Search Term: " Flies "
Microbiome, Herbal Medicine, and Probiotics Combine to Extend Lifespan
June 02, 2018 05:16 PM
Scientists at McGill University were able to significantly increase the life expectancy of Drosophila fruit flies by using probiotics and the prebiotic Triphala mixture, an element of traditional Indian medicine. The experiment was based on the theory of the gut-brain axis, a two way superhighway of communication between the neurons and the digestive tract that helps the body respond to its environment and handle stress. Changes associated with the aging process, such as depletion of beneficial gut flora in the gastric microbiome, can interfere with the body’s ability to handle stress, inflammation and damage effectively. It is thought that the pro- and pre- biotics mixture helped mitigate these changes to the gastric microbiome.
"The researchers, headed by Satya Prakash, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical engineering in McGill’s Faculty of Medicine, hope that the combination of probiotics and the prebiotic Triphala formulation could help to prevent or treat human disorders ranging from diabetes and obesity, to neurodegeneration, chronic inflammation, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and perhaps even cancer."
Read more: https://www.genengnews.com/gen-news-highlights/microbiome-herbal-medicine-and-probiotics-combine-to-extend-lifespan/81255870
Probiotics found to protect honey bees from toxic effects of pesticides
June 25, 2017 09:14 AM
Honeybees are necessary for our agriculture they provide an air replaceable service when they cross pollinate crops. Unfortunately, the population of bees has been decreasing and human made a pesticide are a major reason. Studies conducted in fruit flies and early studies and honeybees show that a probiotic can be used to negate the effects of pesticides. Just stopping pesticide use seems a simple solution but crops could also be devastated, that's why the study into probiotics is so important.
"According to a recent study from Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University, probiotics can protect honey bees from the fatal side effects of pesticides that people use to protect their crops."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-06-22-probiotics-found-to-protect-honey-bees-from-toxic-effects-of-pesticides.html
How to Get Rid of Flies Quickly Inside and Outside!!
May 19, 2017 04:44 AM
Flies are the most annoying insect especially because they are hard to find and kill. Flies mainly come around in the summer time when its hot outside. People have tried bug spray, fly swatters, rolled up news papers and more. However, these never seem to work but this video provides nice home remedies to get rid of Flies. The first remedy is to use cloves and lemons since Flies hate that smell. The second way is to DIY a fly spray and the third way is to DIY a fly trap.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbTW4aDFSwg&rel=0
"They are naturally attracted to smell and light, so herbs and essential oils with strong scents can serve as natural repellents."
The health benefits of citronella oil
February 14, 2014 10:23 PM
What is citronella
Citronella is a grass that is grown in Asian countries as well as islands in the South Pacific and has a rich and crisp aroma. Citronella essential oil is extracted from the Ceylon and Java variety of the grass. This oil is known to have so many benefits and these include:
Citronella oil is effective in repelling insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and black Flies and thus prevents its bites. The oil can be used on human and their clothing in form of liquid, oil or patch. This makes it a natural and non-toxic alternative to chemical insect repellants. It is also available in products like insect repelling candles and cartridges.
If used well, citronella oil can help with oily skin as it is an astringent. You should apply a drop or two on the skin to test if it will cause irritation. You should then apply 2 to 3 drops of the oil to a cotton ball and wipe out any excess sweat. You should then complete your regular facial routine.
Citronella oil contains methyl isoeugenol that help in its antibacterial property. The oil can kill and even inhibit the growth of bacteria in the body. Therefore, the oil can be helpful in treating wound infections, as well as other infections in the urinary bladder, urethra, colon, stomach, urinary track, intestines, prostate and kidney.
Citronella oil can be helpful in sedating inflammation. This is particularly so in issues pertaining to the stomach, liver, intestines and other parts of the digestive system. The oil can be used to soothe inflammation caused by drug and alcohol use.
Citronella essential oil has a crisp and rich lemon aroma that is effective in driving away body odors. Therefore, it is used for body sprays and deodorants but in very small quantities as it can cause skin irritations if used in high quantities.
What Herbs Help Fight Against Worms And Parasites?
January 23, 2013 12:27 PM
Fighting Against Worms and Parasites
There are thousands of worms and parasites around in the environment and people are always becoming ill because of some of these insects which they come into contact with. Many people are under the impression that something like a tapeworm does not exist anymore. However, although this is less common, people are still being affected by this and it can cause all sorts of complications.
Flatworms, Flukes and Roundworms
The three main problematic worms are flatworms, flukes and roundworms. These all cause some form of damage and need to be dealt with. You have to treat this early on. You must make sure that you take precautionary methods, because then there is little chance of something going terribly wrong. Some of these worms feed on blood and tissue fluids. You will start to lose a lot of weight as a result of a flatworm and often you won't even know that you have one of these in your system. One of these worms can measure up to 20 meters in length.
Eventually the organs will also start to suffer. Parasites can be transmitted in a variety of ways, but most of the time you can't do anything about it. You may be in a tropical country where there are a lot of mosquitoes, fleas and Flies buzzing around. These can be harmful and can even cause malaria. One can even be affected by something that passes by in the air. Vegetables and fruit are often contaminated and they need to be washed. Tapeworms have been known to be found in pork, and therefore this should only be bought once it has come back from a butcher. To look after yourself and make sure that you don't run into too many problems, it is important that you treat yourself from time to time.
