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Using Caution with Herbs

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Using Caution with Herbs Empty Using Caution with Herbs

Post  Admin on Mon 08 Feb 2010, 11:47 am

Hi Everybody!!!

GO SAINTS!!! (I was hoping Minneapolis – Oh well!)

THIS IS THE LAST TIME THAT THIS NEWSLETTER WILL BE SENT OUT AS A SPECIAL NOTICE SO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR SETTINGS (ON THE WEBSITE) ARE FOR INDIVIDUAL EMAILS OR DIGEST - WHICH WILL OCCUR ONCE PER WEEK.

Since this is the second issue of Herb Of The Week after a long hiatus, I will rehash the importance of using herbs and nutritional supplements safely.

First, I want to re-emphasize the importance of doing your own research. You owe it to yourself to research everything covered here and anywhere else for that matter. Because it's your health, I invite you to Google everything. To paraphrase Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain), "Don't let your cause of death be as a result of a typo"

And as always, I pray that God blesses me to provide the most accurate information possible. I also pray that God blesses each and every one of us spiritually in such a way where a physical blessing may result and physically in such a way where a spiritual blessing is the end result.

Secondly, I pray that God blesses us all in such a way, where there can be no doubt where the source of the blessing lies. Remember that you and I, exist only because of His mercy and His grace. Once upon a time (true story) a doctor advised me that I ought to be thanking whatever God I believed in, because he does not know how or why I survived.

So this week we will cover AGAIN… Using Herbs with Caution.

In the not so distant past, the scientific community scoffed at remedies and cures used by our grandparents as just "old wives tales". We turned our backs on natural healing. We believed in the powers of the modern medicine. We were taught that man would triumph over nature, including illness and disease. Not that modern medicine hasn't been astounding. We have practically eradicated certain diseases with the use of antibiotics and antiviral medications, Modern medicine is truly amazing. Amazingly astounding even!!

But now, because of overuse and misuse of prescription drugs (especially antibiotics) , there are many dangerous strains of bacteria that are antibiotic resistant. There are many dangerous comebacks of old viruses and infections and mutant strains of familiar diseases and viruses.
Not mention medical mishaps. Jay Leno recently joked about HIDING if you see an ambulance
coming because of the recent reports of accidents that occur in the hospital. A recent report stated that more people are killed by medical mishaps than by street violence. According to the May 1999 edition of Popular Science Magazine, "Doctors admit they have overused many existing antibiotics .... the percentage of antibiotics used inappropriately ranges from 20-50%". There are many other dangerous drugs and dangerous treatments that have been used inappropriately. So conventional medicine is not without it's dangers.

As a result more and more people are becoming dissatisfied with traditional medicine and are considering the medicinal properties of food and natural herbs. All over Europe and in Japan, China and Mexico and other countries, natural remedies are taken more seriously. Mushrooms are used to treat tuberculosis in Japan. Ozone is given to stroke victims in Germany. Accupuncture is used successfully in China. In Germany, the herb called St. John's Wort is used for depression and is touted as being as effective as many prescription drugs used here. Yogurt with live and active cultures for yeast infections. Ginger for nausea and so on.

People are beginning to try alternative remedies such as herbology, nutrition therapy, oxygen therapy, accupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy and such. But contrary to popular belief, herbs are drugs!! This bears repeating: HERBS ARE DRUGS!!! Another thing is that herbs mixed with prescription drugs can cause serious complications. They may react in unknown ways to prescription drugs such as blood-thinners and drugs for treating hypertension or depression. Many herbs should not be taken by pregnant or lactating women. Always review or research the known side effects or effects of mixing them with certain prescription medication. Herbs generally mix very well with other herbs - but mixing with prescription drugs is a different story.

People are mistakenly less cautious and safety conscious when it comes to what we consider organic or natural products. But we must remember that many prescription drugs are actually just extracts from roots, leaves and flowers of the plant kingdom – or synthetic versions thereof.

Aspirin was originally derived from the bark of the white willow tree. In 1829, scientists in Europe identified what was believed to be the active ingredient in white willow bark—a compound called salicin. Public demand grew rapidly. Extracting salicin from herbs was considered to be expensive and time-consuming, so a synthetic salicylic acid version was developed in Germany in 1852 and quickly became the treatment of choice (salicin is converted in the body to salicylic acid). Bayer eventually created a synthetic, less harsh derivative of salicylic acid, called acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), and mass-produced it under the name aspirin. Despite this, aspirin is still known for irritating the stomach lining.

