Category: Opinion

Hi Folks, so because people are getting sick left and right these days I feel compelled to post this recipe. This is the latest, improved version of what I called Vulcan’s Hammer in my last newsletter (which is basically a kind of Fire Cider). As always, check the disclaimer at the top of this page: this is not intended as medical advice, and please check with your licensed health care professional before using this or any similar recipe, especially if you’re pregnant.

A lot of people are reporting getting tremendous benefits from this formula, including quick recovery from colds or flu. When I feel run down or notice the first signs a cold or flu is coming on, a teaspoon or two of this tincture boosts my energy and knocks the symptoms right out. I find that taking a teaspoon a day as a preventive, and another spoon or two before and after I work with patients who are already sick keeps me healthy.

My patients are mentioning similar results. I’ve heard from others who started taking it after they already got sick that a tablespoon every couple of hours helped them recover very quickly, like from a flu in just a day or so. In my humble opinion, this is quite simply one of the most powerful formulas I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with – and it’s easy to make yourself and inexpensive to boot. I’m calling this version Manavastra, which roughly translates to “Manu’s Divine Weapon” 🙂

Here’s the recipe:



2 Tbsp. fresh crushed garlic

2 Tbsp. fresh chopped onion

2 Tbsp. fresh grated or chopped ginger root

2 Tbsp. fresh grated or chopped horseradish root

2 Tbsp. fresh chopped hot peppers, preferably cayenne

2 Tbsp. fresh chopped turmeric root

1 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil

1/2 Tbsp. fresh chopped oregano

1/2 Tbsp. fresh chopped mint leaves

1/4 tsp of black pepper

Zest of about 1/4 of an organic lemon

Unflitered organic Apple cider vinegar, such as Bragg’s.


Simply put the solid ingredients into a one cup glass jar (8 fluid ounces in size), fill it completely with the apple cider vinegar, and cover tightly. If you have a different size glass container available, just scale the recipe appropriately – for example, if you’re going to use a quart sized jar, multiply all the quantities by 4.

Place the jar in a cupboard or other cool, dark place (no refrigeration needed) on top of a plate or in a bowl (it may ferment and overflow). Shake it well once a day for at least two weeks (but you can let it soak for two months or longer if you wish). Then strain out the herbs using a cheesecloth or other filter and squeeze tight to get all the liquid out of them that you can. Place the liquid tincture in an airtight jar, label it, and store in a cool dry place.

Option: once you strain it, add 2 Tbsp of local raw honey to the tincture and mix well. Taste and add more if you like. Caution: do not give raw honey to young children.

Edit: I forgot to mention the kind of emotional quality this formula seems to have; after I take it, I feel my upper body relax and experience a sensation of being open, expanded and joyful. I just can’t say enough good things about this formula!

Edit: some people have been asking for an “emergency” formula they can take when they don’t have a tincture already prepared. Here’s what I use: 1 tbsp fresh basil, 2 tsp fresh oregano, 2 tsp fresh mint, 2 cloves crushed garlic (note: it’s very important the cloves be crushed, not simply chopped), the juice of one lime or half a lemon, 2 tsp fresh ginger, one half cup water; I put in a blender and blend thoroughly.  I try to drink this whenever I start to feel an illness coming on, and every time I’ve tried it it’s stopped the bug in its tracks.   Although these are common kitchen herbs, if you research them you’ll see they all have powerful antibiotic and antiviral properties.

Edit: OK for those who wanted to know about the research available about the ingredients, here’s a few references (each ingredient shows evidence of multiple effects, so I’m concentrating mostly on respiratory conditions like colds or flu; this is just a sample of what’s out there and is by no means exhaustive):










Edit: I played around a bit with different dosages of raw honey, and found that the best ratio I like is roughly one-fifth to one-quarter honey by volume, e.g., four tablespoons tincture, one tablespoon or a bit more honey.

The latest news is that this French study found that rats fed a diet containing Monsanto’s genetically-modified corn consistently developed tumors and had overall worse health compared to other rats. The paper, available here, includes grotesque images of the large tumors the rats developed.

