Archived Newsletters






HERBAL MEDS ONLINE NEWSLETTER

EDITION 1 - FEBRUARY 2009


Welcome to the first edition of the Herbal Meds Online newsletter!

Over the last few months we have been working hard to build Herbal Meds Online.  Our aim with this website is to inform and educate people about the benefits and uses of herbal supplements, remedies and medicines.

In our first edition, we will be covering a variety of topics ranging from the origins of herbal medicines to useful hints and tips regarding herbal remedies.

In every edition, you can expect a summary of a specific herb and its uses and also a summary of a specific condition that can be treated with an herbal medicine.  We will also cover a range of informative topics related to herbal medicines and supplements.

We hope that the information will be of benefit to you and anybody who might be considering alternative treatments.

 TOPICS

1)   The origins of herbal medicines

2)   Basic types of supplements

3)   Evening Primrose Oil – a herbal remedy used to treat skin conditions

4)   Endometriosis – a painful menstrual condition

5)   Hints and Interesting Facts

6)   Herbal Medicine quote of the month

7)   Reminder

The Origins of Herbal Medicines

 Here is a brief history of key dates in the development of herbal medicines:

 2800BC - First written record of herbal medicines, the Pen Ts'ao by Shen Nung
C400BC
- Hippocrates develops principles of diet, exercise and happiness as the cornerstones of health
C100BC - First illustrated herbal guide produced in Greece
C50AD - Roman Empire spreads herbal medicine and commerce of plants around the Empire
C200AD - Herbal practitioner, Galen, creates system for classifying illnesses and remedies
C500AD - Hippocrates' principles followed in Britain by Myddfai practitioners throughout Saxon times
C800AD - Monks now pioneer herbal medicine with infirmaries and physic gardens at every monastery
1100sAD - Arab world now major influence on medicine and healing practices and the physician Avicenna writes the Canon of Medicine
1200sAD - Black Death spreads across Europe; 'qualified' apothecaries try bleeding, purging, mercury and arsenic to stem the epidemic with no more success than traditional herbalists
1500sAD - Henry VII promotes herbal medicine in the face of the growing number of untrained apothecaries and other 'medical practitioners' flourishing in London
Various Acts of Parliament passed to introduce some regulation of medical practices including protection for 'simple herbalists' to practice without fear of prosecution

1600sAD - Society sees the first two-tier health system emerge - herbs for the poor and exotics (plant, animal or mineral extracts) or 'drugs' for the rich
Nicholas Culpepper writes his famous herbal paper: The English Physician, explaining in simple terms the practice of herbal medicine

1700sAD - Preacher Charles Wesley advocates a sensible diet, good hygiene and herbal medicine as the keys to a healthy life
1800sAD - Herbal medicines begin to be eclipsed by mineral-drug based treatments. With powerful drugs such as calomel (mercury) and laudanum available over the counter serious side effects begin to be documented.
Albert Coffin pioneers low-cost herbal remedies using plants from his native America as well as European ones helping hundreds of working class people at his North England practice.
Burgeoning pharmaceuticals industry makes herbal medicine seem outdated. National Association of Medical Herbalists founded to defend the practice. Later to become the National Institute of Medical Herbalists

1900sAD - Medicinal herbals used extensively during World War I as drugs are in short supply.
Post war period sees enormous expansion in the international pharmaceuticals industry and the discovery of penicillin
A handful of dedicated herbalists keep the tradition alive.
A Modern Herbal by Hilda Leyel is published.
Pharmacy & Medicines Act 1941 withdraws herbal practitioner's rights to supply patients with medicines. Public outcry ensures the Act is never enforced.
After much campaigning by the NIMH, the Medicines Act in 1968 reinstates practitioners' rights and the British Herbal Medicine Association is founded.
The BHMA produce the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.
Revised edition is published in 1990. Public concern starts to grow over the side effects of the 'wonder drugs' of the 1950s and their impact on the environment.

2000AD - EU legislation advocates all herbal medicines should be subject to compulsory clinical testing comparable to that undertaken for conventional drugs. Thus all herbal medicines would be licensed.
UK government currently considering the possible impact and public perception of this legislation.

