With “the most wonderful time of the year” fast approaching many of us seem to wonder what this would be like with the COVID restrictions on a local, national and global level. People usually look forward to the holidays when they have days off work to travel, spend quality time with family and friends, and enjoy various festivities in their communities, but this holiday season will certainly be different. Those of us who enjoy the luxury of having close relationships with family and friends, sufficient resources for gifts and vacations, and a place to call home would undoubtedly experience some unpleasant emotions due to the perceived lack of freedom in the current circumstances. On the other hand, the resulting wider isolation and lower expectations for fun during the holidays allow for less significant differences among people, which otherwise could lead to unhealthy comparisons. As someone recently shared with me “there is something comforting about the restrictions.”
Those who have experienced a recent loss, don’t have family or friends close by with whom to spend the holidays, or are going through a relationship conflict, a financial hardship or a difficult life transition might get quite triggered during this time of the year, which we associate with togetherness, warmth and joy. The flooding of commercials and films constructing the image of a “perfect Christmas”, along with social media posts of static ideals often make us measure our happiness up to unrealistic expectations, and may further undermine the emotional stability of those who find themselves in vulnerable situations. Thus, it is no surprise that the holidays are also associated with increased rates of anxiety and depression, substance and alcohol abuse, as well as binge eating. But as mentioned earlier, the pandemic put us more or less in the same basket: for most of us there will be less worrying which side of the family to visit on Christmas or how to host the “perfect” holiday event, less time and resources invested in gift hunting, less bookings and other travel logistics to consider, etc. Holding high expectations from ourselves and from others is probably one of the most significant predictors of frustration, thus with the former out of the picture we should expect that fewer people would feel overwhelmed by stress during the holidays.
As counterintuitive as it may sound, it appears that this holiday season could present us with an opportunity to keep it simple – instead of feeling like we’re in a contest to obtain as many joyful “points” with as many people as possible we could slow down and enjoy some time for self-care. What physical sensations help soothe your body, and what activities help clear your mind? Are there any hobbies/projects you’ve been interested in, but haven’t had a chance to focus on? Are there ways for you to improve your health? For example, added sugar, found not only in common treats but also in “healthy” energy bars and dressings, is rather addictive and disrupts the so-called dopamine reward system; subsequently, attempts to lower the levels of sugar in the bloodstream may lead to abstinence-like effects like headache, depression and decreased energy. Without getting into details, as a holistic counsellor I’d like to remind you that good nutrition and physical exercise can have positive influences on your hormone balance, which is essential for both physical and mental health. Speaking of which, I would also recommend that you have an honest reflection about your holiday triggers and put an effort into avoiding them to the best of your abilities.
Self-care practices, hobbies and other enjoyable activities that lie within your control are a few ways to fill up your free time during the upcoming COVID-restricted holiday season; in addition, some of my clients who struggle with the lack of control over the situation have considered cleaning and organizing their spaces, advance studying or creating meaningful rituals (ex. writing a daily wish for something to do/look forward to at the end of the pandemic). Nevertheless, I’ve become aware that there are other people who are not so concerned with having control or keeping busy, but find it quite difficult to meet their needs for connection and belonging. From my conversations with clients like these I’ve heard ideas such as working out, watching movies or playing board games simultaneously with family/friends, singing out loud or dancing (to connect with self), meditating or praying (to connect with a Higher Power), and making donations or (online) volunteering to support a cause or a social movement (feeling of belonging). I hope that you have found something that resonates with you.
For additional suggestions that may be useful to you consider registering for the CMHA free virtual webinar (a few dates are available) entitled “The Holidays, Your Mental Health & COVID 19”
Polycystic Kidney Disease, or PKD is “any of several hereditary disorders in which cysts form in the kidneys and other organs, eventually damaging kidney tissue and function”.
PKD is considered a hereditary disorder with two types. The first is considered autosomal recessive when the disease appears in childhood, and the second is considered autosomal dominant when it appears in adulthood (commonly over the age of 30). In both cases, this systemic hereditary disorder is characterized by the formation of cysts in the cortex and medulla of both kidneys. Small cysts lined by tubular epithelium (which play an active role in renal inflammation) form and the surrounding normal kidney tissue is compressed and progressively damaged which leads to the eventual damaged/destruction of the tissue. In the case of PKD, the damaged tissue stimulates the body’s protective inflammatory response due to the renal injury, thus beginning the chronic inflammatory cycle.
