SPECIAL LEAVES and FUNGI

Aloe leaf juice or gel The aloe vera plant is a desert member of the lily plant family, with a hard outer rind (containing emodin, a powerful stimulant of intestinal motility) surrounding a bitter sap and then the bulky green gel which is full of nutritious juice.  High doses of Aloe vera juice can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain and electrolyte imbalance, because often bits of the outer leaf are included in the juice. 

Most of the more than 240 species of aloe vera are nutritious and effective.  Easy to grow, it makes an ideal houseplant, and then its gel will always be present.  Aloe Vera gel is useful for treating athlete’s foot, any forms of burns, muscular pains, herpes, eczema, pimples, bruises, diaper rash, wounds and cuts, hair loss, allergies, varicose veins, insect bites, furuncles, psoriasis, scleroderma and acne.  The bitter outer sap is used to accelerate wound healing and reduce inflammation.

Taken internally, aloe vera gel has reduced the blood sugar levels in patients suffering from high fasting blood sugar.  Add it to your morning shake.  Sulfur-rich aloe juice possesses soothing properties that help in colitis, peptic ulcers and digestive tract irritations.  Aloe vera juice contains anti-inflammatory fatty acids that alkalize digestive juices and prevent over acidity. 

Acemannan, found in aloe vera is being studied for its beneficial effects in boosting T-lymphocyte cells that aid the immune system.  It contains Vitamins B1, B2, B6, C and many amino acids.  An analysis of aloe shows that it comes closer than any other known plant to the duplication of essential amino acids.  All of this is supplied with just 2-4 ounces, twice a day. As a food supplement, freeze-dried aloe vera capsules aid blood and lymphatic circulation and facilitate digestion.

Amaranths Common names: Chinese spinach, edible amaranth, bayan (Malaysia and Indonesia), Calaloo (Caribbean), klaroen (Surinam),Xian cai (Mandarin) Yin choi/in tsoi (Cantonese) Hi-yu-na, Jave hohrensoh (Japanese).

Origin American, Asian and African tropics but now spread all over the world. They are exceptionally nutritious and from ancient times seed and leaves of cultivated and wild forms have been used by man for food, medicine and animal fodder.  Many exhibit striking colors in leaves and flowers and have been grown as ornamental plants in the west.

For practical purposes the Amaranth species can be divided into the following groups according to their main use today: leafy Amaranths, grain Amaranths, decorative Amaranths and weeds.

The leaves of all Amaranths are edible and are vegetable.  Leafy Amaranths are the best for cultivating.  They are erect branching, short lived annuals with an average height of about 35cm-150cm when flowering.  Leaves are soft textured and go limp quickly after being picked. Both the leaves and stems are edible and delicious.  The flavor can be described as ‘like artichokes’ and ’spinach with a bit of a twang’.  The flavor is strong and slightly hot in older plants.  Indians prefer green leaved and Chinese the red leaved.  Leaves are very nutritious, rich in protein, iron, calcium and Vitamins A & C.

Very young leaves can be used in salads, eat the young stems as they are, cut the bottom inch off thicker stems and the older stems can be peeled.  The Taiwanese rub the leaves to make them softer.  Use like spinach, but it does cook faster.  Simply steam or stir-fry.  In China it is used in soup, leaves eaten separately after being cooked in the soup first.  In SE Asia it is flavored with mint.

Leafy Amaranths grow well at higher spring and summer temperatures and tolerate fairly dry conditions.  Ideal soil is light, sandy, fertile and well drained.  The more fertile the soil the better they will crop.  It can be intercropped with things like beans and gourds.  If seedlings are not enough, cuttings can be taken from non-flowering side shoots.  It is a cut and come again crop and for a continuous supply regular sowings can be made at two week intervals.  They are often marketed with the roots attached and pulled when about 8-10 inches high.  Any flowers that have developed are removed and leaves and side shoots are harvested.  Plants grown this way have strong reserves, and will continue producing into late autumn.

Cabbage is a vegetable consisting of layers of thick leaves that grow around each other from the stem.  The leaves of some varieties form dense, solid heads and others have leaves that grow more loosely around each other.  Some varieties have smooth leaves and some have crinkled leaves. Their outer leaves are generally darker green than the inner leaves. Some varieties are dark purplish red and some are white.  Among the varieties, savoy with green leaves, Napa, which has pale green to white leaves, red cabbage, and bok choy (Chinese cabbage) with white stems and dark green leaves.  Cabbage is a good source of nutrients and contains a fair amount of soluble and insoluble fiber.  When cooked, cabbage gives off a very pungent odor.

It can be used cooked or raw in dishes from corned beef and cabbage, soups & stews, to cold dishes such as coleslaw.  Another popular use of cabbage is to allow it to ferment to produce sauerkraut.  Cabbage leaves are also used as a wrap for other foods.  Store cabbage uncut to prevent vitamin C loss.  Place the uncut head in a perforated plastic bag and store up to two weeks in the refrigerator crisper drawer.  If cabbage is cut, wrap the remainder of the head tightly in plastic wrap but use within a couple of days.

Preparing cabbage basically consist of cleaning and cutting the cabbage to the desired size. When cutting cabbage, a stainless steel knife should be used because if the knife is carbon steel, the cut edges of the cabbage will turn black. The head should not be cut open until it is going to be used because once the cabbage is cut it starts to lose its vitamin C content rapidly.

If it is necessary to cut a portion from the head and the remainder will be stored, be sure to wrap the remaining sections tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. If there are signs of worms or insects after the head is cut open, rid the cabbage of them by soaking it in salt water brine for 20 minutes.

Cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked. It can be juiced, boiled, steamed, braised, sautéed and stir-fried. It should be cooked until just tender.  Overcooking will result in limp, pasty cabbage and produce a very unpleasant smell.  The unpleasant smell is caused by the sulfur compounds that are released when the cabbage is cooked to long. 

Also, older cabbage or those that have been stored for a long time will have a tendency to have even a stronger smell than freshly picked cabbage.  Keep the odor to a minimum by cooking uncovered with as little water as possible and cook quickly, do not overcook.  

The color in red cabbage will have a tendency to run when it is cooked.  The cabbage turns a purplish blue and turns other foods that it is cooked with to a reddish color.  To prevent the red cabbage from discoloring, add lemon juice or vinegar to the cooking water. (Approximately 1/2 tbsp. per cup of cooking water will be sufficient.) 

Red cabbage contains 36 different varieties of anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids associated with cancer protection.  Anthocyanins are naturally occurring pigments that give fruits and berries their red, blue and purple coloration.  In addition to protecting against cancer, anthocyanins can improve heart health and brain function.  Some varieties of anthocyanin have more than twice the antioxidant effect of vitamin C.

People absorb most anthocyanins when eating the largest servings of red-purple cabbage.  Anthocyanins modify the functioning of fat cells and may help fight the symptoms of metabolic syndrome e.  Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of symptoms linked to premature aging, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, including hyperglycemia, high blood pressure, central obesity, lowered HDL ("good") cholesterol and elevated triglyceride levels.

Cabbage's role as a staple vegetable in Polish cuisine may be why the breast cancer risk of Polish women triples after they immigrate to the U.S., rising to match that of U.S.-born women. In Poland, women typically eat an average of 30 pounds of cabbage and sauerkraut per year, while American women consume just 10 pounds per year.  

Polish women also traditionally eat more raw cabbage and sauerkraut in salads or as a side dish.  Although the lowest rate of breast cancer was found among women who consumed high amounts of raw- or short-cooked cabbage during adolescence, high consumption during adulthood also provided significant protection even among women who had eaten little cabbage during adolescence.

Cabbage provides anti-carcinogenic glucosinolates, which are formed by the activity of myrosinase enzymes released when cabbage is sliced or chopped.  Cooking denatures the myrosinase enzyme, thus stopping the production of glucosinolates.  In the body, the breakdown products of glucosinolates called indoles and sulfurophanes are thought to affect both the initiation phase of carcinogenesis-by decreasing the amount of DNA damage and cell mutation-and the promotion phase, by blocking the processes that inhibit programmed cell death and stimulate unregulated cell growth.

Cabbage juice contains easy-digestible carbohydrates, vitamins С, folacin and amino acids. It also contains potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and iron salts.  Cabbage juice contains a special anti-ulcerous vitamin U.  It is used warm as a remedy against peptic ulcer and duodenum disease acute conditions. It is recommended to use warm fresh cabbage juice for gargling while stomatitis and colitis.

 

Cabbage juice impedes conversion of carbohydrates to fats, that’s why it is useful for obesity, even though it has iodine-binding anti-thyroid effects.  Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, legumes, cassava may interfere with iodine absorption and increase the risk of iodine deficiency when eaten juiced or eaten in large amounts, particularly in low-iodine regions.  

 

Besides fasting, or chronic protein deficiency, common causes of hypothyroidism are excessive stress or “aerobic” (really anaerobic) exercise, and diets containing beans, lentils, nuts, unsaturated fats (including carotenes) and undercooked broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, or mustard greens.  Many health conscious people become hypothyroid with a synergistic program of raw juicing, undercooked vegetables, legumes instead of animal protein, oils instead of butter, carotene instead of vitamin A, and breathless exercise instead of a stimulating life.

 

You can drink cabbage juice 30 minutes before meal and during intervals between meals several times a day.  Regardless of the fact that cabbage juice has a healing effect on gastric mucosa, it is undesirable to drink it during acute gastritis and peptic ulcer conditions.

Cabbage foods were categorized as raw (raw sauerkraut and fresh cabbage), short-cooked (steamed sauerkraut and cabbage), and long-cooked (hunter's stew, cabbage rolls, and pierogi). Cabbage's protective effect was seen only for raw and short-cooked cabbage, not long-cooked.  To promote the production of the most glucosinolates, slice or chop the cabbage and let sit for 5-10 minutes before cooking, and then cook lightly, steaming or sautéing for 5 minutes or less.  Then juice the cabbage even if you are low thyroid.

To get the most benefit from your cruciferous vegetables, be sure to choose organically grown vegetables (their phytonutrient levels are higher than conventionally grown), and steam lightly (this method of cooking has been shown to not only retain the most phytonutrients but to maximize their availability).  Steamed Cabbage:

    1. Add just enough water to a saucepan so that the water will not boil up through the steamer basket when it is placed in the pan.
    2. Bring the water to a boil.
    3. Place shredded cabbage or wedges into the steamer basket and place the basket in the pan of boiling water.
    4. Cover and cook shredded cabbage for 5-6 minutes and wedges for 8-10 minutes.  Cook only until tender-crisp.
    5. When done, remove steamer basket, season cabbage as desired and serve while warm.  When cabbage is done steaming, cover with olive oil, melted butter or coconut oil, lightly toasted nuts, parsley or cilantro, garlic, minced onion and/or celery.

Raw cabbage juice is well documented as being remarkably effective in treating peptic ulcers. In one study, 1 liter of the fresh juice per day, taken in divided doses, resulted in total ulcer healing in an average of 10 days. The likely reason for cabbage juice's efficacy in healing ulcers is its high content of glutamine, an amino acid that is the preferred fuel for the cells that line the stomach and small intestine.

Cabbage contains goitrogens, naturally-occurring substances in certain foods that can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Individuals with already existing and untreated thyroid problems may want to avoid large amounts of cabbage juice for this reason.

Cabbage leaves are a great way to inspire leftovers. Spoon some leftovers such as rice salad or a vegetable mixture onto the center of a cabbage leaf and roll into a neat little package. Bake in medium heat oven until hot. Enjoy your easy and healthy version of stuffed cabbage, a traditional eastern European dish.

Braise red cabbage with a chopped apple and red wine. This is a child-friendly dish, since the alcohol (but not the flavor or the flavonoids) will evaporate.  Sauté cabbage and onions and serve over cooked buckwheat for a hardy side dish.

Combine shredded red and white cabbage with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and seasonings such as turmeric, cumin, coriander and black pepper to make coleslaw with an Indian twist.

Coleslaw 12 Servings

1 head cabbage
2 medium carrots

Dressing:
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons finely chopped onions
2/3 cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon celery seeds, (optional)
 
Finely grate cabbage and carrots and place in a large bowl.  Place the sugar, mustard, salt, vinegar and onion in a blender container and process on high until well mixed.  Add the oil slowly with the motor running until thickened and the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in celery seed if using.  Pour over the cabbage mixture and stir.  Let sit at least one hour or up to overnight.

Sauerkraut making at home, with or without special equipment, is quite simple. Pasteurization of store-bought sauerkraut will destroy all of the beneficial digestive enzymes and lactic acid bacteria, as well as the valuable vitamin C content, so it greatly diminishes the nutritional value without any significant benefit.  Start with fresh cabbage from the garden, shred it and mix it in a bowl with salt," at a ratio of roughly 3 tablespoons of salt for every five pounds of cabbage.  Load it into the crocks and really pack it down with your fist.   Then place a pair of half-circle-shaped ceramic weights (which are sold with the crock; a water-filled bottle set atop a plate will also work) on top of the cabbage and puts on the lid.

A unique feature of a sauerkraut crock is that the lid's edge sits in a circular trough that is filled with water.  This forms a one-way seal: carbon dioxide given off by fermentation can bubble out, but air cannot get back in.  Sauerkraut can be made in a glass or ceramic vessel without such a seal, but tends to form a mold on the brine's surface which requires regular skimming or the batch will spoil.

The salt draws water from the cabbage.  With garden-fresh cabbage, brine usually forms in a few hours.  But if, after 24 hours, enough brine has not formed to cover the cabbage, which can happen with older, drier vegetables, you can just add salted water, at a concentration of roughly one teaspoon of salt per cup.

Let the batch sit at room temperature for three days.  It will begin weird bubbling.  Then move it back to a cooler location for about six weeks.  Sauerkraut can be sampled just a week or so after fermentation starts, but the flavor improves over time.  Once it tastes just right, the finished product can go into the refrigerator, packed in its own juice, for several weeks more.  The transformation of bland cabbage and plain salt into tangy sour food poetry is the work of lactic acid, produced when Lactobacillus bacteria, which is already present in the cabbage, digests sugars in the vegetable. 

Raw sauerkraut dressed with oil and onions is served as a salad, while warmed sauerkraut with bacon is commonly served.  Spices may be added; apple, bay leaves, caraway seeds and juniper berries are traditional. In some variations, wine may be added.  Sauerkraut is similar to many ancient Northeastern Asian dishes, including Korean kimchi and other fermented vegetables. 

Napa cabbage is generally the main ingredient in kimchi, and the dish is usually fermented in brine with garlic, scallions and ground pepper. However, there are many variations emphasizing chilies, other vegetables and spices.  Other forms of kimchi offer different kinds of flavors.  As vegetables are a seasonal food, the many forms of kimchi were developed based on what was in season and on hand.

Kimchi has been so important in Korean cuisine that there is an entire museum dedicated to it. Historians at the museum have documented nearly 200 distinct forms of kimchi. In fact, there are some forms of kimchi that include seafood and resemble the Latin American dish ceviche.

Veggie Kraut has no cabbage at all! Use whatever seasonal root vegetables are available. It is difficult to make a sauerkraut combination come out not tasting sensational, so be creative. Place 6 large carrots, with 4 beets, turnip, parsnip or rutabaga, to equal half the amount of carrots used. Run 1 small onion and garlic to taste through a Juicer with blank or grate them all together. Layer the mixture in a crock with apple and seaweed, following the directions above.

Crinum Lily, Seashore Crinum, Spider Lily, Leaves and root (fresh bulb), juice of the fresh bulb:  The leaf is potent folk medicine in topical treatment of injury and inflamed joints and richly   present as an ornamental throughout south Florida.  Extracts may be proven useful for autoimmune disease or various cancers.  The root extract is an emetic, diaphoretic and creates nausea when fresh.  Seeds are purgative and induce vomiting.

Typical dose is ¼ to ½ teaspoonful of three to one syrup; ¼ teaspoonful as an emetic for children.  In case of dried roots double dose is required.  Poultice of leaves and powder of root are commonly used topically for injury or joint inflammation.

Mushrooms white button mushrooms, most commonly consumed kind in U.S., have about 12 times more antioxidant ergothioneine than wheat germ and 4 times more than chicken liver, the previous top-rated.  White button mushrooms have more antioxidant potential than green peppers, pumpkins, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans or carrots.  Portabellas and criminis have the most ergothioneine, followed closely by the white buttons. A standard 3-ounce USDA serving of these mushrooms, about the amount you'd put on a cheese steak or mushroom-topped burger, supplies up to 5mg.

Exotic mushrooms contain even more ergothioneine. A similar 3 ounces of shiitake, oyster, king oyster or maitake (hen of the woods) can contain up to 13mg  or about 40 times as much as wheat germ.  Levels of ergothioneine do not decrease when mushrooms are cooked.

 Ergothioneine is a product of plant origin that accumulates in animal tissues. Ergothioneine is a powerful scavenger of hydroxyl radicals (.OH) and an inhibitor of iron or copper ion-dependent generation of .OH from hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). It is also an inhibitor of copper ion-dependent oxidation of oxyhemoglobin, and of arachidonic acid peroxidation promoted by mixtures of myoglobin (or hemoglobin) and H2O2.  Ergothioneine is a powerful scavenger of hypochlorous acid, being able to protect alpha 1-antiproteinase against inactivation by this molecule. By contrast, it does not react rapidly with superoxide (O2-) or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and it does not inhibit microsomal lipid peroxidation in the presence of iron ions.

Edible mushrooms are used extensively in cooking, in many cuisines (notably Chinese, European, and Japanese). Many species are high in fiber and provide vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, cobalamins and ascorbic acid. Fungi are the best non-animal source of provitamin D Some mushrooms become significant sources of vitamin D after exposure to ultraviolet light, though this also darkens their skin. 

Mushrooms are also a source of some minerals, including iron, selenium, potassium and phosphorous.  Maitake, shiitake, chaga and reishi all exhibit anti-cancer, anti-viral along with immune balancing properties.  Regular ingestion of mushrooms over long periods of time decreases the number of cancerous defective cells in the body.  Mushrooms not only fight to reduce cancerous cells and tumors, but they help prevent more inappropriate cells from forming in the body.

Mushrooms are adaptogens for the immune system.  Their complex polysaccharides and other components have the capacity to regulate and equilibrate disordered immune function, as well as to act as an invigorating tonic.  Lion's Mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) may stimulate regrowth and healing of neurons in the brain. Its delightful seafood flavor makes it a useful, unusual ingredient in raw dishes. Native Americans used the dried powdered mushroom for wound healing. It also stimulates the immune system and is used to help digestion.  Use of 1–3 teaspoons (2–6 grams) a day is recommended.

Fungi and animals are more closely related to one another than either is to plants, diverging from plants more than 460 million years ago.   Diseases of plants typically do not afflict humans, whereas diseases of fungi do.   Since humans (animals) and fungi share common microbial antagonists such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, humans can benefit from the natural defensive strategies of fungi that produce antibiotics to fight infection from microorganisms.

