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The Health Benefits of Boswellia
Boswellia, also known as the Indian frankincense, is a popular native tree in traditional medicine. The tree has numerous health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The following are some of them:
Chronic inflammation is at an epic high in America, largely due to poor diets. Taking boswellia daily can help reduce inflammation helping the body fight off diseases that may arise.
How Cascara sagrada stimulates bowel movement
Cascara sagrada is a herbal medicine that is obtained from the bark of California buckthorn tree. It is commonly used as an ingredient in many over the counter (OTC) laxatives. It is also taken in its fresh form but not recommended, this herb needs to be aged for a while before using.
Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has many different healing benefits, but is primarily known for the effects it has on the skin.
These all help to cleanse a wound, relieve pain and inflammation and ultimately heal the wound. It has been used on the skin for sunburns, cuts, eczema, poison ivy, insect bites, acne, chicken pox, hives, radiation and other burns. An aloe vera plant can actual heal itself.
It has a growth stimulator, which helps to regenerate new tissue. If you cut part of the leaf from the plant, it doesn't take long before you will see a thin barrier forming, thus healing itself.
The anti inflammatory properties of A.V. have been used to help with arthritis and joint related problems, inflamed muscles, inflamed intestinal and bowel disorders such as IBS, ulcers, Crohn's disease, hemorrhoids, colitis and more.
Aloe vera has a soothing and alkalizing effect on the inside of the body helping people with over acidity, heartburn, ulcers, intestinal and digestive disorders as previously mentioned.
It has also been know to increase protein absorption, regulate blood sugar levels, support the immune system and even help with low energy and chronic fatigue.
What is stopping you from taking aloe daily?
Boswellia - The Anti-Inflammatory Herb
Boswellia is some times referred to as Indian frankincense or boswellin. It comes from a tree known as boswellia serrata that is found to grow in the dry areas of India. Boswellia is said to have 55% of Boswellic acid. For centuries, many Indian healers have always taken the advantage of the anti-inflammation property of this tree. The bark's gummy resin contains anti-inflammation content in higher percentages - its known as salai guggal.
In the modern world, preparations are done from a purified extract of the resin and normally packed in cream or pills which are then used mainly to reduce inflammation; rheumatoid or osteoarthritis arthritis. Unlike nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, which is one of the accepted treatments for joint inflammation, - boswellia according to research does not show signs of stomach irritation. It's also sometimes effective when it comes to back pains and other chronic related intestinal disorders.
Its health benefits, according to research by scientists, has been outlined that this herb has specific and very active anti-inflammation ingredients. These ingredients are commonly known as boswellic acids. In the field of animal studies, boswellic acids have been proven to reduce inflammation. They improve rapidly the blood flow to the joints. They also do block those chemical reactions that always sets the stage for inflammation that cause chronic intestinal disorders. Boswellia maybe taken internally or even applied topically to the affected joints to help relieve inflammation that is associated with joint disorders. These always increase joint mobility and lessen the morning stiffness.
In a study that was conducted involving 175 patients suffering rheumatic disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, exactly 122 participants were found to experience reduced inflammation and stiffness after using boswellia for two to four weeks. Boswellia's inflammatory component helps reduce stiffness and aching, especially when associated with the low back pains. Though a lot of researches done shows that boswellia is effective when taken orally, creams also appear to be soothing all together.
Boswellia also seems to reduce the inflammation related with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis disease, of which both are painful intestinal disorders. It's said to be able to accomplish this without actually the risk of gut irritation which is mainly associated with lots of convectional pain relievers.
In theyear 1997, a study was conducted involving ulcerative colitis victims, 82% those who took this boswellia extract like 3 times in a day, they experienced total and complete remission of this disease.
What are the Health Benefits of Beta-Glucans
December 22, 2014 04:54 PM
What are Beta-glucans?
Benefits of beta-glucan
Beta-glucans are use for cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and high cholesterol. Beta-glucans are also use for boosting the immune system in people whose body defenses have been weakens by emotional or physical stress, chronic fatigue syndrome or by treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation. Beta-glucans are also used for ulcerative colitis, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, aging, H1N1 flu, Lyme disease, allergies, fibromyalgia, ear infections, rheumatoid, asthma and crohn's disease.
How Important Is It To Take A Trace Mineral Supplement And Why?
September 07, 2014 05:38 PM
What is Trace Minerals
Trace minerals are the essential minerals for proper functioning of our bodies. Trace minerals are zinc, calcium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, selenium, etc., the best way to get these minerals is through a diet rich in nutrients. The modern busy lifestyle prevents us from obtaining these minerals, also modern diets, have led to a deficiency in some of the most essential minerals. That is why a proper trace mineral supplementation is necessary for optimal health.
Most important trace minerals are:
Zinc is a mineral found in meat, poultry, beans, nuts, seafood. The recommended daily intake for adult males is 11 mg and 8 mg for female. Zinc deficiency leads to slow recovery of injuries, diarrhea in children, stunted growth; it may disrupt the thyroid functioning, low levels of testosterone. Zinc is necessary for the immune system, it cures the common cold faster, and it is used for Attention deficit disorder, Down syndrome, colitis and many other illnesses.
Copper is a mineral mostly found in meat, and many foods we already intake. The recommended daily intake of copper is only 2 mg. The National center for biotechnology information warns about recent studies who found copper deficiency. Copper deficiency leads to Menkes' syndrome, anemia, and neutropenia.
Iodine - 3. 40% of the world population is at risk of iodine deficiency. The use of iodine is at risk of extinction because of using iodine in salt. Many people do not have the proper nutrition to obtain the daily need of iodine. Iodine deficiency leads to hyperthyroidism, enlargement of the thyroid gland, miscarriages in pregnancy, preterm delivery of babies, and to permanent mental damage in babies. Iodine is found in meat, dairy products, soy, eggs, milk, and ice cream.
Manganese is a mineral responsible for blood clotting, sex hormones, and it forms the connective tissue. Manganese is found in the bones, kidneys, pancreas, adrenal, and pituitary glands. According to the University of Maryland, 37% of the Americans are at risk of manganese deficiency, and do not take the daily recommended intake of manganese. Manganese deficiency changes the fat metabolism; it causes bone deformities, skin rash, increases calcium in blood, and causes many other symptoms, which lead to serious medical problems. Manganese is found in nuts, seeds, whole grains.
Chromium is found in meat, whole grain, some fruits, but these foods provide a very small amount of chromium in the body. The recommended daily intake of chromium is 50-200 mg a day and food provides 2 mg per serving. The elder are at a higher risk of chromium deficiency. Research has found that chromium deficiency leads to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, and increased chromium intake has fixed diabetes symptoms in patients.
Who is at risk of trace mineral deficiency?
Vegetarians are at a higher risk of mineral deficiency as most of the sources of these minerals are coming from meat. Vegetarians should consider taking trace mineral supplementation. We need a very small amount of minerals for proper functioning of our bodies, still we have a mineral deficiency which leads to many illnesses, improper functioning in the body. The mineral deficiency has led to lower life span in humans. Our ancestors lived longer because they ate home cooked food, rich in the most important nutrients. Daily trace mineral supplementation is essential for returning our health and immune system on the right track. That is why we all need proper trace mineral supplementation to compensate for the low levels of minerals.
The Health Benefits of Flaxseed Oil.
March 14, 2014 11:00 PM
What is flaxseed
Flaxseed and also flaxseed oil incorporate alpha-linolenic chemical p (ALA), a precursor to the primary omega-3 oily acid that to a certain degree and inefficiently turns in to DHA and EPA -- extra active omega-3s -- methods. While flaxseed hasn't yet been proven to improve heart disease risk, there's very good evidence that flaxseed and also flaxseed oil may reduced cholesterol degrees.
Benefits of flaxseed
Flaxseed oil may also be helpful with menopausal signs. Research has proven in which 40 grams daily may be a lot like hormone treatment for improving mild menopause signs, such as sizzling whizzes and nights sweats. Ground flaxseed may also ease constipation.
Flaxseed has additionally been shown to improve kidney function in people with lupus. If you have lupus or any other medical condition it’s crucial to talk together with your doctor about almost any supplements you receive.
Flaxseed oil, including sea food oil, has been studied for reducing triglycerides. Nevertheless, it is vital to ingest much flaxseed oil (38-60 grams) to have any noticeable consequences.
Flaxseed is being studied for several other conditions, between cancers to diabetes to assist osteoporosis. At this factor, there is too few evidence to assistance flaxseed for most of these conditions
Flaxseed oil in addition has become found to get beneficial if you happen to suffer from Crohn’s Disease and Colitis. Several studies have found it oil seems to be able to calm the inner lining to the inflamed intestines. Another benefit exists even as have an excessive written content of mucilage in flax this too is an efficient natural laxative.
Flaxseed oil is beneficial in helping to relieve high cholesterol. It’s important to make note of however, that this alone can't be totally effective throughout conserving cholesterol degrees, an overhaul linked to overall diet should work jointly along with flaxseed oil.
The probability of heart illness will be leaner in people that take flaxseed petrol. Evidence indicates that those who eat lots associated using ALA are less in danger of suffer a critical heart attack and yes it reduces high leading to help tinnitus pressure.
Some men and women endure Sjogren’s syndrome, which is dryness with your sight. Flaxseed oil really helps to improve this concern.
Boswellia, How It Works And Its Health Benefits
December 02, 2013 07:30 AM
What is Boswellia?
Also known as Indian frankincense, boswellia is actually a natural herb that is commonly used in Ayurveda( a traditional medicine of India).The herb comes from the resin of boswellia tree which is actually rich in boswellic acid ( a substance that has anti-inflammatory effects)The herb is used to treat chronic inflammatory illnesses as well as other health conditions.
How it works.
Various studies indicate the boswellic acid can actually prevent the formation of leukotrienes in the human body. Studies also show that leukotrienes are the main cause of inflammation and can also triggers asthma symptoms. The four acids in boswellia resin are the major contributor to the herbs anti-inflammatory properties.
Health Benefits of Boswellia
A study that was conducted in 1998 showed that boswellia may help to relieve asthma. The result of the study indicated that 70% of the patient who took 300mg of boswellia 3 times daily for 6 weeks showed a great improvement in their symptoms as compared to 27% who did not took it. This is because the herb actually helps in reducing leukotrienes which causes the bronchial muscles to contract.
Studies shows that boswellic acid has the ability to prevent certain enzymes from affecting the DNA negatively thus helping to prevent cancer growth.
A study that was published in 2008 suggested that boswellia can help boost physical functioning and reduce pain to patient suffering from osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. The study that was done using 30 patients who suffered from OA found out that those patients who used boswellia reported to have a decrease in knee pain .They also show some improvement on how far that could walk and flex their knee.
Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that actually result in chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. A study that was conducted in 2007 on 31 people suffering from colitis indicated that those patients who took 400mg of boswellia 3 times daily for 6 weeks were actually more likely to go into remission as compared to those who took placebo.
What Are The Benefits Of Turmeric Extract?
June 04, 2013 01:53 PM
Turmeric extract, also known as Curcuma longa has been used for over 4000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Reputable studies show that it may help control infections, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems and some cancers. Historically, it has been widely used in cooking Indian dishes and is much loved due to its curry flavor and yellow color.
Further, it's used to color butter and cheese and has been intensively applied in both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat wounds and skin diseases.
According to research done at the University of Maryland Medical Center, turmeric extract contains powerful ingredients that stimulate the production of bile and thus can be used to control indigestion.
Let us take a more straight forward look at its main benefits to human health.
Benefits of Turmeric Extract
* Fighting inflammation
Turmeric contains a special substance called curcumin which aside from destroying free radicals lowers the levels of some enzymes in the body that fuel inflammation. Clinical studies have suggested that turmeric's duo benefits (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory) are an essential part of recovering from joint stiffness - useful in relieving rheumatoid arthritis.
As we mentioned earlier, turmeric can boost the production of bile. One double-blind study (done by The German Commission E) concluded that turmeric may help in improving the functioning of the digestive system by reducing bloating.
* Turmeric and ulcerative colitis
Although turmeric does not seem to help control stomach ulcers, researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center confirm that can play a central role in people with ulcerative colitis by helping them stay in remission. Recent studies done on people with this disease (who consumed turmeric) showed a lower relapse rate than who took other treatment substances.
* Turmeric extract and cancer
Though most results are still early, there has been a great deal of findings that have painted turmeric in good light as far as treatment of various cancers is concerned. At the moment, scientists are keenly studying its effects on colon, skin, breast and prostate cancers. All the same, turmeric is known for its preventive effects which have something to do with its strong antioxidant properties.
* Turmeric=Good Heart Health
Some substances found in turmeric extract may help reduce incidences of atherosclerosis - a condition closely associated with the occurrence of stroke and/or heart attack. It, in a great way lowers cholesterol levels in blood vessels. Aside from that, it stops platelets from clumping together thus preventing blood clots from accumulating along blood vessels.
* Containing Viral and Bacterial Infections
Turmeric may to some extent kill viruses and bacteria. Some of its active ingredients are as well known to expel intestinal worms.
Turmeric has been for a long time been associated with good eye health. Well, researchers have recently made breakthrough findings that curcumin (turmeric's main active ingredient) may help treat chronic anterior uveitis. Its efficiency is believed to be at par with corticosteroids.
There are many other health benefits associated with turmeric extract. However, the few mentioned herein are the most important ones that you need to take note of.
L-glutamine as we age!
June 01, 2013 10:51 AM
Glutamine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the body. The body is capable of making enough of glutamine for its own regular needs although at times of extreme stress and age, the body may need more. Glutamine has some great importance (aka. body detox) as it is used by the body to remove excess ammonia which is a waste product the body produces everyday. It also acts as an immune system function booster as well as helping the brain to function and aiding in digestion.
Some medical conditions can lower the levels of glutamine like infections, surgery, injuries and prolonged stress, it is advisable that you take a glutamine supplements in order to boost its level in the body.
L-glutamine also helps in the following health conditions;
L-glutamine reduces as we age
This amino acid is mostly stored in muscles and the lungs. As muscle mass decrease with age so does the production of L-glutamine throughout the body. L-glutamine is primarily produced in the muscles, this accounts for 90% of the L-glutamine that is synthesized in the body, so aka less muscle means less glutamine. It is also produced in small amounts in the brain plus the liver but the liver more or less regulates the levels in the blood and is a large consumer of this amino acid.
When glutamine levels drop, a supplement or foods high in L-glutamine should be consumed. Some studies have shown this amino acid to greatly reduce the healing time of healing for the patients who undergo surgery in the hospitals. In case one has an abdominal surgery, the hospital stay time can be reduced by providing parental nutrition of this supplement.
Some of the dietary sources of L-glutamine
Small amounts of L-glutamine are also found in vegetable juices. Diets that are enriched with L-glutamine have been known to maintain cellular function as well as maintain a strong gut barrier. This suggests that this amino acid helps to protect the walls and the lining of the mucosa and gastrointestinal tract. Some of those people who may be having inflammatory bowel disease or crohn's disease might not be having enough of the it in the body.
This amino acid is a strong carbon downer, this helps in refilling the cycle of citric acid and regulation of the acid balance in the bodies kidneys by way of producing and eliminating ammonia.
The List Goes On And On, have you had enough glutamine today?
October 09, 2012 04:39 PM
Over the years, researchers and scientists found out the larch tree extract proved to the answer to all problems that people is facing. People's bodies are prone to illnesses and sickness and no matter they do it is not enough. The main reason why people get ill easily is that their immune system is not stable and always decreases from time to time. As a result, people's immune system will increase over the years, and it is always depending on the person.
What is a larch tree extract?
A larch tree extract is a natural polysaccharide extracted from larch tree. This sugar contains active ingredients that enhance the functions of all immune systems, tissues, and cells. This extract also called as arabinogalactan a biopolymer that consists of sugars, which attached to any protein food that helps your body to withstand and eliminates free radicals in your body.
These active ingredients are the main responsible for increasing your metabolism that eliminate, and reduce free radicals. Even, your body does not yet increase its immune system, but this extract will surely do extensive favor that protects your body's vulnerability. Having an illness or an ailment due to a low immune system is difficult to handle because it always affects everything like your work performances, relationships, and even, your focus. Therefore, it is indispensable to prevent this from happening at all cost!
Why use a larch tree extract?
There are many benefits you can get using larch tree extract and these are as follows:
1) Boosts and increase your immune systems - this extract can help fights free radicals in your body that giving you diseases and sickness such as influenza, flu, and the common cold. It is also the best treatment for inflammation, rheumatism, asthma, bronchitis, and diarrhea. This extract also fights recurrent immune problems such as viral infection, and chronic fatigue.
2) Treatment for cancer - this extract can help fight cancer cells that normally triggered by decreasing the activities of NK cells. This extract will suppress and reduces these cancerous cells to nothing. In addition, it prevents these NK cells from spreading to any other organs. Larch extract also serves as an excellent foundation of fiber that potentially improves colon health by increasing the growth of its healthy bacteria located in the gastrointestinal tract.
3) Supports digestion - this extract acts as a food supply to your intestinal bacteria, so they are eating it instead of food nutrients and considering as a prebiotic that is stimulating the activity or growth of bacteria in your digestive systems considered as health beneficial. Prebiotics helps to treat and prevent intestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, LBM, constipation, leaky - gut, and diverticulosis. In addition, prebiotics are the best treatment for ulcerative colitis and Crohn enteritis.
Is there any need to take larch tree extract? If you want to stay as healthy as a cow, taking this extract is the best solution! Increasing your immune systems is your main goal to remain healthy over the years and it is easy. Remember that prevention will always better than cure!
Serrapeptidase: Natural NSAID
March 27, 2012 03:26 PM
Serrapeptase, also known as Serratia peptidase is a proteolytic (protein-splitting) bioactive enzyme found in the intestines of the silk worm. This silk-worm enzyme is widely used in Europe and Japan in clinical therapy for relieving pain and inflammation. When the silk worm leaves the cocoon, it regurgitates the serrapeptase in to create a hole in the cocoon for its escape. It was soon discovered that serrapeptase enzyme has a unique property to dissolve dead material consisting protein without even harming the living tissue. This property of dissolving dead tissue can be used in treating many health conditions.
How Serrapeptase work?
Protein is the main component of most of the fibrous materials in the body. Once these fibrous materials out-live their purpose or are over-grown, they start causing serious disease conditions involving fibrosis. Fibrosis is an abnormal thickening and scarring of connective tissue caused by infection, injury, surgery or lack of oxygen. Serrapeptase works as an anti-fibrotic and helps in relieving the conditions in connective tissue scarring and thickening has occurred.
Health Benefits of Serrapeptase:
This proteolytic enzyme is considered an alternative to NSAIDS (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) that are used to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Serrapeptase has been used to treat fibromyalgia, colitis, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, varicose veins, ovarian cysts, ear and throat infections, enlarged prostate and postoperative inflammation. Studies have shown its effective results in prevention and removal of arterial plaque.
Serrapeptase in relieving Pain:
Pain and Inflammation Reduction:
Serrapeptase is a great anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent. It reduces the inflammation and gives relief from the pain. It works by blocking the release of pain inducing amines from the inflamed tissues. Due to its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, serrapeptase is used in treatment as an alternative to NSAIDS. This enzyme gives relief from mild to moderate pain like headache and backaches. Hence it is used all the inflammatory conditions such as colitis, sinusitis, arthritis and many more.
Serrapeptidase has an anti-fibrotic and fibrinolytic action that prevents and treats the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. Plaque is the accumulated deposits of cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products, fibrin and calcium. Excessive plaque formation impairs the normal blood flow and cause partial or complete blockage, which also results in arteriosclerosis. Serrapeptidase helps to prevent build-up of plaque in the body. Due to its fibrinolytic action, it also helps in dissolving of proteins and breaking down atherosclerotic plaques. The dissolved deposits are eliminated from the body.
Hence, serrapeptidase prevents coronary artery diseases and improves cardiovascular health.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and mucus dissolving properties, Serrapeptidase is very beneficial for chronic sinusitis sufferers. Serrapeptidase helps in thinning and expelling the thickened mucus secretion present in nasal cavities of sinusitis sufferer.
Serrapeptidase helps in reducing the recovery time in any injuries, wounds or surgery. It promotes healing in post-operative wounds by reducing the inflammation and pain.
Serrapeptidase is available in the form of supplements. If you are taking NSAIDS for any healthy condition, substitute it with serrapeptidase supplement
What is Vitamin K Good For?
February 15, 2012 10:05 PM
Understanding Vitamin K
Vitamin K can be found in different forms, Phylloquinone is vitamin k1 and it is found in plants. Vitamin k2 is referred to as Mena Quinone and is produced by the intestinal bacteria. It can also be obtained from purified fish. The synthetic version of this mineral is called Menadione.
The role of the mineral is to aid in the blood clotting functions. When there is a deficiency, the production of prothrombin and various clotting factors is reduced. With time a person begins showing signs of hemorrhage.
The human body is incapable of synthesizing the mineral so you need to get it from dietary sources. The intestinal bacteria produce it as a metabolic by product. It is hard for someone to suffer from a deficiency since the vitamin is available from so many sources.
Vitamin K Stability
Since it is water soluble and heat stable there is no risk of leeching or inactivation during cooking. However, strong acids and alkalis have a destructive effect on the substance. Even though gamma irradiation is used to prolong the shelf life of food it inactivates the mineral.
Bile has to be present in order for the vitamin to be absorbed by the body. Lipoproteins in the bloodstream are responsible for transporting it to the liver. When it gets to the liver it is in is inactive form. A reductase is needed in order to revert it into its active state.
How Vitamin K Is Made
Normal intestinal bacteria are usually destroyed by prolonged use of antibiotics. This means that the body is unable to synthesize the mineral. The patient is put on supplements so as to prevent hemorrhagic tendencies. When a person is taking the supplements they are administered via intravenous or intramuscular injections. In some cases people are asked to take the supplements orally.
During the first weeks of their lives babies can suffer from hemorrhagic conditions due to a deficiency in vitamin k. in order to prevent this from happening, the infants are routinely injected with natural minerals at the time of birth depending on their weight. Medical practitioners do not use the synthetic version because it is toxic to babies.
A person suffering from a deficiency of vitamin k has certain symptoms such as excessive bleeding, less active prothrombin in their blood, their blood takes long to clot and if they are newborns they suffer from hemorrhagic episodes. There are a number of medical conditions and treatments that can cause a deficiency.
If you have a medical condition that interferes with the absorption of fats in the intestines then you could suffer from a deficiency of vitamin k. some of the conditions that lead to the problem include obstructive jaundice, ulcerative colitis, gallbladder disorders and diarrhea. When you have any one of these conditions your body is unable to absorb the vitamin.
You can also suffer from a deficiency if you use mineral oil as laxatives. The vitamin usually attaches itself to the oil droplets in your intestines instead. The body is unable to absorb it so it is excreted in the feces. People are usually discouraged from using mineral oil to cure constipation because of this reason.
What is Wild Yam Root And How Does It Help PMS And More?
July 25, 2011 02:44 PM
Wild Yam And Your Health
Wild yam root refers to a group of tubers related to the common yam. While the common yam is consumed as a vegetable, wild yam root is known for its medicinal properties. It has been linked to many studies in the past few decades. It is a source of the plant steroid diosgenin, which is converted to progesterone in the laboratory. It has also shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Dioscorea villosa is the plant species often referred to as wild yam root, inasmuch as most products and supplements that are marketed as wild yam obtain extracts from this plant. Its positive effects on health are attributed to steroid-like organic compounds called saponins. Nevertheless, these saponins and other active ingredients of the root can also be derived in other closely related wild yam species.
Rebalances Female Hormones
Wild yam root is one of the most recognized plant species in the nutraceutical industry, especially in niches concerning the alleviation of hot flashes, night sweats, and other vasomotor symptoms. It is rich in compounds that precursors to human sex hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone.
Whether modified or not, the compounds extracted from wild yam root display estrogenic activities inside the female body, and they can be administered through the mouth or skin. They work normalize fluctuating levels of hormones, as is the case during menopause.
Counteracts Pain Chemicals
The phytochemical content of wild yam room is anti-inflammatory in nature. Not surprisingly, it has been used in the treatment of inflammation-induced disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, renal colic, ulcerative colitis, muscle cramps, abdominal pain, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Wild yam root suppresses the releases of endogenous compounds responsible for the perception of pain in certain body parts. In addition, it also inhibits the excessive productions of immune cells that trigger hypersensitivity and immune disorders, such as bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Boosts Bone Mineral Density
Extracts of wild yam root are commercially touted to prevent bone loss characteristic of osteoporosis. Since the human bones are the primary reserves of calcium and other minerals, they undergo a continuous cycle of demineralization to meet the mineral demands of other parts of the body.
The process of demineralization that alters bone density throughout life is called bone resorption. It is influenced by other factors, such as sedentary lifestyle and mineral deficiencies. With a balanced diet, regular consumption of wild yam root has been reported to easily reverse bone loss.
Reduces Overall Lipid Levels
There is a growing body of literature devoted to the effects of wild yam root on overall lipid levels in the blood. Wild yam root supplements are believed to lower utilization of triglycerides in the liver, limiting the releases of cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, and free fatty acids into the bloodstream.
In addition, regular intake of wild yam root extracts appears to interfere with the breakdown of fats into easily digestible fatty acids and their subsequent absorption in the small intestines. This results in lower fat intake and healthier levels of cholesterol.
What is stopping you from trying it?
Fight Inflammation, Gastric Problems, and Arthritis with Boswellia
June 14, 2011 11:49 AM
How Does Boswellia Fight Inflammation.
Boswellia fights inflammation through the action of a family of anti-inflammatory terpenes known as boswellic acids. Inflammation is a natural reaction of your immune system to tissue damage and infection, and is often associated with conditions such as arthritis, sports damage to bones and joints and bacterial infections caused by cuts and grazes. There are more serious inflammatory conditions of course, such as asthma, and boswellic acids act in the same way as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) without their unwelcome side effects.
Among the causes of inflammation are inflammatory mediators such as leukotrienes, the biosynthesis of which is blocked by boswellia. Another is the 5-lipoxygenase enzyme, also known as LOX-5, and again, the terpenoid anti-inflammatory boswellic acids block this so that the causes of inflammation in the above conditions are severely restricted. Boswellia extract is a good supplement to take for those suffering any form of arthritis, joint pain or even asthma.
Using Boswellia to treat Arthritis
Boswellia can be used to treat both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, although rheumatoid arthritis is not always easy to control. Arthritis is an inflammatory condition, in the case of osteoarthritis the inflammation being a natural response to joint damage and infection of the synovial fluid generally caused by wear and tear on the joint with aging, and also by sports injuries.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of immune disease caused by the body attacking its own joints, and while the terpenoid anti-oxidants known as boswellic acids can help to mediate the pain and other symptoms, it can do nothing to cure the condition.
If you are suffering pain through arthritis, and your joins are tender and swollen, a supplement consisting of an extract of boswellia or its terpenes can help to relieve these symptoms and to offer pain relief equivalent to that offered by synthetic NSAIDs such as aspirin and Ibuprofen.
Gastric Problems and Arthritis Pain? Perhaps Boswellia Can Help
Extracts and supplements based on the resins of the boswellia tree are commonly used to treat inflammatory conditions, and reduce the severe pain of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, ease the discomfort of colitis and also help ease the symptoms of those suffering asthma. Each of these is an inflammatory condition that would otherwise have been treated using NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
NSAIDs have a number of side effects, being particularly unsuitable for those with ulcers or any other gastric problem. The terpenoids contained in boswellia extract an effective alternative to these drugs that many try to avoid taking. Long-term use of boswellia appears a lot safer than long-term use of NSAIDs, since it doesn't promote the severe gastric problems of these synthetic drugs, such as irritation of the stomach lining or even ulcers. If you already have ulcers or other gastric problems then NSAIDs area define no-no for you, and boswellia is the ideal substitute.
Grab some boswellia today and experience relief for your self!
How Does Boswellia Fight Inflammation?
April 13, 2011 03:57 PM
Boswellia refers to the species of trees where the aromatic gum resin frankincense is obtained from. In herbal medicine, the term Boswellia often means Indian frankincense, which is noted for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. It has a centuries-old association with Ayurvedic medicine, and herbal preparations containing its extracts are formulated for arthritis. It now comes in supplements marketed as a viable treatment for inflammation-induced illnesses, such as arthritis, colitis, and asthma.
Indian frankincense, also known as dhoop in India, is entirely derived from Boswellia serrata, and the common frankincense from a completely different species. The earliest known study looking into its purported benefit as an anti-inflammatory medication was in 1998, and it investigated its effects on asthma. In a span of 6 weeks, the boswellia group took 300 mg of the preparation three times a day and 70 percent experienced a significant improvement in symptoms and a noticeable decrease in incidence of asthma attacks in comparison with the control group.
In Ayurvedic medicine, boswellia has been utilized for hundreds of years with an emphasis on its use in the amelioration of joint pains. It is generally considered safe, explaining its prevalence in the treatment of arthritis and related disorders. Boswellia was the subject of several studies devoted to better management of osteoarthritis, and these studies published results that attracted more research. Today it is also touted to be useful for rheumatoid arthritis, which is inflammatory in nature.
Recent studies yielded outcomes in favor of its anti-inflammatory claims. In 2007 one study pointed to its medicinal potential in the treatment of colitis, concluding that patients with chronic inflammation of the colon went into remission after regular intake of boswellia. In a similar study, individuals diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease reported to have benefited from 6 weeks of supplementation while those who sought conventional treatments responded to their medications in a much longer time.
Boswellia remains under scrutiny. Anecdotal evidence has been very positive largely owing to the fact that it hasn’t been linked to any adverse effect at all. But how does it work? There are many chemical reactions which boswellia may be directly involved in. It has been observed that it reduces the synthesis of pro-inflammatory leukotrienes. These mediators of inflammation are produced in the presence of an enzyme called 5-lipoxygenase, which is thought to be counteracted by the high terpene content of boswellia.
Triterpenes in boswellic acid, the active ingredient unique to boswellia, are also believed to interfere with the adhesive interactions between leukocytes and endothelial cells present in the gastrointestinal tract. Leukocyte elastase is a serine protease, a special kind of enzyme, released by leukocytes or neutrophils during inflammation. It is postulated that boswellia down-regulates leukocytes and leukocyte elastase in addition to inhibiting the expression of endothelial cells adhesion molecules. Down-regulation of leukocytes will help reduce inflammation and improve health.
If you are fighting systemic or joint inflammation, give boswellia a try and feel the difference!
What Is Slippery Elm Bark and How Does It Help Improve Colon And Digestive Health
April 08, 2011 11:27 AM
Slippery Elm History.
Slippery elm bark is an herbal remedy derived entirely from a tree species of the same name. Its use in maintaining colon health has been associated with Native Americans, who continue to use the inner bark of the tree as a treatment for skin conditions, gum problems, and sore throats in addition to digestive problems. In recent years, there have been numerous citations of its ability to significantly alleviate illnesses of the gastrointestinal tract, and its use has even been suggested by medical professionals in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcers, and abdominal pains.
Ulmus rubra is a tree species native to North America, but its range and distribution is limited to Southern Quebec down to Northern Florida and west to eastern Texas. It prefers soils that are rich in moisture, with large populations present in uplands, but it also thrives well in dry regions. This deciduous tree is commonly known by the names Slippery elm, Red elm, Moose elm, and Indian elm. The name Red elm refers to its heartwood that is reddish-brown in color. The leaves and the inner bark are dried and powdered beforehand, and then made into a tea or packed as supplements.
Increases Mucus Secretions
Recent studies have observed that slippery elm bark stimulates the nerve endings of the intestinal walls. Excess acidity is thought to result from both the diet and the stomach’s secretions of hydrochloric acid. While peptic ulcers are often caused by invasive pathogens, cases in which the acidic environment in the stomach brings on lesions in the gastrointestinal tract are not uncommon. Slippery elm bark works on the principle of inducing the secretions of gastrointestinal mucosa, which rebalances the pH inside the digestive tract.
Slippery Elm Bark Properties
Exhibits Antioxidant Properties
Researchers ascribe the effects of slippery elm bark on inhibiting inflammation of the digestive tract to its antioxidant properties. Free radicals have been tied to many diseases, and inflammatory bowel disease is believed to be influenced by an imbalance between free radicals and the antioxidant defense of the body. Indeed free radicals can cause tissue damage as each cell’s ability to neutralize them is compromised. Unfortunately they are a natural by-product of oxygen metabolism and other chemical reactions, which means the only way to dispose of them is to strengthen cellular antioxidant defense.
Heals Lesions and Ulcerations
Native Americans have long used slippery elm bark as an ingredient in salves used for wounds and sores. It is widely accepted that medicinal products containing powdered slippery elm bark reduce inflammation and speed up the process of healing. For the same reasons, oral administrations appear to produce similar effects on ulcerations of the alimentary canal, allaying abdominal pains.
Slippery elm bark is a known cleanser for the gastrointestinal tract. People who felt benefited from it believe it eases stomach cramps and improve colon disturbances. While more studies are needed for its efficacy, slippery elm bark products are generally considered to be safe.
Slippery Elm bark is excellent therapy for the digestive tract. Don’t be with out it!
Cascara sagrada can help with constipation
August 25, 2010 02:18 PM
Cascara sagrada and Constipation
Cascara Sagrada was introduced to the Spanish explorers by Native Americans when they complained of problems with constipation. The Spanish then gave this herb its name, cascara sagrada, which means sacred bark and used it as a natural laxative. The Spanish explorers brought the herb back with them to Spain when they returned. In 1877, this herb was admitted to the U.S. Pharmacopoeia and is still included as an official medicine to this day.
Cascara sagrada is believed to be one of the best herbs for treatment of chronic constipation. This is because it enhances the peristaltic action that takes place in the intestines and increases the secretions of the stomach, liver, and pancreas. This herb is also helpful in relieving hemorrhoids because of its nonirritating nature and softening action on the stool.
Cascara sagrada is found in many over-the-counter preparations that are used for the intention of relieving constipation. This is because it acts on the large intestine to increase the muscular activity of the colon. The anthraquinones that are found in cascara sagrada are believed to encourage intestinal contraction. This herb is used to restore natural bowel movement without griping and to restore tone to the bowel.
Additionally, an element in cascara sagrada is known as quinine emodin. This element is being studied for its usefulness in treating lymphocytic leukemia and Walker carcinosarcoma tumor system. More research is needed before it will be recommended for treatment, but so far, the findings have been promising.
Cascara sagrada can be used often, as it is not considered to be addictive. Preparations should be made from bark that has been aged for a least a year before use. This must be done because fresh bark is poisonous and can cause nausea and extreme griping on the intestinal system. Cascara sagrada can be found in various forms including capsules, liquid extracts, and dried bark. Although it tastes bitter, the dried bark can be made into a tea. A typical dosage of cascara is a 300 mg capsule which is taken in the early evening to stimulate a bowel movement in the morning. The laxative effect usually occurs 6 to 12 hours after cascara is taken. Products containing cascara sagrada should not be used for more than eight or ten days. Those women who are pregnant and nursing should avoid this herb, as well as people with intestinal blockage, undiagnosed stomach pain, or symptoms that may indicate appendicitis. People with diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, or intestinal ulcers should not take this herb.
Additionally, children younger than twelve with constipation should not be treated with cascara sagrada.
The bark of cascara sagrada should be used to provide alterative, antineoplastic, antispasmodic, hepatic, lithotriptic, and purgative properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, chlorine, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium, and vitamins A, B-complex, and C. Primarily, cascara sagrada is beneficial in dealing with colon problems, constipation, gallbladder problems, gallstones, gas, gastric disorders, hemorrhoids, intestinal problems, liver disorders, and worms. Additionally, this herb is extremely helpful in treating colitis, coughs, croup, dyspepsia, gout, indigestion, insomnia, jaundice, excessive mucus, pituitary problems, and spleen ailments.
For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by cascara sagrada, please contact a representative from your local health food store. Always choose name brands of this wonderful herbal laxative to ensure quality and purity and gentleness of its properties on the intestinal tract.
Lactase Enzymes and Acidophilus
February 10, 2010 11:16 AM
Lactose intolerance is what is known as the inability to digest lactose. It is cause by a lack or deficiency of lactase. Lactase is an enzyme that is manufactured in the small intestine. It is responsible for splitting lactose into glucose and galactose. When a person who has lactose intolerance consumes milk or other dairy products, some or all of the lactose they contain remains undigested, retains fluid, and ferments in the colon. This results in abdominal cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and gas. Symptoms of lactose intolerance usually result between thirty minutes and two hours after consumption of dairy foods.
The degree of lactose intolerance varies from person to person. For most adults, lactose intolerance is actually a normal condition. Only Caucasians of northern European origin generally retain the ability to digest lactose after childhood. In the United States, somewhere between 30 and 50 million people are lactose intolerance. Lactase deficiency can also occur due to gastrointestinal disorders, which damage the digestive tract like celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, regional enteritis, or ulcerative colitis. Lactase deficiency can even develop on its own, with no known way to prevent it.
Lactose intolerance can occur in children as well as adults, even though it is far less common. In infants, lactose intolerance can occur after a severe case of gastroenteritis, which damages the intestinal lining. Symptoms of lactose intolerance in an infant can include foamy diarrhea with diaper rash, slow weight gain and development, and vomiting. Lactose intolerance can cause discomfort and digestive disruption, although it is not a serious threat to health and it can be easily managed through dietary adjustments. The following nutrients are recommended for dealing with lactose intolerance. The dosages specified are for adults unless otherwise specified. For a child between the ages of twelve and seventeen, the dose should be reduced to three-quarters of the recommended amount. A child between the ages of six and twelve should use half the recommended dosage.
One teaspoon of acidophilus in distilled water, taken twice daily on an empty stomach, can help to replace lost friendly bacteria and promote healthy digestion. It is recommended that a nondairy formula is used. Charcoal tablets are helpful in absorbing toxins and relieving diarrhea. Four tablets taken every hour with water until symptoms subside can help combat an acute attack. 1,000 mg of magnesium should be taken daily, as it is need for calcium uptake and promotes pH balance.
A multivitamin and mineral complex should be taken as directed on the label because all nutrients are needed for optimal health. 400 IU of vitamin D3 is also needed for calcium uptake, while 200 IU of vitamin E daily protects the cell membranes that line the colon wall. It should be noted that the d-alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E should be taken. 30 mg of zinc should be taken three times daily. A total of 100 mg daily from all supplements should not be exceeded. This nutrient is needed to maintain immune system and proper mineral balance. For best absorption, zinc gluconate lozenges should be used. Additionally, 3 mg of copper is needed to balance with zinc.
Most of all, a good lactase enzyme supplement can help ease painful gas and bloating when taken before dairy products are consumed.
