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Herbal Remedies

Pete Younger

Venerable and Missed
Jul 31, 2001
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Is there a plant you can make condoms out of? If so they could be on to something. :p
Herbal remedies, hmmm.

A friend was depressed and desperate. Someone recommended St John's Wort. She took it for a month, cheered up and realised her husband was a pig. She's now divorced!
UrbanDruid said:
A friend was depressed and desperate. Someone recommended St John's Wort.

Been taking it for a while - at least as effective as anything I'd had from the NHS, and no annoying side-effects (although before anyone else decides to self-medicate, take the time to do a search for possible side-effects - spontaneous abortion doesn't worry me, you may feel differently!)

Only problem is the cost...... :(

But Sumer is icumen in so I can lay off 'em until October!
As I mentioned elsewhere, I have just discovered I have my own St John's Wort plant growing prolifically next to my roses.

Psst, mate...wanna buy some cuttings?
The only side effect I found a nusiance with St John's Wort was photosensitivity (bright light hurt my eyes, sun tended to burn me quicker and worse than normal) On the up side, I found I no longer was depressed and quite enjoyed sitting in the shade with a beer

Warning - These things can kill

Unless you are 100% healthy and not taking any medication, always consult a docter before you take any herbal remedies. Oh, and never exceed the stated dose.

I have a friend who has various medical problems. This friend decided to try a 'tonic' to perk him up, stop feeling tired etc. Soon after regularly taking the tonic he became chronically dehydrated to the extent that his tongue became swollen, he was a little confused and looked awful. I'm not a docter, but when he described his symptoms to me they sounded similar to those suffered by shipwrecked sailors (I'd been reading various true accounts at that time). I along with some other colleagues urged him to get his arse up to the hospital right away, which he did. Had he delayed any longer I think that he would have died. It's still not known whether his internal organs have suffered any more damage as a result of taking this tonic, and his docter (as well as myself!) gave him a massive bollocking too.

Herbal medicines are not regulated. They can vary batch to batch. Use with caution, get as much info as you can. Finally, like any drug you should stop taking it if you feel unwell.
One of the less desirable effects of St John's Wort is that it stops the contraceptive pill working properly. Which might give you something else to worry about......:(

Mana's absolutely right, always ask your doctor or pharmacist if you're on prescription drugs and thinking of taking alternative remedies. They're not tested, not proven and no-one has any idea of the long term side effects. However, I fully support the idea of investment in the proper clinical testing of these products.
Fizz said:
One of the less desirable effects of St John's Wort is that it stops the contraceptive pill working properly. Which might give you something else to worry about......:(

Mana's absolutely right, always ask your doctor or pharmacist if you're on prescription drugs and thinking of taking alternative remedies. They're not tested, not proven and no-one has any idea of the long term side effects. However, I fully support the idea of investment in the proper clinical testing of these products.

I told my doc (last time I saw him) that I was taking St John's Wort. He asked 2 questions (How you feeling? Side effects? - answers: - fine; none, but I know that the possibilities include...... His response was, if you're OK and have researched the problems, fine by me, but any problem you stop them and see me....)

If you're taking, or thinking of taking, an 'alternative' remedy, get it from a reputable supplier. I get St John's Wort from Boots - there are plenty of cheaper alternatives, but this one works for me, and I've never heard of the other companies - but imagine the furore if Boots were to poison their customers :)

(PS, with the benefit of hindsight, I should probably have told the doc. before trying an alternative to Seroxat that I was considering it - I would urge anyone else to do this, to be on the safe side, whatever alternative they're thinking of...)
The growth business in shopping precincts round Manchester is Chinese
Herbal Medicine. The Chinese supermarkets also carry stocks of curious
"food supplements" which often have florid promises on the packages.
They are directed at the general public, not just the Chinese community.

It is not so long ago that I found a pack of tea which promised to cure
cancers, among many other things! Some have been banned in recent
years when research has suggested they may themselves be carcinogenic.

I am unsure about the legal standing of Chinese Doctors and their medicines.
Are Chinese Medical qualifications recognized by the law?

I do know that there are plans afoot to restrict or ban the sales of many
Western herbal remedies, including Saint John's Wort, which sells in such
vast quantities as to suggest a very depressed Nation indeed! :confused:
James Whitehead said:
I do know that there are plans afoot to restrict or ban the sales of many Western herbal remedies, including Saint John's Wort, which sells in such vast quantities as to suggest a very depressed Nation indeed! :confused:

I read something about this too. I think it might also affect vitamin supplements.

