Search Term: " Herbs "
Gardenia, widely used in TCM, found to prevent cognitive impairmentand neurotoxicity
May 09, 2019 09:56 AM
Nobody wants to think about losing their memories as they begin to age. Luckily, a Chinese medicinal herb called gardenia has been shown to contain components that can help improve cognitive function. Scientists studied mice that were given daily doses of gardenia, and the research revealed that a component called GJ-4 had the ability to help repair cognitive damage, reduce brain inflammation, and even help expand the body's ability to hold antioxidants which help promote brain function.
"In the study, researchers looked at Chinese herbs, which have been used medicinally for thousands of years, as a good source for potential drugs for Alzheimer’s."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-28-gardenia-found-to-prevent-cognitive-impairment-and-neurotoxicity.html
The best adaptogens to beat stress
March 18, 2019 05:09 PM
Foods are often talked about for their health benefits, but little emphasis is ever placed on the mental health benefits of such foods. To reduce the stress in your life you need adaptogens into the diet. Adaptogens are herbs, spices, and mushrooms that can help relieve stress in a natural way. Ashwagandha is a powerful herb that is an antioxidant and aphrodisiac that helps with stress. The root is ground and ingested. Tulsi is another herb that is known for physical well being and can assist those with high anxiety. Two mushrooms, Reishi and Cordyceps, are very potent Adaptogens and reduce fatigue while reducing stress. It helps both physically and emotionally. Finally, the Indian gooseberry known as Amla is cheap and effective. High in vitamin C, it also enhances cognitive functions.
"With stress being a major part of our lives today, it is imperative to make sure we get enough adaptogens into your diet."
Read more: https://www.femina.in/wellness/diet/the-best-adaptogens-to-beat-stress-114667.html
Ten powerful anti-inflammatory herbs
August 30, 2018 03:38 PM
Inflammation in the body is a condition which makes itself known in various clear ways. These include swelling, pain and a mobility loss in the region affected. For an intervention to be effective against inflammation, it would need to address all three of these specific areas, generally by affecting the immune system. Fortunately, there are herbs which do indeed address these particular effects of inflammation. Research has shown that there are specific elements in each of the following herbs that are useful for ameliorating inflammation pain and swelling, and thereby improving motility. These herbs include ginger, spirulina, black pepper and curcumin.
"To be successful in the management of inflammation with herbs, every attempt has to be made to identify and use herbs that not only deal with inflammation per se, but also those herbs that can take care of individual symptoms."
Read more: https://guardian.ng/features/health/ten-powerful-anti-inflammatory-herbs/
5 Best Foods And Teas For Healthy Lungs
June 27, 2018 09:54 AM
The breathe of life is an oft-used phrase. It can refer to inspiration, or sudden healing. But, it always indicates a transformation and something wonderful. The metaphor springs from the fact that breathe is intrinsic to life itself. Very few things cause despair, or a low quality of health like its lack. Yet, there are a variety of diseases that can take one's breathe away, including chronic pulmonary disease, asthma and much more. Moreover, in these times, when there is an unfortunately high level of air pollution and stress, a time when the genes we pass onto our children undoubtedly reflects the stresses of our environment, in these times we find ourselves more than ever prone to losing our breath.
Fortunately, there are foods and herbs that can assist us in fighting back against the problems that would steal breath from us. Many foods assist the body by killing microorganisms, flushing out toxins, reducing inflammation and mucus, and also by reducing stress. Some very potent, healing food options include, garlic, turmeric, olive oil and oregano.
"Breathing is so fundamental that we hardly need to think of it, but when it is impaired, it’s hard to think of anything else."
Read more: https://www.thealternativedaily.com/5-best-foods-and-teas-for-healthy-lungs/
5 Trending Adaptogenic Herbs To Reduce Anxiety And Depression
May 30, 2018 09:16 AM
Adoptogenic herbs are herbs that help the body to achieve balance. There non-specific nature is actually their strength, as the herb works to alleviate stress, by boosting what's lacking and reining in what's excessive, from nose to toes, across the body. And since it's all about stress, the herb makes no distinction between physical or emotional stresses. Studies have shown that various psychological conditions, such as anxiety, chronic stress, acute stress and depression are impacted in a positive way by adoptogenic herbs, such as Astragalus, Holy basil, and Asian Ginger.
"Everyone in the health world wants a piece of the adaptogenic action, and it’s not without reason."
Read more: https://www.thealternativedaily.com/5-trending-adaptogenic-herbs-to-reduce-anxiety-and-depression/
Healing Hands: 5 ways to boost your immune system
November 14, 2017 03:59 PM
When your immune system is challenged, a host of diseases have an opportunity to take hold in the body. Keeping it strong is the best way to avoid illness and there are things you can do to to strengthen it just like you'd strengthen muscles by working out. Fermented foods and cultured products help our natural gut bacteria, shown to be helpful in immune response. Vitamins, particularly vitamin C, are essential to immune health as well. In addition, herbs, spices and foods like vegetables are all part of an arsenal you can use to battle cold and flu season.
"Many herbs and spices have great immune-boosting benefits, but turmeric has been called one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory spices of all."
Read more: http://www.thelcn.com/lcn05/healing-hands-5-ways-to-boost-your-immune-system-20171104
My Grandmother Recommended This To Relieve Stress And Anxiety!!
June 29, 2017 05:14 AM
Pharmaceutical medicine is not the only remedy for stress and insomnia. Taking medicine can end up causing you more harm than good. There are natural Herbs that can be used for relaxation and to help you sleep. Instead of pumping your body with chemical filled medicines from the pharmacy, you can use lavender or chamomile tea to name a few. My grandmother always recommended a few Herbs to help me relieve stress or to help me fall asleep.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4lwv1JYCmk&rel=0
"Add in your bedtime bath, or just add to tea, set and forget it."
Natural Recipe To Improve Heart Function!!
May 24, 2017 12:14 PM
Beginning with a message prompting the viewer to check the "warning" section on the channel description, as well as a disclaimer regarding the information presented, the video details a natural remedy for heart health consisting of boiling Herbs, oils, and lemon juice into a concoction for daily use. The recipe is given in a bulleted list, though at some points the English seems broken. It ends with a recommendation to like the video and subscribe to the channel.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5XKtIF5sTY&rel=0
"You want to keep your heart healthy, Today's recipe is simple and can help you reduce any disorder due to a certain heart disease."
Is Mushroom Coffee Even Better than Regular Coffee?
May 19, 2017 11:44 AM
There are many coffee alternatives out there and more are developed all the time. They're made from different roots, nuts, herbs, etc. One of them is mushroom coffee. This tells you if it is any good. It might be an option for those who can't have real coffee for health reasons. Some can't handle the caffeine found in real coffee. Others just like to try alternatives out of curiosity or to try finding the best tasting coffee.
"Prepackaged or instant mushroom coffee is also said to be lower in caffeine and less acidic than regular coffee"
Read more: https://draxe.com/mushroom-coffee/
10 High-yield vegetables you should be growing this year
April 25, 2017 03:44 PM
There are all different types of vegetables that grow all types of quantities. The amount of different vegetables is what sparks different types of growth patterenta that can justify different amounts to grow, e.g. More or less. The different types of growing also affects the crop out or yeald that can change the growth. But there are more common, HIGH-Yielding veggies that will give you a greater quantity as apposed to cropping out a couple vegetables per plant.
"These plants will make indoor gardening a fun and enjoyable experience! What’s more, all of these suggested vegetables offer numerous health benefits."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-04-21-10-high-yield-vegetables-you-should-be-growing-this-year.html
This Is What Doctors Will Never Tell You About The CLOVES So You Do Not Use Them. AMAZING!
March 19, 2017 11:44 AM
There is powerful medicine in many Herbs that people would never think of as medicine. One of these powerful, health giving plant products is the Clove. Clove is a remedy which provides a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals which might have side effects. Clove treats nausea and vomiting when mixed with honey. Clove is known to help with dizziness when sipped with water. Clove is useful in helping heal dental infections. When one teaspoon of clove is mixed with an equal amount of warmed sesame oil, it can be used to treat ear ache. Clove is a remedy for many different types of ailments.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxC-2dlEOME&rel=0
"The nature every day surprises us more, it is incredible the amount of mixes, shakes, infusions, among other things can be prepared, either with: fruits, Herbs, oils and other alternatives that can only provide mother earth."
Planning to go on a detox diet? Here are five facts and myths you should know
March 17, 2017 04:44 AM
Detoxing and dieting are both related and unrelated. Detoxing is a natural process in which the body gets rid of toxins.This is constantly happening in your body and is affected by your metabolism. Consuming certain plants, herbs, teas and avoiding junk food and sugar all happen to be beneficial to both dieting and detoxing. A liquid juice-based diet could cause starvation. Too much salt and sugar in soups and yogurt can cause water retention so it is important to consume protein and fibers to assist detoxing. A massage in the abdominal area can help flush out toxins as well by promoting blood circulation. In having a healthy diet, you are maximizing your body's ability to detox.
"The word diet has been wrongly associated with the concept of the detox, since the two approaches don’t have the same goal."
Read more: http://www.hindustantimes.com/health-and-fitness/planning-to-go-on-a-detox-diet-here-are-five-facts-and-myths-you-should-know/story-BsWxIKjMCpCyw5Z2JYBxyI.html
12 Amazing Cucumber Juice Benefits for Your Skin, Hair and Overall Health
January 20, 2017 02:59 PM
Looking for the ultimate natural remedy? No need to bother with different Herbs, fruits, and veggies this remedy contains only one ingredient: Cucumber! With amazing benefits such as weight maintaining, Rehydrating, and Purifying these twelve different ways to use a cucumber will revolutionize your daily routine and dietary habits, all while helping you be a better you.
"Ever wanted to find a magical elixir that can improve your overall health and give you that glow you’ve always wanted? Presenting: Cucumber juice."
The 7 best supplements to boost your immunity
January 08, 2017 07:59 AM
Having a high immunity can protect you from sicknesses or disease. Having a high immune system is very important, especially as you get older. Importantly there are many supplements to boost the immune system. Probiotics are just one example of a supplement to boost immune function. Read on for more supplements.
"Arm yourself with tried-and-true options—proven cold busters effective in clobbering germs that might otherwise turn you into a sniveling, sneezing mess—and check out some newly emerging star players that have been drawing attention lately for their potential cold- and flu-fighting cred."
Herbal tea can help with indigestion and insomnia
November 03, 2016 08:04 AM
Consuming various herbal teas is a good way to help treat health issues such as insomnia and digestion issues. Chamomile tea's help sooth the stomach and are also anti-inflammatories. Using Hops in tea is also beneficial as it helps one sleep, as well as lower stress and anxiety. There are many different ingredients out there that have health benefits as well!
"Drinking herbal tea is one of the easiest ways to treat a variety of common health complaints, including indigestion and insomnia."
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Wellness Formula gives your body antioxidant defense, respiratory, and immune system support. That's why Wellness Formula continues to win awards year after year. Millions of people trust Source Naturals Wellness Formula.
You Should Too!
7 Amazing Benefits Of Alfalfa Leaf
Alfalfa is an amazing plant with many health benefits. Many cultures, mainly in Asia, have long used this plant as an appetite stimulator, as well as a healing digestive remedy for alleviating ulcers.
10 Benefits of this excellent plant:
There are many other amazing health benefits of Alfalfa Leaf, but these are the most important. Like all detoxification Herbs, alfalfa may have minor side effects when taken in the beginning. These small effects are the result of your body detoxing and cleansing itself and are short-lived. Always consult your health care provider before using this, or any other herb, if you're pregnant or if you're taking any other medications. Do you wanna feel better? Give Alfalfa a try!
Expelling Parasites and Worms with Black Walnuts
Parasites and worms are responsible for a number of health problems all over the world. These organisms invade our bodies and feed on nutrients for their own sustenance. Parasites can be both internal and external in nature. External parasites can generally be seen and are easier to get rid of. You will find a number of standard medical treatments for this. However, it is the internal parasites that pose the higher threat. It can be difficult to identify internal parasites and treatments require more effort. These parasites usually attack the colon and intestines. If left unchecked, they can cause a lot of damage to your body. While antibiotics are effective, they can have a few side effects. So people have been looking for more natural alternatives. Black walnut has shown a number of properties that are beneficial in fighting parasites.
How does Black Walnut help in killing parasites and worms?
Black walnut has been universally acknowledged to be a strong vermifuge, that is a parasite-killing herb. It has strong concentrations of Natural iodine, juglone and astringent tannins. All these ingredients are well known for their parasite killing properties. One of the best methods of ingesting black walnut is by preparing a medicine that utilizes other similar organic foods like garlic, pineapples, papaya seeds and pumpkin seeds. This helps clean the intestines and remove parasites and worms.
What are the effective black walnut recipes?
One of the most popular recipes involves using black walnuts, cloves and wormwood. There are many products that utilize this combination and have been seen to give impressive results. Of course it also depends on the potency of the ingredients used. For example, green black walnuts are generally known to be more effective than other lighter colored ones. So it could be a good idea to look for these specific walnuts in the ingredients label. They are likely to be stronger and can get faster results. You will also see a number of freeze dried capsules available in the market that have a higher strength compared to normal medicines. Wormwood is herb that has been used in stomach treatment for centuries. It contains a number of enzymes that are good for cleaning the intestine. Hence, it can be found in conjunction with black walnut in medicines that fight parasites. With cloves too you should be careful, as they tend to lose their potency very fast. So make sure that your medicine uses only fresh and completely organic cloves. You can either go in for manufactured pills that use these ingredients or can create your own recipes. Just make sure that you are using only the most effective constituents.
Apart from these Herbs, you will also find a number of other natural solutions for getting rid of parasites and worms. These include papayas, pineapples and pumpkin seeds. Papayas can be highly effective as they contain a strong enzyme known as papain.
What other steps can I take?
If you are going through a parasite expelling phase, it will be good to regulate your diet in a proper manner. Avoid coffee, sugar, alcohol and other such items. Take care of your stomach and eat only fresh and light food. With a good diet, and the right Herbs, you will soon be having a completely parasite-free body.
Three Immune Boosting Mushrooms You Can't Ignore
Mushrooms are plants that belong to the fungi kingdom. These plants are not classified as vegetables, they provide essential and vital nutrients to our bodies. It is a common knowledge that the key to building strong immune systems and getting enough minerals and vitamins in the diet is by supplementing a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, the more the color the better. This knowledge has however left mushrooms, which offer a wide variety of nutrients and antioxidants to our bodies, in the dark. In many cases, foods are only considered to be nutritious if they are colored. However, this is not true for mushrooms.
Let's take a look at three most common mushrooms that positively impact the overall immune system and how they make it happen.
Maitake mushrooms are common in Asian countries. This mushroom subspecies has shown effectiveness in the treatment of cancer. They can also be used to treat some side effects that are commonly associated with various chemical treatments such as chemotherapy for cancer. It is also used in the other conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, high cholesterol, hay fever, weight loss, diabetes, hypertension and infertility due to poly cystic ovary syndrome.
How it works
This species of mushroom contains chemicals that might stimulate the immune system and help fight tumors. There is also evidence that it can also be used as an effective regimen in efforts to lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels, improve cholesterol levels. Studies have also shown that it is effective in weight loss management.
Reishi mushrooms are a type of fungi that some people describe as "woody" and "tough". The fruiting body of this plant and the filaments connecting a group of mushrooms has been used greatly as medicine. The plant is also used to boost the immune system, lung conditions including bronchitis and asthma, viral infections such as swine flu, influenza and avian flu, heart disease.
It is also effective in maintaining other contributing conditions such hypertension, high cholesterol, liver disease and cancer. Other conditions where Reishi mushrooms are used are insomnia, stomach ulcers, chronic fatigue, herpes pain and poisoning. In combination with other forms of Herbs, they are also used in the treatment of prostate cancer.
