The Fifteen Most Fabulous Herbal Sedatives

PhotobucketDo you ever just feel like you need to take a pill to take the edge off?

Well a lot of us get extra stressed around the holiday season, and if you don’t want to take something that will totally knock you out, try a gentle relaxing cup of sedative tea instead of popping a pill.

Now opinions may slightly differ amongst herbalists as to what the best herbal sedative is, but I think we can all agree that the best herb is the one that works best for the individual. Here are my top fifteen favorites for making in to herbal tea as they are widely available and not endangered species (to my current knowledge.)

I have included a brief blurb so that you can get an idea of the herbs that will work best for your constitution.Please always check with your naturopathic physician before combining herbs with prescription drugs. Do not take sedative herbs during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

#1 Passionflower- The intricate purple flower pictured above was shown to be as effective as sedatives in the benzodiazepine (valium) family, the aerial parts of this herb are great for nervous tension and anxiety. In recent research, passion flower extract at 45 drops daily (tincture) was shown to be as effective as oxazepam (similar to valium). This nervine herb is also “antispasmodic” which makes it great for people with constant nervous twitching.

#2 Ashwaganda- This is probably one of my favorite herbs, which is why it got the award for “Best Herb of 2007.” Unlike most of the herbs on this list that are designed to be taken at night or at least late afternoon, both ashwaganda and schisandra (listed below) are terrific “adaptogenic” herbs that help us tolerate our stressful days that much better. You can make some tea, or grab some capsules of the organic root and take two capsules twice a day.

This herb is specifically intended for those that are exhausted and agitated or debilitated by stress. In ayurvedic medicine ashawganda is a renowned anti-aging and rejuvenating herb.

Photobucket #3 Schisandra- Referred to as “Chinese Prozac” this herb is commonly unappreciated and underutilized in American herbal practice. Schisandra is a terrific day time adaptogen herb and should be taken as is recommended with Ashwaganda, two capsules with breakfast and lunch, or a cup of tea in the morning and afternoon. The berries can be made in to a nice aperitif for those with a low libido.

#4 California Poppy- The bright orange flowers of the California poppy, leaves and other aerial parts are sedative, anti-spasmodic, and mild pain relievers. This is also a gentle herb used for colic and agitation in children. Do not use this herb or any other sedative herbs in pregnancy.

#5 Hops- No I am not recommending that you drink more beer to calm down. However, the herb commonly used to make beer bitter also works as a sedative. It is extremely bitter though so is best given a small part in your herbal tea formula for insomnia or stress. Do not combine with prescription sleep aids due to an additive effect.

#6 Kava Kava- A well known Polynesian psychotropic sedative, this herb is sedative and “spasmolytic” and thus helpful for chronic pain conditions. Several conflicting studies debate the safety of using this herb with alcohol. Liver damage is thought to occur if used in large doses in conjunction with alcohol. This research however was used to scare many people away from using kava kava for whatever reason.

People need to simply remember that herbs are medicines and that an herb with actions similar to prescription sleep aids and analgesics will of course pack the same side effects. A strong herb demands respect. When used ceremoniously, or occasionally this herb does not run the risks it runs when it is heavily abused.

The best way to safely use kava kava is in an organic tea form. Look for a tea blend that includes kava, or make your own. This herb should not be used in large doses, and large doses should not be used over long term. Do not combine with alcohol, or use during pregnancy or nursing. Chronic abuse will result in a horrible scaly skin rash. Photobucket

#7 Lavender- Try adding lavender to your favorite baked good recipe. Purple lavender flowers will offer a sophisticated herbal makeover to your favorite shortbread cookies, or white tea cakes.

Lavender is great in your herbal medicine blend, and can also be used to stuff pillows, or as an aromatherapy stress reliever throughout the day. Lavender should not be used in pregnancy due to it’s emmenagogue effect.

#8 Lemon Balm- Also known as “Melissa officinalis” this herbal sedative should not be used by those with hypothyroidism as it inhibits the thyroid and is used to treat hyperthyroidism, however for everyone else it is a common simple herb to grow in your garden and make in to your own calming sedative tincture each summer. Do not use this herb in pregnancy.

I grow lemon balm in my garden and harvest it, rinse it, let it dry and then pack it in a jar with enough room for it to swim around in some vodka. Shake the jar once a day for two weeks. The vodka will extract the constituents and after a few weeks you can strain out the plant part leftovers and put a half a teaspoon of this liquid “anxiety medicine” in a little bit of water when you need something to calm you down. Photobucket

#9 St. John’s Wort- Although we think “depression” the second we hear about St. J’s Wort, we also need to address that depression and anxiety tend to walk hand in hand and this herb is not just an anti-depressant it is a mild sedative as well. St. John’s Wort has also been shown to have a lower risk of side effects than conventional anti-depressants and is worth trying for those that don’t quite have severe enough depression to mandate the use of a prescription pharmaceutical, but instead need something to take the edge off and boost the mood a bit.

