Hawthorn Berry Profile

Hawthorn Berry Benefits

 

Used to promote the health of the circulatory system, treat angina, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia and has been found to strengthen the heart. Hawthorn is widely regarded in Europe as a safe and effective treatment for the early stages of heart disease and has been used for a number of ailments including angina, myocarditis, arteriosclerosis, nervous conditions like insomnia, and diarrhea. It has also been indicated for strengthening blood vessels, vascular insufficiency and blood clots, restoring the heart muscle wall, lowering cholesterol and to aid digestion.

Hawthorn is widely regarded in Europe as a safe and effective treatment for the early stages of heart disease and is endorsed by Commission E- the branch of the German government that studies and approves herbal treatments. It is used to promote the health of the circulatory system and has been found useful in treating angina, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia. It has been found to strengthen the heart and stabalise it against arrythmias.

There is also evidence for cardiovascular system improvement, particularly in clinical parameters associated with angina, congestive heart failure and acute myocardial infarct. This may be due to the herb’s antioxidant activity. Its use in the treatment of hepatitis in modern Chinese medicine is supported by the demonstration of hepatoprotective activity in animal studies.

Colour Illustration of a Hawthorn branch.

Animal and laboratory studies have found that hawthorn contains active compounds with antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals; damaging compounds in the body that alter cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Free radicals occur naturally in the body, but environmental toxins (including ultraviolet light, radiation, cigarette smoking, and air pollution) can also increase their number.

 
Latin Name: Crateagus oxycanthus

Common Names: English hawthorn, Haw (Black Haw is Viburnum pruifolium L.), May, May blossom, May bush, May tree, Quick-set, Shan-cha, Thorn-apple tree, Whitethorn

Properties:
Astringent, antispasmodic, cardiotonic, carminative, diuretic, sedative, stimulant, vasodilator

Biochemical Information::
Anthocyanin-type pigments, choline, citric acid, cratagolic acid, rich in bioflavonoids, flavonoid glycosides, tannins, glavone, glycosides, inositol, PABA, purines, saponins, sugar, tartaric acid, minerals and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12, and C.

Indicated for:
Valve prolapse, angina, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, myocarditis, arteriosclerosis. Hawthorn can normalise blood pressure by regulating heart action; extended use can lower blood pressure. Good for heart muscle weakened by age. Can help strengthen blood vessels, reduce palpitations, help prevnt vascular insufficiency, blood clots (embolism, phlebitis). Dilates coronary vessels to restore the heart muscle wall. Lowers cholesterol. Good for nervous conditions like insomnia. Aids digestion. Relieves abdominal distention and diarrhea, food stagnation, abdominal tumors and is good for dropsy.

Free radicals are believed to contribute to the ageing process as well as the development of a number of health problems including heart disease. Antioxidants found in hawthorn can neutralise free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.

Congestive heart failure

Hawthorn has primarily been studied in people with congestive heart failure (a health condition in which the heart is unable to pump adequate amounts of blood to other organs in the body). Of six well-designed trials, four studies concluded that hawthorn significantly improved heart function and three found that the herb improved patients’ ability to exercise. Patients in five of the six studies reported that hawthorn significantly improved symptoms of the disease (such as shortness of breath and fatigue). One study found that hawthorn extract (900 mg/day) taken for 2 months was as effective as low doses of captropril (a leading heart medication) in improving symptoms of congestive heart failure. A large-scale international study is currently underway to determine whether hawthorn extract reduces the risk of death in people with this disease. Results are expected at the end of 2002.

Atherosclerosis

Animal and laboratory studies demonstrate that this herb has antioxidant properties that help protect against the formation of plaques, which leads to a health problem known as atherosclerosis. Plaque buildup in the vessels that supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood may cause chest pain (angina) and heart attacks while plaque buildup in the arteries that supply blood to the brain may result in stroke.

Chest pain

Hawthorn berry preparations have been shown to combat chest pain (angina), a health problem caused by insufficient blood flow to the heart. In one early study, 60 angina patients were given either 180 mg/day of hawthorn berry-leaf-flower extract or placebo for 3 weeks. Those who received the hawthorn preparation experienced improved blood flow to the heart and were also able to exercise for longer periods of time without suffering from chest pain.

High cholesterol

Studies using rats suggest that a hawthorn tincture (made from the berries) may be a powerful agent for the removal of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from the bloodstream. The tincture of hawthorn berries also reduced the production of cholesterol in the liver of rats who were being fed a high-cholesterol diet. Studies to determine if hawthorn will confer the same effects in people are needed.

High blood pressure

Although hawthorn has not been studied specifically in people with high blood pressure, considerable evidence supports the cardiovascular benefits of this herb. Studies suggest that hawthorn can be taken safely by people with hypertension who are also taking blood pressure medications.

Notes:

Though non-toxic, hawthorn can produce dizziness if taken in large doses.

Hawthorn contains heart-affecting compounds that may affect blood pressure and heart rate. Seek medical supervision if you suffer from a heart condition or are taking heart related medication.

Avoid if colitis or ulcers are present.

There are no known scientific reports on the pediatric use of hawthorn. Therefore, it is not currently recommended for children.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not use hawthorn.

Avoid if you are using Digoxin or Phenylephrine.

Green Tea Profile

Green Tea Benefits

 

Used to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, boost the immune system, prevent ulcers, control inflammation, viral colds and flu, prevent gum disease, cavities, and bad breath. It also been indicated for lowering cholesterol, preventing heart disease, osteoporosis and blood clots.

Green tea has been the focus of exciting new studies indicating its effectiveness in raising metabolism for weight loss and preventing & fighting cancer and other disease with its super antioxidants. It has a long list of potential health benefits and is used to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, boost the immune system, prevent ulcers, control inflammation, viral colds and flu, prevents gum disease, cavities, and bad breath. It also been indicated for lowering cholesterol, preventing heart disease, osteoporosis and blood clots.

A colour illustration of a Green Tea plant.

Green Tea is well-established as a potent source of healing antioxidants called polyphenols, the same beneficial compounds found in fruits and vegetables and even in red wine. The leaf also boasts the presence of a superstar antioxidant called EGCG (epigallocatechin-gallate) as well as other notable healing substances including fluoride, catechins, and tannins.

 
Latin Name: Camellia sinensis

Common Name: Green Tea

Properties:
anti-viral, antioxidant, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic, analgesic, astringent, cardiotonic, digestive, nervine, and carminative.

Indicated for:
Fighting Cancer, Preventing Cancer, Lowering Cholesterol, Preventing Heart Disease, Facilitates in weight loss and fat oxidation. Can reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes and several types of cancer. Helps regulate blood sugar. Prevents or lowers high blood pressure. Boosts the immune system. Helps prevent ulcers. Slows the aging process. Controls inflammation. Reduces blood cholesterol. Fights viral colds and flu. Prevents gum disease, cavities, and bad breath. Can help prevent osteoporosis and blood clots. Helps stabilize blood lipids. High triglycerides, hypertension. May actually lower the risks for arteriosclerosis. Improving the ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol. Reduces platelet aggregation

Tannins are thought to help the body discharge toxins due to pollution and to accelerate the metabolism of fats.

