Arjun Walia, Collective Evolution
It was so great to find out that doctors in Scotland are actually prescribing hiking as a form of medication, something that will not put money into the medical industry and into the doctors pocket. It’s a prescription based on the health and well-being of the patient, recognizing that medication can often be a harmful option unless direly needed, and that in most cases there are alternatives to certain ailments.
NHS Shetland, the health authority in the Scottish archipelago, has authorized the move to officially prescribe nature as a healthy supplement to traditional health care. The goal of the program is to open the eyes of health professionals around the world to such simple, non-traditional treatments for the body and mind.
“For everything from high blood pressure to diabetes, anxiety, and depression, the medical community is learning (though lots of us have always known) that many ailments and diseases can be treated with activities like bird watching, maybe a little kayaking, perhaps combing a beach for shells, even skipping pebbles across a slow-moing stream. Even just sitting silently in a forest, meditating.” (Adventure Journal )
The science is quite clear about nature being essential for optimal health and wellbeing. We are designed to be in it, and it’s a shame our system could not work with nature while at the same time developing the way we have. Instead, we’ve worked against it, used it and abused it, and we hardly spend any time in it given the choices we make in modern day human lifestyle.
Here is an article summarizing research that shows hiking can literally change the brain. I also published an article that provides a number of sources detailing what can happen to our body when we try “Earthing,” or walking barefoot on the ground. It can reduce inflammation, change your blood pressure, heart rate, etc. There are a whole host of benefits and ailments that can be managed through regular grounding practice. You can read more about that in the article linked below.
Scotland’s move to begin doing this is something that’s going to become more prevalent as the consciousness of our planet continues to shift and people continue to think more holistically. Our society is trying to transition into one where wellbeing comes first and is the driving factor behind our decisions, not money. Right now, the main things doctors do, unless they are trauma doctors, working in the ER and performing surgeries (a key aspect of modern day medicine), is prescribe medication, this leaves little room for preventative advice, even though that is changing slowly as well.
Looking at a baby, you see something that is the closest thing to our natural state at the moment. It’s a time when we are extremely curious and there is nothing on our mind but exploration and discovery. Today, things have changed and the human lifestyle requires us to work frivolously hard to keep a roof over our head and food in our mouths. This has created a number of health and wellness challenges, including a rise in mental health challenges that arise for many reasons.
One thing is for sure, if we spent more time outside in nature we would begin to feel a whole lot better, and significantly reduce our chances of contracting various diseases and ailments. That being said, I do not mean to paint a depressing picture, we are here to learn and play within this human experience, and ultimately change it for the better as time goes on. Sometimes we have to face the starker realities of our current world, to realize what we need to begin shifting.
Our Consciousness Is The Starting Point
There are some challenges, our consciousness and the ‘system’ we have for medicine. Firstly, we have chosen to stay asleep in many ways. Even when life pokes at us to wake up and change ourselves, our lifestyle etc. we keep our heads down and push on, blaming the other things for all of our problems, when it’s only part of it. We have to begin to wake up, and be proactive in what we can change in our lives. We have more power in that area that we realize.
When it comes to the system, most of what is done is done for profit first. Humanity, well-being, and empathy seem to come second, or not at all. The medical field is a perfect example. Imagine if doctors were actually properly educated, and prescribed nothing but healthy, proven remedies instead of prescription medication that sometimes don’t even go through appropriate safety testing?
Prescription medications cause approximately 100,000 deaths every single year (( Null, G PHD. (2011). Death by Medicine. Mount Jackson, VA: Praktikos Books), and they’re also responsible for a number of adverse effects on the human body. What’s worse is the corruption and deceit from where these medications come. It’s also noteworthy to mention that pharmaceutical companies cannot be held liable for issues that arise from their product, they are completely protected and have no incentive to develop safe medications. This, alongside their domination over government regulatory agencies, provides a recipe for disaster, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing today.
What’s even more bothersome is that we are talking about professionals with giant hearts, who enter into this profession to do nothing but good, with good intentions.
