Critique: Mowrey's the Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine.

Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: Strange Brew
From: (Paul David Menair)
Date: 13 Dec 1994 19:18:13 GMT

: I got the formula out of MIND, FOOD, AND SMART PILLS by Ross Pelton. *He* in turn obtained this formula ( and another very complex one) from THE SCIENTIFIC VALIDATION OF HERBAL MEDICINE BY DR. DAN MOWREY.

I'm familiar with Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine. It's an interesting book, worth looking into. I can't vouch for any of the studies that he cites, I haven't really looked into it. As you may know already, however, his idea of "scientific validation" is pretty problematic for many herbalists. It mainly involves tests of single herbs done on populations selected for a common symptom, say a cough. This is a problem not only because most traditional herbalists use formulas, but also because the herb chosen might not be appropriate for some or all of the individual patients. In the case of a cough, for example, Traditional Chinese herbalism recognizes a number of differant possible underlying syndromes, for which different herbs would be indicated.

His formulas tend, from what I've seen of them, to be "shotgun" affairs, essentially lists of herbs which some study has demonstrated might be helpful. There seems to be little interest in the ways in which herbs balance, which is the hallmark of a good formula - for example, an herb which causes fluid retention might be balanced by a small amount of a diuretic.

: I might try some of the other formulas you listed as well. There is a just a *ton* of things out there among drugs, vitamins, and herbs that people claim to help with concentration.

Many of them, of course, are basically just stimulants, which will harm your concentration in the long run, but probably work quite well in the short run.

: I think I could probally spend at least a year going the nondrug way. So far the things that have worked best for me are gotu cola capsules *when* Im very mentally fatigued, b-complex and vitamin c for pushing back mental fatigue.

Just a personal note, but I've never noticed any real effect from Gotu Kola the few times that I've played around with it. For me, when I use herbs, I find mild sedatives most effective. I take stresstabs sometimes too, but I can take or leave them, I really don't think that they make much difference...

: Anyway, thanks for the very interesting and educational reply to my post.

Thanks. I hope that I haven't come off sounding like a know it all...most of what I know about herbs I know from books, and from experimenting on myself. I'm sure that there are practitioners out there with some experience of working with concentration...and as someone mentioned in another thread recently, if your concentration is really bad there may be a number of serious underlying reasons, and it really is worth seeing someone who can look into them. But you sound like you're like me, just stressed out...