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Can sulforaphane help children with autism?
May 10, 2019 10:46 AM
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli have enormous amounts of sulforaphane. Research has even shown that when this compound is taken in large quantities, it can help alleviate the problem of autism in children. Autism is a very important consideration because it affects about one in ten children right now; this is according to experts. New cases are also increasing worldwide. The author states that the recent increases in autism reporting is due to the fact that vaccination schedules in children are increasing and vaccines deliver toxins to the child which can damage the nervous system. Sulforaphane though has been shown to be a chemical that can help in alleviating autism in children even after they have been vaccinated. The research was carried out by scientists at the John Hopkins University who found out that eating foods that have enormous amounts of sulforaphane can help autistic children by enhancing their social skills, verbal communication ability, and their general behavior. The compound, sulforaphane, acts through activating the genes that shield the cells from inflammation, damage to the genetic material, oxidative stress, and other factors that are linked to autism. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
"The results of their experiment showed that the sulforaphane group demonstrated considerable improvements in social behavior by the time of the fourth week of treatment."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-20-can-sulforaphane-help-children-with-autism.html
Broccoli is one of the best detoxifying foods you'll ever find
February 20, 2019 01:17 PM
Broccoli can really help your body’s ability to expel harmful toxins that you ingest or breathe in According to recent research, post-menopausal women who ate lots of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli showed a substantially lower risk of breast cancer, perhaps because broccoli improved their livers’ ability to detoxify their bodies. Likewise, a 12-week Johns Hopkins University study of almost 300 people in a heavily polluted part of rural China found that broccoli made their bodies much more efficient at excreting dangerous compounds like benzene and acrolein.
"These detoxifying benefits of broccoli can be attributed to the presence of phytonutrients called glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-12-broccoli-is-one-of-the-best-detoxifying-foods.html
Scientists find GARLIC may treat lingering Lyme disease
January 28, 2019 08:10 AM
Garlic is one of those things that has a lot of health benefits. People underestimate diet and the massive effect that it can have on someone's body and piece of mind. These scientists are constantly doing studies that indicate that certain foods can be considered natural remedies. They are being proven to help people with certain diseases and the truth of the matter is that garlic is one of the main substances that is getting good reviews.
"Known as persistent Lyme infection, it can last for months or even years, but now scientists from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found a natural solution that could finally put it to rest."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-08-scientists-find-garlic-treat-lingering-lyme-disease.html
Herbal treatments help balance hormone fluctuations and mood swings in women
April 07, 2018 05:17 PM
Menopause is an unsettling time of life; the chemical seratonin becomes unbalanced and causes uncomfortable or even painful changes in the body. Fortunately, there are some natural herbs and treatments that can help with the hormonal imbalances experienced. Those herbs have a long history of use and are as follows: St. John's Wort, Kava Kava, Black Cohash and Valerian. These different herbal treatments are traditionally used to treat depression, menopausal problems as well as promote relaxation and healthy rest.
"Menopause is a natural occurrence wherein menstruation stops in women."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-04-06-herbal-treatments-help-balance-hormone-fluctuations-and-mood-swings-in-women.html
St. John’s wort: A scientific review of its remarkable antibacterial and antioxidant properties
February 07, 2018 03:59 PM
St. John’s wort A scientific of this remarkable antibacterial and antioxidant properties study was from African but how some bacteria affect some crops that man nee for consumption and this is the bacteria strains which cause mastitis[ this happens when breast tissue is infected.], and also create problems for the mammary glands in terms of inflammation. Overall, researchers found out the H. perforatum extract contained significant antibacterial properties, which could have potential pharmacological uses — particularly in plant-based medicine.
"While it exhibited antioxidant property, the research team posited that the plant’s ability to counter cell mutation opens the door to further research."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-02-05-st-johns-wort-a-scientific-review-of-the-antibacterial-and-antioxidant-properties.html
Can Cannabis Actually Kill Cancer Cells In The Brain?
July 26, 2017 04:14 PM
Medical Marijuana use is no longer new. Many of us are aware of a loved one that has benefited from the pain-relieving qualities of the drug, even in advanced and serious conditions, like cancer. What may be less well known, or so far understood, is that it appears that Marijuana may be a potent adversary even against aggressive brain cancers.
Recent pharmaceutical research suggests research participants using the drug experienced a significantly prolonged rate of survival over non-users. This intriguing and hopeful research ties in handily with earlier research on rodents that shows the drug as having significant anti-tumor effects, such as inhibiting the growth of the malignancies, besides blocking the growth of new cells and ancillary blood vessels needed by the tumor. Also positive was the discovery that cannabis appears to make the use of chemotherapy more effective for brain cancer patients.
"Earlier this year, in what was heralded as a breakthrough for cancer research, GW Pharmaceuticals announced positive results from a study using a combination of cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol to treat an aggressive form of brain cancer."
Read more: https://thefreshtoast.com/cannabis/can-cannabis-actually-kill-cancer-cells-in-the-brain/
Brain cancer symptoms: Do YOU know the signs of John McCain's RARE aggressive type?
July 23, 2017 04:14 PM
Brain cancer is terrible. It takes a real toll on the body. It can prove fatal as well. This gives the symptoms of an especially aggressive type. It will help you know what to watch for in case you think you may have it. If you think this definitely talk to your body since symptoms can have more than one cause. This is the kind of cancer John NcCain has so it's all over the news right now.
"Brain tumours are graded according to how fast they grow and how likely they are to grow back after treatment, according to the NHS."
Read more: http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/831432/brain-cancer-symptoms-john-mccain-glioblastoma
Cannabis, combined with chemotherapy, effectively destroys cancer cells
June 09, 2017 04:14 PM
Researchers in England have found that combining cannabis usage with chemotherapy improves the treatment's effectiveness against leukemia. The inclusion of the cannabis allows for lower dosages of chemotherapy to be used, limited the harsh effects of the treatment.
Researchers have found that application sequence is critical for effectiveness. the active chemicals from the cannabis should be administered after the chemotherapy treatment for best results.
While they stress the need for more testing before such treatment can become commonplace, it represents and exciting development on the cancer treatment front.
"Scientists say the order the treatments are administered is crucial. Using cannabinoids after chemotherapy killed off blood cancer cells more rapidly."
Read more: http://wqad.com/2017/06/07/cannabis-combined-with-chemotherapy-effectively-destroys-cancer-cells/
Air pollution may directly cause those year-round runny noses, according to a mouse study Johns ...
April 27, 2017 10:59 AM
Are you one of those who always seems to have a runny nose? There are kids who go around like this a lot as well. You may be wondering what causes it. You probably think it's a cold or some sort of sinus infection that needs medications but you could be wrong about. This can also be caused by air pollution according to recent studies. Air pollution causes many problems and this is just another one.
Read more: Air pollution may directly cause those year-round runny noses, according to a mouse study Johns ...
Is the Mediterranean diet good for kids, too?
February 05, 2017 02:59 PM
Putting kids on a diet can be dangerous for them because kids have certain needs. They are still growing and need the proper fuel to do that. This talks about this and about the Mediterranean diet in particular. Before putting kids on any type of diet ask a doctor and do your own research so you don't hurt them.
"The easy-to-follow Mediterranean diet involves eating mostly vegetables, fruits, legumes, unrefined grains, olive oil and fish."
Say NO to GMO in America
Coming from over 50 countries, countless millions of people have expressed their disapproval over attempted corporate ownership of plant seeds through GMO (genetically modified organisms). Having said that, the corporations involved have assured the public that GMO is safe and want us to believe that it's more efficient at feeding the world by giving higher yields and have greater resistance to extreme weather conditions.
Safety of GMOAccording to a growing number of scientists such as world leading expert Dr Don Huber GMO expert, professor of plant pathology at Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, USA, there has been NO peer reviewed evidence to support the idea that GMO crops are safe. On the contrary, a vast catalogue of scientific evidence has built up over the years showing that GMO is unsafe.
Public consumption of genetically modified crops have been accused of causing ill health in the form of allergies, cancer, birth defects and infertility. It also includes toxicity, reduced nutritional value, environmental damage and political unrest such as that with farmer's and consumer's disputes.
The Revolving Door EffectApproval bodies like the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) decide whether or not a food or drug is fit to go out on the market for consumption. GMO is not safe. Nor has it shown to produce higher yield, greater nutritional value or resist drought conditions better than non-GMO according to many experts such as Professor John Fagan, award-winning Geneticist, Maharishi University of Management, Iowa, USA.
Yes, of course we should say NO to GMO. It is spurred on by corporate greed and political self interest with more than its fair share of hidden ulterior motives. The technology is unimaginably potentially dangerous and could be perceived as one of the biggest threats to humanity if allowed to get out of control.
WikiLeaks emails mention aspartame, acknowledging it puts holes in mice brains
November 23, 2016 10:59 AM
Aspartame is bad for us and has been for some time. There are many negative effects of aspartame recorded over the last 20 plus years. People still have done nothing to get rid of this horrible thing because it makes things appear to be better for you. People are just ignoring scientific evidience.
"Unfortunately, the history of how aspartame came to be a societal mainstay is not a sweet one."
Secondhand smoke linked to higher risk of stroke
November 03, 2016 03:59 PM
A new study from the John Hopkins School of Medicine has linked inhalation of secondhand smoke to an increase risk of stroke. The study concluded that people who had suffered a stroke but never smoked cigarettes were almost 50% more likely to have been exposed to secondhand smoke at home. In America nearly 25% of nonsmokers are still exposed regularly to secondhand smoke.
"Researchers found that those who had a stroke were nearly 50 percent more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke at home than people who had never had a stroke."
Herbs For Better Mood and Mental Health
Bad moods occurs to even the best of us. When one is in a bad mood, their feelings spiral out of control and emotions run wide. Feelings of unworthiness and isolation can occur. Fortunately, meditation is not the only solution for bad moods. Natural herbal remedies also help to improve mood. Below is a list of herbs that you should consider taking next time you want to fight bad moods. If one does not work for you, another in the list might work miracles.
Each herb listed above can calm and ease a stressed mind, gently improving mood with out side effects.
Hyperactivity and Herbs That Can Help
Hyperactivity is a behavioral condition in children that involves being easily distracted, unable to concentrate, being aggressive and also impulsiveness. This often decreases the child grow and sometimes he/she may be punished at school for such behaviors.
The following are herbs recommended for alternative treatment of hyperactivity condition:
Catnip (Nepata cataria) acts as a mild sedative for young children and adults. It also makes one to rest and feel like sleeping.
Chamomile (Metricaria recutita)
It provides a safe nervine action to children while encouraging sleep.
Hops (Humulus Lupulus)
Hop plant flowers help in reducing nervousness and anxiety and encourages sedation.
Kava kava helps offset stress and disruption of sleep patterns as it has antianxiety and anti-panic properties.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
It helps in reduction of too much anxiety and nervousness thereby helping in treatment of hyperactive in children.
Extracts from green oats help in boosting attention and concentration
Passion flowers help in maintaining mental and physical wellness in a restless individual.
It is helpful to people who can’t sleep due to overactive mind as it has some nervine properties.
St. John’s wort
St. John’s wort promotes quiet and restful sleep to individuals who are unable to sleep due to nervous excitement.
Flowers and leaves of this plant help boosting sleep in individuals who are unable to sleep.
It has a mind calming effect that helps in reducing nervous tension and anxiety.
st johns wort and depression
October 10, 2012 12:10 PM
St. John's Wort
St. John's Wort, also scientifically known as hypericum perforatum, or Klamath Weed, is a herb with yellow flowers. It has numerous composition of strong compounds like hypericin and hyperforin thathave shown evidence of antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antioxidant properties.
St John Wort can be used to treat mild session of anxiety depression and mood swings, the hyperforin chemical found in it, elevates the level of the neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin) that relay information in between cell and play a vital role in the nervous system. The herb has the ability to inhibit chemical associated with anxiety and depression and thus induce a sense of wellbeing and help moderate depression, anxiety, mood swings, chronic fatigue and low energy level.
Other benefit of the St John Wort is that it can help treat hangover and alcoholism; it also helps prevent the risk of getting Parkinson disease. It antibiotic and anti-viral properties can help treat congested sinus or a chronic cough its antibacterial and analgesic propertied help to treat wounds and burn.
What Makes St Johns Wort Good For Depression And Anxiety?
September 18, 2012 09:18 PM
St Johns wort
St Johns wort is a particular plant species. Firstly, in ancient Greek the medicinal uses of St Johns wort are recognized. It is an herb with yellow flowers. It contains active ingredients like flavonoids, anthrancenes, volatile oil and sugar alcohol which are used for medicinal purpose. St Johns wort binomial name Hypericum perforatum is also considered as wild plant, herb and weed. The other common names for this plant are Amber Touch-and-heel, goat weed, Klamath weed, Rosin rose and Tipton weed. As it is an herb its leaves and flowers are used for medicinal purpose.
What is St Johns wort?
St Johns wort is considered as a medicinal plant. It has yellow flowers which are used for medical purposes in various parts of the world. It is an herbal remedy to treat depression. This medicinal plant is also used for migraine, headache, muscle pain, chronic fatigue syndrome. It is also used for cancer and HIV/AIDS. St Johns is known as natural herbal remedy for mild to moderate depression. This highly valuable contains a chemical known as hypericin which effects against depression. This chemical act as mediatator in the nervous system which control the mood.
Does St Johns worth help depression? Depression has now become a common problem in humans now days. Due to the side effects of antidepressant medications, people are frequently moving towards natural remedies. St John wort is a complete health booster for the entire nervous system. It is recommended as a useful herbal remedy. It is scientifically proven that this particular plant is effective for mild to moderate depression. It has been used to treat mental disorders. St John wort is commonly used for depression and the conditions which are responsible depression such as anxiety, tiredness and sleep disorders. In most of the countries it is widely prescribed for depression. Wort is beneficial to people with mild depression but it is less effective on major depression.
St Johns wort medicinal properties:This medicinal plant is a powerful medicine.It is effective and well tolerated by the patients.You can feel yourself improving within the first week of usage of St John wort.As it is well tolerated by the patients, you can see fast results with fewer side effects.It decreases anxiety related to depression.It includes medicinal properties like antibacterial, anti inflammatory, antiviral, antidepressant and pain relieving.Traditionally it has been used to cure burns, headache, wounds, etc.
Though this is a powerful and remarkable medicine for treating mild to moderate depression, but still there is a question in the mind of health experts regarding major depression? In accordance with this, medicinal wort is less effective for the people who are taking other medications. St John wort is not effective on severe depression as discussed earlier. St John wort causes drug interaction so it might not be the right choice for the people who take other medication. You cannot ignore St Johns Wort, as it is a natural remedy for treatment of depression in spite of having few side effects.
Herbs For Depression: Alternative Solutions To Improve Your Mood
February 17, 2012 07:29 AM
What Herbs Can Help With Depression?
Depression - Introduction:
Depression is brain system disorders that can make many people weaken from functioning normally during episodic events. Some types of depression actually paralyze people and prevent them from leading a normal life.
In addition, it is important for individuals who suffer from depression to realize, that they do not have to hide this condition and think that they suffer alone. In fact, many people have some form of depressive disorder. Something must be done is to take action to reduce their depression treatment.
Depression - Herbs That Can Help Reduce:
Depression and anxiety are very common in the modern world, and there is no single drug offers an effective cure. However, there are many herbal remedies that can help you reduce depression:
1. St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum).
St Johns Wortis a eternalcompoundwith littleyellow flowers that originally came from Europe, but also widely used intoAmerican. It is used extensively by European physicians to reducedepression. Two compounds, hypericin and hyperforin, give St. John's Wort potencyto keepmood and fight depression. St. John's Wort also contains flavonoids and proanthoclanidin substances that can affect the peace and balance to the nervous system.
Valerian is the most popular herbs to relieve nervous tension. Sedative effect was first recognized in the seventeenth century, and since then enjoyed a long history of safe use effectively. Research believe that valerian binds to GABA receptors, which produces lower levels of anxiety. This does not completely eliminate anxiety, just change the way that the brain and your body reacts physiologically and give peace to the nervous system.
3. Kava kava.
Kava kava is a plant found in the Pacific Islands. The roots and bark are usually used as a slurry and then combined with cold water to drink. Due to the active compounds in Kava kava, a chemical known as kavalactone, destroyed by high temperatures, use cold or warm water is very important in its preparation. And studies have suggested a correlation between active ingredients and enhanced mood. To be specific, Kava Kava is estimated to have a relaxing impactand reduce fatigue in the human brain.
4. Ginkgo Biloba.
Ginkgo Biloba is the oldest tree used by China to treat various diseases. In the 1700's it has been introduced in Europe. Ginkgo Biloba is mainly composed of active components such as terpene lactones and flavnonoids, which gives a positive effect on mental well-being. With capabilities that are known to increase blood circulation to the brain, this herb has also decreasethe amount of free radicals in the body and brain, so it appears relaxation that can reduce stress or depression.
