Search Term: " Psychiaric "
This deficiency often leads to brain shrinkage, psychosis and Alzheimer
April 09, 2019 10:21 AM
There are serious health consequences associated with being deficient in vitamins B3, B6 and B12, including many with neurological or psychiatric elements. B vitamins are very important to healthy brain function, and can also play a role in whether and how quickly diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s develop. Specifically, being deficient in these vitamins can increase levels of homocysteine, which is associsted with sharply increasing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Getting enough of the most important B vitamins can suppress homocysteine and help keep your brain healthy.
"It should come as no surprise that nutrition is a foundational consideration to optimize and maintain cognitive function."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/this-deficiency-often-leads-to-brain-shrinkage-psychosis-and-alzheimers/
Reduces homocysteine levels and acts as an Alzheimers bodyguard?
March 12, 2019 01:50 PM
The prevalence of Alzheimer's is steadily growing, and researchers are growing more and more concerned at the apparent epidemic. Approximately one in six adults will end up experiencing some form of dementia, and this statistic alone is enough to motivate medical experts to find solutions. Some physicians are finding that taking in adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids each day can help prevent the stiffening and inflammation of cells that have the potential to lead to a drop in cognitive function related to dementia.
"The influence of marine-based omega-3 fats on physical and mental health has been the subject of intense research for decades, and there’s compelling evidence they can help ameliorate a variety of psychiatric illnesses and degenerative brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/reduces-homocysteine-levels-and-acts-as-an-alzheimers-bodyguard/
CBD Oil: Health Benefits and Risks
February 12, 2019 01:14 PM
CBD is currently being touted as a new treatment for a range of health concerns. However, we do not yet fully understand its long term effects. CBD has been shown to effectively treat epilepsy and have some success as an anti-inflammatory medicine. CBD is not considered to be addictive according to the WHO. It also does not have the intoxicating effects that THC has. However, some people do experience side effects including sleepiness, fatigue, and diarrhea.
"CBD oil is thought to have potential benefits for the treatment and management of a wide variety of disorders due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, antipsychotic, analgesic, and muscle relaxing effects, among others."
Read more: https://www.news-medical.net/health/CBD-Oil-Health-Benefits-and-Risks.aspx
Accumulating evidence suggests curcumin and turmeric can treatpsychiatric disorders
January 28, 2019 08:10 AM
There are so many people out there that are suffering from mental disorders. There have always been these types of people and the treatment for them has remained largely the same. They go and they talk to people who try to help them deal with their inner demons. However, it is really tough. Now, there are studies that are showing that curcumin and turmeric can actually help treat these individuals who have these disorders. This would be massive for them.
"Thankfully, researchers have discovered that a compound in the popular Indian spice turmeric has the potential to effectively treat psychiatric disorders like bipolar disorder and depression."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-06-accumulating-evidence-curcumin-turmeric-treat-psychiatric-disorders.html
The Cannabis Remedy: Simple Solution For Over 40 Million PeopleSuffering With Anxiety
November 24, 2018 11:13 AM
Anxiety is a very prevalent condition, both in the U.S. and worldwide. In fact the National Institutes of Health concur that as much as 33% of the world's population has suffered, or well suffer from some type of anxiety. Besides mentally specific symptoms, such as worry, fretting, inability to focus, nervousness and fearfulness, the condition can create physical symptoms as well, such as clenching, sweating, dizziness, accelerated breathing, pulse and raised blood pressure. At it's worst, anxiety can induce a full-blown panic attack, depersonalization and even a certainty that one is dying. Obviously anxiety is a potentially critical condition, with the ability to disrupt life, even in small ways. As it worsens, anxiety can make it difficult to impossible for sufferers to work or socialize effectively. Though triggers vary, most people are visited by anxiety due to one of three big concerns, namely fears that center around finances, safety, or health. One poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association concluded that keeping the family safe and bill-paying were huge anxiety triggers that resonated with more than 60% of respondents. The positive news is that many people can experience mitigation, if not complete surcease of these symptoms by using cannabis, which is expected to keep growing as an industry. THC which is the psychoactive component in cannabis, that which makes it illegal if it gets past .3%, is minimal to almost nil in hemp, which is related to, but not the same as marijuana. The THC amount will vary in cannabis products. There is hemp oil, hemp seed oil and CBD oil, which is made from the entire plant, flowers and all, so it may have a bit more THC. Oil products can be taken topically, or sublingually, even smoked. By acting on receptors in the central nervous symptom, the constituents of the oil act to mitigate the symptoms of anxiety. Even beyond pain relief these products have been shown to have efficacy for symptoms of epilepsy, pain and impaired cognition.
"The good news is, there are ways to cope, even ways to alleviate anxiety and its symptoms using natural and drug-free solutions."
Read more: https://www.thealternativedaily.com/cannabis-remedy-solution-people-suffering-with-anxiety/
How CBD (Cannabidiol) Can Help With Anxiety
September 07, 2018 05:52 PM
Cannabidiol (CBD) has a lot of therapeutic and medicinal effects. One of these effects is treating anxiety. CBD appears to work in similar ways on your brain as Prozac or Xanax. CBD works by increasing your Serotonin levels in the brain. To treat anxiety with CBD it is important to find a high quality CBD oil that you take in the correct dose. The best CBD oil for anxiety is one that contains no THC. The type of anxiety you are treating will change what the best dosage is for you.
