Cottonwood – Salves and Lore

Thanks to Thumbup for the link. 🙂

The average herbalist loves Cottonwood for its sticky, resinous leaf buds that drop in springtime, which lend themselves beautifully to oils and salves for topical treatment of inflammation, pain, and soreness in muscles, joints, tendons and the like. Those of you who have experienced a good Cottonwood salve can say it is a very cooling, soothing relief for what is greatly inflamed, coming in like a calm water to put out a nasty fire. The origin of Cottonwood salves comes from its use by Native North American tribes, who used it also as a wash for wounds, skin afflictions, and various pains….

While I am including a recipe for how to craft a very simple but effective Cottonwood salve, there is a lot more to this towering tree, which shares its ancestry with Willows, Poplars, and Aspens– and with whom it also shares some medicinal qualities. We owe today’s widespread use and production of Aspirin to this family and other plants rich in salicylic acids, the original purveyors of the effects Aspirin is responsible for: pain-reliever and fever-reducer. Historically, this family of plants was used even more on the fringes of traditional folk-medicine as a fever, cold, and respiratory remedy.

If one were to come up with a signature for Cottonwood, I would call it “guardian of the waters.” In herbalism, a “signature” hails from the “Doctrine of Signatures,” the idea that a plant’s effects are reflected in its appearance, function, or environment. Seeing a Cottonwood usually signifies that there is a river, creek, oasis, or subterranean water nearby. Groundwater also tends to store up around the Cottonwood’s roots, and in the desert, seeing a Cottonwood is a sure sign you will find water…

(Photo taken 3/19/2015.)

Smokers and abuse victims at risk for being denied pain meds

SAIF Corporation is a “Workers’ compensation insurance provider,” so it’s no wonder they are against pain medications.

“Until the 1990s, opioids were highly regulated and not typically used except in acute pain or terminal cancer care,” said Dr. Franklin Wong, medical director at CareMark Comp, a managed care organization. “But then, well-intended physicians concluded that opiates could be used safely to treat chronic noncancer pain, although these conclusions were not based on clinical studies. Thus began the rapid growth of opiate use for noncancer pain.” …

Yeah, because only cancer and terminal pain are deserving of treatment, right?  And while “experts” can keep claiming that treating chronic pain with opioids is not based on clinical studies, they never mention the reasons those studies haven’t been done:  Drug War.

“Opioids have been proven to be effective for treating pain during terminal illness, but not for treating chronic pain long-term without users facing the risk of overdose, dependency, or addiction,” said Tammy McCoy, RN, former SAIF medical services manager…

You know, there are risks for every medication you take, including over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol and cold medicine.  But dependency should not be seen as one of the risks, or else we would have to apply that to every single prescription medication used on a long-term basis.

First of all, if opiates are to be used for chronic noncancer pain, physicians need to assess the patient for risk factors, which include a history of smoking, family or personal history of substance abuse, history of sexual abuse, and a history of psychological disease.

Those risk factors discriminate against millions and millions of pain patients.

Dr. Wong added that physicians are learning more about when opioids can be most effective. For example, opioids have not proven useful for fibromyalgia, chronic axial low back, or headache, yet they are often prescribed in these cases…

It’s like those who work in the worker’s compensation industry believe that untreated pain will allow people to go back to work, when all it does is create more people on disability.  Of course, these patients will be disabled and no longer collecting worker’s comp, saving this industry lots and lots of money.

(6/12/2015) “Pill Mill” Crackdowns Create New Pain for Patients

In Florida, efforts to close overprescribing pain management centers has led to an 86 percent reduction in oxycodone-related deaths, a state news source reported in April. But the crackdown has since led to unintended problems for many of the state’s patients with legitimate medical need. One patient explained that she visited 14 different pharmacies before getting the pain medication prescribed by her doctor to treat two fractures in her shoulder, the result of a recent fall. Another patient described rationing her medication because she was concerned about being able to get the prescribed refill.

