Turmeric: A healing remedy.

If this is the first time you’re becoming acquainted with the spice turmeric, it is a beautifully deep yellow, golden or orange color with a taste that is distinctly warm and bitter. It is the spice that gives curry powder its color. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as a powerful medicinal herb and culinary ingredient in both India and China. The main component that gives turmeric its many health benefits is called curcumin. You may have come across this ingredient in natural health food stores or in various supplements.Ground turmeric and rhizomes

Turmeric has numerous health benefits.  One of the most noted benefits is its anti-inflammatory power. Studies show that long-term inflammation is often the cause of many chronic diseases. Furthermore, numerous studies show that turmeric outperforms many pharmaceuticals in its effects against chronic disease and in protecting the body from disease with virtually no side effects.  Turmeric is also a potent antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals in the body that typically damage cells and cause aging. In addition, turmeric has antimicrobial properties that help prevent infection, boost the immune system, and appears to block the division of cancer cells. It has also been shown that turmeric blocks the production of beta-amyloid, the substance that is found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. It is a powerful plant that benefits every system in the body. This is just the beginning of many promising studies that are under way.

The content of curcumin in turmeric is about 3% by weight, which is not a significant amount. Most research uses extracts of curcumin with dosages exceeding 1 gram. Therefore, it would be difficult to attain this level by using turmeric in the diet alone. However, most people can benefit from this spice by using it in everyday meals to help prevent disease and infection. Those interested in supplementation should look for extracts in dosages of 500mg to 1000mg taken one to two times a day or as directed by the product. Turmeric is quickly metabolized by the gut so to enhance the absorption supplements should be contain black pepper. Piperine, a substance in black pepper enhances the absorption and bioavailability of turmeric in the body. Turmeric is best in raw form but is most widely used in the ground form. You can sprinkle on salads, vegetables, nuts, or add a spoon to your smoothies or juices.

 A great way to use turmeric is making turmeric tea, especially during the winter months and for the occasional cough. You simply bring 1 to 2 cups of water to a boil and add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of turmeric according to taste. Let the mixture simmer. Mix well and sip away. You can add fresh grated ginger for additional benefits. Like many herbs, turmeric will begin to lose its potency after about six months, so keep your supply fresh. This is a mere glimpse of the abundance of health benefits turmeric provides.  The next time you enjoy a curry dish think of all the benefits your body is reaping and remember we truly are what we eat.

At Hermann Wellness we offer Holistic Primary care to our patients. Our offices are located in Tampa and St. Petersburg. Please call the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

What Is Craniosacral Therapy?

craniotherapyCraniosacral therapy is a treatment modality based on the concepts of both cerebrospinal fluid flow and skull suture flexibility.  It is also called cranial balancing, cranial osteopathy, and craniopathy.  This therapy was developed in the early 1970’s by chiropractor John Upledger.

Proponents of craniosacral therapy (CST) describe it as a subtle manipulation of the cranial sutures to release deep muscle tension and improve overall health and homeostasis.  With very light manual pressure applied by a trained provider, cerebrospinal fluid that is palpated at the cranial suture lines can be redistributed to re-establish holistic balance.  The core concepts of CST are the inherent motility of the cerebrospinal fluid and the mobility of the cranial bones.

During a session, the CST provider places their fingertips along the cranial sutures and focuses on the subtle pressure variances.  Soft touch is exerted with allows the provider to balance the pulsing and shifting along these areas.  Craniosacral therapy can be utilized for such conditions as anxiety, insomnia, pain, and stress relief  It is often used as an adjunct to other treatment modalities (acupuncture, massage, medications) rather than a first-line treatment.

