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The Many Benefits of Graviola Leaves
October 25, 2022 12:11 PM
The graviola tree, also known as soursop or Annona muricata, is found in tropical areas of the world and has a long history of use by traditional herbalists. Graviola leaves contain acetogenins, which are active constituents that can support healthy cell growth and function.* Other active compounds in graviola leaves have free radical scavenging properties.* This blog post will discuss the many benefits of graviola leaves.
The Health Benefits of Graviola Leaves
Graviola leaves are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are thought to contribute to the health benefits of this traditional remedy.* Some of the potential health benefits associated with graviola leaves include:
Immune system support* - Graviola leaves are thought to help support the immune system due to their high concentration of antioxidants.* These antioxidants help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.* Additionally, graviola leaves contain kaempferol, a compound that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.* This may be beneficial for people who suffer from conditions characterized by chronic inflammation, such as asthma and arthritis.*
Digestive support* - The active compound annonacin found in graviola leaves is thought to help relieve gastrointestinal discomfort.* This makes graviola an effective natural remedy for digestive issues such as indigestion, bloating, and diarrhea.*
Cancer-fighting properties* - Some preliminary studies suggest that acetogenins found in graviola may help to fight cancer cells.* These studies are ongoing, but the potential cancer-fighting properties of graviola make it a promising natural remedy worth further exploration.
Graviola leaves have a long history of use in traditional medicine and recent scientific studies have begun to uncover the many potential health benefits of this powerful natural remedy.* If you are interested in Exploring graviola as a possible treatment for an existing condition or simply as a way to boost your overall health, Consider Now Foods brand of Graviola and give it a try today!
Vitamin D Linked to Heart Health: Study Shows Promise in Preventing Cardiovascular Disease
April 26, 2022 10:18 AM
A recent study has shown that Vitamin D may play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease. The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, looked at data from over 10,000 adults. They found that those who had the highest levels of Vitamin D were less likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. This is great news for those looking to improve their heart health!
What is Vitamin D and why is it important for heart health?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays various important roles in the body, including helping to maintain healthy bones and supporting immune function. In recent years, scientists have also begun to uncover the critical role that Vitamin D can play in promoting cardiovascular health. Vitamin D is involved in the regulation of several important cardiovascular processes, including blood pressure and lipid metabolism. Studies have shown that individuals with lower levels of Vitamin D are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke. Therefore, ensuring adequate vitamin D levels through diet, sun exposure, or supplementation may help to protect against heart conditions and improve overall cardiovascular health.
The study on Vitamin D and heart health
Researchers at the University of South Australia have recently conducted a study Exploring the link between vitamin D and heart health. They found that individuals with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood were less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, than those with lower levels. The results suggest that vitamin D plays an important role in protecting the heart and maintaining efficient cardiovascular function. This is important not only for preventing or mitigating the effects of heart disease, but also for overall health and well-being. Overall, the results of this study highlight the importance of ensuring adequate levels of vitamin D to safeguard our hearts and keep us healthy.
How to get more Vitamin D in your diet
While vitamin D-3 is essential for good health, many people struggle to get enough of this important nutrient through their diet alone. With so many factors affecting our ability to absorb nutrients from food, it can be difficult to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D through regular meals. However, research suggests that we may be able to get enough of this vital nutrient by taking supplements or getting outside on sunny days. For example, studies show that simply spending time in sunlight for a few minutes each day can go a long way toward maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in the body. Additionally, many foods are fortified with vitamin D-3, including dairy products and some types of bread and cereal. Ultimately, the best way to ensure adequate vitamin D-3 levels is through a combination of dietary sources and appropriate supplementation. So don't be afraid to take that extra step or buying a supplement – your health will thank you!
Bottom line: Vitamin D is a promising nutrient for heart health
Vitamin D-3 is a nutrient that is continually been getting attention for its potential benefits to heart health. This nutrient can be obtained through certain foods, such as oily fish and eggs, but many individuals also supplement with vitamin D-3 on a regular basis. Preliminary research suggests that this nutrient may help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation in the arteries, two important contributors to cardiovascular disease. Additionally, studies have shown that vitamin D-3 can help to strengthen the immune system, which further enhances overall heart health by keeping the body healthy and strong. Overall, when it comes to promoting heart health, vitamin D-3 seems like a promising nutrient that deserves further scientific study and exploration.
Assist Mineral absorption
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. It also plays a role in maintaining strong bones and muscles. Unfortunately, foods are a relatively poor source of vitamin D. The best way to get this nutrient is through exposure to sunlight. However, too much sun exposure can lead to skin damage, so many people choose to take a supplement instead. Vitamin D supplements are available in both liquid and pill form. They are typically taken once a day, and they can help people maintain adequate levels of vitamin D without exposing themselves to the harmful effects of the sun.
Vitamin D-3 is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body
As we already know, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in bone health and calcium absorption. Vitamin D-3, the form of vitamin D found in supplements, is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body. These processes include cell proliferation, immunomodulation, and regulation of gene expression. Vitamin D-3 has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Supplementation with vitamin D-3 has been shown to improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures, particularly in older adults. In addition, vitamin D-3 supplementation has been shown to improve muscular strength and reduce the risk of falls in older adults. While most people can get adequate amounts of vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, those who don't get enough sun exposure or have dark skin are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Supplementation with vitamin D-3 is an effective way to ensure adequate intake of this important nutrient.
Exploring CBD To Treat Chronic Pain And Sports Injuries
March 21, 2018 05:18 PM
CBD is known to provide a number of benefits to a person's health, from improving symptoms of depression to increasing the appetite and more. But, can CBD be helpful to patients bothered by chronic pain such as those caused by sports injuries? You might very well be surprised to learn what research has to say about this topic and might soon find there is a new and improved way to help yourself beat these conditions!
"I believe that cannabidiol (CBD) products are not only useful, but vital for athletes."
Read more: https://ministryofhemp.com/blog/cbd-in-sports-medicine/
Everything You Need to Know About Fulvic Acid
October 08, 2017 01:14 PM
What is fulvic acid? This gives great info so you can figure out if you need it in your life. Different acids are important and need to be in your diet. Some help the body build what it needs. Others are good for the breain. Is Fulvic one of these? It's always best to make sure your diet is balanced and contains the nutrients it should. If it doesn't it will be easy to remedy once you know which foods contain them.
"If you’re looking to get a better night’s sleep, feel strong and energized, healthy and happier – invest some time in exploring what fulvic acid can do for you."
Read more: http://jewishjournal.com/culture/lifestyle/health/225270/everything-need-know-fulvic-acid/
Cannabis Connection: From Paranoia and Panic to Calm and Cool
March 27, 2017 03:44 PM
Researchers have discovered that treating mice with CBD can block later symptoms of fear and anxiety from being close to a predator. These findings are highly indicative that cannabis may be a useful tool for treating anxiety in people. This can seem in contrast to some people's experience with cannabis causing them anxiety and paranoia. Researchers are prevented from fully exploring this anomaly by government regulations, but they suggest that many factors can play a role in this including environment, the tolerance level of the user, and the strain of cannabis. Read on for more details into this study.
"Animal and human studies confirm the anxiolytic potential for CBD, and a 2011 study in Neuropsychopharmacology even discovered that CBD helps people speak in public despite social anxiety disorders."
Read more: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/03/cannabis-connection-from-paranoia-and-panic-to-cal.html
Lehigh Valley at center of new research into industrial hemp
March 23, 2017 11:44 AM
The hemp industry may be coming to Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Ironically, Pennsylvania was a hub of hemp cultivation until it became illegal in the 1950s. Now hemp is returning with about half of 16 upcoming research projects exploring industrial hemp slated to take place in this region. These research projects include using hemp in bio-manufacturing, erosion control, and using hemp to absorb toxins in soil. With all this new interest in hemp cultivation, it has the potential to become a big industry in Pennsylvania.
"Lehigh will evaluate the use of hemp for erosion control and phytoremediation."
Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/03/lehigh_valley_at_center_of_new.html
Honeybee memories: Another piece of the Alzheimer's puzzle?
December 14, 2016 12:59 PM
A recent study at the University of Queensland has set out to research how Alzheimer’s can affect memory by studying how honeybees create and forget memories. They found that honeybees have an amazing memory. Not only can they remember where a food source was once found, but they also can orient themselves based on landmarks and remember how good the source was. The theory was that methylation of DNA is a molecular change in the brain that causes memories to be formed. By preventing some bees from being able to methylate, they were able to prevent them from forming memories.
"Scientists know that when a memory is formed, molecular changes can trigger physical changes to the brain, including new or altered neural connections and activity."
New from Now foods
September 28, 2009 02:28 PM
Fruit And Greens PhytoFoods Alkalizing Food Sources & Gluten Free
It is well understood that nutrients from wholesome, natural food sources are the most beneficial and healthy.
Sadly, most people simply do not have the time, energy, or even resources to consume five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day. When you factor in professional responsibilities, social obligations, and travel, consuming the amount of fresh foods needed to thrive can become even more challenging. We at NOW understand the obstacles that face today’s health enthusiasts, and are constantly Exploring new ways to provide superior health products at the best possible prices.
Fruit & Greens™ PhytoFoods is a celebration of everything that nature has blessed us with. From the berries and fruit bursting with cell-protecting antioxidants, to the vegetables and supergreen foods that provide vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and enzymes; nature remains our most popular and unblemished source of perfect nourishment. Now, more than ever, the need for wholesome, unadulterated nutrition is of the utmost importance. NOW® Fruit & Greens™ PhytoFoods Powder was meticulously formulated to do exactly that.
Fruit & Greens PhytoFoods™ is an advanced, gluten-free Superfood blend that makes it almost effortless to reap the benefits of nature’s most nutritious offerings. Using ingredients provided by Mother Nature herself, we incorporated the very best into this innovative, full-spectrum formula. We invite you to compare the ingredients and potencies in Fruit & Greens PhytoFoods to similar Supergreen and Berry-containing products. Side-by-side, it’s clear that NOW offers the best value and a superior nutrition profile.
• Mixes Easily in Water with a Great Berry Taste
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The sunshine vitamin can impart an all-over healthy glow.
September 18, 2006 03:42 PM
When papers like the Los Angeles Times write articles with titles like “wonder Pill-really” about a seemingly ho-hum nutrient like vitamin D, attention must be paid. The attention is now forthcoming from researchers who are Exploring this humble vitamin’s connection to an astonishingly wide spectrum of health issues. And these scientist are concerned that, dispite fortification of such common foods as milk, many people aren’t getting the D they need for optimal well-being.
Vitamin D generally recognized as calcium’s indispensable little helper, which makes it vital to maintaining bone health. But we now know that D’s benefits extend far beyond calcium control; it plays crucial roles in immunity, blood cell formation and hormone regulation.
Scientists believe that vitamin D helps cells differentiate, or mature into specialized roles each is meant to play. That’s important in cancer defense because malignant cells tend to be undifferentiated, primitive types given to reproducing uncontrollably. Cells, both malignant and healthy, have vitamin D receptors on their surface; when d binds to cancer cells, they stop growing.
This may help explain why men with low levels of vitamin D are particularly prone to dying of cancer and why higher rates of prostate cancer occur in climates where exposure to the sun-which powers D creation within the skin—is low. On a more positive note, investigators at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center of San Diego report that taking 1,000IU of vitamin D daily appears to drop the risk of developing breast, colon and ovarian cancer by up to 50% (American Assn for Cancer Research, Ninth Meeting). Other studies suggest that even after cancer develops, D may help hinder disease progression and enhance survival.
Vitamin D does a body good in a number of other ways. For example, the sunshine vitamin lights up both the immune system and production of insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar. In one study women who took the amount of vitamin D generally found in multivitamins (400 IU) and had a 31% reduced fisk of dying from heart disease; in another, D from multivitamins dropped the risk of multiple sclerosis development by 40%. Supplements have also helped stroke victims avoid the muscular wasting that leaks to falls and fractures (Cerebrovascular Disease 7/05). Conversely, low D levels have been linked to poor lung function, unexplained muscle pain and increased obesity risk.
Currently, the federal government recommends daily vitamin D intakes of 200IU for people under age 51, 400IU for those 51 – 70 and 600 IU for ages 71 and up. But many prominent scientists believe those levels are two low, especially since so many folks avoid sun exposure to cut skin cancer risk. “I’m 99% sure that vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common,” Harvard nutrition expert Dr. Walter Willett told the LA Times (06/12/06). Deficiencies are more likely among dark-colored individuals (whose skins do not make D effectively), vegans (who avoid dairy) and people with disorders that reduce intestinal absorption, such as Crohn’s disease. Higher dosages should always be taken under practitioner’s watchful eye, especially if a medical condition already exists.
No matter what health hazard you’re trying to illuminate, don’t hesitate to bask in the sunshine vitamin’s warm radiance. –Lisa James.