Mushrooms are rich sources of natural antibiotics and their cell wall glucans are well-known for immunomodulatory effects, but few therapists are aware that many mushroom externalized secondary metabolites (extracellular secretions by the mycelium) combat bacteria and viruses. Additionally, exudates from mushroom mycelia are active against protozoa such as the parasite that causes malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, as well as other microorganisms.

Some mushrooms and their components are target-specific in their antibiotic properties.  Others have broader effects. With an increasing number of bacteria developing resistance to commercial antibiotics, such as MSRA (methicillin-resistant S. aureus) and Pseudomonas, extracts and derivatives from mushrooms provide promise for new approaches.  Mushrooms can have both anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, with low cytotoxicity to animalian hosts, underscoring their usefulness as natural sources of medicines.

If you like cooking with dried mushrooms than you will love various mushroom powders.  We prefer a grind with tiny pieces of mushroom as well as fine powder.  When you sprinkle it on a salad you can see as well taste the mushrooms.  Use it in gravies and sauces for a taste and nutrition boost.  Sprinkle mushroom powder on scrambled eggs or on an omelet.

Most mushrooms sold in supermarkets are commercially grown on mushroom farms. The most popular of these, Agaricus bisporus, is safe for most people to eat because it is grown in controlled, sterilized environments, though some individuals react to it. Several varieties of A. bisporus are grown commercially, including whites, crimini and portabello.

The mushroom doubles in size every 24 hours, so over a period of a week, the tiny button mushroom will develop into a closed cup mushroom, then to a larger open cup mushroom with gills visible, and finally increase even more to become a large open or flat mushroom.  As the size increases, the full mature flavor develops.  Other cultivated species often now available include shiitake, maitake (hen-of-the-woods), oyster and enoki.

Agaricus Blazei Murrill (ABM) mushroom from Brazil contains Beta-(1-3)-D-glucan, Beta-(1-4)-a-D-glucan & Beta-(1-6)-D-glucan.  These long-chain polysaccharides are most potent immuno-potentiating (immune enhancing) substances, with very powerful anti-tumor properties.  When people add AMB to their diet, a tripling of NK (natural-killer) cells occurs.  Increases in this clone of specialized anti-tumor white blood cells can be seen in the bloodstream within 2-4 days.

In addition to beta glucans,
agaricus also contains derivatives of ergosterol, a potent anti-tumor agent; double stranded RNA, an anti-viral agent; proteoglycans and protein bound polysaccharides of low molecular weight, which are immune enhancers; and, protein bound polysaccharides of high molecular weight, vitamins B1 and B2, proteins in the form of amino acids, niacin, iron and calcium. This mushroom being used successfully in ‘hopeless’ late stage cancers and some clinics in Europe base entire treatment protocols on agaricus blazei murrill mushroom extracts along with other complimentary botanicals.

Cordyceps is a mushroom panacea: strongly antioxidant, antiviral and bacterial, anticancer, moderates blood pressure and blood sugar, reduces cholesterol, protects and tonifies the liver, kidney, heart and nervous system. Studies confirm its ability to improve sexual "performance." During the 1993 Olympics, the Chinese women’s track team broke the world record by an astounding time; investigations revealed they were using Cordyceps.

It has traditional use curing opium addiction. It is an energizing cognitive stimulant, producing an altered, enhanced state. Harvested in spring time, the most potent part of the mushroom is the mycelium and in this form it can be used raw.  Benefits are enhanced when grown on purple corn, 1–2 teaspoons of powder a day is recommended mixed in food or tea.

Coriolus Versicolor -Asian "Turkey Tail" mushroom contains polysaccharides [PSK] and polysaccharopeptides [PSP] is effective for acute leukemia and stomach, esophagus, colorectal, lung cancer; PS is effective with many types of cancer (at least early and mid-stage cancer), including lung cancer and particularly stomach and colon cancer.  PSK has been used versus breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, such as those of the esophagus, stomach and colon; lung and brain tumors.  PSP has anti-tumor activities, inhibiting Ehrlich ascites tumors, leukemia and sarcoma as well as gastric tumor, lymphatic and monocytic leukemia.  It is helpful to take PSP during chemotherapy & radiation.  PSK from turkey tail also inhibits the growth of candida albicans.

Reishi derived polysaccharide is one of the most effective inducers of glutathione S-transferase activity in liver cells, the enzyme most critical to clearance of environmental chemicals from the body.  Reishi polysaccharide showed potent ability in the laboratory to protect DNA from attack by metal-catalyzed free radical (Fenton) reactions and by ultraviolet light.  It was also protective against hydroxyl radical-induced DNA strand breaks.

Reishi mushroom can increase the production of interleukin 1 and 2, resulting in inhibition of tumor growth. Studies show that Reishi can have a number of other positive effects on the body such as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-viral (through its interferon production), lowers blood pressure.  It also acts as a cardiotonic by lowering serum and increasing the production of interleukin 1 and 2, which results in inhibition of tumor cholesterol, expectorant, anti-tissue, liver protecting and detoxifying, protection against ionizing radiation, antibacterial, and anti-HIV activity.  This mushroom is available fresh or as supplement.

Shiitake (Lentinus edodes) has been revered in China and Japan as both a food and a medicinal herb for thousands of years. Shiitake mushrooms lower cholesterol and improve immune system function, good for preventing high blood pressure and heart disease, for controlling cholesterol level, building resistance against viruses, as well as fighting diseases such as AIDS/HIV and cancers.  Often available fresh, Shiitake mushrooms are very flavorful when used in cooking!  It is high in soluble fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) was used traditionally as a tonic and adaptogen, and along with shiitake and reishi, was used as a food to help promote wellness and vitality. The polysaccharides present in maitake have a unique structure (branched beta-1,6-glucans) and are among the most powerful immune modulators, which naturally stimulates the immune system and lowers blood pressure.

Beneficial for obese and diabetic patients, the Maitake mushroom is best known for cancer fighting ability.  Tests in mice prove that it blocks tumor formation and boosts the immune system.  Symptoms of 12 of 13 women with chronic yeast infections were substantially alleviated after daily consumption of maitake.  Maitake is available fresh or as supplement.

Oyster is used to strengthen veins and relax tendons. “Tendon-easing powder” is effective treatment for numbed limbs as well as tendon and blood vessel discomfort. Dried oyster mushrooms are high in iron, making them a good blood builder.

Portabella contains a wide variety of B complex vitamins. They are also a great source of riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin and a good source of thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, selenium, lysine, protein, zinc, copper, manganese and iron.

Morels contain protein, vitamin D and B, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine that help the body maintain healthy metabolism. They also have copper, selenium, and potassium. They are low in carbohydrates, very low in calories and are fat free and contain very little sodium.

Porcini mushrooms contain copper, selenium, potassium and protein, similar to morels.

Botanical variety, processing and cooking are all effective determinants of mushroom proximate composition.  Dried mushrooms (Boletus group) after cooking show the highest nutritional value, essentially due to insufficient rehydration.  Dietary fiber, chitin and beta glucans, all functional constituents of mushrooms, are present in variable amounts.  Chitin level ranges from 0.3 to 3.9 g/100 g, while beta glucans, which are negligible in Agaricus, range from 139 to 666 mg/100 g in Pleurotus ostreatus and Boletus group.  On average, a serving (100 g) of mushrooms provides from 9-40% of one’s daily recommendation of dietary fiber.

Fungi have a cell structure that is comprised primarily of chitin just as plant cells are made primarily of cellulose.  Chitin is better known as the material that makes up the exoskeletons of insects and crustaceans; the chitinous structure gives fungi their definitive texture, firmness and structure distinct from vegetables, more reminiscent of meat.  Chitin consumption has reduced body fat by 8% and cholesterol by 32% over a month long trial.

Chitin forms an amino polysaccharide molecule that is highly polarized; its distribution of atoms results in high concentrations of positive and negative charge at separated points on the molecule.  Chitin’s electromagnetically charged regions bond with fats and bile to create large indigestible polymer compounds, which are easily excreted (along with toxins) from the body. The liver makes up for the loss of bile with new bile, reducing cholesterol in the process. Reduction in toxins, fats and cholesterol contributes to heart health and to longevity.  Chinese have consumed mushrooms as a matter of health rather than nutrition for millennia.

Mushrooms are relatively high in protein, averaging about 20-35% of their dried mass (or 2-3% of fresh).  A cup of cooked and drained mushrooms has about 3grams protein.  Mushroom protein is also superior to many other vegetable proteins because of its complete essential amino acid content. The white cap mushroom ranks above all other vegetables, except beans and peas in this regard. Between 70-90% of mushroom vegetable protein present can be easily digested.

New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia expansa) is a relatively new kind of market greens.  This everlasting spinach is not native to North America, but native to New Zealand, Australia, southern South America and some Pacific Islands, including Japan.  Its special advantage is being heat tolerant.  In the hot summer months when spinach and some other green vegetables cannot be grown, New Zealand spinach, which is not a variety of spinach, is easily grown as a truck crop and furnishes succulent greens for months. It can be grown as a winter crop in eastern greenhouses.

 

The tender, rather fleshy leaves have a distinct flavor more pleasing to some than that of common, mild spinach.  New Zealand spinach, even when cooked in a large volume of water and drained longer than is customary before serving, is found to be as rich in mineral salts as raw spinach and to be richer in iron and as high in calcium as lettuce or cabbage served raw. New Zealand spinach is especially valuable in the diet because of its high salt content.  It compares favorably with most green vegetables in iron and calcium.  Cooked without addition of water, it retains most of its minerals. 

 

If greens of milder flavor and brighter color are preferred, it may be boiled in water with little loss of calcium but with much loss of other minerals.  However, it still retains enough to compare favorably with raw cabbage or lettuce.  New Zealand spinach is exceedingly rich in vitamin A and is a good source of vitamin B complex.

 

Used like spinach in cooking and salads, this frost-tender plant is ready for harvest when spinach is on the wane, and stays productive throughout summer.  Australian Spinach has the advantage of being slow to "bolt", or go to seed, during hot weather (as European spinach is inclined to do).  It also makes an attractive foliage plant for borders and beds.  New Zealand spinach likes long warm days. It grows best at 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit.  In the north, it won't start growing until the soil warms up.  The plant has a short season (55-65 days), so it can be grown successfully in most areas of the US.

This ever bearing spinach tolerates a wide range of conditions, but prefers well-drained, sandy soils, rich in organic matter, pH 6.8 -7.0.  While somewhat drought-tolerant, flavor is best with consistent moisture.  Seeds are slow to germinate.   Soak the huge seed clusters overnight in warm water, and then sow them individually. 

Perpetual spinach benefits from light shade in midsummer in warmer regions.  New Zealand spinach can be picked from June until frosts. Pick young shoots and leaves, discarding stems.  Continually harvest top 3-4 inches of stems and leaves of established plants as the shoots grow back to keep bushy.  There are no serious pests or diseases recorded.

The crunchy and moist leaves can be eaten raw, in small quantities, but is best blanched and served with melted butter, steamed or stir-fried.  A wonderful use for the plant is in curries mixed with Swiss chard.  Combine New Zealand spinach leaves with Swiss chard leaves (more Swiss chard  though) and chopped up potatoes, with veggie stock, enough water to just about cover the diced spuds, freshly diced ginger and turmeric, cumin, black pepper, ground cardamom, cinnamon, mild curry powder and garam masala.

Spices included in garam masala will vary according to region, and personal choice.  A North West Indian garam masala often comprises cloves, green and/or black/brown cardamom, cinnamon (or probably cassia), and mace and/or nutmeg.  Black pepper can be added if the mix is to be used immediately, but if kept, the fragrance will diminish, and may change in character.  Also typical is use of black cumin (not white cumin, nor caraway, which is not an Indian spice).  Components of the mix are ground together, but not roasted.  Garam masala is not 'hot' in the sense that chilies are, but is fairly pungent.  Garam refers to the term 'hot' as applied to temperature. 

Sauté spuds and spices in a little olive oil in a frying pan first, and then add water, stock and leaves.  Pop on the lid and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Serve with pappadoms and chapatis.  Poppadom is a delicious, wafer-thin fried Indian bread flavored with spices like cumin
and pepper.  Chapati is a thin,
unleavened flat bread of South India, East Africa, and Western India.  Finished chapatis are often smeared with ghee (clarified butter).  Variations include replacing part of the wheat flour with pearl millet (bajra) or maize (makka) or sorghum (jowar) flour.

Nopales are a vegetable made from the young stem segments of prickly pear cactus, carefully peeled to remove the spines.  Some species of prickly pear cactus don't have spines, but all have glochids.

 If you get the fine spines stuck in your skin, don't bother with tweezers. Instead put a thin layer of Elmer's glue over the spines.  Let the glue dry until there is a solid "skin" on your hand, and then peel it off.  The spines will peel off painlessly with the glue. (This also works for removing splinters.)  The glochids actually are barbed and will work into your skin if you are not careful!  If you don't have Elmer's glue handy, and the glochids become very annoying, duct tape or strong tack masking tape can remove them. 

Nopales are very rich in insoluble and especially soluble dietary fiber.  A glutinous substance found in the cactus fruit (prickly pear pectin) helps to decrease low-density lipoproteins.  Prickly pear pectin also modulates the body’s glucose response.  They are also rich in vitamins (especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, but also riboflavin and vitamin B6) and minerals (especially magnesium, potassium, and manganese, but also iron and copper). 

Most species of Opuntia contain a wide range of alkaloids in high quantities, notably mood-lifting substituted phenethylamines.  Nopales have high calcium content, but the nutrient is not biologically available because it is present as calcium oxalate, which is neither highly soluble nor easily absorbed through the intestinal wall, but oxalates are reduced by blanching in boiling water for 5-6 minutes. 

Addition of nopales also reduces the glycemic effect of a mixed meal.   Nopales are low carbohydrate and may help in the treatment of diabetes.  Antiviral properties help treat herpes, influenza and HIV, and it is used as well in treating obesity, gastrointestinal disorders and skin ailments.

Pitaya or pitahaya is the fruit of several cactus species, most importantly of genus Hylocereus (sweet pitayas), commonly known as dragon fruit.  The flesh, which is eaten raw, is mildly sweet and low in calories.  Few people find its taste offensive; some may consider it bland.  It is generally recommended that dragon fruit be eaten chilled, for improved flavor; dragon fruit should not be used to accompany strong-tasting food, except to "clean the palate" between dishes.  The fruit is also converted into juice or wine, or used to flavor other beverages.  Flowers can be eaten or steeped as tea.

Sweet pitayas have a creamy pulp and a delicate aroma.  Eating the fruit is sometimes likened to that of the kiwifruit due to a prevalence of sesame seed-sized black crunchy seeds found in the flesh of both fruits which make for a similar texture upon consumption.  Although the tiny pitaya seeds are eaten with the flesh, have a nutty taste and are rich in valuable lipids, they are indigestible unless chewed. The skin is not eaten, and in farm-grown fruit it may be polluted with pesticides. 

Give your fresh dragon fruit (or juice) a little bit of a zing of sour to offset its sweet flavor.  Try squeezing a little bit of lemon on the pitahaya fruit flesh as you eat it (some prefer lime for the same effect). This is a nice way to enjoy dragon fruit fresh or make the juice more refreshing.

Sour pitayas are of more local importance, being commonly eaten in arid regions of the Americas.  They are sourer and more refreshing, with juicier flesh and stronger taste, and are especially relished by hikers.  The common Sour Pitaya in the Sonoran Desert has been an important historic food source for Native American peoples.

Pitahayas also contain significant quantities of phytoalbumin antioxidants, which prevent formation of cancer-causing free radicals.  In Taiwan, diabetics use the fruit as a food substitute for rice and as a source of dietary fiber.  Pitaya flesh is easy to digest, increases excretion of heavy metal toxins and lowers high cholesterol, high blood pressure and reduces risk to colon cancer.   Eaten regularly, it helps relieve chronic respiratory tract ailments (asthma and cough).

Pitaya (as dried pitaya fruit) is easy to incorporate into a diabetic diet plan.  Dried pitaya fruit is about 10x a dense as fresh or frozen pitaya fruit, so a 1.5 oz nibble of dried pitaya fruit is almost equivalent to a full 1 lb of fresh pitahaya fruit.  Many diabetic recipes can include pitaya.  Rather than eating dried pitaya fruit alone, try mixing it in with other meals.  Add it as a garnish to salads or use it with other dried fruits and nuts in trail-mix.

While pitaya is not a type 2 diabetes cure, it offers diabetics (even type 1) a substantial health benefit by reducing blood glucose levels after meals.  Ingestion of significant amounts of red-fleshed dragon fruit (such as Costa Rica Pitaya) might result in surprising, but harmless reddish discoloration of urine and feces.

An African cactus plant known as Hoodia Gordonii was widely used traditionally by the San people of southern Africa as an appetite suppressant and thirst quencher.  The San Bushmen of the Kalahari cut off a stem of the Hoodia plant about the length of a medium size cucumber and would nibble on it for a few hours.  Some tribes in Namibia boil the Hoodia to treat various ailments with the brew.  They use it as a cure for severe abdominal cramps, hemorrhoids, tuberculosis, indigestion, hypertension and diabetes.

Bushmen use Hoodia to help them on long hunting expeditions.  Chewing on Hoodia cactus relieves hunger pains associated with not eating for days at a time.  Within the hypothalamus there are nerve cells that sense glucose.  When eating, blood sugar goes up because of the food, and these cells start firing and then you feel full.  Hoodia seems to contain is a molecule that is about 10,000 times as active as glucose.  It goes to the mid-brain and actually makes those nerve cells fire as if you were full.  But you have not eaten food.  Nor do you want to.

Perhaps the most critical component in cactus is its dietary soluble fiber, which comes in the form of mucilage and pectin.  Mucilage is the sticky juice that oozes from the pad when it is sliced.  This sticky substance is mucilaginous polysaccharide.  Polysaccharides are the primary active ingredient of other well-known immune-stimulating herbs such as aloe vera, Echinacea, astragalus and Asian mushrooms.

The pads also contain a full range of amino acids, the building blocks of protein, including all nine or ten essential amino acids not manufactured by our bodies.  The benefits of amino acid consumption are far-reaching, as protein is involved in multiple structural and chemical interactions within the body.  It is unusual that a plant source provides such a high and broad composition of amino acids as the prickly pear.  Its utility as a nutritional, high-fiber, low-fat food is amplified by this unique and exquisite plant amino acid profile.

Nopales are commonly used in Mexican cuisine in dishes such as huevos con nopales (eggs with nopal), "carne con nopales" (meat with nopal) or "tacos de nopales."  Nopales are also an important ingredient in New Mexican cuisine.  Nopalitos is a dish made with diced nopales. They are sold fresh, bottled, or canned and less often dried.  They have a light, slightly tart flavor, and a crisp, mucilaginous texture.  Nopalitos are often eaten with eggs as a breakfast and in salads and soups as lunch and dinner meals.

If you boil the nopales, you may sometimes have to drain and re-boil them once or twice, depending on how thick the sap is. When boiled, the thicker the pad, the thicker the sap.  Boiling them with a copper coin (an old Mexican "veinte") is a common remedy to thin the sap and make it more palatable to unaccustomed diners.  The boiled nopales are then drained, washed off with cold water and served as a salad with finely diced tomatoes, onion, cilantro and jalapeños and seasoned with vinegar, salt and lime juice.

If you grill nopales, coat them generously with pepper, salt, and other spices. They are ready when tender and very slightly browned.  Grilled nopalitos strips can be seasoned with fresh lime juice and a little olive oil.  One can also add grilled Portobello mushrooms to the mix.  Try stirring cooked nopales into soup, mixing them into a salad or omelet, pickling them or eating them solo.  The flavor of prickly pears has been compared to kiwi, but not as acidic.  The cooked pads have a flavor comparable to green beans. They also have a texture reminiscent of okra, which some people find unpleasant, and others find enticing. This slimy quality is exaggerated if nopales are overcooked. 

The most common preparations of the fruit are in the forms of beverages, syrups, candies, jellies, marmalades, barbecue sauce, and popsicles.  In Italy, the fruit is often presented in a bowl of cold water and in Malta, the fruit is chilled for a couple of hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Purslane In order to preserve purslane's pulpy juiciness for eating, harvest this delight of your edible landscaping in the morning or evening, when you do not have to compete with intense sunlight.   Purslane can either be used raw in salads or sautéed as a side dish.  In addition to the crispy texture you would expect from a succulent, purslane also has an interesting peppery flavor.

Purslane leaves are rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids, but it also has stems high in vitamin C.  Omega-3 fatty acids are instrumental in regulating our metabolism, and are otherwise rare in the tropics.  Purslane contains a very high concentration of alpha-linolenic acid, along with vitamin E (at several times the concentrations in spinach).  All parts of the weed are edible.   Wash and boil the plants for a tasty vegetable or eat them raw and fresh.  Use seeds as a flour substitute or eat them raw. 

Another way to eat purslane is pickled with salt and vinegar.  Purslane has a pleasant acidic flavor and is very juicy.  In Spain, it is usually eaten at a more advanced stage of growth, after cooking.  It is also delicious boiled and in omelets; sautéed in butter or fried, it is used in soups, broths, salads and sauces.  There is a purslane and pea soup, together with sorrel, it forms part of the French soup bonne femme. 

Potage Bonne Femme (French vegetable soup)

Ingredients:

8 oz each of leeks, potatoes, carrots and onions.
1-2 oz butter / cream
1 tbs. chopped parsley or chervil

½ cup chopped purslane or sorrel if available
32 oz chicken stock (homemade or vegetable) - or water
Salt, pepper and perhaps nutmeg

 

Directions:

1.    Trim leeks and wash thoroughly. Clean and peel vegetables; cut into 1 inch chunks.

2.     Melt butter in a large saucepan or wok until it is hot but not brown.

3.     Add the vegetables and stir-fry gently until wilted and softened.

4.     Add salt and pepper.  This gives a much more intense flavor than adding seasoning after the liquid.  Then add chicken stock or water.

5.     Simmer gently for 15-20 minutes.

6.     When the vegetables are soft, mash gently with a fork or process quickly in a food processer or liquidizer until most lumps have gone, but texture remains.

7.    If necessary, reheat gently and serve this lovely, creamy soup in bowls with fresh parsley sprinkled on top.  Lots of hot French bread or lightly toasted granary bread is a perfect complement.

One variation is to blend in a liaison, beating the yolks of four eggs (one egg to a quart of soup), and mixing with them a cupful of cream or rich milk.  Then blend in.

Clusters of its young, fresh leaves are a perfect contrast to sweet vegetables such as new potatoes, beets, fava beans and garbanzo beans, and juicy vegetables such as cucumber and tomatoes.  Or, simply sprinkle the leaves generously with Himalayan salt, lemon juice and olive oil and serve with fish, grills or omelets.  Or, add handfuls of purslane sprigs to the juices in the roasting pan, once the roast has been removed for carving.  After a few minutes of swishing, the greens wilt and the sauce acquires elevated nutrition, a sharper flavor and a pleasantly gelatinous character.

Purslane is native to India, has thick, fleshy stalks and leaves and is classed as a succulent. It is one of the basic elements of the Mediterranean/Cretan diet exemplary for its many benefits and synonymous with long life.  It was listed by Dioskorides in the first Greek pharmacopoeia for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, which is precisely what it is used for in cosmetology. In skin care treatments for men, it helps fight razor burn, soothe irritations and calm redness.

ESSENTIALLY IODINE

Sea vegetables are a great source of vitamins, fiber and protein and offer the broadest range of minerals including iodine of any food.  There are thousands of varieties of sea vegetables, although not all of them are enjoyed as foods. They come in a variety of colors, usually green, brown and red.  Brown and red seaweeds (such as kombu and fucus) contain the most iodine.

Iodine is actually quite rare in the earth’s crust.  Kelp, certain plants and other algae have the ability to concentrate iodine, which helps introduce the element into the food chain.   Phytoplankton take up iodate ions (large iodine molecule with three little oxygens attached or IO3-) and convert them into singular negative iodide, which is mostly, but not completely released.  

 

Iodate is also converted to iodide by bacteria in oceanic low oxygen environments.  When kelp is stressed at low tide by exposure to light and atmospheric ozone, it releases iodides (single negatively charged ions).  Iodide is the negative ion of iodine (chemically a ‘salt’).  Iodates (richer in surface water) and iodides typically add up to about 0.06 parts per million iodine.

 

Iodine is the most reactive of the halogens (existing in their free state in nature), and the most electropositive.   Iodine is rare in the solar system and Earth's crust, however iodides are very soluble in water, and the element is concentrated in seawater.  This helps to explain how iodine came to be required in trace amounts by all animals and some plants, being by far the heaviest element known to be required by living organisms.

 

Iodides act as an inorganic antioxidant (being non carbon based), creating a protective coat, attenuating free radicals and hydrogen peroxide.  Iodine released from kelp provides nuclei for cloud condensation and formation as well as reducing ozone accumulation and helping maintain atmospheric integrity. 

 

Nobel laureate Dr. Albert Szent Györgi (1893 -1986), the physician who discovered vitamin C, wrote: "When I was a medical student, iodine in the form of KI (potassium iodide), was the universal medicine.  Nobody knew what it did, but it did something and did something good.”  Now we can understand that iodides are an even more primary antioxidant than carbon based vitamin C or glutathione. 

 

Different forms of iodine have very different chemical properties.  In addition to iodate, iodide and methylated organic forms of iodine, there is molecular iodine (I2).  Lugol’s solution, for example, contains a mixture of I2 and I-.  It is the molecular iodine (I2) form that is powerfully toxic to microorganisms. 

 

The I2 iodine form, and that form in combination with other forms, is a potent antibacterial agent that has long been used for disinfection.  The naturally occurring inorganic forms (iodide and iodate) have little antimicrobial activity.  In mixtures containing I2 and other forms, it is the amount of free I2 that is important for antimicrobial activity.

 

Iodine is one of the most abundant electron-rich essential elements in the diet of marine and terrestrial organisms.  It is transported from the diet to the cells via iodide transporters.  Iodide, which acts as a primitive electron-donor through peroxidase enzymes, seems to have an ancestral antioxidant function in all iodide-concentrating cells from primitive marine algae to more recent terrestrial vertebrates.

 

Like other marine invertebrates, polyps of Aurelia aurita contain iodide ions.  Inevitably produced peroxides oxidize iodide into iodine.  The danger to be harmed by iodine is strongly decreased by endogenous tyrosine which reacts with iodine to form iodiferous tyrosine compounds including thyroxin.  Both substances together, iodide and tyrosine form an efficient oxidant defense system which shields the tissue against damage by reactive oxygen species.

 

Berking suggested that in the course of evolution (from a species at the bottom of the animal kingdom like Aurelia to a highly evolved species like man) the waste product thyroxin (indicating a high metabolic rate) has developed into a hormone which controls metabolic rate.

 

Thyroxin and iodothyronines have an antioxidant activity as well and, through deiodinase enzymes, are donors of iodides and indirectly of electrons.  Thyroid cells phylogenetically derived from primitive gastro enteric cells, which during evolution of vertebrates migrated and specialized in uptake and storage of iodo-compounds in a new follicular “thyroidal” structure, for a better adaptation to iodine-deficient terrestrial environment.  

 

Our metabolisms evolved when we were basically a primitive stomach, like ‘sponges on the reef’ with two daily incoming tides bringing food and encouraging growth and repair; and two outgoing tides carrying away waste while enhancing catabolism and excretion.

 

From 1900 to the 1960s almost every single U.S. physician used Lugol’s (iodine) supplements in practice for both hypo- and hyperthyroid, as well as many, many other conditions-all with excellent results.  In fact, iodine was considered a panacea for almost all human ills.  Today a phobia (generated by mainstream medical misinformation against iodine due to toxic experiences using diagnostic dyes on patients already in extremis) has caused most physicians to avoid this powerful treatment like the plague.  Everyone should know how to utilize this essential and therapeutic ‘poison’ that has a wide therapeutic safety range.

Restoration of total body iodine stores to fulfillment or sufficiency can often finally resolve difficult, stubborn problems that have resisted all other treatments.  Called ‘ortho-iodo’ supplementation, this approach uses elemental iodine supplements until the thyroid gland and all other iodine-sensitive sites in the body have reached iodine sufficiency.

Iodine therapy has been considered a panacea for fibrocystic breasts, acne, polycystic ovary syndrome, hypo- and hyperthyroid (with or without goiter), brain fog, constipation, obesity, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and even some heart problems (most notably irreversible arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, which are also associated with heavy metals).

Graves’s disease is an immune-mediated disorder that causes hyperthyroidism. Virus or heavy metal contamination marks certain cells for elimination through apoptosis.  But when cellular immunity is compromised and humoral immunity is exacerbated, that message is cancelled and these defective cells live on.  Thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins bind to the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) receptor, mimic the action of thyroid TSH, and stimulate thyroid growth and thyroid hormone overproduction.

Standard medical treatments for Graves disease target the thyroid gland (rather than the source of the disorder) and include antithyroid drugs such as propylthiouracil or methimazole, radioactive iodine to ablate (destroy) thyroid cells or surgery to remove thyroid tissue.

Radioactive iodine is a “time-honored and effective” medical treatment option for overactive thyroid, hyperthyroidism.  Physicians are taught that only the thyroid gland naturally "absorbs" iodine.  So if the iodine is made radioactive, the absorbed radioactive iodine delivers radiation directly to the overactive thyroid gland, where it "quiets" the gland and treats hyperplasia.  (Unfortunately this simple theory has damaged many patients ‘with the best of intentions’ since radioactive iodine is also accepted by all glands that support our mucosal defense system.) 

People who received radioactive iodine to treat hyperthyroidism have an overall 25% increased risk of cancer compared to those who did not.  Stomach and breast cancer risk are particularly increased.  Women who received radioactive iodine were 53% more likely to develop breast cancer compared to those who did not receive radioactive iodine.  The increased cancer risk was seen only after a latent period of five years from the time of radioactive iodine treatment.

Better to aim for iodine/iodide sufficiency and restore recycling of reduced glutathione.  Cellular immunity has failed and destructive humoral inflammatory immunity is exacerbated and untethered.  Restore cellular immunity to tone down autoimmune expression.  Get to bed early, rise with the sun, and ingest a sustaining easily-digestible breakfast 6-8AM while avoiding gluttonous behavior and addictive foods.  Zinc (at 30-60mg / day), selenium (200-400mcg / day) and magnesium (200-800mg / day) are as foundational for support as the sulfur amino acids. 

Thyroid hormone production depends on iodide oxidation by cytochromes to iodine, called organification.   Iodine deficiency may produce conditions of oxidative stress with high thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) producing a higher level of free radical peroxides, which because of lack of iodide are not being used to form thyroid hormones.

The cytotoxic actions of excess iodide in thyroid cells may depend on the formation of free radicals and can be attributed to increases of both necrosis and apoptosis, with necrosis predominating in goiter development and apoptosis during iodide induced involution.  Cytotoxic effects depend on levels of antioxidant enzymes and likely occur in conditions of selenium, zinc or magnesium deficiencies (impairing recycling activity of selenium containing glutathione).

Hyperthyroid (grave’s disease) usually suggests toxicity and/or virus triggering autoimmune inflammatory breakdown that classically first creates a ‘hyper’ stage (eventually ending with autoimmune breakdown and low thyroid function).  Endocrinologists classically stop the white blood cell driven autoimmune inflammatory destruction with large doses of steroidal stress hormones (which causes active immune cells to commit mass apoptosis or cell suicide).  This temporarily disables cellular immunity and aborts inflammatory heat, providing short-term relief, but sets the patient up for a variety of later problems. 

Beta-blockers slow down eighteen hormones of the stress-response system as well as disable learning and cause memory loss (are also among conventional physicians’ prescription favorites).  Beta-blockers do not cure hyperthyroidism and do not decrease the amount of thyroid hormone being produced; they prevent some symptoms and create a compliant patient. 

Revered by physicians, beta-blockers are also routinely prescribed for many uses as well as non-cardiac surgeries to reduce blood pressure, slow the heartbeat and theoretically, to reduce strain on the heart.  Finally after decades of still continuing common use, a retrospective study has shown that besides slowing mentation and increasing forgetfulness, beta-blockers double stroke risk and increase death risk by a third.

Instead, medical texts alarmingly remind us that 30mg iodine daily will stop organification of iodine and stop hyperactive thyroid hormone production (but for only 10-14 days).  Niacinamide (adults work up to 3 grams in divided doses per day) and the active form of pyridoxine, P-5-P at 25-50 mg per day are very helpful in slowing autoimmune destruction.

Certain foods can help to quiet the thyroid, like soybeans and the cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, kale, radish, spinach and rutabagas) as well as peanuts, peaches and pears.  Avoid stimulatory caffeine (no coffee, tea, colas or chocolate and in place of coffee, try basil or ginger tea (anti-inflammatory and no caffeine, very tasty combined).  In place of milk, try a soy beverage. 

Cooking and fermenting do not destroy millet or soy isothiocyanate goitrogens; in fact, they make these foods more effective at blocking iodine (and more cancer-protective).  Millet goitrogens are present in both the bran and the endosperm.  Traditionally prepared millet that is dehulled, fermented and cooked into porridge is associated with goiter in humans. 

These isothiocyanate iodine blockers are fairly common naturally occurring compounds in food that are generally protective against cancer and are considered health supportive, not health damaging.  Microwaving crucifers reduces average isothiocyanate yield to one-half; steaming reduces this yield to one-third; boiling for a half hour and dumping out the water almost entirely eliminates them.  The effect of microwaving and steaming is dependent on the individual's intestinal flora and is thus highly variable.  The effect of boiling is more reliable and constant.  Fermentation or juicing raw crucifers makes them more goitrogenic (and more anti-cancer).

Cyanogenic glycosides can be found in the fruits (and wilting leaves) of the rose family (including cherries, apples, plums, almonds, peaches, apricots, raspberries and crabapples).  Flax leaves and seed chaff contain cyanogenic glycosides.  This glycoside can release poisonous hydrogen cyanide if acted upon by an enzyme, as amygdalin from almonds. 

The most effective way of removing cyanogenic glycosides is by crushing the tubers (as with cassava) and leaching them in running water for several days, and by blanching and boiling the leaves.  Dietary iodine is able to overcome the effect of cyanogenic glycosides, moderate amounts of crucifers and is probably able to overcome the effect of soy flavonoids (as seaweed does in Asia).  Iodine is not able to overcome large amounts of raw juiced crucifers or any amount of millet.

Chris Masterjohn suggests,” People who have thyroid problems or other problems associated with iodine deficiency or cyanide exposure should consider the following dietary restrictions: 1) eliminate millet; 2) moderate soy and only consume it with additional sources of iodine; 3) limit crucifer intake to five servings per week, only eat more than this if it is boiled, and match one's crucifer intake with extra iodine; 4) avoid foods with cyanogenic glycosides unless they are extensively boiled or crushed and leached in running water for several days, and match one's cyanogen intake with extra iodine and vitamin B12-containing foods or supplements (but not cyanocobalamin).”

Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus), from the mint family, is a native of North America.  It is closely related to the European herb called gypsywort or gypsyweed (L. europaeus).  For herbal purposes, these two plants are often used interchangeably.  Bugleweed may reduce thyroid hormone by decreasing levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone, a pituitary hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland) and by impairing thyroid hormone synthesis.  In addition, bugleweed may block the action of thyroid-stimulating antibodies found in Grave's disease.

Bugleweed should not be used by individuals with hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone) or an enlarged thyroid gland.  Pregnant or nursing women should avoid bugleweed because of potential effects on their children as well as reducing prolactin (important for breast milk).

Soothing lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) may also block the action of thyroid-stimulating antibodies found in Grave's disease.  Motherwort (Leonuris cardica) was employed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to treat heart palpitations as well as depression, which they considered a problem of the heart.  Recently, the German herbal regulating body has authorized use of motherwort as part of an overall treatment plan for overactive thyroid.

Ironically, while conventional medicine shuns iodine therapy, the physicians’ most popular anti-fibrillation drug, Amiodarone, is actually iodine in a toxic, sustained release form.  This drug can produce a smooth heartbeat when the body has accumulated about 1.5 grams (1,500 mgs) of iodine.  This is typically the same amount of iodine retained by the human body when iodine sufficiency is achieved by natural iodine supplementation.

The problem with Amiodarone is that this form of iodine (which the medical profession favors) is extremely toxic.  The side effects are most often too great for patients to regain a normal heartbeat.  Therefore it makes sense to try to achieve iodine sufficiency with natural forms of iodine instead.  Dr. West recommends iodine (in the form of either Cataplex F and/or Prolamine Iodine from Standard Process) for his arrhythmia and fibrillation patients. ("Health Alert" Newsletter by Dr. Bruce West, Dec 2005, Volume 22, Issue 12, http://www.healthalert.com/).

If you are about to try to achieve iodine sufficiency with slowly increasing doses of Prolamine Iodine, or other iodine source, this is to be done in place of Amiodarone (not simultaneously with it).  A fibrillation patient will need to stop prescription drug therapy when starting iodine therapy.  Therapy usually starts at 1 tablet of Prolamine Iodine daily for a week.  If no problem arises, the dose increases slowly (every week to 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 tablets daily).

If there are no problems along the way, and especially if the heart begins to function more normally, one would stay at 5 or 6 tablets daily for three to six months.  Or one might do three months of 12 Prolamine Iodine tablets daily to achieve full iodine sufficiency levels.  This is, of course, in conjunction with an early sustaining breakfast, sunshine and a comprehensive heart protocol of phytonutrients.

We now know that it is possible for some people to eliminate their need for medically prescribed thyroid drugs after achieving iodine sufficiency.  We also now know that anyone taking thyroid drugs like Synthroid should also be on extra iodine to support other similarly functioning glandular tissues.  

