Book Review: Oil Pulling Therapy – Detoxifying & Healing The Body Through Oral Cleansing by Dr. Bruce Fife

oilpulling
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
March 5, 2017

What is oil pulling?  Simply put, oil pulling is putting a spoonful of oil in your mouth and swishing the oil around, anywhere from a few minutes to twenty minutes.  After finishing, you then proceed to spit out the oil making sure not to swallow it.  That last part is integral, because all the toxins that leave your mouth will become part of the swished components that have seeped from your mouth after oil pulling, and you sure as heck don’t want that entering your system.

Oil pulling itself goes back a few thousand years.  In fact, it has its origins in Ayurvedic medicine in India, if not before.  Ancient Ayurvedic medical texts outlined this practice, and the practitioners found out that rinsing the mouth with vegetable oil ‘not only cleanses the mouth but restores health to the body.  In fact, this process is said to cure a few dozen system diseases.[1]

Because of those facts, Oil Pulling Therapy – Detoxifying & Healing The Body Through Oral Cleansing by Dr. Bruce Fife is a very important, and underrated book.

The reason Oil Pulling Therapy is important is because it gets at the heart of the matter regarding disease: the mouth.  Being a mirror to our bodies, if you have dismal dental health then you are undoubtedly going to experience a kaleidoscope of health problems.

Some of the conditions that are helped by oil pulling are acne, allergies, arthritis, asthma, back pain and neck pain, bad breath, bronchitis, chronic fatigue, colitis, crohn’s disease, constipation, dental cavities, dermatitis, diabetes, eczema, hypertension, hemorrhoids, insomnia, migraine headaches, mucous congestions, peptic ulcers, PMS, periodontal disease, bleeding gums, sinusitis, and tooth abscess.[2]

To continue along the same lines, an incisive passage in the book follows:

“In addition to the above-mentioned conditions, medical studies have indicated that the following can also be directly related to oral health and may respond to oil pulling therapy: Acidosis, Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome [ARDS], Athrosclerosis, Blood Disorders, Brain Abscess, Cancer, Emphysema, Gallbladder Disease, Gout, Heart Disease, Hyperglycemia, Infertility, Kidney Disease, Liver Disease, Meningitis, Nerve Disorders, Osteoporosis, Paget’s Disease, Pneumonia, Preeclampsia, Preterm/Low Birth Weight Babies, Psychotic Episodes, Stroke, Toxic Shock Syndrome, and many types of infectious disease.”[3]

Many people will instantly think, “But how is it possible that oil pulling can help so much?”  Excellent question.  As alluded to before, the mouth is the gateway to the body, and if the mouth exhibits poor dental health, so will the body.  Since the mouth is a breeding ground for all types of germs, it’s easy to see how these germs, if allowed to remain in the mouth, “can migrate to other parts of the body, cause infections, and alter body chemistry, leading the way to any number of infectious and degenerative conditions.”[4]

For me, personally, there have been quite a few benefits of oil pulling.  As someone whose oil pulled for nigh 3 years, it’s helped my health quite a bit.  Not only do my teeth feel clean, but they are also whiter. Additionally, I don’t experience the pain in my gums that used to happen in the past.  Although I can’t prove it, I do believe myself that oil pulling has also helped me tackle issues with Candida that have taken place in the past.  Furthermore, my regularly scheduled headaches went away, my gums don’t ache when biting foods and are much firmer and healthier, and also don’t experience allergies as much.

The great part about oil pulling is that it’s not only one of the most simplest methods to aid health, but also has nigh no side effects when compared to prescription drugs, which have many.  In fact, properly taken, FDA approved prescription drugs cause over 100,000 deaths yearly.  That’s certainly something you’ll never hear of coconut oil!  That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms however.

In addition, oil pulling, unlike brushing your teeth, gets into many crevices that the brush won’t get into.  This is because “brushing only reaches 60 percent of the surfaces of your teeth, leaving plague in hard-to-reach areas such as in-between teeth.”[5]

Ironically, although benefits of oil pulling go back a few thousand years, it is rarely known to most people.  That’s an intriguing conundrum, except when one realizes that modern medicine goes by the adage that for every ill there is a pill, then you start to see why oil pulling goes against the grain as the system pushes for pills, rather than lifestyle changes and as well as dietary changes.  These changes, ironically, are on par with what our ancestors did, which is why they were vastly healthier than we are as a ‘modern’ society nowadays.

