Millions of people experience depression and anxiety, and often feel their only option is to take medications that may not completely resolve the issues. Studies show that anxiety and depression are related both to our genetic tendencies and our exposure to various stresses in life. We can address our genetic tendencies and help our bodies recover from stress using natural approaches such as mindfulness, dietary changes, nutrients, amino acid therapy, as well as optimizing hormones, blood sugar, and gut bacteria. Naturopathic doctors can serve this population and help people resolve mood-related issues once and for all.
To view the archive of past webinar recordings, please click here.
About the Presenter
Donielle (Doni) Wilson, is a doctor of naturopathic medicine (Bastyr University alumna), natural health expert, nutritionist, midwife and author who believes it is possible to be healthy, even when we are stressed. After experiencing and recovering from stress herself, Dr. Doni wrote a book called The Stress Remedy. In that book she redefines stress to include toxins, food sensitivities, and lack of sleep. She explains how stress causes adrenal distress, leaky gut, and blood sugar imbalances. And she offers expert guidance on how to reclaim optimal health with the approach she has used to help thousands of patients. She specializes in gluten sensitivity, intestinal permeability, adrenal stress, insulin resistance, neurotransmitter imbalances, hypothyroidism, women’s health issues, autoimmunity and genetic variations called “SNPs”, such as MTHFR, which can have a profound impact upon your health. For nearly 20 years, she has helped women, men and children overcome their most perplexing health challenges and achieve their wellness goals by crafting individualized strategies that address the whole body and the underlying causes of health issues. Dr. Doni is frequently called upon to discuss her approach in the media, as well as at both public and professional events. She writes a blog that you can find at DrDoni.com.
Welcome to The Naturopathic Kitchen where we explore food as medicine. You can be empowered to take control of your health when armed with knowledge of what is healthy. It may be intimidating to try new things especially when you don’t know what it is good for or how to prepare/cook it. Let’s learn together! Today, our focus is on the beautiful herb lavender.
Many of us know lavender from its use in cleaning products and air fresheners. But, did you know the scent of lavender essential oil comes packed with health benefits? Lavender oil comes from the purple flowering plant Lavandula angustifolia which is native to northern Africa and the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean and has been used for over 2,500 years! Today it is grown all over the world.
Where does lavender come from? Where can I find it?
Lavender has a long therapeutic history dating back to ancient Greece, Rome, and Persia. Its historical uses ranged from adding flowers to bathwater to help wash the skin, to sprinkling flowers throughout castle floors to help as a natural disinfectant and deodorant. Lavender actually gets its name from the Latin word lavare which means “to wash.”
Though not as readily available as other edible herbs, lavender is easily found growing in plant nurseries or even the garden section of your local home improvement store. It can also be found in health food stores sold as culinary lavender buds.
How does lavender help my health?
Lavender’s best action is its calming effect which, amazingly, is best appreciated by smelling it! There is lots of research backing up the anxiety-reducing effects of lavender which are thought to be serotonergic in nature rather than GABA-ergic (which is how most calming agents work).1 This discovery may explain why some research points to it being supportive in depression as well.2 Other traditional uses of lavender are as an antibacterial, antifungal, smooth muscle relaxant, and it has been shown to be effective for burns and insect bites though the evidence for these traditional uses are not as strong.3
What medical conditions/symptoms are lavender good for?
Many of the studies on lavender use its essential oil due to increased potency. Lavender has many great uses when mixed with a carrier oil such as olive oil for uses in burns, bites and arthritis. Since many of lavender’s positive effects come from smelling it, some great uses of the oil include putting a few drops on the corners of pillows to help with sleep or putting it into a diffuser for the same effect. However, since ingesting pure lavender oil is toxic, care must be taken when using lavender essential oil and it should be used under the guidance of a naturopathic physician. Click here to find an ND near you in the US and Canada.
When should lavender be avoided?
