Author Archives: Dr. Tieraona Low Dog

  • Treating Illness During Pregnancy

    Mother with babyPregnancy represents a very unique time in a woman’s life—it’s a time to focus on our physical and emotional wellbeing to ensure the life within is nourished and healthy. But it can also present particular pregnancy-related challenges to the mother. In addition to morning sickness or constipation, pregnant women are also vulnerable to the same common conditions that can happen at any time, such as seasonal allergies, colds and coughs, headaches, insomnia, etc.

    But reaching for the same medications that you’d traditionally use isn’t always safe. Pregnancy is the most sensitive time in human development and since certain substances cross the placenta (and into breastmilk while nursing), women must be careful when it comes to their use of medications and natural remedies.

    Since pregnant women often ask what options are available to them during this time, I thought I'd share a few herbs that I have recommended over the years. As always, if you are pregnant, please speak with your physician, midwife or a qualified health care professional about possible risks and benefits before using any herb, dietary supplement, over-the-counter or prescription medications.

    Colds and Flu

    Prevention is key! Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and take your prenatal vitamin every day, which should provide adequate amounts of zinc and vitamin C to keep your immune system working tip top. Adding more garlic and onions to your soups can also give you an extra edge.

    At the first sign of an upper respiratory infection (URI), make yourself a cup of hot organic ginger tea and add a little honey and lemon. Sip slowly. Drink 1-2 cups per day. Ginger has antiviral activity and is great for relieving sore throat, stuffy nose and congestion.

    In addition, try sucking on one lozenge containing 5 mg of zinc every 3-4 hours for 1-2 days, since studies have shown that zinc can shorten the duration and severity of the common cold.

    Echinacea is also commonly used for URIs, and some studies support its effectiveness if taken early. A thorough scientific review failed to find any adverse events in mothers or babies for women who took echinacea during pregnancy. Just make sure you skip the tinctures containing alcohol and look for a high-quality extract in a capsule, tablet or softgel (and follow the dosing recommendations of the manufacturer).

    Allergic Rhinitis

    Whether from pollen or your favorite cat, allergies can definitely wear you down. Your body perceives relatively harmless substances as dangerous and reacts accordingly. Immune cells mount an attack and chemicals like histamine are released causing you to sneeze, your nose to run and your eyes to water.

    Short of moving to another state or giving away your feline friend, do your best to limit exposures. Using a wet mop on floors and a vacuum with a HEPA filter can be helpful indoors. In addition, invest in a neti pot and use a buffered saline solution every day for one week, and then twice weekly to keep your nasal passages open.

    Researchers have found that compounds within nettle leaves inhibit the release of histamine, which causes nasal swelling and itching. A randomized trial of nearly 100 people found that taking 600 mg a day of freeze-dried nettle was more effective than placebo for relieving the majority of allergy symptoms. Forty-eight percent of the participants stated that nettles equaled or surpassed previous medications that they had taken for seasonal allergies in terms of effectiveness. The good news is that nettle is considered to be safe during pregnancy! It’s important to note, however, that nettle leaf is often combined with quercetin, which has unknown safety at higher doses during pregnancy; stick with 400-600 mg of freeze-dried nettle leaves, 1-2 times per day.


    As pregnancy advances, constipation can become a problem due to hormones and the increasing size of the baby. To ease constipation, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day—adequate liquid intake is one of the best ways to keep your bowels moving regularly! Add some cucumber or berries to your water for interest and flavor.

    Magnesium is a natural laxative and is safe to use during a healthy pregnancy at doses of 300-400 mg at night before bed. Magnesium not only softens stools, but is also highly recommended for the prevention of migraines.

    If you need a little extra relief, try making this prune/bran preparation: Combine 1 cup prune juice, 1 cup bran and 1 cup applesauce, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Take 2 tbsp morning and night with a large glass of water.

    Insomnia and Irritability

    Chamomile is definitely one of my favorite herbs when one is feeling cranky, irritable and out of sorts. It is especially good for those who manifest stress in their digestive system. Chamomile can be safely taken during pregnancy and makes a lovely afternoon or evening medicinal tea.

