HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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Studies have shown chasteberry extract (agnus castus fruit), calcium, vitamin B6 and vitamin E can reduce PMS and PMDD symptoms. Traditional treatments for PMDD are antidepressant medications and drugs that suppress ovulation and the production of ovarian hormones (birth control pills). Several selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class drugs are effective in treating PMDD. These drugs work by regulating the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. They include Prozac, Sarafem, Zoloft, Paxil and Celexa. Up to 75 percent of women report relief of symptoms with SSRI medications. Be sure to talk to your gynecologist about your symptoms.

IS IT MORE THAN PMS

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

researchers believe they result from the interaction of hormones the ovaries produce, such as estrogen and progesterone, with the neurotransmitters in the brain at different stages in the menstrual cycle. Biologic, psychological, environmental and social factors all play a part in PMDD. It is not “all in your head.”


Other physical and psychological conditions have overlapping symptoms with PMDD, such as mood and anxiety disorders and thyroid disease. A diagnosis of PMDD involves a thorough medical history, a physical examination and blood tests to rule out thyroid conditions. Any woman who suspects she has PMDD should keep a journal and record symptoms that can be compared with a menstrual calendar to see the relationship of symptoms and the menstrual cycle. Five or more of the following symptoms must have been present during the week prior to the menstrual period and resolved within a few days of the start of the woman’s period. The symptoms must interfere with daily activities and not be the result of another condition or illness. These include:


During the last seven to 10 days of the menstrual cycle, many women suffer from a variety of unpleasant physical, emotional and behavioral effects called premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS symptoms include bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, joint pain, food cravings, mood swings, frequent crying and panic attacks. Women may also encounter fatigue, mood changes, irritability, anxiety and trouble focusing and sleeping.


Although regular PMS symptoms are uncomfortable and painful, there is an even more severe form of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). About 5 percent to 8 percent of women have symptoms so distressing and debilitating that they interfere with their ability to carry out daily life activities. PMDD causes irritability, depression or anxiety in the week or two before the period starts. The levels of disruption in extreme cases are similar to those that people with major depression experience. Symptoms usually go away two to three days after the period starts.


Other ways PMDD manifests itself include increased appetite, acne, hot flashes, heart palpitations, dizziness, sleeplessness, forgetfulness and gastrointestinal upset. These symptoms usually resolve within the first few days after the menstrual period begins.


While the exact causes of PMS and PMDD are unknown,