Richters HerbLetter

Date: 98/01/31
1. Garlic Linked to Supple Aortas
2. Herbal Medicine: Traditional Remedies in Modern Life
3. Chinese Swim Team Siezed Drugs May Have Been Herbal Medicines
4. Namibian Traditional Healers Betray AIDS Ignorance
5. Nationwide Study on Alternative Health Confirms America’s Growing Acceptance
6. Herb Business News

1. Garlic Linked to Supple Aortas
Reuters, Jan 29 -- Garlic, reputed to lower cholesterol and ward off colds, may also keep the main artery to the heart soft and supple, researchers said yesterday.

"The aortas of our 70-year-old subjects who took garlic were as elastic as the aortas of 55-year-old subjects who didn’t take garlic," Harisios Boudoulas of Ohio State University, who helped co-ordinate the study, said.

2. Herbal Medicine: Traditional Remedies in Modern Life
By Mbololwa M. Lewanika

LUSAKA, Times of Zambia, January 29 -- As we saw in [an earlier] article, there are ... many practices and treatments that can be described as "complementary medicine" or "alternative therapy".

As I read around the subject, I keep unearthing more and more practices and treatments, many bordering on the unusual, if not outright bizarre. It is little wonder that in referring to traditional medicines, the World Health Organisation (WHO), has restricted itself to acupuncture, traditional birth attendants, mental healers, bone- setter and herbal medicine. The WHO defines traditional medicine "ways of protecting and restoring health that existed before the arrival of modern medicine."

The practices are often passed from generation to generation. They very according to the traditions in each nation. It is not just in Africa where traditional medicine are popular, they are also very popular in many Asian countries. Their popularity is also increasing in Europe and America. In the article, we will concentrate on herbal medicine. In simple terms, herbal medicines can be defined as medicinal agents made from parts of plants, such as roots, flowers, barks or their extracts. They differ from the herbs that are used in culinary exploits, merely to enhance food flavour.

Herbal medicines are being marketed for so many conditions that one is tempted to ask what they cannot take care of, rather than what they are useful for. There are recommended herbal products for infections, slowing the aging process, pre-pregnancy preparation, period pains, menopause, healthy skin, hair, bones and joints, healthy digestive system, heart and circulation, maintaining the immune and nervous systems, vitality and brain function. The main trust of the marketing strategy should be the emphasis of the "naturalness" of the products, their ancient use, their perceived non-toxicity and holistic nature. In response to the trendiness of all things natural, herbal medicines are hailed as "natural". As much as the quest for natural, or less- processed, food products is to be recommended, the concept of "natural" being always synonymous with goodness can be taken too far.

There are natural substances that can be poisonous or toxic, just as there are laboratory-produced chemicals that can be beneficial. As Dr John Lockley, pointed out in his "Renewal" article, everything is made of chemicals including naturally-occurring substances! Unfortunately, many people have been led to believe that only modern medicine contains chemicals, and that it is the chemical nature of these medications that lead to numerous side-effects."

The main difference between the two forms of medication is that modern medicines tend to be pure, that is, purified into a single chemical entity. Herbal preparations, on the other hand tend to contain a range of other substances, apart from the obvious active ingredients. Those that gravitate towards the "natural" side of the debate would argue that the varied ingredient in the plant provide a more holistic and natural approach to treatment. On the other hand, other people may argue that unpurified products may be contaminated with unknown or unwanted ingredients. The purification of modern medicine seems to have had "a bad press" in terms of side-effects. The truth is that non- purification of a plant product does not necessary mean that its use will automatically be devoid of the possibility of side-effects.

The other trendy notion about herbal medicines is the fact that they have been used for thousands of years. Plants have been used as both food and medicine for thousands of years. As people, especially in the west, get disillusioned by modern lifestyles, there seems to be a search for the ancient and the basic. Thus the thought the herbal medications were used by ancient people groups becomes almost romantic. For scientists, the fact that herbal preparations were used by our ancestors is not just a romantic notion. It is a rational lead to the possible uses and mechanisms of herbal medicines.

Modern Scientific investigation follows the leads provided by the traditional uses of plant medicines. Many modern medicines, not only stem from traditional medicinal plants, but their modern use of correlates their traditional use to large extent. In our culture, apart from the herbal preparations used to treat physical complaints, there are herbal products that are used to alter psychological and emotional states. They include traditional preparations used in the treatment of various mental disorders, including alcoholism, and those that are recommended as "love potions". At a medical level, the WHO recognises the fact that in many developing nations, the majority of the population depend on traditional medicines for their primary health care. Since primary health care is more likely to be effective if it "employs means that are understood and accepted by the community," WHO endeavours to incorporate traditional practitioners in its efforts to achieve "Heath for All by the year 2000".