"We also discuss how to dial in the best CBD oil dosage for anxiety symptoms, and explore the best CBD oil for anxiety relief."
Read more: https://hightimes.com/health/how-cbd-cannabidiol-can-help-with-anxiety/
How CBD Changes The Brain To Treat Psychiatric Disorders
August 01, 2017 04:14 PM
This comes from cannabis. Many use using it to treat a wide variety of issues. It can help with psychiatric disorders because of how it works with the brain, and this is explained here so you will understand what it does before trying it. This is not THC which is what causes you to gt high. That is something else entirely. It is not recommended for medical use while CBD is. CBD can also be taken in many forms.
"The study suggests that CBD’s therapeutic effects are caused by a number of acute mechanisms as well as changes in the structure of the brain over time, known as neuroplasticity."
Read more: http://www.cannatech.news/2017/07/25/how-cbd-changes-the-brain-to-treat-psychiatric-disorders/
4 ways lack of sleep or sleep deprivation affects the brain
June 13, 2017 07:14 AM
There are 4 ways that lack of sleep deprivation affects the brain. It can cause severe mood swings among other things. It will impair your overall performance in life. This will affect your personal and work life. Your memory and your thinking process will also be greatly affected. Sleep helps your learning and your memory. It will lead to psychiatric problems. Overall, sleep is an important part of our lives and we need it in order to function.
Read more: 4 ways lack of sleep or sleep deprivation affects the brain
How B Vitamins Improve Brain Health, Cognition, Psychiatric Problems and Mood Disorders - ProHealth
March 30, 2017 10:44 AM
Vitamin B supplements are great for many areas of your health. If you're not currently using one of the supplements, what are you waiting for? When you begin using a Vitamin B supplement, these great benefits to your health are yours to enjoy, and they're all pretty nice. Vitamin B can improve your brain health, mood disorders, cognition, and so much more. This is one supplement that is worth taking every single day. Isn't your life worth it?
Read more: How B Vitamins Improve Brain Health, Cognition, Psychiatric Problems and Mood Disorders - ProHealth
Rewires Your Brain and Slashes Anxiety Levels, but Beware
March 14, 2017 03:59 PM
Thedocumentary, Ride the Tiger: A Guide Through the Bipolar Brain, focused on current concepts treatment. Drugs available don't work in all patients and lifestyle changes are recommended when possible. It's recommended that bipolar patients and people suffering from other disorders There has been some positive outcomes from devices using light and magnets to stimulate the brain but a healthy diet, exercise, vitamin supplements and probiotics can address these disorders. Patients have also received benefits through exercise and proper sleep patterns. Doing all this, patients have found they can slowly get off their drug treatment regimens.
""By seeking to understand how the bipolar brain malfunctions, researchers believe they can get closer to understanding the inner workings of the brain, potentially unlocking treatments for other types of psychiatric problems as well.""
6 Vitamins And Minerals That Boost Brain Power - Medical Daily
November 28, 2016 06:59 AM
Every day, we understand more and more about how the human body works. No other organ has required more research than the brain. It is a highly complex organ that uses a balance of essential vitamins and minerals to function properly. If you want your body to perform at its best and help prevent neurological disorders, consuming the proper amount of vitamins such as thiamine, folic acid, and vitamin C is very important. Calcium, magnesium, and zinc are the main minerals that are very important for brain function.
"Nutritional deficiencies have been shown to contribute to the development of psychiatric disorders, age-related cognitive decline, and developmental disorders."
Daylight saving time could increase depression
November 09, 2016 02:49 PM
Setting our clocks back every winter can have its benefits, like gaining an extra hour of sleep. However, a recent study has revealed that gaining an extra hour could also lead to depression due to it getting dark an hour earlier in the evening. Psychiatric hospitals in Denmark reported over a 17-year period, 11 percent of new cases decreased after the time change. Dr. Oexman has recommended that we decrease how much alcohol or caffeine we drink this weekend in order to keep our circadian rhythms in check.
"Depression cases at psychiatric hospitals in Denmark increased immediately after the transition from daylight saving time, the study says."
What Vitamins And Minerals Are For Mental Alertness?
August 29, 2011 10:33 AM
There are many vitamins and minerals which can help improve the health and functioning of the nervous system. Vitamins and minerals are significantly involved in many biological processes of the body. It influences the activities of the organs of the body including the brain. In fact, deficiencies on vitamins and minerals may result to psychological or even psychiatric symptoms in certain individuals. People with psychiatric problems are also prescribed with vitamin and mineral supplements which serve as one of its conventional treatment.
