How to Use the Pharmacy in Your Pantry: Fermented food, Kombucha, Tulsi, Oxymel & Manuka Honey

  |   EP155   |   69 mins.

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Episode Highlights

A lot of the food you eat isn't for your nutrition but for the bacteria in your gut's nutrition Share on X20ml of vinegar with a meal will balance your blood sugar Share on XHoney is one of the the most potent antimicrobial agents for topical use Share on XAmericans get 70% of their polyphenols from coffee and chocolate Share on XA glass of kombucha controls blood sugar in diabetic patients Share on X

About Dr. Marc Cohen

Dr. Marc is a multifaceted professional, excelling as a medical doctor, professor, author, poet, entrepreneur, and wellness advocate. With 30+ years in integrative medicine, he emphasizes nutrition, herbal medicine, yoga, and elite athletic performance. His extensive work includes 100+ scientific papers and influential books like ‘Herbs and Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Guide.’

He founded the Extreme Wellness Institute, Beautiful Water, and co-owns ventures like Extremely Alive and Maruia Hot Springs. Dr. Marc’s global presentations promote a wellness-centered culture for universal health.

Marc Cohen 1

Top Things You’ll Learn From Dr. Marc Cohen

  • [5:29] Tulsi Tea & Oxymel
    • Where “Holy Basil” comes from
    • Benefits of drinking Tulsi Tea
    • Other ways to consume and use Tulsi tea
    • Oxymel uses & its combination of herbs, honey & fermentation
    • Where to get Oxymels & Other Supplements
  • [10:31] Kombucha & Vinegars
    • Benefits of Kombucha for your gut
    • How to use Kombucha topically
    • Why kombucha lowers your blood sugar
    • Kombucha vs. apple cider vinegar & which one is better for you
    • Kombucha clinical trial results
    • The truth about buying kombucha from the supermarket
  • [25:11] Make it at Home
    • Why you should make your own fermented food
    • How to make your own medicinal herbs & supplements at home
    • How to know if you’re growing your Kombucha right
    • How to keep your homemade Kombucha safe to drink
    • Extra tips on fermenting your own Kombucha
  • [39:01] Polyphenols & Probiotics
    • Why the first medicines were based on ferments
    • How to reduce sugar cravings
    • Why people don’t want to use probiotics
    • The role of polyphenols in overall health
  • [47:58] Manuka Honey
    • Manuka Honey health benefits
    • Other therapeutic herbs to add into honey
    • More ancient Persian medicines
    • The most underrated herbs & supplements
    • The most overrated biohacks

Resources Mentioned

  • Products: Extremely Alive Probiotics
  • Course: Outliyr Longevity Challenge (code LAUNCH saves 60%)
  • Teacher: Joel Greene
  • Article: The $10 Billion Scam (& 5 Best Probiotic Alternatives I Use)
  • Article: Biohacking Gut Health: The Scientific Optimization Guide

Episode Transcript

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Nick Urban [00:00:05]:
What is one of the most powerful natural herbal medicines that’s virtually unknown outside India? Well, if you answered tulsi, you’d be correct. And in this episode, we dive into why tulsi is so powerful, its many uses, the fact that it’s actually worshipped, and it’s an integral part of Indian culture, and myriad reasons you should consider incorporating it into your daily routine. We also talk about some little known Australian adaptogens and botanicals that our guest’s Peak predicts are going to become huge over the next decade or so. In this episode, we dive more into natural supplements, herbal medicines, different preparations of herbal medicines beyond pills and powders and even tinctures, such as one called Oxymel. We go over the power of honey, vinegar, and ferments, and we talk a lot about the whole fermentation process and kombucha, how you can make it at home, why you wanna make it at home, why the stuff found in the store really isn’t all that great, just how easy and versatile it is. And our guest this week makes all of this Practitioner, practical and actually enjoyable. This is actually a continuation of our conversation from last week. Same guest, doctor Marc Cohen.

Nick Urban [00:01:23]:
The podcast number was 154. You can find the show notes for that honey at And in case you missed that one, doctor Mark is a rare breed of a medical doctor, a university professor, an author, a poet, an entrepreneur, and a wellness trailblazer. He’s published over 100 peer reviewed scientific papers. He’s written several books on herbal medicine. He spent over 20 years as a university professor, and he has over 30 years practicing and researching integrative medicine. You can find the show notes for everything we discuss in this episode at Body Peak. Berberine, you also find links to try doctor Mark’s products for yourself, to check out his wellness poems, and to see some of his recipes.

Nick Urban [00:02:15]:
If you like this kind of thing, you should check out the Outliyr Longevity Challenge. Instead of getting distracted by fancy molecules, which are basically just a cherry on top of your health optimization protocol, This mini course has all the foundations you need for about 80% of the longevity results. A lot of the experts and influencers make longevity extremely complicated. Some spend as much as $2,000,000 per year on their protocol. Many of the top longevity strategies and biohacks are free or very cheap. Whether your goal is to look better, to feel better, or perform better, there’s the same handful of things that you should prioritize to get the best results with the least amount of effort and the least expense. I cover those and more in the 14 day challenge, and I’ve made it quite affordable because longevity shouldn’t cost you your entire salary or retirement. If this sounds interesting to you, check it out.

Nick Urban [00:03:11]:
There’ll be a link in the description below. And if you use the code launch, that’ll save you 60% for a limited time. Alright. Ladies and gentlemen, sit back, relax, and enjoy this conversation with doctor Marc Cohen. Doctor Mark, we were talking last gut a week ago, had so much to cover that I had to have you back on the show. Thanks for joining us today.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:03:31]:
Yeah. Great to be with you, Nick. We look forward to another chat.

Nick Urban [00:03:35]:
Yeah. Well, today, we’ll start off with, again, the unusual or nonnegotiables you’ve done for your health, your performance, and your bioharmony. We’ll see how it’s changed from last week.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:03:46]:
Well, I’ll tell you, I had a had a great sauna with some friends last night, drinking my tulsi tea. Actually, this is honey of the last Peak cups I’ve got from my my textbook that was published 20 years ago. I used to have a dozen of these, so I’m drinking my tulsi tea. I did a hot and cold shower this morning as usual. Eating no. Bathing in beautiful water, I’m gonna bathe in filtered water, prepare delicious blood. I’ve done that. Make the most of every breath, dance through every mood.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:04:17]:
Haven’t danced today. Maybe there’s there’s still time. Tend the soil beneath my seat. Yeah. I’ve gone out and sit home with my tulsi plants and hushay heart of the bees. I go out in the garden and pick some basil and do some things. Tend us all beneath your feet, embrace sunshine for my bub. I’ve been out in the gut some vitamin d’s a day, been out in the sun, share my gifts with all the world.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:04:41]:
I’m doing that right now Mind fill my life with love. Yeah. I’ll do that. So yeah.

Nick Urban [00:04:45]:
And so for anyone tuning in who wasn’t here last week, we covered all that previously in the last episode about his daily routines and hot and cold contrast, the essential things you can do to boost your immunity naturally and a whole lot Cohen. So go back and check that out. And he nicely foreshadowed just now tulsi, which is one of the many herbs that he’s used and researches, and he has a couple books for those doing in via video you can see on his bookshelf behind him that he authored. So today, we’ll be talking about herbs, supplements, a special kind of supplement called Oxymel, I believe, exercise mimetics, some of the future ancestral health practices that he likes and dislikes, honey, fermentation, and a lot more.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:05:29]:
Love to talk about herbs and and Oxymel. Oxymol is a a fascinating topic that that Mind herbs with honey with fermentation. And that’s that’s been a real journey for me. Now I can tell that through the the lens of my personal journey because, I mean, I wrote this textbook that herbs, you know, herbs and supplements, which is it’s 4th edition now. It’s been around for 20 years. The first edition was 400 pages, and that was my education about herbal medicine because I’m a medical doctor. I’m not a naturopath. But I partnered with a pharmacist and a naturopath who was my yeast Peak student, Leslie Broad.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:06:03]:
And, you know, she said to me, do I wanna co author a book on with her on herbs and supplements? I said, sugar. But you need to do a PhD with me. So I supervised her PhD. She supervised me writing the book with URBAN. And after 4 years, you know, she had a PhD. We’d written the yeast edition, but then 3, 4 years later, that one’s at the CHEK edition, which was 800 pages. Then they went to the 3rd edition, which was 1200 pages. Now the 4th Practitioner 1600 pages Mind 2 volumes.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:06:29]:
So there’s a whole separate the last Peak cup of of our yeast edition. Gut that was my education, and it was only in the 4th edition that I learned about tulsi. And, tulsi is holy basil. I mean, you’re in India right now. It’s every, if you’re a Hindu, you you generally have a tulsi plant that you worship as a dainty. It’s usually, you know, a ceramic pot in the house, and tulsi is literally worshipped as a deity, and you take a leaf and and have it every day. Often you you dip it in water, make holy water, and it’s a makes an amazing tea. It’s a it’s a form of basil, Oxymel sanctum, holy basil.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:07:07]:
But in the in the west, it’s not used that much, but whereas in the in India, it’s called the incomparable one or mother mother nature’s gift to humanity. And it’s one of the few plants you can eat from every day. If you you I grow tulsi bushes on the Outliyr, but you can literally eat a few leaves every day and the plants will stay healthy and and keep, you know, growing and producing. The flowers themselves are really pretty. Bees love them. So they’ve always got bees around CHEK, so it’s great for bee forage. But the plants themselves will will repel mosquitoes and fighting insects. They actually gut smell will just enhance memory and cognition.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:07:44]:
And if you make tea out of it and I had a PhD student who spent 4 years researching tulsi showing that even just a single cup of tulsi tea, which I’ve got now, can improve cognitive function Mind reduce blood pressure Mind have positive effects on the code cardiovascular system. So Telsey is, we call it I I wrote an article about a peer reviewed article that’s open source called Telsey A Herd for all reasons. And it often gets cited. I get fermentation alerts with my papers, and that’s one that gets cited a lot because, tulsi, it controls blood sugar. So it has all the benefits of the of, sugar drinks, but it it regulates blood sugar without giving you sugar spikes. And we can talk I’ve got a whole lot. We can talk about sugar spikes later if you want. I’ve got a whole poll in that discussion with sugar spikes.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:08:30]:
It gives you the alertness, without the jitteriness of caffeine, and it gives you the relaxation without the depressant effects of alcohol. So if you think about modern modern beverages Marc sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Every restaurant, every airplane, every honey, you can buy sugar at caffeine Mind, you know, alcohol drinks. Gut tulsi has all the benefits of those 3 without the drawbacks. So it tulsi enhance liver detoxification instead of hammering your liver like caffeine and alcohol does. It’s a better mouthwash than chlorhexidine. So just rinsing with Tulsi tea, so you can leave it cold. You can have often I like a hot cup of Tulsi tea before I go to Body, have some of that.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:09:07]:
I’ll leave it in the morning and just rinse with it. And you can swallow it. And so it’s a bit of mouthwash than chlorhexidine. You can swallow it. It enhances liver detoxification, balances blood sugar. It stimulates the immune system, so, immuno stimulatory, balances blood pressure, cholesterol. It’s just got it’s like the the herb that is beyond all other herbs. And if you think about Ayurveda, they have the biggest range of and even Indian cooking saves the has the biggest range of herbs and spices out of any cuisine because they have herbs from the rainforest and from the jungle and from the desert and from the mountains.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:09:44]:
And they call tulsi the incomparable one. So So it’s a competitive, Peak know, turmeric and all these other amazing herbs. Tulsi is considered like the ultimate herb in in Ayurvedic practice. And something you can have every day, and you can grow it yourself. And often I’ll take cuttings and propagate CHEK, then give them to my friends. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, because you know, the flowers are beautiful, but then it’ll sprout Mind you can keep growing it. So it’s topsy is fantastic like that. You so you can give it away Mind you still get to keep it.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:10:13]:
And then if your policy Peak is dying, you go to your friends, honey. They’re cutting already. They’re cutting back. That’s happened to me because it doesn’t like frost. So I often not, you know, sometimes I’ve gone away overseas over the winter and the frost has killed my tulsi plants. I’ve got cuttings back. So tulsi is a amazing herb. So in my own personal journey, I became really a fan of water.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:10:31]:
I start we talked about water last time. A sharp water company called Beautiful Water. And I’m thinking, if you just get the basics right, everything else goes right by itself. That’s a permaculture principle. I’m a big fan of Bill Mollison from permaculture. So he says, if you get the basic things right, other things go right by themselves. But if you get the basic things wrong, it’s really hard to play catch up. And then then after I became an advocate for tulsi and water, and then I built that by becoming an advocate for fermentation.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:10:58]:
And it was, just before the the pandemic, a friend of mine has a big kombucha company. He makes amazing tasting kombucha, and he kept on saying to me, Mark, you know, kombucha fixes everything. It cures everything. I’m saying bullshit. Like, nothing fixes everything. Where’s the research? And at the time, I was a professor doing, you know, complimentary medicine research. And so I looked up the research and there were honey studies on kombucha, but there were no studies on humans, like, 0. And I thought, that’s really strange.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:11:26]:
You know, when I wrote this textbook, there’s some obscure herbs that have half a dozen studies on them, clinical trials. CHEK kombucha, it’s a big multibillion dollar market segment, had no clinical trials. So I said, hey, I know how to do that. Let’s get a grant and let’s do some trials. And I know the university coffee, so we got a grant, you know, dollar matching dollar from Ausindustry, and we got the University of Sydney to do the yeast ever human clinical trial where we tested kombucha versus soda water and diet soft drink with a standard meal. And this was a double blind randomized crossover trial, and we showed that if you have a glass of kombucha compared with with Health some sugar in it compared to diet soft drink or soda water which has no sugar in it with a standard meal, you get a 20% reduction in the blood sugar spike after the meal and a 15% reduction in the insulin spike after the meal. And we published that at the start of last year. I think it was April last year 2023 we published that.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:12:20]:
And that was the first ever human clinical trial of Convincher. And about 6 months later, I think it was October last year sometime, the Georgetown University published the second scoby, and they gave a glass of kombucha every day for a month to diabetic patients. We did our study just with Health, normal Peak. But they gave it every month, every day for a honey, diabetic patient Mind showed that a glass of kombucha controls blood sugar in diabetic patients. So that was the second study. They were both small studies that need to be replicated. But now there were 2 studies on kombucha. And when I and then we did the the second research we did was a metagenomics and physicochemical study of kombucha.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:13:01]:
We got a whole lot of kombucha off off the supermarket shelves Mind we used my mate, the Blood Brew kombucha. Mind we looked at the CHEK metagenomics. So we looked at all the different bacteria and yeast as a genetic profile Mind we documented all of that. And then we looked at the physicochemical Practitioner of Peak, and we looked at polyphenols. Mind we were really surprised because what we found out was the kombucha has 2 Mind a half times the polyphenols of green tea. And we start with green tea. And green tea is one of the highest polyphenol foods. I mean, green tea has more polyphenols than apples, And that’s why, kombucha vinegar is more potent than apple code vinegar because green kombucha vinegar is made from green tea and people a lot of people make their own kombucha and then they neglect it and they think they’ve done something wrong because it goes to vinegar.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:13:47]:
Well, that vinegar is amazing. You can use it as vinegar for shallows and for even for cleaning. But you can also just add more sweet tea to it and revive it. It’ll keep fermenting. So we did this research, and we showed that 2 and a half times of polyphenols are green tea, and then we showed that that a lot of store bought kombuchas has no living bacteria or it’s got 1 or 2 1 or 2 strains. And very often what they do to to keep CHEK shelf stable, they pasteurize it, then they add in a lab grown lactobacillus, and there’s, like, 8,000,000,000 units at the time of bottling. And that’s gut a half life of 3 days, but it’s a single strain. And so it’s a monoculture, where I was always standing in the blood room with my friend at the time.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:14:27]:
He’s now my business partner. He has 200 microbial strains, really diverse. So it’s a whole garden.

Nick Urban [00:14:33]:
How do they survive pasteurization?

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:14:34]:
Honey we don’t pasteurize.

