Showing posts with label Alternative Medicine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alternative Medicine. Show all posts

2012-05-07

Is Alternative Medicine Safe And Effective?

As a kid I remember that when I would get a tummy ache, my mom would ask me to lie down and slowly sip through a drink of homemade lemonade with a dash of black salt, before dad could take me to a physician.

Today when I look back and remember, I reckon that to treat my tummy ache I was put on a course of an integrative medicine Alternative Medicine (the lemonade) + Conventional Medicine (physician prescribed drugs).

Alternative Medicine & Its Usage
Complementary and Alternative Medicine or CAM, comprises a broad range of healthcare practices, products, and systems, which don't form a part of the conventional medicine. For instance, herbal materials, preparations and products used by Asian systems of medicine such as Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese medicine. It also includes practices viz. Acupressure, acupuncture, aromatherapy, or mind body approaches such as prayer, mental healing, meditation, etc.

Moreover, a lot of people around the world use Alternative medicines, for example in China it makes up for about 40% of healthcare delivered, in Africa 80% of the population uses it, about 48% Australians have used it at least once. In North America, 42% of USA and 70% of Canada have used it at least once. Usage is similar in Europe too, for instance 75% of France has used it at least once.Is It Effective?

"It is," "it isn't," and "I can't say," all of these at the same time. Given the scientific research conducted on Alternative medicine till now, it appears that a sweeping statement would be a bit too far fetched.

For instance, evidence in support of acupuncture, many herbal medicines and manual treatments does exist. On the other hand St. John's wort didn't seem to have an affect on the symptoms of ADHD in children and adolescents (Weber W, Vander Stoep A, McCarty RL, et al, 2008). And that, "I can't say," because research on many such treatments is unavailable.

Is It Safe?

Today, a perception exists that if something is natural or organic, it can't be harmful. This belief might not be true in all cases, e.g. Snake venom is all natural and organic, but is it safe for human consumption?Sometimes herbs can be harmful by their very nature, e.g. kava and comfrey are herbs but still have been associated with liver damage.

At other times inappropriate regulation or administration of herbs and therapeutic procedures could render highly effective alternative treatments hazardous. Consider acupuncture, though it's been found to be effective, but if unsterilized needles are used it could lead to infection. Similarly, an overdose of Ephedra, a herbal remedy of respiratory congestion may lead to heart attacks, strokes and even death.

Forget herbs, an overdose of water too can lead to water intoxication and even death. Herbs aren't an exception and some of them may even react undesirably with other conventional medication, or some might not be suitable for consumption during pregnancy.

However, undesirable consequences of alternative treatments due to inappropriate administration, by no means imply that alternative treatments are unsafe by themselves. Rather, proven alternative medicines when properly administered, are not only safe, potent and cost effective, but also offer patients a choice.

All in all, an absolute yes or no answer vis-a-vis safety and effectiveness of Alternative medicine doesn't exist. Assuming quality formulation of Alternative medicines, they can either be a boon or a bane depending upon which treatments are administered, as also when and how they're used.

BTW, I still relish the lemonade my mom makes, whether I have a tummy ache or not!

2012-04-25

The Power Naturals Against Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus, also known as the silent killer because it slowly damages our bodies isn't curable at present. But no matter how abstruse the disease, some purely natural substances are beginning to show promise as researches continue.

Diabetes is a syndrome which causes a disordered metabolism, and results in abnormally high blood sugar levels that damage our bodies. For now, there isn't a cure, though the disease is manageable with the aid of anti-diabetic drugs including pills and insulin shots.

While a cure eludes doctors and scientists, Complementary and Alternative medicine (all therapies excluding conventional medicine) might enable the disease management a lot better without any side effects, perhaps.

How broccoli fights the disease?

One of the most undesirable consequences of having diabetes is the increased risk of getting heart disease and stroke. In fact people with the disease are at risk, five time over than healthy individuals.

So how broccoli helps? Researchers from the UK, based on the findings of a study suggest that broccoli has the potential to heal the damage done by the disease to heart blood vessels.

Apparently, the green vegetable houses a chemical compound known as sulforaphane, which helps the cause, as it has been found to increase enzymes responsible for protecting blood vessels of the heart in addition to reducing the harmful molecules that cause the damage.

