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Episode 32 – How to Use Herbs for Healing
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Jonathan Hunsaker: Welcome, everyone, to another episode of Empowering You Organically. I’m joined by my co-host, TeriAnn Trevenen.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Hey, everyone.
Jonathan Hunsaker: We have a very special guest today – Nick Polizzi, and I’m so excited to have you on the podcast, Nick. Thanks for joining us.
Nick Polizzi: Absolutely. I’m happy to be here.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Awesome. Yeah, we’re going to talk a little bit about Nick today. Nick has been making documentary films for the past 10 years. The titles he has been a part of include Remedy: Ancient Medicines for Modern Illness, The Sacred Science, Simply Raw, Reversing Diabetes In 30 Days, and The Tapping Solution. His work is guided by a fascination with the healing remedies of civilizations around the world and how they can be used to heal the diseases of today. Nick is driven by a calling to honor, preserve, and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of our ancestors.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Nick, you’ve done a lot, man.
TeriAnn Trevenen: The list is long.
Nick Polizzi: Yeah, I’m a little bit nuts. Yeah, I go after a lot of different things, for sure.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Good for you.
Jonathan Hunsaker: So, your most recent documentary that you’re making now, can you tell us about it? because word on the street is, it is the motherload of documentaries.
Nick Polizzi: Yeah, it’s called The Remedy: Ancient Medicine for Modern Illness, and it is about herbs, green medicines that have been used for thousands of years. And it goes into the specific diseases that they can treat. I think that people are really surprised to hear that you don’t need to turn to conventional medicine to treat just about any illness. There’s all kinds of alternatives that you don’t tend to hear about from your doctor. So yeah, we went right after it.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Yeah, I mean it was the same thing. We launched The Truth About Cancer, what’s it been? Five years now. I mean that was—that was the big thing. And for us, it was just letting people know that you have options. It’s like not everything needs to be a prescription, not everything needs to be a synthetic, not everything needs to be the “drug” the way that they’re presenting it. But there’s tons of natural ways to heal from all kinds of ailments.
Nick Polizzi: Absolutely.
Jonathan Hunsaker: So, are you focusing on one problem specifically in this documentary, or is it just talking about herbs in general?
Nick Polizzi: So, we go after—each episode—so it’s a nine-part series. Each episode goes after a specific health condition. So, we go after anything from autoimmune disorders, depression, stress, all the way to bacterial infections like Lyme Disease, all the way to heart disease, cancer, sexual health, reproductive health, fertility, really, like we run the gamut. And just each episode will kind of cover, for about an hour and a half, each one of those areas of health, or systems of the body, and then we just go into the specific herbs that can be used to alleviate a lot of the symptoms that are commonly associated with it.
Jonathan Hunsaker: I’m excited just to watch it, just hearing you talk about it. Because I’m very big in understanding herbs, how to use them, and I’m, I’m just so green to it still. I mean we have a supplement company, we’re learning more and more, and I know that it’s what you’ve been doing for a decade now. So, I’m excited to learn more about that.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah, I want to ask you a little bit about that just so that the—the listeners get to know a little bit more about you. Like why—where were you before being brought into this information and this natural health space? I mean has this been a part of your life you whole life, or was it kind of an a-ha moment? And how did you come to this point where this was kind of your mission to educate people? And how has it impacted your life?
Nick Polizzi: So, I was absolutely not on this path. I was living in New York City, I had gone to business school, I was on a fast track to becoming a business/real estate investor guy, and I got sick. And this is something that you hear about a lot, they call it the “wounded healer” phenomenon, where a lot of people who become healers, even regular medical doctors, you ask them how they got on the path, a lot of them decided to get into medicine because they got ill and they had to heal themselves first, or became aware of all the options that are out there that they wanted to share with the world, or help the world with. So, for me, when I was in my early 20s, I was just plugging away, living the life of a typical New York single guy, just having fun at night, working hard during the day, and then I started getting really serious chronic migraine headaches. And I don’t know if the viewers, if you’re watching this and you’ve never had one, I had these things called ocular migraine headaches that are not like a normal headache.
They—your entire vision goes blurry, and it’s—the pain is absolutely excruciating. Like for about eight or nine hours, I’d be laid up, lying in the dark in a cold, quiet place, trying to just wait it out, as it just felt like—it felt almost like a broken bone that’s in the middle of your brain being pushed on for eight hours. So, that just happened out of nowhere. I was totally healthy. I didn’t—was not thinking about natural health whatsoever. I was absolutely not natural health. I did everything that was—I was unhealthy in every possible way. I was smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, like eating every possible thing under the sun, but having a fun time in my early 20s, feeling invincible when this happened.
And so, I come from a family of nurses, so the first thing that happened when they realized that I was getting ocular migraine headaches, is I went to the number one neurologist in Connecticut, which is where I grew up. And he put me on a bunch of different drugs, trying to help me, totally trying to help me. Smart guy, like really tried to—really tried to figure this out for me, did all kinds of tests. And what would happen is these drugs, and one of them’s called Fioricet, there’s a couple other ones, but they would work for me one or two instances. I was getting two a week, so my life was miserable. My life was not—I was living—
TeriAnn Trevenen: You’re like out for two full days?
