Herbal Help

sardonicus(7)February 17, 2009

I am in the process of trying to develop an herbal tea that suits all of my needs. Oddly enough it is rather difficult to find a database that tells which herbs are generally not compatible with other herbs. Here I will list the herbs that I plan to grow, any information regarding the compatiblity of these herbs would be great appreciated.

CAMELLIA sinensis

Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Chocolate Mint'

Ginkgo biloba

Guto Kola

and possibly St. Johnswort

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I don't think I would try to make a tea that "suited all my needs." I would blend a tea for a specific issue and drink it as needed or as recommended for that issue - which is most likely not every day.

If you are newer to herbs, I would suggest buying a pre-made tea for the issue you are trying to address or follow a recipe rather just putting together something yourself.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 4:28PM
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I understand, I suppose the more important question that I am trying to get an answer to is possibly the location of a resource that would tell me more about herb compatibility.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 6:14PM
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Your library either has or can order books on herbs from the inter-library exchange to give you a start on exploration of herbs and spices. Just use the buyer beware when you start experimenting with herbs. One "expert" will give information that contridicts another "expert". No I can not spell never have, gets worse with age.

Your grocery is a good place to start on herb compatibility after you have done some reading. Go to the tea isle and look at the ingrediants of the tea combinations. You may find that your grocer has two sections for tea. One the normal drinking teas the other for medicinal purposes.

Look also for common names. Regular tea is CAMELLIA sinensis one of the herbs you have listed. This was a tipoff that you are probably a newbie or are not a label reader.

Good luck with your research. Your local library is a good source of information and many library's at about this time of year start having sales of excess books. Either by their library association, Friends of the Library,here, or by the library itself. You can pickup resource material at a fair price to build your own library.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 8:44PM
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It sounds from your list that you're looking for a brain tonic....

Try searching "synergistic herb blends" or go to herbal source sites & look over what other people have blended. These blends, however, are broad-based, not specific. If you are looking for a "formula" for mixing, try Rosemary Gladstar's technique: 70-80% of herbs for the specific issue; 15-20% herbs to nourish, soothe, & buffer the effects of other herbs while supporting the system & 10-15% catalyst herbs to aid as stimulant & eliminators. The way you make this work is to KNOW YOUR HERBS: classification (alterative, hepatic, styptic, etc.), their primary & secondary affects, known interactions with prescription medications, possible side-effects, etc., & most importantly HOW THEY AFFECT YOU.

YOU CANNOT LEARN HERBS OUT OF A BOOK. Eat them, rub them on you, grow them, find them in the wild... As you become more familiar with what works for you, you might find your materia medica seemingly quite disappointingly small in our consumer driven world. But it's what works for you.

Just a few other notes: when you begin to develop personal blends, it is always best to start with one or two herbs, then add onto that once you know how you will react to the herbs (it's a lot easier that way to figure out how you got hives :).

And, finally, I find raspberry leaf a fantastic base for teas-- it has a rich, non-bitter, full bodied flavor & no caffeine, not to mention tons of nutrients. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 9:05PM
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Thank you ! that is all very helpful.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:06PM
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I agree that you can not learn everything about herbs but the question was for a resource for herb compatability. I do hope that no one goes and starts mixing herbs without a basic knowledge of possible interactions/things to avoid. The internet does not have all of the information needed.

I would not want someone to go and use foxglove in a tea just because it is an herb. There must be some study before mixing your own blends. Sound advice after some additional study of what is deadly and what herbs are safe.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 11:36PM
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I had a teacher with a very simple classification system: (1)safe, (2) poison-sick, and (3) poison-dead. Safe means you'd be hard-pressed to kill yourself using it barring personal allergies; poison sick means take too much & you're going to know it pretty much right away. A great example of this is lobelia inflata, which an old herbal actually instructs "administer until person is nauseous". Poison-dead-- pretty self-explanatory.

In my experience, I've rarely run across the need to use a poison-sick herb because there are so many safe alternatives available.

