Search Term: " EXOTIC "
Exotic spice saffron found to be safer, more effective thanantidepressants
April 23, 2019 02:51 PM
Saffron has been used for centuries in treating various ailments both mentally and physically. Recent studies are showing support in the fact that this exotic spice can do wonders for those who are suffering from depressive symptoms. In fact, a recent control group proved that when people take adequate amounts of saffron on a routine basis, it has the ability to alleviate their symptoms just as much as mainstream antidepressants such as Prozac and other serotonin inhibitors.
"Along with the growing rates of depression, the use of antidepressant medication has continued to skyrocket. Some 2013 estimates from the CDC reveal that usage of these drugs increased by upwards of 400 percent in just 25 years."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-27-exotic-spice-saffron-safer-more-effective-antidepressants.html
Forget superfoods! Expert reveals the ten super HERBS that can help relieve stress, improve ...
October 13, 2017 01:14 PM
There are many kinds of herbs out there and they help with many ailments. People have used them for millennia in teas and other forms. This talks about stress relief. It gives 10 of the best herbs for this. Stress is a huge problem so it helps to have something to relieve it. Many lives will be improved by this. These herbs ave other great benefits as well so should be part of a healthy diet.
"Most of us know the benefits of superfoods such as broccoli, kale and goji berries. But now, an expert has revealed how superherbs - such as holy basil, astragalus, and nettle leaves - can significantly improve our health."
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4948922/Ten-super-HERBS-improve-health.html
Ancient beauty rituals that work, and where to try them
December 08, 2016 12:59 PM
Not all beauty treatments are the work of white-coated scientists toiling in ultra-clean laboratories. Thanaka powder, which comes from grinding the wood and bark of the thanaka tree, has long been used on the face to brighten the complexion and shield the skin against free radicals, polluted air and harmful UV rays. Argan oil was traded as a coveted beauty agent in and around the Mediterranean area in 12 BC. The Berber women of southern Morocco were known for their EXOTIC beauty, and their secret was applying this golden oil regularly to their faces, nails, hair and body.
"The fact that some of these have been around for thousands of years is surely a good sign they actually work."
When energy drinks contained real (radioactive) energy
November 19, 2016 08:14 AM
When you grab an energy drink you expect it to provide you with an uplifting mood and alleviate tiredness for the next few hours. It isn't actual radioactive energy that you think about, but what if your drink actually contained traces of this substance? What you learn in this article might shock you but it is important to know.
"Today, the energy drink market is occupied by drink formulations that rely on the stimulant caffeine to invigorate their customers and provide them with the enhanced "energy" that they seek. Caffeine -- the commonplace ingredient in coffee, tea, chocolate and cola -- may not be as EXOTIC as radium, but it actually is a stimulant, so customers do feel energized, and it isn't very dangerous to health."
Do Food Cravings Actually Mean Anything?
Food cravings are the surest way to ruin our best health intentions. Whether it be cravings for chocolate, cakes, fresh baked bread or other more EXOTIC cravings, they impact nearly everyone that starts a new health program or diet. While cravings typically are at their worst in the first ten to fourteen days of a new, healthy lifestyle, don't be surprised to find them resurfacing any time you feel stressed, fatigued or anxious. Food is one of the quickest ways for the body to re-ground itself and the body will instinctively crave foods that through past habits have become associated with a pleasurable experience.Many people hold this opinion about food addiction and have heard it being spread around like wild fire. Giving in to the craving fills us with guilt and sometimes self hatred for not having the ability to overcome this craving. Our self-esteem lowers and we hear that little voice in our heads tell us what failures we are. This further lowers our self-esteem and so we satisfy our cravings because that food make us "feel better."
Ways to Deal with Cravings
What Is the Malibu Miracle Weight Loss Program?
If you want to shed some pounds quickly and easily, then Malibu Miracle weight loss program is what you need. The EXOTIC berry Malibu Miracle formula produces amazing noticeable results that will get you slimming sooner than you thought. Malibu Miracle contains a blend of highly effective and concentrated blend of succulent fruits including Gogi, Noni, Mangosteen, Pomegranate and Acai. With this, you can have a wholesome nutrition that will support your body cleansing as well as experience an exhilarated state of well-being. Malibu Miracle juice is delicious and is charged with metabolism-supporting botanicals which include L-Carnitine, Super Citimax, Green Tea, Red wine, prebiotic fructooligosaccharides and Grape seed extract.
How Does The Malibu Miracle Weight Loss Program Work?
The Malibu Miracle formula contains oxygen-enhanced revitalized water that has vitality-enhancing, rehydrating and energizing properties that work naturally. That way, you can experience superior hydration, cellular health as well as an improved body health. However, when managing your weight, don’t expect miracles to happen from nowhere. It will take your hard work, determination, healthy diet and exercise program for you to realize the desired results. Malibu Miracle only serves as a supplement for a comprehensive diet and exercise program. Malibu Miracle’s line has cutting-edge formulas that will produce lightning-fast results for better living. It is amazing how you can be on your way to an improved body size and shape in as little as 48 hours. The products contain EXOTIC natural ingredients that are combined with the latest advancements in weight nutrition. In addition to that, the Malibu Miracle juice is incredibly sweet so you have every reason to buy one for your weight loss program.
Where Malibu Miracle 48-hour juice didn’t do better, the EXOTIC Oxyjuice introduced Ultra Malibu Miracle. The breakthrough juice fast program comes in 6,000 mg each of real antioxidant-rich red super fruit juices ranging from Mangosteen, Noni, Goji, Pomegranate and Acai. These combination of juices kick-start the rapid weight loss in your body and also deliver nutrients which catalyze cascading full-body cleansing. On top of that, the Ultra Malibu Miracle contains Slendesta - a potato protein extract with ultimate appetite control properties- which helps you feel full and completely satisfied all day long.
All other competing juice fasting products can’t match Malibu Miracle and Ultra Malibu’s ability to deliver excellent results. These two products work great in suppressing appetite, providing anti-oxidant protection, supplying health-supporting nutrients and cutting weight within the shortest time. All that is contained in the lusciously delicious and mixed-berry juice concentrates.
Does Malibu Miracle Have Any Side Effects?
Malibu Miracle contains no artificial colors nor sweeteners. All the ingredients are naturally sourced and so you should expect minimal or no side effects while on your weight loss program. It is always advisable that during juice fasting diet, you abstain from food, alcohol, caffeine and smoking. Juice fasting is not recommended for pregnant women, lactating mothers or people with medical conditions or those that are on medication of any kind.
As with all diets, results might vary with each individual. It also depends on how much you exercise so you need to balance things out to get the desired results. However, it is important to remember that juice fasting for consecutive 48-hour periods is not recommended.
Why Is Acai, Goji, Pomegranate, Noni And Mangosteen Called Super Fruits?
January 15, 2013 04:55 PM
Health Benefits Of Super Fruits
"Super fruits" is an idiom that is frequently used to refer fruits that have extraordinary antioxidant and nutrient qualities and provides benefits over and above the basic nutrition. EXOTIC fruits such as acai berries, goji berries, mangosteen, noni and pomegranate have earned this distinguished status. These fruits have exceptional amounts of vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals that play a significant role in preventing various diseases.
Each of these super fruits restrains its own distinctive set of properties that prove to be extremely beneficial for the overall health of the body.
Health Benefits Associated With Super Fruits:
Acai berry is a rich source of dietary fiber, protein and a compound called anthocyanins. It also includes high levels of omega-6 as well as omega-9 fatty acids, which are believed to have a protective effect on the cardiovascular system and heart. In addition, the anthocyanins compound present in the acai berry helps in lowering the blood cholesterol level.
This fruit is abundantly grown in south Asian and due to its fine flavor it is also referred to as "The Queen of Fruits". Mangosteen retains high levels of phytochemicals known as xanthones that offer this fruit a unique medicinal property which is not found in other common fruits. Mangosteen also includes other powerful natural compounds such as polysaccharides, catechins, quinones, polyphenols and stilbenes. Each of these compounds are believed to be effectual in preventing diseases such as, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, kidney stones, glaucoma, cataract, Alzheimer's, neuralgia etc. The fruit is also used to treat aging, depression, obesity, allergies, skin diseases, ulcers, fevers, diarrhea and pain.
