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Herbal medicine for the tropics

 
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I'm looking for an online database for herbal remedies for the tropics,  ideally searchable by plant or by ailment. Anyone know of anything like that?  If not, how can we start a wiki to make one?
 
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What have you found by using google?

If rhere is no database, then look for other type of websites... I did not keep any web address, but this information exists, though not speicalized as far as I remember.
 
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I use this site, although it is heavily focused on South American herbs, and so the common names tend to be for those areas. A bit of googling will get you the species names, which are also searchable, or you can search by conditions.
http://www.rain-tree.com/indicate.htm#.WxrcoEgvxPY
What I like about the site most is that there are links to studies.
For example, the listing for peppermint: http://www.rain-tree.com/hortela.htm#.WxrdckgvxPY
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Yes, rain-Tree.com is a great site for some plants. The problem with this site and others, is that any herb is listed as a treatment for something like half of all human ailments. That is an exaggeration of course, but the point is that I need something a little more specific and practical. The studies are really good too, but for a lot of tropical plants, especially African ones, the studies have not gotten further than an analysis of chemical components.  

I envision a testimonial database. For example: "Here is how I successfully treat eye infections with Moringa infusion. Etc..." That entry would turn up in a search both for "Moringa" and for "Eye infection." I think this would be much more useful for people like me, who would like to know in practical terms how to use what I've got.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Do you want to grow them or tell how to grow them in the wiki?

I am not sure if your topic is about growing or about medicine, or both...
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Xisca,

I'm interested in the medicine. I would like a place where people explain HOW they treat various ailments with tropical herbs. If you use herbal medicine, for example, which ones do you use most often and how do you go about treating with them? With an infusion? With a poultice? How often do you apply? Etc. I want real stories from practitioners who explain what they use, how they use it, and can explain the positive results from real life experience. Those experiences would then be indexed.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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right... we are in a kitchen sub-forum....

I agree you have a good idea. My 2 cts would be this one: add a part in your wiki project, about something a bit different than growing.... Most websites speak about "requirements", and I would go further, because it is related to health. What does this plant LIKE! Plants have likings and tastes same as animals including us. Some are even liking compagny, or psecific compagny, some are more lonely, some like more water, more heat etc etc.... I think that getting to KNOW a plant this way, same as you know about your fellows, will allow us to touch a bit more to what is medicine... Plants make medicine not for us but for themselves. Aromatic plants make those compounds more when they are in the sun, because it is their adaptative process! And other compounds are actually their own defense against any predator or weather hazards, or fungi, or virus....

So I think that knowing the plants' tastes and dislikes will help to be in contact with what they can be used for.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Xisca,

Do you use plants that you grow as medicine? If so, which ones?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I can have both tropical and temperate plants.

At the moment I mainly use bitter herbs and gel making plants. I need stomach acid, reinforce my stomach too, and clear my liver and gall bladder. Then I also need to hydrate better and as water does not make it, I use gels, including bone broth. I have made a post about gel water yesterday in the personal care forum:
https://permies.com/t/87396/personal-care/purity/Gel-water-grow-water-real

Dandelion, artichoke leaf, olive leaf, plantago leaf, aloe vera, whole lemon, are what I take at the moment.

I also grow moringa, ginger and turmeric and have a cinnamon tree... I have a lot of different tagete too. Lemon grass, epazote...

I asked a chemical and electric sensitive person who could guess what a plant was for, and I gave her a leaf of epazote.... She took it to her chest, and just answered "Gall bladder"... She is a foreigner and had never had contact with this plant before.
This plant here is given even to children, when they have some complaint about stomach/digestion! But actually it seems to be when the real need is to regulate gall bladder, thus bile salts....
 
Nathanael Szobody
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How do you use Moringa?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Nathanael Szobody wrote:How do you use Moringa?



I do not like it! So I do not use it.... I try to have as many different things and then I see....

What are you using and what did you learn in chad? Have you been living there all your life?
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:

Nathanael Szobody wrote:How do you use Moringa?



I do not like it! So I do not use it.... I try to have as many different things and then I see....

What are you using and what did you learn in chad? Have you been living there all your life?



I lived in Chad for four years as an older child, and now again four years as an adult.

My family and I love Moringa cooked as spinach. Medicinally, I use it to treat eye infections. I make an infusion with a little salt and wash out the infected eye with it regularly. It is a favorite in local cooking, so I end up giving a lot more of it away.

