Living Medicine Vs Pharmaceuticals, part 3: Herbs that Cure, page 2

My Chorale Pic

I’ve been sharing and commenting on an interview in the December, 2014 issue of The SUN magazine with master herbalist Stephen Buhner, a magazine that traditionally carries quality writings by little-known authors. We’ve been talking about herbs as “living medicines” as opposed to pharmaceutical drugs, and I thought my readers would be interested in knowing more about specific herbs and their benefits. So, here are some of the more popular herbs I use in my practice to support the healing process and healthy function in general. I will highlight in this post some of the herbs that help circulation and the immune system in the body and support the body rather than do its job for it and thereby depriving it of its education on handling environmental toxins and invasive germs, viruses and bacteria. So, read on if you want to know more about these living medicines and their benefits to your health and longevity.

HERBS THAT HEAL

BilberryBILBERRY — is the herb of choice for eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts. That’s because it supports microcirculation through the small capillaries in the eyes. But not just in the eyes, also in the brain and throughout the entire body. Additionally it . . .

  • Promotes vascular integrity
  • Builds healthy connective tissue
  • Eases the effects of occasional aching or throbbing discomfort
  • Supports and maintains normal fluid levels
  • Supports healthy peripheral circulation
  • Supports healthy response to environmental stresses
  • Enhances urinary tract function
  • Maintains healthy eyes
  • Provides antioxidant protection

HORSECHESTNUT SEED — is another herb for improved microcirculation of blood through small capillaries. Medi-Herb has an excellent Horsechestnut Complex that is a synergistic blend of Butcher’s Broom root & Rhizome, Horsechestnut seed and Ginkgo Biloba leaf. Together these herbs and the compounds within them help to:

  • promote venous integrity
  • promote normal vascular tone
  • ease the effects of heavy exercise
  • support health peripheral circulation
  • support and maintain healthy fluid levels

Scan_Pic0002ANDROGRAPHIS — is especially supportive of the immune system during acute infections. Medi-Herb has an effective product called Andrographis Complex which is a combination of Andrographis, Echinacea root and Holy Basil leaf. Together they work to:

  • enhance immune system function
  • support healthy respiratory function
  • support and maintain normal body temperature within a normal range
  • promote healthy liver function
  • support health immune response following stress, sudden changes in weather or temperature
  • encourage adaptive response to occasional everyday stress

ASTRAGALUS — is a great companion to Andrographis in that it supports the immune system during chronic infection and auto-immune conditions.  Medi-Herb combines Astragalus root, Echinacea root and Eleuthero root in their Astragalus Complex. Together these herbs work to:

  • enhance immune system function
  • maintain feeling of general well-being
  • assist the body during convalescence
  • facilitate the body’s normal response to occasional stress
  • promotes a healthy response to environmental stress.
  • Caution: Contraindicated in known allergy to plants of the daisy family. Discontinue during an acute infection or fever.

Cat's ClawCAT’S CLAW — is an herb for the intestinal flora. I use it with yeast infection for its support to the immune system in the intestinal tract where the largest portion of the immune system operates. Medi-Herb combines Cat’s Claw inner stem bark, Pau d’Arco stem bark and Echinacea root in their Cat’s Claw Complex. Together these herbs and the compounds within them help to:

  • enhance immune system function
  • support respiratory system health
  • maintain healthy mucous membranes
  • promote healthy bowel flora
  • regulate bowel function
  • support and maintain healthy blood
  • provide antioxidant protection
  • promote healthy response to environmental stresses

Pleurisy rootPLEURISY ROOT — is a great herb for bronchial conditions such as bronchitis and acute or chronic cough. Medi-Herb combines several herbs together in their Broncafect to give powerful support to the bronchial tubes: Licorice root, Pleurisy root, Echinacea root, White Horehound herb, Thyme essential oil, and Ginger.  Together these herbs and essential oils help to:

  • support health respiratory tract function
  • maintain healthy mucosal tissue
  • support normal mucous flow
  • support the body’s natural ability to break up respiratory secretions
  • support the body’s normal cough reflex
  • encourage a healthy environment to help maintain normal respiratory flora
  • enhance immune system function
  • promote healthy white blood cells
  • promote healthy throat tissue
  • assist the body in maintaining normal body temperature within normal range
  • promote the body’s normal resistance function
  • CAUTION: Licorice root’s inclusion in Broncafect makes it contraindicated in high blood pressure, edema, (water retention), congestive heart failure, low blood potassium, pregnancy and lactation. Pleurisy root alone is not contraindicated in the conditions mentioned.

Mullen LeafMULLEN LEAF — also known as “lamb’s ears,” is a mucous removing herb.  Medi-Herb combines Mullen Leaf with five other herbs in ResCo that work together in removing mucous from the lungs and sinuses. They are Licorice root, Euphorbia, Grinellia, Ginger, and Fennel. These key phytochemicals and other compounds within this herbal formulation work to:

  • support healthy mucous membranes within the respiratory tract
  • encourage healthy removal of mucous
  • help maintain throat health
  • support healthy respiratory function
  • assist in maintaining healthy airway passages
  • support the body’s normal cough reflex
  • encourage normal secretion removal from the respiratory system
  • promote the body’s normal resistance function
  • CAUTION: Licorice root’s inclusion in ResCo makes it contraindicated in high blood pressure, edema, (water retention), congestive heart failure, low blood potassium, pregnancy and lactation. Mullen Leaf alone is not contraindicated in the conditions mentioned.

Golden SealGOLDEN SEAL ROOT — The herb of choice for the mucous membranes. Medi-Herb’s Golden Seal contain alkaloids (especially hydrastine and berberine) and other phytochemicals that work together to:

  • help maintain healthy mucous membranes
  • cleanse the gastrointestinal tract
  • assist in maintaining healthy breathing passages to support free and clear breathing
  • help maintain healthy mucus function
  • stimulate digestion
  • support the normal production and flow of bile
  • help support the body’s response to environmental stress
  • CAUTION: Contraindicated in pregnancy, lactation and high blood pressure.

ARE HERBS DANGEROUS?

Not nearly as dangerous as drugs — both prescribed and so-called “recreational.” We don’t hear about people dying from an overdose of or “complications” from herbs or nutritional supplements.  It is drugs that kill people. There are some precautions to take where herbs may interfere with medications. St. John’s Wort is a good example. It will neutralize and destroy all drugs as they are processed in the liver. That’s why St. John’s Wort is such an effective liver detoxifying herb, and why you don’t want to take it while on vital medications. It’s also a powerful anti-viral agent. However, there are relatively few contraindications and fewer negative side effects taking herbs and nutritional supplements.

There are too many herbs to review in a blog such this. Some are best used under professional supervision. Chaparral is one such herb that is so powerful as an antimicrobial and immunostimulant that it should be used only on a short term basis, 10-14 days in most cases, and in cycles of two week on and two weeks off. People with pre-existing kidney and liver diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis should not take Chaparral in large dosages and then only with professional supervision.

SAFE FOR THE GUT FLORA

As mentioned in an earlier post, the use of antibiotics will often destroy the beneficial bacteria in the GI tract. Probiotics should be taken while dosing with oral antibiotics to replace the friendly bacteria that are being destroyed. Natural antimicrobial herbs do not harm the intestinal flora, and in most cases help to bring about a balance.

MEDICAL IGNORANCE OF HERBS

Your medical doctor will usually ask you to discontinue taking herbs if he or she is not well informed and educated in their uses and contraindications, and that is very wise. Medical doctors study pharmaceuticals in medical school, not nutritional and herbal therapies. Some herbs do have potential interactions with prescription drugs, most at a low level of risk. Medi-Herb provides its doctors with ample information and quick-reference charts to guide them in prescribing herbs and their dosages. It is always best to consult with an herbalist or eclectic (alternative) practitioner about the possible interactions of herbs with any prescription medications you may be taking.

WILL HERBS EVER REPLACE PHARMACEUTICALS ?

