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The Top 5 Herbal Alternatives for Prescription Medications

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/25/2007 | Alternative Medicine

Today people all over the world are looking for natural alternatives to the more conventional prescription drugs that many of them are forced to take. Today the biggest selling pharmaceutical drugs are medications used to treat high cholesterol, depression, sexual dysfunction, high blood pressure and pain. And not coincidentally, many of the biggest selling alternative natural remedies are herbs used to treat these same health problems.

What follows is a list of the most common and effective herbal remedies that can be used in the treatment of these conditions.

1) Garlic (Allium Sativum) Garlic's reputation as an effective herbal remedy that can be used in the treatment of many conditions has been known for centuries.

In the treatment of high cholesterol, garlic is particularly effective due to its high sulphur content. Sulphur has the affect of decreasing "bad" cholesterol (LDL) while increasing "good" cholesterol (HDL).

The specific action that causes this is the decreased formation of plaque in our arteries and blood vessels due to decreased clotting factors.

In this way garlic is not only an excellent herbal remedy for high cholesterol, it is also an excellent general circulatory system herb as well.

2) Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) sexual dysfunction and loss of libido is becoming more and more common. One of the most powerful herbs (with scientific research to support it's claims) to help restore normal sexual function in both men and women is Maca.

Maca's reputation is such that it is known as "Peruvian Viagra". Unfortunately this leads many people to assume that Maca is for men only, which is not the case at all as Maca is very effective in the treatment of loss of libido and frigidity in women.

For men, as the "Peruvian Viagra" label would indicate, Maca is very effective in the treatment of erectile dysfunction and has been shown to increase levels of testosterone leading to increased levels of energy and vigour in men of all ages.

3) St John's Wort (Hypericum Perforatum) The herbal remedy most people think of when it comes to treating depression is St John's Wort. Recent scientific research has shown that St John's Wort can help to reduce dramatically the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Additionally, it can be used in the treatment of generalized stress, sleeping difficulties, lack of energy and premenstrual stress disorders.

The active ingredient, Hypericin, has been shown to be an effective natural alternative for more conventional ant-depressants such as Prozac and Zoloft.

4) White Willow Bark (Salix Alba) For the treatment of pain there are a number of effective herbal remedies than can be used as substitutes for medications such as aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs.

White Willow Bark is often referred to as "herbal aspirin" due to the fact that its active ingredient, salacin, is the main chemical component of aspirin.

The salicylic acid in White Willow Bark decreases the levels of prostaglandins in the body that can be the cause of inflammation and pain.

Wherever you would take an aspirin, White Willow Bark can be used as a natural alternative.

5) Hawthorn Berries (Crataegus Oxyacanthoides) are one of the most powerful herbal remedies in the treatment of any blood and circulatory disorder. The remedy has a strong, yet gentle, normalizing affect on the heart tonifying and strengthening it when needed and sedating when appropriate.

As a circulatory tonic, Hawthorn Berries are most often used in the treatment of high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis and angina.

If you are looking to incorporate herbal medicine in the treatment of any disease or dysfunction, the easiest and safest way to do so is to look for a health care professional trained in not only the use of natural alternative medicine, but also someone with training and understanding in conventional pharmaceutical medications.

While there is almost always a safe and natural herbal alternative to most drugs, if you are presently taking pharmaceutical medication of any kind, before making any changes or modifications to your treatment program you will need to consult with your health care professional.