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Author Topic: Factual information about herbal extracts  (Read 1609 times)

DeniseCharleson

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Factual information about herbal extracts
« on: March 02, 2012, 09:58:41 am »

It has long been true that factual information about herbal supplements, remedies, etc, has been sparse. Most advertisements and review articles contain meaningless statements such as, "Enhances calming" or "Known for promoting memory."
One of the best scientific, peer-reviewed, articles I've seen regarding cognitive effects of herbal substances was published just over a year ago, in the Journal of Advanced Nutrition. Authored by Kennedy and Wightman of Northumbria University (Newcastle, UK), it is based on review of over 300 studies and previously-published papers. Unique to this JAN paper (among the literature I've read) is a paragraph for each compound devoted to the question of why plant chemicals (or their secondary metabolites) have the properties attibuted to them.

According to the introduction to the article, "This review assesses the current evidence for the efficacy of a range of readily available plant-based extracts and chemicals that may improve brain function and which have attracted sufficient research in this regard to reach a conclusion as to their potential effectiveness as nootropics. Many of these candidate phytochemicals/extracts can be grouped by the chemical nature of their potentially active secondary metabolite constituents into alkaloids (caffeine, nicotine), terpenes (ginkgo, ginseng, valerian, Melissa officinalis, sage), and phenolic compounds (curcumin, resveratrol, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, Hypericum perforatum, soy isoflavones). They are discussed in terms of how an increased understanding of the relationship between their ecological roles and CNS effects might further the field of natural, phytochemical drug discovery."

The full text of the paper can be found here:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3042794/
If, for some reason, that link does not work for you, just run PMC3042794 through your favorite search engine and look for the article title, "Herbal Extracts and Phytochemicals: Plant Secondary Metabolites and the Enhancement of Human Brain Function."
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MamaLiberty

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Re: Factual information about herbal extracts
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2012, 10:27:55 am »

Thanks! I've bookmarked the article to look at later.

I've been using herbs most of my life, and currently only use a few - mostly in the also-food range. Most herbs, as with all medicine, seem to me to be more useful for the occasional emergency than needful for every day life. Prevention is better than treatment, and that seems to be more logically accomplished with the full array of good nutrition, stress management, balance of rest and work, and avoidance of pollution where possible.

Even though I make and use some essential oil type herbal products (true essential oils are difficult to make and expensive), I completely believe that the best and most useful products are made from the whole plant or seed/root, rather than isolated "extracts." The plant was designed (or evolved, if you will) to function as a whole - just like our own bodies. Isolated chemicals may, or may not function well or at all - and may produce unwanted effects.

Whole food, whole herbs, holistic life. Makes the most sense to me. :)
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carolyunad

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Re: Factual information about herbal extracts
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2012, 10:53:30 pm »

Oh, so you know many things about herbs MamaLiberty? So you know about tulsi that could replace coffee in the morning. Dr. Mercola a doctor where I listened too and watch his video about tulsi at http://organicindia.mercola.com/tulsi-tea.aspx and written some articles about it? I need to know before I plan on buying it. Do you think it is worthy?
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MamaLiberty

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Re: Factual information about herbal extracts
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2012, 06:54:03 am »

Oh, so you know many things about herbs MamaLiberty? So you know about tulsi that could replace coffee in the morning.

I've not heard of tulsi. And I have no intention of replacing my coffee with anything if I can avoid it. :) There are many things that can be used for a hot drink, but nothing really replaces coffee.

Quote
Dr. Mercola a doctor where I listened too and watch his video about tulsi at http://organicindia.mercola.com/tulsi-tea.aspx and written some articles about it? I need to know before I plan on buying it. Do you think it is worthy?

I'm not particularly impressed with Dr. Mercola myself and seldom read his stuff. My philosophy of life and health is considerably simpler and more tolerant of a wide rang of things. Each of us must educate ourselves the best we can, experiment in our own lives to see what works for us, and stand ready to accept the consequences of our choices and actions. I've found it generally a poor idea to listen to or trust any one person for those choices. :)
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