The mammary glands have a trapping system for iodine similar to the thyroid gland.  The breasts effectively compete with the thyroid gland for ingested iodine.  This distribution of iodine to both developing breast and thyroid gland in pubertal girls may explain why goiter is 6 times more common in girls than pubertal boys.  The demand for iodine by breast tissue in women leads to diminished ability to supply the thyroid gland with adequate amounts of iodine.

The development of hypothyroidism in young females indicates deficient distribution of iodine to both breast and thyroid tissue (and other glands).  Treating a young woman with just thyroid hormone is not sensible and appears to increase risk to breast cancer (and most other cancers).  Iodine therapy can decrease the need for thyroid hormone drugs and reduce risk to cancer. 

Iodine helps us utilize proteins properly partly by fueling the thyroid.  An iodine deficient person becomes functionally protein deficient.  Optimally, we would get all our iodine from dietary sources: kelp, seaweed, some ocean fish, and vegetables grown in iodine-rich soil, while controlling intake of iodine-inhibiting foods (raw crucifers and soy) as well as pharmaceuticals.  

Iodine in most diets comes mainly from animal-derived foods (like vitamin B12).  Today many ocean-bearing iodine-rich foods are now unavailable or contaminated with mercury.  Agricultural farmland is increasingly iodine-deficient, leading to reduced levels of iodine in foods.  Vegans who do not ingest substantial seaweed are at risk to deficiencies in both B12 and iodine, especially if they regularly consume raw crucifer juices or choose soy as primary protein source.

How does one know if more iodine is needed?  One of the first indicators is belly fat in men.  When the abdominal muscles disappear under a layer of fat, a pot belly, metabolic syndrome X (insulin resistance) is present.  If the cause is not weak breakfast or inadequate sunshine or exercise, it is likely iodine lack.  In women, fat occurs on the hips.  Flabby belly fat is a major indicator of underlying risk to cardio-vascular disease, cancer, diabetes and all inflammatory diseases of industrialized societies.  If flabby, one is ‘at risk’ to all diseases of civilization as well as sub-clinical hypothyroidism (likely resulting from iodine, zinc or selenium deficiencies).

In a study involving 96 Iranian children with goiter and 72 without goiter, significantly lower selenium levels were found in children with goiter, as compared to children without goiter. Mean plasma selenium was 68.45 microg/dl in goitrous boys (65.62 microg/dl, in girls) and 76.91 microg/dl in non-goitrous boys (76.51 microg/dl, in girls).  Researchers concluded: "Selenium deficiency is among the contributors of thyroid goiter in Isfahan schoolchildren."

Frequently experienced additional warning signs of low thyroid function due to iodine deficiency are a tendency to be cold when everyone else is warm and comfortable, low energy levels, aches and pains, nasal congestion, dull hair, weak fingernails, poor digestion, depression and overweight that resists diet and exercise.

A lack of iodine can manifest as very dry skin and skin that does not sweat even when hot.  Enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter) develops when there is not enough iodine available to manufacture thyroid hormones.  The gland enlarges in an attempt to trap more iodine when it becomes dietarily available (during seasonal ‘migration’ to the seashore).  Supplemental iodine usually resolves this problem, but sometimes thyroid hormone glandulars may be necessary.

Iodine is absolutely necessary for a healthy thyroid and immune system as well as healthy ovaries, breasts, cervix, prostate and salivary glands.   Locations at which the sodium/iodide symporter protein is found are the thyroid gland, salivary glands, parotid glands, submandibular glands, pituitary gland, pancreas, testis, mammary glands, gastric mucosa, prostate and ovaries, adrenal glands, heart, thymus as well as lung.  More iodine is also needed during pregnancy and lactation.

Goldenseal (now threatened) is an immensely popular herb that has long been used as an immune enhancer and a body cleanser that promotes healthy glandular functions.  Some of goldenseal's constituents include alkaloids (hydrastine, berberine, canadine and hydrastanine), tannins, beta-carotene, fatty acids, resin, albumin, essential oil, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium selenium, zinc, B-vitamins and vitamins A, C and E.  

Berberine in goldenseal seems to increase blood flow to the spleen and stimulate activity of macrophages, our mobile white blood cells that are critical to cellular immunity.  Berberine also enhances secretion of bile.   In regulating healthy glands, goldenseal benefits the liver, pancreas, spleen, thyroid and lymphatic system.   Berberine activates glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (an enzyme mostly in muscle and liver), improving insulin sensitivity and helping to modulate blood sugar levels. 

Berberine is an isoquinoline alkaloid with a bright yellow color that is easily seen in most of the herb materials that contain any significant amount of this compound.  Among Chinese herbs, primary sources are phellodendron and coptis.  Berberine is also found in goldenseal, barberry, Oregon grape and goldthread.  

Berberine has demonstrated significant antimicrobial activity against bacteria, fungi, yeast, protozoans (Giardia), viruses, helminthes (worms) and chlamydia.  Berberine actions also include: antagonism of the effects of cholera and E. coli toxin, inhibition of intestinal ion secretion, inhibition of smooth muscle spasms and reduction of inflammation.  Berberine's most common clinical uses include bacterial diarrhea and intestinal parasites.

Goldenseal increases the flow of digestive enzymes and is considered an effective herb for improving overall digestion and easing digestive disorders, including heartburn (especially when associated with emotional tension), inflamed peptic ulcers, constipation and indigestion. 

Tyrosine is a biogenic amino acid that helps stimulate thyroid function, raise mood-elevating and pain-relieving endorphin production and increases brain energy by precursor-loading dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine both systemically and in the brain.  Try 500 mg daily, before breakfast, for up to three weeks at a time.  If taking an MAO inhibitor drug, do not take supplemental tyrosine, since potentiation may cause increase in blood pressure.

Many organs require iodine, but cannot absorb it until blood levels become very high.  The stomach and salivary glands are two such organs, but they cannot uptake iodine in any significant amounts until the blood level reaches 100 times what the thyroid needs.  Most people do not produce enough stomach acid as they grow older.  Low gastric acidity creates poor protein digestion and compromises mineral absorption.  Dr. Robert Rowen notes that iodine promotes stomach acidity.

For the purpose of weight loss (or especially if one has an inability to lose weight no matter what), the potential effect of stored toxic metals on thyroid function and estrogen production becomes of special interest.  Release and redistribution of toxins previously stored in fat can lead to rashes, irritability, anger and mood swings.  Resultant demotivating distress and discomfort as well as the apathy due to impaired thyroid function (impairment of peripheral T4 conversion to active T3) will act like an invisible force field around body fat.  No amount of diet or exercise will be of much use for someone with sufficiently impaired thyroid.

Low iodine, competing halogens and/or heavy metal toxicity can impair endocrine (thyroid) function.  Equally interesting, and perhaps more compelling, is the reports from a number of weight loss specialty clinics around the country about metal toxicity.  Numerous studies correlate lead, cadmium and mercury with impaired thyroid function.  A case of autoimmune thyroiditis was successfully treated by removal of dental amalgam.   

To promote detoxification, return to nature’s rhythm and take concentrated seaweed, fruit and vegetable supplements.  Heavy concentrations of free radical scavengers in super foods and natural catalysts are helpful in removing toxic metals in ways that vitamins alone cannot.

Harold D. Foster, Ph.D. linked long-term iodine deficiency to abnormalities in the dopaminergic system (that includes an increased number of dopamine receptors).  This raises susceptibility to dopamine oxidation which, in turn, causes deficiencies of antioxidant enzymes Cu/Zn SOD (superoxide dismutase), glutathione peroxidase and catalase.  This diminishes energy production and allows unbridled inflammatory destruction (brain on fire).  Dopamine deficiency also leads to elevated cytotoxic glutamate levels seen in Parkinsonism, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  Possible interventions might include levodopa, vitamin B3, Coenzyme Q10, various antioxidants, amino acids, iodine and glutamate antagonists.

Breast cancer rates rose from one in 23 to one in seven over the last 30 years.  During this time, the nutrient, iodine, was removed from the bread and the "anti-iodine," and toxin, bromide, was introduced widely into many baked goods and consumer products.  Stealth (unlabeled) bromide exposure from fire-retardants surrounds us in our daily life to a degree unacceptable in some other countries.  

Beside greater risk for breast and prostate cancer in iodine deficient people, iodine deficiency also increases risk to thyroid and most other cancers.  In an age of increasing toxic exposures we all need more (not less) iodine because it has very specific protective effects against several common poisons like chlorine, fluorine, bromine or radioactive iodine and to a lesser extent it helps eliminate lead and mercury from the body.

In the early 1900's, Harry Hoxsey developed an herbal formula that was effective for the treatment of cancer.  Similar to famous anti-cancer ‘Essiac tea’ plus iodine, this mixture is taken internally and contains licorice, red clover, burdock root, stillingia root, barberry, cascara, prickly ash bark and buckthorn bark, but also has potassium iodide added.

The Hoxsey mixture is considered to be cathartic/cleansing or immune boosting.  The preparation is used either directly on the skin or drunk as a tonic.  Patients are encouraged to avoid pork, vinegar, tomatoes, carbonated drinks and alcohol, and to use immune stimulants, yeast tablets, vitamin C, calcium, laxatives, and antiseptic washes, as well as adopt a positive mental outlook while taking the Hoxsey treatment.  

The thyroid gland is the main temperature control center of the body.  Those with under active thyroids often will have a lowered basal body temperature.  Cancer cells cannot tolerate heat as well as normal cells due to the lack of collateral circulation around tumor cells.  Maintaining a normal temperature creates an internal environment unfavorable for cancer growth.  Coleus Forskohlii contains the diterpene forskolin, which mobilizes fat and stimulates the thyroid.

Guggulsterone extracts from the Indian herb Commiphora Mukul can increase the concentration of thyroid hormones in the blood.  Forskolin stimulates thyroid hormone release and increases thyroid hormone production.  The herb is especially effective in increasing the ratio of the active T3 form of thyroid (triiodothyronine) to less active T4 (thyroxine).  A corresponding and significant decrease in normal liver damage by free radicals was noticed, which is most interesting since liver is the principal site where T4 thyroid is stored and T3 thyroid is generated.

Forskolin stimulates digestive secretions, including hydrochloric acid, pepsin, amylase and pancreatic enzymes, suggesting benefit in digestive disorders and malabsorption.  It has an antidepressant effect via activation of cAMP and forskolin has potent immune-balancing properties, reducing inflammatory humoral immunity and enhancing quiet cellular immunity.

Coleus forskohlii is a perennial mint that has been used since ancient times in Hindu and Ayurvedic medicine.  The root portion of the plant is used for medicinal purposes and contains the primary active constituent, forskolin.  Traditionally it was used to treat hypertension, congestive heart failure, eczema, colic, respiratory disorders, painful urination, insomnia and convulsions; today we understand that it may have therapeutic benefit in asthma, angina, psoriasis and prevention of cancer metastases.

Forskolin's potentiation of cAMP in turn inhibits the inflammatory humoral immune response of basophil and mast cell degranulation and histamine release, lowers blood pressure and intraocular pressure, inhibits platelet aggregation, promotes vasodilation, bronchodilation and thyroid hormone secretion, as well as stimulates lipolysis in fat cells.  Forskolin also has a positive inotropic action on the heart via increased cAMP levels.  Forskolin significantly lowers blood pressure via relaxation of vascular smooth muscle.  Oral Coleus forskohlii extracts are typically standardized to 10% forskolin, with dosages ranging from 100-250 mg twice daily.

Dr. Sebastiano Venturi, in Evolution of Dietary Antioxidants: Role of Iodine, makes it clear that iodine is a crucial antioxidant and apoptosis-inductor with anti-tumor and anti-atherosclerotic activity.  When we supplement with iodine we see increased antioxidant activity and immune system function.  Iodides increase movement of granulocytes into areas of inflammation and improve phagocytosis by granulocytes and their ability to kill bacteria.  Improving cellular immunity allows inflammatory hypersensitive auto-immune humoral response to diminish.

From Iodine for Health by Donald W. Miller:

“More than 4,000 patients in this project take iodine in daily doses ranging from 12.5 - 50 mg, and in those with diabetes, up to 100 mg a day.  Iodine does indeed reverse fibrocystic disease; diabetic patients require less insulin; hypothyroid patients, less thyroid medication; symptoms of fibromyalgia resolve and patients with migraine headaches stop having them.”

 Four of the most common formulations of inorganic iodine, as iodide (I-), and with or without molecular iodine (I2): Potassium iodide (KI) tablets, in doses ranging from 0.23 to 130 mg; super saturated potassium iodide (SSKI), 19–50 mg of iodide per drop; Lugol’s solution, 6.3 mg of molecular iodine/iodide per drop; and Iodoral, each tablet containing 12.5 mg iodine/iodide.  Both Lugol’s solution and Iodoral are one-third molecular iodine (5%) and two-thirds potassium iodide (10%).

Lugol's solution consists of 5 g iodine (I2) and 10 g potassium iodide (KI) mixed with 85 ml distilled water, to make a brown solution with a total iodine content of 130 mg/mL.  Potassium iodide renders the elementary iodine soluble in water through the formation of the I3- ion.  The most efficacious supplement includes molecular iodine (I2), which breast tissue prefers. 

Lugol's solution is a prescription medication in the US, and labeled as a poison.  However, it is safe to take internally in small doses, although it kills friendly flora along with pathogens in the bowels.  If your bowels are perfect, then paint supplemental iodine/iodide on the skin.

Deficiencies of selenium, vitamin A and iron may exacerbate effects of iodine deficiency.  People with hypothyroidism have an impaired ability to oxidize and split beta-carotene into vitamin A, and build up beta-carotene, often giving the skin a sallow or yellow-orange tinge.  Moderate to severe iodine deficiency is present now in a significant proportion of the U.S. population, with a clear increasing trend over the past 20 years, caused by weakening soils, increased diet deficiencies and reduced iodized table salt usage.   

Along with magnesium, zinc and selenium, iodine is commonly one of the most deficient minerals in our bodies.  Magnesium, zinc and selenium as well as iodine deficiencies are causes of autoimmune thyroiditis, not excess iodide.

A high amount of copper in the body is common to reduced thyroid function.  Too much copper can inhibit the function of zinc, which is essential to the thyroid conversion process along with manganese, iodine, iron and selenium.  Fulvic in the diet assists with maintaining proper balance.  Fulvic chelates and removes excess copper (or other minerals or heavy metals), and helps to nourish by supplying safe natural organic plant forms of minerals, in the proper balance as nature intended.

Fulvic is a natural water soluble substance of plant-microbial symbiotic origin.  It contains many healing phytochemicals and enzymes which readily disperse throughout the body, even to the interior of cells.  Specially prepared fulvic extracts regulate abnormal thyroid hormone secretion because of their ability to regulate RNA and DNA (cyclic nucleotides) at the cellular level.  Fulvic acts as an immune modulator, regulating immune system function.

The mechanism behind environmental "halogen displacement" was probably best described by J.C. Jarvis, M.D. (Folk Medicine, Henry Holt & Co., 1958, HB, p. 136), who wrote: "The clinical activity of any one of these four halogens is in inverse proportion to its atomic weight. This means that any one of the four can displace the element with a higher atomic weight, but cannot displace an element with a lower atomic weight. For example, fluorine can displace chlorine, bromine and iodine because fluorine has a lower atomic weight than the other three. Similarly, chlorine can displace bromine and iodine because they both have a higher atomic weight. Likewise, bromine can displace iodine from the body because iodine has a higher atomic weight. But a reverse order is not possible.

Knowledge of this well-known chemical law brings us to a consideration of the addition of chlorine to our drinking water as a purifying agent.  We secure a drinking water that is harmful to the body not because of its harmful germ content but because the chlorine content now causes the body to lose the much-needed iodine."

That was before public health officials worsened the situation by adding fluoride (its current industrial waste source also increases the amount and absorptive availability of lead, arsenic and aluminum) in our water.  Fluoride ingestion or absorption/inhalation greatly enhances uptake of radioactive elements, including iodine 131 and strontium 90. 

It is a common theory that the reason fluoride was ‘proven’ to reduce tooth decay in Michigan (a glaciated area low in soil iodine, where hypothyroidism is endemic) was through a statistical trick.  The key statistical dental parameter improved (in Michigan) by adding one part per million fluoride in community water was decayed, extracted or filled 6 year molars.  Degrees of hypothyroidism progressively delay the eruption of teeth.  Fewer teeth results in fewer cavities.

The amount of fluoride a modern American gets from fluoridated water and contaminated foods is the amount German physicians sometimes still use today to poison the thyroid to treat hyperthyroidism.  Further fluoride competition (with already low iodine) accentuated subclinical hypothyroidism and delayed eruption of studied ‘6 year’ molars (perhaps slowed as much as a year) and accounted for statistical improvement of decay scores.  Delayed eruption of teeth was interpreted as a "benefit" in fluoridated areas when same-age children's teeth were compared.

In 1926, Goldemberg is the first to take medical advantage of the then much-observed iodine-fluoride antagonism.  He concluded that, because fluoride was the reason behind iodine deficiency/goiter areas, it would therefore also reduce high iodine levels in Basedow patients.  He began to use fluorides to effectively cure Basedow's disease (hyperthyroidism caused by excessive iodine consumption).   He published and published.  They followed.

Traditional areas where people had been sent for “natural therapy” of hyperthyroidism had higher amounts of fluoride in the local water.  In the 1930s, it was found that fluoride and thyroid have synergistic toxic effects.  In 1991, it was reported that low iodine intake coupled with "high" (0.88ppm) fluoride intake exacerbates central nervous lesions and the somatic developmental disturbance of iodine deficiency.  Goiters may actually be fluoride-induced.

G proteins are basic nuclear “On" and "Off" switches, selecting or silencing genes depending on cellular signal transmission.   Fluorides became known as the universal G-protein activator during the 1980s and 1990s.  Fluorides mimic TSH, thyroid-stimulating-hormone.   The TSH receptor is the only receptor known able to activate all G protein families, an activity directly imitated by environmental fluoride.  G proteins in thyroid physiology are normally absolutely dependent on TSH and are inactive without it.  TSH is the master, sometimes also referred to as the "first violinist in the orchestra" (unless there is excess confounding discordant fluoride).

Besides direct regulation of ion channels, G-proteins transduce activation of neurotransmitter receptors into alterations in intracellular levels of second messengers in target neurons.  Prominent second messengers in brain include cyclic AMP, cyclic GMP, calcium, the major metabolites of phosphatidylinositol [inositol triphosphate (IP3) and diacylglycerol] and of arachidonic acid and endothelial relaxation factor, nitric oxide.  Altered levels of second messengers mediate the actions of neurotransmitter-receptor activation on some types of ion channels, as well as on numerous other physiological responses.

Fluorine can produce considerable functional and anatomic changes in the thyroid.  Depending on dose of fluoride (with long latency at very low doses), early on, these changes create increased thyroid function and an altered thyroid-hypothalamus-pituitary balance; later, a dysfunctional glandular hypertrophy leads to further hypo function of the thyroid, and finally a goiter-like strumiform degeneration of the gland.