Black Walnut, Garlic, And Wormwood
Using natural herbs, black walnut and garlic as well as wormwood will help prevent running into any of these complication. Ipecac and Myrrh are two of the well known herbs that work on getting rid of parasites. You will have to use these in a tea form because they are very powerful. They can have minor side effects for some, but it is a lot better than living with some of the worms in your body. Garlic works best with hook worms and is effective in treating parasites. It has been used over the ages and has a very good reputation in this regard. Wormwood is found in a lot of medication on the market and is recommended by many doctors as one of the better ways to clear out your system, especially working to get rid of the roundworm.
Research has said that pumpkin seeds work very well in getting rid of tapeworms. However, if this has got to a very advanced stage, then they may need to be surgically removed. Some experts suggest that these seeds be mixed with milk and honey for the best effects. Most people will tell you that it is a good idea to use herbs and other remedies on a regular basis on their own or in your cooking to keep your system clean and healthy. If you do this, there is less chance of an invasion. If you should have a problem, you will be able to be treated in the early stages.
October 29, 2009 12:56 PM
The pennyroyal herb is a member of the mint genus. It is an essential oil that is extracted and used in aromatherapy. Crushed pennyroyal leaves and foliage give off a very strong spearmint fragrance. Traditionally, pennyroyal is used as culinary herb, folk medicine, and abortifacient. This herb was commonly used by the Greeks and Romans as a cooking herb. The Greeks often flavored their wine with pennyroyal. Additionally, a large number of the recipes in the Roman cookbook of Apicius use pennyroyal along with herbs such as lovage, oregano, and coriander. Although it was still commonly used for cooking in the Middle Ages, it slowly fell out of use as a culinary herb. Today, it is seldom used. However, the essential oil of pennyroyal is extremely high in pulegone, which is toxic volatile organic compound, and is therefore poisonous to the liver and can stimulate uterine activity.
Pennyroyal was brought by European settlers to the New World. There, they found that Native Americans were using the American variety of pennyroyal for repelling insects, skin irritations, and many of the same illnesses that they were using their own variety for. Additionally, this herb was used to soothe the stomach and relieve cold symptoms. The pennyroyal that is found in America has similar properties to the herb that is found in Europe. However, the European variety is thought to be much more potent.
This herb possesses a volatile oil that works to remove gas from the stomach. It can be consumed as a tea of used as a footbath. If it is taken a few days before menstruation is due, it can help increase a suppressed flow. The pennyroyal tea is beneficial in relieving cold symptoms and also promoting perspiration. This herb has a strong, minty odor. It is used externally to repel insects like fleas, Flies, and mosquitoes.
The oil of the pennyroyal plant is extremely concentrated and is often linked to toxic results. The oil is often associated with abortions and convulsions that result in death. It is believed that the oil irritates the uterus, which causes uterine contractions. The action is not predictable and is potentially dangerous. It is recommended that the oil be used only externally as a natural insect repellant. This herb is suggested for use as a decongestant for coughs and colds. Tea that is made from the pennyroyal herb is not associated with toxicity. In fact, it helps to relax the digestive tract and soothe the stomach.
In short, the entire pennyroyal plant is used to provide alterative, antispasmodic, antivenomous, aromatic, carminative, decongestant, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, nervine, oxytocic, parasiticide, sedative, stimulant, and stomachic properties. Primarily, pennyroyal is extremely beneficial in treating bronchitis, childbirth pain, colds, colic, uterine cramps, fevers, gas, lung infections, and absent menstruation. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with convulsions, coughs, abdominal cramps, delirium, earache, flu, gout, headaches, leprosy, measles, migraines, mucus, nausea, phlegm, pleurisy, pneumonia, smallpox, sunstroke, toothaches, tuberculosis, ulcers, uterine problems, and vertigo.
In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by pennyroyal, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
September 24, 2009 10:50 AM
The pleurisy plant is a perennial herb that has several stems. It can be found growing three feet high, with branches at the top. The leaves are dark green on the upper surface and pale green on the underside. The flowers are richly colored orange and are found blooming from June through September. This plant is a member of the milkweed family. Monarchs, swallowtails, and other butterFlies are especially attracted to the pleurisy plant when it is in flower. The plant prefers open, dry fields. It is often growing in abundance in the southern United States. Similar to other milkweeds, pleurisy root produces pods that reveal rows of silky reeds that drift in the wind in autumn. However, unlike most milkweeds, this species does not produce a milky sap.
This plant is native to North America. It was long used by Indians and pioneers. Often, it was spread onto sores after being powdered and mixed into a paste. Indians of several regions brewed a tea from the leaves to induce vomiting in certain rituals, while settlers and Indians alike made a tea from the root to induce perspiration and expectoration in severe respiratory conditions. Pleurisy was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia in the 19th century.
Pleurisy root developed its name because of its use for treating lung conditions. The name comes from the Greek root word pleura, which means “lung membranes.” This name implies that this herb is extremely valuable for treating pleurisy. This is because it relieves chest pain and eases breathing difficulties. Pleurisy was used by Native Americans. Then, they introduced it to the European settlers who were suffering from numerous respiratory problems.
This herb works primarily as an expectorant. Pleurisy helps to expel phlegm from bronchial and nasal passages. The herb is responsible for opening lung capillaries. This aids in the release of mucus, which thins discharge. This process helps to reduce lung congestion and improve breathing.
