The Natural Pharmacy: Complete A-Z Reference to Alternative Treatments for Common Health Conditions

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The Natural Medicine Resource You Can Trust

Imagine having the foremost experts in natural medicine providing up-to-date treatment options for your health concerns. With The Natural Pharmacy from Healthnotes, Inc., you get just that. Completely revised to include more than 500 entries, this reliable health information resource is informative and easy to navigate.

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Overview

The Natural Medicine Resource You Can Trust

Imagine having the foremost experts in natural medicine providing up-to-date treatment options for your health concerns. With The Natural Pharmacy from Healthnotes, Inc., you get just that. Completely revised to include more than 500 entries, this reliable health information resource is informative and easy to navigate.

Compiled from the comprehensive Healthnotes knowledgebase—a trusted resource used by national retail grocery, health food, and pharmacy chains, and major Internet health sites—The Natural Pharmacy continues to set the standard for the latest and most scientifically accurate natural health information.

• The reliability and accuracy of Healthnotes in book form

• Revised and updated edition covering 45 new health conditions, 15 new supplements, and 24 new herbs

• Tabbed pages, quick-reference charts, and cross-references throughout

• Easy-to-find information on dosages and side effects

• With a foreword by Dr. Bob Arnot

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The Natural Pharmacy will facilitate the acceptance of these beneficial natural therapies and give readers a useful road map as they join us on ‘the road less traveled.’ ” —Julian Whitaker, M.D., editor of Health & Healing newsletter

“From the foremost experts on herbs, homeopathy, and nutrition, this reference is an excellent sourcebook for help with the most common health conditions.” —James A. Duke, Ph.D., Medical Botanist USDA (ret.) and author of The Green Pharmacy

The Natural Pharmacy delivers scientifically sound information from leading experts. A clear, concise interpretation of the science behind natural medicine.” —Michael Murray, N.D., coauthor of Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307336651
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/21/2006
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 832
  • Product dimensions: 8.48 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.71 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Abnormal Pap Smear

Sexually active teenagers and women 20 to 65 years old are advised to have periodic Pap smears, where a small amount of tissue is swabbed from the cervix and examined for evidence of precancerous or cancerous changes. A pap smear is considered abnormal when abnormal cervical cells are found. Cervical dysplasia is a term used to describe abnormal cervical cells taken during the pap smear. Cervical dysplasia is usually graded according to its severity, which can range from mild inflammation to precancerous changes to localized cancer.

If an abnormality is detected early, the doctor can prescribe effective treatment before the problem becomes more serious. Cervical cancer (page 000) is a common, sometimes fatal disease. It is now known that human papilloma virus (HPV), also the cause of genital warts (page 000), is the major cause of cervical dysplasia.

What are the symptoms of an abnormal pap smear?

There are no symptoms of cervical dysplasia until the disease has progressed into advanced cancer. Therefore, it is crucial that sexually active women, or women over age 20, have yearly Pap smears until the age of 65. Women who experience bleeding between menstrual periods, bleeding after intercourse, abnormal vaginal discharge, abdominal pain or swelling, urinary symptoms, or pelvic pain should be evaluated by a healthcare provider, even if it is not the regular time for a Pap test.

Medical treatments

If the Pap smear is normal, no further tests are necessary until the next yearly Pap test. If the cells collected on the Pap smear are abnormal, a repeat test and a pelvic exam where the doctor looks at the cervix with a special magnifying lens (colposcope) may be recommended. Sometimes a small piece of tissue is removed from the cervix (biopsy) and examined under a microscope to see if there are any precancerous changes or cancer present. If these additional tests find an early stage of cervical cancer, it is either treated by removing the affected portion of the cervix (cone biopsy) or by removing the entire cervix and uterus (abdominal hysterectomy).

Checklist for Abnormal Pap Smear

Nutritional

RatingSupplementsHerbs

HHHFolic acid (page 000)

(for women using oral

contraceptives)

HHIGreen tea extracts (page 000) (poly E or (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate)

HIISelenium (page 000)Echinacea (page

Vitamin A (page 000)000), Goldenseal

Vitamin E (page 000)(page 000), Marsh-

mallow (page 000), Myrrh (page 000), Usnea (page 000), Yarrow (page 000) (suppository; in various combinations)

Dietary changes that may be helpful

Most dietary studies have found that women consuming high amounts of nutrients from fruits and vegetables have less risk of cervical dysplasia. Protective effects may be especially strong from diets high in dark yellow/orange vegetables (carrots, winter squash, etc.) and tomatoes.

Lifestyle changes that may be helpful

Cigarette smoking increases the risk of cervical dysplasia, and increases the likelihood that mild forms of dysplasia will progress to more severe forms. Quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke are essential for this and many other health reasons.

Certain sexual behaviors are consistently associated with cervical dysplasia, such as becoming sexually active at an early age and having multiple sexual partners. Avoiding these behaviors may reduce the risk of cervical dysplasia. For those who are sexually active, using barrier methods of contraception, such as a condom or diaphragm, is associated with reduced risk of cervical dysplasia.

