Flower essence healing and flower essences are part of a general category of medicine called vibrational medicine which address the electromagnetic fields of the nervous system rather than the biochemical matrix of the physiology. This is in line with most forms of holistic medicine – East, West and everywhere else – all of which treat the deeper electromagnetic matrices of the body i.e. the nervous system. In these forms of healing, the electrical portion of the nervous system is considered primary to the biochemical pathways of the body. In other words, the nervous system is viewed as the master control panel for the body. Thus any variations, imbalances, blockages, stress or tension in the electromagnetic fields that surround the nerves are going to have a dramatic impact on the rest of body because of their proximity to the nervous system – our core operating system. It is here that flower essences act.
Bringing balance at this level of the body-mind allows for profound changes to occur. Often the mental and emotional stress that we bear is a greater barrier to our enjoyment of life than various health imbalances. By acting on the energetic level (think acupuncture meridians), flower essences allow for the release of stress and tension that may lead to overt physical imbalances as well as mental and emotional imbalances. Flower essences act directly on the stress and have an indirect impact on other aspects of health that are closer to the surface.
Oftentimes when people ask themselves if the remedy is working, they are asking if they have noticed physical or biochemical changes. Obvious surface level changes that result from the ingestion of flower essences are secondary, indirect changes that follow the resolution of various kinds of stress. Lots of us have not cultivated the subtle awareness to pinpoint exactly how we carry stress or to see the various shades and varieties of our mental tension. Often times we simply know that we feel “stressed” or “tense”. In such cases, a certain critical mass of stress needs to be removed before a person will even notice how much stress has been released. Usually this is around the time that obvious physical results reveal themselves as well.
Flower essences, like homeopathics, are meant to address the body on that electromagnetic, vibrational level, not on a biochemical level. Flower essences are essentially magnetic signatures of various kinds of flowers captured in a medium of water. This process is very similar in nature to the process by which audio sound is captured magnetically on a cassette tape. The structural specifics of a given species of a flower can be captured in water as a magnetic matrix. Once it is captured in water the feedback mechanism is necessary. That feedback mechanism in this case is the body’s nervous system.
One can almost think of flower essences as notes, harmonies and melodies of a song. When you insert a cassette tape and press play, the tape player reads the magnetic imprinting on the tape, translates it to audio sound which you then hear through the speakers. When a flower essence is ingested or sprayed topically, it’s placed in proximity to the appropriate playback mechanism – the body’s nervous system. Playing a cassette tape results in audio sound, with flower essences the result is the nervous system adjusting on very, very fine levels. These fine tune adjustments are the dissolution of blockages and stress. The cumulative effect of these adjustments bring deeper levels of balance to the nervous system which in turn allows the body to enjoy greater and greater states of health and well-being.
Each of the many flower essences has different parameters in which it is operating. All ingested substances have these kinds of parameters. For example, there are people that are very responsive to aspirin and there are other people that are very unresponsive to aspirin. There is a certain amount of variation that can be considered such as: body weight, gender, age, and other factors. There is also a certain amount of variation that cannot be understood at the present time. But from what we know about aspirin and the parameters of aspirin, it is likely to reduce inflammation, fever and pain. These are some generally accepted parameters of aspirin. Some people might need four times the standard dose, while other people might need half the standard dose. There are also going to be a number of people that experience additional “side-effects” from the aspirin such as stomach discomfort and a whole wide range of possibilities. An example of what is outside the generally accepted parameters of what aspirin can do: we would all be very surprised if someone were to take some aspirin and then their hair spontaneously caught on fire. This would take us all by surprise.
In the same way if we consider the visual experience of a sunset, there is a wide range of experiences that we might expect people to have ranging from relaxation to joy to nostalgia, a sense of peace, calm or tranquility. There is going to be a lot of variation within those parameters but we would all view it as a very strange thing, and indicative of some sort of imbalance, if someone were to watch a sunset and get very angry, agitated and mad at the sunset. This would be outside the generally expected parameters.
In a similar way different flower essences have parameters that impact in ways that are fairly predictable. There is variation and because flower essences are so gentle and act more as suggestions than they do as forcible commands, like a pharmaceutical, there is a considerable amount of difference in terms of how people respond. However, if someone were to see roses or have the experience of the magnetic signature of a rose there are generally understood parameters by which people would respond. When people respond outside the parameters of a given set of flower essences this would be the same as someone taking aspirin and their hair lighting on fire. This would be a very strange situation.
These ideas are pertinent for several reasons. When you understand how vibrational remedies in general and flower essences in particular work, you begin to understand that you are dealing with subtle phenomena. Subtle does not mean weak, nondescript, or nondistinct – it simply means difficult to detect. An artist develops an eye for the subtle color and texture variations and a musician develops an ear for subtle audio variations. Over a period of time of working with flower essences, one can develop a subtle appreciation for the slight variations among different magnetic signatures and the corresponding changes in the nervous system that they can engender. It is oftentimes these subtle changes that generate a tremendous effect over a period of time. The process is one of making micro-changes and opening up and relaxing very small pathways proximal to the core operating system of the body. The idea is that the aggregation of many, many small changes, small openings, small relaxations, can actually build up a very profound change in both the physiology and the conscious daily experience of the world.
It is a bit difficult to encapsulate the differences between flower essences and homeopathics in the space given here, but this short article should suffice as an introduction. The difference between taking homeopathics and flower essences is somewhat analogous to the difference between ingesting an herb or whole food concentrate and comparing that to ingesting an isolated nutrient.
The isolated nutrient is meant to correct a specific nutritional deficiency and is probably not a substance that is suitable for long-term use. Its wave form can be understood to have a sharper edge. It is similar to taking an accurate shot at a specific problem; one depends on the skill of the practitioner to accurately diagnose and treat a very specific difficulty or condition using the appropriate remedy. Due to this necessity, you need a high level of skill as a practitioner in terms of diagnostic ability and you also need high quality ingredients, whether that is for the homeopathic or the isolated nutrient in order to hit the target with pinpoint accuracy and make the shift that one is looking for.
When considering flower essences, herbs or whole food concentrates, you are dealing with a much broader spectrum of activity. Think of the wave forms as being much softer, more diffuse, gentler, and something that acts more as a suggestion. These all act in a fashion more similar to nature… where a difficulty is addressed not with a tremendous amount of force or intention but more of an organic, whole, relaxed suggestion to return the system to balance. In this way, a difficulty or obstacle is addressed on many different levels and from many different angles at once. This dramatically reduces the incidence of unwanted effects (what most of us refer to as side-effects.)
Flower essences bring less unwanted effects because the body is not being hit with a sharp wave. You can avoid these unpleasant effects with a well-chosen homeopathic or a well-chosen nutrient that is meant to resolve its counterbalancing condition. If such a remedy is ingested repeatedly over a longer period of time than is prescribed, the body-mind will almost certainly be thrown off balance. Many schools of herbal medicine suggest herbs which can be incorporated into the diet. These herbs can act as long-term biochemical guidance in the same manner as flower essences, which can act as long-term electrical suggestions.
These suggestions don’t force the body to change in ways that it cannot adjust to easily. They offer ways for the nervous system in the case of flower essences, or the biochemical matrix in the case of the herbs, to open up, relax, release tension, move back to balance and restore harmony. There have been countless incidences where flower essences have been able to generate amazing shifts in perspective and consciousness as deep-seated stress in the nervous system is encouraged to find balance and an individual can find that their experience of life is more open, more peaceful, and more conducive to their long term happiness and well-being.
When comparing flower essences to herbs, it is important to keep in mind the multi-layered aspects of the body and mind. Both flower essences and herbs, especially when they are prepared in a traditional manner, can have a soft, gentle and holistic impact. The action of herbs, however, is primarily on the chemistry of the body whereas flower essences act primarily upon the electromagnetic fields of the nervous system in order to bring balance and harmony to places of stress, tension and distortion.
The similarity between them is that their typical use has been in a natural and balanced way such that they can be incorporated into a person’s body and mind over a period of time. With both flower essences and herbs, the generation of gradual shifts in physiology or gradual shifts in the electromagnetic fields can happen in such a way that encourages balance and harmony. This is a more natural movement as opposed to the forceful push such as seen with a pharmaceutical or an isolated nutrient. There are occasions when that forceful push if levered correctly and used in a well-placed manner can be exactly what a person needs at a given point in time. Flower essences, on the other hand, can be included in your diet with nothing but upside over the long term. It is difficult to do that with other substances. Some herbs, especially the gentle adaptogenic herbs with a long history of use have double direction activity and can be incorporated into long-term daily consumption.
The remedial class of herbal substances, which are called the inferior class of herbs in some of the classic material medica, are seen as agents that fix overt difficulties that have already manifested. These are not preventative measures by any means. These are battlefield or crisis kinds of medicines that are being used to address an already compromised system. This approach to herbal medicine is perhaps the most common. Though there is often a great deal of talk about “preventative medicine” it is usually simply talk. The use of herbal remedies to repair outstanding symptoms is considered the lowest form of such medicine. It is analogous to waiting until one is thirsty to begin digging a well. This is certainly a far cry from the use of flower essences and true forms of longevity medicine.
Flower essences are excellent preventative medicine tools. As agents for the dissolution of stress and tension (which lead to a host of health challenges) flower essences are medicine that can prevent deep states of imbalance from gaining a foothold and manifesting as patterns of illness and disease. Food grade herbs that are adaptogenic and can be incorporated into the diet likewise provide the micronutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants and other compounds that enable us to have a biochemical terrain that is more disease and stress resistant. Both flower essences and high quality herbs can be used to encourage strength and can be used to generate balance on increasingly deep levels of mind and body, such that one can really develop structural integrity that grows, develops and persists over time.
Several people have curiously asked why flower essences? What is it about flowers that you would want to use the essence of a flower? Why is it that you would want to capture the magnetic signature of a flower as opposed to homeopathy where many different kinds of substances are used including various animal parts, plants, minerals and even different poisonous substances. While flowers have much symbolic meanings attached to them and have many visual and olfactory impacts on our senses, the single most important reason that Siddatech uses flower essences is: they work. How they work and the parameters of their effect have been discussed in some of our other articles. In this article we will touch upon some of the abstractions.
Flowers are universally acknowledged by human cultures as an object pleasing to the eye and something that is appropriate as a gift or as a sign of courtship. Many of them are wonderfully scented and have been made into an extraordinary variety of perfumes, colognes, essential oils and attars. There are dozens and dozens of edible flowers that are a delight to the palette. Flowers represent the flowering, apex or climax of a particular plant species. The complete magnetic signature of that entire plant species is contained in the flower and in the flower essences that reproduce it.
Flowers are part of the beauty and wonder of nature and not the harsh, unforgiving aspects of nature. On the other hand, their transitory and fleeting nature brings connotations of change and transformation. Throughout Asia flowers have been considered among the most important kind of offerings to gods, buddhas and ancestors. In Hawaii, the gift of a flower garland, or lei, is a gift of love, blessing and affection. Flower essences are derived from a part of life that has a universal human appeal and one that has always been associated with auspiciousness and fortune.
In the 1960’s Allen Ginsburg coined the phrase “flower power” to express the notion that a simple beautiful flower could be a powerful symbol for anti-war protestors. Many of the protestors took up the flower as their “weapon” of choice to be given to police and placed in the barrels of rifles. One might even say that flower essences are themselves the “power of a flower,” and correspondingly have the ability to dissolve the stresses in our lives that can make every day feel like a battle.
Flowers are now, and have been for thousands of years, symbols and expressions of harmony, peace, tranquility, beauty and good fortune. Their sight and smell can have a calming influence just as the scenery of nature and the sound of ocean waves can often exert a relaxing effect. The effect of flower essences likewise has a calming, balancing, relaxing impact. In the Japanese art of flower arranging, flowers are chosen with great care and consideration for not only the appearance of a given flower but for that flower in relationship to the others in a given arrangement. The specific flower essences used in a formulation determines the specific kinds of stress and tension that are dissolved and balanced.
Historically choosing the right remedy with flower essences or choosing the right flower has been a very difficult and esoteric process. When Dr. Edward Bach described the effects of the different flower essences he was using, he associated the dissolution of psychological and emotional stress patterns with the different flowers. These associations then became the determining factors for how to choose the appropriate flower essence remedy.
The first difficulty with choosing from among different flower essences by these associations is their ambiguity. The second and perhaps far more significant difficulty is that by their nature these patterns are subconscious and or unconscious. It is the withdrawal of consciousness from sensory experience that generates the existence of the stress pattern in the first place. If unconsciousness of a psychological or emotional pattern is its signifier, then it is highly unlikely that a given individual would have the wherewithal to select the appropriate remedy to bring such an unconscious pattern of stress into their consciousness to be resolved. This is just one of the many differences that sets apart Siddha Flower Essences.
Siddha Flower Essences are designated by the manifestations of the various patterns of stress that they resolve. This brings us to the ancient Chinese proverb, tong zi bu tong – where there is free flow, there is no pain. By understanding this, we can come to understand that the place in an individual’s life where there is a contraction of awareness or a withdrawal of consciousness away from sensory input is the place where an individual has blocked their own flow and thus has generated either present or future pain as a necessary result.
