Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Call for Papers. Special Issue on Infertility: ART, Medicinal Plans, and Acupuncture

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Special Issue on
Infertility: ART, Medicinal Plants, and Acupuncture

Medicinal plants and herbal formulas used to treat infertility have been studied for the support of pregnancies that have been achieved using artificial reproductive technologies (ART). Likewise, acupuncture’s effects on pregnancy have been studied, particularly when applied before and after in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, to date there are only a few papers that examine herbal support for fertility, and only one paper that presents findings of acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine combined to treat infertility. Practitioners often employ more than one therapeutic in clinic.

We invite research and review papers describing current and expected usage of medicinal plants and acupuncture (used individually or concurrently) for ART clients. Clinical trials and clinical experiences are welcome. Papers based on clinic experience would need to devote several paragraphs to justifying their methodological approach and of course need patient consent.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
Systematic reviews that only discuss the limitations and weaknesses of previously conducted research will not be accepted
Authors who have already published research on medicinal plants and ART are welcome to discuss patient details that were excluded from their original publications
Failures to achieve pregnancy using ART and medicinal plants are also welcome if patient details such as poor oocyte quality or other medical issues are discussed as the probable reason for failure

Authors can submit their manuscripts via the Manuscript Tracking System at

Lead Guest Editor

Cheryl Lans, Institute for Ethnobotany and Zoopharmacognosy, Ubbergen,

Guest Editors

Rainer W. Bussmann, William L. Brown Center, St. Louis, USA

Lisa Taylor-Swanson, University of Washington, Bothell, USA

Manuscript Due

Friday, 29 January 2016

First Round of Reviews

Friday, 22 April 2016

Publication Date

Friday, 17 June 2016

The use of complementary and alternative medicine in an Irish cohort of people with an iatrogenic hepatitis C infection: Results from a health and lifestyle survey


CAM is used by a high proportion of people with an iatrogenic HCV infection.
CAM use is similar between people with current and resolved HCV infection.
The main CAM service used by people with iatrogenic HCV infection is reflexology.
Key reasons for using CAM; relief from aches and pains/muscles problems and stress.
Further research is required to determine the direct health benefits of CAM.



A cohort of people with iatrogenic HCV infection, current or resolved, in Ireland have access to primary and secondary health care services, including specified complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) services, free of charge.


Information about their pattern of CAM usage and its association with various demographic and lifestyle factors, and current HCV status, was sought as part of a health and lifestyle survey, in order to provide information for health service planning.

Design and methods

The survey was carried out by self-administered postal questionnaire. The level of CAM usage was compared to an age- and sex-matched sample of the general population.


The response was 48% (720/1485). Compared to the general population, the HCV population was significantly more likely to have attended a CAM practitioner (50.1% vs 23.9%, OR 3.2; 95% CI 2.7–3.9). Within the HCV population, multivariate analysis showed that females (OR 3.1; 95% CI 1.9–4.9), those who reported fibromyalgia (OR 2.7; 95% CI 1.8–3.9) and those who reported anxiety (OR 1.4; 95% CI 1.0–2.0) were significantly more likely to have used CAM, and smokers significantly less likely (OR 0.6; 95% CI 0.4–0.8). CAM attendance did not vary by current HCV status. Reflexology, acupuncture and massage were the most commonly used forms of CAM.


This study demonstrates that CAM services are used by a high proportion of people with iatrogenic chronic HCV. A more holistic approach to health care, using a biopsychosocial model framework, may better meet the physical and psychological health needs of this group.


  • Iatrogenic HCV infection;
  • Biopsychosocial model of health;
  • Health and lifestyle survey;
  • Complementary alternative medicine;
  • CAM

Corresponding author at: Barbara Coughlan, UCD School Of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland. Tel.: +353 1 716 6441.

