7 Health Topics & Their “Truthy” Friends

I want to start with a question…

Which one of the following statements is true?

  • Cannabis is a good remedy for acute pain.
  • When living above the latitude of Atlanta, Georgia, we do not need to supplement our diets with Vitamin D.
  • Food allergies can be outgrown.

The answer is below. Dig deep and don’t stop learning.

I love adding nuance where nuance is needed. You’ll see.

I find myself in two worlds : rock-solid facts and memorable stories.

I love storytelling, metaphors, and figuring out ways to animate topics to make them easier to understand.

But there’s a risk here as well – as a story spreads it starts to change.

It is still widely believed, and yes within the medical community, you outgrow food allergies. – which is not true.

Believing this, recommending this, and sharing this could prevent or prolong healing.

This is why our role as healers is so important – whether we do this work professionally or play this role in our family. As healers we hold space for nuances. We listen, we seek understanding, we don’t simply repeat what we’re learning because we ask the right questions.

So here’s the answer the opening quiz :


None of these statements are entirely true – but when we start to asking questions these stories become more interesting. What is true?

When we bring our inquisitive mind, we begin to understand the nuances. This deeper understanding is what gives us the ability to improvise and develop our own conclusions. It’s what allows us to really listen to people and help them (or listen to ourselves).

So what are the questions we need to ask in order to understand these topics better?

It’s actually kind of simple – it’s what two year olds are constantly doing… we just need to introduce two words to the equation, HOW? and WHY?

So instead of playing ‘true or false’, let’s try the 2-year-old approach (wise beyond years)

  • How can cannabis interact with pain? Why does it work better in some situations (neuropathic chronic) and not others?
  • How does where we live affect our levels of vitamin D? Why is vitamin D important?
  • How do food allergies persist over time? Why do some people have food allergies?

See what happened?

Now that we’ve asked how, we have more questions to answer.

It leads us down the path of deeper understanding. As we start to answer these questions the bigger picture becomes more clear, like a mosaic being put together.

Here’s some useful tidbits,

7 misunderstood topics, and some of the “truthy” stories that cycle around.

Truthy, from Wiktionary = “Only superficially true; that is asserted or felt instinctively to be true, with no recourse to facts.”

I’m going to move quickly through each topic. I’ll share a soundbyte that I’ve heard multiple times balanced by a more nuanced version as well.


Truthy : Turmeric is a cure for inflammation.

True : Turmeric is a natural and accessible way to decrease inflammation at the cellular level. It cannot be the ONLY approach to dealing with systemic chronic inflammation.

It’s just not fair to ask one plant to do everything. Lifestyle changes are crucial to deal with chronic inflammation in conjunction with turmeric. But is all inflammation bad? This is something we’ll explore together later.

Turmeric Hearts - The Healing Power of Inflammation


Truthy : Cannabis is a good remedy for acute pain.

True : Some kinds of cannabis are great for chronic neuropathic pain. Some kinds of cannabis will actually intensify acute pain. It’s incredible because it works synergistically with opiates, which would decrease the amount of opiate medicine a person needed to use.

Understanding how the endocannabinoid system works, and the different interactions of different strains is essential.

How and why cannabis works - lecture by Tammi Sweet



Truthy : To prevent skin cancer sunscreen is absolutely necessary.

True : There is now a link to some kinds of sunscreen use and cancer. Not only that, but in 90% of cases of malignant melanoma are found in folks who don’t go in the sun or in parts of the body that don’t ever see the sun.

This opens a lot of questions – can you think of any? This is both relevant today and deserving of our attention.

comfrey leaf



Truthy : Most cases of chronic pain have something structurally wrong.

True : 90% of chronic pain cases have NO structural component to them. There’s nothing in the bones or muscles to “fix”. Dysfunctional pain, for example, has a misfiring in the nervous system where the neurons are actually signalling pain when nothing is physically signaling the pain response.

Understanding the different kinds of pain and how it happens on a physiological level gives us a foundation to provide healing.



Gut & Digestion

Truthy : Food allergies can be outgrown.

True : Do we outgrow bee allergies? Poison ivy allergies? No. Your immune system does not differentiate how it acts by area of the body. Once you have an allergy, you have it forever.

The difference with the gut is that we learn to live with the allergic reaction (as long as it’s not anaphylaxis) because we don’t connect some of the symptoms of digestive allergy, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, with actual allergy to food.



Asthma, Allergies:

Truthy : The only way to get through seasonal allergies is the take pharmaceutical drugs.

True : Making lifestyle changes (the same ones for decreasing inflammation by the way) 2 months before your seasonal allergies begin will greatly diminish your reactivity. And add in herbs like flowering nettle top tincture and you’ll be on your way to a less allergic season. But what herbs will work for you?

How can we learn to understand and explain allergies as allies in transformation and healing instead of adversities we need to combat with drugs?

nettle flower



Truthy : Heart Disease, the #1 killer in the U.S. is caused by atherosclerosis & high blood pressure.

True : The underlying cause of atherosclerosis and high blood pressure is an inability to manage stress, which leads to inflammation. Learning to manage stress and lowering systemic inflammation will, at the root level, decrease the incidence of heart disease. Wow, this hardly scratches the surface. The heart, mindfulness, stress response… there’s so much here to explore and the implications for us as healers are really exciting.

Stripey Rose - Heart Coherence Lecture by Tammi Sweet


Do you want to learn more?

Not only am I really passionate about helping people gain a depth of understanding, these 7 core health topics are the focus of my new online course Transition Zones : Exploring the Edges of Health and Physiology – from facts to deeper understanding.




I'm a researcher, educator, guest lecturer, and co-founder of Heartstone Center for Earth Essentials in Van Etten, NY.