Doctors have no choice but to prescribe medications, it’s part of how they make money and it’s a big part of what they’re trained to do. Little effort is put into actually looking at the medication, where it comes from, the approval process it’s gone through and the independent research that usually completely counters the pharmaceutical research. Doctors can actually get in trouble for prescribing something that does not cost any money. Take alternative treatments for cancer, for example, they exist outside of a doctor scope, so they can’t touch them or they could lose their license. The only two options doctors are even allowed to mention are radiation and chemotherapy. It’s patented, so that’s what we get.
There are so many ailments where prescription medications are simply not necessary. Inflammation, arthritis, many mental health diagnoses and more. The pharmaceutical industry loves to create new ailments, and perpetuate them, because they can make a pill for each one. It’s quite clear that there is a big problem with healthcare when our doctors are learning absolutely nothing about these types of interventions, and are simply trained to prescribed drugs. What about nutrition? What about meditation and spirituality?
Dr. Asseem Malhotra, a well-known Doctor in Britain had some choice words to say in front of the European Parliament about modern-day medical education and overall knowledge doctors possess. He stated that we are in “an epidemic of misinformed doctors.” He’s one of many who continues to emerge and speak out. You can watch that video and read more in-depth about it here.
The point is, you don’t need to constantly rely on your doctor for something that’s not so serious and life-threatening. You have the ability to think and do your own research. The issue here is that people are putting their complete trust in doctors, with no questioning or research themselves.
At the end of the day, spending time in nature and away from our modern day lifestyles is vital for anybody who wants to achieve optimal health, take care of themselves and feel good.
This article (Scottish Doctors Are Now Prescribing Hikes & Time Outdoors For Their Patients) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.
16-Year-Old Vegan Stuns The World With His Gorgeous Desserts And Breakfasts
Jose is a 16-year-old vegan who creates masterpiece dishes. Not only are they nice to look at, but they’re delicious, too!
Vegan food gets so much flak from meat-eaters who assume the diet is tasteless, unsatisfying, and boring. Vegans would obviously disagree as, with just a little effort and know-how, plant-based foods can truly drown our mouths with flavour. I mean, many Indian dishes are vegan, and they’re working with the largest spice palette in the world.Formun Üstü
Fortunately, many vegan food bloggers have won over the taste-buds of the masses by not only providing delicious and healthy recipes, but also delivering amazing images of their final result. Even amongst these creative masters, however, few can top the way this 16-year-old displays his stunning pieces of food art.
Jose is quickly becoming a vegan star by whipping up amazing vegan desserts and breakfasts and putting them up on Instagram (check out his account here). One might wonder what’s so special about a smoo thie bowl or vegan cheesecake, but one look at Jose’s creations will explain all.
It’s worth mentioning too that the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle have been brought to the forefront over the past few years, and with the help of a few documentaries like What The Health?, more people are considering making the switch. The typical Western diet is comprised largely of animal products, sugars, and fried foods, all of which cause a number of health issues, whereas a plant-based diet can help prevent over 60% of chronic disease deaths. What’s more, in addition to the physical effects animal products have on our well-being, they also wreak havoc on the environment, too.
The planet and its many creatures owe much to activists like Jose, who take their love for the Earth to a whole new level. Why not have fun with your passion and show care for the Earth at the same time?
If you’d like to check out more recipes and beautiful images for a worthwhile cause, you can check out another ’16 year old vegan boy’ named Simon (@fruitysimon), who created an E-book filled with vegan recipes and tips (click here to get it). 100% of profits go to Mercy For Animals!
This article (16-Year-Old Vegan Stuns The World With His Gorgeous Desserts And Breakfasts) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.
Cancer-Linked Monsanto Chemical Discovered In Five Major Orange Juice Brands
It’s confusing why non-profits spend so much time and resources on raising money and awareness for cancer research, but completely leave out the links between cancer and harmful pesticides, heavy metals, processed meats, electromagnetic radiation, various cleaning and cosmetic products, as well as several other cancer-causing sources. All we do is try to raise money, and yet in doing so, we pay no attention to the causes.
