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What Is Silymarin And What Are Its Health Benefits?
April 11, 2012 07:29 AM
Silymarin a Component of Milk thistle
Silymarin refers to a dietary supplement that is derived from the seeds of the milk thistle plant, whose scientific name is Silybum marianum. Milk thistle is native to Southern Europe, Middle East and North Africa, but it has also been Naturalized in North America. The name of the plant is derived from the white, milky sap from its leaves and stems once they have been broken. Silymarin is made up of three types of plant flavonoids, namely silibinin, silicristin and silidianin. These work together as Silymarin, providing several health benefits to people. The medicinal benefits of Silymarin are not a recent discovery, since extracts of the milk thistle have been used for centuries in the treatment of liver diseases. Currently however, the benefits of Silymarin are not restricted to the treatment of liver conditions. With time, it has emerged that Silymarin has other health benefits, which will be discussed in this article.
One of the best known health benefits of Silymarin is its protection of the liver against toxins. The liver is one of the most important organs in a person's body, aiding in food digestion in addition to cleaning toxic substances from the blood. This means that the diseases that affect a person's liver will also affect his or her overall health. One of the most serious diseases that affect the liver is hepatitis, a viral infection that causes liver inflammation. Research has shown that Silymarin inhibits the development of the hepatitis virus, since it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also stimulates the body's immune system, providing overall liver protection.
Silymarin also has anticancer benefits, owing to its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants normally prevent the damage of healthy body cells by free radicals. According to the American Cancer Society, the antioxidant properties in Silymarin offer protection against skin cancer. Further, Silymarin also helps to reduce the growth of prostrate, breast and cervical cancer cells. This means that when used together with other cancer treatments, it can actually help to prevent or reduce a patient's need for chemotherapy. It is also useful in the treatment of cancer, due to the fact that it protects the liver from the toxins in the chemotherapy drugs.
Other than chemotherapy drugs, Silymarin also protects the liver against any other drugs that may affect the liver, as well as harmful substances such as alcohol. In some parts of Europe, milk thistle is normally given to patients whose medications are known to cause liver complications. The other benefit of Silymarin is that is helpful on controlling the blood sugar levels. In a study involving patients with type II diabetes, it was found that taking Silymarin at least thrice a day significantly reduced their blood sugar levels. In addition, the patients also experienced a drop in the levels of bad cholesterol.
Silymarin has no toxic compounds, so it is safe to use without any serious side effects. The only side effects that have been reported are indigestion, diarrhea and allergic reactions. However, the prevalence of such occurrences is negligible, as they only apply to few people. Nevertheless, people with existing medical conditions should consult their doctors prior to taking Silymarin.
Can Nettle Leaves Help with Allergies?
July 12, 2011 12:48 PM
Nettle And Allergies
Nettle leaf is a traditional medication for excessive inflammation in many European countries. It is valued for its hollow hairs called trichomes, which work as a counter-irritant. In addition to its putative effect on allergic rhinitis or hay fever, it remains extensively used as a treatment for joint pain, muscle spasms, back ache, osteoarthritis, atopic eczema, gout, and other disorders induced by inflammation.
Urtica dioica is the plant species referred to as the common nettle or stinging nettle, from which nettle leaf is harvested from in general. It is an herbaceous shrub that grows up to 2 meters in height. It is botanically noted for its trichomes, which inject list of inflammatory agents into the skin upon contact. In alternative medicine, these organic compounds are processed to combat excessive inflammation.
Nettles enjoy a wide distribution in almost all continents, with the exception of Antarctica and South America. In particular, stinging nettle has been successfully Naturalized in all regions outside the Frigid Zone. It prefers soils that retain moisture and receive high rainfall. Hence, it thrives well in tropical and subtropical regions. In temperate zones, it is often found in the wild and abandoned settlements.
Nettle leaf has had a centuries-old association with folk medicine of England, Germany, Sweden, and much of Northern Europe. It is mentioned in the Old English poem called Nine Herbs Charm, which describes the common nettle as a treatment for poison and infection. In Germany, herbal preparations that contain nettle extracts are among the leading adjuvant remedies for allergic rhinitis and joint pain.
Hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system in the form of allergies is a reaction to otherwise harmless substances called allergens. These reactions include eczema, hives, hay fever, asthma, anaphylaxis, insect bites, and even systemic allergic reactions. Modern herbalists have long employed nettle leaf for the prevention, amelioration, and cure of hay fever and related allergic reactions.
The hollow stinging hairs of nettle leaf are a natural source of organic compounds that are similar to the chemicals released by the body during allergic reactions, such as histamine and acetylcholine. It produces optimum results when applied directly, as is the case with topical creams and alcoholic tinctures. Allergies subside when these compounds are introduced to local tissues underneath the skin.
Extracts of nettle leaf contain phytochemicals that display anti-inflammatory activities when ingested. The exact mechanism of action is still under investigation. Based on initial results, researchers are positive that nettle leaf exerts an inhibitory effect on pro-inflammatory cell-signaling protein molecules known as cytokines, which are directly involved in hypersensitivity disorder, especially hay fever.
More importantly, nettle leaf has been observed to inhibit the transcription of tumor necrosis factor alpha, which is responsible for a diverse variety of inflammatory responses of cells and tissues. As a results, it downregulates the production of cytokines and interleukins incriminated in excessive inflammation during joint pain, back ache, food allergies, asthma attacks, and allergic rhinitis.
Does Aloe Vera Juice Help with Digestive Problems?
March 28, 2011 02:01 PM
Aloe vera and your Colon
Aloe vera juice is one of the oldest herbal remedy for digestive problems that up to now remains in common use. It is extracted from the succulent plant aloe vera, which is known for its medicinal properties all over the world. Cultivation of this medicinal aloe predates written history, and its place of origin has eluded scholars for centuries. The fact that it is widely distributed across the globe today makes it a ready source of medicine in treatment of common digestive ailments. Also, large-scale production has contributed to its growing popularity worldwide.
You may have heard of aloe vera juice as a health tonic. Folk medicine practices in just every continent highly value this medicinal aloe for its cleansing properties, but the first recorded use for illnesses of the gastrointestinal tract is in an Egyptian medical papyrus. In Greek and Roman antiquity aloe vera extracts in the form of juice were prescribed by physicians who practiced humorism to patients afflicted with constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, and stomach cramps. Both De Materia Medica by Greek botanist and pharmacologist Pedanius Dioscorides and Naturalis Historia by the Roman natural philosopher Gaius Plinius Secundus made mentions of its medicinal powers known to cleanse not only the alimentary canal but also the blood.
Heals Ulcerations of the Gastrointestinal Tract
It is common knowledge that aloe vera promotes the healing of wounds and other skin lesions. Aloe vera juice works on the same principle when ingested. This medicinal plant contains phytochemicals that increases the rate of healing of skin lesions and damaged epithelial cells of the gastrointestinal tract. There is a growing body of literature devoted to the effects of this medicinal aloe on inflammatory intermediaries present in the processes that are implicated in lesion of body surfaces, including the inner walls of the alimentary canal.
Inhibits Growth of Harmful Strains of Bacteria
Aloe vera juice has long been postulated to have antibacterial properties, and scientific evidence in support of this claim has surfaced in the past few years. One of the reasons why aloe vera speeds up the recovery of wounds is the fact that it is both bacteriostatic and bactericidal in nature, which means it inhibits the growth of bacteria and actively eliminates them at the same time. In addition, aloe vera contains polysaccharides that benefit probiotics, or friendly bacteria. By raising the number of helpful strains of bacteria such as lactobacillus, populations of harmful bacteria are curbed.
Induces Peristaltic Movement of the Intestines
There is strong scientific evidence that aloe vera juice is particularly beneficial for individuals afflicted with constipation. For one, anthroquinone glycosides found in aloe vera have been noted to accelerate defecation by adding bulk to the impacted feces and attracting water to soften the stool. Furthermore, aloe vera stimulates the muscle cells within the intestinal walls, which consequently produce contractions. The resulting peristaltic movement moves the ball of food, leading to the evacuation of the bowels.
Aloe vera is an excellent remedy to take daily to maintain good intestinal health as well as skin health. Take your aloe daily!
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.
