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Food has tremendous power to heal a body, or to keep it in good health. It also has tremendous power, if adulterated and messed with, to cause great harm to the body.
We have found that the biggest health benefits come not from supplements or miracle cures, but just from persistently choosing good, wholesome, nutrient dense, natural, and fresh foods.
Sometimes the best "medicine" isn't medicine at all!
Low salt diets are highly controversial in real food circles, and have been proven again and again to be harmful to overall health, and deadly in many instances. Modern medicine still clings to it though, because it is easier to recommend a low salt diet than to address the actual issues.
The issue is sort of irrelevant anyway, since the human body simply flushes excess salt, and hypernatremia (high blood salt) really doesn't happen except in cases of dehydration. So why anyone ever thought that salt was the issue is beyond me!
People now feel guilty for every bit of salt they add to their food, and this is just plain NUTS! If you cook from scratch, you HAVE to add salt to your food. If you do not, you end up with too little salt, which is more dangerous than too much. Hyponatremia is no joking matter
No need to feel guilty - your body will crave salt when you need it, but not when you do not. You can trust your taste buds to know when you need it and when you do not. It is pretty much impossible to over-consume salt, because you just can't get it down!
Low salt is recommended for high blood pressure and certain types of heart disease, but high blood pressure is not affected by salt intake in all forms of high blood pressure related disease, and where it is, the effect tends to be temporary. What is clear is that a diet with severely restricted salt, over time, is more harmful than the high blood pressure.
Low salt has been linked to higher cholesterol and higher triglicerides.
Refined salt, and high salt processed foods may affect blood pressure - but it is often things OTHER than the salt that are to blame.
Sea salt is recommended over refined salt, and it may be an excellent option for people who are afraid of salt. The thing is, the minerals in sea salt help you to feel satisfied with a lower amount of salt. You pretty much CANNOT eat too much salt without it gagging you - your body will simply turn away from it. If you CRAVE it, you NEED it. But you feel satisfied FASTER with sea salt because it has more additional minerals in it that help you USE the salt more easily. This means, with sea salt, you can SALT TO TASTE, and you will get the amount your body NEEDS, and you don't have to worry about overdoing it.
We've been taught to believe that our taste buds may not be trusted, that they'll just make us fat and unhealthy, but that isn't true. When you feed your body fresh foods as much as you can, and make foods from scratch, you'll find that things balance out - but you will STILL crave a bag of potato chips, or a greasy cheeseburger sometimes, just not all that often. When my body is in balance, I go weeks without craving chocolate (that is a completely astonishing thing, believe me!).
I get asked a lot about salt amounts in pickled foods, because I sell a lacto-fermentation product (http://fermentacap.com), and I've researched this for that reason. High salt foods are self-limiting. You won't crave them unless you need them, and the flavors are so strong that you will stop eating them before they become harmful.
Low salt diets are the same as so many other trendy food patterns... They are recommended based on myth.
Testing that showed benefits from a low salt diet were skewed. This is how it goes:
Group of people with specific health problem are selected from a pool of people who largely eat refined foods.
Low salt diet is recommended - now at this time in history there are ABSOLUTELY NO "low salt" convenience foods. NONE. No refined foods that are low in salt either.
In an effort to meet the diet requirements, the participants increase their intake of foods prepared at home from scratch, and increase their intake of fresh foods.
ASTONISHMENT!!! The low salt diet has proven effective in reducing risks of heart disease! Wow! Who knew?
Food manufacturers RUSH to produce low salt versions of all the refined and convenience foods available.
All the participants gain weight, decline in health, and go back to their previous state, and then decline more rapidly. But no matter, the study is over, and nobody is watching.
Subsequent studies FAIL to produce the same results.
Because it NEVER WAS THE SALT. It always was the FOOD QUALITY.
Many subsequent studies have shown that salt is NECESSARY to heart health, and that a low salt diet is not only not helpful, but actually harmful to heart health. They consistently show that a diet containing high amounts of FOOD, instead of food like substances, promotes health in every respect, and that the body is fully capable of regulating salt levels, craving it when it is low, and flushing excess.
This is not a comprehensive herb list, it is just some that I've used and feel comfortable using.
Most of these have OTHER uses also, this is just what I have used them for.
I do what I do because I understand the science behind it, and I've researched worldwide sources to verify the safety of my practices to my own satisfaction. Please do your own research, and proceed AT YOUR OWN RISK
In No Particular Order!
Mint - Mildly to moderately sedative or relaxing, depending on the type of mint. Mama's Curly Mint could put you to sleep in half an hour, and peppermint tea was her go to for kids with an upset stomach. Not useful for acid reflux or acid indigestion, can make it worse. Not useful for treatment of emotional disregulation, except as an occasional recreational tea to relax and reduce episodic stress. Recommended for healing intestinal damage from auto-immune disease, but large doses are more harmful than helpful. Peppermint is one of the stronger mints, and has antibiotic properties, but when overused may burn or cause damage. Strong mints in high amounts are not recommended during pregnancy.
Dandelion - High in iron, sometimes used for diarrhea for that reason. More effective as a vegetable than as an herb in most cases. May be diuretic, and dandelion blossoms make a popular salve for eczema.