Natural? Cocaine is natural. Tobacco is natural. My point is that just because something is "natural" does not mean that it is safe. Just because something is "natural" or "herbal" does not necessarily mean that it can be ingested or used haphazardly.

Natural herbs, should be taken as seriously as prescribed medications. Many people tend to treat natural remedies as they would jelly beans – whenever they want – without regard for a structured regime. This is a serious mistake since as we saw with aspirin, herbs are drugs.
Ask any pothead.

Maintain a healthy respect for the power of herbs. Indeed, every food we eat has nutritional, medicinal and toxic properties. Plain old cinnamon significantly helps to regulate glucose levels in the blood (blood sugar).

Still, far more people die from prescription drugs than herbs. Even though herbs are generally safe, we have compiled a list of eight potentially dangerous herbs. Keep in mind that many people have died from aspirin!! Many people have liver damage from over-the-counter painkillers such a acetemenophen and ibuproferin. One thousand people die each year from salmonella poisoning as a result of the unsanitary conditions of food-processing plants. Look past the hype. When you hear reports of people dying from this or that herb one should maybe compare the rates of death with something else - like aspirin or peanuts or shellfish. Pray for guidance.

NOTE: According a recent article in USA Today, more than half of the experts hired to advise the government on the safety and effectiveness of medicine have financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that will be helped or hurt by their decisions, a USA TODAY study found. Federal law generally prohibits the FDA from using experts with financial conflicts of interest, but the FDA waived the restriction more than 800 times since 1998. These experts, about 300 on 18 advisory committees, make decisions that affect the health of millions of Americans and billions of dollars in pharmaceutical sales.

With those facts in mind, let's look closer at some potentially dangerous herbs AND herbs that should be taken with caution.

CHAPARRAL
Contains a powerful antioxidant called NDGA. Antioxidants are supposed to inhibit tumor growth and retard the aging process. Chaparral is also supposed to be a good anti-imflammatory herb. It is used to treat cancer and arthritis. The FDA warns that internal use can damage the liver. It can however, be applied externally to a wound to speed up the healing process. Another safer anti-imflammatory herb is Cat's Claw. Also, strawberries and blueberries are at the top (VERY TOP) of the list for fruits that contain antioxidants and hence reduce cancer. Cruciferous vegetables such as brocolli, cabbage and brussel sprouts also contain high amounts of antioxidants. It is proven that people who eat strawberries regularly are less likely to develop *any* kind of cancer. Plainly, there are many other safer foods and herbs containing antioxidants than chaparral. The best anti-oxidants in the world are melatonin, pine bark and grapeseed. Pine bark and grapeseed are sometimes called proanthenols or pycnogenols are opc's or pco's. These are very, very powerful antioxidants that are good for almost anything that can go wrong, including aging and cancer. The brown hull or husk inside the peanut shell and wrapped around the peanut itself is a very powerful anti-oxidant. So is green tea. St. John's Wort which is commonly used as an anti-depressant is also a very powerful antioxidant. Most herbs and drugs have more than one use. There are also many other good anti-imflammatory herbs which we will discuss in another section of the magazine.

EPHEDRA (MA HUANG)
Used to treat asthma, chest congestion, cough. It is also used to treat obesity. Ephedra is supposedly safe at the recommend dosage. A synthetic version is sold over the counter as pseudoephedrine for relief of nasal congestion. Abuse of this herb (like when used for weight loss) can cause - READ CLOSELY - elevated blood pressure, insomnia, heart palpitations, nervousness and even DEATH due to heart failure. The FDA has received numerous reports of wild reactions. Horseradish for a good expectorant and antibiotic. Horseradish, garlic and red pepper is good for sinus congestion, bronchitis and the common cold. I speak from personal experience. Very high doses of horseradish can cause vomiting and sweating. But then who in the world can ingest very high doses of that stuff? The sweating will help to remove toxins from the system.

On the other hand, ephedra is also used a lot in "natural" weight control products. Use EXCERCISE and a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains to lose weight. Having mustard daily will cause you to burn more calories. 25% or more. (plain mustard from the grocer!) Apple cider vinegar will also increase your rate of metabolism. The food supplement lecithin, taken with psyllium to add bulk, will cause you to pass more fat through your bowels instead of absorbing it all. Green tea will before a meal will suppress the appetite and help to suppresss cancer. Avoid white flour and white sugar. (empty calories) Goodbye doughnuts! Avoid brown sugar. (dyed white sugar) If you must have sugar (like me) use small amounts of honey and dates and molasses. Stevia (a common weed) is a remarkable all-natural substitute for sugar. Because of FDA regulations we may not call it a sweetner. It is NOT a sugar. (Anti-freeze is sweet; but it is not a sugar!) Stevia is 250 times sweeter than sugar; without any known side effects. We will discuss using stevia in a later article about diabetes. Overall, ephedra is for chest colds, flu, pnuemonia and that kind of thing, for SHORT TIME PERIODS.

