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July 29, 2008

Heartburn No More

Advertiser Review

I decided that I’ve suffered long enough with acid reflux, and it’s time to do something about it besides popping antacid tablets in the middle of the night. I remembered reading somewhere that this was not a good habit.

Heartburn No More book

So I paid my $47 and downloaded Jeff Martin’s 150-page eBook. Jeff is a certified nutritionist, and a former heartburn sufferer himself, and he spent 7 years researching and perfecting his techniques for eliminating heartburn homeopathically.

The book provides a solid introduction to the causes of heartburn. Traditional medicine can only provide temporary relief, but cannot cure the malady, because it treats only the symptoms and doesn’t consider the underlying cause. Jeff’s homeopathic method cures heartburn naturally, permanently, without drugs, and without any side effects.

In addition to this valuable eBook, the package also provides personal consultations with the author to help you get through the battle with acid reflux once and for all. 6 more eBooks on related subjects are also included.

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July 2, 2008

Featured On Ezine Articles

Four Differing Viewpoints

By David Broadhead, Ph.D.

Abstract

This article continues the discussion of the philosophical background of herbal medicine by describing the four distinct points of view regarding the use of herbal remedies. A short bibliography is provided listing websites representative of each viewpoint.

The Herbalists [1]

Most herbalists would concede that pharmaceuticals are often necessary in treating emergencies. A patient might need to be immediately sedated if he is thrashing about violently, to prevent him from injuring himself and others. However, in longer term treatments, herbs can provide resistance to disease, nutritional support, and other benefits that pharmaceuticals cannot match. They also contain many minor ingredients that may interact with the main ingredient, to support and enhance its function.

Pharmaceutical Manufacturers [2]

In doing research for this article, I examined the websites of several pharmaceutical companies. They were very well-designed and provided a lot of information about their support for research into new medicines, but I could find no information at all indicating any interest in, or opinions on herbal medicine.

Pharmaceutical companies do, however, provide financial support for doctor’s organizations who, in turn, advise caution to those who would condsider using herbal products. Here are some examples of cautions published by the American Academy of Family Physicians [3].

Vitamin & Mineral Manufacturers

These companies actively promote herbal supplements. At times their products are even supported with articles written by herbalists. However, a disclaimer is always included for legal reasons:

“This statement has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” [4]

Governmental Entities

Herbal supplements are regulated in the US by the Food & Drug Administration as foods, and consequently do not have the same rigorous review processes as new drugs. Recently, however, new regulations require more stringent safety practices in their manufacture to ensure that they are free of contaminants, and that they contain what their labels say they do.

Many countries, the US, UK, and Australia, for example, have governmental organizations who are charged with studying herbal medicines scientifically. These institutions are beginning to provide some insight into identifying the active ingredients in herbs, and are studying how they affect the body.

They also advise caution in the use of herbal products, but their warnings [5] are not as stringently worded as those propounded by physicians:

“Many people believe that products labeled ‘natural’ are always safe and good for them. This is not necessarily true. Herbal medicines do not have to go through the testing that drugs do.”

More to come…



Bibliography

This is not intended to be an exhaustive bibliography. I have tried to provide examples of websites espousing all points of view on herbal remedies.

[1] Herbs.org — Website of the Herb Research Foundation. “Founded in 1983 with a mission of herb research and public education, HRF remains committed to supporting the public’s right to truthful information about the health benefits of herbs.”

[2] Gene.com — Example of a pharmaceutical company’s website. I picked this one since it had a prominent advertisement in the May/June 2008 issue of AARP magazine, to which I subscribe.

[3] FamilyDoctor.org — The website of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

[4] BronsonVitamins.com — Example of a vitamin/mineral company. I have been purchasing my vitamins & minerals from here for many years.

[5] MedlinePlus.gov — Website of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

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June 5, 2008

Featured On Ezine Articles

Historical and Philosophical Background

By David Broadhead, Ph.D.

Abstract

Herbal Remedies are traditional or folk remedies involving the use of herbs. And an herb is a plant, plant part, or plant extract used for its scent, flavor, or therapeutic properties. This article presents a brief overview of the history and philosophy of the use of herbal remedies for their therapeutic properties.

History

Herbal remedies have been around since before recorded history. Cave paintings in France, radiocarbon-dated to before 13,000 BC, show the use of plants as healing agents. Herbalism was intimately connected to religious practices, and was frequently the jealously-guarded preserve of shamans, or “witch doctors”. The use of herbs as medicine pervades all cultures.

The earliest written records date back over 5000 years in Western culture to the Sumerian civilization. In the East, the Siddha, Unani and Ayurvedic systems from India arose long before the Christian era, and are still practiced today. And traditional Chinese herbology is still thriving as well.

Africa has a long history of herbal remedies, strongly influenced by its links with trading partners from both East and West. Native Americans hold to the belief that illness is caused by a disturbance in one’s balance with nature, and can be cured by rituals that often include the use of herbal medicines.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80% of the world’s population use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. Many pharmaceuticals being used today by physicians were originally used as herbal remedies, including aspirin, digitalis, and quinine. In recent years, scientists have been searching all over the world for natural sources of phytochemicals that might be developed into treatments for various diseases. The WHO estimates that 25% of drugs presently in use in the U.S. were derived from plants.

Philosophy

Despite the fact that herbal remedies have a long history of use, the fact that in most cases their effectiveness has not been scientifically proven has led to a controversy between herbalists and mainstream medicine. In Western culture, the rise of modern medical practice brought with it a decline in the use of herbal medicines. This gave rise to the notion that such remedies were nothing more than “old wives tales.” In recent years, however, herbalism has come to be recognized by many as an alternative, or sometimes complementary method of treatment.

In my research for this article, I discovered that there are basically four groups, each espousing differing points of view regarding the use of herbal remedies: 1) herbalists, 2) pharaceutical manufacturers, sometimes aided by physicians, 3) vitamin and mineral supplement manufacturers, with some help from herbalists, and 4) governmental institutions.

I will try not to take sides here. There is no need for animosity between these factions. In all that I have read, there is a concern for the safety and well-being of those who would use herbal remedies. But each group has its own vested interest which slants its perspective to more or less of a degree.

To be continued…

In the next installment, I will describe the viewpoints of the four factions above. References will be given to websites which illustrate the ideas presented.

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