Milk Thistle Flower
The use of herbs generally falls into three categories:
1. Allopathy replacement: using an herb to replace a drug, like using St. John's wort instead of an antidepressant or using fava beans to prevent breast cancer instead of Tamoxifen.
2. Modulation: trying to change a pattern or level of activity in the body. This would be like using burdock root for skin eruptions or ginkgo to increase circulation to the brain or Echinacea to activate or normalize the immune system.
3. Regeneration: attempting to rebuild the tissue in an area or organ or gland that is damaged, malformed or depleted.
Allopathy mixed with modulation is a very common way to use herbs. This is what most herbalists do. Using herbs this way requires some method of establishing a dosage. For this reason, many herbalists use muscle testing. While hugely subjective, muscle testing, when done prudently, allows the bodies of the practitioner and the client to communicate some preferences about how the herbs are used.
Some of my favorite allopathic and modulating herbs are:
- Rosemary for elevating mood and for brain electricity -- I usually recommend three capsules twice-thrice daily.
- Ginger for nausea or digestive aid -- I recommend doses of 5 capsules all the way up to two tablespoons or an ounce of the fresh juice.
- Ginger for chronic pain -- at least a tablespoon of ginger twice daily, or at least 16 capsules daily. Often this is an effective cure, as well as a palliative treatment.
- St. John's wort for low serotonin -- low serotonin leaves the person feeling unable to deal with the basic difficulties of life without feeling overloaded. I usually recommend a high quality St. John's wort tincture (I like Herb Pharm and Herbs Etc.) taken by the half-dropper full three to five times daily.
- Motherwort for heart arrhythmia -- this is usually a tincture (as above) and is taken in quarter-dropper doses as often as needed, sometimes in excess of 8 times daily.
- I-Charge (my recipe, found on www.kalsschool.com downloads page; consists of equal parts habanero, garlic and Echinacea tincture) for any respiratory congestion or any acute infection -- this formula is very powerful and it is not uncommon to only need a half-dropper to completely manage symptoms of congestion. For stubborn cases, I recommend 3 droppers full, five times daily.
- Celery seed for gout prevention -- while celery seed might help allay gout, especially mild cases, it really shines for prevention. I recommend 2-3 capsules daily.
- Yucca stalk for joint inflammation -- this takes about 10 capsules to work as well for me as one Aleve, but then again, yucca is not going to harm me in any way and will actually help improve most conditions of acute inflammation or even chronic inflammation.
- Milk thistle for liver diseases of all kinds and as an antidote to liver poisoning (such as from mushrooms) -- this is one place where you might want to use standardized extracts. Usually, I get a high quality milk thistle seed (the darker the color of the seed, the better it is supposed to be) and give it out by the tablespoon one time daily. Milk thistle also protects the liver.
- Ginkgo biloba for increased circulation to the brain -- this herb helps keep neural synapses “synapsing” as they should. In spite of the amazingly promising research on ginkgo for Alzheimer's and senility, it still gets overlooked most of the time by practitioners and physicians. Two capsules per day will probably work for most people as a prevention or treatment. I like this coupled with two or three ounces of apple cider vinegar in a gallon of distilled water per day for Alzheimer's disease.
Regeneration of organs and tissues is another matter. This requires an understanding of how to combine herbs. For regeneration, the herb that regenerates the tissue/organ has to be combined with an herb that will go to that specific area and another herb or multiple herbs that nourish the tissue specifically as well as support the processes that tissue is supposed to be doing while the organ heals.
The combining of herbs is both an art and a science that is too lengthy to deal with here in any detail, but suffice it to say that if an organ needs anything more than a kick-start, wise formulation is indicated.
About the author
Kal Sellers, MH is a lifelong student and practitioner of the natural healing arts. Kal is a Master Herbalist, a Massage Therapist, Technician of the Rolf Method of Structural Integration, Iridologist, Mind-Body Medicine Practitioner, Mental Re-programmer, Life Coach, Natural Nutritionist, Reflexologist and more.