Search Term: " Cold s "
Protect yourself properly this cold season with oregano oil, plus 6other natural remedies
April 26, 2019 03:18 PM
CDC statistics indicate that most adults will get hit by the common cold at least a few times a year, but the antimicrobial properties of oregano oil may be able to help reduce your symptoms. A 2011 study, for example, found that an oregano oil throat spray could help control many cold symptoms. When combined with an overall healthy lifestyle, oregano oil can give your immune system an important boost. Ginger, probiotics, drinking herbal tea with honey and staying hydrated can also help.
"Be sure to look for a high quality oregano oil supplement (such as wild P73 oregano oil, which stands for “polyphenol 73%” and indicates a medicinal grade quality). To use, mix 3 to 10 drops of oregano oil in a tablespoon of water, swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds, then swallow."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/cold-natural-remedy-2811.html
Monolaurin The Most Beneficial Compound in Coconut Oil?
January 11, 2019 08:19 AM
We're constantly hearing about the benefits associated with coconut oil, but many of us are unaware of what actually causes coconut oil to be so healthy for our bodies. The main compound found in coconut oil that has positive health benefits is called monolaurin. Monolaurin derives from lauric acid, and it is able to kill off viruses and bacteria due to it being a natural antimicrobial. It can also help in preventing the phenomenon known as antibiotic resistance.
"In nature, lauric acid is a precursor to monolaurin, which is an even more powerful antimicrobial agent than lauric acid. When your body digests lauric acid, certain enzymes within the digestive tract form this beneficial monoglyceride known as monolaurin."
Read more: https://draxe.com/monolaurin/
The facts about candida overgrowth and how to overcome it
August 21, 2018 05:53 PM
Candida is a type of yeast found in the human body that is usually dairy harmless but which can cause digestive problems and a range of other symptoms of it. Candida overgrowth can damage the intestinal walls and also cause an increase in allergy symptoms, fatigue, problems with other fungal diseases, headaches, respiratory problems and cold symptoms. Candidates overgrowth can also impede mental clarity and cognition. A combination of overuse of antibiotics, poor diet and the resulting poor immunity make people more vulnerable to candida overgrowth.
"Although it is normal to have some of this fungus in the body, candida can also invade the body beyond what is acceptable"
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/the-facts-about-candida-overgrowth-and-how-to-overcome-it/
Hibiscus extracts can be used to provide natural food coloring WITH health benefits
March 28, 2018 09:17 AM
While the hibiscus is known as a very ornamental bloom, gracing many gardens, it has an economic role to play as well, serving as a product of high significance in both the food and cosmetic industries. This dual nature of the plant arises from the fact that the hibiscus is both highly nutritious and also the source of a safe coloring agent that can be used even in foods.
The periodical, 'Food Science and Human WellnessWellness', explored the viability of hibiscus-generated food coloring for cupcakes and found the resulting product to be both cost-effective and 'clean, ' with the added benefit of adding necessary flavonoids into the human diet. These anthocyanins, aside from the nourishment they provide, appear to be linked with the easing of numerous health complaints, including, hypertension, inflammatory conditions, coughing and excess weight.
"Extracts from hibiscus calyces could be used as a natural food coloring, which can provide health benefits at the same time, according to a study published in the journal Food Science and Human Wellness."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-03-26-hibiscus-extracts-can-be-used-to-provide-natural-food-coloring-with-health-benefits.html
5 Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar
July 29, 2017 04:14 PM
Vinegar has been used for centuries as a cleanser and a food additive. In the form of apple cider vinegar it has multiple health benefits as well. Since it's made from apples, there are vitamins and minerals to be found in quality apple cider vinegar. It has anecdotal benefits like curing hiccoughs and also scientific ones like reducing blood sugar. Apple cider vinegar can be used as a mouth wash and applied topically also to help dandruff or other skin issues. It's a valuable ingredient that should be on everyone's pantry shelf.
"Apple cider vinegar has a lot of benefits like curing hiccups to alleviating cold symptoms, detoxification, helping the human body digest foods more easily etc. Read more about the health benefits here."
Read more: http://doctor.ndtv.com/living-healthy/benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar-1728879
How To Heal Cold Sore Naturally!!
July 15, 2017 12:14 PM
A Cold sore is a concern that most of us have dealt with at least one time in our life, and for some people, they are a recurring nightmare. No matter which category you fall into, natural healing of that Cold sore is a realistic possibility. If you know how to naturally treat a Cold sore you can get the fast and effective relief -efficiently delivered to your lips- no matter the time of the year.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8hTEZJWMr4&rel=0
"Oral herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus, and it can be transmitted by kissing, hugs, and using same eating utensils."
Top 13 Benefits Of Vitamin A For Health And Skin
May 22, 2017 08:44 AM
Vitamin A, found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and proteins, plays an important part in our everyday lives. Many people know of Vitamin A's existence, but are unaware of its host of benefits. These benefits include improving the immune system (raising lymphocytic responses, maintains moisture of mucus membranes, and improving white blood cell activity), maintaining eye health (through regulating light changes and moisture), keeping skin soft, strengthen teeth and bones (by forming dentin), prevent urinary stones (due to calcium phosphate formation), inhibit muscular dystrophy, may prevent acne and certain cancer, treat measles and cold sores, lower cholesterol, and protect from infection. And, as an added bonus, it's also an anti-aging agent, because of its wrinkle reducing properties! Just be careful that you don't take too much Vitamin A, and speak to a doctor before starting on supplementation.
"One of the most amazing benefits of vitamin A which ought to be mentioned first is improving your immune system"
Read more: http://vkool.com/benefits-of-vitamin-a/
Benjamin Hardy: 8 Things Every Person Should Do Before 8 A.M.
March 20, 2017 01:44 PM
Getting out of survival mode should be the top of everyone's list. The way to get out of survival mode is to simply do the things on this list. The first is to get a health amount of sleep - at least 7 hours. Next is to either use prayer or meditation to start the day off in the zone. Performing a hard workout and then consuming a breakfast full of protein is next on the list. A cold shower follows, then reading or listening to something uplifting. And finally, review your life goals and then do something that continues you on the path to completing those goals. Doing all these things before 8am will surely get anyone on the path to feeling better about life.
"Sadly, most people’s lives are filled to the brim with the nonessential and trivial."
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/8-things-every-person-should-do-before-8-am_us_58c808a1e4b03400023f4b68
Eight foods to boost immunity and fight the common cold
February 10, 2017 12:59 PM
The common cold is something only your own immune system can help with. This tells you eight foods to eat that will give it a fighting chance. The immune system is the body's defense so helping it along is always a good idea. It would be easy to add these foods into anyone's diet since they're common and are easily obtained.
"When you’re trying to fight off an illness, focus on consuming foods that are packed with nutrients."
10 Reasons to Start Drinking Bone Broth
January 23, 2017 02:59 PM
If you would like an inexpensive way to make yourself healthier, look no further than bone broth. The bones used to make these broths are full of nutrients that can help with multiple issues. Just a few of the benefits include boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, assisting in bone repair, and boosting hair and nail growth.
"Bone broth, the old-timey staple that's making a dramatic comeback is the latest superfood sweeping the country, and for good reason. It's said to contain several health benefits as well as ingredients to make us look younger, and it's a cheap, easy to prepare comfort food."
Apple cider vinegar can help regulate blood sugar, body fat and more
January 11, 2017 02:59 PM
When it comes to outrageous science hoaxes in general there are ten of the most outrageous science hoaxes that concern apple cider vinegar in general. These outrageous science hoaxes include that it balances the blood sugar and improves diabetes, prevents weight gain, improves digestive health, as well as a few other ones in general.
"(NaturalNews) Apple cider vinegar (ACV), the kitchen staple made from fermented apples, has a long history as a folk remedy for numerous conditions ranging from curing hiccups and alleviating Cold symptoms to making your hair shine, whitening your teeth, and freshening your breath."
Fight your sickness by making your own DIY all-natural cough syrup
December 29, 2016 02:59 PM
Most people get sick during the winter months although it's not the cold weather that actually makes you sick. People don't go out as much during the winter and are around others more which makes it easier for the bacteria and viruses to spread. Eating healthy, drinking enough filtered water and getting enough exercise are among some of the things you can do to keep your body healthy.
"Most germs that cause the common Cold spread more quickly in cold, dry air. Furthermore, during the winter months, people spend more time indoors and closer to each other, which makes it easier for the bacteria and viruses to spread."
4 Main Health Benefits Of Grapefruit
December 18, 2016 08:11 PM
Grapefruits are fruits loved by many. Most people prefer eating this fruit mainly because they're rich in vitamin C. Besides that, grateful also has a number of health benefits that you should probably know about. This fruit is found in 3 different pulps; white, red or pink pulps. But nevertheless, they still offer similar benefits. I'm going to show you some of the most unexpected health benefits of grapefruits that you probably need to be aware of.
Benefits of Grapefruit
Grapefruit is a good remedy for those who want to shed some weight. A high metabolism is good because it will help you burn down excessive fat in your body even when you're resting. Eating grapefruit before meal can tremendously help you lose some weight. This is because grapefruits have a high amount of enzymes and less sodium which helps to burn excessive fat easily.
Reduces the risk of having kidney stones
According to reports, grapefruits reduce the risk of having kidney stones. Naringenin is a natural compound that regulates protein a called PKD2 which is responsible for the prevention of kidney cysts. The antioxidant effects will also prevent the kidneys from swelling which is mainly caused by fluid retention.
Strengthen the immune system
Typically, any fruit that is rich in vitamin C will support and strengthen the immune system. This vitamin also works in conjunction with other micronutrients in order to provide the body with good nourishment. Having high levels of the vitamin will help reduce Cold symptoms. This will make it easier to control allergies since vitamin C reduces histamine levels.
Protects against cancer
Grapefruits have also been linked to reducing the chances of getting certain cancers. Recent studies have discovered that the fruit can help repair/restore damaged DNA found in prostate cancer cells. The natural compound called naringenin stimulates repair of DNA in the cancer cells and will prevent your body from cancer. Grapefruits have been linked to reducing the risk of cancer like breast cancer, cancer of the stomach, colon, esophagus as well as bladder.
Health experts share the top home remedies for fighting a cold
November 05, 2016 01:49 PM
Cold season is rushing upon us quickly and now is the perfect time for you to learn the remedies that will keep you protected against illness. Why spend all winter sick and in the bed when the top cold fighting remedies are shared with you here? This article has the top information that you need.
"If you feel the first signs of a scratchy throat, Jeannie Kim, executive deputy editor, recommends a salt-water gargle."
Fight worms and fungus with black walnut
September 06, 2016 02:30 PM
Black walnuts are an astounding super food with numerous health advantages. With research and modern science, some nutritional elements have been discovered in black walnuts which make them efficient for multiple conditions.
These nuts contain an antifungal property which helps in treating ringworm, athlete foot including other fungal skin infections. The walnut powder can be smeared on the affected areas of the skin:
Black walnut and Digestion:
Black walnut hull tones and heals irritated intestines and recover the surrounding of the digestive track for efficient absorption and excretion.
Black walnut extract aids in treatment of Candida yeast found in the body digestive system.
Refer to: //superfoodprofiles.com/black-walnut-benefits-health
How Does Oregano Oil Help Fight The Common Cold?
February 22, 2013 12:04 PM
Oregano oil is one of the natural ingredients that are good for human health. This oil is extracted from the wild oregano plant. It contains two active ingredients, which are thymol and carvacrol. Many doctors believe that those two ingredients are good to decrease the amount of harmful microorganisms in human body. That is the reason why doctors recommend the use of this oil to improve someone's health. Nowadays, there are many people using this oil in order to improve their health. In this article, there are some health benefits of this ingredient.
1. Skin Infections
This oil is a perfect option for people who want to treat their skin infections. The oil can be directly applied to the skin in order to treat any itches, irritated skins, skin infections, and many other skin problems. It is important to read the instruction before applying the oil topically on the skin. Most oregano oil products should be mixed with the coconut oil or olive oil before they are applied on the affected areas. Some people claim that they are able to reduce their skin problems several days after using this oil.
2. Digestive Problem
This is another benefit of consuming oregano oil. This oil contains high amount of carvacrol and thymol. These two ingredients are good to calm the upset stomachs and improve human digestion system. People usually mix 1 or 2 drops of this oil with the milk or juice in order to treat their digestive problems. There are many studies showing that this oil is good for the overall human digestion system. It is recommended for people to take this oil at least once a day in order to avoid any digestive problems in the future.
3. Sinus Congestion
This oil is also effective to treat people with sinus congestion. The oil of oregano is a perfect solution for treating the sinus congestion. People usually mix 2 - 3 drops of oregano oil with a glass of water or juice. It is important to consume this herbs at least once a day for 3 - 4 days. This product is going to improve the immune system. As the result, the sinus congestion can be reduced significantly.
Some doctors also believe that this oil is good to strengthen someone's immune system. It is an excellent product that can act as the perfect defense system to fight against any cold or sore throat condition. Cold is a common symptom that may happen to anybody. Most Cold symptoms are caused by weak immune system. The oregano oil works by improving the immune system. As the result, the body is going to be able to fight against cold effectively.
People should take at least 3 drops of this oil every day in order to reduce the symptoms and help people recover from cold.
Those are some health benefits that people can get by consuming oregano oil frequently. It is important to take this oil because it has a lot of health benefits for human being. Score some today and take your health into your owns hands.
All-Natural Red Marine Algae An Effective Cold Sore Treatment
January 24, 2013 03:15 PM
Can Red Marine Algae Help With Cold sores? Lets Find out!
While a permanent solution for Cold sores is not currently known, it has been realized for some time now that red marine algae topical ointments and oral supplements can both help prevent and reduce the number of and severity of your outbreaks. This treatment ensures safety as a priority considering it is an all-natural proper food that is used in a variety of different items. It directly aids the body's first line of defense, or neutrophils, against those pesky Cold sores.
The active components in red marine algae are sulfated polysaccharides, which help with immune system response and the increased production of lymphocytes within the thymus. T-cells and antibodies are stimulated, causing the launch of an attack against the virus.
There are two primary sulfated polysaccharides, fucoidan and carrageenan, that help stop the outbreak and replication of Cold sores. Carrageenan is often used as a topical application, and fucoidan has a specific focus geared towards limiting replication of the virus.
The two strains of the algae that are effective in fighting against Cold sores are Gigartina and Dumontacea, meaning not all red algae are the same when battling this virus. It is common knowledge that there are many triggers that contribute to herpes outbreaks.
Cold sore Triggers:
While you still should avoid as many triggers as possible, red marine algae is a significant factor in reducing the effectiveness of particular triggers. Some of these triggers include chocolate, nuts, coffee, alcohol and more.
When learning about taking a new supplement, one of the main concerns you might have is the side effects. However, this all-natural algae supplement has absolutely no known side effects.
This helps put your mind at ease.
Did you know that this specific algae has also been used traditionally for dealing with urinary infections, asthma, boils, ulcers and more? With this supplement containing so many immune-supporting qualities, it is definitely a safe bet for formulating a much stronger plan against Cold sores.
The Healing Properties Of Bee Propolis
December 27, 2012 10:11 AM
Bee propolis is a substance produced by bees to safeguard their hives from foreign matters. It consists of amino acids, raisins, waxes and fatty acids. It's basically a sticky resin and comes from the barks and buds of the conifer trees that bees can gather and then store within its special abdominal glands.
Does Bee Propolis Have Healing Properties?
Well, there are several health benefits associated with propolis.
Health Benefits of Bee Propolis Skin Infections:
Due to its anti-flammatory properties, propolis heals your skin from any minor scalds and burns. You can apply it on the affected part on the skin surface. Its antifungal and antibiotic effects help prevent any wound infections alongside other skin disorders.
Just as it protects your bee hive against fungi and bacteria, propolis is quite effective in the elimination of fungal and bacterial infections within the mouth area. Cold sores, dental caries and oral yeast infections are examples of such infections. It is sold in form of mouth rinse and lozenges in most countries.
Viral and bacterial infections:
Propolis' antibacterial properties guard your body against bacteria which cause gastrointestinal diseases and tuberculosis. It is also considered as an effective antiviral agent that could prevent the onset of flu, common colds and the H1N1 swine flu.
Propolis' potent antiviral properties can help in hindering the entry of herpes virus into your body. The virus, if allowed, will cause further infection in the body cells.
Propolis, based on clinical tests, was found to contain essential properties which could help to treat and prevent cancer. Trials show that this substance is able to inhibit tumor growth by blocking the supply of blood to the affected cell. Propolis also helps in boosting your immune system, offering you a great opportunity to fight off any devastating cancer effects on the body.
Black walnut hull and its health benefits
December 19, 2012 12:36 PM
Black walnut hull, also called Juglans Nigra, is the hull or outer shell of black walnut tree. This tree is a native of North America. While the tree is easy to grow, it is quite rare. Its health benefits Black walnut hull has several health benefits besides its effectiveness in treating parasites and fungal infections.
Some of its health benefits are as follows:
It is used for treating inflammatory skin conditions like ringworm, eczema, blisters, and acne. It's also effective for wounds and bruises. It is used to treat diarrhea, constipation, candida and giardia. It has been proven to build tooth enamel due to its fluoride content, balance glucose levels, and also to treat impetigo and herpes. It can be topically applied on Cold sores and herpes. It is an excellent source of nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, copper, sulfur, manganese, and silica. It contains Juglone, a very effective fungicide, bactericide, and parricide.
It contains tannins that help the body to fight bacteria and protect against diarrhea, blood disorders, tumors, stress, and even cancer. In addition, tannins can tone body tissues when applied topically. This makes black walnut hull useful for treating bowel inflammatory conditions, especially hemorrhoids. Tannins also help to eliminate microbes from the large intestine. It contains iodine, a very popular antiseptic. Iodine helps to maintain thyroid health. Since iodine contains antiseptic properties, it also helps to strengthen the natural immune system of the body. How black walnut hull kills parasites Perhaps the most popular property of black walnut hull is that it can fight intestinal parasites.
It is a popular vermifuge that helps the body to get rid of parasites. It is a laxative that expels parasites when cleansing the body. Its high juglone and tannin content also helps to oxygenate blood and get rid of parasites. This herb is effective against ringworm, tapeworm, pinworm, and other parasites.
Information on slippery elm bark
February 09, 2012 11:56 AM
The Ulmus fulva tree is medicinal tree that was commonly found in deep soil areas that are rich in nutrients. The type of tree was predominantly found along stream banks and areas with low hillsides but rocky. The medicinal properties of the slippery elm bark were first discovered by Americans of Indian origin where they used it in healing of wounds and preservation of meat. They placed it in water and it swelled and produced a sticky substance that was soothing.
