Archive for Health & Nutrition

Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)

They’re here! Poison ivy that is, and her two toxic siblings poison oak and poison sumac. The bane of summer enjoyment for gardeners, landscapers, campers, hikers, and lovers of all things outdoors.

Each year, 50 million Americans endure the ramifications of a toxic encounter with poison ivy and her two pernicious allies. However, it was only recently that researchers identified the molecular pathway that had eluded them in the past. More about that in a bit.

Yet, for those who lead plant identification groups, “Is that poison ivy?” has to be one of the most commonly asked questions and for good reason. Poison ivy does not always present exactly the same, but once one masters its ambiguous nature, it seems to pop out of everywhere. So let us learn a bit more.

Know Your Enemy

Poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and the Japanese lacquer tree are part of the cashew plant family. Originating as a North American native plant, poison ivy is found from coast to coast in Canada, the continental United States (except for California where poison oak abounds), and Mexico. It has a great ability to adapt to many different habitats which is why it can be found growing almost anywhere except in the desert or at high elevations.

In the eastern part of the United States one will typically see poison ivy as a climbing vine that looks like a hairy rope with flowers of green or yellow. While western poison ivy, although similar in appearance, typically does not climb, but instead grows into a low-lying shrub. To confuse the issue, western poison oak has a vining growth habit.

The edges of the leaves are called margins. They can either be smooth or toothed. Sometimes on different plants, and sometimes even on the same plant as in the one depicted below. Also, poison ivy can also present with many “teeth” on the toothed margins, not only the one notch depicted here.

The young plants or leaves usually have a “high-gloss” appearance and can range from green to greenish-red to deep red color. In the autumn, poison ivy leaves turn a deep orange to red color. It is simply beautiful to behold.

~ Leaflets of Three, Let It Be ~

While the edges of the leaves can be either toothed or smooth, the leaves themselves are pinnately-veined, making them a dicot. Dicots are a grouping of flowering plants that typically have four or five petals. Poison ivy flowers have five petals which flower in June.

~ Longer Middle Stem, Don’t Touch Them ~

The leaf presents at the end of a petiole in a grouping of three leaflets called “trifoliate” or “ternate.” A petiole is the “leafstalk,” which is a slender stalk that attaches the leaf or leaves to the stem of a plant. Also note in the photo above that the center leaflet has a longer stalk than the two opposite leaflets.

Poison Ivy (Center)
Poison Ivy in Bud

The fruit of poison ivy is called a drupe which is a fleshy fruit that surrounds a single stone-like seed and is colored greenish-yellow or amber. These fruits are a valuable source of food for birds during mid-winter when food is scarce.

Two simple mnemonics are just not enough to describe this “plant of many presentations.” Therefore, when describing the eastern poison ivy it is important to take note of that hairy vine. What child would not delight in repeating the phrase “Hairy rope? Don’t be a dope!” So let us stick with more refined terminology, “Hairy vine? No friend of mine!”

~ Hairy Vine? No Friend of Mine! ~

The next photo shows three poison ivy vines, two of which are quite thick. Touching any part of poison ivy plant can result in a form of contact dermatitis called “poison ivy rash”, which is a type of skin poisoning.

The photo below is a close up of those “vine” hairs for your consideration, but did you know that poison ivy is neither a vine nor a plant called a bine? A vine has tendrils which are used to climb, think of a grapevine, sweet pea, cucumber, or passionflower.

A bine uses its main stem to wrap around the thing that it is climbing like a fence post or a tree. Examples of plants that are bines would be hops, wisteria, honeysuckle, morning glories, or clematis.

Poison ivy is neither a vine or a bine. It is actually a parasitic plant. Those “hairs” used to attach itself to trees are, in fact, aerial roots which gain nourishment from its host.

~ To learn more about botany and the medicinal properties of plants consider the Master Herbalist program at Genesis School of Natural Health! ~

Toxicondendron radicans while native to North America can also be found alive and well in Europe and Asia, and disbursed from there all over the world. In the fall of 1784, “Philadelphia horticulturalist William Bartram wrote out a list of 220 “American Trees, Shrubs, & herbs” in his fine, flowing handwriting. He was packing up seeds and young plants to send across the Atlantic, as he had many times before. European collectors were eager to buy New World trees and plants, whether useful, ornamental, or simply unusual.”[1] Number 120 on his list was poison ivy.

From there poison ivy began to be cultivated in English and French royal gardens. It was not long before the plant’s irritant effects became well known and its popularity dwindled. I wonder is it just me, or can anyone else picture a wry smile on ol’ Bartram’s face as he was writing out his list?

Poison ivy is a rich source of tannins, saponins, alkaloids, etc. It is also high in antioxidants and in antimicrobial activity.[2] The oily mixture of sap contains Urushiol, a clear chemical that causes skin irritation and itch. Urushiol found in the Japanese urushi or “lacquer” tree is also found in poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and the skin and plant parts of mangoes.

It is the alkyl functional groups that make urushiol non-polar and hydrophobic. This means it does not dissolve in water. When oily urushiol touches the skin, it sticks and begins to be absorbed right away into the dermis over the next eight hours or so, unless measures are taken to stop it.

If not removed from the surface of the skin an itchy rash generally begins to appear in as few as 24 hours from the initial exposure. The molecular pathway for this irritating effect of urushiol had previously eluded scientists, until now.

Florian Winau, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School found that “when urushiol comes into contact with Langerhans cells in the skin, the Langerhans cells load urushiol on CD1a molecules that activate the immune system’s T cells. The T cells produce interleukin 17 and interleukin 22, which cause inflammation and itchiness. It was these two interleukins, known to be active in psoriasis as well, that prompted Winau to suggest that a similar mechanism — and a similar therapeutic target — may be involved in both the poison ivy response and in psoriasis’ auto-immune reaction.”[3]

Why had this evaded researchers for so long? Well, lab mice are often used in immunology study and while they are valuable resource in many respects, no one considered that they don’t produce CD1a, the molecular pathway found in humans allergic to urushiol.[3]

~ “Phytochemistry”, understanding how and why plant medicine works, is foundational in the Clinical Master Herbalist program here at Genesis School of Natural Health! ~

~ Ewww! Get it off-fa me! ~

While we need to be able to avoid direct exposure to the poison ivy plant, we also need to be cautious about possible secondary exposures as well. Toxic urushiol can remain active for up to five years on clothing, bedding, shoes, tools, gloves, and pet fur if not cleaned off. Dead, dried-up poison ivy still has the oil on it. So beware.

“Urushiol must penetrate the skin to cause a reaction, and can depend on the amount of sap, the length of exposure, and the parts of the body exposed (skin can be thicker or thinner depending on the part of the body). It will also depend on your individual sensitivity.”[4]

Urushiol Oil Induced Contact Dermatitis

To remove the urushiol, use lukewarm to cool water and scrub with a cloth. It is the friction that actually removes the oil, so don’t be afraid to give a good scrub. Do not use hot water as it opens the pores of the skin and increases the rate of absorption. Believe it or not cool water and friction are more effective at removing poison ivy oils, than even soaps and chemical products. The best practice is to soap up, scrub, and rinse two to three times making sure to get any place on your body that you may have touched with your hands.

Do not bathe in an attempt to remove urushiol. The still unabsorbed urushiol can float on the bath water and find its way to other parts of the body. There are products like Tech-nu and de-greasing soaps that are marketed, but by far the most effective way to remove urushiol is by pure friction.

Remember to clean well under the nails because urushiol can stay active for quite a while in that hiding spot.

~ Stop the Itch! ~

So ya got yerself some poison ivy goin’ on. Well, of course, it was before you read this article and knew all about it, but that does not change the fact that now there is an inflamed rash that itches like a bugger. What can help while the body is healing? First, do not scratch or break open the blisters. The blisters are self-protective fluids that help to cushion the wound, keep out infection, and heal the skin.

Here are a number of things to try, so don’t give up.

~ Cool as a Cucumber! ~

  • My personal favorite soothing, anti-heat, anti-itch remedy is to place lengths of thinly-sliced cucumber directly upon the rash and wrap it in a layer of paper toweling secured by cellophane wrap. I may look like a country bumkin in that getup, but there is nothing more soothing than cucumbers which are especially cooling. Such a relief from the heat of the inflammation and the incessant itch. Cucumbers are also astringent which helps contract the tissues and diminish the secretions.
  • Another way to use cucumber is to liberally rub the juice over the rash. Let it air dry after the application, then apply a second coat. This provides a protective layer over the rash that keeps it from being irritated by fabrics and things one brushes up against throughout the day. Two coats each time seems to do the trick, is easy to reapply, and lasts a few hours. Others swear by watermelon rind or the inside of a banana peel, but I don’t know if they have tried cucumber. Try whatever is available to see what helps your situation the most.
  • Aloe (Aloe vera) – Now might be a good time to slice open a leaf of that plant you keep around for burns and sunburn and smear it all over that rash. Aloe gel can help too.
  • Activated Charcoal can be helpful, especially where there is severe swelling. Take 8 tablets or mix 1 rounded teaspoon into a small glass of juice or water two times each day. Remember to increase water intake while using activated charcoal. Discontinue once the swelling has dissipated.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Saturate a cotton ball and apply topically with a saturated cotton ball.
  • Oatmeal Paste – Use plain or stir in some baking soda.
  • Calamine lotion is commonly applied to urushiol rashes.

~ Poison Ivy Herbals ~

According to Dr. John R. Christopher, naturopathic physician and herbalist, poison ivy is listed along with herbs that are known irritants. Irritants are “Herbs that produce a greater or lesser degree of vascular excitement when applied to the epidermis or skin surface.”[5] It is included along with the Herpetic herbs, those that are healing to skin eruptions which relate to the herpes virus and scaling diseases such as ringworm etc.[5] It is also rubefacient, stimulant, and narcotic.

Herbal Remedies by Dr. John. R Christopher [5]

  • Plantain (Plantago spp.) – Make a poultice of the fresh, bruised leaves and apply to the rash. Change before the poultice dries out.
  • Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) – Use the infusion internally and with frequent external applications as a wash.
  • Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) – Applied topically as a component of Dr. Christopher’s Asthma Remedy.
  • Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) – Apply as a poultice – 1 part lobelia to 2 parts slippery elm.
  • Virginia Snake Root (Aristolochia serpentaria) – Apply a wash of the fluid extract.

“Mrs. Maud Grieve was the Principal and Founder of ‘The Whins’ Medicinal and Commercial Herb School and Farm at Chalfont St. Peter in Buckinghamshire, England. The training school gave tuition and practical courses in all branches of herb growing, collecting, drying and marketing. Grieve had also been President of the British Guild of Herb Growers, and Fellow of the British Science Guild. Her work A Modern Herbal contains medicinal, culinary, cosmetic and economic properties, cultivation and folklore of herbs.”[6]

Herbal Remedies by Mrs. M Grieve, F.R.H.S. [7]

  • Alkaline lotions – Baking soda in baths and pastes, hyposulphite of soda – use to moisten skin frequently.
  • Vervain Root (Verbena spp.) – Boiled in milk and water with the inner bark of the White Oak (Quercus alba).

Dr. John Heinerman traveled the world to work with folk healers and top doctors and scientists. Here are some of his suggestions to ease the pain of poison ivy.

Herbal Remedies by Dr. John Heinerman [8]

  • Beech (Fagus grandifolia) – Steep bits of tree bark from the North side of the tree in 2 C slightly salted hot water until color is dark. Bathe affected rash as needed.
  • Cattail (Typha Latifolia) – Make a paste of the root powder, spread a thin layer on rash, change after several hours.
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) – 1 TSP powdered root to 1 pint hot water. Dab on rash. Taking internally is beneficial as well. NOTE: If possible, use the other remedies as Goldenseal is overharvested.
  • Jewelweed (Impatiens pallida) – Rinse and crush well. Rub over affected areas. NOTE: Jewelweed is often found growing in the same location as poison ivy. Look for it as it should be used right away as an antidote for the urushiol.
  • Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum) – Dig and clean fresh root, then hammer to a pulp. Apply a poultice of mashed root and leave for 24 hours or boil 1 C chopped root in 1-1/2 pints distilled water, covered, for 15 minutes, cool, strain, and wash skin with the tea.
  • Sumac (Rhus glabra) – Make sure you have identified the correct species! Add 1 TBSP each of the bark, leaves, and berries to 1 Qt boiling water. Simmer covered for 30 minutes, then steep for 30 minutes, strain, refrigerate. Once cool, use as a wash.

~ Homeopathic Rhus Toxicondendron ~

  • Itching Skin Diseases – Use the homeopathic both internally and externally for poison ivy/oak/sumac, rashes, ringworm, etc. Homeopathic Rhus Tox is also utilized to prevent/lesson an allergic reaction and to treat a rash.

~ Homeopathic Cell Salts[9] ~

  • Natrum Muriaticom & Kali Sulphuricum – For topical use only. Both must be used together. Use either the 3X or 6X potencies. Add to cool/lukewarm water, then apply directly to the rash using a clean cloth.

Due to its potent actions and the risk of toxicity, use of poison ivy as a medicinal has fallen by the wayside. Poison ivy was included as a remedy in the Merck Manual of 1899 as was Rhus Toxicondendron, the homeopathic. A fluid extract can be prepared from the fresh leaves, however, if taken orally a blistering rash may occur internally. With so many more suitable herbs, an herbalist would have no difficulty finding another to replace any potential benefit of Toxicodendron radicans.

Most skin rashes caused by urushiol are limited and cause only a minor although very irritating, sometimes painful, hot, itchy rash anywhere from five days to a few weeks.

It is important to not attempt to burn poison ivy as the oils are carried in the smoke and upon inhalation, can cause internal damage to the esophagus and the lining of the lungs. This condition is extremely painful and potentially deadly.

Should too great “a portion of the body be covered with blisters, respiration and excretion of poisonous wastes through the pores is impeded. This, in turn, may lead to a fatal toxemia.”[10] The remedies included here are only intended for use with non-life-threatening conditions.

Hopefully, becoming knowledgeable helps us to avoid this beautiful-but-o-so-irritating plant. In the event that poison ivy makes itself known, we are now also armed with remedies to prevent and deal with the rash. Do you use natural remedies for poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Enjoy the outdoors this year!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


  1. No Ill Nature: The Surprising History and Science of Poison Ivy and Its Relatives
  2. Investigation into the Phytochemical Composition of Poison Ivy and its Antimicrobial Activity by Hinchong Hanse, Mondeep Gogoi, Pronot Langthasa, Elufer Akram, Priya Islam, Taku Oniya
  3. From Leaf to Itch by Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer
  4. The Truths and Myths About Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac
  5. School of Natural Healing by Dr. John R. Christopher
  6. Collection of material relating to Mrs. Maud Grieve, F.R.H.S (fl.1937)
  7. A Modern Herbal by Mrs. Maud Grieve, F.R.H.S.
  8. Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Healing Herbs & Spices by Dr. John Heinerman
  9. The Healing Echo Discovering Homeopathic Cell Salts by Vinton McCabe
  10. What Causes the “Itch” in Poison Ivy? Journal of the Franklin Institute, vol. 255, no. 3, pp.266-267

Other Resources:

How to never have a serious poison ivy rash again
MALDI-MS Imaging of Urushiols in Poison Ivy Stem

DIY Air Cleaner

Have the pollens gotten you down?

