A common concept among holistically orientated practitioners such as the Health Guardian, is that a human being is a self-healing individual, and at best, all a medical practitioner can do is facilitate this profound inner process. Addressing pathology prevention is relatively straightforward, but health is much more an active state of well-being than the absence of disease.
Health Guardians use herbal remedies to help prevent or cure disease. However, some warnings are in order, there are many unscrupulous sellers out there. Herbal remedies are not regulated like medicines. Herbals may not be tested before they are sold. Herbals may not work as claimed due to the variance in potency and many other uncontrollable factors and agendas. Labels do not need to be approved. Labels may not list the correct amount of an ingredient. Some herbal remedies may contain ingredients or contaminants not listed on the label.
Cooperation among health practitioners of different therapeutic modalities can create a geodesic relationship of extraordinary potential and strength. In such a scenario, differences lead to a celebration of the richness of therapeutic diversity and are no longer a cause for angry, bitter debate and conflict.
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS: Food provides energy and building material for countless substances that are essential for the growth and survival of every human being. To address nutrition, we must consider at least an overview of digestion, absorption, transportation, and excretion of nutrients at every system's level. These processes convert complex foodstuffs into individual nutrients ready to be used in metabolism. Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates each contribute to the total energy pool, but ultimately the energy they yield is available for the work of the muscles and organs of the body. The way nutrients become integral parts of the body and contribute to proper functioning depends heavily on the physiologic and biochemical processes that govern their actions. It is now known that these metabolic processes are altered in the presence of acute and chronic inflammation.
ISSUES: The type of nutritional care provided for an individual varies depending on the findings of the assessment process. The environment, surgery or trauma, food allergies, inadequate access to safe or sufficient food, stage of growth and development, harmful beliefs, lack of knowledge, and socioeconomic issues can all effect whether the individual has an adequate diet. In the healthy individual, omission of a specific food group, or intake of high-energy, nutrient-poor foods does not lead to failed nutritional status overnight. It is the prolonged imbalanced intake that leads to chronic disease.
STRATEGIES: Nutritional care includes four steps, and is the responsibility of each of us, as our own Health Guardian:
- ASSESSMENT- Conduct, record, and maintain a nutrition assessment. To implement a successful nutrition plan, the assessment must include key elements of your clinical or medical history, current situation, anthropometric measurements, biochemical and laboratory values, information on medication and herbal supplement use for potential food-drug interactions, plus a thorough food and nutrition intake history.
- ANALYSIS- Analyze the record data and diagnose constraints. Focus on the biggest nutritional constraint affecting current nutritional intake and overall nutritional status. Analyze factors contributing to the strengthening and weakening of these constraints to determine intervention direction.
- INTERVENTION- Plan and manage a nutrition intervention when needed. This step requires planning and goal setting followed by the selection of interventions that deal with the cause of the nutrition constraint.
- MONITOR- Monitor and evaluate nutritional status, and adjust. This final step is specific to the individual and is related to the signs and symptoms identified in the assessment. This is developed according to the nutrition diagnoses, assessment factors, and outcomes for the individual.
INTERACTIONS: The Health Guardian’s nutrition practices are inter-dependent, while also depending on the proper functioning of the body’s organ systems. Your ‘diet’ is the nutritional “Big Picture”, which conceptually is made up of menus and recipes. These recipes could be thought of as medical formulas, consumed as nutritional “Medicine” for the body over a long period of time. These medical recipes, (RX Recipes) or formulas deliver specific amounts of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients to the body. Herbals play a critical role in facilitating the biochemical mechanisms of our systems, ensuring we get the optimal nutritional values from what we eat. The Nutritiona Database provides nutritional information needed to diagnose, analyze, and manage our nutritional health.
WARNINGS: Sophisticated feeding and nourishment procedures place an increased responsibility on those concerned with providing nutrition care. The nutrition-related disorders can be managed by changes in dietary practices based on current knowledge. The goal in all cases is to move the individual along the continuum of disease and health management toward better nutritional health and overall well-being without becoming overly reliant on others for our health.
Diet - the noun – is a long-term lifestyle decision. Diet, the verb, is a short-term reactionary decision. The Health Guardian figures out how to create a nutritious, healthy, long-term diet that keeps you going strong for years and years. It’s a lifestyle thing, not a fad thing. As part of this lifestyle, there should be room for the practice of combining broth with your herbal teas designed to strengthen various organ systems, as a beginning of a soup. Over a month, this soup foundation should be consumed to provide strength and well-being over all 11 of the organ systems.
Your cells, tissues, and organs of these systems don’t work properly under just any conditions. They need certain nutrients in order to do the work of keeping you alive and healthy. Without those nutrients, the cells begin to malfunction, even die. If you aren’t providing the right nutrients and environment for your cells, they won’t work as well as they could, and a malfunction at the cellular level, could eventually impact any aspect of your health. This type of herbal soup acts as a booster to your system cells as part of a proactive approach, and adjustment to your system’s over all wellness and pathology prevention capability.
The tablet or capsule is the most commonly used oral dosage form, but is also often the most complex to make. The process of making capsules involves compressing the herb, which results in a reduction in effective surface area. The herb starts out as a very fine powder, but then is compressed into a single dosage unit. Certain capsule ingredients are included to add various physical properties to the therapeutic properties of the herb.
Ingredients of the common herbal supplement include the drug, which may be poorly soluble, or hydrophobic. A Lubricant is usually quite hydrophobic. Granulating agents may be used which tend to help the ingredients adhere to one another. Filler maybe included and could interact with the drug; it should be water-soluble. Wetting agents are also sometimes added to help water penetrate into the capsule. Disintegration agents (if included) help to break the capsule apart after ingestion.
Coated tablets or capsules are used to help mask unpleasant tastes, protect capsule ingredients during storage, or simply improve the appearance of the capsule. This barrier must break down quickly, or it may hinder the drug's bio-availability. Some capsules are treated with enteric coatings, meaning that they are coated with a material that will dissolve in the intestine, but remain intact in the stomach. Polymeric acid compounds have been used for this purpose with some success.
In addition to your diet goals, consideration about your strategy is also important. There are 8 strategic variations to macronutrient diets. In specific circumstances, some of these are healthier than others. Which diet you chose typically depends on a series of trade-offs and compromises. One may maximize carbohydrate intakes while lowering both fats and proteins as an example of one variation.
Generally accepted diets such as the Whole-Food diet, Mediterranean diet, Paleo diet, Vegan diet, and Gluten-Free diet expand these variations by controlling the source of these macronutrients while also considering the source of both vitamins and minerals needed for healthy systems function and sustainability.
The objective of this department is to provide the Health Guardian with the required background information needed to define a diet strategy which stays within given constraints, yet diagnoses food as part of a medicine prescription needed to treat chronic illness, increase self-reliance and wellness resulting in the highest levels of pathology prevention.
Alcohol is a better solvent than water for most plant constituents. A mixture of alcohol and water will dissolve nearly all the relevant ingredients of an herb and at the same time, and act as a preservative. The method given here for the preparation of tinctures describes a simple and general approach. For home use, an alcohol of at least 30% concentration (60 proof) will suffice, as this is about the weakest alcohol-water mixture that still provides a long-term preservative action. Vodka is usually a good choice, although other types of alcohol can also be used.
Pharmaceutical tinctures are alcoholic solutions prepared by maceration, digestion, or percolation. The term tincture is also occasionally used for preparations based on glycerin or vinegar. Ethanol offers the advantage of dissolving constituents that are insoluble or sparingly soluble in water while helping to preserve them in solution. A water-alcohol menstruum can extract a larger proportion of active principles of most plants than can water alone, but at the same time contains sufficient alcohol to prevent decomposition.
The proportion of drugs represented in the different kinds of tinctures is not uniform, but varies according to the established standards for each. Tinctures of potent drugs represent the activity of 10 gm. of a drug of minimum strength, in each 100 cc. of tincture. When drugs having a higher potency, than the minimum, are used in preparing tinctures the finished product is assayed and adjusted to the uniform strength. This conforms in principle to the recommendation of the International Protocol as adopted at Brussels, and with international standards. There are two important variables in tinctures: the concentration of the herb and the strength of the alcohol.
Concentration of Herb - The amount of herb in a given amount of menstruum defines the concentration of the extract. Most tinctures are in concentrations of 1:4 or 1:5. In the examples just given, the first number represents the weight of the herb and the second represents the volume of menstruum, so they express a ratio of weight to volume (w:v).