If you have ever walked, ran, ridden, played a sport, or grown a moustache in support of large corporate-sponsored efforts to cure cancer, you are to be sincerely commended for your time, your effort, and your concern for your fellow human beings. Just know that such efforts have likely not—and will never—contribute to finding a cure for cancer.
Western cancer research is organized as a business whose fundamental motivation is profit, and has become the subject of numerous excellent books and documentaries, among them being Forest Gamble’s Thrive and Ty Bollinger’s The Truth About Cancer. Western medicine will likely never cure cancer because it’s so profitable, and it’s sad that they often ignore the causes of it. Doctors are only allowed to recommend the patented treatment.
One cause of cancer, among several other diseases, is glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. In November 2012, the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology published a paper titled Long Term Toxicity of Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup-Tolerant genetically modified maize by Gilles-Eric Séralini and his team of researchers at France’s Caen University (source). It was a very significant study that made a lot of noise worldwide, as it was the first of its kind under controlled conditions that examined the possible effects of a GMO maize diet treated with Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide. The rats studied developed cancer, but the study was retracted and then republished in several journals across the world, but the original retraction caused hundreds of scientists to sign a letter in support of the study. It’s one of many examples that high-lights how corporations control science and brush the important research that threatens their interests straight under the rug. You can read more about that particular study here.
In fact, I also recently published an article on Robert F. Kennedy explaining how our federal regulatory agencies have been completely compromised by these big corporations. You can watch that video and read about some more examples here.
There is a wealth of science showing how harmful glyphosate is to human health as well as the environment. This is why it’s completely banned in dozens of countries, as they’ve cited numerous health and environmental concerns. It’s quite clear that it’s not safe, and this isn’t really debatable.
In fact, EU regulators recently decided to relicense glyphosate, and their decision was based on an assessment that was plagiarized from industry reports. It’s quite backwards that, for years, health regulators have been relying on the scientific reports from the companies that manufacture these products instead of seeking out independent scientific studies. A group of MEPs decided to commission an investigation into claims that Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (bFr) copy-and-pasted tracts from Monsanto studies. You can read more about that here.
The only science showing that glyphosate is safe is the science that’s dished out by the manufacturers and shareholders themselves, which is in stark opposition to all independent science as well as the science coming from foreign countries.
Corporations can’t be trusted these days, unfortunately, and neither can our federal regulatory agencies. This is why ordinary people are turning towards organizations that don’t stand to benefit or gain from these products and are completely non-profit, citizenry-driven organizations like Moms Across America.
Moms Across America is a National Coalition of Unstoppable Moms. Their motto is “Empowered Moms, Healthy Kids.” Their mission is to “raise awareness about toxic exposure, empower leadership, and create healthy communities. We support local activities, initiate campaigns and share solutions nationwide to improve our health and freedoms.”
Glyphosate & Orange Juice
They are the group who took initiative and discovered that glyphosate is found inside of all 5 major orange juice brands across the United States. These juices are heavily marketed as ‘100% pure orange juice,’ but that’s not true as they’re loaded with unhealthy amounts of added sugars.
What is glyphosate doing in orange juice? Glyphosate is the active chemical ingredient in Roundup, manufactured by Monsanto, and 750 other brands of glyphosate-based herbicides. Roundup is the most widely used herbicide in the world, often sprayed as a weed-killer between citrus trees and found in irrigation water and rain.
Moms Across America founder Zen Honeycutt stated, “The discovery of glyphosate residue in orange juice is unacceptable, especially since a branch of the World Health Organization designated glyphosate a probable carcinogen, two years ago, back in the spring of 2015. The EPA has had ample time to revoke the license of this chemical and restrict its use in our food and beverage crops. As confirmed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, our children (who frequently drink orange juice for breakfast) are especially vulnerable to pesticides and measures should be taken immediately to protect them.”
