“Proving”: Overusing an Herbal Remedy or Medication

Sometimes a person may find that, after prolonged use of a medicine or herbal remedy, they experience perhaps some of the very symptoms they are trying to resolve. The case may be that the remedy resolves the issue — let’s say joint stiffness and aching — but upon sustained use the symptoms may appear to return. Why does this happen, and what are the consequences?

herbal remedies

Herbal Medicine

Very few health practitioners understand the actual implications of taking an oral medication or remedy. The body responds with a mighty jolt to a “foreign invader,” sending a cascade of nerve impulses throughout the body’s systems. The body must begin a process of metabolic extraction and assimilation of elemental phytonutrients in the plant, and a process of elimination of toxins and cellular waste as the remedy works with symptoms and causes. But there is a hitch.

“Proving” the Medicine

It is a Pharmacological Law that every natural and pharmaceutical medicine’s primary side effect is also its primary action. This means that the symptoms a remedy will fix, it will also cause, if taken too long.

herbal-remedies quoteThe medical term “Proving” (a central concept in Homeopathy) suggests that the longer you use a medicine, the more the symptoms will begin to appear as a result of the “proving of the medicine,” even if you only took the medicine at a low dosage. This means that an herbal remedy or formula, for example, may be optimal for health restoration of an injury or condition, but eventually a point is reached where optimal correction is complete and you should discontinue the remedy.

The process of “proving” has been used in medicine for hundreds of years. At its core, it is homeopathic, meaning researchers give repeated small (homeopathic) doses to healthy research volunteers who consume the remedy over a period of time. Their thoughts, feelings, dreams and habits are then recorded in what is often termed the “Materia Medica” (from the Latin meaning “collected body of knowledge”) and analyzed. By “proving” a remedy in this way, homeopathic practitioners know that the symptoms that the medicine will cause in a healthy person, it will fix in a sick person with those same symptoms.


Cautions for Overuse

Unfortunately, many people believe if their symptoms are getting worse, then they should take more of their medication, especially if it is an over-the-counter remedy for pain relief, or even an herbal remedy (They may even believe that the remedy does not work anymore). By taking more dosage, many people’s symptoms may go from bad to worse, and their liver especially suffers from increased toxicity.

The reason is that by continuing a remedy beyond the point of it being needed by your body, you go through the optimal correction and out the other side, thereby “proving the remedy or drug.” The resulting “drug-induced” symptoms are the very predictable side effects so familiar in the pharmaceutical world.

We are all humored that most drug commercials and advertisements discuss more of the side effects than actual benefits. For example, the primary side effects of the antidepressants Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa and others are . . . depression, severe depression, and suicidal tendencies! Insomnia medications such as Lunesta, Ambien, and others have increased sleeplessness as a side effect with sustained use. The common pain-reliever, Hydrocodone, has increased pain as a side effect. The anti-seizure medication, Neurotin, and others caution against increased seizures with continued use.

Herbal remedies are not without caution either. For example, although Echinacea is useful for quick flu-relief, it can also cause flu-like symptoms if taken too long. Solomon’ Seal, if taken too long, may tighten connective tissue tensions a little too much past normal, creating short-term stiffness in the finger joints. The homeopathic remedy Rhus Toxicodendron is excellent for joint pain and skin rashes, but can actually cause these if taken too long.

food-as-medicineA little known fact about the Law of Pharmacology is that drug-induced symptoms from proving the drug often remain after discontinuing the drug. People who have been on various types of medications for a long time often experience and suffer from drug-induced symptoms, but due to the fact that these symptoms match their original symptoms, they think their symptoms are from their illness. This is especially true when the medication is only working to suppress the symptoms.

