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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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April 20, 2016

8 Ayurvedic Herbs That Actually Work

By Mark Sisson
88 Comments

8 Aryuvedic Herbs That Actually Work FinalWith so many time-tested treatment modalities out there, some which are thousands of years old, people are pretty curious as to whether some of the natural tips and recommendations penned in ancient literature are still effective today. Conventional medical wisdom assumes all that ancient medicine is just nonsense and superstition, that until a hundred years ago every health practitioner and patient lived under a massive collective delusion. If they got anything right it was through dumb luck, and today’s pharmaceutical companies have long since mined it for useful drugs and therapies. Could they all be useless? Whereas some older treatments have gone the way of the dodo in light of scientific scrutiny, many endure. In today’s post, I’ll subject the ancient world of Ayurvedic herbs to that same scientific scrutiny.

First transmitted through oral traditions and later through writings, Ayurveda dates back to at least 5000 BCE. That’s one long placebo effect. Let’s what the human studies have to say about some of these herbs.

1. Turmeric

Everyone and their vegan mother loves turmeric and knows how good it’s supposed to be for you. They may not be able to tell you what it actually does, but they know it’s good. Ayurveda knows, though. They’ve known for thousands of years that it’s anti-inflammatory enough to sometimes replace pain meds. It can reduce depression symptoms, even in patients with major clinical depression. It shows neuroprotective efficacy against animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and other major neurological disorders. And it’s delicious. Pair with black pepper to make it even more effective.

2. Ashwagandha

The grandfather of Ayurvedic herbs, ashwagandha promotes a healthy response to stress. Stress is a major problem in the modern world. Everyone agrees. The big problem isn’t the thing causing the stress but how we respond to it. You can try reframing stress in your mind or learning to be less judgmental and reactionary and more present. You can also take the grandfather of Ayurvedic herbs, ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, meaning it promotes a healthy stress response. Stress happens and you can’t avoid it. Ayurveda acknowledges this and offers ashwagandha as an ally to handle it. Whether it’s the negative impact on fertility and sex hormone production, the response to resistance training, or the spike in cortisol and anxiety, ashwagandha helps reduce the negative effects of stress on our health and happiness. It basically makes oxidative stress less bad.

3. Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa monnieri enjoys attention from the techie crowd for its beneficial and considerable effects on memory, but they weren’t the first to discover its nootropic qualities; for thousands of years Ayurvedic healers have been prescribing it for improved mental health and cognition. Whether you’re a senior citizen suffering from memory impairment, an older person who’s otherwise healthy, or even a young adult with no complaints, bacopa monnieri can increase your focus and working memory.

4. Holy basil

Make pesto from this and someone’s liable to get lucky, at least according to traditional Ayurvedic herbalists who used holy basil as a powerful aphrodisiac. In rabbits, holy basil is a potent testosterone booster (while decreasing sperm count). In humans, the sexual effects haven’t been tested or confirmed. What have been confirmed are the boosts to immune function and blood glucose control and reductions in anxiety and depressive symptoms.

That said, a friend of mine swears by holy basil for testosterone and libido boosting. Here’s how he takes it:

Bring all three ingredients to a simmer for five minutes, cover, and let sit for another 5. Strain out the leaves and drink.

5. Tribulus

Tribulus terrestris has gained notoriety among bodybuilders for its apparent ability to increase testosterone. Actually, though, the evidence for a T effect in humans is nonexistent. It does seem to boost erection rigidity and sexual well being, possibly by increasing androgen receptor density and thus androgen activity in the brain.

6. Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola sounds like a weird Pepsi knock-off, but it’s a potent herb with strong evidence for efficacy against a number of conditions. First and foremost, gotu kola is a must-try for patients with chronic venous insufficiency. The herb improves the swelling, microcirculation problems, and blood flow issues that accompany CVI. It may also increase alertness in older adultsreduce anxiety, and induce calmness in the face of acoustic surprises or jump scares (so take it before a scary movie and appear extra tough).

