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Herbal Extracts and Hormones Herbs are found everywhere, and hormones are a natural product ofeveryone's body. The production of hormones increases and decreases with theage and development of the individual. Due to the nature of hormones and theongoing research still being done, this article will investigate only twohormones that are in common use by the everyday person. Herbs, on the other hand, can be found from California to China and asfar as consumers are concerned, they are now mainstream products that can befound in supermarkets and drug stores world wide. Healing plants and herbs areused by over ninety percent of the world's people. Mowry, pgs.1-11 In theUnited States, with the introduction of herbal capsules and pills, people areenjoying the benefits of Earth's good medicines.
The herb industry has beengrowing at about thirty percent per year for the past several years. Herbs arebeing used in homes, for more than just spicing the sauce or glazing the chicken.Herbs are being used as an alternative for medications as well. In the comingyears, we may see the introduction of newer and better medicinal herbs asscientists Mowry pgs. 26-27 continue their search for the cures of allaches and pains. In past years, herbs were used for pains and aches. These herbs aremaking a comeback because they have fewer side effects than regular medicine.An example is willow bark Mowry, pgs. 43-49 which is being used instead ofaspirin.
Aspirin was made from the active ingredient in willow bark. However,people are using willow bark instead of aspirin because it does not cause thestomach to bleed as aspirin does. Ginkgo is being sold as a leading prescription drug in Germany and mostcountries in Europe. Takagi, pgs. 96-101 This herb is growing in usage inthis country as more people age. It has been used in Asia for countlessgenerations. There is a growing body of evidence, as research continues, thatpoints to the outstanding effects of the Gingko tree on many age-relateddisorders or sicknesses.
This herb is reported to increase the ability of theblood circulation system. It is a powerful medicine for the treatment ofrestoring of a person's memory. Tagki, pgs. 3-10 A tea made from the Passion Flower or Valerian Root is used to calm aperson or relieve anxiety. These are thousand year old medicines used astranquilizers. They have fewer side effects and don't damage the body as Valiumor other man made tranquilizers. It is almost impossible to over dose on thesetypes of nerve calmer.
Uphof, pgs. 19-31 The history of medicinal herbs begins long before the start of any largesociety. Herb's were man's first line of fighting against the ills andaccidents that beset mankind. The ancient people learned from instinct andfrom watching animals and using leaves, earth, mud and water. These things werethe first medicines. By trial and error, the early humans learned what servedthem the best.
Several of these early medicines are still used today, but aremore refined and better understood. During the hunt by early man for medicalherbs, the applications or taking of the herb was accompanied by the use ofmagic sayings or dances. Today, for most of the technological people of theEarth, magic is no longer needed. In the world which we live, many of our mostuseful drugs are still considered to have originally come into use from earlysocieties. Some examples of these herbs used as drugs are: Digitalis (for theheart) from Foxglove, Quinine ( for Malaria) from Peruvian Bark, Cocaine (andits derivatives) from the Coca Leaf, Atropine ( a stimulant for nerve gas) fromthe Belladonna plant, Curare (used in surgery) from the plant Strychnos (alsoused for poison arrows) and the new drug Taxol (used in the treatment of Cancer)from the Pacific Yew Tree. Weiner, pgs.
22-23 There are many others that existand are being used by the drug companies to treat many of the ills of peopletoday. Technology permits the making of newer and more pure herbal medicines.Herbs are used and prepared in China in the following forms: slices, powders,pills, plasters, distillates, pellets, teas and drinks. In the United States,we can find herbs in the following forms, in the addition to those used inChina: tablets, capsules, fluid extracts, ointments, granules, syrups,suppositories, sprays, injections and ampules. Weiner, pgs.27-32 In today's world, people are too busy to make their own herbal remediesand generally like clean, odor free, coated pills or gel tablets. There is apotency and purity issue that is developing and the simple increase in strengthof a herb could prove harmful or deadly to human use. However, we shouldwelcome the standardization of all medicinal herbs, and making them from plantsthat have been proven safe. Standardization has been introduced to off set thenegative effects of poor quality control which has been a big problem with theherb industry.
