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The Caruso Homeopathy Blog

  The term degenerative disc disease refers to the changes in the discs which is the cushioning between the vertebrae in the spine. Normally the space between the vertebrae contains spinal discs which are soft and compressible that allow the spine to bend and flex. Degenerative disc disease (DDD) refers to a breakdown of these discs which usually happens in the lower (lumbar) or the neck (cervical) region of the spine. These discs may lose some of fluid which can cause less cushioning between the vertebrae. Tears may occur that cause the disc to bulge or encroach on surrounding tissues causing great pain. As the space in between vertebrae get smaller, it can cause the body to produce some bony growths called osteophytes. These osteophytes cause more pain and inflammation in the surrounding tissues of the spine. The changes in discs may cause spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis and/or a herniated disc.

     Sometimes the cause of DDD is unknown, but it can be linked to normal aging, injuries and heavy physical labor including lifting. Some researchers have found that improper blood supply is linked to DDD. Medical treatments for DDD may be symptomatic pain relief using anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy and in severe cases surgery. Natural supplements are excellent for relieving pain caused by DDD without the typical side effects that pharmaceutical pain killers do. Luckily homeopathic medicines are suited to the unique symptoms of DDD so the remedies are based on someone’s unique symptom picture.

     Mother tinctures are herbal preparations that are often used in homeopathic prescribing. They are herbal remedies so they may have side effects as opposed to homeopathic remedies. However, if prescribed properly they have minimal side effects compared to prescription drugs. Some mother tinctures used in DDD for pain or support are as follows:

     White Willow Bark or Salix Alba, has been compared to conventional treatments for low back pain, such as cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors (COX-2). Willow bark contains a compound that is used in aspirin however, willow bark does not have the side effects that aspirin has. Willow bark has been used in headaches, migraines, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, low back pain and toothaches for pain relief. It has analgesic compounds that help with pain but it does not reverse any of the damage from osteoarthritis or DDD.

     Curcuma Longa (turmeric) has anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties for those with osteoarthritis. This spice is used in Asian cooking and gives food a yellowish color. It has numerous studies on its health benefits such as being beneficial as an anticancer, antioxidant, cholesterol lowering agent, analgesic and for nerve pains. Some people take it as a tea with black pepper to increase its potency. A few interesting studies have confirmed that curcumin reduces inflammatory markers, reduces the activity of a protein that causes collagen to break down and inflammation.

     Boswelia serrata is an ancient herb used in Ayurvedic healing. It has potent anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic and pain relieving properties. Boswelia actually has been studied and found to reduce hormonal triggers for inflammation that causes pain in arthritis and DDD. It helps to stimulate the growth of cartilage, increase blood supply to inflamed areas and repairs local blood vessels damaged by inflammation. This is a top notch remedy for DDD.

     Devil’s Claw otherwise known as Harpagophytum procumbens has traditionally been used as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever for joint diseases, back pain, and headache. There are several human studies that support the use of devil's claw for the treatment of low back pain but it is not clear how devil's claw works. Studies show a mild improvement with its use in back pain and more so benefit in knee and hip arthritis. This drug may help one reduce the use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

     Passiflora Incarnata is useful for sleeplessness due to pain. It is useful for relaxing and the symptoms of anxiety. In homeopathic literature this mother tincture can be used to help break a morphine habit.

     Homeopathy is a medicine that is suited to one’s unique symptom picture, so two people suffering with symptoms of DDD may require different remedies according to their symptoms. Homeopathic medicine in a potency higher than 6CH does not carry any side effects. There are many remedies for symptoms of DDD but here are a few that are most commonly indicated:

     Aesculus hipp is a remedy that is suited to the symptoms of severe, dull aching in the lumbar spine and sacrum. Walking is nearly impossible and these types may take a few tries to get up from any seat. They feel worse from movement. They feel weakness and lameness in the small of the back and need to sit down for relief.

     Argentum Met types have a bruised sensation in the small of the back, loins and the neck. They feel worse in the morning on waking, from motion. These types have a deep violent pain as if sprained in the low back. The left thigh tends pain unbearable when the leg is lifted outwards and this pain compels him/her to limp.

    Bryonia pains are of a stiff character in the lower back and feel worse with any movement, standing, or bending. They feel worse from cold weather and better with rubbing, heat and resting completely still. These types can be irritable and crusty due to pain and want to be left alone.

