Medicine Woman

  (Waynesville, North Carolina)
dangerous herbs, medicinal herbs, culinary herbs
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This is the third and last series of HERBS THAT ARE HARMFUL FOR PREGNANT WOMEN.

  The last two blogs discussed about herbs that could be harmful to either or both the unborn baby and the mother and herbs that would bring on uterine bleeding and miscarriage.  We only discussed herbs that started with A,B, and C.  This blog will consider from D 

ELECAMPANE   miscarriage 

ERGOT   uterine bleeding and miscarriage

FENNEL SEED may cause contractions

FENUGREEK SEED  uterine bleeding and miscarriage

FEVERFEW   miscarriage

GARLIC  large does may cause uterine bleeding and miscarriage

GINGER uterine bleeding, miscarriage

GOLDTHREAD miscarriage

GOTU KOLA  may cause miscarriage

GUARANA contains caffeine, which has been linked to miscarriage

HELONIAS  miscarriage

HIBISCUS miscarriage

HOREHOUND  miscarriage

HORSERADISH uterine bleeding and miscarriage

HYSSOP uterine bleeding and miscarriage

IPECAC may stimulate the uterus, increasing the chance of miscarriage

IRIS, ORRIS ROOT  uterine bleeding and miscarriage 

JABORANDI  toxic!  May cause birth defects and miscarriage

JALAP uterine bleeding

JUJUBE uterine bleeding

KHELLA,  BISHOP'S WEED   uterine stimulant and may cause miscarriage

KOUSSO  miscarriage

LAVENDER  uterine bleeding

LEMON BALM  uterine bleeding

LICORICE ROOT  can cause high blood pressure uterine bleeding

LOVAGE  uterine bleeding and miscarriage


MALAY TEA  increases the risk of miscarriage

MALE FERN, SWEET BRAKE   may causing vomiting and miscarriage

MASTERWORT  uterine bleeding and uterine contractions

MILK THISTLE uterine bleeding 

MOTHERWORT  uterine bleeding and miscarriage

MYRRH  uterine bleeding or miscarriage

NARK  uterine bleeding and miscarriage

OREGON GRAPE  uterine bleeding, miscarriage

OSHA uterine bleeding and miscarriage 

PAPAYA uterine bleeding or miscarriage

PARSLEY uterine bleeding, uterine contractions and miscarriage

PASQUE FLOWER miscarriage

PEONY uterine bleeding 

PLIURISY ROOT  uterine stimulation and miscarriage

POISON IVY miscarriage

POMEGRANATE uterine bleeding 

POPPY  miscarriage and infant death

PRICKLY ASH uterine bleeding and miscarriage

QUEEN ANNE'S LACE uterine bleeding and miscarriage

RHUBARB  miscarriage

SANDLEWOOD miscarriage

SARSAPARILLA miscarriage

SHEPHERD'S PURSE uterine bleeding or miscarriage

SPEEDWELLL miscarriage

ST JOHN'S WORT uterine bleeding and miscarriage

STINGING NETTLE LEAF  uterine bleeding, uterine contractions, and miscarriage

STROPHANTHUS may cause dangerous heart rhythm problems and uterine contractions

VERVAIN   miscarriage

WOOD SORREL uterine bleeding and miscarriage

YARROW  miscarriage

YELLOW JASMINE    this herb is a uterine stimulant that can cause miscarriage

Herbs that pregnant women should not use part 2


In my last blog I listed herbs that would cause birth defects and toxic problems for women that are pregnant.  In this blog I am going to discuss herbs that cause internal bleeding and uterine contractions and  herbs that can cause miscarriage. 

Let me mention at the onset that we all have our own views about subjects such as abortion. I also have mine.  None of the information here is meant by me to abort a child.  I am bringing to people's attention the dangerous herbs. Children are precious and we should  not want to risk harming them in any way.

Herbs that will cause uterine bleeding and contractions and/or miscarriage:  These should not be taken during the entire 9 months.  I am mixing in those herbs that are unsafe after or before a certain time period.  If the are not safe after 3 months, to my way of thinking, they are not safe during any period of the pregnancy.

AGAVE                           can cause uterine bleeding and miscarriage.

ALOE VERA JUICE.      Uterine contractions and diarrhea.   (avoid during breastfeeding as well)

AMERICAN MANKDRAK       uterine stimulant

ANGELICA ATROPURPUREA   can cause strong contractions and lead to miscarriage if taken during the early stages of pregnancy. Promotes the growth of fibroid and increase risk of  postpartum hemorrhage.

ASHWAGANDHA  may cause miscarriage 

BARBERRY  can cause uterine bleeding and miscarriage

BEE BALM BERGAMOT, OSWEGO TEA   uterine bleeding; miscarriage 
BEET LEAVES  uterine bleeding; miscarriage

BIRTHROOT, BETH ROOT (trillium erectum)uterine bleeding; miscarriage
BIRTHWORT ( aristolochia clematitis)uterine stimulant; miscarriage
BISTORT, SNAKEWEED       miscarriage
BITTER APPLE  ( citrulus colocynthis)   highly poisonous! Uterine bleeding and miscarriage
BITTER ORANGE PEEL  uterine bleeding; miscarriage

BLACK COHOSH    uterine stimulant, contractions, postpartum hemorrhage
BLAZING STAR   miscarriage
BLUE COHOSH   uterine stimulant
BURDOCK ROOT   uterine stimulant; miscarriage
BUCHU                 miscarriage
BUCKTHORN BARK   may trigger contractions
BUKTHORN FRUIT      may cause miscarriage 


CALENDULA         external use is safe. Internal use can cause uterine bleeding and miscarriage
CALIFORNIA POPPY   miscarriage 
CAMPHOR       uterine bleeding; miscarriage
CASCARA SAGRADA      may trigger contractions
CATNIP       miscarriage

CELERY     uterine stimulant; miscarriage

CHASTEBERRY       can cause hormonal changes and uterine bleeding
CHICORY        uterine bleeding; miscarriage

CINCHONA     uterine bleeding; miscarriage 
CINNAMON      uterine bleeding; miscarriage 
CITRONELLA (LEMON GRASS)      uterine bleeding; miscarriage 
CITRUS FRUITS       excess intake can result in uterine stimulation 

COCOA  and COFFEE,   KOLA NUT     contains caffeine,which has been linked to miscarriage, low birth weight, premature delivery and birth defects.
COLIUS            uterine bleeding; miscarriage 
COLOMBO          paralysis;uterine contractions
CORN POPPY        miscarriage; infant death 
COTTON ROOT       uterine bleeding ; miscarriage 

We've only discussed herbs that start with A, B, C .  As you can see, there are a lot of herbs. I'll continue with some more in the next couple of days.

herbs that are unsafe for pregnant women during the entire 9 months

There are a lot of herbs that I have found in my research that pregnant women would do well to stay away from during the entire nine months of pregnancy. In this blog, I will list the herbs  that affect hormone  levels

AUTUMN CROCUS birth defects and Down's Syndrome.

BASIL may increase rick of birth defects

BETEL NUT   causes birth defects 

BITTER ORANGE PEEL  birth defects

BORAGE OIL   may cause liver damage to the mother and harm to the fetus

BRYONY highly toxic 

BUTTERNUT may cause birth defects

CABBAGE, COLEWORT  can interfere with mental development in the fetus. 

CHASTEBERRY can cause hormonal changes and uterine bleeding

COFFEE   low birth weigh, birth defects

COLOMBO  paralysis and uterine contractions

COMFREY may cause liver complications in pregnant women and their growing baby. Toxic for the baby. 

ECHINACEA  may trigger autoimmune disorders

GINSENG    alters hormonal balance

           GUARANA contains caffeine, which has been linked to miscarriage, low birth weight, premature       
           delivery and birth defects. 

HORSETAIL may interfere with metabolism of B vitamins 

JABORANDI  This herb is toxic, may cause birth defects.