Myrrh - Good for making salve, for some types of skin irritations. Best not used internally.
Ginseng - Metabolic compensator, which is why it is known for increasing energy. It signals the body to release more energy to the cells, reducing feelings of fatigue. It also provides some partial amino and acid chains that work to help form complete nutrient molecules, and to replace missing metabolic transport enzymes. May help with some types of depression, but only where the depression is a result of either situational inability to accomplish things due to low energy (metabolic dysfunction), or where the depression is caused/aggravated by metabolic dysfunction.
Ginkgo - Considered to be good for improving brain function, specifically memory and organizational functions. May be helpful for some types of ADHD. While it is not recommended (medical sources list a warning) for individuals with seizure disorders (there is a suggestion that it may be countereffective for some types of seizures), but may be useful for some kinds of brain healing, even where episodic (predictable) seizure disorders are concerned - use with extreme caution and careful monitoring under this circumstance. I have about three types of focal seizures which I treat with herbs, and one of them responds to Ginkgo, and one to GABA, the other to Black Haw and Cramp Bark, but all of my seizures are due to inhibitory neurotransmitter deficiencies, not due to trauma or disease processes.
Kava-Kava - Sedative, and relaxant, avoid overuse. May be hard on the liver, but relatively safe for the general population if not overused. This IS addictive, and you notice by the third night if you use it every night as a sedative, it will be less effective within that time. Sometimes used in a blend with Ginkgo, St. John's Wort, Lemon Balm, Ginseng, or other similar herbs, for ADD/ADHD.
St. John's Wort - Used as an anti-depressant, and has a gentle mood stabilizing effect. Does NOT produce a HIGH. Works best in conjunction with Borage Oil. St. John's Wort should be used with caution, especially for those who are sun sensitive, as it increases your likelihood of sunburn. Trust me on this, I've burned in the shade while using this!
Borage Oil - Light mood lifter, known historically as "the herb of happiness". The oil works synergistically with St. John's Wort for mood stabilization. Used as a healer for skin, and can strengthen hair formation in the folicles, which can, over time, reduce split ends as the stronger hair grows out. Kinda odd to see this, if you use it intermittently, you can tell which hair formed with it, and which did without it, and you get a band of breakage at a certain grow-out point. Can help reduce chilblains, and sceborrhetic derbatitis, also recommended for heart health in place of Evening Primrose Oil, both are high in gamma linoleic acid.
Alfalfa - Should avoid overuse during pregnancy, this can help with hormone stabilization for women otherwise.
Black Cohosh - Used for recovery from miscarriage, affects both hormones and uterine bleeding.
Blue Cohosh - Used to induce labor contractions. It can really work, if the pregnancy is ready for it, otherwise just makes your stomach sore. Sometimes recommended to reduce uterine bleeding, by contracting the uterus - and it CAN help with that, but overdose is a real risk because it may affect other smooth muscles. Can cause hemorrhoids if overused.
Black Haw - Relaxer - this one is addictive if used regularly. Used historically to stop uterine contractions to prevent premature labor. WARNING!!! Black Haw relaxes the uterus, so MUST NOT be used if uterine bleeding is present, because it WILL make it worse! It can increase blood flow to the uterus by relaxing the muscles also. Can be used as an emergency medication for petit mal or focal seizures, the relaxant effect of this herb has a mild suppressant effect on seizure activity. This herb DOES slow intestinal motility - which means it can give you constipation. Should not be used for stress relief, too addictive.
Evening Primrose Oil - Recommended for heart health, but often used for female hormonal regulation. Sometimes used as a vaginal suppository for labor preparation as a natural alternative to prostin gel.
Hawthorn - Used for heart health, should be used with caution, as it can conflict with some heart medications.
Saw Palmetto - Male hormonal regulation and prostate health, typically, but has some other effects also, and should not be used long term.
Aloe - Skin and hair health, and useful for cuts and burns. Can be used internally, for intestinal health, and some other uses, but best with NONE of the green of the leaf in the preparation. Rumored to be associated with risk of miscarriage if the green parts of the leaf are consumed during pregnancy.
Linden Flower - Lovely herb, has a delightful tea flavor, and is recommended as a sedative or pain reliever, but this is something I cannot attest to because I have never been able to get it to produce that effect! I use it for an anti-viral or antibiotic, and it HAS been helpful for that, shortening the length of infectious flares. This tea tastes so good that you can drink it without sugar, and still enjoy it.
Passion Flower - Same as Linden flower, but not as tasty. Exactly the same - same recommended uses without being able to gain a benefit of that kind, and same repurposed use as an anti-microbial, with good effect.
Olive Leaf Extract - Anti-viral. This really works, I have used it in rotation with other anti-virals, and sometimes by itself, and it has minimal side effects, and good medicinal effect.
Cinnamon - Useful for diabetic blood sugar control. I've used this, recommended dosage produced a measurable drop in blood sugar with use over several days. Problem is that it is harsh on the digestive system, and many people cannot tolerate the necessary doses to produce long term results. Also considered to be antibiotic, mildly anti-viral, but has blood thinning effects if overused, so use with caution.