Two samples of each of the following brands were tested for both the herbicide glyphosate and its residue AMPA. Positive results ranged from 4.33 parts per billion (“ppb”) to an alarming 26.05 ppb. Chemical farming proponents will claim that these levels are too low to cause harm, and are definitely lower than the EPA’s allowable glyphosate residue level of 30 ppm on citrus, but these claims are irrelevant in comparison to new data. Studies have shown that only 0.1 ppm (100ppb) of glyphosate destroys beneficial gut bacteria, weakening the immune system, which can lead to a wide variety of health and neurological issues. Considering the standard American diet is high in wheat, sugar, oatmeal, soy, and corn, with levels of up to 6000 ppb or 1.67ppm detected, a child can easily exceed the 100 ppb if a glass of orange juice is added at 26 ppb. Additionally, 1 part per trillion (ppt) has been shown to stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells. 1 ppt is equivalent to 1 drop in the water of 22 olympic swimming pools combined. Considering that studies show glyphosate bioaccumulates in bone marrow, any amount ingested is unacceptable.
Below is a chart of the brands that were tested as well as the results.
The full report can be seen here. The testing methodology was “Glyphosate and AMPA Detection by UPLC-MS/MS.”
The Health Research Institute Laboratories routinely undergoes independent, third party proficiency testing of its methods. The lab is also certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments act of 1988 (CLIA-88) to perform high complexity clinical testing.
“It is commonly believed that Roundup is among the safest pesticides… Despite its reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions.” – R. Mesnage (et al., Biomed Research International, Volume 2014 (2014), article ID 179691)
The only takeaway here is for one to be aware of and share this information, and to vote with your dollar. Don’t get your lawn sprayed with Roundup. Instead, seek out alternatives and don’t buy conventional food. Try and switch to organic and non-GMO products.
At the end of the day, human beings are the source of these corporations’ profits. We must educate ourselves and seek out information independently.
This article (Cancer-Linked Monsanto Chemical Discovered In Five Major Orange Juice Brands) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.
Scientists Show How Gratitude Literally Alters The Human Heart & Molecular Structure Of The Brain
Gratitude is a funny thing. In some parts of the world, somebody who gets a clean drink of water, some food, or a worn out pair of shoes can be extremely grateful. Meanwhile, somebody else who has all the necessities they need to live can be found complaining about something. What we have today is what we once wanted before, but there is a lingering belief out there that obtaining material possessions is the key to happiness. Sure, this may be true, but that happiness is temporary. The truth is that happiness is an inside job.
It’s a matter of perspective, and in a world where we are constantly made to feel like we are lacking and always ‘wanting’ more, it can be difficult to achieve or experience actual happiness. Many of us are always looking toward external factors to experience joy and happiness, when really it’s all related to internal work. This is something science is just starting to grasp as well, as shown by research coming out of UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Centre.
“Having an attitude of gratitude changes the molecular structure of the brain, keeps grey matter functioning, and makes us healthier and happier. When you feel happiness, the central nervous system is affected. You are more peaceful, less reactive and less resistant. Now that’s a really cool way of taking care of your well-being.”
There are many studies showing that people who count their blessings tend to be far happier and experience less depression. For one study, researchers recruited people with mental health difficulties, including people suffering from anxiety and depression. The study involved nearly 300 adults who were randomly divided into three groups. This study came from the University of California, Berkeley.
All groups received counselling services, but the first group was also instructed to write one letter of gratitude to another person every week for three weeks, whereas the second group was asked to write about their deepest thoughts and feelings about negative experiences. The third group did not do any writing activity.
What did they find? Compared to the participants who wrote about negative experiences or only received counselling, those who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health for up to 12 weeks after the writing exercise ended.
