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The Herb Research Foundation offers the Herbal Q & A page as a service to internet users.  We receive hundreds of questions each week, and post answers that we think will benefit the greatest number of people. Not all inquiries will receive a response. Our apologies to those of you whose questions are not answered. If your inquiry is not posted, the answer to your question may be found in one of our Herb Information Packets.

HRF strongly believes in the public's right to have access to herb information that is unbiased, truthful, and not misleading.  With that in mind, HRF provides herb information for educational purposes only.  This site is in the spirit of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act in that the information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any health or disease conditions.  In answering readers' questions, we note whether the information is science-based or based on traditional herb usage.  Please be aware that individual responses to herbs and dosages may vary.  If you have a serious health condition, please consult your health practitioner before self-treating with herbal remedies or products.

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Your question may have already been asked and answered here in our forum. Please scroll through the answers and replies here and on our newly categorized Q & A Archive pages before submitting your query.

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Q: How come your answer to almost every question people submit to you is: "Buy our information package"?

Michael Mangold, MD <mmangold5@pol.net>
Kenosha, WI USA

A: Great question! Thanks for asking it! Firstly, you'll notice that we do offer more information in our responses than simply directing people to our Information Packet Series. This forum is not intended to tell people what they should or should not take. As is stated above, we are not health care practitioners, and the information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any health or disease conditions. What we are is educators, and this forum is intended to guide people towards the information they seek so that they may be better informed when making decisions for their own personal health care.

So, why do we recommend our Information Packets? Our packets contain much more detailed information than we can provide in a forum such as this. We spend a lot of time compiling the information found in the packets to make them as thorough, concise, and helpful as possible. Basically, in making these packets we have done the work for you: we have collected and sorted out the most reliable information we can find from the many resources available to us as an educational library, and have put this information together to save you hours of searching through books, magazines, journals, newsletters, and internet sites. As a nonprofit organization, we subsist on the sales of our information packets and other services, and on memberships. These packets are our most popular service, and the sale of these packets and other services helps us continue the important work we do here at HRF.

Q: What is a good herbal remedy for migraines? I am a migraine sufferer and I get them quite often. Thank you.

shannon ross <shannon@tosnti.com>
glendora, ca USA - Thursday, March 13, 2003 at 13:48:45 (PST)

A: There has been quite a bit of research done on the use of Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) for migraines. If the migraines seem to occur prior to or during menstruation, it may also be helpful to consider hormonal balancing herbs for relief as well. One herb researched for regulating menstrual hormones is Vitex. We do offer packets on Headaches/Migraines, Women's Herbs and Menstruation.

Q: Hello, Where can I locate Equisetum Concentrate. I was told it came from France but cannot locate it there. Thank you, Sidney Blomquist

Sidney Blomquist <sirius@sedona.net>
Sedona, AZ USA - Thursday, March 13, 2003 at 09:46:28 (PST)

A: Perhaps you are looking for Equisetum arvense - Horsetail? It is also known by the common name "shavegrass". Most natural foods stores that carry herbal supplements carry horsetail. You can also try contacting the companies on the following page of our website: http://www.herbs.org/herbsources.htm We also offer a information packet on horsetail.


Q: Hi! My name is Mark Ferguson. I'm 44, 6'3", 201 lbs. I'm in decent physical shape. Unfortuntately I developed an earache in February. A doctor prescribed Zithromax and Clarinex. They seemed to neutralize the problem for a little while but really did n't solve it. I still have some phlegm in my right ear. I've used a vibrator and a heating pad which loosens up the congestion but I wake up and my ear is still clogged. When it is unclogged I can hear pretty well but it doesn't stay that way. What herbs or treatments can I use to clear up my ear? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Mark Ferguson Garden Grove, CA

Mark <fergum40@netzero.net>
Garden Grove, CA USA - Friday, March 07, 2003 at 18:15:26 (PST)

A: There is an earache oil that is often recommended for children, but can be helpful for anyone. It can be made simply at home by heating a clove of garlic and a teaspoon of dried mullein leaf in a little olive oil (about 1/3 cup). Allow the oil to cool so that it is warm, not hot. Strain out the garlic and mullein. Insert a few drops (2-3) into the ear with a dropper while lying on your side (or have someone do it for you). A cotton ball will help keep the oil in the ear.


Q: I am a 30yo female with thinning hair and I have heard so many different things about hairloss and what can help. I know nothing has proven to regrow hair except Rogain and that is even minimal. But I have also been told that some herbs may help hair growth or slow the loss down. Would you have any recommendations for what may help hair growth or slow hairloss down in any way? Thanks so much!

marcia m <mmsingle20@aol.com>
USA - Wednesday, March 05, 2003 at 20:36:22 (PST)

A: Saw palmetto, an herb that has great research in the treatment of prostate problems, may also have some use in hair loss by blocking dht. Further research is needed in this area, but it is considered a very safe herb. Nettle has also been used traditionally as a topical preparation to help stimulate hair growth. We do have a very informative packet on Hair/Baldness. Please click the link for more information.

Q: Are there herbs that decrease your appetite/desire to eat?

