The substance known as Yohimbe is a popular supplement mostly because of its effect on the human body as an aphrodisiac. In traditional African medicine, extracts of Yohimbe have been used for the treatment of such afflictions as fevers, leprosy, angina and hypertension; as well as to increase sexual ability and pleasure. It has also been smoked to utilize its properties as a mild hallucinogenic.
In Europe, Yohimbe has been widely used for more than 75 years as an accepted treatment for male erectile dysfunction. In the late 1980’s the U.S. Food and Drug Administration permitted Yohimbe to be used as a treatment for impotence. Some natural health practitioners prescribe Yohimbe for weight loss. It is considered safer and more effective for that purpose than the stimulant ephedra that is sometimes prescribed for the same reason. A study conducted in the 1990’s at the Eastern Virginia Medical School found that Yohimbe might also be effective in treating narcolepsy.
The herb Yohimbe is derived from the bark of the tree from which it takes its name, the Corynanthe Yohimbe. That tree grows throughout the African nations of Cameroon, Gabon and Zaire. The bark of the Yohimbe tree contains 6% of its major active ingredient, Yohimbine. It is Yohimbine that is utilized as the main component of the allopathic medications that are based on this herb; medications mainly aimed at treating impotence.
Yohimbe is believed to be effective in dealing with erectile dysfunction mainly due to its ability to stimulate blood flow by dilating blood vessels. The increase in the flow of blood to the penis helps in bringing about erections. Another manner in which Yohimbe relates to impotence is that it increases the body’s production of norepinephrone; which is essential in the formation of erections. Studies have shown that this herb can restore potency even to diabetic and heart patients that were suffering from impotency due mainly to their diseases.
Yohimbe is also believed to act as a stimulant for the pelvic nerve ganglia and also to boost adrenaline supply to nerve endings. That leads to an increase in sexual sensation and stamina. In men without erectile dysfunction, Yohimbe in some cases appears to increase sexual vigor and prolong erections. It is sometimes used in conjunction with saw palmetto and ginseng in treating individuals with a low sex drive.
Most Yohimbe that is sold over the counter is sold in the form of tablets or capsules that contain up to several hundred milligrams of Yohimbe bark. Be careful because the strength of such Yohimbe bark extracts can vary greatly and they may not always contain a very high percentage of the active ingredient Yohimbine. Without enough Yohimbine such supplements may not be effective in treating erectile dysfunction.
Prescription Yohimbe containing Yohimbine has a standard dose of 5.4 milligrams per tablet. A typical dosage of such prescription Yohimbe would be 5.4 milligrams three times a day.
Anyone taking Yohimbe should do so in an alert manner as there can be side effects. Such side effects can include anxiety, elevated blood pressure and allergic reactions. An individual taking Yohimbe should be careful not to combine it with foods that are rich in tyramine; that includes cheese, red wine and liver. It should not be used by anyone with a heart, liver or kidney disorder.
Quite few people live their lives just to enjoy living. Many more are sure one of our main tasks here is to produce the new life. Therefore, they all want to have babies, but not all succeed.
In the estimated 50% of cases couples cannot have children because of the female infertility. The most common problems in women, which lead to the impossibility to get pregnant, are Ovulatory disorders. Most often they are caused by hormonal imbalances in women. The Ovulatory Disorders include: – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (a condition, when follicles don’t develop properly and an egg cannot mature. This is caused by the imbalance of luteinizing hormone, leading to the excessive production of estrogen. The disease manifests itself through heavy and/or irregular periods.) – Hyperprolactinemia (the excessive production of prolactin by the pituitary gland, resulting in irregular or no ovulation) – Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (a condition of irregular or no ovulation due to the imbalance of the hypothalamus gland work)
Nature is wise – it has remedies against the majority of human diseases, but we are sometimes not smart enough to notice them and use properly. One of the nature’s creations, which help overcome female infertility, is Vitex.
