High Cholesterol supplements
High Cholesterol

  • Vitamin B3 is made up of niacin (nicotinic acid) and its amide, niacinamide, and can be found in many foods, including yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, and cereal grains. Dietary tryptophan is also converted to niacin in the body. Vitamin B3 is often found in combination with other B vitamins including thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, cyanocobalamin, and folic acid.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Red yeast rice is the product of yeast ( Monascus purpureus ) grown on rice, and is served as a dietary staple in some Asian countries. It contains several compounds collectively known as monacolins, substances known to inhibit cholesterol synthesis. One of these, "monacolin K," is a potent inhibitor of HMG-CoA reductase, and is also known as mevinolin or lovastatin (Mevacor®, a drug produced by Merck & Co., Inc). Red yeast rice extract has been sold as a natural cholesterol-lowering agent in over the counter supplements, such as Cholestin TM (Pharmanex, Inc). However, there has been legal and industrial dispute as to whether red yeast rice is a drug or a dietary supplement, involving the manufacturer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the pharmaceutical industry (particularly producers of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor prescription drugs or "statins"). The use of red yeast rice in China was first documented in the Tang Dynasty in 800 A.D. A detailed description of its manufacture is found in the ancient Chinese pharmacopoeia, Ben Cao Gang Mu-Dan Shi Bu Yi, published during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). In this text, red yeast rice is proposed to be a mild aid for gastric problems (indigestion, diarrhea), blood circulation, and spleen and stomach health. Red yeast rice in a dried, powdered form is called Zhi Tai. When extracted with alcohol it is called Xue Zhi Kang.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Psyllium, also referred to as ispaghula (or isphagula), is derived from the husks of the seeds of Plantago ovata . Psyllium contains a high level of soluble dietary fiber, and is the chief ingredient in many commonly used bulk laxatives, including products such as Metamucil® and Serutan®. Psyllium has been studied as a "non-systemic" cholesterol-lowering agent, with generally modest effects seen on total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels. Several psyllium-containing cereals such as Heartwise® and Bran Buds® have appeared in the U.S. marketplace during the last 15 years and have been touted for their potential lipid-lowering and "heart health promoting" effects. Allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, have been reported, particularly in healthcare workers with previous experience preparing psyllium-containing bulk laxatives. Obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract by such laxatives has also been reported, particularly in patients with prior bowel surgeries or anatomic abnormalities, or when mixed with inadequate amounts of water.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Soy is a subtropical plant native to southeastern Asia. This member of the pea family (Fabaceae) grows from 1-5 feet tall and forms clusters of 3-5 pods that each contain 2-4 beans. Soy has been a dietary staple in Asian countries for at least 5,000 years. During the Chou dynasty in China (1134-246 B.C.), fermentation techniques were discovered that allowed soy to be prepared in more easily digestible forms such as tempeh, miso, and tamari soy sauce. Tofu was invented in 2nd Century China. Soy was introduced to Europe in the 1700s and to the United States in the 1800s. Large-scale soybean cultivation began in the United States during World War II. Currently, Midwestern U.S. farmers produce about half of the world's supply of soybeans. Soy and components of soy called "isoflavones" have been studied for many health conditions. Isoflavones (such as genistein) are believed to have estrogen-like effects in the body, and as a result, they are sometimes called "phytoestrogens." In laboratory studies, it is not clear if isoflavones stimulate or block the effects of estrogen or both (acting as "mixed receptor agonists/antagonists").