Miriam <miriamhill@mindspring.com>
Englewood, NJ USA - Saturday, March 01, 2003 at 09:08:03 (PST)

A: The herb Garcinia cambogia (Malabar tamarind) has shown some appetite suppressing activity in preliminary studies. You can read more about this herb in our detailed information packet on weight loss .

Q: I am using an herbal snuff which is tobacco free instead of using Skoal. I have read that it contains Guarana. Is this one of the herbs made from MaHuang or does it contain Ephedra? I am concerns what kind of affects this could have on my liver and kidneys. Thank you. Thomas Tilton

Thomas Tilton <ttilton@msn.com>
Brooktondale, NY USA - Monday, February 24, 2003 at 15:10:22 (PST)

A: Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is not the same herb as Ephedra. Guarana is a mild stimulant with a chemical composition like caffeine. It is likely included in this blend to simulate the sensations caused by nicotine. We do offer informaiton packets on both guarana and Quitting Smoking.

Q: a SEARCH ability for your Q & A's would be most helpful. Having spent the better part of an hour scrolling through, I donot find my question. For a person needing surgery & general anesthesia, which commonly used herbs should be avoided? (for causing increased risk of hemmorhage or other untoward results). Thankyou for your help.

Judith Rausch <drjudith@mindspring.com>
florence, al USA - Monday, February 24, 2003 at 07:24:41 (PST)

A: We have recently categorized our archives to make them easier to search. We have answered this question before, but since it is common, I will post another answer here. It is recommended that you advise your doctor of all medications (prescription and over-the-counter) and supplements (herbs, vitamins, and minerals) you are currently taking. It is best to err on the side of caution and stop taking supplements for at least 2 weeks prior to surgery. There are several herbs and foods that are known to have blood-thinning actions and are best avoided prior to surgery to help avoid complications. These include, but are not limited to: ginkgo, alfalfa, dong quai, garlic, ginger, and vitamin E. We do offer a useful packet on herbs for Surgical Recovery.


Q: For the last month and a half both my children (ages 2 and 6) have been ill with either the flu or bad colds consistently. My husband and I rely on Echineacia to not get sick, feel better and fight most illnesses we get. My question is... Is Echineacia safe to give to children? What ages and what dosage?

Deanna Noble <mrsdnoble@earthlink.net>
Park City, UT USA - Wednesday, February 12, 2003 at 12:13:17 (PST)

A: Yes, Echinacea is both safe and useful for supporting the immune systems of children as well as adults. Some companies offer non-alcoholic extracts of echinacea especially for children, with age appropriate dosages listed on the label. For other useful remedies, see our packet on Herbs for Children.


Q: I am a "healthy" 62 yr young female registered nurse. I work 7, 12 hour shifts in a row then am off for 6 days. I was raised by one of the "fathers" of alternative health and still do as much as I can to stay away from alopathic meds. I have restless leg syndrome which seems to have started in my early 20s but was sporatic then. For at least the last 20 years the condition has been steady and worsening. I have tried kava-kava, valerian (significantly worse with that), melatonin and Ben and Jerry's ice cream. The last seems to work best. I do get some relief from a hot tub or hot shower when at home. I currently am taking Mirapex and clonazapine. I would love to take neither, I have been tested several times for any significant etiology, all negative. The restless legs appear to be idiopathic and somewhat familial. I basically have much much more energy than any of my younger co-workers or my younger husband. Problem is. as I mentioned, the restless legs are getting worse and the medication is randomly helping. I have been doing some "homework" and I am thinking I should try Cat's Claw, Passion Flower and/or Poppy. What do you think. Should I start out with one herb at a time or just bomb myself. I have never used "drugs" but seem to need higher doses than the normal person for sedation, when taken orally. I would love any suggestions and or corrections. I might add that I do drink 1/2 to 1 cup coffee a day but was off it for several months without any difference. I am also very physically active with my normal daily activities or walk a few miles after work. The effects of activitiy also are random. Thanks ever so much for your input.

sioux t rogers <srogers@internetcds.com>
applegate, or USA - Thursday, January 02, 2003 at 19:36:50 (PST)

A: We have been receiving quite a few questions on this mysterious syndrome as of late. Unfortunately, there is no research on herbs specific to this condition to date. One approach that may be helpful is to nourish the nervous system with gentle herbal nerve tonics like skullcap and oatseed. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) have shown some effectiveness in certain neurological conditions like diabetic neuropathy and ADD/ADHD, and may also be helpful. Passion flower, California poppy, chamomile, and catnip might also be considered helpful as gentle relaxants. For overall support, adaptogenic herbs like ashwaghanda, schizandra, reishi and shiitake mushrooms, and Siberian ginseng might also prove helpful. We offer a packet on Adaptogenic Herbs that you may find helpful. But by all means, keep using the Ben & Jerry's too if it helps! :)


Q: I have Angular Cheilitis.It causes cracks in the corners of the mouth and is also called Candidiasis..Oral kind..I am wondering if something in my stomach, bacteria etc, could be the cause..Have had bouts of very loose and watery bowl movements..Is there anything I can use to kill the bacteria or fungal activity that might be going on in my sytem? Thanks for any advise..

Kathy Morgan <stonewoman@spiritartist.net>
woodville, tx USA - Wednesday, December 25, 2002 at 14:35:04 (PST)

A: Candidiasis is caused by an overgrowth of yeast called candida which live in the mucous membranes of our bodies. One way to help achieve a proper balance is to eat foods with live active cultures like yogurt and cottage cheese, and also by taking pro-biotic supplements that contain live acidophilus and bifidus organisms. Getting candida under control also involves making some dietary changes, which are outlined in our information packet on Candida, along with herbs that may be helpful in treating this condition.


Q: I have had arthritis for 8 years, this time year my inflamation is very bad. I have heard a herb called Tumeric can you tell me anything about this herb?

Michelle <murdzik@meridia.org>
Mayfield , oh USA - Thursday, December 19, 2002 at 12:08:55 (PST)

A: Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been shown in research studies to be an effective anti-imflammatory and antioxidant agent. It has also been shown to be effective in the lowering of cholesterol. It is considred a safe herb and is commonly found in curry recipes. See our information packets for more detailed information on this herb and others that are useful for Arthritis by clicking on the links.

Q: Is there a herb that will help remove excess body water without the side effects of medications? I take a water pill but it is not healthy and i am looking for a herb that will do the job. My friend is taking so many water pills it is affecting his health. He would benefit from a herb as well. Your help would be appreciated. Thanks Tom Ray - olsalt@hal-pc.org

Tom Ray <olsalt@hal-pc.org>
Houston, Tx USA - Thursday, December 19, 2002 at 06:45:05 (PST)

A: It is important to identify the cause of the water retention. Serious conditions like diabetes and congestive heart failure should be explored, since they both can cause water retention. Long term use of any diuretic substance can be harmful to the bladder and kidneys. One way to rid the body of excess water is to make sure you consume enough fluid daily. The general guideline is to drink at least 8 8-ounce glasses of water per day, more if you exercise regularly and/or are overweight. Also, a diet low in sodium helps prevent water retention. There are some herbs that have diuretic effects like dandelion leaf, nettle, corn silk, and horsetail. You can read more about these and others in our packet on the Urinary Tract.

Q: What are the most beneficial herbs for my husband who has been recently diagnosed with Hepatitis C and Cirrohsis? Any pertinent information which you have will be most appreciated. Thank you.

Sandi <ksmc6549@sbcglobal.net>
Westland, Michigan USA - Tuesday, December 17, 2002 at 04:32:20 (PST)

A: There are several herbs that help support liver function like milk thistle, burdock root and dandelion root. Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, schizandra, and siberian ginseng may also be helpful. We do offer comprehensive information packets on both Hepatitis C and the Liver.

Q: I have a client who is pregnant-18 wk gestation. She is taking Dandelion and Burdock root in the form of tea for consipation. Are these safe during pregnancy? Also she has a wart on her hand- I read you previous Q & A's-are Thuja or the other recommendations for topical use safe to use? Thank you, Jennifer

Jennifer Wall PHN <jenniferw@bfjd.wa.gov>
Kennewick, wa USA - Wednesday, December 11, 2002 at 08:46:42 (PST)

A: Dandelion and burdock root have both been used traditionally in teas for relieving constipation during pregnancy. Small amounts of essential oils like thuja are usually safe when used topically. It may be advisable to dilute them in a carrier oil like almond prior to application.

Q: Dear HRF, I have a close friend who has a stomach problem due to the lack of enzymes in her digestive track. Every time she eats a meal, she has an "episode". These "episodes" can last up to an hour long. Several doctors are still pondering over her predicament. She also is suffering from kidney failure which I am positive doesn't make her stomach feel any better. I can't stand to see her keeled over the toilet anymore for long periods of time. She is my best friend, and I would do anything to help her. What kind of herbs can I give her to make her stomach not hurt anymore? Please, I must know, and thank you for taking time out to read my question. Sincerely Jana

Jana <asskikr03@aol.com>
Springfield, MO USA - Tuesday, December 10, 2002 at 15:37:08 (PST)

A: Papaya enzymes are a chewable supplement found in most health food stores that can assist digestion. Probiotics like acidophilus may also be helpful. Other herbs that aid digestion by soothing the digestive tract are chamomile, fennel, peppermint, and ginger. For more information, see our packet on the Digestive System.

Q: I have a bad case of insomnia. When I do sleep, I have horrible nightmares. The drugs doctors give me wont work. Is there anything you can recommend to help me sleep?

alix steel <alixsteel@hotmail.com>
nyc, ny USA - Monday, December 02, 2002 at 17:06:51 (PST)

A: There are many herbs that are used to help aid sleep and relaxation including kava, valerian, hops, passion flower, chamomile, California poppy, and lavender. For more information, see our packet on Insomnia.

Q: what is the best herbal to help quit smoking

carole <astra.boyd@arach.net.au>
perth, wa australia - Thursday, November 28, 2002 at 23:01:20 (PST)

A: Smoking, like any other chemical addiction, is difficult and complex to treat. There are psychological as well as physiological aspects that need to be addressed in a complete treatment program. Some herbs that are used as part of a complete program are lobelia, kava, St. John's wort, calamus root and milk thistle. For detailed information, please see our packet on Quitting Smoking.


