Complimentary or Alternative (CAM) Therapy Essay

Complimentary or Alternative (CAM) Therapy Essay

Question 1


Herb Name Rationale Benefits Consequences Drug interaction
Vasambu (Acorus calamus) Relieves gastric issues such as peptic ulcers by regulating digestive acids for easy digestion. It also eases counter-acidity and heartburn issues.


Eases Indigestion, acid reflux and constipation

Complimentary or Alternative (CAM) Therapy Essay

Nausea and vomiting Interacts with Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) used in the management of depression, interacts with sedatives and can potentially lead to too much sleepiness, interacts with H2-blockers and proton-pump inhibitors causing hyperacidity which reduces the effectiveness of antacids (Tachjian, Maria & Jahangir, 2010)
Yohimbine(Pausinystalia johimbe) Increases blood pressure, levels of epinephrine, the heart rate and central sympathetic outflow. Anxiety, depression, erectile dysfunction (impotence), dry mouth and exhaustion.


Paralysis, difficulty breathing, sleeps difficulties, irritability, frequent urination, low blood pressure and death in high doses. Interacts with MAOIs, clonidine, Tricyclic antidepressants, antihypertensives, stimulants, naloxone, and phenothiazine’s.
Gynura (Gynura procumbens) Reduces blood pressure and improves microcirculation by inhibiting  angiotensin-converting enzyme Lowers cholesterol, reduces hypertension, treats sinusitis, relives constipation Weight gain, hepatic toxicity, jaundice and hepatomegaly, and hypotension when used in high doses(Tachjian, Maria & Jahangir, 2010). Can reduce the effectiveness of  antihypertensives
Black cohosh(Actaea racemosa) Increases or decreases the effects of estrogen in some parts of the body as a selective estrogen receptor modulator Improves sleep patterns and mood and reduces hot flashes for menopausal women. Used in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome, acne, osteoporosis, and dysmenorrhea. Camping, stomach upsets, weight gain, rash and vaginal spotting/bleeding, hepato-toxicity, dark urine, and jaundice. Interacts with Atorvastatin and may cause damage to the liver and reduces the effectiveness of cisplatin.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Reduces swelling, thin mucus secretions reduces cough and increase  the production of chemicals that promote ulcer healing Eczema, dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome and stomach ulcers. High blood pressure, low potassium, headaches, retention of sodium and water, decreased libido in men Increases the breakdown of warfarin hence reducing its effectiveness, reduces levels of potassium in the body which increases digoxin side effects, reduces the effectiveness of estrogen pills and furosemide (Tachjian, Maria & Jahangir, 2010).
Aconite (Aconitum) Stimulates and causes paralysis of nerves that transmit pain signals causing pain relief. Joint pains, nerve pains, gout, inflammation, and wounds. Vomiting, nausea, palpitations, respiratory  complications and paralysis, hypotension and death Reduces the efficiency and effectiveness of antihypertensives.
Echinacea(Echinacea purpurea) Stimulation of macrophages and other immune system cells resulting in their activation and cytokine release. Common cold, anxiety, gingivitis, herpes simplex virus, tonsillitis influenza and infection of the middle ear. Diarrhea, dry mouth, sleeping difficulties, muscle and joint aches, dermatitis, dyspnea tongue numbness, and dizziness. Increases the risk of liver toxicity when used together with statins and niacin, increases the absorption of midazolam in the body, and increases the QT interval when used together with amiodarone(Tachjian, Maria & Jahangir, 2010).
Danshen(Salvia miltiorrhiza) Prevents clotting of blood and platelets through blood thinning. It also promotes vasodilation which improves circulation (Tachjian, Maria & Jahangir, 2010). Angina, coronary artery disease, venous thromboembolism, heart disease, liver cirrhosis, hyperlipidemia, stroke, and high blood pressure Increases the risk of bleeding among people with bleeding disorders, reduces blood pressure Increases digoxin side effects, slow the clotting of blood when used with anticoagulants increasing the risk of bleeding, prolongs the action duration of warfarin (Tachjian, Maria & Jahangir, 2010).
Hawthorn(Crataegua monogyna) Increases blood supply to the heart through vasodilation and positive inotropic effects. Cerebral insufficiency, CHF, angina, and bradyarrhythmia Nausea, sweating, palpitations, agitation, headaches, fatigue and insomnia. Increases the dilation of the coronary artery with theophylline, sodium nitrate, epinephrine, and adenosine, and increases sleep induced by barbiturates(Tachjian, Maria & Jahangir, 2010)
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) Prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone which is a more potent form of testosterone Benign prostatic hyperplasia(BPH), androgenic hyperplasia, prostate cancer and  underactive bladder(Tachjian, Maria & Jahangir, 2010) Toxicity of the liver and pancreas Interacts with anticoagulants and can increase the risk of bleeding.

Question 2

Vitamin Name Rationale Benefits Consequences Complications and drug interaction
Vitamin A Undergoes conversion in the retina, attaches to opsin in rhodopsin which triggers impulses to the brain that permit light perception (Ezzo, 2007). General healthy growth and development, healthy eyes, skin, and teeth Toxicity, nausea, irritability, anorexia, hair loss, blurred vision, and anemia Reduces the efficacy of doxycycline, warfarin, and neomycin
Vitamin B1 Thiamin is converted from the provitamin form to the active form and used for energy metabolism. Helps to maintain a healthy metabolism and normal appetite, digestion, and nerve function Urticaria, angioedema, anaphylaxis, cyanosis and warmth sensation Interacts with anti-seizure medications, chloramphenicol, and levodopa. And can result in significant renal impairment (Ezzo, 2007).
Vitamin C Undergoes reversible oxidation in the body in an oxidation-reduction reaction to facilitate metabolism of lipids, carbohydrates, iron, respiration in cells and resistance to infections. Strengthens vascular blood vessels, increases elasticity of the skin, improves the absorption of iron and serves as an anti-oxidant (Ezzo, 2007). Vomiting, nausea, heartburn, trouble breathing and abdominal pains Limits the duration and intensity of action of coumarins.

Complimentary or Alternative (CAM) Therapy Essay

Vitamin D Vitamin D undergoes hydroxylation resulting in a primary active metabolite which binds to vitamin d receptors used in different regulatory roles (Ezzo, 2007). Strengthens bones Headaches, a metallic taste, loss of appetite, dry mouth, and fatigue Interacts with antacids which contain aluminum and increases its rate of absorption. Can lead to irregular heartbeats when it interacts with digoxin.
Vitamin E Reacts with lipid radicals that are unstable to form stable lipids and vitamin E radicals which are then converted back to stable vit E. Improves  the circulation of blood and safeguards the body from free radicals Hemorrhagic stroke, bleeding, easy bruising, stomach cramps, and blurred vision. Increases the rate of absorption of cyclosporines. Increases the risk of bleeding and bruising when taken along with warfarin.
Vitamin K Converts coagulation factors II, VII, IX, and X  to their active forms to promote blood coagulation(Ezzo, 2007). Improves the blood coagulation process Palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, pain and swelling at the site of injection Increases the risk of bleeding when taken with aspirin. Interacts with NSAIDs and Warfarin.
Zinc Influences resistance to  epithelial apoptosis as an antioxidant Helps in building muscles and to maintain oxygen-rich blood fever, coughing, stomach pain, fatigue Reduces the efficacy and absorption of quinolones and tetracyclines (Ezzo, 2007).  .
Calcium   Promotes strong and healthy bones and teeth Complimentary or Alternative (CAM) Therapy Essay  
Iron Combines with chains of globin and porphyrin for hemoglobin formation which is essential for carrying oxygen (Ezzo, 2007). Promotes the body’s immunity, growth and development, and fertility. Abdominal upsets abdominal pains, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Reduces the efficacy and absorption of quinolones and tetracyclines.

Question 3

Acupuncture is a form of complementary therapy whose origin was based on traditional Chinese medicine with principles that are closely linked to Taoism and Confucianism. Among most of the commonly existing complementary medicines, acupuncture is widely used in Asian countries and the West as it has demonstrated to be highly efficacious in the management of various conditions. It is a technique that involves the stimulating particular points on the body through the insertion of thin needles on the skin. The stimulation from acupuncture is believed to influence inflammatory markers and induce changes in the hormone levels (Jishun & Mittelman, 2014). It has demonstrated to have numerous benefits in treating  low back pains, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, osteoarthritis, migraine, and  post-operative vomiting and nausea,

Among patients suffering from migraine headaches, acupuncture reduces the intensity and frequency of headaches to the extent that patients may not require the use of prophylactic treatment. Among patients who have just undergone surgery, acupuncture is not only an effective antiemetic but also reduces pain and the need for opioids post-surgery. These effects have been linked to the P6 acupoint on the wrist and the release of endorphins respectively (Chou & Chu, 2018). Ultimately, this also helps to reduce the side-effects of opioids post-surgery which negatively impacts the process of patient recovery from surgery.

Scientific research reveals that even when used alone or when combined with other forms of treatment, acupuncture has significant benefits in clinical rheumatoid arthritis. In a study that was conducted by Chou & Chu (2018), it was established that acupuncture has no significant side effects on individuals suffering from RA. Instead, it promotes functioning capacity and the quality of life. Its mechanisms were attributed to an antioxidative and anti-inflammatory outcomes and regulating the functioning of the immune system.

Question 4

            A commonly prescribed supplement by medical professionals in practice is calcium. Calcium supplements are highly recommended to prevent the deterioration of bone density and bone strength in people who may be at high risk of inadequate dietary calcium intake or osteoporosis irrespective of age. Osteoporosis has however been identified to be a common occurrence among post-menopausal women (Reid, Bristow & Bolland, 2015). Some of the factors which increase the risk of post-menopausal women to osteoporosis include lack of physical exercise, excessive weight, and low estrogen levels. Calcium performs the following roles in the body: regulating impulse transmission, regulating the secretion of hormones, maintaining basic life activities, the skeleton and vascular activities (Reid, Bristow & Bolland, 2015).

The mode of action of calcium supplements is highly dependent on adequate amounts of total calcium levels in the body. Calcium primarily exists in the skeleton as hydroxyapatite, calcium carbonate, and amorphous calcium phosphate. Calcium which exists in the bones constantly exchanges with plasma calcium and this helps to maintain a balance of calcium levels (Reid, Bristow & Bolland, 2015). A slight disturbance in this balance to fulfill the body’s needs often results in depletion of calcium in bones. Potential concerns with patients taking calcium supplements are: constipation, rebound acidity and hypercalcemia. Overdosing/hypercalcemia can result in confusion, nausea, and vomiting among other neurological issues and manage through rigorous rehydration (Reid, Bristow & Bolland, 2015). Complimentary or Alternative (CAM) Therapy Essay



Chou, P. C., & Chu, H. Y. (2018). Clinical Efficacy of Acupuncture on rheumatoid arthritis and associated mechanisms: a systemic review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine2018.

Ezzo, D. C. (2007). Drug interactions with vitamins and minerals. US Pharm1, 42-55.

Jishun, J., & Mittelman, M. (2014). Acupuncture: past, present, and future.

Reid, I. R., Bristow, S. M., & Bolland, M. J. (2015). Calcium supplements: benefits and risks. Journal of internal medicine278(4), 354-368.

Tachjian, A., Maria, V., & Jahangir, A. (2010). Use of herbal products and potential interactions in patients with cardiovascular diseases. Journal of the American College of Cardiology55(6), 515-525. Complimentary or Alternative (CAM) Therapy Essay


Complimentary or Alternative (CAM) Therapy Essay Assignment:

Write a 1200-1500 word APA formatted essay with three sources of support, addressing all of the following topics:

  • Compile a list of at least 10 herbal medications you have seen patients taking in your practice. Discuss the rationale for taking each medication, possible benefits and consequences of taking it, and drugs that it may interact with. This question can be completed as a grid or an essay.
  • Compile a list of at least 10 vitamins and minerals, including the rationale for taking each medication and benefits and consequences of taking it. Also list any potential complications and drug interactions. This question can be completed as a grid or an essay.
  • Choose one type of complementary or alternative (CAM) therapy and discuss its benefits in preventing and treating disease. Discuss how the use of this CAM therapy can reduce the need for medications. Research this therapy on ProQuest or another scholarly database.  What does the research demonstrate regarding its efficacy?
  • Choose one nutritional supplement you see commonly prescribed or recommended by medical professionals in your practice.  Discuss the reasons why this supplement is recommended and its method of action. What concerns should you have regarding a patient taking this supplement? Could the patient overdose and if so what are the consequences and treatment? Complimentary or Alternative (CAM) Therapy Essay