Primer Choosing and using medicinal herbs

Botanicals tend to support the body's natural balance.

| January/February 1998

  • Photograph by Steven Foster

The Meaning of a Drop

Liquid herbal extracts often are prescribed by the drop. But for a nation accustomed to ­teaspoons and premeasured pills, envisioning a drop of medicine may run against the grain. And who has time to count all of those drops, anyway?

This chart offers you a guide to your dropper. Note: While droppers can vary by size, manufacturers often mark the dropper with measurements (usually given in milliliters). Generally though, a standard dropper holds 1 milliliter of liquid.

Preferred Herbs

Echinacea and garlic are U.S. consumers’ favorite herbal medicines, a recent survey of health-food stores shows.

The two herbs, known for their cold-fighting abilities —and garlic for a host of other benefits—also were ranked numbers 1 and 2 in 1995 and 1996, according to the survey, conducted by Whole Foods magazine.

Bumped off the top ten list from last year are ma huang (ephedra), psyllium, Siberian ginseng, and cascara sagrada.

Here is the complete top ten list of list of consumers’ favorite herbs for 1997, with each herb’s 1996 ranking in parentheses.

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