Herbs and Supplements

  • Take Care of Your Kisser

    From a distance, it could pass for smudged lipstick, but up close, it looks painful— and even a little embarrassing. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) and are spread by exchanging saliva with someone who’s infected.

    Cuer and prevent unsightly cold sores, naturally.
    By Nicole Duncan
  • Spice Up the Season

    Feel guilty sipping eggnog or munching on gingersnaps? These holiday goodies may not be as bad as you think. Some of the most commonly used spices in traditional treats can reduce inflammation, lower your risk of heart disease, and more, says Sarah Krieger, RD, national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

    By Celia Shatzman
  • Is Homeopathy Safe?

    For centuries, people around the world have used homeopathy to treat everything from seasickness to cancer. But this summer’s recall of Zicam, a popular homeopathic nasal cold remedy containing zinc, raised questions about the safety of this somewhat mysterious science.

    By Vicky Uhland
  • Alternative Medicine Cabinet: Get Off the 'Rhoids

    Actually a type of varicose vein, hemorrhoids develop when veins in the lower rectum or anus become inflamed and swollen from trauma or too much internal pressure. We most often hear about them in relation to constipation and pregnancy, but they also result from anal intercourse, high blood pressure, venous blockages, or simply as an unpleasant side effect of aging.

    Soothing cures for hemorrhoids
    By Hilary Oliver
  • Frankincense Oil

    Looks like those wise men were on to something. Frankincense oil, long-heralded for its therapeutic benefits, may be an effective alternative therapy for bladder cancer, the fourth most common type of cancer among American men.

    By Melaina Juntti
  • Bottle of Youth

    Mom and Dad told you to take your vitamins. Hopefully, you listened because new research shows that popping multivitamins may actually make your cells younger. In an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study involving 586 women, the cells of those who took multivitamins had a younger biological age than those of nonusers.

    By Melaina Juntti
  • Think Outside the Bag

    Talk about a serendipitous event: Legend has it that chance brewed the first tea when Camellia sinensis leaves blew into a pot of boiling water. It was 2737 BC, and the accidental teameister who boiled that water, Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, concluded the new brew gave “vigor of body, contentment of mind, and determination of purpose.”

    Get all the benefits of tea without curing up with a cup.
    By Bryce Edmonds
  • Bedtime Relax Tea

    2 cups water
    1/2 teaspoon dried or fresh chamomile
    1/2 teaspoon dried lavender
    1/2 teaspoon dried mint
    1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
    1/2 teaspoon dried lemon balm

    1. In a pot, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat.
    2. Add the chamomile, lavender, mint, fennel, and lemon balm. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
    3. Strain and drink before going to bed.

    nutrition info per serving: 2 calories; 0 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 0 g protein; 0 g carbohydrates; 0 g fiber; 2 mg sodium

  • Supplement Watch: Thiamine

    Vitamin B1 (also known as thiamine) may reverse kidney damage, says a new study in the journal Diabetologia. High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and prevent your kidneys from functioning properly—a problem many diabetics face.

  • Primer on Probiotics

    Probiotic, prebiotic; good bugs, bad bugs. Every time we turn around, another study champions the benefits of these gut-friendly supplements. But what are they? What do they do? Why should we take them? We asked Angelica S. Vrablic, PhD, a leading expert in nutrition research and a probiotic guru, to give us the lowdown. Here’s what we learned:

    By Nora Simmons