Interview on symptoms of Fibromyalgia and one mans story
August 09, 2006 03:25 PM
Interview with Todd Williams from Source Naturals
Todd: Michael, many of us know someone with fibromyalgia, but many of us don’t know what FM is. Can you help explain the disease?
Michael: Yes. Fibromyalgia (pronounced Fie-bro-my-AL-ja) is a complex chronic pain illness that challenges patients and health care professionals alike. It is estimated that fibromyalgia affects 8 – 10 million women, men, and children in the U.S. alone. Symptoms include: extreme fatigue, sleep abnormalities, cognitive problems, difficulty speaking clearly, memory loss, brain fog, and so on. There’s also irritable bowel syndrome, restless legs, migraine headaches, neurological symptoms, anxiety and environmental sensitivities. Ninety percent of those afflicted with fibromyalgia are women. Ten percent are men. What activates fibromyalgia within a person can be anything from a thyroid condition to an auto accident, or some type of trauma or emotional stress. There is often a compromised immune system, hormonal imbalance, and even a possible enzyme deficiency. Because the stomach and intestines are made up of muscles, fibromyalgia affects the entire digestive tract. The members in my fibromyalgia support group in Santa Monica all have stomach problems. One of the doctors believes that the fibromyalgia I have to battle with daily is a result of a thyroid problem. Thyroid problems run in my family and, not surprisingly, my brother, who lives on the other side of the country has fibromyalgia as well. We correspond and share with each other what does and doesn’t work. My ten-year career as a schoolteacher came to an end due to having fibromyalgia. I lost the energy I needed to work non-stop ten-hour days. I was forced by necessity to go into early retirement. As a result, I had to find a new manageable way to live. So I then went to Los Angeles to pursue a part time acting career. Now, regardless of whether a task is big or small, I just try to do my best, one day at a time.
Todd: Michael, how did you experience the onset of Fibromyalgia?
Michael: although I’ve really had fibromyalgia for fifteen years, I wasn’t actually diagnosed by my doctor until 1996. I was very energetic and athletic while growing up. During my twenties, I first went to University of Arizona in Tucson, and then to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and later to Point Loma University in San Diego, where I received a Master’s Degree in education. I followed that by moving to Florida to teach and to spend some time with my family. During summer breaks from teaching, I would go down to Florida Keys and visit Miami for fun. I had plenty of energy up until I was 28-30 years old, when I noticed a drastic drop in my energy level. At that time, when I would exercise, it was very difficult for my muscles to recover after a workout, even if it was a light workout. By the time I was thirty, the muscles in my feet became unbearably tight. It became very difficult to stand or even walk very far. I had my feet X-rayed, and the reports would say that nothing was wrong. When I was thiry-five, I took some antibiotics to get rid of a cold and I ended up with severe reaction to the antibiotic, erythromycin. My stomach swelled up like a balloon and felt unbearably tight. This was my first experience with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). I could no longer digest my food. I developed severe food and chemical sensitivities. I could no longer digest vitamin B properly. I would be in excruciating pain for several hours after eating almost anything. I had to leave my teaching position and I ended up being mostly bedridden for two years due to exhaustion and the inability to digest food. During this time I went to twenty doctors. I had colonoscopys, endoscopies, barium x-rays and thyroid tests, but the results were always indicating a normal range. I knew that I was horribly sick but the doctors and the tests repeatedly said that nothing was wrong with me. nevertheless, the doctors did provide more prescription medicines, especially antibiotics. It’s strange that not one of these doctors mentioned or prescribed probiotics in any form for rebuilding the flora in my intestines that was destroyed by the long antibiotic regimen. Eventually I would end up spending a large sum of money and going to 40 more doctors, with each helping just a little. It was a relief when I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, because it helped me narrow in on what was really going on. Which everything falling apart, it was a relief to know it wasn’t a rare foot disease, or a stomach parasite, or AIDS. I wanted to encourage men and women who are finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia to not see it as a death notice, but rather a step in recovery. In 2002, I tried something new. I went online and submitted my medical history to Dr. Teitelbaum’s Diagnosis Program, which you can find at www.vitality101.com. His incredible program spat out about 200 pages of very insightful information on what my body was deficient in. I began taking some of his recommended supplements and began to see some definite results. In spite of my poor track record with medical tests, he also recommended thyroid testing for fibromyalgia suffers, even though it is well known that thyroid tests are frequently wrong. Dr. Teitelbaum believes that many people who have fibromyalgia were actually having a thyroid problem, even though their thyroid tests come out in the normal range. I’ve had numerous thyroid tests over the years, and they’ve all been normal. I trekked back to my doctor and pleaded with him, even mentioning that there was a history of thyroid problems in my family. At first, he refused, simply because the tests said normal. I think doctors, fearing litigation, are reluctant to try a treatment path unsupported by test results. When you think about it, test ranges are really averages. What happens if your physiology falls outside the normal average? The tragic answer is: you can fall through the cracks! Finally, after much debate and arguing, I was able to get my doctor to provide a prescription for a small dosage of thyroid medicine. I began taking it immediately after two days I began to notice that the tight muscles in my stomach and legs began to loosen up. This seemed miraculous. Unfortunately, I also had some negative side effects from the medicine, so I stopped taking it. Nevertheless, I was amazed at how my body responded to such a small does of thyroid medicine. I think Dr. Teitelbaum is onto something. If you are fortunate enough to have an open minded doctor, perhaps that avenue is worth Exploring. In Dr. Teitelbaum’s book, From Fatigue to Fantastic, he also advocates supplements for helping people with Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I can verify that supplements have absolutely becomes part of my program and helped with restoring my systems to their natural balance. Some supplements that really helped me are: NADH, Glutathione, L-Carnitine, Acetyl L-Carnitine, revitalizing sleep formula, daily infusion powder and calcium D-Glucarate. Please feel free to check out the full list of supplements on my website. If you are fatigued, you should really read Dr. Teitelbaum’s book. To fibromyalgia sufferers, I highly recommend checking this list, visiting these doctors’ web pages, and trying their protocols. Thanks to these doctors and various regimens, including supplements, my health is much, much better. Most people would have never guessed I went through such an ordeal. I still have to pace myself, and not push the limits. Staying healthy and maintaining my energy is a priority, so I’ve learned not to over-extend myself. I’ve learned to say no to some projects and activities and not feel guilty about it.
Todd: Wow! That’s a lot to go through. Facing such huge obstacles, how did you keep your ship facing forward?
