Iris Herbal

Aromatherapy Products

Essential Oils




Skin Care

Spirit Water

Three Day Deodorant

Whole Plant Synergies

Order Products

Gift Certificates

Special Orders

How To Order

Return Policy

Shipping Info

Purchase Minimums:
$25 Minimum - Cart
$50 Minimum - Phone

Iris Information Portals

Iris Herbal Blog

Iris Essential Oil Profiles

Iris Info Library

Iris Slideshows

Iris Herbal - Vision & Values

About Iris Herbal

Contact Us

Iris Earth Day

National Geographics Tour

Iris Newsletter

Passive Solar Greenhouse

Iris Herbal

Product Sitemap


Iris Herbal Newsletter
Sign up for quarterly items
of interest, including sales.

Search Our Site

Iris Herbal Products

Iris Herbal Newsletter Archive


Iris Herbal Products
Education Bonanza
Education Bonanza




Iris Herbal Products
Iris Newsletter
Iris Newsletter




Iris Herbal Products

New essential oils from around the world

This fall I found a new company (The Perfumery) that offers affordably priced excellent quality essential oils. They are primarily ethically wildcrafted or ecologically farmed (non-certified organic), with great attention to the chemistry: this means the aromas are incredible! Some highlights:

German (Blue) Chamomile from Bulgaria is very deep blue, and has an herbal, sweet, fruity scent with a warm dry note of tobacco. One of the most anti-inflammatory and cooling oils, German Chamomile is great for dealing with stress and tension.

Ginger from Sri Lanka is hydro-diffused, a relatively new way of steam distillation that preserves the intense aromas of the fresh plant. This oil is good for stimulating digestion and warming the body on cold winter nights.

Myrrh from Kenya. This dark oil is sweet, rich, balsamic, and more tenacious and less bitter than most myrrhs. A warm, dry astringent oil, Myrrh is excelent for its anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and calming actions on the body.

 Rosewood from Brazil is from a renewable source (therefore guilt free and ecologically sustainable) and has a lovely sweet floral scent. It is one of the best oils for skin care. 



New Geranium Oils from Africa


From Prima Fleur (one of my original suppliers) come two wonderful oils from Africa. The first is Geranium from Malawi (shown in the photo), a certified organic Rose Geranium which is a gorgeous emerald green, with heavy notes of rosey floral and herbal-infused honey. Geranium oil clears heat and inflammation, and is both analgesic and anti-spasmodic.

Geranium from Egypt  is now available again. This geranium is the citronellol chemotype, and is a bit less rosey and more herbal than the oil from Malawi.



Moroccan rose Absolute is back in stock

And the French Rose Absolute has gone down in price!! In fact, I lowered as many prices as I could in celebration of finding this superior quality Moroccan oil, which is a rich, orangey rose of great depth and tenacity. Rose Absolute is excellent for healing the heart and dealing with sexual issues, and is anti-inflammatory.


Essential oils are now in smaller sizes

Many oils are now available in 5ml or 5/8ths dram sizes, which allows you to purchase smaller quantities of the more expensive essential oils.


Privacy Statement:

Iris Herbal Products does not collect e-mail addresses on forms and at no time are they shared with third party advertisers. Your privacy and security is important to us. We do not advertise with annoying pop up windows - nor do we utilize malicious code practices.

We hope you enjoy your visit at Iris Herbal. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us.

The Staff at Iris Herbal Products


Fall Newsletter

* Essential Oil Update: Lavender oil
* Health Alert: Study finds high incidence of Vitamin D deficiency in women diagnosed with breast cancer
* Special book sale: Dr. Katz’s Guide to Prostate Health
* Supplement Spotlight: Ubiquinol—a newly available form of Co Q 10
* Research: Part II: An Alternative View of the Cholesterol ”Problem”

Essential Oil Update:
For all you lovers of lavender, Iris has a limited supply of ecologically ethical Bulgarian Lavendula vera. Produced on family farms, this oil is very soft and lovely, and is excellent for stress, insomnia, and inflammation. This is a one-time offer and not available online (so you will have to call us at 877-286-2970). A 10ml (or 1/3rd oz.) bottle is $6.00 and the cost for 1 oz. is only $15.00.

