Our Bodies Are Pharmacies
September 2, 2015 / Posted by Dr. Virender Sodhi, NMD, MD (Ayurved) and Dr. Anup Mulakaluri, NMD, AWC
All living species, including humans, are equipped with full-spectrum pharmacies and we make medicine naturally on demand.
According to scientists, humans or Homo sapiens appeared on the Earth around 200,000 years ago. Although we have made strides in science and technology, there have been very few changes or evolutions in our physical bodies. Nature sculpted the human body and brain into its modern form.
Using nature’s platform, humans have made advances in the realm of consciousness and innovation that are unmatched by other animals on the planet. Such advances sometimes make us forget that we are still part and parcel of Mother Nature; that the human body is still as wild as it was since the beginning of existence.
Human bodies are close-knit ecosystems. Our bodies have around 60 to 100 trillion cells and 600 to 1,000 trillion bacteria. Genomic studies reveal that 90% of our genome is borrowed from bacteria. Now, go and figure out who owns the body: you or your bacteria?
The latest advances in science are illusionary and we believe we can conquer diseases. Scientists and drug manufacturers have developed arsenals of drugs like antibiotics, statins, special targeted drugs like TNF-alpha blockers, anti-diabetic drugs, targeted drugs for cancer and many more.
However, we are quickly humbled when faced with diseases and the emotional hardships of life.
In spite of these latest drugs, heart disease is still the number one killer. Cancer is the next most common killer and predicted to become number one by 2030. And the most disturbing fact is that hospital errors and pharmaceutical drugs are the third leading cause of death.
We forget that our bodies are fully equipped pharmacies and we heal. When we get a cut on our skin, healing is very obvious. Every cell and organ in the body has a similar healing capacity.
You may wonder, “Then why do we suffer with chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis or more?” First of all, we are taught to believe that we must take drugs to fix symptoms; secondly, we are told that we can keep the same lifestyles, which originally caused these diseases.
This model really served the drug and pharmaceutical companies, making corporations more profits and keeping the sick people sick so that they can sell more drugs—without fixing the problem.
Wild animals get fewer diseases than people. This is because they live by the laws of Mother Nature. They eat what is available in the season, sleep at proper times, and enjoy lots of exercise and fun time.
In this article, we will focus on the healing mechanisms of the body.
The Circadian Rhythm:
The circadian rhythm is the central biological and hormonal rhythm of the body that generally aligns with the day-night cycle of the local environment. With the arrival of dawn light, our body increases the expression of genes that produce neuro-hormones that promote wakefulness, metabolic activity, hunger and other stimulating functions. As daylight wanes, our body produces hormones that promote healing mechanisms, support nutrient absorption and induce sleep.
|Circadian Light Hormones||Circadian Night Hormones|
|Cortisol – stress, wakefulness||Melatonin – sleep|
|Serotonin – impulse control, reason||Vasoactive intestinal peptide – nutrient absorption|
|GABA – calmness||Growth hormone – healing mechanisms|
|Dopamine – alertness|
|Follicle stimulating hormone – reproductive function|
Gastrin releasing hormone – hunger
Neuropeptide Y – hunger
|Thyroid hormone – cellular metabolism|
Healthy levels of these hormones are essential for all the basic functions of the body to be conscious, functioning, healing and growing. These hormones balance energy burning with energy production and tissue degradation with tissue regeneration, as well as sleeping and waking states of the mind and body. This powerful control mechanism functions with the light-sensitivity of our eyes. Thus, making eyes an essential organ for promoting health and balance.
Circadian rhythm disorders can cause hormonal disruptions. This can result in digestive diseases, sleep disorders, reproductive disorders, etc. A recent study demonstrated that circadian rhythm disorders often originate due to eating later in the day on both working and non-working days. Progressive circadian hormonal imbalances result in increased weight, larger waist sizes, increased heart pressure, higher pulse rates, weakened appetite and digestive capacity, lower sleep quality, sleep apnea and elevated stress hormones.
Restoring the Circadian Clock:
Similar to the ease with which the day turns to night and back into day again, restoration of the circadian clock and reversal of many circadian disorders can be achieved with relative ease. For success, follow the discipline of Mother Nature. Here are some things to do at home:
- Eat an early dinner: Finish eating by 7 or 7:30 p.m. This allows 2 to 3 hours of digestion before bed, at which time, absorption and assimilation activate naturally.
- Go to bed by 10 p.m.: Melatonin, the sleep inducing hormone, naturally surges at dusk. Our modern lives with lights and electronics delay this surge. Take a break from electronics and bright light as you wind down your day. Switch off all electronic gadgets by 9 p.m. and go to bed by 10 p.m. This helps you catch naturally-induced sleep and activate healing mechanisms that function alongside a good night’s sleep.
