According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), qi is the vital energy that circulates through the body at all times. Practitioners believe that a qi deficiency is linked to the spleen and that rest and eating certain foods can treat the imbalance.
The concepts of TCM are not based in modern science but have their roots in ancient Chinese practices. TCM includes herbal remedies, acupuncture, and exercises such as tai chi or qigong.
While there is no scientific proof for qi or a deficiency of qi, many people understand these terms as ways to describe issues in the body as a whole — rather than taking the rigorous route that medical science does.
In this article, we will explore what a qi deficiency is, its symptoms and causes, and how it might be treated with rest and diet.
What is a qi deficiency?
According to TCM, qi is life force or vital energy. Everything in the world is made up of qi, including the physical body and the feelings a person has.
Followers and practitioners of TCM believe that to be balanced in life and free from physical or mental health issues, a person must have balanced qi. They suggest that illnesses or other conditions only appear when there is a qi imbalance or deficiency in the body.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) define qi as a vital energy that flows through the body, helping to maintain a person’s health. The NCCIH are interested in the ideas of TCM but do not focus on specific concepts, such as qi. Instead, the NCCIH take a more scientific view, looking at how these practices affect the body and their use in symptom management.
What are the symptoms?
Roughly translated, qi means energy, so, simply put, a qi deficiency means low energy. This low energy can affect the body as whole or just specific organs that cause different symptoms.
A general qi deficiency may cause some overall symptoms of fatigue and illness.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medical Sciences uses the following five signs and symptoms to diagnose a qi deficiency:
- shortness of breath or no desire to talk
- spontaneous sweating
- a swollen tongue with teeth marks on the side
- a weak pulse
Causes of qi deficiency
The study also outlines a range of possible factors that can lead to a qi deficiency.
The authors suggest that there could be a link between qi deficiency and aging.
Some practitioners believe that there is a relationship between qi deficiency and chronic medical diseases and their complications, such as heart disease, hypertension, or stroke.
Qi deficiency may also result from using too much qi in daily life. Many people in the western world are constantly working or on-the-go, leading busy lives, leaving no time to relax.
According to TCM, leading such a stressful life with little downtime may quickly drain the body of vital energy, making a person more susceptible to qi deficiency and the illnesses that follow. Think of qi deficiency as being burned out, a condition that can cause the symptoms and conditions associated with stress.
Treatments for qi deficiency
TCM places great importance on treating the body as a whole rather than merely managing symptoms. Where western medicine might treat tiredness with stimulants, such as coffee, TCM concerns itself with addressing the issues causing the fatigue in the first place.
There is little quality scientific research to support topics such as qi and qi deficiency, and most of the evidence for treating qi deficiency is anecdotal.
That said, many people may find relief from symptoms by making some changes in their diet and lifestyle to support their qi balance or using alternative therapies, such as acupuncture.
Focus on rest
People with qi deficiency may work too hard, are always on the go, and never have downtime. To help balance the qi in the body, many TCM practitioners recommend a heavy focus on rest.
This can include:
- taking breaks throughout the day.
- making time to take a nap.
- doing relaxing activities, such as yoga, tai chi, or qigong.
Improve sleep patterns
People with a qi deficiency may have a tendency towards stress and may benefit from improving their sleep patterns. A study published in Experimental Neurobiology reports that excessive stress is bad for both the body and the brain. Stress may activate the brain at night, making sound sleep difficult.
Reducing stress levels may help a person sleep better and have more energy or qi throughout the day. Try to find a set time to go to sleep and wake up each day, and aim to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
Best foods for a qi deficiency
TCM suggests that a qi deficiency might be influenced by the spleen, which carries qi to other parts of the body. This is why a qi deficiency might occur in any area of the body.
To balance qi, TCM practitioners recommend eating foods that are good for the spleen.
Foods to eat
A healthful diet for a balanced qi includes:
- fermented foods for digestive health, including sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir
- healthful, energizing fats, such as olive oil, salmon, coconut oil, and avocados
- a wide variety of lightly cooked fruits, vegetables, and nuts
- adaptogenic herbs, such as ginseng, should be taken under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner or trusted TCM practitioner
Foods that are good for spleen qi include yang tonic foods and qi-circulating foods. According to TCM, these foods might warm the spleen and increase energy flow to the body.
