Alternatives to the Status Quo

Individuals who are dealing with cancer and the related side effects of the treatment are finding relief with various alternative therapies.
It is not uncommon for people undergoing cancer treatment to become very aware of approaches which boost the immune system and promote general health. These two subjects play a large part in the battle against cancer. For many, this awareness includes a desire to find natural ways rather than introducing additional chemicals into the body, which leads to the research and utilization of many CAM therapies (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine).

Common complaints of conventional treatment side effects include nausea, lack of appetite and taste, as well as cotton mouth. There are a few ingredients from the produce isle of the grocery store that can be used to counter these issues. Lemon can be used to handle dry mouth and added to foods to gain flavor. Ginger and peppermint addresses nausea and helps to promote a healthy appetite. Mistletoe is another surprising plant that can also boost the immune system and may actually stop cancer cell growth.

A lack of energy typically plagues individuals dealing with cancer. Herbal approaches to this problem include the use of ginseng and green tea. These substances are reputed to provide a bump in energy levels. Green and white teas are also known to be an excellent source of phytochemicals, which provide protection against free radicals and aid in promoting general health.

Many other herbs are also employed for the protective qualities, anti-inflammatory abilities, and other such features.

Acupuncture is gaining recognition as a method to lessen nausea as well as decrease pain for cancer sufferers. This form of therapy has been used for hundreds of years for these symptoms, but has only recently been applied as an effective alternative for patients.

There have been numerous studies which have indicated the benefits individuals receive from massage therapy. Massage, Reiki, and other such techniques lower the stress levels and provide a calming effect to the recipient. People state that there is an overall feeling of wellbeing that is obtained through these types of sessions.

Meditation allows individuals to focus, center, and release emotional and mental stressors. This provides the immune system with the best chances of fighting the disease. There are several forms of meditation to suit the needs of the individual seeking to utilize this method of CAM.

Many doctors and nurses that work with patients that have been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer such as, phyllodes tumors, pancreatic cancer, or mesothelioma, suggest adopting an alternative therapy to go along with conventional therapies. Some patients either listen to this advice or just follow the alternatives. These people say that they would rather enjoy the life they have left then feel the pain of chemotherapy of radiation.
Author Bio

Allison Brooks is a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi where she earned her B.S. in Biomedical Anthropology. She is currently doing research to work towards a completed ethnography to support her Master’s.


Published in: on October 27, 2011 at 12:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Relaxation and Meditation Classes starting Soon

This Relaxation and Meditation Course will show you how to deeply relax your body and mind using simple, safe and practical techniques that you can use anytime, anywhere:


If you need to relax but can’t remember how or maybe you can’t find the time and space at home, come along to our Relaxation and Meditation Classes and rediscover what it’s like to feel relaxed.
Adequate daily relaxation allows the body to repair, recuperate and revitalize and it is a vital component for the maintenance of good health.


Cost: $125.00

If you feel this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for, be quick to enrol, places are filling fast and there is a limit to how many people we can fit in.


Kurrajong Natural Medicine Centre on: (02) 4573 0784

Published in: on August 4, 2011 at 2:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Yoga Classed Now Held at Kurrajong Natural Medicine Centre

Yoga Classes

Due to popular demand, we have instigated another Yoga Class on Wednesday mornings in addition to the Monday Class (please see details below).

As of the March 1, a new Yoga class has been scheduled for Monday Morning starting at 9:30am. This class is for beginners only. The classes are for anyone of any age and are aimed at increasing flexibility and strength. Nicola, a qualified Yoga instructor is leading the class. At this time the cost is $10 per session and each session goes for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes including a relaxation session at the end of the class.

Yoga is an ancient practice dating back more than 5000 years and is also part of ayurveda, which is an Indian traditional medical system, so it can hardly be called a trend. Its focus is on bringing balance and health to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of the individual.

The benefits gained from the regular practice of Yoga include:

  • increased flexibility
  • increased strength
  • better posture and body awareness
  • improved Lung capacity
  • reduced stress and an increased feeling of calmness
  • better concentration and reduced mood swings, to mention a few.

