Almost daily, we are warned of the dangers of exposure to toxins from pollutants in our air, water, food, home, and workplace. The reality of modern life is that no matter how careful we may be, we are inevitably exposed to a variety of toxins. For many people, knowing that toxins are linked to cancer, cardiovascular, neurological, and other diseases creates a great deal of anxiety.
What most people don’t realize is that virtually any substance can be toxic—even pure water. We’re constantly encouraged to drink plenty of water, but drinking too much water in a short period of time can cause hyponatremia (basically, water intoxication). In severe cases, water intoxication can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.
The example of water as a potential toxin makes it obvious that not all potential toxins are toxic at any level. And it raises the question: Should we take extreme measures to aggressively detoxify and rid our bodies of substances deemed toxic?
Fear and Misunderstanding Concerning Toxins
The reality is that it is impossible to avoid toxins in our modern world (and in truth, there have always been toxic substances in our environment). A vast industry has arisen that plays into the fear and misunderstanding of toxins. Many companies promote products that claim heavy duty “cleansing” of our organ systems, encouraging extreme approaches that can actually cause more harm to the body than the exposure itself.
Continue reading “Can Stress And Low Level Exposure to Toxins Improve Health And Longevity?”
Closely related to the culinary herb sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum), holy basil (Ocimum sanctum) is a plant with a rich history of use as a healing herb. Because this venerable herb has so many applications, it has become one of my favorites. I often include holy basil in adaptogenic tonics, and also find it useful for specific conditions, ranging from support for cancer and cardiovascular disease to improving skin health.
Native to India, holy basil is also known as tulsi, which means “the incomparable one.” Considered as sacred in the Hindu faith, most traditional homes and temples in India have at least one tulsi plant, which is used in prayers to insure personal health, spiritual purity, and family well-being. In Ayurvedic medicine, tulsi is classified as a rasayana, an herb that nourishes a person’s growth to perfect health and enlightenment and promotes long life.
Continue reading “Holy Basil: An Herb With Incomparable Benefits”
“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (a favorite of Eli Jones)
In my opinion, one of the greatest physicians of all time—and perhaps the person that has influenced me more than any other in my clinical practice and pursuit of doing all that I can to help those with cancer—was Dr. Eli Jones, an American Eclectic physician. He was a master of knowing the specific actions and indications of each herb, and especially the applications of herbs for cancer.
The basic principles of Eclectic medicine can be distilled to these simple precepts:
- Nature is the great physician who, if permitted and not interfered with, provides for our physical requirements.
- Disease (dis-ease) of whatever nature is caused by a lack of equilibrium (an imbalance), the result of an abnormal condition in the body, or the result of congestion due to poor elimination.
Dr. Jones was a true Eclectic in that he read all medical textbooks of that time, including allopathic, Physiomedical, homeopathic, and of course, Eclectic. He believed in the exploration of every system of medicine, regardless of its origins, to discover and apply the most useful principles for the wellbeing of humanity. He combined his own botanical formulations (internal and topical) with simple Nature Cures such as hydrotherapy, and he also used some homeopathy.
Continue reading “The Wisdom of Dr. Eli Jones, One of the Greatest Physicians of All Time”
Bacopa (Bacopa monniera) has long been revered in Ayurvedic medicine as a tonic for improving memory—the plant is so highly valued that it’s called “Brahmi,” referring to Brahma, the creator of the universe in the Hindu tradition. Ayurvedic practitioners regard bacopa as a rasayana (restorative adaptogenic tonic), and for thousands of years have prescribed it for relieving debility (particularly mental debility), mental chatter, insomnia, depression, chronic fatigue, as a brain tonic to enhance memory development, learning, and concentration1 and to provide relief from anxiety and epileptic disorders.2 Bacopa is also recommended as a general tonic to slow the aging process. In India and Pakistan, bacopa is prescribed as a cardiac tonic, digestive aid, and to improve respiratory function in cases of bronchoconstriction.3
Continue reading “An Ayurvedic Memory Tonic: Bacopa (Bacopa monniera)”
“I Fear the Day That Technology Will Surpass Our Human Interaction” ~Albert Einstein
There’s no question that technology has made our lives easier in many ways. I use my laptop daily for research and writing, and it’s useful to be able to communicate via email and cellphone. However, the progress that we’ve witnessed in the past century—and that has exponentially grown in recent years—has not brought us increased freedom and leisure. In fact, the result is just the opposite.
There are significant and far-reaching consequences of technology that Einstein predicted. Every day, I observe people talking on cell phones or texting instead of interacting with those who are right next to them. Time on the computer—whether working, surfing, or playing games—consumes the majority of waking hours for many people, and in many instances, has replaced outdoor activities, leisure pursuits, and social interaction.
This disconnection from life is a direct result of overdependence on technology. I believe it is important to ask yourself, “Is what I do an expression of who I am?” How are you spending your precious hours of life?
Continue reading “The Downside Of Technology”
In my post last week, I discussed at length the use of kava (Piper mythesticum) for the treatment of anxiety. Kava is one of my favorite herbs—not only for its beneficial effects on the nervous system, but also because it appears to have unique anti-cancer properties. However, as with any herb, I recommend using it in combination with other herbs and nutrients. In my practice, I’ve found that combining herbs and nutrients enables me to create formulas that are far more effective than relying on a single herb. This is the traditional manner of practicing herbalism, and it is as much an art as it is a science.
Continue reading “Botanical Support For Anxiety”