DISEASE OF THE MONTH

September 1996.
PSORIASIS.

For this month I have chosen this disease process symptomology because my sister recently wrote to me and informed me her new husband has a bad case of psoriasis. Since I have counseled several people with psoriasis and they have had a resolution of the condition, I decided to relate what I know about it.

The following information I obtained from the web-site of The National Psoriasis Foundation (as a tip to facilitate web searches I use HotBot as the most efficient way I have found to find information on the World Wide Web).

What is Psoriasis?

Introduction

Psoriasis is a noncontagious skin disorder that most commonly appears as inflamed swollen skin lesions covered with silvery white scale. This most common type of psoriasis is called plaque psoriasis.

Psoriasis comes in many different variations and degrees of severity. Different types of psoriasis display characteristics such as pus-like blisters (pustular psoriasis), severe sloughing of the skin (erythrodermic psoriasis), drop-like dots (guttate psoriasis) and smooth inflamed legions (inverse psoriasis). The degrees of severity of psoriasis are divided into three important categories: mild, moderate and severe.

Causes of Psoriasis

No one knows what causes psoriasis, though it is generally accepted that it has a genetic component, and a recent study has established that it is an autoimmune skin disorder. Scientists believe that a person is born genetically predisposed to psoriasis. One in three people report a family history of psoriasis, but there is no pattern of inheritance. There are many cases in which children with no apparent family history of the disease will develop psoriasis.

Whether a person actually develops psoriasis may depend on something "triggering" its appearance. Examples of "trigger factors" include systemic infections such as strep throat, injury to the skin (the Koebner phenomenon), vaccinations, certain medications, and intramuscular injections or oral steroid medications.

Once something triggers a person's genetic tendency to develop psoriasis, it is thought that in turn, the immune system triggers the excessive skin cell reproduction.

The Psoriasis Cycle

Skin cells are programmed to follow two possible programs: normal growth or wound healing. In a normal growth pattern, skin cells are created in the basal cell layer, and then move up through the epidermis to the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin. Dead cells are shed from the skin at about the same rate as new cells are produced, maintaining a balance. This normal process takes about 28 days from cell birth to death.

When skin is wounded, a wound healing program is triggered, also known as regenerative maturation. Cells are produced at a much faster rate, theoretically to replace and repair the wound. There is also an increased blood supply and localized inflammation. In many ways, psoriatic skin is similar to skin healing from a wound or reacting to a stimulus such as infection.

Lesional psoriasis is characterized by cell growth in the alternate growth program. Although there is no wound at a psoriatic lesion, skin cells (called "keratinocytes") behave as if there is. These keratinocytes switch from the normal growth program to regenerative maturation. Cells are created and pushed to the surface in as little as 2-4 days, and the skin cannot shed the cells fast enough. The excessive skin cells build up and form elevated, scaly lesions. The white scale that usually covers the lesion is composed of dead skin cells, and the redness of the lesion is caused by increased blood supply to the area of rapidly dividing skin cells.

Living With Psoriasis

Psoriasis can be very painful, but the pain is more than skin deep. The emotions suffer as well. It presents people with physical limitations, disfiguration, and its tedious, daily care always demands too much time. Embarrassment, frustration, fear, and depression are common. In extreme cases, a loss of self-esteem results in a complete withdrawal from society.

Various kinds of temporary relief are available, and they work with varying degrees of success. Treatments and medications are often time consuming and expensive. They can be cosmetically unpleasant and pose additional health risks for the patient.

Psoriasis does not follow a predictable course. Each individual case breaks its own trail. One thing is certain: the symptoms may come and go, but they almost always come again. Its a life-long disease.

The National Psoriasis Foundation is committed to improving the lives of people who have psoriasis through education, while stimulating research to find a cure.

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Psoriasis Statistics

[ * ] Americans Affected - Psoriasis affects 5 million Americans.

[ * ] Gender - Psoriasis affects men and women equally.

[ * ] Average Age of Onset- The average age of onset is 22.5 years of age, though psoraisis is seen at birth and as late in age as 90.

