View Full Version : Herbal medicine goes mainstream

04-26-2014, 08:57 AM
Source : http://www.today.com/health/herbal-medicine-goes-mainstream-breaking-it-down-dr-oz-1D79574377

On TODAY, Dr. Oz highlighted several popular natural treatments that he said have promise:

Cinnamon. Oz said this spice can help with sugar levels and that diabetics and prediabetics should be taking this spice, which can help the liver deal with insulin better.

Mint. Oz said mint is good for digestive health and helps increase gastric secretions and helps the intestines relax. “Mint’s wonderful for bellies,” he said. “The beautiful thing about mint is you can take it in a tea form, so it’s easy to do every single day.”

Sage and rosemary. When people were given sage oil and tested for word memory, Oz said, there were “dramatic improvements in their ability to process information and memorize it.” Rosemary, he said, helps improve alertness.

Parsley. This herb helps protect the eyes from ultraviolet radiation and is a diuretic that can flush extra fluid from the body, Oz said.

Valerian root. “This is nature’s Valium,” Oz said. “It’s very powerful.Oz said that quality control is sometimes absent from the making of herbal treatments, and said he will ”

Herbal medicine is moving into the mainstream at one of the nation’s top hospitals.

At the Cleveland Clinic, Eastern and Western medicine are being practiced alongside each other. The latest addition to the mix is herbal treatments, which have been used in China and other eastern countries for centuries.

“There are more ways of healing than just our conventional medicine,” Dr. Melissa Young, of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine, told TODAY. “It doesn’t have to be an either-or, and we’re seeing, I think, the best results often when we can combine both philosophies.”

Much of the research on using herbs as medicine has been done outside of the United States, but doctors at the Cleveland Clinic believe herbs can be effective when properly administered and monitored, as they can contain contaminants or be toxic if used improperly.

“I think there’s this misconception that if something’s natural, that it’s safe, and that’s not always the case,” Young said. “They really need to be under the guidance of an integrative physician who has experience and training in this field.”

At the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine, patients need a doctor’s referral to see a Chinese herbal provider, and their care is monitored by doctors. It is not covered by insurance, so patients pay out-of-pocket.

Dr. Mehmet Oz told TODAY’s Matt Lauer that he “adores” herbal medicines and applauded the Cleveland Clinic. But he stressed the importance of receiving herbal treatments from a knowledgeable provider.

“The Cleveland Clinic and other major institutions are beginning to incorporate these ideas, it makes it safer for all of us,” he told Lauer. “This is the world’s medicine. It’s been there forever. We should take advantage of it.”

The Cleveland Clinic is one of a handful of clinics around the country to offer herbal treatments, according to The Wall Street Journal, and skepticism remains. Medical experts warn that some alternative medicines can be dangerous — particularly if patients skip proven remedies in favor of something more "natural."

"The evidence base for these approaches using modern rigorous methods of randomized trials is quite thin," Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, told the newspaper.

One of the biggest complications of herbal treatments and spices is that they can affect the prescription drugs a patient is already taking, Oz told TODAY.

“These things are powerful,” Oz said. “You need to talk to someone who is knowledgeable in this area. Not all doctors are knowledgeable in this space. So just nudge and push and shove and change the system.”

At the Cleveland Clinic, when patients meet with the herbal specialist for the first time, the provider spends an hour taking a detailed medical history, reviewing past conventional care, including any medications and supplements being taken, and discussing the patient’s symptoms, Young said.

Among the conditions that Young said are well-suited for Chinese herbal medicines are menopause, premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, chronic pain, digestive disorders, headaches and chronic fatigue.

04-26-2014, 01:21 PM
I'm no advocate of all forms of alternative medicine, but herbal remedies definitely have their place. A lot of research has been done on things like ginseng and green tea, most of which have shown them to be very effective for a variety of physiological roles.

Green tea, for instance, is shown to be an anti-oxidant, a cholesterol lowering agent, an insulin sensitivity agent (basically reversing the process in diabetes mellitus) and also slight booster of your basal metabolism. Anecdotes shouldn't mean much, but I've shared this information with my parents and the consumption of 2-3 cups a day has reduced her sugar levels to the lower end of normal over just a week.

The main problem I identify with herbal remedies is that some of the items marketed may not deliver as expected, particularly when the information is anecdotal or stemming from old cultural tales. With respect to health, science is the ultimate determinant of efficacy, not pass-me-down knowledge nobody can attribute to a specific place or time.

I'd advise anyone interested in herbal supplements to run them through PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed)to see if any scientific literature exists on them. I found my information regarding green tea there.

04-26-2014, 03:37 PM

Chinese herbal medicine is a major aspect of traditional Chinese medicine, which focuses on restoring a balance of energy, body, and spirit to maintain health rather than treating a particular disease or medical condition.

Because of the large number of Chinese herbs used and the different uses recommended by practitioners, it is difficult to comment on Chinese herbal medicine as a whole. There may be certain herbs or extracts that can play a role in cancer prevention and in treatment of cancer and other diseases when combined with mainstream treatment. However, more careful research is needed to determine the effectiveness of these individual substances.

Worth reading all the article .