Category Archives: Herbs and Supplements

Is huperzine A an herb?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, Huperzine A is plant-derived; does that make it an herbal remedy? A: Huperzine A (HUP-er-zeen) is an extremely potent chemical derived from a particular type of club moss (Huperzia serrata). Like caffeine and cocaine, huperzine A is a medicinally active, plant-derived chemical that belongs to the class known as alkaloids. It…

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Lemon balm good treatment for herpes?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, Is lemon balm really a good treatment for herpes? A: More commonly known in the United States as lemon balm, Melissa officinalis is widely sold in Europe as a topical cream for the treatment of genital and oral herpes. Its leaves give off a delicate lemon odor when bruised. Melissa cream…

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Possible to take too much calcium?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, Is it possible to take too much calcium? Are there any negative effects to taking more calcium than you need? A: Calcium taken in excessive amounts can cause numerous side effects, including dangerous or painful deposits of calcium within the body. If you have cancer, hyperparathyroidism, or sarcoidosis, you should only…

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Best way to take calcium?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, Is there a best way to take calcium for maximum absorption and effectiveness? A: Good evidence also tells us that when calcium needs to be taken with vitamin D to be absorbed. Some forms of calcium appear to be better absorbed and more effective than others. Perhaps the best forms of…

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Which form of calcium to take?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, Is one form of calcium better than another when taking it to build calcium and prevent osteoporosis? A: Some forms of calcium appear to be absorbed better and more effective than others. Perhaps the best forms of calcium are calcium citrate and calcium citrate malate. In lieu of calcium supplements, you…

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Discontinue use of dong quai when trying to conceive?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, I am having fertility trouble. I am seeing a certified instructor who is advising me in Chinese meditation, including microcosmic orbit and healing sounds, as well as Dao In. He recommended that I take Angelica polymorpha (dong quai) for my painful monthly menstruation. Then I read that this herb could cause…

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Natural treatments to strengthen bone?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, I have osteoporosis. What are the best natural treatments to strengthen my bones? A: Scientific studies indicate that calcium supplements can help prevent and slow osteoporosis. Calcium supplementation at the recommended doses appears to be able to reduce bone loss in postmenopausal women in every bone site except the spine. You…

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How to determine potency of supplements?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, I have heard that all supplements aren’t created equal. How would you recommend determining whether the pills in a bottle of vitamins or minerals are as potent as the label claims them to be? A: It is a challenge to determine which supplements are beneficial. The amount of an ingredient listed…

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Ginseng for health?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, Can you briefly tell me about ginseng and how it is hazardous to our health? Are vitamin capsules that list ginseng as an ingredient unsafe for consumption? A: Ginseng (ren shen) has many applications in traditional Chinese medicine. Throughout history ginseng has been used for various ailments ranging from debility to…

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Maximum dosage for milk thistle?

Q: Dear Dr. Mao, What is the maximum dosage of milk thistle that can be taken daily? A: The dosage of milk thistle should not exceed 200mg, three times per day. As always, I recommend you consult a natural medicine practitioner to assist with the specific dosages.

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