Category Archives: Alternative Health

SAM-e for Parkinson’s

SAM-e, S-adenosyl-L-methionine, is vital to the production of our body’s most important antioxidant, glutathione, as well as the secondary antioxidants, cysteine and taurine. It also enhances the antioxidant power of superoxide dismutase (SOD)   These capabilities underscore SAM-e’s importance as a neuroprotective compound, given the extraordinarily high metabolic activity and energy-intensive demands of both brain cells and neurons.
SAM-e is made in the body from methionine, a sulfur-containing amino acid, and the energy-producing compound ATP, but we lose the ability to convert it as we age and in Parkinson’s. Our diets generally provide an insufficient dose of an unstable form of it.  SAM-e is a physiologically essential compound,
I had previously not considered SAM-e for my joints which are stressed from Parkinson’s until Amazon sent me a packet of Jarrow’s SAM-e and glucosamine to review. Some time ago I’d read about a 1992 rat study where animals with induced Parkinson’s were made worse with it, but I hadn’t actually looked at the study until researching for this review. I found an interview with Dr. Richard Brown, whom I respect promoting SAM-e for the mental cognition, depression and stiff joints which can characterize PD. The rat study involved injecting an acid solution of SAM-e directly into their brains, which no one would do to people. At the time injectable SAM-e was all we had. We now have reasonably stable oral forms (even for rats!) Other of the 75 clinical trials with 35,000 patients on SAM-e confirm the benefits.

According to Dr. Weil,

“In research reported in August, 2010, in the American Journal of Psychiatry, investigators from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital gave either SAMe or a placebo to 73 depressed adults who had not responded to prescribed antidepressant drugs; all continued to take the drugs. After six weeks of treatment, 36 percent of the subjects taking SAMe showed improvement, compared to just 18 percent of the placebo group. Moreover, 26 percent of those in the SAMe group had complete remission of symptoms, compared to just 12 percent in the placebo group. SAMe doesn’t work for everyone, but neither do antidepressant drugs.”

 Dr. Brown points out that most Parkinson’s patients have very low SAM-e levels.  Levodopa, the most common medication for Parkinson’s, depletes SAM-e and he recommends that it be taken


with levodopa or Sinemet (carbidopa levodopa) .  In general, he explains that SAM-e is good for our liver, joints and cartilage as well as the depression that can affect 30% of Parkinson’s patients, so it is a

healthy supplement for most people to take. Side effects are minimal for most people including activation, nausea, mild anxiety and loose stools.  The main contraindication is bipolar disease because it can enhance mania.

So what does SAM-e do? It is effective for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, tests better than NSAIDS for pain, is mod

Produces: Serotonin. Norepinephrine. Dopamine. DNA, proteins. Phospholipids. x. Amino-propylation. x-CH3. SAM-e. Joint Health. SAH. deca-Sam-e. PPi. Putrescine. Spermidine. Trans-sulfuration. Spermidine. Spermine. ATP. MTA. Homocysteine. (Hcy) Cystathionine. B12. Methionine. Cysteine. MTHF. (THF) Terahydrofolate. sulfate. (S04) Glutathione (GSH) Major Antioxidant.

erately effective for fibromyalgia, good for depression and anxiety, mental cognition and liver detoxification. It was discovered in Italy 4 decades ago. Although SAM-e has only been on the U.S. market since 1999, it has been studied for decades internationally and is approved as a prescription drug in Spain, Italy, Russia and Germany.  More than 1 million Europeans have used it, primarily for depression and arthritis.  

If you want to try SAMe, look for products that provide the butanedisulfonate form in enteric-coated tablets. The usual dosage is 400 to 1,600 milligrams a day for non-PD patients but  Dr.Brown points out that people with Parkinson’s need higher doses. Take on an empty stomach. SAM-e can be taken at the same time as other medications including antidepressants.
Read an article in the Psychiatric Times that gives a broader view here.

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Taking Expired Medications

As I write there is a crisis of unmedicated Texans caught in the floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey.  Pharmacies are gone, home supplies inundated.  For those who can shelter in place, a medicine cabinet of dated prescriptions and OTC medications is likely.  Which of them is safe to take?

Expiration dates are not effectiveness dates

In the first place medications last longer in a dark, cool, dry place with minimal exposure to oxygen.  Do not store them in the bathroom which is humid and hot.  I keep mine in a closet opposite the bathroom in the hall.  If you are saving a very small amount of medicine either transfer to a small container labled with all pertinent information- name, date, dosage, strength, prescribing doctor and what it is for. Alternatively add oxygen absorbers (those little packets or plastic circles you find in medicine and vitamin bottles) or unprocessed rice grains in a net bag to reduce degradation.

Secondly there are medications that are unsafe -as opposed to less effective-when they age.  Tetracycline family antibiotics are not safe when they age becauses they can degrade into toxins.  Insulin, nitroglycerin, liquid antibiotics and refrigerated prescriptions should not be taken post expiration.  Also avoid aspirin that smells like vinegar when you open the bottle- enteric coated aspirin lasts longer and is easier on your stomach.  Amphetamines in diet pills degrade quite quickly too.

In 1979 the FDA began requiring expiration dates. This does not mean that the drugs no longer work, but the manufacturer would no longer guarantee the potency and efficacy of the drugs after that date. This had the perverse effect of causing manufacturers to shave off years so people would repurchase items sooner, while reducing their liability if older drugs were taken. To extend expiration dates new studies are required.

The US Army had the FDA undertake a Shelf Life Extension Program study,  SLEP, on100 of their most common drugs.  It found that most meds stored in good conditions could last up to 5 ½ years past the expiration date.  90% lasted 15 years when kept in optimum conditions (cool, dark, and dry places.) This study was conducted on OTC medications and prescriptions. It found common drugs like Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, allergy medicines and even various prescriptions like opioids maintained 90% potency over the duration of the study.

California Poison Control Board Toxicologist Lee Cantrell studied a cache of drugs stored since the 1960s, some 30-40 years past their expiration date,  A dozen of the 14 compounds were still as potent as they were when they were manufactured, some at almost 100 percent of their labeled concentrations.

The most common problem with older medication is not in the medicines, it is us.  If we think that a medication is 90% effective we might be tempted to take two pills instead of one. That means we are taking 180% of the dose, which may cause overdose problems.  Even aspirin and Tylenol can cause bleeding or liver problems at high doses. If the medication is essential for life, like asthma medications the temptation is worse.

The recommended therapeutic dosage of most drugs is not what is optimal for you, but the amount that will treat the most people without serious problems.  So the dosage of Prozac at 10 mg works for most people, but it worked at 40 mg for even more, although side effects were higher.  40 mg was thus the designated standard dose for years, although it has been reduced to 20 mg now.  In most cases, 90% effective is within the effective therapeutic range.

EpiPens must be used in minutes but last longer than previously believed.

EpiPens are a special case since they prevent anaphylactic shock and are needed within minutes to prevent death. The recommendation is to replace unused pens every 18 months. Toxicologist  Cantrell, and his team at UCSD measured the epinephrine concentration of 40 expired EpiPens and EpiPen Jrs. They found that 29 months after expiration, the pens contained at least 90% of their stated amount of epinephrine. Pens 50 months — more than four years — past the printed expiration date had more than 84% of the medication. While new pens are preferable, an older pen could be used as long as no discoloration or precipitates are apparent because the potential benefit of using it is greater than the potential risk.  this is backed by other research. For a pen that old I would inject, then follow with Benadryl or oral epinephrine. Sublingual epinephrine 40 mg tablets (FasEpi) were found to be equally effective and have a longer storage life, but requires a prescription.  It may be the best form for long term prepping but bystanders are less likely to know how to use it. If

Plantain leaves can make a potent spit poultice for insect stings.the precipitating event is an insect sting, try a (Plantago major, not the banana.) I know of plantain poultices either delaying an anaphylactic shock or preventing it altogether, so think of it as an interim measure.

the precipitating event is an insect sting, try a spit poultice of plantain leaves (Plantago major, not the banana.) I know of plantain poultices either delaying an anaphylactic shock or preventing it altogether, so think of it as an interim measure.


Non-tetracycline antibiotics can be used, but take with raw garlic or tinctures of coptis, goldenseal, Oregon grape or other antimicrobial herbs to boost effectiveness and reduce antibiotic resistance,

Blueberry leaf, rhemannia and cinnamon can be used with a low carb diet for someone with diabetes, but it is best not combined with insulin as requirements and dosage will change and insulin-driven low blood sugar can be fatal.  OTOH a knowledgeable diabetic with a good blood meter can wean off of insulin if willing to make dietary and lifestyle changes.

Raw herbs have a limited shelf life even in optimal conditions. Leaves and flowers are said to have a shelf life of 6 months to a year when aromatics are important to their usefulness.  Sticks, bark and roots are longer lived in general.   Minerals and herbs valued primarily for mineral content last the longest.  You can increase the dosage by 10% to use older non-aromatic herbs in my experience.