Also, please visit our website to see our newly live essential oil reference page, where you can look up information on all (well, almost all: some are in process!) the essential oils we sell, complements of Herbalpedia (and to be augmented by Iris staff research).

Health Alert:
From an article published in the issue of “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” scientists at several research centers are reporting a high incidence of Vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency among women breast cancer survivors. The authors note that there is some evidence that suggests an association between Vitamin D status and survival in breast cancer and other cancer patients. Vitamin D regulates cell growth and induces programmed cell death, as well as proliferation (synergistically with both tamoxifen and melatonin).

Since Vitamin D enhances immune response, this vitamin is especially important for patients on chemotherapy since those drugs have a side effect of lowering immune function. The authors note that Vitamin D deficiency may result in the advancement of early non-invasive lesions because of a reduction in the anti-proliferative and anti-metastic properties of Vitamin D which has been noted in other studies. In other words, get your baseline Vitamin D status tested, and if it’s low, get more sun, take your cod liver oil, and/or supplement with Vitamin D3. Bonus: your bones will be stronger as well. (Iris supplement club can help you source the right kind and amount of Vitamin. D).

Special Book Sale:
Dr. Katz gives excellent and comprehensive information from both traditional and alternative medicine on how to prevent and treat prostate disease. The author is the director of The Center for Holistic Urology at Columbia University. On sale (while supplies last) for only $10.95. Please call 877-286-2970 to order your books.

Supplement Spotlight:
Ubiquinol is a newly available reduced form of CoQ10 that may be, for some people, a better choice to take than the conventional oxidized form of CoQ10 that has been on the market for a much longer time. Resent studies of the ubiquinol form of CoQ10 describe how:

* Ubiquinol inhibits peroxidation of cell membrane lipids as well those present in circulation, which is especially important for those taking statin drugs.
* Helps reduce oxidation of vitamin E and regenerates the active form of Vitamin E
* More dramatically and positively affects the aging process compared to conventional CoQ10
* Ubiquinol is the naturally predominant form of coQ10 in our plasma and organs when we are young, and which declines with aging, disease and oxidative stress.

Since recent studies point out that plasma ubiquinol declines in response to cardiovascular disease, neurodegeneration, cancer, fatigue and especially type-2 diabetes, this new form of CoQ10 is a good supplement to take both prophylactically and to help fight disease. (Yes, it too is available through the Iris supplement club at more affordable prices than your local health food store).

Research: Part II   (Part I – see Spring Newsletter)

We are an amazingly intricate dance of molecules, changing every minute of every day. Each of us—body and mind—are always in a process of healing and repair, of working toward an internally dynamic balance that is attempting to be whole and healthy. Many times what looks like a “disease” process is a healing process gone awry. If we come at our aging bodies with the attitude that we are a set of “problems” that need “fixing,” we often end up throwing pills at each “symptom,” and then more pills to deal with the “side effects” of the first pills…

In looking at the issue of cholesterol from a holistic point of view, we must first deconstruct some very bad PR. Cholesterol is not some wickedness in our bodies we must control at all costs! It is actually an absolutely essential compound used by all animals (humans included) as their building blocks for structural components, including cell membranes and hormones. The notion that there is “good” and “bad” cholesterol is an oversimplified view based upon a misunderstanding of cholesterol transport from one part of the body to another.

There is a forward and reverse cholesterol transport system from the liver, which produces most of the cholesterol in the body. LDL particles carry cholesterol from the liver to the peripheral cells—including cells that line the arteries—and this is known as the forward cholesterol transport system. HDL particles are the main reverse cholesterol transport system, which bring excess cholesterol away from the peripheral and artery cells back to the liver (where it is dealt with in a variety of ways).

