Herbal Medicine :: Finding Good Information

A series of posts about herbal medicine and what has worked for me and my family so far.

The FDA doesn’t have much to say about herbs and herbal medicines, except that professional herbalists and holistic doctors can’t legally claim to treat, diagnose, cure, or prescribe herbal medicines and the like to their clients. They must assume the role of consultant, unless they have a recognized and accredited medical degree. But even still, legally, herbs cannot treat, diagnose, cure, or be prescribed.

Some herbalist people I have talked to prefer it this way. At least the FDA (and all the rest) aren’t really medling in the industry to make a profit. Some say this is because there really isn’t a huge profit to be made off of things people can grow in their own gardens. All I know is, they don’t regulate herbs and herbal medicines. I’m not sure why they don’t want to regulate them, but I’m sure if I did a little more sleuthing I could find some reasons. However, because of this, the general public is not very keen on the idea of utilizing herbal medicines in their lives because there is really no public support for their efficacy in healing (even though there is a lot of independent research on their efficacy). The American government essentially has put a “use at your own risk” stamp on herbs, because they have not yet been proven safe…which I find ironic because the American government also says about all sorts of other things (GMO foods and pharmaceutical drugs to name a couple) that they are okay because they have not yet been proven dangerous. 

So why am I writing about this? Because an industry that is still widely unregulated can have products and claims that are absolutely bogus–or worse, dangerous. I’m kind of reminded of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.” On the flip side, that also means that consumers determine and demand quality products from the industry product makers without all the red tape put up by government regulations. This also requires that consumers are well educated and forceful about what they want. Whether or not this is a good thing is all about what your personal political philosophies are.

Because of all this, finding good reliable resources for information and where to find quality products can be (and for many is) extremely confusing. Especially because anybody online [ME] can claim anything they want about herbal medicine and pass it off as true. And the sad part is many people buy into the popularity of some and believe everything they have to say on the subject–then possibly run into serious problems at worst, or a hoax at best.

So, how do we source good information? In my own quest, I try to seek out people in the industry that I trust who are professional and have good credentials. Then I ask them about their resources. And some of what I have tried is trial and error, because not every remedy will work for every person.

Some of My Resources
Information about Herbal Medicine:

The American Herbalists Guild is “the only peer-reviewed organization for professional herbalists in the United States.” (“Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide Aviva Romm, M.D. p247).

“Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide” by Aviva Romm M.D. In the later chapters of her book she discusses herbal remedies that can be used for sick children in a variety of circumstances. I have had good success with them.

Mountain Rose Herbs. For books about Herbal stuff. Based out of Eugene, OR and in my humble opinion seem legit. And they have many books I want to purchase.

Mountain Rose Herbs also keeps a blog which contains recipes and how-to’s for all the different types of things you can do with herbs.

I took a free webinar from John Gallagher, an independent herbalist, about using common foods to help boost your immune system (and how basically everyone uses vitamin c incorrectly). His website is called learningherbs.com

A really interesting series of articles about where/how to source essential oils (that I haven’t really verified, but she seems to have done some serious research).

Some say he’s a cooke but, I have had good success following his recommendations for things like indigestion and morning sickness. I’m generally wary of websites that seem to overly promote purchasing stuff. However, many of his recommendations don’t require the purchase of his supplements. Dr. Mercola.

And my personal favorite place, your public library! Libraries are full of old and new *published* books about herbs and herbal medicine. And the best part is, it’s all free!!! Unless you’re a slacker like me and turn stuff in late all the time.

Sourcing Good Quality Herbs
Can be a little trickier… but so far, I have had good success with local apothecaries and co-op granola faerie grocery stores.

Also if the herbs you find are certified organic by the Oregon Tilth people (who were one of the first people to start certifying things “organic” before “organic” was a thing) then it’s probably legit. As far as I know, they also produce some bulk herbs… I have some in my house.

Two other places, I have yet to actually purchase from are,

Mountain Rose Herbs. Who have a huge supply of bulk herbs and medicine making supplies. And I’m biased because they have a really well designed website… part of the graphic designer in me…

And a new one I just discovered: Frontier Co-op based right outta my midwestern Iowa.

Generally speaking, it is cheaper to purchase in bulk online than it is to purchase in store. But sometimes ya just need them herbs quick.

Anyway, happy sleuthing. Hopefully you find some of this helpful, if not at least a little interesting!

*disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor. I am not saying any or all of these things will work for you or yours. I write simply for educational purposes only ๐Ÿ™‚

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