My question is: what happens to the people who take these remedies and supplements if they are suddenly no longer available? Surely if people are reliant on such things, whether they work or just have a placebo effect, it's going to cause one heck of a problem if they can't get them anymore. :(
Xynisteri said:
I read something about this too. I think it might also affect vitamin supplements.

My question is: what happens to the people who take these remedies and supplements if they are suddenly no longer available? Surely if people are reliant on such things, whether they work or just have a placebo effect, it's going to cause one heck of a problem if they can't get them anymore. :(

Quite possible to restrict their availability to Doctor's perscription only without 'banning' them. :)
That didn't even occur to me! I'm so stupid :eek:

Blame it on my cold...
I tend to try to find alternatives if I can- I take starflower oil (for my crap dry skin not for the hormone balancing properties tho I've noticed I get less PMS probs now anyway!)
My mother used to make a bottle of St John's wort oil every summer for cuts and sores (you soak the flowers in olive oil in the sun til it goes dark red)

Sciatica- I improved mine by losing weight and getting a good computer chair!

Treating yourself holistically is a really good approach, you need to understand whats wrong first tho, why your body has gone wrong and what you can do to balance it again! And don't give up on modern medicine too, first sign of pain and I'm reaching for the codeine :D
How safe are medicinal herbs?

How safe are medicinal herbs? Find out
21 Sep 2004

Should you drink Korean ginseng tea if you're taking medicine for high blood pressure? Will eating nopales (prickly pear cactus) help or harm your diabetes treatment?

Researchers with the University of Texas at El Paso/UT Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program are providing patients and medical providers answers to these kinds of questions with its Herbal Safety Web site at http://www.herbalsafety.utep.edu

Research coordinator Armando Gonzalez-Stuart said the Herbal Safety site is unique because it is "one of few non-commercial sources of information about medicinal herbs presented in English and Spanish" on the Web.

The pharmacy program's Herbal Safety Initiative is funded by a $245,000 grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. The Paso del Norte Health Foundation, created in 1995 to improve the health status of the region's population through education and prevention, is one of the largest private foundations on the U.S.-Mexico border.

There is a great need for a reliable source of well-researched documentation about medicinal plants, particularly among the growing Hispanic population living along the U.S.-Mexico border, the researchers said.

A study released this year by the government's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine revealed 19 percent of Americans are using natural products such as herbs, botanicals and enzymes.

However, recent studies by the UTEP researchers have found that herbal product use on the border is much higher than national rates—about 70 percent of patients interviewed used some kind of herbal product.

The researchers also found a disturbing trend: Only about a third of the patients said they told their doctors about their use of herbal remedies.

José Rivera, director of UTEP’s Cooperative Pharmacy Program and assistant dean of the UT Austin College of Pharmacy, is the principal investigator for the Herbal Safety Initiative. Rivera was inspired to tackle the issue of herbal safety after witnessing the case of a woman who was unable to afford her medication for high blood pressure. She decided to treat herself with an herb called zapote blanco that turned out to be ineffective. "She ended up in the emergency room with Stage 4 hypertension," Rivera said. Fortunately, the woman survived.

"It’s very common for low-income people to turn to herbs for medical treatment," Rivera said.

The researchers hope the Web site will help encourage medical professionals to ask their patients if they are supplementing their traditional treatment with herbal medications.

The Herbal Safety site is one of the few places on the Web where reliable information about Mexican herbs can be found. This is thanks to the expert knowledge of Gonzalez-Stuart, a visiting scientist from Mexico's University of Chihuahua who has devoted much of his life to the study of Mexican traditional medicine.

Fast Facts about the UTEP/UT Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program's Herbal Safety Web site:

• Fact sheets for 40 medicinal plants are available in English and Spanish for lay people.

• Scientific monographs for 36 medicinal plants are available for medical professionals.

• Scientific publications and presentations are available in PDF format for researchers.

Learn more about the Herbal Safety Initiative at http://ia.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=8094

Read more about university programs and events at UTEP Horizons Online News: http://www.utep.edu/horizons


The University of Texas at El Paso is the only doctoral-research university in the United States with a Mexican-American majority student population. The university ranks second in the nation in awarding bachelor's degrees to Hispanics.

As UTEP celebrates its 90th anniversary, the university is experiencing unprecedented growth with record enrollment of more than 18,900 students.

