Antibiotic resistance: a herbalist’s perspective (2)

Antibiotic resistance: a herbalist’s perspective (2)

Last week I reviewed the issue of antibiotic resistance, and why unlike the perspective held by government, the medical profession and industry, I do not believe the issue is simply a technical problem that can be solved by finding the latest and greatest drug. Such a fantasy underlies much of what unfortunately motivates us as a species, that what we're looking for is just around the corner, instead of seeing the opportunities all around us. It is this same fantasy that drives drug development, and medical innovation is part and parcel of that which drives the economy, which itself is predicated on limitless, unending growth. The great irony, of course, is that this aspiration of growth is exactly the same as that held by cancer, a disease which is now the leading cause of death in countries such as Canada. But think of the cancer cell for just a moment: ignorant and naive, just a-trying to be the best little cancer cell it can be. It's all a matter of perspective: on the one hand, a … [Read more...]

Antibiotic resistance: a herbalist’s perspective (1)

Antibiotic resistance: a herbalist’s perspective (1)

If you have been keeping abreast of science news as of late, you might have come across a recent article published in the journal Nature, which again raises the emerging specter of antibiotic resistance. In a nutshell, antibiotic resistance describes a phenomena in which bacteria that were formerly susceptible to antibiotics are now resistant to them. Antibiotics were developed in the early 1900s, first with the development of the sulfonamides in the 1930s, the penicillins in the 1940s, shortly followed by an ever-growing list of antibiotics, including the tetracyclines, glycopeptides (e.g. vancomycin), metronidazole, cephalosporins (e.g. cefadroxil), and fluoroquinolones (e.g. ciprofloxacin). The development of antibiotics has been hailed as one of the great achievements of modern medicine, but as a herbalist, I have always found the boastful crowing of advocates rather high-pitched, particularly as how I have treated many cases of serious infection using methods that predate Western … [Read more...]

Q&A: open-angle glaucoma?

Q&A: open-angle glaucoma?

I have been diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma. What role does pressure play, and how can I attempt to address this issue with natural methods? Ophthamolgists and optometrists measure intraocular pressure through tonometry, a relatively non-invasive procedure that provides a somewhat imprecise measurement, and over the years they have noted a clear association between this build of fluid and observable damage to the back of the eye. The problem is that this association has been confused for causation - so that instead of finding out why the pressure is increased, and how this impacts the really important issue of optic nerve damage, the medical profession has been content to use very powerful medicines such as pilocarpine drops to reduce the intraocular pressure. Unfortunately, this reduction in IOP in the front of the eye has no real impact upon the underlying disease and the more important issue of retinal damage at the back of the eye. It is a treatment that is actually used to … [Read more...]

Fall Gardening tips

Fall Gardening tips

Here is a video I made a few years back that I never released, but it's the perfect time for it, as the weather in the video mirrors almost exactly what we're enjoying here in the Pacific Northwest. This video features an excellent assortment of tips and suggestions by one of my old teachers, master gardener, and herbalist, Elaine Stevens. Enjoy! … [Read more...]

Let them eat salt!

Let them eat salt!

If you have been keeping abreast of the news lately, you might have come across a news story that highlighted a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), which found that salt consumption wasn’t associated with an increase in systolic blood pressure in either men or women, after controlling for factors like age (1). Given that health authorities have been saying for years that salt increases the risk of hypertension, these recent findings are another wrench in works for low-salt proponents. This is not to say that very high salt consumption is safe. There is good evidence that reducing salt intake from 9-12 g per day, in large part from eating junk food and prepackaged foods, to less than 7 g per day, does promote a significant fall in systolic blood pressure (2). The problem is getting a handle on what exactly this means, particularly when these same changes seem to have no effect on lipid levels, and the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is at … [Read more...]