When it comes to herbal remedies and supplements, especially the Asian kind, there’s a lot of skepticism out there. After all, you’re more likely to hear about its usefulness from your mom who heard it from her friend or from a late-night infomercial than from your family doctor. We wanted to see what all the hype was about, so we tested out some. Here, our no-holds-barred reviews.
ISSUE: Fall 2011
DEPT: Mind & Body
STORY: Audrey Staff
A huge hit in Japan, Sun Chlorella is touted to be nature’s perfect superfood — it detoxifies, increases mental alertness, and builds a stronger im- mune system.
After I got used to the smell and taste (five pills three times a day!), I started to notice that I didn’t grow as hungry or as fatigued as I did in the past. I’m already a pretty perky person so for me to get even perkier … well, that’s a whole lot of perky. I feel like overall the Sun Chlorella pills did have a positive effect on my body, though if you were to ask me for specifics, I wouldn’t be able to name it.
$28 for 60 capsules ruved.net
R-U-Ved, U.S. Ayurveda herbal company run by top Ayurvedic doctor Viren- der Sodhi, focuses on creating a balanced re- productive system, ad- dressing everything from mood swings to menopause. The Regu- Cycle supplement con- tains Ayurvedic herbs like bamboo manna, lodhar, ashoka and gotu kola, along with vitamin B6, which has been shown to alleviate PMS-type symptoms.
I don’t think the pills were useful to me because they caused my body to mimic symptoms of an oncoming period even though I wasn’t going to start for an- other two weeks. My body may be more sen- sitive than the average person, so it may be helpful for somebody with more severe symptoms.
Solstice White Flower Analgesic Balm
$5.49 a bottle solsticemed.com
Solstice Medicine Company, the largest importer and distributor of Chinese herbal medicine in the U.S., founded by Chinese American Wina So Tran, specializes in Chinese herbal supple- ments. Their White Flower Analgesic Balm is made to re- lieve muscle pain and soreness.
When I first applied it, the oil stung and burned my skin a little, but then it had a soothing effect. For a headache, I ap- plied it directly under my nose so that the scent would somehow clear my sinuses. It’s funny how a smell I don’t like can make me feel better.
Solstice Ning San Yuen
$20 for 10 pills solsticemed.com
Another remedy from Chinese herbal medicine com- pany, Solstice, the Ning San Yuen is said to increase mental alertness and help with sleeplessness and relaxation.
My friends joke that I have narcolepsy because I fall asleep pretty much anywhere, any time. Needless to say, I was looking forward to trying this magical Chinese herbal pill that claimed to provide “mental alertness.” The pill looks and smells like these candied plum snacks I grew up eating. After a couple of days, I started getting headaches that I don’t usually get, and by day seven, I wasn’t feeling more alert.
GliSODin Advanced Skin Brightening Formula
$80 for 60 capsules glisodinskin.com
Four separate clinical trials have confirmed that the oral supplement with a unique melon extract protects skin cells from UV damage. The key ingredient, superoxide dismutase (SOD), is a difficult antioxidant to absorb from food; GliSODin is an orally effective form of SOD. The Advanced Skin Brightening Formula also helps reduce post- inflammatory hyper- pigmentation.
These are basically horse pills — huge, musty smelling, and you have to take two a day! But it was perfect timing — right after my Caribbean va- cation so I really needed some serious skincare backup. My skintone did improve after 30 days. I noticed because as soon as I stopped, my skin started looking splotchy again.