Co-administration of fluoride and methyxanthine-containing beverages doubles plasma fluoride levels in rats.  Co-administration of fluoride with caffeine-containing tea, or Coca-Cola resulted in a significantly higher plasma fluoride level than intake of the same amount of fluoride in decaffeinated beverages.  Soft drinks and processed beverages and foods are significant sources of fluorides. (Now, if fluoride really works, why do kids who drink soft drinks have so much decay and adults thinning bones?)

Russell L Blaylock, MD notes that fluoride is strongly associated with damaging DNA, interfering with thyroid function leading to hypothyroidism, creating problems with fluoridated organic molecules (Paxil, Prozac and some antibiotics), significantly increasing many types of cancer, increasing heart disease, increasing oral cancer and even periodontal disease, reducing zinc in body tissues (including the brain), increasing Down's Syndrome, reducing testosterone and sperm count, increasing Alzheimer's and lowering IQ.

Perfluorinated chemicals, (pervasive in food packaging, pesticides, clothing, upholstery, carpets and personal care products), may delay pregnancy.  These chemicals are also commonly used in non-stick cookware.  Using non-stick cookware encourages ingesting perfluorinates, which are being phased out in the U.S. because of their toxicity.  However, they remain in the environment and in the body for decades, and are linked to developmental problems.  Danish women with high levels of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) take longer to get pregnant. 

Women in the three groups with the highest levels of PFOS took from 70-134% longer to get pregnant than women in the lowest quartile with the lowest PFOS levels.  Women with the highest PFOA levels took 60-154% longer to get pregnant compared with women with lowest levels.  In animals, these chemicals have a variety of toxic effects on liver, immune system and developmental as well as reproductive organs, also inducing impaired fetal growth.

Environmental contaminants such as PCBs, PBDEs, and mercury can alter brain neuron functioning even before a child is born. These changes to the brain can be long-lasting. Stain-resistant chemicals, found in up to 98% of Americans sampled in the late 1990s, are found in clothing, carpeting, upholstery, and even the lining of food containers.

Fetuses exposed to the chemicals PFOS and PFOA experience changes in proteins important to both growth of brain neurons and the production of brain proteins necessary to carry messages between nerve cells. These changes in brain proteins may account for behavior changes including hyperactivity, as is the case in lab animals that are exposed to stain-resistant chemicals.

In rats, fluoride administration significantly increased brain levels of a marker of free radical damage and markedly reduced activity of a number of antioxidant enzymes compared with controls.  When melatonin was also administered, it decreased the marker of free radical damage and increased activity of antioxidant enzymes.  Buffalo-derived pineal protein had a similar protective effect.  Pineal protein and melatonin likely help control fluoride induced neurotoxicity by enhancing enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant defense systems.

Danger from these chemicals might be lessening.  In 2006, the EPA had promises from eight manufacturers of PFOA to ‘voluntarily’ reduce emissions and product content of perfluorinated compounds in U.S. and overseas by 95% by 2010, and to ‘work toward’ eliminating emissions and product content of these chemicals by 2015.  This action was taken because perfluorinated compounds are associated with "systemic and developmental toxicity."  The only manufacturer of PFOS in the U.S. (3M) had agreed to ‘phase out’ its production and use nine years ago.  On the other hand, to this day, DuPont insists PFOA and Teflon are perfectly safe to cook on.

Dr. Timothy A Hardgrove in "Dental Caries", published in 1939 by the American Dental Association, noted that nervous persons are more apt to have carious teeth than persons who are not nervous, a condition indicating lack of normal calcium function. (This is similar to my ‘irritability hypothesis’, reflecting stress-driven negative mineral balance.  To restore balance, supplement with chelated multiminerals along with water and greens morning and evening.) 

He also noted that in his community, since the beginning of administration of iodine to prevent goiter, children had less caries.  Iodine seems to increase resistance to caries, retarding the process and reducing its incidence.  Two conditions mainly determine resistance or susceptibility to caries: normal calcium metabolism and bacterial disintegration (cellular immunity is aided by iodine).  Diet adequate in calcium is not sufficient to maintain teeth free from caries unless the endocrine glands are in normal coordination (with adequate levels of iodine, magnesium, selenium and zinc).  When glands are normal, bacteria are powerless.

Some few individuals are allergic / hypersensitive to iodide or to organic preparations containing iodine, especially medically prescribed dyes.  Hypersensitivity reactions may involve rash, angioedema (throat swelling), cutaneous / mucosal hemorrhage (bleeding), fever, arthralgias (joint pains), eosinophilia (abnormal blood counts), urticaria (painful itching and hives), thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, or severe periarteritis (inflammation around blood vessels).  Reactions can be severe and deaths have occurred with exposure.  Iodine-based products should be avoided if there is known allergy / hypersensitivity to iodine. 

 

Remember, hypersensitivity reactions occur when glutathione becomes exhausted and cellular immunity quits.  That is when we end up in hospital subject to diagnostic dyes and likely to have heightened response to them.  Most allergies to x-ray contrast media are to the specific media itself, not necessarily the iodine component.  When kidney function is significantly impaired, it may be difficult for the body to eliminate excess iodine, so it can accumulate to toxic levels.  Most of those who display allergic response to iodine (the oxidant) show absolutely no reaction to iodide (the antioxidant). 

 

Iodine contact allergies are sometimes seen to providone-iodine (Betadine®) scrub used as surgical preps.  In one study, 10 people who had skin reactions to providone-iodine were further tested and only one was found to be skin allergic to iodine, five were allergic to the providone-iodine solution itself and the other four had direct skin irritation reactions (not allergic response).

 

Both shellfish and other fishes are rich sources of iodine, but most often those allergic are not really responding to iodine, but proteins in the seafood.  Not all reactions to seafood are allergies to seafood protein itself.  A parasite called anisakiasis (which frequently contaminates seafood) is a major cause of gastrointestinal upset that many people interpret as a food allergy. This parasite is killed by deep freezing.

 

On the other hand, repleting iodine allows the body to begin to excrete fluorine, bromine and chlorine previously preferentially bound to iodine receptor sites.  Heavy metals like lead and mercury can now be more effectively eliminated because thyroid and other hormones become more functional.  Cleansing side effects of iodine supplementation are mostly dermal and typically last just 2-3 weeks.  Irritability symptoms are most likely due to toxicity created by the displacement, movement and elimination of aggressive non-essential halogens.

 

The Iodine study group started by Dr. Guy Abraham has recommended clearing the body of excess fluoride and bromide prior to instituting elevated doses of iodide and iodine.  Chloride (from salt) can be used if the person is not susceptible to heart and blood pressure problems from the sodium content.  They recommend eating several grams of extra salt a day for a couple of weeks to displace fluoride and bromide slowly.  After some clearance has occurred, iodine / iodide such as Lugol's can be started. 

Thad Mauney [tmauney@wtp.net] suggests a simpler way not involving excess sodium. Take about 1 mg of iodide per day for a month as Lugol's or whatever form you can get.  This will displace not more than the equivalent amount of fluoride. 1 mg I- = 7.9 microequivalents of I-, and 7.9 microequivalents of F- = 0.15 mg.  So we find out whether release of 0.15 mg of F- per day can be tolerated by that person, and likely it can be.  But, over a month's time the body could displace and excrete up to 5.5 mg of F (hopefully without symptoms).

 Then increase the quantity of Lugol's slowly, to 2 mg, and then 5 mg/day. At these quantities the displacement will be occurring more rapidly. If fluoride symptoms recur, reduce the dosage again to 1 mg, and try raising it again a month later.  The logic is simple of course -- you need the iodine and iodide for numerous functions throughout the body. But some functions are at a very delicate balance of fluoride toxicity and the elevated serum fluoride level cannot be tolerated even as it is on the way to excretion.  It is best to replenish iodine slowly so as to cause only minimal serum fluoride elevation along the way.

The same applies to other folks who may have accumulated bromide instead of fluoride except that symptoms will be different, for example the skin rash chloracne (brom-acne) as the bromide is released.  Anomalous acne may be the locus of some bromide release.

 Optimal nutritional need for iodine may well be in the 1-5 mg/day range. At the moment, Mauny cannot see that striving for whole-body saturation with iodine/iodide (at the 30-40 mg/day level) is needed by most people.  However, saturation is likely beneficial to some individuals with the need to correct chronic problems.

U.S. dentists are still poisoning half their patients with clinically-forgiving and durable anti-microbial mercury dental amalgam (with 50% vapor-producing mercury, amalgam includes varying amounts of silver, copper, tin along with 2% beneficial zinc).  Biofilm bacteria convert inorganic metals to organic assimilable forms, like mercury to ethyl or methyl mercury.  Silver is noble.  Copper is necessary. 

What about tin? Organotin compounds have been used in plastic industries and as agricultural chemicals.  Both trimethyl and triethyl tin compounds are found to be extremely neurotoxic.  Despite the similarity of their chemical structures, trimethyl and triethyl tins have a diversely different toxic property and effects.  While triethyl tin is myelinotoxic, producing edematous and vacuolar changes in the central myelin, trimethyl tin is neurotoxic, producing prominent toxic changes in the neurons of the limbic system (hippocampus and entorhinal cortex).

Physicians like soldiers-in-lockstep lamely tout their mercury-laden immune-unbalancing vaccine injections (as instructed).   Physicians believe that Thimerosal (ethyl mercury) is added to vaccines in ‘trace’ amounts.  However, the concentration of mercury in a multi-dose flu vaccine vial is 50,000 parts per billion, and much higher for the unlucky one who gets the last dose (since heavy metals sink to the bottom of the ten-dose vial).  

To put this in perspective, since there are no safe levels, drinking water cannot exceed 2 parts per billion of mercury, and waste is considered hazardous if it has only 200 parts per billion.  Is it prudent to inject pregnant women, newborns and infants (same dose as much larger hardened adults) with mercury levels 250 times higher than what is legally classified as hazardous waste?

Agreeing that mercury has no place in vaccines, legislatures of seven states have passed Thimerosal bans in recent years: California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, New York and Washington.  California was first to have implemented the ban, and one study showed autism rates immediately declining (with conventional sources looking at the same data, saying no change occurred).  Parents are now funding their own studies verifying vaccine damage.  Governor Schwarzenegger has ‘temporarily’ overturned the ban after a ‘shortage’ of mercury-free flu shots led to pressure from the vaccine companies through state medical groups.

Every vaccine has two parts, the microorganism to which you want to elicit immune response (such as a measles virus) and an immune adjuvant (which amplifies immune response to both and is typically made from a variety of highly toxic compounds including aluminum compounds, MSG and mercury.  Immune adjuvants boost the immune system and make it react as intensely as possible for as long as possible. 

Says Russell Blaylock, M.D.:  “Studies have shown that adjuvants, from a single vaccine, can cause immune over activation for as long as two years.  This means that the brain microglia remain active as well, continuously pouring out destructive inflammatory chemicals.  A single injection of an immune activating substance can cause brain immune over activation for more than a year.  This is very destructive.”

Vaccines containing high concentrations of neurotoxic aluminum were added to the child immunization schedule when several vaccines containing mercury were removed.  Two-month old babies (just like adults) are now scheduled to receive 1,225 mcg of aluminum from their vaccines (50 times higher than their safety levels!).  Babies with already impaired kidney function are at higher risk of aluminum toxicity.  Babies are not generally screened for the health of their kidney function prior to immunization.  Infants who receive the recommended schedule of immunizations will have received 5000 mcg (5 mg) of aluminum by 18 months of age.

Remember, the wrong basic premise of vaccinations is that the chicken pox does not return.  Now that we live longer, we understand that those viruses never leave; they lurk and return when cellular immunity is compromised and the body turns on humoral immunity due to overwhelming stress or senescence.  Chicken pox returns as shingles (or polio might return as meningitis or post-polio syndrome or Alzheimer’s disease).

It is literally raining mercury all over the world, but especially in the more industrialized northern hemisphere.  Mercury strips the body of critical selenium, zinc and magnesium, disabling glutathione recycling among other things.  Trace mineral selenium is more important to enzyme action and hormonal function than most of us imagine.  AIDs patients’ condition parallels selenium levels in their blood.  Risk to disease exacerbation and death increases as levels drop.  Selenium stores get bound up quickly because of its great affinity for mercury. 

Like lead, there is no safe mercury level that does not cause damage.  Mercury also poisons methionine reductase, an enzyme which generates glutathione production from sulfur-containing amino acids and thus further limits further production of glutathione’s most active forms (which also contain selenium).  Energy production, detoxification and cellular immunity become compromised.

Eli Lilly and Co. developed and registered thimerosal under its trade name Merthiolate in 1929 and began marketing it as an antibacterial, antifungal product.  It became the most widely used preservative in vaccines (and still is). 

Thimerosal/Merthiolate was widely used in over-the-counter products, including ointments, eye drops, nasal sprays and contact lens solution.  In 1998, the FDA finally banned Thimerosal for use in OTC products, 18 years after it began a safety review of mercury-containing products.  Eli Lilly faces hundreds of civil lawsuits from parents who blame thimerosal for their autistic children.  But no action is taken; the pharmaceutical giant has powerful friends in government.

World Health Organization reported in 1991 that our leading exposure to mercury is our dental fillings.  ‘Silver’ fillings usually contain 50% mercury, and Americans average eight fillings per person.  Although dentists are taught that once hardened in amalgam, dental mercury is inert, invisible vapor of this liquid metal continually evaporates (and release goes up exponentially when heated or other metals are present in the mouth) and then gets absorbed into our bodies. 

Chewing food or gum as well as drinking hot beverages markedly increases the substantial mercury vapor release from these shiny fillings.  With multiple fillings, mercury vapors inside the [mouth often violate OSHA standards.  Mercury amalgam fillings have been banned by several progressive European countries, including Switzerland and Sweden.

Our next largest source of mercury is coal-burning power plants, which emit 40 tons of mercury into the air each year.  Mercury is present in all fossil fuels that we burn.  The EPA reports that rainfall in New England now contains thirty times the “safe” level of mercury for surface water. The EPA also blames mercury for varying levels of neurological damage to 60,000 American babies each year (more U.S. citizens than died in the entire Vietnam War).

Worldwide, a major problem is illegal use of mercury in mining gold, contaminating rivers and estuaries in lesser developed countries, poisoning everybody (even the upper class) with the water.  Most governments have no ability to control the tremendous amounts of mercury released into everybody’s water as its poor people scrabble for survival.  At the same time, our US government thinks it is too costly and unnecessary to scrub mercury from the smokestacks of our coal-burning plants (we poison Europe as China poisons us).

Human exposure to environmental contaminants is a well-known phenomenon in the Canadian Arctic.  Like many organic pollutants, heavy metals bio-accumulate (they build up in the tissues of animals and steadily move up the food chain).  The Inuit are exposed to many toxic substances that are carried from warm southern to colder and heavier water of northern latitudes by oceanic and atmospheric transport and biomagnified in Arctic food webs.

Human toxicity of PCBs and methyl mercury has been documented, often following industrial accidents, which cause a variety of adverse health effects including birth defects and learning disorders.  PCBs and heavy metals accumulate in the fat of fish and marine mammals, causing much concern for humans who traditionally consume large amounts of these animals.  The Inuit are among the most heavily exposed people in the world to PCBs and methyl mercury. 

Inuit women like to eat large amounts of fish, beluga whale skin and blubber, seal meat and seal fat during their pregnancies.  However, fish and seal meat consumption was associated with increased mercury exposure as measured in hair samples.  The heavy metals polluting including thallium, cadmium and lead in the Arctic have primarily come from the burning of coal and other fossil fuels in North America and Western Europe.

Despite widespread knowledge of traditional foods now being a source of contaminants, many women increased their consumption of these foods because of pregnancy-related changes in food preferences and their native belief that these foods were beneficial for women and their unborn children.  Measurements for mercury and PCBs in mothers' hair, plasma and milk, as well as children's cord blood showed levels consistent with cognitive deficits seen in other studies.

Evidence for continued increasing levels of mercury in the Canadian Arctic is observed in a number of marine birds and mammals.  A recent decrease observed in blood concentrations of mercury in Inuit can be attributed to changes in dietary habits.  Mean intake of marine mammal meat decreased from 28.7 g/day in 1992 to 17.5 g/day in 2004, which is about a 40% decrease.

These changes in dietary habits might result from promotion of less contaminated traditional food (such as Arctic Char), but more likely due to the decrease in traditional food consumption associated with a shift to a globally more westernized junk-food life-style.  Despite the decrease, mercury body burden in this population still remains a concern, based on the number of people showing blood concentrations above maximum recommended levels.

I have had several patients who frequently ate fish proven to be poisoned with mercury (and they never had mercury amalgam fillings).  I know doctors all across America with similar patients, especially sushi lovers.  Predatory fish such as large tuna, swordfish, shark and mackerel can have mercury concentrations in their bodies that are 10,000 times higher than those of their surrounding environment!  

Four years ago, the EPA and FDA issued a joint advisory warning to women of childbearing age, and warned pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children to stop eating swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel, and to limit their consumption of other mercury-contaminated fish to a maximum of 12 ounces per week.  FDA is now suggesting it is OK to eat more fish, promoting the financial health of agribusiness and the seafood industry (not your health).

Recently, nine of twenty tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient.  It is Russian roulette knowing whether or not a soda or snack food contains HFCS made from ingredients like caustic soda contaminated with mercury. 

The ‘good news’ is that mercury-free HFCS exists (although HFCS is still a metabolic poison on its own if it becomes dietarily significant).  Food companies usually squelch bad publicity, rather than use safer ingredients.  The FDA had evidence that commercial HFCS was contaminated with mercury four years before.  Our government agency did not inform consumers, help change industry practice or conduct additional testing.

Perchlorate has turned up in most samples of breast milk and store-bought cow's milk from 23 US states. The chemical may disrupt metabolism in adults and lead to mental retardation in children.  Perchlorate is a component of fuel for rockets and missiles and also appears to be made naturally in the atmosphere and stored in the soil. It is widely found in the US water supply and has previously been detected in samples of dairy milk and lettuce.

Perchlorate has been associated with thyroid ailments and is particularly dangerous to children. This is because perchlorate knocks an iodine ion off of a protein that transports the ion to the thyroid. This can lead to iodine deficiency, which impairs thyroid development and is believed to be the main cause of mental retardation in children.  With the problem many Americans have with iodine nutrition, perchlorate only worsens things.

The figures for lead toxicity are better known.  Three billion pounds of lead have been released into the environment worldwide since the Industrial Revolution.  No amount of lead ingestion is safe (even lowest measurable lead levels in baby teeth produce lower IQ scores). 

In children, lead in hair parallels classroom disruption.  America’s explosive crime rate of the 1950s through the 1970s diminished (law-enforcement took the credit) in the decade after lead was finally removed from gasoline.  Meanwhile, 20% of American homes still have leaded water pipes, while even more still have leaded paint dust. 

