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Vaccine Rhetoric vs. Reality—Keeping Vaccination’s Unflattering Track Record Secret

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Note: This is Part VI in a series of articles adapted from the second Children’s Health Defense eBook: Conflicts of Interest Undermine Children’s Health. The first eBook, The Sickest Generation: The Facts Behind the Children’s Health Crisis and Why It Needs to End, described how children’s health began to worsen dramatically in the late 1980s following fateful changes in the childhood vaccine schedule.]

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A concerted and “heavy-handed” effort is under way to censor information that contradicts the oversimplified sound bites put forth by public health agencies and the media about vaccines. However, while brazen, in-your-face censorship—and attacks on health freedom—have ratcheted up to an unprecedented degree,  officialdom’s wish to keep vaccination’s unflattering track record out of the public eye is nothing new.

There is a chasm between vaccine rhetoric and reality for most if not all vaccines, but four vaccines—varicella (chickenpox), rotavirus, human papillomavirus (HPV) and pertussis-containing vaccines—offer especially instructive before-and-after case studies. Analysis of the U.S. experience with these vaccines raises important questions. First, why did the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) race to approve—and why does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) heavily promote—vaccines such as varicella and rotavirus when there is little public health justification for them? Second, why are federal agencies ignoring the many serious risks that have surfaced in the vaccines’ wake—problems unheard of before the vaccines’ introduction?

With the rollout of mass varicella vaccination, shingles started cropping up to an unprecedented extent in both children and adults, eliminating boosting for adults and shifting downward the average age at which shingles occurs.

Varicella and rotavirus vaccines

The rationale for the varicella and rotavirus vaccines was dubious from the start. In the U.S. and other wealthy countries, varicella and rotavirus were nearly universal and mostly benign childhood infections; in those settings, the pre-vaccine impact of the two conditions was largely measured in terms of “healthcare costs, missed daycare, and loss of time from work for parents/guardians” rather than in terms of serious illness or mortality.

Childhood chickenpox infections served an important purpose for all, conferring lifelong immunity to infected children while boosting adult immunity to the related shingles (herpes zoster) virus. With the rollout of mass varicella vaccination, shingles started cropping up to an unprecedented extent in both children and adults, eliminating boosting for adults and shifting downward the average age at which shingles occurs. Vaccine waning also began increasing young adults’ risk for varicella outbreaks and complications later in life, presenting “perverse public health implications.” Meanwhile, the CDC and its local public health partners worked hard to conceal these unwanted chickenpox vaccine outcomes from the public.

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Rotavirus vaccines have had a similarly checkered history. Soon after their introduction in the U.S., reports emerged of a substantially increased risk in infants of an otherwise rare bowel complication called intussusception. The FDA knew about the problem during the prelicensing regulatory review process but ignored it. Although the agency subsequently withdrew its approval for one of the problematic rotavirus vaccines, it was not until after an estimated 500,000 children received at least one million doses. The FDA never explained the “precise mechanism” by which the discontinued vaccine caused intussusception.

Two rotavirus vaccines that display the same intussusception risks are still on the U.S. market. Both are contaminated with foreign DNA from porcine viruses capable of causing severe immunodeficiency in pigs. Had the presence of these “adventitious agents” been discovered prior to vaccine licensure, the FDA probably would have been forced to shelve the vaccines, yet they remain on the vaccine schedule to this day.

The speed with which the FDA gave them [HPV vaccines Gardasil and Gardasil-9] the go-ahead—despite obvious red flags regarding their safety—illustrates the insincerity of the agency’s assertions that its vaccine approval process is committed to minimizing risks.

HPV vaccines

The HPV vaccines Gardasil and Gardasil-9 (manufactured by Merck) represent perhaps an even more compelling case study of risk-laden vaccines that should have attracted strong up-front regulatory scrutiny—but didn’t. The speed with which the FDA gave them the go-ahead—despite obvious red flags regarding their safety—illustrates the insincerity of the agency’s assertions that its vaccine approval process is committed to minimizing risks.

