newdirectionnaturalmedicinenewdirectionnaturalmedicinehttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/blogBrain Benefits of Lion's Mane Mushroom]]>Dr. Stephanie Bartolotti, DOMhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2019/04/29/Brain-Benefits-of-Lions-Mane-Mushroomhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2019/04/29/Brain-Benefits-of-Lions-Mane-MushroomMon, 29 Apr 2019 23:42:51 +0000
Cognitive impairment can vastly affect people's everyday life as well as that of their loved ones. People suffering with cognitive impairment have difficulty remembering and learning new things, trouble concentrating and have a hard time making decisions. They may be confused, lack coordination, have a loss of short or long-term memory, and have impaired judgment (2011). These symptoms range from mild to severe and are can be unfortunately progressive. While there is no known cure, there is a wonderful medicinal mushroom that can improve these symptoms and prevent future progression.
Lion's mane (or yamabushitake) is a powerful mushroom used to treat memory loss and cognitive impairment. This unique looking mushroom, resembling a lion's mane, contains hericenones and erinacines - special compounds which stimulate brain cell growth. This special mushroom is especially beneficial for patients with Alzheimer's or dementia, as it slows progression of these conditions, promotes nerve growth, protects the brain, and prevents nerve damage (Julson, 2018).
A 2009 study proved lion's mane's significant impact on improving cognitive function in an elderly population. Cognitive scores were vastly improved in the population taking yamabushitake versus a placebo, and no adverse effects were reported (Mori et al, 2009).
To get the full benefits of this amazing mushroom, it should be taken continuously on a daily basis at the dosage of three grams, taken in powder form in a capsule. If you or a loved one are suffering with memory loss or cognitive impairment, call us today at 321-972-2940 to get a doctor recommended brand of organic Lion's mane!
References:
Cognitive Impairment: A Call For Action, Now! (2011, February). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/cognitive_impairment/cogimp_poilicy_final.pdf
Julson, E. (2018, May 19). 9 Health Benefits of Lion's Mane Mushroom (Plus Side Effects). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lions-mane-mushroom
Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., Azumi, Y., & Tuchida, T. (2009, March). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18844328
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Beat Sugar Cravings with Gymnema Sylvestre]]>Dr. Stephanie Bartolotti, DOMhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2019/04/27/Beat-Sugar-Cravings-with-Gymnema-Sylvestrehttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2019/04/27/Beat-Sugar-Cravings-with-Gymnema-SylvestreSat, 27 Apr 2019 13:05:26 +0000
Gymnema sylvestre is an Ayurvedic herb from the milk weed family, known as the "sugar destroyer". This wonderful herb regulates blood sugar, curbs sugar cravings and can even regenerate the pancreas! Gymnema blocks the sugar receptors on the tongue, making sweet foods less appealing. It also stimulates insulin secretion from the pancreas delays glucose absorption. This herb is wonderful for those who are struggling to lose weight, especially those with a killer sweet tooth!
Benefits of Gymnema Sylvestre:
Stops sugar cravingsRegulates blood sugarAnti-inflammatoryImproves insulinBlocks sugar receptors on the tongue
Stimulates weight loss
Lowers cholesterol & triglyceridesRegenerates pancreas cells
Conditions improved with Gynmnema Sylvestre:
DiabetesArthritisEdemaAnemiaOsteoporosisHigh cholesterolHeart diseaseObesityAsthmaConstipationIndigestionInfection
To get the benefits of this amazing herb, Gymnema can be taken in 100 mg capsules, 1 capsule 3 to 4 times per day within 5-10 minutes of meals. Avoid taking if pregnant or breastfeeding, do not take at the same time as diabetes medications, and do not combine with aspirin or St. John's wort.
We carry organic Gymnema capsules in our natural pharmacy on-site and in our online store. Book a consultation with our doctor today to learn more about how we can help you: 321-972-2940.
References:
Goodson, A. (2018, June 18). 6 Impressive Health Benefits of Gymnema Sylvestre. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gymnema-sylvestre-benefits#section6
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Instant Salt & Vinegar Brussel Sprouts]]>Dr. Stephanie Bartolotti, DOMhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2019/04/17/Instant-Salt-Vinegar-Brussel-Sproutshttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2019/04/17/Instant-Salt-Vinegar-Brussel-SproutsWed, 17 Apr 2019 16:58:59 +0000
I have to admit, my weakness is salt and vinegar chips. Craving that flavor without the starchy potato and unhealthy oils, I found this can be done with brussel sprouts (and I actually prefer them over the chips now). I am definitely on an instant pot kick because it saves so much time and makes clean-up very easy; however, if you don't have a pressure cooker, you can simply bake the brussel sprouts instead.
