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Sea Buckthorn Oil Benefits

seabuckthorn

Seabuckthorn Oil Benefits

Seabuckthorn Oil, Hippophae rhamnoides (hip-POH-fay ram-NOY-deez) is a deciduous shrub. It ranges from Europe, including Britain, from Norway south and east to Spain and Asia to Japan and the Himalayas.

seabuckthorn

It has been recognized for centuries in Eurasia for its exceptional medicinal and nutritional properties. The berries are rich in vitamins and nutrients.

They appear to be an unsurpassed natural source of vitamins A and E, carotenoids and flavonoids and are second only to Rose hips and Acerola in vitamin C content.

They are also rich in several other vitamins, including B1, B2, K and P as well as in more than two dozen microelements.

Seabuckthorn Berry Oil and Seabuckthorn Seed Oil both possess nourishing, revitalizing, and restorative properties.

The Berry Oil is a beneficial ingredient in formulations intended for:

  • acne
  • dermatitis
  • irritated or dry skin
  • eczema
  • skin ulcers
  • postpartum pigmentation
  • burns
  • scalds
  • cuts

The stimulation of tissue regeneration is helpful in the treatment of:

  • burns
  • bedsores
  • poorly healing wounds
  • the damaging effects of solar radiation

It can effectively combat wrinkles, dryness and other symptoms of malnourished or prematurely aging skin.

seabuckthorn

The restorative action of Seabuckthorn Oil may be partially due to the high content of essential fatty acids, carotenes, tocopherols and phytosterols, all important for the maintenance of healthy skin.

The essential fatty acid content of Seabuckthorn Berry Oil is 80 – 95%, notably oleic and linoleic acids.

Taken internally, it can help:

  • prevent gums from bleeding
  • recuperate mucous membranes
  • heal peptic and duodenal ulcers
  • aid urinary tract and cervical erosion

The oil can be used to treat solar and cancer radiation injuries.

Russian cosmonauts have used it for protection against radiation burns in space.

I teach folks how to make a great after-sun cream with essential and fixed oils beneficial for treating sun and wind burn that includes:

  • Seabuckthorn Seed Oil
  • Rosehip seed Oil
  • Vitamin E Oil
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Tea tree essential oil
  • Chamomile essential oil

Seabuckthorn Seed oil and the Berry Oil are generally available at health food stores as well as on the internet and is reasonably inexpensive considering the small amount necessary to include in your preparations.

One thing to note is that it is orange in color, the color of the fruit, and it can make your preparation as well as your skin a bit orange.

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Treating Sports Injuries

no ice

Treating Sports Injuries

The Question: Does cryotherapy, the use of extreme cold in surgery or other medical treatment, improve outcomes for acute soft tissue injuries?

I have been playing basketball for more than six decades and although it is purported to be a non-contact sport, I have sustained a plethora of injuries, so I have some experience treating them.

I also taught herbal medicine at several massage colleges for more than thirty years and many times to students who had already taken a course in sports massage, where they were taught to respond to soft tissue injuries with RICE, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

The use of ice or cold water with soft tissue injuries is often advocated, but what research is there to prove that it actually works?

I have been teaching that heat is more effective in assisting the body to heal itself.

RICE is the accepted model, but Ice and Compression are but allopathic (suppress the symptoms) responses to inflammation, which the body produces naturally in flooding the area with blood and lymph to bring healing.

After much push-back from my students, I did an internet search for evidence of any benefit to icing an injury in the acute stage, such as immediately after you sprain your ankle.

I found that the effect of cold therapy on the most common acute soft tissue injuries, including strains and bruises, has not been proven.

The effects of ice have been demonstrated in numerous animal models and human studies. Ice reduces tissue temperature, blood flow, pain, and metabolism. However, and possibly more important is the question, “Does the application of ice actually impede the natural healing process?”

Does treatment facilitate achievement of goals related to functional limitations and sudden transient disability after injury or surgery?

Reports indicated that cold seemed to be more effective in limiting swelling and decreasing pain in the short term (immediately after application to one week post injury) but did not improve recovery times.

Let’s look at the two supposed benefits of icing a sports injury.

ice reduces pain

The experience of extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, is the same – it hurts!

By the time you become numb from the extreme cold, the area is in hypothermia which is defined as a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat.

And pain, by the way, is the body’s message to us to give it a rest. So elevation and rest are appropriate.

And, if required, a cup or two of willow bark tea, a natural aspirin, can help alleviate the pain without the use of ice.

DMSO (dymethyl sulfoxide) and CBD (cannabidiol) are also incredible pain relievers applied topically.

DMSO has analgesic properties

DMSO is a natural organic compound in the sulfur cycle of plants produced as a by-product of papermaking, extracted from lignin, an insoluble fiber in wood pulp.

Research shows that DMSO slows or blocks conduction of impulses along nerve cells, which in effect reduces pain from musculoskeletal injuries, postoperative incisions and other sources.

It is also warming to the area, which relaxes muscles and increases local blood and lymphatic circulation, assisting natural repair mechanisms.

A hot water bottle is also helpful here and is preferred to heating pads as heating pads emit EMFs, electromatic fields that impede the healing process and actually promote abhorrent cell growth.

After the initial stages of injury, heat can be applied with alternating cold. Long heat, short cold. This is known as hydrotherapy and can accelerate the healing process.

CBD may offer an option for treating inflammation and different types of acute and chronic pain

CBD is an active compound in cannabis derived from the hemp plant.

A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis.

Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat.

ice reduces inflammation

The question here is, “do we really want to do that?”

As previously stated, ice and compression are allopathic responses to inflammation. Allopathy is the treatment of disease by conventional means, i.e., with drugs having opposite effects to the symptoms.

And inflammation in allopathic medicine is seen as a pathogenic condition to be reversed, in this case with anti-inflammatory drugs or ice.

Whereas in holistic medicine we don’t impede the body’s natural response, we assist it, in this case with the application of heat.

A tornado in Ocean Beach

A smallish tornado passed through the alley a number of years ago, knocking a few out buildings off their foundations and knocking down a few fences. Not a major disaster.

Where I lived in Michigan growing up we had “real” tornadoes. They would zig zag along taking out some houses while missing others.tornado damage

If that happened up on the hill where we live, the local parking would become seriously impacted by trucks delivering lumber, plumbing and electrical supplies and the like, as well as the workers clearing the debris and reconstructing the buildings.

local traffic only sign

The folks whose houses didn’t suffer damage could get upset about the lack of parking and put up a sign on the corner stating, “local traffic only”.

Can you imagine how much longer it would take to haul off the damaged stuff and bring in the materials to do the repairs.

That, in effect, is what happens when we employ ice and compression.

It is counterproductive.

Heat, on the other hand, will assist the process and get you back on your wheels faster.

So we have a new acronym. Rather than RICE we have HER, Heat Elevation and Rest.

Rice at weddings

An urban legend about not throwing rice at weddings because it could kill birds eating it is, of course, absurd. I mean what do we put in bird feeders. Seeds such as rice.

bubbles at wedding

The real reason some establishments still outlaw its use is because of difficult cleanup and potential hazards for slipping and falling.

So rice is out at weddings, but also with the initial stages of soft tissue injuries.

Read more about the benefits of DMSO.

Read more about the benefits of CBD.

Read about a product with DMSO and CBD.

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Supplement Support for Health and Well-Being

Vitamin C

Supplement Support for Health and Well-Being

I have been supplementing two important vitamins and a mineral to support my general health and well-being and to now protect myself from possible harsh consequences of covid-19 infection.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is perhaps the most popular supplement taken to protect against infection due to its important role in immune health.

Oxidative stress can negatively affect immune health and is linked to numerous diseases.

Vitamin C functions as a powerful antioxidant, protecting against damage induced by oxidative stress, which occurs with the accumulation of reactive molecules known as free radicals.

It also supports the function of various immune cells and enhances their ability to protect against infection.

Supplementing vitamin C has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections, including the viral infection known as the common cold (which is a cousin of covid-19).

A large review of 29 studies in 11,306 people demonstrated that regularly supplementing with vitamin C at an average dose of 1–2 grams per day reduced the duration of colds by 8% in adults and 14% in children.

Interestingly, the review also demonstrated that regularly taking vitamin C supplements reduced common cold occurrence in individuals under high physical stress, including marathon runners and soldiers, by up to 50%.

marathon runners

Additionally, high dose intravenous vitamin C treatment has been shown to significantly improve symptoms in people with severe infections, including sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) resulting from viral infections.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) provides a minimum of Vitamin C, 60 mg, which generally prevents scurvy in our population, but is by no means an optimal intake.

Whereas vitamin C supplements may significantly improve immune health, especially in those who don’t get enough of the vitamin through their diet.

For adults, the recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) a day, and the upper limit is 2,000 mg a day or to bowel tolerance which is an amount that won’t cause diarrhea.

I take 2,000 mg/day and up to 8,000 mg/day for fighting infections.

I try to get most of my nutritional requirements met by eating organically grown whole foods, but sometimes that just isn’t sufficient to meet my needs.

Vitamin C

Although I can get Vitamin C from green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits such as oranges, I would need to eat forty oranges (with more than two thousand calories and a cost of $11) to equal what I get from two supplement tablets.

Hence the need for supplementation.

Vitamin C was first chemically synthesized in the early 1930s and is known as ascorbic acid.

Vitamins synthesized in a laboratory are made to mimic the way natural vitamins act in our bodies and are the most common products available.

But they aren’t the same as their natural alternatives.

Many synthetic vitamins lack the transporters and co-factors associated with naturally occurring vitamins and lack the trace minerals that assist their absorption.

Rose Hips

Rose hips contain the natural form of vitamin C and also offer bioflavonoids such as hesperidin and rutin, as well as other vitamins, enzymes and minerals that control the way the body recognizes, metabolizes and uses them to make what it needs.

rose hips

Hesperidin is said to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and help fight cancer.

Rutin has powerful antioxidant properties. It also helps our body produce collagen and use vitamin C.

The bioavailable Vitamin C supplement I take is in the natural form from rose hips, with additional hesperidin from lemon, orange and grapefruit peel and additional rutin from the Japanese pagoda tree, Sophora japonica.

This is available as MAXI C-COMPLEX in health food stores or online.

Vitamin D

Most folks are deficient in Vitamin D.

Vitamin D

Although I live near the beach in Southern California and generally get plenty of sunshine, I have been supplementing Vitamin D for years.

It has many health benefits.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin essential to the health and functioning of our immune system.

It enhances phagocytosis, pathogen-fighting of monocytes and macrophages — white blood cells important for our immune defense.

Studies show that vitamin D supplements may improve response to antiviral treatments in people with certain infections, including hepatitis C and HIV.

Studies also show that Vitamin D decreases inflammation.

Research on inflammation has created a shift in medical thinking.

For a long time it has been viewed as a necessary, even beneficial, response to illness or injury, which is true for acute inflammation as with a sprained ankle.

sprained ankle

But now both observational studies and laboratory research are indicating that chronic inflammation is the common, causative factor in many diseases.

For example, low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections, including influenza and allergic asthma.

In a 2019 review of randomized control studies in 11,321 people, supplementing vitamin D significantly decreased the risk of respiratory infections in people deficient in this vitamin and lowered infection risk in those with adequate vitamin D levels.

Depending on blood levels, anywhere between 1,000 and 4,000 IU of supplemental vitamin D per day is sufficient for most people, though those with more serious deficiencies often require much higher doses.

I take 2,800 IU Vitamin D-3 daily in the form of colecalciferol. Since it is oil soluble, I take it with my evening meal which generally contains more fats than breakfast (mostly fruit) or lunch (mostly leafy vegetables).

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral I rely on for my health and well-being.

It’s commonly added to supplements and other healthcare products like lozenges that are meant to boost the immune system.

zinc

Zinc is also needed for immune cell development and communication and plays an important role in inflammatory response.

A deficiency in this nutrient significantly affects your immune system’s ability to function properly, resulting in an increased risk of infection and disease, including the common cold and pneumonia.

pneumonia

What’s more, supplementing with zinc may be beneficial for those who are already sick.

In a 2019 study in 64 hospitalized children with acute lower respiratory tract infections (ALRIs), taking 30 mg of zinc per day decreased the total duration of infection and the duration of the hospital stay by an average of two days, compared with a placebo group.

Supplemental zinc may also help reduce the duration of the common cold.

man with cold

Zinc deficiency affects around two billion people worldwide and is very common in older adults.

