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Episode 55: Discover Your Ancient Medicine Body Type

Episode 55: Discover Your Ancient Medicine Body Type

Our fascination with ancient medicine and what it has to teach us has reached near obsession levels here at BIOHM, but that’s only because there’s so much to learn from the past. 

Last month, we featured chef Divya Alter for an introductory look at Ayurveda, and on this episode, we’re going even further into our discovery on Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine with renowned functional medicine guru, Dr. Josh Axe. 

Dr. Josh Axe is the founder of and Ancient Nutrition, a company on a mission to restore our health, strength and vitality by providing history's healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world. He’s also the author of  the best-selling books, “Keto Diet” and “The Collagen Diet,” and his recently released book, “Ancient Remedies: Secrets to Healing with Herbs, Essential Oils, CBD, and the Most Powerful Natural Medicine in History.” 

Dr. Axe is a bit of a celebrity in our world, so it was a thrill to spend some time asking him questions and digging into his wealth of knowledge. 

On this show, Andrea and Dr. Axe discuss things we’ve never touched on before — like the connections between different emotions, including fear, anxiety and anger, and our organ systems. Dr. Axe gets into concepts of dampness, cold, heat, stagnation and more as they relate to the body and the duo touch briefly on his favorite herbs and how to use them for healing. 

Connect with Dr. Axe on Instagram and Facebook @drjoshaxe. Dr. Axe is also offering listeners 20% off all products on their website,, through April 30 with the one-time code AncientBiohm.

Questions? Ideas? Email us at or reach out on Instagram @DreEats or @BIOHMHealth.

Approximate Timestamps: 

  • Medications that pull nutrients from the body (2:20)
  • How ancient medicine is different (4:19)
  • Types of emotions that are held in different organs (7:25)
  • Your immune system’s connection to the colon and lungs (10:31)
  • How ancient medicines play together (13:53)
  • The 5 elements of Chinese medicine (16:21)
  • How to find your element type (20:29)
  • How foods support the body in different ways (22:33)
  • The 6 evils (25:02)
  • Ancient medicine’s view on the gut (31:41)
  • Dr Axe shares an ideal diet to heal your gut (34:03)
  • Essential oils and how they fit into a healing journey (43:29)

Mentioned On This Show:

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, doctors categorize people based on their similarities to elements in nature. Below, Dr. Axe shared some images from his book on what constitutes earth, fire, wood, water and metal: 

BIOHM gut quiz


Andrea Wien: Welcome to The Microbiome Report powered by BIOHM Health. I am your host, Andrea Wien, and I'm thrilled to be able to share this topic with all of you today because it's one that is very near and dear to my heart. It's all about ancient medicine and using food as medicine in ways that we haven't necessarily talked about on the show. My guest today needs no introduction at all, but for those who may not know him, he is Dr. Josh Axe, the founder of and of Ancient Nutrition, a company on a mission to restore our health, strength and vitality by providing history's healthiest, whole food nutrients to the modern world. He's also the author of the best-selling books, Keto Diet, and Collagen Diet and his upcoming book, Ancient Remedies.

On this episode, we discuss things we've never really touched on before as I mentioned. These are things like the connections between different emotions, like fear, anxiety, and anger, and how they correlate to our organ systems. We also get into the differences and similarities between traditional Chinese medicine, Middle Eastern medicine and Ayurveda, which we recently did a whole show about with chef Divya Alter. Dr. Axe also gets into concepts of dampness, cold, heat, stagnation, and wind among others as they relate to the body. And we touch briefly on his favorite herbs and how to use them for healing. Let's get to the show.

Dr. Axe, we're so honored to have you on the show. Welcome.

Dr. Josh Axe: Hey Andrea, thanks for having me.

Andrea Wien: So you just came out with a book or it will be coming out as soon as this episode is airing, but it talks a lot about ancient medicine. Now our listeners are pretty well versed in the differences between conventional and integrative medicine, but ancient medicine might be something new to them. Can you expand a little bit on that?

Dr. Josh Axe: Yeah. Absolutely. So I really kind of put things into three buckets. I say we have conventional medicine, we have more functional or integrative medicine today. And then we have ancient forms of medicine. And so when we look at conventional medicine today, you are prescribing a pill to treat a symptom and that's really all that's happening. And unfortunately, you're going to have a lot of side effects with that. One of the things I covered in my new book as I go through, there's not a single medication that doesn't pull nutrients from your body and cause a major side effect. I'll give you example, antibiotic drugs, they actually not only kill the bad bacteria. They kill the good bacteria in your gut. They transform your microbiome in a bad way. And actually it also then affects your nutrient absorption, it affects you creating certain enzymes for digestion.

And it really wreaks havoc on your gut. So antibiotics deplete your body of probiotics. But the other thing antibiotics do is they leach all of the zinc from your body and zinc is a critical mineral for gut repair and for strengthening your immune system. And so I can go through a whole list here, statin drugs, coenzyme Q10 from the body and a depressant drugs pull a lot of vitamins from your body. So it actually causes more, more neurological issues. So anyways, all that being said, there's not a single drug without a serious side effect and they don't leach nutrients from your body. That's a big problem with conventional medicine is that they are treating symptoms with synthetic chemicals to where the chemicals may cause your symptoms to go away and maybe help that one condition for a time being. But then it's causing all these other problems in the body.

