Podcast 368: Introducing Earth Friend Herb Co
Listen to Martin asking Elijah Free all about how his passion for herbal remedies started, what is so amazing about his tinctures, and how to use them!
MARTIN: Hello, everybody! This is Martin Pytela for Life Enthusiast Podcast! Today with me I have Elijah Free, master herbalist from Earth Friend Herb. Elijah Free comes to us with a long history of success, and I am going to let him tell us about it in his own words. Welcome, Elijah!
ELIJAH: Hi, Martin, thank you very much! I just want to say how grateful I am today to be talking with you again, to meet with all of your wonderful folks who like our Earth Friend Herb products and have used them for so many years. The concept behind Earth Friend Herb has never been to go out and be the largest company. What we wanted to do was to have products that nobody else even conceived of that could be created. And we have succeeded in that. I’ve been a practicing master herbalist for close to 40 years, you can tell I’ve been around for a while. I have two extremely busy offices where I see people for herbal healings, for all kinds of health issues, which we are going to talk about today, and then we can talk about and introduce the formulas that have been around for a while.
I also do a form of bodywork that people come for. Earth Friend Herb is very interesting because we have products that other people haven’t been able to create before. All of our products are actually created within the therapeutic practice. So for example, a patient may come in with a particular problem, and we create a formula for them. So our formulas are created, we could say, ‘under a pressure’ because nothing life that existed, we had to create it. That is what gives us such an unusual blending of formulas that you really don’t see anywhere else. And yes, we have the basic things like formulas for digestion, adrenals, stuff like that, those we are going to call ‘Best Of Show.’
And we take great pride in that! Our specialty line though is a part of what we are going to talk about today, it is unbelievably exciting. We found that our Earth Friend Herb products really do the job. They take care of our patients and they do many things nothing else on this planet seems to be able to. All of our products are certified, made from wildcrafted herbs, our glycerin is organic, our beeswax is organic, all of our oil is organic, all our plant materials are organic. We go to incredible lengths to get the finest materials that we can. I have to tell you how OCD I am. I could maybe have something that would be good for two years but comes a year and it is in the trash on that. As far as raw materials, we keep them for a very short time. We want to make sure we use materials that are as fresh as possible. We make all of our tinctures in small batches, so everything is continually fresh in our laboratory. We take amazingly great care just to get the best, absolutely the best materials. So that is a little bit about Earth Friend Herb!
MARTIN: You mentioned that you want to keep things fresh, but wouldn’t alcohol-based tincture last for 40 years?
ELIJAH: It would, but I was actually talking about our raw materials, like our dry herbs, which have a really specific time in terms of expiration. I’ve talked to people from other companies, and they will keep their dry herbs around for four or five years! But I feel that for the peak potency of these things you have a certain window, and I am really, really happy to live within that window. Just to give you an example, you can buy a pound of commercial ginger root for about three bucks. We pay about $15 for it because it is organic, shade dried, and just amazingly better. And we are able to actually absorb a lot of that cost into our products. Many of our suppliers we have dealt with now for many decades know how discriminating we are.
MARTIN: So let me ask you this: How have you come by all this knowledge? I mean, we can see that you have probably been working for 40+ years in the chosen field of yours, but how did you get to this place?
ELIJAH: Oh, I kind of have a gift, Martin. Many people call me a shaman, or a medicine man, or other things. I have a very unusual connection with the herbal kingdom. It is like they talk to me. The same thing with medical things. That stuff has always come very easy to me. A lot of it is perspective, you know, I feel when the heart is really open, and you truly, truly wish to serve, these things happen. Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “Divine love always has met and always will meet every human need.” And when we come up with a formula, I like to think it is really divine love. Nature expressing itself.
I will give you an example. We have a set of formulas that we will be offering to the market, I think I’ve mentioned this to you before. I made this for a gentleman who had multiple sclerosis, and his symptoms abated, within about four or five days he started getting better. I got a referral from a doctor I know who works over at Stanford. My office in Redwood city is not far from Stanford, and she had a patient that was let go pretty much because they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. We gave the same formula to him. He had neurodegeneration, this man was in his seventies, and was pretty much wheelchair-bound. Today, the guy is out there gardening, doing all kinds of great stuff.
So we have some new and wonderful exciting things coming out soon. I always say I kind of sit down with the spirit of the herbs, we have a cup of coffee together, or a cup of tea, we start chatting, and they tell me their secrets. It is a little more than that, obviously, but you know, we have been very blessed with creating things that actually save lives. We have helped a number of people that were terminally ill, we have had people that would be in wheelchairs, that would be incapacitated.
