Vitex agnus castus (The Chaste Tree or Chasteberry or Monk’s Pepper ) is a popular treatment for the management of female reproductive disorders including corpus luteum insufficiency, premenstrual syndrome (PMS),menopausal symptoms, and insufficient milk production. The German Commission E recommends it for menstrual problems, mastalgia, and premenstrual syndrome.
The specific chemical components responsible for its clinical effects have not been determined. One proposed mechanism is an effect on the pituitary’s release of prolactin. Small randomized controlled trials indicate that vitex may be helpful in hyperprolactinemia, PMS and cyclical breast pain.
For centuries, chasteberry has been used to treat many hormone-related gynecologic conditions. The current literature supports the use of chasteberry for cyclical breast discomfort and premenstrual syndrome; data on its use for menstrual irregularities and fertility disorders are weak. Its traditional use as a galactagogue is not well supported in the literature and should be discouraged. There are no clinical data to support the use of chasteberry for reducing sexual desire, which has been a traditional application. Chasteberry is well tolerated; reported adverse effects are minor and may include gastrointestinal complaints, dizziness, and dry mouth.
No herb-drug interactions have been reported, but caution is advised for its concomitant use with dopamine agonists or antagonists. Optimal standardization and dosing recommendations await clarification in clinical studies.
Further research is needed to access its efficacy and safety for use by lactating mothers. There are no studies of its effects on menopausal symptoms or its safety in pregnancy. Side effects are rare and include rash, GI disorders, headache and increased menstrual flow.
Clinical studies have shown its beneficial effects in the management of premenstrual stress syndrome (PMS). The use of extracts of the plant is recommended in Germany. One randomized placebo controlled study has shown that Vitex agnus castus is an effective treatment for women with PMS. The effects were confirmed by the women’s self-assessment and by the investigators’ evaluation. Tolerability of agnus castus was good; patient acceptance was high and side-effects were few and mild.
Its mechanism of action is not well known. A study has found that treatment with Vitex Agnus-castus caused a slight reduction of prolactin levels. A decrease of prolactin will influence levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen in women; and testosterone in men.
Posted in Herbs
Most of people starts a day with a warm cup of tea. This cup of tea can be realy healthy if it contains herbal medicine plants.
An herbal tea, tisane, or ptisan is an herbal infusion made from anything other than the leaves of the tea bush (Camellia sinensis).
In the herbal medicine doctrine, there is a lot to do with Herbal Tea.
The preparation of the medicine is very easy (only the plant parts and hot water) and the plants can be preserved easily for long time.
Herbal teas can be made with fresh or dried flowers, leaves, seeds or roots, generally by pouring boiling water over the plant parts and letting them steep for a few minutes. Seeds and roots can also be boiled on a stove. The tisane is then strained, sweetened if so desired, and served. Many companies produce herbal tea bags for such infusions.
Posted in Herbs
Tagged Herbal Tea
Detox, short for detoxification, can be called also Body cleansing, in general is the removal of toxic substances from the body. It is one of the major functions of the liver, lower gastrointestinal tract and kidneys. In conventional medicine, detoxification can also be achieved artificially by techniques such as dialysis and (in a very limited number of cases) chelation therapy. There is a firm scientific base in evidence-based medicine for this type of detoxification. Many alternative medicine practitioners promote various other types of detoxification.
Although detox is primarily thought of as a treatment for alcohol or drug dependence, the term is also used to refer to diets, herbs, and other methods of removing environmental and dietary toxins from the body for optimum health, There are many different types of detox diets. Generally, a detox diet is a short-term diet that:
Herbs can be extremely valuable to a personal detoxification program. Some important herbs to consider in the process of detoxification include the following:
Psyllium , Cascara sagrada / Rhamnus purshiana , Milk thistle , Nettle / Urtica dioica , Burdock root / Arctium lappa , Dandelion root / Taraxacum officinale
Next to Panax Ginseng, the root of Dong Quai is undoubtedly the most honored and respected herb in China, and is quickly gaining an equal reputation among users in the rest of the world. Dong Quai has been called the “female ginseng” and is excellent as an all purpose women’s herb. It has been used for centuries in China, Japan and Korea for regulating the menstrual cycle, easing menstrual pain and cramping and recovery from childbirth. It is also known in Asian medicine as a “blood tonic”, and as such it can help in conditions of fatigue and/or low vitality caused by Anemia, cardiovascular conditions and high blood pressure.
