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Bee Pollen Darrell Miller 6/22/09
Is Saw Palmetto's Safe? Darrell Miller 7/15/08
Damiana Leaves Darrell Miller 5/22/08
Is Wild Yam Natures Progesterone? Darrell Miller 11/15/07
Acupuncture nutrient Connection Darrell Miller 6/12/05



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Bee Pollen
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Date: June 22, 2009 11:43 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Bee Pollen

Even though bee pollen has received a good deal of attention over the last few decades, a lot of people still do not know exactly what it is. Pollen is technically the male seed of flowers and can be viewed as the male cells of a flowering plant. It is necessary for the plant to be fertilized. Every kind of flower on his plant produces pollen, which is created in the stamen of the blossom itself. Bee pollen is the pollen which is collected and stored by honey bees in their hives. While honey bees perform this activity, they actually pollinate more than 80 percent of green growing plants. Obviously, they are a vital component of plant propagation. Universally, bee pollen is praised for its notable nutrient content and extraordinary ability to provide energy.

Used for centuries, bee pollen has been considered a powerful healing agent, a source of regenerative power, and the secret to eternal youth for some ancients. As far back as 2735 B.C., the Chinese emperor compiled an impressive medical collection containing many beehive products. This compilation is still referred to today, with ongoing research continuing to support many of its claims. For millions of years, humans have made good use of beehive products. Before paper was even invented, ancient people commemorated their respect of the honeybee and beehive products. Honeybees were considered to be sacred at this time, with Egyptian papyri referring to bee pollen as life-giving dust and its use as a sacred offering to the gods. Roman legions use to carry bee pollen for sustenance, with ancient Romans even making Virgil the official poet laureate of the honeybee.

Even Hippocrates recommended bee pollen for several ailments, while the Hindus taught that eating honey and pollen could produce health, vigor, happiness, and wisdom. Honey and pollen were routinely used by orientals for medicinal purposes, while Ancient Greeks referred to honey and pollen as the food of kings, as they believed the food would give them youth and vitality. Bee pollen was also looked upon as a dietary staple by the Anglo-Saxons. People drank combinations of wine, honey, and pollen because they believed that it was a life-sustaining elixir.

In the following centuries, Charlemagne recorded that his subjects used pollen and honey on a daily basis. He even required that his people take an annual inventory of their honey and pollen supplies. Taxes were often paid in the form of honey and pollen and gifts of honey and pollen were looked upon with respect. Almost every recorded religious or historical record praises the honeybee and its products such as bee pollen. These books refer to the beneficial healing and nutritive properties that bee pollen possesses. Aztec and Mayans even worshiped the honeybee, which can be proved through numerous images of honeycombs and pollen. Early American settlers even became actively involved in honey production, so that it could be used at the table.

Because American scientists have shown little to no amounts of interest in European documentation that supports the therapeutic value of bee pollen, most modern day scientific investigation has taken place in Europe. Other researchers have already discovered that this wonderful food contains concentrations of just about every known nutrient, with reports from areas of Europe and Russia confirming the belief that this substance has infinite value for health maintenance and diseases treatment.

Bee pollen is available in capsule, tablet, and bulk powder forms at VitaNet ®, LLC. Always purchase a name brand bee pollen product to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.



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Is Saw Palmetto's Safe?
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Date: July 15, 2008 06:58 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Is Saw Palmetto's Safe?

Saw palmetto, a small palm tree which is found in Florida and South Carolina, produces berries which contain many beneficial compounds. Florida is the biggest producer of saw palmetto. Small patches of this herb can be found from the southeast coastline of South Carolina and southeastern Georgia to southern Mississippi. But it does not grow naturally in Texas, Mexico, or the Caribbean. It grows in every Florida County, but much of its production is found in South Florida.

Supplements that contain saw palmetto are extremely effective in treatment of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH), one of the most common health conditions in older men, with half of all men aged 40-60 and more than 90 percent of men over 80 having BPH. BPH is caused by the conversion of estrogen to a very potent form of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Saw palmetto berry extract has been found to relive the symptoms of BPH by furthering the production of DHT. With the use of saw palmetto extract, it has been found that most men achieve some relief of symptoms within the first 30 days.

Additionally, saw palmetto is an herb that is commonly used to treat benign prostate enlargement, is rich in phytosterols, especially beta-sitosterol. Also, saw palmetto is very effective for excess testosterone, as it promotes testosterone excretion. Native Americans use the fruit for food, but it is also used in the treatment of a variety of urinary and reproductive system problems. Similarly, the Mayans drank it as a tonic, while the Seminoles used the berries both as an expectorant and as an antiseptic.