How it Works
Reishi mushrooms contain a wide variety of antioxidants and chemicals that have potential benefits and effects on the immune system and activity against tumors.
An extract made from this mushroom is used as medicine. Although it is used widely as medicine, it is also consumed as food. Shiitake mushrooms are used to lower blood cholesterol levels, boost t-cells and as an anti-aging agent.
How it Works
This type of mushroom contains chemicals that help in lowering cholesterol levels. It contains chemicals that keep cancerous tumors from getting bigger.
Various health benefits of Sea Buckthorn
December 03, 2013 01:48 AM
What is Sea Buckthorn
We all know that there are so many natural Herbs, fruits and plants are there that have amazing health benefits and Sea buckthorn is one of those fruits. It is also known as most balanced fruit of nature and here are few benefits of Sea buckthorn that are applicable for almost every individual.
It helps you to lose your weight:
Obesity is one of the biggest health problems around the world and Sea buckthorn can help you to your weight in a completely natural manner. In order to reduce your weight it prevent the storage of excess fat on your body and as a result of this you not only lose your body weight, but you stay aware from various health problems as well.
Work as a best anti-inflammatory medicine:
Sea buckthorn contain high amount of all highly beneficial omega fatty acid including omega acid 3, omega acid 6, omega acid 9 and the very rare omega acid 7 as well. However, all the benefits of these omega acids are still unknown to us, but it has best anti-inflammatory property that helps you in various pain inflammatory problems as well.
Make your skin glowing:
Along with consuming it as a dietary supplement you can apply it on your skin as well. Sea buckthorn contain high amount of Vitamin C and you can apply it as a cream on your skin as well. Its Vitamin C helps you to get a firm and wrinkle free skin with natural glow on it.
Keep you away from various diseases:
As said above it can help you to control your weight and with the help of controlled weight you can easily reduce risk of various health problems including diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases including heart attack. Other than this it can protect you from various other diseases including asthma, cancer, and various stomach diseases. In addition to this it is a strong source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Mineral acids and various other minerals as well so many experts use it for treatment of night blindness, dry eye and other problems.
Soothe your skin:
Many people use Sea Buckthorn as a medicine for sunburn and other similar skin condition and if you got any problem on your skin due to sunburn, laser exposure, rashes, burn, cut or any similar issue you can easily apply it on affected part of your skin for its resolution. In addition to this, it can also help you in some serious skin condition such as eczema, dry skin and skin ulcers.
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.
Deer Antler Benefit for Vitality and Improved Health
February 06, 2012 04:06 PM
When men want to increase their strength and their vitality in doing daily activities, they can always consume deer antler extract, which is believed to be able to help the body system gain more power. Not many people may realize that using such extract can really improve their vitality and their strength. Some people may consider it as a hoax, but there're several proofs and evidences that show this particular extract can really improve the testosterone level in men.
Originally known as a part of traditional and ancient medical treatment, this deer antler extract can be consumed to improve the testosterone level as well as the overall performance of the body system. When men consume the extract, they're believed to be able to experience: - Development in body endurance, lean body ability, and muscle mass. - Quicker recovery period from any physical injury. - Better sexual functioning - this benefit can apply to men and women. - Higher and better energy level and vitality. - Improved and better immune system. - Aging delay, since the skin and the hair will have better cycle growth that make them look younger - Stronger nutritional support for the entire body system, especially the joints and the bones.
Deer antler extract isn't only helpful in those areas, but it also helps reducing stress level. Based on a medical observation done by Dr. Fenessy from New Zealand, this extract was quite beneficial when used in previous Russian study. The medical patients who had undergone gastrointestinal tumor surgeries were taking the extract prior to their operation. And they had shown quite amazing result; their stress level was decreasing. There was also another research that measured the mental ability of the students. They had been given the extract before taking math test. Based on the result, their mental ability was improving. Based on the study done in Russia and New Zealand, the Western medical societies are starting to do researches concerning the usage of the extract as vitamins so the consumer can really achieve the medical and optimal benefits.
So, what's the relation of deer antler extract and the testosterone? Medical experts believe that the antler can increase the production of the androsternedione. The androsternedione is a natural steroid that is actually produced by the body. This substance is produced in the gonads and adrenal glands, which then changed into testosterone inside the liver. So, when people consume the antler, automatically, they will produce more androsternedione. When more androsternedione is produced, naturally the number of testosterone will also increase. Testosterone itself is also responsible for the improvement of metabolism and body's recovery ability.
This typical extract is mostly available in powdery form, although it's possible that it's also available in liquid form. People can always boil it, mix it with warm water, mix it with other Herbs, or dilute it with alcohol. They can: - Combine it with ginseng for improved energy - Mix it with 40% of alcohol for tonic supplement - Combine it with Drynaria or Dipsacus for kidney treatment - Mix it with Dang Gui for strengthening the blood It's advisable that they should make a medium sized boil and then store it. They only need to consume the deer antler combination per ounce a day until the storage container is empty.
Prostate Prevention: Using Natural Means To Promote A healthy Prostate
October 12, 2011 11:51 AM
Overview of Prostate Health
Prostate health has been more of a concern for men in the recent decade, not really because it did not have any credence before but because now there is more effort in raising awareness. It also helps that more and more men are able to talk about it more comfortably out in the open and rightfully so compared to when men are ashamed to talk about it because in some ways they see it as losing their manhood due to the ability of poor prostate health to affect erectile functions. And when issues like this are involved some prefer to go down with the disease quietly rather than ask for help and talk about it.
So the improvement in awareness this past years has been a very positive change, more and more men are aware including me as to how prostate health is as important as breast health for women. Furthermore, aside from just being aware of the need to look into prostate health a little bit more, many men are also realizing the need to have alternative ways aside from medication to promote good prostate health and avoid having prostate cancer in the future.
The Natural Way To Better Prostate Health
All natural is all well and good but one thing that we need to remember here is that the key is prevention not treatment. There are so many natural products out in the market today which could benefit prostate health and aside from just supplementing there are things you can do as well to maintain good prostate health. Some recent researches has shown that low glutathione has been linked to higher risks of prostate cancer and so it would be a good idea to ensure that glutathione levels in the body are good. There are also Herbs that promote prostate health and one well known herb is saw palmetto which is a native of the Atlantic seaboard region and is by far the most well researched prostate herb.
It has been proven to be helpful because of its contents like beta sitosterol which is a powerful compound that inhibits DHT(Dihydrotestosterone – male sex hormone) conversion from testosterone. It also has been proven to have properties that aid in the relief of any prostate enlargement and its symptoms. The next herb would be red clover which is a member of the pea family and contains a hefty amount of antioxidants which we all know fights off free radicals that cause cancer. Aside from Herbs, activities like regular ejaculation can also help in such a way that it acts like a cleansing method for our prostate and experts say that 3 times a week should be enough. Exercise and diet as well can most definitely be helpful on keeping your systems healthy and making sure the right nutrients are taken in. And speaking of nutrients, some vitamins and minerals that are considered important for prostate health are Vitamin B6 and working in conjunction with the mineral Zinc it aids in the prevention of prostate enlargement or swelling. Lastly but certainly not the least, lycopene simply has powerful antioxidants that will prevent cancerous cells from proliferating thereby reducing the chances of prostate cancer.
What Herbs Are Vein Strengtheners?
September 28, 2011 02:17 PM
Blood vessels can be found all over the body. It is the passageway of blood so that cellular oxygenation as well as elimination of harmful substances from the cells would be successful. Blood vessels have three types, namely the arteries, the veins and the capillaries. Arteries contain the blood from the pulmonary system which is highly oxygenated while the veins consist of blood which is deoxygenated and abundant in cellular waste. Capillaries serve as a bridge between the two major blood vessels. Among these blood vessels, the veins are the only of its kind which has valves. These valves prevent backflow of blood since the direction of the blood in the vein is against gravity. Therefore, it is of no surprise that among the three types of blood vessels, veins are the most commonly damaged. In this article, we will be discussing of natural ways or Herbs which are effective as vein strengtheners.
1. HORSE CHESTNUT. Traditionally, this herb has been used for the improvement of health the veins. In fact, Western medicine has considered this herb as the most effective herbal medicine for venous problems most especially Chronic Venous Insufficiency. It can improve venous return by improving the ability of the valves of veins to return blood to the heart from the lower extremities. This herb has also been found to decrease permeability of the capillary wall permeability thus lessening fluid outflow into tissues. The recommended dosage for this supplement is 500 mg each morning.
2. GOTU KOLA. Gotu kola is a popular herbal medicine of the Indian Ayurvedic medicine. It is also considered to be one of the oldest herbal medicines all over the world. This herb has been found to be effective in improving the tone, flexibility and integrity of the blood vessels. Therefore, this herb has been long used as a treatment for circulatory problems most especially varicose veins. 200 milligram extract of this herb is usually suggested three times daily.
3. RUTIN. This is not an herb itself but a chemical substance which can be found in several plants. Rutin is considered to be a flavonoid which can be extracted from citrus peels, cranberries, asparagus and buckwheat. Clinical studies of this chemical compound have revealed that it be an effective relief treatment of damaged and edematous veins. This chemical can also be used for improving the strength of the capillaries thus lowering the risk of damage.
These are only some of the Herbs which are found to be effective as vein strengtheners. These Herbs can be made into a poultice and applied to the skin so that positive effect can be obtained. Along with these Herbs, it is also important that you should exercise regularly. Elevate your legs, if possible, especially when lying down at hours of sleep. This would greatly help in promoting venous return thus thwarting blood pooling at the lower extremities. It is also important that you should avoid long time standing or sitting. Health experts also suggest that people must avoid prolong crossing of legs and not to wear tight clothing and foot wears since this can possibly constrict veins..
Can Avena Sativa Be Used For Menstrual Problems?
September 07, 2011 02:13 PM
Avena Sativa in a way is just a common oat plant and is considered a cereal grain that is derived from seeds and its most common form in our diets is as rolled oats and oatmeal. A lot of us these days feel stressed and tired. Some may feel a little depressed or even fed up and this can lead to a lack of sexual desire. Many of us would think that supplementation might help with this since our fast-paced life often times is the culprit of this and we would like to have an easy fix for more energy. Most of the time we look at supplementation to help us with that and for the past decade Avena Sativa is one of those Herbs that have shown a lot of promise in the area of health and other benefits which in this specific case is more on Menstrual Problems. Like in most cases for Herbs, it starts out to be a simple research about how it could help us with energy and overall wellness then we would discover that it can do a lot more.
Avena Sativa and how it works
Also known as Oats Milky, Avena Sativa in the past decade has shown promise in benefiting a number of bloodstream functions and this was made evident as researchers have shown that it could help in various sexual functions mainly in men. It is able to help with erection and improve sexual appetites. The consensus of the users of this herb is that it is a great alternative to pharmaceutical erection enhancers and what's great about it is it doesn't have the side-effects. In the same way that it is beneficial for men it also has shown promise in women. The same sedative effects to the nervous system seems to be what allows the women to have a more relaxed body which is the reason that researchers have found as the stimulants to increase desire in women.
Menstrual Cycles and Avena Sativa
Menstruation disorders are most common in a woman's teenage years. It causes a lot of anxiety not only to the people suffering it because it also affects the family. Some factors that come into play are physical and psychological and in order to have a better understanding of how Avena Sativa can help let’s try to understand a regular menstrual cycle just in the general sense. Commonly a menstrual cycle happens during 21 to 35 days with about 3 to 10 days of bleeding and blood loss, this excessive blood loss during those days is what creates a lot of problems for a female’s well being. Studies have shown a distinct link between these disorders and a deficiency in magnesium in the body. This is where Avena Sativa come into play with its ability to influence the nervous system and regulate blood flow it can have positive effects both psychologically and physically. Furthermore, it also is magnesium rich which can aid in the relief of some symptoms, if not most of it, of menstrual disorders.
Constipated? Herbs can Help With Constipation!
January 28, 2011 11:58 AM
Sometimes feeling constipated can get in the way of our activities. It can easily be prevented, but our day-to-day routine may not allow us to do so, inasmuch as diet and inactivity both contribute to the common incidence of constipation. Its chronicity could damage our productivity apart from the fact that bowel movement characteristic of constipation can be a real pain. Herbal laxatives that alleviate the unwanted sensation of recurring constipation have been available since time immemorial.
Over a tenth of the worldwide population has been afflicted with constipation, and one may experience it at least once in a lifetime. In the US alone it is the most common reason for digestion-related visits to the doctor, accounting for up to 3 per cent of the total pediatric complaints. Chronic constipation is more widespread among women and children, and becomes a more frequent health problem as we age. While it is not a disease in itself, it may be a symptom of another gastrointestinal ailment, and thus knowing its underlying causes helps in doing away with it for good.
Many different factors give rise to primary constipation, the type most prevalent among adults. Symptoms ongoing for over 6 months is in general associated with lifestyle factors such as diet high in protein but essentially devoid of fiber. High consumptions of meat products translate to increased workload for your digestive tract, and countless patients have reported elevated levels of protein in their diets while constipated.
Dietary fiber has been identified as a substance that aid digestion in that it readily changes into watery slurry, resulting in the formation of stools that induce easy defecation. In fact, fiber is directly involved in preventing constipation by promoting the health of the gastrointestinal tract. The absence of fiber in the diet for long periods of time leads to the slow passage of foods in the alimentary canal.
If you are constipated at very short intervals such as to feel irregularity of bowel movement in a week, then you should act on it as soon as possible. Holding off defecation does lead to constipation. Your gut signals your brain when to release the fecal matter, and if you don’t respond to what your body tells you, the fecal matter turns into an impacted mass that may obstruct defecation.
The use of herbal laxatives eases defecation. One of the functions of the colon is to absorb water from waste products, but certain Herbs like aloe lax, rhubarb, and senna display osmotic properties, that is, they attract water present in the alimentary canal down to the colon. The resulting watery environment softens the hardened stool trapped in the colon and promotes motility inside the bowels.
Also, herbal laxatives contain chemical compounds that stimulate the intestinal walls to move the fecal matter, resulting in the evacuation of fecal matter. That being said, it is imperative that you read what the label says on over-the-counter laxatives and strictly follow the recommended dosages to avoid undesirable effects that these compounds may bring.
If you want to avoid Herbs, a double serving of magnesium could do the trick as well. if you get enough fiber in the diet and still experience constipation, you should increase your water intake. Lack or water is also the reason for constipation. Your alternative is a good herbal laxative.
Remember to never stay on herbal laxatives long term, short term use of not more than 2 weeks to prevent dependency.
Phytoestrogen, fish oil, and other Supplements may help With estrogen related diseases
July 27, 2010 12:19 PM
Many women fear breast cancer, as it seems out of control. In actuality, a woman’s diet is something within her control and it can be the most powerful force in significantly deterring breast cancer. One out of every eight American women experience breast cancer. Foods, natural Herbs, and exercise can significantly reduce your risk, with just one change cutting your risk in half. The more estrogen a woman is exposed to over her lifetime, the higher her risk of breast cancer. There are both good and bad estrogens. Daily, we are bombarded with bad estrogens through cosmetics, plastics, metals, and toxins in the air. Good estrogens come from foods, especially plants.
Choosing organic foods and starting young women on organic dairy in particular is a great way to make preventative dietary changes. A diet full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds supports the detoxification pathways and protects cells. This alone is a giant step on the path of disease prevention. Following are ten foods that can inspire you to make small, tasty changes to your diet and help you to feel in control of your breast cancer prevention.
Flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and plant lignans and are the most powerful food you can eat to fight breast cancer. Try adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds to a blueberry-yogurt smoothie, or sprinkling on cereal, oatmeal, or wholesome muffins.
Turmeric, which is extremely popular in Indian cuisine, is an anti-inflammatory that’s 300 times more potent than vitamins E and C. This food can help to cut your risk of breast cancer in half. It also stimulates liver enzymes, which helps to clear the body of bad estrogen toxins. Adding ¼ teaspoon of turmeric to a curried chicken stir-fry or plain basmati rice is a great way to get more in your diet.
Women who eat diets high in fiber have a 54% lower risk of breast cancer. Insoluble fiber binds to estrogen in the colon, eliminating it from the body. Fiber also slows the absorption of carbohydrates and bad fats. Try starting your day with oatmeal that is topped with fresh blueberries and slivered almonds. A low-fat bran muffin and apple is also a great way to get more fiber in your diet.
Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts put up a good fight against breast cancer. Their indole-3-carbinols block estrogen receptors, which slows bad estrogen from causing breast cells to grow and divide faster, which increases the risk of breast cancer. Cruciferous veggies also contain a compound called DIM, which helps detoxify estrogen in the body. Women who eat the most cruciferous vegetables have a 40 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those who eat few if any. Try steaming veggies, sprinkling them with sea salt, and drizzling with olive oil.
Fish, which is known for its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, is also a great way to prevent breast cancer. However, vegetarians who prefer vegetable sources can stick with flaxseeds and occasionally eating wild salmon is recommended. To get more, bake a 4-ounce salmon fillet and serve it over a bed of quinoa and steamed broccoli drizzled with olive oil. If you’re not into the fishy taste, try purified fish oil supplements.
Other foods that can help to prevent breast cancer include green tea, soy, olive oil, mushrooms, and seaweeds. Green tea inhibits the growth of cancers and also help decrease the body’s estrogen production. An adequate amount of soy in your diet can reduce chances of breast cancer by 30 to 50 percent, as it contains genistein, a plant estrogen that has been proven to stop tumor growth, prevent metastasis, and shut off blood flow to growing tumors. Olive oil has the ability to suppress a gene in our DNA that is involved in tumor growth, while mushrooms boost the immune system. Seaweeds is rich in iodine, which is toxic to breast cancer cells.
Eating a healthy diet low in red meat and high in fruits and vegetables along with vitamin supplements can go a long way in the fight against cancer. Look to your local or internet vitamin store for additional information on vitamin supplements.
Natural Vitamins for the Heart
July 06, 2010 02:44 PM
It has been consistently revealed by epidemiological research that individuals with a high dietary intake of antioxidant vitamins have a risk that is lower-than-average of cardiovascular disease. This evidence seems to be especially consistent for vitamin E. Additionally, many clinical studies show that magnesium supplementation is of significant benefit in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias and in reversing the depletion of potassium that comes along with a magnesium deficit. Many cardiovascular events like angina pectoris, congestive heart failure, and cardiomyopathy are related directly to low magnesium status. Coenzyme Q10 is an essential component in cellular energy production. This nutrient is also prevalent in the heart muscle. When tissue levels of CoQ10 are low, there is an association with several cardiovascular complications. Among these are angina, congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, and mitral valve prolapse. Research has found that the trio of coenzyme Q10, vitamin E, and magnesium plays a crucial role in the maintenance of cardiac health and the prevention of disease states.
The cardio-protective effect of vitamin E seems to come from its ability to bind to LDL cholesterol, which protects it from free-radical induce oxidative damage along with the consequent buildup of atherogenic plaque. Low levels of vitamin E in the blood are a predictive factor of heart health almost 70% of the time.
Studies on the general population have suggested that there is a link between the intake of calcium and blood pressure. Although results of the studies have not been consistent, there are several studies showing that calcium supplementation can lower blood pressure in those individuals who experience hypertension. Overall, those intakes of calcium that are sub-optimal contribute directly to hypertension. It seems that dietary calcium reduces blood pressure by normalizing intracellular calcium levels.
Supplementation with magnesium is of benefit for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias and the prevention of potassium depletion. Both magnesium and potassium play an important role in the functioning of the heart. Several studies have found that there is improvement in heart function in those patients that have cardiomyopathies when they supplement with magnesium. Since magnesium acts in so many ways to enhance cardiac function and optimize cellular metabolism, magnesium is widely recognized as a critical nutrient for general cardiac support.
Several double-blind studies have taken place in those patients that experience various cardiomyopathies in order to show the benefits of CoQ10 supplementation. One study reported an 89% improvement rate in 80 cardiomyopathy patients who were treated with CoQ10. The coenzyme also appears to moderate blood pressure through the usual mechanism, as it lowers cholesterol levels and also stabilizes the vascular system with its antioxidant properties. Because of this, it is able to reduce vascular resistance. Several studies on CoQ10 supplementation have confirmed that this nutrient posses the ability lower both systolic and diastolic pressures by up to ten percent.
There are other nutrients that play important roles in optimizing cardiovascular health and reducing hypertension. Among these nutrients are gamma tocopherol, calcium, magnesium, l-carnitine, acetyl-l-carnitine, procyanidolic oligomers, phenolic compounds, and lycopene. As you can see there are many natural supplements that can help the cardiovascular system. Remember to always consult your doctor before adding supplements to your diet while on prescription drugs. Look to your local or internet health food store for quality vitamins, Herbs, and specialty formulas to boost your health and wellness.
August 06, 2009 12:58 PM
The American senna has been used widely for its mild purgative abilities. Native Americans used this as a drink to reduce fevers, for sore throat, and as a laxative. The herb was official in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1882. Senna was used in Chinese medicine. This herb, along with other laxatives, has been used since prehistoric times in order to treat colonic and menstrual obstructions. Senna can be found along the Nile River. The herb was used in Arab medicine as an effective and safe laxative. Nicholas Culpeper, the seventeenth-century herbalist, claimed that senna was able to clean the stomach and purge melancholy and phlegm from the head, brain, lungs, heart, liver, and spleen.
The senna plant held a major role in herbalism and folk medicine for millennia. The herb was and still is a significant item of trans-national trade by the Ababdeh people. It is grown both commercially and traditionally along the middle Nile. However, more generally, it is found in many regions around the northwestern Indian Ocean. Senna is similar to aloe and rhubarb, as it has similar active ingredients such as anthraquinone and their glucosides.
This herb is considered to be a useful laxative. It is responsible for intestinal parasitic movements. The herb has a strong effect on the entire intestinal tract, especially the colon. A lot of people believe that a clean colon can prevent autointoxication and may be an underlying cause of many diseases. Usually, senna is combined with other Herbs, such as ginger or fennel, in order to prevent intestinal cramping and get better results. The herb should not be used if there is inflammation of the stomach. This is because it may aggravate the problem. Senna helps to tone and restore the digestive system through cleansing. The herb has been used throughout history and today, it is still used throughout the world.
Senna acts on the lower bowel. It increases the peristaltic movements of the colon. Most often, the plants are prepared as an infusion. The long-standing use of senna is reflected by its presence in many herbal remedies and tonics. Today, senna is still used as the primary ingredient in certain commercial stimulant laxatives. However, it is also the primary ingredient found in dieter’s teas. However, the combination of acting as a stimulant, which reduces a dieter’s appetite, and the laxative properties that cause food to move through the system before many calories can be absorbed is a combination that can lead to rapid and even dangerous weight loss.
Senna is a powerful laxative. The anthroquinon glycosides that are found in senna are believed to be responsible for the stimulatory effect it provides on the colon. Laxative should not be used for extended periods of time or dependency may occur.
The leaves and pods of the senna plant are responsible for providing anthelmintic and mild purgative properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium, vitamins A, B-complex, and C, and zinc. Primarily, senna is extremely beneficial in treating constipation, jaundice, and worms. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with acne, excessive bile, breath odor, colic, gallstones, gout, menstrual symptoms, obesity, rheumatism, and skin disease.
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 senna, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
Natural Vitamins under Attack
June 29, 2009 02:53 PM
The value of nutritional supplements in protecting and promoting human health has been intensely debated in recent years throughout the scientific and medical community as well as the national press. Many researchers believe that supplements provide a convenient and effective way to supply the optimal amounts of essential nutrients that are necessary for supporting long-term health, while others argue that there is no proof that supplements provide any real health benefits at all.
A lot of the debate has been published by media that is more interested in selling papers than reporting the truth. Because of this sloppy reporting and distorted information, the public has been unnecessarily alarmed, causing them to lose trust in complementary health care. It is crucial that this false information be addressed before harm that is irreversible is done to an industry that is committed to natural approaches to wellness and a public that is increasingly confused as to where to turn for truthful advice on preventing disease and achieving optimal health. The mixed messages that have been reported in the headlines have confused both health-conscious consumers and medical practitioners, as one day they’re told something is good for them and the next day they’re told it is not.
If there is any consolation to this whole thing, it may be helpful to understand that science never progresses smoothly, as there are always new findings that appear to disprove long-held beliefs. Controversy is necessary for change, as it paves the road that science must travel in order to arrive at the real truth. Unfortunately, bias in the media and conflicts of interest add an unnecessary element to finding the real scientific truth.
When looking at the recent studies that have been negated, there are several explanations that arise for the findings that seem to contradict prevailing scientific evidence. First of all, several long-term dietary intervention trials have recently come about which were developed in the early 1990s before good and bad fats were differentiated. Because of this design, these studies simply assume that all fat is the same, and to reduce fat, one must cut out all kinds of fat. Secondly, it has been proven that there will always be a statistical fluke in a bunch. Therefore, out of 100 clinical studies to investigate a particular effect, probability states that five of these studies, no matter how well they are designed, will show results that are not real.
Thirdly, it is expected that about one fifth of clinical trials that investigate a particular effect will not have the needed number of subjects to produce a result that is statistically significant. This is so because in most clinical trials there is only an 80% probability of finding a real result, which is known as the power of the test. Because of this, there is up to a 20% chance completely missing the mark and failing to find a difference when one actually exists. Finally, some investigations are just bad science, as they are improperly conducted, poorly reported, and inadequately reviewed. Unfortunately, these studies attract a great deal of attention from the media, which has been the case recently.
Natural vitamin supplements can feed the body and help the body fight disease and stay wall. The foods we eat determine what kind of health we will have, if we eat poorly, we will live with poor health. This is why we should consume a multiple vitamin and mineral as well as Herbs and food concentrates to help supply our diet with the needed nutrients to sustain and maintain a good healthy lifestyle. Look to your local or internet health food store for vitamins, Herbs, and food concentrates.
Colostrum, Vitamin C, Echinacea, Goldenseal, Pau D'arco, Garlic, Astragalus
June 19, 2009 11:05 AM
There are many supplements and Herbs that compliment the supplementation of colostrum. Among these are Echinacea, vitamin C, garlic, goldenseal, pau d’arco, astragalus, and beta carotene (vitamin A).
Echinacea is one of the most well-known and respected herbal supplements when it comes to the maintenance and strengthening of the immune system. Various Echinacea species have yielded an impressive variety of chemical constituents which possess pharmacological properties. This suggests that there is some form of synergistic action that occurs between the compounds in order to achieve therapeutic benefits. The main therapeutic properties are found in polysaccharides, flavonoids, caffeic acid derivatives, essential oils, polyacetylenes, and alkylamides. These constituents are responsible for a large number of immuno-stimulatory, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer properties.
Echinacea has several effects on the immune system, including the alternate complement pathway, which enhances the movement of white blood cells into the areas of infection. Echinacea also affects many of the immune system’s cells that are responsible for slowing viral and bacterial infection. The aerial portion of Echinacea is known to be effective in warding off viruses such as influenza, herpes, and vesicular stomatitis, by blocking virus receptors on the cell surface. Echinacea is also able to indirectly kill viruses by encouraging the production and release of interferon, which is a substance that is capable of blocking viral RNA.
Vitamin C is one of the most well-known nutrients for promoting basic immune functions, with its benefits being known for many years. It is effective in reducing the severity and duration of colds and flu. Also, it has the ability to act as an immuno-stimulant by enhancing white blood cell production, increasing interferon levels and antibody responses, promoting the secretion of thymic hormones, and improving connective tissue. Vitamin C can be found abundantly in various fruits in vegetables, which means that it can often be consumed in acceptable amounts without supplementation through broccoli, sweet peppers, collards, cabbage, spinach, kale, parsley, melons, potatoes, tangerines, and Brussels sprouts, just to name a few.
Garlic is one of the most commonly used medicinal Herbs, as it is found throughout the world and has been employed for various therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. Commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine and ayurvedic medicine, it has recently received much attention in the US media as well as other Western countries. Recent research has found that garlic possesses some powerful capabilities when it comes to the immune system and the body’s ability to fight infection. Garlic produces antiviral and antibacterial capabilities that stimulate and improve performance by the body’s immune systems. Additionally, garlic kills viruses and protects the body from invading virus cells by enhancing the body’s immune functions.
Goldenseal is native to North America, where it helps with a wider variety of ailments, including infection. Goldenseal is effective in combating invasion of colds and flu by stimulating the immune system and the activity of macrophages, which are one of the body’s defense mechanisms against viruses, bacteria, cancer cells, and other invaders.
Pau d’arco is also known for its powerful antiviral, antibiotic, and immune system enhancing capabilities. It has been shown to actively inhibit the activity of several viruses such as: both herpes viruses, the influenza viruses, polioviruses, and vesicular stomatitis virus.
Astragalus, which is extremely popular in Chinese herbal medicine, is an immune system enhancer. It has the ability to reduce the severity and length of the common cold through its application. Vitamin A, which has long been known to be effective in fighting infectious diseases, has antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Vitamin A deficiencies can manifest themselves through increased infection by cold and flu viruses.
Along with the above, it is also important to eat healthful foods (fruits and vegetables), drink plenty of fluids, exercise, avoid smoking, avoid consuming alcohol, get plenty of rest, and reduce stress in order to increase the benefits that colostrum supplementation provides. Natural supplements can help boost the immune system and help one live a healthier longer life.
March 29, 2009 10:08 AM
Constipation occurs when one has difficulty passing stools, or infrequently passes hard, dry stools. This is the result of food moving extremely slowly through the large intestine. From time to time, most people experience constipation. However, lifestyle changes and better eating habits can help to relieve the symptoms and prevent recurrences. Constipation usually results from insufficient amounts of fiber and fluids in the diet. Fiber can be found in plant foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber that is water-soluble takes on a soft texture and is helpful in softening the stools. Insoluble fiber goes through the large intestine unchanged and is helpful in adding bulk to the stools to stimulate bowel contractions.
Other factors that can cause constipation include inadequate exercise, advanced age, muscle disorders, structural abnormalities, bowel diseases, neurogenic disorders, and a poor diet, especially a heavy consumption of junk food. Constipation can also be a side effect of iron supplements and some drugs, like painkillers and antidepressants. It is also common during pregnancy. High levels of calcium and low levels of thyroid hormone can also lead to constipation. Those with kidney failure are also prone to having problems with constipation. Constipation is often caused by dehydration in older individuals, with depression being a factor in people of any age. Some medications, like cough syrups, pain medications that contain codeine, antidepressants, iron supplements, blood pressure and heart medicines, calcium supplements, and some antihistamines can also cause constipation.
A small percentage of people with spinal injuries and other similar problems have constipation because the nerves that usually regulate bowel movement have been damaged or destroyed. A condition referred to as Hirshsprung’s disease makes the normal excretion of feces impossible because the nerves inside the bowel are missing. The nerve cells in the colon can also be damaged by long-term use of laxatives, which makes constipation inevitable. A thrombosed hemorrhoid, anal fissure, or a pocket of infection at the anus can create a spasm of pain that is strong enough to contract the muscles and prevent the evacuation of stools.
