Category: Miscellaneous

Two Simple Ways to Save Money on Health Care


Many insurance plans have high deductibles or limited coverage that don’t cover the tests or medications you need.  These two services below may be able to find you a lower price than your insurance co-pay. 

UltaLabsTests.com

  1. Order and pay for your own lab tests directly online.
  2. Get your blood drawn at Quest Diagnostic in Meridian
  3. Receive results yourself online.
  4. Share results thru BNHC Patient Portal or bring a copy to your visit.

Ulta will not bill your insurance and their receipt isn’t coded for insurance reimbursement.  In exchange, you don’t need a doctor’s order and they have very low prices.  They often run specials you can receive emails about.

Ordering labs can be tricky if you aren’t sure what to order.  If you like reading about health, Ulta offers lots of information that will help you navigate your choices.  Some tests need to happen in coordination with your medication or diet.  When in doubt, consult your provider prior to ordering. 

GoodRx.com

  1. Find fee coupons
  2. Show coupon to your pharmacist
  3. Save up to 80%

Over 70,000 pharmacies participate for most commonly prescribed medications.   When you use a coupon, the pharmacy will not bill your insurance. You will often pay less than your insurance co-pay.  You may be able to submit your receipt for potential reimbursement or credit toward your deductible.  It’s easy to compare pharmacy prices.  Be sure to do your research AHEAD OF TIME so you can tell your provider which pharmacy to send your prescription.  

You might also want to check out Mark Cuban’s new drug company costplusdrugs.com that has comparable offerings. 

Eye Health – Be Proactive

I recently took an Eye Health continuing education class.  It was excellent and I got caught up on the latest.  I learned some interesting and useful science about the eyes.  Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older. Luckily it is a “nutrition responsive disorder”.  

What is a Macula

The macula acts as a color filter through which light passes before it is perceived by the rods and cones in your retina.  It is responsible for some VERY important stuff:

  1. Our central vision
  2. Most of our color vision
  3. The fine detail of what we see

What Damages the Macula

Blue light comes from our light bulbs, computers and also the sun creates free radicals which damage the tissue.  Blue light creates reactive radicals (free radicals) in the retina damaging essential tissues.

Lack of eye resiliency that comes with age and poor nutrition. 

Macular pigments lutein and zeaxanthin quench free radicals and actively protect the macula’s nerve tissue from the damage

Orange Blocks Blue

If you’ve seen blue blocking glasses, you know that blue blocking glasses range from yellow to dark orange.  This makes sense, blue and orange are opposite each other on the color wheel. 

Pigments from Food get Embedded in your Macula

Some plants contain yellow/orange/red pigments such as lutein and zeaxanthin which then get embedded directly in the eye and directly contribute to your vision. 

To filter blue light, eat yellow-orange-red foods

Being Proactive

Macular degeneration is a “nutrition responsive disorder”.  The National Eye Institute has undertaken two Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS) showing that specific nutrients can slow the progression of the disease.  

NIH Conducted a Study which Created a Supplement

AREDS – Age-Related Eye Disease Studies by NIH.  Enrolled for thant 5,000 people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), ended in 2001.  Showed that a specific formula of nutritional supplements containing high doses of antioxidants and zinc could slow the disease in those who have intermediate AMD and those with advanced AMD in only one eye. 

Follow-up study AREDS2 published in 2013 substituted lutein and zeaxanthin for beta-carotine.  Results showed that the AREDS2 combination reduced the risk of disease progression by as much as 19 percent and/or of vision loss by 25 percent. 

Not all AREDS Supplements are the Same

After taking the class, I wanted to start an eye health product and be able to recommend one to my patients. 