Periwinkle - Vinpocetine
October 09, 2009 10:23 AM
Periwinkle can be found natively growing in North America, Europe, China, and India. The plant is a semi woody evergreen perennial. It is known by three names: Vinca, Periwinkle, and Myrtle. Typically, the plant is grown as an annual. It has a woody stem that can be found near the base and grows two to three feet tall and spreads out just as wide. The plant has a long life span of approximately twenty years. It also has a moderate growth rate. The plant has dark green foliage and bright blue flowers. The leaves are retained from year to year and are about two to three inches in length. This plant is very easy to grow, requiring little or no attention. Typically, it does best in poor, well drained soils. The flowers will suffer if the soils are too fertile. The periwinkle plant needs full sun or partial shade. It should be watered moderately during the growing season, but it is relatively drought resistant once it is established. The plant does not tolerate over watering. Fungus problems can occur in humid or wet weather.
For centuries, periwinkle has been used in different areas of the world to treat a variety of conditions. This herb grows in temperate climates and is often grown as an ornamental plant. Periwinkle juice from the leaves of the plant is used in India and applied to bee stings and bug bites. The plant grows well in Hawaii. The extract has been applied to wounds to stop bleeding. This herb can be found growing in South America and has been used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes. Periwinkle was used by native healers in Madagascar for cancer. Vincristine sulfate and vinblastine sulfate, two anticancer drugs, were developed from the periwinkle plant after the herbal healers in Madagascar were studied.
Periwinkle is considered to be a good binder. It can be chewed to stop bleeding in both the nose and mouth. It has been used historically for female complaints including excessive menstrual bleeding and uterine discharge. It also helps in aiding blood coagulation in wounds. This herb is effective in treating colitis, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, high blood pressure, headaches, migraines, nervous conditions, and diabetes.
Studies have found that periwinkle possesses anticancer attributes. Anticancer agents in periwinkle have been used to treat Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, and cancer of the lungs, liver, and kidneys, along with other types of cancer. Periwinkle can be found natively growing in North America, Europe, China, and India. The plant is a semi woody evergreen perennial. It is known by three names: Vinca, Periwinkle, and Myrtle. Typically, the plant is grown as an annual. It has a woody stem that can be found near the base and grows two to three feet tall and spreads out just as wide. The plant has a long life span of approximately twenty years. It also has a moderate growth rate. The plant has dark green foliage and bright blue flowers. The leaves are retained from year to year and are about two to three inches in length. This plant is very easy to grow, requiring little or no attention. Typically, it does best in poor, well-drained soils. The flowers will suffer if the soils are too fertile. The periwinkle plant needs full sun or partial shade. It should be watered moderately during the growing season, but it is relatively drought r
The entire periwinkle plant is used to provide antineoplastic, astringent, hemostatic, nervine, and sedative properties. Primarily, periwinkle is extremely beneficial in dealing with cancer, diabetes, hemorrhoids, nervousness, and ulcers. Vincamine is an alkaloid found in this plant has been studied and found to support cerebral blood flow, and oxygen and glucose utilization. It may also support cognitive function and enhance memory and concentration when taken regularly.
Additionally, the herb is very helpful in treating bleeding, congestion, chronic constipation, cramps, dandruff, chronic diarrhea, internal hemorrhages, leukemia, menstrual bleeding, excessive mucus, nightmares, skin disorders, sores, and toothache. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by periwinkle, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
October 08, 2009 01:20 PM
Plantain is one of the most commonly used plants found throughout the world. The herb is generally used for cooking and is lower in sugar content than general bananas. Plantain was known for its medicinal properties from England to the New World. Its popularity continues to grow to this day. The seeds of this herb are related to psyllium seeds. They are often used for the same purposes.
The outer layer of the seeds of plantain contain mucilage. This is a product that swells up when moist. These seeds are responsible for helping to lower cholesterol. However, plantain is most known for its gastric benefits. This herb is responsible for both neutralizing stomach acids and normalizing stomach secretions. Fresh plantain juice has been used to treat mild stomach ulcers. This herb helps to absorb toxins from the bowels and promotes normal bowel function. Plantain is a bulk laxative and increases in mass when it is mixed with water. Research has determined the value of plantain as a mild laxative. The intestinal transit time was decreased in those subjects who were tested.
Along with intestinal use, plantain can help with bladder infections and kidney problems. It can also help with bed-wetting in children. This herb is great as an expectorant. Plantain ingested in tea-form clears the head and ears of congestion. The tea is also helpful in treating chronic lung problems in children.
Plantain is known for its ability to neutralize poisons in the body. Those patients who had poison ivy were treated topically with crushed plantain leaves. Itching was eliminated and the condition was prevented from spreading in those who were treated. Additionally, the leaves were able to stop hemorrhaging when they were applied to the bleeding surface. The astringent properties that are found in this herb are helpful in stopping bleeding and promoting the healing of wounds.
Plantain works as an anti-inflammatory to help with problems like edema and hemorrhoids. Other conditions that plantain has been included for include nerve problems, fevers, burns, eye pain, and jaundice.
The leaves and seeds of the plantain plant are used to provide alterative, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antivenomous, astringent, blood purifier, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, febrifuge, mucilant, parasiticide, gentle purgative, and vulnerary properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, potassium, sulfur, trace minerals, and vitamins C, K, and T. Primarily, plantain is extremely beneficial in treating bed-wetting, snake bites, cystitis, diarrhea, intestinal problems, kidney problems, chronic lung disorders, neuralgia, blood poisoning, poison ivy, sores, ulcers, urinary incontinence, and wounds.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with insect bites, bronchitis, burns, high cholesterol, colitis, coughs, cuts, dysentery, edema, epilepsy, sore eyes, fevers, gas, external hemorrhages, hemorrhoids, infections, jaundice, leucorrhea, excessive menstruation, respiratory problems, primary tuberculosis, skin conditions, and stings. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen while on prescription medication. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by plantain, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
October 06, 2009 01:22 PM
Goldenseal was used by the Native Americans as a tonic, for sore throats, eye infections, ulcers, and even arrow wounds. It was also used as an insect repellant and pesticide for crops. When boiled in water, it was used externally for skin conditions. The dried root of the goldenseal plant was official in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1831 to 1842 and was readmitted in 1863 to 1936.
Traditionally, goldenseal has been used for many different conditions. Among these are boosting the glandular system, hormone imbalance, congestion, inflammation, female problems, infection, bronchitis, menstrual problems, catarrh of the bladder, gastritis, ulcers, bowel stimulation, antiseptic, and as an immune system builder. Those with low blood sugar or pregnant women should not use this herb.
Recent studies have determined that goldenseal is beneficial in fighting viruses and infections. This herb contains the alkaloids hyrastine and hyrastinine, which possess strong astringent and antiseptic benefits on the mucous membranes. The berberine that is found in goldenseal, and can also be found in barberry, Oregon grape, and goldthread, is effective in fighting infections of the mucous membranes, which includes the mouth, throat, and sinuses. It has also been found to kill toxic bacteria in the intestinal tract like giardiasis, which is found in streams of North America. Goldenseal can help to relieve diarrhea in cases of giardiasis, amoebiasis, or other gastrointestinal infections.
The alkaloid content of goldenseal gives it its antibiotic properties. Goldenseal has a long history of use for fighting both colds and flu viruses. The berbine content is effective as a natural antibiotic and immune stimulant. The herb may also help to prevent candida infection which is the result of antibiotic use. Goldenseal is thought to help strengthen the immune system and may work by increasing the blood supply to the spleen. This enables the spleen to function and release compounds which are known to improve immune function. Some herbalists in England consider goldenseal to be the wonder remedy for digestive problems. This herb is recommended for use after the onset of a cold instead of as preventative action. For this reason, it is often found in cold remedy combinations.
The rhizome and root of the goldenseal plant are used to provide adaptogen, alterative, anthelmintic, antibiotic, antiperiodic, antiseptic, cholagogue, emmenagoggue, hepatic, nephritic, stomachic,, and mild purgative properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium sodium, vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and F, and zinc. Primarily, this herb is extremely helpful in treating bronchitis, poor circulation, colds, colitis, colon problems, coughs, diarrhea, eye infections, gonorrhea, gum disease, hemorrhages, hemorrhoids, infection, inflammation, intestinal problems, kidney problems, liver disorders, excessive menstruation, membrane infections, mouth sores, nosebleeds, and sore throat.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with allergies, hay fever, asthma, Bright’s disease, burns, chicken pox, constipation, earaches, eczema, fever, flu, gallbladder problems, gastric disorders, gastritis, glandular problems, heart conditions, herpes, membrane irritation, nausea, nervous disorders, ringworm, skin disorders, spleen ailments, tonsitilits, and urinary problems. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by goldenseal, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
September 29, 2009 01:21 PM
Medicinally, ginger has been used for thousands of years. The herb was first used in tropical Asian climates. The Greek historian Dioscorides recommended ginger for the stimulation of the production of digestive juices and also to fight chills and colds. This herb has been used by the Chinese for many ailments including colds, nausea, and indigestion. The introduction of ginger to America is credited to the Spaniards during the sixteenth century. From 1820 to 1873, ginger was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia.
Ginger is believed to have blood-thinning properties, along with the ability to lower blood cholesterol levels. The herb is both a blood stimulant and a cleansing herb. Ginger is also used for respiratory problems like colds, sore throats, bronchitis, congestion, headaches, and pain. This herb is also known to help with nausea, kidney problems, heart problems, fever, vomiting, cramps, and in herbal combinations to aid in the effectiveness of other herbs. Ginger is well known for its medicinal properties, as it is used for a variety of ailments including menstrual symptoms, inflammation, arthritis, high cholesterol, liver problems, gastrointestinal problems, and motion sickness.
Recent studies have been very convincing as to the value of ginger. This herb contains terpenses, which are chemically similar to those found in camphor and turpentine. Additionally, researchers believe that there are two natural antibiotics that have been found in ginger. Ginger has been found to stop the growth of bacteria and also has the ability to relieve dizziness and motion sickness. This herb may help in preventing heart attacks and also contains anti-inflammatory agents. Studies involving seven patients with rheumatoid arthritis who have tried numerous conventional drugs, which provided only temporary or partial relief, were given ginger. All of the patients reported significant improvement, pain relief, reduction in swelling, and improved mobility from the ginger therapy. Additional studies found similar results, with 75 to 100 percent of the patients having relief and improvement as a result of ginger supplementation. Of all its effects, ginger is probably best known for its positive effect on the gastrointestinal system. One study found that powdered ginger was more effective in treating motion sickness than some common over-the-counter treatments, without causing drowsiness. Out of thirty-six volunteers for the trial, the twelve who were given ginger did better than the twelve who received an over-the-counter preparation and the twelve who received a placebo. Ginger contains zingibain, which is a digestive enzyme that is beneficial for digestion. Ginger root may have potential for easing the morning sickness that is often associated with the early months of pregnancy.
The root of the ginger plant is used to provide alterative, antacid, anti-inflammatory, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, rubefacient, sialagogue, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, sodium, and vitamins A, B-complex, and C. Primarily, ginger is extremely beneficial in treating bronchitis, childhood diseases, poor circulation, cods, colic, colitis, stomach cramps, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, fevers, flu, gas, gastric disorders, headache, heart problems, indigestion, morning sickness, motion sickness, nausea, sore throat, and vomiting. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with colon problems, coughs, uterine cramps, hemorrhage, intestinal problems, kidney problems, paralysis, sinus problems, and toothaches.
Psyllium Husk Fiber
September 23, 2009 11:08 AM
The Native Americans used psyllium as an eye-wash. It was also used to treat sprains and abrasions. Additionally, it was and continues to be used as a laxative to help relieve constipation. This herb contains aucubine, enzymes, fats, glycosides, mucilage, and protein.
When psyllium is taken internally it is an excellent remedy for a variety of problems in the digestive system. The herb can be used to help prevent autointoxication, if used over a period of time, from the re-absorption of toxins into the bloodstream by removing the toxins. Since psyllium prevents toxic re-absorption, it allows for added protection to the colon. This helps the body to fight disease and illness. The herbal fiber also works as a lubricant on the intestinal tract. Additionally, it helps with diarrhea.
Research has determined that psyllium is a useful treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is considered to deal with an overly sensitive colon that responds to stress. This herb may help the colon by soothing, healing, and aiding in the elimination of toxins from the colon. Psyllium has also been recommended for diabetics. The herb produces copicous mucilage which soothes and heals the large intestines and cleans the colon. Psyllium does not irritate the delicate mucus membrane. Instead, it works to strengthen and restore the tissues. Jethro Kloss suggested the use of psyllium in cases of colitis and anal ulcers.
This herb is considered to be a safe alternative to drug therapy for chronic constipation when it is used properly. The husks from psyllium seeds are a great source of insoluble and soluble fiber. They also serve as an intestinal cleanser and stool softener. Additionally, psyllium is a hydrophilic bulking agent, which means that it is able to increase several times in size when it is combined with water. This occurs because of mucilage, one o the main components of psyllium. Mucilage is a thickening and stabilizing agent that swells in water. When psyllium swells in the intestines, it helps to increase the peristaltic activity of the bowel. This bulks up stool and promotes bowel movement. Because of this, it is crucial to drink plenty of water when one is taking psyllium. Mucilage is also able to help soothe and heal inflamed tissue in the intestinal tract.
Studies have determined that psyllium is beneficial for lowering cholesterol and strengthening the heart. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that dietary modifications such as psyllium should be used to lower cholesterol levels before turning to drug therapy. By adding mucilage, like that found in psyllium, to the diet, one can successfully reduce serum cholesterol levels. Recent studies on psyllium and other forms of fiber have determined that mucilage in fiber is responsible for inhibiting cholesterol production. Not only does psyllium reduce bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, it also increases levels of good cholesterol.
The externally use of psyllium is helpful in dealing with skin inflammation and irritation. A poultice of crushed psyllium seeds is very beneficial. Additionally, psyllium is a great drawing agent. It is recommended for drawing the pus out of both boils and sores.
In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen while on prescription drugs. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by psyllium, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
September 09, 2009 11:08 AM
Kelp is a main source of natural iodine. It is used extensively by the Japanese. The Polynesians also use kelp regularly in their diet. An English physician by the name of Dr. Bernard Russell used burned, dried kelp in 1750 to treat his patients who were suffering from goiter. In 1862, it was used by Dr. C. Dupare with success to treat obesity.
Kelp has traditionally been used for its rich abundance of iodine to treat thyroid disorders, whether they are under-active or overactive. This herb is a great promoter of glandular health. It also regulates metabolism. Kelp has a reputation for increasing the rate at which calories are burned. The herb is used to rid the body of toxins and radioactive material by preventing their absorption. Kelp promotes the growth of healthy tissue, skin, hair, and nails. Additionally, it is able to improve the cardiovascular system, nervous system, and mental alertness. It also alleviates kidney, bladder, prostate, and uterine difficulties.
The ocean water possesses one of the richest sources of the vital life-sustaining mineral elements that are known to science. Kelp extracts and assimilates the mineral elements from the ocean water and converts them into a usable form for humans. The kelp plant is thought to provide nourishment, enhance the immune system, aid in hormone balance, and restore strength. The herb has been proven to contain antibiotic properties. It is also thoughT that the brominated phenalic compounds that are found in kelp are responsible for killing both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Kelp possesses natural iodine to nourish the thyroid. The Japanese eat kelp regularly and have an extremely low rate of thyroid disease. Through the regulation of metabolism, kelp helps to increase energy. It may also help reduce fat in the body. Kelp is full of nutrients that nourish the entire body. Kelp can also help to prevent the absorption of some radioactive elements known to cause tumors, cancer, and leukemia in adults and children.
Kelp is a great herb for the body, as it contains nearly thirty minerals. The entire plant of the kelp herb is used to provide alterative, antacid, antibiotic, demulcent, diuretic, hypotensive, mucilant, nutritive, and hypotensive properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are barium, bismuth, boron, calcium, chlorine, chromium, cobalt, copper, gallium, iodine, iron, lithium, magnesium, manganese, nickel, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, silver, sodium, strontium, sulfur, tin, titanium, vanadium, vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, G, S, and K, zinc, and zirconium. Primarily, kelp is extremely beneficial in treating adrenal gland problems, weak arteries, colitis, unhealthy complexion, eczema, and lack of energy, fatigue, goiter, infection, slow metabolism, weak nails, obesity, pituitary problems, and pregnancy problems, effects of radiation, unhealthy skin, and thyroid problems.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with acne, anemia, arthritis, asthma, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, gallbladder problems, gas, gastric disorders, glandular problems, headaches, heart problems, hypothyroidism, indigestion, kidney problems, morning sickness, nervous disorders, pancreatic problems, prostate problems, tumors, and lack of vitality. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by the kelp, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
August 27, 2009 02:40 PM
Garlic is very popular because of its health benefits. A perennial plant and member of the lily family, the bulb of the garlic plant is used for many medicinal purposes. Garlic was used by the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Egyptians. The Chinese used this herb at least three thousand years ago to treat various ailments. The Egyptians ate garlic while building pyramids to increase their strength and endurance. Hippocrates suggested that this herb be used for treatment of uterine cancer. Native Americans used garlic to fight abdominal cancer, while the Europeans used this herb during the plague years to provide immunity. The main historical uses of garlic were to treat colds, coughs, toothaches, earaches, diarrhea, infection, arteriosclerosis, headaches, dandruff, tumors, worms, and hypertension.
Garlic is nature’s antibiotic. This herb is very effective in fighting bacteria which may be resistant to other antibiotics. The herb stimulates the lymphatic system in order to throw off waste material. Garlic is different from other antibiotics in the fact that it has the ability to stimulate cell growth and activity. This herb rejuvenates all body functions. Garlic opens up blood vessels, reducing hypertension. It is known as a health-building and disease-preventing herb.
Several studies have linked garlic to a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease. This herb has been found to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, while lowering blood pressure, increasing immunity, and reducing the blood’s clotting ability. Research suggests that eating the equivalent of one-half to one clove of garlic daily can decrease total serum cholesterol levels by about nine percent. Anticoagulant capabilities have also been found in garlic by German researchers. Garlic is able to benefit those individuals who are suffering from peripheral arterial occlusive disease, which is better known as blood clots in the legs.
Garlic also contains antitumor properties, with studies showing it having the ability to inhibit the growth of cancer-causing nitrosamine. The National Cancer Institute even recommends adding more garlic, onions, and other similar vegetables to the diet. This would lower the risk of developing stomach cancer. Results from one study showed that garlic may be toxic to some cancer cells. It may encourage the immune system to spot the invaders and destroy them, allowing a natural immune process to destroy tumor cells.
Garlic is believed to stimulate the lymphatic system by ridding itself of toxins. The Russians consider garlic to be a natural antibiotic, which is why they consume it regularly. This herb is often used to prevent disease and heal the body. It is nourishing for the entire body, especially the heart, circulation, stomach, spleen, and lungs. Additionally, it has been used to stimulate circulation and to help the immune system function more effectively. Some believe that this herb may help prevent some forms of cancer, heart disease, strokes, and infections.
In summary, the bulb of the garlic plant is used to provide adaptogen, alterative, antibiotic, anticoagulant, antifungal, antineoplastic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, blood purifier, diaphoretic, digestive, expectorant, febrifuge, rubefacient, stimulant, and vulnerary properties. Primarily, garlic is extremely beneficial in dealing with asthma, blood impurities, high blood pressure, bronchitis, cancer, candidiasis, poor circulation, colds, colitis, coughs, infectious diseases, ear infections, fevers, flu, fungus, gastric disorders, heart disease, indigestion, infection, liver disorders, lung disorders, parasites, blood poisoning, prostate problems, respiratory problems, and staph/strep infections.
This herb is also good for treating acne, allergies, arthritis, childhood diseases, diabetes, diarrhea, edema, emphysema, gallbladder problems, hypoglycemia, insomnia, kidney ailments, pneumonia, rheumatism, sinus problems, ulcers, warts, and worms.
