Welcome to Our Healing Roots, a blog exploring natural medicine that returns us to the roots of health and wellbeing. Our Healing Roots, LLC, is a private natural healthcare practice and experiential learning center that advocates the safe use of integrated, natural medicine. Many healing ways have gone by the wayside with the advent of conventional medicine. While it is important to receive professional medical advice for serious conditions, there are many things we can do at home to prevent disease and maintain our health. The Latin word for doctor is docere, which means to be a teacher. Our Healing Roots wholehearted embraces the importance of teaching in healthcare, so that people feel empowered about their health and wellbeing. More information about this business can be found at www.ourhealingroots.net.

Friday, August 30, 2013

In awe...

It has been a busy morning of making yogurt, studying cancer research abstracts, and finishing my class in programmed cell death. I'll have a fun yogurt post coming soon, but this afternoon I am simply in a state of awe.

Molecular science, genetics, and cell biology are so beautifully complex. Just when we think we all have it figured out, another unresolved layer and set of questions appear. I believe it is the complexity that has me awe-struck.
What is responsible for it, but a wisdom and intelligence so beyond me. I like the mystery--the aspect of knowing some but not knowing it all.

My class on programmed cell death/apoptosis challenged me! It is a rich history of scientific discovery, and it is similar to working a hard logic puzzle. In the span of my lifetime, researchers went from knowing very little about how cells die to a wealth of information about the process. A new wave of cancer therapies have and are being developed based on this emerging field. I personally took this class so I could better understand the biological pathways involved in cancer. This has helped me to interpret scientific research about natural medicines/herbs/spices and how they interact with these biological pathways to prevent and reverse disease.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been putting together a couple of presentation proposals about integrative/natural therapy for lymphoma. This is where the rubber hits the road. My studies have been illuminating possible natural therapies for cancer patients. Many of these natural therapies have the potential to prevent disease and to increase the effectiveness of conventional cancer care.

Sometimes when I am waist deep in abstracts and papers, my head just begins to spin. This brings us back to the issue of complexity, wonder and awe. I look out into my herb garden, full of plants capable of healing and preventing disease. It's amazing how full this garden and my body are full of innate healing intelligence. I can eat from my garden and the innate intelligence of the plant interacts with my innate healing intelligence. It is amazing and I bow to it all...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Making Hoarhound Capsules

Yesterday, I made hoarhound capsules. Why "hoarhound" instead of "horehound"?  According to Matthew Wood, this plant was named because it has the appearance of a "hoar" frost on its leaves.

Merry Schepers first taught me about using hoarhound capsules for chronic allergies. According to Eclectic literature, hoarhound is specific for a state of dampness/mucus. Fresh or adhesive mucus, it will help get it out. 

I grow a thick patch of hoarhound in the front yard. It is a member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family, so it does have a tendency to take over given a chance. Yesterday, I cut hoarhound from the garden, rinsed it, and placed it in the dehydrator. This will be used to make my next batch of capsules.

Next, I got some empty capsules and filled them with the aerial parts of dried hoarhound. I like to use a chopstick to help pack the capsules full. Then, I put both parts of the capsule together to close it. Merry taught me that I don't have to powder the herbs, and I believe they are really attractive that way. Powdered, I can get more in the capsules however. I use a dedicated coffee grinder to powder the hoarhound. Yesterday, I made my capsules both ways--powdered and unpowdered. You can see the results below. Finally, my capsules were placed in a decorative jar and labeled.

The process can be a bit labor intensive, but I really enjoy making my own herbal capsules. There is also a capsule machine that can make the process faster, but those are getting harder to find.

I do not sell these capsules; they are for personal use only. Do bear in mind that selling homemade herbal medicines requires that you abide by a set of federal regulations.

If you would like the opportunity to make hoarhound capsules with me and other autumn herbal preparations, I will be hosting a class on September 17th from 1-5 p.m. To sign up, you can call or e-mail me at 918-813-1874 or office@ourhealingroots.net.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Preserving the Harvest Handout Online

If you wanted to join us for the Monthly Naturopathic Gathering at the 306 Phoenix House on Sunday but didn't get the opportunity, then you still have a chance to download the handout. The handout is full of great canning resources, a couple of recipes and health information. To download your own copy, please visit my website www.ourhealingroots.net and look under "Classes and Upcoming Events."

We have two upcoming classes in September...

Saturday, September 7th, (11-5)--Canning and Preserving, $50.00
This class will be participant's choice of jam, pickles, or pressure canning.This is a hands-on class and all materials are provided.

Saturday, September 21st (1-5 p.m.)--Autumn Herbal Medicine Making Class, $40.00 
We will be making an immune tonic, allergy capsules, an herbal foot bath, and an herbal hand sanitizer. This is also a hands-on class and all materials are provided.

