This month the following research on herbs and health has caught my eye.
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.
4. 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.