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Traditional Herbal Remedies for Primary Health Care. T ra d itio n a l H e rb a l R e m e d ie s fo r P rim a ry. H e a lth. C a re. [Evidence-based Natural Health]. Dr. Shaun Holt. [Editor: Natural Health Review]. [Author: Natural Remedies That Really Work]. remedies from centuries earlier in other lands, with herbal formulas borrowed from . We have included the statements of a number of different natural healing.

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Clinical Natural Medicine Handbook

Plants and herbs extract vary in the solvent used for extraction, temperature, and extraction time, and include alcoholic extracts tinctures , vinegars acetic acid extracts , hot water extract tisanes , long-term boiled extract, usually roots or bark decoctions , and cold infusion of plants macerates.

There is no standardization, and components of an herbal extract or a product are likely to vary significantly between batches and producers. Plants are rich in a variety of compounds. Many of these compounds have antioxidant properties see Chapter 2 on antioxidants in herbs and spices. Ethnobotanicals are important for pharmacological research and drug development, not only when plant constituents are used directly as therapeutic agents, but also as starting materials for the synthesis of drugs or as models for pharmacologically active compounds Li and Vederas About years ago, the first pharmacologically active pure compound, morphine, was produced from opium extracted from seeds pods of the poppy Papaver somniferum.

This discovery showed that drugs from plants can be purified and administered in precise dosages regardless of the source or age of the material Rousseaux and Schachter ; Hartmann This approach was enhanced by the discovery of penicillin Li and Vederas With this continued trend, products from plants and natural sources such as fungi and marine microorganisms or analogs inspired by them have contributed greatly to the commercial drug preparations today.

Examples include antibiotics e.

Between and , 13 drugs derived from natural products were approved in the United States. Average life expectancy at birth has increased from around 41 years in the early s to approaching 80 years in many developed countries. Consequently, the percentage of elderly people 65 years and above in our populations is increasing. The graying of our populations brings an increasing burden of chronic age-related disease and dependency.

Aging is associated with a progressive decline in physiological function and an increased risk of pathological changes leading to cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes, osteoporosis, and so on. Lifestyle factors such as nutrition or exercise play an important role in determining the quality and duration of healthy life and in the treatment of chronic diseases Bozzetti ; Benzie and Wachtel-Galor , It is most likely that there is no one cause of aging, and different theories of aging have been suggested over the years.

Genetic factors are undoubtedly important, but among all the metabolic theories of aging, the oxidative stress theory is the most generally supported theory Harman ; Beckman and Ames This theory postulates that aging is caused by accumulation of irreversible, oxidation-induced damage oxidative stress resulting from the interaction of reactive oxygen species with the DNA, lipid, and protein components of cells.

However, even if the aging process itself is found to be unrelated to oxidative stress, highly prevalent chronic age-related diseases all have increased oxidative stress Holmes, Bernstein, and Bernstein ; Beckman and Ames ; Finkel and Holbrook ; Rajah et al. Antioxidants in herbs may contribute at least part of their reputed therapeutic effects Balsano and Alisi ; Tang and Halliwell Given the market value, potential toxicity and increasing consumer demand, particularly in the sick and elderly members of our populations, regulation of production and marketing of herbal supplements and medicines require attention.

WHO has recognized the important contribution of traditional medicine to provide essential care World Health Organization, http: In , the U. Congress established the Office of Alternative Medicine within the National Institutes of Health to encourage scientific research in the field of traditional medicine http: November 5, , and the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy ESCOP was founded in with the aim of advancing the scientific status and harmonization of phytomedicines at the European level www.

November 5, This led to an increase in investment in the evaluation of herbal medicines. While this scale of investment is low compared to the total research and development expenses of the pharmaceutical industry, it nevertheless reflects genuine public, industry, and governmental interest in this area Li and Vederas With tremendous expansion in the interest in and use of traditional medicines worldwide, two main areas of concern arise that bring major challenges.

These are international diversity and national policies regarding the regulation of the production and use of herbs and other complementary medicines and their quality, safety, and scientific evidence in relation to health claims WHO ; Sahoo et al.