Remember, if you must continue to take a drug or remedy in order to feel good, then it is not reaching the cause of the symptoms. If you can identify and reach the level of cause, then you should be able to discontinue the remedy when the cause has been eliminated. Of course, there are situations where the body has been damaged beyond repair and symptom-suppressing medications are all that are left for the person. True healing never seeks to mask symptoms, since that would defeat the whole point of healing.

herbal-remedies kitchen


Tips for Using ORAL Herbal Remedies

Those people new to herbal remedies often wonder how long they must take the remedy. They wonder if they have to take it a long time to get relief or healing. The short answer is NO. In fact, the benign nature of oral tinctures allows room for experimentation — amount of dose, when to take, and when to take time off. A well-prepared tincture from a reputable and knowledgeable herbalist or company is invaluable and can last a long time in one’s medicine cabinet, being used as needed. Here are some tips for taking an oral remedy such as a tincture:

  • Always obtain a remedy from a reputable herbal remedy supplier. Especially review the integrity of educational information on their website, blog, Facebook or other social media. Obtain customer reviews.
  • Insure that your remedy has all organic ingredients, including the use of distilled or pure water in preparation, if used.
  • Follow the dosage guidelines on the label. These are safe ranges.
  • For increased safety, initially take only ½ of dosage for one week; then gradually increase — this may help the body assimilate the herbs better.
  • Take for 6 days, and then take one day off, increasing to 2 days off when feeling right. The day off allows the body a day of “rest” to flush out toxins and cellular debris from healing. It also prevents the body from becoming dependent upon the remedy.
  • The objective is to gain an intuitive relationship with your remedy: after time knowing when to take and how much to take, and when to rest from use.
  • Always keep your remedy handy for flare-ups or re-injury.
  • Most herbal remedies are very safe; taking a few additional drops to experiment is okay
  • If you experience the same symptoms you are trying to deal with, after prolonged use, simply stop the remedy for a few days or more and begin again with a much smaller dose. Then gradually increase the number of drops over 1-2 weeks to suggested or “intuitive” (i.e. your own sense of amount) doses.


Please visit our website for detailed and fascinating information about the therapeutic use of tinctures, salves, lotions, tea, and sprays: www.solomonsseal.net




Ligament Laxity is Normal for Women. Here’s Why.

It is natural for women to have increased ligamentous laxity and flexibility compared to men. This excessive laxity is the reason there is an increased incidence of patellar subluxations (knee joint issues), ligament sprains, and joint discomfort (especially hips, pelvis and lower back) seen in females, and especially female athletes. Why is this, and what are the implications for musculoskeletal health?Conceptual human pain anatomy

In short, women experience the double whammy of Estrogen and the hormone, Relaxin, the latter of which negatively effects important Collagen integrity at connective tissue and nerve-rich bone surface areas (periosteum). So, what does this mean?

Relaxin is a hormone secreted by females (males also contain a little Relaxin in their sperm with no known researched effects on connective tissues, as with women), the highest levels being during the middle of the luteal phase (ovulation) of the menstrual cycle (days 20-23). During pregnancy, there is an increase in Relaxin to allow the loosening of ligaments so that the baby can pass through the birth canal. Therefore, ligament laxity is normal during pregnancy. However, the baby’s position in the pelvic region during pregnancy, the lax ligaments to allow delivery, and the mother carrying her baby on her hip after the baby is born all contribute to a resultant sacroiliac laxity and lower back pain so common in women.

pregnant stretching

Pregnancy Especially Affects Connective Tissues (Ligaments, Tendons & Joints)

Relaxin’s effects also include the production and remodeling of collagen (a dense fibrous strengthening and binding material that increases the elasticity and relaxation of muscles, tendons, and ligaments around bones and joints). However, Relaxin has a direct negative effect on the strength of collagen. And herein lies the problem, as explained below.

A continuous mass of collagen runs from each bone’s surface, across joints through ligaments and joint capsule to the neighboring bones. Likewise, collagen extends from the periosteum (bone surface) into tendons; extends around and through muscles as the muscular fascia; recollects as another tendon; and inserts on another bone. With such responsibility at hand, it is of concern if a hormone like Relaxin actually decreases the effectiveness of what collagen is supposed to do — to create optimal structural/skeletal tensile strength to support movement and weight! For example, ligament laxity is especially present during pregnancy (and specific days in the menstrual cycle, as mentioned above) when the risk of ankle sprains and ligamentous injuries is highest.