Michael: Well, living and healing are spiritual events. I am fortunate to have a degree in theology and I have a strong daily spiritual practice, which has helped me to survive and thrive with complications of fibromyalgia. That’s not to say there haven’t been some very dark days, but faith in God and the support of my spiritual network, including my wonderful family and friends have made all the difference. After arriving at LA, I had moved into a little apartment across the street from Warner brothers. My roommate and I had decided to start a little bible study. We invited our neighbors and we prayed for many things including for my health to improve. One of our requests was for a door to open at Warner Brothers. Within a short time, our Bible Study group grew and our home couldn’t contain all the people. A year later, the doors opened for me at Warner Brothers, and I was working on the West Wing.
Todd: that’s Great! Can we tell the folks about your new show?
Michael: My web page has a new category called, “Nutrition Show”, which will provide all the details.
Todd: Thanks Mike! For more about Mike and fibromyalgia, please visit his website at: www.captainhastings.com
Energizing Intimacy - The foundation of a loving relationship is built on communication
July 27, 2005 04:17 PM
The foundation of a loving relationship is built on communication.
Mars/Venus. He said/she said. Action movies/chick flicks. However you choose to characterize differences between the sexes, one this is clear: We tend to see men and women as irreconcilable opposites, people who need each other deeply yet who often don’t know how to live with one another. The stress that ensues when the love connection breaks down aches not only our hearts but the rest of our bodies as well…to say nothing of what it teaches our children about the nature of relationships.
This issue of Energy Times is primarily devoted to offering advice and guidance on how to rebuild that love connection; how committed, loving couples can energize intimacy in their relationships. You can find valuable information in stories on the incredible herbs around the world that aid and enhance libido; tips on how women can use natural cosmetics to rev up a partner’s sexual engine; and how couples can create passion in the kitchen, through mutual back massage and after menopause.
But those articles offer little help if the foundation of your relationship is not primarily built on communicating your needs and desires- whether inside or outside of the bedroom- and listening, really listening, to the other person in your life. Communication is the holistic way to view sexual health and healing because having a clear understanding with your partner about love and life is the way your relationship can truly be whole.
With our national divorce rate hovering around the 50% mark, it is clear that American adults still have an immense learning curve when it comes to talking about sex and intimacy. Sensual images and situations bombard us from books, television, films and Internet sites, yet we seem to be as clueless as ever, not knowing how to talk intelligently about intimate relationships to each other or to our children.
Part of the problem stems from the constant barrage of verbal and visual messages- whether from our parents, friends or corporate advertising- that make us incredibly self-conscious about sensuality and our bodies. Many women fight to come to terms with self-images of their bodies as not thin or beautiful enough, while a lot of men struggle to overcome fear and insecurity over their sexual prowess. Carrying such baggage around can’t help but negatively affect the way people relate in a relationship. After all, before you can share love with your partner, you must learn to love yourself.
We also have to overcome the energy flows that start getting blocked during childhood, when we learn to restrain our emotional energy for the sake of fitting in. Like water behind a crumbling dam, though, repressed energy leaks out in all sorts of extremely unhealthy ways: Anger, depression, irritability, stress- and sexual dysfunction.
Learning to Talk
According to Chris Frey, a Missouri-based psychotherapist and pet who has studies sexual relationships, our culture does a great job reaching people about the mechanics and “how-to” of intimacy and the dangers of unprotected sex, but few families or institutions talk about healthy sexuality with a partner.
“Culturally, the prevalent myth still is that loves means intuitively knowing what my partner wants,” Frey said in an interview posted on the website of the Missouri Lawyer Assistance Program (MOLAP). “People think if they have to talk, or worse yet, ask about it, then there must be something wrong with them. That’s incorrect. Instead of open communication, people often turn to innuendo, humor and guesswork. When couples break through that, the sensitivity and intimacy built as two uncertain people begin to communicate about sex builds an amazing amount of trust, and most likely, a much more pleasurable relationship.”
In fact, trust is a key part of a model of healthy sexuality developed by social worker, marriage and family therapist and author Wendy Maltz. Called CERTS, Maltz’s model requires that five basic conditions be met for a healthy sexual relationship: Consent, Equality, Respect, Trust and Safety.
-Steven Hanks and Lisa James
July 15, 2005 09:16 AM
A recent study (August, 1996) Exploring the effect of Hypericum perforatum on depression re vealed some fairly stunning results. The British Medical Jo u rn a l published the results of one major studies, which consisted of twenty - three randomized trials, including a total of 1757 outpatients with mainly mild or moderately seve re depressive disorders. Testing was conducted with single preparations and combinations of extracts of the plant, and with placebo and anther drug treatment. As just mentioned, the results were very promising. In all aspects of the study, Hypericum extracts were shown to be “significantly superior” to placebo and similarly effective as standard antidepressants. There were nearly twice the number, percentage-wise, of dropouts due to side effects from the standard drugs than those taking the Hypericum extracts. Side effects occurred in eighty-four patients using standard antidepressants, while only fifty patients taking the Hypericum extracts experienced side effects. And the scores on the Hamilton depression scale, which measures severity of one’s depression, showed those taking Hypericum treatments scored slightly higher than those taking the standard antidepressant and significantly higher than those taking the placebo. 9 This study provides some firm ground for St. John’s wort to stand on in the treatment of depression, both in sheer numbers and its quality of treatment.
Another contemporary study, carried out in 1995 by Witte, et. al, showed the Linde study to be accurate in its findings. This particular study, carried out as a multicenter, placebo-controlled double-blind trial, used a highly concentrated Hypericum preparation to treat ninety-seven outpatients. The course of the illness was assessed with the Hamilton Depression Scale, the von Zerssen Depressivity Scale and the Clinical Global Impression Scale. The authors of the study noted this in their abstract:
Treatment resulted in an appreciable improvement in the symptoms of depression, and the seventy percent response rate (n=43) corresponded to that of chemical antidepressants. The preparation also showed an anxiolytic effect. The substance [hypericum] was extremely well tolerated, and no side effects were reported by any of the patients.10 Again, this study’s findings correlate that of the Linde and other studies in that treatment with Hypericum is at least as effective as standard synthetic antidepressants without producing near the number of side effects.