Chemical analysis has revealed that green tea contains significant amounts of water-soluble vitamins and minerals, particularly zinc, manganese, potassium, niacin, folic acid and vitamin C. In fact, one cup of green tea has more vitamin C than an orange. Researchers at the University of Kansas attributed green tea with 100 times the antioxidant strength of vitamin C, and 25 times that of vitamin E. A United States Department of Agriculture study found that the antioxidant capacity of green tea is better than twenty-two various fruits and vegetables.

It aids in treating high cholesterol, high triglycerides, hypertension, and stimulates immune functions. Green Tea may actually lower the risks for arteriosclerosis. Research has shown that it guards against cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol levels, improving the ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol, reduces platelet aggregation (clumping or clotting of blood cells), and lowers blood pressure.

This herb eases mental fatigue and has been used in treating digestive tract infections. The Chinese often use it to treat migraine headaches. It can also help to prevent plaque buildup on the teeth, and since the leaves contain a natural fluoride, may be helpful in preventing tooth decay. It can help to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. Swiss researchers even have preliminary evidence that green tea accelerates the burning of fat calories in people who are overweight.

A small but interesting 1999 study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation in men who took a green tea extract as opposed to a placebo or caffeine alone.

Many of the medicinal claims made for green tea haven’t been examined outside a laboratory setting, specifically in clinical trials that assess the plant’s health effects in people. On the other hand, the pure research findings are exciting and there certainly appears to be no harm in integrating this extract into your daily diet.

Although the evidence for humans is not yet conclusive, green tea may help to:

Lose Weight

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted a study in which it was found that green tea extract significantly increased energy expenditure (a measure of metabolism), and fat oxidation. The researchers felt that this study had wonderful implications for weight control. The study indicated a nearly 40% increase in daytime thermogenesis. In other words, dieters would burn 40% more fat during the day with Green Tea Extract.

Prevent cancer

The antioxidant EGCG sets in motion a process called apoptosis. Interestingly, the cell death that ensues only affects cancer cells, not healthy ones. EGCG may well enhance the body’s natural antioxidant system as well, encouraging the elimination of damaging oxygen molecules called free radicals.

Hasan Mukhtar, Ph.D., professor at Case Western Reserve University and a prominent researcher in this area, believes there is “a strong indication that green tea is protective for prostate as well as esophageal and stomach cancers.”

Japanese men, who commonly drink four to six cups of green tea daily, have a significantly lower mortality rate from prostate cancer than Westerners. And the incidence of prostate cancer in China, whose population consumes green tea regularly, is the lowest in the world. Evidence from a growing number of animal and lab studies suggests that green tea may be protecting these men against prostate cancer. A Mayo Clinic study this past year found that the main polyphenol in green tea, called EGCG, inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells and in high concentrations destroys them. Scientists at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland reported recently that green tea polyphenols inhibit an enzyme that is over-expressed in prostate cancer, indicating that green tea might be effective in prostate cancer prevention. And a preliminary study by Japanese researchers at Kobe University showed that mice fed a green tea extract and then injected with a substance that causes prostate cancer were less likely to grow tumors than control animals.

In a large-scale study of more than 35,000 post-menopausal Iowa women (American Journal of Epidemiology, 7/96), those who drank two or more cups of tea daily were less likely to develop cancers of the urinary or digestive tract.

One large-scale study in China found that people who drank as little as one cup of green tea a week for six months had a reduced risk of developing certain kinds of cancers (rectal, pancreatic, and others) than did people who drank green tea less frequently or not at all. Other preliminary research indicates that green tea can help to combat breast, stomach, and skin cancer.

Scientists have even discovered that applying green tea to the skin can help cure and prevent some forms of skin cancer and other skin disorders, protect the skin from both long-term and short-term damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays and act as an antibacterial agent when applied to skin infections.

Evidence from the Nurses’ Health Study suggests that green tea beverage consumption is associated with a lower incidence of breast cancer, lung cancer, and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. In a physiologic study, green tea beverages drunk with meals inhibited the development of nitrosomines (carcinogenic compounds) in human volunteers.

Treat Arthritis

Antioxidants in green tea may prevent and reduce the severity of osteoarthritis. Studies have shown that if you consume approximately four cups of green tea a day you may be able to protect yourself from developing arthritis, and if you already have arthritis, consuming green tea can help to diminish the inflammation it causes.

In an animal study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 1999, researchers found that polyphenols, the antioxidants found in green tea, reduced the likelihood of developing a type of arthritis similar to human rheumatoid arthritis. Not only was the polyphenol group less likely to develop arthritis but, in those who did develop the condition, the disease occurred later and was milder than that which occurred in the water-drinking group. Of 18 animals drinking polyphenols, only eight developed arthritis, compared with 17 of 18 mice in the control group. According to the investigators: “Based on our data, it is tempting to suggest that green tea in general, and the polyphenols present therein in particular, may prove to be a useful supplement/addition with other agents for the treatment of arthritis.”

Notes:

Green tea contains caffeine and as such should not be used in large quantities while pregnant or nursing or by people who are not allowed caffeine.

Ginseng (Russian) Profile

Ginseng (Russian) Benefits

 

Russian Ginseng, a relatively new addition to Western natural medicine, has quickly gained a reputation similar to that of the better known and more expensive Korean Ginseng. Unlike many herbs with a medicinal use, it is more useful for maintaining good health rather than treating ill-health. Research has shown that it stimulates resistance to stress and so it is now widely used as a tonic in times of stress and pressure. Regular use is said to restore vigour, improve the memory and increase longevity. It has been used during convalescence and in the treatment of menopausal problems, geriatric debility, physical and mental stress and a wealth of other ailments.

Russian Ginseng or Eleuthero has been used in China for 2000 years as a folk remedy for bronchitis, heart ailments, and rheumatism, and as a tonic to restore vigour, improve general health, restore memory, promote healthy appetite, and increase stamina. Referred to as ci wu ju in Chinese medicine, it was used to prevent respiratory tract infections as well as colds and flu. It was also believed to provide energy and vitality. In Russia, eleuthero was originally used by people in the Siberian Taiga region to increase performance and quality of life and to decrease infections.

Eleuthero’s ability to increase stamina and endurance led Soviet Olympic athletes to use it to enhance their training. Explorers, divers, sailors, and miners used eleuthero to prevent stress-related illness. After the Chernobyl accident, many Russian citizens were given eleuthero to counteract the effects of radiation.

Although a relatively new addition to Western natural medicine, it has quickly gained a reputation similar to that of the better known and more expensive Korean Ginseng. Unlike many herbs with a medicinal use, it is more useful for maintaining good health rather than treating ill-health. Research has shown that it stimulates resistance to stress and so it is now widely used as a tonic in times of stress and pressure. Regular use is said to restore vigour, improve the memory and increase longevity. It has been used during convalescence and in the treatment of menopausal problems, geriatric debility, physical and mental stress.

Colour illustration of Russian Ginseng plant.

They are classified to the group of adaptogens, which raise resistance to various negative factors: physical, chemical, biological and psychological. The preparations stimulate physical and mental ability, raise the organism resistance at various kinds of sicknesses, poisoning, irradiation. They stimulate central nerve system, sex glands activities, decrease sugar and cholesterine level in blood, improve appetite, sharpen sight and hearing.