The harmful molecule is called the Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), and is present in quantities 3 times more in diabetics than in healthy people. And the helpful component (sulforaphane) found in broccoli, reduces ROS molecules. In fact, it was even found to reverse the increase in ROS due to high blood sugar by 73 per cent. The scientists at the University of Warwick carried out this study published in the Journal, "Diabetes."

How spices can rescue diabetics?

For thousands of years, man has made good use of spices and herbs to add a dash of delight to culinary offerings, but no one knew that the same would be found to be highly potent against diabetes, one day.

Now the researchers at the researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered, that herbs and spices known to be rich in antioxidants, are in addition potent inhibitors of tissue damage and inflammation caused due to high blood sugar levels. These findings have been published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. The paper, identifies extracts from 24 common herbs and spices, which have been studied.

Apparently, when the levels of blood sugar are high it leads to the formation of compounds known as known as advanced glycation end products, or AGE compounds. The compounds in turn trigger the immune system and lead to inflammation and tissue damage that goes along with diabetes and aging.

However, herbs and spices have a high content of phenols, the helpful compounds, which inhibit tissue damage and inflammation. For instance, cloves and cinnamon derive 30 percent and 18 percent of dry weight from phenols. And hence consuming spices has a healing effect. In fact when tried on mice, cinnamon was effective in lowering blood sugar.

Many natural substances are slowly being shown to show promise against disease, and so are many conventional medicines. But the best part perhaps is, that every day food items such as spices that may be a component of alternative medicines, help without causing side-effects.

2012-04-05

Alternative Remedies Can Ease GERD


Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)/Heartburn

Gastrointestinal reflux disease, better known as "GERD," is a growing health care concern in the United States, as well as Europe, Asia and South America.

Acid-reducing medicines like Aciphex and Nexium (a.k.a. PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors) are among the most heavily prescribed drugs in the US.

These drugs may be useful to help quench the gastric fires that we stoke with our fast-food diets, but used chronically, they can be troublesome. We need stomach acid to absorb many of our nutrients, so chronic suppression of stomach acid can lead to depletion of a number of important minerals and vitamins, including calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, sodium, beta-carotene, vitamin B1, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin C and possibly vitamin D. Acid in the stomach also helps protect us from bacterial infections.

While short-term use is likely safe, taking these drugs routinely for more than a year raises the risk of osteoporosis, hip fracture, cardiac rhythm disturbances, pneumonia, kidney disease, bacterial overgrowth of the stomach and small intestine, and infectious colitis of the large intestine.

But here's the good news: 
There are a number of alternative remedies that can help with stomach acid in the first place and also help you to get off these meds if you are having a hard time stopping them:

• DGL is a form of herbal licorice that is effective for heartburn and excess stomach acid; it also can help you to wean off PPIs. When taken at the same time as aspirin and other anti- inflammatory meds, it can significantly reduce damage to the stomach lining. For heartburn or trying to wean off acid meds, chew 600 to 800 mg 20 minutes before meals for six to eight weeks, then try to reduce the dose to 300 to 400 mg as needed.

• Many other herbs can help to soothe the gut, including peppermint, chamomile, caraway, milk thistle, and lemon balm. They can be used as teas or as herbal supplements. A product from Germany called Iberogast contains a mixture of these herbs and has been found to be very effective for both GERD and irritable bowel syndrome.

• Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory medicine that also may help reduce GERD symptoms; the active ingredients in turmeric are known as curcumins. One study using 162 mg of curcumin twice daily for four weeks showed that patients experienced significant relief from dyspepsia and irritable bowel symptoms. Improvement was noted after patients had been on the curcumin for one week.

• Ginger can also reduce GERD symptoms by helping move food out of the stomach and into the intestines; try drinking ginger tea three times daily, or take dried ginger in capsule form, approximately 500 mg twice daily.

• A recent study in China showed that acupuncture was effective at reducing reflux and alleviating symptoms in patients with GERD. The benefit was similar to a group of patients who received Prilosec 20 mg twice daily.

• Chewing gum for one hour after a meal has been shown to reduce acid reflux.

• Stress makes acid reflux worse by reducing the movement of food out of the stomach; deep breathing exercises, hypnosis, and meditation can all help to reduce symptoms from GERD.

Of course, don't forget about lifestyle changes to help prevent a fiery gut in the first place. Being overweight and obese increase your risk of reflux. Spicy or fatty foods, heavy meals, and alcohol also can increase symptoms, while a high-fiber diet tends to prevent symptoms.

Finally, if you are being treated with PPIs and you would like to try and wean off them, don't stop any prescription medications without first speaking with your physician.

Source:  sacbee.com

2012-03-21

Ayurvedic Remedies for Prostate Problems

Prostate, the small organ below the urinary bladder in males has significant role to play in both- sexual activity and urination. It surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine passes out of the body and produces seminal fluid discharged from penis during sexual stimulation. Prostate problems include the very common prostatitis- the inflammation of the prostate gland. Ayurveda recognizes two specific prostate problems-
  • Mootrakruchra - painful urination, and
  • Mootraghaata - suppression of urination.
They are, in fact, symptoms of prostate problems. Apart from these two main symptoms, other symptoms include problematic urine flow, dribbling, increased urination, hematuria (blood in urine), urinary tract infection and urinary retention.

Herbal Remedies for Prostate Gland Problems

Ayurveda suggests many herbs for the treatment of prostate gland problems:

Punarnava or Hog Weed (Boerhaavia diffusa) – It is useful in all urinary problems caused due to prostate ailments.

Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca scariola) -The bitter tonic of its leaves is very effective in treatment of enlarged prostate gland.

Shalaba mishri or Salep Orchid (Orchis mascula) - Useful where prostate problems are due to vata vitiation.

Gokshura or Small Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris) - This Indian herb, tribulus terrestris, http://www.ayurveda-herbal-remedy.com/indian-herbs/tribulus-terrestris.html is useful in treatment of urinary complications caused due to prostate problems. Its fruit is boiled in two cups of water till it is reduced to half the amount and drunk after mixing sugar in it.

Home Remedies for Prostate Gland Problems

Some remedies for prostate problems are available as common ingridients at home:
  • If having enlarged prostate, eat a mixture of juniper berries and parslane.
  • Eat more tomatoes to avoid prostate infections.
  • If experiencing prostate problems, have alternate cold and hot hip baths for about ten minutes daily.
Remaining sexually active is advisable but over indulgence is prohibited by ayurveda. Regular exercise, even walks or mild exercises are a must. Never suppress the urge to urinate. Don't sit on a hard stool for longer periods. If doing desk job, get a soft ergonomic chair to sit on. Quit smoking and alcohol, especially if you are overweight. Taking these precautions will certainly keep the prostate problems at bay.

2012-03-19

Simple Tips & Home Remedies for Viral Fever

Fever is caused due to the aggravation of any one or all the doshas of the body. Fever can occur as a result of infection, because of external injury, insect bite or poisoning. It must be kept in mind that fever can also be a symptom of many conditions, like bronchitis, pleurisy, tuberculosis, jaundice, malaria, measles or influenza.

Following are the signs that indicate the presence of this ailment:
• High temperature
• Headache
• Muscle ache
• Burning eyes
• Loss of appetite
• Coated tongue
• Excessive production of saliva
• Feeling of heaviness and nausea

It is highly recommended that in Viral Fever you take ample amount of rest with easily digestible diet and lots of liquid to flush out the toxins from the body.

