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Information on commonly used Herbs

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Bilberry Fruit Extract, Vaccinium myrtillus
  • Average Daily Dose: 20-60 g dried fruit. 240-280 mg of extract standardized to 25% anthocyanosides.
  • Modern Use: Various microcirculatory conditions. Night blindness and poor ability to adapt to bright light.
  • Contraindications: None known. Bilberry is safe for use during pregnancy and may even be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of associated varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
  • Side Effects: None known (at normal dosages).
  • Drug Interactions: None known.

 

Cascara Sagrada Aged Bark, Rhamnus purshiana
  • Average Daily Dose: 20-30 mg hydroxyanthracene derivatives daily, calculated as cascaroside A.
  • Modern Use: Constipation.
  • Contraindications: Intestinal obstruction, acute intestinal inflammation, e.g. Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, appendicitis, abdominal pain of unknown origin. This herb should not be used during pregnancy and lactation, or for children under 12 years of age.
  • Side effects: In single incidents, cramp-like discomforts of the gastrointestinal tract. These cases require a dosage reduction. Long-term use/abuse: Disturbances of electrolyte balance, especially potassium deficiency.
  • Drug Interactions: With chronic use/abuse, loss in potassium may cause an increase in effectiveness of cardiac glycosides. An effect on antiarrythmics is possible.

 

Cayenne Pepper Fruit, Capsicum annuum

  • Average Daily Dose: In capsule form, 30-120 mg daily.
  • Modern Use: Carminative, diaphoretic, counter-irritant.
  • Contraindications: Excessive ingestion may cause gastroenteritis, liver or kidney damage. Cayenne is reported to possibly interfere with MAO inhibitors and antihypertensive therapy, and may increase hepatic metabolism of drugs.
  • Side effects: In rare cases, a hypersensitivity reaction can occur.
  • Drug Interactions: None known.
 

Cranberry Fruit, Vaccinium macrocarpon

  • Average Daily Dose: UTI prevention: 3 oz. cranberry juice cocktail per day. UTI treatment: 12-22 oz. daily, or equivalent supplement preparations.
  • Modern Use: Prevention of urinary tract infections.
  • Contraindications: None known. No contraindications for cranberry juice during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Side Effects: None known at regular intake levels. Ingestion of large amounts (more than 3-4 liters per day) often results in diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Drug Interactions: None known.
 

Dong Quai Root, Angelica sinensis

  • Average Daily Dose: Generally 9-12 g; Tablets (0.5 g of extract) twice daily, in the treatment of dysmenorrhea.
  • Modern Use: Various menstrual disorders.
  • Contraindications: None known. Dong quai should not be used during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Side Effects: Hypersensitivity to the herb which may lead to excessive bleeding and occasional fever. May be photosensitizing. Can cause a slight laxative effect.
  • Drug Interactions: Potential drug interaction with blood-thinning agents.
 

Echinacea Herb, Echinacea purpurea

  • Average Daily Dose: 6-9 ml expressed juice or equivalent preparation.
  • Modern Use: As supportive therapy for colds and chronic infections of the respiratory tract.
  • Contraindications: Progressive systemic diseases, such as tuberculosis, leucosis, collagenosis, multiple sclerosis. May interfere with immuno-suppressive therapy. Not recommended for use during pregnancy.
  • Side Effects: None known. In individual cases, allergic reactions of the immediate type are possible. May cause dermatitis in sensitive patients.
  • Drug Interactions: None known.
 

Evening Primrose Oil, Oenothera biennis

  • Average Daily Dose: PMS: 3 g daily based on a standardized GLA content of 8%.
  • Modern Use: Conditions related to deficiency of essential fatty acids (e.g., chronic fatigue syndrome) and alcoholism.
  • Contraindications: Not recommended for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Overdose symptoms include loose stools and abdominal pain. EPO may be taken during pregnancy and while breast feeding.
  • Side Effects: Occasionally, mild gastrointestinal effects and headache. Adverse effects are rare at recommended dosage.
  • Drug Interactions: May be an increased risk of temporal lobe epilepsy in schizophrenic patients being treated with epileptogenic drugs such as phenothiazines.
 

Feverfew Leaf, Tanacetum parthenium

  • Average Daily Dose: Equivalent to 0.2 -0.6 mg of parthenolide. Dried plant, 50-200 mg (normally in tablets or capsules).
  • Modern Use: Treatment of migraines, fever, menstrual disorders..
  • Contraindications: Allergies to feverfew and other members of the Asteraceae. Not recommended during pregnancy without medical advice.
  • Side Effects: Occasional mouth ulceration or gastric disturbance. Long-term adverse effects are unknown.
  • Drug Interactions: No adverse effects were noted in a large number of individuals taking feverfew together with other medications.
 