In a recent medical journal researchers compared 11 brand-name supplements and found that many of the products were lacking.   Here’s the product I decided on for myself and to share with my patients: 

To order using Fullscript https://us.fullscript.com/protocols/boisenaturalhealth-eye-health

Sources and Resources

https://www.macularsociety.org/

https://www.brightfocus.org/

https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/good-eyesight

Tired and Overstressed? Consider Daily Adaptogenic Herbs & Mushrooms

by Joan Haynes, NMD

A lot on your plate? Not coping as well as you’d like? Adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms can help. I’ve personally been taking some form of adaptogens to help me cope with the pressures of my busy life for over 20 years. I find them very useful and recommend them frequently to patients.

Adaptogens are herbs and mushrooms that act to provide energy and balance to the body. Some of these plants enhance mental performance, others make our stress response calmer and more efficient. They support the natural circadian rhythms and promote restful sleep. Many also support immune health and others impact digestion.

Each adaptogenic herb or mushroom has a slightly different action. Here’s a list of the most commonly used:

Rhodiola
(Rhodiola Rosea)
  • Ashwagandha
  • Schisandra
  • Holy Basil
  • Rhodiola
  • Eleuthero
  • Licorice

Mushrooms:

  • Reishi
  • Turkey Tail
  • Chaga
  • Lions Mane
  • Cordyceps
  • Maitake
  • Shitake

Here is a link to one of our vendors Gaia Herbs that explains the actions of the different herbs:
https://www.gaiaherbs.com/blogs/seeds-of-knowledge/5-amazing-adaptogenic-herbs-for-adrenal-fatigue

Another one of our vendors, Wholesun Wellness, provides top-notch mushrooms to our clinic.
Here’s some great info to learn more. https://www.wholesunwellness.com/

How to Decrease Jet Lag

By Dr. Nicole Maxwell

Planning to travel?  Want to take advantage of every minute?  Learn how to decrease the symptoms of jet lag so you can enjoy your time instead of wanting to sleep the day away.

Jet lag symptoms include: 

  • Disturbed sleep — such as difficulty falling asleep, early waking or excessive sleepiness.
  • Daytime tiredness.
  • Difficulty functioning at your usual level.
  • Stomach problems, constipation or diarrhea.
  • A general feeling of not being well.
  • Mood changes.

Hydration: dehydration worsens symptoms of jet lag and airplane travel promotes dehydration.  Make sure to hydrate well before, during and after your flight.  Avoid alcohol, soda and caffeine as those promote dehydration as well.  Choose an aisle seat so you can take bathroom breaks as needed.  Consider drinking a glass of water every waking hour on your flight.

Melatonin: Melatonin is related to light – light suppresses melatonin secretion.  Crossing time zones disrupts the melatonin cycle.  Consider taking melatonin upon arrival one hour before the new bedtime.  If you arrive in the morning, wait until that evening to supplement.  1-3mg should be plenty.

Homeopathic combination remedies like No Jet Lag can be very helpful for recovering from jet lag.  No Jet Lag directions: chew 1 upon take off, one in the middle of flight, one upon landing and one before bed, local time. May also chew 1 three times a day the next day if needed.

Acupressure can also be helpful for jet lag and it’s free!  Check out this link by physical therapist, Mary Golob for the acupressure points and the associated times.  https://www.scribd.com/document/383612283/How-to-fix-Jet-Lag

Fasting hasn’t been tested in clinical trials yet and the theory, extrapolated from mice, is that the body’s circadian clock gets suspended when fasting to conserve energy.  When you eat soon after landing, the clock starts again.  The doctors who did the mice research recommend fasting 12-16 hours before and during the flight then eat a healthy meal once you land, as soon as is convenient.  Drink lots of water during the flight though!  If you want to eat on plane pre-order “low sodium” meal to prevent dehydration.

Earthing: walk outside on a natural surface for 20 – 30 minutes with bare feet.  The theory here is that the earth has a rhythm and by grounding yourself in the new time zone, your rhythm will match the earth’s rhythm in the new time zone.  I have colleagues who swear by this.  I think it sounds lovely to squish your toes in the sand or lay on the grass and become present to the new surroundings.

