Which Herb Should I Try for...
One of the questions I am asked often is something like, “Which of your wellness teas should I drink for condition X ?” where X is whatever is highest of the person’s personal health concerns.
I try my best to answer (always bearing in mind that I am not a doctor and there are a lot of you asking) but the answer is not always clear-cut because most wellness herbs have more than one benefit and synergistic effects. This is one of the reasons I’m not a fan of most extracts.
By extracting a single chemical compound from an herb, a supplement maker is deciding for you which health benefit is right for you and ignoring the synergies inherent in a whole herb.
But, those multiple benefits make it harder to recommend a single herb for a given condition, because the herbs often overlap in terms of health benefit. For example, Gynostemma (Jiaogulan), White Mulberry and Hibiscus ALL have proven health benefits for improved circulation, supporting weight loss, helping manage blood sugar, aging, controlling cholesterol and reducing inflammation.
So, while I have my top recommendations for different conditions,
I suggest you try different herbs and switch them up from time to time.
Every person’s physiology is different. You may respond more effectively to one herb than another. Also, often the benefits a given herb reduce over time. By changing herbs for a while you change the mechanism at work and, when you return to the old standby, you will likely find it is again as effective when you first tried it.
This is on my mind today because of two studies I just read. I often recommend
Jiaogulan for people concerned about their blood pressure because jiaogulan is shown to increase your body’s production of Nitric Oxide, a natural vasodilator.
But a new study in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research shows that
So white mulberry leaf may also help control blood pressure and does so through a very similar mechanism to jiaogulan.
The second study, published in the Journal “Planta Medica,” focuses on medicinal plants for treatment of Parkinson’s disease. I was pleased to see Jiaouglan, White Mulberry leaf and Hibiscus all mentioned. In this case different mechanisms are at work. The researchers suggest jiaogulan and hibiscus as possible sources for reducing oxidative stress and neuroprotection. Whereas, white mulberry leaf is identified as protecting dopamine producing cells. Researchers believe there is a clear link between reduced dopamine production and Parkinson’s disease.[II]
There are two examples, from today’s reading alone of different herbs providing similar health benefits.
So, how to choose?
Don’t choose. Let your body decide. Try different herbs that the science and traditional medicine suggest may be beneficial. Pay close attention to how they make you feel and, of course, watch your test results as well. The right herb for you is simply the one that works best for you.
[I] Carrizzo, Ambrosio et al., Morus alba extract modulates blood pressure homeostasis through eNOS signaling. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 1613-4133 2016
[II] Rios, Onteniente et al., Medicinal Plants and Natural Products as Potential Sources for Antiparkinson Drugs. Planta Medica May, 2016