The university is also in the midst of its biggest-ever building boom, with more than $50 million in new construction projects adding state-of-the-art labs, classrooms and other facilities to the busy urban campus.

On the Web: http://www.utep.edu

Media Contact: For more information, please contact Armando Gonzalez-Stuart, research coordinator, UTEP/UT Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program at 915/747-8521 or e-mail [email protected] or David Peregrino, University Communications at 915/747-7507 or e-mail [email protected]


Herbal Remedies Found to Contain Toxic Heavy Metals

Some herbal remedies may do more harm than good. Researchers writing today in the Journal of the American Medical Association report that 20 percent of herbal medicine products sampled contained dangerous levels of heavy metals.

Unlike prescription drugs, herbal medicine products can be sold as dietary supplements, which are not required to undergo rigorous testing before entering the marketplace. Indeed, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) does not require proof of safety or efficacy. Robert B. Saper, now at Boston University's School of Medicine, and his colleagues purchased imported Ayurvedic herbal medicine products from stores near Boston's city hall and had them tested for metal contamination.

They discovered that a fifth of the 70 samples tested contained lead, mercury or arsenic, or some combination of all three, in significant quantities. If taken as directed, the products would expose a person to more of the metals than is deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency.

"Although the prevalence of heavy metal-containing Ayurvedic [herbal medicine products] is unknown, the number of individuals at potential risk is substantial," the team writes. "Our findings support calls for reform of DSHEA that would require mandatory testing of all imported dietary supplements for toxic heavy metals." --Sarah Graham

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID ... 414B7F0000
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Some herbal medicines contain potentially toxic amounts of heavy metals
15 Dec 2004

An analysis of a sample of Ayurvedic herbal medicine products found that 20 percent contained metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic at levels that could be toxic if taken as directed, according to a study in the December 15 issue of JAMA.

According to background information in the article, approximately 80 percent of India's one billion population uses Ayurveda, a medical system that originated in India more than 2000 years ago and greatly relies on herbal medicine products (HMPs). Ayurveda's popularity in Western countries has increased. Because Ayurvedic HMPs are marketed as dietary supplements, they are regulated under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which does not require proof of safety or efficacy prior to marketing. Herbs, minerals and metals are used in Ayurvedic HMPs. Recent reports of serious lead poisoning associated with taking Ayurvedic HMPs were the impetus for the current study.

Robert B. Saper, M.D., M.P.H., formerly of Harvard Medical School, Boston, (currently with the Boston University School of Medicine) and colleagues examined Ayurvedic HMPs manufactured in South Asia and sold in Boston-area stores in order to examine their heavy metal content. From April to October 2003, the researchers purchased 70 different Ayurvedic HMPs at stores within 20 miles of Boston City Hall. Concentrations of lead, mercury and arsenic were measured in the samples. The potential amount of daily metal ingestion, estimated by using manufacturers' dosage recommendations, was compared to U.S. Pharmacopeia and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulatory standards.

The researchers found that 14 (20 percent) of the 70 HMPs contained lead, mercury and/or arsenic, and that if taken as recommended by the manufacturer, each of these could result in heavy metal intake above the published regulatory standards. Lead was found in 13 HMPs; mercury in six HMPs; and arsenic in six HMPs. Half of the HMPs containing potentially toxic heavy metals were recommended for children. The 14 HMPs containing heavy metals were manufactured by 11 different companies. Of the 30 stores visited, 24 sold at least one heavy metal-containing HMP.

"… the presence of heavy metals in Ayurvedic HMPs and the numerous reports of associated toxicity may have important public health, clinical, and policy implications in the United States and abroad. Although the prevalence of heavy metal-containing Ayurvedic HMP use is unknown, the number of individuals at potential risk is substantial," the authors write. "Public health and community organizations should consider issuing advisories to current or previous Ayurvedic HMP users, encouraging them to consult their physicians about heavy metal screening."

"Our findings support calls for reform of DSHEA that would require mandatory testing of all imported dietary supplements for toxic heavy metals," they conclude.

(JAMA. 2004; 292: 2868-2873. Available post-embargo at http://www.jama.com )

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medical ... wsid=17814
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Zambia tests HIV 'herbal remedy'

Zambia tests HIV 'herbal remedy'
Zambia has begun trials of three herbal medicines to see if they can be used to treat HIV/Aids, it says.
Twenty-five people with HIV will take part in the three-month trial, which the health minister said conforms to World Health Organization guidelines.