Nick Polizzi: Two full days, absolutely. And then you’re living in fear of the next one, because it’s going to happen in the next couple days. So, this life, you go into depression. People who have really severe migraine headaches, I think that no one quite—if you don’t get them, then no one quite understands how bad it gets.
TeriAnn Trevenen: No.
Nick Polizzi: It’s not a normal headache. So, he put me on all kinds of different drugs, and they would work for a couple days, and they’d work for a couple instances. And then my body would build up a tolerance to them, and they would stop working. So, I walked into his office one day, and I was like “Hey, this one stopped working, too.” And he was like “Well, the only thing I can do now is put you on a medication that is more of a preventative medication, but it will change your mood, and it’s only about 30 percent effective.” So, that was, even then, like my meathead 22-year-old self, I was like “You know what? Uh-uh, I don’t want my mood to be altered. I can’t do that.”
TeriAnn Trevenen: It was already tough enough with your headaches and how you were feeling, your migraines and how you were feeling, to probably manage your mood and your emotions. Hearing that, you were probably “What?”
Nick Polizzi: Right, right. So, I mean I was like “I can’t do this.” My parents—anyway, I had had met family members that had been on antidepressants before, and I just understood what that could do, how you could lose—you could lose yourself. Because you might—the very thing that’s supposed to be making decisions for you is being affected. So, you don’t even have the proper decision-making capabilities. I’m like “I can’t do it. I’ve seen this happen. I can’t do it.” So, that’s when I sort of started looking for alternatives. I was like “Okay, how am I going to do this? I have to get better.” I felt trapped. I mean like every—anybody who’s sick and who’s been told that modern medicine can’t help them, I have a really soft spot for that. That’s a big trigger for me – people who get told no by modern medicine, when modern medicine really is just one of many options, we’ve been told it’s the only option, it’s totally not. At that point, I’m like “I’ve got to figure this out.” And so, that’s how I got on the natural healing path.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Got it.
Jonathan Hunsaker: And so, what did you find? What was the solution for you? Like what herbs worked for you and how’d you feel better?
Nick Polizzi: So, the first thing that really started helping me was a—was acupuncture, acupressure, and a technique called EFT. I think a lot of people have heard of, Emotional Freedom Technique. A friend of mine taught it to me. And it—he started digging into it during one of my migraines. All these interesting childhood traumas kind of came up as I’m in this pain. He’s like “Hey, I know this sucks, but we’ve got to keep on digging into this thing. This is the right—this is the time to do it. You’re in the middle of this right now.” And so, I had some really interesting things I hadn’t realized were there that came up, and that was interesting. But that kind of got rid of maybe a little bit of a pain.
It still happened, but a lot of the pain started diminishing a little bit because of that. And then what I realized it was, was a food allergy. It turned out that—I started experimenting with everything I was eating and how it could—how it might be affecting my health. And it wasn’t the—it wasn’t the inclusion of an herb, it wasn’t like me using an herb got rid of my headaches, but me eliminating an herb that many of us are ingesting every single day without realizing it, was what reversed my migraines and cured them completely. And that herb is coffee. People don’t realize that coffee is a medicinal herb. Herbalists would look at coffee as being a pretty serious medicine because of how alkaline it is. And I was drinking tons of it. I was—every morning, I would have a pot. And I thought that was just totally normal, because I grew up in a house that drank tons of coffee. And so, I just, through my series of food eliminations, tried to test out different food allergies. I eliminated coffee a couple months down the line, and then my migraines immediately stopped.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Wow.
Nick Polizzi: To this very day, I don’t get migraines, but if I do cheat and start drinking coffee, it happened about a month ago during a launch, like “You know? I’m just going to try a cup of coffee.”
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yep.
Nick Polizzi: That’s the only thing that can make you feel okay sometimes, when you’re feeling like you’re dragging. It will—I’ll get a migraine within two days.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Wow.
Nick Polizzi: So, it was completely—it was a food allergy. And it’s funny, because it really is an herb I had to eliminate as opposed to adding an herb to get better.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Wow. And I appreciate you sharing your story. It’s so powerful. We’ve started sharing people’s health journeys through Organixx. I just shared mine last week on our podcast. I’ve done an elimination diet, changed my life, and showed me what works for my body and doesn’t.
Nick Polizzi: Great.
TeriAnn Trevenen: But I love that you’ve shared this before we get into the meat of what you’re sharing with the world, because I think it’s important for people to understand that most of us go through what you went through, where it’s like you’re just going along in life doing what everyone’s told you to do for so long, and the world seems so black and white, and then you realize, like “Whoa! It’s not so black and white.” Each of our bodies, we talk about this all the time, each of our bodies is so unique, it needs something different, it functions differently than the person who’s sitting next to you. And there’s a place for modern medicine, but there’s all these other options out there, which we’re going to talk about more with you today, and what you’re sharing with the world.
But I appreciate you sharing your story, and it’s a very powerful story, and I appreciate you being vulnerable, because it shows people that health is a journey. And sometimes it takes people getting to the point where something’s really bad, unfortunately, before they realize that. That’s my story, too. And I think it really resonates with people to hear like “You’re not the only one that’s out there that’s had something happen and realize there’s more out there.”
