Ask America’s Ultimate Experts: Want a Natural Cure?
Woman’s World
by Jennifer Leonard
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“Help! I want a natural cure!”

Looking for an alternative to over-the-counter and prescription medications? Read on to discover the best all-natural health solutions for common problems!

Lower your cholesterol!
Trying to lower your number? Natural-medicine expert Chris Kilham, Ph.D., suggests: Cocoa! Good news: This sweet treat can lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol by 6 mg./dL while raising your “good” HDL number, reports the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Cocoa’s secret? It’s rich in polyphenol compounds that help block absorption of cholesterol and actually expel it from your body, explains Kilham. Try enjoying 1 oz. to 2 oz. of dark chocolate daily.

Ease arthritis pain!
Tired of relying on OTC and prescription painkillers? Kilham and nutritionists Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., and Stella Metsovas, B.S., C.N., recommend: Cat’s claw! This popular Peruvian plant is used by millions of South Americans for relief from arthritis pain. And studies prove they’re on to something: The herb’s rich supply of unique compounds stops inflammation-causing toxins, reports the Journal of Natural Products. Take 500 mg. daily. Also great for pain: Curcumin! A recent Italian study found that taking a daily dose of this spice—native to India and found in curry—for three months decreases joint pain by nearly 60% and can cut usage of painkillers by 63%! Credit goes to its ability to block production of a protein that triggers inflammation. Aim for 400 mg. to 600 mg. daily.

Overcome depression!
Rhodiola rosea! Mildly to moderately depressed folks who were given 680 mg. daily of this herbal extract saw their symptoms dramatically decrease after just six weeks, reports the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry. Researchers think it enhances the flow of mood-boosting serotonin through the brain.

Heal and prevent ulcers!
If you’re having ulcer pain or want to ward off future stomach woes, our experts suggest: Ginger root tea! This drink is filled with compounds that destroy the ulcer-causing bacteria. Plus, ginger triggers the production of extra mucus in your digestive system, which helps protect your stomach lining.

Avoid PMS!
When cramping, bloating and irritability strike, our experts suggest skipping meds and sipping: Skim milk! Drink four 8-oz. glasses daily the week prior to your period, and you can say goodbye to PMS symptoms, reports the Archives of Internal Medicine. Credit goes to milk’s rich supply of calcium, which helps correct the hormone imbalances that can trigger PMS. More calcium-rich foods: Try yogurt (240 mg. per 4 oz.), tofu (510 mg. per 4 oz.) or sardines (500 mg. per 4 oz.).

Make menopause easier!
If you’re tired of hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and fatigue, ask your doctor about: Maca! This South American root is packed with compounds that help stabilize your body’s hormones—preventing hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, fatigue and more! Aim for 1,500 mg. daily.

More Information

We have put together this list of links for those of you who want more information on the plants mentioned in this story. For those of you who are seeking product recommendations, you can find our suggestions at the bottom of most of these pages.

  • Cocoa: For lot's of wonderful information on cocoa, visit our Cocoa, Food of the Gods section.
  • Cat's Claw: For more information on Cat's Claw, visit our Cat's Claw page.
  • With regard to pain, turmeric root in general and Curamin® specifically show superstar status. Curamin is a breakthrough curcumin-based supplement that literally can erase pain quickly and powerfully, without negative effects.
  • Rhodiola rosea: Read about Chris' favorite herb on Rhodioloa Rosea Botanical Sheet.
  • Ginger (Tea): Ginger is one of the most widely used and beloved of medicinal spices.For more information. including product recommendations, visit our Ginger: Medicine Chest in a Root page.
  • Milk/Yogurt: We strongly recommend Certified Organic products. Organic is especially important when it comes to dairy. Today you can find certified organic dairy products at Whole Foods, independent Natural Foods stores, and most conventional supermarkets.
  • Tofu: We strongly recommend Tofu products which are Certified Organic. Today you can find many organic tufu products at Whole Foods, independent Natural Foods stores, and most conventional supermarkets.
  • Maca: Chris is internationally recognized for his work with this Peruvian superfood. Read more about Andes Organic Maca.
April 2011