Garlic Cloves, Allium sativum

  • Average Daily Dose: Preparations equivalent to 4-12 mg of alliin (approx. 2-5 mg of allicin); fully-dried powder, 400-1200 mg; fresh (air-dried) bulb, 2-5 g; garlic oil, 2-5 mg.
  • Modern Use: Elevated levels of cholesterol in blood and as a preventative measure for age dependent vascular changes.
  • Contraindications: May interfere with existing hypoglycemic and anticoagulant therapies. May potentiate the antithrombotic effects of anti-inflammatory drugs. Garlic is a reputed abortifacient and has been reported to affect the menstrual cycle. It is also reported to be uteroactive.
  • Side Effects: In rare instances, there may be gastrointestinal symptoms, changes to the flora of the intestine, or allergic reactions.
  • Drug Interactions: A potential interaction between garlic and anticoagulant drugs, such as warfarin has been documented.
 

Ginger Root, Zingiber officinale

  • Average Daily Dose: 2-4 g rhizome or equivalent preparations. As an antiemetic, single dose of powdered rhizome, 1-2 g.
  • Modern Use: Prevention of the nausea and vomiting of motion sickness, dyspepsia, stomachic.
  • Contraindications: With gallstones, ginger is to be used only after consultation with a physician.
  • Side Effects: Heartburn.
  • Drug Interactions: European researchers concluded that ginger may enhance absorption of sulphaguanidine. Excessive consumption of ginger (dosage not stated) may interfere with cardiac, antidiabetic or anticoagulant therapy.
 

Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Ginkgo biloba

  • Average Daily Dose: 120-240 mg standardized dry extract in 2 0r 3 doses.
  • Modern Use: Memory deficits, dementia syndromes. Improvement of distance and pain-free walking in peripheral arterial occlusive disease. Vertigo and tinnitus.
  • Contraindications: Hypersensitivity to Ginkgo biloba preparations. Pregnancy and lactation: No restrictions known.
  • Side Effects: Very seldom stomach or intestinal upsets, headaches, or allergic skin reaction.
  • Drug Interactions: None known.
 

Ginseng Root (Asian), Panax ginseng

  • Average Daily Dose: 1-2 g or equivalent preparation.
  • Modern Use: Tonic for invigoration and fortification in times of fatigue and debility, physical or mental exhaustion, stress, inadequate resistance to infections.
  • Contraindications: Acute illness, hypertension, use of large amount of other stimulants, antipsychotic drugs. Ginseng may potentiate the action of MAO inhibitors by inhibiting uptake of various neurotransmitters. Should be used with caution in the following circumstances: cardiac disorders, diabetes, hyper- and hypotensive disorders, and all steroid therapy. Should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Side Effects: German Commission E says "none known."
  • Drug Interactions: Two cases of suspected interaction with phenelzine have been reported.
 

Ginseng Root (Siberian), Eleutherococcus senticosus

  • Average Daily Dose: 0.6-3.0 g of dry root.Modern Use: Tonic for invigoration and fortification in times of fatigue and debility, also during convalescence.
  • Contraindications: High blood pressure. Should be avoided or taken with caution by individuals who are highly energetic, nervous, tense, hysteric, manic or schizophrenic. One source recommends that it should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Side Effects: None known.
  • Drug Interactions: Eleuthero should not be taken with stimulants, including coffee, antipsychotic drugs or during treatment with hormones.
 

Goldenseal Root, Hydrastis canadensis

  • Average Daily Dose: Three times daily: dried rhizome and root, 0.5-1 g.
  • Modern Use: Catarrhal conditions of the upper respiratory tract associated with colds and flus. Mucosal inflammations.
  • Contraindications: High blood pressure. Goldenseal should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Side Effects: Goldenseal is essentially non-toxic at therapeutic doses.
  • Drug Interactions: Coagulant activity that may oppose the action of heparin has been reported for berberine, which is a compound in Goldenseal root.
 

Gotu Kola Herb, Centella asiatica

  • Average Daily Dose: 0.5-1.0 g three times daily.
  • Modern Use: Improved memory. Venous insufficiency.
  • Contraindications: Epilepsy. Not used in pregnancy.
  • Side Effects: Ingestion is stated to have produced pruritis over the whole body. May produce photosensitization.
  • Drug Interactions: Excessive doses may interfere with existing hypoglycemic therapy and increase serum-cholesterol concentrations.
 