Herbs can be gentle in their action and quite effective at the same time-- a fact often overlooked. If you are new to herbalism, or just new to a particular herb, stick to the safest route. You do not know how YOU may react to the plant -- you may have some sensitivity to it that your best friend who's been using the same thing for years doesn't.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 3:17PM
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I thank you all for your help, and i understand the concern with mixing random herbs together and hoping for the best. I hadn't planned on doing that, the list in the first post was merely the herbs that i had found and according to what i read would do pretty much what i am looking for. Obviously there is a lot of work and research to be done before i end up with the finished product, if i am able to do what i want at all.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 6:15PM
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Simplemary sorry if I offended you but reading your paragraph about not using books for herbal research, without doing some research I could not understand how the original poster could/should just start mixing without some research, from books or classes.

"YOU CANNOT LEARN HERBS OUT OF A BOOK. Eat them, rub them on you, grow them, find them in the wild... As you become more familiar with what works for you, you might find your materia medica seemingly quite disappointingly small in our consumer driven world. But it's what works for you"

I had a friend that decided to make her own caster oil because she had taken it as a child and wanted to give to her grand children. After all it was herbal and safe. She came to me wanting to know how many seeds she should plant to make the oil. This was a well educated, well read person that was not educated in herbs. Since then I have been cautioning people that want to use herbal remedies to do some study first rather than just jump in.

For those few that don't know Ricin is made for the bean of the plant and is highly deadly.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 10:02PM
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Hi, no offense was taken. I never meant don't use books-- they're a great place to start & I collect tons of them & compare their texts regularly. Let them be your prep work-- your back up-- your "hard copy", then let experience teach you. It's kind of like learning how to skydive by watching videos & jumping on gym floors-- you haven't got a clue what it's really like until you step out of the plane.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 10:40PM
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On the subject of books, are there any particular books that you'd recommend, unfortunetly i dont really live near a library unless i want to drive about 2 hours each way. I do however have the internet, obviously and can order books that way, if you have some recommendations that would help a lot in getting started, and you're right i am new. Copious amounts of boredom lead me to believe this would be a very interesting hobby, i chose regular tea to throw in there because i just recently decided to stop drinking soft drinks, and i really dont like coffee, regular tea i am fairly certain has caffeine, and despite my boredom i seem to always find reasons to be awake at insane hours and caffeine helps make that time productive. This was mostly just a shot in the dark although you guys nailed it a brain tonic i suppose is what im after. 22 years old and i feel as though time just makes me dumber, if nothing else this will make a wonderful new hobby to get me using my brain some more. For now i still dont even have the plants, hadn't really planned on growing anything until i figured out what i wanted, and i haven't really been able to find any decent resources online that give me hardly any information at all, lots of sites that want me to buy their stuff, my funding is limited so i cant buy everything i see and hope that its all useful. Believe it or not this is also the only forum i've joined so far thats been even remotely helpful, i find most people are telling me to give up because i dont have a clue and it'll take to long to get one. Irritating to say the least, and not helpful, you guys have been very helpful and i thank you both.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 11:54PM
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Below is one of the online book sites. You can do a search for herbs and many other things. I have linked to Culpeper because it is a good start. I used to use a site called Ex Librias but has changed directions.

Depending on your state some provide a service that sends books directly to you door either by post or car. When you find a title that interests you do a search to locate a library that has it and is willing to send to you.

May I suggest some of the Celestial Seasonings teas such as Sleepytime, or Stress relief. Both are herb mixes that are pleasent to drink. You can purchase decafe teas. Regular teas now come in all different types, green, white, black, smoked, aged many you can find in your regular grocery stores. When I can afford it now that I have a clear glass teapot there are some herbal tea bundles that open into flowers. Very relaxing to watch them open.

Here is a link that might be useful: On Line book reading source

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 12:52AM
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That sounds pretty neat

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 11:24PM
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You're looking for a magic bullet recipe, and you won't find one, I'm afraid. There are countless herbal-tea recipes out their on the internet, and countless sites which will explain which herbs do what. And if you do a search here on the forums, you will undoubtedly come across many of my diatribes about herbal teas, in which I give advice, information and cautions.

