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Strong medicinal herbs that either fight fatigue or boost immunity

Discussion in 'Antivirals, Antibiotics and Immune Modulators' started by Ambrosia_angel, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I don't think that is the case: I don't think any imported oxymatrine sources have been analyzed. So we don't actually know whether there are any contaminants in this oxymatrine imported from China. It's just speculation.

    Sure, some Chinese herbs have in general been found to have higher levels of contaminants, but this study on imported Chinese herbs says that "the vast majority (95%) of the 334 samples in this study contained levels of heavy metals or pesticides that would be of negligible concern."

    So the chances are that imported oxymatrine supplements are perfectly safe.

    I believe Chia sometimes prescribes this imported oxymatrine to his patients instead of Equilibrant, so Chia presumably thinks that the imported oxymatrine is most likely safe.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
  2. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    Best herbal fatigue fighters are probably the adaptogens - eleuthero, ginseng, schizandra, etc., but you have to be careful and take breaks. Mushrooms like maitake, reishi and shiitake are good immune enhancers. :)
  3. Iquitos

    Iquitos Senior Member

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    It's not speculation. He wrote me directly when I asked his office that question and some others, saying that is why he developed Equilibrant, that he had found some of the imports contaminated and didn't want to suggest that patients take that chance. Just what is a "negligible" amount of heavy metals and/or pesticides, considering how potent they can be in a normal person, let alone someone with a compromised immune system, and how hard heavy metals are to get rid of?

    This was a couple of years ago so he may have found a dependable source since then. I know that some sites selling Chinese herbs address the problem so it's not impossible to find a source for most herbs that deals with the problem, instead of minimizing the consumer's concern about it. That is why I feel I can trust the sites mentioned in Steven Bruhner's books, like 1stChineseHerbs.

    I wasn't able to open the link to "this study" in your post. I'd like to read it if you could post a correction or the actual link. 334 samples is not a lot, considering that there are probably that many different herbs and mushrooms imported from China. If the 12 I'm currently taking are in that 5% found to have more than a "negligible" amount, I'd like to know about that possibility.
  4. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    @Iquitos
    The above link to the study seems to be working, but just in case you are having difficulties, here is the link in full:

    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21824641

    The study title is: "Heavy metal and pesticide content in commonly prescribed individual raw Chinese Herbal Medicines."

    I saw a video of Dr Chia talking at a conference in 2010 or 2011 I think, where he mentions that in order to test a given brand of oxymatrine pills (such as the White Tiger brand) for contaminants, you'd have to spend several $hundred to send them away to a testing lab. He said that anyone could this if they wanted, but that he himself had not done so.

    So from this statement, I got the impression that there was no evidence that the oxymatrine pills on the US market were contaminated with heavy metals or pesticides, since nobody had performed any analysis; but of course there is a small possibility that they might be.

    If you look at this video (at timecode 39:32), Dr Chia says that:
    So you can see that Dr Chia is routinely using regular oxymatrine for his patients, as well as the Equilibrant formulation of oxymatrine. The Equilibrant oxymatrine formulation is a little stronger because it also contains other immunomodulator herbs like Astragalus. Equilibrant can be too strong for some ME/CFS patients, so Dr Chia then switches to pure oxymatrine.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
  5. Iquitos

    Iquitos Senior Member

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    Thanks Hip. I did take a look and it wasn't very satisfying, except that they ended up with what researchers often say: We need more research into this question. I certainly agree with that.

    What they didn't include in their conclusion but was in the body of the article:

    "According to the more conservative method, the percent of samples with the potential for contributing to elevated background levels of each metal were: 34% for arsenic; 52% for cadmium; 53% for chromium; 12% for lead, and 1% for mercury."

    and

    "Eighty-one samples (27.5%) had levels of pesticides that could contribute to an elevated background exposure in the more conservative assessment."

    The study wasn't very rigorous in that they made a lot of assumptions, which they acknowledged, but which if in error, would completely invalidate their conclusions. Unfortunately, they don't say which herbs they examined.

    Re: Dr. Chia's statement in the video, I had the impression he was telling why the average patient can't be expected to do this kind of research herself before taking an herb. And the fact he, himself, hasn't done it does not lead to a conclusion that no one has, in my personal logic. Another thread here on PR mentions that he started producing Equilibrant because of "concerns" about oxymatrine being contaminated and that he had found a dependable source out of Hong Kong. I get the impression that he isn't searching for a negative (contamination) but rather a (positive), a source that tests their product and certifies it to be clean.

    The statement from his office also said persons with autoimmune disease should not take oxymatrine. I tend to think my me/cfs is neuroimmune, not autoimmune, but who knows at this point.

    I have used google scholar and the Chinese database on TCM (http://search.cnki.com.cn) and have not found any studies looking for contamination. But, when I searched for that, most of the article were in Chinese so I don't know what they said.

    Interestingly, oxymatrine is called a "biopesticide" in some of the articles and found to be toxic for honeybees.

    And, on the subject of contamination, herbal remedies from anywhere can be contaminated. Steven Bruhner cautions about collecting certain herbs near highways or industrial sites. And the article you cited mentions that wildcrafted herbs had higher levels of contamination than commerically grown ones. They speculated that that is because those herbs' past crops had already taken up the contaminants, in effect cleaning the soil, and the present and subsequent crops were cleaner.
  6. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    Anyone had any luck with echinacea?
  7. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    @Iquitos
    The phrase "elevated background exposure" used in that study just means a slightly higher exposure than the normal exposure everyone gets to these chemicals. In other words, if your normal background exposure to pesticides in a given year were say 100 on some arbitrary scale, then by taking any of the slightly contaminated pills from China, your exposure might go up to 110 say. Which is no big deal in any meaningful scientific sense.

    By contrast, if you were someone who regularly sprays pesticides in their own garden, your exposure would probably go up to something like 10,000. Garden exposure to pesticides is orders of magnitude higher than exposure through consuming foodstuffs.

    I think this constant talk of contaminants in Chinese oxymatrine tablets is a little self-fueling. Nobody knows the facts, and nobody can provide any references to a lab analysis of the tablets, yet this idea of possible contamination is continually propagated.

    If say 10 people on this forum each contributed a small amount of money, around $15 each, this would pay for a proper analytic test of the Chinese oxymatrine tablets.

    You can get a full heavy metal and pesticide analysis for $143 at Southern Cross University's Environmental Analysis Laboratory:

    If you download the lab price list, and look at the item code SS-PACK-005 "Contaminated Site Assessment 1a" on page 17, you see it tests for: copper, lead, cadmium, zinc, arsenic, selenium, iron, manganese, silver, chromium, nickel, aluminium, mercury; pesticides (organo-chlorines, organo-phosphates).

    Such a test would settle the matter, and then we would not need to speculate.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  8. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    By the way, there seem to be two brands of pure oxymatrine pills on the market, the White Tiger brand (see here: 1, 2, 3, 4) and the Alternative Medicine Solutions brand (see here: 1, 2).

    It might be an idea to write to these two manufactures, and find out if they have performed any contamination analysis on their own oxymatrine products. It may well be that such analysis is required by law (does anyone know about this?) before they can sell these products in the US or Europe. So the manufactures may be able to give us their own contamination analysis report.
  9. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    It reduces the sound level of my tinnitus.
    Hanna and heapsreal like this.
  10. Ambrosia_angel

    Ambrosia_angel Senior Member

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    I've read it Is only good for acute term illness. For long term I haven't seen any proven effects of it but I agent done much research.
    heapsreal likes this.

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