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Adaptogens or adaptogenic substancesare used in herbal medicine for the claimed stabilization of physiological processes and promotion of homeostasis. The European Medicines Agency stated in a 2008 reflection paper that while numerous research studies over more than five decades have attempted to prove the existence and effectiveness of adaptogens, the research has been deficient in its methodologies and does not support the conclusion that adaptogens actually exist and work as claimed, and therefore the term "adaptogen" cannot be used for marketing in the EU.
The concept of adaptogens was originally created in 1947 to describe a substance that may increase resistance to stress.Adaptogenesis was later applied in the former Soviet Union to describe remedies thought to increase the resistance of organisms to biological stress.
Most of the studies conducted on adaptogens were performed in the Soviet Union, Korea, and China before the 1980s, and have been partially dismissed for various methodological flaws.The term is currently not accepted in pharmacological, physiological, or mainstream clinical practices in the European Union as it requires further studies and more data. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in 2013 to a Washington-based company for illegal advertising and false health claims concerning use of the word "adaptogen" for one of its products.
Pharmacology is a branch of medicine and pharmaceutical sciences which is concerned with the study of drug or medication action, where a drug can be broadly or narrowly defined as any man-made, natural, or endogenous molecule which exerts a biochemical or physiological effect on the cell, tissue, organ, or organism. More specifically, it is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function. If substances have medicinal properties, they are considered pharmaceuticals.
A dietary supplement is a manufactured product intended to supplement the diet when taken by mouth as a pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid. A supplement can provide nutrients either extracted from food sources or synthetic, individually or in combination, in order to increase the quantity of their consumption. The class of nutrient compounds includes vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids and amino acids. Dietary supplements can also contain substances that have not been confirmed as being essential to life, but are marketed as having a beneficial biological effect, such as plant pigments or polyphenols. Animals can also be a source of supplement ingredients, as for example collagen from chickens or fish. These are also sold individually and in combination, and may be combined with nutrient ingredients. In the United States and Canada, dietary supplements are considered a subset of foods, and are regulated accordingly. The European Commission has also established harmonized rules to help insure that food supplements are safe and properly labeled.
Echinacea is a genus, or group of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family. The genus Echinacea has ten species, which are commonly called coneflowers. They are found only in eastern and central North America, where they grow in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas. They have large, showy heads of composite flowers, blooming the entire summer. The generic name is derived from the Greek word ἐχῖνος, meaning "sea urchin", due to the spiny central disk. These flowering plants and their parts have different uses. Some species are cultivated in gardens for their showy flowers. Echinacea purpurea is used in traditional medicine. Two of the species, E. tennesseensis and E. laevigata, are listed in the United States as endangered species.
Herbal medicine is the study of pharmacognosy and the use of medicinal plants. Plants have been the basis for medical treatments through most of human history, and such traditional medicine is still widely practiced today. Modern medicine makes use of many plant-derived compounds as the basis for evidence-based pharmaceutical drugs. Although herbalism may apply modern standards of effectiveness testing to herbs and medicines derived from natural sources, few high-quality clinical trials and standards for purity or dosage exist. The scope of herbal medicine is sometimes extended to include fungal and bee products, as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts.
Nootropics are drugs, supplements, and other substances that may improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals. While many substances are purported to improve cognition, research is at a preliminary stage as of 2020, and the effects of the majority of these agents are not fully determined.
Medicinal plants, also called medicinal herbs, have been discovered and used in traditional medicine practices since prehistoric times. Plants synthesise hundreds of chemical compounds for functions including defence against insects, fungi, diseases, and herbivorous mammals. Numerous phytochemicals with potential or established biological activity have been identified. However, since a single plant contains widely diverse phytochemicals, the effects of using a whole plant as medicine are uncertain. Further, the phytochemical content and pharmacological actions, if any, of many plants having medicinal potential remain unassessed by rigorous scientific research to define efficacy and safety.
Mitragyna speciosa is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. It is indigenous to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea, where it has been used in traditional medicines since at least the nineteenth century. Kratom has opioid properties and some stimulant-like effects.
Rasāyana, रसायन is a Sanskrit word literally meaning path (āyana) of essence (rasa). It is an early ayurvedic medical term concerning the means of lengthening lifespans, and in later texts can refer to Indian alchemy.
