Anyone who calls herbs hazardous is totally misinformed. Every year the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) compiles statistics on accidental deaths from drugs, herbs, vitamins, and other supplements. The AAPCC’s most recent report (2008) records 1,756 accidental poisoning deaths. How many were attributable to medicinal herbs? Zero. In every accidental death caused by a pharmacological agent, the culprit was a pharmaceutical. And it’s been that way for many years. Herbs are safer than drugs.
Reviews | “My favorite part of this book was the layout of the herb profiles; it's something I don't often see, but it's my favorite way to read it in a book. The detail of the reproductive systems of the herbs and their parts is phenomenal, and the photography is simply amazing. The whole book is beautifully put together.” – Giovanna Mealer, Amazon Review

While this book has an interesting layout with lots of recipes, unfortunately it is not reliable. As someone with over twenty years of experience using herbs, it concerns me that people new to herbalism may be using this as a guide. For starters, this book doesn’t seem to differentiate between internal and external use such as the precaution not to use a ginger while taking certain medications at the end of a recipe for ginger salve when internal use is the only concern there. It also offers the precaution not to use a rosemary tincture hair product if you have epilepsy when that precaution refers to essential oil use, not tincture use. Not making these distinctions is sloppy and can lead to confusion. As another couple of examples, the photo accompanying the section on catnip (Nepeta cataria) is actually another more showy member of the Nepeta genus and the picture of chamomile is some kind of cultivated daisy which does make one wonder how familiar the author actually is with these plants. Reading through the book, I get the feeling the author has read studies and articles about the herbs but has little real practical experience or in-depth understanding of the herbs about which she is writing. While I'm certainly not familiar with every single application of common herbs, some of the applications she suggests don't seem to me to be based on either traditional use or scientific studies. Since she doesn't reference any studies or other herbalists or share her own anecdotal experiences, one does wonder where she comes up with certain applications such as feverfew as a nervine for fatigue from stress, as one example. There are plenty of other herbals out there which are not only more accurate but also more engaging. One such book which actually lives up to what this book purports to be is Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health.

In her recently released book, Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies That Heal, Registered Herbalist Rosalee De La Forêt has one mission: to teach readers how to transform everyday ingredients into natural remedies. More plainly put, she wants to show you how to heal your body with foods and ingredients you already have in your kitchen cupboard.

Sip linden flower tea, which works in two ways: It stimulates the hypothalamus to better control your temperature, and it dilates blood vessels, inducing sweating. Steep 1 tablespoon of dried herb (available in health food stores) in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes, then sip. Drink three to four cups a day. If you still run hot after a day of sipping tea, seek medical attention. 

When you think about alternative medicine and home remedies, you may have lots of questions: Are these treatments effective? How do they work? "Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine and Home Remedies" aims to answer them. It explains how to treat common health problems at home and when to use certain remedies. You’ll also find information on how to tell if your symptoms are a sign of a medical emergency and when it’s time to get your doctor involved.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we have been educating folks about the benefits of self-reliance for 50 years. That includes researching and sourcing the best books and products to help individuals master the skills they need in times like these and beyond. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-800-234-3368 or by email. Stay safe!
Alternatively, make a steam bowl. To do this, fill a large bowl with hot water. Add herbs or essential oils, such as eucalyptus or rosemary, which may also relieve decongestion. Lean over the bowl and place a towel over the head. This traps the steam. Inhale the vapors for 5 minutes. If the steam feels hot on the skin, discontinue until the skin cools down.
If you suffer from anxiety, it could pay off to try meditation before you start popping pills–here’s how. Chronic stress has been linked to people with increased risk of Heart Disease, weight gain, sleep problems, and memory and concentration impairment. In studies, daily meditation has also been proven to help manage the symptoms of anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, depression, heart disease, and cancer. Translation: Meditation actually works, so you should try it.

The principles of Ayurveda can be applied in lots of different ways. In "Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life," Dr. Claudia Welch uses them to help women restore balance to hormones. She explains that high stress levels, lack of sleep, and an unhealthy diet can cause hormones to get off balance. Dr. Welch provides tools from the ancient medicine practice and explains how you can use them.


Chlorophyll is the dark green pigment found in plants, and has a molecular structure to hemoglobin (the substance that’s responsible for transporting oxygen around the body.) Add a tablespoon to your bottle of water to boost red blood cells, improve oxygen, increase energy, help body odor, protect from cancer, help regulate bowel movements, and increase your intake of  magnesium, vitamins, folic acid, iron, calcium and protein.
To reduce the tickle in your throat, try an astringent gargle -- such as tea that contains tannin -- to tighten the membranes. Or use a thick, viscous gargle made with honey or honey and apple cider vinegar. Seep one tablespoon of raspberry leaves or lemon juice in two cups of hot water; mix with one teaspoon of honey. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before gargling.
The principles of Ayurveda can be applied in lots of different ways. In "Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life," Dr. Claudia Welch uses them to help women restore balance to hormones. She explains that high stress levels, lack of sleep, and an unhealthy diet can cause hormones to get off balance. Dr. Welch provides tools from the ancient medicine practice and explains how you can use them.
While you may have heard that gargling with apple cider vinegar has a similar effect, you should probably steer clear of this tactic for now, says Dr. Comer. “There is little doubt that apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and possibly antifungal properties in lab studies, but whether or not this translates into helping viral or bacterial sore throats is unknown,” he explains. “Additionally, there are potential significant issues to extended use of vinegar with the tooth enamel—vinegar is acidic, and repeated use can damage tooth enamel.”

Black tea is chock-full of astringent compounds called tannins that can help deflate and tighten the bags under your eyes. (Not to mention black tea is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.) Activate the tannins in a tea bag by dipping in a cup of hot water for several minutes. Cool in the fridge, then apply the damp bag as a compress to the closed eye for 10 minutes.
This natural sweetener may work just as well for a cough as over-the-counter medicines. That could be especially helpful for children who aren’t old enough to take those. But don’t give it to an infant or a toddler younger than 1. There’s a small risk of a rare but serious kind of food poisoning that could be dangerous for them. And while you may have heard that “local” honey can help with allergies, studies don’t back that up.
×