Introduction to the Scientific Monographs

The main purpose of these herbal monographs is to inform physicians and other health care providers, as well as the public, about the medicinal and or toxic properties of different herbs currently used in alternative or folk medicine. Some of the plant species discussed are very popular in traditional healing practices along the U.S./Mexico border. Others, for example, like Echinacea (Echinacea spp.), St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum L.) or Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa), are “newcomers,” so to speak, with regard to popular Mexican-American herbalism. Many are becoming more important in alternative or complementary therapies (CAM) as time goes on.

It is not the intention of these monographs to promote or criticize any herbal preparation or application, but merely to outline the potential medicinal properties of a plant and to alert the physician and layperson about the possible dangers or inconveniences of employing a particular herb or the possible interactions a herbal preparation may have, if taken concurrently with a certain medication or other herbs.

The information presented in these monographs is based on the principal scientific literature available at this time. However, there is still much clinical information lacking about several of the medicinal plants employed in current alternative and folk medicine. It is strongly recommended that no one should use any product, herbal or otherwise for self-medication. It is important to seek professional advice before undertaking any treatment whatsoever.