Have you tried herbs or supplements for your chronic illness? I’ve had to find “other options” for treating my fibromyalgia and bipolar disorder because of my financial situation, so I’ve been doing a lot of research and collecting some tools for working with the herbs I like to experiment with.
In other words, I’ve been learning to make my own herbal treatments for my various symptoms. I ordered an “encapsulator” for making my own herbal capsules, and have been playing with that a LOT. Instead of buying bottles of herbal supplements, I’ve been making my own. It’s tons cheaper, but it does take some time and work.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and nothing I say in this post is intended as medical advice. If you find the idea of using herbs in your treatment plan intriguing, be sure to do the research and discuss any changes or additions with your healthcare provider to ensure your safety.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to this process, but for me, the positives far outweigh the negatives. For example, making my own gives me the ability to:
- Save money
- Make my own blends for various purposes
- Ensure that I’m not taking something that causes a bad reaction (testing is a lot easier if I know exactly what I’m taking.)
- Experiment with new herbs without investing a lot of money into a product that I may not be able to use (I spent about $16 on a bottle of Valerian, only to discover that it triggers migraines for me. If I’d made my own, I could have purchased just a couple of dollars worth of the herb and tested for bad reactions without losing so much money if I couldn’t use it.)
- Experiment with other methods of delivery, like teas, poultices, tinctures, and infused oils
- Control the quality myself (Especially with supplements in pill form, there are frequently ingredients other than the herb itself that could cause a reaction, and there’s no way to tell WHICH ingredient I’m reacting to. It could be the herb, or it could be one of the fillers used to form the pill.)
- I actually enjoy the process of preparing the herbs and creating the various blends I use. I find it relaxing, and many of the steps can be performed while doing something else like watching a movie or chatting with friends.
On the other hand, it is much easier to just buy a bottle of something. Some of the disadvantages of making your own herbal products include:
- Having to buy some equipment and supplies
- Finding a place to work
- Finding storage space
- Needing to find the time to make the capsules, etc
- Pre-processing can be rather physical and time-consuming, depending on whether you grow your own herbs, purchase dried herbs, or purchase powdered herbs. (This can also depend on the equipment you use for processing. Grinding dried nettle leaf is much more physical if you do it with a mortar and pestle as opposed to using something like a manual or electric herb grinder.)
- Finding containers to keep finished products in (I reuse bottles and jars that I purchased something in, which adds the work of cleaning them and removing the labels.)
I’m discovering that this can be lots of fun, and I’m finding quite a few things that actually help me feel better, too. For example, I sprained my shoulder at work almost two weeks ago, and they gave me Lortabs for the pain. I couldn’t take them one day because I had to drive somewhere, so I took the Skullcap capsules I’ve been making instead. I was amazed to realize that the Skullcap actually eased the pain BETTER than the Lortabs do, and doesn’t have any of the nasty side effects. (I’m saving the rest of the Lortabs for knocking myself out when I have migraines. LOL)
NOTE: Do NOT take Skullcap WITH any prescription pain medication, as the interaction could be dangerous, or even deadly. Skullcap has sedative properties, and in combination with prescription pain medications it could depress your breathing to the danger point.
Experimentation is continuing, and my next post will include some of the cool things I’ve discovered.
- Will herbs play a role in future medicine? (healthisahabit.wordpress.com)
- Herbal Remedies for Natural Pain Relief (everydayhealth.com)
- Herbs for Bipolar Disorder (everydayhealth.com)
- Alternative Options: Easing Fibromyalgia With Herbs and Supplements (everydayhealth.com)
- Using Herbs for Stress Relief (brighthub.com)