And our goal is to, like you, is to help people know now instead of waiting until it gets to the point where you’re having these horrible migraines, or you’re so sick, but there are other options out there to prevent those things from happening. And so, again, I just appreciate you sharing your story, and how you got to this point. It’s going to be really powerful for people who are listening to know how you got to this place in your life where you’re sharing natural alternatives, and that it’s a personal story for you, extremely powerful. And I just appreciate you sharing that.
Nick Polizzi: Yeah, well, I appreciate that. Yeah, I wouldn’t be nearly as passionate about this if it wasn’t personal. I mean I like natural health.
Once you get into it, as you guys know, you start realizing how much there is to explore, and how many parts of yourself there are to unlock. But I wouldn’t be—I wouldn’t be a missionary for this, I wouldn’t have chosen this as my life, my life path, if it wasn’t deeply personal to me.
And so, when I see people who, whether we’re filming, we film a lot of survivors, or other people who I just come into contact with in my daily life, if I see people who are struggling with some kind of a health issue, like I can put my brain exactly where they’re at. I know exactly where they’re at, I know what they’re thinking, I know how many doubts they have. And the system right now is not set up to make you feel empowered at all. So, when you’re that sick and you’ve tried so many things, there’s a feeling of disempowerment, which I think is one of the first things that needs to get remedied before you even start on your actual healing path. You have to realize that you’ve only been told a part of what’s out there, you know?
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah, absolutely. Once you go through that, you can’t help but share, because you see people going through it, and you’re like you just want to give it away to people, like “I know what you’re going through, and I know there’s so much more out there.” So, thank you for sharing. I really appreciate that. Let’s get back to what made you decide to go into herbalism versus other schools of natural medicine, in this particular documentary, and what you’re really seeing?
Nick Polizzi: So, I started off, a bunch of my—so before this project, I was really immersed in Native medicines and Native healing rites. And that led me into the vast amount of herbs that are out there that have not been studied by modern medicine. For example, one of our last projects is called The Sacred Science. We brought eight patients from around the world into the Amazon rainforest to heal themselves using rainforest plants and Shamanic healing rites.
And just digging into that, starting to work with some well-respected ethno-botanists and medical anthropologists, the picture was kind of astounding. There’s over 80,000 species of medicinal plants in the Amazon alone, less than 3 percent of them have been studied for their medicinal value. Of those 3 percent, some 15-20 percent of our cancer treatments are synthesized from compounds in those plants. So, I guess I’ve always been fascinated by the plant world around us, and all the healing potential that it holds. And for a variety of reasons there, it’s not going to be studied anytime soon by modern science. So, for me, it’s one of the lowest-hanging fruits in terms of potential cures out there, which is what led us to start focusing on herbs alone.
Jonathan Hunsaker: So, I mean you said it’s not going to be studied by modern science, and I would imagine the only way it’s going to be is for them to find a way to synthesize it so that they can patent it so they can sell it and make a lot of money off of it. I would imagine that’s the only way that we’re getting any studies there. Give us a little bit of a history lesson. I mean tell us; I mean when did we really stop using herbs as part of our treatment protocol?
Nick Polizzi: Man, that’s—so that gets into some serious like—some serious stuff. I can speak to it, to a certain degree. I can’t speak to it as well as some others. I’m sure that you came across some pretty amazing stories in The Truth About Cancer, trying to expose why we’ve moved away from these natural medicines.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Absolutely.
Nick Polizzi: But yeah, I mean it seemed like we were doing pretty well. We were still using herbs, even through the late 1800s, but in the early 1900s, there were some laws and other motions passed that made it—made it very hard to practice natural medicine in this country, and started championing the use of chemicals as opposed to natural methods by some of the major families in the—major families here in the States.
So, this is where we can kind of get into conspiracy theory. I try to stay away from that a little bit, because I just feel like people tend to categorize conspiracy theory with like somehow a lack of truth, or something that you can’t take seriously. But the Flexner Report is very real, right? I mean the fact that these schools had to be closed, they were not going to be funded by the major institutions anymore, and that only medical institutes that practiced chemical-based medicine, or what we—what would turn into modern medicine, would actually get funding. That’s where I see it probably happening very concretely, us moving away from natural medicine. But we were using natural medicine all the way up through the early 1900s. It was just as well-respected as any modern approach, surgery or drugs.
So, I feel like because of—and you alluded to it earlier—because of the financial interests and the patentability of chemicals, we moved away from natural methods. And yes, the reason why—the reason why only 3 percent of the plants in the jungle have been studied is because, like you said, they can’t be synthesized and patented. So, until they can be, they won’t be studied. And because of the major institutions that these ethno-botanists are being funded by, a lot of them are being funded by major pharmaceutical companies, like their university studies are being funded by them. So, if they can’t get funding, they can’t do the work.
