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Rumors, masks, readers ask

Rumors, masks, readers ask HEALTH.jpg

Addressing some important health topics this month

By Jonathan Evans
Herbal Information Specialist for the Herbarium

First of all, I believe a clarification is needed. The Herbarium is not closing. I have had several customers call or stop in saying they heard we were closing. We are not. I don’t know where these rumors come from, but we are here and intend to stay here, period.

Be responsible; wear a mask

I am writing this column shortly after the debacle in Washington D.C.  We are now seeing the surge of COVID-19 cases from Christmas gatherings, another will come as a result of New Year’s parties, and I am sure there will be a massive surge after the thousands who stormed the Capitol without masks end up getting sick and overwhelming our health facilities.

As my wife the nurse reminds me, the virus has no political agenda; it just wants to spread.

Our doctors, nurses and other health care providers are overwhelmed, overworked and exhausted. She hears from her nurse students from across the country, with stories that would break your heart. People being told that COVID-19 is not real, then ending up at the ER gasping for breath.

They do not need one more unnecessary patient. I am not being political here But let me ask you this … If you go into a store that has a sign saying “no shoes, no shirt, no service,“ do you make a big deal about it? Probably your answer is no, because it is a public health issue.

So is wearing a mask.

It is a sad fact that something so simple and straightforward can be so corrupted. Whether you believe a mask is not helping or not, realize that the cold and regular flu season is not as bad as previous years. Why? Social distancing, hand sanitizing and wearing masks have all helped keep down the spread of cold and flu virus.

Please, wear the mask properly, covering the mouth and nose. You are wearing the mask to protect others and yourself.

Forty years ago I was a talk radio host, and people constantly debated their “rights”. Unfortunately people forgot the other half of the equation – which was and is – ”responsibility.” When we get this situation under control, then we can debate other issues.

Lastly, I am going to be first in line when the vaccine is available.

Readers ask...

Below are two of the recent questions submitted to the Herbarium by readers. If you have a question, please see the information at the end of this column on how to submit it to me.

Dear Jonathan,

I suffer from Raynaud’s Syndrome, and I hope you have something to help with the pain. I know it has not been as cold as some years, but my circulation is bad enough that my fingers turn white and ache a great deal. Hand warmers only help for a short time.

— Dianne

Dear Dianne,

I understand about Raynaud’s, as some family members suffer with it. There are a few things that can help improve the circulation and strengthen blood vessels. Ginkgo biloba is a specific for peripheral circulation and helps strengthen and build new blood vessels. Cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum) and Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus aculeatus) make a great combination to help with getting circulation back to the fingers.          

— Jonathan

Dear Jonathan,

I have had nerve pain from a shingles outbreak for many weeks. Is there anything you can suggest to help?

— Art

Dear Art,

There are a couple of things that can help. Shingles is a virus and seems to rear its ugly head when your immune system is low and stress is high, further weakening your immune response. Olive leaf extract (Olea europaea) and Oregano oil (Origanum vulgare) are two powerful antiviral herbs. For the pain, we have traditionally used homeopathic Hypericum (Hypericum perforatum) 30c pellets and/or Jamaican Dogwood (Piscidia erythrina). Hypericum is a highly dilute form of St. John’s Wort. Before it became known as an antidepressant, St. John’s Wort was used for nerve related problems. Jamaican Dogwood is a nerve sedative and antispasmodic. It has relieved nerve pain when nothing else would.

— Jonathan

Send questions on botanical remedies to: Natures Rx: Jonathan Evans at, or by regular mail to: The Herbarium, 264 Exchange Street, Chicopee, MA 01013. If requesting additional info, include a self-addressed stamped envelope.