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Episode 156
The Doctor's Farmacy

Returning To Ancient Remedies To Promote Health

Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

Tap the subscribe button and new shows will be added to your library.

If you’re using a different device, our show is available on the following platforms.

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Modern medicine has come a long way, there’s no doubt about it. But our ancient ancestors had an in-depth understanding of how to use food and plants as medicine and this wisdom still holds true today. 

Our conventional medical system heavily relies on prescription medication to silence, or “manage,” symptoms. I call this the “pill-for-ever-ill” model of medicine. This often turns into a lifelong dependence without ever getting to the root of the problem. If we instead look at where the imbalance is stemming from and use a variety of tools to treat it—like food, stress reduction, herbs, etc.—we can see profound improvements and, many times, a reversal of disease. 

I was so happy to connect with Dr. Josh Axe to talk more about how ancient remedies can help us create the vibrant health we deserve and avoid lifelong health struggles.

To kick off our talk, Dr. Axe shares how his mother’s experience with breast cancer, and later tumors on her lungs, led him to find a deeper understanding of the impact that plants, diet, and lifestyle changes can have on our health. Twenty-six years after her initial diagnosis, his mother is thriving. 

I always talk about the power of plant foods—Dr. Axe and I expand on that conversation with a deeper look at herbs and spices for healing chronic disease. He explains the Chinese medicine perspective of balancing chi and some chronic conditions that can occur due to this energetic imbalance. We discuss the Western approach to medication, common nutrient deficiencies caused by certain medications, and alternative or complementary therapies that can help us avoid a lifelong dependency on medications. 

Dr. Axe and I also take a look at the importance of soil-based organisms for our health. It’s no secret that a diverse and thriving microbiome is key to vibrant health, but most people don’t realize what an essential role the good bugs in our soil play. This is another piece of ancient wisdom that Dr. Axe explains, along with some interesting research on their immune benefits and how we can get more of them into our bodies.

One of my favorite parts of our conversation is when Dr. Axe points out that nature has an intelligent way of showing us how to use food as medicine. Walnuts look just like the brain and contain important fats and other nutrients that support the brain, beets have that deep red hue and are beneficial for our red blood cells, and there are so many other fascinating examples. We talk about all this and so much more. 

I know you’ll love this episode as much as I do.

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I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

In this episode, you will learn (video / audio):

  1. The health crisis in Dr. Axe’s family that led to his interest in ancient remedies
    (2:50 / 6:32)
  2. Our modern healthcare system’s overreliance on pharmaceuticals
    (7:48 / 11:30)
  3. Getting to the root cause of hypothyroidism
    (10:41 / 14:23)
  4. How many pharmaceutical drugs result in nutrient depletion
    (12:39 / 16:21)
  5. Antibiotics in our food
    (14:26 / 18:08)
  6. Ancient practices of using food as medicine
    (21:11 / 26:06)
  7. Personalized medicine, using spices and herbs to optimize health, and how emotions drive disease
    (27:44 / 32:39)
  8. Supporting our immune system to make ourselves more resilient to COVID-19, in addition to other illness and disease
    (30:58 / 35:53)
  9. The benefits of the CBD compound
    (36:46 / 41:41)
  10. Ancient remedies for PCOS, cancer, and hypothyroidism
    (39:55 / 44:50)

Guest

 
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

 
Dr. Josh Axe

Dr. Axe is a certified doctor of natural medicine, a doctor of chiropractic, and a clinical nutritionist with a passion to help people get healthy by empowering them to use nutrition to fuel their health. He is the bestselling author of Keto Diet, Eat Dirt, and Collagen Diet and author of the book Ancient Remedies. He is also the co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, which provides protein powders, holistic supplements, vitamins, essential oils and more to the modern world. Dr. Axe founded the natural health website DrAxe.com, one of the top natural health websites in the world today.

Show Notes

  1. Get his book, Ancient Remedies: Secrets to Healing with Herbs, Essential Oils, CBD, and the Most Powerful Natural Medicine in History Hardcover

Transcript

Dr. Josh Axe:
We’re in this very quick fix society where we give a pill for a certain illness. And let me say, one of the things that’s happened too. When you look at a lot of medications, not all of them, but a lot of them, they were inspired by compounds found in plants.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy. I’m Dr. Mark Hyman. That’s Farmacy with an F. F-A-R-M-A-C-Y. A place for conversations that matter. And if you’re really interested in how food is medicine, and how specific foods can have different properties based on their ancient connections to our biology, then this podcast you want to listen to.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
This is with my friend, Dr. Josh Axe. He’s the founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com. He’s a certified doctor of natural medicine, chiropractic, and a clinical nutritionist. And he basically wants to get people healthy using nutrition to optimize their health.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
He’s got many bestselling books, including Keto Diet, Eat Dirt, which is one of my favorites, Collagen Diet. And he’s just written another book called Ancient Remedies, which is what we’re going to talk about today. He’s a founder of the natural health website DrAxe.com, which is one of the top natural health websites in the world. He talks about nutrition, natural remedies, fitness, healthy recipes, DIY solutions for your health and lots of trending health news. He’s the company-founder of Ancient Nutrition, which is protein powders, holistic supplements, vitamins, essential oils.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And he’s got the Dr. Axe Show, which I’ve been on, which is a podcast which I’d love you to listen to. He’s got lots of health influencers on there, and he’s just a great dude. So, welcome to the podcast.