The Nursing Times also reported on recent findings dealing with Hypericum’s effect on depression. Stating that psychiatric medications are notorious for their undesirable side effects, and that the need for safer antidepressants is widely acknowledged, the blurb refers to a double-blind study, done by G. Harrer and H. Sommer (published in Phytomedicine, 1994 (1): 3-8), using St. John’s wort on 105 patients experiencing mild to moderate depression. They were aged twenty to sixty-four and had diagnoses of “neurotic depression or temporary depressive mood.” Patients were divided into two groups and monitored over four weeks, with one group receiving 300 mg of Hypericum extract three times daily and the other group receiving a placebo. All patients received psychiatric evaluations before the start of the study and after two and four weeks of treatment.11
The results of the study support the findings of other recent studies dealing with Hypericum and depression: 67 percent of the Hypericum group had responded positively to the treatment without any adverse side effects, whereas only 28 percent of the placebo group displayed any improvement. Harrer and Sommer state that the patients treated were experiencing strictly mild forms of depression; combining this with the study’s results and the results of other studies suggest that Hypericum treatment can be a very effective treatment for mild to moderate depression without severe side effects. The authors themselves even recommended that Hypericum should be considered as a remedy of choice. 12
These and other studies point to the strong possibility of using St. John’s wort, and specifically hypericin, on a wide scale to treat various forms of depression. Linde’s study suggests that St. John’s wort may have its most valuable asset in that of few or no side effects, something many sufferers of depression are very concerned about. The authors do note, however, that more research is necessary, especially in determining the severity and nature of depression, length of treatment, treatment dosage, preparation of Hypericum extracts, and occurrence of long-term side effects. Nevertheless, the results of this study and others are extremely promising for the millions of those who suffer from depression.
HERBS FOR SUMMER HEALTH
July 11, 2005 09:29 PM
HERBS FOR SUMMER HEALTH
Just about everyone looks forward to the summer months when school is out and more time can be spent outside. Backpacking, hiking, camping, boating, and bike riding are just a few of the adventures available. It’s a time for connecting and becoming reacquainted with nature while Exploring the out of doors. Family camping trips and backpacking through the wilderness can help us put our hectic lives in perspective and renew as well as refresh the body. Along with the adventures, a few bumps, bruises, bites and stings are expected. Before the summer holiday begins, prepare by having some herbal remedies on hand to help with minor accidents that may occur.
Aloe is one of the best choices for the first aid kit. Commercial preparations can be taken along on trips. A leaf from the plant can be sealed in a zip lock bag and tucked in the first aid kit for short term use. The plant has numerous healing abilities and can be used on minor burns, rashes, bumps, scrapes and bruises. The aloe plant is very useful for many conditions.
Modern research has proven many of the benefits of Aloe vera. It has been used effectively for treating radiation burns, skin disorders, wounds, sunburn and dermatitis, to name a few. Aloe vera can help clean, soothe and relieve pain on contact. It penetrates through all three layers of the skin rapidly to promote healing. There are many different types of aloe products. Some include:
Aloe gel: This is the undiluted gooey substance that is found in the center of the leaves. Aloe concentrate: The concentrate is the gel when the water content has been removed.
Aloe juice: The juice is a digestible version of the aloe plant made from the gel with at least 50 percent Aloe vera gel. Aloe latex (aloin): The latex is the bitter yellow liquid from the pericyclic tubules of the outer rind of the leaf. The main constituent of this is aloin.1
Aloe is known for its healing and soothing effect on burns, wounds, and rashes. It can help clean, soothe and relieve pain on contact. It is able to penetrate all three layers of the skin rapidly to promote healing. It contains salicylic acid and magnesium which work together to produce an aspirin like analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect. The transparent gel on the inner leaf is applied directly to areas of the skin to treat burns, wounds, skin irritations and frostbite. The gel can is commonly found in many first-aid creams.
Research has found that aloe when applied externally can actually help speed healing and restore skin tissue.2 It also aids in healing when used externally in cases of wounds, frostbite and burns.3 The healing of burns may be due in part to the moisturizing effect of aloe. It is easily absorbed into the skin preventing the air from drying the damaged skin tissue.4 Aloe can help with many minor irritations that can occur during the summer months. Steven R. Schechter, N.D. conducted a study in 1967 at the Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati to determine the healing benefits of aloe. Research animals were being treated for laser burns. Dr. Schechter used several different preparations and consistently found the aloe vera gel to produce the most healing results. He found the gel to help with many skin disorders including burns, lesions and cancers. 5
As much as we try to avoid sun exposure, it is almost impossible to completely avoid getting a sunburn at some point in our lives. We may forget the sunscreen or stay out longer than expected. Excessive exposure to the sun can be detrimental to health. But, aloe vera may help to lessen the damaging effects of the sun. A sunburn can damage the skin as well as the immune system. Research by Dr. Faith Strickland of the Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas points to the possibility of aloe vera helping to eliminate the damage done to the immune system and skin. It may even help to restore the immune system to full function.
Many individuals have found that having an aloe vera plant growing in the home, within easy access, is an easy and simple way to treat common injuries. Commercial p reparations are also available which contain aloe. Scientists have found the plant to contain antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, anesthetic and tissue healing properties.
So why shouldn’t it be useful as a natural home remedy? Simply break off a leaf of the plant and slice down the middle of the leaf. Apply the thick inner gel to the injury whether it be a burn, insect bite, abrasion, scrape, rash, or other injury. The cut leaf can be placed directly on the wound and wrapped with gauze to secure it into place for a more serious injury. The skin will soak up of the gel as it soothes the affected area.
Toxicity is rare, but some do have allergic reactions to Aloe vera products. The aloin, found in the bitter yellow latex, containing anthraquinones, may cause severe cramping and should be avoided by pregnant women and children. Aloe can also help with the following:
Holy Basil - For Natural Stress Reduction and COX-2 Inhibition
June 29, 2005 01:02 PM
Skyrocketing stress is one of our nation’s most pervasive public health problems. Daily stress can cause imbalances in inflammatory COX-2 production and cortisol levels, which can influence blood sugar changes and, ultimately, result in challenges to our health. To regain balance, Source Naturals introduces HOLY BASIL, a legendary Ayurvedic herb that is making news for its ability to inhibit the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme, balance cortisol levels and normalize blood sugar. HOLY BASIL is rich in beneficial compounds—such as rosmarinic acid and eugenol—which work together to reduce stress. This herb also typically contains ursolic acid, shown to inhibit COX-2 in in vitro research. As a result, HOLY BASIL has a positive effect on mental well-being, and can support minor pain relief from everyday activities. Source Naturals brings you this special herb, used daily in India by millions, in a high-potency, 450 mg extract tablet.