Noni juice is known to restrain more than 150 nutrients, including protein, all the essential amino acids, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E, minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium and potassium, polysaccharides, phytonutrients and digestive enzymes. Noni is one of the most unique super fruits. Noni juice can help to normalize blood sugar levels; decrease inflammation, arthritis and joint pain; enhance digestive function, cleanse colon, remove parasites; reduce irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, constipation and menstrual cramps; prevents gastric ulcers; relives pain, mental depression and atherosclerosis.
Goji Berry Juice:
This miraculous berry is rich in polysaccharides. It also includes fiber, 18 amino acids, 21 minerals, Vitamins A, C, B, & E, protein and Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Goji juice is a potent antioxidant that prevents premature aging. It also stabilizes molecules called free radicals that damage the DNA and gives rise to several diseases. Moreover, Goji juice helps in reducing the risk of cancer by averting DNA mutation, curtailing growth of tumors and by managing the peroxidation of lipids. This distinctive fruit helps to relieve insomnia and headache, improve functions of the heart, assist in digestion, aid to regulate weight, promote sexual health, improve fertility, enhance memory functions, and alleviate dry cough.
Pomegranate is one of the oldest known super fruits. It is rich in vitamins A, B and C, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium and sodium. Pomegranates are very high in dietary fiber which boosts the digestive system. Additionally, medical evidences reveal that a unique amalgamation of polyphenols found in pomegranate helps to lower LDL or bad cholesterol in the blood which eventually benefits the heart. Moreover, pomegranate's natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties aid to slow down the development of cancer especially, prostate and lung cancer.
Overall, super fruits are extremely valuable for our body due to its high anti-oxidant and nutrient content that helps to reinforce the body's natural defenses and make it healthier and less prone to most type of diseases.
The Benefits of White Tea!!
November 23, 2012 01:25 PM
White tea is a special variety of lightly oxidized tea which has undergone very little processing. It is originally native to China and in recent times it has been cultivated in Nepal, Thailand and Taiwan. White tea has been popular in China for over a thousand years and was the preferred drink of the rich elite of the nation. It came into prominence during the reign of the Soong dynasty. It was considered precious and was presented as tribute to the Emperor.
According to legend Emperor Hui Zong lost most of his kingdom in his pursuit for the perfect white tea. White tea is an integral part of Chinese history and was a part of many of their traditional ceremonies. The rest of the world has only recently adopted this EXOTIC beverage.
How Is It Produced?
White tea is derived from the Cammelia senensis plant and takes lot of time and effort to produce properly. The leaves and buds of the plant are carefully steamed and subsequently dried. It is not processed or rolled extensively like black or green tea. This makes white tea lightly oxidized and this unprocessed quality may be the reason for its numerous health benefits. We look at some of the health benefits associated with white tea.
An Antioxidant And More!
White tea contains antioxidants which help in protecting the body from harmful free radicals. These free radicals accelerate aging and damage DNA. White tea has substances which are effective against malignant cells and can help treat stomach, colon and prostate cancers. Flavonoids are a special variety of antioxidants which restrict the growth and development of cancerous cells. White tea has been shown to help in lowering blood pressure and promoting arterial functioning. It causes a reduction in the consistency of the blood and promotes smooth blood circulation. It protects against stroke by promoting a healthy circulatory system.
Active Ingredient Catechins:
Catechins are another group of antioxidants, which can help regulate cholesterol levels in the body. These antioxidants reduce bad cholesterol and prevent the arteries from hardening. White tea drinkers are reported to have greater strength and bone density. Also drinking white tea has shown positive effects for people suffering from bone related disorders like osteoporosis and arthritis.
This tea provides natural defensive against viruses and bacteria. It is conducive for the health of the immune system and provides protection against a variety of immune disorders. White tea contains small amounts of fluoride compounds which help keep your teeth healthy and clean. It eliminates the bacteria responsible for bad breath, tooth decay and plaque. It removes free radicals from the tissue and reverses the effects of weather, stress and poor dietary preferences to give you healthy glowing skin. White tea has many other health benefits to offer.
Its consumption is linked to increase in metabolism, weight loss and reduction in the symptoms associated with type-2 diabetes. White tea is a natural product free from excessive processing and harmful chemicals. It offers many health benefits and does not cause any harmful side effects. It is slowly gaining popularity as a health supplement among the global population.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Saffron Extract?
March 26, 2012 08:01 AM
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SAFFRON EXTRACT
Saffron is one of the rarest and EXOTIC spices found on the earth. Golden spice is the other name given to saffron, attributing to its reddish-golden color. It is the most common spice used in many Indian,Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. This culinary and EXOTIC spice grows on a flowering plant- Crocus Sativa. It is grown in various countries around the world including many Asian and European countries. Areas with hot dry summers and wet springs are the most suitable areas for growing Saffron. While saffron is popular for its flavor, color and fragrance, this rare spice also, has many medicinal and health benefits. Saffron is a very expensive spice and this is mainly because of the fact, that for making 1gram of Saffron strands 150 flowers are required.
Mineral present in Saffron extract -
Saffron extract contains high amounts of copper, magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, iron, and selenium. It is also a rich source of various vitamins like- vitamin A, B2 and C, niacin and folic acid. Apart from these Saffron also contains carotenoid compounds - crocetin, lycopeneand, safranel and crocin.
The various health benefits of Saffron are -
1) Cancer Treatment- Because of the presence of crocetin and carotenoid in Saffron, it has anti-mutagenic and anti-tumor properties. Several studies on Saffron extract have proved that Saffron extract delays papilloma carcinogenisis and tumor growth. Because of all these properties, Saffron extract can be used for treating and preventing skin cancer, liver cancer and sarcoma.
2) Anti-inflammatory properties- Saffron have anti-inflammatory properties and therefore it can be used in treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. It is capable of controlling inflammation and healing cuts and burns faster.
3) Potent aphrodisiac- For last many centuries, Saffron has been used as a “POTENT APHRODISIAC” inPersiaand many other Arabian countries. It can increase libido and improve erectile dysfunction by increasing the flow of blood in the pelvic region.
4) Eye Care- Several studies have proved that Saffron extract can treat certain eye problems like- macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. Saffron also protects the eyes from the harmful effects UV rays.
5) Anti-Depressants- Saffron extract can also be used in the treatment of patients suffering from depression. Researches have shown that Saffron gives equal results as given by therapeutic drugs like imipramine and fluoxetine.
6) Painkiller- Saffron extract can be used for treating many severe painful conditions like- stomach pain, menstrual pain, and kidney pain.
7) Weight loss- Researches have shown that Saffron can suppress the feeling of hunger, by controlling the percentage of serotonin content in the blood. Therefore, Saffron is used in many weight loss programs, as it can reduce the compulsion to eat and feelings of hunger.
8) Skin- Saffron contains antioxidants, and therefore it is used in many beauty and anti-aging treatments.
9) Saffron during Pregnancy- During pregnancy, women are advised to drink Saffron milk, in order to enhance their pelvic blood flow. Also, due to its Carminative properties it helps in suppressing cramps.
Gas and bloating are very common problems during pregnancy and just one glass of Saffron milk can reduce flatulence and ease digestion.
Oregon Grape Extract
August 11, 2009 01:21 PM
Oregon grape is an evergreen shrub that is related to the barberry plant. The Oregon grape is not closely related to grapes, but it gets its name from the purple clusters of berries. The color and slightly duster appearance is similar to that of grapes. Often, it is referred to as the “tall Oregon grape” in order to distinguish it from the “creeping Oregon grape” and “dwarf Oregon grape.” The Oregon grape grows approximately one to five meters tall. It has leathery leaves that resemble holly and stems and twigs that have a thick, corky appearance. The flowers, which grow in late spring, are a bright yellow color. This plant is often used in landscaping similarly to barberry. The plant is suited for low-maintenance plantings and loose hedges. This plant is resistant to summer drought, tolerates poor soils, and does not create excessive leaf litter. The berries of the Oregon grape attract birds.
