Trees

the three keys to optimal health

At its root, health really isn’t that complicated. Getting and staying health comes down to three simple things — assimilation, elimination and managing inflammation. In this short(ish) video, Dr. Izakson breaks it down and gives you the key to the natural-health kingdom.

 

flower essence training with Dr. Izakson

It’s no secret I’m a plant lover. It’s why I went into medicine.

 

I love that plants reinforce our connection to nature, while helping us navigate the modern world. Nearly every patient I treat gets some kind of plant-based prescription, whether it’s a powdered herb, a tea or an herbal extract such as a tincture or a gemmo.

 

The plant medicines I use most in practice are flower essences. They’re safe and gentle, don’t interfere with any other prescriptions and reliably make big changes in my patients’ well being.

 

Here’s one patient’s testimonial: (more…)

new year’s resolutions: biotransformation in 2014

December 31, 2013

 

Wishing you joy, laughter, freedom and light in 2014.

‘Tis the season to make resolutions. A time to reevaluate our choices, to envision a hopeful future in which we move forward into more perfect lives.

 

Although it hasn’t always been this way, as the Atlantic magazine explains in a Dec. 31 article, many of us make resolutions around our health. If you follow any blogs, Facebook pages or tweets on the subject, this is the time of year when you’ll be overwhelmed with possibilities for a New Year’s cleanse or detox program. You’ll lose weight! You’ll have more energy! That brain fog? Gone!

 

My friend and colleague Dr. Mahalia Freed wrote about this phenomenon on Facebook this time last year. Paraphrased (she said it so much better than I): You are not dirty, you don’t need to cleanse.

 

To which I said — and say again — hallelujah.

 

Health is not about fitting into your high-school prom dress. It’s not about just not being sick. We all have our definitions, but mine, today, is this: Health is enjoying our minds and our bodies, connecting with individuals and community and place, and fully living a life animated with meaning and purpose. (more…)

sunshine vitamin brightens dark winter days

As some of you may know I recently got my first smart phone. and on it there’s now a fun little app called D-Minder, intended to help track your vitamin D exposure. The app looks at your skin tone, size, location, local weather and sun angle to determine how much vitamin D you can get at any given time, or when your next vitamin “D opportunity” is.

 

Today, Nov. 15, the app says “your next D opportunity is in 113 days.”

 

Sunny Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata)

Sunny Arrowleaf balsamroot, to remind you of summer.

All of this is a great reminder that at northerly latitudes like Portland’s, the sun’s angle is just too low for natural Vitamin D production for a big chunk of the winter. The D-Minder folks created this video, which gives the clearest explanation I’ve seen of how this works.

 

Why do you care? Vitamin D improves immunity and healthy bone building, protects against cancer and diabetes, regulates blood pressure and balances inflammation that’s thought to be a primary underlying cause of many debilitating chronic diseases. (Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute offers this monograph on Vitamin D.)

 

What to do through the winter? If you can’t get a break to the tropics or the southern hemisphere,  recommend a simple lab test to assess your individual need and then appropriate use of a high-quality Vitamin D3 supplement.

 

(How much Vitamin D is enough? My reading of the research, coupled with clinical experience of myself, my colleagues and my mentors, suggests the U.S.-recommended daily values are too low.  But seriously, testing is the best way to know what’s right for you.)

 

To find out more about Vitamin D, why you need it and whether supplementation is right for you, please call or email us to schedule a time to speak with Dr. O.

 

 

Want to read more on Vitamin D?

The Vitamin D Council website is filled with great information, including options for testing and the best ways to get the Vitamin D you need.  This site was created by one of the doctors who pioneered Vitamin D awareness wave in the U.S.

