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Health from a Herbalist

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Health from a Herbalist

Before starting this makeover, I would never have considered seeing a herbalist. But Robert McCandless, a master herbalist, gave me reason to reconsider. The herbal medicine he practises evolved from a combination of European and Native American herbal remedies.

If, like Rob and Toni, you’re new to natural health, you’ll want to join them in learning about two specialized natural health modalities this month.

Rob finds out what a traditional Chinese medicine doctor can do for him, and Toni receives some useful remedies from a master herbalist.

Before starting this makeover, I would never have considered seeing a herbalist. But Robert McCandless, a master herbalist, gave me reason to reconsider. The herbal medicine he practises evolved from a combination of European and Native American herbal remedies.

After reviewing the details of my diet, Mr. McCandless expressed concern about the cold protein shake I have for breakfast. He believes that, as a society, we like our beverages too cold, and cold has a contracting effect on the digestive system. I told him I counteract the cold shake with a hot cup of tea.

He then made some specific recommendations for herbal remedies I might find beneficial.

Traditional Remedies

For my heart murmur, he recommended hawthorn brandy. Hawthorn has been used to treat heart disease for centuries. The brandy is made by soaking approximately 50 to 100 g of hawthorn berries in 375 mL brandy for about a month. I should drink about 2 Tbsp (25 to 30 mL) each day to relax blood vessels and the heart muscle, promoting a stronger, more regular heartbeat.

For my insomnia, he suggested a nerve tonic tea made from a variety of herbs.

A Lesson in Iridology

As part of my consultation, Mr. McCandless examined the iris of my eye. The lines that run from the pupil to the outside edges are straight and clear, which indicates a strong
constitution.

The outer edge of the iris indicates the condition of the skin. Mr. McCandless noted mine is dark and suggested I would benefit from a lymphatic cleanse. He recommended red clover tea or tincture, taken two to three times a day, for two or more weeks. I should drink clear fluids only, one day a week, on an ongoing basis and brush my skin daily with a natural-bristle brush to promote lymphatic drainage. Although he told me it will take time, the outer circle of my iris will lighten. I’ll keep an eye on that!

Herbs and Drugs

Herbal medicine, said Mr. McCandless, is not an exact science. Pharmaceuticals are 10 to 100 times stronger than herbs and are designed to break through natural barriers in the body. Therefore, we metabolize herbs differently from drugs.

Herbs may be safely taken in moderation; nothing–even if “natural?is healthy in excess. Mr. McCandless cautioned me against mixing herbs and drugs. “Always inform your doctor of any herbs you may be taking, and always inform your herbalist of any drugs you are taking,” he concluded.

A herbal tea to help you sleep The herbalist suggested the following mixture of herbs as a remedy for insomnia.

Mix together 1 tsp of each of the following herbs. Then add 1 tsp of the mixture to boiling water, allow to steep for 15 minutes, and drink before bedtime.

  • black cohosh root (Cimicifuga racemosa)
  • skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
  • oat straw (Avena sativa)
  • St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)
  • valerian root (Valeriana officinalis)
  • blue vervain (Verbena hastata)
  • camomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
  • ginger root (Zingiber officinale)
  • lobelia (Lobelia inflata)
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