This plant has the ability to regulate human hormonal levels. The extract from the fruit, containing flavonoids, iridoid glycosides, and terpenoids, affects the activity of the pituitary gland, forcing it to produce more luteinizing hormone, which results in the increased production of progesterone. Larger doses of it are necessary to achieve normal and regular ovulation, which, as a result, helps become pregnant. Irregular ovulatory function can be restored by Vitex, since it can prolong the luteal phases.
Vitex also keeps prolactin levels in check, decreasing them if they are mildly elevated. (Prolactin is necessary for milk production during the breastfeeding, but it inhibits ovulation.)
Vitex can also be helpful after discontinuing the use of birth pills to restore normal ovulation.
The extract of the plant has no immediate effect, but multiple trials show that some women, whose infertility is associated with hormonal imbalances, can get pregnant after 3 months of treatment with Vitex preparations (1.8 ml per day of the fluid extract or 35-40 mg of encapsulated powdered plant.) However, the usual treatment period is from 12 to 18 months.
There also exists information, which suggests that Vitex can work increasing hormonal levels in those women, who lack them, and decreasing them in those, who suffer from their excessive amounts. This makes Vitex a kind of a miracle herb, which knows what is better for a woman’s body and can work like an experienced doctor to make the weaker sex happier.
Most women at one time or another have suffered from Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS. Mild to incapacitating PMS symptoms, which generally begin 7 to 14 days prior to menstruation, include mood swings; forgetfulness or confusion; and physical changes such as bloating, headaches, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. Doctors often prescribe antidepressants to treat PMS, but numerous clinical research studies show that vitex is a good natural remedy.
Vitex agnus castus, also know as chasteberry or Monk’s Pepper, is an herb which has been used since the time of ancient Greece for hormonal imbalances in women. Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.) suggested that women should steep the leaves of vitex in dark wine and drink it to relieve menstrual problems. Dr. Gerhard Madaus conducted some of the first scientific research on the plant in the 1930s. Madaus developed a patent medicine from an extract of Vitex named “Agnolyt.” In modern times vitex has been approved by Germany’s Commission E for treatment of PMS and menstrual irregularities. Researchers believe vitex stimulates the pituitary gland where hormones which control the menstrual cycle are produced.
It also appears that the benefits of vitex are not limited to alleviating PMS symptoms. Vitex is believed to help reduce some of the undesirable symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, and clinical studies indicate that vitex can optimize a woman’s fertility by regulating ovulation to boost the chances of conceiving a baby. The herb is associated with decreased fertility in men. Vitex can also help the body regain a natural balance of hormones after using birth control pills. According to a report in the March 2005 issue of Parasitological Research, a vitex-based spray is effective for warding off ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas as well. Several studies also indicate vitex can help control acne in the teenage years.
Vitex is available in liquid drops, capsules, and tablets. The usual recommended tincture dosage is 40 drops to one teaspoon once a day for at least six months. Vitex is a slow acting herb. If you use the dry form, take one 400 mg capsule or tablet each day or as recommended by your health care professional. Vitex is also available in a blend fortified with vitamins and other nutrients. You can also buy chasteberry tea, or make it yourself from the fruit of the vitex if you have the bush in your garden. It usually takes three to four weeks for the effects of vitex to begin showing.
Vitex has not been associated with any serious side effects, but mild reactions such as a rash, itching, nausea, and headache have been reported. It is not advisable to take vitex with birth control pills or other medications which contain sex hormones such as estrogen or progesterone. Do not use vitex if you are pregnant or lactating.
Please note that it is very important that you do not to try to diagnosis yourself if you are experiencing symptoms of PMS or other menstrual difficulties. Many diseases share common symptoms with other conditions, so it is a good idea to consult your physician before you begin any home remedy. Otherwise you may delay treatment of a serious illness.
Vitex is native to the Mediterranean region and western Asia. The aromatic shrub now grows in much of the southeastern United States. Vitex leaves bear a striking resemblance to those of the cannabis plant (marijuana.) The pale lilac, blue, rose or white flowers of vitex grow in spikes and produce the small reddish-black berries which are used medicinally. A vitex bush can grow up to 20 feet tall.