According to the best current research, the real culprit in the cholesterol-heart disease dance is not LDL cholesterol per se, but rather LDL oxidation. During the delivery of LDL particles from the liver to the peripheral cells, free radicals in the blood stream can attack and oxidize the LDL cholesterol, thereby changing its chemistry. In fact, the LDL particle is so chemically modified that the receptor sites on the artery cell walls can’t recognize it and therefore reject it! Meanwhile, our immune system scavenger cells—the macrophages—recognize our oxidized LDL particles as a foreign invader (like bacteria or other non-self proteins).

What can start as a simple healing process of oxidized LDL particles being engulfed by macrophages (and then absorbed, broken down and disposed of in the artery) may escalate into an overwhelmed disposal system: the artery gets oversaturated which leads to foam cell build-up in the artery walls which can then result in calcification and debris accumulation. Bulges can then occur at these sites, slowing down or blocking blood circulation in critical arteries. Our internal balance of plaque formation and plaque removal is overwhelmed.

A human trial found that oxidized LDL is a key factor in initiating and accelerating atherosclerosis, and that the blood levels of oxidized LDL (OXY—LDL) is a better biomarker for diagnosing coronary heart disease than any of the currently popular cholesterol levels or scores.

Ultimately, a healthy cholesterol transport system depends upon our blood having high enough anti-oxidant levels to avoid or minimize the oxidation of LDL particles. In European studies and foreign long-term clinical trials, the data shows that antioxidants have an excellent record of preventing cholesterol oxidation and atherosclerosis, but do not seem to reverse atherosclerosis once it is fully developed.

To help prevent oxidation of our LDL particles and the cascade of problems that initiates, it behooves us to start or to re-invigorate our choosing of a heart-healthy, anti-plaque, and anti-inflammation “diet:”

* Do eat lots of whole, fresh real foods.
* Don’t eat so many processed foods (anything in a box, can or plastic tub; anything with ingredients on the label you can’t recognize as food).
* Especially valuable are the cruciferous veggies (broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts) and remember to cook them if you are hypothyroid.
* Eat lots of all the brightly-colored fruits, especially berries, as these are naturally anti-inflammatory.
* Fiber-rich, especially whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts.
* More omega 3 fatty acids: flax seed, walnuts, deep-water fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring).

Supplements that are helpful:

* The most powerful and well-researched anti-oxidants include: Vitamins A, C and E (especially the tocotrienol form), as well as NAC (helps increase levels of glutathione, the body’s “master anti-oxidant”), bilberry (can help protect against DNA damage and LDL oxidation), rosemary, turmeric (which contains curcumin, another potent inhibitor of LDL oxidation), green tea, grape seed extract and lutein.

* Fish oil and/or vegetarian DHA
* Garlic—helpful in reducing existing plaque
* Vitamin K—(especially K2) protects against calcium deposits
* Fibrinolytics—nattokinase and serrapeptase—may be able to reduce established plaque and decrease inflammation in blood vessels, improving circulation
* Ubiquinol (see above)

(All of these are available from the Iris Supplement Club - call us at (877)286-2970 for details!)

Thanks for joining me in exploring more healthful ways of living. Many blessings, Cathy Hope




* Essential oil update
* Supplement spotlight
* Aromatherapy workshops
* Research: Part I of Dissenting Views Regarding Healthy Nutrition

Essential Oil Update
We have two news items. First, this summer we're working on adding a large database of great information regarding all the essential oils we offerfor sale. This will hopefully be of assistance to those of you wanting to learn more about the uses of essential oils.

Secondly, as most of you are probably aware, the US dollar is losing value against the euro. Since many essential oils are sourced from Europe, the combination of a weak dollar and greatly increased transportation costs has resulted in a wholesale price increase of many essential oils (not to mention everything else!). Currently we are NOT raising our prices (except for Australian Sandalwood as the demand is far exceeding the supply). However, in such a volatile market, we may be forced to raise prices later this summer. So if you've been thinking about purchasing essential oils, now is the time to stock up! Special orders are always welcome; since we have available another 100 essential oils in our lab, if you are looking for something a little more esoteric we may have it, or can certainly find it for you.