5. Lavender Oils.
Lavender is a very popular herbal aroma is mainly due to growing importance as a beautiful and essential oils. The smell of lavender oil can stimulate the nerves that send signals to the brain limbic system, which spur the peace and comfort to the physiological function of human emotional. Lavender has been believed by experts to help relieve anxiety, tension, stress and fear that are part of depression.
6. Lemon Balm.
Lemon Balm serves to inhibit the production of thyroid hormones and can help treat primary or secondary brain diseases and to provide a stimulant for the antioxidant that gives relief to your brain space. Some modern studies have found that lemon balm is useful for promoting sleep quality and reduce the effects of depression tranquility.
Chamomile is a very popular herb in Europe and has been widely used for centuries agoas a treatment for some diseases, such as sleep disorders, stress, anxiety, and depression. Other active compositions including flavonoids and matricinid which gives a feeling of relaxation and regulate the nervous system. Now it has proven to be one of the safest herbs on the market to relieve stress.
Although the use of herbs for depression is widely spread, overall there is definitely reaction for the benefits of herbs for reduce depression disorders. Apparent when compared with normally drugs for depression that usually can not serve as the first choice of treatment options. However, when other treatments have failed more established, might have to be used.
How Does Borage Oil Boost Your Health?
October 06, 2011 12:05 PM
Borage Seed Oil
Borage, also known as starflower, is a medicinal herb that is native in Syria. The plant could approximately grow up to two to three feet in height having a hairy appearance all over its leaves and stems. The leaves of the plant are about half feet in length. Its flowers resemble five narrow and triangular petals that are blue in color. However, there are few instances that borage flowers are pink in color. One distinct characteristic of the borage plant is that it follows an indeterminate growth habit that could lead to a fruitful spreading. In places where climate is mild and good, the plant grows all year round.
In ancient years, the plant was used as a flavoring for wines which ancient Celtic warriors drink before engaging themselves into battle. It has been a tradition because they believe that the wine could boost both their strength, and courage. As time pass by, people discover new uses of borage leaves and flowers. During the middle ages, the people utilized the plant as a relief for melancholy. As a matter of fact, the renowned scholar named Pliny believed that the herb is very effectual in curing depression and boosting mood. During the 16th century, John Gerard was able to discover the herb’s potential in making the heart healthier.
To add, borage is also utilized as a cure for bronchitis because of its soothing effect and capacity to lessen inflammation. Aside from that, borage is also noted for its capability to protect the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat as well as ensuring that the kidneys and adrenal glands are well functioning.
Borage is helpful in rejuvenating the body during recuperation from a disease. This herb is also useful for curing and correcting problems of in the digestive tract. Research would also show that the herb is effectual in increasing the quantity and quality of mother’s milk.
The seed oil of borage contains liberal amounts of GLA which is highly beneficial for the human body. as a matter of fact, virgin borage oil contains vital components such as essential fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid that will aid the body in times of stress.
There are a lot of preparations which will allow you to grasp the benefits of borage plant. And two of the most common is to use it as a vegetable or as a dried herb. People enjoy eating borage because it tastes like cucumber hence it is perfect for salads or as a garnish. Borage flower is also palatable. Its taste is similar to that of honey hence, it is also good to incorporate in desserts.
Among the many health benefits of borage leaves would include the following: purgative properties, blood purifier, diaphoretic, galactoagogue, and febrifuge. Vital nutrients such as potassium and calcium are also abundant in the herb. Because of these potent and vital components that the herb contains, various conditions can be corrected and prevented by borage just like inflammation of the eyes, excessive mucus, and a lot more.
You too should grab some borage oil to help improve your health and wellness.
Anise Seed Is Anti-Fungal Herb And Much More!
February 23, 2011 01:44 PM
Anise Seed And Your Health
Anise seed, or simply aniseed, refers to the seed pods of the herbaceous plant native to the Mediterranean and Southwest Asia. It is famed for its moderate flavor, which is similar to fennel, licorice, and tarragon. The plant species, Pimpinella anisum, has been part of many cuisines on both the West and the East, incorporated in aromatic, sweet-tasting dishes. There is a wide array of uses for anise in the food industry, especially in recent years because of its health benefits. For centuries, it has been utilized to treat digestive problems, and the recent discovery of its high phytochemical levels has been reported to show antibacterial and antifungal properties.
The first undisputed mention of anise seed was in Naturalis Historia by Pliny the Elder, which recorded its widespread use as a breath freshener, a therapeutic remedy for insomnia, and a cure for insomnia. Some translations of biblical accounts also recorded the use of the seeds in ancient Israel and surrounding areas. By the time of Roman antiquity, it had become a popular spice added to seafood dishes, valued for of its sweet fragrance. In the Indian subcontinent and nearby regions, anise has up to now been used as a digestive, taken after meals to avoid indigestion, especially after feasts.
The English herbalist John Gerard noted in his encyclopedia Generall Historie of Plantes the carminative effects of anise seed, which means it decreases pressure in the lower esophagus, thereby removing related digestive ailments such as excessive flatulence. It has become quite commonplace in Europe, not only due to its presence in traditional medicine, but also its increasing visibility in the food and beverage industry. It is used in soups and stews, in confectionery, adding a very strong sweet flavor. Anethole, an organic compound extracted from aniseed is added to liquor to produce a cloudy appearance.
Phytochemical Content or Anise Seed
Anise seed is known to contain many different phytochemicals that are polyphenolic and phytoestrogenic. It has high levels of phenylpropenes, a class of polyphenols that are present in essential oils, the reason why aniseed is one of the most common ingredients used in aromatherapy. These organic compounds have shown to lower the body temperature, act on the nervous system to relieve pain, and have a positive effect on epileptic seizures. In addition, it creates strong phytoestrogen-like activities in the human body, relieving cramps during menstrual period.
Anethole is widely believed to be responsible for the antimicrobial activities of anise seed, acting against bacteria, yeast, and other types of fungi. It is a bacteriostatic antibiotic and a bactericide, which means it inhibits the growth of bacteria by interfering with bacterial cellular metabolism responsible for their replication and, at the same time, actively kill them. This explains why anise seed is effective as a breath freshener in the old days, and removes digestive ailments related to bacteria. Interestingly, aniseed is also anthelmintic; it expels parasitic worms from the body.
That being said, keep in mind that the benefits of anise seed are largely therapeutic.
Anise Seed is one of those herbs you want to keep in the medicine cabinet for quick use when needed.
Fight Anxiety Disorders Naturally
December 14, 2010 04:27 PM
Do you suffer from an Anxiety Disorder?
Before considering how to test for anxiety disorders and discussing natural supplements that can help we should first discuss what anxiety disorders are - what the term means and if there are degrees of anxiety disorders as there are of depression and stress. First, what is anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress and it is anxiety that makes you worry about the consequences of not studying for an exam - so you study. It focuses you on problems so that you will be more likely to solve them, and helps you to perform better whatever you are doing. However, it can get out of hand and these positive mental processes become negative anxiety disorders.
With some people, anxiety becomes a dread of situations that were once everyday occurrences and can make your life a misery. Here are some forms of anxiety disorder.
Typical Anxiety Disorders
General Anxiety Disorder
Its symptoms include excessive sweating, worry, headaches, irritability, difficulty in sleeping, tiredness and tension in your muscles. It can lead to substance abuse and deep depression if left untreated.
These are three typical forms of anxiety, but how do you test for anxieties? Here are some tests that are used, beginning with the easiest - doing it yourself!
Testing for Anxiety Disorders
Many that believe they may have an anxiety disorder either tend to panic or go into a depression. It is far better to carry out a self-test. This anxiety test is very simple: simply tick which of the symptoms below you have experienced in the past six months:
I can't relax
I am always worried about something.
I get headaches for no apparent reason
I frequently sweat a lot and get hot flashes
I have no time for anybody and am easily annoyed
I find it hard to sleep and I often wake up during the night
My attention keeps wandering and I can't focus on anything
I sometimes get so worried I want to be sick or have a lump in my throat
If you have ticked more than three then perhaps you should pay your doctor a visit, or try some of the recommendations below.
b) Doctors' Tests
If you feel you might be suffering some form of anxiety disorder you should consult your doctor, particularly if you have tried the self test above and it indicates that you might be. Your doctor might carry out various tests for your general health, and if it is felt necessary you may be asked about your family history: is there any history of mental problems in the family, particularly with your mother or father.
Other questions may appertain to your own physical and mental background, such as have you been stressed for any reason lately, have you suffered anxiety or panic attacks in the past and what is your normal use of prescription and non-prescription medications and drugs. Do you smoke, drink or take any social drugs.
It is important that you are totally honest: the doctor is not judging you, simply trying to find the cause of your problem. Under the terms of their oath they cannot divulge anything you tell them to anyone else, so be honest and let them help you. Among the tests you will be given will be to declare all your history of anxiety-related symptoms. To achieve that, you will be asked a series of questions while the doctor assesses your mental condition.
Finally, you may be referred to a psychiatrist who will be able to help you more than your doctor. Psychiatrists have a good record in resolving anxiety disorders, but once you are diagnosed positively, what then? Chemical drugs? Or perhaps you would prefer something more natural such as herbal remedies.
Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
There are a number of herbs that can be used to treat anxiety disorders. Here are the more commonly used of these:
Passion flower contains the active substances maltol and ethylmaltol that your body's biochemistry uses to increase the concentration of GABA (gamma-butyric acid) in your brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that calms you and helps you to relax and forget anything that is making you anxious. It relieves muscle tension, can lower your blood pressure and some equate its effect to that of Valium: although it is totally different chemically it is similar in its effect. It offers a sedative effect and helps you sleep.
Kava Kava root
Kava kava. Generally just referred to as kava, comes from the Pacific and the kavalactones it contains increase the concentration of neurotransmitters in your vascular system, particularly serotonin, the feel-good substance. Its sedative effects have been likened to that of alcohol, and it can certainly give you a lift and certainly helps you worry less as it reduces the negative symptoms of stress and depression.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort is a well-known anti-depressant and it can also help reduce the symptom of anxiety. The hyperforin the plant contains helps to improve the brain's content of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine that make you feel good, and St. John's wort certainly washes away your anxiety. Not only that, but the napththodianthrone in another of its important components, hypericin, promotes a reduction in depression through the inhibition of monoamine oxidase, a pro-depressive enzyme.
An extract of valerian root can help you to relax and sleep well, and this can often be enough to prevent your anxiety attacks. A lot depends on their cause, but if the attacks are mild and don't require extensive medical or psychiatric intervention, then valerian can help, particularly in treating stress-related anxiety. Make sure you stick to the recommended dose because valerian can be dangerous if taken to excess.
The four herbal remedies above should between them be all you need to treat your anxiety. One major problem is that, just like any chemical drugs, they only treat the symptoms and not the underlying cause which is something you and your physician will have to work on yourselves.
However, until then, the above herbal remedies for anxiety disorders are generally safer to use than prescription drugs and each has a well proven effect, both on the symptoms of anxiety and on depression.
Herbs For Depression
December 13, 2010 12:34 PM
Fight Depression with Natural Herbs
Before discussing treating depression with natural herbs we should first consider depression itself: what is it and what causes people to become depressed? Psychiatrists and psychologists will suggest a number of definitions although most experts agree that there are two forms of depression.
Causes of Depression
Exogenous depression comes about as a result of external factors such as bereavement, heavy debt, job loss, etc, while endogenous depression comes from within and is believed to be due to biochemical problems, including food allergies, hormonal changes, thyroid problems, nutritional deficiencies, particularly Vitamin B deficiency, and addictions. There are many other reasons for people becoming depressed, some of which can be established by the particular symptoms of the individual.
In many cases of depression the external factors are often easier to treat than those due to internal factors. Many exogenous causes of depression such as bereavement are alleviated through time, while causes such as job loss and debt can be resolved once the cause has been rectified: thus, if the patient is no longer in debt or is re-employed, the depression tends to disappear with the cause.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is not diagnosed from a single symptom, but from a number of symptoms that can point to a person being clinically depressed and requiring treatment. Among the symptoms of depression are:
Prolonged periods of sadness or despair
Forms of Depression
Many normal people can suffer one or two of the above systems, and would not be diagnosed as depressed because of it. We can all get mood swings, feel a bit worthless now and again or be unable to concentrate or focus at times, but that does not mean we are clinically depressed.
Depression would not be diagnosed in a patient with just one of these symptoms but five or more likely would be. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders deem the patient suffering clinical depression if displaying 5 or more of the bottom 8 symptoms above for a month or more. This is believed to be the case with around 17 million Americans so it is a significant problem.
Manic depression is otherwise known as bipolar disorder, where patients have large mood swings from high and extreme hyperactivity and excitability to very low deeply depressive moods and is a clinical condition generally treated using drugs.
Treatment of Depression With Natural Herbs
The usual treatments are drugs that often have undesirable side effects; so many people are trying natural remedies instead. There are a number of herbs that can be used to treat depression, one of the most familiar being St. John's Wort. However, there are others, and here is a synopsis of each.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort (hypericum perforatum) is likely the best known herbal treatment for depression. In fact, in Germany it is prescribed by doctors to children and adolescents for the treatment of mild depression and is available over the counter in many countries.
However, it can also be used in cases of severe depression, and a report in the Cochrane Database Review[8(4)] by K. Linde, M.M. Berner and L. Kriston in 2008 stated that of 29 separate tests carried out on a total of over 5,000 patients, the conclusion was that St. John's wort extracts were at least as good in treating severe depression with 5 times lower side-effects as tricyclic antidepressants and twice lower than the new selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
It should be stated, however, that one trial on 340 subjects indicated no improvement over a placebo. However, the anti-depressive drug sertraline (Zoloft) was also shown to be no better than the placebo in this test, so some doubts must lie regarding its accuracy. Of all the herbal treatments, St. John's wort has had most testing carried out and it seems to be effective in treating mild to severe depression although not all experts are yet agreed.
Kava Kava Root
Kava kava can be used to treat depression and anxiety, largely due its content of kavalactones that are believed to increase the amount of a number of neurotransmitters in the blood, including the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Kava kava root is mildly intoxicating, having much the same effect as alcohol, and can also reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
However, it is doubtful if its effects are permanent and so it may be less of a depression cure as a short-medium term treatment. Its effects are also variable on different people, some describing it as making them feel relaxed and 'dreamy', while others find it therapeutic and making them feel better in themselves.
Kava kava should not be taken without your doctor knowing about because there have been concerns about its effect on the liver if taken in excess. A European-wide ban was lifted about two years ago after testing found the risks of taking it to be very low. It has been used for centuries as an intoxicating drink on islands such as Fiji.
Passion flower has been used for centuries to treat anxiety, stress and depression, its active ingredients believed to be maltol and ethylmaltol that help to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is one of the brain's key neurotransmitters and has been described by some as the brain's own 'Valium' supply.
Through the intervention of GABA, passion flower extract helps in reducing anxiety levels and makes you feel a lot calmer. If you suffer forms of depression that make you hyper or excitable, passion flower will help to reduce this and also helps to cure insomnia. It is a component of many natural sleeping pills.
These are just three natural substances that can be used to treat depression. However, you must inform your doctor or physician if you decide to take them since they may interfere with or change the effect of any antidepressant drug you are currently taking.
Call today for natural remedies for depression
Natural Anxiety Remedies
November 11, 2010 05:44 PM
Anxiety disorder is a much more common problem than what was once thought. It often affects people in their teenage years through middle age and later. Anxiety disorder appears to affect twice as many women as men. However, there may not be that wide of a disparity between the sexes. Psychologists simply believe that men are far less prone to report or even acknowledge that they have a problem of this nature. Anxiety disorders can either be acute or chronic. Acute anxiety disorder manifests itself in episodes that are commonly known as panic attacks. A panic attack occurs when the body’s natural “fight or flight” reaction occurs at the wrong time. This is a complex response in which the body prepares itself to deal with an emergency situation. Stress can often cause the body to produce more adrenal hormones, especially adrenaline. The increased production of adrenaline causes the body to step up its metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to quickly produce energy for the body to use. Additionally, the muscles tense up and the heartbeat and breathing become more rapid.
When faced with an assault, accident, or a natural disaster, this type of reaction is perfectly normal. However, the symptoms that are caused by the surge in adrenaline can be distressing and frightening when they occur at the wrong time. A person having a panic attack is often overwhelmed by a sense of impending disaster or death, which makes it impossible to think clearly. Other feelings that can accompany a panic attack include shortness of breath, a smothering, claustrophobic sensation, heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, hot flashes or chills, trembling, numbness or tingling sensations in the extremities, sweating, nausea, a feeling of unreality, and a distorted perception of the passage of time. This disorder can eventually have other cumulative effects such as generalized aches and pains, muscular twitching and stiffness, depression, insomnia, nightmares and early waking, decreased libido, and abnormal feelings of tension with an accompanying inability to relax.