All things considered, oil pulling is one of the cheapest, cost-effective, safe, and efficient ways to take control of one’s health.  Individuals of all ages can do this.   The question isn’t why SHOULD you do it, the question is, why NOT?  But don’t believe me, do your own research, and you will see the effects.
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Sources:

[1] Dr. Bruce Fife, Oil Pulling Therapy – Detoxifying & Healing The Body Through Oral Cleansing, p. 86.
[2] Ibid., p. 12.
[3] Ibid., pp. 11-12.
[4] Ibid., pp. 89-90.
[5] Ibid., p. 18.
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From Tomb To Table: Cumin Health Benefit’s Rediscovered

Source: TheSleuthJournal
Sayer Ji
January 3, 2017

Traded along spice routes separating ancient cultures by vast distances, spices like cumin were once worth their weight in gold. Has modern science now revealed why, beyond their remarkable aesthetic value, they were so highly prized? 

Many spices are perfectly happy living a charmed life as seasonings, peppering things generously with flavor, and without ever arousing the suspicion that they may be capable of profound acts of healing, as well.

Meet cumin, a member of the parsley family, which is to say from a well-known family of healers native to the central Mediterranean region (southern Italy, Algeria and Tunisia).

Cumin’s traditional use stretches back into prehistory, as evidenced by its presence in Egyptian tombs. The Greeks actually used it much like we use pepper today, keeping cumin at the dining table in its own container, which is still practiced by Moroccans to this day. It is also been used for millennia in India as a traditional ingredient of curry.

New research now indicates that these ancient “culinary” uses, once considered primarily aesthetic in nature, may have served more fundamental medicinal roles in these cultures. How do we know this? Modern scientific investigation has revealed that cumin has a broad range of potential healing properties that, when properly applied, could alleviate human suffering.

For instance, as recently as 2010, research published in the journal Food Chemistry and Toxicology demonstrated that cumin has blood sugar lowering properties comparable to the drug glibenclamide (known in the US as glyburide), with the additional benefit (not conferred by pharmaceutical intervention) that it also lowered oxidative stress and inhibited the advanced glycated end products (AGE) which are implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic microvascular complications.[i]

Remarkably, this is only the tip of cumin’s medicinal potential. There are at least 10 other potential medicinal properties of cumin now confirmed in the experimental literature:

  • Bacterial Infections: Cumin oil has been shown effective at killing Klebsiella penumoniae bacteria, including decreasing biofilm formation (a defense mechanism of bacteria against antibiotics), as well as enhancing the antimicrobial activity of conventional antibiotic drugs like ciprofloxacin.[ii] Even more impressive, perhaps, cumin oil has been shown to have anti-MRSA properties.[iii]
  • Candida (Yeast) Infection: Unlike conventional antibiotics which contribute to opportunistic fungal overgrowth, cumin has been shown to have considerable inhibitory activity against 3 different Candida albicans strains of yeast.[iv] It has also been studied to be effective against a wide range of other fungi and yeasts, including Aspergilli and dermatophytes (fungi that cause skin diseases).[v]
  • Cataracts: Cumin has been shown to delay the formation of diabetes-associated cataracts primarily through its anti-glycating properties, i.e. it prevents elevated blood sugar from getting “sticky” (i.e. caramelization) and subsequently damaging tissues in the body.[vi]
  • Cancers: Cumin has been shown in preclinical research to have inhibitory activity against cervical cancer[vii] and colon cancer. [viii]
  • Dental Plaque: Cumin oil has been shown effective as an anti-gingival agent alternative to the chemical chlorhexidine commonly used in mouthwashes.[ix]
  • Diabetes: As mentioned in our opening, cumin has significant anti-diabetic properties. Another 2002 study found that the treatment of diabetic rats with cumin was more effective than the drug glibenclamide, resulting in reductions in inflammation, fatty changes, tissue cholesterol, triglycerides, free fatty acids, blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin – all positive indicators. [x]
  • Food-borne Pathogens – Cumin oil has been found to work synergistically with other food preservation agents to inhibit the growth of food-borne pathogens.[xi]
  • Immune Function: Cumin has been found to effectively stimulate immune function in a way that may benefit immune-compromised individuals.[xii]
  • Fertility (Reversible Contraceptive): Cumin has been found to have potent contraceptive activities in male rats without apparent toxicity.[xiii]
  • Memory Disorders: Cumin has been found to reduce stress-induced oxidative changes in the brain, as well as improving cognition, as determined by acquisition, retention and recovery in rats, in a dose-dependent manner.[xiv]
  • Morphine Dependence/Tolerance: Cumin reduces morphine tolerance and dependence. [xv] [xvi]
  • Osteoporosis: Cumin extract has been shown effective at reversing bone loss associated with the loss of ovarian function at least as well as estradiol.[xvii]
  • Thrombosis (Clot): Cumin seed has been demonstrated to inhibit platelet aggregation, indicating it may prevent pathological blood clotting.[xviii] [Note: of course this means that it could interact adversely with blood thinners].

