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HERBAL REMEDIES FOR MEN

Listen up, men! It's tough being a guy, isn't it? Just because today's man is supposed to be strong, sensitive, fun-loving, caring, AND successful, it doesn't mean you can ignore your health. Try these supplements for your optimal performance.

Ginkgo

Used for memory, heart, circulation, erections

Good blood flow it's vital to the heart, the brain, and other parts of the, a-hem, male anatomy. Ginkgo repeatedly has been shown to strengthen the circulatory system. Research verifies that this fan-shaped leaf deservesits age-old reputation for keeping all the body's organs in working order. Ginkgo relaxes arteries throughout the body, allowing more blood to reach important destinations. That means it can help improve memory and mental clarity; it may ease problems associated with heart disease, such asarrhythmia and leg pain; it maintains blood flow to the eyes; and yes, it even makes for better erections. Based on the findings of one study, taking 60 milligrams a day of standardized ginkgo extract for six months is most effective, because this is a slow-acting herb. (As when starting most herbal regimens, it's best to check with your health care practitioner. For example, ginkgo may not be right for people who take aspirin daily.)

Willow Bark

Used for heart, headaches, aches and pains

In his book The Green Pharmacy, botanist James A. Duke gives the herb willow bark a top rating for heart and head health. You may have heard about taking an aspirin a day to keep heart trouble away. According to many studies, aspirin can substantially reduce the risk of heart attack by preventing the blood clots that can trigger them. Willow bark contains salicin, aspirin's herbal ancestor. According to Duke, "The body converts aspirin into salicylic acid, and the same process occurs with the salicin found in willow bark. So if pharmaceutical aspirin helps prevent heart attacks, so too should the herbal aspirin." Duke warns that if you're allergic to aspirin, you probably should not take willow bark. Studies show that, like aspirin, willow bark can be an effective pain reliever for headaches and for other aches and pains.

Garlic

Used for lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, preventing infection

It's been called the super hero of the herbal world. Well-documented health benefits of garlic include reducing cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, improving circulation, and helping to prevent yeast infections, cancers,colds, and flu. Herbalist Steven Foster writes in his book 101 Medicinal Herbs that garlic has good antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunostimulant properties.

Saw Palmetto

Used for benign prostatic hyperplasia

Feel doomed to prostate problems? Almost every man past the age of 60 experiences the telltale signs of urinary troubles. (One in ten is bothered by age 40.) An enlarged prostate, termed benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), isn't a life-threatening condition, but it can be a big nuisance when this small gland starts to choke off the free flow of urine from the bladder. More and more scientific studies show that saw palmetto berries interfere with the form of testosterone that fuels prostate growth, explains James A. Duke, Ph.D., one of the nation's most respected botanists and an AllHerb.com expert. One study of 2,000 Germans showed that a daily dose of one to two grams of saw palmetto seeds (or 320 milligrams of its hexane extract) significantly eased symptoms of BPH.

Hops

Used for anxiety and insomnia

And you thought hops was in beer just for its flavor. Wrong. Hops, a pleasantly bitter vine flower, contains the sedative methyl-butenol. It's said that smoking hops has a relaxing effect, notes Duke, but since smoking in general is a bad idea, he instead suggests drinking a cup of hops tea or taking one-quarter teaspoon of hops tincture before bed. (Of course, you could just have a beer, but this is an article about herbs.)

Ginseng

Used for fatigue, improving concentration, well-being

This root boasts a venerable history in Traditional Chinese Medicine, which teaches the use of ginseng (particularly Siberian) to invigorate one's Qi, or vital energy. Germany's Commission E recommends it as an all-purpose tonic that fights fatigue, mental fogginess, and general sluggishness. Other research suggests that American ginseng increases testosterone levels, which can boost sexual function. Siberian ginseng has the same reputation, although less research has been done on it in the West. Whichever you choose, look for reputable, standardized herbal products.

Kava

Used for anxiety, insomnia, stress

If it's not appealing enough that kava is the main ingredient in a Polynesian cocktail, consider this: kava is a hot seller in Europe, where the herb is used to fight daily stress and as an aid to relaxation and sleep. Based on research, the chemical compounds in a 100-milligram dose, taken three times a day, can relax muscles and relieve pain. If tension plagues you, follow the label's instructions, and then get ready to relax. Before you know it, you'll be dreaming of grass skirts and sandy beaches.

B: The Vital Vitamin for Men

Vitamin B

Used for stress, energy, memory, depression

If you lead an active or stressful lifestyle, chances are good that you're quickly depleting your body of essential nutrients, particularly the family of vitamins that includes B6, B12, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, andpantothenic acid. In fact, many stress-fighting formulas feature a boost of B complex for this very reason. Add to that the fact that, as you get older, your body gradually loses the ability to absorb B6 and B12 from food. All in all, deficiencies of these vitamins are common. The result can be insidious health problems, explains Romana Li, AllHerb.com's staff nutritionist. Shortages in B6 and B12 have been linked to memory problems and difficulty in concentrating. (Doctors have suggested that many cases of senile dementia-even Alzheimer's-might actually be misdiagnosed cases of vitamin deficiency!) In younger people, the symptoms of vitamin B deficiency can include fatigue, fuzzy thinking, and being easily distracted.

A shortage of the B vitamins also has been linked to depression. Research shows that vitamin B6 helps elevate levels of the "feel good" brain chemical serotonin. Taking 200 micrograms of folate significantly relieved depression in most study subjects. And finally, B vitamins are helpful against carpal tunnel syndrome and migraines, says Li. Considering that these are all ailments of the hard-driving, high-achieving individual, modern man may be well advised to take more B complex.

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Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and is for educational purposes only. If you are taking any medication or are under treatment for any disease, please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before taking any of these products. If you are pregnant or lactating, please consult with your health care professional before taking any medication or dietary supplements.


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