Archives – November, 2012

Damiana Side Effects

The common name of the plant Turnera diffusa which belongs to the family Turneraceae is Damiana. It originates from the regions of South and Central America, Caribbean and Mexico. The herb Turnera aphrodisiaca is another common species of Damiana. It also belongs to the family Turneraceae. Basically, it is a shrub consisting of aromatic leaves and flowers. The leaves and flowers of the plant usually smell like chamomile because it contains a volatile oil. The leaves are extensively used in traditional medicine for the treatment of variety of conditions or ailments. In general, the plant is reputed to be an aphrodisiac agent. The leaves of the plant are typically used in preparing tea which then can be used in treating several health problems. But its excessive use can result to some side effects.

Until now, overuse of damiana has resulted to a number of mild side effects such as gastrointestinal problems. Since it contains laxative properties, damiana has been used in treating constipation. However, loose bowel movement or diarrhea can result to overdose. It can also result to nausea and mild indigestion. Damiana has a compound known as arbutin which will become hydroquinone as it passes through the urinary tract. Excessive hydroquinone will present with signs of tinnitus, nausea and vomiting. At times, overdose can lead to convulsions.

Moreover, several other side effects include insomnia, low blood sugar, irritation of the urethral mucosa, headaches and weight loss. With its effect on the blood sugar level, people who are taking medications for diabetes should monitor their levels of blood sugar on a regular basis. Ultimately, continuous use of damiana or its herbal supplements could interfere with iron absorption.

People who smoke damiana for the purpose of recreation will experience a number of other side effects such as headache and irritation of the lung tissues. It has also an adverse effect on the capacity of the blood to transport oxygen. On the other hand, people who are allergic to this herb will experience the classic symptoms of an allergic reaction such as difficulty in breathing, unusual swelling of the lips, face and tongue and presence of hives or skin rash.

So far, the effect of damiana on young children, those suffering from liver and kidney diseases and women who are pregnant and breastfeeding has not yet been determined. Thus, the use of this herb and its supplements is not recommended without discussing with their doctors first. Even those who take medications for diabetes or any other underlying health condition should consult a doctor or herbalist before the use of damiana or any other herb as well as herbal supplements.

November 29, 2012

Hawthorn berry extract

Hawthorn berry is one of the well-known herbs used in traditional medical systems of Asia, Europe and different other places. It is a red fruit which is small in size and produced by plants from the genus Crataegus. Usually, these plants are seen as shrubs or trees with branches which are thorny. That is why hawthorn berries are also termed as thorn apple. Although a number of hawthorn species are produced for ornamental purposes, these plants are extremely beneficial for their medicinal properties. These days, these berries are accessible in various forms such as extract, tea and tincture.

Hawthorn Berry Extract Health Benefits

Plants of hawthorn berry come from some regions of North America, Asia and Europe. The berries of these plants have been widely used for culinary reasons. Moreover, they are highly popular as a form of herbal medicine. As previously mentioned, there are many species of hawthorn plants that belong to the genus Crataegus. When it comes to medicinal properties, the most extensively used Crataegus species include Crataegus pinnatifida, Crataegus monogyna, Crataegus cuneata and Crataegus laevigata. Hawthorn berries are known to contain high amounts of antioxidants as well as other beneficial compounds. These useful components in berries are thought to be responsible for the therapeutic properties of the berry extract.

The role of hawthorn berry extract in promoting the functions of the cardiovascular system is considered the most important among its benefits. The active components of this berry are found to strengthen the muscles of the heart.

• This berry can be useful in dilatation of the blood vessels. Consequently, the blood supply of both inside and outside of the heart is enhanced. This is excellent in promoting health to other organs as well considering that they have good oxygen supply.
• Moreover, it was stated that this extract helps in the reduction of high cholesterol which can be good for the health of the heart. Hawthorn berries can also be used for the treatment of digestive problems such as diarrhea and insomnia.
• This extract is known to be very effective in decreasing high blood pressure as well as strengthening the blood vessels. It has also been recommended for use in treating hepatitis.
• In addition, hawthorn berries are noted to help digestion. Some individuals utilize it for the purpose of weight loss since the berries help the body in expelling excess salt in order to reduce water retention.
• Combating anxiety and stress is another health benefit of this berry extract. It can also be helpful to boost the immune system and to some extent, prevent the signs of aging.

Due to its therapeutic properties, it is extensively used as an herbal medicine for the treatment of different cardiovascular conditions such as arteriosclerosis, heart failure, myocarditis and angina or chest pain.

November 27, 2012

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