The United Nations estimates that one in six Zambians has HIV/Aids.

An Aids charity spokesperson was sceptical about the trials, saying the only known effective treatment was anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs.

At a press conference in the Zambian capital Lusaka, Health Minister Sylvia Masebo said: "It is a momentous occasion for Zambia which establishes a partnership between conventional medicine and traditional medicine."

Dr Patrick Chikusu, principal investigator of clinical trials of traditional herbal remedies, said 14 natural remedies had been narrowed down to three to be submitted to the final stage of clinical trials.


One of the three drugs is a formulation mixed by a former government minister and constitutional lawyer, Ludwig Sondashi.

The cost of ARV drugs, which have been shown to be effective in suppressing the effects of the virus in the West, are too expensive for most people in developing countries to afford.

Genevieve Clark, of the British charity Terence Higgins Trust, said: "I can understand why people are desperate to find anything that helps."

"Anything that boosts the immune system helps... Anything you can do in terms of eating healthily and being healthy is to be welcomed."

But she added: "Herbal remedies have not been proven to help... The only thing proven is anti-retroviral treatments."

She also expressed concern that the test sample of 25 people was not large enough to be a "proper clinical trial".

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/w ... 358458.stm

Published: 2005/10/19 18:39:52 GMT

Novel protein in St. John's Wort

Novel protein in St. John's Wort found to suppress HIV-1 gene expression
25 Oct 2005

A novel protein, p27SJ, extracted from a callus culture of the St. John's wort plant (Hypericum perforatum) suppresses HIV-1 expression and inhibits its replication, according to researchers at Temple University School of Medicine's department of neuroscience and Center for Neurovirology (CNV).

Their findings, "p27SJ, a novel protein in St. John's wort, that suppresses expression of HIV-1 genome," will be published online in the Oct. 27 issue of Gene Therapy (http://www.nature.com/gt).

Kamel Khalili, Ph.D., director of CNV (temple.edu/cnvcb), professor and acting chair of Temple's department of neuroscience, and the study's lead author, said the researchers were originally examining plant extracts from St. John's wort cultured in the laboratory to see if they had any effect on cell growth or the behavior of brain cells in vitro.

"During the course of that study, we also looked to see whether these plant extracts that we had isolated from the callus culture had any anti-viral activity," said Khalili. "We soon discovered that the plant extract inhibited HIV-1 gene expression and replication in infected cells."

Next, the team sought to isolate the protein from the plant extract responsible for the observed anti-viral activity. After identifying the protein, the group cloned the gene, which they realized was a novel protein and named p27SJ.

"It has unique characteristics," said Khalili. "Remember, it is a plant protein, and so far, to my knowledge, there is no similar protein to that in mammalian cells."

After cloning the gene, the researchers then were able to identify the molecular mechanism by which the protein is able to suppress HIV-1 gene expression and replication, according to Khalili.

It is the expression of the viral gene and the replication of the viral genome that leads to the development of AIDS in HIV-infected individuals.

"Our studies indicate that p27SJ has the capacity to inhibit expression of the HIV-1 gene by interacting with both cellular proteins and viral proteins," said Khalili. "Since HIV-1 gene expression relies heavily on these factors, p27SJ can block viral replication by interfering with the proteins recruited by HIV-1 to increase viral gene expression."

Although St. John's wort is a popular herb that can be purchased as a dietary supplement over the counter in health food stores, neighborhood pharmacies and supermarkets, the Temple researchers did not use the supplement as a source for St. John's wort during the study. As a supplement, St John's wort is often taken as an anti-depressant, although the Food and Drug Administration has not approved it as such, so manufacturers cannot advertise it as a depression treatment nor can doctors prescribe it.

Khalili strongly emphasized that the researchers do not know if the p27SJ protein they discovered is present in the St. John's wort preparations sold as a dietary supplement, and therefore, those tablets should not be considered as a treatment for patients infected with HIV-1.

"We don't know yet how we have to deliver the protein to cells infected with HIV-1," he said. "Even if the protein were present in the tablets, we don't know how much might be present and whether the protein would be effective when ingested."

