Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)

Horseradish: Medical Uses Horseradish is used to treat urinary tract infections and respiratory congestion. Historical Uses In folklore, horseradish was used to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) and respiratory congestion. Growth This perennial plant grows in Europe and North America. It prefers sun and well-drained soil. It is said to protect potatoes from Colorado beetles. Part Used • Root Major Chemical Compounds • Mustard oil • Sinigrin • Iron • Potassium Horseradish: Clinical Uses Horseradish is approved by the German Commission E for “catarrhs of the respiratory tract and supportive therapy for UTIs”. Mechanism of Action Horseradish has stimulant and diuretic effects. Horseradish: Dosage Root: Can be grated in small amounts and up to 20 grams a day added to food. Tea: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of chopped herb, infuse for 5 minutes, and drink three times a day or more often to help flu symptoms. Poultice: Apply externally as a poultice (grate horseradish, wrap in a cloth, and place on chest) to ease congestion in bronchitis. Side Effects Horseradish may cause stomach distress if used in large amounts. Contraindications • Horseradish is not Read more […]

Cerebrovascular Insufficiency And Depression

Atherosclerosis of the vasculature feeding the brain can lead to a condition known as cerebrovascular insufficiency. This chronic low-grade ischemia can impair memory or otherwise mimic dementia. It can also produce a syndrome resembling depression. This syndrome is surprisingly little discussed in the United States but is much more widely recognized in Europe. The treatment is obviously the same as for atherosclerosis anywhere in the body — elimination of the underlying dietary and lifestyle causes (especially sedentariness) and addition of supportive nutrients and practices (like meditation). Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo) leaf extracts have been very rigorously shown to help alleviate cerebrovascular insufficiency symptoms. This is almost certainly due to ginkgo’s ability to reduce the underlying atherosclerosis and improve neuron function despite ischemia. It also seems to stimulate blood flow to the brain, perhaps by acting on blood vessels. The usual dose of ginkgo standardized extract is 80-160 mg two or three times per day. It should be used attentively in patients taking anticoagulants as the combination occasionally but rarely may have a synergistic effect and cause bleeding. Gingko has also been shown to Read more […]

Diseases of the Cardiovascular System

Herbs For Diseases Of The Cardiovascular System Formulas For Cardiovascular Conditions Strategy Implement appropriate lifestyle changes and appropriate diet. Monitor patients regularly, particularly if herbs are used as the sole treatment for early cases or if the patients are on conventional medication. Doses can be adjusted upwards if changes of less than 20% have been observed per week. The doses of conventional medicines may need to be reviewed 1 to 2 weeks after beginning treatment with herbs. It is assumed that conventional medicines will be used for diagnosed cardiac disease, whenever good evidence exists for efficacy. In most cases these formulas provide adjunctive care. The formulas below can be made as per the recipe or adapted from other recipes according to patient needs. They are formulated to allow substitution. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy Astragalus: Immune-enhancing, tonic, cardiotonic, nephroprotective, diuretic, hypotensive; 1 part. Bugleweed: Cardioactive, diuretic, reduced heart rate, sedative, thyroxine antagonist; 1 part. Motherwort: Sedative, antispasmodic, cardiac tonic; 1 part. Ginkgo: PAF inhibitor, antioxidant, circulatory stimulant, cognitive enhancer; 1 part. Dandelion Read more […]

Herbs For Diseases Of The Cardiovascular System

Herbs considered important for the cardiovascular system are classified according to traditional actions of cardioactive, cardioprotective, cardiotonic, and circulatory stimulants. Anticoagulants are a more modern application of herbs to cardiovascular disease and nervines and diuretic herbs are traditionally included in formulas. The diseases that are indicated for these herbs include cardiomyopathy (dilatative and hypertrophic), congestive heart failure / valvular disease, heartworm disease, and hypertension. Cardioactive herbs Cardioactive herbs are some of the most potentially toxic herbs. Many of these contain cardioactive glycosides such as Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis), which are ionotropic and lead to a more efficient and coordinated cardiac contraction. Perhaps the most useful from a veterinary perspective is Bugleweed (Lycopus europaeus, L. virginicus). It does not contain cardiac glycosides but is still cardioactive. L. virginicus was recognized by the early Eclectics as an excellent sedative with properties similar to digitalis but without adverse side effects. L. europaeus may have applications in feline hyperthyroidism as well as cardiovascular disease. L. Read more […]


Pathophysiology Hyperthyroidism, or thyrotoxicosis, is the result of excessive levels of circulating thyroid hormones. It is characterized by elevated total T4, free T4, free thyroxine index, and/or tri-iodothyronine and tri-iodothyronine resin uptake. Low thyroid-stimulating hormone and normal levels of tri-iodothyronine and thyroxine characterize subclinical hyperthyroidism, and it has the same causes as overt hyperthyroidism. Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder in which stimulatory anti-TSH receptor antibodies are formed, comprises the majority of hyperthyroid cases. In fact, the strongest risk factor for both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism is the presence of thyroid peroxidase antibodies. These antibodies are directed toward the receptors in the cell membrane of the thyroid gland, causing the gland to increase growth, size, and function. Graves’ disease is characterized by several common features, including thyrotoxicosis, goiter, exophthalmos, and pretibial myxedema. Graves’ disease is eight times more common in women than men, typically presents between the ages of 20 and 40 years old, and the most common presentation is a diffuse nonpain-ful goiter. It may be more prevalent in some genetic HLA haplotypes. There Read more […]