Stress, Blood Sugar and Nervous System Protection
For over five millennia, Tulsi (holy basil) has been used to improve digestion and restore imbalances of the body and mind. Now research has documented that HOLY BASIL may do this by decreasing levels of cortisol, a hormone produced and secreted by the adrenal glands. Nicknamed the “stress hormone,” cortisol production increases in response to chronic stress. Cortisol triggers the body to make glucose from amino acids, which causes blood sugar to rise. Through normalizing cortisol levels in times of stress, holy basil may prevent not only the mood changes associated with stress, but also prevent the increases in blood sugar that researchers say can contribute to numerous health imbalances affecting more than half of all Americans. HOLY BASIL has also been found to normalize neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Researchers found in animal studies that HOLY BASIL counteracted stress-induced changes in neurotransmitters and enzymes. Stress leads to a positive increase in brain serotonin levels, increases in dopamine levels and increases in SDH (succinate dehydrogenase) levels, while holy basil may help people maintain normal levels of these brain chemicals in times of stress. Another study found that animals that received the extract showed significant normalization of epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, MAO, and SDH. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are used in coping with stress. The researchers suggest that when dopamine levels rise, these two neurotransmitters may be replenished since dopamine is a precursor for their synthesis. This may be the mechanism by which holy basil assists with stress adaptation.
A Powerful Adaptogen
HOLY BASIL is classified as a premier “adaptogen,” an herb that can normalize body processes and restore overall health by maintaining body systems. Adaptogens support our systemic response to stress and give us stamina. HOLY BASIL is not to be used if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you may become pregnant. Taking personal responsibility for your health and Exploring safe natural alternatives to support prevention is the basis for the current revolution in health care. And health food outlets are the center of this wellness revolution. It is here that Source Naturals HOLY BASIL and hundreds of other advances in nutritional science and natural health can be found.
Promilin Fenugreek Extract - Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
June 28, 2005 10:44 AM
.. Your body’s ability to manage blood sugar may well be the single most crucial factor affecting your health and longevity, and the one most affected by diet and lifestyle. But today’s high-glycemic carbs and sugar-laden foods — combined with lack of exercise — are creating a serious challenge to your body’s intricate glucose/insulin regulatory system. The resulting cellular stress and deterioration have serious repercussions for both your mind and body. To promote optimal wellness through healthy sugar metabolism, Source Naturals formulated PROMILIN™ FENUGREEK EXTRACT, a potent extract from the highly valued herb fenugreek, into an advanced nutritional supplement designed to assist insulin production and support healthy glucose levels. As a complement to your diet, Source Naturals PROMILIN™ FENUGREEK EXTRACT is an excellent strategy to improve blood sugar levels, and consequently, quality of life.
The basis of Source Naturals PROMILIN™ FENUGREEK EXTRACT is fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), a respected culinary and medicinal herb used throughout history. One of the formula’s fenugreek extracts is rich in galactomannan, a mucilaginous fiber that may benefit the bowel. The other extract is Promilin, a patent-pending complex of bioactive amino acids standardized to contain 20% 4-hydroxyisoleucine. This extraordinary amino acid derivative assists the pancreas in production of insulin. Several studies with animals and with human cell cultures demonstrate this extract’s positive effect on reducing post-meal glucose levels — with little or no increase in blood insulin concentrations — a clear indicator of improved insulin sensitivity.
Athletic energy and endurance depend on the ability of muscles to recover from exercise. Because PROMILIN promotes utilization of glucose and insulin by the the body’s muscle cells, “weekend warriors” will feel less fatigue on Monday morning. In a clinical study, PROMILIN increased glycogen re-synthesis by 63% over carbohydrate alone. This is the rate at which post-exercise muscle glycogen (energy) is restored. PROMILIN may also play a role in weight management because it helps your body metabolize carbohydrates more efficiently. And the less time glucose spends in your bloodstream, the less chance it will be converted into fat. By supporting glucose metabolism, Source Naturals PROMILIN™ FENUGREEK EXTRACT may help protect against a harmful process called glycation, where excess glucose reacts with amino acids to form crosslinked sugardamaged proteins that damage the linings of blood vessels, the lens of the eye, and the myelin sheath that insulates brain cells.
RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS - The Most Comprehensive Antioxidant Formula Available
June 24, 2005 05:34 PM
The average American’s life expectancy has risen dramatically over the last 100 years. Ideally those extra years will be quality ones. High levels of stress and exposure to environmental and dietary toxins can deplete our antioxidant stores, leaving us more susceptible to chronic health challenges. When we are young and healthy the body unleashes its own antioxidants, but as we age this internal antioxidant producing system declines and the body needs help. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, which is a major cause of accelerated aging. Source Naturals presents the science of RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS. This Bio-Aligned Formula™ is a significant advancement over other products currently available. No other formula provides the broad range of high potency, established and newly discovered water and fat-soluble antioxidants that RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS delivers.
Bio-Aligned Antioxidant Support
RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS™ supports multiple body systems with a balanced spectrum of plantioxidants™ (botanical extracts with unparalleled ability to combat free radicals), vitamins and specialty nutrients that have powerful antioxidant properties. Research suggests dietary antioxidants help balance and modulate free radical activity and help maintain structure and function of important components of cells such as lipids, proteins, and DNA.
Oxygen is required by your cells to generate energy, but it also contributes to oxidative stress or free radical damage, which is one of the primary causes of age-related damage to cells and tissues. Free radicals are unpaired electrons that can damage cells and compromise the function of tissues and organs. Antioxidants make free radicals stable by providing them with an additional electron. Unfortunately, now the antioxidant is missing an electron so, ironically, it becomes a free radical, which requires another antioxidant to donate an electron. Because this process starts a cascade of free radicals, scientists strongly recommend a broad range of lipid and water soluble antioxidants to minimize this negative effect. No other antioxidant formula follows the science better than RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS to defend against the widest spectrum of destructive free radicals, including peroxyl, hydroxyl, and superoxide radicals, and singlet oxygen.
Antioxidants neutralize destructive free radicals and support cardiovascular health by halting the oxidation of cholesterol. Cholesterol is only harmful to us if it becomes oxidized. Oxidized cholesterol is an unstable molecule that damages arteries. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS contains hearthealthy antioxidants including gamma E and tocotrienols, which are major lipid-soluble antioxidants that help maintain the integrity of cell membranes by preventing lipid oxidation. The formula includes hawthorn berry and grape seed, CoQ10, lycopene and other powerful antioxidants for heart support.
Nourishing the Brain
Antioxidants are critical for brain and nerve tissue because the brain is mostly composed of fats, which are very sensitive to free radical damage. Research has shown that stress can directly set in motion mechanisms that promote aging, which affects brain and nerve tissue. Ginkgo has been shown to increase memory performance and learning capacity as well as improve blood flow. It is also a free radical scavenger. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS also contains DMAE, bilberry, CoQ10, grape seed, lipoic acid, vitamin B-2 and lutein for broad spectrum support.
