What is Black Cohosh Good For?

Black cohosh, a member of the buttercup family, is a perennial plant that is native to North America. Its rhizomes and roots are used for medicinal purposes. Most studies on Black Cohosh have been done in Europe using the German product Remifemin®.

What is Black Cohosh Good For?

This herb is used primarily for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Various German studies found black cohosh Actaea racemosa, formerly known as Cimicifuga racemosa ) improved physical and psychological menopausal symptoms, including anxiety, hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Black cohosh has antiosteoporotic properties and has been shown to enhance bone formation.

In a clinical trial of 120 female participants with the menopausal symptoms, black cohosh was more efficacious in relieving hot flashes and night sweats than the antidepressant Prozac. A 2005 study of 304 women found that, compared to a placebo, black cohosh helped symptoms of menopause. A  clinical study reported in 2007 compared black cohosh against the synthetic hormone tibolone, and found them equally effective for treating menopausal symptoms. A clinical study in 80 menopausal women compared 8 mg/day of a black cohosh extract with placebo or conjugated estrogens. At 12 weeks, scores on the Kupperman index and the Hamilton anxiety scale were appreciably lower in the treated groups than in the placebo group. A 2010 review by researchers found that black cohosh provided a 26 percent decreased in hot flashes and night sweats. Given the findings of most clinical trials, many researchers conclude that black cohosh may be a safe and effective alternative for women who cannot or will not take hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause.

May reduce risk of osteoporosis. Scientists from the University of Hong Kong, City University of New York, and Columbia University added an extract of black cohosh to a culture of bone-forming mouse cells. The Scientists observed that a high dose (1,000 ng/mL) of the extract suppressed the production of these bone-forming cells, yet a lower dose (500 ng/mL) significantly increased the formation of bone nodules. The experts concluded that their results provide a scientific explanation at the molecular level for claims that black cohosh may protect against postmenopausal osteoporosis. A study using black cohosh and other herbs reduce pain. In a review of scientific studies, experts concluded that a combination of black cohosh, sarsaparilla, willow bark, guaiacum  resin, and poplar bark may help alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis.

What is Evening Primrose Used For?

Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) is a herb that’s native to Europe and North America. Evening primrose oil is the oil from the seed of the evening primrose plant. Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) contains a high concentration of a fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and it is this fatty acid that is largely responsible for the  healing effects of the plant. (EPO contains 2–15%  GLA and 70% linolenic acid, which are types of polyunsaturated omega-6 essential fatty acids). In addition to evening primrose oil, gamma-linolenic acid  is found in black currant oil and borage oil.

Evening Primrose Oil Medicinal Uses

Evening primrose oil (EPO) is used usually to relieve the itchiness causes by certain skin problems, such as eczema and dermatitis. A study of 1,207 participants found that evening primrose oil helped alleviate symptoms from skin conditions, including itching, crusting, edema and redness.

PMS and Mastalgia

Women use EPO for premenstrual syndrome, breast pain, endometriosis, and symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes. Women with premenstrual syndrome may have impaired conversion of linoleic acid to GLA. Some studies have showed that supplementing with GLA in the form of evening primrose oil has a important effect on the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). GLA relieves premenstrual breast pain and tenderness and other premenstrual syndrome symptoms including painful periods, headaches, irritability and bloating,

In Helsinki, in a clinical study, participants were treated with Efamol (primrose oil as a source of gammalinolenic acid)  for four cycles. These participants had not been treated with drugs before the experiment. Efamol demonstrated a 40% average improvement in parameters tested, particularly in irritability and depression. A study at St. Thomas Hospital in London found that when PMS suffers were given EPO three times daily, 67% of the participants were symptom-free and 22% achieved partial relief. In open studies performed at the Cardiff Mastalgia Clinic, Evening Primrose Oil has been found to produce favorable effects in 44% of women with cyclical mastalgia. Evening primrose oil is licensed for the treatment of breast pain (mastalgia) in the United Kingdom.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes. Studies have discovered that evening primrose oil could help safeguard individuals from diabetic neuropathy. A review of 3 randomized, controlled studies showed EPO might improve symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. Supplementing with 4 grams of EPO per day for 6 months has been found in double-blind research to improve nerve function and to relieve pain symptoms of diabetic neuropathy

