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Galphimia

What You Need to Know About Galphimia

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Updated April 25, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Galphimia glauca (sometimes referred to as "galphimia" or "thryallis") is an herb said to offer a number of health benefits. Extracted from a small evergreen shrub found in Mexico and Central America, galphimia is sometimes prepared as a homeopathic remedy.

Uses for Galphimia

In traditional Latin American medicine, galphimia has long been used to treat asthma and allergies. Galphimia is also generally used as a treatment for asthma and allergies when prepared as a homeopathic remedy.

In traditional Mexican medicine, meanwhile, galphimia has long been used to treat mental disorders. In particular, galphimia is thought to alleviate anxiety.

Benefits of Galphimia Extract

To date, research on the health effects of galphimia extract is very limited. Still, there's some evidence that galphimia extract may be of some use in the treatment of anxiety.

For instance, several animal-based studies have shown that galphimia extract may offer anti-anxiety benefits. In addition, a 2007 study published in Planta Medica indicates that galphimia extract may be useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders. For the study, 152 people with generalized anxiety disorder took either galphimia extract or lorazepam (a commonly used anxiety medication) every day for four weeks. Study results revealed that the anxiety-reducing effect of galphimia extract was similar to that of lorazepam.

Until larger, longer-term clinical trials are conducted, the safety and effectiveness of galphimia extract as an anxiety treatment cannot be determined.

Benefits of Homeopathic Galphimia

Scientific support for the health effects of homeopathic preparations of galphimia is also fairly limited. The available research includes an older meta-analysis published in the Austrian journal Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift in 1997. For the meta-analysis, investigators reviewed 11 clinical trials (with a total of 1,038 patients) on the use of homeopathic preparations of galphimia in treatment of hay fever. Overall, homeopathic preparations of galphimia were found to be superior to placebo in relief of eye-related symptoms (such as itching and watering of the eyes).

There is a lack of more recent data on the potential health benefits of homeopathic galphimia.

Is Galphimia Safe?

Little is known about the safety of using galphimia in the long term. However, there's some concern that taking galphimia in combination with certain medications (such as central nervous system depressants and blood-thinning drugs) may produce harmful effects.

In addition, homeopathic preparations of galphimia may trigger a number of mild side effects, including fatigue and dry mouth.

Where to Find Galphimia

Available for purchase online, galphimia supplements and homeopathic preparations of galphimia are sold in many natural-food stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements.

Should You Use Galphimia for Health Purposes?

Due to a lack of scientific support, it's too soon to recommend galphimia for treatment of any health condition. If you're considering the use of galphimia supplements or homeopathic preparations of galphimia, make sure to consult your physician. It's important to note that self-treating a chronic condition with galphimia and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Sources

Cardoso-Taketa AT, Pereda-Miranda R, Choi YH, Verpoorte R, Villarreal ML. "Metabolic profiling of the Mexican anxiolytic and sedative plant Galphimia glauca using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and multivariate data analysis." Planta Med. 2008 Aug;74(10):1295-301.

Herrera-Arellano A, Jiménez-Ferrer E, Zamilpa A, Morales-Valdéz M, García-Valencia CE, Tortoriello J. "Efficacy and tolerability of a standardized herbal product from Galphimia glauca on generalized anxiety disorder. A randomized, double-blind clinical trial controlled with lorazepam." Planta Med. 2007 Jul;73(8):713-7.

Herrera-Ruiz M, González-Cortazar M, Jiménez-Ferrer E, Zamilpa A, Alvarez L, Ramírez G, Tortoriello J. "Anxiolytic effect of natural galphimines from Galphimia glauca and their chemical derivatives." J Nat Prod. 2006 Jan;69(1):59-61.

Herrera-Ruiz M, Jiménez-Ferrer JE, De Lima TC, Avilés-Montes D, Pérez-García D, González-Cortazar M, Tortoriello J. "Anxiolytic and antidepressant-like activity of a standardized extract from Galphimia glauca." Phytomedicine. 2006 Jan;13(1-2):23-8.

Sharma A, Cardoso-Taketa A, Choi YH, Verpoorte R, Villarreal ML. "A comparison on the metabolic profiling of the Mexican anxiolytic and sedative plant Galphimia glauca four years later." J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Mar 27.

Teut M, Dahler J, Schnegg C; Wilsede Study Group for Homoeopathic Provings. "A homoeopathic proving of Galphimia glauca." Forsch Komplementmed. 2008 Aug;15(4):211-7.

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