[ * ] Childhood Psoriasis - Between 10 to 15% of the people who get psoriasis are under the age of 10.

[ * ] Psoriatic Arthritis - There is a form of arthritis that occurs in approximately 10-20% of the people who have psoriasis. It is called psoriatic arthritis.

[ * ] New Cases - Between 150,000 and 260,000 new cases of psoriasis occur each year.

[ * ] Outpatient Costs -Annual outpatient costs for treating psoriasis is currently estimated at $1.6 to $3.2 billion.

[ * ] Disability Grants - An estimated 400 people are granted disability by the Social Security Administration because of their
psoriasis each year.

[ * ] Fatalities - Annually, approximately 400 people die from psoriasis-related causes.

[ * ] Psoriasis Patients - Over 1,500,000 people per year are seen by U.S. physicians for psoriasis.

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The above is conventional medical information. And I have mentioned several times that there is no cure for any disease.

From a macrobiotic perspective, any skin condition indicates the organs of elimination are stagnated and toxic - these are the kidneys/bladder, the large intestine/lungs and the skin.

The foods which are significant contributors to stagnation and toxicity in this particular condition are the following:
Any animal protein/fat - thus they must be avoided - including any form of meat and dairy food. So, no beef, lamb, pork, eggs, chicken, fish, milk, cream, cheese, ice cream, yoghurt, butter etc.
Any form of simple sugars - thus no fruit or fruit juices, soft drinks, any form of alcohol, sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses etc.
Any form of refined food - especially refined white flour, tofu and tofu products like soy milk etc.
Avoid all the deadly nightshade family of foods- potato, tomato, peppers and eggplant.
Spices.
Drinking too much liquid of any kind.
Overeating any food.
It is also very important not to overdo the use of sea salt (regular table salt must necessarily be avoided) - therefore the use of miso, tamari, umeboshi plum, sesame salt and salty pickles must not be overdone.

Obviously I recommend adopting a macrobiotic dietary practice as the first step to be taken to allow for the body to rid itself of the symptoms of any condition. In addition it is crucial to do the regimen of ginger compresses on the abdomen as described in the page on The Ginger Compress.

As for external treatments to ease any irritation and inflammation, itchiness etc., I recommend using Brown Rice Bran (the brown rice bran - called nuka in Japanese- may be obtained from natural food stores) as follows:

Take one cup of brown rice bran and wrap it up in a cheese cloth or cotton cloth bag to make a sack of the brown rice bran. Take a 1 quart pot and fill it with water (tap water is okay) and bring to a boil. After switching the heat off and letting the water stop boiling place the bag of brown rice bran in the pot. Let it steep in the hot water until a yellowish liquid begins to seep out of the bag. It is now ready to use.
Lift the bag out of the pot, squeeze the excess liquid back into the pot, and rub the bag of brown rice on the areas of skin affected with psoriasis. This can be done two to three times a day. Also, it can be used in a bath to which is also added one pound of any kind of salt.

Disease of The Month.


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kaareb@creative.net


July 1996

BREAST CANCER.

I am taking a look at breast cancer this month because of the interest which is being generated by it as a result of the US Post Office bringing out a stamp to 'increase awareness' of this condition in the general population.

