Kava Kava (Piper methysticum)

Kava Kava: Medical Uses Kava kava is used to improve mental function and for anxiety disorders, hot flashes, and anxiety and mild depression associated with menopause. Historical Uses Kava comes from a Greek word meaning “intoxicating.” The herb has been used in Polynesian countries to make a ceremonial drink. Growth This tropical, perennial shrub is a member of the pepper family and is native to Oceania. Part Used • Root Major Chemical Compound • Kavalactones Kava Kava: Clinical Uses Kava kava is used to improve mental function and for nonpsychotic anxiety disorders, hot flashes, and anxiety and mild depression associated with menopause. It is approved by the German Commission E for “anxiety, stress, and restlessness”. Mechanism of Action Kava kava has sedative, analgesic, anticonvulsant, and muscle relaxant effects and acts on the limbic system. Its action is different from that of aspirin, morphine, and benzo-diazepines. Little information is currently available on kavalactones. For anxiety: Standardized extract: 70 mg kavalactones two to three times daily. Capsules or tablets: 400 to 500 mg up to six times daily. Tincture (1:2): 15 to 30 drops up to three times daily. Tincture drops Read more […]


DOPAMINE RECEPTOR AGONISTS act to stimulate dopamine receptors, and these have a major neurotransmitter role in the CNS. Dopamine is also a precursor in the formation of the catecholamine monoamine neurotransmitter noradrenaline and the hormone adrenaline. The distribution of dopamine in the brain is very non-uniform. There is some in the limbic system, and a large proportion is found in the corpus striatum — a part of the extrapyramidal motor system which is concerned with the coordination of movement. Dopamine-containing nerves are found in three main pathways in the brain. The nigrostriatal pathway contains about 75% Of the dopamine in the brain, and the cell bodies lie in the substantia nigra and the nerves terminate in the corpus striatum. The second important pathway is the mesolimbic pathway, the cell bodies of which lie in the mid-brain and project to parts of the limbic system, particularly the nucleus accumbens. The third, the tubero-infundibular system, consists of short neurons that run from the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus to the median eminence and the pituitary gland, the secretions of which they regulate. With respect to disturbances of dopamine neurotransmitter function, the first-mentioned Read more […]

Drugs That Stimulate Sexual Behavior

Various clinically used or experimental drugs enhance sexual interest or potency as a side effect in humans. Levodopa Levodopa (L-dopa) is a natural intermediate in the biosynthesis of catecholamines in the brain and peripheral adrenergic nerve terminals. In the biologic sequence of events it is converted to dopamine, which in turn serves as a substrate of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Levodopa is used successfully in the treatment of Parkinson’s syndrome, a disease characterized by dopamine deficiency. When levodopa is administered to an individual with this syndrome, the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are ameliorated, presumably because the drug is converted to dopamine and thereby counteracts the deficiency. Individuals treated with levodopa, especially older men, have been observed to experience a sexual rejuvenation. This effect has led to the belief that levodopa stimulates sexual powers. Consequently, studies with younger men complaining of decreased erectile ability have shown that levodopa increases libido and the incidence of penile erections. Overall, however, these effects are short lived and do not reflect continued satisfactory sexual function and potency. Thus, levodopa is not a true aphrodisiac. Read more […]

Stress: Ashwagandha

The roots of ashwagandha have long been used as “rasayana” drugs in Ayurvedic medicine to prevent or treat disease through the restoration of a healthy balance of life. Ashwagandha is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a general restorative medicine, and to improve general health, longevity, and prevent disease. Ashwagandha is much less stimulating than ginseng, making it preferable for patients with irritability, anxiety, and insomnia, and as a gentle tonic herb for the nervous system. The species name, somnifera, indicates the plant’s traditional use for sleep induction. Ashwagandha is immunomodu-latory and improves energy in patients experiencing stress-induced illness or exhaustion. It is indicated in inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis or other musculoskeletal disorders, and it is combined with other herbs in the treatment of cancer. Ashwagandha is used in Ayurveda and Unani systems of medicine for the treatment of pain, skin diseases, infection, inflammation, gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatism, and epilepsy. It is also used as a general tonic for the improvement of libido, liver health, mental state, cancer, heart disease, and the immune system. In vivo studies support its use for anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, Read more […]

Tyrosine: Interactions. Contraindications. Pregnancy Use

Adverse Reactions Migraine headache, mild gastric upset, nausea, headache, fatigue, heartburn, arthralgia, insomnia and nervousness. High blood pressure may occur in susceptive individuals — hypertensive patients taking tyrosine should be monitored closely. Significant Interactions AMPHETAMINE, EPHEDRINE, PHENYLPROPANOLAMINE L-tyrosine (200 and 400 mg/kg) has been shown to increase the side-effect of anorexia caused by phenylpropanolamine, ephedrine and amphetamine in a dose-dependent manner in rats — observe patients using this combination. ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), tricyclic antidepressants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs (SSRIs) Theoretically, concurrent use may result in elevated blood pressure and/or enhanced antidepressant effects. In the case of MAOIs some tyrosine may be metabolised to tyramine and concurrent use with MAOIs may lead to hypertensive crisis. Tyrosine should be avoided unless under medical supervision. CNS STIMULANTS Tyrosine is a precursor to a number of neurotransmitters so additive effects may occur — caution. LEVODOPA L-dopa competes with tyrosine for uptake, therefore concurrent use may decrease uptake of both substances, Read more […]