The following herbal supplements are included here because they are the most popular at this time. This section is not intended as an endoresment to take these products, but merely to acquaint the trainer with the effects of that these herbs might have on the client that they are training. There are literally hundreds of herbs that extracts are created from for various illnesses and remedies. It is not our policy to promote herbal supplements. Some herbals do work, so do drugs but you wouldn't want to take an antibiotic for years at a time. In many cases, the herbs work slower than the corresponding drug. In some studies, the herbal extract worked better than the drug.
We provide both the pros and cons here. You are free to make your own informed decision for yourself and your clients. There is no conclusive evidence as to the long-term effects of these supplements nor is there conclusive evidence that they shouldn't be taken. Just because it may be beneficial doesn't mean you should take it over long periods of time.The FDA and USDA leave it up to you as we do.
The claims by the manufacturers of herbs have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The manufacturers disavow any intention to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. However, these claims can be found. Some of the claims may sound like cure-alls. That puts them in the category of snakeoil.
- Do not take herbal extracts without your doctor's advice if you are pregnant or could become pregnant.
- Do not take herbal extracts without your doctor's advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.
- Do not give any herbal extract to a child without first talking to the child's doctor
- Do not take herbal extracts if you are taking any prescribed drugs.
Alfalfa (mendicago sativa)
Alfalfa is known in the Middle East as the "father of all herbs". It has been used in flour by Native Americans for centuries. It is rich in all eight amino acids as well as vitamins and minerals. It contains beta-carotene, calcium, flouride, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, B-12, C, D, E and K. The raw leaves may also be eaten and is high in dietary fiber providing a mild laxative effect. It may also prevent tooth decay due to the flouride content. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is two 340 mg capsules three times a day with meals.
Possible Health Hazards: Mayinduce systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) - like syndrome in individuals predisposed to this condition.
Aloe Vera (aloe barbadenis)
Aloe Vera, a member of the Lily family, has been used as an analgesic and skin remedy since ancient times. It is used to treat burns, skin irritations and internally as a mild laxative. It is also used in lotions and cosmetics as a skin PH balancer. recent studies have indicated that it may have a role in immune system enhancement.
Blessed Thistle (cnicus benedictus)
This herb is used for jaundice, fever, circulation and respiratory allergies. Additionally, it is used to strengthen the heart and lungs. It increases the appetite and stomach secretions. There are also claims that it improves a host of female problems and functions including milk production and cramps. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is two 325 mg capsules two times a day with meals.
This herb is used as a blood purifier and cleanser as well as for arthritis, gout and rheumatism. It is also used to improve liver and gallbladder function, stimulate the immune system, aid in healing skin disorders, and promote healthy kidney function. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is two 410 mg capsules two times a day with meals.
Capsicum or Cayenne (capsicum frutescens)
Derived from chili peppers, this herb contains Vitamin B complex, C, iron, calcium, and phosphorous. Helps to regulate the heart and blood pressure. It is believed to assist digestion and cleanse the blood. It is also used in some sports creams to aleviate muscle soreness and as an anti-inflammatory. Wash hands extremely well with soap and water after using these creams. It can be extremely painful on muscles membranes. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is one 520 mg capsule four times daily.
Cascara Sagrada or Sacred Bark (rhamnus purshiana)
Used for constipation and upset stomachs and is considered a mild laxative. Increases peristalsis and the growth of beneficial intestinal flora. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is two 390 mg capsule two times a day with meals.
Chamomile (anthemis nobilis)
Used in tea to relax and induce sleep, aid digestion, relieve headaches and treat allergies. Chamomile is a popularly used as a remedy for gas, stomach cramps, menstrual cramps, colic and drug withdrawal. It is also used in shampoos and perfumes. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is one 250 mg capsule two times daily with meals.
Absorbs free radicals. The belief is also held that this herb protects against the harmful effects of radiation and sun exposure, the formation of tumors and cancer cells and relieves pain. Also used for acne, arthritis, allergies, blood purifier, boils, hair growth, liver, pain relief, parasites, respiratory inflammation,venereal disease, warts, and acts as a natural antibiotic. In liquid form, the dosage is 20-30 drops of extract in a small amount of warm water 3-4 times daily as needed.
Possible Health Hazards: liver disease, possibly irreversible.
Chitosan is a fiber that binds to dietary fats in the intestine thereby preventing the absorption of these fats into the bloodstream. It forms a bound mass of fat and fiber that is excrete by the body. It is believed that Vitamin C enhances the effect of Chitosan. In addition, Chitosan lowers LDL Cholesterol levels by preventing the re-absorption of LDL cholesterol, which is secreted by the liver in bile acids into the intestine. Suggested dosage is 500mg about 30 minutes before a meal. Individuals with allergies to shellfish should not take Chitosan.
Provide relief from respiratory ailments, anemia, arthritis, fractures, and promotes healthy mucous membranes and healing. It soothes the gastrointestinal tract and aids digestion by promoting the secretion of pepsin; helps the pancreas regulate blood sugar level. It is also used topically as an anti-inflammatory.
