Stressed Out

Life’s mental grind could have serious side effects

by Mary Jo Ruggieri, PhD, RPP

One of the foundations for holistic health care is in truly understanding the effects of stress in our lives no matter how many vitamins and herbal remedies we take, no matter how many miles we jog, and no matter how many fruits and vegetables we eat, stress is the first and foremost detriment to our health, a silent threat to us all.

Stress-related diseases have reached epidemic proportions in our culture. According to he American Psychological Association, stress alone causes each American worker to miss an average of 16 days on the job every year. Ken Pelletier, in his research on stress as a serious health hazard, feels that the leading cause of mortality has shifted from the infectious illnesses that were prevalent at the beginning of the 20th century to the stress-induced illnesses of the 21st century. These chronic and lifestyle-related illnesses now account for the majority of recorded deaths.

Stress disorders are based upon a slow accumulation of psychological and physical intensity throughout one’s entire life. Nobody can claim immunity.

The most negative result of excessive stress is the effect it has on a person’s immune system. Stress is now being implicated in the pathogenesis of cancer and other dysfunctions related to auto-immune diseases, such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and asthma. The primary reason for the high correlation between many diseases and stress is simple: our bodies’ protective systems – which can fight off invasion from irregular and abnormal cancer cells, simple bacterias and many viruses – are so compromised, they simply fail to do the job.

Take, for example, your automobile. Every 3,000 miles you change the oil and oil filters, every 15,000 miles you put in new points and plugs. If you don’t, the systems start to fail, dirty oil stresses the mechanical operations, sluggish points cause the fuel not to burn adequately and will stress the engine. You compromise the efficiency of your car by not keeping all the systems stress-free.

Unfortunately, we relate to our cars better then we relate to our bodies! Is there a message here?

The effects of stress are physical. The voluntary nervous system sends messages to your muscles to get ready for a fight. In response to this immediate tension, the autonomic nervous system, which maintains involuntary body function, will prepare you for this fight by sending extra blood to your muscles. Your digestion will immediately slow down along with your mental sharpness and may organ functions. There are also hormonal changes that occur under stress and will produce hypersensitive effects on the body. In essence, your body becomes a walking war machine preparing for attack while shutting down many other vital organ functions. How much stress each person can handle depends upon her ability to cope with the physical, mental and emotional changes that occur with stressful situations. Stress is seriously linked to specific illnesses, as research now demonstrates. The truth of the matter is simply that nobody really functions well for long in overload mode. The body becomes insensitive to the effects of overloading and cannot handle it without some serious side effects.

I believe that, even with all of our medical advances and technological superiority, we have not realistically dealt with the serious effects of stress. We have identified stress as a very important component in many illnesses and diseases but we have yet to call it what it truly represents-a disease itself.

If we were addressing the problem, things would look different. First, money for research would be appropriated for prevention, for mind/body and holistic research, and for identifying the specific stresses related to each disease, prior to it manifesting on a physical level. By the time it can be seen on a mammogram, a bone scan, or chest x-ray, it has already become dangerous. Medicine in the future will have to move towards identifying problems much earlier.

Second, our educational institutions would look different. We would be working daily to teach our children to meditate, to integrate stress reduction activities into their lives such as tai chi, yoga, chi qigong, and relaxation exercises. There is a conscious thought in holistic healthcare that we are ill because we are never still. To teach our children early in life to recognize and deal with all levels of stress would be true gift.

Third, our workplace environments would look different. Short lunches, intense schedules, addictions to the 60-hour work week, and little if any down time within our actual work day are now normal. A powerful tool for any work center would be to include specific stress controls within the actual work day. Twice a month offer a 15 minute on-site chair bodywork sessions. Include a relaxation room with music for breaks or at 3 p.m. daily, everyone should stop and do 10 minutes of deep conscious breathing. Have vitamin C, ginger root, or Echinacea drinks instead of soft drinks in the vending machines.

Let’s start looking into the many alternative healthcare choices and steps to take that will be effective in recognizing and reducing the stress in your life. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Every step counts and awareness is a giant leap to understanding how we can heal ourselves

May the longtime sun shine upon you.