The evidence-based approach to understanding cumin’s medicinal value is relatively new. Only in the past two decades, but especially in the past five years, scientific research on spices and culinary herbs has virtually exploded. While enlightening, we must remember that the approach is limited in a number of ways. For one, it relies on animal research, which is both inherently cruel (vivisection) and conveys only approximate data, as these substances often have very different effects in animals than humans.

Also, spices like cumin should not be considered in isolation, as traditional recipes passed down from generation to generation contained a vast storehouse of medically relevant information pertaining to the synergies inherent in combinations of ingredients, modes of preparation, seasonal harvesting, etc. In other words, cumin does not lend itself well to the pharmacological, drug-based model of medicine, which presumes there are monochemical “magic bullets” within complex herbs or spices that must be identified and isolated into megadoses, and which are primarily responsible for their beneficial effects.

Nonetheless, it is welcoming that increasingly science confirms traditional herbalism and culinary practice. Perhaps, as the scientific evidence continues to pour in, we will be more willing to give ourselves permission to appreciate once again the wondrous superfluity of nature, its ceaseless benevolence, and the the fact that issuing directly from her fecund soil, are powerful healing gifts, that we can enjoy sensually, viscerally and now intellectually with greater abandon.


Resources

  • [iv] Juergen Wanner, Stefanie Bail, Leopold Jirovetz, Gerhard Buchbauer, Erich Schmidt, Velizar Gochev, Tanya Girova, Teodora Atanasova, Albena Stoyanova. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of cumin oil (Cuminum cyminum, Apiaceae). Nat Prod Commun. 2010 Sep ;5(9):1355-8. PMID: 20922990

© January 3, 2017 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.

Read More At: SleuthJournal.com

What’s the Harm in Taking an Antidepressant?

Source: KellyBroganMD.com
Dr. Kelly Brogan M.D.
November 8, 2016

what's-the-harm

We know that all drugs have side effects. That’s just part of the deal right? But is it really possible that an antidepressant can cause a sane person to act like a cold-blooded criminal?

I imagined my audience would be wondering as much as I arrived to an unseasonably chilly day at King’s College in London. I was there to share what I have learned about the medications that I so dutifully and faithfully prescribed during the early part of my career, and also about the deep potential for healing depression in simple, safe ways, according to the latest science.

The day before my flight, I had received an email from a man who I would choose to invite on stage with me that day. His name is David Carmichael and he wrote:

“I took the life of my 11-year-old son Ian on July 31, 2004 in a Paxil-induced state of psychosis and was charged with first degree murder. I was judged to be “not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder” in September 2005 and received an absolute discharge from the forensic psychiatric system (in Ontario, Canada) in December 2009. I’ve been off all prescription drugs since September 2010. Prior to our family tragedy, I was a physical active sports consultant with no history of violence or mental illness.”

He told an audience of clinicians and patients, that day, about how it is that a normal citizen, prescribed a seemingly safe medication for work-related stress, goes on to commit a heinous act of violence against his beloved child. This academic classroom was heaving with grief when he finished his description of events.

This must be rare, right? Totally anomalous?

Wrong.

It has become my contention that the Russian Roulette that is played with each new prescription of psychotropic medication violates the physician’s most primal tenet – first do no harm – and does so in the absence of anything approximating informed consent.

Violence as a Side Effect?

Thankfully, we are often given multiple chances to wake up to a greater truth. It’s becoming easier than ever. With grassroots platforms like madinamerica.com, the information is out there, when you are ready to look beyond main stream media to what the real victims are claiming.

