Lifestyle Notes

Volume CII, No. 10October, 2002

Dr. Diane Gioia-Bargonetti

(The following article, submitted by a Local 802 member, contains advice and suggestions intended to improve one’s health and well-being. Local 802 and Allegro offer no endorsement or recommendation regarding the efficacy or safety of any of the remedies suggested, and readers may wish to consult their healthcare professional before following the advice offered herein.)

My name is Dr. Diane Gioia-Bargonetti. Many of you know me as a musician and an Emmy-nominated television/film producer who has gone from member of Local 802 to Doctor of Naturopathy. This journey has left me with many great lifestyle ideas to share, including simple remedies, treatments and antidotes that I have found particularly beneficial for musicians, whether they are on the road or readjusting to home life after a trip. All of them are applicable to life’s universal struggles – and I am confident that you will find them helpful and many times even transforming. Remember, however, that the intention is solely informational and educational in nature, and should not be interpreted as medical advice – just good advice.

Let’s start with alcohol. Now, I am not suggesting that musicians have issues with alcohol, but I can unequivocally say that the homeopathic hangover remedy Nux Vomica is the one I inevitably wind up sharing with colleagues. Nux Vomica is made from a tree native to southeast Asia and Australia, and you can purchase it for less than $6.00 at any health food store. I recommend a dosage of 30c or 30x. Many people have told me that it returned them to their normal, functioning self in a flash.

If you have concerns about the amount of alcohol you are consuming, try the herbal formula Co-Schisandra. Schisandra is a Chinese herb derived from berries, which comes in pill form. You can buy this remarkable product in Chinatown for less than $5.00 a bottle. Many people who have utilized it, following the directions on the package, have lost their desire for alcohol altogether. We all know that this “cool” musician’s life can be cruel and lonely: there is rejection, insecurity and lots of pressure. Alcohol sometimes figures into the equation of balancing all the elements of our crazy lives, and you periodically need to take stock of how you are living your life. That doesn’t mean you have to beat yourself up. But if you don’t like what you see and need a bit of help, Co-Schisandra may be for you.

As a Doctor of Naturopathy, I now have an answer when I hear this complaint on the road: “I can’t sleep . . . I can’t seem to get comfortable in my hotel bed. The pillow is way too hard.” Another simple remedy available at your local health food store for less than $6.00 is Arnica Montana, an aromatic perennial that grows in the northwestern United States. Again, 30c or 30x is a good dosage. Take this before bed when you have the aforementioned symptoms and it may help you to sleep. Arnica Montana also eases discomfort due to muscular aches and prolonged physical efforts like playing an instrument. So it is definitely a worthwhile investment for the road warrior who wants to maintain good health because it serves two purposes: as a sleep aid and for relief of pain caused by overexertion, exhaustion and inflammation.

There is also a sleep remedy for coffee drinkers out there, as well as for those whose minds activate at bedtime. If you toss and turn all night, caught up in anxiety and fears, the remedy you need is Coffea Cruda, which translated means “unroasted coffee.” This illustrates the healing principle of homeopathic medicine – the “law of similars” — which states that any substance that can cause symptoms when given to healthy people can help to heal those who are experiencing similar symptoms. This same thinking is behind the immunization concept in conventional medicine. Take as directed, in the 30c or 30x dosage, and if it works for you, as it has for many people, you will marvel at how much better life looks after a good night’s sleep.

One last remedy I want to describe is Gelsemium Sempervirens, otherwise known as Yellow Jasmine. Taken in the 30c or 30x dosage, it may help when flu symptoms bring chills, fever and aches all over. This remedy also often alleviates stage fright – it’s made for musicians. Remember, all of the aforementioned remedies should be taken according to directions.


I recommend the 30c or 30x dosage with homeopathic remedies. You can also use 6c or 6x and 12c or 12x dosages of any of the remedies I have mentioned. However, I do not recommend using anything over the 30c or 30x dosage without consulting a health care professional.

Nothing I recommend should hurt you in any way. These remedies just trigger your body’s natural healing ability and therefore do not require long-term use. If any of your initial symptoms persist after trying a homeopathic remedy, consult a professional.


As a naturopath, I use all methods of healing except drugs and surgery in treating patients. Although this includes diet, I always hesitate to be too specific with diet recommendations, since everyone’s life is so different that specifying exact menus can set up instant failure. I prefer to give my patients some diet dos and don’ts, and let them figure out how to incorporate them into their personal lifestyle. Here are a couple of suggestions.

Since it is usually hard to find healthy food on the road, make sure you eat at least one salad per day. Vary the items in the salad – different lettuces, onions, cabbage, cucumbers, radishes, etc. Make it as interesting looking as possible and you will naturally be getting a more balanced dish of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

And don’t drown your salad in heavy salad dressings loaded with trans fats that clog your heart and “undo” the whole point of the salad. This also applies to bacon bits, cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise dishes (like tuna or egg salads). Instead, use a low-fat dressing or olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

Finally, never, ever, eat anything fried . . . it is the worst thing for your body. It has the same artery-clogging effect as eating a container of lard. Try to remember that when that familiar “fried” aroma beckons you.


  1. Nux Vomica for hangovers, overindulgence and excess.
  2. Arnica Montana when you just can’t get comfortable in a strange bed, as well as for minor injuries.
  3. Coffea Cruda for insomniac coffee drinkers and anxiety-ridden types.
  4. Gelsemium Sempervirens for flu symptoms and stage fright.
  5. Eat at least one salad per day and watch the dressing and seductive salad bar trimmings.
  6. Nothing fried – pure poison.

I hope you feel this has been a productive first visit. Feel free to email me with health-related questions, problems or areas of concern. Although I won’t be able to answer each individually, I will address your thoughts, ideas and feedback in my columns. My email address is:

Until then, stay in tune . . . please!

— “Dr. Di”