KAVA KAVA  this herb is toxic; may cause birth defects and miscarriage

KOLA NUT  low birth weigh, birth defects

LEMON BALM  external use is safe; internal use may lead to altered hormone balance and uterine bleeding 

LICORICE ROOT  not the candy. High blood pressure in pregnant women and harm to the baby. 

LIVERWORT sever gastrointestinal irritation and should not be used during pregnancy


MATE'  low birth weight, birth defects 

MUGWORT birth defects 

PENNY ROYAL LEAF  birth defects

UVA URSI may hinder the blood flow to the mother's uterus. 

SAW PALMETTO decreases the amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the pregnant mother's body. If the women is having a little boy, DHT is very important for development of his genitals. If a girl, it has anti estrogenic effects that will affect the pregnant women. 

SEA BUCKTHORN  birth defects 

SENNA  (Cassia spp)   birth defects

SPEEDWELL may cause miscarriage and birth defects.

Avoid the pits of APRICOT, PEACH, CHERRY  they contain cyanide.

Part two discusses more herbs that are unsafe for pregnant women. 

Natural Health Magazine complete guide to safe herbs  by chris d. meletis, n.d

The Honest Herbal by Varro E Tyler

Know Your Poisonour Plants by Wilma Roberts James






SENNA (Cassia angustifolia) SENNA Senna alexandrina other names: Aden senna, Cassia acutifolia, Cassia augustifolia, Cassia senna, Cassia marilandica Mecca senna, nubian senna, and tinnevally senna, wild senna, locust plant


Senna pods and leaves contain anthroquinones, which have strong laxative effect. Does not matter which senna you use, they are all the same,


Senna is a powerful laxative that should be used for no more than seven days in a row except under a physician's supervision. It can cause severe abdominal cramps. Do not use Senna if you have intestinal problems such as ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Do not use Senna if you are pregnant or nursing. DO NOT give Senna to children.


Senna is a potent cathartic drug, not just a different tasting tea.


SIDE EFFECTS: diarrhea, intestinal cramps or gripping pains, sever weight loss


This herb can also cause finger clubbing ( rounded swelling of the fingertips and nails);

fluid and chemical imbalances; jaw tightness.


DO NOT USE SENNA WHILE TAKING heart drug called calcium channel blockers, such as Calan and Procardia; Indocin


Don't use SENNA if you have an inflammatory condition of the digestive tract, hemorrhoids or a prolapsed rectum

Do not use Senna in cases of inflammation of the stomach.

Don't use Senna to force a daily bowel movement


Senna supplements differ in potency


Senna will discolor your urine.


WARNING: Do NOT use Senna for inflammatory conditions of the alimentary canal, fever, piles, menorrhagia, prolapse of the rectum and uterus, or pregnancy.


If you should happen to take Senna use the following to modify the herb: any one or all of; ginger root, anise, caraway, fennel or coriander.


Honestly friends, there are lots better herbs than this to take for a laxative. I use 4 sticks of black licorice and red grapes. Does a good job every time!  Use sensible herbs, so that you feel good, not lousy! Take care of your body and it will take care of you!





ST. JOHN'S WORT (Hypericum perforatum)

ST JOHN’S WORT is regarded by herbalists as an effective treatment for depression (even though it isn't). It may interfere with effectiveness of other drugs.

ST JOHN'S WORT may cause cataracts in people exposed to visible or ultraviolet light after taking it.  Other side effects may include gastrointestinal disturbances, allergic reactions, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, dry mouth, and photosensitivity.


Although for years ST JOHN’S WORT has been used for depression, many reports and clinical trials have found insufficient evidence that ST JOHN’S WORT is effective for depression.  According to WEBMD and PSYCHOLOGY TODAY it is no more effective than the standard antidepressants.   It’s not FDA approved for quality, safety or purity. It is very possible for ST. JOHN'S WORT or any other herbal supplement to be contaminated with other drugs or even toxic metals



France has banned the use of  ST. JOHN'S WORT in all products and warnings of herb-drug interactions are listed in Japan, the UK and Canada, but not the US.(source from PSYCHOLOGY TODAY  August, 2013)




VALERIAN (Valeriana officinalis) Scientific/medical name(s): Valeriana officinalis

Other common name(s): valerian tea, valerian root, valerian extract


May work for insomnia.   Valerian is an herb used for anxiety and sleeplessness

SIDE EFFECTS may include headache, excitability, uneasiness, and, in some cases, insomnia, restlessness and heart palpitations, especially with long-term use of valerian. Long-term or excessive use is not advised because of possible side effects,


 Some multi-herb remedies containing valerian have been linked to liver damage.   

 Herbal practitioners claim that valerian root or extract can lessen anxiety and nervous tension, promote sleep, and help people quit smoking, ease congestion, and relieve muscle spasms. Generally, no one claims that valerian is useful for treating or preventing cancer.

Valerian should not be taken with alcohol, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, sedatives, anti-seizure drugs, narcotics, or any drugs used in treatment of mental illnesses. People with liver or kidney disease, on cancer treatment medicines, anti-fungal drugs, allergy drugs, or medicines for high cholesterol should talk with their doctors or pharmacists about possible drug interactions before taking valerian. Valerian may weaken the heartbeat and cause paralysis. Because valerian may interact with anesthetics, people who are going to have surgery should not use valerian. However, suddenly stopping the herb has caused withdrawal symptoms in some people, so the dose of valerian should be tapered slowly, starting several weeks before surgery.


De Milto, Lori; Frey, Rebecca."Foxglove."Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. 2005. (December 27, 2013).

The Honest Herbal   by Varro  E.  Tyler

The Complete Guide to HERBAL MEDICINES  BY Charles W. Fetrow and Juan R. Avila

Know Your Poisonous Plants  by Wilma Roberts James

An Illustrated Guide to 101 Medicinal Herbs  by Steven Foster



POKEWEED   Scientific Name(s): Phytolacca americana L. Family: Phytolaccaceae

Common Name(s): American nightshade , cancer jalap , cancer root , chongras  coakum , common pokeweed, pokeberry ,  poke root, poke salad (or poke sallet),  crowberry , garget , inkberry , pigeon berry , poke , red ink plant , scoke,  Virginia poke,

USES:   to make a great mess of greens, treat cancer, AIDS, herpes

Pokeweed berries are one of the ingredients in the Hoxsey formula


Pokeweed is UNSAFE to use. All parts of the pokeweed plant, especially the root, are poisonous. The leaves and stems are next in toxicity, and the berries have the smallest amount of poison. However, children have been poisoned by eating raw pokeweed berries, and some have died. Severe poisoning has been reported from drinking tea brewed from pokeweed root and pokeweed leaves. Poisoning also has resulted from drinking pokeberry wine and eating pokeberry pancakes. Eating just 10 berries can be toxic to an adult. At doses of 1 g, dried pokeweed root is emetic and purgative.

The practice of brewing pokeweed plant parts with hot water to make tea has caused poisoning.

THE EFFECTS of eating the uncooked or improperly prepared plant can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headaches, blurred vision, confusion, dermatitis, dizziness, stomach pain and weakness, difficulty controlling urination (incontinence), thirst, convulsions, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, heart block (a blockage of the electrical impulses that stimulate the heart to contract), and death may occur. Animals can also die of toxic effects from eating pokeweed, although it does not happen often.

The toxins in Pokeweed, are usually concentrated in the roots, berries and seeds and include an alkaloid (phytolaccine), a resin (phytolaccatoxin), and a saponin (phytolaccigenin). Their effects can range from embarrassing to very nasty, including diarrhea, vomiting, internal bleeding, rapid heartbeat, convulsions, and much more, up to and including death.  

Don’t touch pokeweed with your bare hands. Chemicals in the plant can pass though the skin and affect the blood. If you must handle pokeweed, use protective gloves.


RHUBARB   Rheum Rhaponticum  of the Buckwheat Family

This is the rhubarb that many of us are familiar use for making pies, sauces, and jams.  However, use only the stalks.

