Thursday, March 28, 2013

Use Natural Therapies for Gout

Gout is a rheumatic disease, characterized by acute attacks of arthritis, usually in the great toe of the foot. It sometimes leads to deformity and chronic arthritis. Men are affected more than woman. 90% of gout sufferers are men over thirty years. There are more than two millions gout sufferers in the United States of America. In 2002, World Health Organization published Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials. In this book, World Health Organization supported using acupuncture and cupping for the treatment of gout. The reviewed trial stated that: " Plum-blossom needling together with cupping has been recommended for treating gouty arthritis"(1).

Symptoms of Gout

Gout is an inflammatory condition. The inflammation is usually in one joint. An increase in blood uric acid is usually present due to a metabolic disorder. Acute gouty arthritis happens suddenly. Excess alcohol, some infections, drugs and surgical operations may increase blood uric acid and lead to acute gouty arthritis. The most affected joint is the joint of great toe, but it may affect other joints such as the knee, feet and ankles. The affected joint is very painful, swollen, red and warm. Fever is usually present. After the attack, the patient may be asymptomatic for years. Later, gout may become a chronic disease with a serious disability and deformity.

Gout treatment

Bed rest is very helpful in the treatment of an acute attack. Hot and cold compressors may be helpful for some patients. Avoiding excess alcohol consumption, restriction of high purine foods like meat, kidney, sardines and liver, and avoiding drugs which increase blood uric acid such as diuretics are recommended.


Eating a well balanced diet is very important. Eating more fresh vegetables and fruits and whole grain foods is recommended. Cherries are recommended for gout sufferers as some studies show that eating cherries may help in decreasing the uric acid level. Eating vitamin C-enriched foods such as oranges and guava is helpful. Drinking plenty of pure water is a helpful way to excrete uric acid. Drinking coffee decreases uric acid level in blood, but its benefits for gout sufferers are not yet proved.

Other alternative medicine therapies

Relaxation techniques and hypnotherapy are helpful in decreasing pain. Yoga and breathing exercises help restore body balance. Acupuncture and cupping therapy are recommended therapies to decrease and eliminate pain. Prayer is a very helpful assistant. Please, before you begin any alternative medicine therapy, consult your doctor.

1-Pan HL. (Observation of 39 cases of gout treated with plum-blossom needling plus cupping) Zhenjiu Linchuang Zazhi, 1997, 13(3):29(in Chinese)
2-Mayo clinic (Gout) - (
3-Medline plus (Gout) - (
4-NHS (Gout) - (
5-Acupuncture: review and analysis of reports on controlled clinical trials- World Health Organization- ISBN: 9241545437-2002

Dr Tamer Shaban

Monday, March 18, 2013

Your Guide to Essential Vitamins and Minerals

The word "Vitamin" is composed of two parts: "vital" which means essential and "amine" because it was previously thought that this compound was amine in its nature. Multivitamins are a mixture of vitamins and minerals which are essential for the body to work and stay healthy.

We sometimes try multivitamin supplements without knowing what kind of vitamins and minerals we need to take, and the functions of every element and how it affects our body. This will be covered in this article.

The Essential Vitamins

There are two types of vitamins, fat soluble vitamins (vitamins which dissolve in fat) which are vitamins A, D, E and K, and Water soluble vitamins which are B complex, C, and folate (folic acid).

The functions of fat soluble vitamins:

1. Vitamin A - Growth, development, enhancement of our immune system, this vitamin is essential for our eyesight, especially night vision.

* Deficiency signs - Night blindness, skin problems with an increase in the rate of acquiring infections

* Great natural sources - liver, kidney, eggs and fish liver oil.

2. Vitamin D - This is important for bone formation, it works by controlling calcium absorption and excretion. Recent studies show that vitamin D inhibits some forms of cancer growth.

* Deficiency signs - Rickets (disease characterized by deformities in the skeleton -- especially hands, legs and chest bones, and pain in the bones and muscle weakness).

* Great natural sources - Cod liver oil, milk, eggs, liver and oily fish.