So, something that we do on the side here is we have—we work with other groups that are trying to study these plants with limited funding or private funding, to bring that research to modern medicine. So yeah, I mean—but the reason why we’ve moved away from nature is definitely a money game. It doesn’t seem like there’s any other—anything else out there. And you see it in the cannabis industry right now, too. Like because this can’t be patented, and because the—because it’s such an effective plant, that directly competes with a lot of the pharmaceuticals that are out there, it’s being demonized. And all the proven health benefits are being swept under the carpet.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah. Well, and as we go down this rabbit hole, that’s the only thing I can really come to. And it goes even far beyond just pharmaceuticals into food, and GMOs and things like that. It is a money game and it comes down to patents. What you can patent, you can control, and you can control what people can spending their money on. And the rabbit hole just goes further and further and further. But as we’ve talked about this many times, as well as other people on the podcast, and talking about with you, it just becomes more and more clear, that ability to patent it and control people’s choice, control their dollar, it has a huge drive behind what we’re doing in the health food/cosmetic industry and beyond. And when you talk about the herbs going away, you can’t patent that, can’t make money off of it because it’s in nature and it belongs to all of us. And so, it takes away our choice, unfortunately.
Nick Polizzi: Completely. Yeah, I mean there’s also something that we paint in the begging, Episode 1 of Remedy, there’s also just a serious trail of human rights violations. That’s sort of like if you want to look at like women’s rights, well, women’s rights and herbalism are tied very closely together. I mean for a long time, the way that the Catholic church, and the way that—again, I was raised Christian, I have nothing—this is not like me getting partial to any one religious persuasion, but women have been burned at the stake for like hundreds and hundreds, thousands of years for practicing just basic herbalism because of how effective it is.
So, it’s really, when you dig into the politics of this, it’s like it’s so far-reaching. If you look into the indigenous rights, you look at how these cultures have been exploited and the knowledge has been taken away from them. Look at how modern medicine has taken certain plants, synthesized them, but they’ve taken them from these traditions after telling them that they would get the credit for it and get some money for it, but at the end, they take the plants, they take the IP, they synthesize it, and there’s no money exchanged, there’s no credit even given. So, there’s this idea that herbalism is somehow separate, it’s like the hippie choice, it’s granola, it’s crunchy. This is the origin of a lot of the most modern treatments there are out there right now.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah.
Jonathan Hunsaker: So, do you think the trend is reversing? Do you feel like it’s becoming more, not mainstream yet, but do you feel like it’s going in that direction, that more people are going back to the roots? No pun intended.
Nick Polizzi: So, the way I look at it, if you look at just Whole Foods, look at how many of those are planting up, sprouting up, pretty much everywhere across the country.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah.
Nick Polizzi: Like 15 years ago, there was like—how many of them were there in the country? Like seven or something? And now, there’s just like if you plant a pin where they all are, like they’re starting to canvas this country, the US, and right in the middle of every Whole Foods is an herb section. So, like they’re almost like a closet herb—it’s almost like an undercover herb shop sprouting up everywhere. So, I feel like, yeah, the trend is—the trend is going up. It’s interesting. When we made—let’s go back to The Sacred Science real quick. When we made The Sacred Science, we did all kinds of market research to figure out whether or not it was a viable film. This was back in 2008. And looking at how many people are searching for certain terms – herbalism, shamanism, native medicine. There was like nobody. Like my friends thought I was insane for even making the project, because like there’s no one, “There’s not an audience for this.” It’s always good to make a film that has an audience that wants to see it. That’s kind of part of it, right? And back then, there was no one. I mean like literally, 10,000 searches a month, which is nothing, globally, for a lot of this.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah.
Nick Polizzi: And you look at it now, and it’s like it’s just off the charts. I mean I don’t even know what it is, in the many millions a month for each of these terms. So, just looking at the data out there, and also looking at what we’re seeing in terms of like the Whole Foods and other natural health food stores that are kind of grocery stores, but really do have a gigantic herb section, sophisticated herb section right implanted in the middle of them. I mean just looking at those trends, obviously, it’s like people are starting to turn to these things, starting to realize the jig is up. You can only really—only so many people can die trying to use one method, and being told that that’s the only method, before people start getting wise to the fact that there must be more out there.
TeriAnn Trevenen: That’s for sure. That’s the truth.
Jonathan Hunsaker: The list of side effects that comes from trying different herbs is very minimal compared to the list of side effects that they have to read off every time you go in and fill your prescription.
Nick Polizzi: Yeah.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah.
Jonathan Hunsaker: So, is there a specific herb or category of herbs that lights you up, that gets you excited?
Nick Polizzi: Man, I’ve got so many. It’s so hard to answer that question. Yes, of course. So, I like—so for my own wellbeing, I was given, by one of the herbalists, a little cocktail of herbs, just for—to handle stress and anxiety, because especially during a launch—like “Okay, you’re going to be going into a launch, let’s just kind of give you a little something here.” But it was so effective that it’s just something that’s been—I’ve kept it around. I don’t use it all the time, but like in moments that are really stressful, or you have a lot of anxiety or anxiousness, there’s an herb called skullcap that’s a little flower that grows in the forest, that is extremely good at lowering the noise that kind of goes on in your brain, kind of reducing that noise. If you have a lot of self-talk going on, if you’re going through a really stressful time in your life and you just can’t quiet your mind down. I mean a lot of us have gone through that and probably still go through that. Before we go to bed at night, like you’re trying to lay down, there’s so many thoughts. It could even be good thoughts, it could be like things that are really exciting, but you just can’t turn your brain off.