In addition to its uses for pulmonary problems, pleurisy root is also used as a gentle tonic. This tonic helps with stomach pain that is caused by gas, indigestion, and dysentery.
Additionally, pleurisy root is a powerful diaphoretic. It increases body temperature and opens pores to induce perspiration. It has also been used against poisoning and acute rheumatism. Unfortunately, this is not recommended for children.
The root of the pleurisy plant is used to provide alterative, anodyne, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, febrifuge, nervine, mild purgative, and stimulant properties. Primarily, pleurisy is extremely beneficial in treating spasmodic asthma, bronchitis, acute dysentery, emphysema, fevers, indigestion, lung disorders, pleurisy, and pneumonia. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with croup, contagious diseases, flu, gas, kidney problems, measles, and excessive mucus, absent perspiration, poisoning, acute rheumatism, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, and typhus.
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 while on prescription medications. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by pleurisy, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
September 21, 2009 11:12 AM
Horehound has been around for thousands of years. The Romans used this herb in a combination as an antidote for poison. The horehound plant is a bushy plant that produces numerous annual branching stems. The plant is a foot or more in height and has whitish flowers. The leaves are much wrinkled, opposite, petiolate, and about an inch long. They are covered with white, felted hairs that give them a wooly appearance. The leaves have a strange, musky smell that can be diminished by drying the plant. Horehound is known to flower between June and September.
An ancient Greek physician by the name of Galen first recommended horehound for use in treating respiratory conditions. Early European physicians also used horehound to treat respiratory ailments. Early settlers in North America brought horehound with them to treat coughs, colds, and tuberculosis. The herb was also used to treat hepatitis, malaria, and intestinal worms. Horehound was also used to promote menstruation and sweating. Most commonly, the herb is used to treat colds and coughs, to soothe the throat and loosen mucus in the chest. Horehound is a well-known lung and throat remedy.
Warm infusions of horehound are able to relieve congestion and hyperemic conditions of the lungs. They do this by promoting an outward flow of blood. In large doses, horehound will work as a mild laxative. Applying the dried herb topically is a great way to treat herpes simplex, eruptions, eczema, and shingles.
The Romans praised horehound because of its medicinal purposes. Its Latin name Marrubium is derived from the word Maria urbs, which is an ancient town of Italy. The plant was called the ‘Seed of Horus” or the ‘Bull’s Blood,’ and the ‘Eye of the Star’ by the Egyptian Priests. Horehound was a main ingredient in Caesar’s antidote for vegetable poisons. It was recommended, in addition to its uses in coughs and colds, for those that had drunk poison or had been bitten by serpents. Horehound was once thought of as an anti-magical herb. Additionally, horehound is a serviceable remedy against cankerworm in trees. Some believed that if it is put into new milk and set in a place where there are a lot of Flies, it will quickly kill all of them.
The marrubiin content of horehound is believed to be the responsible component, giving it its ability to stimulate bronchial mucosa secretions. This information was obtained by German research done in 1959. Horehound can be used as a safe and effective expectorant.
The entire horehound plant should be used to provide alterative, anti-inflammatory, antitussive, aromatic, bitter, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, mild purgative, stimulant, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are iron, potassium, sulfur, and vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and F. Primarily, horehound is extremely helpful in dealing with asthma, colds, coughs, croup, lung ailments, excessive mucus, phlegm, and respiratory problems.
Additionally, this herb is beneficial in treating bronchitis, infectious diseases, earaches, external eczema, fevers, glandular problems, jaundice, absent menstruation, and external shingles. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by horehound, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
August 20, 2009 05:32 PM
Anise is a flowering plant that is part of the Apiaxeae family. It is native to the eastern Mediteranean region and southwest Asia. It is known for its flavor, which resembles licorice, fennel, and tarragon. The anise plant is an herbaceous annual plant that grows to three feet tall. The leaves are at the base of the plant and are very simple. They are about two to five centimeters long and shallowly lobed. The leave higher on the stems are feathery pinnate and divided into numerous leaves. The flowers of the anise plant are white and about three millimeters in diameter. They are produced in dense umbels. The anise fruit is an oblong dry schizocarp that is about three to five millimeters in length. The seedpods are referred to as aniseed. Anise is usually used as food by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, such as butterFlies and moths. Among these are the lime-speck pug and the wormwood pug.
The best growth for the anise plant can be found in light, fertile, well drained soil. The plants should be started from seeds as soon as the ground warms up in the spring. Because the anise plants have a taproot, they do not transplant well after they are established. For this reason, the plants should be started where they are to grow, or transplanted while the seedlings are still small.
Anise is sweet and very aromatic. It can be distinguished by its licorice-like flavor. It is widely used in a variety of regional and ethnic confectioneries, including British Aniseed balls, Austrailain Humbugs, New Zealand Aniseed wheels, Italian pizzelle, German pfeffernusse and springerle, Netherland Muisjes, Norwegian knots, and Peruvian Picarones. Anise is a key ingredient in Mexican “atole de anis” which is similar to hot chocolate. It is taken as a digestive after meals in India.
Anise was used in ancient Rome as flavoring. However, it contains nutrients like calcium and iron. This herb was added to foods to prevent indigestion when eating large quantities of food. Additionally, it was used to help with bad breath. Hippocrates recommended this herb to relieve both coughs and congestion.
