Duke's Materia Tonica

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): A Modern Synthesis with Ancient Roots

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), often associated with ancient practices, is a surprisingly modern invention. While rooted in centuries-old traditions like acupuncture and herbalism, TCM as a unified system emerged in the mid-20th century. Driven by political and social factors, the Chinese government standardized diverse medical practices, integrating them with Western medical concepts. This modernization led to a shift in focus from primarily fostering health to treating specific imbalances in the body. Although drawing on ancient wisdom, TCM's current form is a product of 20th-century innovation, highlighting the dynamic interplay of tradition and modernity in healthcare.


Herbology Handbook: Part 1 - Herbology vs. Herbalism: Unraveling the Distinctions and Connections

Herbology and herbalism are two interconnected yet distinct approaches to the world of plants. Herbology is the scientific study of herbs, encompassing botany, phytochemistry, and ethnobotany. Herbalism is the art and application of using herbs for their benefits in supporting health and well-being, drawing upon traditional knowledge, empirical observation, and modern science. Both fields acknowledge the personal, spiritual, cultural, and scientific aspects of herbs, integrating diverse perspectives to understand the complex relationship between humans and the natural world. While herbology focuses on scientific inquiry, herbalism focuses on the practical application of herbal knowledge to support health and well-being. Together, they offer a powerful approach to harnessing the healing potential of herbs.


Personalized Nutrition: A Lifelong Approach to Optimal Health

Personalized nutrition is not just for kids—it's a lifelong approach to optimal health. Our nutritional needs change as we age and vary based on factors like genetics, activity level, and health status.

By learning about your unique needs and making informed dietary choices, you can support your body's requirements throughout life. Collaborating with healthcare providers can offer personalized guidance, helping you tailor your diet to achieve your health and wellness goals.


Unlock Your Body's Potential: The Science-Backed Benefits of Antioxidants


Caffeine's Mechanism of Non-action: Beyond the Buzz

Caffeine is often mistaken for a direct energy booster. However, it primarily acts as an adenosine receptor blocker in the brain. Adenosine, a natural compound that promotes relaxation and sleep, builds up throughout the day. Caffeine binds to these receptors, preventing adenosine from doing its job, resulting in a temporary increase in alertness.

t's important to understand that caffeine itself doesn't stimulate the brain. Instead, it blocks the "brake pedal" (adenosine), allowing for a temporary surge in energy and focus. This effect is transient, and excessive caffeine consumption can lead to undesired outcomes. Remember, caffeine is a tool, not a solution, for managing energy levels.


Dietary Supplement Handbook: Part 11 - Unmasking the Myth of "Side Effects": Understanding Undesired Outcomes When Taking Dietary Supplements


Dietary Supplement Handbook: Part 10 - Empowering Informed Choice for Personalized Well-being


Dietary Supplement Handbook: Part 8 - Industry Regulation (DSHEA 1994)

DSHEA (1994) is important legislation, passed by the US Congress, to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (1938); further defining supplement industry standards, regulation, and safe manufacture.


Handbook of Health: Part 7 - What's the Difference Between Health and Disease?

Health and disease are two important terms that easily get mixed-up when considering food, nutrition, diet, nutrients and dietary supplements.


Tincture Handbook: Part 15 - Old-Fashioned Alchemical Spagyric Tinctures

Spagyric tinctures are an ancient alchemical and old-fashioned method of doing a single-step extraction tincture and then calcining, by indirect high-heat, the marc after extraction into white mineral ash, which is then dissolved into the single-step extraction.


Tincture Handbook: Part 14 - Herbal Powder Extracts (Ratio and Standardized)

A powder extract is made by extracting an herb into a single-step or dual-step or multi-step fluid extract which is then spray dried and flash dried to form a soluble powdered form of the fluid extract. A powder extract of an herb is different than a powdered herb.


Tincture Handbook: Part 13 - Dissolved Powder Extract Glycerites

A dissolved glycerite has a determined amount of a vitamin powder, mineral powder, and/or powder herb extract dissolved into a solvent of glycerin and water liquid to make glycerite.


Tincture Handbook: Part 12 - Multi-Step Extraction Tinctures

Multi-step tinctures are multiple step liquid extract of an herb, of at least three steps, but as many six or seven steps, that are produced in a specific order of different stages, progressively from cold or unheated to warmed to heated. Multi-step is used to best achieve a balance of the constituents and nutrients for a broad range health and healing benefits.


Tincture Handbook: Part 11 - Dual-Step Extraction Tinctures

Dual-step tinctures, also referred to double-step tinctures, are when a second step is added to single-step tinctures where the herbs are used again to produce a liquid extract that contains more water soluble nutrients and constituents.