Recent concerns over the safety of saw palmetto supplements for prostate health have emerged and may be unfounded. A new study reported that there were no adverse effects from the supplementation of saw palmetto. The randomized clinical trial, Saw palmetto for Treatment of Enlarged Prostates (STEP) study, recruited two hundred and twenty-five men, all of which had moderate-to-severe symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Each of these men was assigned to receive either 320 milligrams per day of a saw palmetto supplement or a placebo.

This study lasted one year. After the study, researchers concluded that there were no significant differences between the groups when it came to suffering from at least one serious adverse event. 5.4 percent of men in the saw palmetto group had one serious adverse event as compared to 9.7 percent in the placebo group. There were also no significant differences that were observed when it came to non-serious symptomatic adverse events, as 34.8 percent of men in the saw palmetto group experienced such an event, compared to 30.1 percent in the placebo group.

The study was welcomed by Daniel Fabricant, PhD., vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the industry association of the Natural Products Association. Dr. Fabricant said that he agreed with the authors of the study and that the results are reassuring, saying that he believe the study supports the viewpoint that those people with experience in botanicals have held for an extended amount of time in that when they are used responsibly and the amounts and concentrations are supported by clinical literature, botanicals are extremely safe and effective.

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Damiana Leaves
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Date: May 22, 2008 11:45 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Damiana Leaves

Damiana can be used by both men and women. It is known to have restorative effects on reproductive organs in both sexes.

Uses:

For men, Damiana is known to raise levels of testosterone. It is also helpful in treating premature ejaculation and impotence. For women, it helps to induce delayed menstrual periods and ease the symptoms of painful menstruation. It also treats the headaches women sometimes get due to menstruation.

This herb has been widely advertised and used in Mexico as an aphrodisiac. The ancient Mayans used it as a sexual stimulant and people in Central America still use it in this way today. This use is controversial due to lack of scientific evidence to support the claim.

One study found some of the plant's compounds to be similar to those found in progesterone. More than 150 herbs have been tested for their ability to bind with the progesterone and estrogen receptors found in breast cancer cells. Damiana was one of the highest progesterone-binding herbs tested.

The herbal properties of Damiana have a life enhancing and stimulating effect on the body and mind. The herb works well on nervous exhaustion and to restore the body after periods of high stress.

Other Uses:

Damiana's stimulating action is considered very valuable to people who suffer from mild depression. Herbalists will typically recommend remedies that contain this herb. Damiana is very strong and aromatic, and has a slightly bitter taste. It can be found in different forms such as capsule, liquid extract and tea. Its leaves are used as a substitute for tea leaves in some countries. In other countries, it is used as flavoring in a variety of liqueurs.

Damiana acts as an antiseptic and tonic for the body. It is also a restorative agent for nervous system functions. Damiana is used for other conditions as well, although no scientific proof of its effectiveness exists. These conditions include:

* Asthma * Anxiety * Depression * Headache * Menstrual disorders

Damiana has been known to cause mild indigestion for some users. It also contains a compound called arbutin, which, in the urinary tract, converts into the chemical hydroquinone. Larger amounts can cause serious side effects such as:

* Convulsions * Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) * Nausea * Vomiting * Possible collapse and death

A maximum safe dosage of Damiana has not yet been determined. Also, the safety of using this herb has not been established in children or pregnant and nursing women. People with liver or kidney disease should use extra caution because their ability to safely use this herb is unknown as well.

In people using higher doses of Damiana, it is believed that they experience a mild euphoric sensation. In some cases, consumption of Damiana leaves has been known to act as a mild laxative. The more leaves consumed, the more prominent the laxative effect.

Damiana is native to parts of southern California and the Gulf of Mexico. It can also be found growing wild in some areas of the northern Caribbean Islands and Namibia. It is widely cultivated in these areas. Its preferred habitat has a hot and humid climate. It flowers in the summer and this is when the leaves are harvested. The leaves of the Damiana plant are the only part used for cultivation.

The herb can be taken in the form of a tea. Some people even smoke it like tobacco. The herb will bring about a relaxed state of mind for the user. It is said to induce a subtle high if smoked.

Damiana possesses many properties that are useful to both men and women. Research continues in an attempt to either prove or disprove claims of its benefits to humans.

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Is Wild Yam Natures Progesterone?
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Date: November 15, 2007 07:20 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Is Wild Yam Natures Progesterone?