Lavender skin care products and supplements should be avoided by children, especially young boys. Lavender oil may lead to hormone imbalance and abnormal breast growthin pre-pubescent males.4 Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should also avoid lavender, as there is insufficient research demonstrating safety. Additionally it is recommended to discontinue lavender two weeks prior to surgery as its relaxing effects may be enhanced by anesthesia and surgically related medications, resulting in central nervous systemsuppression.4
Let’s try it out with a delicious and nutritious recipe!
Lavender Lemonade with Honey
1 c raw, local honey 5 c purified water 1 T dried, organic culinary lavender (or 1/4 c fresh lavender blossoms, crushed) 1 c fresh-squeezed lemon juice Ice cubes 2-3 sprigs lavender (for garnish)
Bring 2 1/2 cups purified water to boil in a medium pan. Remove from heat and add honey, stir to dissolve. Add the lavender to the honey water, cover, and let steep at least 20 minutes or up to several hours, to taste. You can put the lavender into a tea infuser or reusable tea bag for easier clean up. Strain mixture and compost/discard lavender. Pour infusion into a glass pitcher. Add lemon juice and approximately another 2 1/2 cups of cold water, to taste. Stir well. Refrigerate until ready to use, or pour into tall glasses half-filled with ice, then garnish with lavender sprigs.
NOTE: Do not use lavender essential oil in this recipe. Essential oil must be used with care as toxicity is very possible. Always use essential oils under the care of a licensed doctor.
Special thank you to Small Footprint Family for this great recipe.
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Join Radley Ramdhan, ND, MsAc, former Specialist in the United States Army Corp of Engineers, New York Army National Guard for an informative session on naturopathic approaches to PTSD. Hear about his firsthand journey as a doctor and veteran in navigating traumatic issues with patients.
To view the archive of past webinar recordings, please click here.
About the Presenter
Radley Ramdhan, ND, MsAc completed his Bachelor of Science in Biology at Barry University in Miami, Florida. He earned his Master of Science in Acupuncture and Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine (UBSNM) in Bridgeport, Connecticut. While pursuing his studies, he served as a Specialist in the United States Army Corp of Engineers, New York Army National Guard for six years. It was through his military experience that he developed a special interest in working with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) patients, and as a result completed his thesis on understanding and treating PTSD using a naturopathic approach. Dr. Radley served one deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in Kuwait and Iraq.
He has co-authored two articles published by Naturopathic Doctor News and Review :
25% of female deaths are attributed to heart disease.1 64% of women who die suddenly from coronary heart disease have no symptoms.2 Watch naturopathic cardiologist Dr. Decker Weiss’ webinar on naturopathic approaches for women with heart disease.
Approximately 25% of women will develop osteoporosis in their lifetime.1 The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that approximately half of women over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis.2 Lifestyle factors such as exercising, specifically weight bearing, and maintaining a nutritious diet with vitamin D and calcium are critical to bone health.
Stress can ripple through all aspects of our mind and body. Dr. Brad Lichtenstein shares how NDs help patients identify and prevent stressors, teaching them simple techniques to manage stress, and how to avoid situations that may lead to negative impacts on health and well-being.
12% percent of women have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.1 Naturopathic approaches to improved fertility help couples conceive quickly and safely while addressing the root cause of conception issues.
Over 1.5 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the Unites States. 38% of women will develop cancer in their lifetime.1 Drawing on decades of combined experience in naturopathic oncology, Dr. Marcia Prenguber and Dr. Marie Winters review the role of a naturopathic physician from risk reduction to survivorship.
Arthritis impacts over 50 million Americans, making it the number one cause of disability in the country.1Learn about the large toolbox naturopathic doctors have to help those suffering with any form of arthritis.
Millions of American are prescribed opioids to cope with chronic pain. It’s estimated that 21-29% of patients will misuse them, and 8-12% will develop an abuse disorder.1 46 people die every day from overdosing on prescription opiods.2 Dr. Tyna Moore discusses the opioid crisis and non-pharmacological approaches to pain management.
Women are nearly two times more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men.1 Studies show that anxiety and depression are related to our genetic tendencies and exposure to stressors. Dr. Peter Bongiorno explains how naturopathic medicine can help resolve mood-related issues.
