Posts Tagged ‘naturopathic medicine’

by Candace McNaughton, ND

It is time to separate the stigma of recreational use of marijuana from the benefit of medical use of cannabis.  Many conventional medications (such as opiate pain medications) are harmful, intoxicating, and carry a risk of dependence.  There is so much more to the cannabis plant than the intoxicating properties of THC.

Naturopathic physicians in Washington State can authorize their patients to use cannabis to treat certain conditions which are debilitating or terminal.  This includes cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. It also includes chronic severe pain, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, and hepatitis C if they are unrelieved by standard medical treatments.  Diseases which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, when these symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments, may also benefit from the medical use of cannabis.

I am familiar with medical cannabis law and naturopathic physicians’ role in the legal recommendation of its use.  I am becoming increasingly convinced that not only is it good medicine, but NDs are the most qualified to understand it as medicine, in that botanicals are much more complex than pharmaceuticals.  Botanicals contain hundreds to thousands of chemicals, where pharmaceuticals contain just one.  I use the word medical cannabis rather than medical marijuana because that is the scientific name.  We refer to our medicines by scientific names to avoid the confusion that can arise with many common herb names.

I do not write authorizations for conditions that do not clearly fall under the law.  I do not believe in making many brief appointments with patients simply to fit many in one day.  I only authorize qualifying patients of mine to use medical cannabis after a complete understanding of their medical record and condition.  This means that they understand and have tried other options.  In accordance with the current law, I do not advise patients to buy the medicine, only authorize them to use it.

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Trained as a family practitioner to address acute and chronic conditions, Dr. McNaughton specializes in allergies, autoimmune disease, and digestive issues.  She facilitates healing as a knowledgeable guide and partner, helping her patients make lasting changes and achieve health goals.  Her patients are motivated and are active participants in their healing process.

Dr. McNaughton holds your comprehensive medical record and helps you to coordinate care with other practitioners.  Her treatment approach is to remove obstacles to cure and improve the functioning of the body so that disease cycles are stopped or slowed.  Treatments can also minimize the side effects of medications and improve their effectiveness.  History, labs, and diagnosis are the same as conventional doctors. Therapeutics are natural medicine.

Dr. McNaughton’s patients feel heard and thoroughly cared for.  They feel safe, accepted, and respected, whether they share aspects of alternative lifestyles or “slip-ups” from the treatment plan.  Her patients appreciate finding ways to practically achieve recommendations rather than only following protocols. Instead of simply telling patients what to do, she works with them to plan how they can institute change.

Therapeutics used:

  • Science-based herbal medicine
  • Diet and nutrient therapy
  • Detoxification
  • B12/B Complex injections
  • Antibiotics or hormones if necessary
  • Medical cannabis evaluation

Dr. McNaughton completed her pre-medical education at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia.  While there, she ran a natural health interest group; arranging for a variety of professionals to speak as well as giving several talks.  She graduated from Bastyr University’s naturopathic medicine program in 2003.

Dr. McNaughton is an experienced writer and speaker, giving talks at libraries, schools, community centers, support groups, and natural foods markets.  She published a front page article on acid/alkaline balance in the PCC Sound Consumer.  She spoke on natural medicine quick fixes at IgniteSeattle, a fast-paced event where speakers are given five minutes and auto-advancing slides.  She has been a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians since 1998, and spoke at their 2005 convention.  She has twice appeared on SCAN TV’s Being in Seattle with Rosemary Broccoli, and on KYPT Radio’s Northwest Point of View with Anita Mofitt.

In 2009, Dr. McNaughton completed a three-week academic and practical intensive in traditional and institutional medicine with Spanish immersion in Cuernavaca, Mexico.  She has facilitated a Spanish conversational group since 2005.  Her personal interests include yoga, hiking, and travel.

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How you can be better prepared to fight off this year’s bug.

Dr. Rachel Erickson, ND

Everyone knows that wintertime means playing the game of “who can run faster than the ‘bug’ trying to catch you” and lay you up in bed or worse, make work life miserable while you fight it off. Here are some strategies to prevent catching a cold and ways to shorten the duration.


Prevention is the best medicine. Exercise boosts your immune cell activity so stay active this winter. Wash your hands. Drink plenty of clean water all day long. Vegetables and fruits are full of all the antioxidants and vitamins and minerals your body needs to function optimally. This winter is the opportunity to add in an extra fruit or vegetable a day to one of your meals. If you make one veggie at dinner, try making two. If you don’t eat fruit at breakfast, add your favorite one in. Satsuma oranges and pomegranates are in season only in the winter and are great sources of Vitamin C and antioxidants. Make it fun!