The FDA not only gave the quadrivalent Gardasil a free pass but has repeatedly reapproved it and the nine-valent Gardasil-9 for wider use. (Gardasil-9 is a newer formulation that contains more than twice the amount of neurotoxic aluminum adjuvant as Gardasil.) In 2009, the FDA also okayed GlaxoSmithKline’s HPV vaccine, Cervarix, but Merck’s FDA-facilitated stranglehold on the market prompted the company to withdraw Cervarix from the U.S. in 2016. Merck is now aggressively expanding its Gardasil “franchise” into other countries, generating unprecedentedworldwide demand, while continuing to “rev up” U.S. sales.

Since 2006, the FDA’s Gardasil-related decisions have included:

  • 2006: Granting fast-tracked approval for the original quadrivalent Gardasil vaccine (girls and women aged 9 to 26 years)
  • 2009: Approving Gardasil’s use in boys and men (ages 9-26)
  • 2014: Approving Gardasil-9 (girls ages 9-26, boys ages 9-15)
  • 2015: Approving Gardasil-9 for boys ages 16-26
  • 2018: Approving Gardasil-9 for older women and men (ages 27-45)

An eight-month investigation by Slate identified numerous troubling aspects of the clinical trials that encouraged U.S. and European regulators to approve Gardasil. The Slate reporter also criticized regulators for allowing “unreliable methods to be used to test the vaccine’s safety.” These included Merck’s use of “a convoluted method” that made it difficult to objectively evaluate and report side effects; its failure to document “symptom severity, duration, outcome, or overall seriousness”; restriction of adverse event reporting to just 14 days following each injection; and reliance on the subjective opinion of clinical trial investigators regarding “whether or not to report any medical problem as an adverse event.” Not infrequently, clinical trial participants who shared complaints of debilitating symptoms with trial investigators were dismissed with the response, “This is not the kind of side effects we see with this vaccine.”

The author of the Slate investigation reported:

Experts I talked to were baffled by the way Merck handled safety data in its trials. According to…a professor…who studies side effects, letting investigators judge whether adverse events should be reported is “not a very safe method of doing things, because it allows bias to creep in.” …Of the short follow-up…,“It’s not going to pick up serious long-term issues, which is a pity. Presumably, the regulators believe that the vaccine is so safe that they don’t need to worry beyond 14 days.”

Two years after Gardasil’s initial approval, Judicial Watch pronounced it a “large-scale public health experiment.” Post-licensure studies carried out since then confirm that HPV vaccines have grave risks, including impaired fertilitydemyelinating diseasechronic limb paincirculatory abnormalities and autoimmune illness, to name just some of the disabilities reported in the aftermath of HPV vaccines’ introduction. Overall, the “rate of reported serious adverse reactions (including deaths) from HPV vaccination” is many times higher than the cervical cancer mortality rate.

Recent data suggest that HPV vaccines may be increasing cervical cancer risks.

In a February 2019 letter to the CDC, Children’s Health Defense Chairman Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. noted, “During Gardasil’s clinical trials, an extraordinary 49.5% of the subjects receiving Gardasil reported serious medical conditions within seven months of the start of the clinical trials. Because Merck did not use a true placebo in its clinical trials, its researchers were able to dismiss these injuries as sad coincidences.” A current civil case brought on behalf of a 24-year-old who has suffered from systemic autoimmune dysregulation since receiving her third Gardasil vaccine at age 16 alleges that Merck “committed fraud during its clinical trials and then failed to warn [vaccine recipients] about the high risks and meager benefits of the vaccine.” The trial’s legal team is benefiting from the support of an “A-team” of plaintiffs’ law firms and attorneys, including Kennedy, Jr.

Recent data suggest that HPV vaccines may be increasing cervical cancer risks. A 2017 study out of Australia—which has heavily promoted routine HPV vaccination since 2007—reported an increased risk of difficult-to-detect malignant cervical lesions among the HPV-vaccinated. In all countries where HPV vaccination coverage is high, including Australia, official cancer registries show “an increase in the incidence of invasive cervical cancer” in the vaccinated age groups. In England, “2016 national statistics showed a worrying and substantial increase in the rate of cervical cancer…at ages 20-24”—the first HPV-vaccinated cohort.

