You should use tinctures if
you want the most potent medicine.
Tinctures are no more potent than any other herbal preparation.
Not only that, they often cost more than other forms, if we
compare identical doses. In some cases, alcohol (used to make
tinctures) may even damage some constituents, including volatile
oils, and cause others, including polysaccharides, to precipitate,
or separate from the solution. Finally, while the total amount
of alcohol consumed in tinctures is small, some people prefer
to avoid alcohol completely.
This isn’t to say that tinctures aren’t effective. We just
shouldn’t automatically assume they’re superior to other preparations.
When you do choose medicine in this form, save money by purchasing
your tinctures in the largest size available and go with the
typical European dose of 15 ml per day (half of a typical
one-ounce bottle) for the best healing results.
Licorice is a dangerous herb
because it raises blood pressure.
Licorice root, one of the most common Chinese herbs, appears
in the majority of Chinese herbal formulas. Yes, it has
been known to raise blood pressure in some folks. But just
how common is this? The Food Reference website (www.food
reference.com) claims that as many as one third of people
will experience hypertension from licorice. But can this
really be true? And if so, why haven't Chinese practitioners
ever noticed it?
Much of the concern comes from the media picking up stories
like this one from The New England Journal of Medicine:
“A 70-year-old man was admitted to San Francisco General
Hospital because of weakness, mental slowness, and significant
weight loss. It was found that he had been eating 25 to
40 licorice candies a day for four to five years. Some of
his symptoms persisted for four months after he stopped
Glycyrrhizic acid, the component responsible for many of
the herb’s benefits, also causes the blood-pressure side
effect. But response to licorice varies by individual. A
study in The Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology
found that even the most sensitive people didn’t experience
problems until they took a dose equivalent to 50 g (1.8
oz) per day of licorice candy. Most everyone will have problems
if they eat 200 g (7 oz) of daily candy. (Note that most
licorice candies are flavored with anise, not licorice,
and therefore don’t pose a health concern.)
As PDR Health, from the publishers of The Physician’s
Desk Reference, advises, “At recommended dosage levels,
licorice is unlikely to produce any side effects. However,
when taken in high dosages (more than 20 g of licorice extract
or 50 g of licorice root daily) for an extended period of
time, it will lead to excessive loss of salt from the blood,
water retention, high blood pressure, and heart irregularities.”
So what can you do? Be reasonable. Don’t take licorice if
you have blood pressure problems, and check your blood pressure
after a month of using it. Go with a recommended daily dose,
either the European suggestion of 2-6 g per day; the approved
German dose, 5-15 g of root; or the Chinese dose of 3-12
grams of root—all ample for therapeutic