Mary Jo Ruggieri, PhD, RPP, is the Director of the Ohio Institute of Energetic Studies (Cleveland and Columbus Polarity Schools), which is a state registered school for Polarity Therapy training and Energy Science studies. or (614) 299-9438

Healthy Tidbits


Wheatgrass: A Potent and Powerful Healer

Dr. Ann Wigmore brought wheatgrass into the 21st century. She discovered the incredible healing properties of wheatgrass during her years of research and countless hours of perfecting her science. Below are some excerpts from her book, The Wheatgrass Book. Dr. Wigmore has been helping people get well from chronic disorders for 30 years using wheatgrass.

17 amino acids found in wheatgrass…

Chlorophyll is most important compound in wheatgrass juice…

The vital aspect of chlorophyll is its role in converting the sun’s energy into a form that plants, animals and people can use. Chlorophyll is a sort of living battery. Plants get their energy from the sun, whereas animals and humans cannot. It is important to juice the grass right after it is cut and drink it within 30 minutes of being squeezed.

Increases red blood cell count, lowers blood pressure…

It cleanses the blood, organs, and gastrointestinal tract of debris. It stimulates metabolism and bodily enzymes in enriching the blood by increasing red blood cell count, and in dilating the blood pathways throughout the body reducing blood pressure.

Stimulates the thyroid, correcting obesity, indegistion, etc…

The thyroid gland is also stimulated and normalized by the use of wheatgrass juice – an important step toward the correction of obesity and indigestion.

Restores alkalinity to the blood…

Wheatgrass has an alkalizing effect on the blood, its abundance of alkaline minerals helps reduce overacidity in the blood. It can be used to relieve many internal pains. It has been used successfully to treat peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, constipation, diarrhea, and other complaints of the gastrointestinal tract.

How to drink it…

Ann Wigmore suggests drinking wheatgrass juice in small amounts throughout the course of the day, always on an empty or nearly empty stomach. In general, two to four ounces everyday or every other day is sufficient. Slowly sipping small quantities of the juice gives your body an opportunity to get used to its taste and effect. Taking one- to two-ounce drinks straight or mixed with other juices (fruit & vegetable) and sipping slowly, will help prevent nausea or stomach upset. On a healing regimen, Ann suggests you drink one or two ounces up to 3 or 4 times per day. And to take one day of rest.

Reference: Hippocrates Health Institute

Meditation Reduces Blood Pressure

According to the archives of Internal Medicine, 2006, 166:1218-24, patients who used the mantra-based transcendental meditation dramatically reduced their blood pressure. The results of this study suggest a strong link between the mind and especially stress and metabolic processing, which includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol and insulin resistance.

Reference: What Doctors Won’t Tell You

*Time to start taking 15 minutes per day for deep breathing and slow meditation. See our mind, body, spirit section of this newsletter.

Baking Soda: Miracle in Your Refrigerator

Baking soda, contains sodium bicarbonate (high alkaline). Mix it with water and drink it-viola!

Many studies have shown that baking soda reduced uric acid crystals which is a major cause of joint pain.

Try 1/2 teaspoon first in some water (drink before bed) then go to 1 teaspoon. If you do not feel anything, add more but if some diarrhea occurs, reduce amount.

Remember stress increases acid in your body. Acid is the major culprit for joint and muscle pain.

Reference: Mary Jo Ruggieri, PhD, RPP

Garlic: The True Friend

Can you believe garlic can:

  • Regulate blood pressure
  • Improve immune functions
  • Thin blood (naturally) to prevent strokes
  • Lower fats in the blood to prevent heart disease

Hippocrates, father of modern medicine, used garlic as a common healer for infection and pain. According to Patrick Quillin, though garlic has been used for at least 4,000 years as a primary healing agent, only recently have skeptics dropped their sarcasm as over 2,000 scientific research articles now point toward the near-miraculous healing powers of this humble little vegetable.

How to Garlic Yourself

  1. If you do not like the smell that lingers, get Kyolic tablets, which consist of aged deodorized garlic.
  2. Fresh cooked cloves: Bake cloves in a ceramic dish with olive oil. Do not peel-it will taste great!
  3. Make a syrup: Put 8 oz. of crushed garlic in a jar. Fill with equal parts of apple cider vinegar and distilled water. Let stand for 4 days. For colds or infections, take 1 teaspoon 3 times per day with meals.
  4. Inhalant: Take minced garlic and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Add this to 1 pint of boiling water. Inhale the mist (be careful not to get too close to the steam).

Garlic can also be used externally as a poultice, an insecticide in your garden, and an insect repellent.

Reference: Amazing Honey, Garlic & Vinegar, Patrick Quillin, PhD, RD, CNS; 1996 Leader Co. Inc.

