Episode-585- Herbal Actions – Part Two

Photo Credit to DominusVobiscum

Today we will be doing the second of a four part series on “herbal actions”.  An herbal action is the specific effects any herb has on a body.  Most herbal guides list these actions and understanding them will improve your effectiveness with herbs.

Today we will review 10 more of 40 primary herbal actions which will take us half way through the series.

Today we cover the following ten herbal actions antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, bitter, hypotensive, hepatic, immune stimulant, refrigerant, sedative, stimulant and tonic.

Join in today to learn about these actions and corresponding herbs…

  • Antidepressant – Helps relieve or prevent depressed states of mind
    • Some antidepressant herbs – St. John’s Wort, Saffron and Basil
  • Anti-inflammatory – Combats excessive or overly painful inflammation
    • Some anti-inflammatory herbs – Chamomile, Calendula and Rose
  • Bitter – Stimulates the normal secretion of digestive fluids to aid digestion.  Also stimulates liver activity and can help to improve depression.
    • Dandelion, Mugwort and Rue
  • Hypotensive – Reduces elevated blood pressure
    • Garlic, Lavender and Lemon Balm
  • Hepatic – Tonifies and strengthens the liver.
    • Rosemary, Turmeric and Chicory
  • Immune stimulant – Helps stimulate immune response and fight infections.
    • Echinacea, Ginseng and Pomegranate
  • Refrigerant – Cooling agents which lower body temperature and relieve thirst.
    • Peppermint, Tarragon and Plantain
  • Sedative – Calms the nervous system by reducing stress and nervous irritation throughout the body
    • Chamomile, Lavender and Hops
  • Stimulant – Warms the body, quickens circulation, breaks up obstructions and congestion.
    • Black Pepper, Coffee and Garlic
  • Tonic – Increases tone and vitality of skin, other organs or body systems.  Improves nutrient absorption.
    • Dandelion, Goji Berry, Garlic and Anise

Additional Resources for Today’s Show

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24 Responses to Episode-585- Herbal Actions – Part Two

  1. Jack,

    While, I do think that natural herbal medicines do have a valid place in everyone’s medicine cabinet a closer examination should be made to what the scientific literature shows. A thorough review of the scholarly literature shows that some of the more common herbs should be completely avoided due to their toxic effects to the liver, kidneys, and/or heart. These herbs include: Aconite, borage, chaparral, germander, jin bu huan, pennyroyal, poke root, and sassafras. Also, in many cases The scientific literature shows that while there are minimal adverse effects of many of these herbal medicines/nutritional supplements (HM/NS) the results from taking said HM/NS range from being inconclusive for the purported benefits to being moderately beneficial. Maybe you and other survival podcast readers would like to see a great synopsis of scholarly literature on the subject of HM/NS. If so take a gander at the reference below.

    Dennehy, C., & Tsourounis, C. (2007). Botanicals (“herbal medications”) & nutritional supplements. In B. Katzung (Ed), Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (10th ed). McGraw Hill.

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  3. Tumeric is also an anti-inflammatory. Something about increasing blood flow so the infected areas get more fresh blood. Works somewhat for boils.

  4. This works for me with shizo mental health: yarrow, pine, rose hips, ginger

    Also a lot of the above mentioned herbs.

    Marijuana: NO!!!

    Alcohol: unplug the phone, disconnect from the Internet, and go on the piss up. Otherwise, leave it alone.

    • Did you mean Schizo as in schizophrenia?

      I would like to hear more about your beliefs on marijuana, as I personally feel it is wrongly criminalized and prosecuted.

      The fact is marijuana is incredibly non-toxic (The New England Journal of Medicine), does not cause cancer (2006 UCLA Tashkin) , and does not harm the brain (2003 Igor Grant).

      Currently, it is illegal and I know Jack is against law breaking and talk of it on his site, nor am I condoning the plant’s use.

      However, I’m asking that you clarify your beliefs on why it should be avoided, strictly out of curiosity on why you think it should be avoided.

  5. Modern Survival

    @John C, Same stuff they say about comfrey, never matter that it has been safely used for thousands of years. Feed a rat nothing but comfrey long enough and destroy his liver, hence, science says comfrey causes liver damage.

    Some herbs can be toxic and a few of the ones you mention definitely have the potential hence my suggestion to consult a good guide and check with a doctor for interactions. But Borage? Really? What did they do in the study force an animal to live on those horrid leaves when people generally use the blossoms as a component not as a primary food source?

    I will tell you this for every herb you can cite that has any negative effect on internal organs I can and will cite half a dozen or more pharmaceuticals that are regularly prescribed for life long use that do far worse.