The diversity among countries with the long history and holistic approach of herbal medicines makes evaluating and regulating them very challenging. In addition, there are a great number of different herbs used. Legislative criteria to establish traditionally used herbal medicines as part of approved health care therapies faces several difficulties.

In a survey conducted across countries, WHO reported the following issues regarding herbal medicines: The support needed from different countries includes information sharing on regulatory issues, workshops on herbal medicines safety monitoring, general guidelines on research and evaluation of herbal medicines, provision of databases, herbal medicine regulation workshops, and international meetings. National policies are the basis for defining the role of traditional medicines in national health care programs, ensuring that the necessary regulatory and legal mechanisms are established for promoting and maintaining good practice, assuring the authenticity, safety, and efficacy of traditional medicines and therapies, and providing equitable access to health care resources and their resource information WHO Another fundamental requirement is harmonization of the market for herbal medicines for industry, health professionals, and consumers Mahady Herbal medicines are generally sold as food supplements, but a common regulatory framework does not exist in different countries.

As a result, information on clinical indications for their use, efficacy, and safety are influenced by the traditional experience available in each place. A brief outline of the legislation in United States, Canada, and Europe is given in this section, and could be used to guide the legal aspects of the herbal medicine industry in other countries.

Under DSHEA, herbal medicines, which are classified as dietary supplements, are presumed safe, and the FDA does not have the authority to require them to be approved for safety and efficacy before they enter the market, which is the case for drugs. This means that the manufacturer of the herbal medicine is responsible for determining that the dietary supplements manufactured or distributed are indeed safe and that any representations or claims made about them are sustained by adequate evidence to show that they are not false or misleading.

Regarding contamination, the FDA has not issued any regulations addressing safe or unsafe levels of contaminants in dietary supplements but has set certain advisory levels in other foods FDA ; Gao A product being sold as an herbal supplement dietary supplement in the United States cannot suggest on its label or in any of its packaging that it can diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure a specific disease or condition without specific approval from the FDA.

A claim also cannot suggest an effect on an abnormal condition associated with a natural state or process, such as aging FDA ; Gao According to these regulations, all natural products require a product license before they can be sold in Canada.

In order to be granted a license, detailed information on the medicinal ingredients, source, potency, nonmedicinal ingredients, and recommended use needs to be furnished. Once a product has been granted a license, it will bear the license number and follow standard labeling requirements to ensure that consumers can make informed choices. A site license is also needed for those who manufacture, pack, label, and import herbal medicines. In addition, GMPs must be employed to ensure product safety and quality.

This requires that appropriate standards and practices regarding the manufacture, storage, handling, and distribution of natural health products be met. The GMPs are designed to be outcome based, ensuring safe and high-quality products, while giving the flexibility to implement quality control systems appropriate to the product line and business. Product license holders are required to monitor all adverse reactions associated with their product and report serious adverse reactions to the Canadian Department of Health.

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The directive establishes that herbal medicines released on the market need authorization by the national regulatory authorities of each European country and that these products must have a recognized level of safety and efficacy Calapai The registration of herbal medicinal products needs sufficient evidence for the medicinal use of the product throughout a period of at least 30 years in the European Union EU , at least 15 years within the EU, and 15 years elsewhere for products from outside the EU.

With regard to the manufacturing of these products and their quality, products must fulfill the same requirements as applications for a marketing authorization.

Information is based on the availability of modern science—based public monographs in the European Pharmacopeia and their equivalents developed by the pharmaceutical industry. The standards put forward allow not only to define the quality of products but also to eliminate harmful compounds, adulteration, and contamination.

Within the EU, a number of committees were set up to attempt and standardize the information and guidelines related to herbal medicines. A variety of materials has been produced, such as monographs on herbs and preparations, guidelines on good agricultural and collection practice for starting materials of herbal origin, and guidelines on the standardization of applications and setting up pragmatic approaches for identification and quantitative determination of herbal preparations and their complex compositions Routledge ; Vlietinck, Pieters, and Apers Herbal medicine has been commonly used over the years for treatment and prevention of diseases and health promotion as well as for enhancement of the span and quality of life.

However, there is a lack of a systematic approach to assess their safety and effectiveness.