During World War I in Britain, as well as the United States, rhubarb leaves were recommended as a substitute for other veggies that the war made unavailable. Apparently there were cases of acute poisoning and even some deaths. Some animals, including goats and swine, have also been poisoned by ingesting the leaves.   Rhubarb leaves contain poisonous substances, including oxalic acid, which is anephrotoxic and corrosive acid that is present in many plants. Humans have been poisoned after ingesting the leaves. Cooking the leaves with baking soda can make them more poisonous by producing soluble oxalates. However, the leaves are believed to also contain an additional, unidentified toxin, which might be an anthraquinoneglycoside (also known as senna glycosides).


Although most of my research came up with information on leaves and very little on the roots themselves, I don’t think that with this particular species (grown in the United States for pies, jams, etc)  the roots would be safe to consume.

SYMPTOMS OF RHUBARB POISONING:  BODY:  general  weakness, burning in the mouth, death from cardiovascular collapse.   THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM:  difficulty breathing.   WITH THE EYES, EARS, NOSE, AND THROAT:  burning in the throat.  THE GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM : abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; and THE NERVOUS SYSTEM : Convulsions, coma.



RUE  Ruta graveolens (LINN.)           from the    Family  of    N.O. Rutaceae

A/K/A    herb of grace; herbygrass, Ruta, rutae herba, vinruta.

 In the Middle Ages and later, it was considered - in many parts of Europe - a powerful defense against witches, and was used in many spells. Talk about superstitious!   This herb goes way back in ancient history, which is where it belongs. 

It was  used for a very long list of ailments such as:  digestion problems, including loss of appetite, upset stomach, and diarrhea heart and circulation problems including heart palpitations,  hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis),  breathing problems including pain and coughing due to swelling around the lungs (pleurisy),
headache, arthritis, cramps, and muscle;  nervous system problems , epilepsy, multiple sclerosis , and Bell's palsy, fever, hemorrhage, hepatitis, “weakness of the eyes,” water retention, intestinal worm infestations, and mouth cancer. Rue was also used for snakebites, pinworms, tapeworms.   Rue is also used to kill bacteria and fungus. Some women use Rue for menstrual problems, to stimulate the uterus, and to cause an abortion.  Rue is sometimes applied directly to the skin to treat arthritis, dislocations, sprains, injuries of the bone, swollen skin, earaches, toothaches, headaches, tumors, and warts; and as an insect repellent.   WOW!  Did we leave anything out?

According to WEBMED:  “ Rue  is UNSAFE when used as a medicine. When taken by mouth, it can cause side effects such as stomach irritation, changes in mood, sleep problems, dizziness, spasms, serious kidney and liver damage, and death. When applied to the skin, it can cause rash and increased sensitivity to the sun.”

It is UNSAFE for anyone to use rue in medicinal amounts, but people with the following conditions are especially likely to experience dangerous side effects:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is UNSAFE for both mother and unborn child to take rue during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Rue can cause uterine contractions, which can cause a miscarriage. That’s why rue is used to cause an abortion. But it also has serious effects for the mother; she can die using this stuff!

Stomach and intestinal (gastrointestinal, GI) problems: Rue can make existing GI problems worse

Kidney and urinary tract problems: Rue can harm the kidney and irritate the urinary tract.

Liver problems: Rue can make existing liver problems worse

RUE is used as an insect repellant. Topical use of Rue can cause the skin to blister.  Rubbing fresh rue leaves on the forehead to cure a headache, if one is exposed to the sun will bring on a dermatitis condition that will be much worse than the headache!





 De Milto, Lori; Frey, Rebecca."Foxglove."Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. 2005. (December 27, 2013).

The Honest Herbal   by Varro  E.  Tyler

The Complete Guide to HERBAL MEDICINES  BY Charles W. Fetrow and Juan R. Avila

Know Your Poisonous Plants  by Wilma Roberts James

An Illustrated Guide to 101 Medicinal Herbs  by Steven Foster




DAMINANA  Turnea diffusa of the Turneracea family a/k/a de la pastora, Mexican damiana, old woman’s broom

Used for: colic, to stop bed wetting, bring on suppressed menses. Inhaling steam from the tea is said to relieve headache, and aphrodisiac


SIDE EFFECTS  ARE hallucinations. Irritation of the urethra, excessive amounts may result in liver injury.

There is no evidence to support aphrodisiac effects.




DEVIL'S CLAW (Harpagophytumprocumbens)

Effective for osteoarthritis pain insufficient study has been done to evaluate its effectiveness for anything else.

SIDE EFFECTS may include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headaches, ringing in the ears, loss of appetite, and loss of taste. Other side effects may include allergic skin reactions, menstrual problems, and changes in blood pressure.  Use of devil's claw during pregnancy is not advised, as it may harm the fetus.



EYEBRIGHT (Euphrasia spp.)        ALL parts of the plant are used for herbal medicine. Eyebright was used as a traditional folk remedy for eye irritation. Eyebright is taken by mouth to treat swollen (inflamed) nasal passages, allergies, hay fever, common cold, bronchial conditions, and inflamed sinuses (sinusitis). It is also used for cancer, coughs, “pink eye” (conjunctivitis), earaches, epilepsy, headaches, hoarseness, inflammation, jaundice, runny nose, skin ailments, and sore throat.


Despite serious risk of infection, some people apply eyebright directly to the eye in the form of a lotion, poultice, or eye bath to treat a variety of conditions including conjunctivitis; inflammation of the eyelids at the edge of the lashes (blepharitis); eye fatigue; inflammation of the blood vessels, eyelids and conjunctiva; and for "glued" and inflamed eyes. Eyebright is also applied to the eyes to prevent mucous and mucous membrane inflammation of the eyes. Historically, eyebright has been used in British Herbal Tobacco, which was smoked for on-going lung conditions and colds.


In foods, eyebright is used as a flavoring ingredient.


When used directly on the eye, eyebright can be contaminated and cause eye infections.

 SIDE EFFECTS of topical eyebright may include itchiness, increased sensitivity to light, swollen eyelids, changes in vision, watery eyes, or severe eye pressure. Nausea, sweating and confusion have also been reported with oral eyebright use


 SIDE EFFECTS OF EYEBRIGHT TINCTURE include confusion, headache, tearing, itching, redness, vision problems, sneezing, nausea, toothache, constipation, cough, trouble breathing, trouble sleeping (insomnia), sweating, and others.


Eyebright has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity




GOLDENSEAL  (Hyddrastis Canadensis) of the crowfoot family

You might be surprised to know that Goldenseal is considered a native American drug.  It was used by the Cherokee Indians primarily for skin diseases and as an eye wash for sore eyes.  It was also considered a bitter tonic, a remedy for various s gastric and genitourinary disorders, heartburn, pain in the bowels, headache, poor appetite, and feverishness.


Goldenseal contains hydrastine and berberine. It is the  berberine that is responsible for the drug’s characteristic   golden color.


Although Goldenseal is no longer even discussed in modern works on pharmacology, it continues to occupy a place  of prominence in modern herbals.

Also, for those who believe that Goldenseal prevents the detection of morphine in urine specimen following heroin use, also for detection of marihuana or cocaine use,   scientific studies have revealed no basis for this claim. Goldenseal neither prevents morphine detection nor does it “flush” that compound from the body.




HENBANE (Hyoscyamus niger)

Used for pain, Parkinson's disease symptoms, and ulcers.  It is also smoked to "cure" asthma and bronchitis. There is no evidence to support its use for any of these conditions.

Henbane is toxic, and when used for self-treatment may result in fatal poisoning.

SIDE EFFECTS may include dry mouth, red skin, constipation, overheating, reduced sweating, vision disturbances, increased heart rate, urination problems, drowsiness, restlessness, hallucinations, delirium, manic episodes, and death.