Dr. Josh Axe:
Hey thanks for having me Dr. Mark. Excited to be here. I mean, I wish I was with you in Hawaii right now.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Josh Axe:
But it’s good to be here together.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Somebody’s got to do it. Yeah, I decided after 35 years of grinding myself into the ground, working hard, 17 books in 20 years or maybe less. In maybe 18 years. Running a practice. I decided to give myself a treat and go to Maui and spend the winter here and work from here. Because now with the world shut down you can work from anywhere. So I’m pretty happy to be able to work here and have a little fun on the side.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So Josh, you’ve got this great new book which is called Ancient Remedies. And you talk about the challenge of modern medicine and how our current system relies on prescription medicine. And how that really is a failure to understand how the body works and how to get people better using ancient principles. And even modern principles of nutrition science. And you talked about in the book how your mom’s cancer diagnosis planted the seed for what you’re doing today. So talk about that, and let me know how you’ve come to understand that that is a real help.

Dr. Josh Axe:
Yeah. So Dr. Mark, what really got me interested in ancient remedies was a health crisis in my family. Growing up, my family lived in that conventional medical model. Any time we were sick, we went to our physician. We got prescribed a medication. And that’s what we did. We didn’t know that there was another way. We didn’t know anything natural. So at 41 years old, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Which is really shocking to us, because my mom was my gym teacher in elementary school. She was a swim instructor. You would have looked at her and thought, hey you were fit. But yet she got this diagnosis of cancer.

Dr. Josh Axe:
And she went and she had a mastectomy. She went through rounds and rounds and rounds of chemotherapy. And I can still remember her losing her hair and how sick she got. But all that being said, she was eventually diagnosed as being cancer free and her doctors said, “You’re healthy.”

Dr. Josh Axe:
The crazy thing about that, though, the next 13 years my mom had major health issues. Got put on antidepressant drugs, anti-anxiety drugs, had hypothyroidism. She got diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Had all of these medical issues. She was constantly getting sick. And this went on for 13 years.

Dr. Josh Axe:
and finally I was actually in school studying, and i was about to open up my own clinic. I was about six months out. And I get a call from my mom, and she calls me in tears on the phone, and she says, “I’ve got bad news. They’ve just told me I have tumors on my lungs. And they want to go in and do radiation treatment, and do a surgery as well.” She’s like, “What do I do?”

Dr. Josh Axe:
I said, “Mom, I’ll be home.” I flew home. And I have been really blessed in the time, Dr. Mark, to know some doctors who practice functional medicine. I talked to them. I did a load of research. My mom and I, first thing we did, we actually sat there and we prayed together. We talked about it and she said, “Listen. I’ve been through chemotherapy before. I’ve been through those treatments.” And she said, “I just, I want to try something natural.”

Dr. Josh Axe:
So we basically talked with a physician, and she said, “You have four to six months. Let’s see how this goes.” And so we did it. So my mom, we started juicing vegetables every single day. I mean her diet was probably 70% vegetables, both cooked and raw. She did a little bit of bone broth, a little bit of wild caught salmon. Would eat berries. And that was pretty much her diet. I mean it was pretty much that.

Dr. Josh Axe:
And then I was spending all this time, Dr. Mark, doing research on diets for cancer. I came across things like keto diet, and some of these diets in Japan today. And then I started learning about turmeric and reishi mushroom. All these medicinal mushrooms out there today and their anti-cancer side effects. So my mom also was taking turmeric, reishi, a multi-mushroom type supplement. And just lots of herbs and spices.

Dr. Josh Axe:
She followed this program for four months. The other thing I’ll just say, she had a lot of stress. We really focused, my mom rode horses as a kid. She started doing that again. Going boating with my dad. I mean, just really reduced the stress. We followed this program. She went back four months later, redid a PET scan, and her oncologist called the next day and said, her exact words were, “This is highly unusual. We don’t typically see this. But the largest tumor has shrunk by more than half.” She said, “We want to see you again in nine months.”

Dr. Josh Axe:
Went back nine months later. Almost complete remission then. Went back again after that, and then complete remission. So it’s been about 13 years actually since then, and my mom is in her late 60s. And she water skis, she’s ran a 5K with me, got second in her age group. She actually said she feels better and healthier now in her late 60s than she did in her 30s.

Dr. Josh Axe:
So all that being said, that was what led me into this. And then I started using this with patients. I started really focusing on more of a personalized diet. I know this is what you teach people. This is what you’ve pioneered in functional medicine. But I started also learning all these things about these ancient forms of medicine. Specifically Chinese medicine. And so I started using that with patients and really just saw some incredible results. And so that’s really what inspired the book.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Well your mom is not alone in being someone who’s given one option, which is medication. And sometimes chemo, radiation and surgery in cancer. But this is a culture in medicine of a pill for every ill. A drug for every bug. And the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that 50% of Americans age 30 to 50 are taking prescription medication. These are relatively young people, right? 30 to 49.

Dr. Josh Axe:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
75% in their 50s, and 90% in their 65 or older group. What’s even more shocking is a third of people in their 50s and more than half of those over 65 take four or more prescription drugs regularly. And I get a house call on an older woman who had a bunch of chronic issues. And I went through her medications. She was on 22 different prescription medications. And I was like, oh.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And often that creates all kinds of secondary side effects. She was taking a pill to fix the side effect of this pill, then to fix the side effect of that pill. So can you talk about how our medical and healthcare system has been hijacked by the pharmaceutical companies which put people’s health after profits? And why the medications that are often promoted and the medications that are prescribed most often are these perpetual medications. They’re really not designed to cure anything, but to manage things and keep people on them forever.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And the truth is, a lot of the drugs that can be developed for conditions that are curative, they’re not really being studied. They’re looking for these blockbuster drugs like statins, which you have to take for the rest of your life. So can you talk about how that works? How do we get out of that?