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Policosanol is a cholesterol-lowering natural mixture of primary alcohols, isolated and purified from sugar cane wax. Policosanol is safe and well tolerated, even in populations with high use of concomitant medications. Lipid profile improvements with the use of policosanol are seen in healthy volunteers, patients with type II hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), type 2 diabetics with hypercholesterolemia, postmenopausal women with hypercholesterolemia, and patients with combined hypercholesterolemia and abnormal liver function tests. However, there is controversy in this are based on recent negative evidence. Policosanol has performed equal to or better than simvastatin, pravastatin, lovastatin, probucol, or acipimox with fewer side effects in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia. Policosanol was approved for use in Cuba in 1991. Currently it is used in more than 25 countries throughout the world, mainly in South America and in the Caribbean region.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Numerous controlled trials have examined the effects of oral garlic on serum lipids. Long-term effects on lipids or cardiovascular morbidity and mortality remain unknown. Other preparations (such as enteric-coated or raw garlic) have not been well studied. Small reductions in blood pressure ( Numerous case-control/population-based studies suggest that regular consumption of garlic (particularly unprocessed garlic) may reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, including gastric and colorectal malignancies. However, prospective controlled trials are lacking. Multiple cases of bleeding have been associated with garlic use, and caution is warranted in patients at risk of bleeding or prior to some surgical/dental procedures. Garlic does not appear to significantly affect blood glucose levels.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Avocados are fruits that contain 60% more potassium than bananas; they are also sodium and cholesterol-free. An avocado has a higher fat content (5 grams per serving) than other fruit, but the fat is monounsaturated fat, which is considered healthy when consumed in moderation. Diets rich in monounsaturated fatty acids can reduce total cholesterol levels in the blood and increase the ratio of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, "good" cholesterol) to low-density lipoprotein (LDL, "bad" cholesterol). In addition to high cholesterol, avocado has been taken by mouth to treat osteoarthritis. Its oils have been used topically to treat wounds, infections, arthritis, and to stimulate hair growth. The seeds, leaves, and bark have been used for dysentery and diarrhea. It is also used in topical creams for regular skincare. Historically, the Amazonian natives used avocado to treat gout (inflamed foot), and the Mayan people believed it could keep joints and muscles in good condition, avoiding arthritis and rheumatism. The most promising use for avocado is in a combination product, avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU), which is a combination of avocado oil and soybean oil. Caution is advised when taking Mexican avocado due to the constituents, estragole and anethole, which may be liver damaging and cancer causing.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • The almond is closely related to the peach, apricot, and cherry (all classified as drupes). Unlike the others, however, the outer layer of the almond is not edible. The edible portion of the almond is the seed. Sweet almonds are a popular nutritious food. Researchers are especially interested in their level of monounsaturated fats, as these appear to have a beneficial effect on blood lipids. Almond oil is widely used in lotions and cosmetics.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Zinc has been used since ancient Egyptian times to enhance wound healing, although the usefulness of this approach is only partially confirmed by the clinical data of today. Zinc is necessary for the functioning of more than 300 different enzymes and plays a vital role in an enormous number of biological processes. Zinc is a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) and is in a number of enzymatic reactions involved in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. Its immune-enhancing activities include regulation of T lymphocytes, CD4, natural killer cells, and interleukin II. In addition, zinc has been claimed to possess antiviral activity. It has been shown to play a role in wound healing, especially following burns or surgical incisions. Zinc is necessary for the maturation of sperm and normal fetal development. It is involved in sensory perception (taste, smell, and vision) and controls the release of stored vitamin A from the liver. Within the endocrine system, zinc has been shown to regulate insulin activity and promote the conversion thyroid hormones thyroxine to triiodothyronine. Based on available scientific evidence, zinc may be effective in the treatment of (childhood) malnutrition, acne vulgaris, peptic ulcers, leg ulcers, infertility, Wilson's disease, herpes, and taste or smell disorders. Zinc has also gained popularity for its use in the prevention of the common cold. The role for zinc is controversial in some cases, as the results of published studies provide either contradictory information and/or the methodological quality of the studies does not allow for a confident conclusion regarding the role of zinc in those diseases.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Carob ( Ceratonia siliqua ) is a leguminous evergreen tree of the family Leguminosae (pulse family). Although it was originally native to Mediterranean regions, it is now cultivated in many warm climates, including Florida and California. The pods may be ground into a flour, which is often used as a cocoa substitute because it has a somewhat similar taste to chocolate and one-third the calories. Carob has been used to treat infantile diarrhea and carob bean gum has been used to control hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol) and as a dietary adjunct to elevated plasma cholesterol management. There is conflicting data on the effect of carob bean gum as a formula thickener and its effect on regurgitation frequency. The use of soluble dietary fibers, such as carob bean gum, has been shown to alter food structure, texture and viscosity, the rate of starch degradation during digestion, and the regulation of postprandial blood sugar and insulin levels. As a food, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given carob generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties. Vitamin E exists in eight different forms ("isomers"): alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherol; and alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienol. Alpha-tocopherol is the most active form in humans. Dosing and daily allowance recommendations for vitamin E are often provided in Alpha-Tocopherol Equivalents (ATE) to account for the different biological activities of the various forms