Later on, English early settlers were able to discover the wide use of the tree and to improve their medicinal remedies, they added it during their manufacture especially those that were mainly used to treat wounds, Cold sores and boils. They also used it to relieve urinary tract diseases, sores of the throats and coughs.
During wars, the tree was largely used as an antiseptic in form of a cream for treating wounds caused by gunshots and as the only food that was available for people to eat. This food was made by mixing the tree with water to make gruel which was very nutritious and everyone including the little children, the old and the sick were served to eat. People were also ingesting it in order to treat coughs, sore of the throats as well as respiratory infections.
The tree has numerous health benefits and the main one is the soothing property it has hence it has been widely used to treat inflammation of the throat plus esophagus. Traditional medicine men have added it in their cough treatments to sooth sores of the throats and irritations in the mouth.
It has also been used to prevent constipation, constant diarrhea and a neutralizer for excess acids in the linings of the intestines. Its gum like nature makes it a perfect meal for people suffering from cancer or ulcers and is the only food that remains in the stomach to sustain them and provide energy during hunger.
Because of its high nutritional content, it is widely used as food and when grounded to powder it can be used to make porridge, which is very nutritious and is similar to the porridge made from oatmeal. It helps babies who have digestion problems and is ideal for sick people and the aged.
It has been widely used to lubricate and relieve pain during childbirth and is very good in removing toxins and other impurities from the body. It is a natural preservative, an antiseptic for healing wounds and may be applied as a dysentery injection. If used earlier, it can be useful as a dental treatment to kill bacteria in the tooth.
It is used widely recommended as a perfect natural alternative treatment for heart problems as compared to other medicines, a suggested treatment for cancer and in females, it has been useful in treating various infections and diseases affecting their organs. Indeed the slippery elm bark is a significant part of the tree and a natural remedy for a wide number of diseases.
How Does Selenium Support Your Immune System?
June 13, 2011 01:32 PM
Selenium And Your Health.Selenium is a trace element that may or may not be take in sufficient quantities in your diet. However, selenium supplements are available in quantities that would ensure you did not suffer an overdose. Whether you need such a supplement or not depends on your diet, and on your daily consumption of fish, red meat and chicken, eggs and grains.
So why is selenium so important? Apart from it now appearing to help protect you from some cancers, and its properties as an antioxidant protecting your heart and your cells from premature aging, selenium helps to support your immune system. Without a healthy immune system you would fall prey to every virus, bacterium, fungus and other pathogen that decided to attack your body.
Selenium is an important factor in the formation of antibodies against these invading pathogens, but it also has another role to play. It is currently under investigation for its potential to fight HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus that can eventually lead to AIDS. It is already known that selenium can prevent the reactivation of latent herpes viruses that cause shingles and Cold sores, and it is also under investigation for its effects on the HIV virus.
Selenium supports your immune system in ways other than these, and it is important that you maintain a good intake in your daily diet.
Try Some Selenium Today And Feel The Difference!
Is Elderberry Good for Colds and Flu?
April 14, 2011 03:32 PM
Elderberry and your Health.Elderberry is a plant species best known for its medicinal properties believed to effectively treat colds and flu. It is native to Europe and North America, but also has a significant presence in the Middle East. It is cultivated for its flowers and fruits, which are utilized for both culinary and medicinal uses. The flowers are often made into a popular juice, which is the flavor of many local soft drinks. The fruits are consumed raw, and only consumed when fully ripe.
Sambucus nigra is the plant species generally referred to as elderberry although the term elder encompasses the entire genus Sambucus, which comprises up to 30 species. Most species of elderberry thrive well in damp regions where the soil is moderately wet and the area quite shaded, and sambucus nigra is no exception. This species is noted for their dark purplish berries and creamy white flowers, both of which are edible. It is usually categorized as a shrub, but it can grow up to 10 feet on average, looking much like a small tree.
Elderberry has been ascribed with herbal properties since the ancient times, with an emphasis on the amelioration of flu symptoms. All its parts are historically noted for their specific uses. The bark is utilized as an herbal treatment for cardiovascular, digestive, and renal conditions. The leaves are used to disinfect wounds. The berries are for inflammation, allergies, and skin disorders. And the flowers are usually used to relieve sore throat, colds, and influenza. Today elderberry extracts found in health products are obtained from various parts of the plants.
Stimulates Faster Immune Responses
The organic compounds naturally occurring in elderberry appear to speed up the immune responses implicated in viral infections, notably the common colds and influenza B. In Europe, elderberry has enjoyed overwhelming popularity in comparison with other herbal remedies for colds. Indeed it contains unique flavonoids believed to be responsible for stimulating the immune system. Its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties are all attributed to the same organic compounds.
Reduces the Severity of Cold symptoms
Researchers are enthusiastic about the outcomes of preliminary studies. Earlier studies in Europe recorded noticeable improvements in best known symptoms of the common cold, such as runny nose, nasal congestion, headaches, and sinusitis. Furthermore, it shortened the duration of cold infections. And since its preparations have not been associated with any adverse effect, it can be administered to people of all ages. Succeeding studies conducted in North America yielded very promising results, cutting the severity of symptoms and defeating infections fast.
Effectively Treats Influenza Infections
There have been several studies looking into the efficacy of elderberry preparations, and all of them pointed to a compound called Sambucol. It was first observed to be a viable treatment for Influenza B infections, but more recent studies came to a conclusion that it also effectively treats influenza A. In all studies, Sambucol helped over 80 percent of patients suffering from flu in less than 3 days.
Keep Elderberry on hand in case of emergencies
It is good to keep elderberry on hand for when a cold rears its butt. Starting elderberry at first signs of a cold can greatly increase its effectiveness.
How Does L-Lysine Help with Herpes?
February 08, 2011 01:36 PM
L-lysine has been proven effective in the reduction of herpes outbreaks. The viruses that cause herpes simplex successfully multiply at an exponential rate during symptomatic shedding, but their capacity to sustain replication is challenged in the presence of L-lysine, which at very high concentrations has shown to damage progeny of herpes virus. Hence, the severity and duration of outbreaks are curbed.
One of the limiting resources of protein synthesis in human beings and most other vertebrates is the availability of L-lysine in the body. Some of the amino acids implicated in protein synthesis can be manufactured inside the body from their substrates, but this amino acid does not belong to this group. The amounts of L-lysine in our body systems are completely dependent on its presence in our diet, thus dubbed essential amino acid.
Limiting Factor to Growth
L-lysine plays a variety of important roles in the human body, and a shortfall of this amino acid has been reported to limit growth, resulting in malabsorption or even malnutrition. It is a building block of all types of proteins in humans, including the visible mass that makes up a muscular physique. It is central to the absorption of calcium, the production of enzymes, and the regulation of hormones. In addition, it is greatly involved in functions that lead to recovery following physical trauma or surgery.
More importantly, L-lysine is a focal constituent in the manufacture of immunoglobulins, the front-liners against diseases. Immunoglobulins are a class of proteins in the blood that we commonly refer to as antibodies, which neutralize pathogenic microbes invading the cells and tissues of the body. In fact, L-lysine is one of the protein bases in use to monitor the activities of antibodies, detecting abnormalities at the molecular level and paving the way for future developments of drugs with medicinal potential.
Boosting the Body’s Defenses
While L-lysine is important to the overall production of antibodies, it has also been observed that very low levels of this essential amino acid in the body compromises the ability of the immune system to fight off infectious diseases. The incidence of symptomatic herpes in individuals known to consume L-lysine supplements are relatively low than those who don’t. Symptomatic herpes manifest in the form of painful skin lesions called fever blisters, also known as Cold sores, around the mouth, but may appear and spread anywhere in the body, such as the eyes, the fingers, and the genitals.
When taken at recommended dosages, L-lysine in itself combats the replication process of herpes virus in the body, not only ending outbreaks promptly but also speeding up the healing process in the area of damaged tissues with very little scarring. Herpes virus has been noted to feed on another amino acid identified as L-arginine, and consumptions of sources of this amino acid like nuts and chocolates have been reported to give rise to symptomatic herpes. This is one of the things taken care of by L-lysine, since it out competes the effects of L-arginine to herpes viruses.
L-lysine is available in capsule, tablet, and powder forms at your local or internet vitamin store. Always choose name brands like Source Naturals to ensure quality and purity of the product you by for better health.
October 29, 2009 12:56 PM
The pennyroyal herb is a member of the mint genus. It is an essential oil that is extracted and used in aromatherapy. Crushed pennyroyal leaves and foliage give off a very strong spearmint fragrance. Traditionally, pennyroyal is used as culinary herb, folk medicine, and abortifacient. This herb was commonly used by the Greeks and Romans as a cooking herb. The Greeks often flavored their wine with pennyroyal. Additionally, a large number of the recipes in the Roman cookbook of Apicius use pennyroyal along with herbs such as lovage, oregano, and coriander. Although it was still commonly used for cooking in the Middle Ages, it slowly fell out of use as a culinary herb. Today, it is seldom used. However, the essential oil of pennyroyal is extremely high in pulegone, which is toxic volatile organic compound, and is therefore poisonous to the liver and can stimulate uterine activity.
Pennyroyal was brought by European settlers to the New World. There, they found that Native Americans were using the American variety of pennyroyal for repelling insects, skin irritations, and many of the same illnesses that they were using their own variety for. Additionally, this herb was used to soothe the stomach and relieve Cold symptoms. The pennyroyal that is found in America has similar properties to the herb that is found in Europe. However, the European variety is thought to be much more potent.
This herb possesses a volatile oil that works to remove gas from the stomach. It can be consumed as a tea of used as a footbath. If it is taken a few days before menstruation is due, it can help increase a suppressed flow. The pennyroyal tea is beneficial in relieving Cold symptoms and also promoting perspiration. This herb has a strong, minty odor. It is used externally to repel insects like fleas, flies, and mosquitoes.
The oil of the pennyroyal plant is extremely concentrated and is often linked to toxic results. The oil is often associated with abortions and convulsions that result in death. It is believed that the oil irritates the uterus, which causes uterine contractions. The action is not predictable and is potentially dangerous. It is recommended that the oil be used only externally as a natural insect repellant. This herb is suggested for use as a decongestant for coughs and colds. Tea that is made from the pennyroyal herb is not associated with toxicity. In fact, it helps to relax the digestive tract and soothe the stomach.
In short, the entire pennyroyal plant is used to provide alterative, antispasmodic, antivenomous, aromatic, carminative, decongestant, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, nervine, oxytocic, parasiticide, sedative, stimulant, and stomachic properties. Primarily, pennyroyal is extremely beneficial in treating bronchitis, childbirth pain, colds, colic, uterine cramps, fevers, gas, lung infections, and absent menstruation. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with convulsions, coughs, abdominal cramps, delirium, earache, flu, gout, headaches, leprosy, measles, migraines, mucus, nausea, phlegm, pleurisy, pneumonia, smallpox, sunstroke, toothaches, tuberculosis, ulcers, uterine problems, and vertigo.
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 pennyroyal, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
June 05, 2009 10:13 AM
Black walnut is a species of flowering tree in the hickory family. This plant grows mostly from southern Ontario, west to southeast South Dakota, south to Georgia, northern Florida, and southwest to central Texas. The black walnut is large tree that reaches heights of 30 to 40 feet. The bark is grey-black and deeply furrowed. The leaves are alternate are about 30-60 centimeters in length. The male flowers droop to about eight to ten centimeters long, while the female flowers are terminal and can be found in clusters of two to five. These flowers ripen during the autumn into a fruit that has a brownish-green, semi-fleshy hush, and brown nut. The whole fruit falls in October. Although native to the Midwest and east central United States, the black walnut tree was introduced into Europe in 1629. Black walnut is more resistant to frost than the English walnut, but it thrives best in the warmer regions of fertile, lowland soils with a high water table. The nuts are harvested by hand from wild trees, with about 65% of the annual wild harvest coming from the U.S. state of Missouri.
For centuries, black walnut has been used in Europe to treat skin ailments and constipation. Recent research has led to findings that support its use for skin problems like boils, eczema, herpes, and ringworm. Additionally, it has many benefits for the stomach that are well represented. Black walnut was used by Native Americans as a laxative. Additionally, black walnut was used as a remedy for diarrhea and dysentery during the Civil War.
Black walnut has also been used for syphilis, TB, varicose veins, chronic infections of the intestines, and urogenital problems. Black walnut is considered to be very useful for killing parasites, tapeworms, and ringworm by herbalists. This nutrient causes oxygenation of the blood, which kills parasites. This fact has been proven through recent research. The brown stain that is found in the green husk of the black walnut is known to contain organic iodine, which has both antiseptic and healing properties.
It has been determined by scientific research that black walnut contains astringent properties that are healing to the skin and mucous membranes of the body. Black walnut can be gargled to clean stains on the teeth as well.
The hulls and leaves of the black walnut plant are used to provide alterative, anthelmintic, antigalactagogue, antineoplastic, antiseptic, astringent, and vulnerary properties. The primary nutrients found in black walnut are calcium, chlorine, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, organic iodine, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, selenium, vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, B15, C, P, and bioflavonoids. Primarily, black walnut is extremely beneficial in treating athlete’s foot, Candidiasis, canker sores, Cold sores, dandruff, fungus, gum disease, herpes, infection, malaria, parasites, rashes, ringworm, and tapeworm.
Additionally, this herb is also extremely helpful in dealing with abscesses, acne, asthma, body odor, boils, cancer, colitis, diarrhea, diphtheria, dysentery, eczema, eye diseases, fevers, hemorrhoids, liver disorders, lupus, poison ivy, skin diseases, tonsillitis, primary tuberculosis, tumors, ulcers, varicose veins, and wounds. For more information on the many beneficial effects of black walnut, please contact a representative from your local health food store with questions. Black walnut is available in capsule and tablet forms at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Black walnut is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Fight Cold Sores And Build Collagen
April 29, 2009 10:18 AM
Lysine is an essential alpha-amino acid, in that it cannot be biosynthesized by the human body, and therefore must be taken in your diet or as a supplement. It is synthesized in plants from aspartic acid, and metabolized in the body to produce acetyl-Coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA).
Before discussing its action on herpes, we shall first have look at how Lysine helps with the formation of collagen. Collagen is a protein that is produced in the body from lysine and proline, another amino acid. In fact the primary role of amino acids in your diet is as building blocks to form the much larger protein molecules.
Collagen is fibrous, and forms the connective tissue such as cartilage, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and skin. Even the external parts of the ears. It literally holds our skeletons together, and wraps the whole body up in skin, so if we had no collagen we would literally fall apart! Collagen is also used by body cells to form the matrix that the body cells use to attach to each other and is one of the most important types of tissue in your body.
It is so ubiquitous that over 30% of the protein contained in your body is collagen, and it is designed for its structural strength as opposed to its ability to take part in chemical reactions as other proteins are. Lysine and Vitamin C are essential for the maintenance and formation of collagen.
There is not a lot of lysine in collagen - only about 4%, but it is very active in the cross-linking that forms the fibrils of collagen. Fibrils are the hair-like structures formed in a triple helix arrangement by three protein chains twisting round one another. The fibrils are bundled together in a straight line that has amazing tensile strength. The tensile strength of collagen is, weight for weight, stronger than steel!
In order for lysine to take part in this process effectively, some molecules have to be hydroxylated and others oxidized, forming aldehydes. Things can go wrong here, and deficiencies in the metabolic process can lead to some heritable conditions, or diseases of connective tissue. Among these are lathyrism, Cutis-Laxa and the Menkes kinky hair syndrome.
However, lysine is a very versatile amino acid, and not only is it necessary for the biosynthesis of all proteins, but is also heavily involved in the production of enzymes, hormones and antibodies. It is an important component of the calcium absorption process, and also, as previously stated, can be used in the treatment of herpes simplex.
This form of herpes is known commonly as 'Cold sores', and is a result of the activity of the herpes virus. Viruses do not reproduce in order to ensure the 'continuation of the species', but replicate. In order to achieve this it requires the help of another amino acid, arginine. This is a common amino acid whose sources include grains, seeds, peanuts, raisins and chocolate.
Lysine and arginine competes for the absorption and entry of tissue cells, and reduces the strength of arginine, so preventing the growth of herpes. For this reason a supplement of lysine can be used to reduce the effects of the herpes simplex virus, and lessen the symptoms of the Cold sore.
However, it is not only Cold sores but other forms of herpes that lysine can help to relieve. Herpes zoster is a virus that causes shingles. This virus is generated by the reactivation of the dormant varicella-zoster virus left in the tissues after chickenpox. It is a recurrent condition, and lycine can help to reduce recurrences as well as its severity. Apart from being an effective defense against herpes, and forming collagen, the amino acid imparts several other benefits to the human body.
Among these is osteoporosis. L-lysine is involved in calcium absorption in the intestine, and also helps to reduce the loss of calcium in the urine. In osteoporosis we have to try to make every calcium molecule ingested in the diet to be incorporated in the bone structure. L-arginine can work with lysine to enhance the activity of the body cells that produce bone.
Canker sores are often mistaken for Cold sores, but they are actually quite different. They are small sores inside the mouth, and appear in the form of very painful ulcers. The cause is unknown, but is believed to be a virus, and lysine appears to help the condition. Although there have been no proper clinical tests carried out on its use as a remedy for canker sores, lysine appears to help, and a supplement is recommended as a treatment by many doctors. It will do no harm, and anybody suffering from these tiny but painful sores will try anything.
Although lysine deficiency is rare, it can occur, particularly amongst those observing a vegetarian macrobiotic diet, and also in athletes who frequently undertake vigorous exercise, especially with too little recovery time. The effects of a deficiency are fatigue, nausea, appetite loss, anemia, slow growth and kidney stones. The latter is likely due to a failure to absorb calcium, that L-lysine promotes, and the formation of calcium oxalate and other insoluble salts in the kidney.
Dietary sources include beans and other legumes, and although it should be available in cereals, baked foods and doughnuts, for example, the carmelization of sugars binds the lysine to the sugar, and so reducing its bioavailability. However, you can also get it in cheese, eggs, tofu and red meats.
If you are taking an arginine supplement, you should consult your physician prior to taking lysine. The reason for this is that lysine and arginine share biochemical pathways, and arginine can reduce the effective concentration of lysine.
However, it has not been tested by the FDA, nor approved, and any use is at your own risk. This risk appears to be very small, although its manufacture is not regulated. However, do not let this bother you: the proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say.
Many have found lysine to be effective with collagen or herpes problems, and a supplement of between 3,000 and 9,000 mg per day is recommended for those with herpes viral infections. It is not recommended for children under two years old. Lysine is available at your local or internet health food store at discount prices. Look for name brands to ensure purity and quality of the product you purchase.
Another Great Cold sore Remedy is Red Marine Algae!