Most people are embarrassed to talk about problems they experience in the bathroom. With a worldwide prevalence of 10-20%, it’s time to start talking about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).1 Hear from four NDs about why naturopathic medicine may hold the key to uncovering the root cause of IBS.
200 million women worldwide and 1 in 10 women in the United States suffer from endometriosis.1 Dr. Alison Egeland discusses naturopathic approaches to women’s health and a tricky case of endometriosis.
1 in 9 women in the Unites States has diabetes.1Learn how naturopathic approaches to diabetes treatment can relieve symptoms, help patients manage blood sugar levels better, and in some cases reverse disease progression.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate On the Brink to discuss the relationship between depression and heart disease.
Full Transcript of Interview Below.
Gender impacts on health
Stress and its relationship with heart health
Adaption to stress
Positivity and gratitude
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: As I was preparing for this morning and thinking about it, something kept popping up in my head and maybe it’s because I’m getting sentimental with my old age and Valentine’s Day, but I was thinking about the role of our minds and our thoughts on the heart and figured, hey everybody talks about heart disease and how you should eat well and you should exercise and some of the things that are better for managing heart disease and preventing heart disease like the Mediterranean diet. I know we’ve talked about that before. How do we do something different today? I thought maybe we would connect the relationship with depression and heart disease.
Erin Brinker: Oh, I think that’s wonderful.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Is that okay?
Erin Brinker: Yes, I think that’s wonderful. Absolutely.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I was looking at the statistics and heart disease still remains the number one killer of folks in the United States, one out of every four deaths. It is very important to understand but one of the lesser talked about issues in heart disease is that folks with heart disease, heart patients, are three times as likely to be depressed at any given time than the general population. I found that really interesting and depression is also twice as common in women than men.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: One of the things that kept coming into my mind and I always look at illness and all patient issues with a naturopathic lens, is how does our role with stress, how does our role with how we handle things, why is depression twice as likely in women than men? Is our existence that much more depressing than the male experience? What is that about?
Erin Brinker: I wonder if women are more likely to recognize their depression and ask for assistance than men are.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That definitely is part of it. There’s a lot of stigma around men feeling weak or showing “weakness” and anything mental can be considered weakness. You know, “tough it up, be a man,” that whole culture of having to try and stiff upper lip everything and hold it in actually impacts so many different components of our health. I’ve talked before about the role of cortisol and stress in our talks here in the morning, but stress impacts our release of cortisol which is a hormone and that has so many different ripples in the body, some of which can worsen heart disease if it’s already present or exacerbate incidents of heart disease. Cortisol, that’s your stress hormone, that’s ‘run from the bear in the woods’ kind of thing and what does it do? It increases your heart rate, it increases blood sugar levels, which subsequently can have increased damage on your vascular system. There’s a lot of ripples and a connection between stress and heart disease that isn’t often talked about or addressed.
Erin Brinker: I know that people who deal with chronic pain can become depressed because the presence of pain that’s with you all the time is depressing. I mean, I’ve known enough people who have had like back pain and they really fight depression. Is this a chicken and the egg thing? Does the depression come first and then the heart disease or the heart disease and then the depression, or does that really matter?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I think it depends on the patient, Erin. There are so many different factors and I don’t think that we can say there’s just a one size fits all reason why folks have cardiovascular disease and it’s the number one killer. I would say that diet is definitely, at least in the United States, a major component, but what happens when folks are depressed? Depression in and of itself lends you to not want to exercise, not want to get out and talk to friends, and self-isolate, maybe grab more carb heavy foods, and things that will increase your weight and increase your blood pressure. It becomes this vicious cycle that just continues to feed itself. I don’t know that we can pinpoint any one thing but being depressed will … How motivated are you if you’re feeling down to go out and exercise? Funny thing is that’s exactly what you should do when you’re feeling down, like get out, get out of the house, don’t sit and mope and wallow in it. Go take a walk, go call a friend. I think there are many better adaptive coping mechanisms that we can do to our stressors but some of that just is around how do we adapt to stress. If you’re stressed do you instantly go to like anger or anxiety? Research has shown that the folks that when they’re stressed, they go to anger and anxiety, they have higher levels of heart disease.
