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Herbal medicine rule book. Can Western guidelines govern Eastern herbal traditions? BY NATASHA GILBERT. In the early s, thousands. PUBLISHER'S NOTE. This book has been published solely for educational purposes and is not intended to substitute for the medical advice of. As one will see throughout this book, a mix of Indonesian cultural beliefs, tradition began to study the chemical compositions of traditional herbal medicines.

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properties of healing. Increasingly more people are turning to herbal remedies, especially for treating minor ailments. Unfortunately, the inclination towards the. This third edition of Herbal Medicines: A guide for healthcare professionals comes a little of herbal preparations; this book aims to provide pharmacists and EMEA website: October. of phytotherapy (herbal medicine), authored by the German physician and phy- totherapist Karin . The book includes the medicinal plants most widely used.

Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Arab Herbal Medicine. Labib Salem. Therefore, the role of cell-to-cell interactions in herbal induced liver toxicity was investigated in monocultures of cells from the human hepatocyte cell line HepG2 and in co-cultures of cells from the HepG2 cell line and cells from the human monocyte cell line THP1.

Herbal medications for common ailments in the elderly.

Drugs down-regulation of cytochrome P metabolism in rat hepatocytes. Aging ; Eur J Pharmacol ; Herbal medicine in Jordan with special Parenchymal and nonparenchymal liver cells and their interaction in the 9. Hepatotoxicity of herbal remedies: Gastroenterol ; Prog Transplant ; Toth CA, Thomas P.

Liver endocytosis and Kupffer cells. Hepatology Tradition and perspectives of Arab herbal ; Evid Based Complement Alternat Med ;2: Ramadori G, Armbrust T. Cytokines in the liver. Eur J Gastroenterol El Nahhal Y.

Contamination and safety status of plant and food in Arab Hepatol ; J Appl Sci ;4: Ventura C. CAM and cell fate targeting: Modulation of nitrogen oxide synthesis in vivo: NG- insights into cell growth and differentiation.

J Leukoc Biol ; Neuroprotection by Brazilian green propolis against in vitro and in vivo Hepatocytes ischemic neuronal damage. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med produce nitrogen oxides from l-arginine in response to inflammatory ;2: J Exp Med ; Crude liver membrane fractions Hepatocyte-derived IL-6 maintain liver specific functions in long term, serum free rat hepatocyte and TNF-a mediate the LPS-induced acute phase response and cultures.

In Vitro Cell Dev Biol ; NO-release by cultured rat hepatocytes. Eur J Biochem ; Crude liver membrane fractions and extracellular matrix components Sies H. Oxidative stress: Exp Physiol ; P isoenzymes in cultured rat hepatocytes. Eur J Biochem ; Received June 14, ; accepted January 17, No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronically, mechanically, by photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owners.

This article is part of the above work and is subject to copyright. This PDF is not for general or free distribution, and posting on any publicly accessible website or other platform would constitute an infringement of copyright. Copies of this book can be purchased at www. BHP, benign prostatic hyperplasia. Abstract Despite the great progress in modern medicine, traditional medicine has always been practised in the Arab-Islamic world. Cultural beliefs and practices often lead to self-care or home remedies in rural areas and consultation with traditional healers.

Traditional therapies have been utilized by people in the Mediterranean region who have faith in spiritual healers, homeopaths or even many herbalists. The modern use of Arab botanical medicines has historical roots in ancient Arabic medicine.

In the Middle Ages Arab herbalists, pharmacologists, chemists and physicians adapted the ancient medicinal practices of Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, Persia and India.

Medical innovations introduced by Arab physicians included: This chapter presents a systematic review on traditional Arab botanical medicine including historical background, medical innovations introduced by Arab and Muslim physicians, and a state of the art description of traditional Arab herbal medicine.

Introduction Ayurvedic herbalism; Western herbalism; and Arab traditional medicine, which forms the basis for alternative Historical and current studies and surveys indicate that the and herbal medicine in use today Saad et al. The use of traditional herbal medicine throughout the generations with a rich inventory of natural in our region, as a normative basis for the maintenance of medicinal herbs.

Traditional Arab medicine in our region is good health and treatment of various ailments, has been actually the ancient Hippocratic-Greek method, as it was widely observed. The currently practised traditional Arabic- adapted and improved by Arab herbalists, pharmacologists, Islamic herbal medicine is greatly under-exploited though it chemists and physicians in the Middle Ages. By expanding may provide effective new concepts and a rich source of upon the wisdom of the Greeks over the centuries, active herbal compounds.

According to our knowledge, there indigenous Arab medicine has contributed greatly to the are currently no Arab traditional medicine training development of modern medicine in Europe and remains programmes in any Arab country, and Arab medicine has not one of the closest forms of original European medicine. According to recent herbal medicine, is the use of herbs for their therapeutic or surveys, more than plant species are found in the medicinal value.

Botanical Medicine in Clinical Practice eds R. Watson and V. Table 4. Medicinal plants and their uses to treat various diseases according to Arab medicine Source: Said et al.

Medicinal plants in the Middle East are scholars interested in science and philosophy came to becoming increasingly rare, as a result of the ongoing appreciate how much they had to learn from the Arabs, and destruction of their natural habitat, the over-harvesting of set about studying Arab works in these disciplines and wild species and detrimental climatic and environmental translating the chief of them into Latin.

Probably the most changes. Hence, it is predicted that in semi-arid regions such outstanding writer on medicine in Arabic was Ibn-Sina or as the Middle East, a number of species will have disappeared Avicenna as he was called in the West Fig. Like Rhazes, within the next 10 years or so, particularly in the desert or dry he wrote on many subjects, and was accounted to have been areas where almost a third of native plants are found, unless greater as a philosopher than as a physician.

Nevertheless, urgent measures are taken to protect and preserve them. It worldwide in herbal medicines accompanied by increased was translated into Latin in the 12th century, and continued laboratory investigation into the pharmacological properties to dominate the teaching of medicine in Europe until the end of the bioactive ingredients and their ability to treat various of the 16th century at least.

There were 16 editions of it in the diseases. Hygiene, simple and complex History of Arab medicine medicines, and functions of parts of the body are also covered. It asserts that tuberculosis was contagious, which The history of Arab medicine can be divided into three was later disputed by Europeans, but turned out to be true.

It stages: Greek into Arab, Arab, and Arab into Latin. The most famous of all and the introduction of microbiological science. Arab and Galen, as well as philosophical works by Plato and physicians introduced the use of test animals, and Arab Aristotle and mathematical works of Euclid and Archimedes.

After order to develop new aspects in their dealings with patients. Muslim doctors were also aware of the contagious level with the greatest of the Greeks. Some notable scholars qualities of diseases.

Hundreds of medical works were of the science of Arab medicine are: Al Tabbari — , Al translated into Latin. Every major city had a hospital, the Razi Rhazes — , Al Zahrawi — , Avicenna hospital at Cairo had over beds, with separate wards — , Ibn Al Haitham — , Ibn Al Nafees for fever, ophthalmic, dysentery and surgical cases. Arab Herbal Medicine 33 describing each plant species, the plant parts used, the preparation procedure used for each remedy, and the treatment procedure of certain diseases Hunke, ; Bin Murad, ; Shams Aldeen, ; Munke, These two books were the main literature in medicine a few centuries ago and are still in use in different libraries in Europe.