MARTIN: I have noticed that a number of your formulas share certain herbs. There seems to be some kind of overriding concept to it as if there were some kind of a carrier or a driver or some ‘delivery vehicle’ that seems to be shared, which is quite different from what you see out there in general.
ELIJAH: Well, we have a number of formulas that deal with neurological things. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, we take a portion of this and a portion of that we know fulfills those particular types of needs, then we combine that, and we build a whole new formula around that. We also build support formulas sometimes to go with it, but we tend to keep our formulas pretty streamlined. For example, our fibromyalgia formula is really great. A very famous herbalist who lives in Santa Cruz, who I won’t name, looked at our fibromyalgia formula. Somebody showed it to him on a piece of paper. He threw it on the ground, stepped on it, and said: “That’s garbage, there are not enough herbs in there to make it work.” So I thought: Do you need to put 40 ingredients in your dinner? Or can you put three or four in there, and still have a dish that is absolutely fantabulous? Instead of doing the shotgun or the kitchen sink approach, as I said, we take an approach that is elegant, smooth, and streamlined. Our formula has a specific function, like the fibromyalgia formula. As long as you have a presentation of true fibrinous tissue, it works every time. It is basic chemistry for the human body. If someone comes up to me and says: “Will it cure my digestion? Will it cure cancer? Will it cure this and that?” I always say that this specific formula is a one-trick pony. But it is one hell of a trick, and it doesn’t need another one.
MARTIN: I get that. I wonder if the name should not be fibrosis rather than fibromyalgia, because these days, people lump under the word ‘fibromyalgia’ almost everything. The syndrome is now chronic fatigue, migraine, thyroid issues… People will call ‘fibromyalgia’ anything that is auto-immune related, right?
ELIJAH: In my practice, I don’t even call it that. We put it on the label for people, but I might actually take the word ‘fibromyalgia’ off the label. I am not really sure, but I call it basically a ‘fibrinous tissue condition.’
MARTIN: Right. There we go. I have a question. Do your formulas and your tinctures use grain alcohol?
ELIJAH: They are in a combination of grain alcohol, distilled water, and organic vegetable glycerin.
MARTIN: I have a good portion of people who are very sensitive to all things gluten and all things grain, anything that resembles grass or grain or whatever, they just can’t touch this. What do you have for that? Or how do you address it?
ELIJAH: It has a very low alcohol content. We put way more vegetable glycerin in it. See, the whole idea is to have something that extracts, so we go more towards the vegetable glycerin, so we are able to keep our gluten content way, way, way down, as low as possible.
MARTIN: A thought comes to mind: alcohol tends to evaporate. Would it be at all useful to try to warm it up a little, so that the alcohol evaporates?
ELIJAH: No, that would ruin what is in there. I know people say they do that, but it doesn’t really work. You would actually have to cook off a bunch of the liquid, which would really destroy the potency of the product.
MARTIN: So tell me this: Many people talk about the classic herbalist kind of thinking, like Dr. Christopher, for example. Your formulas are conceived quite differently from that, right?
ELIJAH: Well, really, that is my basis actually! When Dr. Christopher died, Nature’s Way hired me to take his place for a little while. I did some lecturing for them, so I understand Dr. Christopher’s work. Dr. Christopher’s work was based on what’s called Thompson’s herbalism. I studied Samuel Thompson’s work. We consider Samuel Thompson to be the father of modern herbal medicine here in the west. He learned from the native American folks. So Dr. Christopher learned a lot of that. He was also a student of Dr. Shook, who I studied intensively. But yes, my things have gone in a different direction. But if you look at some of my older formulas that we never changed, because they were great, that I designed several decades ago, you will see a classic tonic western herbalism, and they are beautifully delineated.
What I’ve come up with though is a whole different form of chemistry, actually, that works with chemical chains. And this is what’s so cool. My work now has gone to actually correct genetic variants and variations, especially with MTHFR, which is the Cell Ease formula. So basically, yes, we still have wonderful tonic herbs, just like Dr. Christopher created, and I use similar herbs to what he did because I studied his work. I think he was one of the most inspiring human beings this planet has ever seen. In fact, one of my son’s middle name is Christopher, that is how much I respect Dr. Christopher. But then you can see that we went through different phases with our formulas, starting with the fibromyalgia formula. The body cannot absorb a particular nutrient, so it allows the system for the fiber to grow hard throughout it. I identified the nutritional aspect that was missing, and we plug it in right over the variant, and it corrects it, and the body starts absorbing the tissue back in the first day or two. And over a period of time, it absorbs all of it back. So what we were doing with that formula was correcting chemical chains. We are neutralizing neurotoxins in the body that create all kinds of symptomology for the incredible myriads and plethora of auto-immune diseases. And we are so successful, man! Yes! You can tell how excited I am, how well this is working!
We work with all kinds of autoimmune diseases. We are not curing them. What we are doing is we are putting them away, so they cannot manifest. You have to be really, really careful about the word ‘cure’ in our field. I am having all kinds of patients with neurological difficulties that are just doing really well, and they are starting to be closer to being asymptomatic after a long time. This guy from Stanford I mentioned before, who would have been in a wheelchair with his wasting neurological disease, is cutting trees these days! He has put weight back on! Fantastic! And he is in his seventies. He is just so thrilled and happy to be having a second chance in life.
MARTIN: So let’s talk in general: Do all of the formulas end up being prescribed in about the same way, as far as how much a person should take?
ELIJAH: Yes, I standardized everything pretty much on that.
MARTIN: How would you take it? With food, ahead of food, after food…
ELIJAH: I wanted to make it as easy as possible. An average dose is half a dropper, three times a day.
MARTIN: Half a dropper in my world is about 10 drops. Is that correct?
ELIJAH: Yeah, I would have to count it, but I just go with half a dropper. Take it straight into the mouth, and then drink some water. Everything is designed to absorb instantly in the mucous membranes. Our carrier, the extra vegetable glycerin,actually directs it to drive it right in the mucus membranes in the mouth. That’s important because anything else, like pills or tea, goes in the stomach. And then it competes with the food you ate that day or anything that goes to the stomach. Our herbs get absorbed right in the mucous membranes of the mouth, which is one great big membrane, so it begins and goes to work instantly. One doctor, a neurologist from LA, paid for the patent for the fibromyalgia formula, and he uses my stuff down in his clinic in LA. He said: “I think you’ve broken some material laws because I’ve given people some of your things, and as soon as it touches their mouth, they get a result! Things can’t travel that fast within the body! How do you do that?” So those are some of our secrets. We have some amazing things to be able to move through the blood system and then direct it right to the exact areas that we want it to go.
MARTIN: Okay, so, everybody takes about the same amount? What if a person is 150 pounds, versus 300 pounds?
ELIJAH: Great question. For all of our newer formulas, it doesn’t matter, because they don’t work on the actual tissue of the body, it doesn’t affect the tissue at all. It corrects the chemical chain, and then the body reabsorbs it on its own. So you can be 90 pounds or 290 pounds, you take the same dose. However, when you get to things like our immune formula, then you would take more of that if you are a bigger person. It depends on the formula, but generally, you don’t really need to adjust the dose, because a lot of that is working on chemical chains.
MARTIN: All right. Sounds good. And how long does it take for things to start changing? You mentioned that some of it is instant. Do we tell people to expect results in five days, ten days, after three bottles… What do we say?
ELIJAH: Everybody is completely different. I never guess. I consider that one of the most ethical things that can happen in my field. I’ve been in this field for a very, very long time. And I just tell people: “I am not sure.” Some people can feel the effect much sooner, for some people it takes longer. The fibro formula, for example, I’ve had people that started to feel better after a week, and I’ve had people take three or four weeks to see any result. So I can say ‘somewhere within a month,’ maybe, but truthfully, without knowing the person, I really hesitate to guess.
MARTIN: Right. Well, on my end, people always want to know.
ELIJAH: Yeah, well, I’d like to know a lot of things in life also! But I can’t always get an answer. It really depends. I mean, for example, with our PTSD formula (Cortisol Ease), you take it, and you count to ten, and it should work. If it doesn’t, take a second dose, and it will always work, as long as it is genuinely spiking cortisol.
MARTIN: Speaking of which, this cortisol formula is quite unusual! I have had people telling me that they take it right at the time when they need it, for example, they’re having a hard time going to sleep or a hard time relaxing at the end of the day, they take it, and it works nearly immediately.
ELIJAH: Some things really do! Other things like the Fungus formula could take days or weeks to really get in there. Also, it really depends on your diet. Are they living in a moldy house? Then it is not going to work for you. Some people eat mushrooms and sugar all day long, and they are living in a moldy house, and then they go: Why isn’t this working? And they get really angry. People get angry sometimes. It depends on so many factors. With the PTSD formula, you could be in the middle of the most stressful situation, put a few drops in your mouth, and it is always going to work.
MARTIN: All right. Thank you very much, Elijah, for the introduction to the Earth Friend Herbs! We are going to talk about all the different formulas in detail very soon. This is Martin Pytela for Life Enthusiast, restoring vitality to you and to the planet. Thank you for listening.