Foods to eat for spleen qi include:
- malted grain beverages
- root vegetables including sweet potato and taro
- pumpkin and other squash
- miso soup
- orange peels
- mustard leaf
Foods to avoid for spleen qi include:
- refined sugar
- refined grains
- fried or salty foods
- iced or refrigerated foods or drinks
- dairy products
- citrus fruits
- yeasty foods, such as beer or dough
Spleen qi deficiency
In western medicine, the spleen is considered a non-vital organ. It is a small organ that helps filter blood and is part of the immune system, but people can live without it.
In TCM, the spleen is central to digestion and is considered a vital organ. The spleen is said to pull qi from all the foods we eat and deliver it to the rest of the body. When a TCM practitioner suspects a qi deficiency, they often look to treat the spleen first.
TCM pairs the stomach and spleen as the sources of digestion and the digestive system as a whole. Any imbalances in the spleen qi would create what western medicine calls gastrointestinal issues.
Spleen qi deficiency may cause symptoms such as:
- loss of appetite
- nausea or diarrhea
- gas or bloating
- varicose veins
- acid reflux
- trouble waking up in the morning
- brain fog throughout the day
- eating disorders
Other types of qi deficiency
TCM works on the basis that qi is everywhere in the body, so a qi deficiency in one body system or organ might cause different symptoms to a qi deficiency in another. For example:
Symptoms of a heart qi deficiency may include:
- sweating without exerting oneself
- palpitations when moving
- nightmares or restless sleep
- mood swings
Symptoms of a lung qi deficiency include:
- a cough, which may be mild but continuous
- shortness of breath
- low speaking voice
- a tendency to catch colds
Symptoms of a kidney qi deficiency include:
- cold limbs
- hair loss
- urinary problems
- very clear urine
Wheezing is a common symptom of various respiratory disorders that cause tightening in the throat. There are several ways a person can stop their wheezing at home without using an inhaler, but these will depend on the cause.
Wheezing happens when the airways are tightened, blocked, or inflamed, making a person’s breathing sound like whistling or squeaking. Common causes include a cold, asthma, allergies, or more serious conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Steam inhalation is an effective home remedy for wheezing.
The following home treatments for wheezing aim to open up the airways, reduce the irritants or pollution that a person breathes in, or treat the underlying causes of the wheezing.
If a person has asthma or another medical condition that causes wheezing, they should speak to our doctors in clinic and use the medications prescribed for it, such as an asthma inhaler.
Effective home remedies for wheezing include:
1. Steam inhalation
Inhaling warm, moisture-rich air can be very effective for clearing the sinuses and opening up the airways.Peppermint essential oil may have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. Research suggests that it may relax the muscles of the respiratory system, which could help to relieve wheezing and other respiratory problems.
If a steam bath does not appeal to you, a sauna room or hot shower can also help loosen congestion. Gently tapping on the back or chest and breathing deeply can help the steam work even better.
2. Hot drinks
Warm and hot drinks can help to loosen up the airways and relieve congestion.
Honey is a natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, so adding a teaspoon of honey to a hot drink may further improve a person’s symptoms.
A 2017 study found that eating one tablespoon of honey twice a day, along with other treatments, helped to relieve throat congestion.
Some people find that peppermint or other menthol teas work well. A person can try experimenting with different teas to find one that helps.
3. Breathing exercises
Breathing exercises may help with COPD, bronchitis, allergies, and other common causes of wheezing.
A 2009 study found that certain yoga-inspired breathing techniques could help with breathing difficulties related to bronchial asthma, including wheezing.
Breathing exercises often include deep, regular inhalations and exhalations. A doctor or respiratory therapist can help with deciding the most effective breathing techniques.
A person may find that they have trouble breathing during a panic attack. Deep breathing exercises can also assist here. It may help to try slow breathing, focusing on breathing deeply into the stomach, and counting breathes.
A humidifier may help to reduce wheezing.
During the dry winter months, wheezing often gets worse. A humidifier in the bedroom can help loosen congestion and reduce the severity of wheezing.
A person can add peppermint or other oils to the water in the humidifier, though they should check the humidifier’s instructions before adding anything other than water.
5. Air filters
Many conditions that cause wheezing can get worse when the air is polluted or in response to allergens. A home air filter can reduce the presence of irritants that may trigger wheezing and breathing trouble.
6. Identifying and removing triggers
Chronic illnesses such as asthma and allergies may get worse in response to certain triggers, such as stress or allergens. Controlling these triggers, as much as possible, can help.
For instance, a person with a chronic respiratory condition who also has allergies might take allergy medication and avoid allergy triggers.
7. Allergy medications
People with allergies can benefit from a wide variety of allergy medications, including decongestants, corticosteroid tablets, and antihistamines.
Nasal sprays may be especially helpful to relieve a tight chest, congestion, and inflammation that can cause wheezing.
More severe allergies may require prescription allergy medication.
8. Allergy immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is a process of retraining the immune system not to react to allergens.
The most common form of immunotherapy is allergy shots. A person may need several treatments, but over time, immunotherapy can reduce the frequency of wheezing.
Immunotherapy may also be helpful for people with other chronic conditions, such as COPD, who also have allergies.
Bronchodilators are medications that help relax the lungs and prevent the airways from narrowing. They can help with wheezing caused by COPD and asthma.
Bronchodilators come in two forms:
- Short-acting bronchodilators. Sometimes known as rescue inhalers, these can stop an asthma or COPD attack.
- Long-acting bronchodilators. This variety helps relax the airways over the long-term, reducing the frequency and severity of wheezing episodes.
Bronchodilators should be obtained from a doctor and can then be used at home, as needed.
10. Other medications
A wide variety of medications can treat wheezing that is due to underlying illness. A person who experiences wheezing due to a severe allergic reaction, for instance, may require epinephrine or corticosteroids.
People with heart health issues may take blood pressure medication or blood thinners to prevent further damage to the heart.
It is vital to discuss with a doctor whether medication might help, and how various medications may interact with one another.
The long-term outlook for wheezing ultimately depends on its cause. Even when wheezing is due to a chronic illness, it can often be well-managed with medication and home treatments.
Ongoing medical care remains important, however, and people whose symptoms do not improve should consult a doctor. Consider tracking symptoms to identify any underlying triggers for symptoms.
If wheezing is causing concern, it is essential to remain calm, as panicking can worsen wheezing. Keep the breathing slow and regular and seek medical treatment when appropriate.
Even when wheezing is due to a serious medical condition, medications can improve symptoms.
Treating allergic reactions
Allergies are a common cause of illness and can occur at any stage in someone’s life. Numerous different things cause allergies from pollen to food to medication, meaning it is not always easy to know the best treatments or home remedies.
What is an allergic reaction?
Many people have allergies, which may cause symptoms such as coughing and sneezing.
An allergic reaction occurs when cells in the immune system interpret a foreign substance or allergen as harmful.
The immune system overreacts to these allergens and produces histamine, which is a chemical that causes allergy symptoms, such as inflammation, sneezing, and coughing.
Mild allergic reactions can usually be treated with home remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) medications
Fast facts on treating an allergic reaction:
Most minor allergy symptoms can be treated with antihistamines, corticosteroids, or decongestants.
Saline nasal rinses can be used for congestion-related allergy symptoms.
Corticosteroid creams can treat skin rashes related to allergies.
mmunotherapy is a long-term treatment option for chronic allergy symptoms.
Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency, and people should call 911 if they suspect someone is having an anaphylactic reaction.
Treating allergic reactions
Many mild to moderate allergic reactions can be treated at home or with OTC medications. The following treatments are commonly used to reduce the symptoms of an allergic reaction:
Antihistamines can help to treat most minor allergic reactions regardless of the cause. These drugs reduce the body’s production of histamine, which reduces all symptoms, including sneezing, watering eyes, and skin reactions.
