Tag: baical skullcap

Herbal Medicine and Health Research Blog – May 15

The following research on herbs and health has caught my eye.

1. New research shows that mindfulness may be an alternative to antidepressant use.

  • health-benefits-of-pomegranate2. Clostridium difficile is a bacterial infection that is often present in hospitals and health care environments and can cause diarrhoea and fever. A new study has found that pomegranate reduced the C. difficile bacteria and could be used as a preventative.

 

3. A new study has found that garlic, aloe vera and gotu kola are effective to treat burn wounds and are being considered for future drug production.

4. A new laboratory study has found that lemon balm reduces colon cancer cells.

5. Panax ginseng has been found to be a possible treatment for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

6. A new study in the USA has found a link between statin use and an increase in diabetes and diabetes complications.

7. Baical skullcap is currently being researched for its use a treatment and preventative for stroke.

Lavender8. A new study in the USA has found that using lavender essential oil either in a foot bath or as a cream can reduce anxiety and stress in pregnant women.

9. Frankincense has been found to improve blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

10. A new study has found that women taking fennel capsules over three months, had reduced period pain, reduced nausea and reduced length of menstruation.

Endometriosis – What is it? How can it be treated?

Endometriosis is a condition that women rarely talk about but thankfully that is beginning to change.

It is estimated that 1.5 million women in the UK suffer from Endometriosis, (one in ten women), suffering unrelenting pain (http://endometriosis-uk.org).

 

So what is Endometriosis?

“The presence of uterine lining in other pelvic organs, especially the ovaries, characterised by cyst formation, adhesions, and menstrual pains.” (Random House dictionary, 2014)

 

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain during periods
  • Pain during ovulation
  • Pain during sex
  • Irregular periods
  • Infertility
  • Irritated bladder and bowel (during periods especially)

See understanding Endometriosis

 

How is it diagnosed?

If you are concerned about any of the symptoms above it is important that you visit your GP, they can then send you for tests.

There can be indications on blood tests and ultra sounds but the only conclusive way to diagnose Endometriosis is via a laparoscopy, where a camera is inserted into the abdominal cavity via key hole surgery. A sample of the suspected Endometriosis is taken and analysed in a laboratory.

If Endometriosis is confirmed it is usually given a classification between 1 and 4, 1 being minimal and 4 being severe.

 

How is it treated?

Once Endometriosis has been diagnosed via laparoscopy it is removed during the same surgery, however, it is important to remember that the trauma of the surgery can cause scar tissue and more Endometriosis can form in that area. Endometriosis often reoccurs and the removal of the tissue and cysts is for symptomatic relief.

The drug treatments are either hormonal or pain relief based, again these are for symptomatic relief. For more information visit http://endometriosis-uk.org/endometriosis-treatment.

 

Possible complementary treatments

Acupuncture has been found to relieve pain for some people, but remember to visit a member of the British Acupuncture Association.

 

Endometriosis Diet – anti-inflammatory based diets have been found to reduce pain in Endometriosis sufferers by reducing in the inflammation and pressure within the abdomen.

 

Gentle exercise has been found to be helpful as an increase in pelvic circulation can reduce inflammation and pain. Always remember to only do as much as you feel able and mention your condition to the session leader if you are concerned.

Examples include; Tai Chi, yoga, pilates, swimming, and walking

 

Feverfew
Feverfew

Herbal medicine – There are many research studies showing the fantastic anti inflammatory effects of herbs such as Frankincense, Turmeric, Baical skullcap and feverfew. Many herbal medicine companies sell pre prepared anti-inflammatory capsules containing mixtures of the herbs listed.

 

 

 

Always remember to check there are no interactions between any medication you are taking and any herbs you try. If you are ever unsure contact a medical herbalist before taking anything.

 

Herbal medicine can offer a more holistic approach to the treatment of Endometriosis, taking into account each person individually and tailoring a medicine to their individual requirements, but the main aims will be to reduce pain and inflammation, improve circulation to the area, regulate hormones, and improve energy.

If you are considering herbal medicine please speak to a medical herbalist, even if you do not want to commit to a consultation they can often offer free advice. To find a medical herbalist near you, visit The National Institute of Medical Herbalist’s website.

 

Further information sheets are available to download for free from the Endometriosis-uk website.

 

If you know someone with endometriosis please pass on this information.

This month in research – September 13

This month I have found the following research particularly interesting.

 

Blueberry
Blueberry

1. A 300g portion of blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) has been found to protect DNA from damage, in a study in men.

2. Korean ginseng (Coreanica ginseng) has been found to improve erectile dysfunction in men, when taken for 8 weeks.

3. There have been several studies showing that artichoke (Cynara scolymus) can reduce cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease, this new study has highlighted the lipid lowering properties, backing up the earlier research on its use in reducing cholesterol levels.

4. Walnuts (Juglans regia) have been shown to reduce the growth of prostate cancer in a new laboratory study.

Cinnamon
Cinnamon

5. A new study of the phytochemicals within Cinnamon (Cinnamom verum) has found it  protects neurons which could see it used in neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and dementia.

6. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) has long been used as both a treatment and preventative for migraines. A new report shows that its use as a preventative for migraines is backed up pharmacologically and it could be taken long term.

Feverfew
Feverfew

7. A component of Baical skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) has been shown to reduce colon cancer in laboratory studies.

8. A new five step plan to help patients cope with pain is being used in USA.

9. Chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus castus) has recently been studied for its use to treat migraines as part of premenstrual syndrome with good results.

10. A new report shows that an external preparation of comfrey root (Symphytum officinale) has been used effectively to treat painful joints and muscles, from sports injuries to degenerative arthritis.