Does Phosphatidylserine Have Health Benefits? The Evidence Reviewed

Introduction If you’re anything like me, you’re likely boggled by the number of supplements lining the shelves in most grocery stores. Considering that by 2013, the supplement industry was already raking in close to $40 billion a year, it’s not surprising that these companies are eager to continue to offer as many products as they… Continue reading

Does Ginkgo Biloba Have Health Benefits? The Evidence Reviewed

Introduction The Chinese have revered Ginkgo biloba as a sacred tree for thousands of years and extracts from its leaves, seeds, and roots are an essential part of classical Chinese medical practice (1). The Chinese name for Ginkgo biloba is “Silver Almond tree” (Yin-xing) and the Japanese call it the “White Nut tree.” The Japanese word… Continue reading

Do Tribulus Supplements Have Benefits? 363 Studies Reviewed

Introduction Tribulus is a plant that is used to increase not only male stamina, libido, and sexual function, but also female pleasure and sensitivity. Does this herbal supplement live up to its reputation? Is this really an x-rated plant? What Is Tribulus? Tribulus terrestris L. is a flowering plant of the zygophyllaceae family. It is… Continue reading

Do L-Arginine Supplements Have Benefits? 2,763 Clinical Studies Reviewed

Introduction L-arginine is described as an “ergogenic” or all-around “mojo booster” in plain English. It is marketed as an anti-ageing agent, sexual booster, and sports endurance agent. Fact or fiction? Let’s look at the evidence. What Is L-Arginine? Arginine was discovered back in 1886 by a Swiss chemist (Ernst Schulze), who isolated it from a lupine… Continue reading

Does Slippery Elm Have Health Benefits? The Evidence Reviewed

Introduction Slippery elm is a species of the elm tree family. It is commonly used for respiratory conditions (bronchitis, sore throat, cough, fever, and inflammation), gastrointestinal disease (peptic ulcers and diarrhea), dermatological conditions (skin abscesses and skin ulcers), and even cancer treatment. Unlike many other herbal folk remedies, slippery elm has the unique distinction of… Continue reading

Does Whole-Body Cryotherapy Have Health Benefits? The Research Reviewed

What Is Cryotherapy? The term “cryotherapy” comes from the Greek terms “cryo,” meaning cold, and “therapy,” meaning cure. Cryotherapy is defined as cooling the body for therapeutic purposes, primarily to reduce pain and inflammation. Cryotherapy can be applied using various methods, including the use of ice packs, ice towels, ice massages, frozen peas, gel packs,… Continue reading

Do Chaga Mushrooms Have Health Benefits? Current Studies Reviewed

Introduction The Chaga mushroom is called the “king of mushrooms,” while the better-known reishi mushroom gets the title of “queen of mushrooms.” Chaga mushrooms are marketed as having a wide range of medicinal benefits, including anti-inflammatory, cancer-treating and -preventive, hepatoprotective, and immuno-modulation effects. Given the fact that Chaga mushroom extract sells for as much as $130/oz, this mushroom… Continue reading

Does Lion’s Mane Mushroom Have Health Benefits? Here’s the Research

Introduction Lion’s Mane is a culinary and medicinal mushroom that is growing in popularity as a functional food. It is claimed to have anticancer, immuno-modulating, hypolipidemic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, and wound healing properties. However, its real claim to fame is as a neuroprotective agent. I have plenty of patients (and friends) who are not just… Continue reading

Does Moringa Oleifera Have Health Benefits? The Research Examined

Introduction I am on holidays in the beautiful Sonoran desert, Arizona, and was told by the hotel gardener that many of the locals eat Moringa leaves to manage pre-diabetes and diabetes. Always the researcher (even on vacation), I had to try the leaves for myself. The leaves tasted pleasant enough, but do they actually have… Continue reading

Does L-Cysteine Have Health Benefits? The Studies Reviewed

Introduction Cysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that is made by our bodies and used as a building block for proteins. Although classified as a non-essential amino acid, in rare cases, cysteine may be essential for infants, the elderly, and individuals with certain metabolic diseases or who suffer from malabsorption diseases. Us humans can (and… Continue reading

Is Oxygen Therapy Effective for Anything? The Research Reviewed

Introduction The “oxygen bar” phenomenon is touted as the health-conscious alternative to shisha/hooka (or any other illegal substances that one might choose to inhale for fun). An “oxygen bar” is a free-standing booth that you can rent and sit/stand in to inhale over 90% pure oxygen and aromatherapy via disposable nasal cannula. Regular room air… Continue reading

Does Barberry or Its Extract Have Health Benefits? Science Responds

Introduction We are all familiar with yummy blueberries, blackberries, and boysenberries… but have you heard of barberries? Well, neither had I. Until now. It seems the barberry plant, including its tart red fruit, has traditionally been used in folk medicine for thousands of years, particularly in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries. There are a… Continue reading

Forbidden Rice (aka Black Rice): Does It Really Have Health Benefits?

Introduction Forbidden rice (aka black rice, the Emperor’s rice, Oryza sativa L. indica) has been consumed for centuries in Asia and is now gaining popularity as a functional superfood globally. Black rice is a special cultivar of rice which contains a high content of phytochemicals (including anthocyanins) in the aleurone layer. It is purported to… Continue reading

Does Skullcap Have Health Benefits? A Scientist Explains

Introduction Scutellaria baicalensis, also known as “Chinese skullcap” or “Huang Qin,” is a root extract that has been used in both traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for centuries. Skullcap is also widely used as a backbone in herbal formulas in the western world, where it is often referred to as “scute.” Skullcap is believed to… Continue reading

Should You Eat Your Placenta (Pills) After Childbirth? A Scientist Explains

Introduction There is a growing interest in human placentophagy (also spelled placentophagia), which is the scientific term for either eating your own placenta or eating placenta pills after childbirth (1). Placentophagy is a common practice among non-mammals and has been described as being “conspicuously” among humans worldwide. Absent until now, that is. It was first… Continue reading

Does Lavender Oil Do Anything? We Review the Research

Introduction There are over 250,000 lavender-related products for sale on Amazon. That sure is a whole lot of lavender. These range from essential oils, teas, car fresheners, chocolates, perfumes, and cosmetics to religious crosses. Lavender is believed to offer a wide range of health and wellness benefits. Purported uses include relief and treatment of anxiety,… Continue reading