I don't have much knowledge at this point, which is why I would like a collaborative wiki of sorts. We have used guava leaf infusion to treat stomach flu, aloe vera for cuts and burns. But that's about the limit. The local remedies work sometimes, but usually not.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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How strange they do not work.... Do they work for local people? Or else why do they use them!?

Guava leaves have tanin as far as I know, and they can help for diarrhea, as all tanin containing plants.

For eyes, in Andean south america, they use physalis berry juice as a closed sterile one-time-use eye drop!
 
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Some years ago I came across mention of Shroea robusta in some Ayurvedic medicine book at the UC Berkeley. The resin was given as a cure for the cracks that form in heels, and for psoriasis. About six months ago the ridges of my heels began to fissure, and the best a podiatrist could suggest was surgery. I managed to track down S. robusta resin about a month later, and began application twice daily. The cracks disappeared about three weeks ago, and so far have not returned. Consider this anecdotal evidence.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Martin Jaeger wrote:Some years ago I came across mention of Shroea robusta in some Ayurvedic medicine book at the UC Berkeley. The resin was given as a cure for the cracks that form in heels, and for psoriasis. About six months ago the ridges of my heels began to fissure, and the best a podiatrist could suggest was surgery. I managed to track down S. robusta resin about a month later, and began application twice daily. The cracks disappeared about three weeks ago, and so far have not returned. Consider this anecdotal evidence.



Now that's precisely the sort of thing I'm looking for; some concrete testimonial. Now we can just collect lots of such anecdotes and index them to and make them searchable.

Xisca Nicolas wrote:How strange they do not work.... Do they work for local people? Or else why do they use them!?



Much of the ancient knowledge has been lost. People just pop antibiotic pills sold in the market for any given ailment. People try a lot of tree roots and leaves, but most of the remedies are just hearsay, so it's a shot in the dark. A few people have real experience, but in Africa it's all about secrecy...
 
Martin Jaeger
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Nathanael Szobody wrote:

Martin Jaeger wrote:Some years ago I came across mention of Shroea robusta in some Ayurvedic medicine book at the UC Berkeley. The resin was given as a cure for the cracks that form in heels, and for psoriasis. About six months ago the ridges of my heels began to fissure, and the best a podiatrist could suggest was surgery. I managed to track down S. robusta resin about a month later, and began application twice daily. The cracks disappeared about three weeks ago, and so far have not returned. Consider this anecdotal evidence.



Now that's precisely the sort of thing I'm looking for; some concrete testimonial. Now we can just collect lots of such anecdotes and index them to and make them searchable.

Xisca Nicolas wrote:How strange they do not work.... Do they work for local people? Or else why do they use them!?



Much of the ancient knowledge has been lost. People just pop antibiotic pills sold in the market for any given ailment. People try a lot of tree roots and leaves, but most of the remedies are just hearsay, so it's a shot in the dark. A few people have real experience, but in Africa it's all about secrecy...



I have since found some databases you might be interested in:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26030465
http://www.herbmed.org/#param.wapp?sw_page=herblist%3Fletter%3DA
http://guides.lib.umich.edu/Complementary
http://www.rain-tree.com/indicate.htm
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4204050/
https://researchguides.uic.edu/c.php?g=252194&p=1682724
http://www.tropilab.com/medsupp.html
https://chestnutherbs.com/about/links/
http://tropical.theferns.info/
https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/selected-internet/herbalmedicine.html
Note this was a quick search, and I put no effort into filtering, so removing the 'wheat' from the 'chaff' is up to you.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Thanks Martin,

By far the most useful website there is http://tropical.theferns.info/
Just the shear number of plants they have is unlike anything I've seen--and they include African one as well.

What's lacking is the ability to search the same information by ailment. On the one hand, I would like to search a plant in my yard and see what it treats. That's what this website is good for. On the other hand, I'd like to search an ailment and get a list of the herbs that treat it to see if I have any. That's what I haven't found yet. It would also be nice to narrow search results by continent. . .
 
Martin Jaeger
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Nathanael Szobody wrote:Thanks Martin,

By far the most useful website there is http://tropical.theferns.info/
Just the shear number of plants they have is unlike anything I've seen--and they include African one as well.

What's lacking is the ability to search the same information by ailment. On the one hand, I would like to search a plant in my yard and see what it treats. That's what this website is good for. On the other hand, I'd like to search an ailment and get a list of the herbs that treat it to see if I have any. That's what I haven't found yet. It would also be nice to narrow search results by continent. . .