February 26, 2009 12:43 PM
Motion sickness is the result of motion causing the eyes, the sensory nerves, and the vestibular apparatus of the ear to send conflicting signals to the brain, causing a loss of equilibrium or a sense of vertigo. Most often, it is experienced in a car, airplane, train, boat, elevator, or swing. Contributing factors to this illness are anxiety, genetics, overeating, poor ventilation, and traveling immediately after eating. A susceptibility to things like offensive odors, sights, or sounds can often precede an attack of motion sickness. Typically, women are affected by this condition more frequently than men are. Elderly people and children under the age of two are usually not affected.
Those people who suffer from motion sickness experience symptoms including severe headaches, queasiness, nausea, and vomiting while flying, sailing, or traveling in automobiles or trains. Other symptoms of motion sickness include Cold sweats, dizziness, excessive salivation and/or yawning, fatigue, loss of appetite, pallor, severe distress, sleepiness, weakness, and occasionally, breathing difficulties that make one feel as if they are suffocating. If motion sickness is severe, an attack can make a person feel completely uncoordinated, and sometimes and injury can occur from loss of balance. The motion sickness typically goes away once the stimulus is removed. However, it can also persist for hours or days. If a person suffers from motion sickness for a prolonged amount of time, they may experience depression, dehydration, or low blood pressure. Motion sickness can also worsen any other illnesses that a person already has.
Many natural remedies have been greatly successful in treating motion sickness. The prevention of motion sickness is the key, as it is far easier to prevent than it is to cure. Once excessive salivation and nausea set in, usually it is too late to do anything but wait for the trip to be over so that recovery can begin.
The following nutrients have been recommended to help prevent motion sickness. Unless otherwise specified, the dosages given are for adults. For children between the ages of twelve and seventeen, the dose should be reduced to three-quarters of the recommended amount. For children between six and twelve, one-half of the recommended dose should be used, while one-quarter of the amount should be used for children under the age of six.
Charcoal tablets can be used as a detoxifier. Five tablets should be taken one hour before travel. Magnesium, which acts as a nerve tonic, should be taken in dosages of 500 mg one hour before a trip. To help relieve nausea, 100 mg of vitamin B6 should be taken one hour before a trip, and then 100 mg should be taken again two hours later. Additionally, black horehound can help to reduce nausea. Butcher’s broom, kudzu, and motherwort are great for helping to relieve vertigo. Ginger is beneficial in suppressing nausea, making it an excellent treatment and preventive for nausea and upset stomach.
Lastly, peppermint tea sooths and calms the stomach. Also, a drop of peppermint oil on the tongue is a great way to provide relief from nausea and motion sickness. Peppermint can also be taken in a lozenge form. To learn more information about the above nutrients, contact your local or internet health food store.
September 01, 2008 01:04 PM
Garlic is a member of the lily family, related to onions and chives, and offers many health benefits other than deterring vampires. There is now ample scientific evidence and proof of its beneficial effect on both a healthy immune system and the circulatory system.
The active ingredients in garlic are thiosulfinates, of which the predominant one is allicin, sulfoxides such as alliin and dithiins, of which ajoene is the most widely researched. These compounds are not only responsible for the pungent odor of garlic, but also for its benefits to your health. Among the other components of garlic are selenium, manganese and vitamins B6 and C.
Before considering the other effects of garlic on your health, we shall first consider how it benefits the immune system. The immune system is an essential part of human biology, and protects your body from invasion by pathogenic organisms. Without the immune system your body would rapidly be overcome by bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and other foreign bodies, and your body would rapidly fail to function.
The immune system consists of several components that can act in concert to protect you from these foreign invaders. It is too large a subject to be discusses in this article, although its major components are the thymus, the spleen, the lymphatic system, bone marrow, antibodies, and white blood cells of various types. Without it your body would rapidly be broken down to nothing, and would revert to a skeleton in a few weeks.
It is your immune system that causes inflammation, fevers, boils and pus. These are all examples of the immune system at work to protect your body, and even a fever is the immune system raising your body temperature to one that is unfavorable to invaders. Arthritis and hay fever are other examples of how your immune system reacts to invaders, in one case mistaking damaged joint tissue as being foreign and responding by causing inflammation to protect the joint, and in the other a reaction to invading bodies such as pollen.
So what does garlic do to help your immune system? Let's first have a look at the inflammatory reaction of the immune system, a prime example of which is rheumatoid arthritis. The inflammation is caused by compounds known as prostaglandins and thromboxanes, the biosynthesis in your body of which requires the enzymes lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase (LOX and COX). If these enzymes can be inhibited, then the inflammatory response can be modulated, and LOX and COX inhibition is one of the studies currently being carried out into the treatment of some forms of cancers.
However, where garlic comes in here is that two effective non-reversible inhibitors of LOX and COX are the chemicals Di(1-propenyl) sulfide and ajoene, and both of these are components of garlic. Garlic can therefore be used, not to stop the inflammatory response altogether since it is an essential part of the immune system for certain infections, but to modulate it and protect you from the more severe effects of conditions such as arthritis - both osteo and rheumatoid - and asthma, which is also an immune response.
Allicin has been shown to work with vitamin C to kill certain types of bacteria and viruses, and can help the immune system to protect you from colds and flu, Candida and some gastroenteric viruses. It can also be effective against some of the more powerful pathogens such as tuberculosis. It should be stressed that garlic will not cure these conditions, but help the immune system to deal with them. In fact with respect to the common cold, a study at Munich University has shown that garlic significantly reduces the activity of kappa-B, which is a nuclear transcription factor that mediates the inflammatory response. In other words, the Cold symptoms are greatly reduced.
This is significant, since increased kappa-B levels can be triggered off by any pathogen that causes an inflammatory response by the immune system (e.g. infection, allergens, physical trauma). The study showed that unfertilized garlic provided a reduction of 25% in kappa-B activity, while garlic fertilized with sulfur reduced it by 41%.
There have been other studies carried out that demonstrated that Helicobacter pylori, the organism responsible for gastritis and peptic ulcers, was less active in those that took a regular amount of garlic in their diet. This was shown by measuring the antibody concentration, and while H.pylori was found in both sets (with and without garlic in the diet), the antibody count in the garlic-eating set was much lower indicating a significantly lower population of the bacterium.
Another unexpected result was that a group taking both cooked and uncooked garlic had a lower antibody count than those taking either cooked or uncooked. This appears to indicate that cooking changes the chemical nature of garlic, so that both forms work together to provide a more potent effect that cooked and uncooked separately.
What has also been established is that odorless garlic has less of an effect on the immune system that natural garlic, so while the odorless type is more socially acceptable, it is not so good at supporting your immune system. The allicin levels in odorless garlic are very much lower than in the natural bulb.
Garlic has also been found to be able to help with certain types of cancer. Two servings weekly have been found effective in protecting from colon cancer. Allicin has been found to protect colon cells from the toxic effect of various chemicals, and also reduce the growth rate of any cancerous cells that develop. People in Southern Europe consuming large quantities of garlic have been shown to be 39% less liable to contract cancer of the mouth and pharynx, and 57% less liable to contract cancer of the esophagus. It also had an effect on other cancers, including breast and ovarian cancer. However, the effect of onions on such cancers is even greater.
Most people are aware of the cardiovascular benefits of garlic, and it can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels and serum triglyceride levels, thus protecting against the harmful condition of atherosclerosis and also of diabetic heart disease. Reduced atherosclerosis means a reduced chance of heart attacks or strokes. It also appears to possess antioxidant properties.
There is no doubt that garlic helps to promote a healthy immune system, although the odorless form appear to be less effective in this respect as natural garlic, and there is evidence that a diet containing uncooked and cooked garlic can be more effective than either of these alone.
August 05, 2008 01:13 PM
Unlike macro-minerals such as calcium, which the body needs in gram amounts, trace minerals such as iron, selenium, zinc, silicon, chromium, sulfur, and copper are only needed in milligram or micrograms. However, these small quantities do not reflect the importance of trace minerals, as inadequate intake can have huge effects on the body. Lets discuss a few of these trace minerals.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide, with 20 to 50 percent of people affected. The average body contains only one teaspoon of iron, but this mineral is crucial in oxygen transportation throughout the bloodstream and into cells. A lack of iron will starve the body of oxygen and energy, which cause the symptoms of iron deficiency to be fatigue, foggy thinking, irritability, headaches, and lethargy.
A lot of athletes have inadequate iron intake, impairing their exercise performance as it decreases hemoglobin levels and the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the muscles while it increases the time that is needed to recover from exercise. Iron is also important in immunity, with optimal iron intake strengthening the immune system and building resistance to colds, infections, and diseases. Even though inadequate intake is a common concern, too much can also cause health problems including stomach and intestinal cramps, nausea, and constipation.
The most important function of selenium is its antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase. This enzyme is invaluable in protecting red blood cells and cell membranes from free radical damage. Selenium works closely with vitamin E, sometimes replacing it in certain situations. Selenium holds an important role in maintaining the immune system and has been shown to reduce the risk of many health problems which include several types of cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain birth defects.
Zinc is a valuable antioxidant that supports many aspects of the immune system. Zinc works in the eyes to protect them against sunlight-related free radicals. Zinc supplements have been found to slow the progression of macular degeneration, but high intakes of zinc and other antioxidants have been shown to lower the risk of developing this eye disease in the first place. This mineral can reduce the severity and duration of the common cold when in lozenge form, if started within 24 hours of the first Cold symptom and taken every couple of hours. Taking 50mg of zinc daily or higher amounts for short periods of time is a good idea, but amounts over 150mg daily could cause metallic taste, stomach upset, or impair immune function.
Many modern diets contain extremely low amounts of silicon, especially since food processing removes much of the silicon. Silicon improves the elasticity and suppleness to skin that has been damaged by excessive skin exposure. Silicon is also important in natural bone formation, since deficiencies in silicon lead to bone weakness and sluggish wound health. Bone mineral density can be improved in people with osteoporosis by raising the intake of silicon.
Chromium is important in maintaining blood sugar levels, as well as many other roles in the body. Chromium deficiency impairs the blood sugar-insulin relationship, while chromium supplementation improves insulin response. Studies have shown that supplementing with chromium picolinate improves diabetes management by lowering blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol, or triglyceride levels and reducing the reliance on blood sugar medications. This mineral is also important in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates.
Finally, Sulfur is needed in the joints to keep the connective tissues within them strong and stable. One source of sulfur, MSM, has been shown to significantly relieve pain and improve use of knee joints in studies. Through all of the above, one can see that trace minerals are extremely important contributors to health, even in small amounts.
Echinacea Purpurea Root
June 17, 2008 06:38 PM
There are nine known species of Echinacea native to the United States and southern Canada. The most commonly used and most potent of them is Echinacea purpurea.
Other common names for Echinacea are purple coneflower, American coneflower and coneflower. The plants contain large heads of flowers that bloom in early to late summer.
In North America, Native Americans used Echinacea more than any other herb for its healing properties. For Europeans and Americans, it was believed to aid in curing Anthrax and snakebites as well as contain antimicrobial properties.
Echinacea is well known for its abilities to boost the immune system and to help fight infections. It is also widely used to prevent infections, colds and the flu. In lesser known medicinal practices, it is used to treat wounds and such skin problems as acne and boils. Some studies have shown that Echinacea has been effective in treating upper respiratory infections.
The whole Echinacea plant is used for treating various indications. Fresh or dried, the plant and roots are used to make teas, extracts, juices or external salves, creams and ointments. As a general rule, the fresh-pressed juice of the Echinacea plant is most effective in treating colds in children. In adults, both the root and herb in combination are most effective.
When taken at the first signs of a cold, Echinacea has been found to reduce the length and severity of Cold symptoms. Be aware that Echinacea is not a one-dose fix-it remedy. Begin taking recommended doses at the first signs of a cold. Subsequent doses should be taken regularly, according to the product label, until all symptoms have disappeared.
Unfortunately, many herbal preparations can vary in effectiveness due to a lack of systematic extraction and refining. It is best to research the manufacturers of herbal products to find out how they cultivate and store their herbs. Their methods will cause the chemical compositions to vary greatly. The different parts of the plant that are used vary widely in their chemical makeup as well. One part may be extremely useful as an antimicrobial, while another may stimulate stronger reactions from the immune system. Other factors that may affect the quality of the product you purchase are:
* Species * Plant part * Extraction method * Contamination * Adulteration
Side Effects and Warnings:
When taken orally (by mouth), Echinacea usually does not produce any side effects. In rare cases, some people have experienced allergic reactions and side effects that include:
* Rashes or dermatitis * Pruritus (itching) * An increase in asthma symptoms * Anaphylaxis (life threatening allergic reaction) * Hepatoxicity * Nausea * Dizziness * Dyspnea (difficulty breathing)
All of these symptoms tend to be mild and infrequent. If you suffer from asthma symptoms, you should probably avoid using echinacea. In most cases the most common side effects are gastrointestinal in nature, such as gas or mild cramping. People are much more likely to experience side effects if they are allergic to other plants in the daisy family. These plants include:
* Ragweed * Chrysanthemums * Marigolds * Daisies
Use of Echinacea in children younger than 12 years is not recommended due to lack of sufficient data to support safety. It is also not recommended for use in pregnant or nursing women.
Echinacea should not be used if you have progressive systematic or auto-immune disorders, connective tissue disorders or other diseases that may be related to these. It should not be taken if you are taking immune-suppressants and heap-toxic drugs. It may also interfere with anesthesia.
It is important to communicate with your health care providers. Be sure they are aware of any alternative herbs or other substances you are using and what their purpose is in your daily diet.
June 04, 2008 02:39 PM
Every year people get bogged down with stuffy noses, watery eyes, congestion, sore throats, headaches and sneezing. The common cold rears its ugly head when the snow finally melts away and the trees get their tiny buds. Spring is normally a time when a lot of colds and viruses are passed around. It is inconvenient not only because of the annoying symptoms; it also makes us miss days of work or school. It interrupts our lives for days at a time. Few people can afford the luxury of taking off from everything they are expected to do for that period of time.
The springtime Cold season doesn’t have to be a problem for you, though. You can boost your immunity to cold and flu symptoms with echinacea. This herb can reduce the time you spend nursing a cold and get you back on your feet much faster than waiting it out or taking prescription drugs.
What is Echinacea?
Echinacea is a flowering plant, also known as the purple coneflower, found in the North American plains. This powerful plant has long been used as a medical alternative to stimulate the immune system and protect the body from infection and disease. Echinacea is most commonly found in herbal teas and in extract form and is used as a home remedy for the spring time Cold season.
How Echinacea Boosts Immunity
Echinacea works like a natural antibiotic. It attacks toxins in the blood to fight off disease and strengthen the immune system. It also reduces inflammation in the body. Typically, it is more effective if you start taking it at the first sign of a cold. The most popular use for echinacea is to reduce the duration and severity of colds, respiratory infections and sinus problems.
Inconclusive Data and Controversy about Echinacea
There are a large number of studies that have been done of the echinacea herb to determine if it is actually helpful in reducing the common cold. The problem is the results are not consistent. Part of this is because different parts of the flower have been used in different studies. Some report that echinacea is effective at boosting immunity and speeding up recovery from the springtime cold. Others say there is not a significant difference in the duration of a cold when using Echinacea.
One thing to consider about the herb is the possible side effects. No major side effects have been cited regarding the use of echinacea; however, it could cause an allergic reaction. It is also possible to develop rash or asthma from taking echinacea.
Recently, researchers have started to look at the collective data on echinacea to determine if it is truly effective at treating colds and preventing diseases. According to a review in The Lancet Infection Diseases, "published evidence supports echinacea’s benefit in decreasing the incidence and duration of the common cold." The review went on to state: "Echinacea decreased the odds of developing the common cold by 58 percent and the duration of a cold by 1.4 days."
This is promising news, which confirms the use of Echinacea can reduce the severity of a cold and speed the recovery process along so you can get back to your regular routine that much faster.
May 23, 2008 11:53 AM
Medical professionals, especially in Europe and Japan, have been using licorice more and more in medicine. The Chinese consider licorice to be a superior balancing and harmonizing agent, so it is added to many herbal formulas. It is reputed in many countries, including the United States, to be a treatment for stomach, intestinal and many other problems. What is it used for?
Licorice is being studied for its effects against oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which is a major component in atherosclerosis. Approximately 300 different phytonutrient compounds found in natural licorice are considered possible antioxidants.
Licorice is being tested for its ability to help prevent certain viruses from replicating themselves in body cells. It appears to stimulate the immune system into producing interferon, which is known for its anti-viral effects. It is an effective aid in treating herpes and hepatitis. Promising results are also being reported in tests using licorice to combat SARS, influenza and HIV.
Stomach and Intestinal Problems
Licorice is a natural home remedy for heartburn, gastritis and acid reflux. It helps to promote new cell growth in the lining of the stomach. It also enhances the stomach's self-protecting abilities. Licorice has been used to treat peptic ulcers and aid in healing other types of ulcers.
Throat and Respiratory Problems
Licorice is widely known in the world of alternative medicine as an expectorant and cough suppressant. Colds and flu have been treated with licorice since the days of the Romans. Many over-the-counter cough medicines contain licorice extract because it soothes the mucous membranes.
Other Medicinal Properties
Is Licorice Safe?
Licorice is not recommended for use by people who suffer from diabetes mellitus, heart disease, hypertension or kidney disease. It is also not recommended for use by women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Licorice, although not thought to suppress the immune system like pharmaceutical cortisones, may cause similar side effects in high doses. Some of these include weight gain, fluid retention and high blood pressure.
Description and Cultivation
The licorice plant stands up to five feet tall. It has spikes of lilac-colored flowers that have bean-like pods containing three or four seeds apiece. The root, which is used most frequently, reaches underground about three feet and branches into networks of rhizomes.
After three to five years, the roots and rhizomes are cleaned, pulped, boiled and then concentrated by evaporation. The root, if kept dry, will keep for an indefinite amount of time. If the licorice is powdered, it should be stored in an airtight container.
Licorice has been used for centuries in conjunction with established medicine, as an alternative herbal medicine, and as an herbal confection in many parts of the world. It is noted for its medicinal value in treating stomach, intestinal and other ailments, including helping to stimulate the immune system. Studies are ongoing to discover more potential uses for this naturally sweet herb.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
May 06, 2008 05:14 PM
Grapefruit seed extract is regarded as being natural antibiotic that is effective against a broad range of bacterial infections. It has also been used to treat parasitic infections and a range of viral infections as well as having found uses for a wide variety of medical conditions.
So what is it about grapefruit seed that is so special? Most people are acquainted with grapefruit, which as a member of the citrus family of fruits, and not to be confused with grapes which are a totally different type of plant. Grape seed extract is also a useful natural medication, but used for totally different conditions.
