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

Expression Allows Release

Tony picHere it is the first of March and it’s already time to publish a new post in my blogs. I haven’t even thought of what I might write about. Actually, my reservoir is rather empty. After sharing so much through my Health Light Newsletter over yea these past twenty-five years—a printed issue for twenty years—I simply don’t know what more I have to say—about health, that is. I am truly empty. Besides, others have taken up the torch and are shining light on what has come to be known as “whole health.” Just yesterday PBS had three programs on the subject, two of which featured Deepak Chopra with his “eat the rainbow” theme, and Wayne Dyer with his “I can see clearly now” theme. A third program, which I only watched for a few minutes, featured a woman whose topic was “Whole Health.” What I saw of it was very good, just what many of us in the alternative health field have been teaching since the middle of the last century.

I was intrigued by her visual aid, which was a pyramid made of large smooth rocks with words printed on them that told of several things that affect our lives. The top rock was “Physical Health.”  Below this capstone were other things like nutrition, relationships, job, career, exercise, etc. . . . and in there somewhere near the obscure middle of the stack was the word “Spirituality.”  And it struck me how much we focus on our physical bodies and our physical health. After working in this field for fifty years, I’ve become rather bored by the subject.

So, as I sit down to write this post with an empty reservoir of topics, I  pause to reflect on a simple truth and principle that was stated for me many  years ago by my mentor, Dr. William Bahan: “Expression allows release.”

We give so much consideration to what we put into our bodies. Through our mouths we strive to put healthy foods and beverages into our stomachs and try not to put things that are bad for us. Into our minds we strive to put knowledge and wisdom from books, seminars and workshops, and try to have positive thoughts and feelings and avoid negative ones. Into our hearts we seek to put God, grace and virtue through religion, meditation, spiritual retreats and pilgrimages to holy lands and sacred sites. Not that these disciplines and practices are not valuable and necessary. But our health care and lifestyle practices appear to be all about putting things into ourselves to make us healthier and happier—or taking things out that are bad, or that have gone bad. We exercise our bodies with jogging, walking, gym equipment and Yoga. We steam them, rub them with oils, sauna and sunbathe them and put them on diets to lose weight. When all this fails to achieve promised and desired results, we turn to drugs for relief from pain and suffering and prayer for miracles when our situation seems hopeless.

If you were fortunate and aware enough to know about finding and correcting the cause of your ill health, you found your way to a chiropractor who adjusted your spine to “…release the imprisoned impulse, the tiny rivulet of force, that emanates from the mind and flows over the nerves to the cells, and stirs them into life….”  The word “emanates” means coming from within, not poured in from outside. Chiropractic was the first drug-less healing profession to offer an alternative and about-face approach to health and dis-ease here in the West. Founder and developer respectively Drs. Daniel and BJ Palmer proclaimed loudly their “Law of Life” which stated that life and health in human beings comes from “ABOVE, DOWN, INSIDE, OUT.”  

It was this philosophy of thinking deductively rather than inductively that called me to chiropractic as my life’s work. They called it “The Big Idea,” which gradually faded away in the minds and hearts of many chiropractors as they compromised their profession’s principles in order to accommodate the public’s perception of chiropractic care — and more so the insurance industry’s reluctant and meager willingness to pay for limited chiropractic care for the relief of backaches and neck injuries and a few other related conditions that were medically approved. Chiropractic in by far the majority of its doctors’ clinics became just another palliative application to the physical body for the relief of pain. Its philosophy by and large sadly went by the wayside. I published my attempt to revive that philosophy back in 2000 in our professional magazine Today’s Chiropractic — reprinted in 2005 as a booklet Rediscovering the Soul of Chiropractic — to which I received a precious hand full of letters of response from principled colleagues both here and abroad. (Available from Health Light Publishing in St. Augustine, Florida: healthlightbooks.com) 

We’ve become resource poor. Just look at all the books on health. Look at all the prescription medications in the Physicians Desk Reference and all the vitamin products on the market. We’re left with no excuses for not being healthy and happy.  And yet, we’re still unhealthy and unhappy and addicted to putting stuff into ourselves to change our experience of our selves. 

To paraphrase a Biblical phrase, it’s not what we put into our mouths that makes us health and happy, but what comes out of our mouths. Health is within us. We already have a whole and healthy spiritual body standing in the wings behind our physical body waiting to be enjoyed in the flesh. It’s what gives our very flesh life and function! We cannot live without it. It’s perfect! It’s beautiful! It’s just the right shape and size, too! It cannot be sick! It cannot even die! What we can live without is our physical body. Think about it!

Now, think about this. If you can find a way to put your spiritual body into your physical body completely, your physical body with its mind and emotions would be perfectly healthy and happy. Oh, it will still die, but it will die healthy and happy! YOU, however, will carry on living in your spiritual body. Not on this beautiful earth, of course, but in the incredibly beautiful and wonderful realms of Light in Heaven. (I don’t believe there’s a hell, except for what we’ve made of life here on earth.)

But, of course, we can’t just put our spiritual body into our physical body like we download programs into our computers. We can, however, use our physical body with its mind and heart to express our spiritual body with all of its vibrant life, eternal truth, and its endless and unconditional love. Expression allow release.

A little poem comes to mind that Dr. Bill Bahan often used in his symposiums: 

How To Be Happy

Are you almost disgusted with life, little man?
I’ll tell you a wonderful trick
That will bring you contentment, if anything can:
Do something for somebody, quick!

Are you awfully tired with play, little girl?
Wearied, discouraged, and sick?
I’ll tell you the loveliest game in the world:
Do something for somebody quick!

Though it rains like the rain of the flood, little man,
And the clouds are forbidding and thick,
You can make the sun shine in your soul, little man:
Do something for somebody, quick!

Though the stars are like brass overhead, little girl,
And the walks like a well-heated brick,
And our earthly affairs in a terrible whirl,
Do something for somebody, quick! (George Varghese)

Do you feel all bottled up inside? Then let your Self out of prison! Expression allows release. Though we are constantly reminded by just about every health author, you are not what you eat. You are what you express in your moments of living. That’s what you know, what you experience. We know and experience that which we express in thought, word and deed in and through our hearts, our minds and our physical bodies. You want to be happy? Express joy. You want to know love? Express love. You want to know truth? Express truth. You want to know life? Express life. You want to have peace? Be peaceful. This is what will give your body whole health. It’s that simple. Everything else will follow.

Spirituality rightly belongs at the top of the pyramid. Your spirit, motive and attitude will set the direction of your actions and guide your choices in life. When in doubt, start with thankfulness. When you’re anxious, try patience. When worried and confused, try stilling your mind with the assurance that all is well. Realization of what we need to do in any moment comes through a tranquil mind from within. Be still and know. Like I said, we’ve been given all the resources we need to lead a healthy and happy life. All we need is to be fully present as a conscious being in each moment. My spiritual mentor put it very succinctly in a poem.

Any Moment

Any moment of hating, Any moment of lying, Any moment of resentment, Is a moment of dying. 

Any moment of loving, Any moment of giving, Any moment of thankfulness, Is a moment of living. 

All our moments add together Like the digits in a sum, And the answer tells us plainly Whether life or death shall come.    —Martin Cicil

Dr. James Sigafoose says it all in this clip:

And now my reservoir is full again. Expression has allowed the release of this post. I wish for you a beautiful day. Here’s to your health and happiness!

Dr. Tony Palombo

P.S. I celebrate a milestone in my blogging having now had 31,000 visits to my Health Light Newsletter from readers in 114 countries! Wow! What a feeling of accomplishment! Thank you one and all for sharing my thoughts with me in my blogs. Visit my HealingTones.org blog for more . . . . !   

   

 

The Healing Process: Introduction

Tony Pics for SA BookWE LIVE, HEAL AND DIE AT THE CELLULAR LEVEL

My primary job as a doctor is to teach health as I administer healing of dis-ease. Teaching is what I most enjoy.  This blog is all about teaching health.  The more you understand your body and how it lives at the cellular and molecular levels, the better equipped you are with the knowledge and wisdom to manage your health.

The general heading of this and the next several articles is “The Healing Process,” and I promise that you will understand what it is and how it works at the cellular level when you finish reading the next few blog posts, and it will take several posts to cover the subject matter.

Our subject is the cell.  Our objective will be to gain an understanding and deepen our appreciation for the individual cells that make up our body: how they live, facilitate the healing process, and give their lives to maintaining the integrity and homeostasis of the whole body.  We stand to learn much about life and about how we might give our lives, dedicate our living, to the healing of the body of mankind, which is, in reality, the Body of the Creator on this planet, and to the building of a healthier community on Earth.

To help tell the story of the life of the cell, I will call upon Dr. Gary L. Samuelson, who holds a Ph.D. in Atomic and Medical Physics from the University of Utah. He has dedicated his career and knowledge to the advancement of promising technologies addressing the major health issues facing mankind today. His study of the science of healing takes him deep into the microcosm of life itself, beyond mental judgement and labeling.  Through his eyes we can see clearly the truth of all the elements that go to make up our bodies – the “good” and so-called “bad” – all of which are essential to the healing process and the maintenance of balance in our body’s chemistry.  In truth, there isn’t “good and bad,” but simply what is, and it is all good.

The deeper we go into the micro structures of the fabric of creation, where there is yet pristine terrain untouched by human hands, the clearer is the design and function of the creative process . . . and that’s my keen interest.  For if we understand the ways of life and the processes by which life brings about creation, we may better understand how we, as creator beings, can work together to bring about a healthier world.