If you are suffering from anxiety that has a form of depression associated with it, then this would be a great herb to consider in your herbal sedative blend pending that you are not on any anti-depressants or anti-psychotic medications. The condition “serotonin syndrome” may occur from combing this herb with those classes of medications or other herbs and supplements that boost neurotransmitter levels.

This herb should not be used by those on oral contraceptives, or any medications as it increases the cytochrome p450 enzyme system which results in a more rapid detoxification of drugs from the system. The drugs or birth control pills are then rendered useless. Standard dose of St. John’s Wort for those not on any other medications, is 300 mg three times daily of the 0.3% standardized extract. Photobucket

#10 Red Clover- Not traditionally recognized as a sedative, but as a mineral source and blood thinner, this “cooling” herb calms the system and has a special affinity to the lungs, throat, and salivary glands.

This is a terrific balancing herb to include in your herbal sedative blend as the dried flower blossoms make for a beautiful addition to a glass teapot. Do not use in pregnancy, or if on blood thinning medications.

#11 Catnip- Not just for cats. Catnip is actually a gentle nervine herb for humans. No it won’t make you roll around on the carpet or chase after things (at least not to my current knowledge) but it is still a great mild sedative.

This herb should absolutely NOT be used during pregnancy, as most herbs should never be used during pregnancy without checking with your naturopathic midwife, however it can safely be used in children by making a very weak tea. Be sure to only give your children organic herbs and check with their pediatrician or naturopath prior to use.

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#12 Valerian- Definitely one of the more potent herbal sedatives, valerian is also a great pain killer for those with chronic pain. Some people prefer not to use this herb because it can cause quite the herbal hangover the next morning and most complain that it makes them feel really groggy, or desire to sleep through the day.

Look for a tea formula that includes a bit of valerian to avoid the hangover, and if you have severe anxiety, chronic pain, or insomnia talk to your naturopathic doctor about using this at a more therapeutic dose. Always use organic root.

#13 Motherwort- The perfect herb for fried and frazzled mothers; it strengthens a weak heart and is great for nervous palpitations. Motherwort is best taken over a prolonged period of time, and because it is a uterine stimulant, it should not be used in pregnancy.

#14 Skullcap- A bitter, cooling sedative herb that is best used for nervous fear, restless sleep, and is also thought to lower blood pressure. This herb is great for people with the inability to pay attention—huh what was that? And has been used effectively to calm down children with ADHD. Some kids concentrate better when they are sped up, and some do better when they are calmed down.

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#15 Chamomile- One of the most common kitchen herbs, chamomile is a great mild sedative and digestive bitter.

Be careful in using chamomile tea if you experience ragweed allergies, formally known as the “asteracea family” and previously recognized as “composite family.” If you have a history of seasonal allergies you should exercise caution.

If not, make your tea up strong, use a heaping tablespoon and not a teaspoon per 8 oz cup of water, and allow to steep 15 minutes covered. If you don’t cover your chamomile tea you will lose the calming essential oils to evaporation. Only elitist herbalists know to do that. Welcome to the club!

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Traditional Herbal Sedative Use: Establishing a nighttime or daytime tea ritual is a great way to reduce stress, avoid binge eating, and help those that fight insomnia get to sleep at a decent hour.

Don’t forget to have your pot of tea with one of my favorite “Bedtime Snacks for Insomniacs.” Also if you tend to be one of those that gets troubled by having to use the restroom in the middle of the night, be sure to drink your tea at least 90 minutes prior to your expected bed time.

Directions: For most of these herbs simply make a tea with about 1 tsp (milder herbs use a tablespoon) to 8 oz cup of boiling water. Allow to steep covered 15 minutes. Or if you aren’t a tea drinker just look for a pre-made organic herbal formula to take in tincture or capsule form, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Common Sense Cautions: Please check with your naturopathic physician before combining any herbal medicines with prescription medications or making any changes to your health care routine. Women that are pregnant or breastfeeding should never use any herbs unless prescribed by their naturopathic midwife.

You can find bulk organic herbs at Whole Foods, through your local tea shop or buy them online through Mountain Rose Herbs.

What is your favorite herbal sedative?

~Dr. Nicole

Reference: “Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth” by Dr. Sharol Tilgner
©KitchenTableMedicine.com

Related Reading
Best Bedtime Snacks for Insomniacs
Sleep the Miracle Drug
A Quick Deep Breathing Exercise

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Insomnia: The Best Bedtime Snacks for Insomniacs

insomnianuts.jpgBy Dr. Nicole Sundene

Can the kitchen table cure insomnia?

It might just be the quick fix for a certain type of insomnia.

Everyone knows that eating a big meal before bed is not healthy.

Food just “sits there” and doesn’t optimally digest when we are inactive, as the peristaltic contractions of our gut are enhanced by exercise and movement. Still some people insist they can’t sleep without a bedtime snack. I actually might argue that some people might NEED a bedtime snack. Those that struggle with low blood sugar issues or “hypoglycemia” typically wake up in the middle of the night because of it.

