The therapeutic uses of Urtica in benign prostatic hyperplasia

The use of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) root extracts in the therapy of benign prostatic hyperplasia has a rather short tradition. The basis is a report by a German physician about the use of tea in the treatment of urinary tract disorders. Biochemical models Inhibition of 5α-reductase Testosterone is transformed by 5α-reductase into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the active androgen in the prostate (dihydrotestosterone hypothesis). Androgen deprivation has been shown to decrease the size of the prostate. Nettle root extracts come off badly in studies of their effect on 5α-reductase. Respective studies were made of 60% ethanolic extract and a 20% methanolic extract, both of which turned out to be ineffective. The study made by Rhodes and coworkers, however, is not without certain shortcomings. For instance, it compares data in mg/ml and not on the basis of daily doses, without taking into account that the daily dose shows distinct differences between finasterid and plant preparations (finasterid 1–5 mg/day; bazoton 600 mg of 20% methanolic extract, corresponding to 6,300 mg of drug per day). In addition to inaccuracies regarding the botanical names there is no consideration of the excipient. In Read more […]

Asteraceae: Drug Interactions, Contraindications, And Precautions

Patient survey data from Canada, the U.S., and Australia show that one in five patients use prescription drugs concurrently with CAM. The inherent polypharmaceutical nature of complementary and alternative medicine increases the risk of adverse events if these complementary and alternative medicine either have pharmacological activity or interfere with drug metabolism. Since confirmed interactions are sporadic and based largely on case reports, advice to avoid certain drug-CAM combinations is based on known pharmacological and in vitro properties. Known Hypersensitivity to Asteraceae Cross-reactive sesquiterpene lactones are present in many, if not all, Asteraceae. Patients with known CAD from one plant may develop similar type IV reactions following contact with others. Affected patients are often advised to avoid contact with all Asteraceae, yet this advice is based on limited knowledge of cross-reactivity between relatively few members of this large family. Some authorities recommend avoiding Asteraceae-derived complementary and alternative medicine if, for example, the patient is known to have IgE-mediated inhalant allergy to ragweed. While a reasonable approach, this ignores a number of important facts: (1) Read more […]

Soy (Glycine max)

Soy: Medical Uses Soy is used for high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, and menopausal symptoms and is also used for its anticancer effects and prevention of osteoporosis. Historical Uses In China, soy is valued highly and has been called one of the five sacred grains. Growth Soy is a subtropical plant that is now cultivated in temperate regions. The plant grows from 1 to 5 feet tall. Part Used • Seed (soybean) Major Chemical Compounds • Genistein, a major isoflavone in soy and a weak estrogen • Daidzein, another isoflavone Soy: Clinical Uses Soy is used to treat high cholesterol (, diabetes mellitus, and menopausal symptoms and is also used for its anticancer effects and prevention of osteoporosis. Labels approved by the Food and Drug Administration state that soy may help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Soy is approved by the German Commission E for mild hypercholesterolemia. Soy products containing isoflavones may provide a viable alternative to hormones for maintaining bone density and protecting against cardiovascular diseases, especially for postmenopausal women who choose to not take hormone replacement therapy. Japanese people consume an average of 7 to Read more […]

Endometriosis: Discussion Of Botanicals

For many women with endometriosis pain is the single most debilitating aspect of this condition (other than chronic fertility problems in women desiring pregnancy). Therefore, pain management should be an important focus in the care of women with this condition. Herbalists reliably employ a number of herbs for the treatment of pelvic and abdominal pain, many of which have a long history of traditional use for painful gynecologic conditions. These herbs can be used singly but are generally used in various combinations with other herbs in these categories, or as part of a larger protocol. Analgesic herbs are used for generalized or local pain of an aching or sharp quality and include black cohosh, black haw and cramp bark, chamomile, corydalis, pulsatilla, dong quai, ginger, and Jamaican dogwood. Corydalis, Jamaican dogwood, and pulsatilla are especially dependable for moderate to serious pain. Pulsatilla is considered specific for ovarian pain. Antispasmodics are typically used for cramping pain, but also may be used for sharp or dull pain, aching, and drawing pains in the lower back and thighs, and include, such as wild yam, the viburnums (cramp bark and black haw), black cohosh, chamomile, and ginger. Dong quai’s traditional Read more […]

Fibrocystic Breast: Botanical Treatment

Botanical treatment for fibrocystic breasts has not been widely subject to scientific evaluation, in spite of this being a commonly treated condition in the herbal clinic. Treatment aims primarily at hormonal regulation through direct (i.e., hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axes) and indirect (i.e., improved hormonal biotransformation and excretion) actions, and reduction of local congestion and symptomatic pain relief through topical applications (Table Summary of Botanical Treatment Strategies for Treatment of Fibrocystic Breasts). The liver plays a central role in metabolizing and detoxifying sex hormones. Consequently, herbal practitioners typically include herbs that are known or thought to enhance hepatic detoxification functions in formulae for treatment of fibrocystic breasts. Such herbs, many of them considered “bitters,” include dandelion root, burdock, root, licorice root, Oregon grape root, fringe tree, motherwort, blue vervain, and celandine. These botanicals are usually included in ranges of 5% to 20% of formulae, in tincture or decoction forms. Although there has been little investigation of such herbs to establish their pharmacologic or physiologic action for such use, Read more […]

Burdock: Modern Uses And Essiac

When we turn to modern sources, we may imagine that the internal use of burdock for boils echoes the old topical use. However, an antimicrobial action would be desirable to support this action, and this has been linked to poly-acetylenes found in fresh burdock root, whereas the classical authors wanted the leaves to be applied topically. Weiss considers the root the most important part of the plant for medicinal use but does not consider its action to be very great and recommends its use only in combination with other herbs. This could include cystitis, as listed by other authors. An oil made from the root can be used, says Weiss, to stimulate hair growth in alopecia and for dry seborrhoea. Mills and Bone also discuss only the root. Wood and Menzies-Trull include the seeds as well, perhaps following the recommendation by Priest & Priest of the seeds, especially in skin conditions. Pelikan highlights the fact that it is only the flower heads of burdock, and its fruit or seed, which display the thistle aspect of the plant. The leaves and root, on the other hand, are rich in mucilage, which he regards as evidence of their ‘struggle against spiny hardness’. Here we have an image to link with the several recommendations Read more […]

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids (properly called leiomyomata or myomas) are solid, well-defined benign monoclonal tumors of the smooth muscle cells of the uterus. They range in size from microscopic to many pounds in weight, and may be singular or clustered. Multiple myomas in the same uterus are not clonally related. Fibroid size is described in comparison to a pregnant uterus (i.e., a fibroid the size of a 16-week pregnancy). As many as 20% to 40% of all women develop fibroids by age 40. Approximately 17% of all hysterectomies performed in the United States are for uterine myomas, with a peak incidence of surgery occurring for women around age 45, making fibroids the primary annual cause of pre-menopausal hysterectomy in the United States. They are rare in a premenarchal young women and shrinkage typically occurs in post-menopausal women with the natural decline in estrogen levels, unless stimulated by exogenous estrogen (foreign estrogens usually a result of environmental exposure, for example, from pesticides or plastics). For unknown reasons, fibroids are two to three times more common in black women than white, Asian, and Hispanic women. Fibroids are classified according to their site of growth in the uterine or surrounding Read more […]

Uterine Fibroids: Botanical Treatment

Among Western herbalists specializing in gynecologic complaints, there is a common perception that although symptoms of uterine fibroids are not difficult to control with botanical medicines, and their growth can be arrested, they are difficult to eliminate entirely unless the fibroid is small at the onset of treatment (smaller than 12-week size). Many women are content to have symptom control over pharmaceutical or surgical intervention, as long as the fibroids present no mechanical problems. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has clearly defined diagnostic constructs, many herbal formulae, and well-developed adjunctive treatment protocols (e.g., acupuncture, moxibustion) for treating uterine fibroids and has claimed success in entirely eliminating uterine fibroids. Botanical Treatment Strategies for Uterine Fibroids Therapeutic Goal Therapeutic Activity Botanical Name Common Name Hormonal regulation; increase hormone biotransformation, conjugation, and improved elimination; displace with endogenous estrogen with estrogen receptor competitors. Cholagogues  Hepatic detoxification stimulants Berberis vulgaris  Camellia sinensis Chelidonium majus Hypericum perforation Schisandra Read more […]

Stress: Licorice

Although licorice is sometimes categorized as an adaptogen, it does not strictly meet the criteria of one: Its actions are specific rather than nonspecific, and its use in certain patients in high doses or over a prolonged period is not always benign, and in fact can pose serious consequences. However, because of licorice’s action on the adrenal glands, as well as on several conditions associated with hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal dysfunction, it raises questions about the potential role of licorice in the prevention and treatment of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal dysfunction, and merits mention in this section. Peptic ulcer was one of the first conditions ever to be associated with an overactive stress response. Interestingly, licorice extract has demonstrated efficacy against Helicobacter pylori, including against clarithromy-cin-resistant strains. Licorice studies have demonstrated its positive effects in treating viral infection, particularly those caused by herpes simplex virus, an active infection associated with increased stress. A recent study demonstrated that licorice root extract might even interfere with the latency of the herpes virus. Licorice components also have demonstrated the ability to modulate Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Chinese angelica

Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels (Apiaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Dang Gui (Chinese), Danggui, Dong quai. Angelica polymorpha van sinensis. Other species used in oriental medicine include Angelica dahurica. Not to be confused with Angelica, which is Angelica archangelica L. Pharmacopoeias Angelica Sinensis Root for use in THM (British Ph 2009); Processed Angelica Sinensis Root for use in THMP (British Pharmacopoeia 2009). Constituents The major constituents include natural coumarins (angelicin, archangelicin, bergapten, osthole, psoralen and xanthotoxin) and volatile oils. Other constituents include caffeic and chlorogenic acids, and ferulic acid. Angelica sinensis also contains a series of phthalides (n-butylidenephthalide, ligustilide, n-butylphthalide). Use and indications One of the most common uses of Chinese angelica root is for the treatment of menopausal symptoms and menstrual disorders. It has also been used for rheumatism, ulcers, anaemia, constipation, psoriasis, the management of hypertension and to relieve allergic conditions. Pharmacokinetics Evidence is limited to experimental studies, which suggest that the effects of Angelica dahurica and Angelica sinensis may not be equivalent. Read more […]