What functional or integrative medicine does is they tend to go a step in the right direction and say, okay, we're now going to start using natural means to help the body get well. And on occasion, they'll take care of a root cause, but actually a lot of doctors today that are in functional medicine, integrative medicine, sometimes they're still kind of just using supplements to treat symptoms or get symptoms better. So you're going to see an improvement, but they're not always going back to the root cause. I'll give you an example of this. Somebody might have Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which is a autoimmune form of hypothyroidism. And so Hashimoto's thyroiditis or even hypothyroidism, they might prescribe selenium and vitamin B12 and herbs like ashwagandha and say, we got to get rid of gluten casein. And so to a degree, they're taking care of part of the root cause.

So I'll say this, doctors of functional medicine, integrative medicine, they will look and help some of the root cause, but really ancient medicine goes even a step further and beyond that. What ancient medicine does is a physician who practices this sort of Asian medicine, they'll say, okay, what is the real root cause here? Why does somebody have Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Well, they're going to look at your body, your mind and your spirit. They're going to say, okay, physically, we know that Hashimoto's thyroiditis is actually not caused by the thyroid at all. It's an issue related to the gut in the adrenal glands. Those two organ systems are then affecting the thyroid. So we need to go in then nourish and support the adrenal glands with herbs like ashwagandha, with the stragglers, with other herbs.

And then we also need to look at the gut microbiome and have you start consuming foods that help nurse the gut like bone broth, like foods rich in healthy fiber like pumpkin and other things. They'll prescribe a diet, but then they'll also say, okay, but the real reason, or at least 50% of the problem, the reason why you have Hashimoto's thyroiditis is due to emotional stress.

The emotional stress affects your adrenal glands is fear or overwork. And so they'll start prescribing, "Hey, you need to start reading novels and stop watching TV. You need to start doing long walks outside." You need to start meditation and prayer. Also we were looking at, you have a lot of grief in your life because that actually that emotion affects your immune system. So we need to overcome this thing that you haven't let go of, like the spirit of unforgiveness and work on forgiving that person. Does that make sense?

And the thing here, Andrea, it's like, okay, they are looking at the whole person. They're looking at what we need to do physically, but also we know your mental, emotional and spiritual health actually has physiological effects on your organ systems, creating disease. And I can tell you from treating thousands and thousands of patients, when I used to run my ancient medicine practice or functional medicine practice, is that what can cause somebody to have irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, flare ups, just as much as eating gluten or casein, is going through emotional stress, worry emotional trauma and other things. So again, what ancient medicine is, it's really treating the root cause, but also the entire person.

Andrea Wien: That makes a lot of sense. And it's something that we've kind of talked about in different ways on the show, in the case of trauma, for example, manifesting as auto-immune disease. I think too about the work of Gabor Mati, When the Body Says NO, these types of books that talk about how really our organs take the brunt of so much of the emotions that we bear, as you're saying. And I think this is the first time on the show that we've really talked about what type of emotions are held in different organ systems. And it's so interesting. You mentioned fear and dysfunction in the kidneys and the adrenals, but can you dig a little bit deeper into what types of emotions are held in different organs and what that manifests as in disease?

Dr. Josh Axe: Yeah, absolutely. And I think this is such an eye-opener for so many people, because if you're listening to this podcast right now and you're saying, "Okay, I've got this specific health condition." Just know that it's typically rarely due to genetics, much more common. It's due to an emotion that affects a specific organ system. And by the way, what I'm sharing here, this isn't theory, this is absolute fact. And I'll give you an example of this too. If you have a child and they get really scared and a child gets really fearful at night when they have a nightmare, what can happen? They can wet the bed. Why is that? Why would a child wet the bed? Because the emotion of fear causes dysfunction of the kidneys and what sits on top of the kidneys and that's your adrenal glands. Okay. And so, and we also know just in general, if you have a lot of fear in your life, it puts your body in something called a fight or flight state to where your body starts pumping out stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

And so all that being said, we know for a fact that the emotion of fear and it could be listen, it doesn't always have to be fear of dying from a mountain lion chasing you. It can be fear of failure, fear of disappointing your parents, fear of disappointing others. Those sorts of things are fear. So those cause dysfunction of your adrenal gland, your kidneys and your reproductive organs. So a lot of women who struggle with an issue like infertility, for example, not being able to get pregnant or for men too, low testosterone issues or erectile dysfunction, that is partially caused by almost every single time too much fear in someone's life. That is a contributing factor that is affecting those reproductive organs in those hormone levels. Another emotion could be the emotion of worry. Worry is known to... And I used to know a friend of mine at school and when she studied for tests, she always got an upset stomach, right?

We've heard of that. If you worry, you could say, "Oh my stomach's tighten knots." Well, why is that? The emotion of worry causes dysfunction of your upper digestive system, your stomach, your pancreas, but your upper GI, it causes dysfunction in those organ systems leading to issues like blood sugar imbalance, diabetes. But here's the other thing I mentioned, infertility. If a woman has had a miscarriage in Chinese medicine, that's known to be related to the earth element, which is essentially the emotion of worry contributes to that issue. Now there's also a lot of dietary things related to the pancreas and insulin. But all that being said, worry contributes to disease of the stomach and pancreas. If somebody has the emotion of anger or frustration or impatience, that causes disease of the liver and gallbladder in your lymphatic system. So your body's whole detoxification system.

Why do we call someone an angry drunk? Because when you consume alcohol, it causes toxicity of the liver, which causes you to be more angry, but also generally just being angry or frustrated or impatient in life causes you to build up toxins in your liver and overwhelms that organ. And then we have the emotion of grief we mentioned that, and that's a sense of loss or depression that affects your immune system. Your immune system is made up of primarily of your colon, which is where all your probiotics live in your gut microbiome and your lungs. Okay. So your lungs and your colon. I had a patient once, Andrea I'll give an example of this. She was a woman in her right around 50 years old and her daughter had moved away and her daughter is her best friend.

In two years later, she started having all of these auto-immune symptoms. And we actually realized that all of her health problems came on when her daughter moved away, because she felt like she had lost her best friend because she was so used to seeing her daughter and connecting with her. And so she was still holding on to had this sense of loss with her daughter. So we worked on some things to where she shared with her daughter and they were able to connect more. And actually that was a big part of her healing. But again, and so if somebody has gone through a divorce or lost a loved one, or maybe they thought something was going to happen in their life and it never came to pass. Those things, if someone holds onto that, that will cause disease in their lower digestive system and their whole immune system. And then an emotion like, let me think of any other, anxiety.

If somebody has a lot of drama is another example of this, but this high level of anxiety affects your cardiovascular system, your heart and certain areas of your brain. And so we know that high blood pressure, if somebody gets really stressed out or has anxiety, blood pressure rises. We know that affects that organ system. And so anyways, all that being said, Andrea, one of the things I've done with patients over the years is I've helped coach them on how to overcome those health conditions.

For instance, if somebody has an issue like again, I'm using infertility as an example, we know that's related to the adrenal glands and hormonal system. The emotion of fear is the problem. Well, what's the opposite of fear? It's hope. Having hope for your future, knowing things are going to be okay, being secure. And so what I would have them do, and listen, everybody has different religious beliefs, but I would go to the Bible and have them quote Bible verses. I would have them meditate on the hope in their life, get in a state of gratefulness and mental positivity about their future. So I really have them focus on that emotion of hope or faith and hope or two of those emotions. And so anyways I think if we're going to treat the whole person and help the whole person heal, diet is a big part, which I know we're about to get into, but taking care of somebody's emotional health is critical to them fully healing.

Andrea Wien: Yeah. And I think a lot of people know the diet pieces that we should be doing more fiber, more fermented goods, like less sugar, all of these pieces that we talk about on this show all the time, but people have really started to see as the microbiome has become more and more popular. But this stuff, this is a little bit more touchy, feely, people maybe aren't comfortable with these emotions, which could actually be why we are experiencing so many of these issues. And so this is such an important piece. And I think it's something that ancient medicine has really it's been lost, I guess I should say, because it was known and it was such an important and integral part. And we actually just did a whole episode on Ayuverda, but there are a few pieces of ancient medicine, traditional Chinese medicine is one, you have Middle Eastern medicine, you have Ayuverda, people may have heard these terms, but how do they all play together? What are kind of the main similarities and differences?

Dr. Josh Axe: Yeah. And by the way, I do want to reference, because you referenced this at the beginning. If people want sort of a deep dive and if we have people listening right now and they want to learn a lot about advanced nutrition. Some of the stuff I'm talking about now, but all the Eastern, the herbs and things that help healing, I did write a book and it's called Ancient Remedies. And so Ancient Remedies, you can go on and just search Dr. Axe, Ancient Remedies, but that's a book that's really a deep dive into mushrooms and herbals and these ancient forms of healing, including traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, Greek medicine, and some other cool forms of ancient remedies and ancient medicine.

So the way that they look at the body, I'll give you an example of this in Chinese medicine it's called the five elements and in Ayurveda, they have the three doshas. Now I think our Ayurvedic medicine is great. They did some really fantastic, found some really incredible correlations between herb combining, like if you look at the recipe like turmeric golden milk, it's such a thoughtful because they knew that in order to absorb turmeric, you needed warming spices. So it's like medical research 13 years ago, came out with a study and said, we had this breakthrough medical discovery.

If you want to absorb more turmeric, you need to consume it with a compound called piperine from black pepper. Well, the recipe for ancient golden milk is actually turmeric plus black pepper and ginger and long pepper. It's called Trikatu or the blend. And then plus ghee or coconut milk, a healthy fact to actually help you absorb it into your cells. And so what's crazy is like our medical system today to a degree in terms of wellness is like 3000 years behind or more. I mean, it just have their findings or they didn't come about finding this evidence through doing double blind placebo studies that are funded by a pharmaceutical company.

They found these things by doing thousands of individual case studies over time and noticing when I do this, it does this and this property and a food does this. So all that being said, here's the thing Ayurveda, but even especially traditional Chinese medicine, they were the first to actually come up with a personality profile. Today we have Enneagram or Myers-Briggs or DiSC profile. They found that different people have different personality profiles, and that affects your organ systems in different ways. And so and the doshas are similar, you've got Vata, Pitta, Kapha, and that you have different body types. So in Chinese medicine, you have a wood element, I'm a wood element. And what elements look a certain way. They have longer features. They tend to be a little taller.

