Creatine

Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid (protein building block) that's found in meat and fish, and also made by the human body in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It is converted into creatine phosphate or phosphocreatine and stored in the muscles, where it is used for energy. During high-intensity, short-duration exercise, such as lifting weights or sprinting, phosphocreatine is converted into ATP, a major source of energy within the human body.

Creatine supplements are popular among body builders and competitive athletes. It is estimated that Americans spend roughly $14 million per year on creatine supplements. The attraction of creatine is that it may increase lean muscle mass and enhance athletic performance, particularly during high-intensity, short-duration sports (like high jumping and weight lifting).

Valerian

Valerian is a plant native to Europe and Asia; it is also found in North America. Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Its therapeutic uses were described by Hippocrates, and in the 2nd century, Galen prescribed valerian for insomnia.

Common Names—valerian, all-heal, garden heliotrope

Latin NameValeriana officinalis

Valerian

Valerian is a plant native to Europe and Asia; it is also found in North America. Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Its therapeutic uses were described by Hippocrates, and in the 2nd century, Galen prescribed valerian for insomnia.

Common Names—valerian, all-heal, garden heliotrope

Latin NameValeriana officinalis

 

Thunder god vine

Thunder god vine is a perennial vine native to China, Japan, and Korea. It has been used in China for health purposes for more than 400 years.

Common Names—thunder god vine, lei gong teng

Latin NameTripterygium wilfordii

St. John's wort

St. John's wort is a plant with yellow flowers whose medicinal uses were first recorded in ancient Greece. The name St. John's wort apparently refers to John the Baptist, as the plant blooms around the time of the feast of St. John the Baptist in late June.

Common Names—St. John's wort, hypericum, Klamath weed, goatweed

Latin NameHypericum perforatum

Soy

 Soy, a plant in the pea family, has been common in Asian diets for thousands of years. It is found in modern American diets as a food or food additive. Soybeans, the high-protein seeds of the soy plant, contain isoflavones—compounds similar to the female hormone estrogen. The following information highlights what is known about soy when used by adults for health purposes.

Common Name—soy

Latin NameGlycine max

Saw Palmetto

 Saw palmetto is a small palm tree native to the eastern United States. Its fruit was used medicinally by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Common Names—saw palmetto, American dwarf palm tree, cabbage palm

Latin NamesSerenoa repens, Sabal serrulata

Red Clover

Like peas and beans, red clover belongs to the family of plants called legumes. Red clover contains phytoestrogens—compounds similar to the female hormone estrogen.

Common Names—red clover, cow clover, meadow clover, wild clover

Latin NameTrifolium pratense

 

Peppermint Oil

 The herb peppermint, a cross between two types of mint (water mint and spearmint), grows throughout Europe and North America. Peppermint is often used to flavor foods, and the leaves can be used fresh or dried in teas.

Common Name—peppermint oil

Latin NameMentha x piperita

Noni

Noni is an evergreen shrub or small tree that grows throughout the tropical regions of the Pacific Ocean, from Southeast Asia to Australia and especially in Polynesia. Noni has been traditionally used in Polynesia as a dye.

Common Names—noni, morinda, Indian mulberry, hog apple, canary wood

Latin Name—Morinda citrifolia

Milk thistle

Milk thistle is a flowering herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. It has been used for thousands of years as a remedy for a variety of ailments, especially liver problems.

Common Names—milk thistle, Mary thistle, holy thistle. Milk thistle is sometimes called silymarin, which is actually a mixture of the herb's active components, including silybinin (also called silibinin or silybin).

Latin NameSilybum marianum

Lavender

Lavender is native to the Mediterranean region. It was used in ancient Egypt as part of the process for mummifying bodies. Lavender's use as a bath additive originated in Persia, Greece, and Rome. The herb's name comes from the Latin lavare, which means "to wash."

Common Names—lavender, English lavender, garden lavender

Latin NameLavandula angustifolia

Horse Chestnut

 Horse chestnut trees are native to the Balkan Peninsula (for example, Greece and Bulgaria), but grow throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Although horse chestnut is sometimes called buckeye, it should not be confused with the Ohio or California buckeye trees, which are related but not the same species.


Common Names—horse chestnut, buckeye, Spanish chestnut

Latin NamesAesculus hippocastanum

 

Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera’s use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings. Known as the "plant of immortality," aloe was presented as a burial gift to deceased pharaohs.

