On November 16, 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland, patient using medical cannabis addressed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) in hopes of creating new policies regarding cannabis worldwide.
“The current international policies on cannabis are outdated and are having a detrimental impact on patients in the United States and worldwide,” says Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and representative of IMCPC. “New policies should take into account new clinical research, product safety protocols for cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution, and global patient needs.”
Millions of people worldwide are using legally using medical cannabis. Countries including Canada, Israel, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Croatia, Mexico, Uruguay, Romania, Germany, Jamaica, Australia, and Switzerland have medical cannabis programs and dozens of other countries are reviewing legislation.
A Press Release from the U.S. Justice Department, Office of Public Affairs on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 announced the owner of a dietary supplement company is being sentenced to prison for a multi-million dollar scheme in which the company adulterate dietary supplements.
Pleading guilty, the owner admitted that from at least 2009 through November 2013, that he instructed employees to add “fillers” to the vitamin/herbal supplements sold through his company Raw Deal Inc. These “fillers” were added without customer consent or knowledge. He also directed employees not to list the “fillers” as ingredients on certificates of analysis issued to its customers as proof of the identity of the ingredients contained in the products.
This topic is one that I have discussed in earlier blogs. Since starting Pacific Herbs I’ve seen the inner workings of supplement manufacturers. This announcement from the Justice Department is no surprise. This company is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a LOT of adulteration happening in the supplement business. There are a lot of unscrupulous types that choose to deceive the public about what’s in there products. As a Licensed Health Practitioner first, Pacific Herbs products are a product line you can trust. We do not add fillers or use solvents to make our concentrated granules. See the inside of our manufacturing facility here and get the whole story.
U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas of the District of New Jersey ordered a sentence of 40 months in prison and one year of supervised release. Steinlight was also ordered to forfeit $1 million in profits from his fraudulent scheme. Steinlight previously pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiring to commit wire fraud.
“The Justice Department has increased its attention on supplement sellers who sell products that are not what they claim to be,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will investigate and prosecute companies and individuals that sell supplements that threaten the health of the American public and drain their bank accounts with misrepresented products.”
The “fillers,” adddd to the health supplements included maltodextrin, viobin cocoa replacer and rice flours, all sold to customers who thought they were buying a vitamin supplement. These “fillers” were added without customer consent or knowledge.
“Buyer Beware” has never been more important! If you’re going to spend money on supplements, know where they come from, who’s making them and who stands behind them. It’s that simple. There are many excellent companies out there, but the products are not sold at the big box stores. Stop buying vitamin supplements and herbs full of fillers. These products are a huge waste of money and they are out there. This was not the only company doing this. He just happened to get caught.
Only buy herb and vitamin supplements through your health practitioner or buy from a company that is completely transparent about it’s processing and sourcing.
I see so many women struggling with hormonal balance today. From age 15 to age 80 it seems everyone has symptoms. Some patients are breast cancer survivors others are dealing with menopause symptoms. Hormonal imbalances are not always just PMS & hot flashes, some of my patients have cold hands, irritability, mood swings, pre-menopausal bone fractures, sluggish metabolism (fatigue), thyroid dysfunction, fibrocystic breasts, anxiety, fibroids, irregular menstrual cycles, and /or insomnia to name just a few?
All of these symptoms can be related to hormonal imbalance and a state known as “Estrogen Dominance” which refers to as a cumulative load of estrogen effects that outpace progesterone.
So how does someone become “estrogen dominant” and how does estrogen effect our overall health? Understanding the causes requires first a look at the most common places we find estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen (E1) is produced mainly in the ovaries. Progesterone is produced mainly from the outside lining of a mature egg released from the ovaries. Our modern world has bio-mimicking hormone disruptor’s just about everywhere, the water we drink, the food we eat, the buildings we live in. Estrogen can also become a dominant hormone through the exposure to xeno-estrogens (chemicals that act on estrogen hormone receptors).
Xeno-estrogens are known endocrine disrupting chemicals and can be found in:
- Body-care products, including ones like sunscreens we coat on our bodies.