Eleuthero produces a comprehensive strengthening and toning impact; it has been recommended in treating various neural diseases, impotence, lung ailments, medium forms of diabetes mellitus, and malignant tumours.

 
Latin Name: Eleutherococcus senticosus, Acanthopanax senticosus

Common Names: Ci Wu Jia, Devil’s Bush, Eleuthero, Eleutherococcus senticosus, Russian Ginseng, Russian Root, Shigoka, Siberian Ginseng, Taiga, Thorny Pepperbush, Touch-Me-Not, Wild Pepper

Properties: Adaptogenic, anti-aggregatory, anti-diabetic, anti-edema, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative effects on leukemia cells in vitro (Bradley, 1992; Hacker and Medon, 1984), anti-stress (Takasugi, 1985), endocrine, endurance-enhancing, hypoglycaemic, hypotensive, immunomodulator, immunoprotective, immunostimulant, platelet aggregation-inhibiting, radiation protection (Yonezawa, 1989), restorative, stimulant, tonic, vasodilator.

Indicated for:
Addictions, Alzheimer’s disease, athletic support, bone cancer, boosting immune system, breast carcinoma, bronchitis, cardiovascular health, chemotherapy support, chronic fatigue syndrome, countering athletic fatigue, depression, diabetes mellitus, energy and vitality, enhancing vision,enhancing resilience, exhaustion and debility, fatigue, fibromyalgia, hantavirus, heart ailments, herpes, HIV support, Hodgkin’s disease, impotence, improving athletic working capacity, general health &mental resilience, increasing stamina, physical endurance under stress & mental alertness, infections, influenza, kidney cancer, lung ailments, maintaining well-being, malignant tumours, memory, myopia, neural diseases, oral cavity carcinoma, ovarian carcinoma, preventing respiratory tract infections, colds & flu, promoting healthy appetite, protection from toxins, radiation, reduce the effects of physical stress, rejuvenation, rheumatism, restore vigour, sore throat, skin melanoma, stomach carcinoma, stress, supporting the endocrine system.

The results of pharmacological investigations of Eleuthero have been summarised by I. V. Dardymov and E. l. Khasina (1993) in their book. The authors postulate Eleuthero’s effects on the body, which involve an energy-mobilizing impact primarily through intensified utilization of glucose and a stress-protective effect conditioned by change in central nervous system and hormonal regulation. In an alarming situation, the adrenal glands release corticosteroids and adrenaline which prepare the organism for the fight or flight reaction. When these hormones are depleted, the organism reaches an exhaustive phase. Eleutherococcus delays the exhaustive phase and can allow a more economical and efficient release of these hormones.

Another way that eleuthero reduces stress on the body is to combat harmful toxins. Eleuthero has shown a protective effect in animal studies, against chemicals such as ethanol, sodium barbital, tetanus toxoid, and chemotherapeutic agents. Eleuthero can also reduce the side effects of radiation exposure.

Eleuthero has been shown to have immunoprotective effects against breast (mammary gland) carcinoma, stomach carcinoma, oral cavity carcinoma, skin melanoma and ovarian carcinoma. It was found to have a pronounced effect on T lymphocytes, predominantly of the helper/inducer type, but also on cytotoxic and natural killer cells. Its active ingredients may also be of use in combating herpes simplex type II infections.

Germany’s Commission E approved eleuthero as a tonic in times of fatigue and debility, declining capacity for work or concentration, and during convalescence. Other uses for eleuthero are for chronic inflammatory conditions and traditionally for functional asthenia (Bruneton, 1995). Eleuthero has also been reported to increase stamina and endurance and protect the body systems against stress-induced illness and fatigue.

Eleuthero has been shown to enhance mental acuity and physical endurance without the letdown that comes with caffeinated products. Research has shown that eleuthero improves the use of oxygen by the exercising muscle. This means that a person is able to maintain aerobic exercise longer and recovery from workouts is much quicker.

Other findings that are more positive have resulted from animal and human studies of eleuthero’s other potential effects. Chemicals in eleuthero appear to produce moderate reductions in blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels and modest improvements in memory and concentration. Eleuthero may also have mild estrogenic effects. In laboratory studies, various chemicals found in eleuthero have also shown antiviral and anticancer properties, but these effects have not been well studied in humans.

Several studies were conducted to evaluate the effects of eleuthero on eye conditions and color distinction. One study evaluated the pre and post-operative effects of eleuthero extract (1.5 ml twice daily) on 282 male or female patients suffering from primary glaucoma (102 cases) and eye burns (58 cases). Beneficial effects were noted in both treatments. Eleuthero was also found beneficial in 122 cases of myopia treatment (Zaikova, 1968).

In 50 patients with normal trichromatic vision a single dose of eleuthero extract (2 ml) stimulated color distinction (red and green) within 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion. Maximum effect was reached in six to seven hours and persisted for a minimum of 29 hours (Sosnova, 1969).

Immune System

Evidence is also mounting that eleuthero enhances and supports the immune response. Eleuthero may be useful as a preventive measure during cold and flu season. Recent evidence also suggests that eleuthero may prove valuable in the long-term management of various diseases of the immune system, including HIV infection, chronic fatigue syndrome, and autoimmune illnesses such as lupus.

In perhaps the most convincing study carried out so far, B. Bohn and co-workers in Heidelberg, West Germany looked at immune parameters in 18 individuals in a randomised, double-blind fashion for a total of four weeks. The subjects in this study had venous blood drawn both before and after Eleutherococcus Senticosus administration, and the samples were analysed by flow cytometry, which counted absolute numbers of immune cells present in their blood.

Overall, the Eleutherococcus Senticosus group showed an absolute increase in all immune cells measured. Total T-cell numbers advanced by 78 per cent, T helper/inducer cells went up by 80 per cent, cytotoxic Ts by 67 percent, and NK cells by 30 per cent, compared to the control group. B Iymphocytes, which are cells that produce antibodies against infectious organisms, expanded by 22 per cent in the Eleutherococcus Senticosus subjects, compared to controls. Most importantly, no side effects were noted in the Eleutherococcus Senticosus subjects up to five months after Eleutherococcus Senticosus administration ended.

The researchers stated: ‘We conclude from our data that Eleutherococcus senticosus exerts a strong immunomodulatory effect in healthy normal subjects.’ The Bohn study has caused drug companies to spend millions of dollars in an effort to get Eleutherococcus Senticosus approved as a drug by the FDA in the States.

The increases in T, B, and NK cells in people given Eleutherococcus Senticosus suggest that it could be very useful in alleviating the immune suppression associated with strenuous exercise. In addition, one might speculate about a positive effect of Eleutherococcus Senticosus in the very early stages of HIV (AIDS-virus) infection. In an HIV-infected patient, Eleutherococcus Senticosus might prevent or retard the spread of the virus, thanks to the synergistic positive actions of elevated numbers of both helper and cytotoxic T cells.

Supporting these findings, Eleutherococcus Senticosus is now used in the support of cancer patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy, especially in Germany. Studies have shown that ES, when administered to patients, drastically reduces the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy (e.g., nausea, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and loss of appetite). Other research with cancer patients has linked Eleutherococcus Senticosus with improved healing and recovery times, increased weight gain, and improved immune cell counts. In Russia, the administration of Eleutherococcus Senticosus to cancer patients seemed to permit larger than normal doses of drugs utilised in chemotherapy, thus speeding treatment periods.