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Some studies suggest that supplements that contain GLA, including evening primrose oil, may be of benefit to individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. A study was carried out for 24 weeks with 37 arthritis patients treated with 1.4 g/day GLA or placebo. Joint tenderness and swelling, morning stiffness, grip strength, and ability to perform daily activities were examined. Treatment with GLA reduced the signs and symptoms of the disease significantly in all four parameters, while patients receiving placebo had no significant improvement. Arthritis Research UK4 reported that a clinical study involving 49 patients found that 94% of patients who got primrose oil alone and 93% who received primrose oil combined with fish oil reported a significant improvement of disease-related symptoms, including pain and morning stiffness, compared to just 30% in the placebo group. Evening primrose oil was also significantly effective in reducing the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) during the trial period.


Studies have used 2 – 8 grams of EPO daily. The typical content of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in the oil is 8% to 10%. Being a fatty acid, it is best taken with meals to enhance digestion and absorption. Evening primrose oil products should be stored out of direct sunlight in light-resistant containers in a refrigerator to prevent rancidity.

Side Effects

EPO may lower the seizure threshold and precipitate seizures in individuals taking phenothiazines. The use of evening primrose oil during pregnancy is not supported in the literature.

Borage Uses and Benefits

Borage (Borago officinalis ) or starflower, is a plant with bright blue, star-shaped flowers. Borage seed oil is a cold-pressed extract from the seed of the borage plant. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an essential fatty acid that’s important for maintaining a joint’s cell structure and function. Borage oil contains very high levels of two types of polyunsaturated omega-6 essential fatty acids, 20–26% GLA and LA (linolenic acid). Other sources of GLA include black currant seed oil and evening primrose oil.

What is Borage Oil Good For?

Borage oil, are natural source of a fatty acid called GLA (gamma linolenic acid ). This is a “good” fatty acid that is converted in the body to prostaglandin, which has known anti-inflammatory, blood-thinning, and blood vessel dilatory effects. Gamma linolenic acid inhibits leukotriene synthesis to provide treatment in rheumatologic diseases. Therefore, borage seed oil may have anti-inflammatory and anti-thromboti cproperties and benefit individuals at risk of different inflammatory disorders such as arthritis, atopic eczema, and respiratory inflammation. Gamma linolenic acid can enhance cAMP levels which suppresses the synthesis of tumor necrosis factor-alpha – an inflammatory mediator linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Various experiments has underlined its possible use in relieving the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as other inflammatory disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome, and ulcerative colitis. Clinical studies have been conducted with borage oil or purified GLA in several diseases.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Borage OilScientists at the “University of Pennsylvania” found that supplement with borage oil resulted in a important reduction in the swelling of affected arthritic joints. The use of borage oil allowed patients to reduce their intake of mainstream NSAIDS, therefore minimizing the adverse effects related with these drugs. Also, animal-based studies using borage oil indicated that the GLA content  protects the lining of the stomach against the effects of NSAIDS and aspirin. GLA may help reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling. One study found that participants with RA (rheumatoid arthritis) who took 2.8 g of gamma linolenic acid for 6 months reduced pain and swelling and improved their grip strength. 64% of those on borage oil demonstrated improvement in joint tenderness and morning stiffness, compared to just 21% of those on placebo treatment.  A randomized controlled study investigated the use of borage oil in 37 participants with RA and active synovitis. After 24 weeks, the group that received 1.4 g of GLA daily had a important decline in the number of tender joints and swollen joints. In another study, 1.1 g of borage  oil was given to seven patients with rheumatoid arthritis for 12 weeks. Six of the seven patients with RA reported relief of their symptoms.