Because of its efficacy against parasitic and viral infections, grapefruit seed extract is very useful in treating various forms of food poisoning. But, how was this remarkable property of the simple grapefruit seed noticed? The answer to that depends very much upon what version of the story of Einstein Laureate physicist and immunologist Dr. Jacob Harich you believe.
Dr. Harich was not only a scientist but a hobby gardener in Florida, and the two versions of his story tell either that he decided to investigate why grapefruit seeds tasted so bitter, or why the grapefruit seeds in his compost heap failed to compost, or rot. Whichever story is correct, and perhaps both are, the result was the discovery that grapefruit seeds appeared to be a very effective antibiotic.
In fact it has been shown to be effective against over 800 strains of bacteria and viruses and also effective against many fungi that lead to illness in humans. Because of this it is used in cased of food poisoning that involve bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract. In fact during the latter part of the 1980s, grapefruit seed extract was tested against a number of known antibiotics and found to be as effective as any of them. Similar results obtained in a number of tests in the USA and elsewhere in the world, and it appears that it is an excellent treatment for the symptoms of food poisoning.
Not only that, but it has been found effective in the treatment of some immunodeficiency diseases, presumably because its antimicrobial properties does much of the work that the immune system would normally do, and so relieves it of much of its hard work. This allows the immune system to concentrate on conditions which are exacerbated by deficiencies in its operation.
Bifidobacteria and Loactobacilli are bacteria that are beneficial to the digestive system. The measure of a good broad spectrum antibiotic is that it does not affect the beneficial bacteria, and grapefruit seed extract has no effect on the former and only a mildly inhibiting effect on the latter. It is also non toxic to humans, which is another measure of a good antibiotic. You would have to drink about two pints of the extract, around 4000 time the normal dose, for the treatment to be potentially fatal.
Among the many uses of the extract are not only in controlling gastrointestinal infections, but also general fungal conditions of the skin, vaginal infections and yeast infections, and also colds and sore throats. It is also believed to support the immune system, not only by its antimicrobial properties but through its effect on intestinal health upon which much of our immune system is dependent. It can also protect patients with symptoms of AIDs and other immunodeficiency conditions from infection.
Its effect on yeast infections around the nether regions of small children has been documented, and it has also been found to be very safe to young children. In fact many mothers have it as a permanent addition to their medicine cabinet.
It is not that long ago when doctors believed all diseases to be due to bacteria or viruses. It is now becoming clear that a large proportion is actually due to fungal infections and parasites. Many conditions such as allergies, circulatory disease and some forms of arthritis have been shown to be due to fungal infections that weaken the immune system. Grapefruit seed extract has been found to be effective in treating many types of fungal disease.
In using the extract in this way, and to treat bacterial infections, it is best to start with a low dose and gradually increase it. This is because when fungi and bacteria are destroyed they release toxins, and too high a dose could result in too much toxin being produced for your body to handle. If you take it gradually you will get the same result, but without the risk of the nausea and diarrhea which the toxins can cause.
Despite all of these benefits, grapefruit extract has not been given the credit it deserves, and much research has still to be done to establish the constituents of the seed that confer these properties. Among these are known to be proanthocyanadins, a class of flavanols with strong antioxidant properties, and a diphenol hydroxybenzene complex that destroys bacteria through the cytoplasmic membrane to prevent the uptake of amino acids and cause leakage of the cell contents. Other active components are Vitamins C and E, tocopherols, limonoids and sterols, in addition to a number of important minerals.
However, there is still much work to be done, although the extract will continue to be used by many devotees for the treatment, not only of food poisoning symptoms, but also of conditions such as acne, athlete’s foot, gingivitis, Cold sores, sinusitis and parasitic infections. It appears to be practically a cure-all.
There appear to be no drug interactions, although some medications do react with grapefruit juice, such as some treatments for high blood pressure. If your treatment advises you not to take grapefruit juice, then do not take grapefruit seed extract. Another factor to be aware of is that since the extract is an effective bactericide, then it could deplete the digestive tract of friendly bacteria essential for digestion. You are advised, therefore, to take a supplement of acidophilus, which is easily taken in the form of yoghurt type drinks specifically formulated or dietary supplement for the purpose.
Una de Gato (Cat’s Claw)
April 26, 2008 09:36 AM
Una de Gato, otherwise known as cat’s claw, is properly Unicaria tomentosa. It has been used as an herbal medicine for at least two thousand years by the people of Central and South America who gave it the name vilcacora.
It grows in jungle areas and rainforest in South America and Asia, and gets its name from the small claw-like thorns at the base of the leaves. One of the environmental benefits of the Una de Gato is that when it is harvested at three feet above the ground, it grows back to its full size of up to 100 feet within a few years when it can be harvested again to three feet. Cat’s claw has been given dietary supplement status by the FDA.
The Peruvian Asháninka tribe has used the plant as a contraceptive and for the treatment of rheumatic conditions, diabetes, acne, diarrhea, cancer, urinary tract diseases and as an anti-inflammatory, and many of the studies of cat’s claw have centered on this tribe. The studies quickly showed the active ingredients to be alkaloids, both tertracyclic oxindole alkaloids and pentacyclic alkaloids that have been found both in the bark and in the root.
The extract is obtained by boiling both the inner part of the bark and the root, each of which differs in concentration of the various alkaloids. The root is believed to better for its anti-inflammatory powers due to the quinovic acid glycoside it contains, although the relative concentrations of the various alkaloids can vary according to the time of year and to the chemotype of the plant.
Cat’s Claw comes in two chemotypes, each of which differs in the relative concentrations of the two different alkaloid types. One predominates in the pentacyclic alkaloids that strengthen the immune system, and the other chemotype in the tetracyclic alkaloids that counter that effect and reduce the speed and strength of the contractions of the heart. It is not possible to tell which chemotype a particular plant is until it has been chemically tested. They look exactly the same and it is possible for both to grow sided by side. However, the root is generally richer in alkaloids, and sells at about twice the price of the bark. Alkaloids are not the only active ingredients in Una de Gato, and it also contains tannins and phytochemicals that have an antioxidant effect and are useful free radical scavengers. They have been studied for their effects in the treatment of HIV and cancer, though mainly due to the glycoside content that will be discussed shortly. The National cancer Institute has confirmed some anti-cancer properties of quinovic glycosides derived from cat’s claw.
The four pentacyclic alkaloids have been found to have a boosting effect on the human immune system, which it does by enhancing the ability of the white blood cells and macrophages to digest and kill off foreign organisms and debris in tissue and the bloodstream. The inference is that the herb is able to be used to treat a wide variety of infectious diseases, including many immune and autoimmune conditions including AIDS. The results with AIDs are inconclusive, although one particular study showed that cat’s claw produced accelerated healing of Cold sores and genital herpes (herpes simplex virus) and shingles (caused by herpes zoster virus). Although the evidence is slight, there are indications of its possible use in treating viral conditions.
It is used in homeopathy for the treatment of a number of digestive ailments, such as Crohn’s disease, leaky bowel syndrome, colitis, gastritis and gastric ulcers among others. It is also used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism and some conditions of the prostate gland.
The tertracyclic indole alkaloids that appear to counter the immune-boosting properties of their pentacyclic cousins include rhynchophylline, hirsutine, and mitraphylline. Rhynchophylline prevents blood clots in the veins and arteries by reducing the formation of platelets, and can dilate the peripheral blood vessels of the hands and feet. It can also lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the heart rate. Due to this effect on blood vessels, it is though to be able to improve the circulation in the brain and be a useful treatment for Alzheimer’s sufferers. Hirsutine inhibits contractions of the smooth muscle of the bladder, and so finds uses in the treatment of urinary incontinence.
The pentacyclic alkaloids pteropodine and isopteropodine are believed to have important properties beyond their phagocytosis effect on the immune system. It has been reported that they have an effect on the 5-HT(2) receptors in the brain. These neurotransmitters are used as targets for many drugs used to treat a variety of conditions such as depression, eating disorders and anxiety, and such alkaloids have a positive modulating effect on them.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cat’s claw are largely due to the very potent quinovic acid glycosides previously referred to. These have been known about only recently, and they are thought to work synergistically to reduce the tissue swelling (edema) associated with the immune system’s inflammatory reaction. Although this is believed to be largely due to the glycosides, three of the alkaloids also possess anti-inflammatory properties. This property provides the scientific background for the traditional use of Una de Gato for rheumatism and arthritis, both inflammatory conditions. Many of the digestive conditions for which the plant has traditionally used are also inflammatory in nature.
A threat to cat’s claw is the destruction of the Peruvian rainforest, although not as much as a threat as the destruction of the plant itself. Cat’s claw has reached levels of popularity so high that it is in danger of extinction due to improper harvesting. New laws being enacted by the Peruvian government should help to protect the plant, and to promote its harvesting over cocoa.
When buying cat’s claw, make sure that it is the Uncaria tomentosa form you are purchasing since there is another type, Uncaria Guianensis that contains different alkaloids and is not as potent as the real Una de Gato. Also beware of a shrub known as cat’s claw acacia, grown in Mexico and the southwest USA, since it contains cyanide derivatives and could be very dangerous if taken by mouth.
Detox your Body with Wasabi Rhizome
January 29, 2008 10:30 AM
The Wasabi rhizome, the underground fleshy stem of the wasabia japonica plant, is prized not only for its fiery flavour but also its effect in detoxifying the liver. However, make sure that you are getting the real McCoy since many restaurants in the USA do not use the genuine paste.
The wasabi is a plant of the cruciferous family, the same family as cabbage, broccoli, turnip, radish, horseradish and mustard, and is native to Japan and Korea and now grown on the Pacific coast of Canada. It grows best in temperate to cold climates, especially in mountainous areas where there are plenty of Cold streams.
Anybody who regularly enjoys sashimi and sushi should be familiar with the wasabi rhizome, that green lump of paste lying on the side of the plate. It is hot and fiery, although not in the same way as the chilli pepper that is fiery on the tongue and in the mouth. This tends to affect the sinuses more, and leaves a sweetish taste once the initial heat has dissipated. However, it is not always what it should be.
The last comment there refers to the practise, especially in the USA, of using dyed common horseradish as wasabi paste, so be careful of that since the two are not equivalent in the health benefits they impart to your body. Although of the same family as the horseradish, and sometimes termed the Japanese horseradish, ordinary horseradish does not have the same health benefits as genuine wasabi, and does not contain the same active ingredients so do not confuse the two.
Real wasabi is normally used grated, and there are specific techniques that should be used to grate wasabi rhizomes to bring out the fullness of the flavour. True grated wasabi should be of a natural pale greenish color rather than the brighter green normally associated with sushi restaurant wasabi.
Traditionally, wasabi rhizome is used as a condiment with sushi, although their leaves can also be used in salad dressings and or as a delicacy pickled in soy sauce or sake brine. The genuine vegetable is difficult to cultivate which explains why ordinary horseradish is dyed and used in its stead, and the vast majority of non-Japanese do not know the difference because it is likely to be all they have consumed under the name of wasabi. The health benefits of the genuine article, however, are considerable greater.
So that’s what it is, but what does it do? What are the health benefits of wasabi rhizomes and why are they considered to be so good for your liver? Wasabi rhizomes contain substances that are very effective in detoxifying you liver, and that are also very strong antioxidants that provide you with good overall health benefits in their capacity to destroy the free radicals created by the pollution of modern living.
The active antioxidants in the rhizome are precursors of isothiocyanates, which are known as phytochemicals. These are chemicals that can protect or prevent diseases through its antioxidant properties. The term ‘precursor’ means that the isothiocyanates are synthesized by your body from the nutrients contained in the wasabi rhizome. Other examples of phytochemicals that you may have heard of are carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols that also possess antioxidant properties.
Other antioxidants are vitamins A and E, which is why these are used in anti-wrinkle creams, since their anti-oxidant effect helps to prevent the free radicals destroying the skin cells in the dermis and epidermis that leads to the wrinkles associated with aging. Wasabi is equally effective as an antioxidant, although it has other properties that are important to your liver.
The liver is your body’s chemical plant. That is where most of the chemical reactions take place that are essential for life. If your liver is unhealthy you can develop diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis, and a healthy liver is essential for life let alone a healthy life. Wasabi helps to detoxify and clean out your liver.
Apart from creating the wide variety of enzymes needed to process your food, and controlling the vast majority of the biochemistry of your body, your liver is also your detoxification plant that coverts toxins into biodegradable molecules that your waste disposal system can evacuate without harm. This occurs in two phases.
Phase I coverts the toxin to a form that your body can further process (the bioactive form), and Phase II breaks it down into a form that your kidneys can handle and eject it in your urine. Isothiocyanates are involved in the production of the enzymes that enable the chemical reactions of Phase II to proceed. They allow your body to cleanse itself of toxins, and without this process you would be less healthy and more prone to cancers and other undesirable conditions and diseases in your body.
It is becoming more important in this modern age with its increasing natural and synthetic pollution that your liver is working at peak efficiency. Your liver is equally as important to you as your heart and brain, and without it you cannot survive. Wasabi also contains glucosinolates that help the isothiocyanates to induce the production of Phase II enzymes, and it is general believed that eating this tuber cab help protect you against stomach, colon and breast cancers as well as help your cardiovascular system and blood clotting.
An interesting fact is how wasabi rhizome came to be traditionally served with raw fish. The isothiocyanates precursors, and the glucosinolates that wasabi also contains, apparently help to destroy the bacteria associated with raw fish, and help prevent disease and illness. It was likely found healthier to include a dollop of this green paste with your sushi than not, and so the use of common horseradish might be somewhat questionable if it has less of an effect.
Make sure, therefore, that your have the real thing, and apart from any specific health considerations associated with eating raw fish, you are best advised to take it as a supplement to help Detox your liver rather than visit sushi bars for your consumption. It will also help your wallet!
10 Top Winter Cold & Flu Supplements
January 14, 2008 10:01 AM
As the winter weather continues to keep people close together indoors, viruses causing influenza and the common cold are able to more easily multiply. However, there are ways to prevent these unwanted germs from invading your body. Here is a list of the top ten dietary supplements that help the immune system fight and repel cold and flu bugs.
Andrographis has long been used in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine to boost the immune system. Actually, andrographis was first used during the Indian flu epidemic of 1919, where it was credited with stalling the spread of the disease. According to research, andrographis works better than a placebo for reducing the symptoms of respiratory infections and it may even prevent the infection in the first place. These studies used a proprietary andrographis product which combines the herb with a Siberian ginseng.
Beta glucan is a fiber-like complex sugar that can be found in oats, barley, and the cell walls of mushrooms. It provides a boost to the immune system which enhancing resistance to viruses and bacteria. In fact, beta glucan has been shown to boost the activity of phagocytes, special immune system cells which engulf and destroy germs.
Echinacea has a long history of traditional use; with it actually being one of the most widely used herbs in Native American medicine. Instead of having a direct germ-killing effect, Echinacea stimulates the body’s own immune defenses. Many studies go back as far as 1970 have shown that Echinacea boosts the immune system so that it can protect against infections invaders. A new study has found that Echinacea can reduce the odds of developing a cold by 58 percent and shortens the length of a cold to 1.4 days.
Elderberry was considered in Roman times to be a flu remedy. Recently, elderberry extract has been researched for its role in treating influenza infections, especially when it is taken with in the first 24 hours of developing symptoms. One recent study proved that individuals who were taking elderberry recovered four days sooner from influenza than those taking a placebo. Additionally, the use of other medications was less for those who used elderberry.
Garlic improves resistance to disease by boosting immune function. Many studies have found that garlic stimulates immunity because it increases the number of white blood cells and other immune system team members. A recent study proved that a group of individuals taking garlic caught significantly fewer colds and recovered more quickly from the colds they did come down with than the other group which was taking a placebo.
Ginseng boosts immune function in all of its forms. A study of adults who were taking American ginseng daily during the winter months found that those people, compared to those taking a placebo, caught fewer colds and needed less sick days. Additionally, Siberian ginseng and Asian ginseng can also build defenses against winter germs.
Propolis is created by bees when resins from plants are mixed with wax. This propolis coats the inside of the beehive with an antiseptic layer and it can have similar benefits when taken by humans. Propolis stimulates the body’s immune system. It has been proven in studies that taking propolis extract can protect against colds and other upper respiratory infections. Children who take propolis daily for three winter months have been proven to catch fewer colds than those kids who are taking a placebo.
Zinc lozenges, when they are taken within 24 hours of the first Cold symptom, can keep cold viruses from taking ground in the respiratory tract. The use of a zinc lozenge every couple of hours also causes colds to resolve more quickly and symptoms to be less severe.
Our immune system is out first line of defense against the cold and flu, as well as the diseases we may come down with. Keeping our immune system in tip top shape is key to a happier and healthier life. The above herbs can help boost the immune system along with a dietary change and exercise plan one can reduce the length of or prevent sickness over a life time.
Elderberry Can Boost The Immune System In The Winter
December 03, 2007 09:44 PM
The immune system is frequently overworked when the days get shorter and the temperature starts to drop, and elderberry can boost the immune system in winter for those that find themselves susceptible to all the colds, flu and other viral infections that seem to come out of the woodwork at that time.
Elderberry is the fruit of the elder tree that is native to Asia, Europe and North America. They are found just about anywhere due to their tolerance for a wide range of climates and soil types, and are frequently found by river banks. There are a number of different types of elder, in both small tree and shrub form, and it is those with the black and blue berries that are useful medicinally, not those with red berries. It is not only the berries that are used, but also the elder flowers. Elderflower wine has long been a favorite country wine, and the berries are used to make jam, pies and also drunk as juice.
Elder has been used for countless years for treating viral diseases such as influenza and colds, and it has also been found by some to be effective for the treatment of Cold sores (herpes simplex). Its effect on flu is thought to be that it prevents the virus from entering and infecting the body cells, but more on this later. Historically, it has been used to promote the excretion of waste products through urination and sweating, which might be another reason why it is effective against colds and flu and some general respiratory problems.
The juice contains anthocyanins in the form of anthocyanidin-3-glycosides that appear to be very bioavailable to the body. The anthocyanins are more easily absorbed than those of blackcurrant juice, and are very strong antioxidants. The antioxidant effect is reinforced by the presence of large quantities of vitamin C. This difference in bioavailability has been proved though the administration of both blackcurrant and elderberry juice to volunteers, and testing the presence of the anthocyanins in the urine. This is a measure of their bioavailability, or how easily they are absorbed by the body, and the greater this bioavailability, then the more effective is their antioxidant effect.
Separate studies have indicated that anthocyanins derived from berries in general, not just elderberry, can reduce oxidative stress due to age, and also to help brain function. An improvement in the memory of the elderly has been seen to have improved after a course of berry juices rich in these powerful antioxidants. Elderberry antioxidants also improve the stability of LDL cholesterol by protecting against free radical oxidation, and thus helping to reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis that is promoted by the deposition of the oxidized LDL cholesterol on artery walls. This in turn helps to reduce the possibility of cardiovascular disease.