The problem stems in part from negative press coverage of DEA enforcement, which may lead pharmacies to refuse opioid pain medication prescriptions. One pharmacist reported denying at least 50 percent of pain medication prescriptions brought into his pharmacy. Further complicating matters, distributors are limiting the amount of controlled substances provided to any individual pharmacy. The situation led the Florida Board of Pharmacy to hold a special meeting on June 9 to discuss how to meet patients’ needs.

Florida patients are not alone. In Mobile, Alabama, a clinic shut down by the FBI left patients without treatment – and some without even their medical records, which they need to find a new physician. One patient described pain that made it difficult to pick up her two-year-old daughter and go about her day-to-day life. She has had to expand her search for a new doctor to a 100-mile radius. Other patients face the prospect of ending their medication regimen abruptly. As a Drug Education Council representative explained to a Mobile news station, “Some of these drugs are very hard to come off of cold turkey.”

“Very hard”?  That’s not how I would describe the hell of a cold-turkey detox.

For more on the unintended consequences of policies designed to curb prescription drug abuse, watch the Alliance for Patient Access’ “Preserving Patient Access While Curbing Abuse.”

I watched this video, which is a neurologist actually standing up for pain patients.  While I am wary and suspicious of any new group allegedly fighting for patients, this one doesn’t look too bad.  Still, it appears that PDMPs are here to stay, and if doctors really stood up for pain patients, they would be fighting against this blacklist.

Founded in 2006, the Alliance for Patient Access is a national network of physicians dedicated to ensuring patient access to approved therapies and appropriate clinical care. AfPA accomplishes this mission by recruiting, training and mobilizing policy-minded physicians to be effective advocates for patient access…

But as you can see, this group doesn’t include any input from pain patients.

(6/11/2015) Tackling prescription drug abuse

There are signs that strategies to address prescription drug abuse are starting to work but will an increase in illegal drug use be the payoff?

But regulators and doctors need to strike a balance between keeping the drugs away from those who might abuse them, and ensuring that they are available for patients who genuinely need them. Regulations, according to Boyd, run up against “a quality of life issue”. She says: “I would never want patients to not have access to these medications.” …

Already, the FDA has announced that generic versions of OxyContin cannot be sold without abuse-deterrent properties, and it looks like Health Canada is about to do the same. To clarify the situation for the pharmaceutical industry, in April 2015 the FDA released guidelines on how it will evaluate abuse deterrence, so that companies can put the claims on their labels. “I would like the majority of opioids to have abuse-deterrent formulations as soon as possible,” says Throckmorton…

Despite all these hurdles, it looks like the United States is slowly getting its prescription drug abuse epidemic under control. The number of overdose deaths from prescription drugs has levelled off since 2011, and seems to be on the decline.

Overdose deaths from some opioid painkillers also seem to have plateaued in the UK in the past few years, but the overall picture is less rosy. For example, deaths from tramadol overdose have seen a sharp increase. But there have been moves to get it under control. Tramadol was recently reclassified in the UK, which Stannard hopes will lead to more careful prescribing and a drop in the number people misusing it…

It may be too soon to celebrate though. As prescription opioids gained popularity among drug users over the past decades, rates of heroin use plummeted. But now, as authorities have cracked down, and prescription drugs such as OxyContin have become harder to get hold of and abuse, heroin is making a big comeback. The number of heroin overdose deaths in the United States increased fivefold between 2001 and 2013. “As opioid use has declined, opiate use in the form of heroin has increased,” says Boyd. “We are seeing an epidemic of heroin problems now.”

Achieving Balance in State Pain Policy (2013)

Click to access prc2013.pdf

Pain & Policy Studies Group
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Carbone Cancer Center

Jul 2014

Influence of Drug Abuse Control Policy (Page 11)

Such policies are intended to prevent illicit trafficking, drug abuse, and substandard practice related to prescribing and patient care. However, in some states these policies go well beyond the usual framework of controlled substances and professional practice policy, and can negatively affect legitimate healthcare practices and create undue burdens for practitioners and patients, resulting in interference with appropriate pain management. Examples of such policy language include:

-Limiting medication amounts that can be prescribed and dispensed for every patient,
-Unduly restricting the period for which prescriptions are valid;
-Unconditionally denying treatment access to patients with pain who also have a history of substance abuse;
-Requiring special government-issued prescription forms only for a certain class of
-Requiring opioids to be a treatment of last resort regardless of the clinical situation,
-Using outdated definitions that confuse physical dependence with addiction; and
-Defining “unprofessional conduct” to include “excessive” prescribing, without defining the
standard or criteria under which such a determination is made.