HYDRANGEA, Hydrangea macrophylla, Hydrangea arborescensL., Hydrangea paniculata Siebold  of the Saxifragaceae family


For one thing, hydrangea is an ornamental, not an herb. No part of t he hydrangea bush is for internal use.

USED FOR:  kidney stones, diuretic and smoked  to produce a euphoria ( you will either get very stoned or very sick and possibly both). Cyanide compounds are present in the leaves and branches.  The buds are also poisonous.

SIDE EFFECTS: Hydrangea may lower blood sugar level, cause dizziness and chest  tightness.


JIMSON WEED (Datura stramonium)

  Jimson weed leaves are smoked for asthma.

Jimson weed is poisonous and can cause dry mouth and extreme thirst, vision problems, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate, hallucinations, high temperature, seizures, confusion, loss of consciousness, breathing problems, and death.  The deadly dose for adults is 15-100 grams of leaf or 15-25 grams of the seeds.


KAVA (Piper methysticum)

SIDE EFFECTS may include liver damage leading to death, even with short-term use (1-3 months) of normal doses ] and aedation, oral and lingual dyskinesia, torticollis, oculogyric crisis, exacerbation of Parkinson's disease, painful twisting movements of the trunk, and rash.




LOBELIA (Lobelia inflate, L. beriandieri, L. cardinalis, L  siphilitica

Used for asthma, bronchitis, cough, and smoking cessation, muscle spasms,  to induce vomiting.  Also as a main ingredient in home smoking formulas.

SIDE EFFECTS may include profuse sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, rapid heartbeat, mental confusion, convulsions, hypothermia, coma, and death. It's not called Indian Tobacco for nothing. Lobelia may also cause death from respiratory depression and respiratory muscle paralysis.  It may also increase the blood pressure. Does not interact well with drugs.




MADDER ROOT (Rubia tinctorum)

Sometimes used in herbal medicine as an astringent diuretic, emmenagogue, and claimed to be good for many conditions, including alkaline urine, diarrhea, inflammation, wounds, broken bones, fever, and many others. There is no evidence to support the use of madder root for any of these conditions. The root is used in Ayurveda and Hildegard medicine. Madder root is also used for dyeing fabrics.

Madder Root  may cause cancer, birth defects, and miscarriages. It can also make urine, saliva, perspiration, tears, and breast milk turn red. 



MISTLETOE (Viscum album)

Mistletoe is claimed to be good for cancer prevention, hypertension, and insomnia.  However, research of  Mistletoe has concluded that Mistletoe  isn't effective for cancer; and that insufficient research has been done to evaluate the other claims.

When small amounts are taken, it is safe, with mild side effects of headaches, fever, and chills.   Large amounts are toxic and can be fatal.


 SYMPTOMS may include seizures, coma, death, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, slow or irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, confusion, and drowsiness. 


Mu Tong (Caulis aristolochiae)

Used in traditional Chinese medicine for "relieving excess fire" and "stimulating the secretion of milk".

May cause fatal kidney failure because, like birthwort, it contains aristolochic acid.





 De Milto, Lori; Frey, Rebecca."Foxglove."Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. 2005. (December 27, 2013).

The Honest Herbal   by Varro  E.  Tyler

The Complete Guide to HERBAL MEDICINES  BY Charles W. Fetrow and Juan R. Avila

Know Your Poisonous Plants  by Wilma Roberts James

An Illustrated Guide to 101 Medicinal Herbs  by Steven Foster




At present, herbal products can be sold without requiring studies on their safety or effectiveness.  It is up to the individual to decide for themselves whether certain herbs are safe to take.  So, that is what this blog is about.

Many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but, be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.   Many herbalists even now, are also using herbs as medicine   based on tradition or folk medicine. Depending on the culture and region, people for years and years used certain herbs for certain conditions. Many of these work, but, many more were not effective at all and so called herbalist would use these herbal treatments because that’s what was being used at that time.

 Some of these conditions are potentially serious.  I think that it is finally time for those who want to be known as herbalists to start doing some serious research into each and every herb that they want to use in their formulas and sell to the public, whether it be teas, tinctures, salves, or whatever.   The findings of people such as Culpepper, Gerard and a host of others were made hundreds of years ago.  Since people did not  live all that long back then, how does anyone know for sure if the herbs worked or, helped kill these people?  You don’t.   Writers of herb findings back then were not going to incriminate themselves by admitting that certain herbs just might kill a person rather than make them well.  Maybe that is where the saying “ it will either kill you or cure you” comes from?  



I have compiled a list with some herbs that a person might think twice about using. Some herbs will cause a person to just get sick, or end up in a situation worse than they originally began with, while others will cause death.   My research is based on many modern day findings that are listed at the end of this blog, as well as just plain common sense.  We have to remember that things change as time goes on.  Nothing stands still and, it is the same with herbs. Also, keep in mind that “high doses” can mean as little as a teaspoonful or a cupful.  It does not mean that a person would have to drink a gallon of the stuff.  It also can mean over a period of time.





AMERICAN SKULLCAP (Scutellarialateriflora)

Herbalist use this herb  for tension, anxiety, insomnia, panic, headaches, fatigue, depression, melancholy, convulsions, jerking muscles, epilepsy, heart trembles, depression, arthritis, fever, snake bites, and rabies. Skullcap is used for PMS when used with chaste tree or false unicorn root


High doses can cause giddiness, stupor, mental confusion, twitching, irregular heartbeat, and seizures. There is also the problem of  American skullcap being contaminated with germander, which can cause liver damage.



ANGELICA  A. acutiloa, A. archangelica, A. atropurpurea, A. dahurica, A. edulis, A. gigas, A. keiskei, A. koreanna, A. polymorpha, A. pubescens, A. radix, and A. sinensis  


People use angelica for  anemia, anti gas treatment,  asthma, backache, diuretic,  diaphoretic,  eczema, gynecologic disorders, hay fever, headache, menstrual discomfort, osteoporosis, menopausal symptoms.

Those who consume the purplish stems of angelica that are collected and crystallized with sugar to make a pleasant tasting confection should be aware that the plant contains a number of furocoumarins, e.g., angelicin, bergapten, immperatorin, and xanthotoxin.

Some authorities believe that angelica may cause cancer.  Angelica can cause bleeding or bruising after use.  Severe poisoning has resulted from large doses of the root administered in an attempt to induce abortions.



ARNICA  of the family Asteraceae (all varieties)  People have employed the entire plant,  including the roots, often using this herb internally.  Arnica is used for reducing inflammation, bruising, aches, and rheumatic pain.  It is used in teas, tinctures and salves.  Studies have shown that when arnica tincture is taken internally that it exhibit a toxic action on the heart and caused very large increases in blood pressure. Repeated use on the skin  can cause severe inflammation, itching, blisters, skin ulcers, and other allergy-related skin problems.




BROOM   Cytisus scoparius, syn, Saritganbys scioaruys

Used as a diuretic, produce vomiting, sweating.  For poor circulation or heart conditions, especially low blood pressure and  to induce relaxation and euphoria.


Using BROOM can cause headache, irregular heartbeat, mind altering sensation from smoking the plant parts. Poisoning symptoms: shock, a fast pulse, confusion or other mental changes, vertigo, nausea, and diarrhea, uterine contractions, fungal pneumonia (from smoking contaminated broom tops) and miscarriage.

BROOM does not interact well with drugs, particularly beta blockers, such as Inderal or other drugs that are used to treat heart conditions;  Do not use BROOM if you are on tricyclic antidepressants, such as Sinequan.



CAT'S CLAW (Uncariatomentosa or Uncariaguianensis) Two species of cat's claw:  Uncariatomentosa and Uncariaguianensis,.Uncariatomentosa is most commonly used in the U.S., and Uncariaguianensis is typically used in Europe

Touted as a cure-all for HIV, AIDS,  cancer, whatever else,. Cat’s claw is most commonly used for improving symptoms of  both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, diverticulitis, colitis , gastritis. leaky bowel syndrome, shingles, chronic fatigue syndrome, wound healing, parasites, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, hay fever, cancer (especially urinary tract cancer), a particular type of brain cancer called glioblastoma, gonorrhea, dysentery, birth control, bone pains, and "cleansing" the kidneys.  MY, my, what a busy herb this is!