Calendula - Nice antibiotic, mild anti-viral. Useful internally (tea), and externally (wash, salve, etc). I have seen this heal a pressure infection on an amputee stump literally overnight, when medications and other treatments had failed - worsening sore - for days. It is both healing and cleansing. Works for SOME fungal infections, not all. One of my go-to herbs.
Hops - Very effective antibiotic if used as a tea or taken as capsule, and an acceptable antiviral, but the problem is that it is very hard on the intestinal tract, and will cause irritation and pain within a few doses. Should ONLY be alternated with other antibiotics, and not used by itself, works best with Calendula, or alternated with Calendula, because the Calendula can help to heal the digestive tract if not overused (it does strip out useful microbials, the same as ANY antibiotic will do, so be careful!). And an added bonus if you use Hops as a tea - seldom will you ever find a more vile and wretched concoction to try to force past your taste buds, it is worse even than Yarrow.
Chamomile - Calming tea, often used in sleepy time blends, and tummy ache remedies. Traditional lore says do not use heavily when pregnant, as it was once used as an emenogogue. Makes a nice hair wash, and may be healing for some scalp conditions.
Lemon Balm - Lovely lemony tea, and reputed to help with depression, and calming to an anxious stomach. Wonderful when planted along walkways, the smell just wafts up! Not recommended during pregnancy.
Brigham Tea - Useful as a metabolic compensator, like ginseng, though the effect is somewhat different. CAUTION!!! If you use this wrong, you'll end up with a marvelously effective purgative (diarrhea anyone?), and you won't be able to get the benefits that are most useful. To reduce negative side effects, this is prepared as a weak tea, using a pressure pot. 12 branches, 3" or so long, for 6 cups of water. Pressure on high 10 minutes, then add 6 TBSP sugar (sugar substitutes do NOT work!), and pressure on low for 5 minutes. End result is a pleasant flavored PINK tea. Should not have more than 1 cup a day, and should not be consumed daily for more than 2-3 days. Cans well!
Arnica - Healing and antiseptic herb. Not recommended for internal use. Traditionally used as a salve, but works as a wash also.
Bee Pollen - Antihistimine in effect. Traditionally used for bee sting reactions, or pollen allergies, but for some reason this seems to work on all kinds of allergies. I've used it to back off anaphylaxis (slow building reaction) when I was hypersensitive to chlorine and got overdosed - could NOT go to the hospital, because their medications ALL contain chlorine, and even benadryl or zyrtec would make the reaction WORSE (I was allergic to both at the time - medical help would have killed me). But bee pollen came to my rescue quite a few times, using 1-2 capsules, and obtaining slow relief within half an hour, needing another dose generally in 24 hours, more or less. The effect of bee pollen as an antihistimine declines with regular (especially daily) use, so it is NOT a substitute for simply removing the irritants from your life as far as possible.
Royal Jelly - Surprisingly, this has some benefit. It is mildly neuroregenerative, and mildly endocrine regenerative and stimulative (it stimulates some types of growth in bees), and can cause abnormal hair growth if you are cavalier with it! Not the kind of hair growth you want, either - random asymmetrical whiiskers and heavier leg hair are not always appreciated. Should NOT be taken daily, should be used with caution.
Bilberry - Used by the military in studies to improve night eyesight, with reported good effect.
Cascara - I never licked the bark when we were peeling cascara trees when I was a kid, but I was assured that the experience would be motivating and unforgetable if I did. Strong laxative. Overuse will produce such painful cramps that it will bring a grown man to tears, and can cause astonishingly painful hemorrhoids.
Chickweed - Lovely crunchy salad green, which has a chemical in it which reputedly aids in weight loss. I would not use this as an extract or tea, it is so good in salads, and it should not be used long term anyway. The manner in which it works does lead to fat breakdown, but if you have chemical sensitivity, or metabolic or mitochondrial problems, rapid fat breakdown can cause severe reactions from chemicals stored in the fat cells - your body will often trap unwanted chemicals in fat cells, and then it is not able to break them down properly, so use of this herb may cause idiopathic allergic reactions, random rashes or skin outbreaks, digestive problems, brain fog, or other really weird side effects, that are from the elements stored in your fat cells, and not from the herb itself. It is still a delicious vegetable though, and it is hard to get enough in the occasional salad to cause problems. My only complaint is that the growing season for it is so short, and it does not want to grow in my area.
Comfrey - Controversy, controversy! Yeah, it can cause cancer. Yeah, it can aid healing. We find that when something has a cellular regenerative effect, it also has potential carcinogenic and mutanogenic effects, because when you stimulate the body to reproduce cells at a rapid rate, errors in DNA replication are more common. So if it WORKS, it DOES have a natural, and reasonably provable side effect. Just the cost of having it do the job. NOT recommended for inclusion in products that are used repeatedly in the same place on the body. Not recommended for use as a recreational tea. If you take those warnings, it IS useful for occasional emergency or first aid use. Most often used as a healing salve - do NOT apply this when dirt or infection may be present in a wound, use Calendula instead until the wound is clean - Comfrey may cause the wound to heal over with debris or infection sealed in. It DOES work internally as well as externally though, and people who have high cancer risks should absolutely avoid use of this tea for healing. There are other healing options which are supportive of healing, rather than regenerative, which are more appropriate. This herb also constricts skin, so you do NOT want to use it to try to treat new stretch marks... Trust me... Misery does not BEGIN to define the discomfort it causes on a pregnant belly!
