Dhanvantari Ayurveda Center Michael Dick, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Leesburg, Florida e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inside This Issue
Health and Science in the News
More Health and Science in the News
Infectious Disease and Ayurveda
The Book Corner
“A new study links dairy product to adolescent acne. A group of women from the Nurses’ Health Study was asked to provide information about several aspects of their diet during high school as well as any incidence of physician-diagnosed severe teenage acne. Researchers noted a positive association with total milk and skim milk consumption, along with instant breakfast drinks, sherbet, cottage cheese, and cream cheese. No association was found with several other foods often thought to affect acne, including soda, French fries, chocolate candy, and pizza. The scientists postulate that hormones and bioactive ingredients found in milk may be responsible.” Source: Good Medicine, Summer 2005 (J Am Acad Dermatol 2005.52:207-14)
Recent findings links milk intake and Parkinson’s disease. Those drinking 16 oz or more per day was associated with twice the incidence compared to those drinking no milk. Researchers believe milk contaminants—pesticides and other neurotoxins—are probably the cause. Source: Good Medicine, Summer 2005 (Neurology, 2005; 64:1047-51)
MERCURY IN FISH--
Recent evidence reveals that mercury in fish increases the risk of heart disease and may negate the alleged heart-protective benefits of fish. Source: Good Medicine, Summer 2005 (Arteriorscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2005; 25:228-33).
DRY MOUTH AND TOOTH DECAY—Evidence suggests that dry mouth contributes to tooth decay. Saliva washes away sugar and bacteria and bathes teeth with small concentrations of calcium that fill in slight erosions in the teeth enamel. Drugs, radiation, and surgery that interfere with salivation inadvertently promote increased dental caries. Some drugs are: atropine or propranolol, Nenedryl, Elavil, Aventyl (antidepressants), Clonidine (antihypertensive) are linked to this effect. Additionally, common teeth whiteners have been linked to increased oral cancer pathology. The gels contain carbamide peroxide, a compound that contains urea and hydrogen peroxide. Free-radical contact with surrounding tissue damaging the cells. Source: Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, June 2005, Jule Klotter writing in “Shorts.”
DENTAL AMALGAM DEBATE:
Dental Truth, summer 2005, reports that Barnes v. Kerr ruling by the 6th Circuit of Appeals could put admitted amalgam hazard into case law. DDS Barnes sued Kerr, a manufacturer of amalgam materials for product liability—toxic exposure in removing amalgam materials from teeth. Kerr argued that the product labeling and accompanying literature clearly labeled its product as poisonous. Ironically, this labeling and court upheld scientific evidence may combine to force (under the “learned intermediary doctrine”) dentists be required to pass along the manufacturer’s warnings to the consumer. This may enjoin state dental boards from prohibiting dentists from communicating the dangers of mercury amalgams. The court’s findings appear to pose a direct challenge to the ADA’s proclamation of amalgam safety. The ruling could have impaired the market for dental amalgam.
FLUORIDE TOOTHPASTE AND PERIORAL DERMATITIS—Researchers found patients using fluoride-containing toothpaste find remission of acne when the fluoride toothpaste was discontinued. Others, not benefiting by discontinuance but who stopped using toothpastes with brighteners and flavorings did find that acne cleared up. Source: Alan Gaby, MD p. 25, The Townsend Letter, June 2005.
GALL BLADDER PURGE—A commonly recommended gall bladder cleanse has come under closer scrutiny. It was reported in The Townsend Letter, Nov. 2005, p.38, that olive oil and lemon juice taken after a juice fast produces semi-solid green “stones” passed per rectum. “Analysis of the stones revealed that they contained no cholesterol, bilirubin, or calcium but were made up of 75% fatty acids.” Further experimentation led researchers to conclude that oleic acid from the olive oil and potassium in lemon juice form “soap stones,” which when excreted look green. The author notes that there is at least one journal findings of real gall stones with this cleansing protocol.
