Herbal Supplements

Cordyceps
Cordyceps is a mushroom that has long been used, particularly in traditional Chinese medicine, for ailments ranging from asthma to coughs to female hormonal problems. Its use has since extended to include treating bronchitis, hepatitis B, and hepatic cirrhosis, and acting as a replacement to certain immunosuppressive medications. Some studies have also found that cordyceps provides increased energy levels and improved lung capacity. For that reason, this herbal supplement is popular among athletes.

Glucosamine
Glucosamine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in all tissues. It is vitally important to the preservation of cartilage, for two reasons: First, it is a main component of the connective tissue. Second, it is an aid in the process of transporting sulfur (another main component of cartilage) into the tissue.

As people age, they often gradually lose the ability to produce adequate levels of glucosamine. It is theorized that this is a main cause of osteoarthritis. Studying the effect of glucosamine supplements on arthritis sufferers, researchers have found that pain was relieved and mobility was improved. Although ti has not yet been proven, some people believe that this supplement can actually slow down the progression of the disease. Glucosamine sulfate is the form most highly recommended for relief from osteoarthritis.

Don’t’ take any form of glucosamine if you are allergic to shellfish. Consult use with your healthcare provider if you have diabetes, because glucosamine can alter blood sugar levels. Also, taking glucosamine with a diuretic reduces the effectiveness of this supplement, so you may need to increase the dosage to compensate.

Glycerophosphocholine
Glycerophosphocholine (GPC) is a compound related to phosphatidylcholine. It is only available with a prescription in Europe; it is available without a prescription in the United States. GPC stimulates the production of new acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that helps maintain memory and allows learning. Ti also has an effect on nerve growth factor, a substance that regulates acetylcholine receptors. Studies have shown that this supplement can forestall, stabilize, and even reverse some memory loss that occurs in the early stages of dementia.

Ipriflavone
The synthetic ipriflavone is similar in structure to soy isoflavonoids. It is approved in some countries as a prescription drug for the treatment and prevent of osteoporosis, while it is available over the counter in the United States. Ipriflavone works by enhancing the effects of calcitonin (a thyroid hormone that regulates calcium) on calcium metabolism. The recommended dosage is 200 milligrams three times a day.

Malic Acid
Malic acid is found naturally in the body, but can also be consumed in apples, currants, and most tart fruits (as well as in some supplements). It is essential to life, as it is involved in several energy-producing reactions including the Krebs cycle and mitochondrial respiration. Despite its importance, healthy people do not usually need to take malic acid supplementation. However, a deficiency is associated with physical exhaustion, muscle pain, and fibromyalgia, and a malic acid supplementation program can help treat these conditions. Cisplatin, a chemotherapy medication, and certain other drugs can reduce the level of malic acid in the body.

Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate
Ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate (OKG) is a combination of two amino acids, ornithine and glutamine. It increases the release of muscle-building hormones, prevents the breakdown of muscle, enhances muscle growth, and improves immune function. Clinical trials have shown that OKG supplementation also improves wound healing.

Policosanol
Policosanol is a mixture of fatty alcohols isolated from the wax of sugar cane and yams. Its main compound is octanosol. Studies have shown that policosanol lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol. It can also help prevent atherosclerosis. Policosanol reduces platelet aggregation of the blood and, therefore, its ability to clot, so consult use with your healthcare provider if you are taking a blood thinner.

Quercetin
Quercetin is a plant flavonoid. An anti-inflammatory, quercetin can be used to reduce arthritis pain. It can also help treat prostatitis and respiratory illnesses associated with inflammation such as asthma and bronchitis. Quercetin inhibits the release of histamine, which decreases the severity of allergic reactions, and is an antioxidant. Studies have also shown that men who intake more flavonoids, particularly quercetin, suffer fewer strokes and heart attacks than those who do not. In addition, quercetin has been found to protect the kidneys against the aging process. It can be found in apples and red onions as well as nutritional supplements.

Red Yeast Rice
Red yeast rice is the fermented product of rice on which red yeast has been grown. Red yeast is a natural statin drug. It forms naturally occurring HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors known as monacolins, which lower cholesterol. In fact, monacolin-K (which is also called lovastatin) is the ingredient in the cholesterol medication Mevacor. Red yeast rice also contains sterols (beta-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, sapogenin), isoflavones, and monounsaturated fatty acids, which also have a cholesterol-lowering effect on the body.

Similarly to a statin drug, rd yeast rice can deplete the body of coenzyme Q10. Therefore, after taking red yeast rice, the body’s supply of coenzyme Q10 must be replenished. Consult your healthcare practitioner regarding the recommended dosage of coenzyme Q10 for you.

Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is made from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, a small tree that grows in Australia. With antiseptic and antifungal properties, tea tree oil can be applied topically to treat sunburn, sores, cuts, arthritis, bruises, insect bites, warts, acne, fungal infections, mouth ulcers, and dandruff. Do not take tea tree oil internally because it can cause nerve damage. It should also not be applied in the ears, eyes, or other mucous membrane.