St. John’s wort

St. John’s wort
St. John’s wort

Hypericum perforatum is the most medicinally important species of the Hypericum genus, commonly known as St. John’s wort or Klamath weed. There are as many as 400 species in the genus, which belongs to the Clusiaceae family. Native to Europe, St. John’s wort is found throughout the world. It thrives in sunny fields, open woods, and gravelly roadsides.

Early colonists brought this plant to North America, and it has become naturalized in the eastern United States and California, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, eastern Asia, and South America. As of 2004, St. John’s wort is one of the most commonly used herbs in the United States, especially among women.

The entire plant, particularly its round black seeds, exudes a slight turpentine-like odor. The woody-branched root spreads from the base with runners that produce numerous stalks.

Sties

Sties
Sties

Also known as an external hordeolum, a stye is an infection or small abscess formation within the hair follicle glands on the free edge of the eyelid. These sebaceous glands are also known as Zeis’s or Moll’s glands.

A stye may develop on or under the eyelid with an eyelash within a yellow point. The area becomes red, warm, swollen, and painful. It may also cause blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelid.

Causes and symptoms

A stye is caused by staphylococcal or other bacterial infection of the sebaceous gland. This infection may be only on the eyelid, or may also be present elsewhere in the body. The presence of a stye may be a sign of the need for glasses, or indicate declining overall health status.

Staphylococcal infections

Staphylococcal infections
Staphylococcal infections

Staphylococcal (staph) infections are communicable infections caused by staph organisms and often characterized by the formation of abscesses. They are the leading cause of primary infections originating in hospitals (nosocomial infections) in the United States.

Classified since the early twentieth century as among the deadliest of all disease-causing organisms, staph exists on the skin or inside the nostrils of 20–30% of healthy people. These bacteria are sometimes found in breast tissue, the mouth, and the genital, urinary, and upper respiratory tracts.

Although staph bacteria are usually harmless, when injury or a break in the skin enables the organisms to invade the body and overcome the body’s natural defenses, consequences can range from minor discomfort to death.

Stomachaches

Stomachaches
Stomachaches

Stomachache is pain or discomfort in the stomach that is a symptom of many different gastrointestinal diseases or conditions.

Stomachache, also called dyspepsia, is a symptom of an underlying disease or condition of the gastrointestinal system. Stomachache is defined as pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Discomfort refers to any negative feeling including fullness, bloating, or early satiety (quenched thirst or appetite).

Dyspepsia accounts for 2–5% of all visits to a physician. Unfortunately, no cause is found for 30–60% of patients with dyspepsia. When no cause is found, the disorder is termed nonulcer dyspepsia. Several factors may lead to nonulcer dyspepsia.

Sulfur

Raw sulfur
Raw sulfur

Sulfur is a homeopathic remedy that is used to treat a variety of chronic or acute ailments. Elemental sulfur is present in all living tissues. Sulfur is often referred to as brimstone or flowers of sulfur.

Sulfur was used during biblical times as a remedy for skin disorders such as acne and scabies. Flowers of sulfur were burned to disinfect the rooms of persons with infectious disease.

Sulfur was also taken with molasses as an internal cleanser, and was used to treat chronic bronchitis, constipation, and rheumatism. In the early 2000s the element is used in the manufacture of dyes, gunpowder, insecticides, fungicides, sulfuric acid, and rubber (as a hardening agent).

Suma

Suma plant
Suma plant

Suma is the common name for a tropical ground vine native to the Amazon rain forest of Central and South America. Its botanical name is Pfaffia paniculata, and it belongs to the Amaranthaceae family.

Referred to by the people of the rain forest as para todo, which can be translated “for all things,” the herb has been used for 300 years in the Amazon for many different ailments. It is sometimes called Brazilian ginseng.

Aside from suma’s reputation as an energy booster, aphrodisiac, and wound healer, it has also been used to treat a wide range of medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and various skin conditions. Despite suma’s traditional use as a folk remedy, its medicinal properties are not widely recognized around the world.