You kind of see their veins. They look like roots of a tree, and they tend to be emotionally when they come into conflict, deal with it, with frustration, impatience and anger. That's the emotion that they would be most susceptible to. Whereas somebody who's an earth element. And again, by the way, this might sound silly. Oh this person's a wood element. This person's an earth. That sounds a little bit fu-fu and out there. The truth is though it's just a different language. They were very relatable. They tried to make it simple. And so they would say, "Hey, look at a tree. This is what you're like." And actually correlate people's personalities and traits with things from nature. But it's accuracy is perfect. It's much more accurate than we are today with the way we diagnose disease.

So again, an earth element would be somebody who is more round features. They gain weight more easily, they tend to worry rather than have anger. They're more susceptible to conditions like weight gain and diabetes, where a person that's a wood element with anger, they're going to be more susceptible to liver and gallbladder disease. But again, it's called the five elements of Chinese medicine. And one of the things I do in my book is people take the quiz and they can find out which of the five elements they are. And that kind of helps them realize what sort of foods they should be eating. Because for me as a wood element, I need to be consuming a lot of foods that are green and sour. Sour foods strengthen my liver and cause my liver to act. I'm really conscious about that.

But an earth element needs to be consuming a lot of foods that support their upper GI and it's foods that are the color orange like pumpkin and butternut squash and cinnamon, and getting more of those foods in their diet or somebody that's a water element. Think about a water element's personality. It's very much like Jamaica or the Caribbean. Those people are, "Hey, I'm go with the flow." Those personality types need to be eating a lot of seafood and berries and foods that are dark, black and purple in color. And so, and I'll just hit on a few others. And if somebody has an immune system issues, they need to be eating foods that are light yellow. And think about this. What are the foods throughout history that have been used to heal somebody with a common cold? When I was a kid, my mom always gave me two things when I was sick, chicken soup, chicken bone broth soup, and then ginger ale.

Now that actually first off the ginger ale was terrible, but the reason she did this is the ancient Chinese remedy for healing a cold was chicken bone broth soup in ginger herbal tea. What colors are those foods? Chicken broth is yellow. Ginger is yellow. What else is yellow? Garlic, onions, miso soup. All these natural immune boosters are that color. And so nature tells you what you need to eat. How do you know how to build your blood if you've got a blood issue? Eat beets, right? Beets are the number one food. They boost nitric oxide more than any food on the planet. And so beets look like blood. They build your blood. That's good for anxiety and for heart health. And so that color red we know for that's for the fire element, fire element, those personality types tend to be very fiery and dramatic. And think about like and by the way, different nationalities tend to have a little bit more of certain elements within that population.

So think about like a fiery Italian man, like blood pressurizing or a fiery a Hispanic man or woman, these are passionate people who love... Those people would be characterized as fire elements in Chinese medicine. They tend to do everything with passion, but on the flip side, they could tend to be overdramatic and they're most susceptible to the emotion of anxiety, which then affects their heart health. So they need to be consciously eating foods to support their heart health, keep their nervous system, that sympathetic nervous system and that cardiovascular system calm. They're better off doing some form of cardio. So all that being said, I get into all of this in my book where people can take the quiz, find out which element they are, which correlates with doshas too, to a degree and figure out like, "Hey, here's exactly what I should be doing."

But Andrea, I'm a firm believer. There isn't one diet for everybody based on your, every person on this planet is uniquely created and uniquely wired the way they are. I think the keto diet is good for some people actually fire elements do pretty good with it. But what elements do terrible on a keto diet? So that really depends on the person. Now eating seasonally is to a degree good for most people. And there are some good sort of foods across the board that are good for most people, but really diets can really differ quite a bit for different people. And especially based on the season or what sort of condition they're struggling with. And you and I both know this, somebody who has cancer and a liver issue, they can do pretty good with raw vegetables, like raw vegetable juices.

But somebody with inflammatory bowel disease will do terrible with raw vegetables and vegetable juices. And so a lot of times people think, "Oh, vegetable juices have to be healthy." They're definitely not healthy for everybody, maybe 50% of people, but the other 50% it's actually going to cause them to be even more sick. So anyways, I know that was a little bit of a tangent there, but that being said, I just think the five elements in the three doshas, these are ways of really knowing exactly what foods and what herbs people respond best with.

Andrea Wien: Absolutely. And I think you've said it sounds a little bit silly that we would categorize people based on these elements, but we're part of nature too. And I think we forget that a lot of the time that we belong in all of this and we mirror a lot of what we're seeing. And I think you mentioned the foods that can really help to support the body in different ways. I think when I was going through my training, some of this really blew my mind how good walnuts are for the brain. And they kind of look like a little brain and how good kidney beans are for those systems. And they kind of look like little kidneys. We have all of these clues in nature if we can just pay attention and know where to look. So I think that you made such a great point there.