3. Vitamin E - It works as an antioxidant (protects our tissues from free-radical damage) and has other functions such as improving blood circulation and removing wound scars.

* Deficiency signs - none reported

* Great natural sources - wheat germ oil, almonds, sun flower oil and peanuts.

4. Vitamin K - Its major function is its role in the blood coagulation process which prevents our body from bleeding to death.

* Deficiency signs - Excessive bleeding or poor blood coagulation action.

* Great natural sources - spinach, broccoli, eggs and meat.

The functions of water soluble vitamins:

1. Vitamin C - It plays a vital role in the formation of several enzymes, absorption of iron, antioxidant function, formation of collagen (which leads to healthy skin and joints) and wound healing.

* Deficiency signs - Scurvy (a disease characterized by bleeding from the gums, bleeding from the skin, fatigue and delayed wound healing).

* Great natural sources - Kiwi and citrus fruits, guava, mango and broccoli.

2. Vitamin B complex - A complex of vitamins that total more than ten individual nutrients; the most essential being B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6 (Pyridoxine) and B12 (Cyanocobalamin).

* Functions - These vitamins play an important role in the body's energy production, nervous system, immune system, and iron absorption.

* Deficiency signs - Vitamin B12 anemia (a disease characterized by fatigue, pallor, an increased heart beat rate and lack of energy). Some other signs include emotional disturbance, skin disease, tongue inflammation and hair loss.

* Great Natural sources - Meat, liver, milk, yeast and its products, nuts and whole grain cereals.

3. Folic acid - Essential in the formation of RNA and DNA.

* Deficiency signs - Megaloblastic anemia (a disease characterized by fatigue, pallor, increased heart beat rate and lack of energy) and possible infertility.

* Great natural sources - spinach, Brussels sprouts, green beans and cauliflower.

The Essential Minerals

The minerals are classified into three parts: macro, trace, and ultra trace minerals. The essential minerals which we need to be healthy are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, zinc, and fluorine. The essential trace elements are copper, chromium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and iodine.

The functions of the most important essential minerals:

1. Calcium - Plays an important role in bone and teeth formation and nervous system health.

* Deficiency - Leads to stunted growth, increased rate of bone fractures and nervous system problems.

* A natural source - milk.

2. Iron - Plays an important role in red blood cell formation.

* Deficiency - Leads to iron deficiency anemia which is characterized by fatigue, pallor, concave nails with white lines and an increased heart beat rate.

* Natural sources - eggs, meat, liver and fish.

3. Zinc - Essential for growth and development, enhances immune function and wound healing, increases fertility.

* Deficiency - Leads to skin inflammation, hair loss, sore throat, delayed growth and diarrhea.

* Natural sources - meat, vegetables with leaves, whole grains, milk and eggs.

The functions of the most important essential trace minerals:

1. Iodine - This is essential for growth and development because it is a component of thyroid hormones.

* Deficiency - goiter (a disease characterized by an enlarged thyroid gland and a decreased heart beat rate).

* Natural sources - milk, sea fish, and iodized salt.

2. Chromium - Assists in glucose utilization by enhancement of insulin action.

* Deficiency - weight loss and an inability to tolerate glucose.

* Natural sources - meat, whole grains and nuts.

You can use the best natural sources of vitamins and minerals in your daily routine, the most important components are: milk, eggs, vegetables, fish and whole grain cereals.

author: Tamer Shaban

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fourteen Tips You Can Use to Improve Your Memory

Memory is our ability to process information; we encode, store and retrieve information by memory. Because memory is so important to our daily functioning, it is important to take steps to guard against memory degeneration.

Levels of Memory:

1) Sensory Memory - This is a very short memory type that can accommodate large amounts of information that may be visual or auditory or other information (depending on which sensory organs are involved).

2) Short Term Memory - This has a limited capacity, both in the duration of retention and amount of information put into "storage". At this stage, information may be processed and passed into long term memory or may be forgotten.

3) Long Term Memory - This memory has unlimited capacity, duration and information storage "space" and the information is stored in an organized manner.

Types of Memory:

1) Procedural Memory - This memory is concerned with learning and skill retention.

2) Semantic Memory - This memory is concerned with facts.

3) Meta Memory - This is concerned with laws and principals.

Episodic Memory - This is concerned with experience and life.

Causes of forgetting:

1) Interference by other information which may be learned earlier or later

2) Anxiety

3) Brain injury or disease

4) Some drugs like narcotics

5) Trauma to the head

6) Emotional and physical stress

7) Psychological state -- such as not having any interest in this subject

Tips that help with memory recall and overall memory strengthening:

1) When you need to retrieve some information, try to place yourself in the same situation that this information was processed. In fact, the retrieval of information is more easily obtained in the same circumstance or place of input.

2) Being in the same mood when the information was processed and being in the retrieval situation is also helpful.

3) Make the information you need to store meaningful.

4) Heighten the information you need to store by linking it to a specific emotional response.

5) Link the information you need to store to images; it is easier for the brain to memorize images.

6) Repeat the information more than one time either through visualizations, auditory input, or through written word.

7) Avoid stressful situations and reduce your anxiety.

8) Avoid alcohol and cigarette smoking.

9) To retain written information, study for short periods with breaks in between.

10) Take Zinc supplements -- this has been found to be helpful.

11) Take a Vitamin B complex.

12) Eating healthful meals with fresh vegetables are recommended during study hours.

13) Meditation and hypnotherapy reduce stress and anxiety and these practices also help to improve your memory.

14) Do some memory exercises: Practice with images, audio stimuli and writing to help you store information you need to retrieve later.
 Dr Tamer Shaban

Friday, March 8, 2013

Eleven Great Ways to Reduce Stress

Eleven Great Ways to Reduce Stress 
By Dr Tamer Shaban

Stress is a big challenge in life nowadays. The sources of stress are many and the helpful ways to reduce stress are also plentiful. Common symptoms of stress include skin problems, impotence, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, fatigue, insomnia and frustration.

We don't need to set a time to reduce stress, we need to incorporate some strategies in our daily life routine to prevent stress and reduce its effect on the body.

Here are 10 simple steps we can easily take to reduce stress:

1. Define your goals: we must define our life goals and begin to achieve these goals; this action will support us against stress because we will feel that we know what our life purpose is and why, and that we control our own lives.

2. Take control of your diet: we can use simple ways in our diet plans to reduce stress by avoiding some stimulants such as coffee, alcohol, tea and sugar and we can use chamomile tea as an alternative because of its calming and relaxing effect. We need to eat slowly in a calm environment to allow our digestive system to work well. We can use honey as an alternative to sugar but in small amounts (one or two spoonfuls per day).

3. Take hot baths regularly: after a very busy day or when we feel that we need to relax (I do this three times a week). You can take a hot bath by sitting in warm to hot water and the water level should be above the waist, using lavender oil can also enhance this relaxing experience.

4. Aromatherapy: in the office you can use aromatherapy to relax and avoid stress. One of the best ways is to use lavender oil on a source of heat and take in the scent; this is a great way to relax during the day when you need it the most.

5. Exercise: This is one of the important things you can do which will reduce stress and bring happiness. When we exercise, our brains release substances which bring feelings of happiness and relaxation; we need engage in some exercise regularly such as walking, dancing or swimming.

6. Breathing techniques: Yoga, meditation and Tai Chi all use deep breathing techniques. To meditate, simply sit with closed eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Breathing deeply regularly is great for health and from there, you can learn various other breathing techniques to gain enhanced benefits.

7. Relaxation techniques and self hypnotherapy: we can easily do this after the hot bath to relax even more, simply sit or lie down in a comfortable place with your eyes closed, imagine there is a spot light above your head and concentrate on it, then concentrate on your body part by part and try to relax the body and feel the relaxation deepening -- you can also use a self hypnotherapy audio tape to help in this process.

8. Massage: this is a great way to reduce stress, I do this when other ways fail, I feel better after receiving a massage. You can get a professional massage or you can simply ask your partner to massage you.

9. Spiritual healing: prayers and the act of helping others are very important components for happiness and stress reduction. You will feel calmer and have a sense of inner peace.

10. Talking through your problems: talking about your feelings acts as a releasing mechanism and you will soon find that talking about your problems with your partner or best friend may help the solution to the problem come to light and will help to release blocked emotions.

11. Multivitamins: I take a Vitamin B complex regularly to decrease stress and this has been a great help in my stress reduction.

I hope that you find these suggestions helpful, my hope in sharing this information with you is that you can benefit from it. Reading about this is not enough to reduce stress, you must take action.

Friday, March 1, 2013

[Effects of drug cupping therapy on immune function in chronic asthmatic bronchitis patients during protracted period]

[Effects of drug cupping therapy on immune function in chronic asthmatic bronchitis patients during protracted period]

Cai-qing Zhang, Tie-jun Liang, Wei Zhang
Shandong Provincial Hospital of Shandong University, Jinan. 
UNLABELLED To observe the clinical effect of drug cupping therapy (DCT, cupping therapy with pingchuan ointment made by the authors themselves in the cups) on chronic asthmatic bronchitis (CAB) during the protracted period, and explore its effect on immune function. 
Seventy-seven patients were randomly divided into two groups:the treated group (n=40) treated by orally taken Liuwei Dihuang Pill (LDP) and DCT and the control group (n=37) with LDP and common cupping therapy without drug in cups. The changes of T-lymphocyte subset, levels of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), interleukin (IL), immunoglobulin (Ig), complement 3 and 4 (C3 and C4) were detected before and after treatment. 
The total effective rate was higher in the treated group than that in the control group (90.0% vs. 59.5%, P < 0.01). The levels of CD4+, CD4+/CD8+, IL-2, IFN-gamma, C3, C4, IgA, IgG and IgM increased, while the levels of IgE, IL-4, IL-10 and CD8+ decreased after treatment in both groups (P < 0.05 or P < 0.01), the improvements were better in the treated group than that in the control group (P < 0.05). 
DCT(drug cupping therapy) shows better curative effects than that of common cupping therapy without drug, it could improve the cellular and humoral immunity in CAB patients.
Source: Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2006 Nov ;26 (11):984-7  17186726 

Brachialgia paraesthetica nocturna can be relieved by "wet cupping"-Results of a randomised pilot study

Brachialgia paraesthetica nocturna can be relieved by "wet cupping"-Results of a randomised pilot study.
Rainer Lüdtke, Uwe Albrecht, Rainer Stange, Bernhard Uehleke
Karl und Veronica Carstens-Stiftung, Am Deimelsberg 36, 45276 Essen, Germany.
Centuries ago cupping was one of the most used medical therapies worldwide but it is now regarded as an antiquated and unsafe treatment. Nevertheless it is widely used especially in Germany and China. 
To investigate the effectiveness of "wet cupping" of a defined connective tissue area (over the Musculus trapezius) in patients suffering from brachialgia paresthetica nocturna. DESIGN:
Monocenter, randomised, controlled, sequential clinical trial. 
Section of pain management at the District Hospital of Rüdersdorf, Germany. 
Brachialgia-patients of both sexes without age restictions were eligible if they suffered from chronical tonsillar irritations and showed pathologic indurations of the connective tissue area. 
The active group was "wet cupped" once, i.e. the skin first was scarified and then blood was drawn by applying vacuum cupping glasses. The control group was left untreated. 
Pre- to post-treatment change of brachialgia severeness, calculated from 1-week averages of the means of three subscales (pain, tingling and numbness), each assessed on a 0-10 numeric analogue scale. RESULTS: N=20 patients were randomised (13 women, median age 47 years). Treatment effects can be found in the active (-2.3+/-1.9 score points) but not in the control group (+0.5+/-1.0 points; p=0.002; triangle test). The results are supported by secondary outcome criteria. Adverse events were not documented in any patient. 
This study suggests short-term effects of a single wet cupping therapy, which remain at least for 1 week. As the trial lacks of an adequate and blinded placebo therapy the findings are potentially biased. 
Source: Complement Ther Med. 2006 Dec ;14 (4):247-253  17105694  Cit:9