Do you cringe at the thought of spending thousands of dollars for a professional-grade air-cleaner system?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn how to make a very affordable, yet effective DIY air cleaner for around $30. You don’t even need to be “handy” to rig up this simple air cleaner system.

To inexpensively keep the air in a room 90% cleaner than it is right now, one box fan with a high-quality furnace filter can make a significant difference in a small room like a bedroom with the door (and windows) closed.



Start with a standard 20” x 20” box fan.  Walmart currently has the Lasko 20” box fan for $22.46.  The brand isn’t important, as any standard 20″ box fan will do.  Chances are, you may already have one.


Next you’ll need a 20” x 20” x 1” MERV 13 HEPA furnace replacement filter. The height and width are significant to get the best fit for your 20” x 20” standard-size box fan.

A MERV 13-rated filter is effective for reducing pollen, dust mites, sanding dust, textile and carpet fibers, mold spores, dusting aids, cement and lead dust, Legionella, humidifier dust, milled flour, auto emissions, all bacteria, most tobacco smoke, droplet nuclei (from sneezing,) and more…

The least expensive brand we’ve found with the MERV 13 rating is listed on a package of 6 filters on Amazon. The price is currently $47.50 and comes with free shipping. That is just $7.92 each!

The local hardware store will likely carry this size furnace filter, so the brand is not important, however, the MERV 13 rating is. We were simply looking for the least expensive options that are also easily accessible for most, especially for those households that require multiple DIY Air Cleaners.

It is recommended that you change your DIY Air Filter a minimum of every three months. At this rate, a package of six will last one fan application a full year-and-a-half.

In high-allergen seasons or situations it will be necessary to change the filter more frequently, even monthly. One may expect this to vary according to each individual’s needs and situation.

HINT: Write the ‘3-month change-out’ date (or monthly, whichever you prefer) on the new filter when attaching it to the box fan. Then write the date in your planner so you won’t forget.


Attach the sides of the filter to the back of the fan with duct tape. Run a strip around the sides of the rear sides of the fan and edges of the furnace filter. Make sure that the air from the room can only enter from behind the filter to capture the pollutants in its fibers. If there is room for air to enter the back of the fan around the sides of the filter, this style of air cleaner will be much less effective.


Close the door, turn on the fan and… BREATHE!

This simple system works great in average-sized bedrooms. In a smallish one-bedroom apartment a minimum of two fans would be recommended to provide a better result. Larger homes and spaces will require more Air Cleaners.

To obtain optimal air quality allow the fan with the filter attached to run for about half-an-hour in a closed system. An air particle counter can be purchased to measure the actual effectivity of the air cleaners used in the various areas throughout the home or office.

Thank you for taking the time to read out this DIY Health Tip. If you like this idea or have found ways to improve upon it, please let us know in the comments below.


For further explanation and demonstrations watch this:
or this:
or even this:

MERV filter ratings info, read this:

The Ultimate Immune Booster

Boost Your Immune System & Reduce Your Viral Load Through Forgiveness

Good health includes many health-promoting practices from eating the right foods and drinking pure water, to avoiding chemicals and getting proper rest. Spiritual and emotional factors are also important. While designed to live in the present, all of us at some point have to deal with something that keeps us emotionally and physically tied to an unpleasant person or event, and that is unforgiveness. The decision to withhold forgiveness has the deleterious power to bind us to the past through either ours or another’s action or inaction.

Unforgiveness can be thought of as an anchor that holds the emotions of hatred or bitterness, anger or rage, resentment, retaliation and even murder in place. Unforgiveness is an emotional “toxin” and an underlying factor in much physical or psychological dysfunction. Simply stated, the body cannot thrive while holding onto toxicity of any kind.

Just like an anchor is designed to keep a boat from floating away on the water, so our ability to overcome daily stressors is drastically hindered with these ties to past wounds, traumas and offenses.

When bound to the past through toxic decisions such as unforgiveness, the soul (mind, will and emotions) simply cannot operate at maximum capacity. This causes our body to enter into a heightened state of chronic stress which causes physical vitality begin to wane. These toxic emotions keep the body under chronic levels of stress, hindering the ability to repair itself.

As innervation (the excitation of nerve fibers that causes an organ, gland, muscle or body region to react beyond what is required for homeostasis) occurs, among the first systems that become affected are the amount and quality of sleep, proper digestion including the assimilation of nutrition, and the proper elimination of wastes. The mind is often inordinately occupied with wrong(s) done, rehearsing things that did not happen that might have been better said or done in the moment. This chronic insistence of holding on to the “Fight” or “Flight” of the autonomic nervous system’s “Fight or Flight” response hinders the healing processes that occur when the body returns to the “Rest and Digest” of the parasympathetic nervous system keeping the body from returning to a state of peace.

Eventually, a dip in energy levels with increasing fatigue occurs while the body adjusts to the constant state of unresolved stress. This manifests in the physical body through an energetic pathway connected to the autonomic nervous system. (For more information about this newly-discovered organ system, read about the Primo Vascular System HERE.)

Negative emotions increase the risk of having adverse health experiences, for instance, a stroke. In one study “three potential triggers stood out: anger, negative emotions – guilt, fear, nervousness, irritability, and hostility – and sudden posture changes due to a startling event. Nearly 30% of participants reported at least one of those experiences two hours before their stroke. …There was a 14-fold increase in stroke risk with both negative emotions and anger.”1

While it is not known exactly how years of negative feelings and anger affect the risk of having a stroke, it is a good idea for those who experience intense negative feelings to incorporate skills such as forgiveness to release this build-up of inner tension in a healthful manner. We will discuss this in more detail later.

A study published in the European Heart Journal on March 3, 2014, confirms these findings. “Researchers found in the two hours after an angry outburst, a person’s risk for a heart attack increased nearly five times and their risk of stroke shot up more than three times, compared to when patients were not angry. Risk for arrhythmia, or irregular heart rhythm, was also increased.”2

It is important to understand that for any negative emotion, overexpression, suppression or pretending the problem is not there takes tremendous emotional and physical resources as well as communicating toxic messages to the body. This is always harmful. This would explain why it is most beneficial for maintaining and regaining health and longevity to release the root cause of these emotions. Forgiveness of self and others often plays a key role.

In relationship to anger and cancer, researchers have found that “Extremely low anger scores have been noted in numerous studies of patients with cancer. Such low scores suggest suppression, repression, or restraint of anger. There is evidence to show that suppressed anger can be a precursor to the development of cancer, and also a factor in its progression after diagnosis. Some studies indicate that it may be beneficial for patients to mobilize anger to battle their cancer.”3

Another study found that natural killer cell counts are negatively influenced by outward expressions of anger. Natural killer cells are important in the body’s anti-tumor immune response. It is significant to note that other factors were measured which did not appear to affect natural killer cell counts such as inward anger, clinical anxiety or depression. The results of this study suggest that the unregulated expression of anger may suppress the body’s innate immunity.4 There is always unforgiveness lurking behind anger. So if someone wants to deal with anger issues, they should consider the need to forgive.

Do you want to boost your immune system and reduce your viral load? Then forgive!

A study of those living with HIV presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine 32nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions “shows individuals who truly forgave someone who had hurt them in the past showed positive changes in their immune status.”5

CD4 is a type of protein that is found on immune cells such as T-cells, macrophages, and monocytes. CD4s do not neutralize infections; however, they trigger the body’s proper response to infections. The results of a blood test CD4 T-cell count are used to indicate the health of immune function. It is most commonly used in people with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). In this next study, CD4 cell percentages correlate to the health of the immune system with a significant relationship to the level of forgiveness.

“Not forgiving is like drinking poison and
expecting the other person to die.”

“We hypothesized that higher levels of forgiveness would be associated with higher CD4 cell percentages controlled for demographic and behavioral variables as well as viral load,’ Dr. Owen told Medscape Medical News. ‘And none of these variables accounted for the relationship between forgiveness and CD4 cell percentages. So, there is something special going on between forgiveness and CD4 cell counts.”5 Interestingly, this study also equated the greater the forgiveness, the higher the CD4 percentages which boosts the immune system and reduces viral load.

It has also been found that forgiveness improves immune function in those with HIV. A new study was presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine 32nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions. This study included people who were living with HIV. It revealed that “individuals who truly forgave someone who had hurt them in the past showed positive changes in their immune status.”6

Another study confirms the correlation. It found the more unforgiving nature a person has, the worse mental and physical health were experienced, and conversely, demonstrated that there is a positive interaction of those who practice having a forgiving nature and a correspondingly weaker effect of stress and adverse mental health in an individual’s life.7

Caution: Unforgiveness may be detrimental to your health!

What Unforgiveness IS ~
Reverend Michael Barry, PhD, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania explained, “…Unforgiveness is a state where a person retains negative emotions, including anger and hatred, for a perpetrator of harm. ‘This creates a state of chronic anxiety, and chronic anxiety has a predictable impact on a wide range of bodily functions, including the reproductive system, the digestive system, and the immune system,’ he said.

‘There is a direct correlation between unforgiveness and our immune system, which directly affects our healing processes.”

Rev. Michael Barry, Ph.D.

For example, stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenalin, have been shown to reduce the production of natural killer cells — the ‘foot soldiers’ in the fight against cancer, he noted.

Dr. Barry’s own research has shown that almost two-thirds of cancer patients identified forgiveness as a personal issue for them, and 1 in 3 of them indicated they had severe forgiveness issues, ‘so we are aware of the emotional pain that many of our patients are in.”8

Caution: Forgiveness may be beneficial to your health!

What Forgiveness IS ~
Forgiveness is something one does for themselves. It is solely for the individual, not anyone else. Incorporating the practice of forgiveness into one’s lifestyle brings health-promoting separation for the soul and the body, breaking its destructive negatively-charged chronically stressful emotions, thoughts and behaviors anchored to a toxic past.

For those who have experienced the release of deeply forgiving another person, it is a truly liberating, burden-lightening decision for the restoration of health.

What Forgiveness is NOT ~
The act of forgiveness does not make light of or diminish the violation, pain or suffering of the wounded in any way. The kind of emotional turmoil associated with traumatic events follow people throughout their lifetimes. Sadly, unforgiveness towards self or others can affect one’s ability to succeed, experience healthy and fulfilling relationships, feel the depths and the heights of love, hope, peace and joy, and even a dramatic lessening of physical vitality.

Forgiveness is not forgetting, nor does it approve of a wrong done. It is a powerful technique that can bring separation, lessening of emotional angst, and increased ability to live with joy in the present and with confidence toward the future.

Reconciliation may or may not be appropriate as a result of forgiveness. This is different for each individual as there are situations where reconciliation is not recommended. A safe distance of separation should be kept if there is any possibility of continued emotional or physical abuse to the forgiver or their children. In some instances contact should be completely avoided.

How To Forgive? Some Pointers…
Forgivers are predominantly “faith-oriented and empathetic people who understand the meaning of forgiveness as letting go of negative emotions.”9 Their primary tools are prayer and meditation. Fostering a willingness to forgive along with a decision to not carry past burdens into the present gives the fortitude to release others deeply within their soul. The most successful forgivers fill their minds with good thoughts about themselves and their future, scripture is often used and gives added direction when walking out from past offenses.

Helpful Hints:

  • Understand what forgiveness really is
  • Acknowledge that the negativity is affecting your emotional or physical health
  • Put your feelings into words.*
  • Garner the support of family or friends*
  • Be specific. A generalized “I forgive everybody” type of prayer is not effective.
  • It is best to start small and work one’s way up to the more difficult transgressions.
  • Write down the date you have deeply forgiven someone, just in case you need a reminder.
  • Repeat forgiveness exercises as needed.

*Verbalizing one’s feelings lessen the intensity of the emotions. The reason is that the attachment of a word to an emotion decreases the amygdala’s response. As a result, this increases the response of the prefrontal cortex where thinking occurs.10 This is why people find talking about emotional issues with family, friends, or a counselor can be helpful.

Do people need to know I’ve forgiven them?
Well no, not really. Especially if they don’t know they have caused an offense. Simply forgive and enjoy the release that you have gained while moving on with your life.

Can I forgive someone who has died or left me that I will never see again?
Absolutely! Remember that forgiveness is for YOU! It’s about you and releasing your negative connections with any person or situation in the past. Freedom is merely a deeply heartfelt decision away.

Wounded People, Wound People…

Let’s face it. All of us have been hurt, and in turn have hurt someone at one time or another. The most honorable thing we can do is diligently practice forgiveness in our own lives, and where we have wounded others ask for forgiveness. In this way we help them find the release that they need by experiencing forgiveness for themselves.

Personal Story ~
When my father passed, I felt very disoriented and surprised at the effect his death had on me. Within days, the mother of friend approached me and confessed that she resented how I could be so happy all of the time. Still grieving, I was not exactly feeling “happy”.

As I looked into her pain-filled eyes and heard her words I understood that she didn’t come to accuse me, rather, she came for help. She had a point, I usually did exhibit a joy that she wanted for herself, but it wasn’t until later that I understood why.

Taking responsibility for the role I had in her offense, I replied, “I am so sorry to have caused you pain. Will you forgive me.” To which she graciously did. It wasn’t until later that the thought occurred to me that I had seen this woman almost every week, but never “noticed” the burdens she silently carried due to the painful connections to her past, until that day.

I am grateful for that exchange. Although it cost me nothing, it made me a better person and lifted a burden of precious woman who had endured much suffering during her lifetime.

How To Ask for Forgiveness? Some Pointers…
To maximize the effectiveness of requesting forgiveness, it should be thought of as a transaction. Both parties have a role.

The Process:

  1. Turn off the cell phone and eliminate all interruptions
  2. Make solid eye contact
  3. Listen and take responsibility: “I’m sorry that I (Use their words). Will you forgive me?”
    (Don’t say: “I’m sorry ‘if‘ I…” The word ‘if’ inserts doubt and shows unwillingness to take full responsibility. This makes the apology less sincere.)
  4. Wait patiently for their response
  5. Ask: “Is there anything else you need to share?”

