Letter to the Editor


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Dear Editor:

In your Sept. 13 edition, you printed a letter that questions a letter I had written about the use of herbs and the FDA regulation of herbs.

Perhaps because my original letter was so heavily edited, some of what was printed sounded like the ramblings of someone of very low intelligence.

One point I would like to clear up that would be very dangerous is this: No where did I say that taking ephedra was no more dangerous than eating rhubarb leaves. I certainly hope no one eats rhubarb leaves. They are poisonous.

The point I was trying to make is that many edible plants have poisonous parts. The stalks of rhubarb can be eaten. Down through the years, we have discovered that this is true and have learned to avoid these parts.

It is the same with herbs. They have been tested for years of experience and while some do have actions that are undesirable in specific cases, these actions are well known and well documented.

If you use herbs, you must educate yourself on correct usage. There are many books that are totally honest about all the actions herbs have on the body, including that they might raise or lower blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, etc. Thorough research should be done to determine if use of an herb would be a good thing or to be avoided.

Prescribed drugs are not totally safe either. They do have side effects. It is far easier to find information about herbs that it is to find information on prescription drugs.

Some unwise people are using ephedra for the slight high it causes. Pseudoephedra causes the same action, yet it is available over the counter. People use spray paint to get high.

The point is the FDA cannot possibly ban every substance that has the potential of being abused, at times, to the point of death. Nor can they possibly ban all substances that might cause accidental problems.

If the FDA banned every substance that causes a rise or lowering in blood pressure, many common foods would be banned. If everything dangerous could be banned, alcohol would certainly be unavailable in any form, including medicinal.

We are free beings must use our intelligence to make some decisions on our own. I want to be left some choices that I am free to make for myself.

Sandra Fann