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Can 5-HTP Help with Sleep?
May 26, 2014 12:57 PM
What is 5-HTP
5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a compound which is produced naturally in the body via the means of the amino acid tryptophan. Even though this compound is already present in the body, researchers have found that we can benefit by having more of it. This has resulted in several supplement companies producing this compound from the seeds of an African plant known as Griffonia simplicifolia; 5-HTP can now be found in many health food and drug stores.
Benefits of 5-HTP
Even though there still hasn't been much research done regarding this supplement, we can still see that there are many uses for it. However, there is sufficient evidence out that shows 5-HTP is effective in treating depression and fibromyalgia, which means improved mood, reduced pain, better joint health, and better quality of sleep. To elaborate on the sleep benefits, 5-HTP increases serotonin levels which are converted into melatonin (a hormone which helps keep sleep cycles under control) through the body. There is also some evidence to suggest that this supplement can reduce anxiety as well as help promote weight loss in obese people.
So there is some great evidence to suggest that this supplement can help to improve our mood, quality of sleep, health and much more. However there is a slight downside, because of the limited amount of research done on this compound it is currently considered possibly unsafe to use. Potential side effects of 5-HTP include muscle ache/pain, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, stomach pain, and also a serious condition known as eosinophilia myalgia syndrome – a rare flu-like condition. Drug interactions can take place also; you should stay away from 5-HTP especially if you are taking any anti-depressant medication as these often increase serotonin levels which may result in too much serotonin in the body.
This supplement has many benefits and there has been research done to prove that it is effective in treating many problems such as insomnia, depression, fibromyalgia, anxiety, weight loss and more. However, it is recommended that you stay away from supplementing with 5-HTP because of the limited research done.
Why Is George's Aloe Vera By Warren Labs Better Than Other Brands?
January 10, 2013 12:50 PM
Since time immemorial, the succulent Aloe Vera plant has been an eminent medicinal plant with a worldwide recognition. The soothing effect, rejuvenating irritated membranes, moisturizing the skin and easing constipation have been some of the undisputed health benefits that makes Aloe Vera gel a worthy supplement and cosmetic product's constituent. Recent research also shows that Aloe Vera extracts have a notable efficacy in lowering blood glucose and blood lipid levels.
Studies however depict that the varied Aloe Vera species differ in some biochemical constituents and composition which makes some species better than others for a specific use. Georges Aloe Vera produced by Warren Labs specifically selects the species that are best suited for a given use. For instance, their George's Always Active Aloe Vera drink is made from Aloe barbadensis species which has been noted to be the most beneficial in rejuvenating mucal membranes that lines the GIT, effectively eases and prevents constipation without any irritation and also lowers blood lipid levels.
Unlike other manufacturing processes employed by other Aloe supplement producers, George's Aloe Vera employs fractional distillation method to obtain the most beneficial constituents and gives Georges Aloe Vera drink the characteristic clear and thin feel. This process is primarily intended to get rid of the Aloe Vera's aloins and anthroquinones which irritate the GIT manifested by cramping and diarrhea. The distillation process also makes the drink easy to preserve since most of the Aloe Vera's constituents which may necessitate special storage or addition of additives are discarded off.
This yields a pleasantly tasting drink with no additives or preservatives added. For optimal health benefits of this supplement, the manufacturer recommends a consistent daily intake of 2 ounces twice a day, and thus a gallon pack is always enough to use for a month. However, even though most of the Aloe Vera's constituents which produce considerable drug interaction implications are distilled off, consulting your doctor before using the supplement while under medication is always worthwhile.
What Is Monolaurin And What Are Its Health Benefits?
December 29, 2012 10:38 AM
Get An Immune Boost:
Man has made a big leap as far as science and pharmacology are concerned, but there are still a lot of substances useful to human health that are waiting to be discovered. There are also those substances naturally occurring but whose pharmacological properties have not yet been explored. Monolaurin, for instance, is a naturally occurring substance whose use in human health has only been lately discovered.
Monolaurin, also called glycerol monolaurate and glyceryl laurate, is a 12-carbon fatty acid as well as a monoglyceride. Although it is a derivative of coconut oil, it is most commonly prepared as a lauric acid mono-ester. Aside from coconut milk, it is also present in human breast milk, which is known to function as an immune protection passed on from mother to child after childbirth. The potency of breast milk as an immune barrier is evidenced by the stunted growth and frequency of infections seen in infants deprived of breast milk. But, all this is old information.
What's new about monolaurin?
Known Uses of Monolaurin:
Before we get to new information, it's important to look into the discovery of monolaurin. Way back in the 1960's, then University of Detroit professor Jon Kabara made an important discovery - that the combination of lauric acid and glycerol can be used in fighting germs. First marketed as a dietary supplement called Lauricidin, it was soon marketed by other pharmaceutical companies, but Lauricidin remains its most potent and purest form.
Since its discovery, it has been used as symptomatic treatment (and prevention) for the common colds, flu, herpes, and many other infections.
Working similarly to breast milk, it helps protect the immune system from infections and other ailments. Some Lauricidin users also claim that the substance is useful against Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and even autism. As for viruses, it has proven to be a useful supplement against HIV, Measles, Herpes Simplex, Epstein-Barr Virus, and Cytomegalovirus, to name a few.
Recent studies have shown its in vitro antibacterial and antimicrobial activity, at least as far as superficial skin infections are concerned. Carpo, Verallo-Rowell and Kabara (2007) demonstrated the effectiveness of monolaurin versus common antibiotics in battling both gram positive and gram negative infections such as Staphylococcus and Enterococcus. Older studies have explained Monolaurin's mechanism of action - it inserts itself into the cell membrane, disturbs the cell membrane integrity of Gram positive bacteria, and therefore blocks cell replication.
Aside from medicinal uses, it is also used for other purposes as well. It is a common ingredient in many deodorants, thanks to its antimicrobial activity; body odor, as you may know, is caused by the presence of certain bacteria. It is also present in other products such as shampoo, detergents, soap, and even in certain foods such as ice cream and margarine.
Side Effects and Drug Interactions
As far as side effects are concerned, there is still a lot to be known. Some users may experience the Herxheimer Reaction, a complicated term that indicates the presence of fatigue, body ache, irritability and fever that may worsen before the medication takes effect. Use during pregnancy and breast feeding is contraindicated, given that not enough is known about its potential effects during this period. Dosage ranges from 0.75 to 3 grams, 2 or 3 times a day, and is taken after meals.
What Makes St Johns Wort Good For Depression And Anxiety?
September 18, 2012 09:18 PM
St Johns wort
St Johns wort is a particular plant species. Firstly, in ancient Greek the medicinal uses of St Johns wort are recognized. It is an herb with yellow flowers. It contains active ingredients like flavonoids, anthrancenes, volatile oil and sugar alcohol which are used for medicinal purpose. St Johns wort binomial name Hypericum perforatum is also considered as wild plant, herb and weed. The other common names for this plant are Amber Touch-and-heel, goat weed, Klamath weed, Rosin rose and Tipton weed. As it is an herb its leaves and flowers are used for medicinal purpose.
What is St Johns wort?
St Johns wort is considered as a medicinal plant. It has yellow flowers which are used for medical purposes in various parts of the world. It is an herbal remedy to treat depression. This medicinal plant is also used for migraine, headache, muscle pain, chronic fatigue syndrome. It is also used for cancer and HIV/AIDS. St Johns is known as natural herbal remedy for mild to moderate depression. This highly valuable contains a chemical known as hypericin which effects against depression. This chemical act as mediatator in the nervous system which control the mood.
Does St Johns worth help depression? Depression has now become a common problem in humans now days. Due to the side effects of antidepressant medications, people are frequently moving towards natural remedies. St John wort is a complete health booster for the entire nervous system. It is recommended as a useful herbal remedy. It is scientifically proven that this particular plant is effective for mild to moderate depression. It has been used to treat mental disorders. St John wort is commonly used for depression and the conditions which are responsible depression such as anxiety, tiredness and sleep disorders. In most of the countries it is widely prescribed for depression. Wort is beneficial to people with mild depression but it is less effective on major depression.
St Johns wort medicinal properties:This medicinal plant is a powerful medicine.It is effective and well tolerated by the patients.You can feel yourself improving within the first week of usage of St John wort.As it is well tolerated by the patients, you can see fast results with fewer side effects.It decreases anxiety related to depression.It includes medicinal properties like antibacterial, anti inflammatory, antiviral, antidepressant and pain relieving.Traditionally it has been used to cure burns, headache, wounds, etc.
Though this is a powerful and remarkable medicine for treating mild to moderate depression, but still there is a question in the mind of health experts regarding major depression? In accordance with this, medicinal wort is less effective for the people who are taking other medications. St John wort is not effective on severe depression as discussed earlier. St John wort causes drug interaction so it might not be the right choice for the people who take other medication. You cannot ignore St Johns Wort, as it is a natural remedy for treatment of depression in spite of having few side effects.
