Herb Guide

Herb Condition Dosage 
Aloe Vera Gel Gastrointestinal Disturbances Take 100 mg of solid extract up to 3 times a day with meals. Drink plenty of fluids. (recommended 8 oz of water) 
Black Cohosh Menopause, PMS 60 mg daily, with meals. 
Feverfew Migraine Headaches, Joint Pain 150 mg daily. 
Garlic Cholesterol, Cardiovascular Disease Immune Enhancement 1 clove fresh garlic daily or two 300 mg capsules or tablets daily, with meals. 
Ginko Biloba Memory, Mood, Circulation 60 mg twice daily, with meals. 
Green Tea Cancer prevention 100 mg to 300 mg daily with meals. 
Hawthorn Heart disease 360 mg daily, with meals 
Horse Chestnut Varicose veins, circulatory disorders 150 mg twice daily, with meals. 
Milk Thistle Liver Problems, Detoxification 320 mg daily with meals. 
St. Johns Wort Depression 300 mg twice daily, with meals. 
Saw Palmetto Prostate Enlargement 160 mg twice daily, with meals. 
Herbs to be Taken Cyclically     
Echinacea Colds, Flu, Infections 175 mg two to four times daily as needed, with meals. Take for one months- then a two-week break before resuming. 
Ginseng Fatigue, Stress 75 mg to 300 mg with meals. Use daily for one month then take a two-week break. 
Kava Anxiety 150 mg up to 6 times daily with meals. No more than 2 in any 4-hour period. Take for a maximum of three months, followed by two to four weeks of rest. 

Important Herb Terminology

Solid Extracts 

In solid extracts solvents are completely removed which makes this more concentrated than either fluid extracts or tinctures. Solid extract strength is measured in units of grams of crude herb per grams of extract. So, for example, a 5:1 concentration uses five grams of herb to produce 1 gram of extract.  Solid extracts have the greatest chemical stability and are the most economical form for most herbs. 

Fluid Extracts 

Fluid extracts are produced by evaporating most of the solvent to yield 1:1 concentration of herb to solvent. A fluid extract if five times as strong as a tincture made from the same solution. 

Tinctures 

Tinctures are the least concentrated of the three, are prepared by soaking the herb in a solvent. Typical solvents are water and alcohol for a specific amount of time, after which the solution is pressed. The strength of a tincture is measured by its concentration. It contains five times as much solvent as herbal material making it the least economical form of herbal supplements. 

Quality Control  

Herbs should be thoroughly analyzed and tested during harvesting and manufacturing to ensure high quality. Here are several types of analysis that can be done. 

Impurities 

Even in the best circumstances, organically grown herbs can unknowingly be contaminated by ground water. It is essential that they be screened for contamination including, heavy metals, microbes and pesticides. 

Identifying Herbs 

It surprises many people to know that even experts can have a difficult time identifying herbs that belong to the same family. Because of this one way to ensure that the herb is what it is represented to be is through chemical testing. 

Potency 

The final step is to test the herb for potency. Soil quality, rainfall, climatic conditions and growing time all help in determining the final potency of the herb. Good manufacturing techniques require the verification of the potency for each batch. In the case of standardized extracts, care must be taken to analyze and verify the active compounds in each bottle. 

Rediscovering our “Roots”

We as Americans are re-discovering the powerful century-old therapeutic uses of herbs. While there are many types of herbs both for edible and medicinal purposes, many people are a bit confused as to which herbs do what, when and how to take them, potential side effects and other safety issues. There is a lot of conflicting information about herbs. Many tout them as a “cure-all” from everything from cancer, liver problems, to acne. 

Faced with this dilemma of where to find sound advice on herbs, we continually garner information from top experts in the field and pass that information on to you so that you can be properly informed and use that information to make Intelligent, wise choices. 

About Doctors and Pharmacists 

Why not ask a doctor or pharmacist? The sad truth is that most physicians and pharmacists are uneducated about and often biased against herbs. Although herbs have been used for centuries for their healing properties, since the rise of the pharmaceutical industry they have been somewhat branded as “old and out of date” remedies. Most of this is propaganda used to promote expensive drugs (which are often derivatives from herbs) for which they hold the patent rights. It is harder to profit from herbs since no one can own a patent on an herb. So, if you consult a pharmacist or physician, make sure you know if they have a background in herbs. 