The basics need emphasis when you’re feeling sick. We all know this, but let’s just say it again. When you’re feeling sick, it’s not time to go out to that holiday party and drink three glasses of hot buttered rum and two helpings of dessert. It’s time to lay low, sleep extra hours, stay hydrated and stay away from your vices. Sugar, alcohol and foods you may think you’re sensitive to are only going to suppress your immune function when you need it most. So what do you do when you feel that shift in your body that tells you you’re getting sick? A quick trick is to artificially raise your core body temperature for 20 minutes. You probably learned to suppress your fevers, but what I’m telling you is to actually create a little fever, either by sitting in a sauna or steam room, or by taking a hot bath. Add some Epsom salts in that case (sold at most drug stores) and soak in as hot of water as you can stand for 20 minutes. Don’t stop there! Bundle up warmly and stay hot. Your immune cells actually work faster in a slightly higher temperature while putting the virus or bacteria at a disadvantage!


For you special cases, the stressed moms and workers who struggle just to get breakfast let alone enough sleep, there’s hope even for you! The approach for your immune health is through your adrenal glands. They help you cope in times of high stress, and during this winter season they need specific attention. Through the wonderful remedy of herbal medicine, we have the right combination to meet your needs.


My favorite, herbal medicine, is also your biggest advocate this season. If you know you always get sick then try taking an immune boosting formulation specific to what you need now. We have some great combinations you can keep in your apothecary at home for just this purpose.


Come by for a visit and we’ll find a formula that works best for you.

Dr. Rachel wishes you happy holidays here at Glow!

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Many people who are energetic and outgoing in the long sunny days of spring and summer find themselves to be melancholic, depressed, and perhaps even fatigued in the long dark nights of winter. This is termed “Seasonal Affective Disorder” (SAD). Although this common disorder can be quite debilitating, there are good options to help.

Exercise: Over 100 studies have shown that people who exercise are effected by SAD and other forms of depression much less than people who don’t exercise. Although exercising outside may be difficult in the winter time, especially if you are limited to the early morning or evening hours, most people have health clubs close by or can set up an exercise room in their own homes.

Diet: Maintaining adequate blood sugar throughout the day is one important key to help with depression. Eat small frequent meals low in processed foods and simple carbohydrates (“sugary” foods) and high in fruits, vegetables, grains, and other sources of protein. Protein is also necessary to help provide amino acids, precursors to neurotransmitters in the brain. Adequate protein intake is 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein per kg. of body weight. The formula is: (Your weight in pounds) x (0.8 to 1.2)  2.2. Sedentary individuals should use 0.8, average activity use 1.0, very athletic use 1.2.

Light therapy: Full spectrum lighting has been shown to be an excellent treatment for SAD and other forms of clinical depression. The antidepressant effect of light therapy is probably due to restoring proper melatonin synthesis and secretion by the pineal gland leading to re-establishment of the proper circadian rhythm. Light boxes use very intense full spectrum lighting, the equivalent of 25 100-watt bulbs. It is recommended that a person look into the light for 15 – 30 minutes each morning while sitting 2 to 3 feet away. Regular full spectrum light bulbs are also available. Use these to replace regular light bulbs around your home and office for a more bright and realistic light.

Nutritional supplements:
Numerous studies have shown St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) to be effective in helping to relieve symptoms associated with SAD and other forms of depression, including apathy, feelings of worthlessness, insomnia, sleep disturbances, and anxiety.
5-HTP a precursor to serotonin and has been shown to be effectively converted to serotonin in the body and help relieve depression and insomnia. Studies have shown significant clinical response in two to four weeks at a dosage of 50 to 300 mg 3 times a day.
NOTE: do not combine St. John’s Wort or 5-HTP with any antidepressant medications without the consent of your naturopathic doctor or other physician knowledgeable in herbs, nutrition, and pharmaceuticals.
L-tyrosine has also been shown to be effective in relieving depression, both on its own and in combination with other therapies. In a study, about 1 out of 5 people who initially responded well to 5-HTP had a relapse of depression after a month. These people responded particularly well to the addition of L-tyrosine.
B-vitamins, particularly B-6, B-12, and folic acid also have an excellent track record in helping to relieve depression. Vitamin D has also been linked to an “overall greater sense of well being.” You should have your Vitamin D levels tested by your doctor to help monitor therapy.
Homeopathy can also be effective in helping to relieve the symptoms of depression, also. Homeopathics can be taken individually, usually prescribed by a homeopathic doctor, or in combination products.
A deficiency of essential fatty acids (EFA’s) has been shown in recent studies to be a contributor to depression. A diet high in saturated fats and low in essential fatty acids results in decreased fluidity of cell membranes, which directly influences neurotransmitter synthesis, signal transmission, uptake of serotonin and other neurotransmitters, and neurotransmitter binding. Most studies used fish oil as the source of the EFA’s. A person must regularly consume fish oils for two to three months to allow the EFA’s to be effectively incorporated into cell membranes.

The treatment of SAD is usually multifactorial. A combination of exercise, proper diet, light therapy, and nutritional supplements can greatly enhance your energy, outlook, and overall happiness in the face of the long dark nights of winter.

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