The Darya Rose Show
June 21, 2021

Dr. Weil on how to know what is true in alternative medicine

Dr. Weil on how to know what is true in alternative medicine

Dr. Andrew Weil discusses how to find good advice in the realms personal health and medicine. We cover how the traditional medical establishment so often falls short in making us healthier, the unproven alternative approaches you see on the internet, the new age of psychedelics, how to approach vaccines, and more.

Dr. Andrew Weil is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. Combining a Harvard education and a lifetime of practicing natural and preventive medicine, Dr. Weil is the founder and director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he also serves as a Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health as well as the Lovell-Jones Professor of Integrative Medicine.

He is a best-selling author of 15 books on healthy living, including Mind Over Meds; Fast Food, Good Food;True Food; Spontaneous Happinessand Healthy Aging. Oxford University Press is currently producing the Weil Integrative Medicine Library, a 16-volume series  for clinicians in various medical specialties.

Dr. Weil is the editorial director of, the leading online resource for healthy living based on the philosophy of integrative medicine, and pens Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing monthly newsletter and a column in Prevention magazine. Dr. Weil is the founder/Chairman of the Weil Foundation, the founder/co-Chairman of Healthy Lifestyle Brands, and a founder/partner of True Food Kitchen restaurants. In 2017, he joined Seabourn and The Onboard Spa by Steiner in their “Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil” mindful-living program on its cruise ships.

Health and Healing: The Philosophy of Integrative Medicine and Optimal Health, by Dr. Andrew Weil

Robert C Fulford - osteopathic medicine

Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine

Where to find Dr. Weil:


Darya Rose:  [00:00:00] I am Dr. Darya Rose and you are listening to The Darya Rose Show where we bring a fact-based perspective to answer all those confounding questions that come up in our day-to-day lives, from achieving optimal health, to making conscious choices about your purchases, and raising kids that thrive. We are here to help you navigate your life with confidence.

Hello everyone and welcome back to The Darya Rose Show. Today's episode is with the OG of alternative medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil. I brought Dr. Weil here to continue our discussion of, how do we know what's true in the realm of personal health and medicine? We have an amazing discussion ranging from how the traditional medical establishment so often falls short in making us healthier, to the completely unproven alternative approaches you see all over the internet. We touch on psychedelics, vaccines, and come up with some really solid ways you can find good quality information when trying to improve your personal health.

[00:01:00] Now if you aren't familiar with Dr. Weil, he is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. Combining a Harvard education and a lifetime of practicing natural and preventative medicine, Dr. Weil is the Founder and Director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson where he also serves as Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health, as well as the Lovell-Jones Professor of Integrative Medicine. He is a best selling author of 15 books on healthy living, including, Mind Over Meds, Fast Food, Good Food, True Food, Spontaneous Happiness, and Healthy Aging, and so many more. He, he's being modest listing [laughs] only those here but, there's, he has so many amazing books and if you haven't read one, you have to at least pick up one. I really, really liked Spontaneous Happiness. And the Oxford University Press is currently producing the Weil Integrative Medicine Library which is a 16-volume series for clinicians in various medical specialties. Super Cool.

[00:02:00] Dr. Weil is the editorial director of, the leading online resource for healthy living based on the philosophy of integrative medicine, and pens Dr. Andrew Weil's Self Healing monthly newsletter and a column in Prevention Magazine. Dr. Weil is the Founder and Chairman of the Weil Foundation, the Founder and Co-Chairman of Healthy Lifestyle Brands, and a Founder and Partner of the True Food Kitchen restaurants which, by the way, are absolutely fantastic. If you ever get a opportunity to eat at a True Food restaurant, it's, they're super healthy and super delicious and absolutely in line with everything I recommend in terms of healthy eating. And in 2017, Dr. Weil joined Seabourn and the Onboard Spa by Steiner in their spa and wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil Mindful Living Program on its cruise ships. That sounds like a very lovely vacation. I hope you enjoy this discussion with Dr. Weil as much as I did.

Dr. Andy Weil, welcome to the show.

Andrew Weil:  [00:03:00] Thank you. Good to be here.

Darya Rose:  It's so nice to see you. It's been forever.

Andrew Weil:  Seems like. I hope we get to see-

Darya Rose:  [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  ... each other [laughs] again soon.

Darya Rose:  Uh, are you up in, uh, BC right now?

Andrew Weil:  Yeah. I'm on Cortes Island.

Darya Rose:  Ah, that's so nice, so nice. So you generally spend your summers up there, right?

Andrew Weil:  Y- uh, usually I spend most of the summers up here, yeah.

Darya Rose:  Perfection. Perfection. Well thank you so much for coming on. I've been doing a series about truth because-

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  ... it's something that has become really confusing in-

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  ... the internet environment we're in. And I've done a deep dive into science, I've done some into social media, I've done one into journalism. And I thought, I would love, alternative medicine is one that is extra muddy I feel like, especially since a lot of people don't have expertise in science or medicine.

Andrew Weil:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Darya Rose:  And you probably the best person in the entire world [laughs] I think to talk to [00:04:00] about this subject because you're the OG.

Andrew Weil:  I often get called the Guru of Alternative Medicine. I don't like that term. I'm not a guru and I'm not an uncritical proponent of alternative medicine. I think that's a mixed bag of ideas and practices, some of which are sensible and some of which are nonsensical, and some of which are probably harmful. I believe in looking through all that and seeing what's valuable, and then combining that with the best of conventional medicine.

Darya Rose:  See, that is exactly why you're the best person to call-

Andrew Weil:  All right. [laughs]

Darya Rose:  ... to do this. [laughs] Yeah. So, um, why don't we start a little bit by talking about your background-

Andrew Weil:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Darya Rose:  ... and what you've created because integrative medicine, and you, like, founded that term. Is that right?

Andrew Weil:  I did. And I founded the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine which is now called The Andrew Weil [laughs] Center for Integrative Medicine. [laughs] I have trouble saying that name.

Darya Rose:  [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  But we are the world leader in educating physicians and allied health professionals in this field which is becoming mainstream. I think [00:05:00] many people have a hard time knowing what integrative medicine is. It's not alternative medicine. It's not holistic medicine. It is the intelligent combination of conventional medicine and with natural therapies and preventive practices. And, uh, it's attempting to correct the deficiencies in the conventional training of physicians and other healthcare providers.

Darya Rose:  That, that makes a lot of sense. Can you, uh, give some examples of how, what's deficient?

Andrew Weil:  Well, a glaring one is nutrition.

Darya Rose:  [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  The total instruction I got in nutrition in four years at Harvard Medical School was 30 minutes which were grudgingly allowed to a dietician at one hospital I worked at to tell us about special diets we could order for patients. Now that hasn't changed a lot since I've been out of medical school.

Darya Rose:  Yeah.

Andrew Weil:  When nutrition is taught, it's taught as biochemistry and it's forgotten as soon as the biochemistry exams are over. So I, I think you can argue that most physicians are functionally illiterate in nutrition. Not their [00:06:00] fault. They weren't taught it and it's not obvious where they can go to remedy that.

Another great deficiency is that the focus of conventional medicine is all on the physical body and clearly human beings are more than physical bodies. They're also mental, emotional beings, spiritual entities, community members, and those other dimensions of human life have to be taken into account to understand health and illness. And that falls under the heading of whole person medicine which is a key philosophical plank of integrative medicine.

Darya Rose:  You know, it's, it's funny as, it sounds so obvious when you think about it that your thoughts and emotions don't happen outside your body.

Andrew Weil:  [laughs] The mind and body ... are not separate.

Darya Rose:  [laughs] Right.

Andrew Weil:  The only way you can separate them is verbally and anything going on in one sphere goes on in the other. And in my own experience of clinical practice over the years, I have more often than not found the roots of illness to be in the non-physical realm. And unless that's addressed, treatments that are solely directed to physical [00:07:00] body are not gonna be effective. So that's another broad area of deficiency.

And another one is that conventionally trained physicians and other healthcare providers are simply unaware of the existence of other systems of medicine and other ways of treatment that, and some of the these can be very valuable. Something like osteopathic manipulation I have found to be extremely valuable. Chinese, traditional Chinese medicine is very effective with some kinds of conditions that conventional medicine is not so good with. Uh, m- one example is with inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis. I've seen some great results with, with Chinese medicine with those illnesses. So if, I think it's important for an integratively-trained physician to know when it's appropriate to refer to those other kinds of medicine and how to find a good practitioner, and when those systems are not appropriate.

Darya Rose:  So, that is, yeah, that is, it just seems like such an obvious future [laughs] that you saw, uh, in the past [laughs], you [00:08:00] know, you, you've seen this. C- can you, uh, tell us a little bit m- about your background and-

Andrew Weil:  Sure.

Darya Rose:  ... how you got here?

Andrew Weil:  Okay [laughs]. I think I th- I always thought this way is, for as long as I can remember. As a kid I was fascinated by the mind and how the mind affected the body. I was very interested in plants, something I got from my mother that she got from her mother. That eventually led me to be a botany major as a Harvard undergraduate. That was a very wise decision and started me on a career interested in medicinal plants. I bega-

Darya Rose:  I kinda wanna do, go do that now.

Andrew Weil:  Yeah [laughs].

Darya Rose:  [laughs] 'Cause that sounds so fun. [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  It's great and that's also I find botanical remedies to be very valuable, often very effective and much safer than pharmaceutical medication. So it's something you wanna know about. I began I guess reading about s- uh, studying about alternative medicine when I was still an undergraduate. Then in medical school, I, I was just very disappointed that I, I learned nothing about health. I learned nothing about healing. I always felt that the main job of a doctor [00:09:00] is to keep people healthy, to teach them how to live in order not to get sick in the first place, and I was really not taught about that. 

Darya Rose:  So I'm curious why you even went to med school? [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  Well, uh, there were [laughs] three reasons. One is, I didn't know what I wanted to be. I had general interests and telling people I was going to medical school made everyone go away. Secondly, it was during the Vietnam War-

Darya Rose:  [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  ... and it was a very convenient way of putting off a decision about what to do about that. You got a deferment for a long time. And third, I had an intuition that a medical degree, given my interests and personality, would be very useful to me, and it has absolutely been. I could not have done what I've done if I did not have a medical degree.

Darya Rose:  Yeah. So you went through the full Harvard medical training.

Andrew Weil:  And then I did an internsh- a general internship. And at the end of that, I felt I didn't wanna take further training in standard medicine because, for the reasons I just gave you, but also because I saw it do too much harm, especially adverse drug reactions. And I [00:10:00] felt there had to be other ways of doing things but I didn't know what they were. So, I dropped out of medicine, made my living as a freelance writer, and found ways to travel around the world for a number of years. Uh, spent a lot of time in Latin America, South America, looking at healing practices in other cultures, studying medicinal plants, meeting various kinds of healers and practitioners. Yeah, at the end of that, of several years of traveling the world, I, my car broke down in Tucson and I ended up staying there. I fell in love with the desert and met people I wanted to be with. Um, a-

Darya Rose:  Wow. [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  ... yeah [laughs].

Darya Rose:  That's really serendipitous.

