Africhef for great South African Recipes and South African Cooking

Health Foods and Herbs

Having been involved in the food industry my entire adult life; I have always been interested in healthy foods and in the health properties of herbs and food supplementation.

Due to a series of illnesses in my early adult life I also became interested in the use and properties of vitamins to offset my susceptibility to things like pollen and dust mites which caused my asthma.

In this section of my web site I intend writing about the properties of health foods, herbs and vitamins.

It will be updated frequently as I finish my investigation into the properties of a particular herb, health food or vitamin.

At this stage [July 2011] There are comprehensive articles on Black Cohosh, Hoodia gordonii, and Rooibos Tea, together with a number of Rooibos Tea Recipes

One of the problems in assessing the health benefits of herbs is the lack of major long-term clinical trials to assess the historically claimed benefits of these herbs.

In part this is due to the reluctance of major pharmaceutical companies, which do major trials to assess the efficacy of new drugs which they develop, to do trials on herbs.

This is because, in the main, herbs are recognised as food supplements and not as medicines so the pharmaceutical companies would not be able to corner the market on a particular herb and thus would enjoy no financial benefit of these trials.

Trials, even small ones, are extremely expensive to conduct.
Financial support in the way of grants is often lacking, for trials to assess the validity of the claimed benefits of herbs and/or vitamin supplementation.

Where trials on the benefits of herbs have been conducted they are often small scale and poorly constructed. This gives rise to conflicting results and a general reluctance of the mainstream medical profession to accept said results especially where these results are positive.

This lack of clinical trials also affects the use of vitamins by mainstream medical practitioners, although vitamins together with herbs are often used by alternative medical practitioners who believe in the health benefits of these herbs which have been used for centuries.

Alternative medical practitioners also seem to be more open to utilising vitamin supplementation to improve general health

There have, however been large-scale long-term trials on some of the vitamins, in particular vitamin C. Unfortunately these trials can also be questioned as some of them provide conflicting results Whether or not the correct dosage of the vitamin was used in these trials is also problematic.

I am however aware of a number of medical doctors who are currently using vitamin C. supplementation on their patients who are very ill in ICU. Vitamin C does however have some well-established health benefits as do a number of the other vitamins and herbs.

This section of the website will provide information on a number of herbs, health foods and vitamins.

It should be noted however that this information is not necessarily medically approved and readers should not take the information in these pages as an alternative to medical advice.

Visitors are requested to read the disclaimer, which has a link, at the bottom of every page. They are also requested to use their own due diligence should they follow the links of any adverts which appear on these pages. This website does not necessarily endorse any product which may so appear.

Because most herbs and most vitamins are regarded as food supplements they do not require FDA approval to be sold. This means that they do not have to undergo the rigorous testing which medicines have to do before they are released.

This is why herbs and massive vitamin supplementation should be used with caution and always in conjunction with medical advice.

Whether this is in the form of advice from a medical doctor or a qualified alternative medicine practitioner is your choice.

It should be noted that some herbs and/or vitamin supplementation may react adversely with prescribed medicines.

Women should also be aware that the vast majority of herbs have not been proved safe for pregnant or nursing mothers.

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