What you Should Know About Herbs 

Potentially, herbs can tremendously improve your health. However, it is essential to follow a few guidelines. When selecting an herb, choose a product that contains adequate amounts of the herb as well as its active constituents. 

  • Take it correctly. Herbs have pharmacological effects. Many people think that because it is an herb, they are safe from any side effects. So be certain to follow directions about proper dosage, and if you are on any other medications, be sure to consult a qualified physician about possible conflicts or side effects. Some herbs are fine to take every day while others should only be taken on an as needed or periodic basis. 
  • Choose quality herbs. Herbs can come in many different forms. The basic or raw form of herbs is as they occur in nature, such as leaves, cloves, or root. These can be processed into powders, tablets, or capsules. Teas can also be made by steeping bulk herbs in boiling water. (Also known as infusions) Extracts are concentrated forms of herbs. If you are planning to use herbs therapeutically, extracts are the best. Extracts come in three forms–fluid extracts, solid extracts and tinctures.  
  • Whenever possible choose cultivated, organic herbs. Wild crafting is the practice of collecting herbs from their natural environment. While it may seem that this is the preferable to cultivated herbs, one cannot be certain of the quality or contamination of wild herbs. It has also led to the near extinction of certain herbs as well as damaging the ecosystems like rainforests.  Choose cultivated herbs whenever possible. These have been screened from harmful effects of pesticides. 

Herbal Treatments for Common Dermatological Disorders

When it comes to the way we look, we often look for the fastest possible cure. If we have an acne breakout, we reach for the strongest spot treatments available. If we want to lose weight, we go on juice cleanses and restrict eating. It comes as no surprise that, when used in excess, these treatments can be detrimental to our overall health. Mainstream cosmetic medicine has prioritized efficiency over health for decades – but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Most common dermatologic disorders, the most-experienced form of cosmetic dissatisfaction, have safe and effective herbal treatments available. Reaching for an herb or naturally occurring ingredient will almost always be safer than the cosmetic treatment that promises unrealistic results. That said, some types of skin problems will require the help of a skin specialist or medical dermatologist. Below, we’ve broken down several herb treatments for common skin problems, but we’ve made sure to highlight exactly when you should see a medical professional for assistance.

Acne

Acne typically responds very well to fruit acids, such as citric, gluconic, gluconolactone, glycolic, malic, and tartaric acids. This is broadly believed to be a result of the acids’ exfoliative properties. Natural remedies, such as honey, most fruits, and some vegetables, can serve as excellent spot treatments and cleansers for mild acne, such as whiteheads and blackheads. Similarly, tannins have natural astringent properties, and they can be used topically to treat acne. The most common naturally occurring natural tannin is in witch hazel, which combines bark extract and water. Commercially available preparations of this product are not as powerful, so try your hand at making your own.

Some forms of acne, however, should require a trip to the dermatologist. Any skin lesions that are extremely painful, cystic, or unable to be identified (i.e. they don’t look like acne) should be examined by a licensed professional. Often, a quick skin check is all you need to get the medicine and care necessary to clear the blemish.

Bacterial and Fungal Skin Infections

There are many natural remedies available for both bacterial and fungal skin infections. Garlic, for example, contains ajoene, which has demonstrated both antifungal and antibacterial activity when both ingested and applied topically. While contact dermatitis has occasionally been reported with frequent exposure, this potential side-effect is minimal. Similarly, tea tree oil, when applied topically for treatment of fungal or bacterial infections, has shown to combat a wide variety of microorganisms, including Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, and Propionibacterium acnes. It has shown symptom improvement in several double-blind studies, but users should caution against using the material on burns.

Most people don’t typically need to visit a dermatologist for typical fungal infections, but bacterial infections can cause a major health risk. If you notice itchiness, swelling, or excessive redness on or near your bacterial or fungal infection, make an appointment with your doctor.

