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Herbal Medicine for Men: New Perspectives
1. How to Make Your Own Herbal Remedies
2. Tonics & Formulas for Male Vitality
Turmeric-Ginger Dark Chocolate Candy
Maximum Maca Balls
Nourishing Roots Super Powder
Super Maca Milk Shake
Long Life Elixir
Damiana Love Liqueur
Good Life Wine
Hawthorn Heart Tonic Honey
Kava Love Chai
Old-Fashioned "Root Beer" Tea
Ginseng, a Remarkable Tonic Tea
Bath Blend for Sore Muscles
3. Remedies for Common Men's Health Issues
Hormone-Balancing Energy Powder
Chocolate Herbal Delight
Antifungal Foot Bath
Formula for Depression
Formula for Cystitis
Alkalizing Herb Blend
Nervine Headache Formula #1
Nervine Headache Formula #2
Feverfew-Lavender Migraine Formula
Antiviral Formula for Herpes
Prostate Health Formula #1
Prostate Health Formula #2
Hormone Support Tincture
Nourishing Herb Blend for Young Men
Formula for Stress and Hyperactivity
Healthy Skin Formula
Calendula–Witch Hazel Skin Toner
4. Herbs to Enhance Virility & Potency
Pan's Boner Toner
Mighty Maca Love Balls
Elixir of Love
Hot Sauce Body Butter
5. A Man's Herbal Medicine Chest
Also By Rosemary Gladstar
Share Your Experience!
To Robert Chartier, husband extraordinaire
This book wouldn't have been possible without his love and support. He not only offered his insights and opinions freely but also volunteered his help through an intense period of writing. Robert's also my go-to "guinea pig" — he has tried many of these herbal remedies and recipes and seems to be the healthier for it.
Thank you, Robert, for being in my life.
To those men in the herbal community who are offering classes on men's health, writing books, and spreading the word, I applaud your pioneering efforts: Guido Masé, Matthias Reisen, Michael Phillips, Ryan Drum, James Green, Stephen Buhner, David Winston, Matthew Wood, and Christopher Hobbs.
Endless gratitude and thanks to Nancy Ringer, my amazing and ever-patient editor, and to publisher Deborah Balmuth, without whose patience and vision few of my books would ever have seen the light of day.
This publication is intended to provide educational information for the reader on the covered subject. It is not intended to take the place of personalized medical counseling, diagnosis, and treatment from a trained health professional.
Herbal Medicine for Men: New Perspectives
In the years since I wrote my small book Herbal Remedies for Men's Health, herbal use has skyrocketed, and the herb and natural supplements industry has burgeoned into a $9 billion business. But little has changed in regard to men's health.
Women's health and healing have become hot topics. In my own personal library, the section labeled "Women's Health" has gotten rather crowded; books here are stacked so high that they have begun to topple over each other. Some of them are excellent resources, written by caring practitioners, both men and women, and they offer the reader a rich tapestry of guidance, remedies, and recipes for supporting women's well-being.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for men's health. In comparison, there are few published articles, fewer books, and not a lot of information circulating, especially on preventive care. My shelf for books about men's health remains dismally bare, except for a few brave classics. The Male Herbal: Health Care for Men and Boys by James Green, published in 1991, was groundbreaking not only because it was the first book of its kind on the subject, but also because it presented Green's revolutionary and rather unique views on male health. Green has since written an excellent second edition. Stephen Buhner, a well-known author, philosopher, and herbalist, has also contributed a couple of excellent references on men's health, The Natural Testosterone Plan and The Vital Man; the latter explores the "crisis" of becoming middle-aged and the inherent problems and solutions for that stage of men's lives. There are other books, of course, available on men's health, but many of them focus on either the penis or the prostate — as though men didn't have other body parts or suffer from other ailments that need attention and care.
So why isn't more information available? Different approaches? Different views to draw upon? Aren't men interested? Don't they get sick? They may tell you they don't, but when you look at the statistics on male health in the United States, they present an entirely different picture. In its first year on the market, more than one million prescriptions for Viagra were written solely for impotence, letting men's best-kept secret out of the closet. Seven percent of men are infertile. Heart disease is the number one killer of men in America, and hypertension is rampant. More than 70 percent of men over the age of 60 have prostate problems requiring medication of some kind, and men continue to die on average 8 years before women.
Men make up slightly less than half of the total population, yet compared to women, they account for significantly fewer visits to doctors' offices. One study by CNN and Men's Health magazine found that while 83 percent of women would go to a doctor for chest pain and 77 percent for shortness of breath, one-third of all men would not go to a doctor even upon experiencing life-threatening symptoms such as severe chest pain or shortness of breath. While 55 percent of women have screenings for various types of cancer, only 32 percent of men undergo screening, and even more revealing, only 23 percent have screenings for prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men. As David Winston, herbalist and author, notes, "While men are heir to many of the same problems that plague women, there is a real reluctance to get help, to act preventively, or to initiate treatment until vague symptoms have become realized pathology."