Grape Seed Extract, Vitis vinifera

  • Average Daily Dose: For general health purposes: 50-100 mg. To treat illness: 150-300 mg.
  • Modern Use: Microcirculatory maldistribution of blood flow. Altered capillary fragility and permeability. Anti-inflammatory.
  • Contraindications: None known.
  • Side Effects: None known.
  • Drug Interactions: None known.
 

Green Tea Leaf Extract, Camellia sinensis

  • Average Daily Dose: Research has shown the beneficial effects of green tea at dosages normally consumed by humans.
  • Modern Use: Chemopreventative. Hypercholesterolemia.
  • Contraindications: None known.
  • Side Effects: None known. In high doses, caffeine can cause insomnia, restlessness, and tachycardia. Green tea contains about 50 mg of caffeine per cup.
  • Drug Interactions: None known.
 

Kava Kava Root Extract, Piper methysticum

  • Average Daily Dose: Standardized extract (70 % kavalactones) 100 mg 2 to 3 times daily.
  • Modern Use: Conditions of nervous anxiety, stress, and restlessness. Sedative and sleep enhancement.
  • Contraindications: Endogenous depression. Not recommended during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Side Effects: Mild gastrointestinal disturbances. In rare cases, allergic skin reactions can occur. Accommodative disturbances have been described.
  • Drug Interactions: Potentiation of effectiveness is possible for substances acting on the central nervous system, such as alcohol, barbiturates and psychopharmacological agents.
 

Licorice Root, Glycyrrhiza glabra

  • Average Daily Dose: Three times daily; dried root, 1-5 g or in infusion or decoction.
  • Modern Use: For catarrhal conditions of the upper respiratory tract and gastric/duodenal ulcers. Bronchitis. Adrenocorticoid insufficiency.
  • Contraindications: May interfere with existing hormone therapy. Not recommended during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Side Effects: On prolonged use and higher doses, mineralocorticoid effects may occur in the form of sodium and water retention and potassium loss, accompanied by hypertension, edema, and hypikalemia, and, in rare cases, globinuria.
  • Drug Interactions: Potassium loss due to other drugs, e.g., thiazide diuretics, can be increased. With potassium loss, sensitivity to digitalis glycosides increases.
 

Milk Thistle Seed Extract, Silybum marianum

  • Average Daily Dose: Standardized extract: Formulations equivalent to 200-400 mg of silymarin, calculated as silibinin.
  • Modern Use: Toxic liver damage, and for supportive treatment in chronic inflammatory liver disease and hepatic cirrhosis.
  • Contraindications: None known. Long term evaluations on the safety of the use of milk thistle during pregnancy and lactation have not been established.
  • Side Effects: A mild laxative effect has been observed in occasional instances with the standardized extract.
  • Drug Interactions: None known.
 

Saw Palmetto Berry Extract, Serenoa repens

  • Average Daily Dose: 320 mg lipophilic ingredients extracted with lipophilic solvents. Equivalent preparations.
  • Modern Use: Urination problems in benign prostate hyperplasia stages 1 and 2.
  • Contraindications: None known. Pregnancy and lactation: Not recommended due to lack of data.
  • Side Effects: In rare cases, stomach problems and headaches. Large amounts of the berry are reported to cause diarrhea.
  • Drug Interactions: None known.
 

St. John's Wort Herb Extract, Hypericum perforatum

  • Average Daily Dose: 2-4 g of herb or 0.2-1.0 mg of total hypericin in standardized extract preparations.
  • Modern Use: Mild to moderate depressive states.
  • Contraindications: Excessive doses may potentiate existing MAO inhibitor therapy, and may cause an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals. Not recommended for use during pregnancy.
  • Side Effects: Photosensitization is possible at high dosages, especially in fair-skinned individuals. Delayed hypersensitivity.
  • Drug Interactions: Should not be used at the same time as prescription antidepressants.
 

Valerian Root, Valeriana officinalis

  • Average Daily Dose: Dried rhizome/root: 0.3-1.0 g three times daily. Extracts: Amount equivalent to 2-3 g of herb; once to several times per day.
  • Modern Use: Restlessness, sleeping disorders based on nervous conditions.
  • Contraindications: The documented CNS depressant activity of valerian may potentiate existing sedative therapy. The AHPA safety review of numerous sources found no evidence to contraindicate valerian during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Side Effects: None known. Mild, transient stomach upset.
  • Drug Interactions: None known. The CNS-depressant action of valerian is reported not to be synergistic with alcohol.
 

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