Elderberry: Nature’s Flu Fighter?

Is Elderberry nature’s flu fighter? It just might be.

Her love affair with elderberry began innocently enough. 3 years ago, my wife was hit with the flu, followed by a nasty cold, followed, again, by the flu. She is normally full of energy, but this non-stop onslaught truly took the wind out of her sails.

On the advice of someone at a local health food store, she finally tried a bottle of elderberry extract. In her mind, it couldn’t hurt, right? And frankly, she was tiring of chicken soup and tea. Within 3 days, she was completely better. No fever. No runny nose, sore throat, cough…not one sign of ill health remained. Her energy restored, she was sold.

 

Nowadays, at the very first sneeze or drippy nose, the elderberry is immediately put to use. My children even request it if they’re not feeling 100%. I, too, have jumped on the elderberry bandwagon, especially with the number of people I come into close contact with on a daily basis, and with the flu rates in the Dallas area on the rise.

 

What is Elderberry?

Elderberry, or elder, has been used for centuries to treat wounds when applied to the skin. It is also taken by mouth to treat respiratory illnesses such as cold and flu. In many countries, including Germany, elder flower is used to treat colds and flu. Some evidence suggests that chemicals in elder flower and berries may help reduce swelling in mucous membranes, such as the sinuses, and help relieve nasal congestion. Elder may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties.

Elderberry also contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and may help prevent damage to the body’s cells. However, very few studies have been done in humans, so researchers don’t know how effective elder may be.

There are several species of elder, but Sambucus nigra, or European elder (also called black elder), is the one used most often for medicinal purposes. It can be purchased as a liquid form, syrup (with or without sweetener), tincture, as well as powdered, capsule and lozenge form. My wife and children prefer the syrup added to a glass of water. Since hydration is especially important when you’re ill, it’s an ideal way to not only get your dose of elderberry, but added liquids as well. Though the lozenges are portable, thus making it easy to pop one as needed.

 

Research:

One study suggested that using a standardized elderberry extract, Sambucol, could shorten the duration of flu by about 3 days. Sambucol also contains other herbs plus vitamin C, so no one knows whether elderberry by itself would have the same effect. Another preliminary study found that a lozenge with elderberry extract (ViraBLOC) helped reduce flu symptoms when taken within 24 hours of symptoms starting. In the lab, one study suggested that elderberry could kill the H1N1 virus (“swine flu”) in test tubes, but researchers don’t know whether it would be effective against H1N1 in people.

 

Bacterial Sinusitis (Sinus Infection)

One study examined the use of a proprietary product, Sinupret, to treat bacterial sinusitis along with an antibiotic (doxycycline or Vibramycin) and a decongestant. People who took the combination did better compared to those who did not take Sinupret. However, Sinupret contains other herbs along with elderberry, so no one knows whether taking elderberry alone would work as well.

 

Recommended Dosages:

 

Pediatric

Normal dosage is 1 teaspoon per day of the elderberry syrup per day for maintenance; 1 teaspoons up to four times per day for intensive care.  But always a good idea to talk to your pediatrician before giving anything new to our child.

 

Adult

  • Sinupret: 2 tablets taken three times a day for bacterial sinusitis
  • Sambucol: 4 tbsp. a day for three days for colds and flu
  • Tea: Steep 3 – 5 g dried elder flower in 1 cup boiling water for 10 – 15 minutes. Strain and drink three times per day.

Precautions

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should use herbs only under the supervision of a health care provider.

Do not use unripe or uncooked elderberries. They may be poisonous.

Elderberry appears to have few side effects when used properly for short periods of time (up to 5 days).

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take elderberry.

If you have an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, you should ask your doctor before taking elderberry, as it may stimulate the immune system.