Supplements: An adrenal support in the morning of new time zone can help increase morning cortisol.  Then take phosphatidyl serine 3 hours before the new bedtime and again at the new bedtime to help decrease nighttime cortisol.  This resets the cortisol rhythm to the new time zone.  These are available at Boise Natural Health Clinic.

May you have wonderful travels with little jet lag interference.  Feel free to come in for a tune up as well to prepare for your best trip yet.

Citations

1. https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-jet-lag?fbclid=IwAR0doaU7dGY-haoLuLOZ6xukPtRUyI2mxnYIC8TI7LntKyxiInr_piWD2J8

 2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/resetting-your-circadian-clock-to-minimize-jet-lag-2016090810279

Well-Prepared Natural Travel Kit

by Joan Haynes, NMD

Buy a basic first-aid travel kit and add your own natural medicines

Additional natural remedies to add:  (products mentioned by name available at BNHC)

For gastrointestinal illness:

Arsenicum 30C  A homeopathic remedy that treats vomiting or diarrhea. At the first sign of getting ill, let 3 pellets dissolve under your tongue. Use every hour or two when awake until symptoms resolve.

Charcoal caps  Charcoal absorbs toxins in your digestive tract. If you feel you ate or drank something that upset your system, take 2 caps (for a child) or 4 caps (for an adult). You can take 2 more capsules in another 1-2 hours. The charcoal will turn your stool black.

Botanifuge (Professional Formulas)   These capsules contain several different herbs that kill off parasites and pathogenic bacteria. They can also be used as a preventative measure (1-2 caps per day) as well as to treat an acute infection (1-2 caps 3-4x/day).

Probiotics Take 1cap with each meal to ensure healthy gut bacteria. BNHC has a variety to choose from.

For physical injuries – bruises and minor trauma:

Arnica 30C homeopathic remedy that treats acute injuries by helping to reduce pain, swelling and bruising. Take 3 pellets under the tongue as soon after the injury as possible. This can be repeated every hour until symptoms subside.

Homeopathic antiinflammatory topical A homeopathic topical gel that works similarly to arnica. Apply to affected areas every 2-3 hours as needed for pain and swelling. Great for sore muscles.

For sunburn:

Aloe gel Soothing and healing to the skin following a burn. Do not apply to blistering or broken skin.

For sleep/ jet lag:

Melatonin Take 1-3 mg at bedtime in your new time zone.

Magnesium – 150 mg caps, take 1 – 2 after dinner to help sleeps. Can also combat constipation.

For more about how to decrease jet lag, see Dr. Maxwell’s article.
https://boisenaturalhealth.com/how-to-decrease-jet-lag/

For colds/flu or general immune support:

Biovegetarian (Priority One) (a multi-ingredient general immune support) 2 caps per day as preventative, 2 caps 3-4 x/day for acute illness.

For constipation

Most people experience constipation while traveling. Instead of waiting till you are uncomfortable, consider taking 1 cap of a combination herbal laxative before bed each night. You could also take 150 – 300 mg of Magnesium

For anxiety

Rescue Remedy 5 – 10 drops under your tongue. Great for fear of flying, crowds, too much family. Can also put dropperful in a water bottle and sip on as frequently as you want. Safe for children.

Lavela (Integrative Therapeutics) Great for flying and driving anxiety as well as family stress!) – this is a concentrated oral lavender capsule that works for stronger, longer anxiety relief. Can get burp a little lavender, but it’s not unpleasant. 1 cap twice daily.

Lemon Balm tea – bring your own tea bags with you when you need to calm your nerves. Sweeten with a dash of honey if you wish. Great for adults and children, tastes good.

Homeopathy

Consider purchasing a homeopathic first aid kit and book for other illnesses and injuries such as sunburn, insect bites, earaches etc.

Happy and Safe Travels!