The purplish-black fruits found on the Oregon grape plant are quite tart and contain large seeds. Sometimes, they are used locally and mixed with Salal to make jelly. The fruit is bitter and generally not eaten unless it is sweetened first. The leaves of the Oregon grape are holly-like and resist wilting. For this reason, the foliage is often used by florists for greenery. Additionally, the inner bark of the larger stems and roots yield a yellow dye.
The Oregon grape plant grows natively on the North American west coast from British Columbia to northern California. It is also the state flower of Oregon. In some areas outside of its native range, this plant has been classified as an invasive EXOTIC species that may displace native vegetation. Oregon grape tonics were first introduced as a medicinal remedy in the late nineteenth century. The herb was marketed as a blood purifier.
Oregon grape is well known for the treatment of skin diseases that are caused by toxins in the blood. This is because it stimulates the action of the liver. It is also one of the best blood cleansers. This herb is also mildly stimulates thyroid function. This herb aids in the assimilation of nutrients, promotes digestions, and is a tonic for all glands. The rhizome and root of the Oregon grape plant are used to provide alterative, antiseptic, blood purifier, cholagogue, hepatic, nephritis, nutritive, and mild purgative properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are copper, manganese, silicon, sodium, vitamin C, and zinc. Primarily, Oregon grape is extremely beneficial in treating acne, blood conditions, blood impurities, eczema, jaundice, liver disorders, psoriasis, and staph infections. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with rheumatoid arthritis, bronchitis, chronic constipation, hepatitis, herpes, intestinal problems, kidney problems, leucorrhea, lymphatic problems, rheumatism, lack of strength, syphilis, uterine problems, and vaginitis.
In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by Oregon grape, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
Exotic Herbs From The Amazon Basin
June 22, 2007 05:07 PM
Although many traditional herbal medicines have yet to find complete scientific corroboration in the West, it follows logically that people wouldn't use an herbal product for centuries if it didn't work.
Many of the popular herbs we all recognize as having great health benefits were only recently considered pretty EXOTIC. Even green tea - a staple in China for centuries -has only lately gone main stream.
So it will likely be with herbs from the Amazon basin and its environs. The Amazon basin is one of the most bountiful environments on the planet. Explorers and botanists from the West have looked to this region for generations for the "next big thing." Of course, in many cases, the "next big thing" has already been in use for centuries.
In this issue of Ask the Medicine Hunter, we're going to look at some energizing and life- stimulating herbs that also happen to have great antioxidant properties, too. Best yet, many of them are available to us here from companies that practice fair trade policies.
Let's take a look at some of the herbal powerhouses coming out of the Amazon (and its nearby neighborhoods):
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) has been cultivated for a long time at least 2000 years. Related to brassica family plants like radishes, mustard and cabbage, its foliage does actually look somewhat radish-like, but grows close to the ground.
Maca is cultivated by the Andean people in Peru's central highlands, and contains a plethora of beneficial compounds that enhance overall health and vitality. The tradition of cultivating maca is an old one some strains have been found in Incan sites that date from 1600 B.C. During early European colonization, maca was used by the local native culture as a form of currency, much of the way cocoa was used by the Aztecs, further north in pre-Columbian Mexico.
Maca thrives in high altitudes - between 10,000 and 16,000 feet. The harsher the conditions, the better it grows, or so it seems. In fact, efforts to grow the plant in Central Europe haven't been as successful - maca seems to enjoy its home turf the best. In Peru, maca is a popular and beloved nutrient-packed superfood, and is commonly powdered and mixed into drinks at roadside stands throughout the Andes.
Q. I've heard of maca being used for healthy libido - are there any other benefits?
A. Maca is a natural energizer, and although it is recognized for it's libido enhancing abilities, it has other uses, too, acting as an adaptogen - similar to rhodiola or ginseng. In fact, in South America, maca is known as "Peruvian Ginseng." Though maca is not ginseng at all, some of the benefits of both plants are similar.
In any event, maca is recommended for boosting the immune system, menopause support, and hormonal balance in general. For daily use, maca is most recognized as a great source of energy and all-day endurance. Alkaloids from maca root may be partially responsible for both maca's energizing and libido boost. Research shows that maca affects the hypothalamic-pituitary (HPA) axis - boosting energy and overall aphrodisiac prowess in men and women. Maca contains novel compounds called macamides and macaenes, which have been proven in animal studies to significantly enhance energy, stamina and sexual function reasons people have been so consuming maca for 2000 years.
There are other serious reasons why maca is such an excellent plant. One group of compounds in maca is the isothiocyanates-aromatics constituents that are responsible for the "hotness" of mustards and radishes - fellow members of the brassica family. Isothiocyanates from other members of the brassica family may reduce the risk of breast and stomach cancer. Although the same constituents specifically from maca haven't beentested, it's plausible that they could have the same effects.
Q. I've heard a little about guarana extracts - is it just caffeine?
A. Guarana is widely loved for its mild stimulating effect, which is due to caffeine. But this is by no means this Amazonian herb's sole beneficial compound. Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is so logically ingrained in the culture of Brazil that it's practically a rival (actually out-sells) Coca-Cola in its soft-drink form. Like many other indigenous herbs, guarana was in use locally well before European settlement. Its Latin name comes fromthe German botanist C.F. Paullini, who first encountered the herb in the 1700s. This evergreen vine typically climbs fairly far up the Brazilian forest trees. The seed is the part that gets used. In one clinical study, guarana boosted the memory alertness of participants, even when the caffeine level per dose was a low 9 mg., as compared with approximately 100 mg for a cup of coffee. This effect suggests that other agents than caffeine contribute to a feeling of well being.
Guarana also contains powerful antioxidants including catechin, epicatechin and proanthocyanidins, which protect cells against destruction from free radicals, and impart benefits to the body's tissues and blood. The small seed of this plant is powerful in its health benefits.
Catuaba (Erythroxylum catuaba) is a common tree found in South America from Brazil to Peru, in the same genus as the coca plant. Catuaba contains components known as alkaloids. These alkaloids (called catuabine A, B, and C) are probably responsible for themental boost most people get when they take catuabe-based supplements or mixes.
There may be little confusion regarding catuaba, because various species and genus typesuse the common name. As a result, "catuaba" gets bandied around a lot, and one person'scatuaba may not be the next. Read labels carefully. The catuaba I've had the best luck with is Erythroxylum catuaba.
One of my favorite drinks in the world is coffee, and I'm sure at many people reading thisconsider it the essential part of their morning, too.
The part of coffee that we use the most is the seed of the coffee fruit - which appears as a bright, red berry. Most of the time, this fruit is sloughed off and left behind in the process of making coffee - it's really too delicate to last long in hot conditions.
But advances in technology have tapped a previously discarded resource. Though the fruit of coffee is available in any coffee-growing economy, a high antioxidant commercial extract of "coffee cherry" is now available from the fruits of coffee plants in Mexico.
Coffee fruit has many of the attributes of other dark-colored, anthcyanin-rich fruits. Coffee fruit (also referred to as "coffee cherry") appears not to be just another antioxidant, however. Current research on this once-forgotten, former castoff shows impressive abilities to decrease tumor size, and possibly even prevent their formation in the first place. It seems that the elements in coffee berry activate T-lymphocytes in such a way that mammary tumors are shrunk or simply put on hold. It will be fascinating to see how this science plays out.
Muira Puama Bark:
Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) grows between 15 to 45 feet high. Native to theAmazon basin of Brazil, the dried bark has been used for centuries as a traditional energysupport. Components include beta-sitosterol, campesterol and lupeol.
Muira puama, like other central nervous stimulants has been researched lately for its ability to boost memory retrieval and protect neural (brain) tissue. Who knows? Maybe this traditional ingredient could someday be on the cutting edge of natural medicines fighting Alzheimer's, much the way green tea and turmeric are currently. In one unpublished French study of 262 men with low libido and poor erectile function, 62% experienced significant improvement after taking an extract of Muira puama for two weeks.
Acai (Euterpe acai) berry is a traditional favorite (and readily available) food source for people in the Amazon. The tree is a tall-growing palm with berries that provide - a rich source of anthocyanins, potent purple pigments with extraordinary high antioxidant activity.
Once harvested, acai fruits decay rapidly. As with coffee fruits, special processing is the surest way to make certain the nutrients of acai berry make it to those of us outside the Amazon basin.
However, these wonderful fruits not only fight against free radical damage, but help our natural digestive enzymes and boost natural immune defenses, too. In fact, current research is investigating whether compounds in acai may have a fighting effect on leukemia, too. So far, the results have been very positive.
Look for supplements made using organically-grown, fair trade acai berry. The best companies ensure that the local people harvesting acai and the communities where they live gather more than just short-term benefits. The best companies work not just to provide jobs, but better lives for generations to come.
Q. What is sustainability and fair trade, anyway?
A. Sustainability refers to a set of naturally occurring circumstances, or intentionally designed practices and principles, which ensure that all parts or members of a situation are adequately nourished to promote their healthy continuance. In current parlance, sustainability often refers to practices and programs designed and implemented to keep natural systems healthy and flourishing. Many such programs focus on environmental protection and preservation of traditional cultures. In the world of medicinal plants, sustainable practices include organic agriculture, species management, fair trade, and benefit-sharing programs.
In other words, sustainability pays people fair wages, puts resources back into their communities, and ensures that the resources that benefit us all are going to be around for a long time. It is an earth-friendly, people-friendly concept of commerce that happily, is taking root around the world.
The traditional cultures that use - and have used - these ingredients for generations wouldn't have done so if they hadn't been effective. Fortunately we live in an era when formerly locally-used herbs are now available far beyond their previous range. We are also fortunate to have companies and individuals working hard to make sure that the people who tend and care for these precious resources are paid fairly for their efforts, andthat their families and communities benefit from this commerce as well.
The great thing about using traditional herbs and ingredients that have been gathered in this manner is that you know they'll be around for a long time.
Mushrooms are good for the Immune System
January 26, 2007 06:12 PM
Medicinal Mushrooms Grown on Purple Kculli Corn Yield Life Changing Results
Even though we treat them like vegetables, mushrooms aren’t really plants. They’re fungi and fungi grow much differently than fruits and vegetables. Most food plants, like strawberries, broccoli, and red bell peppers make chlorophyll from sunlight to gain the nutrients they need to grow. Mushrooms don’t make chlorophyll; to get the nutrients they need to grow, mushrooms release enzymes into the forest floor or flora they’re living on to break down the organic matter into a form the mushroom can absorb.
Because most mushrooms that we eat or use today are raised as crops, or cultivated, they are grown on a variety of substrates. Similar to the commercial potting soils you can buy at nurseries and garden stores, mushroom substrates vary widely in quality and the kinds of nutrients within. Mushrooms are really unique in that they can grow on almost anything, such as sawdust, shredded newspaper, and straw.
However, mushrooms are only as nutritious as the substrate they were grown on-even those unique varieties called medicinal mushrooms. While the simple button mushrooms found on pizza are most often eaten for their woodsy taste and texture, the use of medicinal mushrooms is much more complex. These mushrooms are valued because they contain numerous compounds that have been extensively studies by researchers for their ability to activate cells of the immune system.
Researchers have recently discovered that when medicinal mushrooms are grown on a Purple Kculli (pronounced ka-coo-lee) Corn substrate, the resulting mushrooms are jam-packed with powerful and potent disease-fighting compounds. Beautiful Purple Kculli Corn has long been used by the people of the Peruvian Andes as a tasty vegetable, natural food color, and powerful functional food-keeping them healthy and free of disease.
In this issue of Ask the Medicine Hunter, we’re going to talk about four powerful medicinal mushrooms that, when grown on Purple Kculli Corn, have even more potent compounds to prevent and treat cancer and other serious health problems.
Q. How exactly do medicinal mushrooms prevent and treat cancer?
A. Medicinal mushrooms are very complex. They contain numerous compounds that have been extensively studied for their ability to activate cells of the immune system. Some of the most amazing immune boosting compounds in medicinal mushrooms are beta-glucans 1-3, beta glucans 1-6, arabinogalactins, and arabinoxylans – compounds that work “hand-in-hand” with certain cells of the immune system. But to get abundant amounts of these compounds, medicinal mushrooms must be grown on substrates with high levels of nutrients. And the most nutrient dense substrate of all comes from Purple Kculli Corn.
Q. Why is Purple Kculli Corn extract good for growing medicinal mushrooms?
A. You’ve probably heard that brightly colored fruits and vegetables (like beets, broccoli, and blueberries), have more antioxidant power than paler fruits and vegetables (like iceberg lettuce, onions, and garlic). In fact, the deeper the color, the better. And there is no deeper color in nature than the deep purple of Purple Kculli Corn grown in the lush coastal plains of Peru. The kernels from Purple Kculli Corn are not only naturally beautiful, the pigment itself is extremely healthy and have been used by the people of the Peruvian Andes for centuries as both food and food coloring.
Once harvested, the Purple Kculli Corn is naturally processed into an antioxidant-rich extract. When certain medicinal mushrooms are grown on Purple Kculli Corn extract, the Purple Kculli Corn becomes a super-substrate, producing medicinal mushrooms with incredible amounts of the immune-boosting compounds. And when Purple Kculli Corn extract is added to medicinal mushroom formulas the antioxidant power increases, too.
Q. How do the medicinal mushroom compounds fight disease?
A. When bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens are present in the body, white blood cells, or leukocytes, swing into action. Leukocytes work together to defend the body against infections, like colds or the flu, as well as diseases that start within us, like cancer. These disease fighting cells are the backbone of the body’s defense system. And each type of cell works in different ways.
The macrophage, a name that means “big eater,” is a first-strike leukocyte that protects us from disease by, quit literally, devouring invading pathogens. Natural Killer (NK) cells act like sentries – constantly prowling for cancer cells, killing them quickly when they’re discovered. B-cells are the immune system’s military intelligence, seeking out targets and communicating their coordinates, while T-cells are the foot soldiers, destroying the invaders that the intelligence system has identified.
Scientists have long known that medicinal mushrooms help make white blood cells more deadly. But until recently, they weren’t sure how. Research has now shown that macrophages and NK cells have receptor sites specifically for beta-glucans 1-3 and beta-glucans 1-6. When the beta-glucans bind to the macrophages and NK cells, they make the lymphocytes stronger and more lethal. By increasing the lymphocytes’ strength, beta-glucans help them churn out more of the specialized chemical messengers, too.
Arabinogalactins and arabinoxylans, powerful polysaccharides found in medicinal mushrooms, are potent stimulators of the immune system. These compounds increase the activity of interleukins, interferons, and a tumor necrosis factor, all key components in a healthy immune system. When medicinal mushroom extracts with high amounts of Arabinogalactins and arabinoxylans are taken, diseases are dramatically reduced.
Researchers found that complex polysaccharides in four varieties of medicinal mushrooms – Agaricus blazei (Agaricus), Grifola frondosa (Maitake), Coriolus versicolor (Coriolus or Turkey Tail), and Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) – are serious cancer fighters. The chart below explains how:
Mushroom Health Benefit
Agaricus (Agaricus Blazei)
Agaricus not only contains the greatest number of medicinal compounds, it also contains a powerful anti-tumor polysaccharide that all other medicinal mushrooms are lacking. Recently, 100 women who were receiving carboplatin, a chemotherapy drug used to treat ovarian cancer, volunteered for an important study. Half of the women were given an extract of Agaricus mushrooms, while the other half were given a placebo or dummy pill. The researchers discovered that NK cell activity was significantly higher in the Agaricus group. The women in this group were also less nauseated, fatigued, and wear than the women taking the placebo, an important consideration for people with cancer.
Maitake (Grifola Frondosa)
Maitake is one of the most researched of all medicinal mushrooms. In one clinical study, the effect of Maitake mushroom compounds were studied in ten patients with cancer who were not currently taking any chemotherapeutic drugs. The researchers found that the Maitake not only significantly stimulated NK cell activity, it also repressed the cancer’s growth, and stopped the tumors’ ability to metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body. And in another clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given Maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, 69% of breast cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when Maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
Versicolor compounds show great promise as cancer immunotherapy agents in all cancer stages. In one clinical trial, 34 patients with advanced terminal lung cancer were given Coriolus versicolor polysaccharides or a placebo (dummy pill) for 28 days. While the group getting the Versicolor felt less fatigued and sick, very important considerations at the end-of-life, there were no changes in the placebo group.
Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)
Reishi mushrooms are too tough to eat, but they’ve been used medicinally for centuries and have been extensively researched. In a safety study to determine Reishi’s effect on blood thinning mechanisms, healthy volunteers received 1.5 gm Reishi or placebo daily for 4 weeks. There were no significant changes in either group and all blood clotting measurements remained within the normal range, demonstrating its safety. In a recent clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
Not only do Agaricus, Maitake, Coriolus, and Reishi have incredible amounts of immune boosting polysaccharides, when they are grown on Purple Kculli Corn, they also have a much higher ORAC value than mushrooms grown on other substrates.
Q. What are ORAC values?
A. ORAC, or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, is a measurement of the antioxidant power in fruits and vegetables. The higher the power, or ORAC value, the stronger the antioxidant is against free radicals. While free radicals are made by breathing oxygen and digesting food, and are simply the consequences of being alive, the older we get the more free radicals we make. And the more free radicals we make the more destructive they can be. Free radicals will rip membranes, wreck cells, cripple mitochondria, and ruin DNA. As this damage accumulates, even more free radicals are made. And if not stopped or slowed, this might lead to heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, dementia, and cancer.
Q. How does Purple Kculli Corn increase the ORAC value of medicinal mushrooms?
A. All brightly colored fruits and vegetables have very high ORAC values; and the higher the ORAC value – the greater the antioxidant power. Not only can we measure the ORAC values of fruits and vegetables, we can also measure the ORAC values of mushroom substrate extracts. Purple Kculli Corn extract has an ORAC value of 1789 (measured in umolesTE/gram). Now, remember that mushrooms are fungi, not fruits and vegetables, and they gain most of their nutrients from the ground (or substrate) they are grown on. When mushrooms are cultivated or “farmed” on substrates with a high ORAC value, they will absorb compounds from the substrate giving them a higher ORAC value, too. So growing mushrooms on antioxidant rich, high ORAC value, Purple Kculli Corn yields medicinal mushrooms with high ORAC values as well.
Q. Some mushroom supplements have more than four medicinal mushrooms. Wouldn’t a mushroom supplement with seven mushrooms or more have a higher ORAC value than a supplement with only four?
A. Well, more is not always better – especially when it comes to medicinal mushrooms. Some supplements have a “kitchen sink” selection of mushrooms. The makers of these supplements hope that by adding modest amounts of many mushrooms, they will end up with a product that just might have some health benefits.
Clearly, it’s not how many or how EXOTIC the mushrooms are in a medicinal mushroom supplement, it’s the substrate that mushrooms are grown on that makes the difference.
Q. How can I make sure the medicinal mushroom supplement I buy contains natural and organic mushrooms grown on Purple Kculli Corn substrate?
A. Become a label reader! Medicinal mushroom formulas have a statement showing accreditation from a certifying agency, such as the American Food Safety Institute, International; California Organic Farmer Association, Minnesota; or Crop Improvement Association, on the label, and have met certain criteria. They must be grown without chemicals or pesticides. The growers must be certified as organic mushroom produces by an accredited third party. And the growers must keep a record of their production and handling practices.
Of the nearly 38,000 varieties of mushrooms, Agaricus blazei, Grifola frondosa, Coriolus versicolor, and Ganoderma lucidum have impressive medicinal properties. With a little help from Purple Kculli Corn, these mushrooms can provide even more potent and powerful cancer preventing properties for superior mushroom supplements.
Mangoni - Complete SuperFruit Food 1oz equals 3 servings of Vegetables
December 27, 2006 12:26 PM
Ultimate Mangosteen Liquid
February 10, 2006 10:31 AM
Cuddlin’ in the Kitchen
July 27, 2005 03:44 PM
Cuddlin’ in the Kitchen
You and your sweetie can turn up the heat by cooking together.
Since the beginning of time, the pleasures of the table have been intertwined with those of the boudoir. (Remember the scene in the film Tom Jomes in which Tom and his amorata-of-the-moment wolf down a meal while staring lustily into each other’s eyes?) But when most of your kitchen time is spent trying to get everyone fed and out of the house in time for the night’s soccer game/ PTA meeting/ballet lesson, it can be tough keeping the pilot light lit on your love.
That’s why one of the best ways to spice up your sex life is to prepare a sensuous meal together sans offspring (thank heavens for doting grandparents with spare rooms!). A little fourhanded cooking- preferably while sharing some suggestive banter- can create chemistry that allows your playful, non-parenting side s to emerge, enhancing intimacy and setting the stage for the seductive feast to follow.
Just as the frenzied pace of modern living can often foster a sense of separation, cooking together as a couple can promote a sense of union. “Eventually you get a feel for your partner’s rhythms and adjust yours accordingly,” says food TV personality Jacqui Malouf, author of Booty Food (Bloomsbury). “Before you know it you’re passing the coriander, peeling the potatoes and stirring the risotto at precisely the right moments.”
With time, you can learn what each of you does best: Who has a flair for combining spices in just the right proportions? Who can chop carrots into perfect little matchsticks without taking all night? Since nothing kills the mood more than arguing over who misplaced the baker’s chocolate or the pasta platter, buy your ingredients earlier in the day and have all the necessary utensils out and at the ready. (Safety note: while two in a tiny kitchen can be steamily cozy, do be careful with hot pots and sharp knives.)
Four hands can also be better than two, so why not make the most of it? Malouf suggests approaching your combined efforts with a sense of adventure: “Use more than three ingredients in a salad dressing! Be daring with your desserts! Try concocting something with squab or squid or quince or quail- the sky’s the limit.”
One advantage of using EXOTIC ingredients (or at least foods not normally found on your weekly shopping list) is that they can help you and your partner break through the limits of everyday experience by reawakening long-dormant senses. Go ahead- run your fingertips over the rough rind of a pomegranate before feeling the smooth, full seeds within. Inhale the sweet, perfumed scent of a dead-ripe apricot, and appreciate its downy skin. Admire the cool green beauty of a cut avocado, and share a spoonful with your sweetie.
Avocado, in fact, is one of the foods known for inflaming passion based on its suggestive shape, along with artichoke and asparagus- and that’s just the AS! (Chocoholics rejoice: Chocolate, full of the same feel-good chemical released by the brain when one falls in love, also makes the ecstasy encouraging grade, even when obtained in standard shapes.) “coincidentally, many foods long considered aphrodisiacs are low in fat (avocado and chocolate are delectably healthy exceptions) and are high in vitamins and minerals,” write Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge in Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook (Terrace Publishing). “A diet heavy in these foods, then, yields a healthy blood healthy body with the energy, blood flow and nutrients needed for a peak sexual experience.” (The way these foods feed the imagination- the ultimate smorgasbord of pleasure- is a bountiful bonus.) Other foods, such as honey, have been treasured for supplying the energy needed to fan love’s flames far into the night; no wonder the sweet, sticky stuff shows up in a number of naughty-night concoctions.
Just as Venus, the Roman goddess of love, emerged fully formed from the sea, so do the foods that best encourage those under her spell. In addition to being chockfull of healthy protein, “seafood is elegant, clean and light enough to keep your sleek loving machine fully fueled but never weighed down,” says Jacqui Malouf. Oysters are famous- or infamous- for their amorous effects (Cassanova was fond of them) but aren’t for everyone; other romantic dining favorites include shrimp or scallops.
Time to Eat
Once you’ve worked your kitchen magic together, it’s time to move the action into the dining room. Again, a little preparation can keep the evening at a slow, sensuous boil. Use the best china you have, along with matching silverware, cloth napkins and nice glasses (sippy cups don’t count). The warm glow of candlelight can both set off your tantalizing table and set your hearts aflame, along with a rose or two in the most decorative vase you own. Music (from Mozart to Motown, depending on your taste) is another surefire mojo mover. But please guys- catch up with CNN or ESPN some other time.
When you do finally sit down to dinner don’t rush, even (especially) if fast-forward eating is the norm in your house. “Treat the food as if you are making love for the first time,” advises Kerry McCloskey in The Ultimate Sex Diet (True Courage Press). “Before putting any in your mouth, inhale its aroma to get your digestive juices flowing…Cut your food into small, bite-sized pieces, (which) will ensure that you enjoy each bite.” The idea is to enhance all of your senses, which will come in handy later on in the evening.
You can make your couple dining experience even more intimate by feeding each other; some foods. Like asparagus spears and shrimp, beg for finger-feeding. McCloskey recommends also trying chopsticks: “Because it will take longer to maneuver your food when using them, you will feel full sooner with less food.” That’s important since you don’t want to overeat- passing out right after dessert is not the way to impress your partner (they’ve seen you snoring away on the couch a hundred times before).
In the wee hours, happily exhausted, you can ponder this: No matter how hectic your lives get, you should always make time for each other. You already share a mortgage and kids. Cooking together is a great way to share sensuality, too.
June 24, 2005 01:13 PM
Because 20th century medical practices have routinely over - prescribed antibiotics, the notion of a natural antibiotic with virtually no side-effects is intriguing to say the least. Echinacea is one of several herbs which possesses antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. In a time when new life-threatening microbes are evolving and pose the threat of modern-day plagues, herbs such as echinacea are particularly valuable. More and more health practitioners are focusing on fortifying the immune system to fight off potential infections rather than just treating infection after it has developed.
Echinacea is enjoying a renaissance today. During the late 1980’s, echinacea re-emerged as a remarkable medicinal plant. In addition to its infection fighting properties, echinacea is known for its healing properties as well. As was the case with so many herbs, echinacea lost its prestige as a medicinal treatment with the advent of antibiotics. It has experienced a resurgence over the last two decades.
Echinacea has several other much more romantic names including Purple Coneflower, Black Sampson and Red Sunflower. It has also become the common name for a number of echinacea species like E. angustifolia, E. purpurea, and E. pallida. The genus derives its name from the Greek word echinos which refers to sea urchin. This particular association evolved from the prickly spiny scales of the seed head section of the flower. Historically, echinacea has sometimes become confused with Parthenium integrifolium.
The word echinacea is actually apart of the scientific latin term, echinacea angustifolia, which literally translated means a narrow - leafed sucker. The plant grows wild as a perennial exclusively in the midwestern plains states, but can be cultivated almost anywhere . Echinacea leaves are pale to dark green, coarse and pointy. Its florets are purple and its roots, black and long.
Echinacea has a strong Native American link in the Central Plains. Native Americans are credited with discovering the usefulness of this botanical without knowing its specific chemical properties. It was routinely used by Na t i ve Americans to treat toothaches, snakebite, fevers and old stubborn wounds.
Native Americans thought of echinacea as a versatile herb that not only helped to fight infection, but increased the appetite and s t rengthened the sexual organs as well. The juice of the plant was used to bathe burns and was sprinkled on hot coals during traditional “sweats” used for purification purposes. It is also believed that some Native Americans used echinacea juice to protect their hands, feet and mouths from the heat of hot coals and ceremonial fires.1 According to Melvin Gilmore, An American anthropologist who studied Native American medicine in the early part of this century, Echinacea was used as a remedy by Native Americans more than any other plant in the central plains area.
In time, early white settlers learned of its healing powers and used the plant as a home remedy for colds, influenza, tumors, syphillis, hemorrhoids and wounds. Dr. John King, in his medical journal of 1887 mentioned that echinacea had value as a blood purifier and alterative. It was used in various blood tonics and gained the reputation of being good for almost every conceivable malady. It has been called the king of blood purifiers due to its ability to improve lymphatic filtration and drainage. In time, echinacea became popular with 19th century Eclectics, who were followers of a botanic system founded by Dr. Wooster Beech in the 1830’s. They used it as an anesthetic, deodorant, and stimulant.
By 1898, echinacea had become one of the top natural treatments in America. During these years, echinacea was used to treat fevers, malignant carbuncles, ulcerations, pyorrhea, snake bites and dermatitis. In the early twentieth century, echinacea had gained a formidable reputation for treating a long list of infectious disease ranging from the commonplace to the EXOTIC. The Lloyd Brothers Pharmaceutical House developed more sophisticated versions of the herb in order to meet escalating demands for echinacea.
Ironically, it was medical doctors who considered echinacea more valuable than eclectic practitioners. Several articles on echinacea appeared from time to time in various publications. Its attributes we re re v i ewed and, at times, its curative abilities ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. In 1909, the Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry of the American Medical Association decided against recognizing echinacea as an official drug, claiming that it lacked scientific credibility. It was added to the National Formulary of the United States despite this type of negative reaction and remained on this list until 1950.
Over the past 50 years, echinacea has earned a formidable reputation achieving worldwide fame for its antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial actions. Consumer interest in echinacea has greatly increased, particularly in relation to its role in treating candida, chronic fatigue syndrome, AIDS and malignancies. Practitioners of natural medicine in Eu rope and America have long valued its attributes. In recent, years, German research has confirmed its ability to augment the human immune system. Extensive research on echinacea has occurred over the last twenty years. Test results have s h own that the herb has an antibiotic, cortisone-like activity.
Echinacea has the ability to boost cell membrane healing, protect collagen, and suppress tumor growth. Because of its immuno-enhancing activity, it has recently been used in AIDS therapy. Research has proven that echinacea may have p rofound value in stimulating immune function and may be particularly beneficial for colds and sore throats.3
June 10, 2005 05:32 PM
Allergy Alleviation by Cal Orey , February 2, 2002
Allergy Alleviation By Cal Orey
Welcome to the stuffed up world of seasonal allergic rhinitis: the wheezing, sneezing "inhalant allergies" that torment 35 million Americans. Adding insult to sinus pain, other allergens attack year-round. Air pollution, dust mites (microscopic gremlins that infest bedding, upholstery and rugs) and animal dander trigger allergies-or other respiratory ailments-in any season. Urban air is full of rubber tire particles, a true blowout for those with latex sensitivity. Altogether, roughly 50 million Americans-about one in five-suffer from some form of allergy, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Tired of cross-pollinating with plants or being bowled over by dust balls? Vitamins, herbs and other nutrients can help you nip allergy discomfort in the bud.
The Allergy Response
Your immune system triggers an allergic response when it overreacts to otherwise harmless substances or antigens (we're talking dust, pollen and mold).The alarmed immune system then launches a defensive chemical reaction, releasing potent chemicals (antibodies) supposed to destroy the "invaders." The antibodies, called IgE, carry the invading substances to special cells, which zap them with more biochemicals. Among these protective cells are mast cells: they release histamine, the substance that causes swelling and inflammation to the linings of the nose, sinuses and eyelids, resulting in sneezing, upper respiratory congestion and itchy, watery eyes.
Just Blame The Folks
Most allergies are determined by your genes. If your Mom or Dad sneeze and scratch, there's a good chance you will, too. "That is not to say that we directly inherit an allergy to any specific substance. Rather, it seems as if we might inherit some kind of immune system defect or weakness that leaves us more vulnerable to allergies," explain co-authors Glenn S. Rothfeld, MD, and Suzanne LeVert in their book Natural Medicine for Allergies: The Best Alternative Methods for Quick Relief (Rodale). For some people, allergies lurk in food, throwing the immune system into overdrive. "Many natural medicine practitioners believe that a diet high in animal fats will contribute to the development of allergy and asthma, as does a diet high in food additives, such as preservatives and dyes," says Gary McLain, PhD, in his book The Natural Way of Healing: Asthma and Allergies (Dell). Worse, allergies can up the risk of asthma, which afflicts 15 million Americans. Most people afflicted with asthma also suffer allergies: the two are linked, according to the AAAAI. Allergy triggers of asthma include pollen, mold spores and house dust mites. Remember Helen Hunt's asthmatic son in the movie As Good As It Gets? His character endured allergies to dust, and living in New York (and watching his mom date Jack Nicholson) didn't help his immune system. Coughs, ear infections, fevers and visits to hospital emergency rooms curtailed his social life (and limited his close-ups as well). That kind of routine happens in real life, too. (Well, maybe close encounters with Jack N. are not included for most.) But when we breathe substances such as molds, they can induce swelling and inflammation of the bronchial airways which narrow and restrict air flow. This, in turn, causes wheezing and shortness of breath and can trigger an asthma "attack," according to Andrew Engler, MD, who specializes in allergy and asthma in San Mateo, California.
The Nose Knows: Chemical Sensitivities
Imagine a picture-perfect, crisp, clear Saturday morning. You make a final stop on your weekly errand run to the dry cleaner, where you drop off your laundry and spend a moment chatting up the owner. Back in your car, your eyes tear and you feel a bit woozy. Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin, writing in The Road to Immunity: How To Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) sense that your reaction could be chemical sensitivity, a difficult to diagnose but, in their opinion, very real malady. (Of course, a clinician can test you for immune responses to certain chemicals.) Reactions to chemicals produce the typical allergic responses: puffy or red-rimmed eyes; swelling; aching or stiff joints and muscles; irritability or dizziness; respiratory inflammations; headaches and the like. Villains include aerosol sprays, tobacco smoke, glues, insecticides and herbicides, household chemicals and fragrances. Identification and avoidance are key, say the authors. Vitamin C, which binds with chemicals, is one of the best nutritional defenses.
Breathing Problems Expand
Americans now freely take lifesaving medicines such as antibiotics and insulin but, in some people, "they have the potential to alter the immune system, which is where allergies begin," says Dr. McLain. (Consult your pharmacist if you have questions about your prescription medication.) We, as a nation, are also eating more chemicals, from the pesticides drenched on plants to the preservatives poured on prepared foods. We're breathing polluted air, which can lead to or exacerbate asthma, and then we choke on recycled air in sealed buildings. And while a century ago you were likely to have spent much of your time close to home, you can now hop on a supersonic plane and be taken to the other side of the globe within a matter of hours. With travel comes exposure to even more EXOTIC allergens that can drive your immune system to distraction.
The All-Natural Gesundheit
Certain allergy-relief nutrients and herbs can help make life more bearable. Here's how they work: n Vitamin C for the lungs. According to experts, when vitamin C is low, asthma is high. Vitamin C carries the major antioxidant load in the airways and therefore contributes mightily to the health of the lungs. A study in the Annals of Allergy (73(1994):89-96) reported that in seven of 11 clinical trials since 1973, vitamin C supplementation provided "significant improvements" in respiratory function and asthma symptoms. n Vitamin E and carotene to suppress allergic reactions. These antioxidants may also help protect the respiratory tract from caustic pollutants. Vitamin E is reputed to be one of the most important nutrients for antioxidant protection in the lungs. In addition, these two substances decrease production of allergy-related compounds called leukotrienes. n Zinc for the immune system. Research shows that a deficiency in this trace mineral can weaken your immune system, setting you up as a target for allergies and infections. (Some vegetarians may not store sufficient amounts of this mineral and should take supplements.) Zinc comes to the body's rescue by taking part in the production of IgA, the gastrointestinal antibody that lines the digestive tract. "When IgA binds to an allergen, it keeps it from being absorbed into the bloodstream and thus from causing an allergic reaction," report Rothfeld and Levert. Also, zinc protects mucous membranes and helps convert beta carotene to vitamin A, another anti-allergy, immune-boosting nutrient. In a study of 100 participants at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, half took a zinc-based lozenge, while the other half received a dummy preparation. The participants taking zinc experienced a 42% reduction in the duration and severity of their common colds (Annals of Internal Medicine, 7/96). n Quercetin as an antihistamine. A valuable, anti-allergic flavonoid (plant coloring agent that is a powerful antioxidant), quercetin shines as a potent weapon against allergies and asthma. Believed to inhibit histamine release from mast cells and slow the production of other allergy-related compounds, it stabilizes mast cell membranes. Other flavonoid-rich extracts include grape seed, pine bark, green tea and Ginkgo biloba. n Additional helpful nutrients: Vitamin B-12, particularly to combat sensitivity to sulfites (The Nutrition Desk Reference [Keats]); selenium, an antioxidant that breaks down leukotrienes (Clinical Science 77, 1989: 495-500); and magnesium to relax bronchial tissues (Journal of the American Medical Association, 262 : 1210-3).
Herbal Remedies To The Rescue
n Nettles for hay fever relief. Research at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, showed that 40 of 69 folks suffering from hay fever found moderate to extreme relief from taking freeze-dried stinging nettles (Planta Medica,  44-47). "It is nontoxic, cheap and preferable to antihistamines, which I think are significantly toxic," reports Andrew Weil, MD, in his book Natural Health, Natural Medicine: A Comprehensive Manual for Wellness and Self-Care (Houghton Mifflin). n Cayenne to reduce inflammation. Cayenne, known as hot red pepper, is rich in capsaicin, a potent flavonoid "counter-irritant" that dilates and soothes inflamed nasal and bronchial tissues, according to experts. A bonus: Cayenne also contains a rich amount of antioxidant vitamin C, which can help enhance your immune system. n Echinacea for allergy prevention. This popular Native American herb provides cold and allergy protection, particularly when you take it before encountering allergens. Studies reveal that echinacea aids your body's tissues and protects you from germs and allergens. In fact, German studies have found it possesses valuable antiviral, antibacterial and immunity-boosting properties.
Make Your World Allergy-Free
For the most effective allergy relief, make sure you stay clear of allergens that wreak allergy havoc. Visit an allergy-savvy health practitioner and get tested to find out which substances rock your respiratory world. Plus, allergy experts recommend: n Banish dust mites: sweep out clutter and have your house power-vacuumed, if necessary; wash bedding and linens in very hot water. n De-pollinate your environment: flip on the air conditioner to sift out pollen (keep its filter and any forced air registers clean); exercise indoors; machine dry, rather than line dry, your clothes. n Buy a home air filter, especially if you experience dust, pollen or pet dander allergies. n Avoid allergy triggers that dog your days: cats and canines (or consider the hairless or shed-less breeds), mold and tobacco smoke. No matter what you do or actions you take, allergies may always remain an annoyance in your life. But attention to the foods you eat, the places where you exercise and the right combination of anti-allergy nutrients can limit your discomfort.
Leveling The Leukotrine Playing Field
On a microscopic level, a series of biochemicals implicated in allergic reactions are leukotrienes, substances that may constrict the bronchial tubes (breathing passages). In some people, consuming the food additive tartrazine can cause severe asthmatic breathing difficulties by boosting leukotrine release. In turn, this can interfere with the body's use of vitamin B-6. The process in which lack of B-6 or "errors" in how your body uses B-6 causes allergic reactions and is complex. According to Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND in the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), breathing problems may begin when the metabolism of tryptophan (an amino acid) goes awry: "Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a compound that, among other things, can cause the airways of asthmatics to constrict...Vitamin B-6 is required for the proper metabolism of tryptophan." Accordingly, a study of vitamin B-6, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that people with compromised breathing may possess less B-6 in their blood than others who breathe normally. When people with asthma were given B-6, their wheezing and asthmatic attacks dropped.