Once awake, they can’t get back to sleep, and can’t figure out why.

I see insomnia as three different tedious breeds. There is the insomnia typically caused by stress when you can’t get to sleep, the insomnia when you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, and the insomnia that wakes you up much earlier than the actual time you care to start your day.

You can also be amongst the “lucky ones” and have a combo pack of the three. This unlucky triad is typically the result of high stress, daytime inactivity, alcohol, too bright of a bedroom, and low blood sugar.

The best bedtime snacks are high in protein, fiber, complex carbs, minerals, and the amino acid tryptophan. To ensure a good night’s sleep, be sure to eat a light snack about 90 minutes before your anticipated bedtime. Shoot for 8:30pm if you typically go to bed around ten.

In the presence of carbohydrates, the amino acid tryptophan is able to pass the blood brain barrier, where it is then made into serotonin (the neurotransmitter that makes us happy) and in a dark atmosphere serotonin then converts to melatonin (the hormone that makes us sleepy). Boosting serotonin levels is also beneficial for those with anxiety or depression.

Using these basic rules of biochemistry, I have craftily put together a list of snacks that should induce relaxation as well as ensure proper blood sugar.

The Best Bedtime Snacks for Insomnia:

  • Cottage cheese and fruit.
  • A string cheese and a few whole grain crackers.
  • A small serving of salmon and brown rice.
  • A bowl of oatmeal with almonds.
  • Yogurt, fruit, and wheat germ.
  • Granola and yogurt.
  • Peanut butter on whole grain toast.
  • One egg and a piece of whole grain toast.
  • A fruit smoothie with protein powder.
  • A small bowl of high fiber cereal and milk.
  • A handful of raw cashews, peanuts, or other nuts.
  • Half an avocado and whole grain chips.
  • Half a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread.
  • 3 tablespoons of hummus and veggies or a few whole grain chips.
  • 2 tablespoons of cashew butter and celery decorated with raisins.
  • Rice cakes and cashew or peanut butter.
  • Almonds and apple slices.
  • 3-6 tablespoons of freshly ground flax seeds mixed with applesauce or yogurt.

Additional Tips:

  1. If you have menopausal hot flashes keeping you up at night you might especially benefit from the ground flaxseeds as the lignans have a phyto-estrogenic effect, and the omega-3 oils are very important for ensuring hormonal imbalance.
  2. If you are going nuts from insomnia, nuts just might be the answer as they are high in protein, fiber, and minerals. Eat RAW nuts and raw nut butters to avoid the rancid fats that develop in the roasting process. Roasting turns nuts into “Kitchen Table Villains” that pack on pounds and clog our arteries. Raw nuts such as peanuts and cashews in moderate quantities are a great treat to keep on hand.
  3. The healthiest foods highest in tryptophan are: Cottage cheese, peanuts, salmon, cashews, halibut, shrimp, granola, oatmeal, avocado, turkey, cheese, milk, wheat germ, eggs, collard greens, raisins, chicken, yogurt, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
  4. Try giving up dessert for a week or two, and see if that helps. Most night-time waking is caused by low blood sugar, because Americans commonly eat a sugary evening dessert that jacks their sugar up super high right before bed. As we sleep the sugar then comes crashing back down. The body always wakes us up to alert us of these kinds of imbalances.
  5. Keep in mind that excess fluids before bed also wakes us up, so ultimately it is best to not have any food or drink at least 90 minutes before bed. The older you are, the more you may need to restrict your evening fluids to ensure you don’t need a night-time trip to the restroom. Just be sure you drink up upon waking and stay hydrated throughout the rest of the day.
  6. The ultimate recipe for success is pairing light proteins such as vegetable proteins, turkey, and white cheeses with a high fiber friend such as a fruit, vegetable, or a whole grain choice. These foods also are typically rich in calcium and magnesium, minerals that serve to relax the nervous system and alleviate muscle tension.
  7. Kitchen Table Cliffnote: Protein + Fiber + Minerals= Sound Sleep

What is your favorite bedtime snack?

Recommended Reading for Insomniacs: Sleep, Stress, The Low Glycemic Index Diet, Hypoglycemia, Fiber, Amino Acids and Mood Disorders, Anxiety

Reference: “Medical Nutrition from Marz” by Dr. Russell B. Marz

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table!

~ Dr. Nicole Sundene

Naturopathic Physician
www.KitchenTableMedicine.com

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Heart Palpitations and Magnesium

Hi Dr. Ben,

Question:I am currently pregnant and have been experiencing heart palpitations. My midwife told me to take magnesium. I have been taking a drugstore brand of magnesium oxide 250mg pills, but I don’t think I’m absorbing as much as I should because I am still having palpitations before my next dose.