Constipation can cause a variety of other ailments such as appendicitis, bad breath, body odor, coated tongue, depression, diverticulitis, fatigue, gas, headaches, hemorrhoids, hernia, indigestion, insomnia, mal-absorption syndrome, obesity, and varicose veins. It may even be involved in the development of other serious diseases like bowel cancer. It is important to have regular bowel movements in order to remove toxins from the body. Toxins from bowel bacteria and undigested food particles play a part in the development of diabetes mellitus, meningitis, myasthenia gravis, thyroid disease, candidiasis, chronic gas and bloating, migraines, fatigue, and ulcerative colitis. People can have bowel movements as infrequently as three times a week and still not be constipated, but there are some health practitioners that believe that it is important to have a bowel movement every day.
The following nutrients are very helpful in dealing with and preventing constipation: garlic, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, apple pectin, chlorophyll liquid, essential fatty acids, a multi-enzyme complex, a multivitamin and mineral complex, vitamin B complex, vitamin D3, vitamin E. Additionally, the following Herbs are also beneficial: alfalfa extract, fennel seed, aloe vera, ginger, milk thistle, triphala, cascara sagrada, goldenseal, rhubarb root, senna leaves, and yerba mate.
Adding a good fiber supplement as well as the above mentioned supplements can help one stop constipation and start normal bowel movements again. Natural fiber, vitamins, and Herbs are available at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands such as Source Naturals, Solaray, Kal, Planetary Formulas, and Natures Plus to ensure quality and safely of all your natural supplement needs.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, Herbs, and fibers are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
February 19, 2009 05:14 PM
Hay fever, which is an allergy to proteins in the pollen of trees, grasses, some plants, or mold, affects the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, and air passages. Symptoms of hay fever include itchy, red eyes; watery discharge from the nose and eyes; sneezing; fatigue; and nervous irritability. Many of the symptoms of hay fever can be confused with those symptoms of the common cold. However, allergies cause a distinctive clear, thin nasal discharge, whereas secretions that come from colds are usually thick and yellow-greenish as the illness progresses. Colds are also associated with mild fever and are usually gone within a week. On the other hand, allergy sufferers often feel wiped out for many weeks.
At least 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal sneezes, runny nose, and itchy eyes that come with hay fever. There happen to be three seasons of hay fever which are distinguished by the different pollen present at these different times of the year. Tree pollen appears first, usually between February and May, depending on the climate. When trees, weeds, grass pollens, and people are out at the same time, the biggest problems arise. This usually occurs later in spring and in summer. The fall is the season for ragweed pollen. Depending on which pollen or pollens an individual is allergic to, hay fever may be present at any or all of these times.
In more detail, the following is a summary of the types of plants according to the times of year they are most likely to cause problems. Alder, hazelnut, and elm trees cause the most problems in February through May, while birch, maple, and oak trees are problematic in March through June. Beech and spruce trees bring about issues in April through June, while horse chestnut trees are responsible for causing problems in April through August. In April through September, Asters, pine trees, plantain, sorrel, stinging nettle, and various grasses are responsible for bringing about allergies. Buttercups are problematic in May through July and Goosefoot is an issue in June through September. In July through September, mugwort seems to pose a problem.
Those people who suffer from hay fever also often suffer from other atopic disorders like asthma and dermatitis. Those people who suffer from hay fever symptoms throughout the year are said to have perennial rhinitis, which can be caused by animal hair, dust, feathers, fungus spores, molds, and/or some other environmental agent. It should be noted that a susceptibility to hay fever tends to be an inherited condition. Those people who are most prone to allergies are often aware of the time of year and conditions under which they are most sensitive. A RAST test can easily be done and provide reliable results for a definitive diagnosis.
The following nutrients are beneficial for hay fever: bromelain, coenzyme Q10, Quercetin, raw thymus, vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, proteolytic enzymes, zinc, calcium, magnesium, garlic, kelp, manganese, Pycnogenol, SOD, and vitamin E. Additionally, the following Herbs have been noted to be helpful: alfalfa, chlorophyll, vitamin K, eucalyptus oil, eyebright, lady’s mantle, goldenseal extract, horehound, mullein leaf, stinging nettle, wild cherry bark, turmeric, nettle leaf, and noni juice.
In conclusion, discovering your allergic substance is the first step to recovery. When you can narrow down what is the cause then you can combat the problem with vitamins, Herbs, and dietary changes. Your local or internet health food store has a large selection of herbal and homeopathic remedies for hay fever symptoms.
Digestive Essentail Enzymes
January 04, 2009 10:29 AM
Years of researching various health-promoting Herbs, vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements has led to the conclusion that enzyme therapy is one of the most valuable ways to maintain and promote good health. Not very many of us actually understand the enormous role that enzymes play in health maintenance, with many of us actually being enzyme depleted due to the over-consumption of cooked enzyme-less foods and the under-consumption of raw whole foods. The human digestive system was designed for a diet that is full of raw plants and fruits, but many foods today are processed, refined, heated, and fragmented.
By eating foods that have lost their own natural enzymes, the pancreas and other organs that supply digestive enzymes are over-worked. This results in enzymatic function in other areas of the body to become compromised, which leads to disastrous health implications. Replenishing enzymes through diet and supplementation is an easy way to make up for the typical diet that is full of mostly dead foods.
The human digestive system is one of the most perfectly designed systems in the body, typically functioning without problems. This means that if we are eating the right foods in the right way, then we should not have to rely on antacids, H2 antagonists, proton-pump inhibitors, and laxatives. Burping, belching, and bloating, no matter how often they occur, are actually not normal. It is ironic that the human body has a system that is far more impressive than any other machine built by humans, but we suffer from breakdowns all the time such as abdominal cramps after eating, inordinate amounts of gas, sluggish colons, and an overall lousy feeling after eating.
Statistics prove that we are not eating the right foods, and even if we were, many of us are not properly absorbing all of their nutrients because we consume huge amounts of sugar, drugs, caffeine, alcohol, and highly processed refined foods that prevent normal digestive processes. Being under constant stress and eating on the run, along with our unhealthy food choices, creates an environment inside our body that causes common cases of heartburn and indigestion, possibly leading to ulcers and colon disease.
Enzymes are protein molecules that are responsible for thousands of physiological reactions that take place in the human body. They initiate and control almost every biochemical process that occurs in the body, with nearly three thousand individual enzymes being identified to date. Enzymes help our body to digest food, repair tissue, and eliminate dangerous toxins. Digestive enzymes break down food particles, which allows them to pass through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. The enzymes that are found in the blood transform nutrient particles into tissue that is found in muscles, nerves, organs, and glands.
Enzymes also contribute to the process that stores sugar in the liver and muscle tissue and preserves fatty tissue. Additionally, digestive enzymes are part of the chemical reaction that creates urea. Some enzymes even help to detoxify our blood and tissue by allowing our immune system to attack foreign material. Lastly, metabolic enzymes help create energy in our body on a cellular level by converting foot to energy, which then fuels nearly every mechanism in the body. Do you get enough enzymes on a daily basis?
October 09, 2008 01:11 PM
The Indians in South American discovered that the Pau d’Arco tree possesses a lot of medicinal ability in the inner back by observing that the inner bark repelled the insects that flooded other trees in the rain forest. The Indians also found a bush that is found in a certain canyon increased their eyesight, so they named it Eyebright. Similarly, the Arizona Apache and Pima Indians found that if they took a twig of the Chaparral bush and heated it and placed it in or next to a tooth hoe, the pain and infection were relieved.
Because of the above, it can be inferred that man has been using Herbs for an extremely long time. This is important, especially when taking it to comparison just how short-term the use of chemicals has been. There is no doubt to anyone that chemical use over a long period of time causes a negative effect on the human body. It seems extremely odd that the scientific community prefers their scientific laboratory experiments with chemicals over 4,000 to 5,000 years of herb use. It seems as if someone would see the inadequacy of trying to find a medicine in laboratories by working with animals over a period of months versus the use of Herbs by humans in their natural habitat for thousands of years.
Chemicals are not food for the human body as they have all sorts of negative effects including unwanted immune responses which cause inflammation. They do not provide any nutritional affects. Herbs, on the other hand, are foods that fuel the human body, nourishing it and also cleansing it so that it may be energized. Additionally, these Herbs have a lot of unknown positive effects. This seems so simple that some wonder how anyone in a professional status could see the truths in prescribing a drug for their spouse or client. A lot of times it is suggested that patients ask their doctors if they would prescribe the same drug or surgery for their wife or children. We need to become aware of the responsibility we have to our bodies. Many Herbs have Glyconutrients and polysaccharides that can feed the immune system. These Glyconutrients or polysaccharides are simple sugars that provide raw materials for the body to build its self better and stronger. Every cell in the body is wrapped with instructions. When the immune system come in contact with each cell, it determines whether its friend or foe. Herbs can help the body build its self better.
Those people who ask if they will become dependant on an herb are thinking of the Herbs as a drug instead of food. Although we are dependant on food, it is better to eat food that has been proven to help our body, rather than one which will poison it. Herbs are foods that have proven elements involved which will provide a positive effect on our body. Each specific herb can provide a specific need to our body.
October 08, 2008 09:41 AM
Comfrey, one of the most valuable Herbs known to botanical medicine, has been used for centuries to heal. It is full of amino acid, lysine, B12, and vitamins A and C as well as high in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and protein. Additionally, it contains iron, magnesium, sulphur, copper, zinc, and eighteen amino acids. Echinacea is an herb that stimulates immunity within the body and increases its ability to fight infections. It includes vitamins A, E, and C, as well as iron, iodine, copper, sulphur, and potassium. Fennel is used to help stabilize the nervous system and move waste material out of the body.
It also has properties to help against convulsions and mucous and contains potassium, sulphur, and sodium. Garlic acts to rejuvenate the body in all of its functions as it stimulates the lymphatic system to help rid the body of toxins. This herb contains vitamin A and C, selenium, sulphur, calcium, manganese, copper, vitamin B1, iron, potassium, and zinc.
Along with the above Herbs, there are others that are good for helping with herpes. Ginger is very effective in its ability to cleanse the bowels, kidneys, and skin and contains protein, vitamins A, C, and B complex, as well as calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Mullein loosens mucus within the body and moves it out of the body. It is high in iron, magnesium, potassium, and sulphur and also contains vitamins A, D, and B complex. Sweet birch cleanses the blood and is extremely high in fluoride. It also contains vitamins A, C, E, B1, and B2, and calcium, chlorine, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and silicon. Thyme, which destroys fungal infections and skin parasites, has B complex, vitamins C and D, and iodine, sodium, silicon, and sulphur. White willow is also helpful in herpes, as it has a strong antiseptic ability for infected wounds, ulcerations, and eczema.
Along with all of the above Herbs, there are many Herbs that help protect and build the nervous system, which is closely related to the immune system. These Herbs include: alfalfa, dandelion, fenugreek, gotu kola, hops, kelp, lady’s slipper, lobelia, parsley, passion flower, skullcap, wood betony, and red clover. Additionally, there are many Herbs for circulation, which increase blood supply to the heart muscles and entire body. Good circulation is crucial for a healthy immune system and can be improved with capsicum, garlic, gentian root, hawthorn berries, kelp, licorice root, and lecithin.
Because the glands regulate many major body functions, these functions often interrelate with the circulatory and nervous systems. Some glandular Herbs include: golden seal, Siberian ginseng, burdock, Echinacea, sarsaparilla, black walnut, chaparral, and red clover blossoms. Along with the above, there are several Herbs that help with the skin, which can be extremely beneficial to those who are dealing with herpes.
Red marine algae is a natural algae that grows in the ocean. This algae is harvested by many countries including China, Japan, and the United States. Red marine algae contains polysaccharides that can boost the immune system. These special polysaccharides stimulate the immune system to fight viruses and disease which can help fight herpes.
Among these Herbs is aloe vera, which helps to clean, soothe, and heal the skin as it contains calcium, potassium, sodium, manganese, magnesium, iron, lecithin, and zinc. Also, comfrey, golden seal, myrrh, bayberry, and oat straw are all good Herbs for the skin. As you can see these Herbs are loaded with vitamins, minerals and polysaccharides which are essential to the body to keep the immune system strong and the body able to fight off viruses and disease.
September 18, 2008 11:14 AM
They say that you can never bee too rich, too thin or too hot. The search for potions, foods, Herbs, and supplements to increase sagging libido is never ending. Not only does erectile dysfunction (ED) affect approximately 30 million American men and one-third of those American males between the ages of 40 and 70, but about 43 percent of women have reported having some kind of sexual dissatisfaction, with about one-third of them specifically reporting low sexual desire.
In the 1970s and 80s a famous erotic entertainer named the brain as being the most erogenous zone in the body. A lack in libido can have a lot more to do with the brain than with genital areas. Stress, lack of energy, fatigue, depression, anger, and worry all kill sexual appetite, and few foods have been found to make much of dent in your mind or other places. On the other hand, slow libido for men or women occasionally has a physical base, being the combination of both desire and the ability to do something about it.
If we assume that the “spirit is willing” we still have to make sure that the body is able, with the first order of business being circulation. The best way to improve overall circulation is exercise, of which almost any kind will do as long as your heart is pumping, blood is flowing, and oxygen is reaching the brain. Exercise also raises the feel-good chemicals in the brain referred to as catecholamines, which makes it more likely that you’ll be more in the mood. Many yoga postures that are done prior to sex have been shown to be fantastic enhances, especially the butterfly pose for women.
There is also a list of sexy foods including, almonds, avocados, celery, chili peppers, chocolate, oysters, figs, and nutmeg. Almonds contain important fatty acids which help the brain to work better while avocados are not only a sensual delight, but also contain important fatty acids that help the brain and heart. Celery actually contains a small amount of androsterone, which is a male hormone that is released in sweat, known to turn women on. Chili peppers contain capsaicin, which stimulates circulation.
Chocolate contains pheylethylalmine (PEA), which is a chemical raised in the brain when you’re in love. Oysters, which are high in zinc, help men with sexual functioning. Figs are high in amino acids and are also believed to increase sexual stamina and nutmeg is used in Indian medicine for enhancing desire, with studies showing that it has the same effect as Viagra. Dishes that are high in carbohydrates, such as pasta, are much more likely to lead to sleep rather than romance. So be sure to eat energy producing protein and vegetables, leaving the table just a bit hungry.
There are some foods that can trigger thoughts of love, such as a peach or even an avocado. Those foods that have luscious textures and tastes are also shown to enhance mood. In order to turn on the brain naturally, think of smells. Almond and coconut make great scented candles and are good bets to improve libido. Lavender has been shown to be one of the most universal turn-on’s and can be used through out the day with relaxing and mood boosting properties. However you decide to boost libido, adding the above mentioned foods might help improve quality of life.
August 06, 2008 11:21 AM
Traditionally, Cat's Claw has been used to treat arthritis, gastritis, tumors, dysentery, and female hormonal imbalances. Today, the plant has shown the ability to treat viral infections, minimize inflammation, and provide therapeutic action for stomach and bowel disorders including arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, ulcers, gastritis, parasites, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, several types of cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, herpes, allergies, lupus, diabetes, PMS, yeast infections, hypoglycemia, prostatitis, bursitis, and rheumatism. European studies are currently looking at Cat's Claw for its ability to treat AIDS and cancer. Additionally, the herb has been used for Athlete’s Foot, Ear infections, back pain, TMJ syndrome, fibromyalgia, canker sores, sinus infections, and asthma.