Ephedra has been jerked off the market by the FDA and then reinstated, with certain restrictions.
Recent research has shown that caffeine products, when ingested while taking ephedra can be FATAL. So overall is NOT good to be used on a daily basis for weight control.

But it has been proven effective for coughs, colds and pneumonia. A lot of over-the-counter preparations for nasal congestions contain a synthetic version of ephedra.

COMFREY
Used externally to treat skin wounds and irritations. Used internally to treat ulcers. Contains pyrrolizidines, known to cause liver damage. Rats fed comfrey developed liver damage. Some species of comfrey are banned in Canada. Apply honey (yes! bee honey) to skin wounds. You might see remarkable results! Surprisingly peppers are good for ulcers! YES peppers. Jalepenos, cayenne etc. Large amounts of pepper all the time can cause ulcers and small amounts used moderately can help. It seems moderation (balance) is almost always the key. Cabbage juice is good for tumors. (in small amounts at a time) Raw cabbage juice also works wonders for cancers of the colon or stomach. Cabbage should be eaten as often as possible. Avoid milk for stomach problems!!! This is a myth that milk soothes the stomach.

COLTSFOOT
Used to treat asthma, coughs and other respiratory ailments. Contains dangerous alkaloids known to cause liver damage. Rats fed coltsfoot developed liver tumors. Banned in Canada. Some research shows that boiling destroys the harmful alkaloids. Hmmm......I' d stick with the horseradish, garlic and red pepper! Also fenugreek and thyme (the spice) is supportive of the lungs and used for respiratory ailments. There are also many, many other herbs that are helpful for colds and flus. Try echinacea, astragalus and/or olive leaf. We discuss those in another section.

LOBELIA
Chemically similar to nicotine and known as Indian Tobacco. It is sometimes used to help a person quit smoking. Lobelia should be taken in small doses and administered and/or supervised by qualified medical personnel and/or a natural pathologist or other certified professionals. In any case, even if purchased over-the-counter, the recommended dosage should dosage should not be exceeded. Even though lobelia is has been successfully used in the treatment of respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia, in serious cases of overdose it can cause coma and DEATH. This is one that you don't want to take handfuls of. It's like aspirin in that you don't want to abuse it. A tonic made with a tablespoon of raw honey and a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar mixed in a cup of room temperature "good" water such as distilled or reverse osmosis can help very much with quitting smoking OR drinking. You might want to use teaspoons rather than tablespoons of honey if you plan to drink it on a regular basis. The tonic is good for everything from cholesterol to arthritis.

PENNYROYAL
Leaves are generally safe to treat coughs and congestion. Pennyroyal oil is another story. It is highly toxic and was once used to induce illegal abortions. It is also used to induce labor. It can cause miscarriages and was once used for abortions. Small amounts of the oil can be LETHAL. Essential oils of any kind are nothing to be played with. Horseradish and garlic as well as Wild Cherry bark is good for coughs and congestion. Slippery Elm tea works wonders for sore throat. Always take lots of crushed garlic (by the teaspoon and lots of vitamin C to fight a cold. LOTS of vitamin C. Vitamin C should be taken until diarrhea is induced. This will be a different amount for each person. It is non-toxic. Zinc should always be taken with vitamin C since vitamin c uses up zinc and doesn't work without it. Vice-versa for zinc. It requires vitamin C to work and uses it up. Zinc requires copper to work efficiently. Copper uses vitamin A. Get the picture? It is always a good idea to take a GOOD multivitamin daily since all vitamins and minerals work synergistically with each other. And drink plenty of water.

SENNA
A laxative that can cause colon dependency. (i.e. you *need* it to go) Should not be used for more than ten days continually. Can cause loss of fluids, potassium loss and loss of other vital electrolytes (minerals). This can cause dehydration and loss of minerals can mess up your heartbeat/heart rhythym. Should not be used if you have ulcers or hemorrhoids. A combination of psyllium (a bulking agent) and Casa Sagrada (a natural laxative is better. Apple cider vinegar works too. Sometimes lemon juice in warm water will work in a pinch. Pears (the highest fiber content of any fruit) and oatmeal and plenty of water might "set you off!!" In any case, eating more fiber (whole grains, raw fruits and veggies) and drinking plenty of water prevents constipation. And just in case, blueberries stop diarrhea. Or eat slices of whole wheat bread to stop it.

