This blog post goes out to the several hundred people who have downloaded The Reactive Body Handbook. This month we will explore the medicinal mushroom known as Chaga.

Chaga or Inonotus obliquus is an intense immune system boosting mushroom that grows on birch trees. Called the King of Medicinal Mushrooms, chaga is one of the most powerful, health building and anti-oxidant herbal remedies known. It is found around the world in a ring around the Arctic. Everywhere it grows it is revered for its efficacy. Chaga concentrates Betalin into Betalinic acid from birch trees. This is a potent immune system building molecule produced in the bark of the white birch that is normally not absorbable by humans. Chaga also gathers trace minerals like rubidium and cesium necessary in very minute amounts for optimum health. Plus chaga is a major source of melanin supplementation.

I take chaga on rotation with other adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogenic is a great word and a terrific concept. When something is said to be adaptogenic we mean that it boosts the immune system via multiple pathways. This is EXACTLY what Reactive Bodies need to stay on top of Flare Ups.

Chaga can have profound effects when taken over time. You may find your need for sleep reduced, additional sexual energy, and the ability to quickly shake off colds that seem to grab onto other people. It can help to clear the cobwebs from your head, and is healing to your liver.

Most people like to make brewed tea from ground chaga. You get most of the chaga goodies out this way but I like to tincture it in bottles of Vodka for a month. Mighty tasty! Alcohol releases the oil soluble factions inside which have notable antiviral properties.

The most powerful chaga I ever took was made by boiling it in maple sap until it was reduced to a syrup. The potency was probably triple that of the alcohol extraction but this is a subjective judgement. Some sources do not recommend hot extraction, however I must respectfully disagree based on personal experience.

Mix and rotate chaga with rishi mushrooms. They complement each other well. Many natural healers recommend rotating tonic herbs every six weeks, which is what I recommend in The Reactive Body Handbook. However, in practice, I find myself rotating tonics about every 12 weeks so follow your instincts. Chaga and rishi are particularly useful as a tincture during the winter cold and flu months. But once I am eating fresh organic veggies and herbs from my spring garden, I stop taking winter tonics and rely instead on healthy food grown in mineralized soil to keep the old immune system buffer in tip top shape.

Help other people to take back their lives by passing on the (still) free Reactive Body Handbook link at   Having a sensitive system does not make one a lunatic – nor a hypochondriac.

In Peace,

Larry Plesent

Larry Plesent is a writer, organic gardener, amateur herbalist and CEO of Vermont Soap, a certified organic personal care products manufacturer for people with sensitivity issues.


Molecular Zen: Secrets Revealed!

I’ve been thinking a lot about Molecular Zen this month, which is of course the underlining theme of this column and the basis of my personal world view. And thus, in the tradition of pop science writers everywhere, I must reveal at least one great truth about the universe per article using a paucity of verbiage. So before your rectangle beeps you yet again with an instant message, here it tis:

The crux of the Molecular Zen biscuit is to practice NOT viewing the world-at-large as a bundle of separate objects we find ourselves wandering around in, but practicing Wholeness Perception.

Notice that I said “practice”. Buddha knew that all of us are practicing at being ourselves every day. Optimistically, we are practicing being the best selves we can be right now. Like everything else in life, the more you practice something the more you get out of it and, presumably, the better you become at it. Practicing not being self-obsessed is ALWAYS a good idea. Practicing NOT viewing the world-at-large as a bundle of separate objects means keeping to the forefront of one’s thinking the ones-ness of it all.

Keeping to the forefront the ones-ness of it all means understanding that the Universe has an operating system that is increasingly discernable over time (by practicing Wholeness Perception). Seeing the system of life and interlocking existence as an ocean – rather than a mishmash of waves and currents -helps us to understand the basic principles of how life and stuff are put together and behave here at home base.

You see, Nature does not reinvent itself every time it creates something new. Rather it borrows heavily from everything that came before, building off of the previous models.

