Health Aisle Reality Check (dear herbalists)

Want to know one of my top pet peeves?

When I see misleading health products (supplements, skin creams, etc…) on display at the grocery store.

What’s worse is when the claims we read on labels becomes common knowledge among our friends and family.

Eventually we start getting confused about what’s fact and fiction.

Here’s a little quiz,

Which of the following is true?

  • Getting wrinkles? Use a cream with collagen & elastin to keep your skin looking young.
  • Turmeric supplements can be used to overcome any inflammation.
  • Take Echinacea as an immune system tonic (drink it anytime).

The answer… none of these are true.

All of these statements are false, yet widely accepted as advice worth giving.

Nobody wants to be that person giving crap advice.

You can read clarifying responses at the end of this post – but first, I want you to know that I would have believed ALL of those things if i could not cross reference the basic foundations of A&P.

Plain and simple, knowing HOW and WHY the skin works, inflammation works, and the immune system works = no bullshit.

There is no shame in not knowing

My point in quizzing you is not to say “you’re wrong, shame on you!!!”

I went to undergraduate school in the 80’s, which meant education was mostly training me to be compliant and have the right answer.

That’s not the way health works, it just isn’t. We need to be problem solvers and seek to connect the dots. A language is so much richer and complex than its vocabulary.

When I ventured into herbal medicine I was fortunate to meet Rosemary Gladstar (presenting Wednesday) and just knew it was exactly what I needed at the time.

She created an environment where my belief system was challenged and I could take risks without feeling judged (<3 Rosemary).

Stumbling, saying things wrong, repeating something we learned somewhere… asking “stupid questions” (no such thing), this is all part of learning. It’s a perfectly unavoidable part of discovering the truth. “Confusion is a necessary step in learning.”

The thing is, we need to have the humility to recognize our edges, and to accept opportunities to grow when we find them.

As healers, we are responsible

We don’t have the luxury of creating medicine that misleads people – our values are stronger than that. We are responsible for making sure we know what we’re talking about.

Of course there is merit to the “placebo”, or story we tell (and I can’t wait to talk about this…) but we are responsible to know how and why medicine works before we recommend it or take it.

The skin cream company is profitable in the short term because they ride the fad, they make sales, and they don’t need to follow up with customers.

By the time their stock is used up they can afford to rebrand and crank out the next product.It’d only be funny if these products didn’t represent “herbalism” and “holistic health” in the mainstream culture – but they do, and it gives us all a bad wrap.

If we don’t “know our stuff”, we risk fitting the mainstream stereotypes that herbal medicine is just a bunch of nonsense about diet pills and pyramid schemes.

Yeah, we don’t want that.

We’re on the same team, yeah?

Since you’re reading this far down I’ll just assume we’re on the same team.

We don’t want to spread harmful “factoids” and make medicine that doesn’t work.

We don’t want to decimate wild plants to extinction, or perpetuate negative stereotypes of alternative health.

Our goal is to cultivate a greater awareness of this miracle we experience as life. Our goal is to deepen our knowledge to better care for ourselves and each other, to better advocate for ourselves and our loved ones.

We’re small business owners, medicine makers, family herbalists, health coaches, masseuses…

We’re lifelong learners, who enjoy exercising our brains (so we can impress our friends of course).

We’re seeking to balance that which cannot be measured (our feelings) with what CAN be measured (our blood pressure).

We want results.

Getting results, again and again

The way we can apply “science” to what we do is to be able to reproduce results again and again.

That’s the method you can use to test the proper dosage of home made medicine.

It’s why the elimination diet works to identify allergies.

It’s also why I know that if you’re ready, the Online A&P Course will transform the way you understand the human body, and deepen your healing work from here on out.

Students in the course get results, again and again. You can read their stories over on the info page.

The Online A&P Course gives you a deeper understanding of the human body in just 8 weeks.

Online A&P gives you the foundations in 8 weeks, and it’s effective

It’s so effective that notable herb schools actually use the course as required material. It’s so effective that over 1,034 students have used the course to go deeper in their learning, and I hear from students all the time.

If I didn’t get this feedback I wouldn’t be continuing to put effort into making it better, and I wouldn’t put the effort into inviting you to try it.

There are seven (7) days left to early enrollment. Then, on Sunday night we’re taking a break until 2020.

As you plan for 2020…

If going deeper in your knowledge of the human body is part of that equation, then now is the best time to commit to learning A&P.

Click here to enroll in the course today, get early enrollment bonuses and updates to the program. Join 1,034 other students who are learning Anatomy and Physiology at Heartstone Online.

Answers to the Health Aisle Reality Check

Okay time for answers:

  1. Applying collagen & elastin topically will not affect the quality of the skin underneath it. They are too large as molecules to get absorbed into the deeper layers.
  2. Turmeric can decrease inflammation, but if you are leading a life that increases your inflammatory state everyday, the anti inflammatory effects of turmeric can’t overcome the mountain of inflammation you are creating everyday.
  3. Echinacea increases your immune response for 72 hours. After that, you are better off spending your money on other herbal interventions. Echinacea is not a tonic herb to be taken everyday.
Posted in

Tammi Sweet

I'm a researcher, educator, guest lecturer, and co-founder of Heartstone Center for Earth Essentials in Van Etten, NY.