Staying Healthy While Traveling

by Joan Haynes, NMD

If your vacation plans this summer involve travel to a foreign country, here are some tips to ensure your health stays in tip-top shape while you’re gone. Foreign lands mean foreign bugs, ones that our immune systems are less adapted too. If you are headed to a place where parasites are common, some extra precautions can be very helpful.

1. Prepare your digestive tract & prevent gastrointestinal illness

Take probiotics

Increasing your healthy intestinal bacteria for a month before your trip will leave you less susceptible to pathogens. We recommend HMF capsules one cap twice per day. This brand can tolerate room temperatures for up 30 days without refrigeration. If you are headed to a hot area without a fridge or air conditioning, buy a brand that is heat stable.

Make sure your digestive function is strong

Normal stomach acid is our best defense against pathogenic organisms. If you have symptoms such as gas, bloating, heartburn, or indigestion, check with your doctor to see if supplementing with hydrochloric acid is appropriate for you.

Don’t drink the water (or eat the fresh fruit, salad, or drink iced beverages, etc!)

Hydration is very important of course, and if you are travelling to an area that has contaminated water, vigilance is required to avoid gastrointestinal illness. The best solution is to bring your own water filter and treat your water yourself. REI has some great options. If you choose to go the bottled water route, make sure that you are the one opening your bottles and check the seals. It is not uncommon in impoverished countries for locals to refill old bottles with unclean water and resell it. Similarly, do not believe any claims that the water or ice is boiled or treated. Peel your own fruit, insist that your food is steaming hot when it’s brought to you, and turn down raw salads and ice. You will be a less frequent visitor to the latrine.

You must however, stay hydrated.  Many symptoms of jet lag and travel fatigue are simple dehydration!!!  Here’s an article about dehydration symptoms and another about electrolyte replacement

2. Prepare your circadian rhythm with melatonin

Jet lag can slow down the best of us. If you are travelling across several time zones, melatonin can be extremely helpful in “resetting” the circadian clock. Take 3 mg at the time that locals would be going to bed (and go to bed yourself). This should help induce proper sleep and wake times for that time zone.  Read more about jetlag

3. Support your immune system

Get adequate sleep, and go easy on the sugar and alcohol. If you are concerned about a tendency to get sick, take an immune stimulating product such as Biovegetarian by Priority 1. As a preventative, the dose is 2 tablets per day. To treat acute illness the dose is 2 tablets 3-4 x/day.  Another favorite product is Liquid Herbal Resistance by Wellness Formula. 

Essential oils have antimicrobial properties.  Inhaling and applying them during travel can significantly reduce the number of microbes.  Be careful with direct skin contact and some oils can burn and they may need be applied with a carrier oil, such as coconut or olive oils. 

Read more about how to create a Travel Kit that incudes natural remedies. 

Natural Cleaning Recipes

by Nicole Maxwell, NMD

Adapted from Lauren Cox at Natural Partners

You may have a cabinet somewhere in the house complete with glass cleaner, bleach, abrasive bathroom cleaner, etc. Many conventional cleaning products contain chemicals that can be harmful to your health.  

Try some of these great healthy alternatives.  Put them in glass spray bottles to reduce plastics in the house as well.  You will cut down on chemicals in your home and oftentimes save money!

Here are some interesting facts:

  • An EPA study concluded that the toxic chemicals in household cleaners are 3 times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air. (https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Guides/Home/The-Inside-Story-A-Guide-to-Indoor-Air-Quality)
  • The EPA found the levels of air pollution inside the home can be two to five times higher (and sometimes even 100 times higher) than outdoor levels. (American Lung Association and 3M survey, 2002)
  • The EPA ranks poor indoor air quality among the top five environmental risks to public health. (American Lung Association and 3M survey, 2002). Here is a link for plants that help improve air quality.

Window Cleaner

¼ cup rubbing alcohol
¼ cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups purified water

Try plain packing paper to wipe to decrease streaking.