Daoud AlAntaki used different herbs for treating patients and published a book on medicinal herbs, summarizing the knowledge of his predecessors AlAntaki, At that point, patients started to deal with experts in the pharmaceutical sciences working on the extraction and preparation of remedies, and not with physicians who were now responsible for the diagnosis of diseases and follow-up with the applied treatments.

This fact resulted in a huge development in pharmaceutical science: Avicenna — , a great philosopher and physician. He Murad, ; Hunke, ; AlTurkimany, About treatises were ascribed to Avicenna. One of the most important citations from Avicenna Rhazes, ; Hunke, For example, Rhazes discovered Lev and Amar, Jaber Ibn Hayan and recorded species belonging to eight families.

About of others extracted different anaesthetic compounds from local these species have medicinal value. Among these species, herbs for local or general anesthetization. Ibn AlBitar in are common species, 30 are occasional, while seven are rare. Andalusia, Spain introduced around new plant species The number and types of medicinal plants that are currently as medicinal herbs for treating human diseases Ibn AlBitar, used by herbalists and practitioners were studied in a Thus, the treatment of various human diseases Table 4.

The diabetes Table 4. None of the herbalists was licensed for this particular purpose, and several strange or unprecedented Diabetes recommendations were passed on to customers.

This survey concluded that there is a necessity for proper handling and Diabetes has been recognized since ancient times and its main licensing of herbal medicines. Arab originally derived from plant sources e.

Nowadays, it is well gentle exercise. Juglans regia, Atriplex halimus, Olea Table 4. Medicinal plants used to treat cancer, based on the traditional Arab medicine.

Plant species Preparation Additional uses Allium cepa L. Bulb juice Diabetes, loss of appetite, liver disease, coughing, external infection Arum palaestinum Boiss.

Foliage decoction Internal bacterial infections, poisoning and circulatory system Brassica oleracea L. Stem, bark and fruit decoction Fever, bed wetting, high blood pressure, ulcer Triticum aestivum L. Shoot decoction Anaemia, skin disease seed decoction Urtica pilulifera L.

Medicinal plants used to treat diabetes, based on the traditional Arab medicine. Leaf decoction Heart diseases Ceratonia siliqua L. Leaf decoction Herpes and lip sores Cichorium pumilum Jacq. Foliage decoction Bacterial infection, poisoning and rheumatism Cupressus sempervirens L. Fruit decoction Antiseptic and nervous system Eryngium creticum Lam.

Foliage decoction Liver diseases, poisoning, anaemia and infertility problems Juglans regia L. Leaf decoction Cancer and skin diseases Morus nigra L. Leaf and seed decoction Sexual weakness Prosopis farcta Sol. Leaf, seed and root decoction Intestine pain, kidney diseases and ulcer Smilax aspera L. Fruit and root decoction Poisoning Teucrium polium L. Medicinal plants used in traditional Arab medicine to treat liver diseases.

Young shoots or decoction of Diabetes, urinary system, lack of appetite above-ground parts Asphodelus microcarpus Salzm. Juice or tincture from bulbs and Ectoderm parasites, psoriasis roots, tincture Cistance tubulosa Schenk. Decoction of leaves Urinary system and stones in kidney, diarrhoea Citrullus colocynthis L. Decoction from seeds Diabetes Cynara scolymus L. Root juice Anaemia, urinary system Ecballium elaterium L. Fruit juice applied into the nose Sinusitis Eremostachys laciniata L.

Bunge Decoction of leaves Allergy, headache Eryngium creticum Lam. Whole-plant decoction Poisoning, anaemia, infertility Nerium oleander L. Infusion of wooden stem Skin diseases foliage Pistacia lentiscus L.

Leaf infusion Kidney diseases, arteriosclerosis, anaemia Saponaria mesogitana Boiss. Foliage infusion Stomach pain, fever, menstrual cramps Table 4.

Commercially available herbal mixtures used to treat various diseases. This fact Recently, a mixture of the four plants has been prepared and was expressed in a small research project to investigate anti- used for the treatment of type II diabetes.

The mixture is obesity materials. Deeply rooted in Arabic medicine, Alchemilla The combination of four plants seems to act differently but vulgaris has been used for treating obesity, gastrointestinal synergistically to regulate glucose homeostasis Said et al. Olive Olea europaea leaves are a a. Over the centuries, mint Mentha Obesity spp.

Some of these studies knowledge of the Greek-Arab medical system Said et al. There are a number of clinical studies on nettle. The most frequent and convincing controlled clinical studies relate to the use of U. There are also Psoriasis and atopic dermatitis are autoimmune skin positive open clinical studies on anti-arthritic and anti- diseases, which can last decades.

Local herbalists use R. Several Sexual vitality observations indicate that cytokines produced within the skin are of major importance in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. Zallouh is the common name in the Middle East for psoriasis and offered a large number of plants for treating the roots of the species Ferula hermonis growing on the psoriasis. This plant is include: Ammi visnaga, Galium aparine, Nigella sativa, botanically quite close to Ferula communis, the giant fennel.

Eurica sativa, Eryngium maritimum, Anabasis articulate, There are several species of Ferula that grow throughout the Calotropis procera, Phagnalon rupestre, Peganum harmala. According to the Greek herbalists, Dioscorides and Galen, this plant is used for the treatment of tiredness and impotence. We Many hepatic active herbals are currently used traditionally used extracts from seeds and roots of F. Cichorium cytoprotective properties as well as their aphrodisiac effects pumilum, Urtica pilulifera and Rhamnus alaternus are well in animal models and in human volunteers.

The results known as hepatic active herbals and are used traditionally indicate that F. The plant as a whole contains several guaianolide sesquiterpene lactones. Arabic traditional healers Parallel with the development of pharmacy and regard C. Urtica pilulifera is a local Middle- developments date back to the Greeks and Indians as well as Eastern and Mediterranean species of the stinging nettle.

The plant has a long history of use both as a food and as a Alchemy was commonly practised during the 9th century medicine. The leaves of U.

It used in the treatment of rheumatic conditions, and U. It is a compilation traditional healers regard U. Poisons are treatment for blood sugar problems. There are a number of discussed and how they can be detected by sight, touch, taste studies on immunological stimulation caused by the lectins or by toxic symptoms which they cause. A similar approach and information can be found administrations.

Similarly, alternative medicine has gained in a later book on toxicology by Ibn Wahshiyyah during the enormous popularity in our region over the past 20 years. Another equally important example is the book This increase in popularity has also brought some concerns on Poisons and their Antidotes by the famous Arab and fears over professionalism of practitioners and the alchemist, Jabir Ibn Haiyan Fig.

Over the past decade, several news- their modes of action, dosages, methods of administration, catching episodes in developed communities indicated choice of drugs and the target organ attacked by each adverse effects allegedly arising as a consequence of taking particular poison, a proposition that is modern in its chemo- herbal products or traditional medicines from various ethnic therapeutic application.

He also discusses general human groups Elvin-Lewis, ; Chan, In some cases, anatomy, the four humours and how they are affected by adulteration, inappropriate formulation, or lack of under- purgatives and lethal drugs, warns against poisonous or standing of plant and drug interactions or uses has led to poisoned matter, and prescribes antidotes.

