Antiseptics to help normalize the intestinal microbiome

Edgar Cayce’s health advice frequently stressed the importance of assimilation and elimination. The stomach applies hydrochloric acid and enzymes to freshly-consumed food to prepare it for the next steps of digestion. The small intestine is the primary organ of assimilation, where the nutrients in food are absorbed into the bloodstream. Our large intestines do a little assimilation. The colon absorbs water and electrolytes to prepare what’s left for elimination.

A lot of people are constipated – where waste products don’t easily or regularly come out of their colon. Over the years humanity has figured out a bunch of substances that stimulate the last portion of the large intestine to release its contents. These are referred to as laxatives. Edgar Cayce commonly recommended many of the laxatives available before 1945: milk of magnesia, castor oil, the herb senna, epsom salts, etc. Frequently Cayce would tell constipated people to use a variety of laxatives on different days, then take a break.

While our large intestines are basically bacterial fermentation factories, our small intestines should have a relatively low presence of live bacteria. But sometimes bacterial growth gets out of control. White tongues generally indicate that the person has Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Conventional medicine uses a ‘hydrogen breath test’ to look for hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide and methane in a person’s breath, as these are products of the types of bacteria that can become over-abundant in the upper portion of the digestive tract. Problematic bacteria create substances on their surface known as endotoxin, also known as lipopolysacharide. Sometimes I refer to endotoxin as ‘bacteria poop’.

The excess endotoxin caused by SIBO can be a factor behind rheumatism and fibromyalgia. Modern genetic testing links specific problematic bacteria to rheumatoid arthritis. Excess problematic bacteria create more endotoxin than the liver can handle, which overwhelms the liver’s ability to deactivate these poisons. When endotoxin gets into circulation it causes problems elsewhere in the body. The ARE mentions the role of intestinal bacteria in Overview of Fibromyalgia (

One of the interesting laxatives used by Cayce was a combination of salts and a powdered form of the element sulfur:
  • Rochelle salt (Potassium sodium tartrate tetrahydrate)
  • Cream of tartar (Potassium bitartrate)
  • Sulfur USP
Sulfur powder has broad anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Cream of tartar has some antiseptic properties. Cream of tartar and rochelle salts have laxative properties. Reading #349-23, said to take 1/2 teaspoon of the mix of these three salts after waking in the morning. I’ve found a little scoop of the dry powder on my tongue followed by a bit of water to help send it to my stomach works better than trying to mix the powder into water. I don’t have a version of these “sulfur salts” on my little webstore, but I have most of the ingredients. The chemistry store owner says he can get rochelle salts for me:
Picture: sulfur USP, Sulflax, Cream of Tartar
Recreating the classic Cayce Sulfur-Based Laxative
The Heritage Store doesn’t sell this product anymore, but I think the current version sold by the new “official supplier” is probably okay. There are other manufacturers of ‘sulfur salts’ that don’t use the Heritage Store’s expired & re-registered trademark. A lot of people are allergic to “sulfa-based antibiotics”. I don’t know much about the chemistry of these medical products vs. plain old pure sulfur crystals, or “flowers of sulfur”. I was told that I was allergic to sulfa-based antibiotics, but I seem to do okay with pure sulfur powder. I revisited this information when a modern scientist suggested ‘flowers of sulfur’ as a treatment for SIBO, then found an empty container of the Heritage Store’s sulfur laxative product in my archives. An earlier email discussed using Glyco Thymoline as an intestinal antiseptic to treat rheumatism. Sign up for my email list by putting your email in this box:

Preventing Evaporation of Apple Brandy from the Charred Oak Keg

One of the problems with using Edgar Cayce’s apple brandy keg is that liquids in a wood keg gradually evaporate. Evaporation is faster in deserts, air conditioned buildings, and homes that are heated in the winter. Kegs that are ‘put away’ will dehydrate, the wood will shrink, and will no longer hold liquid.
Michael recently reached out to share that his keg is 26 years old, and that he’s recently started using a large plastic bag to keep his precious brandy from escaping.

I recently purchased 2.5-gallon and 3-gallon bags, then left my keg in a warm trunk for a while. When I opened the bag, I smelled a strong odor of ethanol. I think this simple change in my barrel routine will save me a lot of money on brandy. Continue reading “Preventing Evaporation of Apple Brandy from the Charred Oak Keg”

Food sources of Iodine

In a recent email I discussed the critical importance of iodine for human health: Cayce on the Critical Importance of Iodine

Many people assume they’re getting all the iodine they need from salt. All things considered, iodized salt is pretty safe, and was considered acceptable in Edgar Cayce’s readings. But not all salt is iodized. While the sea has lots of iodine, “Sea Salt” has approximately ZERO micrograms iodine per serving. Furthermore, iodized salt has an expiration date: iodine added to salt gradually sublimes and drifts away. Depending on how long it’s been since a container was produced, a serving of “iodized salt” might only have a fraction of the iodine that it had originally.

Ideally a person would get all the iodine they need from diet. People whose diets contain dairy products (animal-derived, NOT “plant milks”) and egg yolks can assume they get the minimum amount of iodine necessary to keep their thyroid from enlarging. Adding seaweed to one’s diet is a good way to safely increase iodine intake. I found these two kinds of seaweed at my local natural foods store:

Kelp Iodine: 1654 mcg per teaspoonDulse Iodine: 284 mcg per teaspoon
Kelp and Dulse shakers. Click for full-size view of nutritional information

Kelp has almost 6 times as much iodine per teaspoon as dulse. I found some expired “roasted seaweed” products in my pantry – the oil on them has gone stale, and they’re now rather repulsive. I recommend avoiding any seaweed that has “vegetable oil” (sunflower oil, avocado oil, etc) on the ingredients.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health published Iodine: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals with values for the iodine content of common foods:

Food Micrograms
per serving
% daily value
Cod, baked, 3 ounces 146 97
Seaweed, nori, dried, 2 tablespoons, flaked (5 g) 116 77
Oysters, cooked, 3 ounces 93 62
Yogurt, Greek, plain, nonfat, ¾ cup 87 58
Milk, nonfat, 1 cup 84 56
Iodized table salt, ¼ teaspoon 78 52
Fish sticks, cooked, 3 ounces 57 38
Egg, hard boiled, 1 large 31 21

Milk has 84 mcg of iodine, while “soy beverage” has 3 mcg. Other foods with negligible amounts (0 to 1 microgram) of iodine per serving include chicken breast, apple juice, bread, “sea salt”, rice, corn, broccoli, bananas, soy sauce, lima beans, green peas.

A healthy person eating an ‘okay’ diet needs a minimum of about 150 micrograms of iodine a day. People who eat diets with lots of vegetable oil would probably benefit from extra iodine. Japanese people get around 1000-3000 micrograms of iodine a day (source: Assessment of Japanese iodine intake). 1 milligram is 1000 micrograms, so this is 1-3 milligrams of iodine a day. This is probably the upper range for ‘safe’ daily iodine consumption.

An early iodine supplement that’s still sold today is Lugol’s formula. Iodine supplements can be useful, but too much iodine is toxic. The Jod-Basedow phenomenon is caused by a sudden overdose of iodine in a person who is iodine-deficient. One drop of Lugol’s 5% solution provides twice as much iodine as the Japanese get from their daily diet:

The (nominal) 5% solution thus has a total iodine content of 6.32 mg (6320 micrograms) per drop of 0.05 mL; the (nominal) 2% solution has 2.53 mg [2530 micrograms] total iodine content per drop

Lugol’s Iodine: Formula and Manufacture

Large doses of iodine are useful when people need to rapidly saturate their thyroid with iodine on account of a nuclear accident they’re downwind from. The iodine that’s released in nuclear fission reactions is radioactive and is unstable. The thyroid can’t tell the difference between “safe” non-radioactive iodine and the radioactive iodine released from a nuclear reaction, which is why people in the vicinity of a nuclear accident are given potassium iodide tablets.

Most people don’t actually need a drop of Lugol’s daily. A drop of 5% Lugol’s a week would provide the equivalent of a Japanese-person’s food intake.

Safe Iodine Supplementation

The Electric Iodine supplement is formulated to have 200 micrograms per drop. Edgar Cayce’s readings provided for a variety of dosing strategies, based on the specific reading recipient’s individual needs.

Electric Iodine (atomidine) supplement and Edgar Cayce's Grounding Coin
Electric Iodine (atomidine) supplement and Edgar Cayce’s Grounding Coin

The bottles have dropper caps. These are a little more difficult to dispense a precise number of drops than the bulb droppers, but I’m not the only one who has lost a bottle of liquid by accidentally allowing the bottle to tip over.

Cayce-approved protein sources

There’s a quip in the classic cookbook The Joy of Cooking about the tragedy of barbecued meat: the most flavorful parts of the meat fall into the coals. The most nutritionally-useful parts of the Thanksgiving turkey are the skin, gravy, and the soup made from the leftover carcass.

In the health readings, Edgar Cayce allowed for a full omnivore diet, with the caveat that meats should be balanced with plenty of vegetables with the alkaline minerals (Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium and Sodium). Consuming alkaline-reacting foods provides balance to the acid-reacting nature of proteins containing phosphorous and sulfur.

Something that I haven’t seen much coverage of are Cayce’s recommendations of foods rich in anti-stress amino acids, rather than the excitatory amino acids. Many of the more useful amino acids in a piece of meat are released in the juices, which is why Cayce recommended cooking in patapar paper and making beef juice. (From my email list archives: Edgar Cayce cooking: alternatives to ‘Patapar Paper’Continue reading “Cayce-approved protein sources”

Coffee and Tea: Cayce-Approved Stimulants

Hi Friends,

Years ago “Mr. Cayce” told me that I would do well to start drinking coffee, to help me concentrate better.

Metabolism refers to the chemical processes our bodies use to convert the calories in food into ATP, the chemical fuel our cells are able to use. Our brains are said to be about 2% of the body’s weight, but use 20% of our energy (ATP) production.

Stimulants are chemicals that help the body increase its metabolism and ATP production. Nature’s most common stimulant is caffeine. This is the primary stimulant in coffee, tea, chocolate, and the kola nut (the flavoring used in Coca-Cola or Pepsi-Cola).

Edgar Cayce’s recommendations of Coffee and Tea

The Cayce readings commonly recommended coffee and tea as stimulants:
Continue reading “Coffee and Tea: Cayce-Approved Stimulants”

Substitute to the Charred Oak Keg for Apple Brandy inhalation

Chuck Musholt responded to my recent email newsletter with a picture, and told about how he’s dealt with the problem of his keg drying out:
I have another idea as a keg substitute:
I have a keg. I got tired of filling it after it dried out several times… so I thought it over.
A glass milk jug with charred oak spirals, like the ones people put in their whiskey, do the trick pretty well. I’d say it’s similar, very much so, to the fumes from the keg. And I don’t have to care for the keg all the time… (well it was once a year or so, but anyway…)
Simple glass milk jug, keeping the plastic top, with two sets of the spirals. I fill the jug maybe a quarter the way or so, but could put more in there I guess. Wanted lots of room for the fumes.
Love your stuff! I have the [‘Cold’ Grounding] Coins from you, and your radial device. Thank you, and please keep it up!

Glass milk bottle with oak spirals inside
Substitute for the Charred Oak Keg (click for full size picture)

(I asked if I could share his picture, and he volunteered the use of his name too.)

The oak spirals in Chuck’s picture get wet with apple brandy and facilitate its transformation into fumes.

I’ve never had a problem with my keg drying out because I check it every week, when I go out to a local market to share the good news about how easy it is to take care of our lungs with Edgar Cayce’s advice.

My first customer let his keg dry out after his lungs had recovered by 75% – he took to huffing straight off the bottle to keep from backsliding. I was able to get it re-hydrated, but they let it dry out again. Once the kegs dry out, they get progressively more difficult to re-hydrate. After doing this for other people a few times, I settled on using a steady ‘drip drip drip’ from a faucet in the sink to get the kegs to swell and seal again.

If you get low on apple brandy, I think “cheap vodka” or “cheap wine” is the best way to keep a keg hydrated between flu seasons. Strictly speaking I think it’s best to use as little liquid as possible when storing your keg for the off season, as the storage liquor or wine will extract some of the oak’s essential oils, and it’s better to save those for your lungs.

During the off season, store your keg where you’ll look at regularly, so you can check to make sure liquid is still sloshing around.

Or just follow Chuck’s advice, and get a glass bottle and some oak spirals.


A Modern Substitute for ‘Bulgarian Tablets’ (for making cultured milk)

My last blog post was about Edgar Cayce’s recommendation for ‘Bulgarian Milk’ and Yeast to balance the intestinal microbiome. This quote from Edgar Cayce’s letter was the crux for my figuring out what the Readings meant when they referred to ‘Bulgarian milk’:

R2. 5/15/33 EC’s letter: “Now, I wish I could give you the name of the dried milk. If I remember correctly – Is Hall still there in business? If so, he can tell you about this, I’m sure – for there were several times while I was in Selma that the readings suggested this for our own boys, a certain kind – and, if I remember correctly, it was called Dryco; which, I think, carries all the fats. The Bulgarian milk is put up in tablet form, or in Bulgarian tablets that you put with some other milk – and it works especially for tender stomaches, and where there is needed to be built up fats in the system; though, of course, this is not fattening;

(Edgar Cayce’s letter in Reports of Reading #318-6, M 7)

The ‘Bulgarian tablets’ that Cayce recommended are no longer manufactured. You can mail order a yogurt culture off the internet, but I haven’t done this yet. I just found a substitute for the Bulgarian Tablets at my local grocery store:

These ‘Clio yogurt bars’ have ONLY the “L. burgaricus and S. thermophilus” bacteria on the ingredients. These are the strains to make proper Bulgarian yogurt. You can remove the chocolate coating, chop up the yogurt bars, add a little chunk to turn your plain milk into cultured milk, and store the extra chunks in the freezer.

Here’s the information page about the founder of Clio Snacks:

It all started with our founder Sergey, fearless inventor of Clio Snacks. […] As a Ukrainian immigrant and former accountant, Sergey had a dream to be an entrepreneur […]. (emphasis added)

Ukraine is a little ways north of Bulgaria, in Eastern Europe – this founder certainly grew up with the same type of yogurt as the Bulgarians. Both countries are on the Black Sea. Here’s their page to help you find a local store that carries their yogurt bars: Clio Snacks: Where to buy. If no one local to you stocks these Clio bars, and you want to culture your milk, there are various stores online that sell bulgarian yogurt cultures. These bars were 2/$3, which is much more economical than ordering culture ($10 minimum with shipping).

I posted on my Facebook page recently about how easy it is to make your own yogurt: Making Yogurt (Facebook link). I haven’t made a batch of yogurt with these bars yet, but that’s next on my list of things to do.

To get updates about future blog posts, sign up for my email list at this link: My email list archives are at (Not all emails are in the public archives… Sometimes I just email people my latest thoughts to see if I get any responses.)

Also… My ‘Cayce grounding pendants’ are back in stock: Grounding Pendants. These help improve the body’s energetic connection to the earth.

-James Knochel

‘Bulgarian Milk’ and Yeast to balance the intestinal microbiome

When I first started reading books written based on the Cayce health readings, most of the authors said that Cayce only recommended the consumption of raw milk. Indeed, some readings told of Cayce telling the recipient to have milk “with the heat of the cow”. This would have been fine advice for someone who lived on a farm, or who otherwise had access to milk that hadn’t even cooled to room temperature. But very few people living today have their own dairy cow. While raw milk is available at some specialty stores, all modern retail milk is chilled very soon after the milking.

Did Cayce actually recommend what was impossible for most people? I’ve decided most the Reading-inspired books that say Cayce only recommended raw milk are mistaken. Read on for my analysis of some of the quotes from Cayce’s Readings. Continue reading “‘Bulgarian Milk’ and Yeast to balance the intestinal microbiome”

Probiotic Sourdough Bread

Often the easiest way to get better foods is to do more of the work yourself. If you have all the money in the world there are some commercial whole grain sourdough breads that might be okay. But no bread company uses probiotic yeast in their ingredients.

