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    Archive for the ‘herbs’ Category

    In The News: Herb At Your Own Risk

    kava_16054_6_(big)_CNN.com’s homepage currently features this excellent article on the dangers of unsupervised herbal supplementation, especially when it’s recommended by the likes of “intuitive healers” (that’s code word for “will gladly take your money in exchange for potentially dangerous advice.”)

    Herbs are often touted as perfectly safe botanicals, especially by those who sell them.  Far from it!

    While certain herbs — in specific quantities — can provide some health benefits, high intakes can lead to a variety of health conditions as well as very dangerous effects when combined with other herbs or medication.

    Additionally, a good amount of the purported benefits from herbal supplementation are anecdotal or only obtained from excessive amounts.

    CNN went to a most appropriate source for this article — Dr. Brent Bauer, director of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic.

    Given the horrendous caliber of self-proclaimed experts who have gotten plenty of air time lately, it’s great to see members of the press turn to a credible source!

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    You Ask, I Answer: Vitamin B12 Content of Berries and Herbs

    hawthorn_berries_shropshire_september_2006_close_upI recently went vegan [and had a question for you].

    [Can an individual get sufficient vitamin B12] from alfalfa, burdock root, hawthorn berries, cat nip, or dong quai?

    It’s an ongoing debate [in the vegan community].

    — @IraGM
    Via Twitter

    A few of the herbs you ask about contain a certain amount of Vitamin B12, but it’s really a moot point.

    First, the majority of the B12 in these herbs is not “human active,” meaning it does not have the same characteristics — or efficacy — of the B12 found in animal products.

    Second, many of these herbs also contain B12 analogues, which can often result in reduced absorption of human-active B12.

    You should not rely on these herbs for adequate B12 intake.  As a vegan, you are better off with nutritional yeast, fortified foods (mainly cereal and non-dairy milks) or a supplement in pill form.

    From my viewpoint, there isn’t much room for debate on this issue.

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