Glad something was useful. Have you combed through all the links contained in each of the links I sent? I noticed some of these databases have a lot of links to other sites. Another brief search turned up:

http://www.herbs.org/links/linksdata.htm
https://www.christopherhobbs.com/database/?ailments&aterm=A
https://rawlsmd.com/herbs
http://emedicinal.com/diseases/disease-directory-a.php
http://ageless.co.za/herbal_remedies.htm
https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements.aspx
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5480049/
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316476154_Online_Herbal_Prescriptions
http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/home.aspx?cs=&s=ND
http://www.rain-tree.com/indicate.htm
http://www.westernbotanicalmedicine.com/links.html
https://www.ipni.org/
http://www.jbiomeds.com/biomedical-sciences/an-encyclopedia-of-herbdisease-a-quick-shortcut-for-herbal-research-a-comprehension-based-on-iranian-herbal-studies.php?aid=17926
http://www.rmhiherbal.org/aa/g-favoritwebs.html
 
Tereza Okava
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You might also like the databases James Duke put together. There are different formats, some of which are more accessible than others. They're not straightforward, but there is a wealth of information.

https://phytochem.nal.usda.gov/phytochem/search or https://data.nal.usda.gov/dataset/dr-dukes-phytochemical-and-ethnobotanical-databases , for example



there are a few old herbals online (Culpeper's and botanical.com). they can be either totally out of date or really good for an "old fashioned" simple problem, though, and it's up to the reader to figure that out.
I think that is my sticking point with a lot of these resources, separating the actual usefulness of the info from the woo. When you add the challenge of plants from a different area of the world with different names to the mix it can get really frustrating.


 
Nathanael Szobody
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Tereza,

Very helpful database, especially since you can search by ailment as well. Unfortunately, no actual treatment instructions.
 
Tereza Okava
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Yes, well, I can't imagine the USDA would be thrilled about providing instructions about how to self-treat an illness with herbs that cost nothing on a govt website! (for a gamut of reasons)

Duke did have a great book called Green Pharmacy, the plants were very focused on the US South and might not be too helpful in Chad, or in Brazil in my case, but did give specifics about making tinctures, using herbs in their raw forms, etc to treat common ailments (at least common in the US readership market). You might be able to find a PDF of it somewhere, it might get you started in the right direction.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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There are ways of describing treatment in a research sort of way: "This is how traditional healers of Bolivia treat boils..." a collection of testimonials really. As you indicate, it would really have to be indexed regionally as well.
 
Martin Jaeger
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Nathanael Szobody wrote:There are ways of describing treatment in a research sort of way: "This is how traditional healers of Bolivia treat boils..." a collection of testimonials really. As you indicate, it would really have to be indexed regionally as well.



Well if you like anecdotal evidence, maybe my Stomach Bitters recipe would be of interest:
2 Teaspoon Wormwood leaf (Artemisia absinthium), or Santonica flowers (Artemisia cina) if you can find it
1 Teaspoon Quassia bark or powder (Q. amara)
1 Teaspoon Colombo root (Cocculus palmatus)
1 Teaspoon Gentian root (Gentiana lutea)
1 Teaspoon Comfrey leaf (Symphytum officinale)
1/2 Teaspoon Goldenseal powder (Hydrastis canadensis)

Get a stainless steel or enamelware saucepan with tight fitting lid, add in 1 cup distilled water, 1/4 cup alcohol (try to use a clear sort like vodka), plus the Quassia, Colombo, & Gentian. Bring to boil, add in the Wormwood leaf or flowers, Comfrey, and Goldenseal. Stir well, lid it, remove from heat, and let set til it cools down some. Strain it until the solution is tan color, but not cloudy....if you do not have a vacuum filtration system (https://www.york.ac.uk/chemistry/chem-intranet/ug-intranet/teachinglabs/teaching/techniques/reactions/filtration/#tab-4) this will take some time and effort. When finished, bottle and keep in the fridge or freezer. Dosage is two to four teaspoons before breaksfast. Washing it down with Ginger tea helps kill the awful taste, and seems to add to the effect. I am using this to cut down on my use of Lomotil that is used to treat IBS-D. After about three months of use, I have gone from using 30 Lomotil tablets per month to 30 tablets every 2 to 2 1/2 months. I have reduced the occurrence of diarrhea and cramps from five times a week, to 1 to 2 times a week. Significant improvement.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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You get the same result with any bitter plant! It makes you produce enough stomach acid for the day. Or else you do not assimilate proteins well.
More tropical, I take aloe vera gel before breakfast. Jellies are also very hydrating, more than water. Thus the "drinking" of cactus gels, and the use of water jellified by chia.
Also lemon peel in any form.
Then all herbs like a green salad of bitters including artichoke leaves...
Then olive leaves have the same property, and advised for fighting H. Pilori!