Dr. Josh Axe: Yeah. I think it is amazing. I just recorded a TV show here on PBS and it's called Ancient Remedies. And I go through exactly what you said, a Walnut looks like a brain, a coconut looks like a head. And think about a coconut. It's got fat around it. And so that fat is good for your brain. And then all the liquid inside the coconut water is actually like your cerebral spinal fluid. So it supports your electrolytes. And I mean celery looks like your bones, Reishi mushrooms looks like your adrenals and kidneys. You mentioned the kidney beans look like kidneys too. It is amazing when you look at. All three largest world religions all believe that we were created by God from mud essentially. And we are created to be deeply connected to the earth. So I do think it makes a lot of sense.

I want to mention this too, as we get into looking at the root cause of disease and we started off talking about this, Andrea, you asked a great question about what's the difference between conventional medicine, functional medicine and these ancient forms of medicine? And I think the other thing too, that I don't like that we do today is we label somebody with a condition like fibromyalgia, or you have ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, or Hashimoto's thyroiditis. In ancient times, they believe that when you label something that becomes part of a person's identity. And identity is such a key thing, the way that we think about ourselves. And if somebody is saying I have fibromyalgia, or my part of my identity is that it makes it harder to heal to a degree. So in ancient times, if somebody had, let's say hypothyroidism, they wouldn't say you have hypothyroidism.

They would say, your body is imbalanced. Hypothyroidism in Chinese medicine is known as a qi and yang deficiency. Now words, qi and yang sound weird to us, but essentially she is like your adrenal batteries. It's like, if you held up your phone right now, what's your battery at? Is it at 80%, 50%, 30%? Based on where that battery is at, how well you're sleeping, how rested you are, knowing your purpose, those things that kind of keep your battery charged. That's so important for the health of your whole body. So again, that's kind of how full your adrenal battery is when somebody says you have high or low qi and then yin and yang is just tends to be feminine, more masculine hormones. So we know if somebody has testosterone tends to be more yang where estrogen tends to be more yin. So there's this sort of balance of the body hormonally, but in Chinese medicine, they called it the six evils.

And then there's. four other factors in you being healthy. So they would look at somebody and rather than saying, you have hypothyroidism, they would say, okay, internally, your body is too. And just imagine this and I'll send you this. This graphic is in my book, Andrea as well. It's really a great concept to look at, but I can send it to you to share with your audience, but your body internally can be too damp or too dry. It can be too hot or too cold. You can have too much movement called wind or too little movement called stagnation. And then there's some other factors, but I'm going to talk about these first. And so by the way, why do we call it a cold today? If somebody has a cold, the common cold? That's ancient Chinese medicine, it's because your body is cold internally.

What are all the ancient remedies prescribed to help somebody overcome a cold or flu? Well, for a cold, it is herbs that are warming. And then let me just tell you a quick story. When I first moved to Nashville, I had this, I was caring for somebody and I said, "Hey, John, what are you doing right now for this cold? Because I have some things I want to recommend you do." And he said, "Well, I've just been doing hot toddies." And listen, I just moved to Nashville. Honestly, I didn't know what that was. I'm like, "What is that?" And he's like, "Oh, it's whiskey and it's honey. And it's cinnamon. And I put a pinch of cayenne in there." And I'm like, "Wow." But then I thought about it. And I'm like, okay, well whiskey is the hottest of all the liquors.

It's the most warming, right? If anybody's ever had whiskey, you can tell, wow, this warms you up. Beer is very cooling. And so to a degree, it wasn't the worst remedy. Now I don't think it's the best remedy, but it's better than actually vegetable juice if somebody is very cold internally. So that being said now, again, I think there are better things there, but the ancient remedies for overcoming a cold are a warm bowl of chicken bone broth soup. Okay. It's garlic, which is very spicy and warming. It's ginger, which is spicy and warming. It's cinnamon and cayenne pepper. It's oil of oregano, which is spicy and warming. All of these things are warming to combat the common cold. So just know, hey, so your body can be too cold internally or too hot. And by the way, hot tends to be inflammation.

Cold tends to be like diarrhea, like really loose stool starts to happen with that. Tend to be somebody gets really cool internally. I mentioned damper dry. Dampness in Chinese medicine is what we call today Candida, where you have mucus and yeast buildup in different parts of your body. So if it's on your tongue, that tends to be more of your upper digestive system. But some people with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis get mucus in their colon, which means they've got a lot of dampness down there. So if you want to heal most digestive disease, you've got to clear out the things. Doing herbs like pau d'arco is going to help clear that dampness, oregano, most things are bitter. By the way, the flavor bitter is what clears dampness from the body. So bitter foods clear out dampness and mucus.

So that's why if you ever take cold and flu remedies, herbs that are bitter, those are cooling. And they're also going to be very clearing of they tend to be very bitter. If you've ever tasted an herb like echinacea or andrographis or even ginger. I mean, these things are very bitter and because they clear out dampness and mucus from your system, but this is also why it's good to be under the care or follow recommendations like I have in my book, because if somebody has IBSD IBS with diarrhea, pau d'arco is an herb that's going to help clear all that mucus out. The problem is pau d'arco is also cooling. So with it, you'd want to take ginger. So you're warming the body and you're clearing the dampness at the same time based on the condition. And I know I'm getting into some advanced nutrition stuff here.