The underlying premise of mind-body exercise modalities, like yoga, is that the physiological state of the body can affect the emotions, thoughts, and attitudes, and the mental state has an affect on the body. This promotes a increased feeling of wellbeing.

According to Cowen and Adams (2005) in their paper entitled: “Physical and perceptual benefits of yoga asana practice: results of a pilot study” research assessing a variety of outcomes and different aspects of yoga has indicated that yoga can promote positive physical changes. For exam- ple, research indicates that yoga asana can be effective in managing symptoms associated with musculoskeletal disorders including osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, hyperkyphosis, and low back pain.

Additionally, improvements in motor skills and physiological measures, including blood pressure, heart rate, and body weight have been noted. Research also suggests that cardiopulmonary benefits of yoga include improved cardiorespiratory fitness, improved forced expiratory volume, and increased vital capacity.

For more information or to secure your spot, please contact Kurrajong Natural Medicine Centre

Published in: on June 21, 2011 at 11:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Treating Infertility with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

According to Maciocia (1998, p. 691) infertility is defined as “…the inability to produce offspring in a woman who has been trying for two years, who has a normal sexual life and, of course, whose partner has normal reproductive function”. If a woman has never been pregnant and has been trying to fall pregnant for 2 or more years than this is considered primary infertility, if however a woman has previously been pregnant (even if she miscarried) and has been trying for 2 or more years than this is considered secondary infertility.

A woman’s optimal period of fertility is between 18 and 35 years of age, during this time there are between 1,000,000 (18 yr) and 100,000 (35 yr) follicles left in the woman’s ovaries (Annon., 2010). However, many factors can hinder or interfere with a woman’s ability to become pregnant, including endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, absence of ovulation, etc.

Both Western medicine (WM) and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) recognise infertility as a gynaecological disorder, however, the methods of diagnosis and treatment are considerably different. IVF and assisted reproduction therapy (ART) are preferred choices of treatment in WM while in TCM, Chinese herbal medicine and/or Acupuncture are the treatments of choice.

…read full version of: Treating Infertility with Chinese Medicne

Published in: on May 13, 2011 at 5:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Effectiveness of Acupuncture in Treating Acute Non-specific Torticollis (ANST)

Acute Non-Specific Torticollis (ANST) is a common musculoskeletal condition seen in many Acupuncture clinics (Irnich, et al., 2002; Samuels, 2003; Vas, et al., 2006). It is estimated that every year over 30% of people suffer from an acute onset of Torticollis (Borghouts, Koes, & Bouter, 1998; White & Ernst, 1999). Yet, despite the high incidence of ANST in the community, there is very little scientific information available and no Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) have investigated the effectiveness of Acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment thereof (Borghouts, et al., 1998; Samuels, 2003). For this reason alone, presenting this case study may be of interest to the reader and may generate some scientific investigation into the effect of acupuncture on this condition.

You can read to full article here: Acupuncture for Acute Torticollis

Published in: on April 30, 2011 at 1:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Menopause and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Menopause – TCM Tutorial Paper

by Danny T. Siegenthaler

This paper reviews menopause and describes how this condition is understood in both Western medicine (WM) and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It further identifies the key diagnostic indicators for menopause in both medical systems and explains how these indicators reflect the disease pathogenesis, (including my understanding of menstrual features for WM and TCM). Furthermore, it will compare WM and TCM treatment protocols and outcomes for the menopausal syndrome (MPS).

Read the full Article on Menopause and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Published in: on June 19, 2010 at 4:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Layman’s Guide to Natural Medicine




Commences: Wednesday 17th February 6:30 to 7:45pm
Venue: Kurrajong Natural Medicine Centre
Shop 7/1147 Grose Vale Road, Kurrajong Village, NSW, Australia

This 6-week course is designed to answer questions you may have about Natural Therapies. It unravels the often confusing and misleading alternative health care information commonly available and aims to increase understanding and insight into the health benefits Natural Medicine has to offer.

The topics to be covered week by week will be focused on the core forms of natural medicine practiced in Australia today and an overview of the secondary modalities will be given.