November 12, 2009 04:47 PM
Fennel is a plant species that is part of the genus Foeniculum. A member of the family Apiaceae, this plant is a hardy, perennial, umbelliferous herb. The plant has yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is generally found growing on the shores of the Mediterranean, but it has become widely Naturalized elsewhere. Now, the plant can be found growing wild in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on river-banks. The plant is highly aromatic and flavorful. It is actually one of the primary ingredients of absinthe. Some species of fennel possess a swollen, bulb-like stem base, which is used as a vegetable. Fennel is used as food plant by some moth and bird species.
The fennel plant is native to the southern areas of Europe and Asia Minor. The herb is now cultivated in the United States and Great Britain. It was used anciently in many civilizations. Used in ancient Egypt, this herb aids in digestion and flatulence. In Italy, fennel was used to bring surgical patients out of anesthesia. Fennel was recommended by Hippocrates and Dioscorides to increase milk production in nursing mothers. The ancient Greeks used this herb for weight reduction, while the seventeenth-century herbalist Nicholas Culpeper also recommended this herb for losing weight.
Fennel is extremely helpful in weight reduction, as it suppresses the appetite. This herb aids in stabilizing the nervous system and can be used as a sedative for small children. Fennel can be used to expel phlegm from the throat, eliminate toxins from the body, and purify the blood. This herb is known for its ability to fortify the immune system and be good for the eyes. Additionally, fennel aids in digestion, improves night vision, relieves gas, expels worms, improves the quality of milk in nursing mothers, and cleans the bladder and liver. This herb has been used to stimulate menstruation and can help too soothe the smooth muscles of the digestive tract, as it aids in digestion and related problems.
Research on rats has found that the fennel seeds have estrogenic effects on the genital organs. The herb has been found to promote the production of milk in nursing mothers. Fennel is good for digestion, colic, and other stomach complaints. This herb contains essential oils that have a composition similar to catnip and peppermint. The seeds of the fennel plant are used to provide anorectic, antacid, anti-inflaamtory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, estrogenic, expectorant, galactagogue, sedative, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, magnesium, niacin, potassium, sodium, sulfur, vitamins A, C, B1, and B2. Primarily, fennel is extremely beneficial in dealing with abdominal cramps, colic, gas, gastric disorders, indigestion, intestinal problems, and weight-related conditions.
Additionally, this herb can be very helpful in treating excessive appetite, asthma, constipation, convulsions, coughs, uterine cramps, gout, kidney ailments, absence of lactation, liver disorders, lung disorders, and nervous disorders. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by this herb, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
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.
Artichoke Leaves Provide Stimulating Digestion Benefits
February 22, 2008 10:46 AM
The leaves from the plant of this familiar food are found to be beneficial to our digestion and metabolism, potentially reducing cholesterol. The artichoke has long been eaten as a vegetable, and has been ascribed many beneficial attributes. Artichokes were cultivated in the ancient Mediterranean and enjoyed great popularity in the thriving Roman Empire. From then until its mid-16th century reemergence, the artichoke hovered in sporadic obscurity.
Greek philosopher Theophrastus, a recognized Naturalist, wrote of artichoke cultivation in Sicily and Italy around 300 B.C. Several centuries later, physicians and Naturalists in Greece and Rome collected and recorded information on the health remedies resulting from intake of the artichoke and its preparations. The artichoke was also considered an aphrodisiac and a delicacy; to this day that estimation still remains.
Along with possessing a pleasantly robust and slightly bitter flavor, the fleshy lobes of the artichoke contain vitamins A and C, dietary magnesium, folic acid, fiber, as well as potassium and manganese, among other essential nutrients.
But the story doesn’t end there. The oft-thrown away serrated leaves of the artichoke plant, a member of the thistle family, contain even more health benefits than their edible counterpart. What most people are familiar with is actually the edible flower bud of the artichoke plant.
The plant’s leaves contain two key substances with health-giving attributes, the main one being cynarin. What is fascinating about this compound is that fresh artichoke leaves only contain trace amounts of cynarin. During the extraction and drying process, the levels rise due to chemical changes that occur during the process. Artichoke leaf extract contains beneficial levels of this compound that provides maximum benefit when ingested. Before more potent pharmaceuticals were developed by drug companies, synthetic cynarin preparations were prescribed to patients with high cholesterol.