Dr. Josh Axe:
Yeah yeah. So I’m with you, Dr. Mark. So one of the things I think that’s happened is we have a lot of these ancient forms of medicine to where, it was really looking at how the body worked holistically. I think that’s where we start. And then we’re really focused on what you teach, and that’s how do we fix the root cause of this disease? And they really looked at both our emotional health, what we’re doing in terms of our lifestyle, and then our diet. Those are the things they really focused in on.

Dr. Josh Axe:
Today, we’re in this very quick fix society where we give a pill for a certain illness. And let me say, one of the things that’s happened too. When you look at a lot of medications, not all of them but a lot of them, they were inspired by compounds found in plants. We know this for aspirin, right?

Dr. Josh Axe:
Aspirin, they got the idea from a compound found in white willow bark and wintergreen. So that compound is a natural painkiller. But now we create these things synthetically. And when you’re doing them in that high of a dose, what it does is you’re going to have a side effect. In fact, one of the things I go through early on in the book is, there isn’t a single medication that doesn’t deplete the body of specific nutrients.

Dr. Josh Axe:
For instance, we know statin drugs to lower cholesterol deplete your body of co-enzyme Q10. Which then if your body is low in CoQ10, you have a greater risk of heart attack and stroke. I go through if you’ve taken an antibiotic drug, biggest two things it depletes your body of are probiotics and zinc. Zinc and probiotics are a big part of your immune system. So if you take an antibiotic drug and you don’t take probiotics and zinc, you are greatly increasing your risk of future immune issues.

Dr. Josh Axe:
And so all that being said, the issue today is it’s all about a quick fix. It’s too driven based on, again, this is a trillion dollar industry. This is a big industry we’re talking about. And it’s really focused on money, not really getting the root cause, getting people well. I think the other big thing Dr. Mark, and one of the things I love even that you cover in your book Pegan Diet is you talk about there are these seven systems of the body.

Dr. Josh Axe:
In Chinese medicine, they put them in five systems. But knowing that these different systems work together. And for instance, you and I both know hypothyroidism, for instance, isn’t always at the root of your thyroid. In fact, often, hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the root is often with your adrenals and your gut. So we’ve got to heal that gut. And so focusing on a diet and focusing on certain supplements and lifestyle practices that help those issues.

Dr. Josh Axe:
For instance, somebody who’s practicing most often the mainstream conventional medicine today, you go in with hypothyroidism they’ll say, “Here’s a drug like Synthroid, that’s what you do.” Some doctors that may practice more natural, they may say, “Hey, take some selenium and B12 and eat more real food.” I know what ancient practitioners would do is they would go back and say, “Okay, what is the root cause of this thyroid issue?” And then they would say, “Okay, well.” And they would call it in Chinese medicine a chi and yang deficiency.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yep.

Dr. Josh Axe:
Which when I first started studying it, I thought that sounds kind of weird. But it’s just a different language. Chi is essentially your adrenal battery, whereas yang is having more progesterone and testosterone and having your estrogen levels, those need to be balanced. And so that being said, they would say, “Okay, well the foods that really nourish your adrenals there and your thyroid together are going to be berries. So foods that are really rich actually in flavonoids. So we’re going to prescribe cranberries, and blueberries, and gogi berries and all these berries for you. We’re going to have you do some black rice. And then we’re going to have you do seafood, specifically seaweed and wild caught fish.”

Dr. Josh Axe:
Those are the foods that are most nourishing to that organ system that is related to what’s going on. And then they would probably recommend some adaptogens. Things like in there something similar to ashwagandha, which is actually a chi and yang booster. They would have recommended something like codonopsis and astragalus and other things. But all that being said, they were very focused on, “How do I heal the root cause here?”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. That’s amazing. You know Josh, what you said was, I want to come back to what you glossed over but it’s so important. Most of the time you go to your doctor and they see you’re taking supplements. They go, “Stop those supplements. They can interfere with the medications.” But what most people don’t realize is that so many medications deplete nutrients. You mentioned CoQ10 and statins. One of the other major categories of drugs is acid blockers. Like Protonix, and Prilosec, and Aciphex, and Nexium. Which are now over the counter.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When I was in medical school, we were told, “Do not prescribe those for more than six weeks. They’re super powerful.” But you know what? If you take that you’re B12 deficient. You get zinc deficient, magnesium deficient, you get osteopetrosis. You get gut issues. I mean, it just creates so many secondary problems. If you’re taking blood pressure medication, if you’re getting diuretics, it depletes magnesium and other minerals. So you have to really understand what you’re taking and not just think about how nutrients may affect the drugs, but how the drugs deplete nutrients. And this is going to be a real big problem as people are on these drugs for a long, long time.