Individuals with early PKD are often without symptoms until later in life but generally show evidence of high or elevated blood pressure from the approx. age of 20 and onward.
In adults, this hereditary disorder has a prevalence of approximately 1 in 1000 individuals.
This is a hereditary genetic disorder most often passed down in families. Rarely, a genetic mutation can occur spontaneously so that neither parent has a copy of the mutated gene.
Individuals with a strong positive family history of ADPKD and no cysts detected by imaging studies can undergo genetic linkage analysis for additional evaluation.
When your Doctor diagnosis PKD:
“A person is considered to have PKD if three or more cysts are noted in both kidneys and there is a positive family member with autosomal dominant polycystic disease (ADPKD)” – Ferri’s Atlas and Text of Clinical Medicine
The diagnosis is usually based on family history, clinical and laboratory findings, and ultrasound examination.
Symptoms of PKD:
Laboratory Findings in PKD:
Complications of PKD:
General Dietary and Lifestyle Suggestions for PKD:
General Supplement Suggestions for PKD:
This list is not a complete supplementation list
Commonly used herbs in PDK:
Always consult your Clinical/Medical Herbalist before starting new herbs, do not self-dose. This is not a complete herbal list. If you take pharmaceuticals, please consult your physician.
Again, this is by no means an inclusive list, as depending on the individual case I would no doubt use variety of far more powerful herbs. However, in my opinion these are good general usage herbs that can be paired with specifics for an individual formulation.
If you have further questions, or would like to have a one on one discussion about PKD or a chronic health or wellness issue, please feel free to contact me directly at the office.
In health and wellness,
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is such a tremendously helpful ally. It is one that I've known of and have even added to certain lectures over the past couple years, I even have it in the herbal dispensatory at Healing House. However, its not one that I've used a lot until recently. Most of the end of July and the beginning of August have been all about feverfew! Cases have reflected migraine headaches, tension headaches, and inflammatory arthritis, all of which feverfew is considered an herbal specific.
Since it seems to be visiting my materia medica over and over this summer, I thought maybe you'd like to learn more about this beautiful little leaf and flower as well!
Below you will find a monograph explaining its history, uses, and even its contraindications.
I hope you enjoy!
Petra - Clinical Herbalist
When I was going to school at Dominion Herbal College, the main focal point of my studies for the first two of my four years was Materia Medica. Materia Medica is in essence, knowing/memorizing the medicinal use of plants. Yet, it goes so much more beyond that. As a clinical herbalist you are required to know the individual herbs you are working with, you must known their medicinal actions, their chemical constituents, the various body systems they are best for, and also their pharmaceutical applications, dosage, contraindications, what herbs are not appropriate with prescription drugs, and what herb combinations are best for certain conditions. Putting this knowledge to practice was a challenge! What I found even more challenging was that there was no pre-determined way in which to learn the material beyond just taking notes from books and lectures.
I am a visual learner, and I learn best when things are organized and easy/appealing to look at. I also find that material is more easily memorized when I write things down versus typing things in a graph or on a paper. I imagine I am not the only one, and likely was not the only student often frustrated with how to learn hundreds of herbs.
Today I have students of my own, both in herbal medicine and in holistic nutrition. On both ends of the spectrum, they learn about herbs. Obviously those training to be clinical herbalists or master herbalists are studying many more plants and in far greater depth than those studying holistic nutrition, but I feel this printable can be used by professional or informational studies alike.
At the bottom of this field you will find two files. One of them is an example on how to fill in the form, and the other is the actual blank form. Both can be downloaded.
I hope you enjoy this little gift of learning, and hope you will utilize it in your studies!
With love of learning,
Petra Sovcov - CHT
Indigenous to Asia minor and the greater part of Europe. Later naturalized on the east coast of the US in New England and New York – partial to salt marshes, damp meadows, by the sides of ditches, and by the sea and on the banks of tidal rivers.
The generic name Althea, is derived from the Greek, altho (to cure), from its healing properties. The name of the order, Malvaceae, is derived from the Greek malake (soft), from the special qualities of the Mallows in softening and healing.