 

 

placebo blues

Filed under: depression,mood cures,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Orna @ 10:56 pm

There’s big money in medications for depression, and drugs such as Prozac and Wellbutrin help many people who take them. But a growing body of research finds people getting sugar pills instead of meds also feel better —making some researchers wonder if the drugs are “nothing more than expensive Tic Tacs.” That was the conclusion of a January 2010 study (“Listening to Prozac but Hearing Placebo”) published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. The findings raise a moral dillemma: If patients feel better because they believe in the medications, is it right to tell them the improvement is all in their heads? Another question is whether drugs should be the starting point for depression, or a last resort if natural therapies like exercise, probiotics, fish oil and others don’t quite lift the dark clouds.

brain food

Photo by Oktaviani Marvikasari.

Photo by Oktaviani Marvikasari.

You’ve always heard that fish is brain food. Now, a growing body of research is supporting that contention.

 

One study published in the February edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry found that fish-oil supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids warded off psychosis in high-risk teens. Study participants received either fish oil or a placebo for 12 weeks. One year later, more of the fish-oil teens were still psychosis free. Researchers say the results are as good as those seen with antipsychotic medications, with benefits lasting longer than any other intervention. And, unlike typical pharmaceutical prescriptions that cause problems including weight gain and libido loss, fish oils seem to have no major negative side effects.

 

Other studies are finding that omega-3 oils can help the mind stay young and sharp. Earlier reports found that DHA, one specific form of omega-3, helped slow dementia but didn’t help folks with Alzheimer’s disease. A February report in the Journal of Neurochemistry suggests that EPA, another omega-3, may do the trick. The report’s authors believe EPA helps slow the natural decline of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, helping keep the brain young and boost memory and learning. Both DHA and EPA are typically found in fish-oil supplements in varying ratios.

 

A version of this post originally appeared on Wellwire.com.

top 10 garden medicines

A spring planting guide while you’re planning what to plant

 

Gardeners have a big advantage during deep darkness of a northwest winter: We get to pore over garden books and catalogs that offer shards of sunlight and whiffs of spring. Dreaming about striped tomatoes, salivating over the prospect of a fresh melon, imagining the thrum of a snapping pea, gardeners know that their dreams and will be rewarded with a well-stocked kitchen when the sun returns.

 

While curled up by the fire or the space heater with your summer hopes this winter, consider adding the flowerful, textural and healing world of growing medicine along with your food. The results will improve your garden — many medicinal plants also support beneficial bugs while confusing problematic pests — and improve your health.

 

It is absolutely irresponsibly unfair to ask any herbalist to narrow their favorite herbs down to a measly ten, and reasonable people will disagree heatedly about how to go about trying. This particular list is intended as a general top 10 list of medicinals that are easy to grow from seed or starts. This article is not intended to substitute for medical advice, as each person has a specific history and specific needs. (more…)

six great reasons to start gardening

wide purple basil

My favorite seed catalog came in today’s mail.

What’s new for 2010: organic Floriani red flint corn, green meat radish, Bolivian rainbow pepper, purple pac choy, ruby streaks mustard.

This is why I started gardening – I was awed by the incredible diversity of life I could sustain on my little corner of earth.

There were other reasons too. After my urban upbringing, I longed for the pastoral and bucolic ideal of self sufficiency and thriftiness. And certainly there were the political reasons: getting off the corporate food trough while promoting biological diversity and personal health.

But what really pushed me past reading and into action was a full-color catalog that arrived one Winter’s day. I saw purple carrots, speckled lettuces, striped snappy string beans, and a bright orange tomato that turned out to be an eggplant! If your vegetable education came largely from mainstream supermarkets as mine once did, you’ll understand my shock. Who knew there were purple potatoes, or that we could grow Thomas Jefferson’s beans or the Anasazi’s corn?

These days I’m a passionate gardener and my garden supports over 100 species. Here’s why you should tend a garden, even if it’s just a couple of plants: (more…)

holiday in blue

December 18, 2009

Photo by Nihan Aydin.

It’s the “most wonderful time of the year” — and depression is rampant. Between the darkness (if you live in the northern hemisphere), family drama and financial stresses, it’s a time when many people find their mood going in an unhappy direction. Here are some tangible tips for feeling better. (more…)

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