The effect of simulated gastro-intestinal conditions on the antioxidant activity of herbal preparations made from native Irish hawthorn

Volume 4, Issue 3, September 2014, Pages 127–133


The ability of plant phenolics to act as free radical scavengers has led to increased interest in their ability to act as antioxidants in vivo. Polyphenolic compounds, commonly present in hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), as well as herbal preparations of hawthorn were examined using the TEAC and DPPH assays to determine their antioxidant activity. Initial results have shown the standards to be efficient free radical scavengers. Quercetin dihydrate was found to be the most effective with ability to inhibit up to 87.9% of the DPPH radical and over 90% of the ABTS radical. The herbal preparations tested showed infusions of hawthorn leaf and flower to be almost as effective with 82.9% of DPPH radicals and 87.9% of ABTS radicals being inhibited. Most hawthorn preparations are consumed orally, however, and the effect of gastro-intestinal conditions on the ability of phenolic compounds to scavenge free radicals is not taken into account. Both, the standards and crude herbal preparations were exposed to simulated gastro-intestinal conditions to determine their effect, if any, on antioxidant activity. This study indicates that the scavenging activity of hawthorn phenolics may be reduced by the digestive process. The scavenging activity of Luteolin against ABTS radicals was found to have decreased by 67.8%. The effect of the process on the herbal preparations varied with the ability of the berry decoction to scavenge DPPH decreasing by 43% while the scavenging of the leaf and flower infusion decreased by only 1.94%.


  • Simulated stomach;
  • Hawthorn;
  • Crataegus spp.;
  • Herbal preparations;
  • Antioxidant activity

Corresponding author. Tel.: +353 214335875; fax: +353 214345191.

Why is the dog an ideal model for aging research?


The domestic dog meets ideal requirements for a model of human aging.
The domestic dog has naturally occurring disease conditions that closely mimic those of the human.
Numerous data sets have been produced to date, although they are limited by either inclusion or analysis limitations.
The dog has much data available that could use coordination between sources. There are also many areas of canine aging that have not been thoroughly investigated, thereby leaving areas of study open for further, new, or extended investigation.


With many caveats to the traditional vertebrate species pertaining to biogerontology investigations, it has been suggested that a most informative model is the one which: 1) examines closely related species, or various members of the same species with naturally occurring lifespan variation, 2) already has adequate medical procedures developed, 3) has a well annotated genome, 4) does not require artificial housing, and can live in its natural environment while being investigated, and 5) allows considerable information to be gathered within a relatively short period of time. The domestic dog unsurprisingly fits each criterion mentioned. The dog has already become a key model system in which to evaluate surgical techniques and novel medications because of the remarkable similarity between human and canine conditions, treatments, and response to therapy. The dog naturally serves as a disease model for study, obviating the need to construct artificial genetically modified examples of disease. Just as the dog offers a natural model for human conditions and diseases, simple observation leads to the conclusion that the canine aging phenotype also mimics that of the human. Genotype information, biochemical information pertaining to the GH/IGF-1 pathway, and some limited longitudinal investigations have begun the establishment of the domestic dog as a model of aging. Although we find that dogs indeed are a model to study aging and there are many independent pieces of canine aging data, there are many more “open” areas, ripe for investigation.


  • Canine aging,;
  • Longevity,;
  • Aging model,;
  • Domestic dog,;
  • IGF-1,;
  • GH

Corresponding author.

Changes in major bioactive compounds with antioxidant activity of Agastache foeniculum, Lavandula angustifolia, Melissa officinalis and Nepeta cataria: Effect of harvest time and plant species

Volume 77, 23 December 2015, Pages 499–507


The present study reports the bioactive compounds from four Lamiaceae family plants: Agastache foeniculum, Lavandula angustifolia, Melissa officinalis and Nepeta cataria in two different stages of development and harvested in two distinctive periods of the day.
Methanol extracts were analyzed for total polyphenolic and flavone/flavonol content using UV–vis spectrometry.
Chromatographic profile of phenolic acids and flavonoids were determined using high performance liquid chromatography PDA detection.
Antioxidant activity was evaluated using two different spectrophotometric methods.
Optimum period of harvesting for maximum amount of bioactive compounds was determined.


