October 2001 Ageless herbal newsletter
We are always so busy making a living, and are stressed out in our daily running around, that we very seldom reflect on the things that aggravate us, and the things we take for granted.
Large delivery trucks are the bane of most drivers, yet without them, we would not have the convenience of walking into a store and picking up what we require.
When a car skips a red light, or cuts in front of you on the highway next time, think carefully if you have ever done it, unintentionally or maybe when you were in a huge rush - so instead of road rage, rather think of the driving faults that you may have.
When somebody is serving you in a shop or office, acknowledge their humanity as well - they might have problems of their own, but still have a cheery disposition when serving you - or if they are in a bad mood, think of what their problem might be - that way you will not upset yourself by their bad manners.
The golden rule is always to try and walk in somebody else's shoes, and to see if you would be walking the same way if it were your ordained route.
We have websites that promote herbal and natural supplements and grooming products, and have had several requests from readers regarding local legend that states "if it is natural/herbal it must be good/safe".
For a start, this is a complete misconception - herbs can be dangerous. Natural as well as herbal ingredients can be extremely dangerous if formulated wrongly or used incorrectly - the same as when synthetic and chemical products are misused.
We personally prefer natural products, since we have found that they work best for us, and although some learned people might contend that there is no difference between natural and synthetic products, we do tend to disagree.
We need to look closely at the philosophy on which any product is formulated. In Western allopathic medicine (normal Western medicine) things are formulated in general to attend to the problem, whereas alternative medicine, and the greatest proponents of natural products, rather look at helping to sort out the cause of the problem.
What I am saying is that the quest should not be for "natural" products as such, but products formulated to be in harmony with the body, and should not contain chemicals that are harmful to us or our environment.
A good example that I can give are products used in slimming - highly scheduled medicines are prescribed to help lose weight, but the side effects of these medications in most cases outweigh any benefits you may reap from them.
Side effects of the most popular medicine scripts given for weight loss include: hallucinations, psychotic reactions, tremors, agitation, dependency, urine retention, angina pain, convulsions, glaucoma etc.
Should a person wish to follow a more natural way of losing weight, it might take a bit longer, but in general a more "natural" way to help lose weight will not have the same side effects as listed above.
In this instance, a person could rather rely on apple cider vinegar (liquid or in capsule form) to lose weight, or a product like Millenium 2000 - which contain only natural ingredients, and which will work more in harmony with your body.
But we as consumers are also partly to blame, since we are the ones that demand products that work instantaneously. We want a quick fix for most ills, and unfortunately, alternative and more natural products do not work that way, since they work far more gently with the body to achieve results.
But returning to things natural, if we look at Belladonna, we will find that it is a plant and it grows quite naturally, yet it can kill you within a couple of minutes.
Certain herbs can also help to heal you, yet they can also do great damage if not used in the prescribed manner. A point in case is the herb "boneset". It can be used with great effect to help a variety of problems, yet long-term use can cause toxicity and a host of problems.
When you wish to use herbs in alternative healing it is best to make a proper study of what you want to use, as certain parts of specific plants may be toxic, while other parts of the same plant can be most useful.
An example of this is "elder". The berries, inner bark, leaves and flowers are used to cleanse the system, ease constipation, enhance the immune system etc. but the stems contain cyanide, which is extremely toxic.
Essential oils are also very powerful instruments in alternative healing when used correctly, but care should be taken with them, as incorrect use can cause problems. An example of this is that pure arnica oil can be toxic if used on the skin.
Another strange phenomena is that the learned people are for ever telling us that skincare products cannot do much good, since ingredients cannot be absorbed by the skin, yet there are long restrictive acts and rules banning certain ingredients from skincare products, since they are absorbed through the skin.
When you are ever in doubt whether the skin absorbs externally applied ingredients, place a small drop of pure garlic oil on your foot, and see how long it takes for you to taste the garlic in your mouth.
When we start looking at grooming products we are most of the time bombarded with the term "natural" on the packaging to make it more appealing to all of us that are trying to live a more natural life.
The unfortunate part of this is that a huge amount of large businesses have latched on to this and are producing the same old product, yet the marketing has just shifted to promote it as a natural product.
But the whole concept of natural products must also be seen in context. If you produce a good facial cream you need to ensure that it will not be contaminated by external factors (including dirty fingers scooping out the cream) and that it will have a fair shelf life.
This can be done in various ways and the type of preservative used is also important. You can for instance help preserve it with vitamin E, which will be listed as alpha-tocopherol, since the USA government has decided that a vitamin must be listed by its chemical name, otherwise it might infer to customers that it contains some health qualities.
What is more important is that we keep everything in life in perspective and balance. With the accent on balance, since some people like to take all things out of context. If you are told to take a certain amount of tablets/pills for an ailment, or to help with your general health, keep to the prescribed dosage as a drastic increase of the dosage could have negative effects on your health.
If you look at bodybuilding supplements, you will find that creatine is used to help increase lean body mass, and used in moderation it may be of great help, yet if you start overloading your body with this particular nutrient, although it is of natural origin, you may pick up problems with your kidneys.
Another much talked about ingredient is human growth hormone (HGH), since it seems to be the panacea for eternal good looks and a good trim body.
The problem with pure injectable growth hormones is that they can have some very severe, scary and irreversible side effects if not taken under medical supervision. Yet, you can "trick" your pituitary gland into naturally manufacturing more of this hormone by addition of certain amino acids.
Do not be scared of being branded as foolish when you contact a manufacturer about his product - it is your right to know about the things you ingest and rub on your skin, since it is your health that you are working with.
In closing - remember the more the product works with your body to achieve the desired effect the better. Strong synthetic ingredients might tell your body what to do, but your body may just reply by having a whole selection of side effects. And when you use alternative products, give these miracles of nature a chance to work their magic in their own good time.