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FROM KAREN:
QUESTION
: I have just heard about a show recently on TV regarding herbal teas which have supposedly been found to cause damage to the liver.  What can you tell me about the following:

The tea I've been using gives the following ingredients:  locust plant, highmallow, cassia angustifoliam;, gynostemma pentaphyllum.  Can any of these or the mixture of any of these cause the afore mentioned problem?  If so, what ingredient, or mixture of ingredients can cause this?

I was told there was a segment on (I believe) the 60 Minutes show and when speaking with Ask-A-Nurse this morning she told me that there were articles out on it as well.  Please forward any "lay-type" information you can to me at your earliest convenience.  I am just starting to research this information and your help is greatly appreciated.

ANSWER: Personally, I'd take anything you see on TV with a grain of salt, especially the networks. Without knowing which specific herbs you are referring to, it's impossible to answer your question. Herbs, although natural, can cause problems if not used correctly.  The recent ban on ephedra was due to the deaths of people who did not take the herb properly or combined it with over the counter or prescription medications. A certain recipe for disaster in my mind.  I'm not aware of any herbs that "cause damage to the liver", when used correctly. The ingredients you listed, together or alone, have no record of the types of problems you've described. If you have further information on the specific herb teas that purportedly have this "side effect", write to me again. I'd be happy to research it for you.


FROM DAVID:
ETHICS OF HERBAL ADVERTISING
QUESTION: 

If no Herbs increase the size of breasts, then why do they the Herbs have labels saying they do? And all the Herb Shops have them, so in that case, all information on all Herb Labels must be just a joke. Herbs must not do nothing for you, or either they wouldn't contradict. Why would people buy them if they can't believe the label?

ANSWER: 
Our store does not sell them or any other magical elixir for weight reduction or extra energy. You are right to feel anger and disappointment but you feelings are directed at the wrong suspect. The plants are not to blame, people are. Herbal Medicine has recently come back in vogue. Greedy commercial interests which in the past have kept the lime light and public interest away from natural approaches to medicine now see big $bucks$ to be made. These trickster play on the emotional issues of the unsuspecting (or undereducated in that topic) public and make magical promise which are mostly fantasy. Herbs do work, I know they work for me and my family. If you are truly interested in plant medicine and how you can control your destiny in healthcare; you would do well to review the many books written by educated herbalists not rantings of a snake oil selling showman. Quality herb stores will not sell products to simply make a profit most are run by small families who want to educate their customers and keep them coming back. One bad experience by a customer is retold many times to friends, reputable stores would not sell a product simply to make a fast buck, it would be like cutting off their nose despite their face. Most herb store owners try to sell quality products, I cannot speak for the many nutritional supplement stores which have sprung up trying to get the glut of money be spent on nutritional and herbal products. It has increased in sales 80% in the past 4 years. Herbs work for some things, breast enlargement is not one of them. I am sorry. Would you rather I tell you the truth or add to the lies already being told?