Plantago ovata, Indian Plantago, Isabgol,Plantago ispaghula, Blonde psyllium or just Psyllium – all these are names of Psyllium Ovata – an annual herb about 35-45 cm height with linear leaves and a big number of flowering shoots going from the base of the plant with small white flowers.
Psyllium ovata belongs to the Plantaginaceae family and Plantago genus.
The plant is native to India, Asia, Iran and North Africa. Also it is grown in many other counties for commercial purposes, such as United States, some European countries and counties of former Soviet Union. The plant potentially could grow in most of the countries as it needs any moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. For lots of nice seeds it needs clear, sunny and dry weather just before the harvest. Psyllium ovata grows best on light, well drained, sandy soil; it responds well to cool, dry weather and has a moderate water requirement.
For medical purposes in folk medicine husk and seeds are used. The plant flowers about 60 days after planting then small capsules with the seeds open. The crop is harvested in the morning after the dew is gone and left for a few days to dry. The seeds are very small (1,000 seeds barely has 2 grams of weight), and are usually thrashed and milled (more spread usage – the outer layer of the seed – the psyllium husk – is milled).
The consumption of psyllium is constantly growing mainly due to the great interest in natural dietary fibers though its other health advantages are rather obvious. As dietary fibber it is available in high-fiber breakfast cereals such as “Bran Buds” and “Heartwise”. As a natural laxative in is used by lots of pharmaceutical firms due to mucilage that is obtained from the milled husk/seed (“Metamucil”, “Effersyllium”, “Fybogel” etc.) in forms of powder, granules, and even wafer. As a thickener it is used for ice-cream production. Technical-grade psyllium is used as a hydrocolloidal agent to improve water retention for newly-seeded grass areas, and also to improve transplanting success with woody plants. Even wastes after milling the seeds (or husk) are used as cattle and chicken feed as a natural source of fatty acids and starch.
For many years psyllium has been used as a natural laxative because of its main hydrophilic component – mucilage – its molecular structure causes it to absorb excess water while stimulating normal bowel elimination. Psyllium has a purely mechanical action – to form a gel in water, it is its role as endosperm in order to protect the seed from drying out. The seed in 1/3 consists of soluble polysaccharides and in 2/3 of insoluble.
Lots of researches have shown that psyllium as dietary fiber shortens gastrointestinal transit time and increases stool weight.
Soluble non-starch polysaccharides from psyllium seed (to be more precise – its anaerobic fermentation) results in the production of propionate, butyrate and acids acetate. Butyric acid exhibits antineoplastic activity against colorectal cancer; also may be helpful in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
Another useful effect – reduction of cholesterol – psyllium decreases cholesterol absorption and increases the fractional turnover of cholic and chenodeoxycholic acids.
Most effective usages:
- Constipation – it increases stool weight as well as number of bowel movements per day.
- High cholesterol – psyllium is a great, effective and well studied lipid-lowering agent that naturally reduces levels of total cholesterol in blood and levels of low-density lipoprotein (“bad cholesterol”). It has no effects on triglyceride levels and on high-density lipoprotein (“good cholesterol”).
- Diarrhea – mostly studied inpatients undergoing tube feeding.
- Other benefits – psyllium is used in case of Inflammatory bowel disease, Irritable bowel syndrome, Obesity(as it improves blood sugar and lipid levels which can relate to obesity in some children) and in different weight-loss programs as dietary psyllium may help to increase the excretion of fat in the stool.
Other usages are less popular but not less effective – it is used in treating abscesses, wound healing (leaves – used on the skin), stomach ulcer, urethritis, excessive menstrual bleeding, gallstones, stool incontinence, high blood pressure, psoriasis, etc.
Ginseng has been used for thousands of years to improve the overall health of human being. In the first Chinese book of herbs, the Pen Tsao Ching (The Classic of Herbs), written by the famous Emperor Shen Nung, to whom the discovery of tea was attributed, Ginseng was recommended for enlightening the mind and increasing wisdom. Ginseng was taken as a tonic for the whole body, and believed to cure lethargy, arthritis, impotence, senility, and many other conditions.