Cranberry - Excellent for kidneys. Someone out there is circulating a rumor that cranberry is not helpful for kidney function. Ignore them, it is actually very effective for kidney and bladder infections. Yes. I've used it. Yes, it stopped the infection. Yes, I lived through it. I have family members who use this also, under direction from a nephrologist. Blueberry and lingonberry are effective alternatives.
Garlic - Antibiotic in function, though rumored to be anti-viral (many are both, but stronger on one form of microbes than another). This is also a blood thinner, and this is where I've found it to be most useful, and where I need to be cautious. You don't want to be crunching the toast with baked garlic spread on it if you are having bleeding issues. Can be useful for treating blood clots or phlebitis, but has a rebound effect if you use it too long, so should only be used for short term situations. (For the record, I DID go to the doctor, but the ER was an hour away, and driving there resolved the clot, but did not resolve the problem that caused it, so I used garlic for the next few years at the first sign of vein pain to stay OUT of the ER, and it worked marvelously.) Should not be used for more than a few days in a row, though if you regularly consume large amounts of garlic your body does adjust to the higher amounts.
Dill Weed - Useful for clotting disorders - only where too much clotting is a problem. Can be taken regularly as a preventive, and while I can't prove it worked, it did seem to help. Fennel leaf will also help with this in a similar manner.
Elderberry - Popular anti-viral, but also antibiotic. Leaf is most effective. Not good to take this on a daily basis, it is like most anti-microbials, either the microbes get resistant, or it depletes your body of the good microbes. Best if taken with either Passion Flower or Burdock. Some people do have a reaction to this (I had random itching), but it will either diminish or get worse with the second or third dose, and you'll know if you can overcome the reaction, or if you should not use it.
Ginger - Reputed to settle an upset stomach or morning sickness, and ginger snap cookies, or candied ginger were sometimes used in that capacity historically. I can attest that for many people though, it can give you a glorious case of heartburn! There's a reason for the conflicting results. RAW ginger is a different thing than COOKED ginger. Raw ginger is more potent and will cause more burning sensation. Cooked ginger is gentled down. So if you are using ginger for digestive issues, use COOKED ginger, either in your meals, or in a small cookie or candied form. Ginger syrup is also a very useful choice for treating digestive issues. Ginger has antibiotic and antiviral effects as well, which DOES work right in the stomach, so if you have contracted a stomach virus, or have encountered a case of food poisoning, it is a great choice to treat the symptoms and the cause with a single herb. I've used it for this purpose, and it is effective for me.
Chanca Piedra - This has been shown in studies to help dissolve kidney stones, but should NOT be used on a daily basis. It is spectacularly foul tasting also.
Coffee Berry Extract - Metabolic compensator, similar to ginseng, BUT.... Coffee beverages, brewed hot, tend to concentrate some components, and lose others, so it is NOT the same! Green Coffee Berry is also whole herb, and contains many things that are not helpful for health, so when we say Coffee Berry Extract, we mean just that - Extract. The immune depressive effects of coffee are well documented, and totally unhelpful for healing the body since it is so addictive that it is difficult to use it properly even if you DID need immunosuppressive properties! Extract is recommended, since it has much of the caffeine and tannins removed, but still retains the elements needed for medicinal use. This should not be taken on a daily basis, but for me, I have needed it less and less as time goes on, it seems to compensate, and heal, both.
Green Tea Extract - Exactly the same as Coffee Berry, but may have benefits for kidney health if used with moderation. Heals as it compensates, so long term, need for it may taper off. NOTE: Green Tea, and Green Tea Extract are NOT the same thing, and they do NOT have the same benefits! Green tea contains elements that are drawn off of green tea leaves, and Green Tea Extract is what is LEFT OVER after this process is completed. Many of the harmful elements are drawn off, and concentrated in the tea. What is left behind is what you want for metabolic healing, or for kidney healing, and when the extract is used, VERY LITTLE is needed (typically 1 capsule a day for a few days, rarely 2 capsules followed by one capsule a day for a few days at a time). Some studies show that green tea does have healing effects for kidneys, but the caffeine and tannins have reciprocal harmful effects, and if you have kidney problems, the LAST thing you need is the immune depressive effects of the caffeine!
Hemp Seed - Used as a protein supplement. Unfortunately, it is VERY hard on the digestive tract, and causes kidney stones with prolonged use, so whatever benefit it has, gets lost to intestinal damage and nutritional deficiency secondary to malabsorption issues, or to kidney malfunction. This one is one I've encountered personally, so I know for myself that it isn't something that does what it is promoted for. The effects are slow, and insidious, so many people using this do not notice that it is associated with the use of hemp seed. I was carefully controlling my diet at the time though, and when I added the hemp seed, I monitored carefully. After 3 days, I found myself in a slow decline, and my digestive health and appetite diminished gradually until I pinpointed the cause, removed the hemp seed, and promptly recovered.
