The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

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The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

If the economy suffers further, we might not have as many places to go for medicines and vitamins and such. While this thread is not a substtiute for professional medical care or advice, the same philosophy that causes us to keep an aloe plant around the house in case of burns might be expanded to cover other traditional herbalist remedies.

As we examine various herbs in this thread I intend to let you know which herbs have clinical studies to back them up, and/or which have a long tradition of safe and effective use (example: ginger for stomach aches). If you're not a gardener, keep reading: there will be off-the-shelf (for now) rememdies that will probably save you a great deal of money.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and thank you for reading!

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread
blackberry Dried blueberries and blueberry leaves are good for diarrhea. http://www.health911.com/remedies/rem_diar.htm
raspberry The leaves make an awesome tea - I've used it for menstrual cramps: effective! http://www.rockingtherepublic.com/health/the-many-benefits-of-red-raspberry-leaf-tea-rubus-idaeus/
garlic This one has clinical studies to back it up! Studies have suggested it reduces cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, reduces blood sugar levels, helps prevent cancer, and protects the liver. You can grow the kind you get in the store, or you can use wild garlic (has hollow leaves; not to be confused with wild onions). http://healthmad.com/nutrition/health-benefits-of-garlic/
wild mint It grows like a weed and does not mind shade.  Honestly, I do not have room to list all the benefits of mint! It's good for digestion, nausea, headaches, respiratory disorders, skin care, bug bites, pimples...and did you know it inhibits harmful bacterial growth in the mouth? It's not just in toothpaste because it tastes good!  http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-mint.html
onion Generally, the stronger-tasting the onion, the better the health benefits. Cancer prevention? Shallots have the most phenols, and yellow onions--the 3-lb bag in the supermarket variety--have the most flavanoids. Too many other benefits to list here!  http://www.vegetarian-nutrition.info/updates/onions.php
strawberry Sure, you knew strawberries are good for you, but the leaves are wonderful, too. Use them in an herbal tea: good for nursing mothers, eczema, diarrhea or an upset stomach. Chock full of vitamin C!  http://www.strawberry-recipes.com/strawberry-leaf-tea.html
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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

SW -

Thanks for starting this thread.

Cat has a ginormous herb garden scattered all over the backyard - mostly culinary, but we also have feverfew and have used it in sun teas for headaches and upset stomachs.  She makes an awesome sun tea with crushed lemon balm, bruised lemon verbena and dried, ground stevia with a touch of rosemary.

There are a ton of links out there with good herbal use info - this is one we use frequently.

http://www.health-care-tips.org/herbal-medicines/feverfew.htm

Thanks again.... 

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Re: Elderberries

Great thread, Safewrite!  I look forward to checking in on it regularly.

I just planted several elderberry bushes because the elderberries are reputed to be high in vitamin C, and to make a good cold medicine.  Ok, so you can use them to make wine too. 

Anyhow, I didn't know if there were studies backing up their value as a cold remedy or not, so I just did a quick search and came up with a good aticle that summarizes elderberries' characteristics, and references studies. It is at: http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-elderberry.html .  Here's an extract:

"Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies2 these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.

Elderberries were listed in the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs as early as 1985, and are listed in the 2000 Mosby's Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever. In Israel, Hasassah's Oncology Lab has determined that elderberry stimulates the body's immune system and they are treating cancer and AIDS patients with it. The wide range of medical benefits (from flu and colds to debilitating asthma, diabetes, and weight loss) is probably due to the enhancement of each individual's immune system.

At the Bundesforschungsanstalt research center for food in Karlsruhe, Germany, scientists conducting studies on Elderberry showed that elderberry anthocyanins enhance immune function by boosting the production of cytokines. These unique proteins act as messengers in the immune system to help regulate immune response, thus helping to defend the body against disease. Further research indicated that anthocyanins found in elderberries possess appreciably more antioxidant capacity than either vitamin E or vitamin C.

Studies at Austria's University of Graz found that elderberry extract reduces oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is implicated in atherogenesis, thus contributing to cardiovascular disease.

1. J Alt Compl Mod 1995: 1:361-69
2. Youdim KA, Martin A, Joseph JA. Incorporation of the elderberry anthocyanins by endothelial cells increases protection against oxidative stress. Free Radical Biol Med 2000: 29:51 60"

Heck, they sound like they may have been an even better investment than I'd realized!

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

I"m so glad you started this thread!