All Purpose Cleaner

½ cup white vinegar
2 cups water
10 drops oregano oil
10 drops clove oil
10 drops lavender oil
10 drops lemon oil

Toilet Scrub

¾ cups borax
1 cup white vinegar
10 drops citrus oil of choice
10 drops mint oil

Wood and Floor Cleaner

1 cup white vinegar
2 oz mild castille soap
3 cups purified water
20 drops essential oils of choice

Wood Polish

¼ cup coconut oil
⅓ cup white vinegar
4 cups hot water

Laminate and Tile Cleaner

1 tablespoon baking soda
2 cups hot water
10 drops citrus oil of choice

Moldy Grout Cleaner

1 part hydrogen peroxide
1 part water
(spray and let sit at least 45 minutes and wipe down with a sponge)

Leather Cleaner

¼ cup white vinegar
¼ cup olive or coconut oil
10 drops essential oil of choice

Air Fresheners

Consider an aromatherapy essential oil diffuser or make a simmer pot. Just add in your favorite oils and herbs to a gallon of water and let it simmer all day. Try lavender, rosemary, lemon or clove.

Dangers of Essential Oils

by Joan Haynes, NMD

Last week, another patient with essential oil burns on her body came in to the clinic.  Since she had no idea that the oils were the cause, she was continually using more and different oils, encouraged by a well-meaning, essential oil distributor – thus causing the rash to blister and weep.  Sadly, this scenario is common.  Many people think that “natural” means “safe”.  But essential oils are highly concentrated substances that can have useful but also toxic effects on the body.  One drop of the oil can be the equivalent to 10-50 cups of the herbal tea.  Since essential oils have become so popular, it is important we understand their risks, especially if we are using them with children, pets, and during pregnancy.

For a good overview, here is an article by Katie Wells aka Wellness Mama, a very reliable website for you to get useful information about essen

tial oils and many other natural health topics.

This popular Dr. Axe’s article talks about diffusing essential oils and lists safety aspects for specific oils, including which ones can cause sun sen

sitivity and which ones are to not be used in pregnancy.

If you use essential oil with your children, please read this article written by a naturopathic physician in Montana, who has put together very good information for there safe use.

There have been recent articles warning cat owners about the dangers of essential oils.  There is some evidence that their livers cannot metabolize compounds in essential oils.  Here is an article that talks about essential oils and both dogs and cats.

This article is by a veterinarian who says that essential oils, when used properly, are likely safe for our cats.

Essential oils can be great medicine when used properly.  Please inform yourself and be careful.  There is a lot of misinformation out there!

Alterative Tea – Year Round Tonic

by Joan Haynes, NMD

Alterative herbs are those which improve overall health by supporting basic bodily processes.  They “do a little bit of everything”. I learned this inexpensive, great-tasting, 9-herb tea formula from Jill Stansbury, NMD, professor at the National University of Natural Medicine and have been recommending it for over 20 years.  Drink daily to stay hydrated and healthy all year long.  For sale in the clinic for only $8.00.

 

Useful in So Many Ways

Alterative herbs contain nutrients, minerals including trace minerals, electrolytes, and hormonal precursors that all nourish and stimulate metabolism.  Alteratives also stimulate digestive and absorptive functions thereby optimizing nutrition.  Alteratives also promote eliminative functions and thereby the removal of wastes, minimizing toxic accumulations and enhancing intestinal aerobic flora.  Due to these actions, alteratives are considered to be cleansing and general tonics.

Ingredients

Equal Parts:

Taraxicum officinale “Dandelion root”

Arctium lappa “Burdock”

Berberis aquafolium “Oregon grape, Mahonia”

Glycerrhiza glabra “Licorice root”

Astragalus membranosus “Milk vetch”

Citrus aurantium “Orange peel”

Cinnamomum zeylanicum “Cinnamon”

Foeniculum vulgare “Fennel

Zingiber officinale “Ginger”

Tea Preparation

Instructions for Decoction –  1 heaping tsp per 1 – 1½  cups of water.  Make a single serving or a whole pot.  Simmer the tea covered for about 20 – 30 minutes in stainless steel or glass pot.  Strain. This tea is naturally sweet, but if you want it to be sweeter, sweeten with stevia or honey.