Possible Interactions

If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should talk to your health care provider before taking elderberry:

Diuretics (water pills) — Diuretics help the body get rid of excess fluid and increase the amount of urine your body makes. Elderberry may also act as a diuretic, so taking it along with a diuretic could make that drug stronger and raise your risk of dehydration. Diuretics include:

  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Bumetanide (Burinex)
  • Furosemide (Lasix)
  • Amiloride (Midamor)
  • Metolazone (Zaroxolyn)

 

Source: Elderberry | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/elderberry#ixzz2n1WAAuLu
University of Maryland Medical Center
 

Dallas Tops List as Worst City for Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

The beautiful weather has arrived, in Dallas anyway! The rest of the country seems conflicted on whether to officially let Spring come to the party. But along with Dallas’ blue skies and gentle breeze comes sneezing, watery eyes, and a nose that looks more like a drippy faucet. It’s all proof that Dallas tops list as worst city for seasonal allergy symptoms.

seasonal allergy symptoms“A direct barometer for allergy season is the tissue box in the reception area. When it’s empty at the end of the day, I know my adult and pediatric patients are suffering with seasonal allergy symptoms, says chiropractor Dr. Jeff Manning of Manning Wellness Clinic in Dallas.

In the most recent Top 10 list compiled by  The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, cities are ranked  based on pollen levels, use of allergy medications and the number of board-certified allergists in the area.

Louisville has moved up the list from No. 5 last year because of higher-than-average pollen counts, high use of allergy medications and too few allergy specialists, according to the foundation.

New York; Columbia, South Carolina; and San Antonio are new to the top 20. Only Los Angeles residents can breathe a sigh of relief; the city fell 39 places from No. 38 last year to No. 77 this year.

Here are the worst cities for spring seasonal allergy symptoms and sufferers in 2014:

1. Louisville, Kentucky

2. Memphis, Tennessee

3. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

4. Oklahoma City

5. Jackson, Mississippi

6. Chattanooga, Tennessee

7. Dallas

8. Richmond, Virginia

9. Birmingham, Alabama

10. McAllen, Texas

“Allergy and asthma patients already have a chronic sensitivity to things like pollen, mold and other airborne allergens, but they can also be more susceptible to rapid changes in temperature and moisture,” Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of NY and an ambassador for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, said in a statement. “A blending of the winter and spring means these patients are at risk of multiple symptoms simultaneously.”

If you think popping a pill is the only way to find relief for seasonal allergy symptoms, you are in for a treat: Chiropractic can help to improve seasonal allergy symptoms and help you to avoid allergy-related illnesses like sinus infections.  In the throes of an allergy attack, antihistamines definitely have their place. But with side effects like sleepiness, dry mouth and an overall clouded feeling, they’re not an ideal match for everyone.

Chiropractic works by helping the body to help itself. By removing interference within the body, nerves can function and perform the way they are meant to. Seasonal allergy symptoms can feel less severe.

For lots of information on chiropractic for allergies and asthma, click on the following link which Manning Wellness posted almost exactly 1 year ago!: http://manningwellness.com/combatting-allergies-and-sinus-issues-with-chiropractic/ 

“As long as Dallas tops list as worst city for allergy sufferers and seasonal allergy symptoms, my door will be open, and my waiting room tissue box full, says Dr. Manning.

Contact us today and find out how and why chiropractic can help you combat seasonal allergy symptoms, allergies, and asthma.

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2702 McKinney Ave, suite 202

Dallas, Texas 75204 214-720-2225

www.manningwellness.com

 

 

A Better Mac and Cheese recipe

To post information about the questionable additives in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and suggest that you try to cut down or eliminate eating it, leaves a void for many mac-n-cheese loving folks…our children included. The following recipe, though not flavored or colored like the well-known blue box, definitely fits the bill when you’re craving some comfort food. And it is EASY!! Our kids love it, as do their friends.