Cynarin stimulates bile secretion in the liver and gallbladder; working as a digestive aid to break down fats and cholesterol. Additionally, increased bile production assists the digestive track in eliminating toxins from the liver.
Bile is formed in the liver, created by the combination of cholesterol and triglycerides. Often times these two terms are considered negative, but not all cholesterol is bad cholesterol. Some forms are necessary for normal body function. Once the bile is formed in the liver, it is stored in the gallbladder. Bile not only works to eliminate toxins, it also emulsifies fats to allow them to be digested and metabolized. Without bile the digestive track would be a disaster, and the body would be unable to absorb fat soluble vitamins.
The process by which artichoke leaf extract is thought to lower cholesterol levels is made up of two parts. More bile means the liver has more power and efficiency in breaking down and eliminating cholesterol. In addition to the increased ability to get rid cholesterol, artichoke leaf extract has been shown to inhibit cholesterol production in the liver. This second attribute is thought to come from the levels of luteolin in the extract.
Luteolin, a flavonoid, is an antioxidant efficient at fighting free radicals and reinforcing the functions of the immune system. Additionally, luteolin has been shown in studies to increase carbohydrate metabolism and prevent LDL-cholesterol oxidation.
Medical science is only beginning to reveal the details of how artichoke leaf extract works to improve cardiovascular and digestive health, while ancient physicians and traditional healers had a hunch all along.
Complete Liver Cleanse
April 19, 2007 04:17 PM
Complete Liver Cleanse
Technical Data Sheet
The liver performs over 500 functions, including metabolizing carbohydrates and proteins, synthesizing and storing vitamins, and regulating hormones – naming just a few. To do this job, the liver is also required to be exposed to potentially harmful toxins and chemicals, every day.
One way to support the liver is through periodic supplementation with the proper balance of herbal ingredients, phytosterols, and fiber. Complete Liver Cleanse is a convenient, multi-ingredient formula that supports overall liver health and detoxification.
Complete Liver Cleanse:
Includes ingredients for various aspects of liver and gallbladder support:
-Herbal ingredients that support liver and gallbladder health
-Detoxifying ingredients that keep bound toxins from being reabsorbed
-Phytosterols to block cholesterol absorption in the intestines
-Fiber that moves cholesterol and toxins out of the body
-Oat beta-glucan fiber with up to 4 times higher viscosity than other beta-glucan
-Simple, two week liver cleanse program
Each 3 capsules contain:
Calcium (as calcium D-glucarate) 13 mg
Proprietary PuraFiber Blend: 1 mg
Viscofiber Oat B-Gucan Concentrate, phytosterols
(beta sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, brassicasterol,
and other plant sterols), and glucomannan
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) Fruit Phytosome 220 mg
One part Milk Thistle Extract, standardized to contain 80%
Silymarin bound to two parts phosphatidylcholine (soy) using
a patented process
Burdock (Arctium lappa) Root Extract 4:1 100 mg
Calcium D-Glucarate 100 mg
Boldo (Peumus boldus) Leaf Extract 2:1 75 mg
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Rhizome Extract 50 mg
Standardized to contain 90% curcuminoids
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) Root Extract 4:1 50 mg
Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) Leaf Extract 30 mg
Standardized to contain 13-18% caffeylquinic
Acids calculated as chlorogenic acid
Contains no: sugar, salt, yeast, wheat, dairy products, artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, ingredients of animal origin, or preservatives. This product contains natural ingredients; color variations are normal.
Other ingredients: See label for most current information
Viscofiber is a registered trademark of Cebena Bioproducts, Inc. The use and composition of the Viscofiber proprietary formula is protected by patients and patent applications filed in the
This product contains calcium D-glucarate, the use of which is licensed from Applied Food Sciences, LLC, and protected by
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Every day, the liver must process an almost unbelievable amount of blood – at a rate of three pints every minute. All the while, the liver performs over 500 physiologic functions, including protein and glucose synthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, vitamin and mineral storage, synthesis of clotting factors, urea formation, metabolism of medications, and the production of bile. The liver also assists in hormonal regulation, blood glucose control, and other regulatory functions.
