The history of herbs as medicine history

I’m sitting on a humble metal chair inside a traditional eight-sided Native American hogan, made with wood planks and packed dirt, trying to work up the courage to ask an intimidating Navajo medicine man if he has the power to heal me.
Over by the door, which faces to the east, the direction of the morning light, where Navajos believe that all good things come from, is a wood-burning stove. To my right is Herman Chee, a 60-year-old Navajo medicine man, and his grandson, Larry Holliday, who serves as an interpreter.
Chee is a serious-faced man wearing a blue bandana, a long turquoise necklace and elaborate bracelets. Patients use medicine men to cure them of illnesses but also to restore their spirituality, or purge bad mojo that comes from experiences the Navajo consider taboo, like seeing a dead body. In September, Francis Nez, a medicine man from Gallup, New Mexico, was charged with two counts of sexually assaulting members of his own family, and in 2007, a Navajo medicine man named Alden Chee (no relation to Herman Chee) was convicted of sexually assaulting a female client with a mental disability. Biard asked if I was willing to pay the medicine man for his time and although I’ve never paid anyone for an interview, I was also asking the medicine man for a consultation or a service, so I felt that I could justify it. That was more than I could commit to, so I asked Biard to try to find a medicine man who’d be willing to meet me for $50. Chee says that medicine men can help relatives but they can’t help themselves or their spouses.
Chee says that he has instruments, tools in his medicine bag to treat them, but when I ask to see them he closes his eyes, grimaces, tightens his jaw, exhales deeply and is silent for several moments. Chee tells me he was in the Air Force many years ago and has worked as a bus driver and a carpenter but is now simply a medicine man.
He says that his clients have to make a reservation to see him and that they pay him for his services, or if they don’t have money, they offer him turquoise, buckskins, sheep, jewelry, horses or even cows.
Larry tells me that his grandfather wants to know more about me and I see this as the opening I’ve been waiting for. I have a deep respect for the Navajos and their traditions but I’m from another world, another culture.
But I resist the temptation to make a reservation for a ceremony because I don’t want to leave this hogan as a skeptic buying a ceremony just to test if it works, because under those circumstances, the experiment is doomed to fail. I want to ask him about the three Navajo medicine men who were charged (two have been convicted so far) with sexual abuse crimes, but decide to lighten the mood first by asking if he knows of any cures for hangovers. We step out of the hogan and the luminous glow of the towering, ageless buttes and mesas off on the horizon lend our meeting a fitting denouement.
A couple of years ago Gwyneth Paltrow made headlines when wearing a backless dress after getting cupping during an acupuncture treatment. Since that time I’ve been approached by many people who are new to holistic medicine asking me not only about acupuncture, but also about cupping.
Cupping is most commonly associated with Chinese medicine, but it has actually been used in cultures across the world for many years.
Antonia Balfour is an acupuncturist and herbalist practicing in Pacific Palisades, California. Prior to modern medicine, many mothers and their babies did not survive pregnancy and the birth process.
Share this:Ayurveda is a holistic system of health and focuses primarily on prevention, free of all side effects that may be negative and can treat diseases from its source. The mind-body connection is essential to maintain and restore health when it is unwell, providing a significant number of techniques that make our own defenses can revive and do so through the body, mind, senses, intellect and the environment. The Panchakarma is the method used for the prevention and treatment of diseases, including massage together with herbs and oils.
Also, the Panchakarma is intended to eliminate all physiological impurities to prevent deregulated cell function which brings about the loss of health. Ayurveda offers treatments for the prevention and rejuvenation, with the use of herbs and oils in a gentle massage to allow some time pressure on certain points. Moreover, the skin is significantly connected with the brain and this type of massage, conducted with the help of two technicians working in total sync.
The total Panchakarma treatment is done in three stages, preceded by a private consultation with a medical consultant for ayurveda. The main processing that consists of the heat therapies application that opens the channels of the body and the capillaries. This is an ideal procedure for insomnia, headaches, mental tension, and anxiety and in general it is recommended to relieve imbalances in the body in general.
Holistic treatments such as ayurveda bring harmony uniting body, mind, and spirit in an indivisible whole.