Second-generation antihistamines, including Claritin (loratadine) and Zyrtec (cetirizine), are less likely to cause drowsiness than first-generation antihistamines, such as Benadryl.
Antihistamines come in several forms, usually to help deliver the medication closer to the source of the reaction or make it easier to consume, such as:
- oral pills
- dissolvable tablets
- nasal sprays
- eye drops
Antihistamines in these forms are available from pharmacies, to buy online, or on prescription from a doctor.
Antihistamines can also be taken to prevent allergies. Many people with seasonal or pet allergies will begin taking antihistamines when they know they are going to be exposed to an allergen.
A person who is pregnant or has a liver disorder should consult their doctor before taking antihistamines.
Nasal decongestant pills, liquids, and sprays can also help reduce stuffy, swollen sinuses and related symptoms, such as a sore throat or coughing.
However, decongestant medications should not be taken continuously for more than 72 hours.
Nasal decongestants are available over the counter and online.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) may also be used to help temporarily reduce pain, swelling, and cramping caused by allergies.
Avoid the allergen
The best way to treat and prevent allergic reactions is to know what triggers the reaction and stay away from it, especially food allergens.
When this is not possible or realistic, using antihistamines or decongestants when in contact with allergens can help to treat the symptoms.
Use a saline sinus rinse
A saline sinus rinse may treat symptoms such as a runny or itchy nose.
When allergies cause sinus problems, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) recommend a person rinse their sinuses with saline. This can remove allergens and clear the airways.
The AAAAI recommends the following saline recipe:
- mix 3 teaspoons of salt (without iodide) with 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- add 1 teaspoon of this mixture to 8 ounces of boiled water
- dissolve the mixture in the water then use as a saline rinse
Sinus rinsing devices can be purchased online or from a pharmacy.
Treating environmental allergies
For airborne allergens, such as pollen, dust, and mold spores, additional treatment options include:
- throat lozenges with soothing ingredients, such as menthol, honey, or ginger
- shower and wash all clothing after being exposed to an allergen
- exercise for a few minutes to help reduce nasal congestion
Treating allergies on the skin
For allergic reactions that cause skin symptoms, including those associated with allergens found in animal saliva, poisonous plants, drugs, chemicals and metals, additional treatment options include:
- Topical corticosteroid creams or tablets. Corticosteroids contain steroids that reduce inflammation and itching. Mild forms of these creams can be found online, and a doctor can prescribe stronger versions.
- Moisturizing creams. Emollient creams with soothing ingredients, such as calamine can treat skin reactions.
- Bite or sting medication. Medication targeted to reduce allergic reactions to insect bites or stings have a similar effect to other allergy medications.
- Ice pack. Applying an ice pack wrapped in cloth to the area for 10- to 15-minute intervals can reduce inflammation.
Treating severe allergies
People should speak to a professional if they have or suspect that they have severe or chronic allergies. You are always more than welcome to call our clinic for more information.
A doctor can prescribe medications that contain much stronger doses of the compounds found in OTC products.
Treatment options for chronic or severe allergies include:
- Immunotherapy, or allergy shots. Immunotherapy can be between 90 and 98 percent effective at reducing allergic reactions to insect stings, for instance.
- Prescription asthma medications, such as bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids.
- Oral cromolyn can be taken for food allergies.
- Drug desensitization therapy is used for specific allergens.
Natural remedies for allergic reactions
Many traditional medicine systems use herbal supplements and extracts to both treat and prevent allergic reactions, especially seasonal allergies.
Though there is little scientific evidence to support the use of most alternative or natural remedies, some people may find that some can provide relief from their symptoms.
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians recommend the following natural treatments for allergies:
- Dietary changes. A low-fat diet high in complex carbohydrates, such as beans, whole grains, and vegetables may reduce allergy reactions.
- Bioflavonoids. These plant-based chemicals found in citrus fruits and blackcurrants may act as natural antihistamines. These can also be taken as supplements.
