Archive for the ‘Herbs’ Category

Rheumatoid arthritis, Thunder God vine

August 2, 2009

Thunder God vine (Tripterygium wilfordii) is widely used in China for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. A recent placebo- controlled double-blind trial demonstrated benefit in rheumatoid arthritis. (Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism 26(5)713-723, April 1997) This herb also possesses anti-inflammatory principles, stimulates circulation, and reduces swelling. Copyright 1997 Phylis Austin


Capsaicin, trigeminal neuralgia

July 30, 2009

Capsaicin, from red pepper, has recently been reported helpful in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. An ointment containing capsaicin was applied over the painful area three times a day. Six of 12 patients had complete pain relief, four patients reported a decrease in pain, and two patients reported no benefit. (Anesthesia and Analgesia 74:375-377, 1992) Copyright 1992 Phylis Austin

Black cohosh, Cimicifuga racemosa, osteoporosis

July 26, 2009

A recent report from the Department of Endocrinology at the University Medical Center, Georg-August-University Gottingen, Gottingen, Germany showed that BNO 1055, an extract from black cohosh, Cimicifuga racemosa reduced bone loss in rats. Two studies in postmenopausal women showed improvement in bone metabolism.
European Journal of Integrative Medicine 1(Suppl 1) November 2008
Copyright 2009 Phylis A Austin

Osteoporosis, black cohosh

July 14, 2009

An extract from the rhizome of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) has been shown to prevent osteoporosis in laboratory rats. A study in postmenopausal women demonstrated improved osteoblast activity, resulting in improved bone health.
(European Journal of Integrative Medicine 1 (Suppl 1)553, November 2008
Copyright 2009 Phylis Austin

Aloe, asthma

July 6, 2009

The Japanese have been using aloe vera extracts in the treatment of asthma. Asthma patients were given 5 milliliters of 20 percent extract from fresh aloe vera leaves twice a day. After 24 weeks 40 percent of the patients in the study reported significant improvement. Patients who had previously been dependent on corticosteroid medications were less likely to benefit from the aloe vera. (Alternatives 5(18)138, December 1994; Planta Medica 85:273-5, 1985) Copyright 1995 Phylis Austin

Artichoke leaf for irritable bowel syndrome

August 10, 2008

One or two capsules of a standardized extract of artichoke leaves improved symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in a study of over 200 volunteers. Alternating constipation/diarrhea decreased, and subjects in the study who also reported dyspepsia reported improvement in those symptoms.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder with an incidence of 15% estimated in the North American population. Symptoms include abdominal pain and alternating constipation and diarrhea, but no pathology is apparent on examination. Abdominal pain is typically relieved after the bowel is emptied. There may be mucus in the stools, abdominal distention, discomfort in the upper abdomen after meals, and urgency to use the toilet. Some women report an increase in symptoms around the menstrual period. It occurs most commonly in the late 20’s, with females afflicted approximately twice as often as males. The cause is not clearly understood.

Careful diet may improve symptoms. Slowly increasing the fiber intake, avoiding large or fatty meals, and a lactose-free diet may all be helpful. Caffeine often exacerbates symptoms.

There are two subcatagories — constipation predominant symptoms and diarrhea predominant symptoms. Both subtypes benefit from increased dietary fiber or fiber supplements.

Artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) given as a commercial product (Cynara (TM)) was taken daily for two months in this study. There were no significant differences in the group given one or two tablets per dose.

(Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 10(4)667-669, 2004

Chamomile for burns and diaper rash

July 4, 2008

Cooled chamomile tea or chamomile flowers added to bath water may be soothing for the inflammation of diaper rash or burns. Chamomile has been found to contain alpha-bisabolols, which contain anti-inflammatory qualities. (Medical Self Care (52)15, September- October, 1989)

Copyright 1989 Phylis Austin

St John’s wort

July 4, 2008

St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) has traditionally been used in the treatment of mild depression, but we do not yet understand how it works.

St. John’s wort compares favorably with light therapy in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Hypericum, an extract from St. John’s wort is known to increase deep sleep.

Hyperforin, another extract, has recently been shown effective in the treatment of depression. (Pharmacopsychiatry 33(2)60-5, March 2000)

Copyright 2000 Phylis A Austin