I've got a large and growing raspberry patch (two actually, one front yard and one in the back) and I'm such a neophyte I'm not sure how and when to pick the leaves and how to dry them. We absolutely love the berries so I don't want to hinder the crop by harvesting leaves. Do you pluck individual leaves? A handful from each cane? While they're still at the height of photosynthesizing power or later in the season? How do you dry them or can you make tea with them green? I read that wilted leaves may contain a toxin (a fungus?) that's dangerous.

I don't know if there's an across-the-board way to summarize how to harvest, dry, store and use plant remedies based on the part of the plant that's useful -- leaf, root, flower, etc -- but I'd love to find that information somewhere on the 'net.

Thanks again,

Sue

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How to make an herbal tincture

Okay, so inspired to actually look something up instead of asking other people to do the work for me, I found this page which gives a good overview for making herbal tinctures (your feverfew page, Dogs, indicated feverfew can be dosed in tincture form too.)

http://herbalmedicine.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_make_an_herbal_tincture

It does indicate that you should refer to herb-specific instructions as some herbs should be tinctured dry rather than fresh or dry. Does anyone have a favorite reference manual on herbal medicine that would include this information? I'd love to have one on my bookshelf.

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How to make an herbal tincture

Okay, so inspired to actually look something up instead of asking other people to do the work for me, I found this page which gives a good overview for making herbal tinctures (your feverfew page, Dogs, indicated feverfew can be dosed in tincture form too.)

http://herbalmedicine.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_make_an_herbal_tincture

It does indicate that you should refer to herb-specific instructions as some herbs should be tinctured dry rather than fresh or dry. Does anyone have a favorite reference manual on herbal medicine that would include this information? I'd love to have one on my bookshelf.

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How to make an herbal tincture

Okay, so inspired to actually look something up instead of asking other people to do the work for me, I found this page which gives a good overview for making herbal tinctures (your feverfew page, Dogs, indicated feverfew can be dosed in tincture form too.)

http://herbalmedicine.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_make_an_herbal_tincture

It does indicate that you should refer to herb-specific instructions as some herbs should be tinctured dry rather than fresh or dry. Does anyone have a favorite reference manual on herbal medicine that would include this information? I'd love to have one on my bookshelf.

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

Sue, thanks for the link on making an herbal tincture.

BTW, did I mention I'm a bookaholic?  Here are two books on herbal remedies and healing foods that you may like.  (Fair warning: I'm also a novice on this so I don't have experience using these books.  But in looking through them, I liked their information content.)

- "The Healing Garden: Growing Your Own Natural Remedies Indoors or Out", by Gayle Povis Alleman, M.S. R.D.  Per the back cover: "The Healing Garden gives the basics of establishing and successfully tending a healing garden, but its not your average gardening book.  It also contains profiles of foods and herbs, discussing their health benefits as well as how to grow, store, and prepare them.  And it contains profiles on conditions and illnesses that can be prevented or treated with products from your garden."

  -"A Russian Herbal: Traditional Remedies for Health and Healing", by Igor Vilevich Zevin.  Part 1 Foundations covers: Russian Herbalism, A Brief History, Collecting and Drying Herbs, and Making Herbal Preparations.  Part 2, A Russian Materia Medica, contains ~125 pages of plant/herb profiles.  Each profile (~2 pages long) gives the plant name, a drawing of the plant, Parts Used, Actions (e.g., antibacterial, diuretic, stimulant, etc.), Medicinal virtues,habitat and collection, preparation and dosage, and (if appropriate) cautions.  Part 3, Complex Herbal Formulas, addresses the various systems within your body (e.g., the digestive organs, the respiratory system, the female reproductive system, the immune system, mental and emotional health, etc.), and gives complex (as in more than one herb) formulas that can be used to treat various ailments associated with those systems.  These are based on "many years of clinical use by both official and folk herbalists in Russia.  Many of thtese formulas have gone through the same rigorous laboratory and clinical trials undertaken for a commercially prepared allopathic drug."

   Here are a couple other books I got on herbal/plant medicines:

  -"Mama's Home Remedies: Discover Time-Tested Secrets of Good Health and the Pleasures of Natural Living", by Svetlana Konnikova, MA, AN.  Per the book's preface "...Hundreds of natural treatments, small real-life anecdotes, and inspirational notes are garnered from the personal observations, experience, and life philosophy of several generations of women in one family and their friends, passed down through the centuries."

  - Peterson's Field Guide, "Medicinal Plants and Herbs", by Steven Foster and James A. Duke.  Per the back cover, "With more than 300 photos, this new edition shows how to identify more than 500 healing plants.  Descriptive text includes information on where the plants are found, as well as their known medicinal uses. An index to medical topics, symbols next to plant descriptions, and organization of plants by colors, all make this an essential guide to understanding the traditional medicinal uses of the plants around us."