Hermann Wellness, a holistic internal medicine practice, maintains offices in Tampa and Saint Petersburg Beach, Florida.  Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Immune boosting foods

As the cold season ensues, you might find yourself wondering what foods you can consume to naturally boost the immune system. Our immune system is our first line of defense against outside invaders. We rely heavily on the integrity and function of our immune system to prevent us from getting sick with a cold that could land us in bed for several days. It is important then to consider how we can support the optimal functioning of our immune system with foods. In general avoiding unprocessed foods and sugars will help keep your immune system strong. Increasing the number of servings of fresh vegetables and fruits into your diet will increase the number of phytonutrients that are needed to support your immune system. There are however, selected foods when consumed that have been shown to strengthen the immune system.

Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha contain live probiotics  that help keep the gut lining free from germs. In gingerparticular, the specific strain, Lactobacillus reuteri, has been found to stimulate white blood cells (infection fighting cells) in the body. There are also herbs and spices, such as garlic, ginger, and turmeric that can help ward off infection. Garlic in particular is known to have antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. For optimal benefits garlic should be consumed fresh. Ginger is well known for both its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and has long been used in many traditions to prevent infection. Turmeric best known for its anti-inflammatory and cancer preventing properties is also a natural immune booster. Mushrooms are gaining attention for their immune boosting benefits. Studies have shown mushrooms increase both the number and activity of white blood cell thereby enhancing the immune systems.  Shiitake, maitake, and reishi appear to be the most potent of the mushrooms with the highest antiviral properties and immune boosting benefits. Certain teas are known to help fend off potential invaders, the two best types are matcha and tulsi tea. Matcha is a nutrient rich green tea from Japan that is also a potent antioxidant. Tulsi tea also known as holy basil contains significant antioxidants and is known to support the immune system. Consider incorporating these foods into your diet this winter season to give a natural boost to your immune system.

At Hermann Wellness we offer Holistic Primary care to our patients. Our offices are located in Tampa and St. Petersburg. Please call the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.


Treatment of Menopausal Hot Flushes With Effexor

Menopause by definition is the absence of a menstrual cycle for 1 year or more. Many women will become symptomatic during this time period from the lowering doses of estrogen. Hot flushes occur in 3 out of 4 women. They will typically last a few minutes and cause flushing of the face, neck and chest. Women may also sweat (perspire) during a flush. The number of hot flushes can vary from occasional to 15 or more daily. Hot flushes tend to start occurring just prior to menopause and usually persist for 2-3 years. The exact physiological mechanism of hot flushes is not known; although it is thought to be related to either adrenergic or serotonergic neurotransmission. Effexor works on both of these neurotransmissionmenopause word in letterpress type pathways.

Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Along with improving depressive symptoms, it has also been demonstrated to alleviate vasomotor symptoms – such as hot flushes. Effexor has been found to effectively decrease the number and frequency of hot flushes in peri-menopausal and menopausal women. It can safely be used as a non-hormonal treatment to alleviate symptoms in women with contraindications to estrogen containing preparations. This group of women includes survivors of certain types of cancers and women with a history of blood clots. Typically patients will notice symptom improvement almost immediately with Effexor use.

The providers at Hermann Wellness offer a variety of non-hormonal modalities to effectively treat menopausal symptoms. Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

What are Probiotics and do I need them?

This is a common question I am asked by patients. Probiotics are “good” or beneficial bacteria that typically live in our digestive tract. We have over millions of different bacteria that live in our gut. The good bacteria help aid in digestion, production of vitamins (in particular vitamin B12) and offer protection over “bad” bacteria. Stress, chronic medications, and antibiotics are among a few things that can alter the flora in our digestive tract leading to more “bad” than “good” bacteria over time. Antibiotics in particular get rid of both the good and bad bacteria without a preference of one over the other so it is important to include taking probiotics while starting any antibiotic. Healthy snack

Studies have shown that probiotics are effective in managing many conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis), diarrhea, vaginal yeast infections, and oral thrush. Higher dosing of probiotics are needed to treat these conditions, such as 100-200 billion CFU and sometimes even more. The most common good bacteria include Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Acidophilus thus make sure these strains are in your probiotic.