Course participants will have an opportunity to ask questions during a ten-minute Question and Answer time at the end of each weekly session.

There is No Charge for attendance BUT BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL PLEASE!

Week 1:

Introduction to Natural Therapies – Just Placebo or Real Medicine?

The differences and similarities between Natural Medicine, Natural Therapies, Complementary Medicine and Alternative Therapies are examined; Training, Qualifications and Regulation of practitioners.

Weeks 2 & 3:

Traditional Chinese Medicine:

The philosophy behind this ancient system of medicine is outlined, including Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Moxibustion. The theoretical aspect of how these fit into contemporary health care is explored.

Weeks 4 & 5:

Western Herbal Medicine & Naturopathy:

The Western Herbal Medicine tradition is highly eclectic and has quite a different application to that of Chinese Herbal Medicine. The ways that herbs have been traditionally used are examined and their contemporary use discussed. Herbal Medicine is often used by some Naturopaths but can be considered to be too interventionist by others. The basic principles underlying the philosophy of ‘nature cure’ are explored are discussed in the context of modern lifestyles.

Week 6:

Body Work & ‘Natural Exercise’:

It is well-known that structure and function in the body are inter-linked and it is on this basis that ‘natural’ or ‘alternative’ forms of body work and exercise are based. This week we look at the roles of Remedial Therapies, Massage, Chiropractics and Osteopathy in health care and explore why exercise forms such as Tai Chi and Yoga are better for you.

To Book or Enquire Phone: (02) 4573 0784

Skin care: It’s a cover up

For many years now we have seen a move away from skin care products that contain chemicals which are potentially harmful to the skin. Consumers have begun to demand natural skin care products. That is, they demand products, that instead of containing potentially harmful, synthetic and/or artificial ingredients contain natural ones. This is a step in the right direction, but it is not the whole story.

Natural skin care is by definition the use of natural ingredients such as herbs, essential oils and various extracts and nutrients from fruits and/or vegetables that treat the skin. Skin care after all is not about plumping up of the skin or temporarily removing fine lines and wrinkles, skin care is far more than that.

Real skin care is about maintaining or regaining healthy skin by use of natural ingredients that facilitate and promote the normal functions of the skin. If the skin needs particular attention, because one of its functions is compromised, herbal extracts and other natural substances can be used to specifically target that issue. Herbs are healing substances that have been used for thousands of years to re-establish health and many of these herbs have specific therapeutic functions on the skin.

The Skin is an organ and just like any other organ in our body, and it too requires regular attention and maintenance. After all, we drink water to help our Kidneys function properly, we eat bran and other fibre containing foods to help maintain healthy bowl function and so on. However, when it comes to our skin we often use products that simply mask dis-function rather than addressing the underlying problem.

Natural skin care products, or if you prefer, herbal skin care products, that contain therapeutic doses of herbs, essential oils and other nutrients, are like eating bran and grains to maintain our digestive system, but they are formulated to work on maintaining the normal functions of the skin.

Unfortunately, this is not the attitude of the cosmetics industry. The fact that products are being made with one or two natural ingredients (together with all the other synthetic and artificial ones) and then are advertised to contain natural ingredients is merely a marketing ploy by these companies. They are not interested in healing the skin, far from it; they want you to continue using their products to cover up the symptoms of a stressed skin that is in need of actual treatment.

Think about it. What is more profitable, treating the underlying cause of a problem and thus fixing it, or treating the symptoms by continually applying products to cover the problem… I’m sure shareholders of large cosmetic companies don’t want to see problems solved… But then again, I could be wrong…

Therapeutic herbal skin care is about one: addressing weaknesses or problems of the skin and addressing these in specific ways through the use of specific herbs and/or essential oils; and two: once normal skin function has been established, herbal skin care products can then be used to maintain optimal functioning of the skin. The aim of therapeutically formulated herbal skin care products is not to mask symptoms of skin problems, but to fix them.

For example, Lavender is well known for its wound healing, antiseptic and toning properties. It has the ability to remove redness and heat from the skin, making it an ideal choice for soothing and repairing an irritated or hypersensitive skin. Although it is not really an anti-inflammatory as such, Lavender is often useful where there is inflammation, hence its use in burns, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, boils, rheumatism, wounds, ulcers, and so on.