Q: Hello! Im desperate for some help from your good selves. For the last 6 months i have suffered from an increasingly annoying hemorrhoid that just wont go away! I tried conventional medicine with no joy and the doctors said the next step is sugery! Not wanting to go that far i was wondering about a herbal remedy or deterant. I have heard that both horse chestnut and calendula are good but can you take these internally in pill form? ANy more ideas would be a god send. Thanking you in advance Claire

Claire Derossi <maeshyn@fanforce.net>
australia - Wednesday, October 30, 2002 at 20:49:31 (PST)

A: Both Horse Chestnut and Gotu Kola have been used internally to help with hemorrhoids. Calendula may also help, as it helps with lymph drainage. Additionally, witch hazel extract may be used topically to help shrink the tissue and reduce discomfort. Please see our informaiton packet on Hemorrhoids for more detailed information.

Q: I had a dream about the herb Borage and would like to know what its qualities or applications are...in case the dream had a message for me. Thanks

anna silver <anneke.silver@jcu.edu.au>
townsville, Australia - Thursday, October 17, 2002 at 14:40:12 (PDT)

A: Borage seed oil is useful because it contails high amount of an essential fatty acid called GLA. It is commonly used to help with skin conditions. It is an easy plant to grow and has lovely purple-blue flowers. For more information, see our packet on Essential Fatty Acids

Q: I have a family member that has breast cancer, most has been removed, she needs chemotherapy soon. She would like to bulid her immunes up, are there any herbs that can help her. Thank you you in advance for your assistance.

gloria licon <glicon12@aol.com>
lakewood, ca USA - Saturday, October 12, 2002 at 23:57:27 (PDT)

A: There are several herbs that can help support the immune system for those who have cancer: astragalus, reishi and shiitake mushrooms, ashwagandha, and schizandra are a few. We also offer several packets of information on herbs for Cancer.


Q: my husband is 55 yrs old and has an overactive libido but the thing is that he can not reach organism for at least 35-45 mins... This is a big problem because it seems as if he is trying to hard to reach his ejaculation. He has no problem keeping an erection, it's just ejaculation... What herbal remedies are out there that we can try?

yvette green <jddj5@aol.com>
saint albans, NY USA - Sunday, September 29, 2002 at 08:49:33 (PDT)

A: A healthy libido is a sign of good health. An overactive libido is largely subjective, but may be associated with anxiety, emotional problems, or imbalanced hormones. We do offer a comprehensive packet of information on Sexual Vitality that discusses a variety of herbal and nutritional considerations for maintaining healthy sexual function.


Q: I have been told that my 9 year old boy had Attention Deficit Disorder. He doesn't have the Hyperactivity in ADHD. They (the Dr.s) want to put him on Adderall (dextramphetamine and amphetamine). My stomach aches just to think about having to put him on something like this. Is there and alternative natural way to treat his symptoms? He is a very unhappy child right now and I owe it to him to help. Sencerly, Jeanette

Jeanette <mchere2@msn.com>
Grass Valley, CA USA - Thursday, September 19, 2002 at 09:48:57 (PDT)

A: There has been some research that indicates that Essential Fatty Acids, along with dietary changes may be helpful for those with ADD/ADHD. Our information packet on this subject gives much more detailed information and dietary suggesstions.

Q: I have very bad nails, that peel,split, and brake very easily. I think I am lacking in something, I just don't know what it is, that is making my nails weak like this. I was wondering is there a herbs that I can take,to help me grow nice long nails.I have tried all kinds of polishes and creams nothing works. Please Help!

Elizabeth <e.mckay@nf.sympatico.ca>
Robinson's, NF Canada - Tuesday, September 17, 2002 at 05:00:43 (PDT)

A: Proper diet is an important factor in the growth of healthy nails and hair. Minerals may play a very important role, especially silica, which is found in herbs like horsetail and oatstraw. For more information, see our packet on Beauty Aids.

Q: Thank you for your time. I am looking for a natural remedy to help my 12 year old daughter get to sleep. She is awake for hours after I put her to bed; it seems she cannot relax and fall asleep. A friend told me she gives her same-age daughter Melatonin-1 mg. but after reading some information I do not feel comfortable with this. I was given something at the health food store called CALMS which contains chamomilla, passiflora, avena sativa and humulus lupulus. I would like to know if this is a safe and/or effective remedy to give her at bedtime. I am not well-read with herbal remedies and need some advice. Thank you so much, Sherri Passwater

Sherri Passwater <SensorT@aol.com>
LaOtto, In USA - Tuesday, September 10, 2002 at 09:37:54 (PDT)

A: Some gentle herbs that may help children sleep are chamomile, passionflower(passiflora), oatseed (avena sativa), hops (humulus lupulus), and catnip. You may want to look for non-alcoholic extracts of these herbs.


Q: What does Ho Shou Wu help with?

Erik <ereimar61@yahoo.com>
Bellingham, WA USA - Thursday, September 05, 2002 at 10:36:54 (PDT)

A: Ho Shou Wu, also known as Fo Ti is commonly used in Asia as a longevity herb and for keeping hair from turning grey (the latter use is more folkloric). Our detailed information packet on Fo Ti will tell you all about this herb.