Nutritional supplements that may be helpful

Large amounts of folic acid (page 000)—10 mg per day—have been shown to improve the abnormal Pap smears of women who are taking birth control pills. Folic acid does not improve the Pap smears of women who are not taking oral contraceptives. High blood levels of folate (the food form of folic acid) have been linked to protection against the development of cervical dysplasia but these folate levels may only be a marker for eating more fruit and vegetables.

Women with cervical dysplasia may have lower blood levels of beta-carotene (page 000) and vitamin E (page 000) compared to healthy women. Low levels of selenium (page 000) and low dietary intake of vitamin C (page 000) have also been observed in women with cervical dysplasia. Women with a low intake of vitamin A (page 000) have an increased risk of cervical dysplasia. However, there is little research on the use of vitamin A as a treatment for cervical dysplasia.

In a double-blind trial, when women with cervical abnormalities were given either 500 mg of vitamin C or 50,000 IU beta-carotene per day for two years, no significant evidence of improvement was seen in either group, and those assigned to both supplements experienced a statistically insignificant worsening of their condition. Given that the apparent association between these supplements and deterioration of the condition of the cervix appears to have been due to chance, there is currently no sound evidence supporting the use of vitamin C or beta-carotene supplements for women with cervical dysplasia.

Are there any side effects or interactions?

Refer to the individual supplement for information about any side effects or interactions.

Herbs that may be helpful

In a preliminary study, women with cervical dysplasia were randomly assigned to receive either (1) 200 mg per day of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (a flavonoid found in green tea [page 000]), (2) 200 mg per day of poly E (a green tea extract), or (3) no treatment (control group) for 8 to 12 weeks. Approximately two-thirds of the women receiving (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate or poly E had an improvement in their Pap smear, compared with only 10% of the women in the control group.

Several other herbs have been used as part of an approach for women with mild cervical dysplasia, including myrrh (page 000), echinacea (page 000), usnea (page 000), goldenseal (page 000), marshmallow (page 000), and yarrow (page 000). These herbs are used for their antiviral actions as well as to stimulate tissue healing; they are generally administered in a suppository preparation. No clinical trials have proven their effectiveness in treating cervical dysplasia. A doctor should be consulted to discuss the use and availability of these herbs.

Are there any side effects or interactions?

Refer to the individual herb for information about any side effects or interactions.

Acne Rosacea

Acne rosacea, now more accurately know just as rosacea, is a chronic skin condition of the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. It consists of flushing, which turns into red coloration from the dilation of the capillaries and can lead to pustules that resemble acne.

Rosacea occurs mostly in middle-aged adults with fair skin. The cause of rosacea is unknown, but there is likely a genetic component. Severe, untreated rosacea can be disfiguring to the face.

What are the symptoms of acne rosacea?

The skin of the center of the face—typically on or surrounding the nose—is red and swollen, with acne-like blemishes. As the condition progresses, parts of the eye can become inflamed and the nose may enlarge.

Checklist for Acne Rosacea

Nutritional

RatingSupplementsHerbs

HIIBetaine hydrochloride Burdock (page 000)

(page 000)

Digestive enzymes

(page 000)

Vitamin B-complex

(page 000)

Medical treatments

Prescription medications used to treat rosacea include topical and oral antibiotics. The main topical drug, metronidazole (Metrogel), is thought to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. The vitamin A-related medication tretinoin (Retin A), which is used for acne vulgaris, may also be prescribed. The most commonly used oral antibiotic is tetracycline (Sumycin).

Dietary changes that may be helpful

Alcohol may increase the reddening of the skin affected by rosacea, but alcohol is not the cause of this disease. Spicy foods and hot drinks have been reported anecdotally by rosacea sufferers to cause flare-ups, but no controlled research has evaluated these claims. One small, preliminary report suggested that fasting followed by a vegan diet (allowing no animal flesh foods, dairy products, or eggs) had only small and inconsistent effects on rosacea.

Lifestyle changes that may be helpful

Sun exposure, stress, excessive exercise, and extreme temperatures (hot or cold) of weather or bathing water may trigger flare-ups of rosacea, so avoiding these conditions is recommended.

Nutritional supplements that may be helpful

Azelaic acid is found naturally in wheat, rye, and barley and is used topically in a 20% strength cream. Controlled clinical trials have found this cream effective for mild to moderate acne, including rosacea. Azelaic acid cream is available by prescription only and should be used only under the supervision of the prescribing physician.

Preliminary reports in the 1940s claimed that rosacea improved with oral supplements or injections of B vitamins (page 000) On the other hand, one report exists of rosacea-like symptoms in a patient taking 100 mg per day of vitamin B6 (page 000) and 100 mcg per day of vitamin B12 (page 000); these symptoms subsided when the supplements were discontinued. More research is needed to evaluate the potential benefits or hazards of B vitamins for rosacea.

Some people with rosacea have been reported to produce inadequate stomach acid (page 000). In a preliminary trial, supplemental hydrochloric acid, along with vitamin B complex, improved some cases of rosacea in people with low stomach-acid production. Similarly, improvement in rosacea has been reported anecdotally after supplementation with pancreatic digestive enzymes (page 000), and a controlled study found that rosacea patients produced less pancreatic lipase (page 000) than healthy people. Controlled trials are needed to evaluate the effects of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzyme supplements in rosacea. Hydrochloric acid supplements should not be taken without the supervision of a healthcare practitioner.

