An Electronic Journal for NSP DistributorsOct 1, 2005Vol. 21 No. 19In This IssueFeature Herb: Cascara Sagrada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1Steven’s Ramblings & Ravings:Helping People Stay Regular Without Laxatives . . 2-3Kimberly Balas’ Clinician’s Corner: MagnesiumTesting, High Calcium and Other Questions.... . . 4-5Product Handouts:Liquid Cleanse. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6LBS II. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7Announcements/Publication Info . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8CascaraSagradaBy Steven Horne with MarkMontgomeryCascara sagrada (Spanish for “sacredbark”) is the bark of the California buck-thorn, botanically known as Rhamnuspurshiana. This 15 to 25 foot-high treegrows in the western United States, from Idaho west to Californiaand north to Alaska. Its name came from the Spanish priestswho acted as doctors to their parishioners in the days when thewestern territories still belonged to Spain. Originally used by theNative Americans, cascara sagrada was quickly adopted by thesepriests and other settlers who boiled it for several hours in orderto use it as a tonic and laxative.Cascara bark is collected in spring and early summer, whenit is easily peeled from the wood. It is dried in the shade andaged for at least a year, and up to three years. Its effects improvewith age. The uncured bark is a violent purgative and an emetic(induces vomiting). The aged bark mellows in action.Cascara sagrada continues to be used today as a stimulantlaxative. It contains anthraquinone glycosides, compoundsthat are not absorbed in the small intestine, but travel to thecolon unabsorbed. In the colon, the action of intestinal bacteriaremoves the sugars from the glycosides, creating compoundsthat inhibit the absorption of water and electrolytes from thecolon. This softens and bulks the stool. Other compounds incascara stimulate local prostaglandin production and contributeto the cathartic action. The laxative action takes place about sixto ten hours after taking it, so the best time to take cascara isbefore bedtime. This promotes a normal bowel movement inthe morning.Starting in the late 19thcentury, cascara was marketed bya pharmaceutical firm as a laxative and eventually became oneof the most popular herbal medicines in the world. Today,derivatives of cascara are ingredients in many over-the-counterlaxatives. One article estimated that doctors write out over 2.5million prescriptions each year for products that contain it.Obviously, cascara is primarily used as a laxative, but it doeshave other effects. It stimulates bile flow from the gall bladderand digestive secretions from the pancreas,so it has been used, usually as part of aformula, for sluggish digestive, liver andgallbladder function. It is also used forexpelling parasites.Cascara is considered gentler, and lesshabit-forming, than other anthraquinone-bearing laxatives, such as senna and aloe.However, like other anthraquinone-bear-ing herbs, cascara can also cause intestinalcramping in some people, which is whyit is often combined with antispasmodicherbs in laxative formulas.Although some herbalists have taught that cascara is nothabit-forming at all, experience shows that people can becomedependent on cascara when it is taken habitually. In addition,long-term use of cascara can result in a depletion of electro-lytes (since it inhibits their absorption). Cascara can also stainthe colon black when taken over long periods of time. This isbecause it contains a black dye. However, there are no harmfuleffects from this.The bottom line is that cascara sagrada, like any other stimu-lant laxative, should not be taken for extended periods of time,as habitual use will end up weakening the colon. It should bereserved for cleansing programs and occasional constipation.People need to learn the underlying reasons for constipation andchange them, rather than becoming dependant on laxatives forconstipation in the same way that many people are dependenton painkillers for headaches.Cascara is an important ingredient in NSP’s All CellDetox, Bowel Detox, BP-X, CleanStart, Enviro-Detox, HerbalPumpkin, LB Extract, LB-X, LBS II and SF.Photo by Steven Foster
2Vol. 21No. 19Helping People to StayRegular Without LaxativesSteven Horne’s Ramblings and RavingsMany years ago, I remember Ed Bashaw telling people that ifthey went to several “experts” for nutritional advice each “expert”would tell them different things. He was right, of course, and hissolution to this “problem” is the same as mine—“Learn all youcan but trust yourself. Learn what works best for you. It may notbe right for anyone else, but if it works for you, that’s great!”It’s very good advice. Don’t take anyone’s opinion as gospeltruth, even mine. Nothing makes me more nervous than peoplewho act like Steven Horne can do no wrong. The fact is, that I’vebeen wrong plenty of times, and from time to time, I’ve had to“unlearn” things I thought I knew.My Personal View on Laxative HerbsOne of the things I had to “unlearn” was about stimulantlaxatives like cascara sagrada. I first learned about cascara sagradafrom Ed Millet, who had worked with Dr. John Christopher.Both of these men believed that cascara acted as a tonic to thecolon and was not habituating. So, I actually taught this myselffor a while, until I started to observe people who couldn’t “go”without taking stimulant laxatives.I had