Homeopathic, Alternative Medicine, and Herbal are NOT the Same Thing.

by Redstone Promotional Communications / Circkles.com

Somewhere along the line in the last 20 years, homeopathic became synonymous with herbal remedies and alternative medicine. In fact, every time we turn around we see even so-called experts misusing these terms. They are most definitely not the same thing, but many people use these words and meanings interchangeably, as well as deliberately vague product labels, and it's very clear that there are a great many consumers confused on the differences of these products.

Let's first clear up the difference between an herbal product and a homeopathic one:

An herbal product is made with the entire medicinal parts of an herb plant: the whole leaves, roots, seeds, flowers or the entire plant. The plant can be dried and ground into powder for capsules, added to a grain alcohol to make a tincture, or simply used to make an herbal tea. In your best, most ethical, herbal products, you should see only straight herb listed as the ingredient and nothing else. 100% dried herb is difficult to come by these days but one brand that still makes excellent quality herb products is Eclectic Institute. You can buy them through iherb.com or directly from Eclectic, which will cost a bit more.
An herbal extract is also not the same thing as a tincture. As we already stated, a tincture is made with alcohol, but an extract is the juice of the plant in a highly concentrated form without any alcohol added whereby a plant is steeped or boiled in water until it makes a very strong extract, or by laboratory means, the essential juices of the plant are extracted with distillation equipment.

Essential oils are the oils of the herb and should be nothing more than that. In other words, they should not be diluted with anything. However, some oil manufacturers make a more pure essential oil than others, so brand counts here as with all herbal products. A herb's oils are extracted from the plant through a distillation process. Essential oils can then be used in aromatherapy, topically in ointments and lotions or used as an ingredient themselves in body care products. Be very careful when using pure essential oils as they are the most potent part of the herb plant and depending on the herb can cause skin irritation, burns or illness if not diluted in something else before applying them to the skin. Essentials oils should be treated as medicines, as all herbs, you need to know what your are doing. We will cover the correct way to use herbs in our next issue of Health Circkles.

Homeopathic products are NOT made with the whole herb. In a lab, one particular element or substance of the plant is extracted and then extremely diluted with water. Neuroscientist Dan Levitin describes the process best: "The technician takes one part of a substance and dilutes it in ten parts of water. He continues this at least 20 more times, at which point there is one part of the substance in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 parts of water." 

One big difference in the labeling of herbal products vs homeopathic (but not always as some homeopathic manufacturers have gotten creative with their labeling) is that homeopathic products will usually list the Latin names of the herbs in their ingredients whereby herbal products will list the common name of the herb. For instance, Hyland's ( a very popular children's homeopathic products manufacturer) lists the main ingredient of their leg cramps remedy as containing "the homeopathic medicine Cinchona Officinalis HPUS" which is the Latin name for common quinine. Most people cannot read Latin these days so they easily get fooled into thinking the ingredients in homeopathic supplements are some sort of "medicine" they cannot pronounce therefore it must be medicinal. No, it is just Latin. Some Latin names for herbs can be figured out with logic, such as Echinacea Angustifolia you would know to be some sort of echinacea, however, some Latin names for herbs or plants do not resemble the common name at all; such as Hypericum perforatum which is the Latin species name for St. John's Wort. We at Circkles have always disagreed with the labeling of homeopathics since their labels alone would seem to be misleading, or at the very least, not in a form most consumers can understand.

The principles behind herbal remedies and homeopathic ones are the exact opposite.

Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine (but not all alternative medicine is homeopathic) created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann based on his doctrine of like cures like, whereby a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people will cure similar symptoms in sick people. Similar to the philosophy used in vaccines that a tiny or miniscule amount of the offending virus will cause the body to develop its own immunity to it. Homeopathic remedies are based on the principle that a miniscule amount of an herb's isolated substance will enhance the body's natural ability to cure itself. Many skeptics of homeopathy claim that this style of treatment is nothing more than using the placebo effect, and they are right, homeopathics are just like a placebo, and those who claim they work have little to no scientific backing other than mind over matter to support their claims. Whereas herbs have chemical and organic compounds proven to work in modern medicines and through many personal experiences with people using them for centuries.

Herbal remedies, since they incorporate the entire plant and not just one isolated substance of it, are truly "herbal". The whole beneficial part of the herb plant is used, unfortunately many herbal manufacturers dilute their herbs with fillers so they can rip off consumers with a cheaper, less potent product and this unethical practice has given herbal remedies a bad rap. But if an herbal product doesn't work it is usually because it is cheap, diluted or not being used correctly.

Almost all of our modern medicines are derived from plants, but once again, chemists isolate one substance in the plant, but instead of diluting it like homeopathy does, they concentrate it to make it much more potent. Many people argue that isolating just one substance of an herb or plant and then concentrating it is the reason there are so many side effects caused by drugs - because the plant is created by nature to have all of it's components used together and thus they balance each other, and when pharmaceutical chemists start isolating elements and concentrating them, that's when the dangerous side effects arise.