The proper decision would be to take HPV vaccines off the market, but the FDA and CDC continue to look the other way. Both agencies’ unwavering support for Gardasil has clearly helped Merck’s commercial bottom line, so much so that the CDC director at the time of Gardasil’s approval (Julie Gerberding) went on to be appointed president of Merck’s profitable vaccine division (worth $5 billion globally) in 2009. The agencies’ willingness to aggressively promote HPV vaccination despite its readily apparent dangers illustrates a “public health flimflam” of the first order. Before the U.S. introduction of HPV vaccination, a decades-long pattern of declining cervical cancer rates was already well underway, thanks to routine cervical cancer screening. HPV vaccines have never even been proven to prevent cervical cancer. In 2016, researchers admitted that they would be unable to ascertain HPV vaccines’ long-term efficacy for “at least another 15-20 years.”

Officials also seem to have little interest in modern evidence documenting many vaccines’ inability to provide the promised protection, even when vaccine coverage is widespread.

Pertussis-containing vaccines

Alongside their many misplaced claims about various vaccines’ rationale and safety record, the FDA and CDC—as echo chambers for the vaccine industry—also have misinformed the public about vaccine effectiveness. Back in 1899, doctor William Bailey (vaccination enthusiast and member of the State Board of Health in Louisville, Kentucky) was more honest, cautioning that “nothing is gained by claiming too much” about vaccine-induced immunity and stating that “the degree of immunity may vary with time and circumstance”—presaging the troublesome modern phenomena of vaccine failure and waning immunity. In the present day, officials are only too willing to “claim too much,” conveniently ignoring historical evidence that reductions in infectious disease had little to do with vaccines and far more to do with improvements in sanitation and nutrition. Officials also seem to have little interest in modern evidence documenting many vaccines’ inability to provide the promised protection, even when vaccine coverage is widespread.

The acellular version of pertussis (whooping cough)—a component of U.S. vaccines such as DTaP and Tdap—is one of the vaccines noted for its abysmal effectiveness. The vaccine is supposed to protect against the respiratory infection caused by Bordetella pertussis. Instead, according to recent studies, pertussis is making a “surprising” comeback; between 1990 and 2005, pertussis epidemics increased in the U.S. “in both size and frequency,” and over half of all cases occurred in highly vaccinated adolescents aged 10 to 20 years old. In fact, not only is pertussis at its highest level since the mid-1950s, but, according to CDC researchers, it is showing signs of being vaccine-resistant. The CDC researchers also note “substantial heterogeneity among vaccine recipients in terms of the durability of the protection they receive.”

… the researchers concluded in 2017 that all currently available evidence suggests that DTP vaccine may kill more children from other causes than it saves from diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis …

West Africa has used the DTP vaccine since the 1980s—formulated with a whole-cell pertussis component instead of acellular pertussis—and it has an even more horrifying safety and effectiveness record than its acellular counterparts. Research published in 2017 by a prestigious team of international scientists and led by vaccinology expert Dr. Peter Aaby found that DTP vaccination had a negative effect on child survival, with fivefold higher mortality in young DTP-vaccinated infants (ages three to five months) compared to as-yet-unvaccinated infants. When the researchers published results in 2018 for slightly older DTP-vaccinated children (ages six months to three years), they continued to observe more than double the risk of death as similarly situated unvaccinated children. Explaining that vaccines can increase susceptibility to other infections, the researchers concluded in 2017 that “all currently available evidence suggests that DTP vaccine may kill more children from other causes than it saves from diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis” and added in 2018 that “all studies of the introduction of DTP have found increased overall mortality.”

Learning from history

Efforts to counter the official vaccine narrative with evidence about negative consequences date back to the days of smallpox. A doctor practicing in the 1870s observed that smallpox mortality doubled (from roughly 7% to 15%) after adoption of smallpox vaccination. During an outbreak in 1871 and 1872, this doctor stated, faith in vaccination received a “rude…shock” when “[e]very country in Europe was invaded with a severity greater than had ever been witnessed during the three preceding centuries.” The doctor also noted that “many vaccinated persons in almost every place were attacked by small-pox before any unvaccinated persons took the disease.” In this individual’s estimation, these facts were “sufficient to overthrow the entire theory of the protective efficacy of vaccination.”

In the present era, federal agencies continue to tout difficult-to-justify but money-spinning vaccines as beneficial, even in the face of substantial evidence to the contrary. Now, more than ever, it is important to illuminate the risks and downsides that public health agencies do not want us to know about.

Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

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Soft Drink Companies Caught Using Big Tobacco’s Playbook To Lure Young Children

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Documents obtained by researchers clearly outline the unethical and immoral actions Tobacco companies used to 'hook' kids onto sugary drinks. They use the same tactics they did for smoking.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do and have our federal health regulatory agencies allow such products to be approved as safe for consumption when they are clearly linked to a variety of diseases, like cancer?

Many moves made by multiple big corporations are extremely unethical, immoral, and downright shocking. These corporations have completely compromised our federal health regulatory agencies, and it’s quite clear that they do not care about the health of the human race and will do anything when it comes to the success of the products they manufacture, including taking illegal and/or immoral actions.

One of the more recent examples comes from the tobacco industry. Companies within the industry used colors, flavors, and marketing techniques to lure and entice children as potential future smokers. They actually used and applied these same strategies to sweetened beverages starting as early as 1963, according to a study conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco.

As the Sugar Scientists point out:

The study, which draws from a cache of previously secret documents from the tobacco industry that is part of the UCSF Industry Documents Library tracked the acquisition and subsequent marketing campaigns of sweetened drink brands by two leading tobacco companies: R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris. It found that as tobacco was facing increased scrutiny from health authorities, its executives transferred the same products and tactics to peddle soft drinks. The study was published in the March 2019 issue of BMJ.

“Executives in the two largest U.S.-based tobacco companies had developed colors and flavors as additives for cigarettes and used them to build major children’s beverage product lines, including Hawaiian Punch, Kool-Aid, Tang and Capri Sun,” said senior author Laura Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH, of the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. “Even after the tobacco companies sold these brands to food and beverage corporations, many of the product lines and marketing techniques designed to attract kids are still in use today.” (source)

The new papers, which are available in the UCSF Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library, a subset of the UCSF Industry Documents Library, reveal the close and tight knit relationships between the big tobacco and big food industries. In fact, in the 60s and 70s, these companies conducted taste tests with mothers and their children to evaluate sweetness, colors and flavors for Hawaiian Punch product line extensions. The children’s preferences were prioritized.

Kool-Aid Joins Marlboro

Meanwhile, tobacco competitor Philip Morris had acquired Kool-Aid, via General Foods, in 1985. The company flipped its marketing audience from families to children, created its “Kool-Aid Man” mascot, and launched collaborations with branded toys, including Barbie and Hot Wheels. It also developed a children’s Kool-Aid loyalty program described as “our version of the Marlboro Country Store,” a cigarette incentives program. (source)

“The Wacky Wild Kool-Aid style campaign had tremendous reach and impact,” said first author Kim Nguyen, ScD, MPH, who is also with the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. “Lots of kids in the ’80s dreamed of getting swag from the Wacky Warehouse. What is really ‘wacky’ is that the Kool-Aid kid program was modeled after a tobacco marketing strategy designed to build allegiance with smokers.”

The tobacco giant also acquired Capri Sun and Tang, and used similar child-focused integrated marketing strategies to drive those sales.

“The industry claims that these tobacco-inspired marketing strategies are not actually targeting children and should be excluded from these industry-led agreements,” said Schmidt. “But the evidence cited in our research shows that these product lines and marketing techniques were specifically designed for and tested on children.” (source)

The UCSF Industry Documents Library was launched in 2002 as a digital portal for tobacco documents. Today, the library includes close to 15 million internal tobacco, drug, chemical and food industry documents used by scientists, policymakers, journalists and community members in their efforts to improve and protect the health of the public.

