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Ginger And Its Use To Help In Stomach Upset
June 29, 2012 01:39 PM
Ginger is the root of an herbal plant that is usually consumed as medicine or used in food as a Spice to help in digestion system in your stomach. The rhizomes are usually very juicy, fleshy and with mild taste when young. These can be pickled in vinegar as a snack or sometimes be cooked as an ingredient in a variety of food. It can also be added to boiling water to come up with ginger flavored tea. The same is also used to make candy. When it matures, it appears dry and its juice is extremely potent. It is still used as a Spice in most foods. The uses are unlimited but in this article, we are going to discuss how it helps with stomach upset.
History of Ginger
Throughout history, ginger has been used for stomach upset in many places around the world. After a very heavy feast, ancient Romans would consume it to help soothe their full stomachs. Chinese and other ancient mariners used it to sustain seasickness. Indians used it as a universal medicine as they believed it treated everything.
Current Uses of the herb
Currently, research has shown that ginger truly does help ease an upset stomach. There are many ways through which it can be used to relieve an upset stomach. A good example is by taking it before meals. It enhances a good environment for digestion before the food gets to the stomach. This will ensure that digestion kicks off immediately after the food is consumed and hence prevents stomach upset. People with motion sickness can take ginger to help suppress the symptoms.
How it works
Ginger has two component; gingerol and shogaol. These are the components that enhance the function of digestive juices like saliva, bile and other gastric secretions. When these juices are stimulated to work efficiently, they enhance digestion in an individual starting from as early as when the food is still in the mouth. This ensures that all digestion steps are undergone effectively without skipping. When whole and dry food get to the stomach, it becomes hard to digest as the stomach has no teeth to help break it down and lubricate it for swift movement. Ginger is also known to help the stomach muscles in effective movement of food. If the tract muscles do not give enough room for movement, indigestion may occur. That is what leads to nausea in an individual. The herb curbs the serotonin receptors to ensure there is no vomit message sent to the brain. Ginger also helps in the immediate emptying of the stomach contents to the small intestine.
Ginger works to help reduce stomach upset which can arise as a result of operation, overeating, sea and motion sickness. The effectiveness of this medicinal herb should not be undermined as it has helped many to get the desired relief from the uncomfortable feeling of stomach upset. Use it when you feel nauseas or even to help relieve you of gas from the stomach.
The Amazing Health Benefits of Curcumin
April 19, 2012 07:31 AM
Have you heard of curcumin? Curcumin is a popular Spice that originated in Eastern culture. This Spice is popular because it offers a lot of health benefits to people. For those individuals who are interested to achieve optimal health and want to live a longer life, it would be best to ad curcumin in their daily diets. This Spice can definitely affect the overall health of individuals.
What is curcumin?
Curcumin is not just an actual Spice, but it is one of the ingredients of Tumeric, which is considered a famous Indian Spice. Curcumin is commonly used in making curries with a strong taste that are being appreciated in the West. However, this ingredient is consumed by many people because of the health benefits it could bring. Curcumin is very in demand in India, Middle East and Asian countries because they use curcumin as a medicine.
There are various health benefits of curcumin. If you want to take advantage of these benefits, it is important that you be aware of these health benefits:
• Helps treat certain illnesses- According to research and studies, it has been shown that curcumin can effectively treat and prevent particular ailments such as brain problems and cancer. Individuals suffering from Alzheimer's disease can definitely overcome their condition with regular consumption of curcumin.
• An effective body pain reliever- A lot of individuals, most especially the senior citizens are always experiencing body pains because of weak bones. According to a recent study, curcumin has been believed to relive pain and improve mobility for sufferers with osteoarthritis and other body pains. Curcumin contains anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate body aches.
• Positive effects on brain health- Another awesome benefit if curcumin is providing positive effects on brain health. According to reports, even just occasional ingestion of curcumin can improve brain power. It is necessary to have a healthy and powerful brain so that it is easier to think clearly all the time. It also effectively reduces the levels of toxic metals in the brain.
• Helps avoid premature aging- Curcumin is packed with antioxidants, which are responsible in preventing the occurrence of premature aging. Premature aging is a very common condition, most especially to people with an unhealthy lifestyle. It would be best to stop all your filthy habits and add curcumin in your regular diet to achieve a healthy body and younger looking skin.
These are some of the amazing health benefits of curcumin. If you want to achieve a healthy body and mind, this healthy supplement is the excellent supplement to utilize. There is no recommended dose for curcumin. Studies have utilized doses between 100 mg to 8000 mg without experiencing any over dosage side effects. In fact, individuals can consume up to 12,000 mg per day.
Curamin can either be consumed as a supplement, or it can be added in certain food or meals. Basically, people in India would add this Spice to their every dish so that they could attain superior health. You can also add curcumin when you are cooking, but if you have no time to cook, nutritional supplements can be the perfect alternative.
What Can Turmeric Do For My Health?
April 02, 2012 10:21 PM
There are a lot of natural food items and Spices which in addition to providing a nice flavour to the food also provide a lot of health benefits. One such famous Spice is ‘turmeric'. It is of common use in Indian, Chinese and other Asian countries' cuisines. Many health benefits of turmeric are still being researched; however, here are listed its few known benefits.
# Turmeric's health benefits against cancer:
- Turmeric has powerful anti-oxidant properties and therefore is useful against cancer treatments of many kinds. - Researches have shown that turmeric can prevent breast cancer to spread in lungs. - Turmeric is useful to intensify the effects of the drug ‘paclitaxel' which is taken to cure breast cancer and to prevent the side effects of this drug. - In many cases, turmeric also prevents metastases to develop in many different types of cancer. - The combined effect of cauliflower and turmeric prevents prostate cancer. It also helps to inhibit the growth of existing prostate cancer cells. - Benefits of turmeric for pancreatic cancer are still being studied. - It has also been shown that turmeric is effective to stop the growth of blood vessels in tumours.
# Benefits for skin:
- Assists in healing wounds and repairing damaged skin conditions. - Helps to fight skin infections and inflammations. - It has good antibacterial properties and can be applied on wounds as a disinfectant. - It helps to fight skin inflammation conditions like psoriasis. - Turmeric mixed with honey is a good skin bleaching agent. - Turmeric paste is also good to reduce sun tan from the skin. - Mixing turmeric in face packs can help cure acne to some degree. - Turmeric mixed with curd if applied daily on the abdomen of pregnant ladies can help in preventing pregnancy stretch marks. - Application of turmeric paste for skin burns is a good remedy for it. - Regularly washing face with turmeric can help a person get rid of excessive facial hair.
# Benefits for the nervous system:
- It helps to slow down the effects of Alzheimer's disease. - It acts as a natural painkiller. - It is also used as an ingredient in medicines against depression. - It also has anti-platelet abilities, and therefore is promising for protection against heart attacks, blood arteries and vein clogs etc.
# Other health benefits of turmeric:
- Because of its inflammatory properties, turmeric is known to be useful in the treatment of arthritis, muscle pain, ligament pains etc. - Aids in fat management by increasing the metabolism rate in an individual. - Helps in detoxifying liver. It also helps protect the liver from the damaging effects of various toxins like that of alcohol. - Turmeric mixed in warm water when consumed can help in the conditions of diarrhoea. - It's consumption also helps to relieve menstrual pains.
# Dosage of turmeric:
Turmeric should form a part of one's daily diet and should ideally form part of various dishes which are consumed daily. An adult can safely consume one to three grams of turmeric powder daily. To be consumed as a supplement, it can be taken as pills available in health stores.
# Things to keep in mind before consuming turmeric:
- Consume turmeric in moderation as excess of anything is bad. - Consult your physician before beginning to consume any supplements. - Those who have congestive heart disease should refrain from consuming it. - Those having obstructive jaundice, extreme liver disorders, blood clotting issues, and painful gallstones should not take turmeric. In general, if you have any troubling health condition or if you are on medication, then you should consult your physician before consuming it. - Pregnant women, nursing mothers and women with fertility issues should also consult their physician before consuming turmeric.
Turmeric is a wonder-food, to help you fight against many health conditions. It is easily available and is easy to consume. Make sure to give it due consideration to be included in your daily diet for a healthy life.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Saffron Extract?
March 26, 2012 08:01 AM
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SAFFRON EXTRACT
Saffron is one of the rarest and exotic Spices found on the earth. Golden Spice is the other name given to saffron, attributing to its reddish-golden color. It is the most common Spice used in many Indian,Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. This culinary and exotic Spice grows on a flowering plant- Crocus Sativa. It is grown in various countries around the world including many Asian and European countries. Areas with hot dry summers and wet springs are the most suitable areas for growing Saffron. While saffron is popular for its flavor, color and fragrance, this rare Spice also, has many medicinal and health benefits. Saffron is a very expensive Spice and this is mainly because of the fact, that for making 1gram of Saffron strands 150 flowers are required.
Mineral present in Saffron extract -
Saffron extract contains high amounts of copper, magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, iron, and selenium. It is also a rich source of various vitamins like- vitamin A, B2 and C, niacin and folic acid. Apart from these Saffron also contains carotenoid compounds - crocetin, lycopeneand, safranel and crocin.
The various health benefits of Saffron are -
1) Cancer Treatment- Because of the presence of crocetin and carotenoid in Saffron, it has anti-mutagenic and anti-tumor properties. Several studies on Saffron extract have proved that Saffron extract delays papilloma carcinogenisis and tumor growth. Because of all these properties, Saffron extract can be used for treating and preventing skin cancer, liver cancer and sarcoma.
2) Anti-inflammatory properties- Saffron have anti-inflammatory properties and therefore it can be used in treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. It is capable of controlling inflammation and healing cuts and burns faster.
3) Potent aphrodisiac- For last many centuries, Saffron has been used as a “POTENT APHRODISIAC” inPersiaand many other Arabian countries. It can increase libido and improve erectile dysfunction by increasing the flow of blood in the pelvic region.
