The Natural Way: Supplement your vices
Letís look at alcohol and tobacco from a health perspective trying to stay clear of politics or morality. Health is a broad concept encompassing spiritual, emotional and physical aspects. But first, hereís some supplemental advice should you decide to sample either.
Smokers should avoid beta-carotene in supplement form but increase their antioxidants.† Drinkers should be sure of their B-Complex intake and supplement if youíve overdone.† Dr. Andrew Weil, MD states,ĒThere isnít a drug on the market that can protect the liver the way one humble herb can. Plenty of pharmaceuticals can harm the liver, but only an herb ó milk thistle ó can help heal it.Ē
The conscious act of setting time aside, savoring a beverage while enjoying a quiet moment or the frolic of good friends can be healing. I am not talking about getting drunk.†A rule of thumb is no more than two standard wineglasses each day; one or two beers or one cocktail each measured when poured. To me, drink or smoke should not be used as a medicine so you can calm yourself, fall asleep or for avoiding uncomfortable aspects of life. The enjoyment factor is lost or the soul of the act is missed. Alcohol should not be sought in order to get drunk for the same reason. Iím describing the conscious and responsible use of traditional beverages.
Tobacco is not really a food product, though some healing benefits are present except when smoked. The act of burning the herb changes the chemical structure and introduces toxins to the smoker and those near the smoke. When not burned the herb has to be used with great care because of the strong chemicals naturally found in the herb. It is said modern processing of the tobacco into cigarettes includes adding non-native chemicals, which canít be a good thing.†
From a very traditional herbal view, use or enjoyment of the tobacco must be done with the herbís permission. Meaning, if you are addicted to tobacco you are not in sync with the herb and out of balance. Again, enjoyment of the moment with a true appreciation for the herb is required for a benefit to occur. The health benefit is much less convincing than with red wine. Conscious, responsible and limited use of tobacco while enjoying the herb and setting is the place of balance. Mostly, we humans donít do this very well.