7. Boswellia serrata

Some actually classify Boswella serrata as a “phytopharmaceutical,” it’s so effective against inflammation, particularly joint inflammation. In osteoarthritis of the knee, Boswellia serrata reduces joint stiffness and pain and improves all other symptoms. In a placebo controlled trial of asthmatic patients, taking boswellia serrata for 6 weeks reduced symptoms. There’s even a single case study of a woman who eliminated a brain tumor that had spread from her breast using just Boswellia serrata.

8. Black cumin

Not to be confused with regular old (but still awesome) cumin, black cumin is more medicinal than culinary. It’s a broad-spectrum antimicrobial, effective even against antibiotic resistant bacteria. According to a review on its pharmacological effects, black cumin may improve hemoglobin levels, increase respiration, lower blood pressure, and improve lipids. It’s also been shown to reduce inflammation. In obese men, black cumin had remarkable benefits to subjective well-being that were not seen in the placebo group, including the elimination of complaints of hunger, fatigue, sleeplessness, forgetfulness, poor libido, pain, and general weakness. Another placebo-controlled study found that black cumin seed oil was effective against rheumatoid arthritis.

The effects of individual herbs are compelling enough, but Ayurveda traditionally prescribes combinations of herbs that ostensibly have synergistic effects. When subjected to clinical trials, many of these combinations show efficacy against conditions like Alzheimer’s dementia, knee osteoarthritis (some may even reduce cartilage degradation), rheumatoid arthritis, and excess inflammation. Not bad, eh?

That’s just a small taste of the more notable Ayurvedic herbs. Covering the many dozens more (and the hundreds of permutations of each) is beyond the scope of this post. But these are some of the highlights.

What about you guys? Any experience (for better or worse) with Ayurvedic herbs? Let me know in the comments below.

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88 Comments on "8 Ayurvedic Herbs That Actually Work"

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Groktimus Primal
1 year 4 months ago

I can tell you ginger not only helps nassea, it is even better at treating headaches and I have the worst headaches of anyone I know. Certainly not magic but good.

Karla M
Karla M
1 year 4 months ago

How do you take the ginger for your headaches? Do you take in capsule form as a regular supplement, or do you use ginger tea when you have a headache to treat it, or some other way? I’d love to hear more of how you use it for your headaches.

Groktimus
1 year 4 months ago

I’ve tried both ways and by far the best is to make Ginger tea (or any tea) and then add a heaping teaspoon of ground ginger and stir it up. It’s not that pleasant to drink at that point but can often drop the pain down a point or two on the pain scale. Very good when meds fail or you can’t take any more meds for a while and of course its natural and likely harmless.

Karla M
Karla M
1 year 4 months ago

Thanks so much, appreciate the quick reply. I have alot of headaches and am really trying to manage the pain more naturally. I will certainly give it a try!

Karen
Karen
1 year 3 months ago

This isn’t an herb, but the best thing I’ve found for headaches is a gel coldpac kept in the freezer. Put it on forehead, face, neck, ears, throat, try to bring down the heat caused by tension. Relax and try to unclench, which is the cause of most of my headaches. By the time the gelpack is nearing room temp, a lot of the pain should be gone.

wildgrok
wildgrok
1 year 4 months ago
This brings baaad memories. Ten years ago I was in the gym at work pushing more weight (in retrospect) and I got the infamous tension headache (the tech word is Valsalva). It was like if somebody was hammering a nail in my head. Shortening the long story: MRI showed no damage, etc. The Drs prescribed some high octane pills headache pills, but what gave me effective release was the simple Excedrin. But what really really worked was the vodka. I spent two years with constant headache (tension, not migraine-quality). It was going down very gradually. And where I found the… Read more »
Bill
Bill
1 year 4 months ago

Funny you mention vodka as a remedy. Once when I was bicycling in Moab, the evening after the first day’s riding I started having some serious leg cramp on the inner sides of my thighs. The muscles were to the point of knotting up.