Peruvians have trusted the anti-inflammatory abilities of Cat’s Claw for many generations, as it was traditionally used for any type of rheumatism or arthritic joint condition. Many studies on the plant metabolites found in Cat’s Claw have found that it does inhibit inflammatory response for a fact. The plant sterols that are found in Cat’s Claw have the ability to reduce artificially induced swelling. After extensive research, scientists have found that the strong anti-inflammatory activity is due to the presence of all the compounds together. These same compounds have an intrinsic anti-inflammatory effect as well.
These findings confirm what herbalists have advocated for many generations: the fact that plants are designed to be used in their whole form in order to be biochemically effective. Pharmaceutical synthetic versions of herbal medication shave so many bad side effects because they have been chemically extricated and isolated, which eliminates the very crucial role of other compounds that are vital to the function of the plant.
Natural botanical remedies, on the other hand, have been designed by nature to work together. Natural anti-inflammatories are extremely important for treating diseases such as allergies and arthritis because they have a lot less side effects than the prescription NSAIDs that are currently being used by thousands of individuals. Back pain, joint pain, inflammation caused by histamine release, and a whole lot of other maladies have resulted in millions of dollars worth of anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen to be purchased.
Diseases such as AIDS and flesh-eating viruses have received a good amount of press coverage over the last several years. Although a lot of us may not feel immediately threatened by these viruses, we may not be as strong as we could be immunologically. Most of us are battling a never-ending list of ailments such as colds, flu, sore throats, earaches, athlete’s foot, yeast infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and colitis.
With heart disease, cancer, and diabetes being responsible for thousands of deaths each year, our country as a whole is in poor health. Our immune systems, which are our build-in defense mechanisms, need to be kept in optimal working condition as infectious microorganisms and carcinogens constantly surround us. A healthy immune system has a great ability to fight off disease or at least minimize its stay in our body. By fortifying our defenses with certain Herbs, vitamins, and antioxidants, we can greatly promote wellness in our bodies.
June 28, 2008 11:46 AM
Phytosterols are the group of naturally occurring plant compounds which have two significant health benefits. First of all, phytosterols reduce blood levels of total cholesterol and the “bad” LDL cholesterol. Second, which is particularly good for men, phytosterols can reduce symptoms of benign enlarged prostate. These naturally occurring plant compounds are added to many common cholesterol-reducing foods, but can also be taken as capsules. Even though the word phytosterol may sound a little like steroid, phytosterols do not have any hormonal activity. Phytosterols are known by a large variety of names such as plant sterols, free sterols, and sterol esters. A related group of compounds, which are called stanols, are gathered from trees, not from plants.
Phytosterols chemically consist of beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol. The structure of phytosterols is similar to that of cholesterol, but is poorly absorbed. Because of these traits, phytosterols function as cholesterol blockers by reducing the absorption of cholesterol from food and re-absorption of cholesterol from the intestine, which ultimately leads to lower levels of blood fats. Actually, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration now allows companies to claim that phytosterols-containing products are able to lower the risk of heart disease. Phytosterols can also be found in a large variety of plant foods, which includes fruits, vegetables, Herbs, nuts, grains, and cooking oils. Additionally, saw palmetto, which is an herb that is commonly used to treat benign prostate enlargement, is rich in phytosterols, especially beta-sitosterol.
Many studies have been done that show the abilities of phytosterols supplements to reduce cholesterol levels significantly. One study conducted at East Tennessee State University, researched both sterol esters and placebos on the same group of sixteen people. The results showed a five percent decrease in total cholesterol and four percent decrease in LDL cholesterol after taking a modest dose of sterol esters for four weeks. Additionally, triglyceride levels decreased by nine percent while HDL cholesterol increased by four percent. Another study in which 2.6 grams of phytosterols were taken daily for 12 weeks resulted in a decrease of 3.5 percent in total cholesterol and 5 percent in LDL cholesterol. Due to this, it is suggested that those wishing to supplement in order to improve cholesterol levels should take 1.3 to 3 grams of sterol esters daily.
Several other studies have found that supplements of beta-sitosterol can significantly reduce urinary symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, which commonly affects men ages 50 and older. The benefits can be long term to those men who continue taking supplements of about 200 mg of beta-sitosterol three times daily.
For those people with moderately elevated cholesterol, phytosterols can be an ideal natural alternative to drugs. Even those people who are already taking cholesterol-lowering drugs can benefit by phytosterols ability to further enhance the benefits of medications. In order to lower cholesterol, it also helps to reduce the intake of hydrogenated vegetable oils and refined sugars and starches, along with increasing physical activity. Dosages between 1.3 and 3 grams daily are likely to reduce cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels. The higher dosage is linked to greater reductions in cholesterol. Take phytosterols capsules along with food, for best results.
Antioxidants For The Body
June 10, 2008 11:27 AM
Eating the fruits and vegetables that naturally contain antioxidants is the best way to get them into your system. Mixing them into a well-balanced and healthy diet is the best method of all. This way you reap the benefits of all of the antioxidants in a natural combination.
The benefit of dietary antioxidants is that they slow the chemical process of oxidation. This oxidation is what causes narrowing of the arteries and heart-related health problems due to cholesterol deposits. Eating a regular variety of Herbs, vegetables and fruits that contain antioxidants is the best way to maintain good health. Some foods that contain antioxidants include:
Antioxidant supplements are available, lab testing have shown that they are just as effective as their natural counterparts. Natural foods contain ranges of antioxidants that work together synergistically. These combinations of antioxidants are much more effective.
Antioxidants and other nutrients are needed by the body to protect against cell damage. They also may reduce the risks of certain forms of cancer.
It has been discovered that the mitochondria (cell power plants) are a major source of oxidant production. They are also a target for the damaging effects of the very oxidants that they produce. This is a major cause in the advancement of cellular aging, called apoptosis.
It is believed that in apoptosis, each cell has a fixed number of cell divisions that it is capable of. After the cell has used its allotted number of divisions, it ceases to function. Oxidative damage is also a contributing factor of DNA mutation, which causes further malfunction of the cells.
Most Common Antioxidants:
The following is a list of the most common antioxidants, what benefits they offer and where to find them:
*Beta-carotene keeps the skin healthy and promotes growth and development of bones. It also helps to prevent night blindness and fight infection. Beta-carotene is found in vegetables and fruits: carrots, cantaloupe, apricots, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes and pumpkin.
* Vitamin C destroys free radicals inside and outside cells. It helps in the healing of wounds, preventing bruising, formation of connective tissue, iron absorption and keeping gums healthy. Vitamin C is being studied for its beneficial effects in reducing cataracts, cancer and heart disease. Foods high in vitamin C include tomatoes, citrus fruits and juices, berries, mango, papaya, peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli and potatoes.
* Vitamin E acts as the essential fat protector in cell membranes and red blood cells. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases associated with age. Vitamin E is found in peanut butter, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, margarine, whole grains, wheat germ, salad dressings and avocado.
* Selenium helps the body maintain healthy hair and nails. It also enhances immunity and, along with Vitamin E, prevents cell damage. Vitamin E reduces the risk of cancers, especially prostate, lung and colorectal. The best sources of Selenium include brazil nuts, garlic, meat, eggs, poultry, seeds, seafood and whole grains. The amount of selenium found in plants depends on the soil content in which they are grown.
Antioxidants benefit the body by providing a layer of protection for the tissues and cells. They are the front line of the body's protection against free radicals. Free radicals are unstable by-products of oxygen that cause premature aging and degenerative diseases. They also come from environmental sources, such as pollution, UV rays and other toxins. Foods rich in antioxidants help to clean free radicals from the body. They also help to prevent various age-related diseases, cancers and heart disease.
Maintaining a healthy, nutritionally balanced body that has the ability to fight disease and infection is a prime way to live a long, disease free and happy life. Regular ingestion of antioxidant rich foods or supplements is the best method to achieve this.
Depression and Vitamins
April 17, 2008 11:20 AM
Most men dealing with depression have stories that are very similar, waking with a heavy head even in the happiest of times. A bad day is described as one in which you can’t get out of bed and it feels as if there is a dark cloud hanging over your head. Today, as the NFL season moves towards playoffs, many athletes are living with depression related to multiple concussions. A study of over 2,500 retired NFL players concluded that three concussions triple the chance of experiencing depression. This is extremely important in a sport in which brain trauma is so often and easily dismissed.
Just like helmets cover the faces of men playing a violent game, the angry aggression that is so commonly associated with normal guy behavior may actually be a mask for depression and physical injury is not needed to suffer its effects. It has actually been discovered that depression is more common in men than anyone ever knew, as male depression has often been under-diagnosed because the standard diagnostic manual portrays the depression symptoms more commonly associated with women. About six million men will be diagnosed with depression in 2008, not counting the one million more that will go undiagnosed.
The sad weepiness that is commonly associated with depression is much more commonly found in women, while a man is more likely to be short-tempered, fatigued, and uninterested in sex, work, or hobbies. However, it is work that provides depressed men a distraction to their painful inner feelings. Men are more likely to try downing their pain in alcohol or drugs instead of getting treatment. Untreated depression explains why the male suicide rate is more than four times the rate of female suicide. Although there are hormonal differences in depression of the different genders, the common factor is stress.
Although some men are open to being told they are depressed, most only act out with more anger. An effective, but not exactly subtle approach to telling a man he may have depression is leaving and article or book around the house for him to pick up. Severe depression requires immediate attention by a trained practitioner, along with various medical interventions. Once the worst is over, it is important to try to maintain a depression-free lifestyle. This can be done by reduction stress and finding social support as well as dietary changes.
This is a difficult step for men who are used to conversations which revolve around scores and transactions, but good places to start are men’s groups at houses of worship (church) or those groups such as AA if substance abuse is part of the problem. By fortifying the brain with depression-fighting nutrients, including a B vitamin complex, one can maintain and promote normal mental functioning. Many depressed people are extremely deficient in folic acid as well as dietary essential fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are needed to build healthy brain cells, along with phosphatidyl serine. Other Herbs, including eleuthero, rhodiola, and ginseng, can help the body to adapt to stress, while St. John’s wort and SAMe work as natural antidepressants.
The most severe mistake that can be made is to play down depression, which applies to raging men just as much as it does to weeping women. Both genders need to seek help if feeling this way. If you feel you are experiencing depression, seek professional help as well as look into dietary changes, exercise, and the support of family can be a good start to a healthier outlook on life.
How to Manage Migraines Naturally: Magnesium - Feverfew - Butterbur - Ginger
December 21, 2007 10:41 AM
Before you can understand how to manage migraines naturally, it is necessary to understand exactly what they are and how certain treatments could work. It is not generally known that the word ‘migraine’ means ‘half the head’ because it frequently hurts only on the right or the left of the head of sufferer. Some people with migraines do feel pain on both sides at once, although this is not generally the case.
A migraine occurs in stages which are activated by fluctuations in the hormone content of the blood. The ‘aura’, when you see spots and flashing lights in front of your eyes, is the first stage of a migraine attack, and during this time the blood vessels in your neck and head are contracting. You could also find it difficult to concentrate and your fingers could feel cold. At this point they do not have the headache that starts when the blood vessels begin to dilate.
Rather than the contracted blood vessels slowly returning to normal, your hormones have an excessively strong reaction, and cause them to dilate rapidly and become much wider than they should be leading to a severe headache due to pressure on the nerves. Different hormones can be involves with each attack, and the range of effective natural treatments reflect this fact. During this period, your brain could swell slightly, your muscles can tense up and other things can happen to the chemical and hormonal balance of your body. That is why some herbal treatments work for some but not for others, and different people find different treatments effective for them. What works for you might not work for somebody else if their migraine has a different cause. Basically, though, migraines occur in two phases, one being associated with an excess of hormones and the other with a shortage.
It is not easy to live with a migraine since it can be completely debilitating. Some just have a severe headache, while others are affected for days at a time. The headache can become before and after the onset of the shimmering lights and other optical effects that are generated by the brain. It would certainly be useful if those prone to migraines had one or more of the possible natural remedies to hand since there is rarely time to seek to seek professional medical help once the migraine begins, and through the use of natural remedies a potentially bad attack could be nipped in the bud, and at least its effect on you reduced.
Magnesium is common in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage, whole grains, nuts and seeds. It is an essential mineral for human biochemistry, and is also needed with calcium for healthy bone development and maintenance.
Magnesium is a muscle relaxant, and relaxes the muscles of the blood vessels helping them to relax their dilatancy that cause the migraine pain. It is also useful to help the immune function, reduces blood pressure (by the same blood vessel relaxing mechanism) and also the rhythm of your heart. Magnesium therefore provides you with many health benefits, and though the western diet is not generally deficient in magnesium, some areas can be and a magnesium-containing supplement will not do you harm.
However, particularly high dose of magnesium can lead to nausea, diarrhea, low blood pressure and many other unpleasant side effects, so do not take more than the RDA (recommended daily allowance) in your supplement. Many studies have confirmed its effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of migraine, but not all studies have been successful. However, the condition is so debilitating to so many people, that it should be tried although not in excess. Make sure, however, that your doctor is informed since it could interfere with other medication you are taking for your migraine.
Riboflavin, vitamin B-2, is also believed to useful in reducing the duration and frequency of migraine attacks, working in much the same way as magnesium. It is known that there are many cases of people who suffer from vitamin B-2 deficiency also suffering from migraines, and a riboflavin supplement is also worth trying if you are a consistent victim of this condition.
Feverfew is the best known of the herbal remedies for migraine, and has been used for centuries in the treatment of fevers, headache, migraine and other painful conditions such as arthritis. The active ingredient is parthenolide, an anti-inflammatory that is also an anti-hyperalgesic, and that would explain its effect on reducing the pain. It also blocks lipolysaccharide-induced osteolysis by suppressing the activity of a eukaryotic transcription factor protein known as NF-kappaB that can cause a number of immune response problems, including inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, hence its use to relieve that condition.
Its effect on migraines could be explained by this activity in repressing the inflammatory response to certain stimuli that could be brought about by hormonal activity. Because it must be taken for a few weeks before the actual problem arises in order to be effective against it, feverfew is not effective to treat an existing attack, but to prevent future attacks. Double blind studies have proved its effectiveness in many tests, but not in all. However, if you take feverfew as a regular supplement in you diet, you might never have to try magnesium or vitamin B-2 supplements.
Some people swear by the leaves of feverfew, eating one per day which is easy way to take it. It is important, however, that you do so regularly, since it can take for up to 6 – 8 weeks for you to notice a reduction in your attacks. Don’t give up after 5 or 6 weeks, but continue, since the results will be well worth it. If you stop for a week or two you will have to start all over again. You might get a sore mouth and perhaps mouth ulcers to start with, but these will eventually go once your body is used to it.
You are probably best not to take if you are pregnant since it could cause you to abort. Otherwise, however, it has been shown to be effective in many severe cases. Feverfew is bitter, and can be used as a tea with other Herbs, such as rosemary, lavender and sage. If you are taking warfarin, aspirin or other blood-thinning drugs, see your doctor first, and the same is true of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). If you are taking these for arthritis, the feverfew itself might be more effective!
If you are taking feverfew as a supplement using commercially available dried leaf then the recommended dosage is around 125mg of the dried leaf. It should contain at least 0.2% of parthenolide (0.25mg/daily), although other studies have indicated that a total of 0.7 mg parthenolide a day should be taken (100mg at 0.7%). Parthenolide is unstable so don’t take it after its sell by or best by date.
Butterbur is also useful in the treatment of migraines. The active ingredient here is petasin, a sesquiterpene ester that also has anti-inflammatory properties, all though it works in a different manner to feverfew. Here, it inhibits the activities of leukotriene generation in neutrophils and eosinophils, which indicates that it also possesses anti-allergenic properties that could help asthmatics that also suffer from migraines. It does not prevent the release of histamine, but does appear to reduce smooth muscle spasm.