Most reports of toxic effects resulting from the use of herbal Many of the antidotes described by Arab scientists like Jabir medicines and dietary supplements are associated with Ibn Haiyan, Ibn Wahshiyyah and Avicenna are still used hepatotoxicity although reports of other toxic effects nowadays by herbalists in our region. Hepatic Current status impairment resulting from the use of conventional drugs is widely acknowledged, but there is less awareness of the The currently observed rapid increase in consumption of potential hepatotoxicity of herbal preparations and other herbal remedies worldwide has been stimulated by several botanicals, many of which are believed to be harmless and are factors, including the notion that all herbal products are safe commonly used for self-medication without supervision.

On the basis of various case reports, the liver injury from herbal remedies has ranged from mild elevations of liver enzymes to fulminated liver failure requiring liver transplantation. Although regulation by national and international health authorities may be part of the solution, increasing public awareness and educating healthcare professionals about the potential dangers of herbal preparations will need to be implemented Chitturi and Farrell, ; Pak et al.

The reported toxicity of herbal formulations may be the result of several factors, including plant-derived com- pounds, contamination with pesticides, microbes, heavy metals or toxins, or adulteration with orthodox drugs El Nahhal, Therefore for safety and quality assurances, chemical analytical techniques should be applied at different stages of production of natural or herbal products, and good agricultural practice should be followed by the farmers, there should be good sourcing and laboratory practices by the pharmaceutical companies, good manufacturing practices and innovative clinical trial practices by researchers and physicians Chan, ; Rousseaux and Schachter, We believe that any plant herb or ingredient taken from plants should be tested before being used as a remedy.

In the Fig. Jabir Ibn Haiyan, known as the alchemist Geber of the Middle in vitro test systems, cells isolated from various tissues or Ages, is generally known as the Father of Chemistry. In knowledge. This indicates a loss of the It is generally recognized that life-threatening events in rich knowledge of practical plant medicine. However, any plant should be applied at different stages for good practices in parts used or prescribed by ethnopharmacologists should be quality assurances of natural or herbal products, including tested for safety before being recommended for human use.

We believe that any wild species and detrimental climatic and environmental plant herb or ingredient taken from plants should be tested changes. It is predicted that in semi-arid regions such as the before being used as a remedy. Therefore, various advanced Middle East, a number of species will have disappeared cell biological, biochemical, molecular biological and in within the next 10 years, particularly in the desert or dry vitro cell culture techniques are applied.

This procedure. In the in vitro test systems, cells isolated from is paradoxical at a time when there is an increasing interest various tissues or cell lines are cultured.

In vitro cell culture worldwide in herbal medicines accompanied by increased methods have the advantage of relatively well-controlled laboratory investigation into the pharmacological properties variables and are generally accepted as a very effective of the bioactive ingredients and their ability to treat various method for safety testing Saad et al.

References Abu-Irmaileh, B. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 89, — AlAntaki, D. Blak, Cairo, Egypt in Arabic. AlTurkimany, J. Revised by AlSaka, M. Avicenna, A.

Four Volumes. Reprinted in Azaizeh, H. Fitoterapia 74, 98— Bin Murad, I. Chan, K. Chemosphere 52, — Chitturi, S. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 15 10 , — El Nahhal, Y. Journal of Applied Sciences 4, — Elvin-Lewis, M. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 75, — Ernst, E.

The American Journal of Medicine , — Drugs Aging 15, — Heneidy, S. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 7, — Hunke, S. Translated from German to Arabic in Ibn AlBitar, D. Two Volumes. Arab Herbal Medicine 39 Lev, E. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 82, — Munke, L.

Maktabat Madbouly, Cairo, Egypt in Arabic. Pak, E. Progress in Transplantation 14, 91— Rhazes AlHawy The Comprehensive. Rousseaux, C. Birth Defects Research 68, — Saad, B. Arshady, R. Polymers in Medicine and Biotechnology. Volume 1 Polymer Chemistry and Biodegradation. Citrus Books, London, UK, pp. Naples, Italy, October Said, O. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 83, — Integrative Medicine Insights in press. Shams Aldeen, A. Leaves of Alchemilla vulgaris, Olea europaea and Mentha longifolia L.

Cultured human fibroblasts treated with Weighlevel did not exhibit any sign of toxicity as evidenced by lactate dehydrogenase release. These results were confirmed in experimental studies on rats where an LD50 of Significant antioxidant properties were seen at very low concentrations of Weighlevel 10 mg ml 1 as measured by the lipid peroxidation method. Progressive and significant weight loss was observed in chickens given this mixture weekly for 4 weeks compared with controls.

Furthermore, a 3-fold increase in the thermogenesis was seen in rat interscapular brown adipose tissue following exposure to different concentrations of Weighlevel extract as determined by measurement of increased oxygen consumption. In addition, a clinical study was carried out among 80 human volunteers with a body mass index BMI of All 80 subjects were asked to continue their usual diet but to eat only three main meals daily and to take one Weighlevel tablet 30 min before each meal.

Fourteen subjects were excluded for not following the protocol, and 66 subjects were all evaluated for efficacy and tolerability of Weighlevel monthly for 3 months. Weighlevel was well tolerated by all subjects, and no side effects were reported. A progressive and significant weight loss was seen in these subjects during the whole study period. The BMI was reduced after 3 months from Results indicate safety, tolerability and efficacy of Weighlevel. Box , world with serious clinical complications such as type 2 Kfar Kana , Israel.

When grade as extracts by Antaki Ltd Laboratories, Kfar added to a diet, such therapy is expected to yield weight Kana, Israel. Weighlevel tablets mg tablet 1 were loss of 0. Kibbutz Ramot Menashe, Israel. Each tablet contained Effective management of overweight seems to be of 60 mg A. Mild overweight was generally accepted Safety and Oxidative Stress Analysis in ancient Arab societies and considered a reflection of a high socioeconomic level and part of the desired beauty Rats and rat liver homogenates were used to assess safety standards in those days.

This fact was expressed in the and antioxidant effects of Weighlevel. Only severe obesity was con- LD50 sidered suitable for treatment using specific medicinal Thirty-six male Sprague—Dawley rats average weight: Large single 2,3. Weighlevel is composed of four herbs developed doses of Weighlevel were placed directly into the stomach according to the traditional herbal knowledge of the of each group and observed for 14 days to determine the Greek—Arab medical system 4—6.

Cuminum cyminum LD Animal study approval was given from the Faculty L. Cumin , Mentha longifolia L. Olea europaea L. Lipid peroxidation has damag- obesity, gastrointestinal pain and inflammation 8,9. Olive ing effects on liver cell membrane. The extent of lipid leaves are a typical herbal remedy of the Mediterranean peroxidation was measured using a technique based on area and reported to possess hypoglycemic, hypotensive- the thiobarbituric acid reactive substance TBARS assay diuretic and antioxidant properties 7, Extracts from that detects malondialdehyde MDA , an end product of both of these plant leaves have been shown to increase the peroxidative decomposition of polyeonic fatty acids in in basal metabolic rate 11, For centuries, mint as well vitro systems To accurately quantify TBARS in the as cumin has been used to reduce appetite 8 to improve analytical procedure, the protein was precipitated before digestion by relieving digestive symptoms such as pain, the addition of thiobarbituric acid to the reaction, while spasm, gas and dyspepsia and creating a sensation of full- the antioxidant butylated hydroxytoluene was added ness The group of carminative seeds such as cumin, before heating of samples.

