03 April 2009

1. Aloe (Aloe vera)
The gel from the Aloe plant is an ancient remedy used externally for its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and plain-relieving effects.
It is used topically in skin moisturizers and to treat burns, wounds, psoriasis, and frostbite.
While the internal use of Aloe is suggersted as a treatment for several conditions including constipation, there is no evidence of its efficacy. In fact, internal use is not recommended because of the risk of serious adverse effects.

Warning :
Aloe should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by people with severe intestinal disorders. Aloe should not be taken with certain drugs associated with potassium loss-such as diuretics, corticosteroids, and antiarrhytmics and other heart medications-or with the herb Licorice.

2. St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
St. John’s Wort is one of the better studied herb. Various compounds in St. John’s Wort have antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects. It is used internally for depression and anxiety, and externally for wounds, burns, skin inflammation, and blunt injuries.

Warning :
St. John’s Wort can cause photo sensitivity if taken for too long or at high doses. It can also cause gastrointestinal discomfort and headache. Combining St. John’s Wort with other antidepressant medications such as MAO inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (including fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, fluvoxamine, or citalopram), or nefazodone could cause “serotonin syndrome”; a condition characterized by sweating, tremor, confusion, and agitation. The herb should also not be combined with the following: antibiotics that have photosensitizing effects, cyclosporine, indinavir, combination oral contraceptives, reserpine, barbiturates, theophylline, or digoxin.

3. Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)
The anti-inflammatory compounds in Evening Primrose oil have been extensively studied, but no definitive indication has been accepted.
Some herbalists consider the oil useful for treating breast pain, premenstrual syndrome, and menopausal symptoms.
Capsules conataining at least 500 miligrams of the oil are approved in Germany as a remedy for eczema.

Warning :
People with seizure disorder or schizophrenia should not take Evening Primrose oil.

4. Ma-Huang (Ephedra sinica)

Ma-Huang contains compounds that alleviate bronchial constriction and is used in folk remedies as a treatment for coughs and bronchitis.

Warning :
The adverse effects of Ma-Huang outweigh any possible benefits. The herb should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by people with the following: anxiety, high blood pressure, glaucoma, brain tumors, prostate disorders, adrenal tumors, cardiac arrhymia, or thyroid disease. Ma-Huang should not be combined with caffeine, decongestants, stimulants, glaucoma medication, MAO inhibitors, anesthetics, or labor-inducing drugs. Overdosage can result in death.

5. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Valerian root contains sedative compound that are useful in nervousness and insomnia. It is recommended for many other unproven uses such as headache, anxiety disorders, premenstrual syndrome, and menopausal symptoms.

Warning :
Patient should avoid operating motor vehicles for several hours after taking Valerian. The herb should not be used by pregnant and breasfeeding women. Valerian extract or bath oils should not be used by people suffering from skin disorders, fever, infectious disease, heart disease, or muscle tension. Valerian should not be taken with barbiturates or benzodiazepines.

6. Astragalus (Astragalus species)
Astragalus, or Huang-Qi, is used to improve immune function and strengthen the cardiovascular system.
Compounds in Astragalus may also have beneficial antiviral, antioxidant, memory-enhancing, and liver-protecting effects, although the nature of those effects on specific diseases has not been established.

Warning :
The use of Astragalus must be carefully monitored by a physician due to its potentially dangerous adverse effects, particularly in people with immune disorders or those taking blood-thinning medications.

7. Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis)
Goldenseal contains the compound berberine, which is used for gastritis, gastric ulcer, gallbladder disease, and acute diarrhea.
It can be useful as an adjunct therapy in cancer treatmnent, and is also used to treat chronic eye infection.

Warning :
Golden seal should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by people who have bleeding disorders; it should also not combined with blood thiners (including aspirin) or NSAIDs. Use of Goldenseal for extended periods can result in digestive disorders, constipation, excitement, hallucination or delirium, and decreased vitamin B absorption. Overdosage can result in convulsion, difficulty breathing, and paralysis.

8. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Both the flower and root of the stinging Nettle plant contain beneficial compounds used in various conditions. The flower is used internally and externally for rheumatism; It is used internally for urinary tract infections and kidney and bladder stones. The root is used for irritable bladder and to help relieve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, although it does not reduce prostate enlargement.

Warning :
Stinging Nettle should not be used by people who suffer from fluid retention due to impaired cardiac or kidney function.

9. Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa)
Popular reports have led to the belief that wild Yam is a “natural” source of the hormone progesterone. While Wild Yam is used as a constituent of artificial progesterone pharmaceutically, the body cannot complete the conversion process by itself. The herb can also be useful in treating high cholesterol.
Warning :
Because of possible hormonal effects, pregnant and nursing women should not use Wild Yam. The herb should not be taken with estrogen containing drugs or indomethacin.

10. Cayenne (Capsicum annum)
Externally, Cayenne is used to relieve the pain of muscle tension and spasm, diabetic neuropathy, and rheumatism.
Cayenne is sometimes taken internally to relieve gastrointestinal disorders, although human studies have yet to confirm such uses.

Warning :
Topical Cayenne preparations should not be used for more than two consecutive days, with a two week break between applications. It should never be used on broken skin or near the eyes. When used internally, Cayenne preparations should not be taken with aspirin or antifungal drugs.


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