Female pelvic ligaments

Ligaments in Woman’s Pelvic Area

So, where does Estrogen fit into the equation? That’s easy — every articular (joint) cartilage has Estrogen receptors located on it. Estrogen is known to have a direct negative effect on cartilage and ligamentous tissue growth and repair, period, and especially in post-menopausal women.


The net effect of all of this is that the joints of females, even females who have no pain whatsoever, are not normal. They cannot possibly be normal because of all the negative effects of Estrogen and Relaxin as instigators. Because of the double whammy of Estrogen and Relaxin, women have increased ligamentous laxity and flexibility compared to men.

What Are the Implications for Musculoskeletal Health?

It is worth knowing the health cycle of ligaments and cartilage to understand that healing of ligaments, tendons and cartilage is a long slow process. Expectations for rapid healing, especially among women, should be replaced with a good long-term wellness restoration plan. Why?

woman knee injury

Knee Ligament Injuries Are Very Common Among Women

The turnover time (or half-life) of ligaments and cartilage is about one to two years. This means that about half of the cartilage or ligaments is regenerated about every 300 to 700 days. This is a very, very slow rate, given that most of our body recreates itself cell-by-cell within 30-90 days! Furthermore, if optimal remodeling of an injured ligament or tendon does occur, recovery is only about 80% of original! Consequently, our healing expectations need to be realistic given how our body attempts to restore itself from injury or disease.


There’s a basic reason why healing is slower for connective tissues.

Fibroblastic cells, which make the invaluable collagen, and chondrocytes that make cartilage tissue, are stable cells. This means they do not proliferate easily, unlike muscles loaded with red blood cells. The fibroblasts and chondrocytes are located at the fibro-osseous junction. This is where ligaments attach to bone or directly on the outside of the cartilage. This is an extremely nerve-rich area, and is the source of most felt pain and discomfort when injured.

In fact, most pain sensitivity at bone and joint areas is experienced via this hierarchy: the periosteum (outside of bone where ligaments attach and which is very nerve-rich), ligaments, tendons, fascia, and lastly, muscle. A theory is that the previously mentioned fibroblast and chondrocyte cells need to be stimulated to proliferate and aid in repair and remodeling.

ligament-tendon illustrationInjury to tissue stimulates them to some degree. This is the theory behind direct proliferative therapy, or Prolotherapy, where light dextrose-based injections are often given at the fibro-osseous junction. This causes a massive stimulation of fibroblastic and chondrocyte growth, with the net effect being supposed ligament and cartilage growth. For most people Prolotherapy is impractical, expensive, unapproved by the AMA or insurance companies, and the results for relief and health restoration are very mixed (often with a heavy dose of initial pain, discomfort and inflammation after the procedure).

Certain forms of exercise can stimulate cellular growth. Resistance bands, for example, are very effective at superficial and deep muscle, connective tissue, and joint levels. Water aerobics is also very beneficial.

Implications for Use of Herbal & Natural Remedies & Strategies

Movement/exercise plus a generous daily intake of water are invaluable for moving oxygen to cells and body systems, as well as to assist in flushing out cellular debris and toxins via the Lymph system. Movement and generous water are especially important as we age. This is because our tissues naturally become drier as we age. Water deficiency (actually, a significant issue with most people) is one of the major reasons for connective tissue injuries, pain, discomfort and inflammation, and slow recovery.

Movement and water must be part of anyone’s healing protocol because they importantly help transport herbal remedies (either orate or topical) to key body areas.

The nature of herbs for musculoskeletal issues is to work on the cause of a connective tissue or joint injury. They act as catalysts during the inflammation, repair and remodeling phases of an injury. This means they may help to regulate restoration of fluids (as in the synovial and bursae membranes), provide micronutrients to tissues and joints, assist in adjusting of connective tissue tensions during healing, and more. Herbs also have phytonutrients that aid in symptomatic relief, such as pain and inflammation, and can be a very safe and effective replacement for pain medications and aids.