However, it is its effect on the immune system for which elderberry is generally studied by the medical professions. Elderberry helps to boost the immune system predominantly through the production of cytokines. To explain how these work, a quick summary of how part of the immune system works will first be necessary.
When intrusion into the body by an antigen (foreign body) is detected, the initial response is the inflammatory response. Chemical messengers called cytokines are released into the blood to inform the other parts of the immune system that an invader has been spotted.
The immediate effect is to increase the flow of blood to the affected part of the body by dilation of the blood vessels. The spaces between the cells in the vessel walls increase to allow the larger components of the immune system, such as the phagocytes that consume and destroy bacteria. Proteins also congregate and the temperature at the site rises to promote the reactions that the body uses to eject the invaders. The tissue therefore swells due to all the extra fluid and gets hot. The area becomes painful due to the accumulation of material aggravating the nerves, and if there is an infection, pus will eventually be formed from the dead neutrophils used to kill the bacteria or virus.
There are many different types of cytokine, including those that initiate the inflammatory response and others that stop the immune response once the invader has been killed off. Other cytokines, such as the interferons, stop viruses from multiplying, and others take part in the response only to specific types of antigen. Each cytokine has a specific message to pass to the relevant components of the immune system in order that the immune response is appropriate to the invasion concerned and does not overreact. Hence, a grain of pollen in the nose will elicit a lesser response than a varicella antigen that leads to those horrible chickenpox pustules.
In general terms, cytokines give the immune system a kick start once an antigen is spotted. The elderberry anthocyanins produce predominantly inflammatory cytokines, but also one anti-inflammatory cytokine, and so helping to boost the inflammatory response.
Some viruses use what are known as spike proteins that mimic the molecules of their host in order to gain access to cells by binding to the target cell receptors. However, these spikes are easily recognized by the immune system, and the elderberry anthocyanins are active in promoting this recognition. For that reason, viruses vigorously continue to change and mutate to overcome this, one manifestation of their success in achieving this being in the annual infections of influenza that have overcome last year’s antibodies by means of this mutation.
The influenza virus contains what are known as hemagglutinin spikes on its surface which, when deactivated, cannot break through your cell walls, enter the cell and replicate, thus leading to influenza. That is the mechanism by which the constituents of elderberries help to control influenza and reduce its effect on your body. If not deactivated, the spikes allow the virus to invade the cell and provoke the immune response that you know as the flu.
Many such winter ailments have a similar mechanism, which is why, apart from its general health benefits through its high antioxidant content, that elderberry can boost the immune system in winter.
This Amino Acid may help your heart… and your heart’s desire.
May 24, 2006 05:45 PM
Give all to love, obey thy heart,” cries the poet, and most of us have felt the link between our hearts and our passionate feelings. In the more reasoned language of science, what connects the heart with the heat of amore is blood flowing freely through relaxed, wide-open arteries.
That’s where Arginine comes in. This amino acid (protein building block) has stirred excitement because of its ability to improve blood flow. Scientists now think that one reason nuts promote heart health, in addition to their high omega-3 content, is because they provide plenty of Arginine (as do other high-protein foods such as meat, cheese and eggs), and supplemental Arginine has been linked to improvements in cardiovascular function. This nutrient is also under the microscope as a way to promote healthy sexual functioning in both men and women.
As often as we’ve heart the heart described as a pump and the blood vessels as pipes, the plumbing analogy doesn’t entirely hold. For one thing, arteries—those vessels that carry oxygen and nutrient rich blood from the heart to the body are dynamic creations, with muscular walls that can narrow or widen as needed. One of the chemicals that control this process is called nitric oxide, and Arginine plays a crucial role in nitric oxide production.
Because the body can create its own stores, Arginine is classified as a non-essential amino-acid. However, scientists now think that getting a supplemental supply (in the form of L-Arginine) may be best for optimal well-being. In a well-designed multinational study, for example, men with high cholesterol who took l-Arginine experienced drops in both blood pressure and homocysteine, a substance associated with heart attack and stroke (Journal of nutrition 2/05). And a research team at UCLA believes that combining l-Arginine with such antioxidants as vitamin C and E may reduce inflammation that can lead to blocked coronary blood vessels.
Arginine’s ability to stimulate bountiful blood flow supports enhanced intimacy, which is both genders depends on a fully activated circulatory system. In fact, Arginine’s effects on nitric oxide are similar to those of Viagra and comparable drugs except that Arginine “is much less dangerous,” according to nationally noted herbalist Ellen Kamhi.
Men and women experiencing sexual dysfunction enjoyed greater levels of satisfaction after taking an Arginine based supplement, and the ladies reported having better relationships with their partners. What’s more, Arginine has helped infertile men by making sperm stronger and healthier.
Arginine may also help keep things pumping smoothly as the gym. It promotes the release of human growth hormone, which helps muscles grow bigger, and boosts the production of creatine, which serves as a power pack for high-intensity sports. What’s more, Arginine helps the body rid itself of ammonia, a toxic byproduct of physical activity. The amino acid’s ability to enable protein creation aids not only athletes but also people recovering from wounds, including those associated with surgery and burns. (note: the herpes virus that causes Cold sores thrives on Arginine; avoid supplements if your having an outbreak.)
When the mind is willing but the body falls short, let Arginine unleash your potential. –Lisa James, Energy Times.
Flue and Cold Times – For relief from Flue & Cold Symptoms
November 07, 2005 02:34 PM
Flue and Cold Times – For relief from Flue & Cold symptoms
Flue and Cold times is a fresh herb tincture containing Echinacea, Belladonna, Eupatorium and other herbs for temporary relief of fever, chills, postnasal drip, head and chest congestion, minor sore throat pain, cough, body aches, pains and soreness associated with cold and flu. For children and adults.
THE FDA AND STEVIA
July 15, 2005 12:45 PM
THE FDA AND STEVIA
While stevia in no way qualifies as an “artificial sweetener,” it has been subject to rigorous inquiry and unprecedented restraints. In 1986, FDA officials began to investigate herb companies selling stevia and suddenly banned its sale, calling it “an unapproved food additive.” Then in 1991, the FDA unexpectedly announced that all importation of stevia leaves and products must cease, with the exception of certain liquid extracts which are designed for skin care only. They also issued formal warnings to companies and claimed that the herb was illegal. The FDA was unusually aggressive in its goal to eliminate stevia from American markets, utilizing search and seizure tactics, embargoes and import bans. Speculation as to why the FDA intervened in stevia commerce points to the politics of influential sugar marketers and the artificial-sweetener industry.
During the same year, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) began their defense of the herb with the goal of convincing the FDA that stevia is completely safe. They gathered documented literature and research on both stevia and other non-caloric sweeteners. The overwhelming consensus was that stevia is indeed safe, and the AHPA petitioned the FDA to exempt stevia from food additive regulations.
Food Additive vs. Dietary Supplement
FDA regulations of stevia were based on its designation as a food additive. The claim was that scientific study on stevia as a food additive was inadequate. Ironically, extensive Japanese testing of stevia was disregarde—regardless of the fact that this body of documented evidence more than sufficiently supported its safe use. Many experts who have studied stevia and its FDA requirements have commented that the FDA wants far more proof that stevia is safe than they would demand from chemical additives like aspartame.
Stevia advocates point out that stevia not a food additive, but rather, a food. Apparently, foods that have traditionally been consumed do not require laborious and expensive testing for safety under FDA regulations. The fact that so many toxicology studies have been conducted in Japan, coupled with the herb’s long history of safe consumption, makes a strong case for stevia being accepted by the FDA as a safe dietary substance. Still, it was denied the official GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status and designated a food additive by the FDA.
The FDA Reverses Its Position
As a result of the Health Freedom Act passed in September of 1995, stevia leaves, stevia extract, and stevioside can be imported to the United States. However, ingredient labels of products that contain stevia must qualify as dietary supplements.
Stevia had been redesignated as a dietary supplement by the FDA and consequently can be legally sold in the United States solely as a supplement. Its addition to teas or other packaged foods is still banned. Moreover, stevia cannot, under any circumstances, be marketed as a sweetener or flavor enhancer.
SUGAR, SUGAR EVERYWHERE
Ralph Nader once said, “If God meant us to eat sugar, he wouldn’t have invented dentists.” The average American eats over 125 pounds of white sugar every year. It has been estimated that sugar makes up 25 percent of our daily caloric intake, with soda pop supplying the majority of our sugar ingestion. Desserts and sugar-laden snacks continually tempt us, resulting in an escalated taste for sweets.
The amount of sugar we consume has a profound effect on both our physical and mental well-being. Sugar is a powerful substance which can have drug-like effects and is considered addictive by some nutritional experts. William Duffy, the author of Sugar Blues, states,“The difference between sugar addiction and narcotic addition is largely one of degree.” In excess, sugar can be toxic. Sufficient amounts of B-vitamins are actually required to metabolize and detoxify sugar in our bodies. When the body experiences a sugar overload, the assimilation of nutrients from other foods can be inhibited. In other words, our bodies were not designed to cope with the enormous quantity of sugar we routinely ingest. Eating too much sugar can generate a type of nutrient malnutrition, not to mention its contribution to obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity, and other disorders. Sugar can also predispose the body to yeast infections, aggravate some types of arthritis and asthma, cause tooth decay, and may even elevate our blood lipid levels. Eating excess sugar can also contribute to amino acid depletion, which has been linked with depression and other mood disorders. To make matters worse, eating too much sugar can actually compromise our immune systems by lowering white blood cells counts. This makes us more susceptible to colds and other infections. Sugar consumption has also been linked to PMS, osteoporosis and coronary heart disease.
Why Do We Crave Sweets?
Considering the sobering effects of a high sugar diet, why do we eat so much of it? One reason is that sugar gives us a quick infusion of energy. It can also help to raise the level of certain brain neurotransmitters which may temporarily elevate our mood. Sugar cravings stem from a complex mix of physiological and psychological components. Even the most brilliant scientists fail to totally comprehend this intriguing chemical dependence which, for the most part, hurts our overall health.
What we do know is that when sugary foods are consumed, the pancreas must secrete insulin, a hormone which serves to bring blood glucose levels down. This allows sugar to enter our cells where it is either burned off or stored. The constant ups and downs of blood sugar levels can become exaggerated in some individuals and cause all kinds of health problems. Have you ever been around someone who is prone to sudden mood swings characterized by violent verbal attacks or irritability? This type of volatile behavior is typical of people who crave sugar, eat it and then experience sugar highs and lows. Erratic mood swings can be linked to dramatic drops in blood sugar levels.
Hypoglycemia: Sign of Hard Times?
It is rather disturbing to learn that statisticians estimate that almost 20 million Americans suffer from some type of faulty glucose tolerance. Hypoglycemia and diabetes are the two major forms of blood sugar disorders and can deservedly be called modern day plagues. Hypoglycemia is an actual disorder that can cause of number of seemingly unrelated symptoms. More and more studies are pointing to physiological as well as psychological disorders linked to disturbed glucose utilization in brain cells. One study, in particular, showed that depressed people have overall lower glucose metabolism (Slagle, 22). Hypoglycemia occurs when too much insulin is secreted in order to compensate for high blood sugar levels resulting from eating sugary or high carbohydrate foods. To deal with the excess insulin, glucagon, cortisol and adrenalin pour into the system to help raise the blood sugar back to acceptable levels. This can inadvertently result in the secretion of more insulin and the vicious cycle repeats itself.
A hypoglycemic reaction can cause mood swings, fatigue, drowsiness, tremors, headaches, dizziness, panic attacks, indigestion, Cold sweats, and fainting. When blood sugar drops too low, an overwhelming craving for carbohydrates results. To satisfy the craving and compensate for feelings of weakness and abnormal hunger, sugary foods are once again consumed in excess.
Unfortunately, great numbers of people suffer from hypoglycemic symptoms. Ironically, a simple switch from a high sugar diet to one that emphasizes protein can help. In addition, because sugar cravings are so hard to control, a product like stevia can be of enormous value in preventing roller coaster blood sugar levels. One Colorado internist states: People who are chronically stressed and are on a roller coaster of blood sugar going up and down are especially prone to dips in energy at certain times of day. Their adrenals are not functioning optimally, and when they hit a real low point, they want sugar. It usually happens in mid-afternoon when the adrenal glands are at their lowest level of functioning. (Janiger, 71) Our craving for sweets in not intrinsically a bad thing; however, what we reach for to satisfy that craving can dramatically determine how we feel. Stevia can help to satisfy the urge to eat something sweet without changing blood sugar levels in a perfectly natural way and without any of the risks associated with other non-nutritive sweeteners.
Diabetes: Pancreas Overload?
Diabetes is a disease typical of western cultures and is evidence of the influence that diet has on the human body. Perhaps more than any other disease, diabetes shuts down the mechanisms which permit proper carbohydrate/sugar metabolism. When the pancreas no longer secretes adequate amounts of insulin to metabolize sugar, that sugar continues to circulate in the bloodstream causing all kinds of health problems. The type of diabetes that comes in later years is almost always related to obesity and involves the inability of sugar to enter cells, even when insulin is present. Diabetes can cause blindness, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, the loss of nerve function, recurring infections, and the inability to heal. Heredity plays a profound role in the incidence of diabetes, but a diet high in white sugar and empty carbohydrates unquestionably contributes to the onset of the disease. It is estimated that over five million Americans are currently undergoing medical treatment for diabetes and studies suggest that there are at least four million Americans with undetected forms of adult onset diabetes. Diabetes is the third cause of death in this country and reflects the devastating results of a diet low in fiber and high in simple carbohydrates. Most of us start our children on diets filled with candy, pop, chips, cookies, doughnuts, sugary juice, etc. Studies have found that diabetes is a disease which usually plagues societies that eat highly refined foods. Because we live in a culture that worships sweets, the availability of a safe sweetener like stevia, which does not cause stress on the pancreas is extremely valuable. If sugar consumption was cut in half by using stevia to
PYCNOGENOL AS A DIETARY SUPPLEMENT
July 13, 2005 10:01 AM
PYCNOGENOL AS A DIETARY SUPPLEMENT
While flavonoid concentrates were used in ancient times to treat a variety of human diseases, modern medicine has failed to utilize their enormous therapeutic potential. We assume RDA standards to provide us with all the vitamin C and bioflavonoids we need to be healthy. Even if these set quantities were accurate for maintaining optimal health, how many of us eat diets nutritious enough to maintain maximum health and protection? In other words, do we consume enough fruits and ve g etables to affo rd us adequate levels of vitamin C and bioflavonoids to provide the free radical protection we need?
“The USDA conducted a study in which they collected dietary information over the course of the year for four independent days. In that study 20% of the adult women had no fruit or juice for four days, and about 45% had no citrus fruit or citrus fruit juice in four days.”6
MALNUTRITION IN THE MIDST OF PLENTY?
Only 9% of our population gets and eats enough fruits and vegetables on a consistent basis. Unquestionably, most of us are not getting enough vitamin C and flavonoid compounds from our diets.
In addition, it’s important to remember that modern farming techniques, pre m a t u re harve sting of fruits and vegetables, indefinite Cold storage, freezing, canning and cooking may denature food of its vitamin C and bioflavonoid content. Because we know that diseases are often nothing more than nutritional deficiencies, we must make adequate supplementation a priority if we want to enhance our longevity.
As mentioned earlier, biofl avonoids must combine with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in order to be effective. Mother nature was well aware of this synergistic relationship, as most plant biof l avonoids accomp a ny vitamin C compounds. In addition, the best, most bio-active and bioavailable flavonols must be chosen for their antioxidant properties. An overwhelming consensus exists that Pycnogenol may be the ideal choice.
TEA TREE OIL (Meleleuca alternifolia)
July 11, 2005 09:32 PM
TEA TREE OIL (Meleleuca alternifolia)
Another important component of the first aid kit is tea tree oil. It can help with many minor conditions that commonly occur. Some include athlete’s foot, acne, boils, burns, warts, vaginal infections, tonsillitis, sinus infections, ringworm, skin rashes, impetigo, herpes, corns, head lice, Cold sores, canker sores, insect bites, insect repellent and fungal infections. It is truly a remarkable oil with valuable properties for healing and to prevent infection. Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia which is a shrub like tree found in the northeast t ropical coastal region of New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. There are over 300 different varieties of tea tree but only a few are known to produce the valuable, medicinal oil.
Tea tree oil contains at least 48 different organic compounds. The compounds work together to produce the healing abilities found in the oil. Research done in the 1950s and early 1960s found that tea tree oil is a germicide and fungicide with additional characteristics of dissolving pus and debris.1 Recent studies have found it effective for thrush, vaginal infections of candida albicans, staph infections, athlete’s foot, hair and scalp problems, mouth sores, muscle and joint pain, pain, and boils.2
Tea tree oil is a valuable antiseptic for skin infections. It is able to penetrate the epidermis to heal from within. Clinical studies have found that tea tree oil can heal quickly and with less scarring than other treatments. The oil is even effective against Staphylococcus aureus, which is often difficult to treat and is becoming resistant to antibiotic therapy. The oil can be applied two to three times a day with full strength or diluted. If an irritation occurs, a diluted solution can be tried. Even highly diluted concentrations have been found to heal in clinical studies.
Organisms against which tea tree oil has been shown to be effective include aspergillus, baceroides, Candida, clostridium, cryptosporidium, diptheroids, E. Coli, enter-obacter, epidermophyton, fusobacterium, gonococcus, hemophilus, herpes viruses, meningococcus. microsporium, petococcus, proteus, pseudomonas, spirochetes, staph, strep, trichinosis, and trichophyton3
Tea tree oil is an effective bactericide. It is safe for healthy tissue. It is a strong organic solvent and will help heal and disperse pus in pimples and wounds. It has been used to neutralize the venom of minor insect bites. It is able to kill bacteria by penetrating the skin layers and reaching deep into abscesses in the gums and even beneath the fingernails. It has been found to have some of the strongest antimicrobial properties ever discovered in a plant.4 Tea tree oil can help with fungal infections such as candida. Dr. Eduardo F. Pena, M.D. has studied Melaleuca alternifolia oil for its value in treating vaginitis and candida albicans.5 In studying candida researchers have gone to the extreme of infecting healthy volunteers with the organism. The yeasts proceeded to invade the bloodstream and internal organs. Then they were cultured from these regions. However, within a matter of hours yeasts could no longer be cultured, indicating that the immune systems of these individuals efficiently cleared the organisms from the tissues. Unfortunately, in today’s era a great many people are afflicted with compromised immune function.6
Tea tree oil acts as a mild anesthetic when applied to painful areas and to soothe cuts, burns, and mouth sores. It can help heal as well as reduce scarring. Burn victims in Australia are often treated with tea tree oil to help prevent infection, relieve pain and speed healing.
