Health problems and solutions

5 Diabetes Travel Tips


Planning ahead when you travel reduces stress. This is particularly important for a diabetic. These 5 diabetes travel tips are simple to implement and crucial to your diabetic management. They are particularly important if you are traveling abroad.

1) Have a pre-travel check-up. Make sure your A1C blood sugar levels; your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels are OK. Get the appropriate shots for any country you plan to visit.

2) Wear a diabetes medical ID. Ideally it should be in the language spoken in the country you're visiting. Not everyone speaks your language and you don't want medical problems through misunderstandings.

3) Keep your medication and glucose snacks in your hand-luggage. Check-in baggage does, unfortunately, go astray. Don't risk your diabetes medication by packing it in your main luggage.

4) Keep your medication in its original box, complete with pharmacy labels. It will prevent misunderstandings about why you are carrying drugs and, if you are on insulin, syringes.

5) Be aware of time zone changes, especially when altering your watch. Remember when you travel east your day becomes shorter; if you travel west your day becomes longer. You may need to alter the timings of your medication.

Traveling need not be traumatic. A sensible attitude and a bit of pre-travel planning can make things go far more smoothly.

Afraid of Anthrax Strengthen Your Immune System part2


Essential oils are antibacterial, and some sources suggest rubbing them inside the nose or spraying the air with these extremely concentrated oils to counter anthrax infections. I don't. Essential oils are likely to cause a variety of side effects (such as damage to the mucus surfaces of the nose and lungs, and stress to the lymphatic system) that could, paradoxically, make infection more likely and more virulent.

Cayenne and golden seal are antibacterial, but too strong to be used as preventatives. Snuffing hot pepper up your nose would kill anthrax, but at the risk of irritating your nose and respiratory passages, damaging their protective mucus surfaces, and stressing your immune system. I rarely use golden seal, not only because it can cause severe side effects, but also because it is approaching extinction in the wild.

I prefer safer antibacterial herbs such as Echinacea, usnea, or poke root, which not only kill infection, but also help us keep our immune systems strong. That, of course, is the desired result from immunization: to strengthen the immune system and alert it to the possibility of anthrax infection. Anthrax vaccines currently available for animals are not suitable for humans, and one prepared for people is in short supply (and only 93 percent effective). To achieve full immunity, one must have immunization shots every two weeks for six weeks, then again at 6, 12, and 18 months. Given that, herbs seem a superb alternative: they have an extensive history of countering resistant bacteria and strengthening the body's natural defenses.

Echinacea root is the all American immune system strengthener. It triggers production of white blood cells, interferon, leukocytes, T cells, and B lymphocytes, as well as directly inhibiting the growth of most bacteria and viruses. Peter Holmes, author of Energetics of Western Herbs, cites it as being effective against anthrax. Echinacea tincture is my first choice for countering infection. (Capsules and pills of Echinacea, if used for lengthy periods, may be counter-productive.) A dose of the tincture is one drop for every pound of body weight. I take this several times a week as a preventative, several times daily when there is active infection. If I were exposed to anthrax, I would take a dose every hour for at least ten days.

Usnea, a common lichen, is especially rich in a powerful antibacterial bitter called usnic acid (also usinic acid). I use the tincture of Usnea barbata (a dose is 1-2 dropperfuls), but other lichens show similar immune-enhancing and tonifying properties. There are no side effects reported from use of even large amounts of usnea tincture.

Poke root tincture (Phytolacca americana) kicks the immune system into gear incredibly fast. I’ve seen chronic infection of many years’ standing resolve after only one dose, and acute infection subside in a matter of hours. Poke’s effect seems to be focused on the lymphatic and glandular tissues of the throat and chest, making it the perfect counter to inhaled anthrax, which attacks the lymph nodes around the lungs. Poke is a specific against pneumonia and a protector of the lungs. It contains an antibacterial alkaloid and a special antiviral protein. It magnifies the effects of Echinacea and they work wonderfully well together.

Poke root is powerful medicine - in fact a potential poison - and the dose is very small. One drop of poke tincture may be taken daily for no more than three months as a counter to possible infection. Those with a positive diagnosis could use a single drop as frequently as six times a day. Alkaloids in poke root tincture can accumulate in the kidneys, making extended use risky, though some people have taken doses of 15 drops a day for a year or more without apparent harm. Caution: You can feel spacey and out of your body when taking poke, especially at higher doses. The first few times, take it after dinner and stay home so you can judge your reaction.

To be assured of a supply of poke tincture, you may need to make it yourself, as it is rarely found for sale. Poke is a common garden and roadside weed of northeastern North America, tall (5-7 feet) with conspicuous dark purple berries and magenta-hued stalks.

Dig roots after hard frost, when tops are dead and yellowed, and tincture, fresh, for six weeks in 100 proof vodka.

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus) is widely considered the single most effective immune tonic and adaptogen in the herbal realm. Safe and inexpensive, it helps the immune system respond quickly to infection and mitigates the effects of stress. Astragalus root is also an excellent ally for building powerful immunity. Both, or either, may be taken daily for extended periods with no ill effects. I throw several pieces of these roots in every pot of soup I cook. Tincture is less effective as a tonic; and I avoid capsules completely.

Ginseng root (Panax quinquefolius or Panax ginseng) is another exceptional ally for the immune system, especially when there is physical or emotional stress. In any form (tincture, tea, extract) it nourishes production of interferon, phagocytes, antibodies, and killer T-cells. So long as you need ginseng, there’s no overdose; if you take it when you don’t need it however, it may produce an unpleasant, jittery, speedy sensation.

But herbs alone are not enough. What we think, and what we consume, are also important parts of building strong immunity. Candace Pert, visiting professor of neuroscience at Rutgers University, has proven that every cell of the body participates in the immune system through an integrated network of chemical, electrical, and hormonal signals. The immune system is a network, she says, which resonates with the vibrations that surround it. It is as affected by emotions as by bacteria, as impacted by thoughts as by drugs.

Long-standing low-level depression, smoldering anger that is never expressed, bitterness and vengeance projected into the future are all known to depress immune functioning. Prayer, affirmations, positive thinking - no matter what you call it - talking lovingly to yourself builds powerful immunity. One of the fiercest old women I know, healer Margo Geiger, taught me to not only think good thoughts but also to unthink immune system stressing phrases like: “This is killing me,” or “I’m dying to ...” (“Let’s live for it!” she’d say.)

Specialized cells which eliminate bacterial and viral infections are made as needed by the immune system. Richly supply your immune system with nutrients, and it easily counters infection, building healthy white blood cells to kill anthrax and other germs. Starve your immune system and it will falter, leaving your lymph nodes and other tissues open to infection and destruction.