It is important to use herbs that support musculoskeletal health, and to use them in both topical and oral ways for optimal benefits.

AllinOneHealthFor decades, we have specifically focused on a few key herbs that work very well for bone, joint, cartilage and tissue health. One herb, Solomon’s Seal, is especially prized for its diverse effectiveness. We have also added to its effectiveness by combining it with other herbs (like Horsetail, Pleurisy Root, Gravel Root, etc.) to create a synergistic (additive) effectiveness. Our most popular tincture, Formula #6: All-in-One is a very potent, high dosage combination of herbs from our other formulas with renowned effectiveness. So, consider a good oral tincture as part of your healing strategy.

The skin is our largest organ and its absorbent qualities allow it to be a transporting vessel for healing herbs prepared as salves, lotions or transdermal sprays. A deep penetrating topical salve is instant therapy, especially if rubbed in well and/or applying moist heat afterwards (simply a heating pad placed over a slightly damp cloth) for 45 minutes or so.

Our body almost entirely recreates itself cell-by-cell within 30-90 days (more or less!). This should be seen as a kind of “healing window” that we can partake in with a healing protocol. During this window of time there is a lot of cellular birth, death, waste and regeneration that can be greatly assisted by nutrient-rich herbs. The key is BE REGULAR!

Many people wonder why they have not healed sooner than expected. There can be a number of reasons (for example, related to diet, stress, previous injuries, disease, etc.), but a major factor is lack of consistent devotion to a healing strategy within a compressed period of time, like 30-90 days.


Please visit our website: www.solomonsseal.net for detailed information about our therapeutic line of herbal remedies geared specifically for musculoskeletal issues.


(Glick, J. The female knee in athletics. Physician and Sports Medicine. 1973; 1:35-37.;Powers, J. Characteristic features of injuries in the knees of women. Clin. Orthop. Rel. Res. 979; 143:120-124.)

(Lutter, J.M., Lee, V. Exercise in pregnancy. In Pearl AJ, (ed.), The Female Athlete in Human Kinetics. Champaign, IL: 1993; p. 81-86.)

(Rosner, I. Estradiol receptors in articular cartilage. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 1982; 106:1378-1382.)

Article about the periosteum:





Cortesia Quick Relief Liniment (with Solomon’s Seal): Its Use and Effectiveness

An herbal liniment is a medicinal liquid formulated with herbs in a base of rubbing alcohol, Witch Hazel, or oil. It is firmly rubbed into the skin to provide temporary, fast-acting pain relief for sore and inflamed joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It may also alleviate some of the discomfort of arthritis, bursitis, circulation problems, old injuries, rheumatism, sprains, strains, bumps, and bruises.

Liniments are extremely practical, having been used for thousands of years, often giving necessary short-term relief from pain, discomfort and stiffness within minutes. For those with joint health issues (stiffness, inflammation, pain), an effective liniment is invaluable. Athletes and outdoor recreation enthusiasts, from runners to gardeners, often use a liniment before and after exercise to keep muscles and joints loose and flexible. It goes without saying: Every medicine chest should have a bottle of liniment.

We have taken great care in formulating our Cortesia Quick Relief Liniment. The selected organic herbs are known for their individual and synergistic therapeutic value. They are steeped in a Witch Hazel and Isopropyl Alcohol base for many weeks for optimal distillation of each herb’s chemical constituents. We hand-bottle each liniment on demand from the steeping menstrum base to ensure highest and freshest therapeutic qualities.