Panic attacks are usually abrupt and intense, occurring at any time of the day or night, and lasting from several seconds up to half an hour. To the panic sufferer, it often feels as though they are much longer. A person having a panic attack sometimes believes that he or she is experiencing a heart attack or stroke. The attacks themselves are very unpredictable, with some people experiencing one every few weeks, and others having several each day. Panic attacks are often triggered by stress or certain emotions, but they can also be a response to certain foods, drugs, or illness.
Many people with acute anxiety disorder become afraid of being alone and visiting public places because they fear having a panic attack. This only adds to the level of anxiety and leads to abnormally restricted lives. Psychologists often believe that at least in some cases, panic attacks are self-induced, meaning that the fear of the panic attack is the very thing that brings it on. The following nutrients are recommended for dealing with anxiety disorders: calcium, magnesium, B1, B12, multivitamin and mineral complex, SAMe, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, chromium picolinate, DLPA, L-glutamine, coenzyme A, essential fatty acids, GABA, melatonin, bilberry, ginkgo biloba, milk thistle, catnip, chamomile, cramp bark, kava kava, hops, linden flower, motherwort, passionflower, skullcap, fennel, lemon balm, willow bark, feverfew, St. John’s wort, skullcap, valerian root, and mandarin oil.
Natural vitamins and herbs can be found at VitaNet ®, LLC Vitamin Store.
April 08, 2010 04:31 PM
Comments by Craig Gerbore, CEO of Madhava:
Reading through the attack articles and blogs that have surfaced recently one could think that using agave is bad for one's health. These claims are utterly false and misleading. They are extreme views drawn from extreme examples and applied way out of context. They are propagandizing and clearly designed to frighten, not educate. All of the fears and concerns associated with the overconsumption of sugars and calories in general have been unfairly cast on agave.
What is a "healthy" sweetener? One that you use moderately and sensibly.
Health concerns related to fructose and caloric sweeteners are all dependant on the overconsumption of them. All foods have calories and it is the overall consumption of calories that lead to obesity and related issues, not any one food source.
Agave's caloric value is comparable to the other sweeteners in the category. Due to its greater sweetness though, less agave is used compared to the others, so agave actually can reduce caloric consumption per serving. This is due to a higher fructose content. The higher content does not mean higher consumption though, due to the smaller portion used. But, it is not the single serving that matters, it is the number of servings which lead to the overconsumption issues which may result in health concerns.
As a reference point, 9-10 teaspoon servings of agave would be the approximate caloric equivalent of one 16 oz soft drink. With this perspective, is agave really being overconsumed as a choice of sweetener for home use?
Every single health issue which the attackers have tried to associate with agave is really the result of a caloric overconsumption issue. There are no documented issues with normal, moderate consumption of agave or sweeteners in general as part of our everyday diet. For reasons unknown, some have attempted to isolate agave from the real world and real world conditions with the goal of inhibiting agave's use. They play on people's fears, reference false information and fail to address health issues in any meaningful way.
The purpose of this article is to debunk the controversial misinformation surrounding agave. All information debunking the myths and misinformation is based on current science and facts. It is our goal to provide you with useful information so that you can make your personal nutritional choices in a well-informed, science-based manner.
The Agave Controversy: Exposing the fraudulent article by Rami Nagel
By Dr. Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN
And Craig Gerbore, CEO Madhava
The controversy about agave syrup was manufactured by the publication of a single article on the internet, which has been reproduced and adapted for virtually every other article produced on the internet and other media venues. That article, written by Rami Nagel and published on Naturalnews.com, was highly biased and full of inaccuracies, half-truths and misinformation about agave. Since the Naturalnews.com article has been the sole source of nearly all other popular articles in public media, we want to set the record straight with science-based, reliable information to offer a more balanced resource to those interested in learning more about agave syrup. Who is the author, Rami Nagel?
According to the description on the Naturalnews.com website, Rami Nagel is a "citizen journalist". This means that Mr. Nagel is self-employed, and not employed as an in-house journalist by the website. He wrote and published the article without any editorial or content oversight, and the editor of the website, Mike Adams, makes it clear that the article was not checked for incorrect or inaccurate information or facts. The introduction to the article, written by Mr. Adams, states that readers had written to comment that Mr. Nagel's resources were biased with conflicts of interest due to their financial interests in competing sweeteners, such as brown rice syrup. So even the website editor himself states that the article is not fact-checked, and it is biased and unbalanced.
Who is Russ Bianchi?
The sole resource interviewed for the article is Russ Bianchi, identified by the author as Managing Director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc. Mr. Bianchi has clear conflict of interest ties to the sweetener industry. We have documentation of the fact that Mr Bianchi had plans to market a product named Replace. It was to be touted as a low calorie alternative sweetener composed of natural and artificial ingredients! Mr Bianchi was prevented from marketing this sweetener as the result of a lawsuit against him by the owner of the formula.
Mr Bianchi is quoted by Nagel extensively and exclusively. Many, if not all, of his statements are blatantly false or misrepresentations of fact. He is clearly propagandizing against agave nectar.
Was anyone else interviewed for this article?
Yes. Craig Gerbore, president and owner of Madhava Agave Syrup, was extensively interviewed by the author but no parts of that interview were included in the article.
It is important to note that neither Mr Nagel or Mr Bianchi have not made themselves available for questions on their statements since the articles appearance. They remain out of sight and have entirely avoided the controversy their statements created.
What is agave nectar?
The opening line of this paragraph in the article by Mr. Nagel states:
"The principal constituent of the agave is starch, such as what is found in corn or rice."
This is absolutely false. There is no starch in agave. The source of carbohydrate in agave syrup is inulin, a polysaccharide made up primarily of strings of fructose units. Starch is a polysaccharide made up of strings of glucose molecules. They are significantly different, and this difference is why agave syrup is naturally sweet.
The very basis of the argument presented by Mr. Nagel is false.
The agave plant is a succulent, similar to a cactus. The agave sweetener comes from both the Salmiana agave plant and the agave Tequilana (Blue Agave) which are both organically farmed in Mexico and certified organic by USDA approved certifiers. As the salmiana plant grows it produces a stalk called the "quiote" and when this is removed, a natural liquid called "aquamiel". The liquid is collected from the plant, while Blue agave pinons are harvested and shredded to remove the similar juice. Either can be naturally processed thermally or by enzymes into agave nectar.
The juice of the plant is not naturally sweet. The string of connected fructose units that makes up the major proportion of inulin does not have a sweet taste, but when the fructose units are separated (the process is called hydrolysis) by the addition of an enzyme, similar to digestion, or thermally for most blue agave, the syrup becomes quite sweet. That is the entire processing chain for agave nectar. There are no additives, other ingredients or chemicals in Madhava agave nectar. It is absolutely pure and organic and GMO free.
? Mr. Nagel claims that agave syrup is a "refined corn fructose" similar to high fructose corn syrup. This is absolutely false. There is no relationship between agave syrup and high fructose corn syrup in any way, including the source of the product, or the manufacturing process.
? Mr. Nagel refers to a "confidential FDA letter" from Mr. Martin Stutsman, claiming that agave is fraudulently labeled. We contacted Mr. Stutsman at the United States Food and Drug Administration, and his response made it clear that there was never a "confidential FDA letter". He did publish a public letter referenced in an FDA document as "FDA letter from Martin Stutsman to Dr. Eric
Wilhelmsen (Wilhelmsen Consulting), May 8, 2000", regarding evaporated cane juice, a topic wholly unrelated to agave syrup.
? He continued in his response to us that the paragraph in Mr. Nagel's article inaccurately reflected the substance of his comments in the document.
This link will take you to the original document in which the letter was referenced (reference #2):
In fact, Mr. Nagel fabricated the entire story of the letter. Mr. Stutsman is a lawyer, not a doctor. The quotes were completely taken out of context from the document, and the quotes never referred to agave syrup at any time. Nagel goes on to further misrepresent Mr. Stutsman's intent in the published document by weaving in other inaccurate information that is thoroughly unrelated to the original document. Mr Bianchi's subsequent statements on labeling issues are false and without merit.
Mr. Nagel is clearly caught red-handed. He has misrepresented the words of a government official, lied about the facts, and twisted the information to achieve his own agenda. This strategy is repeated throughout the article.
? Mr. Nagel continues his deceptive writing by referring to a quote by the late Dr. Varro Tyler in his book, The Honest Herbal. The first line of the paragraph is a direct quote from the book. Nothing else in that paragraph remotely resembles anything else found in Dr. Tyler's book. Mr. Nagel is trying to claim that agave syrup contains large quantities of saponins, and that they can be harmful to health. Here is the debunking of that paragraph:
1. Dr. Tyler does not include the variety of agave plant used for agave syrup.
2. The entire discussion is about the use of the sword-shaped leaves and the stem. Agave syrup is produced from the natural liquid in the plant. The saponins are isolated from the leaves of the plant.
3. There is no documented evidence to suggest agave syrup contains worrisome levels of saponins and the entire rest of the discussion about health dangers is fabricated and false.
People are going to continue to consume sweet food and drink. There are only three categories of choice to sweeten food. Those are artificial sweeteners, stevia, or caloric sweeteners from natural sources, sugars.
Most people will not choose artificial. Many will not choose stevia. That only leaves the category of sugars. In this group, agave is a good choice due to its organic quality, ease of
use, neutral flavor, low glycemic index and the fact that less is used to equal the sweetness of the others in the category.
The sweeteners in this category are composed of three primary sugars used to sweeten foods: glucose, fructose and sucrose. These sugars belong to a class of compounds known as carbohydrates. "Saccharide" is a term that denotes sugar, or substances derived from sugar. Monosaccharides are simple or single sugars; disaccharides are derived from two joined monosaccharides and when they are hydrolyzed, or separated, they yield two molecules of simple sugar. Strings of more than two sugar molecules are called polysaccharides. This category includes compounds such as starches, cellulose and inulin.
Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides. Glucose and fructose are found abundantly in nature in fruits and plants. Sucrose is the disaccharide formed by the joining of glucose and fructose, also known as table sugar. When comparing their relative sweetness, glucose is the least sweet tasting, sucrose is next, and fructose is the sweetest of the three sugars, measured as 1.4 times sweeter than table sugar. Because it is so sweet, people typically use less fructose when sweetening foods compared to sucrose.
? In the article by Mr. Nagel he states , "fructose is not what is found in fruit. Commonly, fructose is compared with its opposite and truly naturally occurring sweetener, known as ‘levulose' (made by nature)..."
Another fabrication. In fact, levulose is just another name for fructose. There are various nomenclatures used in the scientific naming of compounds. Fructose and levulose are exactly the same thing; the names are interchangeable. It is no different than if you called your father, "dad", and your sibling called your father, "father". He would still be the exact same person. Fructose and levulose are different names for the exact same thing: a sugar found in nature.
Mr. Bianchi also is quoted to say that the body does not recognize the fructose in agave. This is another false piece of propaganda which demonstrates just how far he is reaching. If this were true, it would have no impact on us. He immediately contradicts himself with the claims of detrimental effects caused by the overconsumption of fructose.
Sugars can be compared to each other in their ability to raise blood sugar levels by using the Glycemic Index. The scale is set from zero to 100, where low numbers do not have much impact on blood sugar levels, and high numbers raise blood sugar levels quickly. Fructose is very low on the scale. Because agave syrup is high in fructose, it has a rating of 32 or lower. Honey, which has a higher proportion of glucose to fructose, has a Glycemic Index of 58. Sucrose has a Glycemic Index of 68, and glucose, serving as the index standard, is 100.
All sugars, whether fructose, glucose, sucrose or others, contribute 4 calories per gram to our total diet. 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams = 16 calories
In addition to calories, sugars sweeten our foods offering a desirable taste and adding enjoyment and pleasure to our dining. During cooking and baking, sugars allow for browning and the unique consistencies of syrups, candies, frostings and frozen desserts. The varieties of sugars, such as crystallized table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, molasses, honey and agave nectar, among others, contribute different properties and flavors to foods.
When you add your own sugar to foods you are in control of how much sugar you use. Most people would never add as much sugar as do the food manufacturers. Moderate amounts of sugar can certainly be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet for an active individual. Natural sugars are easily metabolized and utilized by the body, offering a very efficient source of fuel for physical and mental activity.
Of course, sugars should be used in moderation in the diet. This can control calories and help create a diet that is dense in nutrients.
Impact of sugar on health and disease
? The remainder of Mr. Nagel's article works to link agave syrup with the increased incidence of obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, and the general rise of morbidity and mortality in the population. This is an overconsumption issue involving far more than the occasional use of agave. Here are the facts:
• Rats that are fed a high fructose diet become obese and will develop the chronic diseases associated with obesity: insulin resistance, diabetes and metabolic disease.
• No one should eat a diet that reflects this type of experimental diet.
• Too much sugar in the diet, whether from fructose, glucose or sucrose, can be unhealthy. Diets high in sugar promote tooth decay and periodontal disease; create an overabundance of calories and a deficit of nutrients. This scenario typically leads to weight gain and the development of chronic disease.
• Active individuals can include a moderate amount of added sugar in their diet without negative health consequences. When calorie intake is balanced with physical activity, sugar serves as an efficient source of fuel for muscles, the brain and the central nervous system.
• According to the World Health Organization (2003), individuals can healthfully include 10% of their daily calories from added sugars. This translates into 200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet, or 12½ teaspoons of added sugar daily. Clearly, one can safely add a couple of teaspoons of sweetener to a cup of tea or coffee, or have a little sweetened food without worrying about their risk of developing disease.
• Agave syrup, which is sweeter than other sugars and low on the Glycemic Index scale, is a good choice to include as one of the added sugars in your diet because you will use less sugar (and therefore fewer calories) and minimally raise blood sugar levels.
Just a teaspoon of agave: the healthy use of sweeteners in your diet
We all want to live healthier and longer lives. Diet and nutrition plays a key role, impacting our health and our ability to perform physically and mentally now and into the future. Food offers us not only sustenance, but also pleasure and enjoyment. Food is present in so many parts of our lives: at celebrations, business events, family events, religious and spiritual occasions, sports outings, the focus of our family meals, intimate dinners, and sometimes just the excuse to socialize.
Sweet foods make us feel good. Sugar allows for the elevation of serotonin in our brains, the "feel good" neurotransmitter that elevates mood, helps us focus, and in the evening, helps us relax and sleep.
Sugar is a source of energy for our muscles, brain and central nervous system. Without sugar our bodies will not function at peak capacity.
Too much sugar, however, is not good. In small amounts sugar energizes us, but in large doses, repeated throughout the day, day in and day out, sugar puts stress on the body. The extra calories can lead to weight gain and obesity, which in time can lead to chronic disease. In the short term, high sugar intakes can lead to a nutritionally deficient diet and a sense of being on an emotional roller coaster.
So be selective about your use of sugars and use them in moderation in your diet. Just like all foods, a variety will enhance the nutritional content of your diet and the flavor and tastes that you can enjoy. Since sugars come in different forms and have different flavors, they can be used most effectively in specific foods and beverages. For instance, agave syrup is liquid and less viscous than honey, making it easy to mix into cold liquids like iced tea and coffee, and is great to add to cold unsweetened cereals for a little sweet taste. Agave's mild flavor allows chefs and bakers to sweeten foods lightly, without overpowering the taste of the dish.
Pay attention to how much sugar is added to your diet every day. Read labels so that you know when sugar is added to manufactured foods. Keep the consumption of added sugars in your diet to no more than 10% of your total daily calorie intake so that you have plenty of room for nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein-rich foods, nuts, seeds and healthy oils.
Remember that nutrition is a science based on facts. We are making great advances in our understanding of the science of foods and nutrition. Beware of people with hidden agendas using fear tactics to influence your choices. Don't take their opinion at face value. What are their credentials? What conflicts of interest do they have? If they do not disclose conflicts, then assume that they are manipulating the truth.
Most of all enjoy food. Think about what you need to eat to promote whole health. Don't overindulge, but don't deprive yourself of the bounty of wonderful tastes, either. Use celebrations as occasions to enjoy your favorite foods and try new ones. A teaspoon or two of sugar easily fits into the diet of an active, healthy person. Agave syrup offers an organic low-glycemic choice for those looking for that option.
Resources for this article:
Charley H. Food Science, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, 1982.
Figlewicz DP et al. Effect of moderate intake of sweeteners on metabolic health in the rat. Physiology and Behavior 98:618-624, 2009
Johnson RK et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 2009
Tyler VE. The Honest Herbal, Third Edition. Pharmaceutical Products Press, New York, NY, 1993.
Myth: Agave Nectar may have adverse side effects such as mineral depletion, liver inflamma
April 08, 2010 04:09 PM
Myth: Agave Nectar may have adverse side effects such as mineral depletion, liver inflammation, hardening of the arteries, insulin resistance leading to diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity and more.
This is an unfounded scare tactic. Moderate use of Agave Nectar will not directly lead to the above mentioned consequences. The issue is overconsumption and poor dietary choices.
“Inaccurate information from ostensibly reliable sources and selective presentation of research under extreme experimental conditions, representing neither the human diet nor HFCS have misled the uninformed and created an atmosphere of distrust and avoidance for what, by all rights, should be considered a safe and innocuous sweetener.” – White, John S. The Journal of Nutrition. We believe this applies to agave as well.