A designer drug is a structural or functional analog of a controlled substance that has been designed to mimic the pharmacological effects of the original drug, while avoiding classification as illegal and/or detection in standard drug tests. Designer drugs include psychoactive substances that have been designated by the European Union as new psychoactive substances (NPS) as well as analogs of performance-enhancing drugs such as designer steroids. Some of these were originally synthesized by academic or industrial researchers in an effort to discover more potent derivatives with fewer side effects and were later co-opted for recreational use. Other designer drugs were prepared for the first time in clandestine laboratories. Because the efficacy and safety of these substances have not been thoroughly evaluated in animal and human trials, the use of some of these drugs may result in unexpected side effects.
The regulation of therapeutic goods, defined as drugs and therapeutic devices, varies by jurisdiction. In some countries, such as the United States, they are regulated at the national level by a single agency. In other jurisdictions they are regulated at the state level, or at both state and national levels by various bodies, as in Australia.
A nutraceutical or 'bioceutical' is a pharmaceutical alternative which claims physiological benefits. In the US, "nutraceuticals" are largely unregulated, as they exist in the same category as dietary supplements and food additives by the FDA, under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid discovered in 1940. It is one of 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants and accounts for up to 40% of the plant's extract. As of 2019, clinical research on CBD included studies of anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and pain, but there is insufficient high-quality evidence that it is effective for these conditions.
Pharmacovigilance, also known as drug safety, is the pharmacological science relating to the collection, detection, assessment, monitoring, and prevention of adverse effects with pharmaceutical products. The etymological roots for the word "pharmacovigilance" are: pharmakon and vigilare. As such, pharmacovigilance heavily focuses on adverse drug reactions, or ADRs, which are defined as any response to a drug which is noxious and unintended, including lack of efficacy. Medication errors such as overdose, and misuse and abuse of a drug as well as drug exposure during pregnancy and breastfeeding, are also of interest, even without an adverse event, because they may result in an adverse drug reaction.
Sibutramine, formerly sold under the brand name Meridia among others, is an appetite suppressant which has been discontinued in many countries. Until 2010, it was widely marketed and prescribed as an adjunct in the treatment of obesity along with diet and exercise. It has been associated with increased cardiovascular events and strokes and has been withdrawn from the market in several countries and regions including Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. However, the drug remains available in some countries.
Rhodiola rosea is a perennial flowering plant in the family Crassulaceae. It grows naturally in wild Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America, and can be propagated as a groundcover. Rhodiola rosea has been used in traditional medicine for several disorders, notably including treatment of anxiety and depression. As of 2019, there is no high-quality clinical research to indicate it is effective for treating any disorder, and the United States Food and Drug Administration has issued several warnings to manufacturers of R. rosea dietary supplements for making false health claims about its safety and efficacy.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is an agency of the European Union (EU) in charge of the evaluation and supervision of medicinal products. Prior to 2004, it was known as the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products or European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA).
Performance-enhancing substances, also known as performance-enhancing drugs (PED), are substances that are used to improve any form of activity performance in humans. A well-known example involves doping in sport, where banned physical performance–enhancing drugs are used by athletes and bodybuilders. Athletic performance-enhancing substances are sometimes referred to as ergogenic aids. Cognitive performance-enhancing drugs, commonly called nootropics, are sometimes used by students to improve academic performance. Performance-enhancing substances are also used by military personnel to enhance combat performance.
Teriflunomide, sold under the brand name Aubagio, is the active metabolite of leflunomide. Teriflunomide was investigated in the Phase III clinical trial TEMSO as a medication for multiple sclerosis (MS). The study was completed in July 2010. 2-year results were positive. However, the subsequent TENERE head-to-head comparison trial reported that "although permanent discontinuations [of therapy] were substantially less common among MS patients who received teriflunomide compared with interferon beta-1a, relapses were more common with teriflunomide." The drug was approved for use in the United States in September 2012 and for use in the European Union in August 2013.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to clinical research:
In herbal medicine, a herbal tonic is used to help restore, tone and invigorate systems in the body or to promote general health and well-being. An herbal tonic is a solution or other preparation made from a specially selected assortment of plants known as herbs. They are steeped in water and drunk either hot or cool. Herbal tonics are believed to have healing properties ranging from relieving muscle and joint pain and extend as far as inhibiting some cancers.