There are a number of ways to express concentrations. The expression percent may be used, according to circumstances, with one of four different meanings. In order that the meaning attached to the expression in each instance is clear, the following notations are used.
- Percent w/w (weight to weight): number of grams of active substance in 100 g of product
- Percent w/v (weight to volume): number of grams of active substance in 100 ml of product
- Percent v/w (volume to weight): number of milliliters of active substance in 100 g of product.
Strength of Alcohol - Alcohol can be used in concentrations of 45%, 60%, 70%, and 90%. In pharmacy, the expression "70% ethanol" describes a solution made up of 70 parts of 96.4% ethanol and 30 parts of water. As an example, "Tinctura calarni 1:5-70%" means that this tincture of Acorus calamus root was made by macerating 1 part of root (in weight) in 5 parts (by volume) of a 70% ethanol solution. The so-called mother tinctures used in homeopathy as the starting point for potentiation are usually prepared by bruising the fresh herb, expressing the juice, and adding 96% alcohol to the juice in an amount equal to one-third or one-half the volume of the fresh juice.
Fruit juice is considered a nutritional no-no, due to high-sugar and low-fiber ratios. But wait, don’t throw the idea out quite yet. Fruit Juice with herbals can be a powerful tool for the Heath Guardian. It has been shown that orange juice can help prevent inflammation, especially important in the chronology of chronic disease progression, inflammation is at first subclinical, often referred to as “silent inflammation.” This insidious inflammation remains below the threshold of clinical diagnosis. Cellular and tissue damage occurs in the body for years before being noticed. It is like a “smoldering” fire with a small whiff of smoke and heat being evident before it finally bursts into flame. Some refer to early chronic disease as a “smoldering disease."
Drinking a couple of glasses of orange juice prevents the inflammation that can be triggered by a high-fat meal. Lemonade thwarts kidney stones, and grape juice boosts brain function. Cranberry juice keeps your digestive system healthy, and prune juice helps with digestion. We shouldn’t forget the pomegranate juice packed with disease fighting antioxidants. The Health Guardian must remember, moderation in everything, and maintain a healthy balance. Fruit juices decidedly have a place in pathology prevention on a daily basis.
Prepare to be wowed. Look below and you’ll find an array of vegetables, herbs, spices, and edible flowers that are perfect candidates for infused water. (Kindly note, the suggested amounts of infusing ingredients listed are for only one ingredient at a time. If you want to infuse water with more than a single ingredient at a time, that’s fine, just cut back a touch on the amount of each ingredient.) As you buy your ingredients, it’s best to steer clear of anything that’s been sprayed with pesticide or herbicides since the chemicals, too, will infuse your water. That means buy organic or ask your local farmer if he uses such chemicals.
Mix medical and culinary herbs such as Anise hyssop, apple mint, basil, calendula, chamomile, chives, dill, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage (pineapple sage makes a wonderful herbal infusion), spearmint, and thyme (especially lemon thyme) with vegetables to produce exciting and healthy infusions supporting the organ systems of your body.
All you do is place your choice of infusing vegetables in a large container. Add a teabag of desired medical herbals. Top off the water, secure the lid, and give the contents a good shake.
For intensely flavored infused water, place the container of water, herbs, and vegetables in full sun for 5 to 8 hours, depending on how robust a flavor you wish to achieve. The longer you let the ingredients steep, the more intense the flavor. (A glass container is ideal for doing a sun infusion, as the sun’s rays can best penetrate and warm such a vessel. Be warned that the water may take on some of the color of the infusing ingredient.)
For mildly flavored infused water, place the container of water in the refrigerator for 5 to 8 hours, depending on how robust a flavor you wish to achieve. The longer you let the ingredients steep, the more intense the flavor.
Straining isn’t necessary, although if desired, you can strain the water and toss the solids in the compost or the trash. Place the infused water in the refrigerator and use within a couple days.
Fluid medicines-whether infusions, decoctions, or tinctures--often have an unpleasant taste. Thus, it 's sometimes helpful to mask the taste by adding a sweetener. One method is to use a syrup, which is the traditional way to make cough mixtures more palatable for children or to make any herbal preparation more palatable.
To sweeten an infusion or decoction, it is simplest to add the sugar directly to the liquid. For every 1 pint of liquid, add ¾ pound of sugar. Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. This mixture can be stored for future use in a refrigerator. Since it is not advisable to consume too much sugar, syrups are best used when making gargles and cough medicines, in which the herbs tend to be rather unpalatable.
