More proof: Tailored herbal medicine treatments do not work

27 11 2007

As stated by the authors of a recent systematic review “There is no convincing evidence that individualised herbal medicine is effective in any indication.”. What’s more, there’s a high risk of side effects and the potential for herbs to react badly with other herbs and prescription medicines.

Studies promoting the effectiveness of herbal medicines have been steadily increasing over the past 20 years, say the authors. But most clinical research has involved standard preparations or single herbal extracts rather than the individually tailored treatments favoured by herbal medicine practitioners. This suggests that they have been sponsored by manufacturers, eager to cash in on the growing market for over the counter remedies.

The current findings are based on an analysis of the available comparative clinical research (randomised controlled trials) on individually tailored herbal medicine treatments. But only three studies out of more than 1300 were randomised controlled trials of sufficient quality to draw meaningful conclusions.

Results showed that there were no statistical differences between tailored herbal medicine and placebo in either the knee osteoarthritis study or the cancer treatment study.

Authors advise that herbal medicine, which currently have no basis in science, and others over the counter remedies shouldn’t be confused with phytotherapy, which represents the scientific face of herbalism. Phytotherapy has considerable potential to benefit patients. But over the counter remedies and traditional herbal medicine can harm those who use them. Researches conclude saying that “without these distinctions, we will fail to advance our knowledge of the potential benefits of herbal treatments. More importantly, we will also fail in our foremost duty – to protect the public from treatments that cause them harm”.

Si vols llegir aquest article en català, introdueix l’adreça web del blog a

Si quieres leer este articulo en español, introduce la dirección web del blog en


European day of healthy food and cooking with children

25 11 2007

I’m a bit late to report this, but better late than never… Last 8th of november was the European day of healthy food and cooking with children, co-organised by the European Commission and the European Chefs’ Association.

This day aims to encourage healthy eating among children, with a view to tackling the rising childhood obesity levels in Europe. EU officials, top chefs and school children came together for demonstrations on how to cook healthy, tasty food and workshops to promote a balanced lifestyle.

With around 22 million overweight or obese children in the EU today, the aim is to instil an interest in children in the food that they eat and to make them aware of the basic principles of good nutrition. Childhood obesity is an extremely worrying problem, with the number of overweight or obese children growing at the rate of 400 000 a year in Europe. Obese children not only suffer from health problems such as diabetes and liver disorders when they are young, but are also likely to be at high risk of heart disease, cancer, hypertension, stroke and depression as they get older.

This website for children demonstrates that eating healthily can be fun. It also provides a European forum for healthy food and cooking with first class healthy recipes and cooking advice. The website is available in 12 languages and includes an interactive cooking game so that children can learn by playing. What a shame catalan is not included among them, it would be a great way to approach 9 million potential viewers.

Si vols llegir aquest article en català, introdueix l’adreça web del blog a

Si quieres leer este articulo en español, introduce la dirección web del blog en

Hungry people crave more variety

4 11 2007

A study from the Journal of Consumer Research found that when we long for something intensely – like a much-needed vacation – a wider array of options will sound appealing, potentially leading to some out-of-character choices. Similarly, when we are especially hungry and presented with an range of menu choices, we are more likely to deviate from our favorite meal. The research investigated whether desire-induced perception changes can reduce loyalty to our favorite stuff. The findings point to the power of desires to affect choice making.

In the study, the researchers had participants who were hungry and participants who were satiated quickly decide whether they liked or disliked twenty-eight different snacks by pressing either a red or green button. Hungry participants were asked not to eat within four hours of the experiment. Satiated participants were presented with a large piece of cake upon arrival and told they had to finish the entire thing. On average, the participants who were hungry liked two more snacks than the participants who had cake.

So, an active desire increases the perceived value of the desired object class. This increase in perceived value can influence variety-seeking tendencies. The results support the notion that an active desire increases the value of any item that may satisfy the desire. Due to a particular desire, a larger number of items may be considered satisfactory than in the absence of that particular desire.

Si vols llegir aquest article en català, introdueix l’adreça web del blog a

Si quieres leer este articulo en español, introduce la dirección web del blog en