Then I guess the morning coffee is used by a lot of people for this reason, even when they think it is for waking up!
 
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Great idea, a dedicated website for tropical medicine. I live in the tropics (for about 20yrs now) and use a lot of king-of-bitter (andrographis) for most inflammations and as a replacement of antibiotics and cured myself of dengue this year using the leaf of the papaya tree. Also use pineapple for musclepain. Hope this idea will become reality soon!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Tommy Wilder wrote:Great idea, a dedicated website for tropical medicine. I live in the tropics (for about 20yrs now) and use a lot of king-of-bitter (andrographis) for most inflammations and as a replacement of antibiotics and cured myself of dengue this year using the leaf of the papaya tree. Also use pineapple for musclepain. Hope this idea will become reality soon!


Welcome new member! Where do you live? Hope you will do a thread to explain what you do at your place!
I would like to know more about using papaya.... also the seed is medicinal! I did nto know about the leave...
Pineapple.... external or internal?
 
Tereza Okava
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@Xisca, the older folks in my family grew up "in the wild" and still use certain traditional remedies (of Brazil, where we live, and Japan, where their parents came from). My mother in law and I share a love of bitter foods, especially bitter melon (nigauri/goya/melão de são caetano), but also bitter teas, leaves, and berries. She always says she has to eat bitter things because "my life used to be bitter" (she is an impressive lady). I find it so interesting how the bitter stuff has so many benefits and there are a lot of old-timey cultural traditions around them.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Tereza Okava wrote:@Xisca, the older folks in my family grew up "in the wild" and still use certain traditional remedies (of Brazil, where we live, and Japan, where their parents came from). My mother in law and I share a love of bitter foods, especially bitter melon (nigauri/goya/melão de são caetano), but also bitter teas, leaves, and berries. She always says she has to eat bitter things because "my life used to be bitter" (she is an impressive lady). I find it so interesting how the bitter stuff has so many benefits and there are a lot of old-timey cultural traditions around them.


Is it the one with the seeds covered by this sweat brilliant red stuff? I like it too! But I have a small size fruit one, and wish to get a bigger size one! Mine are like 4 cms...
Which part of Brazil do you live in?
 
Tereza Okava
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Yes, exactly. The red stuff is sweet, often old people will tell me that was the sweetest thing they ever ate as children, they used to hunt for the ripe, exploded yellow fruit and dig out the seeds (we eat it green). There are many types, some larger, whiter, smoother, etc.
I'm in southern Brazil, Paraná state. Not tropical, right now it is maybe 8C (colder than I like). Good land for brassicas and crops that like a touch of cold (apples, blueberries, grapes).
 
Tommy Wilder
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:

Tommy Wilder wrote:Great idea, a dedicated website for tropical medicine. I live in the tropics (for about 20yrs now) and use a lot of king-of-bitter (andrographis) for most inflammations and as a replacement of antibiotics and cured myself of dengue this year using the leaf of the papaya tree. Also use pineapple for musclepain. Hope this idea will become reality soon!


Welcome new member! Where do you live? Hope you will do a thread to explain what you do at your place!
I would like to know more about using papaya.... also the seed is medicinal! I did nto know about the leave...
Pineapple.... external or internal?



Thanks!. I am living in Thailand. The papaya leaf was crushed using a blender with a little water added. I went to the doctor every day to have my red bloodcells count checked. In 1 day it jumped from 80.000 to 150.000 with 2 cups/day of papaya leaf. Further i drank about 5 sackets/day of those salt/sugar/mineral powder stuff. I read it can be also used against malaria, but have no personal experience on this. It took 2 weeks to get my normal energy levels back (and lost a lot of weight!).

The pineapple is just eaten, but i use the harder centre pieces more as it holds a higher concentration of the wanted (bromelain) medicine.

