Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine

Herbal remedies have inherent curative properties and can be very therapeutic and helpful when administered by a qualified alternative healthcare practitioner. Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine have leveraged the healing powers of herbs for centuries. Herbal or folk medicine in the Western world was replaced by pharmaceuticals but has been gaining in interest and practice again due largely to the many side effects of pharmaceuticals.

Scientific research conducted in China, Japan, and the United States has confirmed the beneficial effects of herbal medicines. Research has shown that certain herbs can improve the immune system, raise white blood cell counts, and posses antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-tumor properties.

The source of these herbs is very important as you want to know they have been harvested and prepared in a non-toxic manner and are free of heavy metals. Many Doctors of Oriental and Ayurvedic Medicine use herbs from Sun Ten which was founded in 1946 by the former director of the Taiwanese Food and Drug Administration. Sun Ten manufactures very high quality herbal extracts.

Herbs are very powerful substances and although drug-herb interaction is a rare occurrence, it can happen and you should always inform your Alternative Healthcare Doctor about what medication you are taking. You should also not take herbs and prescription drugs at the same time. You should take them at least 1 hour apart.If your prescription pills say take with food, don’t take your herbal supplements with food but rather wait until well after your meal is over. If your medicine dictates to be taken on an empty stomach than take your herbal supplements with food unless directed otherwise by your healthcare practitioner.

A good refernce cite for information about pharmaceutical drugs is www.drugdangers.com.

If you are scheduled for surgery it is very important to stop all herbal supplements two weeks prior to any surgical procedure. Please consult your alternative medicine practitioner about this.

Resources

We offer excellent books on herbs and herbal remedies in our resource section such as The Divine Farmer's Materia Medica:  A Translation of the Shen Nong Ben Cao (Blue Poppy's Great Masters Series).


Some of the more notable medicinal herbs used in alternative medicine are:

Ashwagandha or Indian Ginseng (Withania somnifera) is known as the anti-stress herb. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat conditions such as physical and mental stress, fatigue, forgetfulness, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, inflammation and even impotence. It has properties similar to Chinese ginseng but can have a mild, sedative or calming effect. It needs to be prescribed in very specific ways for various conditions. The standard adult dosage can range from 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams daily.

Ginger is more than a spice for cooking great, flavorful meals it also has powerful medicinal properties. It has been used by Doctors of Chinese Medicine to treat colds, cough, flu, arthritis, and even dysentery. Ginger’s spiciness and warmth encourages body perspiration which can be helpful if you catch a cold or flu in the very early stage of the illness. Ginger has long been used to calm the stomach and alleviate nausea due to pregnancy, motion sickness and even food poisoning. It has also been listed as promoting cardiovascular health by reducing the likelihood that blood platelets will to stick together and cause a clot thus allowing blood to flow freely. It can also act as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the release of prostaglandins and other inflammatory promoting substances.

Echinacea (pronounced eck-in-AY-sha) has been prescribed by holistic doctors and herbalists for over 100 years. It has been used as a remedy for colds, coughs, and sore throat. Native Americans have used Echinacea for centuries and are credited with sharing this knowledge with early settlers in the Plains States. The herb appears to have immune boosting properties, as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. Echinacea comes in capsules, tablets, tinctures and crèmes. Dosages vary depending on the delivery mechanism.Tinctures usually have an adult dosage of 20 to n60 drops administered every 2-3 hours for severe infections. Capsules usually come in adult dosages of 500 to 1,000 milligrams to be taken 2-3 hours daily for severe infections. But, as always, consult your alternative healthcare practitioner for guidance.

Turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) , also known as Indian saffron or “yellow ginger”, is cultivated in India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Africa. Its appearance is very similar to ginger root which is commonly found in US grocery stores. The active ingredient in Turmeric is Curcumin, which is not to be confused with the spice cumin. The turmeric roots are dried and ground into a yellow powder that is a very commonly used as a cooking spice but is more often administered as a tea, or in capsule form.The herb is often prescribed by Ayurvedic Doctors, Doctors of Chinese or Oriental Medicine, and Herbalists.

