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Data from a well-designed Swedish study indicate that green tea and Roiboos tea—but not black tea—can significantly inhibit Angiotensin Converting Enzyme, and potentially lower blood pressure. An HerbClip from the American Botanical Council.
Hibiscus, a popular tea herb in many parts of the world, can markedly lower systolic blood pressure in type II diabetic people with mild hypertension, according to a recent clinical trial. On the other hand, black tea tends to increase systolic pressure.
An extract of Elderberry (Sambucus) proved effective in reducing symptoms associated with human influenza in a new placebo-controlled clinical trial.
In the US, most people use aromatic essential oils for relaxation and other forms of aromatherapy. In France, they have a long history of internal use for the prevention and treatment of common infections. Corinne Andrion-Israelsen, who trained in the French tradition, explores the history and clinical application of plant essential oils.
It's not just what herbs you take but how you take them. The form in which an herb is taken has a big impact on its clinical effects. Teas, tinctures, decoctions, standardized extracts and pills containing the same herb may have somewhat different effects. Tieraona Low Dog, MD, a physician and herbalist, defines the different forms of herbal therapy and their merits and faults.
As use of herbal medicines continues to grow, supplement industry trade groups are implementing a number of self-regulation systems to try and improve the quality and reliability of botanical medicine products.
While herbal medicines are generally considered to be quite safe, there are currently no laws mandating physicians to report adverse events associated with herbs to federal authorities. Similarly, there are no laws requiring the FDA to investigate reported incidents. Without better national reporting and follow-up systems, it is difficult to gauge the true safety of common herbal medicines.
Independent laboratories and private companies are jumping into the dietary supplement rating game, hoping to bridge what many see as a gap in government oversight.
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