(Waynesville, North Carolina)
dangerous herbs, medicinal herbs, culinary herbs


I think most of you are familiar with dandelion greens, some of you can readily identify pursalane growing. This is a good time to check out the farmer’s markets for other interesting greens such as beet greens, chard, lettuces, watercress, turnip greens, mustard greens. Also, mint leaves especially the peppermint , spearmint , chocolate mints, and parsley. All these greens can make a nice salad using as many as you want together and you can even add tomatoes (even though they are not in season yet), bacon and drippings, onions, garlic.

These wild and not so wild greens are not only delicious, but help to “spring clean” your insides.

( No, I did not forget poke, comfrey, plantain, or a few others. I don’t consider them safe to eat. If you want to add them, that’s up to you.)


Many people are having issues of one sort or another with using salt in their food. Here are some good combinations that are easy for you do.

First, use ONLY dried herbs for a seasoning mix. Pulverize the herbs by using a mortar and pestle or a spice mill and then pour them into shakers. Place a piece of wax paper under the lid and store the shakers in the refrigerator between uses.

Start out with one teaspoon for equal amounts and work from there. Also, this is just to give you an idea of what to use for which foods. Feel free to be creative. The safest herbs to use that won’t drastically change something are basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano., parsley. Use a little at first of the following to see how it will blend in with your mixture: sage, savory, tarragon, dill, onion and garlic, lemon, lime and orange zest. Use a cautious amount of any hot peppers.


Italian or French bread that you put in the oven for a few minutes; or even on toasted bread. I often put a little oil in a frying pan and toast the bread that way and then shake the herbs all over the toasted bread. I like it, maybe you will as well)

Equal amount of : rosemary, oregano, garlic ( fresh or powdered), parsley, chives or onion

NICE ALL PURPOSE MIX: this and the next two recipes are for just about anything.

equal amounts of : basil, rosemary, savory, sage, parsley, garlic, marjoram, oregano onion


1 teaspoon of :Dried basil, chives (onion), marjoram, parsley, tarragon

And add ¼ teaspoon each of savory and thyme.


YOU CAN USE THIS in tuna salad, veggie salad, breads, soups and all kinds of meat.

Equal amounts of parsley, onion or chives, marjoram, savory, thyme, lovage, basil.


1 ½ teaspoons of sage and 1 teaspoon of each of the following: thyme, marjoram, savory, ginger and ½ teaspoon each of allspice and nutmeg.


2 teaspoons of each of the following: parsley, rosemary, thyme


1 teaspoon of each of the following: basil, chives (onion), marjoram, parsley, savory, thyme and fennel.

ONE OF MY FAVORITES FOR A VEGETABLE SALAD is real simple. Simply put about ¼ teaspoon of fennel seeds in a pepper grinder and grind all over your salad. You’ll wonder why you never thought of this before!


Equal amounts of lemon zest, oregano, thyme, garlic (or onion)


Equal amounts of the following: parsley, chives (onion), tarragon, lemon zest . Garnish: fresh watercress leaves and fresh chervil (sprinkle)


Onion, lemon zest, equal amounts of tarragon and oregano; dill, bay leaf, parsley


Equal amount of dill and parsley, about ½ as much of garlic; ¼ as much of grated ginger root,


oregano, onion, garlic, sage, basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, savory


2 tbls lemon peel

1 tbls sweet basil

1/2 tbls of each: ground thyme, oregano, paprika, toasted sesame seeds

2 teas parsley

1 teas each of :celery seed ,onion , garlic , cayenne pepper

CAJUN FISH SPICE Full of flavor but not hot, hot

2 ½ tbls sweet paprika

1 tbls of : garlic, onion, thyme, oregano

1 tea black pepper

½ tea cayenne


Rub on chicken before baking. Or shake

chicken in mix before baking. Use this in

ground turkey pitas or over popcorn.