The point is this:

The basic laws and working systems that operate on every level, from atomic system to ecosystem to solar system, all apply equally to human existence and behavior. The distribution of warm water into cooler water is no different from the dissemination of new ideas into a society. The colonizing behavior of penicillin mold on bread is incredibly similar to the colonization of “virgin” land by humans.

Humans are passionate; so are molecules. They hook up, long or short term and form new families with new properties when they “mate” with other molecules. Every law of Newtonian Physics and Biology can and is applied to human construction and human behavior.

We arose out of the Universe, are made of its stuff, and follow the same principles in our short existence as does the rest of the mess.

Simple! Molecular Zen rules. Now back to practicing… practice, practice……

Sodium Alginate

MisoOne of my personal top 10 favorite molecules for health and longevity is sodium alginate aka Algin. Faithful readers may recall my mention of it in past articles, and it is so useful, cheap and nontoxic that I finally had to dedicate an entire column to it.

Extracted from brown seaweeds, algin is used in baking to make hard shell custards and long lasting food decorations. It soothes upset tummies and helps to bind up loose bowels. I have never known anyone to react to it negatively. Pharmaceutical companies use sodium alginate in the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure, to lower cholesterol levels and to soothe irritated throats. It’s most common source in the US is in Miso Soup. Two cups of miso soup a day will have profound effects on your health and you will not need to supplement with pills under normal conditions.

Most importantly, sodium alginate is proven to reduce the buildup of toxic metals in your body, including radiation and it’s by-products like strontium 90, barium, tin, cadmium, manganese, zinc, and even mercury. Algin works best as a metal detox when it is already present in your body at the time of exposure. Radiation for example binds with your calcium. Get enough of a radiation dosage and you will experience severe calcium deficiency ie brittle bones, hair loss with possible death resulting. If you already have algin built up in your body, the radiation (or metals) will bind with it instead and it will pass on out without harm.

Even if you are exposed before it is built up in your body, algin will clean you out over time. Six pills a day for six weeks are recommended for a real de-tox, but even three caps a day can have a positive effect. Repeat the treatment yearly for best results. I leave some caps on the kitchen table so I at least get take some once in a while throughout the week.

Sodium alginate binds with some good stuff too, notably calcium and lucapene. It is best to take your algin with a different meal than one containing calcium and lucapene. Lucapene is what makes tomatoes red so get your algin when you are not eating Italian style!

Algin is of special benefit to people opting for conventional treatments for cancer like chemotherapy and radiation. Once the treatments are done almost killing you, sodium alginate will help to get the poisons out, potentially hastening the healing process and the return to normalcy.

This is the Soapman reminding you that Nature is the source of all healing and that plants are chemical factories with a billion years of practice fighting virus’s, fungus, bacteria and cancer. As humans we learn to concentrate and even synthesize these same plant molecules to fight back against those same opportunivors.

All of nature and physics seeks balance. Why is it so hard for we humans to do the same?

And this month’s special ingredient is… TOLUENE.

Chemical-Plant-FarmIf you have asthma you may already have heard of toluene; 72% of all asthmatics or over 20 million Americans are reactive to it. Toluene, like the other “enes” ie xylene and benzene, cause cancer so it is probably a good thing to be reactive to these dangerous solvents. In fact toluene is just benzene with an extra carbon stuck to it. Not surprisingly the town with the highest liver cancer rate on the planet also hosts the world’s largest toluene processing facility.

Toluene is a nearly universal solvent. It is used as a carrier for many artificial scents and flavors and colors which explains why people who cannot tolerate fake scents react no matter what the actual individual fragrance molecules are. Toluene makes ink dry and used in paint and paint thinners, fingernail polish, some liquid laundry detergents, varnishes, rubber, auto body work and leather tanning; all of which are common asthma triggers.

Fuel injector cleaner blends usually contain toluene too. The fact that toluene changes during combustion to become even MORE carcinogenic has not hindered it’s dissemination upon an unsuspecting and vulnerable populace.