4) Eye Care- Several studies have proved that Saffron extract can treat certain eye problems like- macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. Saffron also protects the eyes from the harmful effects UV rays.
5) Anti-Depressants- Saffron extract can also be used in the treatment of patients suffering from depression. Researches have shown that Saffron gives equal results as given by therapeutic drugs like imipramine and fluoxetine.
6) Painkiller- Saffron extract can be used for treating many severe painful conditions like- stomach pain, menstrual pain, and kidney pain.
7) Weight loss- Researches have shown that Saffron can suppress the feeling of hunger, by controlling the percentage of serotonin content in the blood. Therefore, Saffron is used in many weight loss programs, as it can reduce the compulsion to eat and feelings of hunger.
8) Skin- Saffron contains antioxidants, and therefore it is used in many beauty and anti-aging treatments.
9) Saffron during Pregnancy- During pregnancy, women are advised to drink Saffron milk, in order to enhance their pelvic blood flow. Also, due to its Carminative properties it helps in suppressing cramps.
Gas and bloating are very common problems during pregnancy and just one glass of Saffron milk can reduce flatulence and ease digestion.
How Does Curcumin Reduce Inlammation In The Body?
March 15, 2012 07:53 AM
Curcumin Health Benefits
Curcumin is an active component in turmeric plant (Curcuma Longa) and it is the component that gives yellow color in turmeric plant. The concentration of this component in turmeric plant is around 2-5%. Turmeric plant is a rather tall plant and it is mainly grown in India and other Asian countries.
For centuries, Curcumin has been used for Ayurveda, Chinese herbal medicine, and other Asian traditional medicine due to its various healing properties and low side effects. Besides being used for traditional medicine, this natural component is also used to increase energy, aid digestion, and reduce inflammation in the body.
The modern medical research of curcumin started in 1910. Since then, this turmeric's component is researched extensively by scientists worldwide to find its various health benefits. The followings are some of the benefits of curcumin and an explanation on how this natural component can help to reduce inflammation in the body.
Benefits of Curcumin
Many medical studies have shown that Curcumin has many benefits for human health. The first benefit is to cure digestive disorders. This natural component improves digestion by stimulating bile production in the gallbladder. Naturally, an increase in bile production can worsen stomach ulcers symptoms but many studies show that when the curcumin increases the bile production, it also reduce so stomach ulcers symptoms.
The second benefit of Curcumin is to cure heart disease. Heart attack occurs because there is atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque that can block arteries. Curcumin helps people with heart disease by preventing the development of atherosclerosis. Many studies also show that this natural component is also helpful to lower cholesterol level in the body.
Another important benefit of this natural component is to cure cancer. This natural component has anti-cancer properties and many studies have shown that it can cure various types of cancers such as colon, skin, breast, and prostate cancer. It is able to limit the number of blood flow to the malignant tumors so the growth of cancer can be stopped.
How Curcumin reduces inflammation in the body
There are many ongoing studies that analyze the benefits of Curcumin to reduce inflammation. However in a 2006, a study has shown that this natural component is able to prevent joint inflammation in arthritis. The study shows that to reduce inflammation in the body, curcumin stops platelets from coagulating into blood clots and lowers the amount of two inflammatory enzymes, LOX and COX-2. Unfortunately, the study recommends consuming turmeric and not just the curcumin extract because turmeric has other properties that are helpful to reduce inflammation.
Curcumin can easily be found in market as a Spice but today it is also available in dietary supplement. Although it is safe to be consumed, there are several side effects that might occur after consuming this natural component such as diarrhea, nausea, upset stomach and heartburn. People who have gallbladder problems are recommended to avoid it because this natural component can induce gallbladder contraction. Pregnant women are also not recommended to consume it because it is a mild uterine stimulant. curcumin can be found under names like curamin, or turmeric at your local vitamin store.
What Makes Curamin Such A Good Natural Pain Remedy?
March 07, 2012 06:57 AM
Curamin: A Natural Anti-Inflammatory
When nerve endings become irritated, they cause pain. This is because of factors such as lack of sleep, hormonal imbalance, stress, nutritional imbalance, etc. Pain is generally symptomatic of some dysfunction or inflammation in our body and the first reaction for those suffering from it is to reach out for a pain killer. This is where Curamin comes in.
Curamin is a proprietary formula and a curcumin based supplement. Curcumin is a beneficial compound found in turmeric, a popular Indian Spice. Turmeric has been used since centuries in the field of alternate medicine like Ayurveda because of its many medicinal properties. The compound, curcumin in fact, has the ability to reduce pain by supporting the body's ability to respond to swelling and inflammation. It has been found equivalent to some popular allopathic pain killers. Apart from this, it also has antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anticancer properties and has been found to promote anti depressant and cognitive enhancement benefits.
Curamin is a product having a formula based on this particular compound of turmeric and is therefore extracted out of natural ingredients and has been found to have minimal side effects. Curamin, apart from other ingredients, also contains a strain of curcumin that has a high absorption factor which makes it several times more effective and stronger than plain curcumin products. It not only balances the body's response to inflammation but also has been observed to have a consistent and long lasting effect. Therefore, this makes curamin the most effective form of curcumin available.
Studies have established that curamin is safe and does not interfere with kidney, liver or stomach functions. The safe dosage recommended by the company is two pills twice a day for pain alleviation and not more than 8 pills within a 24-hour period. An overdose of such herbal products may sometimes cause intestinal discomfort at the most.
Main Ingredients of Curamin
Curamin has four principle ingredients that have an overall effect on inflammation caused in the bones and joints due to arthritis or overuse and exercise. These ingredients include: DL-phenylalanine or DLPA is a two part amino acid that acts as a positive mood enhancer by preventing the breakdown of enkephalin compound and also helps in the production of brain chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine. Boswellia that helps to prevent the activity of the inflammatory enzyme. Curcumin which helps block multiple pathways within the body to retard and stop inflammation. Nattokinase which is an enzyme that helps the fast absorption of the ingredients through the body by promoting blood flow and improving circulation.
Benefits of Curamin
Curamin has helped people suffering from problems like arthritis, migraines, bursitis, and soreness caused by accidents or injuries. It also helps build resistance and immunity to inflammation concerned especially with the bones and joints.
Curamin, being a plant based product has no toxic effects and is available with many natural medicine practitioners and pharmacies. It is a very effective natural alternative to allopathic drugs and painkillers that over a long term use cause many side effects, some of which are potent.
If you are in pain, try curamin today!
What Are The Health Benefits Of Saffron Extract?
February 23, 2012 07:08 AM
Saffron is an expensive Spice that is commonly used to add color and flavor to food. It is used in many cuisine especially Mediterraean, Italian and Indian. The high cost of saffron is due to the fact that 150 flowers are required to make 1 g of saffron strands. This culinary Spice grows on aflowering plant, Crocus Sativa. It is grown in Southwest Asia, especially in areas with wet springs and hot dry summers.It contains high amounts of minerals such as copper, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and selenium. It is a rich source of vitamins such as vitamins A, C and B2, folic acid and niacin. Saffron contains carotenoidcompounds- crocin, crocetin, lycopeneand safranel, which are known to possess many health benefits. This expensive herb not only adds flavor to food but also offers variety of health benefits.
Spices have been used as medicines for centuries because of their anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties. Therapeutic usage of saffron is 3000 years ago when it was used as an natural aphrodisiac. Some of the health benefits of saffron extract are:
1. Saffron contains anti-tumour and anti-mutagenicproperties due to the presence of carotenoid, crocetin. Studies on mice indicated that saffron extract delays tumor growth and delays papilloma carcinogenisis and inhibits squamous cell carcinoma. It helps in treating and preventing certain types of cancer such as skin cancer, sarcoma and liver cancer.
2. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, saffron can control inflammation in the body and speed up the healing of burns and cuts. It helps in treating arthritis and other inflammatory joint diseases.
3. For thousands of years in Persian and other Arabian countries, saffron was used as a potent aphrodisiac. It was used to increase libido and erectile dysfuntionby improving the blood flow to the pelvic region. It was also used to treat many female health conditions.
4. Studies have shown the effects of saffron on several eye conditions. Saffron extract helps to slow down retinitis pigmentosa and macular degenration. It alsoprotects the eye from direct effect of bright light.
5. Saffron has been proved to be effective in treating mild to moderate depression. According to studies, saffron has shown equivalent results as given by therapeutic doses of fluoxetine and imipramine., anti-depressants.
6. Saffron acts as a painkiller in treating many painful conditions such as kidney pain, stomach pain and menstrual pain.
7. According to French researchers, saffron extract can reduce the hunger in between meals. It does that by controlling the levels of serotonin in the blood, which is responsible for signaling hunger pangs. Studies have found the effects of saffron on weight loss by reducing feelings of hunger and compulsion to eat between meals.
8. Some animal studies on saffron indicate cognitive enhancement and improved memory . However human trials are still to be conducted to find out the potential effects of saffron on memory. It is believed that regular use of saffron can delay demetia and prevent Alzheimer's disease.
9. It is used in many cosmetics such as skin lightening agents.
A sprinkle of Saffron extract not just adds Spice to your food, but also prevents many health conditions.
Use Turmeric Herb Instead Of Cox-2 Inhibitor for Pain Relief
February 17, 2012 07:15 AM
What Is a Cox-2 Inhibitor?
Cox-2 Inhibitor is a form of NASID. NASID stands for Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which function to bring inflammation down. It is one of popular painkillers. It is very useful since medical science has gained information about serious problem about inflammation. Yet, it has been reported that it causes fast heart rate. It is a risky heart rhythm condition which is also named with atrial fibrillation. Medical experts said that it is a serious problem because it might lead to the risk of heart failure. Besides, it might also cause stroke and even death.
As a form of NASID, Cox-2 Inhibitor will crucial to bring the inflammation down from a disease such as arthritis and an injury. In the United State, the common form of arthritis is Osteoarthritis. In short, this is the primary benefit of it. Besides that, it also functions as pain reducer. It is done by blocking proteins and enzymes made naturally by the body. However, it brings harm for our body on the other side. It seems to be side effects. Earlier research has noticed that it leads to the death.