This study is clearly the most comprehensive yet performed in assessing the safety of a GMO food, as even critics acknowledge. However, the study has been criticized for having a small sample size, only 10 rats in the various experimental groups and another 10 in the one and only control group. That’s too small a number of rats in the control group, according to the critics, to tell for certain that it’s the GMO that caused the adverse health effects, since perhaps if there had been a comparable number in the control more of them might have had health problems too.

What mitigates against this criticism is that the rats in the experimental groups all did worse than the control group in almost every meaningful health measure tested. This clearly suggests that something other than chance is going on. But we don’t need to rely on this one study alone. This previous study is a meta-analysis of 19 studies testing the safety of GMOs, and their conclusion is that “Several convergent data appear to indicate liver and kidney problems as end points of GMO diet effects… This was confirmed by our meta-analysis of all the in vivo studies published, which revealed that the kidneys were particularly affected, concentrating 43.5% of all disrupted parameters in males, whereas the liver was more specifically disrupted in females (30.8% of all disrupted parameters).”

You can also find a detailed description of the health problems that have been found to occur with GMOs in this paper, which lists, among other things: liver damage (including structural changes and atrophy), damage to DNA, kidney damage, enlarged pancreas, fewer digestive enzymes, double the normal death rate, alterations in sperm function, reduced fertility and infertility in the next generation, increased infant mortality and lower birth weight, increased rates of sterility and premature death in livestock fed GMOs, and evidence of the GMOs being or producing allergens.

Whether or not all this evidence is proof that all or most GMOs are unsafe is still open to some debate. But we mustn’t forget the important question that we should be asking: if I have a choice between two options, one of which is known to be safe and the other whose safety is in question, isn’t it prudent to choose the first option? That’s the Precautionary Principle, that I mentioned in my earlier post about organic food. With respect to GMOs, I’m going to be erring on the side of caution: since there’s no required labeling of GMOs (yet) I’m going to be choosing organic whenever I can (you hear that, Stanford?) 🙂 A little bit of inconvenience at the grocery store beats liver and kidney damage and becoming infertile, IMHO.

Interestingly, Monsanto was found guilty of chemically poisoning a French farmer, and an ingredient in its Roundup pesticide has been linked to birth defects (see this article). Monsanto doesn’t exactly have a great track record on health.

What do you think? I look forward to hearing from you!

So a recent study by a group of researchers from Stanford University published in the Annals of Internal Medicine concludes that organic food is no better than that conventionally grown. As is often the case with the mainstream media, coverage of the study has been sensationalized and misleading. In fact, it’s almost developed into a media war between the corporate media and the public, some even accusing the media of doing a “psyop” on people. What’s the truth about organic food? Is it really never any better than conventional food, as the Stanford study (a metanalysis) suggests?

Well, the study appears to have several problems. First, Robyn O’Brien points out that the study only compared the amount of vitamins and minerals in organic vs. conventional foods, and ignores one of the central reasons people prefer organic: they don’t want to eat the pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, and other types of chemicals used in conventional farming. But even on that yardstick, the Stanford study ignores that in fact, organic food often does contain more nutrients than conventional food (even if it doesn’t always, which is what the Stanford paper emphasizes), surely an important factor we’d like to consider when making our food purchasing decisions.

The Stanford authors did address the amount of pesticide exposure in organic produce vs. conventionally grown, and conclude that although there is a 30% lower risk difference in organic foods, this isn’t enough to mean anything significant. However, this is misleading; researcher Chuck Benbrook (at Washington State) points out that a better figure based on the Stanford paper’s own sources is 81% lower risk, partly because the authors didn’t distinguish between the number of different kinds of pesticide traces and their extent. Benbrook argues that with respect to pesticide residues:

a) most residues in organic food occur at much lower levels than in conventional food,
b) residues are not as likely in organic foods,
c) multiple residues in a single sample are rare in organic food but common in conventional produce, and
d) high- risk pesticides rarely appear as residues in organic food, and when they do, the levels are usually much lower than those found in conventional food (especially the levels in imported produce).
(from the Mother Jones article linked above)