What is the History and Health Benefits of Pycnogenol?
March 24, 2012 07:51 AM
What Are The Health Benefits Of Pycnogenol?
Pycnogenol is a name of a product which is prepared from a tree French Pine also known as French Maritime Pine. Pycnogenol is a trademark name sold as a nutritional supplement. This supplement is mainly used for asthma and a condition known as chronic venus insufficiency. It is a water extract of the bark of the French Pine found in the coastal south west of France. Pycnogenol contains unique flavonoid compounds in high concentration. These compounds at such high levels of concentration have proven to be useful and beneficial on inflammation, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, aging and healing of wounds.
History and Discovery of Pycnogenol:
Pycnogenol is a very powerful antioxidant made from a combination of natural antioxidants and phytonutrients. Since it is biologically made it is technically a bioflavonoid. A French scientist by the name Professor Masquelier gave the name Pycnogenol which is a scientific name for the oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) as well as other bioflavonoids. Pycnogenol is an extract from the French Maritime Pine and grape seed extract. Professor Masquelier along with a Swiss broker Horphag made attempts to commercialize Pycnogenol. Horphag without the consent of Masquelier registered the name Pycnogenol as a patent in the year 1990 which came under the ownership of Horphag in the United States. This caused severe legal disputes in the US. Horphag made huge profits from the intellectual property of Masquelier. This wonderful antioxidant was discovered by Jacques Cartier in 1953. In his books Cartier mentioned about the benefits of pine and how it cured and healed chronic diseases. Professor Masquelier discovered Cartier's book and recognized the benefits of these medicines which were rich in bioflavonoids.
Health Benefits of Pycnogenol:
Pycnogenol is a very powerful antioxidant which helps in regulating certain types of acids that gets absorbed in the human body through chemicals and free radicals. Antioxidants help in improving heart health and prevent cancer. Brain diseases like Alzheimer's can also be prevented with the use of Pycnogenol. It prevents the body from absorbing the toxic elements which are responsible for the development of brain diseases. It works as a good preventive tool. Pycnogenol also helps people who suffer from heart disease, which is a very common disease worldwide. It reduces swelling due to heart disease and helps in regulating the blood pressure. Pycnogenol also assists in reducing blood sugar levels in type ll diabetes, administered along with the anti-diabetes drugs.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of Pycnogenol are beneficial in treating asthma. It also improved the tolerance to chemotherapy in cancer patients. Pycnogenol works well as an anti aging product along with Vitamin E, and reduces wrinkles.
Pycnogenol is available in the market in different supplement formulas containing about 20mg to 100mg of Pycnogenol. It is the most extensively researched product and has also passed a number of safety tests. Tests have proved that consuming Pycnogenol at higher dosage for longer periods is safe though there are a few minor side effects. These side effects are gastro intestinal discomfort, nausea, dizziness and headaches. If consumed with certain drugs it can cause major side effects due to drug interactions. Pycnogenol is a great antioxidant supplement which helps in protecting and healing the body from harmful chemicals. Before taking Pycnogenol daily as a supplement it is recommended to consult physicians who can advice on the ideal dosages.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help With Cholesterol And Triglycerides?
December 05, 2011 09:40 PM
Apple Cider Vinegar And CholesterolApple cider vinegar is a classification of vinegar which is derived from apple or cider. As you can observe, apple has an acidic taste which makes it possible to be processed into a type of vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is pale yellow to amber in color. This kind of vinegar may be pasteurized or unpasteurized. Non - processed or unpasteurized form of apple cider vinegar has a semi - solid or firm appearance because of its thickness and cobweb - like make - up. This form of apple cider vinegar is considered to be the “mother of vinegar”.
Apple cider vinegar is yielded by mashing the fruit and squeezing out the juice it contains. Friendly microorganisms such as bacteria and yeasts are usually combined into the extracted juice to allow alcoholic fermentation. These microorganisms are the ones responsible for converting the sugar contained in the apple extracted juice into its alcohol form. Apple cider vinegar undergoes a second fermentation process. The alcohol produced from the first fermentation process is converted into its vinegar form by adding an ample amount of acetic acid – forming bacteria specifically known as Acetobacter. As a result, the juice extract will have a sour taste because of the acetic acid and malic acid it contains after several fermentations.
In the food industry, apple cider vinegar is commonly used as an ingredient of salads, marinades, food preservatives and the like. Aside from its acetic acid content, apple cider vinegar also contains amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
Clinical studies on whether apple cider vinegar can help control the amount of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood have shown significant results. Yes, apple cider vinegar can have promising effects on the regulation of serum cholesterol and triglycerides. However, the studies also revealed that this fruit extract must not serve as a substitute for the medications prescribed by your doctor to regulate blood cholesterol and maintain or improve cardiovascular health. In animal studies, apple cider vinegar has shown positive effects on lowering triglycerides by almost 50 %. However, effects on Low Density Lipoprotein or the so – called “bad cholesterol” are not that efficient.
Needless to say, the American Heart Association stated that a good lifestyle and balanced diet can effectively reduce the amount of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Apple cider vinegar will also greatly help in lowering these substances in the blood.
Other studies have also revealed that the acetic acid content in apple cider vinegar stimulates the expression of the genetic material which activates fatty acid oxidation enzymes. As a result of this biological process, there will be a significant lowering or control of body fat accumulation by the liver. This is the reason why apple cider vinegar can also be employed as a weight loss agent.
Apple cider vinegar is all – natural. Therefore, safety is relatively established. However, health experts still suggest that before you start using this product, you have to consult your doctor and discuss your current and past health condition as well as the other medications you are taking. This will reduce the incidence of adverse health reactions and drug to drug interactions.
What Are The Cruciferous Vegetables With Indoles?
October 18, 2011 02:19 PM
A cruciferous vegetable is a common category of vegetables. The term cruciferous is used to refer to vegetables which have a cross - shaped pattern that can be found under the core of the plant's stalk. This classification of vegetables includes:
1. CABBAGE. This vegetable is a common leafy green vegetable of the specie Brassica oleracea. It is an herb - like, biennial flowering plant which has a short stem with a jam - packed mass of leaves. The leaves are generally green to light green but variety comes in red or purple color. An immature cabbage has a characteristic compact and circular cluster of young leaves.
2. BROCCOLI. A kind of vegetable which is categorized in the Italica cultivar plant cluster. This is different from cabbage because it has large flower heads which is usually dark green in color. It is arranged in a small tree – like manner on branches which is sprouting from a solid edible stalk. This vegetable is similar to cauliflower, another cruciferous vegetable.
3. CAULIFLOWER. Like cabbage and broccoli, cauliflower is also a member of the species Brassica oleracea. Unlike cabbage, this cruciferous vegetable is an annual plant which is reproduced by seeds. The appearance of this plant is like that of a broccoli. The floral meristems are usually eaten only while the stalk and leaves are utilized in vegetable broths.
4. BRUSSEL SPROUTS. This is a cultivar of cabbage family which is cultivated because of it edible buds. It is named after the city in Belgium which is believed to be the origin of the vegetable.
Cruciferous has many health benefits. Aside from its fiber – rich content, cruciferous vegetables has a promising benefit of lowering the risk of cancers specifically with that of the colon, breast and prostate. The special chemical compound in cruciferous vegetables is called “Indoles”. Indoles are considered as a phytonutrient which can benefit the body in many ways.
Since the ancient times, Indoles have been used for many medicinal purposes. In fact, most Roman health practitioners during the olden times have utilized Indoles as treatment for ulcerated breasts. Therefore, without a surprise Indoles found in cruciferous vegetables are widely used for the prevention of breast cancer. Clinical studies have revealed that the mechanism of action of Indoles in relation with decreased risk of cancer is that Indoles can effectively decrease the so – called C16 estrogen and increase C2 estrogen. The latter is helpful in preventing the development of abnormal breast tissue growth or cancer.
Furthermore, Indoles have also been found out to have important benefit in detoxifying the body from free radicals, thus preventing the body from free radical damage and promoting a healthy cellular production and growth. Other theories have stated that Indoles in cruciferous vegetables can block carcinogenic chemical compounds from mutating the cell’s DNA and neutralize the effects of estrogen associated with cancer development.
Other vegetables which contain Indoles are onions and garlic. The Indoles component of these vegetables effectively works hand in hand with antioxidants in protecting the body from harmful substances and toxins.
Aside from these natural vegetables, Indoles chemical compound can also be made available to the body in the form cruciferous vegetable extracts. This supplement has adequate amount of balanced Indoles compound which can equate with the body’s daily recommended intake of Indoles necessary to fight against free radical damage and cancer. However, extra caution must be observed to prevent untoward side effects and unnecessary drug interactions.
Cut the calories, try Indoles in supplement form!
Can Alpha GPC Really Help With Memory And Growth ?
September 29, 2011 11:52 AM
What Are The Benefits Of Alpha GPC?
