Herbals and Heart Health

Alternative Medicine, Heart Health
The folks at Natural Standard recently sent out a notice of a significant review in the cardiology literature on the potential interactions between herbs and heart medications. A news release on the study can be found here. This new analysis suggests that herbal supplements, such as Ginkgo biloba and garlic, may cause dangerous interactions when combined with heart medications. Some examples of herbs and their adverse effect on heart disease management include: St. John’s wort, which is typically used to treat depression, anxiety and sleep disorders among other problems, reduces the effectiveness of medications contributing to recurrences of arrhythmia, high blood pressure or increase in blood cholesterol levels and risk for future heart problems. Ginkgo biloba, which is supposedly used to improve circulation or sharpen the mind, increases bleeding risk in…
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Acupuncture found lacking for fibromyalgia

Alternative Medicine
Reuters Health is reporting on a new study examining the treatment of fibromyalgia with acupuncture. Indeed, acupuncture may provide some temporary pain relief for people with fibromyalgia, but does not help with fatigue, sleep problems, or physical function, according to a new research review. However, the results are too inconsistent to recommend acupuncture as a treatment fibromyalgia, the reviewers conclude. Fibromyalgia, a debilitating pain syndrome that affects an estimated 2 to 4 percent of the population, is characterized by chronic pain, fatigue and difficulty sleeping. It's a somewhat mysterious condition with no clear-cut cause. Winfried Hauser of the Klinikum Saarbrucken in Germany and colleagues reviewed seven randomized controlled trials of acupuncture that included a total of 385 people with fibromyalgia. The study subjects were mostly white middle-aged women. All of…
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Colon Cleansing and Body Detoxification: Any Evidence of Benefit or Harm?

Alternative Medicine, Nutritional Health
Claims of marked health benefits from “detoxification” have stimulated public interest in colonic cleansing and generated a multimillion-dollar industry promoting oral agents, colonic hydrotherapy, or enema therapies designed to empty the bowel. Questions about colonic cleansing are among the most common inquiries to the American College of Gastroenterology and are often posed to family physicians. Family physician and medical editor, Anne Walling, MD, has reviewed a study on colon cleansing and body detoxification for American Family Physician. The study, by Acosta and Cash, reviewed the evidence of benefit and risk of harm from colonic cleansing to better inform physicians and the public. The Study: The authors searched Medline, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Collaboration Database to identify relevant articles published between 1966 and 2008. They also reviewed abstracts from gastroenterology subspecialty conferences…
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