Description: Ayurveda means the science of life. Ayurvedic Medicine developed and recorded over 4000 years ago, based on the keen observation of the outside world and how it relates to our inside world, is a great example of a holistic medical model. My guest this week, Dr. Scott Gerson, is licensed as an Ayurvedic physician and a Medical Physician practicing in NY and Florida. He seeks to build bridges between both worlds. Dr. Gerson gives us several practical tips and guidance for improving immunity and resistance, all perfect for the upcoming holiday season.
About My guest: Scott Gerson, M.D., Ph.D. (Ayurveda) is one of the world’s leading Ayurvedic primary-care physicians and is a prolific researcher in Ayurvedic Medicine who is well-versed in virtually all modalities of integrative medicine. He is the Medical Director of the Dept. of Integrative Medicine, Division of Research and Education at Jupiter Medical Center and Chief Physician at The Gerson Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine in Lake Mary, Florida where he treats patients through merging authentic Ayurveda, integrative medicine, and conventional medical approaches. Dr. Gerson is an Associate Professor at Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Department of Kayachikitsa (Internal Medicine), where he earned his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Ayurvedic Medicine, a Clinical Assistant Professor, Dept. of Community and Preventive Medicine, New York Medical College, and founder of the Gerson Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine (est. 1982)
Transcript: #36 Dr. Scott Gerson
Autumn’s chill, holidays and colds seem to come at the same time. We bundle up, turn on the heat, stay indoors. with school parties and adult parties, maybe too much eating, lots of sweets. We seem to get a cold more easily this time of year, suffer from indigestion too.
My podcast guest this week, Janet Pagan, Ayurvedic Nutritionist, suggests a few simple remedies to ward off the beginning of a cold, soothe digestion. Ayurveda uses many plants to balance our dosha type. One ayurvedic tea, CCF, is quite helpful for balancing our digestive system. What I have learned in my herbal studies is that when our digestion is more balanced we feel better, we sleep better and our immune system is supported.
CCF stands for Cumin seed, Coriander seed, Fennel seed tea.
Cumin: Cumino aigro, is a small, herbaceous plant that grows to about 10″ in height. This plant is indigenous to Upper Egypt but found in many far eastern countries. Medicinal and popular in the Middle Ages for its medicinal properties, it was grown, used and sought after. But it does not have popular flavor and so was blended with other herbs. It has a carminative action, which means it aids in digestion.
Coriander: Coriandrum sativum, also known as cilantro, (coriander is the Spanish name for cilantro), is indigenous to Egyptian area. Tall, growing to a height of about 2′, its an easy addition to most gardens. Coriander is also a carminative and masks the flavor of cumin. I like to add it to my summertime vegetable juices. When it goes to seed, gather them and dry them. They keep well and you can begin to make your own tea blends.
Fennel: Foeniculum vulgare ( wild variety), a tall, hardy, perennial, growing to 4-5′, stems are often cut down for flavoring and even garnishing. Fennel grows for years and easily propagates from seed. It originates in the Mediterranean. Fragrant, a softer licorice-like flavor makes fennel a great choice to mask other flavors, such as cumin.
These three seeds are known to aid in digestive disorders from relieving flatulence, colic, diarrhea, cramps, even acid indigestion. They also stimulate our digestive juices which support the efficacy of nutrient breakdown in our stomachs and small intestines. Three well-known seeds, form easy to grow plants, can be added to your garden wish list for 2019. In the meantime, get some seeds, make your own tea. When our constitution is strong we can handle the changes in weather, the changes in diet, company, and parties with more ease.
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
Add to 4 cups of boiling water. Let sit a few minutes. Sweeten if needed to taste. I recommend honey, maple syrup, or stevia but you may find you enjoy the flavors on their own. Try it plain first. Sweeten only if needed.
Ayurveda, as a recognized medical model, offers many simple remedies that work. I hope you get a chance to make this tea, enjoy its flavors. Wishing you good health.
“As long as we are not living in harmony with nature and our constitution, we cannot expect ourselves to be really healed. Ayurveda gives us the means.” David Frawley, Hindu teacher, author, speaker.