I invite you to sit back and allow your mind to relax its effort to grasp meaning and simply settle down and go deep with me, and with Gary Samuelson, to enjoy a fascinating journey and molecular tour of the human cell.  I promise this will be a most enjoyable book review and reading, presented in sections over several blog posts so as to give the reader time to fully digest and process the material. Enjoy the tour!

The Science of Healing Revealed — New Insights into Redox Signaling,  by Gary L. Samuelson, Ph.D.

Dr. Samuelson has found a way to take a complex and difficult subject and make it lucid and understandable to the lay reader. It is very rare that someone can convey concepts in science with such clarity and still maintain a degree of accuracy and precision. Dr. Samuelson possesses this unique talent; he explains the bodys natural healing process on the molecular level in a way that conserves the precision of the science, and yet exposes the technical terms and underlying concepts in clear language able to be understood by any interested reader.

The reader stands to gain a much better view of the science of healing and a good understanding of the basic concepts of how the bodys healing process works.   (Chase N. Peterson, MD, Former President of the University of Utah)

FORWARD

I have always been fascinated by the process of life. How does a blade of grass grow, what determines its shape and function? If it is chopped off, how does it know to grow back? I was sometimes accused of being a strange child, yet my inquiring mind turned me toward the study of science. This love of truth and science stayed with me into my adult life. I soon realized that the mystery of life is one of the most fundamental questions facing us. Shortly after obtaining my Ph.D. in Atomic and Medical Physics, I was set on a path that would ultimately lead me to find the answer to some of these questions and to better understand the overall framework of life processes, approached on the most basic atomic level.

The purpose of this booklet is to help the reader explore and understand this newly emerging science about healing, in a clear, concise, straightforward manner, one that sets a framework around the fundamental principles of the inner workings of the body: explaining how the micro machinery of the body allows the body to thrive when it is well and to heal itself when it is not well. This topic is approached from a first-principles basis, the science is explained as best my language will allow. This book also outlines some emerging cutting-edge science related to the role that redox signaling plays in the healing process.

It is my hope that the reader will be able to follow and comprehend some of the basic, yet incredible, processes that allow us to live and then be motivated to apply this new-found knowledge toward living a healthier everyday life.

INTRODUCTION

Imagine what would happen if our body suddenly lost its ability to heal itself. Within hours, our body would age several years, tissues would degrade, infections would take hold and our body would quickly wither and die. The root of the word “health” is “heal” [to make whole]. The body is constantly healing itself. The body’s ability to heal is one of the most fundamental and essential principles of life. Since conception, our body has been abundantly endowed with this ability. In order to better understand how it does this, we must start by looking at the smallest components of life, the workings inside the living cells that make up our body.

Human cells are generally very small. In a cell’s-eye view, the wrinkles in the palm of your hand are huge cavernous canyons with cliffs and ledges, stretching on for miles. A single hair on the back of your hand is a huge towerinq column of proteins jutting far up, out-of-sight. And yet, even on this tiny scale, the cell is very large compared to the micro machines that perform the processes of life inside the cell. If we were to now dive down inside the cell with a camera that is small enough to see a single strand of DNA, we would see a bustling metropolis of thousands of different types af molecular actors floating around in the salt water, full of activity, extending for hundreds of yards in all directions; proteins being manufactured and folded, delivery systems on microtubules taxiing these proteins around to where they need to go, receptors receiving and transferring messages from inside and the cell and factory-like organelles, hubs where the most complex manufacturing takes place.  In the center would be the nucleus containing the DNA spitting out the instructions needed to manufacture and transport all of these micro machines and messengers. Within this thriving buzz of activity is found the mystery of human cellular life.

Our knowledge of these life processes is doubling in less than five years time now. In fact, the emerging science and framework contained in this small booklet have been mostly developed in the last five to ten years and is the result of literally thousands of investigators who have devoted their lives to build such knowledge. The state of our understanding is constantly changing and evolving. Our understanding of the role of oxidants [free radicals] and antioxidants, for example, has done a turn-about in the last five years. The oxidants (made naturally inside the cells) were thought of as an unfortunate toxic by-product of our metabolism, and the antioxidants (also made in the cells) were thought of as the heroes that were made to clean up these evil oxidants and save us from their toxic grip. Our present understanding, however, is more enlightened. We now have come to see that the oxidants, themselves, play a crucial and essential messenger role to maintain basic chemical balance inside and outside of our cells and, in truth, we cannot live without them.

The picture gradually becomes clearer and clearer as time goes along. As scientists put together the edge pieces, the whole puzzle starts to take shape. In this booklet, we will look at some of these pieces and how they fit together. However, the major emphasis of this booklet will be to take an overview of the whole puzzle and set up a framework that will help us understand how the bigger picture is taking form and how we can use this knowledge to make a future of better health and a better life for all.

The first 4 chapters in this booklet will introduce you to basic cellular biology and function; this part is helpful in order to familiarize yourself with the microscopic workings inside your cells and the basic concepts. Some of these concepts will be useful. including the chapter on the immune system, in order to get the big picture. The last 2 chapters, however, contain the real heart of the material and new insights on the body’s natural healing precess. These last chapters should be read carefully in order to comprehend the huge potential benefits offered by emerging technologies.

Tune in to my next blog post for a continuation of the story of the life of the cell and our ongoing exploration into “The Healing Process.”  We will take a journey inside the cell.  Click on this link for a YouTube video preview: Journey Inside the Cell

To your health and healing,

Dr. Anthony Palombo

To subscribe and manage your subscription, scroll up and click on “Email Subscription” in the right-hand column.

Turn stress into peace and calm!

     

THE CALM, CONNECT AND COORDINATE SYSTEM       

  You’ve heard of the “fight, flight or freeze syndrome,” haven’t you? That system is turned on by stress, or by reaction to stressors which makes you distressed. Well, the calm, connect and coordinate system is what turns it off, restoring you to a state of calm wherein you can sink back into your skin and reconnect with your body as well as your environment instead of fleeing from them. It also gets the cells of your body functioning as a well-coordinated whole once again rather than galvanized, or frozen, in an isolated state of self-defense. This syndrome is turned on by a rarely talked about and scarcely understood hormone: Oxytocin.      

 Produced in the hypothalamus–a part of the brain that coordinates pituitary hormone production with the central nervous system and with what’s occurring around you–and stored in the posterior pituitary where it is released as a hormone to circulate through the body, oxytocin functions by altering or modulating the activities in other major body systems. It can have very long-lasting effects as these major systems work in a feedback loop and stimulate more oxytocin production. New discoveries are showing oxytocin is produced in many different places, including the heart and blood vessel walls, ovaries, and testes.       

 The hormone, Vasopressin–which stimulates the stress syndrome–is also produced in the hypothalamus and is stored and released by the posterior pituitary gland. Also known as an anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), it functions to maintain the body’s fluid volume and balance. In addition, vasopressin acts to increase aggression, hyper-vigilance, and other fight or flight type reactions.    Our understanding of oxytocin and the calm and connection system is in its infancy. Almost all study has been directed to the fight or flight or distress handling system. Most textbooks still state that oxytocin’s only functions are to simulate uterine contraction and facilitate lactation in females (along with prolactin).     

 In oxytocin producing cells the electric impulses do not occur one by one, but in a cluster. When the cells are powerfully stimulated, as in breast-feeding, (or other oxytocin stimulating behavior) the electrical activity becomes coordinated and the cells act in concert. This is part of the reason large amounts of oxytocin can be released in nursing women.  Estrogen can activate the oxytocin system and prolong its effects. Therefore, at certain times oxytocin affects females more potently than males. Testosterone can activate vasopressin and sustain its effects. Therefore, at certain times, vasopressin affects males more potently than females. Neurons that contain serotonin stimulate the release of oxytocin. This may be part of the mechanism of action of SSRI drugs that affect mood and anxiety levels. (Dopamine and noradrenalin also stimulate oxytocin release.) As you can see by the following list, there are many ways we can foster the calm, connect and coordinate system.     

So, next time you find yourself stressed out over something, start producing oxytocin!      

What stimulates Oxytocin release?  

 Giving thanks, being thankful and grateful, coming into the present moment with unconditional acceptance of things the way they are as being perfect; feelings of security, sensation and pleasure; touch, stroking, rhythmic touch; friendship, closeness, bonding experiences; sexual behavior, sex and intimacy, childbirth (uterine contractions), nursing and sucking (thumb-sucking); thoughts, memories, feelings of all the above; and probably such things as . . .   

 Some types of massage, chiropractic spinal adjustments, acupuncture, and other body-mind-spirit based techniques; energy work, attunement healing (Reiki); laughter and random happiness, deep sleep (delta), deep rhythmic breathing, Yoga, tai chi, and other related practices; rocking, singing, meditation, certain types of music, dance, art, literature, poetry; giving and receiving unconditional love; interaction with animals; a job or activity well done, especially if it benefits many; play and other positive and meaningful experiences. 
 
Isn’t it wonderful how our bodies look after us and respond to our every wish and intention!  The body never makes a mistake.  Everything it does is perfect.  We have every reason to trust it.  
 
 To your health,  
 
 Dr. Tony Palombo  
 References:   Dr. Janet Lang’s Nutritional Seminars, HealthLight Newsletter, Fall 2004