As some of you realize, I have not been posting as much lately. This is due to censorship which has made me redirect my attention; however, today, I want to write about radioprotective herbs. Providing a little background helps to create the scaffolding for integrating material that is new to some readers and perhaps very well understood already by others.
My interest in radiation was probably seeded when I visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki at age 20. The museum in Hiroshima impacted me greatly as did the people. They were eager to share their experiences and went out of their way to educate me. For instance, I asked a bus driver for directions to the museum, and he turned off the sign on the front of bus and drove me the museum. Everywhere I went, people wanted me to understand what had really happened; but there were almost inexplicable anomalies such as who and what survived and why. The ginkgo tree is perhaps a standing memorial to something we probably do not think about but maybe we should think about how a tree can survive when people and buildings practically vaporized. In actuality, 170 ginkgo trees survived, but the one most often discussed was in a temple 1370 meters from ground zero.
Every now and then, memory gets a nudge. This is, in fact, how memory is added to knowledge vaults. We link each experience to some details; and as we build up the links, we develop understanding around details that seemed random until the significance became apparent. For me, Chernobyl was the next big nudge, but there is a difference between reading about an event and meeting people who were impacted. The Soviet Army used about half a million “liquidators” to contain the nuclear fallout, and the consequences were mild for those who used ginkgo as compared to those who did not.
Exposure to Nuclear Radiation
When I was consulting in Germany, there were three patients with symptoms directly related to nuclear radiation. One was the last surviving member of a rescue team that was the first to bring supplies to Chernobyl. All team members died of brain cancer, and his tumor was so large that it was protruding from his head. The second was a patient who worked in the radiology department of a hospital and had a long history of miscarriages. The third also had brain cancer that was being treated by twice daily irradiation. His blood was riddled with parasites, presumably contracted while consulting on an engineering project in a third world country. The white blood cells were broken to pieces, inert and fragmented. I then understood how the treatments damage the immune system.
Some years earlier, I had attended a debate in Santa Fe in which the author of a book on EMF and head of the local utility company faced off. This was before the days of pervasive cell phones and towers so the studies were based on telephone lines. The incidence of childhood leukemia was ten times higher on the side of the street with the phone lines yet the audience voted 50-50 over who won the debate. How we ignore safety and package our wares was already an issue for me due to what I had discovered about Thalidomide when working on Wall Street in the mid-60s. Actually, it was not only about Thalidomide, it was about the conflict between profits and social responsibility . . . and how the advertising companies navigate that hiatus.
Now, of course, we see the pattern repeating itself.
After Fukushima, I researched radioprotective herbs, obviously starting with ginkgo. It is when I started the Institute for Invisible Epidemics because there are many hazards all around us that we rarely consider in relationship to our health.
Besides ginkgo, there are many other herbs with radioprotective properties. I hate to explain how the studies are done because the admonition to do no harm is by-passed. Lab animals are given an herb, usually just a single dose and then exposed to what would normally be lethal levels of radiation. If the animals live or a significant percentage live, the herb is deemed to be radioprotective.
What I have been doing over the last months is adding to the information on Ayurvedic Bazaar and improving the navigation. The new site is scheduled to go live Sunday night. In doing this, I found that many rasayana herbs are listed as radioprotective and the hypothesized reason is that all rasayana herbs are antioxidants. I would like to give my hypothesis and see how this fits with conventional wisdom on this subject. A material such as uranium is radioactive if it is unstable and ejecting “packages” of particles . . . that are classified as alpha, beta, and gamma. Uranium has many isotopes with varying stability or instability. It is the instability that concerns us, but, in theory, if the instability could be addressed, the same substance would be harmless.
So, as free-radical scavengers, rasayana herbs are up to this task but they achieve their ends in ways that are unique to each plant.
The tree has some unique properties and is said to be a climate purifier because it transforms chemical toxins and airborne gases into harmless substances. It also seems to have radioprotective properties.
What I have been doing with my midnight oil is not just adding to content but reflecting on how the plants interact with various pathogenic substances in our lives. If the herbs are donating electrons, what happens to the herb? Can it repair itself? The answer would appear to be “yes” but how is not 100% clear as this takes us from botanical medicine to alchemy which is definitely over the top as compared to conventional chemistry and synergy.
