My experience with healing herbs
I have been a Master Herbalist for over 35 years and have seen much good in healing herbs. I personally have benefited from the use of them. It has kept me from getting sick by using the Formula KVA because its main herb in it is Garlic (even hugged friends of mine who had the West Nile Virus!), healed sprains, cuts, big open wounds (on my previous husband) and so much more. I have seen people healed of many diseases using herbs, along with dietary changes. On the contrary, I have used a couple of prescription drugs and had to get right back off of them because the side affects outweighed the benefits of taking them. That is why I stay with the herbs, because they are the root of medicine.
Tinctures that I commonly use
Tintures? What is that? A tincture is an herb soaked in a medium such as vinegar, glycerin, or most common, alcohol. It absorbs in the body faster; you can regulate the dosage; and it has a long shelf life. I make sure that there is no more than 30% alcohol in 98% of my tinctures.
I personally make many herbal formulas and single herb tinctures, many of which I use! My favorite ones I am taking now are Turmeric and Boswellia for arthritis. They both help inflammation in my joints. I also use a couple of salves (Hot Tamale and Comfrey) on the clients I massage and personally on an old injury.
The other formula I take on a regular basis is the Lower Bowel Tonic. When I was 15, I had an Iridology Analysis and through that I found out that my colon is inherently weak. I have been taking care of it ever since, and so when I had my colonoscopy a few years ago, the doctor said I had a colon as pink and healthy as a 16 year old! A good Herbalist knows that death starts in the colon.
Herbs have been around since creation
Herbs have been used for medicine since creation. It has only been since the 1800’s, when scientists discovered that medicinal components of herbs could be extracted and used more potently. Single ingredients derived from herbal extracts can no longer be considered herbal medicine, as by definition, herbal medicines are based on the whole plant.
There are an estimated 600,000 plant species, but only a mere 5% have been investigated chemically or pharmaceutically, which equates to just over 12,000 compounds, or phytochemicals, that have been used for long-term effect on health. They are divided into primary metabolites (sugars and fats) and secondary metabolites like toxins and pheromones. It is these that have the therapeutic actions and can be refined to produce drugs. I will only talk about a couple of common ones.
One of the first to be extracted and used as a drug was Ephedrine which comes from the plant with several names: Ma Huang, Brigham Tea or Mormon Tea. According to rx.com, they list the uses of this drug and the side effects if you take too much: Ephedrine is a central nervous system stimulant used to treat breathing problems (as a bronchodilator), nasal congestion (as a decongestant), low blood pressure problems (orthostatic hypotension), or myasthenia gravis. Ephedrine is also used to treat narcolepsy, menstrual problems (dysmenorrhea), or urine-control problems. Ephedrine is available in generic form. Common side effects of Ephedrine usually occur with larger doses and include:
- spinning sensation (vertigo)
- loss of appetite
- trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- fast heart rate
- weight loss
- difficult or painful urination
Using the plant in its original, whole form will do more good that taking this pill. There are many herbs and herbal formulas that will strengthen the respiratory, urinary or nervous system. I would not want to damage my body when I know that there are herbs that can heal and strengthen.
Another constituent discovered in the 1800’s was digitoxin found in Foxglove. John Heinerman, states in his book: Science of Herbal Medicine, (pg. 58) When the leaves are dried there is a enzyme deterioration “splitting off glucose and forming the triglycosides, digitoxin and gitoxin, which are the important ingredients of the dried leaves.” It is used mainly as a heart medicine, but according to everydayhealth.com, look at the common side effects of Digoxin:
· Changes in mood and mental alertness, including confusion, depression and lost interest in usual activities
· Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
Growth or enlargement of breast tissue in men (gynecomastia)
Changes in heart rhythm, including irregular heartbeat
· Fast or racing heartbeat
· Heart stopping or flat-lining (asystole)
· Problems with electrical functioning of the heart known as heart block
· Visual problems, including blurry vision and yellow halos
· Low platelet count
They all can have serious side effects but are widely used today. I would not want to take these pills when there are worse causes that could happen to me. Instead, I would use the Hawthorne Berry Syrup or other herbal formulas that would strengthen my heart and get rid of stressors that could be harmful.
A few other herbs
Other herbs that are familiar to us are salicylic acid (from which aspirin comes from): White Willow, morphine: Poppy and quinine: Cinchona. There are many compounds coming from familiar, and not-so familiar plants such as:
- Garlic-monoamine oxidase inhibitor
- Alder buckthorn-anthraquinone
- Witch Hazel-hamamelitannins
- Yerba mate-polyphenols
- Star anise-shikimic acid
- Wild Tansy-cyclotides
Some upside-too many downside of drugs
There are many more, and not all compounds are used in drugs. The main point is that although there may be a little upside to extracting these active primary and secondary metabolites, herbs work so much better in their whole state. They were not meant to be pulled apart and used on the body individually. Drugs usually treat the symptom but not the cause and more serious side effects can take place including drug deposits that damage other organs and weakening the body. Plants work with the body synergistically to create healing and balance. A good herbalist knows this and can teach the person how to use the precious herbs in their original form. I am here to help any way I can by teaching others what I know.
Good Health to You
By © Nevit Dilmen, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1454192 foxglove pic
By Stan Shebs, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=928281 Ephedra pic