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Botanical benefits buchu leaves
Giving off a sweet, peppermint fragrance, buchu or Agothosma Betulina has been part of the indigenous culture and heritage of South Africa for more than three centuries. Its earliest documentation dates back to 1652 when the Khoisan bushmen first introduced this versatile plant to the Dutch colonists.
Today, it is a well-recognised culinary leaf-spice commonly featured on the menus of top South African restaurants. But apart from its contemporary culinary uses, did you know that it is chock-full of health benefits too?
This herb contains antibacterial, antifungal and antispasmodic properties, providing relief to pre-menstrual cramping and bloating. What’s more, these unassuming leaves have also been used in Western herbal medicine to relieve inflammation, treat kidney, urinary infections, used as a diuretic, as well as a stomach tonic. Like many natural diuretics, buchu doesn’t seem to lower potassium levels like some drugs do.
It is no wonder the early Khoisans championed this healing herb as an elixir of youth!
Improve Your Skin Naturally with Tamanu Oil
May 18, 2014 11:36 AM
What is a tamanu?
Tamanu oil is originated from Polynesia and prefers a salty and sandy soil, which is why it grows profusely near the sea. According to the native people, the best Tamanu oil comes from trees that grow near the coastal regions, better than those that grow inland.
Benefits of tamanu oil
The Tamanu oil is well known because of its healing properties, which can actually equal or even surpass contemporary skin care products. There are already scientific studies that the oil produce new skin tissues, as well as studies that support the natural antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-neuralgic, and antioxidant properties. Some of the ailments that Tamanu oil can treat include ringworm, itching, athlete's foot, dermaphytosis of the scalp or beard, burns and wounds. It also has a superb cicatrizing capacity that is far from other substances.
Cicatrization is the term coined for the process of forming new tissue. It is also amazingly effective for healing acne and acne scars, stretch marks, psoriasis, diabetic sores, blisters, sunburn, abrasions, cuts, burns, eczema, insect bites, herpes sores, fissures, and dry or scaly skin. It can even reduce or completely remove age spots!
One of the leading reasons tamanu oil profits skin is because of the oil holding an extent of lipids, including glycolipids, nonpartisan lipids and phospholipids, notwithstanding an exhibit of components not normally connected with different oils, including calophyllolide, that helps stop aggravation, lactone, which performs like an anti-infection, and calophyllic corrosive, which is an extraordinary type of vital unsaturated fat. An alternate segment, coumarin, adds to the mitigating impact of this astounding oil.
Generally, tamanu oil has received as being a germicide, a diuretic, an expectorant, an astringent in addition to a laxative. An alternate of the various tamanu oil ascribes is its ability to help mend skin conditions including sunburn, rankles, players foot, dermatitis, pimple inflammation, dried-out skin, rash, little cuts and bug chomps.
In Europe, now and again called Domba oil, it is been demonstrated to have a 70 to 75 percent rate of achievement in diminishing stiffness and scabies. In the Philippines, it’s utilized as an astringent for hemorrhoids. It is likewise significant on for administering to gout and ringworm. Loads of individuals additionally rub this oil into your skin to help for the torment coming about because of neuralgia; in addition to it can positively help decrease the visual appearance of scars and stretch imprints. It can help to treat diaper rash on a child.
Tamanu oil is normally utilized in numerous diverse skincare items as it is overall ingested by the skin and serves to keep skin feeling delicate. Unlike some other crucial oils, tamanu oil does not desert an oily film once you utilize it, in addition, it will not exacerbate slick skin. Some methods you do not generally need to hold up quite a while so you can get dressed in the wake of utilizing it to help make skin look velvety. Many individuals think about the emanation of this oil as being satisfying, then again it is just a mellow fragrance so it will not clash with any viable aroma you decide to utilize. Against maturing items, some of the time holds tamanu oils, because they are accepted to help recover your skin.
What Is Atlas Cedar Oil And What Are The Health Benefits?
February 09, 2014 09:18 AM
What is atlas cedar oil
Atlas cedar oil is one of the oldest embalming oils. The oil was initially extracted in Egypt and used by spiritualists as an embalming component. In the contemporary world, this oil has been widely acknowledged and accepted as an aromatherapy product. This oil is processed through steam chemical distillation from pieces of cedar wood.
Health benefits of atlas cedar oil
Medically, the oil has an antiseptic capacity. It has been widely used as a form of antiseptic for wounds to prevent infection of the wounds and prevent them from becoming septic. It helps keep tetanus germs at bay.
Atlas cedar oil has been globally used in the treatment of arthritis particularly among the old. This oil has an anti inflammatory benefit and has been used largely on patients living with the arthritis condition.
It is also a antispasmodic. This oil is used in massaging the legs and the hands and has a known effect of reducing the profound effects of arthritis. Similarly, this oil has been widely applied to control dandruff and combat acne. It has proven very helpful in relieving spasms which occur in the body such as the intestines and the nerves.
Further, this oil is used as an astringent. It has been clinically adopted for dental use to firm the gums and prevents falling of teeth. It is also used as cure for toothaches.
Lastly, this oil can be used as an expectorant. Patients suffering from severe coughs can use this oil to combat irritate coughs. This cough gets rid of phlegm from the lungs and the air pipe and controls the cough.
This oil has been accepted as to have the effects of calming negative emotions and control anger. It comes in handy when one is faced with stressful situations and helps in calming the nerves especially during mediation time.Further, the atlas cedar oil is the attractive aroma it produces. With this effect it has been used in the preparation of perfumes and other scented beauty products. Due to this strong aroma this oil has been globally used as a aphrodisiac.
What Is Beta Glucan 1.3/1.6 And How Does It Improve Your Health?
December 16, 2013 11:58 PM
What is Beta Glucan
Beta glucan, precisely 1-3, 1-6-beta-glucan or Beta 1, 3/1, 6 Glucan is defined as sugar (glucose) or a naturally occurring polysaccharide that is extracted from bacteria, fungi, yeast and mushroom cell walls, the fiber of oats, rye, wheat as well as barley and cellulose from plants. It can well be described as an immunostimulant or immunomodulator agent which stimulates the body microphages to produce cytokines and fight disease causing pathogens in order to boost the immune system of the body.
Beta Gluan Source
Since beta glucan is got from natural food sources such as shiitake mushrooms, it is a natural way to enhance the performance of the white blood cells in fighting diseases. It helps in the reduction of the cholesterol level from the body and it is the key to a Low Density Lipoprotein, which is essential in boosting the immune system of the body. For individuals whose immune systems have been greatly lowered by HIV/AIDS, stress or other conditions, this supplement is the way to go in restoration of their immune systems
In addition, beta glucan acts as an anti-carcinogenic substance which reduces the risk of suffering from the much dreaded cancer disease. It is also essential in keeping diabetes, hepatitis and cardiovascular diseases at bay. Beta glucan also inhibits tumor growth and proliferation and Lyme disease
What are some Benefits of Beta Glucan
Broadly speaking, beta glucan improves the overall ability of the body to resist various infections such as burns, common cold, asthma, allergies, ear infections and multiple sclerosis, to mention but a few. It is also an effective weight loss dietary supplement, and given that weight loss is the current health and fitness mantra, the use for beta glucan has is rampant in the contemporary world. To add color to the already good package, it is has mild or no side effects depending on the user.
Neurological Health and CoQ10
February 25, 2007 12:06 PM
Between 1946 and 1965, 78 million Americans were born, creating the largest number of children in U.S. history. This Baby Boom generation has greatly influenced the makeup of American society and undoubtedly w ill continue to do so. Thanks to good nutrition and health care, Baby Boomers are aging well and have an excellent life expectancy. For the first time in history, we have more people turning 60 every day, and record numbers of adults reaching their seventh decade. As a result, neurological diseases associated with aging, such as Parkinson’s disease, are becoming major health care concerns. The good news is CoQ10 has applications for neurological diseases, in addition to its better known use for cardiovascular diseases.
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone (existing everywhere there is human life). CoQ10 is vital to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body.
Q. Isn’t CoQ10 a supplement for heart health?
A. Yes, it is. Because the heart requires lots of ATP to meet its high energy needs, CoQ10’s function in heart health is well understood. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that when individuals with heart disease take CoQ10, their symptoms improve, sometimes quite dramatically. Supplemental CoQ10 improves the heart’s pumping ability, improves blood circulation, increases tolerance to exercise, and improves the heart’s muscle tone. CoQ10 also is a powerful antioxidant and protects heart tissue from free-radical damage.
Q. How does CoQ10 affect brain health?
A. CoQ10 works in the brain the same way it works elsewhere in the body: it’s essential to ATP production. Nearly all human cells contain tiny structures called mitochondria. Mitochondria are referred to as cell powerhouses because they produce cellular energy. Depending on what each cell’s job is. There can be several thousand mitochondria in one cell. If a cell needs a lot of energy, it will have more mitochondria. This explains why heart cells contain so many mitochondria; the continual pumping of blood requires continual ATP production.
The brain also requires huge amounts of uninterrupted energy to regulate, integrate, and coordinate ongoing nervous system transmissions. To meet this need, ATP production within the mitochondria of brain cells is vital. Since CoQ10 exerts such a powerful influence on heart cells in ATP production, it was a natural progression for scientists to wonder how it affects brain cells. Brain and nervous system research led to the conclusion that the same intracellular principles apply. CoQ10 is produced in the body to assist in ATP production. Without it, ATP cannot be produced.
The most important discovery regarding CoQ10 and the brain is that CoQ10, when formulated with certain ingredients, can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain’s mitochondria. If large amounts of CoQ10 can get into the brain cell’s mitochondria, its ability to make ATP is greatly enhanced.