Description: Ayurveda is the “science of Life”. Recognized by the World Health Organization as a legitimate medical model, Ayurveda offers a healing system based on observations of our natural world. How can we use, understand, and apply this healing system in our everyday life? My guest this week, Rev. Janet Pagan is an Ayurvedic nutritionist, certified health coach, Reiki counselor. She discusses dosha types, seasons and more. Join us for an informative discussion.
About My Guest: Rev. Janet M. Pagan, CEO of Phoenix Sol H.P., Inc. is a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Rev. Pagan is a Certified Health Coach; Ayurvedic Nutritionist; Reiki Master and Spiritual Counselor. Rev. Pagan also holds a Master Degree in Public Administration from Baruch College and has worked in the field of Child Welfare servicing children and families for over 15 yrs. (Rev. Pagan received a Bachelor of Science in the field of Education and Black Studies with a minor in Latin American Studies from SUNY- New Paltz. )
Transcript: #33 Janet Pagan
Our gardens like tea too!
We drink tea for different reasons. We sip peppermint tea to quiet an upset stomach. We make a blend using plants from our gardens to enjoy throughout the winter, not only savoring the aroma and taste, but receiving health benefits too from minerals and vitamins contained in flowers and stems, leaves, and roots.
Making compost tea from weed clippings is easy and gives additional nourishment to plants free from synthetic fertilizers, or chemical ones.
Weeds are a powerhouse of minerals, in trace amounts that the soil uses and needs to stay strong and healthy, a good base for our plants to grow. When we clip weeds rather than pull out all roots we keep an incredible underground network intact. This network of fungi, mycorrhizal hyphae, microscopic in size, and insects sends nutrients where needed. I have stopped pulling weeds from garden paths. They are often soft and I can easily keep them cut and low but I have become keenly aware that they have an extremely important role in maintaining garden health. It’s like we have an underground highway beneath our feet, one that delivers information, nutrients and even aid, all through an intricate communication system. It can pick up messages about an unwanted pest and send signals to plants to prepare, if possible.
My guest this week, Kris McCue from the Bionutrient Food Association, stresses over and over that healthy soil makes for healthier food. The BFA has great articles, youtube videos, information to assist in keeping soil healthy. And I don’t know about you, but I love a juicy tomato fresh picked from my garden on a hot summer’s day filled with taste and flavor.
So let’s get back to compost tea. It’s nothing new and yet it seems to me to be even more important now that we are uncovering the incredible network joining various root systems underground. Like sun tea, we use water, weeds, and sun to brew the weeds in a bucket, strain. The resulting tea can be watered onto a garden and even used as a foliar spray.
Compost Tea Recipe:
- Use cut plant material, typically weeds, and place into a quart bucket. Some sources suggest a bucket with a tap too. Consider placing them into a cloth, like cheesecloth so small pieces do not clog the hose when you are ready to use it.
- Fill 1/2 container with plant material, then cover and fill the bucket with water.
- Let sit for three weeks, understand this will smell.
- Stir every couple of days
- Add one large spoonful of molasses and stir again.
- When three weeks is over, you can water your garden with this tea. For a foliar spray, it is often recommended to dilute the tea in a ratio of 1:10: one part tea to ten parts water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil to 4 quarts of water so the tea adheres to the leaves.
“Compost tea is an effective, low-strength, natural fertilizer for seedlings and garden plants. It can suppress fungal plant diseases. The tea-brewing process extracts (and in some cases grows and multiplies) nutrients and beneficial bacteria and fungi and suspends them in water in a form that makes them quickly available to plants.” Rodale Press
Biodynamic farming, organic farming sources give many examples of healthy thriving gardens that employ these practices.
I like tea making for myself and family. I have used many weeds for their nourishing properties. In previous posts, I have highlighted the nourishing components found in common weeds that are edible. Our garden’s soil needs food too. Compost tea is easy to make, can be kept outside and replenished with more cut weeds as we use the tea water.
Got tea? Don’t forget your garden! Notice any difference? Send us your observations and use of compost tea. We’d love to hear from you.
Can a plant give us a clue by its structure, its form? Can the color of a flower or root be an indication of some of its properties or the organ system it helps?
Apparently, that’s not new information. In herb classes, the Doctrine of Signatures is a well-known reference to these correlations. Stemming from the ancients and passed down through the ages, often referred to as folklore, gave herbalists, the village healers, doctors, a reference point for which ones to use in healing various conditions, disorders, organ systems.
“The doctrine of signatures, dating from the time of Dioscorides and Galen, states that herbs resembling various parts of the body can be used by herbalists to treat ailments of those body parts.” (Wikipedia)
“Paracelsus was a physician and alchemist (early 1500’s) who believed that medicine should be simple and straightforward. He was greatly inspired by the Doctrine of Signatures, which maintained that the outward appearance of a plant gave an indication of the problems it would cure. This theory is sometimes surprisingly accurate.” (USDA forest service)
Today we have advanced equipment, labs to test the validity of some of these claims and guess what? Science is proving what the oral traditions, the folklore traditions knew: clues from the plant, their structure, their form, colors that seem to help heal, can, in fact, help heal specific organ systems. Nature reflects back to us what we are and offers help. Many successful healers looked at the plant world in this way. They were connected to the sun and moon cycles, very aware of the weather, knew their landscapes well.
Centuries ago and not that long ago, we did not have the knowledge of bacteria, viruses that we can see with super microscopes. Evil spirits were the names of the stuff that gets you, brings in illness etc. That was the lingo of the times. There was a deeper more colloquial connection to the Creator, to God, by whatever religion you followed. There was a recognition that the Divine in nature provided clues, assistance. My Native elders said that we have all that we need for healing if we pay attention to what’s beneath our feet, what’s near us. Observe.
My guests this week, Andrea and Matthias Reisen, have over 25 years experience as growers deeply connected to the plants and their land. They are caretakers in the true sense of the word, offering prayers of thanks, gratitude, and acknowledgment for the gifts the land provides. In our discussion, we touched upon invasives, Japanese knotweed in particular. My curiosity piqued. I decided to look into this plant more carefully because the Reisen’s harvest it, for use in the medical community for Lyme’s disease.
Name: Japanese Knotweed: Polygonum cuspidatum var. Japonica or Japanese bamboo; bamboo-like stems with somewhat heart-shaped leaves, herbaceous perennial shrub-like.
Where Found: Originated in Eastern Asia, member of the buckwheat family. It was introduced in the US in late 1800’s. Thrives in disturbed areas, forms dense thickets; little grows with it so it crowds out vegetation. Unfortunately, the soil remains bare between the stems which can be susceptible to erosion. This plant decreases species diversity, alters ecosystems. Can grow to 3-15′ tall. Its stems are easy to identify, notched like bamboo and have purple-red speckles.
Properties: very high in resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grapes, peanuts, mulberries, red wine
Uses: Leaves, young shoots: spring vegetable in Asian cultures, Used extensively in Traditional Chinese Medicine with other herbs for gastrointestinal issues, cardiovascular issues as well as cognitive function. Resveratrol continues to be studied for its effect on decreasing cancer and helping combat Lyme’s Disease. In the plant, resveratrol acts to stop microbial infections. It’s this observation that links the way Japanese knotweed may work in Lyme’s disease.
I came across this article, from the forager chef, on how to cook and use it. I am not familiar with foraging this plant but the recipe I link you too looks delicious. It’s too early here but I know of a patch and will keep an eye on it. Young stems 12″ or less need to be cut in the early spring. Otherwise, as the season and growth progresses, the stems become too fibrous and not very palatable. You can make a refreshing tea from its roots.
Let’s look at the root, known as ‘tiger root’ in the orient..
Healing Spirits Herb Farm has been selling the root for many years. It’s been difficult for me to find a picture of its roots due to royalty rights. However, from the ones I found, I can see Matthias’ description very well. There’s a knot, then root, then knot, then root and the root can go down 10′! No wonder once you got it, it won’t go away. It’s the root that he harvests and because he does so, he contributes to managing the land space where this plant is located by his ‘neck of the woods’ in western NY. Will it go away? No. but by harvesting in large quantities he helps control its spread.
Now, tying in the Doctrine of Signatures, the root system seems to have notches, like steps, Maybe this pattern gives a clue as to how the plant works. Studies are showing that the root in tincture or capsule form helps kill the bacteria found in Lyme’s Disease. The resveratrol may work on the bacteria in steps. Can we prove this? Not yet. But observations from nature have validity and patient healing offers hope for healing Lyme’s disease.