- Wake up with dawn: The arrival of daylight is a good time to awaken, as it aligns with the surge of stimulating hormones like cortisol, dopamine and serotonin. While recovering from a circadian rhythm disorder, you can train your adrenal glands and brain to produce these hormones by waking up at dawn.
- Exercise in the morning: Light exercise is a way to activate your muscles and circulation. Try 40 to 60 push-ups, 40 to 50 sit-ups and 20 minutes of yoga followed by Pranayma. This also stimulates the adrenal glands and brain to start producing healthy levels of hormones at dawn. Breathing and meditation practice in the morning can also promote circadian rhythm restoration.
- Eat a hearty breakfast: Late sleepers often skip breakfast; this causes a prolonged fasting period that can waste the morning surge in metabolic hormones like thyroid and gastrin. On the other hand, waking with dawn induces healthy hunger. A hearty breakfast consists of at least half of your calories from protein and fat, with one third of your calories from vegetables. This satisfies the appetite, while ensuring better blood sugar control and reducing cravings throughout the day.
Organs Do Regenerate:
Regenerative medicine is a new and growing science among western medical communities. The emerging theory behind its practice is the application of stem cells to promote regeneration of various tissues and organs. Experts say, “Successful regenerative medicine centered on human cells could potentially replace a number of major molecular pharmaceuticals and medical prostheses.”
But again, we forget that tissue regeneration is a natural phenomenon that occurs when the body is provided with the right nutrition and appropriate healing environment. Wound healing is the most common example of regeneration. With injury, the body produces cytokines that induce production of new blood vessels, attract regenerative cells like fibroblasts and promote re-assimilation of structural components that support local tissue stability, as well as proliferation of local tissue cells to replace the injured area.
These healing mechanisms are responsible for the regeneration of all tissues in the body: the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, liver, and even the brain. Different tissues have different healing times, like oral mucosa heal every 24 hours, skin can heal in 5 days and the liver can regenerate in 6 weeks. The kidneys, heart and nervous system can take up to one year to heal. This table outlines regenerative support for various organs:
|Kidney||Progenitor cells from bone marrow have been shown to regenerate glomerular, tubular, mesangial and podocyte cells of the kidney.|
|Lung||Progenitor cells of the lung have been discovered broncho-alveolar cells tissue of the lungs; similar cells also regenerate smooth muscle cells, mesenchymal cells and blood vessel cells that serve the lung function.|
|Heart||Cardiac myocytes possess the capacity for regeneration after heart attacks. Heart tissue can also be regenerated from stem cells derived from bone marrow.|
|Brain||Neural stem cells are located in two main locations: the subventricular zone and subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus of the brain. These stem cells are activated in response to injury and inflammation. Subsequently, they migrate to the regeneration site.[12,16]|
|Liver||Partial removal of liver tissue is a common surgical procedure. Studies have shown that when a region of the liver is removed, other parts of the liver grow to compensate for the removed section. Complete liver mass can be restored within weeks.[13 ]|
|Intestine||Intestinal lining is constantly exposed to material entering from “outside world.” Therefore, damage is common. In response, the intestinal cells’ lining is regenerated every 4 to 5 days.|
Endogenous Stem-Cell Reservoirs:
The body is blessed with many fast regenerating tissues. These include the liver, the intestines, bone marrow and more. These tissues also serve as important reservoirs for stem cells that help regenerate other damaged tissue. Some examples:
|Liver||Oval cells of the liver directly help to regenerate liver and gallbladder cells. Liver also contain pancreatic progenitors that help regenerate hormone producing and structural cells of the pancreas.|
|Intestine||As the fastest regenerating tissue in the body, intestinal stem cells represent a large reservoir of stem cells for the organs associated with the digestive tract.|
|Bone Marrow||Bone marrow is the site of immune cell and blood cell production. In addition, stem cells from bone marrow also help regenerate kidney and heart tissue.[9,11] Furthermore, mesenchymal stem cells of the bone marrow have also been tested for regeneration from bone tissue in rheumatoid arthritis.|
Each organ has a very different capacity for regeneration; they require specific nutrition and take different amounts of time to regenerate. Ayurvedic texts describe seven physical tissues that are derived from food. These tissues are called Rasa (plasma), Rakta (blood), Mamsa (muscle), Meda (fat), Asthi (bone), Majja (marrow and nerves), Shukra (sexual fluids/hormones). The essential nutrition needed to make all the tissues is derived from proper digestion of food in the intestines and efficient absorption of nutrition into the blood stream and lymph system.
