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This is an archive of past Ask The Herb Specialist Questions.

I have begun taking Flaxseed. Is it possible to be having stomach upset or other GI Symptoms as a result of taking Flaxseed?

Flaxseed (especially when taken in seed form) can cause flatulency but symptoms will pass shortly with continued use.

Nicole Bandes, 12/30/2002


Could you answer a few questions for me about 5W? What if I run out a few days before I am due, is it important that I buy a new bottle? Could I continue taking them after birth with any benefits? I started a little earlier than 5 weeks, now I am concerned that my body is well prepared but baby just doesn't want to come yet. Should/could I half my dose? I am having real bad pelvic pain (way before I started taking 5W) but could 5W be contributing to this pain as it relaxes that area?

Thank you for your time. I am anixous to know.


Hi Jodi,

It would be important to continue taking 5W through your actual delivery. If you run out a few days before your date and you end up delivering late, then you will have been off for too many days to keep the uterine muscles toned for delivery.

It won’t hurt to continue taking 5W but there is no real benefit to it. There is benefit, however, to using the Pro-G-Yam 500 cream to help prevent postpartum depression.

5W does not relax the pelvic area; it strengthens the uterine muscles for delivery. There would be no concern that the 5W is causing the pain you are experiencing, continue with your usual dose.

Best of luck to you and your new family.

Nicole Bandes, 11/30/2002

My husband was diagnosed with hepatitis c. He tried to use the pegintron but the side affects were to bad. He has now decided to fight this disease the natural way. We have read many things you can take including Milk Thistle, thymus Protein a, thymus glandular, alpha lipoic acid and schizandra. I was wondering if you would have any suggestions on the best combination they he might take. Also if you could tell me the difference between thymus glandular and echinacea since they are both supposed to be for immune system. I am having a hard time finding anyone that has even heard of some of these.

Sedalia, mo.

Hi Mary,

The information you have read seems to hit the major points. Given that hepatitis is a disease of the liver, the milk thistle is used to cleanse and support the liver. This herb is used extensively in Europe by medical doctors and has even been shown to reverse cirrhosis of the liver. The thymus products are recommended to improve the immune system. Alpha Lipoic Acid is recommended because of the free radical damage being done by the infection as this is an antioxidant and for it’s ability to support the liver.

The difference between Thymus Glandular and Echinacea is that Thymus Glandular comes from actual Thymus glands and Echinacea is an herb. They are both considered immune stimulators. Echinacea stimulates the body to build immunity by mimicking bacteria and viruses, thereby encouraging the body to fight against the Echinacea and build it’s resistant to real bacteria and viruses. The thought on taking glandular substances is that it will contain the specific nutrients necessary to feed the gland in your body thereby encouraging it to become stronger and work harder for itself.

The first place you will want to start is by eliminating (or at least reducing) sugar, refined carbohydrates, red meat and dairy. The liver needs to do a lot more processing to remove the chemicals included in these foods, an extra strain it doesn’t need.

Thymus Glandular is a quarterly special with NSP and isn’t always available. Therefore, I would consider using THIM-J instead. This product is a combination of herbs that are designed to support the immune system. Consider Green Zone as a balanced food source (start by taking a very small amount and work up to the recommended dosage). Milk Thistle T/R to support the liver. Alpha Lipoic Acid to support the liver and prevent free radical damage. I would consider this as a minimum place to start.

In addition, Clean Start may be used as a colon cleanse to lessen the load on the liver, drinking water with Liquid Chlorophyll added may cleanse and support the liver, and as an activating source, Rose and Lemon essential oils can be mixed with massage oil and rubbed into the location of the liver twice a day.

Nicole Bandes, 10/21/02


I have gout more and more often
I am looking for a natural solution rather than taking colurcine all the time to be able to function on a daily basis. I would greatly appreaciate any information you can give me.
Thanks Larry
Congratulations on wanting to do things the natural way. There are a few things to consider with Gout. First of all, there is the need to aid in the excretion of uric acid. Kidney Activator, ATC would be an exellent place to start. Cellu-Tone is an essential oil blend that can be used topically to support the excretion of uric acid as well.

To neutralize the acidity, consider working on pH balancing. Noni juice or liquid Chlorophyll can aid in maintaining proper pH in the body.

If your diet is made up primarily of protein, consider aiding your digestion with PDA (protein digestive aid). If you have a fairly well balanced diet, Food Enzymes would be a better choice.

Feverfew can be taken during an attack.

It is important to consider avoiding red meat, mushrooms, wine and beans. Also eliminate salt, alcohol and aspirin as they impede elimination of uric acid. Also 8 to 10 red cherries eaten daily can be very helpful.

Much of our health is dependent on our diets. If we watch what we eat and provide for ourselves, that which we cannot get from the foods that we eat, our health improves significantly.

Nicole Bandes, 10/5/2002


When is it appropriate to start this? I have hormonal imbalance and am currently using vitex but my cycles overdue. Can I start using maca now or wait until menses if I ever have one? Thanks! Viviane M.