Nick Urban [00:14:37]:
Oh, you don’t have to. It’s not required by law.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:14:39]:
Well, so what we have to do and this was the issue. So we don’t pasteurize. So he has 200 Australians, but you need cold chain logistics. Has to be refrigerated. And if you don’t refrigerate it, it starts to ferment and explode and over fears. And so Biohacking a living cold chain brew, because it’s still got some sugar in it, so there’s still some fermentable sugars. And I said to to Dino, my friend, I want to go into business with you. I’ve got all this herbal knowledge.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:15:05]:
I wrote this textbook. Let’s start a wellness. But I wanna have something that’s shelf stable. Because I I’ve worked in the wellness world, you know, hotels and resorts around the world. I want something that can be shelf stable and and potent, still probiotic, and full of all the herbs, you know, using all my herbal knowledge. And we realized, okay, if we make, the kombucha and we let it fermentation for 6 months and it goes all the way to vinegar, we end up with a shelf stable vinegar that we can then infuse herbs into. And, so we get this amazing potent probiotic high polyphenol vinegar, and then we infuse Urban. Nick because I love Chinese I did a PhD in Chinese medicine.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:15:42]:
I like the 5 elements. And you want to diverse lots of plants, so we use leaves, roots, flowers, fruits, and sun Cohen. And that ensures you’ve got all the different plant parts. You’ve got Cohen and and this and we’re doing this more we were doing it for therapeutics, but we’re not a therapeutical. We’re a food. So we then put a dose in that is going to give you a particular effect. We put enough of each herb in that it’s gonna change the flavor. And but not code flavor accredited by the polyphenols.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:16:09]:
Often the polyphenols give you those flavor compounds. So So these leaves, roots, flowers, fruits, and fungi, and we select them based on their properties. So we have one blend for your gut and one for your brain and one for your hormones, honey for detox, one for the immune system, that’s the bottle here. These are all shelf stable kombucha vinegar. And they’re vinegar. It’s like they’re they’re potent. They’re they’re strong. But you can use them on salads.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:16:30]:
You only and the dose is 20 mils, like a tablespoon. That’s all you need. And there’s a lot of research showing that if you had just have a tablespoon of vinegar, 20 mils of vinegar with a meal, that’ll balance your blood sugar.

Nick Urban [00:16:41]:
Doctor Mark, that’s what I was thinking. When you were describing earlier the study of kombucha, like, you covered a couple of my thoughts. Yeast, that a lot of them only use a single strain, and I think the benefit comes from the synergy of a bunch of different strains. As in the case of your friend, 200 strains in honey drink. And it’s not one that’s mega code to 2,000,000,000 or 10,000,000,000. It’s a diversity, and they keep each other in CHEK, and they add, like, a synergy you can’t get otherwise. So that’s one Peak. And I’m wondering about the utility of, like, the kombucha I find in the store.

Nick Urban [00:17:08]:
I’ve also fermented my own kombucha previously. I was wondering what the composition of my kombucha. I was like, okay. I’ve been doing this for 6 months. Is it still gonna be a beneficial composition, or is it gonna break down? I think the starter culture matters a lot.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:17:21]:
Yeah. It’s just depend on the starter Urban, and you can tell if you buy a store bought kombucha if it’s alive by putting some in a glass, leaving it in a warm spot for a week. And if it grows a skin on the top, if it grows a scoby on the top, you know it’s alive because it’s actually fermentation, and it’s grown a scoby, and it will become vinegar. So but then you don’t know the diversity. And my mate with his kombucha company, he he’s been going for about 12 years. He he’s got a really complex thing. But whenever he finds a really good kombucha store bought, he just tips it into his brew Mind then the bacteria sort it out. So CHEK it’s it’s like adding compost to your to your garden.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:17:58]:
You’re adding biomass. And that’s sort of what kombucha does to your own gut. Because it’s not like the probiotics or the bacteria in the yeast in the kombucha are the honey that colonize your gut. But what they do is they’re they’re like adding biomass. So it’s like adding really rich compost to your soil. And your microbiome is that’s the soil of your gut. That’s where you get your nutrients from. But when you add healthy biomass to that, it’s like adding compost to your garden.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:18:24]:
It’s not like the the compost is that that you don’t wanna grow the compost or if it’s mushroom compost and you’re not growing mushroom, but you’re adding that that nutrient rich mix to your soil Mind that’s where your plants get the nutrition. So it’s the same with your gut. You wanna add really good microbial matrix. We call it microbial magic because we still don’t understand it. So microbial magic is our trademark term because it it’s so coffee. But that’s what you want. You want a diversity of bacteria. And even when you’re doing microbiome analysis, it’s not about individual bacteria.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:18:55]:
It’s about the diversity Mind you don’t want anyone to dominate. So like in your garden, you don’t want one weed to dominate. You want a whole diversity of plants. And that’s where you have monoculture. Agriculture is really dangerous because you can have honey disease or wipe out everything or or, you know weather conditions could wipe out your whole crop. Whereas if you’ve got a a whole ecosystem with a complex garden, it’s much more resilient and much more healthy and much more productive. So, yeast, so we’ve made these kombucha Nick Mind they’re they’re great. I mean, they’re shelf stable.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:19:25]:
We we you can have them as on a salad dressing. You can take them straight. You mix them with water. They’re really an amazing hydration drink. So the kombucha vinegar is all got a lot more minerals and and vitamins and and polyphenols. You add that to water. So after a sauna, I had friends over the last night. We we had sauna, but we put some vinegar in the water and rehydrate it with that, and that that that feels fantastic to do.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:19:49]:
So I have these vinegar, and then it was only last year that I joined the board of a a honey company that makes the world’s most potent manuka honey. And manuka honey has a whole lot of research on it. Most of the research was done in New Zealand.

Nick Urban [00:20:03]:
Before we go into Honey, I wanna talk more about kombucha because I have a couple more questions for you. Back in that original human clinical trial, the first one in humans Mind healthy and in, I think you said, diabetics, You mentioned that the blood sugar, it came down significantly. The postprandial after meal blood sugar dropped. I’m trying to figure gut, like, yeast out of my Mind, how much of that is the vinegar ish or like the maybe, actually, maybe it isn’t vinegar.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:20:26]:
Yeah. Well, we control the pH. So kombucha has a that’s 3.5 pH. It’s quite acid. Kombucha naturally but the the diet soft drink was also acid. So the diet soft drink controlled for the acid, and the the soda water controlled for having a fizzy drink. And the kombucha actually had sugar in it. It’s still it’s a sweet tart drink, whereas the diet soft drink Health don’t know, xylitol or some fake sugar, but it was a zero sugar.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:20:51]:
And then the the soda water was just soda water. So we did control for the acid. So and we and I was talking to Jenny Brandmiller. She she runs the Sugar Lab at University of Chignee. So it was her team that really invented the whole concept of CHEK glycemic index. So she’s the world leader. So it was her lab that did the research. And I was talking to her gut why is it reducing blood sugar so much even when there’s sugar in it? And we think there’s a combination of factors.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:21:15]:
Honey is the acid does have an effect, although the diet soft drink didn’t do that, which I was curious. But then polyphenols blood down gastric emptying. So and then when these, the kombucha from the the the bacteria in the kombucha, CHEK they they want to ferment, sugars. And when they hit the warmth of your gut, because they’re coming from the fridge, they hit the warmth of your gut, you’ve delayed the gastric emptying so there’s sitting around in your sugar rich medium with all the food, they’ll start to metabolize that Mind the polyphenols will will reduce the the speed of gastric emptying. So you get a slow release of sugar rather than a big spike. And it’s the spikes in blood sugar that are really damaging to our health.

Nick Urban [00:21:58]:
We’ll go into that rabbit hole a little later because we still gut more Cohen on this front, But I I I’d be really curious to see how those kombuchas would stack up against the classic premeal, like, glucose disposal agent like, apple cider vinegar.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:22:12]:
Well, apple cider vinegar is similar to kombucha vinegar. I I I would argue that kombucha vinegar is better because it’s got more polyphenols. That’s just because green tea has more polyphenols than apples. The only thing is and I’ve just been in

Nick Urban [00:22:24]:
America polyphenols too.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:22:26]:
Yeah. Because I’m I’m not interested in America, expo yeast, which is, like, the biggest natural food expo in the world Mind and visiting all, you know, the different stores over in the saves. And apple cider vinegar is everywhere. No one’s ever heard of kombucha vinegar. The only people who know about kombucha vinegar are people who made their own kombucha, and it’s gone to vinegar, and they throw it out. But you can actually revive I’ve seen kombucha that’s been in someone’s garage for 3 years in a, you know, solid container, and then they’ve taken it out, added sweet tea to it, and and it’s continued to fermentation turing yeast is super hardy, these microorganisms. When there’s no food, they just go they sporulate, and they become dormant. And then when there’s food, they they wake up.

Nick Urban [00:23:05]:
That’s a question I’m sure we’re gonna get doctor Mark. It’s if you have, say, SIBO or if your kombucha sits for months, is it safe? Are you gonna be growing other things in that kombucha that you really don’t wanna consume, like mycotoxins?

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:23:17]:
So so the way to keep kombucha safe is to make sure it’s below 4.5 on the Peak scale. Once it’s acidic, once it’s below 4.5, that’s the magic number, pathogens won’t grow. So keeping an acidic brew so it’s much it’s much safer and easier to make kombucha than just make beer, for example. The beer you have to sterilize everything Mind and if you the danger with kombucha is if you add too much sweet tea to your mix Mind you dilute it too much, then the CHEK can rise Mind you can get mold or other pathogens. But as long as you keep it acidic, and usually the the rule of thumb is if you add 5 times as much sweet tea as you’ve got the vinegar, the starter culture, that that should be fine. Anything more than 5 times, you risk diluting it too much, and then you need to taste it or you can use pH strips and make sure it’s below 4.5. But once it’s below 4.5, you’re saves. And that’s blood standards look at that as long as you gut a, you know, things that because vinegar is a preservative.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:24:19]:
I mean, and vinegar is one of the most potent preservatives. It’s also vinegar itself is a medicine. So, you know, Hippocrates and and all the ancient physicians all use vinegars and ferments as as medicine, and they’re probiotic, so you’ve got these living organisms in it. And and most people in the western world, even in the in the the developing world, don’t eat enough living foods. If you think about before refrigeration, our ancestors would have had living foods with every Peak, and and most cuisines saves, you know, some kimchi or sauerkraut or or kombucha or something alive with your meal, yogurt. But now we have nootropics. We have chlorine in our water. We have, dead fermentation, sugar, Peak, coffee, bread, cheese, wine, beer.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:25:11]:
They’re all fermented, but they’re dead ferments. So having some living is really, really powerful. And the the best thing to do is actually grow it yourself because then you actually inoculate your kitchen. So making your own sauerkraut, making your own kimchi, making your own kombucha, inoculates your kitchen with good bacteria with just I think last week we talked last time we talked about our skin. When you’ve got good bacteria, that protects you from bad bacteria. So Biohacking your own stuff is really good, but then having every day, every meal, something that’s alive. So the vinegars that we make, it’s something really easy. Just splash it on and have a sip or put it in your water, to have make it easy to have something alive with every meal.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:25:50]:
And, you know, I really highly recommend people to play with your own you can’t get kombucha wrong unless you over, dilute it. The the worst thing that’s gonna happen is it’s gonna it’s gonna go too vinegary, and that’s if it’s really warm or you leave it too long before you you refrigerate it. And then you can just you just add some more sweet tea diluted a bit more if it’s too vinegary. In fact, our vinegars are literally a starter culture. So our vinegar, because they’re a living product, if you add sweet tea to them, they’ll start to ferment, and you can make kombucha from them.

Nick Urban [00:26:21]:

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:26:21]:
You won’t get all the herbs, the leaves, roots, flowers, fruits, and fungi won’t be there, but you’ll have a kombucha base just from our from our vinegar. And you can share, I mean, anyone who makes kombucha has too much scoby. So you just ask the scoby for a friend. And and the scoby isn’t just the people think the scoby is the, you know, the rubbery, the the tea fungus, you know, the the they call it the pellicle, the the cellulose mat on the top. But the SCOBY is literally the symbiotic colony of bacteria in the yeast. It’s the whole liquid in SCOBY. And that and that tree fungus, the the the cellulose layer on the top, it’s an amazing wound dressing. So when it grows, you can grow it really thin or you can pull sheets off.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:27:00]:
You can put that directly over a wound. You can cut it. You need really tough scissors to cut it. It’s really tough. You can cut it to the shape, put it over a wound, and it’ll form like a second skin over your skin, and it becomes like an incredible wound dressing. And the best thing to do is put a little dab of manuka honey under it, put the scoby on top, and you’ve got this wound dressing that’s better than the best oxides or, you know, the high-tech dressings, but it costs you almost nothing to and you grow it yourself, literally. The the bacteria makes the cellulose to to starve the yeast of oxygen. So the yeast takes sugar and makes alcohol, and the bacteria are like alcoholics.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:27:36]:
So they love they wanna farm the yeast, make the alcohol, and they take the alcohol, make organic acids. And with kombucha brewing, most of them talk about acetic acid. And acetic acid is that really sharp vinegar taste. It’s like on your salt and vinegar chips. Gut there’s all these other organic acids. There’s malic acid. There’s gluconic acid. There’s gluconic acid.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:27:55]:
And gluconic acid and gluconic acid have a there’s a sweet tart flavor to them, so it’s not as sharp. And that’s the the holy grail for, I think for Shiraz wine, but also for kombucha, it’s having high gluconic acid. And and that’s gluconic acid is made by gluconobacter. So there’s acetiobacter, which makes acetic acid, and there’s gluconobacta, which make gluconic Mind glucuronic acid. And having in our kombucha, we have a very high gluconic acid level. So it means the kombucha is it’s sort of a tart sweetness. It’s not so sharp and bitey, and that depends on the the culture that you’re starting with. So, yeah, the the bacteria make the acids, and then they also make the cellulose at the top, which is that mass because the, the yeast is an anaerobic process, which is bacteria, is a aerobic process.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:28:44]:
So kombucha is a highly processed blood. And usually we say don’t eat processed foods. It’s it has a minimally Podcast, but it’s processed by these ancient symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, and that’s an incredible process. That that process if you look at the symbiosis between bacteria and yeast, that goes back literally 1,000,000,000 of years where bacteria and and yeast got together and formed algae and then formed soil Mind then and then and now it’s been a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast and humans because humans have been culturing kombucha cultures for at yeast, like, 10000 years since the first person had tea and then put some honey or put some in fact, if you put honey in green tea and fermented, it’s called jun, j u n. And Jun is more ancient than kombucha because honey was available before, sugar was available. But if you use sugar, it’s kombucha. If you use honey, it’s Jun. But that was the yeast fermentation.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:29:40]:
And in fact, the first medicines were based on ferments, and the word mead and the word medicine have the same origin. So the first medicines came from fermented honey. I don’t know if they use green tea there. They they used all sorts of other things. But, yeah, you can there’s lots of other high polyphenol vinegars. I mean, pomegranate vinegar is really nice, date vinegar. That kombucha vinegar is probably the one of the highest polyphenols you can get out of vinegar, and green tea itself has all this huge research. A chapter on green tea is, like, at least 10,000 words in that in that chapter, in that book.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:30:15]:
And green tea, you know, for antiaging and for cardiovascular, you name it. Green tea is amazing. But then when you ferment it, you actually bioactivate a lot of the the, the nutrients in it and you actually create new nutrients like biotin and b 12 and other nutrients from that bacteria and yeast process. So you you you’re using very, very sophisticated you know, tested by nature for 1,000,000,000 of years, this sort of symbiosis that you’re benefiting from.

Nick Urban [00:30:45]:
Is Puer Peak a fermented tea?

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:30:48]:
Puer tea is fermented, slightly different because it’s not a active like, it doesn’t carbonate Mind that it’s more of a age. I mean, the Pu’eti, you know, you put it in a cave Mind put it there for 50 years, and you charge $50,000 per kilo or something. Gut Pu’e tea is an aged green tea, and it has incredible flavor profiles. And and whether it’s, kombucha or puede, I mean, honey as Health, we can we’ll we’ll get there. But for polyphenols, it saves you the flavor profiles. And often it’s the polyphenols in plants that, protect the plants from, physical and microbial threats.

Nick Urban [00:31:33]:
Doctor Mark, before we go to the polyphenol rabbit hole because that’s a really fascinating topic. I’m actually writing an article on polyphenols now because I realized how neglected they are and what a important role they have. Are they carnivore and completely excluding any forms of polyphenols from your diet is a big mistake for reasons we’ll discuss momentarily. But to make sure I’m doing the kombucha side right, if it becomes too, alkaline, say 4.8 Peak instead of 4.5, would I just add more vinegar to it?

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:32:03]:
Yeah. Add more vinegar. Or just wait wait longer and let it ferment. And it let let it get to 4.8. But better to start with start with quite vinegar and just add sweet tea, and keeping it below 4.5. Like a kombucha will have a 3.5 Peak, so you gut bit of a a buffer there. But if it gets over 4.5, then there’s a possibility of mold or other other bacteria growing.

Nick Urban [00:32:25]:
I don’t know if you’ve come across doctor William Davis Mind his blood, Sugar Gut, but he basically gives DIY recipes for fermenting your own yogurt. You basically choose a couple different probiotic strains. You do it for 36 hours versus the commercial store, yogurt, which is, like, 4 hours, and you get an explosion of the concentration of the colony forming units to Tulsi. And and the part that interest me is that it’s whichever strains you like, there’s certain ones that he recommends, and they all have, like, slightly different growing habits and everything. But I’m curious if you can do that with kombucha. You can choose, like, here’s the culture I wanna add, like, this strain and this strain.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:33:04]:
We haven’t I mean, I know, Dino, he he if he gets rid of a good bridge, he’ll CHEK in his batch, but he’s got tanks for the 100,000 liters, like, massive. Mind you can buy gluconobacter. I think some wineries buy it for fermenting grapes to make really good Shiraz, you know, without the gluclerotic acid and gluconic acid. But in terms of the culture, I mean, peptides on you you probably could buy gluconic, gluconobacter and add it to your kombucha strain. It’s probably better just to get a really delicious kombucha that you like and then growing that up. And then you like Dino has honey. Like, you add other strains in it, and instead of adding stuff to your garden, the the ecosystem will work itself out. You don’t want honey dominant strain.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:33:49]:
You want a whole culture, a whole ecosystem. So, and the more diverse, the better.

Nick Urban [00:33:55]:
Yeah. I was curious that you can just do that. Like, you can have your your base, your culture, and then you can add in other things that you like. Like, you code across research on particular strains, and you add those in somehow.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:34:05]:
With kombucha, you usually have your primary ferment when you’re fermenting the Peak. So it’s just tea and chihuahua. It’s always good that you start with the same sort of tea because the bacteria and yeast, they’ll train on they’ll get adapted to whatever you’re feeding them. So they’ll if you’re using a particular black tea or green tea, we use mostly green tea with a little bit of oolong Peak, stick to the same tea, but then you do a secondary ferment. So once you’ve made your kombucha, with the tea, you have a secondary ferment. And that’s when you can add fruits or flavors or, you know, we add different herbs so you can have all the different amazing flavored kombuchas. And the secondary ferments will add some I mean, if you’re adding berries, they’ve got fermentable sugars in them. So you’re fermenting the berries.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:34:46]:
The herbs have some polyphenols, but also it’s fermentable sugar. So you’re adding a secondary ferment that adds all these flavor profiles and other medicinal properties to your kombucha as well.

Nick Urban [00:34:57]:
So to make this practical, what you’re doing is you’re doing a yeast ferment with the tea Mind the sugar, then you’re letting that like, I don’t know the proper term, but steep in the fridge. And then you take

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:35:08]:
Actually, no. You you don’t put it in the fridge. You want kombucha likes body temperature, like the same temperatures that you like, which is 22 degrees Celsius. So that’s you know, what they said hotel rooms. And if you go to 5 star hotels, they’re all set at 22 degrees. That’s where you can walk around in the skin your air temperature is nice to your skin, so you need minimal clothes. Well, kombucha love 22 degrees. Anything above 35 degrees that you’d feel uncomfortable in, the the kombucha won’t won’t be comfortable and you’ll start to cook it.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:35:36]:
And you can if over 45 degrees just like you would cook and die, it’ll cook and die. So you want to keep it at room temperature. You don’t want it too if it’s too cold, it won’t die. It’ll just go dormant, but it won’t ferment. So if it’s on a in during summer Cohen it, you know, where this might be 30 degrees centigrade, then, it’ll ferment very fast. At 22 degrees, it’ll it’ll ferment just at a nice pace. You put it in the fridge, and it’ll go dormant and and keep it for for years. So ideally, you wanna keep your kombucha at a nice stable temperature.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:36:09]:
Often Peak put it above the fridge because the heat of the fridge will, you know, you know, sort of keep it warm. And you wanna keep a, it it needs good air. So you wanna have a Nick because it all it’s doing is taking fresh air, and it’s using the sugars and and the the tea and fermenting that. So it needs a good supply there, but it needs warmth. And then when it’s at the right level of fermentation, that’s personal preference. So you need to taste it Mind say Cohen it’s the right carbonation. Some people like a bit sweeter. Some people like a bit more vinegary.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:36:41]:
Depends on your taste. That’s when you bottle it and put it in the fridge. So when it’s fermented enough to put it in the fridge, and that way you stop the fermentation by putting it in the fridge, and that’s when you wanna drink it.

Nick Urban [00:36:51]:
Yeah. It’s been a while since I I fermented and did this whole process. But then the secondary ferment you’re mentioning, that would be after it’s ready to go in the fridge. Instead of putting it in the fridge, you would infuse other things.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:37:01]:
Add add other herbs and stuff into it. Add add add, you know, your berries or

Nick Urban [00:37:06]:
more sugar?

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:37:07]:
No. You don’t yeast too. No. It’s already done with ferment. If you added more sugar, then it’s a whole another process. It’s, it’s not there. You just add

Nick Urban [00:37:17]:
Yeah. Okay.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:37:17]:
The fruit or whatever flavoring you want, and there’s, you know, ginger and elderberry or whatever. There’s so many great flavors and and herbs you can use.

Nick Urban [00:37:27]:
So if you liked the flavor it was currently, you wouldn’t wanna just add whatever it was that infusion ingredient then because then it would keep fermenting. So you wanna add that a little before it was honey.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:37:37]:
Yeah. A little bit before or even when it’s done because it won’t ferment that much with the fruits. I mean, the you’re not adding a lot of sugar when you’re adding the fruit in. It’s just enough to give it the flavor. Mind, I mean, we we’ve got some amazing flavor that my mate, Dino, he makes incredible flavors. So using strawberry gut and and, pine pollen and and, you know, really great, herbs. Gut flavouring agents have their own properties as well, their own medicinal coffee, their own flavor properties. They don’t have a lot of sugar.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:38:06]:
So the fermentation won’t continue very long, but you want to when we make our vinegars, we use a base vinegar, and then we use, dry herb, and we have all these big muslin tea bags, and we just soak the dry herb in the vinegar for a honey. We do it for a whole moon cycle, and then you take out the the plant material Mind you’ve got the infusion. So it’s a it’s a herbal infusion in the vinegar. So rather than having alcohol extract or a water extract, it’s a vinegar extract of herbs. And you can do that. And, again, if you if you Marc got your conviction at home and you and you’ve neglected it, it’s gone to Nick, make a vinegar extract. Put some herbs in that Mind make your own flavored vinegars. Use that for your salads and for cooking and all sorts of things.

Nick Urban [00:38:49]:
Cooking at low heat so you don’t pasteurize flash pasteurize it.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:38:52]:
Well, I mean, even if you pasteurize a little bit, you still wanna get the benefits of the females and everything there. But, yeah, it is a probiotic, so you wanna treat it with respect.

Nick Urban [00:39:01]:
There’s also been some pushback in recent years about the use of probiotics, namely Mind the form of, like, supplement capsules because people say that we don’t really understand what the ideal human microbiome is.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:39:14]:
Well, we don’t fully understand it. And also doing that, you’re adding usually single strains. Biohacking a single strain here or there. And there have been couple of single strains that have been documented for particular medical fermentation, but generally, it’s like adding, you know, one plant to your garden. And if you you’ve got a whole ecosystem, adding Cohen plant might might help adjust the soil and do something or adding one particular chemical to your garden to to adjust things, which which can can be remedial action. But in terms of everyday use, rather than treating a specific disease, you wanna add a general, diverse range of biomass to your to your gut and to your gut. I think it’s sort of our our hubris to think we know the bacteria, we know what to add. Similarly with vitamins, I mean, vitamins we know you know, thinking taking single chemical vitamins made in a factory because we know now that can be appropriate if you gut a specific medical fermentation, but in terms of general health and life style, you wanna have a diversity, and you wanna get your nutrients from food, not from a from a pill.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:40:21]:
The same way you wanna get your probiotics from your food, not from a pill. Well, if you get it from a pill, it’s great for the honey making pills. I wrote the textbook on herbs and supplements, but I’m not a big fan of supplements and pills. Now they have a place, for specific remedial conditions, but I don’t think we should be eating pills every day.

Nick Urban [00:40:40]:
Yeah. In in a lot of cases, it makes a lot more sense, such as with a lot of the polyphenols. We can segue into that because it’s a really important nootropics. And a lot of the health foods, one of the reasons they’re health foods is because they tend to be rich in polyphenols. So you look at, like, dark chocolate, tea, coffee, red Mind, some of these are controversial whether or not they’re actually healthy, like coffee and red wine specifically.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:41:02]:
They are because I read somewhere that Americans get 70% of their polyphenols from coffee and chocolate. And very often, polyphenols are URBAN, and they’re bitter because they’re the plants defense against predation. Often animals, you know, insects don’t like bitter compounds, and the bitter flavor is really in Chinese medicine, they talk about the 5 flavors, you know, sweet, salty, spicy, sour, and bitter. And in the modern world, bitter is the least consumed. Generally, over consume sweet, salty, and spicy. Generally, sweet is over consumed, and I’m I was stunned at the American palate. I was, like, you know, at this Health food expo and tasting all these Cohen superfood blood, and and they’ve all got Stevia Urban xylitol and arythritol, and and it just made so sweet that it’s just like, woah, because our palates saves adapted to sweet. Salty, you know, people have spicy, they have.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:41:56]:
Sour, that’s from vinegar and lemon juice and stuff. But bitter, people get their bitters from coffee and chocolate

Nick Urban [00:42:02]:

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:42:03]:
Where you should be getting your bitters from greens. You know, rockers and radicchio and and herbs are bitter, and that’s often it’s the polyphenols that have that bitter component that then balance sugar cravings. So if you’ve if you’ve got sugar cravings, if you wanna lose weight and stop craving sweets, increase the bitter in your gut, and you’ll naturally not wanna eat sweet. You don’t you you don’t have to fight your craving, you just won’t want to feel like it because that bitter bat counteracts it. So having having more bitter in your diet, is a good thing, but I I think people need to go beyond coffee and chocolate.

Nick Urban [00:42:36]:
That’s one of the reasons that organic produce tends to be much higher in nootropics. Unnecessarily vitamins and minerals. Like, I don’t know about that because the the studies are conflicted. Depends on who’s funding the study and all that. But one thing that’s pretty well agreed upon is that they’re higher in polyphenols because the plants undergo more stress. They don’t have the, like, artificial human insecticides, rodenticides, pesticide, all that stuff. So then they increase levels of their defense compounds like polyphenols and things like that. And they might be similar nootropics, but polyphenols are much higher.

Nick Urban [00:43:09]:
And explain, like, more about the role of polyphenols in overall health.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:43:13]:
Well, in the plants, the polyphenols are created to stop to protect them from the sun. And often polyphenols have very strong pigments. So anthocyanins, which are the blue in blueberries Mind and the dark blood, Body colors Mind red wine, the anthocyanins are really potent form of polyphenols Mind the flavonoids. So like a phenol is a a ringed molecule, it’s a phenolic ring, and the polythemine has got lots of rings. So these are these compounds that plants build up to protect themselves, and they also have the the the secondary, and they’re called secondary metabolites because they’re not primary nutrients. You don’t they’re not carbohydrate or protein or yeast. They’re the secondary metabolites that are basically the plant’s immune system. That’s what the plants use to protect themselves, but it’s also what we can use to protect ourselves.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:44:06]:
And Cohen, they they enhance our immune system. So polyphenols have antimicrobial, basil, you know, antifungal, antidiabetic, Peak cholesterol, you know, antihypertensives, anti atherosclerotic, anti aging, anticancer, you know, all the all these properties. And and they’re writing this book, you know, on most of the herbs, you know, high polyphenols, and they’ve all got the similar effects. You know, the anti cancer, antimicrobial, anti and and tulsi is really high in polyphenols all those, anti diabetic and anti cancer and antimicrobial effects. So the polyphenols are amazing for the plants. They often give the plants their flavors, like there’s not just a bit of flavors, but the complex flavors. So, you know, when you’re having fine red wines or even fine honeys or fine teapuette teas and that, it’s the polyphenols Cohen their dense complexity. And we’re tuned in for that.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:44:59]:
So our taste buds evolutionary adaptation has been to tune Nick to plants that the things that are good for us. Now we’ve sort of tuned into sweet because sweet was quite rare in nature, and, you know, we overdo sweet now. But gut the the that complexity is a reward signal. So when we have something with high polyphenols like chocolate and coffee, coffee know, we like it, and we we want more of it. And and that’s that’s what’s really good for us.

Nick Urban [00:45:26]:
Honey of the things that caught my eye about polyphenols when I was researching it, I don’t know if you’re familiar, doctor not doctor, Joel Green’s book and his work on immune centric Health. Gut he basically describes the immune system as the body’s repair and rejuvenation system much more than just fighting off foreign invaders. And he talks about, like, obviously, a lot of it starts in the gut. And one of the most powerful molecules to improve gut health and seal the gut barrier and increase intestinal permeability or reduce intestinal permeability, all that stuff is butyrate. And the best way to produce butyrate is to consume fiber and to get enough polyphenols, and you get the right bacteria to thrive in your gut, and you’re protecting yourself. You’re flipping your inflammatory your macrophages.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:46:07]:
That’s exactly right. Do the right and those chemicals that you’re providing isn’t necessary for your gut lining. It’s for the bacteria that’s in your gut that then create that defense. So just like our skin has this defensive lining where we create the oils and the bacteria protect us from from damage, the bacteria in our gut create that that barrier and, and create nutrients for us. So a lot of the food we eat isn’t for our nutrition. It’s for the bacteria in our gut’s nutrition. And and that was, realized it was probably at 10, 15 years ago where they looked at yeast Nick. And they looked at all the fructool oligosaccharides Mind breast milk that aren’t digestible to the baby, but they’re digestible to the baby’s gut bacteria.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:46:50]:
So a lot a lot of the nutrients in breast milk feed feed the baby’s gut, not the baby directly.

Nick Urban [00:46:55]:
And I have a feeling a lot of the herbs, they work much more on the microbiome and the commensal bacteria there and everything. They were giving them credit. We’re looking for, like, what they’re immediately doing, like, how they’re changing neurochemistry and blood chemistry, and I have a feeling a lot more information and research is gonna come out around how that’s, like, a secondary Cohen. Really, the they’re primarily doing is modulating the the gut. Gut

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:47:17]:
did a bit of work. I mean, you’ve I wrote the chapter on turmeric. I mean, turmeric’s another amazing herd that has so many different Cohen. And there’s been a lot of, in the supplement world, they say, oh, we’ve got, you know, liposomial turmeric. It has more bioavailability. It gets across gets into the blood more. But turmeric actually the curcumin, curcumin actually has an effect on gut bacteria. And most of the effect, you know, maybe it’s anti inflammatory actions and that may actually happen even before it’s absorbed into the blood.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:47:46]:
So it’s not necessarily the blood marker of how much bioavailable, you know, curcumin’s in your blood. It actually may be that what doesn’t get absorbed is just as important, if not more important, because that’s actually affecting your microbiome.

Nick Urban [00:47:58]:
Wellness other supplements are you a fan of in terms of, like, herbs and adaptogens?

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:48:05]:
It might be time to talk about honey.