In our many years of experience in working with herbals and homeopathic remedies, here's our conclusion: Homeopathics do not work and are a huge waste of money because consumers are being brainwashed into believing their effectiveness by the manufacturers. Not to mention, you are paying mostly for water. As a certified herbologist who had to study botany let me say this: plants have been used since the beginning of time to cure many things our native ancestors passed down from generation to generation. There is solid evidence that herbs work just as well if not better than most modern medicines. After all, modern medicine is made from plant components as we mentioned above. Homeopathy is just one segment of the alternative medicine movement that should not be taken too seriously. It is one man's invention that has received much more acclaim than it ever should have and the homeopathic manufacturers keep the fallacy going.

Alternative and Complimentary Medicine:

Alternative medicine is any procedure, technique, medicine or practice of it that is different from conventional medicinal products and practices. Alternative medicine includes herbal remedies, homeopathic remedies, nutrition, exercise, acupuncture, massage therapy, foods, aromatherapy, and anything else that is considered a natural aid to health.
Complimentary medicine has been gaining popularity with some doctors and patients whereby conventional doctors will use alternative medicine when applicable in conjunction with conventional medicine. The thought behind this is that many doctors are now recognizing and admitting that there are alternative means to achieve health and wellness without using drugs or surgery and that many of their patients prefer the alternatives, or will at least try them first and only use drugs or surgery as a last resort.

So now that you've been educated on the differences, don't be fooled into wasting your money on homeopathic products, but also keep in mind that even some manufacturers and writers are misusing the term homeopathic when what they really mean is herbal or natural. We hope we cleared up a little of the confusion for the natural remedies consumer with this article as there is so much misinformation and inaccurate labeling regarding this area of consumerism. It's like the organic vs natural inaccuracies of a few years ago. Thankfully most people are starting to learn the difference between these two terms and mislabeling of products. It pays to educate yourself on any products you use as you know you cannot trust the sellers of the products to be honest with you about them. Like we always say, "Knowledge is Power." You will notice we have never, and will never, recommend homeopathic products on this website. Herbs, yes. Follow our column to the left on Herbs and our Herb Club to educate yourself more on them and how to use them. We know from personal experience that herbs work when used correctly, like everything on our site, we must have knowledge from reputable experts or our own experiences to feel confident in recommending it to our readers. And if you are never quite sure about an herb or how to use it, ask our Nutritional Herbologist who has over 15 years of experience in this area.



NUTRITION: FDA is Increasing the Allowable Limit of Harmful Aspartame in Diet Drinks.

by Redstone Promotional Communications / Circkles.com.

If you don't already know by now - due to the controversy of this artificial sweetener and it's proven side effects a few years ago - than you must be living in a bubble. This is one substance the FDA is in bed with the manufacturers on (Monsanto, believe it or not, developed aspartame. No wonder it's been proven to cause brain tumors, cancer and numerous health problems.) Aspartame is used in almost everything that is labeled "diet", such as diet soft drinks, diet foods and sugar-free sweeteners. The FDA figures most people have forgotten about the uproar that occurred in the 1980s when studies showed (after Aspartame had already been on the market for two years) that it caused brain tumors in rats. The following was also discovered a few years later and was published in many reports and scientific journals such as the one below:

Many pilots appear to be particularly susceptible to the effects of aspartame ingestion. They have reported numerous serious toxicity effects including grand mal seizures in the cockpit (Stoddard 1995). Nearly 1,000 cases of pilot reactions have been reported to the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network Pilot Hotline (Stoddard 1995). This susceptibility may be related to ingesting methanol at altitude as suggested in a letter from Dr. Phil Moskal, Professor of Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Pathology, Chairman of the Department of Pathology, Director of Public Health Laboratories (Moskal 1990), or it may simply be that some pilots tend to ingest large quantities of aspartame during a flight. Whatever the case, numerous warnings about aspartame dangers have appeared in piloting journals including The Aviation Consumer (1988), Aviation Medical Bulliten (1988), Pacific Flyer (1988), CAA General Aviation (1989), Aviation Safety Digest (1989), General Aviation News (1989), Plane & Pilot (1990), Canadian General Aviation News (1990), National Business Aircraft Association Digest (NBAA Digest 1993), International Council of Air Shows (ICAS 1995), and the Pacific Flyer (1995). Both the U.S. Air Force's magazine "Flying Safety" and the U.S. Navy's magazine, "Navy Physiology" published articles warning about the many dangers of aspartame including the cumulative deleterious effects of methanol and the greater likelihood of birth defects. The articles note that the ingestion of aspartame may make pilots more susceptible to seizures and vertigo (US Air Force 1992).

Countless other toxicity effects have been reported to the FDA (DHHS 1995), other independent organizations (Mission Possible 1996, Stoddard 1995), and independent scientists (e.g., 80 cases of seizures were reported to Dr. Richard Wurtman, Food (1986)). Samples of some aspartame toxicity reactions reported on the Internet can be found on the Aspartame (NutraSweet) Toxicity Info Center web page: http://www.tiac.net/users/mgold/aspartame/

It was pointed out by James Turner, Esq. in a letter to the then FDA Commissioner Frank Young that no program to monitor aspartame toxicity reactions was created until February 1984, two years after aspartame approval began (Turner 1984).