From a macrobiotic perspective the breasts are, like any sexual organ, ruled by the kidneys, so the remarks I made about the kidneys with reference to prostate cancer also apply here. Also, in my experience of counseling thousands of women over the past decade it has been my observation that when any woman has female organ problems, be they of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus or breasts they also have what I call 'Chronic Intestinal Stagnation'(CIS), a condition I will describe at a later date; and conversely, if they have CIS, they always have problems with the female organs.
It is a remarkable fact that most women seem to accept as normal that every month when they undergo menstruation that this is invariably marked by discomfort, sometimes mild but most often extreme, including cramps, nausea, irritability and depression. This is actually abnormal. A healthy woman's menstruation will occur regularly every 28 days or so, take approximately three days, with mild spotting in the first few hours, a light and even flow of menses over the next twenty four to thirty six hours followed by a drying up period before the episode is over, and be an occurrence of such mildness as to be comparable to having to go and urinate.
The fact that this is not the normal experience of most women once they reach puberty means the condition of the urogenital system is already beginning to deteriorate at an early age.
It is obvious, from a macrobiotic perspective, what the cause of these problems are and so if a woman wishes to have these unpleasant monthly episodes cease then it is necessary to go on a macrobiotic dietary program, avoiding all (and especially) dairy food, spices, cold foods, supplements, animal fat and high protein foods entirely, including ANY AND ALL SOYBEAN PRODUCTS INCLUDING TOFU, SOY MILK AND OTHER SOY PRODUCTS except miso, tamari and natural soy sauce.
The condition I call CIS is a condition of the small and large intestines and is treated with the ginger compress. However, instead of doing the ginger compress on the kidneys, it is done on the abdomen, using the towels to cover the area from the sternum to the pelvic bone and from one hip bone to the other so the entire soft belly of the abdomen is treated. Follow the instructions I give in the page on the Ginger Compress, but do the treatment lying on your back.
In the case of a woman wishing to treat specifically female organ problems like breast cancer, then do the ginger compress on the abdomen twice a week. In addition, a home treatment called the Daikon Bath( which is called the universal home remedy for all female organ conditions) should be done twice a week, the treatment regimen being a total of thirty two ginger compresses and thirty two daikon baths over a period of 16-20 weeks. These treatments are absolutely to no avail if they are not also accompanied by a change to a macrobiotic dietary practice.

The Daikon Bath.

Items: One Gallon container with a lid.
The dried leaves of four bunches of daikon greens.
If you cannot obtain daikon greens, then use either turnip greens or comfrey greens- in all cases the greens must be hung to dry in a place sheltered from direct sunlight until the leaves turn crisp and dry before using them. It is possible the grocery store from which you obtain your vegetables sells daikon radishes; if they do, ask them if the daikon are delivered to the store with their leaves still attached. If they are, then ask the store manager to save a bag for you, and then take them home a dry them by hanging them up on a piece of string in your garage or attic or another suitable place in the shade.
One generous handful of any kind of seasalt or rock salt.

Instructions:

The treatment has to be done at night before going to bed. Once you enter the bath to do the treatment then you must go to bed immediately after getting out of the bath.

Place half a gallon of water in the container along with the four bunches of dried daikon leaves(or half a bag), bring to a boil and let simmer for half an hour. Then add the generous handful of seasalt or rock salt. Meanwhile run a hot bath, so that you can either lie in it so your body is covered up to the neck, or you can sit in the bath with the water level up your navel, the upper part of your body wrapped in a towel to keep it warm. Then pour the salty daikon water into the bath through a strainer or sieve to keep the leaves out of the bath. The leaves are later discarded.
Get in the bath, with the water as comfortably hot as you can stand, and soak for 15-20 minutes. Then get out, dry yourself rapidly, get well covered, e.g., put on a pair of pajamas, a dressing gown and a scarf on your head, and go to bed.

The activity of the dried daikon leaves, because of the upward movement of the leaves as they are growing and the shrinking activity as they are dried means these dynamics are in the water when you get into the bath. The result is the chi or etheric activity of the daikon leaves prepared in this manner cuts through the fatty, mucus deposits in the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and breasts (even if you are not lying in the bath up to your neck) and dissolves them and then draws them down toward the uterus to be excreted in the form, usually, of copious vaginal discharge. The heat of the bath stimulates the overall blood and lymph circulation so that when you get into the bed well-covered you will eventually begin to sweat profusely.
Of course, some women begin to sweat on the first occasion of doing the bath, but more usually it takes several weeks because most women have a lot of accumulated fat under the skin and this needs to get dissolved first before real sweating can begin.