    Yes avoid comfrey but take lipitor! http://cholesterol.emedtv.com/lipitor/lipitor-liver-side-effects-p2.html

    God forbid we take St. John’s Word when anyone knows paxil is a much better choice, http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20060512/paxil-suicide-risk-in-young-adults

    I mean no way should we use Borage as a source of GLAs to reduce inflamation because NSAIDs are much safer! http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000226.htm

    I mean you do get my point I hope, I am not trying to come off like a jerk. But any thing you can point to with herbs I can point to modern meds that do far more damage.

    Take digitalis, comes from Foxglove, Foxglove is a poison but it is used to treat congestive heart failure. Dr. Andrew Weil wrote about it in one of his books basically saying this.

    He found side effects for digitalis in his PDR that had three stages and to this day some signs of an over does include extreme nausea and vomiting. Thing was Weil had seen people get mild nausea and he had seen them basically die of an over dose, he stated, I never saw an over dosed patient vomit, no doctor I knew had ever seen one vomit, so why was it listed.

    So he finds this very old doc who says, well that was back when we used foxglove. See the thing was we never killed anyone with it, you slowly increased the dosage until you got a therapeutic effect. If you started to give even a tiny bit to much the person puked their guts out. To die from it you have to eat way more then anyone would give in a dosage. So we never OD’d anyone on it. Now today with the pure drug people go from mild nausea to dead when we or they make an error.

    So yes many herbs in excess can cause harm but ALL DRUGS in excess can cause harm, further many drugs in routine dosages are killing Americans in the name of science today. So forgive me if I don’t toss science out but if I do hold it with the same skepticism as I do for anything else. I will no more blindly believe science than I will blindly believe a religion.

    Science has often been proven wrong in fact some of the same scientists that say Borage or Comfrey is dangerous tell us GMO corn and soy are perfectly safe and that drugs like paxil and ritalin are good for our children to take.

  6. Great podcast too much info to absorb in one listening. These two herbal podcast go on the mp3 player for future reference. Thanks Jack.

  7. Modern Survival

    @Cactusdan

    On marijuana I certainly do not advocate illegal behavior so I don’t think anyone should smoke it just to get high. That said the best way I can put my feelings is that I know people who do and I don’t think any less of them for doing so. I may see them exhibit behavior I dislike and it MAY be related to drug use and if so it is the cause of my concern but not what I blame.

    I also know highly functional people that smoke and unless they told you you would NEVER and I mean never know they did.

    If it were legal I personally would not smoke it as I still don’t think smoking ANYTHING is healthy or good for you in any way. But it is your body and your choice, so long as I don’t have to pay for your mistakes you should be able to do as you please.

    If there was a issue on the ballot to legalize pot where I was voting I would vote to legalize it, even though I would never use it. Why, I personally consider outlawing any plant for personal use unconstitutional and I think we WASTE massive LEO resources on pot and other drugs as well.

    Medically there are places where it makes sense, it provides pain relief to some terminal cancer patients when nothing else will or will do so with out making them very nauseated or mentally shutting them down. Montel Williams says it helps with MS, I believe him, he says it works better than anything else and I believe that too.

    So even though I won’t use it for recreation even if it were legal you bet your ass if one day God forbid I have a terminal painful form of cancer no allegiance to Caesar will keep me from “firing up a fatty” if that is the best thing to relieve my pain in my last days. I find it criminal that a doctor can’t write a prescription for this.

    Further the ban on hemp is even worse, by hemp I mean “rope not dope” hemp. The attack on hemp and marijuana both in my opinion is politically and industrially motivated. Neither does anything to protect society, our children or the stripe tailed foofy flu or what ever other pile of steaming bullshit government attempts to force feed us.

    • Superb response Jack!

      If you do research in to the actual reasoning behind Marijuana, you’ll find that a big motivator was the Popular Mechanics article entitled “The Next Billion Dollar Crop”. In this it talked about how hemp had so many uses, from gasoline and plastics to clothing and paper (The first 2 copies of the D.O.I. were written on hemp paper). This scared the Dupont petro-chemical company and particularly it one of its cheap investor William Randolph Hearst because they had just released their star product nylon, which would be directly effected by a market for hemp.

      The original testimony and platform for its original illegality is founded on that the drug causes Black and Latino users to rape, kill, and harm white citizens.

      Harry J. Anslinger, the politician who was in charge of the federal bureau of narcotics is quoted as saying:

      “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

      “…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

      and my favorite

      “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”

      As we all know, these are highly disgusting and false portrayals of this plant and all for the sake of petro-chemical industries (it’s funny how these guys peek their noses into everything).

      Again, I’m not advocating its use or saying everyone should be high, far from it, but this is what the 40 BILLION dollar “War on Drugs” is founded on, which 4/5 Americans will tell you is an abysmal failure.

      Anyhow, thanks a bunch for all the info on herbalism Jack, it is definitely a topic of interest for me, as well as permaculturing.