Supporting data has been misused. The studies that have been conducted have measured metabolic upsets under extreme conditions. They have used pure 100% fructose versus pure glucose at very high concentrations. These conditions do not reflect the American diet or the composition of fructose containing sweeteners. The methods have been inappropriate for assessing the safety of these dietary macronutrients. Even pure water triggers adverse health effects at these high repeat doses. The Journal of Nutrition (2009). Supplement: The State of Science on Dietary Sweeteners Containing Fructose.
Royal Jelly As An Anti-Aging Supplement
February 27, 2010 11:45 AM
Royal jelly is considered to be the treasure of the beehive. It has the ability to promote longevity by helping to maintain healthy, beauty, and youth. This natural food is extremely potent and highly nutritional. Royal jelly is an incredibly rich, creamy, opalescent white liquid. It is produced by the worker bees specifically for the nourishment and cultivation of the queen bee. This fantastic material converts a common honeybee into a queen bee, extending the bee’s lifetime from six weeks to five years. This substance is full of natural hormones and B-vitamins. Additionally, it contains a variety of seventeen amino acids. Eight of these amino acids are essential. Royal jelly is particularly rich in cystine, lysine, and arginine and is also composed of 16.1 percent aspartic acid, which is crucial for proper tissue growth and regeneration.
Gelatin is another component of royal jelly and one of the primary precursors of collagen. It is a potent anti-aging compound that helps to keep the youthful, while supporting the organs, glands, and muscular systems. It contains vital fatty acids, sugars, sterols, phosphorus compounds, and acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is essential in order to properly transmit nerve impulses. It is also important for the proper functioning of the endocrine system. An insufficient amount of acetylcholine often leads to a susceptibility to a variety of nerve disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
Royal jelly has many properties. Among which include: antibacterial, antiviral, antibiotic, tonic, nutritive, and anti-aging. It is very beneficial to the immune, cardiovascular, endocrine, integumentary, nervous, reproductive, cellular, skeletal, hepatic, and respiratory systems.
Although aging is inevitable, the process can be slowed significantly with supplements. Researchers in Argentina have been working to document the ability of royal jelly to both slow down tissue deterioration and even reverse it. For example, the story of Noel Johnson should be noted, as he experienced of rebirth of health at age eighty. In 1964, at age sixty-five he was refused life insurance because of a weak and damaged heart. At this point he was also cautioned to restrict his physical activity in order to prevent death. In 1989, at age ninety, Johnson discussed the book he wrote, The Living Proof… I Have Found the Fountain of Youth, which claims that his use of bee products, along with a solid nutritional program, is responsible for changing his life. Despite the additional exercise and diet changes, Johnson attributes most of his vitality to the bee products he used. He claims that he discovered bee’s gift at age seventy, as the foods restored his manhood, brought him to full vigor and sexual potency, and continue to nourish every cell in his body. Johnson claims to be improving in every way without spending any money on medicine.
Royal jelly has been found to help with many conditions. Some of these include menopause, impotence, infertility, chronic fatigue, skin blemishes, wrinkles, immune system problems, viral and bacterial infections, endocrine disorders, hormonal balance, cardiovascular disease, weight control, inflammation, liver ailments, cancer, arthritis, memory, depression, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, asthma, and mental exhaustion.
In order to obtain the best results when using this, or any bee product, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by royal jelly, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions. Always buy Name brands like Premier One Royal Jelly to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.
Vitamins and Herbs to Fight Sunburns, and Sunblock to Prevent it
February 25, 2010 09:47 AM
Sunburn is the result of excessive exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. The amount of exposure that is required to cause a burn is unique to each individual, the geographical location, the time, and the atmospheric conditions. There are two types of ultraviolet rays, which are designated as ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB). Both types of ultraviolet rays are dangerous. UVB rays attack the skin’s outer layers, while UVA rays attack the underlying layers of the skin.
The majority of sunburns are first-degree burns that cause the skin to become red, warm, and tender to the touch. Depending on the severity of the burn and the individual’s skin type, the burn may subsequently “cool” into a suntan or thin layers of skin may peel off. More serious sunburn can be categorized as a second-degree burn. A second-degree burn consists of extreme reddening, swelling, pain, and even blisters. This is a sign that the burn has gone deeper than just the surface layer of the skin and has caused damage and the release of fluids from cells in the lower layers of the skin. The result of this is eruptions and breaks in the skin where bacteria and other infectious organisms can enter. In the most severe cases, a burn can be accompanied by chills, fever, nausea, and/or delirium. These types of sunburns are extremely painful and are extremely dangerous for children. Sunburn can often be accompanied by dehydration.
Those people who are fair-skinned are more prone to sunburn than those darker-skinned individuals. However, no matter what your skin color, you will burn if you get enough exposure. Symptoms do not always appear while you are in the sun, as they may begin from one hour to twenty-four hours after sun exposure and they usually reach their peak in two to three days.
The effects of sun exposure are becoming an increasing concern today due to the decline in the earth’s ozone layer. The ozone layer is responsible for screening out the most harmful ultraviolet rays, but it is becoming increasingly thinner all over the world. Holes that fluctuate in size have even developed in various places. Additionally, the incidence of skin cancer is growing at an alarming rate. It has been found that having two or more bad episodes of sunburn as a child can make you much more likely to develop skin cancer as an adult.
The following nutrients are recommended for prevention and treatment of sunburn: coenzyme Q10, colloidal silver, DMB, a free-form amino acid complex, L-cysteine, a multivitamin and mineral complex, potassium, Pycnogenol, vitamin A with mixed carotenoids, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, an all-purpose bactericide spray, calcium, magnesium, essential fatty acids, silica, a vitamin B complex, vitamin E oil, and zinc.
Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial in treating sunburn. Aloe vera gel has been noted to be remarkably effective in treating any kind of burn. It is responsible for relieving discomfort, speeding healing, and also helping to moisturize the skin and relieve dryness. A salve of calendula flowers and St. John’s wort can act as painkiller for burns and promote healing of skin wounds because these herbs have antiseptic properties.
Also, Lavender oil or chamomile oil used in a herbal bath can help to minimize the stinging and pain of sunburn. Comfrey and gotu kola tea can be made it to a compress for the affected area. Horsetail is good for tissue repair, while tea tree oil can help to heal sunburn and other skin irritation. Apple cider vinegar diluted with water is a great wash for sunburned areas.
To prevent sunburns, apply sunblock on any exposed skin before going out side to prevent skin damage before it starts.
August 14, 2009 11:49 AM
Mustard is also referred to as mustard greens, Indian mustard, and leaf mustard. This herb is a species of the mustard plant. One of its sub-varieties includes Southern Giant Curled Mustard, which is very similar in appearance to headless cabbage such as Kale. However, it has a distinct horseradish-mustard flavor. It is also known as green mustard cabbage.
The leaves, seeds, and stems of the mustard plant are edible. The plant can be found in some forms of African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Soul food cuisine. The leaves are used in African cooking, and the leaves, seeds, and stems are used in Indian cuisine. The plant has a particularly thick stem, it is used to make the Indian pickle and the Chinese pickle. The mustard made from the seeds of this plant is called brown mustard. The leaves are also used in many Indian dishes.
This species of mustard plant is more pungent than closely-related greens like kale, cabbage, and collard greens. It is often mixed with these milder greens in a dish of mixed greens, which may even include wild greens like dandelion. Mustard greens are high in both vitamin A and K. Mustard greens are often used in Chinese and Japanese cuisines. Asian mustard greens are typically stir-fried or pickled.
The ancient Greeks used mustard for its medicinal value. Additionally, it was used for its flavoring. The Romans also used this herb. They added crushed seeds to wine for a spicy flavor. John Parkinson and Nicholas Culpeper, English herbalists, both recommended mustard for ailments like epileptic seizures and toothaches. The herb was used by Native Americans and early colonists for rheumatism and muscle pain.
Mustard is a strong stimulating herb. It is responsible for promoting the appetite and stimulating the gastric mucous membranes to aid in digestion. An infusion of the mustard seed stimulates urine and helps to promote menstruation. Additionally, it is a valuable emetic for narcotic poisoning, as it empties the stomach without depression of the system. Mustard is often used externally as a plaster or poultice for sore, stiff muscles. A plaster of mustard can also be used to treat congestion, warm the skin, and clear the lungs.
The seeds of the mustard plant are used to provide alterative, analgesic, blood purifier, caminative, digestive, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, irritant, rubefacient, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in mustard are calcium, cobalt, iodine, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, and C. Primarily, mustard is extremely beneficial in dealing with indigestion, liver disorders, and lung disorders.
Additionally, the herb is very helpful in treating appetite loss, arthritis, blood impurities, breath odor, bronchitis, emphysema, sore feet, fevers, gas, hiccups, kidney problems, pleurisy, pneumonia, snakebites, sprains, and sore throat. Before supplementing with this, or any other nutrient, it is important to consult your health care provider. In doing so, you will ensure yourself optimum health benefits. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by mustard, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
August 13, 2009 12:09 PM
The mugwort plant is one of several species in the genus Artemisia. In Northern America, this plant is considered to be an invasive weed. The plant is very common and can be found growing on nitrogenous soils, like weedy uncultivated areas such as waste places and roadsides. The mugwort plant is a tall herbaceous perennial plant that grows from one to two meters tall and has a woody root. The leaves, which are between five to twenty centimeters in length, are dark green, pinnate, with dense hairs on the underside. The stem has a red-purplish tinge. The flowers are rather small with many yellow or dark red petals. This plant can be found flowering from July to September.
The mugwort plant is native to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. Sometimes, it is referred to as the felon herb, St John’s plant, chrysanthemum weed, and wild wormwood. The plant’s root has a history of medicinal use. Mugwort was used in the ancient world as a treatment for fatigue and to guard travelers from evil sprits and wild animals. Roman soldiers are said to have placed mugwort in their sandals to keep their feet energized. One could curb fatigue by chewing mugwort leaves. Sometimes, mugwort is confused with wormwood.
Mugwort is popular in witchcraft. It is said to promote lucid dreaming and astral travel. Smoking or eating mugwort before going to sleep is supposed to make dreams much more intense. It also helps the dreamer to remember them upon waking. This herb contains wormwood oil, thujone, flavonoids, triterpenes, and coumarin derivatives. Thujone is toxic. For this reasons, expectant mothers should avoid consuming large amounts of mugwort. Due to toxicity concerns, the plant is recommended less often now.
In traditional Chinese medicine, mugwort still has a role in an aged, pulverized, and recompounded form. In this form, it is used to correct breech birth presentation. Additionally, mugwort can cause uterine contractions, so it has been used to induce abortion.
The leaves of the mugwort plant have been recommended for colic, diarrhea, constipation, stomach cramps, weak digestion, worm infestation, and persistent vomiting. This herb has also been used to stimulate the secretion of bile and gastric juices. It has also been used as a laxative, liver tonic, and sedative. Mugwort promotes circulation. Additionally, it helps with hysteria, epilepsy, convulsions in children, and menstrual problems. This herb has been used as a tonic to boost energy and strength. It has been used, combined with other ingredients, for neuroses, neurasthenia, depression, hypochondria, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety.
In summary, the root and leaves of the mugwort plant are used to provide abortifacient and anthelminthic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are lipophilic flavonoids and sesquiterpene lactones. Primarily, mugwort is extremely beneficial in treating anxiety, colic, constipation, depression, diarrhea, digestion, epilepsy, hysteria, insomnia, menstrual problems, vomiting, and worms. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by mugwort, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
August 03, 2009 12:53 PM
Saw palmetto was used by Native American tribes in the South for sore eyes. The dried root was used to lower high blood pressure, and the crushed root was applied to sore breasts in women. An early American botanist, John Lloyd, noticed that animals eating the berries were fat and healthy. From 1910 to 1916, saw palmetto was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia. It was also listed in the National Formulary from 1926 to 1950 as a diuretic, sedative, expectorant, and an analgesic recommended for neuralgia. This herb has also been known in folk history as an aphrodisiac and sexual stimulant. Saw palmetto was used to treat urination problems, inflammation of the bladder, and prostate enlargement.
This herb has been used to treat conditions of the genitourinary system. Saw palmetto is also used as an antiseptic, for excessive mucus in the head and sinuses, and for both male and female reproductive organs. This herb is known for its ability to help with male health. However, it also helps with thyroid function, regulating development of the reproductive system, stimulating glandular function, removing excess mucus accumulation in the sinuses, and for colds, sore throat, whooping cough, bronchitis, and asthma. The berries of the saw palmetto plant are useful for improving digestion, increasing weight, and building strength. This herb has even been reported for its ability to increase the size of breast in women of child-bearing age. Often, this herb is found in herbal combinations for diabetes, thyroid function, digestion, nutrition, female reproductive problems, and prostate difficulties.
Studies have determined that saw palmetto has diuretic properties. It is also very effective in treating an enlarged prostate and other prostate disorders. Great deals of men suffer from prostate problems which have an effect on sexual function and obstruct the bladder. Research published in the Animals of Urology studied a group of men with enlarged prostate glands. The group that was taking saw palmetto increased their urine flow rate by fifty percent. The herb also reduced the number of times they got up at night to urinate by forty-five percent. On the other hand, the group taking the placebo had a response increase of nine percent. Studies on laboratory animals have found that the hexane extract found in saw palmetto contain anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory activity. One study found that saw palmetto produces better results over a three-month period to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia than the common drug prescribed for this condition.
The fruit of the saw palmetto plant is used to provide alterative, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, diuretic, and sedative properties. The primary nutrient found in this herb is vitamin A. Primarily, saw palmetto is extremely beneficial in treating gastric disorders, glandular problems, hormone imbalance, impotence, indigestion, prostate problems, and reproductive organs. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with alcoholism, asthma, Bright’s disease, bronchitis, colds, diabetes, frigidity, infertility, kidney disorders, lung congestion, excessive mucus, nerve pain, neuralgia, obesity, sore throat, and urinary problems. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by saw palmetto, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
Saw palmetto is available in capsule, tablet, and softgel forms at your local or internet health food store. always purchase name brands like Solaray and Source Naturals to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.
July 20, 2009 11:51 AM
Valerian was used by ancient Greeks for digestion, nausea, and urinary tract disorders. A famous Greek physician, Galen, was known for prescribing valerian to be used as a decongestant. Herbalist John Gerard recommended valerian for chest congestion, convulsions, and bruises in 1597. Additionally, Native Americans traditionally used valerian for healing wounds. It was also accepted as a tranquilizer from 1820 to 1942 and was listed this way until 1950.
One of the most valuable properties of valerian is its ability to produce a deep, satisfying sleep. This herb acts as a relaxant and is an effective remedy for fighting against insomnia. The active ingredients that are found in valerian root are also responsible for relaxing smooth muscle tissue and also depressing the central nervous system. It seems as if there is no single component of valerian that is entirely responsible for all of its sedative activity. Instead, several of the constituents of valerian are responsible for causing the sedative effect when combined together. Like other standard sleep aids that are often prescribed, valerian works in the same way. However, it possesses an advantage in the fact that it does not cause the morning grogginess that is often linked to prescription sleep medications.
There have been many different studies conducted which have all led to the belief that valerian possesses benefits for insomnia, anxiety, and stress. Valerian is also extremely useful for all kinds f sleep disorders, especially when those sleep disorders are related to anxiety, nervousness, headache pain, or even physical and mental exhaustion. Research has proven that valerian is not only effective in treating insomnia, but also in reducing sleep latency and night awakenings.
Valerian has been shown to be great for the heart, lungs, liver, stomach, and the nerves and the brain. It has also shown possibilities in helping with epilepsy, hysteria, migraines, and the elimination of worms. It does all of these things because it works to calm anxiety, muscle spasms, and nervous tension. In addition to the ability to relax and calm, valerian can help to improve mental acuity and coordination. One study even found that those individuals who were hyperactive were able to concentrate for longer periods of time with the assistance of valerian.
Valerian is rich in calcium, which gives it to the ability to strengthen the spine, nerves, and brain. This herb is also high in magnesium and manganese. Both of these minerals work with calcium in order to build healthy bones and nervous system. Valerian is high in selenium, which strengthens the body against immune related disorders. The niacin content that is found in valerian helps to prevent cholesterol build-up, irritability, depression, loss of memory, and weakness. This herb also contains potassium, iron, sodium, zinc, silicon, and vitamins A and C. There appear to be no contraindications to the use of valerian during pregnancy or lactation. Valerian is thought to be safe for almost everyone. Although safe, this herb is usually recommended for short-term use.
Great herbs like valerian are available in capsule, tablet, and liquid extract forms at your local or internet health food store. For more information about valerian and its benefits, contact your local health food retailer. Always purchase name brands to ensure quality and purity of the valerian product you purchase.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Natural herbs 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.
Hops and St. John's Wort
July 15, 2009 12:17 PM
St. John’s wort has emerged recently as an herb that is known to assist the nervous system. Quite a few naturopathic physicians rank kava kava, valerian, St. John’s wort, passionflower, and hops as the most effective herbs for treating insomnia. A study that took place in 1994 and was published in the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology proved that St. John’s wort extracts increased deep sleep during the total sleeping period of the patients. This study also makes an interesting connection between sleep and depression. It was found that many standard antidepressants and MAO inhibitors used to treat those people who suffer from depression cause a decrease in deep sleep. St. John’s wort has demonstrated the ability to treat both insomnia and depression.
Hops, an herb that is commonly found throughout the world, was originally used as a food. The tips of the food were both cooked and eaten. The young plants were the ones eaten because the older plants were too tough. A famous herbalist, Gerarde, recommended using the buds of these plants in salads, while the Romans anciently used hops as a food and Native American tribes found hops to be of great value. Hops have been appreciated for a long time for its nervine properties. A hop was first used as a beer ingredient in England around 1500. At this point, hops farmers noticed that their farmhands often seemed tired and easily fatigued. With time, the herb gained a huge reputation as a natural sedative. Pillows were filled with hops to promote rest and relaxation during the reign of King George when people were recovering from an illness.
Lupulin is a compound that is found in hops. It is described as a sedative and hypnotic drug. Certain parts of the plant have been found to have sedative and hypnotic effects. This herb is known to be fast-acting, soothing, and calming to the nervous system. Additionally, it is another nervine herb that assists in promoting sleep. It is mainly used to alleviate nervous tension and promote restful sleep. Also, hops is used for antispasmodic effects. Its relaxing effect has the potential to calm the nerves and muscles in cases of muscle spasms. This herb has also been shown to contain appetizing and tonic properties. It acts as a stimulant to the glands and muscles of the stomach, while calming the hyperexcitable gastric nerves. Hops also has a relaxing influence upon the liver and gall duct, and a laxative effect on the bowels.
Along with other uses, hops is also used for its antibiotic properties. It is very helpful for sore throats, bronchitis, infections, high fevers, delirium, toothaches, earaches, and pain. A hops remedy is a great way to help with inflammation, boils, tumors, and swelling. Hops is extremely high in B-complex vitamins, which are known for their calming effect on the nervous system. B vitamins also promote energy and aid in problems of depression, anxiety, nervousness, and memory. Additionally, hops is extremely rich in potassium, which is necessary for nerve transmission, contraction of muscles, and hormone secretion. Low levels of potassium are often found in those people who have high blood pressure. Additionally, hops contains magnesium, zinc, copper, iodine, manganese, iron, sodium, and fluoride.
Hops and st. Johns wort are a wonderful herb that has many therapeutic uses. Hops and st. Johns wort come in tea bag, capsule, and tablet forms at your local or internet health food store. For more information on St. John’s wort and hops, contact your local health food store.
June 26, 2009 12:15 PM
Depression affects 22 percent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and older each year. It is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. Depression affects both young and old, and women twice as much as men. Depression is an illness of the whole body. It affects the nervous system, moods, thoughts, and behavior. It also affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you react to and think about the people and things around you. Symptoms of depression can last for weeks, months, or years. There are various types of depression, which vary in the number of symptoms, the severity, and persistence.
People with depression generally withdraw and hide from society, losing interest in things around them and becoming incapable of experiencing pleasure. Symptoms of depression include chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, headaches, backaches, digestive disorders, restlessness, irritability, quickness to anger, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies, and feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. Many people who are depressed think about death and consider suicide. Things appear bleak and time seems to pass slowly. Someone with depression can be chronically angry and irritable, sad and despairing, or display little or no emotion at all. Some people try to sleep off depression, while others do nothing but sit or lie around.
There are three main types of clinical depression: major depressive disorder, dysthmyic disorder, and bipolar depression. There are variations in the number of associated mental symptoms, severity, and persistence within these types. Dysthmic disorder is a chronic, but less severe type of depresses ion. It is characterized by milder, persistent symptoms that may last for years. It usually doesn’t interfere with everyday tasks. Bipolar disorders usually begin as depression but progress into alternating episodes of depression and mania, characterized by abnormally and persistently elevated mood, energy, restlessness, or irritability. Bipolar depression is commonly known as manic depression. It has other symptoms including inflated self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, and increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, distractibility, physical agitation, and excessive risk-taking.
The causes of depression are not fully understood. However, it is assumed that there are most likely many and they are varied. Depression may be triggered by tension, stress, a traumatic life event, a hyper-stimulated immune system, chemical imbalances in the brain, thyroid disorders, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, the consumption of sugar, mononucleosis, lack of exercise, endometriosis, any serious physical disorder, or even allergies. Whatever the factors that trigger it, depression starts with a disturbance in the part of the brain that governs moods. Most people can handle everyday stresses, with their bodies simply readjusting to these pressures. When stress is too great for a person and his or her adjustment mechanism is unresponsive, depression may be triggered.
The following vitamin nutrients are helpful for those who are suffering from depression: essential fatty acids, 5-HTP, L-tyrosine, SAMe, taurine, omega-3, vitamin B complex, zinc, choline, calcium, magnesium, chromium, GABA, lithium, NADH, and vitamin C with bioflavonoids. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: lemon balm, ginger, ginkgo biloba, licorice root, oat straw, peppermint, Siberian ginseng, kava kava, and St. John’s wort.
Great vitamin supplements like the ones listed above are available at your local or internet health food store. When looking for natural vitamin supplements, always look for name brands to ensure that you receive a high quality and pure product.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs 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.
Borage Seed Oil (GLA)
June 10, 2009 11:34 AM
Borage, often referred to as starflower, is an annual herb that originated in Syria. However, it was naturalized throughout the Mediterranean region and in Asia Minor, Europe, North Africa, and South America. The plant grows to a height of two to three feet, having a bristly hair all over the stems and leaves. The leaves are alternate, simple, and ranging from two to six inches in length, while the flower are complete with five narrow, triangular-pointed petals. The borage flower is most often blue in color, but occasionally pink flowers are observed. White flowers can also be cultivated. The borage plant has an indeterminate growth habit, which may lead to prolific spreading. In milder climates, borage will bloom for most of the year continuously.
Borage was often used to flavor wine drank by ancient Celtic warriors before going into battle because it held the reputation of enhancing both courage and strength. During the middle Ages, the leaves and flowers of the borage plant were combined with wine to relieve melancholy. The Roman scholar Pliny believed that this herb was useful for treating depression and lifting the spirits. John Gerard, a sixteenth-century herbalist, thought of borage as an herb to comfort the heart and increase joy.
In addition to its mood-boosting properties, borage is often used to treat bronchitis. This is because of its soothing effect and its ability to reduce inflammation and detoxify the body. Borage is known to help heal the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat and to stimulate activity in the kidneys and adrenal glands to rid the body of catarrh.
Also, borage is useful for restoring vitality during recovery from an illness. This herb is helpful for treating problems of the digestive system and has been used to increase quantity and quality of mother’s milk. Borage was traditionally cultivated for culinary and medicinal uses, but today it is commercially cultivated as an oilseed. The seed oil provides a desired source of GLA, for which borage is the highest known plant-based source. Virgin borage oil contains essential fatty acids, especially when they are in concentrations with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This fatty acid can account for as much as 26 percent of the oil’s content. It is best known for its source of concentrated GLA. The borage plant is known to stimulate the adrenal glands to help the body during stressful times.
Borage includes use as either a fresh vegetable or a dried herb. As a fresh vegetable, borage has a cucumber-like taste and is often used in salads or as a garnish. The flower has a sweet honey-like taste and is one of the few truly blue-colored things that are edible, making it popular for the decoration of dessert.
The leaves of the borage plant are used to provide blood purifier, diaphoretic, febrifuge, galactoagogue, and purgative properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb include calcium and potassium. Primarily, borage is most beneficial in dealing with bronchitis, congestion, inflammation of the eyes, fevers, heart problems, absence of lactation, excessive mucus, PMS and rashes. Additionally, this herb is extremely helpful in treating blood impurities, colds, gastric disorders, insomnia, jaundice, lung disorders, nervous disorders, pleurisy, ringworm, and urinary problems.
Borage oil is available in softgel or bulk liquid forms at your local or internet health food store. Always purchase name brands to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase. For more information on the beneficial effects of borage, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
April 05, 2009 01:40 PM
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the newest name that has been given to a group of disorders of the central nervous system. With the long list of names this disorder has been given over the years, it is often confusing as to which criteria are for a diagnosis of ADHD or ADD. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children in the United States have ADHD, meaning that at least one child in a classroom of twenty-five to thirty children will have ADHD. There are three times as many boys diagnosed with ADHD, but the condition is increasingly being diagnosed in girls as well.
Although ADHD was primarily thought of as a childhood disorder, it can be found in adults as well. Experts have estimated that as many as 8 million adults may be affected, but 80 percent of them do not realize it. Some studies show that there is significant decline in ADHD symptoms as a person ages, while others estimate that between 30 and 70 percent of children with ADHD will carry some symptoms into adulthood. ADHD is a more complex disorder in adults, but it manifests itself into a problem with self-regulation. Without this self-control, an adult’s ability to do tasks is impaired. This condition can lead to marital conflicts, substance abuse, and financial problems. Infidelity is common because ADHD adults easily become bored with things, including spouses.
Factors that have been linked to the development of ADHD include heredity, anxiety, allergies, smoking during pregnancy, hyperinsulinemia, oxygen deprivation at birth, environmental stress or pollutants, artificial food additives, injury, infection, lead poisoning, and prenatal trauma. More emphasis has been placed on the role of diet in ADHD in recent years. Many people with these conditions react to certain preservatives, dyes, and salicylates in foods. These problems can cause the balance of chemistry in the brain to be thrown off, which produces undesirable changes in behavior. A low-protein diet may also be a contributing factor. Although a hotly debated topic for decades, studies have definitely shown that food additives do play a major role in hyperactivity.
Many researchers feel that ADHD is being over-diagnosed nowadays. It is difficult to accurately diagnose this condition because many of the symptoms appear in the normal, healthy children at many times during childhood. In fact, more than 60 percent of parents suspect that their child has ADHD at some point in their upbringing. What may merely be creativity or a high energy level can be diagnosed as ADHD. A diagnosis of ADHD should be made by a team of specialists who are experts in the disorder and it is wise to get a second opinion.
One should considered nutritional deficiencies and dietary measures for treating ADHD. The following nutrients are recommended: calcium, magnesium, GABA, a multivitamin and mineral complex, Omega-3 fish oil, Pycnogenol, Quercetin, SAMe, acetylcholine, DMAE, l-cysteine, phosphatidyl serine, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, and zinc. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: ginkgo biloba, ginseng, mullein oil, valerian root, catnip, chamomile, gotu kola, hops, kava kava, lemon balm, licorice, lobelia, oats, passionflower, skullcap, St. John’s wort, thyme, and wood betony.
Creating a nutritionally sound diet for children and adults can go a long way to controlling ADHD and ADD in general. Reducing sugar intake and adding good quality food that hasn’t been over processed which removes the needed vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients we all need to live healthy lives. The above vitamins, minerals and herbs are suggested to be helpful for those suffering as well as those who aren’t, but always consult your health care provider before adding dietary supplements to ones diet while on prescription drugs. Quality vitamins can be found at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs 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.
April 01, 2009 05:35 PM
Infertility is typically defined as a failure to conceive after a year or more of regular intimate activity during the time of ovulation. This term can also refer to the inability to carry a pregnancy to term. About 6.1 million American couples are impaired when it comes to their ability to have children, with 2.1 million of these couples being infertile. The exact cause of the problem can be extremely difficult to pinpoint, as ovulation, fertilization, and the passage to the fertilized ovum through the fallopian tube and to the uterus are extremely complex processes. In order for pregnancy to occur, many events must work together perfectly.
In 40 percent of infertile couples, problems that affect the male partner are either partially or wholly the cause of infertility. Infertility in men is usually the result of a low sperm count or an anatomical abnormality. There are a variety of factors that can result in a low sperm count. Among these factors are alcohol consumption, endocrine disorders, exposure to toxins, radiation or excessive heat, recent acute illness or prolonged fever, testicular injury, and rarely, mumps-induced wasting of the testicles. An abnormal enlargement of veins that drain the testicles, referred to as varicoceles, can cause infertility in men. This is because the veins of the testes are no longer able to moderate the temperature of the testicles correctly, which can negatively affect sperm.
The most common causes of infertility in women include an ovulatory failure or defect, blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. Additionally, some women are able to develop antibodies to their partners’ sperm, which causes the woman to almost be allergic to them. Chlamydia, a transmitted disease which affects 4 million Americans each year, also causes many cases of infertility. There are also psychological issues, such as stress or fear of parenthood, which can also contribute to infertility.
However, in most cases, stress is usually the result of infertility, not the cause of it. Sperm abnormalities account for about 41 percent of infertility cases. The following reasons are the most common to explain why couples cannot conceive: the woman has endometriosis; the man has abnormal sperm, a low sperm count, or erectile dysfunction; the woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked; ovulation takes place rarely or irregularly; the couple is unable to have complete intimate relations; the cervical mucous attacks and kills the sperm; the woman does not manufacture enough progesterone to carry a baby to term; the woman is over thirty-four; and/or one or both members of the couple eats a poor diet and experiences too much stress. The following nutrients are extremely beneficial in helping one or both partners deal with infertility: selenium, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, zinc, DMG, octacosanol, phosphatidyl choline, essential fatty acids, l-arginine, manganese, proteolytic enzymes, pycnogenol, raw orchic glandular, raw ovarian glandular, 7-keto DHEA, vitamin A, and vitamin B complex. Also, the following herbs have been shown to be beneficial in dealing with infertility: astragalus, damiana, ginseng, sarsaparilla, saw palmetto, yohimbe, dong quai, false unicorn root, gotu kola, licorice root, wild yam root, green oat, and yin-yang-huo. It should also be noted that heavy use of Echinacea, ginkgo biloba, and St. John’s wort may cause infertility in men, and should be avoided.
Infertility can be a complicated and mentally depressing due to lack of pregnancy by both men and women. Depression can lead to more stress and needs managed by a health care provider. Always consult your doctor when you think you are infertile. Natural vitamins like the ones listed above are available at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands vitamins to ensure you receive quality supplements.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins and herbs 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.
March 27, 2009 01:56 PM
Menopause is the time at which a woman stops ovulating and menstruation ceases, which indicates the end of fertility. Menopause is not a disease, but rather a natural progression in life, similar to puberty. Many years before a woman stops ovulating, her ovaries will begin to slow their production of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Estrogen and progesterone are often thought of as the reproductive hormones.
Although estrogen is essential in reproduction, it is also extremely important in other non-reproductive organs and systems in the body. Cells in the uterus, bladder, breasts, skin, bones, arteries, heart, liver, and brain all contain estrogen receptors. These organs need this hormone in order to stimulate these receptors for normal cell function. Estrogen is needed to keep the skin smooth and moist and the body’s internal thermostat working properly. Estrogen is also essential for proper bone formation. Even though estrogen levels drop sharply after menopause, they do not disappear entirely. Other organs take over for the ovaries, continuing to produce a less potent form of estrogen. These organs, known as endocrine glands, secrete some hormones from fatty tissue in order to maintain bodily functions.
Progesterone works along with estrogen, stimulating changes in the lining of the uterus to complete the preparation for a fertilized egg during the second half of the menstrual cycle. If no egg is fertilized, the uterine lining is broken down and expelled, allowing the cycle to being again. Progesterone also has effects beyond the reproductive system, as it calms the brain and also affects other aspects of nervous system function. Testosterone is most important for both men and women, with women producing about 80 percent less than men do. However, it is the driving force for maintaining a healthy life and proper functioning organs.
The period when a woman’s body is preparing for menopause is known as perimenopause. For the majority of women, hormone production beings to slow down then they reach their thirties, continuing to diminish with age. Many women will experience few if any symptoms at this time, but others may suffer from anxiety, dry skin, fatigue, feelings of bloating, headaches, heart palpitations, hot flashes, insomnia, irritability, decreased interest in their significant other, loss of concentration, mood swings, night sweats, reduced stamina, urinary incontinence, uterine dryness and itching, weight gain, cold hands and feet, joint pain, hair loss, and/or skin changes.
Menopause occurs when a woman stops menstruating altogether. At this point, most of the acute problems a woman may have experienced are actually over and a new balance between all hormones should be established. However, women become increasingly vulnerable to other, potentially serious health problems at this time. Over the long term, the diminished supply of estrogen increased the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and uterine atrophy. Osteoporosis especially is a major problem for women after menopause, with an estimated 80 percent of the hip fractures that occur in the United States every year being due to osteoporosis.