Supplement Spotlight
Zyflamend, made by New Chapter, and currently in use in research projects at Columbia University, The Cleveland Clinic, and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, is one of the best-selling herbal formulas for a healthy inflammatory response. Ten tonic herbs in both a supercritical CO2 and water/alcohol extracts provide a broad spectrum of both fat and water-soluble constituents to help promote cardiovascular health and support a healthy gastrointestinal tract. [These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Zyfalmend is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.] If you are interested in trying this product then call Iris (877-286-2970) for a 60ct bottle at a low introductory price. We have a few more spots open on our monthly supplement ordering club where supplements are always on sale and the advice is free.

Aromatherapy Workshops
Iris aromatherapist Cathy Hope will be presenting both workshops "Practical Therapeutic Aromatherapy and Sacred Chemistry--in Colorado Springs, CO the weekend of September 20th and 21st.

Research: Part I of Dissenting Views Regarding Healthy Nutrition
Many of us have grown up during the largest planned public dietary change in modern history. Based upon questionable science and the desire to lower escalating heart disease rates, public (both non-profit and governmental) organizations and the media began a program of persuasion. Americans were told to lower their consumption of saturated fats (especially red meat, eggs and dairy products), increase their consumption of carbohydrates (preferably with fiber intact) and become obsessed with their total cholesterol levels. Meanwhile, over the same past 50 years, our health has deteriorated; obesity and diabetes rates have skyrocketed (as well as showing up at progressively earlier ages), and most of us are confused about what really constitutes a healthy diet. When nutritional experts publicly argue over optimal amounts and types of fats, proteins and carbohydrates that we should be eating it's no wonder we try one "diet" after another in search of what's best.

Over the past few years that I've been researching nutrition, I have been drawn to a variety of "dissenting views." This essay comes primarily from information contained in my most recent acquisition (a gift from my friend Kay): Gary Taubes' book Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease (2007). His copious examination of all the original and subsequent research about the alleged link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease led him to an earlier scientific conclusion (that turns out to also have the best data from the most rigorous studies): the culprit is not fat but sugar and simple carbohydrates (white sugar, white flour and soft drinks especially).

After "digesting" the first half of this remarkably well-researched book, I offer you three pieces of information (deduction and theory in addition to scientific fact) that I found most compelling in shedding light on a contentious subject.

First: There is a concept called "biological normality" which may be defined as the "conditions to which presumably we are genetically adapted." The healthiest diet for modern humans to eat is therefore probably the one we evolved to eat. Paleolithic humans (from 2,500,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago, or the start of the Neolithic period) were hunter-gatherers. According to the best research available to date, the Paleolithic human diet was pretty high in protein (19 to 35% of calories), lower in carbohydrates by current western standards (22 to 40% of energy) and comparable or higher in fat (28 to 58% of calories). Before the domestication of animals and the invention of agriculture (which began about 10,000 years ago) we ate everything that was edible: grubs, insects, nuts and seeds, wild grains, entire carcasses of animals (including all the organs, the tongue, and bone marrow) and wild plants (what we now call herbs, fruits and vegetables). Prior to 25,000 years ago, when we developed the tools to reliably hunt larger game, the meat humans ate was often scavenged, and was none too fresh...

There is a theory that the last 10,000 years of transitioning to the agrarian lifestyle and diet is not really enough time for the entire human population to fully genetically adapt to eating grains as the major component of our diet. "Those relatively modern foods that today constitute more than 60% of all calories of the typical American diet -cereal grains, dairy products, beverages, vegetable oils and dressings, and sugar and candy"- were almost non-existent in 99% of our past."

Metabolic syndrome (characterized by obesity, insulin resistance and chronic systemic inflammation) often leads to diabetes and heart disease. Compelling evidence exists linking the rapidly rising rates of metabolic syndrome to the equally and concurrently rising rates of Americans' consumption of sugar, fructose and other refined carbohydrates.