Prostaglandin 1 (PG1) shows a strong anti-inflammatory propertyon the skin and also is effective in regulating water loss and protecting skin from injury and damage. New researches demonstrate that borage oil taken orally increases PG1 levels in the skin and suppresses chronic inflammation. Findings from animal studies shows that skin disorders linked with fatty acid imbalances can be corrected through dietary inclusion of borage oil. In a study was conducted to know the effects of borage oil containing skin creams on dry and damaged skin of 24 healthy participants with dry and scaly skin. It demonstrated that borage oil is able to restore the moisture and softness of dry skin. A small trial in healthy elderly participants reported improved cutaneous barrier function after two months of borage oil supplementation. Supplements containing borage or flaxseed oil may protect skin against reddening and ameliorate skin health from within, suggests study  from Germany and France. The scientists, recruited 45 non-smoking, healthy women between the ages of 18 and 65 and randomly assigned them to one of three groups. Two groups received daily supplements of oil borage or flaxseed oil (2.2 g of total fatty acids), while a third received medium-chain fatty acids as the placebo. Following nicotinate therapy, the scientists noted a important decrease in reddening of the skin in the flaxseed and borage oil groups of 45 and 35%, respectively, compared to baseline values. No differences were recorded in the placebo group. Scientists at the University of Italy conducted a study that documented the important effects that borage oil can have on people with atopic eczema. Scientists have observed that the effects of GLA may continue several weeks or months after stopping the supplement. Oral dose of 548 mg/day, for twelve weeks.


The rich stores of essential fatty acids have useful effects on nails, hair and scalp. Borage oil heals common scalp disorders such as hair loss, dandruff and folliculitis because of its anti-inflammatory properties. A study reported the British Journal of Nutrition demonstrated that flaxseed and borage oil reduced redness and flaky skin in 45 women, ages 18-65.

Periodontitis / Gingivitis

The use of borage oil supplement, a source of the n-6 PUFA, GLA, can have useful effects on periodontal inflammation. The anti-inflammatory activities of both n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have been showed in vitro and in several disease states. The effect of n-3 PUFA supplement has been documented in animal models of periodontal inflammation and a trend towards reduced inflammation has been seen in human experimental gingivitis. Borage oil reduce  gingivitis and ameliorate gum health in individuals with inflammation in the areas of the mouth around the teeth (periodontitis), according to a new study in Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids. In this study, 24 participants with periodontitis were randomly assigned to receive one of the following 4 therapies; : 1,000 mg of borage oil 3 times per day, 1,000 mg of fish oil 3 imes per day, 500 mg each of borage and fish oils 3 times per day, or placebo. At the end of 12 weeks, there was a important decrease in gingivitis and depth of pockets around teeth in the borage group.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

There is some findings that borage oil, when taken in combination with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), might reduce the number of days spent in the intensive care unit (ICU) and the length of time a breathing machine is needed by people with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a medical emergency that leads to lung tissue injury and fluid build-up in the lungs. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and gamma linolenic acid (GLA)  work together to reverse the lipid balance and reduce the extent of damage in the pulmonary tissue. Fish Oil, a rich source of EPA, may reduce the body’s production of arachidonic acid, which facilitates the production of potent pro-inflammatory metabolic components. Borage seed oil contains a high content of GLA that is known to act as a substrate for the production of powerful anti-inflammatory eicosanoids on a cellular level in the human body. James Gadek of Ohio State University Medical Center and Michael J. Murray of the Mayo Clinic, have reported that borage seed oil, in a mixture with fish oil and antioxidants, can significantly improve the condition or even the chances of survival in patients with ARDS.

Blood Pressure

Clinical trials of borage oil indicate it to be beneficial in reducing the reactivity of heart and blood vessels to stress.  In a 1996 study reported in the “Journal of Human Hypertension“, participants who received 1 g of GLA per day for four weeks had much lower blood pressure than patients in the placebo group.


Borage oil has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopause. Pre-menstrual syndrome is thought to affect approximately 90%  of women at some point in their lives. GLA seems useful in some women as a remedy to relieve the symptoms of PMS such as abdominal distension, breast discomfort, irritability and depression. GLA is a fatty acid found in vegetable oils. By interfering with the production of inflammatory substances called prostaglandins which are released during menstruation, the GLA in borage oil may help alleviate related cramping and pain.

