Herbal Supplements

Herbal Supplements

Susan Silberstein & Marilyn Joyce (Health and Nutrition Educator & Heath Counselor) gives expert video advice on: Why should I take garlic supplements?; What is "ginseng"? and more...

Why should I take garlic supplements?

It's a good idea to take garlic supplements if you don't like eating garlic, which is the ideal. The recommendation is a half to a full clove of garlic a day. In our culture, that may not be acceptable if you are out in the public all the time, but it is the recommended way to get garlic in the diet. On the other hand, if you are not going to do that then a garlic supplement would definitely be good. An aged garlic supplement, such as Kyolic, would be a good addition to your diet. There is so much research that proves that garlic enhances your immune function, it protects your heart and it restores your DNA. There are just hundreds of studies about the value and benefit of garlic.

What is "ginkgo biloba"?

Gingko Biloba is the leaf of a tree. It has been shown to improve mental stamina and alertness. Often, we find that older people who are starting to experience the early signs of senility may benefit from taking Gingko Biloba. I honestly believe that if you have a healthy diet most of your life, you probably would not need Gingko Biloba. It is an herb, and with most medicinal herbs, it's recommended not to take them forever. Gingko Biloba is one of those. You take them for a month and then take a couple of weeks off, and then a month on again and a couple a weeks off, etc. You need to have a break from Gingko Biloba, because otherwise you'll build up a tolerance to it and the benefits will no longer be available.

What is "St. John's Wort"?

St. John's Wort is another homeopathic, herbal type of remedy that is used for (generally speaking) calming people. We've used it in my practice for people who are ADHD. They're hyperactive (on the surface they appear hyperactive). So we use it as a calming influence. Again, St. John's Wort is one of those products that you do not want to be on regularly. It is like a medicine and you need to take it for a period of time and then stop and then take it for a period of time and then stop in order to gain the maximum benefit from it. But it has been shown for many people to calm them down. If they've gone through a very stressful day and they can't sleep at night, this is something we will often recommend to them.

What is "ginseng"?

Ginseng is an interesting item. In the Orient or in the Asian countries, generally speaking it would never be recommended for women. It does affect your circulatory system and can cause high blood pressure. Men, in their use, especially, would use it for better performance, you know, in whatever, in any activity. Now, with women, because of the menstrual cycle and the way that her body functions, it is not being recommended in the Asian countries for women in general. I err on the side of caution with this, because as a man is getting older, I don't care how much his performance is important to him, in whatever way it's important to him, I'm concerned about his heart, his cardiovascular system, and ginseng can cause you to feel very revved up, so to speak, and just not very recommended for people as they get older, you know, because we know that if your system isn't healthy to begin with and you take something like that, it could lead to stroke or heart attack or something more serious. It's something that if you haven't been taking it throughout your entire life it's probably not a good idea to start when you're older.

What is "Echinacea"?

Echinacea, on its own, is generally speaking not as useful as when it's combined with goldenseal. The best combination that I know of for someone who's got a cold feeling like it's coming on or maybe they've got the beginning bug of the flu or they're in a community where everybody's got the flu or the cold and they don't want to get it; it's a good idea to take echinacea and goldenseal. They balance each other and improve the results of each one synergistically. So it's a very good compound for people that are preventing, trying to prevent the onset of some sort of illness, or if they get it right at the beginning. If you are full-blown with a cold or the flu, you're probably not going to experience any benefit from it. And again, echinacea and goldenseal is a product that you don't want to be taking all the time in order to get the maximum benefit. It's a medicine. You take it as needed.

What is "glucosamine" and "chondroitin"?

The combination of "glucosamine" "chondroitin" is excellent for people who are experiencing arthritic problems. They have arthritic joints, pain in their fingers, you know, the knuckles, etc. Definitely, I recommend that for my clients. I've actually seen it work amazingly well with animals, as well. So, I know it does work, and I, you know, for the average person, definitely, if they improve their diet at the same time. You can absolutely, get off of taking that supplement. In the meantime, until you've improved your diet, you need to be taking something that going to release the pain or relieve the pain and is anti-inflammatory by nature.

What is "Coenzyme Q-10"?

Coenzyme Q-10 is naturally occurring throughout your entire body. Every cell in your body has what we call the mitochondria, or the factory, and the factory (in the cell) produces Coenzyme Q-10. However, Coenzyme Q-10 is also procured from animal products and some plant sources. Its primary purpose is it is an anti-oxidant by nature, but it is also absolutely essential for every metabolic function in the body. Without Coenzyme Q-10, none of the functions can occur. It helps to create, or catalyze, all of the metabolic functions, especially the production of energy.

What is "melatonin"?

Melatonin is a calming substance. Again, it is something that I would definitely not recommend people take on a regular basis in order to get maximum benefit. If you're a person who doesn't fly well, doesn't sleep well at the end of a flight, and you experience jet lag, and you just can't sleep at the same time, this is a great thing for you to take. You have to start taking it a little before your trip, a few days before your trip, and then continue to take for the first few days after you get to where you're going. But, melatonin has been shown to be very, very beneficial in calming the person's inner self, their central nervous system basically so that they can get a good night's sleep.

What is "acidophilus"?

Acidophilus is a probiotic. It is basically a bacterial culture that is essential for keeping your mucosal system from the mouth right down to the anus healthy. And you produce acidophilus actually as you get older but you still need to get acidophilus into your system and it's in usually we think of it in terms of yogurt. It's in foods like yogurt and kefir and those kinds of foods. For a total vegan they can find it in soy yogurt, you know, the next alternative is soy yogurt. It's very, very beneficial for destroying the unhealthy bacteria that grow in your colon. You have both, so you need to out-populate or over-populate the system with healthy probiotic.