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I've just had a cup of passionflower tea--technically not tea at all; just passionflower leaves (and presumably flowers) steeped in hot water--because it's supposed to help ease you into restful sleep. Especially good for those whose sleep is disturbed by anxiety, they claim. It doesn't taste very good (closer to dill than to passionfruit), but does seem to work, to some degree. I'm getting sleepy. But that effect could just be psychosomatic ("all in my head," for those of you who don't cotton to fancy words).

I've been a dabbler in herbs for some years now. I don't take it to extremes--no dripping strange extracts or oils into my glass of water; no moss-green pills; just herb teas, really. I genuinely believe some of them work, and this makes sense: after all, the active ingredients in pharmaceutical drugs had to come from somewhere in the natural world. I also am very much aware that some of them are dangerous. Must keep in mind that the natural world contains some seriously poisonous plants. I generally don't mess with those. (Chaparral being a good example; digitalis another.)

For nausea, there's almost nothing (including professional drugs) that beats ginger, with mint a close second. Generally it has to be peppermint, but spearmint isn't bad. Fennel is good for digestion too. Good old cinnamon, on the other hand, though frequently listed as being helpful for digestion, struck me as much too harsh on an empty stomach. Lately what I need is stuff to calm me down, so I got some mix called SereniTea (how cute), which includes mint, ginger, lavender, and the all-important kava, which the South Pacific islanders chew on to mellow out. You're supposed to be careful with kava--as in, don't use it all the freaking time or it could eventually damage your liver--but the levels are probably low enough in the tea. Has to be healthier for me than Valium, anyhow.

There was an email going around that said something like:
History of Medicine:
1000 AD: "Here, eat this herb."
1700: "That herb is an old wives' tale; take this elixir."
1900: "That elixir is quackery; take this pill."
1960: "That pill doesn't do any good; take this antibiotic."
2000: "That antibiotic isn't safe; take this herb."

Yeah. Sounds about right.
I want to feel good rather than merely functional, but I don't like the idea of being medicated. Am I cheating by not counting herb tea as medication?

Don't care. Going to "restful" sleep now.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 14th, 2002 05:23 am (UTC)
The thing is, many medicines are based on plants anyway, so I don't know why so many people get sniffy about so called "alternative" therapy. I am careful with it because often it hasn't been clinically tested, which is a shame, as a lot of people seem to benefit from herbal remedies, acupuncture etc. I wouldn't solely use alternative therapies but I wouldn't discount them either if I felt conventional medicine wasn't working. Also, another thing alt therapies are good for is prevention, which conventional medicine doesn't focus much on, instead looking at cures. It's better to try to stay healthy than to cure a disease, and stuff like vitamin supplements can help in that
Oct. 14th, 2002 12:32 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm a big taker of vitamins as well. And I do have plenty of conventional medicines around (Advil and cough syrup and things), just in case I need them, but I try not to rely on them. You're right, preventing is much more desirable than just treating--and most of the herb teas are tasty, too. :)
Oct. 16th, 2002 08:00 am (UTC)
I wish I liked ginger tea because I know how good it is for the stomach and I have digestion issues, but I really don't like the flavour. I'll try peppermint though. Did you know parsley is also good? I know it sounds weird, but chewing parsley after eating can help. I like strawberry and rosehip tea and blackberry and nettle is refreshing. For me, though, nothing beats English breakfast tea. Hey, it's antioxidant! I drink decaf tea now anyway...
Oct. 16th, 2002 08:59 pm (UTC)
Hmm, knew parsley was good for cleaning the mouth after eating, but didn't know it was supposed to help digestion too. I'll try that--we have some growing in the backyard. :)

For the antioxidants, yeah, regular tea isn't bad. Tried green tea, but found it bitter. So-called "red tea" (rooibos/redbush leaf) is pretty good if you can find it. Supposedly very healthful.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )