Ok, so, you already know that I have been interested in medicines and foods that increase health and vitality, and I have been interested in it for a long time. Well, I wanted to do a Phd in the subject. I wanted to learn more and do it on an academic level. What I discovered was that to do a PhD, I was going to have to build my Phd thesis on the work of some other scholar. Oops. Where was I going to find a scholar in the area of vitality building herbal medicine? But, with some rooting around, I found another scientist who was equally interested in foods and medicines of health. A man called II Brekhman. As it turns out, Brekhman had spent his life studying foods and medicines of health. Using his material as a base, I built my PhD.
Previous to doing the PhD, I was interested in the foods and medicines of health. By the time I finished doing it, I had a philosophy. An philosophy that I believe in to the core,
If I was to summarize my philosophy in a few words, it would be this. The body has an intrinsic healing capacity. This capacity can and will keep you well. If you want to stay well forever, find and use medicines and foods that increase this intrinsic healing capacity. If you fill the body with foods and medicines that stimulate this intrinsic healing capacity, you can stay well forever. Or at least longer than expected! Ok, that’s my philosophy.
More than just a philosophy, I have a new science I am working on developing. A science started by II Brekhman and one I am carrying forward. The new science is called Valeology. (www.valeology.com). Substances that increase health and vitality are called valerogens(www.valerogen.com). If you are really, really interested in staying healthy, continue reading……or click on my other two websites, www.valeology.com or www.valerogen.com. If you want to stay well, you need to know about valeology and valerogens.
Here is a useful hint. The websites give a brief introduction to both, what follows is a little more drawn out. Or as my editor used to say, a more wordy version.
II Brekhman, the Great Russian medical researcher, working in the 1940’s, said that modern medical science was on the wrong path. It was based on pathology, the study of disease, and, to put words in his mouth, studying failure (people who got sick) was not very useful. He thought there was a better way. He suggested that healthy people be studied….he studied health and revealed its secrets. As the medical world was so stuck on studying disease, he felt he needed to create an entirely new science to pursue his interests. He called the new science valeology, from the Latin, “to study of health”. He studied health.
In addition, he identified medicines and foods that increased health. He learned a lot about health, and he identified medicines and foods that increased health. And then he died….. and the study of health stalled out. The champion of the study of health was gone.
Brekhman was not the first person to think about the nature of health. Since the beginning of time healers have thought about the nature of health. The Chinese cultures speak of Chi or life force. The Chinese say that if a person has strong Chi, they will be well. The Eclectic Physicians, a renegade group of American doctors working in the 19th century, talked about Life Force or Vital Energy. Some Eclectic physicians said Life Force was like a candle. If it burned bright, a person would remain well. Other Eclectic physicians likened it to the vibration of a tuning fork, if the vibration was strong, a man would remain healthy. Both the Chinese, and the Eclectic Physicians agreed, that if Chi or Life Force diminished, disease had the opportunity to creep in
Even the lay person is aware of this “energy”. They intuitively know that young people have more of IT than old people, and that sick people have less of IT than well people. And, that when a person dies, IT whatever IT is goes away entirely. People know that IT is important and the more you have of IT the healthier you will be. And they always have.
And, before the age of science, cultures around the world identified foods, medicines, and practices that increase Life Force or Health. Tellingly, different cultures, on different continents, before the age of communication, identified the same foods, medicines, and practices as Life Force builders. Could this be a coincidence? I don’t think so.
When I realized that people, in different places, in different times, came to the same conclusion, that there were foods, medicines, and practices, that increased health, I decided there was something to look at.
So, in my PhD, I studied one group of Life Force or health supplements, the plants that people around the world called tonics. A tonic is a plant medicine or food that acts as a Life Force supplement. They increase “health”, “vitality”, “stamina”, or ”life force”. People use tonics to make their bodies stronger, to prevent illness from taking hold, to help them recover from illness faster, , and to stay young longer. I studied 349 tonic plants and discovered some really interesting things in the process.
But, one significant consequence of studying 350 stay well plants was this. I became convinced that Valeology, the study of health, needed to be dusted off and resurrected. My philosophy became that I believe in studying health. I believe in health. I believe in Health Care. Caring for your Health.
So, I took Brekhman’s beginnings of a science, Valeology, and, built it out. I took his idea and expanded it a little. What follows is a new science I am trying to get off the ground, the science of health, Valeology. If you really want to know more about my philosophy, read on.
Valeology: A Science for the Future
People exist in one of three states. The first group exists in the state of health. The second group exists in the state of disease. The third group exists in that state that lies somewhere between health and disease. They are neither well nor diseased. This group exists in a transitional state. Pathology concerns itself with the state of disease. Valeology concerns itself with the state of health and the transitional state.
