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Ancient Chinese doctor Youyou Tu wins Nobel prize 

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After years of research held up by the Chinese cultural revolution, Tu Youyou, a Chinese Medicine practitioner, turned an herb from the the Chinese Medicine materia medica into an anti-malarial drug, thus saving more than a hundred thousand lives each year in Africa alone. In 2015 she won the Nobel prize for this endeavor.

This is one example of what is called “reverse pharmacology”, taking medicinal knowledge about natural substances and developing them into modern pharmaceuticals.

In this way, new drugs can be developed for 1/5 of the cost and a third of the time.

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Herbology: A Love Story

Today I prescribe Chinese herbs to clients, but my earliest encounters with plants with medicinal qualities actually occurred in the forests of Northern California.

I grew up spending weekend days picnicking and hiking around the foothills and forests of the Bay Area. There was always another path to explore. This vibrancy of nature, whether it was the feeling of seeing a wild animal, or a different kind of forest, coast, or meadow, has inspired me to live in connection with nature.

In high school, I took a biology course which allowed me to research a topic of my choice. I decided to study Native American uses of plants for medicine. I checked out some plant identification books from the library, got in my beat up Chevrolet and drove into the foothills to walk around and see, feel and smell.

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Probiotics

When you hear the word “probiotics”, you usually think about a pill sitting in a bottle that you buy, often for a hefty price, at a health store or pharmacy. But unrefrigerated probiotics are not actually as effective as we think. Healing the gut is a process. For those with gut inflammation or digestive issues, the results of balancing the micro-biome of your gut can be reducing inflammation in the gut,increased absorption of vitamins and minerals, prevention of leaky gut .

Even for those not suffering from chronic gut issues, balancing the micro-biome results in nicer skin, better digestion and has a positive cognitive effect, (Fun fact: 80 percent of serotonin is produced in the gut. So the more balanced your gut is, the happier you’ll be!)

Balancing your gut is not about taking a pill, but more of a lifestyle change. Beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, are living creatures found in many of the foods we eat. These good bacterias live in our gut and are hungry for specific foods to remain happy and doing what they do to keep us healthy.

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