Dandelion: Uses. Dosage. Interactions. Pregnancy Use. Practice Points

Clinical Use The therapeutic effectiveness of dandelion has not been significantly investigated under clinical trial conditions, so evidence is derived from traditional, in vitro and animal studies. DIURETIC Dandelion has a long history of use as a diuretic in well-established systems of traditional medicines; however, the scientific and clinical evidence to support this use is limited to animal studies. The high potassium content of dandelion is considered to be partly responsible for any diuretic activity. A double-blind randomised study of 57 women with recurrent cystitis found that a commercial preparation known as Uva-E (a combination of Arctostaphylos leaves and dandelion root) significantly reduced the frequency of recurrence of cystitis compared with placebo. At the end of 12 months, none of the patients taking Uva-E had had a recurrence of cystitis, compared with 23% recurrence in the control group (P < 0.05). The role of dandelion in achieving this result is unknown; however, the researchers suggested that its diuretic effect was likely to have contributed to the positive results. LIVER TONIC Dandelion has a long history of use as a liver tonic; however, the scientific and clinical evidence to support Read more […]

Dandelion: Background. Actions

Historical Note Dandelion grows throughout the world as a weed and has a long history of medicinal and culinary use. Dandelion leaves are added to salads, providing a good source of minerals, and the roasted root is used as a coffee substitute. Dandelion leaves are traditionally used as a diuretic, and the root is used as a liver tonic. Other Names Blowball, cankerwort, common dandelion, lion’s tooth, priest’s crown, puff ball, swine snout, taraxacum, wild endive, white endive Botanical Name / Family Taraxacum officinale; synonyms: Leontodon taraxacum, Taraxacum vulgare (family Compositae [Asteraceae]) Plant Parts Used Leaf and root Chemical Components Dandelion leaf and root contain slightly different constituents. Overall, dandelion is a rich source of minerals, particularly potassium, as well as iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper, choline, selenium, calcium, boron and silicon, and a rich source of vitamins A, C, D and B complex (US Department of Agriculture 2003). The relatively high protein, fibre and linoleic acid content of dandelion leaves has led to suggestions that dandelion is a nutritious and underutilised food source. Dandelion’s constituents also include triterpenes, flavonoid Read more […]

Ginger: Practice Points – Patient Counselling. FAQ

Pregnancy Use Although Commission E suggests that ginger is contraindicated in pregnancy, more recent research suggests that ginger is not contraindicated in pregnancy — doses up to 2 g/day of dried ginger root have been used safely. No adverse effects on pregnancy were observed in multiple studies of ginger or nausea and vomiting. Practice Points / Patient Counselling • Ginger is most often used for its anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory and gastrointestinal effects. • There is clinical support for the use of ginger in the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness, the postoperative period, pregnancy and chemotherapy. • Ginger is traditionally used for gastrointestinal disorders including dyspepsia, poor appetite, flatulence, colic, vomiting, diarrhea and spasms, as well as a diaphoretic in the treatment of the common cold and influenza. • Ginger is also used as an anti-inflammatory agent for arthritis, although large controlled studies have yet to produce strong support for this use. • Although antiplatelet effects have been reported, this requires very large doses and is not likely to be significant in normal therapeutic doses or dietary intake levels. Answers to Read more […]

Ginger: Dosage. Interactions. Contraindications.

Dosage Range The recommended dose ranges widely from 500 mg to 9 g/day dried root or equivalent; however, as there are wide variations in the gingerol concentrations in commercial ginger supplements the effective dosage will depend on the preparation and the indication for use. • Liquid extract (1:2): 0.7-2.0 mL/day. • Dried root: 1-3 g daily in divided doses or 1-2 g taken as a single dose for nausea and vomiting. • Infusion: 4-6 slices of fresh ginger steeped in boiling water for 30 minutes. Adverse Reactions Gastric irritation, heartburn and bloating have been reported in clinical trials. Contact dermatitis of the fingertips has also been reported with topical use. Significant Interactions Controlled studies are not available for many interactions; therefore they are based on evidence of activity and are largely theoretical and speculative. WARFARIN Due to the herb’s antiplatelet effects there is a theoretical risk of increased bleeding at high doses (> 10 g) although this is not evident clinically. There is no evidence of an interaction with warfarin at the usual dietary and therapeutic intakes, and ginger has been shown not to alter prothrombin times in pooled human plasma collected from Read more […]

Ginger: Uses

Clinical Use Although ginger is used in many forms, including fresh ginger used in cooking or chai (Indian spicy tea), pickled or glazed ginger, ethanol extracts and concentrated powdered extracts, preparations made with the root are used medicinally. Depending on the specific solvent used, the resultant preparation will contain different concentrations of the active constituents and may differ markedly from crude ginger. Although the great majority of research refers specifically to the species Zingiber officinale, there is the potential for confusion with other species or even with other genera. Furthermore, there are reported to be wide variations in the quality of commercial ginger supplements with concentrations of gingerols ranging from 0.0 to 9.43 mg/g. As such, the results of specific research can not necessarily be extrapolated to different preparations. PREVENTION OF NAUSEA AND VOMITING Many clinical studies have investigated the effects of ginger in the prevention and treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with different circumstances, including pregnancy, the postoperative period, motion sickness and chemotherapy. A recent systematic review of 24 RCTs covering 1073 patients suggest that results Read more […]

