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#194330 - 01/26/10 08:16 PM Re: Herbal Medicines and Home Remedies [Re: LED]
Mark_F Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 714
Loc: Kentucky
Thanks LED. I think it goes without saying we are just sharing information and if you should use any of these remedies or try any of the wild edibles, do so with caution. And don't use a remedy in place of your current medications or against a Doctor's advice.
That said, I have another question LED. Do you grow these plants yourself or just acquire the oils and such from a shop? Cayenne peppers and oregano should not be hard to grow but any idea how to extract the oil from the oregano? Or the other plants? Thanks in advance for the info.
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#194334 - 01/26/10 09:20 PM Re: Herbal Medicines and Home Remedies [Re: ]
RobertRogers Offline
Survivor
Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 198
There are many dozens of useful plants. Another good one is jewelweed for poison ivy and other skin irritations.
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#194341 - 01/26/10 11:16 PM Re: Herbal Medicines and Home Remedies [Re: LED]
dweste Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Herbal medicine has a vast, worldwide history going back into prehistory. Internet searches will show you an incredible amount of information. Much of what we consider medicine in Western culture incorporates or emulates an herbal remedy. I suggest looking for a local herbal society and classes.

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#194343 - 01/26/10 11:21 PM Re: Herbal Medicines and Home Remedies [Re: RobertRogers]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Herbalism and traditional home remedies can be helpful. Particularly when they are the only materials you have to work with. Many modern medicines have been inspired by or refined from concentrations of natural materials. Once you understand how the herbal concoction works it is a lot easier to refine a synthetic analog.

But it is almost always the modern preparations that carry the day. Herbal preparations are notorious for variable dosage, inconsistent effectiveness and highly questionable assumed etiology and mechanism which often leads to inappropriate use. Assuming they have any effect at all.

Ginkgo biloba is reputed to boost brain function and memory but controlled studies show it to have no discernible effect.

Echinacea is reputed to help boost immune function but, again, it seems to have no effect in a double-blind controlled study.

If you go to a doctor for an infection your going to get something other than a herbal remedy. Antibiotics might be called for. But if your in the deep woods where modern medicine is not available blind hope, rest and echinacea might be the best you can manage. You use what you have.

As it has been pointed out many times before 'natural medicine' and 'herbalism' tend to be null categories. To the extent they consistently and reliably work they have been adopted and become a conventional and accepted medical treatment. Willow bark has long been used to treat pain and muscle aches but doctors don't generally recommend it. Instead they recommend aspirin, the synthetically produced analog that comes in an easy to use form and reliable dosage.

So use herbs for minor ailments if it makes you happy and they seem to work for you. Most minor ailments tend to moderate or go away in time no matter what you do. It is reasonable to use herbs for more serious issues if conventional treatments are not available. But for serious illness you need serious medicine.

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#194347 - 01/27/10 01:15 AM Re: Herbal Medicines and Home Remedies [Re: Mark_F]
LED Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
I'd love to have the time/space for an herb garden, but even then its highly unlikely I could do as good a job as the stuff you can buy. Especailly when it comes to the extraction part, which I know very little about. The brand I usually buy is Herb-Pharm available in most health food stores or online. There are a few brands that are more expensive but I really can't tell a difference. As far as cayanne pepper goes I kinda prefer the extract as it dissolves in liqids better than the powder, and a tiny bottle will last you a long time. I usually mix some lemon juice, honey, and cayanne pepper in some water as a pick-me-up. Beware of adding too much cayanne though or it'll feel like someone karate chopped you in the throat. There's a general description in the FAQ's of how they process the extracts.

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#194359 - 01/27/10 03:23 AM Re: Herbal Medicines and Home Remedies [Re: Blast]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3760
Loc: TX
Oops, I made a mistake. Violets are loaded with vitamins A & C, but not minerals. It's mallow that has both. Still, by weight violets have more C than oranges and compare to carrots in A.

If you are looking for uncommon herb seeds I highly recommend Bountiful Gardens. They carry all sorts of wonderful seeds at really good prices.

-Blast, not associated with Bountiful Gardens
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#194360 - 01/27/10 03:26 AM Re: Herbal Medicines and Home Remedies [Re: LED]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
"...'natural medicine' and 'herbalism' tend to be null categories."

The problem is that pharmaceutical companies are the ones with the money to do the testing, and it isn't exactly in their best interests to find positive results. Scientific validation of herbals isn't free, and the two main sources of testing are the pharmaceutical labs and the universities who take large donations from pharmaceutical companies. The testing is often not so much 'double blinds' as 'double BINDS'. They can only patent NEW medications, they can't really patent medications based on herbs, and patenting and selling high-priced medications is what makes their world go round.

The two herbals I've heard good things about are The Herb Book by John Lust (1979), and Growing 101 Herbs that Heal: Gardening Techniques, Recipes, and Remedies by Tammi Hartung (2000).