Q: my question is , is there an herb or herb complex to enlarge and lengthen the penis? You may think this is a prank , but it isn't.

michael craig <pmcraig@pressenter.com>
holmen, wi USA - Tuesday, September 03, 2002 at 19:43:37 (PDT)

A: There are no known herbs that will promote penile growth. There are herbs that are known to increase blood flow to the pelvic area like Yohimbe and muira pauma, but herbs will not make the penis grow longer or bigger. We do have a very informative packet on Sexual Vitality that you may find helpful.

Q: My son just had his tonsils and adnoid removed. What can I give him to promote healing and reduce swelling? He is 4years old. Thank you Laura

laura <tlokin@kda.attmil.ne.jp>
okinawa, JA Japan - Saturday, August 31, 2002 at 07:44:39 (PDT)

A: Some herbs that help promote tissue healing are gotu kola, chamomile and calendula. You can make a gargle by steeping 1 teaspoon of each dried herb in 1 cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. Marshmallow root can be added also to soothe the irritated tissue. Strain out the herbs and allow to cool before gargling. You may also find our packet on Surgical Recovery helpful.

Q: I have a couple of swollen lymphnodes that I have had for a while now. I have been to my physician several times over the past year regarding them and he is not concerned about then or my health. I have read however that congested lymphnodes can lead to cancer and other problems so I have started taking Cleavers to help cleanse my lymphnatic system. I am wondering if it is save to take continually until the nodes have diminished or if I should take breaks from it. Also, I have read about Marigold (calenda?) and it's ability to cleanse the lymphnodes, might that be better than the Cleavers? Thanks in advance for your reply!

Corrie <Corrie.Charland@sinter.gknplc.com>
Worcester, ma USA - Thursday, August 22, 2002 at 15:51:18 (PDT)

A: Cleavers and calendula have both traditionally been used to assist in lymph drainage. Both are considered safe when used in reasonable amounts and can be used together. Immune support herbs might also be helpful, since lymph drainage is part of immune function. We do offer a packet on the Immune System that you may find helpful.

Q: do you no of any herbs,or any thing for treatment of (dry eye syndrom)thanks..

michael <rhodes697@aol.com>
charleston, wv USA - Monday, August 19, 2002 at 14:01:35 (PDT)

A: Herbs that contain Essential Fatty Acids like flax, evening primrose, and borage have been shown to help dry conditions of the eyes and various mucus membranes in the body.

Q: Greetings, I have had a few itchy spots just below and above my eyelashes for years (in other words, just below the rims of my eyes.) They usually don't get much worse (though they can be extremely itchy and uncomfortable), but I also can't make them go away. There is nothing to see, when you examine that area closely. In fact a dermatologist said there was nothing there. (He's wrong, something is clearly there.) I love using herbs for healing. Please advise which herbs would be suitable for use around the eye? Perhaps this problem is fungal in nature. I need something that won't hurt the eye itself if it gets in it. Thank you very much for your help! Regards, Laurel Emrys

Laurel Emrys <stressmastery@consultLE.com>
Dripping Springs, TX USA - Friday, August 16, 2002 at 09:17:22 (PDT)

A: You can make a gentle eye wash by steeping 1 teaspoon of dried calendula, chamomile, and goldenseal in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes. Strain out the herbs and allow to cool before using. If the condition is fungal in nature, it may take daily washings over an extended period of time to clear up, as fungi can be quite persistent.

Q: My wife has GERD, and has recently had her gall bladder removed, are there any herbal remedies that can help her in the control of the acid reflux problem, she is currentlt taking Prilosec.

C.J. Trudelle <trudelle@earthlink.net>
El Paso, TX USA - Saturday, August 10, 2002 at 21:02:43 (PDT)

A: Some herbs that may be helpful in soothing the digestive tract are chamomile, fennel, peppermint, slippery elm, and marshmallow root. You may find our packet on herbd for the Digestive System helpful.

Q: is there an herbal remedy for viginitis?

r moore <refellmoore@earthlink.net>
detroit, mi. USA - Wednesday, August 07, 2002 at 18:21:34 (PDT)

A: Vaginitis, or irritation of the vaginal mucosa, can have several causes. First you need to rule out sexually transmitted diseases. Some herbs than can be applied topically to soothe irritation are chamomile, calendula, lavender and tea tree oil. We do have a comprehensive pack on herbs for Vaginitis that you may find helpful.

Q: are dizziness or headache side effects of siberian ginseng?

bob taylor <teeshm@netscape.net>
boston, ma USA - Wednesday, August 07, 2002 at 08:01:18 (PDT)

A: Siberian ginseng is mildly stimulating and can result in insomnia, headaches, and elevated blood pressure in sensitive individuals. This herb is generally well tolerated by most people and has no known toxicity, but you, as a unique individual, may be sensitive to this plant. For a detailed packet of information on Siberian ginseng, click the link.

Q: I was wondering abouty the medicinal uses of the herb rosemary. Or do you know any sites about rosemary?

K McBride <tiger33333@hotmail.com>
New Zealand - Monday, August 05, 2002 at 01:58:27 (PDT)

A: Rosemary has a soothing effect on the digestive system. It is also mildly stimulating: you can inhale the scent of rosemary essential oil to promote alertness and rosemary foot and hand baths can help stimulate blood flow to those areas. Rosemary is commonly found in natural hair care products for it's stimulating effects on the scalp and its nourishing and cleansing effects on the hair. We do offer a packet of information on Rosemary.