Whenever the herbal material is hard and woody, making a decoction increases the likelihood that the soluble contents of the herb will actually be extracted into the water. Roots, rhizomes, wood, bark, nuts, and some seeds are hard and have strong cell walls, so to ensure an effective transfer of active constituents to the water, more heat is needed than for infusions.
Infusions are appropriate for softer plant tissue such as leaves, flowers, or green stems, where the desired substances are easily accessible. If an infusion is to be made of bark, roots, seeds, or resin, it is best to powder them first to break down some of the cell walls, which will facilitate extraction. Seeds-for instance, fennel or anise seed should be slightly bruised to release the volatile oils from the cells. All aromatic herbs should be infused in a pot with a tight-fitting lid to minimize loss of volatile oils.
In herbal infusions where the desired action is caused by the herb’s volatile oils, which are lost in boiling or hot water, warm or cold water infusions are used. The Health Guardian may combine the final drink with hot and cold infusions, along with cold down decoctions prepared by gently simmering woody plant parts in boiling water.
Besides water-based infusions, alcohol-based digestion plays an important part of the Health Guardian’s medicine cabinet. Many herbs require an alcohol-based digestion because their bio-active chemicals aren’t soluble in water, it’s not because minors are looking for a party. Digestion is a form of maceration that involves application of a gentle heat to the substance being extracted. It's used in cases which a moderately elevated temperature will help increase the solvent powers on the menstruum. Digestion is alcohol based. When combining infusions, it's rarely necessary to combine water-based infusions with alcohol-based digestion processes, but it can and has been done.
A problem that faces all that faces all formulators of medicines is the possibility that incompatibilities will be encountered. These fall into three broad categories. A therapeutic incompatibility· is defined as an undesirable pharmacological interaction between two or more ingredients that may potentiate the therapeutic effects of the ingredients, reduce the effectiveness of one or more of the ingredients, or cause toxicity in the patient. Physical incompatibility refers to a physical or chemical interaction between two or more ingredients that leads to a visibly recognizable change. The latter may occur in the form of a precipitate, haze, or color change. Chemical incompatibility is classified as a reaction in which an undesirable change occurs, but is not visible. Since there is no visible evidence of deterioration, recognizing this type of incompatibility requires some skill.
Physical incompatibilities can often be altered or avoided. A common problem is the generation of insoluble precipitates. For example, alcohol extracts precipitate dissolved constituents when mixed with water. Such problems can often be avoided by manipulating the solvent or by adding a suspending or protective agent. The specific remedies for such problems will vary according to the substances involved.
Change the order of mixing. Combining resin-rich tinctures and water commonly causes the resin to precipitate. One possible solution is to add the tincture slowly to cold water when mixing. However, with very resin rich tinctures, such as tincture of myrrh, it is impossible to avoid some precipitation of resin out of solution.
Change the total volume of the mixture. By simply adding more solvent, whether water or ethanol, the increased volume will provide more bulk for material to start in solution, in effect diluting the problematic constituent. The percentage of water or ethanol may be crucial, but the final outcome depends on the chemistry of the constituents in the extract.
Alter the solvents or add protective agents. Water dissolves gums, mucilage, and starch, but these are not miscible in alcohol. Alcohol dissolves most constituents. Often, the presence of alkaloids, glycosides, volatile oils, resins, or balsams in an herb necessitates the use of a higher percentage of alcohol in the extract to ensure that the constituents are extracted and will not precipitate when water is added. Glycerin can be added to replace part of the water component to decrease the chance of precipitation.
Make an emulsification or suspension with gums or syrup. For example, with acacia, do not add strong alcohol directly or the solution will "congeal." Instead, make a dilute mucilage and add alcohol slowly. This method may be used for resinous tinctures. With tragacanth, add tincture or liquid extract directly to powdered gum. Shake to mix. Water should be added in a proportion of 1 part of gum to 20 parts of water.
Chemical incompatibilities are more difficult to overcome, but rarely are an issue in phototherapy. Chemical interactions can produce precipitation of insoluble compounds. Alkaloids form salts with metallic ions, and thus, in theory, many potential incompatibilities are possible. However, all of these can be overcome by using a solution made up of 15% to 30% alcohol.