In fact, up to 30% of older adults are considered deficient in this nutrient.

Taking zinc long term is typically safe for healthy adults, as long as the daily dose is under the set upper limit of 40 mg of elemental zinc.

Excessive doses may interfere with copper absorption, which could increase your infection risk.

Organically grown pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc.

pumpkin seeds

For male adults aged 19 years and above, the Office of Dietary Supplements recommends a daily intake of 11 mg of zinc for men and 8 mg for women.

I take a zinc supplement that provides 24 mg in the form of zinc picolinate.

To obtain that much from pumpkin seeds, which also contain a good bit of healthy fat, would require eating more than 300 grams of seeds (with more than 1300 calories and a cost of $5 per day).

Update:

I asked my friend Holly Frazier who is a clinical herbalist (Self-Heal Grad) and microbiologist who works with Covid in a lab to add to this post if needed. Here is her much appreciated input:
The one thing I would add is magnesium. A good quality one like magnesium glycinate or magnesium chloride. Other magnesium’s have a notoriously low absorption rate but are much cheaper. It is estimated 85% of people are deficient. I was one of them. Being a coffee drinker made it worse.

I was taking 10,000 IU of Vit D daily for months and my levels never went over 25 ( deficit). In fact I had too high levels of calcium because Vit D enhances calcium absorption. I got heart palpitations from too much calcium and I wasn’t taking any calcium supplementation.

I learned magnesium enhances Vit d absorption as well as activates it. This is what the lymphocytes use for signaling during viral infections otherwise they are circulating zombies.

I now take 1000 daily of D3 with K2  with magnesium (K2 keeps calcium from hardening the arteries) and my levels are over 50, a good level.

Vitamin C should never be taken with sugar as in juice. The receptor is the same for glucose and Vit C. Therefore there is a competitive binding problem.

I take my C (10-12 grams daily while I’m playing with Covid, any more and I get diarrhea which as you say is your personal limit)

We are one of the few animals that can’t make C from glucose.

I read a study that goats produce a serum level of 100,000 ml/dl when sick. This is INSANELY HIGH. You’d have to probably eat more than 100 grams of C to get to this level and unlikely you could absorb it.

This is why IV vitamin C is very effective for people who have Covid or other diseases. It has been shown the lymphocytes use vitamin C for fuel so when they are very active during an infection they BURN through serum levels of vitamin C quickly.

Thomas DeLauer has a good short video on D C zinc and magnesium and how they work together. If you start at 1:12 you’ll skip the adds for keto products which we do not endorse.

https://youtu.be/NShQHKBNiVg

In General

Understand that some supplements can interact with prescription or over-the-counter medications and that some may not be appropriate for people with certain health conditions.

Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider before starting any supplements.

Also understand that no supplement, diet, or other lifestyle modification other than physical distancing, also known as social distancing, and proper hygiene practices (hand washing) can protect us from covid-19.

Keeping your immune system healthy is key to preventing infection and disease.

exercise

Making healthy lifestyle choices by consuming nutritious foods and getting enough sleep and exercise are some of the most important ways to bolster your immune system.

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How We Become a Petri Dish

covid petri dish

How we become a petri dish

The common flu is a coronavirus

According to WebMD some important statistics on the flu based on the best available data:

• 5% to 20% — Percentage of the U.S. population that will get the flu, on average, each year.
• 200,000 — Average number of Americans hospitalized each year because of problems with the illness.
• 8,200 to 20,000 — Number of people who die each year from flu-related causes in the U.S.

And yet, when the flu season comes we don’t generally wear masks or practice social distancing.

Some folks get it and some don’t

Some folks who get it suffer from from serious complications or die.

Some don’t.

Some folks who test positive for Covid-19 are asymptomatic and may not even know they’re infected.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) asserts that based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are people of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:

  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions

  • People who are immunocompromised. Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)obesity
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease

With the exception of HIV or AIDS, these conditions are not contagious diseases but are the result of lifestyle choices.

So, in reality, we create the conditions that put us at risk

And in many cases, what we don’t know about nutrition and lifestyle is killing us.

graveyard

3.9 million people die each year from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), making it the third leading cause of death, ahead of stroke, in the United States.

Approximately 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes occur every year in the United States.

More than 800,000 people in the United States die from cardiovascular disease each year—that’s 1 in every 3 deaths, and about 160,000 of them occur in people under age 65.

The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that, for 2015-2016 in the U.S., 39.8% of adults aged 20 or over were obese (including 7.6% with severe obesity) and that another 31.8% were overweight.

Obesity rates have increased for all population groups in the United States over the last several decades.

More Americans die from diabetes every year than from AIDS and breast cancer combined. According to the CDC, 79,535 deaths occur each year due to diabetes and the number of fatalities related to diabetes may be under reported.

So who is responsible if I represent one of those statistics?

A Petri dish (alternatively known as a Petri plate or cell-culture dish) is a shallow transparent lidded dish that biologists use to cultivate microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, yeasts, and molds.

A nutrient media supports the growth in the Petri dish.

Interestingly, to culture a virus, bacteria is generally cultured first and the bacteria becomes the nutrient media for the virus.

We can become a Petri dish ourselves and support their growth.

The two most important factors for maintaining a cellular environment that is unfriendly to microorganisms are an alkaline pH (7.42) and high oxygen levels.

Microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria are acid-loving and can’t survive in an alkaline environment

This is why you don’t need to keep your vinegar refrigerated. In fact, it will live in your cupboard for years without growing anything in it due to the 5% acetic acid content.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is extremely acid-forming, providing very few alkalinizing minerals and producing an excess of carbon dioxide that can build up and contribute to a more acidic condition in the body, a condition known as acidosis.

Standard American Diet:

  • 7% fruits and vegetables (mostly commercially grown and lack the alkalinizing minerals)
  • 42% animal products (highly acid-forming)
  • 51% refined foods (highly acid-forming)

Stress contributes to acidosis

“Stress can kill you,” Dr. Diana Gall from Doctor4U.

“Though it’s not the stressful situations that kill you, it’s how you deal with stress that affects your health.”

stressed man

Many people know that stress kills, few know that one mechanism of how it kills is with acid.

When we encounter a stressful situation, our body produces hormones that send us into “fight or flight”.

This causes a surge in the hormone adrenaline, which gets our heart pumping and raises our blood pressure.

