08 May Healing herbs- Are they for you?
Have you ever drank a cup of chamomile tea before bed to help you sleep? If so, then some part of you believes in the use of herbal medicine. Herbal medicine has been used for centuries. It is still used today and can be a nice complement to your everyday health care.
I recently visited the University of Michigan (UM) Matthaei botanical gardens in Ann Arbor where I and my fellow classmates in our Integrative Healthcare class, toured the herb garden. This garden was built specifically to grow herbs commonly used for healing purposes.
During our tour, we explored some of the many herbs used for both women and men’s health.
Black cohosh: to reduce signs of menopause
Cabbage: for antithyroid effects
Chasteberry: for symptoms of PMS
Evening primrose: for breast pain associated with PMS
Saffron: for pain associated with menstruation
St. John’s wort: for sleep and mood
Nopal: for enlarged prostate
Rye: for digestive health and to help with fat in the abdomen
Phytosterol plants: for reduction of risk of chronic disease
After the tour, we made a healing salve made with Nettle tea (shown below). It can be used to alleviate dry skin or for burns. This was a process to make. Good thing I had Greg Shumer, MD Fellow in Integrative Medicine at UM, to help! (seen with me in featured picture above).
Skeptical? There are some FDA approved botanicals. The first was approved in 2006 and called Veregen® and is a green tea extract. The first FDA approved oral botanical is called crofelemer and was released in 2012. These meet all US pharmaceutical requirements and can be dispensed only by prescription.
To learn more about homeopathy, check out the Complete Homeopathic Resource for Common Illnesses by Dennis Chernin, MD MPH. We met the author and his experience is impressive. He straddles both the job of a typical physician and a homeopathic physician in his private practice.
When using herbal remedies, keep in mind to avoid products with multiple herbs and always tell your doctor what herbs you are taking. If you are suspect, look at www.consumerlab.com, www.nsf.org, or call MedWatch at 1-800-332-1088.