Desperate for pain relief, I took a swig (several, actually) of spiced rum, straight from the bottle. The leg cramps immediately disappeared, and didn’t return for the entire night. Maybe it was the placebo affect working, but it definitely worked.

wildgrok
wildgrok
1 year 4 months ago

I think Ayurveda did not include the vodka for fear of the competition with the other spices. For pain this is a no-brainer:

A hot brewing turmeric tea with all the dressings, made at the sound of tibetan bowls…

Or a double shot of vodka (maybe laced with some honey and lemon juice)

I’ll take the double shot any time 🙂
(but what do I know, I am a caveman)

Jeff
Jeff
1 year 3 months ago

I would get bad leg cramps from playing tennis tournaments and drinking pickle juice worked the best for me.

Kelda
Kelda
1 year 3 months ago

Vaso-dilation effect of alcohol probably did the trick I would imagine.

Caitlin Lee
Caitlin Lee
1 year 4 months ago

Anyone know if these are all good to take as a pregnant lady? Clearly tumeric is still okay, any of these not recommended?

Sarah K
1 year 4 months ago

Turmeric isn’t recommended during pregnancy (which was a huge bummer for me, as it helps my inflammation tremendously). It is apparently okay during breastfeeding and can help boost supply.

From what I understand, turmeric can be too stimulating for pregnancies (much in the same way women are advised to avoid stimulating essential oils as well) .

Caitlin Lee
Caitlin Lee
1 year 4 months ago

Quick research, and should have clarified, turmeric supplements are not recommended, but with food it seems okay.

Makes me wonder about the others.

Walter
Walter
1 year 3 months ago

I’ve had to get up many nights and had to eat salt or potassium chloride and the pain went away within minutes. Potassium chloride is “fake” salt of curse.

Elizabeth
1 year 4 months ago
Love turmeric and holy basil! I loved them back in my vegetarian/vegan days and love them just as much now. I use turmeric both fresh and dried (fresh is amazing if you can find it) and have used holy basil in tea form. I blend turmeric into my coffee some mornings, along with my coconut oil and collagen. Totally believe there is truth and wisdom in Ayurveda. When I was a mostly a raw vegan I was pretty offended when I was told that as a Vata I needed some cooked food and warming spices, since I felt that all… Read more »
Jessica O
1 year 4 months ago

I use Tumeric for colds and flu, using it to whip up Golden Milk for my family and also put it in my scrambled eggs. We actually go through quite a lot of it in my house.

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
1 year 4 months ago

These herbs may have good medicinal properties. but they can also come with some unwanted side-effects, like raising blood pressure, raising blood sugar, or the herbs themselves (when bought in supplement form) can contain lead and/or arsenic. I urge you to do your homework on the herb AND the manufacturer, AND the source if need be before diving into use fir health problems–you might wind up with a whole NEW problem!

Shary
Shary
1 year 4 months ago

+1. People tend to think herbs and various other supplements are completely beneficial and totally harmless, particularly when compared to pharmaceutical drugs–but that isn’t always true. Also, more isn’t necessarily better. Megadosing with anything can have negative side effects.

Time Traveler
Time Traveler
1 year 4 months ago

Thank you for your words of wisdom. I totally agree with you. One should be very carefully and start with a very low dosage over an extended period of time; with the exception of known spice like turmeric

willy
willy
5 months 6 days ago

what herb is it you are referring to

Joe
1 year 4 months ago

Hey good article. I just wanted to echo Caitlin’s question. My wife is pregnant and we use some of these? Are most/all A-Okay?

Ciao
Joe

Megan
Megan
1 year 4 months ago

It’s always best to check with an expert – bare minimum with something like the Encyclopedia of Medicinal Herbs. While some are ok, some herbs can cause pre-term labor and have other unwanted effects in pregnant women.

Caitlin Lee
Caitlin Lee
1 year 4 months ago

This we know, but for once can someone do the research for us? Lazy mom over here… It’d just be nice if this information was always included in blog posts.

Meem
Meem
1 year 4 months ago

Really?

Human friend
Human friend
1 year 4 months ago

Yes, really. , MDA needs to include contraindications for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. That should be easy enough for the author with all the info at the time of writing.