I'll keep this one short and sweet - St. John's Wort is infamous for interacting with just about every herb on the planet, and I do not recommend it at all, if only for that reason. It also produces many of its own unwanted side-effects, and is contraindicated for long-term use or for use in chronic or severe depression. It is one of the very few herbs which I believe ought to be regulated and restricted to doctor-prescription.

You really do need to do some research. You can get a lot of information from books, or from the internet, but you need to keep an open mind. There's also a lot of misinformation out there, and it takes a while to learn how to sort the wheat from the chaff. The more reading you do on the subject, the easier it comes.

Begin by searching for herbal remedies by 'ailment', taking note of the combinations used. Go from there to researching all the individual herbs mentioned, to find out exactly what they are used to treat, how, and what unwanted side-effects or other cautions they might have.

I suggest you look at as many websites as you can for information on herb/herb or herb/drug interactions. The link below is a good starting point for that.


Here is a link that might be useful: herbal interactions

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 6:02PM
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Hi daisyduckworth,
Good concise herbal interactions link.
? Do you have one that concise for pharmaceutical interactions ?
I have only been using the internet for less than a year - don't mock me, it is true. Email I got the hang of earlier.
(People ask my opinion about the drugs they are taking. Not current on brand names being marketed I can only figure them out when find bio-chemical data.
The USA favors multiple drug use & so a lot of side effects. The patient gets assured their doctor reviewed the drug cocktail & it is safe to take.
In some cases I can see no results for the patient; as for harm, hard to prove.
Often doctors give a drug, withdraw it, give another & experiment on the patient.)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 9:06PM
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'Surfing the net' isn't so difficult. If you type in what you're looking for, any search engine (such as Google, and there are many of them - search for 'Search Engine'!) will come up with many results for you. Sometimes literally millions!

I typed in 'drug interactions' and there are 23,400,000 sites dealing with the subject. It's up to you to click on ones that appeal to you, and check them out.

When you get into a particular site, you can always click on any link in there - if it doesn't give you what you want, just click on the Back icon at the top of your browser page. (The browser is the program that connects you to the internet. eg Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera etc).

The best advice I can give computer newbies is NOT to click on anything that looks vaguely like an advertisement! Especially those advertising free horoscopes (there's no such thing as 'free') or smilies, or malware programs and the like. These are frequently loaded up with viruses and other assorted bugs. If you haven't got a Firewall installed, or an anti-virus program, you should!

Some more relevant advice: unless you are a doctor or a pharmacist, it is inadviseable to offer any sort of advice about pharmaceutical medications. When clients ask about this, the kindest and safest advice you can offer if 'sorry, that's outside my field of expertise. Best to ask your doctor'. You could find yourself in very deep doo-doo if you give advice and it's wrong.

You can tell your client to look up the particular drug on the internet, too! For yourself, just type in the name of the drug in the search bar of your browser, and you'll get many sites to read through.

Here's an interesting site I found by clicking on search results for 'drug interactions prozac':


Follow the prompts (you need to 'agree' to the terms and conditions), type in the name of the result, and you'll get a list of drugs the one you typed in can interact with. Just for the heck of it I typed in 'Prozac'. If you are familiar with all (even many!) of the drugs listed, you're a walking encyclopaedia on the subject!!

Here is a link that might be useful: drug interactions search

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 4:13AM
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Hi daisyduckworth,
Thanks for taking the time - I guess just have to slog through the sites.
I had to track down a toxicology journal to find interactions between benzodiazopene & percocet.
My 80+ year old friend flushed all her meds down the toilet years ago & incites all who listen to do the same. This rabble rouser says over the years she has seen many geriatrics messed up by drugs who followed her advice with good outcome. One even diagnosed with senile dementia now is back to normal.
Obviously there are cases where prescription drugs make sense to most everyone, including her.
For myself, I no longer do any charity health care work. And so far, am myself fine without any ongoing drug requirements.
My advice to others is limited to explaining the functional dynamics of what they take. Herbalism to me is an option not to be imbued with any more fear than pharmaceutical usage.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 5:18PM
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