To register for these classes, please call Our Healing Roots, LLC at 918-813-1874 or e-mail us at office@ourhealingroots.net.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Naturopathic Gathering on Sunday Afternoon

"Pssst....did you hear? There's going to be a free naturopathic gathering this Sunday."

        "A natur-o-what?"

"Naturopathic...we're gathering to talk about natural health and how preserve the summer harvest. Katrina Bogdon, ND will be discussing the different methods of food preservation, sharing recipes and resources, and demonstrating how to dry and freeze food. She'll even explain what 'naturopathic' means."

       "Where and when is this happening?"

"2:00 p.m. on Sunday at the 306 Phoenix House near downtown Tulsa. You can visit the 'Our Healing Roots, LLC' Facebook Events page or www.ourhealingroots.net for more information."

      "Excellent! What a great opportunity to see the 306   
       Phoenix House, too. There was an article about 306 in
       the Tulsa People magazine this month. That place is up
       and coming; I love what they're doing to build
       a sense of community in Tulsa. I'll see you on Sunday."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


For the past six weeks, I have had the pleasure of learning from a professor in Germany through Coursera (www.coursera.com), a free online university. In my course, I have been studying programmed cell death, also known as "apoptosis." 

It sounds somewhat ominous studying cell death, but it is a process absolutely critical to our health. When apoptosis doesn't function properly, we can become very sick. Cancer cells, for example, fail to undergo apoptosis when they otherwise should have died.

In today's post, I am sharing a YouTube video from class that shows how apoptosis works. Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Penzeys: A Great Source for Spices

Certain catalogs can be extraordinary in the education they provide to the point of being reference materials in and of themselves. When it comes to spice catalogs, I love the Penzeys Spices' catalog. It is filled with descriptions of each spice, uplifting stories about community, and recipes describing how to use the spices. Simply getting the catalog itself can be a joy.

If you are needing to buy some spices, opening a package from Penzeys can be a true sensual delight! The colors and aromas are fresh and vibrant. Their cinnamon smells sweet. The smoked paprika smelled so good that I almost passed out smelling it! It's not uncommon to also find a little freebie in your order, too.

If you are used to buying generic bottles of spices in a regular grocery store, then I challenge you to treat yourself to a package of fresh, high quality spices. I find the difference is vast and its a nice, little luxury to which to treat yourself.

A free catalog from Penzeys Spices can be found at http://www.penzeys.com/.  May you have a spicy, good time!    

Friday, August 16, 2013

Stocking a Spice Cabinet

I never cease to be amazed by the emerging scientific evidence that spices are an important part of disease prevention. Spices make up an important part of my nutritional recommendations.

As I packed for college, I remember packing my own precious box of spices. It was the first time I stocked my own spice cabinet. Selecting spices for your cabinet can be a very personal choice depending on the recipes you like to make. It often forms somewhat haphazardly as you need an ingredient for this recipe or that.  If you don't have a spice cabinet or are going off on your own for the first time, here's a recommended list of spices to get started.

* Basil
* Bay Leaf
* Cinnamon
* Coriander
* Fennel Seed
* Garlic
* Ginger
* Nutmeg
* Parsley
* Pepper
* Rosemary
* Sage
* Thyme
* Turmeric
* Vanilla

Together, these spices/dried herbs have the power to help tame upset tummies, reduce free radicals in grilled food, improve memory and concentration, soothe a sore throat, act as an aphrodisiac, decrease inflammatory diseases, help control blood sugar levels, cool off hot flashes, reduce risk of infections, decrease stress levels, control acne, decrease pain, and much more! In my opinion, they deserve an honored spot on the nutrition Food Pyramid (which is now updated to MyPlate). Don't underestimate the power of a sprinkle or dash of these incredible spices.

What favorite spices do you have in your cabinet?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Preparing for Saturday--A Visit to the Extension Service

On Saturday at 10:30 am, we will be teaching and demonstrating home food preservation at Groggs Green Barn. This free event and many other events can be found on my website at www.ourhealingroots.net or on my Facebook events (found under "Our Healing Roots, LLC").

Today, I ventured to the Tulsa County Extension Office to discover what resources and support they could offer our upcoming class participants. Like most county extension offices, they will test the gauge on your pressure canner for free. It is important that you get this tested annually to prevent any food safety mishaps with pressure canning. The Tulsa County Extension Office recommends you call ahead and make an appointment before coming for this testing.

Most importantly, the extension service wants to ensure you are able to preserve food safely. Our extension office has a multitude of canning handouts--recipes, safety tips, a canners planning guide, and regular newsletters with food preservation tips. They offer lectures and hands on classes which are quite reasonably priced. They are also offering a canning class this Saturday.  