It’s really good at turning the volume down on that. And there’s—she pairs it with another herb called ashwaganda, which is a big deal right now. Everyone’s kind of starting to like get privy to ashwaganda and how important that herb is, which does a lot of great things for your body, but one of the—one of the psychological benefits that it has is it’s really good at—she would say it’s good at boosting the tone of the thoughts that are most important to you, or who you are, like your own consciousness, it’s good at boosting the tone that can get lost in this sea of noise that we tend to get—we tend to find ourselves in. So, she has this skullcap, which is a proven—it’s really proven for being great with anxiety and stress. She uses that to kind of lower the volume of the noise going on in your mind, and then she pairs it with this ashwaganda, which has a ton of health benefits, but one of them is to really give you clarity, clarity of purpose, clarity of who you are, so that you’re lowering the noise and you’re boosting your clarity at the same time.
So, it’s a really great—before you—if you have a big talk you have to kind of give, and if you have—or you have to do something that is going to—that is going to put you in a place of stress, then you take this, like a couple of doses of that in the morning, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, like it’s amazing how fast it works. It’s not weird, it doesn’t make you foggy, it doesn’t kind of—a lot of these—a lot of drugs that will kind of get rid of anxiety or stress will kind of make you feel a little bit foggy or faded almost. This is not that way. It actually boosts your clarity, but takes low level or higher level—
Jonathan Hunsaker: Now, are you making a tea out of this? How are you ingesting it?
Nick Polizzi: She makes it into a tincture. And so, I send it—so, her name is Susanna Raven. She’s awesome. She’s up in Upstate New York. But this is not like—this is her blend, but it’s definitely one of those old, old herbal treatments.
So yes, she makes a tincture out of the skullcap and out of the ashwagandha. She might pop one more herb in there. I’m not sure what it is. But it might be astragalus in there. And then you just take that tincture. You just take one dropperful in some water three times a day. It’s something that I wouldn’t want to rely on for like the long term. I think that if you have long-term stress and anxiety, there’s other things to look at. But if it’s really more of a situational thing, where you’re just having a really hard day, you have a lot in front of you, then just have a couple droppers of that, and it’s very mild, but it takes away that stress.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Awesome.
Jonathan Hunsaker: I love that. Anything else that excites you?
Nick Polizzi: I’m sure you guys are a huge fan of the adaptogens. I’m a huge fan of the adaptogens. I’m a reishi mushroom hound. Like I have reishi mushroom all the time. It’s one of those—we’re creative people, and it’s one of those things that really boosts my creativity, and also lowers stress. I mean adaptogens, by their very nature, they modulate stress, right? So, it’s also another great one for going through those weeks where you have—where you have a lot going on. I wouldn’t even say this is in the same category as the first remedy that I was mentioning, because you can actually take reishi ongoing if you want to. It’s a tonic herb, so you can like—you can actually put it in a bunch of stuff.
You can have it in mild doses ongoing. You can keep on eating reishi. I can’t personally do it, because I’m really sensitive to any kind of plants that I ingest, so I can’t have reishi for like two months in a row, or I’ll start feeling almost like a vibration going through me. It’s almost a little bit too much. But I know people who have been on reishi for years and years and years. And a lot of them say, like the Ron Teagardens of the world, All About Dragon Herbs, a really well-respected guy out of California, I think it might be LA, a lot of these guys say that you don’t even really fully recognize the benefits of some of these medicinal mushrooms until you’ve been using them at the right dose for more than a year.
But I like reishi a lot. It’s one of those ones, and when you start trying herbs, I’m sure you guys have had this too, you start working with herbs, you just start—your body starts telling you which ones you need and which ones it likes, and they’re totally different. Back to your earlier point, like we all have different physiologies. It’s one of the biggest myths that’s kind of pulled over our eyes when we’re young. It’s like “Oh yeah, we’re all—there’s men and there’s women, and that’s pretty much it. And if you’re from Italy, then you can stay out in the sun longer,” whatever it is. We have these weird very simplified views of our individuality, you know?
TeriAnn Trevenen: Very complex bodies.
Nick Polizzi: Yeah, but the thing is, by not—by giving into that fairytale, then we stop even paying attention to our own body’s needs. Like there’s stuff that we’re allergic to that we don’t even realize we’re allergic to because we’re told that we’re not allergic to it. Like I can’t eat sharp cheddar cheese. I just can’t. But apparently, like I knew that it made my face feel cold whenever I ate it, but I thought everyone’s face felt cold, because we’re all the same body, so everyone must feel the same way when they eat sharp cheddar cheese. Like we’re so disempowered, and it’s like the—the standardized system of one size fits all medicine has got us completely sleeping on our own health. So, when you start diving into herbs, it’s kind of like you start feeling the ones that don’t really do much, and then you start feeling the ones that are supposed to be really subtle, but they have a very noticeable effect really fast. “Oh man, I needed that one.”
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Well, and it’s interesting, because we come across this all the time. It’s like you said. We have people that take even our 7M, our mushroom blend, and they don’t feel anything. They don’t feel any change. But then if they stop taking it, then it’s like “Wait, I felt something when I stopped taking it.”
Nick Polizzi: Yeah.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah.