Turmeric has an active component known as curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that helps with loads of things and in this podcast I share some of the benefits, along with answering the question about side effects. A study I was reading in the Cancer Research Treatment Journal stated that there have been 100 clinical studies on curcumin and over 6000 citations, meaning it’s also mentioned in many other studies as well. In fact it has been reported to help with ALL kinds of inflammation and in a study by the Cancer Research Foundation?? Back in episode #32 of the GFE Podcast I talked about how fat tissue is a very metabolically active tissue that produces many pro-inflammatory molecules.

Human studies have also shown that turmeric taken at 1-4 g a day has a positive effect on cholesterol levels, decreasing total triglycerides, lowering LDL, and raising HDL. So turmeric can be bought as a dry spice, if you’ve never seen it, it’s a bright yellow powder and it’s so strong it can actually be used to dye cloth, so don’t touch your clothes if you’ve been using it or you might just find you’ll have a nice yellow stain.
Many studies suggest that the bioavailability of turmeric is quite low, with only a small amount of it reaching the bloodstream. One way to get the full benefit of turmeric is to take it in a supplement form because they have managed to find a way to improve it’s bioavailability by encapsulating the curcumin in liposomes.
Another tip is to look for turmeric supplements that contain black pepper extracts because that has also been shown to aid absorption. As for how much to take, take 500-600 mg twice a day or as recommended on the product label because they will all be different.
However, People with gallstones or gall bladder issues should not take turmeric, nor should pregnant women.
The smell of burning cedar fills the crisp winter air and the crackling of the fire punctuates the gaps in our conversation. Chee speaks some English, but is more comfortable speaking Navajo, an oddly melodic tongue with no alphabet that the U.S. His bulky medicine bag is on the floor between us and it looks like the sort of briefcase a pharmaceutical rep would schlep around hospitals and office parks.
According to a story in USA Today, some insurance carriers in the southwest cover ceremonies performed by medicine men, which can cost thousands of dollars. I told Biard that I wanted to ask the medicine man how they would cure someone with MS and he said that his wife also had MS and had used a Navajo medicine man to try to help improve her condition.
A few days later, Biard called to tell me that he’d found a medicine man willing to work with my modest budget and the following week, I found myself in the hogan with Holliday and Chee. I can hear the crackling of the fire and a bird squawking in the distance as the anticipation builds. I ask him if he refers very sick patients to medical doctors and he shakes his head dismissively. I explain that I have MS and would like to know if he’s treated people with this disease and if so, how and what was the outcome. Perhaps they sized me up as a typical ignoramus who rolls into town and expects to have some natives do a tribal dance on the spot and I didn’t want to be that guy.
As Larry translates the question, a huge smile breaks out across Chee’s distinctively featured face for the first time and both men begin to laugh hysterically before Chee responds. I ask about the criminal medicine men and Chee says he doesn’t know them and knows nothing about their cases.
In these parts, where the landscape hasn’t changed much in centuries, it feels normal to be meeting with a medicine man. Cupping sometimes leaves circular marks on your back that can last from several days to a week after treatment. She is the co-owner and Clinical Director of Oasis Palisades, a Health & Wellness Center located in Pacific Palisades (on the Westside of Los Angeles, between Santa Monica and Malibu).
Organisms in this kingdom are multicellular, contain celluose as a structural element of their cell walls, and contain chloroplasts which allow the organisms to conduct photosynthetic activity. It’s an Indian spice that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine so that’s already saying something right? Turmeric contains over 300 different components but one of the most beneficial components is called curcumin. So it’s probably one of the nutrients or spices that has been studied much more than many others.
Amazingly, it has been discovered that turmeric reduces the inflammatory response in fat tissue and helps promote fatty acid oxidation. Research in the area of cholesterol and turmeric is still being undertaken but initial research does look promising. You can also buy the turmeric fresh at the store, it looks like a yellowish, orange root and if you’ve ever seen ginger, it has a similar resemblance to ginger except it’s a different color. But that doesn’t mean it provides no benefit and I’d still recommend using turmeric in cooking and teas because small amounts on a more frequent basis accumulate and do provide many benefits. Both the turmeric and the green tea are anti-inflammatory and make a great combo and if you don’t drink green tea, try it in chamomile or even a lemon tea and it will be great too. In studies it has been shown that taking it this way has a faster and more effective absorption rate. And if you are taking medications of any kind, it is always advised that you check with your doctor or health practitioner for any contraindications. My motto is: “YOUR HEALTH IS YOUR WEALTH” because there is nothing in this world that makes us more wealthy than having good health.
