Discover what herbs have been through medical and study trials with remarkable results.
Since 1999, the National Institutes of Health has been funding herb research, a breakthrough from the long-held position that natural medicine was not effective enough to merit investigation. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), in charge of such research, has already conducted over 100 clinical trials and funded training for the new expert centers opening nationwide.
Melatonin, for example, is under research by the University of California together with the National Institute of Nursing Research, as a possible treatment in sleep disorders associated with Parkinson's Disease. As most research will take years before any clear conclusion can be drawn, approach the taking of any herb with caution and always consult your health care provider.
Here is a list of herbs heavily investigated and currently under research and clinical trials around the world.
Una de Gato
Una de gato (Spanish for "cat's claw") has only gained popularity in the US in the last few years, but people from South America have been using it for almost two centuries as an immune-fortifying tonic and a treatment for arthritis.
Cat's claw only grows in the rainforests of Peru, where the government has strict harvesting policies in place. Since it takes over 20 years for the plant to mature enough to be harvested, the herb is only available on limited supplies and tends to be expensive.
Best known for its cleansing and detoxification properties, recent research has suggested it could boost the immune system enough to help it fight diseases such as HIV. In fact, several European countries are conducting clinical trials using a combination of cat's claw with several commercial drugs to treat AIDS.
High in powerful antioxidants (including proanthocyanidins) and alkaloids, it can also help against damage caused by free radicals, lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and inhibit blood platelet aggregation.