Tea tree oil can help prevent and heal acne. Tea tree oil has a reputation of being gentle on the skin. It does not produce the side effects of some medications such as dry skin, stinging, burning and slight redness after application. Tea tree oil can help to heal and prevent infections from occurring. A minor scrape or scratch can sometimes result in infection. Tea tree oil applied to the area can help prevent infection. The oil is effective in healing many types of bacteria but the most amazing thing is that is does not damage the skin tissue. Many of the recommended treatments can actually do damage to the skin resulting in scarring and sensitivity.
Tea tree oil can be used to prevent bites and stings. Bugs don’t like the scent and may stay away. There is no way to entirely void coming into contact with insects. Anyone who likes to be outdoors is vulnerable. Whether you live in the city or the country or anywhere in between, bugs abound. Tea tree oil or lotions and creams containing the oil can also be used to prevent bites. Insects don’t like the scent of the oil and are actually repelled by it. The Australian tea tree oil has been found to be highly effective in treating infections and destroying microbes while not irritating the skin. Many antiseptics can cause skin irritation, but tea tree oil seems to cause no harm to skin tissue.
Tea tree oil is an antiseptic and generally not taken internally. Some evidence has suggested mild organ damage from internal use. The oil when absorbed through the skin is non-toxic. Tea tree oil is most often recommended for exposed surfaces of the body such as the skin tissue and the mucous membranes. It should be noted that the original Australian aborigines made tea from the leaves without adverse affects. And the early settlers followed their exam - ple with positive results. But the tea was a very diluted form and the distilled oil is much stronger.
HAWAIIAN NONI (Morinda citrifolia)
July 11, 2005 08:50 PM
In a time when we are more concerned than ever with issues of health, a tried and true tropical herb called noni needs t o be added t o our list of the best natural remedies. It susage over hundreds of years supports it s description as a veritable panacea of therapeutic actions. At this writing, noni continues to accrue impressive medicinal credentials, and its emergence as an effective nat ural healing agent is a timely one. Amidst rising cancer rates, the high incidence of degenerative diseases like diabetes, and the evolution of ant ibiotic resist ant bacteria and new viral strains, herbs like noni are sought after for their natural pharmaceutical properties. Unquest ionably, all of us want to know how to:
Indian Mulberry (India), Noni (Hawaii), Nono (Tahiti and Raratonga), Polynesian Bush Fruit, Painkiller Tree (Caribbean islands), Lada (Guam), Mengkudo (Malaysia), Nhau (Southeast Asia), Grand Morinda (Vietnam), Cheesefruit (Australia), Kura (Fiji), Bumbo (Africa) Note: This is only a small sampling of vernacular names for Morinda citrifolia. Almost every island nation of the South Pacific and Caribbean has a term for this particular plant . This booklet will refer to the herb mainly as “ noni” or M. citrifolia, and is referring primarily to Hawaiin noni.
The parts of the noni plant most used for their medicinal and nutritional purposes are the fruit, seeds, bark, leaves, and flowers. Virtually every part of the noni plant is utilized for its individual medicinal properties; however, it is the fruit portion that is regarded as its most valuable. The seeds have a purgative action, the leaves are used to treat external inflammations and relieve pain, the bark has strong astringent properties and can treat malaria, the root extracts lower blood pressure, the flower essences relieve eye inflammations and the f ruit has a number of medicinal actions.
Morinda citrifolia is technically an evergreen shrub or bush, which can grow to heights of fifteen to twenty feet . It has rigid, coarse branches which bear dark, oval, glossy leaves. Small white fragrant flowers bloom out of cluster-like pods which bear creamy-white colored fruit. The fruit is fleshy and gel-like when ripened, resembling a small breadf ruit . The flesh of the fruit is characterist ically bitter, and when completely ripe produces a rancid and very dist inctive odor. Noni has buoyant seeds that can float formont hs in ocean bodies. The wood of the inflammatory, astringent, emollient, emmenagogue, laxative, sedative, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure) , blood purif ier, and tonic.
Noni has various chemical constituents. First, it has an impressive array of terpene compounds, three of which—L. Asperuloside, aucubin, and glucose— have been identified by their actyl derivatives. Both caproic and caprylic acids have been isolated.1 Second, bushfruits, a category of which noni fruit is a member, are also considered a good source of vit - amin C.2 Third, Hawaiin noni has been linked to the synthesis of xeronine in the body which has significant and widespread health implications. Last , the alkaloid cont ent of the noni fruit is thought to be responsible for its therapeutic actions. Alkaloids exhibit a wide range of pharmacological and biological act ivitiesin the human body. They are nitrogencontaining organic compounds which can react with acids to form salts and which are the basis of many medicines. The following is an in-depth chemical analysis of each plant part and it s chemical constituents.
discovered an alkaloid in the Hawaiin noni fruit which he calls proxeronine and which he believes has appreciable physiological actions by acting as a precursor to xeronine, a very crucial compound (see later sections) . In addition, a compound found in the fruit called damnacanthol is believed to help inhibit cert ain viruses and cellular mutations involved in cancer.
ROOT AND ROOT BARK
Recent surveys have suggested that noni fruit exerts antibiotic action. In fact, a variety of compounds which have antibacterial properties (such as aucubin) have been identified in the fruit.5 The 6-Dglucopyranose pentaacet ate of the fruit extract is not considered bacteriostatic.6 Constituents found in the fruit portion have exhibited ant imicrobial action against Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi (and other types) , Shigella paradysenteriae, and Staphylococcus aureaus. Compounds found in the root have the ability to reduce swollen mucous membrane and lower blood pressure in animal studies. Proxeronine is an alkaloid constituent found in Hawaiin noni fruit which may prompt the production of xeronine in the body. It is considered a xeronine precursor and was discovered in noni fruit by Dr. Ralph M. Heinicke. He has theorized that this proenzyme can be effective in initiating a series of beneficial cellular reactions through its involvement with the integrity of specific proteins. He points out that tissues contain cells which possess certain recept or sites for xeronine. Because the reactions that can occur are so varied, many different therapeutic actions can result when xeronine production escalates, explaining why Hawaiin noni is good for so many seemingly unrelated disorders. Damnacanthol is another compound contained in the fruit of the Hawaiin noni plant which has shown the ability to block or inhibit the cellular function of RAS cells, considered pre-cancerous cells.
Body Systems Targeted
The following body systems have all been effec-freeze-dried capsules, dehydrated powder or fruit, and oil. Noni plant constituents are sometimes offered in combination with other herbs. Some products contain a percent age of the fruit, bark, root and seeds for their individual therapeutic properties.
Extracts of M. citrifolia are considered safe if used as directed; however, pregnant or nursing mothers should consult their physicians before taking any supplement . High doses of root extracts may cause constipation. Taking noni supplements with coffee, alcohol or nicotine is not recommended.
Ideally, noni extracts should be taken on an empty stomach prior to meals. The process of digesting food can interfere with the medicinal value of the alkaloid compounds found in Hawaiin noni, especially in its fruit . Apparently, stomach acids and enzymes destroy the specific enzyme which frees up the xeronine compound. Take noni supplements without food, coffee, nicotine or alcohol. Using supplements that have been made from the semi-ripe or light - green fruit is also considered preferable to the ripe, whit ish fruit .
NONI: ITS USE AND HISTORY
Noni is a tropical wandering plant indigenous to areas of Australia, Malaysia and Polynesia. It is considered native to Southeast Asia although it grows from India to the eastern region of Polynesia. Morinda citrifolia has a long history of medicinal use throughout these areas. It is thought to be the “most widely and commonly used medicinal plant prior to the European era.” 7 Centuries ago, the bushfruit was introduced to native Hawaiians, who subsequently called it “noni” and considered its fruit and root as prized medicinal agents. Among all Polynesian botanical agents of the 19th and 20th centuries, Hawaiin noni has the widest array of medical applications. Samoan and Hawaiian medical practitioners used noni for bowel disorders (especially infant diarrhea, constipation, or intestinal parasites) , indigestion, skin inflammation, infection, mouth sores, fever, contusions and sprains. Hawaiians commonly prepared noni tonics designed to treat diabetes, stings, burns and fish poisoning.8 The herb’s remarkable ability to purge the intestinal tract and promote colon health was well known among older Hawaiian and Tahitian natives and folk healers. Interestingly, field observations regarding its repu-remarkable healing agent .
Wonder Herb of Island Folk Healers
Common to t he thickets and forests of Malaysia and Polynesia, and the low hilly regions of the Philippine islands, noni has been cultivated throughout communities in the South Pacific for hundreds of years. Its Hawaiian use is thought to originate from inter-island canoe travel and settlement dating to before Christ . Its hardy seeds have the ability to float which has also contributed to its distribution among various seacoasts in the South Pacific region. Historical investigation has established the fact that some of Hawaii’s earliest settlers probably came viaTahiti. For this reason, Tahitian herbal practices have specific bearing on the herbal therapeutics of islands to the nort h. The very obvious similarities between the Hawaiian vernacular for herbal plants like noni and Tahitian names strongly suggests the theory of Polynesian migrations to Hawaii. Cultures native to these regions favored using Morinda citrifolia for treating major diseases and ut ilized it as a source of nourishment in times of famine.9 Noni fruit has been recognized for centuries as an excellent source of nutrition. The peoples of Fiji, Samoa and Rarat onga use the fruit in both its raw and cooked forms.10 Traditionally, the fruit was propicked before it was fully ripe and placed in the sunlight . After being allowed to ripen, it was typically mashed and its juice extracted through a cloth. Noni leaves provided a veget able dish and their resiliency made them desirable as a fish wrap for cooking.
Noni’s Medical Reputation
Elaborate traditionalrituals and praying rites usually accompanied the administration of noni. Int erestingly, cultures indigenous to the Polynesian islands had a significant understanding of their flora. For example, native Hawaiians maint ained a folkmedicine taxonomy t hat was considered second to none.11 Noni was not only used for medicinal purposes but for its food value, for clot hing and for cloth dyes as well. Research indicates that noni was among the few herbal remedies that islanders considered “ tried and true.” In Hawaii, trained herbal practitioners reserved the right to prescribe plant therapies.12 Records indicate that Hawaiian medical practices were based on extensive and very meticulous descriptions of symptoms and their prescribed herbal treatments. Dosages were controlled and the collection and administration of plant extracts was carefully monitored.13 In addition to Morinda, it was not uncommon for these herbal doctors to also recommend using In regard to its application for common ailments, Hawaiians and other island communities traditionally prescribed noni to purge the bowel, reduce fever, cure respiratory infections such as asthma, ease skin inflammations, and heal bruises and sprains. In other words, noni was widely used and highly regarded as a botanical medicine.
A Timely Reemer gence
Today, the natural pharmaceutical actions of the chemical constituents contained in noni are scientif-ically emerging as valuable bot anical medicines. Tahitian “nono” intrigued medical practitioners decades ago; however, due to the eventual emergence of synthetic drugs, interest in this island botanical diminished until recent years. Ethnobot anists are once again rediscovering why Hawaiian people havet reasured and cultivat ed Morinda citrifolia for generations. Noni is now finding its way into western therapeutics and is referred to as “ the queen” of the genus Rubiaceae. Its ability to reduce joint inflammation and target the immune system have made it the focus of the modern scientific inquiry. Dr. Ralph Heinicke has conducted some fascinating studies on the chemical constituents of the Hawaiin noni fruit. His research centers on the proxeronine content of the fruit juice and how it profoundly influences human physiology. In addition, scientific studies investigating noni as an anti-cancer agent have been encouraging. It s conspicuous attributes and varied uses have elevat edits status to one of the best of the healing herbs. Today Morinda citrifolia is available in liquid, juice, freezedried capsules, or oil forms, and is considered one of nature’s most precious botanicals.
TRADITIONAL USES OF NONI
Throughout tropical regions, virtually every part of Morinda citrifolia was used to treat disease or injury. Its curative properties were well known and commonly employed. PatoaTama Benioni, a member of the Maoritribe from the Cook Islands and a lecturer on island plants explains: Traditionally Polynesians use noni for basically everything in the treatment of illness. Noni is a part of our lives. Any Polynesian boy will tell you he’s had exper ience with it . We use juice from its roots, its flowers, and its fruit... my grandmother taught me to use noni from the roots and the leaves to make medicine for external as well as internal use, and for all kinds of ailments, such as coughs, boils, diseases of the skin, and cuts.15
decoctions to stimulate delayed menst ruation.
XERONINE: THE SECRET OF NONI?
One informed professional on the subject of noni is Dr. Ralph Heinicke, a biochemist who has researched the active compounds of noni fruit for a number of years. He discovered that the Hawaiin noni fruit contains an alkaloid precursor to a very vital compound called xeronine. Wit hout xeronine, life would cease. In Dr. Heinicke’s view, noni fruit provides a safe and effective way to increase xeronine levels, which exert a crucial influence on cell health and protction. His research suggests that the juice from the M. citrifolia fruit contains what could technically be considered a precursor of xeronine—proxeronine. This compound initiates the release of xeronine in the intestinal tract after it comes in contact with a specific enzyme which is also contained in the fruit .
Because proteins and enzymes have so many varied roles within cell processes, the normalization of these proteins with noni supplemenation could initiate avery wide variety of body responses and treat many disease condit ions. Proteins are the most important catalysts found in the body. The beauty of obtaining a precursor to xeronine from the noni fruit is that the body naturally decides how much of this precursor to convert to xeronine. Disease, stress, anger, trauma and injury can lower xeronine levels in the body, thus creat ing a xeronine deficit . Supplementing the body with noni fruit is considered an excellent way to safely and naturally raise xeronine levels. It is the research and theories of Dr. Heinicke which have made the juice of the Hawaiin noni fruit a viable medicinal substance. He writes: Xeronine is analkaloid, a substance the body produces in order to activate enzymes so they can function properly. It also energizes and regulates the body. This par-ticular alkaloid has never been found because the body makes it, immediately uses it, and then breaks it down. At no time is there an appreciable, isolable amount in the blood. But xeronine is so basic to the functioning of proteins, we would die without it . Its absence can cause many kinds of illness.17 Because so many diseases result from an enzyme malfunction, Dr. Heinicke believes that using the noni fruit can result in an impressive array of curative applications. Interestingly, he believes that we manufacture proxeronine while we are sleeping. He proposes t hat if we could constantly supply our bodies wit h proxeronine from other sources, our need to sleep would diminish.18
How an herb is processed is crucial to how beneficial it is: this is especially true of noni, with its unique enzymes and alkaloids. Morinda citrifolia should be picked when the fruit is turning from its dark green immature color to its lighter green color, and certainly before it ripens to its white, almost translucent color. Once picked, noni, like aloe, will denature extremely quickly due to its very active enzymes. After harvesting, it should swiftly be flash frozen. This is similar to what is done to fish caught at sea to keep them f esh. This stops it from losing its potency while not damaging any of its constituents. To process noni, freeze-drying is recommended. This removes only the water without damaging any of this miracle plant’s vital enzymes and other phytonutrients like xeronine and proxeronine. This pure high-quality noni fruit juice powder is then encapsu-has a very harsh taste and an extremely foul smell, similar to the fruit it self . Other methods of processing include thermal processing, dehydrat ion and air drying. Thermal processing is generally found in liquids, while the dehydrat ed noni is then milled and encapsulated. Unfortunately both methods utilize high heat (110+°F) , which can deactivate many of the vital compounds that make noni so import ant . Air-drying is effect ive without using damaging heat but has serious quality control problems for commercial production.
MODERN APPLICATIONS OF NONI
Noni possesses a wide variety of medicinal properties which originat e from its differing plant component s. The fruit and leaves of the shrub exert antibacterial activities. Its roots promote the expulsion of mucus and the shrinkage of swollen membranes making it an ideal therapeutic for nasal congest ion, lung infect ions, and hemorrhoids. Noni root compounds have also shown natural sedative properties as well as the ability to lower blood pressure.
Leaf extracts are able to inhibit excessive blood flow or to inhibit the formation of blood clots. Noni is particularly useful for its ability to treat painful joint conditions and to resolve skin inflammations. Many people drink noni fruit extracts in juice form for hypert ension, painful menstruation, arthritis, gastric ulcers, diabetes, and depression. Recent studies suggest that its anticancer activit y should also be considered. Concerning the therapeutic potential of the Hawaiin noni fruit, Dr. Heinicke writes: I have seen the compound found in noni work wonders. When I was still investigating its possibilities, I had a friend who was a medical research scientist administer the proxeronine to a woman who had been comatose for three months. Two hour safter receiving the compound, she sat up in bed and asked where she was. . . . Noni is probably the best source of proxeronine that we have today.19 Studies and surveys combined support the ability of noni to act as an immunost imulant, inhibit the growth of certain tumors, enhance and normalize cellular function and boost tissue regeneration. It is considered a powerful blood purifier and contributor to overall homeostasis.
xeronine, which appears to be able to regulate the shape and integrity of cert in proteins that individually contribute to specific cellular activities. Interestingly, this effect seems to occur after ingestion, inferring that the most active compound of noni may not be present in uneaten forms of the fruit or other plant parts. Some practitioners believe that xeronine is best obtained from a noni fruit juice precursor compound. The enzymatic reactions that occur with taking the juice on an empty stomach are what Dr. Heinicke believes set cellular repair intomotion.
A study conducted in 1994 cited the anticancer activity of Morinda citrifolia against lung cancer. A team of scientists from the University of Hawaii used live laboratory mice to test the medicinal properties of the fruit against Lewis lung carcinomas which were artificially transferred to lung tissue. The mice that were left untreated died in nine to twelve days. However, giving noni juice in consistent daily doses significantly prolonged their life span. Almost half of these mice lived for more than fifty days.20 Research conclusions state that the chemical constituents of the juice acted indirectly by enhancing the ability of the immune system to deal with the invading malig-nancy by boosting macrophage or lymphocyte activit y. Furt her evaluation theorizes that the unique chemical constituents of Morinda citrifolia initiate enhanced T-cell activity, a reaction that may explain noni’s ability to treat a variety of infectious diseases. 21
In Japan, similar studies on tropical plant extracts found that damnacanthol, a compound found in Morinda citrifolia, is able to inhibit the function of KRAS- NRK cells, which are considered precursors to certain types of malignancies.22 The experiment involved adding noni plant extract to RAS cells and incubating them for a number of days. Observation disclosed that noni was able to significantly inhibit RAS cellular function. Among 500 plant extracts, Morinda citrifolia was determined to contain the most effective compounds against RAS cells. Its damnacanthol content was clinically described in 1993 as “a new inhibit or of RAS function.” 2 3 The xeronine fact or is also involved in that xeronine helps to normalize the way malignant cells behave. While they are still technically cancer cells, they no longer function as cells with unchecked growth. In time, the body’s immune system may be able to eradicate these cells.
with arthritic disease. One link to arthritic pain may be the inability to properly or completely digest proteins which can then form crystal-like deposits in the joints. The ability of noni fruit to enhance protein digestion through enhanced enzymatic function may help to eliminate this particular phenomenon. In addition, the alkaloid compounds and plant met abolites of noni may be linked to its apparent anti-inflammatory action. Plant sterols can assist in inhibiting the inflammatory response which causes swelling and pain. In addition, the antioxidant effect of noni may help to decrease free radical damage in joint cells, which can exacerbate discomfort and degeneration.
