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.