Garlic is a wonderful all purpose herb that can be found at your local or internet health food store. Always look for name brands when buying garlic to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.
August 15, 2009 01:37 PM
Myrrh is the reddish-brown resinous material that comes from the dried sap of a number of trees. Primarily, it is obtained from the Commiphora myrrha, which is native to Yemen, Somalia, and the eastern parts of Ethiopia. Additionally, it comes from Commiphora gileadensis, which is native to Jordan. The sap of a number of other Commiphora and Balsamodendron species is also referred to as myrrh. Its name is most likely of Semitic origin. The quality of myrrh can be identified through the darkness and clarity of the resin. However, the best method of judging the resin’s quality is by feeling the stickiness of the freshly broken fragments. The scent of raw myrrh resin and its essential oil is sharp, pleasant, somewhat bitter, and be described as being stereotypically resinous. It produces a heavy, bitter smoke when it is burned.
In ancient times, myrrh was valued as a fragrance and healing agent. Ancient Egyptain women used the burned myrrh to get rid of fleas in their homes. The Chinese used myrrh to heal wounds. They also used this herb for menstrual problems, bleeding, hemorrhoids, and ulcerated sores. Myrrh is often mentioned throughout the Bible. In the Old Testament it is referred to in the preparation of the holy ointment. In Esther, myrrh is used as a purification herb for women and it is a perfume in Psalm 45:8.
This herb is a powerful antiseptic. Similar to Echinacea, it is a valuable cleansing and healing agent. Myrrh works on the stomach and colon to soothe and heal inflammation. This herb also provides vitality and strength to the digestive system. Myrrh stimulates the flow of blood to the capillaries. Additionally, it helps speed the healing of the mucus membranes. Among these include the gums, throat, stomach, and intestines. Myrrh can be applied to sore and it also works as an antiseptic. It can help promote menstruation, aid digestion, heal sinus problems, soothe inflammation, and speed the healing process.
Research has verified the use of myrrh as an antiseptic. Sometimes, it is added to mouthwash and toothpaste. Myrrh has also been found to have mild astringent and antimicrobial properties. This herb contains silyamrin, which is able to protect the liver from chemical toxins and help increase liver function.
The resin of the myrrh plant is used to provide alterative, antibiotic, antimicrobial, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, emmenagogue, expectorant, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are chlorine, potassium, silicon, sodium, and zinc. Primarily, myrrh is extremely beneficial in treating asthma, bronchitis, colds, colitis, colon problems, cuts, emphysema, gangrene, gastric disorders, sore gums, hemorrhoids, herpes, hypoglycemia, indigestion, infection, lung disease, excessive mucus, pyorrhea, sinus problems, mouth sores, skin sores, tonsillitis, and toothaches.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with abrasions, arthritis, boils, breath odor, canker sores, coughs, diarrhea, diphtheria, eczema, gas, menstrual problems, nervous conditions, phlegm, rheumatism, scarlet fever, thyroid problems, tuberculosis, ulcers, wounds, and yeast infections. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen while on medications. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by myrrh, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
Buckthorn Of The Sea
August 05, 2009 04:05 PM
Sea buckthorn is also known as sea berry or Siberian pineapple. It is a small shrub that can be found growing natively in a wild swath across Europe and Asia. This plant has been used by southeast Asians to treat various diseases for hundreds of years. The ancient Greeks are believed to have used the berries of the sea buckthorn plant in order to promote weight gain and shiny fur in horses.
After analyzing the orange berries of sea buckthorn, an abundance of vitamins C and E, carotenoids, flavonoids, glucose, fructose, several amino acids, and fatty acids have been found. The berries of this herb are used in order to produce juices, jams, liquors, and lotions. The oil that comes from the berries of sea buckthorn has been used to treat ailments that are related to inflammation. Included in these ailments are canker sores, esophagitis, cervicitis, peptic ulcers, and ulcerative colitis. Horticulturalists from the Soviet Union and East Germany came up with new varieties of sea buckthorn during the Cold War years that produce bigger berries and better nutrition.
Traditional Chinese medicine uses sea buckthorn to boost energy. Olympic athletes in the country have recently used sea-buckthorn-based sports drinks as part of their training. This herb is used in Russia in ointments to help shield cosmonauts from radiation damage while in orbit. The oil found in sea buckthorn contains high amounts of palmitoleic acid, which is a rare fatty acid that is found in skin fat. This fatty acid aids cell tissue and wound healing. Some U.S. cosmetic firms put this herb into their skin creams in order to provide protectant and anti-aging properties.
Sea buckthorn is recommended by herbalists in order to boost energy levels, promote wound healing, and shield the skin from the damage caused by ultraviolet rays. Some research on the wound-healing and tissue-protecting properties of this herb has provided positive results. The extract was shown to strengthen cardiac pump function and myocardial contractility in animal studies where dogs with heart failure were tested. The herb also seems to improve oxygen use in the hearts of dogs and animal heart cells in test tubes.
Generally, sea buckthorn oils are used externally for burns and other skin damage. They are also used internally for stomach and duodenal ulcers. Anecdotal reports of sea buckthorn extract have shown it being used to fight tumor growth, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
The berries of the sea buckthorn plant are used to provide anti-inflammatory properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are amino acids, carotenoids, fatty acids, flavonoids, fructose, glucose, and vitamins C and E. Primarily, sea buckthorn is extremely beneficial in treating burns, canker sores, cervicitis, colitis, lack of energy, esophagitis, skin protection, ulcers, and wounds. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen while on medications. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by sea buckthorn, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
Slippery Elm Bark
July 23, 2009 10:35 AM
The slippery elm plant can be found natively growing in eastern North America. It is similar to the American elm in general appearance, but it is more closely related to European Wych Elm. Other common names for this plant are Red Elm, Gray Elm, Soft Elm, Moose Elm, and Indian Elm.
The Greek physician Dioscorides used slippery elm in ancient times to help speed up the healing of broken bones. A seventeenth-century herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper, also recommended this herb for healing broken bones, balding, and burns. This herb was known as a survival food by Native Americans and early colonists. These people considered this herb to be extremely valuable. They used the inner bark of slippery elm as a salve and applied externally for burns and wounds. Slippery elm bark was also used for colds, coughs, sore throats, wounds, as a poultice to bring boils to a head, and also for bowel complaints. This herb was considered to be one of the most valuable remedies in herbal practice by Dr. Edward Shook.
This herb contains about the same amount of nutrition as oatmeal. It is responsible for providing a wholesome and sustaining food for those people for young children and invalids. Slippery elm is mainly used to treat gastrointestinal problems. Like stomach and intestinal ulcers, soothing the stomach and colon, indigestion, acidity, and to lubricate the bowels. The mucilage content that is found in this herb is believed to help in healing ulcers and ulcerated colons. The herb has also been used for asthma, bronchitis, colitis, colon problems, and all lung problems. Slippery elm is also a mild purgative, which helps to assist with elimination.
Research done on slippery elm has found that it is an excellent demulcent. It is also beneficial for diarrhea, coughs, stomach problems, colitis, and lung problems. The bark of slippery elm contains mucilage which is responsible for swelling in water. This swelled mixture can then be applied to wounds or taken internally to soothe and heal. Some lozenges for throat irritations have powdered bark included in them to help soothe the throat and promote healing.
In short, the inner bark of the slippery elm plant is used to provide antacid, antineoplastic, astringent, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, mucilant, and nutritive properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, copper, iodine, iron, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, vitamins A, F, K, and P, and zinc. Primarily, slippery elm is extremely beneficial in treating abscesses, asthma, bronchitis, burns, colitis, colon problems, constipation, coughs, diaper rash, diarrhea, gastric disorders, and lung problems.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with appendicitis, bladder problems, boils, cancer, croup, diphtheria, dysentery, eczema, eye ailments, fevers, flu, hemorrhoids, herpes, inflammation, kidney problems, pain, phlegm, pneumonia, sores, syphilis, sore throat, tuberculosis, tumors, ulcers, uterine problems, vaginal irritations, warts, worms, wounds, and whooping cough. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by slippery elm, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
June 16, 2009 09:46 AM
Chickweeds are an annual herb that can be found growing in temperate zones, artic zones, and throughout. The most likely origin of this plant, although not known for sure, is Eurasia. Chickweeds have established themselves all over the world, as they may have been carried by clothes and shoes of explorers. Chickweed plants are as numerous in species as they are in region. Most species are succulent with white flowers. All of the species have practically the same edible and medicinal values.
This plant exhibits an interesting trait, as it folds its leaves over its buds and the new shoots every night. This event is known as the sleeping of the plant. Cultivating this plant is not exactly necessary, as it is abundant and easy to find. The plant can be gathered fresh and edible between May and July, as soon as the flowers appear. Not only can the plant be used fresh, it can also be dried for later herb use.
Chickweed can be found growing abundantly in areas of Europe and North America. The Ojibwe and Iroquois Native American tribes used chickweed as eyewash. They also used it in poultice form to heal wounds. It has recently been studied for its abilities in helping to prevent cancer.
Chickweed is extremely valuable in treating blood toxicity, fevers, and inflammation. Its mucilage elements are known to help with stomach ulcers and also inflamed bowels. Chickweed is great for helping to dissolve plaque in blood vessels as well as other fatty substances that can be found in the body. Chickweed acts as an antibiotic in the blood, as it may be recommended as an anticancer treatment. Some people have used chickweed to treat tumors.
Chickweed can be used as a poultice for boils, burns, skin diseases, sore eyes, and swollen testes. Chickweed is also recommended to aid in weight loss and to break down cellulite. This herb is mild and has been sued as a food as well as a medicine.
Chickweeds are very nutritious and high in vitamins and minerals. They can be added to salads or cooked as a pot herb. The plant tastes somewhat like spinach. The whole plant can be taken internally as a postpartum depurative, emmenagogue, glactogogue, and cirucaltory tonic. A decoction can also be used externally to treat rheumatic pains, wounds, and ulcers. Chickweed can be applied as a medicinal poultice to relieve any kind of roseola. It is effective wherever there are fragile superficial veins or itching skin conditions.
The entire chickweed herb is used to provide alterative, anorectic, antineoplastic, blood purifier, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, febrifuge, mucilant, nutritive, pectoral, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, sodium, vitamins C, D, and B-complex, and zinc. Primarily, this herb is extremely beneficial in dealing with excessive appetite, bleeding, blood impurities, convulsions, obesity, skin rashes, and ulcers. Additionally, chickweed can be extremely helpful in treating arteriosclerosis, asthma, bronchitis, bruises, bursitis, colitis, constipation, cramps, eye infections, gas, hemorrhoids, lung congestion, excessive mucus, pleurisy, blood poising, swollen testicles, inflamed tissue, water retention, and wounds. For more information the many beneficial affects of chickweed, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store with questions.
Chickweed is available in capsule and tablet forms at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands like Solaray, Natures Answer, and Natures Herbs to ensure quality and purity of the products you purchase.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Chickweed is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
June 05, 2009 10:13 AM
Black walnut is a species of flowering tree in the hickory family. This plant grows mostly from southern Ontario, west to southeast South Dakota, south to Georgia, northern Florida, and southwest to central Texas. The black walnut is large tree that reaches heights of 30 to 40 feet. The bark is grey-black and deeply furrowed. The leaves are alternate are about 30-60 centimeters in length. The male flowers droop to about eight to ten centimeters long, while the female flowers are terminal and can be found in clusters of two to five. These flowers ripen during the autumn into a fruit that has a brownish-green, semi-fleshy hush, and brown nut. The whole fruit falls in October. Although native to the Midwest and east central United States, the black walnut tree was introduced into Europe in 1629. Black walnut is more resistant to frost than the English walnut, but it thrives best in the warmer regions of fertile, lowland soils with a high water table. The nuts are harvested by hand from wild trees, with about 65% of the annual wild harvest coming from the U.S. state of Missouri.
For centuries, black walnut has been used in Europe to treat skin ailments and constipation. Recent research has led to findings that support its use for skin problems like boils, eczema, herpes, and ringworm. Additionally, it has many benefits for the stomach that are well represented. Black walnut was used by Native Americans as a laxative. Additionally, black walnut was used as a remedy for diarrhea and dysentery during the Civil War.
Black walnut has also been used for syphilis, TB, varicose veins, chronic infections of the intestines, and urogenital problems. Black walnut is considered to be very useful for killing parasites, tapeworms, and ringworm by herbalists. This nutrient causes oxygenation of the blood, which kills parasites. This fact has been proven through recent research. The brown stain that is found in the green husk of the black walnut is known to contain organic iodine, which has both antiseptic and healing properties.
It has been determined by scientific research that black walnut contains astringent properties that are healing to the skin and mucous membranes of the body. Black walnut can be gargled to clean stains on the teeth as well.
The hulls and leaves of the black walnut plant are used to provide alterative, anthelmintic, antigalactagogue, antineoplastic, antiseptic, astringent, and vulnerary properties. The primary nutrients found in black walnut are calcium, chlorine, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, organic iodine, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, selenium, vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, B15, C, P, and bioflavonoids. Primarily, black walnut is extremely beneficial in treating athlete’s foot, Candidiasis, canker sores, cold sores, dandruff, fungus, gum disease, herpes, infection, malaria, parasites, rashes, ringworm, and tapeworm.
Additionally, this herb is also extremely helpful in dealing with abscesses, acne, asthma, body odor, boils, cancer, colitis, diarrhea, diphtheria, dysentery, eczema, eye diseases, fevers, hemorrhoids, liver disorders, lupus, poison ivy, skin diseases, tonsillitis, primary tuberculosis, tumors, ulcers, varicose veins, and wounds. For more information on the many beneficial effects of black walnut, please contact a representative from your local health food store with questions. Black walnut is available in capsule and tablet forms at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Black walnut is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
May 20, 2009 12:00 PM
Bee pollen is made up of the fine powder that is found in the male seed of a flower blossom. Bees transport this powder and mix it with nectar to create their own form of nourishment. The pollen grains are collected and eaten by the bees, but they are also used to pollinate the flowers. Since the beginning of time, bee pollen and honey have been recognized for their astounding healing benefits. Egyptian records going back thousands of years have references to honey and the potential for healing that it holds. Marathon runners of ancient Greece recognized the value that bee pollen held to increase their strength and endurance. Bee pollen was also revered by European nations and Asian countries for its medicinal value.
Bee pollen is considered to be a complete food due to the fact that it contains every chemical substance that is needed to maintain life. This makes it a great supplement to help build the immune system and provide the body with energy. Recent scientific research has found that bee pollen contains properties which are beneficial to healing, revitalizing, and protecting against radiation therapy. Bee pollen is also a rich source of protein and carbohydrates. This nutrient can not only be used as a food supplement, but also to correct body chemistry and normalize weight.
Scientists at the Institute of Bee Culture in Buressur-Yvette near Paris, in addition to other researchers throughout Europe, have studied the effects of honeybee pollen consumption on human beings. The study concluded that there are exceptional antibiotic properties in bee pollen. It was also found that bee pollen is helpful in treating conditions like chronic fatigue, hay fever, allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, colds, balancing the endocrine system, and menopausal symptoms. Additionally, bee pollen can be helpful in treating other conditions such as prostate problems including prostates, infertility, indigestion, constipation, colitis, anemia, high blood pressure, premature aging, depression, and hair loss.
Bee pollen has also been shown to improve one’s concentration and mental function. A study found that a group of students’ mental performance improved drastically when supplementing with bee pollen. This nutrient also reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It does this by preventing plaque buildup in the arteries. This supplement is often used by athletes to increase strength, endurance, and speed.
The pollen of bees is used to provide both alterative and nutritive properties. The primary nutrients found in bee pollen are twenty-one amino acids, enzymes, essential fatty acids, and variable vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals depend on the region that the bee pollen is harvested in. Primarily, bee pollen is extremely beneficial in dealing with aging, allergies, hay fever, loss of appetite, lack of endurance, exhaustion, fatigue, a weak immune system, infection, multiple sclerosis, and pregnancy problems.
Additionally, bee pollen can be extremely helpful in treating asthma, high blood pressure, cancer, depression, hypoglycemia, indigestion, liver diseases, prostate disorders, and radiation. Bee pollen is available in capsules, tablets, and bulk powder forms for easy consumption. Always look for name brands to ensure quality and purity of the bee pollen product you purchase. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by bee pollen, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
May 19, 2009 01:10 PM
Even though bayberry is known best for the candle wax that is made from its fragrant berries, the dried root bark is used very often for its medicinal properties. Bayberry has been long used as a tonic to treat both diarrhea and external wounds. This herb has also been used as stimulant. Some Native American tribes even use bayberry to help reduce fevers. Bayberry is recommended as a tonic for its ability to stimulate the system and increase immune function. It is also recommended as a gargle to help treat tonsillitis and sore throat. It has also been considered that the astringent value of this plant may make it a great candidate for healing wounds.
The root, bark, and leaves of bayberry are used to provide alterative, antibacterial, antiseptic, astringent, emetic, febrifuge, insecticide, sialagogue, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb include calcium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, vitamins B1, B2, C, and zinc. Primarily, bayberry is used for its beneficial effects in treating cholera, colds, congestion, diarrhea, dysentery, fevers, flu, glandular problems, goiters, uterine hemorrhage, indigestion, jaundice, excessive menstruation, and primary tuberculosis. Additionally, this has been shown to be extremely helpful in dealing with bleeding, colitis, bleeding gums, liver disorders, excessive mucus, scurvy, sore and ulcerated throat, thyroid problems, ulcers, prolapsed of the uterus, and varicose veins. For more information of the many beneficial effects of bayberry, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
Bayberry was initially only used in the south of the United States, where the Choctaw Indians boiled the leaves and drank the decoction as a treatment for fever. Later, Louisiana settlers drank bayberry wax in hot water as a treatment for the most violent cases of dysentery. Bayberry was popularized by Samuel A. Thomas, a New England herbalist, in the early 19th century, for its ability to produce “heat” within the body. He recommended this herb be used for colds, flu, and other infectious diseases, in addition to using it for the treatment of diarrhea and fever.
Since then, other herbalists recommend bayberry as it is an excellent emetic after narcotic poisoning of any king. This herb is also valuable when it is taken daily for all kinds of hemorrhages. Bayberry has an excellent general effect on the female organs as it is excellent in helping the uterus during pregnancy. Additionally, it makes a great douche for women. Excellent results have also been demonstrated after bayberry’s use in goiter. Bayberry tea should be used as an enema in treating diarrhea and dysentery.
To treat sores, boils, or carbuncles, the herb should be used as a wash or poultice, or can be applied to the infection as a powder. Bayberry tea is also an excellent wash for both spongy and bleeding gums. When the tea is taken internally, it is useful in jaundice, scrofula, and canker sores in both the throat and mouth. When the tea is taken warm, it promotes perspiration, improves the whole circulation, and tones up tissues. If bayberry is combined with yarrow, catnip, sage, or peppermint, it provides an incomparable remedy for colds.
As you can see bayberry is an herb that is good for many different ailments. Look for this wonderful herb in capsule or tablet forms at your local or internet health food store. Always purchase name brands to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.
April 08, 2009 07:59 PM
There have been few herbs throughout history that have been valued as highly as the aloe vera plant. Aloe vera has been used for thousands of years because of its medicinal value and therapeutic benefits. Today, it is widely used and cultivated all over the world. The aloe vera plant is a member of the lily family. However, it looks much more like a cactus plant. This perennial produces yellow flowers and has tough, stiff, spiny, and triangular leaves. This plant may grow up to twenty inches long and five inches across, while the leaves grow in a rosette with three layers.