Q. What is the blood-brain barrier and why is it important?
A. The blood-brain barrier is a unique anatomical structure. The cells that make up the blood vessels that provide blood to the brain are extremely close together. This greatly restricts what can leave the bloodstream and enter the brain. While the blood-brain barrier protects the brain and spinal cord from potentially toxic substances, it also can be a significant obstacle to therapy of central nervous system disorders. Only substances with certain solubilities or those that have a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree.
Obtaining optimal absorption of CoQ10 is difficult. The CoQ10 molecule is large and inflexible. The easiest and least expensive way to increase absorption levels is with the use of harsh solvents such as propylene glycol. However, at higher doses, these types of chemicals are considered dangerous (neurotoxic) to the person with a serious neurodegenerative disease. It is more difficult, as well as more expensive (considering raw materials, research, and proper manufacturing methods) to promote absorption with less harmful alternatives. However, reputable companies ensure that their products are safe for all their customers. Look for CoQ10 products formulated with vitamin E and other safe ingredients such as Micosolle.
Nearly all CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream. But, only CoQ10 supplements with special formulations have been scientifically shown to enter the mitochondria and cross the blood-brain barrier.
Q. If CoQ10 is made in the body, why take supplements?
A. While CoQ10 is synthesized in the body, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. Researchers have discovered CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. They also have determined some medications significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Although CoQ10 exists in some dietary sources, it may not be realistic to obtain CoQ10 through food alone. For example, it would take approximately 3 pounds of sardines, 7 pounds of beef, or 8 pounds of peanuts to equal 100 mg of supplemental CoQ10.
Q. How does CoQ10 help people with Parkinson’s disease?
A. CoQ10 seems to have several beneficial actions in the illness. Researchers have looked at mitochondria in brain cells and determined people with Parkinson’s disease have reduced activity of Complex I in the electron transport chain. Recent research has proposed the reduced activity of Complex I interferes with the brain-signaling chemical dopamine. Stored and newly synthesized dopamine is depleted. The dopamine depletion causes nerve cell degeneration.
A recent clinical study involved 80 patients with Parkinson’s disease (both men and women). The researchers first evaluated all the participants to establish scores for basic motor skills (measuring the ability to control physical movements such as walking), mental status (whether the person was depressed or experiencing memory loss) and the activities of daily living (whether the person was experiencing difficulty with handwriting, dressing themselves, using utensils such as knives and forks, and so on). This scale is known as the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). This process is known as establishing “baseline values,” that is, the condition of the patient before receiving any treatment.
Participants were divided into 4 groups. Each group received either 300 mg, 600 mg, or 1200 mg of the special form of CoQ10, or a placebo. The researchers observed the participants for 16 months.
The results of the study showed that all the participants who received CoQ10 had smaller declines in function compared to the placebo group, but the smallest decline was experienced by the group taking the highest amount of the special form of CoQ10.
The most significant results were noted specifically in the activities of daily living scores by the people taking 1200 mg of CoQ10 daily. These people retained better ability to feed and dress themselves, speak, walk, and bathe or shower by themselves. They maintained greater independence for a longer time. Parkinson’s disease, as with other neurodegenerative diseases, robs the sufferer of their ability to control the movements of their own body and care for themselves. Supplementation with CoQ10, while not a cure, is the first intervention that showed a slowing in the progressive deterioration of the function associated with this disease.
Q. What were the results of clinical research on Huntington’s Disease?
A. A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study respected type of study, was conducted at the University of Rochester. All of the 347 Huntington’s disease (HD) patients were experiencing some HD symptoms, but were still in the early stages of the disease. The patients (who did not know which drug they were receiving) were randomly assigned to four different treatment groups: 25 percent received Remacemide, 25 percent received CoQ10, 25 percent received both, and 25 percent received a placebo, or sugar pill. The researchers, who also did not know which patients got which drug, watched and recorded their progress for two and one-half years. Remacemide is a new drug made by Astra Seneca that blocks the neurotransmitter glutamate in the brain, that has long been suspected of contributing to the death of brain cells in Huntington’s disease.
Unfortunately, in the CARE-HD study, Remacemide had no effect on the progression of the disease in patients in the early stages. However, the individuals who received 600 mg of CoQ10 per day experienced some slowing of the disease progression. They were able to manage daily activities, such as meal preparation, housekeeping tasks, and personal care longer than those not on CoQ10. They were also able to focus their attention better and were less depressed and irritable. The portion of the studied patients receiving 600 mg of CoQ10 per day experienced a 15 percent decline in the progression of HD. According to the researchers conducting the study, a 15 percent decline in the progression of HD would roughly translate into approximately one more year of independence for patients. This is the very first study from more than a dozen Huntington’s disease patient trails that showed any modification of the course of the illness.
Of note, the effects of the CoQ10 had not abated at the end of the research study. That is, the benefit of using CoQ10, 600 mg per day, was still increasing; this suggests that the longer a patient supplements with CoQ10, the greater the decline in the progression of HD. The next phase of the CARE-HD research will test a higher dose of CoQ10 (1200 mg or more per day), with more patients (over 1000), for a longer period of time (approximately 5 years). This study should improve our understanding of the optimal dose and the total achievable decline in the progression of HD. The CoQ10 product used in the CARE-HD study was designated an Orphan Drug by the FDA. The product utilizes a proprietary, patent-pending delivery mechanism, which is proven to be safe and tolerable at high doses for people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, substantially improving brain tissue levels of CoQ10.
Q. What other diseases could benefit from CoQ10 supplementation?
A. Studies show CoQ10 levels are greatly reduced in Alzheimer’s patients. Mitochondrial abnormalities also are noted; however, research has yet to determine how or why this occurs. Some scientists believe damage to mitochondria is an early feature of the disease. Free-radical damage also is a feature of Alzheimer’s.
In a study of 27 Alzheimer’s patients, subjects were given 60 mg of CoQ10, 150 mg of iron, and 180 mg of vitamin B6 daily. Each patient’s mitochondria activity was effectively activated. All patients continued to experience gradual decline. However, researchers believed that with this combination, the progression was much slower and allowed the patients to experience 1 to 2 years of extended good health.
ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a progressive, fatal, neurological disease. It occurs when the nerve cells in the brain that control voluntary movement gradually degenerate. Investigation of CoQ10 in individuals with ALS is just beginning. Researchers at the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig ALS Center at Columbia University recently conducted a small clinical pilot trial of CoQ10 in ALS. The study was an open label study, which meant that everyone enrolled received CoQ10, 400 mg three times per day. Of the 16 patients originally enrolled, nine patients completed the study. Six of these nine patients experienced some benefits. The patients declined from 0 – 25 percent in functional scores, 6 percent in strength, and 10 percent in breathing ability. These scores reflect a positive trend compared to the 50 percent decline that is seen in the natural history of ALS over the same period of time (5 to 9 months). Citing the need to conduct more studies of the effectiveness of CoQ10 for people with ALS is rapidly and efficiently as possible to get answers to patients and clinicians, another clinical trial is currently underway at the Gehrig ALS Center. This is a pilot study to determine if CoQ10 has short-term effects on motor nerves in the brain using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). The researchers are going to try to “see” if CoQ10 can change the chemical sin the brain’s upper motor nerves of people with ALS, an important next step of the investigation.
Q. Can taking CoQ10 prevent neurodegenerative disease?
A. To date, there have been no studies or research examining whether CoQ10 can prevent these diseases.
Alzheimer’s disease prevention is being clinically investigated. Researchers have determined that people who take certain anti-inflammatory medications seem less likely to develop the illness. A large, multi-centered trial is studying this connection.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Depending on your family history of neurological disease and your disease experience, studies show benefits at doses of 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily. Some studies used doses of up to 1,200 mg per day.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What should I look for in a CoQ10 supplement?
A. Use products which have a strong clinical research track record, supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions, and have been proven to be safe, tolerable and effective in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The CoQ10 product you choose should be proven to: be absorbed, enter the blood stream, cross the blood brain barrier and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. If the product you are considering does not have evidence to support these points, keep looking. Once you have found a candidate, examine the product’s safety and efficacy record for neurodegenerative diseases- if the product has not been proven to be safe and effective, keep looking. Good products exist; however, caveat emptor.
CoQ10 supplementation for people with neurodegenerative diseases is supported by contemporary clinical research. CoQ10 is certainly not the only answer to the complex issues of management and treatment of these types of diseases. However, research indicates that it is a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. As we continue to study this naturally occurring compound, we are finding more and more benefits to the body.
All CoQ10 is not created equal. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that is supported by product-specific research from reputable institution, which is proven to be safe, tolerable and effective at high doses; deviating from this set of criteria may do more harm than good for people with these serious illnesses. Choose clinically tested products from a well-respected company and increase the potential to achieve and maintain brain and neurological health.
All Natural Hair Care Products - Salon Quality!
September 01, 2006 01:48 PM
New from Jason Natural Salon and Fragrance Free Hair Care
Jason Natural Salon Hair Care: Perfectly Styles, Perfectly Beautiful, All Natural.
This new line features a full range of functional products for healthy, style-conscious women. Jason has combined its expertise in developing natural and effective formulations with contemporary fashion to create luxurious styling and treatment specific products. Four specialized hair care systems offer a line of shampoos, conditioners, styling and finishing products to volumize, moisturize, naturalize, and style—for bold, sexy chic to soft, silky bounce. All the products are enriched with conditioning essential oils and botanical extracts to nourish and revitalize radiantly beautiful, stylish hair.