Andrew Weil:  It was. And I was again still making my living mostly as a writer but the University of Arizona Medical School found out I was there and asked me if I would begin teaching medical students. They first wanted lectures about marijuana because I was the only person who had done research on it and there were a lot of questions about it and people didn't know, uh, anything about it. So I was asked to talk [00:11:00] about that. And then to give another lecture on drugs and addiction in general. And then I said, you know, this is old stuff for me. I'd really like to talk about alternative medicine.

Darya Rose:  Mm.

Andrew Weil:  People didn't even know what that meant. But, so I started giving lectures on alternative medicine, mind-body interactions. Those lectures eventually formed the basis of the first book I wrote about health and medicine called, Health and Healing, that laid out my philosophy. I had not intended to practice but people who had read what I'd written or heard me talk began showing up at my doorstep wanting me to treat them [laughs]. And at first-

Darya Rose:  Hm.

Andrew Weil:  ... I was reluctant to do that because I didn't know what I was good at. And I gradually found I was good at two things. One is diagnosis which I do mostly by listening to people. And the other is being what I call a, therapeutic marriage broker. I can arrange happy alliances between patients and practitioners whether that's within conventional medicine or outside of it. And I called what I was doing at first national and preventative medicine and later came to call it integrative medicine. [00:12:00] For a number of years, none of my medical colleagues paid any attention to what I was doing. I got a larger and larger following in the general public, but no doctors were interested. It was only in the early 1990s when the pol- when the economics of healthcare began to go sour that the institution began to be open to this.

Darya Rose:  Yeah. And I'm, I'm curious what were they just unimpressed by things they'd never heard of before or-

Andrew Weil:  Yeah. I think doctors are instinctively defensive and rejective of anything that comes from unfamiliar sources and if they haven't learned about it. So, it was complete close-mindedness to all of this.

Darya Rose:  I'm curious on your travels and adventures, like, what did you see that really, like, an example or two of something that really opened your eyes to what is possible.

Andrew Weil:  Ironically, the most valuable [laughs] thing that I came across turned out to be in my own backyard and I never knew it had [00:13:00] been there when I did all this roaming around the world.

Darya Rose:  Hm.

Andrew Weil:  And that was an, an old elderly osteopathic physician named Robert Fulford [00:13:07] who was in his 80s when I met him. The best healer I've ever met. He used hands-on manipulation. He was a master of cranial therapy and a very gentle hands-on technique. Placed a great deal of emphasis on the breath and-

Darya Rose:  Mm.

Andrew Weil:  ... he produced regularly what I saw as miracle cures of all sorts of conditions and he emphasized that the healing power of nature, he w- it was just wonderful to watch him work. And that really opened my eyes to the possibility of a whole other realm of interacting with patient.

Darya Rose:  That i- that's really cool. So the traditional, I, I, I, I have heard you say before that it's, you don't like the term, traditional medicine, because it's the newest and s- in some ways silliest [laughs], medicine.

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  But the traditional, let's say, establishment was not paying attention for many years and, but, but you started getting [00:14:00] following from the public.

Andrew Weil:  Definitely from the public, some from medical students. And then somewhere around 19, I think 1990, somewhere around that, the e- my best friend from Harvard Medical School was named Chief of Medicine at The University of Arizona.

Darya Rose:  Mm.

Andrew Weil:  And he came with a new Dean. The two of them ha- had been at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and had been responsible for getting Jon Kabat-Zinn's program in mindfulness set up there. So I had dinner with my friend and he said, “Well now you have friends in high places. What would you like to do?” And I said, “I wanna change all of medicine.”

Darya Rose:  [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  And he said [laughs], “How do you wanna do that?” And I said, “Well, I'd like to create a residency in a field that I wanna call Integrative Medicine.” So he said, “Let's talk to the Dean,” who was a wonderful person, said, “You can't start a residency in a field that doesn't exist.” He said, “Why don't you [laughs] back up a step and think about creating a Fellowship,” which is the way doctors train after residency, “And that way also you wouldn't be accused of tampering with unformed minds.” [00:15:00] [laughs] So he gave me a green light to try to do this. I had no money. I had one assistant, and we had a room in a trailer behind the College of Medicine, with a phone.

And from that, we, we planned a weekend retreat in Tucson and invited experts in a variety of fields to meet for a weekend and hammer out the basis of a curriculum for a two year Fellowship in integrative medicine that included nutrition and all the things that we've talked about. And we advertised and we got four physicians to come who took great, a great risk and came to live with us for two years to learn this. And each, for a number years, we trained four physicians a year. We had two classes going so we'd have eight at a time. And the main criticism we got was, how possibly are you gonna change anything by training four physicians a year?

Darya Rose:  Yeah.

Andrew Weil:  But our plan was, first of all, over the years we graduated about 35 people from this residential Fellowship. Some of them are now are in very [00:16:00] significant academic positions around the country. But more importantly, we were able to develop a really good standardized curriculum that we translated into a distributed learning format and began offering this as a non-residential Fellowship, online Fellowship, with three residential weeks in Tucson. And we've now graduated, I don't know, somewhere closing in on 2500 physicians from this very intensive training and-

Darya Rose:  Wow.

Andrew Weil:  ... all, from all over the world, in all specialties. If you'd go to our website, which is, there's a Find a Practitioner link and you can find our graduates in every state, in every specialty, and they are great, they're great people. It's doctors, nurse practitioners, physicians' assistants, we've had some dentists go through. But all ages and literally all specialties in medicine.

Darya Rose:  Very cool. Yeah. I, it's almost astounding that this isn't normal.

Andrew Weil:  It, it will be and [00:17:00] I've always said, one day we'll be able to drop the word, integrative, and it'll just be good medicine. It's, you know, what, what medicine should be and it's what medicine will be again.

Darya Rose:  I haven't had a lot of personal experience, well I hadn't had a lot of personal experience with the medical industry 'cause I've always been really healthy-

Andrew Weil:  Good.

Darya Rose:  ... because I pay attention to nutrition and my body-

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  ... and my mind. But when I had children, I, you know, it's-

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  ... it's one of my first, like, serious interaction with the medical industry. And I was at a very excellent hospital. But, uh, yeah, I was astounded that, for instance, the doctors didn't know that if you're getting leg cramps, magnesium helps. [laughs] I'm like, t- take s- take some supplements.

Andrew Weil:  [laughs] Right.

Darya Rose:  Oh, by the way, you're pregnant and constipated th- also, that helps that same-

Andrew Weil:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Darya Rose:  ... like it, it's, it helps as well. And I mean, if you talk t- to, I mean, even if you just talk to a sports' medicine doctor, they know that. But for some reason, it was just completely siloed and they were just like, yeah, you just have to deal with the cramps. And, uh, I was just, like-

Andrew Weil:  Yup.

Darya Rose:  ... oh, oh, okay. [laughs] [00:18:00] Um, so and it, it's astounding to me that's still something that, that I know that trained doctors [laughs] in this field don't know.

Andrew Weil:  [laughs] Well, that's a good example of one of the things that's wrong. Also, there's a tremendous problem in our country of over-medication. The amount of medication that's taken, both prescribed and over-the-counter is enormous. And in many cases, that's not necessary. And most practitioners are unaware of non-medication, non-pharmaceutical ways of managing common health conditions and that's one of the things we also teach. I'm certainly not opposed to using medication when it's necessary, but, uh, you first wanna explore what can be done in place of that. When we test drugs in, in medicine, when we do research on them, we test them against placebos. What we should be doing is testing them against lifestyle modification.

Darya Rose:  Mm.

Andrew Weil:  That data would be much more significant and really guide us in our ways to practice.

Darya Rose:  That would be so cool. Uh, [00:19:00] I, I'm kinda, like, turning that in my head. The biggest problem I, I see with that approach is that it's so hard to get people to do the lifestyle modification, the compliance.

Andrew Weil:  S- so there's two problems. One is the, the physicians are taught in that. They don't know what to suggest. And the other, as you say, is that, also that medication often works quickly and there's no requirement for work. When you ask people to change their diet, first of all, it's gonna be a time lag before you see a benefit, and then also, that's effortful. But I think you have to, one, you have to convince people that in the longterm, it's worth it because medication, most of these medications that we use, over time, actually can worsen or prolong conditions. Whereas, the lifestyle modification will often get to the root, uh, of the problem.

Darya Rose:  Yeah. Yeah, there's so many examples where you've just been so 100% right on this stuff that I, I was just laughing. Like, I remember when Omega-3 supplements-

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  ... were considered alternative [laughs] medicine.

Andrew Weil:  Right.

Darya Rose:  [00:20:00] And it's, it's so hilarious because at this point, there's just mountains of evidence-

Andrew Weil:  Right.

Darya Rose:  ... supporting their use for al- all sorts of different things. But that's considered, you know, quote, alternative. And so on one, in one hand, there is plenty of scientifically rigorous ex- evidence, uh, standardly, a standard evidence, of beneficial practices that are considered alternative. But at the same time there's a probably more [laughs] nonsense out there, especially now that we have the internet. And yeah, I'm curious how, how you f- feel about that-

Andrew Weil:  [laughs]

Darya Rose:  ... like, now-

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  ... in the, in the digital age that we're in?

Andrew Weil:  Well you said at the beginning that you're interested in this podcast in truth.

Darya Rose:  Yeah.

Andrew Weil:  Uh, I'm not so sure that there is truth, that any-

Darya Rose:  Right.

Andrew Weil:  ... it's all point of view and you have to figure out what the, the bias of the source of the information is. And that is harder and harder today as you say in this, uh, digital age. There's so much misinformation and [00:21:00] disinformation out there. And all I can say is that you've gotta seek out r- reliable sources. So, [laughs] I recommend my books, my website-

Darya Rose:  [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  ..., uh, the website of our Center for Integrative Medicine. You know, those can all point you in good directions. But, it, it, it is tough and especially if people are faced with serious illness, they're often not in a place where they can take time to evaluate all this information and it would be very helpful to have the assistance of somebody who is trained in integrative medicine to answer these questions and help you with that. So, y- eh- y- you can also seek out people who have been trained this way. We ha- there's now a Board certification in integrative medicine.

Darya Rose:  Cool.

Andrew Weil:  There are, the people who have graduated our, our Fellowship and there's some other Fellowships around the country, but that, it's very helpful to have somebody like that on your team.

Darya Rose:  Yeah, absolutely. So finding people that are certified in this combined sort of-

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  ... [laughs] [00:22:00] integrative medicine.

Andrew Weil:  Yeah. The problem is, as integrative medicine has become popular, uh, and it's becoming much more so, there, a lot of people are saying that they're practicing integrative medicine, but you wanna look at what was their training? Have they been through any kind of formal training and you don't know.

Darya Rose:  Right. You need an actual expert.

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  Yeah. Is there anything that you have seen in the sort of alternative medicine space that makes you roll your eyes and it's just like-

Andrew Weil:  [laughs]

Darya Rose:  ... [laughs] it's all not said-

Andrew Weil:  How mu- [laughs]

Darya Rose:  ... you're like, I'm out there, but that's just crazy. [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  How much time do you have [laughs]? Uh-

Darya Rose:  Oh, I got all day [laughs].

Andrew Weil:  ... well, I'll give you some examples. Well, you know, when I'm at unfamiliar practices but somebody tells me, “You should really check this out because it cured me of this and this.” So my first concern is, can it do harm? If there's a potential for harm, I'm much more cautious about it.

Darya Rose:  Mm.