CAT’S CLAW  can, however, cause headache, dizziness, and vomiting in some people. If you have Leukemia, Cat's claw might worsen this condition.

For   Auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), or other similar conditions, Cat’s claw might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. There is a concern that cat’s claw might make blood pressure control difficult during surgery.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates) interacts with CAT'S CLAW   Taking CAT'S CLAW along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications.



GENTIAN  Gentiana lutea L. ; Gentiana acaulis L. 

a/k/a bitter root, feltwort, gall weed, pale gentian, stem less gentian and yellow gentian.

Gentian is used for  heartburn, intestinal gas, irritable bowel syndrome, malaria, sharp intestinal pains, to help curb smoking and to stimulate the appetite. Also used as a bitter digestive tonic, and as an  antidote  to poisons.


SIDE EFFECTS: headache, nausea and vomiting. Gentian may increase anti inflammatory properties.



GREATER CELANDINE (Chelidoniummajus)  Another cure all herb. Used internally for sedation, gallstone prevention, intestinal and digestive problems, liver disease, and eye irritation.  Topically it is used for ringworm, warts, and corns. Also, "liver diseases, for inflammation of the gallbladder, inflammation of the biliary duct, loss of appetite, jaundice, hepatitis, dropsy, gout, arthritis, rheumatism, fevers, spasmodic coughs, bronchitis, asthma, intestinal polyps, breast lumps, angina, cramps, arteriosclerosis, gout, water retention, skin eruptions, scurvy, ulcers, cancers (specifically skin and stomach). The tincture has been used for liver problems, facial, head, and shoulder neuralgia, constipation.  

SIDE EFFECTS:  It can cause serious liver problems such as hepatitis, and blockage of the bile duct (bile duct obstruction). Some GREATER CELANDINE extracts appear to increase the flow of bile. There is a concern that this might make bile duct obstruction worse.



CHAPARRAL (Larreadivaricatacoville)     I was called a moron by someone who read an earlier blog of mine not long ago, stating that she used chaparral for cancer and it cured her cancer.  However, let me quote from Rational WIKI “Chaparral is used for lots of things, including cancer.    Chaparral is not effective for cancer and not known to be effective for anything else, either.”   And from WEBMD   “Chaparral is a plant. The leaf is used to make medicine, but there are serious safety concerns. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada have advised consumers against using products containing chaparral due to safety concerns. Despite warnings, chaparral is still available in the U.S. Also included here are comments made by Varro E. Tyler well known author of The Honest Herbal.

Chaparral is used for digestion problems, cramps, respiratory tract conditions including colds and infections; and ongoing chronic skin disorders. It is also used for cancer, arthritis, tuberculosis, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, central nervous system conditions, chickenpox, parasite infections, obesity, and snakebite pain. Some people use chaparral for detoxification, or as a tonic or “blood purifier.” Chaparral is said to possess analgesic, expectorant, emetic, diuretic, and anti inflammatory properties.  Oh yes, and as a hair tonic.

Another busy herb!


Chaparral WAS , around 1968, considered  to be potentially useful in the treatment of cancer. HOWEVER, in 1990’s, cases of liver disease started to crop up and Chaparral was then considered to be dangerous for humans to use.  Some people out there, including well known herbalists, need to keep abreast of changes regarding the overall safety of herbs.  We are not living in the 1600’s anymore!


CHAPARRAL IS UNSAFE. There are several reports of serious poisoning, acute hepatitis, and kidney and liver damage, including kidney and liver failure.


According to WEBMD:  “Chaparral can cause side effects including stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, weight loss, fever, and liver and kidney damage. Putting chaparral on the skin can cause skin reactions including rash and itching. “AND, Rational WIKI “it's actually very dangerous.   It can cause fatal liver damage and kidney failure. Other side effects may include fatigue,  itching, rash, and allergic reactions. Despite the title of that old cowboy serial, Chaparral cannot get you high.”  And, from the American Cancer website: “ Chaparral is considered a dangerous herb that can cause irreversible, life-threatening liver damage and kidney damage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cautioned against the internal use of chaparral. Research has not found it to be an effective treatment for cancer or any other disease.

A clinical study of nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), one of the chemicals in chaparral, concluded that it was not useful in treating people with cancer,”





Coltsfoot (Tussilagofarfara) Used as an expectorant and for coughs. Coltsfoot cigarettes are used for asthma.   Despite serious safety concerns, people take coltsfoot for lung problems such as bronchitis, asthma, and whooping cough (pertussis). They also take it for upper respiratory tract complaints including sore mouth and throat, cough, and hoarseness. Coltsfoot seems to be the principle ingredient in herbal smoking formulas. 

According to WEBMD   Coltsfoot is considered UNSAFE. It contains chemicals called hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) that can damage the liver (or make liver disease worse), or cause cancer, birth defects, and .  taken in large amounts might interfere with treatment for high blood


Many well-known herbalists praise coltsfoot for its flavor as it is supposed to be very palatable for cough drops, syrups and teas.  




 De Milto, Lori; Frey, Rebecca."Foxglove."Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. 2005. (December 27, 2013).

The Honest Herbal   by Varro  E.  Tyler

The Complete Guide to HERBAL MEDICINES  BY Charles W. Fetrow and Juan R. Avila

Know Your Poisonous Plants  by Wilma Roberts James

An Illustrated Guide to 101 Medicinal Herbs  by Steven Foster



Before I started selling here on LOCAL HARVEST nearly 4 years ago, I was selling everything at the local farmers market.  I sold  herbs from culinary to medicinal.   Much of my culinary had spices mixed in, thus the name SPICES & HERBS BY ELAYNN.  I did the farmers market solely from 1999 to 2009 and then, I started selling here on LOCAL HARVEST.  However, much of my LOCAL HARVEST business has to do with the medicinal aspect.  So, I think a business name change is in order. 


My new business name will be MEDICINE WOMAN.  It will obviously take a while for it to catch on.   But, I think that it is a more appropriate business name since I grow and sell mostly medicinal herbs.


THANKS to all of you who have ordered from me and to those of you who faithfully read my blogs!  I ALWAYS hope YOU LOVE MY HERBS!!








Yogurt seems to have gotten its start in the United States around the 1960’s with the Hippie movement, but, around the rest of the world, yogurt has been considered a main food staple from nomadic people to kings of countries.   Yogurt was especially popular in Arab countries through the Middle East to Central Asia and Southern Europe.


It seems like, as usual, the commercial food industry with all of its added chemicals is now trying to make yogurt look bad,  however, yogurt made in the right way is one of the best foods a person can eat. Yogurt was one of the first foods that I introduced to each of my children when they were babies.  Instead of the cereal gruel that people gave their babies, I gave them yogurt. So, my children grew up with yogurt.  However, I never buy yogurt and neither will you once you learn how to make it yourself.  The tastes and texture is so different from store bought that once you start making your own yogurt, you will never be satisfied with the store stuff. 


I first started making yogurt in the 1970’s and am still making it at least once a week.  When my three children were growing up, each one of them knew how to make yogurt by the age of 8 years old.   At any time, someone in our family was making yogurt.  We all ate it for breakfast, lunch, snack, to go with salads (we made a nice fruit salad and mixed yogurt , honey and lemon and poured it over the fruit..Delicious!)   Yogurt is easy to eat and is filling.

