, we’re conditioned to think we should take a pill every time we feel less than on top of the world. Not so. Let’s start with small natural steps and see if we can bring our bodies back to the glorious ease we had as children.

When you are in pain you want nothing more than to end it. The Western approach is to reach for a pill. If this does not work then a trip to the MD for stronger pills, or even injections or patches. But what if all this fails, or you are simply wishing to avoid the unwanted side effects (the most dramatic being death via Aspirin).

Luckily there are alternatives to the sometimes dangerous ‘conventional’ approach – there is natural pain relief available to you.

The first step is trying your understand your pain. As any real pain expert will tell you – we don’t really know what sets it off.

For example we all know someone who has agonising back pain due to a slipped disc, but many people have slipped discs and no pain. Some who have surgery on the disc get better, some it makes no difference!

Pain would seem to be not just down to physical injuries and causes, but a complex interaction of thoughts, feelings, habits, lifestyle, posture, diet, biochemistry, and for some people even things like atmospheric conditions.

So how do you get to understand your pain in order to get natural pain relief?

Well, first of all you have to become aware of all the possibilities – which you are now. Next, try and find some professional help from an MD interested in more than medicine, or a chiropractor interested in more than adjusting your spine. Other alternatives would be Applied Kinesiologists, acupuncturists, naturopaths. It is probably good to find someone who is experienced in more than one field of natural pain relief – a good sign is if they know about Functional Medicine.

What are some of the natural pain relief alternatives?

A good chiropractor or osteopath should get your muscles and joints in shape using a combination of soft tissue techniques and specific spinal adjustments. Along with the manual techniques a good look into nutrition and your emotions may be in order.

Lets tackle some of the mental/emotional issues first.

Anything that stresses you out will tighten your muscles, so you need to get in control of that. There are a number of easy to do techniques that make traditional psychology look quite old fashioned. Try Emotional Freedom Technique or Thought Field Therapy for starters, and pick up a copy of Maxwell Maltz’s excellent book Psycho cybernetics. Again, having someone to guide you will help.

With nutrition there are a range of helpful supplements, but the first thing is to check your diet – you need enough water and vegetables, and less processed meats, wheat and sugar. Even things like tea and coffee can send some people into pain, but they don’t realise until they stop. One of my patients turned out to be suffering from years of back pain as she had an intolerance to eggs and coffee.

After your diet, supplement with pharmaceutical grade fish oil. You need these healthy fats to make your own natural pain killers and anti-inflammatories, as well as oil to lubricate your joints and sooth the nerves.

The spices ginger and cayenne pepper have shown good results in clinical trials for pain relief.

The humble pineapple is full of a natural pain killer called bromelain, which can be bought in pill form.

There is also SAM-e (short for S-adenosylmethionine) which has been shown to be as good as some drugs for arthritis.

Another is the herb arnica – often used in homeopathic form, which makes it safe for children. It comes as both a pill and a cream, and no matter what skeptics may say it seems to help.

One of my favourite tools I use in our clinic for helping to asses which nutrients and foods may be best for an individual is the Braverman Nature Assessment. You can find this easily online but you will need help interpreting what it means, so feel free to email the clinic!

Another way to help decrease pain and swelling is promoting the production glutathione. Glutathione is needed to detoxify, promote immune system health, and keep your cells producing energy.

Although glutathione is found in all foods it is destroyed by your digestive juices. You can however boost it with very specific supplementation.

How to raise glutathione will be the subject of another article – or see the resource box below.

Whatever pain you are struggling with I hope this short article helps.

According to Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM, hot spots, or Acute Moist Dermatitis, are on the rise with more and more dogs, cats and various other species of pets needing help with hot spots. Dr. Jones verifies that the most common cause of re-curring hot spots is allergies. Weeding out the cause of the allergy can often take some time leaving behind the problem of hot spots. In the field of pet natural health care, this new natural remedy just may do the trick.

Dr. Jones has been testing out this rather new hot spot natural remedy, putting it to the test and finding it’s potential one to be shared with all pet owners particularly those of dogs and cats.

First, lets start with the basic pet natural health care for hot spots, how to care for the wound, and an already known natural remedy so that all readers can benefit from this information not only those who have been down this road before.