This pain, either present in the form of symptoms or future in the form of a potential health crisis, can be resolved by restoring the flow of conscious awareness to the area of previous withdrawal. Siddha Flower Essences have therefore been formulated by approaching various fields of symptom manifestation from multiple angles. In other words, the stress that impacts the lungs and other aspects of the breathing process is not of a simple and singular nature. Different kinds of stress can impact different stages in the breathing process, different tissues involved in respiration and can have radically different origins. Thus a Siddha remedy such as Lung & Sinus is not a one-note tune devised as a one-size-fits-all bullet, but rather a symphonic arrangement of magnetic signatures that can resolve a wide range of stress that can impact the lungs.
By this method of clarifying the differences between remedies by the possible fields of symptom manifestations, we really hope to make the process of the selection of flower essences much more accessible. There are distinctions and we do delineate some of these in our Flower Essences Guide. By reading through some of the information on our website and through some of the frequently asked questions that are available, it should be fairly easy to select the right remedy. However, if you have any questions that have not been answered, we sincerely hope that you will contact us and ask away. We are always happy to help.
How long has natural detoxification been around?
The idea of natural detoxification has been present in traditional and holistic forms of medicine throughout the world. For example, in Chinese medicine, which has a history of at least five thousand years, we have the accumulations of what are called dampness or phlegm. This is mentioned in the literature as far back as the Huangdi Neijing (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine) which dates to at least the second century BCE. These types of accumulations are considered to be toxic. Even after thousands of years of changing medical thought, the author of the Pi-Wei Lun (Spleen-Stomach Classic), which dates to the mid-13th century, ascribed most disease to undigested materials that are ingested into the body, primarily through diet but also through other means. These become the underlying basis for all the other various disorders that one may have to contend with and that can be cleared through natural detoxification.
Natural Detoxification in other parts of the world.
Natural detoxification is also present in the healing modalities from the Indian subcontinent. From this region, we have Ayurveda as well as Siddha medicine, both of which contend that ama, or undigested food material, is one of the primary underlying bases of most medical difficulties and challenges. It is the removal of this ama through various means such as panchakarma, which are five methods of natural detoxification, as well as the enkindling of the transformative quality of the digestion that allows one to form a foundation for overcoming various health obstacles.
Natural Detoxification in the west.
In the west, in the schools of Naturopathy and Natural Hygiene, the concept of natural detoxification is also held in high regard. These schools of thought have the idea that the accumulated debris from less than optimal lifestyle choices, primarily but not limited to diet, as well as from ingestion of other toxic substances such as tobacco smoke, alcohol or other non-life-enhancing substances, generates a kind of deposit in the body of various toxic debris. This debris impedes all of the different organ systems of the body including the kidneys, the liver, the colon and more. In a process called autointoxication, the body is unable to excrete the build-up of improper food choices, these migrate into the blood stream and thence into the lymph, the intracellular flood where it can impede the various cellular functions as well as reduce the efficacy of the various organ systems to maintain and support optimal levels of health and well-being. From this view we can see that natural detoxification is seen as a primary pathway to optimal health.
In short, natural detoxification has been known in various forms of medicine throughout the world as a primary modality for restoring health and well-being. The reason natural detoxification has always been seen that way is because it is understood that human beings will oftentimes make poor choices as to what they put in their body and occasionally the environment they live in are circumstances of exposure to various undesirable substances. When this sort of activity is too much for the body to handle, encouraging natural detoxification is a great way to help the body return to balance.
Homeostasis is the body’s natural detoxification route par excellence. It is the normal maintenance of bodily functions via various negative feedback mechanisms as well as utilizing various pressure gradients of the fluids that move through the body. Homeostasis literally means to keep things the same or in a state of equilibrium. This is a dynamic state of equilibrium because in life things are in a constant state of motion. Things are changing all the time. Because the body is constantly being exposed to various toxins, natural detoxification is how we avoid being overwhelmed by these toxins.
Another example of the body’s drive towards balance is the maintenance of stable body temperature. Perhaps we move from a warm environment to a cool environment, i.e. on a bright sunny day entering an air-conditioned room or going from a heated environment to a cold wintry day. It’s not just our clothes that we use to maintain homeostasis and a stable body temperature. As warm-blooded animals we have mechanisms for keeping a relatively stable temperature. When our body senses the changes happening, there are all sorts of mechanisms that we engage to maintain as even as internal temperature as possible. A drop in temperature is sensed by our hypothalamus which can set in motion a series of biochemical changes that cause the muscles to shiver and shake a little, which then raises our body temperature. Our metabolism can also be adjusted to regulate our temperature and of course if we are too warm, we all have the experience of sweating where the body tries to vent as much heat as possible through perspiration. Sweating, besides being used to vent heat is also a primary example of how the body engages in natural detoxification.
Homeostasis is also happening via the many hormone loops throughout the body. This is typically why it is a very bad idea to take either synthetic hormones or hormone mimetics, which are chemicals that mimic the effects of hormones, as many petrochemicals will do with estrogen. To be specific, one of the reasons ingesting anabolic steroids over a period of time can be problematic, is because the increased presence of exogenous testosterone in the body engages the body’s negative feedback mechanism which maintains homeostasis by simply not producing its own testosterone. This is true with not only testosterone but also with numerous other substances such as opiates which create addiction due to decreased endogenous endorphin production because of the exogenous painkillers. In the cases of prolonged exposure to exogenous hormones, the body’s natural detoxification routes may be compromised to various degrees.
What is also to be noted about the body maintaining homeostasis and natural detoxification, is that it does so to the best of its ability. For the most part it does an extremely good job. But our environment is so overloaded with toxic chemicals, in fact there are another 500 industrial chemicals that come into use every year, that the body simply does not have the resources break down via the liver and to excrete through the kidney all these various chemicals. The build-up of these foreign chemicals, including dioxin, DDT and various other petrochemicals and even heavy metals have been concentrated in people in the same way that larger, older fish have more heavy metals as a result of long-term bio-concentration. The increase of these heavy metals and petrochemicals in a person’s system can really overwhelm the body’s ability to excrete them. These toxic substances, when present in the body in increasing concentrations, compensate natural detoxification and the ability to restore homeostasis and to adjust and regulate the various subtle mechanisms that keep us healthy.
These are just a few examples of how lifestyle and the environment can impact our ability to maintain structural integrity and a stable environment, which essentially is what homeostasis is all about. In the context of natural detoxification it should be understood that this is simply the body releasing the accumulated chemicals and debris on a regular basis via the normal modes: sweat, excretion and filtration of the blood via the kidneys and the various enzymatic systems in the liver that break down different obstructions.
