Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine

Case Study 1

Case analysis

Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that leads to the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) (Baumgart & Sandborn, 2012). It often occurs when an infectious bacterium inhabits and colonizes the GIT. The condition shares similar characteristics with ulcerative colitis. It is characterized by thickening of the GIT wall with inflammation extending through all layers, fissures, and ulcers deep in the mucosa are also evident (Baumgart & Sandborn, 2012). It attacks any part of the GIT recurrently. Symptoms depend on the predilection site. It is often linked with intolerances to a range of foods.

A mixture of herbal drugs and probiotic diets are essential for treatment. GIT ulceration should be addressed first to provide the patient with comfort. Once the ulcers are dealt with, nutrient absorption in the intestines will be improved. Allopathic medics commonly prescribe corticosteroids as first-line medication to reduce the pain due to inflammation (Hechtman, 2013).

Due to the non-specific immunosuppression nature of these drugs, it is crucial for the medication to be ceased before using herbal medicine to avoid unwanted contradictions. The allopathic inclusion of antibiotics in the treatment regimen can help alleviate the infection but unfortunately leads to further weakening of the system (Baumgart & Sandborn, 2012).

Treatment objectives

The primary objective is to reduce the ulceration which leads to bleeding and colic.

Reduction of diarrhoea since it leads to weakening of the patient and loss of water and electrolytes.

The other objective is to alleviate cramping and improve appetite.

It is also meant to clear the mucosa of underlining bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal tract.

Treatment also improves the patient’s general wellbeing.

Herbal prescription and rationale for each of the herbs

Use of powder from the bark of the Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) – The dosage includes taking one tablespoon of the powder in warm water about half an hour before meals. It works by protecting the irritated tissues while promoting their healing. It should also be taken at least an hour before taking other drugs (Hechtman, 2013).

Marshmallow is an emollient and demulcent (Braun & Cohen, 2015). It soothes the mucosa. The roots or leaves are the ones used after drying. To make marshmallow tea, steep 3 to 5 grams of dried roots or leaves and add to one cup of boiling water. Strain and cool. Take one cup thrice per day. It should be taken at least an hour before taking other medicines.

Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) fights inflammation. Taking 250 milligrams per day of the herb can help alleviate this symptom (Braun & Cohen, 2015).

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has excellent anti-inflammatory, immunity boosting, pathogen killing and digestive stimulating properties (Braun & Cohen, 2015). It can be used orally either with meals or before meals to enhance appetite. It can be administered in the ration of 1:2 or 20 ml per week.

Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) is a tonic, anti-haemorrhagic, stringent and immune-boosting herb. It has constituents that can cease bleeding and irritation. It also improves appetite.  It is administered in the ratio of 1:5 in 40 ml weekly (Baumgart & Sandborn, 2012).

Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is relevant in this circumstance, and it helps to alleviate lethargy (Baumgart & Sandborn, 2012). It restores the body’s stress response by working with the hypothalamus, adrenal cortex, and pituitary gland. The dosage is taken in the ratio of 1:2 or 40 ml weekly.

Contraindications

Cat’s claw may increase the risk for autoimmune diseases such as lupus or multiple sclerosis in people taking corticosteroids or immunosuppressive medications (Baumgart & Sandborn, 2012). It may also be contraindicated in cases of digestive ulcers, so caution is advised before using it.

Herb-drug interactions

Ginseng can affect platelets so it should be avoided in patients taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Baumgart & Sandborn, 2012). It also has blood thinning effects leading to bleeding. It is not advised to use it together with amphetamines and caffeine since this can lead to overworking of the adrenal glands (Baumgart & Sandborn, 2012).

Ginger is known to inhibit thromboxane synthase leading to prolonged bleeding with anticoagulants (Baumgart & Sandborn, 2012).

Side effects

Cat’s claw can lead to leukaemia, autoimmune disorders, and lower blood pressure (Hechtman, 2013).

Goldenseal can cause stomach irritations due to the presence of tannins in its tincture form (Braun & Cohen, 2015).

Case study 2

Case analysis

Hepatitis C is a severe viral infection of the liver. It can be caused by toxins, drugs and chemical interactions and also immune system overactivity (Liang & Ghany, 2013). It is spread via contact with infected blood when IV individuals share contaminated needles (Liang & Ghany, 2013). It can present in both chronic and acute forms. In this case, the focus should be more on reducing and treating the infection to prevent further tissue damage. Eradication of the virus through the use of antiviral herbal treatments is of significance. Supporting and toning the liver in the process of detoxification is of priority (Liang & Ghany, 2013).

It encourages health and hepatocyte development (Liang & Ghany, 2013). Proper lifestyle management is encouraged. In this patient’s case, the condition is under control, and all chances of progression should be eliminated. Complete eradication of the virus would be the best outcome. In treating this viral infection, it is imperative to deal with inflammation and the immune system’s impaired response.

Treatment objectives

To eradicate Hepatitis C virus from the patient

To tone the liver and protect from further infection

To remove any inflammation from the infected patient’s liver

To support organ and immune system resilience and function

Preventing progressive liver damage by avoiding or reducing alcohol consumption

Herbal prescription and rationale for each of the herbs

Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) herb has proven to be excellent in locking the virus (Hechtman, 2013). The roots are used as they contain glycyrrhizic acid (Hechtman, 2013). The herb possesses antiviral, anti-inflammatory, immune regulatory actions and other pharmacological properties. It is administered in the ratio of 1:2 or 50 ml (Braun & Cohen, 2015).

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) has hepato-protective properties with the ability to stimulate regeneration of hepatocytes leading to the repair of chronic liver conditions (Braun & Cohen, 2015). The active constituent in the herb, silymarin stimulates the creation process of liver protein. This replaces the damaged cells with the fibrous matter. The recommended dose is two tablets twice a day.

Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis) has protective properties which prevent the progression of liver damage (Hechtman, 2013). Studies have shown that the herb’s constituents work to neutralize the various free radicals that offset the damage done to the liver. Dosage is administered in the ratio of 1:2 of 20 ml (Hechtman, 2013).

Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) has been proven to cease the replication of the hepatitis virus (Braun & Cohen, 2015). It stimulates the function of the gall bladder. This prevents development of gallstones and also tones and clears the liver (Hechtman, 2013).

Two months after these treatments the status of the virus should be reviewed (Liang & Ghany, 2013).

Contraindications

Andrographis is contraindicated if there are cardiac problems, but this client does not have this condition (Hechtman, 2013).

Schisandra is contraindicated in individuals who have bile duct blockages as it facilitates more bile flow. Patients with epilepsy hypertension and ulcers are also advised to avoid this herb (Liang & Ghany, 2013).

Liquorice is contraindicated in individuals with high blood pressure, kidney conditions and diabetes since it has aldosterone-like effects (Liang & Ghany, 2013). Patients with hyperthyroidism should not use this herb as it reduces the production of thyroid hormone.

Herb-drug interactions

Liquorice interacts with various drugs and can raise blood pressure. People taking blood-thinning medications should be cautious when taking this herb (Braun & Cohen, 2015).

Milk thistle interacts with various drugs processed through the liver (Liang & Ghany, 2013).

Side effects

Milk thistle can cause nausea, abdominal bloating and diarrhoea, headaches, skin rashes, and insomnia.

Liquorice has been attributed to increased blood pressure.

Schisandra can lead to liver inflammation.

Case study 3

Case analysis

Glandular fever is brought about by the ‘Epstein-Barr’ virus from the herpes complex family as a secondary infection (Green, Horne, & Shephard, 2013). The virus is easily transmissible and can remain dormant for a long time. The disease is included in the aetiology of various conditions. Chronic fatigue syndrome may be coupled with this disease in the acute form (Green et al., 2013).

For this patient, supporting the immune system is the priority to overcome the infection. The fatigue felt is an indication of compromised lymphatics (Green et al., 2013). Use of herbal medications can help alleviate most of these symptoms. Even though the liver normalized the damage that had been inflicted still requires addressing.

Treatment objectives

Supporting and treating the immune system to combat the virus

To drain and cleanse the lymphatic paths to get rid of the virus

To reduce and ease muscle and joint inflammation and pain

Treatment is also aimed at restoring and protecting the liver from infection

Herbal prescription and rationale for each of the herbs

Echinacea herb (Echinacea augustifolia) boosts immunity by activating macrophages to destroy the viruses (Hechtman, 2013). It increases production of interferon which enables the body to produce appropriate lymphocytes (Hechtman, 2013). Dosage is administered in the ratio of 1:2 or 20 ml.

Cleavers (Galium aparine) is recommended for the lymphatics, and it works well with Echinacea (Braun & Cohen, 2015). It contains anti-inflammatory and tonic effects on the swollen glands. It eliminates the virus and assists in post-viral fatigue (Hechtman, 2013). Has hepato-protective elements and increases liver cleansing such as in this case. Dosage is given in the ratio of 1:2 or 25 ml.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a potent anti-inflammatory herb with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties (Braun & Cohen, 2015). It has hepato-protective actions which are essential for this patient due to stress on the liver. It is given in the ratio of 1:1 or 35 ml.

Globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is another good liver remedy (Braun & Cohen, 2015). It aids in detoxifying and regeneration of the liver after damage (Green et al., 2013). It is administered in the ratio of 1:2 or 20ml.

Contraindications

Cleavers is contraindicated in people with a tendency towards diabetes (Green et al., 2013), though it is not relevant to this particular patient.

Turmeric has mild contraindications after prolonged usage (Hechtman, 2013). People with chronic disorders of the liver or gallstones should avoid the herb.

Globe artichoke has contraindications to gallstones, but it does not apply to this patient (Braun & Cohen, 2015).

Herb-drug interactions

Echinacea can be used together with cleavers or vice versa (Braun & Cohen, 2015).

Echinacea may also alter the metabolism of drugs going through the liver leading to reduced effects of the drugs (Hechtman, 2013).

Side effects

Cleavers in high amounts causes dehydration imbalances since it has diuretic effects (Hechtman, 2013).

Echinacea causes unpleasant taste, liver toxicity (Green et al., 2013). Avoid it with other drugs.

Globe artichoke might worsen bile duct reactions and gallstones by increasing the bile flow (Green et al., 2013).

References

Baumgart, D. C., & Sandborn, W. J. (2012). Crohn’s disease. The Lancet380(9853), 1590-1605.

Braun, L., & Cohen, M. (2015). Herbs and Natural Supplements, Volume 2: An Evidence-Based Guide (Vol. 2). Elsevier Health Sciences.

Green, D. W., Horne, R., & Shephard, E. A. (2013). Public perceptions of the risks, benefits and use of natural remedies, pharmaceutical medicines and personalised medicines. Complementary therapies in medicine21(5), 487-491.

Hechtman, L. (2013). Clinical naturopathic medicine-eBook. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Liang, T. J., & Ghany, M. G. (2013). Current and future therapies for hepatitis C virus infection. New England Journal of Medicine368(20), 1907-1917.

 

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