Article of the Month 


Possible Causes and Holistic Approaches


Infertility is a problem that is becoming increasingly frequent in our country today. Some causes may be related to hormone and stress induced imbalances.


Fertility is a function of hormones. Too low or too high a level of certain hormones, such as FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) or LH (Luteinizing Hormone) affects the process of ovulation and egg maturation. Stress, tension, and emotional imbalances affect these hormones.


Another very possible cause of infertility may be the increasing load of chemicals to which we are exposed to routinely.  


Artificial hormones, known as xeno-estrogens, are common by-products of industrial and agricultural chemicals from factories to our very own backyards and are being investigated as possible disruptors of our body’s hormonal processes. 


Our environment affects our bodies!!


On a physical level, concerning infertility, we may be dealing with the following:

  • Infections due to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, endometriosis, surgery, or IUD’s.
  • High levels of mucous in the reproductive organs resulting from a poor diet.
  • The use of birth control pills
  • High acidic vaginal PH resulting from excess sugar, alcohol, or starches.
  • Low thyroid function
  • Exposure to electric blankets, power lines, microwaves, computers, or any other source of radiation.
  • Structural problems, such as pelvic imbalances blocking blood and nerve impulses. 

Energetically, infertility may be the result of weak, watery, and Yin conditions, resulting in a deep exhaustion of the reproductive system.


What can we do to improve our fertility?

  • Pay attention to our lifestyles, reduce stress, resolve emotional conflicts.
  • Get Polarity bodywork which can deal with structural problems, balance the nervous system, and energetically balance the reproductive system by restoring some of the Yang expansive fire energy the body needs to carry the process of fertility through full cycles.
  • Improve our diets by eating warming foods such as grains and foods that nourish the nervous system (vegetables, lots of greens, seeds, nuts, and essential fatty acid foods like salmon and flax seed oil).
  • Pay attention to our natural rhythms- sleeping, working, exercising, and playing. Balance is the key!
  • Use herbal teas and tinctures as part of a daily routine.

Herbal Tonics and Teas


Oatstraw herb, Skullcap, Passion Flower, and Chamomile make a wonderful nerve soothing tea. Mix equal parts, 1 tablespoon of mixture per cup of water. Pour boiling water over herbs, let stand for 30 minutes. Strain and drink 2-3 cups per day. 


Fertility Tonic (from Herbal Healing for Women by Rosemary Gladstar)

  • 4 parts Rehmania  
  • 1 part DongQuai root
  • 3 parts Wild Yam root
  • 1 part Vitex berries
  • 2 parts False Unicorn root,  
  • 1 part Astragalus root.


*Motherwort and Sarsaparilla are good uterine tonics.

*Siberian Ginseng tincture nourishes the newvous system.

*Garlic, Echinacea, and Golden Seal fight infection.


Charoula Dontopoulos, BCPP, Certified Herbalist


Reference: Herbal Healing for Women by R Gladstar

Herbal Remedies for Women by Amanda McQuade Crawford

Healthy Tidbits

 Students Beware:   Want Better Grades Get More Sleep!


Sleepy students perform worse

by L. Neergaard AP Medical Writer.


 If parents want their children to thrive academically,  “Getting them to sleep on time is as important as getting them to school on time,” said G. Fallone who conducted the research at Brown Medical School.


Difficulty paying attention, according to the study, was among the problems the sleepy students face. Students who got less than eight hours of sleep a night were more forgetful and had the most trouble learning new lessons.


Recommended amounts of sleep range from about 10 to 11 hours a night for elementary students to 8.5 hours for teens.  The study was funded by the National Institute of Health.


Hints To Improve Sleep Time
  1. Cut down on evening activities maybe that 7:30 PM piano practice isn’t worth the sleep loss.
  2. Get homework done before dinner.
  3. Start winding down 45 minutes before bed.
  4. Drink Chamomile Tea, one hour before bed.
  5. Sugar stimulates!! Cut sugar out at dinners, and evenings.
  6. Remove TV’s, computers, and video games from the bedroom.
  7. Keep the room as dark as possible (turn off night light after they fall asleep).
  8. Teach your children deep, slow breathing.

These hints may seem impossible but our children nowadays are doing entirely too much and the sleep deprivation is a major problem in their lives.

Reference: Mary Jo Ruggieri, PhD, RPP


Meditation Positively Alters Brain Patterns and May Slow Age-Related Thinning of the Frontal Cortex.

Research by Sara Langar at Massachusetts General Hospital reported in the November issue of the Journal Neuro Report suggested that basically meditation could change anyone’s gray matter in a positive way. The study researched people who meditated 40 minutes each day.

Most of the brain regions identified to be changed through meditation were found in the right hemisphere, which is essential for sustaining attention. Other forms of Yoga and meditation, according to the study, likely have a similar impact on brain structure.


*Meditation is a simple system. You do not have to be a Monk to learn how to do it effectively.

Tips to Easy Meditation:
  1. Start slowly 3-5 minutes per day.
  2. Always begin with sitting in a quiet place, and begin deep breathing in and out of the nose.
  3. Every time you breathe in and breathe out mentally say to yourself the words “I am, I am.”
  4. Using your breath and using words to focus on will quickly allow you to tap into the skills of meditating.

 Holistic Health Research I   


Fish Oil for Plantar Fasciitis

I was recently reminded of the anti-inflammatory benefits of Omega 3’s after a friend of mine took them in the form of fish oil to finally calm a severe case of plantar fasciitis which had dragged on for years.

She’s currently pain free, which is a significant improvement. Details can be found in an article by Mario Roxas, ND which is well cited and researched –

Plantar Fasciitis: Diagnostic and Therapeutic Considerations

He recommends a fairly large therapeutic dose, between 2-3g daily over a period of months so it’s important to discuss with a health care professional due to potential blood thinning effects.