never taken cascara or any other laxative for anythingbut the occasional cleanse because I absolutely hated the taste ofthe herb, and not just because it’s bitter. I don’t mind goldenseal,which is also bitter. I assumed that if I hated the taste that much,it was my body’s way of telling me it wasn’t good for me. It’s notthat I haven’t taken formulas containing laxative herbs (I have),but I’ve tended to use enemas or other approaches when I gotconstipated, and leave the laxatives alone except when I’ve beendoing a cleanse.My favorite herbalist, Samuel Thomson, didn’t seem to relyon laxatives for cleansing. In fact, he didn’t think it was a goodidea. He said, “Physic [laxatives] I would by no means choose,to have you first or last to use; for if you use it much in course,it will disorder reinforce.” Also, we just had this discussion onHerbal Hall, the professional herbalist news group, and all theprofessional herbalists in the group felt the same way about laxa-tive herbs that I do.Now don’t go misquoting me and saying that Steven Hornesays Cascara Sagrada, Senna or other laxative herbs are bad. Idon’t think that at all. I don’t think they are “dangerous” either.It’s just that they are “band-aids” for the problem of constipa-tion. So, just like I don’t think that taking pain-killers is goingto be a permanent solution to anyone’s headaches, I don’t thinklaxatives are a permanent solution to anyone’s bowel problems.Both work, they just don’t get to the cause. Remember that myfavorite quote from Samuel Thomson is, “Remove the cause andthe effect will cease.” If we want to really correct constipationpermanently, we need to first find the cause.Iridology and Intestinal HealthI find that iridology is indispensable as a tool for helpingto identify what is going on in the intestines and selecting theright remedies to help a person stay regular. For starters, oneshould look at the position of the collarette (also called theautonomic nerve wreath). A collarette that is close to the pupil,as shown in Figure 1, indicates a bowel that tends to be spastic.A spastic bowel has tight muscle tone that tends to constrictand have a hard time relaxing.I find that people with tight collarettes are the ones whoare most likely to become dependent on laxatives. They alsodon’t tolerate coarse fiber products like bran and psyllium.They tend to do much better on softer, mucilaginous fiberslike slippery elm and pectin. Intestinal Soothe and Build orEverybody’s Fiber are good products to start them on. Freshground flax seeds, mixed with Everybody’s Fiber, are also verygood for spastic colons.Contraction furrows (also called nerve rings), which areshown in Figure 2, are signs of a tendency to muscle tensionand stress. This tendency to muscle tension would also tendto make the colon spastic, because the colon is a muscle, too.Magnesium and nervines like Nutri-Calm can be very helpfulfor relaxing muscle spasticity, and may help promote betterbowelmovementsintheprocess.I’vefoundthatantispasmodicslike Lobelia or Kava Kava will often act as a laxative for peopleFigure 1The black circleshows the position of thecollarette, which is veryclose to the pupil. Thisindicates a tendency to aspastic or tense bowel.
3Vol. 21No. 19Steven H. Horne is a profes-sionalmemberandpastpresidentoftheAmericanHerbalistsGuild,a certified iridologist with the In-ternationalIridologyPractitionersAssociation and a gifted teacherandconsultantinthefieldofnatu-ral health care. He is president ofTree of Light Publishing.the intestinal membranes. Essential fatty acids and flax seedscan also be helpful.The photo in Figure 4 also illustrates a central heterochro-mia. This is the color concentrated towards the center of theiris.This color indicates a tendency to digestive system toxicity,which is probably due to problems with digestion. As long asthe body isn’t breaking down food properly, the colon will betoxic and constipation will be a problem. Hence, supportingthe liver, stomach and pancreas is often needed to get the colonworking properly again.The colors in the iris can provide clues as to which organsneed help. Bright orange points to the pancreas, darker orangetothepancreasand/orgallbladder,browntotheliver.Digestiveenzymes like Protease and Proactazyme will act as a laxativewhen taken regularly and can help restore normal functionto the colon. Cholagagoue herbs that stimulate bile flow willimprove digestive function and also increase peristalsis in theintestines.I know that laxative herbs are top-selling products in theNSP line, and I’m not trying to say that these are bad prod-ucts—they aren’t. That’s why we’re featuring them in this is-sue. It’s just important for people to understand that laxativesaren’t the total answer to colon health. It’s necessary to lookdeeper and get to the cause of people’s bowel problems if wereally want them to achieve optimal health, and as I’ve shown,iridology helps you do.Figure 2The arrow pointsto a contraction furrow(nerve ring) which showsthe tendency to muscletension. Muscle tensioncan affect the bowel andbe an underlying cause ofconstipation.with spastic colons when taken in larger quantities with plentyof water. It works well for me!When the collarette is expanded, as shown in Figure 3, theperson’s colon tends to lack muscular tone. Again, the colon isa muscle, and like any muscle it needs exercise to stay toned.Fiber, when taken with plenty of water, swells up in the colonand