Modern research studies show that turmeric has antioxidant properties that may be useful in a variety of diseases and conditions. In fact some supporters believe that Turmeric may prevent and slow the growth of a number of types of cancer especially cancer of the esophagus, mouth, intestines, stomach, breast, and skin.

Turmeric is commonly prescribed for its anti-inflammatory properties and has been found to produce fewer side effects than over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers. Some Alternative practitioners prescribe turmeric to relieve inflammation caused by arthritis, muscle sprains, swelling, and pain caused by injuries or surgical incisions. It is also promoted as a treatment for rheumatism and as an antiseptic for cleaning wounds. Some proponents claim turmeric interferes with the actions of some viruses, including hepatitis and HIV.

There is also evidence that turmeric protects against liver diseases, stimulates the gallbladder and circulatory systems, reduces cholesterol levels, dissolves blood clots, helps stop external and internal bleeding, and relieves painful menstruation and angina. It is also therapeutic in the treatment of digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), colitis, Crohn’s disease, and illnesses caused by toxins from parasites and bacteria.

Many herbs such as Turmeric should not be taken if you are pregnant, thinking of becoming pregnant, nursing or have gall bladder or bile duct disease, or ulcers. Be sure to review your medical history and any current symptoms with your alternative healthcare practitioner and avoid self-prescribing herbs without the advice of a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner. Note: This information may not cover all possible claims, uses, actions, precautions, side effects or interactions. It is not intended as medical advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultation with your doctor, who is familiar with your medical situation.

References

Cheng AL, Hsu CH, Lin JK, et al. Phase I clinical trials of curcumin, a chemopreventative agent in patients with high-risk or pre-malignant lesions. Anticancer Res. 2001;21:2895-2900.

Lal B, Kapoor AK, Agrawal PK, Asthana OP, Srimal RC. Role of curcumin in idiopathic inflammatory orbital pseudotumours. Phytother Res. 2000;14:443-447.

Badria F, El-Farahaty T, Shabana A, Hawas S, El-Batoty M. Boswellia-curcumin preparation for treating knee osteoarthritis. Alternative & Complementary Therapies 2002 December:341-8.

Plotto A, author. Mazaud F, Röttger A, Steffel K, D'Aquilio L, eds. Turmeric: Post-Production Management for Improved Market Access for Herbs and Spices. Compendium on Post-harvest Operations. Available at: http://www.fao.org/inpho/compend/text/ch29/ch29.htm#1. Accessed March 30, 2005.

Export cess hits the turmeric trade in Guntar. The Hindu Business Line Internet Edition. Available at: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2005/03/16/stories/2005031602311700.htm. Accessed March 30, 2005.

Aggarwal BB, Kumar A, Bharti AC. Anticancer potential of curcumin: preclinical and clinical studies. Anticancer Res. 2003;23:363-398.

Aggarwal BB, Shishodia S, Takada Y, et al. Curcumin suppresses the paclitaxel-induced nuclear factor-kappaB pathway in breast cancer cells and inhibits lung metastasis of human breast cancer in nude mice. Clin Cancer Res. 2005;11:7490-7498.

Anand P, Kunnumakkara AB, Newman RA, Aggarwal BB. Bioavailability of curcumin: problems and promises. Mol Pharm. 2007;4:807-818.

Blumenthal M, ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 1998.

Carroll RE, Benya RV, Turgeon DK, et al. Phase IIa clinical trial of curcumin for the prevention of colorectal neoplasia. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011 Mar;4(3):354-64.

Cheng AL, Hsu CH, Lin JK, et al. Phase I clinical trial of curcumin, a chemopreventive agent, in patients with high-risk or pre-malignant lesions. Anticancer Res. 2001 Jul-Aug;21(4B):2895-2900.

Deshpande SS, Ingle AD, Maru GB. Inhibitory effects of curcumin-free aqueous turmeric extract on benzo[a]pyrene-induced forestomach papillomas in mice. Cancer Lett. 1997;118:79-85.