Rat liver homogenates were caraway, fennel, dill and anise have all been acknowl- incubated with mM FeSO4 as ROS generating system edged to have stomach-calming effects to improve diges- 15,17 and with various concentrations of the product. All four plants are thus used in European herbalism and Lactate Dehydrogenase Assay each with a different indication for use. We hypothesized Release of the intracellular enzyme lactate dehydrogenase that these four plants when combined may generate a LDH is the consequence of necrotic or toxic cell mem- synergistic effect.

The present study aimed to investigate brane rupture. Integrity of the cell membrane was the safety and therapeutic efficacy of a fixed mixture of determined by measuring LDH activity released into the these four plants. As for safety, we performed in vitro and culture medium 18, LDH activity was monitored animal studies.

As for therapeutic efficacy, we defined it following the oxidation of NADH as the decrease in as an incremental and persistent weight loss during the absorbance at nm. The reaction was carried out in a study period of 4 weeks in the controlled animal study potassium phosphate buffer 40 mM K2HPO4, 10 mM and of 3 months in the open human study.

KH2PO4, pH 7. Human volunteers were asked to medium at 24, 48 and 72 h of incubation. All usual medications were kept unchanged light and temperature controlled room Strips of interscapular brown At baseline, the BMI was estimated for every subject. The tissues were perfused and they were asked to return the Weighlevel box so that with Krebs—Ringer bicarbonate buffer of the following returned tablets could be counted as a measure of patient composition: This was repeated in each KCl, 1.

The Weighlevel extract was added in the perfusion buffer medium, and the resulting suspen- estimated and careful investigations of well-being and of sion was automatically filtered before entering the respira- any adverse effect were undertaken. The res- piratory rates of IBAT fragments were measured by a Statistics method involving repeated O2 uptake determinations, as The Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used.

Comparisons described by Barde et al. The O2 partial pressure PO2 between groups were performed by the Wilcoxon rank- was measured by a Clark O2 electrode when extract sum test. Data administration resulted in changes in MO2 23— Efficacy in Chickens Chickens average weight around g each were used Results in the first phase of our study because they represent a simple and a quick test system.

Chicken were cared for in Safety Analysis standard conditions and fed for 1 month with normal An extremely high dose of Weighlevel Body weight basis, this would correspond to the human consumption was carefully estimated each week. Similar results were seen in in vitro studies by measuring the LDH release. Figure 1 shows the results at 24, 48 and 72 h of incubation. Clinical Investigations Compared with untreated control cells, no significant Human volunteers were selected on the basis of routine change in LDH release was found, whether as a function visits to their general physicians in five different clinics of increasing product concentration or as a function of in Galilee where they were asked if they were willing to increasing incubation period.

The mean age of 80 subjects recruited into the study was Women comprised homogenate with ferrosulfate is expressed in Fig. All medications were kept unchanged 0.

Higher concen- during the study period as patients were in a stable trations of the product 50 mg ml 1 further reduce clinical condition. Fourteen subjects were excluded as MDA concentration to 0. No further anti-oxidative effect of the pliance and six due to absence from scheduled visits.

Body Treatment period in hours weight values at 1, 2, 3 and 4 weeks are not significantly different in the controls and positive controls, while the studied group had significantly Figure 1.

LDH release from cultured human fibroblasts. Thermogenesis effects of Weighlevel were determined in strips 0. This reduced weight Figure 2. Effects of Weighlevel extract different on MDA release from gain in the study group did not reflect a toxic effect since rat liver homogenates incubated with mM ferrosulfate in the all three groups were healthy chickens that apparently did presence and absence of 0.

Thermogenesis Anti-overweight The effects of Weighlevel on thermogeneis are shown in Fig. Baseline body weight of the 60 chickens was than basal MO2 values. Significant and Women com- extract week by week. The weight was reduced from baseline of Higher levels of weight loss were seen in people with BMI of 25—30 kg m 2 overweight Fig. The BMI was reduced after 3 months from Treatment period in months Newly conducted ethnopharmacological survey by our group revealed that 20 more than plant species are still used in our region 0 1 2 3 Said O.

In the Treatment period in months present study, we prepared a combination of four herbal remedies that are traditionally known for their weight Figure 5. Clinical efficacy studies of Weighlevel in 66 human volunteers who were selected on the basis of routine visits to their general reduction effects.

This combination is called Weighlevel. The main medicinal plant in Weighlevel, is 5—10 g day 1 of people were divided into three groups.

The first group with BMI of the dried plant 7. Toxicity, as defined by the LD50 in rats, was control group C. Concentrations as high as mg ml 1 did not show any Almost half of all subjects were on some medica- sign of cellular toxicity in the LDH test.

All medications were kept low as 0. Higher concentrations did stable clinical condition. Fourteen subjects were excluded not substantially add to such properties. These observa- as they violated the protocol, eight due to lack of com- tions that show a very high therapeutic index the dif- pliance and six due to absence from scheduled visits. The clinical results disclose that Weighlevel is safe and Weighlevel was well tolerated in all 66 subjects and well tolerated by all 66 subjects and is therapeutically no minor or major adverse effect was noted by any of efficient as weight loss in each subject was incremental them.

The product was well tolerated with other medi- and steady throughout the study period of 3 months. Figure 5 summarizes the synergistic drugs may yield a better therapeutic efficacy efficacy of Weighlevel in these 66 subjects.

Significant with fewer side effects. In the present References study, all subjects were asked to continue their usual 1. Halpern A, Mancini MC. Treatment of obesity: Obes Rev ;4: Avicenna Ibn Sina. The Canon of Medicine.

We observed weight Arabic. Dar Al-hekma, Rhazes Al Razi. Dar Al-huda, Tradition and perspectives of Arab during 3 months. The exclusion of 14 subjects was due herbal medicine: Evid Based Complement Alternat Med to the lack of compliance and not due to the lack of ;2: The status of traditional Arab medicine and medicinal herbs of the Middle Eastern region: As evidenced in the controlled studies in chickens, the review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med ;3: Safety of traditional the study group.

This could have reflected a toxic effect Arab herbal medicine: All three chicken groups 7. The Complete German that were fed with the same quality and quantity of Commission E monographs. Ibn Rassool Alturkmani. Almaatammad Fi Aladwiya Almufrada. Dar AlKutub Alarabiya, , , and However, 9.

Ethnopharmacological the weight gain in the positive control group was not survey of the medical herbs in Israel, the Golan Heights and the West Bank. Pinelli P. Quali-quantitative analysis of antioxidant activity of it was significantly less in the study group.

Therefore, it different polyphenolic extracts from Olea europea L. Effect of polyphenol fraction of time of satiety and the sensation of fullness along with Alchemilla vulgaris L. Biull Eksp Biol Med ; Effect of freeze We speculate that the combination of the four plants dried extract of Olea europea on the pituitary-thyroid axis. Efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination peppermint oil and caraway oil in patients suffer- in male Sprague—Dawley rats.

This system is generally ing from functional dyspepsia. Aliment Pharmacol Ther ; The — Martindale W. The Extra Pharmacopoeia. Section on Aromatic Carminatives. Pharmaceutical Press, London, Am J Physiol ; Besides Draper HH, Hadley M. Malondialdehyde determination as an index metabolic stimulation 12 , olive leaf extracts were shown of lipid peroxidation.

Methods Enzymol ; Protein measurement with the folin phenol reagent. J Biol Chem cemic effect was reported together with hypotensive and ; Olive leaves are thus Polymer biocompatibility known to reduce fat load and circulatory fat levels. Wild assessment by cell culture techniques. Introduction to Polymeric Biomaterials. London, UK: The Citus mint was reported to relax the stomach and increase Books, , — Cumin was also reported to et al.

Evaluation of medicinal plant hepatotoxicity in co-cultures of hepatocytes and monocytes. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med improve glucose utilization, reduce raised blood sugar ;3: Green tea mucosa and pancreatic digestive enzymes 34, Int J Obes ; In addition to the anti-overweight effects of our plant Potentiation of the thermo- combination, a positive and desired antioxidant activity genic antiobesity effects of ephedrine by dietary methylxanthines: This finding is of great importance for adenosine antagonism or phosphodiesterase inhibition?

Metabolism ; Potassium-induced increase in levels of oxidative stress. Based on these findings and oxygen consumption of brown adipose tissue from the rat. J Physiol taking into consideration the possibility of a tailing off ; Catechol-O-methyl- of effectiveness with time, we would encourage further transferase activity in whole brown adipose tissue of rate in vitro.

Girardier L, Seydoux J eds. Effectors of Thermogenesis. Effect of diet and to be expected during 1 year of Weighlevel administration cold exposure on norepinephrine turnover in brown adipose tissue three times daily and 30 min before each main meal. J Clin Invest ; Seydoux J, Girardier L. Control of brown fat thermogenesis by the after repeated administration of aqueous leaf extract of Olea sympathetic nervous system.

J Pharm Belg ; Experientia, ; The Osuna I. Hypoglycemic activity of olive leaf. Botanical Medicine in Clinical Practice, pp. Maintaining a physiological blood glucose level with the help Traditional Arabic and of "Glucolevel," a combination of four anti-diabetes plants used Islamic medicine TAIM , a re-emerging health aid.

Evid Based in the traditional Arab herbal medicine. Botanical perspectives on health pepper- S, et al. Hypericum triquetrifolium—derived factors downregulate the mint: Evid Based Complement Alternat Med ; Platel K, Srinivasan K. Influence of spices and their active doi: Nahrung Flavonoids extracted from Ribes nigrum L. Anti- LL. In-vitro inhibitory activities on elastase, trypsin and chemotryp- hyperglycemic effect of some edible plants.

J Ethnopharmacol sin. Angioprotective activities in-vivo. J Pharmacol ; Hypotension, hypoglycaemia and hypouricemia recorded Received September 25, ; accepted September 24, Based Complement. First published online 13 Jun ; doi: It is expected to become more widely integrated into the modern medical system, including the medical curriculum. Despite the perception of modern medicine as more effica- cious, traditional medicine continues to be practiced.

In rural areas, cultural beliefs and practices often lead to self-care, home remedies or consultation with traditional healers. Herbal medicine can be broadly classified into four basic systems as follows: There is no doubt that today the concept of Arabic traditional herbal medicine is a part of modern life in the Middle East, and it is acquiring worldwide respect, with growing interest among traditional herbalists and the scientific community. TAIM therapies have shown remarkable success in healing acute as well as chronic diseases and have been utilized by people in most countries of the Mediterranean who have faith in spiritual healers.

TAIM is the first choice for many in dealing with ailments such as infertility, epilepsy, psychosomatic troubles and depression. In parallel, issues of efficacy and safety of complementary medicine have become increasingly important and supervision of the techniques and procedures used is required for commercial as well as traditional uses.

More research is therefore needed to understand this type of medicine and ensure its safe usage. The present review will discuss the status of traditional Arab medicine particularly herbal medicine , including the efficacy and toxicity of specific medicinal prepara- tions, with an emphasis on the modern in vitro and in vivo techniques.

Arab herbal medicine — efficacy — toxicity Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine Joins interest in traditional medicine and there are efforts TCM, CAM, Kampo and Ayurveda underway to monitor and regulate herbal drugs and tradi- tional medicine.

China has been successful in promot- There are several well-known and established medicinal ing its therapies with more research and a science-based plant heritages worldwide including the Kampo, TCM, approach, while Ayurveda still needs more extensive TIM and Ayurveda. There has been increased global scientific research and evidence bases. Kampo medicine is widely practiced in Japan, where it is fully integrated For reprints and all correspondence: Dr Hassan Azaizeh or Prof.

Box , Shefa Amr , Israel. Kampo spread rapidly during the period —95; constructed 6. All information was then translated into after that, the number of practitioners stabilized at a near- understandable scientific terms in English. Traditional constant level 1,2. However, as a small number of local plant species. These qualities have been sub- by some estimates, with a proportional increase in Kampo stantiated by the success of Chinese, Kampo, Ayurvedic, specialists by more than In addition, there are Chumash or Mayan among many other traditional about 10 pharmacies in Japan that dispense herbal medicines.

From these traditional medicines it has been formulas. Therefore, Japanese practi- finding probable cures 7. They may even be different tioners of Kampo and acupuncture would object to their from our modern medical views.

The variety and extent inclusion in Complementary and Alternative Medicine of cultures to provide answers to traditional medicines CAM and would rather regard themselves as belonging and to unsolved pathologies are firmly grounded in to the authentic traditional medicine. Ayurveda, tradi- the curiosity and observational capabilities of humans.

How- started during the end of the Ming dynasty when large- ever, there is a possible curtailment of the wisdom and scale migration from Mainland China took place 3. The therapies of traditional medicines that comes with geo- migrants brought with them a year old knowledge graphical and ethnic boundaries.

In addition, the number of TCM, complemented by the rich flora and fauna of plants, potential formulations or properties is a for- of Taiwan and the local knowledge of the aboriginal midable concern for individual caregivers or groups to people. TCM has now become the highest priority in the understand, store and transmit 7. TAIM started hundreds of years ago and were used With thousands of years of accumulated knowledge and until recently in many of the primary books in libraries experience in herbal medicine, there is a will to preserve throughout Europe.

(PDF) Arab Herbal Medicine | Prof. Mohamed Labib Salem -

Research into the TAIM herbs has it at any cost, although in early communist China it was been conducted in many Arab countries such as Syria, discouraged. A utilization pattern for herbal medicine is Morocco, Yemen, Egypt and others. The most recent just emerging in Taiwan. Uninformed patients, unscru- surveys conducted on the potential uses of plant species pulous traders, adulterated preparations, unlicensed prac- in the Mediterranean region by ethnopharmacologists titioners and illegal sources for herbal medicines have recorded — plant species belonging to different been blamed for creating a bad image of herbal medi- families still in use 8,9.

The remedies are administered cine use in Taiwan 4,5. It is also taken as juice, impact on the pattern of CHM unitization in Taiwan. In recent TCM and Ayurveda from the Indian subcontinent and years, remedies based on TAIM herbs have been tested in their integration with other systems of medicine, includ- cooperation with physicians and started to be routinely ing Western medicine, to realize the concept of sustain- prescribed in Europe and in Mediterranean countries to able medicine 6.

In this aspect, several herbal medicines their patients. Phytotherapy existed in one by the use of a large number of multi-herb formulae. This book has remained relevant ingredients extracted to treat various human diseases and over years.

During the 15th and 16th centuries alone as botanical pesticides 17— In addition to the The modern use of Arab botanical medicines has use of plants in their crude form for health care, they historical roots in ancient Arabic medicine. Arab herbal- have been the main source for chemical drugs. Medical due to the high cost involved in the development of innovations introduced by Arab physicians included: Recent ethnopharmaco- palmetto are gaining popularity for the purpose of health logical surveys conducted by different groups in the care.

The impact of journals publishing data on medicinal Middle East support the necessity of proper handling of plants is increasing and there is a rising trend to include herbal medicine used in TAIM which requires suitable phytotherapy in the curriculum of medical schools in regulation and licensing in order to ensure supply of North America and Europe.

Fortunately, today physicians prescribe herbs, and St. Phytotherapy is considered conservation by way of botanical gardens, greenhouses, relatively safe as it contains multiple chemicals with a herbariums, tissue cultures, propagation and seed banks. Multidisciplinary team state of research and practice in the field was organized work including ethnobotanists, pharmacologists, physi- in This three-day conference took place in Amman, cians and phytochemists is essential for the fruitful out- Jordan during August 8—10, and included an exhibition come of medicinal plants research, and such international and poster session.

The conference intended to: Historical and current studies indicate that the encourage investment to develop pharmaceutical prod- Eastern region of the Mediterranean has been distin- ucts based on this culture and v increase the number guished for long periods with a rich inventory of natural of practitioners and quality of the practice of TAIM medicinal herbs.

It is well documented that TAIM has by training new and existing practitioners The con- contributed greatly to the development of modern medi- ference was designed for research scientists, local and cine in Europe and remains one of the closest forms of regional traditional healers, international pharmaceutical original European medicine.

In recent years researchers at and medical research companies, medical doctors, ethno- the Galilee Society Research and Development Center, pharmacologists and other parties interested in the study in cooperation with different institutes, have published of traditional Arabic and Islamic medicine. All bodies more than 20 articles and review papers in peer reviewed and institutions, research centers and interested parties Journals on this subject 8— These articles demon- working in the field of Arab medicinal plants were invited strate the importance of traditional Arabic medicine and to participate in the conference, which was structured indicate that the Eastern region of the Mediterranean has into six sessions.

Discussions touched on the historical been distinguished from other regions by a rich inventory and cultural aspects of Arabic Islamic medicine and its of complementary alternative medicine, in particular contribution to modern medicine and to human well- herbal medicine. The data collected during these studies being. The global scientific research on medicinal and indicated that — herbs are still used in treating aromatic plants, pharmaceutical research, clinical trials, human diseases and are sold or traded in market places as well as international legislation and intellectual prop- in the Mediterranean region or internationally.

Some of erty rights on Arabic and Islamic medicinal plants of these plant species have been investigated and bioactive the region were also reviewed. Their main Al-Maissam points are delineated as described subsequently. A comprehensive survey of region of the Mediterranean has been distinguished from traditional Palestinian herbal medicine practitioners was other regions by a rich inventory of CAM, in particular conducted in order to assess the current status of the herbal medicine.

Data also indicate that there is a flour- herbal medicinal practice 8, Results demonstrated ishing and well-developed trade of herbs, some of which that, unfortunately, most practitioners have very limited are rare or endangered species. In addition, and symptoms alone, rather than on a full understand- plants used in certain regions are not used in others, the ing of the underlying disease.

In other cases, herbs used education level of practitioners is in decline, some medic- today may not even correspond to the plants described inal plant species are endangered and plant mixtures are originally in the old literature, as the former are culti- of poorer quality and less variety in comparison to the vated from herbs that went through different breeding past 8, As a result of this survey, it became clear that procedures over several centuries The conclusion to be drawn was clear—that traditional Palestinian medicinal practice is suffering and TAIM Heritage that in time, if action is not taken to ensure its survival, During the 8th until the 11th centuries, Arab physicians important parts of this heritage may disappear com- upgraded the existing knowledge about herbs and their pletely and a wide variety of methods of treating various potential medical efficacy and safety.

Their greatest con- diseases may be lost to humanity. The first effort made tributions to modern medicine were the immune system by the Galilee Society to revive the Palestinian traditional and introduction of microbiological science [ 22 , for medicinal heritage was the establishment of Al-Maissam. The Middle Eastern region was covered herbal medicine. It is a unique biotechnology center and the first in traditional medicine for the treatment of various diseases our region where modern advanced research is used with 8,25— There are several factors endangering plant traditional Arab herbal medicine, rendering it compatible diversity or even causing eradication of these herbs, with modern phytotherapy.

Instead, consumers often rely on word-of-mouth recommendations or the promotional claims of advertisers for advice on herbs. In fact, I often suggest that medical students loiter in the aisles of natural-food stores and eavesdrop if they want to observe the extent to which health-food clerks have supplanted pharmacists and doctors as dispensers of practical health information.

The FDA and Congress have not helped allay consumer confusion, allowing herbs to fall into a twilight zone of regulation.

Under current legislation, DR. The consumer is left guessing exactly what conditions the herb should be used for. At the same time, the government has done little to regulate the quality of herbal products.

While the FDA requires drug companies to conduct controlled studies to prove the safety and efficacy of prescription and OTe drugs, herb manufacturers are held to no such standards. The unfortunate result is a great deal of promotion that is pure baloney, and many ineffective and overpriced products. In the future, I would like to see the FDA establish a new division of natural therapeutics to regulate herbs and other supplements, so that consumers can use this effective and gentler form of medicine with greater confidence and ease.

In the meantime, here are some basic guidelines to help you make the best choices in the confusing herbal marketplace. Starting on page 12 of this guide, you will find specific recommendations for buying and using 10 best-selling herbs.

Your best source of information, of course, is the advice of a knowledgeable health practitioner, such as a medical doctor, herbalist, or naturopath.

Your practitioner can recommend an herbal regimen tailored to your health concern, discuss dosages and side effects, and answer your questions in detail. To find a practitioner, consult the resource guide on page If you don't have a practitioner to turn to, consult a good book. I recommend Herbs of Choice Pharmaceutical Products Press, Binghamton NY by Varro Tyler, a professor emeritus of pharmacognosy at Purdue University and one of the country's leading authorities on botanical medicine, as among the best sources currently available.

Selecting the best form of herb to buy is more than just a matter of personal preferenceit can determine how effective an herbal medicine really is. As a general principle, forms that allow exposure to air are the quickest to lose their potency, due to the damaging effects of oxidation. Here are my general recommendations for the best-vend worst--choices. Extracts are usually an excellent choice.