I hope it's not too confusing for everybody. But all that being said, that's how they looked at the body. That's how I look at the bodies. Okay. Your body internally, I'm not going to slap a condition on you like ulcerative colitis or IBS. I'm going to say, okay, your body is damp and it's cold. So we need to dry it out and we need to warm it up. And think about like years ago, 10 years ago, when I first moved to Nashville, actually I've been here 13 years, but a few years into living here, we had a terrible flood. And afterwards I had all of these people coming in to see me who had mold toxicity because they had flooding in their homes, in their basements and different areas. And then they had mold growing. But think about in order for mold to grow, it has to be damp.

The way you get rid of mold or you keep mold from growing is you have a lot of air movement, a lot of movement and you get it as dry as possible. The same thing is with your body, right? Think about in order for Candida and yeast and fungus's to grow within your body, it has to be dump. So how do you get rid of it? You've got to dry it out with bitter herbs, with warming herbs, doing that together. That's what really clears and helps heal somebody. And then there are tonics for boosting those adrenal glands. Those tend to be all the adaptogens, the ashwagandha's, the ginsengs, the Rhodiolas. And then also blood, keeping blood healthy is very important in Chinese medicine. With blood like dong quai, a lot of women that have heavy periods or have any borderline anemia or low energy.

Dong quai is the most powerful herbs for them on the planet. It's an incredible hormone balancer, it's known as female ginseng. So it's great for energy and blood building. That can be critical for a lot of women. And so just keeping blood healthy. And then yin and yang. Yin, people that need yin are, tend to be like crossfitters or weightlifters or people that have a lot of this yang energy. So there are herbs for kind of tonifying or strengthening yin, or if somebody has too much yin and not enough yang, then they need to do herbs like fenugreek. So if a male has low testosterone and erectile dysfunction, fenugreek and ginseng really helped build that. So I know I went on a big tangent there. I said a bunch of stuff, but all that being said, that's kind of how an ancient practitioner would look at helping somebody heal.

Andrea Wien: The Microbiome Report is brought to you by BIOHM Super Greens, a super greens formula that combines 31 super greens with prebiotic digestive enzymes and BIOHM probiotics, giving you a supercharge in a single scoop. To check out BIOHM Super Greens, go to That's B-I-O-H-M and make sure to use the code BIOHM10, to get 10% off of your order.

I do want to take a step back and just talk about the gut in general, as it relates to ancient healing and ancient medicine. What did these ancestors inherently know about the microbiome that we might be missing today?

Dr. Josh Axe: Yeah, so one of the things that I'm very conscious of again, is you got to take care of the physical and you got to take care of the mental, emotional, and spiritual. So those two aspects, the other thing is realizing that different organ systems impact different areas and all these organ systems work together. That being said, let's start off with the physical, with the food is medicine component. If somebody has digestive disease or digestive issues, what happens a lot of times in our naturopathic or holistic system is we'll say things like it's really kind of medical in our thoughts. It's still not completely getting to root cause. We'll say, okay, this person has digestive disease. Let's eliminate all sugar and let's have them eat probiotic rich foods. That will get somebody better, but I'm telling you it will not completely heal somebody's digestive issues.

Here's the reason why, if somebody internally is cold and damp. Now sugar is one of the most dampening foods. The foods that are the most dampening and the hardest thing on candida, it's not just sugar, it's foods that support mucus buildup in the body. So it's sugar, it's wheat. Wheat is very, very mucus building. It's dairy, it's egg whites, egg whites can be very dampening in the body and it's all oils. Now, coconut and olive oil are the least dampening, but just doing a lot of oil or even butter, that's dampening to the body too. So I think that that's the other thing is, is okay, if we want to heal the gut, we got to get rid of those foods that cause dampness for most people. Now, if somebody has a really dry colon and constipation, then it's a little different.

A banana. Think about a banana. It's very mucusy. It's very slimy. That's why it's the most mucus producing of all fruits. And so you want to stay away from those sweet foods, the wheat, the refined grains, oils in large amounts. That's why even a paleo diet, if somebody is eating a lot of nuts and seeds, that's terrible for people with gut issues even nut butters. So you want to stay away from a lot of those oily carbohydrate, rich foods, because those cause dampness. And then stay away from things that are too cooling or too heating depends on what you have going on. But the foods that are best for healing somebody with digestive disease tend to be foods that are orange and light yellow. I want to give you an example of this too. So here's an ideal diet. Okay. And by the way, my favorite food for digestive issues is probably pumpkin.

Pumpkin has very little sugar. It has probably the most easily digestible forms of fiber. Pumpkin is just incredible. And here's the other bonus. Pumpkin helps clear dampness. It helps bind a mucus and pull it out of your body. And so that's why it's fantastic a runner up like things like squashes, like butternut squash or spaghetti or acorn squash can be good for the body too. But if I have somebody come in to me or I work with who has any sort of digestive issue, here's what I have them do. I have them consume wild, organic meat, grass fed beef, pasture raised chicken, wild caught fish like salmon. And then number one is bone broth, lots and lots of bone broth, both chicken and beef, which are the colors, kind of an orange-ish brown and yellow, right? Chicken and beef broth both very good for the digestive system.

