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Pearl weed plant care (Pearlweed)
Pearlweed (Trapa natans) belongs to the Nymphaeaceae family of flowering plants and it has a strong and long history in Chinese Traditional Medicine as a remedy to treat pulmonary and gastrointestinal diseases. It has been demonstrated in numerous studies that both aqueous and alcoholic extractions of pearl weed, when administered in the diet, can significantly decrease the size of aberrant colon and blood vessel tumors (Atschyt et al. 1997, 2002, Saldanha, Barca, O’Meara, Oku, &, Rizzo, 2004, Gurbuz, Uengin, &, O’Meara, 2007, Pavlides, Tiranathan, &, Phillips, 2007, Pavlides &, Phillips, 2008).
A significant amount of information regarding the effects of pearl weed on cardiovascular (CVD) health has been published in scientific papers and the FDA has received significant feedback regarding its effect on arterial function. In a small study conducted at the University of Texas Medical Branch, the effects of aqueous extracts of pearl weed on vascular and lipid parameters were evaluated (Sawalha, Martell, &, Johnstone, 1997). This double-blind, placebo-controlled study of pearl weed extract showed a positive and rapid response in reducing blood pressure, total cholesterol levels, and triglycerides with no major side effects.
This study also demonstrated that pearl weed extracts were able to rapidly normalize the size of preexisting atherosclerotic lesions, in a dose-dependent manner. The authors noted a loss in atherosclerotic plaque as a secondary outcome and a favorable trend for overall risk factors, suggesting that pearl weed has significant anti-atherosclerotic activity. Another independent study confirmed these results and found that pearl weed extracts significantly lowered blood pressure and lowered total cholesterol (Abramov, Markevich, Tarshish, &, Heinz, 2007). These authors also found a strong trend to lower triglycerides.
While pearl weed has a positive effect on CVD, it is important to note that this plant is also well known for causing urticaria, photosensitivity, and skin rash in some people. The bottom line for most people is that the herb is quite safe to use on a daily basis, but people with known allergies to the plant should not use it, and those with a history of bleeding should use it with caution.
It is important to also note that the extensive use of pearl weed is becoming a well-established medical practice in some parts of China. For those who are comfortable using it, it is worth it to see the impressive healing results and it is another example of something that has traditionally been very useful in medicine and is now being re-introduced for modern-day health.
Precautions and Dosages
Pearl weed is well tolerated in humans and animals, but if you experience any unusual reactions to the plant, you should immediately report them to your health care provider. The first exposure to this plant may cause a small skin rash, which will go away within a few days. Some people have reported unusual urticaria following exposure to the plant, but these symptoms were not life-threatening.
The plant is not recommended for pregnant women or for women who are in the first trimester of pregnancy. However, the plant is well tolerated in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
Safety has been determined using human cell cultures, clinical trials, and safety testing of raw materials, as well as in vivo animal studies.
There is some concern about the effects of pearl weed on those with a history of bleeding disorders, however, this herb has not been studied for a safe range in dosing for those with hemostatic issues. People with a history of bleeding should avoid it and should not use it during pregnancy.
Cautions and side effects:
Hemoptysis: The toxicity of pearl weed is indicated by the symptoms of epistaxis. This occurs during the first exposure and after acute exposure. Avoid this herb in this setting and avoid the use of any decoctions. Caution is also warranted for individuals with recent or current chest disease, including sinus infections.
Indigestion and diarrhea: These symptoms are considered to be due to stimulation of the digestive system. Avoid the use of this herb if you are experiencing either of these symptoms and have a diagnosis of either gastrointestinal tract or abdominal or digestive system disease.
Pearl weed is not recommended in those with a history of bleeding and it is recommended that pregnant women avoid it.
Pearl weed is also recommended in the absence of alternative treatments.
General use: The effects of pearl weed have been noted to provide relief from inflammatory and infectious diseases. Pearl weed has been widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat sinusitis, bronchitis, and asthma. It is now gaining popularity in western medicine as well.
Wounds and injuries: This herb is noted for its use in treating injuries, bruises, and wounds. The use of this herb in combination with other herbs is popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine for the treatment of fractures and musculoskeletal injuries. It is also used for the treatment of chronic wounds and infections.
Arthritic pain: Pearl weed has been used for the relief of inflammatory pain, such as that caused by arthritis, and is considered one of the best herbs to use to treat this condition. Pearl weed is also known to relieve muscle and joint pain associated with arthritis, as