They are stable, convenient, and preserve the potency of the herb's active ingredients almost indefinitely. Extracts are made by soaking an herb in alcohol andlor water to distill the plant's active ingredients.

The liquid extract is then taken by the drop or dropperful in some warm water or fruit juice. Solid extracts have been dried to remove the solvents, then packed into capsules or made into tablets. Look for extracts that have been standardized-measured to ensure a certain amount of the herb's active constituents are present.

Tinctures are another good choice. These liquid prepara" tions are processed much like extracts, so they are also stable, active, and convenient. However, they contain more alcohol and less plant material than do liquid extracts.

I don't usually recommend teas except for peppermint or chamomile as the dried herbs they are made from can deteriorate rapidly. If you do buy herbal teas, let your nose be your guide to freshness. Peppermint tea bags, for example, should be richly fragrant rather than faintly scented.

Often they have lost their color and odor-Signs that they may have become inactive. Leaves and flowers deteriorate the fastest; roots and barks more slowly. In these preparations, dried herbs have been ground up, then encapsulated. Grinding greatly increases surface area, speeding oxidation. Before bejn,g ground the plant material may have been old, dirty, or adulterated, making these a risky choice.

Either way, you should enter the store knowing in advance which herbs you want to purchase instead of letting the claims or promotions you encounter there be your guide to health decisions. The term standardized on the label means that the herb's active compound, or compounds that act as markers for general plant activity, have been identified and that the product has been tested to ensure a certain amount of these constituents are present.

John's wort, often used to treat depression, is now regularly standardized for hypericin, for example, while the herbal relaxant kava is standardized for kavalactones.

The label should indicate how much of the constituent is contained in each dosage. Buying standardized products is particularly important for those herbs most likely to be adulterated, such as ginseng. One study of 54 pure ginseng products, for example, showed that 60 percent were so adulterated with cheaper herbs as to be worthless.

Twenty-five percent contained no ginseng at all. Do keep in mind that standardization is not a complete guarantee. Currently, standardization is done voluntarily by manufacturers rather than by an outside regulating body, so the best assurance that the numbers on the label are correct is to choose a reputable company. In the case of some herbs including the best-seller echinacea , it is still not fully understood which constituents are responsible for the herb's therapeutic effect.

Standardized formulas may not be available, or the constituent tested for may not be the sole or principal determinant of activity of the whole plant. The immune-boosting herb echinacea, for example, is often sold in combination with goldenseal. Goldenseal has a long history as a useful topical disinfectant, but I have not seen any evidence that it is beneficial when used internally.

I would therefore stick with a pure echinacea product. Indeed, I have seen some kitchen-sink formulations that combine as many as 20 different herbs.

Look for products made from fresh rather than dried herbs. Look for the term standardized as your best bet that the product contains a measured amount of the herb's active constituents.

The label should give the reference compound and its content per dose. If the product is not standardized, check for the Latin name on the label to make sure you're getting the correct plant. Of course, there's no guarantee except for the manufacturer's reputation that the plant described on the label is the plant that's in the bottle. Check the price.

While it's a good idea to do some comparison shopping, remember that cheaper is not necessarily a bargain. Companies assign these dat. Look at the dosage size to see how many capsules you have to take per day. If you have to take 10 capsules a day-of a lowdose product to achieve an effect.

If you're a vegetarian or have food allergies, check the contents to make sure they do not contain animal by-products such as gelatin or possible allergens such as artificial preservatives or colorings. Take the manufacturer's claims that you do encounter with a grain of salt. Remember that, unlike the claims for pharmaceutical drugs, these have not been approved and validated by the FDA.

Please keep in mind that herbs are dilute forms of natural drugs, so you should never take them casually simply because it seems like a healthy thing to do. Herbs are sometimes grown using pesticides or are fumigated in shipment, for example, so look for companies that emphasize the purity of their products and grow their herbs organically.

These brands are available in natural-food stores, with the exception of PhytoPharmica, which sells mainly to health professionals. However, you do need to follow some common-sense rules.

With the exception of daily tonic herbs such as ginseng, take herbal medicines only when you really need them. Start slowly and don't exceed the recommended dosage. Allow your body time to work with an herb. If you note any adverse reactions, such as headache, rash, or gastrointestinal symptoms, stop taking it.

Unless you are under the care of a knowledgeable practitioner, don't take any herbs during pregnancy or while nursing. In today's crowded herbal marketplace, there are a great many products whose remarkable claims are not yet backed up by good scientific evidence. Here are three popular herbal supplements I'd advise you not to waste your money on. I know of no human nutritional need for alfalfa, whose sprouts can contain a natural toxin called canavanine. Despite some claims that alfalfa supplements are high in vitamins and minerals, most don't contain even the nutrients found in an inexpensive multivitamin.

Claw Unearia tomentosa Traditionally used in South American folk medicine as an anti-inflammatory, eat's claw-also sold as una de gata-is primarily marketed as an. I consider popular claims for its use as a treatment for cancer and AIDS to be unfounded and irresponsible.

While there are a few studies suggesting that it stimulates immune function, I'd recommend using two other more widely researched plants-astragalus and echinacea see pages 14 and 16 for treating colds and boosting immunity. If you do choose to experiment with eat's claw, proceed with caution: The demand for this herb has increased so much that in some parts of the country, especially along the Mexican border, vendors are substituting a more-common, possibly toxic plant Acacia greggii , also known commonly as eat's daw.

Many of these products combine ephedra and St. John's wort, both of which I recommend singly for other conditions. I know of no evidence, however, that these herbs promote long-term weight loss, either alone or in combination. In addition, ephedra-a stimulant-is addictive and can cause nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia. I'd steer clear of herbal weight-loss gimmicks and try a sensible diet and exercise plan instead. Keep a potted aloe plant on your windowsill to have a ready supply of clear gel for topical treatment of cooking burns, minor cuts, dermatitis, and even hemorrhoids.

I also recommend carrying a bottle of pure aloe gel in a travel kit as a sunburn soother. While there are numerous aloe juice products on the market for internal use, however, I'm convinced that the only good they may do is to your gastrointestinal tract. Any multilevel-marketing claims you hear about the miraculous powers of aloe juice to enhance immune function or cure everything from arthritis to AIDS are sheer fantasy-but such beliefs may have helped turn this African succulent into one of today's herbal best-sellers.

In ancient times, aloe was so coveted for its woundhealing powers that when Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in B. Modern studies are confirming aloe's topical benefits, suggesting that it increases blood flow to injured areas which helps speed healing and also contains compounds that may have pain-relieving and antiinflammatory effects and help ward off infection.

In a study of patients undergoing dermabrasion-a procedure to remove the top layer of skin-healing was 72 hours faster on the half of the face treated with stabilized aloe, while another study showed that a different aloe product helped promote circulation in skin that was frostbitten.

The internal use of aloe, on the other hand, has little research to back it up, but I've heard many patient testimonials about the juice's ability to help heal digestive disorders, from ulcers to diverticulitis.

Just cut off a lower leaf near the central stalk, remove any spines along the edge, split the leaf lengthwise, score the gel with the point of your knife, and apply directly to the injured area. You can also find pure aloe gel in health-food stores, which can be applied topically in the same way. Be aware, however, that many commercial skin-care products that boast aloe on their labels-from sunscreen to moisturizer to tissues-may have too little of the herb in them to offer real therapeutic benefit.

