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Today, many manufacturers of plant-based "neuroceuticals" claim their products can offer powerful benefits in brain function. However, the US government does not require these manufacturers to demonstrate their products’ effectiveness, leaving it difficult for consumers and health professionals to make decisions about the benefits and risks. In Herbal Supplements and the Brain: Understanding their Health Benefits and Hazards, two leading researchers provide this crucial information in clear language any intelligent reader can understand and use. They begin by introducing the fundamental principles of pharmacology, explaining how drugs and natural products can affect the body’s organs and organ systems. Using examples, they show how to determine whether an ingested substance can enter the bloodstream and reach its target at a concentration sufficient to have an effect. They also explain how natural products may influence blood levels of other substances, and discuss whether such interactions may diminish the effectiveness of prescription medications or alter normal body chemistry. Throughout, the authors emphasize factors relating especially to neuroceuticals and the brain. Individual chapters are devoted to nutritional supplements which promise to enhance memory, relieve pain, safely promote sleep, and aid in the treatment of depression or anxiety. Specifically, readers will find research-based coverage of Ginkgo biloba; St. John’s Wort; Valerian; Lemon Balm; Kava; Lavender; Kudzu, Daffodil, Passion Flower, and Camellia Tea and other caffeinated beverages.
Chapter 1 The Gifts of Eden 1
Chapter 2 Transforming Plants into Gold 7
Prehistoric Evidence 8
Early Documentation 9
Western Culture 11
Chapter 3 Thinking Like a Pharmacologist 17
The Origins of Pharmacology 19
In Vitro and In Vivo Studies 27
Pharmacology and Herbal Supplements 27
Herbal Supplement Pharmacology Checklist 28
Chapter 4 The Brain as a Drug Target 33
The Human Brain 36
Chemical Neurotransmission 39
Neurotransmitter Systems 41
Behavioral Assays 45
Clinical Studies 49
Chapter 5 Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) 53
Therapeutic Uses 55
Adverse Effects 65
Pharmacological Perspective 66
Chapter 6 St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) 67
Therapeutic Uses 70
Adverse Effects 80
Pharmacological Perspective 81
Chapter 7 Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) 83
Therapeutic Uses 85
Adverse Effects 93
Pharmacological Perspective 94
Chapter 8 Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) 97
Therapeutic Uses 99
Adverse Effects 106
Pharmacological Perspective 106
Chapter 9 Kava (Piper methysticum) 109
Therapeutic Uses 111
Adverse Effects 118
Pharmacological Perspective 120
Chapter 10 Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 123
Therapeutic Uses 125
Adverse Effects 134
Pharmacological Perspective 135
Chapter 11 Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) 137
Therapeutic Uses 139
Adverse Effects 146
Pharmacological Perspective 147
Chapter 12 Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) 149
Therapeutic Uses 152
Adverse Effects 158
Pharmacological Perspective 159
Chapter 13 Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) 161
Therapeutic Uses 163
Adverse Effects 173
Pharmacological Perspective 173
Chapter 14 Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa 175
Therapeutic Uses 178
Adverse Effects 186
Pharmacological Perspective 187
Chapter 15 Epilogue 189
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