Dr. Josh Axe:
Yeah Dr. Mark. So one of the things I cover in the book and funny that I have it open here, if you are taking a hypertensive drug, it depletes your body of CoQ10, potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B1. If you’re taking birth control. A lot of times people don’t think about this with something like birth control. So many people are on it. It depletes your body of vitamin B2, B3, B6, B12, vitamin C, gut bacteria with magnesium and zinc. And think about even folate. Folate, if somebody’s on a contraceptive and they … Anyways, the whole thing is it’s just, it’s a lot.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. It’s crazy, yeah. Let’s talk about this incredible idea that is talked about but no one’s really doing anything about it as far as I can tell. Which is the antibiotics in our food. So one, there’s about 39 million pounds of antibiotics produced every year in America. Or 37. 29 million pounds are used for preventing infection from overcrowding in factory farming of animals. And we call it CAFOs, feed lots.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
About maybe seven, eight million are used in humans. Which is about 260 million prescriptions a year of antibiotics. And there’s been a lot been written about this. You read a book called Eat Dirt. It’s a wonderful book by a professor in New York called Missing Microbes, and how this is profoundly changing our health for the worse by killing off the ecosystem in our bodies. There’s also another great book called The Epidemic of Absence, which talks about how the messing up of our gut and the absence of good bugs is literally driving a whole series of diseases from allergy to autoimmunity. And lots more I think are linking the microbiome to autism and Alzheimers and heart disease and cancer and depression. I mean, you name it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And a lot of this has to do with the overuse of antibiotics in our society. And I remember being in medical school. And this was 30 plus years ago. We were told be careful. Don’t overuse antibiotics. This is a big issue. And it’s even worse now. So how is this one of the most important public health threats we face today?

Dr. Josh Axe:
Well one of the things I love about you, Dr. Mark, is we share the same passion of regenerative agriculture. In fact, I company-own 5,000 acres of organic land. Some in Tennessee, some in Missouri. We do something, myself and Jordan Rubin, it’s called permaculture. Creating food forests. We’re really working on healing the planet. It’s incredible.

Dr. Josh Axe:
I mean, if we would not be focused on the short term but focused on the long term, even financially, we could feed the entire world. If we focused on doing food forests where we’re growing more things like apple trees and walnut trees and more perennial plants rather than soybeans, wheat, and corn, it literally changes the environment. And so all that being said, I think it’s so important just to note one, it’s better for the planet when you follow these farming practices.

Dr. Josh Axe:
But what we’re doing today is we’re giving a lot of these animals, we’re feeding them genetically modified corn, soy and wheat. That’s the base of their feed. And then we’re putting antibiotics in there just consistently. And what happens is 80% of the world’s antibiotics are not given to humans, they’re given to livestock. 80% of antibiotics. It’s crazy.

Dr. Josh Axe:
So what’s going to be happening is when we consume those antibiotics via those animal tissues or dairy or other things, what that’s going to do is that’s going to damage a lot of our gut microbes. Okay? It’s going to kill off a lot of those good bacteria. You’re going to have more overgrowth of a lot of the bad bacteria. And that’s a massive part of your immune system. This is a big cause of things like leaky gut syndrome, which is the root cause of autoimmune disease, weakened immunity, migraine headaches, food sensitivities.

Dr. Josh Axe:
And one of the things I do talk about, in my book Eat Dirt I really get into how we have sometimes over sanitized in many cases. And I think that’s important. Even in the world of COVID today, it’s important to keep in mind. We want to practice proper sanitation. We absolutely do. And I think there are some natural things that can help us do it. There are really powerful essential oils like tea tree oil and others that I think are good to use on a regular basis. But studies show we need to be deeply connected with the Earth.

Dr. Josh Axe:
And so with that being said, there are studies showing if you live on a farm, you actually have a stronger immune system, a healthier immune system, less food allergies, less food sensitivities. They’ve shown in studies if you have a dog or a cat actually you have 49% less food allergies, food sensitivities, and a stronger immune system. What else is unique is I read a study. This is out of Japan. And they showed that if you’re eating foods that are more local in nature, they talked about seaweed over there, that you’re getting different types of soil based organisms whether it’s from the sea or the land. And those actually work with your immune system at driving out bad bacteria, helping modulate your immune system.

Dr. Josh Axe:
When we hear of immunization, Dr. Mark, a lot of times people first their head goes to a shot. But the truth is, I’ve got an eight and a half month old daughter now, and we will support her immunity. We will support her naturally immunize her through getting her exposures to certain things. In fact, local honey, a lot of times people talk about, “Take local honey for allergies.” The big benefit of local raw honey is that it contains over 200 microbes. And if you do that year round, you’re getting pollen and all these exposures. It’s a form of a natural immunization. I’m not saying it’s the only way to do it. Obviously there’s many. But it’s one of the ways we naturally strengthen and boost our immune systems. So I think we’ve really lost that ancient art of being deeply connected to the outdoors and our environment and in that way strengthening our immunity in our bodies.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Absolutely.
Speaker 3:
Hi everyone. Hope you’re enjoying the episode. Before we continue, we have a quick message from Dr. Mark Hyman about his new company Farmacy and their first product, the 10 Day Reset.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hey, it’s Dr. Hyman. Do you have FLC? What’s FLC? It’s when you feel like crap. It’s a problem that so many people suffer from, and often have no idea that it’s not normal or that you can fix it. I mean you know the feeling. It’s when you’re super sluggish, your digestion’s off, you can’t think clearly, or you have brain fog. Or you just feel run down. Can you relate? I know most people can.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But the real question is what the heck do we do about it? Well I hate to break the news, but there’s no magic bullet. FLC isn’t caused by one single thing, so there’s not one single solution. However, there is a systems based approach. A way to tackle the multiple root factors that contribute to FLC. And I call that system the 10 Day Reset. The 10 Day Reset combines food, key lifestyle habits, and targeted supplements to address FLC straight on. It’s a protocol that I’ve used with thousands of my community members to help them get their health back on track.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s not a magic bullet. It’s not a quick fix. It’s a system that works. If you want to learn more and get your health back on track, click on the button below or visit getfarmacy.com. That’s get, farmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y dot com.
Speaker 3:
Now back to this week’s episode.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Let’s talk about food as medicine and how so much of our chronic illness is caused by the foods we eat. And also can be healed by eating different foods.

