Earlier this year we kicked off the latest edition of our alphabetized list of nutritional supplements, a feature that affords us the opportunity to present and briefly summarize a wide variety of items that we believe merit your attention. Some of these you rarely hear about, but should know about. Our first blog in this series covered supplements beginning with the letters A though E. This time, we cover F through J. Before making any of these a new part of your daily regimen or initiating usage to address a specific medical condition, be sure to discuss your situation with a health-care professional.
Feverfew: Despite its name, this herb, known for its alternating yellow and green leaves, as well as its pungent odor, hasn’t shown much potential for treating fevers, but it has for centuries been useful in alleviating annoying afflictions such as headaches, particularly migraines. It has also demonstrated success in dealing with arthritis and issues related to labor and childbirth. Physicians in the times of ancient Greece found it helpful in addressing inflammation as well as menstrual cramps in women.
Ginseng: As is the case with a fairly wide assortment of other herbs or roots, ginseng has a long history of medical use, dating back centuries. The diversity of its health-enhancing properties is most impressive. Start with the fact that it has been shown effective in acting as an exercise-performance booster as well as an aphrodisiac and an immune system enhancer. There are generally two types of ginseng: the Asian version is known as somewhat of a stimulant, while the American version of ginseng has a calming attribute. Other health benefits linked to ginseng include aiding brain function, moderating blood sugar levels, increasing energy, and lowering cholesterol levels and inflammation.
Horny goat weed: This traditional Chinese medicinal herb is believed to address a health area of concern hinted at by its name – in this case, erectile dysfunction (ED) in men – its success as a nutritional supplement is more often linked to conditions such as hay fever, nerve pain, fatigue, and osteoporosis. ED sufferers need not give up hope, though, when it comes to horny goat weed’s usage. Researchers have isolated a substance known as icarlin to be the active ingredient of horny goat weed, with evidence showing it to be a potential treatment for ED caused by nerve injury. If you have questions about horny goat weed’s usage, it’s worth a consultation with your physician.
Iodine: Here’s the skinny on iodine, which is categorized as an essential trace mineral. Your body needs it in order to survive and properly function, but, aye, there’s a rub – your body wasn’t prepackaged with a readymade supply of it, and it doesn’t have the means to manufacture it. It’s up to you, pal, to provide your body with the iodine it needs, much of which is sourced from the foods you eat (animal protein foods and sea vegetables work), with the rest supplied through supplementation (that’s your role). How does iodine help you? It helps regulate your metabolism and maintain proper function of the thyroid hormones.
Juniper: You can count juniper among those supplements that has emerged in recent years as a robust antioxidant believed to be effective in warding off sickness – it’s been compared to vitamin C in that regard. Yet, it isn’t exactly a household name. That’s why we believe it worthy of mention here. It’s particularly popular in holistic medicine circles. Juniper is sourced from the berries (they resemble blueberries) of the juniper tree, found mostly in North America. Social drinkers will be interested to know that juniper is used to make gin. When it comes to medical applications, though, claims have been made that juniper has been successful in helping to treat urinary tract infections, kidney stones, diabetes, arthritis, and gastrointestinal (GI) infections.
Chances are that one, or more, of these five items have struck a chord with you and your own health needs. If that’s so, it pleases us to no end. But, again, be sure to consult with your personal physician if you have questions about how any of these might work for you, and what precautions to take – for example, some might pose a problem if you are on certain prescription medications.