The vitamins and minerals which are good for the improvement of brain function and improvement of mental alertness are the following:
1. THIAMINE OR VITAMIN B1. Generally, insufficient amount of this enzyme may result to mild psychiatric symptoms. Studies revealed that people with inadequate amount of this vitamin has the symptoms of fearfulness, anxiety, depression, agitation and behavioral instability. This vitamin is necessary for the activity the body’s enzyme called pyruvate dehydrogenase. This enzyme is required for the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl – coenzyme A. If pyruvate is not catalyzed into acetyl – coenzyme A, the excess pyruvate in the body might be converted into lactate which can cause muscle pains and also psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety. Deficiency of this vitamin must be suspected when the person is alcoholic or malnourished.
2. RIBOFLAVIN OR VITAMIN B2. This vitamin is closely associated with major depression in relation to oxidative stress. Riboflavin is required for the metabolism of protein, fats and carbohydrates. The building blocks of these macronutrients are important for the maintenance of brain health and proper functioning of the nervous system. It can improve the energy levels and functioning of the brain, thus improving an individual’s mental alertness.
3. PYRIDOXINE OR VITAMIN B6. Studies show that low level of vitamin B6 is directly related to depression. Inside the body, pyridoxine is converted into its biochemical active form called pyridoxal phosphate which is important for mental alertness and brain functioning. Pyridoxine acts as a coenzyme involved in the synthesis of brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). This vitamin is also involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids which are essential for boosting energy levels.
4. COBALAMIN OR VITAMIN B12. Deficiency of this vitamin is closely related to decrease mental functioning. Vitamin B12 is a cofactor of the enzyme methionine synthase which is important in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. This is required for the production of energy in fatty acids and proteins which is important for the methylation reactions of brain chemicals.
5. VITAMIN C. This vitamin is considered to be a cofactor of the neurotransmitter dopamine and is involved in the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine. These brain chemicals are important for the maintenance of proper mental alertness.
6. FOLATE. Decreased mental alertness and depression is a common symptom of low levels of folate in the body. This mineral is involved in the methylation and synthesis of DNA. It is important for the development of brain function and improvement of mental alertness.
7. MAGNESIUM. This mineral is involved in many reactions of the body. Individuals with decreased mental alertness are found to have low levels of magnesium in their cerebrospinal fluids.
8. ZINC. This is a mineral which is important in the catalyses of many enzyme sin the body. It is found in high amount in the brain which is important for nervous activities.
Boost Brain Chemistry, Lower Bad Cholesterol, And More
May 12, 2011 01:27 PM
What is Inositol Good for?
Inositol is an organic compound present in many plant-based foods. Popular nutritional sources of inositol include brown rice, wheat bran, whole grains, beans, nuts, and other foods rich in fiber. It is a polyphosphorylated carbohydrate that was once classified as an essential nutrient together with B-complex group of vitamins. It is an important component of signal transduction of cells, amplifying the strength of signals from the receptors on the cell surface to target molecules within the cytoplasm.
Cancer research on inositol is one of the most publicized. Fruits and vegetables that are known for their high fiber content also contain large amounts of inositol, which is believed to prevent the inactivation of DNA repair gene and protect the cells from mutation that lead to carcinogenesis. In laboratory studies it has shown great medicinal potential as a therapeutic remedy for various cancers. In addition, it has been extensively utilized in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Rebalances Brain Chemicals
Supplementation of high dose inositol has been observed to be beneficial to sufferers of mental illnesses. There have been numerous clinical trials focused on its effects on the chemical compounds found in the central nervous system, and early studies recorded that its mechanisms of action are similar to a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
A growing body of scientific literature is devoted to its purported role in the amelioration of anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, clinical depression, and bipolar disorder. It has been favored over some SSRIs because of its desirable results and absence of side effects. It has particularly benefited individuals diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, with testimonies being largely positive. Also, it has been reported to also reduce frequency of panic attacks.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
High-fiber diet has always been recommended to manage high cholesterol levels. It emphasizes the intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The same group of foods is rich in the carbohydrate inositol. In the latter half of the 20th century, it was discovered that inositol in fact contributes to the breakdown of fatty molecules, such as triglycerides, in the gastrointestinal tract and interferes with their absorption. More importantly, regular consumptions of inositol appear to reduce overall lipid levels in the blood. It is postulated that it blocks the metabolic pathway that integrates triglycerides in very-low-density lipoproteins, the immediate precursors of low-density lipoproteins, also known as bad cholesterol. By so doing, it not only lowers cholesterol and free fatty acids found in systemic circulation but also prevents cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis.
Many nutraceutical products that contain inositol are commercially touted to aid weight loss. Inositol has also been associated with the alleviation of digestive problems, most notably constipation. It is believed to soften the stool by attracting water as it works its way into the alimentary canal, and regular intake promotes regularity. Furthermore, it has been linked to hair growth as low levels of inositol have often been tied to hair loss.
Taking a inositol supplement can help you obtain all the inositol you need for your daily needs!
How Does Passion Flower Help Me Relax ?
April 07, 2011 01:39 PM
Passion flower refers to a group of flowering plants that belongs to the genus Passiflora, comprising of up to 500 species. The commonly known plant species of Passiflora are climbing vines with a woody stem system although there are a few herbaceous shrubs. They are found across the globe with the exception of arctic and sub-Saharan regions and easily recognizable by their unique flower structure which often contains prominent styles and stamens. Passiflora incarnata, or more commonly known as Maypop in the vernacular, has a long association with folk medicine of American Indians, who use various parts of the plant as a relaxant.
