Talking About Health Radio Show

Listen to me live tomorrow morning, Wednesday April 28, when I will be a guest on Talking About Health.

This New Hampshire radio show on AM 1370 WFEA in Manchester focuses on medical issues and interviews experts to discuss current research and treatment. Tomorrow's topic will be statin medications.

If you're in the area, tune in tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

Plant a Garden for Better Health

Celebrate Earth Day by planning a garden.

Whether you have your own garden, a plot in your local community garden, or a pot in your windowsill, you will be rewarded with fresh, pesticide-free food, an essential element of good health.

Not only is gardening good for you, it's good for the environment too. Gardening saves fuel and carbon dioxide emissions required to ship produce from state to state and country to country. It also reduces the need for industrial agriculture which damages the land and pollutes air and waterways.

Join Just Food for a Garden Planning Workshop and Free Seed Giveaway this Saturday, April 24, from 10:00 am to 11:30 am at the Hattie Carthan Community Garden in Brooklyn. Learn about community gardens, how and when to plant, the importance of healthy soil, and vertical growing to maximize space. Take home free seeds and a free New York City planting calendar.

If you live in other areas, visit the website of the American Community Gardening Association to find a community garden anywhere in the United States.

Window Farms

Or, start your own Window Farm. Vertical hydroponic gardening uses inexpensive and recycled materials to grow vegetables and herbs year-round in apartments and office buildings. The Window Farm Project that began in Brooklyn by Britta Riley and Rebecca Bray, artists and experts in sustainable design, now attracts international attention. A worldwide network of participants collaborate on design, research and development.

Indoor Composting

To reduce household waste and help your garden grow, consider creating your own compost from food scraps. Indoor worm bin composting requires few materials, little maintenance and less than three cubic feet of space. Properly managed, worm bins are discrete and odorless, and they do not attract pests. Learn how to set up your own system and get expert advice at the Lower East Side Ecology Center's Worm Bin Composting Workshop on Sunday, May 2 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at the Sara D. Roosevelt Park in Manhattan.

New York City's Top Doctors

I was honored to receive an invitation to New  York City's Top Doctors event at the Hippodrome last night. Leading physicians from different disciplines across the city gathered to meet, talk, and connect.

I was the only naturopathic doctor there and, surprisingly, most physicians I met were very curious about what I do. Some had simply never heard of naturopathic medicine before. Others wanted to refer patients with questions regarding supplements they know nothing about. Some were interested because their family members or friends were taking vitamins or botanical medicines or homeopathic remedies. And many doctors remarked that several of their patients are asking for alternative options.

I was inspired that so many practitioners with such different perspectives and philosophies took the time to get to know each other and find common ground.

Rarely recognized, this is a critical component of health care reform. Different fields of medicine shouldn't be competing against one another. We should be working together. From surgeons and internists to dermatologists and naturopathic doctors, health care providers all have certain strengths and weaknesses. Only when we work as a team will patients get the care that is best for them.

Allertea for Allergies

Now that allergy season is in high gear, I have a lot of patients in my office with itchy eyes and throats, swollen nasal and sinus passages, and plenty of mucus. Nasal lavage with neti pots, showering at night, and natural medicines can all bring relief without the side effects of pharmaceuticals, like drowsiness, headache and upset stomach.

Certain supplements are very effective against environmental allergies and should be prescribed on a individual basis by a knowledgeable professional, but medicinal teas are something that most people can benefit from. Because they are not as strong as botanicals taken as tinctures or in concentrated capsule form, herbal teas are gentle and safe for most people to consume.

Allertea, made by Wise Woman Herbals, is my favorite tea for allergy season. Botanical medicines like eyebright and nettle strengthen mucus membranes and act to relieve redness, swelling, and congestion in eyes and nasal passages. Hawthorne is an astringent herb that can help reduce excessive secretions. Licorice has anti-inflammatory effects, soothes irritated mucus membranes, especially itchy and sore throats, and makes this tea slightly sweet. Hibiscus is rich in vitamin C and, along with lemongrass, lends a very pleasant flavor. This tea is naturally caffeine-free.

Individuals with heart, kidney or liver problems, and those taking medications, should talk to their doctor before consuming Allertea.

To make the tea, simmer 1 heaping teaspoon of dry herbs per 1 cup of boiling water in a covered saucepan for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove it from the heat and allow it to steep for 15 minutes or more. Strain and drink 3 cups per day, as is or with a teaspoon of local honey (which also helps diminish seasonal allergies). Consider brewing up a big batch and keeping it in the fridge to sip throughout the day, hot or cold.

My patients can find Allertea in my Virtual Dispensary on Emerson Ecologics. If you are an established patient and do not have an access code, send me an email and I would be happy to provide you with one.