Bodywork: Immediately Reduces Stress

Polarity Therapy , massage, foot reflexology, acupressure, and any form of good bodywork will reduce stress, relieve pain, and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline. Endorphins are induced during bodywork which decreases anxiety.

Bodywork stimulates blood circulation and improves oxygen and nutrients to body tissues. It also helps improve lymphatic circulation which flushes away waste products.

“Bodywork is a nearly perfect therapy because it taps into the body’s natural ability to heal itself, often eliminating the need for medication.”


The Art of Steaming Vegetables

  • Steam the hardest vegetables first.
  • Veggies retain more flavor and nutrition if steamed whole. The more you cut them, the faster they deteriorate.
  • Place veggies in a steamer. Put lid on.
  • Start water on high, then turn down to very low when water boils.
  • Near the very end, turn off the heat since veggies will continue to steam in the pot. This conserves energy.
  • You shouldn’t add water to the steaming pot.

Root Vegetable Salad

  1. Steam (see tips above)
  • unpeeled red potatoes
  • beets
  • carrots
  1. Prepare curried honey lemon dressing:
  • cold pressed olive oil
  • garlic minced
  • honey
  • lemon juice, fresh
  1. Cut vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Pour dressing over root vegetables & stir lightly. Serve.

Cooked root vegetables are good for the diet of flighty people, and perfect for women in menopause. A root vegetable salad is even better the day after!

Reference: Charoula, Herbalist

Mind, Body, Spirit

Let’s Meditate

This section of our newsletter “Mind, Body, Spirit” will focus on a meditation or visualization per month. It is intended to give the reader a choice of meditation techniques to help with stress reduction and disease prevention. Please try these meditations daily to see how they work for you. Always start with some controlled breathing. Please remember how healing it is to meditate. For more information on meditation and visualization classes email Mary Jo Ruggieri

May Meditation: The 4/4 Breath for Energy

What It Will Do For You

It will help you combat the encroachment of fatigue and emotion. It will relax and energize you. It can rejuvenate coordination and spirit, and help you avoid possible painful injury.

How To Do It

To do this, sit straight in a chair or cross-legged on a flat surface. Place the palms together at the center of the chest with the fingers pointing up. Focus at the brow point with eyelids lightly closed. As you inhale, break the breath into 4 equal parts (like sniffs). As you exhale, break the breath equally in 4 parts. On each part of the inhale and exhale, pull the navel point in slightly. One full breath cycle (in and out) takes about 7-8 seconds. Continue powerfully for 3 minutes. (If your mind has a lot of anxiety or confusion, add to the breath mentally the mantra SA-TA-NA-MA on the both the inhale and the exhale.) Then, inhale deeply and press the palms together with moderate force for 10-15 seconds. Exhale and relax.

If you need rest for the body, immediately lie on your back with eyes closed and let each area relax for 2 more minutes. Take a few deep breaths, stretch, and you will be ready for action.

(Do not drive immediately after this meditation.)

Reference: Survival kit, Meditations and Exercise for Stress and Pressure of the Times by Yogi Bhajan, complied by S.S. Vekram Kaur Khalsa, edited by Mary Jo Ruggieri, (Hari Kaur)

Essential Herbs: All herbs are not the same

Ask Charoula

Ways in which herbs work:.

We have Tonics, which are Long Term use herbs, Short Term use herbs, and Specifics, which can be long, medium or short term use and are used specifically for certain conditions at certain times.

Short Term – for acute conditions — immediate effect:

Echinacea, Golden Seal — colds
Lobelia — Asthma, Digestive
Ephedra — Asthma
Boneset, Yarrow — colds/fevers
Uva Ursi — UTI
Cleavers — Diuretic, for edemas, congestive heart failure, water retention
Marshmallow, Slippery Elm — IBS, Ulcers

Some short term herbs are mild and safe (Marshmallow, Slippery Elm), some are quite potent (Echinacea, Golden Seal, Boneset, Yarrow, Uva Ursi, Cleavers), and some are very potent and require a good bit of knowledge and experience to use.

Long Term — for chronic conditions — known as Tonics.

Tonics can be used over long periods of time, indefinitely. Very sare, gentle, very effective. Prevention oriented. Build up immune system. Highly nutritious and restorative. Treat entire body because many systems may be affected and tonics act on many systems at once. Shift underlying biological processes so that the body can heal itself.