As the solution, you can pick turmeric herb. It appears in a form of yellow colored Spice. Similar to Cox-2 Inhibitor, it is very helpful for relieving the pain for arthritis. It is a perennial herb which originally grows in India. In the past, Indian people use it for cooking. Curcurmin becomes the most important part of turmeric. It is the most medicinal part contained in turmeric. We can easily find it in form of yellow color. Besides India, China has already use this herb in their daily live. For both Indian and Chinese, this herb has significant function as an anti-inflammatory. Besides, it also can be used as an antiseptic and several powerful ways.
Besides for curing arthritis, turmeric herb is able to inhibit the spread and the growth of cancer cell. It has been proved by a university of Texas study. The result concluded from its research shows that turmeric herb prevents the breast cancer to be spread out to the lungs. It works together with our body by identifying the mutated cells and then it kills them. To make it more effective, it is suggested to combine turmeric herb with cruciferous vegetables.
Other benefits of Turmeric
Another benefit taken from turmeric herb is a protection toward our heart. For several countries especially the United State, heart disease has become the number one killer. In this case, this herb will play the role to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. It is very important since the oxidized cholesterol might lead to the heart attack and stroke. It is because this oxidized cholesterol is able to damage blood vessels.
Cox-2 Inhibitor has benefits yet they are not equal with the side effects created such as heart attack and also stroke. Having had similar function, turmeric herb is highly recommended to take for pain relief. For long time, it has been used for anti-inflammatory too. In short, turmeric herb is better choice than Cox-2 Inhibitor.
How Much Turmeric Should Be Taken For Alzheimer's?
October 05, 2011 02:08 PM
Turmeric is an herb which is a perennial plant included in the family of gingers. This plant is considered to be rhizomatous and has been found to be abundant in tropical countries such as South Asia. For its cultivation, this plant must grow in a climate with a temperature of 20 to 30 degrees Celsius and ample amount of yearly rain. In these kind of climates, this herb can grow healthy and abundantly. In some countries, an annual collection of rhizomes is done and then reproduced and grown the next season.
Turmeric is commonly used as a culinary Spice or ingredient. It is dried in extreme temperatures of ovens and ground into a yellow to orange powder. This Spice is common in many Asian dishes. Aside from its culinary use, it can also be helpful in maintaining the health of the human body. The known active ingredient of turmeric is Curcumin. This chemical substance has a unique slightly metallic taste and peppery in flavor. It also has a mustard–like aroma. Hence, it is considered to be an important condiment in many Middle Eastern recipes. In addition to Curcumin, turmeric consists of about 5 % of essential oils.
With its many health benefits, one of the most interesting is its effect on the brain in helping prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Clinical studies and surveys reveal that people who consume large quantities of curry have a lesser risk and incidence of having Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, intensive studies are being conducted to test and prove its safety and effectiveness as a chemical substance which can greatly help in the prevention of the increasing number of Alzheimer’s disease cases. Other factors are also considered such as the individual’s diet, familial history, social and economic status as well as lifestyle.
Alzheimer’s disease has been closely related to the increasing damage of brain cells due to oxidation. This brain damage will significantly cause an effect to the person’s memory thus Alzheimer’s disease occur. Curcumin in the turmeric has the potent capacity to prevent this cellular damage thus slowing the development of such disease. Studies have also shown that Curcumin can significantly impede certain mechanisms that are involved in the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. Aside from its benefit in decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, turmeric also has a potential anti – inflammatory property and can effectively regulate blood cholesterol levels.
The recommended dosage of turmeric has not yet been officially established. Therefore, if you are planning to supplement with turmeric, it would be best that you should consult your doctor. The dosage of this supplement varies from person to person in terms of age, weight, other health conditions and status of his/her Alzheimer’s disease.
What Supplements Are Useful In Combating Blood Clots?
October 04, 2011 03:14 PM
Vitamins And Your Health
As we know for a fact, one of the properties of blood is its ability to coagulate in order to stop bleeding. This coagulated blood is commonly known as a clot. Blood clot is important to the body to prevent excessive bleeding and serves as a vital part in the process of inflammation and wound healing. However, if a clot occurs abnormally it can cause significant danger to the body. A blood clot can cause obstruction in the circulation and may result to life - threatening health conditions such as heart attacks, cerebrovascular accident or strokes and pulmonary embolism. It can also cause poor tissue oxygenation and perfusion which can damage the affected cells and might cause disability or inability to function of certain organs or body part.
There are many traditional modalities in preventing and treating abnormal blood clot formation. One of the most commonly used is the medication called Aspirin in low – dosage. This conventional drug is popularly prescribed by doctors to decrease the clotting property of the blood. However, in emergency cases, a surgical procedure may be deemed important to remove the blood clot which significantly interrupts proper blood circulation.
Aside from medications, there are many supplements that have the capacity to decrease the risk of abnormal blood clotting. These include supplements high in:
1. FISH OILS. Fish oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acid which has the capacity to thin the blood. Therefore, if the blood is not viscous, the pressure inside the blood vessel is lesser as well. A high blood pressure can cause damage to the walls of the blood vessels, thus activating blood clot formation. Also, a non – viscous blood can also better circulate into smaller blood vessels than that of a viscous blood, therefore, enhancing tissue oxygenation. Clinical studies also revealed that omega – 3 fatty acids can effectively decrease Thromboxane A which is one of the clotting factors found among platelets.
2. CHAMOMILE. This herb has an anti – platelet property. It has a mild to moderate effect in regulating clot formation.
3. GINGER. Ginger has many health benefits. One of its promising benefits is its mild anti – platelet property and its ability to dissolve fibrin. This herb is widely used as a supplement to enhance blood circulation all over the body.
4. CATECHIN AND QUERCETIN. These chemical compounds are classified as antioxidants. They can effectively reduce the adhesion property of platelets.
5. CURCUMIN. This chemical comes from the Spice called turmeric. This is considered to be an anti – thrombotic, as well as a potent anti – inflammatory agent.
6. DEHYDROEPIANDROSTERONE (DHEA). This substance is primarily an anti – aging agent. However, studies reveal that it can significantly reduce the process of inflammation by preventing the substance that can generate inflammation within the veins, arteries and capillaries called Cytokines. With decreased production of cytokines, it will result to lesser coagulation and clumping of platelets and reduced movement of bad cholesterol or Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) into the walls of the blood vessels, thus decreasing the chance of clot formation and atherosclerosis.
7. VITAMINS C AND E. These vitamins are important for preventing abnormal collagen – induced platelet activation by inhibiting the production of hydrogen peroxide. Vitamins C and E are also important in many enzymatic actions that regulate blood cholesterol levels.
What Is Fenugreek Seeds And How Does It Help Blood Sugar Control?
July 21, 2011 04:23 PM
Fenugreek And Your Health
Fenugreek is a plant which is considered to be both an herb and a Spice. The plant can be found all over the world as a crop or Spice and has become popular as an herbal medicine. This plant is a primary ingredient among many curry dishes. This herb is considered to be one of the oldest medicinal herbs.
The seeds of Fenugreek are abundant with the chemical called polysaccharide galactomannan. This is the reason why fenugreek herb is considered to be a galactagogue. Galactagogues are chemical compounds which intensifies lactation among humans and other mammals. Galactagogues may either be naturally derived from plants or synthetic. Fenugreek seeds are commonly employed by nursing mothers to help increase the production of breast milk. Studies reveal that fenugreek extracts effectively stimulates the mammary glands to produce milk. In addition, because of its estrogen – like property, fenugreek herb is employed at home as supplement for breast enlargement. Commonly, consuming three grams of fenugreek seed daily is suggested by health experts.
Another important health benefit of fenugreek herb extracts is that it has a potent anti – diabetic property cause of its positive effect on the metabolic symptoms related with Diabetes Mellitus, both type 1 and type 2. Preliminary studies on animals reveal that it can significantly lower serum glucose level and enhance one’s tolerance to glucose. Further studies on human subjects are still ongoing.
Fenugreek also contains an important body nutrient called Choline. This chemical is a member of the water – soluble vitamin B complex which is involved in so many body activities. Together with its metabolic end – products, choline plays a significant role as a precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is required for a successful cholinergic neurotransmission of the nervous system. At the cellular level, choline is one of the components of the structure of the cell membranes. Choline also improves the signaling activities of cell membranes to other cells and its surrounding environment. Not to mention, choline is also a good source of methyl groups which is needed in many biological reactions.
Studies also reveal that fenugreek herb is effective in lowering cholesterol levels at about 15 %. To acquire this effect, experts often recommend that you take about 55 to 65 grams of fenugreek seed everyday. If cholesterol levels are maintained within normal limits, the risk for cardiovascular diseases most especially heat attack is lowered.
Fenugreek supplements may come in the form of capsules, powered seeds, tinctures or teas. The recommended dosing of fenugreek supplements is two to four 600 – milligram capsule three times daily. Experts state that the maximum dose per day is six grams. For the powdered fenugreek seeds, the recommended dose is about one – half to one teaspoon taken three times daily. You may combine the powder with little water or juice to add a little taste. For the tea preparation, consume one cup of tea two to three times a day while for tinctures, use one to two milliliters of fenugreek concentrate three times daily.
Give fenugreek a try and feel the difference!
What is Fenugreek Seed and How Does It Boost Your Health?
July 07, 2011 11:16 AM
Fenugreek seed and your health
Fenugreek seed is a Spice often added to curries and other Indian dishes. It is a good source of protein and nutrients. In folk medicine, it has been used in the treatment of pain and irritation characteristic of inflammation. It is historically utilized to promote lactation. More recent studies have shown that it displays antiviral properties. In particular, it has been tested in allaying symptoms of cold infections.
