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Herbs and Cautions

Hi Guys! I am going to be starting to use this space to log some of the knowledge that I have been studying while living out in the country! I have sparked a particular interest in the health benefits and other properties of the local wild plants!

Ok so before I get started with spreading some new knowledge, I would like to reference some of the materials that I have been reading lately. Here's a good list of where to start, but as I gain references I will try to add them here :

Peterson Field Guides Edible Wild Plants of Eastern\Central North America

The Healing Herbs by Michael Castleman

Maria's Mixes by Maria Yeager

Medicinal Plants At Home by Maria Transito Lopez Luengo and Carlota Manez Ariso

Backyard Medicine by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal

National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs

As you read these articles you will notice cautions and lists of known medication interactions with each of the herbs listed. Although very small amounts of these herbs are used at any given time, please take the warnings seriously. If you have any kind of chronic health condition or are taking any prescription medication, please consult your primary care physician prior to use. Actually this is a good rule of thumb for anyone. You should try to share any supplements or herbs you consume with your doctor so they can do their job to the best of their abilities! I will always encourage you to seek your own information before consuming any plant, especially if you found it in the wild.

So roughly half of all prescription medications currently on the market are based on a plant constituent. prescription medications, however, are way more concentrated than the original herb, obviously. So these are also a lot more likely to give you side effects. Also generally the weaker herbs take longer to work than the former. Salicin, which has properties for anti-inflammation is the active ingredient in white willow bark. Aspirin (Salicylic acid) is made from salicin. It should be noted that large amounts of aspirin can cause stomach bleeding. So it is not advised to combine aspirin and white willow bark because the combined amount of salicylates would increase the risk of this side effect.

Now, most herbs are harmless generally, unless taken in very large quantities, there are exceptions to this rule though. One example of a pretty dangerous plant is foxglove. Foxglove is in the Digitalis genus of plants and it has a cardiac glycoside called dioxen. This substance is used to make any of the digitalin group of drugs, one example being lanoxin. These are valuable cardiac drugs; however the plant can be super dangerous if its remotely consumed. Overdose symptoms can range from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, heart rhythm disturbances, and heart attack, in severe cases death. Since "dead mans bells" or "witches gloves" is the nickname of this sinister plant, one can assume the poisoning is not pleasant.

Then there are other herbs like comfrey or marijuana that hold a lot of controversy so they are legally restricted. Comfrey contains pyrrolizione alkaloids which in some studies have shown to be carcinogenic, but other studies also say that there is to evidence for this. So again, Always talk to your doctor and read up on herbs you decide to take!

I will also be posting possible drug interactions for the herbs that I know of. Please note I am not a doctor, so make sure you keep them in the loop for real! It is super important to familiarize yourself with the negative interactions or side effects of these herbs if you decide to include them in your routines. Licorice is a wonderful adaptogenic and its tasty if you have a palate of steel, but it can pose some health risks that are pretty serious to anyone with high blood pressure, kidney disease, or heart disease. Taken over a long period of time it can lower potassium levels and increase sodium levels in the body and this can lead to water retention and heart problems. So you should not use that if you are on digoxin, diuretic', or high blood pressure medication. Please, again, be sure to do your own research and decide what is best for your body with the help of a physician.

On a final note, I am so excited to be able to share some of the knowledge that I have taken in recently and I hope you all find this information as useful as I do!

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