- Supplements. Flaxseed oil, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E are suggested to improve allergy symptoms.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture treatments may help some people to find relief from their symptoms.
The terms diastole and systole refer to when the heart muscles relax and contract. The balance between diastole and systole determines a person’s blood pressure.
The heart is a pump that supplies all tissues and organs of the body with oxygen-rich blood. The heartbeat is caused by the heart muscles relaxing and contracting.
During this cycle, the period of relaxation is called diastole and the period of contraction is called systole.
What are diastole and systole?
Diastole is when the heart muscle relaxes and systole is when the heart muscle contracts.
Diastole is defined by the following characteristics:
- Diastole is when the heart muscle relaxes.
- When the heart relaxes, the chambers of the heart fill with blood, and a person’s blood pressure decreases.
Systole is defined by the following characteristics:
- Systole is when the heart muscle contracts.
- When the heart contracts, it pushes the blood out of the heart and into the large blood vessels of the circulatory system. From here, the blood goes to all of the organs and tissues of the body.
- During systole, a person’s blood pressure increases.
The heart is a pump composed of four chambers. It is divided in the middle into a right and left side, and each side is divided further into two chambers — the upper and lower chambers.
The two upper chambers of the heart called the atria receive the blood that is entering the heart. The two lower chambers are called the ventricles. They pump the blood out of the heart to the rest of the body.
To pump the blood around the body, the heart contracts and then relaxes over and over again in a cycle called the cardiac cycle. The cycle begins when the two atria contract, which pushes blood into the ventricles. Then, the ventricles contract, which forces the blood out of the heart.
The deoxygenated blood that comes back from the body to the right side of the heart is then pumped through the lungs where it picks up oxygen. The oxygenated blood then travels to the left side of the heart and is pumped to the rest of the body.
Diastole and systole affect a person’s blood pressure differently, as follows:
- When the heart pushes blood around the body during systole, the pressure placed on the vessels increases. This is called systolic pressure.
- When the heart relaxes between beats and refills with blood, the blood pressure drops. This is called diastolic pressure.
What is a healthy blood pressure?
Normal blood pressure will be under 120/80 mmHg.
When a person receives their blood pressure results, they will see two numbers that represent the diastole and systole measurements. These measurements are given as millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
The first number is the systolic pressure and the second is the diastolic pressure.
According to the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) updated 2017 guidelines, the current blood pressure categories are:
- Normal blood pressure: under 120/80 mmHg
- Elevated blood pressure: a systolic pressure of between 120-129 and a diastolic pressure of under 80
- Stage 1 hypertension: a systolic pressure of between 130-139 or a diastolic pressure of between 80 and 89 mmHg
- Stage 2 hypertension: a systolic pressure of at least 140 or a diastolic pressure of at least 90 mmHg
These updated guidelines are likely to place 46 percent of Americans in the category of having high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is always measured when the person is at rest and over several days. Its measurements are also called blood pressure readings.
High blood pressure
Gender and age may increase a person’s risk of high blood pressure.
High blood pressure or hypertension is when a person has abnormally high pressure against the walls of their blood vessels. This condition develops gradually over many years and may go unnoticed for a long time, as there are often no symptoms.
The following risk factors increase a person’s risk of high blood pressure:
- Age. Blood pressure is usually higher with age.
- Gender. Men are more likely to have high blood pressure before the age of 55, but women are more likely than men to have the condition after the age of 55.
- Race. High blood pressure is more common in African Americans than Caucasian or Hispanic Americans.
- Family history. Having a family member with high blood pressure increases the risk of a person developing high blood pressure in the future.
- Obesity. A person who is overweight or obese is more likely to develop high blood pressure. This is because a higher volume of blood circulates through blood vessels to supply the cells with oxygen and nutrients. Because there is more blood circulating, there is a higher pressure on the vessel walls.
- Lifestyle habits. A lack of physical activity, smoking tobacco (including second-hand smoking), drinking too much alcohol, consuming too much salt (sodium) or too little potassium, and stress may increase the risk.
- Certain chronic conditions. Kidney disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea can increase the risk of high blood pressure.