Valeology is defined as the study of health. Valeology uses the scientific principles of search and research to gain insight into the ways and means the body maintains health.
The body has an intrinsic ability to maintain health. Valeology believes in working with this intrinsic ability and never against. Remedies and procedures that augment the bodies’ ability to maintain health are accepted. Remedies and procedures that undermine the bodies’ ability to maintain health are rejected. Medicines that cause disease are rejected en toto. Valeology works with nature and never against it.
Valeology will have medicines that maintain health. The study of medicines for health will be called pharmacosanation. Pharmacosanation will be divided into sub-sections, alimentary pharmacosanation (food for health) and medical pharmacosanation (medicines for health).
Alimentary pharmacosanation is defined as the study of foods and beverages for health and will be a top priority of valeology.
This is in part because food is causing great morbidity and mortality in much of the developed world. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions and makes it clear that food can and will destroy health. Health destruction through food is clearly a threat to human well being and therefore is of prime importance to valeology.
On the other hand, valeology sees food and beverage as a dynamic opportunity to maintain health. Human beings are creatures of habit when it comes to food and beverage. People do tend to eat and drink, whatever they eat and drink, regularly. If we can learn about foods for health, and educate people about foods for health, in all probability, they will eat and drink these foods regularly.
Alimentary pharmacosanation aims to isolate and study healthy foods and beverages and bring that knowledge to the attention of the general public. There is a tremendous amount of preliminary information available about the health benefits of food and beverage. However, more often than not, the true relevance of this information is not clear.
As an example, studies have noted that people who live in the Mediterranean region have a lower incidence of coronary heart disease. The same studies have noted that these people regularly drink red wine. Additional studies have demonstrated the tannins in red wine have a protective effect on the heart. The conclusion has been that one can reduce the chance of heart attack by drinking red wine.
However, whether or not this has any bearing on people who do not live a Mediterranean lifestyle or eat a Mediterranean diet is poorly understood. Does red wine drinking protect people in Middle England or the Middle West of the United States from heart attack? Does it lend protection to those that subsist on highly processed foods and hectic schedules? No one really knows.
Other studies have shown that Asian women have a lower incidence of osteoporosis, lower incidence of breast cancer, and lower incidence of problematic menopause. Researchers have attributed this to a Soy based diet. Preliminary research suggests Soy has an oestrogen like effect. These facts have led western women to eat soy products. They believe eating soy will protect them from breaking bones and a problematic menopause. Does soy have the same effect on North American white women who never exercise, drink gallons of hormone-laden milk, and take the birth control pill? It would be hard to say.
There is no doubt that we can learn from traditional cultures eating and drinking habits. Studies that link what people do and the diseases they don’t develop are potentially very useful. But, the true relevance of these studies and their practical applications requires additional research. There is work that needs to be done after these prelimiary studies are done and before the information reaches the general public. Alimentary pharmacosanation will take on this work. It will take these studies into the next phase of research to determine what useful advice should be taken to the public.
On the other hand, there is “ready to use” information regarding food and beverage for health that remains unknown to the general public. Here are two examples of this.
Long used by traditional societies to boost well being, various mushrooms have been shown to improve immune function. The list includes shitake (Lentinus edodes) (3), maitake (Grifola frondosa) (4), Porcini (Boletus edulis) (5), and the oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) (6). There is sufficient evidence to support these mushrooms being used during the cough and cold season to increase immunity to infections. There is data to support their being used in anticancer regimens. There is sufficient data for these foods to be used to bolster the health of small children with a history of inner ear infections. Mushrooms and their ability to stimulate immune function have been demonstrated in vitro and in animal and human studies. (3–6) The public needs to know about this tool of disease prevention.
Brown sugar has been used since time immemorial to boost health. It is used as a building tonic in India. In the New World tropics it is used to secure the health of the elderly, the young, and the sick. Brekhman demonstrated that brown sugar acts as a resistogen. Studies with test animals demonstrated that brown sugar raises resistance to stressors. On the other hand, refined sugar has been demonstrated to cause a host of diseases. The general public needs to know that if they want to sweeten their drinks, they should be sweetening them with unrefined cane sugar. (7)
Food and beverage represents an excellent opportunity to prevent disease. And, there is a significant data regarding foods and beverage for health. There is also significant interest on the part of the consumer to use foods for health. However, health food is at the moment a bit of a headless chicken. Some data needs additional research for its true relevance to become apparent. Other data is ready to be put into action. For foods for health to become totally realised, the subject must be taken on by a distinct discipline. In the hands of a discipline that concerns itself with food for health, all of the bits and pieces of data can be synthesized into useful information.
Pharmacosanation is the study of medicines for health. The greatest objective of this discipline is the identification, study, and use of drugs that keep people healthy. Specifically, it will look for drugs that prevent the movement from state of health into state of transition, or state of transition into state of disease.
As the object of this discipline is health through medicine, medicines that cause disease are to be rejected entirely.
The work of the Eclectics, Selye, and Brekhman, and the discovery of drugs that augment the bodies’ intrinsic healing capacity inspire this discipline. As such, medical pharmacosanation will search for drugs that work with nature and never against it. Examples of drugs the discipline will pursue are as follows.
Valerogens are drugs that raise resistance to stressors. The deleterious effect of stressors is ameliorated with their administration. Their application is wide and their utility great. Medical pharmacosanation will identify and study valerogens and put them into use.
Medical pharmacosanation will take on the study of drugs for heart health. However, it will do so without prejudice. At the moment, drugs like Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Garlic (Allium sativum), and Gingko (Gingko biloba) are not well studied because they are of botanical origin. Medical pharmacosanation will not care from whence the drug comes. If it prevents heart disease, and does not cause disease in the process, it will be studied. Within the arena of maintaining heart health, there are two groups of drugs of particular interest.
The first are the anti-oxidants. It is now believed that anti-oxidants prevent free radical damage to the coronary blood vessels. Grape seed extract from grape seed (Vitis vinifera), pycogenol (Pinus maritima), and blueberry extract (Vaccinum officinalis) are used to prevent this type of damage. However, whether or not they actually have this effect is not clear. Moreover, some of the most potent anti-oxidants remain in obscurity. As an example, sorrel (Hibiscus sabdarrifa) is thought to contain one of the most powerful anti-oxidants and yet is unknown. The subject of botanical antioxidants requires sorting out and will be undertaken by medical pharmacosanation.
Medical pharmacosanation will also concern itself with the angiogenic drugs. When there is damage to a blood vessel, the body has the ability to replace it, or grow another to replace it. The phenomenon is known as angiogenesis. Some believe that the traditional drugs used to treat heart disease stimulate enhanced angiogenesis. Drugs like drugs like Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) and Gingko (Gingko biloba) are two drugs suspected to augment the bodies’ angiogenic capacity. The implication for heart disease is that by stimulating vessel growth, heart disease would not occur. Medical pharmacosanation will trawl through the traditionally used heart tonics for drugs with the capacity to increase cardiac angiogenic capacity, and will research their implications.
Senility is increasingly treated in a pro-active manner. Persons with a genetic predisposition to senility are using a collection of products to prevent senility. Drugs used for these purposes include aspirin, ibuprofen, and gingko. Whether, when taken for long periods of time, they have the desired effect, remains to be seen. The study of the drugs currently considered senility preventing remedies is something medical pharmacosanation will take on. However, it will also be concerned with finding new anti-senility drugs.
A likely source of such drugs is traditional systems of medicine. These systems are rich in drugs used for centuries to combat senile dementia. It is likely that some of these drugs, if researched, will be found to have an anti-senile dementia effect. Medical pharmacosanation will investigate the drugs currently used to prevent dementia and will identify and study other drugs that might be used to prevent the same.
As the population ages, drugs that can prevent age related disease will become increasingly important. Medical pharmacosanation will identify drugs useful in preventing physical senility.
In the first instance, resistogens have a role to play in ageing. According to Selye, ageing could be likened to State of Exhaustion. Its hallmark is diminished resistance. Resistogens have been shown to raise resistance. Medical pharmacosanation will examine the role of the resistogen in ageing.
In the second instance, medical pharmacosanation will investigate drugs that augment natural hormone production. Ever increasingly, we are realising ageing involves the slow reduction in hormone production. Though initially demonstrated in the case of the sex hormones, oestrogen and testosterone, the full gamut of hormones is now being investigated. It is thought that thyroid hormone, growth hormone, and androgens responsible for muscle growth all diminish as we age.
There is preliminary evidence that some traditionally used endocrine tonics may be able to increase the body’s production of these hormones. Some of these drugs have been shown to enhance hormone production. In some cases, the drugs stimulate hormone production on the pituitary level. In other cases, the drugs maintain hormone levels by inhibiting hormone destruction. In other cases still, the drugs have been shown to contain compounds that are able to sit on hormone receptors and switch on hormone dependent cells. Medical pharmacosanation will identify and study traditionally used endocrine tonics for potential usefulness in the prevention of physical senility.
Medical pharmacosanation will take up the cause of the immune stimulant. There is nothing more unfortunate than the under use of the known botanical immune stimulants. There are drugs that have been shown to increase immune function, drugs that are not being used. This includes drugs like Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia), Maitake (Grifola frondosa), and Elder (Sambucus canadensis).
The potential use of these drugs is as long as the list of drugs demonstrating immune stimulating activity. Public transport workers, health care workers, educators, people suffering under the strain of over exposure to microbes, would be greatly helped with the administration of an immune stimulant. Persons with a family history of cancer could use these drugs to reduce their risk of developing the disease. Persons having been treated for cancer could use them to insure the cancer does not make a return. People with viral disease could use them to keep their infections in remission. These are a few instances where these drugs would be useful, there are so many more.
Though there are many known botanical immune stimulants, we have only scratched the surface. There are many more to be found. Research has revealed that many of the drugs traditionally used to treat epidemic disease (Arctium lappa, Echinacea angustifolia, Lentinus edodes, Eupatorium perfolatum, Zingiber officinalis, etc.) are immune stimulants. Medical pharmacosanation will investigate drugs traditionally used to treat infectious disease to identify new immune stimulants. More over, it will continue the research that has been begun on known immune stimulants.
Medical pharmacosanation will take on the banner of the immune stimulant. It will aim to increase knowledge of immune stimulants, to identify unknown drugs, and explore the application of immune stimulants in disease prevention. The immune system prevents disease and as such, drugs that stimulate it will be of great interest to valeology.
Specialists in the field of health will be called Valeologists. Valeology will have two branches of specialists, clinical Valeologists and research Valeologists.
Valeology will have clinicians that are trained in working with those in the state of health and in the Transition State. At the moment, consumers are very interested in doing what they can to maintain their health. Unfortunately, do they do not have access to a trained professional who can assist them in the process. This is regrettable because consumers are not always qualified to efficiently assess their own health and or to select the best wellness medicines for their particular case. Like in the pathology driven medical system, there is need for a health care professional trained in valeology.
The Valeologists would asses the risks of the individual and come up with the a health maintenance protocol to suit that persons need. Here are a few examples.
In short, the clinical Valeologists could assess occupational, environmental, and genetic risks and establish protocols to ameliorate these risk factors. Patients would be greatly helped if they had a professional to assist them in the development of a wellness regimen. The Valeologists will guide them towards healthy and drinking habits and to medicines best suited to their case.
Educationally speaking, there will be a school where the clinical valeology learns the science of health and the application of pharmacosanation. The course would need to be comparable in length to the pathology driven medical courses currently in existence.
The aims and objectives of valeology are the study of health, health foods, and health medicines. Someone has to undertake this research and it will be research Valeologists. This is an entirely different process from studying disease and the remedy thereof. As such, a new line of researcher, schooled in health, needs to be educated.
There are many subjects that the research Valeologists will undertake. However, one of the fundamental topics that this line of researcher will investigate is the nature of health. Selye started the process by demonstrating that the General Adaptation Syndrome was the means by which the body survived stressors. In the end, he concluded that the next step was the elucidation of adaptation energy. This has not occurred in the days since his passing, but it is a subject the research valeology will take up. The healthy need to be scrutinised and the secrets of their health established. With this knowledge, health maintenance protocols will be more readily created.
Fortuitously, technology has evolved to the place that health can be examined in a way it could not have been before. Electron microscopy, electromagnetic resonance scanning, and technologies such as these will allow wellness to be probed on a level unimaginable even 20 years ago.
Beyond studying the well and tacking down the nature of adaptation energy, key areas of research will include the following.
This line of research will require education. University programs that train researchers in wellness research will need to be developed. Schools of research Valeology will be the centers of training and research.
1. Davydov, Marina, and Krikorian, AD. Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr&Maxim.) Maxim. (Araliaceae) as an adaptogen: a closer look. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 72(2000)
2. “Man and Biologically Active Substances.” Brekhman, II. Acad.Sci.USSR. Leningrad. (1966): “Man and Biologically Active Substances. The Effect of Drugs, Diet and Pollution on Health.” Pergamon Press. New York. 1980.
3. Hobbs, Christopher. Medicinal mushrooms. Botanica Press. Calif. 1995. P. 125–138.
4. Hobbs, Christopher. Medicinal mushrooms. Botanica Press. Calif. 1995.P. 110–115.
5. Hobbs, Christopher. Medicinal mushrooms. Botanica Press. Calif. 1995. P. 76–77.
6. Hobbs, Christopher. Medicinal mushrooms. Botanica Press. Calif. 1995. P. 147–149.
7. Brekhman, II. Brown Sugar and Health. Pergamon Press. New York. 1983. P. 34.
Disclaimer: The author makes no guarantees as to the the curative effect of any herb or tonic on this website, and no visitor should attempt to use any of the information herein provided as treatment for any illness, weakness, or disease without first consulting a physician or health care provider. Pregnant women should always consult first with a health care professional before taking any treatment.