Shary
Shary
1 year 4 months ago

The downside, of course, is that medicating with herbs can take several weeks before any improvement is noticed, particularly with pain relief. This can cause people to ditch the idea, thinking it isn’t going to work. We are a society that likes instant relief. With herbal treatments, however, patience is often a prerequisite.

HealthyHombre
HealthyHombre
1 year 4 months ago

I take a curcumin BCM-95 supplement (tumeric is not bioavailable enough to be of medicinal value IMHO, but is a good spice) and also cycle on and off an adaptogen supplement that includes ashwagandha and gotu kola. I also take boswellia, I believe you can take it up to 6 months at a time.

Dannielle
1 year 4 months ago

I take Rhodiola Rosea every day for anxiety/stress. It also regulates my sleep cycle like nothing else i’ve ever tried. As in, I actually sleep like a normal human now! Another useful adaptogen.

Pablogs
Pablogs
1 year 4 months ago

Hello! What time of the day do you take rhodiola and in what amount? Thank you!

Ann Beckett
Ann Beckett
1 year 4 months ago

I too take Rhodiola, one dropperful (HerbPharm tincture), morning and evening.

MIssJelic
MIssJelic
1 year 4 months ago
I take one rhodiola in the morning, because I heard it helps with stress but can also be stimulating if taken at night. I take one ashwagandha at bedtime, plus magnesium and Costco’s “Super Sleep” (= 5-HTP, melatonin, and L-theanine). In the middle of the night when (not if) I wake up, I take another ashwagandha and another Super Sleep. I put them in a little dish in the bathroom so I can just feel for them in the dark. I’m a post-menopausal women, and I also take bioidentical oral progesterone (prometrium), which also helps my sleep. I take one… Read more »
Matt
1 year 4 months ago

I found out the hard way that Ashwagandha is a nightshade when I felt nauseous and got headaches every morning after taking a supplement. Took me a week or so to figure it out too. Don’t take Ashwagandha if you have a nightshade sensitivity!!

Sam
Sam
1 year 4 months ago

Just making sure people know about this awesome site for bulk, organic herbs and spices. I’m not involved with the site at all, I’ve just had good luck with it.

https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/

Alfred
Alfred
1 year 4 months ago

I think black cumin seed oil is also an immune system modulator. It seems to help with my allergies.

Mark
Mark
1 year 4 months ago

Thanks Mark. I am interested to know how often your friend takes that Holy Basil infusion – 2x daily, daily, weekly? Also what time of day does he take it? I was diagnosed with low testosterone through blood testing and after extensive research put myself on 10mg of boron daily. This boosted me into the low end of the normal range and has held me there for the last 5 years. Holy basil interests me and I plan on researching and possibly testing it. Thanks again for the great information.

Mark
Mark
1 year 4 months ago

Meriva is the best form of supplemental curcumin!

Dr. Dana Leigh Lyons
1 year 4 months ago
Of the above, I prescribe (and have taken) boswellia, gotu kola, ashwagandha, turmeric and bacopa–all with good effect. When I use these or other herbs, I pretty much always use them as part of formulas (whether in supplement, granule or decoction form). This sort of synergistic combining is an art and a science, and plays a key role in determining an herb’s effects. (It’s also a key way most traditional medicines differ from modern western approaches, which tend to isolate one part of one herb, rather than take a whole-herb, whole-formula approach.) Herb quality and sourcing is also a huge… Read more »
Renee
Renee
1 year 4 months ago

I have been taking Holy Basil and Ashwagandha. They have been a lifesaver during my time of extreme anxiety and mild depression. You can find out more here http://www.medicinehunter.com/holy-basil

According to my supplement information, Holy Basil is not recommended for pregnant women or nursing women and can even cause infertility in some case. I would consult with a naturopath before trying theses supplement if pregnant or nursing.

