In Dr. Weil’s view, the principle advantage of herbs is their complexity. Medicinal plants contain a wide array of chemical compounds, which gives them versatile therapeutic powers. For example, for Andean Indians, whole coca leaf is the number one medicinal plant. They use it to treat gastrointestinal disturbances; specifically, for both diarrhea and constipation. Its ability to treat two opposite disease states springs from the fact that coca contains 14 bioactive alkaloids, some of which stimulate the gut, while others inhibit gut activity. When the whole mixture enters the body, receptors in the gut’s tissues bind to the alkaloids that are needed for the body to return it to equilibrium.
Since herbs are food and not medicine, you can take them any time you want. Of course you wouldn’t want to take an energizing herb like ginseng right at bedtime or sedative herbs first thing in the morning. You can decide for yourself if you prefer to take herbs with or without a meal. Do what works best for you. Some herbs work better on an empty stomach. You’ll have to read the label on the supplement bottle to see what is the recommended way of taking them.
Collectively, these early experiments demonstrated that factors specific to the environment of the cell were required to attenuate, or to facilitate, the transforming activity of this potent oncogene. Recent work in transgenic models and specialized cell culture systems has begun to define the specific microenvironmental determinants that have the power to normalize overtly malignant cells.
^ Valduga, Eunice; de Freitas, Renato João Sossela; Reissmann, Carlos B.; Nakashima, Tomoe (1997). "Caracterização química da folha de Ilex paraguariensis St. Hil. (erva-mate) e de outras espécies utilizadas na adulteração do mate". Boletim do Centro de Pesquisa de Processamento de Alimentos (in Portuguese). 15 (1): 25–36. doi:10.5380/cep.v15i1.14033. Archived from the original on 2014-08-26.
Pacific Center for Naturopathic Medicine in Bellingham is run by Rachelle Herdman, N.D., M.D. They treat cancer and autoimmune, neurological, cardiovascular, digestive disorders, and chronic fatigue. They use nutrition, diet, Ayurveda, homeopathy, botanical medicine and teas, herbal tinctures, plant extracts, and a variety of supplements. Second location in Canada. Phone: 360-734-0045.
CAUTION: Pregnant and nursing women should not eat alfalfa seeds due to their content of stachydrine and homostachydrine (may promote menstruation or cause miscarriage). People in general should never eat alfalfa seeds. They contain high levels of the toxic amino acid canavanine. Alfalfa is high in vitamin K and may work as an anti-coagulant so it shouldn’t be taken by people taking blood thinning medication.
Ahmad Shamim, M.D. in Laurel, MD also treats heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, digestive disorders, yeast-related illnesses, and multiple sclerosis. He uses cleansing, detoxification, immune enhancement, herbals, enzymes, diet, glandulars, supplements, and immune stimulators. Phone: 410-792-0333. We have heard some good things about him.

The aptly named bitter melon is thought to help cells use glucose more effectively and block sugar absorption in the intestine. When Philippine researchers had men and women take bitter melon in capsule form for three months, they had slight, but consistently, lower blood sugar than those taking a placebo. Gastrointestinal problems are possible side effects. You can reverse diabetes with these science-backed strategies.