Mullein Benefits and Health Effects

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus L.) is widespread throughout the US.  This herb is classified in the literature as both an expectorant, to promote the discharge of mucus, and a demulcent, to soothe and protect mucous membranes. Traditionally, it has been used to treat respiratory illnesses and coughs  with lung congestion. According to the Commission E (Germany’s regulatory agency for herbs) monograph, the recommended daily dose of mullein is 3-4 g.

Mullein Benefits

Mullein contains a high proportion of mucilage; mucilage is usually thought to have a soothing effect.  Mullein may act as an expectorant for clearing mucus from bronchial airways. The saponins are responsible for the expectorant action of mullein. On this basis, mullein has been suggested as a therapy for asthma, colds, sore throats, and coughs. Traditionally, mullein has been used as a remedy for the respiratory tract, especially in cases of irritating coughs with bronchial congestion. Other herbs commonly used as expectorants in traditional medicine include elecampane, lobelia, yerba santa, gumweed, wild cherry bark, eucalyptus, and anise.

Mullein is traditionally combined with other herbs in oil preparations to soothe the pain of ear infections. In a 2003 study of 171 children with otalgia, those who used ear drops containing mullein had a statistically important improvement in ear pain over the course of 3 days. (Oil preparations may obscure a doctor’s view of the ear drum and should just be used with a healthcare professional’s directions). The compounds mullein might be able to fight herpes and influenza viruses, and some bacteria that cause respiratory infections.In laboratory experiments reported in 2002, scientists found that mullein helped kill certain types of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and E.coli.

Tulsi Benefits and Dosage

Tulsi (also known as Ocimum sanctum, or Holy Basil), is an Ayurvedic herb historically used for general health and a long life. While basil is found on every continent, holy basil (tulsi) is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. Scientific findings are available on various medicinal aspects ie adaptogenic, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, hepato-protective, cardio-protective, neuro-protective, antimicrobial, and antidiabetic.

Tulsi Benefits and Therapeutic Effects

In traditional systems of medicine, different parts of tulsi, have been recommended for the therapy of bronchitis, bronchial asthma, chronic fever, malaria, dysentery, arthritis, skin diseases, painful eye diseases. Eugenol, the active constituents present in tulsi have been found to be largely responsible for the therapeutic effects. Results from various researches indicate that holy basil might have effects as a painkiller, a COX-II anti-inflammatory agent, an antioxidant, and as a therapy for bacterial, fungal and viral infections. Tulsi helps fight inflammation since it contains strong anti-inflammatory agents called COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2) inhibitors, which inhibit COX-2 inflammatory enzymes. In vitro research shows the ursolic acid in tulsi inhibits COX-2.


This herb supports healthy pulmonary function. Animal-based studies have found that extracts of tulsi help keep the bronchial airway passages clear. Two clinical trials treated asthma patients with 500 mg of tulsi 3 times daily for one month. Breathing function improved and the frequency of attacks was reduced.


Tulsi, especially, is an efficacious way to both prevent and combat the damaging effects of everyday stressors. As an adaptogen, tulsi improves the body’s natural protective response to physical and emotional stress. Studies examining this effect of tulsi have found that supplementation with various extracts of tulsi decreases stress hormone levels, corticosterone especially.  Holy Basil Anxiety


There is a lack of safe hepatoprotective medications in modern medicine to prevent and treat drug-induced liver damage. New research on holy basil indicate that holy basil contains potent antioxidants and it may be liver protecting. Holy Basil seems to be beneficial in preventing toxin-induced harm to the liver in doses of 100-200mg/kg bodyweight. Synergism was noted on hepatoprotection when paired with silymarin (milk thistle). The agent used in the study to induce hepatic harm was acetaminophen.


