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MSNBC: Health News - Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicines may pose risk

  WHO warned that increasingly popular alternative medicines, from Chinese herbal remedies to spiritual therapies, are often misused and can be harmful.
Herbs, drugs and severe depression
  A new study found placebo to be more effective than either St. Johnís Wort or the popular anti-depressant Zoloft in providing relief to severely depressed patients.
St. Johnís wort weakens cancer drug
  St. Johnís wort appears to interfere with a common cancer drugís ability to fight and kill tumors in cancer patients, a new study shows.
Kava may be linked to liver ailments
  The popular herbal supplement kava may be linked to liver toxicity, the FDA warned, urging consumers to see a doctor at the first sign of symptoms.
More funding urged for alternative remedy research
  A federal commission urged the U.S. government to boost funding for research on the safety and efficacy of alternative medicine.
Herbal remedies are facing stress
  Herbal shampoo and medicine makers could learn from Native Americans about harvesting medicinal and aromatic plants without endangering them.
Panel urges more coverage of alternative remedies
  A panel recommends that Medicare expand coverage of alternative remedies and set up a national office backing research of them, despite dissent among its members.
Two herbal products recalled
  The FDA has issued a warning telling consumers to immediately stop using two herbal supplements that actually contain powerful prescription drugs.
Tests show supplements ease arthritis
  The popular supplements glucosamine and chondroitin received an endorsement from Consumerís Union testers.
Garlic pills may block AIDS drug
  Garlic supplements can seriously interfere with a protease inhibitor used to treat AIDS, new research shows.
Herbs and surgery often donít mix
  People undergoing surgery who take popular herbal remedies risk excessive bleeding and other serious complications, doctors said.
FDA warns about comfrey supplements
  The Food and Drug Administration asked makers of dietary supplements containing the herb comfrey to pull their products off the market due to the danger of liver damage.
The herbal frontier
  Increasing numbers of Americans are relying on dietary supplements to cure everything from colds to cancer, and many in the medical community are worried that loose regulation is resulting in consumers taking unnecessary risks with their health.
The promise of plants
  While science is stamping some dietary supplements as snake oil, other herbal remedies are showing positive results in clinical trials published in major peer-reviewed scientific journals, a rite of passage for acceptance into mainstream medicine.
East meets West at the NIH
  Despite several years of heated controversy over the governmentís role in researching herbal remedies and other types of alternative medicine, there seems to be an emerging middle ground.
Does Germany have a better way?
  Herbal remedies are an integral part of mainstream medicine here, where they are reviewed as drugs and often prescribed by doctors. Many health advocates say itís a model that the United States can learn from.
Precautions in pregnancy
  As many as four in 10 pregnant women use products ranging from blood-enriching iron to soothing peppermint tea. But whether they are helping or harming the health of their fetus is the center of a raging controversy.