I don’t care about what you have heard or read lately, these are the facts about these herbal supplements:
Echinacea has “Good scientific evidence for this use”:
- Prevention of upper respiratory tract infections (adults and children)
- Treatment of upper respiratory tract infections (adults)
St. John’s wort has “Strong scientific evidence” for treating “mild-to-moderate depressive disorder.”
Chamomile extract was better than placebo in reducing anxiety.
Milk thistle is effective in interfering with the life cycle of the hepatitis C virus.
Ginkgo biloba helps treat dementia, relieves claudication (painful legs from clogged arteries), and improves blood flow to the brain to reduce cerebral insufficiency (defined as poor concentration, confusion, absent-mindedness, anxiety, etc.).
Pcynogenol helps for treating asthma, and for relieving chronic venous insufficiency (leg swelling and varicose veins).
Ginseng boosts immune function, lowers blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics, and is a heart healthy antioxidant, which include the reduction of LDL oxidation.
Red yeast rice gets an A for lowering LDL and triglycerides.
PAD is a painful condition caused by reduced blood flow to the legs due to narrowed arteries. Diabetics and smokers are at highest risk of developing PAD. Ulcers and gangrene may develop in advanced cases of the disease. Warm laser is one of the best treatments I have seen for this condition.
Ginkgo Biloba has also been shown to help.
Ginkgo Guideline One: a daily dose of 240 mg (120 mg per day is the usual recommendation).
Ginkgo Guideline Two: Slight gastrointestinal bleeding is a potential side effect. But this is most commonly seen in ginkgo users who also take drugs (such as aspirin and warfarin) that can cause similar bleeding.
Ginkgo Guideline Three: Ginkgo contains a compound called ginkgolic acid. A safe maximum level is 5 ppm. Higher levels may prompt side effects such as headaches and skin irritations. If your ginkgo supplement doesn’t note ginkgolic acid content, consider that a red flag.
As for prevention of PAD, there are two key recommendations: 1) Stop smoking, and 2) exercise. Even though it might seem like the last thing you want to do, a daily walking regimen is an excellent way to help prevent PAD, or to minimize pain associated with PAD.