of vitamin E, or in International Units (IU), which food and supplement labels may use. Vitamin E supplements are available in natural or synthetic forms. The natural forms are usually labeled with the letter "d" (for example, d-gamma-tocopherol), whereas synthetic forms are labeled "dl" (for example, dl-alpha-tocopherol). Vitamin E has been proposed for the prevention or treatment of numerous health conditions, often based on its antioxidant properties. However, aside from the treatment of vitamin E deficiency (which is rare), there are no clearly proven medicinal uses of vitamin E supplementation beyond the recommended daily allowance. There is ongoing research in numerous diseases, particularly in cancer and heart disease. Recent concerns have been raised about the safety of vitamin E supplementation, particularly in high doses. An increased risk of bleeding has been proposed, particularly in patients taking blood-thinning agents such as warfarin, heparin, or aspirin, and in patients with vitamin K deficiency. Recent evidence suggests that regular use of high-dose vitamin E supplements may increase the risk of death (from "all causes") by a small amount, although a different study found no effects on mortality in women who took vitamin E daily. Caution is warranted.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Honey is a sweet, viscid fluid produced by honeybees ( Apis melliflera ) from the nectar of flowers. It is generally recognized as safe (GRAS), but there have been numerous reports of certain types of honey produced from the nectar of flowering plants from the genus Rhododendron and others that have toxic effects in humans and in animals. Honey is easily absorbed and utilized by the body. It contains about 70-80% sugar; the rest is water, minerals, and traces of protein, acids, and other substances. Honey has been used by ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Romans, and Greeks as a medicinal remedy for the management of wounds, skin ailments, and various gastrointestinal diseases. Honey's therapeutic importance as a known antibacterial agent has been recognized since 1892. Modern research has been conducted on the role of honey in chronic wound management and other indications. However, high quality studies are lacking, and further research is warranted to establish the therapeutic effect of honey in any indication.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • The term spirulina refers to a large number of cyanobacteria or blue-green algae. Both Spirulina spp . and non- Spirulina spp. fall into the classification of cyanobacteria and include: Aphanizomenon spp., Microcystis spp., Nostoc spp., and Spirulina spp. Most commercial products contain Aphanizomenon flos-aquae , Sprirulina maxima , and/or Spirulina platensis . These algae are found in the warm, alkaline waters of the world, especially of Mexico and Central Africa. Spirulina spp . are most often grown under controlled conditions and are subject to less contamination than the non-spirulina species that are harvested naturally. Spirulina is a rich source of nutrients, containing up to 70% protein, B-complex vitamins, phycocyanin, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and numerous minerals. In fact, spirulina contains more beta-carotene than carrots. Spirulina has been used since ancient times as a source of nutrients and has been said to possess a variety of medical uses, including as an antioxidant, antiviral, antineoplastic, weight loss aid, and lipid-lowering agent. Preliminary data from animal studies demonstrate effectiveness for some conditions as well as safety, although human evidence is lacking. Based on available research, no recommendation can be made either for or against the use of spirulina for any indication.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Creatine is naturally synthesized in the human body from amino acids primarily in the kidney and liver and transported in the blood for use by muscles. Approximately 95% of the body's total creatine content is located in skeletal muscle. Creatine was discovered in the 1800s as an organic constituent of meat. In the 1970s, Soviet scientists reported that oral creatine supplements may improve athletic performance during brief, intense activities such as sprints. Creatine gained popularity in the 1990s as a "natural" way to enhance athletic performance and build lean body mass. It was reported that skeletal muscle total creatine content increases with oral creatine supplementation, although response is variable. Factors that may account for this variation are carbohydrate intake, physical activity, training status, and muscle fiber type. The finding that carbohydrates enhance muscle creatine uptake increased the market for creatine multi-ingredient sports drinks. Use of creatine is particularly popular among adolescent athletes, who are reported to take doses that are not consistent with scientific evidence, and to frequently exceed recommended loading and maintenance doses. Published reports suggest that approximately 25% of professional baseball players and up to 50% of professional football players consume creatine supplements. According to a survey of high school athletes, creatine use is common among football players, wrestlers, hockey players, gymnasts, and lacrosse players. In 1998, the creatine market in the United States was estimated at $200 million. In 2000, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) banned colleges from distributing creatine to their players. Creatinine excreted in urine is derived from creatine stored in muscle.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Lycopene is a carotenoid present in human serum and skin as well as the liver, adrenal glands, lungs, prostate and colon. Lycopene has been found to possess antioxidant and antiproliferative properties in animal and laboratory studies, although activity in humans remains controversial. Numerous studies correlate high intake of lycopene-containing foods or high lycopene serum levels with reduced incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration. However, estimates of lycopene consumption have been based on reported tomato intake, not on the use of lycopene supplements. Since tomatoes are sources of other nutrients, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium, it is not clear that lycopene itself is beneficial. There is no well established definition of "lycopene deficiency," and direct evidence that repletion of low lycopene levels has any benefit is lacking.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • The rhizome (root) of turmeric ( Curcuma longa Linn.) has long been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat gastrointestinal upset, arthritic pain, and "low energy." Laboratory and animal research has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties of turmeric and its constituent curcumin. Preliminary human evidence, albeit poor quality, suggests possible efficacy in the management of dyspepsia (heartburn), hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), and scabies (when used on the skin).
