Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Herbal Health Watch

Happy Hump Day All!

We love our herbs; we must always have up-to-date information regarding those beloved herbs and any side-effects there may be, so I am starting Herbal Health Watch, to keep you, my beloved readers up-to-date and healthy......


Herbal Health Watch

Black Cohosh Safety~Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa or Actaea racemosa ) is the herb for the discomforts of menopause. Many studies show its effectiveness at relieving hot flashes, but recently, some people have raised questions about its safety. Various sources, some traditional, others as recent as a few years ago, have suggested that this herb may cause a host of side effects, among them: dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, depressed heart rate, joint pain, stomach upset and most recently, liver damage. But other sources dispute these accusations and call black cohosh remarkable safe.

Who's right?

Italian researchers reviewed 16 clinical trials involving several thousand participants. Fifteen of the trials used a standardized black cohosh extract, the most reliable type of black cohosh product. There were some adverse adverse effects, but these were rate, mild and reversible - and did not include liver damage. In the largest studies, which scientist consider most credible, black cohosh caused no side effects at all.

If you take black cohosh and develop any unusual side effects, stop using it. If severe problems develop, consult a doctor. But based on this review, it appears that black cohosh is safe for healthy older women.

( A big thank you is in order to the American Botanical Council for its analysis of this study )

Licorice And Post-Operative Sore Throat~Licorice root ( Glycyrrhiza glabra ) is a traditional remedy for sore throat. Just add a pinch of powdered root to any hot beverage, and like magic, minor sore throats vanish.

Indian surgeons recently put licorice to a tougher test. Recovery from general anesthesia often involves a painful sore throat. Before surgery, 20 people gargled licorice tea, while 20 others gargled water. After surgery, 15 people in the water group reported sore throat, but in the licorice group, only four had complaints. The results were publish in Anesthesia and Analgesia.

It's odd htat the surgeons didn't test drinking licorice tea after surgery, that probably would have helped too. But this study certainly confirms a traditional use for licorice.

Maca And Sexual Health~Maca ( Lepidium meyeni ) is ground cover that strives at altitudes of 11,000 to 14,500 feet where few plants can survive. Before the Incas, ancient Andean shepherds ate the plant's tuber as food and fed it to their livestock. They noticed that maca seemed to increase the animal's fertility. Over time, maca gained a reputation as an aphrodisiac.

The Incas domesticated maca 2,000 years ago. They, too, believed that it improved fertility and enhanced sex. When the Spanish conquered the Incas, they had trouble keeping their horses healthy and reproducing high in the Andes. Local people recommended maca. The health and fertility of the Spaniard's horses improved, and the Spanish embraced maca as a food and sex booster. They also required Andeans to supply them with several tons of maca a year

A few centuries after the colonial period, animal studies show that maca significantly increases sexual drive. Peruvian researchers gave adult men either a placebo or the herb ( g per day ). After eight weeks, maca had no effect on male sex hormones, but t "improved sexual desire".

Now comes a new study by Italian researchers, who have either a placebo or maca ( 1200mg dehydrated, powdered root twice a day ) to 50 men who complained of mild erectile dysfunction. After 12 weeks, all of the men reported improved erections, but the maca group reported significantly greater improvement. The researcher concluded that maca has "a small but significant beneficial effect on sexual well-being in men with mild ED."

Based on the animal studies and the two human trials, we still can't say for sure that maca is a natural Viagra, but it's safe, so perhaps worth a try. It's been used as food for more than 1,000 years.

Maca is available at most health food stores either by itself or in combination products marketed to improve male sexual function.

Rosemary: A Brain Herb?~In Hamlet, Ophelia refers to "rosemary for remembrance." Perhaps this unlucky heroine was really an herbalist. Rosemary ( Rosmarinus officinalis ) has a strong fragrance that traditional herbalists recommended for improving memory.

Ancient Greek and Roman students wore sprigs of the herb during exams, and Nicholas Culpepper, noted 17th century English herbalist, wrote that it "helps a weak memory". But these days, the most popular herbs for memory improvement are ginkgo ( Ginko biloba ) and bacoa ( Bacopa monnieri ).

Rosemary doesn't make the list.

Perhaps it should; University of Miami researchers gave 40 subjects a battery of cognitive function tests, then exposed them to rosemary oil for three minutes. Subsequent testing showed changes in brain waves associated with greater alertness which in turn is associated with better memory. In addition, rosemary oil relaxed the subjects; relaxation is also associated with better memory. And the subjects could perform mental math computations faster, suggesting that rosemary is indeed, a brain-boosting herb.

Finally, in another study, British researchers performed recall tests in 140 people before and after exposure to rosemary oil. They found that the herbal oil significantly improved memory.

Of course, there's no guarantee that rosemary will help you ace your next exam or dredge up old classmate's names at your next high school reunion. But if you're concerned about your memory, rosemary might help.

Rub a drop or two of the oil on your temples. Do Not Ingest it.  Keep It Away From Children

That's all from today's Herbal Health watch.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog.....

Post a Comment