Powerful antioxidants help minimize stress damage to liver cells and tissues, thereby supporting detoxification. N-acetyl cysteine is a powerful antioxidant. It is also a precursor to glutathione, a critical antioxidant and detoxifying substance produced in the liver. Silymarin is known for supporting the regeneration of the liver. Since the liver is prone to fat incursion, which makes it vulnerable to oxidative damage, the following fat soluble antioxidants provide critical protection: CoQ10, lipoic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, and gamma E.
The immune system is unlike other body systems in that it is not a group of physical structures but a system of complex interactions involving many different organs. White blood cells generate enormous amounts of destructive free radicals in order to kill invading organisms. Vitamin C, a free radical scavenger, is concentrated in these white blood cells at a much higher level than in surrounding fluid. This extends their life and effectiveness by providing them with a built in defense mechanism against their own free radicals. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS provides water and fat-soluble vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate and ascorbic acid) along with vitamin A, beta carotene, CoQ10, lipoic acid, quercetin, selenium, gamma vitamin E, tocotrienols, zinc and turmeric, for added immune defense.
Skin & Connective Tissue
Skin is rich in lipids, proteins, and DNA, which are extremely sensitive to oxidation. Age-related changes due to oxidation, loss of elastic fibers and thickening of collagen fibers, cause skin to become fragile and less supple. A broad array of antioxidants protects skin and helps maintain its structure and tone. These include beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, grape seed, zinc, amla (Phylanthus emblica), quercetin, DMAE, manganese and myricetin. Amla is a very effective herbal tonic. It is rich in polyphenols and vitamin C.
Eye tissue is particularly prone to the effect of free radicals. Vision involves light being focused through the lens onto the retina. The macula, or center of the retina, receives the most light. However, sunlight is a powerful free radical generator. Lutein, a potent, fatsoluble antioxidant concentrated in the macula, helps maintain the integrity of the macula and the blood vessels that supply the macular region. The eye also has aqueous tissue that is better protected by water-soluble antioxidants, such as bilberry and grape seed. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS provides these ingredients, along with lycopene, zeaxanthin, lipoic acid, vitamin A, beta carotene and ascorbyl palmitate to support healthy eyes.
Mitochondria, the tiny energy factories within the cells, are the major source of free radicals produced by our own bodies. These components of cells produce ATP (the energy molecule) and provide energy for all cellular activity; therefore, antioxidants are crucial to keep the levels of oxidants they produce in check. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS provides the antioxidant power of green tea, lipoic acid, zinc, vitamin B-2, CoQ10 and Mega H-, a source of electron rich hydrogen ions. Coenzyme Q10 is fat-soluble and its primary functions include activity as an antioxidant and as a cofactor in many metabolic pathways, particularly in the production of ATP in oxidative respiration.
DNA, the blueprint for all molecules in the body, can be altered or damaged by oxidation. Protecting DNA is important for optimal health of all cells and tissues. According to invitro research, certain compounds, such as curcumin (from turmeric) and quercetin, can directly protect against strand-breakage and base oxidation. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS contains these ingredients along with rosemary, pomegranate, raspberry, blueberry leaf, and carnosine. In in-vitro studies, L-carnosine reduced glycation, a process in which DNA and protein are damaged by glucose.
Living Longer, Living Better Strategies for Wellness
Taking personal responsibility for your health and Exploring safe alternatives to support prevention is the basis for the wellness revolution. Your health food outlet is leading the way with education and quality products to help you take control of your well-being. Source Naturals is pleased to partner with these outlets to bring you the cutting edge nutritional science of RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS. Antioxidant protection is a fundamental part of the holistic healing system. Make this profound formula the cornerstone of your anti-aging program today.
Clement, M., Bourre, J. Graded dietary levels of RRR-y-tocopherol induce a marked increase in the concentrations of a- and y-tocopherol in nervous tissues, heart, liver, and muscle of vitamin E-deficient rats. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1334 (1991) 173-181. Borgstrom, L. Pharmacokinetics of N-acetylcysteine in Man. Eur J Clin Pharmacol (1986) 31:217-222. Hipkiss, A.R., et al. Carnosine, a protective, antiaging peptide? Int J Biochem & Cell Biol. 30, May 1998, 863-868.
Heart and Blood Vessels Resveratrol, Gamma E, Tocotrienols, Vit C, Hawthorn Berry, Grapeseed, Myricetin, CoQ10, Ginkgo, Beta & Alpha Carotene, Zeaxanthin, Lycopene, Lutein, Astazanthin, Lipoic acid, Green Tea, Bilberry, Ginger, Turmeric, Blueberry Leaf
Brain and Nervous System DMAE, Ginkgo, Carnosine, Bilberry, CoQ10, Grapeseed, Lipoic Acid, Vit B-2, Lutein
Liver Lipoic Acid, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Vit A, B-2,and C, Beta Carotene, Silymarin, CoQ10, Selenium, Zinc, Gamma E, Tocotrienols, Turmeric, Ginger Glutathione, Wheat Sprouts
Immune System Vit A & C, Beta Carotene, CoQ10, Lipoic Acid, Quercetin, Selenium, Gamma E, Tocotrienols, Zinc, Turmeric
Skin & Connective Tissue Beta Carotene, Vit B-2, C & E, Grapeseed, Lutein, Lycopene, Zeaxanthin, Zinc, Amla, Quercetin, Manganese, DMAE
Eyes and Vision Lutein, Beta Carotene, Vit A & C, Bilberry, Lycopene, Zeaxanthin, Lipoic Acid, Quercetin, Gamma E, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Selenium, Zinc
Energy Production and Metabolism Green Tea, Ginger, Mega H-, Ginkgo, CoQ10, Lipoic Acid, Zinc, Vit B-2, Carnosine DNA Protection Turmeric, Quercetin, Rosemary, Grapeseed , Resveratrol, Lycopene, Lutein, Tocotrienols, GliSODin®, Carnosine, Zinc, Manganese, Amla, Pomegranate, Raspberry leaf, Blueberry leaf
In the Clear - Skin is always in danger of acne and inflammations
June 12, 2005 02:13 PM
In the Clear by Dianne Drucker Energy Times, August 3, 2003
Your skin needs protection even as it offers itself as your body's first line of defense against the outside world. Skin is always in danger of acne and inflammations during its daily encounters with stray microorganisms, streams of ultraviolet light and a barrage of pollutants.