Different species of Passiflora are called different names, but the trivial name passion flower pertains to the corona that resembles the crown of thorns worn by Jesus. Moreover, the Christians have ascribed many symbolisms for the intricate parts of the flower. For example, the ovary is believed to represent the Holy Grail. Early European settlers in the Americas discovered the calming effects of teas made from Passiflora species through the Indians, and popularized its use against anxiety soon after in Europe.
Produces Tranquilizing Effects
Several studies have investigated the effects of passion flower on human health, with a few comparing it to the drug exazepam. Its mechanism of action is still under scrutiny, but scientists are convinced that its sedative effects are very similar to the herbs Valeriana officinalis and Piper methysticum. More often than not, it is used in combination with these two herbs. As a mild relaxant with a slow onset of action, Passiflora incarnata, or Maypop, have been documented to benefit individuals suffering from irritability, insomnia, and agitation. In conjunction with a drug called clonidine, it also appears to relieve muscle tremors.
Increases Inhibitory Brain Chemicals
It has long been postulated that passion flower works on the principle of raising the levels of inhibitory neurotransmitters, such as gamma-aminobutryric acid, or GABA. Glutamic acid, the biological precursor of gamma-aminobutyric acid, has been linked to neuronal excitotoxicity that leads to many known diseases of the nervous system. By aiding the metabolic pathway responsible for converting glutamate into gamma-aminobutyric acid, passion flower not only increases the amounts of the chief inhibitory brain chemicals in the human brain and the rest of the central nervous system, but also lowers the levels of excitatory neurotransmitters. This results in a drop in neuronal activities and a reduced risk of excitotoxicity, which translated into a more relaxed feeling.
Alleviates Physical Fatigue
Passion flower is known to counter the harmful effects of stress. In addition to alleviating psychiatric symptoms of anxiety, Passiflora incarnata has also been tied to the treatment of muscle weakness characteristic of fibromyalgia. It is one of the herbal nervines used in combination with other herbal adaptogens in combating physical fatigue due to long hours at work and the consequent sleep deprivation. Fortunately, passion flower is generally considered safe and nontoxic, with dosages equivalent to food proportions in general.
Passion flower can be taken with valerian and skull cap to help calm the mind and body when under intense stress. Give it a try and See for yourself!
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
DHA for Attention and Focus
September 29, 2008 05:33 PM
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder emerged in scientific research at the turn of the 20th century when Dr. George Still was introduced to a disobedient, troubled, nine year-old boy. Today, research still just touches the edge of this serious disorder, but our understanding has steadily grown throughout the 20th century. Dr. Still believed that ADHD is not just the result of bad parenting, but also of some sort of condition in the brain. The symptoms that comprised ADHD were considered minimal brain dysfunction or minimal brain damage in the 1940s or 1950s, while others called it hyperactivity. By 1987, scientists were referring to the condition as ADHD.
Today, no one has yet to pinpoint the exact cause of ADHD, but there has been some interesting research that has lead to the discovery of many different facts. Identical twins are much more likely than fraternal twins to both suffer from ADHD, as identical twins share genetic material, causing researchers to believe that ADHD may have a genetic component. A study of adults with ADHD showed that ADHD brain cells were less active by eight percent and used glucose less effectively in the areas of the brain that involved attention control. About seventy percent of ADHD children continue having ADHD when they become adults. Additionally, a study found that fifty-seven boys with ADHD suffered from a slight structural abnormality in the brain, with the prefrontal cortex, caudate, nucleus, and globus pallidus being slightly smaller on the right side than in fifty-five boys who didn’t suffer from this disease. All of these areas are parts of the brain that are believed to inhibit our actions.
The American Psychiatric Association says that children can have ADHD if they have six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattention for six months or longer. Other possible symptoms include: frequently not paying close attention to details; frequently having trouble staying focused on tasks; frequently not following through on instructions; frequently having difficulty organizing duties and activities; frequently failing to listen when directly spoken to; frequently avoiding or hesitating to be involved in tasks requiring continued mental effort; frequently losing objects needed for duties or activities; frequently distracted by external stimuli; and frequently forgetting daily activities.
Other symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity would include: frequently fidgets with hands or feet; frequently squirming while sitting down; frequently leaves seat in places where remaining seated is the accepted norm; frequently running around or climbing in places that are inappropriate; frequently having difficult playing quietly; frequently appearing on the go; frequently speaking excessively; frequently blurting out answers before questions are completed; frequently having trouble waiting his turn; and frequently interrupting conversations or games with others.
The most commonly prescribed treatment for ADHD is medication, often being Ritalin, which is a stimulant that helps to enhance the effect of the brain chemicals that help nerve and brain cells to receive messages from each other. Ritalin can help ease the suffering of a child with ADHD, making them more attentive and less aggressive. However, there are many drawbacks to the use of Ritalin, which include it being a form of amphetamine, becoming a popular drug to abuse, having many significant side affects, and being psychologically addictive. Natural alternatives are available such as Dha or essential fatty acids which are suppose to promote proper brain function.
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?
