HERB - Counterindications

mermayde@juno.com mermayde at juno.com
Sat Jan 30 08:51:34 PST 1999

On Thu, 28 Jan 1999 19:23:32 -0500 "Gaylin Walli" <gwalli at infoengine.com>
>Grania wrote:
>>In plain English, Comfrey is known to cause liver damage and its
>>chemicals are known to cause cancer when used either internally as in 
>a tea or externally on the skin through absorption

Regarding the Francis Brinker book "Herb Counterindications and Drug
Interactions",  I just bought this book, and I like it.  (It is very
similar to a book I wanted to write, and already done!)  However, it is
not as comprehensive as I would like.  The biggest problem I have with
the counterindication part is, it does not go into amounts or dosages
needed to acheive these counterindications.  When we were doing research
for our version of this book, we started off with a sample herb,
Rosemary.  We decided we would see just how much we could find on
individual herbs.  Well, the answer is, more than is possibly useful! 
There are compounds in Rosemary (and indeed, in just about everything)
that are quite toxic, in high levels.  The thing is, they aren't there in
such high levels as to BE toxic.  I know we are all familiar with the
concept that dose can equal cure or poison.  
The studies I have read about comfrey mostly centered around the usage of
comfrey as a daily tonic (which, is admittedly what the original poster
said she was doing).  Country folks have been using it for years in this
way, and have seen benefits and problems from it's use.  I believe it is
a wonderful herb, but only use it rarely, when needed for particular
problems.  (The same with Goldenseal, which can develop toxins in your
liver with long-term use.  I only use it for infections of mucosal
membranes, and it works like a specific.)  
As I said in an earlier post, it is not wise to do something EVERY day,
it is better to give your body a chance to work on it's own.  The only
things I take every day are supplemental vitamins, garlic, and alfalfa. 
Even then, I forget and skip about 1 or two days a week, which I figure
is ok, based on the previous tennant.  The whole idea is to feed your
body the things it needs to nourish itself and work properly, as per the
original design.  
One last word on counterindications, look through your medicine chest
sometime, and pick any 3 or 4 over-the-counter or prescription drugs
there.  Get your handy-dandy PDR, and look up the counterindications for
any of them.  It will scare you to death!  Listen to the new commercials
about prescription drugs on TV now, and pay attention to the
counterindications they HAVE to list at the end of the commercial.  Talk
about scary!  (You know the one about hair repalcement that pregnant
women can't even touch?  Know what that is?  Flamidimide [quite sure I
screwed the spelling on that one].  Remember flipper babies?  That's what
the specific birth defect is!  )  So, knowing counterindications is very
important, but equally important is knowing what dosages are relevant.  
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