The Takeaway

At the end of the day, it’s important to recognize that government health authorities and the corporations we buy our food from, among other things, really don’t care about us. This has become extremely evident, as they are responsible for the sharp rise in numerous diseases. It’s not uncommon to see parents buy their children products similar to the ones listed above, and that’s due to mass brainwashing and the fact that we’ve been made to feel that these products are actually safe. This is why awareness is so critical.

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Awareness

Why A Growing Number of People Are Abstaining From Porn & Masturbation

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They are known as “fapstronauts,” and they are part of a growing community of hundreds of thousands of men and women who are abstaining from masturbation to internet pornography.

Their community is called “NoFap,” and its founder, Alexander Rhodes, is a man on a mission to educate and inspire the world about the damaging effects of masturbating to porn.

What could possibly be wrong with harmless masturbation, you might wonder? Aren’t we meant to enjoy the simple pleasure centres of our bodies?

According to Rhodes, masturbating to porn isn’t harmless at all. In fact, it is a silent epidemic of disastrous proportion.

“The emergence of internet pornography has changed the landscape of sexual development and relationships in a way never-before-seen in human history,” he said during his speech at the Out of the Shadows national press conference. “As a result, countless people are having their sexual tastes shaped by porn producers rather than real, human, experiences. These days, exposure to pornography seems to be a virtual certainty and young men [and women] are therefore automatically ‘opted-in’ to potential addiction, relational difficulty, porn-induced erectile dysfunction, and more,” he continued.

During his speech, Rhodes discusses the idea that porn is a relatively new variable in human evolution, and we are only beginning to see the repercussions of its use arise in the current generation of men and women.

He says exposure to porn is so rampant that it is practically mandatory for children to come into contact with some image or video before puberty. He quotes an Australian study which asked 258 male participants about their exposure to porn. Only one reported they’d never been exposed. Even more concerning, the median age of first exposure was 13 for males and 16 for females.

In this way, Rhodes says, kids are learning about sexuality through porn before their first kiss.

Frequent masturbation to porn is causing erectile dysfunction in a generation of men.

Today, a large community of “fapstronauts” is coming forward to talk about the impact this exposure has had on their lives. They report heavy reliance on porn and masturbation is manifesting in disturbing ways­ — erectile dysfunction (ED) and anorgasmia, the inability to orgasm during partnered sex, being a few of them.

According to a Kinsey report, in 1948 less than 1% of men under 30 had ED. In 2012, Swiss researchers found this number at 30%.

And the effects of watching porn span far beyond the physical, says Rhodes.

“Different studies on porn users are showing associations with sexual dysfunction, brain hypofrontality, desensitization, sensitization to porn cues, increased stress, less motivation, relationship problems, decreased sexual satisfaction, and other life-altering detriments.”
(For an extensive list of research articles on the effects of porn, click here.)

Numerous scientific studies have found that excessive porn use has biological and behavioural ramifications.

Rhodes also stresses that he and the NoFap community are in no way ‘sex negative’:

Being skeptical of pornography is not the same thing as being sex negative – there’s a huge difference between pornography and sex. In porn, the viewer is a voyeur, rather than a participant. It is on a screen. It is available in virtually endless amounts and pirated all over porn tube sites without monetary cost. It is always accessible, just a tap or click away. To our brain’s reward system, this can be an especially enticing quick and repeatable path to an orgasm, compared to partnered sex. In fact, many people who are quitting porn are doing so in the pursuit of better sex. Quitting porn is sex positive.

He notes many NoFap community members are there to improve their interpersonal relationships, whether it be for a marriage, a relationship, or single life. For others, it is simply a challenge of willpower — to seize control of your sexuality and turn it into superpowers.

“There are many, many different reasons to join but we’re all on NoFap with one goal – to help each other abstain from PMO (porn/masturbation/orgasm).”