Dr. Josh Axe:
Yeah. So obviously I think we know this. And if anybody has listened to your podcast, they know this. But obviously the big culprits are sugar. It’s a lot of the refined grains. Again, the corn and the wheat. Soybeans, it’s a bean, but that’s in there as well. So getting a lot of carbohydrates from there. The hydrogenated oils. We want to stay away from that stuff. And a lot of the things that contain genetically modified organisms or animals eating foods that they shouldn’t, okay.

Dr. Josh Axe:
So the dairy byproducts, the meat products. We use that principle. You are what you eat, what they ate. Okay? So if they’re eating a lot of grains, their tissues are full of omega-6 fats, versus a lot of grass, more omega-3s. You’re going to have more balance there. That’s going to help your body heal. But one of the unique things that ancient practitioners recommended, Dr. Mark, and I think this is fascinating and it’s absolutely true, is knowing what foods to eat based on your six.

Dr. Josh Axe:
Here’s what the ancient physicians recommended. They said okay, what the food looks like. If the food looks like a body part, it supports that. What is the food’s flavor as well, and what’s the food’s color? And they would look at those three things and say, that’s how you know what there are. For instance, a walnut looks like your brain. In fact you crack it open, it has two hemispheres. We know today that walnuts are loaded with colene and vitamin E and some omega-3 fats, so they’re good for the brain. A coconut as well, looks like your head. Coconut has all these medium chain triglycerides which are good for your brain and actually a water inside that almost looks like cerebral spinal fluid that’s actually good for your body’s fluid and systems.

Dr. Josh Axe:
We’ve got beets, that actually look like blood when you are cutting them. And they are known to increase nitric oxide in the body and improve your cardiovascular health. Celery looks like your bones. Celery is probably the most alkaline vegetable, and so it actually supports your bones and especially supporting vitamin K and calcium levels. And I could keep going on. A few others [crosstalk 00:23:32].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
This is so fascinating.

Dr. Josh Axe:
Yeah. Reishi mushrooms look identical to your kidneys and adrenal glands. So do kidney beans. Onions are amazing for your cells. Those are loaded with quercetin and things that actually support mitochondrial function. All kinds of things. I go through that in the whole book. I have these big pictures and graphs going through here’s all of those foods. So we know that.

Dr. Josh Axe:
And then flavors. Five flavors support five different what they consider organ systems that work together. So sour foods really activate and support liver detoxification. Bitter really affects the heart and the blood. You’ve got umami which affects the lungs and colon. You’ve got sweet, which is more the pancreas and stomach. That upper GI. And then you’ve got salty, which is your kidneys and your adrenals, and then certain foods like green is very good for liver, gallbladder.

Dr. Josh Axe:
But anyways, that’s who the ancients knew. And I really believe that God created our food here. I don’t think he made it real complicated, like, “Hey, I’m going to make it really hard for them to figure out what to eat.” I think some of the stuff, I’m not saying everything is simple. But I think some of the times using food as medicine isn’t really complex if we are able to start thinking and learning about some of these things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah it’s true. I love your title of your book, Ancient Nutritional. Because I have often thought about how is it that we’re eating such a mono diet. Our diet is mostly three crops. 60% of our diet is three crops. We eat corn and rice around the world. Another maybe nine or 10 crops make up the rest of it. We used to eat 800 species of plants. And agriculture, you could argue, was one of the most destructive things to be discovered or invented.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We used to be an average height of 5’9″ as hunter gatherers, and then when we started agriculture, it went down to 5’3″ for men. Why? Because they were so malnourished. They were starting to eat single crops. They were only eating rice, or they were only eating whatever they could grow. And they weren’t having this massive diversity of plants, and animals, and bugs and whatever the heck they ate back then. And we’ve dumbed down our diet to these very few ingredients. It’s led to these massive nutritional deficiencies.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, you’ve just listed some of the common foods. Some of them are less common, like reishi mushrooms and so forth. But I’m here in Hawaii. And I feel like I’m a pretty well traveled, well educated guy. And I go to the farmer’s market here, and I’m like, what is that? And what is that? And what is a Surinam cherry? I don’t even know what these things are. I mean, even things I never even saw before. And I’m thinking, wow. We are so deprived of all medicines in food. And that we’ve evolved actually to use these compounds with our biology to regulate different functions of our system, which you were mentioning.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And we’ve lost that understanding. It’s not just about calories. It’s not just about taste or flavor. And what’s really amazing, I don’t know if you actually know this book, Josh. It’s called Nourishment by a guy named Fred Provenza. And you should listen to that podcast that I had called Is Mead Medicine with this guy. He’s this old guy with a big beard. He looks like a mad scientist who’s a range land scientist.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But he talks about how animals seek out different flavors or different plants and have different properties that are used as medicines. And that have nutrient density. But when animals are left to their own, they forage all these incredible variety of plants that provides all of these incredible nutritional needs we need just through their natural intelligence. So what you’re talking about is these different flavors, these different tastes, these different colors. They’re not just decoration. They’re not just for our personal enjoyment. They’re actually designed to heal our bodies and to regulate all the functions of our body, which is just so brilliant.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And that’s what your book really goes into. I encourage people to go get a copy. It’s called Ancient Remedies: Secrets to Healing with Herbs, Essential Oils, CBD, and the Most Powerful Natural Medicine in History. The most powerful natural medicine in history. What is that?

Dr. Josh Axe:
Well, the natural medicine in history, I really go through it. Actually, it’s more personalized medicine. That’s the most powerful medicine in history.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes.