The study, which was partially funded through grants from the National Institutes of Health, was done in collaboration with Yerevan State University in Armenia. Khalili's co-investigators included Nune Darbinian-Sarkissian, Armine Darbinyan, Jessica Otte, Sujatha Radhakrishnan, Bassel E. Sawaya, Alla Arzumanyan, Galina Chipitsyna, Jay Rappaport and Shoreh Amini from Temple's CNV, and Yuri Popov, an internationally respected plant biologist from Yerevan State University.

Preston M. Moretz
[email protected]
Temple University

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medical ... sid=32550#
Columbia Study Suggests Benefits Of Herbal Extract In Early

Source: Columbia University Medical Center
Date: 2005-11-13
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 125637.htm


Columbia Study Suggests Benefits Of Herbal Extract In Early Treatment Of Prostate Cancer
Data from the Columbia University Department of Urology demonstrates that Zyflamend®, a unique herbal extract preparation, suppresses the growth of prostate cancer cells and induces prostate cancer cells to self-destruct via a process called “apoptosis.”

The data, published in the October edition of Nutrition and Cancer, showed Zyflamend®, a patented formulation from New Chapter, has the ability, in vitro, to reduce prostate cancer cell proliferation by as much as 78 percent and to induce cancer cell death or apoptosis.

The research confirms Zyflamend® has COX-1 and COX-2 anti-inflammatory effects, although its anti-cancer affects against prostate cancer were independent of COX-2 inhibition, supporting the postulation that some prostate cancer cells are not affected by COX-2 inflammation.

“These results were particularly surprising and show great promise in the fight against prostate cancer,” said researcher Dr. Debra L. Bemis of the Columbia University Department of Urology. “We hope that the magnitude of benefits shown in this research will be confirmed in the larger scale trial already in progress.”

Based on this research, Zyflamend® shows value in early therapy for prostate cancer patients. COX inhibitors have also shown value for prostate cancer patients, but data from recent trials of selective COX-2 inhibitors such as sulindac (Clinoril®) and celecoxib (Celebrex®), suggest that use of these drugs might have adverse cardiovascular effects. The more widely utilized general COX inhibitor, aspirin, is not associated with these negative side effects and, instead, has well-established beneficial effects for individuals with cardiovascular disease. Zyflamend® has a biochemical action profile that resembles aspirin more than these selective COX-2 inhibitors.

Dr. Bemis added: “Zyflamend® is derived from natural herbal sources and is readily available in health food and nutritional supplement stores. Given the impressive data we’re reporting, Zyflamend is a potentially more convenient and desirable means to target the enormous population that is susceptible to prostate cancer.”

On the strength of this laboratory research, Columbia University’s Department of Urology has commenced a Phase 1 human clinical trial testing Zyflamend’s ability to prevent prostate cancer in patients with prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN).

PIN is a clinical precursor for prostate cancer. Without intervention, men diagnosed with PIN have a 50 to 70 percent likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Although there are tools that detect the early signs of prostate cancer, such as PIN or elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, there is no consensus as to the optimal therapy for these patients.

"We are very encouraged about the early results of this phase 1 trial,” said Aaron E. Katz, M.D., associate professor of urology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Director of the Center of Holistic Urology at Columbia University Medical Center and principal investigator of the study.

“We are encouraged that this study provides additional scientific evidence that specific herbal preparations can produce a positive impact on prostate health,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the non-profit American Botanical Council. “With so many people using herbal supplements for their health, new research documenting their safety and benefits is encouraged and welcomed.”
Study shows ginseng 'helps to ward off colds'

CTV.ca News Staff

Your grandmother's chicken soup may have a little competition the next time you have a cold.

A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal shows that the cold supplement COLD-fX might be more effective in fighting the common cold.

University of Alberta researchers tested the supplement, a ginseng root compound, in healthy adults during a six-month cold and flu season. They found that when taken every day COLD-fX cuts in half the number of colds and reduced the length and severity of the illness..

More than 320 people participated in the study. Some were given COLD-fX while others took placebos. COLD-fX users got 26 per cent fewer colds that those who took the placebos. Among those who did get colds, 56 per cent were less likely to get a second one.

"In my judgment there is no doubt that Cold-fX is effective in lowering the incidents of cold," said Dr. Tapan K. Basu, on of the authors of the study and a professor at the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta.

"There was no subject that told me it didn't work. I've done other studies but this is number one."

Basu added that there were no side effects with Cold-fX.

Dr. Andrew Simor, head of microbiology at Sunnybrook and Women's Hospital in Toronto, said the supplement boosts various components of the immune system, which is critically important to help fight off cold infections.

