This Ancient Healing Practice Drastically Reduces Inflammation

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Recent scientific discoveries suggest a new approach to managing inflammation. Will it be effective at dealing with an issue believed to be at the root of all diseases?

Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autoimmune disease — are just a few of the conditions in which inflammation is known to play a major role. Though it is the body’s natural process to rid itself of waste products, excessive inflammation can wreak havoc on multiple systems.

In a new approach, scientists suggest they may have found a way to go beyond current treatments that seek to stop inflammation, often without lasting effects. The new research focuses on targeting immune cells called macrophages to help with the cellular clean-up necessary to fully resolve inflammation.

Dr. John Douillard is a leading practitioner of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of natural medicine often called “the mother of all healing.”

“Science shows — which is great — ‘we need to get in there, help manipulate the macrophages and clean up the lymph outside the cells…’ Great idea! But Ayurveda would say ‘let’s do that by going upstream,’ and treat the upstream cause of that inflammation versus trying to put out the fire with fire trucks in which the fire is sometimes too big for the fire trucks,” Douillard said.

Ayurveda has traced the upstream issues causing inflammation to several key factors.

“Inflammation is a double-edged sword right? It happens in a natural way, the body has to plan for that, but it also can be excessive, and that stems from the Ayurvedic perspective from a weak and broken-down digestive system,” Douillard said.

“So, if you don’t break your proteins and your fats down the way you should… (it) will go undigested into your digestional tract, they’ll be too big to get into your blood and feed you, according to the studies, and find a way to get into the lymphatic system, which lines your intestinal tract. It creates extra weight around your belly, it creates inflammation, and that’s inflammation in the lymph. Remember, the lymph system is trying to do three basic things: one carry the trash out, number two carry your immune system, and number three carry good, broken-down fats to every cell of your body for baseline energy. So, inflammation is going to cause fatigue and tiredness, and it can cause a compromised immune system.”  

Another cause of inflammation seen as pivotal by Ayurveda has to do with our exposure to light.

“We have a daylight deficiency in our culture and getting out in the sun is critically important because that produces antioxidants in our cells that prevent inflammation. So, if you don’t get outside you’re going to be inflamed. One of the best, biggest mitigators for oxidative stress and inflammation is the sun. 70 percent of the sunlight that we see outside is called infrared light, which penetrates our skin several inches and activates the production of energy in the mitochondria, but it also activates an antioxidant and the name of that antioxidant is called melatonin, which is the number one mitigator for inflammation,” Douillard said.

What else, besides getting outside, can we do to mitigate inflammation?

“One of the things that we all know, but don’t maybe do as well as we could, is eating organic and organic foods are important because when you eat conventional foods that have pesticides on them — those pesticides kill the microbes in your mouth that make enzymes that help you digest the food properly, like the wheat and dairy,” Douillard said.

“Processed foods have a similar impact on the body. Now there are foods for the lymphatic system — anything that is like a berry or a cherry, or a beet, or cranberry — anything that would turn your beautiful white shirt red and stain it, is going to be an antioxidative food that’s going to help support lymphatic drainage because the antioxidants work through your lymphatic system. All the leafy green alkaloid foods are very good for your lymphatic system as well,” he said.

Stress is a big factor — techniques like meditation, yoga, and breathing techniques are all powerful stress-reduction techniques — but the body was designed to handle stress and mitigate inflammation. But when you have nothing but stress coming in, and no pulling back the bow and becoming calm — I call it the eye of the hurricane — and that’s the goal of Ayurveda is to learn how to live in the eye of the storm, and that is where inflammation doesn’t exist.”

While Douillard commends western scientists for their advances in understanding the underlying mechanisms of inflammation, he believes that when it comes to treating the root causes, 5,000 years of Ayurvedic science has gotten it mostly right.

Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs No Match for Ancient Irish Soil

druid soil

Researchers studying the properties of a particular soil in Ireland found it effectively treated four of the top six antibiotic-resistant superbugs scientists estimate could lead to millions of deaths in coming years — a problem the World Health Organization described as “‘one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.” And as it just so happens, the location of this soil was once home to the legendary, ancient Druids.

This “new” strain of bacteria found in the townland of Toneel North in Boho, County Fermanagh was given the name Streptomyces sp. myrophorea, though its potent medicinal properties have been known to locals for some time, and likely to those inhabiting the area as far back as 4,000 years ago.

Before discovering its profound antibiotic properties, scientists considered the soil to be an ethnopharmacological medicine, a.k.a. a folk cure – something locals swore by, but of which nothing was known by mainstream medicine. And now that its curative functions have been officially documented, the science community may start to shift its outlook toward similar folk cures.

“Our results show that folklore and traditional medicines are worth investigating in the search for new antibiotics. Scientists, historians and archaeologists can all have something to contribute to this task. It seems that part of the answer to this very modern problem might lie in the wisdom of the past,” one of the paper’s co-authors, Prof. Paul Dyson of Swansea University, said.

The antibiotic properties of the soil were found to treat bacteria including:

  • Acinetobacter baumannii
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae

Locals have long used the dirt to treat toothaches and other infections by placing soil wrapped in cloth by their heads or near an infection at bedtime. The soil would be left for nine nights before returning it to where it was originally found — a seemingly superstitious remedy the average scientist might have scoffed at in the past.

Researchers involved in the study said they found documentation of the soil’s therapeutic properties dating back to 1815, though they recognized it was an area once home to the storied Druids. It was even a significant place for Neolithic people living in the area centuries prior — the same people who created the fascinating engravings on the megalithic Reyfad Stones.

The precise mechanisms behind the soil’s treatment of these superbugs is still unclear, though scientists are working quickly to find them, while also seeing what other bugs and ailments it could be effective against.

“We will now concentrate on the purification and identification of these antibiotics. We have also discovered additional antibacterial organisms from the same soil cure which may cover a broader spectrum of multi-resistant pathogens,” Dyson said.

And now that this discovery, once thought tantamount to an old wives’ remedy, has heralded a major lifesaving scientific breakthrough, maybe scientists will pay more attention to the millennia-old wisdom of eastern and alternative medicines.

 

Learn more about antibiotic-resistant superbugs and potential remedies in the documentary Resistance:

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