Simple Helpful Tips for Viral Fever
  • In viral fever it is strongly recommended to consume soup made up of raw garlic and onion. 
  • A mixture of honey, lime juice and brandy is recommended to consume four times daily. 
  • The vitamin C in the lime helps in increasing the resistance of the body and helps in reducing the illness. 
  • Lukewarm orange juice acts as an energy booster if consumed during the fever. This washes out the body toxin without any artificial treatment. alterey helps in speedy recovery of viral fever. 
  • Similarly, drinking juice made out of sweet basil leaves twice or thrice a day is beneficial. 
  • You can also boil 2 to 3 tablespoon of dry roasted fenugreek seeds, strain the water and add a drop of clarified butter to it in order to cure viral fever.
  • Khichadi is very good with spices like cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric, ginger and salt can be also be added to it. Small amounts of whole grain bread or biscuits can be taken with milk. Heavy foods that are difficult to digest like fried foods, fast foods, meat, chicken, fish, and raw foods should be completely avoided.
  • Also gargling with salt and water is helpful, as it helps cure cough and throat related problems. Try using vaporizer in this situation as it soothes both cough and cold. One can also use margosa leaves which act as a natural antiviral and prevent the spread of infection.
  • During viral fever, it's very common that the patient loses his appetite. But in this situation, it's very important to take fluid diet and food rich in vitamins and minerals. Apricot juice mixed with one   tablespoon of honey or glucose supplements the body with required minerals and vitamins. Also, you can take grapefruit juice. The extract of raisins is also valuable in case of viral fever.
  • Tulsi leaves when chewed directly or taken in water or tea works wonderfully in this case. 
  • Make sure you drink boiled water. When suffering from viral fever, always consume clean and fresh fruits and vegetables. Always consume home cooked food to prevent the problem from increasing. 
  • You can also take a spoonful of honey mixed with ginger syrup after every meal to cure viral fever.

2012-02-06

Top 13 Tips To Prevent Common Cold!


There's no cure for common cold till date, not even vaccines to prevent it. While a majority of common cold infections aren't life-threatening, its symptoms including sneezing, fever, runny nose, etc, are enough for you wish for an effective pharmaceutical drug cure. Perhaps in the absence of a vaccine or a cure, prevention seems to be the best bet.



Tips to Prevent Common Cold

1.
Frequently washing your hand is critical, especially after a visit to a public place, gym, or contact with a person with cold. Washing hands will wipe off the virus from your hands.



2. If you send kids to a child care or a day care center then choose those which have a policy of keeping sick kids at home.


3. Stay clear from cigarette smoke as it can irritate your airways making you more vulnerable to catching a cold.


4. Disposing off used tissues is important because they can easily contaminate surfaces they come in contact with.


5. If you've been in the proximity of people with cold ensure that you don't touch your face, nose, mouth, or eyes.


6. Keep your stress levels well managed. Studies have shown that stressed out individuals become more vulnerable to catching a cold.


7. If someone in the family is infected then try to use disposable items such as cups and glasses so as to minimize exposure to a utensil laden with a cold virus after being used by an infected person.


8. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle keeps your immune system intact and may make it better equipped to prevent a virus from establishing a cold infection. Your healthy lifestyle may include diet, exercise, rest and sleep, etc.


9. Often cold viruses can thrive for hours at a stretch on door knobs, drawer pulls, keyboards, light switches, telephones, remote controls, etc. As a result, it makes sense to keep these surfaces clean after use by an infected person.


10. Avoid persons afflicted with common cold from sneezing or coughing in your direction. Encourage them to use tissues, which need to be discarded ASAP after use.


11. When someone in the family has cold don't share cloth towels. While generally using separate towels is a healthy practice doing so during colds becomes all the more important. If possible replace cloth towels with disposable paper towels.


12. Avoid close and prolonged contact with a cold sufferer.


13. If any kids in the family have cold, make sure that you clean their toys after use.


Try you best, but if you catch cold don't worry consult your doctor who may advise you or may prescribe medication for alleviating the symptoms of cold and/or you may try alternative medication to make you feel better till your body is able to knock out the virus by itself.


Posts, Possibly of Interest

Allergy: Allergy (Allergies) Symptoms, Causes, Signs & Treatment

Cure for Skin Rashes and Itching

Home Remedies for Child Cough and Cold

Herbs for Winter Health

2012-01-27

Ayurvedic Remedies for Prostate Problems

Prostate, the small organ below the urinary bladder in males has significant role to play in both- sexual activity and urination. It surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine passes out of the body and produces seminal fluid discharged from penis during sexual stimulation. Prostate problems include the very common prostatitis- the inflammation of the prostate gland. Ayurveda recognizes two specific prostate problems-
  • Mootrakruchra - painful urination, and
  • Mootraghaata - suppression of urination.
They are, in fact, symptoms of prostate problems. Apart from these two main symptoms, other symptoms include problematic urine flow, dribbling, increased urination, hematuria (blood in urine), urinary tract infection and urinary retention.