“This suggests that gratitude writing can be beneficial not just for healthy, well-adjusted individuals, but also for those who struggle with mental health concerns. In fact, it seems, practicing gratitude on top of receiving psychological counselling carries greater benefits than counselling alone, even when that gratitude practice is brief.” (source)
Previously, a study on gratitude conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis and his colleague Mike McCullough at the University of Miami randomly assigned participants to be given one of three tasks. Each week, participants kept a short journal. One group described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another group recorded daily troubles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on the positive or the negative. Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25% happier than the troubled group. They reported fewer health complaints and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more. (source)
Researchers from Berkeley identified how gratitude might actually work on our minds and bodies. They provided four insights from their research suggesting what causes the psychological benefits of gratitude.
- Gratitude unshackles us from toxic emotions
- Gratitude helps even if you don’t share it
- Gratitude’s benefits take time & practice. You might not feel it right away.
- Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain
The brain part is very interesting. The researchers at Berkeley used an fMRI scanner to measure brain activity while people from each group did a “pay it forward” task. During the task, the participants were given money by a “nice person.” This person’s only request was that they pass on the money to someone if they felt grateful.
They did this because they wanted to distinguish between actions motivated by gratitude and actions driven by other motivations like obligation, guilt, or what other people think. This is important because you can’t fake gratitude, you actually have to feel it. If you don’t feel grateful or practice trying to feel grateful by taking the necessary steps like keeping a gratitude journal, you may not experience as much joy and happiness.
In a world where emotions aren’t really taught in school and the importance is put on striving for high grades, it’s not abnormal to have difficulty feeling grateful. This is especially understandable if you’ve been brought up in the western world, which is full of consumerism and competition, a world where we’re constantly made to feel we are lacking so we need to strive for more.
Participants were asked to rate how grateful they felt toward the person giving them the money and how much they wanted to pay it forward to a charitable cause as well as how guilty they thought they would feel if they didn’t help. They were also given questionnaires to measure how grateful they felt in general.
“We found that across the participants, when people felt more grateful, their brain activity was distinct from brain activity related to guilt and the desire to help a cause. More specifically, we found that when people who are generally more grateful gave more money to a cause, they showed greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with learning and decision making. This suggests that people who are more grateful are also more attentive to how they express gratitude.
Most interestingly, when we compared those who wrote the gratitude letters with those who didn’t, the gratitude letter writers showed greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex when they experienced gratitude in the fMRI scanner. This is striking as this effect was found three months after the letter writing began. This indicates that simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain. While not conclusive, this finding suggests that practicing gratitude may help train the brain to be more sensitive to the experience of gratitude down the line, and this could contribute to improved mental health over time.”
It’s also interesting to note that a recent study just discovered a brain network that “gives rise to feelings of gratitude. The study could spur future investigations into how these ‘building blocks’ transform social information into complex emotions.” (source)
What About The Heart?
The work and research above is great, but where do we actually experience these feelings? They are clearly not a product of our brain, they are products of our consciousness, and when we feel them the brain responds. Researchers are now discovering that the heart also responds and that it might actually be the heart that’s responsible for sending these signals to the brain.
A group of prestigious and internationally recognized leaders in physics, biophysics, astrophysics, education, mathematics, engineering, cardiology, biofeedback, and psychology (among other disciplines) have been doing some brilliant work over at the Institute of HeartMath.
Their work, among many others, has proven that when a person is feeling really positive emotions like gratitude, love, or appreciation, the heart beats out a different message, which determines what kind of signals are sent to the brain.
Not only that, but because the heart beats out the largest electromagnetic field produced in the body, the Institute has been able to gather a significant amount of data.
According to Rolin McCratey, Ph.D, and Director of Research at Heartmath,
“Emotional information is actually coded and modulated into these fields. By learning to shift our emotions, we are changing the information coded into the magnetic fields that are radiated by the heart, and that can impact those around us. We are fundamentally and deeply connected with each other and the planet itself.” (source)
Another great point made below by the Institute:
“One important way the heart can speak to and influence the brain is when the heart is coherent – experiencing stable, sine-wavelike pattern in its rhythms. When the heart is coherent, the body, including the brain, begins to experience all sorts of benefits, among them are greater mental clarity and ability, including better decision making.” (source)
In fact, the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends in return. What’s even more amusing is the fact that these heart signals (from heart to brain) actually have a significant effect on brain function.
