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Re: Poisoning from wrong herbs

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  • Frank
    ... You have been lucky for 51 years then. A plant giving a reaction on the skin certainly is suspect, some are actually very nice to eat (like Urtica spp.).
    Message 1 of 23 , Jan 6, 2007
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      --- Dee Harris <corbywolf13@...> wrote:

      > Then what would you suggest, Frank? Not using herbs
      > at all? I'll have you know that I"ve been using
      > herbs most of my life and that's 51 years worth. I
      > do think that I have some knowledge of what I'm
      > doing.

      You have been lucky for 51 years then. A plant giving
      a reaction on the skin certainly is suspect, some are
      actually very nice to eat (like Urtica spp.). But
      there are enough plant poisons that don't give a
      reaction on the skin (for example saponins). Some
      poisons work slowly over a long period of time. As I
      said there are no simple test. I am very much for
      using plants, a lot of chemical medicines are very
      bad (= poisonous).

      But before starting using plants (especially for
      food or medicine) you have to be sure that
      you have identified it correctly (use several books or
      somebody that knows about plants). Also learn about
      the plant (books, the PFAF database, use google).
      Some medicinal plants are not suitable for self
      medication, some plants might interact with
      conventional medicines... Some plants are just
      wonderfully effective and totally safe...

      Plant toxicity is a difficult subject and
      there seems to be quit a bit of wrong information
      around. I wouldn't be surprised if the ethanol
      in Absinthe would be more poisonous than the
      thujone it contains.

      I don't want to scare anyone out of using plants,
      just to point out some wrong info. Especially people
      who are just starting to learn about plants. I
      remember
      when I first came to The Field I got a bit carried
      away with tasting all those nice plants and started
      eating stuff that is not meant to be eaten (Senecio
      jacobaea), it was a young one and I only took a little
      bit, *without any ill effects*. If I hadn't learned
      more about this plant and mixed in my daily salads, my
      liver - and I - would be gone.

      Frank.

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    • Dee Harris
      And you, Sir, have no idea of what you re talking about. I ve studies herbs all of my life. Grew up with them in fact. Just because you prefer to use chemicals
      Message 2 of 23 , Jan 6, 2007
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        And you, Sir, have no idea of what you're talking about. I"ve studies herbs all of my life. Grew up with them in fact. Just because you prefer to use chemicals to natural forms of healing doesn't give you the right to tell someone that they don't know what they're talking about.
        As for identification of plants, again, I've been doing this for more than half a century. Maybe you think that your way is the only one, but it isn't.
        Wolf the herbalist

        Frank <chaewen@...> wrote:
        --- Dee Harris <corbywolf13@...> wrote:

        > Then what would you suggest, Frank? Not using herbs
        > at all? I'll have you know that I"ve been using
        > herbs most of my life and that's 51 years worth. I
        > do think that I have some knowledge of what I'm
        > doing.

        You have been lucky for 51 years then. A plant giving
        a reaction on the skin certainly is suspect, some are
        actually very nice to eat (like Urtica spp.). But
        there are enough plant poisons that don't give a
        reaction on the skin (for example saponins). Some
        poisons work slowly over a long period of time. As I
        said there are no simple test. I am very much for
        using plants, a lot of chemical medicines are very
        bad (= poisonous).

        But before starting using plants (especially for
        food or medicine) you have to be sure that
        you have identified it correctly (use several books or
        somebody that knows about plants). Also learn about
        the plant (books, the PFAF database, use google).
        Some medicinal plants are not suitable for self
        medication, some plants might interact with
        conventional medicines... Some plants are just
        wonderfully effective and totally safe...

        Plant toxicity is a difficult subject and
        there seems to be quit a bit of wrong information
        around. I wouldn't be surprised if the ethanol
        in Absinthe would be more poisonous than the
        thujone it contains.

        I don't want to scare anyone out of using plants,
        just to point out some wrong info. Especially people
        who are just starting to learn about plants. I
        remember
        when I first came to The Field I got a bit carried
        away with tasting all those nice plants and started
        eating stuff that is not meant to be eaten (Senecio
        jacobaea), it was a young one and I only took a little
        bit, *without any ill effects*. If I hadn't learned
        more about this plant and mixed in my daily salads, my
        liver - and I - would be gone.

        Frank.