It doesn't present a very healthy picture of the American male, nor does it say much for a health care system that seldom addresses the needs of half of the population. Information is sorely lacking, and men seldom, if ever, talk about their emotional and physical needs. Sadly, the holistic healing community has little more to offer. It's far easier for men to find sexual tonics to increase potency and anabolic protein powders to build mass than it is for them to learn how to support their body over time and to address health problems as they come up. Something's wrong with this picture.
Thankfully, things are slowly but surely changing . . .
Men and Self-Care
When I was young, I thought it was natural that men don't seem to be as interested in their own health as women are. I erroneously thought, as many people do, that men simply don't have the same degree of physiological complexity or physical problems. After all, where were the breasts, the womb, the ability to give birth? I find this rather limited perspective sadly amusing now, and apologize for it, having since discovered how marvelously intricate and cyclic the male system is. Today, we are finally acknowledging that men's bodies and needs are just as complex as women's, that they go through similar seasonal and cyclic life changes, and that they have many concerns surrounding their health — men just deal differently.
Often women find it easy to talk about their problems. They seek help. They turn to other women. It's not uncommon for women to spend a great deal of time when they are together talking about their feelings, their desires and dreams, and their health — and about men. This openness is not always the case in men's circles. Men may talk about a wide range of subjects, but they don't generally talk about their prostate troubles or their fear of losing virility. It's not considered manly to be ill or, worse, to be emotionally or physically in need.
Years ago, my former husband, Karl, told me about an exciting football game he'd played while in college. He was the quarterback, had the ball, and was racing toward the goal line when he was knocked down and severely injured his shoulder. Rather than tell anybody, he played until the end of the game in severe pain with a shoulder practically pulled out of its socket. He was admired by his teammates for his tenacity, and even many years later, he would tell this story with a mixture of pride and sheepishness, because that shoulder still caused him endless pain. I found this story particularly interesting because it demonstrates the way in which our society trains men, and the characteristics they learn to pride themselves in and are admired for. Even at their own expense — often at great cost to their bodies, and certainly their feelings — their job is to be strong and keep going.
In an excellent class he gave on men's health at a recent International Herb Symposium, David Winston described it this way: "Many men in the dominant Western culture are taught from a young age to be strong, that 'boys don't cry,' and to 'stand on your own two feet.' Thus, from an early age, boys are encouraged by parents, older siblings, relatives, and society to be stoic, detached from feelings or pain, and to be self-sufficient. These are not all negative qualities, but they can get in the way of recognizing how [you] feel physically and emotionally. This 'emotional underdevelopment' keeps many men at a distance from their feelings, their bodies, their families, partners, and friends."
Teaching Men's Herbal Health
At the apprentice programs I offer at my home, Sage Mountain, in Vermont, we always devote a few days to discussing herbal protocols for the reproductive systems of women and men. I will be honest in saying that we generally devote a full 2 days to women's health, while the topic of men's health is given, at most, a mere half day. Is this discrimination? We could argue that the disparity is necessary given that there are more women in the class and a greater percentage of women will seek out herbal and complementary health care. Up to this point in time, that's been true, though more and more men are being drawn to herbalism, and men rank high among our best herbal practitioners, educators, and authors.
Rather than teach the workshop on men's health myself, I spend some time sharing information on the primary herbs used for men's health problems and highlight some of the major health concerns men have. Then I invite all the men in the class to participate on a panel about men's health, and the women in the class are invited to ask the men questions about health and healing. We did this for years, and I must admit, I learned a great deal about men's health issues through these panels. We had men of all ages participating, from young men in their teens to men in their late 80s, and they represented a wide spectrum of experiences and concerns.
In the early years of these panel discussions, a woman would ask her question, and often, before the men on the panel had a chance to respond, another woman would answer. There were always lively discussions — usually among the women. The men might add a comment or two, when it could be squeezed in, but on the whole they listened politely as the women vied to answer the questions that were asked. The women would feel pleased with themselves for being so informed and wonder, as we often did, why the guys weren't more forthcoming. The outcome was that we all learned what we already knew: that men didn't care to share much about their health issues or concerns.
After a couple of tries with this failed format, we changed the rules. The women were still invited to ask questions, but they couldn't answer or offer their perspective. This, finally, allowed the men to open up and share. Although they often answered slowly and thoughtfully, they generally answered most questions candidly and honestly. I learned a lot about men's health concerns and issues listening to the heartfelt responses of these men as they struggled to answer deep and sensitive questions about health, communication, safety, sex, and healing. What was the most important lesson I learned? When you ask a man a question about his health — or anything personal, for that matter — give him time to answer, don't jump to conclusions, listen carefully to what he's sharing, and, most importantly, don't automatically assume you have the answers.
