Anxiety Disorders: Supplements With Likely Efficacy

Like depression, anxiety is an area of psychopharmacology where many naturopathic compounds have been studied. While kava has established efficacy with adults and consistently has been shown to be effective in decreasing symptoms of anxiety, no studies thus far have been performed with children and adolescents, and some risk of hepatotoxicity may be present, and consequently the supplement is included in this section. In addition, some other compounds have also revealed at least some efficacy, but research has primarily been done with adult patients, and clinicians must use caution when applying results of these studies to pediatric patients. Anxiolytic medications work by increasing the amount of activity in the serotonergic pathways, as well as altering the glutamate-GABA balance in favor of inhibitory effects. Supplements that accomplish similar changes in the brain have been shown to be effective in managing symptoms of anxiety. Kava Kava (Piper methysticum), alsto referred to as kava kava, is a tall bush indigenous to the South Pacific, especially Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, New Guinea, and New Zealand. Its root is typically ground, and indigenous cultures have also chewed it, prepared it as an infusion, Read more […]

HAEMOSTATIC AGENTS

HAEMOSTATIC AGENTS enhance the process of haemostasis, which is the arrest of blood loss from damaged blood vessels, and is essential to life. It involves three key components and their processes: platelets, blood vessels (the vascular endothelium and smooth muscle of the wall), and the blood-borne coagulation cascade system. To an extent, these components can be separated, but proper formation of the haemostatic plug in vivo requires interaction of all. For instance, blood coagulation in vitro is rapid and efficiently forms a clot as such, but it is not the same entity as the thrombus of platelets enmeshed in fibrin that constitutes the functional haemostatic plug which is required in haemostasis to prevent haemorrhage. Similarly, in vivo, in a patient with a deficiency of platelets, there may be spontaneous bleeding giving a purple coloration in the skin (thrombocytopenic purpurea); though the clotting time of the blood is unchanged, the bleeding time is prolonged. The processes involved in formation of fibrin are described in more detail at ANTITHROMBINS and ANTICOAGULANTS. Briefly, some agents are direct-acting thrombin antagonists, binding avidly to this enzyme and thus preventing the key stage in blood coagulation Read more […]

FIBRINOLYTIC AGENTS

FIBRINOLYTIC AGENTS help in the dissolution of thrombi or blood clots. Some agents used clinically are versions of endogenous agents, and others are agents foreign to the body, with a number of modes of action. Blood coagulation involves the conversion of fluid blood to a solid gel or a clot. The formation of a clot helps in the process of haemostasis (see HAEMOSTATICS). The formation of fibrin filament, together with the adhesion and activation of platelets, helps form the haemostatic plug, which serves to block the damaged blood vessel wall. The actual elements of the clot, insoluble strands of fibrin, are the end-product of a cascade largely involving serine protease enzymes, notably thrombin, and blood-borne proteins. A thrombus is the unwanted formation of a haemostatic plug in blood vessels, often within the veins or arteries of the heart, commonly in pathological conditions associated with arterial disease or where there is stasis. Pieces of the thrombus may break off and form an embolism, which may lodge in vessels in the lungs or brain causing damage to the tissues supplied. Thrombolytic drugs are able actually to dissolve thrombi. In contrast, neither antiplatelet drugs nor anticoagulants are necessarily Read more […]

Cardiovascular Diseases

Cardiovascular diseases constitute one of the major causes of disability and death all over the world. Increased mechanisation, Westernisation of lifestyle and genetic factors, coupled with an increase in life expectancy owing to control of infectious diseases, have contributed to its rise in the developing world as well. Despite remarkable advances in the identification of various risk factors and our enhanced knowledge regarding the aetiopathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases and molecular targeting for drug development, effective drug management of cardiovascular diseases still eludes medical researchers. There continues to be an unmet need for better and safer drugs to treat as well as to prevent cardiovascular diseases. In this regard, it is important to remember that many of the cardiovascular diseases are preventable, either by lifestyle modification and/or by drugs. The past few decades have witnessed the introduction of a remarkable number of not only new drugs, but also new classes of drugs, for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. These include calcium-channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin-receptor blockers, various hypolipidaemic agents, and various antiplatelet Read more […]

Botanical Treatment Of Hypertension In Pregnancy

Improperly treated pregnancy hypertensive disorders can have dire consequences to the mother and baby. It is not recommended that pregnant women attempt self-medication for pregnancy hypertension, nor that this be done by inexperienced practitioners. The best treatment is obstetric medical care accompanied, when appropriate, by prudent use of herbal medicines as adjunct therapy, under the guidance of an herbalist, nat-uropath, or midwife trained in the use of botanical medicines in pregnancy. Although popular for the treatment of hypertension in the nonpregnant population, herbal diuretics such as dandelion leaf (Taraxacum officinale) are not appropriate for the treatment of pregnancy hypertensive disorders, and may potentially cause exacerbation. The herbs discussed in the following are those commonly used for treating gestational and chronic hypertension that are considered generally safe for use during pregnancy. Botanical treatment for preeclampsia is not recommended and has not been investigated. Cramp Bark and Black Haw Cramp bark and black haw have been used by midwives as part of herbal antihypertensive protocol for gestational hypertension. Traditionally, they have been used as mus-culoskeletal relaxants Read more […]