     Calcarea Fluor is a remedy that is useful in DDD where there are osteophytes (bony growths) that develop. The back feels tired, aching and stiff. These types feel worse for first motion, drafts and coldness and are better for warmth and motion.

     Cimicifuga is a remedy that has degenerative discs particularly in the cervical (neck) vertebrae. These types may have radiating pain down to their left arm, and the neck may be frozen to one side. The neck and upper back suffers from spasms and stiffness. They feel worse from cold, drafts, motion and touch and better for warmth and pressure.

     Nux Vomica cramps in low back from sitting in a sedentary job, constipation, chilly and irritable. Better warmth and worse for cold applications.

     Ruta Grav is a remedy for chronic low back pain that is severe in the small of the back. These pains may feel from within outwards as if it is bruised. The pains may be worse after standing and sitting and bending over or walking. The pain feels worse on the first motion and better on continued motion and lying on the back.

     As you can see homeopathic medicine is very individualized and two people may get different remedies depending on their unique symptom picture. In an ideal world, everyone would have access to a homeopath and a medical doctor that can work together this way the patient can have the best of both worlds.

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     Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic degenerative neurological condition that affects a person’s ability to control movements. Descriptions of PD have been around as far back as 5000BC. There is no known cause or cure for PD and typically as symptoms worsen the patient may take pharmaceutical medications to suppress the concerning symptoms. PD involves damage and malfunction of the brain’s neurons or nerve cells. It particularly affects an area called the substantia nigra and corpus striatum over time, the enteric nervous system, the medulla and in particular, the olfactory bulb. Some of these damaged neurons produce a hormone called dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that sends messages to the brain that control smooth movement and co-ordination.

     Early signs of PD are a loss of the sense of smell, sleep problems and constipation. These are common symptoms in the elderly population. A tremor may develop on one side of the body only, but in time it may be in both sides. Symptoms of PD may progress to a slow or shuffling gait, slow movement, tremors of the hands, arms, legs, jaw or face, rigid or stiff limbs, poor balance and co-ordination. Sometimes PD sufferers have a blank stare. Emotional symptoms include anxiety, depression and dementia. If PD progresses severely some of the symptoms are a lack of ability to walk, hallucinations and delusions. Typically PD occurs over the age of 65 but there are many incidences of early onset PD. Although there is no known cause, researchers have identified five genes related to PD. They have also found that those over the age of 60, being male, a history of head injuries and exposure to herbicides and pesticides may be have a higher risk factor for the development of PD.

     In the clinic we have seen many cases of PD. The ones in the earlier stages tend to do much better than those with late stage PD. Although, homeopathic and natural medicines do not cure PD they can improve on some of the uncomfortable symptoms. Herein we will mention a few homeopathic medicines and mother tinctures.

     Homeopathic mother tinctures are herbal preparations that are often used in homeopathic prescribing. They are herbal remedies so they may have side effects as opposed to homeopathic remedies however, if prescribed properly they should have minimal side effects compared to prescription drugs. However, if taking any prescription drugs be sure to check for side effects. Some mother tinctures that increase dopamine production are as follows:

Vinca Minor is a herb known as periwinkle or myrtle. This herb contains vinpocetine which helps to improve memory and blood flow. It has many beneficial properties and is used to increase circulation to the brain, eyes and ears. It improves oxygen and blood flow especially in the brain. It has some benefit for post stroke conditions.

Ashwagandha is an ayurvedic herb that helps with stress, anxiety, thyroid function, increases energy and is thought to protect brain cells from damage.

St. John’s Wort is a herb that is often used for mood and depression. A study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that St John’s Wort increases the feel good hormones serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These hormones help to improve mood and can be effective in treating depression and increasing dopamine. As mentioned earlier dopamine helps with the symptoms of poor limb control and jerky movements in PD.

Mucuna pruriens is a legume known as velvet bean and is the best form of L dopa, the gold standard treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Research suggests Mucuna pruriens protects the brain by keeping cognitive functions in check and encouraging neural activity. In a nutshell mucuna helps by neutralizing free radical damage on unstable electrons that may damage neurons in the brain.

Green tea or L theanine has been known to increase dopamine as well and promote feelings of relaxation, improve mood, relaxation and blood flow to the brain. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition found L theanine protects brain cells against toxins like excessive dopamine.

Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen herb that is helpful for stress and adrenal fatigue. A study published in the Annals of Neurosciences found that Rhodiola actually has a beneficial impact on parkinson’s disease by preventing toxicity of the brain from a particular substance. It is a great supplement for stress, anxiety and fatigue although it is not a cure for PD. Researchers have found that rhodiola influences many hormones and inflammation that can impact and provide a positive potential future management of Parkinson’s disease.