The “stress hormone” cortisol also gets released, curbing functions that are non-essential in a fight or flight scenario, such as the immune and digestive systems.

The association with stress and acid is that when the stressful situation abates, our body metabolizes (takes apart) adrenaline and cortisol. A metabolite of that is uric acid, so more stress equals more acid.

The Bohr effect

Furthermore, due to the Bohr effect, we only get half as much oxygen to our cellular neighborhoods.

The Bohr effect is a physiological phenomenon first described in 1904 by the Danish physiologist Christian Bohr.

To put it simply, how do erythrocytes (red blood cells) know where to deliver oxygen?

Acid

When we work out, we burn more calories in the muscles. This produces carbon dioxide whose acidity “notifies” the red blood cells that more oxygen is needed there to sustain the energy production.

man pumping iron

If you are trying to understand this, your brain cells are burning more calories and sending the same message.

But if one suffers from acidosis, a “mask” of acid pervades and mutes the message. It’s like if you turn on a strobe light in a dark room the effect is pronounced. Turn it on in a lit room and the effect is subdued.

In addition, acidic blood promotes platelet aggregation, a condition in which red blood cells clump together, diminishing their ability to bind with and deliver oxygen.

platelet aggregation

The net result is that rather than the cellular neighborhood maintaining a healthy pH of 7.42 and a highly oxygenated environment, it becomes acidic with only half the oxygen.

As we become more acidic, and have less oxygen in the tissues, we become fertile ground for growing disease.

We become a Petri dish

The microbe is nothing. The terrain is everything.”  Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) is purported to have made this statement on his deathbed.

The origin of the quote is attributed to Claude Bernard (1813-1878), a physiologist and contemporary of Pasteur.

By quoting Bernard, Pasteur was recanting his germ theory, a theory that assigned the cause of disease to microbes invading and reeking havoc on the body, with specific germs causing specific diseases.

In contrast to Pasteur, Bernard believed disease was a condition of imbalance in the internal terrain of body.

He emphasized the context or environment in which germs lived and not the germs themselves.

If the terrain was balanced (homeostatic), then germs could not flourish.

If the terrain was out of balance, then germs would thrive.

In short, germs do not cause disease. Instead, they are a sign of the diseased conditions of the terrain and not the cause of those conditions.

In conclusion

We don’t “catch” the flu, a cold or pneumonia.

If we put someone dressed for cold weather in a freezer for a length of time, they may not contract a cold or pneumonia.

If we put them in the freezer soaking wet in their bathing suit for a length of time they may well contract a cold or pneumonia.

Same person, same freezer.

What explains this it the fact that pathogens such as the pneumonia coccus, as well as the coronavirus that is the common cold, exist within the human body, but under normal conditions do not express and make us sick.

An example of this is folks undergoing chemotherapy that sometimes succumb to “opportunistic” infections (most commonly pneumonia) due to the suppression of their immunity, and may die from it.

Killed their cancer, killed them.

By taking responsibility for our health, eating more alkaline-forming foods (such as  a whole food diet rich in organically grown fruits and vegetables), exercising, meditating, and maintaining a positive attitude, we can go a long way toward keeping ourselves from becoming a Petri dish and live a long healthy life of peace and joy.

meditationBe well….

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An Immune Tonic for the Little Things that get you down

Echinacea

An Immune Tonic for the Little Things that get you down

With covid-19 bearing down on us, we are faced with the question, once again, of how to maintain our integrity against an array of invasive micro-organisms.
Allopathic Medicine Falls Short

In answer to this, modern allopathic medicine has largely abandoned natural substances with their safe and effective actions in favor of pharmaceutical antibiotics that are mostly ineffective for viral infections such as colds and corona viruses.

And yet, the very nature of these chemical substances, along with the incredible adaptability of micro-organisms, has not only doomed this approach to failure, but has, in the process, acted to selectively breed strains of pathogens that now exhibit resistance to all known antibiotics.

As a result, more and more people are returning to traditional herbal medicines that have demonstrated their efficacy in this fight for thousands of years.

Echinacea purpurea plant

The Magic of Echinacea

One of the most popular herbs in the world today is Echinacea. A native of North America, it was introduced to the settlers by the Native Americans who had been using it for at least 400 years.

Physicians quickly adopted echinacea and became skilled in its application. By the first decade of the 20th century echinacea had become one of the mainstays of American medicine and was employed in the treatment of a wide variety of conditions such as typhoid, malaria, abscesses, reptile and insect bites, cancer, syphilis, tetanus and even rabies.

Also known as prairie doctor, Kansas snake root and purple cone flower, this incredible immune tonic has been the subject of exhaustive studies in the past fifty years.

These studies verify that echinacea is an immune tonic in the sense that it will either increase or decrease white blood cell production depending on what the body needs for balance.

Purple Coneflower
                 Echinacea spp.

It also increases phagocyte (eating cell) activity and has a mild antibiotic property specific to some pathogens, including streptococcus and staphylococcus.

It has been demonstrated that small doses of echinacea impart immunity against many common infections as well as allergic ailments.

Large doses have been shown to treat acute infections by increasing the body’s nonspecific resistance, as well as specific immune functions, especially phagocytosis, the release and function of white blood cells that combat and neutralize pathogens and their toxins.

Since echinacea is completely nontoxic, we recommend doses as high as 5 ml, a teaspoon, of the tincture per hour for short periods (a day or two).

Licorice root may be combined if one experiences nausea from taking large amounts.

One of echinacea’s constituents, a mucopolysaccharide (a very large glob of sugar molecules), acts to alert the immune response.

Cellular Defense

Probably its most important immune function is the ability to strengthen the first line of defense, the mechanical resistance in the tissues.

Here echinacea exerts a neutralizing effect on the enzyme hyaluronidase, secreted by many pathogens to break through the connective tissue layer protecting our body cells from infection.

A substance in echinacea actually attaches to the receptor site on hyaluronidase, improving our tissue’s ability to keep an army of pathogens at bay. Hyaluronidase is also present in snake, spider, and bee venom and even the head of sperm cells.

For this reason, echinacea is very effective for snake and insect bites and may prove useful in birth control.

Goldenseal

Goldenseal kills bacteria on contact, while increasing white blood cell production.

goldenseal root
Goldenseal Root, Hydrastis canadensis
Chaparral

Chaparral plants produce nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), a substance which is suggested by some research to be medically beneficial.