I discovered this years ago from my chiropractor, we lose more magnesium when we menstruate. A wooly sheepskin rug lies before us, a small American flag is hung on the wall, and there’s a loom with a colorful Navajo rug in the corner.

Outside the hogan, the towering buttes and mesas of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park lend an almost mystical aura to the place. Each time I ask a question, he closes his eyes, grimaces and turns his head skyward before relaying his answer in Navajo, often using hand gestures to reinforce his points. Medicine men are highly respected in their culture, but a few have abused that power in recent years.
But after seven years of daily injections of a medication that would cost $50,000 per year if, God forbid, I was uninsured, I want to believe that Herman Chee, sitting next to me here in this hogan can cure me. He estimates that there are about 200 Navajo medicine men on a reservation the size of West Virginia with a population of nearly 300,000. But Holliday and Biard mentioned that medicine men were becoming harder to find and I want to know if there will still be medicine men in the Navajo Nation 20, 50 or 100 years from now. Islamic traditional medicine uses a form of cupping as does Eastern European Jewish folk medicine. Sliding cupping, in particular, leaves the muscles of the back relaxed and opens up movement and motility. If you’ve never heard of Ayurvedic medicine, it’s the ancient medical practice used in India for more than 3000 years. It’s this component that has been associated with having various antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, and antibacterial activities. What it does is it exerts an anti-inflammatory effect on our immune cells known as macrophages. So when looking for supplements look on the label to see if the turmeric is wrapped in phosopolipids. A vey powerful antioxidant that I’m sure we’ll continue to hear more about as the research unfolds. I truly believe that good food is the key to a happy, healthy life and I'm on a mission to inspire you to get back inside your kitchen, eat real food, and as a result, improve your health dramatically.
All you need to do is take a dose of magnesium powder and within 20 minutes the cramps should dissipate.
Holliday is a baby-faced young man who is wearing a straw hat and has a blue handkerchief tied around his neck. But he suggests that they probably weren’t real medicine men to begin with and says that those who abuse their craft will have to pay for their crimes. There are many styles and techniques of cupping, all of which use suction in cups to draw energy, blood, and fluids to the surface to promote circulation.
Most people find cupping to be a wonderfully relaxing, comfortable, and effective treatment. Patients are often surprised to find them because the treatment itself is so painless and relaxing, they have no idea that they’re there. The abortion procedure, however, becomes more difficult with advancing gestational age, and many providers do not perform pregnancy terminations in the second trimester. Women who plan to continue a pregnancy to term need to choose a health care provider who will provide prenatal care, delivery, and postpartum services. I think traditional medicines used in places like India and China have a long and valid history and many of their practices are based on using herbs, spices, special diets, and natural therapies, which is really interesting. These are key immune cells that are often responsible to recruit other immune cells and increase the initial inflammatory response that occurs. Where the supplement says it contains a high level of curcuminoid, for example it might say 95% curcuminoid, this is a good thing and virtually means the same thing because what it means is the turmeric has been modified to make the curcumin more soluble and more bioavailable to the body.
In Chinese medicine, the cups can stay in one place over specific acupuncture points or a sliding technique may be used with massage oil to move the cups around the back.
Like massage, cupping can also be used to relieve stress, tension, and lower blood pressure. That means turmeric is great because it’s stopping the macrophage cells from releasing pro-inflammatory molecules and upregulating inflammation. So here you'll find easy and practical info to help you eat well, and feel your best everyday. If you’re basking on the beach after a cupping treatment, you may just stir up some attention from those curious about this ancient healing technique. I don’t think it has an overpowering taste, perhaps a little bitter but when combined with other flavors you can’t taste it all that much, so be brave and give it a try. The suction comes from a vacuum created by heating the air in the cup and placing the cup flush against the skin of the back.
The intensity of suction used will vary, but is always adjusted for the comfort level of each patient.
Sometimes higher doses are prescribed if a woman has a higher than normal risk of these conditions. Pregnant women are advised to avoid all medications, unless the medications are necessary and recommended by a prenatal health care provider.
Women should discuss all medication use with their providers. Pregnant women should avoid all alcohol and drug use and limit caffeine intake.

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