Crossroads Pharmacopoeia will be a series of posts where each one will be dedicated to a specific herb with which I have direct working experience. Some will be herbs that are on the regular rotation (i.e., the things we use every day or nearly so), while others will be herbs that I’ve used occasionally to treat different illnesses or injuries from time to time. I’m hoping that some of this will be found to be interesting (I find it all pretty fascinating, honestly, but I’m kind of a nerd about such things…). In addition to herbs, I will also be covering a few supplements, some which are derived directly from herbs (for example, L-Theanine, which is derived from green tea and 5-htp, which is derived from griffonia simplicifolia), and others that are more commonly lab-created (such as L-Arginine and Taurine), but are also found in various different food sources.
Many of the herbs and supplements I’ll be covering are pretty easy to find, either in a local health food shop or wherever you get vitamins and supplements. Others can normally be found at most of your standard herb dealers online. A few, though, I’ve only been able to find through some very specific online dealers. These are also herbs that are not commonly spoken of in the majority of the literature available that would be considered “Western Herbalism.” Most of these are primarily used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and/or Ayurvedic Medicine. In most cases, I only found them after a lot of very desperate researching and digging to find something that had some very specific and often very powerful biochemical effects. Sure, there were some western herbs that would treat the condition in question, but only with minimal success and only for fairly mild cases. A prime example here would be herbs for pain management. White Willow Bark is great if you have a mild headache or backache. However, if you’re dealing with chronic pain, such as migraines, fibromyalgia or the all-over body aches associated with Lyme Disease, you need something with real power – like something that’s already been placed on Schedule One (Canabis, anyone? …don’t get me started on the absurdity of plants being made “illegal”…), or something that might be considered for such placement, should it come up on the government’s radar (Kratom, for example).
Throughout my extensive research over the past several years, I keep finding that, in many cases, the standard set of herbs used in western herbalism, though effective, tend to be milder in their effects. There are exceptions, of course, but those exceptions tend to be less commonly found on websites and in books that are generally found by lay people (probably good reason for that). Eastern natural medicine, on the other hand, tends to have more potent plant medicines as part of the common rotation. It’s almost like the difference between going to the pharmacy and picking up some over-the-counter cold mecine or pain reliever, versus getting a prescription for some oxycodone pills or codeine-laced cough medicine.
I didn’t intend to make this a long post. I just wanted to introduce the series quickly, so I could get into the juicy bits on specific herbs. However, I also wanted to provide a list of suppliers of the herbs that I’m going to write about. The vendors that I’m mentioning here are reputable folks that I’ve dealt with quite a bit, over the years. What I don’t get from these few places, I’ve been able to pick up on Amazon (a necessary evil, when you need something quickly…well…used to be, seems now days they aren’t much quicker than the little guys). Without further ado…
Meridian Botanicals (https://meridianbotanicals.com/) – Run by a very knowledgeable, down to earth and kind individual, named Justin. I learn things just from browsing the site. Pretty much, if I can’t find it here, I probably can’t find it (at least, not without a solid understanding of either Chinese or Hindi…which I don’t have). As to the things I can find elsewhere, I’ve definitely been able to find them cheaper, but the quality is definitely not as good as Justin’s. He also has a Facebook group (if you do Facebook…I ditched it over the summer) where he occasionally puts out discount codes and such, as well as puts out a lot of great information about the herbs he carries.
Liza’s Best Botanicals (https://lizasbestbotanicals.com/) – Liza is an amazing lady out in California. She does carry a few other items, but her main focus is providing Mitragyna Speciosa (aka – kratom) at extremely affordable prices. The quality of her product is top-notch and she’s extremely kind, fast and efficient. In most cases, I receive my orders from her within three days of placing them.
For the more mainstream stuff, if I need to pick up a bunch of stuff at once, I tend to go back and forth between Mountain Rose (https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/) and Monterey Bay (https://www.herbco.com/). Mountain Rose tends to be a little more expensive, but all of their stuff is organic. Monterey Bay gives you the option to choose organic or a less expensive non-organic alternative. I generally prefer to go with organic, when it’s available, but when things are tight and you need medicine, you go with the one you can afford (still better than pharma garbage…).
OK. With that out of the way, I will move on to the herbs! Enjoy!