Also, great on rib-eye, lamb and fish


1 ½ teas oregano or savory

1 teas spearmint, thyme

½ teas basil, marjoram, onion garlic



This is a good seasoning to shake on FISH: Catfish, panfish, walleye fish, trout and salmon, pork, beef, chicken, even popcorn!

1 tablespoon of garlic, onion, thyme, oregano, cumin, coriander

½ to 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, New Mexican pepper, Chili, Ancho and/ or any other hot pepper that strike your fancy.


Equal amounts of ginger root, lime zest, cayenne pepper, chili pepper, garlic


1 tablespoon each of chilis, anheim, cayennes, other hot peppers that you like

1 teaspoon cumin and garlic




Here is a list of meats , including game, and the herbs that you can use when preparing a meal.  All the herbs mentioned  work well  with each other, and you can use the herbs in any combination that you want ( all the herbs or  just 2 or 3   that are mentioned)

You may use either dried or fresh herbs.    Parsley can be used with just about anything.




English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) buds that are used in cooking. The English lavender is the preferred lavender of choice for cooking because of its sweet fragrance.   The only lavender recommended for cooking is angustifolia, which has a light, sweet smell, whereas the others are all high in camphor oil, which is slightly bitter in food and is treated by the body as a toxin.





SUMMER SAVORY is an annual; needs to be planted every year


SUMMER SAVORY      is more delicate in flavor than WINTER SAVORY 


SUMMER SAVORY can be used either fresh or dried 



Use  SUMMER SAVORY to  enhance fish, vegetables, cheese and eggs, pea soups, beans and many other dishes.



SUMMER SAVORY LEAVES   CAN BE USED fresh as a pleasant garnish.  A common use in the south of France is to marinate goat cheese rounds in olive oil and savory. .



SUMMER SAVORY combines well with other herbs, bringing out each flavor without overwhelming.



WINTER SAVORY is a perennial; comes up every  year.


WINTER SAVORY, should be dried.



Use WINTER SAVORY FOR    strong meat dishes and hearty bean stews.



SAVORY  is interchangeable with THYME



LAMB:   rosemary, spearmint,  summer savory, thyme, marjoram, parsley


RACK OF LAMB:  parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, savory , lavender buds,


LEG OF LAMB:   lavender,  rosemary, English thyme leaves, 


BRAISED LAMB SHANKS:  thyme, rosemary, bay,



CHICKEN  AND TURKEY :   parsley, sage, summer savory, rosemary, lovage, marjoram, onion



TURKEY  (Whole):  thyme, sage, basil, marjoram, saffron, French Tarragon,  parsley   ground fennel seed, savory, chervil,   lemon peel and or orange peel.  

The following is a real nice recipe for a whole turkey baste:   (using dried herbs)


1 ½  teaspoons thyme

3 tablespoons  sage

2 tablespoons parsley

1 tablespoons  ground fennel seed

¾ teaspoon nutmeg

¾ teaspoon allspice

¾ teaspoon dry yellow mustard

¾ teaspoon chervil

¾ teaspoon savory

1 tablespoons each :lemon zest and orange zest*

½ cup white wine


Combine all herbs together. Add  the lemon  and orange zest,   add the wine.


Allow to set undisturbed for  1 hour.


Brush inside and outside of the turkey with the  mix.  Begin to bake or cook turkey, basting throughout .

( If you don’t have all the ingredients mentioned, don’t fret!  Use what ingredients you do have. If you don’t have Lemon or Orange zest, then just use ½ tablespoon of lemon juice and ½ tablespoon of orange juice or just 1 tablespoon of either one. Same for the wine, if you don’t have it, leave it out.  This is yours, no one needs to know anything!  Just use what you have and ENJOY what you are doing!)



·         For lemon and orange zest:  take the peels of the fresh  lemons and oranges and  spread them out on a paper towel and  place the this where you do not have to disturb it for at least 24 hours. Peels are ready when they are very dry and you have to break them.

