Taking Charge of Your Health

Neal Howard: Welcome to the program. I’m your host Neal Howard here on Health Professional
Radio, glad that you could join us today. I am going to have a conversation with a woman
who’s got a distinguished practice. She’s a chemist and a pharmacist joining us
today to talk about some of the myths, some of the facts surrounding essential oils and
supplements as well as their benefits. Please welcome to the program Dr. Lindsey
Elmore, welcome. Dr Lindsey Elmore: Thank you so much for having
me here today. Neal: Now as a chemist and a pharmacist, give
us just a bit of your background and let’s talk about essential oils and other supplements. Dr Elmore: So I am originally from Birmingham,
Alabama. I have a degree in chemistry from the University
of Alabama Birmingham and then I have my Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of California,
San Francisco. Did two years Post-Doc, one in Internal Medicine
and then my second year Post-Doc was in Ambulatory Care. And when I was in Ambulatory Care, I saw patients
with the disease states that everybody has diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, asthma,
COPD and I would sit with patients and we would aim to change their life. How do we make them healthier people? And one of the things that became very frustrating
for me as a pharmacist is people say they want to change their life but then they don’t
really take any action to empower those choices. And so I started just giving people other
options and I started doing tons of research about essential oils, herb supplements, their
interactions with medications, their interactions with disease states because I felt like there
was a relative lack of understanding among healthcare providers about how do we, if we
choose to, integrate these two worlds. And I felt that patients were asking the questions
and not finding answers and so I went about trying to find the best answers that I could
and sometimes those answers are “Hey there’s great evidence.” Sometimes those answers are “There’s really
not good evidence at all.” So that’s a bit of my background and now I
speak and teach people about essential oils online and on stages around world. Neal: So how do you end up talking to your
patients about these alternative medicines, these
essential oils and other supplements? And you’re a pharmacist but you’re talking
about herbs and some of these other things that could be considered alternative? How do you get that conversation started and
build some trust in this alternative? Dr Elmore: Sure. So one of the things that I think is so important
for healthcare professionals is we must ask our patients about alternative medicines because
a lot of the times, especially in varieties of cultures and races and ethnicities – people
are shy about telling you what kind of herbs and supplements that they’re using. So step one, we as professionals have to say
“Tell me more. I see that you listed these medicines here,
do you take any herbs? Any supplements, any remedies that your mother
gave to you?” Ask it in a wide variety of ways because once
we get the patient talking, then we will open up the conversation and the dialogue. And then once you have that dialogue open,
it’s so important to be respectful and non-judgmental. I think it’s a tragedy when patients walk
in to their primary care provider or their family medicine doctor or even a dentist or
whoever, and they say “Hey I’ve got this bottle of supplements and I’m thinking about
taking it. What do you think Doc?” When they are met with utter resistance and
told like “Oh it doesn’t work,” “Oh don’t try it,” “I don’t know anything
about it. It might be dangerous.” That’s not doing them fair justice as a patient. They are are taking a step to say “Hey,
I’m empowering my own wellness.” And so we’ve got to be respectful and non-judgmental. And then I think that the other thing that
we have to do is explain the science that we know when we don’t know, say that if you’ve
never heard of these herbs and supplements, then just say that and that’s okay. But then, commit to doing a bit of research,
be it following somebody as simple as me on my blog and just say “Hmm I wonder if there
are some writings about this.” Or it’s simply looking up that supplement
online while they’re in your office. I know when I was when I was practicing pharmacy,
patients would bring me medications all the time directly from the shelves and they say
“How do I take this?” I can’t tell you how many times I just turned
the bottle around and read the instructions to them. And so once we open dialogue, are respectful
of the patient’s choices, explain what we know, then we are at a point when we can collaborate
with them. If you’ve got a patient on a blood thinning
medicine and they bring you a supplement that has garlic and gingko and you just go”Wow
this is a lot of drug interactions going on.” If they’re
committed and they’re like “Doc I’m going to take this no matter what you say.” Then it’s up to you as a care provider to
say “Alright, well then that means that for the next six weeks I need you to commit
to taking it every day and I need you to commit to coming in and getting your INR
checked more frequently.” That collaboration and that compromise and
negotiation is how we can empower our patients to safely use herbs and supplements and essential
oils alongside their medicine and it also helps you as a
care provider know that you are doing what you are mandated by your license, by your
ethics and principles to take care of that person. Neal: Would you say that you are an alternative
pharmacist, in that you try to integrate as opposed to eliminate one or the other? Dr Elmore: I think that there is a place for
herbs, supplements, natural remedies and I think that there is definitely a place for
medication. I am not someone who is going to say “There’s
only this one way.” My opinion on everything in life, not just
healthcare, but on everything is ‘there is no right choice, there is no wrong choice.’ There is only the choice that you make and
if that for some people means “I’m going to
take every medicine that I’m given. I’m never going to use an alternative. I’m never going to explore. I’m never going to change my diet.” That’s one choice. On the absolute opposite end of the spectrum
are the people that say “You know what, I am never going to take a medicine. I don’t care if my blood pressure is high,
I’m going to get some magnesium supplements and I’m going to start meditating and I’m
going to eliminate caffeine from my diet and that’s going to be my choice.” I think both of those are valid. I certainly am against the culture of shame
within the natural product community and I’m a very avidly
outspoken about it among my peers is if you’re in this community and somebody gets a rip-roaring
pneumonia and chooses to take an antibiotic or if someone gets terrible postpartum depression
and chooses to take an antidepressant – that is their choice and that is totally a valid
voice. I think that there is room for conventional
approaches and I think that both are valid solutions to help. Neal: Where can we go and learn more online
about your point of view and about the essential oils as they relate to our wellness
overall? Dr Elmore: Absolutely. So you can find me online at You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram
@lindseyelmore. Neal: Thank you so much for coming in and
speaking with us today Dr. Elmore, it’s been a pleasure. Dr Elmore: Absolutely. It was my joy and my honor and I hope that
everyone takes away, just one small thing to help improve their practice. Thank you. Neal: You’ve been listening to Health Professional
Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. Transcripts and audio of this program are
available at and also at Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, listen
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