Herb Uses and Medicinal Properties
The root of Angelica Sinensis is alternative, analgesic, anticholesterolemic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, emmenagogue, emollient, hepatic, laxative, mildly sedative and peripheral vasodilator.
Angelica could be helpful in the following health conditions:
- Various gynecological disorders, such as irregular menstrual cycles, PMS, amenorrhea, Dysmenorrhea, uterine bleeding, abdominal pain after childbirth.
- Regaining normal menstrual cycles after taking birth control pills.
- Relieving symptoms of menopause, such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, migraines and insomnia.
- Increasing red blood cell count in the case of Anemia.
- Treating Instable / High blood pressure in both men and women. This is due to Angelica’s effect of dilating the peripheral blood vessels. (The affect on blood pressure can be anoverall lowering although sometimes it may rise slightly first, followed by a decline).
- Angelica helps the liver utilize more oxygen and therefore can be useful in treating hepatitis and liver cirrhosis.
- Not to be used during pregnancy.
- Angelica contains furocoumarins, which may increase skin sensitivity to sunlight.
- Angelica is contraindicated for those who take anticoagulant medicine, as the herb itself has anticoagulant properties.
- Pharmacological and clinical research
- Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2003;30(4):203-6 – The immediate effect of natural plant extract,Angelica sinensis and Matricaria chamomilla (Climex) for the treatment of hot flushes during menopause. A preliminary report.
- Fertil Steril. 1997 Dec;68(6):981-6 – Does dong quai have estrogenic effects in postmenopausal women? A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
- Zhonghua Nei Ke Za Zhi. 1994 Jun;33(6):373-5 – Effect of radix Angelicae sinensis on serum gastrin levels in patients with cirrhosis
- Life Sci. 2003 Jan 10;72(8):925-32 – Effect of polysaccharides from Angelica sinensis on gastric ulcer healing.
- Burke BE, Olson RD, Cusack BJ, 2002 – Randomized, controlled trial of phytoestrogen in the prophylactic treatment of menstrual migraine.
An antioxidant is a molecule capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals, which start chain reactions that damage cells. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions by being oxidized themselves. As a result, antioxidants are often reducing agents such as thiols or polyphenols.
As oxidative stress might be an important part of many human diseases, the use of antioxidants in pharmacology is intensively studied, particularly as treatments for stroke and neurodegenerative diseases. Antioxidants are also widely used as ingredients in dietary supplements in the hope of maintaining health and preventing diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease. Although some studies have suggested antioxidant supplements have health benefits, other large clinical trials did not detect any benefit for the formulations tested, and excess supplementation may occasionally be harmful. In addition to these uses in medicine, antioxidants have many industrial uses, such as preservatives in food and cosmetics and preventing the degradation of rubber and gasoline.
Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as “free radical scavengers” and hence prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals. Health problems such as heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, cancer etc are all contributed by oxidative damage. Indeed, a recent study conducted by researchers from London found that 5 servings of fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of stroke by 25 percent. Antioxidants may also enhance immune defense and therefore lower the risk of cancer and infection.
Alternative medicine includes practices that differ from conventional medicine. Some alternative medicine practices are homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine. A typical definition is “every available approach to healing that does not fall within the realm of conventional medicine”.
alternative medicine is any of various systems of healing or treating disease (as homeopathy, chiropractic, herbal medicine, naturopathy, Ayurveda, or faith healing) that are not included in the traditional curricula taught in medical schools of the United States and Britain
Alternative medicine practices may be based on unconventional belief systems or philosophies; biological data and observations or biochemical principles; and some may not follow the scientific method. They may incorporate spiritual, metaphysical, or religious underpinnings, untested practices, pre-modern medical traditions, or newly developed approaches to healing. If an alternative medical approach, previously unproven according to orthodox scientific or regulatory methodologies, is subsequently shown to be safe and effective, it may then be adopted by conventional practitioners and no longer considered “alternative”.
In 2002, the Medical Subject Headings Section staff of the National Library of Medicine classifies alternative medicine under the term complementary therapies. This is defined as therapeutic practices which are not currently considered an integral part of conventional allopathic medical practice. They may lack biomedical explanations but as they become better researched some, such as physical therapy, diet, and acupuncture, become widely accepted whereas others, such as humors or radium therapy, quietly fade away, yet are important historical footnotes. Therapies are termed as Complementary when used in addition to conventional treatments and as Alternative when used instead of conventional treatment.
An originally Chinese practice of inserting fine needles through the skin at specific points especially to cure disease or relieve pain.