The resulting activity of the daikon bath thus brings about, if and only if accompanied by a change to a macrobiotic diet of cooked whole grains and vegetables, the following:
A cleansing and tonification of the female organs.
A thorough-going cleansing of the skin, including facial skin, which is truly remarkable to see(all you models out there, take note!).
A dissolving and melting away of fat deposits everywhere in the body.

Therefore it used in all conditions of the breasts, ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus/vagina, for helping to lose weight, and as a tremendous skin cleanser, along with a change to the macrobiotic dietary program.

Caution.
Do not use the Daikon Bath if you have any heart condition requiring medication; in this case get on the macrobiotic diet for four months, then wean yourself off the medication over a period of four to six weeks, with the guidance of an experienced macrobiotic practitioner, and then do the daikon bath treatment. (It is remarkable how quickly the heart heals itself with the macrobiotic dietary approach.)
This treatment is only for women.
It is wise initially, say for the first three to four weeks of doing the bath, to not schedule anything for the day after doing the bath; to begin with you tend to feel somewhat to very tired the day after doing the bath and it is better to take it easy.
Also, if it happens that the cleansing of the female organs manifests as vaginal discharge and/or symptoms similar to those which manifest in urinary tract infections such as burning and itching and the urge to urinate frequently, DO NOT TAKE ANTIBIOTICS. Instead, make a douche liquid as follows:
Place the flesh of 6-7 Umeboshi Plums in 1 quart of water and bring to a boil. Switch the heat off and let cool to body temperature. Then strain out one cup of the umeboshi liquid and use to douche. The next day, reheat the water until it reaches body temperature and douche again with one cup of the strained umeboshi liquid. Repeat daily until the liquid is gone; then add 3-4 new umeboshi plums to the ones you have already in the pot, add 1 quart of water, bring to a boil etc. Do this for ten days, douching once a day.

Another home remedy specifically for the female organs is to follow the recipe I gave for Aduki Bean Tea in the section on Prostate Cancer, but replace the Aduki Beans with Black Soybeans.

Commentary.

Follow-up to the removal of breasts to prevent breast cancer.

A case was reported in one of the local papers about a woman who had both of her breasts removed, not because she had breast cancer, but because her grandmother had breast cancer, her mother had breast cancer and one of her sisters had breast cancer. She decided to have her breasts removed in order to avoid the possibility of getting breast cancer, since, as the saying goes, "it runs in the family" or as she put it "there is obviously something wrong in the Kingdom of Denmark". This story is another of the many current illustrations of the sorry state of modern medicine; if you take this kind of thinking to its logical conclusion, why not just remove the whole body and you won't have to worry about getting sick at all!
The fact is that diseases "run in the family" only if a daughter or son eats the standard modern diet of their parents, for then they will tend to show up with the same kinds of disease their parents developed, and at a younger age. If, on the other hand they change their diet to a macrobiotic diet, then they will not. In my case, my grandfather on my father's side died of a heart attack at the age of 75, my father died of a heart attack at the age of 33, and I have no doubt I would have had a heart attack before the age of thirty if I had not changed my eating habits to a macrobiotic approach to eating at the age of 28 (I am now 53).
Furthermore, when a woman develops breast cancer, has the breast removed, usually the cancer shows up again later(if no macrobiotic dietary and other lifestyle changes are made), either in the other breast, or it goes deeper into the body, to the lungs, liver or brain. Thus, removing both breasts only guarantees this lady is not going to develop breast cancer; it certainly does not guarantee she will not develop cancer.
Now, if you go back to the Introduction of The Alchemycal Pages and ponder the illustration of the Process of Disease, it will no doubt occur to you that eating the "meat and sugar" diet is actually a prescription for developing degenerative disease (and statistics of disease in the USA confirm this). Thus it would seem logical, if one wished to reduce one's chances of developing degenerative illnesses that it would be an intelligent choice to quit eating the "meat and sugar" diet and replace it with one based on cooked whole grains and vegetables BEFORE developing any degenerative illness. In so doing, one is no longer a passive recipient of taking one's health for granted; rather, you are becoming a co-creator of your own health, vitality and longevity.

Disease of The Month.


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