As a passionate home chef, I can’t imagine cooking without a full array of herbs and spices. And as an herbalist, I can’t imagine creating a health protocol without the use of herbs and spices. Fortunately, culinary and medicinal herbs are often one and the same. As Hippocrates said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
As an herbalist, nutritionist, jazz musician, and chef, I find that food preparation and cooking is similar to combining herbs for medicine or composing music. Home cooking is a creative endeavor, and the reward is a delicious and healthy meal that can be savored with family and friends.
is well known for the significant role it plays in immune response and immune
health. It enhances both innate and adaptive immunity, is vital for immune cell
function, and is crucial for the formation and modulation of inflammatory
processes. In persons with zinc deficiency, zinc supplementation improves not
only type I and II interferon production/response, but also immune cell
survival, maturation and function.1-4
information can spread like wildfire, particularly during times of fear and
uncertainty. Right now, there is misinformation circulating about elderberry (Sambucus nigra) and COVID-19.
Elderberry extract is being falsely accused of triggering a cytokine storm or cytokine release syndrome (CRS), an intense inflammatory response that can be deadly. During the SARS epidemic, CRS caused severe lung damage and was a driving factor in many fatalities.
“I go into my library and all
history unrolls before me.” Alexander Smith
In Western tradition, boneset is perhaps the single most important
herb for combating the flu. There have been six major influenza pandemics (worldwide
outbreaks) since 1889. The 1918 influenza pandemic (“Spanish flu”) was the
deadliest pandemic in history. Approximately 5% of the world’s population was
infected, and the number of deaths has been estimated at 50 million (CDC).
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) might
be the single best herbal remedy for influenza. During the severe “Spanish Flu” pandemic, boneset was one of the safest
and most successful remedies employed and contributed much to the successful
management of the disease under the Eclectic treatment.
‘There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.’ ~Sherlock Holmes
Over the past 30 years, gluten has become the number one
villain among foods. At one time, an allergy to gluten was rarely seen. Today,
almost 3 million people in the United States have celiac disease, a serious
immune reaction to the protein in wheat, barley, and rye. Another 18 million
people are thought to suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which causes symptoms
similar to celiac disease (including diarrhea, fatigue, and nausea) but does
not damage the lining of the small intestine.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are among the 10 most widely used drugs in the world. In 2012, there were 157 million prescriptions written for these stomach-acid inhibiting drugs.1 More than likely, either you or someone you know is taking these medications.
While PPIs may alleviate the problem of excess stomach acid, many people don’t realize that these drugs are associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer, pneumonia, c. difficile infections, osteoporosis (you need stomach acid to absorb nutrients such as magnesium and calcium into bones), and vitamin B12 deficiency, among other serious diseases.2
The Rationale Behind PPIs
The stomach secretes digestive fluids with a pH2 value, which creates a highly acidic environment. These acidic gastric secretions sterilize bacteria in foods that are eaten, and are essential for the digestion and absorption of various nutrients, including protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin B12.
Obviously, stomach acid that can digest food can also damage delicate intestinal mucosa. The body has protective mechanisms—including mucosal mucous/bicarbonate secretion and sphincter contraction of the gastroesophageal junction—to prevent gastroesophageal damage. But if the sphincter is weakened, stomach acid can flow back into the esophagus. The backwash of acid irritates the esophageal lining, causing heartburn and the regurgitation of food. If the condition persists, it may cause chest pain, difficulty swallowing, chronic cough, hoarseness, and disrupted sleep. Left untreated, GERD can lead to esophageal ulcers, narrowing of the esophagus, and precancerous changes known as Barrett’s esophagus. Continue reading “The Hidden Dangers of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)”