You need two ingredients to make yogurt and a casserole dish with its cover or a bowl (also with some type of cover be it plastic wrap or even just a plate will do).  You also need some type of box (bread box maybe where you can put a  25 watt light bulb about 10 inches above, or  an oven with a light ( you don’t turn on the oven, ever). You can even just seal the cover on the dish real well and put the dish up high. Basically what you need is 100 degrees with no drafts . I had my husband make a yogurt box  for me, which consisted of a sturdy wood  box 20 inches tall, 14 inches wide and 20 inches in depth from front to back, with a little door on it  (11 inches by 14 inches)..  Inside up on top is a simple light fixture with a 25 watt light bulb. It is quite simple.  Since my yogurt box is in the kitchen and painted blue, I often get teased that I’m hatching chicks! J   The temperature needs to stay at 100 degrees , the heat source is of course from the light bulb. I put a regular room thermometer inside the box on top of the casserole container that the yogurt is in to gauge the temperature. The temperature should never go below 100 degrees or above 115 degrees , 120 will kill the culture, so 100 is just about right.

Now for the ingredients and method:. 1)   I use ½ and ½  for the milk. I have also been known to use canned milk ( not the sweeten condensed stuff), or goats milk. For those of you that are in other countries you could use reindeer and mare’s milk; cow, sheep,or goat’s milk; buffalo milk and even soybean can be used. 

2)  you can either :   purchase a small container of plain yogurt ( I have found Stoneyfield, Dannon and even often times just the store brand to work best.) Get the smallest container of either plain yogurt or vanilla (French, ok)  I use this method


OR:   from a health food store:  get pure lactic bacteria or yogurt culture.  


You will see recipes calling for other ingredients such as powdered milk, but, it is not necessary. All you need is milk and a starter.  (Once you make your first batch of yogurt, save at least one good size regular, not measuring, tablespoon of yogurt and simply mix it into your milk.  You will not need to purchase a starter again.)


Ok, we got the box ready, turn light on.  We got the milk and starter.   Now, let’s start small, so, find a small casserole dish with a cover to it, or a glass bowl with a plastic wrap or simply a dish to set over the bowl.  Get a sauce pan, not aluminum.

·         Pour the milk into the casserole dish (this is what the amount of yogurt will be), pour that into your saucepan.

·          Put the sauce pan over low to medium heat.

·          Heat the milk til you start to see it ripple or till the pan is HOT to touch on the sides.  You don’t want your milk to burn.    If you have a candy thermometer place it inside the pan along the side. The temperature should be around 250 degrees. 

·         Then, turn off the heat source.

·         Leave the pan ALONE!

·         It needs to drop to 105 degrees.

·          If you don’t have a thermometer, periodically put your hand on the outside of the pan and when it feels quite warm, but not hot, it is ready.  This can take a good 30 to 45 minutes. Do not disturb the milk. LEAVE IT ALONE

·         and let it cool down to 105 to 100 degrees on its own.       

·         Now,  take a spoon and skim the milk.  Discard the skin. 

·         Take at least 1 tablespoon ( or you can use the entire small container of yogurt) and about a ¼ of a teaspoon , not measuring, of sugar  and stir it into the milk.  Don’t go nuts, just stir a little to mix it. 

·          Pour into your casserole container, cover it.

·           Put the casserole dish in the box and shut the door.

·          Leave this alone, don’t stir, don’t jostle, just leave it alone! 

·         It will take anywhere from 4 to 10 hours in the box before the yogurt is ready. Don’t check the yogurt until about 4 hours,

·          then,  take a regular spoon that you use for stirring coffee or tea or eating your cereal with and put the spoon right in the middle of the yogurt. Don’t scoop, just put the spoon (even a table knife will work) in and out.  What you are looking for is the yogurt being the consistency of sour cream or a pudding. You don't want the yogurt liquidy, it needs to solidify.

·         Once your yogurt is the consistency of sour cream or pudding, it is ready. 

·         Very carefully take the casserole dish  out of the box and

·         put the dish in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.  It is then ready to eat. ( The sugar that you added when you mixed the yogurt culture and milk should help the yogurt to lose its tartness, that is the only purpose of using the sugar.  You DON'T have to use it  if you don't want to)  


You can then add to your individual servings whatever you want; peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, fruit, etc.  

If your yogurt fails, don’t throw it out.  Simply pour it back into the pan and begin over, using the steps above.  Also, it won’t take as long in the box, so, check it after about 4 hours.

Each time you make more yogurt, you simply use a tablespoon of the previous yogurt as a starter. 

This is a good, simple way to make your own yogurt, and, you know what is in it as well!





Dangerous Herbs that EVERYONE should be leery of

The desire to get back to nature is increasing the numbers and ages most likely to be poisoned  by using herbs.  It's not just the folks who want to use alternative medicine for their healthcare, larger numbers of us are hiking, camping and wild crafting. I have noticed  there are so many books written in the past 20 to 30 years by people supposedly in the know of herbs  and all saying basically about the same thing about the same herbs.  Many of the herbs these people suggest using are downright dangerous.  Furthermore, they are not using the herb formula correctly.


While it is true that many herb plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, we need to be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

Even though you may have heard of some or  all of the following herbs, be aware that they are not safe  for humans to use. 


The following is a list of herbs that EVERYONE should be leery of:



Apple (Balsam)

Apple (Bitter)


Belladonna Lily  of the Amaryllis Family


Bryony, Black

Bryony, European White

Bryony, White

Cabbage Tree

Calabar Bean

Calotropis Cherry Laurel



Coca, Bolivian

Cocculus, Indicus

Comfrey  (internally; externally  is ok if used sparingly)

Datura  (Angel’s Trumpet)

Dropwort, Hemlock Water




Hellebore, Black

Hellebore, False

Hellebore, Green

Hellebore, White Hemlock


Hemlock, Water

Hemp, Indian


Ignatius Beans

Ivy, Poison

Jin Bu Huan


Laurel, Mountain


Lovage, Water

Ma huang

Mescal Buttons

Nightshade, Black

Nightshade, Deadly Nux Vomica

Paris, Herb

Poppy, White

Saffron, Meadow





Wake Robin, American






We often hear words such as alterative,  anti microbial , aperient, cholagogue and other strange sounding names.  But, what are they?  These are all called actions or herbal properties. They refer to the energetic pathway of how an herb affects the body.  Every herb has more than one such action. 

Here we will find out some of the actions and which herbs have these actions.  This is just   enough information to give you an idea of what these terms mean and what herbs would be in each category. Many herbs are in many different categories, thus, making them easy to work with. 

This is by no means conclusive and I probably won’t be able to list every herb in every category. 

Like I have mentioned before, herbalism is a huge field.      Also, I am mentioning herbs that have been used   and some people have found them to work.  This does not mean that I necessarily condone the use of some of these herbs.  For herbs that I really would not use myself I have an * just after the herb. 




REFRIGERANTS  are cooling herbs used as or in beverages to cool us on a hot day. They could also be used to bring down a fever.


EXAMPLES:  borage, burnet, licorice, lemon balm, raspberry leaves


SEDATIVES  are  herbs that exert a soothing or tranquilizing effect; sedatives may be general, local, nervous or vascular.  Sedatives calm the nervous system , thus reducing stress and nervousness throughout the body.  Many herbs have sedative qualities .


EXAMPLES:  black cohosh*, black haw*, catnip, chamomile flowers, cramp bark, lavender, lemon balm, lime blossom, motherwort*,red clover, rosemary,  squaw weed*, yarrow. Valerian*



SIALAGOGUE  stimulates the secretion of saliva from the salivary glands.


EXAMPLES: blue flag * cayenne, centuaury*, gentian, ginger, prickly ash, horse radish, licorice



SOPORIFIC  induces sleep


EXAMPLES:  hops, valerian*, chamomile, cramp bark ( b/c it relaxes the muscles and relieve tension; it is said to be safe to use during pregnancy  for nervous discomforts, however, I don’t suggest using this herb during pregnancy)


STIMULANTS  increases internal heat, dispels internal chills and strengthens metabolism and circulation.  Stimulants refuse to act in the presence of an excess of animal foods.  Stimulants and narcotics never act as quickly upon persons accustomed to using alcohol freely, as upon those who do not use alcohol.