Holy basil is considered as a sacred herb and traditionally it is believed that consumption of holy basil leaf on empty stomach increases immunity. Experimental studies have shown that alcoholic extract of holy basil modulates immunity. In a 2011 clinical trial in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, twenty-four healthy participants were given either holy basil extract (300mg ethanolic extract of tulsi leaves – empty stomach) or a placebo. After 4 weeks, results demonstrated important improvements in interferon and T-helper cells in the holy basil group compared to the placebo.


Tulsi may have blood sugar lowering properties and may be beneficial as an adjunct to dietary therapy and medication treatment in mild to moderate diabetes. In a animal-based study, holy basil was administered orally to diabetic rats, resulting in reductions in plasma glucose levels of 9 % by day 15 and 26 % by day 30. An uncontrolled study reported that 1,000 mg per day of tulsi lowered blood sugar. A controlled trial investigated 2,500 mg per day and found similar changes in blood sugar. In a clinical trial, 40 patients (type 2 diabetes) were treated. Participants were asked to stop their diabetes drugs 7 days before the start of the study. Then all participants  were given tulsi leaves for a run-in period of 5 days. Half of the patients were randomly assigned to take 2.5 g of powdered tulsi leaf, and 20 were given placebo for 4 weeks and then were crossed over to the other treatment group without a washout period for another 4 weeks. In the first group, average fasting glucose declined from 134 mg/dl to 99 mg/dl after 4 weeks of therapy with tulsi. After being crossed over to placebo for 4 weeks, it increased to 115 mg/dl. In the placebo-first group, average fasting glucose declined from 132 mg/dl to 123 mg/dl after 4 weeks and then declined even further to 97 mg/dl after being crossed over for 4 weeks to tulsi.


Holy Basil contains the natural compound ursolic acid, which has proven beneficial in dealing with the inflammatory producing enzymes Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LOX) responsible for joint pain and stress conditions. Research performed by the College of Pharmacy in New Delhi, found that an extract of Holy Basil (ursolic acid) inhibited arachidonic acid and leukotriene-induced edema. On the basis of the results it was proven that standardized Holy Basil extract may be effective as an anti-inflammatory agent, which blocks both inflammatory pathways, ie Cyclooxygenase-2 and 5-Lipoxygenase, as well as arachidonic acid metabolism. A study reported in “Phytomedicine” measured the activity of Tulsi’s phenolic compounds and found the COX-2 inhibitory activity of these compounds to be comparable to aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen.


Preclinical studies have shown that Holy basil and some of its phytochemicals eugenol, apigenin, rosmarinic acid, luteolin, myretenal, ß-sitosterol, and carnosic acid prevented chemical-induced liver, lung, oral, and skin cancers and to mediate these effects by increasing the antioxidant activity, altering the gene expressions, inducing apoptosis, and inhibiting angiogenesis and metastasis. In a 2007 study reported in the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers examined the effectiveness of tulsi extract in rats who exhibited oxidative stress, DMBA-induced cancer. Four different concentrations of tulsi extract were fed to rats over a five day period, then were injected with DMBA. At a dosage of 300 mg per kilgram of body weight,tulsi extract significantly reduced the formation of cancerous micronuclei, enzymes which metabolize toxins in the body, and oxidation in both proteins and fats.  A number of studies of animals have shown that holy basil protects healthy cells from the toxicity of chemotherapy and radiation.Tulsi has also been shown to protect the heart from damage caused by a widely used chemotherapy medication, adriamycin.


For general preventive treatment, the dosage range recommended in review literature is 300 mg – 2,000 milligrams of tulsi extract for a single dose on a daily basis. 600-1,800 mg divided doses has been used daily for curative  treatment. In a clinical study used 2.5 grams tulsi leaves as dried powder in 200 mL water daily for two months for hypoglycemic effect.

Side Effects

Tulsi seems to be well tolerated in most people, and it has usually recognized as safe (GRAS) status in the United States. Tulsi can have a blood-thinning effect and may increase the effect of blood-thinning drugs. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet medications such as clopidogrel (Plavix®). Caution is advised when using drugs that may lower blood sugar. Theoretical interactions would be possible hypoglycemia when taken by diabetics treated with insulin or insulin secretagogues such as sulfonylureas, Prandin or Starlix.