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7 Cards in this Set

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Used to relieve pain and improve mobility in people with osteoporosis, this dietary supplement may help regenerate cartilage and repair damaged joints. Many double-blind studies have shown that this substance may be more effective than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or placebos in relieving osteoarthritic pain. In addition, pain relief may last for several weeks even after the supplement is discontinued. The supplement is available as capsules and tablets, and by intravenous injection. The usual dosage is 1.5 g taken orally once daily. The supplement is very well tolerated; stomach upset may occur, but is uncommon.
Glucosamine
This herbal remedy is used to treat depression. Compared to placebo, it has been shown to be clinically effective in close to 70% of patients with mild-to-moderate depression. A meta-analysis including 1757 patients in 23 randomized trials showed this alternative treatment to be superior to placebo and have an efficacy similar to prescription antidepressants. In addition, only 20% of patients reported adverse effects as compared with 53% of patients taking conventional antidepressants. The most common adverse effects are photosensitivity reactions, pruritus, and gastrointestinal upset. It is available in many types of dosage forms (capsules, extended release capsules, extract, injection, liquid, pellets, tablets, tincture, and transdermal preparations) in various dosages. The usual dosage is 300 mg of the standardized extract 3 times daily.
St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
When taken regularly, this natural product may help to prevent migraine headache as well as other migraine symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. One of the active ingredients, parthenolide, inhibits the release of serotonin agonists, which are substances that may contribute to migraine headache pain by constricting blood vessels and by preventing the release of prostaglandins. This product has also been used to treat menstrual pain, nervous tension, arthritis, dermatitis, and as an insecticide. It is available as capsules, tablets, and as fresh leaves, in various dosages. The usual dosage to prevent migraine attacks varies widely. Dosages reported are: 200-250 mg in the capsule daily, two leaves chewed 3 times daily or two 400-mg tablets 3 times daily. Although well tolerated, people who chewed the fresh leaves reported tongue and mouth irritation, loss of taste, and swelling of the lip. The active ingredients may also interfere with warfarin (Coumadin) and other anticoagulants. One problem with this product is quality control. One study found that several preparations sampled in the United States did not contain enough of the active ingredient (250 mcg per dosage) to be effective.
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
This substance is a hormone that promotes sleepiness. It is naturally produced by the pineal gland, located at the base of the brain. Release of the hormone is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light. This product is used to treat jet lag and to regulate sleep. Available as capsules, tablets and sublingual tablets in a variety of dosages, this substance has been shown to promote sleep onset with a dosage of only 0.5 mg. However, larger dosages such as 5 mg may be required to maintain sleep. This product is well tolerated especially when used in low doses (less than 2 mg). However, when used routinely in larger doses, headache, "heavy head," and transient depression may occur.
Melatonin
The bark of this West African tree used to stimulate sexual desire and improve performance. In the United States, this substance has been used to treat impotence in male patients with diabetes or vascular abnormalities. The product is available as capsules, tablets, and as an orally administered liquid. Some clinical studies have shown a significant difference in efficacy between patients taking this substance versus those taking a placebo, while other studies have shown no significant difference. The reason for the discrepancy may be the dosages used in the studies. The effective dosage to treat nonorganic erectile function is 6 to 10 mg taken 3 times daily. Adverse effects may include nervousness, anxiety, sleeplessness, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, tremor, nausea, and vomiting.
Yohimbe (Pausinystalia yohimbe)
The plant source for this supplement is a member of the daisy family and grows in the American Midwest. The supplement is used to boost the immune system and may be effective in reducing the incidence or severity of upper respiratory infections. Clinical study results are mixed: trials in which a high dosage was used showed this substance to be more effective than placebo in reducing symptoms, while trials using a lower dosage showed no significant difference over placebo. Interestingly, using this supplement sparingly seems to more effective than using it routinely. One study found that a single dose stimulated the immune system, while repeated doses over several days suppressed the immune system. The herb and root forms of this substance are available as capsules, a liquid tincture, pressed juice, root tea and by injection. The usual dosage varies with the product. Although the supplement is well tolerated, it should not be used in people who are allergic to ragweed or other plants in the daisy family, those who have a systemic illness such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, AIDS, tuberculosis, or autoimmune diseases, or in those who have had an organ transplant and who are taking drugs used for rejection, and in those who are taking cyclosporine or other immunosuppressant drugs.
Echinacea (Echinaceae species)
Used to treat symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate), this natural substance may shrink the prostate gland. Clinical studies have shown that treatment with this substance has improved urinary flow rate, decreased frequency (including overnight), and reduced the amount of residual urine held in the bladder after urination compared with placebo. It is available as capsules, tablets, and as an oral liquid in various doses. The usual dosage is 1 to 2 g daily of the ground dry fruit, 320 mg of the extract daily, or 160 mg of the extract twice daily. This substance is well tolerated, but is believed to block hormones such as estrogen and androgen, and may therefore may aggravate hormone-dependant cancers, or interfere with hormone treatments.
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)