WHO is obviously aware that although there are many aspects of traditional medicine that are beneficial, there are many others that are not. Thus the organisation does not blindly all forms of traditional medicine. WHO sees its role as "ensuring that traditional medicine is examined critically and with an open mind." With this in mind, WHO encourages and supports member countries in efforts to identify and provide safe and effective remedies and practices. This should lead to the formulation of credible national policies on traditional medicine, as well provide the public and health practitioners with information about proven traditional health practices. Apart from WHO, there are many other medical, pharmaceutical and academic institutions involved in research into medicinal plants. Despite all these research efforts, in most countries the manufacturing, dispensing and marketing of herbal medicines is not adequately regulated or controlled. Thus, it is not just the proper use of herbal medicines that is of concern, but also the licensing and regulation of the products.

3. Chinese Swim Team Siezed Drugs May Have Been Herbal Medicines
PERTH, AAP, Jan 29 -- Swimming authorities are awaiting further test results on substances seized from the Chinese swimming team’s Perth motel following a report they were nothing more than herbal medicine.

A spokesman for the State Government Chemical Centre says unofficial results show the 27 vials contained herbal medicine readily available from Chinese herbalists throughout Australia, and no banned or illegal substances.

Several white tablets also found at Beatty Lodge proved to be antibiotics.

But Sergeant GRAHAM CLIFFORD says the tests are inconclusive and the substances are yet to be tested for the banned human growth hormone.

4. Namibian Traditional Healers Betray AIDS Ignorance
By Christof Maletsky

WINDHOEK, The Namibian, Jan 27 -- A worrying number of traditional healers believe that AIDS is a disease for foreigners and can therefore be cured through the use of herbs.

A recent study by the Social Impact Assessment and Policy Analysis Corporation (Siapac) revealed that people surveyed also had mixed feelings about the role traditional healers should play in HIV/AIDS counselling. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

Some respondents felt there needed to be close co-operation between health personnel and traditional doctors in tackling HIV/AIDS, as some communities believed in traditional doctors.

Those opposed to the involvement of traditional healers indicated that their main concern was the claim by some healers that they were be able to cure AIDS when this was not true.

"They pretend as they know how to treat some different types of diseases while they cannot do so, which means their involvement in counselling will or cannot be respected," said one respondent from the Caprivi Region.

This view was supported by interviews with traditional healers by Siapac researchers. When asked what he knew about HIV/AIDS, one traditional doctor from the north-east of the country said AIDS was an old disease, its old name being Kahomo.

"Kahomo was caused by a woman who has an abortion and never goes to her parents to wash her with traditional herbs. It is then transmitted through sharing cups with the woman who had the abortion, or having sex with her, or eating together with her," the healer responded.

Another traditional healer from a rural area said the disease had been propagandised by foreigners in order to kill the nation.

"This kind of disease was never heard of or found among our communities. It only happened when the foreigners came as missionaries and brought HIV/AIDS with them," the healer claimed.

Only one of the healers interviewed appeared to have any idea about HIV and how its spread could be prevented, saying people could avoid contracting HIV by using condoms when having sex, and by avoiding contact with blood from an infected person.

Amazingly, all the traditional doctors interviewed claimed they could cure the killer virus.

"As AIDS is actually Kahomo, my wife knows how to treat it," one healer responded, while another said: "I myself can cure or prevent AIDS."

Another one said only traditional doctors could cure AIDS. "Yes, it (the cure) is with us, nowhere else," he said.

Another said he did not know what should be done, "but something should be done so that the person cannot go home and kill themselves".

The opinions expressed by the healers interviewed are of grave concern to Siapac and the health authorities of Namibia.

Siapac released the results of their study at last week’s Namibia National Network of AIDS Services Organisation (Nanaso) Annual General Meeting in Windhoek.

5. Nationwide Study on Alternative Health Confirms America’s Growing Acceptance
SACRAMENTO, Calif., BW HealthWire, Jan. 27 -- According to a nationwide poll released Tuesday, Americans are embracing alternative care therapies. More than four in ten adults in the United States (42 percent) have used some type of alternative care in the past year and many report a likelihood of future usage.

Additionally, nearly one-half of adults in the United States (45 percent) say they would be willing to pay more, each month, in order to have access to alternative care and most people (67 percent) believe the availability of alternative care is an important factor when choosing a health plan.

The Landmark Report on Public Perceptions of Alternative Care offers the most current findings regarding public sentiment about non- traditional medicine, including chiropractic, acupuncture and massage therapy. The November 1997 survey, sponsored by Sacramento-based Landmark Healthcare Inc. and conducted by Michigan-based consumark chief executive officer. "In addition, this data validates our own experiences and provides Landmark with the information it needs to offer therapies that consumers demand."

Other notable survey findings include the following:

* People say they would be most likely to use massage therapy (80% likely), vitamin therapy (80%), herbal therapy (75%) and chiropractic (73%).

* Four out of ten adults (40%) say that their attitudes toward alternative care have become more positive in the last five years, mainly because they have learned more about it or have had a favorable experience with it.

* Of those Americans reporting usage of alternative care, almost three- quarters (74%) say they use it along with traditional health care and more than six of 10 adults (61%) say that their medical doctor knows about the care...

