NutritionFacts.org

complementary medicine

Many modern medicines are derived from natural products such as plants, so it perhaps shouldn’t be surprising that plants themselves can have pharmacological effects. In the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, for example, the spice saffron has been found to work better than a placebo and just as well as a leading drug. Purslane has been shown to successfully treat the symptoms of oral lichen planus. Consuming rosehips may significantly reduce the pain associated with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Flax may help prevent breast cancer, reduce cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, and treat hot flashes and enlarged prostates. Indian gooseberries may be effective in preventing cancer. Nontoxic coconut oil emulsion shampoo works better to kill head lice than the standard insecticide treatment and eliminating artificial colorings may decrease impulsivity, inattentiveness, and hyperactivity in children.

In a ranking of anti-oxidant activity among herbal teas, dandelion tea has the highest levels followed by rosehip, chamomile, lemongrass, and honeybush teas. Chamomile tea was shown to be effective in slowing the growth rates of various cancers in a petri dish. Among all teas, green tea has among the highest antioxidant levels and may help prevent cancer and even the common cold.

Many nutritional supplements have been found to be useless or worse, though one might not know this speaking to health store employees who often lack the training to offer sound advice (see here, here, and here). Mangosteen juice, licorice, distilled cod liver oil, and Herbalife® supplements may all have adverse health effects. Though chlorella do not contain neurotoxins, spirulina and blue-green algae supplements might. . Ayurvedic medicine has been found to be contaminated with lead and toxic heavy metals (see also here, here). JuicePlus may be nothing more than an overpriced vitamin supplement that may even cause liver inflammation. Airborne supplements have been shown to be no better than a placebo in boosting immune response. Nasal irrigation using neti pots can be an effective treatment for sinus infections but should be sterilized between uses (with boiling water or microwaving). The current scientific consensus is that homeopathy is ineffective in treating ADHD, asthma, cancer, dementia, influenza, or in inducing labor. It also may actually be dangerous in large doses on infants.

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Watch videos about complementary medicine

  • Saffron for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s
    Saffron for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s
    In a double-blind study, the spice saffron beat out placebo in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease dementia symptoms.
  • Is Licorice Good For You?
    Is Licorice Good For You?
    The safe upper limit of licorice consumption and why pregnant women may be at particularly high risk.
  • Is Homeopathy Just Placebo?
    Is Homeopathy Just Placebo?
    A review of the best science on the usefulness of homeopathy to treat a variety of conditions.
  • Diet & Lichen Planus
    Diet & Lichen Planus
    A common plant may successfully treat oral lichen planus, a painful condition affecting the lining of the mouth.
  • Rose Hips for Osteoarthritis
    Rose Hips for Osteoarthritis
    A cheap herbal remedy may significantly reduce the pain associated with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The Healthiest Herbal Tea
    The Healthiest Herbal Tea
    More than a dozen herbal teas were compared for their antioxidant activity.
  • Herbalife® Supplement Liver Toxicity
    Herbalife® Supplement Liver Toxicity
    What the peer-reviewed scientific literature has to say about Herbalife® supplements.
  • Another Update on Spirulina
    Another Update on Spirulina
    Potential neurotoxicity is another concern regarding spirulina supplements.
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