Stimulants

Image of stimulant chemical compounds from Wikipidia on April 27, 2013. .

The conventional notion of stimulants as substances that keep people wide awake and possibly with a rush of energy is very different from the herbalist’s perspective. Herbal stimulants are used to increase the body’s normal functions and are usually targeted at specific organs or activities rather than the whole body. Thus there are general stimulants like kola (cola vera) and mate (Ilex paraguariensis) and even coffee as well as circulatory stimulants like chilli (capsicum minimum), ginger (Zingiber officinale) and prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum). Stimulants of the nervous system include the culinary herb rosemary and basil. Both the digestive and reproductive systems can be stimulants of the nervous system include the culinary herb rosemary and basil. Both the digestive and reproductive systems can be stimulated into increased action. The bitters are stimulants of digestive processes. Damiana (Turnera diffusa) stimulates productions of the male hormone, testosterone, which has the effect of increasing male sexual function. This herb also has a folk reputation as an aphrodisiac but any such effect is probably due to the hormonal effects combined with a second valuable property: damiana is a valuable antidepressant. It lifts the gloomy spirit in reactive depression, and there is nothing like depression to lower libido. The effect of removing depression on the libido is an uplifting experience, easily interpreted by the beholder as increased potency.

As stimulants increase activity, there is a danger of using them to mask problems or overcome symptoms. Unless the body’s reserves of energy are mobilized or increased, stimulants can be rapidly depleting or exhausting. Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is often abused in this way. It is too often bought from health food shops and without proper diagnosis or plan of treatment. The immediate effect can be very stimulating but unless there is a substantial reserve of energy, the taker usually experiences exhaustion after about two weeks of daily dosing. Herbalists take care to use stimulants only in the context of a detailed management plan, where energy and stimulated activity are considered together.

Excerpt from pages 70-71 from Thorsons Introductory Guide to Herbalism by Christopher Robbins
photo from: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/14/Methamphetamin...

Stimulants
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