Sunday, February 21, 2010

Super Stars for a Healthy Heart

By Kathy Thorpe, MA, Chom ©2010

Cardiovascular disease is still
the No. 1 cause of death in the United States among men and women. So whether you already have an issue with your heart or you feel relatively healthy, now is the time to take positive steps to protect your heart and improve your overall health and vitality at the same time. Remember, when you protect your heart, you protect every organ, tissue and cell in the body. Although allopathic medicine has made great progress in treating heart diseases, many people find that alternative medical approaches are able to treat the whole body as well as the underlying causes.

Homeopathy - a professional homeopath sees heart disease as an imbalance in the organism as a whole and takes into consideration the totality of a person in selecting a remedy: the main complaint, what makes it better or worse, as well as one's disposition, personality, dreams, fears, incidences of grief, likes & dislikes, how his or her body responds to different environments, stress and so on. The homeopathic remedy then acts as a stimulus to bring the body back into balance. When the body is in balance, profound healing occurs on all levels: emotionally, physically, and mentally. A person who tends to be anxious, for example, will be less so and much more able to handle the stresses of every day life.

Chinese Medicine has been treating heart issues for centuries. "The focus is on eliminating stagnation in the body and increasing blood flow and circulation," says David Scrimgeour, Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist in Boulder, Colorado. Scrimgeour has been treating people with heart disease for over twenty years and finds that many of the classical herbal formulas that support the heart in addition to acupuncture are extremely beneficial for people today. "Chinese medicine strengthens the heart, the body, and deals with the root of the imbalance," adds Scrimgeour

Acupuncture is one of the best natural treatments for your heart. It is able to correct subtle energetic imbalances in the body even before hypertension or heart disease is diagnosed. Recently in a ground-breaking study at UC Irvine, researchers found that acupuncture, using low levels of electrical stimulation, can significantly lower elevations in blood pressure. They identified at the cellular and molecular level how acupuncture excites brain cells to release neurotransmitters that modulate sympathetic nervous system outflow that precipitates coronary ischemia, arrhythmias and hypertension. This research leads the way for lowering blood pressure without medications and their side effects.

Important Supplements for the Heart
Coenzyme Q10 100 mg.-As the heart requires the highest level of energetic support in the body, CoQ10 is a powerful nutrient that sparks the energy within the cells of the heart.
L-Carnitine - transports fuel into heart cells to be burned as energy.
Magnesium 400-800 mg.- enhances blood flow, increases HDL and has a relaxing effect on the heart muscle and vascular system. Very important for arrhythmias.
Folic Acid increases blood flow to the heart and lowers homocysteine levels thereby reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Vitamin C: 500 - 1,000 mg: antioxidant properties fight free radicals and protect the body's supply of nitric oxide which has been shown to lower blood pressure and decrease inflammation.
Vitamin D: lowers inflammation in the body, may lower blood pressure and supports the immune system.
Omega 3 Fish Oils (EPA&DHA) 2,000 - 3,000 mg.- enhance blood flow, prevent it from clotting too quickly, lower triglycerides, support healthy blood pressure, and DHA has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Kong May-is a powerful Chinese medical heart formula that lowers cholesterol & LDL, keeps blood vessels elastic, prevents coagulation and breaks down fibrin with Nattokinase- helping to prevent atherosclerosis, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.

Lifestyle Suggestions:

Exercise for the Heart
Lower blood pressure naturally and support your heart with regular exercise such as walking, yoga, meditation or Qigong. Regular exercise strengthens the heart and helps it function more efficiently. Recent studies show that walking (45 minutes a day) is as good for your heart as strenuous cardio-vascular exercise. Since stress is one of the enemies of the heart, yoga, meditation, Qigong or T'ai chi protect the heart by promoting deep relaxation.

Food for the Heart
Support your heart with the best foods available: Increase the amount of organic vegetables and fruit you eat. They are high in fiber, antioxidants, minerals and nutrition. Cut down on salt and eat high-quality protein such as wild fish. If you eat red meat, choose buffalo, elk, or grass-fed beef. Increase high-fiber foods such as beans, nuts, legumes and whole grains. Eating a high-fiber diet decreases the levels of C-reactive protein (an indicator of inflammation and a high risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease). Bananas and raisins are a great source of potassium which is needed to maintain a low heart rate.
Don't forget the richly-colored foods high in polyphenols such as beets, red wine, pomegranates, green tea, cinnamon and turmeric - they have been shown to protect against oxidation, atherosclerosis and lower LDL. Finally, make sure you eat plenty of the good fats: omega 3s from cold-water fish, olive oil, avocado, olives, or flax seeds. They are a rich source of fuel, but also help prevent inflammation in the body.

Lower the Stress
Take a good look at the things in your life that cause you stress and worry. Every time you go into a state of stress, adrenaline and cortisol are released causing the arteries to constrict resulting in a rise in blood pressure and a decrease in blood flow and less oxygen circulating through the body. When this cascade of physiological events happens once or twice a year, the body readily returns to normal without damage. But when stress is occurring on a weekly or daily basis, nothing can be more detrimental to your heart. Certainly exercise, walking, yoga, meditation and Qigong can help enormously, but what can you do to reduce the causes of stress in your life? What changes you can make to bring more love, calm and joy into your life?