Hyssop - Mild flavored tea, I am not sure about capsules, never used them. But I can attest that hyssop is a gentle cough relief herb. It does not quiet it all, but takes the edge off, and may be useful for pneumonia, and bronchitis, where you CAN'T suppress the cough completely without worsening the infection (since mucus stays in the lungs), but where you need to give just enough relief to allow some sleep (if they sit up, and use hyssop, they might be able to get some rest without drowning or coughing themselves to a vomitous state). Hyssop is NOT sedative, and does not seem to depress the central nervous system like many cough relief remedies, so it is safer for those with apnea.
Lobelia - Not useful for nerve pain, I can tell you that! But works as a sedative and does relieve types of pain that are not severe enough to break through sleep. This needs to be used with caution, it IS addictive, and it is harmful in pregnancy, and it IS depressive to the central nervous system and not recommended for use as a sedative by those with sleep apnea. Used with Black Haw or Wild Cherry Bark, and with Valerian in a combination, Lobelia can completely short circuit a reaction I get from airborne toxins that causes several days of insomnia followed by seizures. 1 full dropper of Black Haw or Wild Cherry Bark Tincture, 1/3 dropperful of Valerian tincture, and 1/4 dropperful of Lobelia stops the cycle cold (it requires all three). I'm not sure of the mechanism here, but this has allowed me to function without a week of misery following each exposure.
Maca - Reputed to help with reproductive issues, and issues of intimacy, which means you get funny looks if you buy this for reproductive issues. Does increase blood flow to the pelvic region so caution is advised if any uterine bleeding is present. Low doses generally considered safe for pregnancy.
Milk Thistle - Renowned liver healer. May also help with kidney health to a lesser degree.
Blessed Thistle - Useful in the same way as Milk Thistle, but also as a gentle antibiotic.
Queen of the Meadow - Controversial, may aid in healing specific reproductive issues, though nobody has quantified exactly WHICH reproductive issues so they just kind of use it for all of them. I have read that there have been successes with healing repeat miscarriage, though I don't know how well documented it was, and I do not know the mechanism by which this may have occurred.
Papaya Leaf - Used as a digestive enzyme replacement. It works ok, but I found that dried mango, dried pineapple, or dried kiwi was just as effective, and easier to obtain (besides which, I do not LIKE papaya!). About a 1" square, by 1/8" thick piece of dried enzymatic fruit works pretty well, and replaces about 3 tablets of Payaya Leaf Extract. Otherwise about three of these are needed for a meal, and they did help me to digest certain foods without so much heartburn and indigestion. If you need this, or any enzyme replacement, you should not need them long term. 1-2 months should allow your digestive system to heal sufficient to taper them off.
Red Raspberry Leaf - The quintessential feminine herb, makes a fairly safe recreational replacement for iced tea. Used for reduction of menstrual cramps, and reduction of heavy bleeding. Those two things are usually mutually exclusive, but this herb really does this. Side effect that gets you is that too much encapsulated herb is harsh on the digestive system, and will give you intestinal pain. Capsules are taken about every 6 hours, and take about 4 hours to take effect. Tea takes effect far faster, but only lasts about 4 hours, and it is REALLY hard to keep making tea, and eliminating it, around the clock. But you CAN bottle this in used fruit juice bottles - just stuff about 4 full compound leaves into a quart jar, add water, put the lid on, and pressure can for 15 minutes. The leaves sink to the bottom, and you can just pour off the tea when you open the bottle.
Turmeric - A double edged sword if there ever was one! Turmeric is actually a good healer for intestinal issues, I've used it. Recommended dose is about a tsp a day, which is hard to get into your diet, and capsules are the easiest method. I don't recommend using it daily - I used it every day and got about half a tsp of it into a meal, using it with a sweet and sour marinade for vegetables or meat, but could not use it long term. Turmeric, you see, is stored a long time, so producers and packers treat it with a sprout inhibitor which kills surface cells in the intestines. So unless you can get TRULY organic Turmeric (most organic is still treated), it has limited benefit - the backlash is often worse than the original condition.
Valerian - Mother's Little Helper right in the garden. Valerian does have a mild relaxant and sedative effect, but I've never used enough of it to knock me out. Does not help with nerve pain. I tend to use this in a preparation with a small amount of lobelia, a little bit of valerian, and a larger amount of black haw, for seizures, and the mixture is effective on somnolent focal seizures, but I don't use it daily, and all are addictive, so it isn't a recommended treatment for constant seizure suppression. This IS known to be addictive, not recommended for regular use.
Wild Lettuce - No sedative or pain relief effect at all. Just so you know. But it does have some mild metabolic compensator effects. The best use for this is to feed it to your rabbits. It makes delicious meat.
Wild Cherry Bark Extract - Now THIS one will make you drowsy. Don't use it unless you are staying home, and it is presumed addictive so avoid regular use. Peel out the inner bark, and throw it in your pressure pot. A good handful of inner bark strips about 6" long. Add 2 cups water. Pressure for 15 minutes on high pressure. Add 4 cups sugar, and pressure for 5 minutes on high. Strain out the bark. Pour into canning jars while molten hot, and put the lids on snug. You can waterbath it if you want, but I don't. Refrigerate after opening. 1-2 tablespoons per dose.