Brussel sprouts are low in calories and contain high levels of vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. This tiny but mighty vegetable can also protect the body from cancer, reduce inflammation, and regulate blood sugar (Link, 2017). Brussel sprouts are the perfect companion to any meal. In this recipe we add in raw apple cider vinegar to even further increase the health benefits, along with himalayan salt which contains 84 different minerals!
Ingredients:
1 lb fresh brussel sprouts, cut in half lengthwise1/4 cup avocado oil (or coconut oil)1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar2 cloves of garlic, mincedhimalayan salt
Instant Pot Directions:
Turn on instant pot to saute and add avocado oil. When it reads "hot", add in brussel sprouts and saute until browned (about 5 minutes). Add apple cider vinegar, garlic and himalayan salt and stir. Put the on the lid and seal the instant pot. Cook on manual pressure for 4 minutes and release the pressure valve with an oven glove when the timer beeps. Sprinkle additional himalayan salt to taste and enjoy!!
Oven Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss brussel sprouts in avocado oil, salt and garlic. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until crisp. Toss in apple cider vinegar while hot and add additional himalayan salt to taste.
Sources:
Link, R. (2017, September 8). 10 Ways Brussels Sprouts Benefit Your Health. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-brussels-sprouts#section3
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Get Glowing Skin with Facial Cupping]]>Dr. Stephanie Bartolotti, DOMhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2019/04/08/Get-Glowing-Skin-with-Facial-Cuppinghttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2019/04/08/Get-Glowing-Skin-with-Facial-CuppingMon, 08 Apr 2019 17:43:02 +0000
A lot of people are familiar with cupping therapy, but have you heard about using cupping on the face? Facial cupping is a wonderfully relaxing treatment that helps to improve blood flow, reduce wrinkles and eliminate puffiness, to give you a glowing, beautiful complexion! Don't worry, these cups don't leave any marks behind.
With a gentle suction of your skin, you will get an instant lift with these small facial cups that glide across your face. Not only does facial cupping have cosmetic benefits, it also helps to improve sinus congestion and pain, alleviate TMJ and more!
Benefits of Facial Cupping:
Provides a natural "face-lift" for sagging skinPlumpens wrinkles and facial linesImproves blood circulation to the faceImproves skin elasticity Tightens saggy skinEvens skin toneDecreases lymphatic congestionReduces puffinessDrains excess fluidsEnhances absorption of facial productsDecreases sinus congestion and inflammationEvens skin toneSoftens scar tissueAlleviates jaw pain/TMJReduces headache painImproves acne
Facial cupping is included with our amazing Cosmetic Acupuncture treatments for truly noticeable results that are long-lasting! To learn more about how you can benefit from this wonderful therapy, give our office a call at 321-972-2940. We look forward to helping you achieve the complexion of your dreams!
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Mango Shrimp Salsa with Avocado Whip]]>Dr. Stephanie Bartolotti, DOMhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2019/02/11/Mango-Shrimp-Salsa-with-Avocado-Whiphttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2019/02/11/Mango-Shrimp-Salsa-with-Avocado-WhipMon, 11 Feb 2019 22:10:00 +0000
This Paleo dish is delicious and fresh!! The avocado whip is full of flavor and healthy fats and the shrimp salsa has a savory and sweet flavor with mango and fresh herbs. The best part is there is no cooking involved in this recipe!
Ingredients:
2 ripe avocados1 ripe mango3 limesextra virgin olive oil1 bag of frozen shrimp, thawed, deveined, with tails removed1 small jalepeno pepper, chopped with seeds removedbunch of cilantrofresh mint1/4 tsp cumin powderhimalayan or sea saltblack pepper1/2 cup coconut cream
Directions:
Scoop out the insides of 2 avocados and put in a blender. Add in coconut cream, the juice of one lime, 1/4 tsp of cumin and a dash of himalayan salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
Tear shrimp into thirds and add to a bowl. Cut up mango into chunks and add in with shrimp. Chop half the bunch of cilantro and fresh mint and add to bowl. (If you don't like cilantro you can use parsley instead.) Add chopped jalepeno pepper. Squeeze the juice of 2 limes over all the ingredients and add 1 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil. Finish with salt and pepper and mix to combine.
