Personally, I think the best way to learn about botanicals is to try them yourself. If you yourself have successfully used a botanical, you'll be more confident and more likely to recommend that particular botanical not only to your patients, but to your family, your friends and it can really help solidify your knowledge of the botanical world. I'll give a personal example of when I use botanicals to help treat my GERD or reflux symptoms. I've had GERD for years as long as I can remember. Typically I would just pop some tums, but then once my reflux got a little bit more severe, especially at night time, I started going on a daily medication. That daily medication was omeprazole, which is a common proton pump inhibitor, or PPI for short, that's widely used in the United States for controlling GERD symptoms. It works by basically shutting down the stomach acid in your gut. I find it very effective. My reflux symptoms greatly improved and I was doing well on it. However, as I went about my medical training, I started learning that PPIs have a lot of negative side effects when they are used over a period of long time. On the short term they're just fine, but when use chronically: they can impair nutrient absorption, they can predispose you to infections like pneumonia and in elderly patients, they can actually predispose you to hip fractures. When I was learning all this, I was realizing I don't want to be on this medicine over the long haul because it's putting me at risk. When I tried to wean myself off of the PPI, I actually got these reflux rebound symptoms. Essentially made my GERD worse. It was very uncomfortable, so I basically just stayed on the medicine, not realizing that I had other options at the time. Then when I started learning about botanicals, I realized there are other ways to help manage GERD. It was through a combination of licorice and marshmallow that I was finally able to wean off my PPI. Now when I get my GERD symptoms, I just use primarily marshmallow tea. It was a wonderful transition to make. It is so important to know that we do have not only pharmaceuticals, but some botanical options to use as well. If we've used them successfully ourselves, we're going to be much more likely to recommend them to others. In this particular lesson, we'll be discussing botanicals not only for the GI system, but also in the treatment of urinary tract infections. As I mentioned in introduction, my doctor had put me on omeprazole, that PPI that I told you about. Like I said, it was very effective, but like many other people, I did not like the potential side effects it had. This is what caused me to look for alternative medicines to help manage my symptoms. This is the same reason that many people will seek out botanicals to help treat their medical conditions. Next up is a 37-year-old female struggling with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS for short. IBS is the most common functional abdominal disorder with a prevalence estimated to be around 10-15 percent globally. It is a group of symptoms including varying levels of abdominal discomfort, irregular bowel movements, bloating, and rectal urgency. The negative impact of symptoms on quality of life leads many patients to seek out alternative treatment options. Up to 51 percent of patients with IBS report having utilized complimentary therapies and healing practices to help manage their symptoms. Meet Selena, who is a 24-year-old female presenting with pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. Nausea is a frequent GI complaint that can be attributed to a wide range of causes, including, but not limited to, infections, pregnancy, motion sickness, side effects of medications, and gastritis. Treating the underlying cause is always the best course in managing nausea and vomiting. However, there are pharmaceutical and botanical options for providing relief from nausea and vomiting. In general, botanicals are appropriate for milder symptoms and pharmaceuticals may be needed for more persistent, or severe symptoms. Meet Robert, who is a 56-year-old male with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The liver is a very important organ in the body that helps with detoxification and blood clotting. However, these function can be impaired if the liver suffers damage due to viruses, alcohol, toxins, obesity, or inherited genetic conditions. Severe damage can cause scarring of the liver, known as cirrhosis, which can lead to liver failure. It's important to know the facts about milk thistle because it's one of the most frequently used botanical medicines for various forms of liver disease, including chronic liver disease from hepatitis B or C, alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or protection from liver-toxic medications. Amirah is a 35-year-old female looking for relief from frequent urinary tract infections or UTIs. One of the most frequent complaints that prompts a trip to the doctor's office are UTIs. In the United States, 15 percent of all community prescribed antibiotics are due to urinary tract infections, costing an estimated 1 billion in US dollars annually. Classic symptoms include urinary urgency, frequency, and discomfort with urination. If fever, vomiting, or back pain are present, this may indicate a kidney infection known as pyelonephritis. Pyelonephritis is a more serious infection and medical attention needs to be sought immediately. Botanical therapies are not indicated in such cases of pyelonephritis. They're only indicated in cases of simple uncomplicated urinary tract infections. Our time in class is actually coming to an end, but hopefully, you have a deeper understanding of the world of botanical medicine and how you can apply it in your practice with patients. This week, I want you to reflect on your experiences in class and share them in the discussion forum. Apply what you learn in this week's readings to the module quiz. Last but certainly not least, remember to submit your final project and review at least two projects created by your classmates. You might even want to review more.