How does Eleutherococcus Senticosus actually spur the immune system to greater activity? At present, there is no consensus. Some researchers believe that Eleutherococcus Senticosus induces increased interferon biosynthesis (interferon is a powerful chemical which boosts immune-system activity), while others believe that polysaccharides (long-chain sugar molecules) naturally found in Eleutherococcus Senticosus stimulate the activity of special white blood cells called macrophages. These macrophages play a number of roles in the immune system, including the breakdown of infected cells and the stimulation of other immune cells. However, the polysaccharides are probably ‘non-specific’ immune stimulants, which means that their effectiveness fades fairly quickly and that they must be administered continuously or at regular intervals in order to produce a positive effect.

Athletes & Antibiotics

Why should athletes try to stimulate their own immune systems, rather than rely on antibiotics and other remedies to control infections? Obviously, prevention of infection can promote more consistent, high-quality training and lower the risk of missed competitions. In addition, many microorganisms are now resistant to many of the commonly used antibiotics. That means that an infection picked up during heavy training may be more difficult to shake off than ever before.

Some of the more notable antibiotic-resistant organisms include Streptococcus pyogenes, which causes ‘strep throat’, upper respiratory infections, and is reported to be resistant to both penicillin and chloramphenicol. Another common bacterial species, Hemophilus influenzae, which produces both ear and upper-respiratory tract infections, is now resistant to a variety of antibiotics, including chloramphenicol, ampicillin, and tetracycline. Staphylococcus aureus, which causes ‘staph infections’ of the skin, especially around surgical wounds, is resistant to erythromycin, tetracycline, and the so-called B-lactam antibiotics. Finally, certain strains of Escherichia coli, which have caused deaths in recent incidents when customers of restaurants have consumed contaminated or poorly cooked meat, are resistant to a variety of different drugs.

Investigators in the US recently completed a pilot study in which Eleutherococcus Senticosus extract was given to AIDS patients in hopes of improving their immune-system functioning and overall survivability. The results were very promising, and so a four-city, randomised, double-blind, clinical trial will be carried out with Eleutherococcus Senticosus in the near future.

Extracts of Eleutherococcus senticosus appear to have the ability to prevent immune suppression in vigorously training athletes and may limit the risk of infection. By boosting recovery following hard workouts, E. senticosus may also downgrade athletes’ chances of overtraining.

There is a relatively small number of controlled clinical trials performed with eleuthero. A single-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial lasting eight days investigated the effect of eleuthero extract (2 ml, twice daily) on working capacity and fatigue of six male athletes, ages 21-22. Oxygen uptake, heart rate, total work, and exhaustion time were measured. Significant results were observed in all parameters, particularly the 23.3% increase in total work noted in the eleuthero test group compared with 7.5% of the placebo group (Asano, 1986).

An eight-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated the efficacy of eleuthero extract (3.4 ml daily) on submaximal and maximal exercise performance of 20 highly trained distance runners. No significant difference was observed between test and control groups in heart rate, oxygen consumption, expired minute volume, respiratory exchange ratio, perceived exertion, and serum lactate levels (Dowling, 1996).

Note:

Eleuthero is different from both American ginseng and Panax ginseng. They are not interchangeable.

Reported side effects have been minimal with use of eleuthero. Mild, transient diarrhea has been reported in a very small number of users.

Eleuthero may:

  • cause insomnia in some people if taken too close to bedtime.
  • interact with certain medications, such as sedatives, barbiturates and anti psychotic drugs.
  • cause an increase in the effects of oral anti-diabetic medications.

Diabetic patients should ingest it solely under medical supervision.

Avoid:

  • in pregnancy and lactation.
  • use in patients with high blood pressure, liver or kidney disease.
  • combining this herb with other plants or substances that have a stimulating effect upon the central nervous system, such as Guaraná, Coffee, Ephedra (Ma Huang), mate or black tea.
  • use during acute phase of infections.
  • use at night in patients suffering from insomnia.
This herb is not prescribed for children, and should not be used for more than 3 weeks at one time. Avoid caffeine when using this herb.

Ginseng (Asian) Profile

Ginseng (Asian) Benefits

 

Asian Ginseng is one of the most highly regarded of herbal medicines in the Orient, where it has gained an almost magical reputation for being able to promote health, general body vigour, to prolong life and treat many ailments including depression, diabetes, fatigue, ageing, inflammations, internal degeneration, nausea, tumours, pulmonary problems, dyspepsia, vomiting, nervousness, stress, and ulcers.

Asian Ginseng has a history of herbal use going back over 5,000 years. It is one of the most highly regarded of herbal medicines in the Orient, where it has gained an almost magical reputation for being able to promote health, general body vigour and also to prolong life. The genus name Panax is derived from the Greek word meaning “panacea” or “all-healing”; the species ginseng is said to mean “wonder of the world”. Both terms refer to the medicinal virtues of the plant. In the last decade it has gained popularity in the West and there is extensive literature on the beneficial effects of ginseng and its constituents.

Ginkgo Biloba is especially good when combined with Panax Ginseng.

A colour illustration of a Asian Ginseng plant.

Ginseng has been listed by some as useful in the treatment of anemia, cancer, depression, diabetes, fatigue, hypertension, insomnia, shock, effects of radiation, effects of morphine and cocaine use, environmental, physical and mental stress, and chronic illness. It has been said to act as a stimulant, promote endurance, increase life expectancy, relax the nervous system, improve mental awareness, encourage proper hormonal functions, improve lipid levels, lower cholesterol, improve nerve growth, and increase resistance to disease. It has been used to increase the appetite and bodily energy, regulate menses, ease childbirth, increase fertility of women, and treat periodontal disease

Research has shown that Ginseng may have the ability to act as an “adaptogen”, prolonging life by combating viral infections and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Research continues to support ginseng’s protective role against anti-cancer treatments and drugs, perhaps even countering the side effects of chemotherapy.

There is some thought that Ginseng may be useful for the prevention of abuse and dependence of opioids and psychostimulants.

 
Latin Name: Panax Ginseng

Common Names: Asian Ginseng, Chinese Ginseng, Guigai, Jiln Ginseng, Korean Ginseng, Ninjin, Oriental Ginseng, Panax schinseng, Red Ginseng, Ren Shen, Seng, Shen Lu, Shen Ts’Ao, Tane-Ninzin

Properties:
adaptogen, alterative, anti-complement, auto-immune stimulant, anti-oxidant, anti-tumour, anti-viral, aphrodisiac, carminative, demulcent, emetic, expectorant, nervine, phagocytic, psychotropic, somnogenic, stimulant, stomachic, tonic.

Indicated for:
Atherosclerosis, adrenal insufficiency, ageing, anemia, cancer, chronic illness, depression, diabetes, dyspepsia, effects of radiation, effects of morphine and cocaine use, encouraging proper hormonal function, fatigue, heart problems, hypertension, impotence, increasing energy, infertility, inflammation, improving abstract thinking, reaction times and mental awareness, improving lipid levels, improving nerve growth, increasing life expectancy, increasing resistance to disease, insomnia, internal degeneration, lowering cholesterol, mental wellbeing, nausea, nervousness, periodontal disease, physical wellbeing, poor memory, poor circulation, pseudomonas aeruginosa, pulmonary problems, relaxing the nervous system, regulating menses, shock, stress (environmental, physical and mental), stimulating appetite, tiredness, tumours, ulcers, vaginal dryness, viral infections, vomiting, weakness.