Dr. Josh Axe:
I get to it in the book. Because different herbs are good for so many things. I cover stuff in the book, like for instance, if you’ve got an immune system issue, in ancient Chinese medicine actually. Some people use [inaudible 00:27:54]. I’ve actually heard you talk about it. But probably one of the top five herbs in Chinese medicine was astragalus. Astragalus today, what it’s known for, is actually helping repair leaky gut or your gut related immune system. That’s super powerful. A lot of people haven’t even heard of astragalus, but it has all of these benefits.

Dr. Josh Axe:
We know herbs like galangal. That cousin of turmeric and ginger has all of these anti cancer properties. Andrographis. There’s some great new research on andrographis and its ability to fight viruses. And so anyways, yeah, I think it depends on the person. One of the things I do love, Dr. Mark, about ancient Chinese medicine is it was really the first form that I’ve seen documented of personalized medicine. It’s what was started off and also includes your personality profile. So if anybody’s ever done an enneagram test or Myers-Briggs, or DISC profile, sometimes when you read those you’re like wow, that’s. Almost every time you’re like, “Wow, that is really straight on. That’s my personality.”

Dr. Josh Axe:
Well they did that in Chinese medicine. It’s called The Five Elements. And so they really know, hey, here’s your personality. But they said based on your emotions, I think this is really incredible, based on your emotions, that tends to be the biggest driver of what causes disease in which organ system. Because why is it, today most people would say genetics. Why does one person get diabetes, but another person could be eating almost the same diet, but that person ends up with more a heart disease and high blood pressure and cholesterol. And another person thyroid issues. And another person …

Dr. Josh Axe:
What they say is, different emotions affect different organs. So for instance, and we know this is true, the emotion of fear. If you’re a fearful, maybe fear of failure, fear of disappointing loved ones, that actually causes adrenal issues. Or if a child gets really scared at night. Nightmares cause fear. Those actually affect the kidneys and they can wet the bed. The emotion of worry specifically affects the upper digestive system. The pancreas and stomach. People say, “My stomach feels like it’s tied in knots,” if they worry a lot.

Dr. Josh Axe:
The emotion of grief most affects the lungs and colon, which is your immune system. Or unforgiveness. Something that’s happened in the past. A hurt. A trauma. You haven’t been able to let it go. That’s completely affecting the immune system. Can trigger things like autoimmune like issues and that sort of thing. And the thing about heart, anxiety. That’s related to your heart. Your blood pressure raises. So they would actually say in Chinese medicine, food is important, but more than 50% of health conditions today are experiencing negative emotions. Or they always say, hey, you’ve got to address that negative emotion to completely heal.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Absolutely. I think it’s so critical. And I think your book is just full of practical suggestions and really wonderful tips on how to incorporate some of these ancient principles into everyday life to optimize our health and to fix our biology. I want to get into the role of spices and herbs and other things like CBD and essential oils and healing mushrooms around our immune system. Because right now with COVID-19 we’re all a little bit scared of getting it. And what I believe is that, and this goes back to this ancient debate between Louis Pasteur and another scientist of the time who’s mostly been forgotten named Claude Bernard.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And Louis Pasteur, for those who don’t know, was the guy who figured out there’s microbes. And he discovered bacteria, and looked in a microscope and saw these things and connected them to pneumonia. For example, strep bacteria causes strep pneumonia and so forth. Claude Bernard had a different theory. He said it’s not just the microbe, it’s the host that matters. He called it the biological terrain. The state of your health that determines your risk of getting sick or not, and how sick you will get.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I think people are not discussing this around COVID, which is just devastating to me. Because there’s so much we can do to rejuvenate our immune system, to become immune resilient, and to reduce our risk if we get sick of getting very sick and even to reduce our risk of getting sick at all. And we know from other studies, you can literally inject cold viruses directly into the nostrils of people and not everybody will get sick.

Dr. Josh Axe:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It depends. One of the studies where they just looked at their stress score. The more stress they had, the more likely they were going to get sick. If you weren’t stressed, you were less likely to get sick. And that’s just one component. Your diet plays a role. And what’s also really exciting about the book that you’ve written, Ancient Remedies, is that you include a lot of remedies that can help rejuvenate and build and boost your immune system so we can become more immune resilient and actually do better in this pandemic. Which I fear will be lasting for quite a while. Not just another year or so, but much much longer.

Dr. Josh Axe:
Yeah. Well Dr. Mark, first off, I love that reference. Because I’ve talked about that before, between Pasteur and Bernard and really terrain and the terrain of your body. So first off, I just think that’s a perfect example to talk about in terms of COVID and fighting viruses today. You know really the thought, I want to go back to something Hypocrites said. He said that the body heals itself. He really talked about this. That listen, it’s not a food that heals you. A lot of times we think broccoli heals me, or turmeric, or another herb. Really your body.

Dr. Josh Axe:
If you get a cut on your hand, your body heals that. Now your body’s going to use these herbals and these foods as the building blocks to repair itself. But what herbs do is they change the environment more than anything. They put your body in a better place where it’s better able to heal itself. And so with that, as we’re talking about immunity, I think it’s really really important. And again, think about this. Also, think about your body as a bucket, okay?

Dr. Josh Axe:
If it’s clean, if it’s healthy, it’s not going to attract any bugs. Essentially that’s what some of these things are. Parasites, viruses, bacteria, yeast. Some of these things that we can get inside our body. And think of it. We had a flood years ago in Nashville, and afterwards, Dr. Mark, I had so many patients coming in with mold toxicity because they didn’t get it cleaned up properly. I mean mold was a huge issue for years in Nashville.