So, my question is which of your products will best suit my needs? Thanks so much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Answer: Magnesium is a tricky one and companies typically use poor forms of magnesium as it is less expensive to produce. Many magnesium drugstore products contains poor ingredients. Magnesium Oxide , Cellulose Gel , Croscarmellose Sodium , Magnesium Stearate.

Magnesium Oxide is the worst form of magnesium to take as it has the least absorption. To make it worse, the magnesium is in tablet form making absorption even less.

You may consider doing a few things to enhance magnesium absorption:

  • Mag Phos 6x 1000 tab cell salt works on a more cellular level than the typical magnesium supplement. It is easiest to put 25 tablets in 1 liter of water and drink throughout the day – every day. This way you are getting water and magnesiumm – both key to proper health.
  • Low electrolytes may cause numerous symptoms and taking the full range may assist in reducing palpitations. The recommended dosage of E-Lye Electrolyte Concentrate is ½ an ounce of concentrate to 8 oz. of water, or 8 ounces into 1 gallon of water or milk. Drink an 8 oz. serving 1-2 times daily, or as directed by your physician or HCP.Add this to the 1 liter of water and drink throughout the day along with the Mag Phos cell salts making it easier for you to remember.
  • Taking additional Magnesium of one type will likely lead to diarrhea or GI upset. So it is recommend to take a product with 3 forms of magnesium in it for optimal absorption. Tri-Magnesium offers this. Recommend dose is 1-2 caps per day.
    I would use this product over the drugstore product. I would actually throw the other product  in the trash. I do not see how it can provide much benefit given the ingredients and tablet form.

These three may reduce your heart palpitations if it is due to a magnesium deficiency.

Also increase green vegetables in your diet, as the chlorophyll molecule is rich in magnesium. Read “America’s #1 American Mineral Deficiency.”

One thing to keep in mind:

Magnesium and Calcium compete with each other. So make sure you are consuming products high in Calcium – like Organic dark leafy greens and Chia Seeds. Just two ounces of Chia seeds contain 600 mg of Calcium, compared with 120 mg for milk.

If you’ve further questions, please do inquire.

Have a healthy pregnancy and enjoy your little one when they arrive :)

In health,

Dr Benjamin Lynch CEO of  www.HealthEGoods.com

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

My Basic Vitamin Program

“What Vitamins Should I Take?”

Is the most common question I get as a Naturopathic Physician.

I typically believe the average person that doesn’t eat “perfectly” ie:

  • Eats the “Basic American Diet” (BAD) of white refined, processed foods
  • Doesn’t consume 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies daily
  • Eats Fast Food several times a week Read more
Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Panic Away

PhotobucketBy Bobbie Laing

We all have periods in our lives when the walls seem to be closing in. We have experienced it during a test, at a job interview, in a crowded department store, or simply driving down the road.

Sometimes it is a fear of not “measuring up” to what we believe is “normal”; and sometimes it is just a niggling sense of discomfort from feeling out of control in a certain situation.

Whatever the case may be, it is a familiar feeling. When feelings like this bombard your life on a regular basis, or seem to increase in their intensity, it brings with it a heightened sense of anxiety.

Anxiety is a normal part of life; it warns us when danger is near, it produces a response. “Fight or Flight”. When anxiety begins to take over your life, in everyday situations where there is no “real” danger, you experience, what we in our society call, “Panic Attacks”.

Some symptoms include,

  • Dizzy spells leading to panic
  • Tightness in throat and chest- shortness of breath
  • Racing heart with tingle sensations
  • Obsessive worries and unwanted thoughts
  • Overwhelming fear that something awful is about to occur

PhotobucketBarry Joseph McDonagh has developed the Panic Away Program to help people who experience Panic Attacks bring calm back into their lives, and overcome these feelings, using a cognitive behavioral approach, rather than through the use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

Whether you use medications or not, this program could prove useful to anyone willing to try the methods laid out.

There are three stages mapped out in the book for dealing with, and overcoming, Panic Attacks.

  • Stage one – Eliminating Panic Attacks with “The One Move Technique”
  • Stage two – Eliminating General Anxiety
  • Stage three – Sealing the recovery

The Author goes into great detail in his description of the various sensations involved during a panic attack; what can cause them, and some helpful tips on how get past them.
Testimonial from the site,

“…This morning, I started getting a tight throat feeling and the swallowing muscles in my throat didn’t seem to be working, well I started getting panicky and headed for the computer. I got panic away onto the screen and I had a great time. MATE this was only about twenty minutes ago, I only got the download two days ago and hadn’t read half of it so far. I have been getting severe panic attacks for about four years now as well as general anxiety, I am thirty-four years old with a wife and three kids, and I work in the construction industry so you can imagine the battle I have had. In the first year a lot of days, I couldn’t even get out of bed, my wife and kids suffered along with me. YOU my friend have already changed my life, you can’t imagine how much in two days and one panic attack you have turned my life around… “

So go visit the site, read the testimonials, and decide for yourself if you think this program is right for you.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

What is Anxiety?

By KC Kelly, Ph.D., LMHC
headshot_for_nicoles_site1.jpgStress and anxiety are a natural part of everyday life and most of us experience it more often than not in today’s very stressful world. It is also very natural to worry about your hectic life from time to time. “Anxiety” is usually referred to as worry, concern, stress, or nervousness.

Believe it or not, anxious feelings can sometimes be a good thing. Having this heightened sense can actually help to motivate a person to prepare for a big test in school, speech at work, or by keeping a person on his/her toes in potentially dangerous situations, to name only a few examples. Occasional anxiety isn’t something to be concerned about.

However, if the worries, stress, or anxious feelings become overwhelming and you feel as though these feelings are getting in the way of your everyday quality of life, these may be signs that you may have an anxiety problem or disorder. Below are descriptions of the different anxiety disorders. Remember as you read, not to be frightened by the symptoms. An anxiety disorder is a serious condition, yes, but the good news is that it is also one of the most treatable emotional disorders!

ANXIETY DISORDERS

Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 40 million American adults aged 16 years and older in a given year, causing them to be filled with overwhelming fearfulness and uncertainty. People usually experience anxiety about events they cannot control or predict, or about events that seem threatening or dangerous.

Sometimes people feel anxious without any known cause. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event such as an audition or performing in front of a live audience, anxiety disorders are chronic, relentless, and can grow progressively worse if not treated.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive thinking and dwelling on the “what ifs”. As a result, the person feels there is no way out of the vicious cycle of anxiety and worry, and then becomes depressed about life and the state of anxiety they feel. This is a relatively common anxiety problem, affecting about 6.8 million adult Americans.

Panic Disorder can leave people with feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly, many times, without warning. They can’t predict when an attack will occur, and many develop intense anxiety between episodes, worrying when and where the next one will strike.

You may genuinely believe you’re having a heart attack, losing your mind, or are on the verge of death. Unless you have a bad heart that has been officially diagnosed, anxiety CANNOT KILL YOU! Panic attacks can occur at any time, even during sleep. Panic disorder affects about 6 million American adults.

Agoraphobia develops when a person has such an intense fear of having a panic attack that they avoid going anywhere they think it could possibly occur. The fear of social embarrassment of having a panic attack or losing control in public often causing a person to become confined to their homes, experiencing difficulty traveling from their “safe place.”

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involves anxious thoughts or rituals you feel you can’t control. If you have OCD, you may be plagued by persistent, unwelcome thoughts or images, or by the urgent need to engage in certain rituals. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (CPD) entails a cluster of characteristics of behavior marked by inflexibility in order to pursue perfectionism, orderliness, and control (DSM-IV). OCD affects about 2.2 million American adults.

PhotobucketPost-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that can develop following a terrifying event. Often, people with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb, especially with people to whom they were once close. Whatever the source of the problem, some people with PTSD repeatedly relive the trauma in the form of nightmares and disturbing recollections during the day.

They may also experience other sleep problems, feel detached or emotionally paralyzed, or be easily startled. They may lose interest in things they used to enjoy and have trouble feeling affectionate. They may feel irritable, more aggressive than before, or even violent. Things that remind them of the trauma may be very distressing, which could lead them to avoid certain places or situations that bring back those memories. Anniversaries of the traumatic event are often very troubling times. PTSD affects about 7.7 million American adults.

Social Phobia, also called Social Anxiety Disorder involves overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. People with social phobia have a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and being embarrassed or humiliated by their own actions.

Their fear may be so severe that it interferes with work or school, and other ordinary activities. While many people with social phobia recognize that their fear of being around people may be excessive or unreasonable, they are unable to overcome it. They often worry for days or weeks in advance of a dreaded situation. Social phobia affects about 15 million American adults.

Specific Phobia is an intense fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. Some of the more common specific phobias are centered around closed-in places, heights, escalators, tunnels, highway driving, water, flying, dogs, clowns, and injuries involving blood. Such phobias aren’t just extreme fear; they are also irrational fears of particular things. Specific phobias affect an estimated 16.2 million adult Americans.

TREATMENT: Effective treatments for anxiety disorders are available, and research is yielding new, improved therapies that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be very effective in treating an anxiety disorder.

If you think you may be suffering with any of these symptoms, or would just like to talk with a professional in a caring and completely confidential way, please visit www.DOCintheBiz.comwhere you will be able to email us for private and confidential help from your own home! You will never be made to leave your house or comfort zone. Write to us at your convenience!

Article on breathing exercises

Article on Square Breathing

Read all our articles on anxiety

Statistical information reported on this page was obtained from The National Institute of Mental Health

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

What is Depression?

“If I’m such a legend, why am I so lonely?”  – Judy Garland
By KC Kelly, Ph.D., LMHC

headshot_for_nicoles_site1.jpgEveryone feels down and sad, probably more often than they would like. The stressors of everyday life in our busy, hectic world make feeling this way very common. If, however, you have feelings of hopelessness and helplessness more often than not, you do not know why you are feeling this way, and can not seem to pull yourself out of it to the point where it affects your everyday life, you may be suffering with clinical depression.

