Trees

does summer make you SAD?

Working in the Pacific Northwest, I see a lot of patients who have issues with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

 

 

Most people understand SAD as a depression response to the short, dark days of winter. And indeed, that is the most common form.

 

 

But summer SAD is also truly a thing: hot days, unrelenting brightness that makes you think you have to be cheery and energetic, wildfire smoke in certain parts of the country — all of these contribute to seasonal depression in the summer.

 

 

Seasonal affective disorder, whenever it hits, has some common characteristics: depression is key, but also over- or undersleeping, anxiety and others. And some of the herbal and, if necessary, pharmacological prescriptions can help both types.

 

 

One simple treatment that works well for most types of depression is especially suited to summer SAD: getting into cold water.

 

 

 

natural mental health | wild water | summer SAD | depression | Dr. Orna Izakson

Cold water helps beat depression.

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herbal drinking vinegars for digestion + joy

As those of you on my email list know, I’m not a very make-y person. I put together some basic preparations, and obviously create custom herbal formulas for my patients. But I sort of stall when it comes to anything that hits me as cooking.

 

(Yes, I do make food for myself. But it’s a struggle. I’m writing a whole book about it.)

 

But some things are so simple and delicious, it’s just silly not to do them. And what I’ve got for you today is one of those.

 

In this video you’ll see me make a drinking vinegar, commonly known as a “shrub” or technically an acetracta (vinegar extraction.) These are tasty ways to get the medicinal benefits of herbs in a palatable package. (more…)

dr. orna’s beat-the-heat watermelon gazpacho

I’m not much of a cook in the best of times. (Seriously. I’m writing a whole book about this.) And hot summer days stuck in the city definitely are not the best of times for me.

 

A few years ago, I discovered a concoction that made the heat more tolerable, something that I’d actually prepare: Watermelon gazpacho.

 

Dr. Orna's beat-the-heat watermelon gazpacho recipe

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zebrafish and brain repair

Filed under: healthy living,insomnia,sleep — Tags: , , — Orna @ 1:58 pm

Healthy brains require healthy sleep.

 

Really, you can’t fudge on this. At least not for long.

 

This cool study looked at zebrafish (fun in itself.) (more…)

terrain

Filed under: chronic disease,healthy living,Uncategorized — Orna @ 8:50 am

Gardeners know that healthy plants have certain basic requirements: they need the right temperature, the right amount of sun, the right amount of water, and the right amount and kind of nutrients in the soil. Different plants have different needs, but one that has all these will be the most resilient, able to withstand pests, diseases and climate variations.

 

People are no different.

 

I was a gardener long before ever thinking about becoming a doctor. And I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the idea of feeding the soil is fundamental to naturopathic medical philosophy.

 

The profession even has a specific term for it: Terrain. (more…)

the happy medicine of spring violets

April 18, 2019

 

Every year there’s one particular plant that grabs my attention and won’t let go. I’ll start seeing it everywhere. And I get excited in that way you do when you have a new friend — even if it’s an old friend.

 

So far this year violets are my jam.

 

There have been at least one or two stray blooms on my backyard plants since around Thanksgiving. They kept going all winter, at least a little.

 

And this spring they’ve been completely full on. Walking by my house, sitting on the front porch or the back deck, their sweet smell fills the air.

 

(Not for nothing their Latin name is Viola odorata. As in odor. As in fragrant.)

 

The fragrance is not as dramatic as some other spring favorites like Daphne (D. odora). If you’re not familiar with sweet violets, the scent is reminiscent of a certain era of little old lady. And for a while, it hit me in a not great way.

 

But this year… well, this year I’m all about it.

 

Violet flowers are used in various ways for medicine. (more…)

the sun is more than a vitamin

I talk about vitamin D a lot. It’s useful for healthy bones, healthy immunity, healthy levels of inflammation, healthy mood. In the past decade it’s gotten a lot of press.

 

But in the same way whole foods are a better source of nutrients than a multivitamin, there are things the sun can do that a supplement cannot. When it comes to health, Nature almost always does it better. And it turns out that sun is more than a vitamin.  (more…)

herbal steams for respiratory health

If you’ve watched my herbal origin story video, you know that thyme is one of my secret weapons for colds and flus — any kind of stuck or infected issue in the upper or lower respiratory tract. Steaming with thyme is one of my go-tos in the clinic, and one of the key practices described in my Winter Wellness Toolkit (Haven’t downloaded it yet? Check out the link at the bottom of this post to grab your copy.)

 

I almost invariably recommend that my patients with colds, flus or sinusitis symptom use thyme in an herbal steam. I give them a handout and describe the procedure using hand gestures.

 

This is the kind of thing that sounds confusing until you see it demonstrated or figure out how to do it yourself. So I made a quick video for you.

 

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bye bye, joint pain

Filed under: food as medicine,healthy living,weight management — Tags: , , , , — Orna @ 11:08 am

I talk a lot about food being the first and most fundamental medicine. You know that vegetables are good for you, and that donuts aren’t so much.

 

But what does that actually mean in terms of making you feel better? That’s what my patient Kelly wants to tell you about.

 

 

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healthy presents for the holidays

Stumped about what to get friends and family for special occasions? Want to help them get and stay healthy? Here are my top recommendations. (more…)

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