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) is essential to all life and is a component of coenzyme A (CoA), a molecule that is necessary for numerous vital chemical reactions to occur in cells. Pantothenic acid is essential to the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, as well as for the synthesis of hormones and cholesterol. The name pantothenic acid comes from the Greek word pantos, meaning "everywhere," referring to its wide distribution in most plants and animals. Rich food sources include meats, liver, kidney, fish/shellfish, chicken, vegetables, legumes, yeast, eggs, and milk. However, freezing and canning may lead to a loss of much of the pantothenic acid content. Whole grains are also a good source, although refining may degrade much of the pantothenic acid content. In commercial supplement products, vitamin B5 is available as D-pantothenic acid and as the synthetic products dexpanthenol (converted in the body to pantothenic acid) or calcium pantothenate. Pantothenic acid is frequently used in combination with other B vitamins in vitamin B complex formulations. Only the dextrorotatory (D) isomer of pantothenic acid possesses biologic activity. Pantothenic acid deficiency is exceedingly rare and likely only occurs only in cases of the most severe life-threatening malnutrition. Most individuals likely obtain sufficient amounts from dietary sources. Pantothenic acid has been used or studied for numerous health conditions, but has not been clearly demonstrated as beneficial for any. Oral, topical (on the skin), or injected forms have been used.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Guggul (gum guggul) is a resin produced by the mukul mirth tree. Guggulipid is extracted from guggul, and contains plant sterols (guggulsterones E and Z), which are believed to be its bioactive compounds. Prior to 2003, the majority of scientific evidence suggested that guggulipid elicits significant reductions in serum total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides, as well as elevations in high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Although recent evidence provides preliminary evidence against the efficacy of guggul for hypercholesterolemia, and thus, further study is necessary before a definitive conclusion can be reached. Initial research reports that guggulsterones are antagonists of the farsenoid X receptor (FXR) and the bile acid receptor (BAR), nuclear hormones that are involved with cholesterol metabolism and bile acid regulation.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Taurine, or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, was originally discovered in ox ( Bos taurus ) bile and was named after taurus, or bull. A nonessential amino acid-like compound, taurine is found in high abundance in the tissues of many animals, especially sea animals, and in much lower concentrations in plants, fungi, and some bacteria. As an amine, taurine is important in several metabolic processes of the body, including stabilizing cell membranes in electrically active tissues, such as the brain and heart. It also has functions in the gallbladder, eyes, and blood vessels, and may have some antioxidant and detoxifying properties. Taurine is a constituent of some energy drinks, including Red Bull®. Numerous clinical trials suggest Red Bull® and similar energy drinks may be effective in reducing fatigue, and improving mood and endurance. However, these drinks contain other ingredients, which may also offer benefit in these areas, including caffeine and glucuronolactone. The effect of taurine alone in energy drinks has not been studied. Thus, the effectiveness of taurine in energy drinks is unclear and further research is still required. Several taurine derivatives are being investigated for medical use, such as taltrimide as an antiepileptic drug. Other taurine derivatives in various stages of development include acamprosate (antialcoholic), tauromustine (anticancer), and tauroursodeoxycholic acid (liver disorders). The efficacy of taurine has been investigated for diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), cystic fibrosis, liver disorders, cardiovascular disorders, and nutritional support. Although promising in many fields, additional study is needed before a firm recommendation can be made for these indications. Taurine is added to many infant formulas based on the decreased ability to form taurine from cysteine in this population.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Red clover is a legume, which like soy contains "phytoestrogens" (plant-based chemicals that are similar to estrogen and may act in the body like estrogen or may actually block the effects of estrogen). Red clover was traditionally used to treat asthma, pertussis (whooping cough), cancer, and gout. In modern times, isoflavone extracts of red clover are most often used to treat menopausal symptoms, as an alternative hormone replacement therapy, for high cholesterol, or to prevent osteoporosis. However, at this time, there are no high-quality human studies supporting the use of red clover for any medical condition.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Alfalfa is a legume that has a long history of dietary and medicinal uses. A small number of animal and preliminary human studies report that alfalfa supplements may lower blood levels of cholesterol and glucose. However, most research has not been well-designed. Therefore, there is not enough reliable evidence available to form clear conclusions in these areas. Alfalfa supplements taken by mouth appear to be generally well tolerated. However, ingestion of alfalfa tablets has been associated with reports of a lupus-like syndrome or lupus flares. These reactions may be due to the amino acid L-canavanine, which appears to be present in alfalfa seeds and sprouts, but not in the leaves. There are also rare cases of pancytopenia (low blood counts), dermatitis (skin inflammation), and gastrointestinal upset.