Herbal Remedies for Prostate Gland Problems

Ayurveda suggests many herbs for the treatment of prostate gland problems:

Punarnava or Hog Weed (Boerhaavia diffusa) – It is useful in all urinary problems caused due to prostate ailments.

Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca scariola) -The bitter tonic of its leaves is very effective in treatment of enlarged prostate gland.

Shalaba mishri or Salep Orchid (Orchis mascula) - Useful where prostate problems are due to vata vitiation.

Gokshura or Small Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris) - This Indian herb, tribulus terrestris, is useful in treatment of urinary complications caused due to prostate problems. Its fruit is boiled in two cups of water till it is reduced to half the amount and drunk after mixing sugar in it.

Home Remedies for Prostate Gland Problems

Some remedies for prostate problems are available as common ingridients at home:
  • If having enlarged prostate, eat a mixture of juniper berries and parslane.
  • Eat more tomatoes to avoid prostate infections.
  • If experiencing prostate problems, have alternate cold and hot hip baths for about ten minutes daily.
Remaining sexually active is advisable but over indulgence is prohibited by ayurveda. Regular exercise, even walks or mild exercises are a must. Never suppress the urge to urinate. Don't sit on a hard stool for longer periods. If doing desk job, get a soft ergonomic chair to sit on. Quit smoking and alcohol, especially if you are overweight. Taking these precautions will certainly keep the prostate problems at bay.

2010-05-12

Try Antibacterial Herbs- Avoid Side Effects of Antibiotic Drugs!

Everyone now knows how antibiotics can affect health adversely. Perhaps that is why doctors too avoid prescribing antibiotics unless extremely essential. So, why not try antibacterial herbs that do not have any side effects and work more efficiently than any drug! In fact, there are many antibacterial herbs that are used as spices and condiments for preparing Indian dishes. These herbs have antibacterial properties that can inhibit growth of bacteria in human body. Some of the common antibacterial herbs (spices, condiments, plants etc.) include
  • Clove (clove oil kills bacteria that causes food poisoning)
  • Cinnamon (Cinnamon bark oil destroys many forms of pathogenic organisms)
  • Garlic (garlic fights off not only bacteria but also other parasites and viruses)
  • Neem (its leaves can make you skin germ free and can cleanse your whole system marvelously)
  • Basil or Tulsi (wonderful antibacterial herb- even a plant of basil in your home can purify the whole environment)
  • Turmeric (a pinch of turmeric in all your dishes or with milk can keep you away from harmful effects of bacteria)
These antibacterial herbs are so commonly available that you can store and use them easily. However, there are many other antibacterial herbs some of which are common and others a little uncommon but available with a herbalist.

Other foods and condiments that are powerful natural antibacterial herbs and can boost immunity can be listed as onions, leeks, shallots, radishes, fenugreek, fresh ginger root, chili. Have them and keep all bacteria at bay as also all those harmful side effects of antibiotic drugs!

2010-05-06

Why take Analgesic Herbs for Pain Relief?

When you can be relieved from pain in a matter of seconds by taking a pain relieving pill, why bother about finding and using analgesic herbs for pain relief? That is the first question that occupies your mind when you come across the concept of pain relief herbs or pain relieving herbal oils, creams etc. Here are some reasons, why you should use analgesic herbs instead of those chemical pain relievers.
  • The drugs used for pain relieving are mostly anti-inflammatory drugs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAID). They put you at a risk for gastro-intestinal bleeding and liver dysfunction.
  • The newer pain relievers- the COX-2 inhibitors- do not have side effects on that wider scale but they may still cause some abdominal discomfort.
  • According to the reports of the Federal Drug Abuse Network, anti-inflammatory drugs were one of the reasons for the deaths of 16,000 people in the USA in 2000.
Scientists have also found out that once established, the minor pains can become chronic pains and then they are the most difficult ones to treat. Therefore, one should eliminate pain as soon as it is felt but with something that do not carry any side effects. It is known that substances which nourish, calm, and soothe the nervous system can treat pain, even chronic pain. Analgesic herbs have all- natural, nourishing, calming, and soothing analgesic effect and that too without any side effects! And that is why, you should go for these analgesic herbs for pain relief.