Trigonella foenum-graecum is a plant species that belongs to the legume family. As such, it has been cultivated as a vegetable even before the ancient times. It is believed to be an indigenous species of the Fertile Crescent, a historic region that comprises the modern countries Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria. To this day, it remains an important crop, herb, and food source in these countries.
Combats Diabetes Mellitus
Fenugreek seed has been the subject of scientific research in the past few years. Drawing on its use in traditional medicine, it has been employed in the management of blood sugar. It improves the effect of the hormone insulin in regulating glucose levels. In fact, it has shown great potential in treating both type I insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and type II noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus.
Alters Blood Lipid Profile
The phytochemical content of fenugreek seed enables it to effectively lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Clinical trials have recorded changes in lipids present in the systemic circulation after intake of fenugreek seed products. It is now postulated that it blocks the metabolic pathway for the synthesis of low density lipoproteins or bad cholesterol. Some sources say that it raises good cholesterol levels.
Increases Milk Production
Fenugreek seed is rich in organic compounds that promote the secretion of milk products within the mammary glands of lactating women by as much as 900 per cent. Traditionally, the seeds are ground into powder and consumed in large quantities by pregnant women. Today they are made into capsules, which have been reported to display the same benefits and remain popular in the Indian subcontinent.
Relieves Viral Infections
There is a growing body of literature devoted to the putative antiviral properties of fenugreek seed. A number of researchers have attested that the seed displays biochemical activity that interferes with the replication of viruses. For instance, topical applications of fenugreek extracts have shown desirable results in removing viral skin conditions, and oral intake has been effective in easing the common cold.
Promotes Skin Health
Fenugreek seed is a natural conditioner and moisturizer. It promotes retention of moisture in the skin and protects the outer layer of the skin from irritants. It has been used as salves to wounds, rashes, boils, bruises, allergies, and insect bites. It is made into a syrupy mixture that is directly applied to the hair. It regulates the production of sebum in the hair follicles and helps control dandruff.
Grab some fenugreek seed and feel the difference!
How Do I Eliminate Parasites Naturally from the Colon?
April 11, 2011 09:36 PM
Intestinal parasites infect over 3 billion people worldwide. These worm-like organisms populate the gastrointestinal tract and interfere with the absorption of foods. In children they may slow the normal progress of physical growth and intellectual development. In adults they cause muscle weakness, vitamin deficiencies, and susceptibility to fatigue. People from all over the world may acquire parasites from contaminated water and infected soil. Deworming is an effective way to get rid of these parasites. Fortunately, there are many herbs reputed for their anthelmintic benefits.
Allium sativum, the popular Spice known as garlic, is the best known anti-parasitic herb. Its wide distribution in every continent has enabled cultures from all over the world to take advantage of its medicinal uses. Garlic contains the organic compound allicin, which is the primary substance responsible for warding off worms and bugs that attack the plant. This is the same compound that destroys intestinal parasites, notably threadworms.
Juglans nigra, or black walnut, is recommended specifically for the removal of pathogenic microorganisms, yeast infections, and intestinal worms. It is a flowering tree that belongs to the hickory family, and anthelmintic extracts are derived from the juice of unripe walnuts. Its antifungal effects are very visible after topically applied to fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. When taken orally, it has been noted to be particularly helpful against tapeworms.
Hydrastis canadensis, called orangeroot or goldenseal in the vernacular, is historically noted for its ability to ease anomalies of the alimentary canal. It is rich in the alkaloid berberine, which restores health to the damaged epithelial tissues of the intestinal walls and expels invasive microorganisms. In recent years it has been observed to act against the parasites E. histolytica, G. lamblia, and Plasmodium as well as the bacterium E. coli.
Artemisium absinthium, better known as wormwood, is an ingredient of traditional herbal preparation used for deworming in the Mediterranean region. The discovery of sesquiterpene lactones in the plant explained its bitter taste and supported its centuries-old use as a vermifuge. Recent studies point to its activities inside the human body that inhibit growth of the parasites Giardia, Plasmodium, A. lumbricoides, and S. mansoni and effectively expel them.
Seeds of pumpkin cultivars that belong to the species Cucurbita pepo have a long-standing association with the natural expulsion of intestinal parasites. Pumpkin Seed oil has a milder effect than other herbs but guaranteed to be the safest of all anthelmintic herbal remedies. It is most effective against tapeworms and roundworms. For better results, it is consumed in large quantities with ample liquids, and often ground into a pulp beforehand.
Syzgium aromaticum, or Cloves, refers to the dried flowering buds of the plant commonly used as a Spice. It is often linked to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine and known for the treatment of digestive ailments. Its oil has been proven effective against infections induced by certain strains of bacteria and fungi. It contains sesquiterpenes that are believed to kill intestinal worms.
If you have worms, you can experience fatigue, malnutrition, and leaning development delays or mental foggyness. Taking an herbal remedy to help expel worms of any kind should be used with a yearly detox and cleans to maintain good health and wellness.
Anise Seed Is Anti-Fungal Herb And Much More!
February 23, 2011 01:44 PM
Anise Seed And Your Health
Anise seed, or simply aniseed, refers to the seed pods of the herbaceous plant native to the Mediterranean and Southwest Asia. It is famed for its moderate flavor, which is similar to fennel, licorice, and tarragon. The plant species, Pimpinella anisum, has been part of many cuisines on both the West and the East, incorporated in aromatic, sweet-tasting dishes. There is a wide array of uses for anise in the food industry, especially in recent years because of its health benefits. For centuries, it has been utilized to treat digestive problems, and the recent discovery of its high phytochemical levels has been reported to show antibacterial and antifungal properties.
The first undisputed mention of anise seed was in Naturalis Historia by Pliny the Elder, which recorded its widespread use as a breath freshener, a therapeutic remedy for insomnia, and a cure for insomnia. Some translations of biblical accounts also recorded the use of the seeds in ancient Israel and surrounding areas. By the time of Roman antiquity, it had become a popular Spice added to seafood dishes, valued for of its sweet fragrance. In the Indian subcontinent and nearby regions, anise has up to now been used as a digestive, taken after meals to avoid indigestion, especially after feasts.
The English herbalist John Gerard noted in his encyclopedia Generall Historie of Plantes the carminative effects of anise seed, which means it decreases pressure in the lower esophagus, thereby removing related digestive ailments such as excessive flatulence. It has become quite commonplace in Europe, not only due to its presence in traditional medicine, but also its increasing visibility in the food and beverage industry. It is used in soups and stews, in confectionery, adding a very strong sweet flavor. Anethole, an organic compound extracted from aniseed is added to liquor to produce a cloudy appearance.
Phytochemical Content or Anise Seed
Anise seed is known to contain many different phytochemicals that are polyphenolic and phytoestrogenic. It has high levels of phenylpropenes, a class of polyphenols that are present in essential oils, the reason why aniseed is one of the most common ingredients used in aromatherapy. These organic compounds have shown to lower the body temperature, act on the nervous system to relieve pain, and have a positive effect on epileptic seizures. In addition, it creates strong phytoestrogen-like activities in the human body, relieving cramps during menstrual period.
Anethole is widely believed to be responsible for the antimicrobial activities of anise seed, acting against bacteria, yeast, and other types of fungi. It is a bacteriostatic antibiotic and a bactericide, which means it inhibits the growth of bacteria by interfering with bacterial cellular metabolism responsible for their replication and, at the same time, actively kill them. This explains why anise seed is effective as a breath freshener in the old days, and removes digestive ailments related to bacteria. Interestingly, aniseed is also anthelmintic; it expels parasitic worms from the body.
That being said, keep in mind that the benefits of anise seed are largely therapeutic.
Anise Seed is one of those herbs you want to keep in the medicine cabinet for quick use when needed.
The Health Benefits of Turmeric
January 27, 2011 05:16 PM
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family, often called Indian saffron because of its use as a yellow dye, particularly in cookery. The Spice comes from boiled turmeric rhizomes that are dried and then ground into a fine powder. Its main active ingredient is curcumin, which offers a number of medicinal uses including its traditional use in Ayurvedic medicine as an antibacterial antiseptic for cuts and burns. It also possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and other disorders of the digestive system.
Turmeric is strongly antioxidant and neutralizes the free radicals that can accelerate the signs of aging, such as wrinkles and liver spots, and it is also believed to be effective in treating some cancers, although more research is needed on these potential properties. Turmeric is a good liver tonic, helping to protect it from certain toxins such as alcohols that destroy liver cells of taken in excess. It also helps to reduce the incidence of blood clots due to its anti-platelet properties, and it is little wonder that in traditional Ayurvedic medicine using turmeric was regarded as a sign of wealth, and a means of curing most ailments.
Turmeric, Curcumin, And Good Health
November 11, 2010 03:48 PM
Turmeric and its historyTurmeric is not just an ancient Asian Spice but also an effective traditional alternative medicine used worldwide. Turmeric is a Spice that originates in India and has been long used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine. This Spice comes from the herb Curcuma longa L. which is a member of the Curcuma botanical group, a part of the ginger family of herbs called Zingiberaceae. The root and rhizome (underground stem) of this plant is crushed and powdered into ground Turmeric. Ground Turmeric is used worldwide as a seasoning and the main ingredient in curry powders. Ground Turmeric is also the source of Curcumin, an extracted potent substance also used as alternative medicine nowadays.
Turmeric, because of its Curcumin content, has many health benefits to humans. Firstly, Turmeric has an anti-inflammatory property. Its active ingredient, Curcumin, has been proven to help reduce inflammation. Decade to decade, Turmeric has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat inflammations of the skin and muscles. Experiments done by researchers also revealed that this herb has been effective in decreasing post-surgical inflammation. This important health benefit of Turmeric is considered to be a result of the herb’s ability to slow down, if not to totally stop, Eicosanoid Biosynthesis, one of the processes the immune system undergoes during an inflammatory response.
Secondly, as a result of its anti-inflammatory characteristic, Turmeric also has an anti-arthritic property. It is widely used as an alternative medicine for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. In addition, this herb also has a natural painkiller effect. Studies show that it has similar actions to the commonly used medications such as COX-2 inhibitor and Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs.