The holistic approach to health care makes herbal medicine very attractive to many people, but it also makes scientific evaluation very challenging because so many factors must be taken into account. Herbal medicines are in widespread use and although many believe herbal medicines are safe, they are often used in combination and are drawn from plant sources with their own variability in species, growing conditions, and biologically active constituents.

Herbal extracts may be contaminated, adulterated, and may contain toxic compounds. The quality control of herbal medicines has a direct impact on their safety and efficacy Ernst, Schmidt, and Wider ; Ribnicky et al. But, there is little data on the composition and quality of most herbal medicines not only due to lack of adequate policies or government requirements but also due to a lack of adequate or accepted research methodology for evaluating traditional medicines WHO ; Kantor In addition, there is very little research on whole herbal mixtures because the drug approval process does not accommodate undifferentiated mixtures of natural chemicals.

To isolate each active ingredient from each herb would be immensely time-consuming at a high cost, making it not cost-effective for manufacturers Richter Another problem is that despite the popularity of botanical dietary and herbal supplements, some herbal products on the market are likely to be of low quality and suspect efficacy, even if the herb has been shown to have an effect in controlled studies using high-quality product.

There is a belief that herbs, as natural products, are inherently safe without side effects and that efficacy can be obtained over a wide range of doses. A major hypothetical advantage of botanicals over conventional single-component drugs is the presence of multiple active compounds that together can provide a potentiating effect that may not be achievable by any single compound.

This advantage presents a unique challenge for the separation and identification of active constituents. Compounds that are identified by activity-guided fractionation must be tested in appropriate animal models to confirm in vivo activity. Ideally, the composition of the total botanical extract must be standardized and free of any potential hazards, and plants should be grown specifically for the production of botanical extracts under controlled conditions and originate from a characterized and uniform genetic source with a taxonomic record of the genus, species, and cultivar or other additional identifiers.

Records should be maintained for the source of the seed, locations and conditions of cultivation, and exposure to possible chemical treatments such as pesticides. Because the environment can significantly affect phytochemical profiles and the efficacy of the botanical end product, botanical extracts can vary from year to year and may be significantly affected by temperature, drought, or flood as well as by geographic location.

Therefore, biochemical profiling must be used to ensure that a consistent material is used to produce a botanical. The concentration step can also be challenging, and the process to concentrate active compounds to a sufficient level can negatively affect their solubility and bioavailability. Therefore, improving efficacy by increasing concentration can be counterproductive, and the use of solubilizers and bioenhancers needs to be considered just as for drugs Ribnicky et al.

However, there are major challenges to achieving this. Although in theory botanicals should be well characterized and herbal supplements should be produced to the same quality standards as drugs, the situation in practice is very different from that of a pure drug. Herbs contain multiple compounds, many of which may not be identified and often there is no identifier component, and chemical fingerprinting is in its early stages and is lacking for virtually all herbs see Chapter This makes standardization of botanicals difficult, although some can be produced to contain a standardized amount of a key component or class of components, such as ginsenosides for ginseng products or anthocyanins for bilberry products see Chapter 4 on bilberry and Chapter 8 on ginseng in this volume.

However, even when such key compounds have been identified and a standard content is agreed or suggested, there is no guarantee that individual commercial products will contain this. Another interesting point to consider is that herbal materials for commercial products are collected from wild plant populations and cultivated medicinal plants. The expanding herbal product market could drive overharvesting of plants and threaten biodiversity.

Poorly managed collection and cultivation practices could lead to the extinction of endangered plant species and the destruction of natural resources. It has been suggested that 15, of 50,—70, medicinal plant species are threatened with extinction Brower The efforts of the Botanic Gardens Conservation International are central to the preservation of both plant populations and knowledge on how to prepare and use herbs for medicinal purposes Brower ; Li and Vederas Research needs in the field of herbal medicines are huge, but are balanced by the potential health benefits and the enormous size of the market.

Research into the quality, safety, molecular effects, and clinical efficacy of the numerous herbs in common usage is needed. Newly emerging scientific techniques and approaches, many of which are mentioned in this book, provide the required testing platform for this. Genomic testing and chemical fingerprinting techniques using hyphenated testing platforms are now available for definitive authentication and quality control of herbal products.

