Echinacea, also known as purple coneflower, has gained popularity in recent years as a nutritional supplement that proponents believe is helpful in staving off the common cold and shortening its duration. But given the variation between dosages and formulations—such herbs are not regulated as medical drugs by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and so makers have little incentive to standardize—it’s hard to get definitive answers as to Echinacea’s effectiveness.
This fact sheet provides basic information about cranberry—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Cranberries are the fruit of a native plant of North America. These red berries are used in foods and in herbal products.
Common Names—cranberry, American cranberry, bog cranberry
Latin Name—Vaccinium macrocarpon
This fact sheet provides basic information about the herb chasteberry—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Chasteberry is the fruit of the chaste tree, a small shrub-like tree native to Central Asia and the Mediterranean region. The name is thought to come from a belief that the plant promoted chastity—it is reported that monks in the Middle Ages used chasteberry to decrease sexual desire.
This fact sheet provides basic information about the herb chamomile—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Two types of chamomile are used for health conditions: German chamomile and Roman chamomile. While the two kinds are thought to have similar effects on the body, the German variety is more commonly used in the United States and is the focus of this fact sheet.
This fact sheet provides basic information about the herb cat’s claw—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Cat’s claw grows wild in many countries of Central and South America, especially in the Amazon rainforest. The use of this woody vine dates back to the Inca civilization.
Common Names—cat's claw, uña de gato
Latin Names—Uncaria tomentosa, Uncaria guianensis
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid (protein building block) that's found in meat and fish, and also made by the human body in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It is converted into creatine phosphate or phosphocreatine and stored in the muscles, where it is used for energy. During high-intensity, short-duration exercise, such as lifting weights or sprinting, phosphocreatine is converted into ATP, a major source of energy within the human body.
Creatine supplements are popular among body builders and competitive athletes. It is estimated that Americans spend roughly $14 million per year on creatine supplements. The attraction of creatine is that it may increase lean muscle mass and enhance athletic performance, particularly during high-intensity, short-duration sports (like high jumping and weight lifting).
This fact sheet provides basic information about the herb valerian—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Valerian is a plant native to Europe and Asia; it is also found in North America. Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Its therapeutic uses were described by Hippocrates, and in the 2nd century, Galen prescribed valerian for insomnia.