Second: Traditional cultures that have been studied over the last one hundred years ate diets that contained a wide and diverse range of amounts and types of proteins, fats, grains, and vegetables/fruits/herbs. According to thousands of hospital admissions of Native Americans, Africans and Asians (and traditional rural Europeans in other studies) eating their traditional diets, very few cases of heart disease, diabetes, gout, appendicitis, stroke or cancer were diagnosed. As each of these various populations around the globe adopted (or were forced to eat) Western urban diets (defined here as the introduction of large amounts of white bread, white rice, sugar, candy, soft drinks and canned foods) these folks -regardless what their original diet was- developed the degenerative diseases of Westerners within one to two generations.

Third: Back in 1967 the National Institute of health funded five studies (Framingham, Albany, Honolulu, San Francisco and Puerto Rico) to measure LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides in these populations and determine their significance as risk factors for heart disease. There were two analyses of these studies: one was a comparison of 900 heart disease cases with healthy controls from all five of the populations. The other addressed the prospective evidence from Framingham alone: measuring triglycerides, lipoprotein and cholesterol levels in 2800 people, waiting four years, and seeing how well these levels predicted the evidence of heart disease.

After almost ten years the results were analyzed and here's what the researchers found: in men and women 50 years and older, "total cholesterol per se is not a risk factor for coronary heart disease at all." The LDL cholesterol was determined to be a "marginal" risk factor, and triglycerides predicted heart disease in both sexes in the analysis of cases from all 5 studies, but only in women in the special Framingham study.

You may wonder why this incredibly important information wasn't disseminated widely. First, it was in direct contradiction to the then prevailing theory that fat consumption causes heart disease and total cholesterol is the best indicator of risk. Secondly, and more importantly, was the fact that both analyses of the 5 studies found another correlation: the higher the HDL cholesterol the lower the triglycerides and the risk of heart disease. The scientists and organizations that supported the theory that dietary fat was a cause of coronary heart disease focused upon a new and additional theory: HDL cholesterol was "good" and LDL cholesterol was "bad." What wasn't understood until Metabolic Syndrome began to be more understood in the last few years is that low HDL, high triglycerides, obesity and diabetes all together are a risk factor for heart disease, not any one aspect of one's cholesterol reading in isolation. The timing of the analyses came just three days after the government released its Dietary Goals for the United States, "advocating low-fat, high carbohydrate diets for all Americans, based exclusively on Key's (a researcher) hypothesis that coronary heart disease was caused by the effect of saturated fat on total cholesterol."

In the next issue of the Iris newsletter we will continue looking at "dissenting views" concerning nutrition and hopefully shed more light than heat upon how to make informed choices about what is good for us to eat. Comments, questions and feedback are greatly appreciated, and all are answered. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to friends and co-workers. Those interested may click here to subscribe to the Iris Herbal newsletter. Have a safe and healthy summer.

Many blessings, Cathy Hope

Iris Herbal Products - Privacy Policy:

Disclaimer: Iris Herbal offers information based on current opinions of a variety of authors. The information and opinions provided herein are believed to be accurate; however, readers are encouraged not to rely on information in this publication to replace the advice of health-care professionals.



Iris News
New Products
Essential oil review: Palo Santo
Medicinal mushrooms update
Health alert: Are you currently on statin drugs?
Research: Focus on inflammation
Supplement buying club

Welcome to Iris Herbal’s quarterly newsletter!

After a several year hiatus, it’s time to start sharing Iris news as well as information on some of the most important research that’s being done regarding herbs, mushrooms, nutritional supplements and holistic nutrition. References include print trade and professional journals as well as on-line newsletters and data-bases. Please feel free to call (toll-free: 1-877-286-2970) or email us with suggestions about content.

Iris News

On the internet almost 10 years and finally Iris has a shopping cart! Please pass the word to your email lists. Now anyone (in the US) can shop online at Iris Herbal any time.