Tincture Handbook: Part 10 - Classic Single-Step Extraction Tinctures

Single-step tinctures are effective remedies that are the traditional do-it-yourself homemade medicinal tinctures, which can be commercially manufactured and sold. They may be made by using a tincture press or by percolation method with whole herbs, cut-and-sifted quality, and/or powdered herbs.


Tincture Handbook: Part 9 - Maceration Duration and Herb Extraction Time

Fresh herbs tend to extract faster than dried herbs. Dried herbs tend to extract longer than fresh herbs, because they must be reconstituted during the time of maceration.


Tincture Handbook: Part 8 - Liquid Extract Ratios (Standard and Non-Standard)

A liquid extraction ratio is a numerical representation, which may include unit measures, that denotes the potency of a liquid extract by comparing amount of herbs to liquid used, the herb to menstruum, and is necessary for referencing serving size and dosage.


Tincture Handbook: Part 7 - Oil Liquid Extracts for Tinctures

Oil tinctures are made by macerating cut and sifted quality herbs that have oil soluble medicinal constituents in extra-virgin olive oil so that they may be taken orally, applied directly to skin, scalp, and hair, and mixed with cosmetics.


Tincture Handbook: Part 6 - Apple Cider Vinegar Liquid Extracts for Tinctures

Apple cider vinegar tinctures, also known as acetic tinctures, are a special class of liquid extracts that use raw apple cider vinegar as the menstruum. Apple cider vinegar preserves and easily extracts the volatile aromatics of herbs and spices, in addition to combining well with liver health and detoxification roots.


Tincture Handbook: Part 5 - Glycerin Liquid Extracts for Glycerites

A tincture made with vegetable glycerin and water is called a glycerite and is used for extracting mild tasting culinary spices or in the extracting of medicinal herbs for low potency, or for dissolving powder extracts. Glycerites are usually easy-to-take and apply externally, mixed with cosmetics, and in the cooking of food.


Tincture Handbook: Part 4 - Hydroalcohol Liquid Extracts for Tinctures

Hydroalcohol liquid extract is made by using a menstruum of edible alcohol (ethanol) and distilled water in the maceration and extraction of herbs. Hydroalcohol tinctures are superior for extraction methods, since they easily extract nearly all of the constituents, especially the volatile constituents, while also becoming a carrier of the constituents for quick and complete absorption.


Tincture Handbook: Part 3 - Types of Fluid Extraction Tinctures

An extraction tincture goes through a process of macerating and extracting spices, botanicals, and/or superfoods, which are collectively known as herbs in herbalism, directly into a fluid menstruum through a variety a methods that are either single, dual, or multi-step.


Tincture Handbook: Part 2 - Herbal Plant Parts Terminology and Processing Methods

When making extraction tinctures, both fresh herbs or dried herbs or a combination of both fresh and dried are used. When using herbs always select the correct part and process the herb accordingly, using the tradition of empirical hands-on usage and the modern scientific research as guidance.


Tincture Handbook: Part 1 - Tincture Definition and Tincturing Terminology

A tincture is an easy-to-take concentrated fluid supplement of any combination of vitamins, minerals, spices, herbs, botanicals, and/or superfoods that is taken in small serving sizes and fractional doses.


Dietary Supplement Handbook: Part 9 - Authorized and Qualified Health Claims

Health claims are regulatory organization and medical industry marketing terms that refer to qualified or approved claims that a food and/or supplement reduces the risk of diseases or health-related conditions. There are two types of health claims.


Nutrition Handbook: Part 14 - Nutrient Density for Optimal Health and Performance

Nutrient density, an integral part of nutrition, is the overall concentration of nutrients that are needed and possibly required by the body to function, heal, grow, and develop. The bodily feeling of hunger is a craving for more nutrients which is satisfied by increasing nutrient density.


Nutrition Handbook: Part 13 - Minerals are Essential Elemental Nutrients


Nutrition Handbook: Part 12 - Vitamins are Cofactors for Health

Vitamins are essential carbon-based organic compounds that are utilized as metabolic cofactors for maintaining health, promoting vitality, supporting healing, and for the generation and regeneration of tissues. Vitamins must be acquired through a complete balanced diet, since they cannot be manufactured by the body.


Nutrition Handbook: Part 11 - Cholesterol is a Unique Essential Lipid

Cholesterol is a type of solid waxy fat, in the zoosterol grouping, with a complex carbon ring structure that is produced by animals and humans in the liver and only found in animal foods.