Today, its too early to gather the young shoots and leaves but I want to try. I also want to make a tea this summer from its root. How about you? We have plants in our backyards we have forgotten how to use. How about looking into an invasive such as Japanese knotweed and use it. Get your neighbors involved. Make a recipe and bring to a block party, a family picnic. Remember it’s a cherished food in Asian cultures.
Send me your recipe, a short story on how you use Japanese knotweed. I look forward to hearing from you.
Autumn winds through December bringing the holiday season to our doors. Pine and Juniper boughs decorate our hearths leaving the smell of the forest mingling with the aromas of holiday baking. Doesn’t the scent bring you back to childhood or a time when we used fresh boughs more frequently? It does for me. Did you know that Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea for electric Christmas tree lights in 1882? Prior to these inventions, candles were used to light up the trees. The combination of candlelight and dry needles posed for a serious fire hazard. They began mass production of them in 1890.
White Pine, Pinus strobus, is often used and thought of as the “Christmas Tree.”
White pine has a rich and noble history that predates the arrival of European settlers.
The Iroquois Confederacy began hundreds of years before 1492. This Confederacy culminated in the joining of Five North Eastern American Tribes into a peaceful union. Weapons were buried beneath the White Pine tree or planted at the bottom of the hole of a new planting to symbolize the laying down of arms. The Confederacy sought to negotiate a peaceful outcome with and for all tribes. The Iroquois Nation offered this symbol to the new arrivals in order to develop diplomacy. Thus the White Pine is a powerful symbolic and healing plant for the Iroquois nation.
Did you know that when the first Europeans arrived in North America, they noticed large swaths of bark peeled from the trees? Many NE Tribes used the inner barks of trees for food and medicine.
White Pine: Pinus strobus
Where Found: Eastern US; Evergreen, tall, grows to about 50-80′; native and common to eastern half US; needles- 5 inches; the needle count of 5 is a distinguishing characteristic. This tree is considered the most valuable hardwood in North America used for trim work, delicate cabinetry, etc.
Wildlife and birds feed on the seeds and soft needles. Deer and Porcupine seem to like the inner bark for winter feed.
Bald eagles will build nests at the main branch located below the crown top.
Parts Used: Twigs, bark, leaves, and pitch;
Pine needles used for sewing; basket making; tea; good to chew on to freshen breath; strong tea can be used as a hair, face or body wash; High in Vitamin C, pine needle tea helped the early settlers relieve symptoms of scurvy. This is an easy tea to make when out camping overnight. During a wilderness class I participated in several years ago, we made pine needle tea at our campsite. One less item to carry; needles readily available in our forest setting.(See recipe below)
Resins (pine pitch) used as cement to seal the seams in canoes; also chewed for a sore throat; they would dry, powder, and apply the dried resin to sore throats; resin added to a salve is supposed to be great for taking out a splinter or bringing a boil to a head;
Inner bark: used with other herbs or inner barks e.g. wild cherry bark, to make a cough syrup for colds; chronic indigestion, flu, kidney troubles. The inner barks and small twigs as a tea helped as an expectorant;
Essential oil: antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, deodorant, diuretic; refreshing, stimulating qualities; can also bring relief in a body oil for muscular pain.
Whiffing the soft fragrant essential oil can help alleviate a dark mood as it has an uplifting, enlivening quality. Essential oil of pine can be added to bath or skin oils in very small amounts as it can be irritating to the skin for some people. You will find pine oil used in combination with other essential oils for this reason.
Inhalation of the oil is good for colds, sinusitis, and sore throats and can be mixed with eucalyptus or tea tree oil. Placing several drops of pine oil in a pot of water and leaving on a wood-stove can permeate the room with a delightful forest fragrance.
Caution: Do not use: Dwarf pine oil: Pinus pussilio or Pinus mugo. These oils are hazardous to health.
I like drops of essential oil of pine sprinkled in a pot of warm water on my wood stove. The essential oil comes in handy too for any sniffle. As December takes us into the midst of the holiday season, remember white pine. Sprinkle a few drops on your decorations and bring the scent of the forest into your home.