Astragalus, Reishi, Siberian Ginseng, Ashwaganda, Turmeric — EndocrineSystem/Adrenals
Skullcap, Chamomile, Oatstraw, Lemon Balm — Nervous System
Red Raspberry, Vitex, Wild Yam — Female Reproductive
Saw Palmetto, Pumpkin Seeds — Male Reproductive
Hawthorne, Motherwort — Cardiovascular
Milk Thistle, Alfalfa — Liver
Fennel, Oregano, Dill, Chamomile — Digestive
Feverfew — Headaches
Mullein, Red Clover — Respiratory

Specifics for when the occasion arises. Short/medium/long term.

Aches and Pains: Black Cohosh, White Willow, Meadowsweet, Devil’s Claw
Liver Cleansers/Detoxers: Yellow Dock Root, Dandelion Root, Burdock Root, Oregon Grape, Chapparal Stomach Ulcers, Acid Reflux, Indigestion: Chamomile, Licorice, Ginger, Peppermint, Marshmallow
Fever: Boneset, Yarrow, Elderberry
Stress: Ginseng
Anxiety, Sleeplessness: Valerian, Passion Flower, Hops
Hormonal Balancers: Black Cohosh, Dong Quai
Pneumonia, Pleurisy, Lung Congestion: Elecampane, Eucalyptus, Pleurisy
Asthma: Chinese Skullcap, Ephedra

Plants have many different qualities and can respond to many different situations.

Eg. Black Cohosh is an antispasmodic, but also a phytoestrogen.
Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory but also a sedative.
Valerian is a muscle relaxant and a sedative.
Dong Quai is a phytoestrogen and a blood tonic.
Golden Seal is antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, and astringent.

On the other hand, some herbs respond differently to different needs of the body. The body knows to choose which of the plant ingredients it needs to heal itself. The body is intelligent.

Some plants can both lower and raise blood pressure — Ginseng, Garlic
OR blood sugar — Licorice
Some can stimulate or relax — Loelia

The Five Main Benefits of Herbs

  1. Normalize Body Function

Normalize and tone the Endocrine Glands, which direct all functions in the body, especially Adrenals.

Astragalus, Reishi, Ashwaganda, Siberian Ginseng, Licorice, Borage.

  1. Raise the Energy level of the body in order to maintain good health.

Relieve stress, thereby releasing energy in the Nervous System, a fundamental condition for the healthy functioning of the whole system.

Ginseng, Oats, Licorice, Schizandra Dong Quai. Also, hot spices, Cayenne.

  1. Stimulate the Immune System

Build up the Immune System in order to help it fight disease.

Echinacea, Pau D’Arco, Garlic, Reishi, Turmeric, Osha. Ginger.

  1. They are highly nutritional.

Nettles, Alfalfa, Mullein, Chickweed, Oatstraw, Horsetail, Chamomile.

  1. They detox and cleanse.

Dandelion Root and Greens, Cleavers, Goldenseal, Yellow Dock Root, Bitter Melon

All bitter Greens (endive, arugula, kale, mustard)

– Charoula, Herbalist



 Health Quotes Of The Day

“Here’s the problem. Most people are thinking about what they don’t want, and they’re wondering why is shows up over and over again.”
— John Assaraf, “The Secret”

Elemental Foods: The Air Element

Avocado-Lime Bread

In Polarity Therapy: This recipe contains many air element foods.
This bread is similar to banana nut or zucchini bread. It is a beautiful lime green color when sliced. Everyone enjoyed this, even the kids and my dad.
Hope you like it too! -Krista

1/4 cup softened butter
1 ripe avocado (about 1 cup)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp lime zest
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup pistachios, optional

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lime juice

  • In a food processor, grind the pistachios. Dump into a medium bowl.
  • In the food processor (no need to wash it) put the avocado in and puree.
  • Add the butter and combine.
  • Add the lime juice and zest, and blend until smooth.
  • Pour it into the bowl with the pistachios.
  • Add in the sugar and beat well.
  • Stir in the eggs and milk.
  • Combine dry ingredients and stir into the batter.
  • Grease a loaf pan, then spoon in the batter.
  • Bake at 350 for 50-70 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the syrup, bring sugar and lime juice to a boil for 5 minutes.
When the loaf is done, take it out of the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Take it out of the pan, place on a wire rack, and poke small holes into it.
Pour syrup over it and allow to cool completely.
Wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator.

I like it hot out of the oven. The leftovers, I slice and toast lightly. No need for butter or jam, unless you want to! I had some leftover syrup, so I made myself a glass of limeade.

