Acupuncture for treatment of insomnia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials

June 21, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

The following review article shows that acupuncture is useful in the treatment of insomnia.

BACKGROUND: Acupuncture is commonly used in treating insomnia in China, and clinical studies have shown that acupuncture may have a beneficial effect on insomnia compared with Western medication. METHODS: We included randomized controlled trials on acupuncture for insomnia. We searched PubMed, the Cochrane Library (2008 Issue 3), China Network Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Chinese Scientific Journal Database (VIP), and Wan Fang Database. All searches ended in December 2008. Two authors extracted data and assessed the trials’ quality independently. RevMan 5.0.17 software was used for data analysis with effect estimate presented as relative risk (RR) and mean difference (MD) with a 95% confidence interval (CI). RESULTS: Forty-six (46) randomized trials involving 3811 patients were included, and the methodological quality of trials was generally fair in terms of randomization, blinding, and intention-to-treat analysis. Meta-analyses showed a beneficial effect of acupuncture compared with no treatment (MD -3.28, 95% CI -6.10 to -0.46, p = 0.02; 4 trials) and real acupressure compared with sham acupressure (MD -2.94, 95% CI -5.77 to -0.11, p = 0.04; 2 trials) on total scores of Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Acupuncture was superior to medications regarding the number of patients with total sleep duration increased for >3 hours (RR 1.53, 95% CI 1.24-1.88, p < 0.0001). However, there was no difference between acupuncture and medications in average sleep duration (MD -0.06, 95% CI -0.30-0.18, p = 0.63). Acupuncture plus medications showed better effect than medications alone on total sleep duration (MD 1.09, 95% CI 0.56-1.61, p < 0.0001). Similarly, acupuncture plus herbs was significantly better than herbs alone on increase of sleep rates (RR 1.67, 95% CI 1.12-2.50, p = 0.01). There were no serious adverse effects with related to acupuncture treatment in the included trials. CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture appears to be effective in treatment of insomnia. However, further large, rigorous designed trials are warranted.

Wound healing activity of flower extract of Calendula officinalis.

June 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

The following study shows the importance of Calendula as a potent wound healing agent.  Calendula may be used internally as well as externally for help with the healing of wounds.

The effects of oral and topical application of Calendula officinalis flower extract on excision wounds made in rats were checked. The parameters assessed were the days needed for re-epithelization and percentage of wound closure. The hydroxy proline and hexosamine content in the granuloma tissue of the wound was also measured. The percentage of wound closure was 90.0% in the extract-treated group, whereas the control group showed only 51.1% on the eighth day of wounding (p < .01). The days needed for re-epithelization were 17.7 for the control animals; extract treatment at a dose of 20 or 100 mg/kg b.wt reduced the period to 14 and 13 days, respectively. A significant increase was observed in the hydroxy proline and hexosamine content in the extract-treated group compared with the untreated animals. The data indicate potent wound healing activity ofC. officinalis extract.

An evidence-based systematic review of stevia by the natural standard research collaboration.

June 1, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

The following article gives evidence that Stevia should be considered as a safe and healthy alternative to sugar.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the scientific evidence on stevia, including expert opinion, folkloric precedent, history, pharmacology, kinetics/dynamics, interactions, adverse effects, toxicology, and dosing. This review serves as a clinical support tool. Electronic searches were conducted in 10 databases, 20 additional journals (not indexed in common databases), and bibliographies from 50 selected secondary references. No restrictions were placed on the language or quality of the publications. All literature collected pertained to efficacy in humans, dosing, precautions, adverse effects, use in pregnancy and lactation, interactions, alteration of laboratory assays, and mechanisms of action. Standardized inclusion and exclusion criteria were used for selection. Grades were assigned using an evidence-based grading rationale. Based on the availability of scientific data, two indications are discussed in this review: hypertension and hyperglycemia. Evaluation of two long-term studies (1 and 2 years in length, respectively) indicates that stevia may be effective in lowering blood pressure in hypertensive patients, although data from shorter studies (1-3 months) did not support these findings. A pair of small studies also report positive results with respect to glucose tolerance and response, although the relatively low methodological rigor of these experiments limits the strength of these findings. Further investigation is warranted in both indications.