Archive for the ‘Alternative Treatments’ Category

28 Awesome Health Websites for Kids and Adults

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

by Leigh Ann Otte

If you’re a health junkie or just want new ways to waste use your time on the Internet, have we got the lists for you! Step right up and take a gander at our picks for some of the most fun and interesting health sites on the World Wide Web … such as:

  • Think Like a Pancreas: meet Pierre Pancreas, your fabulous French tour guide into the world of type 1 diabetes. (For teens.)
  • Scrub Club, with games and webisodes to teach kids about germs. (From the National Sanitation Foundation; sponsored by the makers of Purell.)
  • Go Red BetterU, offering a free 12-week online nutrition and exercise program for women. (From the American Heart Association.)
  • American Red Cross Museum: explore exhibits without leaving your home.
  • Portion Distortion Interactive Quizzes: “Do you know how food portions have changed in 20 years?” Take the quizzes and see.

Our full lists are divided into the following categories. Click on whatever you’re interested in. And feel welcome to recommend more sites in the comments sections. We may revise these articles with new finds in the future.

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Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of

Hot Pepper Cream: Burn That Pain Away!

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

by Leigh Ann Otte, Managing Editor

If “rub it” seems like sissy advice for your throbbing cluster headaches, aching back or worrisome arthritis pain, perhaps “burn it” will do the trick?

Capsaicin creams and sprays burn away the pain, so to speak, with the same chemical that makes peppers hot. These medicines make your body use up the substance triggering your pain. Integrative medicine physician Andrea E. Gordon explains in our article “Capsaicin Treatment: How Hot Peppers May Help Burn Away Headache and Arthritis Pain.”

Of course, the question is, is the cure worse than the treatment? In some cases, maybe; in others, maybe not, says Dr. Gordon. One thing’s for sure: Don’t get it in your eyes. “Capsaicin oleoresin is an oily extract used in pepper self-defense sprays!” Dr. Gordon says.

You can find capsaicin treatments in your pharmacy, but some applications require a health-care provider’s supervision. (Read the article for more on that.)

Have you tried capsaicin cream or spray? What was it like? Did it work?

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Honey as Medicine: The Yummiest Remedy

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

by Leigh Ann Otte, Managing Editor

Did you know that properly stored honey never spoils? Yep, and it may help wounds from spoiling too. Integrative physician Robert Pendergrast explains:

[Honey] has strong antibacterial activity, mainly because of its low water/high sugar concentration: It literally sucks all the water out of bacteria.

Honey seems to be an effective wound treatment in certain situations. Of course, there are important precautions and guidelines. Find out more by checking out our article. It also covers whether a nighttime dose of honey can treat children’s coughs and whether bee stings—yes, stings—can treat arthritis. (Do be sure to read the precautions. For example, never give honey to a child under 12 months because of botulism risk.), giving a whole new meaning to “licking your wounds” …

Pssst … sign up for our free e-newsletter! You’ll get fascinating articles delivered once a month.

Should Medical Marijuana Be Legal? Experts Debate, on National Pot Smoking Day.

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

by Leigh Ann Otte

Today, 4/20, is National Pot Smoking Day. Yeah, it’s unofficial. But around the country, people will be smoking marijuana at 4:20 p.m.

So we thought this would be the perfect moment to examine a different side of this illegal drug: the medical one.


Gargling controversy: Tap water as a cold remedy? Newspaper questions study.

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

The most popular article in our latest e-newsletter took on a simple, long-time first-aid remedy: hydrogen peroxide. Believe it or not, it may do your cuts more harm than good.

After our managing editor tweeted a link to it, Twitter follower Ross Kennedy asked, “What about gargling with diluted peroxide?” Good question.

I’m not aware of any well-done studies that have shown that gargling with peroxide helps prevent infections. It probably doesn’t hurt, as long as it’s well diluted. (Otherwise, it can cause a burn.) One study did suggest that gargling with plain old water might help keep you cold-free. But the validity of its findings has been questioned.


Acupuncture treatment for headaches: It works, says Cochrane

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Acupuncture got an official seal of approval from a respected medical organization this year. It effectively treats tension-type headaches and helps keep away migraines—even better than other preventive treatments—they said.

The Cochrane Collaboration is in independent, well-respected, nonprofit organization that analyzes evidence-based medicine (available studies) to to come up with recommendations of whether interventions work.  They are strict, conservative and not easy to please, and it’s hard to get their approval.  So if they think some treatment works, the evidence bears them out.


Boost your immune system: supplements, herbs, vitamins to treat colds–and the evidence behind them

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Many people use nutritional supplements, herbs, vitamins to try to boost immunity and ward off colds.  It is only natural (pun intended) since we don’t have a cure for the annoying and frequent set of viruses that cause colds.

A few days back, I wrote about some general tried and true methods to increase your immunity that have good studies to back them up and don’t cost money.   They should be your base for protection.  Only implement other methods after you have put the base in place.

Good, reliable studies of herbs, vitamins and supplements that prove efficacy and safety are harder to find.  Although many people swear by their home remedy, the mainstream medical world has not taken these seriously, in the past.  We are now trying to catch up but have a long way to go.

The reason I reneged on my promise to post this information, on boosting your immune system with herbs, supplements and vitamins on yesterday, was I wanted to wait on access to the information at, where they utilize a group of medical experts and scientists to review all of the reliable data we have on alternative medicines.  Their mission is ”to provide objective, reliable information that aids clinicians, patients, and healthcare institutions to make more informed and safer therapeutic decisions.”

Here is what they say about specific supplements, herbs and vitamins fighting the common cold.


How to boost your immunity during the cold and flu season

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

photo by James Gathany

Looking for a cure for the common cold or flu?  Sorry to disappoint.  You won’t find one that is proven to work.  Trying to boost your immunity to fight off those pesky viruses?  You’ve come to the right place.  As a reminder, colds and influenza are caused by viruses that affect your upper respiratory system.  Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses.  They don’t work on colds or the flu.  If you do get one of these nasty viruses, it has to run its course as your body’s immune system fights it to the finish.  Here are some ways you can boost and strengthen your immune system to help in the battle.


Complementary and alternative medicine: Many use CAM–but what is it? A family doctor’s opinion.

Monday, December 15th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

A government survey recently revealed that 38 percent of adults and 12 percent of children used complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) in the U.S. in 2007.  But how did they define CAM? What is conventional medicine?  And why do people use CAM, anyway?

These and more answered by your favorite family doctor :).  OK, second best, I’ll give you my opinions.


Irritable bowel syndrome treatments. New proof, old remedies.

Monday, November 17th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

I have been treating irritable bowel syndrome, sometimes called spastic colon, since I began practice in the 1980s.  I saw a lot of it when I had a full-time family practice.

Several new treatment drugs have been developed and removed from the market within the past few years, due to bad side effects.  An article in the British Medical Journal shows that really, much has not changed since the 1980s.


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