Erin Brinker: Interesting.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: How we manage our stress is also important. Recognizing the things that get you stressed out … I can tell you mornings stress me out. Getting a six-year-old up and out the door …
Erin Brinker: Ah, yes.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Getting ready for school stresses me out and so what I’ve tried to do, what we’ve tried to do in the house, is do as many things ahead of time so get the clothes out, make breakfast the night before or have things that are quick and easy to grab for breakfast and get a routine set so that we can head off at the path at least some of the things that will lead to more stress. Some things are going to be in our control and then there are going to be things that are not in our control and we still have to manage how do we respond to that; do we find the silver lining or do we mope and wallow in it. Yesterday, I was having a morning yesterday like it sounds like you guys are having today and I ended up … I had just gotten back into town after a week away, breakfast wasn’t made, and so I found myself running out the door to try and go grab breakfast at a store for my son, leave the house without my purse.
Erin Brinker: I have had … That has happened to me and you just want to cry. Oh, my goodness, I am so sorry that happened to you.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, but like in that moment of like okay, I’ve got a hungry kid, he has to eat, I’ve got no purse, like what do we do? Okay, what do we have in the car? Then I realized that I had some emergency cash stowed away in a pocket, like ah, okay. But like you could, you could just sit and just give up and cry or you can just go into alright, how do we make the best out of it?
Erin Brinker: Right.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Go ahead.
Erin Brinker: One of the things about depression is that you do isolate yourself and the people around you may not know how to say … How to pull you out, to help you work through that stress. I had a pretty stressful day yesterday and Tobin makes me laugh when I’m stressed, even if it irritates me a little bit when he starts, by the time he’s done I’m really happy that he did it and so I think we need to be cognizant of what those around us are feeling and going through and we can help.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Absolutely. You know, there’s so much, and we’ve talked about this before, check in on your friends. Recently, I’ve had several friends lose parents and loved ones and you make check on them initially, but check on them in a week or two or a month later. Keep checking on your friends, keep making sure that they’re okay. Stop in, make them laugh, take them to a funny movie. Do those types of things that will help elevate and just be a good human being, I think at the end of the day.
Erin Brinker: Just start there.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Start there, be a good human. You wish you didn’t have to tell that to people but you know.
Erin Brinker: You know, we get … I know when I get busy, I get tunnel vision and it’s a good reminder to say hey, have you checked in on your friends lately? Have you sent a note and said I’m thinking about you? It’s so easy to do with a text or social media post or whatever, it’s so easy to reach out to people now.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It really is. I think, again, it’s just we all get tunnel vision, we all get caught up in our day to day and making a choice to stop and check in on your friends and also stop and check in on yourself. That’s one of the things that I think when people get really busy and caught up, it’s easy to ignore feelings and how you’re doing and your attitude, really impact your emotional state. We can sit and focus and dwell on the things that are missing in our life until the cows come home. We can think about all the things we don’t have, all of the stuff that we wish we had, all the things we would want to have, or we can focus on the blessings we do have right here and right now. That practice of positivity and of gratitude … Yesterday I was having kind of one of those days and I forced myself before I went to bed, I’m like okay, focus on the things that you’re thankful for. What are the good things in your life and leave those as the last thoughts you have before you go to sleep.
Erin Brinker: Oh, that’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. An attitude of gratitude is a game changer, it really is.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It really is and it has been for me. I always joke, I come from a long line of worriers and anxious people, so it’s long bred in my family to be anxious and so I consciously have to say okay, you’re going a little too far on one side on this Jo, come on back, remember the things that you do have, remember the blessings, and be thankful for those because you’ve got it pretty good compared to a whole lot. Not to brag, but we have a house, we have a roof over our head, we’ve got food in the fridge, you know I’ve got family that loves me. That’s a really good place to start.
Erin Brinker: Indeed, and that will be our last word for today. Let people know how they can find you and follow you and learn more about the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges.