Friday, November 11, 2011

Class Questions Answered!

What a great class! I know I threw a lot of information at you- Don't get overwhelmed. Start with something and move on from there.

The questions I received were quite thoughtful and complex. Here is my best attempt at writing out my answers. As always, diet is essential but there are other things you can do to help...

Are there any known herbs/foods that we can use to either protect our families and ourselves from, or alleviate the effects of, the radiation we are receiving from the Fukushima disaster?

David Christopher did a much better job of explaining this than I can so I will direct you to his article. The article is taken from the Herbal Legacy newsletter which is free and comes to your email every week. Definitely NOT junk mail.
Precautionary Measures for Possible Radiation Plume

There is not a lot you can do about radiation poisoning. Most important is not to panic. Radiation is radiation. The real issue is accumulation. We are all exposed to a certain amount of radiation. We need to be sure to minimize our exposure. If we are exposed to higher quantities, then protecting the thyroid is beneficial. The government will often issue Potassium Iodide (KI) tablets to prevent the thyroid from uptaking the radioactive iodide. KI does have side effects. In a true emergency, then dealing with the side effects is probably better than nothing. However, preparing in advance is better if possible- prepare by eating foods high in iodine, especially Kelp and dulse 8-12 capsules per day in an emergency unless you have hyperthyroid conditions, chlorella, and other foods like spirulina. The internet and various sources will say that it is not enough and not effective. The reason (and this is true of any nutrient we examine from an organic source vs an inorganic source) is that the various agencies evaluate the amount that is present NOT the amount your body will actually uptake and utilize. For example, the % of the calcium that is the body can uptake from carrot juice is nearly 100% but is a mere fraction from milk products. Thus when people say that milk is a better source of calcium, they are correct that there is more calcium present but they are not correct in utilization by the body.

Is there anything that can be done to help with Raynaud's Syndrome?
There are a couple of causes of Raynaud's but treatment seems to be mostly the same.
Stay away from caffeine (cola drinks, green tea, black tea, coffee, etc). Minimize animal proteins. Lots of fruit and vegetables (ideally 60-75% of the diet is raw), and berries, and white part of citrus contains Rutin which is a flavanoid for arterial walls. An easy way to get the Rutin is to take a veggie peeler and take the orange part off the orange. Drop in a blender and blend with berries, banana, etc. Vitalherbs and Organa minerals.

Strengthen the arterial walls- the best thing to use to strengthen the walls is flavanoids. Flavanoids are readily available in Gingko. To help it work on the circulatory system, it is best to take it in combination with Ginger, Hawthorne, and Cayenne. Be careful of impact on fingers like piano playing and typing too much until those capillaries have been strengthened.

Sometimes Raynaud's might be related to hormonal balances (it more often effects younger adult women than men). Hormonal Changease (Dr. Christopher's formula of hormone balancing herbs which give your body the building blocks it needs to self correct the hormone balance without forcing your body to take a certain hormone) taken with essential fatty acids like Udo's 3-6-9 oil or wheat germ oil.

What can be done to help with gout?

As always- diet is essential! Gout is a condition where uric acid builds up in the blood and creates crystals in the joints which are very painful. The first place I would look is to diet. Uric acid is primarily created in the body from purines which are very high in animal products especially organ meats. There are some plants which have moderate sources (asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, and mushrooms as well as legumes and some grains) 0f purine as well. According to some studies a moderate intake (primarily plant based diet) of purine does not contribute to gout. Another thing that contributes to gout is sugar. In one study of sugar sweetened drinks and gout, it was found that as the intake of sugar sweetened drinks increased, so did the rates of gout. Those who consumed 2 or more servings of sugar sweetened beverages per day increased their risks by 85% compared to those who drank 1 per month. The study also addressed fruit juices and possibly fruit. Other studies have said that consuming fruit does not increase gout. I would venture to say that in a healthy person with plenty of fresh raw fruits and vegetables who chews thoroughly the fruit would be less of an issue than in someone who consumes heavily processed foods and sodas. Flour and flour products is another contributing factor. I would advise sprouting your grains. I will usually sprout a large bowl overnight and then dehydrate them to make my bread products. If you have Traci's cookbook, there is a fabulous sprouted grain muffin recipe using wet sprouted grains. Also, drinking plenty of distilled water to help flush out the uric acid from the blood. Berries and cherries seem to help many people and are very healthy.

Herbs which help: Celery and celery seed. Several stalks per day or some celery seed tincture. Dr. James Duke, in his book Green Pharmacy mentions his experience with gout and celery: "Learning that celery extracts might help eliminate uric acid, I began taking two to four tablets of celery seed extracts daily instead of allopurinol. As I write, six months have gone by without a single gout crisis. For one week, I ate four celery stalks a day in lieu of the extracts." Liberal use of turmeric is another aid. Stinging Nettle was shown to increase the excretion of uric acid in the ducks- it might be helpful to take stinging nettle tincture or tea. We have great stinging nettle plants that are perfect to harvest in the early spring around here. They taste good and are very healthy.
Burdock and Blessed Thistle are also helpful.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Food from Easter

I ate some really yummy and pretty healthy food this past week... Nettle Soup, a slight modification of the white pasta recipe (which tastes just like alfredo sauce without any of the mucus forming junk) found on Traci's blog here, and strawberry shortcake!

First Nettle Soup.
Every spring I try to make nettle soup at least once or twice or more if I can find a good plentiful patch of safe nettles. Kassie Vance wrote a fabulous thesis on Stinging Nettle and its benefits. Just an excerpt is posted here. Please read the rest on Herbal Legacy!

"Because of its many nutrients, stinging nettle is traditionally used as a spring tonic. It is a slow-acting nutritive herb that gently cleanses the body of metabolic wastes. It is one of the safest alteratives, especially in the treatment of chronic disorders that require long-term treatment. It has a gentle, stimulating effect on the lymphatic system, enhancing the excretion of wastes through the kidneys.

Nettle’s iron content makes it a wonderful blood builder, and the presence of vitamin C aids in the iron absorption. As a hemetic (an herb rich in iron), this is an excellent herb for anemia and fatigue, especially in women. It “promotes the process of protein transanimation in the liver, effectively utilizing digested proteins, while simultaneously preventing them from being discharged through the body as waste products.”"

I make it by putting several chopped onions and minced cloves of garlic in a soup pot and sautee for a few minutes on medium heat while I chop 5-6 ribs of celery and 1-2 carrots (you don't want too many carrots or your soup will not be a beautiful green). Add those veggies as well as 5-6 medium sized potatoes, and about 6-8 cups of water. Let simmer until veggies are soft. Add in 4-5 cups of washed nettles. Blend. I like to not cook the nettles more than putting them into the hot water and then blending because otherwise they lose some color and the soup is not so pretty. Also, less cooking= more nutrition! This last time, I added a 1/4 bunch of parsley with the nettles. For a more creamy soup, add some cashews or soaked almonds to the blender (preferrably a blendtec or vitamix type). You can always vary the spices, add a little sea salt, or more/different veggies.

Modified alfredo sauce
I used extra virgin olive oil because that is all I have, apple cider vinegar, and added "pasta sprinkle" from penzeys instead of the prescribed spices. I also cut the salt in half. (BTW a few days later I made it again and added a clove of garlic- super yum)

Strawberry Shortcake
I modified the recipe for Cream biscuits from the Joy of Cooking cookbook.
2 cups sprouted grain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup full fat coconut milk (Thai coconut milk has no preservatives and is full fat) (the contents of the can into the blender and blend well before using)
1/4 -1/3 cup rapidura
4 T coconut oil and 2 T Earth Balance (you don't have to use the Earth Balance but I did this time)

Mix the dry together then cut in the oil to small pea size. Mix in the milk. Then place on a cookie sheet and bake until done at 350- be sure not to overbake because otherwise the biscuit will be too tough/crisp

Blend the rest of the coconut milk from the can with 2/3 of a pound of strawberries and 1/4 cup honey and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Adjust sweetener if needed. Slice the rest of the strawberries and mix with sauce. Serve over shortbread.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Another Herbal Kitchen Help Resource

John Gallagher, who developed the fabulous game Wildcraft just sent out an
"Herbal Ninja" webinar using everyday kitchen herbs. He is good at presenting information in an easy to follow manner. Check out his webinar. Way of the Herbal Ninja: Using 17 Herbs You Already Have in the Kitchen

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Class #2 Questions

As promised, here are the answers to the questions given to me following the class I just taught. If your question is not present, please be sure to post a comment. Also, please take a moment to read the previous 2 class blog posts here and here blog posts since they will also be helpful. Like other issues discussed there will be some overlap.

Besides apple cider vinegar and molasses, are there any other recommendations for arthritis?
YES! Diet is huge. Avoiding all the whites (sugar, dairy, flour) and also salt. Making sure to consume good fats and oils like olive oil, fresh ground flax seeds, walnuts, etc. especially the Omega-3 oils. Ginger and Turmeric are both helpful for arthritis as is topical cayenne (there is a fabulous cayenne ointment made by Dr. Christopher's) but be careful not to rub your eyes after using it! Sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts are both high in SAM which can be helpful- although it won't be enough to equal ibuprofen, every little bit helps. Researcher James Duke, PhD, says that Broccoli and other foods like asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes, and purslane (which also has Omega 3s) as well as avocados, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, and watermelon are rich in glutathione. Studies have shown people low in the antioxidant glutathione are more likely to have arthritis than those who have higher amounts...

Where do you buy things like Vitalherbs?
I would buy them from Dr. Christopher's Herbs. The young man who owns that website is reliable and has good prices.

What do you use for eczema?
Please read about the skin questions I referenced in the previous 2 class blog posts. In addition, burdock root seems to be a specific for eczema, especially on the hands. I have started taking some burdock capsules (for me 4-6 per day) to help support my liver. Eczema in all cases is related to a congested liver. Topically chickweed is soothing. Here is some information from Herbal Legacy.

What can be used for acid reflux?
If the acid reflux is structural, then soothing the GI tract would be beneficial. Marshmallow is very soothing. Paying close attention to diet. What foods trigger the reflux? Acid-forming/mucus forming foods like white flour, sugar, dairy, etc are harmful. If it is more along the lines of heartburn reflux, then the problem is more in line with not enough acid and taking apple cider vinegar will help in the long term. Be sure to CHEW your food. Dr. Christopher said we should drink our food and chew our juices. Ginger may be helpful as well. Also, consuming as much live food and low heated food as possible to give the body the natural enzymes needed to digest food would be helpful.

What are herbs that can support normal thyroid function?
Diet is as always key followed by cleansing the body. There is a combination of mullein and lobelia (3 parts mullein and 1 part lobelia) which is specific for glandular issues. Making a tea of this and placing it on the thyroid gland area will help feed the thyroid. Also, eating plenty of greens, and using your carrot tops in green smoothies helps with the pituitary which in turn helps the thyroid. Additionally, Dr. Christopher's makes a couple of thyroid aid formulas. Many people find the Thyroid Maintenance formula beneficial. Avoid fluoride in all forms- do not drink city water, use fluoridated toothpaste, etc. Fluoride is used to kill off the thyroid gland and is the WORST thing for anyone with hypothyroid tendencies!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lunch- Taco Salad or maybe not...

I am recipe challenged. I love to cook, and most people say I am a good cook, but I am completely recipe challenged. What I mean is, I almost NEVER follow a recipe exactly as written. One time, when I was first dairy free, I really wanted to make some ranch dressing for my husband. He grew up on Hidden Valley and couldn't stand oil and vinegar dressings (which I grew up on since my mom has never bought a bottle of dressing ever). I was determined to get him to enjoy salad without smothering it in Hidden Valley (BTW I have succeeded!) So, I went to the recipes I had for salad dressing and began looking for one that might fit the bill. I found one that was a tofu base so I got started. The recipe called for silk tofu. Well, I didn't have any, so I used firm... and from there I don't think I used a single ingredient that was found in that recipe! I either didn't have what was called for or didn't want to use it or found something better. Anyway, when I served it, my husband thought it was passable (he was still stuck on ranch and it didn't taste like Hidden Valley) and he asked me about the recipe. When I was done, he laughed and asked if I had used ANY of the original ingredients, when I confessed that the closest I had come was substituting firm tofu for silk tofu, he told me I only got partial credit for following that part of the recipe...

So what does this have to do with Taco Salad? I took several bits and pieces of several recipes I have tweaked and used and combined them into a yummy lunch.

First, I started with the Cumin Paprika Apple Lettuce Wraps from Raw Melissa's new cookbook Faves. It has all sorts of veggies. I then took what I have learned from Traci Sellers about how to make Almondaise as well as a modification to a sauce recipe found in her cookbook, and made a fabulous chili sauce to add to the salad... yum. Amounts are not scientific in the salad. If you have something else, use it and if you don't like one of my ingredients don't use it. I also didn't use the corn or peas this time but have before and they are yummy.

1 cucumber chopped
1-2 tomatoes chopped
1/2-1 red pepper chopped
1-2 green onions chopped
2 cups garbanzo beans (it is what I had but black beans would have been fabulous)
1 cup corn (frozen works)
1 cup frozen peas
1 avocado chopped
1 head romaine lettuce chopped

Mix the above together. Then scoop into bowls. Crumble a few corn tortilla chips (not the healthiest food in the world but a little won't hurt you) and spoon over chili taco sauce-

1/2 cup almondaise
1/4 cup water (or more or less depending on desired consistency)
1/8-1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt or Real Salt
chili powder to taste (I used Penzey's Regular Chili powder and my son added more to his bowl since he likes things spicy and the Regular is pretty mild)
Mix well.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A few more questions...

1. What is the BEST herbal medicine bible? If you can only afford one resource or have limited space at home?
I think it depends on what you want. If you want a book that specifies an herb and what it is used for then there are quite a few. My favorite is The School of Natural Healing. It is expensive but comprehensive. It can be overwhelming to a beginner though. For just starting out, Dr. Mom's Healthy Living is excellent for inspiring the reader to plug along, talks about diet, and common issues that come up in the home so it is a good first aid type book. So, I say that would be my first choice. Those are the 2 books I reach for ALL the time. After studying for many years, I do head to the School of Natural Healing book (I also have the book on CD so I can search on my computer) more often, but I consult Dr. Mom for her opinion quite frequently.

2.What would be a good remedy for eyes with a yellow hue versus those with white hue?
Eyes with a yellow hue are often a symptom of a toxic liver. I would get on a mucusless diet (fresh fruits and veggies, sprouted grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes) and avoid the chemicals in "foods" as well as do an extended herbal cleanse which is explained here. I would also eat dandelion to support the liver.

3.What is your daily herbal intake regime? Daily infusion intake, capsules, etc for normal health maintenance.
I am a busy mom of 4 kids. This daily regiment changes based on needs but what doesn't change is diet. When ever I stop to eat sugar or dairy or flour and flour products- I notice I don't feel as well and I get sick easier. For normal maintenance, I believe in keeping it simple- eat your fruits and veggies and they will cleanse and nourish your body! Red raspberry leaf tea is a good idea every day for all women, and if life is stressful or I haven't eaten as well, I am sure to get my Vitalherbs but other than a green smoothie each morning with some Organa minerals, I keep it very simple. When I was pregnant with my last child, I did the apple cider vinegar and molasses each morning with some Vitalherbs and for a while I took the cayenne each day. I also drank raspberry leaf tea each day.

4. What are your top 5 WILD herbs for your medicinal pantry? (nettle, dandelion, etc)
So many grow locally that it is hard to pick... Comfrey, Dandelion, Chickweed, Plantain, and Nettles were the first 5 that came to mind, probably because they all took up residence in my yard! If I could pick a few more, I would add in the blackberries because they can be used much like raspberry for bowel issues etc, elderberry, mullein, yarrow, red clover are a few more I like that are local.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Questions from Class

I had the opportunity to teach a class- Herbal First Aid from a Well-Stocked Pantry. I could have delved into so many herbs, but I pared it down to those like Onion, Garlic, Apple Cider Vinegar, Cayenne, etc. After class I was given a stack of questions. It is my hope to answer these the best I can in typing format. There were a couple I could not understand, so if your question is not present, please post a comment with your question and I will try to answer. Hopefully, my answers will be of help. Keep in mind as you read my answers- I do not practice atomistic herbology. I practice holistic herbology. The difference is that in atomistic herbology, an herb is given for a symptom much the same as if a drug is given for a symptom. This is done without regard to WHY the symptom is presenting or WHAT it means or WHAT its cause is. Atomistic herbology is nothing more than green suppression of symptoms and is little better than standard medicine. Holistic herbology strives to find the cause of the issue. This takes into consideration not only the physical health, but also the emotional, and mental health as well. Obviously, a cut that is bleeding is going to have several possible specific answers, but deep rooted things like weight gain and mental illnesses are not quite as cut and dry and 1 herb isn't going to fix the issue. Those deeper issues require lifestyle changes.

So, onto my questions.

You mentioned sea salts vary- What do you recommend?

Most sea salt in the store is no better than table salt- it is still cooked at a high temperature and refined. I personally use a SMALL amount of Real Salt or Celtic Sea salt (again, check your source) because some companies call their salt Celtic Sea Salt and it is not evaporated. Overall, salt in salt form is not good for the body. It is an inorganic mineral. Better would be to use things like celery, kelp, chard, etc that is high in organic salts. I find that if I make a pureed soup base with plenty of celery in it, then no one asks for salt.

You said not to buy horseradish in the store- where would you recommend buying it?
I am sorry this was misunderstood. Buy horseradish ROOT in the store. Don't purchase PREPARED horseradish. The prepared stuff in a jar is processed, has extra ingredients, and is not of medicinal value.

The question came up during my lecture about tonsils in a young girl who keeps getting strep. The doctors are suggesting possibly removing the tonsils. As I mentioned, if a carpenter were to smash his thumb, you would not amputate it. If he smashed his thumb again, you still would not amputate it. Even still, if he smashed is thumb a 3rd or 4th time, you would still not amputate it. The thumb is not the problem. You would work to improve technique to avoid the smashing. This is the same with tonsils. Tonsils are an integral part of the immune system. They are the FIRST immune tissue that invaders encounter and they give the body a heads up that a pathogen is on its way. To remove tonsils will slow down and weaken the immune response. So, what to do!? First, ensure diet is good. Flour and flour products (even your home ground whole wheat), sugar, dairy, and red meat are not beneficial here. Assuming that the person is not consuming these foods, what is this person eating? Plenty of raw fruits and vegetables is essential. Also, the next extremely important thing to look at is how the digestion is working. If the bowels are not moving at least 2-3 times per day with soft (not runny) stool then the person is constipated. You eat 2-3 times per day and what goes in must come out... The body has several channels of elimination and the first is the bowels. If the bowels are not working properly, then the body starts recirculating toxins and people get sick. I have one child and I could always predict when she would get sick when she was about 3 because if I didn't get called to the restroom to wipe her after a bowel movement, the next day she would be sick guaranteed.
If the bowels are working, then next look at the immune system. This person who continues to get strep is having a difficult time immunologically. Strengthening this weakness would be a benefit. Garlic (raw is best), onions, parsley, red raspberry leaf tea, fresh fruits and veggies, etc. Make a green smoothie every day and include whole oranges with just the orange part shaved off- that white part of the orange contains so much nutrition it is a shame to throw it out!

How can one decrease flatulence associated with consuming raw or cooked garlic and onions?
To tell the truth, I have not experienced this problem and was unfamiliar with it. Thus I had to do a little research into what is going on. As I suspected though, it seems the bowel needs to be operating better- both physically as well as bacteriologically (I know that isn't a word). I would suggest chewing thoroughly to break down carbohydrates in the onions and garlic, making sure the bowels are moving appropriately, consuming rejuvelac to introduce more friendly bacteria into the gut (different foods need different bacteria to break them down), increasing stomach acid by eating apple cider vinegar and plenty of greens (in a green smoothie would be best), and eating more onions and garlic. In the interm, I really like Dr. Christopher's Kid-e-Col for relief of gas (and hiccups). The essential ingredient is fennel seeds so some fennel tea should help too.

What can be done for seizures?
It depends on what is causing the seizures. I believe that seizures are the body's way of trying to transport a nutrient it needs fast and thus it seizes the body. I know that some people with a tendency towards seizures have had success with lobelia. It is antispasmodic. It seems to have an effect on the Vagus nerve and in large doses will cause throwing up in most people but in small doses will stop dry heaves, etc. The dosage would depend on the person, but I have heard of some people taking a dropper full (which would make me throw up) but it stops their seizures.

What can be done for hiccups?
Fennel and catnip in equal parts... I like Dr. Christopher's Kid-E-Col

What can be done for eczema on the hands that is NOT caused by detergents, dry air, fragrances, etc?
This is a tricky one which I have dealt with first hand off and on for years. First, double check the issue with detergents. I have found that anything that contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or any of the derivatives like Laureth or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, make it worse. This is a foaming agent found in MOST shampoos, toothpastes, and hand soaps. I now purchase all my soap from Running Wild Spirit and prefer her Complexion Bar and her Moisturizing Bar. I also use Dr. Christopher's shampoo or Aubrey Organics shampoo for the same reason. There are a handful of toothpastes available without these ingredients as well but you always have to check labels because they change but none of those are the standard Colgate, Crest, or AquaFresh brands and only one is a Tom's of Maine. Next- all issues with the skin are related to the liver which is the organ responsible for removing toxins from the blood. If you are adding more toxins through your skin with poor soap and lotion choices, then this compounds the problem, but additionally, a good cleanse like the one Dr. Christopher talks about here will do wonders for the eczema. Also, looking at your diet. There are often triggers. I found for me, if I had flared hands, it would get worse if I ate white sugar and white flour (lowers your immune system and puts you in an inflammatory state). As a temporary relief option, chickweed ointment helps as does plantain and sometimes comfrey helps too. I have used Dr. Christopher's Complete Tissue and Bone formula to relieve the discomfort. Red Raspberry leaf tea seems to help as well because it balances hormones, and in my case, it is actually partially related to hormones (then again, the liver is responsible for breaking down and recycling hormones too...) Dandelion greens and root would be beneficial. Either eating the young greens or making a tea of the greens.

What can be done for Chronic Fatigue?
Chronic Fatigue is complicated, but ultimately, dealing with it requires a lifestyle change. An extended herbal cleanse (which may make symptoms worse initially), followed by an optimum diet including striving for 75% raw, no sugar, no flour or flour products (even fresh ground whole wheat unless it has been sprouted), checking for dietary allergies, and no dairy. Support the adrenal glands with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, possibly something like Dr. Christopher's Adrenal formula and avoid coffee, tea, alcohol, sugar, and chocolate which tax the adrenals. Seeing a practitioner who specializes in cranial sacral therapy and getting exercise each day are also often helpful.