Ginseng has been used to both stimulate and relax the nervous system. It increases capillary circulation in the brain and decreases the effects of stress. Though there are many kinds of ginsengs in the world but they cannot rival Asian Ginseng in ingredients and medicinal effects. It contains as many as 29 different ginsenosides while the others contains 8-9.

Asian Ginseng contains anti-ageing substances such as anti-oxidants and insulin-like substances which are not found in any other type of ginseng.

Ginsenosides are a diverse group of steroidal saponins, which demonstrate the ability to target a myriad of tissues, producing an array of pharmacological responses. However, many mechanisms of ginsenoside activity still remain unknown. Since ginsenosides and other constituents of ginseng produce effects that are different from one another, and a single ginsenoside initiates multiple actions in the same tissue, the overall pharmacology of ginseng is remains remarkably complex and esoteric.

In western herbal medicine, Panax ginseng’s regulating effects on the immune system have been studied for potential effectiveness in preventing colds, flu, and some forms of cancer. In clinical studies, Panax ginseng has been shown to lower blood levels of both sugar and cholesterol, therefore it may help treat type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Its other potential uses are not as well defined, however. In separate studies of laboratory animals and humans, Panax ginseng had a relaxing effect on muscles in the lungs. The resulting airway expansion may help relieve asthma symptoms and other lung conditions that result from constricted airways.

In other studies, a combination of Panax ginseng and gingko is believed to boost memory and thinking processes. Early results from laboratory study may show that chemicals in Panax ginseng promote the growth of blood vessels, which could be valuable in treating extensive injuries.

Recent reports on the pharmacology of ginseng indicate a wide range of effects, including influence on the central nervous system, endocrine and adrenocortical systems, internal, organs, metabolism, blood pressure and sugar, gonadotropic activity, cellular ageing, tumours, and stress. Ginseng appears to relieve stress, increase sexual activity, and facilitate mating in laboratory animals. The herb has been reported to be effective in prolonging survival time during cardiac arrest. It is reported to show hypoglycemic activity. Asian Ginseng has also been identified to protect the testis against 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-di-benzo-di-p-DIOXIN inducing testicular damage. This particular dioxin is the most dangerous of perhaps the most toxic chemical group known to science. Dioxins are known to cause cancer in humans.

Other data shows it works not only in preventing adult diseases including cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and impotence but can also aid in treatment.

German Commission E monograph and WHO support the use of ginseng as a prophylactic and restorative agent for enhancement of mental and physical capacities, in cases of weakness, exhaustion, tiredness, and loss of concentration, and during convalescence (WHO, 1999). In general, ginseng is used as a tonic, stimulant, aphrodisiac, immune booster, blood pressure modulator (lowers and raises, depending on needs), and a modulator of blood sugar level (lowers or raise, depending on needs).

Notes:

Ginseng should not be taken, without prior consultation with a doctor, if you:

  • Are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • Have diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure

or are taking:

  • Anti-coagulants
  • Diabetic medicine
  • Diuretics
  • Heart medicine
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • Nervous system stimulants
  • Pain killers
Consuming large amounts of caffeine or other stimulants while taking ginseng can result in nervousness, sleeplessness, elevated blood pressure, and other complications.

Avoid ginseng if you have an acute illness, uncontrolled high blood pressure, an irregular heart rhythm, or if you are pregnant.

Higher than commonly recommended doses may cause nervousness, insomnia, headache, skin eruptions, stomach upset, and increased menstrual bleeding and breast tenderness. If you experience any of these reactions, reduce your dose or stop taking the herb.

Panax ginseng is different from American ginseng and Eleuthero (formerly Siberian ginseng). They are not interchangeable.

Ginkgo Biloba Profile

Ginkgo biloba Benefits

Ginkgo biloba has been traced back nearly 300 million years making it the oldest surviving tree species on earth! The Chinese have used the plant medicinally for eons but many of the modern applications come from the research of German scientists. Ginkgo is a prescription herb in Germany.

Ginkgo Biloba is especially good when combined with Panax Ginseng.

Ginkgo extract has proven benefits to elderly persons. This ancient herb acts to enhance oxygen utilization and thus improves memory, concentration, and other mental faculties. The herbal extract has also been shown to significantly improve long-distance vision and may reverse damage to the retina of the eye. Studies have also confirmed its value in the treatment of depression in elderly persons. The ginkgo extract may provide relief for persons with headache, sinusitis, and vertigo. It may also help relieve chronic ringing in the ears known as tinnitus.

A colour illustration of a Ginkgo biloba branch .

In studies, Ginkgo biloba has been reported as demonstrating anti-oxidant abilities with improvements of the platelet and nerve cell functions and blood flow to the nervous system and brain. It has also been reported as reducing blood viscosity. It’s ability to increase vascular dilation, may help reduce retinal damage due to macular degradation and may reverse deafness caused by reduced blood flow.

 
Latin Names: Ginkgo biloba, Salisburia adiantifolia, Salisburia macrophylla

Common Names: Bai Guo, Ginkgo Nut, Japanese Silver Apricot, Kew Tree, Maidenhair Tree, Yinhsing

Properties:
Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Improves blood flow, Strengthens blood vessels, Relaxes the lungs, circulatory system tonic, vasodilator

Indicated for:
Acrocyanosis, allergies, Alzheimer’s & Mental Function, asthma, cerebral atherosclerosis and/or insufficiencies, cochlear deafness, cramp from walking, dementia, depression, diabetes related nerve damage and poor circulation, diabetic retinopathy, erectile function, headaches, impotency, improving circulation to the brain in the elderly, improving deafness, improving long-distance vision and possibly reversing damage to the retina, intermittent claudication, leg ulcers, macular degeneration, menopause, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, peripheral and cerebral circulatory stimulation, peripheral vascular disease, PMS, poor circulation, Raynaud’s disease, senile dementia, short-term memory loss, sinusitis, strengthening memory, strokes, tender or painful breasts, thrombosis, tinnitus, varicose veins, vertigo, white finger and spontaneous bruising.

Recently, extensive research on the herb has been conducted on the healing properties of the leaf extract. Germany and France have run literally hundreds of studies on the leaf extract. These studies along with similar studies in America, have shown significant results. The extract of Ginkgo biloba has been studied for its effectiveness in the treatment of Acrocyanosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Cerebral atherosclerosis, Cerebral insufficiencies, Cochlear deafness, Dementia, Depression, Menopause, Peripheral and cerebral circulatory stimulation, Peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud’s syndrome, Retinopathy, Senility, Short-term memory loss, Tinnitus, Vascular Diseases, and Vertigo.

It is said to be effective in improving the blood flow to the hands and the feet as well as stimulating the brain and reducing short-term memory loss. It increases blood flow to the brain, the uptake of glucose by brain cells, and has been said to improve the transmission of nerve signals.

Depression: Patients suffering from varying degrees of vascular insufficiency also noted an improvement in mood while taking ginkgo biloba extract. This has prompted a surge of interest in its use as a treatment for depression, especially in the elderly. Many people have found GBE to enhance other depression treatments and to often even prevent the need for pharmaceutical treatments in mild cases of depression. Those under the age of fifty may also benefit from ginkgo biloba’s antidepressant effects. So far though, the greatest level of improvement has been noted with older patients.

