(not all are technically "herbs", some are veggies or fruits)
Ashwagandha (root extract) - another important anti-oxidant for brain health; approximate dosage to boost thyroid function is 100 to 300 mg per day (helps convert T4 to T3); to boost testosterone try 600 mg per day. Ashwagandha influences cholinergic and GABA receptors in the brain. This helps improve memory function. Ashwagandha inhibits acetylcholinesterase (which breaks down acetylcholine) and thus protects acetylcholine levels.
Astragalus - a study in the November 15, 2008 issue of "Journal of Immunology" reports that a compound derived from astragalus slowed the shortening of telomeres in CD8 T-cells.
Bilberry - supplementation with bilberry raises tissue levels of vitamin C in stressed mice; supplementation (50 to 200 mg per kg per day) with bilberry can dramatically lower ALT levels (healthier liver).
Cat's Claw - is a potent anti-inflammatory. Chris Kilham: "It should be No. 1 in every person's medicine cabinet."
Garlic - one of the "super foods"
Ginkgo Biloba - enhances cerebral circulation. One method of functioning is to suppress "platelet activating factor". Ginkgo Biloba lowers blood pressure and expands peripheral blood vessels. In one study, 80% of migraine sufferers stopped having headaches after using ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo has a protective effect against radiation (due to antioxidant activity). A dosage of 240 mg of Ginkgo Biloba has the same blood thinning effect as approximately one aspirin (use caution in combining ginkgo biloba with blood thinners).
Ginger - an excellent natural anti-inflammatory which works as a very good alternative to aspirin.
- regulates platelet aggregation (improves the clotting properties of blood)
- lowers blood pressure
Ginseng - helps stop the over production of cortisol. Traditional Chinese medicine considers ginseng effective at treating fatigue, aging and impotence. Ginseng is adaptogenic, it both stimulates the adrenal system and the cholinergic system. An important method of action is enhancing the production of adrenaline (but not the release of adrenaline), thus when the body calls for a stress response it can use adrenaline rather than cortisol (this is good because cortisol is a longer lasting stress response and more damaging due to abuse in modern stressful life than the shorter acting adrenaline boost). Ginseng improves mental functioning by promoting the ability to maintain a stable state of arousal. A reasonable daily dosage for optimum health may be 750 to 1,500 mg. (quality/potency varies a lot)
Green Tea - contains 30 to 40% water extractable polyphenols, black tea only contains 3 to 10% (oolong is in between); supplementation of healthy young people for three weeks with green tea resulted in LDL cholesterol levels dropping by 9 mg/dL, also an inflammation marker, amyloid-alpha, was reduced 42%, blood pressure was also lowered 4 to 5 mm. [published in Nutrition]
Licorice Root - Glycyrrhizin in licorice root increases the half life of cortisol, thus making more of what little cortisol someone may have in a state of adrenal exhaustion.
Onions - one of the "super foods" (I'd classify onion as a vegetable)
Pueraria mirifica - a native plant of Thailand which has phytoestrogen activity. The phytoestrogen activity is very different from that of soy and in my opinion pueraria mirifica should only be used in menopausal women. Dosage ranges from 50 to 100 mg. Some women (20%) may not react well and should discontinue usage. Pueraria mirifica is certainly a much better choice than synthetic products like Premarin, but still may not be for everyone. Research indicates good anti breast cancer efficacy and bone mineral building benefits. Hot flash and night sweat symptom relief is significant.
Rhodiola Rosea - grows and thrives in high altitude, dry, sandy areas of Europe and Asia. Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen rebalancing the body in response to stress (physical, mental and emotional). Usage leads to improved cognitive and memory function. Rhodiola Rosea promotes increased levels of ATP. Typical dosage is 200 to 400 mg per day, and due to a mild stimulating effect should be taken in the morning or mid-day. It is best taken without food. High dosages (greater than 1500 mg per day) have been associated with irritability. Consumers should look for a standardized extract with rosavins and salidrosides in a three to one ratio (typically 3% and 1% of the product). Chris Kilham: "Rhodiola is the most profound medicine in our healing pharmacy. It enhances the mind, reduces stress, improves memory, banishes depression, eradicates anxiety, promotes a great night's sleep, and makes you feel like a billion bucks. Everybody can benefit from a daily dose of about 400 mg of rhodiola. Everybody." Study results:
- Healthy young adults given 200 mg an hour before exercise significantly increased their capacity for endurance. [June 2004 Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab - De Bock, Eijnde, Ramaekers, Hespel]
- Using proofreading as a test, dosage of 300 mg or more significantly decreased errors, particularly over an eight hour period.
- Low dosage 100 to 170 mg per day testing showed reduced fatigue and improved mental function in only two weeks of supplementation.
Rosemary - contains carnosic acid which has anti-oxidant properties.
Saw Palmetto - a berry that provides hormone regulation (can help prevent conversion of testosterone to estradiol - zinc also helps with this). Recommended dosage is 160 mg per day. Saw palmetto also helps reduce hair loss. Don't exceed 320 mg per day without care, excess saw palmetto can lead to reduced libido.
- reduces 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX)
Tribulus terrestris - increases levels of FSH and LH. Use with caution and only if you understand the complex metabolism and relationships of hormones. In men the increased production of luteinizing hormone (LH) (increased approx 72% via 750 mg per day for five days using Tribestan®) raises production of testosterone (increased approx 40%)(beware of aromatization resulting in even larger increases in estrogen (81%)); in women the increased follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), results in increased estradiol but not testosterone. For detailed info see: Tribulus Terrestris Extract: Supplement Fact or Fiction Be aware Tribulus can lower cholesterol, elevate blood pressure and enhance growth hormone production.
Turmeric (Curcumin) - becoming popular as an immune system booster and anti-inflammatory
Vinpocetine - derived from the periwinkle plant, vinpocetine inhibits phosphodiesterase 1 (PDE1) relaxing blood vessels in the brain to improve blood flow (much like Viagra® inhibits PDE5 to achieve it's effects).
http://www.naturopathydigest.com/nutrition_herbs/ - conventional, weak and minimal information for many herbs, vitamin and mineral supplements.