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Pycnogenol® is the patented trade name for a water extract of the bark of the French maritime pine ( Pinus pinaster ssp. atlantica ), which is grown in coastal southwest France. Pycnogenol® contains oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) as well as several other bioflavonoids: catechin, epicatechin, phenolic fruit acids (such as ferulic acid and caffeic acid), and taxifolin. Procyanidins are oligometric catechins found at high concentrations in red wine, grapes, cocoa, cranberries, apples, and some supplements such as Pycnogenol®. There has been some confusion in the U.S. market regarding OPC products containing Pycnogenol® or grape seed extract (GSE) because one of the generic terms for chemical constituents ("pycnogenols") is the same as the patented trade name (Pycnogenol®). Some GSE products were formerly erroneously labeled and marketed in the U.S. as containing "pycnogenols." Although GSE and Pycnogenol® do contain similar chemical constituents (primarily in the OPC fraction), the chemical, pharmacological, and clinical literature on the two products are distinct. The term Pycnogenol® should therefore only be used to refer to the specific proprietary pine bark extract. Scientific literature regarding this product should not be referenced as a basis for the safety or effectiveness of GSE.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Preliminary human evidence suggests that gymnema may be effective in the management of blood sugar levels in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as an adjunct to conventional drug therapy, for up to 20 months. Gymnema appears to lower serum glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels following chronic use, but may not have significant acute effects. High-quality human trials are lacking in this area. Some of the available research has been conducted by authors affiliated with manufacturers of gymnema products.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Yucca is the common name for the more than 40 species of perennials in the Yucca genus. The plants are well known for their tough, sword-like leaves and a large spike of whitish flowers. They are native to the hot and dry parts of North America, Central America, and the West Indies, although they are popular landscaping plants and can be found worldwide. There is insufficient evidence in humans to support the use of yucca for any indication. One human study indicates that a blend of Yucca schidigera and Quillaja saponaria extracts may reduce cholesterol levels in hypercholesterolemic patients. Preliminary studies also indicate that yucca may have antioxidant, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Probiotics are beneficial bacteria (sometimes referred to as "friendly germs") that help to maintain the health of the intestinal tract and aid in digestion. They also help keep potentially harmful organisms in the gut (harmful bacteria and yeasts) under control. Most probiotics come from food sources, especially cultured milk products. Probiotics can be consumed as capsules, tablets, beverages, powders, yogurts and other foods. Pro biotics should not be confused with pre biotics. Prebiotics are complex sugars (such as lactulose, lactitol, a variety of fructo-oligosaccharides and inulin) that are used as fuel by the healthful bacteria to stimulate their growth and activity while suppressing the growth and activity of harmful organisms. Other foods that support probiotic activity include Japanese miso, tempeh, kefir, raw milk, kombucha, bananas, garlic and onions. When prebiotics and probiotics are combined in one product, it is called a syn biotic. Probiotics work by colonizing the small intestine and crowding out disease-causing organisms, thereby restoring proper balance to the intestinal flora. They compete with harmful organisms for nutrients and may also produce substances that inhibit growth of harmful organisms in the gut. Probiotic bacteria have been found to stimulate the body's immune system. They may also aid in several gastrointestinal illnesses such as inflammatory bowel diseases, antibiotic-related diarrhea, Clostridium difficile toxin-induced colitis, infectious diarrhea, hepatic encephalopathy, irritable bowel syndrome and allergy. Probiotics have been found to enhance the digestion and absorption of proteins, fats, calcium and phosphorus. They may help overcome lactose intolerance. Finally they may help restore healthful bacteria after a course of antibiotic therapy has altered the normal gastrointestinal flora.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • It has been hypothesized that wild yam ( Dioscorea villosa and other Dioscorea species) possesses dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)-like properties and acts as a precursor to human sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Based on this proposed mechanism, extracts of the plant have been used to treat painful menstruation, hot flashes, and headaches associated with menopause. However, these uses are based on a misconception that wild yam contains hormones or hormonal precursors - largely due to the historical fact that progesterone, androgens, and cortisone were chemically manufactured from Mexican wild yam in the 1960s. It is unlikely that this chemical conversion to progesterone occurs in the human body. The hormonal activity of some topical wild yam preparations has been attributed to adulteration with synthetic progesterone by manufacturers, although there is limited evidence in this area. The effects of the wild yam saponin constituent "diosgenin" on lipid metabolism are well documented in animal models and are possibly due to impaired intestinal cholesterol absorption. However, its purported hypocholesterolemic effect in humans and the feasibility of long-term use warrant further investigation. There are few reported contraindications to the use of wild yam in adults. However, there are no reliable safety or toxicity studies during pregnancy, lactation, or childhood.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Two parts of the safflower are primarily used: the flower itself and safflower seeds. There are two types of safflower oil with corresponding types of safflower varieties: those high in monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic) and those high in polyunsaturated fatty acid (linoleic). Currently, the seed varieties that produce oil high in oleic acid and very low in saturated fatty acids predominate in the United States market. High oleic safflower oil is lower in saturates and higher in monounsaturates than olive oil. In the U.S. diet, safflower oil has been frequently substituted for oils with higher saturated fat content, as monounsaturated fat may have a beneficial effect on the risk of coronary heart disease. Some clinical studies have shown that safflower oil supplementation may be helpful in patients with cystic fibrosis, Friedreich's ataxia, and neurotoxicity from lithium. However, more study is needed in these areas before a firm conclusion can be drawn. In traditional Chinese medicine, safflower is used to invigorate the blood, dissipate stasis, amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), pain, and traumatic injuries. It is also used to "calm" a live fetus and abort a dead fetus, and is therefore used cautiously during pregnancy.