Depression is a serious medical condition that effects both the mind AND the body. Many of the symptoms of depression are mental, but because the mind and body are connected, many physical symptoms appear as well.

Depression can be all encompassing causing great lifestyle changes. A person suffering with depression may have difficulties at work, difficulties at school, difficulties with professional and person relationships, and may not even want to leave his or her bed. They have extremely low self esteem and think the worst of themselves in all aspects. They tend to isolate themselves from everyone and everything around them and may even feel as though there is no hope and no reason to live.

What Depression IS

  • The leading cause of substance abuse (either drugs or alcohol) as well as suicide.
  • A mental condition that can strike anyone of any age, race, gender, or ethnicity.
  • A very treatable condition given the proper therapeutic intervention and/or medication.

What Depression IS NOT

  • A condition to be taken lightly.
  • A sign of personal weakness.
  • The fault of the person suffering.

Symptoms of Depression Include

  • Sadness, feeling low or blue, irritability.
  • Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Changes in appetite including overeating or under eating.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Feelings of fatigue.
  • Persistent physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive difficulties, chronic pain.
  • Thought of death or suicide.
  • Suicidal attempts.

Statistical information reported on this page was obtained from The National Institute of Mental Health

If you think you may be suffering with any of these symptoms, or would just like to talk with a professional in a caring and completely confidential way, you can visit Dr. KC at www.DOCintheBiz.com where you will be able to email her for private and confidential help from your own home! You will never be made to leave your house or comfort zone.

Read more articles on depression

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Vegetarian Protein: Not just for Vegetarians

Hi Dr. Nicole, I would like to start eating more vegetable proteins and less meat, but am not sure how to do so healthfully.  Do you have any suggestions?

Eating vegetarian sources of protein at each meal is beneficial to both omnivores and vegetarians alike.

Moving towards more of a plant based diet will aid weight loss, benefit both those with diabetes and hypoglycemia by reducing the “total glycemic load” of your meal, reduces pain and inflammation, slows the aging process, reduces the toxic burden placed on your liver by eating high on the food chain, and saves the planet by eating less meat.

So what are the best forms of vegetable proteins?

Now I bet most of you are shouting “beans and rice” or “tofu” right now, and that is good, and I am VERY proud of you, but there is more to vegetarian sources of protein than meets the eye.

Whether you choose to be a full fledged vegetarian, or you decide to be just like me and eat less than one meal per day that contains animal products in it, you will benefit from the wisdom of the author of “Live Life 365″, an immensely inspiring video website that actually shows you how to be healthy.

Please welcome to the kitchen table today’s guest, Mike Foster!

So, Mike, what led you towards becoming a vegetarian?

I wasn’t always a vegetarian. Back in the day, I used to be seated right beside some of you, gnawing away on that rib bone, masticating that filet mignon, devouring a double double from my (former) favorite burger place, In-n-Out. I was an animal-eating carnivore most of my life—just like over 90% of the population. Then I had some blood work done and got a glimpse of my cholesterol levels.

Yikes!

Here’s the thing: I was never what you would call a BIG meat eater. More often than not, I was just as interested in the vegetable and salad portion of my meal as the animal protein part. And once I’d done further research about the contributing factors of high cholesterol (mine, by the way, was closing in on 300) and unhealthy weight gain—namely: saturated fats—it made perfect sense to gradually cut down on the meats. Years before I became a full-time vegetarian, I often would go days without consuming any animal protein. My palette, as well as some deeper region of my subconscious, was changing, sounding an alarm: Reduce your saturated fats or die!

Okay, Mike, you can stop with the dramatics. But it was a wake-up call, and my unhealthy cholesterol and weight gain (I was up over 200 pounds—far too heavy for my barely 5’ 11’’ frame) forced me to do something else—discover healthier eating options. More to the point: I needed to reduced saturated fats, which meant limit the consumption of animal proteins.

So without animal protein in your diet, what do you eat? How can you POSSIBLY survive without meat? (Just a little humor on behalf of all my carnivorous readers out there).

Here are some of the best sources of vegetable protein that I incorporate into my daily eating routine. Eat as much of this stuff as you can and you will not only get the necessary amount of protein into your diet, but tons of fiber (a good thing!). All without those harmful saturated fats; instead filling up with the good fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

NUTS

I eat nuts every day—mostly almonds, but all nuts have a decent amount of vegetable protein. In addition to almonds, eat walnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, even peanuts. They have anywhere from 6-8 grams of protein and 3.0 grams of fiber. I also suggest trying some of the butters. Almond butter is delicious and has 8.0 gms of protein per serving.