Nutrition Handbook: Part 10 - Fats are Required for Optimal Body Functioning

Fats, another name for lipids are made up of fatty acid hydrocarbons that are used by the body in various ways: for energy, hormones, organ function, nerve structure and neurotransmitters, and emotional and mental health. Fat has 9 calories of energy per gram which is twice the amount of oxidation compared to carbohydrates and protein.


Nutrition Handbook: Part 9 - Proteins are Fundamental Structural Components

Proteins are the structural components that are the fundamental parts of cells. such as the cytoplasm, protoplasm, and cell nucleus. Protein is found everywhere within the human body and includes skeletal muscle, organs, blood, bones, and lymph. Other types of proteins that have functions are DNA and RNA, enzymes, and hormones. Protein has 4.5 calories of energy per gram.


Nutrition Handbook: Part 8 - Carbohydrates are a Basic Source of Energy

Carbohydrates, in the form of starches and sugars, are necessary to consume and required for healthy performance and decreased stress-response. Continuous overconsumption of carbohydrates can cause someone to become overweight by reducing the density of nutrients in the diet.


Nutrition Handbook: Part 7 - Water: The Essential Solvent for Life

Water isn't just a refreshing drink; it's the key to unlocking countless bodily processes. As the universal solvent, water dissolves and carries nutrients, removes waste, and enables the chemical reactions that keep us alive and thriving. Learn how proper hydration is vital for optimal health and well-being.


Nutrition Handbook: Part 6 - The Science of Studying Nutrients

Nutrients are an essential part of nutrition found in food. Essential nutrients include protein (amino acids), lipids (fat), essential fatty acids (EFA's), vitamins and minerals.


Nutrition Handbook: Part 5 - Why Is Someone Hungry?

The uncomfortable feeling of hunger is normal and a natural desire of the body which is satiated by eating food. When someone is hungry their body needs the overall combined nutrition and various important nutrients and constituents found in food, so their body, emotions, mind, and spirit work.


Nutrition Handbook: Part 4 - Meals Per Day and Meal-Timing

Optimally, someone will eat 3 balanced complete meals per day. During daily activity the body requires nutrient density within the diet on a continuous basis every 4-6 hours for best functioning of body, emotions, and mind.


Nutrition Handbook: Part 3 - Building a Complete Balanced Meal

A complete balanced meal contains various food groups for balanced nutrition; different food groups have a different density of nutrients, such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and unique constituents that are best combined together in balanced way for optimal nutrition.


Nutrition Handbook: Part 2 - The Definition of Food

Food is what someone eats and drinks in their diet that is required for health, wellness, and well-being, such as water, beverages, meals, snacks, salt, and dietary supplements. Food is best consumed in balance during meals.


Nutrition Handbook: Part 1 - Nutrition Definition and Overview

Nutrition is the science of feeding the body food from various sources to create complete balanced meals that contain a density of essential nutrients, like protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and unique constituents.


Handbook of Health: Part 6 - What's Public Health?

Public health is the study and practice of sanitation in in personal residences, public areas, community facilities, and the environment, including food and water quality.


Handbook of Health: Part 5 - What's Health Education?


Handbook of Health: Part 4 - What's Healing? And 4 Ways to Heal


Handbook of Health: Part 3 - What's Well-being? And Cultivating Well-being

Someone's well-being is how they view their own quality of health within their body, emotions, mind, and spirit; altogether the pursuit of having greater wellness.


Handbook of Health: Part 2 - What's Wellness? And 4 Ways to Wellness

Wellness is the activity of personally seeking health, promoting well-being and the process of learning how the body, emotions, mind, and spirit function, heal, grow, and develop.


Handbook of Health: Part 1 - What's Health? And 9 Ways to Be Healthy

Health is the degree of maintaining, supporting, and promoting functionality, healing, growth, reproduction, and development within the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. Health is related to learning wellness and what someone thinks about their well-being.


Dietary Supplement Handbook: Part 7 - Dietary Supplement Education

Dietary supplements contain nutrition that is vital to health. Supplements are added to the diet to maintain, support, build and promote health and wellness, benefit well-being and enhance performance as a part of a successful lifestyle.


Dietary Supplement Handbook: Part 6 - Structure and Function

The nutrients and unique constituents composition of dietary supplements work with the structural and/or biochemical functions of systems, organs, glands and tissues in the body.


Dietary Supplement Handbook: Part 5 - Best Time to Take a Supplement

The best time to take dietary supplements is right after eating a complete balanced meal to increase the overall density of nutrients and constituents within the diet.