What can be done for weight loss?
Weight loss is also a bit complicated. If a person is holding onto weight because of a hormone imbalance like PCOS or thyroid problems, that will need to be addressed and remedied (there are herbs that will give the body the building blocks to balance these hormones without doing any specific hormone replacement. After all, how can we be sure exactly how much of a given hormone is appropriate? How about all the others and the helpers? So, hormones included and hormones aside, either way the body needs to be cleansed and nourished. An extended herbal cleanse is a good idea. Often people find that they are not as hungry while on the cleanse- just watch out for sometimes when cleansing the body will release certain toxins already consumed and you might begin to crave a cheese pizza or chocolate cake as a result of detoxing those very things. Find a good substitute or drink some water and some raw fruits and veggies or vitamins like Vitalherbs. When I crave sweets, I go for some fresh made almond milk with a sprinkle of cinnamon. The calcium and protein really seem to help alleviate that sweets drive- and store bought doesn't work. Green smoothies for breakfasts, optimum diet (I know of several people who have lost 10 pounds just by eliminating dairy!), and exercise are also essential. In addition, weight is also emotional. Leslie Householder, in Portal to Genius talks about not setting goals to "lose weight" because the subconscious mind doesn't read the phrase but rather each word... thus, if something is lost it must be found and that thing is the weight. So, a person setting goals to lose weight is actually setting himself up to find heaviness! She suggests changing the thought pattern to achieving health. Additionally, holding weight despite many efforts to remove it often is rooted in a protective need to hold onto the weight. In other words, perhaps the weight gain occurred during a particularly stressful time in life. Holding onto that weight is a subconscious effort of the body to protect itself and feel safe. Recognizing this and letting go of those fears is essential.
There are some herbs that help with weight loss, many of the products available I would not recommend though because they contain additives like caffeine and ephedra (which by the way when as a part of an herb like Brigham Tea is safe but when extracted as an isolate can be very dangerous).
What can be done for pain?
It truly depends on what is causing the pain. Pain is a signal that the body needs something. As soon as the need is addressed, the pain is gone. For example, with teething, the pain is associated with a need for calcium. Giving a teething baby plenty of organic calcium like Kid-e-Calc, or drinking red raspberry leaf tea and nursing the baby seems to get rid of the teething complaints. Headaches can be brought on by lack of magnesium or dehydration. Eating high magnesium foods and drinking plenty of herbal tea like raspberry leaf or my natural gatorade alternative helps with the nutritional aspect of headaches. Cayenne can sometimes help if it is a blood pressure imbalance. Cranial sacral work can also help if it is a muscle memory issue or an emotional issue (and most pain is tied to some sort of emotional issue). Sometimes herbs like feverfew or lavender in the case of a cramping pain can help, but it really depends on the reason for the pain.

What can be done for Bipolar Depression?
I would suggest seeing a cranial sacral therapist. Furthermore, diet is essential. A body can't function properly without good food. LOTS of greens. Cleansing the body would also be helpful, but only after the diet has been addressed but some lower bowel formula would be good to help get things moving properly. Also, looking into supporting the adrenals by avoiding coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco, sugar, chocolate, etc. Support the liver with dandelion and other bitter foods.

What can be done for Insulin Resistance?
The interesting thing about insulin resistance is people often think that it is a result of carbs... In my research, I have found another opinion which makes more sense to me. Dr. Fuhrman talks about this quite a bit. The gist of it is that it isn't the carbs but the fat we consume... Here is how it works: Our bodies work on glucose. Glucose is the fuel for our bodies. Thus, ANYTHING we eat will be converted to glucose to provide energy to the cells. This glucose is carried by the insulin to the cells where it fits into a receptor site. The problem lies in the receptor site being blocked. This occurs when too much dietary fat begins to circulate in the blood and the body begins to deposit it onto the cells. This fat insulates the receptor sites and now the insulin can't deliver the glucose. This can be remedied with diet. Dr. Furhman has had excellent success by changing a person's diet to decrease fats (remove dairy and animal products from the diet, limit oils but do use healthy fats like avocado and some nuts and seeds) and significantly increase the vegetables and fruits and beans in the diet. I would add that adding in low heated sprouted grains would also be beneficial. Instructions on how to do this can be found here just skip the step of adding soy milk etc. I find that the grain is better if I first soak them for 12 hrs and let sprout 12 hrs before low heating them. This can also be done with a pot on the stove if you bring the water to a boil, add the grain cover and turn off.