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Herbs and Herbal Teas

Herbs have been vital contributors to the quality of human life for thousands of years. Throughout history plants have served mankind as valuable components of seasoning, teas, cosmetics, dyes and medicines. The term herbs is used to refer not only to herbaceous plants but also to bark, roots, leaves, seeds, flowers and fruit of trees, shrubs and woody vines.

Recently there has been a resurgence of interest in the use of herbs. Various herbal teas are used in place of caffeine-containing beverages. Dietary recommendations encourage the use of herbal seasonings to flavor food as a way to cut down on the use of table salt.

Safe Herbs used in Seasoning:

Caraway

Cardamo

Coriander

Dill

Oregano

Garlic

Onion

Saffron

Sage

Sweet Basil

Thyme

Tumeric

Some view herbal products as natural remedies for the treatment of varied disorders and illness. Self-prescribed herbal preparations are widely used for a whole host of common conditions including insomnia, arthritis, colds, coughs, ulcers, allergies, constipation, infections, high blood pressure, intestinal disorders, premenstrual syndrome, headaches, fever, anemia, weakness, aging, stress, nervousness, sexual disorder, and indigestion.

A number of herbal products, such as aloe vera, blue-green manna and bee pollen, have been promoted as possessing special healing and health-promoting properties. One should always be wary of products that are sold as cure-alls, miracle food supplements of panaceas. While the fresh juice of aloe vera may promote wound healing when applied externally, the commercial gels, ointments and creams containing aloe vera have no therapeutic and cannot be retained over time. Furthermore, experiments are unable to verify that blue-green manna (algae) has any significant health-promoting properties. Likewise, it has not been proven that bee pollen has valid use as a general tonic, or that can help in weight reduction, stop premature aging or serve to improve one’s athletic performance.

Unsafe Herbal Teas:

Arnica

Goldenseal

Morton tea

Snake root

Black cherry

Gordo lobo

Nutmeg

Tansy ragwort

Bloodroot

Groundsel

Oleander

Tonka bean

Buckthorn

Jimsonweed

Pennyroyal

T’u-san-chi

Burdock root

Kavakava

Periwinkle

Water Hemlock

Cohosh

Lobelia

Poke root

Woodruff

Comfrey

Mandrake

Sassafras

Wormwood

Elderberry

Melilot

Senna

Yohimbe

Foxglove

Safe Herbal Teas:

Alfalfa

Fenugreek

Hyssop

Rose Hips

Blackberry

Feverfew

Lemon Grass

Rosemary

Chamomile

Flaxseed

Orange

Sarsaparilla

Chickweed

Ginseng

Peppermint

Savory

Chicory

Gotu Kola

Psyllium

Slippery elm

Dandelion

Hibiscus

Raspberry

Spearmint

Echinacea

Hops

Red Raspberry

Valerian

Fennel

Horehound

Guidelines to Follow

1.Avoid buying unlabeled “loose” or bulk teas.

2.Be alert to the toxicities of certain herbs.

3.Refrain from considering herbal beverages as natural panaceas.

4.Read marks carefully, so that only prepackaged teas with safe ingredients are used.

5.Used moderate amounts of those teas with safe and effective constituents.

6.Drink no more thatn1-2 sups of tea per day on a regular basis, since the long term effects of drinking most herbal teas in large quantities is not known.

7.People who show allergic response to ragweed, asters, or chrysanthemums should avoid all teas containing marigold, yarrow and chamomile flowers.

8.Pregnant women should especially use caution in drinking any herbal tea since few have been thoroughly tested for safety. Before using any herbal tea, a pregnant woman should first consult with her physician. Likewise young children should be restricted in their use of herbal teas.

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