Pesticides in our food supply
Hormones used to plump up animals in our meat supply chain
Hormones in our milk supply
Unfiltered tap water can contain synthetic estrogen from birth control pills
Microwaving food in plastic containers releases xeno-estrogens
Some non-stick coated cookware release xeno-estrogens
Plastic water bottles contain xeno-estrogen chemicals
Processed food can contain propyl-paraben a well know endocrine disruptor (Propyl paraben is in 49 widely-available processed foods)
We can solve this, right? We can drink filtered water, eat only organic meat and vegetables, change some lifestyle habits and our hormones will go back into balance, problem solved. Theoretically this approach should work, IF the body can detox/eliminate the accumulated toxic estrogen load. Often this load is stored in fat and so many of us are struggling with our weight.
Lifestyle changes will help the toxic overload of estrogen but, unfortunately this is often not enough to bring the body back into balance. Considerations these tips for help with reducing your toxic estrogen load.
Creating a safer estrogen by-product or metabolite should be part of the overall detoxification plan.
1. Chinese herbs formula Jia Wei Xiao Yao San AKA Relax Herb Pack – This popular Chinese herb formula sold worldwide for stress and anxiety outsells all other Chinese formulas, year after year. Stress dramatically affects liver function through continual overproduction of cortisol. When the body over produces cortisol, estrogen dominance can flourish. Help the liver with stress and the downstream effects will improve. In Chinese medicine we always treat the liver first when there are signs of stress and estrogen dominance.
2. Methionine – This supplement provides sulfur (not the same as sulfa drugs) and acts as a cellular cleanser. It literally donates methyl groups for the biochemical reaction that rids you of poisons and harmful estrogen by-products. Foods can also donate methyl groups a few good ones are beets, legumes, eggs, broccoli, leafy greens, nuts and sunflower seeds.
3. Methylcobalamin – A form of B12, this supplement also provides a “methyl” group which helps the estrogen detoxification process. Keep in minds, antacids, some diabetes medications, certain cholesterol binding medicines and alcohol can wipe out your supply of methylcobalamin.
4. Calcium D-Glucarate – This is not the same as plain calcium. Toxins must combine with water-soluble substances to leave your body. This supplement combines with estrogen to help move it out.
5. Reishi Mushroom – Reishi is high in poly-saccharides which feed the body’s microbiome, which, in turn, help your metabolism including liver metabolism. Since your liver is your main detoxification organ, you need to do everything possible to keep it working optimally. Get into the habit of feeding your body foods that help every organ perform better. (Check out organic coffee & tea with reishi here)
6. Fermented foods such as miso soup, tempeh, kombucha, fermented vegetables i.e. pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi.
Keep in mind, reaching hormone balance can be accomplished faster with the elimination and avoidance of xeno-estrogens. However, most doctors will agree, diet, supplements, exercise and lifestyle-based strategies are equally important. Establish realistic goals for yourself and you will be successful in treating the root causes and symptoms of estrogen dominance.
1. Microbiome Researcher, Rob Knight Ph.D. The American Gut Project http://americangut.org/
2. Environmental Working Group. http://www.ewg.org/research/ewg-s-dirty-dozen-guide-food-additives/generally-recognized-as-safe-but-is-it
3. More great info on the human microbiome https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DTrENdWvvM
If you enjoy GOOD NEWS and Healthy news then you have got to listen to the Maria Sanchez Show.
Maria’s show is a great place to find interesting and lively discussions that will make you feel good.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Maria about how I got started with Pacific Herbs.
Maria is a great resource for everything healthy and I hope you’ll enjoy this show were Maria and I talk about creating health with Chinese Medicine and Chinese herbs.
Energy drinks have certaily had there share of controversey. New research points to serious heart function effects from too much caffeine. Interestingly, Starbucks coffee contains 76 milligrams of caffeine per 100 milliliters. That means a Starbucks coffee has more caffeine than that given to the test subjects in this study. Whether you're drinking excess coffee or energy drinks this study is an eye opener.
German doctors presenting at the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago said there is growing concern due to the lack of regulation of energy drinks. "Usually energy drinks contain taurine and caffeine as their main pharmacological ingredients," Dr. Dörner said. "The amount of caffeine is up to three times higher than in other caffeinated beverages like coffee or cola. There are many side effects known to be associated with a high intake of caffeine, including rapid heart rate, palpitations, rise in blood pressure and, in the most severe cases, seizures or sudden death."
The number of emergency room visits in recent years due to energy drink consumption nearly doubled from 10,068 to 20,783, according to the Radiological Society of North America. The study presented used cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, to measure the effects of the drinks on heart function.
