Alternative Medicine Thoughts in Haiku…


Today is Haiku Theme Day for bloggers who are participating in the 2012 Blogathon


My first thought was “haiku on an alternative medicine blog?  Seriously?” I can’t recall ever seeing the art of haiku blended with the concepts of alternative medicine… but since both are about the beauty and wonder of nature, perhaps this is not as unlikely a pairing as it first seems. 


The form of haiku, when written in English, is simple enough: a first line of five syllables, a second line of seven, and a third line of five, for a total of seventeen. And the object, purpose, or goal of haiku is to capture and distill into those seventeen syllables the purest possible essence of a moment, an experience, a phenomenon, or a thought.


As a former poetry editor who judged haiku contests in times long past but has not dabbled in the poetic arts for many years, this theme day posed a unique challenge.


I look forward to seeing your comments. Thank you for stopping by today and be sure to visit again tomorrow when this blog returns to more traditional ways of exploring the world of alternative medicine. 


*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   * 

(on herbal therapies)

fragile flowers soothe

jangled nerves and angry skin

gentle healing herbs …



 first to be planted

as settlers conquered the west

herbs for medicines …



*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   * 

(on acupuncture)




               tiny needles rouse 

                    powerful healing genie

                                life-force energy…



*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   * 

 (on nature’s vitamins)


  Assorted fruit 


bright colors wrapping

tempting fragrance and flavor

fruit-borne vitamins …




*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   * 

(on medical practice)

    MP900321070[1]open western eyes

to ancient eastern healing 

health must integrate …


*  *  *




healing universe

grows when alternative is

mainstream medicine …









© 2012, all rights reserved (haiku and layout)


(Images courtesy of Microsoft Office.com)

Menu Medicine: Oregano in Pizza and Pasta Sauce Kills Prostate Cancer Cells


Good news for men who love pizza and spicy pasta sauce. Those two favorite foods may help fight prostate cancer.


We already knew tomato sauce appears to reduce the risk of cancer. And we knew oregano, the herb that gives many Italian foods their classic spicy flavor, has many health benefits too including fighting bacteria and inflammation.


Now, new research indicates oregano contains a key component that helps kill cancer cells.


Long Island University (LIU) researchers presented their study’s preliminary findings at Experimental Biology 2012, an annual gathering of six scientific societies, that was held in San Diego, California, this April.


Previous research had reported that pizza cut cancer risk but researchers thought this effect was due to the lycopene in tomato sauce on pizza, explains LIU researcher Supriya Bavadekar, PhD, RPh. Her team focused on carvacrol, a constituent of oregano, and found that carvacrol promotes cancer cell “apoptosis,” which in plain English means cancer cell suicide.


“If the study continues to yield positive results, this super-spice may represent a very promising therapy for patients with prostate cancer” without the toxic side effects that accompany current prostate cancer treatments, Dr. Bavadekar said in an LIU news release.


Best of all, pizza as preventive medicine would be a great tasting treatment.


© 2012, all rights reserved

Red Pepper Curbs Appetite and Burns Calories


Yesterday, we told you about a study that found a weight loss benefit in black pepper, the same black pepper that many of us buy at the grocery store or use in restaurants to add flavor to foods. Today’s report is not a news item but instead is a reminder that red pepper has weight loss benefits too, specifically ground cayenne pepper.


Cayenne is a popular ingredient in many spicy recipes and, like black pepper, it’s available for purchase at grocery stores in the spice section. If you’re going to try adding more black pepper to your meals, consider adding cayenne too.


Last April, Purdue University researchers reported this simple red pepper can help curb appetite and burn calories. Its key is capsaicin, the component in some chili peppers that makes them taste and feel “hot.”


Before the Purdue study, there had been other research that showed capsaicin in red chili peppers aids weight loss, but their findings were based on consuming more red peppers than most Americans would be comfortable with adding to their daily diets. But the Purdue study was based on an intake of only one gram – just half a teaspoon – which most would find very do-able, even those who don’t like spicy foods. 


The study of 25 people who were not overweight included 12 who did not like spicy foods and 13 who did. Those who normally didn’t eat red pepper were less hungry for fatty, salty and sweet foods, and less hungry overall. And both groups – those who liked it and would normally eat more than 1 gram, and those who didn’t like it and would normally eat less than half a gram – burned more calories because red pepper raised their core body temperatures.


It’s the taste and heat of red pepper that triggers appetite suppression and “thermogenic” (core body heat producing) response. As lead researcher Richard Mattes, MPH, PhD, RD, distinguished professor of foods and nutrition, said in Purdue’s news release about the research, “That burn in your mouth is responsible for that effect.”


Want to read the full text of the study? See: The effects of hedonically acceptable red pepper doses on thermogenesis and appetite



© 2012, all rights reserved