Nick Urban [00:48:06]:
Let’s do it.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:48:07]:
So I Gut got involved with, you know, water. We did that last time. Then I got involved with herbs Mind then toffee, then fermentation with vinegar and and kombucha. And then about nearly a year ago, I got I had one of my patients actually. He was the CEO of a Manuka Honey Company that makes the most the world’s most potent Manuka Honey. And the research on Manuka Honey was done mostly in in New Zealand. Peter Nolan, his professor there, and he worked out that all honey is antimicrobial. And it has antimicrobial because it it sucks the water out of the microbes.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:48:41]:
Honey has a a acid pH, and it’s got peroxide activity. The bees actually put, you know, enzymes into honey that make it give it peroxide activity, and that peroxide activity is antimicrobial. Mind the way they found it, they were looking at cows because, manuka honey was considered rubbish. It was it was jelly like. It all it sort of congeals, and they didn’t like to eat it. It’s a bit bitter, and they were feeding it to cows. Cohen they noticed the cows they were feeding it to were really Health, and then they they started analyzing. Oh, this has got non peroxide activity.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:49:15]:
So it’s antimicrobial due to something else that’s not to do to the peroxide, and they isolated a molecule called methylglyoxal, Code. It’s it’s the thing. And then they found out that that’s code from Nick particular nectar of the manuka bush, the jelly bush, and there’s there’s only honey species of jelly bush in New Zealand, where they did the research, but there’s 87 species in Australia. So one of those species left Australia and went to New Zealand, but we have 87 species here. Out of the 87, there’s only 15 of those species have DHA in the nectar. It’s dihydroxyacetone in the nectar that gets converted into methylglyoxal into the honey. So Australian manuka honey is actually more potent than New Zealand manuka honey, although they’re both they’re both really good. So it’s the MGO, the methylglyoxal, which is this antimicrobial molecule.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:50:01]:
The benefits of that is it’s antimicrobial, but bacteria have never developed resistance to it. So it kills staph aureus, even methicillin resistant, NRSA, methicillin resistant staph aureus. It kills Pseudomonas. It kills gut the all these pathogens, but it’s selective. It doesn’t kill a lot of commensals, but it will kill pathogens, and they’ll never get antibiotic resistance to it. So honey is one of the the most potent antimicrobial agents topically, and that that’s for wounds. It also kills Helicobacter. So there’s a systematic review on using, manuka honey for, gut ulcers, you know, stomach ulcers for killing Helicobacter.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:50:41]:
So that a lot of research was done on manuka honey, and they show that it had a lot of incredible medicinal properties. Again, high polyphenols. So manuka honey, high MGO honey has one of the highest polyphenols out of all the honeys. So it’s not just the MGO, it’s the polyphenols coming back to that. And we’re getting into the things like red wine and honey and tea, you know, green tea, like Puer Peak. These are all super high polyphenol products that have had CHEK extra fermentation that that’s happened to them or extra process that’s happened to them. So manuka honey is just really high value, highly medicinal substance itself. Honey is also a natural preservative, just like vinegar a natural preservative.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:51:22]:
And it was sort of really bizarre to me because I read Ed, Texboiner Health. I created a vinegar company. I joined the board of a honey company. And it was only then that I actually started researching and learned about oxamores. Oxamore means acid honey. And it’s an ancient form of medicine that was used by Hippocrates. And most people say most people know that Hippocrates acid, let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. But what he was talking about was honey and vinegar.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:51:49]:
And he prescribed Mind you mix honey with the vinegar, and you get this incredible, syrup that’s delicious. You gut sour and sweet, And and because honey by itself is like it’s a bit overly saves, and vinegar bites is a bit overly sour. You mix them together, and then you add some polyphenols in. You add some herbs with polyphenols. And if you’re using manuka honey, manuka honey already has one of the most highest polyphenols out of any honey. When the honey is a bit darker, it’s a bit more bitter, it’s code directly sweet as clover honey or some other honey. So you’ve added the bitter, the the sweet Mind the sour flavors altogether to make a form of medicine. And in ancient Persia, you’re talking about the ancient Persian physician were pretty advanced.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:52:34]:
They had 1200 recipes for Oxymel. And because oxymols were the base of their medicine, because once you’ve got the vinegar and the honey as a base, you can add whatever herbs you want into it, and then it becomes for your gut or your brain or particular fermentation. So oxamores are this ancient form of medicine, both honey and vinegar preservatives by themselves, so Health preserve any other herbs you put into them, but they’re also delicious. Like, the I mean, I like vinegar. So we are I I make vinegar. I like and having them straight, but it’s like it’s a bit hard work to have yeast a straight vinegar. But if you mix the vinegar with the honey, and you know it’s good honey because it takes a while to dissolve. So when I add manuka honey to our vinegars, I need to shake it for 5 minutes before the honey will dissolve.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:53:16]:
But once it’s dissolved, it stays dissolved, and you end up with this syrup that’s just delicious. You can always drink it like a dessert Mind, or you can add it to soda water, and you’ve got instant kombucha.

Nick Urban [00:53:27]:
I was thinking about some other things you can add. Have you ever heard of or experimented with using something like, say, berberine, which is extremely bitter, or ashwagandha, rhodiola, ginseng, any of these, like, typical, like, therapeutic herbs.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:53:39]:
Yeah. Yeah. We’ve got we’ve got ashwagandha Urban, ginseng in our some of our vinegars.

Nick Urban [00:53:45]:
When you have it as an oxymol instead of a powder or a capsule or whatever, a tape even a tincture, how does, like, the oxymol compare?

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:53:52]:
And this is where we’re getting to this microbial magic area. So we don’t fully understand it, because what happens when you gut 200 microbial strains, you’ve got fermentable sugar, and you’ve got all these other polyphenols and other elements there, but what what we can extrapolate is they become bioactivated. It becomes more delicious. Mean, because berberine, you you have it straight, it’s like, oh, you know? I mean, andrographis, they call andrographis the king of business. You have that, it’s like, woah. But you but you mix that with, the sweet and the sour of the vinegar and the honey, it actually makes it makes the honey and the sour more delicious by having that bitter element. So, yeast, and I encourage people to to experiment with that. And all all you need is, access to good honey.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:54:38]:
I mean, manuka honey is the yeast. Gut if you go to your local beekeeper and get raw honey that’s not processed Mind 7 you know, 70% of supermarket honey in America is fake, 30% of the wellness tonnage is fake. So don’t buy supermarket honey in your little bear thing. Buy go to your beekeeper, pay proper price for good honey, and then make your own kombucha Mind and mix it together, and then put whatever herbs you want in. I’m actually running a workshop next month at the National Herbalist Conference. I’m giving the opening keynote of the herbalist, conference here in, on the Sunshine Coast, but then I’m giving a workshop on Oxymel for herbalists because what they can do, they can get the base oxymol Mind then they can add any tincture, you know, herbal tincture into that and make it delicious. Because a lot of herbal tinctures are pretty hard going. You know? Some of Chinese medicines are pretty full on to to drink, but you put them on Oxymel basil Mind suddenly they’re delicious.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:55:35]:
And and they’re potent, and you can feel the potency when you have it. So, yeah, adding, your favorite bitter Mind, again, polyphenols are often bitters to your vinegar and your honey, and you can make this at honey. So you can literally have a pharmaceutical factory in your garden.

Nick Urban [00:55:52]:
One of the concepts in Ayurveda, and I’m sure Chinese medicine, is to balance the flavors. And by introducing a little element of bitter, sweet, salty, sour, all into 1, it’s like a antiaging, rejuvenative, rejuvenating tonic. So it’s cool that you can enjoy these gut otherwise are very unpleasant. Like, when I’ve taken just straight scoopers full of berberine powder, it is not pleasant at all. And it’s, like, one of those things. You you buy one bag of it, you never buy it again because it’s not worth the benefits.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:56:21]:
Mix it with honey and vinegar, and then then try it Mind and play with it. So you wanna balance the sweet, the bitter, and the the the sour. And then a bit of salty. You know, you can there’s some herbs of salty or yeast add a pinch of salt, and then the, the spicy, the pungent. So, I mean, garlic or horseradish or you know, there’s lots of pungent chili, capsaicin. So you play with those flavors Mind it it creates this sensory delight because your brain each of the flavors activates different parts of our brain. And Cohen I was 4 I had a lot of fun formulating our vinegars because they had this sort of, sort of like a formula that I was following. So I wanted leaves, roots, flowers, fruits, and fungi.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:57:03]:
And I wanted to have one for our gas acid one one blend for your brain, honey for your hormones, one for detox, one for the immune system. So I had okay. What are the what are the herbs that are really good for the immune system, but, but they’re a leaf, but they’re a flower, but they’re a fruit, but they’re a root, or they’re a fungi. So and there was a formula to selecting that, and a lot of them have cross you know, so tulsi is in quite a few of our bioregulators, and ginger is in quite a few of our formulas because they’ve got great prop they’re adaptogens. But there’s all the nootropics and other herbs that you can play with that often have these high polyphenols that have the bitterness, so you want to balance the flavors. And you’re having I mean, I don’t think anyone gets really joy out of swallowing blood. And and, I mean, a lot of these superfood powders, you know, they’re not super fun to have. I believe health can should be really fun.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:57:56]:
And, I really believe that wellness can just be just as contagious as illness, and that wellness, you code actually infect the world with good health by spreading this. So we literally sell a wellness culture. Our our vinegars are our culture that literally infect you with good health. They infect your Body, and then they infect your life because you’re having it regularly, and then you can grow it your own kombucha and give that away just like I give tulsi plants away. I give kombucha scoby away, and that keeps on growing and multiplying and has this ripple effect. And just like giving my code tree away and giving ideas away, there are things that you can give away that you still get to keep them hasn’t depleted you at all by giving it away, but then you’ve actually enhanced other people’s lives Mind that comes back and enhances your own life. And these are the Practitioner, I think, that are under marketed because they’re sort of counter capitalism because it’s based on giving stuff away. You know, kombucha is a big industry.

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:58:53]:
They don’t want you to make your own kombucha, make your own medicine at home. That that’s not good for the economy. It might be good for your health, but it’s not good for the big business. So there’s not there’s not big marketing campaigns to teach you how to do this.

Nick Urban [00:59:04]:
Well, I’m excited to try some of your concoctions to get an inspiration, a taste of what’s a literal taste of what’s potential out there, what I what I can get if I practice this and experiment a bit. If people want to connect with you to follow your work, to pick up some of your oximals and your ferments, how do they go about that?