The sequential tissue development occurs in a similar fashion to the cascading fountain seen in the image. As the vessel at the top of the fountain fills, excess contents flow into the next vessel in step, and so on until the contents from the first vessel reach the bottom vessel.
In a similar fashion, after being absorbed, food is first converted into Rasa (plasma) that circulates in the blood stream. Rakta (blood) is formed in the next step of the fountain; Mamsa (muscle) tissue is the third tissue to be formed; and so on, until Shukra (sexual fluids/hormones) is produced at the end of the digestive process. This step-wise synthesis of body tissues ensures that each tissue receives adequate nutrition to be nurtured and kept healthy from the grossest to the subtlest levels. Deficiency in a given tissue may result from lack of adequate nutrition, unhealthy digestion, emotions and thoughts.
Ayurvedic medicine offers a vast description of foods that can nurture tissues at different levels of the fountain or tonify the whole being. Ayurveda also offers herbal supplements and therapeutic procedures that can support healthy development of all or specific tissue types.
Restoration of Immune Function and Vitality:
In Ayurveda, the immune system not only represents our capacity to fend off infections; rather, it is the basis for preventing disease altogether. Part of the subtle tissue, Ojas is formed in the Shukra tissue (sexual fluids/hormones). When replenished regularly, Ojas manifests outwardly in glowing skin, bright eyes and silky hair. Inwardly, it helps your reproductive, nervous and immune systems thrive. It also promotes peaceful emotions, such as gratitude and contentment. Most importantly, Ojas supports stable moods and helps us handle stress with grace and ease.
Ojas is the by-product of a healthy, efficient and contented physiology. When we are producing Ojas, it means all of our organs have integrated vitality and we are receiving nourishment for our minds and bodies. Our whole being hums with good vibrations because we are producing and feeling bliss, not pain.
However, when our agni (digestive fire) is not working properly, we don't produce Ojas. Instead, food, thoughts and feelings turn into AMA or toxins. The AMA becomes fertile ground for cultivating diseases.
A simple way to achieve more Ojas is to be in nature and nourish our sense of peace and serenity. In Japan, the tradition of “Shirin-yoku” or forest bathing is applied for this purpose. The words Shirin-yoku are defined as “taking in the atmosphere of the forest.” Forest bathing can be compared to going for a “hike” or going “camping” in the western culture. Here, in the Pacific Northwest, we are blessed with many state and national parks to practice Shirin-yoku. Even, within the towns, there are many beautiful parks available where we can cultivate this practice and stimulate natural healing power.
Shirin-yoku has been studied extensively and shown to have direct physiological effects and benefits. In one experiment, subjects took a two-day trip to the forest and went on three 2-hour hikes. During this time, they showed an increase in Natural Killer (NK) cells that specifically target and destroy cancer cells, as well as an increase in anti-cancer proteins in other white blood cells (lymphocyte). The effect of these lasted for at least 7 days after the trip.
In a comparative study, subjects spent 15 minutes either walking in the forest or in the city environment, followed by 15 minutes sitting and viewing the landscape. In just the short time of exposure, those subjects practicing Shirin-yoku demonstrated significantly lowered pulse rates and blood pressure. Additionally, these subjects had significantly improved heart rate variability (HRV)—associated with mental-emotional relaxation and flexibility.
In a large study, 498 healthy volunteers were observed for subjective improvements in mood and stress. A one-day trip out in the forest significantly reduced depression, anxiety and boredom, while improving well-being, friendliness and liveliness—compared to a day out in the city environment.
A group of researchers took a closer look at the physiological effects that promote stress reductions and immune activity improvements. When subjects took a two-day trip to the forest, one study found that improvements in NK cells and anti-cancer proteins lasted up to 30 days. NK cells release compounds that promote the production of three anti-cancer proteins in the immune system. This improvement is attributed to phytoncides, essential oils released by the trees, which contribute to the aroma of the forest. The two-day forest bathing trip also contributed to significant reductions in stress hormones.
Spending time in the forest significantly contributes to Ojas; this is a very simple and free mechanism for stimulating the body’s natural healing system and vitality.
Simply following the laws of Mother Nature produces healing.
Our bodies are fully equipped to produce any pharmaceutical drug on demand; we must believe in the system of healing, and allow it to happen. Eating according to your constitution type, breathing exercises, yoga, the right amount of exercise and staying in bliss automatically heals your body. You just have to believe in the process.
After a recent accident, I had a bad tear in my spinal ligaments, with ruptured discs and bulges at L3 and L4. My body is fully functional after 4 weeks of taking Ayurvedic supplements and following the laws of Mother Nature. Now, I am back to my regular exercise and yoga routine.
Nature heals. Drugs do not.
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