Spoon the avocado whip into bowls and top with the mango shrimp salsa. Enjoy all the wonderful flavors!!
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Food Therapy for Constipation]]>Dr. Stephanie Bartolotti, DOMhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2019/01/29/Food-Therapy-for-Constipationhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2019/01/29/Food-Therapy-for-ConstipationTue, 29 Jan 2019 23:29:08 +0000
Constipation is defined as having 3 or less bowel movements in a week or having a hard, dry, or difficult-to-pass stool. Ideally, we should have 1-2 bowel movements per day, optimally between 5-7 am, the time the large intestine functions most optimally. See a list of the foods below that help to lubricate the intestines and promote a bowel movement.
Foods to Alleviate Constipation:
cabbagebananasappleswalnutsasparagusfigsspinachpearspine nutsblack sesame seedschia seedsmulberriesgrapefruityamshoneypapaya peasprunesapricotsazuki beansgreek yogurtalfalfa sproutsbeetsbok choycauliflowersweet potatookrapistachiossalt water
Foods to AVOID for Constipation:
foods with baking soda or baking powderalcoholteabreadwhite flourwhite ricewhite sugar
Natural Remedies for Constipation
1. Rub your belly in a clockwise direction 100 times to stimulate movement of your intestines either over your clothes or by using a massage oil or cream with medium to firm pressure, feeling for stuckness.
2. Mix 2 teaspoons of organic honey in a glass of warm water and drink on an empty stomach.
3. On an empty stomach, eat 5-10 figs and drink a glass of water.
4. Eat cooked asparagus and cabbage, lightly steamed, before bed.
If you are still experiencing constipation, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help you get unstuck! We can also help you to uncover what foods you have sensitivities to with a simple blood test. Call 321-972-2940 to make your initial appointment today!
References:
Ni, Maoshing, and Cathy McNease. The Tao of Nutrition. Tao of Wellness Press, 2009.
Pitchford, P. (2009). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
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Instant Pot PB&J Oatmeal]]>Dr. Stephanie Bartolotti, DOMhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2019/01/24/Instant-Pot-PBJ-Oatmealhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2019/01/24/Instant-Pot-PBJ-OatmealThu, 24 Jan 2019 18:46:12 +0000
Oatmeal is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber which can lower blood glucose, lower cholesterol levels, and it can reduce the risk of heart disease. This recipe adds a little twist by adding the delicious combo of organic peanut butter and jelly! This is a great recipe to make when you are getting ready in the morning because it is quick and easy. It is dairy-free and gluten-free too!
Ingredients:
1 cup organic gluten-free oats1 1/4 cup water1 1/2 TBSP organic peanut butter (can substitute almond or cashew butter)1 TBSP organic strawberry or raspberry jelly (can substitute with organic honey)1/8 tsp himalayan salt1/4 cup coconut milk
Directions:
Add oatmeal, water, and himalayan salt to the instant pot and stir. Put the lid on and and close the seal. Press "porridge" button and select 7 minutes. Once the timer beeps, let the oatmeal sit for 3 minute before releasing the pressure valve. Stir in peanut butter, jelly and coconut milk and serve!
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Homeopathy for Morning Sickness]]>Dr. Stephanie Bartolotti, DOMhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2018/12/10/Homeopathy-for-Morning-Sicknesshttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2018/12/10/Homeopathy-for-Morning-SicknessMon, 10 Dec 2018 13:33:00 +0000
Morning sickness is a sign that your hormones are strong and the baby is healthy, but it can be quite torturous for the pregnant mama. To prevent morning sickness, it is important to eat meals regularly, avoid skipping meals and be sure to eat protein with each meal. If you are already nauseous, however, eating can be difficult. The solution? Homeopathy!
With homeopathy, specific remedies are chosen to help the body return to a healthy functioning state by treating the underlying problem. Homeopathy is very safe for use during all stages of pregnancy, quite inexpensive, convenient and easy to take. Homeopathic pellets are little round balls that taste a little sweet and simply dissolve under your tongue. They are dosed every 15 minutes until symptoms subside.
The top homeopathic remedies for morning sickness are:
Sepia (30C): For nausea worse at the smell or sight of food, nausea in the morning before eating, vomiting after eating, cravings for vinegar or pickles, sensitivity to salt.
