Hey, Green Healthletes
Its Marc Ryan, Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist and host of Green Health. We had a blast doing our first show.
Here’s the link if you want to watch it now.
There was only a limited amount of profanity, lots of fun was had and some information was actually shared. I’d like to thank all the IMers who chimed in with some great questions.
Here’s a little recap of the news stories we covered for all you blogophiles. Firstly, a news story ripped from the pages of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (April 15 2007 Issue). And I doth quote, “Frequent cured meat consumption was associated independently with an obstructive pattern of lung function and increased odds of COPD.” No one had any idea what that meant. Lucky for you, dear reader, you have me to translate. COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, commonly known as emphysema.
Yes, it seems that cured meats, like those crowd pleasers; bacon, sausage, ham and luncheon meats are high in nitrites. Nitrites are used as preservatives, antibacterial agents, and for keeping things that lovely pink hue. Nitrites generate reactive nitrogen compounds that may damage the lungs, producing emphysema. So don’t smoke and eat bacon. Bad.
I want to emphasize that our mission is not to scare the crap out of you, but rather to offer a kinder, gentler solution. At the other end of the food spectrum you can find fruits and vegetables. Chinese medicine views herbs and foods in different classifications and actually holds that certain foods and herbs can nourish specific organs. The following are a list of lung tonics or foods which nourish the lungs: dates, grapes and pears. Carrots, garlic, mustard greens, potato, squash, string beans, sweet potato, yam, oat, rice, sweet rice, almond, pinenut, chestnut, walnut, fresh ginger, honey molasses.
Some other things to consider for healthy lung function:
1. A low fat diet will improve the flow of blood to the lungs.
2. Eliminate dairy products, and sometimes wheat products, and you will decrease the amount of mucous produced in the airways.
3. Lose the excess weight and you will reduce compression on the lungs caused by an obese abdomen.
That was easy.
We also looked into a couple of stories from that venerable newspaper, The New York Times. It was a great week for our friends in big pharma. The first story was about two of the world’s largest drug companies paying millions of dollars to doctors every year in return for giving their patients anemia medicines, which regulators say may be unsafe at commonly used dosages.
Apparently, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson pay millions in what amount to kickbacks to doctors who prescribe these drugs commonly known as EPO (epoetin and darbepoetin) used to treat anemia in cancer patients who have had chemotherapy and radiation and in patients with severe kidney diseases who require dialysis. The more they prescribed, the more they were paid. The payments are legal, but few people outside of the doctors who receive them are aware of their size. Darn the luck.
Even as F.D.A. (Food and Drug Administration) staff scientists said no evidence indicated that the medicines either improved quality of life in patients or extended their survival, and several studies suggested that the drugs can actually shorten patient’s lives when used in high doses.
Apparently, the Hippocratic Oath (Do No Harm) is a casualty of the almighty dollar. The United States is virtually the only country in the world in which patients are given super-high doses of the drugs. It turns out these high doses are quite toxic and epoetin has been demonstrated to contribute to hypertension and blood clots in animal studies. Need I say more?
Once again, we seek not to frighten you but to point to a kinder, gentler way. Chinese medicine offers a safe, non-toxic solution to anemia of various etiologies (causes). It was first found in a 10th century text and is called Si Wu Tang or Four Substance Decoction. The formula is an elegant combination of 4 herbs; Shu Di Huang (Rehmannia Root), Dang Gui Root, Bai Shao (Peony Root), and Chuan Xiong (Ligusticum Wallichi Root). These herbs tonify the liver and kidneys and are quite successful in improving hemoglobin levels in the blood. (Hemoglobin is the molecule that transports oxygen to the cells of the body). In Chinese Medicine, the term for anemia is “blood deficiency”.
Here are some foods which are also helpful in tonifying or nourishing the blood (many of these foods are high in iron): apricot (I ate about 12 of them that I got at the farmer’s market this week), blackberry, cherry, date, fig, grape, raisin, raspberry, asparagus, beet, dandelion, kale, turnip, watercress, aduki bean, black bean, kidney bean, sesame seed, soybean, flaxseed oil, seaweed, algae, wheat germ.
Our last news story, also from the New York Times, reported on the company that makes the painkiller Oxycontin, Purdue Pharma, and 3 of its current and former executives pleaded guilty in federal court to criminal charges that they misled doctors and patients when they claimed that the drug was less addictive than traditional narcotics.
Apparently, they told everyone that because of the time release nature of the drug there was less of a threat of abuse and addiction to patients than traditional, fast-acting painkillers. Well, dear reader, I think you can guess how this one turned out. In fact, they were full of crap and this is a powerfully addictive narcotic. So addictive that in the area of the Appalachians in Virginia where the case was filed the drug is referred to as “hill billy heroin”. If you can’t trust the makers of time release narcotics who can you trust?