Harmful substances that have been neutralized by the liver are carried to the intestines and kidneys for excretion. They are transported by bile, a greenish, watery solution that is synthesized, and continuously being excreted, by the liver. Stored in the gallbladder, a small sac cupped in the under surface of the liver, bile is also required for the digestion of dietary fats. However, in the case of toxins, bile is primarily an early transporter of the toxic compounds to the intestines, where they can be bound to fiber that helps transport them out of the body. Environmental toxins, including lipid (fat) soluble toxins, are broken into water-soluble components by bile to be excreted through the kidneys or colon.
Detoxification refers to the process of excreting potentially harmful compounds that are both generated by the body and acquired through exposure to the environment. In the body, toxins are generated as by-products of cellular metabolic processes. Examples include dead and digested bacteria, hydrogen peroxide, cellular debris, and carbon dioxide.
The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that the amount of environmental toxins in the air, groundwater, and soil has increased significantly in the last 40 years. In fact, the use of pesticides has doubled every ten years since 1945. Americans are increasingly exposed to heavy metals, pesticides, fossil fuel emissions, sulfur oxides, hydrocarbons, and other harmful chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that traces of toxic chemicals can now be found in nearly every American.
Herbal Liver Support
One of the major components in Complete Liver Cleanse is its milk thistle extract, standardized to contain 80% silymarin, the plant’s most bioactive compound. Milk Thistle provides support, at a cellular level, for healthy liver function. A patented delivery system, known as the Phytosome process, provides superior absorption of the milk thistle extract.
Silymarin, a key compound found in milk thistle, is a mixture of flavonoids with a long history of liver support. Silymarin supports the health of Kupffer cells, specialized liver cells responsible for removing bacteria, old blood cells, and other foreign matter from the liver’s blood supply. Silymarin scavenges free radicals (superoxide anion radical and nitric oxide) produced by activated Kupffer cells, supports healthy leukotriene levels, and supports glutathione production that is used in detoxification.
Silymarin also supports the health of hepatocytes, highly versatile liver cells with unique physiologic functions. Studies of silymarin have demonstrated that it supports the health of the hepatocyte outer membrane, which is crucial to the liver’s detoxification processes. Silymarin also supports the healthy regenerative ability of the liver through support of protein synthesis in the hepatocytes.
A special, patented proves known as Phytosome enhances the absorption of milk thistle in Complete Liver Cleanse. The Phytosome process pairs herbal ingredients with phosphatidylcholine molecules. Phosphatidylcholine is a naturally occurring substance found in soybeans, egg yolks, and some vegetables. In the body, phosphatidylcholine is an important building block of cell membranes.
When milk thistle (or other herbs) are bound with phosphatidylcholine, the phosphatidylcholine molecule facilitates absorption through the intestines into the bloodstream. Research has shown increased blood and serum levels for phytosome herbs in comparison to the individual herb alone.
To test whether binding an herb with phosphatidylcholine increased its bioavailability, researchers gave volunteers identical amounts of either milk thistle alone, or milk thistle phytosome. The researchers then took blood sample from the participants and measured the level of silybin (a key compound in milk thistle). The measurements showed that silybin levels in participants taking the phytosome form of milk thistle were higher, and that silybin was detected for a longer time, than those who took milk thistle without the phytosome delivery system.
Other Herbal Liver Supportive Ingredients
Herbal extracts are often at their best when they are working synergistically – that is, when different constituents of each plant work together and support each other. Complete Liver Cleanse contains a variety of herbal extracts that have noted benefits for supporting the body’s healthy bile flow and free-radical scavenging effects. These ingredients provide a wide spectrum of liver supportive benefits.
For instance, dandelion root extract supports healthy bile flow from the gallbladder.
Burdock is originally native to Europe and Asia, but was introduced to
Burdock root (Arctium lappa) supports the natural physiologic processes of organs involved in detoxification and elimination: notably, the liver, kidneys, and intestines.
Bolodo (pemus boldus) is a small evergreen native to South America, but Naturalized to southern
In scientific studies, boldo appears to have strong free-radical scavenging ability, mostly attributed to the catechin and flavonoids content of its leaves. In a clinical study, boldo also appears to relax smooth muscle and support intestinal transit time.
Artichoke Leaf extract specifically supports healthy bile production in the liver and healthy gastrointestinal function in general. Research into artichoke’s gastrointestinal supportive properties has included at least three clinical trials. Artichoke’s role in supporting healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits has also been investigated.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial shrub native to southern
More recently, turmeric has been investigated for its support of healthy bile secretion, and pancreatic and gastric function.
In a scientific study, dietary curcuminoids derived from turmeric supported healthy lipid metabolism and cholesterol levels already within normal limits.
Curcumin has also been shown in scientific studies to enhance the activity of glutathione S-transferase - an enzyme responsible for linking glutathione (one of the body’s natural antioxidants) with toxins to help remove them from the body. In this way, it provides additional support for healthy liver function.
The process of detoxification is the breakdown and excretion of substances that are no longer needed or may be harmful to the body. One of the ways in which the body excretes hormones and toxins is by binding them to glucuronic acid in the liver, and then excreting this compound in the bile.
However, this process can be disrupted by B-glucuronidase, an enzyme that is produced by intestinal bacteria. This enzyme has the ability to break (uncouple) the chemical bond established by glucuronic acid. This action releases the bound toxins, which are then reabsorbed into the body instead of being excreted.
Calcium D-Glucarate is the calcium salt of d-glucaric acid. It is found in both the human body, and in some plant sources, including broccoli and oranges.
Calcium d0glucarate enhances the body’s detoxification systems by inhibiting the actions of beta-glucuronidase. This helps decrease the portion of active compounds that could be hazardous to the body.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is vital to fat digestion, cell structure, nerve insulation and hormone production. Cholesterol comes from two sources: dietary or “exogenous” cholesterol absorbed in the intestine, and “endogenous” cholesterol formed mostly by the liver and stored in the gallbladder.
Cholesterol occurs in two forms known as lipoproteins. Lipoproteins act as transports that carry fat s to and from the cells.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) carries low lipid density cholesterol (LDL) away from arterial walls and returns it to the bloodstream. LDL then travels back to the liver, which processes and eliminates it. While high levels of HDL cholesterol is desirable, high amounts of LDL cholesterol is not supportive of optimal health.
LDL-cholesterol is both synthesized in the body, or absorbed into the bloodstream through receptor sites in the intestines. Think of these receptors as “parking spaces” for cholesterol. As it happens, the liver can receive up to 500 mg per day of cholesterol from intestinal absorption. (It can also produce as much as 1000 mg per day).
One way to help reduce the absorption of LDL cholesterol molecules it to occupy their “parking places” in the intestines. Phytosterols in Liver Cleanse are essentially the “fat” of plants. They’re found in nuts, corn and rice and are some of the “good” fats associated with the benefits of olive oil, flaxseed oil and other healthy oils.
The structure of phytosterols is so similar to cholesterol that they fit perfectly in the specially-shaped intestinal parking spaces that LDL-cholesterol would normally occupy.
Taken with, or just before meals, phytosterols block the cholesterol receptor sites so that cholesterol is excreted from the body rather than absorbed. Phytosterols also have the additional role of helping promote healthy bile salt excretion in the intestines.
The phytosterol blend in Complete Liver Cleanse can help minimize the absorption of cholesterol from high-protein food sources, help retain healthy cholesterol levels that are within normal limits, and move bile sat through the digestive system.
Fiber and detoxification
Fiber plays a key role in the removal and excretion of intestinal toxins in detoxification. Only fibers that can effectively bind toxins will be successful in eliminating these harmful substances. Due to the unique benefits of individual fibers, the best binding, removal, and elimination effects are noted when combining different fiber types. Complete Liver Cleanse contains a combination of oat beta-glucan and konjac fiber that has been shown in scientific studies to bind to bile salts.
Dietary fibers are complex mixtures of cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, mucilage, and gums, which are resistant to digestive fluids or enzymes – that is, they aren’t absorbed into the bloodstream. So, while fiber itself doesn’t necessarily provide nutrients, it does promote laxation and modulate gastric and intestinal physiology. Intestinal flora that normally reside within the colon utilize fiber as a medium for microbial fermentation, resulting in the synthesis of the vitamins, vitamin K and biotin, and the formation of short chain fatty acids, or SCFA.
SCFA have a simple, but important job: to be absorbed by the colon mucosa, increasing fecal matter bulk and providing energy. Fiber has been demonstrated in numerous clinical studies to provide support of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine function health.
Complete Liver Cleanse also features two unique fibers to promote detoxification – konjac and oat beta-glucan.
Konjac, (Amorphophallus Konjac) is a tuber native to
As a fiber, konjac has shown positive results maintaining healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits in clinical studies. This beneficial effect is due to konjac’s ability to boost excretion of bile acid.
Oat beta-glucan has been a widely studied fiber source for supporting healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits.
In a randomized clinical study, oat beta-glucan showed support of healthy HDL/LDL ratios already within normal limits in individuals over a three week trial.
Closely linked to cholesterol, oat beta-glucan has also been studied for its support of healthy bile excretion.
Fiber has benefits beyond maintaining healthy cholesterol levels already within normal limits. It also contributes to healthy blood sugar levels already within normal limits. In a double-blind, clinical study, the oat beta-glucan fiber used in Liver Cleanse was shown to have 4 times higher viscosity than another high concentrate beta-glucan fiber.
Viscosity – the resistance to flow – is an important factor in beta-glucan, and all fiber. Water, for instance, would have a low viscosity, because it provides very little resistance to movement. Fiber, on the other hand, should have a higher viscosity in order to maximize its transit time through the GI tract, providing a gentle “scrubbing” on the intestinal walls. Therefore, the higher the viscosity, the greater the potential benefit.
Three capsules in the morning and three capsules at bedtime for 14 days.
Warnings: Do not use if you know or suspect you have an obstructed bile duct or problematic gallstones. If pregnant, nursing or taking prescription drugs, consult your healthcare practitioner prior to use. Keep out of reach of children.
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September 01, 2006 01:48 PM
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Jason Fragrance Free is a line of hair and body care products formulated for individuals with fragrance or skin sensitivities and those who just want to steer clear of fragrance, dyes and synthetics. Many “unscented” products mask the odor of the formula with fragrance so they remain a potential source of skin irritation. Synthetic fragrances often contain phthalates which have been linked to birth defects and health related issues.
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*”scents and Sensitivity,” Environmental Health Perspectives, the research journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, www.herc.org, Nov. 1998
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Garlic for the Ages - eat garlic because it's good for your heart...
June 13, 2005 09:58 AM
Garlic for the Ages by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, January 1 , 2004
If you eat garlic because it's good for your heart, you swallow a plant renowned through human history: Garlic was eaten by Roman soldiers for courage; Egyptian slaves ate it to build strength; Christians, Moslems and Hindus include it in their sacred books. Others have used it as an aphrodisiac, a vampire deterrent and a magical charm.
Garlic has a long history as a culinary and medicinal herb that people either love or hate. Its pungent aroma and warming flavor captivates or repels, but its wealth of natural chemicals does great things for your heart.
Garlic (Allium sativum), a member of the onion family, is native to Siberia but, in modern times, has become a treasured Naturalized citizen grown all over the world. Garlic's use in folk medicine dates back about 7,000 years, making it one of the oldest known medicinal foods or herbs.
In modern times, garlic is generally used as a condiment lending a unique, pungent flavor to dishes, but in medieval times, garlic was cooked and eaten as a vegetable in its own right. Today you can revel in a wealth of garlic choices, consuming garlic raw, cooked in various recipes, as a dried concentrated powder, as a fresh liquid extract or as aged garlic powder.
Each little clove of garlic is a powerhouse of good-for-you natural compounds, vitamins and minerals. The biologically active constituents of garlic include allyl sulfur compounds as well as the minerals germanium and selenium.
When you chop up raw garlic and allowed it to stand for about 10 minutes or more, the herb's fragments release an enzyme that converts its compounds from allyl sulfur to another natural chemical called allicin.
Although some allicin is found in garlic before it is cut apart, the yield multiplies considerably when the garlic clove is chopped or pressed and exposed to water (Garlic Conference, Newport Beach, 11/15/98; Penn State).
Many researchers believe that the more allicin produced, the better the health benefits. (Although this is still being debated among the garlic cognoscenti.)
But garlic's benefits don't end meekly on the kitchen counter with its allicin content rising.