Iron Deficiency: Botanical Treatment

The use of various forms of elemental iron have been a part of both folk and Western medical herbal tradition for at least the past few hundred years, whether in the form of iron nails stuck in apples to infuse the apples with iron for consumption by pioneer women, or the use of ferrum supplements by the Eclectic physicians. As stated earlier, side effects from iron supplements are common. For pregnant women who may be experiencing GI symptoms due to the pregnancy itself, such as nausea, vomiting, or constipation, regular elemental iron supplements may be intolerable. Although there is almost no evidence in the literature evaluating the efficacy or safety of herbs used as “iron tonics,” their use is popular amongst herbalists, midwives, and pregnant women (Table Botanical Treatment Strategies for Iron Deficiency Anemia). Clinical observation has demonstrated a high level of efficacy and minimal side effects (see Case History) with a limited number of botanical supplements. The herbs in this section are those most commonly used in contemporary midwifery and herbal practice. Botanical Treatment Strategies for Iron Deficiency Anemia Therapeutic Goal Therapeutic Activity Botanical Name Common Name Provide Read more […]

Nelumbo nucifera

Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. (Nymphaeaceae) Sacred Lotus, East Indian Lotus, Oriental Lotus Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. is an aquatic plant that grows in shallow waters. Leaves are green, round, 30-60 cm across and with long petiole. Flowers are pink, white or red, 10-30 cm and solitary. Fruits are non-edible and non-fleshy. Origin Native to tropical and temperate Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe. Phytoconstituents Nuciferin, nornuciferin, nelumboroside A & B, nelumstemine, dotriacontane, ricinoleic, roemerin, liensinine, neferine, lotusine, liriodenine, asimilobin, pronuciferine and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses The leaves are used to treat sunstroke, diarrhoea, dysentery, fever, dizziness and vomiting of blood. The plant is used as an antidote for mushroom poisoning and for smallpox. In Ayurveda, the plant is used to treat cholera, diarrhoea, worm infestation, vomiting, exhaustion and intermittent fever. The fruits are used in decoction for agitation, fever, heart and haematemesis while the stamens are used to “purify the heart, permeate the kidneys, strengthen virility, to blacken the hair, for haemoptysis and spermatorrhoea”. They are also used to treat premature ejaculation, as astringent for bleeding, Read more […]

Lonicera japonica

Lonicera japonica Thunb. (Caprifoliaceae) Japanese Honeysuckle, Jin Yin Hua Lonicera japonica Thunb. is a climbing shrub having tomen-tose young leaves and stems. Leaves are simple, opposite and exstipulate. Blade is elliptic, 3-8 cm by 2-3 cm, truncate at base, obtuse and chartaceous. Flowers are axillary, white, and turns yellow upon maturity. Fruits are globose and black. Origin A native of East Asia, widely cultivated and naturalised throughout the world. Phytoconstituents Linalool, luteolin, geraniol, aromadendrene, eugenol, loniceroside A, B, C, L-phenylalaninosecologanin, (Z)-aldosecologanin, (E)-aldosecologanin and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses In China, the flowers are used for influenza, boils and carbuncle. In Malaysia, decoctions of dried flowers are used for cooling, flu, fever, headache, and boils. Distilled flowers are used to produce a medicine for treating postprandial stomachaches. Flower tea is prescribed to treat fever, sore throat, mouth sores, headache, conjunctivitis, keratitis, corneal ulcers, breast infections, muscle and joint pain, stomach problems, diarrhoea, and painful urination. They are used in the treatment of arthritis and inflammation. Flower buds are used in infusions Read more […]

Zingiber officinale

Roscoe (Zingiberaceae) Common Ginger Description Zingiber officinale Roscoe is an herbaceous plant that grows up to 1.2 m high and with an underground rhizome. The stem grows above ground and leaves are narrow, long, lanceolate, with distinct venation pattern and pointed apex. Flowers are white or yellowish-green, streaked with purple and fragrant. Origin Originate from tropical Asia, widely cultivated in the tropics. Phytoconstituents Gingerol, zingiberene, farnesene, camphene, neral, nerol, 1,8-cineole, geranial, geraniol, geranyl acetate and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses Ginger is the folk remedy for anaemia, nephritis, tuberculosis, and antidote to Arisaema and Pinellia. Sialogogue when chewed, causes sneezing when inhaled and rubefacient when applied externally. Antidotal to mushroom poisoning, ginger peel is used for opacity of the cornea. The juice is used as a digestive stimulant and local application in ecchymoses. Underground stem is used to treat stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, nose bleeds, rheumatism, coughs, blood in stools, to improve digestion, expel intestinal gas, and stimulate appetite. The rhizomes are used to treat bleeding, chest congestion, cholera, cold, diarrhoea, dropsy, dysmenorrhoea, Read more […]

Diseases of the Musculoskeletal System

Herbs For Diseases Of The Musculoskeletal System Disorders of the musculoskeletal system — including arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, ligament conditions such as anterior cruciate / luxating patellas, and spinal arthritis / spondylosis — generally present as altered gait or lameness caused by pain. These conditions benefit from physical therapies including acupuncture, chiropractics, physiotherapy, and massage, as well as weight reduction where appropriate. Chondroprotective agents should always be considered and conventional antiinflammatory agents should be considered for acute injuries. Alternatives to nonsteroidal antiinflammatories are often sought because of concerns over side effects of medications including continued degeneration of joints and gastrointestinal, hepatic, or renal effects. Musculoskeletal conditions affect the whole body. Pain in one area leads to biomechanical changes elsewhere due to shifts in weight bearing and movement. The whole body must be evaluated, not just the affected limb or back. Frequently, muscle spasm, trigger points, myofascial pain, and joint pain are detected elsewhere in the body. Similarly, herbalists take a systemic approach to treating musculoskeletal disorders. Read more […]