In a recent newsletter I told of the origins of white flour, and the folly of fortified flour. This built on my 2017 blog post about making whole wheat bread. Traditional breads are made with yeast, and have advantages over quickbreads (cakes, etc) made with baking powder.

Supplements of brewers yeast or nutritional yeast are sold by most natural food stores. Brewers yeast is a byproduct of brewing beer. Nutritional yeast is often grown on Molasses. Both types of yeast have most of the B-vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folate), and B7 (biotin, aka Vitamin H), and the micro nutrient selenium. Neither kind of yeast has Vitamin B-12 (synthesized by bacteria). Brewers yeast has the trace mineral chromium, which is not found in nutritional yeast. Many nutritional yeasts are fortified with extra synthetic B-vitamins, including Vitamin B-12. [I avoid fortified yeasts on principle, and because some people cannot turn synthetic folic acid into Folate/Vitamin B-9.]

People have made bread for thousands of years using the yeast found in the air everywhere. Now we distinguish between ‘bread’ and ‘sourdough bread’. Sourdough yeasts are collected from the environment, while bread factory yeasts are selected in a laboratory to best fit the needs of the bread factory. Sourdough yeasts take more time to rise than bread factory yeasts.

Breads made with sourdough yeasts have a much greater amount of B-vitamins than breads made with rapid yeasts.

Some businesses sell ‘sourdough starter’. While these start out with “San Francisco” yeasts in the package, the yeasts in your kitchen will eventually replace the strains in the starter.

I make my own sourdough starter using the Saccharomyces Boulardii yeast supplement. This yeast is said to be an ‘honorary probiotic’ because it helps suppress pathogenic bacteria in the intestines:

Probiotic Yeast Supplement
Saccharomyces Boulardii

When used for making sourdough bread, this yeast is a very slow yeast. I’ve settled on letting my dough rise for 24+ hours before baking it.

The first antibiotic, Penicillin, was isolated from a Penicillium fungus. Yeasts are a type of fungus. I think the various yeasts used by humans — as Sourdough bread, Vegemite (Australian food product made from brewers yeast), brewers yeast, etc — have compounds that suppress bacterial levels in the intestines. Some of the other yeasts have pathogenic properties (mold, fungal infections, etc).

Edible yeasts aren’t entirely made of fairy dust, as some of the compounds are phytoestrogenic (causing tissues to swell & divide). “Yeast Extract”, on many ingredient labels, is code for Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), the excitatory substance that many try to avoid.

Better Whole Wheat Bread

To make good whole wheat bread it’s best to use freshly ground flour. This is not so easy in our modern world: Michael Pollan’s book Cooked said every community used to have a flour mill, but these all went out of business when the flour industry switched to selling white flour.

Pollan’s book featured discussions with the founder of Community Grains in Woodland California. This section in Pollan’s book also talked about how modern wheat strains are very bitter as whole wheat bread. Wheat strains with higher protein content are easier to make into white flour. Softer wheat has less protein, is less bitter, and is more like the wheat humans ate 200+ years ago.

One of my local natural food stores has packages of ground whole wheat flour in their refrigerator. Whole wheat flour can be stored in the freezer to keep it fresh longer.

My mom bought a wheat grinder in the 1980’s, and passed it on to me when she moved a year and a half ago. She also found a similar model at a yard sale 15 years before.

1980's grain mill
Mom’s Magic Mill 3 Grain Mill

I pilfered a stand mixer from my mom’s 97-year old friend, when they were selling her house. KitchenAid has an attachment for grinding wheat.

If you don’t have any equipment to make bread, you can make your grains more digestible with a variety of strategies. There are many videos on youtube about nixtamalization. Most Mexican grocery stores have packages of hydrated lime:

Corn Masa, Hydrated lime
Masa is nixtamalized corn, made by boiling in wood ash or lime water

Soaking and sprouting helps reduce phytic acid and other digestion inhibitors in seeds. The cookbook Nourishing Traditions has various recipes to make grains more digestible.