The alkaloid and other chemical compounds found in noni have proven themselves to effectively control or kill over six types of infectious bacterial strains including: Escherichia coli, salmonellatyphi (and other types) , shigella paradysenteriae, and staphylo - coccus aureaus.25 In addition, damnacanthol, was able to inhibitt he early antigen stage of the Epstein- Barr virus.
The bioactive components of the whole plant, combined or in separate portions, have demonst rat - ed the ability to inhibit several different strains of bacteria. Anecdotal reports support this action in that noni seems particularly effective in shortening the duration of certain types of infection. This may explain why noni is commonly used to treat colds and flu. The chemical constituents found in noni and the possibility that they stimulate xeronine production— as well as initiate alkaloid therapy—may explain noni’s reputation for having immuno-stimulatory properties. Alkaloids have been able to boost phagocytosis which is the process in which certain white blood cells called macrophages attack and literally digest infectious organisms. Interestingly, the ant it umoraction of noni has been ascribed to an immune system response which involves stimulating T-cells. tropical regions during World War II learned of the fruit’s ability to boost endurance and stamina. Native cultures in Samoa, Tahiti, Raratonga and Australia used the fruit in cooked and raw forms. M. citrifolia is considered a tonic and is especially recommended for debilitated conditions.
The process of aging bombards the body with free radicals which can cause all kinds of degenerative diseases. The xeronine theory promoted by Dr. Heinicke submit s t hat as our bodies age, we lose our ability to synthesize xeronine. To make matters worse, the presence of many environment altoxins actually blocks the production of xeronine as well. He believes that the proxeronine content of Hawaiin noni fruit juice can help to block these actions, thereby working as an antiaging compound.26 The phytonutrients found in noni assist in promot - ing cell nourishment and prot ect ion from free radicals created by exposure to pollution and other potentially damaging agents. In addition, Morinda citrifolia contains selenium, which is considered one of the best antioxidant compounds available.
While scientific studies are lacking in this particular application of noni, Hawaiians used various parts of the plant and its fruit to treat blood sugar disorders. Anecdotal surveys have found t hat noni is current ly recommended for anyone with diabetes.
A 1990 study found that extracts derived from the Morinda citrifolia root have the ability to kill pain in animal experiments.27 Interest ingly, it was during this study that the natural sedative action of the root was also noted. This study involved a French team of scientists who noted a significant central analgesic activity in laboratory mice.28 Dr. Heinicke has stated, “Xeronine also acts as a pain reliever. A man wit h very advanced int est inal cancer was given three months to live. He began taking the proxeronine and lived for a whole year, pain-free.” 29
Skin Healing Agent
One of the most prevalent hist rical uses of noni was in poultice form for cuts, wounds, abrasions, burns and bruises. Using its fruit extract for very serious burns has resulted in some extraordinary healing. Because skin is comprised of protein, it immediately responds to the presence of xeronine.
burn site throught he direct application of a noni poultice is considered quite effective by Dr. Heinicke and his colleagues, who have studied enzymatic therapy. Concerning burns, he has written: I believe that each tissue has cells which contain proteins which have receptor sites for the absorption of xeronine. Certain of these proteins are the inert for ms of enzymes which require absorbed xeronine to become active. This xeronine, by converting the body’s procol- langenase system into a specific protease, quickly and safely removes the dead tissue from burns.30
The xeronine link to treat ing drug addiction is based on the notion that flooding t he brain with extra xeronine can reverse the neurochemical basis for addiction. This natural alkaloid is thought to normalize brain receptors which subsequent ly results in the cessation of physiological dependence on a certain chemical like nicotine.3 1 The potential of Hawaiin noni as a natural stimulat or for t he production of xeronine may have profound implications in treating various types of addictions.
Complementary Agents of Noni
PrimaryApplications of Noni
Well Child - For a Healthy Winter
June 21, 2005 05:13 PM
Well Child - For A Healthy Winter
By Lesley Tierra, L.Ac.
As summer turns to fall and then to winter, the nights turn cold and the days brisk. This is a challenging time physiologically as our bodies, especially those of children, try to adapt to the changing climate. Coming into the Fall and Winter seasons, many people continue to eat and dress as if it were still summer, causing the body to work even harder at maintaining homeostasis. This is a special consideration for children who have the added challenge of being exposed to numerous other children in school and day care centers. This requires parents to be prepared by making sure your herbal health care chests are well stocked. One product worthy of having on hand is Well Child by Planetary Formulas, an echinacea-elderberry herbal syrup, specifically designed for the needs of our youth during the winter season. Well Child was developed by Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D. in the East-West Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic in Santa Cruz, CA. Michael has been a practicing herbalist and licensed health professional for more than 35 years. His more than three decades of experience are represented in all his formulas, which have stood the test of time in his practice with literally thousands of clients.
Key Herbal Elements
* Echinacea purpurea leaf and root: No other herb is as widely used for winter immune health as echinacea. Originally used by Native Americans of the Plains and introduced to Eclectic physicians in the 1800's, echinacea has become one of the most widely researched botanicals in modern times. While the clinical findings of many studies have been mixed, there is substantial pre-clinical evidence demonstrating its ability to stimulate various immune responses, such as increasing macrophage, phagocytic and natural killer cell activity. Most of the clinical trials that have utilized protocols and dosages similar to those used by professional herbalists have reported positive findings with regard to its immune-enhancing effects. Echinacea is also very safe. * Elderberry (Sambucus nigra): Whereas echinacea reigns supreme as North America's primary wintertime botanical supplement, the berries of elder have a similar reputation in Europe, where it is widely used in cordials. Most research on elderberries has been conducted in Israel, where it was found to contain potent immune-stimulating compounds as well as powerful antioxidant activity. It makes one of the most delicious proanthocyanidin-rich syrups, so it is an ideal wintertime supplement. In Western herbal terms it is classified as a warming diaphoretic, which makes it ideal in combination with echinacea as a first line defense against the cold winds of winter. * Honeysuckle flowers (Lonicera spp.): Honeysuckle flowers are among the most widely used botanicals in Chinese herbalism for wintertime health. They are a key ingredient in the legendary classic Chinese formula Yin Chiao, which is perhaps the most frequently prescribed of all Chinese herbal supplements. Honeysuckle flowers are rich in a host of unique flavonoids which likely contribute to their health-promoting effects. These key ingredients are combined with cinnamon twig, chamomile flowers, catnip, lemon balm, and licorice root in a great-tasting syrup base of purified water, vegetable glycerin, and honey, along with extra vitamin C.
At the East-West Clinic, we have experienced dramatic positive results when giving Well Child. Luckily, this combination of botanicals tastes good. In addition, Well Child is formulated in a tasty glycerin base with added honey. The result is a liquid that is easily taken by most children. Because of the honey, we do not recommend Well Child for children under two years of age, unless it is subjected to boiling water. We also recommend specific dietary changes, including the avoidance of cold and raw foods during the Cold season, eating plenty of broths, avoiding dairy, and eliminating simple sugars from the diet while ensuring the intake of adequate fluids.
Chang HM, But PP. 1986. Pharmacology and Clinical Applications of Chinese Materia Medica. World Scientific. Singapore. Mumcuoglu M. 1995. Sambucus: Black elderberry extract. RSS Publishing, Inc. Skokie, IL. Upton R, Graff A (eds.). 2004 Echinacea purpurea root: Monograph of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Scotts Valley, CA.
Lesley Tierra L.Ac., Diplomate in Chinese Herbalism (NCCAOM) is a California state and nationally certified acupuncturist and herbalist. She has been practicing as a primary health care provider with her husband, Michael Tierra, in Santa Cruz, California for almost 20 years. Lesley combines acupuncture, herbs and food therapies in her work. She is the author of several books, including Herbs of Life, published by Crossing Press, and is co-author, with Michael, of Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine. Lesley is also the director of the East-West School of Herbal Medicine, and has taught at schools throughout the United States and England since 1983.
The Colds & Flu Report
June 18, 2005 08:38 AM
The Colds & Flu Report by Sherrill Williams Energy Times, October 13, 2004
The nose knows the misery of a cold: stuffiness, watery eyes, sore throat and nagging cough. These annoyances are especially frustrating when there's not enough time in your busy schedule to be sick.
Traditional remedies help: Slurping a cup of Grandma's chicken soup. Sweating in a hot bath. Climbing under the covers until further notice.
While no one can guarantee you won't catch a cold this year, a few simple measures can limit your sick days and give you the best chance to dodge upper respiratory distress. The common cold is a frequent and expensive problem, causing about 15 million lost work days for Americans each year. Some people seem just about immune to the group of viruses that cause colds. But others may endure as many as 12 colds per year. For the lucky ones, a cold's irritations last a couple of days. For the unfortunate, a cold can drag on for a couple of weeks.
Influenza (commonly known as the flu) has many of the same discomforts as a cold, and both disorders originate in the upper respiratory tract. But while a cold usually stays on tract, the flu is often accompanied by fever, prominent headaches and severe aches and pains around the body. Fatigue from the flu can last as long as two to three weeks during recovery. All this distress demonstrates that your body is fighting off the invaders.
Traditional healers advocate the use of the herb echinacea at the first sign of getting sick. Echinacea, commonly known as purple coneflower, is native to North America and was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia until the 1950s.
Rosemary Gladstar, a Vermont herbalist and author of Family Herbal (Storey Books), suggests taking echinacea (Echinacea ssp.) in frequent small amounts in tincture or tea form at the first sign of cold or flu.
" Most of the compounds in echinacea are water soluble, so it makes a fine tea," says Gladstar. She also encourages echinacea tea as a gargle or spray to relieve sore throats.
Research at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts validates what traditional healers such as Rosemary Gladstar have known: echinacea works best if taken at the onset of colds or flu. In an animal study, scientists found that echinacea triggered a humoral immune response, an immune reaction that spurs the production of special proteins that latch onto and destroy viruses (Immunopharmacology & Immunotoxicology 2003 Nov; 25(4):551-60).
In another study, researchers found that echinacea enhances immune actions called T cell subsets or helper cell activity (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 2004 Jul; 27(7):1004-9). Helper cells are lymphocytes that take part in the destruction of viruses. In the quest for the kind of immunity that makes you less vulnerable to infection by troublesome viruses, Gladstar says that "echinacea is safe for children, the elderly and everyone in between."
C Is for Colds-And So Is E
The reputation of vitamin C as the anti-cold nutrient has been batted back and forth in the media for decades. Your body can't store up much of this antioxidant water-soluble vitamin, so you have to consume it every day on a regular basis. And while vitamin C may not prevent the common cold, research does demonstrate that it can help reduce a cold's severity and make it go away faster (Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 1999 Oct; 22(8):530-3).
Adequate vitamin C is crucial for a healthy immune system. Even a marginal deficiency of this nutrient can leave you more vulnerable to the viruses that cause cold and flu. Plus, if you get a runny nose, researchers believe vitamin C can act as a mild antihistamine, slowing that runny nose to a walk.
In a University of Texas study reported at the 60th Anniversary meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in 2003, daily doses of vitamin C were shown to significantly aid immunity.
After two weeks of taking vitamin C, the people in this study had their blood examined. Researchers found increased numbers of NK (natural killer) cells, immune warriors that destroy infected cells. In addition, vitamin C activated T cells, a class of immune cells that also fight viruses.
And now a newsbreak: you can add vitamin E, vitamin C's antioxidant companion, to your cold prevention shopping list, at least if you're a senior citizen. According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2004; 292(7):828-36), nursing home residents aged 65 and older who took vitamin E enjoyed a 20% risk reduction when it came to developing upper respiratory infections.
Don't Be Sick, Stay Happy
" When you smile, the whole world smiles with you" is a melody that is music to immunity. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have found that folks who are relaxed, happy and maintain positive emotions are less likely to catch colds. In addition, people who are depressed, nervous or angry are more likely to complain of Cold symptoms whether or not they actually have a cold (Psycho Med 2003 Jul; 65:652-7). According to Sheldon Cohen, PhD, "Study participants who had a positive emotional style weren't infected as often and experienced fewer symptoms compared to people with a negative emotional style."
So you don't have to be a passive cold victim this winter. When viruses threaten you, according to Mary L. Hardy, MD, you can also try:
" The first caution I give people is to get a good diagnosis," says Dr. Hardy. "If your cold is not acting like a normal cold, or if it has lasted more than a short amount of time, make sure you don't have a more serious condition, such as pneumonia." In that case, seek professional help.
But if you've contracted a run-of-the-mill winter cold, keep your spirits and immunity up! Even if you've been impulsively singing and dancing in the rain, the chill and wet won't result in a cold if you let a smile be your immune umbrella!
What is the difference between the types of Ginseng?
June 17, 2005 12:45 PM
What is the difference between the types of Ginseng?
Ginseng has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese and Native Americans. The Chinese name, Ren Shen means "Man-Root" because it is shaped like a human. There have been over 3,000 scientific studies published on Ginseng. Studies have examined the anti-tumor, anti-infective, nervous system, lipid lowering, and anti-fatigue activity of ginseng. Experimental research indicates that Ginseng helps the body adapt to stress, protects the body against radiation, and increases sperm count, and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
Ginseng can differ depending upon the species, the way it is prepared, and of course the dose administered. There are two main kinds of Ginseng: American and Asian. American Ginseng, Panax quinquefolium, grows wild in many states although it is cultivated mainly in Wisconsin. American Ginseng generates body fluids and is said to clear heat. Those who can benefit most from American Ginseng are individuals that are under stress, athletes, and people who feel hot and thirsty. They may also have coughing, or coughing up blood, which indicates heat according to traditional Chinese Medicine.
Asian Ginseng, Panax Ginseng, is usually imported to the US from either China or Korea. It is traditionally used to treat Cold syndromes, which include cold limbs, weak pulse, exhaustion, and shortness of breath. White Ginseng usually refers to untreated ginseng, and is said to be less warm than red Ginseng. Typically red Ginseng is steamed and cured with other herbs giving it a dark red appearance; most Korean Ginseng is red.
A common substitute for Ginseng in the US and China is Codonopsis, known botanically as Codonopsis pilosula. It has similar effects to Asian Ginseng: it is not as strong and not nearly as expensive. Eleuthero Ginseng, sometimes referred to as Siberian Ginseng, is really not ginseng at all but is in fact a distant cousin. It belongs in a different botanical species: Eleutherococcus Senticosus. Eleuthero Ginseng grows in northern China and Russia. Although it is used to help the body adapt to stress, it is less specific as a medicinal herb than Asian or American Ginseng.
Traditional herbalists rarely use ginseng by itself. Herbs are usually combined with other ingredients in order to increase clinical benefits and reduce negative reactions. For example, Generate Pulse Powder (Sheng Mai San) is a traditional combination, which often combines America Ginseng with herbs to moisten the lungs; therefore it can be used for chronic cough that is difficult to expectorate, and shortness of breathe. Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan is an ancient formula that has been used for at least one thousand years to treat patients who are exhausted, feel cold, and may have weak limbs and/or chronic loose stools. In this ancient formula, Ginseng is combined with Astragalus and other harmonizing herbs, which help the body assimilate ginseng. Modern formulas with Ginseng or Codonopsis, have been used to help people overcome serious conditions such as impotence, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Modern Ginseng formulas have also been used in conjunction with western medical approaches to treating patients with HIV, and patients undergoing chemo and radiotherapy.
Asian Ginseng is considered a "big gun" and should not be indiscriminately used especially by itself. Headache, elevated body temperature, digestive upset, rash, fever, irritability, and insomnia are possible signs that Ginseng is not appropriate. It should not be taken at the same time as caffeine or other stimulants. Good quality Ginseng is expensive. Superior grade Ginseng can run several thousand dollars per pound. For this reason, it makes no sense to shop for the cheapest Ginseng or Ginseng products.
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a Cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.
Acupuncture nutrient Connection
June 12, 2005 05:53 PM
Acupuncture nutrient Connection by Robert Gluck Energy Times, November 1, 1998
The theory behind the practice of acupuncture confounds western science. This therapy, originating in Asia, is based on the concept that currents of energy called meridians flow through your body. However, no one has ever been able to conclusively demonstrate the existence of these meridians.
Despite the evasiveness of these energy streams, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holds that alterations in these energy flows can disrupt health and cause pain. Consequently, an acupuncturist punctures your skin with specialized needles to redirect the body's vital energy.
Despite the fact that western scientists have not been able to find satisfactory evidence of the existence of these energetic meridians, studies show that acupuncture works and is especially effective at relieving pain. This therapy has been used to alleviate a variety of conditions including chronic pain, nausea and even mental illness. In addition, some practitioners apply it to those trying to shake off the chains of drug addiction. (More recently, many practitioners now also successfully use acupuncture to relieve physical problems in animals.)
Of course, no matter what your perspective on this therapy, acupuncture's no panacea. While you might use acupuncture to relieve the discomforts of chemotherapy, you wouldn't use this technique as your primary weapon against a dangerous disease like cancer. Still, this reliable therapy occupies a welcome spot as an adjunct to many mainstream therapies. Consequently, many mainstream practitioners accept the validity of using acupuncture and many managed care companies reimburse this therapy. Some HMOs even keep a list of approved acupuncturists that they make available to enrollees.
Acupuncture East and West
The practice of acupuncture dates back at least 2200 years ago in Asia. Only during the last forty years has it become well-known and widely available in the United States. Today, 29 accredited acupuncture schools train practitioners in North America. In addition, traditional healers in Belize (south of Mexico) have been found to use a form of acupuncture derived from traditional Mayan medicine.
Is the use of acupuncture by Mayan shamans coincidence? Or further evidence that acupuncture meridians really exist? No one knows for sure, although some experts believe the Mayan use of this therapy supports the notion that the original ancestors of the Mayans migrated from Asia.
Acupuncturists insert needles into the body to relieve pain or enhance bodily functions. TCM holds that acupuncture, and the manipulation of these tiny needles, moves and manipulates qi (pronounced chee), the body's energy force.