While the Stanford authors would argue that these things don’t matter because the amount of pesticide residue is too low to cause any biological effects in humans, on the face of it this is a suspect claim; the amount of certain biologically important chemicals, like hormones, occur at very low concentrations in the blood but have profound biological effects. And indeed there is a fair amount of research that shows that even low amounts of some pesticides can cause problems, especially in pregnant women. If you’re pregnant or have young children, this might be information you’d like to know, I’m thinking 🙂

Furthermore, there’s a basic principle that the Stanford authors ignore, namely the Precautionary principle. Even if something hasn’t been proven to cause harm (such as there being a synergistic effect caused by a cocktail of pesticides that increases the risk of biological damage), if there’s an alternative that doesn’t carry that theoretical risk then you should prefer the alternative. Especially, it seems to me, if you’re responsible for someone else’s health, like that of your children.

Do I think organic is always better? Not necessarily, I do think Michael Pollan has some sensible advice on the issue. But what troubles me most is the conflict of interest created by the ties of the Stanford authors to corporations that have a direct financial interest in competing with organic foods, in particular Cargill (a proponent of genetically modified food crops) and Philip Morris, the tobacco giant. So I have to conclude that the Stanford paper is basically a piece of junk science, a hatchet job bought and paid for by corporations with a financial motive to make organics look bad.

Do you disagree? Am I being too harsh? I’d love to hear from you!

Melissa Samuels

This post is to sing the praises of Melissa Samuels, who helped me quite a bit with my gallbladder issues. She does massage, craniosacral, and shamanic work. Her website is here and she has another one there. Her work is awesome!

New Community Acupuncture Project

For those of you in this neck of the woods (Seattle), a new community acupuncture center is opening. Check it out here. Community acupuncture is a way for practitioners to provide effective, low-cost treatments but still make a living, and thus make acupuncture accessible to a wider population. For that reason, I think it’s going to be the wave of the future in the field of alternative care.

Community acupuncture accomplishes these things by treating a group of people at a time. In my personal opinion, a special group dynamic occurs when a number of people are gathered together for healing purposes. As the interesting film I Am illustrated, and the Heartmath institute documented – and books like Stephen Buhner’s The Secret Teachings of Plants detail – the electromagnetic field of the heart is large, and is measurable ten feet or more past the body. Furthermore, our heart fields interact and can influence each other; an amusing illustration is the scene in the movie I Am where the filmmaker affected the yogurt. You see where I’m going with this?

It seems to me eminently reasonable to think that when a group with similar intentions – in this case, healing – gathers together, that they will influence each other in a positive way. So when a patient goes for community acupuncture they are receiving a benefit not only from the skills of the acupuncturist but from the presence of the group. When you consider how isolated people are in our modern urban societies, being part of a group, even without interacting verbally, is likely to be beneficial for that reason as well.

In a way, I think we’re getting back to some basic indigenous healing practices, where shamans or healers would hold group healing sessions involving the whole local community. IMHO, I think we’re just starting to understand how to work with this group energy. Right now, community acupuncturists just treat patients individually and let the group energy take care of itself. That’s totally fine – it works! But I believe there’s a way to treat the entire group with every needle technique and thus enhance the overall effects, by using your intention appropriately. That’s something I’ll be experimenting with in the future.

Here’s my version of an argument first presented by Nozick, Singer, and others: what I call the Alien Challenge.

The Greathans have come. The Greathans are a race of beings far more advanced than humans in every measurable respect. To them, the intellectual capacities of humans are roughly analogous to what we consider those of cattle to be. Greathan scientists debate over whether human communication is even complex enough to be called language. The Greathans swiftly take over Earth, and humans are rounded up and placed in pens and similar housing.

Having a taste for meat, Greathan chefs experiment with a variety of human recipes, and the new book _To Serve Man_ quickly becomes a bestseller. “Leg of Man” and “Grilled Human Breast with Mango Salsa” are favorites on Greathan cooking shows.

Unable to resist the superior Greathans with force, you and a few humans try to reason with them. Curious about your attempts to communicate, a Greathan farmer brings you before a Greathan scientist. You explain to it that you think it’s wrong for them to eat humans.