The studies I’ve been able to find speak specifically to fish oil, so it’s possible that other sources of omega 3’s may not be as effective for plantar fasciitis specifically or they just haven’t been studied.

Dr. Robert Kornfeld, Founder of the Institute for Integrative Podiatric Medicine has also written an excellent overview entitled:
Conditions such as plantar fasciitis are often described as “self limiting”. When they don’t resolve, if it’s appropriate, turning to fish oil may provide additional support for the healing process.
Heidi Beke-Harrigan, BCPP, RPP 

Essential Herbs


In the past few months, I have noticed that often, after meals, I suffer from indigestion, which can even become painful. I keep my current diet pretty healthy, mostly vegetables, a little chicken or turkey, fruit. Why is this happening and what should I do about it?

Often it isn’t what we currently, but rather what our eating patterns were in the past. If you just recently switched to a healthier diet, this may be a disorder, which developed over the years and is now making itself evident. On the other hand, if you have always eaten well, it may be one of three things:
  1. Your stomach is not manufacturing enough enzymes to break foods down. This is a common condition as we age, and it can even occur in younger adults
  2. There is not enough hydrochloric acid, manufactured by cells in the stomach, to activate the enzymes necessary for digestion.
  3. There is too much acidity but not enough mucus to counteract it and protect the stomach lining. (Try apple cider vinegar or lemon juice when you are experiencing pain.)

Helpful Supplements and Herbs

An enzyme supplement that would include Pancreatic enzyme is probably the most helpful. In the enzyme section of your health foods store, there are several brands. Find one that shows a complete profile of enzymes and take as directed on the label with each meal.

Turmeric (Curcumin) and Bromelain are anti-inflammatories, and will also reduce this condition.

Soothing Herbs That Provide a Protective Coat For The Stomach Lining
  • Slippery Elm bark
  • Marshmallow Root
  • Ginger Root,
  • Licorice Root

Licorice also has a mild natural cortisone effect that fights inflammation.

As this condition is often the result of tension and stress, a nice soothing tea of American Skullcap leaves, Hops and Chamomile flowers, taken two to three times a day, will soothe the nervous system.

It is preferable you take these herbs as teas. For all barks and roots, make a decoction, all flowers and leaves make an infusion.

Polari-Tea and Happy Belly Tea are also good digestive aids.

Above all, watch your diet, do yoga for the stress, get some bodywork, especially Polarity Therapy or Reiki.

Hope this is of help.

Charoula, herbalist



Learn About Every Holistic Health Modality A-Z

Holistic Health Glossary



Sanskrit term denoting one of seven major energy centers situated along the spine, plus scores of minor centers throughout the body. These correspond roughly to the nerve junctions (“little brains”) where nerves from every part of the body join the spinal cord. Many Indian and Chinese modalities, especially acupuncture, focus on re-establishing the free flow of energy throughout the chakras.


Chinese word meaning energy or universal life force.


Chinese exercises of gentle movement, both internal and external, which directly activate and guide chi throughout the body. Promotes self-healing and strengthens the immune system, releases tension and stimulates vitality.


(referred to also as colon irrigation or a colonic) is a soothing process of removing toxins and debris that limit your energy and keep you from vibrant health and well-being. A small amount of warm, purified water flows into the colon, gently stimulating the natural peristaltic action to release softened waste. This procedure results in better elimination, creating a more favorable environment for good flora, and providing the whole body with a clean water supply (for the colon is the entire body’s reservoir). Enhanced immune function, increased vitality, a clearer mind, and a more positive outlook are frequently reported benefits.


is a manual therapy that addresses distortions in the structures of the spine, skill, sacrum and associated connective tissue. It is most often employed by physical therapists and chiropractors to treat pain, stress, and limitations of movement. Craniosacral Therapy combines ancient healing arts with traditional cranial osteopathy. You lie on a massage table in your own clothes; you feel the warm, healing energy from the therapist’s hands as you let go of long-standing tension in your neck, shoulders, arms, torso, legs, feet, and the delicate areas of your face, cranium and spine.


is a subtle technique that works within the Cranial System of the body, which includes the bones of the cranium (skull) and the spine, the tissues surrounding and including the brain, the spinal column, and the cerebrospinal fluid that circulates within the entire system. Similar to CranioSacral Therapy in form and technique, Cranial Balancing differs in that its focus is on the “Energy” of the system and the flow of the Cerebrospinal fluid. Deep states of relaxation are possible through this gentle and non-invasive work.

*Compiled by the Art of Well Being. Institute of Holistic Health Careers


Holistic Health Now


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On her weekly program Holistic Health Now, Mary Jo will ex-plore the benefits of all forms of alternative and complementary medicine. Her outstanding background, education and expertise in the medical field gives her a credibility that is second-to-none.

Her Institute of Holistic Health Careers keeps her in touch with the key speakers, experts and practitioners who will share their wisdom with the viewers.

Learn what Craniosacral Therapy, Polarity Therapy, Reflexology, Feldenkrais Method and much more on HOLISTIC HEALTH NOW. Each week Dr. Mary Jo Ruggieri will bring an informa-tive, and perhaps, life changing program to the Telos Digital Television Network.

Telos Digital Television Network is a Multicast: It brings the Telos Alternative Health Channel and Telos Mind Body Spirit TV into one blended channel.

Telos Digital TV is the portal to news, programming, movies, commentaries and more, all centered around Alternative Health and Mind Body and Spirit Lifestyles. Our viewers benefit from better Health and Lifestyle choices!

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Ask Charoula about Herbs