Herbal Extracts And Hormones


Herbal Extracts And Hormones Essay, Research Paper

Herbal Extracts and Hormones

Herbs are found everywhere, and hormones are a natural product of

everyone’s body. The production of hormones increases and decreases with the

age and development of the individual. Due to the nature of hormones and the

ongoing research still being done, this article will investigate only two

hormones that are in common use by the everyday person.

Herbs, on the other hand, can be found from California to China and as

far as consumers are concerned, they are now mainstream products that can be

found in supermarkets and drug stores world wide. Healing plants and herbs are

used by over ninety percent of the world’s people. Mowry, pgs.1-11 In the

United States, with the introduction of herbal capsules and pills, people are

enjoying the benefits of Earth’s good medicines. The herb industry has been

growing at about thirty percent per year for the past several years. Herbs are

being used in homes, for more than just spicing the sauce or glazing the chicken.

Herbs are being used as an alternative for medications as well. In the coming

years, we may see the introduction of newer and better medicinal herbs as

scientists Mowry pgs. 26-27 continue their search for the cures of all

aches and pains.

In past years, herbs were used for pains and aches. These herbs are

making a comeback because they have fewer side effects than regular medicine.

An example is willow bark Mowry, pgs. 43-49 which is being used instead of

aspirin. Aspirin was made from the active ingredient in willow bark. However,

people are using willow bark instead of aspirin because it does not cause the

stomach to bleed as aspirin does.

Ginkgo is being sold as a leading prescription drug in Germany and most

countries in Europe. Takagi, pgs. 96-101 This herb is growing in usage in

this country as more people age. It has been used in Asia for countless

generations. There is a growing body of evidence, as research continues, that

points to the outstanding effects of the Gingko tree on many age-related

disorders or sicknesses. This herb is reported to increase the ability of the

blood circulation system. It is a powerful medicine for the treatment of

restoring of a person’s memory. Tagki, pgs. 3-10

A tea made from the Passion Flower or Valerian Root is used to calm a

person or relieve anxiety. These are thousand year old medicines used as

tranquilizers. They have fewer side effects and don’t damage the body as Valium

or other man made tranquilizers. It is almost impossible to over dose on these

types of nerve calmer. Uphof, pgs. 19-31

The history of medicinal herbs begins long before the start of any large

society. Herb’s were man’s first line of fighting against the ills and

accidents that beset mankind. The ancient people learned from instinct and

from watching animals and using leaves, earth, mud and water. These things were

the first medicines. By trial and error, the early humans learned what served

them the best. Several of these early medicines are still used today, but are

more refined and better understood. During the hunt by early man for medical

herbs, the applications or taking of the herb was accompanied by the use of

magic sayings or dances. Today, for most of the technological people of the

Earth, magic is no longer needed. In the world which we live, many of our most

useful drugs are still considered to have originally come into use from early

societies. Some examples of these herbs used as drugs are: Digitalis (for the

heart) from Foxglove, Quinine ( for Malaria) from Peruvian Bark, Cocaine (and

its derivatives) from the Coca Leaf, Atropine ( a stimulant for nerve gas) from

the Belladonna plant, Curare (used in surgery) from the plant Strychnos (also

used for poison arrows) and the new drug Taxol (used in the treatment of Cancer)

from the Pacific Yew Tree. Weiner, pgs. 22-23 There are many others that exist

and are being used by the drug companies to treat many of the ills of people


Technology permits the making of newer and more pure herbal medicines.

Herbs are used and prepared in China in the following forms: slices, powders,

pills, plasters, distillates, pellets, teas and drinks. In the United States,

we can find herbs in the following forms, in the addition to those used in

China: tablets, capsules, fluid extracts, ointments, granules, syrups,

suppositories, sprays, injections and ampules. Weiner, pgs.27-32

In today’s world, people are too busy to make their own herbal remedies

and generally like clean, odor free, coated pills or gel tablets. There is a

potency and purity issue that is developing and the simple increase in strength

of a herb could prove harmful or deadly to human use. However, we should

welcome the standardization of all medicinal herbs, and making them from plants

that have been proven safe. Standardization has been introduced to off set the

negative effects of poor quality control which has been a big problem with the

herb industry. We can now reliably count on receiving the same quality and

quantity of a substance. Quality control is needed because nature does not

always produce a plant with consistent contents or medicines. Weiner, pgs. 31-35

In the 1990’s, I see a wonderful return to the reality that we must

preserve our natural environment. The realization that we must care for the

natural drugs and herb that can be found in the shrinking rain forests, which

could contain hundreds of thousands of new compounds that could heal mankind.