Possible Health Hazards: obstruction of blood flow to liver, possibly leading to death.
It is a natural antibiotic. It is also used as a colds, flu; as a fever reducer and is considered an immune and lymphatic system enhancer. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is two 450 mg capsules three times a day with meals.
Possible Health Hazards: Asthma prone individual may develop bronchospasm, dyspnoea and angioedema.
Ephedra (Ma Huang)
Ephedra (Ma Huang) is a decongestant, diuretic, and Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulant. It stimulates the adrenal glands and increases energy level. It is also used to reduce bronchial spasms as in asthma and allergy related illnesses. Claims also include appetite suppressant, weight-loss and anti-depression properties. As a stimulant, it increases the metabolism through thermogenic (heat production) means and thereby burns fat. It contains Ephedrine, a stimulant used in over-the-counter bronchodilators. Promotes urination and reduces edema. Recommended dosage is 100 mg daily one hour before a meal.
FDA has reported over 40 deaths and over 1000 serious side effects linked to Ephedrine. Manufacturers warn against the use of Ephedra if you are under the age of 18 or have a family history of heart disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, headaches, depression or other psychiatric condition, glaucoma, difficulty urinating, prostate enlargement, or seizure disorder. They also recommend consulting a doctor or licensed healthcare professional before using Ephedra.
It is also warned that exceeding the recommended dose may cause serious adverse health effects including heart attack and stroke. Ephedra should not be used by people with anxiety disorders such as panic attacks, or by those with glaucoma, heart disease, or high blood pressure. Not to be taken with depression drugs, caffeine, decongestants, or other stimulants, monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MOI) or any other dietary supplement, prescription drug or over-the-counter drug containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine or phenylpropanolamine (ingredients found in certain allergy, asthma, cough/cold, and weight control products).
Possible Health Hazards: Hypertension, dizziness, shortness of breath, sleeplessness, palpitations, tachycardia, arrhythmia, nerve damage, tremor, headache, seizure, stroke, heart attack, kidney stones.
Euphrasia (euphrasia officinalis)
Also known as eyebright, it is used for allergies, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose and hay fever. It is also used as an eyewash and to relieve the discomfort due to eyestrain and minor irritations. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is two 400 mg capsule three times daily with meals.
There are two essential fatty acids, Linoleic Acid (Omega-6 fatty acids) and Alpha-linoleic (Omega-3 fatty acids). Flaxseed Oil is a polyunsaturated plant source fat containing both Linoleic and Alpha-linoleic Acids. Flaxseed Oil contains lignans which claim to enhance the immune and circulatory systems. In addition, Flaxseed Oil contains lecithin and phospholipids, which are responsible for the cell membranes development and maintenance. Some additional claims include lowering cholesterol levels, prevention of strokes and heart attacks, high blood pressure, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, Eczema, cancer prevention, allergies and asthma. According to Dr. Simopoulos's book the Omega Diet, there is some indication that raw flaxseeds contain a substance called Cyanogen. It is converted in the body to another chemical called Thiocyanate (SCN). SCN in high concentrations in the blood for prolonged periods may have an adverse affect on the thyroid gland and may reduce its ability to take up Iodine. Flaxseed Oil does not contain Cyanogen. The recommended dosage is 1 tablespoon (14g) two to three times daily.
Fo Ti (polygonum multiflorum)
Is almost as popular as ginseng in Chinese medicine. Fo-Ti is considered and astringent and is used help in the treatment of intestinal inflammation, nocturnal emissions, spermatorrhea, and leukorrhea. It also promotes the healthy function of the liver, kidneys, and blood. In liquid form, the recommended dosage is 30-40 drops small amount of warm water 3-4 times daily between meals.
Garlic (allium sativum)
Used as a natural antibiotic (allicin) both topically and internally. It is also believed to lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and improve circulation. It is also an antioxidant. It can also be used topically for fungal infections and skin diseases. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is one 550 mg capsule two times daily with meals.
Ginger (zangiber officinale)
An ingredient in Ginger Ale; it used in the treatment of asthma, allergies, bronchitis, cramps, headaches, morning sickness, motion sickness, nausea, indigestion and throat inflammation. It is also used to lower blood cholesterol. It is also touted as an antioxidant and as a topical antimicrobial. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is one 500 mg capsule two times daily with meals.
It is a popular herb used to enhance the circulation system and reduce blood pressure. It is also used to improve memory and relieve muscle soreness. In addition, it is used as an anti-oxidant and to treat hearing and sexual problems. It is suspected of having an anti-aging properties. In 12-hour time released tablet form, the recommended dosage is one 120 mg tablet per day. Not to be taken with aspirin or other blood thinning drugs.
Possible Health Hazards: Bleeding. Adverse reactions reported to the WHO include hypertension, leucopenia, thrombocytopenia and hallucinations.