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Berberine is a bitter-tasting, yellow, plant alkaloid with a long history of medicinal use in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Berberine is present in the roots, rhizomes and stem bark of various plants including Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal), Coptis chinensis (coptis or goldenthread), Berberis aquifolium (Oregon grape), Berberis vulgaris (barberry), and Berberis aristata (tree turmeric). Berberine has also been used historically as a dye, due to its yellow color. Clinical trials have been conducted using berberine. There is some evidence to support its use in the treatment of trachomas (eye infections), bacterial diarrhea, and leishmaniasis (parasitic disease). Berberine has also shown antimicrobial activity against bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoans, helminths (worms), and chlamydia (STD). Future clinical research is warranted in these areas, as well as cardiovascular disease, skin disorders, and liver disorders. Berberine has been shown to be safe in the majority of clinical trials. However, there is a potential for interaction between berberine and many prescription medications, and berberine should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to potential for adverse effects in the newborn.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Lemongrass ( Cymbopogon citrates ) is used in Cuban folk medicine to lower high blood pressure and as an anti-inflammatory. In India, lemongrass is used as a medicinal herb and in perfumes. It is also used in Brazilian folk medicine in a tea called "abafado" as a sedative, for gastrointestinal problems, and for fever. Lemongrass oil is a yellow/brown oil with a tinge of red. It has a fresh, strong, lemon-like and pungent odor with herbal and leaf aspects. Lemongrass oil is an essential oil used in deodorants, herbal teas, skin care products, fragrances, insect repellents, and for aromatherapy. Currently, there is very little scientific evidence investigating the use of lemongrass in humans and more evidence is needed to make strong recommendations for its use as a sedative or for lowering high cholesterol. Lemongrass is not approved by the German Commission E, but does have generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status in the United States.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Source:NaturalStandard
  • Since ancient Egypt, white horehound ( Marrubium vulgare L.) has been used as an expectorant (to facilitate removal of mucus from the lungs or throat). Ayurvedic, Native American, and Australian Aboriginal medicines have traditionally used white horehound to treat respiratory (lung) conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned horehound from cough drops in 1989 due to insufficient evidence supporting its efficacy. However, horehound is currently widely used in Europe, and it can be found in European-made herbal cough remedies sold in the United States (for example, Ricola®). There is a lack of well-defined clinical evidence to support any therapeutic use of white horehound. The expert German panel, the Commission E, has approved white horehound for lack of appetite, dyspepsia (heartburn), and as a choleretic. There is promising early evidence favoring the use of white horehound as a hypoglycemic agent for diabetes mellitus and as a non-opioid pain reliever. There is limited evidence on the safety or toxicity in humans. White horehound has been reported to cause hypotension (low blood pressure), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) in animal studies
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Vitamin B12 is an essential water-soluble vitamin that is commonly found in a variety of foods such as fish, shellfish, meat, and dairy products. Vitamin B12 is frequently used in combination with other B vitamins in a vitamin B complex formulation. It helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells and is also needed to make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 is bound to the protein in food. Hydrochloric acid in the stomach releases B12 from protein during digestion. Once released, B12 combines with a substance called intrinsic factor (IF) before it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The human body stores several years' worth of vitamin B12, so nutritional deficiency of this vitamin is extremely rare. Elderly are the most at risk. However, deficiency can result from being unable to use vitamin B12. Inability to absorb vitamin B12 from the intestinal tract can be caused by a disease known as pernicious anemia. Additionally, strict vegetarians or vegans who are not taking in proper amounts of B12 are also prone to a deficiency state. A day's supply of vitamin B12 can be obtained by eating 1 chicken breast plus 1 hard-boiled egg plus 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt, or 1 cup milk plus 1 cup raisin bran.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Lactobacilli are bacteria that normally live in the human small intestine and vagina. Lactobacillus acidophilus is generally considered to be beneficial because it produces vitamin K, lactase, and anti-microbial substances such as acidolin, acidolphilin, lactocidin, and bacteriocin. Multiple human trials report benefits of Lactobacillus acidophilus for bacterial vaginosis. Other medicinal uses of Lactobacillus acidophilus are not sufficiently studied to form clear conclusions. The term "probiotic" is used to describe organisms that are used medicinally, including bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and yeast such as Saccharomyces boulardii . Although generally believed to be safe with few side effects, Lactobacillus acidophilus taken by mouth should be avoided in people with intestinal damage, a weakened immune system, or with overgrowth of intestinal bacteria.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Chinese herbalists have relied on rhubarb rhizomes and roots for thousands of years. The rhizomes and roots contain powerful anthraquinones and tannins that act as stimulant laxatives and astringents, respectively. In traditional Chinese medicine, rhubarb is also used to treat gastric ulcers, chronic renal (kidney) failure, and pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure), pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. European herbalists have recommended rhubarb as a laxative, diuretic, and to treat kidney stones, gout (foot inflammation), and liver diseases. Externally, it is recommended to heal skin sores and scabs. The current practice of using rhubarb to treat cancer (as an ingredient in the herbal Essiac® formula) lacks the support of controlled clinical trials. However, rhubarb is being tested for multiple other conditions, including hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol) and obesity. Use for gingivitis, chronic renal failure and upper gastrointestinal bleeding seem to be the most promising, although more research should be done in these areas, specifically with rhubarb as a monotherapy.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Astaxanthin is classified as a xanthophyll, which is a carotenoid pigment, and can be found in microalgae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish, crustaceans, and the feathers of some birds. Haematococcus pluvialis , a green microalga and one of the richest sources of natural astaxanthin, was reviewed and cleared for marketing by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 1999 as a new dietary ingredient by means of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) (21 CRF part 190.6). Astaxanthin is most commonly used as an antioxidant and may be beneficial in decreasing the risks of certain chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Astaxanthin may also be effective in carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle strength and endurance, high cholesterol (LDL oxidation), musculoskeletal injuries, and male infertility. Astaxanthin has been used as a feed supplement and food coloring additive for salmon, crabs, shrimp, chickens, and egg production. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, astaxanthin is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) when used as a color additive in salmon foods to obtain the desired pink to orange-red color.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • The name "acacia" is derived from the Greek word "akis" meaning "sharp point," and relates to the sharp thorny shrubs and trees of tropical Africa and Western Asia that were the only known acacias at the time that the name was published. The Australian acacias are commonly called "wattles" because of their pliable branches that were woven into the structure of early wattle houses and fences. Acacia is commonly present in chewing sticks, mainly as an antimicrobial with activity against Streptococcus fecalis . Acacia has also shown some cholesterol-lowering and antidiabetic properties, although there is insufficient evidence in support of these uses. Acacia is generally considered to be safe. Adverse reactions appear to be mild, with occasional gastrointestinal symptoms. Acacia has been used to treat high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, gingivitis, stomatitis (mouth sores), pharyngitis, and indigestion in children. Acacia gum is used as a food additive. Acacia concinna is often used in cosmetics.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish oil and certain plant/nut oils. Fish oil contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), while some nuts (e.g., English walnuts) and vegetable oils (e.g., canola, soybean, flaxseed/linseed, and olive oil) contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Evidence from several studies has suggested that amounts of DHA and EPA in the form of fish or fish oil supplements lowers triglycerides, slows the buildup of atherosclerotic plaques ("hardening of the arteries"), lowers blood pressure slightly, as well as reduces the risk of death, heart attack, dangerous abnormal heart rhythms, and strokes in people with known heart disease. However, high doses may have harmful effects, such as an increased risk of bleeding. Although similar benefits are proposed for alpha-linolenic acid, scientific evidence is less compelling, and beneficial effects may be less pronounced. Some species of fish carry a higher risk of environmental contamination, such as with methylmercury.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Green tea is made from the dried leaves of Camellia sinensis , a perennial evergreen shrub. Green tea has a long history of use, dating back to China approximately 5,000 years ago. Green tea, black tea, and oolong tea are all derived from the same plant. Tea varieties reflect the growing region (for example, Ceylon or Assam), the district (for example, Darjeeling), the form (for example, pekoe is cut, gunpowder is rolled), and the processing method (for example, black, green, or oolong). India and Sri Lanka are the major producers of green tea. Historically, tea has been served as a part of various ceremonies and has been used to stay alert during long meditations. A legend in India describes the story of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, who tore off his eyelids in frustration at his inability to stay awake during meditation while journeying through China. A tea plant is said to have sprouted from the spot where his eyelids fell, providing him with the ability to stay awake, meditate, and reach enlightenment. Turkish traders reportedly introduced tea to Western cultures in the 6th Century.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Milk thistle has been used medicinally for over 2,000 years, most commonly for the treatment of liver and gallbladder disorders. A flavonoid complex called silymarin can be extracted from the seeds of milk thistle and is believed to be the biologically active component. The terms "milk thistle" and "silymarin" are often used interchangeably. Milk thistle products are popular in Europe and the United States for various types of liver disease. Although numerous human trials have been published, most studies have not been well designed or reported.