It is an Chinese medical technique for unblocking chi (ch’i or qi) by inserting needles at particular points on the body to balance the opposing forces of yin and yang. Chi is an energy that allegedly permeates all things.
Acupuncture may be defined as a type of medical treatment that helps the patient to fight against diseases through the mechanical stimulation of pre-established acupuncture points (meridian points) on the body. Acupuncture can be traced back through four thousand years.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), diseases are often treated with herbs as well as acupuncture. Application of Chinese herbs in treating diseases is based on the nature and activities of herbs and herbs are depending on the energies, flavors, movements, and meridian belongings of the herbs. For example, there are four energies of the herbs: cold, hot, warm, and cool. When an herb is effective in the treatment of a hot syndrome, it is considered to have a hot energy. The four energies can be further divided into yin and yang in Chinese medicine. Cold and cool energies belong to yin and hot and warm energies belong to yang.
Please note, most conventional doctors do not recognize the concept of systemic candida infection.
Candida is the common term used for Candidiasis, which means Candida overgrowth. Candida has the ability to change into its fungal form and spore all the way through the intestinal wall and to other parts of the body. Candida is often associated with vaginal yeast infection for women.
Most of the symptoms of Candida are apparent. In cases like this, it is very essential to seek for medical advice to eliminate the more serious complications of Candida. Consistent laboratory tests are also necessary. Vaginal candidiasis can also be eliminated by taking some over the counter medicines and creams.
Candida albicans is a yeast like organism that lives naturally in small amounts in your mouth, gastrointestinal tract and skin. The body’s natural defense against fungal and yeast infections is the production of friendly bacterial flora that keeps it in check. It is controlled by a properly functioning immune system and “friendly” bacteria. However, if the number of friendly bacteria is decreased, the immune system is weakened or other conditions for yeast proliferation occur (we will come to the causes later) candida albicans may shift from a yeast to a fungal form and start to invade the body and cause a multitude of health problems.
In the yeast state candida is a non-invasive, sugar-fermenting organism, while in fungal state it is invasive and can produce rhizoids, very long root-like structures. Rhizoids can penetrate mucosa or intestinal walls, leaving microscopic holes and allowing toxins, undigested food particles and bacteria and yeast to enter the bloodstream. This condition is known as Leaky Gut Syndrome and that is one of the causes of food and environmental allergies.
Although most people associate the word “candida”, with the most common type of candida infection, namely candida albicans, it should be mentioned that there are in fact numerous types of candida.
The term hemorrhoids refers to a condition in which the veins around the anus or lower rectum are swollen and inflamed.
Hemorrhoids may result from straining to move stool. Other contributing factors include pregnancy, aging, chronic constipation or diarrhea, and anal intercourse. Hemorrhoids are either inside the anus—internal—or under the skin around the anus—external.
Many anorectal problems, including fissures, fistulae, abscesses, or irritation and itching, also called pruritus ani, have similar symptoms and are incorrectly referred to as hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids usually are not dangerous or life threatening. In most cases, hemorrhoidal symptoms will go away within a few days.
Although many people have hemorrhoids, not all experience symptoms. The most common symptom of internal hemorrhoids is bright red blood covering the stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl. However, an internal hemorrhoid may protrude through the anus outside the body, becoming irritated and painful. This is known as a protruding hemorrhoid. Symptoms of external hemorrhoids may include painful swelling or a hard lump around the anus that results when a blood clot forms. This condition is known as a thrombosed external hemorrhoid.
In addition, excessive straining, rubbing, or cleaning around the anus may cause irritation with bleeding and/or itching, which may produce a vicious cycle of symptoms. Draining mucus may also cause itching.
Menopause simply means the end of menstruation, but the term is also used to refer to the months and years in a woman’s life before and after her final period — a time that may or may not bring with it some physical or emotional changes.
Menopause is not a disease. It is a natural process in a woman’s life. How a woman views this time of her life can have a lot to do with how frequent and severe her symptoms are. If menopause is viewed as the end of youth and sexuality, this time will be much more difficult than if it is viewed as the next, natural phase of life. With a proper diet, nutritional supplements, and exercise, most of the unpleasant side effects of menopause can be minimized, if not eliminated.
More than one third of the women in the United States, about 36 million, have been through menopause. Women now live longer. With a life expectancy of about 81 years, a 50 year old woman can expect to live more than one-third of her life after menopause. So, it is important that you understand what is happening and how to cope up with menopause so that you can spend the last third of your life comfortably.