Jason Fragrance Free: Pure and Natural
Studies indicate that 15-30% of the population reports some sensitivity to fragrance. More than 80% report that exposure to fragrances is bothersome*. Fragrance chemicals can cause health effects, primarily in the skin, lungs and brain.
Jason Fragrance Free is a line of hair and body care products formulated for individuals with fragrance or skin sensitivities and those who just want to steer clear of fragrance, dyes and synthetics. Many “unscented” products mask the odor of the formula with fragrance so they remain a potential source of skin irritation. Synthetic fragrances often contain phthalates which have been linked to birth defects and health related issues.
Unlike “unscented” products-which often contain fragrance to mask the scent of the formula—Jason Fragrance Free is truly sans fragrance. Stock up on Jason Naturals complete product line.
*”scents and Sensitivity,” Environmental Health Perspectives, the research journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, www.herc.org, Nov. 1998
Buy Quality Hair Care Products at Vitanet
Antioxidants can save the day.
February 10, 2006 06:38 PM
While the body has the ability to counteract free radicals, they can gradually over whelm our built-in defensive reaction as we age. We can assist our natural defenses against them by taking antioxidant supplements. Antioxidants, nutrients and other natural substances that neutralize free radicals are a major focus of contemporary nutrition science. With free radicals linked to chronic unwell ness and perhaps the aging process itself, keeping them in check is a key strategy for effective long-term health maintenance.
NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT
February 08, 2006 05:20 PM
Hoodia Liquid Extract Hoodia Gordonii 20:1
Ingredients: 2 ml (approx. 1/4 teaspoon) contains:
Suggested Use: 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon, one hour before a meal. May be taken with an 8 ounce glass of water.
More Benefits of Natural Progesterone - PROGESTERONE AND CANCER
July 25, 2005 10:22 PM
More Benefits of Natural Progesterone
PROGESTERONE AND CANCER
The two types of cancer that are hormonally related include breast and uterine cancer due to the fact that the tissue which make up these areas are much more sensitive to hormone levels. It is a well known fact that an excess of estrogen can increase the risk of developing uterine cancer and certain types of estrogen have been linked to the formation of malignant breast tumors.25 Any woman who continually suffers from insufficient progesterone can also increase her chances of developing certain types of cancer. A prolonged lack of progesterone can cause uterine changes which eventually result in the impaired shedding of the uterine lining. When this occurs month after month, endometrial hyperplasia can result, which is the abnormal thickening of the uterine lining. This buildup can lead to the development of uterine cancer. Progesterone can actually reduce the risk of developing uterine cancer which can develop from using estrogen therapy. 26 In addition, for women who have survived uterine cancer and have undergone hysterectomies, natural progesterone can be invaluable.
Because these women are advised to forgo hormonal treatments of any kind, they often suffer with osteoporosis or other symptoms typical of menopause. Taking natural progesterone poses no health risks and can help to prevent or treat these disorders. Concerning this group of women Dr. Lee writes:
These are the women for whom I first began using natural progesterone therapy. Not only did progesterone reverse their osteoporosis and, in many, it corrected their vaginal atrophy, but none, to my knowledge, have ever developed cancer of any sort . . . The evidence is overwhelming that natural progesterone is safe and only estradiol, estrone and the various synthetic estrogens and progestins are to be avoided to reduce the risk of endometrial cancer.27
In the case of breast cancer, studies strongly suggest that this type of malignancy is more likely to occur in premenopausal women who have normal or high estrogen levels and low progesterone levels.28Women over 35 who continue to have periods but no longer ovulate and women who are taking synthetic estrogen without progesterone during and after menopause may find themselves in this higher risk group. One of the most interesting studies on progesterone was conducted at Johns Hopkins University in 1981, where physicians studied 1083 women for between 13 to 33 years in assessing the incidence of breast cancer. They found that those women who had a progesterone deficiency were over 5 times more at risk of developing breast cancer than those women who had adequate progesterone levels.29 Moreover, the study found that women who suffered from a lack of progesterone also had ten times more cancer-related death from all types of malignancies than those who did not.30 These statistics are dramatic, to say the least. Consider the following quote:
. . . the evidence is strong that unopposed estradiol and estrone [two forms of estrogen] are carcinogenic for the breasts, and both progesterone and estri-ol, the two major hormones throughout pregnancy, are protective against breast cancer. One is left to wonder why supplementation with these two beneficial and safe hormones are not the ones used routinely for women whenever hormone supplementation seems indicated . . . both hormones are available and are relatively inexpensive. Why have these two hormones been neglected by contemporary medical practice in favor of synthetic substitutes. 31
ANTIVIRAL PROPERTIES OF ST. JOHN'S WORT
July 15, 2005 09:25 AM
ANTIVIRAL PROPERTIES OF ST. JOHN'S WORT
As stated previously, hypericin has recently gained much of the medical world’s respect as an antiviral agent, with activity against a broad range of enveloped viruses and retroviruses. The effective virucidal activity emanates from a com-bination of photodynamic and lipophilic properties. A recent article in the journal Transfusion details exactly how hypericin works in inhibiting viral activity among cells:
Hypericin binds cell membranes (and, by inference, virus membranes) and crosslinks virus capsid proteins. This action results in a loss of infectivity and an inability to retrieve the reverse transcriptase enzymatic activity from the virion.14 Another recent study, carried out in 1991, focused on hypericin’s ability to inhibit virus activity, more specifically, in the murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV), Sindbis virus, and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). The Sindbis virus was significantly more sensitive than the MCMV virus. The inactivated MCMV, when used to infect cells, was incapable of synthesizing early or late viral antigens. In addition to the direct virucidal effect, when hypericin was added to cells infected with viable MCMV, inhibition was also observed, particularly when the compound was added in the first two hours of infection. The researchers also indicated that the effect was aided significantly by visible light, pointing again to the plant’s photodynamic property.
The study states that hypericin appears to have two modes of antiviral activity: “. . . one directed at the virions, possibly on membrane components, and the other directed at virusinfected cells. Both activities are substantially enhanced by light.”15 And there are other viruses that fall under St. John’s wort’s antiviral blanket. Contemporary research points to the equine infectious anemia virus, the lentivirus, the Sindbid virus, the radiation leukemia virus, and most importantly, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
July 15, 2005 09:16 AM
A recent study (August, 1996) exploring the effect of Hypericum perforatum on depression re vealed some fairly stunning results. The British Medical Jo u rn a l published the results of one major studies, which consisted of twenty - three randomized trials, including a total of 1757 outpatients with mainly mild or moderately seve re depressive disorders. Testing was conducted with single preparations and combinations of extracts of the plant, and with placebo and anther drug treatment. As just mentioned, the results were very promising. In all aspects of the study, Hypericum extracts were shown to be “significantly superior” to placebo and similarly effective as standard antidepressants. There were nearly twice the number, percentage-wise, of dropouts due to side effects from the standard drugs than those taking the Hypericum extracts. Side effects occurred in eighty-four patients using standard antidepressants, while only fifty patients taking the Hypericum extracts experienced side effects. And the scores on the Hamilton depression scale, which measures severity of one’s depression, showed those taking Hypericum treatments scored slightly higher than those taking the standard antidepressant and significantly higher than those taking the placebo. 9 This study provides some firm ground for St. John’s wort to stand on in the treatment of depression, both in sheer numbers and its quality of treatment.
Another contemporary study, carried out in 1995 by Witte, et. al, showed the Linde study to be accurate in its findings. This particular study, carried out as a multicenter, placebo-controlled double-blind trial, used a highly concentrated Hypericum preparation to treat ninety-seven outpatients. The course of the illness was assessed with the Hamilton Depression Scale, the von Zerssen Depressivity Scale and the Clinical Global Impression Scale. The authors of the study noted this in their abstract:
Treatment resulted in an appreciable improvement in the symptoms of depression, and the seventy percent response rate (n=43) corresponded to that of chemical antidepressants. The preparation also showed an anxiolytic effect. The substance [hypericum] was extremely well tolerated, and no side effects were reported by any of the patients.10 Again, this study’s findings correlate that of the Linde and other studies in that treatment with Hypericum is at least as effective as standard synthetic antidepressants without producing near the number of side effects.
The Nursing Times also reported on recent findings dealing with Hypericum’s effect on depression. Stating that psychiatric medications are notorious for their undesirable side effects, and that the need for safer antidepressants is widely acknowledged, the blurb refers to a double-blind study, done by G. Harrer and H. Sommer (published in Phytomedicine, 1994 (1): 3-8), using St. John’s wort on 105 patients experiencing mild to moderate depression. They were aged twenty to sixty-four and had diagnoses of “neurotic depression or temporary depressive mood.” Patients were divided into two groups and monitored over four weeks, with one group receiving 300 mg of Hypericum extract three times daily and the other group receiving a placebo. All patients received psychiatric evaluations before the start of the study and after two and four weeks of treatment.11
The results of the study support the findings of other recent studies dealing with Hypericum and depression: 67 percent of the Hypericum group had responded positively to the treatment without any adverse side effects, whereas only 28 percent of the placebo group displayed any improvement. Harrer and Sommer state that the patients treated were experiencing strictly mild forms of depression; combining this with the study’s results and the results of other studies suggest that Hypericum treatment can be a very effective treatment for mild to moderate depression without severe side effects. The authors themselves even recommended that Hypericum should be considered as a remedy of choice. 12
These and other studies point to the strong possibility of using St. John’s wort, and specifically hypericin, on a wide scale to treat various forms of depression. Linde’s study suggests that St. John’s wort may have its most valuable asset in that of few or no side effects, something many sufferers of depression are very concerned about. The authors do note, however, that more research is necessary, especially in determining the severity and nature of depression, length of treatment, treatment dosage, preparation of Hypericum extracts, and occurrence of long-term side effects. Nevertheless, the results of this study and others are extremely promising for the millions of those who suffer from depression.
Hypericin’s Photodynamic Ability
July 15, 2005 09:08 AM
Hypericin’s Photodynamic Ability
One of hypericin’s qualities that enhances its ability to act therapeutically is that of being photodynamic; that is, its different qualities are either initiated by the presence of light or enhanced by it. Most of the contemporary studies dealing with hypericin have in some way or another dealt with how hypericin performs in its various functions when exposed to light. A 1995 study published in Photochemistry-Photobiology touts hypericin’s therapeutic actions in the viral and cancer worlds, especially when exposed to light. A 1994 Laryngyscope study suggested that hypericin has shown the ability to be an effective photosensitizer for certain forms of human cancer. And a 1994 Photochemistry-Photobiology study states that “the photocytocidal activity of this quinone on neoplastic cells is superior to that of antitumor anthraquinone drugs, such as daunomycin and mitoxanthrone . . .”4
The list goes on and on. The consensus seems to be that not only does hypericin possess various therapeutic properties, but that these properties are usually augmented by the presence of light.
ST. JOHN’S WORT (Hypericum perforatum)
July 14, 2005 10:42 PM
St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) belongs to the family Hypericaceae, which consists of eight genuses and about 350 species. St. John’s wort is a plant whose leaves are whorled, gland-dotted, simple, and usually smooth-margined. Its flowers are five-petalled and yellow with many stamens, which are often united in bundles. St. John’s wort was first known to be used in the Crusades to treat battle wounds. Contemporary research supports this, with various diseases proving Hypericum’s worth in aiding all types of topical wounds in their healing and recovery. It is specifically used for putrid leg ulcers that are difficult to heal, and is used to treat many varying septic wounds, boils, and inflammation in cellulite and lymphangitis.1
For centuries, St. John’s wort has been used to treat disor-ders of mood and temperament.” Modern research is also backing this up, with several very recent studies demonstrating St. John’s wort’s ability to treat mild and moderate forms of depression as well and with fewer side effects as the standard antidepressant drugs used.
Recent investigation is also revealing St. John’s wort to be helpful for a number of other disorders. Among them is AIDS/HIV, a disease that leads several age/gender groups in cause of death. But St. John’s wort is being researched for its ability to hinder viral growth and production, perhaps making it key to at least treating the virus, if not able to cure the disease. Hypericum is being used for treatment research of several other virus-caused diseases as well. Another area in which St. John’s wort is showing great promise is that of cancer. Various forms of cancers and growths have been successfully treated with therapies including Hypericum or hypericin (one of its compounds). And the list goes on and on. St. John’s wort is certainly an herb worth investigating for its seeming abilities to combat various disorders prevalent among us.
Hoodia Extract - Discover the Contemporary Use for a Traditional Food Source
June 29, 2005 09:59 AM
Hoodia Extract - Discover the Contemporary Use for a Traditional Food Source
The San Tribesmen of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa have known for millennia what we’ve only recently discovered; that the cactus-like Hoodia gordonii plant can be used as a healthy alternative food source. Because Source Naturals is dedicated to your good health, we’ve fused ancient San tradition with modern science to develop HOODIA EXTRACT.
The sustenance the San derived from the hoodia plant as a main food source allowed them to travel lightly without the burden of extra food to hinder their journey on long hunting trips. With the introduction of our high quality HOODIA EXTRACT, Source Naturals offers you a safe, natural solution to achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and the chance to discover the contemporary use for the powerful nutritional supplement everyone’s looking for. HOODIA EXTRACT underlines Source Naturals commitment to bringing you the highest quality dietary supplements in your steps toward good health.
An Age Old Tradition
Life in southern Africa’s Kalahari Desert could be cruel. But even without modern research, the San Tribesmen knew their nutritional needs could be met with a remarkable botanical. For more than a hundred thousand years the San thrived as hunter-gatherers; their success dependant on their ability to locate food. Their treks across the Kalahari would last for months, even years, with the men hunting for antelope, and the women foraging for what became the main staple in their diet: fruit, nuts, and plants. None of their traditional food sources were more important than the phenomenal Hoodia gordonii plant. The hoodia plant became their chief source of sustenance while roaming the desert. Fruit and meat spoiled, nuts never lasted, but the stems and roots of that plant were special.
A Special Plant
Despite its similar appearance, the cactus- like hoodia is characterized as a succulent plant, which is a member of the milkweed family. Though there are about 20 species within the family, the active ingredient of hoodia is found only in the gordonii variety. Experts in succulent horticulture have helped ensure that the material Source Naturals uses to make HOODIA EXTRACT is gathered from authentic Hoodia gordonii sources.
A Potent Extract
The secret of HOODIA EXTRACT lies in the plant’s active ingredient; a substance containing previously unknown molecules discovered by South African scientists, and found to interact with the hypothalamus. Through painstaking chemical testing to assure quality and potency, Source Naturals has gone to great lengths to develop an extract that is best for the supplemental needs of its consumers. Every bit of the certified material Source Naturals receives is put through high tech chromatographic analysis to verify the purity of the active constituents needed to make HOODIA EXTRACT.
A Responsible Company HOODIA EXTRACT has been produced with environmental sustainability in mind. Using only materials safely cultivated from the stems of seedlings grown on approved farms in South Africa, Source Naturals has made certain those materials were gathered with the knowledge and help of the San people to better preserve the Kalahari’s natural resources.
A Wellness Revolution in Nutritional Health
With today’s people faced with a multitude of nutritional problems, it is increasingly critical for us to take charge of our own well-being. Source Naturals is devoted to providing the highest quality products designed to supplement your diet and aid in your pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. HOODIA EXTRACT is available at your local health food store in 250mg capsules or tablets. Source Naturals - providing nutritional benefits offered only in the natural products marketplace.
Ginkgo - Anti-Stress Herb
June 25, 2005 11:30 AM
Ginkgo - Anti-Stress Herb
Ginkgo’s popularity has steadily increased as more of its properties have been discove red. It has become the subject of widespread interest and was recently the topic of a scientific conference that was held in New Yo rk. Because stress management is so crucial to our contemporary lifestyles, the role of ginkgo should not be dismissed. Research has shown that ginkgo can help relieve the adverse effects of s t ress. It is considered an herbal adaptogen which helps the body cope with a number of physical and psychological stressors. One way in which ginkgo helps boost stamina is by helping the body conserve energy through the increased biosynthesis of protein and nucleic acids. This process is vital to any kind of healing or cell regeneration. Ginkgo also helps to increase levels of glucose and ATP at the cellular level which helps us sustain higher energy output, especially under periods of mental or physical stress. Frequently, stress impairs cognitive ability, and because ginkgo facilitates better blood flow to brain neurons, coping abilities may be enhanced.
Several experiments have demonstrated that ginkgo can help to facilitate one’s ability to adapt in an adverse environment. Because most of us have to cope with adversity in one form or other, ginkgo may be of benefit in helping to promote better coping skills and enhanced physiological function. Unquestionably, stress contributes to both physical and emotional disorders. Ginkgo can help protect us against the deleterious effects of stress by making our cellular structures more resilient.
Pep Up and Go!
June 14, 2005 05:45 PM
Pep Up and Go!
by Harris Parker Energy Times, February 2, 2000
Feel your energy flagging?
You've lost count of the number of phone calls you fielded all afternoon-the last was from your son, who missed the late bus home from school-and colleagues needing your decision are lined up outside your office. Your husband has invited clients home for dinner. You wilt like a new hairdo on a damp August day and pray for a miracle to jump-start your engine.
Your pep quotient depends on three essential ingredients: nutrients you consume through your diet and supplements, how much you exercise and your sleep schedule.(Of course, if you're troubled by any kind of disabling, ceaseless fatigue accompanied by mental fuzziness, joint pain, sore throat, swollen glands, headaches and other chronic distress, consult your health practitioner.)
Vitamins and Energy
Certain nutrients are called vitamins because scientists consider them to be crucial for vitality. They generally function as coenzymes, partnering with the enzymes that are catalysts for the chemical reactions constantly taking place in our bodies. Our need to replenish our store of vitamins, which may merge with cell, muscle, enzyme, hormone, blood and bone structure once they have been absorbed, depends on their rate of utilization, according to The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery) by Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning.
While a low-fat diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables helps supply important nutrients, a B complex supplement and a balanced multivitamin can guarantee daily vitamin levels.
Be Energetic with B Vitamins
Vitamins, especially the B vitamins, play extremely important roles in producing cellular energy. The chart on page 39 lists the key vitamins and describes their effects as well as the consequences of not getting enough of them. Their benefit is felt most profoundly in the energy producing process known as the Krebs cycle (which we'll explain in a moment).
Vitamins B2 and B3, for example, supply the major building blocks for substances that are called flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD and FADH) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD and NADH), which are critical elements of energy production in the Krebs cycle as well as a process called oxidative phosphorylation.
Hundreds of Reactions
Even though you may never have heard of NAD and NADH, these molecules are found in very many places throughout your body; they play a role in hundreds of biochemical reactions in all kinds of cells. B vitamins also combine with other materials to build coenzymes, chemicals which help form other chemicals necessary for cellular energy. B vitamins are crucial: miss out on one or more and you may break these metabolic chains necessary for peak energy.
Energy to Spend
The main energy currency of every cell single cell is ATP: a chemical called adenosine triphosphate. This material is used by cells for every imaginable task including reproduction, growth, movement and metabolism. Specialized metabolic cycles within the cell are designed to generate ATP.
Consequently, the more ATP our cells create, the more energy can be generated. The raw materials used to make cellular energy are glucose (blood sugar) and "free" fatty acids. The best way to supply your cells with the sugar they need is to consume complex carbohydrates which also supply fiber and other nutrients. When you eat carbohydrates, they are made into glucose which is stored as a starch called glycogen in muscles and the liver. Your body can rapidly turn glycogen into glucose for extra energy. (The process of making energy from glycogen yields carbon dioxide and water as well as ATP.)
The first step in making glucose into energy is called glycolysis. This complicated process requires nine different steps. During these steps, glucose is made into a substance called pyruvate. The process of glycolysis requires ATP, but yields twice as much ATP as is present when it starts.
From here, the process gets a little more complicated as pyruvate enters into a complex chain of events in tiny cellular structures called mitochondria. (Many metabolic events take place in the mitochondria.) The pyruvate molecules are converted to a molecule known as acetyl coenzyme A and eventually made into carbon dioxide, water and more ATP.
This process is known as the Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle. It also involves a series of events known as oxidative phosphorylation in which NADH formed during the Krebs cycle is oxidized to form ATP.
Why is fat such a concentrated source of energy? Free fatty acids enter the Krebs cycle to help generate ATP much more efficiently than glucose - producing roughly six times more energy per gram than glucose.
And Don't Overlook. . . . . .other supplements that may aid energy production: • Alpha Lipoic Acid, an antioxidant that works in the fatty tissues of cell membranes and in cells' watery interiors • Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone as it exists everywhere in the body, acts like a vitamin because it stimulates some reactions. CoQ10 protects cell membranes, especially of the heart, against oxidation and toxins.
Ginsengs: Energy Generators
With their legendary and slightly mysterious characteristics, the ginsengs are greatly respected natural energy boosters. " Perhaps no herb has excited so much interest in medical circles as ginseng, and yet, strangely, it does not actually 'cure' any one particular ailment," reports Michael Hallowell, the author of Herbal Healing (Avery) and a frequent lecturer on botanic medicine. "Rather, its virtue lies in its tremendous power as a tonic and invigorator. Russian athletes are prescribed large amounts of ginseng because researchers in Moscow have shown that it not only improves stamina, but also increases the efficiency with which blood is pumped to the muscles."
What are the physiological mechanisms that allow ginseng to bolster your get up and go? In order to unravel the legend and lore of ginseng, the first step is understanding the intricacies of the three types: • Asian (Panax ginseng), which produces the strongest and most profound stimulation; • American (Panax quinquefolium), which soothes at a more subtle level; • Siberian (Eleutherococcus senticosus), a stamina booster embraced by a wide range of athletes. All three varieties are treasured for their ability to help people adjust to stress.
The ginsengs are adaptogens, "biologically active substances found in certain herbs and plants that help the body and mind adapt to the changes and stress of life," says Stephen Fulder, MD, author of The Book of Ginseng and Other Chinese Herbs for Vitality (Inner Traditions). "Stress is not an illness in itself. Stress is change, our ability to adapt to all the changes that occur in life, emotional or physical, from exercise, work, chemicals, drugs, food, radiation, bacteria, disease, temperature, or simply too many late nights or too much fun."
The body reacts to stress by producing the hormone adrenaline, which throws the whole body into a state of alert. Metabolism, blood pressure and circulation accelerate; immunity and resistance drastically decline; performance suffers.
Enter the ginsengs, with their varied, subtle tonic qualities. The Greek name for this herb, "panax," means "panacea" or cure-all. But the Chinese, who first referred to it 2,000 years ago, more literally called it "ren shen" or "person root," in reference to its physical resemblance to a miniature human form.
" Most exhibit medicinal properties, but each species has a different chemical makeup and has a unique application in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)," says Kim Derek Pritts, author of Ginseng: How to Find, Grow and Use America's Forest Gold (Stackpole). "In general, all true ginseng contains biologically active saponins (chemicals similar to human hormones), essential oils, carbohydrates, sugars, organic acids, nitrogenous substances, amino acids, peptides, vitamins and minerals."
Building Vital Energy
All the ginsengs strengthen, nourish and build Qi, the TCM concept describing basic vital energy circulating through our bodies. Every physical and mental function, from breathing, thinking, nutrition and circulation, is regulated by Qi. Although many of the Native American tribes used the abundant, indigenous Panax quinquefolium ginseng extensively, particularly to increase mental acuity and boost fertility, the herb never has been as popular in North America as it is in Asia. American ginseng traditionally has been a lucrative export crop to China, where the wild native variety suffers from overharvesting. Even today, according to Paul Bergner in The Healing Power of Ginseng & the Tonic Herbs (Prima), 95% of the American ginseng crop is exported to China, where XiYang Shen, or "western sea root," as it is called, is immensely valued and costs double what it does here.
Jacques MoraMarco, author of The Complete Ginseng Handbook: A Practical Guide for Energy, Health and Longevity (Contemporary), as well as a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Eastern medicine, suggests American ginseng for a slight energy boost. The moderate effect of American ginseng is considered a more appropriate tonic to the intensity of our pace and diet.
Variations on a Theme
In TCM terms, American ginseng cools and moistens, as well as lubricates and strengthens the body. It is reputed to reduce fevers and night sweats and alleviate hot, dry lung problems like smoker's cough. With its emollient qualities, American ginseng is considered to treat dry, wrinkled skin effectively.
The Bolder Energizer
Asian ginseng, which includes red Korean panax, is a bolder energizer taken by those who feel depleted from anemia, blood loss, cardiovascular weakness, injury, shock or trauma, as well as the disabling effects of age. In general, Asian ginseng is warming and stimulating, urging the body to run faster.
Siberian ginseng, though botanically not a true ginseng, still acts similarly to Asian ginseng in its reputed power to control stress, boost energy, support the immune system, enhance performance and increase longevity. Called Wu Cha Seng in Chinese, Siberian ginseng is perceived by natural practitioners as an ideal herb for the healthy who want to lift both stamina and endurance. Experts believe it counteracts the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to injury, pain or emotional turmoil.
Natural Energy Boosters
The herbal pharmacopeia includes several other natural energy boosters available in various forms-shakes and bars for those on the run-loaded with nutrition absent from commercial snacks. Some choices: • Ginkgo biloba-used in Chinese medicine to heat the body and increase sexual energy. Ginkgo enthusiasts take this herb to increase the supply of oxygen to the brain and generally increase circulation. • Gotu kola-may stimulate the central nervous system and help eliminate excess fluid, thereby reducing fatigue. • Astragalus-a Chinese herb that enhances energy and builds the immune system. It is credited with strengthening digestion, improving metabolism, increasing appetite, combating diarrhea and healing sores. • Schisandra-also a Chinese herb, treats respiratory illness, insomnia and irritability and rejuvenates sexual energy. Its mild adaptogens help the body to handle stress. • Licorice-is a favored endocrine toner in Chinese medicine. It is reputed to support the adrenals, the pair of small glands directly above the kidneys that secrete steroidal hormones, norepinephrine and epinephrine, the "fight or flight" hormones. People with high blood pressure or edema, or pregnant women, should avoid it. • Ashwagandha-an Ayurvedic herb used for thousands of years in the traditional healing of India as a potent strength builder for men and women.
Experienced herbal practitioners acquire an impressive and fascinating store of knowledge and experience-you'll find it helpful to visit one as you begin your course of ginseng or other energy-boosting herbs.
When you visit a TCM practitioner, you'll notice that she evaluates your body's condition through an extremely careful examination of all the different systems: Several pulse points are felt in order to ferret out and detect troubling abnormalities. The condition and color of the tongue is observed to decipher digestive disorders. In addition, your urine may be examined to determine other imbalances and specific health problems.
In many cases, your TCM practitioner will recommend ginseng as an adaptogen that can give you an overall boost. When taking ginseng, follow the directions on the package. Note: in some cases, you may want to consume a little bit less if you suffer headaches, insomnia or high blood pressure. Consult your health practitioner if you are afflicted with either acute inflammatory disease or bronchitis.
Then take comfort in the eternal soothing wisdom of Chinese Traditional Medicine. In the first century A.D., the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (The Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica) effusively described ginseng and the tonic herbs in this beguiling and intriguing manner: "The first class of drugs...are considered to perform the work of sovereigns. They support human life and they resemble heaven. They are not poisonous regardless of the quality and duration of administration."
Best Bread ...
June 13, 2005 07:30 PM
Best Breads by Jane Lane Energy Times, December 9, 1999
Few of us can resist the seductions of freshly baked bread, warm and fragrant, poised on the edge of a steaming bowl of soup or painted with an aromatic swath of rosemary scented oil. Even those of us from the most culinary challenged households can recall the pleasures of the simple plump white dinner roll or flaky biscuit piled in a basket on the dinner table.
Bread has blossomed from sideshow status beside the dinner plate to a full-scale mealtime headliner, a scrumptious star enriched by nutritious grains, herbs, fruits and vegetables.
Contemporary cooks build meals around crunchy cornbread or chewy focaccia, presenting soups or salads as satisfying counterpoints. Want to jump into the bread baking basket or hone your skills? Two top vegetarian chefs shared with Energy Times their passion for bread and their expertise in baking. See if you don't find that ardor contagious.
Nancy Lazarus is a chef at the famed Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York, established in 1973 to serve up natural fare with a homecooked, vegetarian emphasis. The bill of fare changes daily at Moosewood, but there's one constant: a cup or bowl of soup, a salad and a thick slice of bread. Some loyal customers have ordered the daily special for 20 years.
That's why bread occupies a cherished spot at Moosewood. Nancy Lazarus tells why and offers some of Moosewood's favorite bread recipes: "Cooking is like art; baking is like science; bread is like magic. No matter how much science you apply, you'll never have complete control: It'll do its own thing on some level, which is part of its charm, if you're charmed by that sort of thing. Breads come out differently depending on heat and humidity, the heat of the oven; yeast is a variable that can be slower or faster acting.
"There are bread machines, of course, and they work. But they're not as satisfying as the real thing, the kneading, which can be almost therapeutic, and the control over the ingredients to your own specifications.
"Bread is not that difficult. Know your own oven, to begin: Good insulation is important and how the heat travels around inside. Convection ovens are a wonderful thing.
"There are difficult breads we recommend you buy at a good bakery: baguettes, Italian, French and Cuban that are crusty outside and soft inside.
"But focaccia is easy. It's a yeasted bread that's better to make at home than buy because it's so fresh and you can control the toppings. It only requires one slow and one quick rising but you have to be there for a while.
"Then there are quick breads that use baking soda or powder, like cornbread. If you want a good meal at home and can make only one thing, make a quick bread. They're satisfying and delicious warm from the oven; and the aroma of bread fills the house. A corn bread with tomato soup for supper is a nurturing meal good for vegans.
"Popovers are fast and simple, a middle American 50s treat, but you do need a hot oven and 45 minutes. Also easy to make: sweet breads- carrot, banana, zucchini-and biscuits.
"To reduce the fat in denser quickbreads and cakes, use applesauce. It gives body and moistness.
"The number of wheat-sensitive people is rising dramatically. A theory I think makes sense is that in the last 30 years the varieties of wheat grown has been reduced to 1 or 2 that are more easily cultivated and harvested with the machinery available. People are overloaded with one type of wheat.
"Gluten is the offending substance in wheat and some oats; try rice, tapioca and potato flours, which are denser and more fine and don't produce a good crust. Improve the crust by baking in a preheated cast iron skillet.
"Also investigate chickpea flour. You don't make a loaf of bread with it- use it for flatbreads like papadam, which is in Indian cookbooks. And it's good for batter for vegetables.
"Spelt is the closest to wheat flour in consistency but some people can be sensitive to it.
"Visit a natural food store to check out the flours. The mills sometimes print handouts with recipes and a lot of those are real good, especially for what works with their flour. Or you may run into a baker who will whet your appetite with ideas and recipes.
"Bread is the supreme comfort food. It can speak to us, and reassure us. The magic of bread and how it varies: There's something appealing in that. In today's world, food is predictable, and that's reassuring to some people. At Moosewood, things are always different, and that's good."
Claire Criscuolo puts an intensely personal spin on the eclectically ethnic style of cooking at her esteemed vegetarian restaurant, Claire's Corner Copia. That 25-year-old institution in New Haven, Connecticut, reflects her zest for the freshest ingredients, robust flavors and inspired combinations. Claire, a teacher and advocate for healthful cuisine, pours her passion into her breadmaking as well:
"Healthy bread is like anything else-it has healthy ingredients. We use the best organic unbleached flour and yeast, pure vanilla, whole eggs (not dried and powdered), whole milk and organic sour cream. You want to use good, fresh ingredients. It's the essence of healthy cooking. "I tell my staff, 'Don't use your soup pot as a garbage pail. Bread is the same. If the ingredients aren't at their freshest for serving, then they aren't right for other uses in the kitchen.
"Our bread is very important at Claire's. We make a country white and a honey wheat in a pinwheel loaf-400 a day-and challah for the morning French toast with sauteed bananas or as buns for veggie burgers. "It's not practical to bake bread every day. We let our bread rise several times, punching it down again and again. For the home cook, it's time consuming. Even I'm happy to buy a good loaf of bread. "But anybody can bake bread. Combine flour, water and yeast and watch it grow! It's delights all your senses. And it a gratifies and satisfies. I was kneading it all by hand until we got up to 12 loaves a day.
"I love a good oatmeal molasses bread; a whole wheat bread with walnuts, rosemary and finely chopped sweet onion sauteed in olive oil for a roasted vegetable sandwich; or an anadama bread with split pea soup.
"Bread is part of a meal. It requires time and effort, but I can't think of many things worthwhile that don't."
June 11, 2005 05:13 PM
Homeopathic Essentials by Jane Lane Energy Times, February 1, 2000
The principles of homeopathy are elegantly basic and, to some, maddeningly elusive. This system of medical treatment employs The Law of Similars or "like cures like," and calls on natural plant, animal and mineral substances that induce the body to heal itself.
That homeopathy works is virtually incontrovertible. With its ancient roots and European practice spanning hundreds of years, homeopathy employs minute doses of diluted extracts to replicate symptoms of a malady, which then vanishes. But the very fact that it works puzzles many experts who have researched the phenomenon.
Understanding The Tradition
Homeopathy evolved from its earliest practice recorded by 10th-century BC Hindu sages to its codification by Hippocrates in 400 BC. " Through the like, disease is produced and through the application of the like, it is cured," he wrote, expressing the fundamental principle of homeopathy, according to Homeopathic Medicine at Home (Tarcher Perigee) by Maesimund B. Panos, MD, and Jane Heimlich. Samuel Christian Friedrich Hahnemann, the erudite and intellectually audacious German physician and chemist, seized upon the essentials of homeopathy in the early 1800s.
Through Hahnemann's work, homeopathy developed into an intricately systematized science, veering into the arcane for the contemporary individual seeking relief for everyday ailments.
Modern practitioners and manufacturers of homeopathic remedies benefit from Hahnemann's daring research (which included potentially lethal experiments on himself) and complex doctrines.
They've streamlined and modernized Hahnemann's concepts to provide more relevance to modern ills and sensibilities.
The Bold Experiments
Hahnemann denounced the medical practices of the 18th century, which involved cauterizing, bleeding, blistering and purging patients to expel the pernicious fluids or humors believed to cause disease.
He also reviled the kind of omnibus prescription drugs of the day, which loaded many substances into one compound. In 1790, Hahnemann conducted his groundbreaking experiment establishing the basis of homeopathy.
The customary treatment for malaria at the time was Cinchona officinalis or Peruvian bark-quinine. Medical wisdom attributed its efficacy to its bitterness and astringency. Hahnemann rejected this explanation, noting that other botanicals are far more bitter and astringent, yet are powerless against malaria.
To prove his theory, Hahnemann took some cinchona compound and promptly developed the symptoms of malaria. His deduction: Like cures like, or The Law of Similars. A substance that, in minute doses, induces certain symptoms in a healthy person cures a sick one.
The Set of Laws
A set of fairly complex laws developed from Hahnemann's initial Law of Similars.
The Law of Proving refers to the process of ascertaining the effectiveness of a homeopathic therapy by administering a substance to a healthy person to record in minute detail its effects. Practitioners also use the standard double-blind method using a placebo or unmedicated tablet against a homeopathic compound.
The first proving was performed in 1790 and the procedure endures today, using only humans, not laboratory animals, for greater accuracy. As homeopathic preparations are not toxic, proving has never produced lasting adverse reactions. Descriptions of provings are compiled into books called materia medicas, including Boericke's Materia Medica and Repertory and The Lectures of Homeopathic Materia by James Tyler Kent, used regularly in contemporary practice.
The books are highly indexed collections of symptoms and the remedies that cure them called repertories. The most extensively used repertory is Kent's Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.
In 1800, the third Law of Potentization was devised, regulating the processing of homeopathic remedies through successive dilutions and shaking.
This law represents perhaps the profoundest mystery of homeopathy and demands the boldest leap of faith: The higher the dilution, the more intense the potency of the medicine. Substances that are inert in their natural state act as medicine. And as they are so dilute, homeopathic remedies do not act directly on the tissues, accounting for their non-toxicity. Adding to the inherent safety of homeopathic therapies is the discipline's adherence to the single remedy. Centuries ago, homeopaths seemed to have been prescient about current drug interaction troubles.
(Historical information courtesy of Homeopathic Medicine at Home by Panos and Heimlich.)
How It Works: The Vital Force Homeopathy embraces a philosophy centered on the concept of "vital force," an intelligent, dynamic life force within each individual responsible for maintaining one's life and balance on all levels. The vital force creates a defense mechanism similar to the immune system, but incorporates protection against imbalances on the emotional and mental planes as well.
Homeopathy equates disease with imbalance. As the defense mechanism attempts to restore balance, symptoms appear: pain, swelling, rashes and fevers on the physical side; grief, jealousy, anxiety, anger, confusion and loss of memory on the emotional and mental end.
Homeopaths regards these symptoms as evidence of the vital force's curative exertions, not merely annoyances to be eliminated. Symptoms guide the homeopath in his or her attempts to harmoniously augment the efforts of the vital force.
Homeopathic remedies are prepared according to the standards of the United States Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia and are recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration. " Homeopathy respects the complexity and uniqueness of each individual," observes pharmacist and naturopathic doctor James LaValle (and his co-authors) in Smart Medicine for Healthier Living. "To identify the correct homeopathic remedy, you must carefully observe your unique-even quirky-behaviors and responses." Indeed the emphasis on the "unique, even quirky" may lead to the perception of homeopathy as a sketchy pseudo-science. Homeopathy simply does not fit the drug model of allopathic medicine.