They should be regulated to be used to safeguard consumers, but questions of efficacy will remain unless and until adequate amounts of scientific evidence accumulate from experimental and controlled human trials Giordano, Engebretson, and Garcia ; Evans ; Tilburt and Kaptchuk Evidence for the potential protective effects of selected herbs is generally based on experiments demonstrating a biological activity in a relevant in vitro bioassay or experiments using animal models.

In some cases, this is supported by both epidemiological studies and a limited number of intervention experiments in humans WHO In general, international research on traditional herbal medicines should be subject to the same ethical requirements as all research related to human subjects, with the information shared between different countries.

This should include collaborative partnership, social value, scientific validity, fair subject selection, favorable risk-benefit ratio, independent review, informed consent, and respect for the subjects Giordano, Engebretson, and Garcia ; Tilburt and Kaptchuk However, the logistics, time, and cost of performing large, controlled human studies on the clinical effectiveness of an herb are prohibitive, especially if the focus is on health promotion.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop new biomarkers that more clearly relate to health and disease outcomes. Predictor biomarkers and subtle but detectable signs of early cellular change that are mapped to the onset of specific diseases are needed. Research is needed also to meet the challenges of identifying the active compounds in the plants, and there should be research-based evidence on whether whole herbs or extracted compounds are better.

The issue of herb—herb and herb—drug interactions is also an important one that requires increased awareness and study, as polypharmacy and polyherbacy are common Canter and Ernst ; Qato et al. The use of new technologies, such as nanotechnology and novel emulsification methods, in the formulation of herbal products, will likely affect bioavailability and the efficacy of herbal components, and this also needs study.

Smart screening methods and metabolic engineering offer exciting technologies for new natural product drug discovery.

Advances in rapid genetic sequencing, coupled with manipulation of biosynthetic pathways, may provide a vast resource for the future discovery of pharmaceutical agents Li and Vederas This can lead to reinvestigation of some agents that failed earlier trials and can be restudied and redesigned using new technologies to determine whether they can be modified for better efficacy and fewer side effects. For example, maytansine isolated in the early s from the Ethiopian plant Maytenus serrata , looked promising in preclinical testing but was dropped in the early s from further study when it did not translate into efficacy in clinical trials; later, scientists isolated related compounds, ansamitocins, from a microbial source.

A derivative of maytansine, DM1, has been conjugated with a monoclonal antibody and is now in trials for prostate cancer Brower Plants, herbs, and ethnobotanicals have been used since the early days of humankind and are still used throughout the world for health promotion and treatment of disease. Still, herbs, rather than drugs, are often used in health care. For some, herbal medicine is their preferred method of treatment.

For others, herbs are used as adjunct therapy to conventional pharmaceuticals. However, in many developing societies, traditional medicine of which herbal medicine is a core part is the only system of health care available or affordable. Regardless of the reason, those using herbal medicines should be assured that the products they are buying are safe and contain what they are supposed to, whether this is a particular herb or a particular amount of a specific herbal component.

Two groups with young, middle-aged and elderly participants, respectively. After audiotaping and verbatim transcription, the data were analysed with a qualitative content analysis. We found that treating illnesses was the most frequently discussed aim for using herbal medicine over all age groups.

Preventing illnesses and promoting health were less frequently mentioned overall, but were important for elderly people. In this context, participants emphasized the limits of herbal medicine for severe illnesses. Dissatisfaction with conventional treatment, past good experiences, positive aspects associated with herbal medicine, as well as family traditions were the most commonly-mentioned reasons why herbal medicine was preferred as treatment.

Concerning information sources, independent reading and family traditions were found to be equally or even more important than consulting medicinal experts. Although herbal medicine is used mostly for treating mild to moderate illnesses and participants were aware of its limits, the combination of self-medication, non-expert consultation and missing risk awareness of herbal medicine is potentially harmful. This is particularly relevant for elderly users as, even though they appeared to be more aware of health-related issues, they generally use more medicine compared to younger ones.

In light of our finding that dissatisfaction with conventional medicine was the most important reason for a preferred use of herbal medicine, government bodies, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies need to be aware of this problem and should aim to establish a certain level of awareness among users concerning this issue.

The online version of this article The use of complementary and alternative medicine CAM has continuously increased over the past decades. In their seminal paper from the late 90s, Eisenberg et al. To understand this growing interest in CAM and related forms of therapies, a number of follow-up studies examined prevalence rates and use-related factors of alternative medicine [ 2 — 11 ].

From these studies, some common characteristics of the user of CAM can be identified. Typical users are female [ 2 — 10 ], middle-aged [ 2 , 3 , 5 , 7 , 8 , 10 ], and well-educated [ 2 — 7 , 10 ]. However, with respect to the ethnicity of users, their health status, reasons for use, and medical conditions for which CAM was consumed, as well as for prevalence rates within and between countries, reviews in the literature show a less consistent picture [ 12 — 14 ].

As cautioned by Eardley et al. Indeed, the use of different forms of alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, chiropractic or herbal medicine HM might be associated with different use-related factors, such as socio-demographics or health status [ 4 , 6 , 13 , 15 , 16 ] and different reasons [ 6 , 16 , 17 ]. Within this article, the focus lies on studying the factors related to the use of a specific subcategory of CAM, herbal medicine HM , in Germany.

HM was often found to be among the most popular and strongest growing forms of CAM [ 1 — 5 , 10 — 12 ]. To name just one example, in Gardiner et al.

Indeed, previous work often considered HM combined with other treatments e. Moreover, previous studies solely analysing HM often focused on a specific part of the population e. However, it is very difficult to generalise use-related factors and reasons related to, e. Werneke et al. These are, of course, relevant reasons for this specific target group but may also provide a limited insight for the general population.

In our work, we examine the factors and reasons relevant for the use of HM, applying an explorative focus group FG study in Germany. Furthermore, the aims of and reasons for preferred HM use, the role of the type of illness, and sources of information for different age groups see also results on HM prevalence rates in refs. In view of the terminology issues mentioned above, HM is defined as all plant-derived products including their natural form, as well as pills derived from extracts.

The FG approach is ideal to explore complex human behaviour, attitudes, and motivation [ 38 — 42 ]. In using it, the aim is not to address a statistically-representative pool of opinions. We therefore argue that our results can complement more quantitative results on reasons and factors relevant for the use of HM. To examine the factors and reasons associated with the use of HM, we followed a qualitative descriptive method [ 43 ], and focus groups were used for data collection.

The optimum number of focus groups and participants per group is not strictly defined a priori and debated in the literature [ 40 , 44 — 46 ].

Why people use herbal medicine: insights from a focus-group study in Germany

To recruit the participants of the focus groups, articles in local and regional newspapers were published in July The selection of participants in line with these criteria provided focus groups of participants who were aligned, as regards a general interest in the use of HM, to our core questions. At the same time, the focus groups chosen this way offered a bandwidth of different user experiences.

On the basis of their age, the recruited participants 46 in total were allocated to an age-specific focus group discussion. All the participants were informed about the content and purpose of the study prior to the FG and joined voluntarily, i. Each focus group discussion lasted approximately two hours and was moderated by two of the authors ANW and KM using a semi-structured guideline.

Both moderators were experienced in moderating group discussions. Each focus group discussion began with an introduction round, in which the participants, the moderators, as well as the research assistant, introduced themselves. The moderators guided the discussion following a questioning route, encouraging the participants to speak freely and to openly share their views [ 46 , 47 ].

They also answered questions regarding the definition of HM and, with this, a common understanding of HM for all participants of the FG discussions was established. The key topics of our questioning route considered personal experiences in the use of HM, the reasons for using HM, and sources of information about the use.

At the end of each focus group discussion, each participant provided socio-demographic and health-related data in a questionnaire. The recordings of the six discussions were transcribed verbatim. It offered the option to structure, systemise, and compare the contents of transcripts from focus group discussions [ 49 ]. To analyse our data, qualitative content analysis was used [ 50 ], following the deductive-inductive technique of coding the data and building categories to describe and explain it for further details of this approach, the reader is referred to ref.