The two major hormones that are being sold to the American public is

Melatonin and DHEA. I will discuss the merits of these two hormones starting

with Melatonin. Melatonin is an Amino Acid secreted by the Pineal Gland during

the night. This hormone plays an important part in the regulation of the

sleep/wake cycle. Each night a signal is received by the Pineal Gland to

produce Melatonin. This hormone is the one that induces sleep. This is

controlled by the amount of sunlight that is available to the individual. A

blind person is not able to stimulate the production of the sleep hormone and

this their bodies do not react to a normal twenty four sleep/wake cycle. Lust,

pgs. 91-96 A blind person trying to sleep when there is low Melatonin in their

system will have trouble sleeping.

Melatonin is available from several unregulated health food suppliers.

This means that there are no purity standards and people are self-medicating

with unknown dosages. Research at the Harvard Medical School show that

Melatonin is a potent cure Insomnia and does not have side effects. You can

already Buy Melatonin in drug stores, but no one knows the correct dosage,

interaction with other drugs or the long term effects.

DHEA is produced by our Adrenal Glands and is the mot common hormone in

the body. It is present in large amounts in healthy individuals. DHEA is

broken down by the body into other hormones such as Estrogen, Testosterone,

Progesterone and others. Research has shown that maintaining levels in older

individuals as those found in youth ensures energy, vitality and the support of

the Endocrine System. It seems that supplementing DHEA to levels found in

youthful individuals has anti aging, anti obesity and anti cancer influences.

It may also help to stabilize nerve cell growth and is being tested in

Alzheimer’s patients. This hormone may help prevent the effects of aging,

hypertension, fatigue, depression, memory loss and obesity. Millspaugh, pgs. 22-


There needs to be more studies on the effects of herbs and hormones on

the treatment of many ailments. The evidence seems to support the claims being

made for them by sellers of alternative medicine. We are now entering a new age

where progress permits the manufacture of highly reliable herbal medications.

Many of the herbal medications are bitter in taste. New technology allows the

masking or elimination of these bad tastes. Science is making medications

easier to take and to swallow by coating or making gelatin capsules that hide

the odor and taste of a medicine.

Today, we are faced with a potency war and the saying “Small is

beautiful,” or “Less is more,” may yet become the normal way to approach drugs,

medicines or herbs. We should welcome the standardization of herbal medications,

and using only those herbal extracts and plants which have been subject to

safety and efficiency studies. The following herbs have been proven to have a

beneficial effect on people when used properly: Ginseng, Ginkgo, Ginger, Milk

Thistle, Bilberry, Echinacea, Turmeric, Orange Oil, Valerian and others.

Standardization must be introduced into the herbal industry. With its

aid, herbs can become reliable and we can count on receiving the same dosage

from capsule to capsule. The future of herbal medicine is very bright. People

are rediscovering plant remedies and are once again looking to nature for the

natural solution to the ills that man seems to be heir to.

With the growth of the herbal industries, Americans will join the

Europeans in taking charge of their own first symptom health care. The

increasing costs of conventional medicine and the many bad reactions to

prescription drugs have given a new meaning to the old saying, “Physician, heal

thyself.” Herbal medicines are coming of age in America and not too soon.


Lust, John “The Herb Book” New York, NY. “Bantam Books 1993 Millspaugh,

Charles ” American Medicinal Plants” New York, NY. Dover Mowry, D.B. “The

Scientific Validation of herbal medicine” Leni, Utah.

Cormorant Books 1986 Takagi, K. et al “The Pharmacology of Medicinal

Herbs in East Asia.” Tokyo,

Nanzando 1982 Uphof, J. C “Dictionary of Economic Plants.” Germany,

Verlan 1968 Weiner, M.A. “Earth medicine” New York Ballentine Books 1990

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