Herbal Potpourri

Ginkgo bilobamay enhance cognitive function in healthy older adults,say researchers in Virginia. In their study, 48 cognitively intact older men andwomen took either 180 milligrams a day of Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761 (Ginkgoldbrand) or a placebo. After six weeks, participants in the ginkgo group showedmore improvement than the placebo group in speed of information processing. Theyalso reported improved memory, though no changes were seen on memory tests.Ginkgo may strengthen capillaries in the brain or inhibit oxidation of cellmembranes.

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,June 2000.

St. John’s wort may help relievesymptoms of premenstrual syndrome, accordingto a recent uncontrolled pilot study from Britain. Nineteen women withpremenstrual syndrome took daily supplements of St. John’s wort (one300-milligram tablet standardized to 900 micrograms of hypericin) for twocomplete menstrual cycles. Their symptoms were recorded daily and scored byseverity. Researchers found a 51% improvement in overall PMS scores.

British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology,July 2000.

Only nine of 22 ginseng supplementsanalyzed by ConsumerLab.com met its criteria for quality and purity. Sevenproducts had less than the required concentration of ginsenocides. Pesticidecontamination was found in eight of 12 products labeled as “KoreanGinseng,” as much as 20 times allowable levels. And two products containedlead above acceptable levels. The nine brands that passed all three criteria (ginsenosides,pesticides and heavy metals) were: Celestial Seasonings, Centrum Herbals,Ginsana, NaturaLife, Nature Made, One A Day, PharmAssure, Root to Health andWalgreens. For details, visit www.consumerlab.com.
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