Omega-3’s Fight Postpartum depression
January 23, 2006 02:42 PM
Omega-3’s Fight Postpartum depression
Tucson, AZ—Marine-sourced omega-3 essential fatty acids (N-3 EFAs) combat postpartum depression (PPD), according to a study published online in acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia (www.blackwell-synergy.com).
In the eight-week trial, test subjects were randomized to receive 0.5 g/d (n-6), 1.4 g/d (N-3) or 2.8 g/d (n-7) n-3 EFAs (as EPAX omega-3 oil provided by Epax AS, Previously a division of Pronova Biocare AS [www.provona.com]). All groups had reductions in mean scores on Edinburgh Postnatal and Hamilton Rating depression scales (51.5 percent and 48.8 percent, respectively); changes from baseline were significant within each group and when combining groups. The researchers concluded results of the study support further study of n-3 fatty acids as a treatment for PPD.
“Omega-3 fatty acids were assessed in a double-blind dose-ranging trial,” said Marlene Freeman, M.D., director of the Women’s Mental Health Program and assistant professor of Psychiatry, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. “A combination of omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids provided by EPAX AS was utilized. Among all three doses, patients with postpartum depression improved substantially during the trial. Scores on depression measures decreased by approximately 50 percent and differences were statistically significant.”
VitaBerry Plus+ Fact Sheet
December 07, 2005 05:38 PM
VitaBerry Plus+ Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 3/18/05
LIKELY USERS: Antioxidant users who want the best food source formula; People seeking polyphenols or ellagic acid supplements; Those who don’t eat fruit and want some of their benefits
KEY INGREDIENTS: VitaBerry extract, Hi-Active Orange Extract, Pomegranate Extract (420 mg) (400 mg) (100 mg)
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: This is a high antioxidant (high ORAC: 2,500 units per serving of oxygen radical absorbing capacity), proprietary blend of fruit extracts & concentrated powders containing Wild Blueberry extract, Grape & Grape seed extract, Raspberry & Raspberry seed extract, Cranberry, Prune, Tart Cherry, Wild Bilberry extract & Strawberry powder. Fortified with Hi-Active Orange Extract (Freeze-dried Orange (Citrus sinensis) powder with minimum of 40% vitamin C) and Pomegranate Extract (80% Polyphenols and 40% Ellagic Acid).
Provides a broad-spectrum antioxidant blend with phytochemicals such as anthocyanins, chlorogenic acid, ellagic acid, quinic acid, resveratrol etc. in a single “0” size vegetarian capsule. There is a synergistic effect of mixing fruit antioxidants that provides antioxidant protection greater than is predicted by measuring each fruit source used in the mix individually.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: There will be some natural variation in color, taste and odor from these fruit sources. A special freeze drying technique preserves the antioxidant value of whole fruits in a concentrated form.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: Serving is 2 Vcaps. Take one or more servings per day as an antioxidant supplement. May be taken with food or on an empty stomach (this is food).
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: All antioxidants.
CAUTIONS: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim. This information has not been reviewed by the FDA or the company posting it. Information given here may vary from what is given on the product label because this page represents my understanding of the science underlying the formula and ingredients. When taking any new formula, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Bagchi D, Sen CK, Bagchi M, Atalay M. Anti-angiogenic, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic properties of a novel anthocyanin-rich berry extract formula. Biochemistry (Mosc). 2004 Jan;69(1):75-80, 1 p preceding 75. Review. PMID: 14972022
Gemma C, Mesches MH, Sepesi B, Choo K, Holmes DB, Bickford PC. Diets enriched in foods with high antioxidant activity reverse age-induced decreases in cerebellar beta-adrenergic function and increases in proinflammatory cytokines. J Neurosci. 2002 Jul 15;22(14):6114-20. PMID: 12122072
Huang D, Ou B, Prior RL. The Chemistry behind Antioxidant Capacity Assays. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Mar 23;53(6):1841-1856. PMID: 15769103
Kay CD, Holub BJ. The effect of wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) consumption on postprandial serum antioxidant status in human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2002 Oct;88(4):389-98. PMID: 12323088
Mazza G, Kay CD, Cottrell T, Holub BJ. Absorption of anthocyanins from blueberries and serum antioxidant status in human subjects. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Dec 18;50(26):7731-7. PMID: 12475297
Prior RL, Cao G. Analysis of botanicals and dietary supplements for antioxidant capacity: a review. J AOAC Int. 2000 Jul-Aug;83(4):950-6. Review. PMID: 10995120
Prior RL, Cao G. In vivo total antioxidant capacity: comparison of different analytical methods. Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Dec;27(11-12):1173-81. Review. PMID: 10641708
Prior RL, Hoang H, Gu L, Wu X, Bacchiocca M, Howard L, Hampsch-Woodill M, Huang D, Ou B, Jacob R. Assays for hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidant capacity (oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC(FL))) of plasma and other biological and food samples. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 May 21;51(11):3273-9. PMID: 12744654
Proteggente AR, Pannala AS, Paganga G, Van Buren L, Wagner E, Wiseman S, Van De Put F, Dacombe C, Rice-Evans CA. The antioxidant activity of regularly consumed fruit and vegetables reflects their phenolic and vitamin C composition. Free Radic Res. 2002 Feb;36(2):217-33. PMID: 11999391
Roy S, Khanna S, Alessio HM, Vider J, Bagchi D, Bagchi M, Sen CK. Anti-angiogenic property of edible berries. Free Radic Res. 2002 Sep;36(9):1023-31. PMID: 12448828