Further, policies that have been recommended to encourage appropriate pain management are frequently absent from state policies. For example, some states have not yet adopted policies recognizing that:

-Controlled substances are necessary for the public health (as does federal law);
-Pain management is an integral part of the practice of medicine…
-The legitimacy of a practitioner’s prescribing is not based solely on the amount or duration
of the prescription…
-Physicians should not fear regulatory sanctions for appropriately prescribing controlled
substances for pain…
-Physical dependence or tolerance are not synonymous with addiction…

This is the last report from this organization, which has apparently lost its funding.

Health Canada toughening prescription-narcotic warning labels to combat abuse

The changes include modifying the label of prescription opioids to remove “moderate” pain and clarify that the drugs should be reserved for “severe” pain only, Ambrose told delegates to the Canadian Medical Association’s general council meeting in Ottawa…

Who gets to determine whether your pain is moderate or severe?  Because there’s no test for that.  And if you suffer from moderate chronic pain, does that mean you don’t deserve access to opioids?

Meet the Reporter Behind That Bogus Chocolate Study

Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D., made headlines earlier this year with a “study” showing that chocolate helps people lose weight. Then, last month, John Bohannon, Ph.D., made even bigger headlines when he revealed that Johannes and his Institute of Diet and Health were merely constructs of a sting operation to show how bad science enters the mainstream…

Continue funding Vets4Warriors

For nearly 4 years, Vets4Warriors has been one of the only organizations in the country providing mental health peer support by veterans, for veterans and troops. The confidential program has helped thousands of our men and women in uniform connect with people who truly understand their hardships. It has saved many lives. Now, the Department of Defense (DoD) wants to stop funding Vets4Warriors just when it is needed most.

My name is Tess, and my partner is one of the amazing vets that provides peer counseling services through Vets4Warriors — a 24/7 anonymous hotline for troops in need. It has proven so important, because many veterans simply shut down around civilians who haven’t experienced what they have, and who haven’t personally struggled with war-related PTSD and other veteran-specific mental health issues. During the past 3 years, roughly 110,000 servicemen and women have opened up to counselors at Vets4Warriors. That averages 100 calls per day…

My partner, along with all the veterans who serve with passion at Vets4Warriors, is under contract and not allowed to speak up for the program — this is why I’m raising my voice, and why you should, too. A bipartisan group of respected lawmakers is already asking the DoD to reconsider its decision, but a show of support from people like you would go far to preserving Vets4Warriors, so it can continue to be there for the people who fight for our freedoms.

Rebekkah Martin BREWER, ME
As a funeral director, I have seen too many vets die senselessly due to PTSD. Please keep this program going.

Julie Knickerbocker SPRING, TX
In honor of my nephew Jordan who committed suicide.

Even though I posted a comment, it doesn’t show up.  Is it because I mentioned medical cannabis?  If my comment doesn’t show up, how many others don’t either?  I know a lot of people use, but I don’t trust that website.

Never trust an insurance company

Health insurance issuers must provide online access to a copy of the individual coverage policy for each plan or group certificate of coverage. These documents must be made publicly available to all potential consumers prior to when a consumer applies, so they are clearly informed about what a plan will and will not offer…

Have you ever tried to read an insurance policy?  It’s just a bunch of mumbo jumbo.

Under comments:

Carol Newman Otto · Works at Sabre Corporation
Its not shopping rates that is a problem. Its getting help when the insurance you select has a problem. I picked an insurance plan from the many available. I specifically asked if my doctor was on the plan. I was assured that she was. When I tried to make an appointment, I found out my doctor was not on the plan. I’ve contested it but it looks like its gonna take months to resolve this issue. In the meantime my medications need to be renewed and I’m gonna have to play hundreds of dollars to see my doctor, when an annual physical should be a covered expense. Frustrating!


“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.”  H. G. Wells

“Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don’t give up the fight.”  Bob Marley

(Photo taken 6/10/2015.)

No difference between dependence and addiction?

Alcohol use disorder as defined by a new diagnostic classification was widespread and often untreated in the United States, with a lifetime prevalence of 29.1 percent but only 19.8 percent of adults were ever treated, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry…

The changes in the diagnostic criteria included the elimination of separate abuse and dependence diagnoses, the combination of the criteria into a single alcohol use disorder diagnosis…

No difference between dependence and abuse?  To the medical industry, abuse means addiction.  And there is a difference between dependence and addiction.  For instance, diabetics are dependent on insulin, but not addicted to it.  Pretty soon, most of America will be diagnosed with an alcohol addiction.

Researcher Bridget F. Grant, Ph.D., of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., and coauthors…

Ah, well, that explains it.  When all you do is look for addiction, then you’re likely to find it everywhere.

Half of veterans who died from opioid overdoses also received benzos

In a recent study, nearly half of all veterans who died from drug overdoses while prescribed opioids for pain were also receiving benzodiazepines, or benzos, which are common medications for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia and alcohol withdrawal. Veterans prescribed higher doses of benzodiazepines while concurrently receiving opioids were at greater risk of overdose death than those on lower doses of benzodiazepines…

I think it’s odd that this study doesn’t include information about any of the other drugs these patients were taking.  The study didn’t include antidepressants, anti-psychotics, mood stabilizers, muscle relaxers, alcohol, or illegal drugs, even though it’s obvious that this group includes veterans who suffer from different mental illnesses. It also includes all opioids, from codeine to fentynal, as if these drugs worked in the same way.

The VA has been using opioids to treat PTSD, combining them with antidepressants, benzos and mood stabilizers, so it looks like not all of these veterans were strictly chronic pain patients. But with studies like this, I’d say the VA was coming for veterans’ benzos.

And isn’t it odd that the media and politicians rarely mention benzos when talking about the opioid “epidemic”?  No, only pain medications are criminalized.

We limited methadone prescriptions in this study to those prescribed to treat pain by excluding prescriptions in which dosing instructions indicated the methadone was prescribed for maintenance, oral or effervescent methadone formulations unless the dosing schedule indicated more than once a day dosing, or the dosing schedule was once a day unless the instructions indicated the methadone was prescribed for pain. Buprenorphine is not currently indicated for pain treatment in the VHA and was not included in this analysis…

Of the 422,786 veterans in the study population, 112,069 (27%) had filled at least one prescription for benzodiazepine during the study period. Those who received benzodiazepines were more likely to be women (33% of women v 26% of men received benzodiazepines), middle aged, white, and live in wealthier areas. Additionally, they were more likely to have had a recent hospital admission for mental health or substance use disorder, to have a diagnosis of a substance use disorder or several psychiatric disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, other anxiety disorders, depression, and bipolar or psychotic disorders, and to use other drugs...

Sorry Christians, I think this is hilarious

Christians against tattoos and piercings shared a post.
June 13 at 2:14pm ·
Can someone please help poor Jeffery. I’m currently deep in the heart of the amazon jungle educating uncontacted tribes on gods love and why they are all sinners in his eyes so I don’t think I will manage to get back to him in time before he becomes a fully fledged criminal.

Jeffrey Drake
So, I must confess, I recently got a tattoo. It was the worst mistake of my life. The second the tattooing needle touched my skin, I knew that something had died inside me… As if my soul withered and recoiled from my own body. Ever since returning home, I have had nothing but negativity and bad luck…

Here’s what’s listed as “facts” on this website:

Cannabis kills 40,000 people in the U.S. every year.

Tattooed parents are 400% more likely to introduce their children to drugs.