Jonathan Hunsaker: And you just react differently to it. I think it’s fun. I think it’s playful. I find it very absurd that we think there’s a one size fits all. I think diet is fun. I like playing with different things. I like putting my body in and out of ketosis, right? I like that I can burn fat sometimes, I like that sometimes sit does really good on just carbs, or different things like that. But to me, that’s—I’m exploring with my body, I’m finding what works. And I’m excited to even dive in deeper into different herbs and things that you’re doing, because to me, it sounds fun. And it’s like what we should do. How else are we going to find out what works for us, with our diet, with herbs, with all kinds of stuff?
Same thing with working out. I never realized I was going to like running as much as I do, right? I used to always be suffering any time I had to run. And now, I ran 14 miles the other day. And it’s like I loved it. So, to me, I think we need to take more personal responsibility and not just looking for the quick fix, the one answer, “Let doctor tell me what’s wrong with me and give me a prescription,” but play with it. If we had certain kinds of ailments or diseases, they didn’t come overnight.
They didn’t end up in our body from a bottle. Let’s not expect to fix them overnight, either.
Nick Polizzi: Right. Yeah, I mean there’s a lack of connection with ourselves, and a lack of connection with the outside world, like you can even say a lack of connection with nature, that I think you’re speaking to, too. There’s something that you can’t put a finger on, and people who are listening who have never experimented with natural medicines, I’d imagine a lot of them have, but there’s something that’s so fulfilling about working with nutrition and working with herbs, just those two alone, that feels right.
Like “Oh man, a part of me that’s waking up, that needed this, that never got it. And it’s not even like it needed necessarily this specific herb, but it needed—I needed to start attending to different aspects of myself that I have not attended to in a very, very long time.” And it seems kind of esoteric and woo-woo, but it really isn’t. Once you start—it’s experiential, right? Like you’re saying. You ran 14 miles. You would never—10 years ago maybe, you would have thought that was absolutely absurd and you’d never want to do that, and it must suck. It’s like “Wow, I would never want to put myself through that.” But then when you’re doing it, and you’re starting to understand all the aspects of a run, I run too, when you start understanding all the aspects of a run, the parts that used to feel like suffering, now start feeling like learning.
You start learning how to move your body slightly different in certain types of terrain. Whereas I used to go for a run, I guess this kind of compares to herbalism, you used to go for a run, and then you’re sort of trying to run the exact same way over every possible type of terrain, every possible incline or grade, and then you start realizing, “I just need to be more attentive to everything that’s going on right now in the moment and change the way I’m doing things based on what’s happening in my externality.” And I think that same attention to subtlety is what I think is awoken using herbs. You start learning how to feel different, different sensations, and different hints at a possible answer to what’s causing you problems.
TeriAnn Trevenen: You talked a little earlier, and I thought about this, this thought came into my head, and it’s coming into my head again, so I probably need to say it. But earlier, when you were talking about the Amazon rainforest, a couple of things have happened for me in the last month. I watched a fascinating documentary about how the Amazon rainforest has enough oxygen to provide oxygen for the entire world, but there’s so much growing there that it absorbs all of that for the plants, and the nutrition and things and the animals that are living there. And another thing that I heard about the Amazon rainforest is that the people there are so—the indigenous people, the people, when you get really deep in the Amazon rainforest, they’re living their entire life based off of nature. Like they eat and use herbal medicines, things like that, based off what’s growing at the time, and then even as they age, that changes.
The further you go into the Amazon rainforest; the healthier people get. They’re so healthy. And you don’t see the things that you’re seeing out here in the modern world, you don’t see the same diseases and sickness and emotional issues that people are seeing out here in the modern world. And you talked about we’re not connected with nature, that thought popped into my head again, there’s so much power in nature.
And we are so connected to nature if we allow ourselves to be. Nature can teach our bodies how to heal, and our bodies can learn what they need based off of nature. You see people in the Amazon rainforests doing that, and there’s so much power there. And it’s like we—this movement’s so important, what you’re sharing with the world is so important, because this movement needs to come back to the forefront of our minds. Our bodies are so unique. What we put in them is different for each of us. It’s different at different points in our lives. What works now may not work three years from now. Different seasons, and the herbs that grow, and the plants that grow, we’ve lost this art of caring for our bodies and realizing that health is the number one gift we can give to ourselves. We’ve lost that. There’s so much power behind herbal medicine and something that is fascinating, like you said, it’s fun to play, fun to see what your body can and can’t take, and what it needs and what it doesn’t need, and really fine-tuning our bodies. It’s an art form. We’ve lost it. We’ve completely lost it.
Nick Polizzi: Totally, yeah. I mean this is like almost cliché, but looking at your body like it’s the garden, looking at your psyche like it’s a garden, too. But you have to continue to nourish it, and things are going to change. And the crops are going to need to rotate. Things can’t—nothing stays static forever. So, mean just enjoying the process is the most important part, so you can stay attentive to it.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah, absolutely. So, in your experience, what is the biggest difference you’re seeing? We’ve talked about modern medicine and the approaches that happen there, but what can people experience when they’re going to an herbalist or functional medicine doctor? What are they going to see that’s different? We’ve talked about a few of the things, but from all of the information you’ve gathered, and people you’ve talked to, what are the biggest differences people are going to see when it comes to their body and going down that path? What have you seen so far?