Historically, aloe has been used by many people. This includes the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Hebrews, Chinese, Indians, Algerians, Moroccans, Tunisians, and Arabians. Records of folklore have indicated many medicinal uses of aloe, with recent research adding validity to the many beneficial uses of the aloe plant.
Traditionally, aloe vera has been used to treat wounds, frostbite, burns, radiation burns, and external pain. This herb also aids in digestion and combats constipation, inflammation, ulcers, kidney stones, and tissue damage from X-ray exposure and other forms of radiation. Aloe vera can prevent scarring and heal minor scars because it contains enzymes, saponins, hormones, and amino acids that can be absorbed into the skin. Aloe vera can also promote the growth of living cells. Aloe contains many substances that are referred to as uronic acids. These uronic acids are natural detoxicants which take part in the healing process by stripping toxic materials of their harmful effects.
Aloe vera is best known for its soothing and external healing effect on burns, wounds, and rashes. According to modern research, when aloe is applied externally, it can help speed healing and restore skin tissue. This is primarily because of the plant’s moisturizing effects. Aloe is easily absorbed into the skin, preventing the air from drying damaged skin tissue and helping to relieve the pain that is associated with both burns and wounds.
Many studies have found the positive effects that are linked to the use of aloe juice in the digestive process. Used in the digestive process, this herb can treat stomach disorders, ulcers, colitis, constipation, and other colon-related problems. Aloe can also help to soothe, reduce inflammation, and heal the digestive tract. One study found that ulcer patients can be completely healed with the use of aloe juice just as effectively as anti-ulcer drugs and without the chance of toxic side effects.
Aloe gel is made up of acemannan, which is a complex carbohydrate that possesses immune-stimulating and antiviral properties. The acemannan in aloe has shown antiviral activity against HIV-1, as it inhibits the reproduction of HIV-1. Aloe gel has also been found to be effective in fighting the spread of some viruses, like herpes, measles, and rhinotracheitis.
The primary applications of aloe vera are to treat insect bites, burns and scalds, hemorrhoids, body odor, gastric disorders, and scar tissues. However, aloe vera has also been shown to be extremely beneficial in dealing with abrasions, acne, anemia, constipation, heartburn, poison ivy/oak, psoriasis, ringworm, sores, sunburn, tapeworm, tuberculosis, wrinkles, leg ulcers, and peptic ulcers.
Aloe vera is available in capsule, tablet, liquid and powder forms. Always purchase a liquid form to ensure freshness. When looking to purchase this product, always stick to name brands that you can find in your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Aloe vera is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
March 29, 2009 10:08 AM
Constipation occurs when one has difficulty passing stools, or infrequently passes hard, dry stools. This is the result of food moving extremely slowly through the large intestine. From time to time, most people experience constipation. However, lifestyle changes and better eating habits can help to relieve the symptoms and prevent recurrences. Constipation usually results from insufficient amounts of fiber and fluids in the diet. Fiber can be found in plant foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber that is water-soluble takes on a soft texture and is helpful in softening the stools. Insoluble fiber goes through the large intestine unchanged and is helpful in adding bulk to the stools to stimulate bowel contractions.
Other factors that can cause constipation include inadequate exercise, advanced age, muscle disorders, structural abnormalities, bowel diseases, neurogenic disorders, and a poor diet, especially a heavy consumption of junk food. Constipation can also be a side effect of iron supplements and some drugs, like painkillers and antidepressants. It is also common during pregnancy. High levels of calcium and low levels of thyroid hormone can also lead to constipation. Those with kidney failure are also prone to having problems with constipation. Constipation is often caused by dehydration in older individuals, with depression being a factor in people of any age. Some medications, like cough syrups, pain medications that contain codeine, antidepressants, iron supplements, blood pressure and heart medicines, calcium supplements, and some antihistamines can also cause constipation.
A small percentage of people with spinal injuries and other similar problems have constipation because the nerves that usually regulate bowel movement have been damaged or destroyed. A condition referred to as Hirshsprung’s disease makes the normal excretion of feces impossible because the nerves inside the bowel are missing. The nerve cells in the colon can also be damaged by long-term use of laxatives, which makes constipation inevitable. A thrombosed hemorrhoid, anal fissure, or a pocket of infection at the anus can create a spasm of pain that is strong enough to contract the muscles and prevent the evacuation of stools.
Constipation can cause a variety of other ailments such as appendicitis, bad breath, body odor, coated tongue, depression, diverticulitis, fatigue, gas, headaches, hemorrhoids, hernia, indigestion, insomnia, mal-absorption syndrome, obesity, and varicose veins. It may even be involved in the development of other serious diseases like bowel cancer. It is important to have regular bowel movements in order to remove toxins from the body. Toxins from bowel bacteria and undigested food particles play a part in the development of diabetes mellitus, meningitis, myasthenia gravis, thyroid disease, candidiasis, chronic gas and bloating, migraines, fatigue, and ulcerative colitis. People can have bowel movements as infrequently as three times a week and still not be constipated, but there are some health practitioners that believe that it is important to have a bowel movement every day.
The following nutrients are very helpful in dealing with and preventing constipation: garlic, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, apple pectin, chlorophyll liquid, essential fatty acids, a multi-enzyme complex, a multivitamin and mineral complex, vitamin B complex, vitamin D3, vitamin E. Additionally, the following herbs are also beneficial: alfalfa extract, fennel seed, aloe vera, ginger, milk thistle, triphala, cascara sagrada, goldenseal, rhubarb root, senna leaves, and yerba mate.
Adding a good fiber supplement as well as the above mentioned supplements can help one stop constipation and start normal bowel movements again. Natural fiber, vitamins, and herbs are available at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands such as Source Naturals, Solaray, Kal, Planetary Formulas, and Natures Plus to ensure quality and safely of all your natural supplement needs.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, herbs, and fibers are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Turmeric Extract (Curcumin)
February 10, 2009 01:18 PM
Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that has the potential to provide far-reaching health benefits. It has been shown to be helpful in rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetic retinopathy, and cancer. All of these diseases share underlying inflammation that curcumin may help to diminish.
If you have ever eaten curry or cooked with the spice turmeric, you’ve consumed curcumin. It is obtained from the roots of Curcuma longa and consists of several curcuminoids. Turmeric is biologically related to ginger. Curcumin works as an antioxidant, boosting levels of glutathione S-transferase, which is one of the body’s principal antioxidants. This antioxidant blocks the formation of prostaglandin E2, which is a compound that promotes inflammation within the body. Curcumin also inhibits two inflammation-promoting enzymes: COX-2 and 5-LOX. Additionally, curcumin is able to prevent mutations to DNA, which is an effect that helps to maintain younger, healthier cells.
A study conducted at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson had researchers using a curcumin rich turmeric extract to treat rheumatoid arthritis in laboratory animals. The extract blocked joint inflammation as well as the breakdown of joint cartilage and bone. It did this by inhibiting the genes that are involved in inflammation. Curcumin also holds tremendous promise in preventing cancer, as well as an adjunct treatment. Studies on animals have found that curcumin can protect against colon, intestinal, oral, and skin cancers. Its benefits come from several mechanisms. First of all, it blocks the cell-growth cycle in cancer cells, which eventually leads to destruction. It also reduces free radicals and inflammation, both of which can lead to cancer-causing cell mutations.
Many studies have found that curcumin can protect the liver against a variety of toxic compounds, which is important news for those people who are suffering from liver diseases like hepatitis or cirrhosis. In a recent study, researchers reported that curcumin increased the clearance of creatinine and urea, which are signs of improved kidney function. Additionally, curcumin reduced liver damage from toxic chemicals and excess iron.
Another study found that curcumin has the ability to inhibit the activation and spread of the liver cells that play a role in the development of cirrhosis. Japanese doctors have recently used curcumin, drugs, or placebos to treat 89 patients that have ulcerative colitis. These doctors found that a combination of curcumin and conventional medications resulted in the greatest benefits over six months of treatment. Patients in this study took 1,000 mg of curcumin after breakfast and again after dinner.
Inflammation is the underpinning of all chronic degenerative diseases, making curcumin likely to be beneficial for many different conditions. So far, research has identified curcumin’s benefits for diabetic retinopathy, lung disorders, and skin problems such as psoriasis. A dose of 3.6 g of curcumin reduced PGE2 levels by two-thirds in only one hour. After consuming curcumin daily for one month, PGE2 levels were 57 percent lower than before supplementation began.
Turmeric has been used as a culinary spice for at least 2,000 years. It was listed in an Assyrian herbal in 600 BC, used by ancient Greeks, and widely recommended in Ayurvedic medicine. Native to India and other regions of South Asia, it may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and help maintain mental function. Curcumin is safe in amounts of 500 to 8,000 mg daily, with most supplements providing 500 mg of curcumin.
Turmeric has been proven safe in larger amounts, but is usually limited by taste as a spice. One should look for a standardized supplement that contains at least 90 percent curcumin. Standardized Turmeric can be found at your local or internet health food store.
Guar Gum Fiber
October 27, 2008 04:21 PM
Guar gum is what is known as a soluble fiber, and it is well known that it promotes a healthy colon. You will not find soluble fiber in what you believe to be 'high fiber foods', yet it is a very important part of your diet, particularly if you have problems with your colon such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or even colon cancer.
Traditional high fiber foods, such as bran, leafy vegetables and cereals, contain insoluble fiber that mechanically act as an aid to digestion and the movement of your food through your gastrointestinal system. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, is found in what are more commonly regarded as starchy foods, although unlike starch, the chemical bonds that attach the various sugar molecules together cannot be broken by the acids and enzymes used by your gastric system to digest them.
They thus pass through the body undigested, in the same way as insoluble fibers, and so contribute to the mechanical system upon which the peristaltic pumping motion of the intestine depends. Because it is not digested, soluble fiber contains practically no calories since it does not contribute to the metabolism of your body. Fiber imparts many benefits in addition to enabling your intestine peristalsis to move your food through your digestive system.
For a start they don't contribute to your nutrition, either negatively or positively, but provide bulk to what you eat and provide help to your bowel movements by giving the intestinal muscles something to bite on. One of the benefits of such foods is their effect on your blood sugar and preventing the onset of diabetes. They can also help you to avoid obesity through providing virtually calorie-free bulk to your meals. Some fibers can bind chemically to toxins and certain fats, and can clean out your colon. So what's the benefit of soluble fiber over the insoluble type, and where does guar gum enter the equation?
Basically, soluble fiber is water soluble while insoluble fiber is not. Insoluble fiber is contained in cereals, beans and peas, fruits and in fact anything that doesn't dissolve in water, even when acted upon by that concentrated hydrochloric acid that is the basis of your digestive juices. Soluble fiber can help to prolonging the time that your stomach acids and enzymes spend in digesting your food. Soluble fiber is reported as conferring many health benefits, and guar gum and pectin are two of its major forms.
Guar gum is obtained from the guar bean, indigenous to India and Pakistan, but also grown in the USA, China Africa and Australia. The bean is edible to humans, and also used as cattle feed and fertilizer. TO obtain the gum, the seeds are dehusked and milled, and the gum is a whitish powder, not gummy as you might believe. However, when dissolved in water it gels when it comes into contact with calcium or borax.
It is effective as a laxative, due to the bulk it forms when dissolved in water, and can relieve not only constipation, but is also an effective treatment for IBS, Crohn's disease, colitis and other conditions of the lower digestive tract. Because it enables the colon to eject toxins and other undesirable waste products much more rapidly, guar gum is good for the health of your colon, and absorbs not only toxins but also undesirable bacteria.
Guar gum is what is known as thermogenic: it helps your body to burn fat by converting it to energy, with a resulting increase in your body heat. Not only that, but because it contains very little calorie content, it can bulk up a meal, help to make you feel satisfied and lower the glycemic index of your meal. It is used in many types of weight loss products and diets, although its uncontrolled use can be dangerous due to the potential blockage of your esophagus through insufficient fluid intake. For that single reason you are unable to purchase guar gum in non-prescriptive weight loss products.
Another of the benefits of soluble fiber, and guar gum in particular, is that it accelerates the absorption of calcium in the colon. Since calcium is normally absorbed in the small intestine, as opposed to the colon, this is good news for those seeking to lose weight. The reason for that is that the dairy products which traditionally contain most calcium tend to be high in calories, and guar gum enables you to get your RDA of calcium from a diet lower in these products by maximizing the calcium extraction and absorption right through the intestinal tract, and not only in the small intestine.
It has also been found to improve your tolerance to glucose. One of the problems that diabetics have is that sugars are absorbed mainly in the small intestine, whereas guar gum also enables it to be absorbed in the colon. Therefore, while the overall absorption level remains constant, there are no peaks and troughs since the absorption is constant through the entire intestinal tract rather than all the demand being in the small intestine. There is therefore less of a demand for insulin at certain times after a meal, so that the overall level of blood insulin can be reduced.
Guar gum is used as a delivery medium for certain drugs. Where it is desirable for a drug to be released into the colon as opposed to any other part of the gastrointestinal tract, this is the ideal substance. Guar gum can be degraded, if not digested, by anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that live in the absence of oxygen). Certain drugs can be attached to the guar gum molecule, and after consumption will pass unchanged through the stomach, duodenum and small intestine.
However, when it reaches the colon, the anaerobic bacteria that populate the large intestine degrade the gum, and release the drug molecules into the colon where they are needed. There are a number of delivery techniques in addition to using the gum itself, including using derivatives of guar gum, using a combination of the gum and other polymers and also multiparticulate delivery techniques.
Partially hydrolyzed guar gum also seems to increase the population of your bowel with friendly bacteria, or probiotics, such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. These can help to prevent or reduce the symptoms of many bowel conditions, and probiotic drinks taken with guar gum can be extremely beneficial to people suffering the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and other similar disorders of the lower intestinal tract.
So if you have a disorder of your lower intestine or colon, try a soluble fiber such as guar gum as a natural treatment, and where appropriate also take that with a probiotic. Most people find that their symptoms improve and in many cases they disappear altogether.
August 06, 2008 11:21 AM
Traditionally, Cat's Claw has been used to treat arthritis, gastritis, tumors, dysentery, and female hormonal imbalances. Today, the plant has shown the ability to treat viral infections, minimize inflammation, and provide therapeutic action for stomach and bowel disorders including arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, ulcers, gastritis, parasites, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, several types of cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, herpes, allergies, lupus, diabetes, PMS, yeast infections, hypoglycemia, prostatitis, bursitis, and rheumatism. European studies are currently looking at Cat's Claw for its ability to treat AIDS and cancer. Additionally, the herb has been used for Athlete’s Foot, Ear infections, back pain, TMJ syndrome, fibromyalgia, canker sores, sinus infections, and asthma.
Peruvians have trusted the anti-inflammatory abilities of Cat’s Claw for many generations, as it was traditionally used for any type of rheumatism or arthritic joint condition. Many studies on the plant metabolites found in Cat’s Claw have found that it does inhibit inflammatory response for a fact. The plant sterols that are found in Cat’s Claw have the ability to reduce artificially induced swelling. After extensive research, scientists have found that the strong anti-inflammatory activity is due to the presence of all the compounds together. These same compounds have an intrinsic anti-inflammatory effect as well.
These findings confirm what herbalists have advocated for many generations: the fact that plants are designed to be used in their whole form in order to be biochemically effective. Pharmaceutical synthetic versions of herbal medication shave so many bad side effects because they have been chemically extricated and isolated, which eliminates the very crucial role of other compounds that are vital to the function of the plant.
Natural botanical remedies, on the other hand, have been designed by nature to work together. Natural anti-inflammatories are extremely important for treating diseases such as allergies and arthritis because they have a lot less side effects than the prescription NSAIDs that are currently being used by thousands of individuals. Back pain, joint pain, inflammation caused by histamine release, and a whole lot of other maladies have resulted in millions of dollars worth of anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen to be purchased.
Diseases such as AIDS and flesh-eating viruses have received a good amount of press coverage over the last several years. Although a lot of us may not feel immediately threatened by these viruses, we may not be as strong as we could be immunologically. Most of us are battling a never-ending list of ailments such as colds, flu, sore throats, earaches, athlete’s foot, yeast infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and colitis.
With heart disease, cancer, and diabetes being responsible for thousands of deaths each year, our country as a whole is in poor health. Our immune systems, which are our build-in defense mechanisms, need to be kept in optimal working condition as infectious microorganisms and carcinogens constantly surround us. A healthy immune system has a great ability to fight off disease or at least minimize its stay in our body. By fortifying our defenses with certain herbs, vitamins, and antioxidants, we can greatly promote wellness in our bodies.
May 01, 2008 02:45 PM
Bromelain consists of two enzymes that digest proteins, otherwise known as proteases or proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes are obtained from different parts of the plant, one from the stem and the other from the fruit. It also includes protease inhibitors, acid phosphatase, peroxidase and calcium.
First used as a supplement in 1959, bromelain is particularly popular in Germany, where a lot of the recent research has been carried out. Because the stem enzyme is in the greatest amount, eating pineapple will not give a great deal of bromelain, and you will have to take the supplement which is extracted from the stem in order to get the greatest benefits.
Bromelain has several therapeutic effects on the body, and is a good aid to digestion. The enzyme can boost the digestive processes and so reduce the incidence of problems such as heartburn, acid reflux and any other condition caused by the incomplete digestion of foods. It does this by breaking down proteins so they are more easily digested.
In fact its potency is sometimes measured in GDUs (Gelatin Digesting Units), gelatin being a common protein that is easily used for the measurement of bromelain activity. It is also measured in MCU (Milk Clotting Units), since bromelain can also be used to clot milk, and a standardized dose should contain 2 MCU per milligram. The dosage to use depends a great deal on the condition being treated, but a good general average for digestive problems is 500 mg three times daily.
Bromelain works best at an optimum pH of 4.5 – 5.5 and can therefore help to balance the pH in its environment. It is extremely important to the immune system that the pH of the body is balanced and controlled to within certain limits, and bromelain can help to achieve that. In helping to reduce the excessive acidity caused by poor digestion, a balanced pH of the stomach is also maintained, helping to reduce the feeling of nausea, common with some digestive defects. The overall result of bromelain supplement is to help to maintain a better digestive system and ease the discomfort of many people for whom a meal is frequently not the pleasure it should be.
Bromelain is also an anti-inflammatory, and used for temporary relief of the inflammation caused by surgical procedures, arthritis and various injuries and forms of disease It is commonly used for the treatment of sports injuries and also immediately after surgery to reduce the risk of inflammation. It appears to have an inhibiting effect of the production of pro-inflammatory metabolites in the body, although the mechanism by which it works is not yet fully understood.
In fact many of the therapeutic benefits of bromelain have been show to be only partially due to its proteolytic activity, and it is now believed that there are also as yet unidentified non-protein factors present in bromelain that contribute to these forms of health benefit. The biochemistry of bromelain has yet to be fully characterized.
Notwithstanding that, the substance has been recommended for the treatment of a wide range of connected conditions, such as gout, arthritis, hemorrhoids, ulcerative colitis, autoimmune disorders, hay fever and sinusitis. It is particularly useful where there is pain, where tissues have become swollen and when tissue repair is needed. It appears to inhibit pain-inducing prostaglandins and is also believed in some way to induce the biochemical production of other prostaglandins that have an anti-inflammatory effect.
All of this knowledge has come as a result of studies carried out on the biochemical activity of bromelain, but have not yet been proved and is indicative of the lack of biochemical knowledge on this substance and the chemicals it contains. What have been demonstrated, however, are its effects on platelets and blood clots in arteries.