Although liniments are not designed to provide long-term relief from chronic pain or discomfort, they work especially well when combined with herbal salves and/or tinctures, which are more lasting over time in their healing effects. We discuss this healing strategy thoroughly below. Continue reading


Using an Herbal Liniment: Key Part of a 3-Step Healing Strategy

An herbal liniment (such as our Cortesia Quick Relief Liniment) is a medicinal liquid of herbs in a base or “carrier” of rubbing alcohol, Witch Hazel, or oil that is firmly rubbed into the skin to provide temporary, fast-acting pain relief and increased blood circulation. A liniment can be used alone, however, its effectiveness is increased when part of a 3-Step Healing Strategy using an accompanying topical salve and tincture. A good therapeutic liniment is effective for the following types of conditions:

  • Sore and inflamed joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments
  • Alleviation of the discomfort of arthritis, bursitis, and rheumatism
  • Circulation problems (increases blood circulation in affected area)
  • Sprains, strains, and bruises
  • Injuries or discomforts from sports, gardening, work, or recreational activities associated with the above symptoms
  • Other conditions that may benefit from short-term relief

Liniments are one of the oldest known natural medicinal interventions, fully using the therapeutic qualities of certain plants. They have been used for thousands of years, applied externally on humans and animals alike. Horse trainers use liniments extensively to relieve leg strains and injuries unique to horses. Athletes and sports enthusiasts often find quick relief by using a liniment. (For example, rub in a liniment briskly before and after your morning or afternoon run or strenuous workout). Similarly, people suffering from arthritis or bursitis greatly benefit from the short-term relief that a liniment provides.

Although liniments are not designed to provide long-term relief from chronic pain or discomfort, they work especially well when combined with herbal salves and/or tinctures, which are more lasting over time in their healing effects. We discuss this healing strategy thoroughly below. Massage will also enhance the effects of a liniment. Continue reading


Welcome to Cortesia Solomon’s Seal

Sunbeams at Cortesia Sanctuary

The purpose of this blog is to help you understand the potential healing benefits of the plant, Solomon’s Seal. It supports the vast information on our website www.solomonsseal.net.

The featured articles, complete with illustrations and practical strategies, explore the numerous health conditions and injuries Solomon’s Seal may help. But we don’t stop there. You will also find articles about nutrition, diet, exercise and more, including topics that tap the spirit and mind.

If optimal health is a priority in your life, then perhaps this blog has a place in your life. May we suggest that you suscribe, if desired. Or, bookmark this blog and our website. Visit our Facebook page for the latest news. Rate a favorite article, or offer a comment. If you desire to purchase any products, there are links readily available to our website store.

The blessings of health to you, always.


Solomon’s Seal: Increased Healing Benefits with 7 Key Herbs

Note: Much of the content of this article was carefully researched and formulated by the creator of the line of Cortesia Solomon’s Seal tinctures, Tricia Clark-McDowell

We’ve written extensively about the effectiveness of Solomon’s Seal in connection with damaged tendons, ligaments, muscles, bones, inflammation, and more. It is possible, however, to hone in on very specific physical conditions with advanced Solomons’s Seal formulas that work synergistically to foster even deeper healing.

Consequently, the powerful healing properties are enhanced when Solomon’s Seal is carefully combined with one or more seven key herbs to address specific issues, such as arthritis, bone repair and bone building, cartilage and tissue damage, deep pain and tension, and women’s issues related to menopause and PMS.

This article guides you specifically about how we have combined Solomon’s Seal with one or more of the following powerful seven herbs to create specific formulas:

  • Agrimony
  • Blue Vervain
  • Boneset
  • Gravel Root
  • Horsetail
  • Mullein
  • Pleurisy Root

First, let’s review the numerous healing benefits and suggested uses for regular Solomon’s Seal itself: Continue reading


10 Surefire Ways to Increase Pain and Reduce Healing

Pain and discomfort for most people are constant life companions. We obtain diseases or experience an injury. We age, overuse our body, don’t take care of our body. As a result, pain can interfere with daily life. It can be sharp and immediate, called acute pain, or more long-term, called chronic. In any case, pain demands us to manage it in some way so as to minimize its negative impact.

Ask yourself this question about pain: Do I take actions that control my pain or do some of my habits and routines actually increase my pain level?

Whether your pain is acute or chronic, there are surefire ways to increase your pain, thereby working absolutely contrary to the desired effect of reducing pain and increasing healing. This article takes a different approach to managing your pain. It offers ten tried-and-true ways to stay miserable with pain. Continue reading