The continuous interest in medicinal plants has brought about todays modern processing and usage of different plants. Extracts obtained from the aerial parts of Agastache foeniculum, Lavandula angustifolia, Melissa officinalis and Nepeta cataria were investigated for their antioxidant activity and polyphenolic content. The extracts were prepared from plants harvested in two phenological phases of development (beginning of blooming and full bloom) and in two distinctive time points (11 a.m. and 4 p.m.). Different amounts of total phenolic content were measured (12.44–76.43 mgGAE/g dry plant) and correlated with botanical origin, phenophase and harvesting hour. Flavone/flavonol content presented higher amounts than total polyphenol content in A. foeniculum extracts (36.87 mgQE/g compared to 27.19 mgGAE/g). All plants exhibit high antioxidant activity (73.14–81.74% inhibition and 0.265–0.554 mM Trolox equivalents), measured with DPPH and FRAP method. Fingerprint of biologically active compounds highlights the potential of using these plants as value-added products, because of their content in phenolic acids and flavonoids with antioxidant activity. The quantity and profile of polyphenols was influenced by harvesting period and hour. The best moment for harvesting these plants in order to have maximum amount of bioactive compounds, was established to be in the first decade of June (beginning of blooming) and in the afternoon.

Graphical abstract

Image for unlabelled figure


  • Agastache foeniculum;
  • Lavandula angustifolia;
  • Melissa officinalis;
  • Nepeta cataria;
  • Bioactive compounds;
  • Antioxidant activity;
  • Harvest period

Corresponding author at: University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Cluj-Napoca, Str. Mănăştur, 3-5, 400372 Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Fax: +40 264593792.

Effect of acupressure with valerian oil 2.5% on the quality and quantity of sleep in patients with acute coronary syndrome in a cardiac intensive care unit

Open Access
Original article

Effect of acupressure with valerian oil 2.5% on the quality and quantity of sleep in patients with acute coronary syndrome in a cardiac intensive care unit

Open Access funded by Center for Food and Biomolecules, National Taiwan University
Under a Creative Commons license


The purpose of this three-group double-blind clinical trial study was to investigate the effect of acupressure (指壓 zhǐ yā) with valerian (纈草 xié cǎo) oil 2.5% on the quality and quantity of sleep in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in a coronary intensive care unit (CCU). This study was conducted on 90 patients with ACS in Mazandaran Heart Center (Sari, Iran) during 2013. The patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups. Patients in the acupressure with valerian oil 2.5% group (i.e., valerian acupressure group) received bilateral acupoint (穴位 xué wèi) massage with two drops of valerian oil for 2 minutes for three nights; including every point this treatment lasted in total 18 minutes. Patients in the acupressure group received massage at the same points with the same technique but without valerian oil. Patients in the control group received massage at points that were 1–1.5 cm from the main points using the same technique and for the same length of time. The quality and quantity of the patients' sleep was measured by the St. Mary's Hospital Sleep Questionnaire (SMHSQ). After the intervention, there was a significant difference between sleep quality and sleep quantity in the patients in the valerian acupressure group and the acupressure group, compared to the control group (p < 0.05). Patients that received acupressure with valerian oil experienced improved sleep quality; however, this difference was not statistically significant in comparison to the acupressure only group. Acupressure at the ear spirit gate (神門 shén mén), hand Shenmen, glabella (印堂 yìn táng), Wind Pool (風池 fēng chí), and Gushing Spring (湧泉 yǒng quán) acupoints can have therapeutic effects and may improve the quality and quantity of sleep in patients with ACS. Using these techniques in combination with herbal medicines such valerian oil can have a greater impact on improving sleep and reducing waking during the night.