The digestive tract is the home of our immune system, comprising 70% of the immune system. Thus maintaining good gut health is essential to supporting our overall immune system. It is clear that without a balanced gut flora that our immune system cannot work optimally thus weakening our ability to overcome infections. Taking probiotics helps increase the good bacteria in your digestive tract. Some probiotic organisms can be found naturally in foods such as cultured milk products including yogurt and kefir as well as pickled vegetables (kimchi) and fermented beverages (kombucha). These foods are common in the diet of many traditional cultures.

At Hermann Wellness, we offer Holistic Primary Care to our patients. Our offices are located in Tampa and St. Petersburg. Please call the office at 813-902-9599 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Is Meditation Beneficial?

Woman practicing yoga on the beachDuring meditation people sit quietly, witnessing internal thoughts and external stimuli without getting too engaged with them. There are many forms of this ancient practice. The origins of meditation are in ancient spiritual and healing practices – mainly from India, China and Japan. Relaxation and meditation have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of many diseases as it improves both psychological and physical health. Individuals who practice meditation view the mind and body as inseparable.

The two most popular forms of meditation are Transcendental Meditation (TM) and mindfulness mediation. TM is derived from Hindu tradition and promotes relaxation through the use of a mantra. A mantra is a word or sound used for concentration. Mindfulness meditation trains the participant to be an observer by focusing on what is happening in the present moment both internally and externally.

There are four basic elements common to medication techniques – a mental device (such as a word), a passive attitude, a comfortable posture and a quiet environment. A number of recent studies have explored to what degree we can exercise control over things that were thought to be non-changeable.
Research has found that meditative practice can change the workings of the brain including learning and states of consciousness. Studies have shown that the areas of the brain that govern concentration, mood and memory all experience increased signaling during meditation. Physical functions such as a decrease in the production of stress hormone, and changes in blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory function have all been documented during mediation. Adults with cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer disease may also benefit from meditation, as recent studies have shown that meditation may change the mapping of brain circuitry. Other disorders such as anxiety, depression, chronic pain and sleep disturbances related to cancer may also be improved with meditation.

Hermann Wellness offers comprehensive medical care with holistic treatments including acupuncture, vitamin testing and nutritional counseling. Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Health Benefits of Tulsi

Tulsi , also known as Holy Basil, is an herb native to India. It is regarded as an important herb in the practice of Ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India) and has been used for thousands of years. It is a popular beverage in India and is commonly grown in the homes of families and temples. Historically it has not been used in cooking and rather consumed in the form of tea, oil, or chewing of fresh leaves.tulsi

Tulsi has many health benefits. Most significantly it is an adaptogen, which is a natural substance that helps the body adapt to stress. It relaxes the nervous system and ultimately increases our resistance to stress, fatigue, and anxiety. It can be a useful adjunct in treatments of anxiety, depression, and stress. Tulsi contains potent antioxidants that promotes health in the body. It is helpful in pulmonary problems, such as asthma and bronchitis as it decreases mucus. Chewing the fresh leaves can help improve dry cough. It is also thought to decrease inflammation thereby reducing pain. There is some evidence suggesting it reduces blood sugar levels and could be helpful in diabetics. Also, tulsi can be helpful in treating the common cold as it helps the immune system and reduces fever.

Tulsi is among one of my favorite herbs. In fact, it was my go to beverage to combat stress during my training in residency when I would frequently have 30 hour calls. Consider trying tulsi tea the next time you are at the grocery store and notice the health benefits yourself.

At Hermann Wellness, we offer Holistic Primary Care to our patients. Our offices are located in Tampa and St. Peterburg. Please call the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Seasonal Flu Vaccine

flu vaccineSo, what’s the difference between the traditional flu vaccine and the preservative-free flu vaccine? The main difference is that the preservative-free flu vaccine does not contain thimerosal. Thimerosal is a mercury based preservative that protects against the growth of bacteria and fungus that could damage the vaccine. It is used in multi-dose vials of the flu vaccine to ensure it does not become contaminated as it is used for multiple people. Though different needles are used with each vaccination, thimerosal offers additional protection. Thimerosal is not used in single dose vials where the vaccine is limited to one vial per patient.