Alzheimer’s & Mental Function: As more than 300 studies demonstrate, ginkgo facilitates better blood flow through out the body, most notably the brain, where it both protects and promotes memory and mental function, even for people with Alzheimer’s disease. It also offers a wealth of possibilities in the treatment of many other common ailments.

Alzheimer’s: Since doctors are still not sure what causes Alzheimer’s disease, we do not have a definite idea of how ginkgo works to stabilise, and in some cases, improve the quality of life for those suffering from this degenerative disease. Scientists have noted that Alzheimer’s is marked by a major loss of nerve cells in the brain, particularly those in areas controlling memory and thinking. Since doctors have found antioxidants to help slow the destruction of nerves, it is not a stretch to see ginkgo’s antioxidant properties helping in this area. The disease is also believed to have a connection to decreased blood flow to the brain. If so, ginkgo’s vasodilating effects may be a big help in the treatment process. Either way, prominent doctors and scientists believe ginkgo to be the supplement of choice to help hold off and possibly treat Alzheimer’s.

Antioxidant Properties: Although oxygen is essential for life, it can have adverse effects on your body. Unstable oxygen molecules can often be created during our body’s normal break down and use of oxygen or can form in response to external factors and pollutants. These unstable molecules, called free radicals, can damage cells and structures within cells. If the genetic material in cells is affected and not repaired, it can replicate in new cells, contributing to cancer and other health problems. These free radicals may also weaken artery walls, allowing fatty deposits that can lead to hear disease. As an antioxidant, ginkgo biloba combats free radicals and repairs molecular damage. A great deal of research suggests that antioxidants such as GBE may play important roles in preventing or delaying heart disease, cancer and other ills. Antioxidants may even halt the damage to cells, thereby slowing the effects of aging.

Impotency: Another use for ginkgo biloba is in the treatment of impotency. The main cause of male impotence is poor circulation and impaired blood flow through the penis, which is often the result of atherosclerosis. Since ginkgo biloba increases blood flow, it’s been found to help up to fifty percent of patients after six months of use.

Raynaud’s disease: Raynaud’s disease is believed to be caused by blood vessels that over react to the cold and spasm, reducing blood flow and there by depriving extremities of oxygen. Ginkgo biloba may help this condition by widening the small blood vessels, which would keep these spasms from completely blocking the blood flow.

Parkinson’s Disease: The lack of dopamine is believed to produce the progressive stiffness, shaking and loss of muscle coordination typical in Parkinson’s disease. Doctor’s theorise that along with other treatments, Ginkgo biloba may help symptoms by increasing the brain’s blood flow and there by allowing more of the depleted dopamine to be circulated to the areas that need it most.

Other Conditions: Other uses for which ginkgo biloba extract is often recommended include depression, diabetes related nerve damage and poor circulation, allergies, vertigo, short-term memory loss, headache, atherosclerosis, tinnitus, cochlear deafness, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and PMS.

Strokes: Scientists continue to study the prevention and treatment benefits to stroke patients that are attributed to GBE. It’s believed that by preventing blood clots from developing and increasing the blood flow to the brain, ginkgo biloba may help stop strokes from occurring. It’s also believed that the herb inhibits free-radical damage of brain cells after a stroke.

Multiple sclerosis & Organ transplant: GBE also appears to have an anti-inflammatory action that may make it valuable in the future for conditions such as multiple sclerosis and organ transplants.

Notes:

Ginkgo should be discontinued after three months if ineffective.

Ginkgo can interfere with platelet aggregation and, as such, individuals taking anti-coagulants (blood thinners) or antithrombotic medicines, including aspirin should seek professional guidance.

Individuals who take medications to prevent seizures and individuals who have ever had a seizure should avoid taking ginkgo.

Ginkgo should be avoided two days before and one to two weeks after surgery to avoid bleeding complications.

Ginkgo is not recommended during pregnancy, breast-feeding, or early childhood.

Fo-Ti Root Profile

Fo-ti Root Benefits

 

Modern research indicates that this herb contains an alkaloid that has rejuvenating effects on the nerves, brain cells and endocrine glands. It stimulates a portion of the adrenal gland and helps to detoxify the body. It has been used for a long list of ailments including atherosclerosis, constipation, fatigue, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, blood deficiency, nerve damage, eczema, scrofula and inflammation of lymph nodes and heat toxicity. It is also indicated to boost the immune system and increase sexual vigour.

Chung Yun, a famous Chinese herbalist who reportedly lived to be 256 years old, used Fo-Ti on a daily basis. This herb is thought to have been responsible for both his long life and his legendary sexual prowess, (he was said to have had 24 wives). In another Chinese legend Fo-ti was thought to be responsible for returning natural black colour to a previously gray-haired man- He Shou Wu means “black haired Mr. He.”

Thankfully, we have a little more to go on than folk medicine legends. Modern research indicates that this herb contains an alkaloid that has rejuvenating effects on the nerves, brain cells and endocrine glands. It stimulates a portion of the adrenal gland and helps to detoxify the body. Hair health, energy and sexual vigor are the products of this rejuvenation.

Processed fo-ti contains protein-sugar complexes known as lectins.

Processed fo-ti contains protein-sugar complexes known as lectins. Because they attach to specific arrangements of carbohydrates on cells in the body, lectins act like antibodies, but they do not cause allergy symptoms. The lectins in processed fo-ti may affect fat levels in the blood, helping to prevent or delay heart disease by blocking the formation of plaques in blood vessels. Plaques are accumulations of fat and other cells that restrict the size of blood vessels and limit the flexibility of their walls.

 
Latin Name: Polygonum multiflorum

Common Names: Chinese Knotweed, Climbing Knotweed, Flowery Knotweed, He-Shou-Wu, Kashuu

Properties:
Astringent, demulcent, tonic.

Uses:
Atherosclerosis, Constipation, Fatigue, High cholesterol, Hair Health, Rejuvenation, Sexual Vigour, Detox the body, Lower cholesterol and blood pressure

Indicated for:
Blood deficiency, premature graying of the hair, nerve damage, wind rash, eczema, sores, carbuncles, goiter, scrofula and inflammation of lymph nodes and heat toxicity. Immune boosting.

 
Because they attach to specific arrangements of carbohydrates on cells in the body, lectins act like antibodies, but they do not cause allergy symptoms. The lectins in processed fo-ti may affect fat levels in the blood, helping to prevent or delay heart disease by blocking the formation of plaques in blood vessels. Plaques are accumulations of fat and other cells that restrict the size of blood vessels and limit the flexibility of their walls. In animal studies, processed fo-ti also reduced the amount of fat that deposited in the liver and it may protect the liver from damage by toxins such as dry cleaning fluid. Processed fo-ti may also have immune system effects.

Although supported by a small number of animal studies and numerous human case reports from China, where processed fo-ti has been used for centuries as an anti-aging tonic, none of these uses for processed fo-ti has been confirmed by controlled studies in humans.

Blood deficiency, premature graying of the hair, nerve damage, wind rash, eczema, sores, carbuncles, goiter, scrofula and inflammation of lymph nodes and heat toxicity. The herb is also used to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and restore from exhaustion.