Sofic E, Rustembegovic A, Kroyer G, Cao G. Serum antioxidant capacity in neurological, psychiatric, renal diseases and cardiomyopathy. J Neural Transm. 2002 May;109(5-6):711-9. PMID: 12111462
Stintzing FC, Stintzing AS, Carle R, Frei B, Wrolstad RE. Color and antioxidant properties of cyanidin-based anthocyanin pigments. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Oct 9;50(21):6172-81. PMID: 12358498
Wu X, Beecher GR, Holden JM, Haytowitz DB, Gebhardt SE, Prior RL. Lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities of common foods in the United States. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jun 16;52(12):4026-37. PMID: 15186133
July 15, 2005 09:16 AM
A recent study (August, 1996) exploring the effect of Hypericum perforatum on depression re vealed some fairly stunning results. The British Medical Jo u rn a l published the results of one major studies, which consisted of twenty - three randomized trials, including a total of 1757 outpatients with mainly mild or moderately seve re depressive disorders. Testing was conducted with single preparations and combinations of extracts of the plant, and with placebo and anther drug treatment. As just mentioned, the results were very promising. In all aspects of the study, Hypericum extracts were shown to be “significantly superior” to placebo and similarly effective as standard antidepressants. There were nearly twice the number, percentage-wise, of dropouts due to side effects from the standard drugs than those taking the Hypericum extracts. Side effects occurred in eighty-four patients using standard antidepressants, while only fifty patients taking the Hypericum extracts experienced side effects. And the scores on the Hamilton depression scale, which measures severity of one’s depression, showed those taking Hypericum treatments scored slightly higher than those taking the standard antidepressant and significantly higher than those taking the placebo. 9 This study provides some firm ground for St. John’s wort to stand on in the treatment of depression, both in sheer numbers and its quality of treatment.
Another contemporary study, carried out in 1995 by Witte, et. al, showed the Linde study to be accurate in its findings. This particular study, carried out as a multicenter, placebo-controlled double-blind trial, used a highly concentrated Hypericum preparation to treat ninety-seven outpatients. The course of the illness was assessed with the Hamilton Depression Scale, the von Zerssen Depressivity Scale and the Clinical Global Impression Scale. The authors of the study noted this in their abstract:
Treatment resulted in an appreciable improvement in the symptoms of depression, and the seventy percent response rate (n=43) corresponded to that of chemical antidepressants. The preparation also showed an anxiolytic effect. The substance [hypericum] was extremely well tolerated, and no side effects were reported by any of the patients.10 Again, this study’s findings correlate that of the Linde and other studies in that treatment with Hypericum is at least as effective as standard synthetic antidepressants without producing near the number of side effects.
The Nursing Times also reported on recent findings dealing with Hypericum’s effect on depression. Stating that psychiatric medications are notorious for their undesirable side effects, and that the need for safer antidepressants is widely acknowledged, the blurb refers to a double-blind study, done by G. Harrer and H. Sommer (published in Phytomedicine, 1994 (1): 3-8), using St. John’s wort on 105 patients experiencing mild to moderate depression. They were aged twenty to sixty-four and had diagnoses of “neurotic depression or temporary depressive mood.” Patients were divided into two groups and monitored over four weeks, with one group receiving 300 mg of Hypericum extract three times daily and the other group receiving a placebo. All patients received psychiatric evaluations before the start of the study and after two and four weeks of treatment.11
The results of the study support the findings of other recent studies dealing with Hypericum and depression: 67 percent of the Hypericum group had responded positively to the treatment without any adverse side effects, whereas only 28 percent of the placebo group displayed any improvement. Harrer and Sommer state that the patients treated were experiencing strictly mild forms of depression; combining this with the study’s results and the results of other studies suggest that Hypericum treatment can be a very effective treatment for mild to moderate depression without severe side effects. The authors themselves even recommended that Hypericum should be considered as a remedy of choice. 12
These and other studies point to the strong possibility of using St. John’s wort, and specifically hypericin, on a wide scale to treat various forms of depression. Linde’s study suggests that St. John’s wort may have its most valuable asset in that of few or no side effects, something many sufferers of depression are very concerned about. The authors do note, however, that more research is necessary, especially in determining the severity and nature of depression, length of treatment, treatment dosage, preparation of Hypericum extracts, and occurrence of long-term side effects. Nevertheless, the results of this study and others are extremely promising for the millions of those who suffer from depression.
THERAPEUTIC APPLICATIONS OF ST. JOHN’S WORT DEPRESSION—AN OVERVIEW
July 15, 2005 09:12 AM
THERAPEUTIC APPLICATIONS OF ST. JOHN’S WORT DEPRESSION—AN OVERVIEW
Depression is a disorder that affects millions of people, both Americans and worldwide. It takes many forms, but is usually marked by sadness, inactivity and heightened selfdepreciation. Hopelessness and pessimism are often common symptoms, as are lowered self-esteem, reduced energy and vitality, and loss of the overall capability to enjoy one’s existence.