You should never take the raw herb, only the extract, because it contains alkaloids that can harm you. The butterbur extract, however, is a perfectly safe supplement and found effective by many people in the treatment of migraine.
If your migraine is at the front of the head, then you should try ginger. Unlike feverfew, ginger works on a migraine as it is occurring, and improvement can be achieved for a bad migraine within half an hour. In fact if, like many people, you can feel a migraine coming on, half a teaspoon of freshly ground ginger can stop the pain before it starts.
Many herbal treatments for migraine include a combination of some of the above remedies, and many people swear by them. However, migraine treatment is very personal, and you should use what works best for you. If you are also taking other medical treatments however, please make sure that you refer to your physician before using any others, and that includes herbal remedies or supplements.
Take Charge Of Your Health With Herbal Bio-Identical hormones
November 04, 2007 03:17 PM
Bioidentical hormones assist women in overcoming acute menopausal symptoms, while improving skin. They help by strengthening bones, keeping the mind sharp, promoting energy and well-being, and helping to preserve vaginal tone and resist vaginal dryness. In men, these hormones add energy and vitality, while improving muscle tones and mental sharpness. Bioidentical hormones (BHRT) are exact duplicates of the hormones that are produced by the body. However, they are much more easily metabolized by the body into safe forms of estrogen than their counterparts, which stimulate toxic metabolites. When they are used in physiologic amounts, bioidenticals carry much fewer risks than synthetic hormones. However, despite the fact that research supports their use and proves them safe alternatives to prescription drugs, few physicians are actually using these hormones in their practices.
Those patients, who wish to address menopausal and andropause symptoms, or to achieve lifelong hormonal balance in order to prevent illness, often do not know where to go to find a comprehensive bioidentical hormone replacement program. Instead, they read whatever they can to formulate a plan and purchase various products that are available over the counter, often spending precious time and money on programs and products that don’t do what they’re expected to do. One of the most common errors among people is putting together a program based solely on symptoms instead of first checking hormone levels. Symptoms may overlap from one hormone pattern to another. If you try to replace or augment specific hormones without having an accurate test of the levels first, your results will seldom be good.
If your doctor is prescribing transdermal hormones, make sure to do a saliva self-test to measure your hormones levels as it is much more accurate and revealing than other types of tests. You can submit your samples to Mead Labs, where you will actually receive a telephone consultation from a health professional to interpret your results followed by a program of products prescribed especially for you from one of their medical professionals. With your own results, you can learn a lot about the exact state of your hormones instead of blindly guessing from symptoms which may be similar. For example, men may not need testosterone shots or transdermal patches, as the results may show estrogen dominance. The answer for this is not adding more testosterone, because the man could be converting testosterone into estrogen, but instead a program including special Herbs and nutrients may be much more beneficial. No matter your gender, your health professional at Mead Labs will design a safe and effective program based solely on bioidentical hormones, Herbs, and nutrients first. In the past years, when prescription, non-bioidentical HRT was used by any women with menopausal symptoms, there was no testing to find out what kind of imbalance was actually occurring. Proponents of BHRT are trying to ensure that this method of prescribing the same combination and amounts of medications to everyone is not used with natural hormones. Because hormone profiles and levels can vary significantly from person to person, even those people in the same gender, testing hormones levels and obtaining recommendations from a medical professional who is experienced in BHRT are the key points to ensure you benefit from this therapy.
Exotic Herbs From The Amazon Basin
June 22, 2007 05:07 PM
Although many traditional herbal medicines have yet to find complete scientific corroboration in the West, it follows logically that people wouldn't use an herbal product for centuries if it didn't work.
Many of the popular Herbs we all recognize as having great health benefits were only recently considered pretty exotic. Even green tea - a staple in China for centuries -has only lately gone main stream.
So it will likely be with Herbs from the Amazon basin and its environs. The Amazon basin is one of the most bountiful environments on the planet. Explorers and botanists from the West have looked to this region for generations for the "next big thing." Of course, in many cases, the "next big thing" has already been in use for centuries.
In this issue of Ask the Medicine Hunter, we're going to look at some energizing and life- stimulating Herbs that also happen to have great antioxidant properties, too. Best yet, many of them are available to us here from companies that practice fair trade policies.
Let's take a look at some of the herbal powerhouses coming out of the Amazon (and its nearby neighborhoods):
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) has been cultivated for a long time at least 2000 years. Related to brassica family plants like radishes, mustard and cabbage, its foliage does actually look somewhat radish-like, but grows close to the ground.
Maca is cultivated by the Andean people in Peru's central highlands, and contains a plethora of beneficial compounds that enhance overall health and vitality. The tradition of cultivating maca is an old one some strains have been found in Incan sites that date from 1600 B.C. During early European colonization, maca was used by the local native culture as a form of currency, much of the way cocoa was used by the Aztecs, further north in pre-Columbian Mexico.
Maca thrives in high altitudes - between 10,000 and 16,000 feet. The harsher the conditions, the better it grows, or so it seems. In fact, efforts to grow the plant in Central Europe haven't been as successful - maca seems to enjoy its home turf the best. In Peru, maca is a popular and beloved nutrient-packed superfood, and is commonly powdered and mixed into drinks at roadside stands throughout the Andes.
Q. I've heard of maca being used for healthy libido - are there any other benefits?
A. Maca is a natural energizer, and although it is recognized for it's libido enhancing abilities, it has other uses, too, acting as an adaptogen - similar to rhodiola or ginseng. In fact, in South America, maca is known as "Peruvian Ginseng." Though maca is not ginseng at all, some of the benefits of both plants are similar.
In any event, maca is recommended for boosting the immune system, menopause support, and hormonal balance in general. For daily use, maca is most recognized as a great source of energy and all-day endurance. Alkaloids from maca root may be partially responsible for both maca's energizing and libido boost. Research shows that maca affects the hypothalamic-pituitary (HPA) axis - boosting energy and overall aphrodisiac prowess in men and women. Maca contains novel compounds called macamides and macaenes, which have been proven in animal studies to significantly enhance energy, stamina and sexual function reasons people have been so consuming maca for 2000 years.
There are other serious reasons why maca is such an excellent plant. One group of compounds in maca is the isothiocyanates-aromatics constituents that are responsible for the "hotness" of mustards and radishes - fellow members of the brassica family. Isothiocyanates from other members of the brassica family may reduce the risk of breast and stomach cancer. Although the same constituents specifically from maca haven't beentested, it's plausible that they could have the same effects.
Q. I've heard a little about guarana extracts - is it just caffeine?
A. Guarana is widely loved for its mild stimulating effect, which is due to caffeine. But this is by no means this Amazonian herb's sole beneficial compound. Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is so logically ingrained in the culture of Brazil that it's practically a rival (actually out-sells) Coca-Cola in its soft-drink form. Like many other indigenous Herbs, guarana was in use locally well before European settlement. Its Latin name comes fromthe German botanist C.F. Paullini, who first encountered the herb in the 1700s. This evergreen vine typically climbs fairly far up the Brazilian forest trees. The seed is the part that gets used. In one clinical study, guarana boosted the memory alertness of participants, even when the caffeine level per dose was a low 9 mg., as compared with approximately 100 mg for a cup of coffee. This effect suggests that other agents than caffeine contribute to a feeling of well being.
Guarana also contains powerful antioxidants including catechin, epicatechin and proanthocyanidins, which protect cells against destruction from free radicals, and impart benefits to the body's tissues and blood. The small seed of this plant is powerful in its health benefits.
Catuaba (Erythroxylum catuaba) is a common tree found in South America from Brazil to Peru, in the same genus as the coca plant. Catuaba contains components known as alkaloids. These alkaloids (called catuabine A, B, and C) are probably responsible for themental boost most people get when they take catuabe-based supplements or mixes.
There may be little confusion regarding catuaba, because various species and genus typesuse the common name. As a result, "catuaba" gets bandied around a lot, and one person'scatuaba may not be the next. Read labels carefully. The catuaba I've had the best luck with is Erythroxylum catuaba.
One of my favorite drinks in the world is coffee, and I'm sure at many people reading thisconsider it the essential part of their morning, too.
The part of coffee that we use the most is the seed of the coffee fruit - which appears as a bright, red berry. Most of the time, this fruit is sloughed off and left behind in the process of making coffee - it's really too delicate to last long in hot conditions.
But advances in technology have tapped a previously discarded resource. Though the fruit of coffee is available in any coffee-growing economy, a high antioxidant commercial extract of "coffee cherry" is now available from the fruits of coffee plants in Mexico.
Coffee fruit has many of the attributes of other dark-colored, anthcyanin-rich fruits. Coffee fruit (also referred to as "coffee cherry") appears not to be just another antioxidant, however. Current research on this once-forgotten, former castoff shows impressive abilities to decrease tumor size, and possibly even prevent their formation in the first place. It seems that the elements in coffee berry activate T-lymphocytes in such a way that mammary tumors are shrunk or simply put on hold. It will be fascinating to see how this science plays out.
Muira Puama Bark:
Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) grows between 15 to 45 feet high. Native to theAmazon basin of Brazil, the dried bark has been used for centuries as a traditional energysupport. Components include beta-sitosterol, campesterol and lupeol.
Muira puama, like other central nervous stimulants has been researched lately for its ability to boost memory retrieval and protect neural (brain) tissue. Who knows? Maybe this traditional ingredient could someday be on the cutting edge of natural medicines fighting Alzheimer's, much the way green tea and turmeric are currently. In one unpublished French study of 262 men with low libido and poor erectile function, 62% experienced significant improvement after taking an extract of Muira puama for two weeks.
Acai (Euterpe acai) berry is a traditional favorite (and readily available) food source for people in the Amazon. The tree is a tall-growing palm with berries that provide - a rich source of anthocyanins, potent purple pigments with extraordinary high antioxidant activity.
Once harvested, acai fruits decay rapidly. As with coffee fruits, special processing is the surest way to make certain the nutrients of acai berry make it to those of us outside the Amazon basin.
However, these wonderful fruits not only fight against free radical damage, but help our natural digestive enzymes and boost natural immune defenses, too. In fact, current research is investigating whether compounds in acai may have a fighting effect on leukemia, too. So far, the results have been very positive.
Look for supplements made using organically-grown, fair trade acai berry. The best companies ensure that the local people harvesting acai and the communities where they live gather more than just short-term benefits. The best companies work not just to provide jobs, but better lives for generations to come.
Q. What is sustainability and fair trade, anyway?
A. Sustainability refers to a set of naturally occurring circumstances, or intentionally designed practices and principles, which ensure that all parts or members of a situation are adequately nourished to promote their healthy continuance. In current parlance, sustainability often refers to practices and programs designed and implemented to keep natural systems healthy and flourishing. Many such programs focus on environmental protection and preservation of traditional cultures. In the world of medicinal plants, sustainable practices include organic agriculture, species management, fair trade, and benefit-sharing programs.
In other words, sustainability pays people fair wages, puts resources back into their communities, and ensures that the resources that benefit us all are going to be around for a long time. It is an earth-friendly, people-friendly concept of commerce that happily, is taking root around the world.
The traditional cultures that use - and have used - these ingredients for generations wouldn't have done so if they hadn't been effective. Fortunately we live in an era when formerly locally-used Herbs are now available far beyond their previous range. We are also fortunate to have companies and individuals working hard to make sure that the people who tend and care for these precious resources are paid fairly for their efforts, andthat their families and communities benefit from this commerce as well.
The great thing about using traditional Herbs and ingredients that have been gathered in this manner is that you know they'll be around for a long time.
This sour Indian fruit can have a sweet appetite-stifling effect
May 26, 2007 05:44 PM
Stay satisfied with garcinia
This sour Indian fruit can have a sweet appetite-stifling effect.
It’s funny how modern science continues to support ancient systems of herbal healing. Such is the case with garcinia: the yellowish, pumpkin like fruit of the Garcinia cambogia tree, log valued in tropical Asian cooking for its sweetly acidic taste, is a traditional Indian remedy for digestive problems that is also used to make meals more filling. Today, garcinia (also known as brindleberry and Malabar tamarind) is used in natural weight-loss products based on research supporting its stomach satiating powers. Scientists also believe that garcinia helps block fat formation and regulate glucose (blood sugar) usage vital functions in an increasingly overweight world.
Filling up Faster
One reason so many people losing the battle of the bulge is that temptations to eat – and eat – are absolutely everywhere, often as the focal points of clever and well designed advertising campaigns. (Remember the slogan “belch’a can’t eat just one”?) To make matters worse, restaurants often serve overly generous portions and experiments have shown that the more food you serve, the more people will consume. For example,
The answer would seem simple – just eat less. But knowing when to say when isn’t easy. That’s where garcinia comes in, specifically an extract taken from the rind called HCA (Hydroxycitric acid). In laboratory animals HCA has upped levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps suppress appetite and elevate mood, which might help take the edge off the depressing and binge-eating urges that often affect would-be weight losers. At the same time HCA appears to reduce levels of another substance in the brain called neuropeptide Y, which enhances appetite (Experimental Biology meeting 4/06).
What is it: the pumpkin-like fruit of the garcinia cambogia tree; this Indian native is used in cooking and in Ayurveda, the country’s system of traditional medicine.
What is does: A popular ingredient in natural weight-loss aids, garcinia is being investigated for possible fat blocking and appetite-suppressing functions; it may also help regulate glucose (blood sugar).
Fat Smack down
The fat that stubbornly clings to your frame doesn’t always start out that way. In many cases, your body actually creates fat from excess carbohydrates (such as the icing encrusted doughnut you couldn’t pass u at breakfast). If you don’t burn off those extra carbs through exercise, they are broken down into citrates that are then transformed into the building blocks of body fat. This process is controlled by an enzyme called citrate lyase; HCA interferes with this crucial enzyme, an action that inhibits fat formation. Researchers believe the body uses those extra carbs to provide more energy; this mechanism may also have the happy side effect of further checking appetite. In addition, results from a Dutch lab study indicate that garcinia may blunt sugar-induced increases in glucose, which can help forestall diabetes development.
Garcinia works best when teamed with out nutrients and Herbs, such as chromium, green tea and forskolin. In one investigation, over weight people who stuck to a supervised diet and exercise program supplemented with a combination of HCA, chromium and another herb called Gymnema lost body weight and mass, and showed improved fat burning capacity (Nutrition Research 1/04). This modern usage mirrors Ayurveda’s ancient precepts, according to which individual remedies are generally used in combination for more effective results. Looking to get your meals more staying power? Then look for garcinia in your favorite weight loss formula. –Lisa James
Memory And Focus
May 08, 2007 02:05 PM
Memory & Focus
Some people think getting older often means getting slower. It’s true that as we age, we may find we can’t walk quite as fast, climb as many flights of stairs, or play sports as hard as we could when we were twenty. However, we k now that a healthy diet, regular exercise, and the right dietary supplements can make a huge difference in our health, strength, and mobility as we age.
This is true for our mental abilities as well. We may not think as quickly as we used to, might misplace our keys more often, and experience more “tip-of-my-tongue” word searches. These so-called “middle-aged moments” most often have minor consequences: a missed appointment or the forgotten name of an acquaintance. However, in a small number of cases, these mental slips can also be the first sign of serious diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease of other dementias.
The good news is, just like our physical health, we can improve how we function mentally. Eating healthy foods, taking the right supplements, and participating in regular mental exercise can significantly increase our mental endurance, improve our memory, and optimize our ability to focus.
In fact, groundbreaking and ongoing research has discovered that specific Herbs and vitamins, particularly Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa monnieri, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, and the important co-enzyme and antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid, all have powerful effects on memory and focus. These nutritional supplements have been scientifically shown to quickly reduce mild age-related memory chances, as well as greatly reducing the risk of developing more serious problems like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or other brain diseases later on in life.
Q. What is the difference between age related memory decline and dementia?
A. As we get older, our nerve cells need more time to spark and connect, slowing the process of bringing memories and events to mind. Another theory is that, as we age, we accumulate more knowledge and memories. The mind then has to sort through much more data to reference a memory. Almost everyone middle-aged and older notices this slowdown. Memory decline and problems with mental focus are a normal part of aging.
While it’s true that the older we get, our chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease increase, this illness is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive dementia that slowly kills nerve cells in areas of the brain where memory, learning, though, and language take place. Often first appearing as people begin retirement, Alzheimer’s disease makes the “golden years” a time of loss and devastation. Memories vanish, relationships are erased, and independence is gradually lost.
After Alzheimer’s disease, the second most common cause of dementia in older people is multi-infarct dementia. Caused by a series of mini-strokes that damage or destroy brain tissue over time, multi-infarct dementia usually affects people between the ages of 60 and 75. Men are slightly more at risk. High blood pressure is the most significant risk factor for multi-infarct dementia.
Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfelt-Jakob disease, and alcoholism can also cause progressive and irreversible dementia.
While normal age-related memory and focus loss may mean we can’t remember where we put our car keys, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia may mean we can’t remember what our car keys are used for.
Q. Are any types of memory and focus loss reversible?
A. Yes. As women enter menopause, they frequently experience trouble remembering. This memory interference is caused by hormone fluctuations and can affect speech, thinking, and attention. Symptoms of menopause-related memory loss and poor focus include recognizing faces less well than in the past, missing scheduled appointments, and misplacing articles. Once a woman passes through menopause, her ability to remember and focus most often improves.
Certain medications, such as the heavily prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs called stains, can temporarily interfere with memory. Low vitamin B levels, artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and thyroid disease can cause disruption of mental focus and memory loss. These problems usually resolve with treatment of the underlying disorder.
A certain type of stoke, called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) can cause memory loss that may be reversible. A TIA is a brief episode of stroke symptoms that come on quickly. Sometimes referred to as a “mini-stroke” or “warning stroke,” a TIA is caused by a temporary interruption in the blood supply to the brain. But, unlike a stroke, a TIA does not lead to permanent brain damage. While a TIA is usually short-lived, it is likely to occur again if not properly managed and can be a warning of future stroke.
Q. I seem to forget a lot of things. How can I be sure I don’t have Alzheimer’s disease or some other dementia?
A. If you, or other around you, are concerned about your memory, you should be examined by your health care practitioner. Once the cause of your memory and focus problem is diagnosed, treatment can begin. All causes of memory loss and mental focus disruption can be treated, even Alzheimer’s disease. While presently irreversible dementias cannot be cured, the progression of the disease may be slowed, and in some cases, stopped..
Research on memory loss and mental focus disruption has increased dramatically in the past few years. Discoveries regarding Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as age-related loss of memory and focus have recently been made. Most importantly, many new treatment options, including the use of nutritional supplements, have been developed.
Q. How can nutritional supplements improve memory and focus?
A. Several Herbs and vitamins have been demonstrated to improve memory and mental focus. While some nutritional supplements work now to improve memory and focus, others work to prevent problems we might develop later.
One of the most researched Herbs, Ginkgo biloba, has been found to be effective in improving currently experienced memory and focus loss; in other words, problems we are having now. Ginkgo has been studied in individuals who have age-related memory loss, as well as in those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It seems that ginkgo can improve many brain functions, such as speeding up memory recall, protecting brain cells from chemical changes and free radical damage, improving blood flow to the brain, and helping nerve cells communicate with each other better.
Several studies examined ginkgo’s effect in healthy people who were experiencing normal age-related memory and focus problems. They determined that ginkgo improved memory, attention, and clarity of thinking. Ginkgo can also help restore memories that may be lost in TIAs, those mini-strokes that were discussed earlier.
In studies of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, the results showed that ginkgo slowed down the disease in those severely afflicted and actually improved those with very mild or moderate disease. In one of these studies, ginkgo was compared to four prescription cholinesterase inhibitors, medications commonly used to treat individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Using written mental tests, the researchers found that ginkgo worked just as effectively as the prescription drugs. While those taking one of the cholinesterase inhibitors dropped out of the study because of disturbing side effects, ginkgo had no side effects and improved symptoms equally as well.
Q. Hoe does Bacopa monnieri help memory and focus?
A. Like ginkgo, bacopa works on the memory and focus problems we are experiencing now. Bacopa grows in
Q. How does alpha lipoic acid help memory and focus?
A. Alpha lipoic acid (
Researchers have discovered unmistakable free radical damage in Alzheimer’s disease. Accordingly,
In a recent study, people with Alzheimer’s disease were given tests that measured through and memory. They were then given
Q. How do vitamins B12 and B6 help memory and focus?
A. Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient in the regulation of nerve transmissions. It is required by the nervous system for normal brain function, and it may also help with mood.
Researchers have learned that people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias (including Parkinson’s disease) have elevated homocysteine levels. IN fact, t he amount of homocysteine in the blood corresponds to the severity of the disease. Most people with a high homocysteine level don’t have enough folate, vitamin B5 or vitamin B12 in their diet. Replacing these vitamins helps return the homocysteine level to normal.
Reducing homocysteine levels may prevent the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease, or other brain diseases, and improve the symptoms of those already afflicted.
Q. What about folic acid?
A. Folic acid has long been recognized as a vital nutrient for the brain and spinal cord. Recent research has demonstrated that folic acid has significant importance in Alzheimer’s disease.
An ongoing study of Alzheimer’s disease that began in 1986 has been studying 678 members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the hopes of learning how the disease develops, how it might be prevented, and how to treat it. Data collected in the study includes biographies the sisters wrote upon entrance to the order, blood samples from the sisters while they are living, and information gained from the voluntary donation of their brains after death.
Aptly named the “Nun Study,” ground breaking discoveries have already been made. It seems that diet and nutrition have a dramatic influence in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Sisters who had high levels of folic acid showed little evidence of Alzheimer’s-type damage in their brains after death. And, those nuns who had Alzheimer’s disease in spite of high folic acid levels had profoundly less brain damage from the disease. In fact, some sisters who had no outward evidence of Alzheimer’s disease while they were living had surprisingly extensive damage in their brains after death.
Q. Besides taking ginkgo, bacopa, B vitamins, folic acid, and ALA, is there other things I can do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
A. You may not know if you have a serious B-vitamin deficiency. Routine lab work does not measure the amount of B vitamins in your blood. You might want to ask your health care practitioner to have your B vitamin level in your blood measured, especially if you are having memory and focus problems. Keep in mind that this type of lab work is fairly expensive, however.
Supplements do not replace the need for a healthy diet, especially a diet with high levels of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids. Keeping your body healthy helps keep your brain healthy as well.
It also seems that the use-it-or-lose-it theory applies to our brain as well as our body. Research has shown that people who seek opportunities to keep mentally active, such as reading books, newspapers, and magazines, solving crossword puzzles, playing card games, and visiting museums, lower their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dealing with age-related memory loss may be both frustrating and frightening. As the population of
In fact, more and more research shows prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is a reality. And age-related memory loss can successfully be improved as well. Taking the scientifically validated nutritional supplements ginkgo, bacopa, vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and
Growing Older, Feeling Better
March 28, 2007 02:15 PM
Growing Older, Feeling Better
Not long ago, when a man turned sixty-five, he became officially old – the best years of his life far behind him. The milestone meant his working days were done and if he was lucky, he might get four or five years to spend as he wished before illness and infirmity set in. It was simply expected and accepted that the older a man got, the sicker he got.
Well, not anymore. Today, a man age 65 is just as likely to be found hiking in the hills, running in a marathon, or even dancing in the streets than rocking in that proverbial front porch rocker. Because it’s becoming more and more evident that the older a man gets, the healthier that man has been.
Eating healthy, exercising, and kicking harmful habits (like smoking) can add years to a man’s life. Aging research is proving over and over again, that we can prevent and delay heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease – the major causes of disability and death in men over 50.
Now, it’s very true that good clean living from early on is preferable to sixty five years of bad habits and five years of good. But it’s also true that it’s never too late for men to make changes and vow to take better care of themselves. And one of the easiest and most effective ways men can improve their health is the addition of high quality nutritional supplements.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’ll talk about specific dietary supplements that have been scientifically shown to improve the health of men over fifty, prevent the diseases that often strike at this crucial time in men’s lives, and actually slow the aging process.
Q. I just turned 50 and I’d like to begin taking nutritional supplements, but they seem so confusing. Where should I begin?
A. Many men feel the same way. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of nutritional supplements on health food store shelves. Figuring out which supplements provide the best health benefits for a 50+ man can be overwhelming.
The best foundation supplement is a high quality multivitamin. Research is repeatedly finding that even very healthy men who take daily multivitamins can significantly improve their health. In fact, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recommends that all adult Americans take a vitamin supplement. Look for solid doses of vitamin supplement. Look for sol doses of vitamins and especially minerals. Multivitamins designed to be taken once a day are often woefully deficient in calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The only mineral a man should avoid is supplemental iron. Iron should only be in formulas for women prior to menopause. Men over 50 get all the iron they need from food and too much iron can cause health problems.
Look for men’s multivitamins that contain lycopene in the formula. Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red. The redder the tomato, the more lycopene is present. Numerous studies have shown that when men have high lycopene levels in their blood, they have a much lower risk of heart disease, age-related macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss) and prostate cancer.
Other important considerations are antioxidant blends, especially fruit- and tea-derived extracts; ginseng for energy and stamina; and digestive enzymes to aid in absorption and compensate for age-related decreased enzyme levels.
In fact, years of research has shown the foods a man chooses to eat (or not to eat) can have a profound impact on the health of his prostate gland. Because of this close nutritional link, prostate cancer may be the most preventable type of non-smoking related cancers.
Q. Aside from taking a quality multivitamin for general health, what nutritional supplements prevent and treat prostate cancer?
A. Six vital and all-natural nutrients can prevent prostate cancer from developing and even help fight the disease.
When men are exposed to excess levels of hormones, their risk of prostate cancer increases. A natural substance found in fruits and vegetables called calcium D-glucarate (or CDG), helps men’s built-in detoxification systems get rid of these harmful excess hormones.
This antioxidant has powerful effects on the prostate gland. In a recent study, researchers recruited 974 men to take part in a large clinical trial to determine if selenium could prevent cancer. The researchers found that selenium cut the rate of prostate cancer by 63%!
Green tea is the most widely consumed liquid in the world, after water. Men in
For many years, maitake mushrooms, or dancing mushrooms, have been linked to good health in those who eat them. That’s because maitakes contain an important compound called D-fraction. A recent study showed that maitake D-fraction destroyed 95% of human prostate cancer cells in lab experiments.
Promising preliminary reports demonstrate that lycopene can actually kill prostate cancer cells, so there has been an explosion of lycopene and prostate cancer research.
Q. What exactly happens to men’s hormones as they get older?
A. Just as women experience significant hormonal changes as they age, so do men. In fact, the term andropause has been used to describe men’s mid-life changes. Similar to menopause in women (where the decline of estrogen causes a myriad of symptoms), andropause in men signals the slow decline of testosterone, the chief sex hormone in men. While estrogen levels decline faster and more abruptly in women than testosterone levels do in men, testosterone decline can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms. These include abdominal weight gain, hair loss, reduced energy and sex drive, heart disease, and prostate enlargement. Whether a man labels these age-related changes as andropause or just the consequences of aging, most men will unfortunately experience some or all of them as their birthdays mount.
Q. So, is there a supplement that can give me the hormone level of a 20 year old?
A. Sadly, no, at least not yet! But there is a nutrient that can help the testosterone in a man over fifty “behave” more like a younger man’s testosterone.
A study that took place at the
The secret of DIM’s prostate cancer prevention is its ability to metabolize estrogen. While estrogen is generally thought of as a “female” hormone, a precise ratio of testosterone-to-estrogen is needed to maintain a man’s healthy sexual response, effective sexual function (erection of the penis and intercourse), strong bones and muscles, viable sperm, and a well-functioning prostate gland. As men enter their fifties, this ratio begins to change.
When men take DIM, however, their estrogen metabolism improves, testosterone metabolism accelerates, and the unwanted conversion of testosterone into estrogen is eliminated. This results in higher testosterone levels, similar to those seen in young men. As a result, DIM may speed weight loss, reduce prostate gland enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), and help men over 50 feel stronger and leaner.
Some supplements on the market today contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a precursor to DIM. However, I3C is unstable and requires activation in the stomach to be converted into DIM. This means I3C must be taken at a much higher amount and can undergo unpredictable and undesirable chemical reactions in your stomach and colon. DIM is by far the preferred supplement.
Q. What is saw palmetto? Does it reduce symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH)?
A. Yes it does and very effectively too. Saw palmetto is a small palm tree native to
The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It wraps around the upper part of the urethra and its primary job is the production and storage of semen, the milky fluid that nourishes sperm. BPH is one of the most common health conditions in older men. Half of all men aged 40-60 and more than 90 percent in men over 80 have BPH. BPH causes the prostate gland to enlarge, putting pressure on the urethra.
Men have trouble starting or maintaining a stream of urine, find they can’t completely empty their bladders, and have to urinate frequently, even during the night. They may also have episodes of uncontrollable dribbling or complete loss of urine. BPH is caused by the conversion of estrogen to a very potent form of testosterone called, dihydrotestosterone (or DHT). When prostate cells are exposed to DHT, they multiply in number and get much larger.
BPH rarely improves. It most often remains the same for years or gets gradually worse. The need to continually urinate, interrupted sleep, dribbling, and loss of urine can significantly interfere with a man’s quality of life. Prescription medications that have been developed to treat BPH are only partially effective. And surgical removal of the prostate gland may result in even more persistent urinary incontinence and the inability to achieve an erection (ED).
However, saw palmetto berry extract relieves the symptoms of BPH by inhibiting the production of DHT. And, in study after study after study, saw palmetto caused none of the side effects that happen with prostate surgery or medications.
Q. There seem to be plenty of ads for supplements that claim they make men into Sexual Superheroes. Is there an “honest” nutritional supplement to help me sexually?
A. That’s a very good observation. And yes, there are honest nutritional supplements for men’s sexual health.
Sexual intimacy is an important, complex, and lifelong need. It makes us feel better physically and mentally and adds to our sense of security, belonging, and self-esteem. But just like other changes that happen to men as they get older, men’s sexual response most often changes, too. Declining testosterone levels, changes in blood flow to the penis, certain medications that older men are prescribed, and the presence of diabetes or heart disease can all affect men’s ability to engage in sexual activity.
When men have a chronic inability in obtaining and/or maintaining an erection, it’s called erectile dysfunction (ED). While ED is not an inevitable part of getting older, it does occur more frequently as men age. About 5% of 40-year-old men have ED, but more than 23% of 65-year-old men have difficulty maintaining erections.
The development of prescription medication Viagra (sildenafil citrate) has revolutionized ED treatment. When a man is sexually stimulated, Viagra helps the penis fill with enough blood to cause an erection.
Like all medicines, Viagra can cause some side effects, including headache, flushing of the face, and upset stomach. But because Viagra is a prescription medication, it requires a visit to a licensed healthcare practitioner. For many men, telling anyone (even a professional) that they are having trouble getting or keeping an erection is simply too embarrassing. Viagra is also fairly expensive and many older men do not have prescription drug health insurance.
These reasons may explain that while an estimated 30 million men in the United States – 10% of the male population – experience chronic ED, as few as 5% of men with chronic ED seek treatment.
Not every man can take Viagra, either. Men who use nitrate drugs, often used to control chest pain (also known as angina), must not take Viagra. This combination can cause their blood pressure to drop to an unsafe or life-threatening level. Men with serious liver and kidney problems who take Viagra must be monitored closely for possible serious side effects.
The good news is there is a nutritional supplement that’s formulated with vitamins, Herbs, and glandular products that targets male sexual organs. The formula contains vitamin E, liver fractions, wheat germ, beta-sitosterol, and herbal extracts of muira puama, Mexican damiana, saw palmetto, cola nut, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and men’s testicles, adrenal glands, and pituitary glands need high levels of this fat-soluble vitamin for proper functioning. Extracts of Muira puama, Mexican damiana, and cola nut have been studied for their beneficial effects on male hormones.
Study of ginkgo in sexual response came about when a patient in a nursing home who was taking the herb for memory enhancement noted that his erections were improved. Since then, study of ginkgo has shown it helps blood flow to the penis. Sexual response research in one ginkgo study showed that 76% of men taking ginkgo experienced improved sexual desire, erections, and orgasms.
While other nutritional supplements sold to improve sexual stamina often make outrageous claims, reputable manufacturers rely on science and results to sell their products.
An important note
Most often sexual problems are simply part of the aging process. They can also be signs of serious health problems. If the use of nutritional supplements for two months does not improve your erections, you do need to see your healthcare practitioner. Almost all practitioners understand how difficult this problem is for men to discuss and are experienced in getting the information as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
No man has the power to stop the passage of time. But every man has the power to make aging more healthy and less harmful. Research conducted on men who live to be 100 and beyond, has determined that those who reach extreme old age do so by avoiding ill health, rather than by enduring it. As I like to remind my patients, “Age is not determined by years, but by function.” And it’s never too late for men to detour around the major illnesses of getting older. With good nutrition, healthy habits, and high quality nutritional supplements, the best years of a man’s life can absolutely and positively be those he spends in his 70s, 80s and even his 90s.
Peppermint Oil for IBS
March 24, 2007 11:01 AM
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful and frequently frustrating disorder of the intestines that’s often difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are scientifically studied natural products that effectively reduce the distressing symptoms of IBS.
Q. What is IBS?
A. IBS causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits. IBS is termed a functional disorder, because when the colon is examined, there is no visible sign of disease. While IBS causes significant pain and distress, no actual damage is occurring in the intestines.
There is a wide variability in IBS. Symptoms may be mild and fairly well tolerated. Or, the pain, discomfort, and bowel dysfunction may be disabling, limiting social interactions, employment, or travel.
While some individuals with IBS have diarrhea (frequent, loose stools with an urgent need to move the bowels), others have constipation (hard, infrequent stools that are difficult to pass). And, still others may experience both. Individuals with IBS also may have painful abdominal cramps and feel an urgent need to move the bowels, but are unable to do so.
A. The small intestine receives digestive material from the stomach and delivers it to the large intestine (colon). About two quarts (2,000 ml) of digestive material enter the colon from the small intestine every day. The colon absorbs water and salts from the material, which is progressively moved through the colon. This progressive movement continues until most of the fluid and salts are absorbed into the body and stool is formed. The stool passes to the left side of the colon, where it is stored until a bowel movement occurs.
Because researchers haven’t been able to find actual damage in the colon, it once was suggested that individuals with IBS have emotional problems or are overly susceptible to stress. While stress may cause symptoms of IBS to intensify, it doesn’t cause the condition.
Recent study has determined the colon muscle of an individual with IBS spasms after only mild stimulation. It’s thought the symptoms of IBS are produced by hyperactivity of the intestines. In other words, the intestines of individuals with IBS are more reactive to stressors and diet than usual. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal queasiness in response to everyday stress or certain foods. This may result in a brief bout of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, this response is exaggerated in individuals with IBS.
Q. How prevalent is IBS?
A. IBS is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent problems seen by family physicians. It’s the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the treatment of digestive disorders). The overall prevalence rates range from 10% to 20% of the general population in most industrialized countries. As a result, the pain and disabling symptoms associated with IBS result in significant socioeconomic costs, as wall as reduction in quality of life for many individuals.
A. Normal bowel function varies from person to person. Some people move their bowels daily, while others may only have two to three stools a week. A normal bowel movement is soft, formed, and is easily passed without cramping or pain.
IBS, however, causes abdominal cramps and pain, which are often severe and disabling. Bowel movements may be irregular and alternate between diarrhea and constipation. The diarrhea may be quite loose and watery. Mucous may be passed. There is often much straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuation (emptying). Abdominal bloating and passing of gas is common. Nausea, lack of appetite, heartburn, and belching may also be present. Sleep may be disrupted resulting in fatigue and lack of energy. Understandably, persons with IBS often feel anxious and depressed.
Diagnosis of IBS is usually based on the continuous presence or recurrence of these symptoms for at least three months. Other intestinal conditions must be ruled out. These include Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, inflammatory conditions of the stomach or pancreas, ulcers, infectious disease, or gastroesphageal reflux disease.
Q. Are there clinically demonstrated natural alternatives to the over-the-counter drugs prescribed by my doctor?
A. Yes, both enteric-coated peppermint oil and clown’s mustard (in combination with other Herbs) have significant scientific research behind them. Both have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with IBS.
Q. What is clown’s mustard and what does it do?
A. The scientific name for clown’s mustard is Iberis amara. Other names for this herb are wild candytuft and bitter candytuft. Clown’s mustard is a white-flowering plant from Spain, where it grows in dry soil on hillsides and in cornfields. It is also grown in Britain, France, and the United States. Iberis amara is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Iberis refers to its place of origin, the Iberian Peninsula. Amara means bitter. The key components of clown’s mustard are glycosides and flavonoids that have specific actions on gastrointestinal tract tone.
Q. Is there scientific evidence that clown’s mustard benefits people with IBS?
A. There has been very impressive research on clown’s mustard (in combination with other Herbs). And, it has been used with great success in Germany for many years to treat IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases.
In a study of an herbal combination containing clown’s mustard, 20 patients were given the herbal combination for three to 32 days. They all had been diagnosed with chronic functional disorders for at least one to 20 years. The symptoms the patients experienced included pressure and pain in the abdomen, belching, heartburn, vomiting, nausea, fullness, lack of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. The patients have been treated for their problems with a variety of antacids, anti-spasmodic agents, and motility-inducing substances. For the purposes of the study, the patients stopped taking these medications and received treatment only with the herbal combination.
Abdominal pressure and pain in the abdomen was the most common of all the experienced symptoms, with 11 of the patients rating it as severe. After six days of treatment, only sic of the patients continued to rate their abdominal pain and pressure as severe. After two weeks, this symptom had completely resolved for 16 of the patients. Diarrhea had been rated as severe in five of the patients. By day 14, only one patient continued to have moderate diarrhea.
Medications prescribed and taken for cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases often cause gastrointestinal problems. Because these conditions are chronic, these medications must be taken for a long time, often for life. With long-term use, these medications can cause erosion of the stomach lining and actual ulcers. Many of these medication-caused symptoms are similar to IBS symptoms: pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Most, if not all, of the individuals who have gastrointestinal problems caused from medications experience two or more of these IBS symptoms.
Forty patients who were taking medications for various types of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, and who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems related to their medications, were enrolled in a study. These symptoms included pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Twenty patients received clown’s mustard combined with other Herbs that support gastrointestinal motility. Three days after the trial started, a significant improvement of all s symptoms was noted in those taking this combination. By day 14, abdominal pressure and pain, nausea, and heartburn were completely eliminated in the herbal combination group. Several other clinical trials that were conducted in Germany report similar results.
Q. How does this herb compare to prescription drugs?
A. A study compared clown’s mustard (combined with other Herbs) to Reglan (metoclopramide), which is frequently prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. While metoclopramide is a very effective medication, it also has numerous side effects. Metoclopramide can cause fatigue, anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, insomnia, yellowing of the skin or eyes, changes in vision, hallucinations, and seizures. Because of these serious side effects, metoclopramide must not be taken longer than 12 weeks.
In comparison study, 77 subjects were randomized to receive treatment of either clown’s mustard in a combination with other Herbs, or metoclopramide. All subjects had pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. The subjects took 20 drops of their assigned treatment after meals three times daily. The duration of treatment was one to two weeks.
In both groups, a parallel improvement of all symptoms was observed. At no point in the study was a statistically significant difference in symptoms found. Both treatments significantly reduced pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. In short, both metoclopramide and the clown’s mustard herbal combination worked well at reducing the symptoms of IBS.
However, side effects occurred more frequently and severely in the metoclopramide group. Given the lack of differences noted between the products at reducing symptoms of IBS, it would seem sensible to choose the treatment with the fewest reported side effects and no limits on duration of use.
A. Peppermint oil has been shown to relax intestinal smooth muscle. In Great Britain, peppermint oil is currently being prescribed for IBS by physicians and it has been used as a digestive aid and to soothe upset stomachs for generations.
Peppermint oil has also been studied for use in an important examination of the colon. A colonoscopy is a procedure of viewing the interior lining of the large intestine (colon) using a colonoscope, a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the idea that even people who are not at risk for colon cancer should have this test. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.
During a colonoscopy, individuals are sedated and almost no discomfort is experienced. The insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum and up through the colon causes some spasming. This is a natural and expected event and the physician performing the exam administers medications that effectively reduce the spasms.
A recent study compared the use of peppermint oil and commonly used medications to reduce the colonic spasming in colonoscopy. The peppermint oil was introduced directly into the colon. Effective reduction of colon spasming was observed in 88% of the patients.
In a critical review and meta-analysis of peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, eight randomized controlled trials were identified. The studies collectively showed peppermint oil is superior to placebo in improvement of the symptoms of IBS. Because of the good results of these trials, the authors of the review urged additional study of peppermint oil in IBS.
However, straight peppermint oil is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream from the stomach. In recent studies comparing enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and non-enteric coated oil, both preparations provided effective symptom relief. However, the studies concluded the enteric-coated capsules delivered the benefit of the peppermint oil directly to the intestines. In the treatment of IBS, enteric-coated supplemental peppermint is most definitely preferred.
In fact, an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule containing rosemary and thyme is extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. All three of these oils are classified as volatile oils, derivatives found in plants that impart taste and aroma. The combination of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oils in enteric-coated capsules provides significant relief in IBS-related pain.
Q. Can clown’s mustard and other Herbs be taken with enteric-coated peppermint oil?
A. Yes, peppermint oil capsules and clown’s mustard can be used together. However, depending on the symptoms, individuals with IBS may want to start with one supplement and then add the other if needed.
Q. How do consumers find these formulas?
A. Fortunately, herbal combinations containing clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are both available at health food stores, natural product supermarkets, pharmacies, and from health professionals. Most knowledgeable sales personnel and health professionals can direct consumers to the most effective products.
Q. What should customers look for when purchasing peppermint oil?
A. As mentioned before, enteric coating of the peppermint oil is extremely important. The coating prevents the oil from being absorbed in the stomach. The enteric coated-capsule moves through the stomach to the small intestine and eventually to the colon, where it is released for maximum benefit.
Q. What is the dosage for peppermint oil?
A. The German Commission E approved peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable colon. In enteric-coated form, the Commission E recommends 0.6 ml per day. Enteric-coated peppermint capsules are available.
Q. Are there side effects or other contraindications?
A. Sometimes, the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause a transient burning sensation in the rectum when moving bowls. Reducing the dose will correct this.
Individuals who must refrain from alcohol should not take clown’s mustard in an herbal tincture, which may contain alcohol.
Q. What else can IBS patients do to feel better?
A. Food allergies or food intolerance may be associated with IBS. Dairy products and certain grains may trigger a painful episode of IBS. Determining those foods that initiate the problems and eliminating them from your diet can be very helpful.
Many people report their symptoms occur after a meal. Hyperactivity of the intestine of IBS is the response. Often, the strength of this response after a meal is in direct relation to the number of calories and he amount of fat in the meal. Reducing saturated fat, limiting calories, and increasing fiber intake may be helpful.
Stress also stimulates the intestinal hyperactivity. Relaxation training may reduce some IBS symptoms. Listening to therapeutic audiotapes, hypnosis, counseling, and biofeedback all have been shown to improve the healing response in persons with IBS.
IBS can be painful and frustrating, capable of causing much distress. While currently there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be managed. The pain, abdominal discomfort, and bowel problems of IBS all respond well to treatment with the use of key Herbs, including clown’s mustard, and enteric-coated peppermint oil. These herbal combinations can be both effective and safe in treating IBS. Clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil are both effective front-line natural alternatives for IBS treatment.
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, Herbs, nuts and seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxseed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxseed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxseed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxseed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
This is sour Indian fruit can have a sweet appetite stifling effect.
January 13, 2007 02:44 PM
It’s funny how modern science continues to support ancient systems of herbal healing. Such is the case with Garcinia: The yellowish, pumpkin like fruit of the Garcinia Cambodia tree, long valued in tropical Asian cooking for its sweetly acidic taste, is a traditional Indian remedy for digestive problems that is also used to make meals more filling. Today, Garcinia (also known as brindleberry and Malabar tamarind) is used in natural weight-loss products based on research supporting its stomach satiating powers. Scientists also believe that Garcinia helps block fat formation and regulate glucose (blood sugar) usage—vital functions in an increasingly overweight world.
Filling Up Faster
One reason so many people are losing the battle of the bulge is that temptations to eat-and eat—are absolutely everywhere, often as the focal points of clever and well designed advertising campaigns. (Remember the slogan “belch’a can’t eat just one”?) To make matters worse, restaurants often server overly generous portions and experiments have shown that the more food you serve, the more people will consume. For example, Chicago moviegoers ate 45% more popcorn from larger containers even when they were given stale product (Food Quality and Preference 1/01).
The answer would seem simple—just eat less. But knowing when to say when isn’t easy. That’s where garcinia comes in, specifically an extract taken from the rind called HCA (Hydroxycitric acid). In laboratory animals HCA has upped levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps suppress appetite and elevate mood, which might help take the edge off the depression and binge-eating urges that often affect would-be weight losers. At the same time HCA appears to reduce levels of another substance in the brain called neuropeptide Y, which enhances appetite (Experimental Biology meeting 4/06).
What it is: the pumpkin-like fruit of the Garcinia cambogia tree; this Indian native is used in cooking and in Ayurveda, that country’s system of traditional medicine
What it Does: A popular ingredient in natural weight-loss aids, garcinia is being investigated for possible fat blocking and appetite suppressing functions; it may also help regulate glucose (blood sugar).
The fat that stubbornly clings to your frame doesn’t always start out that way. In many cases, your body actually creates fat from excess carbohydrates (such as the icing encrusted doughnut you couldn’t pass up at breakfast). If you don’t burn off those extra carbs through exercise, they are broken down into citrates that are then transformed into the building blocks of body fat. This process is controlled by an enzyme called citrate lyase; HCA interferes with this crucial enzyme, an action that inhibits fat formation. Researchers believe the body uses those extra carbs to provide more energy; this mechanism may also have the happy side effect of further checking appetite. In addition, results from a Dutch lab study indicate that garcinia may blunt sugar-induced increases in glucose, which can help forestall diabetes development.
Garcinia works best when teamed with other nutrients and Herbs, such as chromium, green tea and forskolin. In one investigation, overweight people who stuck to a supervised diet and exercise program supplemented with a combination of HCA, chromium and another herb called Gymnema lost body weight as mass, and showed improved fat burning capacity (Nutrition Research 1/04). This modern usage mirrors Ayurveda’s ancient precepts, according to which individual remedies are generally used in combination for more effective results.
Looking to give your meal more staying power? Then look for garcinia in your favorite weight loss formula. –Lisa James.