In Ayurvedic texts, alchemical medicine is regarded as divine whereas herbal medicine is human. Think about it. Something we regard as dangerous is processed in a manner that not only makes it safe, but usually a single dose is sufficient. There are levels of mastery of alchemy and only the basics are taught in colleges. The advanced knowledge can only be found among caretakers of the tradition, usually families or yogis who preserve the secrets and only entrust their knowledge to those with stellar character
In terms of where the normal medicine and alchemy interact, there are many, many steps that involve both herbs and substances like milk and ghee (clarified butter). The basic level involves 18 processes that can take months. The herbs may be ground or juiced or mixed with other substances and instructions for purifying, heating, burying, ventilation, and so on and so forth are all spelled out in ancient teachings. However, a good example is mercury, which we all know is toxic under normal circumstances. In the work I was doing in Europe, I could see how the white blood cells try to deal with toxic metals, but they died in the process. They would start to deteriorate within minutes and disintegrate in about 45 minutes. In short, the battle was hopeless. However, if cilantro was given, the issue was resolved, presumably partly through chelation, not necessarily through detoxification. So, the question was always whether this also happens with alchemical processing, meaning that some potentially dangerous components or simply instability is resolved either by vaporization or electron donation.
Ayurveda has a unique method of classifying herbs. It is actually a fairly complex system that involves the pharmacology of taste, the five elements and three doshas, the actions at various stages of digestion and the impact on various tissues, as well as the separation of waste from nutrients and how these are expelled from the body. Perhaps one of the broadest distinctions is the separation of what might be called normal herbs and those with specific benefits for regeneration. Of these, those that impact consciousness have perhaps the highest status.
The term used to interpret rasayana herbs is that they promote longevity. To be honest, the philosopher in me is not certain any herb can extend life but herbs can improve the quality of life. How long we live is another matter and obviously one requiring depth of understanding. We cannot exactly fight aging, but we can age more or less gracefully and perhaps without suffering from senility or Alzheimer’s disease. I will definitely credit herbs with the capacity to avert both autism as well as dementia.
Without studying this for years, perhaps you can cut me some slack and take me at my word for the moment. You can test the belief at your leisure, but knowledge of how and why an herb acts upon a certain tissue of the body is a study taking many years to master.
If for the moment, we merely think of aging as chalking up one more year, we can ask if in this time our memories improved or deteriorated, if our hair lost its pigmentation, if our tissues became more dry and brittle or perhaps more smooth and elastic, if our energy levels were sustainable, and so on and so forth, then perhaps we are addressing the quality of life rather than the duration. . . which may or may not be negotiable.
Then, rasayana herbs all support this quality of life. All are also anti-oxidants which is big clue in and of itself, but not all act in the same manner. For instance, not all rasayana herbs are adaptogens though many are. An adaptogen is an herb that helps us to endure stress without raising the levels of cortisol and other hormones. Ashwagandha stands very high on this list, but, of course, it has other benefits as well.
The ones I was watching most closely over the last years are those supporting cognitive functions, and to make this a bit more interesting to people who spend time in the kitchen, I might take salads as an example. Most people build salads around a relatively small number of plants, usually starting with lettuce, but there are actually endless options. Many people have discussed harvesting dandelion leaves instead of spraying them with poison, and I spent a lot of time and energy promoting sprouting of all kinds of seeds. I believe there were more than a hundred entries, not just mung beans and sunflower seeds. There are also fruits and berries and coconut and spices and so on and on and on. In certain parts of the Ayurvedic world, bacopa and/or gotu kola are introduced in infancy to help develop not just cognitive function but also to support learning in general. We learn through perception and develop understanding by connecting dots. This is a process that can, in fact, improve with age, but some of the herbs need to be use on a more or less daily basis.
Interestingly, some of the same herbs used for learning have secondary benefits. Many are also parasiticides and some are radioprotective. In addition, each might have an affinity for a particular organ or function, such as being hepatoprotective or nephroprotective meaning they probably detoxify the liver an kidneys. Many inhibit mutagenicity which means they also protect against cancer, usually in specific parts of the body which is why we take a variety of herbs, not just one for the whole life.
Speaking for myself, I hate to see too much emphasis on just one herb because herbs are synergistic and exploiting one herb at the expense of tens of thousands of others is not environmentally sound much less healthy.
As noted, we hope the changes on Ayurvedic Bazaar will go live on Sunday. Meanwhile, the old site is functioning. This change took much longer than expected but the improvements are significant. I plan to move and am looking for someone to take over after I relocate. Once settled, I want to use the remaining time in this body to complete a lot of tasks, really a lot of them, but I have spent a long time in preparation and am ready.
There is one new product to mention. It is from Amazon Therapeutic Laboratories and is called HRT so that actually says it all. It has a combination of herbs that support the dramatic hormonal shifts women face from puberty onwards. I will put it on the Kitchen Doctor site.
Also, the Auromere Mouthwash is finally back in production and in stock. It went through a packaging change and then disappeared but has returned.
It is probably pointless to mention delivery issues. I would however suggest that everyone consider subscribing using a private e-mail, not a free provider. I am very happy with ProtonMail but there are videos online comparing options. If you value your freedom, I urge you to subscribe using a secure, non-censored e-mail provider and e-mail client (meaning the software you use to receive and send mail).
Your donations are greatly appreciated and needed!