Nux Vomica (30C): For nausea/vomiting in the morning after eating, sour taste in the mouth, constipation.
Symphoricarpus Racemosa (30C): For persistant vomiting in pregnancy, aversion to all food, better when lying down.
Tabacum (200CK): For constant nausea, vomiting and spitting, sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach, seasickness, worse with the smell of cigarette smoke and better with fresh air.
Are you ready to start feeling better today? Order these products online here.
References:
Boericke, W. (2007). Boerickes new manual of homoeopathic materia medica with repertory: Including Indian drugs, nosodes, uncommon rare remedies, mother tinctures, relationships, sides of the body, drug affinities, & list of abbreviations. New Delhi: B. Jain.
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What is Your Ear Telling You?]]>Dr. Stephanie Bartolotti, DOMhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2018/12/08/What-is-Your-Ear-Telling-Youhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2018/12/08/What-is-Your-Ear-Telling-YouSat, 08 Dec 2018 15:45:27 +0000
Did you know that you can tell what is wrong with your body simply by looking at your ears? Yes, that's right! Auricular (ear) diagnosis is one of the methods we use in Chinese medicine to assess how your body is functioning and identify areas of disease. It can also reveal health problems early on, before they present with symptoms. In fact, over 10,000 cases have been studied to make correlations between auricular findings and the organ pathology causing the patient’s symptoms.
The ear is a map of the body, so each area gives information on a specific organ or area of the body (i.e. spine, knee, lung, liver, etc.). Dysfunction can be identified on the ear by visually inspecting it, using a dull probe to find tender or painful areas, or using an electrical skin resistance test device. Below are some common things you can look for:
Red spot = acute inflammationBrown spot = old or chronic problemRedness = severe and acute inflammationRedness of ear lobe = high blood pressureBlood vessels = poor blood flow / blood stagnationDiagonal ear lobe crease = coronary heart disease
So once we find a problem on the ear what do we do? Identifying problems on the ear helps acupuncture physicians develop the appropriate treatment using acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and/or ear seed therapy. An ear seed is a small adhesive tape with a vaccaria seed, silver or gold pellet located on the back. The vaccaria seed (Wang Bu Liu Xing) is commonly used because it enhances blood circulation, while silver sedates and gold strengthens. The ear seed is placed on specific areas of the ear and pressed or massaged throughout the day to provide quick pain relief, relaxation, or to improve organ function. Because the ear is so close to the brain, it has a powerful effect on regulating brain chemistry for treating conditions like pain, stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD and addictions. This treatment can be done as a stand-alone treatment or as an additional take-home treatment for long-lasting results. Ear seeds typically remain in the ear for 5-7 days and stay on even when showering. You will notice tenderness at the areas where the condition is the worst when pressing the ear seed, which will dissipate once the condition has improved.
To schedule an auricular diagnosis and treatment, call our office today at 321-972-2940. We even have special Swarovski crystal ear seeds to add a little bling to your treatment!
References:
Volf, N., & Ferdman, L. (2016). Auricular Causative Diagnosis—Finding the Roots of Diseases: A Study of Clinical Cases. Retrieved from https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/acu.2016.1189
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Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore]]>Dr. Stephanie Bartolotti, DOMhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2018/12/04/Instant-Pot-Chicken-Cacciatorehttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2018/12/04/Instant-Pot-Chicken-CacciatoreTue, 04 Dec 2018 15:45:00 +0000
After awhile, chicken can get pretty boring, which is why I always try to come up with new recipes to jazz it up. Cacciatore (Italian for "hunter") is a traditional stew that was easy for hunters to make and eat to keep them nourished. This is a perfect Paleo meal combining chicken, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and herbs. This recipe is also gluten-free and dairy-free. The chicken is chock full of delicious flavor and is deliciously tender! Making this recipe in the instant pot makes it easy to prepare with minimal steps too. This has become one of my new favorite recipes that I will keep on repeat! I recommend pairing this meal with cauliflower rice, zoodles (zucchini noodles) or brown rice pasta (if not Paleo).
Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs1/2 of 28 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes1/2 cup onion, diced1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced1/2 cup orange bell pepper, diced2 cloves garlic, minced2 TBSP capers (optional)1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)1/2 cup almond flour2 TBSP avocado oil1/2 tsp dried oregano1 bay leafhimalayan salt or sea saltblack pepperfresh chopped basil or parsley
Directions:
Chop onion, bell peppers and garlic. Put in a bowl and set aside.