Anise is used to help remove excess mucus from the alimentary canal and the mucus that is associated with coughs. It is used to stimulate the appetite, relieve digestive problems, and treat colic pain. Some herbalists recommend that anise be used for stimulating the glands and vital organs. Among these organs are the heart, liver, lungs, and brain. Additionally, it helps to normalize estrogen levels.
The oil and seeds of the anise plant are used to provide anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue, stimulant, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are B vitamins, calcium, choline, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Primarily, anise provides extraordinary benefits in treating colds, colic, coughs, gas, indigestion, absent lactation, excessive mucus, and pneumonia.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with loss of appetite, breath odor, emphysema, epilepsy, nausea, and nervous disorders. It is important to speak with a health care professional before considering supplementing with any nutrient in order to obtain the best results while on medications. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by anise, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
Hoodia Extract And Appetite
September 26, 2008 11:36 AM
Hoodia is a plant that belongs to the milkweed family and consists of about twenty different species. It is a leafless, spiny plant, with fleshy finger-like stems. Along the stems, there are rows of thorns, while the plant bears flesh-colored flowers. Flies are attracted to the flowers by the strong smell of decaying meat, causing the Flies to lay their eggs and pollinate the flowers. Sometimes spelled hootia, hodia, hoodie, and hudia, hoodia has recently gained a great amount of attention in the United Kingdom and America after being featured on BCC and CBS. Often growing in summer rainfall areas in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, along with winter rainfall areas in Nambia, hoodia gordonii is the only species that contains the chemical component that suppresses appetite.
Hoodia has been used for thousands of years by San Bushmen, as it populates the arid territories of South Africa and Namibia. Because San Bushmen needed to remain active in order to survive, they had little need for dieting, but this plant provided them with stamina and a curbed appetite during long periods without food. Along with reducing or eliminating the desire for food, many people believe that hoodia also increases energy and can act as an aphrodisiac on the user.
The appetite-suppressing ingredient found in hoodia is a molecule that is similar to, but stronger than glucose. The active compound that was isolated to be responsible for appetite suppression is P57, which works by sending a signal to the hypothalamus of the brain, tricking the body into thinking that it is no longer hungry, and resulting in a complete lack of appetite. P57 is a steroid like molecule that is chemically bonded to a chain of three sugar molecules. The appetite-suppressing and mood-enhancing properties of P57 go directly to the mid-brain, where it causes neuron cells to fire as if you were full.
The hypothalamus is the region of the brain that contains several important centers which control body temperature, thirst, hunger, water balance, and sexual function. Additionally, the hypothalamus is closely connected with emotional activity and sleep and also functions as a center for the integration of hormonal and autonomic nervous activity through the control of pituitary secretions. In short, the hypothalamus links the nervous system to the endocrine system. The pituitary gland is often thought of as the mater gland in our bodies, as the anterior and posterior pituitary secrete a variety of hormones that influence all cells and affect almost all physiological processes.
The pituitary gland is powered by the hypothalamus, as some of the neurons in the hypothalamus secrete the hormones that are responsible for controlling the secretion of hormones from the anterior pituitary. The inhibiting and releasing hormones of the hypothalamus are carried directly to the anterior pituitary where hypothalamic hormones bind to receptors on anterior pituitary cells.
The P57 hormone that is found in hoodia works by increasing the amount of ATP in nerve cells found in the hypothalamus. ATP is an energy-producing molecule that is formed from glucose. When there are increased levels of ATP in hypothalamic nerve cells, those nerve cells fire as if you had just eaten, even when you haven’t. Hoodia is a safe herb taken for hundreds of years, have you tried Hoodia lately?
Natural Remedies For Bumps, Bruises, Scrapes, and Insect Bites
November 10, 2007 09:52 AM
Whether you are a child or an adult you are as susceptible to the damage done to skin and soft tissue by hard activities as anybody else. So what can you look for if you decide have a day outdoors and face the dangers that you will come across that want to leave you bruised ,scratched, scraped, cut and itching from all the falls, knocks, stings and bites that most people experience when they are more used to spending their time indoors?
Bruises are caused by a knock, and can happen without you even being aware of it. The blood vessels get damaged and leak. If you notice it right away, you can lessen the degree of bruising by applying ice or cold water to constrict the capillaries and cut down the flow of blood leaking from them. Some people bruise easier than others, and excessive bruising for no apparent reason could be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition and you should see your doctor.
A bump, or lump, can appear for many reasons, but generally settles down after a while. It can simply be the body's reaction to a hard knock that did not damage the blood vessels, but prompted a natural swelling to protect the area. They can also be caused by insect bites. You don’t always see these little pests – they have lunch then zip off without you even being aware of it until the area begins to itch and swell. However, if you have a lump under the armpit, in your neck or behind your ears it could be a swollen gland and you should contact your physician.
Everybody gets minor scrapes now and again, and when you spend any time outside you can get bitten by insects such as mosquitoes, midges, blackFlies, horse Flies – you name it, they will lunch on you as on any other animals. You can also get stung by vegetable nasties, though if you do then look around for a remedy. Strangely, many stinging plants have another plant close by that can be used as a remedy. This is likely because, after being stung, people just rubbed whatever was handy on the area and eventually these remedies were discovered.