But he cautions potential users of COLD-fX, stating children have not been tested for the study, and neither have adults with other medical conditions.

"It might interact with other medications and there could be some concerns that it cause high blood pressure or interfere with diabetes, those are theoretical concerns but I don't think there are evidence to show that's a real concern yet, but it's something that needs to be looked at," he said.

Subjects were recruited through media advertisements from Edmonton and the surrounding areas. They were required to be in good health, between 18 and 65 years of age and to have contracted at least two colds in the previous year.

Subjects with medical conditions such as cancer or multiple sclerosis were excluded, as were heavy smokers or pregnant women.

COLD-fX was the first product tested last year under Health Canada's Natural Health Products Directorate. The product is owned by CV Technologies, which is affiliated with the University of Alberta.

The journal concludes that "ginseng products may be useful in preventing some viral upper respiratory infections as well."

Source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Posted: February 14, 2006

Herbal Supplements, A Smoking Gun In Plastic Surgery

Natural herbal supplements are supposed to help boost our immune systems, give us more energy and make us generally healthier. However, many of these "harmless" supplements could cause dangerous side effects during plastic surgery, reports a study in February's Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). In fact, the study found approximately 55 percent of plastic surgery patients, compared to 24 percent of the general public, take supplements but often do not tell their surgeons.

"When patients are asked about the medications they are taking, many do not mention medicinal herbs because they assume that they are safe," said ASPS member James Bradley, MD, study co-author, University of California, Los Angeles. "What many unsuspecting patients don't know is that the natural herbs they are taking may cause serious complications during and after surgery."

All 55 percent of plastic surgery patients who used herbal supplements took at least two different supplements and at least one on a daily basis. The most popular herbal supplements were chondroitin (18 percent), ephedra (18 percent), echinacea (14 percent) and glucosamine (10 percent).

# Chondroitin is often used to treat osteoarthritis. People using chondroitin may suffer from bleeding complications during surgery, particularly when used in combination with doctor-prescribed blood-thinning medications.

# Ephedra has been known to promote weight loss, increase energy and treat respiratory tract conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. This agent has been banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because it can raise blood pressure, heart rate and metabolic rate, ultimately causing heart attacks, heart arrhythmia, stroke and even death.

# Echinacea is often used for the prevention and treatment of viral, bacterial and fungal infections, as well as chronic wounds, ulcers and arthritis. However, it can trigger immunosuppression, causing poor wound healing and infection.

# Glucosamine, often offered in conjunction with chondroitin, contains chemical elements that mimic human insulin, and may artificially cause hypoglycemia during surgery.

Other common supplements taken by patients in the study that may cause dangerous side effects included gingko biloba, goldenseal, milk thistle, ginseng, kava and garlic.

In addition to having a greater tendency toward taking herbal supplements, 35 percent of plastic surgery patients were more likely to engage in homeopathic practices, including acupuncture, hypnosis, chiropractic manipulation, massage, yoga and Pilates. Only six percent of the general population practiced homeopathics on a weekly basis.

"Patients should tell doctors about all of the medications they are taking – natural or prescribed. Only then can we safely suggest the appropriate discontinuation period, which can range from 24 hours to one month," said Dr. Bradley. "Taking this precaution is essential to a safe surgery and smooth recovery."

For referrals to ASPS Member Surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, call 888-4-PLASTIC (475-2784) or visit www.plasticsurgery.org where you can also learn more about cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.


The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. With more than 6,000 members, the society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 225847.htm
SA university probes 'Aids tonic'

SA university probes 'Aids tonic'

A South African medical professor has been suspended from research duties after an article linked him to a tonic that was touted as an Aids treatment. The University of Cape Town said it saw the allegations "in a serious light".

University officials are to investigate whether Professor Girish Kotwal had endorsed the untested herbal tonic known as Secomet V.

The issue of purported HIV medication is a sensitive one in South Africa, where 5m people are HIV positive.

An article in the US journal Nature Medicine linked Prof Kotwal to Secomet V.

UCT spokeswoman Skye Grove told journalists that allegations of possible professional misconduct in respect of Prof Kotwal had been referred for investigation.

She said the professor's suspension from research duties pending the inquiry would not affect the university's teaching programme.

Prof Kotwal has not yet commented publicly.


Secomet, the company that manufactures Secomet V, says on its website that the tonic "is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease".