EXAMPLES:  bayberry, black pepper, blood root, boneset, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cohash root, damiana, fever few, ginger root, golden rod, horseradish, hyssop, mother wort, mustard, nutmeg, pleurisy root, pennyroyal, peppermint, prickly ash, quaking aspen, sarsaparilla root, spearmint, summer savory, vervain, white pepper, wintergreen, yarrow, yellow root.



STYPTIC   (anti hemorrhagic)  Styptics reduce or stop external bleeding by their astringency.  ( contracting a blood vessel; stopping a hemorrhage by astringent action Anti-hemorrhagic or styptic herbs can prevent and stop excessive internal bleeding in some cases. Some herbs affect female reproductive organs and regulate excessive bleeding from fibroids and menstruation. Herbs that heal an irritated gastrointestinal tract may also stop bleeding from certain diseases.


EXAMPLES:  calendula,  (helps reduce the bleeding); shepherd’s purse (one of my favorites for female hemorrhaging after child birth and for certain other uterine bleeding); yarrow; witch hazel herb ( not the stuff you purchase in the drug store); comfrey leaf ( fresh); plantain leaf ( again in fresh form) .  These are tried and true old fashioned remedies.  You may not see these in the books and on line.  I have used all of these at various times on myself and others with excellent results.  I do not suggest the taking internally of comfrey or plantain, However, both are your new best friend when outside and you cut yourself quite badly, trust me. 



SUDORIFIC induce involuntary perspiration that helps to reduce fever, cool the body, and speed the elimination of toxins from the system. These herbs are useful in fevers, colds, and detoxification formulations

EXAMPLE:  chamomile, couch grass, peppermint



THYMOLEPTIC   modifies mood in serious affective disorders such as depression


EXAMPLES: Nervine tonics.   ST John’s wort,   passion flower; damiana,    Clary sage, lemon balm, lavender , mugwort, Siberian Ginseng.






TONICS   restore, nourish and support the entire body and exerts a gentle strengthening effect on the body.  There are certain tonics for certain body systems:


    CARDIOVASCULAR/ CIRCULATORY SYSTEM:   hawthorn, garlic, horse chestnut, lime blossoms, ginseng, motherwort

    DIGESTIVE SYSTEM:  aniseed chamomile, dandelion, garlic, golden seal, mugwort

(I don’t suggest as safe but everyone else seems to : acrimony, angelica, balmony (maybe I don’t know enough about it); centaury, comfrey, condurango, cranesbill, fringetree, gentian, rue, wormwood )


MUSCLES AND SKELTON SYSTOM:  boneset, burdock root, nettles, sarsaparilla, wild yams

( I don’t suggest these as safe, but, for those who feel they know more than everyone else: agrimony, angelica, black cohosh, bogbean, comfrey)

NERVOUS SYSTEM:  lemon balm, ginseng, mugwort,, oats

(I don’t suggest these as safe, but, for those who feel they know more than everyone else: black cohosh, bugleweed, damiana, Lady’s slipper ( is best as a lovely flower left in the woods); mistletoe ( also best left hanging in the archway somewhere at Christmastime), skullcap,


RESPIRATORY SYSTEM:  eucalyptus, Echinacea, mullein, hyssop, thyme, white horehound, licorice, marshmallow leaf


SKIN:  burdock root, comfrey leaf, Echinacea, dandelion leaf and root, marigold, nettles, red clover, sarsaparilla, yellow dock


VULNERARY  assists in healing of wounds by protecting against infection and stimulating cell growth. Applications are generally most effective when fresh herb is applied.


EXAMPLES:  all heal, calendula, comfrey leaf,  horse tail grass , marshmallow , oak bark ,  plantain




URINARY ANTI SEPTIC      shepherd’s purse, uva ursi, celery, cranberry, goldenrod, pine bark*, pipsissewa *,




Tone and normalize the function of the female reproductive system.

Examples: red raspberry leaves, nettles  ( these are the safest herbs to use); cramp bark (maybe, but, not during pregnancy)





US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health


THE HERBALIST by Joseph E.. Meyer


THE  COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERBAL MEDICINE  by Charles W. Fetrow and Juan R. Avila both pharmD

THE HONEST HERBAL  by Varro E. Tyler




Often times at the farmers market where I go, I hear people say that they are vegetarians and therefore don’t use herbs.   What I tell them: “O  Honeee, you don’t know what you’re missing!”  Just one herb can change the whole taste of your dish!


LET’S  START WITH A SALAD. For the most part, all you need is just a touch .  By that, I mean a very little amount.  You want to make your salad have a faint taste of "something else" that a person can just taste. 

 Most people have a pepper grinder and if you empty it and put in fennel seeds, grind that over your next vegetable salad and I can almost guarantee you that you will wonder how you managed without this wonderful taste!

If you have "Italian Seasoning" sprinkle that lightly all over your salad. 

Basil, either the fresh leaves or dried leaves can also be added to your salad.

Mint, particularly peppermint, spearmint and/or chocolate mint can really make for a cool salad.  Speaking of which, you can also use Lemon Balm or Lemon Verbena to your salad for a little bit of lemony flavor.  (Lemon Grass unless really, really fine might not be a good idea).

Dandelion blossoms and the greens when young, make for a very healthy salad. (Just make sure of your surroundings!  The neighbors’ dog will Not add to your health!)

Of course any of the onion family such as onions (Vidalia are great in a salad as are yellow onions),leeks, scallions, shallots, cilantro, chives, and garlic.

Dill weed, just a touch!

Oregano, and/or  Lemon thyme   again, just a touch!

Parsley, preferably fresh parsley

Rocket a/k/a arugula or rugula, roquette can be used as a salad green.

Burnet or salad burnet and  Watercress can also make for an interesting addition.

Tarragon, ( as in French or Mexican, not Russian)  particularly fresh, but recently dried is good too. Again, just a touch! Tarragon has a slightly spicy taste.

For those who really want to be a little daring, add grated horseradish; cayenne peppers or any of the other hot peppers, cilantro. Turmeric and curry can be quite interesting







Herb Combinations for Meats and Fish




Here is another blog on herbs that go well with MEATS AND FISH.    You will note that many of the same herbs can be used on CHICKEN, TURKEY AND FISH.   Generally, you can mix together ½ to equal amounts of most herbs.


If you don’t have ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, ect,  use PUMPKIN PIE SPICE.  It has every one of those spices.

If you don’t have ground coriander, ground cumin; ground cardamom; ground ginger; ground turmeric and you need most of these, see if you have a curry mix spice. It again, has every one of those.

 Also, if you don't have dry  or powdered mustard, it is no sin to use the prepared stuff out of the jar.


POULTRY SEASONING    ( you can also just use ITALIAN SEASONING, if you don’t have the other ingredients or don’t want to bother mixing them)

A good easy recipe:

2 tbls marjoram

2 tbls savory

1  1/2 tbls Italian seasoning

1 1/2 teas thyme

should make 1/3 cup




 INDIAN SPICE RUB FOR POULTRY                  (you can also just use                                 curry powder, if you don’t have the   other ingredients)              


3 tbls curry powder

3 tbls chili powder

1 1/2 tbls ground allspice

1 1/2 tea ground cinnamon

a single recipe will coat a turkey,

two chickens, two ducks, four Cornish hens, turkey

Store away fr heat and light.  Will keep    for several weeks.


RECIPE FOR  INDIAN SPICE RUB FOR TURKEY         (CAN also be used for two    chickens, two ducks, 4 Cornish Hens)                


using the recipe for INDIAN SPICE RUB,  rub with your fingers all over the  meat and then refrigerate for 4-6 hours     or longer. Then place on the grill.                                                        


Generally speaking, you can use recipes for rubs and those for grilling interchangeably for : grilling, baking and broiling.   Rubs can be used as a marinade or just to rub onto the meat just before grilling or baking.