Thus, dock leaves are often found beside nettles, and touch-me-not beside poison ivy. These are good natural remedies for stings caused through contact with these particular plants, and there are many other natural remedies that can be used for the other everyday hurts that people receive just for carrying out normal activities outside in a natural environment. Let’s have a look at some of the natural remedies that people have used through the ages, and that are still used to this day, even in proprietary creams and salves.
Calendula, or marigold, is very effective in relieving skin irritations and inflammation. It can be applied topically to relieve the symptoms of bruises, cuts and scrapes, and also for the initial treatment of burns and scalds. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used on inflamed or infected cuts and skin lesions. These properties are believed to be due to the high level of flavonoids found in calendula that have anti-oxidant properties and help the immune function to do its work. Among these is the powerful Quercetin with its strong anti-histamine properties.
It also appears to possess anti-viral properties, though the reason for this is not clear and is still under investigation. Marigold also contains carotenoids and triterpene saponins, both of which will contribute to the medicinal effects. The dried flowers or leaves, or the fresh flowers, can be used and it is an old adage that pus will not form where marigold is used. It is also good for the treatment of insect bites and boils, where it appears to either prevent infection or clear up any that are there. It has also been proven to prevent the seeping of blood from the capillaries in scrapes, and to promote blood clotting.
Calendula was used during the First World War by British doctors to dress wounds and prevent infection. A dressing steeped in a mild solution of calendula extract was enough, and it likely saved many lives.
Another plant with similar properties is the alpine Arnica, which is useful to reduce the swelling and pain of bruises. It works simply by rubbing the leaves on the area when you have a fall or a hard knock. The active ingredients here are again flavonoids, and sesquiterpene lactones along with tannins, carotenoids and thymol. These, along with the flavonoids, stimulate the circulation and carry away any fluids trapped in bruises and swellings.
The sesquiterpene lactones act as anti-inflammatories and boost the immune system, helping to reduce swelling and pain. In fact terpenoid chemicals are common to many of the herbs and flowers that have found a use in the relief of pain in swelling and bruises. The same is true of Ledum, better known as Rosemary, traditionally used for the treatment of burns, ulcers dandruff, and dry skin and to get rid of lice among many other internal and topical applications.
The active ingredients of rosemary (ledum) include mono-, di- and triterpenes and also the ubiquitous flavonoids and camphor and linalool. If you wash down burns, grazes and cuts with a wash of ledum extract, then you will protect the patient from infection at the time when they are most vulnerable to infectious agents.
Hypericum has uses as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, and is therefore useful for exactly the same conditions as all of the above. It also has astringent properties, so that like Calendula, Hypericum can be used to prevent the capillary seepage that frequently leads to infections. The active ingredients here are apparently flavonoids again, with their antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Considering that they are among the most common antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents in the plant world; it is no coincidence that flavonoids just happen to be contained in the vast majority of natural treatments for scratches, grazes and bruises. They reduce swelling, pain and inflammation, and also act as antiseptics by disrupting the cell walls of bacteria.
Hypericum is well known by its alternative name St. John’s Wort, where it is used in the treatment of depression. However, the active ingredients here are mainly hyperforin and hypericin, which have little to do with the topical benefits of the plant.
If you have suffered from insect bites and stings, then you would have been thankful had you brought some Apis Mellifica with you. Obtained from bees, this again contains terpenes among many other chemicals, and is used paradoxically in the treatment of bee stings and other insect stings and bites. It’s amazing how many of these old remedies contain terpenes of various types and also flavonoid chemicals. It is useful for most rashes that have raised puffy lumps, such as hives.
Finally, if you manage to stay out without getting any bruises, abrasions, scratches or bites, you will be very lucky. However, if you get sunburn through being out in the sun too long, just look around for some stinging nettle, or Urtica. The leaf contains polysaccharides and lectins that stop the production of prostaglandins in the body that cause inflammation. Your sunburn will ease and you be able to return home relatively symptom free from your day outdoors.
These natural remedies can be hard to find growing naturally due to many factors such as the time of year or your geographical location these herbs may grow in. Alternative sources are available at your local health food store where you can find all the above mentioned herbs in ointments and creams specifically formulated for your needs.
The Power Plant of the Amazon
March 02, 2007 11:34 AM
It may surprise most Americans to know that rainforest plants are the original source for one-fourth of the chemotherapy medications used today. Plants offer a plethora of beneficial compounds, and rainforests contain a superabundance of beneficial plants.
In fact, plant medicines are the most widely used medicines of all types in the world. Over eighty-five percent of the world’s population uses plant and herbal medicines as their primary medicines. That’s 5.1 billion (5,100,000,000) people worldwide! While Americans overwhelmingly use synthetically manufactured pharmaceuticals to cure their ills, the vast majority of Earth’s inhabitants use healing plant medicines instead.
One of the most powerful healing rainforest plant medicines is cat’s claw, or Uncaria tomentosa. This high climbing woody vine grows at the base of tall trees in the Peruvian rainforest. The plant’s claw-shaped thorns latch onto the trees and spiral further upward, nourished by the lush rainforest environment. For over 2,000 years, the Ashaninka, a tribal people of the Peruvian rainforest, have used the root of U. tomentosa to treat illnesses in the tribe, including asthma, bladder infections, infected wounds, arthritis, bone pain, bowel inflammation, and cancer.