·         You can put the  dried peels in the blender and grind them  to the desired fineness and then use them.   What you don’t use,  put in a sandwich bag, seal it and put in the freezer.  Use as needed.   If you are just going to freeze the peels,  you can just put them in  the sandwich  bag  as pieces and as you need  them, blend them fine.

·         The peels will keep fresh this way for a long time.




BEEF:  basil, bay leaf, garlic, ginger, oregano, rosemary, savory, French Tarragon, thyme


VEAL: basil, bay  leaf, chervil, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, savory, Lemon Thyme


PORK TENDERLOIN:   parsley,  rosemary, sage, savory,  marjoram, oregano



rosemary, sage, thyme  bay leaves, yellow mustard seeds


PORK CHOPS:   sage, rosemary, savory




NOTE:   with any game, including snake,  make sure it was freshly killed and bled. 



Parsley, marjoram, lemon balm,( and or/ lemon grass, lemon verbena, lemon basil) rosemary, summer savory, juniper berries (crushed), garlic, thyme( lemon  thyme or English thyme) , sage, spearmint


QUAILS:  fresh  ginger  ,  lemon zest, cinnamon, sage


EXTRA:  cognac; red wine


JUST  WILD BOAR:  onion, garlic, juniper berries, bay leaf, parsley,  lemon thyme


EXTRA:  red  (Marsala) or white wine



For pieces:

1 tablespoon  ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon  ground    nutmeg

1 teaspoon  ground allspice

1 large  sliced onion


½  to 1 cup of red wine

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Rub salt all over the meat.   Then, brush on the above marinade ingredients.   Marinate meat in a glass container for 24   hours in the refrigerator. 


FOR  JUST  VENISON:  garlic, oregano, thyme, allspice


For just RABBIT, HARE:  French Tarragon, rosemary, lemon herbs (lemon thyme, lemon balm)


ALLIGATOR: cayenne pepper, chili powder; garlic,   French tarragon, lemon peel or  lime zest, thyme, sage , parsley


RATTLESNAKE:  paprika, lemon thyme, onion, garlic, juniper berries , basil, rosemary, lime zest


Beware of rattlesnakes, as they can still bite you after they are dead due to a reflexive action of the nervous system. Lopping the head off, burying it, and then skinning and cleaning the snake are the recommended methods established by the military and used by survivors.  Cut the head off at least 2 to 4  inches down the neck to avoid the venom sacks, then skin and rinse out the guts.


Generally, with any snake  meat, you will want to marinade it  in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.   Never eat raw or under cooked snake. 




You may find yourself in a situation where you are out of a specified herb or spice in a recipe or perhaps you just don't care for that specific herb or spice. This chart will help you choose substitutions or alternatives that should work with your recipe. Whenever substituting, you must realize that the flavor will not be as originally intended in the recipe. As such, it is wise to begin your substitution with half the specified recipe amount and then adjust to your own personal tastes. You should always feel free to adjust and add to any recipe to suit yourself and your family. Who knows? You just might create a new family favorite!


                        Herb Substitutions 


Basil                                         Oregano or thyme 


Chervil                                   Tarragon or parsley 


Chives                                 Green onions (scallions); onion; or leek


Cilantro                                Parsley 


Italian Seasoning Blend      of any of these:  basil, oregano, rosemary,                                                          and ground red pepper


Marjoram                            Basil; thyme; or savory 


Mint                                      Basil; marjoram; or rosemary


Oregano                              Thyme or basil


Parsley                                 Chervil or cilantro


Poultry Seasoning             Sage plus a blend of any of these: thyme,                                                    marjoram, savory, black pepper, and          



Red Pepper Flakes                          (dried chiles) Dash bottled hot                                                                pepper sauce or black pepper


Rosemary                               Thyme; tarragon; or savory


Sage                                          Poultry seasoning; savory; marjoram; or rosemary


Savory                                    Thyme; marjoram; or sage


Tarragon                               Chervil; dash fennel seed; or dash aniseed


