natural treatment

  1. Simple solution for post-menopausal sleep disorders

    If you tell your doctor you're having trouble sleeping, the first thing he'll do is reach for his prescription pad -- especially if you're a woman going through menopause.

    Feel free to visit the drugstore -- but don't head for the pharmacy, and don't fill that prescription.

    Make a beeline for the supplements aisle instead, and reach for an inexpensive remedy that's been used for centuries by men and women alike to help ease anxiety and get better rest.

    It's valerian root -- and a new clinical trial finds that it can help beat the sleep problems that often accompany menopause.

    Iranian researchers randomly assigned 100 women to either 530 milligrams of valerian root twice a day, or a placebo, for a month and found that 30 percent of the women who got the supplement had better sleep.

    Thirty percent may not sound impressive -- but it's a dramatic improvement compared to the 4 percent of women on the placebo who reported relief.

    What's more, the women who took the supplement reported no side effects -- unlike the sleep meds that can not only leave you groggy in the morning, but can also cause addiction as well as bizarre and often dangerous behavior.

    If valerian doesn't work for you, there's still no reason to fill that prescription: Other studies have found that yoga, tai chi, acupressure, and cognitive behavioral therapy can all help men and women alike overcome sleep problems.

    In some cases, you may need to experiment a little until you find a natural treatment that works best for you. In others, you may need to combine two or more.

    For more tips on how to get better sleep – whether you're a man or woman of any age – explore the Web site of the Health Sciences Institute. Enter "sleep" into the "find a cure" box and then find a comfortable spot to finally get the rest you need.

  2. Allergy researchers barking up the wrong tree

    There's some great research going on these days when it comes to allergies and asthma. Too bad it's being used for the wrong reasons.

    The latest discovery concerns a protein that may be linked to allergy-induced asthma. But instead of using this information to help develop a safe and effective natural treatment or better understand the triggers, it's likely that it will instead become the basis of yet another unnecessary drug.

    Researchers say mice without this protein have fewer signs of asthma, according to the study published in May in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

    They also found that mice that have the protein but are given a drug to block it show fewer asthma symptoms.

    I find it appalling that every new discovery seems to lead to a drug. But it's hardly surprising in today's environment.

    In this case, several of the researchers involved in the study also have ties to the company developing the drug that was used to block the protein.

    You can guess where this is going.

    I know Big Pharma likes it that way because that's how drug makers line their pockets. But how much longer will everyone else play along?

    You don't need meds and their side effects to combat allergies and asthma. You need to understand what triggers your symptoms, and what eases them. For more information on how to heal from asthma, order my book, The Body Heals, 2nd Edition at

    For example, there's even a new study out that shows how yoga can benefit asthma sufferers.

    The study, presented in May at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual meeting, found that people who perform basic yoga moves and breathing exercises for two and a half hours per week had a 43 percent improvement in asthma symptoms compared to those in a control group.

    Surely that's a better option than any new drugs and their yet-unknown side effects.

    But yoga will only take you so far. What will really help you is better testing and, as a result, better awareness of the cause of your allergies.

    These allergens can lurk just about anywhere. One recent study found that some people are allergic to chemicals used in point-of-sale printers, triggering their asthma symptoms.

    These are the little printers used just about everywhere to print everything from lottery tickets to credit card receipts.

    The study, published in May in the New England Journal of Medicine, followed a Spanish woman who had asthma symptoms while at work – but none on her days off. They were able to link the symptoms to the lottery ticket printer she used at her job.

    But many people who develop coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath don't get the kind of treatment that can link those symptoms to a specific cause. Most doctors are all too happy to just write a prescription for their patients and send them on their way.

    Don't settle for that.

    These symptoms are always triggered by an allergen, and that allergen can almost always be identified if you insist on thorough testing.

    Find them, remove them from your life – and breathe easier without any of Big Pharma's meds.

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