New Blog Location!

Hi everyone! With the launch of my new website  www.kendracliffordnd.com my blog has a new location! So if you’d like to continue receiving weekly herb posts, interesting facts and tips on medical conditions then please head over to the new site and check it out!

See you there!

  • Dr Kendra Clifford ND

The PSA Test

Many men have heard of the PSA test – a simple blood test for prostate cancer.

The PSA test measures a substance that is produced by the prostate gland – the prostate specific antigen (PSA)

There are a number of reasons why this level may be elevated. They can include

  • Benign conditions of the prostate
  • Ejaculation
  • Strenuous exercise

Therefore don’t panic if your PSA test comes back elevated! It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have cancer! 7/10 Elevated PSA tests are FALSE Positives!

Should you have a PSA test done? A false positive test may result in further medical investigations/testing, which can lead to complications. If you have prostate cancer – treatments may be invasive and give little benefit. Prostate cancer can be very slow growing, and many men will remain healthy despite a prostate cancer diagnosis. However, some prostate cancers can be fatal – spreading to other areas of the body.

Science is on the fence as to the benefit of this blood test – Canadian authorities are no longer recommending this test as a routine screening tool.

PSA tests are covered in Ontario for men that have a family history of prostate cancer, or are suspected of having prostate cancer.

If you think that you should be screened for prostate cancer using the PSA blood test speak to your primary healthcare physician. They can help you decide whether the benefits of being screened outweigh the risks of this test!

Thanks for reading

Dr Kendra Clifford ND

 

Herb of the week! Saw Palmetto!

So there you have it! This week’s mystery herb (posted weekly on my Facebook page is none other than Serenoa repens (commonly known as Saw Palmetto)

As it is Movember here in Canada I thought we’d stick to the herbs commonly used to treat conditions in men (that’s a hint for this weeks herb!)

If you’ve ever visited the Atlantic Coastal states south of the Carolina’s you may have seen this plant growing natively in sandy areas. This palm can produce ivory flowers and dark purple/black flowers!

It is these berries that are commonly used in herbal medicine. These berries contain medicinal essential oils, steroidal saponins, polysaccharides and tannins.

Commonly this herb is used to treat Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) in men and the symptoms that go along with it – difficulty with urinating, cystitis etc. One reference states a 90% effectiveness rate for BPH symptoms!

While typically used in men, this herb inhibits 5 alpha reductase, which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, making it useful in cases of polycystic ovarian system.

Once again a lovely herb with amazing medical properties!

Thanks for reading!

  • Dr Kendra Clifford ND

The information in this post is for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice.

Continue reading

You don’t have to be a man to participate in Movember!

Did you know that you can be a mo sista?

Not all of the participants in the movember movement are men!

Most people think of movember as the month in which men grow moustaches to raise funds and awareness for prostate health. But in fact, the movember movement is about much much more!

Two Australian men started the movember movement way back in 2003. They, and a number of friends grew 30 moustaches that year. Since then, Canada joined in 2007, and Canadians are now part of 5 MILLION mo bro’s and sista’s that participate every year.

Funding raised through movember campaign is used to support men’s health in a variety of ways:

  • Promoting research and awareness of prostate cancer
  • Promoting research and awareness of testicular cancer
  • Providing research, awareness, and access to mental health centers
  • Providing research, awareness, and access to physical inactivity resources

Here in Canada there are a number of places the movember campaign has provided funds to. These include:

  • TrueNTH: improving physical and mental health in men living with prostate cancer
  • HealthyDads.Ca: an e-mental health psychoeducation for expectant first time fathers who are at risk for mental health problems

These are just two examples of the many places where movember funds go to help our Canadian men. (For the full list click here)

For the rest of the month I’ll be featuring men’s health conditions and commonly used herbs used to treat them on the blog

That’s all for now!

Thanks for reading

Dr Kendra Clifford ND

 

Let’s Talk About Tea!

As the colder weather hits I always seem to gravitate to a hot cup of tea. While most of us have tried the traditional teas – orange pekoe, english breakfast, early grey etc. many of us are unaware of the wonderful benefits herbal tea can provide. So I have decided to offer tea parties this fall. All I need are a few gracious hosts.

At each tea party you will get to:

  • Smell and sample a variety of herbal teas
  • Learn the medicinal uses of each plant
    • When to use
    • The proper dosages
    • Contraindications
  • Receive samples of herbal teas to take home and try!
  • The chance to win a complimentary initial visit with myself! ($160 value)
  • Enjoy the company of other tea enthusiasts while sipping tea and enjoying delicious snacks

If you’re interested or would like more information you can contact me by calling (905) 852-7704 or emailing me at kendracliffordnd@gmail.com

Looking forward to it!

Dr Kendra Clifford ND

*Only available in the Uxbridge, Port Perry, Stouffville ON area

* No obligation to use the complimentary visit voucher

It’s that time again! This week’s herb of the week! “Echinacea globulus!”

Thanks to everyone who guessed this fantastic herb on my Facebook page! If you haven’t checked out my Facebook page you can find it here.

Eucalyptus, commonly known as purple cone flower is commonly found in gardens throughout North America (you can buy the seeds by clicking on the image below!)

I am lucky enough to live by Richter’s Herbs and can attest to their quality! I buy seeds and seedlings from them annually!

