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Development of castor oil.
There are about hundreds of castor oil factories in China, of which only about 10% castor oil manufacturers start working; large processing plants have around 20; only nine plants have tens of thousands processing capacity. About 70% of Chinese castor oil processing factories in stop production or semi-shutdown state, because there are no adequate, high-quality raw material castor sources. At the end of the 1980s, China extends and built several large scale castor oil factories, each factory's total amount of annual output of castor oil are in 10 -15 thousand tons, total production capacity is about 55,000 tons per year.
The world's major markets of castor oil were concentrated in North America and Europe, of which the France, Britain, Netherlands, United States, Germany, five countries accounted for 61% of annual fuel consumption.
India castor oil used in making soap has about 1.6-1.8 million tons, the textile industry uses 2-3 thousand tons, chemical industries use 2-3 thousand tons, lubricating oil use 5-6 thousand tons, the rest for exporting. In Japan's castor oil use amount, paints accounted for 28.6%, the surfactant is 12.3%, cosmetic raw material is 8.2%, resin is 5.7%, hardened oil is 17.8%, sebum oil is 12.9%, others is 14.5%. Japan needs to import large quantities of castor beans every year; they are mostly imported from China, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Brazil and other countries. Castor oil in the United States for the production of plastics and resins was accounted for 25.9%, fatty acids accounted for 12.7%, lubricating oil accounted for 6.3%, paint accounted for 23.7%, cosmetics (mainly synthetic waxes) accounted for 2.1%, others such as inks, surfactants accounted for 29.1%, these castor oils are imported from foreign countries.
Every year, the world needs 700 thousand tons of castor oil, convert into 1.6 million tons castor beans. Nowadays, gasoline resource was gradually reduced, transportation, live used gasoline was rapidly increasing, use gasoline as a raw material for synthetic material will be increasingly constrained in cost. And the United States study found that long-term exposure to polymers which synthesized by gasoline was harmful to human health. California and some other states have enacted laws and regulations for this, to restrict and gradually prohibit using synthetic resin in city buildings, interior facilities and human health-related sites and articles, which is polymerized from petroleum, natural gas cleaved into monomers raw materials, it makes castor oil's demand was rising sharply.
Castor cultivation in China is very commonly; there is no open planted regional division. South from Hainan Island, north to Heilongjiang is cultivated. Because castor hybrids with drought resistance, thin ridge resistant, saline-alkaline tolerance, well-adapted, simple to manage, less invest, high efficiency and other salient features, no matter grain field or hills, ROCKY land, saline-alkali soil and even around the house can be grown it. So anywhere in China can be planted castor.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Rhodiola?
March 16, 2012 08:25 AM
Benefits and Ingredients of Rhodiola
Rhodiola is a plant that can be found in the cold regions. Usually, this plant is growing in the Arctic region of eastern Siberia, the ROCKY Mountains, the mountains in Central Asia and several mountains in Europe. Rhodiola is included in the Crassulaceae family in which it stores water in its succulent leaves. For European and Asian people, it has been a traditional plan with several benefits. For Russian, it has been consumed as an energy booster for centuries. In Russia, it has been a supplement for athletes, herbalists, physicians, and cosmonauts, which have a function to boost the physical and mental performance.
Rhodiola is also popular as a potent adaptogen. Adaptogens have been known as natural plant substances in which their function is increasing the body's non specific resistance. On the other hand, they will normalize the function of the body too. It is very useful to consume them or Rhodiola when the stress occurs. A degree of generalized adaptation will be generated. As the result, the physiology handles the stressful situation in a resourceful manner. Besides, this plant can be used as a therapy in aesthenic condition. It is a condition in which one's work performance declines. In addition, he or she will have poor appetite and also sleep disturbances.
Sometimes, muscle will get trouble especially for those who like doing workout. Unfortunately, the problem might take long time. In this case, they have to wait patiently. For the time being, the recovery process can be shortened using Rhodiola. Studies have been reported that consuming this plant is able to make the muscle recovery process faster. It is because of its function to increase the level of RNA, enzymes, and proteins, which are very crucial to muscle recovery. Therefore, it is well recommended to consume Rhodiola after exhaustive workout.
Concentration and Memory
This plant becomes useful for students since the studies have been held to gain information, whether it influences the brain. From the studies, it has been known that this plant is able to enhance concentration and memorization. Rhodiola has a function to increase the brain's bioelectrical activity which makes the memory energy increase. A study has proven this fact by conducting the research to forty students. They have been given 50 mg of Rhodiola twice a day for 20 days. As the result, those students who consume it have significant improvement in mental performance, physical fitness and psychomotor function. Besides, they also get significant enhancement in their subject mark because they get more motivation to study.
Another benefit is to protect and stimulate the immune system since Rhodiola reinstates homeostasis or metabolic balance in the body. On the other hand, it also boosts the natural killer cells in the spleen and the stomach. Having known the benefits which can be taken from this plant, people might have the desire to know the ingredients of this plant. There are several ingredients found in this plant such as the class of rosavins including rosavin, rosin and rosarin. Another ingredient is salidrosides. It has been reported that rosavin and salidrosides become Rhodiola ingredients which is responsible for anxiolytic and antidepressant actions.
Information on slippery elm bark
February 09, 2012 11:56 AM
The Ulmus fulva tree is medicinal tree that was commonly found in deep soil areas that are rich in nutrients. The type of tree was predominantly found along stream banks and areas with low hillsides but ROCKY. The medicinal properties of the slippery elm bark were first discovered by Americans of Indian origin where they used it in healing of wounds and preservation of meat. They placed it in water and it swelled and produced a sticky substance that was soothing.
Later on, English early settlers were able to discover the wide use of the tree and to improve their medicinal remedies, they added it during their manufacture especially those that were mainly used to treat wounds, cold sores and boils. They also used it to relieve urinary tract diseases, sores of the throats and coughs.
During wars, the tree was largely used as an antiseptic in form of a cream for treating wounds caused by gunshots and as the only food that was available for people to eat. This food was made by mixing the tree with water to make gruel which was very nutritious and everyone including the little children, the old and the sick were served to eat. People were also ingesting it in order to treat coughs, sore of the throats as well as respiratory infections.
The tree has numerous health benefits and the main one is the soothing property it has hence it has been widely used to treat inflammation of the throat plus esophagus. Traditional medicine men have added it in their cough treatments to sooth sores of the throats and irritations in the mouth.
It has also been used to prevent constipation, constant diarrhea and a neutralizer for excess acids in the linings of the intestines. Its gum like nature makes it a perfect meal for people suffering from cancer or ulcers and is the only food that remains in the stomach to sustain them and provide energy during hunger.
Because of its high nutritional content, it is widely used as food and when grounded to powder it can be used to make porridge, which is very nutritious and is similar to the porridge made from oatmeal. It helps babies who have digestion problems and is ideal for sick people and the aged.
It has been widely used to lubricate and relieve pain during childbirth and is very good in removing toxins and other impurities from the body. It is a natural preservative, an antiseptic for healing wounds and may be applied as a dysentery injection. If used earlier, it can be useful as a dental treatment to kill bacteria in the tooth.
It is used widely recommended as a perfect natural alternative treatment for heart problems as compared to other medicines, a suggested treatment for cancer and in females, it has been useful in treating various infections and diseases affecting their organs. Indeed the slippery elm bark is a significant part of the tree and a natural remedy for a wide number of diseases.
BoneSet For Fevers
June 09, 2009 12:15 PM
Boneset was used by Native Americans for a valuable remedy against colds, flu, and fevers. Other common names that boneset is identified by include: thoroughwort, vegetable antimony, feverwort, agueweed, Indian sage, sweating plant, eupatorium, crossword, thoroughstem, thoroughwax, and wild Isaac. In most cases, boneset has been used primarily to treat fevers. They introduced boneset to the settlers in the New World. From 1820 through 1916, boneset was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia. This herb was also listed in the National Formulary from 1926 through 1950. Boneset has been used to restore strength in the stomach and spleen. It has also been used as a tonic for acute and chronic fevers. Dr. Edward E. Shook actually felt that boneset was beneficial for every kind of fever humans are subjected to. He also believed that it had never failed in overcoming influenza.
Recent research has found that boneset contains antiseptic properties that help to promote sweating. These properties also help in cases of colds and flu. Boneset has also been shown to contain antiviral properties and strengthen the immune system by enhancing the secretion of interferon. Additional studies have found that boneset is effective against minor viral and bacterial infections by stimulating white blood cells. Additionally, this herb has been used to treat indigestion and pain and may also contain some mild anti-inflammatory agents to help with conditions like arthritis.
Boneset is a perennial herb that has an erect stout and a hairy stem. It grows from two to four feet high, with branches at the top. The leaves of the boneset plant are large, opposite, united at the base, and lance-shaped. They grow anywhere between four to eight inches in length and taper into a sharp point. The edges of these leaves are finely toothed, with prominent veins. These leaves help to distinguish this plant species at first glance. The flower heads of the boneset plant are terminal and numerous, being large, and having anywhere from ten to twenty white florets. The plant possesses an aromatic odor, with an astringent and strongly bitter taste. This plant species varies considerably in size, hairiness, form of leaves, and inflorescence. It can typically be found flowering from July to September.
The entire herb is used to provide alterative, anti-inflamamtory, antiperiodic, antiviral, diaphoretic, emetic, febrifuge, purgative, nervine, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in boneset include calcium, magnesium, PABA, potassium, and vitamins C and B-complex. Primarily, boneset has been shown to be extremely helpful in dealing with chills, colds, coughs, fever, flu, malaria, pain, rheumatism, typhoid fever, and yellow fever. Additionally, this herb is beneficial in treating bronchitis, catarrh, jaundice, liver disorders, measles, mumps, ROCKY Mountain spotted fever, scarlet fever, sore throat, and worms. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by boneset, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
Although there is no recent clinical evidence that guides the dosage of boneset, traditional use of the herb suggests that a dose be about two grams of leaves and flowers. The internal use of this herb should be tempered by the occurrence of hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids in this plant. For those women who are pregnant or lactating, this herb should not be used, as there have been documented adverse effects on those women who are pregnant and/or lactating.
Boneset is available in capsule, tablet, and liquid extract forms at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.
December 10, 2008 10:48 AM
Hoodia Gordonii is a South African succulent plant of the family Apocynaceae. They are remarkable similar in appearance to cacti, although they are totally unrelated to them and grow predominantly in the region of Central Namibia in the south west of Africa, up to the southern regions of Angola. They are most commonly found in ROCKY ground and on the plains.
There are several species of hoodia, some of them grown domestically, and it is Hoodia gordonii that is used as an appetite suppressant in hoodia weight loss pills. Although the plant has historically found use in the treatment of infections and gastric problems, most interest is displayed in its use by the bushmen of the Kalahari Desert to suppress their appetite during long hunting trips when food and water are scarce.
The active ingredient was isolated in 1977, and given the name P57: the product is therefore often referred to as Hoodia P57. It was patented by its discoverers, the CSIR (South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) and a license granted to UK company Phytopram, who worked together with Pfizer to isolate the active ingredients and manufacture them synthetically. This was found to be very difficult, if not impossible, since any synthetic form of the extract failed to display any hunger-suppressant properties.
Finally, the rights to the main ingredient were released by Pfizer in 2002, thus indicating that it was of no commercial benefit to them. The main problem they admitted with synthesizing P57 was not only the difficulty in doing so, but also that there were side effects of the extract on the liver caused by other components that could not be removed. No synthetic form of hoodia is therefore available, and only the natural plant is used in current Hoodia 57 preparations.
The rights of the San Bushmen to the plant were recognized by the CSIR in 2002, and not only do they receive a proportion of the profits of marketing hoodia, but also the plant is protected with wild-harvesting licenses provided to only certain individuals and companies. Due to the rising popularity of the hoodia weight loss industry, the plant has been named as an endangered species in the wild.
It is believed that the active ingredients are steroidal saponins that can fool the body into believing it is full. This theory is based upon the effect on appetite of glucose concentrations in the blood. Your appetite is controlled by the amount of unconverted glucose in your blood, and glycogen in the liver. When you eat carbohydrates, they are digested and converted into glucose which is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Under normal conditions your blood glucose levels increase to a level where a signal from hypothalamus stops you feeling hungry. Insulin is then secreted from the pancreas to prepare your cells to use that glucose in the mitochondria to create energy by means of the Kreb's Cycle, or Citric Acid Cycle as it is also known. This reduces the concentration of glucose in the blood, and once it reaches a certain level the body begins to use its emergency energy supply, glycogen, that is stored in the liver.
A signal then informs the brain that more glucose is needed. You then feel hungry again, and this cycle is repeated several times a day in a normally healthy person. This cycle is controlled by certain hormones in the brain, specifically in the ventromedial center of the hypothalamus, where it is believed that the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) availability controls the release of the hormones involved.
ATP is the molecule of energy, and as the concentration of blood glucose and of glycogen drop, then the amount of ATP produced also drops and this is detected in the hypothalamus, which reacts by releasing ghrelin. Increased leptin increases the feeling of satiety and ghrelin increases the feeling of hunger. Serotonin acts on the brain to increase the effect of leptin in the hypothalamus, and therefore make us feel less hungry, or more satiated.
It is believed that hoodia gordonii, or the Hoodia P57 component of it, fools the brain into believing that your blood glucose or glycogen levels have reached the point at which it should trigger a satiated response, so that you stop eating even though your ATP levels might be low. The steroidal saponins that it contains is believed to be ten thousand times more effective than glucose in stimulated the secretion of serotonin.
Hoodia has also been found to contain a number of glycosides, including pregnane glycosides that some studies have indicated to help control appetite of the subjects tested. Most of these tests have been carried out on animals, although Hoodia weight loss preparations are offered in a form standardized on both steroidal saponins and pregnane glycosides.
Hoodia gordonii is becoming so popular as a weight loss product that its export is being monitored by the South African government. It has become so endangered that, since 2005, only hoodia grown on commercial farms is permitted an export license, and exporters must obtain a license from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Importers also require a permit from the US department of Agriculture, and a CITES certificate is also needed to re-export the finished product.
Because of this, more hoodia weight loss pills are being sold than there is hoodia gordonii to produce them. It is not uncommon for cacti such as the prickly pear cactus from Mexico, to be used, or for low concentrations of hoodia to be bulked up with fillers. Neither of these is of any use as an appetite suppressant, the former having no active ingredients whatsoever and the latter containing only traces.
If you are purchasing hoodia, therefore, be aware of this. Request sight of the CITES certificate and USDA permit, and also the analysis results by an authorized laboratory to confirm that the product is what it purports to be. Otherwise, there is some evidence that Hoodia gordonii can help you reduce weight, although to date there are only four recognized analytical laboratories registered to analyze the active content of hoodia weight loss products.
Finally, check for the analysis certificates. All Hoodia weight loss products should be analyzed by each of three methods: Microscopy, High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC) and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) - all there are needed. The four authorized laboratories are: the University of Mississippi, Chromadex labs in Irvine California, Alkemist Pharmaceuticals and Advanced Laboratories, Smithfield, NC.
No others will do, so if your Hoodia weight loss preparation has not been analyzed using the three methods by one of these laboratories, don't buy it, even if it can show the CITES and USDA documentation.
Evening Primrose Oil
September 04, 2008 09:08 AM
The tiny seeds of the evening primrose flower are the source of oil that has been valued in the world for building health and overcoming a lot of common health problems. Evening primrose, also known as evening star, night willow herb, scabish, and tree primrose, has a recorded history of at least 500 years of use for its health promoting properties. Growing in a wider variety of climates, the plant can be found in ROCKY roadsides, shallow streams, or even high deserts.