In Oklahoma, you can even join a group called "Oklahoma Home and Community Education," which was described as 4-H for adults. These groups are associated with the Oklahoma Extension Agencies and meet approximately on a monthly basis to share information, teach skills, enjoy fellowship, support the county free fair and local charitable organizations.

Find out more information by visiting their website at www.oces.tulsacounty.org, or drop by and see all they have to offer. The Tulsa County Extension Agency is located at 4116 E 15th Street (between Harvard and Yale).  It's a great field trip!

We hope you will consider learning more about canning and preserving food safely on Saturday either with us at Groggs or through the Tulsa County Extension Service.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare

On Sunday afternoon, I was thumbing through an earlier issue of MaryJanesFarm Magazine. I was fortunate to come across a small article about the movie Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare. I found the website (www.escapefiremovie.com) and watched the movie online.

Escape Fire perfectly describes the struggle with medical care we are currently experiencing in the United States. In our medical system, we pay based on the quantity of services and procedures, regardless of the quality of care or clinical outcome.  A doctor can get paid $1500 to put a stent in a person's heart, but only $15 to counsel a person in how to prevent and reverse cardiac disease. Furthermore, studies have concluded that more procedures do not equal better clinical outcomes. Our system has been broken. We pay based on the wrong measure.

We, the people, are part of that system. As the customers of medical care, we drive the expectations. Think about it--how much do you value preventative care? If you went to see a doctor about getting a prescription, would you be frustrated if they only talked to you about low cost, evidence-based interventions of diet, exercise, and stress management instead of giving a prescription? Would you value and employ the advice you receive? 75% of our health care costs are spent on diseases that can be prevented with diet, exercise, stress management, and lifestyle modifications.

Here I am--a naturopathic doctor. I am deeply grateful that I received years of professional training in preventative medicine. I am lucky to be in a profession where I have the time to provide this type care to patients. Preventative medicine often needs more than 8 minutes, the average time a doctor gets to spend with a patient. There is no doubt in my mind how powerful diet, exercise, stress management, and lifestyle can be in reversing and preventing disease, but I question how much people value it. Will we be able to step outside our current cultural expectations of prescriptions and procedures and move towards a sustainable, healthcare future?

I invite you to check watch Escape Fire and to check out the movie website for yourself. If you are interested in learning more, I also invite you to listen to an interview with New York Times correspondent Elisabeth Rosenthal called "Paying Till It Hurts" (http://www.npr.org/2013/08/07/209585018/paying-till-it-hurts-why-american-health-care-is-so-pricey).  

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Root Causes of Histamine Release

In my last post, I discussed how excessive amounts of histamine can potentially interfere with sleep and how quercetin is a natural supplement that can reduce histamine release.

Let's take this one step further. What causes histamine to be elevated in the first place?

1. Ingestion of substances high in histamine, such as alcohol, certain prescribed drugs, and foods high in histamine or histadine

2. Ingestion or inhalation of substances that trigger histamine release in your body

Some foods (i.e. citrus) may not be high in histamine, but they can cause the release of histamine in your body. You may also inhale or ingest allergens that can cause a histamine release.

3. Conditions that cause the body to produce too much histamine

These conditions include allergies, overproduction of certain immune cells, bacteria, some yeasts, bleeding in the digestive system.

4. Genetic or acquired impairment of the enzymes that break down histamine

If your body lacks the enzymes to break down histamine, it builds up over time in your body. Some people genetically lack these enzymes. Other times, these break-down enzymes are inhibited by gastrointestinal disease, alcohol or certain drugs.

If you suffer with too much histamine, an antihistamine drug or natural antihistamine such as quercetin may provide immediate relief. However, addressing the underlying cause can provide long-term relief.

Reference: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/5/1185.full

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Histamine Connection to Sleep

This past week I attended a lecture about approaching sleep dysfunction. I finally discovered the secret behind one of the great mysteries in my universe--why histamine affects sleep. You might have pondered this mystery yourself. Why is it that antihistamines (anti-allergy agents) such as Benadryl and Unisom work well for sleep?

There is a cluster of neurons in the brain called the tuberomammillary nucleus (or TMN for short). The TMN is part of the ascending arousal pathway in the brain; in other words, it helps keep you awake. The TMN is activated by histamine. In most cases, a neurotransmitter called GABA will suppress the TMN at night so you can sleep. However if you have too much histamine in your body and not enough GABA, you will have difficulty sleeping. Enter the antihistamine agents such as Benadryl and Unisom. These lower histamine in your body, thereby lowering your state of arousal (wakefulness) so you can sleep.