Of course, the response you would like to hear is “Yes, I forgive you”, but that does not always happen. If you don’t get that answer, gently persist. Remember, you have nothing better to do than help this person become free. It may take time and tears for someone to verbalize or process forgiveness for a deep wounding – or for an offense that touches another deep wounded place.

If they need more time and persistence, kindness, gentleness, and love from you, agree to come back to forgiveness again later. If so, make an appointment and keep it. When ready to restart the forgiveness process, begin again at step number one.

The Most Important Thing to Teach a Child is how to Forgive.

Forgiving and needing to be forgiven is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of our humanity.

Some health issues are being discovered that are not only rooted in unforgiveness, but in self-unforgiveness or even the need to forgive God for situations and deeds caused by others that were then attributed to Him.

With practice, forgiveness becomes easier. We become more prone to forgive and establish that trait in our lives. In the end it benefits our physical and mental well-being, making it much easier to experience joy and gratitude.

At Genesis School of Natural Health it is our desire that you experience vibrant health; rewarding, deep and lasting relationships, and discovery of the joy and peace that comes with forgiveness.



Nano & Your Health

Since about 1981, scientists have been working alongside of product developers to develop new market opportunities for various nanoparticle applications. These nanomaterials (NM), also called Nano, have special qualities that offer distinct advantages over the commonly-used compounds of the day. Depending upon the type of nanoparticles used, qualities are demonstrated such as softening, strengthening, lubricating, whitening, illuminating, etc. are offered. In very competitive industries, Nano was cutting-edge. Now, Nano has become necessary for product manufacturers to stay ahead of the game.

The United States continues to remain unregulated in its relationship to Nano, unlike Canada and Europe. Food manufacturers are not required to list that nanoparticles are in the products they sell. It is assumed that medications are subject to more intense oversight before becoming available for public distribution, but this does not appear to be the case. Let’s just say that Nano can be found everywhere. It contaminates our food supply, pharmaceuticals, supplements, personal care products, waterways, …most everything. All the while there is no official safety-testing and study-after-study declares the ravages found by these unnatural compounds on human, animal and aquatic life.

According to the Center for Food Safety, nanoparticles in food or food packaging can gain access to the human body via ingestion, inhalation or skin penetration. Nanoparticles’ small size allows them to circulate through the body when ingested, reaching potentially sensitive target sites, such as bone marrow, lymph nodes, the spleen, the brain, the liver and the heart. After nanoparticles are in the body, some types may have the ability to translocate to various organs and the central nervous system. For example, silver and carbon nanoparticles show up in other parts of the body after inhalation exposure.

Is Nanotechnology Safe?
by Shelley Stonebrook
Mother Earth News

Yet still, most people believe that supplements are designed to promote health and vitality and an ideal world this would be true. However, it is unfortunate that not all of our modern supplement production methods are beneficial, including Nano. When in fact, some may be quite detrimental, neutralizing any benefit of the supplement at best, and at worst, harming the body. Let’s take a look.


In the past ten years or so, “Nano” has increasingly become all the rage. Fancy and cute terms like ‘quantum dots’ and ‘ENPs’ get us all excited while we lack true understanding. Quantum what’s? and ‘HUHs’? Many of us don’t really know what they mean, except perhaps that they’re really small bits of, well, something… that we just happen to be ingesting more of on a daily basis, almost blissfully, without much of a clue. Let’s look at this a little deeper…

To put it simply, nanoparticles are very, very tiny particles, less than 100 nanometers (nm) in size in a minimum of one dimension. They fall into one of three main categories:

  • Ultrafine Particles (UFPs) ~ Natural nanoparticles and aerosols which include the smallest particles found in air pollution, both indoors and outdoors. Sources of UFPs are: sea spray, viruses, “inorganic ash, soot, sulfur and mineral particles found in the air or in wells, to sulfur and selenium nanoparticles produced by many bacteria and yeasts.”1
  • Incidental (INPs) ~ Resulting from ‘anthropogenic’ (meaning, caused by humans) processes (i.e. industrial wastes, manufacturing and welding fumes, diesel exhaust, etc.). These particles have the ability to penetrate mammalian cells gaining a direct route to the brain. UFPs cause oxidative stress resulting in increased incidences of cardiovascular and cardio-respiratory mortalities.2
  • Engineered Nanoparticles (ENPs) ~ Intentionally created, (not natural) synthetics, using processes designed to meet very specific properties.3

At present, there are five subcategories of nanoparticles. All five categories can be engineered, but, the first two subcategories can also be found naturally. These are the carbon-based and metal-based Nanos. The three engineered Nanos are called quantum dots, dendrimers and composite nanomaterials.

Carbon-Based Materials

Carbon-based supplements are an exciting field of opportunity in Nano technology especially related to supplementation. Substances called bioactive carbons are made up of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen that create high-energy organic molecules. They also contain something called ‘poly-dispersed polyanions’ which contain multiple, negatively-charged sites, capable of binding and neutralizing positively charged molecules. In other words, polyanions put the “bioactive” into bioactive carbons.

Polyanions put the “bioactive” into bioactive carbons

These electrons allow bioactive carbons to function as both a carrier and a binder. Their small size gives them access to places in the body that larger molecules from more traditional supplements cannot go. They have the ability not only to remove toxins but to increase the body’s retention, ability to absorb, and effective use of the nutrients in food, vitamins, minerals and supplements. Used appropriately, bioactive carbons have potential to be the shining light in this Nano-mess that has been thrust upon us.

Metal-Based Materials

Metal-based materials like carbon-based Nano have a high reactivity and can occur naturally or are commonly engineered into materials such as nanogold, nanosilver, titanium dioxide, zinc dioxide, cerium dioxide, and zero-valent iron.4

Quantum Dots

A quantum is the very smallest bit of a substance that contains electromagnetic radiation. Quantum Dots (QDs) are not found in nature and are strictly engineered with a reactive core made out of metals or semiconductors that are encased in an protective organic shell. The purpose of this shell is to protect the core from oxidation (breaking down).

Colloidal quantum dots irradiated with UV light.
QDs emit colors based on size.

These types of nanoparticles are used in “medical bioimaging, targeted therapeutics, solar cells, photonics and telecommunication.” These types of nanoparticles are considered useful as their small size allows them to travel in the body. Biomedical applications such as medical imaging, drug delivery or “targeted therapeutics”, biosensors, solar cells, photonics and telecommunication as being pursued. The “dots” or centers of these nanoparticles are made from materials such as “cadmium selenide, cadmium telluride, indium phosphide, and zinc selenide.5

Discovered in 2004, graphene is a material made of carbon atoms that are bonded together in a repeating pattern of hexagons which are arranged in a honeycomb pattern. In itself, graphene is not fluorescent (unlike cadmium). It “quenches the fluorescence of the quantum dots. However, when conjugated with bovine serum albumin (BSA or Fraction V”, a protein derived from cows) it “provides a novel highly fluorescent nano probe” with the potential for “non-invasive optical in vitro imaging. The graphene-QDs are used for in vitro imaging of live human carcinoma (Hela) cells. Graphene-QDs could be readily up-taken by Hela cells in the absence of specific targeting molecules, e.g., antibodies or folic acid, and no in vitro cytotoxicity is observed at 360 μg mL(-1) of the graphene-QDs. The results for the imaging of live cells indicated that the cell-penetrating graphene-QDs could be a promising nano probe for intracellular imaging and therapeutic applications.”6

No in vitro cytotoxicity. Doesn’t that sound great? Maybe, but not so fast. ‘In vitro’ simply means the test above was performed in a Petri dish, not within a human or even in an animal. The medium used was an immortal cell line called HeLa. HeLa is a line of ovarian cancer cells taken in 1951 that has been perpetuated for the last 70 years. These HeLa cancer cells do not contain normal human “karyotype”. Meaning that the number and appearance of chromosomes in these cells range from 76 to 80, of which 22 to 25 chromosomes are abnormal. A normal human cell has 46 chromosomes. It is important to note that while “HeLa cells resemble normal human cells in many ways, they are neither normal nor entirely human.”7

Now, to be clear the researchers did not claim that Nano graphene was not cytotoxic to humans, only to the non-human cell line they experimented upon in the Petri dish. In Toxicity of graphene-family nanoparticles: a general review of the origins and mechanisms, researchers compiled data from multiple sources to get an even bigger picture. Here is what they found:

Along with the application and production of GFNs increasing, the risk of unintentional occupational or environmental exposure to GFNs is increasing. And recently, there are some investigation on GFNs exposure in occupational settings and published data showed that the occupational exposure of GFNs had potential toxicity to the workers and researchers. GFNs can be delivered into bodies by intratracheal instillation, oral administration, intravenous injection, intraperitoneal injection and subcutaneous injection. GFNs can induce acute and chronic injuries in tissues by penetrating through the blood-air barrier, blood-testis barrier, blood-brain barrier, and blood-placenta barrier etc. and accumulating in the lung, liver, and spleen etc. For example, some graphene nanomaterials aerosols can be inhaled and substantial deposition in the respiratory tract, and they can easily penetrate through the tracheobronchial airways and then transit down to the lower lung airways, resulting in the subsequent formation of granulomas, lung fibrosis and adverse health effects to exposed persons… The toxicological mechanisms of GFNs demonstrated in recent studies mainly contain inflammatory response, DNA damage, apoptosis, autophagy and necrosis etc., and those mechanisms can be collected to further explore the complex signaling pathways network regulating the toxicity of GFNs. It needs to point out that there are several factors which largely influence the toxicity of GFNs, such as the concentration, lateral dimension, surface structure and functionalization etc.

Ou, L., Song, B., Liang, H. et al.
Toxicity of graphene-family nanoparticles:
a general review of the origins and mechanisms.
Part Fibre Toxicol 13, 57 (2016).

In general, the data that is known about the toxicity of graphene should be of great concern for anyone that considers undergoing any of the therapies that have been mentioned. There is simply not enough known to prove that exposure to this known toxin is safe for use in any form, internally or externally.


STM Image of First generation “CyanoStar” dendrimer

Dendrimers are engineered nano-compounds (branched nanomolecules) which are particularly useful to the biomedical and pharmaceutical industries for use as drug delivery systems, polymer materials (large molecules such as plastics to DNA and proteins), chemical sensors, and modified electrodes. They are “three-dimensional nanostructures engineered to carry molecules incapsulated in their interior void spaces or attached to the surface.”8

Here is an example for your consideration. When studying the natural cell membrane found in the blood of healthy donors, it was found that rises in the presence of engineered microparticles (MPs) circulating “in the blood [were] associated with diseases that damage blood vessels….Among the major potential adverse events are abnormal clotting and inflammation, particularly after administration of blood platelet products. In fact, moderate to severe reactions to transfusion of platelet products have been documented in more than 20% of recipients.”9

Composite Nanomaterials

Composite NMs are made “using two different NMs or NMs combined with larger, bulk-type materials. They can also be made with NMs combined with synthetic polymers or resins.” They “consist of multifunctional components and have novel electrical, catalytic, magnetic, mechanical, thermal or imaging features.”10

Safety Concerns

The common substances found in each of the supplement fillers listed below are all Engineered Nanoparticles (ENPs). Nano is everywhere. It is found in food as flavor and texture enhancers and preservatives, in the water supply, the air, medications, supplements, cosmetics and personal care products like suntan lotions, metal fabrication, auto parts, product packaging, aircraft engines, paints and coatings, plastics, technology, television screens, Nano-engineered organs and tissues, etc.

In an article entitled, “The Bad” the following health considerations are raised:

  Nanoparticles have been shown to be absorbed in the livers of research animals and even cause brain damage in fish exposed to them after just 48 hours.  If they can be taken up by cells, then they can enter our food chain through bacteria and pose a health threat like mercury in fish, pesticides in vegetables or hormones in meat.  The increasingly-popular carbon nanotube (20x stronger and lighter than steel) looks very much like an asbestos fiber – what happens if they get released into the air?  Being carbon-based, they wouldn’t set off the usual alarms in our bodies, making them difficult to detect.

The Nnanoethics Group

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Supplements are more than just a pill or a capsule. They are even more than the sum total of the active ingredients. There are other additives that require awareness. Some additives to supplements are also commonly known additives to food and cosmetics. Researchers are questioning the safety of these ingredients, although they have been labeled as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for years. Science is discovering scads of evidence that Nano is contrary to what is promoted as “safe”, but sadly, many are suffering from the adverse affects without knowing why.

It is so important for natural health professionals as well as consumers. All of us need to be “on-our-game” – making sure ingredients are indeed beneficial and the supplement quality is high. The best supplements are not available to people direct through retail outlets. In fact, it is nearly impossible to find supplements of the quality available to health professionals ina retail shop.

Still, health professionals have to look closely at the ingredient list for each supplement they buy. Professional supplement companies, even those that are very good, can offer supplements that have ingredients that the knowledgeable health professional should reject. Certainly, if you were not a label-reader before becoming aware of this information, we hope that you will become an avid label-reader as a result.

The following are a some of the most common nanoparticles found in supplements:


One of the most common additives is stearic acid. This is a substance (a part of the magnesium molecule) that that benefits manufacturers in a few different ways. First, as a lubricant it acts as a “flow agent” to keep the product moving nicely through the machine so it doesn’t get clogged up. It also has a softening property which makes the supplement more pliable to fit into a form. Stearic acid also causes the ingredients in pills to stick together making a nice, firm tablet.

It is able to do this because stearic acid is a naturally-occurring type of fat found in animal and vegetable fats, such as coconut and cocoa fats. It is a precursor to oleic acid which is found in coconut oil, palm oil and shea butter.  While this natural form of stearic acid is known to be a potent anti-inflammatory, there appears to be a dangerous difference between consuming a healthy fat that naturally contains stearic acid and a supplement that contains a commercially isolated stearic acid molecule that has been mechanically processed two or three times.

Hydrolysis is a chemical process that destroys the chemical bonds of a substance. In the case of stearic acid, hydrolysis reduces it to an isolated fat molecule. It is sticky so that it sticks the pill together and emollient so that it aids in the flow through the machines. Science assumes that it is okay to do this because the stearic acid molecule looks the same if it is in a healthy fat or in an isolated form. What is not known is whether it is the hydrolyzation process or the loss of synergy that causes hydrolyzed stearic acid to become destructive in the body.

Plants and animals are not made up of isolated chemicals, rather, they are made up of a multitude of complex chemical interactions. Some of these interactions aid in the proper absorption and bioavailability of its components, others act as buffers which reduce the likelihood of side-effects. There are many different factors involved.

Researchers have found that commercial stearic acid does cause problems. It “selectively inhibits T-dependent immune responses in vitro.” It does this by enhancing “membrane rigidity to an extent that plasma membrane integrity is significantly impaired, leading to a loss of membrane potential and ultimately cell function and viability.”12 In other words, steric acid works to suppress T-cells by breaking down cell membranes. In a world where we need as much natural immunity as possible, this is not good.