Ginger: Background. Actions

Historical Note Ginger has been used as both a food and a medicine since ancient times. Confucius wrote about it in his Analects, the Greek physician, Dioscorides, listed ginger as an antidote to poisoning, as a digestive, and as being warming to the stomach in De Materia Medica, and the Koran, the Talmud and the Bible all mention ginger. Records suggest that ginger was highly valued as an article of trade and in 13th and 14th century England, one pound of ginger was worth the same as a sheep. Ginger is still extremely popular in the practice of phytotherapy, particularly in TCM, which distinguishes between the dried and fresh root. It is widely used to stimulate circulation, treat various gastrointestinal disorders and as a stimulant heating agent. Other Names African ginger, Indian ginger, Jamaica ginger, common ginger, rhizoma zingiberis, shokyo (Japanese) Botanical Name / Family Zingiber officinale Roscoe (family Zingiberaceae) Plant Part Used Rhizome Chemical Components The ginger rhizome contains an essential oil and resin known collectively as oleoresin. The composition of the essential oil varies according to the geographical origin, but the chief constituents, sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, which are Read more […]

Globe artichoke: Interactions. Pregnancy Use. Practice Points

Adverse Reactions Studies with hyperlipidaemic subjects indicate that globe artichoke leaf extract is generally well tolerated. Mild symptoms of flatulence, hunger and weakness were reported in approximately 1 % of subjects when the fresh plant was used. Contact dermatitis is possible with the fresh plant and urticaria-angio-oedema has been reported in one case of ingestion of raw and boiled herb. Significant Interactions None known. Contraindications and Precautions Not to be used by people with known allergy to globe artichoke or other members of the Asteraceae/Compositae family of plants. Herbs with choleretic and cholagogue activity should be used with caution by people with bile duct obstruction, acute or severe hepatocellular disease (e.g. cirrhosis), septic cholecystitis, intestinal spasm or ileus, liver cancer or with unconjugated hyperbilirubinaemia. Pregnancy Use Safety has not been scientifically established for the leaf extract. Practice Points / Patient Counselling • Artichoke leaf extract has antioxidant, choleretic, diuretic and lipid-lowering activity and possibly hepatoprotective, anti-emetic and spasmolytic effects. • According to a Cochrane review of two controlled studies, the Read more […]

Globe artichoke: Uses. Dosage

Clinical Use HYPERUPIDAEMIA Data are available from both controlled and uncontrolled studies that have investigated the effects of artichoke leaf extract in hyperlipidemia. Most studies use Hepar SL forte® orValverde Artischoke bei Verdauungsbeschwerden (artichoke dry extract) containing 450 g of herbal extract as a coated tablet. Data from five uncontrolled studies and case series suggests that artichoke leaf extract and cynarin have lipid-lowering effects and a possible role as adjunctive therapy in hyperlipidaemia. A Cochrane systematic review that analysed the results of two controlled studies concluded that artichoke leaf extract appears to have a modest positive effect on the levels of total cholesterol and LDL; however, there is insufficient evidence to recommend it as a treatment option for hypercholesterolaemia and trials with larger samples sizes are still required. One of the studies was a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicentre trial involving 143 subjects with total cholesterol levels >7.3 mmol/L (>280 g/dL). A dose of 1800 mg artichoke leaf extract was administered daily for 6 weeks. Active treatment resulted in 18.5% decrease in serum cholesterol compared with 8.6% Read more […]

Globe artichoke: Background. Actions

Historical Note Artichoke has a long history of use as a vegetable delicacy and medicinal agent, and its cultivation in Europe dates backto ancient Greece and Rome. Traditional use of artichoke has always pertained to the liver where it is considered to increase bile flow and act as a protective agent against various toxins. As such, it has been used for jaundice, dyspepsia, nausea, gout, pruritis and urinary stones. It is still a popular medicine in Europe today. Common Name Artichoke Other Names Alcachofa, artichaut, alcaucil, carciofo, cynara Botanical Name / Family Cynara scolymus L. (family [Compositae] Asteraceae) Plant Part Used Leaf Chemical Components Key constituents of the leaf include phenolic acids, mainly caffeic acid derivatives (e.g. chlorogenic acid), sesquiterpenes, lactones (e.g. cynaropicrin) and flavonoids (e.g. cynaroside, luteolin derivatives), phytosterols, inulin and free luteolin. Main Actions The main pharmacologically active constituents are thought to be the phenolic acids and flavonoids. ANTIOXIDANT Artichoke leaf extract exerts antioxidant effects, according to in vitro tests. HEPATOPROTECTIVE Improved hepatic regeneration, improved hepatic blood flow, increased hepatocyte Read more […]

Peppermint: Practice Points – Patient Counselling. FAQ

Peppermint oil and/or peppermint leaf extracts can be used for IBS, dyspepsia, flatulence, intestinal colic and biliary disorders. Note, however, that peppermint oil is contraindicated in inflammation of the gall bladder and severe liver disease. • Although enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may prevent side-effects such as reflux and allow higher doses to be used, traditional extracts of peppermint, including hydro-ethanolic extracts and infusions, may also be effective. • Peppermint leaf extract combines well with chamomile, caraway, licorice, lemon balm, angelica, St Mary’s thistle and the bitter candytuft (Iberis amara) in the treatment of functional dyspepsia. • Peppermint oil can be used as an inhalation or chest rub for coughs, sinusitis and bronchitis. Commission E approved peppermint oil for internal use in the treatment of respiratory tract inflammation and hot peppermint leaf infusion is used as a diaphoretic tea in the treatment of colds and influenza. • Peppermint oil can be inhaled to reduce nausea and may enhance cognitive performance and tactile tasks. • 10% peppermint oil in ethanol solution can be applied externally for tension headaches and applied over affected areas Read more […]