Andrew Weil:  And if there's not good evidence, if there hasn't been much research, and the principle that I advocate is that, the greater the potential for harm, the stricter the standards of evidence you wanna hold it to [00:23:00] for efficacy. For example, I teach breathing exercises to all patients and breath control. There has not been a lot of research on that because people don't take it seriously in the research community. But I'm not bothered be that, by that, because the potential for these, eh, breath exercises to cause harm is minimal and the benefits that I've seen and other people experience is great. There's, uh, there's great popularity of ozone therapy out there-

Darya Rose:  Mm.

Andrew Weil:  ... in the alternative medical world. All sorts of claims made for it and it's, people breathe it, they inject it, they take it rectally-

Darya Rose:  Oh [laughs].

Andrew Weil:  ... and ozone is a, you know, that's a quick toxic substance. And I would be very cautious about putting ozone in the body. I'd wanna see some really good evidence for the claimed benefits for it. There's a lot of enthusiasm for colonic therapy. People take colonics and they talk about seeing watermelon seeds come out and they haven't eaten watermelon in months and that there's these-

Darya Rose:  [laughs] Oh, God.

Andrew Weil:  ... encrustations on the colon. There can't be encrustations on the colon. The, what I know from my medical [00:24:00] training is that the cells that line the colon slough off and regenerate every day. So given that, you don't have things adhering to the inside of the colon. And the harm from that, there is some potential for harm. Not great, but there's some. But it's unnecessary. You know, the way you clean the colon is to have things go through it regularly-

Darya Rose:  [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  ... from the top [laughs] down. There's a lot of stuff out there and as I say, the first concern is, what is the potential for harm?

Darya Rose:  Yeah, that's a really brilliant point. I was thinking, I'm not sure. I, I couldn't find any data to support it, but have you heard of this, like, muscle testing, I'm sure?

Andrew Weil:  Yes, I have looked-

Darya Rose:  Yeah.

Andrew Weil:  ... at that a lot and I think that is a suggestive phenomenon. I think there's a way in which one person can weaken another person's muscles and that the claims that this is revealing information about internal functions of the body or as guide to which supplements you should take, I think there's absolutely no evidence for that.

Darya Rose:  Yeah. And that's, I, I was coming to the same idea which is that, you're using [00:25:00] something for diagnostics, that's what you wou- that's not do- quite doing the same kind of harm-

Andrew Weil:  Right.

Darya Rose:  ... but closer because it's guiding you toward or away something for a completely nonsensical reason.

Andrew Weil:  Exactly.

Darya Rose:  Yeah. Okay. Great. And I, yeah, I, and I completely agree. My, my general philosophy is if, no harm, no foul. There's no harm in meditating [laughs]-

Andrew Weil:  [laughs] Right, exactly.

Darya Rose:  ... there's no harm in getting more exercise or eating more vegetables.

Andrew Weil:  Now, also, Darya, I think that same principle should be applied to conventional medicine. I gave a lecture a few years ago at the University of Arizona College of Medicine called, What Were We Thinking?

Darya Rose:  Mm.

Andrew Weil:  And I looked at cases dating back over the past 50 years of things we did that now we look back on and can't believe we did. You know, things like taking out everybody's appendix for, uh, every time you had the abdomen open, you took out the appendix 'cause it was a useless organ.

Darya Rose:  Yeah. [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  Or when I was growing up, you got your tonsils and adenoids came out because they were considered useless organs. And we know that these are f- are functional, important parts of the immune system. And we don't do that [00:26:00] anymore.

Darya Rose:  It's so hilarious that anything in the body would be considered non-functional.

Andrew Weil:  I know. And then, and then-

Darya Rose:  [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  ... once it's labeled that, then you remove it. Uh, it [laughs] that's-

Darya Rose:  Right. [laughs] And then, yeah, lets j- just cut it out.

Andrew Weil:  Yeah. Right. So there's a whole list of things like this. But whenever I look at those then you... Oh well, I'll tell you one more. I once came across when I was at Harvard Medical School, I stumbled into an old attic that had, uh, it was a museum of medical curiosities. And one [laughs] of the things was a belt that you wore around the waist that had two pouches that held radium ore.

Darya Rose:  [laughs] Oh, God.

Andrew Weil:  And you were supposed to, and you, the pouches fit over the kidneys and you were supposed to wear this for two hours a day to deliver healthful radiation to your kidneys.

Darya Rose:  Mm.

Andrew Weil:  Okay, amazing. But whenever I hear stuff like this, my mind goes to, what are we doing today that 20 or 50 years from now, we're gonna look back on the same way and not believe we were doing this?

Darya Rose:  Great question.

Andrew Weil:  Uh, so, yeah. So that's a good thing to think about as well.

Darya Rose:  [laughs] That's a really good point.

Andrew Weil:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Darya Rose:  Yeah, as a neuroscientist, I often hear, “Well we just used 10% of our brains,” [laughs] or something-

Andrew Weil:  Right [laughs], yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. [laughs]

Darya Rose:  ... like, okay, just [00:27:00] cut the rest of it out. Integrative medicine sure you'll be fine.

Andrew Weil:  Or this dose of radiation is too little to matter.

Darya Rose:  So, you know, one of the things, I know this comes up a lot these days, but it must be incredibly gratifying to you the way psychedelic research has completely turned the corner.

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  It's, it's like, such, I, I don't know, to me, I'm like, this is the perfect poster child for your approach-

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  ... right? Because not only has, it was just arrogantly shunned-

Andrew Weil:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Darya Rose:  ... by, for no reason.

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  It was just shunned for no reason by the medical community for decades. But on top of that it, as it's been scientifically validated in such amazing capacity-

Andrew Weil:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Darya Rose:  ... but what the, what the researchers have discovered and now embrace is that the set and setting is the essence of making this work, right?