We can now reliably count on receiving the same quality andquantity of a substance. Quality control is needed because nature does notalways produce a plant with consistent contents or medicines. Weiner, pgs. 31-35 In the 1990's, I see a wonderful return to the reality that we mustpreserve our natural environment. The realization that we must care for thenatural drugs and herb that can be found in the shrinking rain forests, whichcould contain hundreds of thousands of new compounds that could heal mankind. The two major hormones that are being sold to the American public isMelatonin and DHEA.
I will discuss the merits of these two hormones startingwith Melatonin. Melatonin is an Amino Acid secreted by the Pineal Gland duringthe night. This hormone plays an important part in the regulation of thesleep/wake cycle. Each night a signal is received by the Pineal Gland toproduce Melatonin. This hormone is the one that induces sleep. This iscontrolled by the amount of sunlight that is available to the individual. Ablind person is not able to stimulate the production of the sleep hormone andthis their bodies do not react to a normal twenty four sleep/wake cycle.
Lust,pgs. 91-96 A blind person trying to sleep when there is low Melatonin in theirsystem will have trouble sleeping.Melatonin is available from several unregulated health food suppliers.This means that there are no purity standards and people are self-medicatingwith unknown dosages. Research at the Harvard Medical School show thatMelatonin is a potent cure Insomnia and does not have side effects. You canalready Buy Melatonin in drug stores, but no one knows the correct dosage,interaction with other drugs or the long term effects. DHEA is produced by our Adrenal Glands and is the mot common hormone inthe body. It is present in large amounts in healthy individuals. DHEA isbroken down by the body into other hormones such as Estrogen, Testosterone,Progesterone and others. Research has shown that maintaining levels in olderindividuals as those found in youth ensures energy, vitality and the support ofthe Endocrine System.
It seems that supplementing DHEA to levels found inyouthful individuals has anti aging, anti obesity and anti cancer influences.It may also help to stabilize nerve cell growth and is being tested inAlzheimer's patients. This hormone may help prevent the effects of aging,hypertension, fatigue, depression, memory loss and obesity. Millspaugh, pgs. 22-27 There needs to be more studies on the effects of herbs and hormones onthe treatment of many ailments. The evidence seems to support the claims beingmade for them by sellers of alternative medicine. We are now entering a new agewhere progress permits the manufacture of highly reliable herbal medications.Many of the herbal medications are bitter in taste. New technology allows themasking or elimination of these bad tastes.
Science is making medicationseasier to take and to swallow by coating or making gelatin capsules that hidethe odor and taste of a medicine. Today, we are faced with a potency war and the saying 'Small isbeautiful,' or 'Less is more,' may yet become the normal way to approach drugs,medicines or herbs. We should welcome the standardization of herbal medications,and using only those herbal extracts and plants which have been subject tosafety and efficiency studies. The following herbs have been proven to have abeneficial effect on people when used properly: Ginseng, Ginkgo, Ginger, MilkThistle, Bilberry, Echinacea, Turmeric, Orange Oil, Valerian and others. Standardization must be introduced into the herbal industry. With itsaid, herbs can become reliable and we can count on receiving the same dosagefrom capsule to capsule. The future of herbal medicine is very bright.
Peopleare rediscovering plant remedies and are once again looking to nature for thenatural solution to the ills that man seems to be heir to. With the growth of the herbal industries, Americans will join theEuropeans in taking charge of their own first symptom health care. Theincreasing costs of conventional medicine and the many bad reactions toprescription drugs have given a new meaning to the old saying, 'Physician, healthyself.' Herbal medicines are coming of age in America and not too soon.Bibliography:Lust, John 'The Herb Book' New York, NY. 'Bantam Books 1993 Millspaugh,Charles ' American Medicinal Plants' New York, NY. Dover Mowry, D.B. 'TheScientific Validation of herbal medicine' Leni, Utah.Cormorant Books 1986 Takagi, K.
et al 'The Pharmacology of MedicinalHerbs in East Asia.' Tokyo, Nanzando 1982 Uphof, J. C 'Dictionary of Economic Plants.' Germany,Verlan 1968 Weiner, M.A. 'Earth medicine' New York Ballentine Books 1990.
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