“Research findings have shown that as we practice heart coherence and radiate love and compassion, our heart generates a coherent electromagnetic wave into the local field environment that facilitates social coherence, whether in the home, workplace, classroom or sitting around a table. As more individuals radiate heart coherence, it builds an energetic field that makes it easier for others to connect with their heart. So, theoretically it is possible that enough people building individual and social coherence could actually contribute to an unfolding global coherence.” – McCratey
So far, the researchers have discovered that the heart communicates with the brain and body in four ways: neurological communication (nervous system), biophysical communication (pulse wave), biochemical communication (hormones), and energetic communication (electromagnetic fields).
“HeartMath research has demonstrated that different patterns of heart activity (which accompany different emotional states) have distinct effects on cognitive and emotional function. During stress and negative emotions, when the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered, the corresponding pattern of neural signals traveling from the heart to the brain inhibits higher cognitive function. This limits our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions. In contrast, the more ordered and stable pattern of the heart’s input to the brain during positive emotional states has the opposite effect. It facilitates cognitive function and reinforces positive feelings and emotional stability.” (source)
Gratitude and Positive Feelings Can Change The World
It gets deeper:
“Every individual’s energy affects the collective field environment. The means each person’s emotions and intentions generate an energy that affects the field. A first step in diffusing societal stress in the global field is for each of us to take personal responsibility for our own energies. We can do this by increasing our personal coherence and raising our vibratory rate, which helps us become more conscious of the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that we are feeding the field each day. We have a choice in every moment to take to heart the significance of intentionally managing our energies. This is the free will or local freedom that can create global cohesion.” – Dr. Deborah Rozman, the President of Quantum Intech (source)
Overall, this type of work suggests that human consciousness in general can change the world.
One study, for example, was done during the Israel-Lebanon war in the 1980s. Two Harvard University professors organized groups of experienced meditators in Jerusalem, Yugoslavia and the United Sates and asked them to focus their attention on the area of conflict at various intervals over a 27-month period. Over the course of the study, the levels of violence in Lebanon decreased between 40 and 80% each time a meditating group was in place. The average number of people killed during the war each day dropped from 12 to three, and war-related injuries fell by 70%. (source)
Another great example is a study that was conducted in 1993 in Washington, D.C., which showed a 25% drop in crime rates when 2,500 meditators meditated during a specific period of time with that intention.
This type of information is heavily correlated with quantum physics, as many experiments in that area as well as parapsychology (telepathy, remote viewing, distant healing) indicate similar findings. (source)
This holds true as far back as 1999. Statistics professor Jessica Utts at UC Irvine published a paper showing that parapsychological experiments have produced much stronger results than those showing a daily dose of aspirin helps prevent heart attacks. Utts also showed that these results are much stronger than the research behind various drugs like antiplatelets.
This type of work has statistically significant implications, yet is heavily ignored and labelled as pseudoscience simply because it conflicts with long-held beliefs we have trouble letting go of … But times are changing.
“For many years I have worked with researchers doing very careful work [in parapsychology], including a year that I spent full-time working on a classified project for the United States government, to see if we could use these abilities for intelligence gathering during the Cold War… At the end of that project I wrote a report for Congress, stating what I still think is true. The data in support of precognition and possibly other related phenomena are quite strong statistically, and would be widely accepted if it pertained to something more mundane. Yet, most scientists reject the possible reality of these abilities without ever looking at data! And on the other extreme, there are true believers who base their beliefs solely on anecdotes and personal experience. I have asked debunkers if there is any amount of data that would convince them, and they generally have responded by saying, “probably not.” I ask them what original research they have read, and they mostly admit that they haven’t read any. Now there is a definition of pseudo-science-basing conclusions on belief rather than data!” – Utts, Chair of the Statistics Department, UC Irvine (Dean Radin, Real Magic)
Emotions and other factors associated with consciousness have the power to transform our inner world in ways we don’t fully understand yet. These findings show how consciousness can actually transform the physical/material world, and that’s huge. This validates the idea that if we can change our inner world through gratitude, empathy, compassion, and meditation, we can make our outer world more peaceful.