Q: My husband was injured on the job - a torn tendon which has detached from the bone in his arm. He will be operated on in two days. What herbs might aid in the healing of tendons as well as from his post operative procedure

Ann Bliss <abliss426@aol.com>
Portsmouth, NH USA - Tuesday, July 30, 2002 at 20:19:52 (PDT)

A: Gotu kola has been shown to help promote the healing of various tissues, including tendons. We offer packets of information on both Gotu Kola and Surgical Recovery that you may find helpful.

Q: I have a box of Ginseng liquid vials that are about a year to a year and a half old - thereis no expiration date listed. Can I still take the product?

Eric <eric_schlecht@paramount.com>
LA, CA USA - Monday, July 29, 2002 at 13:05:31 (PDT)

A: Chances are, it has lost some potency, but may not be harmful just because it has expired, unless it contains rancid oils or other ingredients that might spoil. I suggest calling the manufacturer. It is generally suggested that an expired product be discarded.

Q: My sister has dry eyes (helped by flaxseed oil) and VERY dry mouth--she does not produce much saliva unless stimulated by grapes or tart foods. It sounds like Sjogren's Syndrome. What herbs or natural solutions will help stimulate salivation?

Barbara Dickey <b_creampuff@hotmail.com>
USA - Saturday, July 27, 2002 at 17:08:46 (PDT)

A: Bitter herbs like gentian, motherwort, and hops can help stimulate appetite and salivation. The best way to achieve this is by placing a drop or two of tincture directly on the tongue.

Q: is thuja used for hair removing from penis

shoaib <masoom_chattein@yahoo.com>
bahawalpur, pakistan pakistan - Sunday, July 14, 2002 at 03:38:28 (PDT)

A: Essential oil of thuja has traditionally been used for the removal of warts. I don't know of any herbs that will remove hair.

Q: Are there any herbal remedies that could be of assistance to someone with hypothyroidism?

JoAnn Kerstetter <jkerstet@cub.kcnet.org>
Tylersville, PA USA - Thursday, July 04, 2002 at 15:58:58 (PDT)

A: Some herbs that may be useful in stimulating thyroid function are kelp, fucus (bladderwrack), and guggul. I would recommend getting our packet on Thyroid for detailed information on this complex issue.

Q: Are there any herbs I can take internally, or use externally to treat toenail fungus? Thank you

Michelle <mblondebbw@yahoo.com>
shingle springs, ca USA - Thursday, June 27, 2002 at 16:28:02 (PDT)

A: Toenail fungus is difficult to treat. Daily applications of tea tree oil have shown to be effective, but this treatment takes diligence, as you may need to continue for six months or longer.

Q: please tell me about wild oregano and its uses.thank you.

thom davis <dvestinc@aol.com>
mesa, az USA - Tuesday, June 25, 2002 at 10:27:52 (PDT)

A: Wild oregano (Monarda fistulosa) is also known as bee balm and sweet leaf. It is a member of the mint family and is high in essential oils. It grows wild all across North America and is often cultivated as a culinary plant having properties similar to oregano. It was widely used by Native Americans for a variety of conditions including upset stomach, fever, diarrhea, constipation, and sore throats, to name a few. There is an entire chapter dedicated to this herb in A book by Matthew Wood called The Book of Herbal Wisdom.

Q: Hi - I'm going to test Ashwagandha & Reishi separately for my chronic anxiety. Can I take Kava with either of them, for short-term relief, while testing the Ashwagandha & Reishi? Thanks. Mark

mark jackson <mark@bluskymusic.com>
Eugene, OR USA - Friday, June 21, 2002 at 03:19:23 (PDT)

A: There are no known interactions between these plants.

Q: I have a huskie, malimute dog. For the last year or so she has been severe dhiarrea(sp?)periodically. Thinking it was an allergy I have changed her food numerous times, everything will be normal for a couple months and all of a sudden there will be a week span of her having the runs. I have heard that slippery elm helps. Is this true? If so, how much should I give her and for how long? Are there any other herbs I could try? Thank you- Shannon

shannon gyles <shannongyles@yahoo.com>
madison, wi USA - Thursday, June 20, 2002 at 17:25:32 (PDT)

A: Chronic diarrhea can be dangerous because it causes dehydration and can lead to malnutrition. It is important to have your dog checked out by a vet to try to determine the cause. Animals generally respond well to herbs. One remedy you might try that is also gentle enough for children is raspberry leaf tea. Additionally, there are two books on herbs for pets that you may want to add to your personal library: All You Ever Wanted to Know About Herbs for Pets by Mary Wulff-Tilford and Gregory Tilford and Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen.

Q: Thank you for this wonderful question and answer forum. I have enjoyed reading through it. Are there herbs that increase the production or function of platelets in our blood?

Wendy Asbell <asbell@inna.net>
Achilles, VA USA - Wednesday, June 19, 2002 at 10:09:46 (PDT)

A: If you are referring to anemia, there are several herbs that can be helpful in building the blood: dandelion, alfalfa, nettle, and red raspberry leaf are a few. There are also dietary considerations that can help. For more detailed information, see our packet on Anemia.


