1. My newest passion - Drinking Vinegars

  2. Negative Emotions Creation Cycle


  3. Anonymous asked: How do you feel about the use of the herb chaparral?

    I believe Chaparral to be a wise herbal ally.  Because of it’s strong effects, it is best to be used under supervision.  Some believe it should only be used externally, but I have often witnessed the internal consumption in mild doses to work internally as an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and blood purifier.  

    Be well,

    Dr. JJ

  6. Take a close look at this chart... it shows the change in the number of recommended vaccinations for infants and children from 1983 to 2011.  Shocking and VERY sad.  Little wonder our children are struggling with chronic diseases at such an early age.
    Take a close look at this chart… it shows the change in the number of recommended vaccinations for infants and children from 1983 to 2011. Shocking and VERY sad. Little wonder our children are struggling with chronic diseases at such an early age.
  7. Bitters: The Way to a Healthier Digestive System

    As far as I know there is no such thing as a western herb that will make you lose weight, but there are herbs that can stimulate and regulate digestion, which in turn may prime your body to lose weight. A few of those herbs are known as bitters, such as angelica, golden seal, gentian root, dandelion, chamomile, yarrow and many others…

    Bitter herbs stimulate the production of digestive juices which in turn aid in good digestion of food. To get the full effect of bitters you need to taste the bitters on your tongue. You cannot take a pill to get this effect because it bypasses the taste buds and will not stimulate digestive juices to flow in the same way. Once you stimulate the digestive juices there will sometimes be an increase in appetite, so you may want to be aware of that if you’re trying to lose weight. The best kind of weight loss obviously, is stimulating the metabolic system through exercise, but using herbs can’t hurt in aiding that as well.

    Another thing that bitter herbs are really good at is leveling out blood sugar if you’ve eaten too much sugar! I was surprised with this finding when I decided to eat a very sugary dessert and then felt my whole body respond in a very unpleasant way. I had some hyper tension and nausea, but as soon as I had half a dropper of bitters in warm water, the unpleasant sensations went away.

    To try and use bitters you can either take it as a tincture or a tea.

    The best bitter tincture I found was one I made myself, using all the so called “strong” bitter herbs. These are not very pleasant tasting, but they do the trick and they’re much better than any store bought bitters I’ve ever come across.

    To make your own bitter tincture you can follow this recipe:

        •    1 liter, wide mouth mason Jar
        •    100 proof Vodka
        •    1 part Gentian root
        •    1 part Dandelion Root
        •    1 part orange peel
        •    1 part yarrow
        •    1/4 powdered ginger root

    * You can grind the ingredients slightly in a coffee grinder in order for them to fit evenly make up a quarter of the jar, and most importantly to better release the volatile oils into the alcohol.

    Dosage: Bitters are bitter so it’s up to you to know how much you feel like tasting. I usually take 1/2 dropper in warm water. If you like it stronger or weaker use more or less.
  8. 7 Top Herbalists and Doctors Fight the Flu


    2009-12-02-GingerFortunately we have effective botanical and nutritional medicines to prevent, treat and recover from the flu. These natural approaches support the immune system, rather than overriding the body’s innate wisdom.

    ~ Donnie Yance, Herbalist

    No doubt about it, it’s a bad flu year. Health officials are calling it the worst flu season in over a decade. The virus is worse than usual, more people are getting sick than usual, the vaccine is only about 60% effective for those who did get it, some are unable to get it because of vaccine shortages, and many folks decline the vaccine because of safety concerns.

    Interested in knowing what 7 leading herbalists and docs do to personally prevent and treat the flu? I did, too! And since they’re my pals, I asked.

    Here’s what they told me:

    team.h1Kerry Bone, Herbalist, Co-author of Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine; Director of Research & Development – MediHerb

    The 3 main things that I recommend to my patients and do myself are:

    • Plenty of Echinacea root. The dose is crucial. I use my product Echinacea Supreme. My baseline dose is 2.5 g/day in tablet form, or 5 mL of liquid. But in a situation where there is a highly virulent strain around, I double that baseline dose throughout the duration of threat for prevention. Then the trick is to temporarily double or triple this if you feel an infection coming on to ward it off. This works for me the majority of times.Echinacea_purpurea,_jardín_botánico_de_Tallinn,_Estonia,_2012-08-12,_DD_01
    • Probiotics help improve immunity and prevent infection.
    • Wash your hands before anything goes into your mouth.

    LowDog-CactusTieraona Low Dog, MD, Herbalist, Fellowship Director, Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona

    After having H1N1 in August of 2009, I have an appreciation for just how sick influenza makes you. The fever and chills were so intense.

    Fever Tea

    • Yarrow
    • Elder flowers
    • Peppermint

    To prepare: Mix equal parts of the dried herbs. Pour 2 cups of near boiling water over 2 Tbsp herbs. Steep 10 minutes. Strain. Add some honey or maple syrup – this stuff doesn’t taste good but it lowers the fever, makes you sweat, eases headache and joint pain and I truly believe helps you fight off infection faster. Drink 1/4 cup every hour, while awake.

    Tinctures (assuming these are all 1:5 strengths) for 3-5 days

    • Pleurisy root – 10 drops every 2 hours while awake (up to 8 doses)Boneset
    • Licorice root – 20 drops every 2 hours while awake (up to 8 doses)
    • Boneset leaf/flowering tops – 10 drops every 2 hours while awake (up to 8 doses)

    Use these in combination for 3-5 days

    • Elderberry (Gaia or Nature’s Way) – take the maximum recommended dose
    • Loviral (Herbs, Etc) – take as directed
    • Gypsy Cold Care – make strong and drink 1/4 cup every hour
    • Zinc lozenges (Zand Elderberry with Zinc) – one every 2 hours
    • Vitamin C

    Rosen1Larry Rosen, MD, Co-author, Treatment Alternatives for Children, The Whole Child Center, Oradell, NJ 

    For prevention I use:

    • Vitamin D3 to keep blood test levels above 40ng/dl.
    • Probiotics by Klaire Labs Therbiotic Complete, 25B CFU per day mixed strains.
    • Hand washing with soap and water and a natural, essential oil based hand sanitizer (the recipe from my book, based on Thieves’ Blend contains cinnamon, clove, rosemary, eucalyptus, lemon oils with pure aloe vera gel and water). Nourish, exercise, breathe and rest.

    davidofficeDavid Winston, Herbalist, President of Herbalist & Alchemist, Inc., founder/director of David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies

    Favorite flu prevention:

    • The Traditional Chinese Medicine formula Jade Wind Screen
    • Andrographis (3-4 ml 4-6 x per day) as both a preventative and treatment
    • N-Acetycysteine – 600 mg twice daily for influenza prevention


    • The Chinese patent medicine Gan Mao Ling is useful for early stage influenza, I think it works better than Yin Qiao San which is often used.
    • Hot Boneset/Yarrow/Ginger/Elder Flower/Chrysanthemum flower tea also is effective for early stage flu. For kids I use Peppermint, Ginger, Elder and Chrysanthemum flowers tea with Elderberry syrup.
    • Finally when someone comes down with the first flu symptoms – headache, scratchy throat, malaise, have them put on flannel PJ’s, drink the hot tea mentioned earlier (8-12 oz), get under the covers and sweat your brains out.  In most cases the next morning you feel like a wrong out dishrag, your bed clothes, sheets, and blankets are soaked, but you do not have the flu and by the afternoon, you are back on your feet.

    RoyUpton-zoomedRoy Upton, Herbalist, Director of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia

    As soon as you feels symptoms coming on:

    • Take hot ginger baths daily – The water needs to be hotter than a regular hot bath to kick sweating in, but not burning. While in the bath, drink a hot cup of ginger tea, then go to bed.  To prepare the bath, use a handful of grated fresh ginger steeped in 1 gallon of water for 15 minutes. Keep the pot or jar covered while steeping.
    • Take Yin qiao, a Chinese herbal cold remedy, with Andrographis – equivalent of about 3 g Yin Qiao per dose 4 times daily; andrographis approximately 1 g equivalent daily.
    • Elderberry Syrup – 1 Tbs every waking hour for first 2 days of symptoms
    • Eat a diet of hot broths (miso and seaweed); no dairy; nothing cold or raw; light fare; plenty of hot
    • Ginger or peppermint tea. If you have a fever; peppermint, elder flower, and yarrow tea is a favorite standby. If aching bone symptoms with fever are predominant, add boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) and take 1 cup every few hours. It’s very bitter but effective.

    yanceDonnie Yance, Herbalist author of Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer, Founder of the Mederi Foundation and Natura Health Products

    I recommend the following protocol for enhancing immunity and recovery from the flu:

    • Adaptogens are essential for prevention and for recovery and should be taken daily, except during the acute phase of an illness (indicated by fever). When traveling, during times of increased stress, or when you have been exposed to a virus, I recommend doubling the dosage of Vital Adapt or Power Adapt and taking ImmuCare I or II. I also recommend a double dose of adaptogens during the recovery phase, which is usually 3-4 days after exposure, for up to 2 weeks. Adaptogens improve ability of the immune system to 1) Recognize, 2) Respond, and 3) Recover.
    •  Take Flew Away at the first sign of symptoms and continue until symptoms have abated. The herbs in Flew Away combat the virus, ease symptoms such as fever and muscle pain, and help to hasten recovery. The formula includes elderberry, which inhibits viral replication; propolis, a powerful antiviral; and boneset, forsythia, and yarrow, which are traditionally used to stimulate diaphoresis and expel toxins.
    • Spray Throat and Gland Spray, S-Clear and Silvercillin (Designs for Health) directly into your mouth and throat several times a day; these products contain potent anti-virals that attack the virus where it lives and multiplies – in the mucous membranes.
    •  Additional nutrients and botanicals for prevention and recovery include Botanabol, Night Gain, Innate Response zinc, N-acetyl-Cysteine and a good probiotic (Jarro-dophilus or BioImmersion).
    • I recommend a diaphoretic tea of the following herbs: peppermint, elder flowers, yarrow, honeysuckle, boneset, linden, and ginger. Drink several cups a day; in the evening soak in a hot Epsom salt bath, go to bed, get under the covers and sweat. This old-fashioned remedy helps to stimulate immune function and alleviates flu-related aches and pains.
    • Eat light and nourishing foods such as this delicious Hot and Sour Soup.


    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
    • 2-3 green onions, chopped
    • 2 cups water
    • 2 cups vegetable broth
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 3 tablespoons water
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    • 6 ounces frozen snow peas
    • 1 (8 ounce) package firm tofu, cubed
    • 1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained


    • Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add red bell pepper and green onions and sauté for 5 minutes.
    • Add 2 cups water, broth and soy sauce, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes.
    • In a separate medium bowl, combine vinegar, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, cornstarch, 3 tablespoons water and sesame oil. Add to soup and simmer for 5 additional minutes, or until soup becomes thick and bubbly.
    • Add tofu, snow peas and water chestnuts and continue cooking 10 minutes, or until heated through.

    DSC_0296 - Version 2Aviva Romm, MD, Herbalist (and yours truly)

    Of course, I have a few of my own favorite recipe to share, in addition to concurring with those above. I’ve had the flu before and know – it’s awful. Here’s my favorite remedy for the horrible aches and pains with the flu. It’s my personal (and much safer!) alternative to ibuprofen and tylenol.

    Equal parts black cohosh and Jamaican dogwood tincturesJamaican-Dogwood-Extract-29819:

    Combine the tinctures and take 3 mL (about 60 drops). Repeat in 15 minutes, then again in 15 minutes the first time you take it. Thereafter take about 60 drops every 2 hours. This can be given to kids 7 and over, only. Divide your child’s weight over 150, ie for a 30 pound child: 30/150 = 1/5 and give that fraction of the above dose. So for a 30 pound child 1/5 of 60 drops. Make sense?

    Do NOT exceed this dosing. If you experience headache or shortness of breath, discontinue, though these would be rare side effects. This remedy will help you to sleep (that is, don’t drive while you’re taking it!)

    And for a quick cough remedy that’s safe for kids and adults:

    Combine equal parts of echinacea glycerite, elderberry syrup, anise seed tincture, and catnip tincture. Mix and give 1 dropper 4-6 times/day. Continue for up to a week and if there’s a tendency for recurrent coughs stay on it for several weeks. The echinacea prevents recurrence, the elder is a respiratory immune tonic, the catnip relaxing and the anise mucolytic and a respiratory antispasmodic.

    I personally use HerbPharm, Gaia Herbs, Natura Health ProductsMediHerb, and Herbalist and Alchemist — all excellent companies with high quality products (I have no financial stake in any herb companies). Mountain Rose is a fantastic on-line source for ordering your herbs, especially ones you can’t find locally, or in small amounts.

  9. For Athletes, Risks From Ibuprofen Use

    Gretchen Reynolds on the science of fitness.

    Many active people use the painkiller ibuprofen on an almost daily basis. In surveys, up to 70 percent of distance runners and other endurance athletes report that they down the pills before every workout or competition, viewing the drug as a pre-emptive strike against muscle soreness.

    But a valuable new study joins growing evidence that ibuprofen and similar anti-inflammatory painkillers taken before a workout do not offer any benefit and may be causing disagreeable physical damage instead, particularly to the intestines.

    Studies have already shown that strenuous exercise alone commonly results in a small amount of intestinal trauma. A representative experiment published last year found that cyclists who rode hard for an hour immediately developed elevated blood levels of a marker that indicates slight gastrointestinal leakage.

    Physiologically, it makes sense that exercise would affect the intestines as it does, because, during prolonged exertion, digestion becomes a luxury, said Dr. Kim van Wijck, currently a surgical resident at Orbis Medical Center in the Netherlands, who led the small study. So the blood that normally would flow to the small intestine is instead diverted to laboring muscles. Starved of blood, some of the cells lining the intestines are traumatized and start to leak.

    Thankfully, the damage seems to be short-lived, Dr. van Wijck said. Her research showed that within an hour after a cyclist finished riding, the stressed intestines returned to normal.

    But the most common side-effect of ibuprofen is gastrointestinal damage. And because many athletes take the drug for pain before and after a workout, Dr. van Wijck set out to determine the combined effect of exercise and ibuprofen.

    For the new study, published in the December issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands recruited nine healthy, active men and had them visit the university’s human performance lab four times.

    During two of the visits, the men rested languorously for an hour, although before one of the visits, they swallowed 400 milligrams of ibuprofen the night before and also the morning of their trip to the lab. (Four hundred milligrams is the recommended nonprescription dosage for adults using the drug to treat headaches or other minor pain.)

    During the remaining visits, the men briskly rode stationary bicycles for that same hour. Before one of those rides, though, they again took 400 milligrams of ibuprofen the night before and the morning of their workouts.

    At the end of each rest or ride, researchers drew blood to check whether the men’s small intestines were leaking. Dr. van Wijck found that blood levels of a protein indicating intestinal leakage were, in fact, much higher when the men combined bike riding with ibuprofen than during the other experimental conditions when they rode or took ibuprofen alone. Notably, the protein levels remained elevated several hours after exercise and ibuprofen.

    The health implications of this finding are not yet clear, although they are worrisome, Dr. van Wijck said. It may be that if someone uses ibuprofen before every exercise session for a year or more, she said, “intestinal integrity might be compromised.” In that case, small amounts of bacteria and digestive enzymes could leak regularly into the bloodstream.

    More immediately, if less graphically, the absorption of nutrients could be compromised, especially after exercise, Dr. van Wijck said, which could affect the ability of tired muscles to resupply themselves with fuel and regenerate.

    The research looks specifically at prophylactic use of ibuprofen and does not address the risks and benefits of ibuprofen after an injury occurs. Short-term use of ibuprofen for injury is generally considered appropriate.

    The Dutch study is not the first to find damage from combining exercise and ibuprofen. Earlier work has shown that frequent use of the drug before and during workouts can also lead to colonic seepage. In a famous study from a few years ago, researchers found that runners at the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run who were regular ibuprofen users had small amounts of colonic bacteria in their bloodstream.

    This bacterial incursion resulted in “higher levels of systemic inflammation,” said David C. Nieman, a professor of health and exercise science at Appalachian State University who conducted the study and is himself an ultramarathoner. In other words, the ultramarathon racers who frequently used ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory, wound up with higher overall levels of bodily inflammation. They also reported being just as sore after the race as runners who had not taken ibuprofen.

    Animal studies have also shown that ibuprofen hampers the ability of muscles to rebuild themselves after exercise. So why do so many athletes continue enthusiastically to swallow large and frequent doses of ibuprofen and related anti-inflammatory painkillers, including aspirin, before and during exercise?

    “The idea is just entrenched in the athletic community that ibuprofen will help you to train better and harder,” Dr. Nieman said. “But that belief is simply not true. There is no scientifically valid reason to use ibuprofen before exercise and many reasons to avoid it.”

    Dr. van Wijck agrees. “We do not yet know what the long-term consequences are” of regularly mixing exercise and ibuprofen, she said. But it is clear that “ibuprofen consumption by athletes is not harmless and should be strongly discouraged.”

  10. Homemade Fizzy Bath Bomb Recipe


    How to make  foaming bath bombs


    2 Cups Baking Soda

    1 Cup Citric Acid

    4 teaspoons massage oil ( or 2 teaspoons essential oil and 2 teaspoons olive oil)

    Spray bottle with water

    mold (60 mm 2 part plastic ball) (I am also thinking the bottoms of two large Easter eggs could be used)

    This amount only made 5 bath bombs.


    Mix baking soda and citric acid in large mixing bowl. Mix very well! You can use an electric mixer if you like.


    Add in 4 teaspoons of scented massage oil (or other combination of skin safe essential oil for scent and another oil for moisturizing the skin). The scent is personal, so start with a teaspoon or so and add more until you are satisfied. Mix well.


    This next step can be a bit tricky because you don’t want your bath bomb to start fizzing. Start by adding a couple of fine mist sprays of water to your mixture and mix well.


    You will continue spraying until the mixture will clump in your hand when squeezed. (I used 5-8 sprays, however this will depend greatly on your local climate)


    Fill one half of your mold. Pack it tightly.


    Fill the other half of the mold and place them together—don’t snap together. I slightly overfilled each half. When I pushed the two halves together they became a ball.


    Gently remove the ball from mold. If I had problems with the ball coming out easily I dumped the mixture back into my bowl, added a mist of water (carefully), mixed well and then tried again.


    Cut out about a 10 inch circle of black tissue paper.


    Wrap tissue up around your bath bomb and trim if necessary.


    Place a silver pipe cleaner in the center and then wrap a shiny red pipe cleaner around the the tissue paper and silver pipe cleaner. Add a tag and you are finished! You might want to write instructions for using the bath bomb on the back of the tag.


    The bath bomb worked great. It provided fizz, bubbles and fun for my bath.