Hyperthyroidism: Botanical Treatment

Traditional Western botanical medicine practitioners have found several herbs effective in the treatment of hyperthyroidism, a number of which have demonstrated antithyroid activity, inhibiting the binding of thyroid-stimulating hormone to thyroid tissue (Table Botanical Treatment Strategies for Hyperthyroidism). Additionally, a number of herbs are effective in the treatment of heart palpitations, anxiety, and adrenergic symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism. Note the treatment of mild hyperthyroidism only with botanical medicines is recommended. Botanical Treatment Strategies for Hyperthyroidism THERAPEUTIC GOAL THERAPEUTIC ACTION BOTANICAL NAME COMMON NAME Inhibit thyroid-stimulating hormone binding Antithyroid Lycopus spp. Bugleweed Lithospermum officinale Club moss Melissa officinalis Lemon balm Relieve palpitations Anti-arrhytmics Leonurus cardiaca Motherwort Relieve anxiety Anxiolytics Leonurus cardiaca Motherwort Melissa officinalis Lemon balm See Nervines in index Herbs that increase thyroid activity, as discussed under hypothyroidism, should be avoided in the hypo-thyroid patient. Additionally, the use of ephedra is contraindicated in Read more […]


Hypothyroidism is a persistent insufficiency in thyroid hormone production leading to a generalized decrease in metabolic functions (Thyroid Hormone: A Review of Its Synthesis and Release). It is the most prevalent of the pathologic hormone deficiencies, and can reduce physical and mental functional ability, quality of life, and long-term health. Hypothyroidism is classified on the basis of onset (congenital or acquired), endocrine dysfunction level (primary, secondary, or tertiary), and severity, which is classified as overt (clinical) or mild (subclinical) hypothyroidism. The total frequency of hypothyroidism, including subclinical cases, among adult females from all age groups, ranges from 3.0% to 7.5%, with significantly higher rates in women over 60 years old. Hypothyroidism occurs at a rate approximately 10 times higher in women than men. Thyroid Hormone: A Review of Its Synthesis and Release Iodide, which is primary nutritionally derived, is concentrated by the thyroid gland, converted to organic iodine by thyroid peroxidase (TPO), and then incorporated into tyrosine in thyroglobulin in the thyroid. Tyrosines are iodinated at one (monoiodotyrosine) or two (di-iodotyrosine) sites and then joined to form the Read more […]

Hypothyroidism: Diagnosis

Diagnosis of hypothyroidism should be sought on the basis of family history, clinical signs, age, and pregnancy status (because of risks for the fetus in cases of untreated maternal hypothyroidism). Diagnosis remains somewhat controversial because of variations in acceptable ranges of laboratory values among different labs and institutions. Because of this, thyroid dysfunction in a patient who complains of symptoms but presents with “normal” laboratory values should not be disregarded. TSH measurement is commonly accepted as the most significant and sensitive measurement for hypothyroidism diagnosis. Elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone identifies patients with primary hypothyroidism regardless of the cause or severity. Primary hypothyroidism presents with a low serum thyroxine with attendant elevation of serum TSH. Subclinical hypothyroidism is marked by normal serum thyroxine levels with slight to moderately increased thyroid-stimulating hormone levels and a normal FTI (Table Biochemical Markers in Thyroid Dysfunction). Laboratory tests are considered generally unnecessary to determine the underlying cause of primary hypothyroidism. Factors such as previous neck/thyroid irradiation or surgery, or other exposure Read more […]

Hypothyroidism: Botanical Treatment

Traditionally, hypothyroidism would have been recognized and treated by herbal practitioners on the basis of its presenting metabolic deficiency symptoms, rather than as a discrete disease entity. The botanical practitioner recognized the patient picture as one of overall depletion. Herbalists today also view hypothyroidism with the goal of improving overall metabolism and the general integrity of the endocrine system. Many consider primary thyroid dysfunction to be a treatable condition with herbs and specific nutritional supplements (Table Botanical Treatment Strategies for Hypothyroidism). Symptoms of hypothyroidism (e.g., constipation) may be treated with a symptom-specific protocol. Botanical Treatment Strategies for Hypothyroidism THERAPEUTIC GOAL THERAPEUTIC ACTION BOTANICAL NAME COMMON NAME Stimulate thyroid hormone production/thyroid activity Thyroid stimi ilating Bauhinia purpurea Coleus forskohlii Commiphora mukul Fucus vesiculosus Withania somnifera Bauhinia Coleu Guggul Bladderwrack Ashwagandha Support metabolic function, reduce damage from oxidative stress, improve energy and vitality Adaptogens Adaptogen section below Supplement iodine in Read more […]

Hypothyroidism: Exercise

Regular daily exercise stimulates thyroid gland function and increases tissue sensitivity to thyroid hormone. Exercise is especially important for dieting overweight hypothyroid patients, as dieting can often put the body into a lower metabolic rate as the body tries to conserve fuel. Adjunctive regular exercise prevents the metabolic rate from dropping with the decrease in caloric intake. Case History: Hypothyroidism Eliza, 44-year-old woman, reports weight gain without an increase in dietary intake, fatigue, muscle weakness, frequent infections, poor healing skin lesions, and alopecia. Symptoms began about 6 months ago and over the last 5 weeks have increased in severity. She works 30 hours a week as a therapist, lives alone with her two cats, and loves to garden. She takes a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement plus 1000 mg daily of vitamin C. Her maternal family history is positive for hypothyroidism, allergies, and depression, paternal history is positive for late-onset diabetes, stroke, and allergies. The patient reports a generally healthy diet of whole foods with light meats, eggs, tofu, and fish as her main proteins. She eats mostly organic vegetables and seasonal fruits along with whole grains breads Read more […]