presses against the colon walls. This stimulates the nervesto make the colon muscle contract, which exercises the colon.This is the same thing cascara does, except that cascara is in-hibiting the absorption of water from the colon. When you aredehydrated, the colon absorbs more water out of the stool totry to hydrate you. That’s why your stool gets dry and you getconstipated. I think water and fiber are a better solution.People with expanded collarettes generally need a lot ofcoarse dietary fiber. Psyllium Hulls combination or Nature’sThree usually work best for them. They also tolerate stimulantlaxatives better, but still shouldn’t overuse them.Radial furrows (also known as radii solaris lines) indicatea lack of nerve supply to parts of the intestinal wall. These areillustrated in Figure 4. This can result in weak areas wheretoxic leakage (i.e. leaky gut) is more likely. Intestinal leakagemeans that the colon tends to absorb too much fluid and solids,including waste materials. This would make one more proneto drier stools and constipation. It also increases intestinal in-flammation and irritation. The Kudzu/St. John’s wort formulais a very good one for reducing intestinal leakage and toningFigure 3The black circle showsthe expanded position ofthe collarette, as comparedto the contracted positionshown in Figure 1. Thisindicates the tendency toan atonic or sluggish colon.The rounded openings(lacuna) inside the collar-ette are areas that tend toform diverticula.Figure 4The arrow points toa radial furrow, a nervedeficiency that tends tocreate intestinal leakage.The color at the centerof the iris also suggestsdigestive toxicity. Thecolor indicates that thegallbladder and/or pan-creas needs help.inspim
4Vol. 21No. 19Kimberly Balas’ Clinician’s CornerMagnesium Testing, HighCalcium and Other QuestionsMagnesium TestingIs there a way to check absorption of magnesium in thebody? I don’t believe it will totally show in a blood test. Arethere tests that can be done?JeffYou can read serum levels of magnesium in the bloodtests, but what they actually check here is the bicarbonateion production. About half of the body’s magnesium isfound in the soft tissue and muscle cells and the remain-der in the bones.Serum magnesium is found extracellularly and istherefore not the best method for assessing tissue levelsof magnesium. If you need a more accurate assessment ofmagnesium in the tissues, then run a red blood cell magne-sium test because the red blood cells should contain two tothree times the concentration of magnesium found in theserum. You can use normal lab ranges on this test.If you are using the serum magnesium number to deter-mine magnesium levels in the body, then remember thatthe serum magnesium is bound to albumin. If albumin islow, then usually it will drive serum magnesium low as welland vice-versa. If albumin is normal and magnesium is outof range, then you know you have a fairly good reading onthe serum magnesium.HypercalcinemiaMy niece has just been diagnosed by her doctor withhypercalcinemia, which is basically way too much calcium inthe blood, and can be life-threatening. Do you have any ideason how to get her system back into balance? I would greatlyappreciate any suggestions. She is 50 years old, and also suffersfrom severe hot flashes, as well as problems with her back.TerryThe calcium is in the blood as free calcium because itisn’t being bound properly before it is absorbed throughthe intestines. Calcium has to be bound before it can beabsorbed and properly utilized by tissues.You can determine the level of free (unbound) cal-cium by taking the amount of phosphorus in the bloodand multiplying it by 2.5. This gives you the predictedcalcium. Take the serum calcium result and subtract thepredicted calcium result. This will tell you how much ofthe calcium in the blood is unbound.One cause of unbound calcium is leaky gut syndrome.When the intestinal membranes become too permeable,due to damage from chronic inflammation, the calcium isabsorbed into the blood stream too quickly and doesn’t getbonded to other organic compounds for proper delivery.So, the first thing I would try is taking Kudzu/St. John’sWort, because this formula reduces intestinal inflamma-tion and tones the intestinal membranes to reduce gutleakage. I would also add Vitamin B-12 as this helps withtransportation across intestinal membranes.Calcium also binds with lipids (or fats) and sometimesthere aren’t enough good fats in the diet for proper absorp-tion. Omega 3 essential fatty acids may be helpful in thiscase.Also, the fats have to be properly emulsified by the bilefor absorption. If there are problems with the gallbladder,the calcium can’t bind properly to the lipids. Cholagogueherbs that stimulate the flow of bile (turmeric, fringetree,dandelion, barberry, yellow dock, etc.) can be helpful herealong with Gall Bladder Formula and/or Hi Lipase.When calcium elevates in the blood, there also canbe a magnesium deficiency. A deficiency of magnesiumprevents the calcium and lipoproteins from being drawnthrough the intestinal membrane. This typically meansthere are problems with the anterior pituitary which regu-lates this process. Digestive Bitters or MasterGland can behelpful in this situation.Finally, there could also be an emotional cause. Highcalcium can be a sign that she is holding onto negativethoughts that constrict her. Having possessive tendencieswould also cause this rigidity.