I continue to improve the quality of the essential oils Iris offers, both in regards to the oils themselves as well as the companies/growers/harvesters I purchase from. Almost all the oils are now certified organic, ethically wildcrafted or unsprayed (which often means they are uncertified organic). More of them are coming from co-ops, NGO projects and other fair trade type venues.

New products

For the past 4 years I’ve been developing whole plant synergies: a melding of the essential oil and aromatic hydrosol ­ the two liquid constituents resulting from plant distillation of the same herb or flower. The aromas are extraordinary and the synergies, packaged in amber spray bottles, are easy to use. Besides the 26 single and related species and 3 blends, you can also have me create your own synergy based upon your personal needs and favorite aromas.

Essential oil review

Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens) is an essential oil distilled from the aged wood of an aromatic tree growing in the coastal dry forests of Ecuador. The name means “holy or sacred” wood or tree, as Palo Santo is very important in traditional ethno-botanical medicine in South America, and is even distantly related to Frankincense. Analysis of the oil indicates a medicinally active array of chemical constituents useful for dealing with anxiety and panic attacks, most respiratory issues, as well as pain and inflammation.

Energetically it can be employed to help quiet the mind and for an aid in any creative endeavor. Although Palo Santo has been seriously over-harvested throughout its range in South America, this oil comes from a distiller in Ecuador that not only very carefully ecologically harvests only dead wood, but also does extensive research and actual preservation of the Palo Santo forests.

Medicinal mushrooms update

One of the better known names in the mushroom field has a company that sells liquid medicinal mushrooms both in 1 oz. retail bottles and in bulk, and they are very expensive. A few years ago I purchased gallons of four of these mushrooms for sale both individually and as blends with other tonic herbs.

When I went to repurchase the first mushroom I’d run out of, they were out of stock. As I was looking into buying from some other company, I noticed that no one else was offering liquid mushrooms, only the powdered extract. That began my education into the science of mushroom extraction. Medicinal mushrooms are primarily only effective when both hot water/alcohol extracted (necessary to break down the chitinous cellular structure) and then low­temperature dried (to remove excess water content) and standardized as to their active constituents (to guarantee an adequate dosage of active mushroom). This is the form in which they have been used for most of the cancer studies. Maitake can also come in a liquid that is both highly concentrated and medically useful, and Cordyceps can be used for tonification in liquid form.

This is why I no longer offer liquid medicinal mushrooms or their blends on my site. If you are interested in purchasing these valuable allies, please visit for excellent research and information, and then call me (toll-free: 877-286-2970) for how to buy their products at a deep discount from Iris.

Health alert: Are you currently on statin drugs?

If so, or if your primary care physician is advocating that you start as a way to lower your cholesterol, please read this first. {Also you may want to check out an article on cholesterol on my website}. Beside the fact that the side effects can include muscle pain and weakness and sometimes severe memory loss (two issues we’re often already dealing with as we age), the use of statin drugs, which aren’t cheap, may not be all that beneficial.

There is an excellent well-researched article, “The Cholesterol Con,” by Maggie Mahar, Health Beat, that was posted on Here are the highlights: Dr. Abramson (clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School) has this to say about statin use:

“Statins show a clear benefit for one group. People under 65 who have already had a heart attack or who have diabetes. There is no evidence of any benefit for women who don’t already have heart disease or diabetes.

”According to a 2004 article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association which reviewed all trials in which women with high cholesterol had been randomly assigned to take a cholesterol-lowering drug or a placebo, there was no evidence that statins prolonged women’s lives or cut their chances of dying from heart disease. (emphasis mine)

Finally, and this may surprise you, it turns out that we don't have any clear evidence that statins help folks with heart disease and/or diabetes by lowering their cholesterol. It's true that the statins do lower cholesterol levels; however, many researchers are no longer convinced that this is what helps people avoid a second heart attack. Instead, it is very probable that statins work by reducing inflammation! In other words, these very expensive drugs may be doing what a daily aspirin can do (or, if you are wanting to avoid NSAIDS, what herbal anti-inflammatories might help do).

