The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Frequently Asked Questions


Marilyn Alm writes:

1. No herb tea except the mints, black, and green regular tea, and ginger is SCD legal. We can add a bit of clove, for instance, to regular tea, but we should not make clove tea. The difference is quantitative -- the amount of clove essence that we get from a single clove in a single cup of tea (which should then be diluted) is vastly difference from the amount of clove we would get if we took a teaspoon of clove, poured boiling water over it, let it steep, and then drank THAT tea.

2. Chamomile is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which would seem to make it an ideal tea for SCDers. However... (you knew it was coming, right?), I seriously do not think it would be a wise idea.

Had to go digging a bit, but I thought I remembered something which was a cause for concern. The following is from Healthnotes.Info. It's confirmed in several other sources, but I didn't have to type the following in.

Chamomile has traditionally been used in Europe for gastrointestinal upsets.

Chamomile is often taken three to four times daily between meals as a tea. Common alternatives are to use 2-3 grams of the herb in tablet or capsule form or 4-6 ml of tincture three times per day between meals. Standardized extracts containing 1% apigenin and 0.5% volatile oils may also be used. One to two capsules containing 300-400 mg of extract may be taken three times daily. Topical creams or ointments can be applied to the affected area three to four times daily. It has been used for people on methotrexate, a drug sometimes given for autoimmune issues, to help alleviate mouth sores.

Though rare, allergic reactions to chamomile have been reported. These reactions have included bronchial constriction with internal use and allergic skin reactions with topical use. While reports of such side effects are uncommon, people with allergies to plants of the Asteraceae family (ragweed, aster, and chrysanthemums), as well as mugwort pollen should avoid using chamomile. Chamomile is usually considered to be safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding. However, there is one case report in which a pregnant woman who took chamomile as an enema had an allergic reaction that led to the death of her newborn.

The flowers of chamomile contain 1-2% volatile oils including alpha-bisabolol, alpha-bisabolol oxides A & B, and matricin (usually converted to chamazulene).1 Other active constituents include the flavonoids apigenin, luteolin, and quercetin. These active ingredients contribute to chamomile’s anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and smooth-muscle relaxing action, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract.

It is this last trait which causes me serious concern. If you're already either moving things along too quickly, or not moving them at all, then it seems to me probable that you wouldn't want something which is going to completely relax the gut. You will either open it up and allow things to move on through that much more rapidly, or cause your gut to lie down on the job and say, "Well, yawn, I think I'll take a nap just now!"

This strikes me as a Bad Idea, and therefore, I'd have to say that my considered opinion would be, fond as I am of chamomile, and however many cups of the lovely, aromatic brew I drank pre-SCD, not to mention the number of tinctures and salves I've compounded with it, that I could not, in good conscience, recommend it.

If you are currently drinking it, and feel it has benefit for you that outweighs the probable negatives, then by all means, continue. (I discussed an illegal supplement off list with Elaine, and we concluded that for me, the benefits outweighed the negatives, but the fact that I do use it makes me that much more scrupulous about the rest of my diet.)

If you are currently drinking it and are not seeing the progress from SCD that you had hoped, then I recommend eliminating it from your program for at least three months, and see what happens.

If you are not currently drinking it, I really could not suggest you start, because of my concerns.

Sorry -- I liked it, too.

— Marilyn
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Author of forthcoming book about Louisiana cuisine.



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"We must never forget that what the patient takes beyond his ability to digest does harm."
    Dr. Samuel Gee

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