5Vol. 21No. 19Kimberly Balas is a board certi-fied naturopath and an instructor forTree of Light. She is also a certifiediridologyinstructorandaboardmem-ber with the International IridologyPractitioners Association (IIPA). Sheisavailableforpersonalconsultations.To schedule a consult call BalancedHealth Solutions at 321-626-9243.Plaque Build-up on TeethI have a 13-year-old girl who has an absolutely terriblebuild-up of tartar which her dentist says is caused by an over-producing salivary gland...something about the saliva beinghigh in minerals.Her mom said when she took her back to the dentist fora filling - after a cleaning less than a week before - the tartarhad already started to build back up. The dentist said he’dnever seen anything like it.The mom is asking if I have anything that will help withthis problem.TeriA high level of VLDL cholesterol will contribute to thedevelopment of plaque on the teeth. It usually indicatesplaque build up in all parts of the body. The Chinese RedYeast Rice along with CoQ10 might be helpful.A combination of Black Walnut and White Oak Barkmakes an excellent tooth powder for brushing the teethand helping to eliminate plaque build-up.If there are too many minerals in the saliva, this couldindicate a high level of mineral congestion in the lymphaticsystem. The pituitary and adrenals regulate fluid/mineralbalance, so you might want to take a look at her glandularfunction and her lymphatics as well.Xango versus Thai-GoI just had a Xango distributor call. She said she wantedto know how we could prove that Thai-go really is higher inxanthones since Xango is telling her the study was flawed insome way. I didn’t really know how to reply to that one otherthan to tell her about NSP quality in general and NSP’s his-tory. She did go ahead and order a case to try in comparisonwith Xango because it is less expensive. Anyone know how torespond to that in the future?NicoleI would contact health sciences for help on this one,but I think you handled it well. She can directly comparethe products and see which one works better for her. Plus,NSP has a much wider variety of options.From what I understand, the extraction method andthe part of the fruit from they are extracting makes a hugedifference in the product. There is a higher potency ofxanthones in the pericarp of the mangosteen. The Xangoingredient list says their product contains a puree from thewhole fruit, plus an extract of the pericarp. I think we usethe fruit blended with more of the pericarp. The pericarpor rind does have a more bitter taste, but gets masked withthe other flavors.I have tried Xango and it is full of sugars, probably nat-ural, but it is still more sugary. Xango’s ingredients includeapple juice concentrate, pear juice concentrate, grapejuice concentrate, pear puree, blueberry juice concentrate,raspberry juice concentrate, strawberry juice concentrate,cranberry juice concentrate, cherry juice concentrate, citricacid, natural flavor, pectin, xanthan gum, sodium benzoateand potassium sorbate.Thai-Go does contain some fruit juices, but the con-tent of fruit juice seems much higher in Xango. Thai-Go isalso different because NSP has added several herbs. Thai-Go includes wolfberry (also known in Chinese medicine asLycium), which is one of the richest sources of vitamin Cof any food. It also contains sea buckthorn, which is richin vitamins E, K and has a high flavenoid content. Thai-Go also has the added polyphenol properties of green tea.So, Thai-Go appears to have a wider range of antioxidants.This may be why NSP’s Thai-Go tested as having moreantioxidant activity in an independent study.Xango lists pectin, xanthan gum and two preservativesas ingredients. Thai-Go doesn’t contain any preservatives.And I don’t think Xango has the “guaranteed pure” ontheir label that Thai-Go does, either.Scar TissueI just got a call from someone who asked what to do aboutinternal scar tissue. Do you have any suggestions?MarilynI would use Nature’s Fresh internally and Helichrysumessential oil topically. Helicrysum dissolves scar tissue.
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