Ten Natural Remedies: That Can Save Your Life

Ten Natural Remedies: That Can Save Your Life

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by James F. Balch

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Walk into any health-food store and you'll find shelf after shelf filled with jars and bottles of pills, powders, and liquids. From familiar vitamins and minerals to mysterious herbs and extracts, the world of natural remedies and supplements can be a confusing one. We're all cautious about wasting money on ineffective remedies or about being harmed by potent ones,


Walk into any health-food store and you'll find shelf after shelf filled with jars and bottles of pills, powders, and liquids. From familiar vitamins and minerals to mysterious herbs and extracts, the world of natural remedies and supplements can be a confusing one. We're all cautious about wasting money on ineffective remedies or about being harmed by potent ones, and in an industry subject to little regulation, a knowledgeable guide is essential. James Balch, coauthor of the immensely popular Prescription for Nutritional Healing , has spent his medical career helping patients learn to take control of their own health and well-being, and in his new book, he simplifies the overwhelming world of natural remedies into a clear guide to ten essential therapies that have the potential profoundly affect health and longevity.

The first three essentials Balch covers in 10 Natural Remedies That Can Save Your Life form the foundation for health: light, water, and air. Many of us overlook the importance of these life-sustaining elements, but Balch contends it's impossible to be truly healthy without a pure source and adequate supply of each, and each also has applications as a therapy. He discusses melatonin supplements and full-spectrum light bulbs; different types of purified, spring, and filtered water; and bio-oxidative therapies. Balch then moves on to essential nutritional therapies, including green foods like barley grass that supply nutrients in high concentrations impossible to find in more familiar vegetables; garlic, gingko, and ginseng (and how to use them for maximum effectiveness); and vitamin C and E supplements. Balch also covers detoxifying chelation therapyand natural hormone maintenance. Throughout 10 Natural Remedies That Can Save Your Life , Balch stresses the importance of tuning in to your own systems — of learning to pay attention to your body's signals and learning what makes you feel good, whether it's a walk outside or time spent with your kids, and what causes you to feel bad, from skipping a meal to drinking more alcohol than you're accustomed to. Instead of ignoring health until specific problems crop up, Balch helps the reader learn how to foster wellness and to learn how it feels.

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Random House, Incorporated
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Garlic is natural aspirin, not because it contains salicylic acid, which was first identified in willow bark tea as a substance to ease headaches and reduce joint inflammation, but because it can help to prevent red blood cells from clumping together. Other qualities of garlic, so different from aspirin that they present no risk, dissolve clots and lengthen clotting time. This natural thinning of the blood helps every aspect of blood flow within your body. It is the safest source of prevention of heart attacks and strokes. Keeping that aspirin bottle tucked in with emergency medical supplies is still a good idea, but the regular consumption of Kyolic will almost certainly preclude the need for more drastic measures.

We know that garlic provides a benefit for the cardiovascular system. Perhaps you or someone you know has a little difficulty in walking. It doesn't seem serious, but maybe it's reached the point where you just don't want to walk any more than you have to. You find that your legs feel weak, or you have a certain amount of leg pain. And when you stop walking to pause for a rest or sit down, the discomfort goes away.

That discomfort is caused by poor blood circulation in your legs. The technical term for the problem is intermittent claudication. Since it is known that garlic improves circulation to the body's peripheries, studies were conducted with patients experiencing this problem. The regular use of garlic lengthened the distance they could walk without weakness or discomfort. And as a side benefit, their cholesterol levels were lowered, and their blood pressure dropped to a healthy level.

This is what happens when garlic becomes part of the dietand supplement program of those with heart problems. In these cases, we know that individuals who, by all rights of family history, should be experiencing problems with their hearts are not having problems. They are doing better than their ancestors. In longer-term studies, they have outlived everyone simply by adding garlic in one form or another.

Are these individuals genetically unique? Possibly, but it is doubtful. Instead, it is safe to assume that the garlic made the difference. Yet this is not scientific methodology. It is just common sense, which, when it comes to the use of garlic to counter genetics, makes for good medicine.

Where scientific methods can be applied, as with antibacterial factors, garlic has been repeatedly proven safe and effective. Probably every woman and most men have heard of "yeast infection" (a.k.a. yeast syndrome or chronic candidiasis), a term defined mostly through symptoms. Blood tests or stool cultures can reveal the infection. But usually it is determined through a careful, complete physical history that reveals such problems as depression, irritability, vaginal yeast infections, frequent bladder infections, chronic fatigue, lack of energy, reduced sex drive, inability to concentrate, and other distresses. Any one of these is a concern; several in combination generally indicate the presence of chronic candidiasis.