Your gut lining is made up of around 70% collagen. So if you want to heal it, you need to support it with drinking broth or doing a bone broth powder is like a smoothie. So anyway, so you got to do the wild, organic meat. You got to do lots of bone broth. You want to do some of those easily digestible orange foods like pumpkin, butternut squash and steamed carrots. So steamed or baked carrots. Fantastic. Then you want to do some of the green leafies and things like cauliflower and asparagus. So cauliflower, asparagus, chard as good as well, doing a lot of those, either steamed or baked. The way you actually cook foods actually makes a difference too. But doing those and then for fruits, pears actually, which are yellowish white. Those are good for the lower digestive system.

And then even like an applesauce, which applesauce is kind of like an orange just yellowish color, right? And then blueberries. So blueberries cooked, baked pears and applesauce are the easiest fruits to digest. Going to be very, very good for the digestive system. And those are just the best foods, what I just labeled. If I have someone with digestive disease, I have them consume the meat like I shared with you. And lots of bone broth, I have them consume those vegetables, especially pumpkin and steamed carrots and some of the leafy greens and cauliflower and then fruit, the blueberries, pears, and applesauce. And then I may also have them to get some probiotics like miso. So miso soup is very, very good as well, going to be good for those people. And then I had one other category I wanted to hit on. Coconut is going to be the best oil.

You don't want to do huge amounts, but a little bit of coconut oil, a little bit of extra Virgin olive oil. Those are the best two oils for sure. If you need a topping, a little bit of sesame tahini is going to be fine. I definitely don't recommend raw vegetables. I don't recommend a lot of sweet fruits. You don't want to do dairy, stay away from all of those things. But the foods I just mentioned, those are going to be the best for the body. I think eating liver or doing a liver supplement can be good too. But from a dietary standpoint, those are the best. And then I can jump into herbs and essential oils and all of that too, if you'd like, but I think... Oh, one other thing, grains are an interesting one. They because we had this huge paleo craze and keto craze, grains have got a bad rap.

I don't think grains are the best food, but I do think that grains play a role in our diet. In ancient Chinese medicine, they would say grains are healthy if you prepare them properly. So what they would do is they would sprout their rice or their oatmeal, and then they would cook it for a long time to where it was mushed. They actually called it congee. It's spelled C-O-N-G-E-E congee. So they actually believed that doing rice and oatmeal is good for your gut if you buy sprouted oats or sprouted rice, or it's sometimes it's called germinated rice. And then if you put it in a crock pot and let it cook for 12 hours towards a mush. So they would do that. And it's called like congee. It's like oatmeal, it's a porridge or congee and eating that with a little bit of honey and other foods is fantastic as well.

But that's the other thing I would add in there. But if somebody stuck to a diet of what I shared, so for breakfast, you can do a pumpkin smoothie. It's like a third a can of pumpkin, a little bit of coconut milk and some bone broth protein or vanilla collagen powder. So vanilla bone broth, powder, vanilla collagen powder, and a little pumpkin pie spice. That's a great breakfast or doing rice congee with some added collagen and some berries, that's a good breakfast. For lunch, a big bowl, chicken bone broth, vegetable soup. And then for dinner doing like cooked meat with double or triple steamed vegetables, with a little tahini. As somebody follows that diet, Andrea, their gut will heal very, very quickly. In addition to that, they need to lower worry and any type of stress, not overworking, overthinking being on the computer all the time and on their phones, scrolling on social media all the time.

They need to spend time walking in nature, reading novels, rather than watching TV, doing everything they can to build peace and joy in their life. Not just build peace, but man, love your life. Do lunch with a best friend, schedule things you love to do and remove the things that stress you out. If you're on Instagram and you keep comparing yourself to somebody else and that's making you feel bad about yourself, delete that profile and don't don't follow that person anymore. Go through and only sign up. I actually only sign up for apps on Instagram that are Bible verses and people that inspire me, like John Maxwell on leadership and guys like Tim Tebow and some other people I think are really positive people. Those are the people I follow. I don't follow anyone else.

And maybe some positive health accounts, that's what I follow. In terms of herbal supplements I want to mention this, the number one herbal supplement for your digestive health. This is going to surprise people. I guarantee you. It is an herb, it's one of the top three herbs prescribed in all of Chinese medicine. It's called astragalus. Astragalus is known as a booster of your gut and your immune system, it actually helps strengthen your upper digestive system. So astragalus is a great herb to do about 1000 milligrams a day. If you're sick, you can do up to 4,000 a day, but astragalus is a great actually is the number one supplement for probably healing leaky gut. In addition to that, ginger is fantastic. So ginger and astragalus are probably my top two.

If somebody also has a weak upper GI system, licorice root extract is very good. And if somebody has actually dryness, which isn't most people, but if somebody has dryness and constipation, slippery elm or marshmallow are very good. But if you have too much mucus and candida, then you're better off with a ginger or astragalus and something to dry out that dampness. And there's an ancient Chinese herb called Alisma or something like a pau d'arco, but always do pau d'arco with ginger. But I would say the biggest supplements generally speaking are going to be astragalus, ginger and an SBO probiotic in collagen or bone broth powder. Like if somebody said, "Dr. Axe what are the top four supplements for my gut?" Doing ginger herbal tea, astragalus tea, an SBO probiotic, and then a bone broth powder. Those are the best of the best that are going to help you.