Graphical abstract

CCU = coronary intensive care unit.


  • acupressure;
  • acute coronary syndrome;
  • cardiac intensive care unit;
  • sleep quality;
  • sleep quantity;
  • valerian oil

1. Introduction

Cardiovascular diseases are among the most common diseases in human societies and the number of these patients has increased in recent decades.1 In 2008, coronary artery disease caused one of every six deaths in America. On average, one American experiences cardiac events every 25 minutes, and one person dies every 1 minute.2 The emergence of cardiovascular diseases, especially coronary diseases, is widely increasing in China, India, Pakistan, the East Mediterranean region, and the Middle East; it is an important health and social problem.3, 4, 5 and 6 Every year, approximately 3.6 million people are hospitalized in hospitals under the Ministry of Health and Medical Education and Treatment of Iran. A remarkable number of these patients have heart disease, especially patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS), which includes acute myocardial infarction and unstable angina.7 Most sleep problems encountered by patients are because of their hospitalization.8 Many patients who are hospitalized in a coronary intensive care unit (CCU) experience reduced quality and quantity of sleep with regard to mental and environmental factors.9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 Even if environmental factors are controlled, patients with acute myocardial infarction have an altered sleep structure (i.e., sleep pattern) that can result from physiologic inflammatory changes or from the nature of the myocardial infarction itself.14
Approximately 56% of the patients are sleep-deprived at the end of the 1st day of hospitalization. Based on other studies, ACS patients have low sleep quality during the first 3 days of their hospitalization.15 and 16 Comfortable sleep is difficult for patients hospitalized in intensive care units because of constant monitoring, lighting on the unit, noise due to the staff caring for other patients, mechanical ventilation, frequent awakening by the nurses, the use of sedating and inotrope drugs, disease severity, and the staff awakening patients early in the morning in these units even though the patients need more sleep.9 Hospitalization can remarkably disturb the sleeping model.17
Sleep is a primary need of human beings. It is necessary for maintaining energy, appearance, and physical well-being. Sleep has an important role in cardiovascular function. Its deprivation intensifies anxiety, irritability, and anger, and increases the heart rhythm and myocardial oxygen demand in a frequent and dangerous cycle.18 and 19 Insomnia can be treated by drugs, herbal medicine, psychotherapy, and physiological treatments.20 The most common way to treat or cope with sleeping problems is by using drugs. Based on research studies,11 there is no significant difference in sleep quality and quality of the patients who use these drugs and patients who do not use them. The effectiveness of drugless therapies is slower than the effectiveness of sleep aids; however, drugless therapies are more permanent and do not have the side effects of drugs such as memory deficits, drug resistance, drug dependency, and drug addiction.
Insomnia can be treated by medication, herbal therapy, and psychological or physical therapy.20 Acupressure (指壓 zhǐ yā) can enhance comfort and sleep through massaging and stimulating certain points in the head, hands, and back.21 Individuals can use this treatment method by themselves or with the help of other family members.22
A traditional way of treating insomnia is by using valerian herb (纈草 xié cǎo) self grown in nature plant. It is one of many plants used to treat insomnia.23 The effect of valerian is similar to that of the benzodiazepines (e.g., its effect is comparable with that of 10 mg oxazepam24); however, the adverse effects of valerian are fewer. When the human body absorbs valerian, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor activity increases.25 The result of a review article concluded that valerian could improve sleep quality with minimal or no adverse effect.26
Based on available data, an article concerning the effectiveness of acupressure with valerian oil on the quality and quantity of sleep in patients with ACS has not been previously published. Because of the high prevalence of insomnia in intensive care units and because of the effect that acupressure has as a noninvasive and complementary method in treating sleep disorders, the present study aimed to examine the effect of acupressure with valerian oil on sleep quality and quantity in patients hospitalized in a CCU, and thus improve sleep quality, health, and life quality and satisfaction in patients with ACS.