L-Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine, or abbreviated as Alpha GPC, is a natural compound which is choline in nature. It is considered to be an acetylcholine precursor which is now being studied as a treatment for the degenerative disease called Alzheimer’s disease. This chemical compound also has a parasympathomimetic property and is widely used as a nutritional supplement for enhancing memory and concentration. The other name of Alpha GPC is Choline Alfoscerate. Alpha GPC has the capacity to rapidly transport choline to the central nervous system by passing through the blood - brain barrier. Alpha GPC can be extracted from highly distilled soy phospholipids such as lecithin. Inside the body, this chemical compound can be found in high quantity in neuronal membranes. Some of its benefits are:
1. IMPROVES ACETYLCHOLINE LEVEL. As mentioned earlier, Alpha GPC can cross the blood – brain barrier. Once inside the brain, it positively influences brain activity by enhancing the production of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter which is responsible for improving the individual’s learning process. Acetylcholine acts on both the peripheral and central nervous system. In the former, this neurotransmitter functions as the main neurotransmitter in the autonomic nervous system. It is also involved in the contraction of body muscles. In the latter, acetylcholine acts as an anti – excitatory chemical in the cholinergic system.
2. MEMBRANE COMPONENT. Another health benefit of Alpha GPC is that it can effectively protect nerve cells thus improving the transmission of impulse. Aside from maintaining the integrity of the nerves and nerve cells, Alpha GPC also serves as a precursor of the phospholipids found on membranes.
3. INCREASE HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE. Studies on Alpha GPC have revealed that it can relatively influence the action of the body’s Growth Hormone – Releasing Hormone (GHrH), thus improving the release of growth hormones. In addition, it can also enhance the effects of human growth hormone especially among young individuals.
4. A MODALITY FOR DEMENTIA. Alpha GPC has been long studied for the treatment of senile dementia. Initial result of such studies revealed that patients supplemented with Alpha GPC showed improvement but on a smaller extent. Further studies are still being conducted so that efficacy and safety as well as the appropriate dosage will be determined.
5. INFLUENCES GABA. Studies reveal that Alpha GPC significantly increase the synthesis and release of Gamma Amino – Butyric Acid or GABA. Increased synthesis of GABA is also potentiated by atropine. GABA is considered as the principal inhibitory brain chemical among mammals. It has a significant role in controlling neuronal excitation all over the nervous system. Like acetylcholine, GABA is also one of the primary responsible chemicals for the control of muscle tone.
Alpha GPC is formulated as supplement. It is available in 300 to 1,200 milligram oral supplements. Though it is generally safe, it is important that you should consult your doctor first before using this supplement. This would significantly avoid the occurrence of adverse effects and drug interactions. Appropriate dosage will also be determined by your doctor. Remember, any medication or supplement varies from person to person on its therapeutic and adverse effects.
Can I Use Senna Leaves As A Laxative Daily?
September 27, 2011 12:52 PM
What Are Senna Leaves Good For?
Senna is a plant which belongs to the family of flowering plants known as Fabaceae. This plant can be abundantly found in tropical regions. This plant is considered to be a shrub. However, some seemingly looks like an herb or a small tree. Senna is one of the most commonly used herbal laxatives. Other names of Senna are Cassia Senna, Tinnevelly Senna, India Senna, Alexandrian Senna, and Khartoum Senna.
The active ingredients of Senna are called Anthraquinone and glycosides. As a laxative, the active chemical in Senna acts primarily on the large intestine, therefore, this herb has a promising effect in relieving constipation. Clinical studies have also reported that Senna can enhance peristaltic movement of the intestines. This is possible because of its irritating effect on the mucosal lining of the intestines.
To be specific, Senna is an effective laxative. It is categorized as a bowel stimulant or irritant. This type of laxative acts primarily on the mucosa of the intestines and stimulates the nerve plexus to influence water and nutrient absorption as well as reabsorption. This alteration will then lead to the stimulation of peristaltic activity of the bowel. Thus, digestive tract movement is increased and stool elimination is induced. However, this may not be safe under certain circumstances. For this reason, stimulant laxatives must be used cautiously and employed for a short period of time only. As a result, Senna can also be employed as one of the weight loss herbal agents.
Moreover, the leaf of Senna plant consists of essential oils which can potentially destroy harmful microorganisms that can cause skin irritations such as rashes, blisters and acne. In the traditional medicine, Senna leaves are prepared in the form of paste which is then applied on skin to treat ringworms and other skin infections.
In addition, another health benefit of Senna is its potent antioxidant property. According to chemical studies, Senna herb contains high amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants are important to the body because they help prevent diseases by way of eliminating harmful toxins from the body. One of these harmful chemicals is called free radicals. These kinds of substances occur naturally in the body as an end – product of biological reactions. Free radicals can cause interruption on cellular division by altering replication of DNA. Aside from that, it can also cause damage to healthy cells of the body, thus promoting illnesses and diseases.
With the several health benefits of Senna, it must not be employed as a substitute to prescribed medications. This herb is available in supplements. You can purchase this product in many health and drug stores or even Online. However, it must not be abused. More importantly, medical consultation must be done first so that adverse effects and untoward drug interactions will be avoided. Use Senna herbal supplement as labeled or prescribed. Like any other laxative, do not use this in large amount and for a longer period of time. This may cause dependence in which you cannot have a bowel movement without the use of such supplement or laxative.
Can Butterbur Help Me with Migraines
April 02, 2011 12:14 PM
Butterbur and Headaches
Butterbur has helped countless of migraine sufferers for more than three decades. In Europe, it is available as a prescription drug, which neurologists have prescribed since 1972. It has been the subject of numerous studies and reviews in a span of 40 years that have come to a conclusion that it does alleviate symptoms of migraine and reduce frequency of attacks. It is one of the herbal remedies clinically tested in migraine centers in the US. To date there has been no recorded adverse effects and harmful drug interactions, and as such available in the US over the counter, no prescription required. It has been compared to beta blockers and anticonvulsants and in general believed to be better than both of these more common treatments.
Petasites hybridus, the common butterbur, is the herb where butterbur extracts are obtained from although other species that belong to the genus Petasites are also known to produce the same health benefits. Petasites comprises up to 20 plant species widely distributed across the globe, a number of which have been tied to folk medicine throughout the ages. Petasites hybridus is native to North America and thrive well in marshes and wetlands, where there is a significant amount of moisture in the soil.
American Indians have long used its rhizomatous roots to fight off headaches and inflammation-induced diseases, such as asthma attacks and hay fever. Indeed the discovery of the organic compounds petasin, isopetasin, and oxopetasin explained its long-standing association with the treatment of migraines and allergies. Today most butterbur preparations do not contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which were identified to cause liver damage. That being said, it is still best to seek professional advice and ask assistance in choosing products from a reputable laboratory.
Interferes with Releases of Pain Chemicals
The phytochemicals unique to Butterbur have been well investigated, and results point to their effects on inhibiting the productions of local pain chemicals, which are pro-inflammatory in nature. Leukotrienes are lipid mediators that supervise the productions of other intermediaries of inflammation. Prostaglandins are responsible for vasodilation of blood vessels and their consequent sensitization to pain. Butterbur has been observed to influence these two pain chemicals.
Plays the Role of a Natural Beta Blocker
Beta-adrenergic antagonists, or simply beta blockers, are a class of drugs that target endogenous catecholamines implicated in migraine attacks. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are catecholamines that act on beta-andrenergic receptors, leading to a reduced blood flow in the brain. This results in the spasmodic contractions of cerebral blood vessels characteristic of migraines. Butterbur works on the principle of blocking the effects of catecholamines and inducing normal blood flow to the brain.
Produces No Known Serious Side Effects
Most analgesics and beta blockers have been associated with several adverse effects, which more often than not include nausea, dizziness, and muscle weakness. Many have been reported to cause weight gain. None of these have been linked to regular use of butterbur, one of the reasons why it has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years.
If you suffer from Migraine headaches, give butterbur a try!
Bromelain Supplements why?
November 06, 2010 10:32 AM
Bromelain enzyme may not be as familiar as other digestive supplements to most people but this helpful catalyst offers a wide range of benefits not only to the digestive system but also to other systems of the body.
Bromelain Enzyme Supplement
Bromelain enzyme is a proteolytic digestive catalyst that contains sulfur. From the word “proteolytic”, this substance aids in the digestion of proteins especially when taken with meals. On the other hand, when taken without meals, it is deemed to act as an anti-inflammatory supplement. Ananas comosus or the pineapple plant is the best source of this beneficial enzyme. However, fresh pineapple extract does not contain doses high enough to have a medicinal effect. Hence, a preparation to meet the body’s demand is produced. Bromelain supplements now come in the form of tablets and topical creams. They are now widely available and affordable to counterweigh the several uses it offers.
In the Digestive System, bromelain enzyme does not only help in digesting proteins but may also relieve gastric upset and heartburn especially when used together with other digestive enzymes like amylase, a catalyst responsbile for carbohydrate digestion, and lipase which is for the digestion of fats. Diarrhea conditions associated with deficiency in the proteolytic enzymes can also be alleviated with the use of this supplement.