Depression is probably the most common psychiatric complaint offered to doctors, and has been described by physicians from at least the time of Hippocrates, who called it “melancholia.” The course the disorder runs varies widely from person to person. Depression may be short-term, or may occur repeatedly at short intervals. It may be somewhat permanent, mild or sever, acute or chronic. And who does depression most affect? Rates of incidence are higher among women than men (for varying reasons, some not totally understood). And men are more at risk of suffering from depression as they age, while a woman’s peak age for experi-encing depression is usually between the ages of 35-45.
Depression is caused by many things—it could come about because of childhood traumas, or because of stressful life events—but more and more, doctors and scientists are pointing to biochemical processes as a main culprit in the onset of depression. Defective regulation of the release of one or more naturally occurring monoamines in the brain—particularly norepinephrine—leads to reduced quantities or reduced activity of these chemicals in the brain, bringing on the depressed mood for most sufferers. Accompanying the increase in depression cases and the emerging knowledge of its causes has been the rise of drug and other therapies in treating the disorder. The two most important are drug therapy and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy aims to resolve any underlying psychic conflicts that may be causing the depressed state, while giving emotional support to the patient. This usually involves seeing a psychiatrist and/or psychologist at regular intervals. This also may be accompanied by participation in support groups.
Antidepressant drugs, on the other hand, directly affect the chemistry of the brain and its chemicals, such as the monoamines that are thought to have the most effect on depressed emotional states and moods. The tricyclic antidepressant drugs are thought to work by inhibiting the body’s physiological inactivation of the monoamine transmitters. This results in the buildup or accumulation of these neurotransmitters in the brain and allows them to remain in contact with nerve cell receptors longer, thus aiding in elevating the mood of the patient. There are other drugs, called oxidase inhibitors, which interfere with the activity of monoamine oxidase, an enzyme known to be involved in the breakdown of norepinephrine and serotonin.5
While drug therapy is something more favorable than continuing suffering from depression, for many persons who take these medications it brings on very undesirable side effects. Uncomfortable physical side effects are among the biggest complaints. Many drug users suffer from sensations of nausea, bloating, indigestion, abdominal cramping and diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal discomforts. Dizziness is often a common complaint, and there are many others. For decades, St. John’s wort has been utilized as a mood elevator, antidepressant and overall mental stimulant. As mentioned before, since times as far back as the Crusades do we have record of St. John’s wort being used in this and other capacities. Wounds were treated with the herb’s extracted oil, the insane were given the herb for its effect on both the nervous system and brain, and it was even used to cast out evil spirits (which often is linked to hallucinations and other mental instability).
More recent uses in “folk” or nonstandard medicine point to St. John’s wort’s effective use not only as an antidepressant and nervous system tonic, but also for neuralgia, wounds, kidney problems, its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and of very recent interest, its use as an AIDS virus inhibitor. Michael Murray, in his book Natural Alternatives to Over-the-Counter Drugs, points to St. John’s wort’s uses for the previously listed uses, and the results of several recent clinical studies. Rebecca Flynn and Mark Roest also outline very well the benefits of the herb as shown in medical and other tests.6 The information coming from both the folk medicine and the clinical medicine worlds indicates that St. John’s wort possesses effective and safe healing properties for several disorders and ailments, and potentially many more.
Herbs in Perspective
June 10, 2005 10:25 PM
Herbs in Perspective by Phyllis D. Light, RH-AHG Energy Times, June 16, 2004
"I don't claim a cure...I just try to give people some ease," noted Tommie Bass, a traditional Southern herbalist whose life has been the topic of several books, including Mountain Medicine by Darryl Patton (Natural Reader Press) and Trying to Give Ease by John Crellin and Jane Philpott (Duke University Press). That philosophy reflects the perspective embraced by herbalists for eons.
The traditional use of herbs is incorporated into all cultures. Herbs were the first medicine and the origin of what we now call modern medicine. These plants have not been prescribed to conquer specific illnesses but instead nourish the body and aid in building overall health.
Observation, psychological need and human instinct form the foundation of traditional herbal knowledge and use. This knowledge has been passed down through generations based on practice and experience. The result: a depth of information about the safe and effective use of herbs that spans thousands of years.
The goal of a traditional herbalist is to bring the body into balance (homeostasis), prevent disease and support immune functioning. Unfortunately, any kind of therapeutic knowledge can be misused, and that has happened with some herbs, causing some people to question herbal medicine's safety.
As more people turn to natural therapies, scientists have begun to perform evidence-based research into their safe and effective use. The good news is that much of this research has validated the effectiveness of herbs and supplements.
Echinacea to the Rescue
Do the sniffling sneezes that herald a cold have you reaching for your bottle of echinacea? If so, you are in good company. Echinacea (Echinacea spp) is one of the top-selling herbs.
The colorful American prairie plant was extremely popular during the early 1900s, until the use of modern antibiotics relegated it to the back shelf. But a resurgence of interest in herbs propelled echinacea back into the mainstream in the second half of the twentieth century. And this herb boasts an impressive body of research and has an excellent record of safety.
