Jiddu Krishnamurti on Happiness

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We may move from one refinement to another, from one subtlety to another, from one enjoyment to another; but at the center of it all, there is the ‘me’, the ‘me’ that is enjoying, that wants more happiness, the ‘me’ that searches, looks for, longs for happiness, the ‘me’ that struggles, the ‘me’ that becomes more and more refined, but never likes to come to an end. It is only when the ‘me’ in all subtle forms comes to an end that there is a state of bliss which cannot be sought after, an ecstasy, a real joy without pain, without corruption.

When the mind goes beyond the thought of the ‘me’, the experiencer, the observer, the thinker, then there is a possibility of a happiness that is incorruptible. That happiness cannot be permanent, in the sense in which we use that word. But, our mind is seeking permanent happiness, something that will last, that will continue. That very desire for continuity is corruption.

If we can understand the process of life without condemning, without saying it is right or wrong, then, I think, there comes a creative happiness which is not ‘yours’ or ‘mine’. That creative happiness is like sunshine. If you want to keep the sunshine to yourself, it is no longer the clear, warm life-giving sun. Similarly, if you want happiness because you are suffering, or because you have lost somebody, or because you have not been successful, then that is merely a reaction. But when the mind can go beyond, then there is a happiness that is not of the mind.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Adaptogens Questioned

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Very simply, adaptogens are nontoxic, produce a nonspecific defensive response to stress and have a normalizing influence on the body. As defined, adaptogens constitute a new class of natural, homeostatic metabolic regulator. — David Winston and Steven Maimes

Paul Bergner has a very interesting slide presentation titled the Dark Side of Adaptogens.  Unfortunately this paper does not appear to be available online anymore, but it still available as part of the Fatigue: Pathophysiology, Natural Therapeutics, and Adaptogens course.

The subtitle to this talk on the Dark Side of Adaptogens is “How the indiscriminate use of tonic herbs can promote burnout and deep injury to the endocrine system”.

One of the parts I found most interesting about this talk was questioning the need for an adaptogenic approach when tonic herbs already have a well defined role within the traditional systems of health.  Tonic herbs are used in very careful ways at the appropriate times with the appropriate indications.  The modern usage of adaptogens as a silver bullet, in isolation, and without a holistic consideration or the backing of a well assessed health restoration plan can do more harm than good.

Tonifying herbs strengthen the processes of the body, including the pathogenic processes. Thus tonifying herbs should not be prescribed in cases where there are still signs of an exterior disorder. If they are, the exterior disorder will linger on. — Bensky and Gamble (Chinese Materia Medica)

We have a thread started on our discussion forums to discuss adaptogens.

Low-Carb Diet for Athletes

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An article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine titled Low-carbohydrate diets for athletes: what evidence? reviews the studies done on the performance effects of low-carbohydrate diets. There are very few of such studies and most are not well designed.

What we particularly enjoyed about this paper was its questioning of the conventional wisdom that athletes need to consume carbohydrates. It also raised questions such as the adverse effects of carbohydrate consumption as well as the often un-thought about benefits of a low-carb diet (prevents insulin resistance, effect on the immune system, weight control, and so forth).

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Metabolic Syndrome

We have a thread on our forum titled Metabolic Syndrome / Syndrome X / Insulin Resistance.  Thankfully several esteemed herbalist have written about this common condition.  An estimated 86 million American adults have prediabetes.  Only a partial number of those with insulin resistance will go on to develop diabetes but insulin resistance itself will cause a host of other problems.

Paul Bergner, from his article on Syndrome X, provides us the salient warning that treatment must be carried out with discipline:

The treatment has three legs, all of which must be done simultaneously:

-Supplement the nutritional factors whose deficiencies lead to insulin resistance.

-Enagage in a minimum of 15-20 minutes of resistance-type exercise most days.

-Eat a low carbohydrate diet.

Cayenne Pepper Roundup

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We started a forum post on Cayenne that includes links to excellent articles by Todd Caldecott and Michael Tierra as well as other sources.

Not a tonic or immunostimulant, it [cayenne] acts as a peripheral vasodilator, increasing blood supply to the skin and mucosa. It is NOT appropriate for active inflammation. — Michael Moore (Herbal Medical Contradictions)

Leafy Green Vegetables are the new Nootropic?

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Nootropics are substances that are thought to improve mental functioning.  If you didn’t have enough reasons to eat leafy green vegetables, one more reason has been provided by a new research paper.  This paper about the effects of leafy green vegetables on cognition has been discussed on Science Daily:

The researchers tracked the diets and cognitive abilities of more than 950 older adults for an average of five years and saw a significant decrease in the rate of cognitive decline for study participants who consumed greater amounts of green leafy vegetables.

And some of the specific constituents are referenced:

When the researchers examined individual nutrients linked with slowing cognitive decline, they found that vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta-carotene were most likely helping to keep the brain healthy.

Read more by reading the Science Daily article: Eating green leafy vegetables keeps mental abilities sharp

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BBC Article on Herbal Remedies in Antigua

Antigua is an island in the West Indies in the Caribbean region. The BBC article is titled Chikungunya revives herbal remedies in Antigua.  The chikungunya virus results from mosquito bites and there is no known cure.

Several of the herbs referenced in this article are quite well known like neem, dandelion, Echinacea and burdock.

Sadly but not unpredictably, the local medical doctor who was consulted with is clearly not familiar with the traditional systems of healing: “Herbalism is not proven so I couldn’t recommend it.”

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