Health Tip of the Day – Herbal Pain Relief

What can you do when you have pain, especially on a daily basis, and don’t want to risk the possible side effects of traditional anti-inflammatories? There is something that works quite well, and has been used for centuries.White willow bark has been used throughout the ages in both China and Europe. Back around 400 B.C., Hippocrates recommended chewing on the bark to his patients in order to reduce fever and inflammation. When selecting a supplement or herb to try, it’s always good to have that kind of history behind it, and that’s why it’s the health tip of the day.The main ingredient in white willow is salicin, the same ingredient that aspirin was derived from. But being in a natural state, there is a very low chance of side effects with willow bark compared to a chemical derivative. Long-term use of NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) can lead to complications such as gastrointestinal discomfort, stomach bleeding, ulcers etc. Even though with white willow a small potential exists for similar side effects as regular aspirin, it is very low, and will tend to be mild. I’ve experienced some stomach bleeding from NSAIDs (Aleve), but have NEVER had a problem with white willow-I often take it on an empty stomach before breakfast.Willow bark is an effective herbal pain relief for headaches, backaches, and osteoarthritis. Although there aren’t a lot of scientific studies related to the following, some herbalists will recommend white willow for these kinds of pain: menstrual cramps, fever, flu, tendonitis, and bursitis. It is slower than aspirin to take effect, but once it does, the relief lasts longer. Even though researchers feel that salicin is the ingredient that is responsible for the relief, studies have discovered other elements of the bark that have antioxidant, fever-reducing, antiseptic, and immune-boosting properties.With all of the previously mentioned benefits, no list containing any health tip of the day would be complete without white willow bark. If you have low to moderate daily pain you should REALLY consider giving it a try. It has done wonders for me, safely and without any negative effects. Always check with your health care provider before taking anything new (those who are sensitive to salicylates, like aspirin, should not use willow bark).

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Back to School Health Tips

Kids get the most out of their education when they’re healthy enough to actually be in class. Back to school time is one of the times when children are more vulnerable to illness, largely because they are suddenly exposed to a much wider variety of illnesses than they were in contact with during summer vacation. Here are some simple, easy-to-follow instructions that can help to keep your kids at the peak of wellness.Be Up-to-Date on All Immunizations
Kids may hate it, but they will need to be up-to-date on all of their required immunizations. The majority of schools will not admit or even enroll students who do not have the proper immunization record. Your child’s school will be able to provide you with the information about which immunizations are required and which are recommended. Your doctor will be able to determine which shots your child will need from there and provide you with the appropriate documentation to ensure that your child will be able to attend school.Keep the School Nurse and Teachers Informed
If your child has any allergies or takes any medications, it is essential for you to let the school nurse and your child’s teachers know. Put this information in writing so that the teachers and nurse can keep them on file in case of emergencies. If your child has food allergies and will be eating school lunch, take the time to speak with cafeteria staff to learn about the procedures they follow to avoid cross-contamination.Avoid Germs
One of the best ways to avoid getting sick is to avoid coming in contact with germs. Kids of all ages benefit from a reminder to always practice good sanitation habits. Encourage them to always wash their hands after using the restroom, before touching their face or mouth, and before meals. Teach little ones to sneeze and cough into their elbows or shoulders instead of their hands to discourage spreading those germs. Remind them that one of the top ways to catch someone else’s germs is to share their food or drinks that have already been partially consumed.Maintain Good Nutrition
We often forget that what we use to fuel our bodies has a huge impact on our health. This also applies to growing bodies. By teaching little ones about good nutrition early on, you can help them to make wise choices even when you aren’t around. Understanding how food works with our bodies also can help children to be less at risk for obesity and diabetes, which are becoming greater and greater health risks in our society.