Dr. Josh Axe:
So all that being said, but in order for mold to grow, it has to be in a very specific environment. It has to be damp. And the way you get rid of it is you have a lot of airflow and light and you dry it out. Okay? The same thing happens in our body. In Chinese medicine they called it dampness. But essentially, in our bodies, if our body gets too damp, and our body also gets in a bad environment, that’s what allows these bugs to thrive.

Dr. Josh Axe:
And so you just need to change the environment. That’s what these do. One of the things people should notice is that most herbs that you take for fighting a virus are bitter. Okay? Bitter drives out dampness and phlegm and candida in Chinese medicine. In fact, andrographis, which is one of the herbs now most prescribed in Asia and Japan for something like COVID, it’s known as king of the bitters. It is the most bitter herb. Have you tasted it? You’re like, “This is the most bitter thing I have ever had in my life.”

Dr. Josh Axe:
But if you try echinacea, that’s really bitter. That’s another good one. And a lot of these, olive leaf. These are all very very bitter. Those herbs are going to help drive out and actually have a lot of those anti-viral properties with those things. And then I would also say, things that are going to just activate the immune system. So you have the ones that help drive the bad stuff out, and the ones that strengthen your organ systems in your own body to better fight off the infection. Astragalus is a great example of one that really strengthens your own system so you can better fight off a virus.

Dr. Josh Axe:
So what I recommend, Dr. Mark, let me talk about nutrients first. Nutrients, number one is vitamin D. I know I’ve heard you say the same thing. But vitamin D, the most important nutrients we need to support our immunity right now. And number one, get the sun as much as you can. But if not, take vitamin D. Number two from what I’ve seen in working with people, is zinc. I think even when people are losing their sense of taste and smell, you can go to the medical literature. You can read about it. A lot of times, it’s more severe, it’ll take longer if you have a zinc deficiency. So that’s the next big one. Those are the two biggest ones I’ve seen. Vitamin D, zinc.

Dr. Josh Axe:
And then there’s other things. I think that vitamin C to a degree can be good. But I don’t even think that’s the biggest one. I think vitamin A in some cases or even nutrients like Quercetin are more important. But I would say zinc and vitamin D, you want to take those. And then in terms of herbals, I really like astragalus for long term prevention of strengthen your immune system. If you get something, I like andrographis, echinacea. And then to a degree, yeah, those are probably. I could mention a bunch more, but I think those are the big ones.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think those are really important. The other thing I wanted to dig into was something I read about in your book which is getting a lot of press. Which is CBD and endocannabinoid system, and how all that works and what we should know about that. Because it’s one of the plant remedies that you talked about which is a little controversial. People are very scared. They’re like, “Oh my God, if I take CBD I’m going to get drugs, and I’m going to get stoned. I can’t do it because my work doesn’t let me smoke pot.” What is all the hubbub about it, and what do we know, and what is the best application of CBD? And what do we use it for?

Dr. Josh Axe:
Well first off, [inaudible 00:37:17] I am a hemp farmer. I have 1000 acres of certified organic land where we grow organic hemp. That being said, there are different ways to grow the plant to where it has larger levels of different compounds. So two main compounds in hemp, also known as cannabis. And you’re going to have THC and CBD. THC as a compound has hallucinogenic effects. That’s what’s going to get somebody high. CBD is a very very different compound. CBD is just calming.

Dr. Josh Axe:
And actually, it comes from a bud of the flower of the hemp plant. And it’s more similar to chamomile or hops, or even lavender. It’s more similar in compounds there. So you have these two compounds in a plant. Chinese medicine, it’s known as a yin tonic. So it’s going to help. If you’re in a sympathetic state, you’re in a fight or flight response, which so many of us are today, it’s going to help bring you down from that. In fact, I would say CBD is maybe the most effective herbal I’ve ever used at getting people out of that fight or flight state, which is why I do think it’s so powerful for people to use.

Dr. Josh Axe:
If you really need to get better sleep, CBD is the best herb I’ve used. If you want to improve and help reduce inflammation in joints, it’s a really good one for that. I also think it’s good for digestion if it’s stress related and some other things. But sleep, inflammation, biggest benefits of CBD. THC though, I do want to give this warning. I do think doing a medicinal blend of those two, a lot of doctors will prescribe that. And I think that can be good to replace opioid drugs and if somebody has major chronic pain. But I really think chronic pain is about the only category out there to where THC should be used for a longer period of time.

Dr. Josh Axe:
Because here’s the thing. According to Chinese medicine, and I’ve seen this with people, there is a big side effect with THC in that it drains your adrenal glands. Your adrenals in Chinese medicine was also known that it’s what gives you motivation, it gives you energy. So you’re hey, I want to go out and do things. I want to be active. You’ll notice when people overdo, label them potheads for overdoing THC cannabis, it zaps their motivation. In Chinese medicine it’s known to depletes their jing, which is essentially their sperm count, and their libido as well.

Dr. Josh Axe:
So anyways, all that being said, I am not the biggest fan of using THC in most cases. But CBD, there are really just benefits there and none of the side effects.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Amazing. So in the book, Ancient Remedies, which to close up, you really are offering these ancient prescriptions for over 70 different conditions. From autoimmune disease, to inflammatory bowel disease, chronic inflammation, lots more. So can you take us through a few of what these remedies are, and who you begin to apply these ancient principles and remedies to helping people solve their complex chronic illnesses?

Dr. Josh Axe:
Yeah, absolutely. So in the book, as you said, it’s about 75 different conditions. And we go through the foods to eat, not to eat. We have a paragraph that goes to the actual root cause of it. And then we also go through the top five supplements, the essential oils, and the lifestyle practices to heal that condition. So for instance with something like PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome, that’s really an insulin related issue. And in Chinese medicine it was also known to be related to the emotion of worry. So we actually even lay out the emotion component you have to heal with that condition. So you’ve got to heal worry.

Dr. Josh Axe:
The other thing is you’ve got to consume foods that really support your blood glucose levels. And so we go through the best vegetables to do that. Just generally the best foods. And then the top five supplements. So in the case of PCOS, it’s an insulin issue, so cinnamon. One of the best things you could take for PCOS. An herb called vitex works because it also increases progesterone, which is also an issue that starts to happen with PCOS. And then other herbals like whole leaf basil, we recommend essential oils for that.

Dr. Josh Axe:
But we do that for over 75 conditions. Cancer is another one. The root cause of cancer in Chinese medicine is known as two things. It is blood stagnation and chi stagnation, which basically means things aren’t moving through your body. They’re very stuck. And so nutrients aren’t getting dispersed. And so for instance with that, emotionally, emotions like unforgiveness is a big one that is actually at the root cause of cancer according to ancient Chinese medicine and a few others. But it’s really a liver and an immune system issue. It’s your detoxification and your immune systems, those are the two compromised systems according to Chinese medicine. So they’re going to recommend herbs like, again, galangal is a big one. Turmeric is a big one. Astragalus is a big one. Certain types of mushrooms like maitake.

Dr. Josh Axe:
And so we go through that in there. And then frankincense, which is actually good for it, and myrrh, because of what they do for cleansing the blood. So we go through that. And then hypothyroidism, I’ll give that as the last example. That is a chi and yang deficiency in Chinese medicine. So the chief herbal that helps with that is ashwagandha, and as a secondary there is a few others there as well. And we go through the best foods, the best supplements.

Dr. Josh Axe:
But I’m really excited about this book because it’s also, you can use it as a reference guide. After you read it, I think there’s some great information that people probably have never heard of before. But hey, if you come down with acid reflux, or you’ve got a burn or a cut, or you come down with a viral infection, I go through here’s the best herbs for a virus or a cold. And you know exactly what to take at that point. So it is. It’s a book and a reference guide.

Dr. Josh Axe:
But I was so excited because I think this is the book that I’m most proud of that I’ve written. I’ve written about seven books. And I think from what we’ve heard from people is people just said, they have really enjoyed it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s so great. I really think it’s an important book, because people are often confused about what those really unique compounds are in food that can help us regulate our biology and improve our overall health and adjust it for conditions. And I think the whole concept of personalized medicine, that food is medicine, of understanding how to use that. We’re all doing the same work. We all take it from a different angle. And your work is really an important contribution. I encourage everybody to get a copy of Josh’s brand new book, called Ancient Remedies. And the subtitle is Secrets to Healing with Herbs, Essential Oils, CBD, and the Most Powerful Natural Medicine in History.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s out. I’d go to Amazon.com to check it out. I would also check out Josh’s website, DrAxe.com. There’s also a book page on there, draxe.com/ancientremedies. And learn more about his work. He’s a real fountain of information. He does the homework, finds the real stories, and digs into a lot of the science around food and food as medicine and all these ancient remedies to bring them to you in a way that’s easily digestible, practical, and I encourage everybody to check out the book.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So Josh, any last words of wisdom for people who are trying to figure out how to get healthy?

Dr. Josh Axe:
Yeah, I would say this. One, keep it simple. Two practices that I have. One is that I do spiritual triathlon every morning. I spend five minutes in gratitude, five minutes reading my Bible or just a personal growth or devotional book, and then I spend five minutes in prayer and meditation. I’m telling you, I just do that every morning. And I think we do need to focus more on our spiritual health. Dr. Mark, I know in your new book you talk a lot about mood and healing our mind and that sort of thing. And I’m so with you there. I just think for all of us, really fostering those healthy emotions in a world today that’s so full of fear. Having more faith, and hope, and love.

Dr. Josh Axe:
But we need to build those. Just like we need to build a healthy body, we got to build those healthy emotions. And then one last nutritional tip. There’s a lot of information, but think about this. Even if you just change breakfast, that’s a third of your diet. Really, and I notice when I eat a better breakfast I want to eat a better lunch and a better dinner. If you’re intermittent fasting, then hey, whatever your first meal of the day is. But I think starting off with something like a collagen smoothie. I’ll do coconut milk and a cup of berries and a scoop of something like a collagen powder, and boom. I feel great doing that. I’ve had patients doing that. They feel great. So I think those are two big things.

Dr. Josh Axe:
And continuing to learn and educate yourself. I encourage you, get the book Ancient Remedies. Get Dr. Mark’s book, The Pegan Diet. That’s fantastic too. But I’ve noticed this, Dr. Mark. The people that are the healthiest that I know, most of them are learners. They’re constantly reading, constantly learning, listening to your podcast. That sort of thing. My podcast. And I think that’s another big part of being healthy.

Dr. Josh Axe:
I want to say, hey, I’m just such a huge fan of yours. I’m just such an honor to be on today. And thanks so much for having me.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Thanks, Josh. And if everybody had been listening, I encourage you to check out Josh’s book, Ancient Remedies. Leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you and maybe how some ancient remedies have helped you. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and we’ll see you next week on The Doctor’s Farmacy.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

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