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Goldenseal is one of the five top-selling herbal products in the United States. However, there is little scientific evidence about its safety or effectiveness. Goldenseal can be found in dietary supplements, eardrops, feminine cleansing products, cold/flu remedies, allergy remedies, laxatives, and digestive aids. Goldenseal is often found in combination with echinacea in treatments for upper respiratory infections and is suggested to enhance the effects of echinacea. However, the effects when these agents are combined are not scientifically proven. Goldenseal has been used by some people due to the popular notion that detection of illegal drugs in urine may be hidden by use of the herb, although scientific information is limited in this area. The popularity of goldenseal has led to a higher demand for the herb than growers can supply. This high demand has led to the substitution of other herbs such as Chinese goldthread ( Coptis chinensis Fransch.) and Oregon grape ( Mahonia aquifolium [Pursh] Nutt.), that do not contain exactly the same isoquinoline alkaloids and may not affect the body in the same way as goldenseal. Studies of the effectiveness of goldenseal are limited to one of its main chemical ingredients, berberine salts (there are few published human studies of goldenseal itself). Due to the small amount of berberine actually present in most goldenseal preparations (0.5-6%), it is difficult to extend the research of berberine salts to the use of goldenseal. Therefore, there is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of goldenseal in humans for any medical condition.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Flaxseed and its derivative flaxseed oil/linseed oil are rich sources of the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, which is a biologic precursor to omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid. Although omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with improved cardiovascular outcomes, evidence from human trials is mixed regarding the efficacy of flaxseed products for coronary artery disease or hyperlipidemia. The lignan constituents of flaxseed (not flaxseed oil) possesses in vitro anti-oxidant and possible estrogen receptor agonist/antagonist properties, prompting theories of efficacy for the treatment of breast cancer. However, there is not sufficient human evidence to make a recommendation. As a source of fiber mucilage, oral flaxseed (not flaxseed oil) may possess laxative properties, although only one human trial has been conducted for this indication. In large doses, or when taken with inadequate water, flaxseed may precipitate bowel obstruction via a mass effect. The effects of flaxseed on blood glucose levels are not clear, although hyperglycemic effects have been reported in one case series. Flaxseed oil contains only the alpha-linolenic acid component of flaxseed, and not the fiber or lignan components. Therefore, flaxseed oil may share the purported lipid-lowering properties of flaxseed, but not the proposed laxative or anti-cancer abilities.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • The term ginseng refers to several species of the genus Panax . For more than 2,000 years, the roots of this slow-growing plant have been valued in Chinese medicine. The two most commonly used species are Asian ginseng ( Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer), which is almost extinct in its natural habitat but is still cultivated, and American ginseng ( P . quinquefolius L.), which is both harvested from the wild and cultivated. Panax ginseng should not be confused with Siberian ginseng ( Eleutherococcus senticosus ). In Russia, Siberian ginseng was promoted as a cheaper alternative to ginseng and was believed to have identical benefits. However, Siberian ginseng does not contain the ginsenosides found in the Panax species, which are believed to be active ingredients and have been studied.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Fenugreek has a long history of medical uses in Indian and Chinese medicine, and has been used for numerous indications, including labor induction, aiding digestion, and as a general tonic to improve metabolism and health. Preliminary study has suggested possible hypoglycemic (blood sugar lowering) and anti-hyperlipidemic properties of fenugreek seed powder when taken by mouth. However, at this time, the evidence is not sufficient to recommend either for or against fenugreek for diabetes or hyperlipidemia. Nonetheless, caution is warranted in patients taking blood sugar-lowering agents, in whom blood glucose levels should be monitored. Hypokalemia (lowered potassium levels in the blood) has also been reported, and potassium levels should be followed in patients taking concomitant hypokalemic agents, or with underlying cardiac disease.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Glucosamine is a natural compound that is found in healthy cartilage. Glucosamine sulfate is a normal constituent of glycoaminoglycans in cartilage matrix and synovial fluid. Available evidence from randomized controlled trials supports the use of glucosamine sulfate in the treatment of osteoarthritis, particularly of the knee. It is believed that the sulfate moiety provides clinical benefit in the synovial fluid by strengthening cartilage and aiding glycosaminoglycan synthesis. If this hypothesis is confirmed, it would mean that only the glucosamine sulfate form is effective and non-sulfated glucosamine forms are not effective. Glucosamine is commonly taken in combination with chondroitin, a glycosaminoglycan derived from articular cartilage. Use of complementary therapies, including glucosamine, is common in patients with osteoarthritis, and may allow for reduced doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents.
    Source:NaturalStandard
back to top
General Drug Tools
General Drug Tools view all tools
Health Management
Programs
Health Management Programs view all programs
Tools for
Healthy Living
Tools for Healthy Living view all tools
Search Tools
Search Tools view all tools
Insurance Plan Tools
Insurance Plan Tools view all tools

What is a reference number?

When you register on this site, you are assigned a reference number. This number contains your profile information and helps UnitedHealthcare identify you when you come back to the site.

If you searched for a plan on this site in a previous session, you might already have a reference number. This number will contain any information you saved about plans and prescription drugs. To use that reference number, click on the "Change or view saved information" link below.

You can retrieve information from previous visits to this site, such as saved drug lists and Plan Selector information.