Health & Healing

A Contended Cow’s Milk: Part 2


Having discussed the benefits of drinking only fresh whole milk last month, we now focus on other milk products. Butter and ghee, with their many great health properties, lend themselves to a variety of Ayurvedic treatments. One such special therapy is known as oleation, unction or fat cures. This is the administering of fat into the body for periods of time to purify and relieve vata and pitta without aggravating kapha. If vata and pitta are aggravated, the unction is taken during autumn months, and at night. However, if kapha is aggravated, it is best taken during the day in the summer months. §

A typical treatment is to add two to four tablespoons of ghee to warm, sweetened milk. Drink this before going to bed. If digestion is weak, add a little ginger and/or black pepper to the milk. It is said that the use of old ghee in this therapy is good for insanity. Butter and ghee have a high content of cholesterol, but that does not seem to hamper one’s health in a vegetarian diet, which in itself is low in cholesterol. Butyric acid, a fatty acid present in butter and ghee, is very beneficial for antiviral activity and controlling free radicals and cancer-cell reproduction. An age-old habit in India is for people to take a spoonful of ghee the first thing every morning to bring about alertness, mental acuity and slowing of the aging process.§

Buttermilk, the by-product of the extraction of butter from curds, is variable in nourishment, according to how much butter fat is removed. Buttermilk should be consumed fresh, as it gets sour when it ages. The vata person may drink this straight. Pitta and kapha persons should dilute it with water, though the latter might substitute buttermilk made from goat’s milk. Buttermilk acts as a tonic; it pacifies the doshas and aids in digestion if taken after a meal. Vata people fair best with sour products to which a little salt has been added. The pitta person adds sugar or honey, and kapha types add ginger, black pepper or black chilies. Commercial buttermilk is too sour for consumption and should be avoided.§

Curd or yogurt is a fermented milk product that is high in the lactobacillus group of microorganisms. It is highly recommended for lactose-intolerant people, as the lactose is reduced in the fermentation process. The bacterial flora of the gut is improved by the presence of the active bacteria of this product. It is also a very good source of Vitamin B12, an essential ingredient to the diet. Curd is unctuous, sour, sweet, astringent, heavy and hot. It alleviates vata, aggravates pitta and increases kapha. It is suggested that curd not be taken along with dinner or at bedtime. But taking small amounts after the meal helps in digestion. Commercial yogurt varieties are to be shunned at all costs. Only homemade and fresh yogurt is healthy. Yogurt is incompatible with milk, sour fruits and melons. Kapha persons should use yogurt very sparingly, because it creates mucus. For them it should be treated it with spices as mentioned and always diluted. Commercial cheese made from cow’s milk should also be shunned, except for the freshly made paneer, which is a good way to introduce the magical qualities of good milk to the diet.§

Children may have a glass of milk per day, adults may get their milk through the consumption of ghee, buttermilk and curds. Milk should be considered as a whole food not a beverage.§

Antibiotic Insensitivity, Part 1


Antibiotics are chemical substances that are produced by certain microorganisms and have the capability to inhibit the growth of or destroy bacteria or other microbes. Penicillin and tetracycline are two common antibiotics. You can usually find some type of common antibiotic in the medicine box in any home. §

Antibiotics have been life saving against serious microbial infections of the body. However, antibiotics are easily misused. For instance, they are often wrongly taken in cases of colds and influenza. But antibiotics have no effect on these ailments, as these are due to viruses rather than microbes, and antibiotics have no effect on viruses. §

Often patients will begin to feel better after being on an antibiotic medication for a couple of days and therefore stop taking the drug. Such brief treatment actually desensitizes the microbe to the drug, making the microbe more resistant to it in future use. This insensitivity may even be transmitted to other microbes. Antibiotics must be taken throughout the prescribed time so that the germ is truly incapacitated and doesn’t survive as a weakened microbe. Desensitization may also occur if the initial dosage is not sufficient to incapacitate the bacteria. §

It takes several days for specific identification and sensitivity tests to be completed. The practitioner must often prescribe an antibiotic before he knows exactly which bacterium is involved and which drug it is sensitive to. He must rely upon clinical signs and experience to initiate treatment. There are times when the “wrong” drug is started, which also tends to lead to possible desensitization of the microbe. It has taken about thirty years for certain classes of enterococci to become insensitive to a widely used drug, vancomycin. This is especially serious because there is at this time no satisfactory substitute for the drug. Some strains of tuberculosis and other serious diseases are totally resistant to all presently known antibiotics. §

The future is not as gloomy as it may seem, though, for there are alternatives to antibiotics that often work as well or even better. The Ayurvedic approach is such that the body is kept in balance and the immune system at peak efficiency so that infections and various inflammations seldom manifest. If there is a lapse in balance, then rebalance and specific herbal treatments may be necessary to bring the body back to health. This is a preferred, wise and age-old system of health. Outside of the US, it is often easier to find competent vaidyas, traditional Ayurvedic doctors. Vaidyas may occasionally use antibiotics if the condition warrants, but usually prescribe herbal concoctions that will accomplish the same effect.§

Another approach is homeopathy. This great medical science is often overlooked and snubbed, but it is an excellent, valid method of keeping the body healthy. Its greatest strength is that it will not harm the body during the healing process, as allopathic drugs may. By artful interviews and physical examination, the practitioner is able to assess the entire clinical picture, including possible psychological influences, and thereby select a remedy that will eliminate the unwholesome condition. Chinese medicine offers yet another alternative, aided by the use of acupuncture to help to stabilize and balance the flow of the Chi in the channels throughout the body. We will further discuss some of the methods of these alternative systems in the next issue.§

