Herbs

Before I was diagnosed, I had serious cravings for garlic.
  • Breakfast:  slice a bulb (yes, a bulb, not just one clove) of garlic, saute’, then scramble in one egg
  • Lunch:  place all the cloves from a couple bulbs of garlic in a pot of chicken broth, simmer 20 minutes
  • Dinner:  massive quantities of garlic (whole clove) in spaghetti sauce, or saute’ garlic in with the zucchini, or…

It drove my family crazy!

One day we were riding in the car together and my husband rolled down his window despite the rain while suggesting (none too tactfully) that I should cut down on the amount of garlic I was consuming.

And when I started taking prescription-strength NSAIDs, my garlic cravings vanished.

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HerbalDrugstore

I have a few books about herbs, but this is my favorite.  One section of the book lists medical conditions and their standard drug treatments.  Common side effects of those drugs are listed.  Then herbal remedies are discussed with specific guidelines on frequency and duration.  It is very easy to look up bronchitis, or hypothyroidism, or Raynauds, or RA…  and see what the herbal options are for treating each specific condition.

Another section of the book lists herbs and their potential uses.  Garlic is considered an anti-inflammatory.

Stressed throughout the book is the fact that herbs can interact with prescription and OTC medications.  It’s important to talk to your doctor about all treatments you try.

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PDR-Herbs

When my headaches got so bad that I finally went to the doctor about them (a headache, for crying out loud!), I was given one prescription for anti-nausea medicine and another for aborting migraines.  Two weeks later at follow-up, the nurse practitioner wanted to add a third med for preventing headaches.

Time out!  I’d done some reading, and gave her a list of some herbs that I wanted to try first.  A relaxing cup of tea to start the mornings sounded a lot better to me than a daily regimen of pills!

She was great.  There are advantages to seeing the same MD/ARNP team for a dozen years.  She looked up the first two herbs on my list.  After that, she said, “You’d really like this book,” and let me check the rest of my list while she went on to see other patients.

I was able to try a variety of herbs for my headaches.  Some worked, some didn’t.  One of the herbs on my list should not be used with the migraine abortive prescription that I had, so I knew to pick one or the other, but not both.

This book is a great resource for checking the safety of herb/prescription interactions.  Plants might be natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to combine herbs with prescriptions.

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Some people purchase “herbal remedies” in pill-form at the health nut food store.  I just can’t do that.  I want to know exactly what I’m getting.  There’s much less possibility of problems if you use the real herb (food).  My personal opinion, and I know there are many people who disagree, is that I’m trying an herb to get what I need naturally and avoid taking a pill (like drinking orange juice instead of taking vitamin C tablets).  I don’t want to shun prescription pills manufactured according to strict specifications, only to substitute other pills, the contents of which are questionable.  I don’t want a pill; I want the real plant. That’s just me.
Besides, it’s fun to grow your own!

 

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The rest of the story:  The headaches might be part of my auto-immune issues since they started about the same time.  The herbal approach to headache prevention ultimately proved not to be effective for me, and my doctor wrote a prescription to address the problem.  The first med I tried had zero impact.  The second one we tried made a huge difference – I was thrilled to have only six migraines per month.  My doctor thought I could do even better and increased the dose.  Since starting the higher dose, I haven’t had a single migraine.