Dr. Yarnell’s Health ‘Blog

Here you can find articles I have written over the years about a multitude of health conditions in the areas of urology, nephrology, and men’s health. Some topics of interest or outrage are interspersed. Enjoy. Unless otherwise noted, all contents of this blog are copyright protected.

Valerian and Paradoxical Reactions

© Eric Yarnell, ND, RH(AHG), June 2016

There is something of a botanical exaggeration regarding the tendency of various forms of Valeriana officinalis (valerian) and related species causing paradoxical insomnia, agitation, anxiety, and the like (as opposed to its effects on most people, which are to improve sleep quality, decrease agitation, and soothe anxiety). The tendency of this herb to cause paradoxical reactions is not well documented and is overstated without much evidence by most sources, and ignoring the possibility that this happens with most nervines or perhaps most herbs (and even drugs) in general. Paradoxical reactions should not be listed as anything other than an idiosyncratic, extremely rare effects of this herb.
Continue Reading →

Common Medications Affect PSA

© Eric Yarnell, ND, RH(AHG), May 2016

Several classes of common medications lower serum total prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels according to a 2010 publication by Chang, et al. Statins, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and thiazide diuretics, among the most commonly used drugs in the world, all significantly lowered tPSA in this analysis of 1,864 American men over the age of 40 years. Use of a thiazide and a statin together for 5 years led to a 36% reduction in tPSA levels. Calcium channel blockers actually eliminated this effect of statins on tPSA. It is unknown how these medications cause this effect. It is possible these drugs have been interfering with this test as effective screening by artificially suppressing tPSA levels, or that they may actually be treating prostate cancer in some way. More research is needed on this crucial matter.
Continue Reading →

Juniper is Not Nephrotoxic

© Eric Yarnell, ND, RH(AHG), Oct 2015

Juniper (Juniperus communis) has long been in use as a diuretic, urinary antiseptic, anti rheumatic, and other purposes.  During the Eclectic era of herbalism (mid 1800s–1900s), writings discussed that juniper was specifically used for kidney disease.  At some point following that era, a belief came about that juniper is toxic to the kidneys and is contraindicated in patients with kidney disease.  This belief persists today, though it’s basis is highly dubious. There are a variety of clinical situations in which juniper is a specific and valuable remedy, and shunning it out of irrational fear is not helpful to patients.
Continue Reading →

Antibiotics Not Helpful for Chronic Abacterial Prostatitis

© Eric Yarnell, ND, RH(AHG), Nov 2014

Two double-blind clinical trials have shown that neither levofloxacin or ciprofloxacin is superior to placebo in men with long-standing, chronic prostatitis with no sign of bacteria in their urine or expressed prostatic secretions (Alexander, et al. 2004; Nickel, et al. 2003). Despite the fact that these high-quality negative studies have been published for over 10 years, antibiotics remain a first-line therapy for men with chronic abacterial prostatitis. It is unclear why it takes so long for conventional practitioners to accept the evidence they claim to base their practice on. Evidence-based naturopathic treatments offer safe and effective alternatives to antibiotic therapies.
Continue Reading →

Botanical Aromatase Inhibitors

Last updated June 2014.

Numerous herbal medicines have been reported to inhibit aromatase. The following is a list of reports of herbal aromatase inhibitors (also called botanical aromatase inhibitors) for easy reference. Note that these are in vitro or animal studies and thus cannot be directly extrapolated to human beings. Any human studies that are done will be added in the future and indicated clearly to be such. Note that isolated compounds may be found in more plants than those indicated, but the one listed is the specific herb from which it was extracted in the study cited.
Continue Reading →

Kidney Stones and Naturopathic Medicine

© Eric Yarnell, ND, May, 2010

Passing a Kidney Stone

Few things are as painful as passing a kidney stone. Despite the severity of the pain, naturopathic treatments are very effective at relieving it, often times more so than common drugs. This is because most of the drugs used do not treat the underlying cause of the pain. I have been able to get many patients completely off drugs that weren’t really helping that much, keep them functional, and still have their stone pass.
Continue Reading →

Transgenic Herbal Medicine: Coming Soon? Already Here?

© Eric Yarnell, ND, April 2014

More and more reports are appearing the scientific literature about genetic engineering of medicinal plants, though most of what makes the news is about genetically-modified food plants. In the interest of full disclosure, included below is a listing of herbs reported to have been genetically-modified by modern scientific means. This listing does not necessarily mean these herbs are available in the marketplace, and doesn’t necessarily mean they would be helpful or harmful.
Continue Reading →

Choline and Prostate Cancer

© Eric Yarnell, ND, RH(AHG), Feb 2014

Prostate cancer cells, like many types of cancer (notably breast), have a different metabolic system than healthy cells. Healthy cells primarily use oxygen to make energy, which also requires a lot of the molecule known as citrate. Prostate cancer cells do not; instead they use a system that doesn’t require oxygen and doesn’t use citrate but instead uses choline (Johansson, et al. 2009). Avoiding foods high in choline may be important for reducing the risk of existing prostate cancer from getting worse/more aggressive.
Continue Reading →