Sunburn

Sunburn
Sunburn

A sunburn is an inflammation or blistering of the skin caused by overexposure to the sun.

Sunburn is caused by excessive exposure to the ultra-violet (UV) rays of the sun. There are two types of ultra-violet rays, UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate the skin deeply and can cause melanoma in susceptible people. UVB rays, which don’t penetrate as deeply, cause sun-burn and wrinkling. Most UVB rays are absorbed by sun-screens, but only about half the UVA rays are absorbed.

Skin cancer from sun overexposure is a serious health problem in the United States, affecting almost one million Americans each year. One person out of 87 will develop malignant melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, and 7,300 of them will die each year.

Swedish massage

Swedish massage
Swedish massage

Swedish massage is the most popular type of massage in the United States. It involves the use of hands, forearms or elbows to manipulate the superficial layers of the muscles to improve mental and physical health.

Active or passive movement of the joints may also be part of the massage. The benefits of Swedish massage include increased blood circulation, mental and physical relaxation, decreased stress and muscle tension, and improved range of motion.

Origins

Swedish massage was invented by a Swedish fencing instructor named Per Henrik Ling in the 1830s. When he was injured in the elbows, he reportedly cured himself using tapping (percussion) strokes around the affected area. He later developed the technique currently known as Swedish massage.

Sweet clover

Sweet clover
Sweet clover

Sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis) is a biennial plant that grows to heights of 2-4 ft (0.6-1.2 m) and produces small yellow flowers emitting a fragrance resembling that of hay or vanilla. It is a member of the legume, or Leguminosae, family. During its first year of growth, most of its energy goes into developing its root system.

In the second year it flowers between May and September, sets its seeds, and dies. Its seeds may remain viable for over 30 years. The plant is also called hart’s tree, hay flower, king’s clover, melilot, sweet lucerne, or wild laburnum.

Sweet clover grows in North America, Europe, Australia, and the temperate regions of Asia. In the early 1900s, sweet clover was grown for forage and to build up the soil, since its roots help to keep nitrogen in the soil.

Swimmer’s ear

Swimmer’s ear
Swimmer’s ear

Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa, is an inflammation of the outer ear canal. Although it is most prevalent among young adults and children, who often contract the condition from frequent swimming, swimmer’s ear can affect anyone.

Swimmer’s ear is an inflammation of the outer ear that may lead to a painful and often itchy infection. It begins with the accumulation of excess moisture from swimming or daily showering. The skin inside the ear canal may flake due to moisture.

This flaking may cause persistent itching that may lead to a break in the skin from scratching. Broken skin allows bacteria or a fungus to infect the tissues lining the ear canal. Swimming in polluted water can easily bring harmful bacteria into the outer ear.

Syntonic optometry

Syntonic optometry
Syntonic optometry

Syntonic optometry uses colored light shone into a patient’s eyes to treat visual and other dysfunctions.

The founding father of syntonic optometry is Dr. Harry Riley Spitler, who developed the discipline during the 1920s and 1930s. Building on the work of earlier investigators including Edwin Babbit, Spitler studied the effects of light on human health and performance. Illness, he concluded, is largely caused by imbalances in the body’s endocrine and nervous systems.

Balance could be restored and healing achieved, he decided, by exposing the eyes to visible frequencies of light. Spitler founded the College of Syntonic Optometry in 1933, and eight years later he wrote a book titled The Syntonic Principle.

Syphilis

A haunting portrait of a 4 week old baby with hereditary syphilis who died just 24 hours after being admitted to hospital in 1897
A haunting portrait of a 4 week old baby with hereditary syphilis
who died just 24 hours after being admitted to hospital in 1897

Syphilis is an infectious systemic disease that may be either congenital or acquired through sexual contact or contaminated needles.