Witch Hazel - Skin tonic and cleansing herb, best made into a wash or tincture (for use in a wash), or sometimes as an ointment.
Wormwood or Southernwood, or Big Sage Leaf - Ok, so all these are interchangeable. They are usually used for skin infestations, or to treat worms in animals. If you stuff a pint jar about half full of the soft fuzzy leaves, and then pour in any kind of cooking oil, and then set it in water in a crock pot on WARM for several days, you get a skin or hair oil that is nasty to use, but which WILL wash out with shampoo - this has been effective for me at times, for sceborrhetic dermatitis. If you put some of this into alcohol, and let set COLD you get something similar that you can dab onto ringworm or other NON OPEN irritations caused by either fungus, mites, or other little crawly things. If you use a mixture of honey and water instead of the oil or alcohol, you get something that smells so much like especially repulsive turpentine that you'll never think it can be used for ANYTHING!!! But it can be used at a rate of 1 tablespoon of this to 1 gallon of water, for treating worms or other intestinal parasites IN ANIMALS ONLY. At least, this is what they say...
Yarrow - Bah, Ptooey, Nasty! This is the classic vile tincture, and tea, but people swear by it. So far I've taken it for heart issues (low dose), uterine hemorrhage (with Naproxin Sodium, and Red Raspberry Tea), and once for an infection. I can't swear that it worked for any of them. But I lived, contrary to the desire I had when I could not get the flavor out of my mouth fast enough. As a capsule, it works, but the onset of effect is so slow that it is not usually used this way except for internal infections.
Echinacea - I love this herb, but it does not love me. It is a good anti-biotic for me, but not a good anti-viral. And it is not an enjoyable tea, so I take it as an herb when I need it. Best used with Golden Seal, or Burdock, or Blessed Thistle.
Golden Seal - Reputed to lower blood sugar in sensitive individuals, I think in part because people tend to take it when they are not eating well. If you are up and eating, and don't already have blood sugar problems, it does not seem to be an issue. Anyway, I use it in rotation with other anti-biotics, they seem to work best that way, and herbal lore suggests that it has less of a chance of causing blood sugar issues if used in conjunction with Echinacea.
Aspen, Cottonwood, or Apricot Leaf or Bud - Used to make salve or ointment for wound dressing, all three of these are fairly powerful antibiotic, and good anti-virals. I make syrup from these for internal use, using a pressure extraction method that reduces toxicity. All three may be used as a boiled tea, boiling for 15 minutes (the extended heat does destroy some of the harsher elements in them), but you want the tea to be fairly weak, using only 1/2 tsp herb per cup of water, rather than 1 tsp. USE WITH CAUTION, not recommended during pregnancy, and not recommended to use as a capsulated herb.
Burdock - Excellent mild anti-viral, with many other historic uses. This is a FLUSH detoxer, which helps flush out unwanted chemicals from the body, and as such may be harmful or helpful when used by people with low kidney function. Also considered to be a good anti-bacterial.
Rose Petal - Flush detoxer. Helps the body flush out harmful chemicals or excess nutrients. Best used with sugar, and with lots of water, either as a syrup or sweet tea - the sugar helps draw out fluids from the body, and carries some things with it. High in Vitamin C, so people with Vitamin C processing disorders should use with caution - high heat preparations have reduced vitamin C.
Wild Mustard - Cellular detoxer, can help with chemical overload, or with metabolic or mitochondrial disorders which build up excess substances in the body.
Spruce or Pine Bud - I make a syrup from these, using a pressure extraction process. I use them for healing progressive damage from mitochondrial disorders, and in a preventive blend to help reduce symptoms from chemical exposure. They are both powerful antiviral and antibiotic agents, both internally and externally, but MUST be used with caution, as they can be very harsh.
Bromelain (Pineapple Enzyme) - Ok, so there's this thing running around online about how this is the world's most powerful cough suppressant. NOT, NOT, NOT!!! It is a wonderful digestive enzyme for people who are low on them, and Pineapple Juice or Fruit is a terrific addition to many meat and protein preparations to help digest or metabolize them. But it is not a cough suppressant. Yes, we cough a lot, and we tested.
Caffeine - Ok, so it is not an herb. And Coffee and Tea are NOT good options. But when you need a solid immune suppressant to get an auto-immune disease under control, it works nicely. About 1 month of caffeine therapy, combined with healing herbs, so the auto-immune attack drops sufficient to get some healers in there, and then you stop the caffeine treatment, and keep on with the healing herbs for another few months, tapering them off. Usually there are environmental effects, so those are addressed at the same time (chlorine, chemicals in air fresheners and dryer sheets, sprout inhibitors in foods, are the three biggies). Caffeine therapy is 1 tablet, twice a week for 1 week, 1/2 tablet twice a week for three weeks. This protocol is what I used to treat Crohn's when I was down to only being able to eat about 13 specific foods (like butter, peeled zucchini, banana, hard white wheat, organic bison, lactose free organic milk, peeled organic potatoes, etc). Anyway, caffeine IS an immune suppressant, and that can be verified. Works for auto-immune miscarriage also, but you MUST NOT use sugarfree soft drinks for the caffeine source. The caffeine may react with the aspartame, and cause catastrophic birth defects. Someone who is addicted to coffee or tea will already have significant immune suppression, and caffeine treatment should NEVER be used with them.