      Keep up the good work my friend, I’ve been listening back although it will take me a while to get to the very beginning considering I’m a student, have a job, run a website, garden, and make music, but I await the day I will have listened to all your shows!

      • this scared the Dupont petro-chemical company and particularly one of its cheif investors William Randolph Hearst*

        Just correcting this grammatical error :P

  8. @Modern Survival. I always tell my patients that if aspirin (a medication we see as rather benign) were to go through clinical trials today it would never be approved due to all of it’s interactions and effects (i.e. analgesic, anti-platelet, anti-pyretic). People should just be aware of the potential effects (adverse or otherwise) of what they are putting in their body. Their is nothing wrong with being a little educated about herbal remedies using something other than the Google Search engine or “just trusting” an unlicensed homeopath.

  9. Thanks Jack been, following your pod casts for the past keep month, referred to you by Phil Chandler @ http://www.biobees.com . This one was quite informative in expanding my herbal gardens located next to my beehive in .Many of the herbals florals and greens you suggested also create excellent pollen and nectar flower naturally Honey bees are heavily attracted to them. My guess and experience is the bees will find these flowers pollinating them (bonus)and returning with some nectar to make amazing honey that contains the medicinal qualities of these herbals as well(double bonus). Will be using Top-bar hives ala Chandler design first this season, been using Langstroth hives no chems about 5 years. Will keep you posted. Keep up good work. Any chance I can trade you some raw honey for Brigade Membership.
    Thanks W

  10. A couple things to add on the topics of herbs:

    1. Anti-Depressants: I’m glad you mentioned not quitting AD’s cold turkey. Quitting Benzodiazepines can kill someone if quit cold turkey! My friend from back in high school said he was actually told by his doctor to use St. John’s Wart, glad there are still some sensible ones around!

    2. Bitterness: Many of the mycologists I know will take bites of even incredibly poisonous mushrooms (they spit them out) and they claim that a huge tell is the fact that they are incredibly bitter, and I have hear this is true for many poisonous plants too. I think the fact that many of poisonous and toxic substances do have a bitter taste, may be the reason why they stimulate liver and digestion functioning. Just a hypothesis, however.

    3. Sedative: A great sedative and a bit of a Euphoriant that I’ve found is Bee Balm (in FL called Horse Mint, scientifically Mondara Sp.). I find a tea of this is incredibly delicious and sedating. It also contains a large amount of thymol, which is used in many antiseptic mouthwashes.

    4. Stimulant: I’ve mentioned this before, but HOLLIES! The species most commercially available is Ilex paraguariensis, more commonly known as Yerba Mate. However, there is a holly native to the US that has the same amount of caffeine, more anti-oxidants, and has done better in taste-tests. It’s commonly sold under the name Yaupon Holly as a landscaping plant, and it was used by Native Americans in their cleansing ceremonies.

    • I hate to keep replying to my own threads, but I have no way of editing my posts after posting so, I will do this!

      Anyhow, another thing as far as a vitamin/supplement for anti-depressant I’ve heard that works really well is Niacin (Vitamin B-3).

      Some foods Niacin can be found in, include almonds and seeds, wheat products, beans, rice bran, green leafy vegetables, carrots, turnips, celery, and some meats.

  11. Great show. Some people have the wrong idea about herbs, they are so used to modern meds treating symptoms, they expect herbs to do the same. Ex. a diabetic wanting to know what magic herbal supplement to take to fix one of their symptoms, while their blood sugar levels are way too high and they don’t change their diet, nor increase their exercise levels. Another diabetic changed diet somewhat, regular exercise program, various supplements and no longer required his insulin and other prescriptions. I realize each person is different, what works for one diabetic may not work the same for another. Idea is still treat the cause.

    I have a friend with MS, he isn’t using marijuana but he did change his diet/lifestyle using honey no sugar, whole grains not refined grains, etc various herbal supplements. He got to where he no longer had to have these very pricey shots. Still has MS, but doing much better than with the modern meds. He still sees his doctor, they work together. He did a lot of research and tried various things. Let his Dr know what he was doing, gave her copies of research he found. She runs whatever lab tests/scans they do to monitor MS and checks his progress. His doctor could not legally prescribe supplements but did encourage him to do his own research. Now if only more doctors would do such, and share results.

  12. I am glad I found this site, I came to listen to patriot nurse as I am subscribed to her on You Tube lots of great information here and I so appreciate that you had her on as a guest. I do prefer herbal and Natural remedies as first line of defense and treatment. But thanks to Her video’s she made on prepping and first aid kits I have included the Antibiotics she recommended and also have added more things to my first aid supplies I like her common sense approach and her insight about just what kind of situations we may have to deal with and be prepared for I think that is the top priority is to keep stock of what we do have, and keep prepping as best we can we can’t know every situation we may have to deal with I keep that in mind as I am prepping and preparing for the worst and hoping it does not get there however I think it is always wise to have emergency supplies I live in Calif. and we all know if disaster happens here on a major scale it would be devastating.