HELEN RENNIE <hrennie@netzero.net>
absecon, NJ USA - Sunday, June 16, 2002 at 12:23:57 (PDT)

A: I assume you are talking about either peppermint or spearmint. There are many plants in the mint family. Most are soothing to the digestive system and are considered cooling and may be helpful in reducing fevers. One of the best things about them is their great taste! Enjoy! You might want to purchase our packet on Peppermint for more detailed information.

Q: I am a soapmaker and try to make my soaps as natural as possible. My question is this I make a Green Tea soap using the tea as my liquid and then emptying several of the tea bags and adding them to the soap. Does this have ANY benefits for the skin. It makes a wonderful clean smelling soap and is quite popular. Thank you so much

Doris Zerr <bearwallowsoaps@aol.com>
Hendersonville, NC USA - Sunday, April 28, 2002 at 07:02:19 (PDT)

A: Sounds like a wonderful soap! The good news is that green tea is high in antioxidants, which may be absorbed through the skin to promote healthy skin cells.

Q: Need information on herbs to help raspy, irritated throat from overuse. Am a singer and often become hoarse after throat use.

Jack Cooney <jackcoone@aol.com>
E. Setauket, NY USA - Sunday, April 21, 2002 at 13:58:36 (PDT)

A: Some soothing herbs for the throat are slippery elm, marshmallow, chamomile, gotu kola, and bee propolis. You can look for natural lozenges that contain some or all of these ingredients.

Q: My Mother-in-law swears that you cannot actually eat the bay leaf in a recipe, saying, "that is why you remove it". She says it is a member of the laurel family that is poisonous. But I have a container of crushed bay leaves that came with my spice rack. Also, if it were poisonous, we wouldn't be able to cook with it, right? So I don't think it makes sense that Bay Leaf is poisonous. I am having difficulty finding info about this on the internet.

Wendy <quitka@hotmail.com>
Smithton, PA USA - Tuesday, April 16, 2002 at 10:36:58 (PDT)

A: The leaves we use in cooking are are from the "sweet bay" tree, and not it's poisonous cousin, the Cherry Laurel, which is often called simply Laurel. Sweet bay leaves in large amounts (much more than cooking) may cause vomiting, but eating a leaf or two will likely result simply in a pungent or bitter taste in the mouth, which is why they are typically removed from food before serving.

Q: I have been trying to find out exactly what "cat's claw" is, what it does, and what dosage should be taken. Thanks.... Howard Welt

howard welt <hwelt@worldnet.att.net>
kennewick, wa USA - Tuesday, April 09, 2002 at 09:58:33 (PDT)

A: Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is a plant found in South American rainforests that has been traditionally used for a variety of ailments, but most notably for stimulating the immune system and for inflammation. We do offer a detailed packet of information on Cat's Claw. Click the link for more information.


Q: Recently I've heard that the herb 'St. Johns Wort' can interfere with the effects of the contraceptive pill (prevention of pregnancy). I'm thinking about taking a herbal pill (to assist appetite control)that contains Garcinia quaesita extract (Brindle berry), Ginger and Guar gum. I am worried that the combination of these herbs may affect the contraceptive pill. Appreciate your help, cheers.

Shelly <warsl004@students.unisa.edu.au>
- Monday, March 25, 2002 at 17:12:14 (PST)

A: There is no conclusive research to support the claim that St. John's wort interferes with birth control pills or any other medications. As a matter of fact, in a study conducted to investigate potential interactions between St. John's wort and the drug carbamazepine, researchers detected no significant differences in blood concentrations or clearance of the drug before or after administration of St. John's wort. The new study refutes the widespread speculation that St. John's wort lowers blood concentrations of all drugs metabolized via this enzyme system. You can read an article about this study on the following page of our website: http://www.herbs.org/current/sjwepilepsy.htm

Q: I am planning on making my own "green Drink" and was wondering if it would be advantageous to take just spirolina, or combine it with barley grass and wheat grass as well. Would it provide more in the way of nutrients, using the three together? Thanks, Susan

susan lindeman <opn4joy@yahoo.com>
asheville, nc USA - Thursday, March 21, 2002 at 16:56:57 (PST)

A: Spirulina alone is beneficial, but when combined with other green foods like barley and wheat grass and chlorella, it helps provide a broader spectrum of nutrients. For more information on the benefits of green foods, see our information packet.

Q: is there a altertive(herbal) to pencillin my doctor presribes pencillin for a infection but i would like a herbal cure, thanks

rob base <basehodges@aol.com>
dallas, tx USA - Thursday, March 21, 2002 at 06:07:26 (PST)

A: There are several herbs that have antimicrobial activity: usnea, garlic, sage, licorice, owrmwood, goldenseal, ginger, eucalyptus, echinacea, grapefruit seed extract, and tea tree oil, just to name a few. Some are effective against bacteria, some against viruses, some against fungi, and some are effective against all three. For details, please see our packet on Antimicrobial Herbs.

Q: Are there any herbs that make male/female bodily secretions taste and smell better?

