As a doctor of Oriental medicine, it never ceases to amaze me how ancient herbal formulas can offer so many benefits. I learned about one of these formulas many years ago. I was shocked to learn that this Tibetan herbal formula cleans out arteries, lowers total cholesterol and the “bad” LDL, cools down inflammation, boosts the immune system, and relieves depression. Sounds too good to be true.
This formula was developed many decades ago high in the Himalayan Mountains and hand-carried to Switzerland via Siberia. Researchers have tested it in more than 50 scientific studies and found it to be safe and effective. And it’s already well known and used extensively ... throughout Europe....
Unfortunately, the U.S. has been behind the times in using this valuable combination of herbs and other nutrients. I’m talking about an ancient combination of 19 herbs.
Originally, locals gathered the herbs in the Himalayas and took them to the local village doctors who prepared the formula. Today, some of them are cultivated in Switzerland where a pharmaceutical company manufactures the formula.
The current formula, known in this country as Padma Basic, is closely based on the original. In fact, the Tibetan doctor who founded Tibet’s premier medical school, and who was the Dalai Lama's personal physician, found it identical in its effect. In other words, this is the real thing.
So how does it work?
As you may know, inflammation is the underlying cause of a number of degenerative conditions. These include arthritis, bronchitis, hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, gum disease, diabetes, psoriasis, and others. In fact, every condition that ends in “itis” includes an inflammatory process. It’s rare that any of us has inflammation in only one area. So when you treat inflammation in one area, you improve your total health.
A little inflammation can actually help your body heal itself. It brings increased blood flow to an area. But when tissues are repeatedly inflamed, they break down faster than they can repair themselves. That’s when a minor inflammation can become chronic and lead to serious health problems.
Inflammation means heat. If you have an inflammation, you want to cool it down. The herbs in Padma are cooling herbs that are also high in antioxidants. Both help reduce inflammation.
Some of the herbs prevent fat in animal products from becoming rancid. Rancid oils produce toxic oxidation and free radicals – substances that promote inflammation. These free radicals can permanently over-stimulate your immune system. You want your immune system activated as needed and not on all the time. Padma breaks the inflammation cycle by reducing free radicals, cooling down inflammation, and protecting your immune system.
Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory condition triggered by excessive free radicals where plaque builds up in the coronary arteries. This causes the arteries to become stiff, or “hardened,” which slows down circulation. The condition often progresses causing fatigue, pain in the heart (angina), and chronic leg pain.
Studies found that Padma reduced angina and gave participants the ability to exercise longer without pain. It reduced both plaque and inflammation. How long did they take Padma? Two short weeks. That’s right. Noticeable results were seen in just 14 days. Their cholesterol and triglycerides both decreased significantly, as well.
Intermittent claudication and peripheral artery disease are complications of atherosclerosis. Never heard of them? What about chronic leg pain? If you get pain in your legs when you walk, it may be due to inflamed arteries filled with plaque.
When plaque builds up in your legs, it's called peripheral artery disease, or peripheral vascular disease. Eventually, plaque can cause sporadic pain known as intermittent claudication. This is a huge problem affecting 12% of all adults over the age of 50. Padma reduces both plaque and inflammation, which increases circulation and reduces pain.
About six years ago, Anna, 62 years old, came to my office complaining of leg pain. She had been diagnosed with peripheral vascular disease. She was given Plavix and told to return in three months. After three months, she was having headaches, fatigue, bruising and a rash; symptoms associated with the Plavix. Her doctor took her off the Plavix and replaced it with enteric coated aspirin. She tolerated this, but still the leg pain continued, especially when she went for walks. I prescribed Padma – two tablets twice daily. She returned one month later. She did not have an appointment, but she stopped by to tell me that her leg cramps were gone and she could walk two to three miles with no problem.
Padma originally became well known when a Swiss medical doctor used it on a high-profile patient of his. The patient's leg pain was so intense that he could hardly walk. This doctor remembered that a pharmaceutical salesman had told him that Padma was effective in relieving leg pain. With nothing to lose, he gave his patient the Padma. It worked beautifully. After just a few weeks, his patient could walk without pain.