Research: Focus on inflammation

Inflammation, the redness, heat, swelling and pain that comes with most infections and injuries, is an important part of the normal healing process. When inflammation becomes chronic, however, we can experience problems in many different systems of our bodies, including impaired immunity and insulin resistance, which can then increase the risk for arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis and stroke. Heart disease, still our number one cause of mortality, turns out to be exacerbated by both vessel wall and systemic inflammation.

Some common warning signs of chronic inflammation include: joint pain, fatigue, insomnia, frequent sore throats and colds, chronic illness, fluid retention, and a waist measurement that is the same or larger than ones hips (sometimes called an “apple” shape). Since these symptoms can sometimes be vague, the best test (if you find allopathic diagnostics helpful) is hs-CRP or high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. Be aware that test results can be affected by the use of over-the-counter pain killers, hormone therapy and recent infection.

What can we do about alleviating chronic low-level inflammation? Fortunately we have four avenues of nutritional intervention that can be helpful and fairly easy to implement: food groups to avoid, food allies, helpful herbs and promising supplements.

Let’s start with food, and no, this is not another “new diet."

What many research scientists and holistic nutritionists have come to understand is that we humans are healthiest when we eat foods we have co-evolved with. Originally this included fish and crustaceans, wild game, insects and grubs, nuts and seeds, eggs, wild fruits and vegetables (including seaweed), mushrooms and pure water. Around 10,000 years ago with the advent of animal domestication and agriculture, we added domestic meat and eggs, dairy products, whole grains and beans, an increased assortment of more readily available fruits and vegetables, and alcoholic beverages. Most traditional cultures on all the inhabited continents ate a significant portion of their diet raw and/or fermented. Saturated fats and high calorie meals weren’t a problem because our ancestors did a lot of physical labor.

So what are the really problematic foods and what can we substitute for them?

  • Trans and damaged fats: lots has been in the news lately about the evils of hydrogenation, but what most folks haven’t heard is that the high heating of liquid vegetable oils is also not healthy. French fries cooked in lard actually turn out to be slightly better for you than those cooked in soybean oil! (and neither is an ideal way to eat potatoes). If you like to fry, try using ghee (a traditional Ayurvedic Indian clarified butter) or coconut oil (great source of lauric acid) and do so in moderation. For salads, yes, extra virgin olive oil has many studies proving its worth. However, not so many folks have heard about or experienced the joy of real, old-fashioned raw butter on your cooked veggies and freshly baked bread. Because raw butter contains all its enzymes, many people who have trouble digesting fats find they can handle a moderate amount of raw butter, the eating of which enables us to feel a type of satiation that is often absent from low-fat diets, and can result in the over-eating of carbohydrates.

  • Too many omega-6 fatty acids: good health is not about eliminating omega-6’s (naturally occurring in all meat, dairy products, eggs, most vegetable oils and most seeds and nuts) but rather in balancing their intake with omega-3 fatty acids (naturally found in flaxseed and oil, navy and kidney beans, walnuts, green leafy vegetables, eggs from chickens fed flax, meat from animals exclusively grass-fed, and fish, especially fatty deep-ocean species). The ideal ratio of 6’s to 3’s is 3 to 1. The standard American diet gives us a ratio more like 20 to 1, and much of that is because our meat is corn and soybean fed and corn and soybean oil is ubiquitous in processed foods. Too many omega-6’s in the diet change the body’s metabolic processes, creating lots of inflammatory chemicals. Best bets for moving that ratio out of the “red zone” are to eat more of the foods high in omega-3’s, and cutting down (or eliminating if you have chronic disease) on the packaged processed foods.