A topical preparation of retinaldehyde (a prescription form of vitamin A [page 000]) may be effective in treating people with mild rosacea. In a small, preliminary trial, women with rosacea used a retinaldehyde cream (0.05%) once daily for six months. Inflammation was improved in most participants, and blood vessel abnormalities responded in about half the people after six months. Controlled research is needed to confirm these effects. Retinaldehyde cream is available by prescription only and should be used only under the supervision of the prescribing physician.

Are there any side effects or interactions?

Refer to the individual supplement for information about any side effects or interactions.

Herbs that may be helpful

Historically, tonic herbs, such as burdock (page 000), have been used in the treatment of skin conditions. These herbs are believed to have a cleansing action when taken internally. Burdock root tincture may be taken in 2 to 4 ml amounts per day. Dried root preparations in a capsule or tablet can be used at 1 to 2 grams three times per day. Many herbal preparations combine burdock root with other alterative herbs, such as yellow dock (page 000), red clover (page 000), or cleavers (page 000). In the treatment of acne rosacea, none of these herbs has been studied in scientific research.

Are there any side effects or interactions?

Refer to the individual herb for information about any side effects or interactions.

Acne Vulgaris

What do I need to know?

Self-care for acne vulgaris can be approached in a number of ways—but it can be hard to know just where to start. To make it easier, our doctors recommend trying these simple steps first:

Clean your skin

Washing with cleaning lotions, oil-removing pads, and medicated bar soaps can help control acne

Try zinc

60 to 90 mg each day improves some people’s acne

Add copper

If taking extra zinc, your body will need 1 to 2 mg each day of copper to avoid deficiency

About acne vulgaris

Acne vulgaris, also known as common acne, is an inflammatory condition of the sebaceous glands of the skin. It consists of red, elevated areas on the skin that may develop into pustules and even further into cysts that can cause scarring.

Acne vulgaris occurs mostly on the face, neck, and back of most commonly teenagers and to a lesser extent of young adults. The condition results in part from excessive stimulation of the skin by androgens (male hormones). Bacterial infection of the skin also appears to play a role.

Checklist for Acne Vulgaris

Nutritional

RatingSupplementsHerbs

HHHNiacinamide (page 000) Tea tree oil (page

(topical)000) (topical)

Zinc (page 000)

HHIGuggul (page 000)

HIIPantothenic acid Burdock (page 000)

(page 000)Vitex (page 000)

Vitamin A (page 000)(associated with

Vitamin B6 (page 000)menstrual cycle)

What are the symptoms of acne?

Acne is a skin condition characterized by pimples, which may be closed (sometimes called pustules or “whiteheads”) or open (blackheads), on the face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders. Most acne is mild, although some people experience inflammation with larger cysts, which may result in scarring.

Medical treatments

Over the counter products such as astringent lotions, oil-removing pads, and medicated bar soaps are used to keep the skin clean. Non-prescription topical agents containing salicylic acid (Clearasil Acne-Fighting Pads, Stri-Dex Pads) and benzoyl peroxide (Oxy 10 Maximum Strength Advanced Formula, Fostex 10% Wash, Clear By Design) are often recommended to prevent the formation of pimples and to treat preexisting cysts.

Topical prescription medications include benzoyl peroxide (Benzac, Desquam, Triaz); antibiotics such as erythromycin(Akne-mycin, Erygel), clindamycin (Cleocin T), and azelaic acid (Azelex); and tretinoin (Retin-A). Oral antibiotics such as erythromycin (Ery-Tab, E-Mycin) or tetracycline (Sumycin) are often prescribed. Women with severe acne are sometimes treated with birth control pills. People with the most severe acne are usually prescribed isotretinoin (Accutane).

Dietary changes that may be helpful

Many people assume certain aspects of diet are linked to acne, but there is not much evidence to support this idea. Preliminary research found, for example, that chocolate was not implicated. Similarly, though a diet high in iodine (page 000) can create an acne-like rash in a few people, this is rarely the cause of acne. In a preliminary study, foods that patients believed triggered their acne failed to cause problems when tested in a clinical setting. Some doctors of natural medicine have observed that food allergy (page 000) plays a role in some cases of acne, particularly adult acne. However, that observation has not been supported by scientific studies.

Nutritional supplements that may be helpful

In a double-blind trial, topical application of a 4% niacinamide (page 000) gel twice daily for two months resulted in significant improvement in people with acne. However, there is little reason to believe this vitamin would have similar actions if taken orally.

Several double-blind trials indicate that zinc (page 000) supplements reduce the severity of acne. In one double-blind trial, though not in another, zinc was found to be as effective as oral antibiotic therapy. Doctors sometimes suggest that people with acne take 30 mg of zinc two or three times per day for a few months, then 30 mg per day thereafter. It often takes 12 weeks before any improvement is seen. Long-term zinc supplementation requires 1–2 mg of copper per day to prevent copper deficiency.

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