The truth about antidepressants and violence is also in the most recently published literature, including a critical review, hot off the press, by Carvalho et al where the authors dive into the research on the supposed safety of SSRIs and SNRIs. In this document, they present an evidence-based horror menagerie of ways in which a simple antidepressant can derail your life if it doesn’t take it. Leaving patients with new medical diagnoses, antidepressants prescribed often for difficult transitions in life like divorces and deaths, carry documented risks that your doctor cannot possibly tell you about because if they knew of them, they would put down their prescription pad immediately.

Let’s take a tour. Neatly summarized here, the adverse effects of antidepressants can sound like that droning voice in TV ads that we are inured to because we have been told these “side effects are rare, and outweighed by the benefits.”

But the benefits are shockingly limited so, let’s take a closer look at those side effects…

harm image

The Risks That Made Me Quit Prescribing

Having always represented antidepressants as safe and effective to my patients, I put down my prescription pad after learning 3 facts about psychiatric medications:

  • They result in worse long-term outcomes [1]
  • They are debilitatingly habit forming [2] [3] [4]
  • They cause unpredictable violence [5] [6]

These insights were apparently just the tip of the iceberg. Several years into the horror stories of patient experiences and new relationships with grassroots activists, I am left wondering. What on earth are these meds? How could biochemistry have ever manifested molecules capable of derailing, distorting, and suppressing the human experience to this extent?

With more unknowns than knowns at this point, the signal of harm is growing and patient alignment with this model of care, diminishing.

I pulled some choice phrases from the paper for your further enlightenment below but suffice it to say that many of these side effects are major gamechanging problems if not life-ending tragedies that render the placebo-level performance of these medications totally unacceptable.

Gut disturbance: “Some of the most frequently reported side effects associated with the use of SSRIs and serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) include nausea, diarrhea, dyspepsia, GI bleeding and abdominal pain.”

Liver toxicity: “Two main mechanisms may be involved in antidepressant- induced liver toxicity, namely a metabolic component and/or an immuno-allergic pathway. A hypersensitivity syndrome with fever and rash as clinical manifestations, as well as with autoantibodies and eosinophilia, and a short latency period (1–6 weeks) point to a predominantly immunoallergic pathophysiological mechanism, whereas a lack of hypersensitivity syndrome and a longer latency period (i.e. 1 month to 1 year) points to an idiosyncratic metabolic mechanism.”

Weight gain: “Notwithstanding the complexity of the clinical scenario, compelling evidence indicates that the use of most antidepressants may increase weight in a significant proportion of patients.”

Heart problems: “SSRIs and SNRIs may promote a decrement in heart rate variability (HRV). Although the impact of the effects of antidepressants on HRV remains to be established, data indicate that a lower HRV is a significant predictor of incident cardiovascular events.”

Urinary problems: “SSRIs can cause urinary retention by acting on central micturition pathways. Serotonin may increase the central sympathetic outflow leading to urinary storage, and at the same time inhibits parasympathetic flow, which affects voiding.”

Sexual dysfunction: “…a significant body of data shows that antidepressants may differentially affect sexual function in multiple aspects, leading to reductions in libido, arousal dysfunction (erection in males and vaginal lubrication in females) and orgasmic dysfunctions.”

Salt imbalance: “The mechanisms of SSRI-induced hyponatremia remain incompletely elucidated, but these agents can act by either increasing the release of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) or increasing the sensitivity to ADH resulting in a clinical picture similar to the syndrome of inappropriate secretion of ADH.”

Osteoporosis/Bone weakening: “The use of SSRIs has been associated with a reduction in bone mineral density (BMD) and a consistent higher risk of fractures.”

Bleeding: “All serotonergic antidepressants have been associated with an increased risk of bleeding. The most likely mechanism responsible for these adverse reactions is a reduction of serotonin reuptake by platelets, although other mechanisms have also been implicated.”

Nervous system dysfunction: “All kinds of EPS [extrapyramidal symptoms] are seen in patients taking antidepressants, but akathisia appears to be the most common presentation followed by dystonic reactions, parkinsonian movements and tardive dyskinesia…Headache was one of the most common side effects associated with the use of antidepressants in a large retrospective cohort of adolescents and adults.”

Sweating: “Most studies indicate that approximately 10% of patients on SSRIs may develop excessive sweating, although the incidence may be higher for paroxetine.”

Sleep disturbances: “The SSRIs and venlafaxine are associated with increased REM sleep latency and a reduction in the overall time spent in the REM phase while sleeping.”

