Ask The Herb Lady: With Cathy Burkemper

Herbal Help For Cold Hands & Feet
Herbal Source For Iodine

Q: My hands and feet are always cold, no matter what the temperature of the room. My friend told me to put some red pepper in my socks. Will this really work?

A: Putting red pepper in your socks actually does make your feet warmer. Be careful not to use too much, though, and don’t use if you have an open wound on your foot. You can experience a very unpleasant “burn” if you’re not careful. Since both your hands and feet are cold, you may have poor circulation. I would suggest that you take capsicum (a form of red pepper, as is cayenne) in a capsule form. It has warming properties which act as a stimulant to increase circulation. It can also lower blood pressure and aid in the prevention of heart attack and stroke. Capsicum has also been found to stimulate production of digestive and mucosal fluids, thereby helping to digest your food. Capsicum is commonly added to herbal formulas as it is used as a catalyst and promotes the absorption of other nutrients.

Q: I have an iodine deficiency and want to take an herbal source of iodine. What would be a good option?

A: Iodine deficiency leads to hypothyroidism, but I’m sure you already know that. Most of the seaweeds, such as kelp or dulse, are high in iodine content. Dulse, a red seaweed, contains a very high amount of iodine. It also has a high concentration of iron, as suggested by its rust-red color. The other benefits are that it is full of essential vitamins and minerals. It is best to take dulse in a liquid form as it can be readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and is carried through the bloodstream directly to the thyroid gland where it is oxidized and converted to the T4 and T3 hormones. This can help improve sluggish metabolism, obesity, and dry hair, to name a few symptoms.

This herb information is for health education purposes only. It is not intended to replace the services of licensed health practitioners. Consult with a physician for any condition that requires professional care.

Do you have questions about herbs or vitamins? Send them to Cathy Burkemper, CNHP and Certified Herbalist. Write to: Herbs & More, 16021 Manchester Rd., Ellisville, MO 63011.

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