From a natural medicine point of view, treatment of any health problem needs to be viewed from the first principle, that is the cause of the problem, not the effect. Thus, therapeutic herbal skin care products are formulated to target the cause of the skin problem not the result of it. This approach may take longer for the person to see the effects, but these will be more permanent and ultimately easier to maintain.

When products merely aim to mask symptoms, they actually never address the underlying cause and therefore the problem gradually gets worse. At some point, the problem will be irreversible and the masking of the symptoms no longer possible. This is when the whole deck of cards falls in a heap and serious skin problems become apparent and almost impossible to treat.

Danny Siegenthaler is a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and together with his wife Susan, a medical herbalist and Aromatherapist, they have created Natural Skin Care Products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products to share their 40 years of combined expertise with you.
They practice Herbal and Chinese medicine at their Wildcrafted Cottage Clinic. (c) Wildcrafted Herbal Products 2010

An interesting point of view of the ‘Health Reform’ debate in the US

Cancer Treatment and Health Care Reform

by Barbara O’Brien

One argument you may hear against health care reform concerns cancer survival rates. The United States has higher cancer survivor rates than countries with national health care systems, we’re told. Doesn’t this mean we should keep what we’ve got and not change it?

Certainly cancer survival rates are a critical issue for people suffering from the deadly lung mesothelioma cancer.  So let’s look at this claim and see if there is any substance to it.

First, it’s important to understand that “cancer survival rate” doesn’t mean the rate of people who are cured of a cancer. The cancer survival rate is the percentage of people who survive a certain type of cancer for a specific amount of time, usually five years after diagnosis.

For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, the survivor rate of prostate cancer in the United States is 98 percent. This means that 98 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive five years later. However, this statistic does not tell us whether the men who have survived for five years still have cancer or what number of them may die from it eventually.

Misunderstanding of the term “survivor rate” sometimes is exploited to make misleading claims. For example, in 2007 a pharmaceutical company promoting a drug used to treat colon cancer released statistics showing superior survival rates for its drug over other treatments. Some journalists who used this data in their reporting assumed it meant that the people who survived were cured of cancer, and they wrote that the drug “saved lives.” The drug did extend the lives of patients, on average by a few months. However, the mortality rate for people who used this drug — meaning the rate of patients who died of the disease — was not improved.

But bloggers and editorial writers who oppose health care reform seized these stories about “saving lives,” noting that this wondrous drug was available in the United States for at least a year before it was in use in Great Britain. Further, Britain has lower cancer survival rates than the U.S. This proved, they said, the superiority of U.S. health care over “socialist” countries.

This is one way propagandists use data to argue that health care in the United States is superior to countries with government-funded health care systems. They selectively compare the most favorable data from the United States with data from the nations least successful at treating cancer. A favorite “comparison” country is Great Britain, whose underfunded National Health Service is struggling.

It is true that the United States compares very well in the area of cancer survival rates, but other countries with national health care systems have similar results.

For example, in 2008 the British medical journal Lancet Oncology published a widely hailed study comparing cancer survival rates in 31 countries. Called the CONCORD study, the researchers found that United States has the highest survival rates for breast and prostate cancer. However, Japan has the highest survival for colon and rectal cancers in men, and France has the highest survival for colon and rectal cancers in women. Canada and Australia also ranked relatively high for most cancers. The differences in the survival data for these “best” countries is very small, and is possibly caused by discrepancies in reporting of data and not the treatment result itself.

And it should be noted that Japan, France, Canada and Australia all have government-funded national health care systems. So, there is no reason to assume that changing the way health care is funded in the U.S. would reduce the quality of cancer care.

Barbara O’Brien

Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Are Herbs Weeds or Treasures?

My dictionary defines the word Weed as: “a plant considered undesirable, unattractive, or troublesome, especially one growing where it is not wanted, as in a garden.” Herbs or medicinal plants are often considered weeds – usually because they grow in undesirable places.Many herbs have been introduced into Australia and because they are not native plants, they have often few competitors for resources such as water, soil nutrients and light and have few predators. Subsequently, these plants can grow and spread unchecked, endangering native vegetation and even various animal species such as birds and insects.