  I hope this information is helpful!

 - pinecarr

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

It is, it is -- thank you!

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

Very nice idea safewrite,

I  contribute turmeric or tumeric. I was diagnosed, via an MRI scan, with ostoarthritis in my shoulder joints and the recommendation was surgery. Turmeric, ginger and bromelaine were recommended to me on another forum for their anti inflammatory activity. I was already taking one or two caps a day as a tonic for the digestive system and still  having serious discomfort in my shoulders.[ Like, stop what you are doing and hold you shoulder and grimace. At least a seven or eight out of ten on the ouch meter.] So I figured I'd try more.

After about three weeks of 18, 00 caps a day the discomfort was gone and has largely remained gone for the last three or four months. I know condition is not gone, just the discomfort. I can even to push ups. The recommendation was to take the turmeric with ginger and bromelaine. The bromelaine helps get it into your system. Ginger is one of the herbs that is good for many things and it turns out it has anti inflammatory capabilities too. Turmeric root powder is not well absorbed on it's own. There is a form of it known as a curcuminoid which is the active ingredient highly refined available as a food supplement. Turmeric research papers are all over the web. It's being looked at seriously by the medical community. Fnally, after five thousand years of use in Ayur Vedic medicine and the main ingredient in curry powder. I usually only take one 00 cap of  ginger and one bromelaine 250 milligram tablet. I don't take any drugstore stuff for pain. I was having good luck with plain old turmeric so I didn't try this stuff. Its pricey. It was in a flyer from this site  that I picked up in a health food store that I first became aware of some of the lit. on turmeric and other beneficial compounds in combination with it. 

http://www.europharmausa.com/products/curamin/ 

Devil's Claw is mentioned in a commercial compound with turmeric derived Curcuminoids as contributing a synergistic effect to the compound which also contained ginger root. This compound is one that was being looked at in detail, so they say. 

Since I take so much of it I use organic Turmeric powder. I've seen it as low as 4.54 a pound but it varied. I just paid more like 10 bux. But a pound of turmeric root powder is probably four to six months supply if you take a lot. 

Ron

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

Sorry for the absence: I juat had a hip replaced. And now, more information on herbs and their uses. Again, I will let you know which herbs have clinical studies to back them up, and/or which have a long tradition of safe and effective use. Today's herb? BASIL.

Basil is a scientifically-proven immune-system builder, which is not all that surprising since it is somewhat related to Echinacea.  Fresh basil leaves applied to wounds csn be antibacterial. It's chock full of antioxidants and since it's a huge source of BCP it can be used instead of medical marijuana, without the whole "getting high" side effect. It's anti-inflamatory, too!

see for more info:

http://ezinearticles.com/?Health-Benefits-Of-Basil&id=175090

http://herbal-properties.suite101.com/article.cfm/basils_health_benefits...

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

(Double post!)

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

Hey Safewrite, I hope your hip replacement operation went well, and that you are feeling ok!

(Love the thread, too!)

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Herbal Remedies - recommended books

SueSulivan,

Fresh raspberry leaves are best for teas and dry ones are also prettty potent. To dry mine I just leave them on a tray in my oven, with the heat off. And harvesting leaves is not going to hurt the fruiting canes if you, as you say, will take a few from each cane.

As for storage and drying and how-to-use herbs? There are so many books on that it;s not even funny. Plus, there is a lot of misinformation and just plain nonsense being published as facts! My favorite herbal remedy books come from Rodale or Reader's Digest: they use the science to back it up. But even they will try and sell you a new book every year, so just get one or two and that should suffice. My library has the following books:

Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised Second Edition by Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno (Paperback - Dec. 29, 1997)

The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs by Editors of Reader's Digest (Hardcover - Jan. 11, 1999)

and about four others but I'm stuck here with this new hip healing and cannot go get them. My stepdaughter is an herbalist, too and she has a huge library. She likes The Complete Guide to Natural Healing

Oh, and on my wish list? The Complete Guide to Growing Healing and Medicinal Herbs: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide (Back-To-Basics) by Atlantic Publishing Company (Paperback - Aug. 31, 2010)

Hope this helps!

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

Pinecar,

Thanks for the well-wishes. Y'all will note that I have no problem with certain parts of Western medicine like necessary surgeries. My new hip and I are getting to know each other. It's going to take a lot less time to recover because I am more interested in treating underlying causes than symptoms. No amount of medicine will help you if you do not eat a variety of fresh, healthy foods and keep your body moving.

Anyhow, back to the herbs. Today, let's talk about CUMIN.

