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Substitutes for Rare and Endangered Herbs

Part of the Herbal Remedies For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Interest in herbal medicine has dramatically increased, and along with the destruction of habitat, encroaching development, and commercial overharvesting, some healing herbs have become endangered. You can help these rare plants survive by making some simple substitutions:

Herb How You Can Help
American ginseng Buy cultivated or woods-grown roots or products instead of wild American ginseng.
Black cohosh Substitute red clover products if you're using black cohosh for its estrogenic effects. Substitute kava or cramp bark if using this herb for muscle spasms. Substitute meadowsweet for arthritis.
Blue cohosh Substitute yarrow.
Echinacea Buy products containing Echinacea purpurea, which are cultivated organically, instead of wild-harvested E. angustifolia. Both are equally effective. E. angustifolia is increasingly available as a cultivated herb.
Goldenseal Buy cultivated goldenseal or substitute Oregon grape root, barberry, or the Chinese herb coptis, all of which contain the same active ingredient, called berberine.
Pipsissewa Use uva ursi and marshmallow root together to soothe and help reduce bacteria for urinary tract infections.
Slippery elm Substitute marshmallow root, which has similar soothing properties to slippery elm and is a cultivated herb.
Wild yam Wild yam doesn't have progesterone-like effects, according to studies and historical use. Use wild yam only for bowel cramps, spasms, colic, and nausea, or substitute chamomile flowers.
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