Thirdly, several studies have shown that Turmeric is also helpful in lowering the level of bad cholesterol in the blood known as the Low Density Lipoprotein or LDL and in increasing the body’s good cholesterol, High Density Lipoprotein or HDL. An increased level of LDL promotes cholesterol plaque deposits to the walls of blood vessels, most commonly in the arteries of heart. These plaques narrow the arterial diameter hence resulting to high blood pressure and even circulation blockage. An arterial block may cause poor circulation and oxygenation to heart muscles leading to cardiac injury then infarction. This is oftentimes the cause of heart attacks. It has also been discovered that Turmeric can promote excretion of dietary fats. Thus, controlling the intestinal uptake of fats, especially cholesterol.
Turmeric - Powerful AntioxidantLastly, Turmeric is also widely used because of its anti-oxidant property. Studies demonstrate that Turmeric is effective in eliminating free radicals in the body. These free radicals are harmful. It may cause cell mutations which can lead to tumor formation and, worse, cancer.
This herbal plant can be prepared in the household by pounding and pressing its roots to be able to extract the juice out. It is then mixed with water and may be used topically or by nasal inhalation. The root can also be lightly cooked and eaten. Turmeric is also helpful in earaches and to clear clogged sinuses thus easing breathing. This herb can also be purchased in bulk powder or standardized forms to ensure its beneficial properties are intact.
Use Curamin For Painful inflammation and see how your life can change!
June 15, 2010 05:10 PM
Everyone experiences occasional pain at some time in their lives. We use the word pain in our jargon to describe something unpleasant and to indicate the necessity of toughening up such as “no pain no gain”. As common as the word pain may be, there are many misconceptions about pain. Four out of five Americans believe that occasional pain is just natural and unavoidable due largely to getting older. More than one quarter of Americans believe there is absolutely nothing they can do to relieve their personal pain.
Pain is a warning signal that something has gone wrong in the body or that something is damaged. Pain is so unpleasant that it motivates you to remove yourself from the cause of this damage as quickly and completely as possible.
There are four ways to relieve occasional pain:
1. You can leave the pain alone, but flood the body with feel-good substances that push the pain signals out from your consciousness (drugs).
2. you can put the person asleep and do surgical procedures to cut nerves and stop the pain.
3. You can impact the nervous system the internal wiring that carry the pain signals to dull them so that the signal becomes less distinct and weaker.
4. You can target what is causing the pain in the first place (most recommended). Occasional pain can be perfectly normal for instance, starting a new exercise routine when you are a bit out of shape. When dealing with type of pain, helping the body to balance its inflammation response can have tremendous impact.
This is where curamin is the answer to pain problems. Curamin contains four high potency ingredients that make it work so well. The first ingredient is curcumin from Turmeric. Curcumin is a super antioxidant with a ORAC value of 1592.27 each gram. That’s 24 times stronger than blueberries. Curamin also contains Boswellia, DLPA (DL-phenylalanine) which help fight inflammation and maximize the endorphins and enkiphalins in our own body. It finally contains nattokinase which is a systemic enzyme known to help improve circulation.
They all break down as follows:
DLPA: DL-phenylalanine is an amino acid consisting of equal parts D-phenylalanine and L-Phenylalanine. D- inhibits the breakdown or compounds called enkephalins. Enkephalins are associated with positive mood and have been shown to relieve occasional muscle pain due to exercise or overuse. L- is converted into tyrosine, which in turn is used to produce brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine.
Boswellia: Clinically tested boswellia helps reduce the activity of the inflammatory enzyme, 5-LOX (lipoxygenase). A compound (beta boswellic acid) found in boswellia which interferes with its benefitical activity has been removed, greatly increasing the effectiveness of this extract. Curcumin: Curcumin, a compound found in the Spice of turmeric, inhibits multiple inflammation pathways in the body. It is also a potent antioxidant. Some of the benefits associated with curcumin include immune system modulation, protection from oxidative stress, and support the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response. The specialized extract in this formula has the highest absorption of any curcumin extract available for maximum health benefit. (Found in Curamin)
Nattokinase: the enzyme nattokinase helps promote blood flow, aiding the other ingredients in the formula to reach all areas of the body.
So if you are suffering from chronic pain, give curamin a try and see how well you can feel. If you are concerned about its effectiveness, have no fear, VitaNet ®, LLC offers a 100% Money back guarantee if the product does not work for you.
Fight Inflammation With Herbs from Planetary Herbals
June 02, 2010 04:39 PM
Our modern lives have untold benefits, as well as challenges. Our dependence on man-made toxic chemicals, junk food, nutrient imbalanced diets, and our stressful, sedentary lifestyles can alter our biochemical metabolism and affect our health.
These lifestyles and environmental change can challenge immune health, so that the various components of the immune system are not able to carry out their protective functions. Or our immune systems can go into overdrive, often leading to a state called metabolic inflammation.
A Powerful Herbal Blend
Inflamma-Care is a potent, herbal response to the metabolic inflammation that can result from inappropriate immune response. The main component of inflama-care is the rhizome of the curcuma spicies, long used as a Spice in India. Known worldwide as turmeric (curcuma longa), it acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the activities of cytokines – inflammation messengers.
This world-renowned Spice is supported by boswellia, which inhibits pro-inflammatory enzymes, and ginger an antioxidant that inhibits prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis. Other herbs in the formula that inhibit inflammatory action include willow bark, Chinese skullcap, corydalis, holy basil, and hops.
Inflama-care also contains systemic enzymes to clear and protect the arteries and circulatory system. Systemic enzymes like bromelain and papain cleanse the bloodstream and enable the blood to flow smoothly. A free-flowing bloodstream helps the body by circulating important nutrients to the cells while clearing the body of wastes.
Immune Activating Mushroom
Planetary Herbals also offers you new Full Spectrum Chaga in 1000mg tablets and a 1:4 liquid extract. Preliminary studies suggest that chaga triggers immune responses and protects the cells with antioxidant activity.
Chaga is a mushroom that is found attached to trees like birch, alder, beach, and other hardwoods, throughout the northern latitudes. A polyphore, the mushroom looks somewhat like coal – a brownish black mass often seen in tree trunks. In China, Siberia, Finland, Japan, Poland and North America, ancient and native peoples have long known the benefits of chaga. In an acient treaties, the Chinese monk shen nog declared in 100 BC that chaga is “a precious gift of nature.”
In modern research, chaga has been shown to have 215 phytonutrients, including 29 beta-glucans. Chaga also absorbs a nutrient from the outer birch tree bark: betulin, a natural anti-inflammatory. Among the components in chaga are triterpenes, sterols, beta-glucans, flavonoids, melanins, polyphenols, saponins, lignin, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This fascinating combination of nutrients is being studied worldwide.
The PhytoDynamic Difference
Both inflama-care and full spectrum chaga are formulated with a profound understanding of the ways in which plant compounds interact with human physiology. Planetary Herbals phytodynamic principles draw on herbal tradition, scientific research, and a level of clinical expertise unmatched in the natural products industry. The result: herbal products unsurpassed for quality and consumer satisfaction.
Fight Inflammation With Inflama-Care - Anti-inflammatory herbal combination
March 22, 2010 09:07 PM
Turmeric / Boswellia Complex
Our modern lives have untold benefits, as well as great challenges. Our dependence on man-made toxic chemicals, junk food, nutrient-imbalanced diets, and our stressful, sedentary lifestyles can alter our biochemical metabolism and affect our health. These unhealthy lifestyles and environmental changes have set our immune system on overdrive, a state call metabolic inflammation. Planetary Herbals Inflama-Care is a potent, herbal response to these modern challenges.
The Inflammation Cycle
As toxins and stress begin to alter our body chemistry and change the function of vital tissues, our body reacts with metabolic inflammation just as if it were being attacked. This reaction may result in a perpetual cycle of chemical imbalances and suboptimal health. Yet metabolic inflammation is often below the threshold of perception, not noticed or felt for years after its starts. It is only much later that the altered biochemistry and the system imbalances that it generates are noticed.
A Powerful Herbal Blend Inflama-Care helps support the body’s natural response to metabolic inflammation. The main component of the formula is the rhizome of the curcuma species, long used as a Spice in India. Known worldwide as turmeric (Curcuma longa), it acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the activities of cytokines—inflammation messengers. This world-renowned Spice is supported by boswellia, which inhibits proinflammatory enzymes, and ginger, an antioxidant that inhibits prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis. Other herbs in the formula that inhibit inflammatory action include willow bark, Chinese skull cap, corydalis, holy basil, and hops.
The PhytoDynamic Difference
Planetary Herbals presents inflama-Care to help maintain the body’s biochemical balance and integrity. Inflama-care was formulated with a profound understanding of the ways in which plant compounds interact with human physiology. Planetary Herbals phytodynamic principles draw on herbal tradition, scientific research, and a level of clinical expertise unmatched in the natural products industry. Thie result: herbal products unsurpassed for quality and consumer satisfaction.
November 25, 2009 03:40 PM
Fenugreek is one of the oldest herbal remedies, used for both a cooking Spice and a medicinal remedy. Fenugreek is a plant that can be found in the family Fabaceae. This plant is used both as an herb and as a Spice. The leaves of the plant are used as an herb, while the seeds of the plant are used as a Spice. Fenugreek is cultivated worldwide as a semi-arid crop. Frequently, fenugreek can be found as a main ingredient in curry. Originally native to southwestern Asia, this herb was used for inflamed bowels and stomach problems because of its bowel-lubricating abilities. Fenugreek was used by the Greeks for respiratory problems. Additionally, fenugreek was used in both the East and West and thought of as one of the most effective medicinal herbs. Often, fenugreek plants were fed to sick animals to improve their health.
