Should Kratom be banned?

Should Kratom be banned?

Recently the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public statement concerning the “deadly risks” associated with the ingestion of a herb commonly referred to as kratom, also referred to as ketum, biak-biak, kakuam, ithang, or thom. This follows a response by law-makers in some US States that have out-right banned the use of kratom, and an intention by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2016 to place kratom into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. North of the border in Canada, kratom is allowed for sale but has not been approved for use by Health Canada, and thus like in other US states where it isn’t banned, it is being sold euphemistically as “incense powder” or some other non-helpful product description to skirt its quasi-legal status. Clearly there are some regulatory issues here that need to be resolved, but what are we to make of the FDA’s claim that kratom is “deadly”? What is Kratom? Pronounced “kra-TOM” in the Thai language, kratom is one among several … [Read more...]

Ayurveda Overseas Study Program

Ayurveda Overseas Study Program

One of my greatest passions in life is the search for wisdom, and it is for this reason I have been drawn to Ayurveda for over 25 years. The classical texts of Ayurveda contain a vast body of knowledge based on a perennial philosophy that provides for deep insights into the nature of health and healing. Rather than simply being a stale body of book knowledge, Ayurveda is based on the empirical observations of a living tradition. It is for this reason that I have always been drawn to traditional Ayurveda, and the embodiment of an authentic lineage, rather than the Western-style academic training of modern Ayurveda. My first experience with such a lineage was in Coimbatore, south India, where I studied with a student of the late Shree Poomully Neelakandan Namboodiripad, an highly regarded expert in Ayurveda, as well as yoga, music, literature, and the martial arts (kalaripayattu). After returning to North America in 1997 and establishing my clinical practice, I became friends with my … [Read more...]

The Graduated Diet

The Graduated Diet

The ‘graduated diet’, or sansarjana krama in Sanskrit, is a measure utilized in Ayurveda to rekindle the digestive fire (agni). It is used for the purpose of amapachana: to enhance digestion and the processing of wastes, and remove the metabolic and immunological detritus (ama) that is generated with poor digestion. The graduated diet can be utilized in a variety of situations, including whenever digestion is weak and in the treatment of diseases such as fever (jwara). The process of ‘rekindling’ the digestive fire (agni) is analogous to starting a fire in a wood stove, enkindling the agni with easily digestible foods as one would a fire with paper or kindling. Once the fire is established, in the form of a strong appetite, progressively denser and more energy-rich foods are introduced in a graduated fashion to feed the digestive fire, but never so much as to cause it to smolder or be extinguished. How much to eat? The graduated diet isn’t designed to provide a maximal source of … [Read more...]

Memories from Ayurveda in Nepal

Memories from Ayurveda in Nepal

I've been back at home now for a little over a week, and after several days of jet lag, getting the garden ready for spring, and seeing a few patients, I feel like I am finally back! It's taking a little bit to get used to the rainy, wet weather of Vancouver, but somehow it also feels very familiar. It has certainly been nice to reconnect with my family and my dogs - and even the cat seemed mildly interested in reconnecting with me! I've been going through some of the photos I accumulated during the 2017 Ayurveda in Nepal program, and thought that many of you might be interested to see them. I have separated them into three categories: herbs, places, and people. To see the photos, please click on these links: herbs places people And please be patient if the page takes awhile to load - there's a lot of data! Overall, the program in Nepal was a great success, and I look forward to our next journey. I also have a ton of video footage, and over time I will be releasing … [Read more...]

Some of our teachers in Nepal

Some of our teachers in Nepal

Hi Everyone! I've just finished compiling a short video introducing some of the many lovely teachers and people we met during our time in Nepal. I still have so much footage to go through, including the preparation of traditional medicines such as Chyavanprash, Narayana taila, and Godanti bhasma, as well as the purification of Guggulu resin and Gandhaka (sulfur) - so please check back soon! … [Read more...]