Most of the Mallows have been used as food, and are mentioned by early classic writers. Mallow was a vegetable dish among the Romans and was considered a delicacy. In many other parts of the world it was used during times of famine.
Dioscorides extols it as a remedy, and in ancient days it was not only valued as a medicine, but was used, especially the Musk Mallow, to decorate the graves of friends.
Uses for Marshmallow have been documented for over 2,000 years.
Parts Used: Root (On a two to three year old plant) – Also the Leaves and occasionally the Flowers
Root is collected early in the spring or fall.
The leaves are picked in August, when the flowers are just coming into bloom. They should be stripped off singly and gathered only on a fine day, in the morning, after the dew has been dried off by the sun.
Other Common Names: Mallards, Mauls, Schloss Tea, Cheeses, Mortification Root, Guimauve tea, Malve, Malvavisco, Malvavisce, GulKhairu, K’uei, Sweet Weed, Wymote, Witte Malve
What are its uses?
Head, Ears, Eyes, Nose, and Throat:
Integumentary System (Skin):
Endocrine System (Hormones):
Max Daily Dose:
Safety Concerns and Contraindications
There is nothing that reminds me more of summer than the beautiful bright yellows and vibrant oranges of mid-summer flowers. Beautiful sunflowers, day lilies, and of course the radiant orange and almost red tones of Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). Asclepias is one of those powerful herbal medicine allies that has been brushed off of the popular shelf of herbs, but 100+ years ago, this amazing herb was at the forefront of the standard materia medica an was a staple for indigenous groups and settlers across the prairies of North America.
I first learned about it a number of years ago when I was still studying herbal medicine at Dominion Herbal College and began reading Matthew Wood's book The Earthwise Herbal, A Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants. I had seen this plant as an ornamental in yards and neighbourhoods from BC to West Virginia and was so pleased to read about its uses and colorful past.
In an attempt to inspire individuals to learn more about herbal medicine, and to offer students, practitioners, gardeners, or those seeking healing more complete information about medicinal plants, I am now so pleased to offer you this monograph.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
In health and wellness,
Petra Sovcov - Clinical Herbal Therapist
This beautiful flowering herb is commonly known as Butterfly Weed, Swallow Wort, Wind Root, Tuber Root, , and Pleurisy Root. It is a perennial herb of the Asclepiadaceae family and is native to the United States and Canada.
Traditionally, Pleurisy Root is used for the condition it is named for, pleurisy. In its actions with pleurisy it is best known for its ability to mitigate associated pain and relieve the difficulty of breathing without being overly stimulating.
It is most beneficial to the respiratory system where it proves itself to be best used with issues such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and dry coughs with pain.
In the nineteenth century pleurisy root was one of the most popular moistening diaphoretics (sweat inducing) and was considered a very common herb by Materia Medica texts at the time.
Parts Used: Root
What are its uses?
Head, Ears, Eyes, Nose, and Throat:
Integumentary System (Skin):
Safety Concerns and Contraindications
The name Ashwaganda comes from the Sanskrit “ashva” meaning horse, and “gandha”, meaning smell, and refers to the odor of the root.
It is an herb traditional to Ayurvedic medicine and has been used for over 4,000 years. It is specific for both men and women in regard to issues with fertility, stress, and general chronic disorders of the nervous system.
It is classified in Ayurveda as a rasayana, one of a group of elite herbal medicines reputed to promote physical and mental health, to augment resistance of the body against disease and diverse adverse environmental factors, to revitalize and increase longevity.
As with any form of herbal medicine, the below information is not meant to replace medical advice or prescriptions from your MD. All information below is based off of Materia Medica texts and comes from published and historical sources.
Parts Used: Dried Root and Leaves (for Withaferin A in cancer therapies)
Other Common Names: Indian Ginseng, Winter Cherry, Avarada, Turangi-gandha
Anxiolytic, possibly due to GABA-mimetic activity
Nervous System Tonic
Tonic to the Central Nervous System
What are its Uses?
Head, Ears, Eyes, Nose, and Throat:
Integumentary System (Skin):
Endocrine System (Hormones):
I hope you've enjoyed this article on the many uses of this incredibly ancient and reliable herbal ally. If you have any questions about this herb or its uses, or would like to contact me about other related herb/health concerns, please feel free to reach out to me directly via email by clicking here.
