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Abalone Shell (shi jue ming)
Abutilon Seed (dong kui zi)
Acanthopanax Bark (wu jia pi)
Achyranthes (niu xi)
Aconite (fu zi)
Acorus (shi chang pu)
Adenophora Root (nan sha shen)
Agkistrodon (bai hua she)
Agrimony (xian he cao)
Ailanthus Bark (chun pi)
Akebia Fruit (ba yue zha)
Albizzia Bark (he huan pi)
Albizzia Flower (he huan hua)
Alfalfa (medicago sativa)
Alisma (ze xie)
Aloe (lu hui)
Alum (bai fan)
Amber (hu po)
Ampelopsis (bai lian)
Andrographis (chuan xin lian)
Anemarrhena (zhi mu)
Antelope's Horn (ling yang jiao)
Apricot Seed (xing ren)
Areca Peel (da fu pi)
Areca Seed (bing lang)
Arisaema (tian nan xing)
Ark Shell (wa leng zi)
Arnebia (zi cao or ying zi cao)
Arnica (arnica montana)
Artichoke Leaves (Cynara scolymus)
Ash bark (qin pi)
Ashwagandha (withania somniferum)
Aster (zi wan)
Astragalus (huang qi)
Aurantium (zhi ke [qiao])
Bamboo Juice (zhu li)
Bamboo Shavings (zhu ru)
Belamcanda Rhizome (she gan)
Benincasa Peel (dong gua pi)
Benincasa Seed (dong gua xi/ren)
Benzoin (an xi xiang)
Bilberry (yue ju)
Biota Leaf (ce bai ye)
Biota Seed (bai zi ren)
Bitter Melon (ku gua)
Bitter Orange Peel (ju hong)
Black Cohosh (sheng ma)
Black Plum (wu mei)
Black Sesame Seed (hei zhi ma)
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Borax (peng sha)
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Capillaris (yin chen hao)
Cardamon Seed (sha ren)
Carpesium (he shi)
Cassia Seed (jue ming zi)
Catechu (er cha)
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Cephalanoplos (xiao ji)
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Centipede (wu gong)
Chaenomeles Fruit(mu gua)
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Chebula Fruit (he zi)
Chinese Gall (wu bei zi)
Chinese Raspberry (fu pen zi)
Chrysanthemum (ju hua)
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Clam Shell (hai ge ke/qiao)
Clematis (wei ling xian)
Cloves (ding xiang)
Cnidium Seed (she chuang zi)
Codonopsis (dang shen)
Coix Seed (yi yi ren)
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Coriander (hu sui)
Corn Silk (yu mi xu)
Cornus (shan zhu yu)
Corydalis (yan hu suo)
Costus (mu xiang)
Cranberry (vaccinium macrocarpon)
Cremastra (shan ci gu)
Croton Seed (ba dou)
Curculigo (xian mao)
Cuscuta (tu si zi)
Cuttlefish Bone (hai piao xiao)
Cymbopogon (xiang mao)
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Dianthus (qu mai)
Dichroa Root (chang shan)
Dittany Bark (bai xian pi)
Dong Quai (tang kuei)
Dragon Bone (long gu)
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Elder (sambucus nigra or sambucus canadensis)
Elsholtzia (xiang ru)
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Erythrina Bark (hai tong pi)
Eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus)
Eucommia Bark (du zhong)
Eupatorium (pei lan)
Euphorbia Root (gan sui or kan sui)
Euryale Seed (qian shi)
Evodia (wu zhu yu)
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Fenugreek (hu lu ba)
Fermented Soybeans (dan dou chi)
Flaxseed (ya ma zi)
Fo Ti (he shou wu)
Forsythia (lian qiao)
Frankincense (ru xiang)
Fritillaria (chuan bei mu)
Gadfly (meng chong)
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Gambir (gou teng)
Gardenia (zhi zi)
Garlic (da suan)
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Ginseng, American (xi yang shen)
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Hemp Seed (huo ma ren)
Homalomena (qian nian jian)
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Honeysuckle Flower (jin yin hua)
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Ilex (mao dong qing)