"Acupuncture is a method of balancing the body's energy," says Carol Alexander, an acupuncturist at the North Jersey Health and Pain Relief Center in Hackettstown, New Jersey. "Disease occurs because of an imbalance...Insertion of the acupuncture needles into meridians will bring about the balance of qi." Alexander has practiced acupuncture for 10 years and studied at the Tri-State School of Traditional Acupuncture in Stanford Connecticut.
Alexander says patients sometimes suffer a blockage of qi or display too much or too little qi. The manipulation and placement of the acupuncture needles vary according to the need for adjusting meridian energy flow.
Acupuncture can be used to prevent disease and, if disease is already rampant, it can be used to help the body correct the problem.
In conjunction with her use of acupuncture needles, Alexander rarely prescribes single herbs but uses combinations of whole herbs that are very specific for different diseases and disease patterns. "Certain herbs, such as ginseng, are very prized in Chinese medicine," Alexander notes.
"Astragalus is an herb used in China and around the world to tonify the qi and increase qi energy as well as stimulate the immune system."
Alexander uses licorice root for assisting digestion and for helping women with menopausal discomforts. On the other hand, she recommends whole food concentrates like bee pollen granules for enhancing the immune system, peppermint for treating gastro-intestinal problems plus fiber supplements as well as the antioxidant/antihistamine quercetin, coenzyme Q10 and melatonin.
"In terms of classes of nutrients, I use a lot of whole food concentrates: the green concentrates like barley greens, wheat grass powder, spirulina and blue-green algae," Alexander says. "These are high in minerals, antioxidants, nutrients and fatty acids. I also use some soy products because the isoflavone concentrates are very much anti-cancer."
The Fine Points of Acupuncture
Acupuncture needles are very fine, as thin as hairs. They are available in a variety of diameters and lengths. When an acupuncturist inserts these needles, the sensation is that of mild pinpricks. (The needles enter the body at depths of only 1/8th inch to two inches.) In many cases people experience mild pleasure during needle manipulation.
"From a Western point of view it's important to explain that there is a distinct function of acupuncture treatment and that is to increase circulation," Alexander says. "We do stimulate nerves and we know that with the stimulation of nerves many neurochemicals and neurotransmitters are released. They move through the nerves and find receptor sights, some in the brain, some in other parts of the body."
By stimulating nerves, acupuncturists can calm inflammation and deaden pain. These effects are believed to be linked to the release of endorphins and dinorphins, powerful painkillers and anti-inflammatories that the body produces for itself. Most acupuncturists use this therapy as part of an overall, multi-faceted treatment plan.
"Qi is what makes you different from a sack of chemicals," points out David Molony, an acupuncturist at the Lehigh Valley Acupuncture Center in Catasaqua, Pennsylvania who studied at the Nanjing Traditional Medicine Hospital in China and has lectured at Cornell University.
What You Need
"You can manipulate qi with acupuncture, herbs and diet. Because people's bodies work differently, there are different approaches. When you ask the question what nutrients and herbs are effective at enhancing acupuncture, it depends on what the person needs, according to an Oriental Medicine diagnosis."
An Oriental Medical examination, Molony says, begins with a long list of health questions designed to reveal factors that contribute to disease. A practitioner measures your pulse in several different places along your arm, inspects your tongue, may press on your stomach, sniff your general odor and closely examine your nails and skin for signs of problems.
"You take in everything you can," adds Molony, a board member of the Acupuncture Society of Pennsylvania and former board member of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. "This gives you clues that you need in order to make your diagnosis."
Acupuncturists use nutrients and herbs that complement the treatment, as well as dietary and lifestyle counseling. Some acupuncturists don't specialize in herbal remedies, so these practitioners might go to a specialist like David Winston for advice. Winston, an herb expert skilled in Cherokee, Chinese and Western eclectic herbal medicine, works as an instructor, lecturer and consultant.
"In China, acupuncture is considered a complementary therapy; you generally don't go for treatment and get purely acupuncture," says Winston who is working on a book about saw palmetto. "Herbal medicine, diet and qi gong are important therapies in their own right and acupuncture is one of those therapies. Qi gong is a form of martial arts that focuses on unique breathing and visualization methods. Qi is not exactly energy, it's energy in movement; it's what makes the blood move."
Acupuncture is used to open blockages that sometimes build up in what TCM practitioners characterize as excessive heat or cold. These hot and Cold spots do not always literally refer to the temperature of the body but are meant to depict changes in the character of the body's vital energy.
Chinese acupuncturists don't necessarily treat diseases, but target clusters of physical discomforts. Winston says, "Herbal formulas change depending on the 'symptom pictures.' Somebody could have acute appendicitis but the symptom picture could vary. Usually Chinese acupuncturists use herbs like isatis (a very cold, drying herb that's a powerful anti-bacterial agent) and coptis (a powerful anti-bacterial herb)."
Americans often visit acupuncturists complaining of back pain or some type of musculoskeletal problem-a wrenched knee, a ligament that hasn't healed properly or perhaps a torn rotator cuff. "If the injury is hot to the touch, it's red, it's inflammatory-that's a condition where there's excessive heat and in that condition the acupuncturist would give herbs that are cooling and anti-inflammatory such as the root of large leaf gentian."
Pain that Moves
If someone suffers pain that moves, pain that is sometimes exacerbated by damp or humid conditions, acupuncturists often prescribe clematis root, a wild variety of the garden plant that is an anti-spasmodic, or acanthopanax, a relative of Siberian ginseng used for damp pain.
"If there's pain with excessive dampness," Winston says, "acupuncturists might use duhuo, a drying herb that opens the meridians."
Molony agrees with Winston that when it comes to choosing herbs to enhance acupuncture, accurate analysis of the root cause of the health problem is paramount to making the right decisions. For example, if a person is qi deficient and her tongue is thickly coated, she may not be processing her energy properly. Phlegm builds up, decreasing energy. "What you want to do is give them herbs that move phlegm, like citrus peel, and combine that with acupuncture points that move phlegm also," Molony says.
For stimulating metabolism, Molony uses lactoferin-processed colostrum from cows. He uses ginseng and atractylodes as qi tonics and he adds herbs like magnolia bark or atractylodes alba.
He believes antioxidants are helpful too, as preventive medicines, including vitamins C and E. These valuable nutrients disarm the harm that reactive molecules can wreak within the body.
So how important are herbs and nutrition to enhance acupuncture's effectiveness? Acupuncturists seem to agree that healthy doses of antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E plus antioxidants from grapeseed extract) as well as specialized herbs, turn this therapy into a highly effective healing tool. Those wanting to benefit from this penetrating technique should stock up on nutrients. Then sit back, relax, kick off your shoes and let the acupuncturist do her stuff.
June 10, 2005 05:38 PM
Aromessentials by Joanne Gallo , February 3, 2002
Aromessentials By Joanne Gallo
But aromatherapy is more than just a '90s-style novelty. The practice of using aromatic essential oils for psychological and physical well-being dates back more than 4,000 years to medicinal practices in Egypt and India.
The term "aromatherapy" was coined in 1937 by French cosmetic chemist R.M. Gattefosse, who discovered the benefits of essential oil after burning his hand in a laboratory accident. Gattefosse immersed his hand into the nearest available cool liquid: a vat of lavender oil. The near miraculous soothing of his pain and rapid healing spurred him to dedicate his life to the study of aromatic plants and their therapeutic effects.
How it Works
For those who turn their noses up at this most seemingly-subtle of senses, keep in mind that the perception of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than the sense of taste. "The sense of smell is the sense of the imagination," noted French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau; this emotional connection lies at the heart of aromatherapy.
Aromas are transmitted rapidly from olfactory cells in the nose to the limbic system in the brain which perceives and responds to emotion, pleasure and memory. Scents trigger the limbic system to release neurochemicals which influence mood. Well-known neurochemicals like endorphins and serotonin help create a sense of well-being.
When you inhale essential oils, some of the molecules travel to the lungs, where they proceed to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body.
Oils applied to the skin are absorbed into the bloodstream as well. Because they are oil/fat soluble, essential oils are highly absorbed by the body, where they circulate for anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours and are eventually eliminated through sweat and other bodily secretions.
Essential oils are extremely potent and volatile: approximately 75 to 100 times more concentrated than dried herbs.
Most essential oils are steam distilled from herbs, flowers and plants. Others are cold expressed from the rind of the fruit, which produces the purest essential oils because no heat or chemical treatment is involved.
The components of various oils are beneficial for a wide variety of beauty and hygiene conditions. Some of the more indispensable essential oils include:
Chamomile (anthemis nobilis): soothing properties for sensitive and inflamed skin; calming, balancing and relaxing.
Clary Sage (salvia sclarea): warming, female balancing herb used for PMS; calms anxiety, tension and stress; also used as a muscle relaxant for aches and pains.
Eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus): antibacterial; fresh, herbal menthol aroma; widely used as an inhalant for colds, coughs and congestion; excellent for massaging tired or sore muscles.
Geranium (pelargonium graveolens): one of the best all-around tonic oils for mind and body; soothes nervous tension and mood swings; balances female hormones and PMS; gently astringent and antiseptic, it improves general tone and texture of skin.
Jasmine (jasminum grandiflorum): a warm, rich, sensual floral scent used historically as an aphrodisiac; moisturizing for dry/mature skin.
Lemon (citrus limonum): refreshing and invigorating; eases tension and depression; useful for oily skin and treatment of acne.
Peppermint (mentha piperita): cool, menthol, invigorating stimulant; cleans and purifies the skin.
Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis): stimulating and uplifting; purifying and cleansing for all skin types; warm and penetrating for massage to ease muscular aches and pains.
Tea Tree (melaleuca alternifolia): an antiseptic from the leaves of the Australian tea tree; antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral; excellent for skin irritations like Cold sores, insect bites and acne.
Ylang Ylang (cananga odorata): enticing and sensual; helps alleviate anger, stress, insomnia and hypertension; helps balance the skin's sebaceous secretions.
Essential oils can be utilized in a variety of ways: in electric or candle-based diffusers, to spread the aroma through a room; in sachets and air fresheners; added to shampoos and lotions; or diluted and applied to pulse points like the temples, on neck or on wrists. Undiluted essential oils should never be applied to the skin. First mix them with carrier oils: pure vegetable oils such as sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil and apricot kernel oil. Use a general guideline of six to 18 drops of essential oil per one ounce of vegetable oil. Blended, diluted oils are also available which can be used directly on your skin.
Pond's Aromatherapy Capsules come in four scents: Happy, which is fruity and floral; Romantic,with musk and vanilla; Relaxing, a floral and woodsy aroma; and Energizing, with fresh citrus and bright floral scents.
Sarah Michaels offers four essential oil blends: Sensual Jasmine, Soothing Lavender, Refreshing Citrus and Invigorating Peppermint.
The San Francisco Soap Company's Simply Be Well Line features an essential oil light ring set, a diffuser that uses the heat of a light bulb to spread an aroma through your room.
One of the most popular and luxurious ways to enjoy aromatherapy is in a steaming hot bath. Numerous bath products formulated with plant essences can turn your tub time into a rejuvenating experience. Body & Earth features Body Wash, Foam Bath and Soap in five essences: Vanilla Serenity, Lavender Whisper, Playful Peach, Raspberry Rapture and Pear Essence.
The Healing Garden offers a full line of aromatherapy products; try their Tangerinetherapy Wake Up Call Body Cleanser, Gingerlily Therapy Upbeat Bath & Shower Gel; or Minttherapy Fresh Start Bath & Shower Gel.
Simply Be Well products take traditional aromatherapy one step further by combining essential oils with herbal extracts and natural nutrients.
The line includes Shower Gel and Bath Salts in four fragrances: Explore contains ginkgo, eucalyptus, lemon and vitamin B6; Share features dong quai, passionflower, ylang ylang and zinc; Unwind includes kava kava, geranium, lavender and vitamin E; and Celebrate contains ginseng, wild mint, hemp and vitamin C.
Yardley London Bar Soaps, formulated with botanicals and moisturizers, are available in five fragrances: soothing English Lavender, exfoliating Oatmeal and Almond, Aloe Vera for natural healing, skin-softening Chamomile Essence, and astringent Evening Primrose.
"Aromatherapy and the cosmetic use of essential oils have made a tremendous contribution to skin care," asserts Joni Loughran, author of Natural Skin Care: Alternative & Traditional Techniques (Frog, Ltd.). "Every type of skin (such as oily, dry, and normal) can benefit." Some of the natural products that can help balance your skin include these:
Kiss My Face Foaming Facial Cleanser for Normal/Oily skin features citrus oils which act as antiseptics, marigold for healing, licorice root for toning, lavender to normalize oil production, plus the antioxidant green tea.
Kiss My Face's Gentle Face Cleaner for Normal/Dry skin includes essential oils plus organic, detoxifying herbs goldenseal and red clover, echinacea and rose hips with natural vitamin C.
Naturistics Almond Facial Moisture Cream contains almond, allantoin and calendula to smooth dry skin; Wild Chamomile Facial Lotion with rose hips and honeysuckle soothes and conditions rough skin.
Simply Be Well products, which use essential oils combined with herbal extracts like ginkgo and dong quai, are available in Body Lotion and Body Mist.
Wicks and Sticks
Perhaps the easiest way to get your aromatherapy fix is to light a candle and just sit back, relax and breathe.
The Healing Garden offers a wide variety of aromatic candles to suit your every mood; try their Green Teatherapy Meditation Candle; Jasminetherapy Embrace the Light Love Candle; or Lavendertherapy Peace & Tranquility Candle.
June 10, 2005 03:52 PM
by Lisa James Energy Times, January 3, 2002
An American suffers a heart attack every 20 seconds. That adds up to 180 heart attacks every hour. Many of these life-threatening events don't have to happen: heart-healthy nutrients, weight control and exercise could ease this epidemic.
More evidence of how to protect your heart piles up every day, amounting to a stack of research thicker than the juiciest, most heart-threatening cheeseburger on a big, fat bun. To protect your heart, you've got to protect your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart and also feed the heart muscle oxygen and nutrients.
Arteries are essentially three-layered tubes: the inner endothelium, a middle muscle layer which allows the artery to widen and contract, and an outer layer that encloses and supports the other two. When the lining, which is normally smooth, is damaged, the resulting rough patch develops plaque from LDL cholesterol, and the artery narrows and hardens.
When LDL cholesterol is oxidized into plaque, the resulting damage attracts large immune cells called macrophages which consume the oxidized LDL and get trapped in the developing plaque. Oxidized LDL is also associated with the death of muscle cells in the artery's middle layer (Circulation 2000; 102:2680). Plaque slows blood flow to the heart and can result in angina, chest pain often brought about by exertion. Heart attacks strike when unstable plaque ruptures, triggering blood clotting that blocks blood flow and may kill sections of the heart muscle as it's cut off from oxygen and nutrients.
Foods, like fatty meats, filled with saturated fat, are believed to start this heart-threatening process. Even by age 15, your arteries may be narrowing.
Antioxidants can help keep your arteries functioning smoothly by counteracting LDL oxidation. Lab research has shown that cells in the lining can be protected by natural vitamin E. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains is an important step in stocking your antioxidant arsenal. But many heart experts recommend supplementation, a strategy that's been shown to bolster the body's defenses (J Nutr Biochem 2001; 12:388-95).
Vitamins C and E: The Dynamic Duo
Antioxidant allies abound, but two of the most important are vitamin C and natural vitamin E. They work particularly well together because C is effective in the fluid that bathes all cells, while E defangs free radicals in the fatty areas, such as cell membranes. And vitamin C actually recharges vitamin E, increasing E's antioxidant effectiveness. Each vitamin provides protective benefits on its own. People with Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes who took vitamin E in one study saw drops in cholesterol and glucose and increases in antioxidants, such as superoxide peroxidase, produced by the body itself (Endocr Res 2001; 27:377-86). For its part, vitamin C has prevented free radical damage in individuals who inhale secondhand cigarette smoke and has improved artery lining function in persons with coronary artery disease (Free Radic Biol Med 2000; 28:428-36; Circulation 1999; 99:3234-40). When used together, this vitamin dynamic duo provides powerful protection against both LDL oxidation and high blood pressure (Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2000; 20:2087-93; Hypertension 2000; 36:142-6). They also help keep immune cells from sticking to arterial linings (Circ Res 2000; 87:349).
Vitamins C and E also seem to prove effective against inflammation that researchers think contributes to heart health. Research in this area continues, but scientists now believe that inflammation from infections with herpes simplex one, the Cold sore virus, and Chlamydia pneumoniae, a respiratory tract bug, can foment heart trouble. Inflammation may slow blood flow to the heart and make clots more likely. Among persons with peripheral arterial disease, blockages in arms and legs, not getting enough vitamin C levels may increase inflammation (Circulation 2001; 103:1863). Vitamin E apparently soothes inflammation by decreasing the release of immune chemicals and calming the immune cells involved in atherosclerosis (Diet and Optimum Health Conference, 5/01, Portland OR). Clot Busters Vitamin E also reduces the risk of clots and lowers the chance of a clot sticking in a vessel. It keeps platelets, cells that cause clotting, from becoming too gooey and breaks up fibrin, a clot-forming protein. Garlic (Allium sativa) also discourages inappropriate clotting. Used medicinally since the beginning of recorded time, the Greek physician Dioscorides thought it could clean the arteries. The ancient faith in garlic's circulatory benefits are supported by modern research. Recent studies have found substances in garlic that keep platelets from clumping together and lower cholesterol. In one study, men with high cholesterol who took garlic extract for five months saw their total cholesterol drop an average of 7% and their LDL drop 10% (J Nutr 2001; 131:989S-93S).
Hunting Down Homocysteine
Homocysteine, an amino acid found in the blood, may also be linked to artery problems. Scientists believe that when too much homocysteine accumulates in the bloodstream, arteries stiffen and plaque forms. The causes of this buildup remain murky but it appears that perpetually angry folks have higher homocysteine levels. Estimates vary on how much of a risk factor homocysteine represents; between 10% and 40% of people who suffer heart attacks may have high levels. Excessive homocysteine also seems to be linked to other risk factors, such as insulin resistance, a diabetes precursor (Diabetes Care 2001; 24:1403-10). The good news: the so-called DASH diet-featuring fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, nuts and fish-may reduce homocysteine and drop your heart disease risk by 7% to 9% (Circulation 2000; 102:852-7). More benefits: simple B vitamins can control homocysteine. Folic acid (folate), along with vitamins B6 and B12, may help break it down and render it harmless. Taking these vitamins in supplement form has been shown to reduce homocysteine (Lancet 2000; 355:517-22). What's more, natural vitamin E may be able to restore artery lining function when homocysteine levels are high (Am J Cardiol 2001; 88:285-90). If you really want your ticker to tick stronger and longer, go long on your ready supply of heart healthy nutrients.