The whole root has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, according to animal and human research, as well as to decrease hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Other fo-ti research has investigated this herb’s role in strong immune function, red blood cell formation and antibacterial action

For more information on Fo-ti visit drugdigest.org.

Note:
Some people who are sensitive to fo-ti may develop a skin rash. Very high doses may cause numbness in the arms or legs.

Fenugreek Profile

Fenugreek Benefits

Fenugreek has a long history as a breast enlarger and contains diosgenin which is used to make synthetic estrogen. It has been found to promote the growth of new breast cells and increase the size and fullness of the breasts. Of all the herbs used for breast enlargement fenugreek has the highest concentrations of the effective plant compounds. Diosgenin, a steroid sapogenin is the starting compound for over 60% of the total steroid production by the pharmaceutical industry. Other sapogenins found in fenugreek seed include yamogenin, gitogenin, tigogenin, and neotigogens.

While Fenugreek is considered the finest herb for enhancing feminine beauty it also aids in sexual stimulation, balances blood sugar levels, and contains choline which aids the thinking process. Fenugreek has been the focus of several studies concerning the treatment of diabetes and the prevention of breast cancer. Its ability to balance hormone levels aids in treating PMS and menopause. Its antioxidants slow ageing and help prevent disease.

The plant has also been employed against bronchitis, fevers, sore throats, wounds swollen glands, skin irritations, diabetes, ulcers, and in the treatment of cancer. Fenugreek has been used to promote lactation and as an aphrodisiac.

Fenugreek contains an amino acid called 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which appears to increase the body’s production of insulin when blood sugar levels are high.

 
Information
Latin Name:
Trigonella foenum-graecum

Common Names:
Fenugreek, Alhova, Bird’s Foot, Greek Clover, Greek Hay, Hu Lu Ba, Methi, Trigonella

Properties:
antioxidant, carminative, demulcent, expectorant, laxative, and stomachic

Uses:
Breast enhancement and health, increasing breast milk, sexual desire, PMS, blood sugar, anti-oxidants, menopause.

Diabetes. (Check with your doctor first).

Indicated for:
Fevers, sore throats, wounds, swollen glands, skin irritations, ulcers, muscle aches and gout pain.

Colour illustration of a Fenugreek Plant.  
Higher insulin production may decrease the amounts of sugar that stay in the blood for many individuals. In some studies of animals and humans with both diabetes and high cholesterol levels, fenugreek lowered cholesterol levels as well as blood sugar levels.

However, no blood-sugar lowering effect was seen in non-diabetic animals. Similarly individuals with normal cholesterol levels showed no significant reductions in cholesterol while taking fenugreek.

Fenugreek contains an amino acid called 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which appears to increase the body’s production of insulin when blood sugar levels are high. Higher insulin production may decrease the amounts of sugar that stay in the blood for many individuals. In some studies of animals and humans with both diabetes and high cholesterol levels, fenugreek lowered cholesterol levels as well as blood sugar levels.

Some evidence suggests that fenugreek may also have other medical uses. It may reduce the amounts of calcium oxalate in the kidneys. Calcium oxalate often contributes to kidney stones. In animal studies, fenugreek also appeared to lessen the chance of developing colon cancer by blocking the action of certain enzymes.

Topically, the gelatinous texture of fenugreek seed may have some benefit for soothing skin that is irritated by eczema or other conditions. It has also been applied as a warm poultice to relieve muscle aches and gout pain.

Fennel Profile

Fennel Benefits

 

Rich in phytoestrogens, Fennel is often used for colic, wind, irritable bowel, kidneys, spleen, liver, lungs, suppressing appetite, breast enlargement, promoting menstruation, improving digestive system, milk flow and increasing urine flow. Fennel is also commonly used to treat amenhorrea, angina, asthma, anxiety, depression, heartburn, water retention, lower blood pressure, boost libido, respiratory congestion, coughs and has been indicated for high blood pressure and to boost sexual desire.

Fennel is a useful addition to any of the Breast Enlargement herbs and has an impressive number of other health benefits.

Fennel is also commonly used to treat amenhorrea, angina, asthma, heartburn, high blood pressure and to boost sexual desire. Fennel is a mild appetite suppressant and is used to improve the kidneys, spleen, liver and lungs.

Fennel is an effective treatment for respiratory congestion and is a common ingredient in cough remedies.

 
Latin Name:
Foeniculum vulgare

Common Names:
Large fennel, sweet fennel, wild fennel, finocchio, carosella, Florence fennel, Fennel

Properties:
Warming, carminative (an aromatic which tends to expel wind from the alimentary canal, or to relieve colic, griping, or flatulence), Antispasmodic, Antidepressant, Promotes milk-flow in nursing mothers, Stomachic, pectoral, diuretic, diaphoretic, aromatic, Anti-microbial, Pain reducing, fever reducing.

Uses:
Colic, Wind, Irritable bowel, Increase urine flow, Breast enlargement, Promotes menstruation, Improves digestive system, Improves milk flow, anxiety, depression, arthritis, water retention, appetite suppressant, amenhorrea, angina, asthma, heartburn, lower blood pressure, boost libido, respiratory congestion, coughs

It is also used for cancer patients after radiation and chemotherapy treatments to help rebuild the digestive system. Fennel relaxes the smooth muscle lining the digestive tract (making it an antispasmodic). It also helps expel gas.

It is a tested remedy for gas, acid stomach, gout, cramps, colic and spasms. Fennel seed ground and made into tea is believed to be good for snake bites, insect bites or food poisoning. Excellent for obesity. It increases the flow of urine. It is gargled for hoarseness and sore throats.

Available in 100 Vegetarian Capsules each 500mg pure herb. Also try our new 100ml) Fennel tincture.

Avoid internal use during pregnancy.

Black Cohosh Profile

Black Cohosh Benefits

 

Black Cohosh has been used by Native Americans for more than two hundred years, after they discovered the root of the plant helped relieve menstrual cramps and symptoms of menopause. These days it is still used for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes/flushes, irritability, mood swings and sleep disturbances. It is also used for PMS, menstrual irregularities, uterine spasms and has been indicated for reducing inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and neuralgia.

Herbal researcher Dr. James Duke has this to say about Black Cohosh; “Black cohosh really should be better known in this country, especially with our aging population and the millions of women who are now facing menopause. Recognized for its mild sedative and anti-inflammatory activity, black cohosh can help with hot flashes and other symptoms associated with that dramatic change of life called menopause. It’s also reported to have some estrogenic activity. Herbalist Steven Foster refers to a study that compared the effects of conventional estrogen replacement therapy with black cohosh. That study looked at 60 women, younger than 40 years old, who had had complete hysterectomies and were experiencing abrupt menopause. In all groups, treatment with black cohosh compared favorably with conventional treatment.”

“Native Americans used the roots and rhizomes of this member of the buttercup family to treat kidney ailments, malaria, rheumatism, and sore throats. Early American settlers turned to it for bronchitis, dropsy, fever, hysteria and nervous disorders, lumbago, rattlesnake bites, and yellow fever. It’s also reportedly well known for easing PMS and menstrual irregularities.”