Mood changes: “Many patients taking SSRIs have reported experiencing emotional blunting. They often describe their emotions as being ‘damped down’ or ‘toned down’, while some patients refer to a feeling of being in ‘limbo’ and just ‘not caring’ about issues that were significant to them before…Furthermore, an activation syndrome in which patients taking antidepressants may experience anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness and impulsivity in the first 3 months of treatment may ensue.”

Suicidality: “The incidence of suicide and attempted suicide has been a frequently underreported adverse outcome across antidepressant RCTs.”

Overdose toxicity: “Patients with MDD are at increased risk of suicide and overdosing of prescribed medications is a common method used to attempted suicide.”

Withdrawal Syndrome: “These symptoms include flu-like symptoms, tremors, tachycardia, shock-like sensations, paresthesia, myalgia, tinnitus, neuralgia, ataxia, vertigo, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances, vivid dreams, nausea vomiting, diarrhea, worsening anxiety and mood Instability.”

Eye disease: “A subset of patients taking SSRIs reports nonspecific visual disturbances…SSRIs may increase intraocular pressure and lead to the emergence of angle-closure glaucoma…A nested case-control study found a higher likelihood of cataracts after exposure to newer generation antidepressants.”

Hormonal imbalance: “Long-standing increases in peripheral prolactin levels are occasionally observed in patients using ADs, including SSRIs [208] ; hyperprolactinemia may have deleterious health consequences (e.g. a decrease in BMD [bone mineral density] and hypogonadism).”

Pregnancy/Breastfeeding risk: “Most of the data describing the presence of birth defects associated with SSRI use have been based on observational studies and drug registries. Therefore, the clinical significance of these data is questionable.”

Cancer risk: “Preclinical studies have found that antidepressants can increase the growth of fibrosarcomas and melanomas, and may also promote mammary carcinogenesis.”

Whew! Now that’s depressing. And why don’t you know about these? Because your doctor doesn’t. I recently learned of a patient who was prescribed an antidepressant simultaneous to an antibiotic “just in case the antibiotic caused depression or mood changes”. We are trained to treat these medications as a “why not” application of pharmacology, and the truth is that, as the authors state:

the history of toxicology reminds us vividly of the lag that often occurs between the first approval of a drug for use in humans and the recognition of certain adverse events from that drug.”

Taking these risks seems all the more unecessary with the robust outcomes of lifestyle medicine – multimodal, multi-tier interventions that are low cost, immediately available, and side effect free. As the authors conclude:

The findings of this review suggest that long-term treatment with new generation ADs should be avoided if alternative treatments are available.”

I would have to agree and affirm that these “alternative” treatments are indeed available. These treatments offer not only resolution of symptoms and elimination/avoidance of meds, but an entirely new experience of self. This is not about getting “back to normal,” it’s about integration, evolution, and vitality. I’ve been working for several years to make self-healing toolkits available to everyone considering an antidepressant or looking to come off of one for less than the price of one doctor visit. Check it out!

[1] http://www.power2u.org/downloads/AnatomyofanEpidemic-SummaryofFindings-Whitaker.pdf
[2] https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/371865
[3] http://www.madinamerica.com/psychiatric-drug-withdrawal/#/home/
[4] http://kellybroganmd.com/stop-madness-coming-psych-meds/
[5] http://kellybroganmd.com/homicide-and-the-ssri-alibi/

Read More At: KellyBroganMD.com

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© Kelly Brogan MD. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Kelly Brogan MD. For more articles, sign up for the newsletter at kellybroganmd.com.

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Kelly Brogan, MD

Kelly Brogan, M.D. is a Manhattan-based holistic women’s health psychiatrist, author of the New York Times bestselling book, A Mind of Your Own, and co-editor of the landmark textbook, Integrative Therapies for Depression. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from MIT in Systems Neuroscience. View full bio. Want to share this article on your own blog? View our reposting guidelines.

Your Medicine is in Your Pantry

This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2016

Your Medicine is in Your Pantry
Source:GreenMedInfo.com
Karta Purkh Khalsa
February 27, 2016

Food has been the medicine of humanity since the dawn of time. Many herbs that we associate only with seasoning our food are, in fact, potent herbal medicines.

The distinction between herbal food and herbal medicine is actually quite subjective. There is a wide area of overlap with the two categories. If you think of all the plants we consume, for whatever purpose, as being on a spectrum, from food on one end, to medicine on the other, you will see what I mean. On the food end would be plants like potatoes and carrots- potentially medicinal, but mild and safe. The other end of the spectrum contains medicine plants like opium poppy and foxglove, the source of digitalis- definitely not food, but clearly serious medicine.

The gray area is in the middle. Take echinacea. None of us would consider sitting down to a delicious bowl of echinacea soup. Yuck. But you could. And it would be safe. How about parsley? In a salad, it’s a food. Used as a juice to treat edema, it’s a medicine.

The truth is, herbal medicines have about the same chemical components as food plants. Herbal medicines are just selected from plants that have greater concentrations of active ingredients, making them more convenient to use.

European herbal medicine, the tradition from which contemporary American herbalism mainly derives, does not see much overlap between food plants and herbal medicines. Foods you eat, spices make the food taste better, and herbal medicine you take in a tincture. Asian medical systems, however, make no distinction between the two. Food is just less concentrated herbal medicine, and every meal is viewed as a chance to get in more healing herbs. In fact, the Chinese word for the medicinal brew that people use daily to maintain their health is “soup.”

The complex cuisines of China and India began, thousands of years ago, as recipes to get healing herbs and foods into people. Gradually, as the process evolved, complicated mixtures of food ingredients, herbal medicines, and flavorings coalesced into a tasty amalgam that warms the soul, heals the body, and pleases the palate.

For example, Indian food typically starts with a combination, a “masala”, of onions, garlic, ginger, and other various spices, selected for their medicinal virtues, and taste. Since many of these herbs can cause gas, additional herbs, such as fennel and coriander seeds, are added to counteract that tendency. Ginger and mustard, for example, speed up the digestive process, so that the meal is efficiently processed and moved through the digestive tract.

Although the list of herbal medicine foods is huge, here is a selection of remedies that are easy to find, and particularly effective.

The carrot and parsley family (Umbelliferae), in particular, is a huge source of edible plants and good tasting medicines. These plants grow all over the world, and are used in a broad range of cultures. This group of plant medicines has unusual chemistry, so they make their way into the kitchens and medicine chests of many native medical systems. The seeds are typically the medicinal part, but various parts are used, depending on the plant. Some well-known members of this family include parsley, coriander (cilantro is coriander greens), fennel, anise, cumin, and dill.

Plants in this family contain compounds that act like calcium channel blockers, benefiting angina. Herbs in this family generally have estrogenic action, especially the seeds. The popular Chinese herb dong quai is in this family. These parsley relatives are prized around the world for treating intestinal gas, a property herbalists call “carminative.”

Fennel

In my personal clinical experience, I would pick fennel seed as the premiere carminative in the world, especially for adults. Literally, I have never seen a case of painful gas that was not relieved by fennel seeds, provided of course, that the dose was high enough.

Fennel contains creosol and alpha- pinene, substances that loosen lung mucus and help clear the chest, benefiting asthma. (1) Recent research shows that this spice also lowers blood pressure. (2)  This herb has been used for centuries to promote lactation, which makes sense, from what we now know about its hormonal action. It will also hasten a period. As a bonus, it increases libido.  For gas, try chewing 1 Tbs. of the tasty seeds, or brew a tea with 1 Tbs. seeds in a cup of water. You may use the powdered seeds as a seasoning, or in capsules.

Of course, you can also steam the stalk as a delicious celery-like vegetable. The properties are similar, but milder than the seed.

Dill

Dill seed is, for gas, for children, what fennel seed is for adults. Called “the secret of British nannies,” dill is the active ingredient in the famous “gripe water,” the colic remedy taken round the world in the British empire.

Dill seed is truly miraculous for infant colic. It can save a parent’s sanity. Dill promotes menstruation, so it can be used to encourage a late period. For adults, dill, along with fennel, treats heartburn. (1) The weed is milder. In a pinch, fennel and dill can be interchanged. For infant colic, brew 2 Tbs. dill seed in 1 cup of water, cool, sweeten, put in a bottle or dropper, and serve to the screaming baby. You will carry a sleeping tyke back to bed.

Parsley

Ever notice that green sprig of garnish at the edge of your plate? Usually discarded, that parsley is one powerful herbal medicine. While the seeds, leaf, and root of this plant are all used for food, the main herbal uses come from the leaf.

Parsley is a source, as you might expect, of phytoestrogens, so it has potential for treating osteoporosis and amenorrhea, and for promoting lactation.

This medicine has a long history of use with the urinary system. Research shows that it is diuretic (3), and it has a long history of herbal use in treating bladder infection.

