Optimal Health in Western and Herbal Medicine Essay

Optimal Health in Western and Herbal Medicine Essay

Optimal Health in Western and Herbal Medicine Essay

The purpose of this paper is to discuss how a complementary and integrative health approach using western and herbal medicine supports optimal health. The example that I use here is how western medicine involving herbs and spices makes individuals resilient by supporting their weight loss.

While it has to be said that excess fat cannot be miraculously or simply melted away by alternative and western and herbal medicine, there are some herbs and spices which can work as a complimentary support for weight loss, exercise and diet. In fact, they: “can assist with weight loss through modification of stress, support for healthy gastric and elimination function, and promotion of normal metabolism” (Koithan, 2009). Practitioners who assist their patients with weight loss frequently include herbals for the purpose of therapeutic lifestyle transformations. These incorporate: herbal medicine, high quality herbal tea and herbal food and spices (Koithan, 2009). Optimal Health in Western and Herbal Medicine Essay

Digestion can be augmented through the stimulation of saliva and the secretion of gastric juices which come about from the use of fennel, cayenne and ginger in cooking. These herbs are also antispasmodic. Furthermore, just before having a meal: dandelion root, gentian and chamomile, the bitter herbs, can be consumed as tea or in liquid form for the purpose of advancing cholesterol and fat breakdown, as well as generating the stimulation of gastric secretions. Also, herbs can be used in meals to raise the level of fiber. Other herbal benefits include: the use of dandelion leaf to balance water retention; fenugreek which works to balance blood sugar; and dry nettle leaf which works as a nutritive (Koithan, 2009). Optimal Health in Western and Herbal Medicine Essay

Ginseng is renowned for its power to boost metabolism. Weight loss benefits have been particularly associated with Panax ginseng. Furthermore, one research study indicated that after a period of 12 days, diabetic obese mice that were fed extracts of the panax ginseng variety shed a substantial volume of weight, and showed improved insulin sensitivity (Anoja et al).

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Cayenne Pepper
Capsaicin, a hot component in cayenne pepper, could help with weight loss by battling the build up of fat via initiating positive changes in protein within the body; decreasing blood fat, helping fat tissue shrink, and lowering the intake of calories (Joo et al., 2010). The heat potential of capsaicin could possibly account for some of the benefits. This is due to the fact it has a thermogenic effect which could temporarily raise body thermogenesis, thereby beneficially impacting the body’s fat storage and metabolism. Studies indicate that the consumption of thermogenic constituents may raise fat burning by as much as 1%, and rev up the metabolism as much as 5% (Hursel et al., 2010). Optimal Health in Western and Herbal Medicine Essay


Cinnamon may assist in revving up the metabolism, and studies also indicate that it can substantially lessen levels of LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar. In addition to this, it is capable of boosting glucose metabolism approximately 20 times, thereby drastically improving blood sugar regulation (McBride, 2000).

Black Pepper

Piperine is the component of black pepper which is responsible for its pungent flavor. This element has been shown to block the generation of new fat cell formation. Furthermore, studies have indicated that when it comes to burning calories, piperine can have the same effect as going for a twenty minute walk (Jwa et al., 2012).

In summary, a complementary and integrative health approach using western herbal medicine can support optimal weight management through a variety of herbs including ginseng, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and black pepper. Clearly the benefits of using these herbs and spices can support an individual’s weight loss program by benefiting the person in various adjunct ways. There have been a small number of research studies conducted on the herbs discussed in this paper, although it would be beneficial for more to be conducted. Optimal Health in Western and Herbal Medicine Essay

  • Anoja et al. Diabetes June 2002 vol. 51 no. 6 1851-1858 Antidiabetic Effects of Panax ginseng Berry Extract and the Identification of an Effective Component.
    Retrieved from http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/51/6/1851.full
  • Hursel et al. “Thermogenic ingredients and body weight regulation.” Int J Obes (Lond). 2010Apr;34(4):659-69. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20142827
  • Joo et al. “Proteomic analysis for antiobesity potential of capsaicin on white adipose tissue in rats fed with a high fat diet.” J Proteome Res. 2010 Jun 4;9(6):2977-87. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20359164
  • Jwa et al. Biochem Pharmacol. 2012 Dec 1;84(11):1501-10. Retrieved fromhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23000915
  • Koithan, Mary. “Using Herbal Remedies to Maintain Optimal Weight.” J Nurse Pract. 2010 Feb; 6(2): 153’154. Optimal Health in Western and Herbal Medicine Essay