Hopking's Herbal -TU- A concise list of herbs, actions and uses

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Hopking's Herbal - T U

Go to Hopking's Herbal - A Modern Materia Medica (herbs and their medicinal action and uses):
A, B-C, D-E-F, G-H, I-J-K, L-M-N, O-P-Q, R-S, T-U, V-W, X-Y-Z

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314. Tabebuia impeteginosa (Pau D’Arco, Taheebo bark) - Antiabnormal cell formation. Increases energy and endurance. Has lapachol (active against lymphocytic leukaemia), a naphthoquinone, lapachone and xyloidone (quinoids). Anti-candida (thrush), anti-fungal, intestinal parasites. (Michael Weiner). Anti-bacterial. Anti-viral. Considered especially valuable in cases of candida albicans (thrush). Active against certain intestinal parasites. See Thrush/Candida and HerbShield

315. Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy flowering tops) - vermifuge, anthelmintic, carminative, spasmolytic, abdominal viscera - stimulant to, antiseptic, antibacterial, liver and bile stimulant; worms, menstrual stimulant, abortifacient (induces birth), dyspepsia. Ext. scabies, pruritus, lice and fleas. C/I pregnancy. see Worms

316. Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion leaves and flowers, Pu Gong Ying) - to eliminate heat and toxin in blood; to resolve dampness; boils, jaundice, mastitis, hepatitis, urinary tract infection; diuretic, anti-pyretic, reduces swellings, breast tumours, abscesses, lungs - tumours and clots, water retention due to heart problems (oedema); bitter and sweet, cold; LIV, ST. Dandelion Taraxacum officinale Compositae Habitat: Widely distributed throughout most of the world as a "troublesome weed." Collection: The roots are best collected between June and August when they are at their bitterest. Split longitudinally before drying. The leaves may be collected at any time. Part Used: Root or leaf Constituents: Sesquiterpene lactones; taraxacoside (an acylated [[gamma]]-butyrolactone glycoside) & at least 4 others of the eudesmanolide, germacranolide & tetragydroridentin types Triterpenes; taraxol, taraxerol, [[psi]]-tarazasterol, [[beta]]-amyrin, stigmasterol, [[beta]]-sitosterol ; Phenolic acids; caffeic and [[rho]]-hydroxyphenylacetic acids ; polysaccharides; glucans and mannans and inulin; Carotenoids such as lutein and violaxanthin. Actions: Diuretic, hepatic, cholagogue, anti-rheumatic, laxative, tonic, bitter. Indications: Dandelion leaf is a very powerful diuretic, its action comparable to that of the drug `Frusemide'. The usual effect of a drug stimulating the kidney function is a loss of vital potassium from the body, which aggravates any cardio-vascular problem present. With Dandelion, however, we have one of the best natural sources of potassium (good for a dry mouth). It thus makes an ideally balanced diuretic that may be used safely wherever such an action is needed, including in cases of water retention due to heart problems. As a hepatic & cholagogue Dandelion root may be used in inflammation and congestion of liver and gall-bladder. It is specific in cases of congestive jaundice. As part of a wider treatment for muscular rheumatism it can be most effective. This herb is a most valuable general tonic and perhaps the best widely applicable diuretic and liver tonic. Ellingwood recommends the root for the following pathologies: chronic jaundice, auto-intoxication, rheumatism, blood disorders, chronic skin eruptions, chronic gastritis, aphthous ulcers. Combinations: For liver and gall-bladder problems it may be used with Barberry or Balmony. For water retention it may be used with Couch grass or Yarrow. Preparations & Dosage: Decoction: put 2-3 teaspoonfuls of the root into one cup of water, bring to boil and gently simmer for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. The leaves may be eaten raw in salads. Tincture: take 5-l0 ml of the tincture three times a day.

317. Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion root) - cholagogue; inflammation and congestion of liver and gall-bladder; cholecystitis, gall stones, atonic dyspepsia with constipation, muscular rheumatism; congestive jaundice - specific. Good general tonic. Dose: 1:5 45% 5-10ml. Bitters Tonic

318. Terminalia chebula (Myrobalan Tree fruits, He Zi) Chinese Herb - detoxification, astringent, anti-diarrhoeic, haemostatic; helps concentration, forgetfulness, mental attentiveness, chronic diarrhoea and dysentery; prolapse of rectum; asthma, cough - persistent and gasping, hoarse voice; leucorrhoea, menorrhagia; bitter, sour, warm; LU, LI. The Myrobalan Tree fruit is held by the Buddha of Healing, Bhaisajya-guru. This Buddha can be invoked with a mantra: Bhaisajya-guru vaidãrya-prabha tath gata. (O Lord, Master of Healing, the Lapis Lazuli Radiance Buddha.) Myrobalan Trees (Terminalia chebula, Phyllanthus emblica, and Terminalia belerica) are the elixirs of long life. These three fruits eliminate eye diseases and benefit the eyes, and cure such diseases as wound discharge, skin troubles, bleeding of wounds, adipose disorders, pain in the passage of urine, as well as overabundance of phlegm and blood. Among the three Terminalia chebula seems to be especially potent. The taste of T. chebula is astringent. It leaves a sweet taste upon digestion. It has a slightly dry taste. It has no salty taste. It is light. It is very heat producing. helps digest food, makes the mind attentive, and brings about a hearty old age in the finest sense. It has the power to cleanse internally with great warmth. It grants long life and keenness of thought. The eye and the other senses become clear. It overcomes leprosy, discoloration of countenance and bodily appearance. The Myrobalan Tree is described: green, beautiful, heart-gladdening and strength-bestowing, with branches, leaves and fruits; its fragrance spreads to infinite distances and its brightness illumines the earth and sky. The Buddha of Healing p.103. A traditional Ayurvedic formula, Triphala combines three of India’s most revered herbs into an historic, Ayurvedic herbal combination. Emblica officinalis, also known as Amla, is a yellowish-green fruit about the size of a plum, with a somewhat sour taste like a lemon. High in Vitamin C, Amla offers tremendous health-promoting benefits. The second ingredient is Terminalia belerica, also known as Behada. A small, rough-texture fruit, it is about the size of a walnut. Behada is a potent herb known for a variety of health harmonising qualities. The third and final ingredient is Terminalia chebula, sometimes referred to as Harada. It is a small round fruit, brownish in colour, historically used as a rejuvenator helping to normalise the general balance of the body. Such is the formulation of Triphala, from the authentic Ayurvedic. Myrobalan is a symbol of the creative power of thought, which in high levels of meditative praxis can materialise the unseen worlds in the manner of the Myrobalan berry concretised upon the palm of the hand. Thus this sublime fruit is not just a medicine, but in its materialisation by the will of the Buddha upon his hand, it represents blessings from unseen realms, like the healing energy radiating upon devotees in their worship. Pharmacological Action: alterative, decongestant, laxative, anti-allergen, diuretic, analgesic (v), K = tridoshahar, soth hara, vran sodhana, dipana, pachana, anulomana, balya, mdehya, sonitasthapana, verisya, praja sthapana, cacu bal bardhaka, mutrula; purgative, astringent, alterative; Indications (Uses): diabetes, cough, worms, edema, skin conditions, yeast infection, bronchitis, hepatitis, splenomegaly, kidney stones, eczema, hemorrhoids, hiccough, detox the GI tract K = fevers, cough, asthma, urinary diseases, piles, worms, chronic diarrhea, dysentery, flatulence, vomiting, colic, enlarged spleen and liver. Infusion as gargle in sore mouth and stomatitis, spongy and ulcerated gums. Contraindications (Cautions): pregnancy, diarrhea Constituents: K= Fruits have about 30% astringent substance due to chebulinic acid; also tannic acid, gallic acid, resin, and purgative anthraquinone. See Aging and Forget Less

319. Teucrium chamaedrys (Germander herb) - choleretic, anti-septic, anti-pyretic, anti-catarrhal, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, tonic, aromatic; gall bladder and digestive. The major indications for use of Wall Germander will thus be: Digestive Troubles, in particular dyspepsia and stomach gas.

320. Teucrium scorodonia (Wood Sage herb) - astringent, diaphoretic, anti-rheumatic, carminative, vulnerary, anti-microbial; upper respiratory infection, RA, flatulent dyspepsia; colds feverish - specific; flu.

321. Thuja occidentalis (Thuja, Arbor-Vitae leaves and stems) - haemostatic (all forms of haemorrhage), astringent, refrigerant to blood; stimulates uterus and heart, emmenagogue, amenorrhoea, preventative against cancer of uterus, anti-pyretic, expectorant, stimulant to smooth muscle, alterative - psoriasis; bronchial catarrh, heart weakness, urinary incontinence, cystitis. Warts (see other anti-viral herbs) internally and externally. Ext.: with Hamamelis Water in exudative eczema. - bitter, sour, slightly sour; LU, LIV, LI. C/I pregnancy. Dose: 1:10 60% 1-2ml. NB: The seeds are used as sedative in insomnia, heart palpitation and nervous disorders; the fresh leaves steeped in 60% alcohol for 7 days rubbed on baldness 3 times/day to promote hair growth. See Muscles, Warts, HerbShield

322. Thymus vulgaris (Thyme leaf) - carminative, anti-microbial, bactericidal, anti-spasmodic, expectorant; dyspepsia, chronic gastritis, sluggish digestion, bronchitis, pertussis, asthma, laryngitis, tonsillitis (gargle), enuresis (urinary incontinence). Ext.: warts (may be used with papaya latex), fungus, thrush. C/I pregnancy. Dose: 1:5 45% 2-6ml.

323. Tilia europaea (Lime flowers) - sedative, spasmolytic, diuretic, nervine, anti-spasmodic, diaphoretic; nervous tension, arteriosclerosis, hypertension (specific), migraine, hysteria, arteriosclerosis, feverish colds. Dose: 1:5 45% 1-2ml.

324. Trichilla catigua (Erythroxylum catuaba, Catuaba) - aphrodisiac, HIV/AIDS (studies in Japan have confirmed catuaba both inhibits the ability of HIV to destroy cells and protects people with AIDS against infection with E. coli or staph aureus); impotence and prostatitis. HerbalV8 for men

325. Trifolium pratense (Red Clover flowers) - alterative, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, anti-neoplastic; skin problems in children, eczema, psoriasis, coughs, bronchitis, whooping cough, abnormal cell formation.1:10 45% 1-2ml.

326. Trigonella foenumgraecum (Fenugreek seed, Hu Lu Ba) - expectorant, demulcent, tonic, galactagogue; fistulas and tumours (esp. liver and uterine cervix [fibroids]), increases breast milk and breast size (used best with Galega), disperses cold, relieves pain (esp. in testis); diabetes, hernia; pungent, bitter, very warm; KI.

327. Trillium pendulum (Beth root) - uterine tonic, astringent; metrorrhagia, endometriosis, haemorrhage, menorrhagia, menopause. Ext.: ulcers, vaginal douche. Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Beth root is astringent, tonic, and antiseptic; it has been employed successfully in hemoptysis, hematuria, menorrhagia, uterine hemorrhage, metrorrhagia, leucorrhoea, cough, asthma, and difficult breathing, and is said to have been much used by the Indian women to promote parturition. The astringent varieties of Trillium have been found useful in hemorrhages; the acrid species in chronic affections of the respiratory organs, phthisis, hectic fever, etc. All the varieties have been found efficient, either internally or externally, in chronic mucous discharges, bronchorrhoea, leucorrhoea, menorrhagia, etc. Externally, the root, made into a poultice, is very useful in tumors, indolent or offensive ulcers, anthrax, buboes, stings of insects, and to restrain gangrene. A strong tincture of the fresh root in alcohol, 76 per cent, may be given in doses of from 1 to 20 drops.

328. Triticum sativa (Wheatgrass fresh) - increases function of the heart, affects the vascular system, the uterus, the intestine and the lungs; a body cleanser; rebuilds, neutralises toxins; detoxification, can dissolve scars that are formed in the lungs from breathing acid gasses increases haemoglobin production; reduce high blood pressure; gives the blood iron which helps circulation; purifies the blood; acts as a detergent on the body. Helps overcome dandruff. Rub the juice into the scalp: vaginal infections (douche); tooth decay; sore throat; pyorrhoea of the mouth; skin troubles; keep hair from greying; It helps overcome ageing and gives energy to the sex hormones. anaemia, capillaries; toxic metals - lead, cadmium, mercury, aluminum, and excessive amounts of copper; builds up the white blood cells. It has been reported that Chlorophyll: Inhibits chromosome damage and this action may effectively block act as a preventative against cancer. Increases your resistance to X rays. Eliminates germs and inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. Reduces the damaging effects of radiation burns. Stimulates the regeneration of fresh tissue. Purifies the liver and relieves pancreas inflammation. Dramatically raises the oxygen level in the tissue cells. Cleanses the walls of blood vessels. Strengthens the cell walls which may improve the function of the heart, intestines, lungs, uterus and vascular system. To increase oxygen at the cellular level may be vital as a preventative against cancer. Otto Warburg in the 1930’s demonstrated that cancer cannot grow rapidly in the presence of oxygen. His theory was that cancer is a process of cell mutation engendered by a lack of oxygen at the cellular level. He reasoned that an effective cancer therapy must increase the oxygen content of the blood. Because chlorophyll increases the oxygen content of the blood, it may in fact decrease cell mutation and therefore act as a preventative against cancer. Chlorophyll, also because of its high oxygen content, may be effective against other conditions including AIDS and HIV-related viruses. Research at the Linus Pauling Institute and the Anderson Hospital in Texas has shown that chlorophyll juice produces some immunity against many carcinogens and strengthens the immune system. Japanese researchers have reportedly discovered that chlorophyll juice inhibits chromosome damage, which is a precursor of cancer. Carotenoid is a vital element in chlorophyll. Hungarian researchers have found that the leaves of sheep sorrel have a total Carotenoid content of 8-12 percent. Beta carotene is a member of the family of carotenoids. Research from multiple sources has shown that beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in our liver. Vitamin A strengthens the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells. It is white blood cells that destroy cancer cells. Beta carotene is an antioxidant which means it can control the build-up of harmful free radicals. Free radicals can actually alter genes and seriously damage cell walls. All carotenoids and especially beta carotene are coming under closer scientific scrutiny because of their ability to strengthen the immune system. Dr. Harinder Garewal, at the University of Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, found that pre-cancerous lesions in the mouth diminished in size in 70% of the patients tested with only 30 mg of carotene a day. See Wheatgrass Juice and Chlorophyll Juice

329. Tupha angustifolia (Bullrush pollen, Pu Huang) - Sweet, Neutral. HE LIV. Hemostatic - by eliminating pathogenic heat; promotes circulation of blood and relieves pain from blood stasis, lowers BP; diuretic. Uses: epistaxis, haematemesis, hematuria, uterine bleeding; dysmenorrhea, postpartum abdominal pain and gastralgia; scrophula and abscesses. C/I pregnancy.

330. Turnera diffusa (Damiana leaves) - Nerve tonic, anti- depressant, thymoleptic, testosteronal. CNS tonic, hormonal tonic (aphrodisiac), anxiety, depression, strengthens male sex system, stomachic, impotency. See Herbal V8 and Herbal VW

331. Tussilago farfara (Coltsfoot flowers, Kuan Dong Hua) - moistens lung (descends lung qi), anti-tussive, expectorant; chronic cough with profuse phlegm, asthma; chronic cough (empty lungs); pungent, warm; LU. Dose: 1:5 45% 2-8ml. Syrup 1:1 25% made as 1:4 with syrup, 2-8ml. What is interesting about coltsfoot is that one of the ways it was used was to smoke it as tobacco. The smoke from the herb has been shown to be medically beneficial. Interestingly enough, the healing nature of coltsfoot smoke has shown benefit in a related, but perhaps unexpected area--as a tobacco substitute for those who want to stop smoking! Cigarettes made with Coltsfoot do not contain nicotine, but resemble regular cigarettes in most other ways. Thus, a person can smoke a herbal Coltsfoot cigarette and derive all of the same sensations of smoking a tobacco cigarette, except for the nicotine. This is very helpful, because most physicians feel that the smoking habit is composed of two factors: (1) the nicotine addiction (2) the mental habit, or "feel" of smoking. Being able to continue to enjoy the habit of handling, lighting, puffing, etc., the cigarette while breaking the nicotine addiction greatly increases the smoker’s ability to deal with the problem. Studies have shown that the gradual replacement of regular cigarettes with non-tobacco herbal cigarettes is an effective aid in tobacco detoxification. A study in France compared three groups of smokers. One group received only acupuncture and counseling. The second group received the same, but also received lobeline. The third group used herbal Coltsfoot cigarettes instead of the lobeline. After one month, the success rate on the third group (Coltsfoot cigarettes) was twice as good as the other two groups. Despite this information we think it would be better to use our Smoke Less and Detox to kick the habit, it is safer than smoking and more effective,

332. Ulcers and Leg Ulcers, herbs for - alchem, althea, bapt, calend, camilla black tea*(ext), carduus, centella*, comm, euphoria, filip, geran mac*, geum, glyc, hum*(ext), hydrast, linum*(ext), matric*(ext), menth pip, myric*(ext), podoph*(ext), polyten, poly hydr, poly multi, pot tor*(ext), ruscus*, salv off*(ext), sanguisorb*(ext), scut bar, sol dul, stell*(ext), symph*, trill*(ext), ulmus*(ext), uncar, vinca, xanthox* (* = specific for leg ulcers) (see Circulatory Stimulants for more herbs for leg ulcers). Use our Leg Ulcers and Poultice

333. Ulmus fulva (Slippery Elm bark) - demulcent, emollient, nutritive, anti-tussive, astringent; gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcer - specific, enteritis, colitis, convalescent tonic. Ext.: poultice in ulcers, boils and abscesses. Slippery Elm and Marshmallow Powder

334. Uncaria tormentosa (Cat’s Claw, Peru; inner bark) - adaptogen; immunostimulant, digestive tonic. Enhances phagocytosis. Crohn’s disease, ulcers, asthma, arthritis, iritis, shingles, dysbiosis and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS, ME, FM); enhance overall immunity while increasing stamina; viral infections; enhance emotional stability - even in the midst of extreme stress, fight infections in AIDS patients and decrease the visible size of some skin tumours and cysts within two weeks; reduction in the side-effects of radiation and chemotherapy in cancer patients; fibromyalgia; adaptogen, anti-oxidant, anti-tumour, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties; powerful cellular reconstructor; act as a preventative against cancer, arthritis, gastritis, female hormonal imbalances. HerbShield

335. Urginea maritima (Squill bulb) - expectorant, cardioactive; chronic bronchitis, asthma, whooping cough, heart failure, emetic. Dose: 1:10 60% 0.3-2ml.

336. Urtica dioica (Nettle leaves; Nettle root) - astringent, anti-haemorrhagic, diuretic, tonic; strengthen and support whole body, general tonic, childhood eczema (specific), nervous eczema, any bleeding (haemorrhage), hypoglycaemic, malaena. Dose: 1:5 45% 2-6ml. internally, the diuretic, anti-rheumatic and anti-gout properties are utilized. Several researchers, indeed, have proven experimentally that Nettle increases the elimination of uric acid(3). It would be worth using Nettle internally as a: remineralizing agent (anemia, general fatigue, devitalized hair); rheumatic ailments; gout; Diuretic; Uric-eliminator in case of cutaneous eruptions, nervous eczema. Nettle Root: specifically for prostate enlargement. See Prostate.

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Go to Hopking's Herbal - A Modern Materia Medica (herbs and their medicinal action and uses):
A, B-C, D-E-F, G-H, I-J-K, L-M-N, O-P-Q, R-S, T-U, V-W, X-Y-Z

 

 

 

 


Prescriptions

Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH FINEH.

Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. See terms and fees.

Once you have received your herbal prescription you can contact Alan Hopking at any time for more free advice (preferably by email). When you have completed your bottle of herbal medicine and if you want a repeat prescription you are requested to phone or email so that your progress can be assessed and adjustments made if necessary so that there is no break in your treatment. To order or re-order, click here.

MRCHM - see Alan Hopking's statement about renouncing his association with membership of this organisation

HERBACTIVE Centre of Herbal Medicine, England, UK. Freephone 0800 0834436

General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK

• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.

PRECAUTIONS:

Pregnant/Breast-feeding mothers

Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.

Volatile Oils

Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.

Uteroactivity

A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.

Breast-feeding mothers

A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.

Paediatric Use

Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.

Perioperative use

The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.

From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK

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