Things have been cruising along busily for the past few weeks.
I spent much of last week in Columbia, MD at the American Herbalist’s Guild Symposium, which was fantastic, as usual! I spent most of the time in Paul Bergner’s classes. He’s got a fantastic way of explaining things in a way I understand. First was a 6 hour intensive on Clinical Nutrition in the Herbal Paradigm. We talked about macro and micro nutrients in the prehistoric, agrarian, and modern diet, and how the deficiencies and imbalances that have come about since industrialization have led to modern diseases. After that we began to discuss patterns of imbalance that are seen in the modern day diet: 1) The SAD pattern
(Standard American Diet), 2) The Anorexia pattern, 3) The Junk-Food Vegetarian pattern, 4) The Stress-Carbohydrate pattern, 5) The Insulin Resistance pattern, and 6) the Food Allergy pattern. It was fantastic! I have such a hard time with my clients and being able to describe why food is so important to health. I think the research he presented will help me to educate my clients in a way they can understand.
The next day I went to a talk on HPV and the new Gardasil vaccine given by Mary Bove. I was enraged when I left the class! So far, here is what we know about the vaccine…
–In June of 2006 the FDA approved Gardasil to be used on females age 9 through 26.
–The vaccine trial for Gardasil was a 14 day trial on women averaging 23 years of age (there were no girls under 12 in the study, yet it is being recommended by the FDA for 9 year olds!). The 14 day trial showed protection against 4 types of HPV (Two of these types of HPV cause over 70% of the cervical cancers, but there are over 100 different types of HPV.) Gardasil was tested alone. It was not given with any other vaccinations (yet we often give vaccinations in groups, ex: MMR and DTaP)
–As of May, 2007 (one year after approval by the FDA) there have been 2227 adverse reactions reported to the CDC (and only ~10% of all adverse reactions are ever reported). The reactions included 13 cases of GBS (Group Beta Strep.), 239 cases of fainting with temporary loss of consciousness (some also with head injuries and fractures), and seven deaths reported after receiving Gardasil. There have also been respiratory and cardiac problems, neuromuscular and coordination problems, and convulsions.
–The vaccine does not contain mercury. As a substitute preservative, it has 225 mcg Aluminum. (so if girls get all three shots, they will be getting 675 mcg aluminum)
–The 3 series of shots cost $360 wholesale. So if states made it mandatory to get this vaccine, Merck (the only producer of Gardasil) stands to make $3 billion dollars a year!)
–There is no long term testing on this vaccination. We have no idea long term effect on women, fetuses, health… and how long it will remain effective.
So, what about education??? We will force our girls to get a vaccination against potential cervical cancer, but we won’t teach them safe sex practices?? And what about getting our girls to have PAP smears as a preventative for cervical cancer? Cervical cancer is a slow progressing cancer. If we get pap smears, we are much more likely to catch cervical changes before it progresses. And what about educating our girls about healthy nutrition and body care? With a strong immune system, about 80% of HPV infections will be cleared rapidly from the body.
There is so much we don’t know about this vaccine! I would encourage all of you to become educated so you can make the best decisions for your children!
Next I went to a class on Herbal Gastroenterology talk by David Winston. This was another fantastic talk on how the digestive system is key to good health!!
I spent the next day with Paul Bergner again hearing his talks on Patient Energetics. Herbalist and fellow blogger, Guido Mase, give a great description of the class on his blog.
Then, it was on to Tongue Diagnosis with Christopher Hobbs. Tongue diagnosis is something that has been skimmed over in all the herb schools I have been to. I realize that it is not really a diagnostic tool, but more of a way to confirm what you may be seeing in a client. I really enjoyed his class. He kept it pretty simple (what a hot or cold tongue looks like and where different regions of the body are reflected in the tongue). But, it definitely helped.
Next years symposium is supposed to be in Seattle!Â I hope I can make it!Â They can really add up in price, especially if you have to fly.Â But, you really can’t put a price on knowledge, education, and feeling of community with fellow herbalists.