Its ability to help people, however, has been repeatedly evaluated through rigorous scientific research. A comprehensive review in the British Medical Journal (302, 1991: 316-323) of more than 100 clinical studies of homeopathy published during the last 30 years revealed that 77% of those studies produced positive results for the people involved. A host of additional studies provides clinical evidence:
June 10, 2005 09:44 PM
Breast Cancer by Joseph L. Mayo,MD Mary Ann Mayo, MA Energy Times, May 2, 1999
What do you fear most? Bankruptcy? Floods? Heart disease? If you're like many women, breast cancer stands near the top of that dreaded list.
But that fear doesn't permeate other cultures the way it does ours.
A woman like Mariko Mori, for instance, 52 years old, Japanese, worries about intense pressures beginning to burden her toddler grandson. But worry about breast cancer? Hardly.
In Indiana, Mary Lou Marks, 50, has similar family frets, mulling over her 28-year-old daughter's career choice.
But on top of that, when Mary Lou tabulates her other worries, she recoils at the thought of breast cancer. She's heard about her lifetime risk: 1 in 8. Meanwhile, Mariko's is merely 1 in 40, according to Bob Arnot's Breast Cancer Prevention Diet (Little, Brown).
New studies have found the effect of carrying the gene linked to breast cancer, which is responsible for only 5 to 10% of breast cancer incidence, is not as great as first suspected. Earlier estimates that the gene reflects an 80% chance of incurring breast cancer by age 70 has been recalculated to be only 37% (The Lancet, 1998;352:1337-1339).
Complex Causesbr> Researchers agree: No one factor is solely responsible for breast cancer. Risk depends on many factors, including diet, weight, smoking, alcohol consumption, activity level and, of course, those genes.
Regardless of their actual chance of getting breast cancer, women worry. Mary Lou faces no factors that would place her in particular jeopardy. But her anxieties about radical therapies and medical expenses paralyze her: She forgets to visit her health care provider and skips her annual mammogram appointments. Mary Lou's daughter, perhaps in reaction to her mother's gripping fears, campaigns ardently for cancer prevention, educating herself and mobilizing against the cumulative effects of known cancer risks. Smart young woman: A malignancy, after all, can take years to develop. A tumor must swell to one billion cells before it is detectable by a mammogram.
The soy-rich regimen of Japanese women like Mariko Mori, for example, helps to explain the low breast cancer rates in Asian countries (see box at center of the page).
Tomatoes, because of their high quotient of the carotenoid lycopene, have been found to protect cells from the corrosive clutches of oxidants that have been linked with cancer in 57 out of 72 studies (The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, February 17, 1999, page A6, reporting on a Harvard Medical School study). For more on tomatoes see page 16.
But there's no one magic anti-cancer food or diet. Eating to prevent breast cancer requires a balanced menu with fiber, healthy fats, phytoestrogens and antioxidants, all fresh and free of chemical additives.
Modifying the balance and type of estrogen, the female sex hormone produced by the ovaries, offers an important breast cancer safeguard. Fat cells, adrenal glands and, before menopause, the ovaries, produce three "flavors" of estrogen, the strongest of which, estradiol, is believed to be carcinogenic when too plentiful or persistent in the body.
Estrogen does its work by attaching to estrogen receptors. Receptors are particularly numerous in the epithelial cells that line milk sacs and ducts in the breasts.
A receptor site is like a designated parking spot: Once estrogen is parked there it triggers one of its 400 functions in the body, from preparation of the uterus for pregnancy to intensifying nerve synapses in the brain.
The food we eat can be a source of estrogen; plant estrogens, called phytoestrogens, are much weaker than the body's estrogens, but they fit the same receptors. Phytoestrogens exert a milder estrogenic effect than bodily estrogen and are capable of blocking the more potent, damaging versions.
Soy also contains genistein, an "isoflavone" very similar in molecular form to estrogen but only 1/100,000 as potent. Because of its structure, genistein can attach to cells just as estrogen does; it also helps build carriers needed for binding estrogen and removing it from the body (Journal of Nutrition 125, no.3 :757S-770S). It acts as an antioxidant to counteract free radicals.
Soy is most protective for younger women. Postmenopausal women benefit from soy's ability to diminish hot flashes and for cardiovascular protection, especially in combination with vitamin E, fiber and carotene (Contemporary OB/GYN, September 1998, p57-58).
Experts don't know that much about the cumulative effect of combining hormone replacement with soy, herbs and a diet high in phytoestrogens. Menopausal women who boost their estrogen this way should work with their health care providers and monitor their hormonal levels every six to 12 months with salivary testing.
The Vegetable Cart
Fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains reduces insulin levels and suppresses the appetite by making make us feel full, thus helping with weight control, so important to resisting cancer. Fiber also helps build estrogen carriers that keep unbound estrogen from being recirculated and reattached to the breast receptors.
Cellulose, the fruit and vegetable fiber most binding with estrogen, also rounds up free radicals that damage DNA within cells.,p> Feeding the Immune System Despite heightened public awareness and efforts to stick to wholesome, healthful diets, experts increasingly link poor nutrition to depressed immune systems. Many Americans are at least marginally deficient in trace elements and vitamins despite their best attempts to eat well; that's why a good multivitamin/mineral is wise, even mandatory. Vitamins given to people undergoing cancer treatment stimulate greater response, fewer side effects, and increased survival (International Journal of Integrative Medicine, vol. 1, no. 1, January/February 1999).
Nutrients tend to work synergistically on the immune system. They should be taken in balanced proportions, and in consultation with your health care provider.
n Riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), pantothenic acid (B5), zinc and folate strengthen immunity. Selenium, in lab culture and animal studies, has helped kill tumors and protect normal tissues.
n Beta-carotene and vitamins A, E and C are antioxidants. Vitamin C enhances vitamin E's effects, boosting immunity and protecting against cell damage. The antioxidant isoflavones in green tea, with soy, convey the anticancer effects of the Asian diet. Research shows actions that discourage tumors and gene mutations.
The food you eat influences hormones. Excess sugar raises insulin, which acts as a growth factor for cancer and interferes with vitamin C's stimulation of white blood cells. It may contribute to obesity.
Alcohol is converted to acetaldehyde, which causes cancer in laboratory animals. It affects gene regulation by decreasing the body's ability to use folic acid. It increases estrogen and the amount of free estradiol in the blood. The liver damage that accompanies high alcohol consumption frequently reduces its capacity to filter carcinogenic products, regulate hormones and break down estrogen. Studies of alcohol consumption have caused experts to estimate that drinking more than two alcoholic beverages a day increases breast cancer risk by 63% (OB-GYN News, November 1, 1998, p. 12).
Fat Can be Phat
Fat cells produce estrogen. Excess fat stores carcinogens and limits carriers that can move estrogen out of your system.
Once estrogen has attached itself to a receptor, the health result depends on the type of fat in the breast. Saturated fat, transfatty acids and omega-6 fat from polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as safflower oil, peanut, soybean oil, corn oil and in margarine can increase the estrogen effect and trigger a powerful signal to the breast cell to replicate.
Breast tissue is protected by omega-3 fat chiefly from fish and flaxseed and by omega-9 from olive oil. Salmon once a week or water packed tuna three times a week are particularly beneficial. Fish oil supplements processed to reduce contaminates are available. Cod liver oil isn't recommended: its vitamin A and D levels are too high.
Flaxseed is the richest known plant source of omega-3. Use a coffee grinder to benefit from the seed and oil for the full estrogen effect; sprinkle ground flaxseed over cereal or fold into baked goods. Drizzle flaxseed oil, found in the refrigerator section of your health food store, over salads or cereal. (Store the oil in the refrigerator.)
Olive oil, especially in the context of the so-called Mediterranean diet of vegetables, omega-3-rich fish and fresh fruit (Menopause Management, January-February 1999, p. 16-19), lowers the risk of breast cancer (The Lancet, May 18, 1996;347:1351-1356).
Selecting Organic Food
Buy or grow fresh, organic foods whenever you can. When grilling meat, fish or poultry, reduce the area where carcinogens may accumulate by trimming fat. Charred, well-done meat is known to be carcinogenic. When grilling, marinate meat first and reduce the cooking time on the grill by slightly precooking.
Cancer prevention is an interlocking puzzle requiring the limitation of fat consumption, weight control, exercise, stress reduction and care for psychological and spiritual balance. Possessing more cancer fighting pieces makes you more likely to be able to complete the prevention picture.
Joseph L. Mayo, MD, FACOG and Mary Ann Mayo, MA, are the authors of The Menopause manager: A Safe Path for a Natural Change, an individualized program for managing menopause. The book's advice, in easy-to-understand portions, isolates in-depth explanations with unbiased reviews of conventional and alternative choices. A unique perspective for mid-life women who want to know all their options.
Also from the Mayos - The HOW Health Opportunities For Women quarterly newsletter to help women learn HOW to make informed health choices. Learn HOW to: - Choose nutritional supplements
June 10, 2005 02:48 PM
by column Energy Times, April 1, 1999
If you've ever felt burned out, bored and/or just plain tired of your exercise program, you may be in need of a taste of cross training. When your exercise routine becomes too routine, you run not only the risk of losing your motivation for physical activity, but you may also run an added chance of injury. The possible cause: overusing particular muscles that receive an excessive amount of stress as other muscles practically atrophy while waiting for a chance to show off their stuff.
For instance, if you are a devoted runner who spends hours jogging, your upper body may wither unless you give it a reason not to. At the same time, your achilles, hamstrings, knees and lower back muscles may protest those miles after miles. As Frank Jobe, MD, Neal EllAttrache, MD, and Karen Mohr, PT, point out in Athletic Forever (Contemporary), "Dedicated runners are among the most injury-prone of all athletes. If running is your main form of exercise, you have a 37 to 56 percent chance of sustaining an injury each year and your chances for a recurrence of that injury are as high as 70 percent."