Eventually, but not in my lifetime. I believe we will soon be forced to abandon antibiotic dosing simply because it will become increasingly ineffective against the super-bugs antibiotic overuse is creating — and not only in our health care system but in our agricultural practices as well. I am obviously enthused about the potential Living Medicines have in offering alternatives to pharmaceuticals. Currently, we humans are not healthy enough in general to abandon our dependence upon prescription drugs.  Therefore it is the better course of wisdom to use nutritional and herbal therapies as “integrative” therapies rather than as “alternatives” to drug interventions. The word “alternative,” as I use it in my practice and writings, is not meant to be construed as “instead of.” So, I would caution my readers to align with my way of viewing alternative healthcare as an “integrative” methodology in the current pharmaceutical-dominated health care system.  In most instances, alternative therapies such as nutritional supplements and herbs actually help prescribed medications work better and more safely in the body.  They are second only to the placebo and prayer.

I trust you have benefited from these posts on Living Medicines Vs Pharmaceuticals. This post will conclude this series of considerations. Until my next post, then. . .

Here’s to your health and natural healing.

Anthony Palombo, DC

Visit my HealingTones.org blog for inspiring articles. Current theme is “Golden Age and Golden Race.”

I JUST REACHED 51,000 VIEWS OF MY BLOG!  36,000 OF MY HEALING TONES BLOG!

 

CAUTION: Herbs are powerful natural medicines and should not be used indiscriminately. None of the above information should be construed to diagnose or treat any disease nor to preclude sensible medical care and professional supervision. Medi-Herb and Standard Process products are only available through licensed physicians and certified healthcare practitioners and should only be used under the supervision of such. The intention of the author of this blog is to provide information only about natural alternative and integrative medicines. However, it is left to the sole discretion of the reader to determine if the considerations or suggestions included herein are appropriate for his or her health condition and/or needs.

Reference Sources: MEDI-HERB Product Catalog put out by master herbalist Dr. Kerry Bone; Herbal Formulas for Clinical Practice by Nicholas Weed, D.C., Herbalist and owner of Weed Botanical Company, Wimberley, Texas.

Advertisements

Living Medicine Vs Pharmaceuticals, part 1: The Antibiotic Crisis

Stephen BuhnerPhysicians continue to utilize antibiotics without much thought. We focus on the misuse of painkillers, when the most dangerous thing we do is overuse antibiotics. Resistant bacteria are a more severe problem for the survival of this civilization than oil depletion, global warming, topsoil erosion, and water scarcity. —Stephen Buhner

“Stephen Harrod Buhner On Plant Intelligence, Natural Healing, And The Trouble With Pharmaceuticals”

My Chorale Pic

The December issue of SUN magazine carried an insightful, though sobering, interview with an herbalist that I thought would be an inspiring and deeply meaningful article to review and share in my Health Light Newsletter blog.  The interview is by Akshay Ahuja, writer for the SUN and production manager for Ploughshares, an organization that works with churches, governments and civil societies, in Canada and abroad, to advance policies and actions to prevent war and armed violence and build peace.

Stephen Buhner was born in 1952 in the Midwest where he was introduced to his healing ministry through his great-grandfather, a country physician in rural Indiana.  At the age of sixteen he left home to attend college in California. From there he traveled and settled in the high mountains of Colorado, where he built a “turn-of-the-century cabin that he lived in for four years.” His path to becoming an herbalist started out with a personal healing of severe abdominal cramps with the perennial herb osha root.  His encounter with this herb was more than remedial and had a spiritual and vital quality to is, as he recalls in the interview.  He currently lives in Silver City, New Mexico.

I just dug up the root and began eating it. It’s got a spicy, celery-like taster. Not only did I feel my body getting better, but I could feel, inside, some living entity that cared for me.  It’s difficult to explain, because it’s not something we generally talk about in the West. When you use a living medicine and get well, you feel that the world is alive and aware and wants to help you. People often talk about saving the Earth, but how many times have you experienced the Earth saving you?

I love this man’s insight into the natural botanical world of herbs and his thoughtful perspectives on both the natural healing and modern medical models. He covers a lot of territory, so it may take a couple of posts to do the interview justice. This is, I feel, a very timely and important mile-stone article.

Let’s start with the heart of his message: the overuse of antibiotics that has resulted in the evolution of bacteria into “superbugs.”  To gain a perspective on how this has come about, we need to consider the history and evolution of our medical system. Buhner, who has spent his entire life exploring herbal medicine and has published several books on this and related topics, gives some very thoughtful consideration to this in the interview, which can best be presented in his own words. In his 1999 book “Herbal Antibiotics” he speaks to the heart of the “flaws” of what he calls “technological medicine.”

“By declaring war on bacteria,” he writes, “ we declared war on the underlying living structure of the planet.” Buhner maintains that, through indiscriminate use of antibiotics, we have created “superbugs” with few effective pharmaceutical treatments, wreaking havoc in hospitals and making future pandemics likely.

Asked what is wrong with the medical system in the USA, Bunher gives a very interesting synopsis of its relatively brief history, starting at the close of the nineteenth century when homeopaths were plentiful and allopaths were fewer and the poorest of the various groups of physicians.  The discovery of penicillin changed all that.

Allopathic physicians argued that their training was based on science and was thus more legitimate than other medical traditions and would provide safer interventions. With a lot of lobbying, they managed to get control over medical practice and have the other approaches outlawed. After the discovery of penicillin in the 1920’s, antibiotics became a primary aspect of allopathic practice. The drugs were so effective against previously difficult-to-treat problems, such as infections in burn patients, that Western cultures completely embraced allopathic healing. In 1942 the entire worlds supply of penicillin was 8.5 gallons about seventy pounds. By 1999 the production of antibiotics in the U.S. alone reached 40 million pounds per year.

Unfortunately medical researchersbeliefs about bacteria were very wrong. Researchers said it would take roughly a million years for bacteria to develop widespread resistance to antibiotics through spontaneous mutations. They assumed bacteria were stupid, when in reality bacteria are highly sentient. They communicate by means of a sophisticated language – as sophisticated as ours. They recognize their kin. They protect their offspring. They create chemicals designed to produce specific outcomes in living systems, which certainly fits any definition of tool-making.

Weve tended to view bacteria as a collection of single-celled entities, but when many of them join together, its more proper to look at them as a swarm intelligence. And complex organisms such as plants, animals, and insects are, in essence, communities of bacteria.

Ahuja: How does bacterial resistance challenge the current medical model?

Buhner: Since the end of World War II, the medical establishment has been promising that we are heading for some sort of disease-free future in which we will live to be 120 and never get sick. They almost imply that they can cure death. Scientists’ inability to predict the bacterial response undermines the entire world view that the allopaths disseminated – and still disseminate – about disease and the nature of the world around them. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that, in 2011, 722,000 people picked up infections in hospitals. About 75,000 of those patients died during their hospitalizations. And some sources give a much higher figure for annual deaths from hospital-acquired infections.

The allopaths’ lock on medical practice, which they insisted would create safer outcomes for the public, has not done so. All it has done is give one orientation toward healing a virtual monopoly on practice.

Ahuja: How would you treat a resistant infection with herbs?

Buhner: One woman who had undergone multiple antibiotic regimens over several years for a resistant staph infection (MRSA) came to me for help. She was about to lose her foot to the disease. It took a month to turn her condition around using an African herb called Cryptolepis sanguinolenta. Commonly used to treat malaria, it is also a broad-spectrum, systemic antibacterial with no side effects – at least, after twelve years of use, I have seen none.

Vancomycin is the antibiotic often used for staph infections. Besides being frequently ineffective, it has a long list of side effects. In general, herbal medicines have fewer or no side effects. They are composed of hundreds of synergistic compounds, whereas pharmaceuticals have just one compound, or perhaps a few. We have been at this antibiotic business only a century or so. Bacteria have been around for 3.5 billion years:

This begs the question, will not bacteria eventually become resistant to plant medicines? I love Buhner’s answer.

Buhner: With a pharmaceutical, the bacteria analyze the single compound and generate solutions to it, which they then pass on to other bacteria. Plants, on the other hand, generate multiple compounds that deactivate resistance mechanisms in the bacteria and enhance the activity of the plant’s natural antibacterials. Bacteria cannot easily counteract that kind of complexity. Also, plants aren’t trying to kill all the bacteria on Earth. They merely want to create a balance in which the plants and bacteria set limits on each other’s behavior.

Ahuja: There seems to be a general view that herbal medicine is fine for coughs and colds, but when something gets serious, you go to a conventional doctor.

Buhner: The pharmaceutical companies’ advertising campaigns are very good. We have been trained to think of technological medicine as the only reliable type and other approaches as outdated remnants of a prescientific age. Yet the majority of people I have met don’t much like doctors or hospitals. The one thing modern medicine is good at is trauma. If I get hit by a car, I will go to a hospital. But other than antibiotics and some surgeries, hospitals have little they can offer to cure disease. They can only address the symptoms.

Pharmaceutical companies are in business to make as much money as they can. They try to develop drugs you have to take for years and years, such as medicines for high blood pressure or depression. You don’t get well; you just keep taking the drug.

Buhner then cites an example of herbal practice in Africa, where the people can’t afford Western drugs and the infrastructure there doesn’t support drug manufacturing.  Local healers in Nigeria, for example, were asked what herbs they were using. Researchers then took the seeds from the best and most effective herbs and gave them to the people so they could grow their own plant herbs. This had a very empowering impact upon the people, not to mention its ecological friendliness.

I will continue sharing Stephen Buhner’s perspectives in the next post. I will close this post with words of a colleague in the healing field. “Nothing is wrong. Everything matters.” Allopathic medicine has played an important role in healthcare and continues to play a crucial role in the emergency room of our hospitals. On the other hand, pharmaceutical medicine’s days are numbered. Already pharmaceutical companies are getting out of the antibiotic business for two reasons. One, they don’t make a lot of money with the drug’s short-term usage. Two, “they know antibiotics are going to fail, and they don’t want to be the one holding the bag when they do.” According to Buhner’s latest information, the U.S. Government is taking over antibiotic research and production and will take all the blame when it crashes, and crash it will. “As David Livermore, the top antibiotic resistance researcher in Britain, put it, “It is naive to think we can win.”◊

Until my next post, here’s to your health and prosperity throughout the coming New Year.

Anthony Palombo, D.C.

Visit my HealthTones.org blog for more exploratory articles in the field of healing and transformation.

Your Lab Numbers Do Not Measure you Health

My Chorale PicI sat next to a long-time friend at a social event recently and, being a doctor, I asked him how his health was. He immediately proceeded to tell me about his cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which he said were “normal.” Now, that’s a pretty well accepted way most people measure their health, by their lab numbers, which don’t really say much about a person’s health. One can have “normal” numbers and still have a stroke or heart attack, especially if one is medicating to mask their symptoms to keep their lab values looking well within “normal” ranges and them feeling better.  But, what’s really “normal?” One man’s normal is another man’s illness and worry.

I put “normal” in quotation marks to emphasize that there really isn’t a one-fits-all norm — and so-called “normal ranges” are based on the medical model of treating the symptoms of disease, not fostering health. Medical students study cadavers that died from diseases and medical studies are based on treating the sick, not the well.  Generally, doctors don’t treat the well.  They treat the sick.  So their standards are based on the sick and not the well.  Also, what is “normal” for one person may not be appropriate for the next fellow.  I’ll give you an example. The “normal” range for triglycerides in the average person is <150.  The healthy range for triglycerides is much lower than that at <80, so I’m told by my brilliant colleague, teacher and clinical nutritionist at Whole Health Associates in Houston.  This points to a choice we have to be merely outside the range of health failure and disease or to be well above that range experiencing great health and vitality. 

THOSE WORRISOME CHOLESTEROL NUMBERS

Another example is the worrisome cholesterol numbers. In the first place, cholesterol has nothing at all to do with cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is caused by inflammation. Cholesterol is simply the body’s way of dealing with inflammation and the damage it does to the blood arteries and vessels. It’s a patch material used to keep the eroding  blood vessels from springing a leak. It’s an adaptation and not a marker for coronary heart disease (CHD).

It’s only in America where high cholesterol is said to be a marker for CHD, and that’s only been so since Big Pharma developed and started flooding the market with statin drugs (Lipitor and its cousins) to suppress the liver’s production of cholesterol, a fat that every cell in your body needs to build its outer membrane that protects it from free radicals and oxidation.  A fat that your body makes hormones, nerves and brain tissue out of.  An essential fat in your skin needed to turn sunshine into Vitamin D.

