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Article: English Ivy: Beauty or Beast?: Caution

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Forum: Article: English Ivy: Beauty or Beast?Replies: 1, Views: 31
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Monrovia, CA

June 14, 2011
3:24 PM

Post #8630463

I noted the author's mention of old-time medicinal uses for ivy, and I cringed. Lest practitioners of herbal lore get too excited about this, please realize that old-time usage is not necessarily a good endorsement. In the lists of "medicinal" plant species you will find all the physical distresses for which they were USED, whether or not they were EFFECTIVE. So "Hooray" for willow bark, but some other plants were supposed to cure opposite conditions--e.g. constipation AND diarrhea??? This is why modern medicine evolved!

Secondly, old-time prescriptions lacked reliable concentrations of these natural substances, so one dosage might be useful and another lethal. And to me, the biggest joke of all is the fact that so many preparations specified mixing with either laudanum or saleratus. Laudanum contains almost all of the opium alkaloids, including morphine and codeine. Saleratus is that old stand-by for digestive upset, sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. To my mind, the herbs were just for flavoring! :)
Calvert City, KY
(Zone 7a)

June 14, 2011
4:25 PM

Post #8630586

Thank you for your information. My articles are all about the history of the plant, how it WAS used medicinally.

All plants have a history, right or wrong. I am not an herbalist, but I am an historian, and my articles reflect the history as it applied to me. Of course we must also consider that the stories took place in the 1950's.

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