Syphilis has both acute and chronic forms that produce a wide variety of symptoms affecting most of the body’s organ systems. The range of symptoms makes it easy to confuse syphilis with less serious diseases and ignore its early signs.

Acquired syphilis has four stages (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary) and can be spread by sexual contact during the first three of these four stages.

Systemic lupus erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus
Systemic lupus erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (also called lupus or SLE) is a disease in which a person’s immune system attacks and injures the body’s own organs and tissues. Almost every system of the body can be affected.

The body’s immune system is a network of cells and tissues responsible for clearing the body of invading organisms, like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Antibodies are special immune cells that recognize these invaders, and begin a chain of events to destroy them.

In an autoimmune disorder like SLE, a person’s antibodies begin to identify the body’s own tissues as foreign. Cells and chemicals of the immune system damage the tissues of the body. The reaction that occurs in tissue is called inflammation. Inflammation includes swelling, redness, increased blood flow, and tissue destruction.

T'ai chi

T'ai chi
T'ai chi

T'ai chi is an ancient Chinese exercise with movements that originate in martial arts practice. While used as a type of self-defense in its most advanced form, t'ai chi is practiced widely for its health and relaxation benefits.

Those in search of well being and a way to combat stress have made what has also been called “Chinese shadow boxing” one of the most popular low-intensity workouts around the world.

Also known as t'ai chi ch'uan (pronounced tie-jee chu-wan), the name comes from Chinese characters that translated mean “supreme ultimate force.”

Tangerine peel

Tangerine peel
Tangerine peel

This popular widely known fruit goes by a variety of names, creating some possible confusion at times as to which plant one is dealing with.

Commonly known as mandarin in much of the world (in Japan it goes by satsuma), the fruit is most often called tangerine in the United States. Generally listed under the botanical name Citrus reticulata, it is also known as C. nobilis, C. madurensis, C. unshiu, C. deliciosa, C. tangerina or C. erythrosa.

A native of Asia, the plant was introduced into Europe early in the nineteenth century. By midcentury, it had spread to the United States, where it was rechristened tangerine.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) is a multi-purpose herb that traces its roots to the Aboriginal people of Australia. For thousands of years, they used the leaves as an antiseptic and antifungal by crushing the leaves and making a mudpack.

However, the plant didn’t receive the name “tea tree” until 1770, when the name was given by the British explorer Captain James Cook and his crew. Although Cook’s crew first used the leaves for tea, they later mixed them with spruce leaves as a beer.

The plant’s medicinal properties remained a secret with the Australian aboriginal people until the early 1920s, when a Sydney, Australia chemist, Dr. Arthur Penfold, researched its antiseptic properties.

Teen nutrition

Teen nutrition
Teen nutrition

Teen nutrition involves making sure that teens eat healthy foods to help them grow and develop normally, as well as to prevent obesity and future disease. Following dietary guidelines recommended by research and medical professionals supports proper nutrition.

The guidelines include selections from different food groups to provide the vitamins and minerals teens need as they grow through puberty and into adulthood. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Guide Pyramid recommends how many servings a day an adolescent should eat of each food group, such as milk, vegetables, fruits, fats, and meats.

By sticking closely to the guidelines, parents can ensure their teens get a well-balanced diet that supplies the vitamins and calories they need to stay healthy and support growing bodies and active lifestyles.

Teething problems

Teething problems
Teething problems
Teething is the eruption of the primary set of teeth (baby teeth) through the gums.

Humans are born with two sets of teeth under the gums. Twenty of these are primary, or baby teeth. Occasionally a child is born with some primary teeth already visible, but more commonly, they begin to erupt around the middle of the first year.

The timing of eruption is quite variable but tends to be similar among members of the same family. Generally, all 20 primary teeth have come in by two and a half years of age. Lower teeth usually come in before their upper counterparts. Incisors often erupt first (centrals, then laterals), followed by first molars, canines, and then two-year molars.

Temporomandibular joint syndrome

Temporomandibular joint syndrome
Temporomandibular joint syndrome

Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) is the name given to a group of symptoms that cause pain in the head, face, and jaw. The symptoms include headaches, soreness in the chewing muscles, and clicking or stiffness of the joints.

TMJ syndrome, which is also sometimes called TMJ disorder, results from pressure on the facial nerves due to muscle tension or abnormalities of the bones in the area of the hinge joint between the lower jaw and the temporal bone.

This hinge joint is called the temporomandibular joint. There are two temporomandibular joints, one on each side of the skull just in front of the ear. The temporal bone is the name of the section of the skull bones where the jawbone (the mandible) is connected.

Tendinitis

Tendinitis
Tendinitis

Tendinitis is a condition caused by the tearing of tendon fibers and subsequent inflammation in the tendon. Tendons are the strong connective tissue that connect muscle to bone.

When a muscle contracts, it pulls on the tendon, which is composed of tissue that cannot stretch. The tendon then transmits that pulling force to the bone and moves the bone, producing movement.

Tendinitis usually results from excessive repeated demands placed on the tendon by the muscle. Tendinitis is not usually caused by a sudden injury; it is more commonly a result of a long period of overuse. Tendinitis occurs frequently with active individuals and those whose occupational tasks require repetitive motion.

Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow
Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is an inflammation of several structures of the elbow. These include muscles, tendons, bursa, periosteum, and epicondyle (bony projections on the outside and inside of the elbow, where muscles of the forearm attach to the bone of the upper arm).

This condition is also called epicondylitis, lateral epicondylitis, medial epicondylitis, or golfer’s elbow, where pain is present at the inside epicondyle.

Description

The classic tennis elbow is caused by repeated forceful contractions of wrist muscles located on the outer forearm. The stress, created at a common muscle origin, causes microscopic tears leading to inflammation. This is a relatively small surface area located at the outer portion of the elbow (the lateral epicondyle).

Tetanus

Tetanus
Kid with tetanus

Tetanus is a rare but often fatal disease that affects the central nervous system by causing painful and often violent muscular contractions. The earliest descriptions of the disease can be found in the medical papyri of ancient Egypt.

The disease begins when the tetanus bacterium (Clostridium tetani) enters the body, usually through a wound or cut that has come in contact with the spores of the bacterium.

Tetanus spores are commonly found in soil, dust, and animal manure. Tetanus is a noncommunicable disease, meaning that it cannot be passed directly from one person to another.

Thai massage

Thai massage
Thai massage

Thai massage, also known as Nuad Bo-Rarn in its traditional form, is a type of Oriental bodywork therapy that is based on the treatment of the human body, mind, and spirit.

The therapy includes treating the electromagnetic or energetic field which surrounds, infuses and brings the body to life through pressure and/or manipulative massage.

The origins of traditional Thai massage reportedly began over 2,000 years ago along with the introduction of Buddhism. It is one of four branches of traditional medicine in Thailand, the others being herbs, nutrition, and spiritual practice.

Therapeutic touch

Therapeutic touch
Therapeutic touch

Therapeutic touch, or TT, is a noninvasive method of healing derived from an ancient laying-on of hands technique. In TT, the practitioner alters the patient’s energy field through a transfer of energy from the hands of the practitioner to the patient.

Therapeutic touch was developed in 1972 by Dora Kunz, a psychic healer, and Dolores Krieger, PH.D., R.N,a nurse and professor of nursing at New York University.

In 1971, when Krieger had been working as a registered nurse in a hospital, she became very frustrated when one of her patients, a 30-year-old female, lay dying from a gallbladder condition. In desperation, she tried what she was learning from Kunz.

Thiamine

Source of Thiamine
Source of Thiamine

Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, was the first of the water-soluble B-vitamin family to be discovered. It is an essential component of an enzyme, thiamine pyrophosphate, that is involved in metabolizing carbohydrates.

