Items in AFP with MESH term: Plant Extracts
ABSTRACT: With growing concern about the use of hormone replacement therapy, some women are looking for alternative treatments for menopausal symptoms and preventing postmenopausal cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. In observational trials, exercise has been associated with decreased vasomotor symptoms. One trial suggested that black cohosh may reduce menopausal symptoms. Soy has been shown to decrease vasomotor symptoms, lower lipid levels, and increase bone density. However, large amounts of soy must be consumed, and it is not clear whether soy consumption causes a decrease in cardiovascular events or fractures. The evidence for St. John's wort is equivocal. Fish oil is helpful for secondary prevention of coronary artery disease.
Gingko Biloba - Article
ABSTRACT: Ginkgo biloba is commonly used in the treatment of early-stage Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, peripheral claudication, and tinnitus of vascular origin. Multiple trials investigating the efficacy of ginkgo for treating cerebrovascular disease and dementia have been performed, and systematic reviews suggest the herb can improve the symptoms of dementia. Ginkgo is generally well tolerated, but it can increase the risk of bleeding if used in combination with warfarin, antiplatelet agents, and certain other herbal medications. Clinical issues of safety, dosing, use in the perioperative period, and pharmacology are addressed in this review.
Saw Palmetto for Prostate Disorders - Article
ABSTRACT: Saw palmetto is an herbal product used in the treatment of symptoms related to benign prostatic hyperplasia. The active component is found in the fruit of the American dwarf palm tree. Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of saw palmetto in reducing symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Saw palmetto appears to have efficacy similar to that of medications like finasteride, but it is better tolerated and less expensive. There are no known drug interactions with saw palmetto, and reported side effects are minor and rare. No data on its long-term usage are available. The herbal product also has been used to treat chronic prostatitis, but currently there is no evidence of its efficacy.
Chasteberry - Article
ABSTRACT: For centuries, chasteberry has been used to treat many hormone-related gynecologic conditions. The current literature supports the use of chasteberry for cyclical breast discomfort and premenstrual syndrome; data on its use for menstrual irregularities and fertility disorders are weak. Its traditional use as a galactagogue (i.e., a substance that enhances breast milk production) is not well supported in the literature and should be discouraged. There are no clinical data to support the use of chasteberry for reducing sexual desire, which has been a traditional application. Chasteberry is well tolerated; reported adverse effects are minor and may include gastrointestinal complaints, dizziness, and dry mouth. No herb-drug interactions have been reported, but caution is advised for its concomitant use with dopamine agonists or antagonists. Optimal standardization and dosing recommendations await clarification in clinical studies.
Milk Thistle - Article
ABSTRACT: Milk thistle has been used as a cytoprotectant for the treatment of liver disease, for the treatment and prevention of cancer, and as a supportive treatment of Amanita phalloides poisoning. Clinical studies are largely heterogeneous and contradictory. Aside from mild gastrointestinal distress and allergic reactions, side effects are rare, and serious toxicity rarely has been reported. In an oral form standardized to contain 70 to 80 percent silymarin, milk thistle appears to be safe for up to 41 months of use. Significant drug reactions have not been reported. Clinical studies in oncology and infectious disease that are under way will help determine the efficacy and effectiveness of milk thistle.
ABSTRACT: Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a common condition affecting older men. Typical presenting symptoms include urinary hesitancy, weak stream, nocturia, incontinence, and recurrent urinary tract infections. Acute urinary retention, which requires urgent bladder catheterization, is relatively uncommon. Irreversible renal damage is rare. The initial evaluation should assess the frequency and severity of symptoms and the impact of symptoms on the patient's quality of life. The American Urological Association Symptom Index is a validated instrument for the objective assessment of symptom severity. The initial evaluation should also include a digital rectal examination and urinalysis. Men with hematuria should be evaluated for bladder cancer. A palpable nodule or induration of the prostate requires referral for assessment to rule out prostate cancer. For men with mild symptoms, watchful waiting with annual reassessment is appropriate. Over the past decade, numerous medical and surgical interventions have been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Alpha blockers improve symptoms relatively quickly. Although 5-alpha reductase inhibitors have a slower onset of action, they may decrease prostate size and alter the disease course. Limited evidence shows that the herbal agents saw palmetto extract, rye grass pollen extract, and pygeum relieve symptoms. Transurethral resection of the prostate often provides permanent relief. Newer laser-based surgical techniques have comparable effectiveness to transurethral resection up to two years after surgery with lower perioperative morbidity. Various outpatient surgical techniques are associated with reduced morbidity, but symptom relief may be less durable.
ABSTRACT: A growing number of Americans are using herbal products for preventive and therapeutic purposes. The manufacturers of these products are not required to submit proof of safety and efficacy to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before marketing. For this reason, the adverse effects and drug interactions associated with herbal remedies are largely unknown. Ginkgo biloba extract, advertised as improving cognitive functioning, has been reported to cause spontaneous bleeding, and it may interact with anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents. St. John's wort, promoted as a treatment for depression, may have monoamine oxidase-inhibiting effects or may cause increased levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Although St. John's wort probably does not interact with foods that contain tyramine, it should not be used with prescription antidepressants. Ephedrine-containing herbal products have been associated with adverse cardiovascular events, seizures and even death. Ginseng, widely used for its purported physical and mental effects, is generally well tolerated, but it has been implicated as a cause of decreased response to warfarin. Physicians must be alert for adverse effects and drug interactions associated with herbal remedies, and they should ask all patients about the use of these products.
Health Effects of Hawthorn - Article
ABSTRACT: Hawthorn medicinal extract has long been a favored herbal remedy in Europe. The active components of this slow-acting cardiotonic agent are thought to be flavonoids and oligomeric procyanidins. The most studied hawthorn extracts are WS 1442 and LI 132. Reviews of placebo-controlled trials have reported both subjective and objective improvement in patients with mild forms of heart failure (New York Heart Association classes I through III). Other studies of hawthorn in patients with heart failure have revealed improvement in clinical symptoms, pressure–heart rate product, left ventricular ejection fraction, and patients' subjective sense of well-being. However, there is no evidence of a notable reduction in mortality or sudden death. Hawthorn is well tolerated; the most common adverse effects are vertigo and dizziness. Theoretic interactions exist with antiarrhythmics, antihypertensives, digoxin, and antihyperlipidemic agents. Proven conventional therapies for heart failure are still recommended until the safety and effectiveness of hawthorn has been proven in long-term studies.
Black cohosh. - Complementary and Alternative Medicine
ABSTRACT: The herb black cohosh, or Actaea racemosa (formerly named Cimicifuga racemosa), is native to North America. The roots and rhizomes of this herb are widely used in the treatment of menopausal symptoms and menstrual dysfunction. Studies have demonstrated that this botanic medicine, when standardized properly to the terpene glycoside fraction, appears to be effective in alleviating menopausal symptoms. Adverse effects are extremely uncommon, and there are no known significant adverse drug interactions.
St. John's Wort for Depression - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries