Living Medicine Vs Pharmaceuticals, part 3: Herbs that Cure

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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?

My Chorale PicI’ve been sharing an interview with herbalist Stephen Buhner in THE SUN magazine on the efficacy of herbal medicine and the dangers of placing our healthcare system in the hands of the pharmaceutical industry, which the Medical profession relies entirely on when it comes to prescribing chemical drugs to relieve the symptoms of disease. While drugs do relieve symptoms – the reason people go to doctors in the first place – they do not effect a cure. They’re not designed to. Besides making huge profits for the Big Pharma, drugs are designed to relieve pain and mask symptoms — a purpose that has great meaning and usefulness in a hospice care facility but little if any meaning and value in a facility that claims to render “health care.” Herbs, on the other hand, are designed by Mother Nature to effect a cure. The main requirement, however, is patience on the part of the patient. (Pun intended.)

Herbs do not cure. Rather they give the body living medicine the body can work with to cure itself of disease. It is the inborn Intelligence of the body, of course, that directs the healing process–Life. And Life works within the time frame of its own wisdom and cycles. Drugs interfere with those cycles by nullifying the symptoms of pain and malfunction that trigger the healing process. Herbs facilitate the healing process. It just takes time.

For example, anti-inflammatory drugs reduce the inflammation in tissues and joints that, for one thing, stop us from doing what is damaging the tissues and joints. We won’t do what hurts. That’s the body’s wisdom at work, which we defeat when we take pain killers.  The other and main thing, however, is that inflammation is the first and initiating phase of the healing process. When you nullify this phase, you stop the repair process of the damaged tissue, which means you’ll never experience healing as long as you’re taking Ibuprofen or Tylenol or any number of other pain killers. It’s that simple.  Stephen Buhner tells his personal story working with herbs.

Ahuja: What was your first experience with herbal medicine?

Buhner: When I was thirty-four, I became quite ill with severe abdominal cramping. The doctors didn’t know what it was. I met a local herbalist, and she mentioned that a certain plant growing in the forest around my house was good for my condition. The doctors wanted to do exploratory surgery, but instead I ate some of the plant. The pain was about half as severe the next time it happened, and the next time about half again, until finally it just went away. After that, I began to take control over my own health.

Ahuja: What was the plant?

Buhner: It was a perennial herb called osha. I just dug up the root and began eating it. It’s got a spicy, celery-like taste. Not only did I feel my body getting better, but I could feel, inside, some living entity that cared about 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?

HERBAL MEDICINES AND THEIR HEALING GIFTS

Here are a few herbal medicines with which I am familiar:

BoswelliaBOSWELLIA – is a natural anti-inflammatory that does not interfere with the healing and repair process. It rather helps it work faster. It is especially effective in the intestines when they become irritable. Cases in point are IBS, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s Disease. I use Boswellia Complex by MediHerb and Standard Process Labs, which is a synergistic combination of Boswellia gum, Celery seed,  Ginger, and Tumeric.  These and other compounds work together to:

  • Support the normal function of the kidneys to clear acidic waste products effectively, like uric acid that causes gout.
  • Maintain and support healthy joints.
  • Promote the body’s normal resistance function.
  • Support healthy circulation.
  • Support healthy response to environmental stresses.
  • Provide antioxidant protection.

Scan_Pic0005ECHINACEA – here is an herb for the immune system, and its healing gift lies primarily in its root and less in its foliage.  This herb does not stimulate or activate the immune system, as is commonly thought, but rather acts as a modulator to the immune system, regulating its response to various stress needs in the body. In the case of infection, it up-regulates the immune response and boosts the white cell count. In the case of autoimmune disease, it down-regulates the immune system. As with all systems in the body, balance is the key to healthy function.

Master Herbalist Dr. Kerry Bone of MediHerb has thoroughly researched this herb and here is what we now know about Echinacea:

  • Echinacea is both misunderstood and underestimated. There are many Echinacea products available which differ according to species, plant part, quality markers and dosages. The wide variety of products available is why there is controversy surrounding Echinacea and its effectiveness.
  • Echinacea is commonly thought of as an herb for winter season stresses and only for short-term use. Kerry Bone’s applications for Echinacea are much broader than this and you may wonder why this is. Kerry has spent many years both researching and prescribing Echinacea for thousands of patients. His passion for Echinacea led to the MediHerb research project and a greater understanding of Echinacea and how it works. For full details of MediHerb’s Research visit mediherb.com and search for The MediHerb Echinacea Research Story on the Echinacea – A New Understanding page.
  • The research results validate the traditional wisdom of Echinacea, and that is to achieve good clinical results you must use only a root preparation with high levels of alkylamides. An important aspect of any herb, or nutrient for that matter, is its bioavailability. Echinacea angustifolia and E purpurea contain high levels of alkylamides which are easily absorbed in the body.
  • MediHerb’s Echinacea Premium is the best Echinacea product on the market because of its high levels of alkylamides. You can tell if the Echinacea product you are taking is derived from the root by how it imparts a persistent tingling sensation on your tongue.
  • Daily dosage with Echinacea Premium (1 a day) will help keep your immune system balanced and ready to respond to the stress needs of the body.

BacopaBACOPA HERB – helps in the retention of memory. I have had students taking Bacopa while listening to lectures and studying for exams. This helped them retain what they were hearing and reading. Then, when exam time came along, they would switch to Ginkgo Biloba, which helps in memory recall.  MediHerb’s Bacopa Complex combines the herbs Bacopa, Schisandra, Eleuthero and essential oil of Rosemary. These herbs contribute key phytochemicals that combine with many other compounds to:

  • Enhance mental clarity and support cognitive function.
  • Support normal memory function.
  • Support physical endurance.
  • Ease the effects of temporary and occasional environmental stress.
  • Nourish the nervous system.

Ginkgo BilobaGINKGO BILOBA – helps in memory recall and has a variety of healthy benefits.  MediHerb’s Ginkgo Forte contains flavonoids, terpene lactones (including ginkgolides and bilobalide) and other phytochemicals that work synergistically to:

  • Support memory and cognition.
  • Promote alertness and mental clarity.
  • Help support healthy mental function.
  • Support good health in older adults.
  • Promote healthy circulation to the brain and peripheral areas of the body which is important for the delivery of oxygen and vital nutrients.
  • Support a healthy cardiovascular system.
  • Support and encourage healthy blood.
  • Provide antioxidant support to help protect nerve cells and other tissues.
  • Support normal hearing.
  • Support eye health.
  • Beneficially modulate cortisol during periods of stress.
  • Reduce the congestive symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

GYMNEMA SYLVESTRE – is the herb of choice for diabetics in Australia, which many folks use exclusively to regulate their blood sugar. It literally nullifies the sweetness in sugar. When you put a little bit of Gymnema tincture into your mouth, or suck on a tablet, you will not be able to taste the sweetness in candy for several minutes. You will taste the flavor of a mint, but not its sweetness.  MediHerb’s Gymnema 4g tablet and its Gymnema 1:1 tincture deliver a powerful dose of this amazing sugar-destroying herb, which is effective in diabetic and hypoglycemic conditions alike. The complex mixture of saponins (gymnemic acids) and other compounds work together to:

  • Maintain healthy blood sugar levels when combined with a balanced diet.
  • Maintain normal cholesterol levels in a normal range.
  • Help support normal cravings for sugar in the diet.

I will continue sharing information about popular herbs and their benefits in my next post in two weeks. Until then, here’s to your health and natural healing.

Anthony Palombo, DC

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 professionals and should only be used under the supervision of an certified herbalist or healthcare practitioner.

Visit my HealingTones.org blog for an interesting series of articles about the Golden Age of Aquarius.

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Depression: Its Causes and Cures, part 1: The Blood Sugar Connection

Tony Pics for SA Book Over the last three days, I’ve had 277 visitors to this blog.  This sudden surge is likely due to a reader and fellow blogger reblogging my blog. The post that piqued her interest was one I published back in January under the title “Cancer Cure and the pH Factor.”   I am duly impressed. You might find her blog interesting as well.

Let’s talk about depression and its causes and cures. Orthodox medicine treats the brain for depression. The underlying cause of depression, however, has less to do with the brain and more to do with the body — especially the gut, as we will see. The brain may control the body’s functions via the central nervous system, with the help of biofeedback through the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. But the brain is nourished by the body and is only as healthy as the body.  

CAUSE AT A DEEPER LEVEL

Depression is fundamentally about the suppression of energy.  In a certain sense, it is a spiritual event. All energy is love. Love is all that IS. Energy expresses through form, and when that expression is thwarted, suppressed or shut down, pressure begins to build behind the dam of resistance to whatever is trying to find expression, which is love or joy.  The expression of love and joy allows for release of this energy. Elation is the result. On the other hand, suppression of love and joy prevents the release of this energy. Depression is then the result.

This is a simplified explanation of the essential dynamics of depression at a core level, and must be kept in mind as we consider the various causes of resistance that results in depression.   There are at least four areas that need to be taken in consideration when searching for the cause of a person’s depression: 1) blood sugar, 2) the liver, 3) the gut flora, 4) the endocrine glands (hormonal response to stress).  These four areas overlap in most cases of depression, so I will be addressing more than one area at times. I will cover the entire territory in two or three consecutive posts.

DEPRESSION AND BLOOD SUGAR

Blood sugar imbalance is highly suspect in cases of acute  and chronic depression. Low blood sugar — clinically known as hypoglycemia — deprives the cells of energy they need to function. This includes brain cells, which depend on sugar for energy entirely. A classic symptom of low blood sugar is sugar cravings.  If you crave sugar or shake if you miss a meal, you can be sure that you have hypoglycemia.  Hypoglycemia, of course, can lead to diabetes if not corrected. So, let’s look at hypoglycemia, how it can cause depression, and what one can do to reverse this dis-ease.

Blood sugar is regulated by the endocrine system, specifically the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands. The Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas play a non-regulating role of taking blood sugar and attaching an insulin molecule to it as an escort into the cells where is can be used as fuel. The liver is also involved, as it’s a storehouse for hormones, glucose, iron and several other important nutrients, not to mention its primary function of detoxifying the blood stream of metabolic waste, which includes unused hormones. We’ll come back to that later, but first, let’s look at the three chief endocrine regulators, which make up a family of endocrine glands called the HPA Axis. Here’s an excerpt from CNS Forum explaining the chemistry involved in depression:

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in

depression

In depression, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is upregulated with a down-regulation of its negative feedback controls. Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is hypersecreted from the hypothalamus and induces the release of adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) from the pituitary. ACTH interacts with receptors on adrenocortical cells and cortisol is released from the adrenal glands; adrenal hypertrophy can also occur. Release of cortisol into the circulation has a number of effects, including elevation of blood glucose. The negative feedback of cortisol to the hypothalamus, pituitary and immune system is impaired. This leads to continual activation of the HPA axis and excess cortisol release. Cortisol receptors become desensitized leading to increased activity of the pro-inflammatory immune mediators and disturbances in neurotransmitter transmission. (Click on picture to enlarge it for easier reading.)

HPA_DPN_DPN_3

If you had a difficult time following the sequence of events, don’t sweat it, so did I. Body chemistry is a miracle that, like all miracles, cannot be fully grasped by the human mind. What you just read above is someone’s explanation based on a somewhat limited understanding of the complexity of human endocrinology.  As a brilliant colleague, Dr. Janet Lang, once put it in a seminar on functional endocrinology, the endocrine glands are a family and behave like one. We might think we gain understanding of them by taking them aside and studying their function and behavior.  Put them back with their siblings and their behavior changes as they interact with them.  So, we need to understand and treat them as part of a family and not as isolated hormonal glands. (This is why blood tests for thyroid function, for instance, are virtually useless in gaining an understanding of this gland’s output. Saliva tests are far more accurate.)

Now I’ll give you the simplified explanation along with what can be done to correct this one cause of depression using food supplements and herbs.

THE HPA AXIS 

The hypothalamus acts as a mediator between environmental activity and hormonal response to that activity.  Environmental activity is perceived through your five senses and sent via your central nervous system as information to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus receives, interprets and evaluates this information, then sends signals to the pituitary gland in the form of hormonal precursors that solicit a response in this Master Gland that results in the production of stimulating hormones — such as TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), ACTH (adrenocorticotropin hormone), and FSH (ovarian follicle stimulating hormone), etc. These hormone precursors are sent to the appropriate ductless hormonal glands in the body via the bloodstream, which then produce hormones that will trigger an appropriate response in body cells , depending on the type of activity being called for. 

The environment, by the way, includes the internal terrain of the physical body as well as the mental and emotional terrain and the activities therein.  An example of the physical terrain’s influence on the HPA Axis would be poor nutrition and toxicity resulting in a health crisis.  An example of the mental and emotional influence on the HPA Axis would be arousal of the stress fight or flight response simply by thoughts about your seemingly impossible situation in life, be it your health, your job, your marriage or relationships, or any number of stressful life situations.  Think about it long enough while doing nothing about it results in chronic stress. It also frustrates and confuses the hypothalamus, which hypes up its secretion of CRF precursors to the pituitary, and exhausts the adrenal cortex causing the pituitary to hype up its production of ACTH to stimulate the exhausted adrenal glands.  So you can see how these glands act in concert with one another and not on their own. 

HELPFUL NUTRITIONAL AND HERBAL SUPPORT

If you know your have sugar handling issues — either hypoglycemia or diabetes — then you can help your body restore balance in this area so that energy can be released to the cells of the brain. This is treating the underlying cause of one form of depression. Here are my recommendations: 

  1. First of all, the liver needs to be detoxified, which means the pathways in the liver need to be opened up to allow chemical processes to work their miracle on metabolic waste, mainly devitalizing it and eliminating it from the body. There are some very excellent nutritional protocols that can accomplish this in just 21 days. They include St. John’s Wort, garlic, beet tops, cruciferous vegetables, herbal detoxifiers such as Schisandra fruit, Rosemary leaf, Milk Thistle seed, and herbal toners and tonics such as Globe Artichoke leaf, Dandelion root, just to list the few main herbs. All these nutritional and herbal remedies are available in product formulations from Standard Process and Medi-Herb, partners in providing health professionals with exceptional and highly effective wholefood supplements and Australian herbs.  You may contact me for professional guidance and product procurement. 
  2. Secondly, the endocrine glands that make up the HPA Axis and the brain need nutritional support and herbal nourishment. Some of the main products in this protocol are Hypothalmex, Paraplex, E-Manganese, Drenamin, Adrenal Complex, Min-Chex, and Niacinamide B6.
  3. Thirdly, your sugar-handling systems need support. Products by Standard Process include Diaplex to nourish the pancreas, Cataplex GTF for chromium to facilitate sugar consumption at the cellular level, Gymnema to balance blood sugar, Inositol for brain fuel, Zypan for digestion of proteins, and Protefood to provide the 8 essential amino acids needed to utilize the amino acids in your food after proteins are broken down by your digestive system. (Details on products are available on Standard Process‘s website.)

DIETARY CONSIDERATIONS

  1. Hypoglycemia conditions need frequent meals and snacks.  Five small meals daily is the recommendation. Some protein needs to be included in these meals and snacks.  Nuts are a good source of protein and are much better than sugars and carbohydrates as they help raise blood sugar without spiking insulin.
  2. Eliminate all processed foods and refined carbohydrates entirely from your diet. 
  3. For Type II Diabetes (a.k.a. insulin-resistance diabetes), refrain from sugars and starches entirely for 30 days. Eat only foods that are low on the glycemic index. The rationale here is to free up insulin receptor sites on the cells by cutting back on insulin production by the pancreas, which occurs every time you eat sweets and starches. It will take approximately 30 days to use up the sugar-laden insulin floating around in your blood stream. The cells are really not “resistant” to insulin, they simply have no room left to receive any more sugar-laden insulin . . . thus the need to stop spiking insulin. A liver detox could be done at least once a year.
  4. For Type I Diabetics (a.k.a. insulin-dependent diabetes), the best you can do is give ample support to your body’s sugar handling systems and, of course, observe a diabetic diet. You would be wise to eliminate all refined carbohydrate and processed foods from your diet. Nutritional therapeutic support could be incorporated into your daily regimen of meds, especially for the insulin-producing B cell in your pancreas which may be able to be regenerated if they are not entirely burned out. The protocol would include Diaplex, Cataplex GTF, Gymnema, Cataplex B and Inositol. A liver detox could be done at least once a year. 

The products recommended above are only available through licensed healthcare professionals. You are welcome to consult with me by email or by phone for a modest fee, as well as to order products. 

(Note: These blog articles and recommendations made therein are not intended to diagnose or treat any disease and are not to be construed to preclude appropriate medical attention.)

In my next post we will consider the impressive role the gut flora plays in depression and health in general. Until then, here’s to your health and healing.

Anthony Palombo, D.C.

Email: dranthonypalombo@live.com 

See my second blog, HealingTones.org, for inspiring articles on handling sacred energy. Recently I’ve been writing about our Electromagnetic Universe and the Body Electric.