In an initial step, the coding system, with relevant reasons and attitudes concerning the use of HM, was developed by ANW, based on a literature review deductive.

In a second step, the coding system was refined inductively based on relevant text passages, relating to the key questions of our study. Specifically, we adapted the coding system by analysing the transcripts of three of the focus group discussions, repeating this procedure until no more changes in the coding system were noted. Then, we adapted the coding system further by analysing the transcripts of all the discussions, repeating this again until no more changes were noted.

The entire coding process was accompanied by discussions off all authors, and the completed coding system was reviewed separately by a second member of our team AEK.

Following the guidelines suggested by Lincoln and Guba [ 52 ], in this study the following techniques were employed to maintain the trustworthiness of our findings. Well-established data collection and analysis methods were used to enhance credibility. During the entire research process, more than one researcher was involved, as described in detail above. All involved researchers were experienced in the moderation of group discussions.

In particular, the FG discussions were all audio taped and also protocolled. Moreover, the FG participants joined the discussions voluntarily, and therefore the basis for the participants to be honest and open was established. Dependability of our research was ensured by using a consistent approach for the data collection and methodology, as described in detail above.

To maintain confirmability and reduce the influence of subjective bias, during the entire data collection and analysis period the researchers held frequent meetings, reflexive and critical discussions, and debriefings. This ensured that every step during the data analysis procedure was well-documented. For providing transferability , the research procedure, including data collection and analysis, was described as detailed as possible to enhance the transparency of the research design used.

Additionally, important contextual information such as the period of time of the data collection sessions, their number and length, and the restrictions which have been used to recruit people was provided. Finally, the questioning route of the FG discussions can be found in the Additional file 1. In this section, first details of the participants of the FGs are briefly reported; secondly, results of the key themes of the questioning route are reported, namely a description of the area of application of HM, reasons for its use, as well as information sources.

The quotations which will be subsequently presented were carefully selected to be representative for the topic. Note that certain passages in the quotations had to be anonymised. For each quote, we specify the focus group no. A total of 46 people responded to our above-described announcement and participated in the six focus groups. These participants have an average age of Additionally, the mean values of the age of the participants per age group are noted: There were specific differences by age group: Promoting health with HM was solely important for elderly participants, who mentioned this aspect four times, but it was not mentioned in the other groups.

Prevention of chronic or acute illness with HM was especially important for middle-aged and elderly participants, but not for younger ones. For the latter, with the exception of a threat of a serious disease, preventative medication was clearly not relevant:.

I try to eat healthily, but I do not take herbal medicine as a preventative care, for not becoming ill later. FG No. Overview of the different aims for the use of HM for all focus groups. The numbers represent the absolute frequency of mentioning a specific aim with multiple answers being possible.

Natural remedies for treating erectile dysfunction

Important for all age groups, and the most common aim for using HM, was treating an illness. Absolute frequencies of indications mentioned for using HM multiple answers were possible. Notably, several participants also mentioned giving HM to their children.

Furthermore, HM is seen as a starting treatment before resorting to treatment with conventional medicine CM:. In my family of six everyone is ill from time to time and, for this I always use plant medicine as a first treatment. Summarising the aspects in the discussions related to the limits of HM and border to CM, the participants mentioned serious diseases diseases such as cancer, asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , receiving treatment during and after operations, severe pain, and a fast recovery as important factors: One of my sons is also ill attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — Ed.

However, if he has a cold or gastro-intestinal disease, he still gets something from my plant medicine chest. However, in the one specific case of the chronic disease — Ed.

That is how it is, but it also convinced me of the synthetic route compared to plant medicine. It clearly showed me — stop, there is a limit. For this specific case, there is no way out. So, I have two severe chronic illnesses, and for these two I believe there is no herb.

For these you have to use real medicine — Ed. I already use teas, … for example to treat a bladder infection. Dissatisfaction with CM, and looking for alternative treatment methods as a consequence, was the most commonly-mentioned reason for using HM among the FG participants.