Weeds certainly can be a real threat to native flora, fauna, rain forests and even aquatic ecosystems. Recalcitrant herbs are targeted by the authorities for eradication or sprayed on an ongoing basis, in an attempt to control their spread and protect sensitive ecosystems.

You don’t need to go to exotic places like the rain forests to find medicinal plants, they usually grow right at your feed; on footpaths, roadsides, garbage dumps, even in your garden.

Given that most medicinal plants are weeds and because weeds grow as prolifically as they do, they are often easy to cultivate – you will actually have more of a problem keeping them in a designated area, rather than a problem growing them.

Wildcrafted herbs are herbs gathered from the wild. The advantage of wildcrafted herbs is that these generally are very healthy and full of the desired medicinal properties. Wildcrafted herbs are usually native to an area and thus are not weeds. They often occur in clusters and grow in ‘ideal’ conditions under which they can attain their full medicinal potential.

A problem with wildcrafting medicinal plants occurs where there is little or no control over the amount that can be harvested at any one time or by any one person, at least this is the case in Australia. This can decimate a local population of wild medicinal plants. Taking of any vegetation is illegal without authorisation in Australian National Parks and protected areas for this reason. Some medicinal plants are actually becoming rare and endangered and the harvesting of these species should at the very least be regulated. Better still, organic farming of such herbs should be encouraged and promoted. This would provide struggling farmers with alternative cash crops during times when their primary sources of income are not performing well.

Weeds or Treasures – it really does not matter what you call them, the fact remains they are often very powerful medicinal plants that have the potential to address many of today’s major health problems and they have done so for thousands of years…

In the grave of Neanderthal man, in a cave in Iraq, grains of flower pollens were found thickly scattered in the soil surrounding his bones. The family and friends of the dead man, had surrounded his body with clusters of flowers and branches at this summer-time funeral. Analysed some 600’000 years after the death of this unknown caveman, the pollens were identified as coming from eight different genera of flowering plants, all of which flourish in the surrounding woods and fields at Shanidar to this day.

Seven of the eight species are still used for medicine in dozens of different ways by the local people. For example, the mucilaginous roots of the marsh mallow yield a soothing and healing remedy for irritated throats and disordered intestinal tracts. Ephedra is a potent remedy for asthma and a cardiac stimulant – a usage confirmed by modern science when the nerve-stimulant ephedrine was extracted from it.

Herbal medicine is the oldest form of therapy practiced by mankind. It’s use spans cultural and geographic boundaries, yet how are we to account for the fact that to an astonishing degree, the same plant is employed for the same purpose in cultures so widely separated in place or time with no communication between them? It seems, that ancient man’s knowledge of herbs and their medicinal uses was based on a highly-developed “dowsing” instinct, which led the healer of he tribe to the right plant and taught him or her its use. To a modern mind the idea may seem bizarre, but wild animals certainly possess such an instinct, seeking out plants which will supply the nutrients they need and unerringly avoiding those which will poison them.

These dowsing powers would explain the astonishing continuity of medicinal plant usage in the days before there were written records, or in tribes who have never known them, since the chain of oral tradition must have been broken over and over again by death, or by the scattering or obliteration of the tribe.

Many cultures have also believed in what has come to be known as The Doctrine of Signatures – the notion that plants have been signed by their Creator with visible clues to their usefulness: yellow plants would be effective against jaundice, plants with fruit shaped like genital organs might be effective in regulating or promoting fertility, a plant with fleshy lung-shaped leaves might be useful in respiratory ailments, etc.

By what ever means these ancient tribes selected their medicinal plants and identified their functions in the treatment of disease, the result is that over thousands of years herbal medicine evolved into an effective and efficient medical system to treat disease.

© Copyright: 2004, Wildcrafted Herbal Products Pty Ltd. All rights reserved worldwide

Published in: on January 12, 2010 at 11:45 pm  Leave a Comment