Parsley treats angina. (1) Crushed, and applied to a bruise, it heals. It inhibits the release of histamine, so is useful for allergies and hives. It prevents and treats kidney stones. (4)  Parsley is a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals. It is a rich source of boron and fluorine, critical minerals for bone health. It contains 3.5 times as much vitamin C as oranges, and twice as much calcium as broccoli.

Because parsley is a rich source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, it is an effective treatment for cramps, such as leg cramps. (5)  Three ounces of parsley contains about 3 mg of boron, the dose suggested for bone health. In my clinical experience, a dose of about 2 ounces per day of parsley juice treats edema very well.

Parsley leaf is widely available in capsule form, both as a single herb, and in combination. It works well as a digestive aid combined with turmeric. A typical dose would be 2-9 grams per day, but, of course, this herb is very safe at any dose.

Thyme

Thyme contains anti-aging chemicals. (1) Historically, this herb has been used for headache.

Thyme is known as a general antimicrobial, especially for bacterial infection, and an expectorant, which also treats fever, so it is a well-known treatment for diseases like the flu.

One ingredient, thymol, has antiviral properties, and is also antispasmodic, so it is used in headache and cramps. (6)

Use thyme as a tea, or gargle.

Basil leaf

Originally from India, this spicy herb has grown to great popularity around the world. There are many varieties of the plant, but they all basically have the same medicinal qualities. One famous variety, “holy” basil, is a standout in the Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia. Historically, basil has been used as a digestive aid, to relieve gas and speed digestion, and to warm up and mobilize stiff arthritic joints.

Basil is a pungent herb that increases body heat. It is used to treat respiratory conditions, like the flu, and to lower fever by sweating. Since it’s also an expectorant, it can be used for conditions like emphysema and asthma. (1)

A member of the mint family, basil contains antibacterial compounds. (5, 8) Recent studies have shown that basil appears to prevent cancer. (7)

Basil lowers blood pressure. Basil contains antiviral compounds. (1) A common folk remedy for warts is to apply crushed basil directly to the wart.  Use basil liberally in food, such as pesto, or brew in tea. For a headache, try chewing several fresh basil leaves.

Black pepper

The herb is known only as a humble condiment here, but in Asia, it is considered to be the foremost detoxifier and anti-aging herb.

Black pepper is a warming digestive remedy, which has a carminative action.  This herb increases circulation, and lowers blood pressure. (1)  This medicinal herb also contains compounds that prevent osteoporosis.

While black pepper has been esteemed as a detoxifier, particularly in Ayurveda, recent research has begun to bear this out. At least in rats, pepper seems to increase release of carcinogens through the liver, reducing cancer. (9) Piperine, a main active ingredient, protects against liver damage almost as well as milk thistle. (10) This alkaloid is also getting a reputation for increasing bioavailability and absorption of nutrients.(13) For example, in one recent study, scientists measured the absorption of turmeric active ingredients. Administering the turmeric along with Piperine increased bioavailability by 154%, and reduced the time for absorption by half. (14)

Black pepper reduces free radicals. It is antioxidant, and prevents the depletion of glutathione. It also prevents the destruction of other antioxidants, such as vitamin A. (11)

Pepper is used in Ayurveda to release sinus congestion. (12)

Black pepper is available in the health food store as a supplement. Use 50 mg per day or more of extract standardized to Piperine.

Use black pepper as a culinary spice. An excellent Ayurvedic preparation for sinus congestion is to boil 10 peppercorns in milk, strain, and drink.

Nettles

That’s right- the stinging nettles you dig out as a pesky weed. Even though less well-known as a food here, nettles are quite edible and tasty. The sting is neutralized when the plant is dried or cooked. This vegetable is prepared like spinach, and has a similar, but saltier, taste. Please don’t harvest this vegetable unless you know what you are doing- the sting, before being neutralized, is painful.

Nettle is a favorite of European herbalists, who use it as a general nutritive tonic, similar to the way alfalfa has been used in American herbalism. In addition, it has been historically used to treat childhood eczema, respiratory conditions, and to strengthen the circulatory tissue. (16)

Recently, nettle has been getting attention in natural healing circles for the treatment of allergic rhinitis (hay fever).(17)

You will find nettle in the health food store in capsules. Most people find that about 2 grams will relieve an allergy attack.