A proper diet, nutritional supplements, and exercise can help to minimize or eliminate most of the unpleasant side effects of menopause. The following nutrients are recommended for dealing with this stage of life: beta-1, cerasomal, coenzyme Q10, DHEA, essential fatty acids, lecithin granules, a multi-enzyme complex, soy protein, vitamin B complex, vitamin D3, vitamin E, boron, calcium, magnesium, quercetin, silica, zinc, l-arginine, multiglandular complex, a multivitamin and mineral complex, vitamin C, aloe vera gel, slippery elm, damiana, amaranth, chickweed, dandelion greens, nettle, seaweed, watercress, anise, black cohosh, fennel, licorice, raspberry, sage, unicorn root, wild yam root, hops, valerian root, gotu kola, red clover, dong quai, St. John’s wort, and Siberian ginseng.
All these above listed vitamins and herbs are available in capsule, tablet, or powder forms. When looking for natural alternatives to help replace estrogen naturally, look to your local or internet health food store for name brand products that can help restore an imbalance over time.
October 15, 2008 09:46 AM
To fight off aging you have to understand what causes it, and the take steps to avoid these causes. It is fairly obvious that all causes of aging cannot be circumvented, but there are things that can be done to keep some of them at bay. Here, we are specifically concerned with the aging of your skin, which is the most visible form of aging. The first aspect of aging to understand is that there are two types: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Intrinsic aging is natural aging, and is largely genetic. Starting when you are fairly young, normally in the early to mid 20s, intrinsic aging is typified by wrinkling, hair loss or graying of the hair, hollowing of cheeks and other areas where the fat underneath the skin that normally contributes to your physical appearance is lost, and also bone loss that causes your skin to sag due a gradual loss of the structure that sculpts your physical appearance.
The age at which this occurs, and its speed is determined by your genes; although the process generally begins around the mid 20s, the speed with which it progresses is genetically controlled.
This is where grape seed extract can help. Extrinsic aging is not genetic, but environmental. Ten majority of this type of aging is due to exposure to the damaging UV light of the sun, which cause the typical 'leathery' look of the skin of people raised in areas such locations as the hotter parts of Australia and the USA, without the benefit of the native skin pigmentation that filters out these harmful ultra-violet rays.
Other factors that can cause the same degradation of your skin cells are smoking, the way you sleep and gravity. The sun generates free radicals (more on these later) that can destroy skin cells, cause freckles, leathery skin and a blotched complexion and also skin cancer. Smokers are more likely to develop leathery and wrinkled skin than non-smokers, and as the elasticity of your skin reduces, gravity cause jowls to develop and also a more pronounced lower lip.
Even your sleeping position can make you appear to age quicker, particularly using the same sleeping position on your pillow each night that cause what are known as sleep lines, that are really wrinkles that are difficult, if not impossible to remove. However, one of the most relevant factors is pollution, and the effects of car emissions, pesticides and other agricultural chemicals, paint fumes and 1001 other forms of chemical pollution that produce free radicals.
Where grape seed extract is involved in fighting off aging is in extrinsic aging is by destroying the free radicals. All substances, from the air to the oceans, are formed of atoms that contain electrons. Stable molecules contain an even number of electrons, or what are known as 'electron pairs'. When a molecule loses one electron it is known as a free radical, whose prime purpose in its very short life is to steal an electron from the nearest molecule. This 'short' lifetime can as long as a day or as short as thousandth of a second: it depends on is size and the degree of steric hindrance to the reaction with the spare electron.
Now that the reasons for aging and the nature of free radicals are better understood it is easier for you understand why grape seed extract can help to fight aging caused by the effects of free radicals on your skin.
Grape seed is a waste product of the wine industry. You cannot make wine from grape seeds, so they are removed from the final product by filtration or sedimentation. It contains a large number of phytonutrients, the most important being polyphenols in the form of flavanoids, lipids and carbohydrates. It also contains proteins that don't have much of an effect on aging. Flavonoids (also spelled flavanoids) are powerful antioxidants that destroy free radicals; they are twenty times as powerful as Vitamin E and over fifty times more powerful an antioxidant than Vitamin C.
Both of these vitamins are regarded as strong antioxidants in their own right, which is an indication of how good grape seed extract is at killing free radicals. It's like a combination of Harry Callahan, Paul Kersey, John McClane and the whole of the Magnificent Seven after the scavengers in your body cells. They succeed, and do it in spades!
Not only do the ingredients of grape seed extract kill off free radicals with the efficiency of a Delta Task Force, but are also anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti just about anything else you can think of. However, let's have an even closer look and find out exactly what polyphenols are present in this so-called wonder juice.
Procyanadin was originally named Vitamin P in 1936 by its discoverer, Prof. Jacques Masquelier, and is believed to bond with collagen to protect you from premature aging by retaining and even improving the elasticity of your skin. An added benefit is that it also improves the elasticity of your blood vessels, and so helps to fight off the effects of high blood pressure and places less strain on your heart. The overall effect on your face is to practically give you a chemical face lift and also provide protection from the damaging effect of the UV component of sunlight through its lethal attitude towards the free radicals that UV radiation generates.
Another component of grape seed extract particularly that of muscadine grapes is resveratrol; a phytoalexin that has strong anti-inflammatory properties and can also fight off the effects of aging. Phytoalexins are antibiotics produced by plants that are under attack, and, in addition to helping you age slower, confers other benefits to your body including helping your brain to carry out its work more efficiently.
All in all, grape seed extract confers many benefits to your health and is also believed to possess powerful anti-cancer properties. However, it is for its ability to fight off aging that most people use it as a supplement, and in this respect it has been found to be extremely effective. Any antioxidant is of benefit to your body, but grape seed extract is of particular benefit due its high antioxidant potency.
August 15, 2008 03:51 PM
DHA is the most abundant essential fatty acid (polyunsaturated fatty acids) found in the brain and retina. DHA is essential for the proper functioning of our brains as adults, and for the development of our nervous system and visual abilities during the first 6 months of life. DHA is found in cold water fatty fish, including salmon, tuna (blue fin tuna have up to five times more DHA than other types of tuna), mackerel, sardines, shellfish, and herring. Lets take a look at what DHA can do for you.
DHA makes infant formulas more like human milk than "conventional" formula containing Alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid, which are precursors to DHA. It has been an ingredient in several brands of premium infant formula sold in North America since 2001. Mead Johnson was the first infant formula manufacturer to add DHA and ARA (arachidonic acid) to its Enfamil Lipil product, several other manufacturers have followed. DHA levels in breast milk are higher if a mother's diet is high in fish.
DHA is also present normally in very high concentrations in the retina. DHA supplementation would be particularly important for mothers who have consumed excessive alcohol, because alcohol inhibits the desaturase enzymes necessary for DHA synthesis. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is a type of Omega-3 fatty acid, a nutrient that has been studied for its role in heart, brain and eye health. An experiment that studied the individual effects of EPA and DHA found that EPA reduced natural killer (NK) cell activity and cell-mediated immune response, but that DHA does not so this study concluded that the immune-suppressing effects of fish oil are mainly due to EPA, not DHA.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help lower triglycerides (fats in the blood), lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of blood clots, improve the health of arteries and reduce the amount of arterial plaque (which narrows arteries and causes heart disease). Many people believe that excessively high omega-6 rather than omega-3 in the modern diet is responsible for an increase in allergies and the need to take aspirin to reduce the risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction).
Sunflower, safflower and corn oil are particularly rich sources of linoleic acid, which is at the root of the omega-6 fatty-acid family. The ability of enzymes to produce the omega-6 and omega-3 family of products of linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid declines with age this is why we need more omega 3 DHA in our diets. In fact, a high omega-3 fatty acid diet increases the alpha-tocopherol content of heart muscle membranes by five times, and this effect is most prominently associated with DHA because the heart muscle prefers DHA as its raw materials to manufacture and strengthen its membranes.
Dietary DHA may reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing the level of blood triglycerides in humans. Low levels of DHA result in reduction of brain serotonin levels and have been associated with ADHD, Alzheimer's disease, and depression, among other diseases, and there is mounting evidence that DHA supplementation may be effective in combating inflammatory bowel disease as well.
Dietary changes in the past century have lowered the consumption of omega-3 to a state of subclinical deficiency that is epidemiologically related to cardiovascular disease, inflammatory disorders, mental and psychiatric diseases and suboptimal neurodevelopment. Decreases in DHA in the brain are associated with cognitive decline during aging and with onset of sporadic Alzheimer disease. DHA has a positive effect on diseases such as hypertension, arthritis, atherosclerosis,, adult-onset diabetes, mellitus, thrombosis, and some cancers.
In conclusion, if consuming DHA through your diet is impossible, you can purchase DHA as a supplement in two common forms: Fish oil capsules or DHA extracted from algae. Consuming DHA may help support body tissues in which DHA is prevalent — especially the brain, nervous system, heart, retinas, and colon. Staying healthy is important, have you had your DHA today?
July 31, 2008 02:46 PM
Feverfew is most commonly used in the treatment and prevention of migraine headaches. Migraines are extremely common and can be very difficult to treat. Other methods of relieving pain have been explored because, for many migraine sufferers, conventional treatments have not been successful. Feverfew is one of the most successful forms of alternative treatments that have been found for treating migraines. Many studies have been conducted which have validated the already existing knowledge of many herbalists: feverfew is a great tool for helping to prevent migraines in many cases.
Although feverfew had long been used for treating headaches, its popularity declined with the advent of modern medicine. The herb has resurged into medical interest after the wife of a doctor who worked for the British National Coal Board had been suffering from migraines and was told by a coal miner to trey chewing on two feverfew leaves a day. After trying the herb, the woman noticed improvement, with fewer and less severe migraines. Her husband then urged a migraine specialist in London, Dr. E. Stewart Johnson, to test feverfew, with the results of several studies now showing it to be effective.
Dr. Johnson agreed to try the herb because he had many patients who had been suffering from migraine pain for years and had yet to find a successful treatment. Originally, he tried the herbal remedy on only ten of his patients. The results of this trial were so promising that it led to a study of another 270 of his patients, with seventy percent reporting that they received significant improvement when receiving feverfew for their headache pain.
Following this, a group of researchers in the City of London Migraine Clinic were led by Dr. Johnson to conduct a study, which was reported in the British Medical Journal, investigating seventeen patients who had already been using feverfew for at least three months. All were asked to discontinue use of their original method of treating with feverfew. Eight patients were given a capsule of feverfew, while the other nine were given a placebo.
Those that were given a placebo had an increase in frequency and severity of headaches, nausea, and vomiting, while those that were given feverfew capsules had no increase in frequency or severity of their migraines. This research has led to the belief that feverfew is advantageous in the prevention of migraines. Many other studies have been done to further test the effects of feverfew. It has been concluded that feverfew treatment is effective and there were always definite improvements in the group that used feverfew. Additionally, there were no serious side-effects that appeared to exist.
Feverfew seems to have similar properties as NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Also, the parthenolide that is found in feverfew is the main inhibitor for the formation of compounds that promote inflammation. Parthenolide reduces the secretory activity of blood platelets and white blood cells. This is important because migraines are thought to be associated with abnormal platelet behavior, as they are responsible for the release of serotonin, which constricts blood vessels and leads to migraine pain.
Feverfew is now recognized by the British and Canadian governments as a migraine treatment and is often prescribed by doctors. Many physicians and pharmacists have recent began to take more interest in the use of herbal remedies, especially since patients are beginning to become more interested in natural methods of healing.
Capsicum - Cayenne Red Pepper
July 28, 2008 03:06 PM
Capsicum also known as cayenne pepper has been known to the natives of the tropical Americas for thousands of years. It was first introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus as Guinea Pepper and was originally used by Native Americans that were located south of the Mexican boarder as early as 700 B.C. The mixture of chocolate and red chilies was a taste treat that was reserved exclusively for Aztec royalty. Although the exact origin of the word Capsicum is somewhat a mystery, it is assumed to be derived from the Greek word kapto, which means to bite. Capsicum is a fruit found on a shrub-like tropical plant that is technically considered a berry. The designation of it as a pepper can be traced back to Columbus, who compared its hot taste sensation with that, a black pepper.
Gerard referred to Capsicum as extremely hot and dry in 1597 and prescribed it to those with skin and throat infections. The health practitioners of the 1800s used Capsicum to counteract rheumatism, arthritis, depression, and chills. Capsicum was used in the early 1800s as a potent and safe natural stimulant and was believed to be able to treat a large array of diseases. It was first used orally to treat tumors, toothaches, fevers, and respiratory conditions.
This cayenne red pepper was introduced to England by Dr. John Stevens in 1804 when it became the catalyst component in many herbal blends. Additionally, herbal and medical practitioners used Capsicum in order to fight infection and sustain the natural heat that the body produces. After, it became very well known in American dispensatories and pharmacopeia. In 1943, The Dispensary of the United States recorded Capsicum to be a powerful local stimulant that produces a sense of heat in the stomach and a general glow over the whole body when it is swallowed. It does all of this without having a narcotic effect.
Physicians in the twentieth-century recognized the medicinal value of Capsicum. This caused the herb to find its way to the American Illustrated Medical Dictionary, the Merck Manual and Materia Medica, where it is named a rubefacient, local stimulant, counter-irritant, gastric stimulant, and diaphoretic. Mexican Indians today use Capsicum as an intestinal disinfectant and protectant against contaminated food and, additionally, to treat fevers. In the world today, this cayenne pepper is no more appreciated and more widely used than in Mexico and a few other Latin American countries, which together are the original home of all the peppers. Practically every dish the Indians eat both in the morning and evening include Capsicum, just as it was 2,000 years ago. These peppers are a wonderful source of essential vitamins in a diet that is otherwise lacking of them.
Capsicum is a source of health and vitality in many countries which include the Bahamas and Costa Rica, in which it is used to treat colic and indigestion, in Africa for vascular disorders, and in North America as a tonic and natural stimulant. Currently undergoing a large variety of studies, Capsicum has emerged with an impressive list of actions. Scientists are currently taking notice and looking at Capsicum with a new respect and interest. Capsicum can be set apart from powerful pharmaceutical stimulants and pain killers because it possesses the potency without the delirious side effects.
St. John's Wort
June 22, 2008 08:52 AM
St. John's Wort is a plant with yellow flowers that researchers continue to look at for its health and well-being benefits. A perennial herb, it is from Europe and found its way to America with settlers. It is commonplace in meadows and fields. The first recorded use of St. John's Wort was in ancient Greece. It also goes by the following names: hypericum, Klamath weed and goat weed.
For centuries, this plant has found use as a medicine for depression and anxiety. People often used it to treat mental conditions and nerve pain. Today, people use the herb to treat sleep disorders and anxiety as well as a treatment for mild to moderate depression. In Europe, St. John's Wort is available as a prescription medicine and finds wide use there.
In the United States, it is an herbal supplement and does not have classification by the government as a prescription medicine. However, there is great interest in the U.S. in this herb's capabilities as treatment for depression. Studies show St. John's Wort has a minimal effect on major depression. There is evidence though that it is a useful herb for treating milder depression. Some studies show it acts similar to synthetic antidepressants by affecting the neurotransmitters in the brain. There is also evidence that it produces fewer side effects than these synthetics.
In North America, St. John's Wort comes in capsule, tablet, liquid extract, oil-based skin lotions and tea form. The flower tops of the plant find use in tea formulations. The major active elements in the herb, considered by some researchers as antidepressants, are hyperforin and hypericin. Studies suggest that the hyperforin in the herb plays a part in helping people decrease alcohol consumption. In addition, hyperforin has beneficial antibacterial properties. The plant also contains essential oils and flavonoids. Native Americans have a history of use of St. John's Wort as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent agent.
If you decide to try St. John's Wort, you must consult with a health care professional first, as this herb interacts with other medications. Evidence shows that it can affect anticoagulant drugs and contraceptive pills. It can also affect medication needed to treat high blood pressure.
One study of St. John's Wort showed it was beneficial to a group who consumed 300 mg. three times daily compared to a group who took a placebo only. This study occurred over a four-week period. Sixty-seven percent of the St. John's Wort group experienced improvement of their depression compared to 28 percent of the placebo group. This study included only those suffering from mild depression. What was important in this study was that there were no adverse side effects from the St. John's Wort as compared to synthetic antidepressants. This was significant because many patients often refuse standard antidepressants because of the harmful and bothersome side effects they produce.
There is no denying that St. John's Wort has a long tradition as a medicine to treat anxiety and depression. This is why studies continue into its effectiveness. Researchers do not want to ignore repeated testimonials about the herb's antidepressant capabilities; they seek to make sure these claims are legitimate by having facts to back them up.
Thirty-seven trials that met criteria for being credible received recognition concerning St. John's Wort. They received summarization in a study. (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 1998, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD000448. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000448.pub2.)
The conclusion reached upon analysis of the studies showed St. John's Wort could benefit those with milder types of depression. No conclusive evidence exists that more severe types receive anything more than minimum benefits from the St. John's Wort products that were part of the studies. The researchers stress that their analysis applies only to certain products they tested, not every St. Johns Wort formulation on the market. Many are of different pharmaceutical quality and of different strengths and purities.
Research will continue into this natural product that the earth provides us. At the very least, St. John's Wort does help some forms of depression. The jury is out on whether its benefits will extend to those who suffer harsher forms of the debilitating mental condition that affects millions.