Dermatitis

Dermatitis is a condition that affects 16.5million Americans each year, and it can appear for a variety of reasons. However, certain herbal medicines are effective at treating the ubiquitous rash. For example, arnica, which is derived from the dried flowers of Arnica montana, has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory drug on sore muscles, bruises, insect bites, boils, and acne eruptions. The ingredient is also found in many seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis treatment preparations, indicating that the medical community understands and respects its potential as a medicine.

German chamomile, a member of the daisy family, can also lessen dermatitis symptoms when applied topically. Topical preparations typically include a cream or ointment base, and studies have shown that topical chamomile is comparable with 0.25% hydrocortisone, which is a common remedy for dermatitis.

Dermatitis does not typically require a dermatologist visit, but if the rash is severe, painful, itchy, or bleeding/oozing, it’s safer to make an appointment. You may be prescribed steroids or anti-inflammatory drugs that will address the problem.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a tricky dermatological condition because many believe its cause is rooted in the immune system. Most psoriasis medicines aim to decrease symptoms. Aloe vera has been used for centuries in wound healing and was found to be a potential treatment for psoriasis. In a double-blind study, the group of psoriasis patients treated with aloe showed a statistically significant improvement over the placebo group, and there were no adverse effects reported. Capsaicin has also been shown to alleviate some psoriasis symptoms. The ingredient, which is found primarily in peppers, has been shown to significantly decrease scaling and erythema when applied topically over a 6-week period.

If you have psoriasis, you should visit a medical dermatologist. Without symptom management and medical mitigation, the condition will only continue to get worse. While there is no cure for psoriasis, medical-grade medicines are typically the best way forward if you have moderate to severe outbreaks.

Can You Cure Allergies Naturally?

When the immune system in our body finds or realizes anything as foreign to the body, it immediately releases some antibodies like histamines to fight against the foreign substance. This causes inflammation which is called allergy in our body. 

There are many natural remedies for allergies available. Although natural remedies are easily available without prescription, it is better to consult a doctor before to take up any medicine as a remedy for allergies. 

When a person is taking natural remedies or any other medicines for allergies, it is better to concentrate on the environment in which they live. Avoid moist environments. Moist environments aid the growth of molds that are one of the causes of allergies. Cleanliness of the beds and the carpet plays an important role in treating allergies. Food restrictions also help in treating the allergies well. Certain types of foods should be avoided, and certain foods can be taken. A proper nutritional supplement to aid the treatment is also recommended. 

Foods like wheat and chocolates cause allergy symptoms like headaches which can also be migraine in nature. Hay fever, hives, childhood allergies, asthma, and eczema are also caused by such foods. Garlic and Onion can be taken daily to treat allergies. It is found that these herbs contain Quercitin which is effective in curing allergies. This is found to reduce the production of histamine that causes allergies in us. Green tea extract which is rich in phytonutrients is used to ward off cellular attacks. It is an excellent anti-bacterial and is used to cut down the cholesterol level and to regulate the blood sugar. 

Bromelain is used to assist in digestion of vegetable protein. Papain contains an enzyme that breaks down protein is effective in curing allergies. The acidic stage of the allergic reactions can be controlled effectively with Magnesium (Citrate). This is also used in treating asthma which has strong bonding with allergies. Calcium (Citrate) which balances the acid and the alkaline levels in our body is good in curing allergies. Calcium also reduces the production of histamine in our body. 

Air filters and dehumidifiers can be used to prevent mold that is present in the humid environments. It is known that onions, garlic, and citrus fruits contain natural antihistamines. Having these would help you prevent and cure allergies. Natural nasal rinses are also available for treating allergies. Allergy can be controlled with the help for a proper diet. You have to note down the food items that are taken by you. Avoiding certain foods and taking some foods would help you in controlling the allergies. 

Certain food supplements would also help in treating allergies positively. Natural antihistamines are taken to control allergy. You should know that the histamine released by our immune system is responsible for the allergic reaction. It is also better to know what leads to allergies. It is found that in babies the eating habits during the first year play an important role in a baby’s sensitivity to allergy. Lack of breast feeding and feeding babies with solid food too early may lead to such conditions.