Kathy Thorpe, MA, CHom, is a professional homeopath. She received her certification in classical homeopathy from the Homeopathy School International and has studied with many of the great homeopaths from around the world including Rajan Sankaran, Mahesh Ghandi, Anne Schadde and Will Taylor. She sees patients in her Boulder office and also does consultations on the phone. She can be reached at 303 583-0179. Prior to becoming a homeopath, Kathy taught English, Literature and Business English at U.C. Berkeley, the University of Colorado, and the Economics Institute.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Outrageously Good & Nutritious Lunch Ideas for Moms

By Kathy Thorpe, MA, CHom ©2010

Whether it's for kids, teens or adults, lunches can be made of wholesome, nourishing food that will keep energy high and brains working well into the afternoon. Whenever possible use organic, free range natural food. Try some of the following ideas:

Make any of the following vegetarian or vegan by eliminating the meat or cheese. Just make sure you are getting good protein with every meal!
  • Hot soup in an insulated thermos with rice crackers or crusty bread
  • Turkey & cheese with mayo & mustard wrapped in iceberg lettuce
  • Whole wheat tortilla wrapped around turkey, cheese, mayo and baby greens
  • Humus, avocado, cheese, turkey or chicken in a pita pocket -- add lettuce, grated carrot, and tomato.
  • Tortilla with beans, rice, avocado, tomato or salsa
  • Bagel with scrambled eggs or a bagel with almond butter, raisins, fruit-only jam or a banana
  • Egg, tuna or chicken salad on top of mixed green salad with pretzels or rice crackers on the side
  • Whole grain bread with veggie cream cheese and sliced cucumbers
  • Cottage cheese with pineapple or peaches and trail mix served with veggie chips
For gluten free lunches:
  • Rice balls with grated carrot, cucumber, tuna, chicken or salmon wrapped in a sheet of nori seaweed or rolled in sesame seeds.
  • Spring rolls: dip a sheet of rice paper in hot water and wrap up rice noodles, slivered carrots, bell peppers, sprouts, cucumbers with dip: peanut butter mixed with rice wine, tamari, sesame oil & honey.
  • Rice, grated carrot, cucumber, tuna or chicken wrapped in a sheet of nori seaweed
  • Sweet potatoes, baked tofu and broccoli
  • Hummus (plain or red pepper) with veggie sticks and rice crackers.
  • Bento lunch with teriyaki chicken, rice, and colorful pickles.
Additional snack ideas:
  • Almond butter, celery & raisin "Ants on a Log"
  • Make an edamame dip for veggies and crackers.
  • Plain yoghurt with berries
  • Olives or pickles
  • Add fresh fruit (rather than juice) to every lunch. Sprinkle sliced apples, pears or banana with lemon to keep from browning.
The most important thing of all is to infuse the food with a lot of love and include a little note telling your kids how fabulous they are!

Kathy Thorpe, MA, CHom, is a classical homeopath and a writer. Prior to becoming a homeopath, Kathy taught English, Literature and Business English at the U.C. Berkeley, University of Colorado, and the Economics Institute. She can be reached at 303 583-0179 or

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Heal your Feet Problems Naturally
By Kathy Thorpe, MA, CHom, Classical Homeopath
Whether you have bunions, corns, calluses, warts, plantar fasciitis, fungi -- learn how you can heal your bothersome foot problems naturally.

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts often present as a tough, thick patch of speckled skin that can make your feet feel as though you have a rock in your shoe. They are a variety of the human pappiloma virus (HPV) and can be hard to get rid of and often return. Resist the urge to pick at the wart – it will spread and become even more painful. Many doctors use cryotherapy (freezing), electrosurgery, or laser surgery to remove plantar warts, but because these methods leave the underlying virus untouched, the wart or warts may resurface and sometimes with a vengeance. You don't want to just remove the symptom; you want to treat the underlying imbalance in the body.

Take homeopathic Thuja. Take 6 or 12c two times a day for 4 to 6 weeks (one week on, one week off). Thuja is great for all warts and it can certainly cure plantar warts. It gets at the underlying imbalance causing the wart and restores your body's equilibrium to kill the virus. If, after 2 weeks, you don't see improvement, try Antimonium crudum, 6 or 12c two times a day for 2-3 weeks especially if the wart is on the sole of the foot and is hard, rough, horny.

Topically you can try two methods in conjunction with the homeopathic remedy. Slice a clove of garlic and place it on the wart – cover with a band aid for three days. Then dip a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and place it on the wart each night and cover with an airtight bandage. Do this for a week and you should see results.

How quickly the wart responds depends on the constitution of the person. If warts have been removed in the past, there has been suppression, so it may take longer.

Athlete's Foot

This highly contagious fungus can be contracted by walking barefoot at the pool, gym or even in someone else's shower. It thrives in a warm, moist environment, so people who tend to get sweaty feet are more likely to get Athlete's Foot. It usually begins between the toes and spreads into an itchy, burning rash on the foot. Athlete's foot is extremely common and once you have contracted it you are more likely to have a repeated infection.