So, is thimerosal dangerous? There is no debate whether the substance mercury is toxic. Scientists agree that mercury is a potent neurotoxin (a toxin that affects the nervous system). The debate, however, ensues around the form of mercury and the amount that is considered toxic. The claims around thimerosal causing autism are under great debate and no study to date has shown a definitive link. The question is a simple yet a personal one. Do you want to expose yourself, your young children, or an unborn child to mercury, a known potent neurotoxin? To me, it makes great sense to minimize our exposure to mercury especially when there are other safer alternatives available.

The preservative-free vaccine works in the same way as other flu vaccines. It contains the same three strains of the inactivated influenza virus that is determined by research to likely be the most common strains for the approaching cold season. It takes about 2 weeks after the injection for the vaccine to become effective. Side effects are similar to those of other vaccines and include: soreness at the site of injection, low-grade fever, and muscle aches. The best time to get vaccinated is early in the fall before flu season; however, it can be received throughout the flu season until late January or even later. The CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months or older to get the flu vaccine every season.

At Hermann Wellness, we offer preservative-free flu vaccines to our patients. Please call the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Can N-acetylcysteine Increase My Glutathione Levels?

antioxidantN-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a pro-drug for the amino acid cysteine. Supplementing with NAC increases intracellular levels of glutathione, which is a super-antioxidant. Deficiency of intracellular glutathione can worsen oxidative stress and accelerate cellular death in diseases such as Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, liver disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, HIV/AIDS and diabetes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NAC is essential for pulmonary and renal functions and is used for antimicrobial purposes. It is identified as one of the most important medications needed in a basic health system. Massive cellular death can occur when an organism is starved of cysteine. However, the actual mechanism of cellular death appears to be more closely related to the loss of available glutathione.

NAC has very few documented side effects. The most commonly reported side effect is gastric distress when higher doses of NAC were given. NAC is typically found in the form of powder filled capsules. Typical dosing is 600mg give 3 times daily. NAC is not found in food sources, but high protein foods such as eggs, wheat, broccoli and poultry are good sources of cysteine.

At Hermann Wellness, Dr. Anne Hermann and staff, offer comprehensive vitamin testing and nutritional counseling services to patients. Offices are maintained in Tampa and Saint Petersburg Beach, Florida. Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Can Acupuncture Help Me Stop Smoking?

This ancient medicinal procedure has been used extensively to help with addictive disorders, including smoking. Within 10-20 seconds of inhaling on a cigarette, nicotine reaches the brain – causing a surge of dopamine to be released. Dopamine is one of the chemicals our brain produces to cause a feeling of pleasure. Addiction is best assessed and treated from several perspectives – physical, mental and emotional. Acupuncture can help alleviate cravings, reduce anxiety and calm the mind.

Many acupuncturists will utilize a technique promoted by The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association. In this technique, fine needles are inserted into a set of five acupuncture points on the ear (auricular acupuncture). Ear seeds can also be utilized. These are seeds from the Vaccaria plant that are held in place on the ear with adhesive tape. They are located on specific sites that help reduce stress and anxietyacupuncture smoking, cleanse the lungs, open the chest, calm the mind and strengthen will power. When a craving occurs, patients should rub the ear seeds for approximately 30 seconds. Also, rubbing them throughout the day will help support the ongoing acupuncture treatments.

Generally, treatments are scheduled several times per week for the first couple of weeks – this is helpful during the acute phase of nicotine withdrawal. Patients will typically experience a decrease in cravings and a change in sensory perception as the smell and taste of cigarettes becomes intolerable. Often, acupuncture is used as an adjunct with pharmaceutical approaches to achieve the best treatment outcomes.

Hermann Wellness maintains locations in Tampa and Saint Petersburg, Florida. Acupuncture services are offered at both locations. Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.