Which Herbs Work?
Use pure Echinacea extract to fight off colds, flu and urinary tract infections, avoiding any product that mixes Echinacea with goldenseal. Echinacea appears to lose effectiveness with long-term use and should not be used in place of medical interventions in rapidly accelerating infections.
Research indicates that 900 mg of Kwai dried garlic pills or one raw clove of garlic daily lowers total cholesterol more than 11 percent and LDL more than 14 percent among people with levels over 200.
Studies that show ginkgo improves blood flow to the brain and extremities and can alleviate vertigo and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). You may need to take the herb for up to six weeks before seeing any improvement.
Touted as a natural tranquilizer, the evidence for effectiveness is strongest for mild anxiety disorders that interfere with social interaction and sleep, but it can be habit-forming. It should never be used in combination with antianxiety medications or alcohol. Don’t take kava regularly for more than three months.
Licorice root contains more than 400 phytochemicals, one of which has been shown to protect lab animals from lethal doses of a flu virus. Additional studies have suggested that it lowers the risk of breast cancer in mice, and may reduce the risk of clogged arteries by blocking the oxidation of cholesterol.
SAW PALMETTO BERRY
Saw Palmetto berry is effective in treating benign prostatic hypertrophy (enlarged prostate). While it doesn’t actually shrink the prostate, it does relieve the symptoms of enlargement, such as frequent urination.
ST. JOHN'S WORT
St. John's wort may interact with certain drugs metabolized by the same liver enzyme system as the herb, so people with autoimmune diseases should avoid it. There is no evidence, however, that St. John's wort interferes with the effectiveness of birth control pills. The herb is an option for low-level depression, but people with more severe depression should consult their doctor. St. John’s wort can increase susceptibility to sunburn and cataracts.
Much research has shown that valerian induces and enhances sleep. Several studies suggest that valerian may reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, especially insomniacs and people with sleep difficulties. While infrequent users have reported hangover-like side effects, these symptoms lessen with repeated use.