  • Processed sugar and all synthetic sugar substitutes: sugar can lead to insulin resistance and synthetics can act as toxins in the blood stream (both of themselves and their metabolites), both of which lead to systemic inflammation. Much interesting research seems to suggest that the synthetics, far from being “diet” (despite less calories), can actually increase one’s weight! The combination of chemical additives (often going by the innocuous name of “flavorings”) and synthetic sweeteners can set up a chemically-based addiction (remember the ad, bet you can’t eat just one!). It’s called junk food for the reason that the calories are empty of nutritional value, and tend to make a person eat more food in seeking satiation. Better substitutes are moderate amounts of raw honey (with its delicate enzymes intact), unprocessed cane sugar (with its mineral content), stevia (an herb that is sweeter than sugar), agave nectar (tolerated by some who are sensitive to sweeteners), and dried and fresh fruit. Diabetics will have to be careful to choose fruits low in glycemic value so as not to increase their blood sugar too quickly.

More inflammation fighters to add to your diet:

  • Every food that is intensely colored: go for the rainbow in meals
  • 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily: accomplish this by eating fruit as snacks (with walnuts), fruits and yogurt as dessert, using carrot and celery sticks instead of crackers with dips and adding salads to both lunch and dinner. Interestingly, the latest research suggests that blood sugar levels and weight issues may be better addressed by eating what we normally eat for dinner at breakfast, eating a slightly smaller meal for lunch, and by eating a supper that is much lighter, with no snacking before bed.
  • Fiber and more fiber: found in beans, grains, vegetables and fruits
  • Helpful herbs to reduce inflammation: Common culinary herbs and spices: chives (and all the onion family, esp. garlic), basil, rosemary and parsley, cayenne, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon­all enhance the flavors of food while imparting anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Medicinal herbs: Willow bark (natural aspirin), Ginger and Turmeric as standardized extracts, Devil’s Claw and Cat’s Claw.

Nutritional supplement companies, many borrowing from both traditional Chinese and Indian pharmacopias, have come out with combinations of herbs that address inflammation, both arthritic and systemic.

Nutritional supplements that fight inflammation:

  • bioflavonoids, especially quercetin and bromelain
  • plant and animal enzymes (taken between meals)
  • flax, borage, red currant, fish and cod liver oils

Supplement Buying Club

For over ten years I’ve offered a variety of very high quality nutritional supplements at deeply discounted prices to friends, family and a few dozen mail order customers. There are currently several openings for folks to join who use supplements and want to improve the quality of what they’re taking and probably save money as well.

It costs nothing to join; “members” are called once a month to see if they want to order anything. After joining, you receive a free short consultation to determine if what the companies I purchase from offer what you want at an acceptable price. There are no minimums and you can stop participating at any time.

Companies curently represented on a monthly basis: Enyzmedica, Mushroom Science, New Chapter, Pure Encapsulations and Vitamin Research. On a bi-monthly basis: Garden of Life and MegaFood. If you already purchase from any of these companies you my find that Iris can save you money, as I strive to make available “the best at a bargain.”

Thank you for joining me in exploring avenues to better health and well-being. Feedback and questions are always welcome.

Many blessings, Cathy Hope


Disclaimer:   Iris Herbal offers information based on current opinions of a variety of authors. The information and opinions provided herein are believed to be accurate; however, readers are encouraged not to rely on anything you read here as medical advice. We do not diagnose or treat any disease. No statements made here have been approved by the AMA or the FDA, or any other governmental or medical licensing agency. They are solely the opinion of the author, and are not intended to take the place of seeing a qualified/licenced health care practitioner.

TOP   Top of Page


Iris Vision &
Business Values
Iris Herbal - home How To Order

HC 81, Box 640  -  Questa, NM 87556
(Toll free) 1-877-286-2970  -  e-mail
Outside of the USA, please call 1-575-586-1802

We Accept
Credit Cards
Visa, MasterCard, American Express Accepted Server Scanned by ControlScan PCI Compliance

Re-designed by MoonLight Enterprises
MoonLight Enterprises and Iris Herbal Products © All rights reserved.
Aromatherapy Workshop email Pecha Kucha Event