  13. Hey Jack,
    I’m loving these herbal action episodes. So informative, I’m learning SO MUCH. I’m taking notes and making a chart and I’m going to do more research and post it on our refrigerator door so that we can look back at it for reference until we can look at or think of an herb and have it set off that lightbulb of what type of action it provides.

    I actually feel like most if not all of the more recent episodes have all been even more informative than they were and I’m loving the way it gives me all sorts of wonderful ideas at every turn.
    I appreciate all your hard work and in my opinion the show is better than it’s ever been before. Hat’s off to ya, Keep it up!

  14. I have a little story about how I chose a different path to healing than using medicine. I was having oral surgery in Costa Rica. After the surgery, I was given pills to keep down swelling, and was told I would have a lot of bruising for a few days. I took the first ones that night and it made me feel sick and did little for the swelling. Before I went to bed I did some research. I found that an enzyme called bromelain found in pineapple. When consumed on an empty stomach, bromelain will act as an anti-inflammatory, and an anti-coagulant. If you take it with food it will alter its purpose and act as a digestive aid. It’s also good if you have a sore throat, it eats all of that gunk in your throat.

    A woman who ran a little restaurant called a soda there, made all of my meals for me while I was there and recovering. I asked her to make me a few glasses of fresh, unpasteurized, pineapple juice that I could drink four times a day. If you drink pineapple juice that’s been pasteurized or eat canned pineapple, the bromelain will be reduced drastically. I stopped taking the pills and relied on drinking the pineapple juice, and what do you know. The swelling had gone down farther than the pills could do, and what bruising had started went away. My doctor was amazed to see me for my frist checkup after three days, he was expecting to see me puffed up and bruised, and I was completely normal. He said I was his first patient like that. All thanks to that pineapple.

    It goes back to what you said. My body is fully capable of making the repairs, but it just needed to assistance this time. The bromelain provided that assistance and worked.

  15. Thanks for getting me started on a path to healthier living and eating. Along with having a garden and eating more vegetables, I’m excited to add these spices and herbs to my kitchen arsenal.

    I’ve currently been fighting a cold and sinus infection for a few days. Stubbornly I havent gone to the doctor for antibiotics. Today I went to the grocery store and picked up garlic, ginger, cumin and coriander (for biltong). I just had a large serving of Ramen Aglio Olio. Added lots of garlic and crushed red pepper. Maybe it’s my imagination but it seems to have almost immediately reduced sinus pressure, pain and drainage. I’m hoping to see some antibiotic effects as well to help beat the infection. Thanks again.

  16. Jack, I was wondering ifn you have done any articles or podcasts on the Moringa tree? i have heard good things about it.

  17. I remember seeing some movies/shows where someone would say “don’t forget to take your bitters.” Then you would see a large medicine bottle, followed by a nasty looking expression on the persons face.
    Even way back then they knew that you needed the bitters to help keep you healthy, even if it did come in a bottle.
    I wonder if you can still get this “formula” or if the FDA has banned its use, as they do with so many things that are good for you.

  18. Here’s a report on some new research on Ginger:

    Eating Ginger Helps Reduce Muscle Pain and Soreness
    By ANAHAD O’CONNOR

    Ginger’s ability to calm an upset stomach is well known. But more recently, scientists have wondered whether its soothing effects might extend to sore muscles.

    Ginger, a member of the same plant family as turmeric, contains anti-inflammatory compounds and volatile oils — gingerols — that show analgesic and sedative effects in animal studies. So last year a team of researchers looked at whether ginger might do the same in humans.

    In the study, published in The Journal of Pain in September, the scientists recruited 74 adults and had them do exercises meant to induce muscle pain and inflammation. Over 11 days, the subjects ate either two grams of ginger a day or a placebo. Ultimately, the ginger groups experienced roughly 25 percent reductions in exercise-induced muscle pain 24 hours after a workout.

    In a similar double-blind study, scientists compared what happened when subjects consumed either two grams of ginger or a placebo one day and then two days after exercise. The ginger appeared to have no effect shortly after ingestion. But it was associated with less soreness the following day, leading the researchers to conclude that ginger may help “attenuate the day-to-day progression of muscle pain.”

    Other studies have shown that consuming ginger before exercise has no impact on muscle pain, oxygen consumption and other physiological variables during or immediately after a workout, suggesting that if ginger does have any benefits, they may be limited to reductions in soreness in the days after a workout.

    THE BOTTOM LINE: Ginger may help ease pain and soreness, but only a day or more after a workout.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/health/18really.html