SBO probiotic, they're a unique type of probiotic that come from the soil, which is the biggest probiotic we're missing today. Our ancient ancestors went into their own garden or a farmer's market bought carrots. And those carrots had little brown specks on them, whether it was carrots or beets or lettuce, those brown specks, even when you wash them are still there. Those are a unique type of probiotic that actually helps you digest your food. They clear out candida. They are the most powerful probiotics. Today, most probiotic supplements have food-based probiotics like sauerkraut, that's got probiotics that are due to fermentation, which are still good. They're just not as strong and powerful as SBO probiotics, soil based organisms. They are acid resistant, they're heat resistant. So they actually make it through your entire digestive track to help transform the health of your gut microbiome.

And then again, bone broth. Remember you are what you eat. Your gut is literally made up of collagen, but the best form of collagen is in bone broth. And you can buy bone broth protein powder because that only has college and it has glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, which has a big impact on your gut health. So, listen, I know I just said a million things, but that what I just shared with you, that is how you heal gut health. That's how you heal it fast. And if people want an exact meal plan and shopping list of what I just shared in more detail, it's all in my new book, Ancient Remedies, a book just released and you can buy it on, Barnes & Noble's, bookstores nationwide. But it's the book where I dive into all of this deep advanced nutrition information and really get a lot into gut health.

Andrea Wien: Yeah. And your team actually gave me an advanced copy and I spent the whole time just circling things and making notes and pulling things out. So it really was a fresh look on everything that we've been talking about. And like you've said in this interview just another step forward into how to continue on this healing journey. So it's definitely recommended, it's bookmarked and earmarked like crazy at my house. One thing I just want to end on, because I know we only have a minute or two left. We've not talked at all about essential oils on the show. How do you think about these and how do they fit into a healing journey?

Dr. Josh Axe: Yeah. I think for most people essential oils, what we know about them is, is they affect our memory, our neurological system, our brain. And so diffusing them and putting them on topically is a great thing. If we're talking about gut health, I like the essential oils that act as adaptogens and help calm our nerves. This is why lavender oil is one of the best. Lavender oil calms our nerves. So just diffusing that around is great. I also like holy basil essential oil. It's more of an adaptogenic which is very good. If somebody is having gut issues you can blend peppermint, ginger, fennel, those oils together, mix them with a little coconut oil and actually rub it right on the abdomen. Or some of the oils, if it's a single drop of ginger and peppermint or lemon oil, you can do those internally as well, but you just, you don't want to go overboard.

A single drop is the equivalent of actually eating the amount you'd eat, but going more than that it's about 60 milligrams probably for a single drop, which is the dosage used in the medical studies today. But I do think that my top oils for digestion are going to be ginger, number one, peppermint two, fennel three, and then maybe another one like cardamom, if that's out there, could be good for digestion. And then in addition, just generally speaking, I like lavender. I like holy basil. I love Roman chamomile. I mean, camomile oil has actually probably the most stress-relieving up there with lavender, which I love as well. And ylang ylang's another good one. It helps build joy, but I like using them in that way for the most part. So I do think there's a lot of value to using essential oils, especially diffusing them, using them topically in replacing toxic personal care products with them.

I think that's another great use for them, but I'm a huge fan of essential oils, which is something else I cover in the book. In fact, I wrote a whole book on essential oils called Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine. That's another one you can look up on Amazon. And Andrea, I know I talked a lot by the way, I can talk to you for like three hours and we could've kept going here, but I appreciate you giving me the time today. I love sharing this information because I'll just share this. This information literally transformed my family's life. My mom was diagnosed with cancer. She started following this advice and she beat cancer naturally using food as medicine and using all the things I share in Ancient Remedies. We have a cancer protocol in there, but again, for me, I'm so passionate about this because it literally saved the life of my mom.

I've seen it transform the life of millions and there are so many people out there today Andrea, who've been to 10 different doctors. And maybe they've read some of this natural stuff and they got 50% better, but they're still not %100 yet. I really think that if people can embrace these principles of ancient remedies like I share in my book, this is the information that helps get them from 50% improvement all the way to 100%. Which is something I just get so excited because again, my favorite thing is I ran into a patient at whole foods here recently and saw her and she just shared with me how her life is different. That's just what fills me up. I love hearing people's stories of transformation.

Andrea Wien: I love it. Yes. It was such a great time to talk to you. And like you said, we could go on for hours and hours. I have so many questions we didn't even get to, but we will certainly link to all of your information at And we'll put that graphic up that you mentioned as well, linked to your book there. So thank you so much for coming on to chat with us and we'll talk to you soon.

Dr. Josh Axe: Awesome. Thanks Andrea. Thanks everybody.

Andrea Wien: Thanks for listening to The Microbiome Report powered by BIOHM Health. There was so much more on my list that we didn't have time to discuss, but he does cover a lot of it in his book. So if you're interested in hearing more, definitely pick up a copy of Dr. Axe's new book, Ancient Remedies, which I've linked to in the show notes at And again, BIOHM is B-I-O-H-M. Dr. Axe is also offering listeners of the show 20% off of all products on their website through April 30th, with the code ancientbiohm, all one word. I've also linked to this in the show notes. And if you're enjoying the show, please do me a favor and share it with someone who you think might also appreciate what we're doing. And don't forget to leave us a rating and a review on iTunes. I'm Andrea Wien, and I will catch you all next time.


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