Thee best way to preserve most herbs is to tincture them in alcohol. They last nearly indefinitely with a few exceptions (shepherd’s purse, cayenne, pepper) so long as alcohol is over 25%.  While optim

Tinctures preserve herbs best

um tincture ratios is beyond the scope of this article, a 1 part herb to 5 parts 100 proof alcohol works on a wide variety of herbs.  For fresh herbs use Everclear grain alcohol at a 1:1 volume ratio as the water in the herb will dilute the alcohol.  Resinous herbs like frankincense or St. John’s wort need very high alcohol- 150-195 proof. Mushrooms do best with double extraction or instead simmering dried mushrooms for at least an hour to break down chitin which locks up the medicine. Tincturing also allows you to taste the herbs, getting more from them, and to customize dosage.


Extracting in honey or vinegar translates to a shorter shelf-life and a less effective medicinal.  Sharp herbal vinegar extractions like Horseradish, Thieves Vinegar or Fire Cider should be consumed within 6 months.  Older formulations may be enough for mild respiratory infections but not strong enough for pneumonia.  A clove of minced fresh garlic coated in honey, taken every 2 hours can often address either viral or bacterial pneumonia.

You can also use essential oils topically or diffused for medicinal purposes.  Make sure they have limited contact with air or sunlight even if it means transferring to a smaller bottle. They are quite concentrated and you need to know how to use them. Robert Tisserand has a good Facebook group that discusses safety.  Always dilute, even lavender and tea tree essential oils, for topical use.  The only time you should take them internally is for something like gangrene and then take drops in olive or coconut oil, NOT water. Don’t use peppermint or eucalyptus EOs near the face of children under 10, even diluted.  Inform yourself before a disaster strikes and not from MLM companies.

If you live in an area where evacuation from flooding, fire  or civil unrest is likely, put a quantity of all your necessary meds and supplements into a go bag that you can grab quickly,  Remember to rotate these so they remain potent.  This way you can remain safe even under severe conditions.

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DIY Elderberry Syrup for Winter Health

Black elderberries (Sambucus nigra) are high in  Vitamins A and C. folate, iron and flavonoids, notably anthocyanins which are found in red and purple berries.  Their antioxidant capacity  is double that of blueberries and significantly higher than in blackberries, goji berries or cranberries.

Ripe elderberries (Sambucus) in Rochester, Min...
Ripe elderberries (Sambucus) in Rochester, Minnesota (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They have a proven track record of strengthening the immune system and getting rid of colds and the flu.  Sambucol is a favored brand, but runs $16 for a 120 ml bottle.  You can make your own black elderberry syrup from raw or dried elderberries.

Dried elderberries can be obtained online from reliable vendors like Starwest Botanicals, Mountain Rose Herbs or the Frontier Natural Foods Coop.  Black elderberry grows over a broad range in North America and other temperate regions of the world.  If you harvest your own, avoid the shrubby dwarf elder (Sambucus ebulus) which can be toxic.  Berries start green, turning red, then black when ripe.  Don’t eat the berries raw.   Always avoid unripe berries,  as well as the leaves, seeds, and bark, which contain a chemical related to cyanide, which is poisonous. The flower is medicinal and 1/4 cup could be added to the syrup recipe below.

Black elderberries can be taken preventatively as well as when sick. You take about half the medicinal dose to prevent illness.  Elderberry may help treat cold and flu symptoms by reducing congestion and possibly helping you to “sweat it out.  One study suggested that using a standardized and proprietary elderberry extract, Sambucol, could shorten the duration of flu by about 3 days. Another study on sinusitus showed that a proprietary elderberry  extract increased the ability of antibiotics when used for sinusitus.  Black elderberry has been tested as effective against swine flue (H1N1) in vitro but human studies have not yet been done.

Making your own elderberry extract is easy and less expensive.  I like to use either a local honey or one with a high phenol content like manuka or eucalyptus honey. Since heating, which strengthens the flavonoids can reduce the Vitamin C content, you may add a powder of a full spectrum Vitamin C, or dried amla or acerola.

What You Need:
  • 3/4 cup dried black elderberries
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh or 1 Tablespoon dried ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup raw local, eucalyptus or manuka honey
  • optional: 2 Tablespoons Vitamin C, amla or acerola cherry powder
  • mason jar or bottle
  • coffee grinder, spice grinder or mortar and pestle
  • coarse strainer or jelly strainer
  1. Grind the cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns in a coffee or spice grinder
  2. Put all the ingredients except the honey in a medium saucepan with about 4 cups of water
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes it should have reduced to about half.  This makes the flavonoids more bioavailable
  4. Remove from heat, and gently mash the black elderberries
  5. Cook for another 5 minutes
  6. Strain through a coarse strainer
  7. Let the mixture cool
  8. Once it is fully cool, add the honey and stir well
  9. If you like, add 2 tablespoons of Vitamin C, amla or acerola cherry powder
  10. Pour into a jar or bottle

Keep your freshly made elderberry syrup in the refrigerator and take as needed. You can take a preventative dose of 1-2 tablespoons daily.  When sick, you will probably want to use one dose of 2-3 tablespoons every 2-3 hours for adults and 1-2 tablespoons for children .

There are no known side effects to black elder but theoretical concerns exist for people taking diuretics, insulin, theophylline, autoimmune drugs or laxatives.  It has not been studied for use in pregnancy.



Kong F. Pilot clinical study on a proprietary elderberry extract: efficacy in addressing influenza symptoms. Online Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics. 2009;5:32-43.

Mikulic-Petkovsek M, Slatnar A, Stampar F, Veberic R. HPLC-MSn identification and quantification of flavanol glycosides in 28 wild and cultivated berry species. Food Chem. 2012;135(4):2138-46.

+Roschek B, Fink RC, McMichael MD, et al. Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro. Phytochemistry. 2009;70:1255-61.

Roxas M, Jurenka J. Colds and influenza: a review of diagnosis and conventional, botanical, and nutritional considerations. Altern Med Rev. 2007 Mar;12(1):25-48.

Ulbricht C, Basch E, Cheung L, et al. An evidence-based systematic review of elderberry and elderflower(Sambucus nigra) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. J Diet Suppl. 2014;11(1):80-120

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Make Your Own Avocado Coffee Eye Serum

Ever since my son announced his impending marriage I have been
making and trying out various eye serums and wrinkle creams.  I like those with caffeine because they enliven the skin and tend to decrease bags.  You can get pure caffeine crystals to use in your cremes, but I’m pretty much a whole herb kind of gal because of the cofactors.  Coffee is a lot more than caffeine. And coffee is one of my favorite herbal beverages. So here is my coffee eye serum.2016-10-22-15-14-48

Now this won’t do away with eye bags caused by food sensitivities or lack of sleep- there are root causes!  But it will make you look and feel better.

This makes an oil type serum to use around your eyes.  I especially use it on undereye circles (I was born with them) but it also helps with eyebrows so I usually moisturize the whole outer eye area.  It is NOT an eyedrop as someone asked, so keep it out of your eyes.

Coffee is one of the beverages highest in antioxidants that we usually consume.  It has several chlorogenic acids (like blueberries.)  The caffeine applied topically improves circulation and plumps up the skin, diminishing the appearance of the circles. It also helps constrict blood vessels to reduce swelling and helps protect against UVA. I don’t find that the dark roasts color my undereye area but you can use any roast in an espresso (fine) grind. I use Life Extention’s high antioxidant coffee.  If you are sensitive to mold, use Bulletproof coffee.

Avocado oil is a great anti-aging oil in its organic cold-pressed form. It comes with an assortment of fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial for the skin. These inclulde Vitamin E complex,  sterolin, antioxidants, lecithin and potassium. It can stand up to heat without turning rancid unlike most seed oils.

Ricinoleic acid found in castor oil has many healing abilities, including: supporting the lymphatic system, increasing circulation. lowering inflammation, preventing the growth of microbes and molds. fighting skin disorders and infections. This goes around the eyes so I like the antiseptic quality.  Topical castor oil is also good for your eyelashes and brows. Brown Jamaican castor oil may offer extra benefits, but I just use what I can find.

Here is what you need:

  • 1/4 cup espresso grind organic coffee.  You can use green, blonde or dark grinds.  They all have different ratios of  chlorogenic acids, antioxidants and caffeine
  • 1/3 cup cold-pressed avocado oil which tends not to go rancid
  • Small jar with a lid- at least 3/4 cup capacity
  • 2 Tbsp castor oil
  • 2 two-ounce dropper, pump or roller-top bottles
  • small funnel that fits the bottles
  • cheesecloth, coffee filter or nut milk bag

Put the espresso-ground coffee and the avocado oil in a small jar and cover.  Leave in a warm place and shake daily for two weeks.  Note that a crock pot is too hot for the oils even at the lowest settings. Mine is sitting by the radiator.

Pour through the filter- either paper or muslin bag- into a small bowl.  Add the castor oil and filter again if grounds still remain.  Pour through the funnel into the bottle and cap.  (You can use the oil-soaked coffee grounds as an exfoliant!)

Pour through the filter paper or muslin bag into a small bowl.  Add the castor oil and filter again if there are grains of coffee- they don’t hurt but it is nicer without them.  Pour through the funnel into the bottles and cap.  You can use the oil-soaked coffee grounds as an exfoliant.

If you use a water-soluble serum, use it first, then follow with your coffee serum.  Oil floats on water.  In summer I refrigerate it for the cool rush and extra anti-puffiness.

The serum can be used in face creams, simply substituting for the liquid oil.  It is best made in small batches since you are not heating the oil.  You can add a few drops of Vitamin E to preserve it.  Don’t add essential oils if you use it around the eyes.