This herb has a reputation of being able to dissolve hardened masses of accumulated mucus in the body. Fenugreek helps to rid the lungs of mucus and the bronchial tubes of phlegm. Often, it is combined with lemon juice and honey to help expel waste through the lymphatic system. Fenugreek is known for the antiseptic properties that it contains, which help kill infections in the lungs. Additionally, this herb is recommended for treating an inflamed gastrointestinal system. This herb contains thirty percent mucilage, which may be used as a poultice on wounds, inflammations, boils, and skin ailments. Formulas containing fenugreek are often touted as the miracle medicine for all gynecological problems. Some studies have found that fenugreek simulates the uterus and contains diosgenin, a constituent similar to estrogen. Research on diabetic animals has found that Fenugreek seeds are able to reduce urinary glucose levels. The active ingredient seems to be the defatted portion of the seed, which possesses the alkaloid trogonelline, nicotinic acid, and coumarin. When the defatted seeds were added to insulin treatment of diabetic dogs, it was noted that insulin dose was decreased. Fenugreek contains choline and liptropic, which aid in dissolving cholesterol and lowering cholesterol levels. Animal studies have shown beneficial results in lowering serum cholesterol levels. Fenugreek helps reduce mucus in cases of asthma and sinus and bronchial congestion. Evidence of anti-inflammatory activity has been show in some studies, which may explain why some individuals with arthritis have been helped by fenugreek.
The seeds of the fenugreek plant are used to provide alterative, anti-catarrhal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, bitter, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, febrifuge, galactagogue, mucilant, and vulnerary properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are choline, iron, lecithin, minerals, protein, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and D. Primarily, fenugreek is extremely beneficial in treating allergies, loss of appetite, bronchial catarrh, high cholesterol, diabetic retinopathy, gas, gastric disorders, lung infections, excessive mucus, and sore throat.
Additionally, the herb is very helpful in dealing with abscesses, anemia, asthma, body odor, boils, bronchitis, cancer, swollen eyes, fevers, gallbladder problems, heartburn, inflammation, sinus problems, ulcers, uterine problems, and water retention. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by fenugreek, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store with questions.
October 15, 2009 10:44 AM
The cinnamon plant is a small evergreen tree that grows between thirty two and forty nine feet tall. This plant belongs to the Lauraceae family and is native to Sri Lanka. The leaves of the plant are ovate oblong in shape and approximately two to seven inches in length, while the flowers, which have a distinct odor, are greenish in color. The fruit is a purple berry about one-centimeter and contain a single seed. The flavor of cinnamon is the result of an essential oil which makes up about 1/2% to 1% of its composition. This oil can be prepared by roughly pounding the bark, macerating it in seawater, and quickly distilling the whole. The oil is of a golden-yellow color, with the characteristic odor of cinnamon and a very hot aromatic taste.
Cinnamon has been known from ancient times, with the first mention of particular Spice in the Old Testament being of cinnamon. In this, Moses commanded the use of sweet cinnamon and cassia in the holy anointing oil. Additionally, cinnamon is also mentioned elsewhere in the bible. This herb was so highly prized among ancient nations that it was often looked upon as a gift fit for even God. Cinnamon was imported to Egypt as early as 2000 B.C. The herb is also alluded to by Herodotus and other classical writers. Cinnamon was too expensive to be commonly used in funerals of ancient Rome. However, the Emperor Nero is said to have burned a year’s worth of the city’s supply at the funeral for his wife in 65 A.D.
Cinnamon can be harvested by growing the tree for two years and then coppicing it. About a dozen shoots will form from the roots in the next year. These shoots are then stripped of their bark and left to dry. Only the thin inner bark is used, while the outer woody portion is removed. Each dried strip of cinnamon are then cut into lengths of about five to ten centimeters for sale.
Cinnamon has been around for thousands of years. It is revered as a Spice and also as a healing agent. Cinnamon was included in embalming oils by the Egyptians. This herb was used in China to treat fever, diarrhea, and menstrual problems dating as far back as 2000 BC. Cinnamon was a major trade commodity during the ancient times. Cinnamon grew in the southern regions of Asia originally. This herb is used to help relieve upset stomachs, reduce milk flow, stop excessive menstrual flow, and alleviate back pain. Research has also determined that cinnamon contains components that possess antifungal and antibacterial capabilities. This herb is found in some toothpaste, which allows it to help some decay-causing bacteria. Cinnamon is also helpful for promoting healthy blood sugar levels.
The dried bark of the cinnamon plant is used to provide alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, sedative, stimulant, and stomachic properties. Primarily, cinnamon is beneficial in treating abdominal pain, candida, diarrhea, gas, gastric disorders, and indigestion.
Additionally, this herb is also extremely helpful in dealing with arthritis, asthma, backaches, bloating, bronchitis, cholera, coronary problems, fevers, excessive menstruation, nausea, nephritis, parasites, psoriasis, rheumatism, upset stomach, vomiting, and warts. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by cinnamon, please contact a representative from your local health food store with questions.
August 25, 2009 12:12 PM
The caraway plant, also known as Persian cumin, is a biennial plant that is found in the Apiaceae family. This plant is native to Europe and western Asia. The plant is very similar in appearance to a carrot plant, with finely divided, feathery leaves that have thread-like divisions that grow on twenty to thirty centimeter stems. The main flower stem is forty to sixty centimeters tall and has small white or pink flowers that are in the shape of umbels. The caraway fruits, which are erroneously called seeds, are crescent-shaped and about two millimeters in length and have five pale ridges. The caraway plant prefers warm, sunny locations and a well-drained soil as well.
The fruits of the caraway plant are usually used whole. They have a pungent, anise-like flavor and an aroma that is derived from the essential oils carvone and limonene. These oils are used as a Spice in breads, especially rye bread, which is denser due to the yeast killing properties of the essential oil, limonene. Caraway is also used in liquors, casseroles, and other foods, especially in Central European and Northern European cuisine, like sauerkraut. This herb is also used to add flavor to cheeses. A substance made from the seeds is used as a remedy for colic, loss of appetite, digestive disorders, and to dispel worms.
Caraway herbs have been used as a flavoring in foods such as rye bread for thousands of years. It has also been used medicinally by the Romans, Germans, and the English. Generally, it was used to treat flatulence and indigestion. It was also used to relieve colic in babies.
Caraway is very similar to anise. Both of them are recommended for the same purposes. This herb is a powerful antiseptic. It is especially effective in relieving toothaches. When it is applied locally to the skin, it also acts as an anesthetic. This herb can be mixed with other herbs such as mandrake and culver’s root in order to help modify its purgative action. Caraway is also useful in treating stomach problems. Additionally, it helps prevent fermentation in the stomach. It can help to settle stomach after people have taken medication that causes nausea. Caraway also helps to relieve intestinal cramps and colic in babies.
This herb is known to encourage menstruation and the flow of milk in nursing mothers. Caraway also helps to ease uterine cramps.
The root and seed of the caraway plant are used to provide anesthetic, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, galactagogue, mild purgative, stimulant, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, lead, magnesium, potassium, silicon, vitamin B-complex, and zinc. It is important to consult your local health care professional before taking this, or any supplement in order to obtain the best results. Priamrily, caraway is extremely beneficial in treating loss of appetite, colic, uterine and intestinal cramps, gastric disorders, indigestion, and spasms.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with colds, absent lactation, absent menstruation, upset stomach, and toothaches. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by caraway, feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
August 24, 2009 11:32 AM
Caralluma is a succulent plant that is part of the cactus family. It can be found growing wild in Africa, the Canary Islands, India, and southern Europe, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan. The herb has been used in Indian for centuries in order to curb appetite. It is a portable food for hunting and also an endurance enhancer. This herb was also used during periods of famine in order to curb appetite.
The caralluma plant is part of the Apoxynaceae family. It has been eaten in rural Indian for centuries, raw, as a vegetable with Spices, or preserved in chutneys and pickles. It is often found as a roadside shrub or boundary marker. Caralluma has been used as a portable food and thirst quencher for hunting. Caralluma is mainly used for its ability to suppress hunger and appetite, while enhancing stamina. Tribesmen on a daily hunt will often only pack some caralluma to sustain themselves, which is why it is commonly known as a famine food in India.
The working class in India used this plant not only as an appetite suppressant, but also to increase energy and endurance. Caralluma can be coked as a vegetable, pickled, used in chutneys, or eaten raw.
This herb seems to block the activity of many fat-promoting enzymes in the body. It forces fat reserves to be burned. One double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial on caralluma extract, which involved fifty people, showed significant reductions in all key indicators of weight loss.
This plant is also believed to affect the appetite-control mechanism that is found in the brain. When we eat, nerves in our stomach send a signal to the brain’s hypothalamus. This is the appetite-controlling center. When the stomach is full, the hypothalamus informs the brain that it can stop eating. When a person feels hunger, it is the result of the hypothalamus sending a signal to the brain to eat. The interference with these signals, or even creating a sign of its own, is done by caralluma. Through this, the brain is tricked into thinking that the stomach is full, even if the person has not eaten.
Patients who use caralluma have reported having more energy. Additionally, they tend to gain lean muscle mass while they lose fat. This herb not only reduces fat synthesis, but it also boosts the burning of fat. This makes more energy available for the body as a whole.
The plant has no known toxicity or side effects. However, it is wise to consult a health care professional before supplementing with this, or any nutrient while on prescription medications.
The entire caralluma plant is used to provide anorectic and energy boosting properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are bitters principles, flavones glycosides, megastigmane glycosides, pregnane glycosides, and seponins. Primarily, this herb is extremely beneficial in dealing with low energy and obesity. It also acts as an appetite suppressant. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by caralluma, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
July 29, 2009 04:35 PM
Salvia is the Latin name for sage, meaning healthy. The sage plant was highly revered for its healing benefits in the Mediterranean. It also originated in the Mediterranean. The plant is a perennial herbaceous shrub that can be found growing up to heights of fifty meters. It prefers dry chalky soils in sunny areas, but it will thrive in a rich soil with good drainage. Although it can now be found growing in many areas throughout the world, it should not be confused with the brush sage that grows in the desert areas.