Dioscorea villosa, commonly known as wild yam, is a tuberous vine native to North America and parts of Central America. It was used by the Mayan and Aztec civilizations for pain relief and birth control and has also been given the names colic root and rheumatism root, demonstrating this early use of the plant. However, whether it is nature’s progesterone or not is another question that requires close analysis.

These Central American civilizations, of course, did not understand the reason why they were effective. Some of the symptoms treated can be caused by the menopause, and the wild yam is believed to contain natural forms of progesterone that can alleviate some of the adverse effects of the menopause on the body. Like most plants, they also likely act as anti-inflammatories, so relieving the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

Like any natural remedy, wild yam had its adherents and its detractors, though in recent years the plant has been used as the raw material for the production of cortisone and a form of progesterone: or at least so it is claimed, so let’s have a closer look at these claims and determine whether or not wild yam is indeed nature’s progesterone.

The human body uses organic compounds called hormones to regulate many of the chemical activities of the body. The hormones catalyze the chemical reactions and changes needed for the proper functioning of our bodies. Hormones are produced in small chemical factories dotted throughout our body called glands. Each gland is devoted to producing a specific hormone, or a range of them, and each hormone is designed for a specific purpose.

Each has an associated hormone ‘receptor’ at their targeted destination that fits the hormone like a jigsaw piece. When it turns up, the hormone attaches to the receptor and the reaction proceeds. That might be the initiation of energy production in cells, the activation of certain genes or even the stimulation of hair growth by the follicles or of the libido and the natural desire to procreate.

Hormones are manufactured from only three constituents: proteins, amino acids and cholesterol, and the steroidal sex hormones are created from cholesterol. Therefore, don’t reduce your cholesterol level too much!

Prior to puberty, all of the sex hormones are manufactured by the adrenal glands, and after puberty by the ovaries in women and the testes in men. Progesterone is produced initially, and is then used as the building block for all the other sex hormones (hence the prefix ‘pro’). In women these are the estrogens and in males the androgens. Progesterone is made from the start of the menstrual cycle, and after day 12 they have reached a high enough level to halt ovulation. Progesterone levels continue to rise for about 8 days, and then if fertilization has not occurred, the progesterone levels trigger menstruation, and the lining of the womb is detached and expelled.

During certain phases of the menstrual cycle, the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone drop off, although the exact reason for the many and varied symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) are still unknown to a large extend. There appear to be several contributing factors, though estrogen and progesterone certainly appear to be two of the major ones. We shall concentrate here on the progesterone factor because that is what wild yam is claimed to address.

Although the main function of progesterone is to generate estrogen and testosterone, to restore the libido after menstruation, and maintain the integrity of the lining of the uterus and aid in gestation, it has many other purposes such as in thermogenesis (burning of body fats), protection against osteoporosis and is also believed to have a natural anti-depressant action. These are all supported by the symptoms that appear when the body is low in progesterone levels: depression, sudden increase in body fat, mood swings, loss of sex drive and a susceptibility to weak bones if the deficiency is long-term.

In other words, women that usually suffer from PMS, also generally suffer low progesterone levels. It is believed in some quarters that a progesterone deficiency causes an excess of estrogen that leads to these symptoms in addition to heart disease. No one really knows for sure, but a deficiency of progesterone seems to be the determining factor.

Women with menstrual problems continue to be issued with prescribed synthetic progesterone even though they do not have the same effect as natural progesterone. They can also lead to some unpleasant side effects such as fluid retention, strokes, jaundice, blood clots and depression: some of the symptoms it is intended to alleviate. Some take borage or evening primrose oil for the GLA that helps some of the effects, but this is taken to counter the over-production of the hormone prolactin in some women prior to menstruation, not a deficiency of progesterone.

Wild yam does not cause these symptoms, and is claimed by many to be very effective in alleviating the symptoms of PMS. The problem with the artificial forms of progesterone is that the liver’s job is to destroy foreign hormones, and send them to the digestive tract for expulsion. Natural hormones are not affected in this way, even if they come from a non-human source.

The chemical diosgenin in wild yam is very similar in structure to progesterone, and is believed to be the active principle. It is claimed that it can be used to produce not only progesterone but also other related hormones. However, some medical authorities and practitioners dispute this claim, and there is still a question as to how wild yam works. Because it does work, many people swear by it and claim that they could not live without it.

This is especially true of those that suffer from the more severe effects of PMS, and since wild yam does not work for everybody, it could be connected with the severity of the condition and the symptoms. Whichever is true, there appears to be little doubt in the eyes of those that use it as a cream that wild yam is indeed nature’s progesterone.