It is safe to start maca at any time. Many women take maca during and after menopause has begun. Again, always make sure that your doctor is aware of any herbal supplements you wish to take.

Nicole Bandes, 9/12/2002

This is a continuation from last week's post.

Last week we discussed the news that HRT is greatly reducing the risks of certain diseases. I want to make one thing very clear before I continue; the study that was being done was ONLY on synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone. This does not include products that promote estrogen naturally or soy forms of HRT.

So, you have hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings and all the other signs that menopause has blessed your life. Yes, this is a blessing. It means that you have gone through the fruits of motherhood and have reached the age of "retirement" so to speak. It means you no longer have to be concerned about when that period is going to strike or if it will happen during that big vacation or event. It truly is a blessing.

So how do you deal with it? The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs, Readers Digest, recommends first trying black cohosh to "stabilize hormone levels, reduce hot flashes and lessen depression and vaginal dryness" as used widely in Europe. This book also recommends using dong quai along with the black coshosh if relief is not achieved. Also consider soy isoflavones such as those found in Phyo-Soy as a natural source of estrogen. It can be used in conjunction with a natural form of progesterone such as that found in Pro-G-Yam Cream. You will also want to consider avoiding alcohol, chocolate, coffee and spicy foods to minimize hot flashes. Regular excercise will reduce the number of hot flashes, help prevent heart disease and certain forms will protect bones from osteoporosis.

Although menopause is a normal stage of life, the "symptoms" of menopause do not need to be suffered to such and extreme. When we take care of our bodies and our environments, we can experience menopause for the true beauty it brings.


I saw on TV that Prempro is cancer causing and I should not be taking it for HRT. Is this true and what alternatives do I have? I've been on HRT for a couple of years now and really am scared. HS, Palm Springs, CA

The media has been discussing a long term study on the effects of estrogen-progesterone combination therapy programs that where canceled because of the discovery that this form of HRT greatly increases the risk of certain types of diseases such as stroke, heart attack and breast cancer. Doctors now believe that the longterm use of this form of HRT should be stopped.
So what do you do now? Well, that depends on the reason you were taking HRT. Many women take it for osteoporosis. In this case, you must look carefully at your diet. Diet plays a larger role in the loss of bone than most people think. It isn't just making sure you have enough milk, you must also remove the acid forming foods such as carbonated soda, large amounts of red meat, refined sugar and coffee. When these foods are takin in large quantities they cause the body to be acidic. The body fights this acidity by leaching calcium from the bones. Calcium supplementation will only go so far in counteracting what your body is losing. Remember, there are two important parts to taking calcium supplementation that are often overlooked. Calcium should be taken with equal parts magnesium (a 1:1 ratio) such as NSP's Skeletal Strength and with a digestive aid such as PDA to increase absorbtion in your system.


What are the side effects of taking Yohimbe? EL

According to Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Third Ed., by Phyllis Balch and James Balch, (Yohimbe) may induce anxiety, panic attacks, and hallucinations in some individuals. May also cause elevated blood pressure and heart rate, headache, dizziness, and skin flushing. Should not be used by women or by anyone with high blood pressure; heart, kidney or liver disease; or a psychological disorder. Should not be combined with foods rich in tyramine, such as cheese, red wine, and liver, as this may increase blood pressure to dangerous levels.


Is there a vitamin that I could take to increase my appetite? If so what is it, and how does it work?

Two good products to consider are Digestive Bitters Tonic and Saw Palmetto. Digestive Bitters Tonic works by stimulating the salivary and gastric juices thereby increasing appetite and digestion. Due to the presence of steroidal saponins, Saw Palmetto is considered an anabolic agent, strengthening and building up body tissues and encouraging weight gain. Thus, Saw Palmetto has gained popularity with body builders and others desiring muscle size and strength, as well as those suffering from general debility, wasting diseases, or failure to thrive.*


I am 81 y/o. female. Lately my gums have started to bleed. I am currently not taking any medication but I am taking calcium, magnesium and a progesterone cream. What can I do? The dentist feels I may need to have surgery. MB, Phoenix, AZ


Some individuals believe that bleeding gums may be related to Osteoporosis so it is good that you are taking the calcium. In addition, some individuals have had success using Tea Tree Oil applied directly to the gums to kill bacteria. Grapine and Citrus Bioflavinoids have also shown to be helpful with bleeding gums.
I was just wondering how you feel about the Focus Attention for kids. Does it work, any side effects? and how does it work exactly? Trying to find something that will help my 7 year old daughter without dragging her down in the process. MS, Toledo, OH Focus Attention is a very good product for children and adults. Is supports normal brain-stimulation levels, helps maintain brain activity and energy levels and promotes blood circulation and neurotransmitters in the brain. It is very important to take Flax Seed oil with it though. The brain is made up of 60% fat and without enough essential fatty acids to support the brain, it will not function properly.

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