Amla: Super Antioxidant Fruit of India

Oxidation in the body is a natural process caused when wandering electrons called free radicals react with other molecules. Oxidation has both positive and negative consequences. A positive aspect of oxidation is that the process disrupts the cell wall of bacteria, which stops them from functioning. Humans have special immune cells (macrophages) that use oxidation…

Details

Ashwagandha, Milk, Energy, and Sleep

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is described as a rasayana in Ayurvedic medicine. In Ayurveda, rasayanas are used as Traditional Chinese medicine uses tonic herbs, and they correspond to the herbal category of adaptogens, a term first used to describe a limited number of immune tonics by Russians used in Western herbal medicine. Tonics, adaptogens, and rasayanas…

Details

Balthazar’s Gift: Frankincense

Have you ever wondered what the Holy Family did with the three gifts brought to them from the far-off lands in the East by, according to tradition, the Magi? The Bible doesn’t say. The Armenian Christian tradition describes three Magi: Balthazar from Arabia, Gaspar from India, and Melchior from Persia (what is now known as…

Details

Boost Your Immunity This Flu Season

So far, 14,000 people have died and 250,000 people have been hospitalized during the 2019-2020 flu season, according to preliminary estimates from the CDC, which estimates that influenza was associated with more than 35.5 million illnesses, more than 16.5 million medical visits, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths during the 2018–2019 influenza season. Corona virus worldwide: 104,025 Deaths: 3,524 Recovered: 58,527 China: 80,652; 3070 deaths, 55,521…

Details

Can homeopathy stave off harmful effects of vaccinations?

Many mothers are afraid to give their babies and young children vaccinations. Pro and con arguments on both sides make for heated debates. To help with the decision to vaccinate or not, I recommend the book Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide, by my former student, herbal colleague and now highly successful medical doctor integrating herbal…

Details

Cat’s Claw, Dragon’s Blood and Quassia in Costa Rica

On our recent second visit to Costa Rica, we re-experienced the wondrous biodiversity of its plants, exotic wildlife, volcanoes, and hot springs but also a rare insight into its traditional healing customs. With the assistance of an interpreter, this information was provided by our guide, the distinguished native ethnobotanist, Rafael (Raffi) Angel Ocampo Sanchez.  Raffi, is…

Details

chyawanprash

Chyawanprash: A Delicious, Nutritious Herbal Tonic

Once when comparing relative merits of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic medicine with an Ayurvedic doctor in India, the good doctor acknowledged both systems as having merit but said: “Ayurvedic tonics taste better!” Flavor is considered part of the therapeutic properties of an herb in both herbal systems, but it is much more emphasized…

Details

Coix: An Underutilized Medicinal Food

“Let your medicine be your food and your food, your medicine.” The sovereign dictum of Hippocrates is aptly epitomized by the use of Coix (Coix lacrymi-jobi, also known as Job’s tears and yi yi ren) as the most common treatment for cancer in China. Coix is a member of the Graminaceae family of which all…

Details

misconceptions about herbal medicine

Common Misconceptions about Herbal Medicine

Recently, someone wrote me in response to an article I wrote on the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) principle of dui yao, a principle of formulation where one might use two or more herbs as one brought up not one. His letter brought up a couple of common misconceptions about herbal medicine which I thought were…

Details

Draksha: Ayurvedic Grape Wine Medicine

Asava and arishta, meaning “distillate” in Sanskrit, are two naturally fermented alcoholic extracts used for making Ayurvedic wine medicines. Draksha in Sanskrit means “grape” and draksharista therefore means grape wine. This is not your regular merlot or pinot, but a very low alcohol herbally medicated wine. Draksha is one of the most effective botanical remedies…

Details

Eating Garden Weeds 1 of 2: Lamb’s Quarters

  It seems that each year it is getting increasingly more difficult to depend on my garden to produce enough to barely pay the water-shortage-in-Northern-California water bill. And yet, I take pleasure in harvesting my food and herbs, especially lamb’s quarters. Lamb’s Quarters (Chenopodium giganteum) The beautiful magenta lamb’s quarters is also known as magenta…

Details

Red heart of hawthorn berries on a wooden background.

Hawthorn Oxymel

Oxymel is one of the oldest herbal preparations. The word is derived from the Latin oxmeli meaning “acid and honey” and indeed it is extracted and made with a base of vinegar and honey.  Individually, neither vinegar nor honey separately or alone is preferred extractive mediums, because they are already saturated solutions. However, both of…

Details

Healing Breath: Remedies for Stress

“The perfected breathe all the way to their heels, unlike ordinary folk who breathe only as far as their throats.” Zhuangzi, 3rd century BCE[1]  “Take a breather,” or ”Slow down and take a deep breath,”  are common things we say when someone is in an acute state of anger, fear, frustration, or anxiety. In fact,…

Details

Herbs and Acupoints for Better Sleep

  Sleep is a period of reduced activity where we leave waking consciousness to drift into a land of dreams and deep rest. It is a restorative process that lets us to recover from the wear and tear of daily life, allowing our body’s cellular activity, heart rate and breathing to slow in order to…

Details

Horny Goat Weed: Herbal Viagra for Men and Women

It is virtually inevitable when lecturing on herbs that a man might surreptitiously take me aside and ask for an herb to improve sex. The first herb that always comes to mind is horny goat weed (Epimedium grandiflorum). Certainly, the suggestive common name makes it easy to remember. Its name is derived from a legend…

Details

Huckleberry Fruit and Leaf for Diabetes

Many years ago, while visiting Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I happened upon a local herb shop.  While perusing jars of dry herbs, I noticed one that contained huckleberry leaves. In most parts of the country, bulk huckleberry leaves are hardly known well enough to claim any of the limited space in an average herb store. The…

Details

Dr. Tierra used Neem Ayurvedic Oil to treat Shingles Pain

I Tried Everything for Shingles. Here’s What Worked.

For the last 3 1/2 weeks, I’ve been suffering from shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. It is a terrible condition. There seem to be many cures and treatments for it that are either questionable, or in the case of Western medicine, have a potential for adverse side effects. Most people suffer from post-herpetic pain that can…

Details

Korean Hand Therapy

Korean Hand Therapy (KHT) was discovered by Tai Woo Yoo, OMD, PhD, a South Korean acupuncturist, in 1971, when he found himself unable to sleep with a headache that would not go away. Using a ballpoint pen, he poked an area at the tip of his middle finger which he believed corresponded to the area…

Details

Lemon Balm: For More Than Just Depression

The renowned 16th century English herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper, described the use of lemon balm for depression by quoting Serapio who said the herb  “caus(es) the mind and heart to become merry, and reviveth the heart, faintings and swoonings of such who are overtaken by sleep, and driveth away all troublesome cares and thoughts out of…

Details