Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.



Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.



Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…


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UK HealthCare, the health system at the University of Kentucky, is dedicated to ensuring women of all ages learn to care for themselves throughout their lifespans. Through education and women-centric programs such as the Gill Heart & Vascular Institute’s Women’s Heart Health Program – which features female physicians, nurses and staff and high-tech interventions – and the UK Midwife Clinic, UK HealthCare strives to help women establish and maintain lifelong health.

The UK Well Woman Clinic at Women’s Health Primary Care, part of the Center for the Advancement of Women’s Health, provides comprehensive primary care services for women during all stages of life, by providing all age-appropriate exams and diagnostic testing in one convenient, half-day appointment. The clinic also encourages women to participate in the Women’s Health & You (WHY) research initiative, which helps advance knowledge and improve care of women.

The Active Women’s Health Initiative, started by Dr. Mary Lloyd Ireland, focuses on encouraging girls to begin creating a healthy lifestyle and keep at it as they grow up.

No. 1 cause of death for women isn’t what you think  

Many women believe their major health concern is breast cancer, but the truth is heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States. And Kentucky women are at a much higher risk for


developing cardiovascular disease than women in other states. Women need to know their risk factors for heart disease, such as having diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle and using tobacco.

Most of the population has attributable risk, said Dr. Gretchen Wells, medical director of the Women’s Heart Health Program. “Within the population, over 90 percent of the cardiac disease could be reduced or eliminated by controlling those risk factors.”

It’s relatively easy to start on the road to cardiac health. Women are encouraged to:

Also, women should be active for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, whether that includes brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming or other forms of exercise. Physical activity lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, aids with weight loss, improves sleep and can reduce depression, another major issue impacting women’s health.

Perhaps the most important action women can take – not only for their heart and their overall health – is to quit smoking. According to the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute, within a year of quitting, your risk of heart attack declines by 50 percent. If you need help quitting, ask your primary care provider for information about smoking cessation programs.

Get screened

Cancer screening is another important way for women to stay on top of their health, said Valeria Moore, BSN, RN, Gynecologic Oncology practice manager at the UK Markey Cancer Center.

“We offer women education about the importance of timely screening,” she said. “A lot of women don’t realize what kind of screening they need at what age. It’s important to talk to your primary care physician to see what screenings you should be getting.”

The UK Markey Cancer Center Ovarian Cancer Screening Program, which began in 1987, provides free annual sonographic ovarian screenings to women across Kentucky with the goal of detecting cancer early.

“More than 48,000 women have received a free ovarian cancer screening through our program,” Moore said. “We love serving women and making a difference in their lives and in their treatment.”

Making childbirth beautiful

Pregnant women find support before and during labor and after giving birth at the UK Midwife Clinic. They are empowered to create a meaningful, beautiful birthing experience for themselves. “Women are becoming very educated about what their options are for gynecological care and also prenatal care and birth,” said Dolores (Dee) Polito, APRN, CNM, MSN, director and chief midwife at the clinic. “Women who are healthy and want to have more decision-making ability about their birth experience often choose a midwife.”

But midwives aren’t only on the scene during labor and delivery. “Midwives are experts in women’s health,” Polito said. “It’s much more than pregnancy that we tend to. We are primary care providers for women. We take care of women’s needs all throughout the reproductive life span.”


Here are some more tips for women who want to take charge of their health:

Whatever you need to keep yourself healthy and active, you’ll find just the right information and support at UK HealthCare. Visit www.ukhealthcare.uky.edu to learn more.