Drug Digest. Turmeric (updated Dec 2, 2011). Accessed at www.drugdigest.org on March 29, 2012.

Egan ME, Pearson M, Weiner SA, et al. Curcumin, a major constituent of turmeric, corrects cystic fibrosis defects. Science. 2004;304:600-602.

Garcea G, Berry DP, Jones DJ, et al. Consumption of the putative chemopreventive agent curcumin by cancer patients: assessment of curcumin levels in the colorectum and their pharmacodynamic consequences. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005;14:120-125.

Goel A, Kunnumakkara AB, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin as "Curecumin": from kitchen to clinic. Biochem Pharmacol. 2008;75:787-809.

Grubb BR, Gabriel SE, Mengos A, et al. SERCA pump inhibitors do not correct biosynthetic arrest of deltaF508 CFTR in cystic fibrosis. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2006;34:355-363.

Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C. PDR for Herbal Medicines. 4th ed. Montvale, NJ: Thomson Healthcare, 2007, 864-867..

Hastak K, Lubri N, Jakhi SD, et al. Effect of turmeric oil and turmeric oleoresin on cytogenetic damage in patients suffering from oral submucous fibrosis. Cancer Lett. 1997:116:265-269.

Kim DC, Kim SH, Choi BH, et al. Curcuma longa extract protects against gastric ulcers by blocking H2 histamine receptors. Biol Pharm Bull. 2005;28:2220-2224.

Kunnumakkara AB, Diagaradjane P, Guha S, et al. Curcumin sensitizes human colorectal cancer xenografts in nude mice to gamma-radiation by targeting nuclear factor-kappaB-regulated gene products. Clin Cancer Res. 2008;14:2128-2136.

Lawenda BD, Kelly KM, Ladas EJ, Sagar SM, Vickers A, Blumberg JB. Should supplemental antioxidant administration be avoided during chemotherapy and radiation therapy? J Natl Cancer Inst. 2008;100:773-783.

Lin YG, Kunnumakkara AB, Nair A, et al. Curcumin inhibits tumor growth and angiogenesis in ovarian carcinoma by targeting the nuclear factor-kappaB pathway. Clin Cancer Res. 2007;13:3423-3430.

Mall M, Kunzelmann K. Correction of the CF defect by curcumin: hypes and disappointments. Bioessays. 2005;27:9-13.

Medline Plus. Turmeric. Accessed at www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/662.html on March 29, 2012.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Turmeric. Accessed at www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/turmeric on December 7, 2012.

Rafatullah S, Tariq M, Al-Yahya MA, Mossa JS, Ageel AM. Evaluation of turmeric (Curcuma longa) for gastric and duodenal antiulcer activity in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 1990;29:25-34.

Rasyid A, Rahman AR, Jaalam K, Lelo A. Effect of different curcumin dosages on human gall bladder. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2002;11(4):314-318.

Sharma RA, Euden SA, Platton SL, et al. Phase I clinical trial of oral curcumin: biomarkers of systemic activity and compliance. Clin Cancer Res. 2004;10:6847-6854.

Shoskes D, Lapierre C, Cruz-Corerra M, et al. Beneficial effects of the bioflavonoids curcumin and quercetin on early function in cadaveric renal transplantation: a randomized placebo controlled trial. Transplantation. 2005;80:1556-1559.

Tunstall RG, Sharma RA, Perkins S, et al. Cyclooxygenase-2 expression and oxidative DNA adducts in murine intestinal adenomas: modification by dietary curcumin and implications for clinical trials. Eur J Cancer. 2006;42:415-421.

Vareed SK, Kakarala M, Ruffin MT, et al. Pharmacokinetics of curcumin conjugate metabolites in healthy human subjects. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Jun;17(6):1411-7.

Yang F, Lim GP, Begum AN, et al. Curcumin inhibits formation of amyloid beta oligomers and fibrils, binds plaques, and reduces amyloid in vivo. J Biol Chem. 2005;280:5892-5901.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE NEWS

ScienceDaily: Alternative Medicine News

RESOURCES