Tending to your skin, keeping a clear complexion while safeguarding your well-being, requires proper feeding, watering and tender, loving care.
Your skin not only has to protect you, it has to look good while doing it. Unfortunately, much can go wrong with skin. One of the most common skin irregularities is the acne that often arises when pores clog and inflammation creates unsightly blemishes.
While conventional medicine has long insisted that your chances of developing pimples are unrelated to what you feed your body and your skin, recent studies are calling that accepted wisdom into question.
Research in the Archives of Dermatology (12/02) argues that today's pimples are linked to what you ate yesterday. Skin scientists now suspect that the typical American diet, filled with refined foods, sugars and simple starches, causes the exaggerated release of insulin and related secretions that foment pimples and blemishes.
The evidence: When researchers spent two years combing through the rainforests of New Guinea and trekking to remote parts of Paraguay, they took a close look at indigenous people's faces and couldn't find a single pimple. The inhabitants of these isolated areas eat homegrown food and wild game. They've never eaten crackers or cookies from a box or slurped a milkshake through a straw. And they've never had to cope with embarrassing acne.
The researchers concluded that no refined foods meant no blemishes.
Refining the Pimple Process
According to this latest theory, pimples can start when your digestive tract quickly absorbs refined, starchy carbohydrates from white bread or potatoes or sugary soft drinks. These foods are ranked at or near the top of the so-called glycemic index. That means that these foodstuffs cause your blood sugar to climb rapidly, the process that the glycemic index measures.
That rise in blood sugar causes the release of insulin from your pancreas into your bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone-like substance, helps cells soak up the excess sugar circulating in your blood. However, along with insulin, another substance, is also released. These two chemicals boost the production of testosterone, the male hormone that, in turn, can cause the skin to overproduce sebum, an oily goo that plugs up pores and gives birth to acne. (Previous research has already established the causal relationship of testosterone to pimples.)
Lorain Cordain, PhD, a health professor at Colorado State University and lead researcher in this study, points out that more than 80% of the grains we eat are highly refined and cause significant blood sugar increases, a factor that makes skin break out. In addition, he says, teens are especially susceptible to pimples because they are growing rapidly and, as a result, tend to be insulin resistant. Insulin resistance means it takes more insulin to persuade cells to take sugar out of the blood. This condition consequently results in even larger amounts of insulin being released and more skin blemishes being created.
According to Dr. Cordain, eating low-glycemic foods like whole grains, vegetables, fish and lean meat should lower your risk of acne. These foods don't bump up blood sugar as much, to be released and, as a result, are kinder to your skin.
Aside from improving your skin condition by improving the food you eat, taking supplements to help the bacteria in your lower digestive tract may also clear up your undesirable dermatological developments. Eczema, a discomforting and embarrassing skin inflammation, is now believed to depend on the interaction between intestinal bacteria and your immune system.
According to research in Finland (The Lancet 2001; 357:1076), eczema may appear on your skin when your immune system, influenced by the gut's bacteria, misbehaves, using unnecessary inflammation to defend against a non-existent infection that it mistakenly believes threatens the skin.
Atopic eczema, a variety of eczema that often runs in families, has long been known to be linked to allergies and immune overreactions.
In looking into the fact that more and more people have been suffering eczema, scientists came to the disturbing conclusion that this increase may be at least partly attributed to our obsession with cleanliness.
When we are young, our immune systems learn the proper ways to fight off germs by interacting with the bacteria and viruses they encounter. But during the past ten years, so many of us (and our parents) have kept our houses so neurotically spic-and-span, according to the latest theory, that our immune systems are failing to develop the proper responses. So, like a bored, inexperienced security guard who imagines a threat when there is none, our immune defenses are going slightly haywire, causing the defensive inflammation of eczema even in the absence of real bacteriological invasions. The possible solution: Probiotic supplements of harmless bacteria like Lactobacillus GG. This bacteria, similar to the friendly bacteria that live in our large intestines, seems to calm immunity so that it is less likely to panic and start an unnecessary inflammation.
These supplements are so safe, medical researchers are now giving them to pregnant women and newborn babies. In the research in Finland, giving these probiotics to mothers and newborns cut the rate of infant atopic eczema in half. (Similar, live bacteria are also found in yogurt, although yogurt should not be fed to newborns.)
The skin on these children is benefiting for long periods of time. "Our findings show that the preventive effect of Lactobacillus GG on atopic eczema in at-risk children extends to the age of 4 years," notes Marko Kalliomäki, MD, author of the study.
Tea Tree Help
Further natural skin help can be had from Australia in the form of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia). Long revered by the aborigines of this continent, tea tree oil was allegedly given its English name by British sea captain James Cook, who used the plant to make a tea that improved the flavor of beer.
But Australians have long used tea tree oil as an antiseptic. Its popularity increased during World War II, when, after it was used as a lubricant on heavy machinery, mechanics who got the oil on their hands noticed it fought skin infections. As pointed out in The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook (Three Rivers Press), "The essential oil of tea tree...contains a number of terpenes, of which terpinen-4-ol is believed to be responsible for its beneficial anti-infective activity." Terpenes are special, beneficial types of protein found in essential oils.
Tea tree is especially useful against skin outbreaks caused by fungus infections. Research in Australia shows that it can help quell athlete's foot (Austr Jrnl Derm 1992; 33:145) as effectively as some pharmaceutical preparations. Other research confirms that it can help quiet many different fungi that cause unsightly skin outbreaks (Skin Pharm 1996; 9:388). The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook recommends that "every household should keep some tea tree oil close at hand. It can be applied directly to skin irritations."
Revered by the pharaohs' healers in Egypt during the ancient age of the pyramids, and depended upon for centuries by the Greeks for a variety of medicinal purposes, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is still employed for a range of skin problems. This botanical helps ease abscesses, bruises or sunburn, and is included in many massage oils. (But never apply chamomile's undiluted essential oil to the skin.)
In addition, creams and sprays with chamomile are used to calm the nerves and nourish the skin. As an element in aromatherapy, chamomile, whose odor has been compared to apples, is well-known for soothing and rejuvenating the spirit. Explaining exactly how chamomile heals and calms has not been easy for scientists. Essential oils like chamomile contain so many different natural chemicals that Exploring their holistic effect on the human body requires detailed analysis. As an aromatherapeutic agent, researchers believe chamomile and other essential oils may interact with the brain, activating glands that stimulate healing systems within the body. But that has yet to be proven.
What has been proven is that herbs like chamomile and tea tree, and natural treatments like probiotics, can make a big difference in keeping your skin healthy and clear. With their help, you can present your best face to the world.