     Homeopathy is a medicine that is suited to one’s unique symptom picture, so two people suffering with symptoms of PD may require different remedies according to their symptoms. Homeopathic medicines help the person suffering from PD not just the name of the disease. Homeopathic medicine in a potency higher than 6CH does not carry any side effects. There are many remedies for symptoms of PD but here are a few that are most commonly indicated:

Agaracus is a homeopathic medicine made from fly agaric. It is helpful for twitchings, during sleep, alcoholics who tend to develop tremblings and twitchings. These types are worse for cold air, drinking alcohol and mental exhaustion. These types may feel stiff all over, pain over the hips. The toes and feet may be cold and frozen. The face and eyes may twitch and suffer as if cold needles ran through them.

Manganum aceticum is a useful remedy for those with parkinson’s that may be due to an excess of the mineral manganese. These types have exaggerated reflexes, with an unusual gait where a person may inadvertently stagger and feel feeble. These types feel better lying down in bed. These types have pain in their body wherever touched. They have a tendency to fall forward and visual disturbances.

Rhus Tox is a remedy that is useful in PD where people tend to feel stiff muscles and joints that are better for motion. They may have numbness of parts. They feel better walking in open air, and irritable at night. These types may dwell on past occurrences after midnight which may affect sleep. The limbs feel numb and prickly after exposure to damp and over work. They are better for warmth and movement. Rhus tox types tend to feel as if their legs are made of wood, and their hamstrings are too short. They are better for motion, warmth and worse for straining, being inactive and cold and damp weather.

Zincum Metallicum types are fatigued mentally and deep in their brain. These types are tired, yet their limbs, like their legs and feet are very fidgety. They tend to have brain fatigue, stupor and are forgetful. They tend to be confused and dull after wine. These types feel depression with their disease, sensitive to noise and complains. These types may have burning along their spine, restless legs and their feet in continuous motion and trembling and twitching. The soles of their feet are sensitive. Their hands are weak and trembling. These types feel better for motion, pressure, rubbing and worse for wine, exhaustion and during the menses.

     As you can see homeopathic medicine is very individualized and two people may get different remedies depending on their unique symptom picture. In an ideal world, everyone would have access to a homeopath and a medical doctor and they don’t disparage the other person’s treatment. This way the patient can have the best of both worlds.

     In my years of practice, I have treated many people with PD. Their cases are difficult and those who do the best, know that healing is a process and one remedy will not be a wonder pill cure all. One remedy helps for the constitution and another may be needed at different times for acute problems or side effects from medications. The beauty of homeopathy is that it can work in conjunction with these medications so that the patient can have the best of both worlds to experience their best outcome using homeopathy.

Heather Caruso is a homeopath and holistic nutritionist for the past 20 years in Guelph Ontario. For more information or to book a free get acquainted chat go to





     A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is somehow cut off. Brain cells are deprived of oxygen and the cells die. The effects of a stroke depends on a number of things, where the damage occurred in the brain and the extent of the damage from lack of oxygen and blood flow. Every year in Canada, a person suffers from a stroke every ten minutes and over the course of a year, that adds up to 50,000 people. For every minute of delay in treatment of a stroke, it is estimated that 1.9 million nerve fibers in the brain die. More women die from strokes than men do and more women will have a stroke than get breast cancer.

     The causes of stroke vary but most often in 50 percent of cases, it is due to uncontrolled high blood pressure. Factors that are linked to stroke incidence is as follows:

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure (over 50 percent of strokes are linked to hypertension)
  • Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a condition where the heart beats irregularly and causes turbulent blood flow, which may trigger the blood to clot. People with AF are 5 times more likely to develop a stroke than people without it. Approximately 15% of all people who have had a stroke have AF.
  • Diabetes are 3 times more likely to develop a stroke. Almost 20% of people who have had a stroke are diabetic
  • Inactivity increases one’s risk of stroke. Those who exercise five times per week or more are less apt to develop a stroke.
  • Smoking doubles one’s risk of stroke.
  • Diet plays an important role in stroke prevention, those who eat a heart healthy, low glycemic Mediterranean diet can reduce their risk of stroke up to 80%.
  • Sleep apnea can increase one’s risk of stroke three times that of a person without sleep apnea.
  • Being overweight with more abdominal fat increases one’s risk of stroke.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse increase one’s risk considerably.