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        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • annahummingtree
        We all know what we know (each of us have our own bits of the cosmic puzzle) and the brilliant thing about an email group such as this is that it allows us to
        Message 3 of 23 , Jan 6, 2007
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          We all know what we know (each of us have our own bits of the cosmic puzzle) and the brilliant thing about an email group such as this is that it allows us to exchange our knowledge and experiences and learn from each other.
          Dear Wolf, as a trained medical herbalist (now retired) I think that Frank was wise to sound a serious note of caution. Most herbs are valuable healers, which can often be used even long-term with great benefits, but there are enough really powerful dangerous herbs to make it very important not just to know whether a herb is poisonous or not, but also the exact dosages for particular individuals, how often to take them, how long, in what combinations, and so on. Just testing herbs on the skin on the inner elbow is just not good enough.
          Dear Frank, at the same time, it is heartening to come accross someone like Wolf, who has had a life-long relationship with herbs. Based on my own lifetime experience I believe that being friends with the plants enhances their potency, very much like any loving relationship enhances healing. It is not uncommon that the plants give us the knowledge how we can work with them for healing, but this is only possible if there is deep communication, familiarity and respect with our plant-relatives. What works for some people can never really be recommended as a general recipe for success.
          In these days with so many really good books and also an absolute treasure of information and pictures available on the Internet, no one needs to resort to testing out themselves whether a herb is poisonous or not. Anyhow, even if you could establish this by yourself (almost impossible since many toxins take time to show their lethal effects), this tells you nothing about dosage (all important in poisonous plants, which are often great healers in specific minute dosages), how to use and prepare a particular herb, which can often be of vital relevance in treating serious conditions, etc.etc.
          In survival conditions, when you have to use unknown plants as food, it is recommended practice to hold a small piece of plant material under the tongue, where substances are relatively easily transferred to the bloodstream. You then have to pay attention to what sensations this causes, locally and in the rest of your body. But how could we possibly recommend this practice in a situation where we have such an abundance of information all around us?
          As someone, who has studied herbs and the culture of their use for many years, I can say with some confidence that our original knowledge of the herbs did not come from 'experimentation', as is commonly believed. All ancient cultures and remaining indigenous cultures (eg. in the Amazon) tell us that this knowledge was communicated to us by the plants themselves and after that of course the ever increasing empirical experience of working with the plants. The trouble is nowadays that people no longer have the sort of relationship with the natural world where this is any longer a possibility, in which case please take your guidance from established and proven traditions and research!.
          What I would recommend is for anyone with a serious interest in plants (and the above subject) to read Stephen Harrod Buhner books: "The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature" and "The Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicines for Life on Earth". Of course there are many knowledgeable good writers on the subject, but this guy is really outstanding. He knows his subject and a lot of other subjects besides. He is a rare combination of being thoroughly versed in traditional ways of relating to plants, as well as being up to date with cutting edge science. His research is immaculate. He's also an excellent writer (and poet). But most important of all (in my opinion) he will help to change people's relationships with plants (and with themselves).
          Please Google him or look him for reviews. I believe his books are worth boxes full of others.
          Green leaves and Love, AnnaHummingtree

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Frank
          ... Can you be more specific in about the incorrect information in my reply, I like to learn. ... My comment was not about your knowledge of herbs, it is about
          Message 4 of 23 , Jan 9, 2007
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            --- Dee Harris <corbywolf13@...> wrote:
            > And you, Sir, have no idea of what you're talking
            > about.

            Can you be more specific in about the incorrect
            information in my reply, I like to learn.

            > I"ve studies herbs all of my life. Grew up
            > with them in fact.

            My comment was not about your knowledge of herbs,
            it is about your poisonous plants test.

            > Just because you prefer to use
            > chemicals to natural forms of healing

            > > Frank <chaewen@...> wrote:
            > > I am very much for
            > > using plants, a lot of chemical medicines are
            very
            > > bad (= poisonous).

            > doesn't give
            > you the right to tell someone that they don't know
            > what they're talking about.

            Anybody is allowed to point out wrong information.

            But what gives you the right to put words into my
            mouth?

            > As for identification of plants, again, I've been
            > doing this for more than half a century.

            You might familiar with plants and their uses, a lot
            of people regrettably aren't. It does the advocacy
            of using plants no good if somebody without affinity
            for & knowledge of plants takes your test and gets
            poisoned.

            Frank


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          • Frank
            ... I believe this too. On the PFAF website a lot of good reasons are given for growing perennial plants. One thing I found that isn t mentioned is the
            Message 5 of 23 , Jan 9, 2007
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              > Based on my own
              > lifetime experience I believe that being friends
              > with the plants enhances their potency, very much
              > like any loving relationship enhances healing.

              I believe this too. On the PFAF website a lot
              of good reasons are given for growing perennial
              plants. One thing I found that isn't
              mentioned is the different relationship with
              perennial plants. (I am not talking about medicinal
              plants here but edible ones). When I pick a salad I
              visit a lot of plants, whilst taking leaves I often
              talk with them, now they are the best friends I
              have at The Field and an important reason for me
              to go back there regularly. It's definitely different
              from growing lettuce.

              > It is
              > not uncommon that the plants give us the knowledge
              > how we can work with them for healing, but this is
              > only possible if there is deep communication,
              > familiarity and respect with our plant-relatives.

              My communication with plants hasn't regrettably
              reached this level, but maybe I am just more
              interested
              if they are edible (and nice tasting) or not.
              I seem to developing a sense of poisonous plants,
              but I would not trust my self, and always check on
              other peoples experiences.

              > In survival conditions, when you have to use unknown
              > plants as food, it is recommended practice to hold a
              > small piece of plant material under the tongue,
              > where substances are relatively easily transferred
              > to the bloodstream. You then have to pay attention
              > to what sensations this causes, locally and in the
              > rest of your body.

              Under survival conditions I would first
              do a skin test (what Wolf described), then a your
              test,
              then to chew a bit without swallowing, then to eat
              a little bit. Between each test there should be
              enough time (a day), and as you say you have to pay
              attention. Only test one plant at a time. Still some
              poisonous plants might slip through, don't continue
              eating the plant after survival without looking
              up other peoples experiences.

              I found the remaining bit of a your mail very
              interesting. I will take a look at the books
              Stephen Harrod Buhner books. As I'm very interested
              in deepening my relation with plants. If anybody
              on the list has experience or advice, I'd like to
              hear!

              Frank

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            • Dee Harris
              Sir, the plants I spoke of are ones that are normally plants used in healing. NOTHING I ever use is poisious. I deal with healing herbs. These do not include
              Message 6 of 23 , Jan 9, 2007
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                Sir, the plants I spoke of are ones that are normally plants used in healing. NOTHING I ever use is poisious. I deal with healing herbs. These do not include herbs such as monkshood or anything like that. When I spoke of testing on the inner part of the elbow, I was refering to the possibility of an allergic reaction to these same herbs such as rose hips, hibiscus and such.
                However, you shot me down like I was a rank amateur and I am far from that. Not everyone can use sage tea for example, or rosemary tea and that's why I posted the warning.
                Maybe next time before you open your mouth you will ask for clarification first.
                Wolf

                Frank <chaewen@...> wrote:
                --- Dee Harris <corbywolf13@...> wrote:
                > And you, Sir, have no idea of what you're talking
                > about.

                Can you be more specific in about the incorrect
                information in my reply, I like to learn.

                > I"ve studies herbs all of my life. Grew up
                > with them in fact.

                My comment was not about your knowledge of herbs,
                it is about your poisonous plants test.

                > Just because you prefer to use
                > chemicals to natural forms of healing

                > > Frank <chaewen@...> wrote:
                > > I am very much for
                > > using plants, a lot of chemical medicines are
                very
                > > bad (= poisonous).

                > doesn't give
                > you the right to tell someone that they don't know
                > what they're talking about.

                Anybody is allowed to point out wrong information.

                But what gives you the right to put words into my
                mouth?

                > As for identification of plants, again, I've been
                > doing this for more than half a century.

                You might familiar with plants and their uses, a lot
                of people regrettably aren't. It does the advocacy
                of using plants no good if somebody without affinity
                for & knowledge of plants takes your test and gets
                poisoned.

                Frank

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              • Frank
                ... This is quite different from what you wrote before, And it is indeed very sensible to test even plants that are considered save (also when trying food
                Message 7 of 23 , Jan 11, 2007
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                  --- Dee Harris <corbywolf13@...> wrote:

                  > Sir, the plants I spoke of are ones that are
                  > normally plants used in healing. NOTHING I ever use
                  > is poisious. I deal with healing herbs. These do not
                  > include herbs such as monkshood or anything like
                  > that. When I spoke of testing on the inner part of
                  > the elbow, I was refering to the possibility of an
                  > allergic reaction to these same herbs such as rose
                  > hips, hibiscus and such.

                  This is quite different from what you wrote before,
                  And it is indeed very sensible to test even plants
                  that are considered save (also when trying food
                  plants that you haven't eaten before).

                  > Maybe next time before you open your mouth you
                  > will ask for clarification first.

                  Because your post didn't have the above context,
                  I felt a obligation to warn people that this
                  test doen't prevent accidental poisoning with all
                  plants. Outside the above context your post was
                  dangerous. Your last post was clear and had good
                  advice. Thank you.

                  Frank

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