The plant can even be found growing at elevations as high as 9,000 feet. This plant has yellow flowers from July through September that open after sunset and are pollinated by insects of the night. Open only until sunrise, the flowers die the next day, causing hundreds of small black seeds to form inside. These seeds are the source of the plant’s oil, with about 5,000 seeds being used for just one 500 mg capsule. Due to this, evening primrose can be relatively expensive. Evening primrose’s value in a variety of illnesses was recognized by American Indians and European immigrants. Indians used it to treat skin wounds, asthma, coughs, and also as a sedative. One of the first botanicals exported to Europe from North America, it was brought to Italy in 1619 and planted in the Padua Botanical Gardens. It was so valued by the Puritans that they called it the “King’s cure-all” and exported it to England. The ancients didn’t know scientifically why evening primrose was so effective for so many illnesses, but that didn’t affect its abilities. Modern science has found that the essential fatty acids that are found in the oil of the evening primrose seeds are the secret to the health-building properties.
Fat has gotten a bad name for itself in the past few years, but the truth is that there are actually certain types of fats that are vital for good health. One of these healthy fats is essential fatty acids, which are found in unprocessed vegetable, plant, and fish oils. One of the richest sources known is actually mother’s milk. Like vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids are nutritional substances that have far-reaching effects on many body processes.
These effects include reducing blood pressure, helping to prevent arthritis, reducing the growth rate of breast cancer, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, maintaining healthy skin, aiding in transmission of nerve impulses, playing a role in normal brain function, constituting the building blocks of body membranes, promoting proper hormone function, and forming the basis for prostaglandin production.
Because essential fatty acids can not be manufactured in the body, they must be consumed in the diet, with at least three percent of an adult’s daily caloric intake being recommended to be comprised of essential fatty acids. Children and pregnant women should have a diet containing at least five percent essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are essential for normal functioning of all body tissues.
Because of this, the list of symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency includes reduced growth rate, skin disorders, male and female infertility, kidney abnormalities, decreased capillary resistance, susceptibility to infection, heart problems, anemia, enlarged liver, sparse hair growth in infants, poor wound healing, and an increased susceptibility to infection.
In conclusion, to prevent or heal these conditions, a diet that is rich in essential fatty acids must be present. Evening primrose oil is a good source of essential fatty acids, containing about 72 percent linoleic acid and 9 percent GLA. Have you had your evening primrose oil today?
August 30, 2008 09:43 AM
Bilberry is a part of the herb world that has recently begun re-emerging because of recent scientific discoveries linking the fruit to therapeutic properties in blood vessel-related disorders. If you happen to suffer from any disorder that is related to weaken blood vessels, then you should definitely think about bilberry as part of your treatment, as it can be safe and extremely effective. Bilberry is a rich source of anthocyanidins, which gives it the unique ability to stabilize and protect collagen stores. This helps to prevent capillary leakage and hemorrhage. Bilberry is currently being used to treat vascular and blood disorders, and is also a main ingredient in the treatment of many visual problems. It has even been proven effective for varicose veins, thrombosis, diabetes, macular degeneration, and angina.
Thanks to its rich amounts of anthocyanosides, bilberry is an extremely valuable treatment for a variety of disorders in which leaky veins cause tissue damage. Containing over 15 different anthocyanosides, bilberry protects the veins and arteries, as it boosts a great deal of physiological processes that results in the improved integrity of capillary walls. Additionally, anthocyanosides prevent platelets from sticking to the walls of vessels, which helps to prevent the formation of blood clots. Bilberry has shown healing properties including: analgesic, anti-arthritic, anti-clotting, antiulcer, anti-edemic, anti-inflammatory, anti-osteotic, cyclooxygenase inhibitor, inhibits collagenase, inhibits elastase, lipoxygena, smooth muscle relaxant, lowers blood sugar, and vasodilator.