Q. I’ve heard about cat’s claw, but what does it do and how do I know which one is right for me?
Cat’s claw might be one of the most confusing (and most effective!) nutritional supplements available in health food stores today. One reason that it’s so confusing is there are so many kinds of cat’s claw supplements-there are cat’s claw leaves, cat’s claw bark, and even cat’s claw twigs. While each of these supplements claim to help the immune system, it is the root of Uncaria tomentosa that is proven to impart the true cat’s claw health benefits.
Scientists, who have extensively studied every part of the plant, discovered that extracts made from selected cat’s claw roots possess the healing power to treat and prevent diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers and degenerative diseases. In addition, it demonstrates anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-microbial benefits.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that not all Uncaria tomentosa roots actually contain healing properties.
Healers in the Ashaninka tribe attribute the healing properties in cat’s claw to the “good spirits” that live in the plant’s roots. The Ashaninka healers, or sancoshi, are able to actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root of the plant before they harvest them.
Some cat’s claw plant roots have the good spirits. Some don’t. If the good spirits are mixed with any cat’s claw root without good spirits, the healing power is lost. While there are no apparent differences in the plants or the roots to the untrained eye, only certain cat’s claw roots possess the power to heal. And, for a very long time, only the Ashaninka tribal healer seemed to be able to identify them. They call the good spirit cat’s claw Saventaro, or “powerful plant”.
However, scientists who were given cat’s claw roots by the Ashaninka to study in the laboratory discovered that they could “see” the good spirits, too! Using high performance liquid chromatography, or HPLC, a laboratory process that identifies various chemical compounds, the good spirits of cat’s claw roots were revealed to be important medicinal compounds called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POAs). Research has learned that POAs provide powerful benefits for the human immune response.
Q. Why are good spirits, or POA’s, good for the immune system?
Cat’s claw POAs work to keep us healthy by directly interacting with white blood cells, the backbone of our immune system. Our white blood cells are the disease fighting cells of the human body. These highly specialized cells fight diseases we catch, such as colds and flu, as well as diseases that start within our own cells, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. There are many kinds of white blood cells; each has a specific job to do in fighting diseases.
Certain POAs help white blood cells called macrophages work faster. The macrophages’ job is to engulf and digest foreign material. This means that macrophages can ingest m ore bacteria and disease causing microbes when they are exposed to POAs. The scientists also discovered that POA cat’s claw extract increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin that is secreted by macrophages. This macrophage-secreted interleukin (IL-1) has important immune enhancing properties. IL-1 alerts resting white blood cells and spurs them into action. It also helps make other biochemicals that are essential to an activated immune system.
POAs also help B cells. B cells are white blood cells that make antibodies that kill germs. Each B cell is programmed to make one specific antibody that is effective against one specific germ (such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus). When scientists looked at the number of B cells after they were exposed to POA cat’s claw root extract, they found that the B cells had increased significantly, resulting in an increased supply of antibodies. And perhaps most importantly as they relate to cancer, the POAs in cat’s claw root extract help increase the number of T cells, the true soldiers of the immune system. There are many different kinds of these white blood cells, including Helper T cells, Suppressor T cells, and Killer T cells. Increased Helper, Suppressor, and Killer T-cells can more effectively destroy cancer cells. Increasing the number of circulating T-cells is very important in a disease like AIDS as well.
Q. Can cat’s claw and other plants in the rainforest really cure diseases? Isn’t that just folklore?
It’s folk use and modern science combined-plants have long been known for their ability to kill cancer cells. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has identified over 3000 plant extracts that can kill cancer cells. More than 70 percent of these plants are found only in the rainforest.
Q. What is it about the rainforest that gives plants like cat’s claw these cancer killing compounds?
Most of the time when we talk about rainforests, we’re talking about the tropical rainforests. While other forests, like the old-growth temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest, also have high rainfalls and tall trees, the tropical rainforests located near the equator are where most plant medicines come from.
The Amazon rainforest in South America is the world’s largest, covering an area about two-thirds the size of the continental United States. Depending on the elevation and distance to the equator the Amazon rainforest receives between 160 and 400 inches of rain per year. The rain is spread pretty evenly from January to December-it’s always the rainy season-and the temperatures remain between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit all year.
This fertile environment continually recycles itself. When leaves fall from the trees, flowers wilt, and animals die in the rainforest-all of the nutrients are recycled back into the roots of the trees and plants. Because the rainforest reuses almost everything that falls to the ground, the plant growth is amazingly rich in alkaloids and other medicinal compounds. Researchers think these compounds and alkaloids, like POAs, protect the plants from illness and insect attacks. These are the very same compounds that protect us from disease.
Q. When the Ashaninka harvest the cat’s claw roots, does it impact the rest of the plant?
No. The Ashaninka work intelligently to keep rainforest cat’s claw plants perpetually healthy. The Ashaninka employ responsible and innovative harvesting techniques to keep the plants alive and tribal members healthy. Individual cat’s claw plants are never completely harvested. Only one third of the lateral roots are collected at any one time to allow re-growth by the remaining root. Once a plant’s lateral roots have been partially harvested, that plant is left to regenerate, and no more root is harvested from it for 10 years.
Q. Why are the Ashaninka willing to share their cat’s claw?
They are generous people. The Ashaninka see no benefit in hoarding cat’s claw for themselves alone. They also want to make sure that the plant’s healing properties continue on. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing. There were an estimated ten million tribal and indigenous peoples living in the Amazonian Rainforest in 1510. Today there are less than 200,000.
Since the 1900’s more than 90 indigenous tribes have died out and disappeared. Each time a rainforest medicine man or woman dies without passing their arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world loses thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants. With them, centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species have been lost.
A good example of the impact of this loss can be seen in cat’s claw. When European explorers began venturing into the Amazon River basin, t hey were skeptical of the stories the Ashaninka people told them of U. tomentosa’s amazing healing powers. But when the explorers became sick with colds, flu, or other illnesses, they harvested cat’s claw root for themselves and gave the plant a try. Sometimes the explorers got better when they used the cat’s claw root, sometimes they stayed the same.
Q. Why didn’t the cat’s claw root help all the explorers?
Because some cat’s claw plant roots have good spirits-POAs-and some cat’s claw plant roots have tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids, or TOAs. While the POAs have very powerful effects in the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none of which help the immune system cells at all. All U. tomentosa plants look virtually identical, so it’s hard to tell if they have the healing POAs or non-helpful TOAs.
What makes cat’s claw identification even more challenging is the fact that plants with POAs one year will have TOAs the next. Cat’s claw plants seem to change their alkaloid chemotypes at will, an incredibly powerful accomplishment for a plant to possess. Harvesting of cat’s claw roots that contain POAs is very tricky. Unless the person gathering the root extract is an Ashaninka sancoshi. These medicine men know which cat’s claw to use; they can actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root. When scientists studying cat’s claw discovered they could “see” presence of TOAs using HPLC technology, they were able to harvest cat’s claw root extracts with POAs that consistently helps people get and stay healthy.
Q. Do some cat’s claw root extract supplements contain TOAs?
Yes they do. And buying those products will only benefit the cat’s claw distributor; they won’t help you stay healthy. When cat’s claw root is harvested from the rainforest, responsible supplement maker examine the root with HPLC to make sure that only POA roots are collected. But, this identification of the chemotypes takes significant time and costs money. For these reasons, many cat’s claw distributors don’t include this important process in their harvesting. The POAs and TOAs are simply just mixed together and sold as a cat’s claw product with no mention of any alkaloid content on the label.
Q. Why should I avoid TOAs?
While the POAs in cat’s claw root extracts have numerous benefits to the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none helping the immune system cells. Most importantly, however, when POAs and TOAs are mixed together, the TOAs actually work against the POAs. TOAs reduce the capacity of POAs to beneficially modulate the immune system.
Q. How can I be sure the cat’s claw I buy is POA cat’s claw?
Read the label of the cat’s claw root extract product you are considering buying. If it does not clearly state that it is the high POA cat’s claw, then chances are that it’s not.
Q. What do the Ashaninka receive in return for the cat’s claw harvesting?
The Ashaninka and reputable distributors of cat’s claw root extract have established a mutual and ethical relationship. Both groups benefit from the sale of the plant material. Maintaining this relationship is important for both the tribe and the distributors.
The distributors are paying a fair price for the raw material directly to the tribe. No intermediary is involved. This payment covers the raw material itself, a license-fee for the k knowledge of the plant, and a guarantee (from both sides) of a lasting relationship. Payment is also made for the protection of the rainforest. No deforestation is allowed. The area where the cat’s claw materials are processed is also leased and payment is made for this, as well.
This arrangement allows the Ashaninka to make independent decisions in how to spend this income from sale of their cat’s claw plants. They have been able to make improvements in the tribe’s water supply and in their living areas. They are also able to obtain outside medical aid as needed and provide for education of their children.
The partnership with cat’s claw distributors has created a sustainable resource for the Ashaninka. The tribe has been able to not only preserve their rainforest, but also compete financially with unsustainable income sources offered by timber and agricultural firms.
Q. Why is it important to preserve the rainforest?
The most amazing fact about these impressive medicinal plants is the vast number that5 has yet to be discovered. In fact, the rainforest’s abundance is one reason it is home to so many healing plants. Within a four square mile patch of rainforest, you could see 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 100 reptile species, 60 amphibian species, and 150 different species of butterFlies.
Unfortunately, not everyone looks to the rainforest for the same reasons. Many consider its real value in board feet and cultivated acreage. The forces pushing industrial development move quickly; experts estimate that we’re losing over 130 plant, animal, and insect species every day/ That amount to almost 50,000 species a year.
A combination of logging, petroleum interests, cattle grazing operations, and, of course, our own consumer appetites are putting pressure on rainforest resources. The consequences are sobering:
By leaving the rainforest intact, however, and harvesting its many nuts, fruits, oil-producing, and medicinal plants, the rainforest has more economic value than if it was cut down for timber or to make grazing land for cattle. If managed properly, the rainforest can provide the world’s need for sustainably harvested natural resources on a perpetual basis. That’s what the Ashaninka are doing with their cat’s claw harvesting.
The discovery of medicinal plants is dependent upon healthy rainforests. When an acre of tropical rainforest is lost due to deforestation, the impact on the number of plant and animal species lost and their possible uses is staggering.
We can all help the development of sustainable rainforest industries. By purchasing renewable and sustainable rainforest products, like POA type cat’s claw root extract, we are keeping rainforests alive and well. By benefiting from the innate wisdom of the Ashaninka people we are keeping ourselves just as alive and well. By honoring the science and the sacred of the world’s rainforests, like my friend the oncology nurse, the massive wealth and diversity will be there for generations to come.
June 12, 2005 01:59 PM
Certified Foods by Glenda Olsen Energy Times, July 13, 2003
What's in your food, and where does it come from? To most American consumers, that question may seem unimportant. But the answers might surprise you. Your food's origin and processing can make a big difference in its nutritional value, for better and for worse. Increasingly, concern over the quality of food and its influence on health are persuading shoppers to take a greater interest in their food. The result: More visits to natural food stores and more sales of organic food.
Once upon a time, food used to be just food. Crops were grown on family farms, and animals were raised in barnyards. But today, corporations have conquered food production in a big way. Agribusiness is just that-a big business in which animals and plants are treated like assembly-line items and raised on factory farms.
While the term "organic" gets tossed around endlessly in the media, the term is often misconstrued. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), "Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones."
In addition, organic farmers generally do not use pesticides, sewage sludge or synthetic fertilizers. This type of food is also produced without genetically modified organisms and is not subject to radiation used to zap the bugs on food. Today, USDA-approved certifying agents inspect the farms where organic food is raised to ensure organic standards are followed. In addition, the companies that process food and handle organic food have to be USDA-certified. Meeting these standards allows companies to use the USDA's organic label on foods that are at least 95% organic in origin. Labels for foods that contain between 70% and 95% organic content can use the words "Made With Organic Ingredients," but cannot use the seal.
While the debate over the nutritional benefits of organic food has raged for decades, recent research is beginning to turn up evidence that organically grown fruits and vegetables may contain extra helpings of vitamins and other nutrients. A study at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, found that organically grown oranges contain more vitamin C than conventional supermarket oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, Amer Chem Soc, 6/02).
Theo Clark, PhD, the Truman State professor who investigated the organic oranges, says that when he and his students began their research, "We were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges" because they are larger than organic oranges. To his surprise, chemical isolation combined with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy revealed that the organically grown oranges contained up to 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they were only about half the size. "We speculate that with conventional oranges, (farmers) use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and doesn't have as much nutritional value," Dr. Clark says. "However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration."
If you want to avoid pesticide residues in your food, research shows that going organic can make it much less likely that you or your family consumes these unwanted chemicals. Research, for instance, into the diets of children (Enviro Hlth Persp 3/03) shows that dining on organic fruits and vegetables, and organic juice, can lower kids' intake of pesticides.
These scientists took a look at the organophosphorus (OP) pesticide breakdown products in the blood of kids ages two to five who ate conventional supermarket produce and compared it with the OP found in organic kids.
The children on the organic diet had less OP in their blood than the other kids. As a matter of fact, the children on the conventional diet had six times the dimethyl metabolites, dimethyl being a pesticide suspected of affecting nerve function and growth. "Consumption of organic produce appears to provide a relatively simple way for parents to reduce their children's exposure to OP pesticides," note the researchers. "Organic foods have been growing in popularity over the last several years," says Jim Burkhart, PhD, science editor for the journal that published the study. "These scientists studied one potential area of difference from the use of organic foods, and the findings are compelling."
On the way to tonight's dinner, researchers have created genetically modified organisms (GMO), plants and animals that have been transgenically engineered. In the food world, that means organisms containing genes inserted from another species. Chances are if you eat food purchased at the typical supermarket, those comestibles contain GMO ingredients. In the United States, food companies are not required to label for GMO content.
A growing number of American consumers are upset about not being told about the GMO products in their food. But industry scientists, worried that informed consumers may someday turn their back on GMO foods, consider consumer ignorance to be an acceptable state of affairs.
For instance, the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) is fighting regulations that would require GMO labeling. According to ASPB President Daniel Bush, PhD, of the University of Illinois at Urbana, "The language...(in these types of regulations) is based on a system of beliefs of what is 'natural,' rather than a scientifically defined set of criteria focused on content and nutritional value. This is a radical departure from food labeling up to now, which is designed to maximize useful information for consumers concerning what is in the food they are buying."
Dr. Bush continues, "There are, of course, examples of voluntary labeling standards in the food industry that reflect how foods are processed, such as organic foods. The voluntary organic labeling standards were sought by the organic food industry. Kosher foods are also labeled as having been produced in accordance with specific beliefs. However, mandatory labeling of targeted production methods has never before been required and we believe would obscure rather than clarify important issues of food safety."
In other words, Dr. Bush opposes GMO labeling because he feels it would unnecessarily stigmatize GMO food items. Others are not so sanguine about the safety of GMO foods.
The arguments against GMO foods include:
These types of risks have motivated industry groups to urge more regulation of GMO crops. The Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) and the National Restaurant Association, plus seven other food groups, are worried that GMO plants grown to produce pharmaceutical drugs could contaminate the food supply and destroy consumer trust in food.
Mary Sophos, a vice president of GMA, warns, "To minimize the possible risks, a clear system of regulatory enforcement and liability needs to be in place. Until then, no permits for new field trials or for commercialization should be issued because there is no room for trial and error."
These food industry groups have voiced their concerns to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the USDA. Last year, the USDA forced ProdiGene Inc., a biotech firm, to dispose of 500,000 bushels of soybeans contaminated with a drug meant to treat diabetes. What are the chances of more GMO accidents? No one knows. But if you buy and eat organic, you minimize your risk and maximize your chances of dining on safer food.