Fenugreek seed

This little legume is getting a lot of attention lately for its many medicinal virtues. It is a very rich source of soluble fiber.

It is a very effective diabetes treatment, promoting substantial reductions in blood sugar, both from its fiber content, and the presence of other metabolically active components.

Fenugreek seed lowers total cholesterol, while increasing HDL.

It contains very high amounts of choline and beta carotene, both of which have been linked to Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment. (1)

Fenugreek contains the phytoestrogen diosgenin, which has gotten attention lately for its role in preventing breast cancer.

Use fenugreek liberally as a spice in foods. The dose shown in experiments to control blood sugar was much higher, about 100 grams per day. That’s a lot of fenugreek, which can be bitter in those quantities. In scientific studies, the fenugreek seed was often baked into a flat bread, or cooked into a soup. I have had good success with having people soak the seeds overnight to soften, and the just chow down, perhaps mixed with a mild food like oatmeal.

However, one recent study showed significant reduction in total cholesterol and triglycerides with a dose of 2.5 grams twice daily, a dose that can easily be taken in capsules.(15) Fenugreek can be found in the health food store as whole powdered herb in capsules, or as a standardized extract.

With such a rich selection of healing foods to choose from, there should be little problem putting together a menu of delicious medicinal recipes. Use these foods daily. You’ll like making you cupboard in to your medicine chest.

Food Medicines

Plant Use Dose
Tomato Antioxidant, Anticancer, Prostate food, as sauce, juice
Rosemary Antioxidant, Anticancer, Detoxifier 1-2 cups tea, per day, food
Onion Asthma, Antioxidant, Anticancer (stomach) In food
Cinnamon Circulation, menstrual cramps, digestion up to 10 grams per day of medicinal quality cinnamon, in capsules, two days before, and during, menstruation, for cramps
Celery Lower blood pressure, increase immune response 4 ribs or more per day
Artichoke Liver detoxifier 1 globe per day as food

References

1)         James A. Duke, The Green Pharmacy, Rodale, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, 1997.

2)         Abdul Ghani AS Amin R The vascular action of aqueous extracts of Foeniculum vulgare leaves. J-Ethnopharmacol. 1988 Dec; 24(2-3): 213-8

3)         Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 1993.

4)         Blumenthal, Mark, The Complete German Commission E Monographs, The American Botanical Council, Austin, 1998.

5)         Cass Ingram, DO, Supermarket Remedies, Knowledge House, Buffalo Grove, Ilinois, 1998.

6)         John Heinerman, Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs, Parker, New York, 1988.

7)         Karthikeyan K Ravichandran P Govindasamy S Chemopreventive effect of Ocimum sanctum on DMBA-induced hamster buccal pouch carcinogenesis. Oral-Oncol. 1999 Jan; 35(1): 112-9

8)         Lachowicz KJ Jones GP Briggs DR Bienvenu FE Wan J Wilcock A Coventry MJ The synergistic preservative effects of the essential oils of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) against acid-tolerant food microflora. Lett-Appl-Microbiol. 1998 Mar; 26(3): 209-14

9)         Singh A Rao AR Evaluation of the modulatory influence of black pepper (Piper nigrum, L.) on the hepatic detoxication system. Cancer-Lett. 1993 Aug 16; 72(1-2): 5-9

10)       Kaoul I and A Kapil. Evaluation of the liver protective potential of piperine, an active principal of black and long peppers.Planta Medica 1993. 59: 413-417.

11)       Shanmugasundaram KR et al, Amritabindu for depletion of antioxidants. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 1994. 42(2): 83-93.

12)       Yogi Bhajan, The Ancient Art of Self-Healing, Silver Streak Publishers, Eugene, Oregon,1982.

13)       Khajuria A Zutshi U Bedi KL Permeability characteristics of piperine on oral absorption–an active alkaloid from peppers and a bioavailability enhancer. Indian-J-Exp-Biol. 1998 Jan; 36(1): 46-50

14)       Shoba G Joy D Joseph T Majeed M Rajendran R Srinivas PS Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta-Med. 1998 May; 64(4): 353-6

15)       Bordia A, et al, Effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rose.) and fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum L.) on blood lipids, blood sugar and platelet aggregation in patients with coronary artery disease.  Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids 1997, 58(5): 379-384

16)       David Hoffmann, The New Holistic Herbal,  Element, Longmead, England, 1983.

17)       Mittman P Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta-Med. 1990 Feb; 56(1): 44-7

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