DON <donarayj@aol.com>
Marina , CA USA - Wednesday, March 20, 2002 at 16:14:25 (PST)

A: A person's individual scent usually has a lot to do with their diet and lifestyle choices. A healthy diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains and limited amounts of animal products may have a positive affect on body odor. Other factors to consider are hygiene, water intake, chronic illness, smoking and/or alcohol abuse, prescription and illegal drug use, and chronic illness. In combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, herbs can help cleanse, detoxify, and nourish the body. Some examples are milk thistle, dandelion, burdock, red clover, nettles, and alfalfa. For more information, see our packet on Detoxification.

Q: what are the effects of eating garlic during pregnacy

EDNA <victor>
houston, tx USA - Sunday, March 17, 2002 at 00:36:41 (PST)

A: Garlic is safe during pregnancy when consumed as an ingredient in cooking. Pregnancy can cause digestive sensitivities like heartburn, which may be worsened by eating garlic.

Q: can you give me information for help for exzma

USA - Saturday, March 16, 2002 at 15:24:42 (PST)

A: Eczema and other skin ailments often have an internal component that needs to be addressed. Liver supportive herbs like dandelion, burdock and milk thistle can help. Some herbs that can provide topical relief are aloe, chamomile, lavender, calendula, and rose. For more information, see our packet on Eczema.

Q: What herbal remedy is recommended for wound healing, specifically a hole in a gum after a tooth extraction.

Bill Prescott <bprescott@socal.rr.com>
Orange, CA USA - Monday, March 11, 2002 at 19:17:01 (PST)

A: Some herbs that can promote tissue healing in the mouth are gotu kola, echinacea, calendula, aloe, and chamomile. For more information, see our packet on Dental Health.

Q: Hello.. I suffer from recurring bladder and yeast infections. I've taken many prescriptions medications and it seems to clear up for a while and then they are back. Do you know of any herbal remedy I could take? I'm tired of the same doctor giving me the same medication and he has no other alternatives for me. Thank you for your help.

Alex <socalilady@hotmail.com>
Fullerton, ca USA - Monday, March 11, 2002 at 14:00:49 (PST)

A: Recurrent infections of this nature can often be a sign of a compromised immune system. There are several herbs that can help boost immunity like echinacea, astragalus, siberian ginseng, and reishi and shiitake mushrooms. Diet can also be a factor in recurrent yeast infections. Probiotic supplements can help. Some herbs that can help with bladder infections are cranberry, corn silk, uva ursi, and juniper berries. We have packets on the Immune System, Candida, and the Urinary Tract that I think will be very helpful for you.

Q: are there any known side effects of astralagus root after taking for extended period (4 years)

charlotte hall <chall@albemarlefirst.com>
charlottesville, va USA - Monday, March 11, 2002 at 13:24:55 (PST)

A: Astragalus is considered a very safe food herb that is extremely well tolerated.

Q: What may Billerry complex help your body

Margaret Connaughton <margcon19@hotmail.com>
Ireland - Wednesday, March 06, 2002 at 14:03:47 (PST)

A: Bilberry is a very safe herb that has been shown to support eye heath and vision, microcirculation, spider and varicose veins, and capillary strength. It is high in antioxidants and has no known contraindications or drug interactions. We offer an information packet that details the uses of bilberry. Click the link for more information.

Q: Hello, I am a health care provider and have been getting alot of question about the effects of the herb Chamomile, and also the herb spearmint. I have looked, but have not been able to find the effects of these herbs. Could you please give me some information about these particualr herbs and the effects they have on the mind and body. Thank you!

Jessie <jvehrs@hotmail.com>
Seattle, Wa USA - Monday, February 25, 2002 at 02:01:01 (PST)

A: Both chamomile and spearmint are considered safe and gentle herbs. They are both soothing to the digestive system and can help in cases of indigestion. Chamomile is also mildly relaxing , and has been used to promote sleep in adults and children and also for colic in children. Chamomile is also useful for soothing skin conditions and for hair care. Spearmint is mildly cooling and may help reduce fevers. We offer comprehensive packets of information on both chamomile and peppermint, which has actions very similar to spearmint.

Q: I have surgerical menopause @41 yrs of age. My biggest problem these days is vaginal dryness prior to intercourse. Is there any thing I can take to increase my comfort level? K-Y jelly is out of the question, it takes care of the dryness but kills my love life. Thanx June

June <Gowerj@earthlink.net>
Denver, Co USA - Monday, February 11, 2002 at 21:11:34 (PST)

A: Herbs that contain Essential Fatty Acids like flax, evening primrose, and borage have been shown to help dry conditions of various mucus membranes in the body. Probiotics may also help.

Q: Do herbal supplements really help women's breast to grow? If they do, which ones work best? Are commercially marketed herbal supplements better than buying your own? Thank you for your attention to my questions.

Deborah Rice <Deborah.A.Rice@irs.gov>
Philadelphia, PA USA

A: We get a lot of questions about this. There have been no independent scientific research studies conducted to support claims of herbal breast enlargement products, though the anecdotal testimonials are many. Some herbs do contain phytosterolic compounds, plant constituents that are similar in chemical structure, though very much weaker, than hormones that are produced by the body. I do not know of any place to recommend that has reliable information on these "breast enhancement" products. The Herb Research Foundation sells an information packet on Phytosterols, (plant hormones) what they do in the body and in what plants they are found. Click the packet title for more information.

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