(Information taken from "Herbal Remedies" by Jan Balkam, published by Bookmart Limited)


Basic types of supplements

There are basically four types of supplements:

Vitamins
  • A chemically organic substance essential for regulating both the metabolic functions within the cells and the biochemical processes that release energy from food.
  • There are 13 known vitamins and these are categorized as either fat-soluble (A, D, E and K) and water-soluble (eight B-vitamins and C.)  Fat-soluble vitamins stay in the body for relative long periods of time and water-soluble vitamins remain in the body for a short time.
  • With a few exceptions, the body cannot manufacture vitamins.
Minerals
  • Minerals are present in your body in small amounts and are essential for a wide range of vital processes.
  • Your body contains 60 minerals but only 22 of these minerals are considered to be essential and are classified as macro minerals and trace minerals / micro minerals.
  • Macro minerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, chloride, and potassium.   Micro minerals include iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, copper, manganese, and chromium.
Herbs
  • Herbal supplements are prepared from plants using the leaves, stems, roots and/or bark as well as the buds and flowers.
  • Plant parts are refined into tablets, capsules, powders, tinctures and other formulations.
  • Herbs have several active compounds that interact with one another to produce a therapeutic effect.
  • Herbs are used to treat health conditions, to prevent health conditions as well as to maintain good health in general.
Nutritional supplements
  • These supplements are classified as to possessing disease-fighting potential.
  • Nutritional supplements include compounds found in fruits and vegetables which work to lower the risk of disease.
(Information taken from "The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs" published by Reader's Digest)

Evening Primrose Oil – an herbal remedy used to treat skin conditions

Native Americans valued the Evening Primrose plant for its healing powers and there is evidence that European settlers used the plant to treat a variety of skin ailments.

This wildflower grows in North America and Europe and its light yellow flowers open at dusk.  The Evening Primrose plant is often mistaken for a weed in gardens.

Evening Primrose oil contains omega-6 fatty acids, which can assist to regulate insulin absorption and can even assist to regulate your heartbeat.

The human body does not manufacture fatty acids on its own, therefore taking Evening Primrose oil supplements can improve your general health.

Several studies have shown the benefits of taking Evening Primrose oil supplements to treat atopic dermatitis, or eczema. 

Due to its high GLA content, Evening Primrose oil is very effective to treat a variety of menstrual disorders. 

Menopausal women have also benefited from taking Evening Primrose oil supplements as this herbal remedy assists to alleviate the flushing as well as mood swings experienced by menopausal women.

Evening Primrose oil lessens the inflammation of acne as well as rosacea. 

(Information taken from article published on our website www.herbal-meds-online.com)

Endometriosis – a painful menstrual condition

Endometriosis is the abnormal growth of cells that form in the lining of the uterus. Each month, as estrogen and other hormones cause the lining of the uterus to thicken with blood, these abnormal cells also expand. 

Sometimes a collection of blood, called a cyst, can form.  These endometrial cysts are common on the ovaries.

Here is a list of common symptoms experienced by women with Endometriosis:
  •   Abnormally heavy, menstrual bleeding often with large clots.
  •   Severe menstrual cramps which begins before your period starts and reaches its peak after your period ends.
  •   Nausea or vomiting just before your menstrual period.
  •   Sharp pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse at any time of the month.
  •   Infertility.
  •   Incapacitating pain in the uterus, lower back or pelvic area.
  •   Diarrhea or constipation during your menstrual cycle.
  •   Iron-deficiency anemia due to heavy bleeding.
  •   Severe pain due to endometrial cysts rupturing.
Start herbal treatment by taking a combination of Dong Quai and Chasteberry. 

Taking high doses of calcium and magnesium can assist with painful menstrual cramps. 

Flaxseed oil and Evening Primrose oil is useful to help relieve the pain and inflammation associated with Endometriosis.

(Information taken from article published on our website www.herbal-meds-online.com)

 

Hints and Interesting Facts on Evening Primrose Oil

When buying Evening Primrose Oil supplements, experts recommend looking for a supplement that contains a small amount of vitamin E.  The fatty acids in Evening Primrose Oil break down quickly and vitamin E slows this process down.A study from the University of Massachusetts Medical Center showed that very high doses of GLA found in Evening Primrose Oil reduced damage to joint tissue in people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

(Information taken from "The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs" published by Reader's Digest)

 

Herbal Medicine quote of the month

"The highest ideal of cure is the speedy, gentle, and enduring restoration of health by the most trustworthy and least harmful way."

Samuel Hahnemann, founder of Homeopathy

Reminder

Please consult your medical practitioner prior to using any herbal medications should you be under their care.  Pregnant or lactating women and children under 16 years of age should not be using herbal remedies or supplements unless prescribed by a medical practitioner.  Suggestions offered are not intended to replace appropriate medical investigation and treatment. 


 

 

 

 



Go back to Archived Newsletters from Herbal Medicine Newsletter no. 1 - Feb 2009
Herbal Meds online is for educational use only.
Any and all medical problems need to be treated by a qualified health care provider or doctor.
This information is used at your own risk and in no way is meant to replace medical advice.
Any and all Herbal Remedies or Herbal Medicine's are used at your own risk