Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, May 18, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, May 18, 2013 



Dear Savvy Senior: Are herbal supplements safe 
for seniors who are taking other prescription medications? 
I have a friend who swears by them, but I 
want to be sure before I take anything new. Cautious 

Dear Carol:

Herbal supplements have become increasingly 
popular in recent years as millions of Americans 
are looking for natural and more affordable ways 
to improve their health. But, it’s important to 
know that many herbs can also cause side effects 
and can interact with prescription medications, 
especially if you have hypertension, diabetes, kidney 
disease or liver problems. 

While the Food and Drug Administration does 
regulate herbal supplements, they don’t get the 
same scientific scrutiny that medications do. 
Herbal supplement manufacturers do not have to 
get FDA approval, and they don’t have to prove 
a product’s safety and effectiveness before it’s 

So, before you start taking any new supplement, 
no matter how natural or harmless it may seem, 
you need to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to 
make sure it’s safe for you. 

In the meantime, here are a few popular herbs 
you should know about that can cause problems 
when taken with certain medications. 

Aloe Vera: Used on your skin, aloe vera is perfectly 
safe. But taken orally as a laxative, it may 
interact with blood sugar-lowering medicines 
used to treat diabetes.

Ginger: A gram or so of powdered ginger can 
help ease nausea, but it can also interfere with 
anticoagulant (blood thinning) medications like 
warfarin and even aspirin. And, if taken in large 
quantities could interfere with cardiac, diabetes 
and blood pressure meds.

Garlic: Marketed as a pill, capsule or powder to 
lower blood pressure and cholesterol, garlic acts 
as a blood thinner. So, if you’re taking an anticoagulant, 
use with caution because garlic can 
make your blood too thin increasing the risk of 
excessive bleeding.

Ginkgo: Taken to help boost memory and prevent 
dementia, as well as treat a variety of other 
ailments, this popular supplement can also raise 
your risk of bleeding when combined with blood 
thinning medications. It can also counteract the 
blood pressure lowering effect of thiazide diuretic 
drugs and can interfere with anti-seizure medications 
and insulin used to treat diabetes. 

Ginseng: Taken primarily to improve overall 
health and boost the immune system, this herb 
can reduce concentrations of the anticoagulant 
drug warfarin and can interact with some antidepressant 
medications too. People with diabetes 
should also use extra caution with ginseng if they 
are taking medicine to lower blood sugar.

Kava: Promoted as a treatment to curb anxiety 
and stress, kava has been reported to cause liver 
damage, including hepatitis and liver failure. It 
can also interfere with antipsychotic and Parkinson’s 
medications, can thin the blood and should 
not be taken with anticoagulants, and can cause 
drowsiness so it should not be taken in combination 
with any sedatives. 

Licorice Root: Taken for ulcers, bronchitis and 
sore throat, licorice root can cause high blood 
pressure and salt and water retention, raising the 
risk of heart problems. It can also thin the blood 
and should not be used with blood thinning 

St. John’s wort: Marketed as an aid to treat depression, 
Saint John’s wort can reduce the effectiveness 
of a number of prescription medications 
including anticoagulants, antidepressants, 
seizure-control drugs and certain cancer drugs. 

Zinc: Taken as a defense against colds, excess 
zinc can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, 
stomach cramps, diarrhea and headaches. It can 
also interact with a variety of prescription drugs, 
including antibiotics and hypertension meds.

To get more information on the safety, side effects 
and effectiveness of these and many other 
herbal remedies, visit the Memorial Sloan-Kettering 
Cancer Center site on herbs, botanicals 
and supplements at, and see the 
National Center for Complementary and Alternative 
Medicine “Herbs at a Glance” Web page at

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 
5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim 
Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author 
of “The Savvy Senior” book.


By Pat Birdsall


 No matter your age, there are joys to be had on the dating scene. Dating can be intimidating, but 
it may seem even more so if you haven’t been on the dating scene for a long, long time. However, here 
are some tips that may help you get back out there.

 Where to Meet People- 1) Friends and family are great sources for introducing you to new people. 
They know about your personality and interests and can connect you with people who they know 
you might have things in common with you. 2) Shared interests or hobbies are another way to meet 
people. You can meet someone at church, through political events, recreational sports or by joining 
various clubs. 3) Online dating services are an option for people of all ages…including seniors 
and there are a lot of sites that have been established to connect interested seniors. If you are not 
comfortable with computer use, you can take a computer class, get help at the library or ask your 
family. You do have to exhibit caution but you can have access to a wide variety of people this way. 4) 
Offline dating services consist of matchmakers who personally select people for you to meet. These 
services may also plan mixers or other social events that allow you to meet a variety of people at one 
time. Many people consider the process safe and efficient.

 What to do on Dates- 1) Group dates are for those who are not ready to go on a one-on-one date. 
It’s a good way to get to know someone while in the company of other people you feel comfortable 
around. Dating destinations can have a wide range of options. Seniors can do a hobby that both 
enjoy as a date. For example, if both like to golf, make a date out of the day and include lunch or 
dinner. A church picnic or going to an event or performance are other options to consider. Going to 
a movie or a concert can be fun for a senior couple as well. Other dates for seniors include visiting 
a museum or art gallery, going on a walk in a local park, taking dance lessons or going to a wine 
tasting event.

 Be careful and take a chance…you might meet someone wonderful!

HELPFUL HINT: When heating leftovers in the microwave, space out a circle in the 
middle of the food being heated and it will heat more evenly. 



 Harvey and Gladys are getting ready for bed. Gladys is standing in front of her full-length mirror, 
taking a long, hard look at herself. “You know, Harvey,” she comments. “I stare into this mirror and 
see an ancient creature. My face is all wrinkled, my boobs sag so much they dangle to my waist, my 
arms and legs are as flabby as popped balloons, and my butt looks like a sad, deflated version of the 
Hindenburg!” She turns to her husband and says, “Dear, please tell me just one positive about my 
body so I can feel better about myself.” Harvey studies Gladys critically for a moment and says in a 
soft, thoughtful voice, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight.” He never heard the shot…

 ~ ~ ~

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! … May Birthdays


JoAnn Serrato-Chi, Harriett Lyle, Jean Coleman, Birgitta Gerlinger, Donna Mathisen, 
Dorothy Murphy, Linda Wochnik, Marian Woodford, Debbie Sheridan, Joanne Anthony, 
Carole Axline, Kika Downey, Shirley Hall, Annie Scalzo, Janet Ten Eyck and Jayne Thomas. 

* To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not 


Quote of the Week: 

 Life is too short to drink the house wine. ~HelenThomas


ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the Hart Park 
House (Senior Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre


 YMCA San Gabriel Valley Intervale Senior Café: Monday-Friday at 12:00 Noon 

(Participants are urged to arrive no later than 11:45 A.M.) 

 All seniors 60 and up can take part in the lunch program. There is a suggested donation of $2.00 
for those 60 and over and $3.75 for non-senior guests. Daily reservations are necessary as space is 
limited. Please call 24 hours in advance...626.355.0256

Free Blood Pressure Testing: On the 2nd Tuesday of the month 11:00 am-12:00 pm: A nurse from 
Methodist Hospital, Arcadia volunteers to do the readings. No appointment necessary.


Bingo: Every Tuesday afternoon from 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm Cards are only .25c each! 

Free Legal Consultation: Pasadena attorney Geoffrey Chin volunteers on the 2nd Wednesday of 
the month. He focuses on estate planning, trusts, wills, probate, conservatorships and business law. 
*Appointments are a must! Please call: 626.355.7394 to make yours* Conflicting court schedules 
can occasionally cause cancellations.

Birthday Celebrations: The 2nd Thursday of the month the Senior Center celebrates the birthdays 
of our patrons at 12:30 pm. Please join us for free cake and ice cream and “celebration.” (The cakes 
are provided due to a generous donation from the Sierra Madre Civic Club.)

Game Day: Every Thursday at 1:00pm. Poker is usually the game of choice, or should I say chance? 
Board games and other card games are also available. Outside, on the patio, a beautiful, one-of-a-
kind chess table is anxious for players.

Free Strength Training Class: Every Friday from 1:00 pm -1:45 pm Conducted by long-time 
volunteer, Lisa Brandley. The class utilizes light weights for low-impact resistance training. Weights 
are provided by the Sierra Madre Senior Center. It’s a great way to stay in shape and to

 socialize with your peers. 

Senior Citizens Club: Every Saturday at the Hart Park House (Senior Center). Brown bag lunch at 
11:30am; Club meeting at Noon; Bingo 12:30- 3:30 pm. Only .25c per card… For more information 
call Pat Birdsall at 626.355.7290.