- Pregnancy. In some cases, pregnancy can cause high blood pressure.
When left untreated, high blood pressure can cause complications and, eventually, serious health problems, such as:
- Heart attack. A block in the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a portion of the heart, preventing that portion of the heart from getting oxygen.
- Stroke. A stroke happens when there is a block in the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain, preventing that portion of the brain from getting oxygen.
- Heart failure. Failure of the heart to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands, caused by the increased pressure on the vessels.
- Peripheral artery disease. This is the narrowing of blood vessels other than those that supply the heart or the brain, most commonly of the legs. Blood flow to that part of the body is affected.
- Aneurysm. An aneurysm is the development of an abnormal bulge in a blood vessel wall, which may press on other organs, block blood flow, or eventually burst.
- Chronic kidney disease. Kidney disease can be caused by narrowing of blood vessels in the kidneys, which prevents them from working properly.
Low blood pressure
Low blood pressure or hypotension occurs when a person has abnormally low blood pressure against the walls of their blood vessels.
Risk factors that increase a person’s chance of developing the condition include:
- Age. People older than 65 are more likely to experience a drop in blood pressure while standing up, or after eating. Children and young people are more likely to experience a rapid drop in blood pressure accompanied by dizziness, blurred vision, and fainting, which is known as neurally mediated hypotension.
- Certain medications. High blood pressure medicines, including diuretics, can cause hypotension.
- Certain diseases. Conditions such as Parkinson’s, diabetes, and some heart conditions increase the risk of low blood pressure.
- Other factors. Pregnancy, standing in the heat, or standing still for long periods of time can also cause low blood pressure.
A person with mild low blood pressure may experience fatigue, fainting, or dizziness.
More severe forms of low blood pressure can compromise oxygen-rich blood flow to the body’s major organs, including the brain. If this happens, a person may feel sleepy, confused, or light-headed. In serious cases, this can evolve to heart or brain damage.
Certain natural substances have antibacterial properties, but which are safe to use, and when should a person use them?
Prescription antibiotics, such as penicillin, have helped people to recover from otherwise fatal diseases and conditions since the 1940s.
However, people are also turning to natural antibiotics for treatment.
According to the NHS, 1 in 10 people experiences side effects that harm the digestive system after taking antibiotics. Around 1 in 15 people are allergic to this type of medication.
In this article, we look at the evidence behind seven of the best natural antibiotics. We also discuss which to avoid, and when to see a doctor.
Seven best natural antibiotics
Garlic may be an effective treatment against bacteria.
The scientific jury is still out concerning natural antibiotics. While people have used remedies like these for hundreds of years, most treatments have not been thoroughly tested.
However, some show promising results under medical review, and further studies are underway.
With an ongoing increase in drug-resistant bacteria, scientists are looking to nature when developing new medications.
Here, we examine the science behind seven natural antibiotics.
Cultures across the world have long recognized garlic for its preventive and curative powers.
Research has found that garlic can be an effective treatment against many forms of bacteria, including Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli). Garlic has even been considered for use against multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.
Since the time of Aristotle, honey has been used as an ointment that helps wounds to heal and prevents or draws out infection.
Healthcare professionals today have found it helpful in treating chronic wounds, burns, ulcers, bedsores, and skin grafts. For example, results of a study from 2016 demonstrate that honey dressings can help to heal wounds.
The antibacterial effects of honey are usually attributed to its hydrogen peroxide content. However, manuka honey fights off bacteria, though it has a lower hydrogen peroxide content.
A 2011 study reported that the best-known type of honey inhibits approximately 60 kinds of bacteria. It also suggests that honey successfully treats wounds infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Antibacterial properties aside, honey may help wounds to heal by providing a protective coating that fosters a moist environment.
The scientific community also recognizes ginger as a natural antibiotic. Several studies, including one published in 2017, have demonstrated ginger’s ability to fight many strains of bacteria.
Researchers are also exploring ginger’s power to combat seasickness and nausea and to lower blood sugar levels.
Echinacea has been used to treat infections for many years.