Essential minerals — that is, those necessary for human health — are classified into two equally important groups: major minerals and trace minerals. The major minerals, which are used and stored in large quantities in the body, are calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. The trace minerals are just as vital to our health as the major minerals, but we don't need large amounts. Minerals in this category include chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc.
When you eat a healthy diet that includes a variety of vegetables, beans, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, dairy products, and unsaturated fats, you're likely consuming all the healthy minerals you need; such as, chromium, copper, molybdenum, sodium, and zinc. You probably don't need to pay attention to your daily intake of these minerals. But some minerals are harder to obtain in the right amounts.
This unavailability is caused by multiple factors, not necessarily to do with the rarity of sources, but has more to do with eating habits and lifestyle.
Essential minerals are most potent when they come from food, but if you're struggling with deficiencies, you may need to take supplements. If so, use caution: ingesting too much of a mineral supplement can be harmful. Your individual health will determine your essential mineral needs. Work with your Health Guardian to develop targets for dietary minerals that will enrich your health and contribute to your pathology prevention efforts.
When it comes to Vitamins there exist some common principles that the Health Guardian can use as a fundamental bases to define proper nutritional strategy.
- Most tissues need most nutrients.
- Inadequate intakes of most nutrients impair the function of most systems.
- The classical deficiency diseases occur at only the extremes of “inadequacy”.
- The role of nutritional status as a key factor of successful aging is very well recognized.
- Adequate” adult nutrition can be best conceptualized as preventive maintenance.
Vitamins are organic and can be broken down by heat, air, or acid. Minerals are inorganic and hold on to their chemical structure. This means the minerals in soil and water easily find their way into your body through the plants, fish, animals, and fluids you consume. But it’s tougher to shuttle vitamins from food and other sources into your body because cooking, storage, and simple exposure to air can inactivate these more fragile compounds.
Water-soluble vitamins are packed into the watery portions of the foods you eat. They are absorbed directly into the bloodstream as food is broken down during digestion or as a supplement dissolves. Because much of your body consists of water, many of the water-soluble vitamins circulate easily in your body. Your kidneys continuously regulate levels of water-soluble vitamins, shunting excesses out of the body in your urine.
Rather than slipping easily into the bloodstream like most water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins gain entry to the blood via lymph channels in the intestinal wall. Many fat-soluble vitamins travel through the body only under escort by proteins that act as carriers.
Fatty foods and oils are reservoirs for the four fat-soluble vitamins. Within your body, fat tissues and the liver act as the main holding pens for these vitamins and release them as needed.
To some extent, you can think of these vitamins as time-release micro-nutrients. It’s possible to consume vitamins every now and again, perhaps in doses weeks or months apart rather than daily, and still get your fill. Your body squirrels away the excess and doles it out gradually to meet your needs.
This integrated data system contains—in one place—five distinct types of data containing information on food and nutrient profiles, each with a unique purpose. Two of the data types—Foundation Foods and Experimental Foods—represent “a bridge to the future” in food and nutrient composition. They provide data that has never previously been available:
Foundation Foods includes nutrient values as well as extensive underlying metadata on commercially available foods, such as the number of samples, sampling location, date of collection, analytical approaches used, and if appropriate, agricultural information such as genotype and production practices. With their enhanced clarity and transparency, Foundation Foods data can provide valuable insights into the many factors that influence variability in nutrient profiles.
Experimental Foods will include information from multiple sources about foods that have been produced under experimental conditions and are not commercially available. The agricultural data in Experimental Foods will allow users to examine a range of factors, such as geography and agricultural practices used, that may affect the nutritional profiles of foods and resulting dietary intake.
Standard Reference has been the primary food composition data type in the United States for decades. Using earlier approaches to determining nutrient profiles of foods in the marketplace, it provides a comprehensive list of values for nutrients and food components that are derived from calculations and analyses.
Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies provides nutrient values for the foods and beverages reported in "What We Eat in America," the dietary intake component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies data facilitates analyses of dietary intakes reported in NHANES as well as many other dietary research studies.
Global Branded Food Products Database is data from a public-private partnership whose goal is to enhance the open sharing of nutrient data that appears on branded and private label foods and are provided by the food industry. Information in Branded Foods is received from food industry data providers, and USDA supports Branded Foods by standardizing the presentation of the data. This data type is used in consumer education, research studies, and food label regulatory efforts.