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.
Addiction Recovery With Chinese Herbs Like Kudzu
November 28, 2007 12:04 PM
Kudzu is Chinese herb that has been identified for the treatment of alcoholism. Anybody who has even had an addiction will tell you that addiction recovery is one of the most difficult of the tasks that life throws at us. Whether it is an addiction to tobacco or to heroin or anything in between is not easy, and those that join the ‘self-afflicted’ lobby do not help, but for the Grace of God...
Alcohol addiction is now potentially the most prevalent addiction in the world. There are now more that drink alcohol than smoke, and alcohol related problems are more than just a social problem, but cause the deaths of over 100,000 annually in the USA. One shudders at the thought of the world-wide death toll. It has been suggested that chemical addictions, as opposed to physical habits, can have chemical cures. Although the jury is still out on this one, there have been some positive results achieved in the treatment of addicts with natural remedies.
One of these natural remedies is the Chinese herb, kudzu. Kudzu is a climbing vine that can grow just about anywhere: in fields, lightly forested land and mountains. It is found throughout China, and also in the south eastern states of the USA. The reason for this strange distribution is that the plant was introduced to the USA by Japan at the 1876 Centennial Expo in Philadelphia.
The large blooms attracted gardeners who propagated them, and when it was discovered that the plant made good forage for animals, Florida nurserymen grew it as animal feed. Its effect in preventing ground erosion rendered it popular during the 1930s and 40s when farmers were paid up to $8 an acre for growing kudzu. Fodder and groundcover were the original uses of this vine in the USA irrespective of its medicinal uses on the other side of the Pacific.
Prior to it being recognized as a useful treatment for alcoholism, the vine had been used in China for generations for the treatment of such conditions as headaches, flu, high blood pressure symptoms, dysentery, muscular aches and pains and the common cold. It is still used to treat digestive complaints and allergies, and find use in modern medicine in the treatment of angina.
It is the root that is mainly used, which at up to six feet tall provides a plentiful supply of its active ingredients. These include isoflavones including daidzein and isoflavone glycosides, mainly puerarin and also daidzin. However, it is in its application in the treatment of alcohol addiction that the root is currently creating interest.
Studies in the 1960s on animals bred with an alcohol craving indicated that daidzein and daidzin reduced their consumption of alcohol when offered it, and further studies have indicated that the mechanism of this was by inhibition of enzymes necessary for metabolizing alcohols. This has not yet been successfully repeated in humans, but the effects on animals cannot be just coincidental. Or can it? That question can only be answered by those for whom kudzu has been found effective, although many laboratory studies have shown that it certainly reduces the alcohol consumption of those with a habitual heavy intake of the substance.
Of all the other substances that have been used in an attempt to reduce the extent of alcoholism in the Western world, none have been found truly effective. The three recognized treatments of Campral (Acamprosate Calcium), approved by the FDA in July, 2004, Naltrexone (Revia) and Antabuse work in three different ways. Campral is useful only once you have stopped drinking and have detoxed, Naltrexone interferes with the pathway in the brain that ‘rewards’ the drinker and Antabuse gives unpleasant side effects that are meant to put the drinker off drinking.
Although all have side effects of one type or another, they have been approved by the FDA, and must therefore be assumed safe if used as recommended. However, none are natural, and kudzu has been found to have no known side effects. It is a type of pea, and did you know that it grows about one foot a day? Luckily it only grows to about 20 feet!
It is kudzu’s lack of side effects that renders it so attractive as a treatment for alcoholism, although more tests are needed before the evidence for its effectiveness can be declared cast iron. Most of the tests to date have been carried out on heavy drinkers rather than true alcoholics, but they have all found the plant effective in reducing the amount that each member of the study drank, even though no limitations were placed on them.
Future studies should probably be designed to determine if the treatment is safe for such groups as pregnant women, young people and those with specific medical complaints such as liver problems. Naltrexone should not be used by anybody with serious liver problems, and even campral is only suitable if you have no more than a moderate liver problem. Since alcoholics can reasonable be expected to also suffer from liver disease, then a treatment that is safe for such people would be very welcome.
A 2002 meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism in San Francisco named kudzu and St. John’s Wort as being the two most promising treatments for alcoholism. The mention of St. John’s Wort raises an interesting point, and one that must be discussed. That is the question of standardized doses, and what can happen if doses of natural products are not standardized with respect to the identified active constituent.
The reason for the importance of this is that not all sources of a particular herb are equally well endowed with active constituents. Although, for example, a dose of 2.5 grams daily of kudzu root might be recommended, how does the percent content of isoflavones in different roots vary. That variation will mean that the amount of active ingredient taken in one 2.5g dose will differ from that in another, unless there is standardization.
The reason St. John’s Wort brought this to mind is that with this herb, used for some psychological problems such as depression, the active ingredient content was standardized. It was standardized to 0.3% hypericin, a napthodianthrone that causes an increase in dopamine levels. However, standard doses of St. John’s Wort gave inconsistent results and the reason for this could not be identified. It now has been. The active ingredient is now known to be not hypericin, but hypeforin, what is known as a prenylated phloroglucinol. The herb is now standardized on this substance.
This is a demonstration of the importance of identifying the active ingredients in a herbal treatment accurately, and also of standardizing doses. Kudzu doses must be standardized if their effect is to be consistent. There is now little doubt that addiction recovery is possible with Chinese herbs like kudzu, and who knows what else the ancient civilizations such as the Chinese have to offer us.
Green Coffee For Protection Against Oxidative Stress
November 17, 2007 11:46 AM
It is recorded that coffee drinking originated in Ethiopia in North East Africa, from where Arab traders introduced the plant to the Middle East. From there it moved to Turkey in the 15th century, where it was highly prized as a daily beverage due its invigorating properties. It is also believed that the infamous Captain John Smith introduced the plant to Virginia.
The Brazilian coffee trade was due largely to the introduction of the bean to that country by the French in 1727, and the Boston Tea Party of 1773 rendered it the only non-alcoholic drink worth consuming by the patriots of 18th century America. Now over 50% of Americans drink coffee daily, although this seems a somewhat conservative estimate, and the tea houses of England have largely been replaced by coffee shops and the ubiquitous Starbucks.
So much for the history of a beverage that has been prized for its stimulant properties, but recent research has established that not only is coffee a stimulating drink, but that it is a strong antioxidant due to its polyphenol content. However, not all forms of coffee have this property, only the green coffee bean before it has been roasted. Polyphenols are very powerful antioxidants that scavenge the free radicals that destroy body cells, and not only accelerate aging but also threaten the health of your cardiovascular system and the health of other major organs.
Free radicals are compounds with a spare electron. Normally the electrons in all stable molecules come in pairs, and any free electron without a partner is like a lovelorn bachelor. It will seek a mate, and take it from wherever it can find one. Usually it secures its partner by stealing an electron from one of our body cells. This can totally destroy the cell, as it might anybody who has its partner stolen, and cell destruction is not a good thing. It is the destruction of body cells that promotes the appearance that aging brings: the wrinkles and the loss of energy that is generated by healthy cellular activity.
Antioxidants destroy these free radicals, and come in a number of different guises. Vitamins A, C and E are all powerful antioxidants, as are many of the compounds that are essential to our biochemistry such as beta carotene and polyphenols. These polyphenols are found in practically all plants to a greater or lesser degree, and another rich source is grapes, and those found in green coffee beans are what are known as hydroxycinnamic acids the most abundant of which is caffeic acid. Another is chlorogenic acid, and together they form a very potent team in preventing the oxidation by free radicals of LDL (low density lipoprotein).
Low density lipoproteins are those that carry cholesterol from the liver to areas of the body that need first aid due to damage, such the arterial walls. However, this can be attacked by free radicals and oxidized which results in the deposition of excess cholesterol that can build up till it eventually constricts, and sometimes completely blocks, the major cardiac arteries. This is a serious condition known as atherosclerosis that can eventually lead to cardiac disease and arrest or to strokes if the artery is in the brain.
Not only do chlorogenic and caffeic acid help to prevent this from occurring, but they also help to prevent the cellular degeneration caused by the free radicals. They must be extracted from the green coffee bean because roasting or heating in any way, including brewing, destroys them. In fact, brewed coffee contains some potentially harmful substances called diterpenes that some believe can increase your chances of coronary disease by up to fifth if you drink coffee regularly over your lifetime.
It is also believed that green coffee extract can reduce the risk of diabetes due to its effect on your blood glucose levels. Evidence is coming to light that some polyphenols, including chlorogenic acid, might have inhibiting properties on the activity of glucose-6-phosphate, otherwise known as Robison Ester, which is involved in the metabolism of blood glucose and which is affected by diabetes which reduces its concentration. Chlorogenic acid is though to be able to redress this imbalance and not only reduce blood glucose levels, but increase the glycogen stored in the liver as an emergency energy source for the body.
Green coffee bean extract also possesses other beneficial properties, not the least of which is its effect in increasing the metabolism of fats in relation to carbohydrates. This assists in weight loss and also increases stamina. The decrease in the risk of diabetes of up to 50% in men, and slightly less in women, could be due to a combination of the regulation of glucose-6-phosphate and the regulation of blood glucose levels and glucose and weight management in general. The vast majority of diabetes patients are overweight.
In animal studies, the presence of chlorogenic acid appears to reduce the hyperglycemic peak that arises through the action of glucagon, a hormone used to counter hypoglycemia. The fact that chlorogenic acid reduced this sugar peak indicates its potential use in reducing abnormally high blood glucose levels. Another effect of this was an increase in the animal’s glycogen level and in the level of glucose-6-phosphate in the liver.
This indicates a reduction in glycogenolysis, by which glycogen is ultimately converted to glucose-6-phosphate and glucose, thus increasing the blood glucose levels and also of gluconeogenesis which is the production of glucose from carbohydrates and some glucogenic amino acids. In other words, green coffee bean extract can help to regulate blood glucose levels by preventing the liver from producing glucose from glycogen and carbohydrates.
However, the biochemistry apart, it must be stressed that these benefits are not obtained by drinking coffee, and it has to be repeated that the active agents in providing them are destroyed by the roasting and brewing processes. It is only the green coffee beans that can be used for protection of oxidative stress of human body cells and the gradual degradation into premature aging and many other related conditions.
Natural Remedies For Bumps, Bruises, Scrapes, and Insect Bites
November 10, 2007 09:52 AM
Whether you are a child or an adult you are as susceptible to the damage done to skin and soft tissue by hard activities as anybody else. So what can you look for if you decide have a day outdoors and face the dangers that you will come across that want to leave you bruised ,scratched, scraped, cut and itching from all the falls, knocks, stings and bites that most people experience when they are more used to spending their time indoors?
Bruises are caused by a knock, and can happen without you even being aware of it. The blood vessels get damaged and leak. If you notice it right away, you can lessen the degree of bruising by applying ice or cold water to constrict the capillaries and cut down the flow of blood leaking from them. Some people bruise easier than others, and excessive bruising for no apparent reason could be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition and you should see your doctor.
A bump, or lump, can appear for many reasons, but generally settles down after a while. It can simply be the body's reaction to a hard knock that did not damage the blood vessels, but prompted a natural swelling to protect the area. They can also be caused by insect bites. You don’t always see these little pests – they have lunch then zip off without you even being aware of it until the area begins to itch and swell. However, if you have a lump under the armpit, in your neck or behind your ears it could be a swollen gland and you should contact your physician.
Everybody gets minor scrapes now and again, and when you spend any time outside you can get bitten by insects such as mosquitoes, midges, blackflies, horse flies – you name it, they will lunch on you as on any other animals. You can also get stung by vegetable nasties, though if you do then look around for a remedy. Strangely, many stinging plants have another plant close by that can be used as a remedy. This is likely because, after being stung, people just rubbed whatever was handy on the area and eventually these remedies were discovered.
Thus, dock leaves are often found beside nettles, and touch-me-not beside poison ivy. These are good natural remedies for stings caused through contact with these particular plants, and there are many other natural remedies that can be used for the other everyday hurts that people receive just for carrying out normal activities outside in a natural environment. Let’s have a look at some of the natural remedies that people have used through the ages, and that are still used to this day, even in proprietary creams and salves.
Calendula, or marigold, is very effective in relieving skin irritations and inflammation. It can be applied topically to relieve the symptoms of bruises, cuts and scrapes, and also for the initial treatment of burns and scalds. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used on inflamed or infected cuts and skin lesions. These properties are believed to be due to the high level of flavonoids found in calendula that have anti-oxidant properties and help the immune function to do its work. Among these is the powerful Quercetin with its strong anti-histamine properties.
It also appears to possess anti-viral properties, though the reason for this is not clear and is still under investigation. Marigold also contains carotenoids and triterpene saponins, both of which will contribute to the medicinal effects. The dried flowers or leaves, or the fresh flowers, can be used and it is an old adage that pus will not form where marigold is used. It is also good for the treatment of insect bites and boils, where it appears to either prevent infection or clear up any that are there. It has also been proven to prevent the seeping of blood from the capillaries in scrapes, and to promote blood clotting.
Calendula was used during the First World War by British doctors to dress wounds and prevent infection. A dressing steeped in a mild solution of calendula extract was enough, and it likely saved many lives.
Another plant with similar properties is the alpine Arnica, which is useful to reduce the swelling and pain of bruises. It works simply by rubbing the leaves on the area when you have a fall or a hard knock. The active ingredients here are again flavonoids, and sesquiterpene lactones along with tannins, carotenoids and thymol. These, along with the flavonoids, stimulate the circulation and carry away any fluids trapped in bruises and swellings.
The sesquiterpene lactones act as anti-inflammatories and boost the immune system, helping to reduce swelling and pain. In fact terpenoid chemicals are common to many of the herbs and flowers that have found a use in the relief of pain in swelling and bruises. The same is true of Ledum, better known as Rosemary, traditionally used for the treatment of burns, ulcers dandruff, and dry skin and to get rid of lice among many other internal and topical applications.
The active ingredients of rosemary (ledum) include mono-, di- and triterpenes and also the ubiquitous flavonoids and camphor and linalool. If you wash down burns, grazes and cuts with a wash of ledum extract, then you will protect the patient from infection at the time when they are most vulnerable to infectious agents.
Hypericum has uses as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, and is therefore useful for exactly the same conditions as all of the above. It also has astringent properties, so that like Calendula, Hypericum can be used to prevent the capillary seepage that frequently leads to infections. The active ingredients here are apparently flavonoids again, with their antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Considering that they are among the most common antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents in the plant world; it is no coincidence that flavonoids just happen to be contained in the vast majority of natural treatments for scratches, grazes and bruises. They reduce swelling, pain and inflammation, and also act as antiseptics by disrupting the cell walls of bacteria.
Hypericum is well known by its alternative name St. John’s Wort, where it is used in the treatment of depression. However, the active ingredients here are mainly hyperforin and hypericin, which have little to do with the topical benefits of the plant.
If you have suffered from insect bites and stings, then you would have been thankful had you brought some Apis Mellifica with you. Obtained from bees, this again contains terpenes among many other chemicals, and is used paradoxically in the treatment of bee stings and other insect stings and bites. It’s amazing how many of these old remedies contain terpenes of various types and also flavonoid chemicals. It is useful for most rashes that have raised puffy lumps, such as hives.
Finally, if you manage to stay out without getting any bruises, abrasions, scratches or bites, you will be very lucky. However, if you get sunburn through being out in the sun too long, just look around for some stinging nettle, or Urtica. The leaf contains polysaccharides and lectins that stop the production of prostaglandins in the body that cause inflammation. Your sunburn will ease and you be able to return home relatively symptom free from your day outdoors.
These natural remedies can be hard to find growing naturally due to many factors such as the time of year or your geographical location these herbs may grow in. Alternative sources are available at your local health food store where you can find all the above mentioned herbs in ointments and creams specifically formulated for your needs.
Breast Cancer and Natural Supplements
May 11, 2007 10:47 AM
Breast Cancer and Nutritional Supplements
There is probably nothing more frightening for a woman than the discovery of a lump in her breast. Cancer and all its consequences quickly come to mind. This quick association may materialize, in part, because no woman is immune. Most have a friend, a sister, a mother, or a coworker who has been diagnosed with the disease. And they know how difficult dealing with this disease can be. Fortunately, 80% of all breast lumps are not cancerous. Most are cysts or a benign clump of tissue.
Over her lifetime, a woman’s breasts undergo many, many changes. From before puberty and on, breast tissue is continually evolving. Breasts often feel different before menstrual cycle, returning to normal a few days after. Pregnancy certainly causes changes in a woman’s breasts, as does breastfeeding. And as women age, breast tissue becomes less dense.
Because of these continual changes, breast tissue especially requires adequate nutrition. While everyone benefits from a healthy diet, there are additional nutrients from which women can specifically benefit.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss breast cancer and the vast amount of research that has explored the role nutrition plays in this serious and still deadly disease. Specifically, we will discuss how two B vitamins, calcium D-glucarate, broccoli extract, green tea, maitake mushrooms, and iodine can all help prevent breast cancer.