I had been using roller bottles, but it lasts longer in a pump top bottle which don’t contaminate the rest.  I found those on Amazon and I have converted my serums over to pumps.



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Making Magnesium Lotion

2016-10-22-15-26-39I find that using Magnesium Oil can sting, but transdermal -topical-  magnesium chloride is essential to avoiding restless leg or spasms from Parkinson’s.  It is also good for arthritis, morning sickness, anxiety, headaches, diabetes, hypertension, insomnia and many more conditions including some 300 internal cellular reactions.  It used to be in food, but levels have plummeted according to USDA data. It just isn’t that easy to absorb magnesium from supplements, especially if our digestion is impaired or as we age.    So I make magnesium lotion.

To make magnesium lotion most simply I whip up shea butter with magnesium oil that I have made in a strong solution (1 cup magnesium chloride flakes to 1/3 cup water) or commercially available magnesium oil.  I put a cup of shea butter in a double boiler and melt it on low heat.  I add a teaspoon of soy lecithin from the health food store to help it emulsify, pour in the magnesium oil to warm it up, let sit off of the heat for about 15-20 minutes, then whip it in a blender or mixing bowl.  Using the mixer incorporates more air and makes it softer.

However since I am using the magnesium for an orthopedic condition (and really because I like to play with herbs and oils) I usually make up a more complex lotion.  To do this you will need:

  • 1/2 c. double-strength magnesium oil (1 c. magnesium chloride flakes + 1/2 c. water)
  • 2 tbsp. MSM salts
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. unrefined shea butter
  • 2 tbsp. beeswax
  • 1/2 cup arnica or calendula flowers
  • 10 drops of an anti-inflammatory essential oil like German chamomile, turmeric, frankincense or ginger

The equipment you will need are:

  • Measuring cups and measuring spoons
  • A fine strainer, preferably conical
  • A double boiler or saucepan in a water-filled frying pan
  • A blender (immersion type okay) or mixing bowl
  • A spatula
  • Jars for your lotion

Heat your water with the magnesium chloride flakes and MSM salts until dissolved.  Remove from heat.

2016-10-22-15-18-51Add your shea butter, lecithin, coconut oil and beeswax to the top of the double boiler and melt.  When it first melts you can add in your optional calendula or arnica flowers and let them infuse for 20 minutes over low heat.  Add back the magnesium mix to bring it to the same temperature.  Strain into a mixing bowl, blender or bowl for your immersion blender.  Let cool 20 minutes, then mix or blend until emulsified.

Before you add in your essential oils which can be damaged by heat, take a sample of the cream and stick it in the fridge so it can cool to room temperature.  If you like the consistency, add the essential oils.  If it is too soft (especially in summer when coconut oil is liquid) put back in the double boiler and add a little more beeswax.  If too hard you can use a little more shea butter or an infused oil.  Let cool and re-emulsify, then add the essential oils at the end.

You can use a marble sized dollop of this before bed.  I like to use it on my feet and legs, lower back or stomach, or anywhere the skin is thin. For small children, a pea-sized dollop will do.

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My very favorite tools for making herbal preparations

My students were asking me about the tools I like to use for making a variety of herbal preparations. This is an illustrated list, that I thought others might find it interesting. Many items came from thrift shops and my stainless steel Vitamix blender, capable of grinding wooden blocks into sawdust has been kept going with spare parts found on eBay.  The fun is in improvising and building up over time, so don’t feel you need to go all out at once.

Hori Hori with serrated shovel and knife edges
Hori Hori with serrated shovel and knife edges


  • A hori hori, Felco pruning shears and shovel for collecting, You can use a normal shovel instead of the survival tool, but have fun with your choices.

    Mesh Collecting Bag
    Mesh Collecting Bag
  • Mesh bags for collecting that can hold up to sticks, roots and thorns. Or game hunting bags.

    Also useful for drying herbs
    Also useful for drying herbs
  • Net collecting bags or drying hammock (Ikea children’s) Hanging rack.
    Vitamix new and old
    Vitamixes new and old

    Chinese Herb Grinder
    Chinese Herb Grinder
  • Vitamix or herb grinder Vitamix $50 used to $350 new; $480 grinder new, on eBay If you can get a used stainless steel Vitamix it will grind all but the hardest roots.
  • Chemex glass coffee maker to hold strainer or filter paper while decanting tinctures.

    Chemex, good for filtering tinctures
    Chemex, good for filtering tinctures
  • Measuring Glassware in both Metric and Ounces, with lip. Pipette, For tinctures 4 and 8 oz beakers are most useful.glassbeaker250
  • Cone-shaped strainers with ears for standalone straining. $3-27 depending on size., and get different sizes and mesh grades Essential!cone-shaped-strainer
  • Muslin bags for straining-  Muslin tea bags (large) Jelly bag for tincture press or Chinois

    Use as teabags, filter bags
    Use as teabags, filter bags
  • All Clad Chinois with strand and conical pestle.

    Chinoise jelly strainer
    Chinoise jelly strainer
  • Metal or glass funnels in various sizes $15 on Amazon for mini set. Wide mouth for transferring herbs to jars. Check size of small funnels to fit tincture bottles. Lab supply stores.

    Get many sizes
    Get many sizes
  • Tincture press $50-150 on ebay. Or you can make one with a very large C Clamp and two cans that can nest, The increased tincture extracted will pay for itself early.
    Professional tincture press and C Clamp type
    Professional tincture press and C Clamp type


  • Lots of large jars- mason to giant deli jars. Square sides preferred. Non-rust lids. Boston rounds for distribution 2-8 oz. Different lids available, but droppers fail eventually so only use for immediate consumption. Salve jars, 1-4 oz.
    Storage jars
    Storage jars

    Tincture bottles
    Boston Round tincture bottles
  • Percolation cone- use powdered herbs and pour alcohol through. You can recirculate with a fish pump or pour through again. A Perrier bottle with the bottom sawed off and a hole in the lid is the low cost version. And look up Earle Sweet’s patent for the superdeluxe recirculating version- let me know if you can find it for sale, because I passed it up at an herb conference one year and never saw him again.
    Percolation cone, drips into bottom
    Percolation cone, drips into bottom

    Professional percolation cone
    Professional percolation cone
  • Dehydrator or simply a fan in hot dry room.  Important for humid areas or thick herbs. You can use a stove with a pilot light too.

    Deluxe dehydrator
    Deluxe Excalibur dehydrator
  • Vacuum food sealer will protect dried herbs from oxidation especially with desiccant packages. Use desiccants in any powdered or granule herb, even in storage jars.

    Use with desiccant packages for longer life
    Use with desiccant packages for longer life
  • Crock pot on standalone dimmer- the crock pot may not be low enough for infusing oils without burning them. Get a dimmer that can lower the voltage. Alternatively use a yogurt maker or roast pan filled with water on a buffet heater

    Crockpot with standalone dimmer lowers temperature enough for oils
    Crock pot with standalone dimmer lowers temperature enough for oils
  • Food scale with gram and ounce measurements and tare function- good for measuring granules. Some talk! A Chinese hand scale or balance is fun but not necessary unless you are off the gridfood-scale
  • Essential oil still on eBay $200-$300 if you want to make essential oils and have fresh herbs readily available, You can often find used stills
    Steam distiller for esssential oils
    Steam distiller for essential oils
    Small scale drying and prep shelf

    Herbalist Storage for dark room
    Herbalist Storage for dark room
  • Bookshelves in a dark cool room or closet that can support the weight of your herbs. CD shelves are good for tincture bottles.  Commercial nail polish holders work for essential oils.
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Difficulty Losing Fat? This May Be the Cause

Look at the styrofoam cup, not the coffee!  I have been writing about obesogenic pollutants for some years now. This article by Dr. Grisanti talks about some of the most significant. Also see my article Chemicals and Obesity: What if it isn’t all your fault? Here is Dr. Grisanti’s take on the subject:

Obesity has hit epidemic proportions and the world is desperate to do anything to lose their unwanted fat.

Although eating a healthy diet and exercise is paramount to losing fat, there is one little unknown fact that will prevent millions of people from ever losing fat.

According to the US government this one thing is the considered the number one pollutant in the human body and will put a quick halt to ever reaching your desired level of fitness and fat loss.

One of the major causes of the obesity epidemic is the unprecedented level of phthalates or plasticizers.

The problem with these toxic environmental toxins is the fact that they are difficult to impossible to avoid. In fact they are found in every species even in the most pristine wild.

In fact we have so damaged the chemistry of even animals in the wild that the polar bears in the Arctic have human diseases such as hypothyroidism and osteoporosis.

Phthalates are the highest pollutant in the body being over 10,000 times higher than any of the thousands of other environmental toxins.

In fact they are so pervasive that now children six years of age have levels that used to take adults until the age of 40 to accumulate.

coffee in styrofoam“Phthalates are the highest pollutant in the body being over 10,000 times higher than any of the thousands of other environmental toxins.”

The government agencies, scientific and medical literature have clearly documented that a huge amount of these environment toxins (phthalates) come from our water, soda and infant formula bottles, food packaging, cosmetics, nail polish, mattresses, couches, carpets, clothing, medications, styrofoam cups, IVs, vinyl flooring, construction materials, home wiring, computers, industrial and auto exhausts, etc.,

The sad point is the fact that these toxins stockpile in the body and overwhelm our ability to detoxify them.

We routinely measure them with a wonderful test called Phthalates & Parabens Profile (

In addition to the damage these environmental toxins do to the biochemistry of losing fat they have also been known to be associated with difficult to treat chronic fatigue syndrome,fibromyalgia, ADD, syndrome X, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, allergies, and much more.

In fact the label that a disease has is now unimportant. All we care about is what caused the disease and what biochemical corrections are necessary to get rid of it and actually bring about a true solution, a word you rarely hear in drug-oriented medicine.

What is even worse is the fact a pregnant mother’s phthalate levels (look at how many are continually drinking from plastic water bottles, etc., thinking that it’s something healthful) hugely influence not only the development of the child’s brain and glands, but even future fertility and cancers in their unborn children, not to mention, of course, obesity.

What you need to understand and something the researchers have forgot to mention is the fact that fat stores a huge amount of our chemicals, so the fatter you are the more the difficult it is to lose fat. Interesting and at the same time depressing.

The bottom line is many people will never lose weight or solve their medical problems because they have not gotten rid of the phthalates and other environmental pollutants that have damaged their chemistry and genetics.

One of the key ingredients to ridding the body of these harmful toxins is first to do what you can to avoid it (STOP DRINKING OUT OF STYROFORM CUPS and PLASTIC BOTTLES) and invest in a far infrared sauna

Heindal JJ, Endocrine disruptors and the obesity epidemic, Toxicol Sci 76; 2:247-49, 2003

Baillie-Hamilton PF, Chemical toxins: a hypothesis to explain the global obesity epidemic, JAIt Complement Med 8;2:185-92, 2002

Alonso-Magdalena P, et al, The estrogenic effect of bisphenol A disrupts pancreatic B-cell function in vivo and induces insulin resistance, Environ Health Perspect 114:106-12, 2006

The Hundred Year Diet in the Wall Street (May 10, 2010, A I5)

Vom Saal FS, Welshons WV, Large effects from small exposures. II. The importance of positive controls in low-dose research on bisphenol A, Environ Res, 100;1:50-76, Jan. 2006

Feige JN, et al, The endocrine disruptor monoethyl-hexyl phthalate is a selective peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma modulator that promotes adipogenesis, JBiol Chem 282:19152-66, 2007

Hatch EE, et al., Association of urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations with a body mass index and waist circumference: a cross-sectional study of NHANES data, 1999-2002, Environ Health 7:27, 2008

Clark K, et al, Observed concentrations in the environment. In: The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry. Vol 3, Part Q. Phthalate Ester (Staples CA, ed). New York: Springer, 125-177, 2003

Feige JN, et al, The pollutant diethylhexyl phthalate regulates hepatic energy metabolism via species-specific PPARa-dependent mechanisms, Environ Health Persp, 118; 2:234-41, Feb 2010

Jaakkola JJK, et al, The role of exposure to phthalates from polyvinyl chloride products in the development of asthma and allergies: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Environ Health Perspect 116:845-53, 2008

Before starting any self treatment Dr. Grisanti recommends that you consider consulting with a doctor trained in functional medicine. Visit to find doctors thoroughly trained in functional medicine

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Grisanti and his functional medicine community. Dr. Grisanti encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Visit to find practitioners thoroughly trained in functional medicine. Look for practitioners who have successfully completed the Functional Medicine University’s Certification Program (CFMP). This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Dr. Grisanti is required.

© 2016 Sequoia Education Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction without permission prohibited. Used with permission.

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The Herbal Treatment of Parkinson’s

I was asked to write an article on the herbal treatment of Parkinson’s disease for the American Herbalists Guild Journal. Here it is, with a special discussion of the relationship of prions and the leaky gut/leaky brain relationship.

Parkinson’s Disease: Pathophysiology and Herbal Treatment
Karen Vaughan, MSTOM, RH (AHG)

Like most neurological diseases, Parkinson’s is caused by a mesh of genetic, infectious, epigenetic,environmental, dietary, and lifestyle factors that intersect to create a perfect storm. I have been interested in the herbal treatment of Parkinson’s since I was diagnosed with it eight years ago. This has led me to try a variety of treatments for my clients and myself, from diet and herbs to acupuncture and craniosacral therapy.

Pathophysiology of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is chronic disorder of the nervous system. It isn’t fatal, but it can cause debilitating symptoms that impact everyday movement and mobility. The cells that produce dopamine are damaged in people with Parkinson’s disease. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps communicate messages between different sections of the brain. Without enough dopamine, …more Continue reading The Herbal Treatment of Parkinson’s

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Traci Piccard
Traci Piccard
This is a guest post by Traci Piccard at Fellow Workers Farm Apothecary and I thought it was so right on point that I wanted to share it with you:

At one point in my herbalist journey I refused to read or listen to anything which criticized my path. Those jerks! What is their problem? Herbs are great! Haven’t they read my blog?!?!?! And then I sought these people out, just to get mysef.

My love of herbal medicines was fragile, like a precious bit of fine China, something I needed to protect and guard. And I felt like I needed to defend my right to use herbs and to make my own health choices, and I was interested in being right.

I would pick out the one point that they got wrong, while ignoring the parts which may have taught me something. Why can’t everyone see my way?!?! How can they possibly not GET this!?!?

But now, I don’t give a rat’s ass.

I have moved through the idea that other people need to believe what I believe. (Mostly.) I actively seek out people who don’t use herbs, and I am interested in why some people dislike them, make other choices or can’t access them.

I have tried things. like actually tried, not just read about them in a book or a magazine.

I have seen examples where herbs and other “alternative” healthcare have not worked, are not the best choice, or are promoted in actively manipulative, confusing or even potentially harmful ways.

And ultimately, I feel less threatened by others who want to prove me wrong. Go ahead. In fact, it would be helpful. I will read your critiques now, and sometimes they are right, sometimes wrong, sometimes both. I feel more confident in my use of plant medicines and my connection with plants, as well as my movement and nutrition choices, but I am always willing to learn more, to dig deeper, to ask questions, even of myself.

And I can see the humor in our humanity, the way we divide ourselves, the way we all form our groups and our paradigms and our dogmas and stick onto them like medicinal leeches. I am this and you are that. It is freeing to unstick myself from the sweaty leg of any one side, any one path.

And as I get older I have more of a grasp of what it means for a person and an idea to mature. I do love the new, fresh, youthful rage-against-the-system energy that innovates and wears hot pink and turns it up and boinks everything that moves, and must yell THIS WORKS in all caps on every herbal forum. Juicy, but fragile. Now I am falling in love with this more mature phase that brushes off others’ hyperbole and panic, lets my actions speak for themselves and commits to just keep walking, outlasting the haters. Well, tries to.

I still want to debate people who disagree with me, respectfully, and I still want to share my love and joy around plant medicines. And, OK, I occasionally still craft long silly arguments in my head. But I am not afraid of the other opinions and approaches anymore. And there are many sides, not just 2, not just for vs against, not just pro vs anti, not just woo vs science, not just tin foil hats vs Big Pharma conspiracies. Maybe, sometimes, they have a point. Or maybe they are reactionary douchebags. Maybe they are just lonely or disconnected, and maybe we can be friends.

Perhaps now I’m strong enough to find out.


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What is a “bitter herb”?

Dandelion leaf, by Greg Hume
Dandelion leaf, by Greg Hume
As an herbalist for whom tastes of herbs -sweet, sour, salty, spicy (pungent), astringent and bland- imply specific medicinal actions. Bitterness is something that is often confusing because there is a genetic component to the ability to taste – according to 21 and Me I belong to a snip where 80% cannot genetically taste bitterness. (I am in the 20% that can.) The most often confused tastes are sour or pungent. I cannot attribute a pungent herb like horseradish or a sour taste like lemon as “bitter”.  Bitter covers tastes like black coffee, radicchio, karela (bitter melon), dandelion greens, black walnut hulls, gentian, angelica or artichoke leaves. There is often a slightly sweet aftertaste to bitterness. defines bitter (adjective) as:

1.  having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste, like that of aspirin, quinine, wormwood, or aloes.gentiana_macrophylla_fetissowii

2. producing one of the four basic taste sensations; not sour, sweet, or salt.

3. hard to bear; grievous; distressful: a bitter sorrow.
4. causing pain; piercing; stinging: a bitter chill.
5. characterized by intense antagonism or hostility:  bitter hatred.
6. hard to admit or accept:  a bitter lesson.
7. resentful or cynical: bitter words.
In herbal medicine the largest category of herbs tends to be bitters, which are  anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, digestive causing bile to flow and often antiparasite.  Herbalist David Winston categorizes bitter herbs as cooling bitters, warming bitters and antiparasite aromatic bitters which are intensely bitter.
In Chinese medicine bitter herbs according to Subhuti Dharmananda, in his article Taste and Action of Chinese Herbs -Traditional and Modern Viewpoints

There are two basic qualities associated with bitter taste:

  1. According to the five element systematic correspondence, the bitter taste is associated with the heart system.  The alkaloids and glycosides commonly found in bitter plants help explain this relationship, as the Chinese heart system corresponds mainly to the nervous system and circulatory system of Western medicine, the two systems most strongly impacted by these types of active constituents.
  2. According to the taste/action dogma, bitter herbs have a cleansing action (removing heat and toxin).  The cleansing action of bitters mainly refers to their antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, which are found with alkaloids, glycosides, and flavonoids.  The bitter herbs also dry dampness, and this refers mainly to reduction of mucous membrane secretions; we can recognize today that increased mucus secretion is usually secondary to inflammation and infection.

