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Good morning.

This morning we have a guest who will educate us a bit on the powerful benefits of using medicinal herbs.

In addition we have a “Save the Date” for our first of the year Retirement Renewal Forums, under the direction of Kal Edwards, a fascinating Community Conversation Series that we’ll talk about a little later.

I was so pleased when my friend, Joanne Koenig agreed to share some of what she knows about the very interesting benefits of using herbs in our lives.

Joanne Koenig is a registered dietitian and nutritionist, as well as a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also very active as a volunteer with Napa County Alliance for Senor Education (NCASE), an exciting club for seniors on the Napa Valley Campus. I’m so pleased that she had the time to help us better understand the world of herbs.

Thank you, Joanne, please enlighten us:

“First of all, I’d like your readers to know that there are no magic bullets or super cures to keep us healthy. It is integrative medicine, which is a combination of both conventional medicine and the many modalities of complementary and alternative medicine.

“Among these modalities herbal or botanical, medicine plays a significant role. When it comes to using herbs medicinally, you will always want to consult your physician first, before using.

“Of course, our life-style matters too. including diet, exercise and stress reduction. We’ll want our diet to include healthy foods, including herbs, as they provide nutrients that protect against oxidative stress and inflammation; contribute raw materials to help repair and/or make new cells including brain cells; and helps to keep the circulatory system healthy. Exercise keeps our muscles in good shape, helps with overall balance to prevent falls and can energize you. Stress reduction not only feels great but strengthens the immune system and helps to decrease inflammation.”

Joanne, would you please talk a bit about us folks 50 and older?

“Yes, that was next on my list.

“When we reach 50 and older, we have some particular issues such as some bone mass loss. Also, with the loss of estrogen at menopause and in the absence of hormone replacement therapy, a woman’s bone loss accelerates. Weight-bearing and weight-lifting exercises slow bone loss, provided there are bone essential nutrients available to us, such as sources in our diets.

“Rosemary Gladstar recommends boosting dietary intake of calcium-rich plants, such as seaweeds, dark-green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. Legumes have also been recommended as they contain the protein bones need and plant estrogens, which help make up for the body’s declining levels.

“During these 50+ years, we become a little nervous about dementia. To preserve those brain cells, cinnamon and turmeric are recommended. These herbs, along with ginger and baical skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis), have been shown to protect nerve cells from beta-amyloid.

“Common garden sage has nerve-protectant properties and slows the enzyme that chews up acetylcholine, a nerve chemical in short supply in Alzheimer’s disease. Preliminary research shows sage extracts help improve memory performance in normal people and slows cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Growing your own herbs is personally empowering. It is like having a medicine cabinet in your back yard. An important part of herbalism is knowing your own body. What is the first indication that you are getting a cold? Is it the slight tickle in the back of your throat? Is it the slightly stuffy nose? Herbs are the most effective in the beginning of a malady and not when it is overwhelming in symptoms.

“In closing, I’d like to say that it is well worth your time and effort to learn about medicinal herbs, how to use them and how to prepare them. Using medicinal herbs is understanding your body, knowing what you need, and becoming aware of which herbs will help you, what are your side effects if any and learning how to take care of yourself. Experiment, until you find the ones that you like and work for you. You will be pleasantly surprised.”

Many thanks, Joanne, for opening our eyes to the wonders of healing herbs. We’re going to have to do this again. We only covered half of what we had gone over, and I’m eager to return for another session of “Herbs with Joanne Koenig.”

I’m, personally going to order Rosemary Gladstar’s book, “Medicinal Herbs, A Beginner’s Guide with 33 Healing Herbs.”

In order to live a healthy life, I’d like to believe that we are all interested in doing everything we can to keep feeling well, and if herbs will help us, let’s get into it.

Earlier, we talked about Kal Edward’s first Forum of the year, of his Retirement Renewal Forums. Please save March 6, 2018, 5:30-7 p.m. at the Gasser Community Room, 414 South Jefferson St., Napa. Refreshments will be served. This is a free community event.

The title of this forum is, “Keeping Pace with the Digital Age: What’s New? What’s Old? What’s Worthless?” featuring Skye Hallberg, a technology tutoring specialist.

This should be a very fun, informative evening. The programs are always educational and enjoyable. You’ll want to make reservations fairly early as the Gasser Room fills up pretty quickly. Call 707-258-9087, ext. 272 or healthedcoordinator@collabriacare.org

Goodbye for now. Try to make love and joy two very important words in your life.

What was the name of that song, “What the world needs now, is love sweet love?”

Have we ever needed it more?

Drop me a line at bettyrrhodes@sbcglobal.net I would love it and it would give me joy.

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