It may seem a little counter-intuitive to discuss sleep when the topic is natural detoxification but sleep and getting a good night’s rest is where most of the work happens. When the body tries to alleviate its toxic burden, it goes to sleep. The environment, both externally in your room and internally in your body and mind, is critical to experiencing the natural detoxification and rejuvenation that happen during sleep.
Natural detoxification is just that: natural, unforced, according to an uncontrived state. In order to allow this process to unfold, the most important thing for us to “do” is get out of our own way. For example, there is sometimes misunderstanding about exercise or exercise physiology. Some think going to the gym and stressing the body is what generates muscle growth. This is actually only a small part of what is happening. In the time after mechanical stress is impressed upon the musculature, connective tissue, bones and other structural components are the next two equally, if not more important phases. During the resting part, your body first repairs and restores the tissues and then rejuvenates, rebuilds and adapts them to handle the next stimulus, which it assumes is going to be somewhat fierce if you have been working out very hard. All work and no rest is a recipe for over-training, exhaustion, and burn-out.
This process doesn’t just happen with exercise. It happens with all of our other life processes as well. This balancing of alternating states of activity/rest, stimulus/recovery, engagement/passivity are manifestations of the need to balance and harmonize the opposites of yin and yang. It is my personal belief that sleep is one our greatest allies. For the amount of time we spend asleep, which for most of us should be around eight hours per night, we cannot do any further damage. We are necessarily “out of our own way.” It is in this place that natural detoxification can thrive.
Most of us are exposed to all sorts of all chemicals in our food. We are breathing air that is fairly heavily laden with particulates and deprived of oxygen. We must contend with toxins in our cars and heavy metals from the exhaust of our car and all other vehicles on the road. While we are constantly being bathed in all of these detrimental influences, the interesting thing is that most of us are fairly functional. We are walking around and we are doing our best to get through the day.
At the time of writing this I googled “why do we need sleep?” MSNBC replied with, “Though researches have many theories about the function of sleep, why we do it is still a mystery.” It is my belief that if we didn’t have those hours of sleep to take the choice out of our hands, our lives would be much shorter. We would not have an opportunity to let our body engage in natural detoxification, rest, restore and regenerate from the myriad of difficult choices we are asked to make everyday.
Sleep and the environment in which we sleep is an incredibly important part of natural detoxification. Try to acquire bedding which is as natural as possible. Don’t wash your sheets and pillows with toxic chemicals. Make sure you aren’t bathed in formaldehyde fumes while you sleep (this is a very common chemical found in carpets and rugs.) If possible, acquire a few green plants growing in your bedroom to produce more oxygen and do a little scrubbing of the air so you really have a chance to restore yourself. It is during the quiet moments when our body can relax, when we don’t have the stress and tension of dealing with the wild business of our modern lives, when all of this stress and tension is not binding up our tissues, that we actually have an opportunity to release on a much deeper level. Then these things flow out of the body as a course of natural detoxification.
Sleep is a time when we have the opportunity to let the liver do its job, to let the kidneys do their job, the lymph and all the other organ systems that are involved in natural detoxification, rejuvenation and the maintenance of our normal state of health and well being. It is a chance for us to follow that old holistic adage that “power that made the body, heals the body.” This is not meant to be something particularly mysterious. It is more that the body has millions and millions of years worth of survival built into our genetic code. Our bodies know how to survive and for the blessed eight hours or so when we sleep and close our eyes, we can actually let the body do that. Do you best to generate a peaceful sleeping environment and try not to burden the body right before going to bed by eating a lot of food just prior to laying down. Finally take a few minutes to try to relax and release the stress and tension of the day. Stress Relief is great for that. If you have a lot of difficulty falling asleep, Siddha’s Sleep can actually help release more of the anxiety, stress and tension of the day so that you can really get into that much deeper place and allow your body to undergo the process of natural detoxification.
When it comes to natural detoxification people have many questions as to how best to engage that process. Some people wonder about juicing, others wonder about fasting, while other folks wonder about cleansing. These are all different way of allowing the body to fulfill its own natural process of natural detoxification and its own movement towards deeper levels of balance and homeostasis.
Typically, cleansing refers to an herbal or other regimen where various natural supplements attempt to stimulate the body’s natural detoxification pathways such as: increasing peristalsis of the intestines, engaging the enzymatic detoxification avenues of the liver and relaxing the bile ducts of the gallbladder. These are ways of encouraging the body without compromising its normal activities, in the same way that an infrared sauna can induce perspiration. These natural means help to withdraw toxins of all sorts – chemicals, heavy metals, etc. – from the various deposits throughout the body and to bring them out of the tissues where they are stored and thence into the blood stream where the liver breaks them down and the kidney filters them and excretes them. In the case of those that are attempting colon cleanses, the idea is to engage the intestines in such a way that any built-up debris in the small or large intestine is removed from the walls or deep pockets where it is currently interfering with the body’s attempts to return itself to deep levels of health.
Natural detoxification can also be aided by juicing which is an attempt to dramatically reduce the burden on the digestion. By reducing the burden on the gastrointestinal tract the body is given more energy to restore itself to homeostasis. When less energy is diverted into digesting food, (the juicer has already done this by breaking the cell walls of the fruit and vegetable material,) all it has to do is absorb and assimilate the vitamins, nutrients, enzymes, phytonutrients and antioxidants, etc. which are available in fresh squeezed juice. This does not include pasteurized juice or juice from concentrate. Only fresh squeezed juice by that consumed while it is still fresh.Perhaps the most natural (though some would think extreme) method of natural detoxification is fasting. Fasting has many different connotations but simply put, fasting means to refrain from doing something. One can fast from food, or refrain from eating solids as in the case in a juice fast. One can fast on water and refrain from ingesting anything other than purified and filtered water. One can also fast from television or spoken communication. For others a mild fast might include refraining from meat, cigarettes, alcohol or other intoxicants.
The idea behind all of these methods of natural detoxification is to reduce the ingestion of additional stimuli, whether this stimulation is coming in through the gateways of the ears, eyes, nose or the mouth. As the stimuli are reduced the body is given more and more opportunity to digest the material, material that has in the past overwhelmed the body’s capacity to process. This engages a process called autolysis which is the process by which the body breaks down its own tissues. The clarity and wisdom of the body breaks down unhealthy, diseased and toxic tissues not the healthy ones. The more the body can be induced to rest and repair the greater the results. These are forms of natural detoxification. These are the pathways by which the body itself utilizes. Hippocrates said, “First do no harm.” Instead of detoxing via unnatural or forceful means which can be harmful, look instead for ways to encouraged and assist the body in in its own process of natural detoxification.