Scott Thomas
Scott Thomas
1 year 4 months ago

Mark… You tell us about the “possible” benefits. How have the above herbs made a difference in your general well being?

sadowd
sadowd
1 year 4 months ago

Would love to have had some guidance in this post about effective amounts, and/or best forms to consume these herbs. Can anyone point to a ready source?

ntrojnky
ntrojnky
1 year 4 months ago

Been dealing with chronic tennis elbow and curious if turmeric would help relieve the pain. Anybody know how much is needed for joint pain relief? Is it enough to just season food with it or should I seek out or make tablets?

wildgrok
wildgrok
1 year 4 months ago

I spent like 3 months or more adding turmeric to my water bottle at work
Other than my face turning orange (*)
I did not notice any change (good or bad)
and discontinued it

(*) mild exageration, not true at all

cfbcfb
cfbcfb
1 year 4 months ago
Turmeric is poorly absorbed and quickly metabolized, so little of it makes it to the blood stream where it can be effective. In foods with oils/fats and combined with a component of black pepper it can be more quickly absorbed and in higher quantities but its still fairly weak. I tried some teas and pastes made with raw turmeric root, ginger and black pepper. Hard to drink/eat and I noticed no difference in my extensive joint inflammation. I’m trying a pill form I got from Costco that combined it with olive leaf extract black pepper extract and an extracted version… Read more »
JB300
JB300
1 year 4 months ago
Really great article, never even heard of a few of these herbs, but I just ordered about 4 different kinds on Amazon to give them a shot. I use turmeric(Meriva) once every other day. I am already pretty healthy in my subjective opinion. It seems to reduce soreness, but I really cannot say its anything specific causing that. I have been doing lots of positive things for my body as of lately and I think its more or less a compounded effect of everything I am doing. Who knows, all I know is im feeling the best I have ever… Read more »
TF
TF
1 year 4 months ago

Can you do a post on raising blood pressure? Normally my blood pressure is around 100/70, but I am 12 weeks pregnant, and just like last pregnancy my blood pressure has gone down. I haven’t had it checked but every time I stand up I have to lean on something and my sight goes black for a moment. Everything I read just says eat more salt but I liberally salt everything I eat. Any suggestions from anyone with personal experience would be appreciated.

gwen
gwen
1 year 4 months ago

I had low bp too in pregnancy. Nothing really helped. Lots of rest though! And coffee and i ate lots of canned sardines and eggs and was ok. Also heard women in pregnancy who eat eggs have higher iq kids.

TF
TF
1 year 4 months ago

I stopped coffee because I was worried it might be affecting my baby’s sleep (I breastfeed) but never actually had any solid consistent observations of that happening. How much caffeine were you having? That’s awesome about the eggs, before I got pregnant I was reacting to eggs with an intense burning stomach pain when I ate them, but after I found out I was pregnant i tried again with no ill effects, so now I’m eating 4 eggs for breakfast everyday and I love it! Thanks for the personal wisdom. 🙂

Tanya
Tanya
1 year 4 months ago

I sometimes had to add some salt, say a half teaspoon, to a glass of water, to avoid the point of really annoyingly bad low blood pressure. I also tended to plan very salty snacks, like a bowl of popcorn each afternoon. I have found it to be very slow to improve and it’s corresponded with overall health improvements. I don’t know if you’ve considered acupuncture, but if I ever get back to the stupidly-low blood pressure range again, that’s what I’d do.

TF
TF
1 year 4 months ago

I’ll need to do the salt water thing again.
I have not considered that and will not. No needles all over my body, I don’t trust anyone enough to do that! Plus it sounds expensive. Thanks though. 🙂

Caroline
Caroline
1 year 3 months ago

Hi TF, do make sure you’re getting enough fluids too, particularly if you’re breastfeeding (not sure if you meant you are breastfeeding now); hydration levels affect blood pressure. You say you haven’t checked your blood pressure and it sounds like you’re familiar with your own symptoms but will you have an antenatal check soon anyway? Best wishes ????