Meals should start or finish with something bitter, be it a salad with bitter greens or an aperitif or digestif drink or an espresso after eating. Fernet Branca and Angostura Bitters are two commercial bitters, but I love Urban Moonshine’s Maple Bitters which come in a handy purse spray. Or you can take a slice of lime in water and bite down on the skin. This will stimulate your bile and stomach acid production. (So-called “acid reflux” in people over 30 is usually a problem of stomach acid being too low to stimulate the closure of the esophageal sphincter.) When the bitter taste stimulates peristalsis it helps relieve constipation and even depression. It helps create the optimum conditions for the gut bacteria as well.

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Reading Pulses at the End of Life

Pulse diagnosis Credit unknown
Pulse diagnosis
Credit unknown
In Chinese Medicine reading the pulse is one of the two key diagnostic methods, tongue diagnosis being the other. We use 3 fingers below each wrist where we can access different depths of the radial artery as it lies over the curved bone. The different positions under each finger have been correlated over the centuries with different organs. We listen to the movement of blood in the blood vessels and note the speed, shape and any rhythmical irregularities coming from the heart or other tissues. We feel the thickness or thinness of the blood vessels, how deeply they lie, how full of blood they are and note their resilience and vitality. And we note the tension of the tissue around the blood vessel. Radio signals communicated between the brain and heart gives information we may not be able to verbalize. It is a deep listening.

Too often we practitioners draw from a pool of similar patients and are not able to experience the vast information potentially read from pulses. Even more infrequent is the pulse experienced at the end of life when many are in hospitals hooked up to machines that may interfere with natural death.

I was fortunate to be able to listen to my father’s pulse as he passed away at home and I thought you might find it interesting.

Burton Vaughan 1927-2015
Burton Vaughan 1927-2015
Ever the teacher he would not mind my sharing this with you.

My dad was an 89 year old man in otherwise good health who had leaky heart valves. He had chosen not to get them repaired as it usually involves some mental impairment and he was teaching graduate school classes until last year. So the ability of his heart to support his activities was substantially reduced as the valves were unable to push blood through the heart.

During his last day his pulse was very rapid as his heart was compensating for the low force. Qi could not command blood. The beat started strong then fizzled out as the weak valves could not push the blood. It was regularly irregular but the “fizzle” took a third to a half of the beat. He was so hot he required fanning, but his hands and feet were icy cold. This would be what we call false heat caused by the stagnation of blood due to low qi/ force. The force of the pulse was low but curiously his Kidney pulses were not inordinately weak compared to the others.

As he died his breathing was reduced and it was hard to find what had become a feeble pulse. The pulse got deeper and deeper until it was hidden. His forehead was still hot as was his vertex but the warm area moved up and the cold overtook him. The pulse diminished and he peacefully died.

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Reishi, an adaptogen to support the Heart

ganoderma_lucidum BPotD

Reishi is the Japanese name for Ganoderma lucidum, a mushroom known as Ling zhi in Chinese medicine. Similar species are found from the Amazon rain forest to the Arctic and have similar tonic uses. The mushroom is known to be powerful and features in myths about raising warriors from the dead. While it lacks that specific property, the mushroom is used for everything from increasing blood quality to treating cancer. Mycelial extracts done well on wooded substrates have similar to superior healing characteristics to those of the whole mushroom according to mycologist Paul Stamets. Nonetheless the mushroom itself excites users, with its antler or mushroom forms and red shiny surface.

The ganodermas (black G. lucidum, red G. lucidum, G. oregonense, G. tsuga, G. adspersum and G. applanatum) are tonic, immune strengthening, protect against cancer, have anti-tumor properties, calm the spirit, protect and clear heat from the central nervous system, open the heart, lower serum cholesterol and are good for adrenal fatigue and for depression and anxiety. They enter all five zang organs. They have anti-allergic effects, inhibiting histamine production and stabilizing immunoglobulin levels. They lower blood pressure, are antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial. Combining with astragalus, atractylodes and Ren shen increase phagocytosis, promote immune globulin formation, promote lymphocyte transformation, and induce the generation of interferon. Chinese mountain climbers use Ling zhi to alleviate altitude sickness by oxygenating the blood.Hokkaido_Reishi's_Deer_Horn_Shape_Reishi

I learned from a Thai doctor with a cancer practice, Santi Rosswong, to make a water decoction of Ganoderma lucidum (Ling zhi) with 10% cordyceps [Dong chong xia cao] for stamina. But since the polysaccharides in ganoderma are quite long, it has been shown to be more effective if the decoction is taken with not less than 500 mg of vitamin C, and 5 mg of folic acid each time. (The vitamin C is based upon Japanese research by Morishige and the folic acid is based upon Santi’s clinical experience.) Take several tablespoons (or more) every three hours. The most important dose is just before retiring, which should be larger. Take the folic acid and vitamin C with each dose.

There are two types of tinctures. One uses a concentrated decoction and adds alcohol to stabilize it. When I make it, I learned from Chris Hobbs to shoot for 25% alcohol to protect the polysaccharides, to ensure that I got between 22% and 28%, the lower number for spoilage and the upper number being a maximum for the polysaccharide protection. This appears to be the best formulation for immune system effects. The other way is to use a high alcohol formation to get the triperetenes, but I understand that this destroys the polysaccharides and differs significantly from the constituents extracted in traditional uses or from powdered extracts. It may have stronger CNS effects however. I know several herbalists who make a high alcohol tincture and add it to the subsequently decocted marc to get the best of both (and they understand that the high alcohol just makes the polysaccharides clump together on the side of the tincturing vessel but does not destroy them). There is not a consensus.

Ling zhi has various steroidal compounds, long chain polysaccharides, bitter triperetenes such as ganodermic acid and some volatile oils. Unlike Echinacea which activates macrophages, ganoderma is not believed to stimulate the immune system directly. It is probably an immune regulator rather than an immune stimulant. Ling zhi mushrooms get to the bone marrow and induce the marrow to put on more nucleated marrow cell mass, according to Jia. The marrow then increases B-cell production, which in turn increases antibodies. The DNA and RNA made in the bone marrow increases production of lymphocytes. This very deep immune nourishing means that it may be appropriate for AIDS patients although the patient should not suffer from undue dampness. For cancer therapy, combined with other fu zheng herbs, Ling zhi can be quite useful, even for patients undergoing chemo and radiation. Hobbs recommends low dose decocted ganoderma with cinnamon bark and orange peel as a tonic drink (for those not suffering from undue dampness) and I find that preparation, with roasted dandelion or chicory, combines well with coffee, helping neutralize coffee’s negative effects.

(Karen S Vaughan, adapted from Chinese Herbal Academy post 8-26-2000)

Reishi on log
Reishi on log

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Thoughts on the Anniversary of 9-11 and Preparedness

Test run of the Tribute In Light commemoration 2015
Test run of the Tribute In Light commemoration 2015

I’m thinking today of all those who have lost loved ones, who honor them with grace, and whose resilience represents triumph and hope. The sh..t hit the fan in a way that knocked us sideways.   Watching the plume from the roof. Breathing in air full of construction debris and dead bodies for weeks. Yet this was a seminal time for recovery 14 years ago.  Spiritual outreach, acupuncture outreach especially to the rescue workers who dug through piles of carcinogenic debris looking for body parts, Recovery clinics throughout lower Manhattan. Working on rescue workers who appeared in the Michael Moore film Sicko because they couldn’t get government funds for their 9-11 related illnesses, despite the promises. The resilience of a city that went from PTSD to recovery. We honor the memories and plan for a new future.

More people are poor.  Many lost all they had.  Others used the occasion to amass fortunes and cut out jobs for a few more cents on the dollar.  Ecological and social disaster go hand in hand. The clues are all around us. We have to change. Now the big question is, what is the first step to getting us where we want to be, where this kind of thing isn’t happening due to things that we might be able to prevent.

I get a lot of prepper stuff in my emails, some useful and some fearmongering. (One claimed he had to shelter his small blond niece from marauding hordes in the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy- I know the area and it didn’t happen but probably sold copies of his ebook.)  Those of us in NYC face WTSHTF situations frequently: 9-11, Sandy, blackouts, terrorist near misses, epidemic dangers, loss of food stores in damaged areas even sweeps of tens of thousands of people into government detention. Usually it brings out the best in people.  We pull together for a few days or weeks. And we bounce back.

There will certainly more disasters as weather patterns change. My off the grid in the woods  friends got chased out by forest fires this year and the fires covered many states and Canadian provinces.  First Nation’s people find that fresh moose meat is suddenly green, if they can find moose even miles distant from the tar sands destruction that poisoned land and water.  West coast starfish are turning into blobs instead of stars.  The big earthquake could hit Oregon, Washington and BC with folded earth and tsunamis.  New Orleans hasn’t fully recovered from the Katrina floods in 10 years and more hurricanes and underconstructed levees can be expected. Deformities and low birth rates affect elk, birds and bears which affect Native food chains. Crops are dying or in lowered production.  Glaciers providing water in Bolivia are gone and those in parts of the Himalayas which supply water to India and Bangladesh are close to missing.  The population of Syria suffered from drought conditions before migration and civil unrest broke out and now great populations are fleeing for their lives.  Populations move with increased desertification and civil unrest grows. Diseases will spread.  It isn’t just “them,” it will touch all of us.

photo credit: Starving female polar bear. Kerstin Langenberger Photography
photo credit: Starving female polar bear. Kerstin Langenberger Photography

This is the time for social and physical preparation.  Put aside some cash,  a little food, water, medicine, batteries, fuel and first aid supplies then reach out to your community. Join a civic help group or start one yourself.  You can work with your neighbors to be prepared and to identify skills and locations for clinics, sanitation and communication when various disasters strike.

In a disaster you can bring food to the elderly, get supplies to housebound neighbors, bandage wounds, help direct traffic and do all kind of things.  After Sandy my congregation made meals for over 100,000 including for elders in upper floors of high rise buildings.  I worked in a makeshift acupuncture clinic giving trauma treatments after Katrina and Sandy.  We worked on the rescue workers at the Convention Center after 9-11.

Work with your political groups (Occupy gave NYC far more assistance than the Red Cross!) Get your church, mosque or synagogue to organize help for whatever is going down, Learn first aid, CPR, defense techniques and how to listen. Save your fear for after the crisis passes so you can be of assistance. We are connected and we can get through things.

Learn first aid
Learn first aid


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Six Month Update on the Stem Cells

Diseases and conditions where stem cell treatm...
Diseases and conditions where stem cell treatment is promising or emerging. Bone marrow transplantation is, as of 2009, the only established use of stem cells.                                                 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As many of you know I had a stem cell implant in January at StemGenex in La Jolla California.  I had been somewhat discouraged by the effect on my Parkinson’s disease but two different people in the past week have spontaneously remarked that my tremors have reduced. The tremors have spread to the other side, but are less intense.  So it may well be that I am not the best judge- I only pay attention when the tremors are active.

I want to say right off that even if I’d had no effects whatsoever from the stem cell implant that valuable information would be derived from the study.  We need to learn who responds and who does not.  There are considerations of the effects on insulin resistance and gut bacteria, as well as vagus nerve stimulation that affect the success of stem cell implants. We need more experimentation on how and where to administer the cells and what activities will impact their proliferation.  (Too bad for nonresponding participants who pay out of pocket but good for science.)

It is true that I haven’t had the dramatic changes that I expected. And I might have done better with stem cells taken from the cord blood of a newborn rather than my own adipose (fat) cells. When you are fat, the fat cells can be hypoxic and less vital. One doctor I spoke with in Mexico said he prefers cord blood because the stem cells are more active, even if there are considerably fewer of them.  If you are heavy and are considering stem cell implants you might consider using cord blood.  Cord blood is not available in the US, but there are reputable firms outside of the country.

Do I think losing weight prior to a stem cell implant might have helped?  Only with a few years lead time and lots of detoxification.  The problem is that fat stores toxins to protect the body from the harm they can cause.  I have tested high for lead, strontium, DDE and other endocrine-disrupting compounds. Weight loss can dump toxins into the blood stream and tissues as fat cells are broken down or deflated, which is why I have gotten sick every single time I lost weight, even slowly.  I did a course of herbal detox  and DMPS, EDTA, and Olestra (1) chelation prior to the stem cell implant to reduce toxins but stopped a month before the implant to let my body normalize.  Chelation cannot be done after the implant until the cells have finished multiplying.

A friend tells me that our neighbor is still experiencing improvements 2 years after his stem cell implant – and it took a while to build up.  He saw the greatest improvement after he started getting deep massage and using a vibration platform late in the first year. So there is still hope. It has been only 6 months. One woman with MS who was going through the implant with me for the third time said that the first time there was no change until 6 months and suddenly she was able to raise her legs two feet instead of two inches.  Pazienza, Karen!

Confidence Fitness Vibration Platform.
Confidence Fitness Vibration Platform. At

I was advised by a colleague with Parkinson’s to get a vibration platform to increase the stem cell activation and to reduce Parkinson’s symptoms. I used one last week while visiting my parents and it definitely activates qi and blood, affecting not only circulation but eliciting a strong stretch-reflex contraction in muscle fibers.  It is a very efficient anaerobic form of resistance training and they claim that 10 minutes of platform exercise is like 60 minutes of regular exercise.  Vibration platforms for the home run between $200- $6000.  While the pure platforms without handholds look like they give a stronger vibration and certainly fit better in a NYC apartment, the design looks risky for someone with Parkinson’s.  The $250 Confidence Fitness machine has over 700 five star reviews on Amazon.  I am saving up for it now.

Handhold- less dual motor vibration plate (what do you do with the remote while shaking?
Handhold- less dual motor vibration plate (what do you do with the remote while shaking?)
  1. Ronald J. Jandacek, James E. Heubi, Donna D. Buckley, Jane C. Khoury, Wayman E. Turner, Andreas Sjödin, James R. Olson, Christie Shelton, Kim Helms, Tina D. Bailey, Shirley Carter, Patrick Tso, Marian Pavuk.Reduction of the body burden of PCBs and DDE by dietary intervention in a randomized trial. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 2014; 25 (4): 483 DOI: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2014.01.002


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Why do I have spasms and what do I do about them?


Why do I have spasms and what do I do about them?back-pain-921


There are many reasons you might have spasms and the hard, painful clenching of contracted muscle can hurt enough to wake you up in pain.  What you do is not the same for everyone


Overuse or overtraining can cause your body to go into spasm, especially if a nerve is involved.  This serves two purposes: it gives you temporary if somewhat distorted support and gets you to stop what you are doing.  Use an analgesic that reduces pain and moves blood like aspirin or Dr. Christopher’s Antispasmodic formula or a Chinese martial arts dit dat jiao trauma formula.


A dit dat jiao is a liniment or topical tincture made up of herbs that increase circulation (including microcirculation of the capillaries), release the muscle layer and relieve pain. If there is a lot of redness and swelling a cooling effect can be added with mint or menthol the first day since this relieves inflammation without the bad effects of ice.


There has been controversy about using ice when a spasm first starts.  Don’t.  In Chinese medicine ice has always been proscribed because it drives the pain in deeper while giving surface relief.  Blood can congeal (clot) deep inside, blocking the circulation necessary to nourish the tissue, so it takes longer to heal the spasm.  Heat both increases circulation and relaxes the spasm.  Western medicine has finally caught up with Chinese medicine, although some trainers and doctors have not yet caught up with the research.


Related to overuse is poor functional posture which over time stresses some muscles and produces weakness in others that ought to work together.  An example of this is “computer neck” where the SCM, trapezius and other neck muscles become rigid because the head is held too far forward.  Yoga, Pilates and MELT classes can work on correcting posture while structural integration can  separate conjoined fascia so that muscles can work independently. While nutrients and herbs can reduce pain it is important to improve the functional posture to eliminate the cause.


Lack of magnesium which is an endemic condition in America can also affect cramping. Dietary magnesium is down 50% in the last 30 years as soil has been depleted by industrial farming and erosion.  Oral magnesium is difficult to absorb and I have been able to reach good testable levels using Jigsaw Sustained Release capsules twice a day plus topical magnesium oil from the ancient Zechstein inland sea.  I also do periodic soaks in Epsom salts or Magnesium Chloride salts.


Lack of iron is also a cause of spasmodic leg shaking but should not be supplemented unless blood tests low.  The Chinese cure would be to eat liver for such Liver Wind conditions.


The widespread use of statins for cholesterol has led to a wholesale depletion in Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10,) the body’s natural antioxidant.  While statins have tested as useful for males who have had heart attacks, the usefulness for anyone else is unclear.  Cholesterol is the body’s natural bandage for inflamed arteries and is the building block of steroid hormones and brain tissue, so there are good reasons to not lower it.  Statin use is known to frequently lead to muscle pain and more rarely rhabdomyolysis, a severe condition which affects the muscles.  The most common signs and symptoms of rhabdomyolysis include:


  • Severe muscle aching throughout the entire body
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dark or cola-colored urine


The higher the dose of statins, the higher the risk of rhabdomyolysis becomes. The risk also increases when taken in combination with certain drugs.


Low B vitamins can also cause spasms. Try methylfolate instead of folic acid and methylcobalamin instead of normal B12, particularly if you know you have the MTHFR gene snip.  (If you don’t know I’d take these forms anyway.) Low doses three times a day are best and take a methylated B complex.


Although it does not seem intuitive, eating gluten can cause muscle and joint pains. Once the inflammatory proteins get past a leaky gut they circulate with the blood all over the body, causing pain


Diseases like Parkinson’s and Essential tremor can cause hard spasms due to the continual shaking.  Work on increasing liposomal glutathione, CoQ10, Vitamin C and Folate as well as a full component of minerals, detoxification and exercise.


Body work is very important. Deep massage, myofascial work, bonesetting tuina or chiropractic can make a great impact on nerve-related or muscle work.


Acupuncture is very good for spasms, on both a local and distal level.  It is not necessary to needle directly into a spasm, but if the spasm is not too hard or sensitive,



local needling can increase circulation into the spasm.  But needling on the opposite side, along the meridian or into special points can signal the brain to release muscles or endorphins.




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Cloak Food to Keep Your Diet

If you have food allergies, diabetes, are gluten sensitive or are eating paleo you may need to bring your own food to eat in a way that supports your health. One of my teachers in acupuncture school developed the concept of “cloak food’, food that fits in the pockets of your cloak.  It should be small, light weight and substitute for your dietary pitfalls.


For instance if you are prone to joining in for a soda, a packet of Eboost, Wellness Fizz, Emergen-C or Calm can add flavor and fizz to your water, not to mention some awesome herbs, minerals and vitamins.


Nuts, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds make a good low carb snack for the afternoon blahs.  Add some cacao nibs or dried goji fruit for a healthy trail mix that will beat out anything the vending machine has to offer.


Shake packets can store easily in your pocket, purse or desk drawer and a pint sized jar with a lid will substitute for a no-fuss blender.  If you  make up your own in baggies you can add superfood powders.


More suited to a backpack or briefcase, a few sheets of nori make a gluten-free, mineral rich substitute for a wrap or sliced bread. I carry around a pack in my backpack. Place a few slices of roast beef or spoons of humus in the center and roll it up.  (It gets soft if you do it in advance.)  If you are not too sensitive, order a sandwich, ditch the bread and put the inside in the nori. No one said only sushi should be wrapped in nori!


If you need a non-dairy milk in your coffee, get an individual sized aseptic pack of coconut milk or whatever you drink.  I will carry the ones with a screw cap in my purse for the day or leave the packs with straws in my office refrigerator.  They stay fresh a bit longer than dairy milk after opening.


Nori, geröstete Blätter aus Algen, die vor all...
Nori, roasted sheets of seaweed used in Japanese cuisine for sushi but fillable with any sandwich filling. The smaller ones are already seasoned with sesame oil and spices. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boiled eggs can survive for a week without refrigeration and you can bring a salt pack from the deli or learn to love the plain flavor.  Jerky, especially salmon jerky also provides a protein-rich snack.


Fruit that is not too tender is also easy to carry.  If you need fewer carbs, slices of zucchini, celery, fennel, baby carrots or a small endive can fit in a ziplock baggie. The main idea is that you think ahead to protect your dietary needs while having a few dry alternatives if you forget.


Don’t forget your water bottle.  I like to make overnight infusions, very strong teas, of nettles or oatstraw. (How to at the link.) 2

In the morning I strain them out and put my day’s dose in my water bottle to sip during the day.  Don’t worry, these will hydrate you as well as water and will add a phytonutrient benefit.





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How to tincture medicinal mushroooms

Lingzhi or Reishi
Ganoderma, also known as Lingzhi or Reishi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Medicinal mushrooms are in great demand because of their adaptogenic effects and their actions against cancer. They improve the immune system, balance the hormones of the HPA axis, are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, tonify the heart, protect the liver and soothe the nerves.

Taking them in an effective way is not so easy.  Eating  medicinal mushrooms like shitake or maitake doesn’t release the medicinal value (except perhaps the Vitamin D.)

If you want to take them as a tea (decoction) you need to simmer them for at least an hour to separate the medicine from the chitin. (Yes mushrooms have chitin, like sea shells.) This is the traditional way used in Chinese medicine.  Chris Hobbs suggests keeping a pot warm on the back burner at all times, periodically adding water, astragalus, cinnamon and orange peel so you only need to make it every few weeks. Cooking herbs daily can be a bit much and decoctions only last a few days in the refrigerator but it works and I have used this kind of decoction to make ganoderma coffee.

Tinctures  or liquid extracts are portable, let you taste them which makes them more effective than capsules, but are not simple to make.  You can’t just soak the  mushrooms, either fresh or dried in alcohol. The chitin still locks up the medicine.  The most important fractions of the medicine are polysaccharides like beta􀀁-Glucens or Mannogalactoglucan which don’t survive even medium levels of alcohol.

Polysaccharides clump together when exposed to alcohol and become inert. Below 30% the alcohol is not strong enough to percipitate out the polysaccharides.  The triterpenes like Ganoderic Acid in reishi are also medicinally important and require a high alcohol percentage to be extracted. So to get the most medicine, you need to follow a two step process and combine them with 25-20% alcohol to make a liquid extract.

For 250 grams, slightly over 1/2 pound of mushrooms you will want to make 1 1/4 liters of liquid extract.  It will be 30% grain alcohol or 375 ml and  875 ml of decoction.

The first stage is to decoct the the given weight of dried mushrooms in Cordyceps militaris shotswater. You need to simmer below a boil for at least an hour after they rehydrate, longer is better. The bigger the mushroom chunks the longer- Chinese herbal pharmacies sell reishi in thin slices which I usually spin in the Vitamix., but before I had access to those I would chunk as small as possible then run in the Vitamix mid cooking when the mushroom was a little softer. Chaga can be obtained through Mainley Chaga in a coffee grind (but for the medicine decoct it- don’t just run through your coffee maker!)  If you wildcraft, slice thinly before the mushroom dries and dry it gill side up in the sun for maximum Vitamin D.

Start with your ground dry mushrooms. Cover with water and let it absorb.  Add more water so the mushroom chunks can freely swim.  Cover and simmer for an hour or overnight.  Strain and squeeze out, measure the decoction in a Pyrex container to see if you have enough, 875 ml in this example, and cook down the decoction to the quantity you need or top up with water. Freeze until the tincture is ready. (Squeeze it out really well.)

Take the strained out marc (which has had most polysaccharides removed) and add Everclear/ grain alcohol to get the triterpenes. For 250 gr mushrooms use 275 mililiters of Everclear. (Because the mushroom pieces will have absorbed water, you need less alcohol than if you were to tincture in alcohol directly and lose the absorbed alcohol.) Store in a dark place for 1-3 months, shaking perodically and strain out really well, squeezing the spongy marc.  Mix the finished tincture with the defrosted decoction very slowly, stirring well to get a 30% alcohol level.

(Some just stabilize the decoction with plain 95% grain alcohol but it won’t be as strong. You can also use two batches of mushrooms, one for alcohol and one for decoction in water. You need 7 parts decoction to 3 parts Everclear tincture. It will cost more and you will need more Everclear but it is convenient.)

Ganoderma 3 You can also find Chinese dried granules to rehydrate with warm water, but it won’t have the triterpenes.  These can be combined with other Chinese herbs in a formula, although I find granule formulas somewhat less effective than raw herb formulas.  (They are convenient however.) And Mushroom Harvest makes a well-done steamed granule that you can put into smoothies.  If you purchase tinctures call the company that makes them and find out how they make the tincture- there is a lot of inert or very weak medicinal mushroom tincture out there.  You can do better by following these instructions.

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What Herbs Can I Take for Anxiety While Breastfeeding

English: catnip , Nepeta cataria ;leaf
English: catnip , Nepeta cataria ;leaf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

<< Does anyone routinely use any calming herbs often enough to know if they  are safe for nursing mothers?  I was thinking of Valerian, hops and  passionflower for my sister’s second child (the oldest still wakes during the night)…>>

The time after giving birth is normally somewhat anxiety producing.  A new mother who typically had interrupted sleep follows what might be the most physically challenging event of her life with insufficient sleep and the overwhelming  responsibility of a helpless new baby (particularly if the baby has colic. )

Catnip might work as well as valerian and is definitely fine for the baby.  In fact you can give it to the baby directly.  Valerian is listed as safe during lactation, but make sure she gets fresh root tincture rather than dried capsules because the dried herb can be stimulating instead of sedative and calming. I prefer teas to tinctures for breastfeeding moms because fluid keeps up the milk supply, which makes catnip, which can be dried, preferable.

Mints are fine, fennel is good for the milk, fenugreek is too but can make you fertile sooner, astragalus is good if you need an immune booster.  Garlic is good although some babies don’t like the way it makes the milk taste- but others adore it.  Oat straw is a nourishing nervine.  Carrot juice will help, especially if anxiety makes your milk supplies lag.

A new mother can experience anxiety if she does not know what herbs are safe for other conditions she may experience during the breastfeeding period.  Other herbs listed as safe during lactation are:

Adaptogens:  borage flower, nettles

Analgesics: valerian root, passionflower, lavender

Alteratives:  nettles, red clover, alfalfa

Antidepressants:  vervain leaf, melissa, lavender, borage, lemon verbena, vitex if due to hormonal imbalance postpartum (also dong quai, red clover)

Antiemetics:  black horehound, raspberry leaf, melissa (lemon balm), chamomile, ginger

Antimicrobials: garlic, corn silk, echinacea, shitake mushrooms, thyme (go easy)

Antispasmodics: cramp bark, valerian root, chamomile

Astringents: yarrow, witch hazel, periwinkle

Bitters: chicory root, dandelion, chamomile, burdock

Carminatives:  peppermint, fennel, anise, dill, ginger

Demulcents: marshmallow, slippery elm (also can be fed to infants)

Diuretics:  dandelion (good for breast abscesses), corn silk

Galactogues: fennel, anise, nigella, milk thistle seed, vervain leaf

Hepatics: dandelion, lemon juice

Nervines: oatstraw and oats, catnip, St. Johnswort, melissa, skullcap

Relaxants: chamomile, skullcap, lemon balm

Tonics:  astragalus, dong quai (for blood), ginseng, eleuthero (Siberian ginseng)

Vulneraries: chamomile, plantain, St. Johnswort

First off I would see that she gets ton of liquids.  Catnip tea is especially good for calming and colic, and if the mother drinks it, her milk will reflect it.  A quart per day is not unreasonable.  Better yet, she could make an overnight infusion which contains 1/2 ounce oatstraw with heads (avena sativa) and 1/2 oz. catnip, put in a quart jar, pour on boiling water, cap and strain in the morning.  It is easy- she can boil the water while she is brushing her teeth and it will help protect her bones and build the child’s.  It is also a nutritive nervine.

Milk production is primarily related to the amount of liquid consumed, the suckling of the child which stimulates milk and stress.  If she has other children and a non-sleeper, she should be getting help during the day so she can nap whenever the baby does.  It is worth the money- and not just for milk production!

Milk production is normally cyclic and usually reflects the baby’s hunger patterns, which may change.  They seem to go on milk binges just before growth spurts and when teething- and the teething pain seems worse when the teeth are cutting through the internal gum layers, long before they emerge.  Probably not the issue now, but I know of two babies who were born with teeth, so you never know.  Having a bit extra breast milk is good in a pinch (and a caregiver can give it to the baby when the mother is exhausted and needs a nap or a break.)  Airplane trips, as an aside, are great times to pump extra milk because the air pressure makes it easier- so if she has any trips coming up she can bring a pump and cooler.  😉  Just make sure that the milk is NOT heated in a microwave because it kills off the antibodies, is hard to digest and the baby will not thrive.

When the baby is a bit older she can give it catnip tea as well, by bottle.  I’d wait until the second month, and make sure that it does not displace the milk consumption.  1/2 bottle per day under 6 months and a bottle after, in divided doses, as required.  The oatstraw/catnip infusion would be particularly good.

The mother can take fennel, fenugreek  or mint teas as well.  Mothers Milk tea by Traditional Medicinals is good.  She should watch her diet (broccoli, onions and other foods high in sulfur are common foods to cause colic but again depends in the baby.)

I would also encourage the mother to sleep with the baby when she feels anxious or overwhelmed.  The baby is more likely to sleep, less likely to awaken and  can learn to nurse while the mother sleeps.  (He’ll even learn to help himself after a few months.)  I firmly believe that it makes it much easier on the family if the parents take the baby to bed.  Everyone sleeps better, there are fewer SIDS deaths (unless she sleeps with him in a waterbed), the father gets to cuddle more than usual and the baby feels more secure.  They do outgrow it and the parents usually kick them out when they insist upon sleeping sideways.

If she hasn’t read them lately, the La Leche League has two excellent books “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” and “The Family Bed”.  The information is not just basic stuff, and bears re-reading if it has been a few years since we usually remember what applied to the first child if it was read then.  La Leche can give her advice and provide lactation counselors who do more than help make sure there is enough milk.

Note:  The list of safe herbs probably derives from one developed by herbalist Amanda McQuade.  I have been using and adapting it for years and am no longer certain of its provenance.

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Attorney General Enshrines Bad Herbal Product Test with GNC

supplementsRecently the press was transfixed when NY State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office announced that the vast majority of herbal supplements tested by the AG’s office had none of the herbs claimed. This followed a Canadian Guelph University study from the developers of a novel DNA testing process that claimed a huge percent of herbs tested were bogus.  That study was so poorly done that the American Botanical Council asked for it to be retracted.  Their title said it all:

Science Group Says Article on DNA Barcode Analysis of Herbs Is Flawed, Contains Errors, Creates Confusion, and Should Be Retracted:  Methodological Flaws, Statistical Inconsistencies, Taxonomic Confusion, and Unreliable Conclusions Require Paper in BMC Medicine to be Corrected, Revised, and Re-peer-reviewed

Nonetheless the specter of a relatively inexpensive new test in an industry everyone assumes is unregulated was irresistible to the AGs office (and besides everyone knows DNA is scientific!)  This new DNA barcode test is different from forensic DNA tests which is what people think of when they hear “DNA test.”  Now GNC has signed a premature consent agreement and the AG’s offices in 14 states are planning to follow suit based on technically misleading testing.

As a clinical herbalist for over 25 years and a professor of herbal medicine I need to point out that the press has given a free ride to the validity of new DNA barcode testing which purported to show that 79% of herbs from Target, GNC, Walgreens and Wallmart were adulterated or missing the herb claimed. The high figure should have given the AG’s office pause.  Verification including microscopy and validated chemical test methods, like those found in official pharmacopeias for these seven herbs, should have been conducted to confirm the DNA findings.

When the initial 2013 Canadian DNA barcode study came out it was clear that it was oriented to the sales of a testing method and had poor application to prepared herbs. DNA barcoding is less expensive than traditional herbal tests and that of course would be a great new market for the test developers. Raw herbs before extraction can be identified by DNA. It has proven itself with foods where whole plant products are being tested. But the test only tests the presence of DNA. Unless I am growing herbs, the least useful compound is DNA:  instead I want to extract the medicinal secondary metabolites, the minerals, polysaccharides, polyphenols, sesqueterpenes and flavonoids.

A typical Chinese formula has 7-9 grams per herb and 5-9 herbs, so say has 50 grams of herbs daily. You would need at least 20 large 400 mg pills- too much, which is why herbs are extracted to find their most medicinally useful components. DNA isn’t one of those and it is usually degraded by extraction. However there is a need to add something like rice flour to keep the powdered extracts from clumping and that doesn’t need to be extracted, so its DNA is present. The DNA barcode test doesn’t test concentration so it looks like the herbal capsule is free of the herb and adulterated when, in fact, it is properly made.

Now encapsulated herbs are perhaps the least effective form since you can’t taste them. (Taste and smell are not merely aesthetic experiences- they engage body feedback systems.) Powders can oxidize rapidly. I wouldn’t buy my herbs from Target, Walmart, Walgreens or GNC.  I want higher quality. But it begs credibility that 79% of products were free of the herbs claimed. You can visit wholesale herb markets to see the tonnage of herbs at reasonable prices. GNC is in the business of selling herbs and they need to have a certain level of quality (if only because people like me will bite into the capsules and can taste whether the herb is present.)

So it was not accurate to say that 79% of supplements lacked the herbs claimed, instead 79% did not have DNA present.  It might have other medicinally useful constituents from the herb in question, and in fact subsequent industry-standard testing found herbs in all samples. It was not accurate to assume there was substantial adulteration, only that excipients were usually used. Some 90% of herbs are sold in extract form, unlike the foods that work with DNA barcoding.

There is a need for quality control, especially in the bodybuilding and weight-lifting sectors of the industry where ConsumerLab has identified real problems. I do use suppliers of international herbs who use HPLC and heavy metal testing, but I also purchase whole herbs directly from US growers I know, where I can taste and smell the herbs and make my own extracts.  The American Botanical Council has been in the forefront of protecting against adulteration, intentional or accidental. The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program, is being conducted by ABC with the nonprofit American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) and the NCNPR, a FDA Center of Excellence lab at the University of Mississippi.

GNC couldn’t afford a shadow over their business so signed the consent requirement. They will have ample evidence they used the herbs claimed but are likely to miss the DNA barcoding target unless they add powdered herb to the excipient. But the spotlight will be off by then.  By all means make major retailers stand behind their herbs, but do not enshrine a novel DNA test just because it is cheap.

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Stem Cell Update

I couldn't have walked out here before
I couldn’t have walked out here before the stem cell implant (and I live for nature.)

Trying to assess changes in an intermittent disease is not easy and just this experience has given me a great appreciation for the difficulty in developing measuring yardsticks that researchers face. For instance Parkinson’s tremors are intermittent, happening mostly when I am resting, stressed or overtired. I rarely have them while needling but they come on while riding the subway or just as I drop off to sleep. I suppose that one could invent a wrist monitor that would measure tremors per day and perhaps group them, but I have to rely on memory to fill out the Parkinson’s questionnaire, and that is not exactly reliable. Still people around me tell me that tremors are reduced. Stamina is up too- also hard for me to quantify but I wasn’t walking up to the park before or along boardwalks as I did in St. Petersburg between hyperbaric treatments.

Now some people show evidence of change right away- like the Canadian hockey coach I wrote about- and others may see nothing for 6 months. I seem to be mostly in the delayed category. It has after all been only 2 1/2 months, but this is an interim report.

I had been haunted by the size of the syringe of unused stem cells that was leftover and extracted from the IV when my small veins had given out.  After consulting with StemGenex they pointed out that of the 600 billion stem cells extracted, 99% had been used.  Those in the IV were diluted with platelet rich plasma, unlike those directly injected. It looked like more than 1% though.  I still wish they had found a second IV site, but at least I got most of the cells and more than average.

I saw some immediate improvement in my foot but it didn’t stand up to reinjury from the deformity. The tremors are down and my stamina is up, both of which are significant. I don’t type as many extra symbols when I use my laptop and that makes writing easier. And my win rate for solitaire which is a proxy for both brain function and manual dexterity is up by 1%. I will have bloodwork and eye test results later.

Anyway, I thank all of you who helped me with the stem cell implant and after care. I’ll keep you up to date as the cells proliferate and things develop.

And if you would be so kind as to continue with support:  Help a Healer


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