Everyone has heard about using Echinacea when you have a cold but do you know why?
This marvellous plant has numerous immune stimulating properties, which helps our immune system fight off nasty viruses (like the cold). Additionally, Echinacea contains antibacterial and antiviral properties!. Echinacea is therefore a one-two punch to those nasty colds and flus we get during the winter.

While it has widespread uses, there are a few instances where Echinacea should not be used. These include systemic diseases such as tuberculosis, leukosis, MS, HIV, Aids, and other autoimmune diseases. Also, if you are allergic to dandelion, ragweed or any other members of the Asteracea family you should also avoid Echinacea! Therefore as always you should talk to your doctor before starting an Echinacea supplement.

Once again an amazing herb, this time found in our own back yards!

That’s all for now

Dr Kendra Clifford ND

The information in this post is for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice. This post contains affiliate links.

Herb of the week! Arnica montana

Arnica is a wonderful herb that has been embraced by the western medical community for its ability to heal bruises. You may have seen such products as

at your local pharmacy.

This herb is native to North America. Typically its flowers have been used to improve local blood supply to areas that have incurred musculoskeltal trauma such as bruises, or any other pain or inflammation. Arnica should not however be used where skin is broken (such as a cut or a scrape)

While there are no interactions with Arnica, one should be careful not to take Arnica internally. An overdose on Arnica may result in digestive upset, headaches, difficulty breathing, and drowsiness.

Two other sets of individuals should avoid using Arnica. Those who are pregnant and those who are allergic to other members of the Asteraceae family. The Asteraceae family includes such plants as dandelion, ragweed, endives and sunflowers!

The homeopathic version of Arnica

has traditionally been used in cases where an injury has caused an individual to go into shock.

Another great herb with awesome medical uses!
That’s all for now

– Dr Kendra Clifford

The information in this post is for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice. This post contains affiliate links.

Do you ever get the Hiccups?

Have you ever gotten the hiccups and they just won’t go away?

A few weeks ago I had the WORST case of hiccups I have ever had, they came and went over a period of a few HOURS. After the first hour I was just about willing to try anything to get rid of them (see picture above – drinking water upside down, as suggested by a family member). Following this episode I realized I didn’t really know a whole lot about the hiccups, so here goes.

Hiccups are caused by a spasm of the diaphragm muscle, followed by the quick closing of the glottis (the opening between the vocal cords that closes to stop the flow of air to the lungs).

There are a number of reasons why you can get the hiccups. Most commonly they are due to a decreased level of carbon dioxide in the blood. This can be triggered by laughing, talking, eating or drinking. Less commonly they can be caused by irritation of the diaphragm (caused by pneumonia, surgery, or high levels of certain waste products in the blood).

There are a number of home remedies that can be used to stop the hiccups! Most involve increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. These include:

  • Holding your breath
  • Breathing into a paper bag
  • Stimulating the vagus nerve – this can be done by drinking water quickly, gently pulling on your tongue or gently rubbing  your eyeballs

So there is some science to the old remedies – I don’t know whether or not I had to be upside down to drink the water quickly but it worked!

Thats all for now!

Dr Kendra Clifford ND

The information in this post is for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice.

This weeks edition of Herb of the Week – Eucalyptus!!!

Eucalyputus globulus is an herb I use a lot in my practice. Most people can easily recognize the smell of this amazing herb. Many people will recognize its scent from products such as vapo-rub, or other cold and flu products. But this herb can be used for much much more.

Eucalyptus has antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiperiodic properties. That means that it can be used to treat a number of conditions including malaria, enterobactor infections, athlete’s foot, and head lice!

It can also be used topically as an ointment to relieve aching joints and muscles, sprains, and bruises!

Most commonly, people use Eucalyptus during a cold to help with nasal and chest congestion!

While Eucalyptus can be incredibly helpful it can be dangerous too. Never ingest an essential oil internally. Symptoms of ingestion can include stomach upset, drowsiness, short irregular breaths, constricted pupils, diarrhea, vomiting and even death.

But not to fret, when used properly this fragrant herb can be used quite successfully!

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading

Dr Kendra Clifford

Naturopathic Doctor

This post is for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice.

Herb of the week! Melissa officinalis (aka Lemon balm!)

Melissa officinalis or lemon balm is one of my favourite herbs. Like most other members of the mint (Lamiaceae) family, lemon balm will grow and grow in your garden. The plant can be used medicinally before it flowers.

In medicine lemon balm is typically used in two areas – digestion and mental health, not that the two need to be mutually exclusive. Many digestive complaints are the result of anxiety or depression and for this purpose Melissa is a great herb. When combined with it’s relative Mentha piperita (Peppermint) lemon balm can be quite useful for those with upset stomach, flatulence, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

In addition to it’s use for digestion, lemon balm also has sedative properties. This makes the herb particularly useful in cases where digestive complaints are making it difficult to sleep (it can also be used for insomnia in general). The sedative oils gently relieve tension and stress reactions, making lemon balm a useful herb for migraines or headaches associated with tension.

Like any herbal medicine, lemon balm may not be right for you. Please check with your Naturopathic Doctor before using this herb.

Thanks for reading!

Dr Kendra Clifford ND

http://www.kendracliffordnd.com

Reference:

Godfrey, A., Saunders, P., Barlow, K., and Gowan, M.  2012. Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine Volume 1, Botanical Medicine Monographs. CCNM Press. Toronto Canada.

Hoffman, D. 2003. Medical Herbalism The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Healing Arts Press. Rochester Vermont.