The Bloodletting and Mercury Mentality
Doctors used bloodletting and poisonous mercury for over three hundred years until they realized too many of their patients were dying with their heroic treatments in the mid 1800’s. Today doctors use antibiotics instead, and prescribe over the counter acetaminophen painkillers and NSAID’S (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and aspirin. Taking any of those drugs can be problematic. NSAID’S prevents the release of prostaglandins, part of the body’s immune system. Prostaglandins cause pain, so that we know what’s happening to our body. The side effect of using NSAID’s to prevent pain as well as thinning the blood could provoke gastric bleeding, causing several thousand deaths each year in the United States.
Some herbs are similar to NSAID’s, because they contain the same chemical found in aspirin called salicylic acid. In fact, the chemical was extracted from the herb Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), formerly called Spiraea, giving us the name, Aspirin. Other herbs such as Willow (Salix spp), Wintergreen (Gaultheria spp.), Sweet Birch (Betula lenta), and Cottonwood (Populus spp.) also contain salicylic acid and can be used for pain, inflammation and cooling down a fever. NSAID’s also thin the blood, which these herbs do not do. Perhaps this is the reason some doctors prescribe taking “baby aspirin” for heart problems. However, there is an awesome herb that is anti-inflammatory, and cardioprotective (thins the blood) called garlic. Taking a chopped clove or two of fresh garlic daily helps the heart without any side effects except garlic breath.
According to an article reported in the American Botanical Council, painkillers like Tylenol (acetaminophen) can cause liver failure, especially when a person has several alcoholic drinks. The liver’s job is to filter the blood and everything that we ingest in our mouths and skin. The liver can become overwhelmed when it must metabolize both the alcohol (or other toxic elements) and Tylenol.
I also reach for help to ease my pain. Sometimes I take homeopathic remedies as well as herbs with salicylic acid. When I fall and encounter a bruise or two, I reach for the homeopathic remedy called Arnica, which comes from a plant. Arnica is considered toxic when used internally but using it homeopathically (five small tiny pills under your tongue) helps ease the inflammation that causes the pain. A couple of years ago I fell on my shoulder when a friend’s dog knocked me down like a bowling pin, causing a broken shoulder. Twenty tiny Arnica pills dropped into a large glass of water kept the pain at bay as I sipped through out the day. Willow bark is my dog, Lucy’s favorite for pain. After an operation for a torn ligament, I gave Lucy some Willow tincture. She perked up each time I poured the tincture into a teaspoon and lapped it clean.