In the Immune System, bromelain has been widely considered as an effective relief for pain and swelling caused by both injury and certain infections. Studies frequently show the bromelain’s ability in facilitating the body to restore health more quickly. The mechanism is said to be a reduction of fibrin and leukotriene accumulation, thus regulating the inflammation process. Researchers have demonstrated evidences that a daily intake of 1,200 to 1,800 mg of bromelain may help alleviate painful inflammation just like in rheumatoid arthritis.
In the Cardiovascular System, bromelain supplement is theorized to play a role in the prevention of heart disease caused by atherosclerosis or thickening of the arterial wall due to plaque deposits. It slows down the clumping of platelets thus preventing a possible heart attack.
Bromelain May Also Relieve Pain
Lastly, bromelain may also relieve pain associated premenstrual syndrome and menstraul cramps. Studies reveal that they act as prostaglandin inhibitors. However, bromelain can also increase the bleeding during menstruation.
Bromelain supplement has no Recommended Dietary Allowance but doses of up to 1 gram taken 3 times a day showed no toxic effects. Experts also advise to take bromelain on an empty stomach supplemented with magnesium to increase the bromelain’s effects.
Just like any other drug or food supplement, bromelain also has side effects, nonlife-threatening to be exact. It may have drug interactions such as increasing the absorption of some medications like antibiotics, chemotherapeutic drugs and specific antihypertensive agents. In addition, it may also bolster the effects of blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), anti-inflammatory drugs and antiplatelet agents such as clopidogrel (Plavix). Since bromelain supplement can cause certain drug interactions, it is important to take this enzyme cautiously or under the supervision of a qualified health care provider.
To find quality bromelain supplements, look to your local or internet vitamin store.
July 31, 2009 12:03 PM
Sarsaparilla can be found natively growing in the Pacific regions of Mexico, along the coast to Peru. The root is commonly used to make root beer. The sarsaparilla plant is mostly a find. It can primarily be found in Mexico, Central America and South America. The root of the plant is the most valued portion. It has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, much like ginseng or licorice root. Sarsaparilla root is very bitter. Because of this, it was a common practice for pharmacists to distill the useful chemicals from this herb and mix them with sugar water. From this, a very popular beverage called sarsaparilla was born. This was years before other chemists would invent other medicinal drinks like the original Pepsi and 7-Up.
The sarsaparilla plant was most definitely used as a medicinal tonic, but it was often served as a sweetened beverage. Some formulas substituted sarsaparilla root with a combination of birch oil and sassafras, which is a treat that is found in the western United States. Some believe that the informal name of the drink, sasparilla, indicates the use of sassafras extract, while others say the name is a corruption of the original sarsaparilla. Unfortunately, the modern beverage is closer to a birch oil/sassafras mixture than the more bitter sarsaparilla extract. The roots of the sarsaparilla plant can be purchased in certain grocery or health food stores. The beverage called sarsaparilla is a little more difficult to find. Smaller bottling companies may produce a version for local consumption, but that national interest in root beer, sarsaparilla’s cousin, has made it much harder to come by.
Often, sarsaparilla is used in glandular balance formulas. This is because components in sarsaparilla help with the production of testosterone and progesterone. The herb also stimulates the metabolism, aids digestion, and improves the appetite. It has been used to help with gas and edema, along with other related conditions. Additionally, studies have shown that this herb contains diuretic activity and also increased the elimination of chlorides and uric acid. Sarsaparilla is beneficial for many skin ailments. Among these are psoriasis, eczema, and leprosy. This has been found to be true in various studies. The herb also works as an anti-inflammatory by increasing circulation to rheumatic joints. It also helps to relieve arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. This herb also stimulates breathing when congestion occurs. It even helps to purify the blood.
The root of the sarsaparilla plant are used to provide alterative, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, aromatic, blood purifier, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are copper, iodine, iron, manganese, silicon, sodium, vitamins A, B-complex, and C, and zinc. Primarily, sarsaparilla is extremely beneficial in treating joint aches and pains, arthritis, blood impurities, eczema, gas, glandular problems, hormone imbalance, inflammation, psoriasis, skin diseases, and syphilis.
Additionally, the herb is very helpful in dealing with age spots, appetite loss, cods, congestion, edema, sore eyes, fevers, gout, impotence, leprosy, menopausal symptoms, metabolism disorders, skin parasites, chronic rheumatism, ringworms, primary tuberculosis, and sores. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen to prevent prescription drug interaction. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by sarsaparilla, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
Sarsaparilla root is available in capsule and tablet forms at your local or internet health food store. It is recommended that you look for name brands like Solaray, Natures Way, and Natures Plus to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.
June 11, 2009 06:16 PM
The boswellia family of trees are specifically known for their fragrant, gummy sap, which possesses many medicinal uses. Among these, especially, if the use as an anti-inflammatory. It is believed that the frankincense of the bible was actually an extract from the resin of the Boswellia tree. Boswellia, which is also known as boswellin, has a long history of use in Ayurvedic healing. The resin is called salai guggal and has been used to treat asthma, arthritis, various inflammatory conditions, and to relieve joint pain and pain that results from sports injuries. The resin of the boswellia tree is also though to be helpful for treating back pain as well as some other chronic intestinal disorders.
The boswellia plant is a genus of trees that are known mainly for their fragrant resin. This resin has many pharmacological uses, particularly as anti-inflammatories. There are four main species of boswellia, producing true frankincense. Each type of resin is available in various grades. These grades depend upon the time of harvesting. The resin of the boswellia plant is hand sorted for quality. Anyone who is interested in frankincense is advised to obtain a small sample from each reputable dealer to determine the difference between each resin.
Boswellic acids are the main compounds that are believed to be at the source of boswellia’s anti-inflammatory properties. These acids have the ability to inhibit the enzymes that induce pain and inflammation in the body.
A few studies have been conducted on boswellia’s effect on sports injuries and arthritis. Among these, some have shown that boswellic acids may contain anti-inflammatory benefits that are extremely powerful. These benefits are similar to those found in ibuprofen and aspirin. One study done on rheumatoid arthritis patients found that pain and swelling were reduced after three months of treatment with boswellia. Those who used boswellia occasionally reported mild gastrointestinal distress, like heartburn and nausea, but there were no other reports of serious side-effects.
Boswellia has a long tradition of safe and effective use as a mild anti-inflammatory to alleviate pain and stiffness. It is also used to enhance mobility without serious side effects. However, further research is needed to confirm the long-term safety and effectiveness of this extract. Boswellia seems to be best taken as needed in order to reduce pain and stiffness, as opposed to being taken regularly as a maintenance herb.
The resin of boswellia is used in many herbal formulas because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Primarily, this extract is most useful in dealing with arthritis, asthma, inflammatory conditions, joint pain, and sports injuries.
A boswellia standardized extract is recommended by many doctors. When dealing with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, 150 mg of boswellic acids are taken three times per day. For example, if an extract contains 37.5% boswellic acids, 400 mg of the extract would be taken three times daily. Treatment with boswellia should generally last between eight and twelve weeks. Generally, boswellia is safe when used as directed. Rare side effects include diarrhea, skin rash, and nausea. Any inflammatory joint condition should be closely monitored by a health care professional. To date, there are no well-known drug interactions with boswellia.
Boswellia comes in capsule form at your local or internet health food store. When making a purchase always read the label to ensure that the product is standardized to its active acids to ensure quality and purity and to ensure that the herb when taken regularly will function as intended.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Boswellia is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
May 06, 2008 05:14 PM
Grapefruit seed extract is regarded as being natural antibiotic that is effective against a broad range of bacterial infections. It has also been used to treat parasitic infections and a range of viral infections as well as having found uses for a wide variety of medical conditions.
So what is it about grapefruit seed that is so special? Most people are acquainted with grapefruit, which as a member of the citrus family of fruits, and not to be confused with grapes which are a totally different type of plant. Grape seed extract is also a useful natural medication, but used for totally different conditions.
Because of its efficacy against parasitic and viral infections, grapefruit seed extract is very useful in treating various forms of food poisoning. But, how was this remarkable property of the simple grapefruit seed noticed? The answer to that depends very much upon what version of the story of Einstein Laureate physicist and immunologist Dr. Jacob Harich you believe.
Dr. Harich was not only a scientist but a hobby gardener in Florida, and the two versions of his story tell either that he decided to investigate why grapefruit seeds tasted so bitter, or why the grapefruit seeds in his compost heap failed to compost, or rot. Whichever story is correct, and perhaps both are, the result was the discovery that grapefruit seeds appeared to be a very effective antibiotic.