Dr. Marc Cohen [00:59:22]:
I gut a website, doctor Marc, So that’s all my stuff, some of my water filters, my vinegars, and my children’s forks, and my and my and the honey all there. Our vinegar company is called Extremely Alive because our products are Extremely Alive. The 200 bicultural strain. So extremely, and you can order. We send we ship that around the world. The the Honey I work with is called Gatherby, or gather by, and that we have 200 Mind I think we’re up to 200 2,300 plus NGO, Honey.

Nick Urban [01:00:00]:
Yeah. And I’ll put all this in the show notes because you have quite a few great resources, your papers, and I’ve read some of your blood, really enjoy them. What are the 3 teachers that have had the biggest impact on your life and work?

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:00:14]:
Good question. I think my biology teacher at Melbourne High School, mister Hobson, he really and and him and David Attenborough, because I I I was studying sort of year 12 biology when the life on Earth series came out in 1981. So that was had a huge impact on me with biology. Then Peter Russell. So Peter Russell wrote a book called the the awakening earth, the global brain. And I read that literally 40 years ago when I was 20, came out in 1984. And he he talked about and this was before the Internet. He talked about how the whole planet is emerging to a conscious organism.

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:00:55]:
And just like, our brain has a right and left hemisphere that the so the eastern world has is like the right hemisphere, and the western world is like the left hemisphere. So that’s already a consciousness, but then we’re having AI, and technology will be the, like, the the rational side Mind humanity will be the sort of right hemisphere. So that had a huge impact on me about the global transformation, and I had my 60th birthday a couple of weeks ago. Yeah. I was in America, and my friend who hosted me for my birthday, he’s friends with Peter Russell. So I actually got to meet Peter Russell. He came to my birthday, a few weeks ago. So that was a real thrill after 40 years of reading his book Cohen talking about his work and lecturing on his work.

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:01:35]:
I gut to hang out there and went gut, spend a bit of time with him, had dinner URBAN stuff. So Peter Russell, I think, I I had to give him credit. I mean, I I’ve had amazing I did 2 PhDs. I had amazing PhD supervisors. So Brando CHEK, he was the head of medical informatics at Monash University, and he was one of my mentors. So I learned a lot from him. And not just about medical informatics and information theory, but also about life and that living a a good life. He he lived hard Mind, unfortunately, died young of brain cancer.

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:02:03]:
But, yeah, he had a huge impact on me. But I’ve had some amazing Anton Jayasuri who taught me acupuncture in the eighties. Irene Nick, who was my PhD supervisor in electrical engineering.

Nick Urban [01:02:15]:
Yeah. You have a great list. Alright. Let’s do a quick rapid fire round, and then we’ll call it a day. The most overrated and underrated herbs or supplements Marc?

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:02:27]:
K. The most overrated herb, I don’t know if you code sugar a herb. If it’s not sugar, then it’s coffee, as overriding. So if they’re overconsumed, the most underrated herb Exactly. I would say tulsi, because it’s still not in India, it’s respected, but around the rest of the world, it’s not. So, yeah, tulsing would be the underrated one.

Nick Urban [01:02:47]:
What are 2 more underrated ones that people can look into that we haven’t discussed?

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:02:52]:
Green tea is amazing, but it’s it’s it’s got a pretty good publicity. You know, green tea is out there. It’s it’s it’s I wouldn’t say it’s underrated. And then you get into these herbs which are sort of local. So, I mean, kakaboo plum, I mean, people don’t realize it’s the highest vitamin c herb on the planet. They used to think it was amla, which is an Indian, herb, but it’s actually kakaboo plum. Gut gumby, which is this incredible, indigenous Australian herb with anti cancer properties. Strawberry gum tastes amazing.

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:03:25]:
It’s like gumtree that glaze that tastes like strawberry, with heaps of different polyphenols in it. So there’s some really obscure herbs that no one knows about that and and quite a few indigenous Australian herbs are are really, really, amazing, and they’re just no one knows about them. And, yeah, if you think about South American herb, people know Marc and acai and the the western herbs Mind even the eastern herbs are pretty well known. But it’s Australian indigenous herbs, I’m I’m predicting the next couple of decades, they’re gonna start to become more globally renowned.

Nick Urban [01:03:57]:
Alright. What would you say are the most overrated and underrated biohacks?

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:04:02]:
They’re underrated biohacks so that I think a lot of the no tech biohacks. I mean, Oxymel is a biohack. You know, hot and cold showers is a buy hack. Just getting sunlight first thing in the morning, coming out and getting some sun solo on you is a is a really underrated biohack. But the Biohacking that don’t cost any money don’t get a lot of publicity.

Nick Urban [01:04:30]:
Alright, Mark. What is one thing that your tribe does not know about you?

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:04:35]:
Most people don’t know that I I was sort of notorious that, like, 30 years ago, there was a holistic health conferences, and I used to spin fire. So I used to, you know, do fire twirling, gut now my kids do it. But I was got notorious stuff because one of these, sort of medical conferences, I was were doing fires I was doing fire spinning, Nick was sort of showing off, and ended up after a few drinks later tonight doing naked fire spinning on the beach. It sort of became a bit of Urban legend of this professor who’s been making fights for fire, spinning on the beach. Wow. So that that was yeah. Not many people know about that, I guess. But in this so there were people who were there 30 years ago at this conference that that still talk about it.

Nick Urban [01:05:21]:
Yeah. Quite the legend. Marc, how would you like to close this one out? Any takeaways? Any final messages you wanna leave listeners who have made this far with?

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:05:31]:
I mean, we could do the essential sugar CHEK poem, but that needs to be sort of unpacked a little bit because the poem is like a summary of the information. We haven’t discussed all that information, but I can I can share that poem with you if you want, but then people had to unpack it themselves? So eat food in the right order, fiber, fat, and protein first. Add a dash of vinegar. Let filtered water quench your thirst. There’s no need for counting calories. Just leave the sweets Podcast. Move your body after meals, and avoid those naked carbs. That’s carbs without fat or protein.

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:06:07]:
Only eat when hungry. Extend your fast at night. Eat with grace and color, and enjoy the feast in the first bite. And try eating with the seasons. Enjoy different cuisines. Eat all the different parts of plants, fungi roots, flowers, fruits, and greens. And enjoy food of many flavors, bitter, salty, spicy, sour, and sweet. And eat living ferments with each meal Mind give your gut biome a treat.

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:06:37]:
And don’t be rigid with your choices. And when push becomes a shove, do what feels right in the moment Mind eat the foods you love.

Nick Urban [01:06:47]:
Here. Here. What a great way to end, and we can put any information people need about that in the show notes for this episode because we’ve

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:06:54]:
already gone put the poem in. It’s on under buybacks. Yeah.

Nick Urban [01:06:58]:
Yeah. Yeah. I’ll Nick to that then so people can check it out to understand why each one of those saves sense. But, Mark, that’s a great way to wrap this one up. Thank you so much for joining me yet again in the podcast. I can’t believe, again, we had such a long list of things to cover, and we barely scratched the surface. But you’re a a wealth knowledge and all this stuff.

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:07:15]:
Don’t go so deep because, like, we’ve stayed on the bridge for a while. We we unpacked quite a bit of that. So Cohen in Podcast, I don’t get to talk as deep as we just did because, there is so much to coffee, and we and we did cover a lot, and we could saves gone deeper, but, yeah, well done. Gut really appreciate the opportunity, and Cohen love that you’re putting this out to your audience. And, hopefully hopefully, they’ll benefit from it.

Nick Urban [01:07:36]:
Yeah. They surely will. Well, doctor Marc Cohen, thank you for joining me in the podcast.

Dr. Marc Cohen [01:07:41]:
Appreciate it. Thanks, Vic.

Nick Urban [01:07:43]:
I hope that this has been helpful for you. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and hit the thumbs up. I love knowing who’s in the 1% committed to reaching their full potential. Comment 1% below so that I know who you are. For all the resources and links, meet me on my website at Mind Peak. I appreciate you and look forward to connecting with you.

Connect with Dr. Marc Cohen @ Extreme Wellness

This Podcast Is Brought to You By

Nick Urban is a Biohacker, Data Scientist, Athlete, Founder of Outliyr, and the Host of the Mind Body Peak Performance Podcast. He is a Certified CHEK Practitioner, a Personal Trainer, and a Performance Health Coach. Nick is driven by curiosity which has led him to study ancient medical systems (Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hermetic Principles, German New Medicine, etc), and modern science.

Nick Urban

Music by Luke Hall

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