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Herbal Treatments Takes A Front Seat In Alternative Medicine

Medical herbs and healing plants have long been used throughout history, and are still used together in many cultures. Although it’s true that in the United States this isn’t the first form of medicine turned to during any kind of ailment, there are times that these herbal alternatives have been claimed to have made the most difference in the treatments of many disorders and diseases, even some as serious as cancer. One of the most commonly treated illnesses that medical herbs tend to be used for, however, is the common cold, and this can be seen easily in the number of herbal ingredients integrated into cold prevention tablets, and even multivitamins. Recently, however, there’s been some news on the subject that has brought this alternative source of healing to new heights.

The Popularity of Herbs

In the United States over the past few years there’s been a rise in the use of herbal medications, so much so that in 2012 almost eighteen percent of adults in the country admitted to using herbal supplements, outside of the average vitamins that are normally taken. This was a fairly big margin in comparison with less than ten of the population coming in contact with other alternative treatments including chiropractors or osteopathic doctors. Even less admitted to taking part in meditation, yoga, or massage. Rachael Rettner of Fox News reports: “Herbs and other dietary supplements besides vitamins are the most commonly used type of “complementary medicine” (also called alternative medicine) in the United States, followed by visits to chiropractors, yoga and massage, a new report finds.”

A recent study found that the Mid and Western states tend to use these novel procedures more often than those located in southern states, and the use of herbal supplements is actually highest in Mountain regions. This area tallied adult users in nearly a thirty percent average compared to other regions where usage could fall as low as five percent. The differences were accounted for by economic, cultural and environmental factors, although there were no specific reasons pinpointed for these alterations cross country.

Ginseng For Cold And Flu Control

A secondary research project overseen by the Georgia State University, through their new Institute for Biomedical Sciences reported that ginseng may help treat and prevent respiratory syncytial virus as well as influenza. Science Daily writes: “Seasonal influenza is a serious respiratory disease that causes annual epidemics in humans worldwide, resulting in about three to five million cases of severe illness and about 250,000 to 500,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.”

Sang-Moo Kang of the International Journal of Molecular Medicine has performed a study focused on the beneficial effects that this plant can have on human health overall, and has designed a study that is mostly oriented toward the development of vaccines to be used in the treatment of viral diseases like RSV.

Other Reports On The Benefits Of Ginseng

Not only does ginseng seem to protect against colds and flus, but it also has been said to have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, which might assist in its ability to strengthen the immune system and fight influenza. It can be easy to forget how serious of a disease influenza can be while living in a country that offers such advanced medical technology, but the scares that the American population has had over the H1N1 virus, among many others has begun to encourage more respect for the threat. The swine flu passed through more than seventy four countries during 2009 and killed thousands. Medical News Today reminds: “Writing in PLOS Medicine, they estimate the total respiratory deaths worldwide to be up to 203,000, some 10 times higher than the World Health Organization (WHO) official total, which is based on lab-confirmed cases.”

There’s also the fact that there are no current vaccines on the market to protect against respiratory syncytial virus, which is a huge factor in the inflammation during bronchitis and pneumonia, and can also cause death due to viral issues in infants and the elderly.

Findings From The Study With Ginseng

Kang found that of the different herbal supplements available red ginseng had the largest impact on the epithelial cells of the human lung, especially when infected with a virus like influenza. The extract from the red ginseng plant which was introduced to the lung cells reduced inflammation in lab mice when an oral dosage was given over a long period of time. Proteins were produced at a higher rate during this time which naturally stimulated an immune response in the bronchial walls. This resulted in slowed inflammation and decreased the chances of infection in the lungs. Kang is testing whether or not the antiviral effects that the red ginseng could bring into play during treatments of RSV might also be utilized as an aid with decreased infection in the future for other illnesses and treatments as well.

There have been plenty of other studies on ginseng, as well as other herbs and plants that have healing properties, and although they are natural, they aren’t all good for you, which is why referring to a physician before beginning any new treatment or drug is important, even if it seems harmless. There are many herbal remedies that are perfectly healthy in small doses, and many of them are even fine for those with allergies to certain medications, but in too high of a quantity or when mixed with other substances, these herbs can still be dangerous.

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