Prevention is important. Wear flip flops at the gym, locker room or shower and sanitize them regularly. Be sure to dry your feet thoroughly before putting on socks. Wear cotton socks rather than the synthetic variety because they tend to trap moisture in your feet. In warm weather, wear sandals so your feet can breathe.

The most common treatment is the use of anti-fungal topical creams. But remember: anything you apply to your skin will be absorbed into your bloodstream – so frequent use of anti-fungal creams can be dangerous and lead to liver damage, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and menstrual and sexual irregularities. Instead, try one of these natural remedies:

Homeopathic Silica. Take 6c two times a day for two weeks. As soon as you start to see improvement, stop taking it. Silica is specific remedy for sweaty feet that create the ideal environment for athlete's foot.

Tea tree oil. A 25% to 50% dilution in water will clear up a fungus in one to two weeks. Soak your feet in the solution for five minutes twice a day or soak cotton balls in the solution and apply liberally twice a day. If you are using a homeopathic remedy, don't use tea tree oil at the same time, since strong aromatic fragrances can cancel the effect a homeopathic remedy.

Neem oil: Add 1 tablespoon of neem oil to a half cup of olive or sesame oil. Soak a cotton ball and rub it on the rash several times a day until you see improvement. Neem is known for its antifungal properties.


Bunions have long been a problem for women who have sacrificed their feet and comfort for the lure of high heels and tight shoes. Heredity certainly plays a role, but any kind of pressure on the side of your foot or toes can lead to bunions. This pressure causes inflammation around your big toe joint which creates a bony bump or arthritic deposit. Over time, this bump pushes your big toe inward, making it crooked and affecting the alignment of the other toes.

One problem is that most women don't realize that their feet get bigger and wider as they age. It's not unusual for them to go up one foot size or more. Wearing shoes that are too narrow, short, tight or high can inflame the joint and eventually lead to bunions. So prevention is important. Select shoes with a deep and wide box and good arch support. Orthotics can help stop the progression of bunions by stopping the feet from pressing forward. Whenever you wear heels, try sole grips that keep the feet from sliding forward and pressing on the toes.

For serious cases, doctors recommend an injection of cortisone to ease the pain or suggest anti-inflammatory analgesics for less painful bunions. But these only treat the discomfort and do not resolve the issue. Surgery can correct the deformity, but it can be very painful with a long recovery time. In the meantime, try some of the following:

Homeopathic Silica: Treating your bunions internally with silica will help reduce inflammation and arthritic deposits in your big toe by restoring your body's balance. Silica will work for people who are shy but obstinate, experience stage fright, dwell compulsively on small details, are prone to foot sweat, bunions, fragile nails and cracks on the feet. Take 6c two times a day for two or three weeks – one week on and one week off.

Homeopathic Nitric acid: will help dissolve arthritic deposits by taking 6c twice a day for two weeks.

Yoga Toes: Improve and prevent foot problems by stretching and aligning your toes. These silicon toe separators ease the discomfort of hammertoes, bunions and plantar fasciitis; help your feet recover from stress, strain and overuse, increase circulation, straighten bent toes and realign joints, and improve foot strength, flexibility and appearance.

Plantar Fasciitis occurs when the long fibrous plantar fascia ligament along the bottom of the foot develops tears in the tissue resulting in pain and inflammation. The plantar fascia ligament is made of fibrous bands of tissue and runs between the heel bone and your toes and stretches with every step. The pain of plantar fasciitis is usually located close to where the fascia attaches to the heel bone.
The most common complaints are: a burning, stabbing, or aching pain in the heel of the foot. Most people feel it more it in the morning because the fascia ligament tightens up during the night while we sleep. Pain usually decreases as the tissue warms up, but may easily return again after long periods of standing or weight bearing, physical activity, or after getting up after long periods of sitting down.

The most effective treatments are acupuncture, constitutional homeopathy, reflexology and the use of orthotics.

Heel/bone spurs

Take homeopathic Calcarea fluor 6c twice a day for a month.

Calluses, Corns usually occur on the soles of the feet, between the toes, on top of the toes, and on the bunion joint. They are usually caused from pressure and rubbing of tight shoes. So the first step is to avoid tight shoes and make sure they fit properly. You might try gel pads to provide cushioning to the bottom or sides of the feet.

Topically apply calendula gel or calendula mother tincture which works dramatically to promote healing.

Try one of these homeopathic remedies in 6c potency twice a day: Silica if there is inflammation, Sepia if there is burning, and Sulphur for any corns or calluses on the bottom of the feet.

Cracked heels

Try homeopathic Sepia 6c twice a day for a week. Soak your feet in warm soapy water, pumice and add a shea butter foot cream at night and cover with warm socks.

Kathy Thorpe, MA, CHom is a certified classical homeopathy who practices in Boulder, Colorado. She sees patients with chronic and acute illnesses in her office and she also takes consultations on the phone. Six Persimmons, 840 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302. 303 583-0179.



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