The Greathan shrugs its tentacles. “What could be wrong with it? You are not Greathan, but another species altogether. You aren’t entitled to Greathan rights. Besides, if we recognized your rights to life, what would prevent us from having to also recognize the right to life of all other earth creatures, such as dogs, pigs, and even insects or crustaceans? Plus, your claim is hypocritical: you freely eat other such creatures who you believe yourselves to be superior to, but now complain when we do the same thing to you.”

You’re taken aback by the Greathan’s reply, but thinking quickly on your feet you answer that, “look, other earth creatures don’t have language, but we do. That’s a big distinction! Surely the fact that we can talk together about these matters shows that we’re different from other creatures. We can both eat and farm these other earth creatures, but surely you shouldn’t eat us.”

The Greathan waves its tentacles idly, unimpressed. “You have a far greater opinion of your abilities than is accurate,” it responds. “You may call what you are doing using language, but we don’t. Your ‘language’ is a very primitive form of communication without telepathic content, and so is not true language. Your dogs, primates, cetaceans, and even bees do as well or better than you when it comes to communication. How we’re communicating now is for me nothing more than grunting and pointing.
“So I return to my original contention that it is perfectly right for us to eat humans and have a thriving business of farming humans, and it is hypocritical of you to say otherwise.”

The Greathan looks at you with its multiple eyes. How would you answer it?

The Ethics of Meat Eating

So a brief interlude here to talk about the ethics of meat eating, something most people don’t think or reflect about much. My basic argument is quite simple and rests on 3 premises:

(1) most animals that humans eat in the industrialized world such as cows, pigs, chickens, etc. are creatures that are sentient and capable of feeling pleasure, pain, and likely other emotions as well.

(2) You should not (it is morally wrong to) kill (or torture) a sentient creature unless you have a reason strong enough to override its right to exist. Killing someone because you need to in order to survive is one such reason, killing someone because you like the way they taste is not. Another way of putting this is, it is wrong to kill or torture a sentient being for the sheer pleasure of it.

(3) Most (probably all) people in industrialized societies do not need to kill sentient animals in order to survive.

Conclusion: it is wrong for most or all people in industrial societies to eat meat. It amounts to the killing (and often, torture) of sentient beings for nothing other than the sheer pleasure of it.

There are many other reasons to refrain from eating meat that rely on self-interest, but my basic moral argument is the one above. Many people resist it with all kinds of twisted and tortured arguments because they don’t want to believe that they are the kinds of people who do what the conclusion describes, but I believe the argument is sound.

From self-interest, there are two main lines of argument: health reasons (everything from BGH to E coli to mad cow, etc. in addition to the negative effects on cholesterol and the inflammatory effects of arachidonic acid), and environmental ones (the widespread effects of industrial animal agriculture on the water table, the amount of methane produced, the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the amount of grain that could be used for other purposes – if the U. S. reduced it’s meat consumption by 10% this would free up enough grain to feed 60 million people). Much has been written on these subjects already.

I welcome your comments!

Hello world!

Here’s my new blog, where I plan to talk about alternative medicine: everything from health tips to research news to the politics of alternative medicine.  I hope you’ll be along for the ride!

OK, so it looks like my first real post is going to be a political one, and it concerns the nefarious organization known as the Codex Alimentarius.  The name sounds like something vaguely occult or sinister, like it belongs in one of Dan Brown’s books or the like.  If only it were merely fiction!

The Codex Alimentarius was created through negotiation between the WTO (World Trade Organization), the WHO (World Health Organization), the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), and our own FDA and USDA.  Knowing that should already be enough to tell you to be wary of it!  And indeed I believe your first instincts are correct.  The rhetoric of the Codex Alimentarius Commission is that they want to ensure food safety and fair business practices, but what it really amounts to in the end is further corporate control of our food supply, including supplements like vitamins, minerals, and herbs.  I believe their eventual goal is to either eliminate or regulate to uselessness all natural medicines that can potentially compete with pharmaceuticals.  Am I being paranoid?  I wish!   Believe it or not, the CAC classifies food as toxic, and the FDA intends to bring the United States into compliance with Codex’s rules.

Here’s some places where you can find more info on the CAC, and what you can do to stop it:

Best Wishes, Manu

PS Don’t be complacent!!