Often, dried sage leaves are used as culinary Spices. Sage is, and has been, a staple in many households. Traditionally, it is used to prolong life. It is also used in lotions to help heal sores and other sin ailments. Fresh sage leaves are chewed in order to remedy infections of the mouth and throat. Gargling with sage can also be an effective way to help treat a sore throat. Additionally, sage helps with excessive mucus discharge, nasal drip, sores, and excessive saliva secretions. The herb has antipyretic qualities that have been known to help with fevers, night sweats, and related problems.
This herb is also beneficial for mental exhaustion and for increasing the ability to concentrate. Sage improves memory and has been used on some forms of mental illness. Also, it has been used to treat digestive disorders such as ulcers, nausea, and diarrhea. It is used topically as an antiseptic for sores, and sore gums. The herb is even used as a teeth cleaner or hair tonic.
Sage has been found in clinical studies to contain antioxidant properties. It is thought that the labiatic acid found within is the active constituent. Evidence has shown that there is some antimicrobial activity in this herb as well. Recent research using laboratory animals has found antispasmodic activity in sage extracts. This activity may account for its use as a digestive aid. It should be noted that those people with seizure disorders should only use sage under the supervision of a health-care provider.
The leaves of the sage plant are used to provide alterative, antigalactagogue, antihydrotic, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, febrifuge, parasiticide, stimulant, and vulnerary properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, sulfur, and vitamins A, B-complex, and C. Primarily, sage is extremely beneficial in dealing with coughs, diabetes, fevers, gastic disorders, sore gums, indigestion, infection, absent lactation, memory impairments, mental illnesses, mouth sores, nausea, nervous conditions, night sweats, sores, sore throat, and worms.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in treating snake bits, blood infections, colds, cystitis, diarrhea, dysentery, flu, hair loss, headaches, kidney stones, laryngitis, lung congestion, mucus discharge, nasal drip, palsy, parasites, phlegm, sinus congestion, skin disorders, tonsillitis, ulcers, 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. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by sage, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
BerryOxidants - Food-Sourced Antioxidant Protection
April 12, 2009 11:07 AM
BerryOxidants - Food-Sourced Antioxidant Protection
2 tablets contain:
Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) 1,000 mg
Grape Seed Extract (Proanthodyn™) 150 mg
Green Tea Leaf Ext (95% polyphenols, 150 mg 35% ECGC)
Turmeric Rhizome Ext (95% curcumin) 150 mg
Polygonum cuspidatum Root Ex 100 mg (8% total resveratrols)
Bromelain 100 mg
Quercetin 100 mg
Ginkgo Leaf Extract (50:1) 60 mg
Silymarin (from milk thistle seed ext) 60 mg
Hawthorn Berry Extract (4:1) 50 mg
Rosemary Leaf Extract (5:1) 50 mg
Citrus Bioflavonoids 50 mg
Lecithin 50 mg
Grape Skin Extract (20% polyphenols) 50 mg
Astragalus Root Extract (10:1) 50 mg
Cabbage Floret & Stem 50 mg
Cranberry Fruit Ext (90% solids) 50 mg
Sweet Cherry Fruit Ext (10:1) 50 mg
Holy Basil Leaf Ext (2% ursolic acid) 50 mg
Olive Leaf Ext (15% oleuropein) 40 mg
Rutin 40 mg
Lycium Fruit Extract (4:1) 40 mg
Strawberry Fruit 40 mg
Açai Fruit Juice Powder 40 mg
Organic Amla Fruit 40 mg
Pomegranate Seed Ext (40% elagitannins) 20 mg
European Elder Berry Ext (5% flavones) 20 mg
Mangosteen Fruit Rind Extract 20 mg (standardized to 95% flavonoids & 40% mangostins)
Raspberry Leaf Ext (40% elagitannins) 10 mg
White Mulberry Fruit Ext (10:1) 10 mg
Blueberry Leaf Ext (20% chlorogenic acid) 10 mg
Bilberry Fruit Ext (25% anthocyanidins) 5 mg
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.
Green Tea Extract
October 23, 2008 01:43 PM
Green tea is a form of tea made from the leaves of the Carmellia Sinensis, a shrub that is native to China and has spread to other areas of Asia including Japan and the Middle East. Drinking it is believed to impart many health benefits, including the prevention of obesity, heart disease and some forms of cancer and it has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 400 years.
Tea is known to have been consumed in China for around 5,000 years, and used, not only in Chinese medicine, but also in that of Japan, Thailand and India for a number of ailments including regulating blood sugar, treating wounds and digestive problems. The drinking of green tea to benefit the heart and other vital organs is described in the Kissa Yojoki (Book of Tea), written in 1191 by Eisai, a Japanese Zen priest.
This two-part book talks about the various medicinal benefits of green tea, such as preventing fatigue, curing beriberi, quenching thirst, clearing the thoughts, maintaining health of the urinary tract and improving digestive problems. It also explains how to grow tea and how to prepare and use the leaves. The methods of treatment of various ailments and medical conditions are described in the second part of the book.
The active ingredients in green tea are catechins, polyphenols with strong anti-oxidant properties. Antioxidants are important components of your diet due to their effect on free radicals. These are small molecules, generally oxygenated, such the superoxide cation and hydrogen peroxide that are generated during normal metabolic processes and also ingested in pollutants such as traffic and factory fumes and insecticides. Free radicals are also formed by the effect of the ultra-violet component of sunlight on your skin and other tissues.
The effect of free radicals on your body can be devastating, and they not only destroy cell membranes but also oxidize such molecules as the low density lipids (LDL) that carry cholesterol around your bloodstream. This allows the LDLs to be absorbed by the white blood cells and then deposited as fatty plaques in the walls of your arteries. The end result is a thickening and hardening of the arteries that leads to a condition known as atherosclerosis, where the blood supply to the brain and heart muscle is restricted, which can in turn lead to strokes and heart disease.
Their effect on your cells is to cause cancer and premature aging, among others, and free radicals are also believed to play a part in conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and also inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and diabetes. They can also cause damage to your DNA.
It is essential, therefore, that these free radicals are destroyed as quickly as they are generated, and that is what antioxidants do. You might be more familiar with the antioxidants Vitamins A, C and E, and phytochemicals such as flavonoids and carotenoids, but there are many substances available to you that are even more powerful such as the polyphenols found in green tea.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most powerful of these with antioxidant properties at least twenty five times that of Vitamin E, and 100 times that of Vitamin C. EGCG comprises around 10-50% of the total catechin content of the tea and studies indicate that it likely helps to protect against DNA damage by free radicals, to protect against oxidation of LDL, provide protection against the damage of ultra-violet radiation and to protect you from the free radicals that are generated by smoking tobacco and general airborne pollution.
There are suggestions that the bioavailability of EGCG can be increased by consuming black pepper when drinking green tea, possibly due to the presence of piperine in the pepper. The piperine appears to retard the intestinal glucuronidation of EGCG and so allow more of it to be absorbed as opposed to excreted. So if you are using green tea for health reasons, Spice up your food with a small amount of black pepper - that's all it needs. You don't have to smother your food in it! It should be stressed that these tests were carried out on animals, although the biochemistry involved is much the same.
The oxidation of fat by your metabolism to provide energy is a very important factor in weight control. If the contribution of the fats you ingest to the energy generated by your metabolism is low, then the fats can go on to be deposited in your body. This is not only unsightly, in that it can basically make you look 'fat', but is also dangerous to your health. Fat deposits around your midriff and round the major organs of your body can be extremely damaging and a severe risk to your health.
It has been shown by a recent study in the UK (Birmingham University) that those taking green tree extract displayed a 17% increase in fat oxidation over those given a placebo. Not only that, but the ratio of fat oxidation to the overall energy expenditure showed a similar differential between the study and the control group. This provides evidence of green tea extract being able to control your weight by burning fat, and also to improve the tolerance to glucose and sensitivity to insulin of healthy people.
Many other health claims have been made for green tea extract, although many of these have little, if any, scientific basis. Among these are the claims that it can treat multiple sclerosis and be used to treat cancer, although claims that it can prevent the destruction of cell membranes due to its oxidative effect are supported by the biochemistry, if not the medical proof. There are cases where theoretical biochemistry can explain many of the applications of ancient remedies without needing modern day studies to support it.
Some of the research supporting the green tea theories include:
1. In 2006, a study was announced that had followed over 40,500 Japanese men and women, aged between 40 and 79, that had no history of coronary heart disease, stroke or cancer starting in 1994. It was found that those who drank at least 5 cups of tea per day had a 16% lower risk of dying from any cause and a 26% less risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those that drank less than one cup of tea each day. Since cardiovascular disease and cancer are the major causes of death world-wide, these are significant results.
2. Again in 2006, it was reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that studies indicated that a higher consumption of green tea was associated with a reduction in human mental impairment when compared to the average.
3. Yale University School of Medicine reported later that year that, in spite of smoking more than their western counterparts, Asians suffered lower rates of cancer and heart disease, and put that down to them drinking over 4 pints of green tea daily. It was the polyphenol content of green tea and its antioxidant effect that was proposed for this result, known commonly as the 'Asian paradox'. A specific reason given for this was the antioxidant effect preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and its subsequent deposition in the artery walls.
4. Another component of green tea is the amino acid L-Theanine that promotes relaxation, and it is believed that this could help to fight stress by inhibiting the excitation of cortical neurons.
There is a lot more evidence for the health benefits of green tea, and once again it appears that the ancients have been proved correct. Perhaps we should pay more attention to ancient remedies, although without the proper evidence much of it is ignored - for the time being at least. Green tea, however, has generally been accepted due to the research and studies carried out on ECGC (Epigallocatechin gallate) and in additional to the traditional form, is also available as a dietary supplement.