TF
TF
1 year 3 months ago

To Caroline: Yes I am breastfeeding now (still 8+ times a day and 6+ times at night). Thank you for the advice, I definitely need to work on that, I don’t drink much during the day but get really thirsty at night, so that’s probably a good sign I need more water. Yes, I’ve been meaning to make a prenatal appointment, I procrastinate a lot. Didn’t go last pregnancy until 4 months. Going to a place where you’re constantly being pushed to get a flu shot is not something I look forward to. :p Best wishes to you too! 🙂

Mitchell
1 year 4 months ago

This is all fascinating…bummer that most of these are not better studied. You’ve got me interested in holy basil and gotu kola particularly for the anti-depressive and anxiety reducing properties. Once again, you’ve given me something to dig deeper into! Glad I follow your blog 🙂

arlene
arlene
1 year 4 months ago
Love the info, but one suggestion: As is the case with most info out there, one size does NOT fit all, so don’t assume that every herb on the list is good for you. I recently received my 23andme data and learned some of these items are NOT ideal for me — including turmeric/curcumin, despite the fact that I’ve been using it because virtually every doc I’ve met has recommended it for my rampant inflammation… If one’s body can’t process a substance because of genetics or illness or any other reason, then maybe what the studies show isn’t relevant for… Read more »
Kate
Kate
1 year 4 months ago

This is an important point. Ashwaganda and Rhodolia make me feel MORE anxious and generally a bit weird. Holy Basil is fine and helpful however. One should be very careful with medicinal herbs.

Mrs Rathbone
Mrs Rathbone
1 year 4 months ago
Good point, I always struggle with the idea that any food item that only grows in one spot on the planet (especially one with a totally different climate) is essential to the health of all humans, and should be included regularly in the diet, whether it’s quinoa, akai berries, coconut oil, or black pepper. India doesn’t seem to boast markedly improved longevity over the rest of the world nor overall better health, growth rates, and stamina, even prior to the introduction of vegetable oils, junk food and modern lifestyles, and while you can argue we’ve all been thrown out of… Read more »
noodletoy
noodletoy
1 year 3 months ago

i am of irish and italian descent and ashwaghanda has been a real life-saver for me over the last few months. my stress and anxiety were off the charts and this herb really helped.

your n~1 is best so don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater just because your great-great-great grandpa ate mostly beets or whatever.

Tyrker
Tyrker
1 year 3 months ago

So does 23andMe provide detailed explanation on their findings in layman’s terms? Or do they simply give you raw data?

arlene
arlene
1 year 3 months ago

When you get the 23andme raw data you can upload it to other sites for interpretation (I used nutrahacker, but there are others)… it was spot on with other genetic panels I have done, so I am inclined to believe it

Tyrker
Tyrker
1 year 3 months ago

Thanks.

Heather
Heather
1 year 3 months ago

If the herbs cannot help you, look into low dose naltrexone for your inflammation.

arlene
arlene
1 year 3 months ago

I do now a lot of people who have had success with the LDN for inflammatory ailments (unfortunately, not us… Lyme disease has really messed things up for everyone in our family).

Heather
Heather
1 year 3 months ago

Aww. Sorry to hear that. Hope you find something that helps!

Mescalita
Mescalita
1 year 4 months ago

Hello TF, regarding the morning faint…drink a lot of juice/tea/water BEFORE you get out of bed! If you like to drink something warm and you have a nice partner make him prepare it for you, but you can also fill a thermos the evening before with whatever you like to drink (and what’s appropriate obviously;-) I’m no expert but apparently a part of the liquid you take passes into your blood and raises the blood pressure…Give it a try, it can’t hurt, good luck!

TF
TF
1 year 4 months ago

Thanks for the tip, I’ll give it a shot. 🙂

KB
KB
1 year 4 months ago

TF, low bp in pregnancy is very common. During pregnancy, the vascular bed expands rapidly and hormonal changes cause blood vessels to dilate, leading to lowered bp. Blood also pools in your lower body when sitting or standing for long periods of time. Dehydration and anemia are also causes of symptoms like yours. Usually, the only problem with low bp is danger of fainting and falling. Keep nibbling on your olives and nuts, drink lots of water, take a few slow deep breaths and stretches before standing and sit up/stand up S-L-O-W-L-Y.