Energy drinks increase heart contractions and know we have hard evidence they also change the body’s heart functions. Continuous and prolonged consumption of energy drinks with caffeine can lead to heart complications and may put these people at risk. Doermer said that the side effects associated with continuous caffeine consumption can include palpitations, increase in blood pressure, increase in heart rate, seizures or worst of all-sudden death.
However, according to a Forbes article, the details of the study also show that the energy drinks the researchers gave their subjects contained 32 milligrams of caffeine per 100 milliliters. This is less than the average Starbuck coffee.
The group of Doermer also clarified that they still need to determine how long the effect of the energy drinks last. This is because the researchers admitted that they have shown that energy drink consumption can have a short-term impact on the heart and further studies are now needed to determine its effect long-term as well as its effect on people with known heart disease.
Check out our natural energy booster WITHOUT caffeine. Energy Booster Herb Pack contains only natural herbs like ginseng and goji berries to give you real energy without caffeine side-effects. You can read more about our Energy Booster Herb Pack here.
Could a small group of Chinese herbs help those with spinal cord injuries?
A study conducted in Ontario Canada has asked percisely that question. The researchers at McMaster University have used Chinese herbs in rats and had success in spinal cord injury.The study results were published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience Journal and can be found in Science Daily. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130819185350.htm)
The herbal formula consisted of ginseng, rhizoma (chuan xiong), glycyrrhizae radix (gan cao), paeoniae alba radix (bai shao) and cinnamomi cortex (rou gui) and possibly a few other herbs to reduce the pain and inflammation. In this study rats began JSK treatment immediately after undergoing spinal cord injury. "Within 7 days, hindlimb locomotor function was significantly better in JSK-treated rats compared to those receiving only saline. JSK-treated rats continued to have better motor function than controls throughout the 21-day test period and treated animals appeared to support their weight better and have more coordinated movement." (Science Daily)
According to the European Heart Journal, a study conducted on 54,000 Norwegians over 11 years revealed that having symptoms of insomnia was linked to an increased risk of heart failure.
Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up unrefreshed were the symptoms of insomnia recorded in the questionnaires that were used to gather data.
Many health, behavioral and demographic factors were controlled in the study and it was found that having just one of the symptoms of insomnia increased chances of heart disease by 17 percent! Having two symptoms increased the chances by 92 percent, and having all three nearly tripled the risk.
The interesting factor about this study is that insomnia was a risk independent of other cardivascular risks, i.e. none of the participants started out with heart disease, but at the 11year follow up, 1,412 cases of heart disease were documented.
The study suggests that chronic insomnia leads to high blood pressure which leads to a higher heart rate. Both are known to increase risk for heart failure.
Lars E. Laugsand, lead auther of the study and postdoctoral fellow at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, stated “We cannot claim that insomnia is causing heart failure,” but acknowledges that insomnia plays a measurable role in the propensity of heart problems amongst individuals.
If you are having difficulty with sleep, consider using Chinese herbs. Pacific Herbs iSleep is a safe and effective formula without side effects that will help you get the rest you need. And according to this study, better sleep may protect your heart!
How a Harvard-trained doctor began to appreciate Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM.
As a child growing up in China, I was always aware of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is what we refer to as Eastern medicine, in contrast to the Western medicine we know from U.S. hospitals. I never understood much about TCM, only that it somehow involves herbs and that many Chinese people used it. The more I progressed in my medical training in major U.S. academic centers, the more distanced I felt from TCM. Why should I learn about something that lacks evidence, when there’s so much to know about for which there is good research?
Last fall, I went to China on a research trip. While my study is primarily on its Western medical system, I was so fascinated by what I learned of Eastern medicine that I spent many free evenings observing TCM practitioners. There is so much I didn’t know. As a discipline, TCM is far too complex for me to understand in my short observation, but there are some very important “lessons from the East” that are applicable to our Western medical practice:
#1. Listen—really listen. The first TCM practitioner I shadowed explained to me that to practice TCM is to “listen with your whole body”. Pay attention and use every sense you have, he said. I watched this doctor as he diagnosed a woman with new-onset cervical cancer and severe anemia the moment she walked into his exam room, and within two minutes, without blood tests or CTs, sent her to be admitted to a (Western) medical service. I’ve seen expert clinicians make remarkable diagnoses, but this was something else!