Nick Polizzi: I think that probably the biggest difference, in terms of approach, is that herbalists and natural medicine doctors in general are, if they’re really good, they’re looking for root cause, they’re not looking to cover up symptoms. If you go to the doctor, the first thing they’re going to try to do is cover up a symptom and get rid of a symptom, cut it out, numb it out, give you something so you don’t have to feel it.
Whereas an herbalist is going to start trying to trace back your entire lifestyle. Your first visit with an herbalist is, a lot of times, is about a two-hour visit. So, doctors tend to be like 10 minutes in the room, and then you have a nurse, and you sit on the cold butcher paper on the thing for a second, and then kind of… So, the—so if you meet with an herbalist, they’re going to sit down with you for two hours, a lot of the time, and ask you about every aspect of your life so that they can get an idea of what might be out of balance, what might be contributing to your symptoms. And sometimes, it’s not even going to be an herb. Like they might not even ask you to take an herb. They’ll say “You’ve got this relationship that seems like it’s out of whack, it’s causing you a lot of stress, which seems to be affecting your sleep. Which very well might be causing your chronic fatigue. So, before I start giving you some—before we start choosing a nuclear option, let’s start looking at some lifestyle changes first, and come back to me in a week. Once you tweak this, tweak that, start eating less of this, make sure that you monitor that.”
So, a lot of it is, it’s very intimate with that, and there’s a lot—not in a creepy way. It’s very like—it’s like they’re going to ask you about so much stuff, whereas your doctor doesn’t give a crap about what your situation is with your mom, or what your situation is with your kids, whatever. So, that’s one thing I think people really like is how high-touch it is. There’s a lot of bedside manner to natural medicine, as I’m sure you guys have seen. If you go to—same thing will happen if you go to a traditional Chinese medicine doctor. I mean there’ll be a lot of questions about every aspect of your life. And a lot of times, when you’re filling this stuff out, or you’re answering these questions, it’s almost like a relief that someone actually cares, somebody is actually asking you about these parts of you that you haven’t even talked with anybody about. “Wow, okay, this actually does happen to me.”
So, I think that one thing that struck me immediately about herbalists and natural medicine doctors in particular was, not even because they are this kind of person, but just because their approach requires it, they need to get to know you. They need to know your life. They need to know what you might be doing. That might be—that might ultimately, down the road, have contributed to the health problem that you’re experiencing now. And yes, a lot of times, it’s going to be solved by an herb, or by some kind of adjustment to your meal plan.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Yeah, it’s—just hearing you talk about it feels right, right? Like you just hear, and it’s like “Oh yeah, if I go see a doctor, maybe we should talk about every part of my life. Let’s talk about my relationships.” We talk about it on the podcast a lot, that relationships, emotions are just as toxic as the GMOs and the non-organic food, and the herbicides and pesticides that are sprayed on it. There’s all kinds of different toxins.
And it just makes sense to have somebody actually like “Let me hear your whole situation. What’s everything that’s going on?” Not just “Oh, you’re not sleeping? Here’s some Ambien.” Right? Or some other ridiculous solution to not sleeping, or whatever else is hurting, right? Yeah, I love it. I love the conversation. I love that the option is there, right? And I hope more people go down that path of the naturopath, of the herbalist, and go—and still go see a doctor if you want to. Nobody’s saying not to. But go explore what else is out there, and try some other things, because there’s so many more options than what we’re led to believe all the time.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah.
Nick Polizzi: Something else that’s really been helpful personally, but also something that we recommend in the series as well, is like you said, the idea is not to dump out the baby with the bath water. Like there’s—modern medicine is incredible at certain things. I’m not trying to demonize anyone. There’s things that modern medicine excels at. Something that we rely on modern medicine, or modern science for, is testing. I think that if you’re going to be on this path, this natural path, and you’re going to not see a doctor as much as you normally would, I know I sure don’t, I don’t go nearly as much as I used to when I was younger, it doesn’t mean that you should—that doesn’t mean that you should abandon modern technology altogether. I think that certain tests that you can order through LabCorp or—yourself, mail-in tests, are really helpful. Like doing a full blood panel has extremely benefited me and my family, just trying to find balances that you might have, that you might not, you might not see, so that you can hit it with herbs, you can hit it with supplements, you can hit it with diet. I’ve had a lot of breakthroughs with—this is slightly controversial, but with DNA testing, just so you understand what you’re genetically predisposed to. There’s certain things that I think are—there’s this beautiful combination that kind of needs to be woven together. I think that there’s this all, complete, united natural/modern package that hasn’t been really outlined yet, but I think that if we’re really trying to take our wellness to the next level and look out for our families, I think that there’s this all-inclusive, take the best of both sides, and mix them together.
Jonathan Hunsaker: I agree 100 percent. And I love—I love the idea of getting the bloodwork done and using modern technology. Nobody’s saying that we’re anti-technology. I mean we wouldn’t be able to do this interview if it weren’t for technology and things like that. And I’m all for it. And I think that there’s a place for all of it. I just—and it’s like politics, right? Everybody is forced to pick a side. You’re either blue or you’re red. What team are you on? But really, neither one of them are right. There’s somewhere in the middle that makes sense on certain things, and the other side might be right on other things. But some, you just have to pick a team. And it’s the same thing with medicine.