A final point about fasting is that fasting is not starvation. Most people have ample caloric supplies to last them far longer than they actually think. There is significant confusion that people experience regarding this principle. Starvation begins when fasting ends. The hunger cramps and agitation people feel from not having food is actually part of the body’s process of natural detoxification and repair – for more information go to “healing reactions.”
When trying to gain a deep and holistic understanding of the body and mind, the topic of purification versus natural detoxification is a critically important one. Most people don’t understand that these are actually two different though related phenomena and this gives rise to a host of misperceptions and confusions. Natural detoxification refers to the removal of biological, chemical, metabolic and other structural toxins from the body. Purification, on the other hand, refers to the smoothing out and bringing to clarity of the electromagnetic fields that make up the mind-body interface. The reason that it is so important to understand the distinction is because we have a biochemical portion of our being and we have an electromagnetic part of our being. While these two are in constant relationship to each other and each one is constantly responding to the dynamism and changes of the other, it’s important to understand that they are of a fundamentally different order.
Again, when we are talking about purification we are actually referring to the smoothing out, clearing and aligning of the electromagnetic fields within the body-mind matrix. This means that the various obstructions, obscurations, bends, twists, snarls, snags, and places of blockage within the flow of those electromagnetic fields. These are the stresses, difficulties, confusions and tensions of the mind and the emotions. Natural detoxification can bring the presence of these obscurations into awareness, but it cannot of itself remove them. Again, natural detoxification simply refers to the removal of toxins such as petrochemicals, heavy metals, metabolic waste products, accumulations in the digestive tract, liver, kidneys, skin and more.
In the context of Siddha Flower Essences generally and natural detoxification specifically, the reason it is so important to understand this distinction is because Siddha Flower Essences bring about purification. They align, smooth and balance the electromagnetic basis of the body not the body’s biochemical matrix. From the above, it should be easier to understand why our Emotional Detox remedy is a broad spectrum agent for the removal of impurities of the mind and emotions that lead to gaps and restrictions within the physical body where toxins can be stored.
The interesting thing with natural detoxification and purification is that you can go in either direction. The removal of physical impurities can reveal underlying electromagnetic imbalances. However, the revelation of a specific electromagnetic obstruction doesn’t necessitate its removal. The revealing of its presence to the conscious mind is simply an opportunity. On the other hand, when the electrical aspect is addressed in such a way that an obscuration of the mind is removed and an aspect of being is reintegrated into consciousness this then removes the underlying basis that toxins have for existing within the body. By chemical means one can approach the electrical but by electrical means one necessitates a change in the chemical. The idea behind Emotional Detox is to systemically remove as many deep-seated mental, emotional, stress and tension related obstructions of the electromagnetic fields as possible. These obstructions of electromagnetic provide a safe haven for the physical toxins and debris that then can show themselves as distorted health conditions of all kinds. This is natural detoxification at its best because this systematic removal allows the individual to get out of their own way and let the body to function as it will.
As a young man in my lates teens and 20’s, I studied kung fu, tai chi, qigong, and meditation. These various fields of study all imparted a lot on the subject of natural detoxification. Some of these teachers I had the opportunity to study with were two, three and even four times my age. Granted, I would never describe myself as a talented martial artist or even a good martial student, but still, these men and women could throw around a relatively strong, healthy, young man like a ragdoll. Given what I have witnessed and experienced from these teachers and others, I believed there is a grave misconception in American culture that says to grow old means to get fat, slow, forgetful, weak and lethargic. (I speak of this simply because I’m an American. But I bet it’s a common phenomenon in many parts of the world that people have a terror of growing old given the weakness and sickness of body and mind that the aging process seems to engender.) I feel very fortunate but I’ve just met too many people who laugh in the face of this stereotype to buy into it. There are men and women who take them time to take care of themselves, engage in natural detoxification and who grow stronger, more insightful, more aware and more energetic with the passing years.
I would like to suggest instead of simply aging with the turning of the earth around the sun, that it is the accumulation of countless obstructions of the electromagnetic fields that make up the electrical basis of the body that is the true agent and harbinger of what we commonly call old age. It is not so much that the body simply breaks down as one grows older. It is more so that the body is under an increasing burden of unresolved experience and undigested material that can only be resolved through purification and natural detoxification. If you think in this way you begin to realize that your body is your best friend and it’s doing everything it can to keep up with the demands that are being placed on it… and those demands are quite considerable.
The demands that are being placed on the body in modern culture are something that our bodies have never seen before. The amount of information that we are expected to contend with on a moment by moment basis is staggering. A tremendous amount of this emotionally-bound material is not resolved and dealt with but it does remain within that electromagnetic matrix that is the underlying fabric for body. This matrix can be thought of as the loom upon which the clothes of the body lie. This accumulating electromagnetic debris winds up as what we call stress and tension. That stress and tension is then translated into the tissues of the body via neuropeptides, cortisol increases, hypertension, reduced circulation, impeded digestion and natural detoxification and more. This constant wear and tear is really what we describe as the aging process, becoming elderly and witnessing the breakdown of the various functions of the body.
Not only are we being exposed to more and more electrical information, not only are we being exposed to more and more sensory input of a wild and varied nature that is very difficult to digest because so much of it is emotionally bound in very intense ways, we are also contending with the onslaught of a food supply that is far removed from how our bodies ever consumed food in the past. We can all be thankful for modern hygiene and many of the modern food storage practices that we’ve developed. However, the idea that food should be irradiated, microwaved, or that our crops should be sprayed with countless different kinds of chemicals is about as absurd an idea as any we’ve come up with yet. We are overwhelming our body’s natural detoxification ability to deal with this onslaught.
To sum up, we have the radical input of hard to digest information through the various senses including the eyes and the ears. Also, our natural detoxification mechanisms are overwhelmed by the difficult to digest chemicals that we are being asked to process. The combination of the two of these radically contributes to what we call the aging process, creaking of the joints, forgetfulness, lower energy, slower metabolism, unclear thinking, slower decision making processes, and lack of inspiration and enthusiasm to live life. These are not necessary as one spins around the sun every 365 days. Purification of the electromagnetic fields of nervous system and natural detoxification of the body is why I have had the pleasure of meeting plenty of people that were in incredibly good health, had clear eyes, were stronger than a man a quarter of their age…I’m talking about men in their 80’s that could throw around fit strong 25 year olds. This doesn’t have to be an isolated incident. Everyone can enjoy greater degrees of health and clarity, energy and enthusiasm up until they are ready to make that final leap.