The Landmark Report provides an update on alternative health care market trends and helps quantify anecdotal evidence about the interest in alternative care. It is believed to be the first national poll to address this topic in seven years.

For this study, telephone interviews were conducted based on a random sample of households throughout the United States. A total of 1,500 interviews were completed yielding an overall margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent at the 95 percent confidence level...

6. Herb Business News
Paracelsian Hires New Chief Executive Officer

ITHACA, N.Y., PRNewswire, Jan 22 -- Paracelsian, Inc. (Nasdaq Small Cap: PRLN)announced today that Bernard M. Landes has been hired to the positions of Chief Executive Officer and President. The hiring of Mr. Landes follows the recent announcements of additional financing for Paracelsian and the replacement of the Company’s Board of Directors.

"Mr. Landes was selected to head Paracelsian based upon his successful track record of generating revenue," said Mr. T. Nelson Campbell, a newly appointed Director of the Company. "Mr. Landes possesses a wide range of skills, including research, product development and marketing. Perhaps the most important is his demonstrated ability to translate innovative ideas into commercial successes."

Mr. Landes has 22 years of senior management experience in the natural products industry, including the position of Director of Marketing at Health Valley Foods from 1986 to 1994. With oversight of clinical trials and other research, product development, regulatory affairs and marketing, Mr. Landes was primarily responsible for boosting annual sales at the company from $13 million to over $150 million. From 1993 to 1997, Mr. Landes also served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the National Nutritional Foods Association, where he helped develop and promote passage of the Dietary Supplement Health Education Act. After leaving Health Valley, Mr. Landes joined Alacer Corp. as its Vice President and General Manager, where he was responsible for substantially expanding its existing product lines and developing an innovative group of herbal products. Mr. Landes holds an M.B.A. degree from the University of Delaware.

"Rarely does an opportunity come along in the field of health care that is as perfectly timed for the demands of the market as the Paracelsian opportunity," said Mr. Landes. "I am convinced that Paracelsian’s scientific foundation is solid. During the time that Paracelsian’s scientists were screening the Company’s library of Traditional Chinese Medicines, the market for the products and services that Paracelsian is uniquely positioned to offer has exploded." Landes concluded, "I am confident that with the assets the Company possesses, including an experienced and highly qualified team of scientists and a world-class Board of Directors, Paracelsian will begin to generate the types of revenue that so many have believed it is capable of generating."

Mr. Landes replaces Dr. Thomas G. Tachovsky, Paracelsian’s Acting CEO. Dr. Tachovsky was hired to guide Paracelsian through the transition period following Keith A. Rhodes’s resignation as CEO.

Paracelsian is a company engaged in the discovery and characterization of uniquely beneficial constituents of herbs and other botanicals for use in the natural products and pharmaceutical industries. Its core technology consists of immuno-based and cell-based signal transduction assays.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Reports Herbal Essences Sales Up 168%

NEW YORK, Dow Jones News, Jan 22 -- Bristol-Myers Squib said consumer medicines sales rose 6% in fiscal 1997.

Medical device sales fell 3% in 1997. Nutritional sales rose 7%. Total infant formula sales rose 2% to $1.2 million. Enfamil, an infant formula, had 1997 sales of $674 million. Special infant formula sales rose 8%. Beauty care sales rose 16% in 1997. Herbal Essences sales rose 168% to $351 million. Sales of Infusium 23 rose 15% to $85 million.

Bristol-Myers also said it acquired Abeefe S.A., a Peru-based drug maker, in the fourth quarter for an undisclosed amount.

Herbalife Authorizes New $20 Million Share Repurchase Program; Declares Fourth-Quarter Cash Dividend

LOS ANGELES, BUSINESS WIRE, Jan -- Herbalife International Inc. (Nasdaq/NM:HERBA, HERBB) announced that its board of directors has authorized a new $20 million share repurchase program, representing a continuation of the company’s share repurchase efforts in recent years.

The new program will commence upon completion of the company’s existing $30 million share repurchase program, authorized April 10, 1997, of which approximately $26.3 million has been utilized to repurchase 1,225,000 common shares at an average price of $21.40.

The shares, including both classes of Herbalife common stock, will be repurchased in open market or negotiated transactions, with the timing and terms of the purchases to be determined by the discretion of management and market conditions. The new authorization reflects the board’s continuing belief that share repurchases represent an appropriate use of cash at current valuations.

Management also indicated that it may implement share repurchases, among other things, in its efforts to reduce potential trading disparity between the two classes of stock.

Separately, the board approved payment of a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.15 per share on Herbalife’s Class A and Class B common shares. The dividend is payable Feb. 11, 1998, to shareholders of record on Feb. 4, 1998.

Herbalife markets weight-management products, nutritional supplements and personal care products in 36 countries worldwide. Herbalife products are available only through a network of independent distributors who purchase the products directly from the company.

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