Illustrated Articles

Alternative Therapies

  • Calendula (Calendula officinalis), or pot marigold, is very commonly used in herbal medicine as a topical anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Its soothing effect is due to its ability to scavenge free radicals (which are products of inflammation), preventing them from causing further inflammation, and to its ability to inhibit lymphocyte proliferation (a white blood cell associated with the immune system).

  • Carnitine (L-carnitine is the active form of carnitine) is an amino acid that the body uses to turn fat into energy. Carnitine is not normally considered an essential nutrient because the body can manufacture all it needs in the liver using the amino acids lysine or methionine, and vitamins C, B1 and B6.

  • Cetyl myristoleate (CM) is an ester (a compound produced by the reaction between an acid and an alcohol) of a fatty acid (myristoleic acid). It is commonly found in fish oils, dairy products, butter, and animal fat.

  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is commonly used in human herbal medicine as a mild sedative, and as an antispasmodic to relieve menstrual cramps. Both of these effects are contributed by one of its constituents, apigenin, which is one of the more well studied active ingredients in plant medicine.

  • Choline is a vitamin supplement that is present in several forms, including phosphatidylcholine (PC). The medicinal effects of choline are presumed to be caused by phosphatidylcholine.

  • Chondroitin sulfate is the major glycosaminoglycan (GAGS - see separate article found in this series) found in cartilage. It promotes water retention and elasticity in the cartilage, helping to ensure adequate shock absorption and adequate nourishment of the tissues that line the joint.

  • Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10, CoQ10 or ubiquinone) exists in abundance in every human and animal body. It is an essential component of the mitochondria, which are the parts of the cell that produce energy from oxygen.

  • Colostrum is the antibody-rich fluid produced from the mother's mammary glands during the first day or two after birth. It contains a number of antibodies and growth factors, which young animals and humans can absorb intact for the first couple of days following birth.

  • Dimethylglycine is a highly unusual supplement, in that it is extremely popular despite the fact that all of its touted effects have largely been refuted by clinical and laboratory testing. It is most widely used as a performance enhancer by athletes, and in dogs and horses that are bred for racing purposes.

  • Herbal remedies made from the Echinacea plant are exceedingly popular. Different chemical effects are observed with different species and different plant components.