Native American and other traditional healers have used echinacea for hundreds of years to treat infections and wounds. Researchers are beginning to understand why.
A study published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology reports that extract of Echinacea purpurea can kill many different kinds of bacteria, including Streptococcus pyogenes (S. pyogenes).
S. pyogenes is responsible for strep throat, toxic shock syndrome, and the “flesh-eating disease” known as necrotizing fasciitis.
Echinacea may also fight inflammation associated with bacterial infection.
Goldenseal is usually consumed in tea or capsules to treat respiratory and digestive problems. However, it may also combat bacterial diarrhea and urinary tract infections.
In addition, results of a recent study support the use of goldenseal to treat skin infections. In a lab, goldenseal extracts were used to prevent MRSA from damaging tissue.
A person taking prescription medications should check with a doctor before taking goldenseal, as this supplement can cause interference.
Goldenseal also contains berberine, an important component of natural antibiotics. This alkaloid is not safe for infants, or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Clove has traditionally been used in dental procedures. Research is now finding that clove water extract may be effective against many different kinds of bacteria, including E. coli.
Some believe that oregano boosts the immune system and acts as an antioxidant. It may have anti-inflammatory properties.
While researchers have yet to verify these claims, some studies show that oregano is among the more effective natural antibiotics, particularly when it is made it into an oil.
Risks of natural antibiotics
Just because something is labeled natural, it is not necessarily safe.
The amounts and concentrations of active ingredients vary among brands of supplements. Read labels carefully. A person should also inform their healthcare provider if they plan to take these supplements.
While cooked garlic is usually safe to consume, research suggests that taking concentrated garlic may increase the risk of bleeding. This can be dangerous for people facing surgery or taking blood thinners.
Garlic concentrates may also reduce the usefulness of HIV medications.
Certain products should be avoided, including colloidal silver. This substance consists of microscopic pieces of silver suspended in water.
Colloidal silver has been recommended as a treatment for a variety of diseases, including the bubonic plague and HIV. However, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, it can be dangerous, and no credible studies back up these uses.
Taking colloidal silver supplements may interfere with the effectiveness of antibiotics and medication used to treat an underactive thyroid gland.
Silver can also build up in the body and turn the skin bluish-gray. This condition is called argyria and is permanent in most people.
Do you bleed when you blow your nose?
Epistaxis, or a nosebleed, is generally caused by a broken blood vessel in the nose or sinuses. Bleeding from the nose, especially when blowing it, is very common and usually not a cause for concern.
An estimated 60 percent of people experience nosebleeds but only around 6 percent of cases require medical attention.
It can be hard to determine what causes broken blood vessels in the nose. However, there are several factors that may contribute to or cause the nose to bleed when blowing it.
Blood appearing when blowing the nose may be caused by dry nasal cavities, an injury, nose picking, or blowing too hard.
Common causes of blood appearing when blowing the nose include:
* blowing the nose too hard or too frequently
* inflammation or mucosal irritation caused by infection or allergies
* very dry nasal cavities or sinuses
* prolonged inhalation of very dry or cold air
* nose picking
* antibiotic medications
* blood thinning medications, such as warfarin, aspirin, and clopidogrel
* injury to the nose or face
* environmental factors, such as humidity or being at a high altitude
* abnormalities in the septum, which is the wall that separates the nostrils
Less common causes of nosebleeds include:
* nasal, sinus, face, or eye surgery
* foreign bodies in the nose
* nasal polyps or tumors
* inflammatory conditions
* high blood pressure
* holes in the septum
* blood disorders, such as low blood platelet levels and anemia
* conditions affecting the blood vessels, such as arteriosclerosis
* leukemia, a type of blood cancer conditions affecting the immune system
* liver or kidney problems
* scurvy, or severe vitamin C deficiency
* congestive heart failure
* chronic use or overuse of certain herbal supplements, most commonly vitamin E and gingko biloba
* exposure to toxic chemicals
* use of illicit drugs, especially cocaine
Some hereditary or genetic conditions that cause abnormal bleeding can also lead to blood appearing when the nose is blown. These conditions include:
* von Willebrand disease
* hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia
* factor VIII deficiency (hemophilia A)
* factor IX deficiency (hemophilia B)
* factor XI deficiency
Gently and firmly pinching the nose may be a recommended treatment option for bleeding noses.
In most cases, a nosebleed or minor bleeding from the nose eventually stops on its own after a few minutes.
There are a few at-home remedies, however, that may encourage nosebleeds to stop earlier or reduce the amount of bleeding.
Basic treatment options for bleeding noses include:
* laying down flat with the head tilted backward to reduce blood flow to the nose
* relaxing and breathing through the mouth
* not touching or picking the nose once it has stopped bleeding
* laying down or resting in a seated position for a few hours after the bleeding has stopped
* gently but firmly pinching the nose, especially if the site of the bleeding is known
Around 90 percent of nosebleeds occur in the front bottom portion of the septum, the fleshy wall that divides the nostrils.
Prolonged or repetitive nosebleeds, or those caused by an underlying medical condition, require medical attention and treatment.
If nosebleeds are severe, a person may require more aggressive treatment to prevent extensive blood loss.
Medical treatment options include:
* nasal packing, where sterile cotton pads or dressings are packed into the nostril to limit bleeding
* topical medications to limit bleeding, known as local hemostatic agents
* topical antiseptic and antibiotic ointments and creams
* sealing a blood vessel shut using an electrical device or chemical such as silver nitrate
* surgery where the blood vessel is packed with sterile materials to block it off
* surgery where the blood vessel is tied together to seal it shut
* clotting medications
* blood transfusions
In many cases, there is no specific way to avoid nosebleeds, but there are some things that may help prevent or reduce the risk of them.
Blowing the nose gently and not picking at the skin can usually prevent minor bleeding.
Other tips for preventing bleeding when blowing the nose include:
* using over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays or pills to treat allergies
* applying over-the-counter nasal lubricants or petroleum jelly in the nostrils to prevent dryness
* using saline sprays to prevent dryness
* avoiding picking the nose, especially scabs
* avoiding blowing the nose aggressively or too frequently
* protecting the nose from cold or dry air by using a scarf
* not overusing or misusing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and antibiotics
* reducing inflammation and nasal congestion by using a nasal or sinus rinse
* avoiding exposure to toxic chemicals
* not using illicit drugs, especially cocaine
One example of a nasal rinse is a Neti pot. These are commonly available online and can be used at home.
When to see a doctor
If nosebleeds are chronic or repetitive, a healthcare professional should be consulted.
People should seek medical attention anytime a nosebleed does not stop naturally within 20 minutes. They should also seek medical attention if it does not respond to initial treatments, such as applying pressure.
Although nosebleeds tend to be harmless, severe or prolonged nosebleeds can cause serious blood loss, especially in:
* young children
* people over the age of 65
* people with immune conditions
It is also important to talk with a doctor about chronic or repetitive nosebleeds.
Chronic nosebleeds can be a sign of underlying medical conditions, such as blood or inflammatory disorders. Repetitive nosebleeds can also be a sign of nasal deformities or tumors, especially when they only involve one nostril.
People should also seek medical attention if nosebleeds are accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
* pain or tenderness around the eyes
* stuffy nose that continues to get worse and will not clear
* mucus that drips in the back of the throat
* change in the appearance of the nose or surrounding area
* pus in the nose
* chronic watery eyes
* reduced sense of smell
* change in vision
* enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
* pain or pressure in the ears
* hearing loss
* numbness in the face
* loosening, numbness, or pain in the teeth
* difficulty opening the mouth
Bleeding from the nose when blowing it is a common experience. It is usually due to inflamed or damaged nasal tissues and blood vessels, and is not a cause for concern.
Nosebleeds are generally harmless, and stop on their own or after applying gentle pressure to the area.
Severe or repetitive nosebleeds can be a sign of an underlying medical condition that may require treatment, such blood disorders or obstructions.
People should speak with a doctor about severe or repetitive nosebleeds, especially when accompanied by additional symptoms.