A natural way to beat stress


ALTERNATIVE:
Herbs and spices like
turmeric are a natural
way to battle stress
ALTERNATIVE: Herbs and spices like turmeric are a natural way to battle stress

by NADEEM BADSHAH

ANCIENT HERBS CAN BE HEALTHY, SAY EXPERTS

ANCIENT herbs have been hailed as the new natural way to treat conditions like stress.

Spices like turmeric, used in ayurvedic medicine which was invented in In­dia, are being recommend­ed by experts in Britain for some health problems.

Extracts of the Karela plant are also used by Asians with diabetes to re­duce their blood sugar lev­els. The South Asian Health Foundation (SAHF) is holding a conference on di­abetes in London on March 13.

Dr Mahendra Patel, from the SAHF, called on patients to be cautious when buying plant-based remedies on­line and from south Asia due to safety fears.

He said natural treat­ments can work alongside using traditional medicine.

Dr Patel told Eastern Eye: “Herbs can be a source of vitamins and extracts for nutritional balance and food supplements but it is important to seek profes­sional advice first.

“Many believe in taking herbal medicines. If used appropriately and sensibly and it works for them, there is no reason to stop unless advised by your doctor or pharmacist.

“As with conventional medicines, herbal medi­cines can be harmful if not used correctly.

“It is therefore always im­portant to consult your doc­tor or pharmacist first be­fore taking herbal medi­cines, especially if you’re taking other medicines.

“They may reduce or in­crease the effects of the medicine, as well as poten­tial side-effects.”

Some herbal medicines are not regulated in the UK by the Medicines & Health­care Products Regulatory Agency watchdog.

Dr Patel added: “Reme­dies especially prepared for individuals don’t need a li­cence and those manufac­tured outside the UK may not be subject to regulation.

“Many obtain supplies from India and Pakistan through various sources and these are known to contain toxic chemicals, im­purities and even metals, including mercury, which can be seriously harmful to the body.

“You must also be careful when buying online or from untrusted suppliers, as of­ten they may supply fake or substandard and contami­nated products.

“Evidence for the effec­tiveness of herbal medicines is generally very limited. Al­though some people find them helpful, in many cases their use tends to be based on traditional use rather than scientific research.”

Pharmaceuticals science journal has reported that a number of clinical trials have shown that taking adaptogens – stress-beating plant extracts – can improve concentration and endur­ance when a person be­comes stressed.

Another supporter of al­ternative medicine is the Prince of Wales, who has made speeches at the World Health Assembly and Brit­ish Medical Association on the potential benefits.

Dr Charlotte Bech is the managing director of Mahari­shi Ayurveda in Lancashire.

She told Eastern Eye: “Ac­cording to Ayurvedic princi­ples and practice, it is more ideal for optimal health and well-being for women to use natural approaches to con­traception, without chemi­cals or hormones.

“Shatavari is a vegetable, a type of asparagus, grown in India. Ayurveda has tradi­tionally included this vege­table in the diet to balance hormones for women.

“The Shatavari vegetable has been used for thou­sands of years to yield ben­eficial results for women.

“Dried and ground Shata­vari vegetable can be pre­pared by boiling with milk and sugar.”

NHS guidelines say some adaptogens may not be suit­able for people with certain conditions so it is always best to consult your GP first.