One of the questions that can arise when it comes to natural detoxification and cleansing is: “Why should I do it? Why should I bother, I mean hey I can get through the day and feel ok.” The first reason is you are already doing it. Natural detoxification is just that, natural. Your body is engaging in the process of removing toxins, metabolic & digestive waste all the time. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t last very long.
The real question is: why should I make changes to assist and encourage natural detoxification? And the reasons are that being ok and feeling ok is just that…ok.
But if it does not take too much to improve your mental and physical health, then why not? Some people may even want to be as flexible as children and be able to run around all day, others just want to smile, laugh and have clear, strong and grounded energy throughout the day. No matter what combination of the former you want natural detoxification and purification are essential gateways to this kind of healthy existence.
This process becomes more vital as we encounter additional stress in the form of the electrical stress of the nervous system and the chemical stress that’s put on our body through various toxins in the environment. When we remove these from the body through purification and natural detoxification we get clearer vision, sharper hearing, more energy, we wake up happy and energized. Who doesn’t want to wake up in the morning with a smile on their face ready to greet a new day?
We can gain regular digestion that causes us no trouble. We can gain free, easy and fluid movement by removing mineral deposits that are causing cracking and creaking of the joints that we just didn’t have when we were young. There is so much to be gained by the process of natural detoxification and purification and only a minimal amount of discomfort to be endured to obtain the fruit of our efforts.
The fruit to be gained is nothing big and special and at the same times its amazing to witness. It is simply being able to live life as it was meant to be lived: feeling strong, clear, healthy, happy and pain-free. This should be your normal state. This should not be an aberrant state where only a few radicals are willing to live their lives. Everyone should be able to have the kind of body that affords them freedom, health, energy and the clarity so that they can then go ahead and choose to make decisions that are going to lead them towards whatever kind of fulfillment and happiness that they are aspiring towards.
These are the reasons to choose natural detoxification. People often say, “Thank God I have my health.” Often what they means is, “Thank God I’m not in the hospital and that I have all of my limbs intact.” But real health is a lot more than that and we all deserve a lot more than that. Even though we all have the potential for health and happiness, clarity, energy, free and easy movement and insides that don’t disturb us, we are living in a world that is not particularly supportive of this. But our health is a starting place for everything else that we wish to accomplish and enjoy. So if we pay attention our external and internal environment, I believe we naturally start making decisions that move us in the right direction. All I can do is whole heartedly recommend Siddha products and especially Emotional Detox. It is going to help remove deep seated obstructions that we inevitably carry around, oftentimes unaware of their precise location and existence.
Purification, which is easily brought about by Emotional Detox, leads to natural detoxification. When purification really happens it is a beautiful process, a freeing process, an easy process and an unburdening process. The body feels more free, the mind is clearer, you step lightly and you smile more often… enjoying the benefits of natural detoxification.
Herbal remedies have been around since the dawn of time. These herbal compounds include many different substances, (plant, animal and even mineral,) and are ingested to address specific different kinds of physiological and psychological imbalances. Herbal remedies have a history of use in every culture on the planet: North and South America, Africa, Australia, throughout Asia and Europe. Only Antarctica has no history of herbal medicine but perhaps the penguins would disagree. There is a fair amount of evidence that shows animals consume specific kinds of plants when they are feeling sick or ill. Although many of us homo sapiens like to draw large distinctions between ourselves and the animal kingdom, we are much more similar than we are different. The idea that we would consume different compounds in order to restore our health and well-being is another commonality we share with the animal kingdom.
The codified and written history of herbal remedies goes back centuries. The first compendium in traditional Chinese Medicine, known as the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, the Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica, dates back approximately 2000 years. Materia medicas in the west date back to the time of the Greeks. And these are only written materia medicas. It is very likely that because women were the primary herb gatherers of traditional societies and the custodians of herbal lore, that plant knowledge has been passed down orally for thousands, if not tens of thousands of years.
It is clear that herbs and herbal remedies have a capacity, when chosen correctly, to alleviate certain ailments and strengthen different parts of the biochemical anatomy. It is interesting to consider herbal remedies as food – albeit a high grade / high potency food that is consumed for its micronutrients rather than its caloric or other macronutrient characteristics. This food has a capacity to have a more dramatic impact on us than standard daily staples do. For example, from a holistic perspective an apple can be used to nourish the fluids and clear heat from the lungs. But in most cases of pneumonia or a severe chest cold, an apple is not considered a primary means of natural healing. There are other botanical substances and various kinds of herbal remedies that have a much more pronounced effect than an apple in removing unhealthy accumulations in the chest and lungs.
Herbal remedies have always been part of our pharmacopeia and have often been a significant part of various attempts to restore balance, health and well-being. Herbal remedies are not a modern fad or a recent phenomenon. It is actually what we think of as the common medicine of the day – pharmaceuticals – that have a short, untested and recent history while herbal remedies have been used by countless cultures throughout world since the beginning of human history. Over this lengthy course of time, there have been surprisingly few fatalities attributed to herbal remedies. Even when they are used improperly herbal remedies are typically very safe; at most they cause some mild discomfort that is usually short lived.
There are many different reasons for the use of herbal remedies. Historically, one of the most important reasons has been to reduce stress. So how do herbal remedies do that? For the most part they address the chemical portion of the nervous system. Typically herbs of a particular species have a chemical make up that falls within understood parameters. It is the chemical composition of various herbal remedies that interact with the chemicals in our bodies. It should be noted that some herbal remedies have do electromagnetic properties and work to correct deviations of the electrical portion of the nervous system. But herbs like this are uncommon and for the most part herbal remedies are used on the biochemical level to address various manifestations of stress.
When used to alleviate stress, its best to view herbal remedies as food. In this light consider their long-term efficacy and safety. One must ask themselves: how will incorporating this food into my diet improve my long-term adaptability and strength? Many of the adaptogenic herbs help regulate the body’s various systems and remove some of the biochemical basis of stress. According to the classical Chinese understanding of herbology there are different flavors to herbs – sweet, sour, spicy, bitter, pungent, etc. But in practice herbs are overwhelmingly bitter and very few folks who have consumed lots of herbs would disagree.
Why do herbal remedies consistently taste bitter? Things taste bitter because of the presence of alkaline minerals and alkaloids. A bitter flavor is often used to counteract the long-standing acidic metabolites that accrue in the body as a result of normal activity. They are also used to counteract the long-standing internal bio-chemical causes of disease – the neuropeptides which are the bio-chemical basis of stress. It is a fairly straightforward equation. As the body becomes more acidic there is increased agitation or what most people think of as stress. The long-term consumption of alkaline substances – green leafy vegetables and many different kinds of herbs is an effective way to deal with the gradual manifestation of stress.