But it also claims that "gradually with frequent use, patients generally experience a lowering of viral load, which allows their CD4 count [the clinical indication of HIV infection] to stabilise and then to start improving".

Later the website claims: "If you are attempting to overcome a debilitating viral illness such as HIV, ME, Hepatitis; we recommend taking the full dose until you feel well, and then to drop to a maintenance dose and continue its daily use two or three times a day for the rest of your life."

The inquiry will also investigate whether UCT had received any money from the sale of Secomet V, since the university had an "existing royalty agreement" with Secomet, which is based in Stellenbosch, near Cape Town.

"[The agreement] will be reviewed after the completion of the preliminary investigation, which will determine whether or not disciplinary action will be taken," Ms Grove said.

The South African government currently gives anti-retroviral drugs - which are proven to reduce the effects the HIV virus - to over 100,000 South Africans.

The government has however attracted criticism from Aids activists for endorsing herbal and vitamin-based products that are claimed to treat the symptoms of Aids.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/a ... 144398.stm

Published: 2006/07/04 09:51:19 GMT

St. John's Wort In Pregnancy And Lactation

St. John's Wort In Pregnancy And Lactation
Main Category: Fertility News
Article Date: 19 Aug 2006 - 0:00am (PDT)

St. John's wort (hypericum perforatum) is one of the five best-selling herbs in the United States. It is used by many to treat the symptoms of depression, and many prefer it to prescription medications such as Paxil® and Zoloft. However, the herb has been the subject of growing concern about its interaction with birth control pills, the blood thinner warfarin, and cyclosporin, a medication used with those who have received organ transplants. A new study examining its effect on pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding contributes to the evidence that the product should be used with caution.

A New Study

The new study, entitled “St. John's Wort (hypericum perforatum): Is It Safe During Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and With Prescription Medications? A Systematic Review,” will soon be published in the Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. It is one in a series that systematically reviews the evidence relating to the safety of herbs commonly used during pregnancy and lactation.

The study was conducted by a team of Canadian researchers consisting of the principal investigator Jean Jacques Dugoua, ND, MSc (Cand.), University of Toronto, Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, Truestar Health and Wellness Clinic, and the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Toronto, CN; and co-investigators Edward Mills, DPH, MSc., PhD (Cand.), Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Ontario, CN; Dan Perri, MD, BscPharm, FRCP(C), Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Toronto, Toronto, CN; and Gideon Koren, MD, The Motherisk Program, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, CN.

Dr. Dugoua is presenting the team's findings at the 21st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (http://www.Naturopathic.org), being held August 9-12, 2006 at the Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR.


The aim of the study was to systematically review the literature for evidence on the use, safety, and pharmacology of St. John's wort focusing on issues pertaining to pregnancy and lactation. The investigators searched seven databases for reports relating to the herb. The databases included AMED, CINAHL, Cochrane CENTRAL, Cochrane Library, MedLine, Natural Database, and Natural Standard. Each database was examined in duplicate for data from its inception. Unpublished research and bibliographies were also included. Data were compiled according to the grade of evidence found.


The researchers found varying levels of scientific evidence on the efficacy of use for different conditions; low-level evidence of harm during pregnancy; and strong evidence of side effects during lactation. As St. John's wort interacts with a number of medications due to its effect on cytochrome P450 enzymes, this may account for some of the findings.


The researchers concluded:

-- Caution is warranted when using St. John's wort during pregnancy and lactation.

-- St. John's wort may interact with medications prescribed during pregnancy.

-- During pregnancy, a case study and some animal studies reported lower birth weights with use of St. John's wort.

-- Strong scientific evidence showed that St. John's wort consumption during lactation did not affect maternal milk production nor affect infant weight, but may cause colic, drowsiness or lethargy.

-- St. John's wort showed strong scientific evidence of being an effective aid in combating mild to moderate depression and low-level evidence for other conditions.


The authors urge women not to assume that because herbs are labeled “natural” that they are safe. They recommend all pregnant and lactating women consult a licensed, health care professional before consuming any herb or medicine in general, and St. John's wort in particular. Finally, they recommend that any woman experiencing depression let their physician know immediately.

The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) was founded in 1985 to provide alternative methods for healing human diseases and disorders than have been traditionally offered in the United States. Members of the AANP must have graduated from one of North America's six accredited graduate schools of naturopathic medicine.