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Natures Progesterone

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Acupuncture nutrient Connection
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Date: June 12, 2005 05:53 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Acupuncture nutrient Connection

Acupuncture nutrient Connection by Robert Gluck Energy Times, November 1, 1998

The theory behind the practice of acupuncture confounds western science. This therapy, originating in Asia, is based on the concept that currents of energy called meridians flow through your body. However, no one has ever been able to conclusively demonstrate the existence of these meridians.

Despite the evasiveness of these energy streams, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holds that alterations in these energy flows can disrupt health and cause pain. Consequently, an acupuncturist punctures your skin with specialized needles to redirect the body's vital energy.

Alleviating Illness

Despite the fact that western scientists have not been able to find satisfactory evidence of the existence of these energetic meridians, studies show that acupuncture works and is especially effective at relieving pain. This therapy has been used to alleviate a variety of conditions including chronic pain, nausea and even mental illness. In addition, some practitioners apply it to those trying to shake off the chains of drug addiction. (More recently, many practitioners now also successfully use acupuncture to relieve physical problems in animals.)

Of course, no matter what your perspective on this therapy, acupuncture's no panacea. While you might use acupuncture to relieve the discomforts of chemotherapy, you wouldn't use this technique as your primary weapon against a dangerous disease like cancer. Still, this reliable therapy occupies a welcome spot as an adjunct to many mainstream therapies. Consequently, many mainstream practitioners accept the validity of using acupuncture and many managed care companies reimburse this therapy. Some HMOs even keep a list of approved acupuncturists that they make available to enrollees.

Acupuncture East and West

The practice of acupuncture dates back at least 2200 years ago in Asia. Only during the last forty years has it become well-known and widely available in the United States. Today, 29 accredited acupuncture schools train practitioners in North America. In addition, traditional healers in Belize (south of Mexico) have been found to use a form of acupuncture derived from traditional Mayan medicine.

Is the use of acupuncture by Mayan shamans coincidence? Or further evidence that acupuncture meridians really exist? No one knows for sure, although some experts believe the Mayan use of this therapy supports the notion that the original ancestors of the Mayans migrated from Asia.

Needle Relief

Acupuncturists insert needles into the body to relieve pain or enhance bodily functions. TCM holds that acupuncture, and the manipulation of these tiny needles, moves and manipulates qi (pronounced chee), the body's energy force.

"Acupuncture is a method of balancing the body's energy," says Carol Alexander, an acupuncturist at the North Jersey Health and Pain Relief Center in Hackettstown, New Jersey. "Disease occurs because of an imbalance...Insertion of the acupuncture needles into meridians will bring about the balance of qi." Alexander has practiced acupuncture for 10 years and studied at the Tri-State School of Traditional Acupuncture in Stanford Connecticut.

Alexander says patients sometimes suffer a blockage of qi or display too much or too little qi. The manipulation and placement of the acupuncture needles vary according to the need for adjusting meridian energy flow.

Acupuncture can be used to prevent disease and, if disease is already rampant, it can be used to help the body correct the problem.

In conjunction with her use of acupuncture needles, Alexander rarely prescribes single herbs but uses combinations of whole herbs that are very specific for different diseases and disease patterns. "Certain herbs, such as ginseng, are very prized in Chinese medicine," Alexander notes.

"Astragalus is an herb used in China and around the world to tonify the qi and increase qi energy as well as stimulate the immune system."

Licorice Root

Alexander uses licorice root for assisting digestion and for helping women with menopausal discomforts. On the other hand, she recommends whole food concentrates like bee pollen granules for enhancing the immune system, peppermint for treating gastro-intestinal problems plus fiber supplements as well as the antioxidant/antihistamine quercetin, coenzyme Q10 and melatonin.

"In terms of classes of nutrients, I use a lot of whole food concentrates: the green concentrates like barley greens, wheat grass powder, spirulina and blue-green algae," Alexander says. "These are high in minerals, antioxidants, nutrients and fatty acids. I also use some soy products because the isoflavone concentrates are very much anti-cancer."

The Fine Points of Acupuncture

Acupuncture needles are very fine, as thin as hairs. They are available in a variety of diameters and lengths. When an acupuncturist inserts these needles, the sensation is that of mild pinpricks. (The needles enter the body at depths of only 1/8th inch to two inches.) In many cases people experience mild pleasure during needle manipulation.

"From a Western point of view it's important to explain that there is a distinct function of acupuncture treatment and that is to increase circulation," Alexander says. "We do stimulate nerves and we know that with the stimulation of nerves many neurochemicals and neurotransmitters are released. They move through the nerves and find receptor sights, some in the brain, some in other parts of the body."

