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Evidence based use of herbs and food supplements

R

Robbert

Guest
I'm wondering if anyone else takes herbal or food supplements to compliment their medication or as an alternative to medication?

I've recently started taking herbal and food supplements to try and further improve my condition.

I've been researching various herbs and supplements and though I'd share what I've found so far:

Valerian: Traditionally used for sleep and anxiety. Used as monotherapy, there is little evidence that it is useful for anxiety - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17054208

When used in combination with the herb Lemon Balm, there is some, although limited, evidence that it may be useful - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.1787/abstract

The most effective herbal supplement (some studies saying it as effective as Diazepam) for anxiety has been withdrawn from the market many years ago due to liver toxicity. It's called Kava Kava - http://journals.lww.com/psychopharmacology/Abstract/2000/02000/Efficacy_of_Kava_Extract_for_Treating_Anxiety_.14.aspx

Another promising, and fortunately available herb, is passion flower. Some studies show this herb is as effective as benzodiazepines in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2710.2001.00367.x/full

A food supplement shown to be beneficial in both anxiety and depression; and clinically proven through several studies is inositol. Instead of going through all the separate studies, here's a cutting from Wikipedia (that is well referenced and reliable) -

''Some preliminary results of studies on high-dose inositol supplements show promising results for people suffering from problems such as bulimia, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, and unipolar and bipolar depression.[15][16][17][18]
In a single double-blind study on 13 patients, Myo-inositol (18 grams daily) has been found to reduce the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) significantly, with effectiveness equal to SSRIs and virtually without side-effects.[19] In a double-blind, controlled trial, myo-inositol (18 grams daily) was superior to fluvoxamine for decreasing the number of panic attacks and other side-effects.[17]
Patients suffering from clinical depression, in general, have decreased levels of inositol in their cerebrospinal fluid.[15][16] A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of depressed patients showed that a high dose of inositol (12 grams daily) resulted in significant improvement of symptoms, with no changes noted in liver, kidney, or hematological function.[15][16][18] A meta-analysis of randomized trials of inositol for depression was not able to determine if inositol is of benefit. [20]
Research suggests that lithium functions primarily by decreasing myo-inositol concentrations in bipolar patients.[21][22] Other studies suggest that lithium treatment may further inhibit the enzyme inositol monophosphatase, leading to higher intracellular levels of inositol triphosphate,[23] an effect which was enhanced further by administration of an inositol triphosphate reuptake inhibitor.''

I hope people find some of this helpful. And I would be very interested to know what other peoples experiences of herbs and food supplements are. :)
 
G

Gilbertine

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 22, 2010
Messages
49
Location
Bromley
I take magnesium hydrochloride and chlorella and sometimes wheatgrass. I think nutrition is v. important. I've noticed that when I eat a lot of junk - I feel really down. A combination of valerian, hops and passionflower is quite good for sleep.
 
R

Robbert

Guest
Shame that Kava has been banned really. I'd take it if it wasn't.
 
T

trafalgar law 17

Guest
thanks will look into it, always thought they just helped you fall asleep
 
R

Robbert

Guest
thanks will look into it, always thought they just helped you fall asleep
Depends what you take. Depends on the half - life.

Long half life drugs help you stay asleep, as well as fall asleep.

I take a Benzo called Nitrazepam, it's very effective for this.
 
piglet

piglet

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 9, 2010
Messages
4,357
Location
Merseyside
If you are having really bad nightmares you should be careful with strong sleeping tablets. I have done this and found that they put me in a deep sleep and found it very hard to wake up from the nightmare I was having, woke up feeling really horrible (I was taking Quinalbarbitone). It should be ok with ones that help to relax you into sleep though rather than just knock you out.

Robbert, I have taken a few herbal supplements and had mixed results. I took St Johns Wart for a bit but it didn't really do anything and when doing some research I found that a lot of the stuff you buy at health shops are a bit of a rip off. The amount of active ingredient in them is miniscule, they just top it up with water. If you want to get the best results you should make them up yourself, would work out a lot cheaper as well :)

One that I did find quite good for anxiety was Rescue Remedy, there are different types all with an array of herbs and flowers in them as well as some alcohol. It might just be because of the alcohol content but I do find it calms me a bit when in a stressful situation. I use a lot of herbal stuff for my physical prob like IBS. A good fiber supplement and peppermint works wonders :)
 
maxitab

maxitab

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 18, 2010
Messages
10,392
Location
In Devon
I will say this again for anyone who wants to try it - and are not allergic to nuts.
Peanut butter on a slice of wholegrain ( proper wholegrain not wholewheat which is often just white bread coloured brown with caramel) bread about an hour before you go to bed especially if you have a half a glass of milk with it, provides lots of the make you sleepy chemicals.

Another one to try if you can get it is melatonin - have you tried that robbert? I do believe it is reactive with psychotropics though so you need to check it out with a pharmacist first.
 
R

Robbert

Guest
Yes melatonin is effective as well.

You can't buy that over the counter here. For some reason it's not approved. The only way to get melatonin is on private prescription, and it costs a fortune.

Melatonin is found in high quantities in milk, and, I suspect, peanut butter.
 
H

hurricanedrunk

Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
6
Location
Newcastle Upon Tyne
It take a mix of herbal remdies in a tablet called 'quitet life' i've found they work alot for me , as well as keeping to your five a day and avoiding too much junk food :) . .
 
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