Fat Fix For Allergies
The fat in your diet or supplements can also influence your susceptibility to allergies and asthma linked to allergies. Epidemiologists have found that countries where children eat fish at least four times a month cut their risk of asthma by 67% compared to other parts of the world where they consume fewer fish. Research on omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fat found in fish, flax and hemp oil, demonstrates that some of these substances can improve breathing. In particular, fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help open up bronchial tubes. Studies in the American Review of Respiratory Disease and the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology show that breathing passageways may not react so negatively to the presence of allergens when you eat more fish or take supplements containing these types of fats. Many of the scientists who study the kinds of fats we eat believe that the increase in allergies and asthma in the US during the twentieth century may be due to both increasing air pollution (which irritates our lungs) plus a simultaneous increase in our consumption of what are called omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 oils are contained in most of the vegetable oils Americans eat, including sunflower and peanut oils. While experts believe that we would be better off consuming a diet containing about five times as many omega-6 fatty acids as omega-3s, today we eat about 40 times as much omega-6s. The chemistry of how these fats influence our allergy susceptibility is complex. It begins in our cell membranes which consist mostly of fat. When we consume omega-3 fatty acids, in our diet or in supplements, and these fats enter cell membranes, the change in structure cuts the availability of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid your body can make and which is found in meat, eggs and dairy products. Eventually, it is thought that this change in cellular metabolism and reduction in arachidonic acid forces the body to make less 4-series leukotrienes, substances which are quite prone to provoking allergic inflammation and, instead, produce 5-series leukotrienes, leukotrienes which don't cause nearly as much trouble. This process requires patience. According to Pizzorno and Murray. "It may take as long as one year before the benefits are apparent, as it appears to take time to turn over cellular membranes in favor of the omega-3 fatty acids."
Chinese Medicine Versus Allergies
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views allergies as an imbalance of the liver, says Jason Elias, co-author with Katherine Ketcham of The Five Elements of Self-Healing (Harmony Books). "The average American's (liver) deals with about fourteen pounds of chemicals a year. What would normally be a minor irritant becomes major because the liver can't process them anymore," explains Elias. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has traditionally been used to fight allergies since this herb battles inflammation as evidenced by Japanese research and a study published in the journal Allergy. Much of this anti-allergy action is thought to proceed from licorice's interaction with a biochemical called cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisol (along with epinephrine, another adrenal hormone) relaxes the muscles controlling airways. By slowing the liver's breakdown of cortisol, licorice prolongs circulation of this hormone which, in turn, can help breathing passages stay clear. In addition, glycyrrhetinic acid, a compound in licorice, slows the body's manufacture of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, substances which exacerbate allergic inflammatory reactions. Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica) has been employed for thousands of years to aid breathing since chemicals in this plant widen breathing passages.
Homeopathic Remedies for Allergy
Homeopathic treatments consist of highly diluted substances designed to coax the body into healing itself. The effectiveness of homeopathy for hayfever has been demonstrated by research published in Lancet performed at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. There, scientists showed that homeopathically-prepared medicines produced statistically significant improvements in allergy sufferers. The appropriate homeopathic remedy for any illness depends on the personality type of the person suffering an allergy. These treatments are among those recommended by Dana Ullman: n Allium cepa: appropriate for burning nasal discharge that grows worse in warm rooms and improves outdoors. Relieves non-burning tearing from eyes, raw feeling in the nose with tingling sensation and violent sneezing. n Nux vomica: used when feeling irritable and chilled, with daytime fluent nasal discharge and night congestion that grows worse indoors. Also for those sensitive to cold and to being uncovered. n Pulsatilla: best for women and children with daytime nasal discharge and night congestion who are gentle, yielding, mild, impressionable and emotional. Used when congestion is worse in warm rooms, hot weather or while lying down.
Food Allergy Conundrum Food allergies can prove to be the toughest allergies to identify and eliminate. Jason Elias believes that people may develop food sensitivities from eating the same foods too often. "If someone has an allergy, I might say 'Let's get you off dairy for three weeks,'" he says, noting that some people have limited their hay fever problems by ceasing to consume dairy products. Many have also found relief by maintaining a food diary, keeping track of which foods are associated with allergy attacks and then eliminating those foods. So the next time you sneeze, don't just reach for your hanky, think back to the meal that you just ate. Your allergy problem may be sitting in your stomach as well as making you sneeze and stuffing your sinuses. Taking these kinds of anti-allergy preventive measures can provide life-enhancing relief that feels like a godsend. That lets you attain your healthy best.
This article included reporting by Judy Pokras.
Stevia Sweetleaf with FOS - A Healthy Choice for Balanced Blood Sugar Levels
June 06, 2005 09:08 AM
Since the first sugar cane was brought from EXOTIC South Pacific and Caribbean islands generations ago, Americans have had a love affair with foods that are super sweet but lack true nourishment. This has led to the development of literally thousands of good tasting but nutritionless foods that have contributed to childhood and adult obesity, energy depletion, mood swings, decreased brain function, and countless other negative effects on human health. Nature has also provided help in the form of an amazing herb from Paraguay, Stevia rebaudiana. Now Planetary Formulas brings you this beneficial herb with its introduction of STEVIA SWEETLEAF WITH FOS.
STEVIA SWEETLEAF contains a concentrated extract of stevia leaves and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) derived from the roots of the Chicory plant (Cichorium intiba). Stevia leaves have been used as a staple in the diet of the Gaurani Indians for more than 1500 years. One of stevia’s greatest attributes is that it contains no calories and no fat. Traditionally, it was used in foods and as a digestive tonic. Modern research has shown that stevia can help to balance blood sugar levels through an enhancement of insulin production. Balanced blood sugar levels in turn can help maintain stable energy levels, proper brain function, and emotional stability, while also reducing sugar cravings.
Planetary Formulas STEVIA SWEETLEAF WITH FOS contains a highly potent stevia extract containing 90% steviosides, the primary active components of stevia. Stevia has been used historically to improve digestion and gastrointestinal function. A healthy gastrointestinal tract is important for digestion, assimilation, the efficient burning of calories, the elimination of toxins, and healthy immune functions. The steviosides in stevia pass through the digestive process without chemically breaking down, so the body obtains no calories from it and it does not contribute to swings in blood sugar levels in the way that consumption of simple sugars do. Modern research suggests stevia has a positive effect on the pancreas, the primary sugar regulating organ of the body.
Unlike many stevia extracts, which are made with toxic extracting solvents, Planetary Formulas uses a water extraction process to avoid the presence of potentially toxic compounds. This is also more ecologically sound: a perfect supplement for people and planet.
FOS is a delicious, fiber-rich group of compounds that also serve as an herbal intestinal prebiotic. Prebiotics are substances that promote the body's natural production of friendly flora, most specifically, lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. The magic of FOS is that–like the steviosides–it passes through the stomach and small intestine undigested. Once in the colon, it helps to create a healthy bacterial environment. Part of its action in the colon is its ability to increase the production of short-chain fatty acids, which have beneficial effects on fat metabolism that are similar to fiber. The results are improvements in gastrointestinal function, bowel regularity, fat metabolism, and a cleansed colon--all of which are integral to health overall.
This combination of delicious flavor, fiber, blood sugar-balancing, and prebiotic activity makes STEVIA SWEETLEAF WITH FOS an ideal dietary supplement for healthy blood sugar levels, digestion, and colon health and as part of a healthy weight management program.
PLANETARY FORMULAS—YOUR SOURCE FOR ADVANCED HERBAL NUTRITION
Planetary Formulas is dedicated to bringing you the finest herbal supplement modern research has to offer. And now compelling research shows how the ingredients in STEVIA SWEETLEAF WITH FOS can help maintain normal blood sugar levels and a healthier lifestyle. Available in 2 oz, 4 oz and 8 oz sizes.