In fact it has been shown to be effective against over 800 strains of bacteria and viruses and also effective against many fungi that lead to illness in humans. Because of this it is used in cased of food poisoning that involve bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract. In fact during the latter part of the 1980s, grapefruit seed extract was tested against a number of known antibiotics and found to be as effective as any of them. Similar results obtained in a number of tests in the USA and elsewhere in the world, and it appears that it is an excellent treatment for the symptoms of food poisoning.
Not only that, but it has been found effective in the treatment of some immunodeficiency diseases, presumably because its antimicrobial properties does much of the work that the immune system would normally do, and so relieves it of much of its hard work. This allows the immune system to concentrate on conditions which are exacerbated by deficiencies in its operation.
Bifidobacteria and Loactobacilli are bacteria that are beneficial to the digestive system. The measure of a good broad spectrum antibiotic is that it does not affect the beneficial bacteria, and grapefruit seed extract has no effect on the former and only a mildly inhibiting effect on the latter. It is also non toxic to humans, which is another measure of a good antibiotic. You would have to drink about two pints of the extract, around 4000 time the normal dose, for the treatment to be potentially fatal.
Among the many uses of the extract are not only in controlling gastrointestinal infections, but also general fungal conditions of the skin, vaginal infections and yeast infections, and also colds and sore throats. It is also believed to support the immune system, not only by its antimicrobial properties but through its effect on intestinal health upon which much of our immune system is dependent. It can also protect patients with symptoms of AIDs and other immunodeficiency conditions from infection.
Its effect on yeast infections around the nether regions of small children has been documented, and it has also been found to be very safe to young children. In fact many mothers have it as a permanent addition to their medicine cabinet.
It is not that long ago when doctors believed all diseases to be due to bacteria or viruses. It is now becoming clear that a large proportion is actually due to fungal infections and parasites. Many conditions such as allergies, circulatory disease and some forms of arthritis have been shown to be due to fungal infections that weaken the immune system. Grapefruit seed extract has been found to be effective in treating many types of fungal disease.
In using the extract in this way, and to treat bacterial infections, it is best to start with a low dose and gradually increase it. This is because when fungi and bacteria are destroyed they release toxins, and too high a dose could result in too much toxin being produced for your body to handle. If you take it gradually you will get the same result, but without the risk of the nausea and diarrhea which the toxins can cause.
Despite all of these benefits, grapefruit extract has not been given the credit it deserves, and much research has still to be done to establish the constituents of the seed that confer these properties. Among these are known to be proanthocyanadins, a class of flavanols with strong antioxidant properties, and a diphenol hydroxybenzene complex that destroys bacteria through the cytoplasmic membrane to prevent the uptake of amino acids and cause leakage of the cell contents. Other active components are Vitamins C and E, tocopherols, limonoids and sterols, in addition to a number of important minerals.
However, there is still much work to be done, although the extract will continue to be used by many devotees for the treatment, not only of food poisoning symptoms, but also of conditions such as acne, athlete’s foot, gingivitis, cold sores, sinusitis and parasitic infections. It appears to be practically a cure-all.
There appear to be no drug interactions, although some medications do react with grapefruit juice, such as some treatments for high blood pressure. If your treatment advises you not to take grapefruit juice, then do not take grapefruit seed extract. Another factor to be aware of is that since the extract is an effective bactericide, then it could deplete the digestive tract of friendly bacteria essential for digestion. You are advised, therefore, to take a supplement of acidophilus, which is easily taken in the form of yoghurt type drinks specifically formulated or dietary supplement for the purpose.
Coenzyme Q10 and Cardiovascular Health.
December 13, 2005 11:34 AM
CoQ10 is a vitamin-like compound that is produced naturally in the human body and is also found in most living organisms. It is also called ubiquinone, a combination of quinone, a type of coenzyme, and ubiquitous, meaning it exists everywhere in the human body. CoQ10 plays an important role in your body’s energy production and is an essential component of the mitochondria, where it helps to metabolize fats and carbohydrates and maintain cell membrane flexibility. CoQ10 is also involved in the production of several key enzymes that are used to create ATP, which is burned by your body for energy, and used in the energy transfer between mitochondria and cells. Without CoQ10, you would not be able to function!
CoQ10 is also an effective antioxidant that may beneficially affect the aging process. As we age, our body’s production of CoQ10 declines by as much as 80 percent. Because it is so important to energy production, and therefore life, researchers believe that this decline may be a factor in the effects of aging on the human body. Clinical trials on both animal and human subjects have revealed a marked decrease in CoQ10 levels in relation to a wide variety of diseases. As a free radical scavenger, CoQ10 inhibits lipid peroxidation – a normal aspect of the aging process that is implicated in certain agerelated diseases. Studies conducted in the last fifteen years suggest CoQ10 is important for maintaining healthy intracellular activity, and some researchers have compared its efficiency to that of vitamin E, one of the most effective of all dietary antioxidants. Research has shown that CoQ10, along with glutathione and selenium, works to regenerate or recycle vitamin E after it’s capacity to fight radicals has been diminished, thereby allowing vitamin E to remain active as an antioxidant for a longer period of time in your body.
CoQ10 was first discovered by Dr. Frederick Crane of the University of Wisconsin in 1957. One year later, Professor Karl Folkers and others at Merck Inc. identified and recorded CoQ10’s chemical structure, and were the first to produce it through fermentation. Intermittent research led to its use in Japan for cardiac insufficiencies during the 1960’s. Dr. Folkers championed more intensive research into CoQ10’s role in cardiovascular health in 1972, after he and an Italian scientist, Gian Paolo Littarru, discovered that persons with cardiac insufficiencies had very low levels of CoQ10, and supplementation increased CoQ10 levels and positively affected heart health. Soon afterwards, the Japanese developed a method that allowed pure CoQ10 to be produced in quantities large enough for significant clinical trials. During the 1980’s this method was perfected in Japan, and medical technology finally allowed scientists to measure CoQ10 levels in blood and tissues, leading to a surge in further research. It was during this time that a Swedish researcher, Lars Ernster, drew attention to CoQ10’s role as a free radical-scavenging antioxidant. Today a multitude of research supports CoQ10’s health benefits.
As a result of the overwhelmingly positive reports from studies conducted since CoQ10’s discovery, the Japanese were the first to approve widespread use of CoQ10, granting market approval for it in 1974. From 1974 to 1982, CoQ10 use in Japan grew rapidly until it was one of the most widely used products in the Japanese pharmaceutical industry. It is still widely used today, and has a long history of safe use. In “An Introduction To Coenzyme Q10” by Peter H. Langsjoen, M.D., F.A.C.C., he lists the substantial amount of scientific evidence that supports CoQ10’s benefits. “Internationally, there have been at least nine placebo controlled studies on the treatment of heart disease with CoQ10: two in Japan, two in the United States, two in Italy, two in Germany, and one in Sweden. All nine of these studies have confirmed the effectiveness of CoQ10 as well as it’s remarkable safety. There have now been eight international symposia on the biomedical and clinical aspects of CoQ10 (from 1976 through 1993). These eight symposia comprised over 3000 papers presented by approximately 200 different physicians and scientists from 18 countries.”
“The majority of the clinical studies concerned the treatment of heart disease and were remarkably consistent in their conclusions: that treatment with CoQ10 significantly improved heart muscle function while producing no adverse effects or drug interactions.” There are many CoQ10 supplements on the market today, and it can be difficult to choose the best brand and dosage. CoQ10 is a fat-soluble substance, which means it is more easily absorbed and used by your body in the presence of fat. CoQ10 supplements that include lecithin or another dietary fat will be more effective, and CoQ10 in a softgel form should be in an oil base, usually soybean oil. The dosage most commonly used in research is 30 mg, but higher doses are optimal and may be required to maintain optimal levels as we age. Always remember to consult your health practitioner before taking dietary supplements if you have current health problems or are taking prescription medication.
Now Foods continues to be a leading supplier of high-quality, low cost CoQ10 products. In 1999 and 2003 NOW Foods CoQ10 was voted the best-selling brand in health food stores nationwide, earning the Vity Award from Vitamin Retailer magazine. NOW carries eight different effective potencies of CoQ10, ranging from 30mg to 400mg, in lonzenges, softgels, and vegetable capsules. Many of our formulas are complexed with other synergistic nutrients like vitamin E, selenium, lecithin, and hawthorn for greater absorption and efficiency.
TMG Fact Sheet
December 07, 2005 02:13 PM
TMG Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 03/07/05
LIKELY USERS: People with high homocysteine levels; People with risks of developing Alzheimer’s Disease; People needing greater metabolism of fats; People with liver detoxification challenges; People consuming alcohol KEY INGREDIENTS: TMG is composed of three methyl groups attached to a glycine atom. It can “donate” methyl groups.
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: TMG is a metabolite of the B vitamin family product called Choline. Choline has 4 methyl groups, TMG has 3 and DMG has 2. These substances plus Folic acid, Vitamin B-12 and SAM-e are all methyl donors. Methyl donors can contribute methyl groups to biological processes such as liver function, detoxification and cellular replication (production of new cells). Methylation protects the kidneys and stimulates production of the fat-transporting molecule l-carnitine.