The network of membranes inside of a cell that proteins and other molecules move through is called the endoplasmic reticulum. As stearic acid accumulates within the cells of the endoplasmic reticulum, the stress that it causes creates inflammation and cell death.13 Furthermore, formaldehyde has been found to be a metabolite of stearic acid. Both steric acid and formaldehyde are substances listed as contact allergens.14, 15


Similar in action to stearic acid, magnesium stearate is a compound of stearic acid plus a magnesium ion. It is 6-8 percent magnesium oxide bound to stearic acid. Like stearic acid, magnesium stearate is a common manufacturing lubricant and adhesive that holds pills together and keeps capsules from sticking together.

A product that is bound (coated) with magnesium stearate keeps the body from absorbing the whole product. This dramatically reduces the absorption of nutrients and the intended therapeutic effect of the supplement. As magnesium stearate is not a natural substance, it uses up additional resources in the body as it attempts to detox these molecules. There is also a cumulative effect as various supplements containing magnesium stearate are multiplied and ingested.

~The supplement that doesn’t work, soon becomes the most expensive one.~


Titanium dioxide is an industrial chemical that is white and without taste or odor. It is used as a whitener and is added to food, toothpaste, cosmetics, sunscreens, paints and plastics as well as pharmaceuticals and supplements. It has never been consumed in traditional diets and the addition to food and supplements is a modern-day contrivance.

“Titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO(2)-NPs, <100 nm) are increasingly being used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics due to the unique properties derived from their small sizes. However, their large surface-area to mass ratio and high redox potential may negatively impact human health and the environment. TiO(2)-NPs can cause inflammation, pulmonary damage, fibrosis, and lung tumors and they are possibly carcinogenic to humans. Because cancer is a disease involving mutation, there are a large number of studies on the genotoxicity of TiO(2)-NPs.”16 (A carcinogen is a substance that causes cancer.)

Titanium(IV) oxide
Titanium Dioxide

Researchers have found that titanium dioxide nanoparticles can be translocated and accumulated in the brain causing oxidative stress and an “overproliferation of all glial cells, tissue necrosis” (irreversible tissue death caused by a lack of blood and oxygen) and apoptosis (genetically regulated cell self-destruction marked by the fragmentation of nuclear DNA) of the cells of the hippocampus. Additionally, “…numerous studies have described the accumulation of titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO(2) NPs) in the liver, kidneys, lung, spleen, and brain, and the corresponding damage…”17 “Therefore, these genes may be potential biomarkers of brain toxicity caused by TiO2 NPs [Titanium Dioxide nanoparticles] exposure…”18

Multiple studies have recorded changes in the regulation of multiple genes that are associated with the following (in mice): 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

By Aaron Logan CC BY 1.0 from
  • Oxidative stress
  • Immune Dysfunction/Autoimmune Disease
  • Apoptosis
  • Altered Memory & Learning
  • Altered Brain Development
  • Signal Transduction
  • Disrupted Metabolic Process
  • DNA Repair
  • Response to Stimulus
  • Cellular Toxicity
  • Ovarian Injury
  • Imbalanced Mineral Elements
  • Imbalanced Sex Hormones
  • Decreased Fertility & Rate of Pregnancy
  • Increased Estradiol Biosynthesis & Corresponding Decreased Progesterone
  • Kidney Toxicity, Inflammation & Cellular Apoptosis
  • Liver Toxicity, Inflammation & Cellular Apoptosis Resulting in Autoimmune & Inflammatory Disease
  • Colon Microinflammation & Susceptibility to Colon Cancer
  • Neurogenic Disease States
  • Apoptosis in the spleen
  • Spleen Injury Reducing Immune Capacity
  • Severely Altered Gene Expression Involved in Immune/Inflammatory Responses


Silicon dioxide or silica has many uses. In the construction industry it is used in the production of concrete, fracking, semiconductors, on microchips, glass production, fiberglass, foods like spices and non-dairy creamer (to reduce caking), cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Due to its ability to bind to nucleic acids, it is used in the extraction of DNA and RNA.25 Silica is also be used to increase the weight of supplements and medications causing them feel more ‘substantial’ to the consumer.

Silicon when processed into nanoparticles becomes dangerous to the human n body. “Silicon-based materials and their oxides are widely used in drug delivery, dietary supplements, implants and dental fillers. Silica nanoparticles (SiNPs) interact with immunocompetent cells and induce immunotoxicity.”26

While studying the effects of silicon dioxide nanoparticles on mice, researchers happened upon the finding that neurotoxic affects may become apparent through changes in the gut-brain axis. They said, we “demonstrated for the first time that the neurobehavioral impairments and brain damages induced by SiO2NPs [silicon dioxide nanoparticles] might be distinctively associated with the disruption of gut-brain axis by specific chemical substances originated from gut…”27 [Silicon Dioxide] “..SiO2NPs significantly caused the spatial learning and memory impairments and locomotor inhibition. Although SiO2NPs did not trigger evident intestinal or neuronal inflammation, they remarkably damaged the tissue integrity.”28

Silicon dioxide also appears to cause severe inflammation and cytokine imbalances which leads to lung hyperresponsiveness (allergic asthma).29, 30, 31, and lung cancer (from the inhaled nanoparticles).32

Be Proactive!

The importance of selecting supplements with safe ingredients cannot be overstated. It is the utmost priority for one to regain and maintain their vitality. One can easily find studies outlining the damaging effects of additives like silicon dioxide, while at the same time slick-looking websites are promoting products such as ‘digestive system cleanses’ made of this same damaging substance. How can this be? How should someone select quality supplements with the least amount of harmful ingredients?

The answer is multifaceted. First read the labels and know what it is them. Then learn to identify particularly harmful ingredients. Next, realize that a majority of supplements available to the public are owned by or manufactured by pharmaceutical companies (although the brand of the supplement may have a different or previously-trusted company name).

Natural health professionals have access to high-quality, clean supplements, but you will always want to know the ingredients as it is those “other” ingredients that are particularly troublesome.

Natural health professionals, especially those who are herbalists, are willing to encapsulate ingredients or provide what you need in an alternative form that is beneficial. They should never add fillers or binders because they are not using high-output machinery. Seek out relationships with people like this or better yet, become one yourself!

New Organ System Discovery

Anyone who has studied basic human anatomy knows that blood travels through the circulatory system, lymphatic fluid moves throughout the lymphatic system and electro-chemical messages are sent back-and-forth via the nervous system. Science has identified and proven these so they are known facts.

Conversely, Eastern medicine. also called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is based upon an invisible energy movement in the body that flows along energetic pathways called meridians. In TCM, meridians are most commonly associated with acupuncture or acupressure. The name given to this energy that travels along these meridians is known as Qi (pronounced chee’).

Science is increasing in its ability to identify how the body transfers this energy and just how critically important it is to vibrant health. Additionally, there are quite a number of methods used to measure this energy. First, let’s take a look at some of the amazing recent discoveries within the human body.

It should come as no surprise that science is always gaining new insights in the identification of parts of the body never before proven to exist. While there is much that is yet unknown about the workings of the human body, new discoveries are being made on a regular basis.

For instance, in 2010, two doctors inadvertently discovered the interstitium which is the actual organ that carries interstitial fluid. Previously it was believed that interstitial fluid was only an extracellular fluid, but now it is known that this fluid is contained within connected fluid-filled sacks. While much is still unknown, the interstitium seems to be a holding place for fluids that are going to the lymphatic system. Additionally, the interstitium may also act as a shock-absorber for organs. If you’ve ever been jarred in an accident, having internal shock-absorbers would become of tantamount importance.

In 2012, the glymphatic system was first described. No, that was not a misspelling. The glymphatic system is the part of the lymphatic system that runs parallel to arteries and works to clear waste from the central nervous system and the brain mostly during sleep. It also importantly drives cerebrospinal fluid into the brain. It makes sense that the brain has a system in place to drain wastes and other toxins and holistic health professionals have been operating upon this principle that science has how proven to exist.

In 2013, the Dua’s Layer of the eye’s cornea was discovered. Primarily made up of collagen, this layer is very tough although it is thinner than a human hair at only about 15 microns thick. Knowledge of the Dua is beneficial to those on the receiving end of cataract surgery.

Another new organ called the mesentary was discovered in 2016. The mesentary is part of the gastrointestinal system. It was previously thought to be many fragmented layers but has been been observed to be one continuous organ. In actuality it is a double fold of the peritoneum which lines the abdominal cavity providing support and holding the intestines in place by connecting them to the abdomen. Calvin Coffey, a researcher from the University Hospital Limerick in Ireland and discoverer of the mesentary stated “In the paper which has been peer reviewed and assessed, we are now saying we have an organ in the body which hasn’t been acknowledged as such to date,”1

Enter the Primo Vascular System (PVS). The PVS is considered an anatomical system which is dispersed throughout tissues, organs and cavities in the body. The PVS covers the entire body and functions as a regulator and coordinator of biological processes that are the foundation of life. The “PVS has never been discovered in human dissections because it hides within the fascia, a collagen structure that surrounds muscles, tendons, organs and other tissues of the body.”2 The primo-vascular system also appears to be able to regenerate cells and tissues. More about that later.

In the 1960s, a Korean scientist named Bong-han Kim published a book in Korean, Chinese, English and Russian that contained the results of his discovery of the primo vascular system and its interrelation to acupuncture points and energetic meridians. However, in 1966, he and most of his books disappeared and his research institute was closed. His revolutionary work stopped and was all but forgotten until recently.

In 2016, an article was published detailing professor Vitaly Bodyanny’s use of a microscopy system called CytoViva which he invented, patented, and used to confirm the actual substance of the primo vascular system. Through microscopy, professor Bodyanny “revealed for the first time the microstructure of the miniscule, translucent system of vessels, subvessels and stem cell-filled nodes—together making up the primo-vascular system—running throughout a rat’s body, appearing in and on blood vessels, organ tissue and the lymphatic system.”3

“Even with our microscope, you cannot see the vessels until they are touched because they are transparent, but they turn a yellowish color when touched. The width of the node is only 1 mm, and the fine structure of the node can only be seen using high-resolution light microscopy,” said Vodyanoy, Ph.D., professor of anatomy and physiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University. “The rat is an excellent model for research before studies are conducted with humans.”4

Korean scientists have also been able to view meridians by using a Trypan blue BHS-specific dye along with technologies such as detailed CT scans. These clearly reveal acupuncture point anatomical structures. Other types of equipment that have been used to ‘see’ this newly discovered organ system are infrared imaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), ultrasound and LCD thermal photography.

Prime vessels (PVs) have been found in brain ventricles, blood vessels, lymph vessels, thoracic ducts/tissues, abdominal subcutaneous tissue, adipose tissue, in the placenta and umbilical cord, and in cancerous tumors. “The structure was filled with various immune cells including mast cells and WBCs [white blood cells].”5 “…one of the most important PVS functions appears to be its role in the regeneration via a small (~1 μm) subcellular body called ‘sanal.’ According to [Bong-han] Kim, a cell generates multiple sanals and the sanals arriving at the primo nodes (PNs) via primo vessels (PV) eventually produce new cells, by way of the ‘Sanal-Cell Cycle.’ Sanals express stem cell biomarkers[*]. Appropriately differentiated sanals have been shown to perform non-marrow hematopoiesis and repair damaged tissues. However, many questions on sanals still remain…”6

*A biomarker is simply a cellular, biochemical or molecular alteration that can be measured. These measurements are frequently used to determine the pathogenicity of disease but can also be used to determine healing potential.

To view images of Primo Vascular tissue, click HERE.

Professor Vitaly “Vodyanoy is collaborating with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, or LECOM, in Pennsylvania to test his hypothesis that the nodes, when activated by acupuncture, osteopathic manipulation, pressure or laser, release stem cells that flow to organs where they replace injured cells and become organ cells.”4

“A liquid, called “the primo fluid”, circulates in the PVS. Its flow is slower than blood flow and lymphatic flow. The primo fluid flows in one direction, attending blood flow. The liquid flow depends on the heart beat and on the pressures of the blood and the lymph.”7

Prmo Vessels have mechanisms to circulate the primo fluid actively. All nuclei of the tissue cells are connected to fine terminal subvessels, and these subvessels are connected to the primo vessels in a body’s organs. …All the PNs [primo nodes] in an organ are connected to all meridians. The meridian structures start and end at the PNs for the organs.”7

A May 2018 article entitled A New Definition of an Acupuncture Meridian published by Fletcher Kovich asserts that meridians do not have an actual anatomical structure of their own but they ride on the anatomy of the PVS.

“The meridians themselves do not have a dedicated anatomical structure; instead they are merely tracts of tissue whose normal function is impeded when the related abdominal organ is stressed. It is hypothesized that the organ information is communicated in electrical waves that may travel through the connective tissue sheaths of the superficial primo vessels. Hence, the primo vessels serve as an inadvertent transport for this information, but the organ information is independent of the physiological purpose of the primo vascular system, as are the resultant meridians.”8

Chinese theory of acupuncture teaches that each meridian is a subtle electromagnetic field in the body and that each acupuncture point a magnetic unit. Dr. Jerry Tennant MD, MD(H), PScD, ophthalmologist and founder of The Tennant Institute further elaborates upon this concept. He teaches that acupuncture meridians flow along a series of muscles that can be likened to rechargeable batteries. The flow of electromagnetic energy passing along these muscle-battery circuits provides energy to the muscles which in turn form a power supply for the organs on that circuit to operate and regenerate by producing new healthy cells.

Dr. Tennant further theorizes, when voltage runs low at the cellular level, chronic illness ensues due to the body’s inability to make new, properly functioning cells. The subsequent failure of organ(s) on that same circuit will result should the root cause(s) of the inadequate voltage not be remedied. Pain is an indicator of energetic deficiencies and/or blockages along various meridians.

“The development of meridians (i.e., the PVS) takes place prior to the development of other organs such as blood vessels and the nervous system. The formation of the PV [primo vascular] blast cell occurs within 7–8 hours after fertilization; the formation of the primordial PVs occurs within 10 h[ours] after fertilization; the formation of the primitive primo lumens occurs within 15 hours after fertilization; and the completion of the primo lumens occurs within 20–28 hours after fertilization. The PVS plays an important role during the development of an organism and seems to exist throughout the biological world, including in invertebrates, vertebrates, and plants. Living organisms keep themselves alive via regeneration following the sanal-cell cycle. Sanals* (i.e., microcells) grow into cells, and cells become sanals. A sanalsome is a type of chromosome that forms when cells divide. The chromosome emerges in the metaphase of cell division. Hematopoietic [blood cell forming] organs such as bone marrow, spleen, and lymphatic nodes have well-developed PVs, the structures and functions of which are similar to PNs [primo nodes].”9

*Sanals are DNA microgranules (not fragments) as they contain all of the DNA information, not just a part. They appear to be able to grow in concentric circular patterns and become cell-like structures. They grow very quickly and steadily, especially in the beginning (think of the early fertilization and growth).10 They appear to be unique to the primo vascular system and at this time there is much less information available about them than the PVS.