Then the doctor gave Padma to some of his other patients with similar results. Soon, a number of other Swiss doctors began to use it. It was even the subject of controlled studies at the Zurich University Clinic. Now there’s more research on using Padma for peripheral artery disease than for any other condition. But if Padma can reduce plaque in the leg, it can reduce plaque in coronary arteries. That means it will reduce your risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Fibrinogen is a protein that helps regulate the thickness of your blood. The more fibrinogen you have, the thicker and stickier your blood becomes. And the higher your risk is for blood clots. This sticky, fibrous blood can break off and cause a heart attack or stroke. High fibrinogen is a strong predictive risk factor for both of them. It can also be an indication that someone who has had a stroke is likely to have another one. Most doctors don’t routinely test fibrinogen. The test is inexpensive and important.
If you’re taking a long bus, train, or plane trip, you simply must have your fibrinogen checked. High fibrinogen indicates a higher risk for having DVT, deep vein thrombosis. This is a condition where blood clots can cause swelling and inflammation. They can also break off, travel through the bloodstream, and damage your lungs, heart, or brain.
Wear compression stockings, don’t cross your legs, and keep moving your legs. Consider taking some form of blood thinner (such as aspirin) on all trips longer than four hours if you have high fibrinogen. Or, better yet, add Padma to your mix.
Your body has many checks and balances. It makes substances that cause your blood to clot so that a minor cut or a surgical procedure won't result in a great blood loss. And it makes other substances that keep your blood from getting too thick. Dr. Kaj Winther, a Danish researcher at the University of Copenhagen, found that Padma neutralizes the substances that thicken the blood allowing blood clots to dissolve more quickly.
Doctors prescribe a blood-thinner, such as Coumadin, to thin the blood. Like all medications, Coumadin has side effects. Padma could be a safe alternative. Discuss this with your doctor. Dr. Isaac Eliaz, a medical doctor and researcher who has used Padma for more than 25 years with his patients, suggests taking two tablets, three times a day for at least four months to dissolve fibrinogen.
Padma regulates your immune system. If yours is underactive, it gives it a boost. If it’s overactive, it calms it down.
In one study, Padma not only reduced atherosclerotic plaque in rabbits, it also restored their immune systems. The researchers of this study found a connection between atherosclerosis and immunity. One human study with hepatitis patients saw incredible results with Padma. More than 75% of the participants had stronger immune systems after taking the formula for one year. They also had no inflammation in their livers!
A number of studies on children with a history of recurring colds and respiratory infections found fewer infections after taking Padma. In one, the children had more than an 80% decrease in the frequency of their infections after they had started taking Padma for nine months!
As we age, our immune systems weaken. If you’re using Padma for other conditions, this additional benefit is reassuring.
Most recently, scientists have found a connection between inflammation and mood. A group of Austrian researchers testing Padma on leg pain discovered this quite by accident. In addition to helping the leg pain, they found the study participants reported an increased feeling of well-being. They looked at the tryptophan levels of these patients. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps regulate our moods. Sure enough, Padma increased tryptophan by preventing it from breaking down.
Would I use Padma for slight depression? Probably not. There are other less expensive solutions. But if you’re taking Padma for any of the above conditions, pay attention to how you feel emotionally, and don’t be surprised if you feel better.
As you can see, Padma is truly a remarkable supplement. It’s a supplement that just about everyone over the age of 50 should be taking on a daily basis. You’ll be amazed at the results you see.
Fuchs, Nan Kathryn, PhD, Padma: An Ancient Tibetan Herbal Formula, Basic Health Publications, 2003.
Schwabl, H., PhD, et al. "The antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of PADMA 28/PADMA Basic," Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, November 2001.
Winther, K., et al. "PADMA-28, a botanical compound, decreases the oxidative burst response of monocytes and improves fibrinolysis in patients with stable intermittent claudication," Fibrinolysis 1994, 8, Suppl 2, 47–49.