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Quiz: How Well Do You Know Your Herbal Remedies?

  • Kristin Kloberdanz, M.A.
  • Posted March 11, 2013

Devil's claw, skullcap, and stinging nettle: They may sound like the ingredients of a witch's brew, but many herbal remedies are gaining acceptance in the world of mainstream medicine. How much do you know about herbs and their uses?

1. Herbal remedies may be helpful in relieving which of the following ailments?

a. Migraines

b. Enlarged prostate

c. Cold and flu

d. All of the above

2. Passion flower is a potent aphrodisiac. True or false?

True

False

3. A product labeled "standardized extract" will provide a reliable dose of an herb's active ingredients. True or false?

True

False

4. Thousands of years ago, Chinese sailors chewed which of the following to ward off seasickness?

a. Ginseng root

b. Ginger

c. Ginkgo

d. Goldenseal

5. Which of these is not an herbal remedy?

a. Valerian

b. Dong quai

c. Melatonin

d. All three are herbs

6. Echinacea can make your tongue tingle or go numb. True or false?

True

False

Your Results

1. Herbal remedies may be helpful in relieving which of the following ailments?

The correct answer is: d. All of the above

Feverfew is currently used as an alternative therapy for migraines. Saw palmetto is commonly used to relieve the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, such as painful urination (though the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine says there is not enough scientific evidence to support this claim). If taken at the first signs of illness, echinacea seems to boost the immune system and may help in treating upper respiratory infections (although study results are mixed).

2. Passion flower is a potent aphrodisiac. True or false?

The correct answer is: False

Passion flower is traditionally known as a mild sedative.

3. A product labeled "standardized extract" will provide a reliable dose of an herb's active ingredients. True or false?

The correct answer is: False

Surveys have found that even many products that claim to contain a standardized amount of certain compounds can vary widely in their potency.

4. Thousands of years ago, Chinese sailors chewed which of the following to ward off seasickness?

The correct answer is: b. Ginger

The root of the ginger plant is still used to relieve nausea and motion sickness. It appears to be most effective in pregnancy-related nausea, but there is some evidence it may help with motion sickness as well.

5. Which of these is not an herbal remedy?

The correct answer is: c. Melatonin

Valerian (a gentle sleeping aid) and dong quai (an unproven treatment used in China to relieve menstrual cramps) are both herbal remedies. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that has been touted as a jet-lag cure, an antidote for insomnia, and even an anti-aging drug, but studies have yet to examine its long-term effects.

6. Echinacea can make your tongue tingle or go numb. True or false?

The correct answer is: True

This is a common, temporary reaction. Echinacea is popular these days for lessening cold and flu symptoms and appears to be relatively safe. One warning concerning this herb: Echinacea increases the activity of white blood cells, so it should not be used by people with autoimmune disorders like lupus and multiple sclerosis.

References

Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Future Medicine Publishing, Inc. Puyallup, Washington 1993.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Saw Palmetto. May 2006.

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