The basic principle of cross training is simple: take part in various activities that supplement each other. Runners should lift some weights or at least shoot a few hoops to keep those arms and shoulders toned. Bikers should walk or run now and then to keep their bones healthy. (Bicycling, since it is not a weight bearing exercise, does little to promote bone strength.) Swimmers should find something to do on dry land so that their bones react to gravity and grow stronger. And, no matter what your sport, you should stay well-nourished and supplied with plenty of antioxidants.
As Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, points out in Optimum Health (Bantam), while athletes may enjoy health benefits from exercise, "The vigorous training pursued by competitive athletes renders them more prone to catabolic stress-a situation in which tissues are constantly broken down."
He goes on to point out that the low fat diet many athletes follow may be short of antioxidant nutrients. Unfortunately, that shortage can lead to injury. The metabolic acceleration caused by athletic activity may increase potentially harmful oxidative stress at the cellular level. Without antioxidant nutrients to help quell that stress... Well, the results may not be pretty. Potentially, that kind of oxidative damage may, theoretically, lead to cancer or heart disease. As Dr. Sinatra says, in those circumstances, "the supplemental use of glutathione, vitamins C and E, coenzyme Q10 and magnesium seems reasonable. Some athletes, such as menstruating women, may also need iron supplementation."
In addition, water is crucial for athletes to stay adequately hydrated during activity. According to Daniel Gastelu and Fred Hatfield, PhD, in Dynamic Nutrition for Maximum Performance (Avery), when you run short of water "this can adversely affect performance and, in the long run, can cause peaks and valleys in the athlete's performance." In addition, they advise using sports drinks to stay adequately supplied with electrolytes. "The major electrolytes found in bodily fluids are chloride, magnesium, potassium and sodium."
Electrolytes serve a host of duties, including keeping the heart muscle functioning properly. Gastelu and Hatfield explain, "An electrolyte is an ion that is required by the body to regulate the electric charge and flow of water between the cells and the bloodstream."
Getting Better All the Time
Even if you cross train religiously and try to avoid overdoing one particular sport, sooner or later you may incur injury. If you do (or even before you hurt yourself), the trio of Stanley W. Jacob, MD, Ronald M. Lawrence, MD, PhD, and Martin Zucker, authors of The Miracle of MSM (Putnam), believe that methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) can provide reliable relief for pain and suffering.
"Many people experience rapid relief after starting MSM," say this trio. They go on to claim that "this nutritional supplement has real potential to make a significant impact on the quality of life."
"Your main enemy in the hours following an injury is inflammation," warns Athletic Forever. For injury, they recommend RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. In other words, put the injured body part in a firmly wrapped bandage (don't cut off the circulation!) Keep the injury cold but don't put ice directly on it (watch out for frost bite). Rest a while and keep the injury elevated. Then, don't exercise again until you've fully recovered.
Guggul – New Benefits for Heart Health
May 11, 2005 09:00 PM
Gum Guggul–New Benefits for Heart Health from an Age-Old Herbby Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
The 1990's have seen a growing interest in herbs from India's ancient Ayurvedic tradition. One Ayurvedic herb in particular, "gum guggul," stands at the forefront, thanks to its rather remarkable benefits for the heart and cardiovascular health. A relative of myrrh and frankincense, gum guggul is a resin tapped from India's Commiphora mukul tree. Known more commonly in the Far East as simply "guggul," the herb has proven to be one of the most effective natural cholesterol-lowering agents ever discovered. Cholesterol reductions with guggul can be twenty percent or higher, and the herb also raises HDL, the more beneficial form of cholesterol. Studies also show guggul may help prevent atherosclerosis, by retarding the formation of fatty, cholesterol-laden deposits in blood vessel tissues.
Recent research on guggul has revealed that guggul also blocks the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, by acting as an antioxidant. LDL, which carries cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body, is generally regarded as a key element in the development of atherosclerosis. But only when it is oxidized by free radicals does LDL accumulate in arteries. It its unoxidized or "native" state, LDL is more or less benign. Checking LDL oxidation is vital to keeping blood vessels free of plaque.1 (This is one of the major reasons why antioxidants are so important.) Guggul, by both lowering blood cholesterol and acting against LDL oxidation, now stands out as one of the world's most valuable herbs for heart health.
Guggul first caught the attention of the scientific world in1966, thanks to an Indian medical researcher who submitted a doctoral thesis on gum guggul.2 Her interest had been kindled by references to the herb in a centuries-old Ayurvedic text. Apparently, poor cardiovascular health and atherosclerosis were a problem back then just as they are today. Translated from Sanskrit, this text describes, in elegant detail, a condition called "coating and obstruction of channels." The cause, according to the ancient writers? Faulty metabolism due to overeating of fatty foods and lack of exercise. Death was said to be the end result of leaving this condition uncorrected. The recommended treatment plan emphasized diet and herbs, chiefly gum guggul.3
References to guggul in ancient literature actually go back even farther. The herb is mentioned in the Vedas, the holy scriptures of India believed to be anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 years old. One stanza is translated as follows: "Disease (consumption) does not afflict and the curse never affects whom the delicious odor of the healing Guggul penetrates (spreads). The diseases also flee away in all directions from him like horses and deer, O Gugulu! Either born from Sindhu or from the sea. I chant your name for the removal of diseases."3
Struck by the obvious similarity between "coating and obstruction of channels" and atherosclerosis, the Indian researcher decided to study gum guggul's effect on blood fats in rabbits. Over a two-year period, the animals were fed hydrogenated vegetable oil to artificially raise their cholesterol levels. Guggul was administered to one group of rabbits, while the rest served as controls. At the end of the study the rabbits given guggul had normal cholesterol and blood lipid levels. Their arteries showed no fatty streaks or plague deposits. This caught the attention of the Indian scientific community, and numerous clinical trials ensued, both on animals and humans. In study after study, guggul consistently produced substantial reductions in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while raising HDL.
The active ingredients in guggul are a group of natural plant sterols. Among these, substances called "guggulsterones" are the most important ingredients for the cholesterol and blood fat lowering properties of guggul, with the other sterols acting as a synergistic supporting cast.4 A number of mechanisms are suggested, although not definitely proven, for how the herb works; these include reducing the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver, enhancing cholesterol removal from the gut, stimulating thyroid function and increasing the number of receptors in the liver for uptake of LDL.3,5
Guggul extracts are now standardized for guggulsterone content. The herb naturally contains about 2 percent guggulsterones. Quality extracts contain a minimum of 2.5 percent, which assures the user is getting a product potent enough to produce results. Since the late 1980's clinical trials have used the standardized extract.6,7,8 The product is readily available in the U.S.
The ability of guggulsterones to prevent oxidation of LDL was discovered in a 1997 study done by scientists at the Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow, India.9 This study sheds light on how guggul works against "coating and obstruction of channels." Remember that oxidized LDL forms the plaque that coats and eventually obstructs blood vessels. The researchers mixed LDL from human blood with a free radical promoting agent, either alone or in combination with guggulsterones. Samples were then analyzed for the presence LDL oxidation byproducts. The results showed that guggulsterones strongly protect LDL from being oxidized. Guggulsterones block the formation of hydroxyl radicals, a potent type of free-radical that attacks cell membranes.
Guggulsterones may also help keep the heart muscle itself healthy. When the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen, a condition known as "myocardial ischemia," it can be severely damaged by free radicals. The body tries to counter this with SOD, a key enzyme present in cells that neutralizes free radicals. SOD levels are significantly reduced in damaged heart tissues. Guggulsterones have been found to reverse this decrease by more than two-fold.10
Like the writer of that age-old verse found in the Vedas, contemporary herbalists hold gum guggul in the highest regard. Backed as it is by scientific research linked to centuries of traditional use, gum guggul has a bright future as a natural resource for maintaining normal cholesterol and blood fats, and for protecting heart health.
1. Heinecke, J.W. Free radical modification of low density lipoprotein: mechanisms and biological consequences. Free Radical Biology & Medicine 1987;3:65-73.
2. Satyavati, G.V. Effect of an indigenous drug on disorders of lipid metabolism with special reference to atherosclerosis and obesity (Medoroga) M.D. thesis (Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine). Banaras Hindu University, varanasi, 1966.
3. Satyavati, G. Gugulipid: a promising hypolipidaemic agent from gum guggul (Commiphora wightii). Economic and Medicinal Plant Research 1991;5:47-82.
4. Dev, S. A modern look at an age-old Ayurvedic drug-guggulu. Science Age July 1987:13-18.
5. Singh, V. et. al. Stimulation of low density lipoprotein receptor activity in liver membrane of guggulsterone treated rats. Pharmacological Research 1990;22(1):37-44.
6. Nityanand, S., Srivastava, J.S., Asthana, O.P. Clinical trials with gugulipid. J. Ass. Physicians of India 1989;37(5):323-28.
7. Agarwal, R.C. et. al. Clinical trial of gugulipid-a new hypolipidemic agent of plant origin in primary hyperlipidemia. Indian J Med Res 1986;84:626-34.
8. 'Gugulipid' Drugs of the Future 1988;13(7):618-619.
9. Singh, K., Chandler, R. Kapoor, N.K. Guggulsterone, a potent hypolipidaemic, prevents oxidation of low density lipoprotein. Phytotherapy Research 1997;11:291-94.
10. Kaul, S. Kapoor, N.K. Reversal of chnages of lipid peroxide, xanthine oxidase and superoxide dismutase by cardio-protective drugs in isoproterenol induced myocardial necrosis in rats. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 1989;27:625-627.