The number of herbal remedies that have been used to alleviate stress throughout the world are too numerous and varied in nature to mention here. The Taoists of ancient China took this knowledge to a sublime level and designated a superior class of herbal remedies that could be used safely and effectively over the course of a lifetime. These are among a great host of herbs often used as an adjunct to a healthy diet.
Even though herbal remedies help the body deal with stress by encouraging the removal of toxic deposits and difficulties that build up, the herbs themselves usually don’t get at the root cause of stress. The root cause of most ailments is the internal distortion of the electromagnetic fields that surround the nerve cells. To understand this is to understand the principles of the underlying causes of the vast majority of diseases.
Using herbal remedies in conjunction with acupuncture, flower essences or anything that addresses the electrical portion of the nervous system is a great combination and holistic approach to health. The herbal remedies provide the chemical fuel and building blocks for the body. By simultaneously addressing the electrical aspect of the body it allows the fuel and building blocks to be utilized more effectively. The result is more vibrant health.
In the last 30-40 years in the United States the nutraceutical industry has become more popular in the marketplace. Nutraceuticals fit a niche in between herbal remedies and pharmaceuticals. Some common examples of nutraceuticals are L-Argenine and Creatine.
First of all lets define the spectrum we are discussing so we can clearly see where nutraceuticals might fit into our lives. Below is a range of ingested substances used to prevent or treat osteoporosis. Fortunately not all of us have to contend with osteoporosis but hopefully you get the idea.
- Food – Macro – i.e. Leafy greens that have alkaline minerals which promote strong bones.
- Herbal remedies – Micro – i.e. Oyster Shell which is a traditional remedy for strong bones which is rich in calcium.
- Nutraceutical – Isolated Nutrient – i.e. Calcium, which is the primary mineral of bone structure.
- Pharmaceutical – All together synthetic compound- i.e. Fosamax which is a drug meant to slow or reverse bone density loss.
The growing popularity of nutraceuticals has coincided with a larger trend – the proliferation of dietary supplements. Dietary supplements literally means something that is being taken in addition to one’s regular diet. This diet is thought to be inadequate or wanting in some way and thus herbal remedies, nutraceuticals or other supplements are used to fill in the gap. Many of us have diets far removed from a natural diet so it’s appropriate to get healthy levels of antioxidants, phytonutrients, essential fatty acids, proteins, etc. through dietary supplements. As we saw in the osteoporosis example, it is ideal to address any deficiencies in a long-term fashion rather get caught in a position where the substantial effect of a pharmaceutical is the only realistic option in order to treat a dramatic imbalance.
Nutraceuticals differ from herbal remedies in much the same way as pharmaceuticals differ. It just a matter of degree. Nutraceuticals are isolated ingredients but just not quite as isolated as the pharmaceuticals. In other words, many nutraceuticals contain compounds that were found to exist in plants. For the purposes of manufacturing a particular nutraceutical someone decided that a specific ingredient in this plant compound was the active ingredient – and the only active ingredient. This active ingredient was then isolated and all the other parts of the plant were left out.
Isolating a single ingredient imbalances whatever substance you are consuming. Although most of the substances used in nutraceuticals don’t have the firepower, so to speak, of a pharmaceutical, they can imbalance the body. You would not want to take the “active ingredient of banana” as a staple of your diet. It is much wiser to just eat bananas on a regular basis so you can get everything that a banana has to offer.
In that respect when herbal remedies are taken in a holistic fashion – when it is a whole food concentrate – you are dealing with something that is more balanced and will have a softer and more gentle impact on the body. This allows you to sustain the result over a long period of time. Any time you force things in a particular direction and you do so in a dramatic way, you might be able to attain a dramatic effect but that effect will come at a cost, often giving rise to a series of other difficulties. Be conscious and educated about the nutraceuticals and those compounds that you consume. In general avoid tablets whenever possible. Tablets are formed by pressing components together at high heat and they have to be bound together with various binders (often times these are glues are petroleum based). Also, be careful of the excipients that are used in the process of encapsulating herbs and herbal remedies. Generally try to consume things as close to their natural form as possible or as close to the way they have been made and used over a long history of use. If we stay aware of this as consumers, our choices regarding herbal remedies can go a long way towards facilitating lasting and vibrant health.
Herbal remedies share some similarities as well as many differences with pharmaceuticals. Most of us, including many doctors, have forgotten that pharmaceuticals are derived from their herbal forebears. For example, aspirin, one of our most commonly used drugs, was originally derived from willow bark. In the spectrum discussed briefly in the last article (food as a mild, easy and safe staple for human digestion), herbal remedies have a more pronounced effect than food but are still something that we consume as part of our diet. They can be consumed safely over the course of many years and can provide significant long-term benefit.
Pharmaceuticals on the other hand have a far more pronounced effect than most herbal remedies and can’t really be thought of as a food. The powerful effect of pharmaceuticals has gained them their reputation in a relatively short period of time. Penicillin and some of the other antibiotics were the first pharmaceuticals to be seen as magic bullets for curing various kinds of diseases. But the truth of the matter is that herbs and herbal remedies have alleviated far more misery and suffering among humanity over the course of our evolution than pharmaceuticals.
Pharmaceuticals by some counts, including the CDC’s estimate, are responsible for at least 100,000 deaths per year. Recently an herb known as ephedra came under scrutiny and was subsequently banned. When used according to the long-standing tenets of Chinese medicine ephedra or “ma huang” has been safe and effective for thousands of years. When its form was altered, concentrated and used in an inappropriate manner, it became responsible for four deaths. This led to a lot of controversy that ultimately led to the FDA ban. Traditionally, ephedra is taken in small amounts on an as-needed basis by asthmatics and those with respiratory allergies to open and clear the lungs. One of the chemical components of ephedra is ephedrine. When ephedra was concentrated and the active ingredient (ephedrine) isolated, amplified dramatically, and then used totally inappropriately as a weight loss supplement it caused four people to die
Sad as that may be, these four deaths occurred when one of the most ancient herbal remedies was used in a very non-traditional manner. Ill-advised use led to fatalities not allergic reactions. These people simply took large quantities and did not respond well. A study performed by the University of California at San Francisco in 2003, showed that 64% of all complaints against herbal remedies that year were regarding ephedra-based products which accounted for less than 1% of all herbal sales that year. When this is contrasted with the number of fatalities and the incidents of permanent organ damage from what is considered the safe and appropriate use of pharmaceuticals, the difference is so dramatic that it is almost mind-boggling.