Men And Women Report Incredible Life Shifts After Quitting Porn and Masturbation

Within the many pages of the NoFap forums, whether directly on the NoFap website or within the large and fast-growing Reddit community, it is easy to see the profound shifts taking place for people who’ve succeeded in the NoFap challenge, which consists of setting an intention to abstain from masturbation and watching porn for a certain amount of time and then riding it out.

The NoFap community is growing at a rapid pace.

Participants report diverse and overwhelmingly positive results from their efforts, like increased confidence, reduced anxiety, improved focus and memory, increased concentration, improved social skills, deeper sleeps, enhanced abilities to feel emotions, less brain fog, and even seemingly being more attractive to females.

While some might say these are rather normal powers, fapstronauts say that after years of feeling depressed, scattered. and unmotivated, the onset of these new changes feel as incredible as real ‘ superpowers‘ would.

One user, “borninthenorthwest,” said committing to NoFap altered his attitudes toward sex and women entirely:

My relationship with porn began at the age of 13 with nude Playboy photos of Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy. This was in the days of dial-up Internet, and I was initiated by my childhood best friend at the time. Although this did not seem pornographic, relative to what my peers were beginning to look at, I now see that this was the beginning. It began a cycle where every woman I met was judged by these photogenic standards, and felt no real attraction towards most girls in high school, despite being popular and well-liked for my prowess on the guitar.

He explained his warped attitude toward women posed issues in his sex life.

“None of the girls I met in college could compare to the standards in my own mind. What few girls I was attracted to, I felt incapable of asking out for a date, and often would simply fantasize about them instead.”

He admits he developed an addiction to porn, and at 31 he discovered the NoFap community.

“Since then my relationship with both pornography and far more innocent triggers is vastly different. I no longer use porn at all, and no longer place the celebrity notion of beauty on the pedestal either, and am interested in real life and real people, slowly but surely engaging in reality.”

“Fapstronauts” claim that abstaining from porn and masturbation improves their overall confidence and sex lives.

Here is what a few other fapstronauts had to say.

Thesexymountainman:

“Went to a dance last night and asked a bunch of girls to dance. Felt like a boss. A few months ago I would have been sweating and shaking doing that. I would’ve been looking at the floor with my head down like a whipped puppy trying to ask a girl to dance. Stay strong everybody! There’s life after PMO, and it’s awesome af!”

Amadadado:

“Today I am walking around with random erections all day long, like a teenager. I am in my 40s, so this feels strange.”

IronWide:

“Life is amazing and it’s only been two weeks! I have found out how much more confident I am in public, and how much more secure I feel about myself.”

TheGaurdian97:

“I finished a 300 page book in one sitting today. Before I would fall asleep or procrastinate and play on my phone. Now I can read and actually remember what I read.” 

The Most Important Takeaway

Today, Rhode’s mission is to get the message out to parents so that healthy conversations can start happening at an early age.

Educating children about sexuality and the effects of watching porn is a crucial component in preventing porn addiction and porn related side effects.

“Families need to educate their children about pornography – and they need to do so before the porn producers do, since right now minors are getting hooked on porn long before they are made aware of the potential negative effects.”

And for the ones currently suffering from porn related side effects, he offers that the treatment to these symptoms simply comes down to one thing— removing porn from their lives:

We simply want people to ask themselves the question, how is porn impacting my life and relationships? And if they do not know how porn is impacting them, they can simply take a quick break, changing one variable in a self experiment, to see what impact it might have on their lives and their relationships. Already, thousands have made the personal decision to leave porn in the past, and have gone on to live more fulfilling lives with improved interpersonal relationships. It’s time we think about and openly discuss our heavy usage of pornography. In the meantime more and more people around the world will continue to declare their autonomy and reclaim their sexualities from the porn production companies.

If you are struggling with porn addiction, or are simply curious about what others are reporting from abstaining from masturbation, join the NoFap communities through their website or on Reddit. NoFap offers many resources as well as a global support network to help you transition away from the addictive influence of porn.