Sodium Benzoate - You find this in SODA POP. But if you use Sugar Free soda, it will HARM you, and won't help you! So some people build up ammonia in their system, as a result of overexposure to certain chemicals (this can cause mitochondrial damage), or as a result of an inborn mitochondrial disorder. Excess ammonia leads to an Alzheimer's like condition, or other forms of dementia and neurological dysfunction. You need 1-2 cans of soda per day if you have this problem and it MUST NOT be sugarfree! If you stay active, your body will just use the sugar for energy. Caffeinated sodas tend to backfire with this also, because caffeine does its own damage over time if used improperly. Look this one up folks, sodium benzoate is THE medical treatment for excess ammonia in the body. I find that if I am exposed to airborne toxins, that my body tends to get dysfunctional in a range of ways, but I also have a lack of concentration, trouble with complex calculations, and my executive function declines. Two cans of soda per day for about 3-5 days corrects this, and otherwise it will continue for several weeks.
Niacinamide - Niacin can cause a severe reaction in some people - they call this "flushing", because it causes a sensation of heat in the skin, or prickling, or itching. So they also make "flush free" niacin, which many people tolerate better - I don't. Even flush free causes me to have a reaction. I discovered Niacinamide, and it has been a minor miracle. Niacin is essential for kidney function and repair. I have an inherited condition which causes my kidneys to deteriorate due to certain kinds of chemical exposure, or due to excess vitamin C (I don't flush it out normally). Niacin helps reverse the damage if I use it following exposure to the things that damage my kidneys.
B-12 Adenosylcobalamin - B-12 is a known problem for many people, because they KNOW they are low on it, but if they take a supplement, it works for a week or two, then causes side effects that are intolerable! B-12 is generally available as Cyanocobalamin, which segments in the body and forms into Cyanide, and cobalamin. Not good! It is only a tiny amount of cyanide, but over time, your body becomes sensitive or it builds up, and you end up with some very unpleasant side effects. Heart arrythmias are one of the most common side effects, and probably the most noticeable. You can also buy Methycobalamin, but this segments and forms into Methylene an cobalamin, with similar side effects if you use it regularly. So this brings us to Adenosylcobalamin, which I can only find in ONE store online, under ONE brand name. But this stuff WORKS like nobody's business! This is also somewhat of a miracle for me. Why? Because B-12 is a necessary element for neurological health! If you are low on B-12, pain signals in the body are magnified unilaterally, and you will feel as much as 10 times the amount of pain you would normally feel. A mild twinge will become a screaming lightening bolt. A little sciatica that disappears when you change positions becomes a severe flare that leaves you crying because it won't stop. The RIGHT KIND of B-12 is truly miraculous in reducing pain levels, IF you happen to be low on B-12. Many people are, because B-12 is extracted in the bowel low in the ileum, and this is the most frequently damaged portion of the bowel for people with IBS, IBD, and other bowel disorders.
Inositol - Helps with the use of phosphorus in the body. Some metabolic conditions cause low phosphorus (not all the time, but during dysfunctional flares). Low phosphorus is NOT good, it leaves the bones brittle. Inositol can help you make better use of the added phosphorus in commercial baked goods, so it is a positive thing, not a negative thing.
JELLO!!! With PINEAPPLE!!! - This one is just so good... Calcium is not the only thing needed for bone health. A large percentage of people with osteoporosis are NOT suffering from low calcium, they have a PROTEIN deficiency. I have compression fractures throughout my spine due to protein deficient osteoporosis, and have discovered that the easiest way to treat this is with Jello. Jello is just animal based collagen, rendered from cartilage and bones. I use Jello brand, and prefer to mix lime and raspberry together - this is what TASTES best to me, and it is important that you PAY ATTENTION to what tastes good here, because gelatins are made from different types of animal collagen, and you may not digest or metabolize pork the same way you do beef, or chicken the way you do fish. Anyway, I cannot break down collagen proteins well, and I cannot metabolize them well either - this is WHY I have a deficiency. If I put Pineapple juice, or pineapple pieces into my Jello, I metabolize it very well, and it also tastes better to me this way (the body is a smart thing, taste really does matter, it is how your body tells you it needs more). So I mix two flavors of Jello powder in a jar, and store the jar in the cupboard. I buy those individual 8 oz cans of Dole Pineapple Juice (this is the cheapest way to get small cans - less expensive than the 6 pack of 6 oz cans). I heat 1/2 cup of water in the microwave, in a mug. I add 1-4 TBSP of Jello powder and stir to dissolve it. The amount I use depends on what is going on - usually I know I'm low because I've done something that broke a rib or caused another fracture in my back, but sometimes in my foot, or hand. Anyway, I then add half a can of pineapple juice (store the rest in a jar in the fridge - don't store pineapple juice in the can, it gets nasty). Sometimes I add a squirt of lime juice also. I drink it warm - because I don't need this every day, and mixing it as a drink is just more convenient for occasional need. You can buy collagen supplements, but Jello is just about the most economical thing you can do, so I just deal with the sugar and other ingredients, and overall it has been a positive thing.