Herbal remedies and pharmaceuticals both have their rightful place in the field of medicine. In the day-to-day struggles of life, herbal remedies can be valuable allies and when required, so can pharmaceuticals. Penicillin, the first “pharmaceutical”, did amazing things on the battlefield during WWII. Since then, Western medicine has become extremely competent at dealing with trauma and life-and-death crisis situations. But Western medicine is not geared towards the actual living of life, the promotion of life, and health and well-being. It provides virtually no cures for chronic diseases and ailments. Most of the discomfort, disease and imbalance that many people are facing nowadays is due directly to lifestyle choices, environmental choices, and are chronic long-term conditions for which pharmaceuticals are inappropriate. Often times Western medicine and prescribed treatments are analogous to calling an ambulance every time you catch a sniffle or like killing a fly with a sledge hammer. The amount of time, energy, and resources put into all these ambulances flying around town for people with the sniffles is an expensive experiment that will cost us far more in the long-term than it saves us in the short-term.
Why is it that people take herbal remedies? People take herbal remedies because they feel that their diet, lifestyle, environment or genetics are not enough for them to enjoy the level of health, happiness, and well-being they are looking for. In other words, people believe that by ingesting herbal remedies they will gain something that they otherwise lack.
Of the thousands and thousands of herbal remedies that exist, one of the most commonly known is ginseng; panax ginseng being its botanical name. Panax ginseng got its name from the Russian botanist CA Meyer who evangelized its reputation as a panacea or cure-all. The ginsenosides, (phytonutrients found in ginseng) have double direction activity on a lot of different systems in the body. This double direction activity means that this herbal remedy is classified as an “adaptogen”. Adaptogens can help the body improve its balance or homeostasis on many levels, i.e. raise low blood pressure and lower high blood pressure, increase energy in the lethargic and calm the over-agitated. This really only applies to high-quality older ginseng roots. It does not apply to the ginseng that you find at the truck stop during that long road trip.
Ginseng is so famous for its wondrous benefits that it has encouraged a series of other common herbal remedies used in other parts of the world to be commonly called ginseng as well. For example: jiaogulan or gynostemma is known as southern ginseng. This is the drink of choice for many of the octogenarians throughout southern China because it helps the liver release toxins, strengthens the kidneys, modulates energy levels, and balances stress and blood pressure levels. It has a great number of long-term benefits. There is also siberian ginseng, eleuthero, which came into prominence due to its use by a number of Olympic athletes to increase stamina and endurance. It was also used by many cosmonauts (Russian astronauts) to increase stamina, endurance and the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. A famous Tibetan herbal remedy, rhodiola, is known as the Tibetan ginseng. Rhodiola is considered a tonic for the mind and the body and can dramatically increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, (very useful at high altitudes), and it also increases the body’s ability to handle stress. It is yet another herbal remedy with a long history of use. Because it grows in such an isolated and far-flung place, rhodiola is far more expensive than most forms of ginseng which are generally considered expensive herbs to begin with.
Another herbal remedy with a long history of use is goji, gojitza or the wolfberry. This is grown throughout central Asia, Tibet, Mongolia, and the high mountains of China. This berry is known as the “happy berry” or “joyful berry” for its ability to improve people’s mood. It strengthens both the liver and the kidneys and is said to improve eyesight and the strength of the blood.
Panax ginseng is known as such because it was thought to be a panacea, something that would cure or heal anything. But our health, like everything in our life, is an aggregation of countless factors and it is highly unlikely that any one substance is going to be it. In many herbal remedies we are looking at compounds that either don’t exist or exist in very small quantities in our regular staple foods but exist in these specific plants in moderate to high quantities. People consume herbal remedies in order to acquire these compounds, phytonutrients, antioxidants, microminerals and other dietary supplements. The consumption of the right substance can often go a long way to modulating stress and reducing long-term wear and tear. But substance by its nature cannot repair that which it is not. It is rare to find an herbalist who has the herbs and insight to repair many levels of our being all at once.
Herbal remedies have an incredibly long history of use. Animals of many species seek out different plants to heal themselves. Mankind has used herbal remedies for thousands of years as healing agents. However, just because the label says natural does not mean safe. Plants can cause a wide range of reactions. In fact most of the poisons that indigenous tribes use to hunt are plant based herbal remedies meant to cause a variety of effects including paralysis and death. Plants are the basis for various kinds of compounds: pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and otherwise, many of which have unpleasant “side effects.” A smart consumer would do well to consider these factors.
It should be understood that the concept of a side effect is entirely human, whether the side-effects are related to herbal remedies or any other types of medicine. The concept of a side effect is really one of convenience. With any substance that is ingested into the body, there are simply a range of effects, one of which is the intended effect and the effect that we really want. We call everything else the side effects. Does not mean that those side effects are any less real or any less likely to happen than the primary intended effect? The softer, more natural, more whole and complete a substance is, the more mild the “side effects” typically are. Let’s look at the banana example; the banana has a range of effects. It has potassium, a fair amount of sugar, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and a range of other compounds in it. When bananas or other natural foods are consumed as whole foods “side effects” are not an issue.
Now let’s consider one of the most common herbal remedies, guarana. When guarana is used in the berry form – the whole form – it can give you an energy boost. Its contains a little bit of caffeine so it can get things moving. When guarana is consumed in its most natural from, it’s difficult to consume enough of it to really mess yourself up. When guarana is extracted and concentrated into tiny capsules where the moisture has been evaporated, the fiber has been removed, and then solvents have been used to remove a great deal of the other ingredients, we are left with guarana concentrate. This is now a potent stimulant that contains much more of that active ingredient – caffeine – which is now rapidly pushing our body in a specific direction. Instead of a little lift occurring over a gradual period of time, we now experience a pronounced stimulant effect and agitation. We will feel an increased heart rate, a bit of vaso-constriction, and there may be withdrawal effects. Withdrawal effects like headaches and irritability occur if it is used over a period of time and then suddenly refrained from.
This process can be extended further and further until we are isolating single molecules and then ingesting them. At this point we are dealing with a dangerous situation. We have substances that we can use in the short term to generate a specific effect from a few exposures. This might be exactly what we need to accomplish a very specific goal. But when any of these types of substances are used long term we are now inviting problems. This substance is no longer one of the many herbal remedies with an incredibly long history of use. The substance is now transformed in to something else and we should expect “side effects”, i.e. unwanted effects. When we concentrate and isolate herbal remedies they quickly become something else entirely and the more we increase the potential for negative effects. It is only several thousand years from now that the concentrates, nutraceuticals, and pharmaceuticals of our present day will have the history of use that herbal remedies currently enjoy. It worth taking the time to think about whether you want to be one of the pioneers that these new substances are tested upon.