There's a reason it gets put in recipies with beans: it helps flatulance and bloating from gas (and none of you have beans set aside in your deep larder or pantry, do you?) It also has a lot of iron and is a powerful antioxidant: it's really good for your immune system. More info here:

http://herbalmedicine.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_top_ten_health_benefi...

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Caution

Very good idea, Safewrite.

I would encourage caution in this area though because herbs have pharmaceutical effects and I have run into lay people (again and again) and even professionals who have gotten into trouble because of the incompleteness of their knowledge in this area.  I would encourage all those interested in investigating this area to get some decent professional reference books such as Mosby's Handbook of Herbs & Natural Supplements by Linda Skimore-Roth.  Check out dosages, contraindications, side effects/adverse reactions, etc. before you start taking or prescribing these plant remedies.  Also, make sure your plant identification skills are sound so you are not mistakenly harvesting a look alike poisonous plant instead of a medicinal one.

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

Ron Becker wrote:

Very nice idea safewrite,

I  contribute turmeric or tumeric. I was diagnosed, via an MRI scan, with ostoarthritis in my shoulder joints and the recommendation was surgery. Turmeric, ginger and bromelaine were recommended to me on another forum for their anti inflammatory activity. I was already taking one or two caps a day as a tonic for the digestive system and still  having serious discomfort in my shoulders.[ Like, stop what you are doing and hold you shoulder and grimace. At least a seven or eight out of ten on the ouch meter.] So I figured I'd try more.

After about three weeks of 18, 00 caps a day the discomfort was gone and has largely remained gone for the last three or four months. I know condition is not gone, just the discomfort. I can even to push ups. The recommendation was to take the turmeric with ginger and bromelaine. The bromelaine helps get it into your system. Ginger is one of the herbs that is good for many things and it turns out it has anti inflammatory capabilities too. Turmeric root powder is not well absorbed on it's own. There is a form of it known as a curcuminoid which is the active ingredient highly refined available as a food supplement. Turmeric research papers are all over the web. It's being looked at seriously by the medical community. Fnally, after five thousand years of use in Ayur Vedic medicine and the main ingredient in curry powder. I usually only take one 00 cap of  ginger and one bromelaine 250 milligram tablet. I don't take any drugstore stuff for pain. I was having good luck with plain old turmeric so I didn't try this stuff. Its pricey. It was in a flyer from this site  that I picked up in a health food store that I first became aware of some of the lit. on turmeric and other beneficial compounds in combination with it. 

http://www.europharmausa.com/products/curamin/ 

Devil's Claw is mentioned in a commercial compound with turmeric derived Curcuminoids as contributing a synergistic effect to the compound which also contained ginger root. This compound is one that was being looked at in detail, so they say. 

Since I take so much of it I use organic Turmeric powder. I've seen it as low as 4.54 a pound but it varied. I just paid more like 10 bux. But a pound of turmeric root powder is probably four to six months supply if you take a lot. 

Ron

This is an example of what I'm talking about.  I take turmeric myself but high doses can cause gastrointestinal ulcerations that you may not be aware of for months.  Turmeric can also react adversely with anticoagulants, immunosuppressants, and NSAIDs.  There are other potential problems as well.

Devil's claw has similar potential problems and also shouldn't be used in pregant women due to the potential of causing uterine contractions.

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

AO, I agree that a little knowledge can be dangerous, but many commercial products also carry side effects.  Sometimes, it is a question of whether it is preferable to suffer the complaint or endure the cure, and I know people who end up on multiple medications because they need pill 'X' to combat the side effects of pill 'Y'. 

Safewrite, I am delighted that you started this thread.  I started my medicine garden this week-end.  Sad little thing, it has some sage (I am prone to chronic tonsil infections, and I find that a strong infusion of sage works better than antibiotics) and a lonely little St John's wort plant, as life in this post-carbon coal town may get rather depressing as times grow more troubled.  Aside from wild medicinals that I can gather for free (red clover, cranberry, rose hips), I'm planning to create an attractive medicine garden in my front yard - basically a flower garden with punch.   So far the plan is to focus on pretty medicinals like echinacea, lavender, chamomile and anise, but also some things like hot red peppers and garlic.  So far, the barren expanse of freshly tilled soil is a far cry from the garden of my imagination, but I have 'Step Zero' done.

I have assembled a good collection of herbals over the years, but my favourites are "The Healing Herbs - The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Nature's Medicines" by Michael Castelman and "Micmac Medicine" by Laurie Lacey.  I like Mr. Lacey's book because of its focus is on the natural flora of Nova Scotia as wild plants are readily available, but folks out of the eastern woodlands district may not find it very helpful. The illustrations in both of these books are not in colour, so if you're not familiar with plant names you may find them less useful. 