In terms of modern scientific research, ginseng is known to be an adaptogen. Adaptogens are substances that assist the body to restore itself to health and work without side effects even if the recommended dose is widely exceeded. Ginseng due to its adaptogens effects is widely used to lower cholesterol, increase energy and endurance, reduce fatique and effects of stress and prevent infections.
Ginseng appears to help people with diabetes. A limited study performed in March 2000 at the University of Toronto showed that ginseng could lower blood sugar 20% more than placebo.
Ginseng is one of the most effective anti-aging supplements. It can alleviate some major effects of aging, such as degeneration of the blood system, and increase mental and physical capacity.
Other important benefits of ginseng is its support in cancer treatment and its effects on sports performance.
Nowadays Cordyceps Sinensis is something new, special, and hardly familiar to the Western world. Scientists have not managed to study it properly for the time being. The greatest source of information about Cordyceps is its motherland – China, where researchers have already been working for some time on the unclosing the secrets and mysteries of the fungus.
The further statements about health benefits of the mushroom are the results of the numerous Chinese trials of Cordyceps; therefore, they are at first hand.
Enhancing and strengthening of the immune system. Cordyceps is supposed to increase the number of the Natural Killer Cells, which are responsible for the body defense against viruses and bacteria. Some trials show that the fungus works effectively in the leukemia stricken individuals.
Improving sexual function in men and increasing libido by stimulating the production of sex hormones. Cordyceps may also be a means for fighting female infertility.
Building muscles and improving physical performance. Those Chinese athletes, who use Cordyceps, tend to show better results than the other sportsmen.
Providing anti-aging and fatigue reducing effects. The fungus works as an antioxidant and increases cellular formation, especially in the elderly patients. It also promotes more restful sleep, soothes the nervous system, and reduces anxiety, thus working as a sedative.
Improving the respiratory function. Cordyceps shows good results in fighting against cough, chronic bronchitis and asthma, since it relaxes bronchial walls and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Enhancing cellular oxygen uptake. This benefits all the body systems, giving them more energy and vitality.
Benefiting vascular system by improving circulation, regulating blood pressure, and strengthening the heart muscle.
Protecting liver and kidneys. Cordyceps improves blood flow to these organs (as well as to the others), which results in their better activity and ability to fight the diseases, including Hepatitis and chronic kidney disease.
Some people may think of the fungi as of something disgusting and ugly. However, the mushrooms do not look so when in a tablet or a capsule. Moreover, Cordyceps will definitely become even attractive to those, who have no trust in the pharmaceutical drugs any more. 2-4 grams (some people consume even up to 9 grams) of the mushrooms per day – it is nor an exorbitant price for the health improvement, which may become obvious as soon as in 1-2 months.
Cordyceps is said to be safe and has no side effects. However, pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as children are not recommended to use it, since no studies have been conducted in such persons.
Luckily, time, progress, and the growing demands of the modern society make the scientists keep on working on the unsolved problems and open questions of today. That gives us hopes that soon Cordyceps will become an open book easy to read and understand for all the people.
Echinacea, being indigenous to North America, was thus widely used by Indians as a medication against colds, flu, and other infections; applied topically it could cure different wounds (cuts, burns, and insect bites). Actually, preparations made of this plant were believed to be a “cure-all” medicine, able to heal any disease – from cough to cancer.
Europeans got acquainted with Echinacea much later than Native Americans, but they started to believe its beneficial impact on the human organism not less than the discoverers of the plant’s effectiveness. Therefore, Echinacea preserved its status of a powerful medicinal herb throughout history. People treated scarlet fever, syphilis, malaria, blood poisoning, and diphtheria with it.
In fact, Europeans turned out to be true believers in Echinacea’s power: Americans preferred antibiotics and did not even try to prove the plant’s benefits scientifically. Europeans, on the other hand, made great efforts to disclose the secret of Echinacea’s curing power. Germans occupied the leading position in the research studies, which resulted in the isolation of the main herb’s constituents: flavonoids, oils, polysaccharides, phenols (cichoric, caffeic, and caftaric acids and echinacoside), and alkylamides. It also contains copper, iron, iodine, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and E. Due to this combination of ingredients Echinacea works as a natural antibiotic, which can suppress viruses’ activity and promote immune stimulating effect through the activation of T-cells (immune system natural bacteria killers).
All the conducted trials made the scientists state that though Echinacea itself does not cure diseases, it helps the body resist and fight the illnesses, making it stronger. People, who take this plant’s preparations, tend to fall ill less often, experience milder symptoms, and recover sooner.
The diseases, against which Echinacea is a strong helping hand, are respiratory problems, bronchitis, sore throat, enlarged prostate glands, urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast (candida) infections, ear infections (otitits), sinusitis, hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Topically it can help heal eczema, psoriasis, and slow-healing wounds. Echinacea is added to anti-hemorrhoids medications; it is also a mighty skin protector from the sun damage.
In spite of some claims that Echinacea has no side effects, studies show that some people may experience allergic reactions, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, muscle aches, nausea, sore throat, temporary numbness of the tongue and upset stomach.
The trials have no official results on the use of Echinacea by pregnant and breastfeeding women (though there are no facts that it may cause any birth defects either) and children under 12. Immunocompromized persons are advised to avoid the use of this plant, since it is likely that it may accelerate the development of the conditions like cancer, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, and HIV AIDS.
It is also worthy to note that in Germany Echinacea is approved to treat colds, upper respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, and slow-healing wounds. However, treatment period is restricted to 8 weeks at a time. In the United States its use is said to be safe if followed to the doctor’s or manufacturer’s instructions.
Different parts of Boswellia Serrata have been traditionally used to treat such varied health conditions as asthma, dysentery, ulcers (especially ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease), rheumatism (rheumatoid arthritis), and skin disorders for very long time. Boswellia is an herbal medicine extracted from the gummy resin of the tree bark of Boswellia serrata.
As almost every herbal remedy it should be used after your doctor’s consultation after knowing its beneficial properties and some adverse effects, associated with it.
It is very important for you to tell you doctor, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while using this medicine. You doctor should know, whether you are breastfeeding. In all these cases you should not use boswellia, to avoid birth defects or spontaneous abortion. You doctor should know whether you are taking any medicine, in order to avoid interaction. Perhaps, you will be advised not to take Boswellia if you are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement), and in case you have stomach pain and upset, or any other health problems (such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease). If you have stomach upset or gastritis, you may make your stomach just upset worse.
Boswellia has few side effects. They are rare, but should be mentioned, though none of them are serious. You may have the following side effects:
- Stomach pain;
- Skin rash, burning;
- Stomach discomfort, including nausea;
- Acid reflux (heartburn);
- A feeling of fullness in stomach;
Some studies reported the irritation of the skin from a multiherb product containing boswellia. And allergic contact dermatitis has been associated with the use of a naturopathic cream containing the herb extract.
If you experience something else that could be a side effect, and do not sure about that – you’re your doctor as well. There are some other possible effects associated with the boswellia treatment:
- Chest pain
- Tightness in your throat or chest
- Breathing problem
- Swollen skin
- Skin hives, rash, or itchy skin
In case you have any of the listed above side effects, stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor. It is very much like you have an allergy to your medicine, which causes these symptoms. The herb has not been shown to cause ulcers, respiratory, cardiovascular, or psychological side effects. Boswellia is generally safe when used as directed, without exceeding recommended dosage. If boswellia is used with supplements that possess similar properties, it increases its beneficial effects as well as side effects. So, dosages of other agents may need to be reduced. Also it is very important to know, that high in fat meals seem to increase the concentration of boswellia in the body.
You should remember, that you can use boswellia, as a herb remedy, but if you are using it in treating such diseases and conditions as arthritis, colitis, or any other conditions you should stay under your doctor supervision. Any inflammatory joint condition should be closely monitored by a doctor as well. No way for self-treatment.