Aluminum toxicity also raises awareness of risk to Alzheimer’s dementia.  A 1980 autopsy study showed Alzheimer’s brains had significantly more neurotoxic aluminum than controls (their brains have more mercury too, as well as herpes viruses).  CDC reports that 1/3 of U.S. cities still use aluminum to purify tap water and those cities have more Alzheimer’s disease.

Without the antioxidant, immune boosting and cleansing affects of iodine, the body can develop intestinal yeast overgrowth and leaky gut syndrome easily (especially when beneficial bacteria levels have been compromised due to stresses like weak breakfast or lack of sleep, steroids, non-steroids, acid-blockers or antibiotics, chemotherapy or radiation).  Loss of cellular immunity and upregulated humoral immunity (with its hypersensitivities and allergies) is the basic auto-immune imbalance which causes many symptoms and serious autoimmune diseases. 

Modern physicians treat symptoms, but the underlying cause, dysbiosis with yeast overgrowth, leaky gut syndrome and iodine deficiency is generally ignored.  In fact, these physiological concepts are not part of medical school conventional curriculum.  When using oral therapeutic iodine or iodide, regularly take beneficial bacteria supplements to replenish friendly gut flora that is killed along with the pathogens. (Painting iodine on the skin does not directly affect gut flora.)

Iodine is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormone (four iodines oxidized from iodide added to tyrosine).  But selenium-dependent enzymes (iodothyronine deiodinases) are also required for the systemic conversion of the less active thyroxin (T4) from multiple local storage depots, to the biologically most active thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine (T3).  Selenium is the primary mineral responsible for T4 to T3 (thyroid hormones) conversion in the liver.  

Supplemental selenium at 200mcg per day becomes absolutely essential in the age of mercury toxicity for it is the perfect antidote to mercury exposure (400-800mcg if you have male pattern baldness, four or more mercury amalgams or enjoy lots of sushi).   Add 15-60mg zinc and enough magnesium (100-800mg), perhaps magnesium taurate, titrated to maintain optimal regularity of bowel function, along with or as part of your daily multi-mineral supplementation.

Iodine is utilized by every hormone receptor in the body.  The absence of iodine causes a hormonal dysfunction with practically every hormone.  Iodine's ability to revive hormone receptors seems to significantly improve insulin sensitivity.  Adequate tissue iodine helps guide proliferative estrogens into friendly pathways.  Iodine helps to metabolize estrone (a mildly carcinogenic human estrogen) and 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone (a much more aggressive metabolite of human estrogen) into milder beneficial estriol, an "anti-carcinogenic" or at worst "neutral" form of human estrogen.

 

The steroid and thyroid hormone receptor superfamily of regulatory proteins include dualistic receptors for thyroid hormone and retinoic acid, vitamin A, vitamin D or other fats and steroids.   Steroid/thyroid hormone receptors are ligand-dependent transcription factors that regulate diverse aspects of growth, development and homeostasis by binding as homodimers or heterodimers to their cognate DNA response elements to modulate gene transcription.  Co-activators and co-repressors act as accelerator and/or a brake that modulates transcriptional regulation of hormone-responsive targeted gene expression.

 

Medical doctors are taught that a ‘pharmacologic’ dose (30mg iodine) will generally shut down thyroid gland production for 10-14 days, and this is bad.  What this really means is that existing peripheral thyroid hormone stores can now begin to work effectively, lightening the load on an overworked gland, allowing it a rest.  This is good.

 

Current sclerosed thinking in conventional clinical medicine is that there are only two reasons to use iodine.  One rare indication is to pharmacologically reduce thyroid hormone production in the two weeks before surgical removal of an offending thyroid gland.  In reality, beta-blockers and steroids with their pleomorphic side-effects are usually used. 

 

The second iodine use (which physicians usually forget to do) is to rescue some thyroid glandular function after poisoning the thyroid (and other iodine absorptive glandular tissues) with radioactive iodine. (So the patient does not become a doctor’s annuity and need lifetime medical tests, supervision and prescriptions.). 

 

The terminally-ill corporate insurance-driven disease-management system (which has an incredible will to live) only pays for surgery or further poisoning people with pharmaceuticals.  Insurance will simply not pay to look for environmental causes for thyroiditis like iodine, zinc or selenium lack, pesticide or heavy metal excess and/or auto-immune destruction from virus expression due to failed cellular immunity and glutathione exhaustion.

 

Dr. Eric Braverman reminds us that healing comes from within.  There are 21 bioidentical hormones and they have a significant impact on brain and body health.  Patented synthetic non bioidentical hormones have been a failure.  All growth is a form of controlled repair.  We are only as young as our oldest part.  Injured or aging individuals (anyone past 40) benefit from enhancing repair hormones. 

 

One’s endocrinology is in constant inherent rhythmic and environmentally responsive flux with steroid, thyroid, parathyroid and growth hormone levels constantly changing their proportional effects.  Medical comorbidities are common and they damage nerves and feed brain degeneration.  Medical comorbidities worsen brain function and vice versa.  Healing comes from the brain, since it is connected to everything.

Pregnenolone is parent to many steroid hormones.  Many factors determine how much pregnenolone is used as pregnenolone, or converted to DHEA and used as DHEA, or converted to progesterone and used as progesterone.  DHEA or progesterone is then converted into one or more other hormones (cortisol, testosterone or estrogens).  Pregnenolone is the super hormone of our brain. 

The brain and adrenal cortex produce pregnenolone and levels diminish as we age.  By age 75 we produce about 40% of youthful levels.  Both men and women past 40 generally benefit from taking two 25mg tablets daily, one AM and another PM (often combined with 5-10 mg DHEA for females or 25mg DHEA for males).  Pregnenolone seems to generally be safe, non-toxic and without side effects when taken in 100mg doses per day or less.  Long-term pregnenolone supplementation is best guided by testing levels at least once per year (ideally every 6 months).

Pregnenolone is the most potent memory enhancer ever discovered.  Pregnenolone enhances mental performance, facilitates learning, helps us adapt to stress, increases our feeling of well being and actually makes us happier and more appreciative of life.  Pregnenolone improves concentration, prevents mental fatigue, increases productivity and improves psychomotor performance.  It even helps prevent depression.

Using either pregnenolone or progesterone in mice promoted myelin formation during nerve regeneration.  Pregnenolone keeps brain function at peak capacity.  Pregnenolone is present in common medicinal plants such as Angelica sinensis (Dong quai) and Oncidium (spray orchids).

Progesterone and pregnenolone tend to increase thyroid hormone effects because they promote the conversion of T4 to the more active T3.  Estrogen has the opposite effect on thyroid hormone conversion.  This may explain why so many women gain weight when estrogen replacement therapy or birth control pills are prescribed.

 Dong quai has been called the "female ginseng" and is excellent as an all purpose women's herb.  Chinese angelica possesses the distinction of being one of the few good non-animal sources of Vitamin B12 (along with specialty varieties of yeast and microalgae like spirulina).  

Dong quai increases the effect of ovarian/testicular hormones.  It has been used for centuries in China for regulating the menstrual cycle as well as easing menstrual pain and cramping.  It can be used to help women regain normal menstrual cycles after taking "the Pill."  It has proven helpful for relieving hot flashes and vaginal dryness during menopause.

Dong quai can be used for insomnia and blood pressure stability for both men and women. (The affect on blood pressure can be an overall lowering although sometimes it may rise slightly first, followed by a decline).  It can reduce PMS and may help anemia, suppressed menstrual flow, uterine bleeding, and abdominal pain after childbirth, dry intestines, chronic pelvic disorders as well as constipation and headaches due to blood deficiency. 

Dong quai helps the liver utilize more oxygen and therefore can be useful in treating hepatitis and cirrhosis.  It may also help with abnormal protein metabolism.  Dong quai helps dilate peripheral blood vessels, increase circulation and has been used as a mild laxative.  It is not to be used during pregnancy due to possible hormonal, anticoagulant and anti-platelet properties.

Sympodials are orchids with creeping ground stem or rhizome which sends out shoot which eventually develops into stem and leaves. This new growth produces its own roots and leaves at maturity.  After flowering, another shoot is formed at the base of the proceeding growth to repeat the cycle. The stem is sometimes thickened and fleshy, forming pseudobulbs.  Cattleyas, Dendrobium, Oncidium, Coelogyne, Bulbophyllum, are examples of orchid genera with sympodial growth habit.

In traditional Asian medicine, the Gold Orchid (Dendrobium chrysotoxum) tea is used to strengthen Yin for a balanced Yin and Yang, for supporting feminine characteristics of harmony and reproductivity.  The "Gold Tea" contributes to happy moods and a sound sleep undisturbed by dreams.  When drinking the tea of the flowers of this Gold Orchid, the effects on the more caring, harmonious, and restoring nature (Yin) can be felt immediately.  

This excellent drink with an orchid aroma is the most effective among the Yin tonifying plants; it aids the immune system and speeds recovery from mental and physical fatigue.  The stems of the Gold Orchid are also used in Chinese Medicine.  They contain active polysaccharides with a proven effect on the immune system and for treating diabetes.

Orchid is both a flower and herb of love and fertility that carries an aphrodisiac quality.  The tuber may be dried whole and carved into an amulet or talisman to represent love and romance. The powdered root is considered by many as an aphrodisiac, capable of increasing sexual and amorous potency.  Some still place orchid root in food or drink to enhance fertility and eagerness before sexual intercourse.

Ingestion of orchid bulb (Orchis anatolica) by mice induced a significant increase in the following parameters: (i) testes and seminal vesicle weights; (ii) number of different testicular germ cell population including interstitial Leydig cells and fibroblasts; and (iii) testicular cell linage dynamics obtained from testes and cauda epidydimides.

Ingestion of the orchid diet by male mice increased their fertility.  (This was indicated by an elevation in the number of impregnated females when allowed to mate with treated mice, an increase in the impregnation sites, and an increase in the number of viable fetuses and the offspring's male/female ratio.)  A slight significant increase in the testosterone and follicular stimulating hormone titers in the treated mice were found in their blood serum.  In contrast, a decrease in the number of degenerating cells was observed.

Pregnenolone can be an alternative therapy for estrogen replacement, menstrual problems, lupus, PMS, post-natal depression, menopause, rheumatism, arthritis, seizures, mood disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, clinical depression, diabetes, MS, immune enhancement, insomnia and sleep disorders, tumor inhibition, fibromyalgia, nerve injuries and anxiety.  

 Pregnenolone has very synergistic effects when taken with DHEA and melatonin.  Appetite is significantly decreased and cravings for alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, mind altering drugs and even chocolate are usually diminished as well.  Sense of well being is increased and cravings are decreased or eliminated.

Symptoms of iodine deficiency include enlarged thyroid, muscle pain or cramps, cold hands and feet, proneness to weight gain, apathy, fuzzy thinking, poor memory, constipation, depression and headaches, puffiness and edema, weakness, poor hair, thinning eyebrows, dry skin and brittle nails.  Iodine plays a critical role in the lymph system and in the lymph glands.  

Swollen sub maxillary glands known as waxen kernels to our grandparents, will soften and regress within minutes after allowing iodized lime to dissolve in the mouth.  The brown iodide of lime is a loose combination of iodine and calcium oxide, and sets nascent iodine free when taken into the stomach.  Given in doses of 1/4 to I gr.

Painting iodine on one’s wrist gets rid of sore throat every time!  Iodine definitely works.  Some prefer to use white or clear "decolorized" potassium iodide, available at most drugstores.   Paint it on the inside of the wrists (where the veins are closest to the skin) and on the sides of the throat.  It was used on a 3-year old, and the next day he was 100% better.

Iodine, used as a douche, may reduce vaginal inflammation as well as the itching and discharge that go along with vaginitis.  Povidone-iodine has the advantage of iodine tincture without the disadvantages of stinging and staining.  Douche for vaginitis: generally two tablespoons of an iodine solution to one quart of warm water once per day.

Delivering medicine through the skin is sometimes a desirable alternative to taking it by mouth, since it will not upset gut flora.  Patients often forget to take their medicine, and even the most faithfully compliant get tired of swallowing pills.  Skin application of iodine is effective (even if not especially efficient) and a practical way for supplementation of iodine with an expected bioavailability of 6-12% of the total iodine applied to skin.  Iodine put onto scabs helps to organize total repair of skin tissue.

All pre-malignant lesions and many other oddities of the skin appear to respond to the regeneration process triggered by topical iodine.  A water solution of iodine (like Lugol's) is an important therapeutic agent for skin.  Because of its effectiveness and the results, perhaps many skin diseases are related to local tissue areas of relative iodine deficiency.  In addition, iodine's ability to trigger programmed cell death (apoptosis) in defective cells makes it effective against all pre-cancerous skin lesions and very likely, many cancerous lesions.

To do the iodine-loading test, a patient first empties his bladder and then swallows 50 mg of iodine/iodide.  The patient then collects all urine for the next 24 hours.  A small sample of it (along with a note that includes total volume of urine collected) is sent to the laboratory.  If the person excretes 90% or 45 mg of the iodine, that is considered iodine sufficiency.  If less is excreted, the patient is not optimally sufficient or is iodine insufficient and a therapeutic dosage of iodine may be administered for a period of time, after which the test is repeated.

Dr. Brownstein has found in using this test, that more than 90% of his Michigan patients are iodine insufficient.  Once a person is iodine sufficient, the maintenance dose for an adult to maintain sufficiency is about 12.5 mg of iodine/iodide daily.  Their treatment dose (when a person is iodine insufficient) is generally 12.5- 50 mg daily.  Dr. David Brownstein’s book is Iodine: Why You Need It; Why You Can’t Live Without It.  Dr. Guy Abraham’s research papers relating to the Iodine Project may be viewed and downloaded free from the Internet by accessing www.optimox.com and clicking ‘Iodine Research.’

Dr. Alan Gaby noted that positive results observed in Michigan might not be reproducible in other areas.  Drs. Abraham and Brownstein noted that part of the beneficial effect of iodine is due to enhanced removal of bromine from the body.  The Midwest is a glaciated area with historic iodine lack in the soils creating endemic goiter.  In 1973-4, several thousand Michigan dairy farms were contaminated by polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) from an industrial accident.  This bromine-containing pollutant is known to persist in the body for long periods of time.

Five years after the accident, 97% of fat samples taken from Michigan residents had detectable levels of PBBs; and 96% of breast milk samples from women in densely populated areas of the state contained this chemical up to three years after the accident.   Because of its exceptionally long half-life, it is a reasonable assumption that many Michigan residents still have a body burden of PBBs.  As thyroid dysfunction is known to occur in people exposed to PBBs, it is likely that some beneficial thyroid effects attributed to iodine therapy were also due to a reduction of body burden of PBBs. (Sounds like an excellent bonus to me!)

If a person is iodine insufficient, it typically takes about 3 months to become iodine sufficient with daily dosage of 50 mg of iodine and a year to become iodine sufficient while ingesting a dosage of 12.5 mg of iodine daily.  Close monitoring is suggested, with awareness of possible side effects and early detoxification reactions, primarily rashes, fatigue and irritability.

Although urine loading challenge tests are superior, we often use the survival of a ‘silver dollar sized’ skin tattoo of Lugol’s solution as an indicator of sufficiency.  If the brown stain disappears in hours, the body is very hungry for iodine.  A still visible brown smudge 24 hours later suggests sufficiency.  The remaining iodine on the skin following evaporation of 88% of the total iodine, approximately 12%, is at the disposal of the body, and absorbs through the skin.  The bioavailability of the remaining 12% iodine staining the skin is relatively gradual.

Lugol's has historically often also been used in the treatment of gout.  Painting the soles of the feet with Lugol's before retiring for the night (use your red sheets) allowed the body to absorb what it needed from its soles.  If, upon waking, the Lugol's was gone it meant that the body had taken what it needed and needed more.  Painting was done on a nightly basis and as treatment progressed, the need for the solution diminished because the body rebuilt its stores and thus absorbed less and less over each 24 hour period until none was absorbed at all.

Sometimes, one wants to consider the large amount lost by evaporation.  The evaporation of iodine from the skin increases with increased ambient temperatures and decreased atmospheric pressure due to weather conditions and altitude.  For example, the yellow-brown color of iodine will disappear much faster in Denver, Colorado at 5,000 feet above sea level then Los Angeles, California at sea level, regardless of the amount of bioavailability of iodine.  For this reason Dr. Simoncini directs skin cancer patients to paint iodine on lesions up to twenty times per day.

Oncologist Dr. Tullio Simoncini states, “Every tumor of the skin can be completely removed with Iodine Tincture 7%, brushed many times (10-20) per day.  When the crust is formed, do not take it away, but treat the area continuously and wait until it falls without any other intervention (otherwise the fungus might spread) except the Iodine tincture.  When the crust falls down the third time, the patient is healed.” 

Essential iodine was removed from breads, starting in 1960 and was replaced with its toxic non-essential substitute, bromide by the mid 1970s.  Before then, the average American got about 1mg of iodine daily through breads and vegetables.  Now hardly anybody eats enough iodine daily unless seaweed is a large part of the diet.

To counter the effects of iodine lack and competition from fluorine, bromine and chlorine, Dr. Jarvis recommended: (1) Eating foods rich in iodine: food from the ocean as well as vegetables grown on iodine-rich soil: radishes, asparagus, carrots, tomatoes, spinach, rhubarb, potatoes, peas, strawberries, mushrooms, lettuce, bananas, cabbage, egg yolk and onions. (2) Painting a small area of the body with tincture of iodine. (3) Taking preparations known to be rich in iodine, including cod liver oil and kelp tablets.

Jarvis was particularly keen on the power of Lugol's iodine, for treating various illnesses, including colds and flu, and for countering effects of stress: "Supposing you find that some weeks the pressures of life are causing you to lose the ability to bounce back. Then, add a drop of Lugol's solution of iodine to your breakfast glass of apple or grape juice or you may take it in the mixture of apple cider vinegar and water.

The potassium in the solution (in Lugol’s and SSKI) blocks off the body mechanism that organizes for aggressive action, releasing its hold on the body when opportunity for rest and relaxation arises.  The iodine swings into action the body and the building up and storing of body reserves.  When working under pressure, include the Lugol's solution dose each day until the period of pressure passes.  If it should happen that the body becomes saturated with iodine, one will find an increase in nasal moisture.  If this occurs, omit iodine until the nose is normal."

As usual, benefits or symptoms follow a parabolic dose-response curve.  The number one reason to suspect iodine need is excess mucus.  Iodine exhibits excellent activity against bacteria, molds, yeasts, protozoa and many viruses.  Of all antiseptic preparations suitable for direct use on humans and animals and upon tissues, only iodine is capable of killing all classes of pathogens (gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, mycobacterium, fungi, yeasts, viruses and protozoa.  Most bacteria are killed within 15- 30 seconds of contact.  

Water-soluble iodide is less irritating than iodine tincture (a solution in alcohol) when applied to open wounds.  There does not seem to be a medical drug with equal effectiveness.  Therefore health authorities in most or all developed countries are presently trying to make it unavailable for natural therapists and self-healing under the pretext that it might be used to produce illegal drugs.  It is now difficult to obtain and deceptive methods are being used by pharmacists (under coercion from corporate-motivated central health authorities).

