Archive for Herbal Supplements

Alfalfa

Alfalfa, a natural alternative, may help control high cholesterol, menopause and poor appetite.

Alfalfa leaves also contain flavones, isoflavones, sterols, and coumarin derivatives. The isoflavones are thought to be responsible for the estrogen-like effects seen in animal studies. Although this has not been confirmed with human trials, it is sometimes used to treat menopause symptoms.

Historic Use

Many years ago, traditional Chinese physicians used young alfalfa leaves to treat disorders of the digestive tract.  Similarly, the Ayurvedic physicians of India prescribed the leaves and flowering tops for poor digestion. Alfalfa was also considered therapeutic for water retention and arthritis. North American Indians recommended alfalfa to treat jaundice and to encourage blood clotting.

Although conspicuously absent from many classic textbooks on herbal medicine, alfalfa did find a home in the texts of the Eclectic physicians (19th-century physicians in the United States who used herbal therapies) as a tonic for indigestion, dyspepsia, anemia, loss of appetite, and poor assimilation of nutrients.  These physicians also recommended the alfalfa plant to stimulate lactation in nursing mothers, and the seeds were made into a poultice for the treatment of boils and insect bites.


Alfalfa:  Common name: Lucerne.  Botanical name: Medicago sativa.  A member of the pea family it is native to western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean region. Sprouts have become a popular food and herbal supplements primarily use the dried leaves of the plant. The heat-treated seeds of the plant have also been used.

Vitamins

Besides protein you have vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Nutrient analysis also demonstrates the presence of calcium, potassium, iron, and zinc.

Active Constituents

While the medicinal benefits are poorly understood, the constituents in alfalfa have been extensively studied. The leaves contain approximately 2–3% saponins.  Animal studies suggest that these constituents block absorption of cholesterol and prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.  One small human trial found that 120 grams per day of heat-treated alfalfa seeds for eight weeks led to a modest reduction in cholesterol. However, consuming the large amounts of alfalfa seeds (80–120 grams per day) needed to supply high amounts of these saponins may potentially cause damage to red blood cells in the body.

For more information, consult Wikipedia >>


Effective herbal remedies can help those that suffer from common ailments rather than an expensive trip to the doctor and resulting prescriptions. Specific herbs can be made into healing salves, tonics and teas not only to relieve irritating symptoms that accompany these ailments, but also to cure them. (Make your own herbal preparations >>) Or, you can buy these already ready!

Herbal remedies have innate benefits that can work for a variety of common ailments from acne to warts. Below are some herbal treatments for everyday ailments:

Acne – There are a number of conditions that can perpetuate acne, but the most common causes are hormonal imbalance (such as in adolescence), stress and some medications.  Effective herbal remedies include:

  • Enchinacea – Reduces inflammation and has healing qualities.
  • Witch Hazel – Used as a topical astringent.
  • Aloe Gel – Topically applied as an antibacterial (and astringent) agent.

Bladder infections – This type of infection occurs when bacteria enters the urinary tract — generally, in women. Some symptoms include constant or painful urination. Treat bladder infections with the following herbal remedies:

  • Barberry – Helps the immune system fight infection.
  • Cranberry juice – Inhibits bacterial growth by increasing acid in the urine.
  • Dandelion – Detoxifies the bladder. Read More→

Top Selling Herbal Supplements

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
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Top selling herbs and supplements are being used for chronic conditions that are difficult to treat or manage with conventional medicine. Ailments such as mood disorders, heart disease, arthritis, women’s health conditions, and digestive disorders are among the most common reasons. Before taking any herbs it’s highly recommended to talk to your doctor. Also, be sure to see precautions and potential side effects for each herb, listed on the individual pages linked.

Below is a list of the top selling herbs based on the most recent information online:

  1. Ginkgo Biloba sold $147 million worth, commonly used to increase because of it’s antioxidant properties, which is believed to help improve memory, increase brain blood flow, and prevent dementia. It’s also thought to help prevent heart attacks and stroke.
  2. St. John’s Wort, nature’s anti-depressant (sold $104 million) is generally used for mild to moderate depression.
  3. Ginseng at $84 million, is used to help combat fatigue and weakness. (Primarily for men, Don Quai is for women.)
  4. Garlic, more than just a tasty addition to foods, it’s a natural antibiotic and has sold $84 million in a year. It’s also used to lower cholesterol levels.
  5. Echinacea, an herb I always keep around, sold $72 million in 2010. This herb while listed as a treatment for colds and respiratory infections, is best used to prevent these problems when taken at the change of seasons and/or the first signs to shorten duration. I take it instead of a flu shot!  If a cold or respiratory problem has already shown it’s nasty signs, I also take Elderberry and Zinc (formula) to expedite healing.
  6. Saw Palmetto, at $45 million in sales, is used primarily by men to prevent or help with prostate conditions. (In women it seems to make breasts perkier!)
  7. Kava Kava, $18 million in sales, is used to reduce or relieve stress and anxiety. The effect is similar to drinking a glass of wine. Read More→

What You Need to Know…

Healing Herbs: Echinacea

Photo by: FreeHerbPictures.com

Let me precede this post with the fact that I am a huge believer in herbs and natural remedies. I studied them for years though I am NOT a practitioner. The information I provide here is not intended as medical advice in any way. It’s provided for your interest in alternative health therapies available.

I’ve used herbs, vitamins, enzymes, healthy foods, etc., personally for nearly two decades. Obviously, I’m sold on the benefits!

Let’s talk about some specific things you should know before you buy herbs for your health.

Although widely touted as a healthy alternative to synthetic pharmaceuticals, herbal treatments must be used with caution and by someone who knows what they’re doing. You want to be knowledgeable about what you put into (or on) your body before you ingest a dangerous amount of an herb you’re not familiar with.

Many companies sell herbs off the Internet without any verifiable way to back up their claims or even that you’re receiving the kind of herb you’re investing in. You want to only buy from a reputable company that delivers herbs you can trust.

Make sure you’re working toward preventative health, and not simply treatments or cures for diseases or ailments you encounter from time to time. Herbal medicine works best when you try to maintain a balance within your body, not when you seek out help solely to fix an immediate problem. Read More→