 
Latin Names: Actaea racemosa L, Cimicifuga racemosa, Cimicifuga heracleifolia, Cimicifuga dahurica, Cimicifuga foetida

Common Names: Black Cohosh, Black Snakeroot, Bugbane, Squawroot, Bugwort, Rattleroot, Rattleweed, Richweed, Cimicifuga, Sheng ma, Chinese Black Cohosh

Suggested Properties:
Mild sedative, relaxant and anti-inflammatory. Contains glycosides (sugar compounds), isoferulic acids and, possibly, phytoestrogens (plant based estrogens). Diaphoretic, antipyretic, antifungal and antibacterial.

Uses:
Menopause; Hot flashes, irritability, mood swings and sleep disturbances
PMS
Menstrual irregularities
Uterine spasms

Indicated for:
Reducing inflammation associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Neuralgia.

This estrogenic activity, notes Dr. Duke, can contribute to a ‘mastogenic’ effect; the natural enlargement of the breasts. Black Cohosh has also been used to induce labour and should not be used during pregnancy.

A dozen studies or more conducted throughout the 1980s and 1990s confirm that the long-standing use of black cohosh for menopausal symptoms has scientific validity. For example, in a German study involving 629 women, black cohosh improved physical and psychological menopausal symptoms in more than 80% of the participants within four weeks. In a second study, 60 menopausal women were given black cohosh extract, conjugated estrogens, or diazepam (a leading anti-anxiety medication) for three months. Those who received black cohosh reported feeling significantly less depressed and anxious than those who received either estrogens or diazepam. In another study, 80 menopausal women were treated for 12 weeks with black cohosh extract, conjugated estrogens, or placebo. Black cohosh improved anxiety, menopause and vaginal symptoms. In addition, the number of hot flashes dropped from 5 to less than 1 average daily occurences in the black cohosh group compared to those taking estrogen in whom hot flashes dropped from 5 to 3.5 daily occurences.

Given these examples, and results of other studies, some experts have concluded that black cohosh may be a safe and effective alternative to estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) for women who cannot or will not take ERT for menopause.

Preliminary studies also suggest that black cohosh may help reduce inflammation associated osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In a review of scientific studies, researchers concluded that a combination of black cohosh, willow bark (Salix spp.), sarsaparilla (Smilax spp.), guaiacum (Guaiacum officinale) resin, and poplar bark (Populus tremuloides) may help relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis.

For more information on Black Cohosh visit drugdigest.org.

Note:
Black cohosh has an estrogen-like effect, and women who are pregnant or lactating should not use the herb. Large doses of this herb may cause abdominal pain, nausea, headaches, and dizziness. Women taking estrogen therapy should consult a physician before using black cohosh.

Large doses of black cohosh cause symptoms of poisoning, particularly nausea and dizziness, and can also provoke miscarriage.

Black cohosh should not be used by those who have full-blown measles or those who are having trouble breathing. It should also not be used by those with excess in the upper regions and deficiency in the lower part of the body.

Dong Quai Profile

Dong quai Benefits

Dong Quai is also known as Chinese Angelica and is primarily known for it’s uses in treating women’s problems including lack of sexual desire, the symptoms of menopause, cramps and PMS. It aids in increasing the effects of hormones in both men and women and is widely used as an aphrodisiac. Dong Quai is particularly useful in helping to end hot flashes and menstrual cramps. It is also used as a liver tonic and in treating sciatica and shingles. It is one of the most widely consumed herbs in China, used as frequently as ginseng and licorice. Dong quai has been used by the Chinese for more than two thousand years, as a strengthener of the heart, lung, spleen, liver and kidney meridians and as a tonic for the blood. It is traditionally characterized as a warm atmospheric energy that promotes blood circulation.

Colour illustration of a Dong Quai plant.
 
Latin Names: Angelica sinensis, Angelica polymorpha

Common Names: Dong Quai, Chinese Angelica, Women’s Ginseng, Danggui, Danngui, Dong Qua, Tang Kuei, Tang Kwei, Doong Quai, Qingui, Yungui, Kara Toki, Min-gui, Tan Kue Bai zhi

Pharmaceutical name: Radix Angelicae Sinensis

Properties:
Mild laxative, Warming and restorative, antiseptic, diuretic, diaphoretic, expectorant, anti-spasmodic

Indicated for:
PMS, menopause, cramps, increasing libido. Constipation, pain, migraines and headaches. Abnormal heart rhythm, prevention of the accumulation of platelets in blood vessels (contributing to plaque formation or atherosclerosis), protecting the liver, promoting urination, promoting sleep, fighting infection and soothing ulcers. Promoting blood circulation and lowering blood pressure.

The root has earned a reputation as the “ultimate herb” for women. It is widely used among Chinese women as a fortifying daily tonic, much as Chinese men rely on ginseng. Women in other parts of the world have also discovered this 5,000 year old tradition that naturally provides balancing and normalizing support for women’s unique rhythms, cycles and body systems. It is not recommended during pregnancy or menstruation or for people taking blood thinning agents. Reports indicate that dong quai may lower blood pressure in some individuals.

Dong quai contains compounds that, in laboratory tests, have demonstrated activities that may translate into reduction of pain, dilation of blood vessels and stimulation as well as relaxation of uterine muscles. Animal studies suggest that dong quai may treat abnormal heart rhythm, prevent accumulation of platelets in blood vessels (contributing to plaque formation or atherosclerosis), protect the liver, promote urination, act as a mild laxative, promote sleep, fight infection and soothe ulcers. The data consists primarily of laboratory and animal studies with a few preliminary studies in people. More studies are needed to determine the herb’s safety and effectiveness in humans.

Other studies suggest that dong quai offers some value when used in conjunction with other Chinese herbs, particularly black cohosh, to treat PMS. When used in combination with ginseng (Asian ginseng) and astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), dong quai decreased symptoms of chest pain and improved exercise tolerance in a small group of people with heart disease. A series of reports published in China indicate that the use of dong quai just following a stroke demonstrated a decrease in the amount of brain damage.

It has also been indicated for constipation, migraines, pain and liver disorders though studies are still lacking.

Note:

Dong quai is not recommended for children because no information relating to appropriate doses of the herb for children has been found in the literature to date. Dong quai should not be used by those who have chronic diarrhea or abdominal bloating. At particularly high doses it may increase an individual’s sensitivity to sunlight and subsequently cause skin inflammation and rashes. People taking dong quai should minimize their exposure to sunlight or use sunscreen while taking the herb. It should not be taken with other medications or herbs (such as St. John’s wort) that cause the same reactions.

Dong quai should not be used during pregnancy because it may affect the muscular functioning of the uterus. It should also be avoided by nursing mothers, because there is little information about its effect on the infant through breast milk.

Dong quai can increase the potency and therefore potential risks of blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin, so it should not be taken with these medicines. Although there is little research on the use of dong quai with hormone medications such as estrogens, progesterones, oral contraceptives, tamoxifen or raloxifene, health practitioners advise against using them together due to the possibility of adverse effects.

Although reported extremely rarely and not published in the scientific literature, combining dong quai with other herbs that thin the blood could possibly increase the risk of bleeding in some people. When combined with dong quai, herbs with this potential should be used only with tremendous caution and supervision. These include feverfew, garlic, ginger, ginkgo biloba, asian ginseng, licorice, chinese skullcap and turmeric.