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Awareness

Frankincense Can Help Alleviate Symptoms Of Anxiety & Depression

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Studies have proven the psychoactive effects the scent of frankincense has on the brain, alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  • Reflect On:

    With all the man-made chemical pharmaceutical drugs out there, perhaps solutions to what ails us are more simple than we may realize.

Gold and frankincense and myrrh… sound familiar? These were the gifts that were allegedly brought by the three kings when Jesus Christ was born. We all know that gold is valuable, but what about the others? Frankincense has long been touted as a magical, mystical medicine and has been regarded as such for millennia within many ancient cultures of the world. The same goes for myrrh, but for the purpose of this article we are going to stick to the medicinal properties of frankincense.

Frankincense starts out as a type of resinous sap that is found inside a special family of trees called Boswellia, which grow almost exclusively in the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. When it is harvested at specific times of the year, the trees are cut carefully with special knives and the sap seeps out. This special sap is then dried in the sun until it is ready for use. More commonly, frankincense is burned simply as sweet smelling incense, but it has many other uses as well including the following…

Historical Uses Of Frankincense

  • As a part of ritual or religious ceremonies
  • Was used extensively during burial rituals as an embalming material to help mask the odor of the deceased body
  • Smoke from burnt incense can effectively drive away mosquitoes and other pests

Frankincense has also been used medicinally, treating various ailments such as arthritis (it has strong anti-inflammatory properties), gut disorders (like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), asthma, and maintenance of oral health.

And perhaps the most intriguing quality for our westernized modern culture is the psychoactive effects of this special resin, as studies have shown that burning frankincense can trigger an effect that can aid and even alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The Research

One study in particular, conducted by a team of researchers form John Hopkins University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, explains how burning the resin from the Boswellia plant (frankincense) activates certain previously misunderstood ion channels in the brain in order to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. This might explain why Roman emperor Nero once burned an entire year’s harvest of frankincense at his favorite mistress’ funeral.

“In spite of information stemming from ancient texts, constituents of Bosweilla had not been investigated for psychoactivity,” said Raphael Mechoulam, one of the research study’s co-authors. “We found that incensole acetate, a Boswellia resin constituent, when tested in mice lowers anxiety and causes antidepressive-like behavior. Apparently, most present day worshipers assume that incense burning has only a symbolic meaning.”

The researchers administered incensole acetate to mice in order to determine its psychoactive effects. This compound they found drastically impacted the parts of the brain that generate emotions and the nerve circuits that have responded positively to current drugs used for depression and anxiety. The incensole that was administered activated a protein called TRPV3, which is connected to the ability to perceive warmth of the skin.

“Perhaps Marx wasn’t too wrong when he called religion the opium of the people: morphine comes from poppies, cannabinoids from marijuana, and LSD from mushrooms; each of these has been used in one or another religious ceremony,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Studies of how those psychoactive drugs work have helped us understand modern neurobiology. The discovery of how incensole acetate, purified from frankincense, works on specific targets in the brain should also help us understand diseases of the nervous system. This study also provides a biological explanation for millennia-old spiritual practices that have persisted across time, distance, culture, language, and religion–burning incense really does make you feel warm and tingly all over!”

Can This Work For You?

Sure, this study was conducted using mice, which certainly aren’t the same as humans. However, many religious texts claim that this special resin had uplifting effects on the brain. So, the good thing is that if used appropriately, it really can’t hurt to try. You can typically buy the resin at health food stores and more commonly at stores that sell incense, crystals, sage and those sorts of spiritual ceremonial tools. It can also be found as an essential oil. I like to diffuse it in a diffuser, and sometimes I’ll burn the resin on charcoal pucks as well.

At the very least, you’ll get a nice and pleasant smelling aroma, and at best it can help turn that frown upside down, increase your mood, reduce your anxiety and maybe even put a smile on your face. Perhaps those three wise men were as wise as they’ve been made out to be, and frankincense really is as special as it’s been believed to be for millennia.

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