    For those nights when it’s just really hard to fall asleep, valerian might be a good option. Valerian has been used as a mild sleep aid for centuries and it is not contraindicated during pregnancy by either the German Commission E or the Botanical Safety Handbook 2nd Edition. While available in capsules, there are some very nice high-grade medicinal tea blends that contain tasty combinations of chamomile and valerian. Snuggle up with a good book, warm blanket and sip slowly as you surrender to a great night’s sleep.

  • My 3 Favorite Natural Cough & Cold Remedies (Video)

    Want effective, natural cough and cold remedies on hand when members of the family are sick? Learn about Dr. Tieraona Low Dog's must-have natural medicines that have been shown to shorten the duration of the common cold, including zinc, umcka loabo and elderberry.

  • Herbal Remedies for Stress Relief (Video)

    Discover herbal remedies that can help your body manage stress, alongside meditation, exercise and good diet. Here, Dr. Tieraona Low Dog talks about studies that have shown how the herbs chamomile and ashwaghanda, an adaptogen, can help calm the mind, help you get better sleep and replenish the body.

  • Fighting Migraines: Two Natural Supplements to Try (Video)

    If you suffer from migraines and want to try a more natural approach to finding relief, listen to what Dr. Tieraona Low Dog says about the herb butterbur and the supplement magnesium, both of which have powerful evidence for their effectiveness in migraine relief.

  • Omega-3s for Better Health (Video)

    Learn why omega-3s are an important part of your diet. Here, Dr. Tieraona Low Dog talks about why you should be getting fish in your diet or supplementing with fish oil. Fish oil is especially vital during pregnancy and early childhood because it supports cognitive development and eye and nerve health, and can be great for supporting cardiovascular health in later life. Some evidence has even shown it can help prevent cancer, support weight loss, improve insulin resistance, reduce inflammation and more.

  • Exercise: Your Best Friend in Health

    BikingIf you really want to improve your life, maintain muscle tone and bodyweight, keep your bones strong, lift your mood, protect your brain and reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer—look no further than your workout clothes and walking shoes.

    That’s right: Exercise has been shown to do all of these things and more. There is no vitamin or prescription pill that can come anywhere close. There are many ways exercise can give you an edge when it comes to your health. It improves your circulation, lowers blood pressure, strengthens your heart, and lowers inflammation, insulin and insulin-like growth factors. These last three are vitally important for staving off chronic illness. While the mechanisms are still being explored, studies going as far back as the 1980s consistently show that regular exercise keeps you mentally and emotionally healthy.

    The latest recommendations are for adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each and every week. And kids need to be moderately active 60 minutes every single day!

    What exactly is "moderate activity?” Activities like going for a bike ride, walking briskly or working in the garden. Vigorous activities are those that make you sweat and breathe fast and deep. So get moving! Invest in a pedometer and work your way up to 10,000 steps per day. If walking is painful or difficult, get down to the local pool and start swimming.

    Remember, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Here’s to an active spring and summer!

  • Why Multivitamins Are Vital to Good Health (Video)

    If you're wondering whether multivitamins are necessary in your diet, learn from Dr. Tieraona Low Dog about recent research that has shown them to be instrumental in reducing cancer risk, reducing mortality rates for cancer survivors and much more.

  • Fish Oil & Prostate Health: Deconstructing the Studies (Video)

    Recent studies have concerned some men who take fish oil that it could be negatively impacting their prostate health. Here, Dr. Tieraona Low Dog talks about the study and why it is not a good indicator of the real connection between fish oil and prostate health.

  • Video: Good Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy

    Get an expert opinion on the vitamins and supplements that are vital for a healthy pregnancy from Dr. Tieraona Low Dog.

    This video is part of a series of educational videos we’ll be posting from members of our Integrative Health Advisory Board.

  • Preview Dr. Tieraona Low Dog's New Book: Life Is Your Best Medicine

    Integrative Health Advisory Board member Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, MD, just released her latest book, Life Is Your Best Medicine: A Woman's Guide to Health, Healing and Wholeness at Every Age. Published by National Geographic, the book weaves together the wisdom of traditional medicine and the expertise of modern-day medicine to explore the best in integrative health.

    Find the book in Pharmaca stores now, or at

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