Tag: frankincense

Herbs and Health Research blog – October 15

This month the following research on herbs and health has caught my eye.

Rhodiola_ishidae_(200607)
1. A study comparing the effectiveness of the herb rhodiola with the antidepressant sertraline (also known as Zoloft), found that while rhodiola had a slightly less anti-depressant effect, it didn’t have any side effects. The conclusion of the study was that rhodiola could be an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression.

 
2. A systemic Cochrane review was conducted looking at 49 trials (with a total of 5980 people) looking at osteoarthritis and the effectiveness of frankincense taken internally. The review found that frankincense was effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis but that further study was needed. (49 trials and 5980 people showing a positive effect was obviously not enough to draw a positive conclusion).

3. A small study in Brazil has found that applying an alcoholic extract of arnica to tendon injuries twice a day reduced pain and inflammation.

olive4. A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging has shown that patients with osteoporosis showed a significant improvement when taking a medicinal extract of olive for 12 months.

 

I also wanted to take a moment to talk about the ‘scare mongering’ regarding health topics in the news.

Firstly it’s important to remember that these stories are often written by people who do not have any medical knowledge at all. A set of statistics are looked at by a researcher and they are written into a story.

Secondly, stories that have headlines like “bacon gives you cancer”, is trying to make money. It is not trying to provide any useful information about the science behind that claim.

There are doctors, medical researcher’s and other health professionals working on research studies of their own and looking an analysing other studies for merit and ways to understand more about health. For that to work that science has to be conducted without the input of someone trying to make money (i.e. drug companies). Unfortunately studies require a lot of money and the only people with the money are the drug companies. This means that the majority of medical research is biased.

My advice would be to take your medical advice from your doctor or health care professional and not the news or internet.

 

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.

Herbal medicine research – March 2015

This month the following research on herbs and health has caught my eye.

1. A Cochrane review of 14 studies including 2050 people found that the following herbs were effective at reducing lower back pain. Devil’s claw, lavender, comfrey root, chilli, and white willow bark.

Wildflower Leptospermum grandifolium Bairne Track2. A study of 60 people with acne found that the use of tea tree essential oil in gel significantly reduced their acne.

3. A study of 278 participants with osteoarthritis showed that taking frankincense reduced pain, inflammation and improved function.

4. Preliminary research has shown that ginkgo may be beneficial in reducing macular degeneration.

5. A small study found that passion flower was more effective at reducing anxiety in children with ADHD in comparison with a common ADHD drug.

6. A small study found that valerian was effective at reducing obsessive compulsive symptoms in patients with OCD.

7. A study found that reishi mushroom taken alongside chemo and radio therapies increased their effectiveness.

elderberries8. A study of 147 people with the common cold found that a combination of elderflower, vervain, gentian and evening primrose reduced the length of the cold by 3.8 days.

9. A study found that taking 15ml of elderberry syrup four times a day for four days during flu reduced symptoms and the length of flu by four days or more.

 

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.