Some people prefer to take natural medicines whenever possible. It is important to remember however, that herbal or natural medicines are drugs, and can have side effects or interact with other medicines, just like any other medication. However, in general, herbal medicines tend to have fewer side effects than synthetic medicines. If you taking any prescribed medication, tell your pharmacist before buying any natural medicine in case there is an interaction.


Other people prefer to avoid natural medicines, believing them to be ineffective. While this is probably true for some herbal products, there are quite a number of herbal products that have been proven to be very useful. This article section will deal with a small number of them.




Korean Ginseng (Usually known as just Ginseng) has been used as a medicine for up to 5,000 years. It is used combat feelings of fatigue, lack of energy, to improve concentration and mental functioning and during convalescence. It has been shown in numerous studies to increase muscle endurance and delay fatigue. Ginseng is available from numerous manufacturers including SONA, ARKOPHARMA, ORTIS and is found combined with vitamins and minerals in PHARMATON capsules. The range of products can be confusing, so ask your pharmacist or health care adviser for advice in picking out a good product.


Ginseng should be avoided by people with hypertension, emotional imbalances, heart palpitations, or insomnia. People taking warfarin should also avoid ginseng. Diabetics taking insulin or oral medication should only use ginseng on advice of their doctor, as ginseng lowers blood sugar and may lower it too much in diabetics.


Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is a completely different species to Korean ginseng. It has similar properties, but is generally regarded as less effective.




Valerian is a very useful sedative, and has the advantage over prescription sedatives in that it is not habit forming. It can be taken during the day for anxiety or at night to promote good sleep. Valerian is often combined with other herbal medicines, and the range can be quite bewildering. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare advisor for more information or advice. Some products which contain valerian include LANES KALMS, NATRASLEEP, VALERIANA-NIGHT and VALERINA-DAY.


Valeriana may increase the drowsiness associated with other sedatives, antihistamines, painkillers or alcohol. It should be avoided by those taking antidepressants, except on a doctor’s advice.




Echinacea is primarily used to build up the immune system. It can also be used to help recover from viral infections and lower urinary tract infections. It is an ideal product for those who frequently succumb to colds, flu, coughs or urinary tract infections. It can be taken at any time of the year, but many find it most beneficial to take during the winter months. You should not take echinacea continuously for more than 8 weeks without a break of at least a month.


A number of products contain echinacea but BIOFORCE ECHINAFORCE is the one we usually recommend people to take. Echinacea should be avoided by those with auto-immune disorders (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis) or taking medicines to suppress the immune system. As always, if you are taking any prescribed medication, ask your pharmacist for more advice.


GLUCOSAMINE (glucosamine sulphate):


Glucosamine is derived from shellfish and is very useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Glucosamine helps the body to form smooth cartilage between the joints. Cartilage is found between the bones at joints, and in osteoarthritis it becomes rough and uneven which can cause pain when the joints rub off each other. By helping to form new smooth cartilage, glucosamine helps to overcome this.


Glucosamine rarely has any side effects and can be taken along with pain medication. It usually takes around 4 weeks to take effect, so don’t be discouraged if there’s no improvement after a few days. Glucosamine is often combined with Chondroitin and the two work in conjuction, although glucosamine on its own is effective. Despite the name, glucosamine does not contain glucose and has no effect on glucose in the body and so is perfectly safe to be taken by diabetics.


Glucosamine is available in a number of products including JOINTACE, SEVEN SEAS ACTIVE 55 (however the amount of glucosamine may be too low in this product to be effective), and SONA GLUCOSAMINE.

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