TF
TF
1 year 4 months ago

Thanks for the info. It’s hard for me to drink much water during the day because I only ever feel thirsty at night, but I’ll try and be more conscious of that. Do the fats in the olives and nuts help with blood pressure? I’ll definitely have to work on getting up more slowly. Thank you for the suggestions. 🙂

Mrs Rathbone
Mrs Rathbone
1 year 4 months ago

There was a study that showed that olives and olive oil aren’t always helpful to people of northern European heritage, I can’t find it right now but if your ancestry was anything other than mediterranean, you might want to just look at what your grandparents ate, drank, etc?

TF
TF
1 year 4 months ago

My ancestry includes Irish and German, so that’s interesting to hear about olives (always hated olives and olive oil tastes like play dough to me). My grandparents are mostly all alive and they have never eaten well as far as I’ve known. If I could go back a few more generations and know what they ate, that’d be awesome.

Jack Lea Mason
Jack Lea Mason
1 year 4 months ago
The list of medicinal herbs is much longer than just eight. There are several others. Milk Thistle is is very good for detox and liver function. It is actually an antidote for the poisonous Amanita mushroom. Intravenous megadoses are stocked in European emergency rooms and saves the lives of many amateur fungus hunters every year. I have a medical textbook dating back to 1908. It lists herbs and common compounds for certain ailments. I cured my gout by supplementing with potassium bicarbonate as the suggested standard of care before the pharmaceutical industry corrupted medical education. My blood pressure went down… Read more »
Cari
Cari
1 year 4 months ago
I use and grow many herbs at home; many of them have powerful medicinal properties and are very worth learning more about. I love turmeric and feel definite pain relief from it. I would advise going slowly, and adding just one at a time. Last year I started adding a small amount of gotu kola daily, for circulation, without knowing a whole lot about it. About a month later I broke out in a case of full-body itchy hives. When I researched I learned that it can cause this allergic reaction. Now I read up more before I try something… Read more »
Ptolemy
Ptolemy
1 year 4 months ago

Another excellent article.

I’ve no doubt about the efficacy of many natural products. Doubts grow, however, when you read this article back-to-back with your article of a couple of weeks ago concerning 15 reasons to challenge nutritional studies.

If we can’t get the experimental setting correct today, with control groups, consistent product quality, precise dosing, accurate measurement of outcomes, how did our ancestors decide a group of products were better than others?

Much must have been down to chance. And, perhaps, the things they ignored have even better life affirming qualities…

Jamie
Jamie
1 year 4 months ago

Has anybody tried any of these herbs with pets – dogs in particular?

KC
KC
1 year 4 months ago

We went to an vet that was experienced with Ayurvetic medicine. Our dog had an autoimmune disease & had good luck with Ashwagandha & Boswellia to help keep her calmer & reduce pain.

Mrs Rathbone
Mrs Rathbone
1 year 4 months ago

THYME for post pancreatitis SIBO – it’s the one herb that the human studies showed beat antibiotics, and it also works for a pup with smelly farts.

Do the research. 🙂

Tanya E
Tanya E
1 year 4 months ago

I have only tried turmeric and holy basil in food. I love turmeric tea and thai food.

I have heard of ashwangandha, but don’t know it. I would definitely second researching them thoroughly as supplements, I say this as someone who had a horrible gut reaction to raw maca powder (raw can cause digestion issues).

Brandon Berg
Brandon Berg
1 year 4 months ago

I can’t say I noticed any of those effects from all of the tribulus terrestris injections I got walking around barefoot in rural Southern California.

teaweed
teaweed
1 year 4 months ago

I’ve been using Boswellia for a few years now. I started taking it for a chronically achy hip that x-rays weren’t showing signs of arthritis in. I didn’t notice a dramatic improvement, but my hip did improve gradually. I thought it might’ve been coincidental & when my bottle ran low, didn’t replace it. A couple of weeks later, I noticed that my hip was hurting again. I’ve repeated that experiment a few more times & now am a believer. Comparing my worst days without Boswellia to my best with it, I’d say it works about as well as ibuprofen.

