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Guide to Herbal Supplements

Learn the Truth About these Top Sellers

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One other contraindication that I just discovered. St. John's Wort can make contraceptives less effective. This is stated on the patient information insert of Nuva Ring. Report
Herbal supplements can be very effective in managing and treating a variety of diseases. However, they should be treated as any other drug. With caution, and do not take anything without educating yourself first. Report
It's just like any other issue, everyone has an opinion. Report
HILARYDOUGILL
On the subject of herbal medicines. It is wise to consult a herbal medical practitioner or doctor of Natural medicine, if in any doubt. There are very few harmful properties, and certainly many less than in allopathic drugs., but there are some. A practitioner can keep you right on this score. Please, do not pick herbs yourself from hedgerows, as many dangerous plants look very similar to very safe ones. The herbs used by practitioners have been grown under glass in very hygienic conditions., and the tablet forms are manufactured under very strict guidelines. The very best of health to you all. (I am a Herbalist and a Doctor of Natural Medicine, and have been for the last 30 years) Report
POWERZONE
Thanks for the warning but I think its pharmaceticals we should be concerned about!
Almost sounds like the article is steering people away from herbal supplements that have an extremely high safety history compared to pharmaceuticals!
The regulations for supplements vary from country to country, in Australia we have extremely high standards set by the government. I do believe the majority of supplement companies have the consumers health at heart, despite a few being pulled up by the FDA for having tainted products. So despite what you may read on the label a product may in fact contain a restricted drug! This has been the case a number of times as the FDA tested a whole array of weight loss products to find they contained strong stimulants and diuretics that we not listed on the label.

This obviously comes back to a quality control issue in the end and applying a stricter testing policy before products are released to the market. This is what we have in place in Australia.

So in the end it's not the herbal ingredients you have to worry about its the unlisted pharmaceuticals that some unscrupulous companies sneak in to enhance the effect of their product!

Pure herbal medicine is one of the safest means to optimizing your health and does in fact have an extremely good track record. Report
I do use natural remedies in tea form, but I agree that it's important to know the company marketing the herb and to tell one's doctor all medications one's taking, including herbs. A few years ago, my 70-something year old father started acting very bizarre, to the point that my siblings and I were worried about dementia. My youngest brother, who's a nurse, visited my dad's apartment and discovered that Dad had started taking herbal supplements without notifying his doctor. To make a long story short, one of the supplements was interacting with one of Dad's prescription meds and causing the strange behavior. Once that supplement was discontinued, Dad was back to normal. Moral of the story: tell your herbalist what prescriptions you take, and tell your doctor what herbal supplements you take. Report
I take valarian for sleep, all the time. I would not take it any other time. But it does enhance my sleep. Appreciate this work up on herbs. Report
Thanks for the great information. It is easy to understand. Report
I totally agree with CRANBYRRE and RMARYT. God gave us what we need on this earth. To comment on RMARYT, I did not know those statistics. Wow! Now if we just ate naturally like God intented! LOL
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Excellent article. Most herbal supplement users are unaware of possible drug interactions and side effects. There are population groups who should not use these supplements at all. A doctor's recommendation should be obtained for anyone on medication or with special health concerns. I do know that Registered Dieticians and Lactation Consultants often recommend Fenugreek (which will make you smell like maple syrup BTW) and Blessed Thistle to increase milk production. Report
CRANBYRRE
All this warning about herbal meds!! 200 THOUSAND people die each year from drugs prescribed by doctors, under a doctors care, while only about 200 (NOT 200 thousand, just 200) die from herbal overdose!! Report
All medicine can be dangerous, even herbs. But they are still better for your body than the chemicals that are produced today. IMHO

I believe that God put herbs on earth for us to be able to doctor ourselves. He certainly didn't put pharmaceutical companies here. The FDA, doctors etc have tried for years to be able to regulate herbs which they can't do because it's a "natural plant" Europe regulates, I believe. Think of the money they'd, government and pharmaceutical companies, get if they could get a hold of herbs! Of coarse you'd still be able to buy it across the counter at the local store in Mexico.