HERB RUBS FOR CHICKEN , LAMB and SEAFOOD :             equal amounts( say 3 tbls of each)  of: tarragon,  oregano ,dill weed, thyme ,rosemary, dry mustard and kosher salt.  Add (2 tbls) of lemon pepper mix pepper w/ lemon zest, and 1 tbls garlic  



ground cardamom ,  ground ginger,  cracked black pepper, ground turmeric,  ground cumin, ground coriander, ground allspice, ground cloves


FOR GRILLING CHICKEN OR TURKEY: oregano, sage, allspice, cumin 

Or try a mixture of: ground coriander,  garam masala,   turmeric,  hot red pepper, grated ginger

Or how about: lemon zest  , and/ or lemon pepper mix, garlic,  parsley, oregano,  marjoram,   rosemary,  mint,  tarragon

For a lemon flavor:    lemon  peel ,  lemon thyme,  lemon verbena,   lemon grass





Use any or all : paprika , ground cumin ground coriander ,ground or powdered mustard(there’s nothing saying that you can’t use prepared mustard just as well),red pepper flakes, celery seeds, ground ginger, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, ancho pepper


FOR SPARE RIBS AND WINGS:    garlic, five spice powder, red pepper



chipotle pepper,  orange peel,    Mexican oregano,   ground cumin seed,  black peppercorns


For a nice  YUCATECAN MARINADE…This marinade will work with chicken breasts, fish such as tuna, swordfish and grouper, or shrimp. It also can act as a base for seviche made with shrimp, bay scallops, or any firm-flesh fish  USE  this for CHICKEN FAJITAS  or  SMOKED TURKEY BREASTS

orange peel ,   lime peel ,    lemon peel ,   chipotle ,  jalapeno pepper,  Mexican oregano ,  garlic,  mix or black peppercorns



Garlic,   onion, mint, basil,  oregano ,black peppercorns,  parsley,  lemon grass,


ASIAN MARINADE :  chicken   breasts (3-4 hrs); beef  & pork tenderloin (6-8 hrs);    kabobs (6-8 hrs); flank steak    (overnight).         Marnated   Flank steak   sandwich                                                                                      

Star anise,   five spice powder      grated ginger root      garlic


I hope this gives you some good ideas of how to really dress up your meals!  ENJOY!! 


Coffee Can Candle

When I was young, we lived way up in the Adirondack Mountains of NYS and it snowed constantly.  Back then, losing the electric in some areas was quite common during particularly bad  ice storms.  My father made a neat contraption that saved on flashlights.  We used it outside mostly to guide us to the barn or on walks.  You could even run with this thing and the light never went out!  The wind never blew it out either!


Let me see if I can remember how it was made: 

Take an empty  coffee can( 10 or 13 oz size)  (make sure it is tin) only one end open ( this is a good use for empty coffee cans)  and a regular candle that is no higher than 2 inches.  You can also use one of those small round tea candle lights. 

Now, put the coffee can on its side, measure 3 inches from the back of the can. Mark the side of the can and make a hole the width of your candle in to the side of the can.  (This is where the candle will be pushed in to the can, it should be snug, so, take a centimeter or so out. The candle is not to move once it goes in the hole. )  Now, With some type of tool that cuts tin, cut under the can the width of the candle. 

Take the candle and push it up thro the hole.  It has to be very tight or the candle will fall out. 


Now, on top of the can you are going to put a handle so that you can carry this without it burning you or you dropping it:  Take a piece of wire as in a wire coat hanger,  measure about  12 to 13 inches. Cut it.  Then make a hole at the top of the can near the ridged edge of each end (length wise)  just big enough for you to slip one end of the wire into the hole.  Slip the wire in both ends of the can, thus making a handle  (like a purse) to carry the can. Twist the wire so that it stays and doesn’t come out.  Light your candle . 


To use:  after you light the candle, face the can in the direction you are going.  By not cutting out the other end of the can, you have a good reflector.   This makes for a neat light and a reliable one at that!








Chaparral herb can cause liver and kidney damage


The herb  Chaparral refers to three herb species: Larrea tridentata, Larrea divaricata and Larrea mexicana, a/k/a  creosote bush, greasewood, or hediondilla  

Scientific/medical name(s): Larrea divaricata coville, Larrea tridentata (DC) coville


The Chaparral shrub grows in the Western United States and parts of Mexico and is used traditionally by the indigenous people of these regions to treat such conditions as rheumatism, arthritis, stomach pain, cancer, tuberculosis, bowel cramps, venereal disease,  HIV, colds and bronchitis.  


Proponents claim that Chaparral can help relieve pain, reduce inflammation, aid congestion, increase urine elimination, and slow the aging process. It is also promoted as an anti-cancer agent and an antioxidant (a compound that blocks the action of free radicals, activated oxygen molecules that can damage cells). Some promoters call it a “cleanser” or detox herb. A bitter and unpleasant-tasting tea or a tincture, Chaparral is also sometimes used with other herbs in “anti-cancer tea”.


Chaparral tea was used widely in the United States from the late 1950s to the 1970s as an alternative anti-cancer agent. Experimental studies in the 1960s showed that Chaparral could cause problems with kidney and liver function.


The FDA has recommended since 1968 that Chaparral  not be swallowed or taken internally by any other route. Chaparral can be highly toxic and has been reported to cause severe and permanent liver disease that can be fatal.


The growth of interest in alternative medicine led to increased use of Chaparral in the 1980s. By the early 1990s, there had been many reports of Chaparral-linked illnesses, and the FDA issued a warning. This resulted in sellers voluntarily removing many Chaparral products from stores. Despite many concerns and warnings, Chaparral has become available again, and is advertised and sold from Internet sites, but, not mine!


Since February 2006 - Health Canada has  warned consumers not to ingest the herb Chaparral in the form of loose leaves, teas, capsules or bulk herbal products because of the risk of liver and kidney problems.


Nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), the principal ingredient in Chaparral is a potent antioxidant.  At one time it was thought to be potentially useful in the treatment of cancer. However, studies were done on rats, not humans.  NDGA possesses considerable toxicity. 


Chaparral is considered a dangerous herb that can cause irreversible, life-threatening liver damage and kidney damage, including cysts in the kidney and kidney failure. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cautioned against the internal use of Chaparral  

I personally would even caution against using Chaparral as a topical, since herbs go right into the body even quicker through the skin than even ingesting.

Chaparral very toxic and can cause serious and permanent kidney and liver damage and possibly death. It can also cause:

  •  Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  •  Weight loss
  •  Fever
  •  Skin rash and itching
  • Tiredness
  • Acute inflammation of the liver (hepatitis)
  •  Kidney cysts
  •  Kidney cancer

 Chaparral contains compounds that can both increase the risk of sunburn and cause skin irritation to parts of the body not exposed to the sun.

The herb has also been associated with severe hepatotoxicity, with some cases requiring liver transplantation.


Chaparral    may cause dangerous interactions and interfere with how some drugs work, especially those that may also affect your liver and kidneys.  Blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants);   diabetic drugs;    some antibiotics, and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (for example, pain medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and others). Chaparral can also interfere with a type of antidepressant called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).


It is important that we test each active ingredient in the plant. When you take a complete plant as a medicine, it can be a bit ‘hit or miss’ because you take hundreds of different chemicals together. Any of these could affect you, the cancer, or other medicines you are taking.


Be very cautious about purchasing from herbalists who use this herb in their formulas. It is NOT  ok to use. 


This herb  is supported by traditional use   only. There is minimal or no scientific evidence proving its effectiveness.


 You can find excellant quality and very  safe herbs, herb teas, bath herbs and salves in my store here on LOCACL HARVEST. 

Local .  Look for








Group Health


The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines  by Charles W. Fetrow and Juan R. Avila


An Illustrated Guide  101 Medicinal Herbs by  Steven Foster


Natural Health Magazine The Complete Guide to Safe Herbs   by Chris D. Meletis   N.D.

The Complete Book of Natural AND Medicinal Cures  Prevention Magazine

The Honest Herbal  by Varro E. Tyler

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