How to determine if a Herb or Supplement is a good choice?

I tend to be (excessively) systematic and logical in treating CFS. My last post dealt with antibiotics, which I know many people will stop reading on seeing the word antibiotic.  The same logic applies to herbs and supplements. I will look at a set of herbs known as adaptogens. I pick this set because they alter stress and I speculate that the mechanism may be altering of gut bacteria because of recent articles finding that unstressed mice became stressed after a fecal transplant. Whether we find any research to support this speculation is another question.

The items that I am looking at are mentioned in prior posts[emotions, sleep]are:

So how do you determine if it is a good candidate?

Criteria 1: Has it shown to be effective for IBS? Ideal is X% remissions, acceptable is improvement. Antibiotics for IBS have been far better studied than CFS, and with 90% of CFS having IBS, it’s a good proxy.

.. Magnolia Bark   Ashwaganda    Jujube Fruit  Rhodiola rosea
IBS nothing nothing nothing nothing


Criteria 2:  Reduces known overgrowth and does not impact undergrowth.

From an early post, we know what to look for. So take theherb name and each of the items below and see what is known on PubMed. Finding nothing will often be the result — especially for less researched herbs and lesser known bacteria.

.. Magnolia Bark   Ashwaganda    Jujube Fruit  Rhodiola rosea
Klebsiella/Enterobacter HIGH nothing nothing nothing nothing
Enterococcus HIGH nothing nothing nothing nothing
Streptococcus HIGH  good activity against [1995]
E.Coli LOW no impact[2007] reduces[2013] nothing low impact[2002]
Bifidobacterium LOW  nothing nothing nothing nothing
Lactobacillus LOW nothing nothing increases [2007] nothing
Rhodospirillales LOW nothing nothing nothing nothing
Actinomycetales LOW nothing nothing nothing nothing
Fusobacteriales LOW nothing nothing nothing nothing
Flavobacteriales LOW nothing nothing nothing nothing

Criteria 3: Does it release histamines (part of the Herx Reaction)?

.. Magnolia Bark   Ashwaganda    Jujube Fruit  Rhodiola rosea
Histamines inhibits [2001] appears to inhibit appears to inhibit inhibits[1997]

This is an interesting “grand slam” – all of them reduces histamine levels.

Criteria 4: Does it promote coagulation or does it thin the blood? In general, you want no impact or thinners or should have heparin available if it thickens.

.. Magnolia Bark   Ashwaganda    Jujube Fruit  Rhodiola rosea
Coagulation no impact [2007] improves[2000] nothing nothing

Bottom Line: Magnolia Bark and Jujube Fruit looks like the best choices given this limited knowledge.