There are no known drug interactions or contraindications with the use of the herb. But there are a possibility, that boswellia may increase or decrease the effects of medications. Animal studies point out that the herb may increase the effects or toxicity of some drugs. For example, such as Singulair – a montelukast, used for treating asthma. There are the same concerns about mixing boswellia with cholesterol-lowering drugs, some anticancer and antifungal drugs. But there were no human studies yet. Boswellia may also reduce the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory pain relievers (Motrin, Advil among ibuprofen and aspirin; Aleve, Naprosyn among naproxen). Studies were not made on the issue yet as well.
Boswellia interact not only with medicines, but also with some herbs and dietary supplements. Better not mix the herb together with the following:
- Supplements that may have anticancer properties (mistletoe – Viscum album)
- Cholesterol-lowering supplements (such as garlic – Allium sativum)
- Antifungal agents (such as tea tree oil – Melaleuca alternifolia)
- Supplements used to treat joint diseases (such as glucosamine or chondroitin)
Use the herb with caution and with your doctor’s supervising.
The richest pharmacy ever – our nature – is really the most amazing thing a human being can imagine. What is more important, we can use its means for lessening the symptoms of many health disorders or even eliminating some illnesses. Multiple trees, bushes, and herbs, created by nature, are crammed with components beneficial for our health due to their healing properties and power to restore and renew vitality of a human body.
The most wonderful and awesome thing about herbs is that each of them can fight more than one disease. For example, the well-known and even famous Aloe Vera can be helpful in healing skin wounds, suppressing the growth of cancer cells, treating constipation, etc.
One more benefit of this herb pertains to the disease, which tortures so many people nowadays – diabetes. Historic use and resent research evidence that Aloe Vera can help the sufferers of diabetes type 2 lead better life, experience less symptoms of the disease, and feel healthier and stronger.
Scientists, who became interested in this herb and conducted many trials to discover its properties and prove the benefits promoted by herbalists, state that Aloe Vera works in the human organism by stimulating the production of insulin by the pancreas. Besides, oral extract of the herb improves cardiovascular system functioning, which is very important, since diabetic patients are at the greater risk of experiencing cardiovascular problems. Aloe Vera also has positive influence on the liver.
One more advantage of such treatment is that the herb enhances vitamins C and E influence on the body, while diabetes mellitus blocks their antioxidant effect preventing the organism from absorption these vitamins into the bloodstream.
It is a well-known fact that many patients start gaining weight in the course of diabetes symptoms treatment. Aloe Vera allows its users to avoid such problem, treating diabetes without weight gain. This also belongs to the already discovered merits of the herb, and it is naturally to suggest that this benefit is not the last in the list and the future studies will find more.
As for the trials already conducted, the majority of them were done in Turkey and Thailand. One of the studies was organized by Mahidol University scientists (Bangkok, Thailand). Thirty-six patients were given one tablespoon of 80% juice of Aloe Vera twice a day during 42 days. Another thirty-six patients from the control group received similarly flavored carminative mixture.
By the end of the trial blood sugar and triglycerides levels in the treatment group were significantly reduced (to 43% and 45% of the initial values correspondingly). Cholesterol levels remained unchanged. It is important to note that no adverse reactions (weight gain, appetite changes) were reported.
Another study at the same University discovered that Aloe Vera possesses the power to reduce blood sugar levels in patients unresponsive to glibenclamide – a medication used to stimulate pancreas function. In fact, it was reported that Aloe given alone showed the same results as the combination of the above mentioned medicine and the herb.
Long-lasting trials also report about Aloe Vera effectiveness in blood sugar levels reduction. For example, a five-year study showed a significant drop in the glucose level of 3,167 diabetic patients, who were given parboiled Aloe Vera leaves (120 grams twice a day).
In general, scientists tend to agree with herbalists that Aloe can be of great help in controlling diabetes symptoms. However, these days the emphasis is made on the fact that further research is needed to define the necessary dose of the herb, timeframe of the treatment period, and the most effective form of the herbal remedy (alcohol extract, juice, dried sap, fresh leaves, etc).