Friday, January 28, 2011



One common property of medicinal herbs is that they have multiple healing properties. So you can find yourself using one herb for many different ailments. But occasionally you’ll find one single herb that provides support for all the major aspects of a particular problem. I can think of no greater example than the herb lobelia as an aid to smokers.

Last week we had a fellow call us. He was about to leave his house, and saw six capsules on his countertop that he believed be goldenseal. He took them and left. After a while, he realized he forgot something and started back. He then felt nauseas, and like he wanted to die. Shortly after, he felt he was surely going to die. He then coughed, hacked, and began expectorating ‘a pile of black mucus.’. He said he was breathing like he was a kid again. He then learned that they were lobelia capsules. He figured this happened because he had been a smoker when he was younger.

This kind of situation happens when lobelia is taken in large doses when the lungs are in an extremely congested state. For a while lobelia was considered a poisonous herb by the FDA because it acted as an emetic. In that time (much like what we’ve seen with the herbs sassafras and comfrey) one chemical was taken out of lobelia (lobeline) and injected into animals until it killed them. Since lobelia is not just one chemical, it was eventually allowed back on the market. It would take several pounds of the herb injected into the blood to cause the toxic reaction these animals received. Furthermore, since someone vomits after eating a tablespoon of the stuff, it seems to have an excellent safety mechanism built in place.

Fortunately this only happens when lobelia is used in large doses, and someone wanting to clean the lungs gently can do so with lobelia. 1-2 capsules or ¼ - ½ a teaspoon of the herb would be a regular adult dose. People vary in sensitivity to this herb, but most should have no problem with these amounts. Lobelia is an expectorant herb, so it will push waste matter out of the lungs. It contains a chemical that resembles nicotine, but is not addictive. This can help satisfy the craving in a nicotine addiction. Further, many people use cigarettes to help calm down. Lobelia is one of the best nervine herbs there is. It will quite the nerves effectively and even help rebuild them! It is potent enough to use as a mild painkiller, massaged over cuts or scrapes or taken internally. It seems to me to be so well fitted to a smoking problem that there is little else that would be needed herbally.

In a small dosage, lobelia prevents vomiting. In large doses, it acts as an emetic. Dr. Christopher both saw and taught that asthma could be cleared overnight, provided lobelia was used during an asthma attack. This was the point at which the body was trying hardest to clear the lungs and would be most responsive. He would give them a cup of peppermint tea (mostly to settle the stomach so there wouldn’t be pains in the upcoming cleansing) and ½ a teaspoon of lobelia tincture. Every half hour he would give another dose. He said he never went over three ½ teaspoons. Then the person would vomit, and then cough up cups of tar and mucus from the lungs for 2-4 hours. This kind of dramatic healing crisis will only happen when there is an asthma attack or a respiratory emergency. Otherwise what could be done in a day will take a few months with smaller doses.

Cayenne pepper is also useful for cutting the mucus in the lungs. So would fenugreek, though I consider it less effective. Vitamin C supplements are also commonly used to help. Dr. Christopher used a formula containing wild oats, lobelia, cayenne and rose hips. The rose hips contain vitamin C. This formula is still made today, and is called the Smoke Out formula. In any case, lobelia works well by itself.

Find Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Formulas, single herbs, essential oils, books and more at Dr. Christopher’s Original Herb Shop:

NOTICE: All information in this newsletter is given out as information only and is not intended to diagnose or prescribe.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Probiotics & Enzymes

Enzymes, probiotics and multivitamins are common things you'll see in any health food store today. People continue to get them because they work and they feel better with them. That's interesting: you have over 400 different types of flora in the intestines, and supplementing with a mere 8 or 9 strains makes a difference in health. They must be really important!

So it’s probably a good idea to be aware of how to make your own probiotics and enzymes. This can be easily accomplished through fermentation. Fermenting food will create the enzymes, probiotics, B vitamins and other nutrition on a massive scale. There is one particular aspect about fermented food I would like to discuss, which are the antioxidant qualities.

After the atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima, the nuclear radiation alone was destroying lives. There were some people who did much better than the others with the radiation sickness. The common thread was that these individuals ate red miso. The director of St. Francis Hospital in Nagasaki, Dr. Shinichiro Akizuki, was so impressed with it that he said: "I believe that miso belongs to the highest class of medicines, those which help prevent disease and strengthen the body through continued usage." Massaging miso over radiation burns became a traditional therapy. And it isn't just miso. It's all fermented food. In the U.S we have had doctors look at the abilities of nutritional yeast (a fermented food) to detox radiation.

We get exposed to a lot of interesting stuff nowadays, from air pollution to chemotherapy. Eating something that can handle radiation poisoning will help you feel better about the air you breathe. Being able to have such an accessible, potent remedy at hand allows us to live free in a polluted world. I can't think of a simpler fermented food than rejuvelac, the sour elixer discovered by Anne Wigmore.

Rejuvelac is made simply by fermenting grains in water for 2 or more days. Variations of this bubbly, cloudy drink can also be made with beans, seeds or nuts, with a different taste for each. It will also make the enzymes specifically for what you're fermenting. For instance, the enzyme amylase is made when wheat is fermented. This makes sense, because the wheat is starchy, and that is the enzyme used to break down starch. Other foods break down with different enzymes. So if you have a hard time digesting garbanzo beans, fermenting them and drinking the liquid will give you the enzymes used to digest them.

A simple recipe would be to fill a jar 1/3 of the way with wheat sprouts, then the rest with water. Cover the jar with a breathable cloth or paper towel, and let it sit for 2 days. After that, drain the liquid off, and drink or refrigerate it. The longer you let it ferment, the more potent it will get. The strongest I've let it ferment was for nine days. I think anything past that would be both unpalatable and hazardous. It does have an odd taste. The closest I could come to describe it would be lemon juice. It does enhance the flavor of other foods, surprisingly. Nut cheeses and the like taste much better made with the sour beverage.

I have done many different kinds of fasts. The most energetic I have ever felt on any of them was with rejuvelac, which doesn't even have maple syrup in it to give you a sugar boost.

The truth is you could really ferment anything safe and organic, and get antioxidants, B vitamins and friendly flora. If you had to, you could ferment the grass on your lawn. From the best days to nuclear fallout, we will always have a simple, potent tonic at hand.