The energy flow of the meridians can be measured without regard to whether this energy flows through or upon the primo vessels and will gain clarification with further exploration. What remains is the intelligent design that empowers the human body energetically from the moment of conception and throughout life. Primo vessels (PVs) “have bioelectrical activity, excitatory conductivity, and mechanical motility. The electrical activity changes in relation to stimuli to the PVs.”7 The energetic pathways of meridians can be measured by finely calibrated voltage meters that are not unlike those used by electricians.

One of the best methods of testing energy flow for the health professional is electrodermal screening (EDS/EDT). EDS is a form of Acupuncture point testing that utilizes Chinese meridian theory to detect electrical changes on the acupuncture points of the hands. Additionally, a proper form of manual muscle testing (kinesiology) techniques may identify blocks in the electromagnetic energy field of a person through testing the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS is connected to the meridians at the autonomic ganglia.

Students of Genesis School of Natural Health can learn muscle testing which works upon the autonomic nervous system. In addition, both students and graduates have a unique opportunity to purchase a professional-grade EDS machine (Avatar) for use in their business at a discount.

There is reason for celebration of the amazing scientific discoveries such as the Primo Vascular System and the pathways it creates for life-giving energy to flow throughout the body. Discoveries such as this confirm that the ancient paths can be the best choice for ones healing journey. While our forefathers did not see the structure, they understood well, the function and the pathways of energetic medicine – something modern medicine is only now beginning to explore.

Confidence & The Natural Health Professional

Many Different Reasons

Students come to us from all walks of life and for many different reasons. Some are young and gaining the skills to enter their first career. Others are now pursuing a passion for natural health that had been put on hold to raise a family. Still others are actively raising children (or grandchildren) and attempting to balance their studies with parenting and perhaps holding jobs outside of the home. While our military students experience frequently being uprooted which causes disruptive breaks in their studies. Fortunately, with our programs they have the ability to pick up where they left off.

It is common for some folks to begin their studies seeking to find answers to their own personal health crisis. There are also those who are caregivers for a loved one who has decided to refuse the benefit of natural remedies for the duration of their illness. Still, these students remain grounded in the belief that natural healing with herbs and gentle remedies is the best support of the body in its ability to heal, if not for their loved one, perhaps for someone else who will embrace it. They are absolutely right.

Quite a number of our students have already worked in the healthcare field. Once having gained a clear understanding of the industry’s strengths and weaknesses are wanting to understand the functional relationship between body systems and how gentle, yet powerful, non-invasive remedies foster the healing process and not simply disease maintenance.

These are some of the most common scenarios in a broad sense, yet there are as many different stories in totality as there are students.

Of these, there are students that graduate and immediately take flight applying their knowledge and quickly building a clientele. They seem to give no thought to their ability to “fly”. They just believe they can, and they do. It is quite a sight to behold.

Hidden Doubts

Yet others struggle with a myriad of doubts and concerns. Do I really know enough? Will people listen to me? Can I possibly help someone? As an introvert, how do I convince people I can help them? I don’t yet “look” the part, will people trust me to help them? I’m still working on my own health issues, will anyone believe I am capable? …and on and on.

Often there are a number of themes centered around self-doubt. Here’s a list of some of the most commonly expressed concerns.

I Struggle with My Confidence Because…

  • I still have my own “uncured” disease or health condition
  • I’m not perfect
  • I don’t look “the part”
  • My family refuses to take my advice. Who else would believe me?
  • I’m not perfect
  • I’m overweight
  • I’m afraid to speak in public
  • I’ve made previous “health” decisions that have harmed my children
  • My experience is only in the medical profession
  • I’m not perfect
  • I’m not married
  • I think I might be too old
  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m married
  • I’m not smart enough
  • I struggle with unhealthy lifestyle choices (addictions)
  • I’m not perfect
  • Insert your special disqualification here: _________________

All of the listed items above are legitimate concerns. However, none of them are good-enough reasons to derail our hopes and dreams. So here we find those suffering silently who just can’t get past their personal fears of unworthiness and private feelings of inadequacy. Are those feelings actually valid reasons for holding them back? Likely not.

Self-doubt is a powerful force that can hold us back from our dreams. It comes replete with constant reminders of our shortcomings and any shred of confidence we manage to gain takes a pummeling when we consider stepping out.

if you’re someone who suffers from self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy I’m gonna ask you to do something brave. Put on your greatest “inner warrior” and determine not to let self-doubt keep you from realizing your God-given dreams. Get ready?

So I want to take a moment and expose self-doubt for what it is …a coward that is full of fear. Just wait warrior, you’re gonna be all over this because the very thing self-doubt accuses you of (that list above) is the very thing that self-doubt is. You on the other hand are not self-doubt. If you see yourself as a player in this scenario, then perhaps you’ve been listening to its voice for much too long.

Self doubt can only appear strong when it remains hidden within you influencing your thoughts. Once it is exposed it loses its power. What is the power of self-doubt? In one word…


Bouncing around in our minds and our hearts, self-doubt wields paralyzing power. Worse than a discouraging roommate …and certainly not a topic shared by any of Dale Carnegie’s professionally trained presenters You know the type, they look a fabulous picture of health presenting no major health issues or bad habits.

Silence. Yes, that’s it. As long as these thoughts remain unspoken, they will remain unaddressed. A modern-day poet wrote about silence and its power to restrain our life vision.

The Sound of Silence

Verse I ~
Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains, within the sound of silence…

Verse 5 ~
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence”

Words and Music Written by Paul Simon

Reflecting upon these words I was taken aback by that last verse. Here the author describes the homage paid to ‘silence’ and how the voices and dreams of many are being squelched. I wonder if anyone besides me can relate?

Break the Silence.

Now is the time to speak out about your dream. Now is the time to believe. It is great to have a vision, because we need to set goals to get ourselves there. If you need help setting goals read this blog to learn how:

Getting from Point A to Point G (Graduation) & Beyond…

If you recognize self-doubt it is critically important to do so that you may realize your dream. Share that dream and the doubts you are having with someone. Be brave. BREAK THE SILENCE! Find someone to share with! There are many people who will listen and be encouraging. In any case take action and break its power. However, once spoken, you may be surprised at how fast self-doubt retreats.

When I hear all the talents, interests and visions of the students I speak with I am absolutely amazed at how different each one is. Like snowflakes, no two people and no two dreams are alike. It is so incredibly beautiful. So don’t let a lack of confidence ruin your whole day, or week, or year, or life. Work with the talents that you have and continue to build yourself up in areas that are lacking. Don’t try be a mirror image of someone else. That just no fun and someone’s already done that.

The world doesn’t need two of any of us. What it does need is for you to be the very best you that you can be.  You will reach people that others never could. Likewise, this is true for each of us, but only if we refuse to pay homage to the silence of those things that hold us back.

Take Stock!

In order to see ourselves accurately we need to know what we can do. So without being hypercritical or getting into a funk, analyze your personal strengths and weakness. Remember, you have both! We all have both. So make sure to list items under both the ‘strengths’ category and the ‘weakness’ category.

Celebrate Your Strengths!

Focus on who you are and what you can do and not just on those things you are not – or are not… yet. We’ll get to those in a moment.

Any student that is learning about natural healing is already increasing in strength and knowledge. Experience helps it all come together. It is normal to be a little jittery in the beginning. Don’t worry if all the pieces don’t fit right away. If you persist, eventually they will.

We can use our journey as part of our testimony:

I am not yet who I want to be. but I am also not what I would have been if I had not begun making changes. By actively using these tools, I have accomplished this“… (and name your victories). Talk about the struggles you have had and the obstacles you’ve overcome.

People relate to the struggle and they will trust your honesty. More still, they will hope that you will have compassion for them because you have faced difficulties. …and you will.

Take Action!

Next. Take Action.

Meanwhile, turn your weaknesses into strengths! Skills can be gained. So where you believe you are lacking, do some extra work. For instance the person who struggles with public speaking could join Toast Masters International. It is a free club that provides speaking opportunities and offers constructive feedback. If you are interested visit their website and find a club in your area or a group that meets online.

If the thought of interviewing clients brings on anxiety, then ask friends or a sympathetic family member to sit in. At the end let them critique you. Although it’s not always easy to be on the receiving end, honest criticism is extremely beneficial. This has helped me to be a much better interviewer – giving my clients what they need, and not too much.

For those with physical issues, whatever they may be. Having the perfect body or being disease-free is not a prerequisite for helping people. While it’s true that some people are judgmental, much of your business will come from referrals. Once you begin to help others they will talk and your business will grow.

Still, each of us should be actively engaged in becoming a better “ME”. For some of us, we may need the help of another health professional to walk with us in our journey for awhile. This can be a great learning experience as well as a healing one. It’s not just about being smart enough to learn all the answers for our clients. Walking a similar path to that of our clients will be very enlightening and the tips and tricks we gain are incredibly helpful. Do or will you require your clients to keep a food diary? Then keeping one yourself for months on end will give you a good idea of what some folks will need for encouragement along the way.

Is family less than encouraging? Sadly, just about every natural health professional deals with this in some form or other. Family are often the most difficult people to help. After all, they’re older and “wiser”, a witness to some of the shear dumbest things we’ve ever done, know how to “push our buttons”, and a host of other things. Even so, we love them.

Still, when we want to break out of the box, it’s hard to work within those well-established boundaries set for us as children. It is wonderful if we gain our family’s support. But if not, it is only as limiting as we allow it to be. Stay humble, take courage and press on.

Surround yourself with those people who are supportive and give ample space between yourself and those who are not. Don’t let them drain the strength and momentum that you need to accomplish your goals. When we love our family members we must respect (not agree with) their decisions for their health. Given the space they need, sometimes down-the-road they will seek us out, and then sometimes they will let us help them. In my experience, it their initial coming to me has always on their terms and never on mine. – I direct the path to healing, they have to do the work, just as any client would. The initial coming to me for help is always determined by them.

For those living a stressed-out life, finding it impossible to balance family, work, school and everything else, learn and apply stress-reduction techniques to your own life. What herbs do you find effective? How do prayer and meditation help? Why is exercise important? What things, not so much? Why is sleep foundational to good health? How do you get good sleep. All these things and more, are the important life lessons learned in your journey all the while getting a holistic education. NONE of it is wasted!

Your clients will deal with just as much stress and self-doubt. In time you will find that your recommendations, having been hard-earned for you, will be delivered with compassion and conviction, not simply intellect. You will feel the right amount of pressure to use in the delivery – not too little to be ignored and not too much to overwhelm.

Perfection is stagnation. Your clients won’t need a perfect example, they need someone who can identify with them and the hindrances they face to getting well. They need to be met where they are at. They need to be given creative and manageable goals that will get them right where they need to be. They need your help and encouragement to feel successful along the way. So ask yourself, what did you learn (or are learning) on your journey to a healthier you? How did you clear your obstacle to healing? Have you arrived at perfection? Nope, but you’re on your journey to excellence! …and you’re further now than you used to be.

There is a theme in all of this. The excellence that we find in our own personal journey, offers those golden nuggets to be shared with others. Things that can really make a difference. If we only became ‘perfect’, then most of our clients would find true health (like perfection) to be unattainable. So let’s teach them to be their best THEM while we are learning to be our best MEs and leave images of perfection to the television health guru pseudo-personalities.

Be excellent!

Rest assured, that experience will come with practice. Meanwhile, let us set our hearts on being excellent each day of our journey. While true confidence comes with experience, you can do a lot to bolster that in areas that you see room for improvement.

“The one who says it cannot be done
should not interrupt the one doing it.”

~Chinese Proverb

Trust Yourself!

What is confidence, if it is not believing in ones-self? So as you can see, there is no need to worry. Simply take stock, take action, and trust yourself. You got this thing!

Herbs for Your Bug-Out Bag

A well-equipped backpack is a must have for any sportsman or woman such as hikers, backpackers, hunters and survivalists. However, everyone can benefit by giving some forethought and preparation to some herbal basics for emergency situations.

A bug-out bag or “BOB” as it is sometimes called, is prepared in anticipation of a disaster event to last a minimum of 72 hours. It is self-contained with the basic components necessary for survival. In other words, one’s BOB should be a complete set up for the individual. Every individual ought to know how to proficiently use the components of their BOB and not be dependent upon another person in the event of separation or injury.

Additionally, each BOB should contain thoughtfully-considered items to provide for short-term necessities such as a basic shelter/sleep system and cordage, navigation, fire-starters, emergency food, utensils for cooking and eating, extra essential clothing, water purification supplies, a first-aid kit, emergency food, a knife, etc.

While this blog will only consider four valuable herbs that should be included, there are a host of videos and articles available on the internet that can easily be located to instruct one on the art of survival and identifying the bare necessities for a bug-out bag.

Here we will begin with the first essential “herb” one should carry.


Essential for life as our bodies cannot produce it, salt is a catalyst in many important functions within the body. It is crucial in that it assists the body in retaining water. Sweating, fever, vomiting and diarrhea deplete the body of fluids and can cause a medical emergency.

Heavy perspiration can cause a rapid loss of essential salt thereby throwing off the body’s electrolyte balance causing cramps and spasms, change in the regular beating of the heart, brain fog and the like. Salt also aids in activating salivary enzymes and producing hydrochloric acid, both of which are necessary for the proper digestion and absorption of food.

How much salt do we need each day? The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) recommends consuming one and one-half teaspoons of unrefined salt each day. Be sure to remember that with exertion and perspiration more salt is lost through the skin and must be replaced beyond the recommended daily dose.

Hilda Labrada Gore of the WAPF writes, “Low salt consumption has been linked to metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, poor digestion, parasites, and even depression. Salt is critical for proper brain and body functionality.”1

It is best to select an unrefined sea salt such as Celtic or pink Himalayan salt. The grind you choose is up to you. For myself, I prefer a course grind of salt in this application for ease in handling (fine ground salt is a bit easier to lose out of a zip-lock baggie. Plus, I like the idea of tossing a few grains of salt in my mouth to suck on as I walk along.

Additionally, the daily allotment can be used to boost the flavor of foraged foods.

Perhaps it could be argued that “technically” salt is a mineral and not an herb. However, there are herbs that contain mineral “salts” including sodium chloride. For those who live in areas without access to salt reserves, foraging for herbs like hickory roots, coltsfoot and lambsquarters (among others) can provide a source of salt and were used by our ancestors.