For more information about naturopathic physicians, log on to

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Herbal Medicine Symposium To Be Hosted By Penn
Main Category: Conferences News
Article Date: 16 Sep 2006 - 0:00am (PDT)

The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and the Morris Arboretum are jointly sponsoring a symposium on September 19-20, 2006 entitled Herbal Medicine: Perception, Practice and Rational Use. The symposium will bring together world-renowned experts in the field of herbal medicine. The broad range of topics to be addressed will include everything from a look at the history of herbal medicines and their potential role in future health care, to a discussion of the role that herbal medicines already play in today's pharmaceutical industry. Among other topics the symposium will address: the use of plants in clinical practice; determining the benefits or potential harm of using various herbal remedies; rational approaches for proper use; informing the public about the possible risks and benefits of using herbal medicines; perceptions health care providers and the lay public have of herbal medicine; and the role of botanical research in drug development.

The use of herbal medicines in the United States is becoming increasingly popular. Yet, because most American health care providers receive little or no formal training in herbal medicine, physicians and nurses are often unprepared to answer questions patients have about the efficacy or dangers of herbal medicines, either as supplements to more conventional treatment methods or as a stand-alone therapy to treat or prevent disease. Furthermore, patients are not always aware of the potential side effects many of these herbal remedies may have, particularly when combined with more conventional forms of medication.

"This is an excellent chance to explore the advantages and disadvantages of herbal medicine in a scientific way," said Dr. Arthur Rubenstein, MBBCh, Dean, School of Medicine, Executive Vice-President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System, and whose remarks will open the second day of symposium activities.

A host of nationally recognized speakers are scheduled to appear including: Mr. Mark Blumenthal, Executive Director of the American Botanical Council; Dr. Steven King, Vice President of Ethnobotany and Conservation for Napo Pharmaceuticals; Dr. Robert McCaleb, President of the Herb Research Foundation; Dr. Marc Micozzi, physician-anthropologist and Penn alum; Mr. Simon Mills, Past-President, British Herbal Medicine Association; Dr. John M. Riddle, distinguished author, scholar, and professor at North Carolina State University; and Dr. Chun-Su Yuan, the Cyrus Tang Professor in the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care at the University of Chicago.

The two-day symposium begins on September 19 at the Morris Arboretum in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. The evening will feature tours of herbal plants in the arboretum's gardens, dinner, and an address by keynote speaker Dr. John M. Riddle. The symposium continues the following day, September 20 at the University of Pennsylvania, Biomedical Research Building II/III: Lobby and Auditorium where further lectures and discussions will be led by Penn professors Peter Wilding, PhD, and Alfred Fishman, MD.


PENN Medicine is a $2.9 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #3 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three hospitals, all of which have received numerous national patient-care honors, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home care and hospice.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is the only undergraduate nursing school in the Ivy League offering programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Among its many "firsts," Penn Nursing was the first to be named a World Health Organization Collaborating Center, the first to offer a PACE program offering hands-on care to frail elders, and started the first private Center for Nursing Research. The School currently receives the most NIH funding of any private School of Nursing.

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is located at 100 Northwestern Avenue in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. The 92-acre horticulture display features a spectacular collection of mature trees in a Victorian landscape. The Arboretum contains numerous picturesque spots such as the formal rose garden, Japanese gardens, swan pond, meadows and the elegant Fernery. The Morris Arboretum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Contact: Rick Cushman
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medical ... wsid=51788
A word about flax/linseed oil...

I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (and being diagnosed aged 33 am not some old biddy) which with the help of prescription meds from my rheumatologist is very well controlled. I am able to work ( nurse-busy elderly care ward), swim,hike even go pretend climbing.
Well, I could until...... Take some omega 3, thought I, good for the heart and supposedly the old grey matter. Not wanting to further deplete our already depleted cod stocks I decided to take linseed/fllax oil capsules. So I take the stuff for about a month, when upon having my monthly blood tests for the meds I take, I get a rather urgent call from the nurses in the clinic telling me in no uncertain terms to stop meds as my liver was about to explode.
Result? 6 weeks later I am bloody crippled and am off work due to a massive flare up coz of dodgy liver tests. I don't drink alcohol so the clinic has said that I should take nothing that has not been authorised by them - over the counter meds and especially nothing herbal. Is the linseed to blame? I am not sure but it just seems too much of a coincidence to me.
So the moral of my tale is watch what you bloody well take.
Yours, aching like the Devil, Powelly