BEANS

I love Mexican food, and eat it at least twice a week. I’ve found that you can replace just about any of the meat dishes with healthy black beans (7.0 gms protein/7.0 gms fiber) or refried beans (be sure to check if they are made with lard, in they are, opt out). There are dozens of varieties of beans (see one of my previous blog posts, You Don’t Know Beans…or Do You?); pinto, navy, garbanzo—add them to salads or eat as a side dish. Most have around 6-8 gms of protein and about the same amounts of fiber.

And don’t forget lentils. These tasty tidbits are loaded with vegetable protein—10.0 gms. And 9.0 gms of fiber.

WHOLE GRAINS

I eat a high-protein, whole grain cereal every other day. Kashi makes excellent products. Try their Go Lean. It has 13.0 gms of protein per serving, also 10.0 gms fiber. I mix mine with their Good Friends (5.0 gms protein/12.0 gms fiber) for a vegetarian protein and fiber blast (pun intended!) The days I don’t eat whole grain cereals, I have some toasted whole grain bread (4-6 gms protein; shop around and read labels, some have more protein than others. I recommend Milton’s) with almond butter. You can see how the vegetable protein is adding up, huh?

Pastas, especially whole grain pastas, are another great source of vegetable protein. Most have at least 6-8 gms, while some go as high as 12-15 gms. Again, read labels, and you will be pleasantly surprised by all of the healthy vegetable protein options available to you.

I also eat oatmeal (8.0 gms protein/ 6.0 gms fiber) every day. And wild rice will get you around 5.0 gms of vegetable protein per serving.

VEGETABLES

Not all veggies are created equal. Some have more protein than others. Here are the ones you should look for when looking to increase your vegetable protein consumption:

SOY

I eat edamame, or soybeans, (11.0 gms protein/ 6.0 gms fiber) several times a week. I like to mix in another vegetable, usually broccoli (5.0 gms protein/ 4.0 gms fiber), add a little olive oil, salt, pepper. How’s that for veggie protein? Also, soy chips are a wonderful source of protein: 6.0 gms–I like Glenny’s and Gen soy. And Dr Soy makes a tasty soy bar (11 gms protein) that I devour most days.

ALSO:

Avocado: (4.0 gms protein/8.0 gms fiber)
Peas: (5.0 gms protein/ 4.0 gms fiber)
Corn: (4.5 gms protein/3.0 gms fiber)
Lima beans: (6.0 gms protein/4.0 gms fiber)
Brussels sprouts: (4.0 gms protein/3.0 gms fiber)
Artichoke hearts: (4.0 gms protein/4.0 gms fiber)
Asparagus: (4.0 gms protein/3.0 gms fiber)

This is by no means a complete list, and a lot of it is personal preference. But, as you can see, the variety of vegetable proteins available to you are endless. And the best part—they are low in saturated fats, high in good fats, loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that contribute to a longer, happier, skinnier, healthier life.

Thanks Mike for being my guest this week at the kitchen table. How can my readers learn more about eating a healthy vegetarian diet?

As always, you can watch me talk about all of these healthy topics at my video website, livelife365.com.

If you would like to be my next guest at the kitchen table, simply contact me with a suggested health topic.

~Dr. Nicole
www.KitchenTableMedicine.com

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Meet Dr. KC Kelly Online Psychotherapist at DOCintheBiz

kc.jpgEditorial Note: Please welcome to the kitchen table a very dear friend of mine, guest author Dr. KC Kelly, licensed psychotherapist…

Hi! I am KC Kelly, Ph.D., LMHC and I was invited to introduce myself here at one of my favorite alternative medicine and health care informational websites, Kitchen Table Medicine. I’d like to share with you what online counseling or psychotherapy (also called E-therapy) is all about and what I have to offer at DOCintheBiz.com.

Millions of people search the Internet every day for total health care information. Now, I have embarked on a whole new frontier of offering a single place to find a plethora of mental/emotional health information including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, relationship issues, self esteem, stress management, time management, and so much more! I also offer online counseling or therapy! One click to DOCintheBiz.com takes you to a safe and comfortable place where all your mental/emotional health needs can be met!

Before you go there, please allow me to share with you, who I am and some facts about online counseling or therapy.

First of all, one of the most important factors to consider when entering into therapy or counseling is the relationship you have with your therapist. A special kind of trust and rapport needs to be present or the therapy will not be successful. Not every therapist is for every client and visa versa and that is why it is imperative that you “interview” or get to know your therapist before beginning a therapeutic relationship with him or her.

At DOCintheBiz.com, I give you the opportunity to read a multitude of articles that I have written on a vast amount of topics so that you can get to know me, how I write, and how I work with clients. I write one article/week (sometimes more) and try to write based on the information that people request. I encourage my readers to comment on all my articles and I answer each and every commentary. I invite you to visit my blog and see what you think at DOCintheBiz.com.

The next step is to understand that E-therapy directly addresses a major problem uncovered by the Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health (1999) which stated that while one American in five has a diagnosable psychological problem, nearly two-thirds of them never seek treatment. Online therapy or counseling should be for mild to moderate concerns or issues you may be having. Online counseling or therapy is a great way to discuss issues, find solutions, and find ways to change your life for the better!