Some Modern Medicines derived from plants:

Drug/Chemical Action/Clinical Use Plant Source
Acetyldigoxin Cardiotonic Digitalis lanata
Adoniside Cardiotonic Adonis vernalis
Aescin Anti-inflammatory Aesculus hippocastanum
Aesculetin Anti-dysentery Frazinus rhychophylla
Agrimophol Anthelmintic Agrimonia supatoria
Ajmalicine Circulatory Disorders Rauvolfia sepentina
Allantoin Vulnerary Several plants
Allyl isothiocyanate Rubefacient Brassica nigra
Anabesine Skeletal muscle relaxant Anabasis sphylla
Andrographolide Baccillary dysentery Andrographis paniculata
Anisodamine Anticholinergic Anisodus tanguticus
Anisodine Anticholinergic Anisodus tanguticus
Arecoline Anthelmintic Areca catechu
Asiaticoside Vulnerary Centella asiatica
Atropine Anticholinergic Atropa belladonna
Benzyl benzoate Scabicide Several plants
Berberine Bacillary dysentery Berberis vulgaris
Bergenin Antitussive Ardisia japonica
Betulinic acid Anticancerous Betula alba
Borneol Antipyretic, analgesic, antiinflammatory Several plants
Bromelain Anti-inflammatory, proteolytic Ananas comosus
Caffeine CNS stimulant Camellia sinensis
Camphor Rubefacient Cinnamomum camphora
Camptothecin Anticancerous Camptotheca acuminata
(+)-Catechin Haemostatic Potentilla fragarioides
Chymopapain Proteolytic, mucolytic Carica papaya
Cissampeline Skeletal muscle relaxant Cissampelos pareira
Cocaine Local anaesthetic Erythroxylum coca
Codeine Analgesic, antitussive Papaver somniferum
Colchiceine amide Antitumor agent Colchicum autumnale
Colchicine Antitumor agent, anti-gout Colchicum autumnale
Convallatoxin Cardiotonic Convallaria majalis
Curcumin Choleretic Curcuma longa
Cynarin Choleretic Cynara scolymus
Danthron Laxative Cassia species
Demecolcine Antitumor agent Colchicum autumnale
Deserpidine Antihypertensive, tranquillizer Rauvolfia canescens
Deslanoside Cardiotonic Digitalis lanata
L-Dopa Anti-parkinsonism Mucuna sp
Digitalin Cardiotonic Digitalis purpurea
Digitoxin Cardiotonic Digitalis purpurea
Digoxin Cardiotonic Digitalis purpurea
Emetine Amoebicide, emetic Cephaelis ipecacuanha
Ephedrine Sympathomimetic, antihistamine Ephedra sinica
Etoposide Antitumor agent Podophyllum peltatum
Galanthamine Cholinesterase inhibitor Lycoris squamigera
Gitalin Cardiotonic Digitalis purpurea
Glaucarubin Amoebicide Simarouba glauca
Glaucine Antitussive Glaucium flavum
Glasiovine Antidepressant Octea glaziovii
Glycyrrhizin Sweetener, Addison's disease Glycyrrhiza glabra
Gossypol Male contraceptive Gossypium species
Hemsleyadin Bacillary dysentery Hemsleya amabilis
Hesperidin Capillary fragility Citrus species
Hydrastine Hemostatic, astringent Hydrastis canadensis
Hyoscyamine Anticholinergic Hyoscyamus Niger
Irinotecan Anticancer, antitumor agent Camptotheca acuminata
Kaibic acud Ascaricide Digenea simplex
Kawain Tranquillizer Piper methysticum
Kheltin Bronchodilator Ammi visaga
Lanatosides A, B, C Cardiotonic Digitalis lanata
Lapachol Anticancer, antitumor Tabebuia sp.
A-Lobeline Smoking deterrant, respiratory stimulant Lobelia inflata
Menthol Rubefacient Mentha species
Methyl salicylate Rubefacient Gaultheria procumbens
Monocrotaline Antitumor agent (topical) Crotalaria sessiliflora
Morphine Analgesic Papaver somniferum
Neoandrographolide Dysentery Andrographis paniculata
Nicotine Insecticide Nicotiana tabacum
Nordihydroguaiaretic acid Antioxidant Larrea divaricata
Noscapine Antitussive Papaver somniferum
Ouabain Cardiotonic Strophanthus gratus
Pachycarpine Oxytocic Sophora pschycarpa
Palmatine Antipyretic, detoxicant Coptis japonica
Papain Proteolytic, mucolytic Carica papaya
Papavarine Smooth muscle relaxant Papaver somniferum
Phyllodulcin Sweetner Hydrangea macrophylla
Physostigmine Cholinesterase Inhibitor Physostigma venenosum
Picrotoxin Analeptic Anamirta cocculus
Pilocarpine Parasympathomimetic Pilocarpus jaborandi
Pinitol Expectorant Several plants
Podophyllotoxin Antitumor anticancer agent Podophyllum peltatum
Protoveratrines A, B Antihypertensives Veratrum album
Pseudoephredrine* Sympathomimetic Ephedra sinica
Pseudoephedrine, nor- Sympathomimetic Ephedra sinica
Quinidine Antiarrhythmic Cinchona ledgeriana
Quinine Antimalarial, antipyretic Cinchona ledgeriana
Qulsqualic acid Anthelmintic Quisqualis indica
Rescinnamine Antihypertensive, tranquillizer Rauvolfia serpentina
Reserpine Antihypertensive, tranquillizer Rauvolfia serpentina
Rhomitoxin Antihypertensive, tranquillizer Rhododendron molle
Rorifone Antitussive Rorippa indica
Rotenone Piscicide, Insecticide Lonchocarpus nicou
Rotundine Analagesic, sedative, traquillizer Stephania sinica
Rutin Capillary fragility Citrus species
Salicin Analgesic Salix alba
Sanguinarine Dental plaque inhibitor Sanguinaria canadensis
Santonin Ascaricide Artemisia maritma
Scillarin A Cardiotonic Urginea maritima
Scopolamine Sedative Datura species
Sennosides A, B Laxative Cassia species
Silymarin Antihepatotoxic Silybum marianum
Sparteine Oxytocic Cytisus scoparius
Stevioside Sweetner Stevia rebaudiana
Strychnine CNS stimulant Strychnos nux-vomica
Taxol Antitumor agent Taxus brevifolia
Teniposide Antitumor agent Podophyllum peltatum
A-Tetrahydrocannabinol(THC) Antiemetic, decrease occular tension Cannabis sativa
Tetrahydropalmatine Analgesic, sedative, traquillizer Corydalis ambigua
Tetrandrine Antihypertensive Stephania tetrandra
Theobromine Diuretic, vasodilator Theobroma cacao
Theophylline Diuretic, brochodilator Theobroma cacao and others
Thymol Antifungal (topical) Thymus vulgaris
Topotecan Antitumor, anticancer agent Camptotheca acuminata
Trichosanthin Abortifacient Trichosanthes kirilowii
Tubocurarine Skeletal muscle relaxant Chondodendron tomentosum
Valapotriates Sedative Valeriana officinalis
Vasicine Cerebral stimulant Vinca minor
Vinblastine Antitumor, Antileukemic agent Catharanthus roseus
Vincristine Antitumor, Antileukemic agent Catharanthus roseus
Yohimbine Aphrodisiac Pausinystalia yohimbe
Yuanhuacine Abortifacient Daphne genkwa
Yuanhuadine Abortifacient Daphne genkwa
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CHUBBY69740
I have fibromyalgia and suffer severe clinical depression. For these conditions, I take Effexor (187.5 mg) and Seroquel (12 5 mg). Part of the side effects of these drugs are weight gain. I supplement them with Chromium GTF and Mag-Citrate. The Chromium GTF for an appetite depressant (especially sweets) and Mag-Citrate for my muscles. They were recommended by my pharmacist who is fully aware of what prescription drugs I am taking. I have felt the best since I have been taking them that I have felt for a considerable length of time. Report
MOONGLOW13
Great, well-balanced article. It is always important to understand herbs are indeed drugs (in their original form from Nature's pharmacy) and must be used with caution. Don't just believe what some marketer writes for the label - do your research and check with your doctor about possible interactions with any prescriptions you are taking.

