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Breathing Quiz
Which of the following health conditions is not directly benefited by breathing exercises?
erbal Medicine
Sports Herbs

© Christopher Hobbs LAc, AHG
 (Excerpted from Let's Live Magazine)

There is sometimes a gap between fact and fiction in advertising, as most of us realize. I have seen companies manufacturing herbal weight-training formulas make wild claims about the following herbal extracts. Here, I have summarized the supportable traditional and modern uses of these herbs.

Damiana known in Mexico as a mild aphrodisiac and nervous system stimulant--no plant sterols have been found in damiana

Sarsaparilla a good "blood purifier," especially for nitrogen-based waste products, such as uric acid; may be a useful herb for speeding recovery time after workouts--contains phytosterols

Saw palmetto used extensively in Europe for male and female sexual organ and urinary tract tonification; lowers inflammation and is recommended for prostatitis; contains beta-sitosterin

Wild Yam often recommended as anti-spasmodics for relieving uterine cramps and colic; contains diosgenin which is an economically important precursor to progesterone for birth-control pills; there is no evidence that phytosteroids in wild yam act as anabolic steroids in the human body

While it is true that these herbs contain plant sterols, which possess the same basic ring-structure as human hormones, there is no clinical or laboratory evidence that these are transformed into human steroids in the body. In fact, many foods we eat contain the same types of sterols, even in higher concentrations (such as soy products). These foods are readily available, and provide many more phytosterols for a whole lot less money.

Although I have found in my 22 years of experience with herbs and health that there are no "magic bullets" for energy, endurance and healing of injuries sustained during sports activities, herbs remain the most ideal remedies for everyday situations.

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About The Author
Christopher Hobbs is a fourth generation herbalist and botanist with over 30 years experience with herbs. Founder of Native Herb Custom Extracts (now Rainbow Light Custom Extracts) and the Institute for Natural Products Research. Christopher writes and lectures internationally on herbal medicine. He is a consultant to the herb industry and is currently practicing and working on a......more
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