What Dr. KC’s online counseling or therapy DOES provide:

1. Therapeutic help from a professional, caring, compassionate, and understanding therapist who puts YOUR needs first without an ounce of judgment
2. The ability to get to core issues more quickly, sometimes in the first lines of an email
3. Complete confidentiality and ability to keep 100% anonymous (discussed in disclaimer)
4. Convenience of never needing to leave your home and reaching out when YOU want to
5. Affordable low cost services HIGHLY worth the small investment (it’s YOUR health!)
6. Quick, solid, informational, expert and thoughtful responses to your issues and questions

What Dr. KC’s online counseling or therapy DOES NOT provide:

1. Help for severe crisis situations- It is not that Dr. KC does not work with crisis situations (in person); however, when someone writes in online for help with a crisis, he/she is urged to please call 911 or a crisis hotline for IMMEDIATE help.

Thank you to Kitchen Table Medicine and your readers for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself and to share a brief understanding of what online counseling or therapy involves. I hope that you will visit me at DOCintheBiz.com for more detailed information.

If you are having concerns, it is OK if I’m not the one helping you; however, I do urge you to reach out and ask for assistance! Someone is there to take your hand and help guide you to a better, happier, and healthier life. YOU’RE WORTH IT!

~Dr. KC
www.DOCintheBiz.com
www.GLCzone.com

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

The Herb for Fried and Frazzled Mothers

June 18, 2008 by Dr. Nicole Sundene  
Filed under Anxiety, Menopause, PMS

motherwort.jpgLeonarus Cardiaca or “Motherwort” is one of my favorite gentle herbs to calm frazzled mothers.

There is no coincidence in my mind that “motherwort” rhymes with “worrywart”.

This herb may as well have been hand-designed for worried stressed mothers.

If your heart skips a beat every time you hear one of your children scream loudly “MOM!!!!!” then you may just want to read on.

Motherwort is typically a “nervine” or relaxant herb that is recommended for those with the kind of anxiety that results in occasional heart palpitations. If you are suffering from disturbed sleep as a result of emotional or physical upsets this herb might just be right for you. Motherwort serves to strengthen the heart, and is also used for PMS and menopause. This herbal medicine can additionally be used as a preventative agent for herpes zoster (shingles and chicken pox) as well as herpes simplex (traditional “herpes”).

Contraindications: This herb should NOT be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and may be toxic in large doses, or with chronic use. Always talk with your naturopathic physician, or MD before starting any new herbal medicines.

Perhaps life does not grant you the relaxation time that you deserve as a mother, but you can still find a bit of calm amongst the stressful storm by using an herbal medicine such as motherwort to help reduce stress and your reaction to it.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table!

~Dr. Nicole Sundene

Naturopathic Physician

www.KitchenTableMedicine.com

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

A quick deep breathing exercise…

December 9, 2007 by Dr. Nicole Sundene  
Filed under Anxiety, Breathing Exercises, Fatigue, Stress

Most people are constantly busy and on the go, attaching stress management practices to everyday occurrences is not only practical, but serves as a reminder to RELAX throughout the day.

You can easily check in with yourself during boring times of your day such as a long work meeting, standing in line at the grocery store, or waiting on hold on the phone.

A simple breathing exercise to start with is called “Square Breathing”. First sit quietly, and remove outside distraction if possible. Gently clasp your hands in your lap. Now breathe in slowly to the count of five, hold your breath to the count of five, exhale slowly to the count of five, and then pause before repeating this sequence to the count of five. Repeat this sequence five times, or as many times as needed until a calmer state is achieved. Oftentimes we do not realize how stressed out we are until we take a few minutes to quietly check in with how we are feeling. The body does not function optimally while under stress, implementing simple relaxation tools should not only improve your attitude, but also help you experience a better state of health.

Wow don’t you feel better now?

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Are you tired and stressed?

December 8, 2007 by Dr. Nicole Sundene  
Filed under Anxiety, Fatigue, Herbal Medicine, Stress

One of my favorite herbs for patients that are struggling from fatigue and excess stress is Ashwaganda, formally known as Withania somnifera. With so many people tired and stressed these days I am going to have to vote ashwaganda the best herb of 2007!

The root of this plant is best for those feeling very frazzled and in need of a nervous system re-set. Ashwaganda is helpful especially for individuals that are extremely agitated.

If you know someone that is difficult to be around you might want to sneak a little of this herb in to them (just kidding instead refer them to this article).

For those experiencing stress without fatigue trying an herb such as Schisandra may be more beneficial. Ashwaganda as an added bonus supports the immune system, is anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and also helpful for those with impotence.

According to Naturopathic theory one should notice the effects of this herb within three days, feel a restoration of their well being after three weeks, and should no longer need to take the herb after three months. Hopefully once that three month period is up, better coping mechanisms for stress management have been implemented!

Source: “Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth” by Sharon Tilgner, ND

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™