Q. How can these nutrients prevent breast cancer?
A. Scientists learn a lot about disease from simply observing what is happening around them. One observation that has been recognized for many years is that certain cultures have very low incidence of breast cancer. Women n
Moms (and dads) have also learned a lot about diseases simply by observing what is happening in their families. They have notices that certain vegetables play a large role in the prevention of all types of diseases, including cancer. And, accordingly, they have been urging their offspring to eat their vegetables for several generations.
Building on these observations, scientists have designed and carried out many studies to determine what it is about these nutrients that can prevent breast cancer. What they have discovered, so far, follows. Let’s start with the B vitamins.
Deficiencies of this vitamin can result in a serious type of anemia. Nerve damage can also occur if B12 levels are too low. Researchers are now investigating whether breast cancer may, in part, be caused by a B12 deficiency as well.
Another study, this one taking place in a laboratory setting, discovered that vitamin B12, applied directly against experimental breast cancer cells, actually stopped the cancer cells from growing. The researchers conducting the experiment believe that giving vitamin B12 to women with breast cancer as part of a chemotherapy regime, might help keep the cancer in check.
Low folic acid intake is linked to the development of all cancers. This is because folic acid is crucial to the making and continual repair of DNA, the molecule that carries our genetic code. A recent study discovered that high intakes of folic acid might actually reduce the risk of breast cancer. The researchers looked at the diets of over 2600 women. During interviews with the researchers, the women reported what they usually ate. Once the data was collected, the results showed that women, who ate lots of foods that contained folic acid, had much lower rates of breast cancer.
There is no clear-cut, single cause of breast cancer. Many factors are required for the disease to appear. One such factor is estrogen. A recent study showed that women who developed breast cancer tended to have higher levels of estrogen circulating in their bodies than women without breast cancer. This means that women who got their periods before age eleven or entered menopause after age fifty-five have a higher risk of breast cancer. This also supports the theory that the number of menstrual cycles a woman has affects her risk for breast cancer.
Another factor is drinking alcohol. Because alcohol raises estrogen levels, if a woman consumes even moderate amounts of alcohol her risk of breast cancer also is increased. The link between alcohol and breast cancer may even be stronger than other dietary links. However, an important study has discovered that folic acid may uncouple this link.
A very large study of over 34,000 women recently studied the effect of folic acid on the risk of breast cancer. This project was part of the Nurses’ Health Study, an ongoing, long-term study that looks at nutrition’s role in the development of disease. The women in the folic acid and breast cancer study were followed for 12 years. The participants completed detailed food questionnaires that provided the researchers with important data.
The women were divided into four groups:
1. Women with low folic acid levels and drink alcohol
2. Women with high folic acid levels and rink alcohol
3. Women with low folic acid levels and don’t drink alcohol
4. Women with high folic acid levels and don’t drink alcohol
Within these four groups the women were further divided into subgroups according to the amount of alcohol they consumed each day and their specific folic acid intake.
The researchers found that women who consumed the lowest amounts of folic acid and drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day had the highest rate of breast cancer. In contrast, women who had high intakes of folic acid and also drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day, had the same rate of breast cancer as the women with high folic acid intakes who did not drink. In other words, women who had high levels of folic acid in their diet erased their alcohol-related increase in breast cancer risk.
It seems estrogen can be both friend and foe. While women need the hormone to soften skin, thicken hair, and fill out hips and breasts, estrogen can also nourish breast tumors, helping them grow bigger, stronger, and more deadly. Thanks, in part, to good nutrition, American women get their periods early and go through menopause alter in life. Women today also have fewer pregnancies; families with one or two children are quite common.
All of these factors increase the time women’s bodies are exposed to estrogen. As we discussed before, longer exposure means increased opportunities for estrogen to cause trouble. It is also a troubling fact of modern life that we are continuously exposed to cancer-causing chemicals and toxins. These toxins come in part from contaminants in the food we eat and pollutants in the air we breathe.
The body does have a system that eliminates some of the excess estrogen and toxic chemicals before they can cause harm. In the liver, they are bound or attached to a chemical called glucuronic acid. The bound toxin or estrogen is then excreted in bile and eventually eliminated as a waste product in the stool.
However, an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase can break this bond between estrogen and glucuronic acid. When this happens, the hormone or toxin is released from its bone, capable of causing harm once more. Increased beta-glucuronidase activity is associated with an increased risk for various cancers, particularly hormone-dependant cancers like breast cancer.
Fortunately, scientists have discovered that a natural substance found in foods calcium D-glucarate (CDG) can stop the activity of beta-glucuonidase. CDG keeps the harmful estrogen bound to glucuronidase. While CDG is found in fruits and vegetables, the amounts may not be sufficient to maintain effective levels to stop beta-glucuronidase.
CDG has been shown in experimental studies to significantly stop beast cancer growth. And several human trials are currently underway with CDG to determine its capability to decrease the breast cancer risk in women at high risk for the disease.
There are some very interesting connections between breast tissue and thyroid tissue. Iodine is an essential trace element present in a hormone of the thyroid gland and is involved in several metabolic functions. One iodine function is the protection of breast tissue from cancerous cells.
In a laboratory study, researchers exposed breast cancer cells and breast tissue without any cancer to a type of seaweed that contains high levels of iodine. The seaweed killed all of the cancerous cells, yet did not harm the normal breast cells. Japanese women frequently eat this type of seaweed and have very low rates of breast cancer. The study’s researchers believe one reason for this low incidence of breast cancer may be the iodine in the seaweed.
And, for some as yet unknown reasons, women who have thyroid cancer are at higher risk of developing breast cancer. While they are unsure why this happens, researchers are continuing to study this link, and support of healthy thyroid function remains an important consideration.
For quite some time, scientists have observed that cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, significantly reduce the risk of disease, including cancer. It seems a phytochemical in broccoli sulforaphane, is one of the chemicals responsible for this beneficial activity. Sulforaphane increases certain enzymes in the body called phase 2 enzymes that deactivate cancer-causing chemicals.
Breast cancer cells exposed to sulforaphane in several lab experiments showed that the compound inhibited the growth of the cancer cells up to 80 percent. Researchers are in the process of setting up clinical trials to study sulforaphane’s effect in women who have breast cancer.
There is a tall amount of research, including finding from the Nurses’ Health Study, that suggest green tea beverage consumption is associated with a lower incidence of breast cancer. In fact, researchers have long noted the low rates of breast cancer in
The active compound in green tea responsible for breast cancer inhibition is epigallocatechin-3 gallate or EGCG. When breast cancer cells are exposed to EGCG in lab experiments, the cells stop growing, lose their ability to replicate, and die.
In a recent study, researchers discovered that drinking green tea prevented the recurrence of breast cancer in women who have previously been diagnosed and treated for the disease. This study involved over 1100 Japanese women. The women who drank green tea every day had very low rates of their breast cancer returning.
For thousands of years, maitake mushrooms have been linked to good health in those who eat them. Called “dancing mushrooms” (possibly due to their wavy, rippling appearance or possibly due to the little dance of joy mushroom hunters perform when they find them in the woods), maitakes contain an important compound called D-fraction.
Not only does the D-fraction in maitake mushrooms stop the growth of cancerous tumors, it also alerts and stimulates immune cells (including macrophages and natural killer cells) to fight the disease. Maitake also inhibits some of the mechanism that promotes metastasis, or spread, of cancer cells in the lymph and bloodstream.
Because of this success, maitake is now being used in clinical trials of women with breast cancer. One study reported significant improvement of symptoms, including reduction of the tumor. The maitake was given to breast cancer patients in addition to standard chemotherapy.
Q. Should these nutrients be used in place of traditional treatment for breast cancer?
A. Absolutely not. None of these nutrients can cure breast cancer. However, they can be a part of a validated plan of treatment. If you have breast cancer, talk to your health care practitioner about these nutrients. Remember, nutritional supplements are just that: supplements to food, medication, and treatment. They are intended to enhance and prevent, not replace.
Despite apprehension in performing self-breast exams, women are very proactive in their health. Yearly mammograms and pap tests have been an important part of their lives for many years, and newer and more accurate diagnoses are emerging. The prevention of health problems in themselves and their families has always been a high priority for women. And for women, nutrition has played an important part of health problem prevention.
Nutritionally speaking, what benefits your breasts benefit your whole body. However, as we have learned, there are specific links between nutrition and developing breast cancer that seem to be fairly strong.
Making a few changes may reduce the risk of developing the disease. The nutrients listed here, vitamin B12, folic acid, calcium d-glucarate, iodine, broccoli, green tea, and maitake mushrooms can be an important part of a woman’s preventative health regimen.
D-Ribose supplied by Bioenergy Life Science
April 19, 2007 02:44 PM
A UNIQUE SUGAR MAY BE KEY TO ENERGIZING THE FAILING HEART Bioenergy Life Science's D-ribose offers promising options for energy-deprived hearts
MINNEAPOLIS, MN, APRIL 18, 2007-Following the recent publication in the New England Journal of Medicine that the failing heart is an "engine out of fuel" (N ENGL J MED 356;11, March 15, 2007), Bioenergy Life Science reports that D-ribose, a simple, five-carbon sugar, is a plausible option for addressing the nation's heart disease epidemic.
"When heart failure develops, many factors are involved, but energy deprivation is among the most important," said John St. Cyr, MD, PhD, the medical director of Bioenergy Life Science. "We've learned recently that patients with heart disease may have a deficient supply of high energy compounds. Past studies have demonstrated that D-ribose supplementation enhances the return of ATP levels with an associated improvement in diastolic function."
D-Ribose, unlike glucose, is a five-carbon sugar important for DNA, RNA, and most importantly, ATP, the "energy currency" of the cells. ATP is crucial in maintaining the integrity and function of every cell, which is necessary for day- to-day health. Ribose is one of the essential components of the ATP molecule.
D-Ribose, as a supplement, has repeatedly shown to improve functional capacity, quality of life, and everyday activities for patients afflicted with congestive heart failure.
Dr. Neubauer's article, "The Failing Heart - An Engine Out of Fuel," calls attention to the important underlying metabolic problem in patients with heart failure. "D-ribose could aid in this metabolic deficiency," said Dr. St. Cyr. "The number of heart failure patients continues to grow every year. By replenishing ATP to an energy-deficient heart we can significantly improve a patient's quality of life."
Barking Up The Wrong Tree – Dietary Supplements are targeted while foods sicken millions.
November 09, 2006 11:54 AM
The FDA and our enemies in Congress want you to believe that non-causal Adverse Event Reporting (AER, as presented in the S.3546 bill in Senate and the HR.6168 now in the House of Representatives) for supplements should be implemented to protect our health. The latest nationwide E.coli outbreak casts a shadow of doubt on S.3546/HR.6168 supporters’ motives, however-because these bills are treating safe, natural supplements as dangerous threats while foods wreak havoc on our nation’s health.
By the time this issue went to press, 187 people had been sickened and as many as three people had died from toxic E.coli bacteria found in contaminated bags of spinach. Tragically, this is nothing new; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that food borne disease cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United Stages each year. More than 200 known diseases are transmitted through bad food.
Despite these staggering figures, there is no adverse event reporting system in place for foods. So if our enemies in Congress truly want to protect us, why are they pursuing non causal AER for safe, natural dietary supplements and not foods? The unfortunate answer is that non-causal AER supporters are either ignorant or in pursuit to non-disclosed political agendas. The latter is extremely disturbing especially when these self serving political agendas, promoted in the name of “protecting health,” will actually harm public health by taking away our supplements.
Not only are AER supporters barking up the wrong tree, but the AER bills that they have constructed are totally destructive. S.3546/HR.6168 is based on association and not causation. That’s right—S.3546/HR.6168 disregard what actually caused an adverse event, and instead use “guilt by association.” These poorly constructed bills are impotent when it comes to protecting people, but nonetheless are poised to devastate the nutritional supplements industry. If passed, S.3546/HR.6168 will unleash a barrage of frivolous lawsuits that will make trial lawyers rich while bankrupting the entire nutritional supplement industry and taking away our vitamins forever.
It is hard to imagine why some elected officials, the FDA and certain nutritional supplement industry groups are channeling so much money and energy into AER for harmless supplements while potentially deadly pathogens are tainting our food supply and sickening millions. If our elected officials truly wish to help the American people and protect public health, they should leave safe, natural dietary supplements alone and focus their AER efforts on foods—but only if they take the time to draft an intelligent, functional AER bill that is based causality.
Don’t Give Up the Fight
Adverse events with supplements are practically nonexistent. Adverse events with food are abundant. Elected officials who support S.3546/HR.6168 and the non-causal AER they espouse are clearly misguided, with an imbecile’s grasp on prioritization. If you agree that non-causal AER for supplements is an unwarranted waste of time and will destroy the industry by guilt by association, then please voice your opinion, before it’s too late!
Please call and fax Joe Barton, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and other key AER players at the following numbers (fax numbers second): Barton at 202-225-2002, 202-225-3052; Chairman of the Judiciary Committee F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. at 202-225-5101,202-225-3190; House Majority Leader John Boehner at 202-225-6205, 202-225-0704; Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert at 202-225-2976,202-225-0697; and Congressman Nathan Deal a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, at 202-225-5211, 202-225-8272.
Don’t let self-serving political skullduggery take your vitamins and supplements away from you! Visit www.NHA2006.com and take advantage of online tools that allow you to easily send faxes to Congress. Please do not delay—without swift and decisive action, we may all lose our health freedom forever!
*This editorial is a public service announcement sponsored by the Nutritional Health Alliance (NHA).
Crucial bill S.3546 may soon land in the House of Representatives.
September 19, 2006 11:24 AM
By the time you read this Washington Update, Senate Bill 3546 (S.3546), “The Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Act,” may have already passed the Senate. As S.3546 advances to the House for implementation, non-casual Adverse Event Reporting (AER) looms on the horizon. This bill will wrongfully associate safe and beneficial dietary supplements with millions of adverse events that supplements did not cause. As S.3546 targets supplements, it ignores foods that have been linked to millions of annual adverse events—calling into question whether this bill is truly designed to keep us safe. With our right to take vitamins hanging in the balance, we must take immediate action in the House to head off S.3546 as the pass.
S.3546 offers no protection to American people. Instead, this bill appears to inexplicably punish supplement manufacturers and those who choose nutrition as a path to health and well-being. S.3546 attacks our fundamental freedom of choice through guilt by association and will destroy our core freedom to decide how and through which means we pursue health.
Along the way to revoking our health freedom, S.3546 will impose unreasonable reporting requirements that will drain supplement manufacturers’ resources and finances until they collapse. The non-causal AER that S.3546 proposes will unleash a wave of junk lawsuits that will deliver the fatal blow to the supplement industry—making trial lawyers rich while America’s health sinks in the murky waters of malnutrition and sickness.
Association, Not Causation
S.3546 proposed AER for supplements is based on association and not causation—a baldy misguided approach under which supplements will be reported for adverse events even if they did not cause, and had nothing to do with, those adverse events.
Non-causal AER encourages the scourge of our society-junk lawsuit purveyors and ambulance-chasing trial lawyers-to continue exploiting out legal system for their own selfish gains. If S.3546 is implemented, this scourge will blame vitamins for everything from acne to obesity. Americans are already paying for the actions of junk lawsuit scammers, facing ever increasing insurance premiums. With S.3546, Americans will pay an even greater price for junk lawsuits-losing their freedom, their health and their very lives when health-enhancing nutrition is taken away.
Why are safe, natural supplements being singled out, anyway? Dietary supplements rarely, if ever, cause any serious adverse events. The centers for disease control (CDC) estimate that foods cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Despite these figures, no one in Washington is proposing AER for foods. That S.3546 does not include foods is incriminating; it suggests that public safety is not the bill’s ultimate goal. Our enemies in Congress are pushing S.3546, not to protect us, but to destroy supplements-because supplements keep us healthy and healthy people make no money for Big Pharma.
Sending Faxes to the House
After S.3546 is passed in the Senate, it will land in the House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce. We must voice our AER opposition to Rep. Joe Barton, the chairman of this key committee, because he will hold the greatest leveraging power when non-causal AER is discussed in the House. Please fax and call Barton (emails and letters are ineffective) and urge him to abolish S.3546 in the name of health freedom.
Please call and send faxes to Barton and other key AER players at the following numbers (fax numbers second): Barton at 202-255-2002, fax:202-225-3052, chairman of the judiciary committee F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. at 202-225-5101, fax: 202-225-3190; House Majority Leader John Boehner at 202-225-6205, fax: 202-225-5117; Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert at 202-225-2976, fax: 202-225-0697; and Congressman Nathan Deal, a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, at 202-225-5211, Fax: 202-225-8282.
Join the Nutritional Health Alliance (NHA). Visit www.NHA2006.com and take advantage of online tools for easily sending faxes to Congress. Time is running out-please fax and call today and fax and call again tomorrow! With your help, we can preserve the American legacy of health freedom-and keep safe, beneficial nutritional supplements in our lives for generations to come.