Treatment of burns with topical povidone-iodine ointment significantly improved oxidative stress parameters, indicating its antioxidant effect.  Treatment with topical povidone-iodine ointment alone or in combination with systemic vitamin E and vitamin C significantly improves outcome of thermally injured patients in a safe way.

“Medical textbooks contain several vital pieces of misinformation about the essential element iodine, which may have caused more human misery and death than both world wars combined,” said Dr. Guy Abraham.  In case of nuclear bomb fallout or atomic power-plant accident, iodine deficiency will result in increased radioactive iodine trapping by the thyroid. 

Iodine deficient individuals of all ages are more susceptible to radiation-induced thyroid cancer.  Saturating the body with iodine is primary protection against radiation poisoning.  In the US, regular Lugol's solution with 10% total iodine (from 10% potassium iodide and 5% iodine in water) is now outlawed over the counter.

When ordinary, non-radioactive iodine is made available for absorption by the thyroid gland before any radioactive iodine is made available, the gland will absorb and retain so much that it becomes saturated with non-radioactive iodine.  When saturated, the thyroid can absorb only about l% as much additional iodine, including radioactive forms that later may become environmentally available.  It is then it is said to be blocked. (Kidneys rapidly excrete excess iodine from the blood.)

It takes 20-40 times the amount of iodine needed to control breast cancer and fibrocystic disease than it does to prevent outright goiter.   The required daily amount (RDA) of iodine is just enough to keep most of our thyroids from expanding, like the silly RDA of vitamin C today which is just enough to keep us mostly free of scurvy, but not near enough to provide optimal function or prevent pre scurvy inflammatory syndromes (that require aspirin and other patent drugs) or cardiovascular disease.

 “We placed am 83-year-old woman on ‘ortho-iodo’ supplementation for six months at 50 mgs of elemental iodine daily.  She experienced a tremendous increase in energy, endurance, well being and memory.  At six months all her skin peeled off and was replaced by new, younger-looking skin.  She was flabbergasted and amazed at her new appearance.  In our experience older women (especially over 65) notice a major difference both physically and mentally,” wrote Dr. Guy Abraham (an endocrinologist who today is leading the movement back to the use of iodine as an essential safe and effective medicine).

Kelp may be preferable as a long-term food supplement for thyroid function along with some skin painting, and Lugol's solution as a 3 week therapy course of 4 x daily, 6-8 drops for excess mucus or infection, and long-term several drops for fungal and mold control (for someone chronically susceptible to yeast or Candida, or when living in a moldy environment, like south Florida).

For chronic bronchitis and or emphysema, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or an ordinary cold, SSKI is a valuable tool.  SSKI "gets into" all body secretions, including often thick and hard to cough up bronchial secretions, which get infected very easily.  SSKI takes care of both of these problems

For bladder Infections, try 1-2 drops of Lugol's in a glass of water, four times daily.  Since iodide excretion generally exits the kidney in four hours, for a severe bladder infection give it every four hours.  Some of the worst bladder infections respond to this method.  Lugol's works better than antibiotics, and unlike antibiotics, the infection is not so nearly likely to return.  Dr. Jonathaan Wright notes, “Although SSKI is close to 100% effective in elimination of bladder infections, this is a "high dose."  If possible, it is better to use the simple sugar D-mannose (or other alcohol sugar like xylitol) to eliminate bladder infections.  D-mannose is effective over 90% of the time, and is very, very safe.”

 

Richard Kunin, M.D. of San Francisco found that hemorrhoids will sometimes disappear literally overnight, when SSKI (20 drops) mixed with flaxseed oil (1 ounce) is rubbed in them at bedtime. He's also found that SSKI alone will do the same job, although it "really stings" when applied to a hemorrhoid by itself.

 

Dr Hulda Clark (The Cure for All Diseases) says: “Lugol's Iodine solution is old-fashioned ‘iodine.’  Iodine has a distinctive trait: it hangs up on anything and everything.  In fact, it attaches itself so quickly we consider everything it touches as ‘stained.’   This is just the property we want that makes it safe for use.  The amount you use is immediately hung up, or attached, to your mucous and cannot be quickly absorbed into the blood or other organs.  It stays in the stomach.  And for this reason it is so useful for killing vicious bacteria like Salmonella. “

“Six drops of Lugol's solution can end it all for Salmonella.  If you have gas and bloating, pour yourself 1/2 glass of water.  Add 6 drops of Lugol's (not more, not less), stir with wood or plastic, and drink all at once.  The action is noticeable in an hour.  Take this dose 4 times a day, after meals and at bedtime, for 3 days in a row, then as needed.” 

“Notice how calming 6 drops of Lugol's can be, soothing a manic stage and bringing a peaceful state where anxiety ruled before.  Lugol's is perfectly safe (if not allergic) to take day after day, when needed, because of its peculiar attaching property.  It arrives in the stomach, reattaches to everything in proximity.  Doomed are all salmonellas; doomed also are eggs of parasites that might be in the stomach (cysts).”

Erring on the side of conventional medicine’s fear-based caution, she says “Naturally, one would not leave such medicine within the reach of children.  Also, one would not use anything medicinal, including Lugol's unless there was a need, like infection, cancer, AIDS or bowel disease.  When the gas and bloating problem has stopped, quit using Lugol's.  If one or two doses of Lugol's cures the problem, stop.  Store it in a perfectly secure place.”  Then she notes, “In the past, 2/3 of a teaspoon (60 drops) of Lugol's was the standard dose of iodine given to persons with thyroid disease.  Six drops is small by comparison.”

In Lyme disease: A Look Beyond Antibiotics, Dietrich K. Klinghardt, MD, PhD says, “Amazingly, the most depleted minerals in our Lyme patients are often copper, magnesium, manganese (in Lyme) and iron (in Babesiosis).  Oxidized used-up iron and copper get displaced into the extracellular compartment and body fluids and appears in the hair and skin, as the body’s most efficient way of excreting toxins without hurting the kidneys.

Oxidized metals do pose a danger and must be reduced or eliminated.  But, when copper and iron are needed and supplemented appropriately, major improvements are observed.  Appropriate antioxidant treatment reduces these metals.  Initially selenium should be given in high doses (400-800mcg daily) to suppress viral replication and lock up bioavailable mercury.   

However, the most critical element in the Lyme (infected) patient is iodine.  Deter’s version of the ‘silver dollar’ tattoo is a two-inch square of Lugol’s iodine painted on the patient’s skin which should remain visible for 24 hours. (Try a cupid’s heart next time.)  The sooner it is absorbed, the more deficient the patient. “Filling up the body’s mineral reserves has always been most essential in our heavy metal detoxification program and also most essential in Lyme treatment.”

Iodine and iodide chemically make oils, fats, and waxes (cholesterol is actually a wax) more soluble in water.  This known action of iodide might explain why it often helps in patients with lipomas (fatty tumors) or yellow sebaceous cysts, especially if they eat a better breakfast.

Sialoliths (parotid duct stones) can form in the saliva-carrying duct(s) inside the cheeks draining the major salivary glands ("parotid" glands are ‘chipmunk’ glands located at side of the jaw).  Try 3-4 drops of SSKI in water daily (will almost always dissolve parotid duct stones in 4-8 months).

 

Prophylaxis along with 3 applications of 2% I2-KI solution reduced decay-causing mutans streptococci levels in tooth fissures (4 wks) and proximal-surface plaques and saliva (20-24 weeks).   Children treated with 10% povidone iodine while undergoing restorative procedures had markedly reduced pathogenic mutans streptococci & lactobacilli to 3 months.

 

Betadine (10% povidone-iodine in water) works extremely well at clearing up and preventing pimples.  It is especially helpful on, popped or broken ones, helping them clear up much faster than usual.  With cystic acne, if a spot is drenched with betadine, apoptosis is enhanced and in the morning it will have come to a head (a process which usually take a lot longer).  It even helps with red spots.  Dab it on problem areas at night when the staining of the skin will not be an issue (disappearing stain defines inadequate iodine stores).

 

Keloids are abnormally thick scars, sometimes as much as an inch thick that can form after injury.  Although anyone can get a keloid, they are more common among blacks.  Rubbing SSKI into a keloid at least twice daily will ultimately flatten them down to a "normal scar", but it can take many months to a year for particularly bad ones.  The treatment goes faster if SSKI is mixed "50-50" with DMSO.

Continued Lugol’s solution is also indicated to prevent acne (although it rarely has a paradoxical effect), liver or kidney cysts as well as fibrocystic disease in breasts, ovaries and uterus, and with diabetes, cancer and autoimmune diseases.  When supplementing high-dose iodine over longer time periods, look for signs of over-active thyroid: anxiety, insomnia, rapid weight loss, diarrhea, high pulse rate, high blood pressure, eye sensitivity or bulging eye and vision difficulty.

Tear fluid contains antioxidative protective mechanisms, which can be weakened by free radicals, arising from influence of ozone, UV light, smog or smoking.  Antioxidant status can be positively influenced by the supply of the oxygen radical scavenger iodide. 

 

Iodide protects hyaluronate, a component of tear fluid and tissues of the anterior part of the eye, against UVB light-induced degradation.  Injury of human conjunctival cells can be prevented by incubation with iodide before UVB irradiation.  German therapists at the spa Bad Hall used iodine brine sprays often with iontophoresis for improvement of dry eye, visual acuity, color perception and contrast sensitivity as well as for delaying cataract development. 

Over the counter, the highest total amount of iodine allowed is 2.2%.  In the U.S. you can still buy Iodoral tablets with the same iodine content as 2 drops of Lugol's solution, or 13 mg per standard tablet, even 50 mg tablets are available. 

When buying Lugol's solution, always compare stated iodine values on the bottle with standard or regular Lugol's solution.  This has a total iodine concentration of 10% from 10g of potassium iodide and 5g of elemental iodine per 100 ml, and nominal 6.5 mg of iodine per drop.  Sixty million mainland Japanese consume a daily average of 13.8 mg of elemental iodine, and they are one of the healthiest nations based on overall well being and cancer statistics.

The dosage of about 12.5 mg of iodine daily can be obtained with 2 drops of Lugol’s solution in water or as an identical over-the-counter solution (or 20-30 drops on the skin).  This same dosage is also available over-the-counter in tablet or capsule.  Each capsule or tablet or 2 drops of the Lugol’s solution contains 5 mg of the reduced elemental form of iodine (preferred by the breast, ovary and prostate) and 7.5 mg in the antioxidant iodide form (preferred by the thyroid gland).  Most patients improve many symptoms with optimal supplementation of iodine.

A retired Indian physician used SSKI during more than 30 years traveling from village to village in rural Africa.  Most usually, the only drinking water available was from a local stream or river, muddy and contaminated.  After removing sediment and debris by straining the dirty water through cheesecloth, he would add several drops of SSKI, and wait two to three minutes since most bacteria are killed within 15-30 seconds of contact (official recommendation 15-60 minutes).   He and his team could then drink the water.  In over 30 years, he never got an infection from contaminated water.  The SSKI killed any micro-organisms present.

 

Preparation Disinfectant Iodine Amount/Liter

Iodine Topical Solution 2% 8 drops

Iodine Tincture 2% 8 drops

Lugol's Solution 5% 4 drops

Povidone-Iodine (Betadine®) 10% 4 drops

 

Final drinking concentrations are calculated at 8 mg iodine / liter.  Addition of a small amount of vitamin C (50 mg) to water after contact time with iodine will render the water nearly flavorless! 

 

We need fresh fruits and vegetables, but not insect excrement, chemicals and pathogenic bacteria that tag along.   Wash all pre-packaged fruits and vegetables, even if labeled ‘pre-washed’.  Gently rub fruits and vegetables under clean or iodine-disinfected running water.  Soaps, detergents, bleaches or other toxic cleaning chemicals leave their own residue on produce and are no better than clean water.

Natural Treatment of Thyroid Deficiency Syndrome: Are You Thyroid Deficient?  By Edward M Lichten, MD.

 1. Measure TSH, T3-free, T4-free, TBG, TPO, Reverse T3, on those with fatigue, cold hands/feet, weight gain and fibromyalgia.

2.  Measure cortisol and DHEA levels in saliva at 7 am, 11 am, 4 pm and 10pm for those having problems stabilizing thyroid replacement.

3. Measure serum cortisol, pregnenolone, progesterone, and DHEA-S in the AM.

4. Screen for iodine and selenium deficiency in hair analysis.

5. Replace thyroid slowly and immediately. Add cortisol in low doses if indicated by saliva test or clinical parameters.

6. Replace minerals, protein, iodine, pregnenolone and progesterone when appropriately noted on special urine, blood and clinical tests."

 Without all the following tests, one cannot determine if the cause of thyroid dysfunction is pituitary (aging) or thyroid , or related to autoantibodies or is mostly deficiencies of nutrients, minerals  and/or vitamins (tyrosine, iodine, selenium, zinc, calcium, magnesium or vitamin D).

·         TSH: Thyroid stimulating hormone: measures pituitary dysfunction.

·         T4 free: Measures availability of thyroxin, representing 75% of thyroid hormone.

·         T3 free: Measures availability of triiodothyronine: the active thyroid hormone.

·         TBG: Thyroid binding globulin: Elevated in states of sex hormone excess.

·         TPO: Thyroid peroxidase: indirect measure of iodine and selenium deficiencies.

·         Reverse T3: Levels elevated when stress or synthetic thyroid has triggered production of this blocking hormone deactivating necessary active T3 (triodothyronine).

·         Thyroid Antibodies: Present in Grave's disease.  Antibodies to TSH hormone or its receptor.

Nori - Sushi anyone? This may be the one seaweed you're familiar with because of its use in sushi rolls. Even though it's usually dark green, or black in color, Nori is the Japanese term for various edible seaweed species of red algae.

It is made by shredding sea vegetables and making them into what resembles sheets of paper. Japan, Korea, and China are the world's largest producers of nori, which grows very rapidly, and can be harvested within 45 days of its seeding.

Eat
toasted nori as a snack or by using it as a wrap for a range of delicious fillings like cultured vegetables, quinoa salad or various nut pâtés.

Kombu - Great for soup. Kombu is edible large seaweed that actually belongs to a family of brown algae.  Over 90 percent of it is cultivated and harvested in Japan.  It is used extensively in Japanese cooking, particularly for dashi, which is a soup stock used to make miso soup.

Add strips of kombu to flavor any soup, or even to flavor your
Body Ecology grain-like seeds by adding strips of kombu in the water and simmering for 30 minutes to release all the minerals.

Wakame - Future Fat Burner? Wakame is closely related to Kombu. In addition to many mentioned benefits, recently, researchers in Japan found a compound (fucoidan) in wakame that appears to show promise in the fight against obesity.

Studying a cell model for the genesis of fat cells in the human body, researchers found that fucoidan significantly inhibited adipogenesis (generation of new fat cells) by up to 40%.  Treating adipocytes with fucoidan also significantly decreased the expression of genes involved in genesis of fat cells.  Fucoidan decreased the expression of gene, PPARgamma, by up to 70% compared to controls.  Other genes known to trigger fat cell production, known as aP2 and ACC, were inhibited by 6% to 38%, depending on amounts of fucoidan used.

Fucoidan is a sulfated polysaccharide (MW: average 20,000) found mainly in various species of brown seaweed such as kombu, limu moui, bladderwrack, wakame, mozuku, and hijiki (variant forms of fucoidan have also been found in animal species, including the sea cucumber).  Substantial pharmaceutical research has been done on fucoidan, focusing primarily on two distinct forms: F-fucoidan, which is >95% composed of sulfated esters of fucose, and U-fucoidan, which is approximately 20% glucuronic acid.

F-fucoidan can induce apoptosis in human lymphoma cell lines; alsol, French researchers showed in 2002 that F-fucoidan can inhibit hyperplasia in rabbits.

 It is also one of the highest vegetarian sources of Omega-3 fatty acids based on its nutrient to calorie ratio.  With its beautiful green color and delicate flavor, wakame is great in soups and salads.

Hijiki - Natural Beauty Aid. This brown sea vegetable grows wild around the coasts of Japan, Korea and China and has been used abundantly for centuries.

Packed with fiber and minerals, according to Japanese folklore, hijiki is also a natural health and beauty aid. They attribute their lustrous, thick, dark hair to regular consumption of hijiki!

Hijiki must be soaked and chopped before you cook it, and takes much longer than other sea vegetables to prepare.  Just be sure to simmer it for at least 45 minutes to an hour until it's really tender.  Often times we like to chop it rather finely because to a newcomer it looks a little like black worms.  This sea veggie may not be the very first one you want to introduce to your pickiest eaters.  Not only is it quite black (we're not used to black food in the US, and it is also a bit salty and fishy.  

However, it's easy to change the taste.  Cook it with lots of sweet onions and carrots, plus some chopped red pepper.  Then add a large dollop of whole grain mustard and wheat free, low sodium tamari (from San-J) to taste.  Tamari is a fermented soy product.  

Another simple recipe: Sauté onions and carrots in unrefined coconut oil, add hijiki, cover with filtered water, and cook for 45 minutes to an hour.  One can even add small chunks of butternut squash to create a delicious stew.  When chilled, this makes a delicious topping for salads, or filling for nori wraps!

Dulse - Easy Snack. Dulse is grown on the northern Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and has been an important source of fiber in Iceland for centuries.   It is commonly eaten in Northern Ireland, and in Canada. In Iceland, the tradition is to dress it with butter, although it's delicious in soups, and as a salad topping too.

Dulce can be eaten right out of the package as a quick snack that's packed with protein and iron.  Carry it with you and eat it when you need some energy or brain food.  Purchase packages of dulse flakes and sprinkle it on salads and on the four Body Ecology grain-like seeds: millet, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat.
By the way, most people mispronounce dulse.  It rhymes with pulse.

Arame - The Sweet One. Arame is also a brown algae that is very popular in Japanese cuisine, and is known for it mild, almost sweet flavor. It's usually found in finely shredded strands that have a crispy texture.   If you're not used to eating seaweeds, arame can be a good place to start because of its mild, almost sweet flavor.

Soak arame until it softens. After that you can chop it and toss it into a salad without even cooking it. If you want to serve it as a delicious hot dish, it's great with sautéed sweet onions and carrots. (English peas are tasty with arame as well). This arame, onion and carrot dish can be chilled and added to a leafy green salad. We also love to serve it hot as a topping for your
Body Ecology grain-like seeds.

Agar-Agar (Kanten) transparent seaweed is most often used to create an extract called agar, which is used as a substitute for gelatin, an animal protein. Agar is widely used in the food industry as a stabilizing agent.  It is often added to fruit jellies, cream, flavored milk, ice cream and sherbets. Foods thickened with agar are firmer and melt less readily than those containing gelatin. Agar-agar is the Malay word for this seaweed, and its Japanese name is kanten.