Andrew Weil:  That people have, when taking psychedelics, is a product of the drug which includes the dose and the nature of the [00:28:00] drug, set, which is the person's expectations of what will happen, both conscious and unconscious, and the environment, both physical and social in which the substance is used, which is setting. And it's the interaction of all of those that determine the experience. The magic is not just in the substance. Yes, it is remarkable to see this renaissance happening, eh, in pre-COVID when I was traveling a lot and speaking, whatever subject I was giving a talk on, whether it was healthy aging, nutrition, integrative medicine, there were questions [laughs] about psychedelics.

Darya Rose:  [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  Where can I find somebody to, to guide it, to buy, all of that.

Darya Rose:  Of course, you did [laughs].

Andrew Weil:  And I saw, last month I think Vogue had a cover story on psilocybin. Vogue. So-

Darya Rose:  [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  ... [laughs] I would say that's mainstream. So, yes, this is remarkable to watch. We've gotta still get these things out of s- federal Schedule I-

Darya Rose:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Andrew Weil:  ... in the Controlled Substances Act. They, on a physical level are some of the safest substances that we know. They don't cause physical harm. The main dangers, potential dangers are [00:29:00] psychological and that has to do with set and setting, and the pote- positive potential is enormous. And it's not just for psychological problems. That's all I hear about today is anxiety, depressions, PTSD, and so forth.

Darya Rose:  Hm. Right.

Andrew Weil:  But I think there is remarkable potential in physical medicine because they can give people a glimpse of the possibility of living without chronic pain, for example.

Darya Rose:  Mm.

Andrew Weil:  Or seeing that a, an autoimmune disease can go into total remission. And it, it all has to do with changing what's in the mental compartment and affecting the physical body that way.

Darya Rose:  Yeah, it's so cool. I just can't think of a better example to just prove what you've been saying all along.

Andrew Weil:  Right.

Darya Rose:  Which is that y- you gotta take care of the head, too. [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  Exactly. And I, if I really let my mind go with this, maybe the rediscovery and reintroduction of psychedelics into our culture, maybe this is exactly the antidote that's been, that's needed for the cultural mess that we've gotten ourselves in. You know, maybe [00:30:00] this could ch-

Darya Rose:  And wouldn't that be great?

Andrew Weil:  ... eh, could change everything. Because the only way all the stuff that's wrong is gonna change is through a change in consciousness, a collective change in consciousness. And this could-

Darya Rose:  And that would be amazing.

Andrew Weil:  ... I know. Let's keep that in mind [laughs]. Yeah.

Darya Rose:  [laughs] Let's keep that in mind. We'll just dose the water with LSD, guys. It'll be fine.

Andrew Weil:  [laughs]

Darya Rose:  [laughs] So is there any other... That one is just so big and so glaring and I had to mention it. But is there anything else you've been really gratified to see science catch up with you?

Andrew Weil:  I would say first of all, there's a lot on the horizon that, that looks really interesting to me. One is the whole realm of regenerative medicine. I think we're pretty close to being able to repair severed spinal cords. Uh, to repair, get, uh, the pancreas of diabetics to produce insulin again through stem cell therapy or gene therapies to repair areas of the heart that have been damaged by heart attacks. I think that's coming. That's coming soon. Uh-

Darya Rose:  Uh, that's so cool. Uh, 'cause a big part of your thing is not just, th- this is [00:31:00] something that i just wanna clarify. Eh, so a big part of the reason you d- started integrative medicine was because everybody just wanted to fix everything by pat- like, band aids and drugs.

Andrew Weil:  Yup.

Darya Rose:  But you actually wanna create health.

Andrew Weil:  Absolutely. And, and I think-

Darya Rose:  Yeah.

Andrew Weil:  ... uh, the, one of the-

Darya Rose:  ... the drive, yeah [laughs].

Andrew Weil:  ... the first basic principle of integrative medicine is that we're trying to restore the focus of medicine on health and healing.

Darya Rose:  Okay.

Andrew Weil:  And that's not a new idea. Hippocrates, in the 5th century B.C., said to revere the healing power of nature, which we don't do. To me, the most striking fact of human biology is that the body has the capacity to repair itself, to maintain equilibrium, to regenerate, to adapt to injury and loss-

Darya Rose:  In amazing ways.

Andrew Weil:  ... and this is what I heard nothing about in medical school. That should be where you start, you know?

Darya Rose:  Right.

Andrew Weil:  The, the body has a-

Darya Rose:  'Cause you wanna just help that.

Andrew Weil:  ... the body has a healing system and it makes use of-

Darya Rose:  Mm.

Andrew Weil:  ... known systems like the immune system and circulatory system and so forth, the nervous system. But that's so important. We have a, [00:32:00] the potential for healing. And, and good medicine starts there. When I am with a patient at the back of my mind I'm always thinking, “Why is healing not happening here?”

Darya Rose:  Mm.

Andrew Weil:  "Now, what can I do from outside that might facilitate that? Is there an obstacle to it I can remove? Can I supply something that's missing?” But that's, that's what you wanna do. You wanna facilitate the natural inter- intrinsic healing process.

Darya Rose:  Yeah. It's so cool. You know, I look at, I have two little kids now, and I, you know, if they get a scrape or a cut, I mean, you know, I heal obviously. But they are, like, they're like X-men [laughs]-

Andrew Weil:  Right.

Darya Rose:  ... so they just, like, perfectly, there's no-

Andrew Weil:  [laughs] So get them, that is-

Darya Rose:  ... scar, there's no- it's amazing.

Andrew Weil:  ... good to get them to focus on that and plant this idea-

Darya Rose:  Yeah.

Andrew Weil:  ... that the body has the ability to heal to itself. I, I, I'd say routinely, I find that most people do not have confidence in their own healing abilities. And that's one reason why people run off to practitioners of all sorts all the time without thinking about [00:33:00] what they can do on their own and be independent of, you know, those systems.

Darya Rose:  Yeah. That's really heartbreaking and it is something that I wish people understood. And, in terms of stuff that's still coming, do you, do you have anything on the horizon that, that you think, I mean, man, it's just a matter of time before [laughs]...

Andrew Weil:  [laughs] Yeah. The research that's going on the microbiome is also-

Darya Rose:  Mm.

Andrew Weil:  ... just phenomenal and this is such a change. When I was in medical school, I was taught, yes, there are all these organisms in the colon and they assist with digestion. But that was about it and that people who took probiotic supplements were health nuts, you know? [laughs] And now we're finding that the microbiome determines everything. It really determines your interactions with the environment, it's critical in emotional well-being. It may determine the outcome of chronic neurodegenerative diseases. And just everywhere you look, it's involved. And thinking about how you can manipulate it, how you can protect it, this is a huge frontier of new medical research that's fascinating.

Darya Rose:  Yes. [00:34:00] Fascinating. I, yeah, it's completely changed my life when I figured out that I needed to, 'cause I always, like, my entire life, even from a tiny child I had, I would just get these periodic, just agonizing stomach aches.

Andrew Weil:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Darya Rose:  And, yeah, I just realized I, I don't do as well on dairy [laughs]-

Andrew Weil:  Uh-huh [affirmative].

Darya Rose:  ... that was something I had to learn. But, you know, I never knew that was an option until I was in my, you know, early 20s.

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  Nobody had ever told me that you could be sensitive to a food.

Andrew Weil:  Huh.

Darya Rose:  That, like, your food impacts how, or even how you chew-

Andrew Weil:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Darya Rose:  ... can impact how your gut feels. And then, now, like, if I travel and I eat something on a airplane, maybe wasn't the best or whatever, I just, I know so well that if I just go home and eat Kimchi for three days in a row-

Andrew Weil:  [laughs]

Darya Rose:  ... I'll be fine [laughs]. And it's-

Andrew Weil:  [laughs] Great. Great.

Darya Rose:  ... it's a miracle.

Andrew Weil:  I'd say another big area is environmental medicine which was totally neglected when I was in medical school. I mean, looking at the environmental causation of, of illnesses, I, I would bet any amount of money that Parkinson's disease will turn out to be environmentally caused. I think [00:35:00] there's a number of things-

Darya Rose:  Oh, yeah.

Andrew Weil:  ... out there that affect the brain that way. ALS may also be. A bunch of things.

Darya Rose:  Pesticides, for sure.

Andrew Weil:  Pesticides.

Darya Rose:  I mean, that's already been-

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  ... documented. Yeah.

Andrew Weil:  Clear. So I think we're finally beginning to get good information about that and it's beginning to be taught some in, in, uh, the training of doctors.

Darya Rose:  Yeah. I'm actually very hopeful that happens soon [laughs]. You know, I actually wanna talk about vaccines here in a second, but I feel like a lot of the confusion and frustration that comes around vaccines and some other scientifically valid medical interventions are dismissed because people, like, there's so much ADHD now-

Andrew Weil:  Right.

Darya Rose:  ... and there's so much autism and there's so much immune, autoimmune disease now, it must be X. As, yes, yes, we started vaccinating 30, 40 years ago around the same time-

Andrew Weil:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Darya Rose:  ... but also, the amount of toxins in our environment is just staggering. And, and I just, you just can't escape it. I try [00:36:00] so hard.

Andrew Weil:  Me, too. Yeah.

Darya Rose:  I'm sure you do, too. Like, I've got insane water filters in my house. I won't touch plastics.

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  I definitely won't give my kids anything out of plastic. And, uh, people, I definitely have mom friends that like think I'm totally insane [laughs] for, like, not using plastic 'cause it's so convenient. But, I'm like, to me, like, that is so obvious source of potential contamination especially for a developing child.

Andrew Weil:  Yup. And all the plastics that the plastics that we considered safe for a very long time turned out not to be and probably the ones now considered safe are going to turn out not to be. So I think that's a wise decision.

Darya Rose:  Absolutely. Yeah. I, yeah. I'm very skeptical of the silicone-

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  ... plastic that everybody thinks are fine.

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  And, yeah, and then it's, and it's so hard to escape because it's one thing to not buy plastic water bottles or plastic plates you put in the microwave. But it's in the water now. It's in almost everything-

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  ... and it's really, it's in the salt.

Andrew Weil:  [laughs] So as for vaccines, uh-

Darya Rose:  [laughs] Yeah.

Andrew Weil:  ... it is remarkable and very [00:37:00] discouraging to me the, the rise of the anti-vax movement. And also, when I was in medical school, the people who didn't vaccinate were poor people, uneducated people. And now the shift has been to highly educated people who question vaccination. I feel very strongly that the principle of vaccination is very sound. That you are facilitating meetings between the immune system, the developing immune system, and harmful, potentially harmful organisms. And the benefits are lifelong protection. And there are risks. Everything we do in medicine has risks and vaccination certainly has risks. So you have to do a risk-benefit analysis. To my mind, the risks of the diseases that we prevent with vaccines are much greater than the risks of the vaccines. And, if people in this culture lived with polio which I remember from my childhood-

Darya Rose:  Mm.

Andrew Weil:  ... or small pox or diphtheria, I don't think anybody would be questioning it the way that they are now. [00:38:00] I mean, these are horrible diseases.

Darya Rose:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Andrew Weil:  The polio epidemics that happened every summer when I was growing up were really scary. And, and the vaccine changed all of that. It's very difficult to talk about this to a parent who has had a child that's had a serious adverse vaccine reaction. You know, they happen.

