Riva Capellari

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Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City

Old Man Winter Part 2

In last month’s newsletter I laid out the vocal consequences of taking some popular OTC medications to stave off the respiratory blues of winter. This month we will explore some other options.

Complimentary and Integrative Medicine (CIM) is defined by Andrew Weil, MD as “ a healing oriented medicine that draws upon thera- peutic systems to form a comprehensive approach to the art and science of medicine”. Although once denounced as “quackery”, many of these healing ideas have been around for centuries compared to traditional medicine that began about 200 years ago.  And in spite of the lack of scientific research supporting alternative medicine, 40%-50% of Americans have tried some form of CIM.

Conventional medicine primarily treats the body where as alternative medicine approaches healing by addressing the body, spirit and mind as a whole. It is believed that the imbalance between these components is the origin of diseases on a cellular level and therefore, they cannot be completely eradicated until all three systems are once again in a healthy ratio.

In CIM, herbs and vitamins are used for medicinal purposes along with other therapies such as acupuncture, biofeedback, massage, reflexology, meditation and many others.

Because herbs are not regulated by the FDA, one must find a reliable, trustworthy source when purchasing them. The Complete German Commission E (you can google this) provides one of the most reputable documents on the negative and positive effects of herbs.

Echinacea is a popular herb for fighting the common cold and the flu. However, there are 9 different subtypes and not all of them are effective. Goldenseal is known to help with inflammation, immune function, URIs and the flu, but may cause gastrointestinal problems.

Ionized zinc may protect cells from viral toxins, but additives such as citric acid or sorbitol used for flavoring in zinc lozenges can actually negate its effectiveness.

Remember! It is very important to make sure your doctor knows what herbs and supplements you are taking to avoid any problematic interactions (70% of patients to do not do this!). And do your research. Herbs are drugs so they need to be consumed with great care and knowledge the same as conventional medications.



Benninger, Michael S. & Murry, Thomas. The Singer’s Voice.  Plural Publishing. San Diego. 2008.

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