TMG helps the liver metabolize fats, preventing the accumulation of fats in the liver. It also helps to detoxify chemicals in the liver, while protecting the liver from being damaged by those chemicals.
Methylation with TMG helps to convert the dangerous, inflammatory chemical homocysteine into the amino acid methionine. TMG may lower homocysteine when B-6, B-12 and folic acid cannot.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT INFORMATION: TMG is also known as Betaine and is a component of Betaine hydrochloride (Betaine HCl), a stomach acid supplement that is very acidic. But Betaine HCl is not used in the same way as TMG. TMG is not highly acidic and will not supplement low stomach acid.
TMG may be useful for autistic children, along with B-6 and magnesium. It may also be useful in strengthening the body’s immune response against pathogenic bacteria. There is very preliminary evidence that TMG and methyl donors may help against some forms of seizures.
DMG has been used as a sports supplement. TMG is 50% more effective than DMG in any application where the methyl groups are useful. Otherwise, they can used interchangeably.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: One serving per day, or up to 6,000 mg., as needed.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: SAM-e, Milk Thistle (Silymarin), Dr. Verghese’s Liver Detoxifier & Regenerator, Antioxidants, NAC, Homocysteine Regulators, D-Flame, Detox Support
CAUTIONS: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement.
People with Parkinson’s or taking L-dopa should not use methyl donors like TMG without a physician’s specific approval and supervision. There are no other known drug interactions with TMG.
This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim. This is not an official publication by any company, nor has this information been screened or approved by the FDA or any private company.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. REFERENCES:
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Charlton CG, Mack J. Substantia nigra degeneration and tyrosine hydroxylase depletion caused by excess S-adenosylmethionine in the rat brain. Support for an excess methylation hypothesis for parkinsonism. Mol Neurobiol 1994;9:149–61.
Cheng H, Gomes-Trolin C, Aquilonius SM, et al. Levels of L-methionine S-adenosyltransferase activity in erythrocytes and concentrations of S-adenosylmethionine and S-adenosylhomocysteine in whole blood of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Exp Neurol 1997;145:580–5.
Crowell BG Jr, Benson R, Shockley D, Charlton CG. S-adenosyl-L-methionine decreases motor activity in the rat: similarity to Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms. Behav Neural Biol 1993;59:186–93.
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Olthof MR, van Vliet T, Boelsma E, Verhoef P. Low dose betaine supplementation leads to immediate and long term lowering of plasma homocysteine in healthy men and women. J Nutr. 2003 Dec;133(12):4135-8. PMID: 14652361
Olthof MR, Verhoef P. Effects of betaine intake on plasma homocysteine concentrations and consequences for health. Curr Drug Metab. 2005 Feb;6(1):15-22. PMID: 15720203
Schwab U, Torronen A, Toppinen L, Alfthan G, Saarinen M, Aro A, Uusitupa M. Betaine supplementation decreases plasma homocysteine concentrations but does not affect body weight, body composition, or resting energy expenditure in human subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;76(5):961-7. PMID: 12399266
Selhub J. Homocysteine metabolism. Annu Rev Nutr 1999;19:217-46 [review].
van Guldener C, Janssen MJ, de Meer K, et al. Effect of folic acid and betaine on fasting and postmethionine-loading plasma homocysteine and methionine levels in chronic haemodialysis patients. J Intern Med 1999;245:175-83.
Wendel U, Bremer HJ. Betaine in the treatment of homocystinuria due to 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency. Eur J Pediatr 1984;142:147-50.
Wilcken DE, Wilcken B, Dudman NP, Tyrrell PA. Homocystinuria—the effects of betaine in the treatment of patients not responsive to pyridoxine. N Engl J Med 1983;309:448-53.
Wilcken DE, Dudman NP, Tyrrell PA. Homocystinuria due to cystathionine beta-synthase deficiency--the effects of betaine treatment in pyridoxine-responsive patients. Metabolism. 1985 Dec;34(12):1115-21. PMID: 3934499
Babucke G, Sarre B. Clinical experience with betain citrate. Med Klin 1973;68:1109-13 [in German].
Barak AJ, Beckenhauer HC, Badakhsh S, Tuma DJ. The effect of betaine in reversing alcoholic steatosis. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 1997;21:1100-2.
Barak AJ, Beckenhauer HC, Matti J, Tuma DJ. Dietary betaine promotes generation of hepatic S-adenosylmethioine and protects the liver from ethanol-induced fatty infiltration. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 1993;17:552-5.
Barak AJ, Beckenhauer HC, Tuma DJ. Betaine, ethanol, and the liver: a review. Alcohol 1996;13:395-8 [review]. PMID: 8836329
Freed WJ. Prevention of strychnine-induced seizures and death by the N-methylated glycine derivatives betaine, dimethylglycine and sarcosine. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1985 Apr;22(4):641-3. PMID: 2581277
Junnila M, Barak AJ, Beckenhauer HC, Rahko T. Betaine reduces hepatic lipidosis induced by carbon tetrachloride in Sprague-Dawley rats. Vet Hum Toxicol 1998;40:263-6.
Ji C, Kaplowitz N. Betaine decreases hyperhomocysteinemia, endoplasmic reticulum stress, and liver injury in alcohol-fed mice. Gastroenterology. 2003 May;124(5):1488-99. PMID: 12730887
Kettunen H, Tiihonen K, Peuranen S, Saarinen MT, Remus JC. Dietary betaine accumulates in the liver and intestinal tissue and stabilizes the intestinal epithelial structure in healthy and coccidia-infected broiler chicks. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2001 Nov;130(4):759-69. PMID: 11691612
Kim SK, Kim YC, Kim YC. Effects of singly administered betaine on hepatotoxicity of chloroform in mice. Food Chem Toxicol 1998;36:655-61.
McCarty MF. Co-administration of equimolar doses of betaine may alleviate the hepatotoxic risk associated with niacin therapy. Med Hypotheses. 2000 Sep;55(3):189-94. PMID: 10985907
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Autism & Seizures:
Rimland B. Seizures, Vitamin B6, DMG, and Sudden Speech. Autism Research Review International. 1996;10(2):1.
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Vitamin B6/DMG. Letters to the Editor, Autism Research Interview International. 1994;8(2):6.
Reap EA, Lawson JW. Stimulation of the immune response by dimethylglycine, a nontoxic metabolite. J Lab Clin Med. Apr1990;115(4):481-6.
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Sytrinol can lower Cholesterol by 27% - 34%
September 20, 2005 09:56 AM
Sytrinol – MultiPronged Heart Health
According to the American Heart Association, more than 60 million Americans suffer from on of more forms of cardiovascular imbalances. When we add in those individuals with blood cholesterol concerns, we see over 100 million Americans who may be in need of specific diet and lifestyle recommendations for achieving and maintaining heart health.
Aside from the generalized recommendations that we typically hear for heart health (lose weight, exercise more, and eat less fat and more fruits and vegetables) There are a number of potentially beneficial dietary supplements that may help to maintain cholesterol levels in the normal range. Among supplements there is a wide range of safety and efficacy between products—but a newer product called Sytrinol stands out for its clinical effectiveness.
Sytrinol is a patented blend of polymethoxylated flavones (from citrus) and tocotrienols (from palm fruit). One of the factors that sets Sytrinol apart from existing natural products for heart health is its multipronged approach to controlling multiple factors related to overall heart health—including control of cholesterol, cellular irritation, oxidation, triglycerides, and others.
While it is unarguable that cholesterol is an important contributor to overall heart health, it couldn’t be further from the truth that cholesterol is the “only” or even the most important factor when it comes to protecting your heart. Did you know that approximately HALF of all serious heart challenges each year are experienced by people with NORMAL cholesterol levels? If Cholesterol is not to blame, then what is?
In addition to total cholesterol levels (the “number” that you may know as 200 to 240 of other values in “mg/dl” units), we know how that LDL and HDL matter a lot (Low-density lipoprotein—the “bad” cholesterol, and High-density lipoprotein—the “good” cholesterol). We also know that some forms of the bad and LDL can be “Badder” than others—specifically those with lots of structural protein called “apolipoprotein B” (which tends to encourage LDL cholesterol to become embedded in your blood vessel linings—bad!). In addition to our total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and the various apoproteins, we also need to know our triglyceride levels, our levels of cellular irritation, what our free radical load looks like, and what our antioxidant defenses are. Sytrinol addresses each of these important aspects of heart and health simultaneously.
The Sytrinol Solution
Polymethoxylated Flavones (PMFs) in Sytrinol are just what they sound like – flavonoid compounds with extra methoxy groups compared to “regular flavones. Like all flavonoids, the PMFs deliver potent antioxidant activity, but the PMF version is about three times more potent in its ability to address cholesterol levels (20% - 30% reduction in clinical Studies). The two primary PMFs are nobiletin and tangeretin.