It appears to do this by the inhibition of the formation of high levels of fibrinogen from which clots are made, and also inhibits the aggregation of blood platelets and their ability to stick to the endothelial cells of blood vessels, particularly the arteries. The fibrin that is produced from fibrinogen not only promotes blood clotting but is also associated wit the retention of fluid. It is a protein, and the proteolytic effect of bromelain also breaks this down.
Bromelain therefore works in a number ways to reduce fluid retention, prevent blood clotting and inhibit the aggregation of blood platelets on artery walls. The measurable effect of this is the thinning of the blood that such activity promotes. It is logical that if fibrin contributes to the viscosity of blood, then its destruction will result in thinner blood, and hence lower blood pressure.
It is also used in the treatment of burns, where it helps to remove the dead skin that can delay recovery after third degree burns. It also appears to promote the absorption of many antibiotics, which again helps in recovery.
Bromelain is relatively safe to use with few side effects, although, curiously, among the side effects are some conditions it is also used to treat. Among these are nausea and allergic reactions, along with diarrhea and excessive menstrual flow. One of its successes has been in the control of menstrual pain.
Bromelain has been proposed for cancer therapy, its potential use being recommended due to its effect of the adhesion of cells, its regulation of the immune function and its effect on the immunosuppressive cytokine TGF-beta that is involved in several types of cancer and their metastasis (spread to other parts of the body). However, a lot more work is needed on this for definite conclusions to be drawn.
On a more practical note, the effect of bromelain on proteins is put to use as a steak tenderizer. If the product is sprinkled in powdered form onto meat, and then forked into the tissue, the enzymes will break down the protein of the meat and make it tender when cooked. However, don’t overdo it or you will end up eating a meaty mush more akin to a soft meatloaf than a good steak!
All in all, bromelain is a useful supplement for many medical conditions, and does to food in your stomach what it does to steak on the plate. It is generally used in supplement form because the active enzyme is not in a high enough concentration in the fruit itself, but in the stem from which it is extracted after the fruit has been harvested. It is also easier to standardize a supplement than a fruit.
Curcumin, Curcuminoids, and Curamin
April 30, 2008 10:40 AM
Curcumin, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, possesses many potentially far-reaching health benefits. After many studies preformed on humans, animals, and in-vitro, it has been found that curcumin may be helpful in rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetic retinopathy, and cancer. All of these previously listed diseases share an underlying inflammation, which can be diminished by curcumin.
If you have ever eaten curry or cooked with the spice turmeric, you’ve consumed curcumin. Curcumin, which consists of several curcuminoids, is the active constituent of turmeric, which is used in curry. Turmeric is biologically related to ginger. Curcumin works as an antioxidant by boosting levels of glutathione S-transferase, which is one of the body’s main antioxidants. It also blocks the formation of the prostaglandin E2, which is compound that promotes inflammation within the body. Curcumin also inhibits the activity of nuclear factor kappa beta, which is another substance that is involved in inflammation. Additionally, it reduces the activity of COX-2 and 5-LOX, which are two more inflammation-promoting enzymes. Lastly, curcumin prevents mutations that can result in DNA, which helps to maintain healthier, younger cells.
Curcumin taken as a supplement can help with any conditions and diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, liver and kidney protection, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory diseases. A study using a curcumin-rich turmeric extract done at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson, treated rheumatoid arthritis in laboratory animals. The results showed that this extract blocked joint inflammation as well as the breakdown of joint cartilage and bone by inhibiting the genes that are involved in inflammation. Curcumin also holds a great amount of promise in preventing cancer and also as an adjunct treatment.
Animal studies have shown that curcumin can protect against colon, intestinal, oral, and skin cancers as its benefits come from several mechanisms. First of all, it blocks the cell-growth cycle in cancer cells, which leads to cell destruction. Additionally, it reduces free radicals by its antioxidant properties, which can lead to cancer-causing cell mutations. Studies have also found that curcumin can protect the liver from a variety of toxic compounds. One recent study left researchers reporting that curcumin increased the clearance of creatinine and urea, which are signs of improved kidney function. It also reduced liver damage from toxic chemicals and excess iron.
Japanese doctors have recently used curcumin to treat patients with ulcerative colitis. A combination of curcumin and conventional medications has led to the best benefits over six months of treatment. Since inflammation is the root of all chronic degenerative diseases, curcumin is likely to be beneficial for many different conditions. So far, research has identified curcumin’s benefits for diabetic retinopathy, lung disorders, and skin problems including psoriasis.
Turmeric, which is the source of curcumin, has been used as a culinary spice for the past 2,000 years, was used by ancient Greeks, and is now a widely recommended Ayurvedic medicine. It is native to India and other regions of South Asia. By eating a lot of curry, which is rich in curcumin, you may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and help to maintain mental function. One study proved that people who often ate curry had half the risk of becoming mentally impaired. By eating curry on occasion, the risk of mental decline can be reduced by a little more than a third. Curcumin can be safely taken in amounts from 500 to 8,000 mg daily. Look for a standardized supplement containing at least 90 percent curcumin.
Una de Gato (Cat’s Claw)
April 26, 2008 09:36 AM
Una de Gato, otherwise known as cat’s claw, is properly Unicaria tomentosa. It has been used as an herbal medicine for at least two thousand years by the people of Central and South America who gave it the name vilcacora.
It grows in jungle areas and rainforest in South America and Asia, and gets its name from the small claw-like thorns at the base of the leaves. One of the environmental benefits of the Una de Gato is that when it is harvested at three feet above the ground, it grows back to its full size of up to 100 feet within a few years when it can be harvested again to three feet. Cat’s claw has been given dietary supplement status by the FDA.
The Peruvian Asháninka tribe has used the plant as a contraceptive and for the treatment of rheumatic conditions, diabetes, acne, diarrhea, cancer, urinary tract diseases and as an anti-inflammatory, and many of the studies of cat’s claw have centered on this tribe. The studies quickly showed the active ingredients to be alkaloids, both tertracyclic oxindole alkaloids and pentacyclic alkaloids that have been found both in the bark and in the root.
The extract is obtained by boiling both the inner part of the bark and the root, each of which differs in concentration of the various alkaloids. The root is believed to better for its anti-inflammatory powers due to the quinovic acid glycoside it contains, although the relative concentrations of the various alkaloids can vary according to the time of year and to the chemotype of the plant.
Cat’s Claw comes in two chemotypes, each of which differs in the relative concentrations of the two different alkaloid types. One predominates in the pentacyclic alkaloids that strengthen the immune system, and the other chemotype in the tetracyclic alkaloids that counter that effect and reduce the speed and strength of the contractions of the heart. It is not possible to tell which chemotype a particular plant is until it has been chemically tested. They look exactly the same and it is possible for both to grow sided by side. However, the root is generally richer in alkaloids, and sells at about twice the price of the bark. Alkaloids are not the only active ingredients in Una de Gato, and it also contains tannins and phytochemicals that have an antioxidant effect and are useful free radical scavengers. They have been studied for their effects in the treatment of HIV and cancer, though mainly due to the glycoside content that will be discussed shortly. The National cancer Institute has confirmed some anti-cancer properties of quinovic glycosides derived from cat’s claw.
The four pentacyclic alkaloids have been found to have a boosting effect on the human immune system, which it does by enhancing the ability of the white blood cells and macrophages to digest and kill off foreign organisms and debris in tissue and the bloodstream. The inference is that the herb is able to be used to treat a wide variety of infectious diseases, including many immune and autoimmune conditions including AIDS. The results with AIDs are inconclusive, although one particular study showed that cat’s claw produced accelerated healing of cold sores and genital herpes (herpes simplex virus) and shingles (caused by herpes zoster virus). Although the evidence is slight, there are indications of its possible use in treating viral conditions.
It is used in homeopathy for the treatment of a number of digestive ailments, such as Crohn’s disease, leaky bowel syndrome, colitis, gastritis and gastric ulcers among others. It is also used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism and some conditions of the prostate gland.
The tertracyclic indole alkaloids that appear to counter the immune-boosting properties of their pentacyclic cousins include rhynchophylline, hirsutine, and mitraphylline. Rhynchophylline prevents blood clots in the veins and arteries by reducing the formation of platelets, and can dilate the peripheral blood vessels of the hands and feet. It can also lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the heart rate. Due to this effect on blood vessels, it is though to be able to improve the circulation in the brain and be a useful treatment for Alzheimer’s sufferers. Hirsutine inhibits contractions of the smooth muscle of the bladder, and so finds uses in the treatment of urinary incontinence.
The pentacyclic alkaloids pteropodine and isopteropodine are believed to have important properties beyond their phagocytosis effect on the immune system. It has been reported that they have an effect on the 5-HT(2) receptors in the brain. These neurotransmitters are used as targets for many drugs used to treat a variety of conditions such as depression, eating disorders and anxiety, and such alkaloids have a positive modulating effect on them.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cat’s claw are largely due to the very potent quinovic acid glycosides previously referred to. These have been known about only recently, and they are thought to work synergistically to reduce the tissue swelling (edema) associated with the immune system’s inflammatory reaction. Although this is believed to be largely due to the glycosides, three of the alkaloids also possess anti-inflammatory properties. This property provides the scientific background for the traditional use of Una de Gato for rheumatism and arthritis, both inflammatory conditions. Many of the digestive conditions for which the plant has traditionally used are also inflammatory in nature.
A threat to cat’s claw is the destruction of the Peruvian rainforest, although not as much as a threat as the destruction of the plant itself. Cat’s claw has reached levels of popularity so high that it is in danger of extinction due to improper harvesting. New laws being enacted by the Peruvian government should help to protect the plant, and to promote its harvesting over cocoa.
When buying cat’s claw, make sure that it is the Uncaria tomentosa form you are purchasing since there is another type, Uncaria Guianensis that contains different alkaloids and is not as potent as the real Una de Gato. Also beware of a shrub known as cat’s claw acacia, grown in Mexico and the southwest USA, since it contains cyanide derivatives and could be very dangerous if taken by mouth.
Secondly, the Herb Boswellia
April 03, 2008 12:43 PM
Boswellia is a tree that has a number of different species that have been used in Ayurvedic medicine. This is a form of Indian medicine that is used today by millions in India, and also in the neighboring Nepal and Sri Lanka. Its approximate translation is ‘Meaning of Life’, or could even be subtended to ‘Science of Life’, and is more a system of health care than the treatment of specific conditions.
There are four species of Boswellia: Boswellia carteri, Boswellia frereana, Boswellia sacra and Boswellia serrata, and it is B.serrata that is predominantly used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a number of conditions, including ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, dysentery and asthma. It is not coincidence that most of these are inflammatory conditions, and even dysentery is a form of inflammatory colitis.
You might be more familiar with Boswellia by the fragrant resin that it produces: Frankincense. There are different grades of Frankincense according to the species and grade of Boswellia, and if you are using the resin for its aroma then that could be an important consideration. However, the active ingredient of Boswellia are the so called boswellic acids that are contained within the resin.
It has been used in the treatment of a number of inflammatory conditions including asthma. Many do not realize that asthma is an inflammatory response of the immune system to particulate irritants in the airway such as cigarette smoke and other small particles. In this case the inflammation is caused by the histamine that is released by mast cells sent to the area of irritation by the immune system.
Are Inflammation, Immunity, And Allergic Reactions A Role For Supplements?
November 10, 2007 11:29 AM
Inflammation, immunity diseases and allergic reactions are all connected with your immune system, and the way the body reacts to what it considers to be foreign invaders that are a risk to your health. Although you may not understand that all three have the basic underlying cause, in fact they do, and here is why.
Inflammation manifests as pain and swelling in the inflamed area, and not only can the area also get hot, but it can also raise your temperature in general, commonly called a fever. Fever is the body’s way of raising temperature above that at which foreign organisms such as bacteria and viruses can live, so any inflammatory condition that results in fever by definition must be an immune response through the body trying to eliminate foreign invaders.
If your body gets injured in any way, your immune system responds, and usually calms down again if decides that the injury is not serious. Your immune system is actually initiated by what are known as pro-inflammatory hormones, such as prostaglandins that stimulate the nerves to signal pain and swell the blood vessels close to the injury to make room for the large white blood cells when they arrive. That also allows blood and plasma to rush out and cause swelling at the site of the injury. Other prostaglandins act to quell the immune response, and get your body back to normal.
Another such hormone is a cytokine, which informs the brain of the intrusion. Some cytokines called leukocytes stop the immune system when necessary to prevent the destruction of healthy tissue, and also halt the inflammatory response. If the leukocytes are not working properly, the body can be severely damaged as the immune system becomes uncontrolled and starts to attack healthy tissue.
Then there are the histamines that allow you to expel the agents causing the problem by sneezing, watery eyes, runny noses and scratching. They lead lymphatic fluid and blood to the site of the problem in order that the invasion can be attacked and destroyed.
It is the histamines that provide what is commonly referred to as an allergic reaction, which is really the immune system coming into action to remove invaders such as pollen, dust mites and any other agent that can cause an allergy. Immunity is caused by introducing small amounts of the agent into the blood, so that the immune system can develop a memory of them. Then, when the same invader returns at a later date, the system can immediately attack them with the antibodies that have been produced.
All of these: inflammation, immunity and allergies, are caused by the reaction of the immune system to what it perceives as an invader. Normally these are bacteria and viruses, but sometimes they react to other foreign bodies such as pollen. In some people this provokes no response at all, while in others it provokes the immune system to create antibodies against the pollen, and emit histamine to expel it.
Substances that cause allergies are referred to as allergens. Many allergens are environmental, such as dust, pollen and peanuts. Some people are allergic to certain animals, such as cats or dogs, and others to chemicals in the air such as hydrocarbon emissions, particularly when in particulate form.
The symptoms can be simple, such as a runny nose, a cough and hay fever or more complex such as hives, eczema and asthma. All of these are caused by the immune system reacting to an invader. There are also foods that cause internal inflammation, such as shellfish and whitefish, eggs and tomatoes. Many of these can be extreme, leading to serious illness and can even be fatal. So what can be done to treat people who are particularly prone to inflammation and allergic reactions?
Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce inflammation, unlike their Omega-6 cousins that appear to increase it. Omega-3 oils contain chemicals known as eicosanoids, of which the prostaglandins are an example. While this might seem paradoxical, since prostaglandins are what set off the whole process, there are many types of these. Prostaglandin E2 is the type that leads to allergic immune reactions, and omega-3 fatty acids reduce the concentration of these in the blood.
Those who eat little fish tend to suffer more from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and other conditions indicating a lack of control of the immune system. On the other hand, processed foods contain more omega-6 fatty acids that can promote these conditions. The major components of omega-3 oils are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and also DHA, docosahexaenoic acid. These are all anti-inflammatories and have been shown to have very positive effects on inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and eczema. Each of these is a different type of inflammatory condition caused by inappropriate immune response.
However, it not just fish oils that can help resolve problems with our immune system. Quercetin is what is known as a flavonoid. It is a strong anti-oxidant and natural anti-histamine that combats histamine release and the swelling associated with the immune response to allergens. It also counters the inflammatory agents of arthritis and so helps to reduce the pain associated with many of these conditions. It appears to work better in conjunction with bromelain, a very powerful anti-inflammatory that also possesses anti-allergen response properties. Bromelain is extracted from pineapple stems.
Another natural product is a resin extract that is obtained from the Boswellia serrata tree. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and has been recommended for the treatment of arthritis (rheumatoid and osteo), Crohn’s disease and has been suggested as a treatment for asthma, though studies are still under way. However, world wide experience is that Boswellia is effective against gout, psoriasis and ulcerative colitis, to name another three totally different inflammatory conditions.
What all of this indicates are two things. First that inflammation, immunity and allergic reactions are connected conditions, and due to either poor control over or an over stimulated immune response to what the body perceives as being abnormal, in the way that hormones and other chemicals that are used to control our immunity detect it to be.
Secondly, there are many natural products that can be used as supplements to treat these effects caused by the immune system, and that their effectiveness has been proven, if not by scientific study, then by generations of traditional application as treatments of the symptoms of the conditions concerned.
However, although many have been proved by scientific study, others have not, and you should always refer to your physician before undergoing any treatment other than that prescribed. Also, there is incontrovertible evidence that the role for supplements in the treatment of inflammation, immunity and allergic reactions are beneficial. Many use nothing else.
Triphala: A Traditional Ayurvedic Herb to Help Cleanse the Body
November 01, 2007 01:44 PM
Triphala is a traditional Indian ayurvedic remedy, that, as the name suggests, is actually composed of three different herbs or fruits. However, before describing the constituents, first an explanation of what ayurveda is and what it does.
Ayurveda is a science that is centuries old, and has been in use for at least five thousand years. Originating in prehistoric India, it is based upon the approach it takes in that all ills are caused by anomalies of the digestive system. All that exists on earth is believed to be composed of five elements (the pancha mahabhooota): earth (prithyi), fire (agni), water (jal), air (yayu) and ether (akash). The latter can be approximately described as space
Ayurveda combines these into three main doshas: Vata, a combination of the ether are air elements, Pitta, which is the same as the fire element, and Kapha that is a combination of the earth and water elements). Each of these has specific effects on the body, and when in equilibrium then the body is also in equilibrium.
Vata governs what is loosely described as movement in both the mind and body. An excess of vata leads to worries, anxiety, constipation and cramps of the stomach. It is responsible for waste elimination, flow of the blood, breathing and even movement of thought. Everything connected with movement in the body. It is believed to be expressed visibly and audibly as creativity and art and is believed also to be the initial cause of all disease and illness.
Pitta, the fire dosha, governs the metabolism and body heat. It is responsible for the way we digest our food and how we know right from wrong. An excess of pitta causes anger, ulcers, dyspepsia and criticism. If your pitta is balanced you are a good friend and warm personality.
Kapha provides and maintains the physical elements of the body, such as good joints, healing of wounds and strength. It maintains a strong heart and lungs, and everything physical. It promotes love and forgiveness, but also envy and greed. Too much in an individual causes lethargy, allergies, congestion and weight gain. It is also called the mucus humor.
The three fruits of triphala are amalaki, bhibitaki and haritaki, and together maintain these three doshas in balance. Amalaki, or amla, is used to treat an imbalance in the pitta, or fire humor. It is sour and is exceptionally rich in vitamin C and is therefore a strong anti-oxidant. It is the highest natural source of this vitamin. It is used as a tonic, for boosting the immune system and for its anti-aging properties. It is also a good adaptogen and has strong stomach acid neutralizing effects. It is therefore effective in reducing dyspepsia and in the treatment of gastric ulcers, and also possesses cholesterol-reducing properties. Amalaki provides the body with strength and is used in the treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract and any illness that creates burning sensations.
Bhibitaki, or bihara, is also useful in the treatment of respiratory disorders, and has a number of effects that are useful in treating digestive disorder. It deals with problems associated with the kapha or mucus humor. Thus, it possesses anti-mucal, laxative, astringent, digestive and anti-spasmodic properties, and is also a tonic and an expectorant and helps deal with allergies.
Haritaki, or haradaha, deals with diseases of the vata humor. It is very bitter with a strong antimicrobial and laxative effect on the digestive system, and is a rejuvenator that promotes long life and boosts the immune system of the body (though the scientific effect was unknown to the ancient exponents of ayurveda). It also possesses an astringent and lubricant effect and used to treat constipation, anxiety and stress.
When combined into triphala, the products are a popular treatment for all digestive disorders and is popularly used to cleanse the colon. It aids digestion, improves the metabolic processes involved and also aids abdominal pains, flatulence and eases conditions of the liver. It is useful in the treatment of what today are termed ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. The ancient Indians were able to treat these conditions of the digestive systems without understanding what they were and what caused them.
Triphala is also widely used in the treatment of conjunctivitis and prevention of atherosclerosis. This is likely due to its antioxidant effect and the high level of ascorbic acid it contains. Its anti-inflammatory properties are also likely derived from the same source. These properties, and its effects as a tonic and cleanser, render it a popular treatment for many skin conditions. It is a multi-purpose treatment for a multitude of illnesses and conditions and has been used effectively for thousands of years.
Modern science has provided an explanation for most of these effects. Many of the conditions that triphala is effective in treating have been shown to be caused by excessive blood cholesterol and lipid levels. Many can be attributed to circulatory disorders caused by cholesterol build up in the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Some of the benefits of the three fruits are associated with the lowering of cholesterol and of blood pressure that benefits circulation.
Cholesterol build up and internal stress is associated with the consumption of hot spicy foods, the use of excessive stimulants and repression of the natural emotions. The way the body handles these is to produce corticosteroids that can contribute to cholesterol build up in the blood. Triphala can be used to reduce blood LDL cholesterol and increase the HDL lipoprotein that eliminates cholesterol from the body. Amla fruit has been shown to reduce serum and aortic cholesterol, and also increase cardiac glycogen that provides an energy source for the heart that can help prevent cardiac disease.
Bihara contains 35% oil of which 31% is linoleic that increases the good HDL cholesterol and reduces the bad LDL cholesterol. Harada has been found to reduce blood pressure and intestinal spasms, thus backing up its use for treating heart and intestinal conditions.
Triphala is a traditional ayurvedic herb that has many uses in cleansing the body that have been investigated and backed up by modern medical science. The mixture of the three fruits have strong anti-oxidant, anti-spasmodic and cholesterol reducing effects, and also possess laxative properties that can ease a large number of different physical and psychological health problems.
Selecting the Right Probiotic is the Key to proper digestion
May 05, 2007 01:16 PM
Selecting the Right Probiotic is the Key
Do you ever think about what goes into your body each day? You should. One of the key to feeling good and being healthy s eating nutritious food and making sure our gastrointestinal (GI) tract has the tools it needs to optimally digest and absorb nutrients. The GI tract includes the stomach and intestines, which work to digest foods and eliminate waste.
A variety of “good” intestinal bacteria helps to keep the digestive system running. These “good” bacteria are called probiotic bacteria, or probiotics. Probiotics digest food, process waste, and keep the “bad” bacteria – which have the potential to cause disease and illness – in check.
This issue of Ask the Doctor will look at the probiotic bacteria that play an important role in maintaining our health and wellness: we need them, what they can do for us, and how to make sure we are getting enough. Also, we will talk about an exciting process that truly delivers probiotic bacteria taken in nutritional supplements. Encapsulated in a pearl-like sphere, they survive transport to the intestines, set up house, and exert their beneficial effects. As we will see, probiotic supplementation can help prevent and treat many different illnesses, unless the beneficial bacteria reach the intestines alive and active, the supplement is worthless.
Q. I thought bacteria were bad. How can bacteria be good for us?
A. Some kinds of bacteria do cause illnesses and disease in humans. “Strep” throat is an example of an illness caused by bacteria.
However, the majority of bacteria do not cause disease. In fact, there are types of bacteria that are actually beneficial. “Good” bacteria, known as probiotic bacteria, are used in the manufacturing of food and beverages. Some examples of foods that have probiotic food ingredients are buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, sausage, and acidophilus milk.
These same kinds of probiotic bacteria are present in our intestines and help to keep the digestive system running by digesting food and processing waste.
Q. What are probiotics?
A. Probiotics are live bacteria that are non-toxic and do not cause disease (non-pathogenic).
Some of the best-understood probiotic bacteria include members of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium groups. Because of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium’s ability to break down lactose, these probiotic bacteria are also known as lactic acid bacteria. Both of these types of probiotic bacteria are well studied and are available in both food and dietary supplements.
Q. Is there a difference between the probiotic bacteria that is found in yogurt, and in nutritional supplements?
A. Actually, the bacteria that are in yogurt, our intestine, and most natural supplements are the same types of probiotic bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria longum. Because of this, these bacteria are referred in a generic sense as probiotics. So, the term probiotics may refer to the “good” bacteria that are present in food or that live in our intestine, or that are part of a natural supplement.
Q. Where do these probiotic bacteria come from?
A. As recently as the middle of the last century, bacteria found naturally in food ingredients were used to make a fermented food product. For example, the example, the lactic acid bacteria found naturally in milk were used to make cheese. This was known as wild fermentation.
Wild fermentations are no longer used. Today, the probiotic bacteria used in food and natural supplements are harvested via a highly controlled fermentation process. This process results in high numbers of bacteria and ensures quality and purity of the bacteria.
A. Normal microflora (the term commonly used for intestinal bacteria) is associated with good health. An imbalance in this natural microflora (when the beneficial probiotics are outnumbered by the harmful bacteria) is frequently associated with various disease states such as yeast infections and colon cancer.
Eating foods or taking a nutritional supplement containing probiotic bacteria can help support and modify the composition of the large intestine microflora. Microflora of the large intestine assist digestion through fermentation (by making the intestines more inhospitable to invading bacteria species), protection against disease-causing bacteria, and stimulation of the immune system.
The probiotics, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, occupy a central role in the intestinal and provide health benefits.
Q. How do probiotic bacteria help with digestion?
A. Lactose is an important sugar that is converted to lactic acid by lactic acid bacteria. Lactose intolerance results from an inability to digest lactose, due to the failure of small intestine mucosal cells to produce lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose. This often results because of genetics, gastrointestinal disease, or because of the decline in the amount of intestinal lactase levels associated with aging. Lactase deficient people accumulate non-absorbed lactose in the gastrointestinal tract, which draws water and electrolytes into the gut and speeds waste through the intestines, leading to bloating, cramping, and diarrhea.
Approximately 50 million people in the
Lactic acid bacteria have been shown to help the breakdown of lactose, specifically by enhancing the activity of lactase (beta galactosidase), which improves lactose digestion and tolerance. Furthermore, in a randomized, controlled clinical trial, Bifidobacteria longum was shown to assist in the breakdown of lactose and relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance (flatulence) in people with lactose intolerance.
Q. What is the difference between digestive enzymes and probiotics? Can they be taken together?
A. Digestive enzymes, such as protease, amalyse, and lipase, act upon food, breaking it down into simpler components that can be used by the body for energy. Without enzymes, digestion could not take place. Therefore, the food that we eat could not be absorbed and utilized by our bodies.
Probiotics help the enzymes to digest food and process waste. In essence, probiotic bacteria and enzymes work together to ensure that the digestive tract is running smoothly. When taken together, enzymes assure greater levels of digestion absorption of your food, and probiotic bacteria aid the enzymes in digestion and keep problems in check.
Q. Is helping to ensure a healthy digestive system the only use for probiotics?
A. Absolutely not! Probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, have been found to help prevent vaginal yeast infections in women that suffer from these reoccurring infections.
Approximately 35% of vaginal infections are caused by the yeast. Candida albicans, Candida, is a fungus that is a component of the normal gastrointestinal microflora. However, Candida must not be allowed to increase in numbers. An overgrowth is associated with adverse health effects like vaginal infections, oral thrush, or even serious systematic yeast infections. Probiotics have been shown to keep levels of Candida in check.
Probiotic bacteria have also been demonstrated to have anti-cancer properties. In baa clinical study, colon cancer patients given Lactobacillus acidophilus fermented milk showed a significant increase in numbers of intestinal Lactobacilli and a decrease in risk factors associated with colon cancer.
Patients suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can benefit from probiotic bacteria supplementation. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria assist in maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis and preventing reoccurrence of Crohn’s disease. Manipulating the intestinal flora may prove to be more effective and better tolerated than the drugs that are conventionally given to treat these diseases. I one study, Lactobacillus acidophilus was found to improve the intestinal barrier and clinical status in children suffering from Crohn’s disease.
Probiotics supplementation can also improve and prevent skin disease, such as eczema. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria can actually control inflammation associated with skin conditions. In one study, infants with eczema who were given probiotic-supplemented formulas showed a significant improvement in skin condition.
The chart below summarizes some of the diseases and conditions that probiotic bacteria can help prevent and/or improve.
Q. How often should probiotics be taken to ensure optimal support of the digestion system?
A. Probiotic bacteria do not permanently colonize in the body. They need to be replenished by the consumption of foods containing probiotic bacteria or by taking a probiotic natural supplement. Whatever form you choose to replenish the intestinal probiotics, they need to be ingested daily for their health-promoting effects to continue.
Q. If I take a probiotic nutritional supplement, how many bacteria should a good quality supplement contain?
A. The critical factor is not how many bacteria that a supplement contains, but rather how many bacteria reach the intestines healthy, vigorous, and ready to work.
A good quality supplement will deliver at least 3 billion living, healthy probiotic bacteria per dose to your intestines. The bacteria in the probiotic natural supplement should be a mixture of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.
Again, the critical key to a good quality probiotic supplement is that the bacteria must be alive to work. Only living probiotic bacteria can colonize in the intestines. A good quality probiotic nutritional supplement will have GUARANTEED levels of live bacteria at the point of consumption. Inferior brands will merely state levels of live bacteria at the point of manufacture.
Recently, a private laboratory tested various probiotic nutritional supplements in the marketplace, including one utilizing a new process that encapsulates the bacteria in a spherical, pearl-like coating. Each of these supplements were best-selling brands, two of them were enteric coated, and all had label guarantees about potency. The lab counted the levels claimed by each manufacturer.
Q. Then how do I know I am getting what I pay for?
A. First, look for a product that has a “use by” date or an “expiration” date clearly stated on the package.
It is also important to look for a probiotic supplement that does not require refrigeration. Probiotic supplements that require refrigeration often have been subjected to warm temperatures during shipment and storage that will inevitably kill off some or all of the bacteria.
It is also important that the product label guarantees live bacteria at the time of purchase, not at the time of shipment or manufacturing. However, from the laboratory test discussed, we see that sometimes these written guarantees are not worth the paper they are written on. There is one scientifically validated process that truly delivers live and vigorous bacteria to the intestine. This process suspends the probiotic bacteria in a moist paste and immediately seals the bacteria in a perfectly seamless, spherical, gelatin ball. This bacterial paste is completely protected from air and dryness so the bacteria are alive until the specialized gelatin dissolves – in the intestines.
Q. Why is it important to dissolve only in the intestine?
A. Lactic acid bacteria are not very resistant to the acids of the stomach. The harsh environment of the stomach destroys the majority of these bacteria.
This pearly-like coating technology protects bacteria from the stomach acid. The sphere is specially developed to only dissolve in the intestines. Enteric coating is not enough as it does nothing to protect the bacteria while they wait for purchase on the shelf.
Q. What does this proprietary coating technology mean to me?
A. This specialized process is an expensive processing step, but it has many advantages to you.
The pearl-shaped spheres actually “seal” the bacteria in the capsule, which protects them from air. Probiotic bacteria are anaerobic, meaning they do not require oxygen to live. In fact, the presence of oxygen can actually injure or kill probiotic bacteria. In addition, the special coating’s ability to seal the bacteria in the capsule stimulates the need for the nutritional supplement to be refrigerated – though they can be kept in the refrigerator, if desired.
By protecting the bacteria on the shelf and in the stomach, the probiotic bacteria successfully reach the intestine. As a result, there will be a greater number of healthy, intact bacteria that can colonize in the intestine.
Many health care practitioners believe all health issues are related in some way to the process of digestion. Probiotics play a crucial role in improving our digestive health, which, in turn, is interconnected to every single function in our bodies.
Taking a probiotic supplement is an excellent way to replenish the good bacteria in your intestinal microflora. A quality probiotic product contains two different types of bacteria from Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species with at least one billion live bacteria per dose.
But how do you know the bacteria re still alive? Look at the package. If there is no fate stamp, put it down. If it says the company guarantees there was a certain number alive at the time of manufacture, put it down. Tat means that the company is not willing to claim the bacteria are alive when delivered to the target site, the intestine. If the product must be constantly refrigerated, put it down. How do you know it didn’t sit in a truck for two days, or was in a warehouse before it was shipped to the health food store?
Find a probiotic that says the bacteria are guaranteed to be alive in the numbers stated on the label until the printed on the package. Find a product using unique, cutting edge science to deliver the probiotic bacteria in a form that uses spherical, sealed, triple coating to protect the bacteria. That company has gone to extra time and expense to make sure you reap the benefits that probiotics can offer.
Safe Solutions for Chronic Pain
March 30, 2007 12:09 PM
Safe Solutions for Chronic Pain
One of the biggest challenged in healthcare today is the problem of pain. There are simply too many people living each and every day with ongoing, unremitting chronic pain. And there are far too many healthcare providers who – for a variety of reasons – are failing to adequately address this serious problem.
Recently, 368 doctors who routinely care for patients with chronic pain agreed to take part in a unique study. The doctors were surveyed about the pain medicines hey prescribe, what kind of treatment goals they hope to achieve, and how they felt about their ability to help their patients. They were also presented with four chronic pain vignettes or mock case studies and asked to select the best treatment for each scenario from multiple choice answers.
Sadly, many doctors chose the worst treatment options in the case studies. The medications they reported using in their practices did not reflect current pain treatment standards. They tended to set low treatment goals 0 instead of aiming for a least a 75% reduction of pain for their patients, they settled for 10% to 20% reductions. And many of the doctors admitted they lacked confidence in their ability to relieve their patients’ pain and suffering.
Adding to the challenge are the almost daily news announcements about dangerous side effects in certain pain medications. Synthetic prescription COX-2 inhibitors, once hailed as the safest of drugs, have been linked to heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and intestinal bleeding. The over-the counter (OTC) drugs aspirin and ibuprofen kill over 16,000 people each year. And acetaminophen, the most widely used pain reducer in the
As a doctor specializing in chronic pain disorders, I know that optimal pain management can be a real challenge. However, I also know:
-You do not have to live in chronic pain.
-Your chronic pain, no matter what the cause, can be reduced, and usually
-Chronic pain can be relived both effectively and safely with powerful all-natural
Q. What is chronic pain?
A. Sudden, or acute, pain occurs when pain signals immediately fire in your nervous system alerting you to an injury, like a broken ankle, or an illness, such as appendicitis. Once the injury heals or the illness is cured, the transmission of pain signals stop.
Ongoing – or chronic pain – is much different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. There may have been an initial injury, such as sprained back muscles, or an initial illness, such as a serious infection. There might be an ongoing cause of pain, such as arthritis, cancer, or fibromyalgia. Chronic pain also occurs without any past injury or evidence of body damage.
The most common kinds of chronic pain are headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, and neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to nerves or to the nervous system itself). While chronic pain differs in its origin and where it occurs, it is generally your body’s way of saying that something urgently needs attention, and will not o away unless its underlying causes are addressed.
These causes can usually be determined if you remember the acronym “SHIN”. This stands for Sleep, Hormonal deficiencies, Infections/Inflammation/Impingement, and Nutritional deficiencies. When these are treated, pain often resolves.
Q. Why is it so hard to effectively reduce chronic pain?
A. Unfortunately, many physicians’ entire education in pain management consists of “giving nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (pronounced en-sayds), COX-2 inhibitors, or acetaminophen and considering narcotics if the patient has cancer.
Some NSAIDs, like aspirin and ibuprofen, are available over-the-counter, while others, like the synthetic COX-2 inhibitors are only available with a doctor’s prescription. These mediations are usually inadequate and often toxic when used for chronic pain. And they do not address the problem(s) that the pain is trying to alert you to.
Q. What exactly are COX-2 inhibitors?
A. COX-2 inhibitors do pretty much what their name implies – they inhibit a natural enzyme in our body called the clclooxygenase-2, or COX-2, enzyme. There are two COX enzymes – COX-1 and COX-2 and both complete several actions in our bodies. One very important action that both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes share is the speeding up of our body’s production of prostaglandins. These hormone-like substances are made by the cells of the body and have several important functions.
Some of the most powerful prostaglandins cause inflammation, pain, and fever when we are sick or injured. Prostaglandins also protect the lining of the stomach from the damaging effects of acid. Other prostaglandins make sure our platelets (important blood cells) make blood clots when needed. Still others help our kidneys get rid of unwanted salt and water. And researchers have just recently recognized the importance of still another prostaglandin that protects our heart and blood vessels.
The NSAIDs reduce pain by reducing prostaglandin production by blocking or inhibiting the COX enzymes. In theory – less prostaglandins, less pain and welling seems reasonable. But if you really stop and think about it, it’s pretty easy to understand why this method of pain relief might result in significant consequences.
Pain and inflammation are often needed for healing. And just as needed is the protection of our stomach lining, blood clotting ability, assisting kidney function, and keeping our blood vessels healthy. And scientists are beginning to understand if you interfere with one natural response, you may be disrupting the body’s ability to prevent extremes and imbalances.
That’s why using aspirin and ibuprofen can result in stomach ulcers, kidney problems, and internal bleeding. And that’s why using synthetic COX-2 inhibitors can result in high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.
Q. Why are we just now learning about the dangers of COX-2 inhibitors and other NSAIDs?
A. That’s a good question!
Many people over the age of 65 have chronic pain conditions and are frequent users of OTC and prescription NSAIDs. This age group also experiences heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease in greater numbers. So, if a 70 year old woman who’s been using Celebrex for the past two years for arthritis in her knees suddenly has a heart attack one morning, it would not be entirely unexpected.
For the past five or six years, researchers have been studying the possibility that NSAIDs may prevent certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and other health problems. The ongoing, close scrutiny of large group of people taking these medications by scientists who were conducting these studies has resulted in the discovery of these dangers.
Q. What kind of natural compounds relieve chronic pain?
A. There are many – glucosamine, Omega-3 fatty acids, the B vitamins – the list goes on and on. Instead of disrupting normal bodily responses, these natural compounds work in harmony with our body to eliminate chronic pain. Three very powerful and very effective all natural plant compound pain and inflammation relievers are Sweet Cherry, Boswellia serrata, and White Willow Bark.
For many years there have been anecdotal or personal reports that claimed eating Sweet Cherries, specifically Prunus avium, wipes out back pain, arthritis, and gout. While anecdotal reports generally don’t account for much in the world of science, he sheer numbers of testimonials proclaiming the Sweet Cherry’s amazing ability to reduce pain made researchers sit up and take notice.
When Sweet Cherries were examined in the lab, it was easy for scientists to understand how this natural fruit is able to relieve pain. It seems Sweet Cherry’s bright red color is the key. Like many deeply colored fruits, Sweet Cherries are full of flavonoids called anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins.
These powerful plant compounds scavenge and destroy altered oxygen compounds called free radicals. Many degenerative, chronic diseases have been associated with the tissue damage caused by free radicals, including arthritis, heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and cancer. Cherry fruit extract is a natural anti-inflammatory compound, making it an excellent treatment for arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain and inflammation diseases.
A pain relieving plant compound that comes from the bark of a tree, Boswellia serrata has been used by Indian healers for hundreds of years to reduce painful inflammation. When 20th century researchers looked at extracts of Boswellia Gum Resin in the laboratory they discovered the presence of powerful plant compounds, called boswellic acids.
Researchers found Boswellic Acids reduce inflammation in several ways. They open constricted blood vessels, improving blood flow to joints. They balance levels of leukotrienes – specific chemicals in the body that cause inflammation. And Boswellic Acids block two inflammatory chemicals that increase in asthma and inflammation of the colon. In addition to being helpful in treating these 2 illnesses, Boswellia has also been clinically studied and found to be quite effective in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis without any evidence of ulcers or stomach irritation.