     The symptoms of stroke are important to note because if treatment happens right away, it can prevent a lot of damage to the brain. Some common symptoms are as follows:

  • Sudden weakness
  • Droopy face
  • Speech difficulty
  • Weak arms
  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble walking and loss of balance
  • Dizziness

   If you suffer from these symptoms, it is best to take an aspirin to thin the blood and head to emergency immediately. The sooner one gets treatment, the better the outcome. Oftentimes the symptoms of stroke will mock a migraine, but better to be safe than sorry.

   In the clinic we have seen many cases of post stroke symptoms, such as some underlying weakness, trembling or paralysis. Homeopathic medicines are very effective with mild symptoms and can improve on more severe symptoms. Herein we will mention a few homeopathic medicines and mother tinctures.

     Homeopathy is a medicine that is suited to one’s unique symptom picture, so two people suffering with symptoms of stroke may require different remedies according to their symptoms. Homeopathic medicines help the person suffering from stroke symptoms not just the name of the disease. Homeopathic medicine in a potency higher than 6CH does not carry any side effects. There are many remedies for post stroke symptoms but here are a few that are most commonly indicated:

Aconite is well indicated in post stroke, when the event has just happened. There is great fear and anxiety and it may have been precipitated by an emotional shock or a fright. These types feel restlessness and tossing about. There is a hot heavy and bursting sensation in the head. Congestive headaches. Quick pulse and tachycardia which causes anxiety. The pulse is full, hard, tense and bounding. The limbs are numb and tingling, especially the left arm. The hands may be hot and the feet cold. The mouth may be numb, dry and tingling. There may be vertigo on rising.

Arnica is useful post stroke to aid in healing. This remedy is often called for after chest or heart pain after a vigorous, violent run. It is useful in cases of angina, where there is a severe pain down the left arm and elbow. Stroke symptoms may occur after over exertion, injuries, surgeries fright, financial loss and anger. Strokes in these types have a great effect on the person’s mental function. They may be absent minded, forgetful, forgetting the word they are about to say. These types are famous for saying that they are fine and sending away the doctor when they need help.

Baryta Carbonica is useful for post stroke symptoms in the elderly. These types may tend to take cold easily, suffer from dementia or slow metal grasp. They become slow and inept. They have difficulty concentrating and become shy towards strangers, almost childish. They may suffer from senility and other types of cardiovascular disease.

Crotalis Horridus is a remedy that is useful for post stroke paralysis that tends to affect the right side. It is suited to types that may be overly talkative, muttering and depression. They tend to focus on thoughts of death and cerebral decay. They can be agitated, irritable and cross.

Lachesis is a remedy for post stroke paralysis affecting the left side. These types may suffer from hot flushes, high blood pressure and a sensitivity to things around their neck.

     Homeopathic mother tinctures are herbal preparations that are often used in homeopathic prescribing. They are herbal remedies so they may have side effects as opposed to homeopathic remedies however, if prescribed properly they should have minimal side effects compared to prescription drugs. However, if taking any prescription drugs be sure to check for side effects. Some mother tinctures that help with stroke prevention and symptoms are as follows:

Allium Sativa is made from garlic. Garlic is an excellent cardiovascular tonic, and is thought to thin the blood, improve circulation and heart disease.

Gingko Biloba is a useful remedy for improving the circulation. It helps with memory loss associated with poor blood flow. This herb is known to decrease clotting and platelets, so best not to take it with blood thinners.

Vinca Minor is a great herb that improves circulation to the brain. It helps with cognitive function and also tinnitus and vision.

     As you can see homeopathic medicine is very individualized and two people may get different remedies depending on their unique symptom picture. In an ideal world, everyone would have access to a homeopath and a medical doctor and they don’t disparage the other person’s treatment. This way the patient can have the best of both worlds.

     In my years of practice, I have treated many people with post stroke symptoms. It amazes me that even in some severe cases in time, they get improvements. Post stroke cases are difficult and it is best to seek the help of a qualified homeopath rather than self prescribing. The beauty of homeopathy is that it can work in conjunction with these medications so that the patient can have the best of both worlds to experience their best outcome using homeopathy.