For instance, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy have found echinacea to be effective in supporting the body's defenses against upper respiratory tract infections and for reducing the duration of discomforts that accompany the common cold (Pharmacotherapy 2000; 20(6):690-7).
Although studies have not confirmed its ability to prevent colds, echinacea is widely used by many folks for just that purpose. Researchers have found that echinacea's effectiveness may drop if you use it for eight straight weeks (Am J Health-Syst Pharm 1999; 56(2):121-2). So if you take it for a couple of months, take a couple of weeks off before using it again.
St. John's wort is another herb with ancient origins that has experienced a modern resurgence. Named after St. John the Baptist, St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is generally in bright yellow bloom around St. John's Day (June 26). According to herbalist Michael Tierra, author of The Way of Herbs (Pocket Books), St. John's wort affects the liver and the nervous system. In 1984, the German Commission E, a recognized herbal authority, approved St. John's for depressive disorders, and in topical form for acute injuries and first-degree burns.
Modern research has reaffirmed the use of St. John's wort in the short-term treatment of mild to moderate depression (Cochrane Review Issue 2, 2004). It has also been found to be useful in premenstrual depression (Int J Psy Med 2003; 33(3):295-7). (Researchers have found that the herb may alter how the body processes some prescription medications, so check with your healthcare provider before using such medicines along with St. John's wort.)
King of Herbs
" Ginseng (Panax) received the lofty title, King of Herbs, due to its reputation as a tonic and its ability to stimulate the body into healing," notes herbalism writer Darryl Patton. This plant was once so popular in China that it was worth its weight in gold.
In fact, ginseng is the popular name for two different types of ginseng, American and Korean (Panax quinquefolium and P. ginseng). Both are considered adaptogens, or substances that help the body deal with stress more effectively. And modern research has found that ginseng can be used to improve overall energy and vitality, and to help the body deal more effectively with chronic stress (J Pharm Sci 2003 Dec: 93(4):458-64).
Researchers have found that ginseng helps boost the immune system (J Med Food 2004 Spring; 7(1):1-6). This ancient herb is also a powerful antioxidant that confers protection on the heart (Biochem Biophys Acta 2004 Feb 24; 1670(3):165-71). In other studies, ginseng has been found to reduce symptoms of menopause, improve endurance and lower blood sugar levels. To avoid overharvesting wild ginseng, most of the herb on the market is now grown on farms.
Ode to Ginkgo
Known as the Living Fossil, ginkgo is the oldest known plant in the world. A native of Asia, ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is now found in many US cities, where it has been planted as a quick-growing shade tree. Traditionally, ginkgo was used for disorders and diseases of the lungs and the kidneys, as a remedy for bronchitis and to improve circulation in older people.
Ginkgo contains substances that act as potent antioxidants by scavenging cell-damaging free radicals, and it is thought to help reduce the risk of disease. By opening capillaries, ginkgo increases circulation, and enables nutrients and oxygen to move around the body, especially to the extremities.
Indeed, recent research indicates that ginkgo may ease pain associated with arterial disease in the legs (Am J Med 2000; 108:276-81). Other studies support the use of ginkgo for acute stress (J Pharm Sci 2003 Dec; 93(4):458-64) and some cases of hearing loss (Acta Otolaryngol 2001; 121:579-84).
In a UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute study on ginkgo, researchers found significant improvement in the verbal recall of people who had age-related memory problems. According to Dr. Linda Ercoli, lead author of the study, "Our findings suggest intriguing avenues for future study...with a larger sample to better measure and understand the impact of ginkgo on brain metabolism."
Traditionally, fiery ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been used to aid digestion, reduce nausea, relieve gas, reduce symptoms of arthritis and strengthen the heart. Modern researchers have started to validate these traditional uses; ginger has reduced the nausea and vomiting of morning sickness in studies (Aust NZJ Obstet Gynaecol 2003 Apr; 4392:139-44).
Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Minnesota have applied for a patent on a substance found in ginger, believing it to have anticancer activity. According to Ann Bode, "Plants of the ginger family have been credited with therapeutic and preventive powers and have been reported to have anticancer activity."
Ginger can be found in natural food stores as fresh or dried root. It often appears in small amounts in herbal formulas as a carrier herb-one that helps move other herbs around the body.
The best medicine combines the health support of herbs with the scientific rigor of conventional medicine. And as scientists continue to search for new medicine from ancient remedies, we can enjoy the best of both perspectives.
Glycerylphosphorylcholine -- Supports Cognitive Function in AD ...
May 24, 2005 09:52 AM
Cognitive Improvement in Mild to Moderate Alzheimer's Dementia After Treatment with the Acetylcholine Precursor Choline Alfoscerate: A Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial Maria De Jesus Moreno Moreno, MD Instituto Nacional de la Senectud, Mexico City, Mexico
in both men and woman they consistently improved after 90 and 180 days versus baseline with adiministration of GPC three times a day, whereas in the placebo group they remained unchanged or worsened. Statistically significant differences were observed between treatments after 90 and 180 days.
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