Thyme                                       Basil; marjoram; oregano; or savory






                         Spice Substitutions 


Allspice                                                Cinnamon; cassia; dash of nutmeg                                                 or mace; or dash of cloves 


Aniseed                               Fennel seed or a few drops anise extract 


Cardamom                          Ginger


Chili Powder                      Dash bottled hot pepper sauce plus a                                                       combination of oregano and cumin 


Cinnamon                           Nutmeg or allspice (use only 1/4 of the                                                               amount)


Cloves                                 Allspice; cinnamon; or nutmeg 


Cumin                                   Chili powder


Ginger                                  Allspice; cinnamon; mace; or nutmeg


Mace                                     Allspice; cinnamon; ginger; or nutmeg


Mustard (dry or ground)                               Wasabi powder (1/4 to 1/2                                                       as much since it is hotter); horseradish                                                      powder; 1 teaspoon dry mustard                                                           powder = 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard


Nutmeg                               Cinnamon; ginger; or mace


Saffron                                 Dash turmeric or annato powder (for color) 


Turmeric                              Dash saffron (for color) plus ground mustard                                              powder (one to one ratio); annato powder







 Here is a list of  fish and shellfish and the herbs that you can use when preparing a meal.  All the herbs mentioned  work well  with each other, and you can use the herbs in any combination that you want ( all the herbs or  just 2 or 3   that are mentioned).  

 The "EXTRA"  mentioned  are  wines that  could also enhance the flavor to the cooking ingredients. I suppose you could also use the wines mentioned as an accompaniment to the meal. 



 SHRIMP  marjoram, English or lemon thyme, rosemary

SCALLOPS:  marjoram, French tarragon, Lemon thyme, lovage  EXTRA: dry white  wine or dry vermouth

MUSSELS:  rosemary, marjoram,  lemon thyme: EXTRA:  dry white wine


 Oysters:  basil,  thyme, parsley, rosemary, oregano


EEL   sorrel, lovage, celery leaves, chervil, French tarragon, , bay  leaf    EXTRA:  dry white wine



With  all fish you can use  anise, lemon  and parsley.


 If you use tarragon, it is ALWAYS   the FRENCH , not  RUSSIAN.  Down south here in the US we also have a MEXICAN or TEXAS  TARRAGON which is a close to the French. So, if you can't find FRENCH TARRAGON, you can settle for MEXICAN or TEXAS,  but, the FRENCH is better. 


 HALIBUT:  dill, mint, basil, cilantro, chervil, French tarragon  ,chives,  spearmint  parsley, watercress leaves, sorrel leaves      EXTRA: dry white wine,  apple cider or apple juice

MONKFISH:  fennel, lemon thyme, laurel leaves, saffron,,  sage

ROCKFISH:   dill, spearmint, basil, cilantro, chervil, French tarragon


SALMON:  anise seed, parsley, French tarragon,  lovage, laurel leaf, chervil leaves,  sorrel leaves., basil, cilantro,  lemon verbena, fennel seed

EXTRA:  dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris; 

SEA BASS:  dill, spearmint, basil, parsley, cilantro, chervil, coriander, French tarragon       EXTRA: apple cider  or apple juice

SNAPPER :    French tarragon, basil, ginger, lemon thyme, fennel, chives, dill, lovage

STRIPED BASS  (SEA BASS, RED SNAPPER, PACIFIC ROCKFISH):   lemon verbena leaves, cilantro leave, jalapeno pepper, dill, spearmint, basil, chervil , French tarragon, chives, watercress leaves,  sorrel leaves

SWORDFISH:  bay laurel , sage, rosemary, lemon balm, spearmint

TROUT:  sage, English thyme, parsley,  spearmint  leaves

TUNA  (also YELLOW FIN, BLUFIN (AHI), ALBACORE):  perilla, coriander seeds, thyme leaves,  parsley, spearmint leaves. 

In a few days,  I will put up another blog for meats. 


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



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