COENZYME Q10 PREVENTS MIGRAINES—Sandor, et. al. Neurology 2005;64:713-715, (As reported in Townsend Letter, Nov. 2005, conducted research into the prophylaxis value of Co-Q10 taken in dosage of 100mg TID for 4 months. In this placebo, controlled, randomized study it was found that subjects had more than 50% reduction of incidence of migraine headaches.
Obesity and high or low carbohydrate DIET: Cornier, et. al. Obes Res 2005;13:703-709, as reported in Townsend Letter, Nov. 2005, fed obese subjects low-carb/high fat or high-carb/low fat diets for 16 weeks. Researchers found that insulin sensitivity determined how subjects responded to this weight loss program. For insulin-sensitive subjects better to eat high-carb diet than low carb diet; for insulin-resistant subjects better to feed low carb diet for maximum weight loss.
KIDNEY STONES AND DIET: (Townsend Letter, Oct. 2005, p. 22) Different researchers came to conflicting findings regarding the link between dietary calcium/supplementation and formation of calcium phosphate and calcium oxylate kidney stones. A meta-analysis of data from the Nurses’ Health Study II showed that higher dietary calcium reduced risk for kidney stones. Another study of older women suggested that supplementation does lead to higher risk of kidney stones. One interesting conclusion of the former study was that dietary phytate correlates with reduced kidney stones formation; phytate is found in whole grains, pulses (peas, beans, lentils) and soy beans. Here’s another reason to eat a traditional “vegetarian” diet.
UPDATE ON CODEX: There has been considerable alarm of late regarding the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and CODEX . One individual who has much at stake in the matter has declared that “there is really no conflict. Neither invalidates US laws such as DSHEA as Title 19 USC 3512, imbedded in The Food and Drug Modernization Act of 1997, prohibits the United States from harmonizing with any international standard – including CODEX – that violates US Laws. He says the bill exempts dietary supplements from any attempt at harmonization with international guidelines.” (Townsend Letter, Nov. 2005, p. 28)
VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTATION: It has long been established that Vit D is important for calcium absorption and bone tissue formation. As a chemical it is formed naturally upon contact of sunlight with skin. There are two forms of note—D2 and D3—the latter occurs naturally and the former is produced when yeast is irradiated. Armas, et. al. investigated effectiveness of both forms and concluded that D2 is not a good substitute for D3. (Townsend Letter, Nov. 2005, p. 27) Bischoff, et. al. found that older people need more with increasing age—at least 800 IU daily and some research suggests that as much as 400IU daily is safe for the average person. Townsend Letter, Oct 2005, p. 38)
CELL PHONES AND QI: Recent studies have confirmed the existence of electromagnetic pathways or meridians or channels of “chi,” long described by TCM. Modern computerized imaging of radioisotope tagging in humans has proven the existence of these energy pathways. Researchers as Pacific Research Labs found a measurable loss of strength in the main meridian running through the back of the neck and progressive weakening of other meridians during continued phone use. When healthy subjects discontinued phone use after 30 seconds, the affected meridians returned to normal within 30 seconds. If phone use was longer (30 minutes), the stressed meridian took longer to recuperate (30 minutes or more). The writer of this essay points out that cell phone radiation has second-hand effects, similar to second-hand smoke. Further, all cordless phones have similar effects and contribute to the total environmental burden. Cell towers are everywhere these days and contribute even more to the total burden. Source: Cell Phone Controversy by Rose Marie Williams, Townsend Letter, June 2005.
Infectious Disease and Ayurveda:
In prior issues of The Ayurvedist we have discussed the advantages of disease modeling along the lines suggested by the term vidhi in Caraka. One must know the type or category of disease before choosing a therapy. Last year about this time the national headlines covered the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak and efforts to contain its spread. This year the concern is on the viral bird flu epidemic that is affecting bird populations around the globe. There is fear that this virus has mutated and has crossed species to humans. Presently relatively few humans are thought to have been affected. What concerns public health officials is that there is too little of a vaccine reputed to antidote the virus in humans. Recently, a colleague asked me what the US is doing about this possible pandemic. While I don’t know much about the inner workings of public health officials such as the CDC I can offer some suggestions based upon the Ayurvedic texts: The following from Caraka describes the factors common in epidemics: air, place, water, time
Further, the treatment of krimi & Krimi (seen and unseen parasites) proceeds along these lines:
For the first of these we have available a small number of treatment actions:
From the modern and Ayurvedic perspectives the concept of immunity is at stake and ojas is the term—with all its representatives (leucocytes, macrophages, NK cells, neutrophils, basophils, T-cells, IgA, IgE, and more). Potentially, for infectious microorganisms in particular, if one can increase these ojas entities and their effectiveness then one will be able to prevent future infection or/and cure present infestation. Substances that emulate ojas by quality are said to increase its factor in the body—ghee is an example and especially tikta ghritam. There are substances that stimulate T-cell production—echinacea is an example; the polysaccharides of the mushrooms reishi, shitake, maitake, etc. may work in this manner, too. Substances that stimulate the production of immunoglobulin act to improve immunity, directly. Taking the substance directly (Ig, e.g.) is a common modern approach to some pathies—hepatitis, e.g. The oral tradition of Ayurveda describes how small pox was defeated in part by immunizing/inoculating accomplished by boiling the pus of an infected udder and then applying in cotton to the skin that had been abraded or scratched.
As this writer has experienced infection without doshic increase (imbalance) we can conclude that restoring doshic balance to the entire organism is only part of the story. One must have the tissues and organs functioning in proper manner. Recall that it is at the tissue membrane (dhatu kala) there is the tissue agni. Agni is the gatekeeper of the tissue or organ—protecting it from all manner of challenge. But vitality of the tissue metabolism depends upon the main gastric/enteric fire. Hence, a central strategy of prevention, as well as cure of parasites, involves the theme of perfecting digestion in all its aspects and places. It will not be enough to try to restore doshic balance if there is one.
Avoidance has numerous dimensions including hygiene. Most infectious agents spread by direct contact of infected surfaces and airborne contact. Even pin worms, e.g., first appear as a tiny, spore-like organism that spreads in air. Hand and laundry soaps are variously antiviral and antibacterial so washing hands and clothing is a preventative must. Diet should include turmeric in cooking, bitter veggies, e.g., kale, and avoidance of alcohol and sweets—these destroy T-cells and immunity directly. Liver supplements include neem, guduci, amalaki, mahasudarshan, and katuka. Drink plenty of water, get adequate rest, and reduce sexual activity. Be well.....
The Book Corner
Recently a doctorate candidate in nutrition urged me to buy a book that she has been using: Prescription for Nutritional Healing –A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by Phyllis Balch, CNC, and James Balch, MD. As many of the readers of this newsletter probably have an interest in using, for self or others, the above interventions. A glance at the authors credentials will suggest their orthomolecular medicine orientation, which is a way of saying that there is little evidence that this is an offering from a holistic perspective. Nonetheless, We have reported in our e-mailings the value of thinking about micro-nutrients to maintain or improve health. The authors have prepared a pro forma for what seems to be hundreds of disease conditions: description of the condition and its likely causes, nutrients, herbs, misc. recommendations, and discussion of relevant considerations (things that complicate the diagnosis, for example). For the herbalist who wants to incorporate modern nutritional science into her or his practice this is a useful work. Our readers must remember, however, that this work and many like it is offered in the vain of allopathic thinking—this for that. Missing by omission are those remarks on spiritual values (and on casual inspection—mental factors) that could come into play.
Some articles in this work deal with toxicity—heavy metal, petro-chemical, and so on. As this in an area of increasing popular, as well as orthodox medical concern, the interested reader is urged to review the protocols, including chelation. There are many sections on the basics—vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and so on, so the work addresses the needs of the novice as well as of the more advanced.
Some Other Works of Similar Orientation:
The Honest Herbal by Varro Tyler, PhD
Herbs of Choice by Varro Tyler, PhD
Green Pharmacy by James Duke, PhD
The Herbal Menopause Book by Amanda McQuade Crawford
Textbook of Advanced Herbology by Terry Williard, PhD
New Releases from Hawthorn Press:
The Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine on the Internet, by Lillian Brazin, MS
The Handbook of Clinically Tested Herbal Remedies, Ed. by Marily Barrett, PhD,.
Handbook of Medicinal Plants, By Zohara Yaniv PhD & Uriel Bachrach, PhD.
Herbal Voices by Anne Dougherty, MA
The Healing Power of Chinese Herbs and Medicinal Recipes, by Joseph Hou PhD. & Youny Jin, MD
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements, by Shawn Talbott, PhD
Medicinal Herbs, by Beatrice Gehrmann et. al.
The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs, by Mark Blementhal et. al
Concise Handbook of Psychoactive Herbs, by Marcello Spinella, PhD
Understanding Medicinal Plants, by Bryan Hanson, PhD
The History of American Homeopathy, by JohnHaller, PhD (Just read; it’s illuminating and interesting.)
Journal of Dietary Supplements, Ed. Sahwn Talbott, PhD
Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy, Ed. by Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD
The term—yantra—means instrument or that by which anything is accomplished; talisman or a mystical diagram; any physical form which can carry a charge of symbolism. For tantrics the body is a yantra. “They receive “worship;” that is to say, they focus the imagination of the Tantrika, and identify for him phases of genesis in time.” There are numerous classical types based on materials: earth, metals, wood, ink, etc. and different types for each of the 5 elements (space, air, fire, water, earth); also different types based on numbers, which have symbolic meaning. Below, from left to right, three classical, two-dimensional yantras: the Shri Yantra (the greatest and most complex--for spiritual attainment), the Foretelling the Future thru Dreams yantra, and the yantra for immense wealth. Yantras receive mantric energy and concentrate it by accumulation of the energy, hence a mantra-yantra association is implied. Generally, the mantra is found on the yantra. There is no detail left out of making yantras: posture, dress, and direction facing while making, incense, material used, implement used, favorable time, attitude, direction of lines including which one first or last, etc. etc.
Quoting from Chawdhri’s, Practicals of Yantras, “Yantras are themselves considered to be possessed of caitanya (consciousness); they are inscribed on gold, copper, bhooj patra, etc. The worship in the case of each yantra is to last for a prescribed number of days, and the formalities prescribed for each yantra should be scrupulously adhered to, on each of the days of worship. Such worship is credited with the bestowal of specific fruits. In the case of one who is a successful adept in the practice of any other mantra, the fruit of worship...with the muttering of the mantras is easily accomplished. In each case success depends on the faith and devotion brought to bear on the worship. It is considered reprehensible to put the efficacy of any mantra to test. Should there be any delay or difficulty experienced by the worshipper, more devotion is the only sovereign remedy.”
The author also states: “In this book, you have seen many pictures of yantras meant for good use, not just to look at. They are undeniably impressive, but that is not all. They are expressively made to stimulate a special kind of mental activity, and to evoke psychosomatic forces. Used in rituals which include yoga, offerings, meditation, and some say even sexual intercourse, they can change a person completely, providing him with new basis for his life. At first, all these procedures need to be carried through in the most basic fact, for only in this way can they displace the banal everyday reality which press so forcibly on people’s lives. Later when a Tantrika or Sadhaka reaches a high level of achievement after many long years of efforts and assimilation, the pictures may be visualized and carried out subjectively, without any risk of their collapsing into fantasy. Tantra calls on energies in the human body and its world, which most usually dissipates in their ultimately pointless exertions, and bases itself on what most people dismiss as the pleasure of life. It does not say solemnly: “You must abstain from all enjoyment, mortify your flesh, and obey the commands of a jealous father God.” Instead it says: “Raise your enjoyment to its highest power and then use it as a spiritual rocket fuel.” This of course seems to be orthodox in any religion. And to the orthodox Tantrika it is a scandal.”
“Yantra is not magic but a path or technique through which you can attain siddhi and attain your desires and is the shortest way provided they are followed with instructions and directions.” There is a caution: Never use yantras for a nefarious act.
See this article for another view of yantra: http://www.vedicyagyacenter.com/docs/Yantra-and-Mantra.pdf
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