Category: Herbal Medicine

My new favorite herb: Salvia Miltiorrhiza (aka Dan Shen or Red Sage)


In my practice treating chronic complex illness, Dan Shen is a recent addition to my repertoire that I’ve begun using with success.  This herb is in the sage species that originally comes from China. It was traditionally used to promote blood circulation, calm the mind, regulate menstruation, and to relieve pain. However, modern research papers show body wide effects, including some of the most notable below:

1) Anti-inflammatory and pain support
including menstrual cramps, joint pain, and even endometriosis pain, chest pain (angina), allergies, asthma, even some anti-cancer properties

2) Antimicrobial against many organisms
including some tick-borne bacteria like anaplasma and ehrlichia

3) Liver protective
including decreasing markers of liver inflammation

4) Kidney protective
including protecting from diabetic kidney disease and shock from kidney stone treatment (lithotripsy)

5) Heart protective
including decreasing cholesterol and plaque formation. Also helps heal vascular wounds and fibrosis as well as slightly thins the blood. Human studies include COPD, preventing stroke recurrence, blood clot disorders, high blood pressure

6) Depression and anxiety support
supports GABA, which promotes calm, happy mood and sleep. There are human studies even for Alzheimer’s

7) Spleen protective
Decreases inflammation of the spleen

8) Gut and microbiome supportive
supports the microbiome by reducing bad bacteria and encouraging growth of the good bacteria. It also tightens both the GI mucosa and blood brain barrier

Most studies have shown that Saliva miltiorrhiza can either help the condition itself or prevent recurrence. While it is most known for its cardioprotective effects, I’ve been seeing good results so far for liver support and Lyme support in my patients. 

As with any medicine (natural or otherwise), there are circumstances where this herb may not be appropriate.  If you’re interested in finding a solution to Lyme disease or any other chronic unexplained symptoms, call for a free consultation or schedule an appointment with me to get started. 

Tired and Overstressed? Consider Daily Adaptogenic Herbs & Mushrooms

by Joan Haynes, NMD

A lot on your plate? Not coping as well as you’d like? Adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms can help. I’ve personally been taking some form of adaptogens to help me cope with the pressures of my busy life for over 20 years. I find them very useful and recommend them frequently to patients.

Adaptogens are herbs and mushrooms that act to provide energy and balance to the body. Some of these plants enhance mental performance, others make our stress response calmer and more efficient. They support the natural circadian rhythms and promote restful sleep. Many also support immune health and others impact digestion.

Each adaptogenic herb or mushroom has a slightly different action. Here’s a list of the most commonly used:

Rhodiola
(Rhodiola Rosea)
  • Ashwagandha
  • Schisandra
  • Holy Basil
  • Rhodiola
  • Eleuthero
  • Licorice

Mushrooms:

  • Reishi
  • Turkey Tail
  • Chaga
  • Lions Mane
  • Cordyceps
  • Maitake
  • Shitake

Here is a link to one of our vendors Gaia Herbs that explains the actions of the different herbs:
https://www.gaiaherbs.com/blogs/seeds-of-knowledge/5-amazing-adaptogenic-herbs-for-adrenal-fatigue

Another one of our vendors, Wholesun Wellness, provides top-notch mushrooms to our clinic.
Here’s some great info to learn more. https://www.wholesunwellness.com/

Dangers of Essential Oils

by Joan Haynes, NMD

Last week, another patient with essential oil burns on her body came in to the clinic.  Since she had no idea that the oils were the cause, she was continually using more and different oils, encouraged by a well-meaning, essential oil distributor – thus causing the rash to blister and weep.  Sadly, this scenario is common.  Many people think that “natural” means “safe”.  But essential oils are highly concentrated substances that can have useful but also toxic effects on the body.  One drop of the oil can be the equivalent to 10-50 cups of the herbal tea.  Since essential oils have become so popular, it is important we understand their risks, especially if we are using them with children, pets, and during pregnancy.

For a good overview, here is an article by Katie Wells aka Wellness Mama, a very reliable website for you to get useful information about essen

tial oils and many other natural health topics.

This popular Dr. Axe’s article talks about diffusing essential oils and lists safety aspects for specific oils, including which ones can cause sun sen

sitivity and which ones are to not be used in pregnancy.

If you use essential oil with your children, please read this article written by a naturopathic physician in Montana, who has put together very good information for there safe use.

There have been recent articles warning cat owners about the dangers of essential oils.  There is some evidence that their livers cannot metabolize compounds in essential oils.  Here is an article that talks about essential oils and both dogs and cats.

This article is by a veterinarian who says that essential oils, when used properly, are likely safe for our cats.

Essential oils can be great medicine when used properly.  Please inform yourself and be careful.  There is a lot of misinformation out there!

Alterative Tea – Year Round Tonic

by Joan Haynes, NMD

Alterative herbs are those which improve overall health by supporting basic bodily processes.  They “do a little bit of everything”. I learned this inexpensive, great-tasting, 9-herb tea formula from Jill Stansbury, NMD, professor at the National University of Natural Medicine and have been recommending it for over 20 years.  Drink daily to stay hydrated and healthy all year long.  For sale in the clinic for only $8.00.

 

Useful in So Many Ways

Alterative herbs contain nutrients, minerals including trace minerals, electrolytes, and hormonal precursors that all nourish and stimulate metabolism.  Alteratives also stimulate digestive and absorptive functions thereby optimizing nutrition.  Alteratives also promote eliminative functions and thereby the removal of wastes, minimizing toxic accumulations and enhancing intestinal aerobic flora.  Due to these actions, alteratives are considered to be cleansing and general tonics.

Ingredients

Equal Parts:

Taraxicum officinale “Dandelion root”

Arctium lappa “Burdock”

Berberis aquafolium “Oregon grape, Mahonia”

Glycerrhiza glabra “Licorice root”

Astragalus membranosus “Milk vetch”

Citrus aurantium “Orange peel”

Cinnamomum zeylanicum “Cinnamon”

Foeniculum vulgare “Fennel

Zingiber officinale “Ginger”

Tea Preparation

Instructions for Decoction –  1 heaping tsp per 1 – 1½  cups of water.  Make a single serving or a whole pot.  Simmer the tea covered for about 20 – 30 minutes in stainless steel or glass pot.  Strain. This tea is naturally sweet, but if you want it to be sweeter, sweeten with stevia or honey.

Tips for Tea Drinking

 If you like your tea cold consider quart glass mason jars for storing your tea.  It encourages you to drink a lot and is easy to travel with.  It’s worth investing in plastic lids.  (They have ones with fun straws and straw holders too).  You can make a quart each morning and drink room temp or iced.

If you like your tea hot, invest in a good thermos for when you work and travel.  When you are home, you can just leave your tea on the stove in its cooking pot.  Reheat it each time you want a cup.  You can strain after the 30 minutes of simmering or leave the plant matter in the water if you like a stronger brew.

Precautions

This tea contains licorice and in rare cases may increase blood pressure in susceptible people.  Avoid licorice if you are also taking an Ace inhibitor, diuretic, steroid, or blood thinner.  This tea is not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers, but is encouraged in children.  Do not take if you have heart, liver or kidney disease.  Do not take if you have hormone sensitive cancers.