Agar is derived from several species of red seaweed. Traditionally, agar is made by chopping dried seaweed, then boiling it in water along with an acid ingredient (diluted acetic or sulfuric acid). The hot liquid is filtered to remove any remaining pieces of seaweed, and then neutralized with an alkaline ingredient such as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). A jelly forms when temperature of the liquid falls below 104°F. To eliminate the aftertaste of seaweed and any remaining traces of color, the jelly is frozen, defrosted and dehydrated, either two or three times.

Agar is available as a powder, flakes, bars or strands. The best way to prepare agar depends on the form you’re using. Powders and flakes can be added directly to liquids, such as soups and broths. Strands and bars typically must first be soaked in water for 5–10 minutes, and then cooked.  When using bars of agar, break them into small pieces before cooking.

The amount of agar needed depends on the desired consistency of the final product, as well as on the nature of the substance to which the agar is added: the thicker or more acidic the liquid, the more agar required. It tends not to set with kiwi, pineapple, fresh figs, paw paws, papayas, mango and peaches, chocolate and spinach.  Generally, ¼-1/2 ounce of agar is required per quart of liquid (water, juice or stock). Agar melts when heated and forms a jelly as it cools. First soak and then boil it for 10 minutes in the liquid in which you intend to use it (soup or broth).

Agar Nutrient

 

Dried (100 g)

Protein

 

6 g

Fat

 

0.3 g

Carbohydrates

 

81 g

To replace one egg white, dissolve 1 tablespoon plain agar powder into 1 tablespoon water; then beat and chill for 15 minutes and beat again. Agar-agar is especially rich in iron. It is 8–10 times more efficient than gelatin; it adds far fewer calories to foods. Agar-agar lubricates the digestive tract and acts as a mild laxative and can provoke allergic reactions in some people.

Agar is perfect for sweet desserts! Agar is a vegetarian alternative to egg whites and gelatin.  Digestive heath is Body Ecology’s specialty; they promote recipes based around agar.  Agar is mostly used in sweet puddings and aspics and it's easy to work with. The Body Ecology Diet book has recipes for several savory dishes that use agar, like vanilla pudding, sweet carrot gelatin salad and jellied butternut squash.

Pomegranate and pear aspic

Break one bar into pieces and place in 3 cups of water or juice. Bring to a boil without a lid, stirring occasionally. Reduce the flame to low and simmer for 15 minutes until dissolved.  Add pomegranate juice and add thinly sliced pears, cook for 3 to 4 minutes until tender and pour into a mold.  Put aside to gel for 60 minutes or refrigerate to speed gelling.

Laminaria Japonica - Miracle Cleanser! If you prefer an easy, convenient way to include all the benefits of sea vegetables into your diet, try the Body Ecology Ocean Plant Extract.

Ocean Plant Extract is made from Laminaria Japonica, which is a common species of kelp that inhabits very cold waters in the northern hemisphere and temperate ones in the southern hemisphere. Laminaria Japonica nourishes your thyroid function balancing and has cardiovascular benefits. Laminarin polysaccharide is helpful in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It exhibits 30% of the anticoagulant activity of heparin.  But, it is especially known for its ability to detoxify the body of heavy metals and free radicals.

Sea vegetables are a boost if you are trying to restore your vitality and health, improve thyroid function or overcome mineral deficiencies created by years of eating unhealthy, toxin-laden, processed foods. Sea veggies are the oldest vegetables on our planet. They are the least untouched or altered by man. They are a must if you truly want to alkalize your body, nourish you thyroid and adrenals and even slow down aging.

MODIFILAN is a concentrated brown seaweed extract.  It is a patented natural food supplement which contains the life essential properties of fucoidan, organic iodine, alginates and laminarin, organic elements found to be very beneficial to health.  Modifilan may be the least expensive, most effective way to remove mercury from the body with the only side effects being a sense of well being.

Some folks try to remove mercury and other heavy metals by using things like DMSA DMPS, NAC (n-acetyl-cysteine) and or ALA (alpha-lipoic acid).  Many experience brain fog and other difficult side effects, while struggling with a difficult regimen.  Using things like DMSA, DMPS, NAC or ALA can cause mercury to come out of tissues, organs and glands into the blood stream, allowing redistribution.

If the mercury isn’t completely removed, the remainder of it gets reabsorbed and the body reacts antigenically as if a new source of mercury has been introduced to it. Bad side effects! Early in detoxification, some might feel toxic again during days off from taking Modifilan quenches negative side effects.  When heavy metals finally become low, no changes will be felt if one stops for a few days.  One wants to supplement on a regular basis because in studies it causes significant shrinking of lymph glands which had been enlarged, improved digestive systems and decreased incidence of bronchitis by 30%.

Both yeast and the Algea, Laminarina spp. contain the same immune-boosting soluble beta-glucan polysaccharide: (1-3), (1-6) D-glucan.

MODIFILAN was developed in Russia by a group of scientists who worked in the State Rehabilitation Institute, where victims of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe underwent treatment.  Healing qualities of seaweed have been known for centuries, so the Russian government instructed scientists to find an effective and powerful remedy for the radiation poisoning of that particular population.  After trying out various forms of algae, one type yielded the best scientific data for this purpose.  It was the brown seaweed known as Laminaria japonica, which grows wild in the northern Pacific Ocean off the coast of uninhabited islands far to the east of Russia, known as the Kurils.

 Laminaria has a high content of sodium alginates, which are enhanced by the extraction process used to produce MODIFILAN.  Alginates are the most effective organic elements that enable the human body to get rid of heavy metals and toxins.  Not all "algae" have alginates; blue or green algae do not.  MODIFILAN has about 50% of highest quality alginates.

Low-temperature processing of MODIFILAN causes a sloughing off of the heavy outer fibers of the seaweed, while retaining the essential properties of the plant.  This process further enhances its bioavailability, making the Laminaria more digestible.  Forty pounds of raw Laminaria are required to make one pound of MODIFILAN.  Eating 8 capsules of extract a day provides the same amount of good, organic micro- and macro-elements contained in entire plate of this nutrient-rich seaweed.

It is not cooked. The oldest Japanese recipes of preparing seaweed tell us to eat seaweed raw, rather than cooked.  Modern science affirms that an anti-cancer substance called Fucoidan, as well as beneficial polysaccharides, will break down if the seaweed is cooked. This was determined when studies were performed on the Japanese island of Okinawa, known for its lowest cancer death rate in Japan.

In Russia, according to the State Certificate of Recommendation, approved by Ministry of Health, brown seaweed extract is a leader in remedies for people who live in the areas polluted by radioactive elements.  Most effective in preventing the absorption of and promoting the excretion of radioactive elements: strontium and radioactive iodine.  It is recommended for all people and especially for people who are at high risk of developing thyroid cancer and other types of cancer.

It is a leader in remedies for people who live in areas polluted by heavy metals.  It is recommended to also take along with Modifilan vitamins and minerals rich in iron, calcium, copper and zinc.  It helps people who come in contact with toxins with immune-depressive properties (non- organic, non-metallic compounds; organic compounds).  People who have chronic non-infectious diseases, especially heart diseases (abnormal lipid levels) will be helped.  Modifilan might be used alone or in combination with other detoxifying remedies depending on the level of chemical or radioactive pollution.  Suggested dosage for children is up to 1.25 grams per day; for adults, up to 5 grams per day for 2 months.

Papaya (Carica papaya) is cultivated mainly to supply ripe, tasty fruits (used at breakfast), in jellies, preserves and refreshing drinks; while the young leaves, shoots and fruit can be cooked as a vegetable.  Green papaya is used in Thai cuisine, both raw and cooked.  Papaya contains papain, which has milk-clotting (rennet) and protein-digesting properties (papaya leaves wrapped around meat will soften and tenderize it).  Papaya can be eaten for its digestive and heart health properties.  In Java, even the flowers are eaten.

Externally, it is used in anti-aging products and both skin and pulp are valuable as healing agents.  The softening qualities of papain are taken advantage of in the treatment of warts, corns, sinuses, and chronic forms of scaly eczema, cutaneous tubercles, as well as other hardness of the skin, produced by irritation.  Papain also is used to treat arthritis.  Papain is used in many products including some dentifrices, shampoos and face-lifting preparations.

Papaya contains much cancer fighting lycopene.  Isothiocyanates found in papaya restore the cell cycle to eliminate cancer by apoptosis and are effective against hormone related cancers.  Isothiocyanates are capable of inhibiting the formation, development and metastasis of cancer cells via multiple pathways and mechanisms. 

Proteolytic enzymes are able to digest and destroy the defense shields of viruses, tumors, allergens, yeasts, and various forms of fungus. Once the shield is destroyed, tumors and invading organisms are extremely vulnerable and easily taken care of by the immune system.  Of avocado, black sapote, guava, mango, prickly pear cactus (nopal), pineapple, grapes, tomato and papaya, only papaya had a significant direct effect on stopping breast cancer cell growth.

After a course of antibiotic therapy, papaya juice will rapidly return the intestinal bacteria to normal.  It is especially rich in Vitamin C and E as well as carotene.  More unusual, but very valuable is its high arginine, papain and carpain contents. Arginine promotes immunity and male fertility, while papain is a proteolytic enzyme, similar to pepsin (pancreatic enzyme that helps digest protein).  

This proteinaceous enzyme is not damaged by heat.  Papain breaks down protein, making it valuable as a meat tenderizer.  Carpain is an enzyme beneficial for the heart.  Papaya also contains fibrin, a rarity in the plant world. Fibrin is essential to our blood clotting.

Papaya lowers risk to diabetic heart disease.  It is high in fiber, which helps to modulate blood sugars and insulin response as well as to lower stress-induced cholesterol.  Leaf and seed are used as a dewormer.  The fiber contained in papaya can bind cancer causing toxins, preventing them from binding to colon cells.  For folks with a family history of colon cancer, papaya may be an important dietary addition.  The papain in papaya relieves acute prostate inflammation and may help in cases of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).  Russian studies found that papain treatment reversed rectal lesions induced by extreme prostate enlargement in 97% of men.

The black seeds are edible and have a sharp, spicy taste.  They are sometimes ground up and used as a substitute for black pepper.  Fruit and seed extracts have pronounced bactericidal activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Escherischia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Shigella flexneri. 

Crushed papaya seeds can be added to minced meat for koftas (spicy meatballs) or to a marinade for meat. Some of the pounded flesh of the fruit can also be added. When cooked, the meat will be tender with and interesting, peppery flavor.  Crushed papaya seeds can be added to salad dressings or sauces to serve with fish. They also add texture and flavor to a fruit salad. The fresh fruit can be served in slim wedges with seeds still intact.

The green (unripe) papaya is rich in digestive enzymes papain and chymopapain. The alkaloid carpain also found in green papayas has antibacterial and amoebicidal properties. The latex sap inhibits the growth of Candida albicans during its exponential growth phase.

For biliousness, try ripe papaya fruit as a remedy.  Ripe papaya fruit is a useful remedy for many gastric troubles.  Eating them is especially helpful for weak or old folks who complain of upset stomach when they eat meat, chicken or eggs.  Papaya makes these foods easier to digest.  A combination of papaya and tomato juice is excellent to keep the digestive system normal and in order.  Papain breaks down wheat gluten, helpful for those with Celiac disease.

For treatment of poisonous snakebites, papaya sap helps to degrade the venomous protein in the blood, thus losing its deadly strength.  It is used topically to rid the pain of poisonous protein stings of insects or sea creatures.  When applied to heal wounds, it digests dead tissue without affecting the surrounding live tissue.  

In Jamaica, 75% of nurses at three local hospitals use green papaya to dress skin ulcers.  The gummy latex of the unripe papaya fruit is slowly dripped onto warts and corns, shriveling them, and they fall off.  The milky juice exuding from the wounds of the unripe papaya fruit applied topically removes and cures barber rash.  Juice from the leaves can be applied to open and offensive wounds, to cleanse and promote healing. In Cuba the latex is used for psoriasis, ringworm and the removal of cancerous growth.

A paste of the seeds is applied to skin diseases like ringworm.  To expel worms, the seed of papaya is juiced and taken on empty stomach with a spoonful of castor oil taken with hot water; or eat a whole leaf of papaya first thing in the morning before breakfast.  Eat lots of papaya regularly to treat liver problems.

The leaves and roots are used to make diuretic teas.  Leaves and roots of Carica papaya contain cyangenic glucosides which form cyanide. The leaves also contain tannins. Both of these compounds, at high concentrations, can cause adverse reactions. Also, inhaling papaya powder (high in the enzymes papain and chymopapain) can induce allergies.  The latex can also be irritating so some care is required.

Papain might cause abortions shortly after conception (apparently it dissolves protein(s) responsible for joining the newly-fertilized egg to the wall of the uterus). Women in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other parts of the world have long used green papaya as a folk remedy for contraception and abortion.  Research in animals supports the contraceptive and abortifacient capability of papaya.  Unripe papaya is especially effective in large amounts or high doses. Papaya is not teratogenic and will not cause miscarriage when ripened and eaten in smaller amounts.  

Papaya seeds have contraceptive effects in adult male langur monkeys, possibly in adult male humans as well.  In India, papaya seeds are chewed to freshen one’s breath.  Widely used as pessaries, seeds also serve as a medicine for flatulence and piles. Australian aboringines have a more romantic approach to the seeds, and consider them an aphrodisiac.

Phytochemicals in papaya may suppress the effects of progesterone. Papaya is said to have compounds that act as the female hormone, estrogen and has been used in folk medicine to promote milk production, facilitate childbirth and increase the female libido. In some parts of the world, it is used to induce menstruation.

In Suriname's traditional medicine: the boiled green leaves of papaya are used against malaria and as an anthelmintic, the seeds as a vermifuge and tea of the fallen leaves against hypertension.  Some facts from Dr. Sylvia Mitchell, email:smitchel@uwimona.edu.jm.

Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is a green leaf vegetable native to Europe.  It is also called common sorrel or spinach dock, and is actually considered less a vegetable and more an herb by some. In appearance sorrel greatly resembles spinach and in taste sorrel can range from comparable to the kiwifruit in young leaves, to a more acidic tasting older leaf.  As sorrel ages it tends to grow more acidic due to the presence of oxalic acid, which actually gets stronger and tastes more prominent.

Young sorrel may be harvested to use in salads, soups or stews.  If you are planning on using sorrel in salads, it is a good idea to stick with small tender leaves that have the fruitier and less acidic taste.  Young sorrel leaves are also excellent when lightly cooked, similar to the taste of cooked chard or spinach.  For soups and stews, older sorrel can be used because it adds tang and flavor to the dish.

Throughout the Caribbean you can find deep red sorrel (a roselle) which is not a close relative to European sorrel.  Unlike European sorrel, it is an annual plant instead of a perennial. It does have a similar acidic taste.  In the Caribbean, the calyx-covered fruits are brewed in water to make a refreshing, cranberry-colored tea.  They are also used in salads, jellies (such as Jamaica's famous rosella jam), sauces, soups, beverages, chutneys, pickles, tarts, puddings, syrups and wine.  Powdered dried red sorrel is added to commercial herb teas such as Red Zinger for flavor and color.

Its flower petals are funnel-shaped, typically pale yellow with deep red blotches at the base, and grow up to five inches wide.  They are edible too and have a citrus like flavor.   Harvest flowers quickly, as they only last a day.  Once the petals drop, the calyces enlarge and become crisp and juicy.

Along with the fruit, calyces, and flowers, the leaves of red sorrel are also edible.  They have rhubarb-like taste and are served in salads and curries.  Its seeds also may be eaten; they are best roasted or ground to make flour for baking.  In the Sudan, seeds are fermented into a meat substitute called "furundu."  Red sorrel has much nutritional value.  The calyces are high in calcium, niacin, riboflavin and iron.

It is best when served fresh. So why not cultivate a few specimens in your own vegetable or herb garden this year?  Roselle has enough ornamental interest to hold its own in an herbaceous border or cut-flower garden.  Its ruddy stems and seedpods make interesting additions to fresh or dried arrangements.

Red Sorrel Punch

Remove seeds from the fruit by cutting off the bases with a small, sharp knife and scraping the seeds out with a small spoon. Place the fruit in a large, clean jar or noncorrosive pot with the citrus peels, cloves, and ginger. Pour in boiling water. Cover the container with a tea towel, and let the mixture steep for 24 hours. Then strain it and sweeten to taste. Keep refrigerated.  Adults can add a jigger of rum to their servings; be sure to use clear rum so as not to affect the brilliant color of the beverage.  Remember that brown rum is filled with caramelized sugar molecules (AGEs) that create stress messaging, and that equivalent white rum is less likely to create hangover.

 Sorrel leaf may be a little challenging to find in your local grocery store, and shipping it may also be problematic.  It will only keep for about three days in the refrigerator.  The best place to look for sorrel is in specialty food stores, where it may be available fresh, or in pureed or canned varieties.  For sorrel fans, fresh sorrel is most preferable, though the pureed version may add a nice flavor to creamy soups.

It can be challenging to grow sorrel in an organic fashion, often the preferred method with natural food stores, because numerous pests enjoy pot sorrel.  Several species of moth larvae enjoy snacking on sorrel, and if you happen to live near hare, deer, or rabbit populations, you may also find that your sorrel supply diminishes as quickly as it grows.

From a nutritional standpoint, sorrel can be an excellent food for many. It has high levels of vitamins A and C, with moderate levels of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.  Like rhubarb, there is oxalic acid in sorrel.  Oxalic acid is not good for everyone.  Oxalic acid may aggravate conditions of people with rheumatism, kidney or bladder stones.  If you love sorrel when you first try it, learn to love it in small doses at the beginning.  It has natural laxative properties which might be beneficial or that may make consuming too much sorrel a tummy trial.

Water spinach or swamp cabbage (Ipomoea aquatic) is a semi-aquatic tropical plant grown as a leaf vegetable. It is most commonly grown in East and Southeast Asia.  It flourishes naturally in waterways and does not require much if any care.  It is used extensively in Malay and Chinese cuisine.

 

It has also been introduced to USA where its high growth rate caused it to become an environmental problem, especially in Florida and Texas.  It has been officially designated by the USDA as a "noxious weed."  Despite this ominous label, the plant is not in any way harmful when eaten.  In fact, the plant is similar to spinach in its nutritional benefits.

 

Water spinach is a common ingredient in Southeast Asian dishes. In Singapore, Indonesia and Penang, the leaves are usually stir fried with chile pepper, garlic, ginger, dried shrimp paste (from fermented ground shrimp) and other spices.  In Penang and Ipoh, it is cooked with cuttlefish and a sweet and spicy sauce.  During the Japanese Occupation of Singapore in World War II, the vegetable grew remarkably well and easily in many areas, and become a popular wartime crop.  It can be eaten raw with Lao green papaya salad.  Its stems are julienned into thin strips and eaten with many kinds of noodles, and used as a garnish as well.

 

A study of 1 million students in New York showed that students who ate lunches that did not include artificial flavors, preservatives, and dyes did 14% better on IQ tests than students who ate lunches with these additives.