The Male Mind-Set in Medicine
This typically male mind-set is reflected in what is still, today, male-dominated modern medicine. Western allopathic medicine, as it's called, is often described as a "heroic" system in which the doctor is the hero, coming to the rescue and saving the day. Designed for critical situations, accidents that threaten life or limb, and acute pain, it offers lifesaving measures, crisis intervention, and powerful drugs. But until very recently it offered little in the way of preventive health care, self-care, integrated healing, or medicine that works in accordance with the body's natural processes of healing.
So perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that there are more male than female doctors — or that there are, at present, far more female than male herbalists . . .
Striking a Balance
Modern allopathic medicine offers amazing crisis intervention, with techniques and procedures to treat serious injuries and life-threatening illnesses, and it can aid with the early detection of disease. Herbal medicine, on the other hand, offers supreme preventive care, encourages self-care, works with the whole body, and restores and replenishes the body's own systems. Herbs nourish the deep inner ecology of our systems on a cellular level. Having evolved with them for millions of years, our bodies have an innate familiarity with herbs and other plants; we breathe the air they create through photosynthesis, eat the food they provide for us, use the medicine they produce for us, and drink in the beauty they create around us. Their beauty in itself is a healing remedy — imagine how stark a world without plants would be!
Herbalism and allopathic medicine often seem at odds with one another. But they are, in fact, complementary and work together quite compatibly. And we don't have to choose between them; together they form a perfect balance for many of the health problems facing men today.
There's a health revolution sweeping the nation as men rediscover the responsibility they have for their own personal health care. We see more men than ever participating in herb classes, yoga, and other health care regimens. As herbalism and other forms of natural medicine grow in popularity, we find more and more research being done on ways to address typically male health problems with herbs and natural therapies. Many of these are protocols that can be done at home, by men themselves. And as men learn to be more proactive in supporting their well-being and addressing health issues — as they open up to their own bodies and their connections to the plant world — they may be encouraged to open up to and forge deeper connections with the world at large.
As Guido Masé, herbalist and author of The Wild Medicine Solution, states, "It may be hard for some men to acknowledge their need for love, nourishment, and connection — after all, isn't America about the 'individual' and 'making it on your own'? Allowing this realization to come, gently, as part of a nourishing herbal protocol can be the most therapeutic change of all."
I want to thank you for your patience with my obviously feminine perspective on men's health. I hope it will provide insight and balance, but I must admit that I sometimes feel a bit like one of the women on my men's health panels, asking the men their thoughts and then, without much of a pause, proceeding on with my own ideas and opinions. Thankfully, I have had the help of many male friends in my life who have informed and taught me to understand not only what may or may not be helpful to men, but ways in which to deliver these suggestions so they can be received. As my husband often has demonstrated to me, if I tell him he should, he won't. Most men — most people — don't want to be told what to do, or how to do it, but would prefer to be guided toward making educated choices about their own personal health.
In writing this book, it is my hope that it will offer a unique and valuable perspective and allow men — and all of us who love them — to make better-informed choices about their health and well-being. I am venturing into a subject that I know well through the men in my life — my male clients, fellow herbal practitioners, and the place of maleness in myself. But I am a guest here, so please excuse me if I'm sometimes clumsy and don't always know the proper protocol. Somewhere, I think, there exists a silent agreement between men and women that we are all venturing into new territory, exploring different ways to be and feel together, and creating a healthier threshold of understanding between genders that will serve all of humanity better.
How to Make Your Own Herbal Remedies
You've never made herbal remedies before? Not to worry. The remedies recommended in this book are quite easy, and most are quite delicious. In fact, preparing herbal remedies is a lot like cooking, if not even easier. If the kitchen isn't normally your domain, the most difficult task you might encounter is locating the "tools" you'll need: measuring cups, mixing bowls, the right size cooking pot . . .
Though men often say they can't cook, many end up being very adept in the kitchen. Some of the most famous chefs in the world are men, as are many of the best herbal medicine makers, like herbalists Ed Smith (Herb Pharm), David Winston (Herbalist & Alchemist), Matthias Reisen (Healing Spirits), and Guido Masé (Grian Herbs), all of whom have created not only excellent herbal products but also very successful herbal businesses. Give a few of the recipes in this book a try, and see if you don't enjoy being an herbal medicine maker yourself.