MaggieMay
MaggieMay
1 year 3 months ago
I had a similar experience with Boswellia. I went through an entire bottle but noticed no difference in my knee osteoarthritis (I later learned that it can take a month or more to kick in). I instead decided to make bone broth, and I drink at least a cup a day. I rarely if ever feel any discomfort in my knee: and despite the creaking, it remains flexible and feels strong. In 2012 I had knee replacement surgery on my right knee (old sports injury from college days). The doctor took an x-ray of my left knee which she said… Read more »
Farrah Petersen
Farrah Petersen
1 year 3 months ago

As a 5 year crossfitter, i put a lot of wear and tear on my body. I swear by 3 amazing herbs.
Tumeric-Curcumin with black pepper (inflamation). God knows i’m sore ALL the time. Ashwagahnda root (stress). Sometimes i just look at the work out and it terrifies me. And last but not least Rhodiola Rosea (my secret weapon for endurance). I run with cross fitters that eat a half marathon for breakfast.

Rachel
Rachel
1 year 3 months ago
Scrolling through the comments, let me add a couple. Ginger is wonderful, but make sure it doesn’t come from China. Too many toxins. Ditto Garlic from China, or any other food or herb for that matter. I love Black Cumin Seed Oil. Immensely powerful antibiotic, but get the strongest brand you can find, although the taste gets increasingly unpleasant. I have discovered that mixed with whisky 50/50 seems to give it a turbo boost. I think that alcohol makes it absorb more efficiently, and the ellagic acid found in whisky may work synergistically. Also less gloopy and oily to swallow,… Read more »
Tyrker
Tyrker
1 year 3 months ago

Turmeric is a fantastic spice. Having said that, the studies you link to used curcumin and other turmeric extracts, not the spice itself. This does not rule out the possibility that eating turmeric-flavoured dishes every day for a year or longer can have a beneficial effect on your health, but these studies provide no proof of this.

Lyn
Lyn
1 year 3 months ago
There is a group of people who have been using curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) for years now as a tool in the fight against Multiple Myeloma. MM is an incurable and always fatal bone marrow cancer, and people are having anecdotal success in delaying progression. The research explains some of the mechanisms by which this may be possible. However, particular brands are important as is the relationship to chemicals such as piperine (in black pepper) as cofactors. The quantities and timing are much more than you see printed in the back of the packet.
Tanya E
Tanya E
1 year 3 months ago

That’s interesting, Lyn. MM is a horrible disease, my grandmother died of it in the 80s. Be good to finally find a cure.

Gracias Merci
Gracias Merci
1 year 3 months ago

RE: paleo seen at this video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N6bb3RB2DE

Is this legit?

Joe G
Joe G
1 year 3 months ago

I get my dose of Turmeric when I eat French Fries. No ketchup or catsup for me just calorie free, tangy mustard!

Ross
Ross
1 year 3 months ago

I’ve been a user of turmeric since forever, obviously in curries but it’s also great in scrambled eggs: knob of butter, let it go past froth stage, big pinch of turmeric powder stirred through hot butter, straight in with the beaten eggs. Home run.

Recently discovered turmeric root. Blew my mind. So fresh and a very unique flavor.

Mayo with turmeric and black pepper is great with salmon.

JWo
JWo
1 year 3 months ago

I have psoriasis. It used to be really bad and out of contol. I first got introduced to Ayurveda about 20 years ago by Dr. Shailender Dhawan at http://www.psorcure.com. He truly saved me. I now only have psoriasis on my scalp. It is amazing! His herbs and oils work wonders. Now with adding a paleo diet, I hope to complete my healing from psoriasis. Thank you Mark for all of your great articles! You are a great inspiration.

Nikhil Y.
4 months 14 days ago

You should include king of all herbs – Triphala (actually a concoction of 3 dried fruits) into this list!

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