About Phyllis D. Light

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So far Phyllis D. Light has created 18 blog entries.

What is Herbalism?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), herbalism is the use of crude plant material such as leaves, flowers, fruit, seed, stems, wood, bark, roots, rhizomes or other plant parts, which may be entire, fragmented or powdered. The term herbalism refers to the long historical use of these medicines to support the healing function of [...]

Ginseng Hunting

Excerpted from Phyllis' forthcoming book, The Geography of Health: Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine. “When the leaves start a falling, the snakes start a crawling.” - Local saying We parked the truck on top of Billy Ridge at the crack of dawn to go ginseng hunting down the mountainside. The early cool of the September [...]

Cotton Fields

Excerpted from her forthcoming book, The Geography of Health: Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine. Plants have always been my companions, both in the woods and the fields. For as long as I can remember, they have kept me company, shaded me from the hot sun and supported my health. As a child, passionflower (maypops) could [...]

Dietary Supplements and Drug Interactions

Are you one of the millions of Americans who currently take one or more dietary supplements and are also on prescription medication? In today's world, the likelihood of taking both dietary supplements and drugs are quite high: studies show that about 50% of Americans use a complementary therapy like foods, herbs or vitamins and minerals. [...]

Thyroid Supplements

Synthetic thyroid hormone supplementation increases calcium loss, reduced bone density and increased risk of osteoporosis. A study from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA, shows that taking synthetic thyroid accelerates bone turnover and that new bone formation does not offset the loss (Thyroid 2003 Apr;13(4):357-64). Synthetic thyroid can also bind with iron, resulting [...]

General Considerations in Taking Dietary Supplements

Pregnant or nursing women should always consult their physicians or healthcare professionals before taking any medications or dietary supplements. Consult a practitioner before taking any dietary supplements if you are elderly or take multiple prescription medications. Discontinue a product if symptoms of allergy develop. Take supplements with food to avoid digestive upset. Do not swallow [...]

The Food Legacy of Native Americans

Corn, beans, squash: all three have been renowned as the Sustainers of Life or the Three Sisters among Native Americans. As long as the Three Sisters are plentiful, good food, good health and a full tummy follow. For thousands of years, these three vegetables have nourished Native American tribes throughout the continental United States. European [...]

The Food Legacy of Native Americans: Corn, Beans and Squash

Corn, a centerpiece of the Native American diet, was a marvel of biotech engineering before the European settlers arrived. Native Americans encouraged the formation of ears or cobs on maize, a rather grass-like plant. While pre-European corn was self-sustaining, the varieties we grow now need human intervention to flourish. It needs continual replanting. Today we [...]

The Food Legacy of Native Americans: Variations

Not all corn has the same nutritive value: different hues indicate different nutrient levels. For instance, yellow corn contains a wealth of nutrients including protein, fiber, folate, magnesium, calcium, selenium, Vitamin C and Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Blue corn is even higher in protein, while being rich in the amino acid lysine [...]

The Food Legacy of Native Americans: Bean Benefits

Beans contain potent proteins as well as a wealth of B vitamins. The available types of beans seem almost endless: snap beans, shelly beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, red beans, navy beans, white beans – beans of all shapes and sizes. When eaten together, beans and corn provide complete protein for human nutrition [...]