In addition to the PMFs, Sytrinol contains palm tocotrienols—one of the most potent antioxidant nutrients known. An interesting effect of tocotrienols is a reduction in cholesterol synthesis in the liver—by a mechanism similar to (but safer than) the commonly utilized mechanism of inhibition of the HMG-CoA Reductase Enzyme.
Sytrinol is known to work via several unique mechanisms to reduce triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL). First, by reducing DGAT activity (Diacylglycerol acetyl transferase) and increasing liver PPAR (Peroxisome porliferator-activated receptor)—Sytrinol can reduce overall synthesis of TG (DGAT inhibition). The overall effect is to reduce TG levels in the blood by two complementary mechanisms.
In terms of LDL effects, Sytrinol also reduces both Apolipoprotein B levels (ApoB—needed for the synthesis of LDL particles) and MTTP levels (microsomal triglyceride transfer protein-needed to transfer fat into the new LDL particles). By reducing levels of both these tructural LDL components, Sytrinol reduces overall LDL levels, and thus total cholesterol levels, in the blood.
The clinical results behind Sytrinol are impressive—showing a reduction in levels of total, LDL, and triglycerides by 27% - 34% within 4 weeks. In one of these studies, ApoB levels were reduced (suggesting reduced LDL) and ApoA1 levels were increased (suggesting increased HDL)—as would be expected based on the biochemistry of PMFs and tocotrienols.
Sytrinol is also wonderfully safe—and at the effective dose of 300mg daily, users will benefit from its multipronged effects. One aspect of Sytrinol safety that I especially like is the finding that, unlike some flavonoids like naringin from grapefruit, there are no known risks of drug interactions with the form of citrus derived PMFs found in Sytrinol (certain grapefruit flavonoids can interfere with liver enzymes needed to metabolize many prescription drugs).
Not since Red Yeast Rice was removed from the market by the FDA, have we had a truly effective, multimechanism solution for cholesterol control (and nearly total heart health). There are certainly other options for addressing heart health and cholesterol levels, but among the available choices, such as policosanol, guggulipid, niacin, and plant sterols, we’re looking at about half the cholesterol-lowering ability (10% - 15% in most cases) compared to Sytrinol. If youre in the “borderline” zone of cholesterol levels (about 240mg/dl and below), you should absolutely consider Sytrinol to keep your cholesterol levels under control.
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Manthey JA, Grohmann K, Montanari A, Ash K, Manthey CL, Polymethoxylated flavones derived from citrus suppress tumor necrosis factor-alpha expression by human moncytes. J Nat Prod. 1999 mar;62(3)441-4.
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Takanaga H, Ohnishi A, Yamada S, Matsuo H, Morimoto S, Shoyama Y, Ohtani H, Sawada Y. Polymethoxylated flavones in orange juice are inhibitors of P-glycoprotein but not cytochrome P450 3A4. J Pharmacol exp. Ther. 2000 Apr;293(1):230-6.
By: Shawn M. Talbott, PH.D.
Disclaimer: The above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competent licensed professional health care provider. The information in this article has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Fight Hay Fever - Help Your Sinus...
July 11, 2005 09:15 PM
The National Institute of Health’s branch of Allergy and Infectious Diseases re p o rt that 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from allergies in one form or another. Many experience food allergies that a re treated somewhat diff e rently from hay fever allergies. Hay fever comes from airborne allergens, generally from pollen or pollutants.
The symptoms of allergy occur when an immune system is overactive. The immune system often recognizes something as foreign and treats it as foreign by attacking it, when in fact it really isn’t a substance the body should be concern e d with. This over-activity of the immune system leads to the release of substances including histamine that cause the symptoms of hay fever.
The most common symptoms include a runny nose and itching eyes and scratchy throat. Sometimes, an allergy will precede a sinus infection by causing swelling in the nasal membranes preventing fluids f rom exiting the sinus passages. An infection then ensues. However, most people who feel pressure over their sinuses, never develop an infection and so can be adequately treated with the supplements mentioned here. Many people experience a tickle or a shallow cough that comes from the throat rather than the lungs. They may also experience a change in emotions, becoming quite irritable or moody.
These airborne allergies can often be g rouped by season. Those people sensitive to tree pollens usually have more severe allergies in the springtime. Those sensitive to grasses are often worse in mid-summer. Those allergic to weeds have their symptoms peak in the fall. There are some unfortunate people who have allergies all summer long who may be allergic to a few plants in each group. Those who have symptoms of allerg i e s all winter long probably are allergic to molds and mildew or household animals and dust mites. On occasion, it takes a real detective to determine from where the allergies come.
There are several methods used to diagnose a cause of an allergy. In a scratch test, drops of an allergen are put on small scratches on the arm or the back. Are action is considered positive if swelling or redness occur around the scratch. A blood sample can also be used to meas ure antibody response to certain allergens. It is often helpful to determine the allergen which cause the hayfever to reduce the symptoms. There are also practitioners who use kinesiology or electronic devices to determine the cause of allergies.
The most common treatment of allergies is with antihistamines. Their side effects include drowsiness and drying of the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth. Many of the newer prescription antihistamines don’t cause drying but often have serious drug interactions and the consumer must be very careful in combining the prescription antihistamines with antifungal drugs, and blood thinning as well as asthma medication. There are some natural products that can be taken to decrease allergy symptoms. They are often equally effective without the side effects of antihistamines.
One of the more popular is quercetin. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in red apples, red onions, brussels sprouts, kale, peas, bell peppers, pears and asparagus. It is also found in bee pollen and propolis, two plant materials found in the beehive. It is possible to consume a fair amount of quercetin through your diet. If you have allergies, however, diet is often not enough and you may need a supplement to get enough quercetin to ontrol your symptoms. It appears quercetin decreases allergic symptoms by stopping the release of histamine. If you start taking quercetin and other nutritional supplements I will mention below before an allergy attack, they are likely to be more effective. However, don’t let that discourage you from taking them even after the symptoms have started. A common dose is 300mg to 600mg per day.
Bromelain is a nutrient often extracted f rom pineapple. Found in many digestive formulas, it is an enzyme that helps absorption. If it is found in a combination formula, chances are, it is there to help with the absorption of the other nutrients such as quercetin. Bromelain also has an anti-inflammatory effect. When someone develops allergy symptoms, part of the reason is due to the inflammatory response to substances such as histamine that are released as the allergy takes hold. This causes inflammation in the tissues which then manifests with redness and swelling.
Vitamin C is useful in many conditions including hay fever. Higher doses are often required in the treatment of allergies: 2,000mg is beneficial and you can take up to 4,000mg or more during acute symptoms. It also stabilizes capillaries, reducing the swelling in the throat, nasal passages and around the eyes. If you are taking a multi-vitamin or a combination product that contains Vitamin C, I still recommend additional supplementation.
Stinging nettle is probably a plant many a re familiar with, especially if it has come into contact with your skin, but it also has an historical use in the treatment of allergy. In fact, in double blind studies it was shown to decrease the symptoms of allergy, specifically runny nose.
The active component of the ephedra herb is ephedrine, an alkaloid. It is used in OTC asthma medication. As a natural herb, ephedra in small doses can be v e ry useful in decreasing the symptoms of colds, asthma, cough and in this case, hay fever. It is in many Chinese and American formulas that I use and I feel v e ry comfortable using 100mg to 200mg of ephedra that contain small doses of 2.5mg to 8mg of ephedra alkaloids per day. I feel comfortable using dosages of up to 15mg of ephedra alkaloids .
Feverfew is another herb with a variety of uses. You will find it in headache formulas, in fever reducing formulas, and many hay fever formulas. Like bromelain, it has an anti-inflammatory effect and reduces the swelling that occurs during a hay fever attack.
Homeopathic formulas can also be useful to reduce hay fever. There is no re ason why the herbs I’ve mentioned cannot be combined with homeopathic formulas. You may want to take them at separate times of the day.
So, if you suffer from hay fever, don’t give up. You can use these nutrients singly or in combination. You can take a formula that contains all of them and then add to that additional vitamin C for instance, or additional nettle. It may require trial and error to find the right amounts in combination that will work for you.
Echinacea - Choosing The Ideal Immune Support
June 30, 2005 09:27 AM
Echinacea By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt Echinacea, pronounced ek-i-NAY-see-a, is one herb that has become a “household” name in the 1990’s. Many refer to it as “Purple Cone Flower” because of its large purple daisy petals, which contain a hard and spiny center cone. These spines probably give the plant its name, since sea animals with spines are called “echinoderms”. Echinacea is indigenous to the U.S., and can be found both growing wild in many areas as well as in cultivated gardens. There are actually nine different species of the plant; two are most popular as remedies: Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea. Echinacea has a long history of use by Native Americans, who have utilized the herb for a wide variety of treatments ranging from stings, poisoning, toothaches and swollen glands to colds and sore throats. It has also been touted as an ideal natural remedy for snake bites. In particular, the benefit of Echinacea as a treatment for snake bites brought national attention to the herb in the last half of the 1800’s. Dr. H.F.C. Meyer of Pawnee City, Nebraska first tried to interest Eclectic Physicians (doctors who used natural medicines) to use Echinacea as an herbal remedy for snake bites by volunteering to be bitten by a rattlesnake to prove its effectiveness. Although his dramatic offer was rejected, his enthusiasm and concerted efforts led to renewed interest and investigative studies on Echinacea, resulting in the herb’s emergence as one of the most popular natural plant therapies by the turn of the century.