A 2010 paper published in the journal Medical Science Monitor suggests NDGA is an antioxidant and may be useful for illnesses involving multiple systems in your body, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Bladder infection
  • Cancer
  • Chickenpox
  • Colds
  • Diabetes
  • Gas
  • Respiratory infections
  • Skin problems, including acne
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Snake-bite pain
  • Stomach cramps
  • Tuberculosis
  • Weight loss
Chaparral
Chaparral (creosote bush), Larrea tridentata
Antimicrobial Combination

We normally use echinacea in combination with goldenseal and chaparral.

Studies conducted at the Institute of Traditional Medicine have shown this combination to greatly reduce the risk of infection during flu season, and to minimize the duration of infections once contracted.

Best of all, these natural herbal medicines leave the body stronger and less likely to catch the next nasty that passes among us.

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Coronavirus covid-19 Information

Noni fruit

What are the symptoms of  Coronavirus covid-19?

  • Fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and trouble breathing are some of the most common symptoms of the novel Coronavirus, covid-19.
  • “It can be more severe for some persons and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties,” the World Health Organization says.
  • “More rarely, the disease can be fatal.”
  • “Older people, and people with preexisting medical conditions (such as diabetes, respiratory problems and heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.”

Protect yourself

  • In general, the public should do “what you do every cold and flu season,” said Dr. John Wiesman, the health secretary in Washington state.
  • Although this virus may not be airborne, it is very contagious, spreading from direct contact with an infected person or something like a doorknob that they touch, or having them cough, broadcasting droplets that can then become in contact with your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Airborne transmission from person-to-person over long distances is unlikely.
  • Because it’s a common habit – most people do it all the time without realizing it. The Association for Professionals in Infection Control estimates the average person touches their face 23 times per hour, based on a small 2015 study.

Social Distancing

Put simply, the idea is to maintain a distance between you and other people — in this case, at least six feet.

That also means minimizing contact with people.

Avoid public transportation whenever possible, limit nonessential travel, work from home and skip social gatherings — and definitely do not go to crowded bars and sporting arenas.

“Every single reduction in the number of contacts you have per day with relatives, with friends, co-workers, in school will have a significant impact on the ability of the virus to spread in the population,” said Dr. Gerardo Chowell, chair of population health sciences at Georgia State University.

Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to halt the spread of illness

  • The best way to wash your hands is with water, soap, and friction by rubbing them together.
  • It is recommended that you run the water, wet your hands, apply soap, rub them together for a minimum of 20 seconds, rinse them off, take a paper towel and turn off the faucet.
  • Do not touch the faucet once done washing your hands as you will be just placing the germs back onto your hands.
  • If in a public restroom, use a paper towel to open the door.
  • Do not touch the door handle with your hands as you will be again potentially putting the germs back on your hands.

Stay Home If You Are Sick

  • If you feel that you are becoming sick, it is important to stay home to prevent spreading it to others.
  • Those with a fever should wait at least 24 hours until after it goes away before they return to work.
  • The same also goes for parents with sick children.
  • Viruses spread quickly in schools, so do your part to prevent them from doing so.

Use Antibiotics Smartly

  • Antibiotics are powerful, but they do not work for everything.
  • They are ineffective against colds and the flu.
  • Taking antibiotics when you do not need to can put you at risk of developing bacterial infections later.
  • Since antibiotics kill sensitive bacteria, resistant and harmful germs can survive and multiply – putting you at risk for getting an antibiotic-resistant infection.
  • Always talk to your doctor before taking an antibiotic to make sure it will treat your illness, and take it as prescribed.

Keep Your Home Clean

  • Regularly clean household surfaces to help prevent the spread of infections in your household.
  • Use hot soapy water or household cleaning products to disinfect surfaces regularly.
  • Additionally, if someone has been sick, clean anything they came into contact with thoroughly to prevent them from getting sick again.

DIY Hand Sanitizer

Wednesday on Amazon, a 2-pack of Purell hand sanitizer, 10 ounces, was nearly $80. But before you go spending some big bucks, you can actually make your own. Pharmacist Mark Thompson said making your own is just as effective as using store-bought. Note that the final dilution needs to be at least 60% alcohol.

Masks can actually increase your coronavirus risk, surgeon general warns

  • The World Health Organization recommends staying at least 3 feet (or 1 meter) away from anyone who may be infected.
  • If you’re the one feeling sick, cover your entire mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. But don’t use your hands. Use either your bent elbow or a tissue that you throw away immediately afterward.
  • While the CDC does not recommend N95 respirator masks for the general public, it does recommend them for health care workers.
  • — An infected person might not show symptoms for up to 14 days after exposure. That’s especially worrisome because this novel coronavirus can be transmitted while a person still isn’t showing any symptoms.

Herbs to the rescue

Scientists tell us that the average human body is composed of approximately 37 trillion cells, depending upon your size.

These cells are held together by a chemical called hyaluronic acid. So, if the cells are the bricks of which your body is built, a compound the body produces, hyaluronic acid, is the mortar that holds them together.

Echinacea

Echinacea, Echinacea purpurea and E. angustifolia, is an herb native to North America that is also known as Kansas snake root because the venom of rattlesnakes contains an enzyme (hyaluronidase) that dissolves the hyaluronic acid that holds the cells together. There are also viruses and several species of bacteria that produce this same enzyme.

Fortunately, Echinacea is able to prevent and even repair the damage of this process.

  • The prevention comes in the from of a chemical contained in Echinacea, identified as  echinacin B, that inhibits this destructive enzyme from doing its work in the first place, preventing viral infection to the cells.
  • The repair is aided by Echinacea’s ability to stimulate the body to produce more hyaluronic acid, strengthening our cellular integrity and providing more material to effect repairs.
  • Echinacea root or extract is available in health food stores.
  • It is non-toxic so it is very safe to take in large amounts.

Elderberry

elderberry

Elderberry refers to several different varieties of the Sambucus tree, which is a flowering plant belonging to the Adoxaceae family.

The most common type is Sambucus nigra, also known as the European elderberry or black elder. This tree is native to Europe, though it is widely grown in many other parts of the world as well.

The local Elder is Mexican elderberry or Tapiro,(Sambucus mexicana) is a deciduous shrub to tree with butter yellow flowers in April -August followed by purple berries in September-October. This elderberry is native to canyons, valleys west of Sierra Nevada form Oregon to Baja and east to West Texas.

Elderberry contains a compound known as sambucol that, like echinacea, inhibits hyaluronidase, protecting our cellular matrix.

It also contains several flavanoids which have antioxidant effects as well as both antiviral and immunomodulating effects, inhibits hemagluttin activity and replication of several strains of influenza A and B.

Elderberry fruit extract

  • Elderberry fruit extract reduces symptoms and duration of Corona virus infections when given within 48 hours of initial symptoms.
  • Significant symptom relief occurs within 2-4 days of treatment.
  • On average, it reduces the duration of symptoms by about 56%.

Nitric oxide

  • Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signaling molecule between cells which has been shown to have an inhibitory effect on some virus infections.
  • It is a molecule that’s produced naturally by your body, and it’s important for many aspects of your health.
  • One of its most important function is vasodilation, meaning it relaxes the inner muscles of the blood vessels, causing them to widen and increase circulation.
  • Nitric oxide production is essential for overall health because it allows blood, nutrients and oxygen to travel to every part of your body effectively and efficiently.

In fact, a limited capacity to produce nitric oxide is associated with heart disease, diabetes and erectile dysfunction.

Fortunately, there are many ways to maintain optimal levels of nitric oxide in your body.

Scientifically speaking, Nitric Oxide can be produced in the body through the process of converting L-arginine (one of the 20 amino acids) into citrulline.

However, more and more research suggests that L-arginine has potentially negative side effects. Additionally, many co-factors are required to convert L-arginine into Nitric Oxide.

Alternatively, Nitric Oxide can be produced more efficiently from substances know as nitrates and nitrites found in plants like Morinda Citrofolia (noni).

Morinda Citrofolia (noni)

Noni is a fruit-bearing tree in the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Its native range extends across Southeast Asia and Australasia, and the species is now cultivated throughout the tropics and widely naturalized.

Among some 100 names for the fruit across different regions are the more common English names of great morinda, Indian mulberry, noni, beach mulberry, and cheese fruit.

Nitro Xtreme

Nitro Xtreme™ contains a proprietary blend of Noni concentrate for increased Nitric Oxide (NO) production in the body.

In addition, Nitro Xtreme™ contains CoQ10, Magnesium, Zinc, Chromium, and Niacin.

Among the many other benefits, these additional nutrients also boost the body’s production of Nitric Oxide.

Where can you acquire Nitro Xtreme™? Click here to order online.

As an alternative, you can order Nitro Xtreme™ bundled with a superfood concentrate with and with an extremely high antixoidant rating (ORAC value) . Click here to order online.

Or you may just wish to order the superfood concentrate. Click here to order online.

Eat Vegetables High in Nitrates

How to Increase Nitric Oxide

Nitrate, a compound found in certain vegetables, is one of the many reasons vegetables are healthy for you.

Vegetables high in nitrate include:

  • Celery
  • Cress
  • Chervil
  • Lettuce
  • Beetroot
  • Spinach
  • Arugula

When these foods are consumed, nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, which confers a wide range of health benefits related to the prevention viral infection, heart health and exercise performance.

Whereas nitrates in processed meats can be troublesome to health, particularly when consumed in excess over long periods, nitrates from vegetables are harmless.

Increase Your Intake of Antioxidants

Nitric oxide is an unstable molecule that degrades quickly in the bloodstream, so it must be constantly replenished.

One way to increase its stability and limit its breakdown is by consuming antioxidants.

Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals, which contribute to the short life of nitric oxide.

These antioxidants are found in all foods but primarily those of plant origin, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains.

A few important antioxidants include:

  • Vitamin C: This antioxidant helps your body form connective tissues, including skin, bones, tendons and cartilage. It also produces brain chemicals that help nerve cells communicate.
  • Vitamin E: This antioxidant protects cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, which are thought to contribute to aging and disease. It also plays an important role in keeping the immune system strong.
  • Polyphenols: This category of antioxidants is associated with several health benefits, including a reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  • Glutathione: Coined “the mother of all antioxidants,” glutathione is the master antioxidant and detoxifier of every cell in your body.

Several studies have found that ingesting nitric oxide precursors, such as nitrate or citrulline, with antioxidants maintains greater levels of nitric oxide in your body by helping reduce its breakdown.

Vegetables that are high in nitrate are also inherently high in antioxidants, which is likely why vegetables are so effective at increasing and maintaining optimal levels of nitric oxide.

Nitric Oxide Inhibits the Replication Cycle of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus

  • The purpose of one study was to examine whether NO inhibits the replication cycle of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (such as SARS CoV, which is a relative of coronavirus covid-19) in vitro.
  • They found that an organic nitric oxide donor, S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine, significantly inhibited the replication cycle of SARS CoV in a concentration-dependent manner.
  • They also showed that NO inhibits viral protein and RNA synthesis.
  • Furthermore, they demonstrated that NO generated by inducible nitric oxide synthase, an enzyme that produces NO, inhibits the SARS CoV replication cycle.

In conclusion

We all need to practice social distancing until we are advised to stop.

Eat your green leafy vegetables and consider taking supplements that add antioxidant protection and help the body produce nitric oxide.

Keeping ourselves and others safe requires some knowledge and practicing proper sanitation, but also the things we know help us stay healthy including exercise, eating healthy foods, and proper rest.

By protecting ourselves, we help protect those around us.

If we all do our bit, we can get through this and get on with our lives.

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Ma haung

Ma Haung

The news media continues to release alarming reports of the perilous results of people using commonly used herbs.

One campaign has been aimed at Ma Huang, Ephedra sinensis, (or Ephedra sinica), one of the oldest herbs employed in Chinese herbal medicine.

It is a gymnosperm, which means its “leaves” are actually needles as with fir trees, thus the common name “joint fir.”

Used for four thousand years in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it was finding its way into western combinations ranging from weight loss formulas to “herbal ecstasy.”

It was brought to the attention of western medicine in 1923 when a Chinese researcher and a German pharmacologist working together analyzed its primary active ingredient, ephedrine.

Ephedrine is an alkaloid similar in molecular structure to methamphetamine.

As with all alkaloids, there is a marked physiological response to ephedrine which accounts for its therapeutic actions.

But the main fear was that Ma Huang may cause heart attacks or strokes.

When folks began using it to make meth, it took a legal hit

Dietary supplements containing ephedrine became illegal in the United States, with the exception of those used in traditional Chinese medicine, where its presence is noted by má huáng.

It is a sympathetic nerve stimulant similar to the hormone adrenaline secreted by the adrenal glands of animals, but without many of the drawbacks of adrenaline.

It is nontoxic, can be taken orally in a tea or concentrate, and exerts its medicinal action in the body for several hours.

Its action is similar to the “adrenaline rush” experienced in emergency situations that drives the “fight or flight” response.

If you were strolling through the woods and were set upon by a ferocious bear, you would experience this hormonal response.

Its actions can be summarized

  • In order to fight or run, all of the body’s energy would be shunted from the central organs to the skeletal muscles.
  • At the same time, the blood would be quickly circulated and oxygenated to support the action of the muscles.
  • Heart rate and breathing increases.
  • Sugars stored in the tissues quickly release for immediate consumption by the muscles.
  • The mind would become very focused so that quick decisions, “fight or run?” could be made.
  • Any sinus or lung congestion would quickly clear up.
  • Tiredness would be alleviated and the limbs warmed.

These actions are produced in a gentle manner that last for several hours.

They make most people feel quite good. In a society that craves stimulation, it’s no surprise that Ma Huang became so popular.

The bulk herb was inexpensive, less than $5 for a pound until it got blacklisted. It is now $26 for a pound on Amazon.

The standard dosage according to Chinese medicine is one quarter ounce (7 grams), which would presumably be simmered for at least 45 minutes in 2 cups of water.

Longer is better as alkaloids are not very water soluble.

In China it is incorporated in formulas that improve peripheral circulation to treat arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis.

It is also used in combination for lung and sinus congestion, providing remarkable decongestant effects.

In most people this response presents no threat to health

Problems may arise in persons with constitutional imbalances that would be driven more out of balance by the reaction of the body to it.

Because energy is diverted away from the internal organs, persons with weak digestion may feel jittery, and perhaps tired.

It may cause digestive disturbance and gas.

And because it increases heart rate, a negative effect may be experienced when those with heart problems take it in large amounts or for an extended period of time.

Do not use ephedra with other stimulants such as caffeine

This might increase the chance of having side effects, including life-threatening ones. Sources of caffeine include coffee, tea, kola nut, guarana, and mate.

Ma Huang, Ephedra sinensis, is not to be confused with North American Ephedra californica, or Ephedra navadensis  which are also known as Mormon Tea or Tea of the Americas used for sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhea and for colds, kidney disorders, and as a “spring” tonic.

When self-medicating with any novel substance, it’s a good policy to take a small amount and monitor body response.

If you have questions about it, consult an herbalist.

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Kombucha

Make Kombucha

Kombucha

One of the controversial new health fads is a fermented beverage known as kombucha (kom BOO cha).

According to reports, millions of Americans are drinking it daily.

It can be “brewed” at home in a week by making a sweetened tea with green tea (or black tea) and adding a SCOBY.

What is a SCOBY?

It is a pancake-like blob.

The acronym stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.

Due to its appearance, it is sometimes referred to as a “mushroom” even though it is not actually a fungi.

Not all kombucha SCOBYs contain the exact same strains of bacteria and yeasts, but they all generally do the same work.

The SCOBY feeds on the tea and sweetener and converts elements of them into health-promoting substances including:

  • Glucuronic acid which acts to detoxify the body by binding up poisons and toxins in a water-soluble form that can be excreted by the kidneys.
  • Hyaluronic acid which is produced naturally by the body to maintain the integrity of intercellular barriers to viral infection.
  • Chondroitin sulfate which helps strengthen cartilage.
  • Mucoitin sulfuric acid which strengthens the stomach lining and vitreous humour of the eyes.
  • Folic acid is a B vitamin which supports the synthesis and repair of DNA and RNA, aids rapid cell division and growth, and is thought to play a preventive role in a range of conditions.
  • A full complement of other B vitamins
  • Carbonic acid which gives it a refreshing fizz like carbonated drinks.
  • An abundance of enzymes which contribute to balanced metabolism, digestion and improved immune function.

There seem to be two main arguments against it

The first is that it appears to contain antibiotics, a class of drugs whose misuse can foster resistant germs.

We are warned that we should not drink the beverage unless we have some real need of its properties internally for an infectious disease such as bronchitis.

The antimicrobial agent, usnic acid (a dibenzofruane derivative) has been used in the form of a traditional herb, usnea (old man’s beard), for quite a long time without much negative press.

In fact, it is this antiviral property that has the interest of the AIDS community.

The second objection to kombucha is the fact that it is grown in sometimes unsterile conditions that could lead to contamination by a variety of unwholesome organisms.

Of course the “unsterile” conditions in our own refrigerators contribute to the growth of all sorts of molds and bacteria on our breads, cheeses, tortillas and just about everything left for a bit.

Most of us are actually able to spot these contaminants and cut them out or throw the spoiled food out.

Those growing and using kombucha can tell just as easily if cultures are contaminated. The cultures are somewhat clear and translucent with any variation becoming obvious.

kombucha scoby

And although the taste of each batch varies slightly, radical changes in composition of the beverage are discernible,  just as bad milk gives itself away.

I have made and drunk the beverage on and off myself for years.

The main benefits I experienced were improved digestion and more energy.

In addition to my busy work schedule, I play basketball, so I’m challenged in my ability to keep up with it all.

There is a noticeable difference when I drink more of this beverage.

In the past, when I was growing it, I provided SCOBYs (they multiply naturally in the process of making the beverage) to many students, fellow herbalists and other teachers.

They have given it to their friends, and them to their friends and so on with a geometric grass roots infusion into our immune deficient culture.

With the exception of a few individuals who had some problems with it because it aggravated candida, it has found more than a few happy homes and satisfied users.

Ask around and you’ll find a donor.

Growers are like folks with cats who are eager to find good homes for their kittens.

You can even grow your own SCOBY by obtaining the raw unflavored kombucha tea from a friend or purchase some and just let it sit, covered for 10-30 days.

Reports of benefits have been numerous and specific

The latest craze has been fostered by the AIDS community because of the reports of immune boosting activity specific to AIDS and MS, cancer, arthritis, chronic fatigue, (and the list goes on).

Kombucha can now be found on the shelves of most food stores.

You can also grow your own

I would use a process that was from start to finish about ½ hour.make kombucha

  • Pour 1 quart of purified water into a pan. Mineral water or water that is structured, alkalized, or pH-adjusted is not appropriate for making kombucha.

So, rather than boiling the sugar and steeping the tea in three quarts of water and waiting several hours for it to cool, I start with one quart and add two more after the heat process to cool it off immediately. Do what works for you.

  • Measure 1 2/3 cup sugar into the pan.

Although white cane sugar is recommended because it is refined and thus free of minerals, I use raw cane sugar.

  • Turn on heat and boil sugar water for 5 minutes covered.
  • Turn off heat and add 8 grams loose green tea and 4 grams loose black tea.

The loose tea may be added in small muslin bags if desired.
This is equivalent to 4 tea bags green tea and 2 tea bags black tea.

Some folks suggests not using organic teas.

I ignore that advise.

Lipton is reportedly organically grown and works fine.

  • Let steep 10-30 minutes covered

The directions call for 10 minutes, I like to leave it longer.

  • Remove tea bags.
  • Add 2 quarts purified water.

I pour it through the muslin cloth with the loose tea in it to leach out the remaining good stuff, then I wring the cloth out to get out the remaining tea).

  • Pour this into a 4 qt mixing bowl or gallon jar.

The larger the surface area, the larger your SCOBY will become and the faster your batch will be done.

  • When the tea is below 90 degrees Fahrenheit, add 6-8 ounces of SOUR kombucha tea from a previous batch.

I used tea from my nursery, the bowl with SCOBYs waiting for homes.

This will have been “brewing” long enough to be really sour, like vinegar.

The high acidic PH of this tea is good insurance against your batch hosting undesirable growths.

  • Float the SCOBY on top. It may sink initially. 
  • If using a wide bowl, dry the bowl on the outside with a paper towel so the tape will stick.
  • Cris cross masking tape over the top to prevent the cloth from falling in.
  • Cover with a cloth and secure with a big rubber band.

I wrote the date and any other info on a little piece of masking tape and secure it to the cloth.

Other herbs can be incorporated

I have made batches with herbs such as nettle, ashwagandha, suma, mugwort, dandelion root, and burdock root, to name a few.

Simply brew them with the green/black tea.

This will contribute the medicinal and nutritional properties of the your brew, as well as its flavor.

Experiment and see what works best for you.

Cleanliness is important

hand washing

Wash your hands before and during the operation. Make sure everything is clean.

Love your Kombucha. It’s alive, alive!

Give it a good home and it will take good care of you.

Be patient with it. Winter means cooler temperatures and slower development of the tea.

I sampled it by removing the cloth, dipping in a clean spoon and tasting it.

Make it how you like, but remember to brew some so its sour enough to start your next batch.

You may wish to a obtain several more bowls or jars if you get into it and want lots to drink and have one for a nursery, like I did.

This fermentation process can produce alcohol

Fermentation involves the breakdown of sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

As a result, kombucha tea does contain small amounts of alcohol.

Commercial kombucha teas are labeled “non-alcoholic” because they contain less than 0.5% alcohol. …

In fact, some homebrews have as much as 3% alcohol or higher.

You can drink too much

Because kombucha contains lactic acid, some think that drinking it in excess could cause lactic acidosis, a build-up of lactic acid that could be hazardous to your health, even life-threatening.

But as long as you’re practicing moderation and not guzzling it, the risk is pretty slim.

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Surviving The Holidays

valerian

Surviving The Holidays

As we enter the holiday season we sometimes brace ourselves for the highest stress times of the year.

At a time when the days get shorter many animals cozy up in their burrows to contemplate or just snooze.

Unfortunately, social responsibilities call for us to leave our cozy nests to fight traffic to the shopping malls.

It’s no wonder this season also brings the highest suicide rate.

One way to survive the madness is to apply some herbal tonic support for the overworked autonomic nervous system.

christmas tree

Because homeostasis is dependent on the opposing forces of the Autonomic Nervous System, support provided by herbal materials with constituents that act on both halves have an enormous influence on overall heath.

Herbal nervines are able to provide materials the body can draw on to tone the Sympathetic Nervous System or Parasympathetic Nervous System, whichever it needs at the time. They strengthen and balance other divisions of the system as well.

One marked difference between the use of herbs to relax, calm and sedate rather than pharmaceutical drugs like Valium is that the herbs don’t toxify the body nor leave us with a drug hangover.

Moreover, while very effective at inducing deep states of relaxation and sleep, studies show that herbal nervines don’t impair mental alertness, reaction times, or locomotor coordination.

So an herb like valerian can help you get a good night’s rest, allow you to awaken refreshed and actually improve mental alertness and clarity the following day.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is in no way related to valium. It’s a safe tonic nervine, muscle relaxer and sedative used to treat  a plethora of conditions including:

  • insomnia
  • nervous tension
  • anxiety
  • muscle cramps and spasm
  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • stress
  • menstrual pain and discomfort
  • hysteria
  • epilepsy (as an anticonvulsant)
  • autonomic nervous system disorders of all kinds (including hypochondria)
  • hypertension, and others.

One old folk tradition depicts married couples hanging valerian in their homes to help bring peace and prevent contention in the home.

valerian
Valerian officinalis

During the First World War valerian was administered to front line troops to prevent shell shock. In the Second Word War it was used to calm civilians during air raids.

Larger amounts of the herb don’t cause an amplification of effect after a certain dosage, but only extend duration of the effect.

The calming and healing properties make it effective in childhood behavior disorders and learning disabilities.

Three main groups of active constituents: volatile oil, esters and alkaloids, have been discovered in the root. Acting as a true tonic, valerian may actually pick some people up rather than depress them.

That is, it is a truly balancing nerve tonic, providing either relaxation or stimulation, whichever is needed by the body to restore balance.

Containing more calcium than any other herb, valerian is one of the most popular nervine herbs in the world. It may be steeped to make tea or simmered (decocted) in a pot with the lid on to prevent driving off the essential oil.

It extracts well in (70%) alcohol and combines well with skullcap and chamomile. I mix a bit of maple syrup with the extract and add a splash of carbonated water, mixing it into a nerve tonic spritzer great for the holidays or any day.