Bilberry
Bilberry

Bilberry

Keywords: bilberry, European blueberry, whortleberry, huckleberry, night vision

Common Names—bilberry, European blueberry, whortleberry, huckleberry

Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh

 Black cohosh, a member of the buttercup family, is a plant native to North America. It was used in Native American medicine and was a home remedy in 19th-century America

Common Names—black cohosh, black snakeroot, macrotys, bugbane, bugwort, rattleroot, rattleweed

Latin Names—Actaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa

Echinacea

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Echinacea

There are nine known species of echinacea, all of which are native to the United States and southern Canada. The most commonly used, Echinacea purpurea, is believed to be the most potent.

Common Names—echinacea, purple coneflower, coneflower, American coneflower

Latin Names—Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida

Mistletoe

 European mistletoe is a semiparasitic plant that grows on several types of trees in temperate regions worldwide. Where the term "mistletoe" is used in this fact sheet, it refers to European mistletoe. (European mistletoe is different from American mistletoe, which is used as a holiday decoration.)

Common Names—European mistletoe, mistletoe

Latin NameViscum album L.

Licorice root

 Most licorice is grown in Greece, Turkey, and Asia. Licorice contains a compound called glycyrrhizin (or glycyrrhizic acid). Licorice has a long history of medicinal use in both Eastern and Western systems of medicine.

Common Names—licorice root, licorice, liquorice, sweet root, gan zao (Chinese licorice)

Latin NamesGlycyrrhiza glabra, Glycyrrhiza uralensis (Chinese licorice)

 

Kava

Kava is native to the islands of the South Pacific and is a member of the pepper family. Kava has been used as a ceremonial beverage in the South Pacific for centuries.

Common Names—kava, kava kava, awa, kava pepper

Latin NamePiper methysticum

 

Hoodia

Hoodia is a flowering, cactus-like plant native to the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. Its harvest is protected by conservation laws.

Common Names—hoodia, Kalahari cactus, Xhoba

Latin NamesHoodia gordonii

 

Astragalus
 astragalus

 astragalus—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Native to China, astragalus has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. In the United States, the herb gained popularity in the 1980s. There are actually over 2,000 species of astragalus; 

The root of the astragalus plant is typically used in soups, teas, extracts, or capsules. Astragalus is generally used with other herbs, such as ginseng, angelica, and licorice.

Bitter Orange
Bitter Orange

The bitter orange tree is native to eastern Africa and tropical Asia. Today, it is grown throughout the Mediterranean region and elsewhere, including California and Florida. Bitter orange oil is used in foods, cosmetics, and aromatherapy products. Bitter orange oil from the tree’s leaves is called petitgrain, and oil from the flowers is called neroli.

Common Names—bitter orange, Seville orange, sour orange, Zhi shi

Latin Name—Citrus aurantium

What Bitter Orange Is Used For
Bitter orange has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and by indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest for nausea, indigestion, and constipation.
Current uses of bitter orange are for heartburn, loss of appetite, nasal congestion, and weight loss. It is also applied to the skin for fungal infections such as ringworm and athlete's foot.

How Bitter Orange Is Used
The dried fruit and peel (and sometimes flowers and leaves) are taken by mouth in extracts, tablets, and capsules. Bitter orange oil can be applied to the skin.

What the Science Says
There is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of bitter orange for health purposes.
Many herbal weight-loss products now use concentrated extracts of bitter orange peel in place of ephedra. However, bitter orange contains the chemical synephrine, which is similar to the main chemical in ephedra. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned ephedra because it raises blood pressure and is linked to heart attacks and strokes; it is unclear whether bitter orange has similar effects. There is currently little evidence that bitter orange is safer to use than ephedra.
  
Side Effects and Cautions

Because bitter orange contains chemicals that may speed up the heart rate and raise blood pressure, it may not be safe to use as a dietary supplement. There have been reports of fainting, heart attack, and stroke in healthy people after taking bitter orange supplements alone or combined with caffeine. People should avoid taking bitter orange supplements if they have a heart condition or high blood pressure, or if they are taking medications (such as MAO inhibitors), caffeine, or other herbs/supplements that speed up the heart rate.
Due to lack of safety evidence, pregnant women or nursing mothers should avoid products that contain bitter orange.
Bitter orange oil used on the skin may increase the risk of sunburn, particularly in light-skinned people. 

Dandelion

Dandelion greens are edible and are a rich source of vitamin A. Dandelion has been used in many traditional medical systems, including Native American and traditional Arabic medicine.

Common Names—dandelion, lion's tooth, blowball

Latin Name—Taraxacum officinale

Ephedra

 Ephedra is an evergreen shrub-like plant native to Central Asia and Mongolia. The principal active ingredient, ephedrine, is a compound that can powerfully stimulate the nervous system and heart.

Common Names—ephedra, Chinese ephedra, ma huang

Latin Name—Ephedra sinica

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