Ginseng (panax ginseng)
Of the three types of Ginseng (Wild American, Korean, Chinese and Siberian) Wild American is considered to be the most potent of ginseng. Ginseng is believed to enhance physical and mental endurance, increase energy, longevity and adrenal and reproductive functions. It also aids to reduce stress, cholesterol and regulate blood sugar. In liquid form, the recommended dosage is 10 drops in a small amount of warm water 3 times daily.
Possible Health Hazards: Insomnia and hypertension.
Germander (teucrium chamaedrys)
It is used for liver, spleen, kidneys and to treat gout.
Possible Health Hazards: liver disease, possibly leading to death.
Gotu Kola (hydrocotyle asiatica or centella asiatica)
Used to treat skin inflammations, improve circulation and memory, and relieve fatigue. It is also used for poor appetite, bloating, congestion, and depression. It is also claimed to increase sex drive. In addition, it is believed to shrink tissues, stimulate the central nervous system, neutralize blood acids and lower body temperature. It is also used for heart and liver function, cardiovascular and circulatory disorders, kidney stones, sleep disorders, low blood sugar and vaginitis. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is two 395 mg capsules two times daily with meals.
Guarana (paullinia cupana)
Contains a large amount of caffeine. It is a diuretic and appetite suppressant. It is also used to increase stamina and both physical and mental performance. About 500-1000 mg of Guarana extract provide about 180 to 450 mg of caffeine (about 2-4 cups of coffee).
Possible Health Hazards: Insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, headaches, high blood pressure and heart palpitations.
Hawthorne Berries (crataegus oxyacantha)
Used for indigestion. It is also a laxative. Dilates blood vessels and aid circulatory disorders. Lowers cholesterol, increases Vitamin C retention at the cellular level and immune system stimulant. Helps with for angina pectoris, edema, heart problems, and stress. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is two 450 mg capsules two times a day with meals.
Regulates blood pressure, promotes circulation, and healthy eyes. Also useful for hoarseness, bronchitis, mucous buildup, nerve and skin disorders. In liquid form, the dosage is 30-40 drops of extract in a small amount of warm water 3-4 times daily as needed.
Used as a sleeping aid and muscle relaxer by targeting the Central Nervous System. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is two 430 mg capsules three times daily with meals. Not to be taken with alcohol, antipsychotics or sedatives. The dosage of kava kava is based on the level of kavalactones. The recommended dosage for sedative effects is 180 to 210 mg of kavalactones taken as a single dose one hour before retiring.
Possible Health Hazards: Sedation and rash.
Lobelia (Indian tobacco)
Used for asthma, antispasmodic, congestion, mucus, childhood diseases, ear infection, relaxant, teething, pain and disorders of the nervous system. Added to bath and cosmetics and can also be used internally.
Possible Health Hazards: range from breathing problems at low doses to sweating, rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, and possibly coma and death at higher doses.
Expels mucous from the respiratory system. Also used for colon cleansing, constipation and in promoting healthy adrenal functions. In addition, it is beneficial as a sexual stimulant. Beneficial for allergic disorders, adrenal insufficiency, age spots, asthma, blood sugar levels, inflammatory bowel disorders, chronic fatigue, coughs, depression, diabetes, emphysema, fever, herpes virus infection, and hypoglycemia, menopause, muscle spasms, voice and in the production of interferon.
In capsule form, the recommended dosage is two 430 mg capsules three times daily with meals.
Used for respiratory ailments. It is also used as a laxative and sleep aid. It is also used to repair bone and cartilage and aids in healing. Additional claims are that it helps swollen glands, kidneys, hay fever, stomach cramps, diarrhea and acts as an anti-inflammatory. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is two 290 mg capsules two times a day with meals.
Rose Hips (rosa canina)
Contains the full Vitamin C-Complex including the bioflavonoids to aid in the absorption of Vitamin C. It is used to prevent and treat colds, infection and flu. It is also used to reduce fever and treat inflammatory skin problems, hemorrhoids and varicose veins. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is two 560 mg capsules three times a day with meals.
Sarsaparilla (smilax officinalis)
An ingredient in Root Beer, it is used to treat urinary tract, liver and skin disorders. It is also used as a diuretic and has been used to treat coughs, arthritis and as an anti-inflammatory for the prostate and rheumatism. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is two 375 mg capsules two times a day with meals.
Saw Palmetto Berry
It is used primarily to treat an enlarged prostate. It is also used to treat impotence, frigidity and urinary tract infections. It has been used as an antiseptic and a diuretic. It inhibits the production of dihydrotestosterone. It is taken to stimulate the appetite and promote healthy glands and reproductive organs.
In capsule form, the recommended dosage is one 160 mg capsule two times a day with meals.
Is an algae comprised of about 70% protein. It is a good source of calcium (26 times more than milk), phosphorous, B-12 and niacin. It is also used to reduce LDL cholesterol. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is two 400 mg capsules three times a day with meals.
A good source of Iron and is used in treating anemia. It is also used to treat skin, spleen, liver, and Lymphatic problems. In capsule form, the recommended dosage is one 460 mg capsule two times a day with meals.