Blog – Holistic Medicine for Stress,Trauma & Chronic Illness – Portland,OR

In this article I want to help you to get to know your heart. Knowing more about your heart (specifically your heart rate variability) can improve your awareness of how stressors impact your mind and body. To evaluate the health of your heart and nervous system, you just need a heart rate variability monitor (typically […]

I have studied nutrition for many years starting in my youth and then formally in my undergraduate degree and yet did not come across much about the potential deleterious effects of anti-nutrients such as phytic acid in grains, beans, nuts, seeds and some other plant foods. (An antinutrient is a component in food that limits […]

Herbalists speak of the different effects of plant parts and generally ascribe mentally and emotionally uplifting properties to flowers. Many of our key herbs used to alleviate anxiety and depression (and other mental health conditions) are derived from flowers: Chamomile, Lavendar, Lemon Balm, Linden flower, Magnolia, Passionflower, St. John’s Wort, Saffron (Crocus) and Skullcap are […]

Chocolate can nurture and nourishes. It is derived from the cacao tree (Theobroma cacoa). The word Theobroma means ‘food of the gods’. Americans consume, on average, 11 pounds of chocolate per person per year and we are ranked as the 5th major consumer of chocolate worldwide. Research on the health benefits of chocolate shows it […]

Chronic Stress In a prior blog post, I wrote about managing stress and gave some tips for gaining control and a greater sense of calm when facing short-term stress, but what about stress that is unrelenting or chronic? How does one maintain health with persistent exposure to stress? The short answer is that one typically […]

Stress is pervasive and has significant psychological and physiological effects.  Stress breaks down the immune barrier and integrity of the GI tract, leads to imbalances in hormones (the HPATG axis (Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Adrenal, Thyroid and Gonads (Sex hormones)) and can have a deleterious effect on sleep (can contribute to insomnia) to name but a few. […]

With more use of devices and longer, darker nights, our circadian rhythms are more vulnerable. Those suffering from bipolar disorder, insomnia or sleep disorders and those who work shifts (shift work disorder) are some of the most affected. Here are a couple of interesting and relevant articles from the news this week:   If you […]

Diagnosis & Treatment Series II In the second post of the Diagnosis & Treatment blog series, I want to discuss beets. This vegetable is currently in season and possesses a host of health benefits, but is also very useful diagnostically (you can engage in some diagnosis yourself at home with the information that follows (ideally […]

Diagnosis & Treatment Series I Defining Reactions to Food Reactions to food are increasingly common and fall into a couple of categories: immune mediated (known as food allergies or food sensitivities) and non-immune mediated (often referred to as food intolerances). These non-immune mediated responses can include reactions to a variety of food compounds or additives […]

This post is to update my current and future patients and readers that I recently attended a five-day intensive continuing medical education course offered by The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), located in Federal Way, Washington. Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice addresses one of the key issues in healthcare practice today – improving the […]

Depression Archives – Page 2 of 2 – A Healthy State of Mind

Micronutrients in Mental Health Series III Folic acid has been widely researched for the treatment of depression. In this post we will continue our Micronutrients in Mental Health Series, covering the 3rd nutrient implicated in depression and anemia with our discussion of folate. The name ‘folate’ is derived from the Latin ‘folium’ which means foliage, […]

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports month, and with the warmer days and more sun, it hopefully is easier for people to get motivated to move! Doctors have a tendency to overlook or understate the value of exercise in being busy to find the best treatment(s) for a patient’s ills, but the effects of […]

Antidepressant-induced hypomania or mania is defined as a short-term reaction to medication. This phenomenon, referred to as “switching”, occurs within 2 months of treatment initiation (if it occurs).1  Antidepressants can also cause long-term mood destabilization in bipolar treatment even in the absence of a short-term manic or bipolar switch.1,2  Properly diagnosing bipolar disorder is challenging […]

Circadian rhythm imbalances are at the root of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), a number of sleep disorders, jet lag, some cases of Attention Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder and Shift Work Disorder (a circadian rhythm sleep disorder). (For more on how to address S.A.D, see my blog post  entitled ‘How to keep the Winter Blues at Bay‘. ) […]

Press

Wild Food: Using Nutrition and Herbs to Boost Resilience and Mitigate Stress. Co-presented with Michael Tims, Ph.D. Centile Conference-Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C.

Changing Moods, Changing Seasons. Chronotherapeutic approaches for Depression (Seasonal, Bipolar Unipolar). Presented at Multnomah Athletic Club. Portland, OR.

Fry MR, Harrison DA. Psychiatry and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Presented at Psychiatric Resident Senior Seminar University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Integrative Approaches to Managing Anxiety & Depression. Presented at Integrative Mental Health Care of Oregon (IMHCO) Public Lecture Series. Salem, OR.

Cooking for Health! Webinar presented for the American College of Healthcare Sciences Master Lectures Webinar Series. Press

Teleconference: The Anti-inflammatory Life – American College of Healthcare Sciences.

Integrative medicine-Naturopathic Practice panel. Presented at Family Medicine Residency Seminars Oregon Health & Science University. Portland, OR.

Fry MR, Bulbotz M, Friedman S, Misra S. Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by Psychiatric patients. Presented at the Psychiatric Grand Rounds of Oregon Health & Science University. Portland, OR.

Events

Event Table at Rethinking Psychiatry Weekend.  Portland, OR.  Community Event Featuring Robert Whitaker (author of Anatomy of an Epidemic:Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America).

Natural Psychiatry Information Booth with S. Goldsmith, M.D. Green Sprouts Organic Baby and Family Festival. Portland, OR.

Publications

Contributor to Seasonal Affective Disorder Chapter in:  

Prevention (Eds.).(2017). The Doctors Book of Natural Healing Remedies. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press.

Fry, M. (2012, Jun. 27). Tipping the Scales in Favor of Collaboration. [Blog]. Mad In America

Fry MR, McFarland BH. Length of stay as a performance measure in substance abuse treatment (Poster Presentation & Abstract). 136th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association. San Diego, CA.

Interviews

Razdan, A. (2016, Apr.). What Your Body is Trying to Tell You, Part 2. Experience Life. [Interviewed for Publication]

Dr. Mary Fry on Seasonal Depression. Healthwatch- KBOO
Radio Interview. Audio file archived at KBOO FM

Read Dr. Fry’s blog.

Welcome to A Healthy State of Mind (AHSOM) Blog

In this blog, we will be regularly posting material to inform our readers about mental health issues and naturopathic approaches to treating mental illness. While our focus is mental health care, it has been our experience that a number of physical health conditions can cause, contribute to, or result from, mental health complaints. Thus you will see postings covering a range of physical and mental health topics along with information on naturopathic modalities. I hope that you find the blog informative. If you know of others who could benefit from it, please let them know.

Mary Fry, ND completed a National Institute of Health post-doctorate in the Department of Psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University. She is an Associate Professor in the Nutrition & Integrative Health Department at Maryland University of Integrative Health, lectures and writes on topics of Nutrition, Naturopathic and Functional Medicine and practices in Oregon.

Stress Archives – A Healthy State of Mind

In this article I want to help you to get to know your heart. Knowing more about your heart (specifically your heart rate variability) can improve your awareness of how stressors impact your mind and body. To evaluate the health of your heart and nervous system, you just need a heart rate variability monitor (typically […]

Chronic Stress In a prior blog post, I wrote about managing stress and gave some tips for gaining control and a greater sense of calm when facing short-term stress, but what about stress that is unrelenting or chronic? How does one maintain health with persistent exposure to stress? The short answer is that one typically […]

This post is to update my current and future patients and readers that I recently attended a five-day intensive continuing medical education course offered by The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), located in Federal Way, Washington. Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice addresses one of the key issues in healthcare practice today – improving the […]

With a New Year upon us, many are inclined to set resolutions for the year ahead – many of which relate to health. To ensure that your goals (health or otherwise) are more realistic and successful, I wanted to share with you about ‘SMART’ goals. The goal setting tools that it provides, coupled with the […]

‘Sensitivity’ can be a loaded term in our culture and has a number of connotations, many not very positive. Elaine Aron, Ph.D., author of The Highly Sensitive Person book, defines a sensitive person as one who is aware of subtleties in their surroundings, more readily overwhelmed after being in a stimulating environment for too long […]

The holidays are a time of increased stress for many and as year-end tasks pile up, it can make it challenging to get the support and perspective one needs to re-prioritize. As stress can be cumulative, and is also hard to objectify, I think that introducing a scale to assess the burden of stress in […]

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports month, and with the warmer days and more sun, it hopefully is easier for people to get motivated to move! Doctors have a tendency to overlook or understate the value of exercise in being busy to find the best treatment(s) for a patient’s ills, but the effects of […]

Anxiety Archives – A Healthy State of Mind

In this article I want to help you to get to know your heart. Knowing more about your heart (specifically your heart rate variability) can improve your awareness of how stressors impact your mind and body. To evaluate the health of your heart and nervous system, you just need a heart rate variability monitor (typically […]

Chocolate can nurture and nourishes. It is derived from the cacao tree (Theobroma cacoa). The word Theobroma means ‘food of the gods’. Americans consume, on average, 11 pounds of chocolate per person per year and we are ranked as the 5th major consumer of chocolate worldwide. Research on the health benefits of chocolate shows it […]

Micronutrients in Mental Health Series II Vitamin B12 is nutrient is critical in proper mental functioning and overall health.  If intake or absorption of vitamin B12 is insufficient, a wide array of psychiatric (anxiety, depression, psychosis to name a few), cognitive (memory loss and confusion) and gastrointestinal (constipation and low stomach acid) can result. Vegetarians and […]

Sleep is something so many take for granted and yet sleep problems or insomnia affects a large proportion of the population, 22.1% by recent estimates .  Untreated insomnia can lead to psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression and insomnia commonly occurs in those with psychiatric disorders. Treating the underlying psychiatric disorder will generally improve […]

Recent evidence suggests that the status of our gastrointestinal (gut) flora may affect mood and behavior. This evidence, derived from a study conducted by Bravo et al. and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that bacteria in the gut can communicate with the brain and vice-versa via the vagus nerve1. […]

Well it is hard to not notice the collective stir around love & relationship in February and it prompted me to reflect on the power of relationship to heal. This power is undoubtedly important in any healing dynamic (doctor-patient relationship), but as Dr. Heron so aptly states, perhaps even more so when one suffers from […]

‘Sensitivity’ can be a loaded term in our culture and has a number of connotations, many not very positive. Elaine Aron, Ph.D., author of The Highly Sensitive Person book, defines a sensitive person as one who is aware of subtleties in their surroundings, more readily overwhelmed after being in a stimulating environment for too long […]

The holidays are a time of increased stress for many and as year-end tasks pile up, it can make it challenging to get the support and perspective one needs to re-prioritize. As stress can be cumulative, and is also hard to objectify, I think that introducing a scale to assess the burden of stress in […]

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports month, and with the warmer days and more sun, it hopefully is easier for people to get motivated to move! Doctors have a tendency to overlook or understate the value of exercise in being busy to find the best treatment(s) for a patient’s ills, but the effects of […]

Functional Medicine at A Healthy State of Mind

This post is to update my current and future patients and readers that I recently attended a five-day intensive continuing medical education course offered by The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), located in Federal Way, Washington. Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice addresses one of the key issues in healthcare practice today – improving the management of complex, chronic disease. IFM programs utilize the emerging research base to identify effective interventions and to train physicians and other providers to integrate those approaches for the benefit of their patients.

The training that I completed involves understanding the etiology, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease. It is an integrative, science-based healthcare approach that treats illness and promotes wellness by focusing assessment on the biochemically unique aspects of each patient, and then individually tailoring interventions to restore physiological, psychological and structural balance. I have been teaching with some of their tools and approach in my work as an Associate Professor at Maryland University of Integrative Health (Department of Nutrition & Integrative Health) so steeping myself in this training for five days was a wonderful opportunity for both my teaching and practice.

With research estimates of 70-90% of the risk of chronic disease attributable to diet/lifestyle, what you eat, how you exercise, what your spiritual practices are, how much stress you live with (and how you handle it) are all elements that are vital to address. This has been an emphasis in my practice since its inception, and with this training, and work towards becoming a IFM-certified practitioner ongoing, I look forward to honing my ability to deliver comprehensive, cutting-edge and personalized interventions and case management.

Mary Fry, ND completed a National Institute of Health post-doctorate in the Department of Psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University. She is an Associate Professor in the Nutrition & Integrative Health Department at Maryland University of Integrative Health, lectures and writes on topics of Nutrition, Naturopathic and Functional Medicine and practices in Oregon.

Flowers- Powerful Healing for the Psyche

Herbalists speak of the different effects of plant parts and generally ascribe mentally and emotionally uplifting properties to flowers. Many of our key herbs used to alleviate anxiety and depression (and other mental health conditions) are derived from flowers: Chamomile, Lavendar, Lemon Balm, Linden flower, Magnolia, Passionflower, St. John’s Wort, Saffron (Crocus) and Skullcap are among some of the more commonly used flowers for mental health conditions.

I will highlight some of the key therapeutic effects and research on flowers in addressing mental health conditions (and allied/concomitant health issues) below:

Lavendar (Lavandula angustifolia) is a marvelous herb to calm and a specific essential oil preparation of Lavendar (taken orally) has been shown to possess clinically significant benefits in subsyndromal (or subthreshold) anxiety and anxiety-associated sleep impairments.1 Inhalation of lavender essential oil can help with acute anxiety (inhaling into the left nostril will help facilitate a shift in the overly dominant right to left-brain firing that can occur in anxiety). 2

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a wonderful antidepressant herb that helps to sharpen focus, improve concentration and uplift those with apathy, melancholy or an inability to experience joy (anhedonia). It can be helpful in cases of hyperthyroidism as well.3

Linden Flower (Tilia spp.) is relaxing to the heart and blood vessels and thus is useful in stress-related hypertension or high blood pressure and heart palpitations resulting from stress and arrhythmia. It eases anxiety and can be effective in panic attacks. 3

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is a mild sedative, anxiolytic (eases anxiety) and antidepressant. It can be particularly helpful in cases where there is muscle tension and cramping and when it is hard to get one’s mind to shut down and relax. I often recommend it singly, or in combination with other herbs that settle the nervous system and help to support sleep and mood.3

Saffron (Crocus sativus) has been studied in 8 different clinical trials comparing saffron to antidepressant drugs. The results of these trials showed that saffron can be as effective as antidepressant medications.4 Furthermore it offers efficacy with fewer reported side effects than many antidepressant medications currently in use.5

In addition to the herbs mentioned above, there is merit to including edible flowers (nasturtiums, borage and pansies to name a few) in teas, salads and as a garnish to your dishes, bathing in flowers, using essential oils topically and in your home and keeping fresh flowers in your home or garden.

Flower essences, energetic preparations of flowers, are particularly therapeutic for easing transitions in the psyche and spirit and a number of homeopathic remedies that have potent effects on the mind (and body) are prepared from flowers. They each warrant a more in-depth discussion on their effects- stay tuned for this in future blog posts.

Please note that though herbs have a wide margin of safety, they are not without potential safety issues and are thus best selected and taken under medical supervision or the supervision of a practitioner skilled in herbal medicine.

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References:

1Möller, H.J., Volz, H.P., Dienel, A., Schläfke, S. & Kasper, S. (2017). Efficacy of Silexan in subthreshold anxiety: meta-analysis of randomised, placebo-controlled trials. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00406-017-0852-4

2Chui, T. (2017). Using the Senses to Improve Genetic Expression. Interpreting Your Genetics Summit. Evolution of Medicine. Retrieved from http://geneticssummit.com

3Stansbury, J. (2017). Mastering Herbs Nervines [PowerPoint Recording]. Retrieved from Online Web site: https://www.naturopathicce.com/course/mastering-herbs-nervines/

4Moshiri, M., Vahabzadeh, M. & Hosseinzadeh, H. (2015). Clinical Applications of Saffron (Crocus sativus) and its Constituents: A Review. Drug Research, 65(6), 2867-95. [Abstract]

5Shaflee, M., Arekhi, S., Omranzadeh, A., & Sahebkar, A. (2018). Saffron in the treatment of depression, anxiety and other mental disorders: Current evidence and potential mechanisms of action. Journal of Affective Disorders, 227, 330-337. [Abstract]

Blog – Holistic Medicine for Stress,Trauma & Chronic Illness – Portland,OR

Well the time for spreading holiday cheer has come! To keep the holidays spirited and healthy, I thought that I would share some tips and counsel about how to indulge healthily this season (limiting the ill effects of alcohol and exploring bitters, verjus, non alcoholic mocktails). And in case you overdo it, I discuss the […]

Micronutrients in Mental Health Series III Folic acid has been widely researched for the treatment of depression. In this post we will continue our Micronutrients in Mental Health Series, covering the 3rd nutrient implicated in depression and anemia with our discussion of folate. The name ‘folate’ is derived from the Latin ‘folium’ which means foliage, […]

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports month, and with the warmer days and more sun, it hopefully is easier for people to get motivated to move! Doctors have a tendency to overlook or understate the value of exercise in being busy to find the best treatment(s) for a patient’s ills, but the effects of […]

Antidepressant-induced hypomania or mania is defined as a short-term reaction to medication. This phenomenon, referred to as “switching”, occurs within 2 months of treatment initiation (if it occurs).1  Antidepressants can also cause long-term mood destabilization in bipolar treatment even in the absence of a short-term manic or bipolar switch.1,2  Properly diagnosing bipolar disorder is challenging […]

Signs of spring are starting to show – with bulbs pushing through the soil and buds on trees forming. With the first day of spring still a few weeks away, now is the time to plan for a spring cleanse. Cleansing has been performed for centuries, but is perhaps all the more important in our […]

Circadian rhythm imbalances are at the root of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), a number of sleep disorders, jet lag, some cases of Attention Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder and Shift Work Disorder (a circadian rhythm sleep disorder). (For more on how to address S.A.D, see my blog post  entitled ‘How to keep the Winter Blues at Bay‘. ) […]

Nutrition Archives – A Healthy State of Mind

I have studied nutrition for many years starting in my youth and then formally in my undergraduate degree and yet did not come across much about the potential deleterious effects of anti-nutrients such as phytic acid in grains, beans, nuts, seeds and some other plant foods. (An antinutrient is a component in food that limits […]

Diagnosis & Treatment Series II In the second post of the Diagnosis & Treatment blog series, I want to discuss beets. This vegetable is currently in season and possesses a host of health benefits, but is also very useful diagnostically (you can engage in some diagnosis yourself at home with the information that follows (ideally […]

Diagnosis & Treatment Series I Defining Reactions to Food Reactions to food are increasingly common and fall into a couple of categories: immune mediated (known as food allergies or food sensitivities) and non-immune mediated (often referred to as food intolerances). These non-immune mediated responses can include reactions to a variety of food compounds or additives […]

This post is to update my current and future patients and readers that I recently attended a five-day intensive continuing medical education course offered by The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), located in Federal Way, Washington. Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice addresses one of the key issues in healthcare practice today – improving the […]

Micronutrients in Mental Health Series II Vitamin B12 is nutrient is critical in proper mental functioning and overall health.  If intake or absorption of vitamin B12 is insufficient, a wide array of psychiatric (anxiety, depression, psychosis to name a few), cognitive (memory loss and confusion) and gastrointestinal (constipation and low stomach acid) can result. Vegetarians and […]

Micronutrients in Mental Health Series I The role of optimal nutrition in depression, and a number of other mental health conditions, is often overlooked, but plays a critical role in health and well-being. Iron deficiency, even without being diagnosed with anemia, can lead to low energy, fatigue and depression.  Many of my patients who have […]

Happy New Year! I hope that it is a healthy and prosperous one. In thinking of what health information would help your New Year start off on the right foot, I thought of health habits that while simple, can make a big difference in overall health. One of the most important health habits to adopt in […]

The critical role of diet in mental health In naturopathic school, I tired of hearing, no matter what the health complaint, ‘Treat the Gut’! At first it was a little hard to swallow that one’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract could affect so much.  I must say that this is now much easier to swallow now after […]

Have you ever gone to your doctor feeling that something was off, but testing revealed that ‘nothing’ was wrong? At least nothing according to conventional medical diagnosis of disease and interpretation of laboratory (lab) test results? In naturopathic and functional medicine, however, we are taught to order lab testing (along with an in-depth physical exam […]

Have often have you heard, if you eat a balanced diet, you will obtain all of the nutrients that you need? But what is a balanced diet? And in an age where our food quality is often poorer than that of our ancestors due to loss of nutrients with shipping and storage, modern agricultural practices […]