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Inula (xuan fu hua)
Isatis Leaf (da qing ye)
Isatis Root (ban lan gen)
Java Brucea (ya dan zi)
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Kadsura Stem (hai feng teng)
Katsumadai Seed (cao dou kou)
Kelp (kun bu)
Knotweed (bian xu)
Knoxia root (hong da ji)
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Millettia (ji xue teng)
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Morinda Root (ba ji tian)
Mugwort Leaf (ai ye)
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Mullein (jia yan ye)
Musk (she xiang)
Myrrh (mo yao)
Notoginseng (san qi)
Notopterygium (qiang huo)
Nutmeg (rou dou kou)
Oldenlandia (bai hua she she cao)
Omphalia (lei wan)
Onion (yang cong)
Ophicalcite (hua rui shi)
Ophiopogon (mai dong)
Oroxylum Seed (mu hu die)
Oryza (gu ya)
Oyster Shell (mu li)
Passion Flower (passiflora incarnata)
Patrinia (bai jiang cao)
Pau D'Arco (tabebuia avellanedae)
Peach Seed (tao ren)
Pearl (zhen zhu [mu])
Perilla Leaf (su ye)
Perilla Seed (su zi)
Perilla Stem (su geng)
Persimmon (shi di)
Pharbitis Seed (qian niu zi)
Phaseolus (chi xiao dou)
Phellodendron (huang bai)
Phragmites (lu gen)
Picrorhiza (hu huang lian)
Pinellia (ban xia)
Pine Knots (song jie)
Pipe Fish (hai long)
Plantain Seed (che qian zi)
Platycodon (jie geng)
Polygala (yuan zhi)
Polygonatum (huang jing)
Polyporus (zhu ling)
Poppy Capsule (ying su qiao)
Poria (fu ling)
Prickly Ash Peel (hua jiao)
Prinsepia Seed (rui ren/zi)
Prunella (xia ku cao)
Prunus Seed (yu li ren)
Pseudostellaria (tai zi shen)
Psoralea (bu gu zhi)
Pueraria (ge gen)
Pulsatilla (bai tou weng)
Pumice (fu hai shi)
Pumpkin Seed (nan gua zi)
Purslane (ma chi xian)
Pyrite (zi ran tong)
Pyrrosia Leaf (shi wei)
Quisqualis (shi jun zi)
Radish (lai fu zi)
Realgar (xiong huang)
Red Atractylodes (cang zhu)
Red Clover (trifolium pratense)
Red Ochre (dai zhe shi)
Red Peony (chi shao)
Red Sage Root (dan shen)
Rehmannia (shu di huang)
Reishi (ling zhi)
Rhubarb (da huang)
Rice Paper Pith (tong cao)
Rose (mei gui hua)
Rosemary (mi die xiang)
Safflower (hong hua)
Saffron (fan hong hua)
Sandalwood (tan xiang)
Sanguisorba Root (di yu)
Sappan Wood (su mu)
Sargent Gloryvine (hong teng)
Saw Palmetto (ju zong lu)
Schefflera (qi ye lian)
Schisandra (wu wei zi)
Schizonepeta (jing jie)
Scirpus (san leng)
Scopolia (S. carniolica Jacq.)
Scorpion (quan xie)
Scrophularia (xuan shen)
Scutellaria (huang qin)
Sea Cucumber (hai shen)
Sea Horse (hai ma)
Seaweed (hai zao)
Selaginella (shi shang bai)
Senna (fan xie ye)
Shiitake (hua gu)
Siegesbeckia (xi xian cao)
Siler Root (fang feng)
Slippery Elm (ulmus fulva)
Smilax (tu fu ling)
Smithsonite (lu gan shi)
Sophora Flower (huai hua mi)
Sophora Root (ku shen)
Spirodela (fu ping)
Stellaria (yin chai hu)
Stemona (bai bu)
Stephania (fang ji [han])
Sweet Annie (qing hao)
Teasel Root (xu duan)
Tiger Bone (hu gu)
Torreya Seed (fei zi)
Tortoise Plastron (gui ban)
Tremella (bai mu er)
Trichosanthes Fruit (gua lou)
Trichosanthes Root (tian hua fen)
Trichosanthes Seed (gua lou ren)
Tsaoko Fruit (cao guo)
Turmeric (jiang huang)
Turtle Shell (bie jia)
Tussilago (kuan dong hua)
Urtica (xun ma)
Uva ursi (arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Vaccaria Seed (wang bu lui xing)
Valerian (jie cao)
Veratrum (li lu)
Viola (zi hua di ding)
Vitex (man jing zi)
Walnut (hu tao ren)
Watermelon (xi gua)
White Atractylodes (bai zhu)
White Mustard Seed (bai jie ze)
White Peony (bai shao)
Wild Asparagus (tian men dong)
Windmill Palm (zong lu pi/tan)
Xanthium (cang er zi)
Zedoary (e zhu)

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DHEA

What is DHEA? Why do we need it?

DHEA is an abbreviation for dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands and converted into other hormones as needed. It is the most abundant androgen in the body; on average, the adrenals produce between 15 and 30 milligrams of DHEA per day.

Only a small percentage of the body's supply of DHEA is in the active form; the rest circulates in the bloodstream as DHEA sulfate (DHEA-S) and serves as a reserve that can be converted to the active form of DHEA when necessary.

DHEA has been associated with positive effects in a number of conditions, ranging from heart disease and obesity to osteoporosis. Other studies have shown that DHEA can ameliorate some of the symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease, and may play some role in protecting against depression. DHEA is also thought to help build muscle mass, reduce fat and speed up recovery time following injury, which has made it increasingly popular with athletes.

How much DHEA should I take?

Dosages of DHEA for men and women differ: men seem to be able to tolerate higher doses. Men have been shown to tolerate doses up to 50 milligrams per day, while in women, the maximum recommended dose is 25 milligrams per day. However, because the long-term effects of DHEA have not been studied thoroughly, its safety and efficacy has yet to be determined.

What forms of DHEA are available?

DHEA is available in either natural or synthetic forms, and is available in capsules, drops, or a type of chewing gum. Most DHEA is derived from sterols extracted from wild yams and is often marketed as "natural" DHEA. However, it is recommended that only pharmaceutical-grade supplements be used.

What can happen if I take too much DHEA? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Because is a precursor of hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, patients with hormone-sensitive cancers (such as those of the breast, prostate, ovaries and testes) should avoid DHEA supplements. In addition, it should not be taken by people under 40 unless a person's DHEA levels are low. Because DHEA has a steroid-like effect on the human body, its use has been banned by the International Olympic Committee, the National Football League, and other athletic organizations.

As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with DHEA, but it may interact negatively with alcohol. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking DHEA or any other dietary supplement or herbal remedy.


References

  • Balch JF, Balch PA. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 2nd edition. Garden City Park, NY: Avery Publishing, 1997, pp. 544-555.
  • Bernstein L, Ross RK, Pike MC, et al. Hormone levels in older women: a study of post-menopausal breast cancer patients and healthy population controls. Br J Cancer 1990;61:298-302.
  • Morales AJ, Nolan JJ, Nelson JC, et al. Effects of replacement dose of DHEA in men and women of advancing age. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1994;78:1360.
  • Thompson G. Doctors warn of dangers of muscle-building drugs. New York Times March 2, 1999.
  • Vogiatzi MG, Boeck MA, Vlachopapadopoulou E, et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone in morbidly obese adolescents: effects on weight, body composition, lipids, and insulin resistance. Metabolism 1996;45:1101-15.
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