Because yeast infections, along with fungus problems and viral infections, are not usually life-threatening, double-blind studies have been carried out on garlic as a treatment. The findings from these studies have repeatedly shown the value of garlic, in some cases used alone, and in others administered in combination with other natural therapeutics.

Note: Be certain not to self-medicate with garlic in response to the problems mentioned above. With candidiasis, for example, there may be several other concerns. You must eliminate from your diet alcohol, high-sugar foods, and other substances with a high-yeast or mold content. Your digestion must be improved. Detoxification of the liver must be pursued and the immune system strengthened. Then you must coordinate your efforts with your doctor's for continued treatment, because yeast infections can lie dormant and suddenly return if you fail to continue your care after the immediate flare-up.

Garlic is also excellent in the handling of body fat. This does not mean that you can eat garlic instead of getting exercise. You might be able to scare a vampire, but sloth, indolence, and overindulgence have no fear of garlic. Garlic, however, is acknowledged as one of the most effective means of reducing fat in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program.

This is not to say that you can eat all you want, using garlic as a magic pill. What you eat and how much you eat determine one source of fat, perhaps the most controllable source of fat in your body. The younger you are, the easier it is to burn the fat you take in through diet. As you get older, the ability to burn fat decreases. You may be as active at forty as you were at twenty, but you will find that a diet that left you with a flat stomach and slim hips in your youth is now forcing you to go to a larger size of clothing. This is natural and not unhealthy, but excess fat is never a good situation.

Note: Recent reports of long-term studies on body weight and health show that excess weight alone is not the danger it was once believed to be. The more excess fat you carry, the greater the stress on your body, but repeated dieting causes even greater stress. An important factor is your volume of exercise. An overweight person whose weight is stable, who is physically active, and who eats a healthy diet, including the appropriate supplements, will be far better off than the "hard body" whose diet and exercise habits are wrong. To be fat is not necessarily to be unhealthy. It is simply the most visible sign of a potentially dangerous condition that may manifest itself if you do not respect all the other factors that insure good health.

The fat we scold for clinging to our bodies as we age comes from two sources. One fat stays there because our bodies fail to break it down and eliminate it. The other fat is made by our bodies, a process known as endogenous lipogenesis. Both may be products of our lifestyle as much as our age and eating habits.

For example, do you drink? I don't mean to excess. I mean a beer after work or some wine with dinner. Nothing to worry about. Nothing excessive.

What you probably don't realize is that the alcohol you consume interferes with the breakdown of dietary fats and stimulates endogenous lipogenesis. In other words, alcohol triggers the body's fat-producing mechanism and inhibits the body's ability to break down and eliminate fat.

Taking garlic is not an excuse to drink. I don't want to see you spending your happy hour sipping margaritas and downing quantities of Kyolic. However, garlic does slow or stop our body's production of fat by breaking down the lipids and enhancing the elimination of various by-products. Garlic also moves lipids from tissue to the bloodstream for eventual removal. Garlic can dramatically reduce the bad consequences of a multitude of dietary "sins." It truly is a good thing.

Perhaps one of the most promising findings of research on the use of garlic has come in the field of cancer. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York has found that garlic inhibits the growth of cancer cells in the laboratory. And in a study of colon cancer conducted at the M. D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, Dr. Michael Wargovich determined that diallyl sulfide, a major component of garlic, reduced the growth of colon cancer in mice. A related experiment showed that diallyl sulfide may prevent cancer of the esophagus and help in preventing prostate cancer in some individuals.

The experiments have been thorough and the results encouraging. Garlic is gradually proving to be an effective treatment for cancer as well as a preventive, and is now being tried, in conjunction with other treatments, on immune-system disorders like AIDS. Laboratory results are consistently positive, and trials on humans show similar findings, though they are not yet far enough along for garlic to be stipulated as a treatment. However, as I said at the start of this chapter, if I had to take just one supplement for my health, it would be Kyolic garlic.

Meet the Author

James F. Balch, M.D., is a graduate of the School of Medicine at Indiana University. He is the coauthor of Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A to Z Guide to Supplements--which has sold over 3.5 million copies to date. His other books include Prescription for Dietary Wellness and The Super Antioxidants. In his private practice as a urologist and in his well-respected newsletter, "Prescriptions for Healthy Living," Dr. Balch has always searched for ways to help patients assume responsibility for their own well-being. Dr. Balch lives in Texas.

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