by Michael Braunstein
I only met Herbie Hancock twice (so far). More on that later.
Seems that one cannot listen to sports or talk radio, watch cable television for more than 30 minutes, without hearing or seeing a commercial for “low T.” And that means you all know what “low T” is. Yep, “low testosterone.” Apparently low “T” is the villain if you a) can’t get it up in the morning; b) can’t get up in the morning; c) can’t get it up at night; d) have belly fat, low energy, aches and pains, general malaise or just about any other malady imaginable — with the exception, of course, the WuHan Flu, which can only be cured by a lifetime subscription to the new Bill Gates Website.
Seriously, though, the main complaint that sends men to seek this magic potion at the variety of “male men clinics” (pleonasm noted) across the country is the self-fulfilling prophecy of “erectile dysfunction.” Now, certainly that condition is nothing to take lightly and surely interferes with an enjoyable life for untold numbers of American men. However, one has to wonder about the number of men who rush to plop their credit card down to rescue their flaccid member. Perhaps more holistic options might be available.
Lifestyle plus physiological and emotional. Americans live one of the least healthful lifestyles on the planet. In fact, there are ailments, conditions and health markers that are unique to Americans. Of all major countries, for example, the United States ranks number one for obesity. Unless one wants to count Tonga, Samoa or Kiribati as “major countries.” Lack of exercise, poor diet, use of recreational drugs including alcohol, succumbing to stress are some of the lifestyle elements contributing to ED. There are also correlations among physical markers beyond obesity and diet. Diabetes, heart disease, atherosclerosis interfere with erection.
Little Blue Pill. For the past 20 years or so, that little blue pill, known most commonly by the trade name Viagra, has become the symbol of the ED cure. Like many prescription drugs, Viagra was discovered by accident. Pfizer researchers were looking for a compound that would dilate coronary blood vessels to relieve angina pain and it didn’t work for that. Instead, they noticed that the drug dilated the blood vessels of the penis and that tumescence gave them a hard-on. When the billions of dollars rolled in, presumably the hard-on became even more engorged.
Big Green Melon Trumps Little Blue Pill. Back to watermelon. Important nutrients found in watermelon have unexpected benefits. Citrulline is a plentiful amino acid found in watermelon, especially nearer the rind. It’s a precursor to another important micronutrient that creates nitric oxide in the body. That’s the substance that Viagra triggers to dilate blood vessels and aid an erection.
It’s long been known that watermelon is one of those foods that can help maintain healthy blood pressure and it does that by flooding the body with arginine and citrulline. The end result as postulated by a Texas A&M researcher is that of a Viagra-like effect on erectile dysfunction. And that’s without side effects. If you’re looking to boost citrulline, head for the watermelons with the yellow flesh. The outside can still be green, but the yellow kind contains higher concentrations of the substance.
National Institute of Health publications note that research has found citrulline oral supplements to work in maintaining harder erections. Or as the recently passed Wilfred Brimley declared in the screen gem, Cocoon, “Cat can’t scratch it, squirrel can’t climb it,”
Goodbye Kidney Stones. Another benefit of watermelon is its use as a natural support for the kidneys. Natural medicine practitioners consider watermelon a cleansing food. Some holistic practitioners actually use watermelon as a way to eliminate kidney stones and avoid more invasive methods. The balance of phytonutrients and salts in watermelon can help dissolve stones so they can be passed in the urine. Watermelon is an ages-old remedy for kidney problems and was used as a medicine long before dialysis became the treatment of choice.
The slippery watermelon seeds are also useful as a medicinal. Sources report that a tea made from watermelon seeds can cleanse and heal the body. They advise crushing a half-cup of seeds and soaking in a pint of hot water for 15 minutes then drinking the tea several times daily. It’s reportedly excellent for kidney problems. (Technically that’s decoction and not a tea.)
Heart Health and Cancer Fighting Micronutrients in watermelon do much more than combat the summer heat. They can afford long-lasting protection against heart disease, cancer and even diabetes, according to much research. It also contains substances that can be beneficial in combating ailments as diverse as asthma and arthritis or blemishes and bladder infections. And it’s rumored to be one of the best hangover cures in existence.
Watermelon is a natural when it comes to summer nutrition. Its cooling properties can help us get through a hot stretch. Its stress-lowering micronutrients can keep us calm as we consider the future of our climate.
Oh, back to Herbie. I met the composer of the classic jazz tune “Watermelon Man” in a small club in Houston a few years after the tune was released on his LP Takin’ Off. We didn’t meet again until about 3 a.m. in a late-night Stephen Stills session I engineered. Stephen had a song he just needed to have Herbie play on. So a call was made and the piano player appeared. Song was “Spanish Suite.” One wonders if the 2020 PC police would accept Herbie referencing the stereotype watermelon or Stephen culturally appropriating Spanish.
Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.
Original “Watermelon Man” https://youtu.be/ZbHJHPTikQA
Funky version: https://youtu.be/4bjPlBC4h_8
Stephen Stills: “Spanish Suite” https://youtu.be/zFaEPe5DCRo