Toluene is one of the hidden cancer causing chemicals that run the width and depth of our most un-natural civilization destroying lives and bringing immeasurable suffering to American families every day. If the day every comes when huge multi-national corporations no longer control the Federal Government, perhaps poisons like these will be clearly labeled and have the same warning graphics that are required when these types of products are sold in 55 gallon drums rather than in consumer packages.

I am sorry that we have built our entire civilization upon a foundation of cheap deadly poisons like toluene and gasoline. Now that we have, and now that the super wealthy and powerful chemical and energy companies have vested interest in their continued production, how will we ever get the petrochemical IV out of our oh-so-civilized arteries?

The answer of course is DON’T BUY THEIR CRAP! And I mean this in the mental emotional sense as well as in dollars and cents. Every time you buy a better, safer product that is NOT made from petrochemicals you are voting for your children and grandchildren’s health and for a more sustainable and natural life for us all.

Certified organic foods and personal care products are the safest bet for you and for your children. Everything else is a chemistry experiment, and THEY have to pay the price for the repeated failures in regulation and oversight that have allowed cancer rates to skyrocket to over 70%.

Depending on where one’s cancer emerges, cancer mortality rates average over 35% five years after treatment (source: Wikipedia). By comparison, the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic which killed over 50 million people world wide, only had a 5% mortality rate.

Rather than treating asthmatics with drugs, maybe we should be paying attention to the molecules that trigger so many of us. It’s not that our bodies our broken, they’re just trying like heck to tell us to stay away from these poisons! How many of us are listening?

2×4 Zen (a lesson in lessons)

Note: Getting this one can potentially save you a world of pain.

A 2×4 is a piece of wood. It is the basic building block of residential construction.

Zen is a kind of spiritual self-help program.

Here’s how 2×4 Zen works:

Let’s say there is some lesson, some information you need to understand, a message to receive; something you need to learn or a life change that you need to make. Well, first the Universe gives it to you gently.

It says, “Hey Kid! Did you hear about suchandsuch?”

Now you may or may not pay a lot of attention to this message, and may simply hurry on with your busy day.

A few days later you might be talking to someone and out of the blue they say, “Hey Kid! Did you hear about suchandsuch?”

Now you may think it quite odd that for no apparent reason suchandsuch is mentioned in your presence once again. Then you get on with your busy day. A couple of weeks later you visit your long lost cousin that you haven’t seen in ages. As you are catching up she reaches into her handbag and pulls out a book, “SUCHANDSUCH REVEALED”.

Now, maybe you forgot your reading glasses, or maybe you really just don’t want to think about suchandsuch at all, but let’s say that somehow you miss the cue.

The Universe has been lobbing you softballs up until now, at worst a paper airplane to the side of the head. And if you do not pay attention, one day the Universe is going to WHUP you upside that thick skull of yours. But before it does that it might just give you a CLOSE CALL.

We’ve all had that close call. The one that starts, “It’s a miracle anyone survived that fillintheblank”.

THAT is the whistle of the 2×4 coming through the air to whup your sorry you-know-what. Do yourself a favor. Learn to duck. Quickly.

Hopefully you agree with me that paying attention, that “listening” is way better than getting whupped with a 2×4!

“OK. That’s great”, you might say. “But how do I pay attention more? I have a busy schedule. If I pay attention any harder I’ll give myself a migraine!”

My immune system buffer signals me this way. First I begin to feel very small. I breathe in little panting breaths and my face goes pale. Then I begin to feel panicked and claustrophobic and my focus becomes very narrow.

My wife and I have a key phrase we use when this happens.

If I say, “Shit! I gotta get out of here quick.”

Then she says, “I got it honey. Why don’t you wait for me in the car?”

Life should ALWAYS run so smoothly.

Allergic to Life covered a story about a gentleman who became so intolerant of chemicals that he packed up and moved from his home in Georgia to the arid lands of Arizona to live in a community of people who also suffered from MCS. Claudia Miller, a noted environmental health expert at the University of Texas School of Medicine in San Antonio, has studied cases like this and has made some groundbreaking breakthroughs for this disease. Read this article here.