In health and wellness,
Have you ever experienced that moment where you have some sort of deadline and you find yourself running out the door, in a mad dash, to make it on time? Noticing that both your mind and stomach are a bundle of nerves? Then all of a sudden you are forced to make an abrupt detour to the bathroom because your stomach has failed you? Or perhaps you can recall a moment when you have eaten something that has upset your body causing bloating and gas? This feeling then morphs into other ailments, creating a whole cascade of negative reactions.
Now you observe that you have a headache and you are experiencing that brain fog where your mind feels as though it is all over the place. Perhaps you have experienced a moment where your “gut” speaks up, providing you with an intuitive feeling to avoid a specific road or to not trust a particular person? Have you stopped to ask yourself why this is happening?
Well, my friend, you are not alone. The gut-brain axis is a bidirectional circuitry that runs from your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) to your enteric nervous system (a division of the autonomic nervous system that governs the gastrointestinal tract). The gut-brain axis is a powerful mechanism that governs how you feel emotionally and physically making it our “second” brain.
Let’s break it down, shall we?
Our brain is constantly sending or receiving messages whether it is in response to the external environment or sensing and responding to the happenings within the internal body. Breaking it down further, what governs these feelings are the bacteria inside of the gut. What! Bacteria!? Don’t worry, I was shocked too, especially to learn that these bacteria are often the “good guys” if taken care of properly. The bacteria within our body are responsible for manufacturing nutrients, breaking down food, and when balanced helps to neutralize toxins.
The gut-brain axis aids in the creation of our neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that can make us feel happy or sad. One neurotransmitter, in particular, called serotonin, regulates our mood, digestion, and appetite. Although this neurotransmitter is often known for its role in the brain, scientists are finding that the vast majority, roughly 90%, are made in the gut. With the gut holding that much power it will not be surprising to learn that about 80% of the immune system is also located in the gut.
What does this mean?
It means that how one chooses to fuel their body will influence the microbiome thus impacting how one feels. Food can either encourage the body to repair and heal itself by providing the right building blocks and tools, or it can be destructive adding more stress in the body further breaking it down.
The HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) is the center for stress response. Daily, our body is combating environmental, social, financial, emotional, physical, stressors that degrade and wear down the body. The immune system is responsible for fighting pathogens and microbes (the bad guys), where the nervous system is responsible for how the body communicates. So how is it our food choices play into these systems? Well, its time to connect the dots! Once the food is ingested, the process of digestion begins, once the food particles make their way into the small intestine, it is broken down into its smallest molecular form so that it can be assimilated and used throughout the body.
At this point, bacteria and the immune system are doing their jobs by protecting the body. However, if the foods that are eaten are inflammatory by nature this will result in the system going out of balance. Unfortunately, this causes the body to work overtime. If the same inflammatory foods are repeatedly eaten, it causes the HPA axis to be on high alert, in turn overburdening the immune system. This also offsets the microbiome of the gut, allowing the “bad bacteria” to dominate offsetting the good bacteria.
As you can see, food choices can create a snowball effect, impacting our bacteria which influences of physical symptoms (gas, bloating) and our mental symptoms (anxiety, brain fog, depression, neurotransmitter imbalance). This can worsen diseases or disorders already present, or enhance the predisposition of a disease/ailment to “turn on.”
Now that this gut-brain connection is better understood let’s discuss the foods that commonly cause inflammation. Certain foods cause the body to experience stress which causes the body to breakdown. Think of a car, if you put the incorrect gas into the vehicle repeatedly, it will cause the mechanisms to malfunction. Our body is one phenomenal mechanism that relies on us to provide full support.
By avoiding specific foods, or reducing the amount of intake, you are providing the body with building blocks rather than blocks that are faulty and will eventually break.
Let's take a look at some of these inflammatory foods:
This quick list compromises the most food culprits that cause inflammation. How empowering is that to know that the food you choose to ingest influences how your body feels and how your mind feels? By avoiding inflammatory foods reduces the body’s destructive stress response, it lowers the activation of the HPA axis, promotes a healthy connection between the gut and the brain, aiding the body’s resiliency to stress and disease.
These foods are a means of fueling your stress rather than fueling your body. The next time you feel disconnected from yourself, overwhelmed, overly emotional, unwell physically, bloated, gaseous, take a moment to check-in. Explore if these foods could be the culprit that is fueling the break down of your body rather than the build-up. Food is power, through these choices, one can reduce the destructive stress response, enhancing their health and vitality.