This article (Scientists Show How Gratitude Literally Alters The Human Heart & Molecular Structure Of The Brain) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.
How WHOLE Turmeric Heals The Damaged Brain
Brain regeneration: long considered a feat impossible to accomplish, compelling research now reveals how a simple spice might contribute to stimulating the stem-cell mediated repair of the damaged brain.
Sayer Ji, Green Med Info
Turmeric is hands down one of the, if not the, most versatile healing spice in the world with over 800 experimentally confirmed health benefits, and an ancient history filled with deep reverence for its seemingly compassionate power to alleviate human suffering. It may also represent the pharmaceutical industry’s single most existential threat; given that the preliminary science signals turmeric is at least as effective as 14 drugs, and orders of magnitude safer as far as toxicological risk.
That said, most of the focus of turmeric research over the past decade has been cantered on only one of its many hundreds of phytocompounds: namely, the primary polyphenol in turmeric known as curcumin which gives the spice its richly golden hue. This curcumin-centric focus has led to the development of some very good products, such as phospholipid bound curcumin concentrate (e.g. Meriva, BCM-95) which greatly helps to increase the absorption and bio-activity of curcumin. But, curcumin isolates are only capable of conferring a part of turmeric’s therapeutic power – and therein lies the limitation and hubris of the dominant model where the focus is on isolating the presumably primary “magic bullet ingredient.”
Indeed, it has become typical within the so-called nutraceutical industry to emulate the pharmaceutical model, which focuses on identifying a particular “monochemical” tree within the forest of complexity represented by each botanical agent, striving to standardize the delivery of each purported ‘active ingredient‘ with each serving, as if it were a pharmaceutical drug. These extraction and isolation processes also generates proprietary formulas which are what manufacturers want to differentiate their product from all others and henceforth capture a larger part of the market share; a value proposition that serves the manufacturer and not the consumer/patient.
Truth be told, there is no singular ‘magic bullet’ in foods and herbs responsible for reproducing the whole plant’s healing power. There are, in fact, in most healing plants or foods hundreds of compounds orchestrated by the intelligent ‘invisible hand’ of God or ‘Nature,’ or whatever you wish to call it, and which can never be reduced to the activity of a singularly quantifiable phytocompound or chemical.
Beyond The Curcumin ‘Magic Bullet’ Meme
Not long ago, a highly compelling study published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy provided additional support for the concept that curcumin alone is not enough to explain the healing power of turmeric as a whole plant. The study found that a little known, fat-soluble component within turmeric – Ar-tumerone – may make “a promising candidate to support regeneration in neurologic disease.”
Titled, “Aromatic-turmerone induces neural stem cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo,” German researchers evaluated the effects of this turmeric-derived compound on neural stem cells (NSCs) – the subgroup of brain cells capable of continuous self-renewal required for brain repair.
The study found that when brain cells were exposed to ar-tumerone, neural stem cells increased in number through enhanced proliferation. Moreover, these newly formed neural stem cells also increased the number of fully differentiated neuronal cells, indicating a healing effect was taking place. This effect was also observed in a live animal model, showing that rats injected with ar-tumerone into their brains experienced increases in neural stem cell proliferation and the creation of newly formed healthy brain cells.
This study did not go unnoticed by major medical news channels. Here are some good reviews if you wish to explore the implications in greater depth:
- Newsweek: Curry Power: Turmeric Compound Boosts Growth of Brain’s Stem Cells
- Guardian Liberty Voice: Turmeric Cure Evidence Grows
- Monthly Prescribing Reference: Turmeric May Help Regenerate Brain Cells
- Times of Malta: Turmeric Link to Brain Cell Repair
- Medical Daily: Turmeric Helps Your Brain Heal Itself: Spice Up Your Brain
The GreenMedInfo.com Turmeric Database Confirms its Brain-Saving Power!