Another bark extract, White Willow Bark is one of the oldest and most effective pain relievers. For over 2,000 years extracts from the bark of the White Willow tree have been used to ease aches and pains and reduce fevers. It is the original source of aspirin, but when used as the entire plant medicine, White Willow Bark is much safer than aspirin and quite effective.
White Willow Bark’s active ingredient is salicin and the combination of other compounds in the bark significantly enhances its pain killing power. In two large clinical trials of patients with chronic low back pain. White Willow Bark was found to be not only safer and much more effective than standard prescription therapies, it was also 40 percent more cost effective.
Salicylic acid from White Willow Bark lowers the body’s levels of prostaglandins, easing both acute and chronic pain. White Willow Bark reduces the pain and swelling of arthritis, headache, back and neck pain, muscle aches, and menstrual cramps. But, unlike aspirin, it doesn’t cause stomach bleeding or other known adverse effects.
Q. Do Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White
A. They do indeed. Because they reduce both pain and inflammation by a broad combination of actions, these natural extracts have been proven to be excellent against arthritis, back pain, and pain from inflammatory intestinal diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), and would be expected to be helpful in most kinds of pain.
Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark relieve inflammation without causing stomach irritation, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, or strokes. That’s because these natural pain killers don’t disrupt the balance of enzymes or interfere with the body’s ability to prevent extremes and imbalances.
However, as with any pain therapy, Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark work best when they are used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan to relieve the most common underlying causes of chronic pain or SHIN.
In addition, although these excellent natural remedies can often offer quick pain relief, natural remedies for severe chronic pains work best when they are given at maximum allowed doses and given 6 weeks to show their full effectiveness in combination with treating the pain’s underlying causes. The best chronic pain relief results when doctors and patients work together to meet the goals of treatment.
Some important last notes: Many causes of chronic pain are serious and life threatening. Everyone who is living with chronic pain must consult their doctor or other healthcare practitioner to determine the reason for their ongoing discomfort. In other words – make sure you know why you are having chronic pain and what’s causing the pain you want to relieve.
There are some types of chronic pain that only respond to opioids, or narcotic pain relievers. Morphine sulfate is an excellent pain medication and is used to relieve surgical pain, the pain of heart attacks, and pain from serious injuries. Morphine is also the very best drug for chronic cancer pain and non-malignant chronic pain. While many people fear opioids, these powerful pain killers can dramatically improve quality of life. If you are suffering with chronic cancer pain and you are hesitant to use morphine or another opioid, I urge you to discuss your concerns with your doctor other healthcare provider. No one with cancer should live with untreated or under-treated pain.
Even chronic pain can often be eliminated when SHIN is in combination with powerfully effective natural pain relievers. But, because some people may need to take pain relievers the rest of their lives, the medications they use must be safe as well as effective. The very safest come from natural plant compounds that have been studied for their ability to relieve chronic pain. You can become pain free and Sweet Cherries, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark can help.
Peppermint Oil for IBS
March 24, 2007 11:01 AM
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful and frequently frustrating disorder of the intestines that’s often difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are scientifically studied natural products that effectively reduce the distressing symptoms of IBS.
Q. What is IBS?
A. IBS causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits. IBS is termed a functional disorder, because when the colon is examined, there is no visible sign of disease. While IBS causes significant pain and distress, no actual damage is occurring in the intestines.
There is a wide variability in IBS. Symptoms may be mild and fairly well tolerated. Or, the pain, discomfort, and bowel dysfunction may be disabling, limiting social interactions, employment, or travel.
While some individuals with IBS have diarrhea (frequent, loose stools with an urgent need to move the bowels), others have constipation (hard, infrequent stools that are difficult to pass). And, still others may experience both. Individuals with IBS also may have painful abdominal cramps and feel an urgent need to move the bowels, but are unable to do so.
A. The small intestine receives digestive material from the stomach and delivers it to the large intestine (colon). About two quarts (2,000 ml) of digestive material enter the colon from the small intestine every day. The colon absorbs water and salts from the material, which is progressively moved through the colon. This progressive movement continues until most of the fluid and salts are absorbed into the body and stool is formed. The stool passes to the left side of the colon, where it is stored until a bowel movement occurs.
Because researchers haven’t been able to find actual damage in the colon, it once was suggested that individuals with IBS have emotional problems or are overly susceptible to stress. While stress may cause symptoms of IBS to intensify, it doesn’t cause the condition.
Recent study has determined the colon muscle of an individual with IBS spasms after only mild stimulation. It’s thought the symptoms of IBS are produced by hyperactivity of the intestines. In other words, the intestines of individuals with IBS are more reactive to stressors and diet than usual. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal queasiness in response to everyday stress or certain foods. This may result in a brief bout of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, this response is exaggerated in individuals with IBS.
Q. How prevalent is IBS?
A. IBS is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent problems seen by family physicians. It’s the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the treatment of digestive disorders). The overall prevalence rates range from 10% to 20% of the general population in most industrialized countries. As a result, the pain and disabling symptoms associated with IBS result in significant socioeconomic costs, as wall as reduction in quality of life for many individuals.
A. Normal bowel function varies from person to person. Some people move their bowels daily, while others may only have two to three stools a week. A normal bowel movement is soft, formed, and is easily passed without cramping or pain.
IBS, however, causes abdominal cramps and pain, which are often severe and disabling. Bowel movements may be irregular and alternate between diarrhea and constipation. The diarrhea may be quite loose and watery. Mucous may be passed. There is often much straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuation (emptying). Abdominal bloating and passing of gas is common. Nausea, lack of appetite, heartburn, and belching may also be present. Sleep may be disrupted resulting in fatigue and lack of energy. Understandably, persons with IBS often feel anxious and depressed.
Diagnosis of IBS is usually based on the continuous presence or recurrence of these symptoms for at least three months. Other intestinal conditions must be ruled out. These include Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, inflammatory conditions of the stomach or pancreas, ulcers, infectious disease, or gastroesphageal reflux disease.
Q. Are there clinically demonstrated natural alternatives to the over-the-counter drugs prescribed by my doctor?
A. Yes, both enteric-coated peppermint oil and clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs) have significant scientific research behind them. Both have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with IBS.
Q. What is clown’s mustard and what does it do?
A. The scientific name for clown’s mustard is Iberis amara. Other names for this herb are wild candytuft and bitter candytuft. Clown’s mustard is a white-flowering plant from Spain, where it grows in dry soil on hillsides and in cornfields. It is also grown in Britain, France, and the United States. Iberis amara is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Iberis refers to its place of origin, the Iberian Peninsula. Amara means bitter. The key components of clown’s mustard are glycosides and flavonoids that have specific actions on gastrointestinal tract tone.
Q. Is there scientific evidence that clown’s mustard benefits people with IBS?
A. There has been very impressive research on clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs). And, it has been used with great success in Germany for many years to treat IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases.
In a study of an herbal combination containing clown’s mustard, 20 patients were given the herbal combination for three to 32 days. They all had been diagnosed with chronic functional disorders for at least one to 20 years. The symptoms the patients experienced included pressure and pain in the abdomen, belching, heartburn, vomiting, nausea, fullness, lack of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. The patients have been treated for their problems with a variety of antacids, anti-spasmodic agents, and motility-inducing substances. For the purposes of the study, the patients stopped taking these medications and received treatment only with the herbal combination.
Abdominal pressure and pain in the abdomen was the most common of all the experienced symptoms, with 11 of the patients rating it as severe. After six days of treatment, only sic of the patients continued to rate their abdominal pain and pressure as severe. After two weeks, this symptom had completely resolved for 16 of the patients. Diarrhea had been rated as severe in five of the patients. By day 14, only one patient continued to have moderate diarrhea.
Medications prescribed and taken for cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases often cause gastrointestinal problems. Because these conditions are chronic, these medications must be taken for a long time, often for life. With long-term use, these medications can cause erosion of the stomach lining and actual ulcers. Many of these medication-caused symptoms are similar to IBS symptoms: pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Most, if not all, of the individuals who have gastrointestinal problems caused from medications experience two or more of these IBS symptoms.
Forty patients who were taking medications for various types of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, and who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems related to their medications, were enrolled in a study. These symptoms included pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Twenty patients received clown’s mustard combined with other herbs that support gastrointestinal motility. Three days after the trial started, a significant improvement of all s symptoms was noted in those taking this combination. By day 14, abdominal pressure and pain, nausea, and heartburn were completely eliminated in the herbal combination group. Several other clinical trials that were conducted in Germany report similar results.
Q. How does this herb compare to prescription drugs?
A. A study compared clown’s mustard (combined with other herbs) to Reglan (metoclopramide), which is frequently prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. While metoclopramide is a very effective medication, it also has numerous side effects. Metoclopramide can cause fatigue, anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, insomnia, yellowing of the skin or eyes, changes in vision, hallucinations, and seizures. Because of these serious side effects, metoclopramide must not be taken longer than 12 weeks.
In comparison study, 77 subjects were randomized to receive treatment of either clown’s mustard in a combination with other herbs, or metoclopramide. All subjects had pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. The subjects took 20 drops of their assigned treatment after meals three times daily. The duration of treatment was one to two weeks.
In both groups, a parallel improvement of all symptoms was observed. At no point in the study was a statistically significant difference in symptoms found. Both treatments significantly reduced pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. In short, both metoclopramide and the clown’s mustard herbal combination worked well at reducing the symptoms of IBS.
However, side effects occurred more frequently and severely in the metoclopramide group. Given the lack of differences noted between the products at reducing symptoms of IBS, it would seem sensible to choose the treatment with the fewest reported side effects and no limits on duration of use.
A. Peppermint oil has been shown to relax intestinal smooth muscle. In Great Britain, peppermint oil is currently being prescribed for IBS by physicians and it has been used as a digestive aid and to soothe upset stomachs for generations.
Peppermint oil has also been studied for use in an important examination of the colon. A colonoscopy is a procedure of viewing the interior lining of the large intestine (colon) using a colonoscope, a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the idea that even people who are not at risk for colon cancer should have this test. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.
During a colonoscopy, individuals are sedated and almost no discomfort is experienced. The insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum and up through the colon causes some spasming. This is a natural and expected event and the physician performing the exam administers medications that effectively reduce the spasms.
A recent study compared the use of peppermint oil and commonly used medications to reduce the colonic spasming in colonoscopy. The peppermint oil was introduced directly into the colon. Effective reduction of colon spasming was observed in 88% of the patients.
In a critical review and meta-analysis of peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, eight randomized controlled trials were identified. The studies collectively showed peppermint oil is superior to placebo in improvement of the symptoms of IBS. Because of the good results of these trials, the authors of the review urged additional study of peppermint oil in IBS.
However, straight peppermint oil is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream from the stomach. In recent studies comparing enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and non-enteric coated oil, both preparations provided effective symptom relief. However, the studies concluded the enteric-coated capsules delivered the benefit of the peppermint oil directly to the intestines. In the treatment of IBS, enteric-coated supplemental peppermint is most definitely preferred.
In fact, an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule containing rosemary and thyme is extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. All three of these oils are classified as volatile oils, derivatives found in plants that impart taste and aroma. The combination of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oils in enteric-coated capsules provides significant relief in IBS-related pain.
Q. Can clown’s mustard and other herbs be taken with enteric-coated peppermint oil?
A. Yes, peppermint oil capsules and clown’s mustard can be used together. However, depending on the symptoms, individuals with IBS may want to start with one supplement and then add the other if needed.
Q. How do consumers find these formulas?
A. Fortunately, herbal combinations containing clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are both available at health food stores, natural product supermarkets, pharmacies, and from health professionals. Most knowledgeable sales personnel and health professionals can direct consumers to the most effective products.
Q. What should customers look for when purchasing peppermint oil?
A. As mentioned before, enteric coating of the peppermint oil is extremely important. The coating prevents the oil from being absorbed in the stomach. The enteric coated-capsule moves through the stomach to the small intestine and eventually to the colon, where it is released for maximum benefit.
Q. What is the dosage for peppermint oil?
A. The German Commission E approved peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable colon. In enteric-coated form, the Commission E recommends 0.6 ml per day. Enteric-coated peppermint capsules are available.
Q. Are there side effects or other contraindications?
A. Sometimes, the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause a transient burning sensation in the rectum when moving bowls. Reducing the dose will correct this.
Individuals who must refrain from alcohol should not take clown’s mustard in an herbal tincture, which may contain alcohol.
Q. What else can IBS patients do to feel better?
A. Food allergies or food intolerance may be associated with IBS. Dairy products and certain grains may trigger a painful episode of IBS. Determining those foods that initiate the problems and eliminating them from your diet can be very helpful.
Many people report their symptoms occur after a meal. Hyperactivity of the intestine of IBS is the response. Often, the strength of this response after a meal is in direct relation to the number of calories and he amount of fat in the meal. Reducing saturated fat, limiting calories, and increasing fiber intake may be helpful.
Stress also stimulates the intestinal hyperactivity. Relaxation training may reduce some IBS symptoms. Listening to therapeutic audiotapes, hypnosis, counseling, and biofeedback all have been shown to improve the healing response in persons with IBS.
IBS can be painful and frustrating, capable of causing much distress. While currently there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be managed. The pain, abdominal discomfort, and bowel problems of IBS all respond well to treatment with the use of key herbs, including clown’s mustard, and enteric-coated peppermint oil. These herbal combinations can be both effective and safe in treating IBS. Clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil are both effective front-line natural alternatives for IBS treatment.
The unique clinical benefits of Sun Chlorella
March 25, 2006 12:34 PM
Over the years, Sun Chlorella Corporation has been sponsoring true clinical trials, carefully designed and carried out according to current conventional methodologies used in the pharmaceutical industry for drug development and testing. These “double-blind” clinical trial studies have greatly contributed to the substantiation of why Chlorella pyrenoidosa is so widely recognized within the scientific, alternative, and medical communities. With documented positive findings that have been discovered through ongoing research, you can be sure you’re getting the best top quality products with Sun Chlorella.
Unique Clinical benefits.
According to human immunology expert Randall E. merchant, PH.D. of Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, Virginia, Sun Chlorella and Wakasa Gold (Liquid Chlorella) may be helpful to those suffering from a number of serious health problems because of the many unique clinical benefits found naturally in this supper food. Dr. Merchant states that many who suffer from chronic illnesses, “are known to have nutritional deficiencies…and when proper nutrition returns, some of the symptoms and problems dissipate. Such individuals can benefit from the superlative nutritional powers of Sun chlorella.” The four principal components of Chlorella pyrenoidosa that have been shown to have certain health benefits include chlorophyll, the fibrous cell wall, beta-carotene, and the powerful chlorella growth factor (CGF).
Some of the clinical investigations completed by Dr. Randall E. Merchant and a team of physicians at the university have included fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis, and hypertension. Their primary focus was on the potential benefit of dietary supplementation with Chlorella Pyrenoidosa to help improve quality of life, and normalize body functions in patients with these types of chronic illnesses. All the subjects in each of the clinical studies suffering from either fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis, or hypertension, consumed 10 grams of chlorella pyrenoidosa in tablet form and 100 ml of liquid chlorella every day for two to three months.
Chlorella – Excellent for Everyone
Dietary supplementation with Chlorella pyrenoidosa has had a beneficial effect in many of the people who participated in the individual clinical trial studies. Dr. Merchant’s research suggested that adding Chlorella pyrenoidosa (a natural whole food) to the diet, rather than relying solely on pharmaceutical drugs may be extremely beneficial to those who are dealing with serious health issues, and those who want to stay healthy.
Everyone – young and old, healthy and ill – can benefit from Sun Chlorella’s purification abilities, natural defense protection, and wholesome nutrition. Sun Chlorella does so by purifying, nourishing, and protecting your body so your own natural defenses are able to work more efficiently. This is clearly a super food that should be a part of everyone’s diet.
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: CAUSE FOR WORRY
July 15, 2005 12:26 PM
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: CAUSE FOR WORRY
Among some of the most troubling food additives that we routinely ingest are artificial sweeteners, also referred to as non-nutritive sweeteners. Having received the FDA stamp of approval, they are liberally ingested with little thought to what their actual health risks may be. Andrew Weil, M.D., in his book Natural Health Natural Medicine, writes: More worrisome than preservatives are artificial sweeteners. Saccharin, a known carcinogen, should be avoided. Cyclamates, banned some years ago for suspected carcinogenicity, are not being reconsidered for use in food. They taste better than saccharin but cause diarrhea in some people. Avoid them too. Recently, aspartame (NutraSweet) has become enormously popular. The manufacturer portrays it as a gift from nature, but, although the two component amino acids occur in nature, aspartame itself does not. Like all artificial sweeteners, aspartame has a peculiar taste. Because I have seen a number of patients, mostly women, who report headaches from this substance, I don’t regard it as free from toxicity. Women also find that aspartame aggravates PMS (premenstrual syndrome). I think you are better off using moderate amounts of sugar than consuming any artificial sweeteners on a regular basis. A natural sweetener that may cause some people problems is sorbitol, originally derived from the berries of the mountain ash tree. Sorbitol tastes sweet but is not easily absorbed form the gastrointestinal tract and is not easily metabolized. It is a common ingredient of sugarless chewing gums and candies. If you eat a lot of it, you will probably get diarrhea. People with irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis should avoid sorbitol.
Ann Louise Gittleman, in her book, Super Nutrition for Women, writes: In 1977, a Canadian study indicated that when pregnant rats were fed large doses of saccharin, their male offspring developed bladder cancer. As a result, the Canadians banned saccharin and the U.S. Congress ordered warning labels on all saccharin products like Sweet ‘N Low. The national Academy of Sciences in 1978 evaluated the evidence and concluded that saccharin was primarily a promoter of other cancer-causing agents, a cocarcinogen. In the meantime, G.D. Searle developed aspartame, a combination of two amino acids and methanol (wood alcohol) . . . Few long-term studies of the effects of aspartame have been done. However, reports to the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control indicate that, as more people consume the substitute in large quantities, health may be affected. In some circumstances, individuals may be getting high levels of methanol; for example, it is estimated that on a hot day after exercise, an individual drinking three 12-ounce cans of diet cola could easily consume as much as eight times the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limit for methanol consumption. The most common complaints are dizziness, disorientation, tunnel vision, ear buzzing, loss of equilibrium, numbing of hands and feet, inflammation of the pancreas, high blood pressure, eye hemorrhages and seizures. Artificial sweeteners can stimulate hunger or cause additive allergies, just as sugar does. In other words, we get the disadvantages of sugar, along with the proven or suspected disadvantages of artificial sweeteners. While thousands of Americans continue to consume aspartame in unprecedented amounts, controversy surrounding its safety lingers. Dr. Richard Wurtman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has reported that abnormal concentrations of neurotransmitters developed when he fed laboratory animals large doses of aspartame. He believes that the phenylalanine content of the sweetener actually manipulates and alters certain brain chemicals which could initiate behavioral changes and even seizures. He also purports that while small quantities of aspartame may be safe, the cumulative effects of the compound—particularly if consumed with high carbohydrate, low protein snacks—could be serious (Wurtman I, 799-801, Wurtman II, 429-430, Wurtman III, 1060).
In spite of serious concerns, saccharine and aspartame packets sit in restaurant sugar bowls all over our country, while in Japan, natural stevia powder enjoys popularity as one of the best and safest non-caloric sweeteners available.
SPECIFIC ACTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH GARLIC
June 25, 2005 10:34 AM
SPECIFIC ACTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH GARLIC
COMBINATIONS THAT ENHANCE GARLIC
Garlic: Primary Applications
Garlic: Secondary Applications