Day 1 of class went well. I have already gotten my introduction posts done, the class lesson for the week and syllabuses downloaded and the week's assignments (discussion board) for Herb 504 done. My other herb class is chemistry so that's going to be fun... I don't know if it has a final exam but if it does, it's not proctored. I'll look for that data here in a bit since I'm going to get that discussion board done today as long as everything falls into place. I remember I sucked at chemistry in high school until it became a math problem so I'll need to keep that perspective. Chemistry is probably one of the more important classes but I did learn some cool things already with watching the videos that were in the class lesson. It's not as intimidating as I thought it was going to be so I just need to keep my focus on this one. My 3rd class IS a proctored exam, like I thought it was going to be. That one is on homeopathy. This means herbs AND oils. I had forgotten there is only 2 ways to distill oils since my focus is on herbs at the moment but I'm hoping with my new strategy, I'll be able to do well on the final. Time, as always, will be my primary factor. I need to get to work. I still have to put diapers away from yesterday and go to the store and get more peanut butter as well as everything else. Today, I leave you with another topic that's important. The prompt for the topic is long but I feel it's important to include it. Have a great day!
Topics: Misuse of Herbs
We need to be aware of the misuse of herbs, as well as the correct use of herbs. Bulimia nervosa is characterized by recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food (e.g., binge-eating), and feeling a lack of control over the eating. This binge-eating is followed by a type of behavior that compensates for the binge, such as purging (e.g., vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics), fasting and/or excessive exercise.
You are working as a health consultant and you have a young woman who comes to your complaining of constipation and asking about herbal cathartics. How would you go about determining that she is a good candidate for herbal laxatives and is not seeking them for abuse? What are some of the consequences of long-term anthraquinone use?
For this discussion, a little background on anthraquinones will be helpful. Anthraquinones are organic compounds found in some plants such as aloe, cascara sagrada, rhubarb, and senna. They are used for dyes, pigments as well as for medicinal purposes. Anthraquinone derivatives play an important role in many types of medications, including cancer drugs. Some of the therapeutic actions include antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, antiviral, emetic, and insecticidal properties.
One of the most common medicinal uses of anthraquinones is to bring about constipation relief through their laxative effects. Anthraquinones are thought to increase the amount of fluid in the colon and may also serve to stimulate colon contractions. Typically, the laxative effect of anthraquinones are felt in approximately seven hours after ingesting.
First off, if they have bulimia, I’d advise them to get counseling. When I was growing up, eating disorders were one of the big things they were teaching us about. While Karen Carpenter was anorexic, I still think of her every time I think of any eating disorder because she is the first story I heard about. The only way I’d advise such a client in the use of laxatives is if they had already begun treatment for their overall illness and were having positive results.
Mills and Bone state “long-term use of any laxative drug can lead to electrolyte imbalance, dehydration and muscle cramps, albuminuria, and haematuria (20)”. Further reading in their text reveals excessive use can lead to “lazy bowel” which means a person would have to use more and more to get the same effect because their body would grow dependent on the drug. The good thing is, herbal laxatives are not as strong as prescriptions so it’s harder to abuse them. I often wonder if this happened to my grandmother because she always used laxatives toward the end of her life.
This week, we learned that Senna, which I had never heard of before, is great for this purpose but should not be used for longer than 2 weeks without medical supervision (Mills and Bone 566). One alternative for long-term issues is changing diets, which in the example given, is the whole point.
Mills, S. & Bone, K. (2010). The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety. Elsevier Limited.
I am currently a student at American College of Healthcare Sciences earning my Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine. This blog is my journey of juggling mom-life with student life. My husband is a truck driver so I'm essentially a single mom all but 3 days a month. It's a challenge but we will get through this. I complete this degree on 18 December 2019 and will take one additional semester and then be done for a while. My children need more attention from their mommy but I can't wait on getting this education done. I will do what I must for now.