Bluenoser

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

Bluenoser wrote:

AO, I agree that a little knowledge can be dangerous, but many commercial products also carry side effects.  Sometimes, it is a question of whether it is preferable to suffer the complaint or endure the cure, and I know people who end up on multiple medications because they need pill 'X' to combat the side effects of pill 'Y'. 

When you say "commercial products", do you mean pharmaceuticals, herbals, nutriceuticals, homeopathic remedies, or ...?  With regards to pharmaceuticals and herbals, they virtually ALL have potential side effects if used injudiciously.  The point is not necessarily what you are using but what knowledge base are you using to appropriate utilize these substances.  On the plus side, commercial products are generally standardized whereas non-commercial substances are not.  How do you know the potency of an herbal, for example?  It varies with soil, moisture, climate, maturity, light exposure, time of day, time of moon cycle, time of year, etc., etc.  Most dilettantes don't know how to tell the difference. 

I'm not sure what knowing people who end up on multiple medications has to do with the discussion but that is certainly true.  Often, they're individuals who haven't taken good care of their health or are blindly following medical recommendations without intelligently questioning the wisdom of those recommendations.  Sometimes, such as in the case of life saving organ transplants, these situations are unavoidable.  Other times, they are very avoidable.  Sadly, life doesn't reward those who don't use their brains and think for themselves.

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

Safewrite, 

   Do you make collodial silver ?    Any tips would be much appreciated .

FM

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

Anyone ,     What do you do for a poison Ivy rash ?     It is that time of year  Frown

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

Jewel Weed and you will be happy to know that dog in his infinite wisdom and compassion plants the antidote with the poison.

V

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

V wrote:

Jewel Weed and you will be happy to know that dog in his infinite wisdom and compassion plants the antidote with the poison.

V

Couldn't have said it better myself.  As an old Apache elder said, for every disease in the world, the GS put a cure in the plant world.  Ask, seek, knock.

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

Thank You ,Thank you, Thank You   !   I Knew there was something here .   Now If we knew why  poison Ivy is  here  ???    Protective borders?   Probably not as it would take hours to take effect .

It sure is humbling ... pulling weeds, pulling weeds,  then "OH  _ _ _ _ !  that was poison Ivy . "  You even have to be careful petting the animals .

  Off to find Jewel weed , Thanks again .

FM .

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Poison ivy uses

Full Moon wrote:

Now If we knew why  poison Ivy is  here  ???   

Seeds provide food for birds.  According to one Native American medicine man, the plant is used as a catalyst for a cancer remedy as yet undiscovered by Western medicine.  Rhus tox, a homeopathic remedy made from poison ivy, has a number of uses.  I've seen it completely resolve ganglion cysts, for example.  It is beneficial for a variety of joint pains and skin irritations.  A double blind study in a British medical journal showed it to be beneficial for pain related to certain rheumatological problems such as fibromyalgia.  

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

ao-

Thank you so much for your post on rhus tox.  This will help a friend of mine that is currently experiencing both problems.  

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

fandango wrote:

ao-

Thank you so much for your post on rhus tox.  This will help a friend of mine that is currently experiencing both problems.  

You're welcome.  If it's a ganglion cyst your friend is suffering from, there is an excellent chance of resolution with the rhus tox.  If it's fibromyalgia, that's a much more involved problem.  While rhus tox may provide some symptomatic relief, it is usually difficult to get achieve effective management of that diagnosis without professional assistance.

BTW, I liked your first post.  Welcome.

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

Good advice...I already found the British medical study.  I'll have to nudge my friend a bit, but I will encourage her to schedule a doctor's appt. Yes, the fibromyalgia appears to be a multifaceted disorder. 

Thank you, ao, for your kind words of welcome.   The CM community is a very impressive group of folks!     

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

I'm so glad this discussion is proving worthwhile. My step daughter is an herbalist and she's been invaluable in suggesting what to plant so that we have a home-made pharmacy in our back yard. I'm not saying herbs can cure all, just that in some cases they are better than nothing if TSHTF, and in other cases they can do an as-good or better job than Wesetrn medicine.

ao is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT that you have to be careful in what you use to relive symptoms or try to sure things. When I needed to induce labor for a ten and a half pound child who was a month overdue, had I used the wrong type of herb I could have aborted my son. Do your reserach!

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Re: The Definitive Herbal Remedies Gardening Thread

Full Moon,

I have never used colloidial silver. It's not an herb Smileso I have no idea, but I'm interested in the concept, too. Anyone out there have experience, or is it all hype?

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