Extensive studies on Echinacea’s medicinal properties continue to mirror the earlier usages of the herb as experienced by indigenous people. In fact, Echinacea is part of the official materia medica listed in the German Commission E. Monographs, a universally recognized publication reputed to be the official information authority on herbal medicines. The Commission lists a number of medicinal applications for Echinacea as an ideal treatment for such conditions as colds, chronic infections of the respiratory tract and lower urinary tract ailments, as well as topically for chronic ulcerations and slow healing wounds.
Echinacea has been shown to be a potent immune system stimulant. Nature’s Answer® offers an outstanding Echinacea fluid herbal extract formula in a unique blend that contains both Echinacea angustifolia root and Echinacea purpurea whole plant. Fluid extracts that feature both whole plant and root parts in the formula insure that the highest levels of the whole herb’s active constituents are maintained. A further advantage to this kind of supplement lies in its delivery system– liquids are faster to absorb and easier to assimilate by the body than tablets or capsules. Nature’s Answer®’s Echinacea formulas are available in either alcohol-free or organic alcohol forms. In addition, the alcohol-free supplements are also offered in a tasty grape or tangy orange flavor.
Two popular blends featuring Echinacea with other supportive herbs are Immune Boost™ and Re-Zist™. Immune Boost™ combines Echinacea with Wild Indigo and Maitake Mushroom. Re-Zist™ contains Echinacea, Goldenseal, Wild Indigo, Cayenne and Myrrh for potent support.
Echinacea is also recognized for its ability to enhance the resistance of cells to viruses, especially when used after cells have been exposed to colds and flus. As a preventative, formulas such as Nature’s Answer®’s Echinacea/Goldenseal (alcohol-free, organic alcohol) are ideal. This is an excellent supplement for soothing sore throats and helping to shrink swollen glands. An added benefit to the formula is the presence to berberine, the active ingredient in Goldenseal, which provides further wellness enhancement.
Many studies have focused on Echinacea’s possible use for ailments such as psoriasis and early rheumatoid arthritis. The herb also acts as an overall anti-inflammatory tonic. Nature’s Answer®’s Blood Support™ (alcohol-free) combines Echinacea with Dandelion, Licorice and other herbs for an anti-inflammatory effect. Allertone™ (alcohol-free) blends Echinacea with Mullein Leaf to help support the respiratory and sinus areas.
Most herbal practitioners suggest using Echinacea for short-term periods. There has been evidence to suggest that the herb loses its effectiveness when used over longer periods of time. Also, in the case of autoimmune illnesses, some people believe Echinacea may OVER-stimulate the immune system, although there is no solid research to back this contention. Echinacea is probably most effective if used in frequent doses for 5-7 days at the early onset of symptoms. It may also serve as a preventative during periods after known exposure or during extra stress, taking it two to three times a day every other or every third day. The German Commission E lists no known drug interactions or side effects with Echinacea. It is indeed one of the safest and most effective herbs for natural immune support today.
Echinacea seems well suited to life in the 90’s with all the stresses upon our immune systems. Its importance and effectiveness as an immune stimulant is as true today as it was in 1927 when Dr. Liebstein stated:
“Nature has probably destined Echinacea to be used for remedial purposes only, as a sustainer of vitality, an organizer of the defensive powers of the system, to such an extent as to be justly crowned the greatest immunizing agent in the entire vegetable kingdom....” written in 1927 by Dr. A. M. Liebstein (Foster, 1991)
GPC (GlyceroPhosphoCholine) Versatile Life Support Nutrient ....
June 21, 2005 05:25 PM
Parris Kidd, Ph.D.
GPC or GlyceroPhosphoCholine (pronounced gli-sero-fos-fo-ko-lean) is a nutrient with many different roles in human health. It reaches extremely high concentrations within our cells, and its abundance in mother's milk suggests it is crucial to life processes. Clinically, GPC has been most intensively researched for its brain benefits. Biologically, it has great importance for the skeletal "voluntary" muscles, the autonomic nervous system, kidneys, liver, and reproductive organs. GPC goes beyond being a brain nutrient; it is a nutrient for vitality and long life.
As a dietary supplement, GPC's brain benefits are unique. It boosts mental performance in healthy young people, as shown by three double-blind trials. In trials on middle aged subjects, GPC improved several physiologic measures of mental performance: reaction time, visual evoked potential, and EEG delta slow waves. In the elderly, GPC improves mental performance and provides noticeable revitalisation. In 11 human trials with 1,799 patients, memory, attention, and other cognitive measures improved. So did mood (including irritability and emotional lability), and patients often developed renewed interest in relatives and friends. GPC was well tolerated, and generated no bad drug interactions. A large trial on elderly subjects with memory challenges published in 2003 concluded GPC had significant benefits for these individuals.
Circulatory deprivation or surgery can challenge healthy brain function. GPC can speed recovery and support improved quality of life. In four trials with GPC on 2,804 subjects who experienced difficulties under these circumstances, up to 95% showed good or excellent improvement. GPC consistently improved space-time orientation, degree of consciousness, language, motor capacity, and overall quality of life. The investigators concluded GPC offered marked benefits, with an excellent benefit-to-risk profile. Up to half of patients who survive bypass surgery experience problems with memory and other mental performance. A double-blind trial conducted with bypass survivors for six months determined that the GPC group had no remaining memory deterioration, while the placebo group failed to improve.
GPC supports human health through a variety of mechanisms:
1. It helps keep choline and acetylcholine available to the tissues. Choline is an essential nutrient and GPC appears to be the body's main choline reservoir. GPC in mother's milk represents the baby's main source of dietary choline. Acetylcholine (ACh) is an important substance employed extensively throughout the body. ACh is a major brain transmitter; the motor nerves use ACh to drive the skeletal ("voluntary") muscles; the autonomic nervous system uses it to pace all the organs. ACh is also central to mental and physical endurance, and mind-body coordination.
2. GPC is a major cell-level protectant, not as another antioxidant but in pivotal roles of osmotic pressure regulator and metabolic antitoxin. GPC for osmotic regulation can reach very high concentrations in the kidney, bladder, liver, brain, and other organs. As metabolic protectant, GPC shields proteins against urea buildup.
3. GPC is a major reservoir for cell membrane omega-3 phospholipids. These substances are the major building blocks for cell membranes. Enzymes couple GPC with the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, to make the phospholipid PC-DHA. This makes membranes especially fluid, enabling membrane proteins to perform with better efficiency. GPC produces PC-DHA in the skeletal muscles, wherein fluidity is essential for contraction. Muscles that function abnormally can show GPC deficiency.
4. GPC contributes to both male and female in reproduction. As spermatozoa mature, GPC is used to make PC-DHA that makes their membranes fluid to enable motility. With men, the lower their semen GPC the greater the likelihood of poor sperm motility and with it, infertility. Once semen is inserted into the female, an enzyme in uterine secretions breaks down the semen's GPC into substances that energize the sperm to achieve fertilization.
Oral intake of GPC in the clinical trials was usually 1,200 milligrams (mg) per day, taken early in the day on an empty stomach. A reasonable dietary supplementation regimen is 1200 mg/day, taken in divided doses (AM and PM) between meals for 15-30 days, and thereafter 600 mg/day for maintenance. Symptomatic subjects can take 1200 mg/day until adequate improvement is achieved. Young, healthy subjects may experience benefit from daily intakes as low as 300 milligrams. GPC is very safe, being compatible with vitamins and nutrients and with pharmaceuticals. In clinical trial comparisons, GPC's benefits surpassed the nutrients acetylcarnitine and CDP-choline.
GPC is unmatched for its support of active living and healthy aging. In some 23 clinical trials GPC improved mental performance in all functional categories. GPC can revitalize the aging brain, facilitating growth hormone (GH) release and boosting nerve growth factor actions. GPC's ample presence in human mother's milk suggests it could be conditionally essential. By supporting mental integrity, mind-body integration, the autonomic system, and the body's other organs, GPC enhances the active lifestyle. GPC is remarkable nutritional support for optimal health at any age.
Parris M. Kidd, PhD is a cell biologist trained at the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco. Since entering the dietary supplement field in 1983, he has published many in-depth reviews of integrative medicine in the journal Alternative Medicine Reviews, and is science columnist for totalhealth magazine. Dr. Kidd is internationally recognized for his accomplishments in dietary supplement product development, documentation and quality control.
Disclaimer: the above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competent licensed professional health care provider.
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: