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THE BASICS OF HERBAL MEDICINE

Mousab Kassem Azzawi
2020 / 10 / 11

Researched by Academy House Team
Edited by Mousab Kassem Azzawi, MSc, MD, PhD.


In this lecture, you are going to learn about the top studied herbal remedies, which can be used to treat some of the most common medical complaints. You will explore the outlines of these ailments that these herbal medications are used for, along with and the evidence to support their use.
Most pharmaceutical drugs come from botanicals sources, so herbal medicine is not alternative medicine. Herbs are powerful medicine, and when used in the correct formulations and doses, they can have a profound effect on health, ranging from treating common and everyday ailments to more challenging chronic diseases.
Aloe vera is used to treat burns and wounds externally, but when taken internally, aloe vera is also used to treat the inflammation associated with mouth ulcers, mucositis—an inflammation of the lining of the mouth—from chemotherapy, and any irritation in the gastrointestinal tract, including colitis.
The powdered aloe vera leaf is a potent laxative that works well to treat constipation. Because it is a strong laxative, use it with caution.
Ginger is used to treat nausea and vomiting from pregnancy and chemotherapy´-or-from any nausea in general. Ginger is the most extensively studied herb for nausea and vomiting.
A review of over six clinical trials found that 1.5 grams per day of ginger is effective for treating pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. More importantly, research shows that ginger is safe— that there are no side effects´-or-adverse events.
Research showed a 40 percent reduction in chemotherapy-induced nausea when people were given one half to one gram of ginger three days prior to chemotherapy and for the following week.
Today, hundreds of millions of people worldwide suffer from heartburn, and one of the best herbal remedies for heartburn is licorice.
Before you decide to take licorice for your heartburn, stop eating heartburn-causing foods, such as cooked tomato sauce, excess caffeine, chocolate, carbonated beverages, fried foods, alcohol, foods that are very high in fat, and full-fat dairy products. You should also ask your physician to test you for a bacterium that can cause heartburn called Helicobacter pylori.
Licorice raises blood pressure and lowers potassium, but the form of licorice that you should take for heartburn must be labelled “DGL,” which is the refined form of licorice that does not raise your blood pressure. Take 600 to 800 milligrams about 20 minutes before your meal for up to six weeks´-or-when needed.
Peppermint is a herbal remedy for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Cramping, pain, bloating, gas, diarrhoea, and constipation are all signs of irritable bowel syndrome.
Peppermint slows down the gastrointestinal tract. It slows down the movement of food from the oral cavity down to the colon and inhibits smooth muscle cell contraction. When the colon is contracting less the level of pain caused by the IBS will be reduced.
Make sure to buy peppermint as enteric coated tablets because if you take peppermint that is not enteric coated, it may cause heartburn.
Cranberry is a natural antibiotic that helps to prevent bacteria from adhering to the lining of the bladder wall.
In 2009, a study was published that focused on whether cranberries could reduce the frequency of recurrent urinary tract infections in women. The researchers found that women who drank four ounces of cranberry juice two times per day´-or-took tablets of cranberry extract in the amount of 400 to 800 milligrams per day had a reduction in their urinary tract infections.
A common problem that men have is waking up at night— sometimes three, four,´-or-five times per night—to urinate. Another symptom that men complain about is that their urinary stream is slow´-or-sluggish—not forceful. These are signs of prostate enlargement,´-or-prostate hypertrophy.
The most studied herbal remedy for prostate enlargement is saw palmetto, which can be taken two times per day in 160-milligram doses. Research has shown that saw palmetto significantly improves symptoms in people who have mild to moderate enlargement of their prostate gland, which means that they get up to urinate less frequently at night and their urinary stream is stronger.
Butterbur is a traditional European herb that has been used for years to treat allergies, but more recently, butterbur has been shown to significantly decrease the amount of migraine headaches.
In a placebo-controlled study, people who were given 150 milligrams of butterbur over a four-month period had a statistically significant reduction in their migraine headaches in comparison to a placebo group.
Butterbur can have liver toxicity, which is why it is crucial that, if it is the right herbal remedy for you, that you only use it after a consultation with your physician´-or-pharmacist.
Across 16 randomised controlled trials, butterbur did as well as pre-script-ion medications in reducing the number of migraine headaches.
Moreover, studies have shown a 42 percent reduction in migraine headaches in people taking just 300 to 400 milligrams of magnesium per day. Nonetheless, please remember that magnesium softens the stool if you are constipated, but if the stool becomes too soft, you must cut back on it.
In addition to butterbur and magnesium, taking 400 milligrams per day of the B vitamin riboflavin can help reduce migraine headaches.
Omega-3 fish oil is anti-inflammatory, so you can take two to four grams per day. In addition, taking 300 milligrams per day CoQ10 has been shown to statistically reduce migraine headaches.
Taking magnesium, omega-3 fish oil, and a low dose of riboflavin are the safest migraine-reducing choices if you are trying to become pregnant´-or-are pregnant.
Saint-John’s-wort helps mild to moderate depression. However, if you are taking a medication—such as a birth control pill, heart medicine,´-or-blood thinner—Saint-John’s-wort can decrease the potency of these medications. Other medications will increase in their potency. Alcohol is amplified in the body when Saint-John’s-wort is taken.
The following four categories of pre-script-ion medications are the most common pharmaceutical drugs that have herb-drug interactions: blood thinners, sedatives, antidepressants, and diabetes medicine. If you are taking any type of medication within these categories, consult your physician´-or-pharmacist before starting any natural remedy.




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