Season the chicken thighs on both sides with himalayan salt and pepper. Put almond flour in a shallow bowl and coat chicken on both sides and place on a plate.
Turn the instant pot on "saute" and add 1-2 TBSP of avocado oil to the pot. Once it says "hot", add chicken and brown for about 3 minutes each side. The almond flour can get a little stuck to the bottom of the pot, but don't worry!
Set the cooked chicken aside and add a splash of avocado oil, onions, bell peppers, and garlic to the instant pot and cook for 5 minutes. Scrape the residue of the almond flour in the bottom of the pot and mix in with the vegetables.
Hit the "cancel" button. Add cooked chicken back into the pot on top of the vegetables and top with half the can of crushed tomatoes, white wine, capers, dried oregano, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Stir slightly and put the lid on the instant pot with the valve in the sealed position. Cook for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, leave the food in the pot for an additional 15 minutes before releasing the pressure valve. Release the valve (there should be minimal to no steam) and serve! Top with fresh chopped basil or parsley.
You can add cauliflower rice or zoodles into the pot by stirring it in for a minute once the food has finished cooking or you can make it separately and ladle the chicken, sauce and vegetables on top.
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Chinese Medicine for Healing Bone Fractures]]>Dr. Stephanie Bartolotti, DOMhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2018/10/12/Chinese-Medicine-for-Healing-Bone-Fractureshttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2018/10/12/Chinese-Medicine-for-Healing-Bone-FracturesFri, 12 Oct 2018 17:43:37 +0000
Chinese medicine has been used for thousands of years for a vast number of conditions, but did you know that it can be used to speed up the healing of fractured bones? Now, when you initially break a bone, of course you will need to go to the emergency room for an x-ray and a cast (or surgery). But after the cast is on, it can be a frustrating, painful, annoying and debilitating road ahead. In addition, certain types of fractures are impossible to cast (like the collarbone) so patients have to start the long process of waiting to heal while being very limited in movement so as not to exacerbate the pain or injury. What can be done in the meantime? Acupuncture and Chinese medicine!
I have helped several patients over the years with broken toes, fractured tailbones, and other broken bones to speed up their recovery time and significantly reduce their pain and swelling with a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Research has shown acupuncture to be very effective for bone fractures by restoring mobility, reducing pain and inflammation, reducing swelling, improving function of the injured area, and increasing range of motion (Saunders, 2018). Acupuncture does this by improving blood flow, stimulating the midbrain to release enkephalins (our body’s natural pain killers which are stronger than morphine) and subsequently decreasing inflammation and swelling to the injured area. Acupuncture can be used very early in the healing process, as needles are not placed where the injury has occurred, rather in areas that will directly send blood flow and nutrients to the injured area to stimulate a faster healing response.
In addition, several Chinese herbs are used for their bone-healing properties. Chinese herbal formulas comprised of a combination of herbs are used to speed healing, strengthen the bones, stimulate the re-uptake of minerals to the bones, and alleviate pain. For example, Yin Yang Huo (Epimedium) and Gu Sui Bu (Drynaria) have proven in clinical trials to “stimulate bone regeneration and inhibit bone resorption, accelerating the fracture healing” (Zhang et al., 2017). Chinese herbs can also be used to prevent subsequent fractures due to weakening of the bones, as well as improve and prevent osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Hopefully you don’t break any bones, but if you do, know that we can help you get on a fast road to recovery so you can go back to living a normal life and enjoy the things that you love to do!
References
Saunders, N. (2018, September 12). Acupuncture Promotes Bone Fracture Recovery. Retrieved from https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1893-acupuncture-promotes-bone-fracture-recovery
Zhang, K., Niu, L. C., Yuan, F. J., & Liu, S. P. (2017, August 25). Research on promotory effect of traditional Chinese medicine on fracture healing in cell and molecular level. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29455515
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The Safety and Efficacy of Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine in the treatment of GERD]]>Dr. Stephanie Bartolotti, DOMhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2018/10/12/The-Safety-and-Efficacy-of-Acupuncture-Chinese-Herbal-Medicine-in-the-treatment-of-GERDhttps://www.newdirectionnaturalmedicine.com/single-post/2018/10/12/The-Safety-and-Efficacy-of-Acupuncture-Chinese-Herbal-Medicine-in-the-treatment-of-GERDFri, 12 Oct 2018 11:37:00 +0000
Introduction
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition “caused by the reversal flow of gastro-duodenal contents, including gastric acid, bile, pancreatic juice, and pepsin, etc., into the esophagus, which stimulate the esophageal membrane repeatedly and injure the barrier” (Zhang, Qin & Guo, 2010). The symptoms associated with GERD include “heartburn, acid regurgitation, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), and chest pain, as well as extraesophageal manifestations such as nausea, chronic cough, asthma and hoarseness” (Kubo et al., 2014).
GERD has become an increasingly common gastrointestinal disease affecting 8.8 to 40% of the western population with a yearly cost per patient of $4,188 to $8,741 in the United States (Zhu et al., 2017). Conventional treatment consisting of proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) poses several problems. With an average of 11 billion dollars spent on PPIs every year, the treatment is very costly, and due to frequent and long-term use, linked to many side-effects (Singh, Cresci & Kirby, 2018).
Risk factors of GERD
GERD is known to be caused by abnormal function of the lower esophageal sphincter, problems with acid clearing the esophagus, slowed emptying of the stomach contents, hernia, obesity or genetics (Argyrou, 2018). Populations considered at the highest risk for developing GERD include the elderly, women, cigarette smokers, obese, high body mass index (BMI), and lower socio-economic status. Psychological conditions have also been correlated with the symptoms of GERD. Studies have related the comorbidity of GERD specifically with insomnia, anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder (Lee et al., 2018).
Risks of Conventional Treatment
Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole, are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs used in the treatment of GERD, yet their misuse and overuse is associated with a long list of unwanted and dangerous side-effects. “PPIs reportedly have been associated with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), chronic kidney disease (CKD), dementia, osteoporosis and hypomagnesemia. With varying degrees of evidence, PPIs are linked with an increased risk of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) and possibly certain cancers by disrupting the normal gut microbiota” (Singh, Cresci & Kirby, 2018). Additionally, PPIs alter the stomach and duodenum’s absorption and bioavailability of nutrients, leading poor metabolism and subsequent deficiencies of vitamin B12, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Patients who are overprescribed PPIs, taking them unnecessarily, taking over a long time period, and/or taking larger doses than recommended, are at most risk of developing serious side-effects (Heidelbaugh, 2013).
Acupuncture
With the enormous cost, overuse and risk of conventional PPI treatment associated with GERD, there is a definite need for better treatment options. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can provide patients with a safe, cost-effective, and successful treatment for GERD. A systematic review and meta-analysis of 1,235 patients and 12 clinical trials revealed that acupuncture plus western medicine outperformed western medicine alone in the treatment of GERD. In fact, studies have proved that “adding acupuncture to standard-dose PPI reportedly achieved better results than doubling the PPI dose in patients who had failed standard-dose PPIs” (Zhu et al., 2017). In addition, patients treated with acupuncture proved to have a better quality of life, a significantly decreased chance of symptoms recurring (RR 0.42), and a very low risk of adverse reactions compared to those taking PPIs (Zhu et al., 2017). Acupuncture points proven effective in the treatment of GERD (Ren-12, ST-36, SP-6 and P-6) work by improving circulation through the esophagus, throat and stomach and “effectively inhibit the intraesophageal acid and bile reflux” (Zhang, 2010).
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Several Chinese herbal formulas may be used in the treatment of GERD, each dependent upon the patient’s unique case, pattern differentiation and pulse diagnosis (as previously described). For example, Bao He Wan is used for patients with acid regurgitation accompanied by indigestion, nausea, vomiting, aversion to food and/or belching. For acid reflux peptic ulcer, h. pylori infection, gastritis, epigastric pain Zuo Jin Wan is indicated. Studies prove Zuo Jin Wan’s effectiveness rates: 64.7% for the treatment of h. pylori, 95.8% when modified for the treatment of erosive gastritis, and 96.4% for epigastric pain when combined with Ban Xia and Chen Pi. Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang “has effects on promoting gastrointestinal peristalsis, preventing reflux, protecting the gastric mucosa, invigorating the immune system, and improving the body’s ability to resist hypoxia” (Kang et al., 2018). Used for the hypersecretion of gastric acid, its effectiveness rate is 91.3% when modified for the treatment of reflux esophagitis (Chen & Chen, 2009).