Use Herbs & Spices Carefully

A dear friend is in hospital today and may not make it. Not Covid-19 – some herbal tea served to him by a neighbor. He is on blood thinners for health reasons, and she served him a herbal tea rich in coumarin – a natural blood thinner.

Tasty  Tea

There are any number of tasty herbal teas. Some you can grow in your yard. Some you can harvest in the wilderness. Many you can simply buy in the supermarket!


Just because it’s sold in the supermarket does NOT make it safe for everyone to drink. For example, anything containing chicory can very quickly trigger a migraine for me. Not pleasant! Sad to say that there are many teas that contain chicory. It is also found in coffee in New Orleans.

Just One Example

If you are on blood thinners, you do have to be careful. Coumarins are found in many plants that we do not think twice about eating, like strawberries, black currants, apricots, and cherries.

Coumarin is found naturally in highest concentration in the tonka bean (Dipteryx odorata), a Central American tree in the Pea Family. It also occurs in vanilla grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum), sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum), sweet grass (Hierochloe odorata) and sweet-clover (genus Melilotus) (another Pea Family member).


Herbs & Spices Can Help or Harm

As many of you know, I am Dr. Jacqueline Soule – but the doctorate is in Botany, not medicine. That doesn’t stop people from asking me health questions, if anything, it elicits more! Everyone has heard of some wonderful plant that is going to cure all their woes, and they want to ask me about it. And here we get to a real dilemma.  Over 90 percent of all drugs used today were originally extracted from plants, so yes, plants do have healing properties. And many have been used as herbal tea for thousands of years.


How many of you have heard that a clove of raw garlic can chase off a cold? Well maybe for some people it can. For others it can cause severe diarrhea, which may not sound life threatening, but if it goes on for several days, it can dehydrate a person to death. Yes it can be lethal.

Humans are delicate creatures! Because some humans are litigious we do have a disclaimer on our website. That said – Please be careful folks!

Be Safe!

Sorry for this “bummer” of a post. I am really worried about my friend. I am sure my friends neighbor just thought she was sharing a tasty tea. How is she going to feel if he dies from it?


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Do you have a herb, spice, or food that causes an adverse reaction?  Please share  in the comment section (way down) below.

honey-savor-southwestMore cooking and using Southwestern products in Using Honey in New & Savory Ways (Tierra del Sol Institute Press). Only $6!  This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies at no additional cost to you.

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