Herbal Supplements

Herbal Supplements

Herbal Supplements
Herbal supplements are dietary supplements derived from nature. Herbal plants or parts of a plant are broken down and used for their scent, flavor and therapeutic benefits. When taken as a supplement, they can deliver strong benefits, however, herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA and can have dangerous side effects. They act like drugs once in your system and can affect metabolism, circulation and excretion of other substances in your body. It is important to discuss with your doctor if you are on prescription medications, are breastfeeding or have chronic illnesses and want to add herbal supplements to your health regimen.

Recently Answered

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice root) is used in Chinese medicine to treat a variety of illnesses. Most studies of licorice root have been done in combination with other herbs, so it's not possible to verify whether any effects were attributable to licorice root per se. Because of the potential side effects of taking licorice, including high blood pressure, and how little is known about its benefits -- if any -- for stimulating immune function, this is an herb to avoid.
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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered

    Bismuth is a naturally occurring mineral that can act as an antacid as well as against H. pylori. Bismuth preparations are now often prescribed along with triple therapy as a component in quadruple therapy for the eradication of H. pylori. The best-known and most widely used bismuth preparation is bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol). However, bismuth subcitrate has produced the best results against H. pylori and in the treatment of non-ulcer-related indigestion as well as peptic ulcers. In the United States, bismuth subcitrate preparations are available by prescription through compounding pharmacies (contact the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists,

    www.iacprx.org, 1-800-927-4227).

    One of the main advantages of bismuth preparations over standard antibiotic approaches to eradicating H. pylori is that whereas the bacteria may develop resistance to various antibiotics, they are very unlikely to develop resistance to bismuth.

    The usual dosage for bismuth subcitrate is 240 milligrams (mg) twice daily before meals. For bismuth subsalycilate the dosage is 500 mg - two tablets or 30 milliliters (mL) of standard-strength Pepto-Bismol - four times daily.

    Bismuth preparations are extremely safe when taken at prescribed dosages and for less than six weeks at a time. Bismuth subcitrate may cause a temporary and harmless darkening of the tongue, the stool, or both. Bismuth subsalicylate should not be taken by children recovering from the flu, chicken pox, or some other viral infections, as it may mask the nausea and vomiting associated with Reye's syndrome, a rare but serious illness.

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    A Fitness, answered on behalf of

    The main component in olive leaf is the phytochemical oleuropein. Olive leaf may have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, thus it may be able to interact with the protein in a cold or flu and slow its progress. Some research suggests that olive leaf may be able to inhibit viral replication but there is no definitive scientific consensus at this time.

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    A , Neurology, answered
    To make a sandalwood face mask, use about five teaspoons of sandalwood powder and slowly mix in water until you have a thick paste. If you have a tendency toward acne or rashes, add one-quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder. If you tend to have very dry skin, you can add some castor or almond oil to the paste. You can apply the mask for 1 hour on a weekly basis for regular skin care or leave it on overnight every few months for a deep skin cleansing.

    Be cautious about any sensitivity or allergies you may have to this mask's components.
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    In general, evening primrose oil can be beneficial for the brain because it contains an omega-6 fatty acid important for maintaining brain chemistry. Research is ongoing to determine how much it can help people with depression, schizophrenia and other specific brain-related conditions.

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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    Calamus depresses the central nervous system (CNS) and causes sedation. Don't take calamus with drugs or supplements that have a similar CNS effect, including prescription sedatives or herbs, such as valerian or St. John's wort.

    Three of the four calamus species contain a carcinogen called beta-isoasarone. For that reason, the U.S. government does not allow food manufacturers to use calamus in any food products. Beta-isoasarone has also been linked to kidney damage and convulsions.

    For all these reasons, calamus should be avoided. In particular, pregnant women should not take it.
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    A answered
    Most herbal remedies do not undergo testing for safety and efficacy. This needs to be a consideration especially for use in a young person. In addition, if a person takes blood thinners or antidepressants they should consult their doctor before taking Evening Primrose (or Oenothera Biennis). There are other medications that may interact with Evening Primrose and you should always get your pediatrician's approval in advance. Please first talk to your pediatrician or family doctor about the available treatment for the symptoms of PMS in such a young patient.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    What should I know before using pyruvate supplements?

    You can get pyruvate from apples, red wine or red grapes, though a supplement is more appropriate for 1-2 months if you are trying to lose weight. In this video, Eva Selhub, MD, explains the benefits and side effects of pyruvate.

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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    Bitter orange is a weight loss supplement. When the FDA banned the herbal stimulant ephedra, bitter orange was put into various "weight-loss" products. However, there are many concerns that it may not be any safer than ephedra. In fact, Consumer Reports listed it in an article on dangerous alternative medicines and said it was associated with "fainting, heart-rhythm disorders, heart attack, stroke, and death."
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    What are pyruvate supplements?

    Pyruvate is naturally made in our body when sugar is broken down for energy; it also appears to divert fat in the body during this process, so that fat is burned first. Watch Eva Selhub, MD, describe how pyruvate works in the body.