Thiamine works closely with other B vitamins to assist in the utilization of proteins and fats as well, and helps mucous membranes and the heart to stay healthy.

The brain relies on thiamine’s role in the conversion of blood sugar (glucose) into biological energy to function properly. Thiamine is also involved in certain key metabolic reactions occurring in nervous tissue, the heart, in the formation of red blood cells, and in the maintenance of smooth and skeletal muscle.

Thuja

Thuja
Thuja

Thuja is a general term for trees of the genus Thuja, which belongs to the Cupressaceae or cypress family.

The most common species in North America are Thuja occidentalis, whose common names include arbor vitae or tree of life, white cedar, yellow cedar, American cedar, hackmatack, Thuia du Canada, swamp cedar, and Lebensbaum; and Thuja plicata, the Western red cedar. The species of cedar found in China and Japan is Thuja orientalis, and is known as ce bai ye or ya bai shu in Chinese.

Thujas are evergreen conifers, or cone-bearing trees. The name “Thuja” was given to this group of trees by the Swedish botanist Linnaeus in 1753; it comes from the Greek word thuo, which means “to sacrifice,” as cedar wood was often burned with animal sacrifices by the ancients to add a pleasing aroma to the fire.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus
Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a condition where the patient hears ringing, buzzing, or other sounds without an external cause. Patients may experience tinnitus in one or both ears or in the head.

Tinnitus affects as many as 40 million adults in the United States. It is defined as either objective or subjective. In objective tinnitus, the doctor can hear the sounds as well as the patient.

Objective tinnitus is typically caused by tumors, turbulent blood flow through malformed vessels, or by rhythmic muscular spasms. Most cases of tinnitus are subjective, which means that only the patient can hear the sounds.

Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis
Tonsillitis
Tonsillitis is an infection and swelling of the tonsils, which are oval-shaped masses of lymph gland tissue located on both sides of the back of the throat.

The tonsils normally help to prevent infections. They act like filters to trap bacteria and viruses entering the body through the mouth and sinuses.

The tonsils also stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies which fight off infections. Anyone can have tonsillitis; however, it is most common in children between the ages of five and 10 years.

Toothache

A toothache is any pain or soreness within or around a tooth, indicated by inflammation and infection.

A toothache may feel like a sharp pain or a dull, throbbing ache. The tooth may be sensitive to pressure, heat, cold, or sweets. In cases of severe pain, identifying the problem tooth is often difficult.

Any patient with a toothache should see a dentist at once for diagnosis and treatment. Most toothaches get worse if not treated.

Relaxation

Relaxation
Relaxation

Relaxation therapy is a broad term used to describe a number of techniques that promote stress reduction, the elimination of tension throughout the body, and a calm and peaceful state of mind.

Origins

Relaxation therapy has been around for thousands of years in the forms of transcendental meditation (TM), yoga, t'ai chi, qigong, and vipassana (a Buddhist form of meditation meaning insight and also known as mindfulness meditation).

Progressive relaxation, a treatment that rids the body of anxiety and related tension through progressive relaxation of the muscle groups, was first described by Dr. Edmund Jacobson in his book Progressive Relaxation, published in 1929.

Rescue Remedy

Rescue Remedy
Rescue Remedy

Rescue Remedy is the trademarked name of a combination of five Bach flower essences intended for use in emotional or psychological emergencies.

It contains the essences of star of Bethlehem, rock rose, impatiens, cherry plum, and clematis. It is by far the most popular of the Bach preparations, and is available as a cream as well as in liquid form for internal use.

In terms of their history, the Bach flower essences are a variation of homeopathic remedies. Dr. Edward Bach (1886–1936), the English practitioner who first prepared them, was trained in both mainstream medicine and homeopathy. He worked as a bacteriologist and pathologist in the University College Hospital as well as the London Homoeopathic Hospital during the 1920s.