By stimulating nerves, acupuncturists can calm inflammation and deaden pain. These effects are believed to be linked to the release of endorphins and dinorphins, powerful painkillers and anti-inflammatories that the body produces for itself. Most acupuncturists use this therapy as part of an overall, multi-faceted treatment plan.

Unique Energy

"Qi is what makes you different from a sack of chemicals," points out David Molony, an acupuncturist at the Lehigh Valley Acupuncture Center in Catasaqua, Pennsylvania who studied at the Nanjing Traditional Medicine Hospital in China and has lectured at Cornell University.

What You Need

"You can manipulate qi with acupuncture, herbs and diet. Because people's bodies work differently, there are different approaches. When you ask the question what nutrients and herbs are effective at enhancing acupuncture, it depends on what the person needs, according to an Oriental Medicine diagnosis."

An Oriental Medical examination, Molony says, begins with a long list of health questions designed to reveal factors that contribute to disease. A practitioner measures your pulse in several different places along your arm, inspects your tongue, may press on your stomach, sniff your general odor and closely examine your nails and skin for signs of problems.

"You take in everything you can," adds Molony, a board member of the Acupuncture Society of Pennsylvania and former board member of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. "This gives you clues that you need in order to make your diagnosis."

Acupuncturists use nutrients and herbs that complement the treatment, as well as dietary and lifestyle counseling. Some acupuncturists don't specialize in herbal remedies, so these practitioners might go to a specialist like David Winston for advice. Winston, an herb expert skilled in Cherokee, Chinese and Western eclectic herbal medicine, works as an instructor, lecturer and consultant.

"In China, acupuncture is considered a complementary therapy; you generally don't go for treatment and get purely acupuncture," says Winston who is working on a book about saw palmetto. "Herbal medicine, diet and qi gong are important therapies in their own right and acupuncture is one of those therapies. Qi gong is a form of martial arts that focuses on unique breathing and visualization methods. Qi is not exactly energy, it's energy in movement; it's what makes the blood move."

Open Blockages

Acupuncture is used to open blockages that sometimes build up in what TCM practitioners characterize as excessive heat or cold. These hot and cold spots do not always literally refer to the temperature of the body but are meant to depict changes in the character of the body's vital energy.

Chinese acupuncturists don't necessarily treat diseases, but target clusters of physical discomforts. Winston says, "Herbal formulas change depending on the 'symptom pictures.' Somebody could have acute appendicitis but the symptom picture could vary. Usually Chinese acupuncturists use herbs like isatis (a very cold, drying herb that's a powerful anti-bacterial agent) and coptis (a powerful anti-bacterial herb)."

Americans often visit acupuncturists complaining of back pain or some type of musculoskeletal problem-a wrenched knee, a ligament that hasn't healed properly or perhaps a torn rotator cuff. "If the injury is hot to the touch, it's red, it's inflammatory-that's a condition where there's excessive heat and in that condition the acupuncturist would give herbs that are cooling and anti-inflammatory such as the root of large leaf gentian."

Pain that Moves

If someone suffers pain that moves, pain that is sometimes exacerbated by damp or humid conditions, acupuncturists often prescribe clematis root, a wild variety of the garden plant that is an anti-spasmodic, or acanthopanax, a relative of Siberian ginseng used for damp pain.

"If there's pain with excessive dampness," Winston says, "acupuncturists might use duhuo, a drying herb that opens the meridians."

Molony agrees with Winston that when it comes to choosing herbs to enhance acupuncture, accurate analysis of the root cause of the health problem is paramount to making the right decisions. For example, if a person is qi deficient and her tongue is thickly coated, she may not be processing her energy properly. Phlegm builds up, decreasing energy. "What you want to do is give them herbs that move phlegm, like citrus peel, and combine that with acupuncture points that move phlegm also," Molony says.

For stimulating metabolism, Molony uses lactoferin-processed colostrum from cows. He uses ginseng and atractylodes as qi tonics and he adds herbs like magnolia bark or atractylodes alba.

Helpful Antioxidants

He believes antioxidants are helpful too, as preventive medicines, including vitamins C and E. These valuable nutrients disarm the harm that reactive molecules can wreak within the body.

So how important are herbs and nutrition to enhance acupuncture's effectiveness? Acupuncturists seem to agree that healthy doses of antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E plus antioxidants from grapeseed extract) as well as specialized herbs, turn this therapy into a highly effective healing tool. Those wanting to benefit from this penetrating technique should stock up on nutrients. Then sit back, relax, kick off your shoes and let the acupuncturist do her stuff.



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