The Important Nutrient: Choline

Choline is an essential nutrient required for a great many bodily functions. It is required for numerous nervous system functions, liver and gallbladder functions, cell structure, and metabolism. It even helps to stave off disease. Thankfully, this vitally essential nutrient is found in a wide variety of foods.

What is the Role of Choline in the Body?

Choline is crucial for the proper transmission signals along the nervous system from the brain throughout the entire body (also known as neurotransmitter synthesis). It also is extremely necessary for liver function, gallbladder regulation, and lecithin formation.  (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782876/)

This nutrient is used by the body in hormone production and it aids in fat and cholesterol metabolism. It is even required for DNA synthesis and cell structure. Choline is also required for the synthesis of many B Vitamins, especially Folate and B12 (more on this in a moment).

Choline is one of the main components of Lecithin. Lecithin is rich in phosphatidylcholine, which is a form of choline. Lecithin is similar to a healthy fat and it is found in our cells. Lecithin is an emulsifier – which means it helps to disperse fat particles in water, but it keeps them from totally separating. This helps to maintain cell membranes!

All cells in both animals and plants require choline in order to maintain their structural integrity. It is vital for modulating gene expression, cell membrane signaling, liquid transport, and even the neurotransmitters that are responsible for muscle control, memory and mood. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201701/the-case-choline)

 

Pregnant & Nursing Mothers

Pregnant Mothers and Nursing Mothers have a critical need for choline. 550 milligrams is the recommended dosing, while only 425 is required for women who are not pregnant or nursing.

There is 10 times greater amount of choline in amniotic fluid than is present in the mother’s blood. Choline is delivered to the developing baby at tremendously concentrated levels through the placenta. Not only is this essential nutrient vital for the developing baby’s brain, but it also will help to prevent neural tube defects due to the way choline helps the body to process folate.

When pregnant women have high homocysteine levels they have a higher risk of preeclampsia, low birth weight, and premature birth. Choline helps to reduce the homocysteine levels in our body since it is so vital for the process of breaking down homocysteine in the body.

Human milk has very high amounts of choline – so nursing mothers still need to make sure they are getting adequate amounts. Without taking extra, the mother’s natural store of choline will become depleted and she can quickly develop choline deficiency symptoms.

Premenopausal women tend to need slightly less, because estrogen induces the gene that starts the biosynthesis process.

Young Children

Young children whose brains are growing and developing at such a rapid rate need 250 milligrams of choline a day.

Some studies show that choline plays such a vital role in memory that students who had a choline-rich diet performed better on memory tests. This is because choline is essential for the creation of acetylcholine.

Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that tells our heart to beat, our muscles to twitch and even tells our hippocampus to store a memory. It is a vital neurotransmitter for our attention span, alertness, and learning abilities.  Choline plays a critical role in language development. This makes choline crucial for helping to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with autism.

Many children with autism get stuck at the labeling phase of language, which is a part of the “demand” phase and struggle to move on to the “complex” phase. The “complex” phase is where the Who, What, Why, and Where questions are asked.  The “complex” language is processed at an entirely different section in the brain, a part that uses more specific motor planning and word sequencing. While no one yet fully understands how choline affects the transition from “demand” to “complex” language, many scholars are sure it has to do with the way our brain processes acetylcholine. (http://devdelay.org/newsletter/articles/html/332-choline-and-complex-language.html)

 

Brain Inflammation & Mental Health Disorders

People with Parkinson’s disease, Tardive dyskinesia, and other nervous system disorders would greatly benefit from taking extra choline. It also can be beneficial for the prevention and improvement of Arteriosclerosis.

Choline is required for DNA synthesis and this is crucial for not only brain development but also for brain function. It can prevent cognitive decline – including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This is because Acetylcholine deficiency is highly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

We have to regrow brain cells as we age, in a process called Neurogenesis, and choline helps us do just that. Acetylcholine is also called the anti-aging neurotransmitter.  A choline-rich diet can completely change the way that our brain ages.

People who have high levels of choline in their diets tend to have lower inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, homocysteine, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor. It is these inflammatory markers that can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and auto-immune disorders. It also helps to protect the wall of the large intestine with people who have ulcerative colitis.

Choline is also crucial for combating many mental health disorders including depression and anxiety. Some studies show that if choline is deficient during in-utero development and in early childhood, that individuals have a much higher chance of having depression.

For years, low serotonin levels was thought to be the primary cause of depression and anxiety, but scientists are not understanding more about the function of Acetylcholine in the brain. There currently are not any lab tests that a patient can get to test the serotonin levels – that was just the best theoretical hypothesis. Yale is currently researching the role of acetylcholine and depression (https://www.bbrfoundation.org/content/potential-root-cause-depression-discovered-narsad-grantee.)

So far, Yale has discovered that acetylcholine directly affects the nerve impulse signaling in the hippocampus, which is the area responsible for memory and mood. And low acetylcholine has shown to cause significantly higher rates of depression. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/charting-the-depths/201007/the-serotonin-theory-depression-is-collapsing)

 

MTHFR Gene Mutation

MTHFR gene mutation causes a wide variety of symptoms and increases the chances of neural tube defects. This is due to the way folate is processed. Choline is exceptionally important for people who have this gene mutation.  People with MTHFR gene mutation are often choline deficient.

Choline and Folate are both methyl donors in the process of remethylation of homocysteine. This process turns homocysteine into methionine, which is an essential L-amino acid required for tissue growth and tissue repair. This primarily occurs in the liver.

What Causes Choline Deficiency?

The most common cause of choline deficiency is an improper or unvaried diet. Vegetarians are also at high risk for choline deficiency.

When a person has a choline deficiency, they may experience a fatty buildup in the liver, gastric ulcers, high blood pressure, the inability to digest fats, kidney impairment, or cardiac symptoms.  Choline deficiency can a lot of fatigue or low energy levels. It can also cause memory loss, cognitive decline, muscle aches, nerve damage, depression, anxiety, mood changes, etc.

Some people may have a genetic factor that prevents proper choline absorption in food. Some genes require an increase of dietary methyl requirements, and since choline is a major part of the methyl process, these genes will result in a choline deficiency.

Be sure to not take extremely high doses as having too much can cause low blood pressure, a fishy body odor, and gastrointestinal disruption.

Which Foods are High in Choline?

  • egg yolks are the most concentrated source of choline.
  • shrimp
  • chicken
  • turkey
  • milk
  • beef – especially beef liver
  • pork
  • salmon
  • sardines
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • Brussel’s sprouts
  • legumes such as navy  beans, baked beans, & peanuts
  • wheat germ

What is the Best Form of Choline?

Phosphatidylcholine is the easiest form of choline for your body to process and it is found primarily in eggs. Phosphatidylcholine is term that is used interchangeably with Lecithin, though they are not technically the same thing. It can also be found in sunflower and mustard.

Conclusion

There are a number of supplements available to help counteract choline deficiency.  Please read the labels to make sure that it is sunflower based and not soy based. Soy has a large number of negative health effects including increased estrogen which can lead to breast cancer.

For children who cannot swallow pills, Liquid PC from The Village Green, is a good option. It contains Xymogen Phosphaline, a form of choline. Nature’s Sunshine also has a great Lecithin capsule. Krill Oil is another great option.

 

 

 

Homeopathy Remedies for Autistic Meltdowns and Pandas

Homeopathy Remedies

(I am not a Homeopath. I have a Master Herbalist degree and have a great love for homeopathy – one day I would like to take some classes on it!)

I have used various homeopathy remedies to help my daughter when she is having an autism meltdown and to help her combat Pandas flare-ups. Cina worked for a long time as her constitutional remedy, and now she doing much better. Her constitutional remedy is changing from Cina to Pulsatilla. Constitutional remedy means it works well for her entire being, as the description fits her exactly. For acute or occasional issues, we treat with other remedies as they fit.

Here is a list of some very helpful homeopathic remedies. These remedies can be used for a lot more than I have listed – please refer to your Materia Medica for full description.

Chamomilla

Chamomilla is a wonderful remedy that many people know is useful with teething or colicky babies and the pains of childbirth. The Chamomilla temperament is miserable – miserable everywhere they go. So miserable that they can appear angry, sulky, cross, or even in a rage.

Chamomilla children will cry, kick, bite, scream and drive their parents to despair. The stiffen up and will bend backward. Chamomilla children are only quiet when they are being carried – but they don’t want to be touched or spoken to. They cry because they want something and then throw it back, completely unhappy. They are furious that they are hurting and furious at everyone else for not fixing the discomfort.

Chamomilla is overly sensitive to everything. His nerves are completely shot and he lacks patience. Complete intolerance for pain or sensitivity – this person will not bear the pain quietly or calmly.

There may be hot sweat on the head, yellowish green spinach-like diarrhea, toothache or bitter taste in the mouth.

Cina

It is most commonly used for parasitic worms. But it also works wonders for autism meltdowns and pandas.

It is common for the Cina Child to be cross, irritable and to grind his teeth. There is also a varying appetite – sometimes Cina will want to eat a lot and sometimes next to nothing.  Cina wants to be held and rocked all the time. This child is highly sensitive to touch – cannot bear to have hair brushed or to be caressed. He is so sensitive that it feels as if he is bruised or sore. In fact, he is so touchy that he does not want to even be looked at. However, this child may rub, poke, pick his nose or scratch inside his ears. Cina also has an aversion to bright light.

Cina will desire things but will reject everything offered – this child typically doesn’t throw them back like Chamomilla does, just rejects them. He will crave sweets and gets hungry soon after eating a meal. It is a painful hungry feeling, a gnawing sensation. He may have a difficult time in swallowing liquid and choke easily on water or his own spit. He is a very anxious child. Occasionally Cina will have spasmodic twitching of his limbs.

Cina has a pale face with very dark rings around his eyes. The sweat on his head is cold. There is a whiteish blue ring around the mouth.  This child will grit his teeth in his sleep and also during sleep his face and hands will make movements while dreaming.  Cina prefers to sleep on and hands and knees or on his abdomen. Sleep is restless for Cina, he has trouble sleeping and he has night terrors, screams, or talks in his sleep. He often wakes up with a start and feels very frightened.

Upon waking, Cina will have a cough that may end in a spasm. It’s a violent cough that can bring tears to his eyes. There is a gurgling sound or sensation going from stomach to throat after coughing. Cina is highly anxious to speak or move after the coughing fit, out of fear that it would start another one. Belly pain, especially after eating is very common too.

For parents of Cina, it is a little frustrating as they have a hard time with punishments – punishments can cause convulsions, or fits. Cina is so sensitive even to emotional disturbances. The stool of Cina are very notable – it’s often white and profuse. Cina is noted for gastrointestinal distress. Ofen with intense pain – so severe that it can contribute to delays in speech and socialization.

Ignatia Amara

Ignatia is excellent for anxiety – that is situational anxiety. It is useful for the sudden anxiety or panic attacks that seem to come out of nowhere. Ignatia is useful for fearful anxiety and worry.  It is highly useful after trauma or with someone who is is having a difficult time trusting again.

It is also given for shock, bereavement, and disappointment. Ignatia is often completely overcome by heartache and depression. His depression will quickly turn into a form of desolation and devastation. He has a painful yearning for that which was lost.

Ignatia is sensitive, easily hurt, and is subject to massive mood swings. When things go wrong, Ignatia takes it personally. He is usually melancholy and sad – sighs and sobs for no apparent reason. Social settings greatly aggravate the anxiety for Ignatia. And he has repeating and intrusive thoughts. Heightened emotional responses are common as is a defensive attitude.

Anxiety will manifest in Ignatia with twitches, spasms in the throat, cramps etc. Sometimes his cough feels so tight that it will suffocate him. Ignatia has irritable bowel issues that can flare up suddenly. This sudden bowel change is reflected in the sudden change of emotional temperament. Ignatia can be laughing and making jokes and then instantly they will be in tears – almost reflective of a hysteria type shift.

Pulsatilla

Pulsatilla is unstable, emotional and timid. She weeps for nothing and experiences extreme intellectual fatigue.  She is highly anxious and occasionally absent-minded. She will bottle up her emotions when she isn’t weeping. She also holds a grudge for a long time and can feel very depressed, jealous and anxious. She will show a fear of the opposite sex. She rarely feels thirsty and frequently feels aversion to food.

Clingy, sad, needing to be reassured and held are hallmarks of her temperament. She wants to be carried, rocked and loved – while simultaneously fearing suffocation. She is like a flower being tossed around in the wind – lacking the strength to stand upright while the wind blows and being tossed and turned about. She is very needy and is terrified of being abandoned or forsaken. Fears surround her and night terrors are frequent. She craves above all things to feel safe, loved, and content. If she doubts those things – her world shatters. She greatly regresses when under stress and in a warm, stuffy room. Cold, open air makes her feel better – as long as it is a dry cold. She tends to feel worse in the evenings.

Pulsatilla child has a very difficult time sharing toys and crumbles when reprimanded. She is constantly vying for attention by negative means – usually creating a scene or whining irritably. Pulsatilla does not have an angry cry like Chamomilla. Though she wants attention, she lacks the confidence to engage with others – she has no problem playing alone and will contentedly munch on sweets.

Arsenicum Album

The horse typifies Arsenic temperament. Horses constantly move about, are highly nervous – almost restless. He tends to have dry, rough, unhealthy looking skin when he is need of this remedy.

He jerks about as he is falling asleep. Arsenic is highly anxious and desperately angry – almost to the point of being furious. He feels hopeless, full of misery, and suicidal.

Burning pains are a major consideration – no other remedy has burning pains to this degree. However, Arsenic craves hot food and drink. He often licks his lips because they are dry.

He feels rested when sitting but any slight exertion will exhaust him quickly. He has a great fear of being left alone – yet desires to hide. He is indecisive and his humor changes quickly – almost in an angry hasty way. He is terribly upset by small changes in the little details of life. Arsenic is highly compulsive about orderliness.

 

Sulphur

Sulphur is a firey child – a volcano ready to explode suddenly and intensely in response to any frustration. After his anger subsides the molten lava of sullenness and smolders seep out for a long while. Highly intellectual, creative and artistic. He is immensely passionate about every facet in his life.

Sulphur has an adventurous spirit – his entire being engrossed in his investigation of the world around him. He is determined to succeed and has the drive to do so. However, he can also be critical, irritable and intolerant. He believes that every performance he gives is the very best. Sulphur tends to be hypercritical and arrogant. He is impatient, head-strong, and domineering.

Not all volcanos are active – some are dormant. Sulphur can also be extremely lazy and procrastinates. He will have wonderful ideas – but a massive aversion to work of any kind. While Sulphur has a strong ego – it is a fragile one. He easily feels disrespected and humiliated.  This happens anytime his ego is threatened.

Sulphur is used when driving out toxins and counteract the suppression of physical or emotional symptoms.

As a child, Sulphur was a replica of Dennis the Menace. Always into mischief and high spirited. He is constantly getting into trouble and being disobedient. Sulphur tends to hate bathing (unless it’s a cold shower) and doe not mind being dirty. He can not bear to feel too hot, is not a morning person, and just loves junk food. He is determined to get his own way and almost impossible to reason with when he gets worked up.

When a Sulphur child has Pandas, their rage can even include smearing feces on the wall and aggressively attacking others. The screaming tantrums of a Sulphur child are fierce to behold.

Carcinosin

As a child, Carcinosin loves to read and cuddle with pets. In fact, her pets are her best friends. She felt like she was struggling to fly free – rules only made her feel confined. But Carcinosin isn’t a rebel, she is merely passionate.

She is sensitive and very responsible. Almost overly so. She has a high standard and feels highly anxious if her standards are not met. She struggles with feeling like an idiot and of things being out of her control. In fact, she worries so much that she will make herself sick. Fear drives Carcinosin – but it is that fear that drives her. She is determined to cause the change in her life.

When she can’t fix things, she is determined to find someone to take care of things for her.  So much so that she will lose her identity in whoever is taking care of her. This is a key feature – the loss of self as a result from suppressing her will in order to be taken care of. She is cautious, reserved and tends to answer in monosyllables.  After this, she will get resentful. She feels contradictory. At this point, she becomes quarrelsome, discontented, disgusted etc. Eventually, she will come to a point where she needs to break out. She will dance frequently, yearn to travel. She becomes cheerful when there are thunder and lightning. Her excitability keeps increasing – and then she begins getting startled easily, becoming destructive, twitching, not sleeping.

Then the cycle repeats. She goes back into taking care of others, full of a sense of duty, clinging to animals, loving to cuddle, anxious for the well being of others.

She is so determined to endure that she will push herself to the limit. She is very strong and highly intelligent. Carcinosin will have frequent abdominal pain, and bending over helps to make it better. She is prone to schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety. She is fearful of crowds, narrow places, high places, spiders, mice, snakes, and especially fear of failure.

Carcinosin is a perfectionist. Criticism even in the most gentle and mild forms are utterly unbearable for her, she takes it extremely personally. She is highly sensitive to the feelings of others and highly empathetic. Pandas diagnosis is extremely common with Carcinosin.

Aspergers and Pandas: The First Three Years of Our Holistic Health Journey

Autism Clues

I had everything ready: my detailed birth plan, the Bradley Method book, my calming piano hymns music, Clary Sage and Lavender oils, ice packs, heat rags, birthing ball, honey straws, Vitamin K drops, and a doula who would encapsulate my placenta.  Much to my doctor’s frustration, I was determined to utilize a holistic health approach to giving birth. After a very smooth, natural labor and delivery, the nurse handed me my newborn baby girl.

I had looked forward to that moment of first getting to meet her – cuddling close, looking at her tiny features, counting her little fingers and toes. That moment finally arrived! But Emma would recoil her hands abruptly at the touch of my fingers. Her face would grimace in agitation – almost as if she was in pain –  when anyone touched her, especially her hands and feet. I knew right away that something was amiss. By the end of the day, I had noticed a stork bite on her neck and a sacral dimple – signs to look out for with the MTHFR gene mutation that ran through my family.

Soon, we noticed that she would become inconsolable if more than three separate people held her. Or if a store was too busy, or the tv was too loud. Or if we were gone from home more than a couple of hours. Or when she was placed in the car seat. She was constantly alert and on edge, stiff as a board when held. All of these things I noted and tucked away for further observation and research. When I would bring them up to the pediatrician or in conversation socially, I was told not to worry. She simply was a sensitive baby. Nothing was wrong.

But I knew that she was different in a special way – because I am different too.

Emma didn’t nurse well and refused to take a bottle. It was a rough first few months. Thankfully some Mommy Friends in a private Facebook group told me to look into tongue and lip ties, then told me about their own experiences. Many of whom warned me about how frightfully uneducated so many are in the medical field about the impact ties have on breastfeeding.

She began having meltdowns. It took a while to learn what was a meltdown and what was a temper tantrum – there ARE differences. But occasionally a temper tantrum can go on so long that she works herself into a meltdown. During meltdowns, she would stop making eye contact and it was as if she couldn’t hear or see me. During meltdowns, she could not be pacified. We learned that we had to take her away from the stimulus, preferably to a dark quiet room and just hold her and rock. Emma never would take a paci and she didn’t want toys or a Lovey of any kind.

Sleep Deprivation

After going through four doctors, three lactation consultants, and a local Le Leche League leader (say that three times fast!) – I found a doctor who believed me and told me that my assessment of a Stage 3 lip tie and a posterior tongue tie were correct and were contributing to the difficult nursing experience. A quick lasering of the ties and we were on our way to a more successful and pain-free nursing relationship.

By four months, I knew that she had Aspergers (like I do). Her sensitivity to various stimuli was escalating at a rapid pace. Then, she stopped sleeping. Almost completely. I knew that the Four Month Sleep Regression was supposed to be a hard one – but after a month she wasn’t back to a semblance of a routine at all. Emma was waking up every 15 minutes and not going back to sleep unless she nursed herself to sleep. Once a week she would sleep for 45-60 minutes before waking. My husband and I tried everything. Literally everything. Her pediatrician was baffled but did send us to a specialist for the autism diagnosis. We had an eight-month weight until our first appointment.

The meltdowns increased, her sensitivity increased. I was not able to go to the bathroom or to grab a cup of water without her going into a meltdown because I wasn’t holding her. Emma would panic if she didn’t feel completely safe and secure. It wasn’t her just demanding attention – she would lose the ability function. If anything was different or new – she felt insecure.

Meanwhile, Emma continued to wake up every 15 minutes, just like clockwork. Regardless of what we tried to do – regardless of how consistent we were with habits or what supplements we tried or how her environment was. There is a reason sleep deprivation is used as a method of torture – I legitimately thought I was going to die from sleep deprivation. My husband suggested we try co-sleeping so I at least wouldn’t have to walk to the next room every 15 minutes to nurse.

Alternative Health Care and an Autism Diagnosis

Finally, after seven months of no one sleeping, we went to a friend of mine for help (why we didn’t go earlier I have no idea!) She has a health food store and uses Autosomal Reflexive Testing (which is a variation of Applied Kinesiology – more on this in an upcoming article!) Emma was put on some Homeopathy supplements. She needed Hylands Nerve Tablets, Ignatia Amara, and Ferem Phosphates to eliminate a virus she was battling. I gave her the first dose immediately. She slept the whole thirty-minute drive home – which had never happened before. Emma would scream from the moment she was placed in a car seat to the moment we took her out. After three days she was sleeping for three hours before waking. After a week she was sleeping for five hours before waking and would go right back to sleep.

With the exception of one episode of Strep Throat, Emma was very healthy and didn’t get sick apart from seasonal allergies. Granted, she was quite low on the growth charts – but we were seeing consistent growth. (Little did we know the damage that Strep bacteria did. She was so young we couldn’t see a massive amount of difference before and after the illness in her behavior.)

Being proponents of Self Led Weaning (she weaned at 14 months) and Delaying Solids, it was around 8 months of age when we would allow Emma to taste new foods. But she showed absolutely no interest to anything other than the baby melts. By 10 months she finally wanted to try a food – a lemon of all things. After that, she didn’t want to try any foods at all until she was just shy of a year old. That’s when her Nana convinced her to eat – a Cheese Puff. My heart sank, of course, the first actual food she likes would be something terribly unhealthy…

Emma was considered a Non-Verbal. That is, she spoke 5 words with any consistency. She used Jargon a lot – gibberish sounds in lieu of words. She could say: Mama, Daddy, Biscuit (our cat), Nana (my mom), and No. She could sign for “more” and displayed that she fully understood what we told her. Eventually, in her therapies she was tested – at 24 months she had the cognition of a 4-year-old. Her “output” and her social skills were delayed considerably. She would randomly say words – and say them correctly and display that she understood what they meant and how to use them in context, like the word Octagon. She could point to all the correct shapes, colors, numbers, letters, and over 50 animals. She would make animal noises – and knew appropriate noises for a great many animals.

Finally, her appointment with the child psychologist arrived – and to utter dismay it would be a series of visits over the next few months with various nurses, nurse practitioners and finally a ten minute visit with the actual doctor – and we received her diagnosis of Autism Spectrum, and what would have been called Aspergers (oh the frustrating changes in the DSM IV!) This opened the door to various therapies such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, and food therapy.

Her meltdowns were intense. They could last HOURS. She would not be able to hear or see us, and she would not feel any pain. We would do everything that we could to keep her from hurting herself or others – and she would try her best to do just that. Emma would bang her head on surfaces, throw herself down – or worse off things. She would scratch her eyes and pull her face – or do the same to others. She would scream and thrash about like a wild animal caught in a cage. It was terrifying to behold – and even more so terrifying to realize that there was nothing that I could do to help her. She was hurting. She was afraid.

Being overstimulated sometimes feels like thousands of fingernails scratching at you – at every fiber of your entire being. All your senses are affected – sound becomes deafening and incomprehendible. Light becomes too bright while simultaneously your vision becomes blurred and tunneled. For a few brief moments its barely tolerable, and then when your body can’t handle any more – your systems crash into a meltdown.

A meltdown would make Emma “teeter-totter” to where it was as if her emotions were fragile and sitting on the edge of a blade. It would take the slightest bump to knock them off in either direction – either for calmness or for another meltdown. A major meltdown could send her nerves into such a state of agitation that she was affected by it for up to five weeks later – the entire five weeks be a series of meltdown chains. During a meltdown recovery period, we could do nothing except sit and rock, or sit and nurse, or sleep.

We wanted to partner up with professionals who viewed Emma the way we did – as a capable, brilliant child who has a great many strengths. We wanted to partner up with people who didn’t view Autism as a disease but as a unique way of processing information. Aspergers does indeed tend to have a great many pitfalls – but a great many blessings too. We just need to help Emma to learn how to navigate her sensory awareness and sensitivity, and how to understand that her emotions and thoughts do not necessarily convey what is true and real – though emotions are a great indicator of the heart.

After researching and trying out various therapies – we found an Occupational Therapist who eschewed ABA therapy (to our relief) and conducted Floor Time Play Therapy. She was such a great fit for our family – and so supportive of our passion for natural health care. She saw Emma as the brilliant child we saw too.

She displayed a large number of autism signs during the first year and a half. She would hand flap, squeeze her hands and shake all over when excited, and didn’t ever play with toys. Emma loved to organize things – she would spend HOURS taking the clothes out of her drawers and arranging them into piles. She loved to draw – but only a single shape – a Circle with a squiggly tail. If she was given grid paper, she would cover each square with this shape. She could sit and draw this shape for hours with fierce attention, the very action consumed her entire being.

Pandas and What We Have Found

Over a series of months, we noticed that there was a correlation between Emma’s very difficult weeks and her bowel. Research led me to be concerned about Pandas, but I had a hard time finding enough information about a child so young to be sure. I knew that we had a leaky gut issue, yeast overgrowth in the gut and that there was such a direct correlation between gut health and Autism.

But with her severe food sensory issues – I had no idea how to overcome her sensory issues. At this point, Emma only ate 12 things: Fruit melts, Goldfish, Club Crackers, Cheese Puffs, Fritos, Grapes, Blueberries, Apples, Banana, Strawberry, Chickfila Chicken Nuggets, and Wendy’s Chicken Nuggets. Regardless of our tactics to introduce healthy foods – even going so far as to refusing the yeast feeding GMO laden processed crackers and only offering healthy versions… but Emma could recognize even a change in Brand name by the taste. And she, unlike most children, will not give in and eat anything when hungry enough. We have tried. Her food therapist even noted that in her entire career she had only seen a COUPLE of other children who had the stubbornness to where they would rather starve themselves than eat something out of their comfort level.

As is typical with Pandas, the bowel will take on a chalky appearance. It becomes watery and very clay like in color. The odor is fouler than any “normal” diaper previously – it smells like a rotting carcass. During this attack, these watery diapers come out in a discharge so profuse and in such large quantity that no diaper is able to contain it all. Cloth or disposable – regardless of the brand. During these bouts, she becomes extremely violent and full of rage over the slightest sensory stimulus.

It was just after one of these episodes that Emma got a rather severe UTI. She refused to drink anything. I used a medicine syringe and would syringe her with water and Gatorade every 10 minutes. My Mom took her through the night and continued. We were trying to keep her from having to go to the hospital. But the next morning her diaper count was still terribly low and she was becoming lethargic. The hospital had to give her a catheter – and a dose of anxiety medicine because the stimulus was causing a massive meltdown. Twice in two months, we had this happen. Once, the hospital messed up and gave her a double dose of anxiety medicine – and had to watch her for a while to make sure she continued to breathe. Each time she was more and more traumatized by the catheter. It was so emotionally damaging that she would have meltdowns if we tried to change her diaper.

We decided the psychologist who had given the diagnosis was not a good fit for our family, so thanks to our wonderful occupational therapist we found a psychological counselor who has a heart for people with autism grow and flourish. He listened to our story and said that he is quite certain Emma had Pandas – especially with the way her violence correlated with the diapers. He was also very knowledgeable about MTHFR gene mutation, Pyroleuria, PTSD, and Porphyria – and other numerous issues that are in our family. What a tremendous relief it was to talk to a medical professional who understood these issues!  We discussed our options, and he was sympathetic to our desire to pursue holistic health care.

It was around this time that I had finished my Master Herbalist degree and was beginning my internship at the health food stores on the weekends with training in Autosomal Reflexive Therapy.

Therapy went well for the most part – food therapy was a bit disappointing, as Emma did not acquire many new foods. She did gain the confidence to try new foods occasionally (though not consistently) and she learned that she likes gummy bears and carrots. Occupational therapy is still going – and she is having a lot of fun playing games where she learns about taking turns, experiencing new textures, change in direction of play etc.  Speech therapy was helpful – having a new friend to interact with and play speech games with, a friend who wasn’t a parent or grandparent also seemed to make the game more appealing. Around the time she graduated, Emma had begun to use around 100 words consistently.

When her little sister, Faith, became big enough to play – this was transformational in Emma’s life. Faith taught Emma how to pretend and play with toys. Now, getting to be the “big sister” and help baby Faith has given her tremendous confidence and has encouraged her to push beyond her previous boundaries.

Over the last few months, I have been testing her consistently and finding out what nutritionally her body is needing. We have had such a remarkable turnaround in a short amount of time! Her vocabulary has blossomed – and so has her sentence structure. While we do still need to be mindful of what can overstimulate – her tolerance level has dramatically increased, as has her bravery in insecure situations.

She also has blossomed in her social skills – now she tries talking with other children, instead of completely oblivious to any game structure or social construct. She happily chatters with adults too and loves to create stories. She still is unsure of how to interact with children her own age, but she loves to watch them and in very confident situations will attempt to join in playing with them.

Unfortunately, the trauma from being catheterized has had lasting effects. She still panics during diaper changes – though considerably calmer than before. If we calmly talk to her about what is happening she handles it much better – but it is still terrifying for her. This has caused her to refuse to attempt any potty training. Which is frustrating – but we are patiently encouraging her growth and confidence. Maybe potty training Faith first will be helpful…

One other area we are still struggling in is in sleeping. She sleeps well – but she still relies on me to go to sleep and to stay in bed. We are in the process of transferring Faith to a big bed – after we get her used to sleeping in her own bed we will then be able to work more on helping Emma to learn. We are hoping that she will want to once she sees that Faith is doing it. And I have to remain in bed with her – if she wakes and can’t find me, she will panic. Panicking can QUICKLY turn into a meltdown.

She has come such a long way! But there is still such a long way to go – we still have to navigate our life based around her sensory needs, be extra cautious about how many activities or outings we do in a day, and with what could potentially trigger a meltdown. Meltdowns no longer affect us for many weeks at a time – now it is just hours at their most severe. We have not had any return of the massive and foul diaper episodes. When I notice her bowl SLIGHTLy become paler, I test her and find she is requiring an increase in dosing. Her behavior may be SLIGHTLY more agitated – but she IS HEALING. We praise God for His blessings in this, and for His provision of nutrients and Homeopathies to help her strengths shine. I am so excited to see how she progresses over the next few months.

I will elaborate on all the herbal supplements, vitamins, and homeopathic remedies I am giving her (in an upcoming article) 

I write this so that if you have a loved one who is on the spectrum or has Pandas to know that you are not alone in your experiences and that there is Hope. God is completely Sovereign over His Creation – even in Autism. There is nothing that happens that is outside the realm of His control, and He will allow only that which is for our sanctification and His Glory. We can rest in that!

 

Lamentations 3: 22-23 “The LORD’S loving-kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

 

 

 

A Guide on Plants Poisonous to the Touch

Plants can ruin your day

Spending time in the woods is a wonderful way to help eliminate stress. There is not hardly anything so peaceful as the cold earth under your feet and the first light of dawn peaking over the ridge and through the trees. One horrible experience for many hunters is to get good and nestled in a hide of undergrowth waiting on a buck to walk by and to leave with only a terribly itchy rash caused by unidentified poisonous plants. This guide is meant to help you prevent that from happening. The old adage of “leaf of three let it be; hairy vine no friend of mine” can be helpful – but if you go solely by that then you’ll be avoiding many safe plants needlessly.

Poison Ivy & Poison Oak

Poison Ivy and Poison Oak are plants that are often confused. They are both a part of the Toxicodendron genus and Anacardiaceae family. Both have three leaf sets that join together at a central reddish point and alternate on either side of the stem. The middle leaf is often slightly longer (this is more noticeable in Poison Ivy) than the two side leaves. Poison Oak is not quite as common as Poison Ivy as it prefers sandy soil. It seems to be most common in the East and Northwest.

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Poison Oak’s leaves can sometimes have rounded lobes – those that look rather similar to an oak leaf. Poison Oak leaves are not always lobed like oak. They can also be rounded, or scalloped, or toothed. Sometimes they are shiny and other times dull.  Sometimes serrated and sometimes not. Poison Oak can grow like a shrub, on stalks close to the ground, or on a vine. It’s not hard to see why this plant is so easily misidentified. These toxic plants will imitate the leaf shapes of the plants around it. If the plant gets full sun, it tends to grow like a shrub. If it is in the shade in the woods it tends to be a vine or on short stalks.

Poison Oak also has hairs on both sides of the leaves, whereas Poison Ivy only has hairs on one side. It can grow six feet tall and can have yellow, white, or green berries. In the fall, the leaves turn bright red and in the winter the leaves fall off. Poison Oak has leaves that are 2-8″ long and  1-5″ wide.

Poisonoak

Poison Oak and Poison Ivy lack thorns – which is a key feature in distinguishing it from wild blackberries (which can have three to five leaves per stem.) The vine can get up to 2″ in diameter and 40 feet long. The vine appears “hairy” from all the tiny roots sprouting from it. They are also often confused with the Box Elder. The Box Elder has leaves that are arranged opposite each other along the stem instead of alternating like on Poison Ivy. Climbing Hydrangea vines are also hairy, but their leaves only have a couple of shallow teeth or are smooth. The Climbing Hydrangea also has leaves positioned opposite on the stem.

Poison Ivy grows in all the US states except Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, and California. It can grow 4′ tall as ground cover on stems or as a hairy vine. Its berries tend to be a greyish white. Poison Ivy can grow in shady areas but tends to prefer more sunlight, so you’ll find it more often on the edges of the woods. The leaves can be 1-4″ long, but in great conditions can double that. Poison Ivy’s leaf shapes are just about as variable as that of Poison Oak.

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Poison Oak and Ivy Plants actually have quite a number of useful purposes. It can survive in fairly toxic soil that can’t sustain a lot of other plant life. This provides habitat and brush in which to hide for small critters and bugs. Over 50 native bird species use Poison Oak and Poison Ivy for shelter, nesting materials or the berries for food. Many insects consume the stalks and leaves. Deer, bear, elk, raccoons, horses, rats and squirrels will eat the leaves.

Many Native Americans utilized Poison Oak and Poison Ivy Plants. The Chumash Indians consumed the leaves, stems, and roots. They were able to do so by building up an immunity. Only 15% of the population is immune to the Urushiol Oil, their T-Lymphocyte cells simply do not recognize Urushiol. I built up an immunity to it over the years too. However, many people are extremely allergic to Urushiol, so I don’t recommend you trying to become immune. Many people report the opposite effect – overexposure causes them to be more sensitive, their T-cells recognize it very quickly and formulate an immune response quickly.

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When the skin comes in contact with Urushiol, it causes a chemical reaction with your skin that can develop into an allergy response. This can be as simple as redness or a patch of tiny, itchy, clear, blisters. For some, this goes away in a couple of days. For others, it can become a problem for weeks. These lesions can pop up within minutes to up to 21 days after initial exposure. Severe reactions include fever and difficulty breathing and occurs in 10-15% of individuals and these reactions require medical treatment usually in the form of steroids.

When you come in contact with Poison Oak or Poison Ivy Plants a great way to prevent an immune response is to remove the Urushiol. Changing your clothes and washing with dish soap (scrubbing for several minutes) and then rinsing with rubbing alcohol removes a great deal of the toxic oil.

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If you start to notice a bit of redness, then you can apply Lavender Essential Oil. Jewelweed (also known as Impatiens or Touch Me Not) is a native plant whose juices neutralize Urushiol. The Homeopathy remedy Rhus Tox in is made from extremely diluted Poison Ivy and can be helpful in alleviating the rash. Also after the rash sets in witch hazel can help in drying up the blisters. Aloe can help heal the damaged skin and apple cider vinegar can help alleviate the itching.

Poison Sumac

Another Toxicodendron is Poison Sumac. It grows like a small shrub or a small tree and branches out at the base. Poison Sumac Plants prefers wetlands and higher pH soil. It has berries that look similar to Poison Ivy’s, that are greyish white. Its leaves and bark are smooth. Poison Sumac has 7-15 leaflets per stem. The leaves are oblong with pointy tips and have red veins. It is a very pretty leaf! Each leaf is 1’4″ long and up to 2″ wide. They are arranged in pairs along the stem.

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Many people confuse Virginia Creeper with young Poison Sumac. While people who tend to be highly sensitive to Toxicodendron may find themselves slightly sensitive to Virginia Creeper, the Virginia Creeper is not generally considered a toxic plant. There are non-toxic varieties of Sumac. These prefer well-drained soil and have red berries in the fall.

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Poison Sumac berries grow in clusters at the base of the stem that hang down like grapes. Staghorn Sumac and Winged Sumac have red berries that grow at the tip of the stip in clusters that point up. Poison Sumac also has smooth and hairless stems whereas the non-toxic varieties tend to be fuzzy.

staghorn sumac

Poison Sumac has very high concentrations of Urushiol and many people consider it one of the most toxic plants in America. Its prevention and treatment are the same as with Poison Ivy and Poison Oak. It is not as commonly found as Poison Ivy or Poison Oak because of its preference for wetlands. There are connections between certain food allergies to severe Urushiol allergies. So if you have a bad reaction to pistachios, mangos or cashews, it probably would be best for you to avoid Toxicodendron!

Poisonwood & Manchineel

Is not a tree that is very often encountered by hunters – unless you’re in southern Florida. It is in the family Anacardiaceae, which is the family to which Sumacs and Cashews belong. The Poisonwood Tree is an evergreen flowering tree that produces Urushiol oil like Poison Ivy and Poison Oak.

poisonwood

Poisonwood Tree grows to be 25-35 feet tall. The tree has a short trunk with long arching branches.  Its bark can vary in color from a greyish hue to dark reddish-brown, depending on the age of the tree and the habitat. Older trees tend to flake off the bark in patches. Poisonwood Tree bark also looks like it has oily patches, which is actually sap. The leaves are green and very glossy with the underside being duller. Each leaf has a bright yellow central vein. They grow in groups of about 5, but the number can vary a bit. It grows a cluster of yellowish orange fruit that hangs. This fruit is food to a large number of local and migratory birds. The endangered White Crowned Pigeon particularly seemed to be fond of this fruit.

Even the rainwater dripping off the leaves can contain enough Urushiol to cause an allergic contact dermatitis. In fact, only one billionth of a gram of Urushiol is sufficient to cause a reaction in most people. The Urushiol content in the Poisonwood trees leaves, bark and sap are 100 times more potent than other native plants like Poison Ivy and Poison Oak.

Another plant native to Florida is the Manchineel Tree, also known as Beach Apple. It’s also known by the Spanish name manzanilla de la muerte, which translates to “little apple of death”  Ingesting the fruit can be fatal. Every part of the tree is highly poisonous.

manchineel

Manchineel is in the family Euphorbia, which makes it related to the Poinsettia. The Poinsettia is toxic to consume, but the Manchineel is toxic even to touch. Many Outdoorsmen have mistakenly walked under this tree and the leaves simply brushing against their face was enough to cause temporary blindness. The milky white sap leaves burns on the skin. Hippomane mancinella, which translates to “little apple that makes horses mad.”

It grows amongst Mangos and its root system helps to stabilize the sand erosion. It can grow up to 49 feet tall. The leaves are about 2-4″ long and are shiny green.  Unfortunate individuals claim that the fruit is very sweet, but soon after swallowing it starts to burn your throat until you feel your throat starting to swell. Interestingly enough, the black-spined iguana is able to consume the fruit where many other birds and animals are not able to. Even more baffling, the iguana is not native whereas the native species are unable to consume its fruit.

Though there are no deaths recorded in modern literature, historically there are numerous accounts of the fatalities from this toxic tree. The Caribs were known to poison the water of their enemies with the leaves from the Manchineel tree. Famous explorer Ponce de Leon supposedly died from an arrow coated in Manchineel sap.

Parsnips & Hogweed

plants

Several plants mentioned in this section closely resemble one another. Wild Parsnip, Queens Anne Lace, Giant Hogweed, Poison Hemlock, Elderberry, and Angelica plants all have wide leaves with a tall stem and a cluster of pale flowers. Most act as biennials – meaning the first summer is spent growing their leaves and the second is for flowering. Several of those plants can be seen here.

Wild Parsnip, Cow Parsnip, and Hogweed plants are very toxic and very problematic when they come in contact with your skin.  Their sap contains toxins that cause severe burns when exposed to sunlight.  Giant Hogweed has the most severe reaction of the three and can even cause blindness.

wildparsnip

Wild Parsnips are found in most of the United States and are the only one on the list that can have yellow flowers. It is an invasive species. It prefers sunny areas and calcareous soil but is easily adaptable to the environment. The stem is grooved and hollow. Its leaves have saw-tooth edges and resemble celery. Parsnip is a root vegetable closely related to carrots. In fact, Parsnip looks like a pale carrot. It becomes very sweet if left in the ground until after the winter frost.  Parsnip root can be consumed raw or cooked and is very high in minerals particularly potassium. Wild parsnip can have yellow or sometimes white flowers in rosettes. It can grow 2-5 feet tall and has hairless, grooved stems. Great care must be taken in harvesting – proper identification and wearing gloves.

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Cow Parsnip, or Common Hogweed, is endangered in the state of Kentucky and is considered a special concern species in Tennessee. It can grow typically between 4-10 feet tall and has fuzzy, grooved stems. Cow Parsnip has thorns along its stem. Its leaves grow to be typically 1-1.5 feet wide and serrated. The palm-shaped, fuzzy leaves radiate at the end of the stalk in a semi-circle and are divided into three segments. Cow Parsnip blooms in May. It has white lacey flowers that grow in a flat top cluster and can be nearly 1 foot wide. There will be 15-30 rays per cluster of flowers. For most people, just touching the leaves of the Cow Parsnip will not result in any blisters – it takes getting the “juice” of the stems and leaves on your skin.

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Giant Hogweed is an invasive species that is native to Asia. It grows regularly to 6′ tall and can reach up to 18′. The stems are thick, hollow, have ridges and purple spots. Contact with the leaves causes phytophotodermatitis, which means burns and blisters when the area is exposed to sunlight. Its leaves can grow up to five feet in width. The smooth leaves have deeply incised lobes. Giant Hogweed has umbrella-shaped flower clusters that can grow over two feet in width. There can be 50 or more rays per flower cluster.

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The other plants that look very similar need to be mentioned. Angelica is not toxic to touch and is only toxic when consuming extremely high doses of the root or essential oil. Its stems and roots are edible. It actually is very helpful medicinally for menstrual issues as well as digestive and respiratory, but great care needs to be taken in harvesting since it so closely resembles Poison Hemlock. Angelica can grow up to 9 feet tall and has a smooth, waxy, purple stem up to 2.5″ in diameter. The leaves are compound and can be up to 2 feet wide. Angelica has softball sized flower white flower clusters.

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Poison Hemlock is deadly even if only a small amount is ingested. Its toxins can suffocate the victim in as little as 15 minutes. Native American’s once used Hemlock to poison the tips of their arrows. It typically grows between 3-8 feet tall and has a hollow, hairless, waxy stem. The stems have many branches and have ridges and purple spots. Poison Hemlock smells musty, almost like a mouse. Its leaves are bright, shiny and fern-like. Poison Hemlock leaves can be a foot long and 4″ wide. The white flower clusters are loose and lack the purple heart at the center. They are flat topped and are on all branches.

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There are a few varieties of Hemlock. Spotted Water Hemlock grows about the same height and has smooth, hollow stems. It also can have purple spots or stripes. Water Hemlock has toothed, oval leaflets. Its white lacey flowers branch off the main stem.

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Queens Anne Lace is an invasive species. Some people are sensitive and have similar burns and blisters as with the other species mentioned. Queens Anne Lace is very toxic when consumed. It grows up to 4 feet high. Queens Anne Lace has feathery leaves with fine hairs on them. Its stems are branched and hairy. Its dense, white flowers can be 5″ across. What is most helpful is locating the dark “heart” at the center of the flower cluster. This helps to differentiate it from Poison Hemlock.

elderberry

Black Elderberry looks much more like a woody shrub than any of the others. It too has a white cluster of flowers. These flowers can grow up to 8″ across and the shrub can grow up to 8 feet high. The leaves are compound and can have up to eleven elliptical leaflets. Syrup made from the berries is a phenomenal tonic and immune booster. Its leaves are serrated and form on opposite ends of the stem, unlike the alternating leaf pattern of the Water Hemlock.  The berry clusters droop where they connect to their woody stems. This is helpful in differentiating it from the Dwarf Elderberry whose berry clusters stand upright.

Nettles & Stinging Flowers

The Common Nettle (also known as the Stinging Nettle)  and the Wood Nettle are two other native plants to look out for. The leaves and stems are covered in tiny hairs. Many of these hairs are soft and do not sting. But these Nettles also have many hairs whose tip breaks off and acts as a needle injecting multiple chemicals into the skin causing a painful sting. The beautiful green leaves can grow from one to six inches long. They are widely oval with coarsely toothed edges.

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Nettle grows up to 3-4 feet tall in the summer and dies down in the winter. Stinging Nettle tends to be slightly taller than Wood Nettle and is found throughout the US. Its flowers can be yellow, green, white, or purple. Stinging Nettle has leaves that are opposite each other whereas Wood Nettle has leaves that alternate. Wood nettle has flowers on the top of the plant and Stinging Nettle has flowers on the sides of its stems.

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Nettle is a frequently foraged herb. It tastes very similar to spinach and is high in nutrients such as Vitamin A, C, Manganese and can be up to 25% protein. By soaking the leaves in water the stinging chemical are removed. They should not be harvested after the plant starts flowering as it changes chemically and can cause digestive issues. Medicinally, Stinging Nettle has been harvested to treat kidney and cardiovascular issues among other things.

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The False Nettle, Snakeroot, and Clearweed VERY closely resemble Stinging and Wood Nettle but lack the stinging hairs. Being able to tell the difference is very important when you are out in the woods.  Their leaves are very similar in shape. Clearweed is more smooth than Wood Nettle, False Nettle, or Stinging Nettle. And Snakeroot is somewhere in the middle as far as roughness.

Pilea pumila, 2015

Later in the year, the stem of Clearweed becomes rather translucent and flexible, which makes it more easy to distinguish it from its counterparts. Snakeroot has flowers at the top and Clearwood and False Nettle have flowers along the sides of the stems. When the Snakeroots flowers are fully opened, they resemble actual flowers much more so than any of these – but before they are fully opened it can be a little hard to tell!

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False Nettle, Snakeroot, and Clearweed lack the stinging hairs and their leaves are paired in opposites along the stem. False Nettles leaves are slightly fuzzy and have a rough appearance. Other plants that rather resemble these are Self Heal, Marsh Hedge Nettle, Horehound, White Deadnettle, and Hemp Nettle.

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Scorpionweed is found primarily in desert regions. It is a beautiful small purple flower. It got its name not because of the sting it leaves, but because the flower is top heavy and curls over much like a scorpion tail. Poodle-dog Bush is found in California. It stinks, but it has really pretty purple flowers on a long stalk. It also has tiny hairs that cause stinging blisters. Stinging Lupine also grows along the coastal region in California. It has tiny purple or dark pink flowers shaped in a whirl and stiff hairs that sting the skin. It will also cause birth defects if eaten by cattle.

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Tread-softly, also known as Finger-rot or bull-nettle, is primarily found in Florida but is all over the Southeast. The beautiful white five-lobed, trumpet-shaped flower sits on stalks covered in large spiky hairs. The seeds come in small spike covered pods that bob-white quail and other songbirds love. Its leaves are lobed and similar to an oak leaf. The roots are edible – but they can be four feet deep underground.  The leaves too when cooked are edible. They are harvested for many uses: insomnia, scorpion stings, brain function, diabetes etc.

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Why I Am Against Chemical Birth Control

I never knew there were options to birth control other than chemical contraceptives and barrier methods.

The concept of using chemical birth control until you & your spouse were ready to start a family is considered being responsible by many Believers – it was promoted as the RIGHT thing to do in most “Christian circles” I have been exposed to.

In a lot of cases, this can be attributed to ignorance or have been taught false information. There may even be some truth to the speculation that the reason your women’s health provider doesn’t bring up non-hormonal methods is that chemical birth control brings in a lot of money.

1)   God is the creator of all life.

  • Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
  • Genesis 2:7 “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
  • Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
  • Psalm 139:13-16 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
  • Job 10:8-12 “Your hands fashioned and made me, and now you have destroyed me altogether. Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.”
  • Isaiah 49:1 “Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.”
  • Job 31:15 “Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not fashion us in the womb?”

 

2)     Life is sacred because God created it. It should be regarded as very special.

  • 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”
  • Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”

 

3)     The Bible says that during the coming days of distress, as the world becomes more full of evil, people will not want to have children. Children will be considered a nuisance.

  • Luke 23:29 “For behold, the days are coming when they will say ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!”

 

4)     Our flesh pulls us towards self-centeredness. Many people do not want children because it will disrupt their current lifestyle or because they want to pursue their own self-focused goals. Children then, force us to take the focus off of our self. Self-centeredness glorifies/worships self instead of God.

  • Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”

 

5) God is at work in our life. There are no accidents. He has a plan for us. God is completely SOVEREIGN

  • Psalm 103:19 “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.”
  • Isaiah 46:8-10 “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done saying ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’”
  • Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
  • Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
  • Job 12:10 “In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”
  • Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
  • Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will.”
  • Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
  • Acts 2:23 “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”
  • Isaiah 14:27 “For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?”
  • Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a man are established by the Lord when He delights in His way.”
  • Psalm 115:3 “Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.”

 

6)      Chemical birth control causes abortions

  • “The minipill, also known as the progestin-only birth control pill, is an oral contraceptive that contains the hormone progestin… The minipill thickens the cervical mucus and thins the lining of the uterus (endometrium) – preventing sperm from reaching the egg. The minipill also sometimes suppresses ovulation.” www.mayoclinic.com
  • “Progesterone-only pills are an effective method of contraception. They work by stopping ovulation, preventing sperm from reaching the egg as well as preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus…. The progesterone-only pill has a double effect on the reproductive system. The first is to cause changes to the uterus, namely thickening the mucus in the cervix (neck of the womb) making it difficult for sperm to get into the uterus. Also it thins the lining of the uterus so that it appears to be already bearing an egg, this way the newly fertilized egg could not implant itself in the uterus. The second change is to suppress ovulation…” www.dred.com
  • “Progestin-only pills suppress ovulation in about half of the menstrual cycle so the women who take them. But they prevent conception primarily by causing changes in the cervical mucus. The mucus thickens, making it difficult for sperm to get through the cervix. So even if you do ovulate, sperm won’t be able to make their way to your fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg. What’s more, the progestin may prevent pregnancy by thinning the lining of your uterus, making it less likely than an egg would implant there even if one did get fertilized.” www.babycenter.com
  • “When the Pill is taken as directed, the estrogen and progestin work together to prevent pregnancy primarily by suppressing ovulation. This means they keep your ovaries from releasing any eggs. The progestin in the Pill has other contraceptive effects, too. It thickens your cervical mucus, making it hard for sperm to get through your cervix and into your fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg, if one is released. The changes in your mucus may also make it harder for sperm to penetrate the tough outer coating of the egg. Finally progestin thins the lining in your uterus, making it less likely than an egg would implant if it did get fertilized.” www.babycenter.com
  • “However, ovulation may not be consistently suppressed on POPs. Five percent of women using POPs will have an unintended pregnancy within the first year of typical use. Perfect use rate is 0.5%. The change of becoming pregnant increases with missed pills. While the overall risk of ectopic (tubal) pregnancy is lowered by this method, any pregnancy that does occur is more likely to be ectopic.” www.mckinley.illinoise.edu
  • Dr. Hymie Gordon, Chairman of the Department of Genetics at the Mayo Clinic, said “By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.” www.prolife.com
  • Dr. McCarthy de Mere, a medical doctor and law professor at the University of Tennessee, testified “The exact moment of the beginning of personhood and of the human body is at the moment of conception.” www.prolife.com
  • Dr. Jerome Lejeune, The Father of Modern Genetics, testified that, “Each of us has a very precise moment which is the time at which the whole necessary and sufficient genetic information is gathered inside one cell, the fertilized egg, and this is the moment of fertilization. There is not the slightest doubt about that and we know that this information is written on a kind of ribbon we call DNA.” The late Dr. Lejeune of Paris, France, discovered the genetic cause of Down Syndrome. He received the Kennedy Prize for this discovery, as well as the Memorial Allen Award Medal, the world’s highest award for work in the field of Genetics. www.prolife.com
  • Paul L. Hayes, MD, Board Certified Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians/Gynecologists “From medical textbooks and pharmacy references, to statements from the Pill-manufacturers themselves …. Beyond any doubt, the abortion-causing action of birth control pills.” www.prolife.com
  • All chemical birth control is either Progestin-Only or various combinations of Estrogen + Progestin. This is not just contraceptives that come in the shape of a pill, this is also how Depo shot, Mirena IUD, Implanon, NuvaRing etc work.

 

7)    In a nutshell:

  • Chemical birth control sometimes suppresses ovulation. It doesn’t guarantee that you will not ever ovulate, just that you probably won’t ovulate as often.
  • Chemical birth control creates a change in the hormone that forms the outer shell of the egg, making it harder for the sperm to fertilize. This hormone usually drops during a woman’s fertile cycle making the shell of the egg thinner and easier to for the sperm to penetrate.
  • Life begins at conception. Once the sperm fertilizes the egg it forms a Zygote. This tiny, tiny baby has ALL of its DNA that it will ever have. It is a genetically complete human. It is just so young that it hasn’t had the chance to behave in all the ways that an older human behaves.
  • Chemical birth control causes increased mucus – makes it harder for the sperm to fertilize the egg. This also makes it harder for a zygote (baby!) to swim up to the uterus. It is creating an inhospitable environment – one that can kill a tiny baby.
  • The Pill causes abortions also by interfering with the flexing motions and the cilia movement of the fallopian tubes. This changes the transportation of the newly conceived child from the fallopian tubes to the womb. The baby starves to death. www.prolife.com
  • Chemical birth control causes thinning of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus), making it hard for implantation. This is the biggest deal breaker. Fertilization has already taken place. A zygote is a REAL PERSON. Since the baby can’t attach to the uterus – it can’t receive nutrients from the mother. The baby starves to death.

 

