I am pleased to report that I am back from my hiatus. Did you miss me?
I had to take some time away for personal issues and do some “self-exploration”; some silent reflection. Every now and again I find it healthy to step away from our 24/7 society and look within. Often, it is during this time of reflection that things will jump out at me.
While taking my time away I remembered life is a continuous cycle which ebbs and flows like the ocean’s waves on our sandy shores. The question that kept coming up for me was what is life without passion? Living a life without passion is like living a life filled with unintended consequences-and that’s not living actively. Active living is a personal goal and something we should all strive to do.
True passion makes one pay attention to the small things; the butterfly effect. When a butterfly flaps its wings a small gust of wind develops, adding to existing weather patterns. This in turn can go on to form a front, which then helps create a storm, the rain from which helps grow a tree that prevents a landslide, enabling a river to keep flowing, etc.
By being aware of something, you are able to try to find it, but the more you find it, the more it eludes you. By paying close attention to the details, you will not only find it, but also see how it connects you to the rest of the world. It can help lead and propel you forward on your quest for truth and knowledge.
It is the butterfly effect of your involvement in our shared, common reality that connects you to all intended events and people; you attract them to you or repulse them actively away by having a passionate hook into life.
Enough philosophical waxing, let’s look at the kava controversy that happened in Canada while I was away…
Kava supplements by Life Choice were banned along with the company’s ephedra products. It was an ignorant blanket banning of kava that I thought was very well addressed in Vue Weekly, Edmonton’s independent weekly paper.
In the article entitled “Well, Well, Well: Kava Warning Hypocritical,” the writer, Connie Howard, wrote, “Health Canada’s warning last week about Life Choice ephedra containing excessive amounts of ephedrine needs some clarification. For starters, ephedrine is readily available as a decongestant in its synthetic form in 60 mg doses (pseudoephedrine, found in common cold medications), which is double the 30 mg dose we’re currently being warned against.
And while it’s true that ephedra of any kind, including the synthetic kind, shouldn’t be used carelessly or during pregnancy, or by those with heart problems, high blood pressure, thyroid disease or anxiety, ephedra has long been successfully used for asthma by herbalists whose clients prefer it over conventional meds for their run-ins with the monster of obstructed breathing.
What can be a problem and is worthy of strong caution is the punch packed by ephedra-containing weight-loss products that combine ephedra or Mau Huang, l-cartinine, which is an amino acid that stimulates fat-burning and elevates blood pressure and heart rate, and caffeine-heavy herbs such as Kola Nut.
But Health Canada’s warning last week also extended to Life Choice’s kava product (which has been illegal to sell in Canada since 2002, but may be imported for personal use). Kava is used as a muscle relaxant, pain reliever, diuretic, to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia, and historically in some cultures, ceremonially and for pure pleasure. Health Canada’s warning claims serious risk of liver toxicity, but herbalists tell me kava has been used in Europe in standardized extract form for years, even with patients who have pre-existing liver problems, without complication.
Reports of liver damage have been linked to a single kava supplier using poisonous stems and leaves of the plant avoided by knowledgeable herbalists. And Germany, who led the way with the warnings and investigations into kava, has lifted its ban on kava root.
The truth is that research has shown kava to be safe and effective, often equally as effective for severe anxiety as benzodiazepines such as valium and much safer.
All pharmaceuticals used for the conditions kava is indicated for come with risk of liver damage. They can be addictive and can have devastating long-term results, and Tylenol is now the leading cause of acute liver failure. And self-medication of many of these symptoms often includes alcohol, which, of course, comes with well-known stress on our livers. So to single out an effective herbal medicine for liver toxicity seems, to me, a tad over-reactive and hypocritical.”
Essentially that is what I said back on July 24, 2008, in my blog entitled “Kava and Liver Toxicity.” More to come on this topic. I need to tend to the farm.