This guest article is written by Sky Corbett-Methot a Holistic Nutritionist and 500 hour yoga and meditation instructor. Sky is a recent graduate of the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and a previous student of both Petra Sovcov and Tahlia Sage. She is a holistic healing and wellness coach that combines a unique “just for you” approach by utilizing movement, meditation, and nourishment to enhance vitality. Find out more at about SkyYoga & Wellness at: https://www.skyyogawellness.ca
Or find her on Instagram @ sky_the_dauntless
Beyond helping us extract nutrients from foods, our gut health has an important role to play in our immunity. Our gut often protests when its working conditions are less than desirable, causing heartburn, bloating, pain, gas, imperfectly-formed bowel movements. During stressful times, negative emotions can modify your gut environment in negative ways.
There are a few different ways digestive health suffers from the insult of chronic stress:
Your can stress out your gut!
The enteric nervous system is an extension of our autonomic nervous system, also known as the second brain. The enteric system helps to regulate digestion. When we feel stress, blood is diverted away from the digestive tract to our muscles, disrupting the intestinal muscle contraction leading to gas caused by nutrient malabsorption. Some additional symptoms like constipation and diarrhea also tend to emerge.
That gut feeling is real!
Stress can weaken your gut barrier. This barrier is a critical part of the immune system. A weakened intestinal barrier can let pathogens into the bloodstream leading to chronic silent inflammation that attacks our own tissues and organs, and has been linked with many chronic conditions such as Alzherarthritis, asthma, COPD, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Inflammatory response created by our immune system is essential for protecting ourselves from infections. These inflammatory conditions take away your immune system’s resources to fend off infections.
Your gut bacteria’s reaction to stress.
Your gut can literally change the map in your gastrointestinal system.Your gut bacteria communicate with the brain through the vagus nerve. Your gut utilizes the same neurotransmitters your brain uses to regulate mood, memory and energy levels, such as GABA, serotonin, adrenaline, dopamine, acetylcholine and melatonin. Stress can create an immediate effect on our gut microbiome such as reduced beneficial bacteria, increased harmful bacteria and inflammation in the gut. In turn, the hostile gut environment creates defensive molecules known as inflammatory cytokines that makes the brain feel anxious and depressed.
There are three foundations to good gut health:
1) Microbiome balance balance
2) Gut lining integrity
3) Sufficient digestive factors. Let’s take a look at all three factors in detail.
Friendly bacteria can not only support mental emotional well-being and nutrient absorption, it can also produce natural antibiotics to kill off infections. Your gut bacteria is busy fighting off infection before pathogens can even reach your bloodstream. Adding fermented foods are a great way to reward those hard-working, good microbes. The fermentation process creates lactic acid which naturally inhibits the growth of bad bacteria. Fermented foods can also provide prebiotic fibers that help to host beneficial bacteria. However, to get the beneficial strains many of us are lacking, it’s important to introduce human strain probiotics such as any of the HMF (Human Micro Flora) line from Genestra. (We carry these at Healing House, please contact us for info)
Gut Lining Integrity
The gastrointestinal barrier can be reinforced by removing inflammatory food triggers to reduce the insult to the gut lining. The natural healing process can also be encouraged by adding L-glutamine, a naturally occuring amino acid found in cabbage juice and bone broth. Glutamine is the preferred fuel of the intestinal lining cells.
Digestive enzyme, hydrochloric acid and bile are some important digestive factors to make sure foods get broken down into nutrients. Digestive bitters such as dandelion greens, chards and arugula help to stimulate the vagus nerve, as discussed, the channel where our gut and brain communicate. Bitter herbs and foods help to aid in the production and release of digestive enzymes.
Here are some recipes that support gut health:
Digestive Bitters Salad
Total Time: 10 min
Total Time: 40 min
Green Gut Soother Smoothie
Total Time: 10 min
In health and wellness,
Tahlia Sage - Holistic Nutritionist
On June 21st many Canadian families will be celebrating Father’s Day. It is great to see that fathers have their special day, just like mothers do, but I doubt that the majority of Canadian fathers feel equally appreciated on a daily basis. Although we are gradually moving away from a centuries-long focus on mothers as the primary caregivers, and it is a lot more likely to see engaged fathers at the playgrounds across the Lower Mainland (compared to just a decade ago, or compared to numerous other places in the world), there are still various barriers to fathers’ involvement.
Cultural and religious norms are often intertwined with gender expectations around manhood and parenthood, which present us with the view of the father as an emotionally-distant provider, whose involvement in parenting is limited to disciplining. However, even for fathers who do not follow this script there remain certain logistical barriers to involvement, including work schedule and commitments, lack of role models and lower probability of custody after divorce to name a few. And yet, over the last three months of disrupted routines I have witnessed – as a parent and as a counsellor – many fathers taking over the role of primary caregivers, making difficult compromises in order to be there for their children (not necessarily as providers) and letting their nurturing side shine. I have seen children re-connect with their often less-present dads in meaningful ways, which has truly filled my heart.
There are numerous studies examining the positive effects of a father's involvement on children’s socio-emotional development. The infants of fathers who attend to their cries and engage with them in a playful way grow more emotionally secure and with higher self-esteem; they engage in more pro-social behavior, leading to stronger social attachments as adolescents. Compared to mothers, fathers tend to engage in more stimulating play with their children; they also encourage exploratory behavior and risk-taking, thus fostering greater independence and confidence. Through rough and tumble play children also learn to regulate their feelings, which is correlated with less externalizing in the form of oppositional behavior, temper tantrums and aggression. Similarly, children who have positive relationships with their fathers are less likely to develop anxiety or depression, and overall have good mental and physical health.
In terms of children’s cognitive development there are studies suggesting better academic readiness at the beginning of school, and higher academic achievements throughout the school years for children of involved fathers. Compared to mothers, fathers are less likely to modify their language when speaking to their children, thus challenging the latter to expand their vocabulary, which is linked to better linguistic capacities. Girls and boys tend to benefit in similar ways from their fathers’ positive engagement with the exception of a few noticeable differences among the genders: boys tend to engage in significantly less disruptive behavior (compared to the sons on non-present or non-engaged fathers), with effects lasting into adulthood; on the other hand, teenage daughters of involved fathers engage in fewer sexual risks, and are more likely to develop healthy relationships with men throughout adulthood.
Considering that there has been a significant decrease in the prevalence of traditional nuclear families, I realize that these findings may leave many readers with questions regarding the development of children raised by one parent only, same-sex or gender-queer couples, and extended families. Fortunately, there is more research being developed to examine some of the related influences, which I would like to address in another article. Instead, my goal here is to celebrate the role of father figures (in any type of family) by highlighting some of the positive influences that they have on children.
And since many of us are still living the consequences of the pandemic, leaving many fathers with less work than usual, I’d also like to take the opportunity to encourage them to engage in quality interactions with their children, thus making the best of the increased availability they may have. The key word here is quality, because the examined positive influences are not as significant when fathers are simply present or engage in many, but not necessarily positive/stimulating interactions. As in any meaningful social connection warmth is essential. This is not to say that fathers should not engage in disciplining; to the contrary, limit-setting and consistent enforcement of (logical) rules are important for children to feel secure and learn valuable skills. However, don’t forget to praise good behavior, which not only reinforces what you’d like to see more of in your children, but it also increases their self-efficacy and self-esteem.
Fathers can also help a lot with caring (cooking, feeding, bathing, tucking into bed) and teaching – especially now that many school-aged children are involved in online learning or attend school part-time only. Yet, by teaching (I don’t mean just school projects and homework); fathers can model problem-solving and teach skills anywhere from tying shoelaces to surviving in the wild. With nice weather coming up hopefully there will be many opportunities to teach children how to ride a bike, swim, fish or set up a tent.
Finally, I’d like to end by emphasizing that one of the foundations for childhood development is play – solitary, make-belief, with siblings or friends, with all caregivers – allow yourselves to act silly every once in a while, and have a fun summer!
Bobbie Miteva, Registered Therapeutic Counsellor
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Practitioners on this site are not Medical Doctors (MD), nor are any of the suggestions or recommendations made on this site meant to be a substitute for advice from your MD, or as a substitute for any prescriptions you may be taking. Any suggestions followed will be the responsibility of the individual, and are stated with the intention of interest and education. If you have a health issue, please see your primary care physician first and foremost.