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How safe are herbal supplements? (2) August 9, 2009

Posted by paripl110707 in Banned Mahogany Seeds, Better Feeling, Lowered Body Pressure, Whole Leaves, Whole Plant.
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I knew one story of a woman who was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors prescribed her to undergo a chemotherapy. But then her friend told her stories of people cured by herbs.  So she decided to try the herbal therapy. Several months after taking the herbal teas she said she was feeling much better. But then she died soon after.

We have heard of herbals that used to be “miracle cures” of this or that disease. The fads didn’t last long, however. Now these miracle cures are no more.

I’m sure that some of you heard the mahogany seeds.  They said that the mahogany seeds lowered blood pressure. The mahogany seed was the rage only about a decade ago.

There is this story of one journalist who started chewing the seeds because he heard of the story about the mahogany seeds.  And he believe that it will cure him, so he tried that.  The seed was turned out to be toxic to human.  And it was banned.  But it was too late for that journalist.

It is the same thing with other herbals. Some plants really have medicinal value. Indeed, many medicines are taken from plants. But separating the medicinal ingredients from other parts of the plant is one thing; taking the whole plant or its leaves as a tea is another.

A plant or a leaf has many chemical properties. The medicinal property may be only one, but there may be many others that could be harmful. Herbals should be taken with caution because we don’t know the harmful ingredients they contain. Studies must first be made before a certain plant is prescribed as medicine.

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Ampalaya for diabetes? – 1 January 10, 2009

Posted by paripl110707 in Ampalaya Leaves, Diabetes Mellitus, Heral Medicinal Plants, Lower Blood Sugar, Momordica Charantia, Treat Diabetes.
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Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, on January 29, 2008, issued a circular, rescinding a previous one released in 2003, reinstating ampalaya (Momordica charantia) on the Department of Health’s list of “scientifically validated herbal medicinal plants.”

The reason cited for his decision was the “recent evidence on the clinical efficacy of ampalaya against diabetes mellitus.” The basis was the “clinical trials conducted by scientists at the University of the Philippines in Manila and Los Baños which have found that leaves of ampalaya growing in Mt. Makiling are comparable to synthetic drugs for diabetes…Other studies have established that ampalaya fruits and seeds have medicinal properties.”

Not Potent Enough by Itself

As we have written in this column on September 15, 2003 (The Brewing Bitter Controversy), “while ampalaya has the property to lower blood sugar, eating ampalaya or taking any of those ampalaya preparations (capsules, tea, etc) being marketed as herbal alternative “cure” for diabetes, alone and by themselves (in lieu of prescription medications for diabetes), is not effective enough to adequately and safely treat diabetes.”

Announcing that ampalaya has been “scientifically validated herbal medicinal plants” is fine, but saying that the “ampalaya leaves are comparable to synthetic drugs for diabetes” is dangerously confusing to the lay persons. That statement should be qualified for public safety.

Ref:  dailyinquirer