About the place, i can be short (at the moment) as I just started to build a dwelling on a piece of land which will be dedicated to a permaculture lifestyle. Probably will be moving there after 2 months or so and it will get a dedicated medicine-herb garden.

O, and one more plant can be mentioned here for the future website: in nov2016 I was diagnosed with galstones (2.5cm). Doctor, ofcourse, adviced removal of the galbladder ($$$$$). I said no. Did research the problem: since that time i drink every morning a tea from the "stone-crushing" plant phyllanthus amarus schum&thonn. Which grows here easy as "weed". Now, 1.5 year later I eat butter, cold pressed oils etc. But no deep fried foods. Also regularly drink apple cider (also stone softening).

Asssuming that there are loads of people with experiences just like mine (check for instance earthclinic.com), a dedicated tropical website will be hugely populair. Will definitely add my 2 cents when launched.
 
Tereza Okava
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i only knew of the use of papaya leaf as a natural insecticide in the garden (blended up, like you said) and an old auntie told me that before they had bleach and fancy laundry detergent they used papaya leaves and sun to bleach their white fabric (not sure how that works, I will ask her next time I see her).

I can add another phyllanthum to this list, I had kidney stones, a few episodes (later found out it was from a brand of mineral water I was drinking), the third time the doctor wanted to operate, there were maybe 5 stones in there, I hadn't been thrilled with the medical care I received the first two times (lots of IV fluids, painkillers) and I used a tea here known as "stone-breaker" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllanthus_niruri and added to it diuretic herbs like cornsilk and avocado leaf. drank something like 3 liters of tea over 24 hours and stones were gone when i went back for the follow up. I still make a pot here and there just in case, but haven't had another kidney stone since.
 
Tommy Wilder
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Back to the topic of website for tropical medicine:
I'm planning a server (on a raspberry pi (low power small computer) to illustrate the growing of my farm, which will also lists herbs etc. used as medicine.

This will be on a small bandwidth, so i cannot start this kind of database (medicine). Hope someone will do this soon. The site earthclinic.com is a good example. There are no connected industries and so it flies under the radar of big pharma etc., which will shut youdown in a couple of days if you make claims on any health issues.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Well... no way to do a medicine portal, but an ethnological one yes!
After all, for now, the term "ethno-botanic" means too much psychotropic ...drug, which does not match its real meaning, and shows that the other fields of botanical traditional uses are not enough considered...
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Thanks for some informative replies guys. It looks like some people would be interested in contributing to a sort of 'testimonial' database in herbal tropical remedies. The next question would be, what platform to use for this sort of thing?
 
Tommy Wilder
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Nathanael Szobody wrote:Thanks for some informative replies guys. It looks like some people would be interested in contributing to a sort of 'testimonial' database in herbal tropical remedies. The next question would be, what platform to use for this sort of thing?



By platform you mean software?  If you go the linux way and then for instance use joomla or something like it, it is free of software licenses. I do not have much experience but I use linux on my pc and have looked into some web creating software packages for a future setup on a raspberry pi (low power computer). It does not have to cost much moneywise, it will however eat time....

 
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:How strange they do not work.... Do they work for local people? Or else why do they use them!?



It is just like any other form of folk medicine. People without scientific or medical training tend to engage in a fallacy formally known as Post hoc ergo propter hoc. In English, that means that if B happens after A, they assume A caused B.

I can explain with the example of snakebite. There are lots of folk remedies for snakebite, but no effective ones. Why do these remedies persist? Well, herpetologists have discovered that, on average, 1/3 of the time, a snake bites "dry," that is, it does not inject venom; another 1/3 of the time, it injects a small, nonlethal dose of venom; and 1/3 of the time, it injects a deadly dose of venom. So, on average, 2/3 of snakebite victims would have survived without any treatment at all. Now if all of them took the same folk remedy, untrained people would assume that the remedy works 2/3 of the time -- and that is a high enough "success" rate to make it seem worthwhile.

So, in terms of herbal medicine -- or really any "alternative" medicine -- we must beware of assuming that the treatment caused the cure. Depending on the ailment, the patient might have recovered anyway, without treatment. The body's own immune system will cure the common cold in approximately one week. So a folk remedy that "cures a cold" if taken over the course of a week is probably nothing.

Which is not to say all herbal remedies are hooey. There are effective ones. If this was not so, pharmaceutical companies would not bother investigating them. Antibiotics, in particular are often plant- or fungus-derived, as are some highly specialized medicines for very specific diseases.
 
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