A Better Mac and Cheese

mac and cheese

1  1/2 cups cottage cheese

1 1/2 cups skim milk (1 or 2% is ok too)

1 tsp dried mustard or 1 Tbl prepared mustard

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt (cottage cheese has a high sodium content so you can omit this)

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/4 cup grated onions (you can sub with 2 T chopped dried onion)

1 cup plus extra grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 lb uncooked whole wheat macaroni

2 Tbl grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup bread crumbs

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a 9 or 10″ square baking pan with a light  coating of cooking spray. In a blender, combine the cottage cheese, milk, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper and purée until smooth. In a large bowl combine the puréed mixture with the onions, cheddar cheese, and uncooked macaroni. Stir well. Pour the macaroni and cheese mixture into the baking pan. Combine the grated Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle evenly over the top. Bake for about 45 minutes until the topping is browned and the center is firm.

 

Are Apples Bad for your Health?

Apples Top EWG’s Dirty Dozen

images-1Washington, D.C. – Apples top the Environmental Working Group’s annual Dirty Dozen™ list of most pesticide-contaminated produce, followed by strawberries, grapes and celery. Other fresh fruits and vegetables on the new Dirty Dozen list, a part of EWG’s 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ are peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, potatoes, cherry tomatoes and hot peppers.

EWG’s Clean Fifteen™ list, those fruits and vegetables with the least pesticide load, consists of corn, onions, pineapples, avocados, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, papayas, mangoes, asparagus, eggplant, kiwi, grapefruit, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and mushrooms.

“When given a choice, more consumers are choosing organic fruits and vegetables or using EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to find an easy affordable way to avoid toxic chemicals,” said Sonya Lunder, an EWG senior analyst. “They want to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables without eating too many pesticides. And they want to support local farms and agriculture that is better for the environment.”

EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, now in its 9th year, ranks pesticide contamination on 48 popular fruits and vegetables, based on an analysis of more than 28,000 samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and federal Food and Drug Administration.

 

Dr. Jeffrey Manning, DC

Manning Wellness Clinic

2702 McKinney Avenue, suite 202

Dallas, TX 75204

214-720-2225

www.manningwellness.com

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Too-early solid food could lead to problems for babies

baby being fed by her mum
At least 40% of moms are feeding their infants solid foods far too early, according a new study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, and that may lead to problems for their children later in life.

Researchers wanted to know how many babies were being fed solid foods (including cereal and baby food) sooner than recommended, whether breast-feeding or formula feeding made a difference and why solids were being introduced early. When the study began in 2005,  the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which also publishes the journal Pediatrics, recommended introducing solid foods when babies were between 4 and 6 months old.

In 2012, the AAP changed those recommendations. Now it says babies shouldn’t be eating solid food until they are about 6 months old.

Study and findings

As part of the two-year study, 1,334 mothers filed out monthly questionnaires about what their babies ate during the last week, says Kelley Scanlon, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and one of the study authors. Scientists then analyzed the data reported by the mothers to determine at which age babies were being fed solid food.

They found 539 moms, or 40% of moms, gave their babies solid food early. Previous studies had put that estimate at 19% and 29%. Researchers believe based on this study, they may actually be underestimating how many moms introduce solids early because the study was more likely to have older, more educated and higher income moms participating. “Mothers of lower socioeconomic status are at a higher risk of early solid food introduction,” the study says.

Giving your baby solid food too soon has been linked to a higher risk of obesity and diabetes, according to the study. Also, “starting infants on solids before 4 months can lead to allergies and eczema,” says Dr. Jennifer Shu, an Atlanta pediatrician and AAP spokeswoman who was not involved in the research.

Among the 539 moms who did introduce solids early, nearly 1 in 10 gave their babies solids before they were 4 weeks old.

Researchers found formula-fed infants were about twice as likely to be introduced to solids early, compared to only breast-fed babies.

Moms were also given 12 reasons to choose from to explain why they introduced solid food early. Among the top answers:
– 90% of moms said they thought their baby was old enough to start eating solids.
– 71% said their baby seemed hungry a lot of the time.
– 55% believed their doctor or another health care professional said their baby should start eating solids.

Scanlon cautioned that this last point reflected a perception that health care professionals were recommending when to start an infant on solids; researchers couldn’t actually confirm that’s what a doctor or nurse actually said.

Shu says she was surprised by the findings, but notes that some doctors and nurses may have been trained at a time when babies were fed solids earlier and says it’s hard to change behaviors when medical information changes so quickly.

Bottom line

“There’s a lack of awareness of what the recommendations are,” Scanlon says, adding babies are not developmentally ready for solid food before they are 4 months old.

Some of these moms are getting information on when to feed their babies solids “from generations (ex. grandparents, nurses, friends) who may have started their babies on solids at an earlier age,” suggests Shu.

According to the latest AAP recommendations, moms are supposed to exclusively breast-feed their babies until they are about 6 months old if possible, so babies can reap all the benefits of mother’s milk including extra immune protection and possible protection for future chronic illnesses like obesity and type II diabetes.

Every baby develops at a slightly different pace, but there are some signs to look for to help parents figure out if their child is ready for solids:
– Is the baby sitting up? Can she hold her head up?
– Does your baby open his mouth when food comes his way?
– Is she big enough? (Babies typically double their birth weight by 4 months)
– Can he take food off the spoon and actually swallow it?

The takeaway

Parents need clear and accurate guidance on when to introduce solid food to their babies, and pediatricians and health care professionals need to support them, says Scanlon, by explaining to the parents that crying doesn’t always mean the baby is hungry – it could also be wet, sick or lonely.

Can Fast Food lead to Asthma, Hay Fever and Eczema? New Study Suggests Link

CNN: Teenagers and young children who eat fast food could be increasing their risk of developing asthma, eczema and hay fever, according to a study published Monday in the British Medical Journal’s respiratory journal Thorax.

The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) study used written questionnaires completed by 319,196 13-  and 14-year-olds from 51 countries and by the parents of 181,631 6- and 7-year-olds in 31 countries.  They were asked if they had symptoms of the three conditions and about their weekly diet – including the types of foods they ate over the last year, and how often.

“We found clear associations between certain foods and severe asthma, hay fever (or allergic rhinoconjunctivitis) and eczema in the largest study of allergies in children (aged 6-7 years) and adolescents (13-14 years) to date,” said study author Hywel Williams of the Centre for Evidence Based Dermatology, Queen’s Medical Centre, University Hospital, Nottingham, UK.  According to Williams, the associations between allergic diseases and fast food were “only really convincing for severe disease.”

Researchers saw a protective effect against severe asthma for those who ate fruit at least three times a week.  Those consuming fast food three or more times a week had about a 30% increased risk of severe asthma, hay fever and eczema, a chronic skin condition that causes scaly, itchy rashes.  The results were consistent in both age groups.  Affluence and gender did not change or affect the outcome.

“The cautionary notes are that this study showed an association, which does not always mean that the link between food and allergies is causal,” Williams said. “It could be due to other factors linked to behavior that we have not measured, or it could be due to biases that occur in studies that measure disease and ask about previous food intake.”

Study authors say if further research shows that consuming a lot of fast food actually does cause these types of allergies, it could have major public health implications because of the rise in fast food consumption globally.

“It’s not at all surprising to me that a disease as complex as asthma would be directly affected by diet.  We’ve known for a while that diet can affect immune system function with certain foods being pro or anti-inflammatory,” says Dr. Stephen Teach, who is the chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington and was not involved in the research.

“Given that asthma’s inherently an inflammatory disease, with swelling and inflammation of the small to medium-size airways of the lung, it is not at all surprising that diet should affect those processes in some way.”

Teach said it’s important to note that these are associations only. “In other words, it would be wrong to assume from the results of this study that fast foods directly cause allergic disease.  It is possible that some unmeasured effect of socioeconomic status or environment which correlates with fast foods may in fact be responsible.”

Either way, Williams said, there is a take-home message for parents.  He says you don’t have to stop eating fast food entires, ” but to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and maybe less fast food – one or two times per week rather than three or more – if your child has allergies.”