The most common preparations of herbs for medicinal purposes are teas, tinctures, and capsules, and in this chapter we'll talk about how to make these kinds of remedies. But don't limit yourself. Herbs can be prepared and administered in many creative ways. Syrups and elixirs are a delicious and effective way to get down the medicinal properties of herbs. You can also add powdered herbs to food or mix the powders into a paste with honey and spices for a delicious daily tonic. Some herbs, such as hawthorn and elder, can be prepared as tasty jams and jellies — not a bad way to take medicine. And herbal oils, compresses, and poultices apply the healing power of herbs from the outside in and are wonderful remedies for cuts, scrapes, bruises, sore muscles, rashes, and other ailments.
If making herbal products is not your cup of tea, not to worry. You can find many excellent ready-made herbal formulas these days in health food stores and herb shops. Even supermarkets generally carry a selection of medicinal herbal teas. And there are countless online retailers ready to sell you a full selection of herbal products. (See Resources for some reliable, high-quality online sources.)
Finding Good-Quality Herbs
The single most important factor for making your own herbal remedies is obtaining the best-quality herbs available. Buy your herbs from reputable companies. Ask where their herbs come from. Are they organically grown? Are they wildcrafted? If they're wildcrafted, are they harvested ethically, with respect for the environment? Buying high-quality herbs ensures not only that you're getting quality herbal medicine but also that the wild herbs are being protected, that the soils are being restored, and that farmers are being treated fairly — all important factors in healing.
Whenever possible, use your herbs fresh. However, for a variety of reasons, it is not always feasible to get fresh herbs. Dried herbs, if harvested and dried properly, will generally retain all of their medicinal properties.
How do you tell if a dried herb is of good quality? Use your senses just like you would when shopping for fruits and vegetables in the market. If an herb looks, smells, and tastes almost exactly as it does when it's fresh, it should be effective. Here's what to look for.
The dried herb should retain almost the same color as it has when it is fresh. If you are buying green leaves, such as peppermint or spearmint, they should be vivid and bright. If you're buying blossoms, they should be bright and colorful; dried calendula blossoms, for example, should be bright orange or yellow. Roots, though generally subtle shades to begin with, should remain true to their original color. Goldenseal should be a golden green, echinacea a silvery brown, yellow dock root a yellowish brown. If you're just getting started with herbs, you may not always know what the correct color of a plant should be, but look for liveliness, vibrancy, and deep, strong colors. You will soon develop a knack for knowing.
Herbs have distinctive odors that serve as an effective means of determining quality. They should smell strongly, but they may not necessarily smell "good." Herbs don't always smell refreshing and aromatic. The scent of valerian, for instance, has been compared to that of dirty socks. Well-aged valerian smells like really ripe socks. Good-quality peppermint, on the other hand, is delightfully refreshing and will make your nose tingle and your eyes water. Some herbs, such as alfalfa, smell "green," like freshly mown grass or newly cut hay. But in that green odor is a freshness and unmistakable vitality. Sweetly scented, refreshing, pungent, fragile, sometimes offensive — herbs have a variety of smells, but in general that scent is strong and distinctive.
Herbs also should have distinctive flavors. As with smell, their taste should be judged on potency, rather than whether the flavor is "good" or not. You will quickly learn that not all herbs taste good, by any stretch of the imagination! Do the herbs taste fresh? Strong? Vital? Or do they taste flat and flavorless? Good-quality dried herbs will arouse a distinctive response from your taste buds.
If you enjoy expanding your palate and repertoire in the kitchen, then you'll enjoy this process. It's not work; it's fun. And if you're doing this as part of a process of taking control of your own health, it's very empowering as well.
How to Store Dried Herbs
Light, heat, air, moisture, and age are the major factors that destroy the essence of herbs. Insects also can be a problem. The ideal storage containers for dried herbs are glass jars with tight-fitting lids, though other airtight containers work well too. Store your dried herbs away from direct light and heat; a cool, dark kitchen closet or pantry is excellent. Dried herbs stored this way will last for several months or even years.
Even in conventional (allopathic) medicine, correct dosage is often less precise than we're led to believe. With herbs, be aware that determining dosage involves some skill, a healthy touch of "inner knowledge," observation, and a bit of guesswork. While strong, they tend not to be as concentrated or potent (or potentially harmful) as many pharmaceutical drugs. This doesn't mean herbs aren't as effective; it just means they are generally safer.
Dosages for herbal formulas are given throughout this book and on most commercial preparations that you might purchase. However, in determining the proper dosage of an herbal preparation, you should also consider your weight, height, size, overall constitution, and any food sensitivities or allergies that might make you react to herbs. The general rule is to start with a smaller dose and work up. However, if the dose is too small, you may not feel or see any effects. Ultimately, we must each learn to trust the wisdom of our own body and listen to what it is telling us. The following chart shows typical dosages for a variety of remedies. Remember that dosage may also vary based on the potency of the herb.
- On Sale
- Jun 13, 2017
- Page Count
- 224 pages