Ancient wisdom of ayurveda and Chinese herbology developed sophisticated systems of healing that are now scientifically being rediscovered as technology evolves to observe and measure functions of the human body in minute detail. The new language for this is 'herbalomics'.
This all started with the Human Genome project mapping DNA and discovering how much more similar than different humans are to everything else alive - a tree, a guinea pig, a turtle.
Further, we have discovered that over 600 species of microbes reside in our gut, and that the DNA of these species is what allows our bodies to transform food into nutrients. Without them, we are unable to digest food, extract the nutrients and form them into usable building blocks for our body.
What we eat also feeds that flora, and when they are well fed, we are happy. When we eat things they don't like, they build defensive shields, called biofilms, to protect themselves, and release toxins to deal with the unhealthy environment. They get angry, and we feel miserable.
Scientists are now recognizing that this is the source of the astounding explosion of auto-immune diseases that we are witnessing and experiencing in populations exposed to antibiotics, modern stress and eating unnatural substances as food.
The DNA in these microbes does not recognize the DNA in genetically modified foods, so it defends against it. Drugs have no DNA, so they also are repelled. Stress hormones also injure our internal gut terrain. Consider any stressful aspect of modern life, and very likely, it is contributing in some way to the disintegration of this terrain.
Chinese medicine says first the digestive system, the Spleen/Stomach system, must be in balance before any other body system can function properly. It also associates our sense of identity, our 'self-esteem' with the balanced functioning of the digestive system.
Because we are outnumbered by our resident microflora, billions to 1, our sense of self, how we feel about who we are, and our ability to function in the world with equanimity or not, is undeniably influenced by these guys.
I will share some of the amazing details of how these critters assist us in another post, but in the meantime, I will share some things you can do right away to improve your inner terrain.
1. You are what you eat, so avoid cheap, fast and easy food
2. Eat a variety of fermented foods daily: yogurt, kimchee, kombucha, kefir
3. Drastically reduce carbohydrate intake which feeds the unpleasant 'invaders'
4. Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits with fibers to feed the good guys, especially the glutathione contributing cruciferous family
5. Consult your herbalist for a recommendation of herbs and probiotic flora to best suit your inner terrain and optimize your health
6. Examine your life to find what stressful influences you can be reduce, and what harmonizing and healing practices you can begin to engage
Rather than merely survive, we want to thrive in these extraordinary times.
My belief is that we all have come into the world with a purpose, and it is crucial that we get a handle on our problems now so that we can enjoy optimum health in order to joyfully express our unique contribution to the miracle of life on planet earth.