8)      Chemical birth controls can be very dangerous for women to take

  • “Some physical and emotional changes take place that is permanent while you stay on the pill…. Larger breasts; weight gain or loss; reduced or increased acne; slight nausea; emotional sensitivity right before your period; mood swings throughout your cycle; irregular bleeding or spotting; breast tenderness; decreased libido …. And even scarier than the “mild” side effects are the serious health risks that accompany taking birth control pills. These include: Increased risk of cervical and breast cancer; increased risk of heart attack and stroke; migraines; higher blood pressure; gallbladder disease; infertility; benign liver tumors; decreased bone density; yeast overgrowth and infection (because they destroy the beneficial bacteria in your intestines, which makes you more susceptible to lower immunity and infection); increased risk of blood clotting.” http://bodyecology.com/articles/dangers_birth_control_pill.php#.UdiCp_nVBzM
  • A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women with a strong family history of breast cancer may have up to 11 times higher risk of breast cancer if they have ever taken the pill.
  •  As a side note, I have a friend who lost part of her vision due to a blood clot behind her eye as a result to chemical birth control.
  • “Since the introduction of the Pill, there’s been an explosion of women’s diseases and maladies in a scope never experienced before in the history of medicine: Migraine headaches; PMS; Breast Cancer; Heart Disease; Heart Attacks; Strokes; Blood Clots; High Blood Pressure; Uterine Cancer; Infertility; Depression; Post-Partum Depression; Uterine Fibroids; Unnecessary Hysterectomies; Anxiety Disorders.” www.myhealthiestlife.com/2011/07/how-dangerous-are-birth-control-pills-for-womens-health/
  • Dr Natasha Cambell-McBride “It causes many deficiencies, it tends to create copper/zinc imbalances, and it causes women to lose all interest in sex, which seems very counterproductive. We need to teach young women about natural family planning and about honoring our cycles! The estrogens in the pill are all synthetic, and not the same molecules that the body produces. Instead they are called, “xeno-estrogens” and are harmful to the body. The pill also causes differences in the viscosity of the blood and can cause heart disease, stroke and a long list of problems. We’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg in our understanding of the complexity of hormonal balance of the human body, we are in no position to be messing with that.” kellythekitchenkop.com/2012/01/dangers-of-the-birth-control-pill.html
  • “A woman who takes the Pill for two years before she’s 25 and before she’s had a pregnancy to term increases her risk of breast cancer tenfold. Because of blocked hormone production, women who take the Pill have decreased sensitivity to smell. Because sexual interest is communicated through smell, the Pill may decrease women’s sex drives. In Solved: The Riddles of Illness, Dr Stephen Langer writes that ‘The Pill… can cause severe bodily damage in hypothyroidism.’ Oral contraceptives may aggravate insulin resistance and long-term risk of diabetes and heart disease. Many women taking the Pill have reported weight gain- a sign of estrogen dominance and/or insulin resistance – as well as depression and even psychosis. It’s worth noting that the mini-Pill, a progestin-only pill, may not suppress ovulation or conception from occurring.” kellythekitchenkop.com/2012/01/dangers-of-the-birth-control-pill.html
  • “The pill completely destroys your adrenals and once those are out of whack, every hormone in your body is out of whack.” kellythekitchenkop.com/2012/01/dangers-of-the-birth-control-pill.html
  • “This is not information that should be kept from the public. Women deserve to be told the truth. They are not being warned that birth control methods are causing breast, liver and cervical cancer. They are not being told about the “silent killer” effect which is causing them to unknowingly abort their babies. They are instead being told that they are healthier on birth control because it decreases ovarian and uterine cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, out of 100 women with cancer, 31 have breast cancer, 6 have uterine cancer, and 3 have ovarian cancer. This is not a healthy tradeoff of risks that is worth taking.” http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/giroux/120214
  • “A 1996 analysis of epidemiologic data from more than 50 studies worldwide by the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer found that women who were current or recent users of birth control pills had a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who had never used the pill. The risk was highest for women who started using oral contraceptives as teenagers. However, 10 or more years after women stopped using oral contraceptives, their risk of developing breast cancer had returned to the same level as if they had never used birth control pills, regardless of family history of breast cancer, reproductive history, geographic area of residence, ethnic background, differences in study design, dose and type of hormone(s) used, or duration of use. In addition, breast cancers diagnosed in women who had stopped using oral contraceptives for 10 or more years were less advanced than breast cancers diagnosed in women who had never used oral contraceptives.” http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/oral-contraceptives

 

So for me, the decision is primarily a moral one. I believe that God is the creator of life, therefore life is sacred. I believe that life begins at conception – you have all the chromosomes you will EVER have as soon as you become a zygote. You are a genetically complete human being. Chemical birth control affects the womb, therefore it is an abortifacient. My decision is also one made for health reasons. I have had some very bad reactions to birth control, regardless of the brand, pill or device used. Some of these being: weight gain, depression, anxiety, a tumor in the liver, liver and gallbladder pain, irregular bleeding, headaches, etc. With a family history of various cancers, including breast cancer, it is not a wise thing for me to do.

God has lovingly given women a reproductive system that has very clear signs to determine when her fertile cycle is present. In the next article I write, it will be to discuss the Fertility Awareness Method.

Gallbladder Pain & My Experience with Gall Bladder Formula by Nature’s Sunshine Products

Your gallbladder is quite an amazing organ! It is located on the right side of your abdomen, close to the edge of your ribs. It is about 3-4 inches long and pear shaped. It is nestled just under your liver and connected to the liver’s bile ducts. It is one of the components of the Biliary System. Many years ago, bile used to be called Gall – hence the name Gallbladder.

gallbladder
Image from WebMD

In your body, you will have worn out red blood cells. Once they reach the spleen, they are filtered out of the blood stream. The spleen then breaks them down into bile salts and other particles. The spleen then sends these bile salts down to the liver. The gallbladder stores bile that is produced by the liver. The liver also sends waste and bile salts into the gallbladder. The bile produced by the liver helps to break down and digests fats. The gallbladder not only holds the bile – but it concentrates it. The result is a smelly greenish yellow paste that is slightly acidic. It has a strong bitter taste.

When you eat a fatty meal and the fatty lump makes it way down into the small intestine, it first reaches the Duodenum. The duodenum is the first section of the small intestines. In mammals, it is the primary location for iron absorption. This tiny segment is largely responsible for digesting foods by producing enzymes. When the fatty lump reaches the duodenum it triggers the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin. This triggers the gallbladder to contract and release the bile into the duodenum.  The bile then helps to break down the fat so it can be further digested and passed on through the body.

Sometimes, when the gallbladder produces a stone it can become lodged. This can become painful! Some of the symptoms include:

  • thickness in the abdomen
  • fever
  • pain in the gallbladder area – dull throbbing or sharp stabbing. This pain is particularly noticeable after a fatty meal.
  • jaundice
  • nausea/vomiting
  • tenderness in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen

If gallstones are left for too long they can cause inflammation of the walls of the gallbladder and even infection. When it reaches the point of infection typically surgery is required.

There are two types of stones: Cholesterol Stones and Pigment Stones. Cholesterol stones are greenish yellow and are made primarily from hardened cholesterol. Up to 80% of all gallstones are cholesterol stones.  The pigment stones are primarily made of bilirubin. Pigment stones are usually dark in color. The cause of pigment stone is still relatively unknown. Bilirubin is another product that can be found in bile. It is the product of the breakdown of heme which is found in blood. Bilirubin is responsible for the yellow tint to some bruises and the yellow color of urine.

Several people have had luck if they are in the early stages (tenderness, mild pain) with a liver flush.  Since the gallbladder is so closely connectected to the liver, if you flush the liver it will flush out the gallbladder too.

My liver has had tenderness for quite some time. I have a small non-cancerous tumor on my liver, that is probably caused by extended exposure to chemical birth control.  By and by I have bouts of pain in my liver and it has spread to my gallbladder. A visit to the doctor produced inconclusive results.

A visit to my nutritionist and I found something that helped! It is called Gall Bladder Formula by Nature’s Sunshine.

IMG_20131018_141300_206
order Gall Bladder Formula here: mynsp.com/lifesupplements

I have taken two tablets twice a day – and by day two I noticed SIGNIFICANT relief from my pain. By significant I mean upwards to 80% of the pain.  I continued taking the product for a week – and all my pain was gone! Now I am not saying that this will cure the disease of gallstones – but it has helped me. I don’t know that I had gallstones, the doctor wasn’t sure what was causing all the pain. But based on my symptoms – it sounded like either gallstones or possibly an inflamed gallbladder.  I just wanted to find a way to help prevent it from getting worse. Several years ago my husband had to have his gallbladder removed – and I don’t want to have surgery 🙂 Yeah, I’m a wimp when it comes to IV’s and things. So far, this product has really helped!

Currently, I am studying Fertility Awareness Method so I can get off this birth control – not only for the moral reasons but also for the health of my liver.  I recently started taking taking Liver Cleanse Formula by Nature’s Sunshine too to help heal my liver. I don’t take the Gall Bladder Formula all the time – only when I have had some food that my gall bladder wants to make a fuss over. ‘

I am THRILLED with this product! The benefits came a lot faster than I was expecting. I would highly recommend this product to anyone!

This is where I purchased these products:  mynsp.com/lifesupplements

The customer service was VERY helpful. The website easy to navigate – and best of all, the shipping was VERY fast! Most often I get my products the very next business day. If I order late in the evening it can take an extra day – but MUCH faster than I expected!

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