Red Clover has a long history of use as a medicinal herb. It's an excellent blood purifier that over time gradually cleanses the bloodstream and supports the circulatory system. But among classic herbalists, it is probably best known as one of the best herbs for supporting and maintaining cellular health.
Red Clover contains genistein that is the same biochemical considered to be the main active ingredient in soy. But red clover has a significant advantage over soy. It contains not just genistein, but significant levels (about ten times that found in soy) of all four main estrogenic isoflavones, including daidzein and genistein. In addition to isoflavones, red clover contains phytoestrogen compounds called coumestans -- in the form of biochanin and formononetin. Consuming red clover isoflavones results in higher blood levels of daidzein and genistein, moderate blood levels of biochanin, and low levels of formononetin - at about the same profile seen in the blood of vegetarians who consume a variety of legumes.
Note: Soy consumption, unlike red clove consumption, does not result in any increase in biochanin or formononetin in the blood.
Native Americans have used Chaparral leaf for centuries. Exactly how it works is open to debate, but some of its main actions are:
So how could such a beneficial herb be on everyone's blacklist?
According to the FDA, Chaparral: sold has been linked to serious liver damage. FDA has recorded two deaths and 10 cases of hepatitis or other liver abnormalities in users.
The reality, though, is that the evidence for chaparral liver toxicity is anecdotal. It is not the result of any double blind studies or of any clinical trials. For example, one of the cases the FDA likes to single out can be found in the Journal of the American Medical Association (273 (6):489). The details of the case concern a 60-year-old woman who developed jaundice and liver failure while taking one to two capsules of chaparral each day with a pinch of garlic in a tea made from nettle and chickweed. The authors of the JAMA article concluded it was the chaparral that caused the liver problems. What is fascinating is that the patient in question was also consuming atenolol, aspirin, was on a nitro patch, and occasional acetaminophen, as well as diltiazem hydrochloride - all drugs with profound hepatoxic potential. Amazingly, none of these other substances was even considered as a possible cause of the liver problems by the authors...or the FDA. What a surprise!
Nevertheless (and despite the fact that extensive studies on chaparral in the 1970s and 1980s were unable to find any hepatotoxic properties), in December of 1992, FDA Commissioner David Kessler announced, "The public should not purchase or consume chaparral."
After these allegations of liver toxicity by the FDA, manufacturers voluntarily restricted sales of chaparral for several years until the reports were investigated. Following a lengthy review, a panel of medical experts concluded "no clinical data was found... to indicate chaparral is inherently a hepatic toxin." In late 1994, this report was submitted to the FDA. The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) now recommends the following Companies that offer products for sale for internal use that contain chaparral (Larrea tridentata) [should] provide labeling that contains the following informational language:
Rare reports of serious liver disease have been associated with ingestion of chaparral. Seek advice from a health care practitioner before use and, in so doing, inform them if you have had, or may have had, liver disease, frequently use alcoholic beverages, or are using any medications. Discontinue use and see a doctor if vomiting, fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, or jaundice (e.g., dark urine, pale stools, yellow discoloration of the eyes) should occur.
So is this remarkable herb now sold freely in the marketplace and used to benefit ailing people all over the world? Hardly!
Search for "chaparral toxicity" on the web and you will see numerous articles still announcing the dangers of the herb (all citing the same cases from the early 90's.) Or try and buy chaparral in Canada or much of Europe. Right! The problem is that once an herb is labeled dangerous (even if disproved at a later date), the stigma remains - and is brought up over and over and over again...acquiring truth through repetition, if not fact.
Fortunately, despite the bad press, chaparral, or larrea, is at least available (for the time being) in the United States.
Burdock root is probably the most famous detoxifying agent in the herbal arsenal. Burdock root cleanses the blood by increasing the effectiveness of all of the body's elimination systems. Its diuretic effect helps the kidneys filter the blood. Burdock root helps push toxins out, and it also boosts the ability of the liver to remove toxins. The bottom line is that by addressing toxins through a variety of pathways, burdock root acts as a blood purifier with minimal side effects and with minimal stress to the body.
Poke root and Yellow dock root are both powerful blood purifiers and lymph cleansers, inciting and increasing the action of lymph glands throughout the entire body. Not surprisingly, both herbs are staples of many traditional herbal formulas.
Pokeroot and Yellow dock root are both powerful blood cleansers and lymph cleansers, inciting and increasing the action of lymph glands throughout the entire body. Not surprisingly, both herbs are staples of many traditional cellular support formulas.
Goldenseal root is a multi purpose type of herb that provides immune system support, and cleanses vital organs. Goldenseal root promotes the functioning capacity of the heart, the lymphatic and respiratory system, the liver, the spleen, the pancreas, and the colon.
Taken internally, Goldenseal root increases digestive secretions, astringes the mucous membranes that line the gut, and helps promote the body’s natural inflammatory response system. It also aids digestive health by promoting the production of saliva, bile, and other digestive enzymes. In addition it may control heavy menstrual bleeding by means of its astringent action.
Note: Goldenseal root should be taken on an "as needed" basis since it may upset the natural balance of fauna and flora in the intestine.
Oregon grape root is frequently used by herbalists for blood cleansing, and to stimulate the liver and gall bladder. In addition, Oregon grape root is used as a mild laxative.
Bloodroot has been researched and found to be a potent cellular support agent. In addition to laboratory tests, Bloodroot has been used to treat tens of thousands of people over the last century and a half. Note: Dr. Andrew Weil has stated that Bloodroot preparations can be used as an effective alternative to support healthy skin.
Mistletoe's use for cellular health is widespread in central Europe.
The Ashaninka tribe of Peru uses for a variety of purposes, including to support cellular health. Other indigenous tribes use Cat's Claw as well. The Cashibo tribe of eastern Peru believes that Cat's Claw normalizes the body and have used it since ancient times to cleanse the system. Other documented indigenous uses in Peru include using Uncaria tomentosa for blood cleansing and for irregularity of the menstrual cycle.
Rene Caisse, who popularized Essiac tea for cellular health, felt sheep sorrel was the most active fighter among all the herbs present in her formula. That viewpoint was seconded by Dr. Stock at Sloan-Kettering in New York. Dr. Shock studied sheep sorrel for over three year years. His conclusion was that sheep sorrel was a powerful blood purifier.
The potent, hot fruit of cayenne has been used as medicine for centuries. Cayenne is helpful for various conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, including temporary constipation (by stimulating peristalsis), upset stomach aches, cramping, and gas. Cayenne is also extremely beneficial for the circulatory system, helping to improve the elasticity of the walls of both the arterial and venous systems, maintaining normal blood platelet function, and working to help maintain normal blood pressure already within a normal range throughout the body. And finally, cayenne is used in many herbal formulas as a "driver" -- to "push" the other herbs in the formula into the blood stream more quickly
Wild crafting is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural, or wild" habitat, for food or medicinal purposes. It means the plants are uncultivated, and harvesting takes place wherever they may be found. Ethical wild crafting means that the harvesting is done sustainably.