We elderly need more of this essential fat than you youngsters for our brains cells to regenerate as they begin to die off as we age.  So, higher numbers are normal and good for an aging person.

It’s the ratio between the HDL and LDL that’s important and not the total cholesterol.  Your HDL needs to be at least 25% of the total cholesterol.  For example, if your total cholesterol level is 200, your HDL level needs to be around 50.  The total cholesterol number will vary with the level of demand for cholesterol in the body. LDL’s carry the cholesterol from the liver out to where its needed in the body. HDL’s go around collecting what’s not used and then taking it back to the liver to be eliminated as bile from the body. Cholesterol is an essential fat in your body. There’s no such thing as “bad cholesterol.” That’s medical programming designed to engender fear in people so they will buy Lipitor and other Statin drugs. It’s pure and simple propaganda folks. Mute those commercials.  Don’t let that programming into your subconscious mind.  

The logical thing to do is not treat the cholesterol but rather determine why there’s an increased demand for it in the first place and treat the cause of the demand.  When you remove the necessity for more cholesterol, the numbers will come down.  In most cases, the cause is stress and high insulin in the blood stream from consuming to many starches and sweets. Insulin erodes the inner lining of the blood vessels if it accumulates too much. Food allergies and sensitivities are another trigger for inflammation.  Uric acid in the blood, as in gout, is another common trigger.

ALLOPATHY, HOMEOPATHY AND FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE  

Your lab numbers do not measure your health. They measure a momentary snapshot of the current conditions of your body fluids. That’s all. Your blood and your urine. That’s the terrain in which allopathic medicine works.  Your lab numbers say nothing about the health of your body’s organs and tissue cells.  That’s the domain of “functional medicine,” which is what I practice.

Allopathy is defined in my New World Dictionary as the “treatment of disease by remedies that produce effects different from or opposite to those produced by the disease: loosely applied to the general practice of medicine today, but in strict usage opposed to HOMEOPATHY.”  Those “different” effects are what mask the symptoms of disease.

Homeopathy puts a small dose of the same disease in the form of a coded water solution into the body in order to trigger an immune response in the body so that the body learns how to deal with the actual disease on a safe “do-no-harm” level. This works beautifully, and is completely harmless. 

Functional medicine explores organs and systems malfunction and then supports the body’s own innate healing intelligence with nutrition and herbs in order to catalyze the healing process into action.  Chiropractic also takes the functional approach, offering spinal care to restore nerve flow to organs and tissues and thereby restore their normal function.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE IS NORMAL

Here’s another example of numbers dictating one’s sense of health and well being.  High blood pressure is normal, given the circumstances in the body that require it. Blood pressure, like cholesterol, will increase in response to a need in the body for more pressure behind the blood flow.  It could be thick blood caused by toxins in the bloodstream.  It could be constricted blood vessels due to cortisol pouring into the bloodstream to handle stress.  It could also be kidney failure causing fluid to build up in the tissues and around the heart and other organs.  Whatever the cause, it doesn’t make a bit of sense to lower the blood pressure with drugs — drugs that deplete CoQ10, the very energy source for the heart and kidneys — without finding out what’s causing the necessity for higher pressure in the circulatory system and correcting that. That’s what we do in functional medicine: find the cause and correct the interference to the normal function of organs, hormonal glands and body systems.  Now, the person would be wise to take the HBP medicine to avoid having a stroke — and take 60 mg. of Coenzyme Q10 daily to replace what is leached out by the medicine.  This goes for anyone taking Statin drugs as well.

YOUR BODY KNOWS BEST– TRUST IT 

Well, I think that’s enough for one post. I hope you learned something from this one.  I will leave you with these encouraging words: Trust your body. It doesn’t make mistakes. It knows exactly what it is doing. Help it do its job better. See an alternative healthcare practitioner.  Stop measuring your potential for disease and focus on building up your health . . . and don’t sweat the numbers.

Here’s to your health and healing,

Anthony Palombo, D.C.

dranthonypalombo@live.com

Visit my Healing Tones blog for inspiring reading on a variety of timely topics.