Lunch & Learn: Wednesday, May 27, 12:15 to 1:00 PM

“Brain Building Activities are Fun!”- This seminar takes a brief look at the causes of memory loss 
and then explores the array of activities that bolster mental acuity. The discussion will include why 
crosswords, dancing, learning languages and playing board games (among other fun activities) 
are so good for individuals. Facilitated by Jackie Stahl, Community liaison for Comforcare Senior 
Services in Pasadena. For lunch reservations please call the Intervale Senior Café at (626) 355-0256 
at least 24hours in advance, or bring your own lunch to enjoy.


Save the Dates!

Friday, June 28, 2013- Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Friday, July 12, 2013- Pageant of the Masters (evening excursion)

*Registering for Excursions can be done in person at the Hart Park House Senior Center and the 
Community Recreation Center or online at Cash, checks, and credit 
cards are accepted. Make checks payable “City of Sierra Madre”. Payment must be made at the time 
of reservation.


Senior Movie Program: FREE movies are chosen by the seniors themselves and shown on the 
1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month in Sierra Madre’s City Council Chambers, 232 W. Sierra Madre 
Blvd., Sierra Madre. ~ Start time is 1:00pm ~

May 29- Secretariat (2009)

A biological sport’s drama produced and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. 

It chronicles the life of thoroughbred race horse Secretariat, winner of the Triple Crown in 1973. 
Starring Diane Lane and John Malkovich Rated PG, (run time is 123 minutes)


 What’s better than camping, Mother’s Day, and doing things with yarn? 
Combining all three in the biannual “Studio 66 Fiber Retreat” of course! You may 
recall my article on the “Fiber Convergence” held in Long Beach this past summer. 
If not, let’s just say that Studio 66 was three fun-filled days of cotton, linen, wool, 
silk, angora, and all the contraptions you can use to transform plant and animal 
derivatives into something wearable.

 When my mom shared her interest in attending this recent woodland event, I jumped at the idea of 
getting out of town for a few days. She worried that I’d be bored, not being a fiber enthusiast like she 
is. But I assured her that I’d just appreciate the break from the office, the weekly chores, etc.

 My mom does spinning (with a drop spindle, not the popular gym activity), weaving (with a loom, 
not at the hair salon), and knitting. Looms are typically big and bulky. Spinning can be cumbersome 
if you’re using a spinning wheel (think “Sleeping Beauty”), but drop spindles and knitting needles 
are fairly portable. So, my mom packed her spindle in a wine carrier (as many spinners do), we both 
brought knitting projects, and headed off for Forest Home.

 The schedule for the weekend offered several different activities and workshops, such as silk 
dyeing, bow weaving, natural dyeing, and Navajo plying, etc. Silk dyeing was included in everyone’s 
admission. Luckily, the process was easy enough for fiber numbskulls like me. The organizers had 
a “dye pond” set up with buckets of silk that had been hand-torn into strips and soaked in a vinegar 
bath. All the participants had to do was take our coils of silk from the bucket, rip off a sheet of plastic 
wrap, set the soggy silk on it, and dab at it with different colors of dye. The only challenge was to not 
return the red dye brush into the yellow dye cup and vice versa. It was a fast and easy project, which 
is what fiber novices appreciate.

 For the rest of the weekend, I was happy to wave my mom off to different demonstrations on 
making paper beads, plying yarn, natural dyes, and spinning cotton. 

 So while my mom was learning different fiber 
skills, I was content listening to Chuck Smith 
sermons on my iPod, reading, and watching 
ducks guide their ducklings across the lovely 
man-made lake.

 Studio 66’s highlight was the Saturday night 
“Wear it & Share it!” The basic idea is that all 
the participants gather in the main lodge and 
take turns showing their different fiber creations 
and telling about all the work, mistakes, and 
adventure involved in the item’s creation.

 I don’t weave, spin, or do any significant things 
with fiber. Nevertheless, I totally appreciate the 
time, sweat, and work involved in these people’s 
fabric creations. Many of them stood up and 
talked about how they never touched a crochet 
hook before, but saw some inspiring pattern, and 
went for it. When each finished their narrative, 
they would hold up the handmade item(s), 
many of which were exemplary pieces of artistry 
and craftsmanship. I think my mom’s a little 
shy speaking in front of large groups. When it 
was her turn to talk about the intricate Peruvian 
knitted hat I was modeling, her description was 
something to the effect of “Here’s my daughter. I 
made this for her birthday.” Applause.

 Unfortunately, the fiber group won’t be 
offering another Studio 66 Forest Home Fiber 
Retreat until 2015. We’re a little sad that we will have to wait two years to re-live the magic of fiber in 
the wilderness, but by that time I might even learn how to purl (as in knitting, not oysters).