Tips for Tea Drinking

 If you like your tea cold consider quart glass mason jars for storing your tea.  It encourages you to drink a lot and is easy to travel with.  It’s worth investing in plastic lids.  (They have ones with fun straws and straw holders too).  You can make a quart each morning and drink room temp or iced.

If you like your tea hot, invest in a good thermos for when you work and travel.  When you are home, you can just leave your tea on the stove in its cooking pot.  Reheat it each time you want a cup.  You can strain after the 30 minutes of simmering or leave the plant matter in the water if you like a stronger brew.

Precautions

This tea contains licorice and in rare cases may increase blood pressure in susceptible people.  Avoid licorice if you are also taking an Ace inhibitor, diuretic, steroid, or blood thinner.  This tea is not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers, but is encouraged in children.  Do not take if you have heart, liver or kidney disease.  Do not take if you have hormone sensitive cancers.

 

 

Why Boise Natural Health Clinic Has a Fragrance-Free Policy

by Joan Haynes

You may have noticed this sign in our office:

FRAGRANCE-FREE POLICY

To protect the health of our

chemically sensitive patients and staff,

we ask that while visiting

Boise Natural Health Clinic, you do not wear any

fragrance that is perceptible to others.

 

Fragrances Can Have a Negative Effect to Yourself and Others

You may not realize you are making yourself or other people sick by your fragrances.  Because people do not want to offend you or are afraid of being accused of being “sensitive”, your friends or family may not tell you that they get sick from your laundry detergent, lotion, hair products, or perfume.  We commonly get people in the office who have no idea that their overpowering fragrance can be perceived even in the back office as soon as they walk into the building or that we need to air the building out as soon as they leave.

People can develop headaches, brain fog, dizziness, nasal congestion or sneezing, nausea, or even pass out when exposed to fragrance.  Studies have been done linking some of these chemicals to health problems with the immune, nervous, detoxification, and hormonal systems as well as cancers.

What is a Fragrance?

Perfumes, colognes, and deodorants obviously have fragrance.  But so do most seemingly harmless personal care products.  Even those marked “fragrance-free” or “unscented” may contain a fragrance along with a masking agent that prevents the brain from perceiving odor.  There are over 3000 chemicals that are used as fragrance most of which have not been tested for toxicity alone or in combination.  The industry is unregulated – fragrances are considered “trade secrets”.  Just because it is on the market, do not assume it is safe.

How to Avoid Exposure

We get exposed to dangerous chemicals in our environment all the time over which we have no control, but we have complete control over what we use on our body and in our home.

  1. Stop using scented laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets. It can take many washings to get the smell out, especially of synthetic fibers.  If clothes are permeated, you may need to hang clothes or linens in the sun for a few days – UV light is an amazing detoxifier.
  2. Get rid of any artificially scented candles, or air fresheners including plug-ins. Some contain acetone, benzene, lead, carbon monoxide, toluene and more!
  3. If you like fragrances, use essential oils instead of synthetic perfumes. But be careful, essential oils can smell too strong for some people and can affect people with seasonal allergies.  You may need to dilute the oil before using on your skin as they can burn.  Essential oil sprays make good deodorants.
  4. There are very few occasions that you need to use toxic cleaning supplies in your home. Learn to use baking soda and vinegar to clean.
  5. If you are exposed to strong fragrances in your work place, you have every right to ask for a fragrance -free policy to be implemented. Stand up for yourself!
  6. Environmental Working Group is the best place to go for more information. This non-profit organization has amazing Consumer Guides for non-toxic household and personal care products.