“How could you know what you had and that she needed to be admitted?” I asked.
“I smelled the cervical cancer,” he said. “I looked and saw the anemia. I heard her speak and I knew she could not care for herself at home.” (I followed her records in the hospital; he was right on all accounts.)
#2. Focus on the diagnosis. I watched another TCM doctor patiently explain to a young woman with long-standing abdominal pain why painkillers were not the answer.
“Why should we treat you for something if we don’t know what it is?” he said. “Let’s find out the diagnosis first.” What an important lesson for us—to always begin the diagnosis.
#3. Treat the whole person. “A big difference between our two practices,” said one TCM doctor, “Is that Western medicine treats people as organs. Eastern medicine treats people as a whole.” Indeed, I watched her inquire about family, diet, and life stressors. She counseled on issues of family planning, food safety, and managing debt. She even helped patients who needed advice on caring for the their elderly parents and choosing schools for their child. This is truly “whole person” care!
#4. Health is not just about disease, but also about wellness. There is a term in Chinese that does not have its exact equivalent in English. The closest translation is probably “tune-up to remain in balance”, but it doesn’t do the term justice, because it refers to maintaining and promoting wellness. Many choose to see a TCM doctor not because they are ill, but because they want to be well. They believe TCM helps them keep in balance. It’s an important lesson for doctors and patients alike to address wellness and prevention.
#5. Medicine is a life-long practice. Western medicine reveres the newest as the best; in contrast, patients revere old TCM doctors for their knowledge and experience. Practicing doctors do not rest on their laurels.
“This is a practice that has taken thousands of years to develop,” I was told. “That’s why you must keep learning throughout your life, and even then you will only learn just a small fraction.” Western medicine should be no different: not only are there new medical advances all the time, doctors need to continually improve their skills in the art of medicine.
#6. Evidence is in the eyes of the beholder. Evidence-based medicine was my mantra in Western medical training, so I was highly skeptical of the anecdotes I heard. But then I met so many patients who said that they were able to get relief from Eastern remedies while Western treatments failed them. Could there be a placebo effect? Sure. Is research important? Of course. But research is done on populations, and our treatment is of individuals. It has taken me a while to accept that I may not always be able to explain why—but that the care should be for the individual patient, not a population of patients.
“In a way, there is more evidence for our type of medicine than for yours,” a TCM teacher told me. “We have four thousand years of experience—that must count for something!”
There is so much I have not covered about TCM. Its practices vary regionally, and no doubt, there are more and less capable practitioners (as there are in Western medicine). More research into TCM methods will be important. However, regardless of whether we Western doctors want to prescribe TCM treatments, we should recognize there is much to learn from Eastern medicine, including what it means to be a physician to really care for our patients. Upon my return from China, I, for one, have a new found appreciation for Eastern medical practice and a renewed understanding of holistic medical care.
I having been surrounded (quite literally) for the past three days by so called “healthy products”, everything from fortified lolly pops, safer nail polish to every type of infused water possible. I had three days of endless conversations with wellness experts from around the world, Naturopaths, Dieticians, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Herbalists, Homeopaths and Bio-Chemists to name a few. Every health professional I spoke to had the same resounding theme, the key to better health is not in any one of these hot new health products that you’ll find at the Natural Products Expo and later on a store shelf. It’s not about curing a disease, it’s about PREVENTING it in the first place. The key is and always has been about PREVENTION.
I'm happy to report that a new menopause treatment will most likely not be approved by the FDA. A panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration overwhelmingly voted against a Depomed drug called Gabapentin to treat hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. Apparently, the benefits were heavily outweighed by the risks involved with this would be prescription menopause treatment.
Drug makers have been experimenting with non-hormonal treatments for menopause ever since they lost considerable market share with HRT drugs once they were proven to increase the risk for breast cancer and heart disease.
The FDA panelists overwhelmingly recommended the FDA reject the use of generically known Gabapentin pointing out that three company studies failed to show a significant reduction in hot flashes over 12 weeks. Patients also experienced side effects including dizziness, fatigue and balance problems. Gabapentin already carries a warning label that it can increase the frequency of suicidal thoughts. The FDA often follows the advice of panelists although it is not required to do so.