My favorite herb is stinging nettles. Drinking a tea made from its leaves, and boosting my immune system with echinachea, gets me through the hay-fever season. I used to spend months in an antihistamine fog every summer ... I haven't taken them for six summers now!
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Keep in mind that the drugs you can get prescribed by doctors were developed by drug companies, often after they researched "natural" remedies and figured out what their active ingredients were. However, to patent them and to make them commercially viable to produce, they often have to change them into something stronger or less safe, perhaps because they don't understand how in the natural form there are other aspects of the preparation that help buffer the harshness or bad effect of the remedy, and the developed drugs often have side effects that are worse than what they are treating.

Some chronic diseases are very easily treated by herbal remedies, and without the negative side effects of the pharmaceutical treatments; a good example is high blood pressure, which is quite easily treated herbally (and I'm not suggesting Red Yeast, which can be dangerous without good supervision). Using simple treatments of aged garlic, fish oil, DHA, EPA, vitamin C, Vitamin E (but only in the correct form: alpha-tocopherol succinate), CoQ10, and grapeseed extract has been effective for most of my friends I have recommended this to.

Supplements are unregulated by the government, but so what? (I mean, they really aren't doing a very good job of regulating anything, anyway.) So, how can you get good supplements? You need to rely on good suppliers, choosing suppliers that provide pharmaceutical-grade supplements that are standardized (that is, tested so that you the exact dosage in each tablet or pill), and provide high-quality products. For example, Echinacea (an herb commonly used as an anti-viral) must be of the correct variety, picked at the correct time of the year, pressed in the right way, stored in the right way, etc. to be effective. Report

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