1. Ginseng can ease fatigue in cancer patients

    Part of the challenge of treating cancer patients isn't just treating the disease -- it's treating everything else that comes along for the ride.

    There are dozens of conditions that often accompany cancer, but the one near-universal experience shared by almost all cancer patients is fatigue. It's reported in up to 90 percent of all cases.

    Coffee won't help with this kind of fatigue, I'm afraid. But a little ginseng can.

    In a new study, researchers gave 360 cancer patients either 2,000 milligrams of ground American ginseng root or a placebo and tracked them for eight weeks.

    Over the first four weeks, there were no differences between the two groups. But by the eighth week, those given ginseng improved by an average of 20 points on a scale of fatigue symptoms, while those on a placebo only saw a 10-point change.

    This is not a surprise, as other studies on ginseng and fatigue have found that it can take several weeks to kick in (even when given to non-cancer patients). If the study had lasted a little longer, the patients who got the ginseng might've seen an even bigger benefit.

    Along with reducing fatigue, ginseng can also block the growth of breast and prostate cancer cells. Some studies have even shown that breast cancer patients who take ginseng have better outcomes -- especially in women who took ginseng regularly before their diagnoses.

    It can also be used to help offset the effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

    Ginseng also has dozens of other uses, some with great science behind them and others that are still emerging. It's commonly used to help control blood sugar in diabetics, improve memory, stimulate the libido, and there's even evidence it may help fight the effects of aging.

    It's also great for stress reduction -- something both cancer patients and non-cancer patients alike can benefit from.

    As I wrote in my book "The Natural Physician's Healing Therapies," there are different forms of ginseng with different benefits. A holistic doctor can help you identify the form that's best for your case.

    Since ginseng can boost energy levels, don't take it before bed, and pregnant women shouldn't take it at all.

  2. Feeling tired? Could be your statin

    Statins cause fatigue

    Tired, and can't figure out why?

    It might not be your diet, your age, or even your sleep habits. It could be your drugs instead.

    Fatigue is a common side effect of any number of meds, and a new study finds one class of drugs that dramatically up the odds of the condition in women.

    And they're the drugs being given out to practically everyone.

    Alarming new numbers show that fatigue can slam up to 40 percent of women who take cholesterol-lowering statin medications -- and that for 10 percent of women, their energy levels sink to such lows that they rated themselves as "much worse" after taking the drugs.

    That was the lowest possible rating they could have used in the six-month study, which compared simvastatin (aka Zocor) and pravastatin (aka Pravachol) to a placebo.

    The researchers say both drugs increased the risk of fatigue, but the effect was much more noticeable among the women who took simvastatin.

    But I don't think you need to pick one drug over the other based on how they might affect your energy levels -- because you don't need either, or any other statin for that matter.

    These widely used meds are far more dangerous than most people realize, and even patients who've taken them for years can suddenly find themselves battling side effects out of the blue.

    One recent warning from the feds confirmed that statins can cause diabetes as well as memory loss and confusion. We also know that these drugs as a class can raise the risk of severe muscle pain, kidney and liver problems, cataracts, and have even been linked to sexual dysfunction.

    There are so many side effects that even many of the doctors I know who once stood by them are now trying to get their patients off them.

    Fortunately, I've never prescribed them in the first place, because there are much safer and far more effective ways to bring your cholesterol levels down to where they need to be.

    Start with the basics, diet and exercise -- and if you succeed with those lifestyle changes, your cholesterol levels will come down to where they should be and you'll feel more energetic than you have in years.

    And for more on natural cholesterol control, subscribe to my printed newsletter, Health Revelations.

  3. Rheumatoid arthritis pain relieved with gentle movement

    A new study confirms that rheumatoid arthritis patients who practice yoga have an easier time battling the disease.
  4. Get a whiff of concentration

    I always get a kick out of the fridge in my local 7-11. It's loaded with drinks that make all kinds of promises. It's a laugh, because no matter what promise they make, most of these drinks have the same basic ingredients: sugar, water, and artificial flavors combined with small amounts of vitamins or large amounts of caffeine.
  5. When it comes to exercise, less is more

    Everyone should make sure they get moving during the day -- but no one needs to turn into a treadmill-racing workout fiend to get the benefits of exercise.

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