Until recently approximately 90% of aspartame sales were in the United States (Monsanto 1994).

Frequently, aspartame toxicity is misdiagnosed as a specific disease. This has yet to be reported in the scientific literature, yet it has been reported countless times to independent organizations and scientists (Mission Possible 1994, Stoddard 1995). In other cases, it has been reported that chronic aspartame ingestion has triggered or worsened certain chronic illnesses. Nearly 100% of the time, the patient and physician assume that these worsening conditions are simply a normal progression of the illness. Sometimes that may be the case, but many times it is chronic aspartame poisoning.

According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following list contains a selection of chronic illnesses which may be caused or worsened by the chronic, long-term ingestion of aspartame. (Mission Possible 1994, Stoddard

*Note: In some cases such as MS, the severe symptoms mimic the illness or exacerbate the illness, but do not cause the disease. Also, please note that this is an incomplete list. Clearly, ingestion of a very slow poison (as discussed in other FAQs) is not beneficial to anyone who has a chronic illness.

Last November 2014, the FDA announced it was increasing the allowable limit in food products of this known cancer-causing ingredient. We would suggest that the only way to protect yourself since the FDA won't do it for us is to stop consuming all diet and sugar-free products containing aspartame. You will have to become one of the many who are now chronic "label-readers." However, clever labeling tactics are being used now and the ingredients may not come right out and call it aspartame but "artificial sweeteners." Best rule of thumb, stay away from anything "artificial."

Some natural alternatives to aspartame and refined white sugars are honey, agave, and for diabetics and those trying to lose weight, we highly recommend stevia, which has been proven to have no side effects and does not raise blood sugar levels or cause weight gain.

Resources: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213231714000640

Website designed by Redstone Promotional Communications. © 2015 Circkles.com. All rights reserved to images and articles.


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About Health Circkles:

We are so far removed from what it is that we need to be healthy, that we are not healthy in the least as a general society To make matters worse, we are so used to functioning at an inferior health level, we are not even aware how much better we could feel, how much healthier we could be, how much more energy we should have, how much younger we could look, until we take the steps in the right direction and give them a chance so we have a comparison. The only way to experience this is to try something different; because what we've been doing obviously isn't working. But we don't, for all the wrong reasons: money, willpower, time, lack of knowledge as to exactly what we need to get there.
Getting back to basics, back to nutrition over convenience and making our own choices rather than advertising and corporations making our decisions for us, and back to logic are the only things that will restore our health, energy and vitality. There is no reason a healthy lifestyle has to be one of denying ourselves or inconvenience.
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HOME REMEDIES: Canker Sores.

Nobody is exactly sure what causes them, but some educated guesses are acidic foods or having an acidic system, food allergies or stress.

Researchers at Saudi Arabia’s Salman bin AbdulAziz University gathered a group of 94 people suffering from canker sores and randomly separated them into three groups. The first treated their sores with plain old commercial honey, the second used an oral corticosteroid cream, and the third got an over-the-counter product that forms a protective paste to cover sores while they heal. Participants applied their respective treatments three times daily while researchers observed the effects.

In just 4 days, all sores in the honey group had disappeared completely—but the number of sores in groups 2 and 3 hadn’t budged. Honey even helped to soothe pain. After day 1, honey users reported a 95.5% decrease in pain, with total pain elimination by day 2. Groups 2 and 3 were not so lucky: It took them 8 days to reach the same pain-free state.



How to use herbs for maximum benefit. Short and sweet descriptions and uses written by our on-staff Nutritional Herbalist. Always remember that herbs should be treated as a medicine. Almost all of our modern-day medicines are derived from chemical compounds found in herbs and plants. If you have not used a particular herb before, try a half dose at first to make sure you do not have an unfavorable reaction to it.

Kava Kava Piper methysticum

Medicinal Properties: Kava originated in the Pacific Islands and has been used there for centuries in many tribal ceremonies. It was discovered by Americans and became popular at first as a mood-inhancing drink. Known as a mild sedative and muscle relaxer (specifically the muscles of the back of the neck and shoulders) it became more useful as an herbal anecdote.

How to Use: Make a tea by boiling 1 Tbsp of the dried, ground root for 20-30 minutes in 2 C water. Then take 1 Tbsp of this decoction as needed in 1 C water but not to exceed 2-3 cups a day for 1 week.

Parts Used: Root

Warnings: Steady, prolonged use of Kava can cause the skin to develop a yellow rash called "Kawaism" by South Pacific Natives. It will go away after discontinuing use.

Growing: Only grows in tropical regions.

Some Herb Basics: Most herbs work better on an empty stomach. A few exceptions are garlic, goldenseal and cayenne due to stomach upset. Herbs work in a cumulative fashion meaning they are not a "one dose wonder." They need to build up in the system a little, usually within 2-3 doses, before any real affect can be noticed. Fresh herbs always work better than old herbs and science is always proving the fact that a whole herb usually is more effective than one isolated compound of that herb.


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April 2015

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"The Doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."
~Thomas Edison
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