If you're interested in giving aloe juice a try, you can mash up some gel in a little fruit juice and drink it, or use any commercial product that is pure. Aloe juice tastes nasty, however, so ask around for a brand that's relatively palatable. And since aloe vera taken internally can be an irritant laxative, don't overdo: A reasonable dose might be a teaspoonful of aloe juice after meals. If no amount is given, check the list of ingredients: Unless aloe appears at the top of the list, chances are there's not much in the product.

This means they've been prepared from a concentrate, a process that may affect quality and effectiveness. If you tend to get every cold or virus that's going around, are vulnerable to stress, or have chronic infections such as sinusitis or bronchitis, you should consider taking this herb as a daily tonic.

I also recommend it as an adjunctive treatment for conditions of suppressed immunity such as mononucleosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and AIDS as well as for those undergoing or recovering from radiation or chemotherapy for cancer. Astragalus is a large genus in the pea family that's related to the locoweed that grows in the American West. The form of the plant used medicinally grows wild in northern China and Inner Mongolia: Its dried root is sold by Chinese herbalists in bundles of thin sweet-tasting slices that look like tongue depressors.

One of the most revered herbs in Chinese medicine for more than 2, years, astragalus is still prescribed by practitioners there today as a whole-body tonic-to strengthen or invigorate the healing system on a daily basis-as well as a cold and flu remedy. It's also a chief component of fu zheng therapy, a combination herbal treatment designed to restore immune function in cancer patients undergoing radiation or chemotherapy.

Like echinacea, astragalus has been shown to stimulate white blood cell activi- ty and increase the production of antibodies and interferon all of which are important to immune function.

Chinese clinical studies suggest that it reduces the frequency and duration of the common cold. Follow dosage instructions on the label. The dose for Astra-8, the combination brand I recommend, is three tablets twice a day. You can also take astragalus as a short-term treatment for colds and flu. Start taking the daily dose at the first sign of symptoms. If you are generally healthy but want to take astragalus as a preventative during cold and flu season, I'd advise using half the recommended dose.

You can continue taking it indefinitely. In the West, pharmacological studies of the herb have revealed antiviral properties as well as general immune-boosting effects.

But, in general, the underground parts of this herb from which the extract is prepared have extremely low toxicity: Studies show that mice given the equivalent of times the recommended human dose exhibit no adverse effects. Even consumers who'd never set foot in a health-food store are plucking it regularly off their local pharmacy shelves.

And for good reason-it's one of the best ways I know to stop the common cold in its tracks. I'd recommend tincture of echinacea to anyone at the first sign of a cold or flu-symptoms like a scratchy throat or body aches-and I often prescribe it as a first line of treatment for common infections such as sore throats or ear infections before resorting to conventional antibiotics. Familiar to gardeners as the ornamental purple coneflower, echinacea also called snakeroot or hedgehog hails from the Native American herbal tradition, where Plains Indians used it widely to treat snakebites, toothaches, and many other ailments.

In the late 19th cen- tury, the herb was discovered by doctors in this Echinacea purpurea country and became one of their most trusted medicines. While it fell out of favor in the United States with the rise of modern antibiotics, eehinacea has remained popular in Europe: In Germany today echinacea is officially approved as an over-the-counter drug for respiratory infections and other ailments.

In recent years, a body of research done mostly in Germany has shown that echinacea increases the number and activity of key white blood cells involved in immunity: It's known to boost the activity of T-cells natural killer cells as well as the production of interferon.

One placebo-controlled study of patients found that four dropperfuls of echinacea extract a day significantly relieved the severity and duration of flu symptoms, while another double-blind study indicated that patients with diminished immune response benefited significantly from preventative treatment with the herb. To stave off a cold or the If a commercial preparation doesn't do this, it's not good. Children 3 to 12 may be given half the adult amount. I'd also advise taking a full dose of echinacea while you're battling infections such as sinusitis, tonsillitis, or ear infections, as well as the day before and after major dental work to prevent bacterial infection.

The use of echinacea as a preventative tonic is a bit more controversial. I don't usually recommend it for this pwpose, but if you do want to use it to build up your immunity, halve the adult dose and take as long as you feel you need to-although you should probably take a break from the herb on occasion to avoid developing tolerance. Germany's Commission E-the national agency that regulates botanical medicines-recommends taking echinacea for no longer than eight consecutive weeks.

I myself use echinacea as a preventative when I'm planning a long plane flight where several hours of breathing stale air is likely to take a toll on my respiratory system: If you tend to get coughs or sore throats from flying, start taking a full dose of echinacea the day before your flight and continue for a day or two after.

Rarely it may cause mild side effects such as stomach upset and diarrhea. If so, try taking only half the dose. I don't recommend echinacea for people with immune-function disorders such as multiple sclerosis or collagen disease. Heavily promoted in advertisements that tout the herb's tonic benefits, garlic is outsold only by echinacea and ginseng in today's crowded herbal marketplace.

I certainly agree that garlic is nothing short of an herbal superstar.

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But this is one case where I'm convinced that the benefits of eating the real thing outweigh those of swallowing a capsule, since commercial extracts don't preserve the full activity of the fresh bulb.

Instead of taking a supplement, I urge everyone to add garlic liberally to their diets. Valued as both food and medicine since the reign of the Egyptian pharaohs King 'Iut had some in his tomb , garlic has been a staple of folk medicine around the world ever since. Today, this humble bulb has garnered more scientific validation than any other herb.

There have been an estimated 2, scientific studies on garlic, showing it to be a rich source of sulfur-containing compounds including allicin whose biological activity benefits so many areas of the body that I classify it as a true tonic. Some of garlic'S most dramatic effects are on the cardiovascular system: It lowers total cholesterol, while increasing HDL "good" cholesterol and reducing the susceptibility of LDL "bad" cholesterol to oxidize, the first step by which it damages arterial walls.

One well-reported metaanalysis showed that the equivalent of one-half to one clove a day can lower cholesterol an average of 9 percent. A body of solid research suggests that garlic also lowers blood pressure, mimicking the action of hypertensive drugs without their toxic side effects.

In addition, garlic reduces the clotting tendency of the blood, protecting against heart attacks and strokes. It also enhances immunity by boosting the number of natural killer cells that check the spread of cancer: Epidemiological studies have shown a link between regular consumption of garlic as well as onions, scallions, and chives and a reduction in the risk of stomach cancer.

Many manufacturers of garlic supplements standardize their products for allicin content in the belief that this compound is primarily responsible for the herb's many health benefits, but I'm not so sure.

Instead, I recommend that everyone eat one or two cloves of garlic a day. It's much better to eat garlic raw or lightly cooked, as it loses some of its antibiotic properties when you cook or dry it.

Chop it fine and mix it with food, mash it into salad dressing, saute it lightly in olive oil to flavor pasta, and, in general, add it near the end of cooking to enjoy its pungent flavor. You can also cut a clove into chunks and swallow them like pills. If you find that garlic gives you flatulence, eat less.

HILDEGARD from Missouri
Look over my other articles. One of my hobbies is mountainboarding. I am fond of crossly .