YOHIMBE
Very dangerous. Often found in mixed potions for male libido and vitality. YAA (Yet Another Aphrodisiac) . Can cause insomnia, nausea, dizziness, and anxiety. Not good for blood pressure. More than 40 mg daily can cause loss of balance and some people hallucinate. Should not be taken with red wine, cheese, liver and who knows what else. It is sometimes used to treat severe depression. Should not be used by folks with kidney problems or lactating women. It is sometimes sold as a natural Viagra. FDA says it can cause seizures and DEATH. Damiana is another supposed aphrodisiac that has less side effects. The side effects of Damiana include mild euphoria (feel good) and mild laxative. (feel good too.) It too is used to treat depression. Many other herbs such as Gingko Biloba, Siberian Ginseng and Schisandra are also good and safe. Love and harmony and excitement within the relationship is important in "getting it up".

Doctors have warned that echinachea should not be used by diabetics. Herbal (real) licorice can raise the blood pressure. Garlic and flaxseed can thin the blood and should not be used with prescription blood thinners. Many herbs that are usually considered safe for normal use are not recommended during pregnancy or lactation. Here's a list of HERBS NOT RECOMMENDED DURING PREGNANCY:

- Parsley
- Senna
- Mugwort
- Yarrow
- Cascara Sagrada
- Pennyroyal
- Angelica
- Buckthorn
- Juniper
- Rue
- Tansy
- Coltsfoot
- Coltsfoot bark
- Male fern
- Goldenseal
- Comfrey
- Sage (large amounts)
- Black cohosh

On a related note, a study at Loma Linda University suggests that some herbs may actually make getting pregnant very difficult. These include St. John's wort, echinacea, and ginkgo biloba.

Don't consider this a complete list. We will be discussing more about herbs and possible side effects in other sections of the Black Light Magazine. And be sure to check with your physician or natural pathologist or other health care PROFESSIONAL before starting any herbal treatment or dietary supplement.

TELL YOUR DOCTOR

Tell your doctor about the herbs and supplements you might be taking. Sometimes we don't want to be viewed with skepticism from the doctor or looked upon as crazy. But if you need emergency treatment, your doctor needs to know what you're taking. Otherwise, you CAN have some dangerous complications between your alternative medicines and any regular/conventiona l care.

An article in a recent "Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery" reports on a survey of nearly 400 people scheduled for heart surgery. Of the 44 percent who indicated they took some form of alternative therapy, only 17 percent had discussed it with their physicians. Heart surgery is especially problematic for herbal medicine users. Garlic, fish oils, St. John's Wort, gingko and ginseng are some of the herbal supplements that interfere with conventional heart therapies.

Another good reason to tell your doctor (one that I particular "get-off" on) is when they work! When your alternative medicine is actually working better for you than the traditional treatment, this might cause more research and study to be done on the alternative treatments. In many cases, doctors that care about your health will tell you to "keep doing whatever you're doing". That's the most they can legally say.

But why take my word for it? It's your health. I invite you to Google any or all of this information.
Another good search engine is www.dogpile. com which will search at least 22 other search engines. Just enter a few keywords separated by a plus sign ("+") research anything that you like.
EXAMPLE: celery + hypertension – try that one and you'd be surprised to learn that just a few stalks of raw celery is believed by some to prevent hypertension.

NOTE: My use of the words "believed by some", "may be" "might be useful". This words have to be used even in the face of overwhelming research, because we are not doctors and neither do we make any medical claims to diagnose or cure anything.

NOTE: I will work on keeping this newsletter short and sweet. Next week's will be shorter because I will choose a very simple topic.

Until next time remember .... most illness (upwards of 80% according
to experts) can be attributed to FOUR important factors that can
weaken your immune system and your ability to fight off disease:

1. Anxiety, depression, anger, resentment, guilt and other STRESS factors
2. Improper and/or inadequate NUTRITION habits
3. A sedentary lifestyle that does not include enough EXERCISE
4. Not enough rest and quality SLEEP time

We ALWAYS recommend that you ALWAYS consult a professional herbalist, naturopathologist or physician. We are just passing along what we hope to be useful information and not claiming to diagnose or cure anything.
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