In those first few days of a disaster scenario, it may just prove simpler to have already packed a salt source, saving the necessity of foraging for later.

Every year roughly half a million people in the United States end up in the hospital, primarily due to dehydration. Intravenous (IV) rehydration (saline) is used to treat moderate to severe cases of dehydration. Children are more likely than adults to become dangerously dehydrated when they become ill.

Awareness is key to maintaining health and avoiding additional challenges when dealing with emergency situations.

The solution to the health problems of the world today is to be found in natural remedies, not in poisoning the system with chemicals. Although they may appear to bring temporary relief, they add a debt of debilitating poison which will later result in serious problems.”

John Harvey Kellogg, MD 1852-1943
(Founder – Kellogg’s Corn Flakes)

Chia Seed (Salvia Hispanica L.)

As a food, Chia is a veritable nutrition explosion! The following are some nutrition facts would garner appreciation from any health food aficionado.

Chia has been an ancient source of food for well over 5,000 years. Highly esteemed by the Mayan and Inca peoples, the seeds of the Chia plant were likely the most important part of their dietary staples. It was once called “warrior’s food” and only one tablespoon of this nutritious seed was said to provide a whole day’s worth of energy.

Chia is one of the highest sources of plant-based protein that includes all nine of the essential amino acids we need. It is high in the vitamins B-1, B-2 and B-3; the minerals calcium, magnesium, selenium, iron; and it is high in antioxidants! Chia also contains phosphorus, potassium, boron, and copper and zinc.

What a Mighty Little Seed!

To learn more about the benefits of chia seed read our blog entitled: Chia ~ Salvia Hispanica

It is recommended to rehydrate chia by mixing it in water and allowing it to set for 15-20 minutes prior to eating or drinking. It is also suggested that an adult not consume more than two tablespoons of chia seed in one day.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal (AC) powder is pure carbon created by burning substances like hardwood, coconut shells, bamboo, etc. (yes, these substances are herbs!) at high temperature in an oxygen-deprived environment. The result is regular charcoal.

It is important to note that activated charcoal is NOT the same as those “charcoal briquettes” folks purchase by the bag from the grocer or the home store for grilling food. This type of charcoal is saturated with toxic chemicals and is detrimental to one’s health. It should never be used medicinally.

However, regular charcoal can be ground to a powder and used in the same manner as AC, however, a significantly greater quantity must be used.

Activated charcoal, unlike regular charcoal has undergone additional processing with chloride salts that increase its surface area by developing a network of pores. In fact, so much additional surface area is created by this process that a single teaspoon of charcoal powder that has been “activated” has a surface area equivalent to that of a football field.2 Now that’s something!

The surface area of a single teaspoon of activated charcoal powder is equivalent to that of a football field.

Charcoal has a remarkable capacity to ‘adsorb’, whereby atoms or molecules from certain substances are attracted to and collect upon its surface. “This function is not to be confused with “absorb”, as when a towel soaks up water. …As the charcoal travels through the stomach and bowels, it will capture and neutralize poisons. Charcoal is not absorbed by the body and does not pass into the bloodstream.”2

The uses of activated charcoal are bountiful. It is commonly used in air and water purification, odor reduction, beauty products, and in gardening. In fact, AC can be used to make a primitive water filtration system in an emergency situation. Activated charcoal’s unique adsorptive qualities make it a dynamic emergency herbal that can be used both internally and topically.

Internally, one of activated charcoal’s outstanding characteristics is its ability to neutralize toxins through adsorption thereby assisting the body’s ability to eliminate toxins. Activated charcoal is a “well-known detoxification agent, it is used daily in hospitals and recommended by Poison Control Centers to treat poisoning emergencies.”3 So on the trail, should diarrhea, gastrointestinal distress, stomach bug, or food or chemical poisoning occur, don’t delay – reach for the AC.

Using Activated Charcoal Internally

Caution: There are no absolute contraindications for use in poisoning, however, activated charcoal is not equally effective for all toxins.

It is also important to be aware that ingesting activated charcoal can have a detoxifying effect upon any pharmaceuticals a person may be taking. Therefore, medications may not reach full potency, nor last as long. The following instructions are for emergency situations and not for chronic use of AC.

Ingested acids must be neutralized with baking soda and water. Caustic/corrosive agents must be neutralized with vinegar and water. Additionally, activated charcoal may obscure endoscopic visualization of esophageal and gastric lesions caused by the corrosive agents.4 If possible, call poison control or 911 for advice. (The phone number is in red text below.)

In severe acute poisonings oral activated charcoal should be administered repeatedly, e.g. 20 to 50g at intervals of 4 to 6 hours, until recovery or until plasma drug concentrations have fallen to non-toxic levels.

In addition to increasing the elimination of many drugs and toxins even after their systemic absorption, repeated doses of charcoal also reduce the risk of desorbing from the charcoal-toxin complex as the complex passes through the gastrointestinal tract.

Charcoal will not increase the elimination of all substances taken. However, as the drug history in acute intoxications is often unreliable, repeated doses of oral activated charcoal in severe intoxications seem to be justified unless the toxicological laboratory has identified the causative agent as not being prone to adsorption by charcoal.

The role of repeated doses of oral activated charcoal in chronic intoxication has not been clearly defined.5

Neuvonen PJ, Olkkola KT. Oral activated charcoal in the treatment of intoxications. Role of single and repeated doses. Med Toxicol Adverse Drug Exp. 1988 Jan-Dec;3(1):33-58. doi: 10.1007/BF03259930. PMID: 3285126.

While there are discrepancies between the various sources regarding proper amounts for dosing, the following oral dosing recommendations will serve as a guide. There are also dosing instructions on the “Herb Label PDF” available below. You can attach these labels directly to your baggies containing your herbal remedies.

Don’t worry about giving too much activated charcoal in an emergency. AC will not harm a person beyond potentially causing constipation and black stools. Constipation can be avoided by having the person drink an additional two (2) glasses of water after taking each dose.

In an emergency…

Call 911 or the Poison Control Center

Then, while you are waiting, give activated charcoal…

Oral Dosing for Poison Ingestion6

Adult – 50 to 100 grams = 5 to 10 TBSPS
12+ Years – 50 to 100 grams = 5 to 10 TBSPS
1-12 Years – 25 to 50 grams = 2.5 to 5 TBSPS
Under 1 Year – 1 gram = approximately 1 rounded ¼ TSP

Repeat doses in 10 minutes, and again if the dose is
vomited up, and should symptoms begin to worsen.2

Activated charcoal is tasteless but does have a slight powdery/gritty texture. Children who need to be encouraged to drink “black” water can be helped by using a straw, adding the AC to apple juice (if available), and having the grownup ‘enjoy’ a glass of “black” water too.

“Small children will resist and must be held. Laying a child on his back will prompt him to swallow reflexively. Use a spoon or small bulb syringe to give the charcoal mixture.”2

Slurry or Grey Water – Used for babies (colic, digestive) and individuals with digestive sensitivities (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, IBS, etc.). Stir 2-3 tablespoons AC powder into a quart of warm water, allow the AC to settle, then pour the grey water into a glass or baby bottle. Repeat several times by adding water to the remaining AC, stirring, and settling out again.

Note: Activated charcoal dissolves more easily into warm or hot water.

In addition to taking AC internally, should the liver or kidneys not be functioning properly or in the event of snake or insect bites a poultice should also be applied to the appropriate area(s) topically.

Using Activated Charcoal Topically

Apply a plain poultice or the even more effective ‘jelly poultice’ (wound dressing).

A plain poultice made with only activated charcoal will dry out rapidly making it quickly lose its effectiveness. A jelly poultice holds water much longer and is made by mixing the AC with another substance that “gels” when water is added. Soaking this substance for 15-20 minutes is reasonable. Mucilaginous herbs are best for a jelly poultice. Those such as ground flaxseed, slippery elm, marshmallow root, sassafras – or even that chia seed that you packed (works best if ground). More possibilities are cornstarch, arrowroot, tapioca starch, potato starch (basically anything starch-y), lentils, xanthan gum, and the like.

While not the most effective these other herbs (and herbs like them) can be foraged for depending upon the season and used mixed with activated charcoal for a poultice. Note: this list is incomplete – Aloe vera, American ginseng, angelica, asparagus, burdock, chickweed, dandelion, fenugreek, horse chestnut, Irish moss, mullein, osha, plantain, psyllium husk, etc. Plantain and dandelion greens can sometimes be found even underneath snow.

Apply the wet jelly poultice to a cloth or paper towel and apply another cloth or paper towel over the jelly and apply wet-side down on the area to be treated. Cover with plastic and leave in place a minimum of 2-4 hours for a maximum of 12 hours. A poultice needs to be changed a minimum of twice per day.

Did You Know?

Dr. John R. Christopher, American Herbalist, 1909 – 1983 recommended charcoal as one of the useful herbs for healing the condition of gangrene.

A plain poultice (AC and water only) is assembled and applied in the same manner, but will need to be kept moist with filtered, boiled, and then cooled water to remain effective. It is possible to mix with substances that swell with water like soaked oatmeal (especially ground) but this will still dry out and need repeated applications of purified water.

*To deal with circulating venom from bites and stings or toxins from infected wounds, AC must also be given internally to help with the removal of toxins.

Charcoal Bath – For multiple stings, scrapes, or poison ivy/oak, soak the injured limb(s). Add 2 cups of activated charcoal powder to a warm bath. Immerse body or limb for up to 1 hour.

Activated charcoal is not generally found in most first aid kits. You’ll be glad you took time to include this indispensable herb in your bug-out bag.

Keep reading to learn about the last (but not least) indispensable herb you will want to carry in your emergency supplies.

Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens) Powder

Cayenne comes form the dried pods of chili peppers. It is a pungent herb that can add flavor and a heat to food, but is that any reason to carry it around in your survival sack? Well, there’s a lot more to cayenne than its well-known ability to spice up one’s life. It is also a powerful medicinal herb that has been used for thousands of years. Read on to learn more.

If you master only one herb in your life, master cayenne pepper. It is more powerful than any other.

Dr. Richard Schulze ND, MH
American Herbalist & Natural Healer

Cayenne is what is known in natural medicine as an herbal stimulant. “Stimulants quicken, excite and increase nervous sensibility, thereby stimulating energy in the body and enhancing its function. These herbs stimulate naturally, in contrast with unnatural drugs and alcohol which irritate and debilitate the system, and in the case of alcohol, depresses it. Stimulants increase the power of the pulse and carry blood to all parts of the body equalizing and restoring the circulation in all parts.”7

In addition to adding heat to the pepper, capsaicin acts to reduce platelet stickiness and relieve pain. Other constituents of cayenne are vitamins E, vitamin C and carotenoids. Today cayenne is used worldwide to treat a variety of health conditions, including poor circulation, weak digestion, heart disease, chronic pain, sore throats, headaches and toothache. Cayenne is the greatest herbal aid to circulation and can be used on a regular basis.”8

The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin (the active chemical) it contains, and the more capsaicin the pepper contains, the more potent and effective of a medicinal it will be. There is little medicinal effect in the cayenne spice purchased at the grocery store. As a spice, cayenne generally offers only about 34,000 HUs (heat units). To use medicinally, look for a minimum of 160,000 HUs, preferably 200,000 to 300,000 HUs or more as is found in African Bird cayenne or in Mexican Habanero.

Taken internally, “cayenne influences the heart immediately, then gradually extends its effects to the arteries, capillaries, and nerves. The frequency of the pulse is not increased, but it is given more power. In equalizing the bold circulation, cayenne produces natural warmth, and in stimulating the peristaltic motion of the intestines, it aids in assimilation and elimination. It rebuilds the tissue in the stomach. It also heals stomach and intestinal ulcers.”7

Cayenne Powder

“Due to its high capsaicin and beta-carotene content, cayenne pepper is an excellent decongestant and expectorant.  This makes it useful in cystic fibrosis where the transport of mucus is altered. It helps to loosen the sticky mucus and eases elimination. It reduces swelling and inflammation in the respiratory tract, improving breathing.”9 Also, this thinning of mucus will help the mucus membranes throughout the body. It can be useful to open the airways with asthma, to clear the sinuses, nasal passages, lungs and urinary tract.

Using Cayenne Internally

Cold, Stuffed Nose, Headache, Internal Bleeding, Cramps, Circulation, Blood Clots, Digestive Issues, Enzymes, Low or High Blood Pressure, Muscle Pain or Stiffness – Use ½-1 teaspoon to 1 cup hot water, steep 10 min, 2-3x per day.

Sore Throat – (same doses as above) taken as a gargle, repeat as needed.

Epilepsy –1 teaspoon 1x/per day.

In an emergency… Call 911 while you are preparing and giving or taking this remedy. It is not to be sipped it is to be “chugged.

Cayenne is said to stop a heart attack in under a minute. It acts as a styptic internally as well as externally so it can stop bleeding such as happens in a stroke.

Stroke or Heart Attack, Chest Pain, Issues with Circulation, Shortness of Breath – Put 1 heaping teaspoon cayenne in 1 small cup warm or hot water (2 to 4 ounces water). Have the person “chug” it. It will be HOT/uncomfortable. If they sip it they may not get a sufficient dose. You can follow with extra pure water if desired. Repeat dose as needed.

Heart Attack– Put 1 heaping teaspoon cayenne OR 2 teaspoons of chili powder OR 3 teaspoons of finely ground black pepper (cayenne pepper works best – but use what you have) in 1 small cup warm or hot water (2 to 4 ounces water). Have the person “chug” it. It will be HOT/uncomfortable. If they sip it they may not get a sufficient dose. You can follow with extra pure water if desired. Repeat dose as needed.

Call 911

Warning: Pregnant or nursing women and those using blood thinners, seizure medications and muscle relaxants should not use cayenne internally.

Using Cayenne Topically

Sprinkle in Socks or on Feet and in Gloves/on Hands – Increases warmth and circulation. Do not touch your eyes if you get cayenne on your hands. Cayenne causes a burning sensation in the eyes, but will not harm them. In fact, cayenne is one of the healing herbs included in Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Eyebright Formula!

Inflammation, Joint/Arthritis Pain, Gout, Musculoskeletal (Acute Back & Neck) Pain, Slipped Disk, Neuropathy, – Mix 1 tablespoon to 4 tablespoons of cayenne powder with butter, oil, or a gel and massage area for 15 minutes 2x per day.

Wounds/Gangrene – Flush wound with clean water mixed with 1 teaspoon cayenne first, THEN pack with cayenne. It is styptic and will stop bleeding fast.

All of these conditions will benefit by taking cayenne both internally and externally. Internal “doses” for chronic conditions can be added to food, if desired.

*Internal or external burning sensations may cause discomfort, but they do not cause harm.

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STEP #1 – Print your labels. These labels are formatted for a 10-per page (2″ x 4″) shipping label such as PRES-a-ply #30609 or Avery template #5163.

Do not fill the bags with herbs until steps 2 & 3 are complete!

STEP #2 – Attach each label to a small zip-lock snack bag. The salt and chia seed bags will only require one label each. The activated charcoal and cayenne snack bags will both need two labels. Place an ‘internal’ label on one side and a ‘topical’ label on the opposite side of each bag.

STEP #3 – Place a layer of clear packing tape over each label on the bags. This is to preserve the text from potential water damage.

STEP #4 – NOW add the herbs to the bags. (It is helpful to have an assistant hold each bag open while herbs are being added.)

STEP #5 – For extra protection, use a sandwich-sized zip-lock bag to double-bag the herbs, especially the activated charcoal and cayenne. If either of those two opened inside your bug-out bag that would be terrible.

STEP #6 – Place the herbs (including the double-bagged herbs) together inside a one gallon zip-lock bag within your BOB.

The key to using these herbs is to not have to solely rely upon them. They can be very effective used during the time it takes for emergency personnel to arrive or during transport to medical facilities.

There are literally thousands of herbs. Many are worthy of mention because they are helpful in so many different circumstances. The herbs chosen specifically for this article are those with a broad range of use that cannot quickly or easily be foraged for in a medical emergency.

The student of herbalism benefits by becoming well-acquainted with a number of common herbs. It is important to know how and where to forage for, process, and use these herbs for food and medicine. Here are a few of the most common, multi-use herbs to study: Yarrow (a favorite among herbalists for wounds and as a fever-reducer), plantain “the draw-er” and so much more, pine, burdock leaves and root, white oak bark, boneset, mullein, nettle, dandelion and so much more!

If you are interested in learning about the benefits of dandelion – the whole plant! – read our blog entitled: 3 Reasons to Love Dandelion

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We hope you learned something new from this blog today. Do you have a bug-out bag for emergencies? Are there other herbs that you believe should be considered for emergency first-aid use? What herbs do you carry in your BOB? Comment below and tell us about it! We would love to hear from you.

Professional-Quality Supplements

Students attending Genesis School of Natural Health’s diploma programs are offered the opportunity to set up student accounts with vendors who offer high-quality professional remedials that are only available to the general public through a professional recommendation.

The purpose of these accounts is to allow the student to familiarize themselves with the different lines and types of products. By getting acquainted with the vendors, their varying product lines and literature, the proactive student, will be better equipped to ‘hit-the-ground-running’.

This allows for a quicker and less stressful business transition once diploma(s) have been earned while the business is taking form and expanding. Upon graduation, the student would reconnect with each vendor and comply with their requirements to upgrade to a professional account.

Individual supplements are discussed in many of our courses, so they will not be discussed here. Still, there are many different types of remedies from which to choose and some of our vendors have specialties that are worthy of discussion. Let’s consider what these are and how they work.

Drainage Therapies

Drainage therapies are a very important part of the holistic health professional’s toolkit. They are often herbal extracts, but can also be found in homeopathic formulations. Drainage remedies are formulated to support organs, cellular processes, lymphatic movement and elimination of toxins.

Did you know that is possible to entirely avoid or greatly minimize a “healing crisis” by using drainage therapies and low-potency homeopathic remedies? Absolutely! By slowing down and using these types of remedies, the body is assisted with the elimination of waste and supported in the process of cellular regeneration.

It is possible to avoid a “healing crisis” by using drainage therapies and low-potency homeopathic remedies.

To execute this properly, one must begin their use well in advance of any attempt to detoxify the person. It is recommended to reserve the utilization of high-potency homeopathics and nosodes until the client has undergone a sufficient period of nutritional rebuilding and preparatory detoxification that is both mild and gentle.

Nutritional rebuilding and gentle preparatory detoxification are prerequisites to detoxification.

German Biologicals

bloom blooming blossom blur
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Biologicals are preparations derived from living organisms and their products. German biologicals are remedies designed to support the body in its attempt to rid itself of the toxicity of its tissues. By supporting the organs of elimination and the functionality of the GI tract (for adequate nutrient absorption) the body is then believed to heal from degenerative conditions in the reverse order that the dysfunction became apparent.

While German biologicals seem similar to “drainage remedies”, the method of attaining healthy body function and protocols differ.

Spagyric Botanicals

Spagyric is a holistic method of processing herbs that involves first separation, then purification, and lastly reunification. This process produces very concentrated and pure herbal remedies which include both water and oil-soluble constituents, making the resulting product much more bioavailable, rich in minerals, and that also contain the most desirable properties of the entire herb.

When the digestive system is compromised, reach for Spagyrically-processed herbal remedies. These remedies are easily absorbed and therefore, do not tax a malfunctioning digestive system by requiring digestion. Spagyric botanicals offer a source of nutrition while working to rebuild and heal the gut.


Homeopathy is a gently, effective holistic health strategy that complements the ability of the body to heal itself. It uses natural remedials derived from animal, vegetable, and mineral substances that are non-toxic and without side-effects.

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The homeopathic manufacturing process inactivates and removes dangerous source material but retains its energetic effects so that the remedy is safe for use. Homeopathy is backed by over 200 years of sound research and application. Unlike orthodox chemical terminology, homeopathy works through ionics, the natural low-frequency electromagnetics of the body.

Classic homeopathy uses single energetic remedies derived from one ingredient which is most often applied to remediate acute symptoms. Combination homeopathics are a mixture of single remedies of low potency. These are more suitably applied in the modern-day wake of chronic illness.

In addition to classic and combination homeopathic remedies; nosodes, sarcodes, and oligos are three types that are frequently used. A description of each directly follows, however, we will not cover all of the available types.

Nosodes –
Homeopathic nosodes are weak dilutions of noxious substances. Nosodes work by interacting with the immune system at the cellular level. Nosodes cannot cause disease or side effects because of the extremely high levels of dilution.

There are those who incorrectly call nosodes ‘homeopathic vaccines”. This is not the case as a nosode acts differently than a vaccine. Additionally, nosodes are given either prior to or during an infection. It is interesting to note that the body actually responds much faster to a nosode than it does to a vaccine.

Nosodes “work according to classical homeopathic principles in that they stimulate the body’s response to similar disease processes. They do not work by directly challenging the body’s immunity to stimulate either cellular immunity or antibody production [as vaccines do]. The actual physiological mechanism of action has not yet been elucidated… however new physics research is showing that solutions made according to homeopathic principles, dilution and succussion, change the crystalline and electromagnetic nature of the water in which they are made.”1

Sarcodes –
In homeopathy, sarcodes are derived from healthy tissue which serves as a type of an energetic pattern to the body and helps it “remember” how to correctly rebuild its cells, tissues and organs. The nutritional equivalent would be a glandular. (More about glandulars in just a bit.)

Oligos –
Homeopathic oligos are ionically-charged trace minerals that effect the enzymatic function of the body at the cellular level. These elements regulate homeostasis by working to normalize blocked enzyme and disturbed hormonal functions. Unlike traditional homeopathics, oligos contain actual unsuccussed minerals. Like traditional homeopathics, these remedies are designed to be applied sublingually.

“Let food by thy medicine
and medicine be thy food.”

~ Hippocrates, The Father of Modern Medicine
abundance agriculture bananas batch
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Whole Food Nutritional Remedies

While 98.97% [1] of the vitamins consumed are made up of synthetics or rocks, students of Genesis School of Natural Health may apply for a student account to access the most pure and unadulterated supplements on the market. There is nothing better than real food, whole food, and pure food nutrients for maintaining and rebuilding health.

This company’s closest competitor has sometimes been known to use porcine glandulars, add synthetics to their nutrient profile, use other than food-based minerals, and add colors.

The natural health professional can rest assured that the quality of these supplements far exceed that which can be found anywhere else in the industry.

“Every vitamin is a biological
mechanism, not a chemical.”

~ Dr. Royal Lee

Vitamins –
“A vitamin is an organic compound necessary for the normal metabolism, growth, and vitality of a living organism. Vitamins, or “co-enzymes” as they are sometimes called, are critical cofactors that help to create enzymatic reactions in the body that break down proteins and build up tissues in the body.

“Vitamins should come from foods.”

~ Dr. Royal Lee

Vitamins should not be thought of as simply ‘chemicals’, rather they are biological mechanisms that do not work independently, they work interactively. In nature, vitamins are always present in complexes with other vitamins and nutrients. They are never broken down into individual components prior to consumption as is the case with synthetic, lab-created ‘isolated’ supplements.”[2]

“In nature, vitamins… are never broken down into individual components prior to consumption as is the case with synthetic, lab-created ‘isolated’ supplements.”

~ Dr. Robert Thiel, Ph.D., Nutrition Scientist

Minerals –
“Minerals are inorganic compounds relevant to human nutrition which are composed of substances that are neither plant or animal and that provide structure and function to every living cell. Minerals also function in the body as co-enzymes in a similar manner to vitamins.

Limestone Quarry

Vitamins and minerals do not work in isolation. They often work together in groups and the deficiency of just one nutrient can cause a malfunction in the action of the group. For instance, think of the nutrients required for healthy bones. As we are all aware, calcium is necessary for healthy, strong bones and teeth. However, so are the correct proportions of vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, fluoride, phosphorus, chloride, copper, manganese, and sulfur. When just one of these nutrients are out of balance, the whole system suffers and ultimately the quality of bone material is weakened.

It is difficult to obtain the minerals the body needs from diet alone. Many years of conventional farming methods have depleted the topsoil of the vitamins, minerals, and microbiota that plants need to produce nutritious food. This makes supplementation a necessity for most people.”[3]

Glandulars –
“Glandulars or ‘protomorphogens’ are the salt extracts (mineral substrate) of mammalian gland tissue used to balance body chemistry and for regeneration of organs. They are generally derived from bovine (cow) or ovine (sheep) tissues and appear to work on the Homeopathic principle of “like cures like.” (e.g. If one has chronic lung issues, the lung glandular would be selected.)… Radioactive studies have found that the ingested glandular then concentrates in the same organ within the human test subjects as the ingested gland or organ.”[4]

Unfortunately, there is no vegan substitute for glandulars. Thus, the healing process using vegan supplements will not be as fast as it is with the use of glandulars. Also homeopathic glandulars called sarcodes, while they have their place, do not work as efficiently as freeze-dried glandulars.

Other Supplements

Comfrey & Plantain

There are other types of supplements available through our recommended professional supplement vendors from a wide variety of herbal extracts such as tinctures, capsules and tablets to topical preparations.

Students in our Master Herbalist and Clinical Master Herbalist programs learn how to prepare their own herbal extracts and preparations. This important knowledge is critical to understanding the processes and formulas that supplement vendors use and helpful in ascertaining and ensuring therapeutic effect regardless of whether supplements are selected from a professional manufacturer or while crafting custom supplements for one’s own clientele.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


1-2 Serious Nutrition: Incorporating Clinically Effective Nutrition into Your Practice by Dr. Robert Thiel, Ph.D., Nutrition Scientist
3 Vitamins, Minerals & Supplements: Nutrient Sources, Functions, Symptoms of Deficiency & Toxicity, and more… by Darlene Jorgens
4 Homeopathic Nosodes: Vaccination Alternative? by Jessica Bourgeois

A True Essential Oil Adaptogen

Many have heard of the well-known herbal adaptogens such as the Panax and American ginsengs, Eleuthero – which is sometimes called Siberian ginseng (although it is not actually a ginseng), Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, and others.

What is an adaptogen?

In herbalism, the term adaptogen carries with it a very specific meaning. Adaptogens are herbs which are always safe and gentle and affect the body by impacting the way the adrenal glands respond to chronic (or ‘non-specific’) periods of stress.

“Adaptogens increase the state of non-specific resistance in stress and decrease sensitivity to stressors, which results in stress protection, and prolong the phase of resistance (stimulatory effect). Instead of exhaustion, a higher level of equilibrium (the homeostasis) is attained the heterostasis. The higher it is, the better the adaptation to stress. Thus, the stimulating and anti-fatigue effect of adaptogens has been documented in both in animals and in humans.”

Panossian, Alexander, and Georg Wikman.
“Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress-Protective Activity.” Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland)
vol. 3,1 188-224. 19 Jan. 2010, doi:10.3390/ph3010188

Herbalist David Hoffman says that while adaptogens help the body endure stress longer, they are intended for the cessation of stress. The elimination of stress can occur in a variety of ways such as learning new techniques and skills to deal with the stressor(s) or some other type of change.

The purpose of adaptogens should not include doing nothing only to try to enable the body to take on stress indefinitely. If one chooses to use an adaptogen and do nothing about the stress, they will eventually burn out anyway.1 Herbal adaptogens are not meant to be a magic pill for stress avoidance.

Herbal adaptogens are not a
‘magic pill’ to avoid stress

Both chronic emotional stress and chronic infection(s) result in the ongoing release of cortisol and other steroidal glucocorticoids. Prolonged exposure to glucocorticoids can disrupt the interactions between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands (HPA axis).

The HPA axis is a neuroendocrine system that regulates digestion, the immune system, energy storage and expenditure, and influences our mood and emotions. HPA axis dysfunction increases the risk of depression, anxiety, digestive and sleep problems, headaches, weight gain or loss, and heart disease. Fatigue, muscular weakness, excessive free radicals, mitochondrial dysfunction and increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines are also associated with HPA axis dysfunction.”

All adaptogens contain antioxidants and other phytochemicals that are beneficial for the prevention of disease, support during acute infections and chronic diseases (cancer, autoimmune conditions, etc.), and protection from toxins (chemo, radiation, environmental toxins, and internal toxins).”

Rhodiola rosea
by Sharlene Peterson, Educational Administrator
Genesis School of Natural Health

The key to the action of a genuine adaptogen is that it must support the neuroendocrine system, specifically the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and in doing so “modulate and regulate the use of cortisol, allowing the body to maintain a healthy stress response. They also help regulate and support the interconnected neuroendocrine and immune systems allowing the body to maintain optimal homeostasis.” (Adaptogens, Winston & Maimes 2007)

The popularity of the term “adaptogen” has become a type of buzzword useful in creating a market for ‘super oils’ known to have ‘balancing’ properties.

Although quite a number of essential oils do have balancing properties in one way or another – they generally do not meet the accepted criteria for adaptogens. Only one essential oil (at this point) is known to function as a true adaptogen. Yet oddly enough, it is relatively unheard of as an adaptogenic essential oil.

There is one essential oil, however, whose roots grow deeper and that reaches ‘head and shoulders’ above all other potential essential oil contenders in terms of its adaptogenic effect. That is none other than the lowly conifer, the Black Spruce.

Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

As a relatively slow-growing pine of the Canadian boreal forest. Black spruce is found prolifically across North America expanding as far north as Alaska and as far south as the Great Lakes.

Robert Tisserand writes that historically, a strong decoction of the young branches of Picea marinara was made into a beverage called ‘spruce beer’ that was imbibed when on board ships to ward off scurvy. (Essential Oil Safety 2nd ed., Tisserand & Young, 2014)

Black spruce is a relative newcomer on the essential oil scene. It has only been processed commercially since the 1960s. The essential oil, is steam distilled from the tips of its fresh cut branches (twigs and needles). It is sustainably harvested as a seasonal waste product of the logging industry primarily in eastern Canada in the autumn and again in the late winter and early spring each year.

Picea mariana is a gentle remedy for which there is no known cumulative toxicity in low doses. Oxidized oils are contraindicated (as always) because irritation may present with topical use. Generally, and at appropriate dilutions, black spruce is not irritating nor is it sensitizing. It has a deep woody and earthy scent, as fresh and crisp as the air of a conifer forest.

Black Spruce… “The Restorer

Black spruce, as a true adaptogen is predominantly a “systemic neuroendocrine-immune restorative and regulator” for the chronically debilitated and fatigued with conditions resulting from deficiencies and imbalances of the “pituitary/adrenal/thyroid/thymus/ovarian (and other endocrine)” systems. (Aromatica, Volume 1 by Peter Holmes, LAc, MH)

“Black spruce arguably displays the largest range of therapeutic effects among these valuable conifer oils…

European practitioners have long established good clinical results using Black spruce as a booster and regulator of the HPA axis (Penel 1990). Syndromes of adrenal dysregulation and fatigue may be improved at the core with its internal use. Positive results have included regulation of pituitary–thyroid and pituitary-gonadal functions showing this remedy to benefit functional hypothyroid conditions as well as female hormonal dysregulation in general. In addition, immune functions have shown both short-term and long-term improvement.

…Black spruce has emerged with a newer, larger clinical profile that warrants defining it as a true adaptogen, in the same league as the herbal remedies Rhodiola, the Ginsengs and others. Taking the premise that an adaptogenic effect must involve the core triangle of physiology – the nervous, endocrine and immune systems – and moreover must have an essentially broad regulating effect on virtually all endocrine glands, proving useful for an exceptionally wide range of weak conditions. Chronic fatigue syndrome is perhaps its most telling indication here, involving as it does long-term neuro-hormonal and immune deficiencies

Black spruce should be included in a large variety of formulations addressing chronic deficiency and dysregulation.”

AROMATICA: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics, Volume 1
Peter Holmes LAc, MH

~ Black Spruce ~
A True Adaptogen”

Peter Holmes LAc, mh

Kurt Schnaubelt identifies Picea mariana as a restorer of depleted adrenal glands further extolling its virtues as a topical substitute for morning coffee! (Advanced Aromatherapy, Kurt Schaubelt, Ph.D., 1998)

Suzanne Catty, professional aromatherapist and author of “Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy”, agrees. “In high-stress periods both the hydrolate and the oil can be used as an aromatic pick-me-up that can replace afternoon or evening coffee breaks.”

Black spruce can be a useful remedy for chronic infections, discouragement, menstrual disorders, mental fatigue/burnout, muscle aches and pains, and for weakened stamina. It may also help boost self-esteem and self-confidence, ease depression, balance weight issues, help with respiration (tight breathing), and increase general vitality and immunity.

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Together, Scotch pine and Black spruce afford a wonderful synergy as an expectorant and respiratory revitalizer for chronic conditions such as emphysema and asthma. They are also a useful blend for immune deficiencies and the endocrine system.

At an emotional level Black spruce can be relied upon to ground, stabilize, and energize while connecting people back to their true thoughts and feelings. It is as centering as a meditative walk in the forest all the while recreating a sense of self, confidence and purpose.

If you have not had an opportunity to try Black spruce essential oil yet, you may want to get hold of some. Its many uses make it a valuable addition to every essential oil toolkit.

Essential Oil Allergy

Essential oils (EOs) are exploding in popularity!  Nearly every household has at least a few of them lying around and there is a quickly growing presence of us ‘lovers of all things aromatic’ diligently working on expanding our collections as quickly as our budget will allow while sharing the good news of aromatherapy everywhere we go!  The delightful scents and medicinal properties of essential oils pique the interest of many who want to remediate ailments using natural means.  What could be more perfect than these readily available delightfully-scented volatile oils?

The healing properties of essential oils are well-known. Yet the potency of these natural plant oils is often underestimated. There is important information available to learn about the safety of these oils and how to lower the risk of sensitization for ourselves and others while continuing to enjoy of these delightfully aromatic oils for years to come.

The following chart is designed to help us visualize the vast quantity of plant material involved in the production of essential oils. For instance, the oil of Rose Otto, Rosa damascena, takes two pounds of rose petals just to make just one drop! Two pounds of petals takes anywhere from 30 to 50 rose blossoms to manufacture!1 One 16-ounce pint of Rose Otto essential oil demands between 144,000 to 240,000 blossoms or 10,000 pounds of these precious petals!

The concentration of phytochemicals in a mere drop of any essential oil should receive a healthy dose of respect. Dilution with a carrier oil serves a crucial purpose in reducing the risk of applying neat (undiluted) essential oils. A quick look at the chart below reveals how radically a 2% dilution reduces the potency (although not necessarily the effectivity) of the herb.

A single drop of the concentrated essential oil of Rose Otto is the chemical equivalent of between 30 and 50 blossoms. However, one drop of a standard two percent dilution of Rose Otto will only have the chemical equivalent of one blossom at most.

More is not always better, especially when it comes to essential oils. What is best is getting just what our bodies need. No more and no less.

We live in a toxic world. Many folks, whether they realize it or not are struggling with toxicity. As wonderful as essential oils are, they are can add to the burden. Too much of anything can create or exacerbate a tox-‘sick’ state of being.

“Toxicity, or ‘the degree to which a substance can damage the body’ is dependent upon dose and does not require a substance to be formally labeled as a toxin; ‘even water can lead to water intoxication when taken in too high a dose’ (‘Toxicity’, 2015). Toxicity can be caused by a single very high exposure, or by long-term exposure, but the net effect is that the body’s detoxification systems are overwhelmed.”2

Development of an
Essential Oil Sensitivity

Typically, immune responses are caused by large protein molecules such as those found in foreign invaders or infectious agents. It is a commonly held fallacy that essential oils cannot cause allergic reactions because they do not contain proteins. While correct in that essential oils do not have proteins, the fallacy is dangerously incorrect because essential oils do cause allergic reactions. Here is why.

Haptens are very tiny, low molecular weight molecules that may bind to larger molecules such as proteins and other things like pharmaceutical drugs. In the case of essential oils, they bind to Langerhans cells which are specialized cells integral to the skin’s immune system. By themselves, haptens cannot cause an immune response, however, once they are attached to a larger carrier molecule, the carrier/hapten molecule (now called an adduct) migrates into the lymphatic system.

“Langerhans cells (LC) are members of the dendritic cells family, residing in the basal and suprabasal layers of the epidermis and in the epithelia of the respiratory, digestive and urogenital tracts. They specialize in antigen presentation and belong to the skin immune system (SIS). LC acquire antigens in peripheral tissues, transport them to regional lymph nodes, present to naive T cells and initiate adaptive immune response.”3

Once the Langerhan cells present these adducts to the T-cells, the T-cells mount a quick immune response against these viruses, bacteria, invaders, or other toxins such as the essential oil hapten/adducts.

Foreign proteins and any protein with a hapten attached are called antigens. They are quickly recognized by the T-cells. This recognition process is done when “T-cells probe the surface of other cells, examining materials scooped from inside the cell and presented by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules on the surface of the cells.”4

After T-cells have probed an antigen, they can then recognize it and are able to rapidly multiply a large number of identical cells (clones) with the same antigen receptor as the original. Thereby, mounting an immune defense on behalf of the body.

Urushiol, the toxin in poison ivy is a common example of a hapten. Urushiol is absorbed into the skin and within the skin, oxidizes and attaches to the skin’s own proteins which forms the antigen. From there it is found by the T-cell, probed until recognized, then T-cells multiply in the lymph node and from there urushiol causes an immune reaction b(in this case on the skin) because of the body’s ability to recognize it in all subsequent exposures.

Although first exposure by which an essential oil has not yet been identified by the body as an antigen does not result in an allergic reaction. It is possible that subsequent exposures will. This process is called sensitization and the reaction that comes from it is called hypersensitivity.

“Once sensitization occurs, you will have a lifelong reaction to the allergic agent,’ Dr. Palm says. ‘Additionally, future exposures to the allergy-causing essential oil will cause more severe skin reactions.’ Those who fall within the ‘atopic triad’—or those with atopic dermatitis, eczema, seasonal allergies, and asthma—are much more likely to develop allergic contact dermatitis. Women are also more prone to these reactions than men, she says, due to an underlying hormonal cause, ‘which is likely a contributing factor to this difference.”5

The Dose Makes The Poison


Paracelsus, a pioneer of the Renaissance “medical revolution”, said that ‘the dose makes the poison’ (toxin). When the body is overwhelmed by a substance it seeks to preserve itself. Allergic reactions should be considered warning signs.

Herbalism considers the essential oil to be more concentrated than the tincture (generally an alcohol-based extract). Yet the essential oil does not contain all of the constituents of the tincture. This means that an essential oil will not have all of the balancing phytochemicals of the whole plant.

What essential oils do contain are only the molecules with the lightest weight that can transfer during the distillation process. Whenever the chemicals of plants are reduced through processing, certain balancing factors found in the whole range of phytochemicals are altered. This results in an increased risk of side-effects.

There is no getting away from it. In the search for natural remedies, even essential oils break down into… chemicals. When applied in their very concentrated form, the body at some point can be expected to identify the substance as a toxin and react to it. While it is desirable to foster heath, this is not always the case.

Lower the Risk
of an Allergic Reaction

> Use only oils that are suitable for different life stages
Young children and the elderly tend to be more sensitive, therefore, certain essential oils are not suitable. Also, due to hormonal fluctuations and the development of the child in utero and while an infant, those who are pregnant and lactating are advised to use only those oils deemed safe and in a safe manner during those times.

> Use proper dilutions of essential oils
The stronger the “dilution” the higher the risk. The highest risk occurring with neat (undiluted) topical applications and ingestion. Recommended dilution percentages will vary according to the potency of the essential oil.

> Vary your essential oil choices
Using essential oils (even when diluted) every day for weeks and months on end could trigger an allergic reaction. It is best to change the oils on a regular basis or even discontinue use for a period of time. Listen to your body.

> Frequent daily applications multiply total daily exposure
The following visuals demonstrate that frequent applications of essential oils quickly and exponentially increase the amount of plant chemicals to meet or exceed what is found in a single drop of neat Rose Otto essential oil.

This is shared simply to draw attention to the fact that many repeated applications of any essential oil have the potential to overwhelm the body. People seldom use only four drops of diluted 2% essential oils topically as in this example. There is also a therapeutic benefit to spacing out the applications. Small diluted doses add up.

Massage therapists using essential oil blends on their clients have an increased potential for an adverse reaction. Moderation is key to continued enjoyment of the many benefits of essential oils.

One might think that a delicate essential oil such as Rose Otto carries less potency than Cinnamon Bark or Clove (both known to be strong oils that are likely to cause skin irritation) but this is not true. While Rose Otto is not as irritating, it is plenty “potent” as is Lavender or the Chamomiles, etc. The constituents of essential oils vary, so their respective benefits differ.

> Parts add up
Many oils share some of the same chemical constituents. When using blends and making dilutions, one should take into consideration the increased amounts or select oils with different components that offer the desired effect.

One chemical, a monoterpene called 1,8-cineol, Cineole or Eucalyptol can be found in the essential oils of basil, eucalyptus, melaleuca (tea tree), peppermint, rosemary and sage. At high levels, this monoterpene has been found to be toxic. 1,8-cineol makes up a whopping 80% of eucalyptus and about 44% of rosemary essential oils. It is significantly less in the other plant species listed.

While it is perfectly fine to blend these oils, be sure to utilize the other risk limiting factors such as dilution, frequency of use, etc.

> More is not the answer
Not everyone will have their condition(s) remediated by using certain essential oils or blends. The complexity of our bodies is beyond simply replacing the pharmaceutical “red pill or blue pill” with a natural remedy such as an essential oil.

In this instance it can be beneficial to seek out a natural health professional able to assist with the necessary lifestyle changes, systemic support and corrections. There are a number of these professionals fluent in the application of aromatherapy as well as other healing modalities.

> It is not recommended to ingest essential oils.
You will find many different opinions on this topic and undoubtedly form your own, but keep in mind that foods containing essential oils do so only in very minute amounts. Even one drop of an essential oil can be too strong. In addition to potential allergic reactions, ingested essential oils can interfere with medications.

While ingestion may be professionally endorsed under certain circumstances, it has potential to increase the risk of hypersensitivity and is generally not recommended. Do not consume orally, apply topically, and diffuse all the same time. This is more likely to overwhelm the body.

The Tennessee Poison Center noted the number of toxic essential oil exposures doubled between 2011 and 2015.6

> Certain essential oils are more likely to elicit an allergic response:

Photo-irritation (photo-sensitivity) may occur with the use of citrus oils such as: bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lime and orange. Additionally, citrus oils are not well-tolerated while bathing because the skin’s pores become larger, allowing more of the essential oils into the skin.

Contact dermatitis is most likely to be caused by: balsam of Peru, cassia, cinnamon bark, clove, jasmine absolute, lemongrass, oregano, peppermint, sandalwood, tea tree, and ylang-ylang, etc.

It is also possible to be allergic to the carrier oil in which an essential oil is diluted. However, “very few adverse reactions are caused by impurities in an essential oil. Even if they are there, they are usually not present in sufficient concentration to cause a safety risk, and even impurities are not necessarily toxic. Almost all adverse reactions can be explained by the natural constituents present in an essential oil. Oregano oil is a potential skin irritant because of its 70-80% content of carvacrol, which is an irritant. Cinnamon bark oil is a potential allergen because it consists of 65-80% cinnamaldehyde – a known allergen. Bergamot oil is phototoxic because it contains 0.3% of bergapten, a potent photosensitizer. And, even the “purest” essential oil may be prone to oxidation that further increases the risk of adverse reaction.”7

If you think you may be experiencing an allergic reaction, simply STOP!!! Stop using all essential oils. Do not even diffuse them. Do not try to correct a potential allergy to an essential oil with the use of another essential oil.

Essential oils are a wonderful gift. Use them prudently and expect to reap the can benefits for years to come.

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