Thursday, September 27, 2012

Got my Drug Interaction book back!

Since I didn't have the book that has all the drug interactions, I didn't put the interactions in each of the posts. I think the herbs below are those that I missed (with the exception of a few that aren't in the book).

I think it's important to note (although the people who wrote the book would probably scream at me for it) that many of these "interactions" are increases or decreases in the effect of the drugs. The authors are very careful to state that nothing is proven as to the effects of the herbs, then they state that the herbs increase or decrease the effects of pharmaceuticals. Which would suggest to me that the herbs are actually effective, since taking a double dose of a pharmaceutical would have the same effect.

Avoid using yarrow with depressants (such as alcohol) as well as blood thinners and drugs that lower blood pressure

Avoid using ginger with blood thinners

Avoid using garlic with anti-platelet agents or blood thinners, as garlic may increase their effects

Pepper interacts with blood thinners, some anti-biotics, non-steroidal pain killers, and smoking cessation aids.

No interactions listed

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Anethum Graveolens
Family: Unbelliferae (Carrot family)

A few months ago I made dill pickles. I don't like the process--it wastes too much salt--but I have a patch of volunteer dill this summer so I decided to try it.

Now I have volunteer dill EVERYWHERE so I'm going to harvest and dry it.

The main purposes of dill seem to center around the digestive system. Specifically, it's supposed to be good for gas, colic, hiccups, stomach pain, and to improve digestion. Like many other plants in the carrot family, it's also said to improve the apetite, but I don't think most people are concerned about eating MORE.

The other thing was to promote milk flow, for both humans and animals.

I don't have a lot of digestive problems, so the only thing I've used dill for (other than as a seasoning) is as an additive when I want to help someone relax. I use it with chamomile, catnip, lemonbalm and/or valerian depending on what's needed.

A few months ago I went on a pickle craze--they had to be dill pickles. I was eating them by the ton, it felt like, but I couldn't get enough. When the pickles were gone, I wanted to drink the juice. Weird. Still don't know why. Probably something wrong that I wasn't aware of, but the dill must have been helping or I wouldn't have wanted it like that.

Interactions: None listed. The book I have is very careful to state that no US studies support the effectiveness of dill, which I take to mean that there are studies in other areas.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Achillea Millefolium
Family: Compositae

Yarrow is another of those herbs that isn't mentioned very often.

Greek myth tells us that yarrow (also known as soldier's wound-wort) was used to stop bleeding, a use which modern science supports. It is a diaphoretic (it makes you sweat) so it's good for colds, and it's used internally and externally to stop bleeding. It's effective for cramps and to regulate menses.

I personally know that using yarrow also can make your eyes extremely sensitive. Until you know how it affects you, you probably shouldn't go out in bright sunlight if you've been taking it internally.

I was in an experimental mood and rubbed my hands with yarrow oil. When I went outside, the sunlight was actually painful. I imagine it might be helpful if someone needed better night-sight.

I also use yarrow in my lawn. It grows faster than grass, but it doesn't need as much water so even in a drought it's green. The problem with that being that it has to be vegetatively propegated (i.e., divide the root and plant the pieces) so it's not a viable solution for most lawns.

Interactions: I have no idea. I know there were some in the book I lent to my neighbor, but...

I really need to get after her. I have another book I want her to look at, so maybe I'll go over tomorrow.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Local, local, local

It drives me crazy when I hear about chinese this and japanese that and how this african tree is perfect for whatever.

For people who live in those areas, sure. However, I have always felt that it's better to use what's around us. First, if you can't afford the latest miracle cure from the depths of a tahitian jungle, your knowledge of the local herbs might make up the lack. Second, if those things are no longer available, for whatever reason, you still have other things to fall back on.

Many people rely on the foreign and exotic, when in most cases there are things immediately around them that have the same or nearly the same effect. Mahuang, otherwise known as ephedra, otherwise known as brigham tea, grows wild in the deserts of the western United States. Aloe, recognized as a semi-tropical and tropical shrub, has relatives in most climates all over the world.

Often in herbal books I see a statement that this plant grown in some faraway place has medicinal properties but the local versions are unproven to have those same properties. Apparently, until they are proven to be identical they are not sufficient, in spite of nearly identical chemical properties. Or this version, available in small quantities from some other place, has been shown to work in medical studies while that version, widely available and often growing as a weed, has not been the subject of medical studies and is therefore suspect.

So again, exotic is better. So say those who are peddling the exotics.