Cooked garlic and aged garlic contain other helpful chemicals called diallyl sulphides. Consequently, in any form, garlic produces beneficial health effects.
Fortunately, since raw garlic juice or oil can often irritate the stomach lining, especially in people with sensitive stomachs and delicate digestive systems, garlic supplements and cooked garlic are both helpful for heart health.
Aged Garlic Extract
Aging garlic significantly reduces its irritating compounds and makes it easier on the stomach.
In the aged form, all of garlic's healthy sulfur-containing compounds are converted to water- soluble compounds that retain garlic's natural health benefits. In addition, the pungent odor of the garlic is greatly reduced, an outcome many people desire.
When a group of researchers at Brown University studied the effects of aged garlic extract on people's cholesterol levels, they found that after six months, cholesterol dropped about 6% (Am J Clin Nutr 1996; 64:866-70).
In another study from Brown, researchers found that aged garlic extract reduced platelet adhesion, a sticky blood problem that can cause vessel blockages (New Drug Clin 45(3):456-66). When platelets are less sticky, they are less likely to form blood clots that can cause heart attacks.
Garlic and Heart Disease
A growing body of research shows that a clove of garlic a day can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.
A four-year study of 280 people who took dried garlic powder three times a day found a striking reduction in the types of arterial plaque blockages that threaten the blood supply to your heart. Interestingly, in this particular study, women displayed a greater reduction in plaque than men (Atherosclerosis 2000; 150:437-8).
Another study found that garlic may also keep important blood vessels more supple and less likely to spasm. Arterial spasms have been linked to heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems in women.
As you age, the aorta, one of the main arteries that carries blood, may harden, reducing blood flow from the heart and placing damaging stress on a number of other bodily organs. In research at Ohio State University, people who took garlic supplements had 15% less aortic stiffness than people who avoided garlic (Circulation).
In this study, scientists found that the older people enjoyed the greatest cardiovascular benefits from daily garlic use.
Researchers believe this extra benefit is linked to the fact that as you age, the endothelial tissue in the linings of the aorta and other blood vessels become less responsive to the need to dilate (expand). As a result, when more blood flow is required, and the heart pumps faster, these vessels take more of a beating from the friction of blood passing through them.
That restriction in dilation has two damaging consequences: In one instance, vessel walls can be injured. In response to these injuries, cholesterol collects on artery walls, plaque forms and the blood supply to the heart muscle can be restricted, leading to a heart attack. In other cases, arteries can restrict blood flow to the heart simply because of the inability to expand sufficiently.
The Ohio State researchers found that arteries in folks aged 70 to 80 benefited the most from taking garlic. But those in their 60s also benefited significantly.
Garlic's natural antioxidant properties can also help protect the heart from damage after surgery (BMC Pharmacology 9/02).
In a study performed on lab animals, researchers found that oxidative stress, a source of cell damage that takes place after surgery, dropped when the animals ate a diet that included garlic.
Oxidative stress can seriously reduce cardiac function, limit the amount of blood the heart can pump and cause permanent damage to the heart muscle.
Garlic Against Blood Clots
Under normal circumstances, blood clots serve a useful purpose: Cut yourself and a blood clot stops the bleeding. Without this clotting ability, you might bleed to death. But if your blood is too prone to clotting, these clumps can cut off blood supply to your heart and other organs, endangering your life.
In a study of apparently healthy individuals whose relatives had already suffered from heart disease, researchers found that their blood formed thick, tangled blood clots, increasing their risk of heart problems (Circulation rapid access 9/23/02). These blood clots are made of a substance called fibrin, a protein in the plasma that can form elastic threads that cut off blood flow.
While these researchers recommended aspirin as an anti-clotting measure for people at risk of heart disease, garlic can also help break up fibrin and possibly lower your chance of heart problems (Pharmatherapy 5(2): 83).
The fibrin that forms clots is produced by blood cells called platelets. Other scientists who have looked into garlic's benefits believe that one of its natural chemicals called ajoene may keep platelets from producing excessive fibrin and gumming up the flow of blood through arteries.
If you've rarely indulged in garlic, you may need a period of adjustment in growing accustomed to its unique taste and aroma. But its heart benefits confirm the long-ago observation by Pliny, an ancient Roman Naturalist, that "garlic has powerful properties."