As you may already know, our database is the world’s most extensive open access natural medical database on over 1,600 different natural substances, with over 2700 study abstracts on turmeric’s healing properties indexed thus far: view the Turmeric research page here to view! (Watch the video below for more details about our public resource).
If you take a look at the laundry list of over 800 diseases that this spice (or its components, e.g. curcumin) has been studied for to prevent and/or treat, the sheer volume of supportive literature is astounding. Amazingly, we have identified over 270 physiological pathways – according to their conventional pharmacological characterization, e.g. COX-2 inhibitor, Interleukin 6 down-regulator – by which turmeric or its components heal the human body. In addition, you will find over 217 articles on turmeric’s neuroprotective properties on this page: Turmeric as a Neuroprotective agent. (Find out how we generate these results in the video below)
The research clearly indicates that turmeric is a great brain supportive plant. For a more layperson oriented review, read the following articles:
- How Turmeric Can Save the Aging Brain From Dementia
- Turmeric Produces ‘Remarkable’ Recovery in Alzheimer’s Patients
- The Spice That Prevents Fluoride From Destroying Your Brain
How To Get The Most Out of Your Turmeric
One of the most frequent questions asked is ‘what is the best type of turmeric or curcumin to use‘? Obviously, given the aforementioned research, the whole plant is going to carry a wider range of therapeutic compounds than curcumin alone. And yet, most have been heavily enculturated to focus entirely on the ‘how much’ question, opting to identify the molecular weight (i.e. how many milligrams in a serving) of a particular compound as more important than the qualitative dimensions (e.g. is it organic? It is delivered within its natural context as food or a whole plant?) which reflect the type of nutrigenomic information the substance contains, and therefore the ‘intelligence’ it embodies. To learn more about the intelligence of food watch my e-course with Ayurveda master herbalist KP Khalsa, which is available (along with a database of educational videos) for free as a member.
And really, there is no generic answer to a generic question about the best way to take turmeric/curcumin. The question always comes from an individual with a particular need, and so, recommendations must be bio-individualized.
For instance, if you have colonic inflammation or polyps, and you are trying to use turmeric to reduce inflammation there or regress precancerous growths, then using the whole plant is best versus a highly bioavailable form of curcumin in capsule form (e.g. Meriva), for instance, which will likely be absorbed by the small intestine and mostly pass through the liver never getting adequate quantities to the large intestine. So, in this person’s case taking a teaspoon of relatively difficult to absorb turmeric may result in painting the diseased surfaces of that person’s intestinal or colonic lumen with exactly the form needed to reverse disease.
But what if you have someone who wants to experience a systemic effect, say, for arthritis or for brain cancer? In these instances, getting turmeric compounds such as curcumin through the glucuronidation barrier in the liver with a phospholipid-bound or black pepper (piperine) combination could be ideal. There is certainly a place for the ‘nutraceutical’ model when properly applied, especially when provided as an adjuvant to the pharmaceutical model within an integrative medical setting.
Ultimately, the goal is not to wait to have such a serious health problem that you have to force yourself to take a ‘heroic dose’ of any herb or food extract. Better is to use small amounts in culinary doses in combination with ingredients that synergize on a physiochemical/informational and sensual basis (producing the all-important vitamin P [pleasure] as well!). Recently we actually featured a study that showed culinary doses of rosemary helped improve memory whereas higher ‘heroic’ doses impaired it!
This is why exploring the use of turmeric in curries, or by adding a pinch in a smoothie, may be an ideal daily supplementation approach, versus capsules, whose questionably ‘natural’ capsules and excipients all can add up to cause some stress on the liver you are trying to protect with these natural interventions. Just remember quality is everything and less can be more!
Originally published: 2018-11-20
Article updated: 2019-08-18
About the Author
Sayer Ji is founder of Greenmedinfo.com, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Collective Spark or its staff.
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