This is a continuation of the previous post, which was simply too cool to be limited to one post. 😉
The previous disclaimers still apply – educational/entertainment purposes only, not intended as medical advice, consult with your licensed healthcare provider, yada yada.
So, without further babbling, here’s Part 2. 🙂
Holy Basil (aka Tulsi) – an Ayurvedic herb that came recommended to me to reduce anxiety, namely the cortisol that adrenal glands secrete to help us handle stress; too much cortisol over too long a time has side effects, such as suppressing immune function, weight gain, thyroid function. It’s also used for joint pain, brain function, and other ailments.
Maeng Da (a form of kratom, aka Mitragyna speciosa) – a little-known TCM herb that was recommended to me literally yesterday for pain relief. It works a lot like an opiate, except that it isn’t an opiate. I find the powder form to be more effective/fast-acting than the capsule form, but beware: the powder tastes very woody, with a slight bitterness. We’re not talking about the yummy-woody taste of barbeque (my browser says that’s a misspelling, but that’s literally how we spell it around here) or a coffee roast; nope, this is a really vile woody taste. But given my recent pain, I found it worth it. I mix it in chocolate almond milk and gulp it as fast as I can. It starts working within 10-20 minutes, and the effects are supposed to last for 2-5 hours, but I find that it lasts longer for me. I found it to work even better than Tramadol. Some cautions here: the side effects are indeed similar to opiates, like nausea, constipation, and withdrawal after a stretch of usage comes to an end. I haven’t experienced the withdrawal, but I did experience some mild nausea and mild constipation. Nothing I couldn’t handle, though. It wasn’t as bad as the Tramadol (which made me very much of both side effects), and the pain relieving effect was more powerful/effective. It’s said to have a calming effect, but I actually experienced a slight energy bump, although it did have a mild anxiety-relieving action.
Milk Thistle – this herb is used for practically All Things Liver. Whether that’s something as holistic-minded as detoxification support or something as serious as Hepatitis C, this herb has been extraordinary in my experience. It really does work–quite effectively–for a variety of scenarios, and it’s safety profile is remarkable. It has few–if any–side effects (I’ve never witnessed any to date, nor were any cautions issued in my herb training); it’s remarkably well-tolerated. It is also being investigated for its anti-fungal properties.
Rhodiola – known mostly for its cortisol-reducing action, Rhodiola is also being touted for its lung injury-healing potential, its blood pressure-reducing capability, its protective action against bacterial-induced inflammation, and its potential to alleviate chronic fatigue symptoms.
Spirulina – a specific type of algae that grows off the coasts of Hawaii, spirulina is widely touted for its regenerative and nutritive properties and has gained exalted status as a “superfood“. Apparently there’s not a whole lot that this algae can’t do. It has been shown to prevent high blood sugar, specifically improve insulin sensitivity (its opposite, insulin resistance, is the precursor to Diabetes Type 2), protect the liver against Lead toxicity, may aid in achieving a lower healthy weight, may protect the skin against sun damage, and may even possess cancer-fighting properties. A word of caution here: it has immune-boosting properties, too, so people with an autoimmune disorder of any type should use extreme caution, preferably working with a Functional Medicine provider who actually knows about different types of immune imbalances involved in autoimmunity.
Stinging Nettle – this herb is largely known for its antihistamine activity. In addition, it has been found to have musculoskeletal (muscle and joint) pain-relieving effects when combined with other herbs and thiamine.
Triphala – this is an herb combination used in Ayurvedic Medicine, it’s praised for being able to balance all three “doshas” or body-mind constitution types (don’t laugh; this shizz is real). In western medical/scientific terms, it’s gaining recognition, and quickly. The newest research involves its efficacy against dental plaque, shows protective effects against radiation of certain types, skin-protective properties, and NSAID-induced liver/kidney damage-healing action, just to scratch the surface.
Valerian – this is an herb that, in my experience, is quite effective as a non-addictive sedative. Whenever I take it, I notice that it doesn’t induce severe drowsiness (i.e., I would probably be able to drive without any danger, but everybody’s different, so don’t take my experience as gospel), but rather, it “took the edge off” just enough so that if I lay down to sleep, I can fall asleep. I also noticed that I needed less sleep (only about 2/3 of what I usually required during that time period), but enjoyed a much better sleep quality. In my herb training, I learned that one would probably know for sure whether or not Valerian was going to work for them within the first four nights of use. With practically all herbs, it’s important to obtain standardized ones, which means that there’s a certain level of potency guaranteed in each serving/dose, and this is usually expressed as a certain percentage of an active naturally-occurring ingredient present in each dose. I found that standardization is a particularly important factor in whether or not Valerian is going to be effective for me; I found a huge difference between standardized and non-standardized varieties. The standardized variety naturally costs a little more, but I found the benefits to be well worth the extra cost. Interesting note: Valerian root stinks. Bad. It smells like it has “turned”. This is actually normal; do be concerned if it doesn’t stink. I just plug my nose and swallow. 😉
Well, there you have it – a little “survival kit” of sorts of the most useful herbs I’ve found to date. This is not an extensive list of course, but I didn’t want to bore everybody too much. 😉