Are there natural agents that lower histamine? Yes! One of my favorite examples is quercetin. This is a bright, yellow substance that can be found in plants. Quercetin has been shown in clinical studies lower histamine. It is one of my favorite agents to help with allergies. It does have the potential to interact with prescribed medications, so check with a qualified healthcare practitioner before starting quercetin.

Histamine, GABA, and many other neurotransmitters affecting sleep can now be tested through our office. If you have tried good sleep hygiene habits and still are having difficulty sleeping, consider making an appointment to look at the possible influence of neurotransmitters, hormones, and the immune system on your sleep quality.

1. "Neurophysiology of Sleep and Wakefulness: Basic Science and Clinical Implications." Curr Neuropharmacol. 2008 December; 6(4): 367–378

2. "Cataplexy-active neurons in the hypothalamus: implications for the role of histamine in sleep and waking behavior." 2004 May 27;42(4):619-34
3. "Flavonoid inhibition of human basophil histamine release stimulated by various agents." 1984 Nov 1;33(21):3333-8

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

306 Phoenix House

I am pleased to announce that I will be offering monthly natural health gatherings at the 306 Phoenix House. You are warmly invited to join us for an afternoon of learning natural health tips, exploring the latest scientific updates in natural health, and reconnecting to the tradition of botanical medicine. Although these classes are FREE, we graciously accept love offerings to continue sharing in the 306 Phoenix House space! A list of topics and dates can be found below. I hope you can join us!

I celebrate what the community of 306 Phoenix House is building. It's a lovely space located near downtown Tulsa offering classes, music events, a community garden, art shows, a space for community gatherings, and workshops. This house is open to people of all ages and beliefs. Information about the 306 Phoenix House can be found at www.306phoenixhouse.com or at their Facebook page.

"306 Phoenix House is a sacred gathering space that serves as a vessel for spiritual, personal and community connection. We believe that transformation on every level can happen by uniting and strengthening our communities. At the House, we offer possibilities to awaken the human potential, inspire freedom through individual expression and cultivate sustainable connection with nature from the inside and out. We celebrate life together with community gatherings, authentic expression, sustainable living practices and holistic education. It is in this space that we show up to share our purpose and empower others to recognize, nurture their own."
Sunday, August 25 (2-3 p.m.)Preserving the Harvest:  Creating a Nutritious Savings Account
Sunday, September 22 (2-3 p.m.)—High Quality Sleep: Why it Matters and How to Get Some
Sunday, October 20 (2-3 p.m.)—Preparing for the Holidays: Gifts that Restore Health
Sunday, November 24 (2-3 p.m.)—Savor Your Food: Eat Slowly for Your Health
Sunday, December 22 (2-3 p.m.)—Nurturing the Inner Self

Friday, August 2, 2013

Technology’s Influence on Our Sleep

It’s alluring to check e-mail just one last time before bed or to turn on the television to wind down. You might be assured by your child that they have to make it to the next level of their video game before they’ll be able to sleep. A teenager might feel compelled text their friends and romantic interests late into the night. Technology such as the internet, cell phones, and other electronic communications have brought many benefits to us, but they also have the potential to disrupt sleep especially when used before bedtime.  

In a 2011 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 95% of respondents used some form of electronics at least a few nights a week within an hour before bed. More than half of 13-18 year olds reported surfing the internet before bed. Most of these technologies are stimulating and the artificial light can suppress our body’s sleep-promoting messengers, such as melatonin (1).

Our bodies are very sensitive to light. For centuries, we have risen and gone to bed with the sun. Our neurological and endocrine pathways are based on this system of light and dark.  That is hardly the reality of today. Many of us have light long after the sun has gone down thanks to artificial light, and it can have damaging effects on our sleep.

Sleep is vitally important for concentration, learning, attention and memory. Take attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for example. A 2009 study published in Sleep Medicine, looked at 55 children diagnosed with ADHD. This study found a significant correlation between ADHD and sleep disorders, such as motor restlessness, sleep walking, night terrors, confusional arrousals, snoring and restless leg syndrome (2). Sleep and attention are significantly related to one another.

Whether you are still in school or not, consider preparing for this next academic year by shutting off the technology an hour before bed. Allow yourself to wind down by lower lights, enjoying a bath or shower, reading a non-stimulating book, meditating or praying, or doing a non-technological relaxing activity. Resist the urge to work or study right up until bedtime. You are worthy of the rest. 

(1) http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/press-release/annual-sleep-america-poll-exploring-connections-communications-technology-use-

(2). Silvestri, et al.Sleep disorders in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) recorded overnight by video-polysomnography.” Sleep Med. 2009 Dec;10(10):1132-8).