A short description of some of the forms in which herbs are found.
Tea, Decoction, etc. - Usual is 1 tsp herb to 1 cup of water, boil the water, steep for tea, boil the herb in the water for decoction (roots, barks, and other thick stuff does best with this).
Tincture - Herbs are soaked cold in high proof alcohol for anywhere between 2 weeks and several months, depending on the coarseness of the herb, and the desired strength. Used by the drop or dropperful, depending.
Capsule - Takes longer to take effect than tea or tincture, but is easier and more pleasant. You get the whole herb - helpful sometimes, not so helpful other times. Some are EXTRACTS, meaning they've been processed some, and some are whole herb.
Wash - Either a tea, or tincture mixed with water, used to wash a wound, infection, or irritation.
Salve, Ointment - Made by heating an oil or solid fat, and steeping the herb in it, at a low temperature. Too hot, and you have fried herb. Used for skin treatments.
Oil - Long slow, low heat steep results in a strong oil. Sometimes a cold steep is used but it takes months to do. Useful for scalp treatments, or a hot washcloth with the oil on it, laid on a skin irritation.
Syrup - An old form of preservation, a syrup is made with 1 cup water, and 2 cups sugar. Extraction may occur in one of several methods, including water only, water and sugar, high pressure extraction, or a combination of methods. Many herbs are extracted using a water only extraction followed by a water and sugar extraction, and some use a high pressure water extraction followed by a low pressure sugar extraction. The purpose of the combination is to extract certain elements while destroying some that would be harmful if extracted intact with a sugar extraction (which tends to be more efficient). So the first run destroys as well as extracts, and the second run with sugar helps to fully extract the elements you do want. I can't prove WHAT is destroyed and preserved, I can only prove that some things considered unsafe are able to be used without side effect when extracted in a combination extraction. CAUTION!! Syrups should be stored, water bath canned, in SMALL jars (we mean 1-2 oz jars), because they WILL ferment if kept too long. Not all do ferment, but some do, and once it goes to alcohol, you are dealing with a destructive substance rather than a healing substance - you use more of them than you do of a tincture, the amount of sugar means a LOT of alcohol can build up, and it is a little harder to evaporate the alcohol from them.
Cordial - This is an ALCOHOLIC fermentation of an herbal formula, generally with some kind of fruit juice as the base. This is an OLD form of herbal preservation, and if not used right, a HARMFUL one. Be sure to HEAT the cordial before use, or let it sit to EVAPORATE the alcohol (stirring helps). Cordials are fermented in the same way that wines are fermented.
NOTE REGARDING ANTIBIOTIC USE OF HERBS
I have had to treat strep when I could not tolerate an antibiotic, and I would NEVER recommend this course for anyone unless it were their only choice. It WAS my only choice, as I was just too sensitive to antibiotic medications at the time.
I used a combination of heavy duty antibiotic herbs, in rotation (helps avoid microbial resistance), and it was so terrible. It took 2 weeks for the sore throat to subside, and another month or more for me to feel like I was over it. I would never subject a child to such torture, when a medication can knock it out in 1-3 days (depending on the type). I've done it both ways, with more than one type of strep, and there is just no comparison.
For THIS, you might try THIS
(if you are brave and assume all risk for yourself!)
St. John's Wort
Wild Cherry Bark
Brigham Tea (Ephedra) (short prep)
Aspen, Cottonwood, or Apricot Leaf or Bud (Caution)
Spruce or Pine Bud
Olive Leaf Extract
Brigham Tea (short prep, laxative)
Spruce or Pine Bud
Wormwood or Southernwood, or Big Sage Leaf
Cottonwood or Aspen Leaf or Bud
Evening Primrose Oil
Queen of the Meadow
Red Raspberry Leaf
Sodium Benzoate (chelates ammonia)
Kidney and Liver Health
Rose Petal (with caution)
Evening Primrose Oil
Metabolic or Mitochondrial Health
Brigham Tea (Ephedra)
Coffee Berry Extract
Green Tea Extract
Spruce or Pine Bud
Chemical Sensitivity (compensators)
Spruce or Pine Bud
Willow Bark (Extreme Caution)
Ginkgo (Read warnings!!)
Wild Cherry Bark
Lobelia (with other herbs)
Valerian (with other herbs)
Bone and Joint
Jello with Pineapple (seriously... collagen, folks!)
Tonic for Nutritional Health
Rose Petal or Hips
The information on this site is presented for informational purposes only, and consists of the opinions and experiences of the site authors. It is not to be construed as medical advice or to be used to diagnose or treat any illness. Seek the assistance of a medical professional in implementing any nutritional changes with the goal of treating any medical condition. The historical and nutritional information presented here can be verified by a simple web search.
I do what I do because I understand the science behind it, and I've researched worldwide sources to verify the safety of my practices to my own satisfaction. Please do your own research, and proceed AT YOUR OWN RISK.