August 22, 2008 05:50 PM
Fructooligosaccharides, which shall henceforth be referred to as FOS for obvious reasons, are sugars with chemical linkages known as osidic covalent bonds that resist enzymic hydrolysisis, and so are broken down by neither the salivary nor the digestive enzymes. In other words, they are indigestible.
However, before discussing the biochemistry further, let's have a look at what they can be used for. Your body depends upon certain bacteria for its health. These are essential to help break down and digest certain foods, and also to provide a resistance to disease and infection. FOS is what is known as a prebiotic, which used to feed these friendly bacteria. Just like any other living organism, bacteria require nourishment and while they get plenty of food from our own diet, especially from the fiber content, they find FOS particularly appetizing.
Because fructooligosaccharides cannot be digested, it passes unchanged into the colon, where these bacteria live. As they break down the FOS and live on it, they multiply, and create an environment in your lower intestine that is hostile to many harmful bacteria such as Clostridia and E. coli. However, it is not only these harmful bacteria that cause problems with your digestion since there many other agents that can interfere with the smooth functioning of your gastrointestinal tract.
People all over the world are continually suffering from both minor and very serious digestive problems, ranging from heartburn and upset stomachs to severe diarrhea, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome and even bowel cancers. There is a multitude of reasons for that such as the effects of aging, poor diet and bacteria from contaminated food. Organic foodstuffs do not last long in many warm countries, and while Spices can be used to hide the taste, they are not always successful in killing off the bacteria.
Your health depends on a healthy digestive system, and when that is wrong then you will feel ill. If your digestive system is running below par, then you will not feel good, and could suffer from a wide range of symptoms, including tiredness, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, fevers and depression. The health of your intestinal tract in particular is often neglected, and most people need to do something to give it a boost and improve its, and their, overall health.
That is what FOS can do. And it can do more than just feed friendly bacteria: it can help you maintain regular bowel movements, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy immune system, break down hormones and rebuild them again (it is useful for the relief of the symptoms of PMS) and to keep down the cholesterol and fatty acid levels in your blood. It is used to feed beneficial bacteria, not to replace them, and if you are on a probiotic supplement, you can take FOS along with it.
Fructooligosaccharides are also used as artificial sweeteners, and alternative names for them oligofructan and oligofructose. There are two classes of FOS, the first of which is produced commercially by the chemical or enzymic degradation of inulin, a polymer of D-fructose linkages terminated with D-glucose. This is produced commercially predominantly in Belgium and Holland, and it also occurs naturally in chicory and Jerusalem artichoke, and in lesser amounts in bananas, garlic, tomatoes and onions. The second class of FOS is produced mainly in Japan. This is produced by a process known as the transfructosylation of a B-fructosidase from saccharose or aspergillus niger, a black mould found on onions and grapes. This is basically the same as the first class, although the chemical bonds are in different places.
While they resist breakdown by enzymes, they are fermented in the colon by anaerobic bacteria, bacteria that work in the absence of oxygen. Because they are fairly soluble, they can be added to dairy products such as yoghurt and used to feed the bacteria contained in the yoghurt. In fact many supplements containing acidophilus bacteria are fortified with FOS: you drink the bacteria along with its food.
Although FOS is only now assuming increasingly popularity in the West, it has been used as a dietary supplement in Japan for many years. Some of the specific health benefits that FOS coveys by promoting the health of essential bacteria, are:
Calcium and Magnesium Absorption
There have been several studies that have concluded that FOS and inulin improve the absorption of calcium in the intestine of both animals and humans. The fermentation of the FOS by bacteria reduces the pH of the gut, which increases the solubility of these minerals and hence extracts more of them from food. The increased solubility also helps them to be more easily absorbed through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. FOS can therefore help to maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
Strengthened Immune System
By taking a supplement of FOS, you can increase the density of friendly bacteria in your gut fivefold in a matter of weeks. This crowds out harmful bacteria, and so the level of toxins in your body is reduced. Your immune system is allowed to work properly to fight of infection and disease without having to work hard on keeping down the harmful bacteria in your gut.
Apart from being a food for bacteria, since it is not digestible FOS is also a soluble fiber that draws water into your colon, and so promotes easy transport of feces by the peristaltic pumping action of the intestinal muscles. It also absorbs excess water in the chyme and feces and so helps to prevent diarrhea. Furthermore, improving the health of the friendly bacteria also improves your digestive health that also promotes regularity.
The fermentation of FOS by bacteria produces gases and acids. These acids help the body to produce energy, and although not a massive energy boost, when allied to the improved digestion it is significant.
All of these benefits and more suggest that FOS is highly recommended in the event of sporadic and chronic gastrointestinal problems. It is a natural substance that does not have a direct influence on your body's biochemistry, but promotes the health and reproduction of those bacteria that do have a significant influence on intestinal health. Add that to the added benefits discussed above, and FOS is one of these supplements that could almost be called essential.
June 30, 2008 04:47 PM
If there has ever been an overlooked vegetable, it would definitely be fennel. Some people have an aversion to its licorice-like scent, while others feel as if fennel is a bizarre and obscure vegetable that they have no interest in learning how to prepare. However, those who have discovered it know that ignoring fennel is a waste of a versatile vegetable’s amazing flavor and healthful benefits. Even those who already cook with fennel might find that they aren’t taking advantage of its versatility. For example, many people use only the delicate, lacy parts of fennel as a flavor-enhancing garnish for soups or salads. Others stick to just using the green-white bulbs, while tossing the remaining pieces aside. However, there’s no season like now to start using and enjoying all the parts of fennel.
Fennel is available from autumn until early spring and both its stems and bulbs have been found to contain many nutrients. Fennel Spice, which is made from the vegetable’s seeds, can be found year round, as it is one of five Spices in Chinese five-Spice powder. One cup of raw, sliced fennel is a huge source of vitamin C, folic acid, fiber, and potassium. History has shown that fennel can be taken to alleviate bad breath, indigestion, intestinal spasms, cramps, and gas. It is thought that Puritans chewed the seeds in order to tame hunger during fasts. Recently, scientists have found that fennel contains antioxidants which promote good health.
In order to gain these healthful benefits, be sure to purchase white or pale-green fennel that has clean, firm bulbs. The bulbs should not be split, bruised, or spotted, while the stalks that grow from the bulb should be relatively straight. Additionally, the vegetable’s fronds would be green but not flowering because blooms indicate that the bulb is past maturity. When consumed right away, fennel is at its best. But, it can be kept in the crisper for up to four days. Be sure to wash it before using its base in hors d’oeuvres, salads, and gratins. Also, make sure to reserve its fronds in order to enhance dishes in a potent way. With such versatility in the kitchen, there is absolutely no excuse not to include fennel in your meals this season.
Once you discover that fennel is both crunchy and slightly sweet, you will want to incorporate it into many of your daily meals. Thankfully, fennel can enhance many dishes and make them extraordinary. Here are some quick ideas for using fennel this season. You can thinly shave the desired amount of a fennel bulb and toss it with a bit of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and a small amount of Parmesan cheese to make a fennel salad at moment’s notice. Another option is sauté sliced fennel with equal parts of onion and bell pepper in order to make a simple vegetarian side dish. One can take advantage of fennel’s ability to enhance flavors by adding fennel with tuna or grilled sea bass. Fennel can also be cut vertically, leaving bulb, stalk, and leaves intact and then brushed with olive oil and grilled until lightly browned. Another idea is to garnish your favorite vegetable soup with coarsely chopped fennel fronds.
June 25, 2008 01:44 PM
Tea is soaked in culture and history, with its roots dating back to ancient China. Chinese legend says that tea was created more than 5,000 years ago when the leaves fell into the boiling water of an early emperor. From there, tea has become a popular drink, with a culture of its own. True teas are made from the dried leaves of the tea plant, which was first cultivated in China and found growing wild in India. The different processing techniques are used on the leaves of the tea plant in order to produce the many different styles. Green tea is produced by steaming the fresh-picked leaves, followed by heat-drying, while black tea is made by allowing the tea leaves to ferment completely before firing. Oolong teas are made by partially fermenting the leaves before firing while white tea is the least processed of all the teas, with it not being oxidized or rolled by instead, dried by steaming.
Anything that doesn’t come from the Camellia sinensis plant is known as an herbal tea. Herbal teas contain herbs and Spices that are often used for health purposes. Rooibos, which is the popular herbal tea, is also referred to as red tea, is full of polyphenols and flavonoids which help reduce cellular damage that is caused by free radicals which weaken natural defenses. Red tea also contains many beneficial vitamins and minerals and helps to reduce cramping and gas.
Other herbal tea blends are made for various symptoms such as PMS, energy, weight control, and detoxing. An herbal tea blend that is comprised of astragalus, cranberry, rooibos, and three types of Echinacea can help to support the body’s natural defense system. Peppermint blend teas alleviate digestive disorders and insomnia, while Holy Basil tea helps to alleviate stress, lowers cortisol levels, and promotes a sense of well-being. All ingredients in an herbal tea have a purpose. The herbs and Spices improve well-being and contribute to an active, balance, and healthy lifestyle.
A quality herbal tea looks at several aspects of the ingredients. Each herb is looked at for its medicinal value before being included in a tea. Higher quality herbs mean that a higher price is paid for the starting bulk materials, making the price of the finished tea product more expensive. Where the herbs are grown, how they are grown, and how they are harvested are all very important pieces of information to tea makers, who all want the best quality available for their tea formulas. The most important fact to tea makers is that the herbs are organic, and if they’re not organic, that they are wild-crafted, meaning that they go through quality control procedures to make sure that there are no chemical pollutants, heavy metals, or toxins in them.
Finally, the cut of the herbs is also especially important when creating teas, with tea bag cut producing the most effective single serving healthful tea. A tea bag cut means that they are small enough to be broken down and extract all the valuable components are able to be extracted out of the herbs in the shortest amount of time. Herbs should also be large enough that they don’t pass through the filter bag and leave residue in the cup. Herb quality and freshness is also very important, with the color of the herbs being vibrant and the smell obvious.