*Replace the milk with 1/2 cup yogurt (plain, vanilla, key lime, etc), if using a flavored yogurt, reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup.
*Use key limes.
*For Vegans: I would substitute 8 oz cup soy yogurt for the milk, omit the butter and eggs. Then reduce the flour to 1 1/2 cups.

– Krista LaFay, Associate Polarity Practitioner

Health Freedom Comes to Ohio

Hello Members of the Ohio Health Freedom Coalition:

My name is Carrie Haughawout (pronounced How-out) and I am going to be helping to coordinate the activities of the Ohio Health Freedom Coalition. I’d like to take a minute to tell you a little about myself. Just prior to accepting this position, I was employed by the Ohio House of Representatives for six years- the last three years I worked for the speaker of the House. I am confident that my experience with the Ohio Legislature will be helpful as we continue to try to get the law in Ohio changed.

We are working on getting a new bill drafted for introduction in the Ohio Legislature in the next couple of months and also contacting a few key members that have been supportive of our cause in the past to become the primary sponsor of our bill since Rep. Reidelbach is no longer in the Ohio House.

In the mean time, we’d like to work on building our membership. Ideally it would be great to have one person designated as a chair in every single Ohio Senate district. This person would be a point person for all information regarding Ohio Health Freedom and help us become a stronger organization by soliciting new members and coordinating letter writing to legislators. If you are interested please let me know.

We also have a new address and phone number. Our new address is Health Freedom Coalition of Ohio 510 E. Wilson Bridge Road, Suite F, Worthington, OH 43085. Our phone number is (614) 888-7351. The email is still the same, but those emails will come to me and will be monitored daily.

Last, we will be doing some work on the website so please bear with us as we update the website- but also don’t forget to check it for new information!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call or email. We’ll be in touch soon.

Best Regards,


Protect your rights as a consumer to choose the type of healthcare you want. For more information please visit our website at, call 614-841-7700, or email

Oregano: Wild Wonder Drug

Extensive research published in the three-volume French work, Trailé de Phytothérapie el d’Aromathérapie (Treastise on Phytotherapy and Aromatherapy) outline the antimicrobial qualities of essential oils in the treatment against specific infectious microorganisms. Oregano essential oil was found to be among the most effective of iouls tested, particularly against Proteus, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Pnuemonoccus, and Neisseria strains, as well as Corynebacterium xerosa (diptheria).1

The essential oil of oregano contains a phenolic compound called carvacrol, which provides the oil with strong antibacterial and antifungal properties.2,3 Carvacol has also been shown to act as a fungitoxic agent in vitro against Cryptococcus neolormans-an AIDs -related opportunistic infection.4

Oregano oil is recommended for the treatment of acute bacterial infections, primarily of the gastrointestinal tract and bronchi. Due to its stimulating qualities, inhalation of oregano oil may provide relief for individuals who have developed a more or less chronic case of asthma, combied with bronchitis.1

Oregano essential oil also contains the chemical paracymene, which possesses analgesic properties that are especially beneficial for treating osteoarthritic pain.2,5

Massaging oregano oil in the soles of the feet is typically a well-tolerated and very effective method of using this essential oil-oils used in the fashion reach the lower bronchial capillaries and via the heart-lung circulatory system, the entire body, without being absorbed into the liver as with oral administration.1

Caution should be exercised when using oregano oil, as topical application can cause skin irritation.1,3 Furthermore, long-term use of oregano oil is not advised, as if may negatively alter liver metabolism.1

Special care should also be taken to ensure that all essential oils are kept out of the reach of children. For example, a lethal dose of oregano oil for a three-year-old child is 19 ml. (taken orally).5

Reference: The Herb Store, (330) 764-4442

  1. Shnaulbelt PhD.K. Advanced Aromatherapy. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1995.
  2. Chevallier, A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. NY, NY:Dorling Kindersley, 1996.
  3. Lawless, J. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1992.
  4. Viollon, C. and Chaurmant, J.P. “Antifungal properties of essential oils and their main components upon Cryptococcus neafonnans.” Mycopathologia: 1994, 128(3):151-153.
  5. Buckle RGN, J. Clinical Aromatherapy in Nursing. San Diego, CA: Singular Publish., 1997

    Disclaimer: The information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat illness or prescribe any type of medication or treatment. For medical needs, consult your Medical Doctor, Dietitian, or Mental Health Practitioner.