Nixtamalization is the process where corn kernels are boiled in an alkaline solution. This process makes other grains more digestible too. Specific wood ashes were traditionally used, but lime powder is just as effective.

Most grocery stores sell masa harina that’s ready to use. Bob’s Red Mill Organic Masa Harina is available at Kroger’s and other grocers.


Fruits, Potatoes and Sweet potatoes are very good foods for humans, as they provide the glucose required by our brains and alkaline minerals.

Edible seeds (Grains, beans, legumes) are useful to humans because they store easily. They’re problematic for us because of chemicals that inhibit digestion. Seeds can be made more edible with a variety of simple strategies.

Yeast produce B-vitamins and anti-bacterial substances, which might be useful to some people. At the same time, yeast produce excitatory estrogenic substances which might cause some people more problems than they’re worth.

The proteins in animal products and seeds contain sulfur and phosphorous, which metabolize into sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid. Proteins need to be balanced by an adequate intake of alkaline minerals, from fruits, vegetables, milk or supplements.


Science Confirms: Red light improves vision

Red Light in the Cayce Readings

In various psychic health readings Edgar Cayce frequently recommended sunlight, or artificial light (ultra violet and infra red), to help improve health. For example:

15. Each day, also, there should be at least three to thirty minutes – dependent upon the vitality of the body – of the Infra Red light given, that the very structural portion of the bone themselves may be enlivened, that the red blood corpuscles may become more active and more numerous in the system. These should be altered from the cerebrospinal – or with the body lying on the face, also with the body lying on the back – these changed about from day to day, that we may have the activity of same in ALL PORTIONS of the bone. The ribs, the neck, the head, the back, the hips, the lower portion of the limbs – ALL of these should have their portion of THIS activity.
Edgar Cayce (602-1, F-37)

I’ve previously used heat lamps and red LEDs. This is the prototype Red LED light I built for a friend:

Science Confirms the Rejuvenative Properties of Red Light

The essence of a recently-published report is that short treatments with deep-red LED light was found to help improve older eyes’ ability to distinguish colors: Weeklong improved colour contrasts sensitivity after single 670 nm exposures associated with enhanced mitochondrial function

Some of the reports about this study are more accessible: Morning exposure to deep red light improves declining eyesight and Brief exposure to near-infrared light improves deteriorating vision (both published November 24, 2021).

“Just three minutes of exposure to deep red light once a week, when delivered in the morning, can significantly improve declining eyesight, finds a pioneering new study by UCL researchers.”

The light used by these researchers was not especially powerful. You can get three minutes of red light for free from the sun: close your eyes and direct your face towards the sun. As the reports say, this is most effective when done in the morning. Heat lamps are an inexpensive source of red light, if you live somewhere where the sun is not available.

The earlier study is interesting too: Deep red light reboots aging retinas like “recharging a battery” (June 29, 2020).

One aspect of “cold and flu season” is the changing amount of light we get with the seasons. Vitamin D comes in a pill. There is no pill form for the regenerative effects of red light on the mitochondria.

Quick update: I was asked about a ‘cyber monday’ special. Hmm… Sure? My coins aren’t very scientific, but I have my anecdotes, and lots of repeat customers. About 6.5 years ago I gave a ‘grounding coin’ to a woman I thought really needed it. She immediately noticed the effect. I’ve spent most of the last 6 years trying to protect this friend from the medical system, which is often more aspirational than effective. Sign up for my email list for my occasional emails – I think I’m about to have a decisive victory for natural health over the cruder types of medicine that are sort of like modern bloodletting.

SPECIAL: For December 2021:  ‘Cold’ Grounding Coins are $2 off ($5/coin); Pendants are $1 off ($7/pendant). Use coupon code freeship2 for $3.50 off orders of at least $47. (I’m still not able to ship to Australian or New Zealand, but a customer found, which helps people to consolidate packages from the US to the rest of the world.)

All orders include a short report about how to be resilient during cold and flu season, including a bit about the seasonal use of light.