Several participants provided detailed accounts of long-term illness histories, including failed conventional treatment efforts, frustration, and disappointments. Too many side-effects of CM, a lack of treatment effect, as well as dissatisfaction with the conventional doctor were issues mentioned in this context:. I have suffered from neurodermatitis for several decades. Yes, the dermatologists prescribed cortisone for applying it to the skin.

Cortisone, this makes the skin thinner, and the dermatologists, they provided me with a very bad prognosis, namely my skin will get thinner and the neurodermatitis will get worse and worse, and they felt sorry for me. During the holidays, one of my relatives gave me a book about folk medicine and there I read it, namely, that there is a plant for the skin, sarsaparilla was the name. I bought a special ointment in the pharmacy. I paid for it myself and used it for a while.

It did me good. For decades now, I have not needed a dermatologist. This is, I believe, due to plant remedies.

The second most important reason for the use of HM provided in the FG discussions was a positive experience with using HM in the past, including treatment successes and a positive impact on health.

This lead people to access HM again when needed, and to maintain this specific treatment approach:. In the past, I have always suffered from a cold. I tried a lot, nothing helped, but then I read about plant saps. When using a specific plant sap, for maybe two weeks or a month, then one can prevent such issues. I did it, and lo and behold, all my cold symptoms, which I had regularly four or five times each winter, with a heavy flu, suddenly became less pronounced!

I only had these once a year instead. The next winter, I used preventative care again and passed the whole winter without having a single cold.

Natural remedies for treating erectile dysfunction

It really helped fabulously and since then I am convinced. I have now used plant sap for six years whenever necessary and I can regulate my entire physical health, like blood-sugar and cholesterol or similar things. When a doctor checks my blood, then I immediately realise that it works. In addition to all these aspects, an apparent knowledge of the detailed contents of the HM played an important role for many participants.

Being familiar with a plant, either because of knowing the name, or even because of cultivating the plant in the own garden, was said to provide a basis of trust for the users of HM. In contrast, when using chemically-synthesised drugs, participants discussed the issue that not knowing the contents lead them to distrust the treatment:.

Between a drug that is made from a plant, or one which is synthetic, I would always decide for the herbal one, simply because one always knows where one stands. The study indicated that there is some evidence to suggest that ginseng and yohimbine may offer some benefits to ED. However, insufficient evidence exists to prove either acupuncture or maca have a positive impact on ED.

There have been some studies to suggest that a placebo effect that improves ED may work for some men. One study found that men taking an oral placebo pill showed as much improvement in ED symptoms as men who took actual medication to improve ED. Conversely, men who were given therapeutic suggestions to improve ED did not see signs of symptom improvement.

Some of the most common medical treatments for ED are prescription medications that target the problem area and increase blood flow to the penis.

Commonly prescribed medications include Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and Vardenafil. A doctor is the best person to talk to about possible side effects, treatment, and benefits of the available medications. If a doctor thinks that a man's medication is causing the ED, they may change the medications. There are a number of potential causes of ED for men of nearly all ages, but the chances of developing ED increase as a man ages.

Like many medical conditions, there is not necessarily only one means to cure or reduce symptoms of ED. For men wishing to avoid the use of medication, there are a number of lifestyle changes that can be tried first, followed by some potential natural remedies and additional therapies.

It is important for any man suffering from ED to consider lifestyle changes and talk to a doctor before starting new medications, herbal remedies, or stopping a prescription medication suspected of causing ED. We picked linked items based on the quality of products, and list the pros and cons of each to help you determine which will work best for you. We partner with some of the companies that sell these products, which means Healthline UK and our partners may receive a portion of revenues if you make a purchase using a link s above.

Article last reviewed by Fri 10 March All references are available in the References tab. Cavallini, G. Acetyl-L-carnitine plus propionyl-L-carnitine improve efficacy of sildenafil in treatment of erectile dysfunction after bilateral nerve-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomy.

Urology , 66 5 , Retrieved from http: The management of erectile dysfunction with placebo only: Does it work? Journal of Sexual Medicine , 6 12 , Retrieved from https: Erectile dysfunction ED. Ernst, E. Complementary and alternative medicine CAM for sexual dysfunction and erectile dysfunction in older men and women: An overview of systematic reviews [Abstract]. Maturitas , 70 1 ,

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