Herb Overview

Research shows herbal therapies are increasing in popularity. In fact, a landmark study in this field in 1997 showed the number of visits to alternative practitioners was estimated to be 629 million. That exceeded the number of visits to all primary care doctors that year.

Researchers from the University of South Florida recently undertook the task of searching through dozens of medical studies on herbs and their effects on dermatology. Here are some of the findings gathered from research around the world:

* Acne – Effective herbs include witch hazel, fruit acids, tea tree oil and vitex.
* Wounds and Burns – Aloe vera is effective in treating both; honey accelerates wound healing and marigold acts as an antiseptic to heal wounds.
* Herpes – Balm, a lemon-scented member of the mint family, can help treat herpes and other wounds. Licorice and hibiscus are also effective.
* Psoriasis – Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has received attention for its effects on this condition. Aloe vera and capsaicin (main ingredient in cayenne pepper) also improve it.

As with many herbal therapies, there are adverse effects of most of these products. It is important patients consult their physicians prior to trying any of these therapies on their own. Currently, the United States does not regulate herbal products. The authors of this study write, “There is no standardization of active ingredients, purity or concentration. This has made learning about and using these treatments challenging.”

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