Heather Caruso is a homeopath and holistic nutritionist for the past 20 years in Guelph Ontario. For more information or to book a free get acquainted chat go to



The Medicinal Properties of Marshmallow Root or Althea Officianalis

The Medicinal Properties of Althea Officinalis

By Heather Caruso B.Sc., Hom, ROHP/RNCP

   Althea Officinalis, Marshmallow Root, is a herb that has been used for over 2000 years, in ancient Egyptian, Arabian, Grecian and Roman cultures. It grows in marshy areas and bears pretty pale pink flowers that look smaller but similar to hibiscus flowers. It’s root is used to provide relief for irritations, internally and externally, sooth and moisten mucous membranes (aka linings) of the respiratory, digestive, and urinary tract. Althea officinalis aids the body in expelling excessive fluid and mucous and is a useful poultice for wounds and burns. This plant has been used in for centuries in our food, drinks and cosmetics. Approximately 35% of Marshmallow Root contains mucilage, which acts to coat irritated linings of the body. It acts like a natural barrier or soothing mucous in a way. It also contains flavonoid antioxidants, healing amino acids like asparagine, polysaccharides like pectin and a variety of antiviral, antibacterial and anti-mucilaginous compounds like coumarin, kaempferol, phenolic acids, quercetin and tannins.

   Althea officinalis is useful in dry coughs and laryngitis. It is not great for wet mucousy coughs, but is for the type that are sore and dry. Its medicinal properties work to create a soothing barrier for dry and raw linings of the throat and/or lungs. It also increases immune cells called macrophages that surround and eat infectious viruses or bacteria. Althea is often combined in herbal cough syrups with echinacea, slippery elm, lemon and oregano. Althea helps reduce swollen lymph nodes during an infection. It also helps to increase saliva which helps soothe dry sore throats. Thus it may be good in conditions like Sjorgren’s syndrome or other problems with saliva production due to medication use or radiation therapy.

   Bladder and kidney infections as well as kidney stones with burning and discomfort may benefit from the use of Althea officinalis. It helps with swelling, burning and tenderness and helps to fight infection. This herb is very useful in both Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and peptic ulcers. The root contains a polysaccharide that helps to form a protective layer on the stomach lining and lowers acid levels. It also protects this lining from acidity. Thus marshmallow root can also help to restore the gut lining by forming a protective layer around small junctions which makes it helpful in leaky gut syndrome. It is also used for heartburn symptoms because it protects the stomach from acidity, soothes and coats by creating a healing mucous barrier. It reduces the burning stomach in heartburn. It can also be used to help with constipation due to its high mucilage content.

     Althea officinalis helps with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and mastitis (blocked breast milk duct). Many herbalist use it topically to help with these and other conditions like insect bites, wounds, burned and chapped skin. It helps to form a soothing protective layer on the skin and interferes with hormones that cause inflammation.

     This herb is known to reduce water retention. It can help with PMS water retention, stomach bloating and edema similar to a water pill. Marshmallow root will help to increase urination and reduce swelling.

     Marshmallow root comes in capsule, tincture and tea form. Those with stomach ulcers, Crohn’s of colitis, should avoid the alcohol tincture or put it in hot water to try and let some of the alcohol dissipate. Japanese researchers have found that Althea off root can lower blood sugar when injected, thus there is a warning for diabetics. However, no research has been found on ingesting the teas or tinctures or applying the herb topically. Because marshmallow root coats the stomach, it could potentially limit the absorption of other drugs. Thus take marshmallow six hours before or after taking other medication.

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The Medicinal Properties of Dandelion, Taraxicum Officianalis

     Dandelion grows wild all over North America and is considered to be a weed. Its leaves are often picked before it blooms and made into salads, sautés and wine. One cup of dandelion greens is quite nutritious. It contains choline, lutein, 218 mgs of potassium, 535 percent of one’s daily recommended intake of vitamin K, 111 percent of vitamin A, 32 percent of vitamin C, 5 percent B6, 10 percent of calcium, 9 percent of iron and 5 percent of magnesium. The leaves and roots are used for medicinal use.

   Dandelion has a great beneficial activity on the kidneys and liver. The French name for dandelion is “pissenlit”, which translates to wetting the bed. This herb acts as a natural diuretic likely due to its high potassium content. It purifies the blood and helps the liver and kidneys remove toxins. It also helps to reduce uric acid levels, stimulates urination and can help with bladder infections. This weed-like superfood helps the kidneys clear out waste and salt making it helpful for edema (water retention) due to excess salt, medication use or PMS. Some use dandelion as a treatment for hypertension due to its diuretic properties.

     Due to its blood purifying effects and support of the liver and kidneys, it is often used for skin disorders like acne, boils, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema. Dandelion helps to remove toxins from the blood and in turn purifies the blood and improves breakouts. Herbal combinations that include dandelion and other herbs like berberis aquafolium, sarsaparilla and echinacea are very beneficial in helping with skin issues due to their cleansing effect.

     Some recent studies suggest that dandelion may help normalize blood sugar levels and lower total cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL (good) cholesterol in diabetic mice. Researchers need to do more research on whether dandelion will work this well in humans. A few animal studies also suggest that dandelion might help fight inflammation.

     Dandelion has bitter properties that helps to improve bile flow from the liver and gallbladder. This can improve fat digestion and aid in promotion smoother bowel movements for those with constipation. In irritable bowel syndrome dandelion has been found to improve elimination. One study found that 95% of sufferers reported they were pain free after two short weeks of use. Dandelion’s bitter properties activate a reflex that increases secretion of digestive juices by the lining of the stomach. This means it can help with digestion of foods starting in the stomach and fats due to its increase in bile flow from the liver and gallbladder. This herb can prevent gallstones but should be avoided in those who already have them. Improved bile flow acts like a natural lubricant for the intestinal tract with helps with harder constipated stools.

     Historically dandelion has been used to treat hemorrhaging from the liver. It also improves liver function, by removing toxins and reestablishing hydration and electrolyte balance. Some research has found that this mighty weed can be quite beneficial in cancer prevention. It is thought that because it is rich in antioxidants, supports toxin release and liver and kidney function which in turn may be why it would benefit those with cancer. One compound called luteolin actually harms cancer cells when it binds to them, making them unable to replicate. This may be most beneficial in prostate cancer. Many more studies are being conducted.

     Dandelion can be found in raw leaf form, tinctures, teas, pills and powders. Some even use dandelion coffee instead of regular coffee. Dosages vary according to its form. If you are allergic to dandelion, have gallstones or are taking antibiotics. Check with your pharmacist if this herb contradicts any medication you are taking. Side effects from dandelion may include increased urination, bowel movements and diarrhea.

If you would like more information on how we can help you, go to to book a free get acquainted chat.

The Medicinal Properties fo the Herb and Spice Sage, Salvia Officianalis

The Medicinal Properties of the Herb and Common Spice Sage, Salvia Officianalis

By Heather Caruso BSc., Hom, RNCP/ROHP


     Historically sage was used to heal snake bites and used for centuries for its medicinal and culinary uses. In the 10th century Arabians used it for immortality and Europeans in the 14th century used it to ward off witchcraft. Ancient Egyptians used sage as a fertility drug. In the first century, the Greek physician Dioscorides documented that sage stops the bleeding of wounds and cleaned ulcers and sores. The botanical name salvia is derived from the Latin word "salvere" which means to be saved. Sage is a member of the mint family. It is a perennial woody plant that is closely related to rosemary and many of sage’s health properties comes from a compound called rosemarinic acid. It grows up to two feet high and produces greyish green, leaves. There are many varieties of sage and some are simply ornamental for the garden. Sage comes fresh, ground, dried, in tea, tincture or capsule form. Sage contains a lot of nutrition in just one gram. It contains a hefty dose of vitamin K. Sage also contains fiber, vitamin A, B, C, E, folate, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and manganese.

     Sage is useful for memory. Mercola’s website shared the results of a placebo-controlled, double-blind, “crossover trial on sage involving 44 participants showed significantly improved, immediate, and several-hours-later measures of word and cognitive recall. The results represented the first systematic evidence that "salvia is capable of acute modulation of cognition in healthy young adults.”

     Sage can help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol. A small study of 40 people with diabetes and high cholesterol took sage leaf extract for 3 months. They found that after that period of time, the subjects had lower blood sugar, lower fasting glucose and lower total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad cholesterol (LDL). They increased their good cholesterol, HDL. Researchers reported that “sage leaves may be safe and have anti-hyperglycemic and lipid-profile-improving effects in hyperlipidemic type 2 diabetic patients." Another double blind study of 80 individuals with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, found that sage caused a positive effect on blood sugar levels. After a 2 hour fast they had significantly lower blood sugar than the control group.

     Compounds in sage seem to be anti-inflammatory. One study found that sage helps with inflammation of the gum tissue. Some of the compounds in sage helped to reduce this type of inflammation. Sage is also used for colds and sore throats. Sage juice gargled helps with sore throat, hoarseness and inflammation. Sage has reported as effective for sore throats, dental abscesses, infected gums and mouth ulcers. In vitro, the phenololic acids in sage oil has been shown to be effective against both Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, yeast and fungus like Candida albicans.

     Sage has been reported to help reduce tension in smooth muscle. It can be used in steam inhalation for asthma attacks. It has a good effect on reducing mucous in the airways and preventing further infections. It also seems to help with relaxation in general and may be helpful in nervousness and exhaustion.

     Sage can be helpful in digestive issues and colic. It may reduce colicky pains and other symptoms of indigestion. It is a valuable tool with the treatment of dysmenorrhea. It has bitter compounds that stimulate the upper digestive secretions, intestinal mobility, bile flow, and pancreatic function, while the volatile oil has a carminative and stimulating effect on the digestion.

     Sage is useful for menopausal symptoms. Several studies have found it helpful for hot flushes, night sweats, and its estrogenic effect. One Swiss study, reported that one tablet per day of sage over 8 weeks, helped 71 patients reduce their hot flushes from 50 to 100%. Another study found that 440mgs of dried sage or an infusion of 4.5 grams, helped to significantly reduce menopausal sweating.

     Sage is not recommended for anyone with estrogenic cancers, during pregnancy and breast feeding. A variety of sage, called Spanish sage will increase blood pressure whilst common sage will reduce it. It is not to be used with people who may have seizures or before surgery. Ask your pharmacist about medication and sage’s interaction.

If you would like more information about how we can help you, go to or call 1 866 249 5755 to book a get acquainted chat.

The Healing Properties of Echinacea Purpura

The Healing Properties of Echinacea Purpurea

By Heather Caruso RNCP/ROHP, Hom

     Echinacea purpura (EP) is a native plant that is a member of the sunflower family that grows quite nicely in gardens all around North America. It has showy fuchsia pink blooms and tends to bloom in late summer until fall. As a herb it has many medicinal benefits. It is best known as an immune stimulant. It doesn’t act as an antibiotic but it stimulates white blood cells to work better in order to fight infection. Herbal books mention its ability to activate macrophages, an immune system cell, to eat up or attack bacteria, viruses and other infectious agents, even cancer cells. It has been used in cancer studies with good success as well, in particular colorectal cancer and liver cancer. EP also increases natural killer cells, NK cells, that are an active immune cell that helps reduce cancerous cells in the body. In chemotherapy it can help increase white blood cells when they drop during treatment.

     EP is often used in cold and flu herbal preparations. It not only helps cold and flu but research shows that it can be beneficial in coughs, ear infections and strep throat. In ear infections, EP is usually best when used in combination with goldenseal. It has been found to reduce the incidence of colds by one and a half days. Some researchers have found it to be useful in cases of lyme disease because of its effect on NK cells. It is best to take EP at the first sign of cold and other viruses because it often is not as effective when the virus has set in and symptoms are severe. It is best to take a higher dose of EP at the beginning of an infection. After a period of seven days EP is not as useful to keep taking. In fact, it initially gives an immune boost but doesn’t seem to help by increasing immunity more so by taking it longer. Typically in the clinic, we would recommend taking EP two weeks on and two weeks off.

     The Great Plains Indians found EP to be a great pain reliever. They used it for a variety of pains such as in cases of bowel inflammation, herpes, measles and gonorrhea infections, headaches, snakebites, tonsillitis, tooth and stomach aches. EP has benefit in cellulitis as well because it helps to purify the blood and stimulate the immune system to kill any bad bacteria in the blood stream.

     Some say a cup of Echinacea tea is helpful for constipation but there are better herbs to keep the bowels moving. It is also known to help speed healing and reduces inflammation in skin diseases. Some research has found that it helps with a parasitic infection called leishmaniosis, that causes disfiguring skin symptoms. EP has some benefit in boils, acne and infected nails since it helps to speed healing and reduce inflammation. According to “The Prescription for Herbal Healing” by Phyllis A. Balch, 1 tsp of EP juice is thought to have the same benefit as 100 mgs of cortisone. In the clinic, we use it in a blend to help treat inflammatory skin conditions such as in eczema, psoriasis and acne rosacea. A study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science, in May 2017, found that EP was very helpful in treating people with atopic eczema. It helped to speed healing and reduced symptoms when used both internally and externally in a cream form.

     Used in a mouth rinse, EP has great benefit in treating mouth and gum infections and speeding healing in mouth ulcers. It has also found to be beneficial in candida, thrush and other fungal infections and as well in some types of urinary tract infections.

     EP tends to deplete vitamin E, so if you want to take it for the long term, take a vitamin E supplement as well. Do not use EP if you have had an organ transplant or an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus for example because it stimulates the immune system. Studies have shown EP is not safe during pregnancy or when breastfeeding. It also may interfere with certain medications, so be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking it. Also EP may be irritating to those who suffer from ragweed or sunflower allergies because it comes from the same family of plants.

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The Healing Properties of the Herb Urtica Urens, Stinging Nettle


     Urtica Urens is a tall edible perennial native plant to Ontario. It also grows freely in North America, Europe and Asia. People who walk in the woods may have encountered its sharp and irritating hairs that cause a prickling burning rash. The leaves, shoots and roots are edible and nettle has quite a lot of nutritional value. Ancient cultures such as the North American Indians and ancient Celts consumed nettles are part of their daily diet. Once nettles are cooked they lose their sting but one must wear gloves when picking this plant. According to the International Journal of Food Science, when analyzed processed nettle can supply 90%–100% of vitamin C and A (including vitamin A as β-carotene) and is a good source of dietary calcium, iron, and protein. It also contains chlorophyll, silica, potassium, chromium, vitamin K and fiber.    

     In the book “American Healing Arts”, the author writes about a recipe made by North American Indians with steamed nettle with evening primrose. They recommend putting 10 green nettle tops, 20 green evening primrose leaves and six young evening primrose seed capsules into 1 cup of water and place over medium heat. Once the liquid boils, let it sit for ten minutes and then strain the liquid out. Use this liquid as a tea or dab it onto skin rashes, bites or eczema.

     Nettle is used with great success in allergic conditions. It increases the production of T cells which are the immune cells that control other cells that cause allergies. Stinging nettle root extract increases a chemical messenger (IL-2) stimulates the production of new T cells and wakes up existing T cells. Stinging nettle is often found in herbal combinations for seasonal allergies. It is quite good at reducing the severity and incidence of hives. Some herbalists say that it can be helpful in eczema both internally and topically.

     Stinging nettle is said to be good for anemia because it contains iron, vitamin C and chlorophyll. However, in practice, it has not shown as great a benefit as touted in this regard. However, it acts as an excellent blood purifier and helps to remove waste and uric acid crystals. This is of particular benefit in those with kidney stones and gout.

     Men can benefit from adding nettle to their tea pot or diet because it helps with prostate health. According to the book, Prescription for Herbal Healing, nettle root decreases the rate of cell division in the prostate gland. It is thought a compound in nettle sits in a receptor site on the prostate cells that usually accept growth hormones. This prevents growth hormone from acting and in turn there is less enlargement of the prostate. Nettle is also helpful in increasing testosterone levels in both men and women.

   Herbalists often use nettle for water retention because it increases urination volume and reduces residual urine in the bladder. It increases urine flow whilst stimulating the kidneys. Studies have found that stinging nettle also useful for arthritis, gout, joints pains and in difficult cases like rheumatoid arthritis. Research has found using nettle along with NSAIDs, reduces the need for medication. Nettle is also used topically on painful joints with great success.

     Nettle comes in capsule, tea, powder and tincture form. Fresh nettles can be consumed in soups, sautes or as a tea. Be aware that nettle has anti bleeding properties so beware of taking this herb along with blood thinners or if you have a clotting disorder. Occasionally nettle can cause mild digestive upset in sensitive people.

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Homeopathic medicine is excellent for cardiovascular health. Remedies are prescribed based on one's unique set of symptoms, so two people who come in with hypertension would get different remedies based on their symptom picture. A recent study found that homeopathy is far superior to placebo with regards to blood pressure. Typical remedies prescribed were medorhinum, calcarea carb, thuja, natrum mur, sulphur and nitric acid. Read on

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Homeopathic medicine is individualized to one's unique symptom picture. Those with rheumatoid arthritis would find that two people coming for a homeopathic visit, would receive different remedies based on their unique symptoms. Remedies such as rhus tox is good for those who feel compelled to move due to pain and those who need bryonia may not move and feel better for it. A recent small study found that homeopathic remedies suited to one's unique set of symptoms, improved the quality of life for patients, reduced pain levels and sedimentation rate. Read on

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Homeopathic medicines are excellent for the symptoms of BPH, enlarged prostate. In the clinic we have seen some excellent results with simple homeopathic prescriptions. A few remedies such as sabal serrata, thuja, conium and chimaphila have shown beneficial. A recent study found a few homeopathics to be quite excellent in reducing the prostate's size. Read more

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