Antibiotic Insensitivity, Part 2


Our previous article [February] discussed medical science’s concern over the developing resistance of bacteria to known antibacterial drugs. This month we apprise you of some natural antibiotics and antioxidants.§

Some diseases such as tuberculosis and certain types of “hospital acquired” infections are totally resistant to known drugs. It has also been shown that bacteria are able to transmit their resistance to other not-yet-affected bacteria. The pharmaceutical industry has been somewhat slow in recognizing the development of this “universal” resistance to known antibiotics, so there is likely to be a hiatus before they are able to develop new drugs.§

Until we have the new materials with which to fight microbial infections, it behooves us to do everything possible to maintain our immune systems at their peak. This can first be accomplished by keeping the doshas balanced. The diet is to be whatever your constitution requires to keep it in balance. Adequate exercise, including aerobics, is also required. Nutritional supplementation with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants will help to keep the immune system functioning at its peak. Keep in mind that it is the immune system that conquers the invading bacteria, with or without the help of antibiotics or other natural substances.§

If one is on any antibiotic, or antibiotic tea, it is absolutely essential to take supplemental vitamins and minerals as well as yogurt or acidophilus milk in order to maintain the normal flora of the intestinal tract. The normal flora of the bowel keeps us in a state of health by synthesizing vitamins and enzymes. Ingested antibiotics kill these friendly bacteria.§

In order to help the immune system stay active and balanced there is a class of substances called Proanthocyanidins (Pycnogenol) which are bioflavonoids found in certain fir tree barks and in grape seed extracts. These are superior antioxidants and also have some anti-inflammatory properties. They are synergistic with vitamins C and E. Their major influence is to improve capillary circulation so that cell health is enhanced and maintained. They are able to pass the blood-brain barrier to protect the brain cells. Though not antibiotics, their antioxidant abilities help support the immune system against invaders. The product from grape seed extracts are more economical and ecologically preferred. Using pycnogenols as a daily food supplement is highly advised for everyone.§

One of the most powerful naturally occurring antibiotics is garlic. For centuries, garlic overcame bacterial infections. Its potency has proven greater than some of the better known antibiotics, especially in respiratory diseases. Garlic contains allicin, a natural antibiotic. It is also antiseptic, antifungal and anticlotting. It is commonly used to expel worms from the intestinal tract. It is an excellent source of potassium and phosphorus, vitamins B and C, and also calcium and some proteins. Its abundant supply of selenium, a potent antioxidant, may be useful in ailments of the heart and eye. Garlic juice has been invaluable in the treatment of childhood ear infections without the hazards of habitual chemical antibiotic use. Garlic may be used raw, cooked or in capsular form as long as the content of allicin is guaranteed. §

Antibiotic Insensitivity, Part 3


In the previous article(April 96) we discussed that the food garlic also has antibiotic and antioxidative properties. This month we will reveal some more traditionally used antibiotics.§

Probably the most powerful herbal antibiotic/antiviral is Echinacea purpurea, the purple cornflower. This is a native American discovery as the native Indiana used it for all sorts of human ailments. Over the past forty years studies of the effects of E.purpurea, E.augustfolia and E.pallida have shown definite effects against infections by bacteria and viruses. This is accomplished by a stimulation of the immune system so that the body mobilizes the many blood elements that attack and eliminate the effects of the invading elements. There is even evidence that it is beneficial in various arthritic conditions with no side effects as are seen with the drug treatments. Recent studies are alsoshowing that it may have a place in the treatment of cancer. A combination of echinacea, goldenseal and garlic is an excellent remedy for the treatment of colds and influenza. This combination is readily available over the counter and has been used for many years in Europe. It is supplied as encapsulated powders and extracts (which may have an alcohol base) and should be used at the first symptoms of a disease process and maintained for a few days after the condition subsides. No other drugs or pain relievers will be needed.§

Another old and unique healing agent is silver. No known bacteria, virus or fungus can remain active in the presence of metallic silver. It was used universally as an antibiotic until the 1940’s when its use was replaced by the newly discovered penicillin. It has never been shown that a disease causing organism can develop a resistance or immunity to this metal. Colloidal silver; that is, very small particles of the silver metal that have an electrical charge are suspended in a solution with no added substances or preservatives is the medium which delivers the silver particles to the body. Because of this electrical charge the silver remains in suspension . It is also instrumental in the detoxifying as well as killing the offending organisms. True colloidal silver is nontoxic and has no apparent side effects. The ideal product is one that contains no more than 3 to5 parts per million and should be 99.99999% pure silver. no binding agents or stabilizers are to be used, and, indeed, are not necessary if it is a quality colloid, in a range of 0.005-0015 microns in diameter. There is a danger if the colloid is not a true colloid or contains binders and such: that is, there may be an accumulation of the silver particles within the tissue leading to a condition called argyrosis, giving an intractable bluish tint to the white skinned individuals. This was a rather common complication in the 1930-40s because the particles were not true colloids. If it is taken orally, as is the usual method, there is the killing off of the friendly bacteria of the gut, the same as antibiotics, and these must be replaced through supplementation of the diet with vitamins and minerals as well as yogurt or acidophilus milk. Ayurveda, traditional chinese medicine, herbology, and other traditions of health care have available many herbs and plants that are native to their cultures that will replace (without drug side effects) todays antibiotics as they become ineffective. Each tradition has methods to assure that the immune system is in excellent condition so that health can be maintained. Alternative medicine is the medicine of the future. §