Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)
Looking much like a miniature palm tree, saw palmetto produces berries
that contain a prostate-friendly compound. Studies have demonstrated the
effectiveness of saw palmetto in reducing symptoms associated with benign
prostate enlargement, such as nighttime urination, urinary flow and overall
quality of life.
Saw palmetto is used popularly in Europe for symptoms associated w ith
benign prostate enlargement. Although not considered standard care in the
United States, it is the most popular herbal treatment for this condition.
Possible side effects and cautions: There are no known drug interactions
with saw palmetto. Saw palmetto may cause mild side effects, including stomach discomfort. Some men using saw palmetto have reported side effects
such as tender breasts and a decline in sexual desire.
Pomegranate (Malum punicum)
Pomegranates are traditional sources of potent heart-healthy antioxidants
that help protect against free-radical damage.
Pomegranate fruit has been revered through the ages for its medici nal
properties. Pomegranate fruit and its extract are widely used in several traditional medicinal systems for the treatment of inflammation and pain in
arthritis and other diseases. The edible part of pomegranate fruit is rich in
anthocyanins, a group of polyphenolic compounds that stimulate antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.
Possible side effects and cautions: Tightness in the throat or chest, chest
pain, skin hives, rash or itchy or swollen skin. Some people who are allergic
to fruits, pollen or nuts are also allergic to pomegranate.
Talk to your doctor if you are taking medicine or are allergic to any
medicine (prescription or over-the-counter or dietary supplement); are pregnant
or plan to become pregnant while using this supplement; are breastfeeding;
or have other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood
vessel disease. Pomegranate fruit should not be taken if you have diarrhea.
Noni has a history of use as a topical preparation for joint pain and
Today, people drink noni fruit juice as a general health tonic, as well as for
cancer and chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
In laboratory research, noni has shown antioxidant, immune-stimulating
and tumor-fighting properties. These results suggest that noni may warrant
further study for conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Possible side effects and cautions: Noni is high in potassium. People who
are on potassium-restricted diets because of kidney problems should avoid
using noni. There have been reports of liver damage from using noni. It should
be avoided if you have liver disease because it contains compounds that may
make your disease worse.—T. Foster Jones
LUTEIN AND ZEAXANTHIN
Zeaxanthin is one of the most common
carotenoid alcohols found in nature, and
is the pigment that gives saffron, corn and
other yellow plants their characteristic color.
More important, zeaxanthin is one of
the two carotenoids contained in the retina
(the other being lutein).
Experiments have shown that low levels of
zeaxanthin can have a detrimental effect on
the eye, in the same way that a lack of lutein
can. For that reason, some studies support
the view that supplemental lutein and/or
zeaxanthin helps protect against ARMD.
There’s also a fair bit of evidence that increasing your intake of lutein and zeaxanthin will
lower your risk of developing cataracts. A
Sources: Health Canada; University of Maryland Medical Center; National Center for
Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Cancer Research UK; Agency for Healthcare
Research and Quality; MedlinePlus; NetDoctor.co.uk; American Academy of Family