Most Recommended Herbs and Supplements

As an acupuncturist and shiatsu provider, my clients often ask me for recommendations regarding herbs and supplements. Of course, any specific recommendation in this regard must be tailored to each individual based on his or her own body type, age, health condition and specific areas of imbalance. Nevertheless, there are a number of herbs and supplements which have wide application and can be recommended for most people. Here are my “most frequently recommended” herbs and supplements.

–    Multiple Vitamin – A good quality multiple vitamin providing 100% of the RDA for all vitamins and some of the more basic minerals. Many multi-vitamins recommend large doses, often as much as 10 times the 100% RDA. In my opinion, this is a complete waste of money. The body uses vitamins in minute amounts and taking more is not helpful. There are a few exceptions to this rule, noted below.

–    Vitamin D3 – 1000 IU per day (possibly more if you are dealing with a specific health issue which may be related to vitamin D deficiency.) There are so many modern diseases related to Vitamin D deficiency that I recommend additional Vitamin D3 supplementation.

– Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid – If you are vegetarian or simply eat a diet low in animal protein (which is highly recommended), then additional B12 and Folic Acid is recommended. For most people, I recommend the following: B12: 1 sub-lingual tablet 3 times a week. Folic acid: 400 mcg (0.4mg) per day.

–    Cod Liver Oil – 1 teaspoon per day. The Omega 3 fatty acids, and in particular Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid DHA, are so important for overall health and longevity, that I rate this simple product as one of the most important supplements you can take. Excellent brands are Nordic Naturals and Carlson’s.

–    Triphala is a combination of three Ayurvedic herbs and is an excellent digestive and tonic for most body types, especially if constipation is a frequent issue. The ideal way to take Triphala is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Triphala powder with 10 ounces of warm water upon rising in the morning. It’s best to mix the powder with hot water, let cool and drink the decoction straight down. Or, if you’re a hearty soul, take the powder on your tongue (being careful to hold your breath so as not to inhale any of the powder) and wash it down with warm water. If the taste is too bitter for your sensitivities, you can get Triphala in capsule form. In this case, take 2 to 4 capsules with 10 oz warm water upon rising. Either way, wait 30 minutes before eating anything. Triphala is a gentle and natural laxative which is not habit forming since it works by stimulating the liver and not by irritating the colon. Triphala is available at most supplement or natural foods stores. Note: do ot take Triphala is you are pregnant, nursing or have diarrhea.

– Aloe Vera Juice – take 2 oz Aloe Vera juice with 2 oz apple juice once or twice a day. Aloe Vera juice is a wonderful tonic for the digestive organs and at the same time, it helps to cool the body and reduce inflammation, especially in the digestive tract. If gastritis, acid reflux or Gerd are an issue, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to the above mixture.

–    DGL Licorice – If acid stomach or acid reflux are an issue, suck on 2 tablets, 2 times a day, before main meals. May also be used any time you feel burning sensation in the stomach. DGL licorice tablets are available in most supplement or natural foods stores.

–    Livit II – 1 tablet, 3 times a day. Complete one bottle every 6 to 12 months, in the Spring or Fall. Available at Ayush Herbs in Bellevue WA. The liver is extremely important for overall health and in our modern society, is the organ which suffers the most from stress, lack of adequate rest and environmental toxins. Livit II is a traditional Ayurvedic  liver cleanser and tonic that is powerful yet gentle enough to give to children.

–    Magnesium Citrate or Amino Acid Chelate – 200 mg per day of magnesium. If you are dealing with a specific health concern, you may need more. See article on Magnesium, below.

–    Kefir – Drink one cup of organic, unsweetened, goat milk kefir, every morning on an empty stomach, about 30 minutes before eating. Otherwise, it’s best to avoid other forms of dairy.

Thank you for visiting my blog. If you have questions about acupuncture and shiatsu, or if you have a specific health concern, please contact me at:

Bart Walton, L.Ac.
Licensed Acupuncture & Shiatsu
Portland, Oregon
503/939-5805


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