Not all antibiotics are created by man. Honey and aloe vera are two that I know of, and I'll bet there are more.

And don't forget a good supply of TicTacs and paste food coloring for use as placebos when you have nothing better.

Sue

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#194364 - 01/27/10 04:23 AM Re: Herbal Medicines and Home Remedies [Re: Susan]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Originally Posted By: Susan

The problem is that pharmaceutical companies are the ones with the money to do the testing, and it isn't exactly in their best interests to find positive results. Scientific validation of herbals isn't free, and the two main sources of testing are the pharmaceutical labs and the universities who take large donations from pharmaceutical companies. The testing is often not so much 'double blinds' as 'double BINDS'. They can only patent NEW medications, they can't really patent medications based on herbs, and patenting and selling high-priced medications is what makes their world go round.

Not all antibiotics are created by man. Honey and aloe vera are two that I know of, and I'll bet there are more.

Sue



First, the herbal market is not small, it is a multi-billion dollar industry. By some accounts a 4 billion dollars a year industry. One would think the industry would be interested in scientifically valid testing by independent testing laboratories. But your right. They don't do their own testing. And yes, there is a profit motive. Word gets out that ginko doesn't do a thing for memory or brain function and it might take the shine off of sales of $14 bottles of ginko. As it has. Herbalists don't do scientific research for the simple reason that few of their products have any effect beyond what a placebo offers. If they had confidence in their product they would be financing their own independent testing and winning doctors over. Instead they wine and cry about how everyone is against them and all the scientists cheat.

The same effect doesn't really effect the pharmaceutical researchers. If they had found ginko worked they would have dug in deeper to find out exactly what compounds created the effect. They would then synthesize it, standardize doses in a easy to use package, and sell it. They would also work on finding out how the compound worked and improve on it.

But the simple fact is that despite ginko being used for hundreds of years people still suffer form memory loss and decline of brain function. Taking doesn't make any difference beyond what you would expect of any placebo. If a herb was truly effective it would rapidly be recognized as the definitive treatment of the disease and people would no longer suffer from the disease.

People had been fighting smallpox with all sorts of herbs and natural remedies. But nothing had any significant effect before vaccination. It was vaccination that wiped the disease out. You can go down the list of diseases we can now treat, manage, occasionally cure, and almost all of the diseases have been around for hundreds or thousands of years. Thousands of years with herbalists and witch doctors plugging away at them to little or no effect. It is hard to find a case where herbs have ever been a cure or completely effective treatment. The exception may be in nutritional deficiencies.

Finding out that natural quinine was partially effective against malaria led to purified forms of quinine. The understanding of how it worked led to chloroquine and the more modern forms. Quinine no longer does the job.

Neither aloe vera nor honey are antibiotics. They are topical anti-infectives. Mainly useful as a soothing agent for skin issues they have a limited effect in lowering the chances of infection. A mix of providone iodine and honey has shown some use in treating burns and some resistant skin infections.

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#194372 - 01/27/10 08:16 AM Re: Herbal Medicines and Home Remedies [Re: Art_in_FL]
MostlyHarmless Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 982
Loc: Norway
Originally Posted By: Art_in_FL
Herbalists don't do scientific research for the simple reason that few of their products have any effect beyond what a placebo offers. If they had confidence in their product they would be financing their own independent testing and winning doctors over. Instead they wine and cry about how everyone is against them and all the scientists cheat.


You forgot the "school medicine is bad, but pharmaceutical industry is the incarnation of evil" - statement that often is implicit or explicit stated by followers of unconventional medicine or nutritional products.... (As for the moral character of the pharmaceutical industry, the statement has some truth in it... which is yet another reason to fund research independently of the industry, but I digress.)


A little word of caution: If something works it will have side effects. The herb St John's wort (wikipedia link) is documented to work for a lot of conditions including depression - but it has also serious side effects and all kinds of nasty interactions with other medicines.


For those things without documented effect - I am absolutely for a little healthy dosage of placebo: The very idea of improving one's situation by actively exploiting the human minds capacity to fool itself is absolutely amazing. Moderation is the key here as in other aspects of life - a little placebo can only do you good, too much and you start to refuse medical treatment for serious conditions. Now I don't like the way many players in the "herbal industry" lie, fool and cheat people in to spending way to many money on their products and treatments. If only there was a way to induce placebo without actually fooling people...

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#194380 - 01/27/10 02:38 PM Re: Herbal Medicines and Home Remedies [Re: MostlyHarmless]
nurit Offline
Member

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 191
Loc: NYC
"If only there was a way to induce placebo without actually fooling people..."

I'm reading a book on that very subject: "Peace, Love & Healing" by Bernie Siegel, MD (oncologist and surgeon).

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