Darya Rose:  Mm.

Andrew Weil:  But again, uh, if you do it, th- the risk-benefit analysis, I think you come down on the side that almost always the benefits of vaccines are greater than the risks in the case, I, I think also, we will probably have better and better vaccines. And this is one of the results of genetic engineering that we'll be able to give pure antigens to people and get exactly the reaction that we want and minimize the incidents of risk. So that's, I think, on the horizon, that vaccines will get better.

In terms of the COVID-19 vaccine, these look highly effective to me, that's ch- it's changed everything. And a- again I think that there are risks, but the risks are minimal, longterm risks of these [00:39:00] MRNA vaccine is unknown, but probably not great, looks good to me. So it's an, I guess, an individual decision but on the other hand, you are putting the rest of the population at risk by not vaccinating-

Darya Rose:  Yeah.

Andrew Weil:  ... and we've already seen Pertussis come back. We're seeing measles starting to come back. And these diseases will reappear as more and more people don't vaccinate.

Darya Rose:  Right. And these are diseases that kill people.

Andrew Weil:  Absolutely.

Darya Rose:  They kill children.

Andrew Weil:  And also, and, yes. And it's something that I think many of the s- the anti-vaxxers don't realize is that, the consequences of getting these diseases at older ages are much more serious.

Darya Rose:  Right.

Andrew Weil:  The risk of dying from measles is much greater if you get it as an adult. Same for chicken pox. You can get, uh, encephalitis or pneumonia from these diseases, much greater incidence if you're older. So by not vaccinating kids, you're exposing them to that risk as well. Anyway, very complicated issue and there's just so much, eh, emotion around it and [00:40:00] so much misinformation and disinformation.

Darya Rose:  Yeah, it's gotten really, really messy. You know, I've, there's two groups. I mean, there's the traditional sort of woo-woo group [laughs] that has been a vaccine has [inaudible 00:40:11] for the last decade or so. And then, and now there's this new group of politically-

Andrew Weil:  Yeah.

Darya Rose:  ... anti-vax which it, which is really unfortunate. As, as far as, I'm, understand, there i- there aren't very many examples of really longterm vaccine risks. It's usually, especially at the volume we're vaccinating people now, like, you're gonna know within a few months, they usually say two months but-

Andrew Weil:  Right.

Darya Rose:  ... let's say four, if there is any serious consequences. We did find the blood clots with the, a couple of the adenovirus COVID vaccines that the Johnson and Johnson and the Astrazeneca. But for the most part, we know the longterm risks now, I think.

Andrew Weil:  Well I've heard some people concerned about the possibility of autoimmune diseases that could result from the MRA, MRNA vaccines. That's unknown, but my guess is that's not a significant risk.

Darya Rose:  Yeah. I, I, I don't [00:41:00] th- and I don't think it would necessarily be different than the risk of getting COVID.

Andrew Weil:  Right.

Darya Rose:  'Cause they're, it's just a piece of the vaccine.

Andrew Weil:  Yeah, right.

Darya Rose:  So, yeah. That's good to know. Yeah, so, and just to wrap up, I'm always trying to provide people with a way to make decisions. And I know that it, for all the reasons we've discussed, eh, there are a lot of reasons to, when you go to, when you have an issue and you go get your, talk to your regular doctor, they don't have answers for a lot of things. And when s- people are looking for alternative answers, I really wanna give them some guidance on how, how to do that wisely and how to find these trusted people. And it's tough 'cause there's a lot of very convincing people out there and on the internet.

Andrew Weil:  Convincing stuff on the internet, yeah. Right. Exactly.

Darya Rose:  Yeah.

Andrew Weil:  On the other hand, I have to say that I think the internet has leveled the playing field between doctors and patients.

Darya Rose:  Yeah.

Andrew Weil:  Now when I was growing up, doctors wrote prescriptions in [00:42:00] Latin and that was designed to f-

Darya Rose:  [laughs]

Andrew Weil:  ... to keep you from knowing what they were writing.

Darya Rose:  That is so messed up.

Andrew Weil:  And then you took that to a pharmacy and handed it over a very high counter that was there to prevent you from seeing what went on. And you never asked a doctor or pharmacist what was this medication or why you should take it. You just didn't do that.

Darya Rose:  My God.

Andrew Weil:  So that's all changed. But I think that now-

Darya Rose:  Yeah.

Andrew Weil:  ... and I've seen many patients in say the past five, 10 years, who have found exactly the information they needed on the internet and then were able to take that to their doctor and show them. So that's the positive side of it. The other side of it is that, how do you weed through all that and know what's reliable and what's not? And I, I will just repeat that it is invaluable to be able to have access to a, a person who has been trained in- integratively, who has the broad picture and can help you go through that information.

Darya Rose:  Great. Trusting experts.

Andrew Weil:  Yup. [laughs]

Darya Rose:  [laughs] Another thing people have forgotten how to do [laughs].

Andrew Weil:  Yup.

Darya Rose:  But, yeah, that's, continues to be the [00:43:00] recommendation of all the brilliant people I've interviewed here on the show so far. Andy, thank you so much. This has been incredibly enlightening.

Andrew Weil:  Yeah. A pleasure to talk to you. Look forward to more.

Darya Rose:  Thank you so much for joining me today. If you loved hearing from Dr. Weil as much as I did, you can follow him on all the social platforms at Dr. Weil. That's where he is over everywhere [laughs]. And, um, probably the best resource if you wanna learn more about integrative medicine is the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson. And I'll, of course, put that link in the show notes. Thank you guys for joining me. As always, if you want me to get more great guests like Dr. Weil, please share this with your friends. Leave a review. Tell me what you love and we can keep this party going. Thank you guys, and I'll see you next time.