author; co-founder/co-director of the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism
Nourish and Balance
The modern world has its faults, certainly, but it has provided us with some amazing tools and technologies. This is evident in the dramatic cures for infection and acute trauma achieved by medical science. The drugs and procedures used to combat these age-old scourges, which in the past decimated huge numbers of us, are remarkably, almost miraculously, effective. At the same time, however, we are struggling with new sources of morbidity and mortality. No longer is infection the leading cause of disease and death. Now we have chronic inflammation, hypersensitivity, cancer, and heart disease staring us down in our later years. Tonic plants, with their complex combinations of saponins, polysaccharides, and polyphenols, offer a potential solution through their ability to modulate immune function and genetic expression.
Tonics come to us unadulterated from the ecosystem. At very deep levels, they seem to be a necessary part of our xenobiome, the comprehensive chemical environment mostly made of plants, in which the liver evolved. Their use impacts conditions of weakness, deficient energy and immunity, and dementia as well as cancer, inflammatory heart disease, allergies, and asthma. But they are much milder than pharmaceutical drugs. If we are to influence the new diseases of the modern world, we will need to approach them with a slightly different mind-set; these diseases don’t respond well to the strong, direct treatments used for acute conditions.
from The Wild Medicine Solution (Inner Traditions/Bear & Co.)