DESCRIPTION: Throughout history humankind has relied on various plants and plant preparations for food, fiber, shelter, fragrance, ritual and medicine. Herbs and the various chemical compounds they contain?are the sources of numerous modern nutritionals and pharmaceuticals. In the past 3-4 decades consumers in the United States and worldwide have demonstrated a significant level of interest in the use of herbs for their perceived health benefits. Recent high-profile clinical trials-in the United States particularly-have resulted in negative outcomes for some popular herbs (e.g., Echinacea [Echinacea spp.] and St. John?s wort [Hypericum perforatum]), and these trials are repeatedly used as examples by some prominent critics of herbs, as reasons why consumers and healthcare professionals should abandon and ignore the use of herbs, and even that government funding should be discontinued. However, a review of the entire scope of published clinical trials on these 2 herbs, as well as numerous others, reveals that even from an evidence-based medicine perspective, there are data showing a significant and reasonable level of clinical evidence supporting their safety and their benefits in a variety of clinical endpoints. Such herbs for which such clinical documentation exists includes, but is not limited to, the following: garlic (Allium sativum) and hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) for mildly elevated blood pressure, hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) leaf with flower extract as an adjunct in early states of congestive heart disease, Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) root for erectile dysfunction, South African pelargonium (Pelargonium sidoides) root extract for bronchitis, andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) and eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) root for symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, and numerous others. This presentation will briefly review various systematic reviews and meta-analyses on these and other herbs, the number of published clinical trials on each, the total number of patients included in the reviews, their conclusions, as well as their potential roles as safe, beneficial, low-cost ways which can be used by consumers for various self-care purposes, and which should be considered conventional and integrative healthcare practitioners for inclusion in clinical practice.
1. The attendee will learn that the totality of the body of published clinical trial evidence is necessary to view in order to determine the potential suitability of a particular herb in self-care or to be possibly recommended to patients by a healthcare professional.
2. The attendee of this presentation will learn that there are pooled data from multiple clinical trials supporting specific benefits for numerous popular herbs in the North American marketplace.
3. The attendee will learn specific clinical/therapeutic benefits that are supported by multiple clinical trials, i.e., not just one or two trials that might be discounted by some critics due to their size, design, etc.