It is important to know that when it comes to natural remedies whether for you or your pet, you may need to try several different remedies, and there are usually more than just one, as nature is full of medicinal valuable qualities. Each pet in it’s breed is unique and what works for one may or may not work for another. Therefore, always try more than just one remedy if the first doesn’t take hold.

Signs Itchy, oozing, red painful area on the skin that has an odor.

Causes A local area of bacterial infected hair follicles that mostly form in the summer months. The skin can become infected by any scratch or wound causing the hot spot to form. Most common cause is some type of skin allergy.

PET NATURAL HEALTH CARE SOLUTIONS

Remove hair

Removing hair on and around the hot spot should be your first step. It is very important in order to let the skin breath, helping the hot spot to heal. Be sure to use a blunt end scissor such as nose hair scissors. Be as gentle as you can, because the hot spot area is painful and your pet will feel discomfort just from the hair being cut.

Clean the Wound

It is very important that you clean the wound by using a MILD, non perfumed antiseptic soap to clean. Use a cotton ball and gently dab the wound with the cleaner. Be sure to rinse well and not leave any soap residue behind.

Tea and Aspirin

The key to healing the hot spot is to get it to dry out and there are some very powerful natural aids that can do this and are probably already in your kitchen. One of them is black tea and the other is aspirin. Make a strong cup of black tea and dissolve an aspirin in it. Immerse a clean cloth in this solution and apply it to the hot spot for minutes. Do this four times a day.

The New Remedy – Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is used in quite a few other home remedies such as ear cleaning, of which it is highly effective. (I know because I recently used it to clean my dogs ears and it did a heck of a job – better than any ear cleaning solution I have ever purchased). It also houses potassium in high form, which is good for older pets, and can be consumed orally to boost the immune system. I use apple cider vinegar in my dog’s food on a daily basis.

Soak a cloth in apple cider vinegar and apply it directly to the hot spot 4 times a day.

If your pet is having re-occurring hot spots it is suggested that you begin to address the high possibility of allergies in your pet. Addressing the root of the problem will give you a cure to these hot spots, and for pet allergies Essential Fatty Acids is vital in your pets diet.

Good pet wellness practices means getting down to the root cause of acute moist dermatitis by ensuring your pet is treated for allergies through Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) in his diet. In the mean time, or in the event your pets allergies act up, use this pet natural health care remedy of apple cider vinegar for pain relief and healing.

For years now we have been exhorted to avoid the sun, to cover up and to use sun screen so we can avoid getting skin cancer. However, unfortunately it looks as though we have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. We desperately need some sun on our skin to make vitamin D, and a lot more of it than the doctors and health people have been recommending for a long time.

We have known for years that we need vitamin D and calcium for strong bones and the recommended vitamin D levels were set when the major concern was to avoid rickets in children. Later vitamin D became a concern because older people were developing osteoporosis and needed to strengthen their bones to see them through their old age.

Vitamin D is usually metabolized by the body from sunlight but in these days of “slip, slop, slap” of sunscreen, too many of us are now avoiding the sun when we should be reveling in it for at least a few hours each week – but do be careful, we still want to avoid getting burnt.

Most people are now vitamin D deficient and this is having a terrible consequence. We are finding more and more diseases which are made worse by lack of vitamin D. A range of cancers are made more likely by a lack of vitamin D, as is multiple sclerosis and diabetes.

An article in the Annals of Epidemiology, published early in 2009 said that women who had high levels of Vitamin D had less than half the chance of getting breast cancer and only one quarter the chance of dying from it than those who had the lowest levels.

Think about that for a moment. The journal article suggests a woman can cut their risk of getting breast cancer by more than half? And their chance of dying of it by three quarters? Why are we not hearing that being trumpeted from the roof tops?

One of the problems is that medicine has got itself caught up in a mess – a research mess. Medicine has developed a good way of working out whether a drug will improve outcomes. However most research is done by drug companies but because there isn’t a large profit to be made it just isn’t worth it to them. In addition most of the research and medical agenda has been hijacked by the drug companies so that even when a non-drug, natural activity or supplement is found to be useful there is a strong inertia in the medical profession to taking it up.

It is time to take responsibility for your own health and get out in the sun or go get some Vitamin D3 from your local pharmacist as almost everyone in the developed world is now deficient. You need 2000IU per day as a minimum. However next time you go to see your family physician or go to have a blood test then ask for a Vitamin D blood test as some people have very low levels and need to have higher doses of Vitamin D than 2000IU daily to get their levels up to a reasonable level quickly.

P.S. If you are still worried about the skin cancer problem then think on this: skin cancer kills some 1600 people a year in Australia. This is not good. But lack of vitamin D kills over 3000 people a year from breast cancer in Australia and over 4000 people a year from colorectal cancer. This is much worse.

We’re right smack in the middle of holiday-celebration season, and, if you’re like most of my patients, you want to indulge in all the food and merrymaking and not have to worry about weight gain. Well, the holidays are for fun and fantasy, but, we have to be a little realistic when it comes to keeping that scale needle from moving too far forward during the holidays.

Did you know that most people average 1-2 pound weight gain over the holidays? It’s true. That wouldn’t be so bad if they got rid of it in the first 2-3 weeks of New Years. Unfortunately, most holiday weight gain tends to not only stay on during the winter months but may even stay permanently getting added to every year! To prevent that from happening, I’d like to share with you some tips on how NOT to gain weight during the holidays, and still have fun and partake in the delicious feast of foods that characterize this time of year.

Control Your Food Intake

There’s no real reason why you shouldn’t be able to eat the foods you love during the holidays andnot gain any additional weight. Sound impossible? Well, it’s a lot harder than it sounds. Here are some of my favorite holiday weight gain prevention tips:

Water is your ally. A staple of all natural health diets is water, and you should be drinking adequate amounts of water every day anyway, but during the holiday party times, let it also be your ally in helping you control how much you eat. Drink a full, 12-16 ounce tumbler size of cold water with some lemon slices in it on the way to a party or upon first arriving, before you eat anything. When your stomach is full, it will really help you pare down food portions.

Don’t go hungry. To avoid overeating at a party, don’t starve yourself during the day, thinking you’re saving up for party food. This always ends in overeating because psychologically you’ve already given yourself a free pass to eat too much. Instead, eat a smaller, yet nutritious, breakfast, and lunch if the party is not until evening, or just eat an apple and an ounce of cheese, if the party starts in the early afternoon. Make your small meals a little protein, like tuna fish, chicken, a hard boiled egg, cottage cheese, and a small amount of complex carbohydrate like a vegetable or fruit.

Spoonfuls, not Platefuls: The best way to outsmart a holiday buffet filled with a number of things you want to eat is to take a little of everything you would like instead of a small plate with a few things that you keep going back for more. I recommend using the large plate and, instead, using the dish’s serving spoon, which is about twice the size of a regular tablespoon, take 1 spoonful of several things you would really enjoy. Just be sure your plate has more proteins like roast beef, turkey or ham, and more green and yellow vegetables, than white potatoes, corn, or breads, go very lightly with the gravies. Think drizzle rather than river on your plate, a pat of butter on vegetables, rather than a golf ball. If you have room for dessert after this amount of food, use a small plate with a small sample of whatever is served. Think grocery store food sample size for desserts. This allows you to try a few things and not feel deprived.

Exercise. Many of us have a hard time keeping a regular exercise routine in non-holiday times, but during the holidays, it’s even more crucial to get some regular exercise at least 4-5 days a week if you can. This will help burn off those extra calories. Aim for 30-40 minutes a day of walking, bicycling if the weather allows, or using a stair stepper or elliptical at the gym.

Focus on fun. Did you ever go to a holiday party and leave without knowing what really went on in some of the other rooms where people were dancing, or having a lively discussion about something, because you were sitting too close to the buffet table? Get up and mingle and join in a conversation, dance with someone, or get a group together to go for a walk to look at holiday lights. In other words, focus on doing something other than eating. Most of all have fun!

Alcohol. Some of my patients like to have a glass of wine or two, or a mixed drink, at holiday parties, and this is fine. Just don’t over do it and be sure to eat soon after. Avoid the sugary mixed drinks, or liqueurs, as they really spike your appetite. Try to stick to clear red or white wines, a martini, etc.

Calorie trading. The day after the holiday party, trade down your higher amount of party calories by eating less the next day or so. Focus on proteins and vegetables, very limited amounts of sugar (read labels), and drink plenty of water.

As I tell my patients, the holidays are for the 4 F’s – family, friends, fun and food. Enjoy all four of them by controlling your food and alcohol intake, and getting in some exercise. Most of all enjoy yourself and have a healthy, happy holiday season!