It’s not like “Okay, I’m only going to see a naturopath and nothing else, and I’m just going to do it old-school.” Well, we have a lot of technology now that helps you live a lot longer than they used to back then, and there’s been a lot of advances in medicine. It’s just stupid if we don’t use everything at our disposal. So, don’t just go all the way towards allopathic medicine, either, and forget about the herbs, and forget about the traditions, and forget about the things that created all of that. And don’t go all the way to the other side and just say “Alright, I’m going to go 200 years back. I’m going to do it the way they did it then.” Because you’re never going to achieve the optimum health doing just one or the other.
Nick Polizzi: My wife, Michelle, and I were those obnoxious naturopaths that, back in like seven years ago, living in Berkley, California, obviously, and we were just those people that would, when people talked about having a c-section, so we got pregnant seven years ago, we were like at these classes, and some people had these planned c-sections, and we were like “Oh my god, this is like—how could you? Blah-blah-blah.” We were like the obnoxious people who were doing everything on the natural path. We had a tub birth, we were going to do it at home, we’d have candles, there was going to be some shaman in the corner singing, playing a drum. And of course, what happens? The universe, we have an emergency. We tried to do it that way, emergency, hospital, emergency c-section. My son wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for modern medicine. He wouldn’t be—he would have died. He would have died if we—if this was, what? 150 years ago, he wouldn’t have made it. So, of course, as soon as you lean toward one and start thinking that that extreme is the only way, of course, there’s like this natural correction, where you get pulled back.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah, absolutely.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Alright, let’s talk more about your docuseries. I want to make sure everybody at home knows about it, knows when they can watch it. You’re airing it for free. So, tell us more about Remedy: Ancient Medicines for Modern Illnesses.
Nick Polizzi: So, Remedy, first of all, the dates. So, it’s a nine-part docuseries on herbalism, and each episode goes into a specific area of health or disease that you can improve drastically using herbs. It airs on June 4th, and it goes for 9 days. You can watch each episode absolutely free. It’s up for 24 hours, and then the next one goes up.
So, you have 24 hours to watch each episode for free, and then it all goes down after 9 days. So, we try to make it available to the world so that, regardless of where you come from, how much money you have access to, you can experience this knowledge and put it to practice in your life. Really, really excited about it. It features over 35 different respected herbalists, doctors, functional medicine practitioners, historians, archaeologists. We dig into—we dig into how this all happened, how we’ve co-evolved with plants, and why they’re so effective at healing the diseases that we face.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Awesome.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Excellent. What’s the website everybody can go to?
Nick Polizzi: The website is Remedy.TheSacredScience.com.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Awesome.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Awesome. So, go ahead.
TeriAnn Trevenen: I was going to ask you one last question today. I’ve been asking people this at the end of the podcast, because I think it’s pretty fascinating, and I think it speaks volumes about where people have been in their journey. If you could tell or say one thing to the world about anything that we’ve talked about today, like your one message to the world from you, and it’s the last thing you left with the world, what would you say to people?
Nick Polizzi: Be careful about book learning and learning secondhand. It’s a great starting point, but as we’ve been discussing today, experience is going to teach you more than any book could, any podcast could, any documentary could. These are great leaping-off points, let’s call them, so that you can start experiencing things yourself. You can talk about herbs all day long. Until you start ingesting that first herb and experiencing it yourself, you’re not going to fully understand the potential that your body has to heal itself, and also, what you might have been missing in terms of connecting to yourself and the world around you.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Awesome. I love that.
Jonathan Hunsaker: I love it. I’m an entrepreneur. I dropped out of high school to start my first business. And I could not agree with that statement more. Yeah. So, I love it. And what I need to do is apply that to more areas of my life, apply that to things—sorry about that. I apply that to things with business, but I’m not always applying it with other areas. And I love that idea. I love the idea to just experiment with it and go find out for yourself. So, Nick, it’s been phenomenal having you on the show.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Awesome.
Jonathan Hunsaker: I know that our audience is just going to love this. Everybody listening, go to Remedy.TheSacredScience.com. You can register to watch the entire docuseries for free. It’s Remedy: Ancient Medicines for Modern Illness. You can go to EmpoweringYouOrganically.com for all of the show notes, for the transcripts. We’ll have links to all of Nick’s stuff as well if you want to go there. Nick, I want to have you back on. I feel like we just scratched the surface.
TeriAnn Trevenen: That’s awesome.
Jonathan Hunsaker: So, let’s get through this launch, and I know the stress that goes into launching this, maybe we can talk about having you back on in the summertime. TeriAnn Trevenen: He’s got herbs for that.
Jonathan Hunsaker: He does have herbs.
Nick Polizzi: Much more to discuss. Much more to discuss, for sure.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah. Awesome. It’s been awesome today. Thank you so much for the information. I know people are just going to love, love, love what you’ve shared today. So, thank you.
Nick Polizzi: Thanks for having me.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Thanks, Nick. Thanks, TeriAnn. We’ll see you guys on the next show.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Have a great day, everyone.
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Episode 32 – How to Use Herbs for Healing