With more than 100 names from around the world, bilberry also can be known by: huckleberry, whortleberry, European blueberry, myrtle bilberry, myrtle blueberry, myrtle whortleberry, ROCKY Mountain whortleberry, red whortleberry, black grouseberry, low bilberry, mountain blueberry, huckleberry, and blueberry. Bilberry is a perennial shrub that can be commonly found in many different climates around the world that are characterized by damp woodlands and moorlands in northern Europe, northern regions of America, and parts of Canada.
Bilberry grows as a small shrub with wiry, angular branches that do not usually grow over a foot high. The branches of bilberry bear waxy flowers and black berries that are covered with a grey bloom when they are ripe. The leather-like leaves of bilberry are initially rose color, but turn to a yellowish-green in the summer and a fiery red in the autumn.
Growing abundantly in areas of England and flourishing best on high ground in the north and west regions of Britain, bilberry possesses a round fruit or berry that has a flat top and is approximately the size of a black currant, with a taste that is slightly acidic. The berry bushes prefer filtered shade and moist, fertile soil that is acidic and non calcareous. The bilberry plant is related most closely to blueberries and currants, all of which belong to the genus Vaccinium. Bilberries are rich in carbohydrates, tannin, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It also contains glucoquinine, which is able to lower blood sugar.
Finally, bilberry is considered an astringent; it exhibits antibacterial properties in the intestines. Bilberry’s analgesic properties are often thought to come from chlorogenic-acid and ferulic-acid content. Bilberry contains copper, quercetin, linoleic-acid, magnesium, pantothenic acid, ursolic acid, and zinc. This herb is good for the parts of the body that contain small fragile blood vessels such as the eyes and this is why this herb is associated with promoting eye health.
HERBAL EXTRACTS FOR IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT
December 23, 2005 12:27 PM
For years, Nature’s Apothecary’s reputation for producing high quality natural products, specifically multi-herb and single herb extracts and aromatherapy products, has been unparalleled. This family-owned, environmentally-conscious herbal extract company has laid deep roots on the front range of Colorado’s ROCKY Mountains, and in the natural products industry as well. NOW® is proud to continue their tradition of excellence in providing only the highest quality natural herbal extracts with the purchase of this premier liquid herbal extract supplier. We’re committed to using the same processes and procedures that have made the Nature’s Apothecary line one of quality and longevity.
Nature’s Apothecary herbal extracts are created with pure herbs grown on small organic farms, or herbs that have been ethically hand-harvested with respect for the earth, just as herbalists have done for thousands of years. While the various herbs used in these formulations offer a broad range of health benefits, two of the most important are immune system enhancement and detoxification. Herbs have a long history of usefulness in these categories. There is evidence of the use of herbs by Stone Age humans, who either cultivated or gathered hundreds of herbs and plants for a variety of uses. The histories of various cultures are filled with references to the use of herbs. Ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Europeans, and American Indians – all used herbs to heal and to nourish. Herbs that support the immune system and provide detoxification benefits were, and still are, very popular. Two of the most effective are Astragalus and Shiitake Mushroom.
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a member of the legume family and is considered an adaptogenic herb in traditional Chinese medicine, where it has been safely used for centuries. Native to central and western Asia, specifically China, Korea and Taiwan, Astragalus offers a unique benefit found in very few herbs - it seems to selectively support immune system function by stimulating certain immune functions and depressing others. One reason is that Astragalus has a high selenium content, a trace element with documented immune system benefits. It also contains polysaccharides and flavonoids, which support healthy immune system function as well as minimizing the effects of free radicals on various membranes. The mechanisms of action through which Astragalus supports immune system function are varied. It has shown promise as a means to stimulate “resting” immune system cells, increasing their activity. Research shows that Astragalus supports the body’s production of immunoglobulins, macrophages, T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, the grunts of the immune system’s army. Astragalus has been shown to support healthy cardiovascular function by protecting membranes from oxidative stress as a result of free radical damage.
Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes) is a culinary delight with some serious health benefits. The name Shiitake is from a combination of shiia, the Japanese word for a variety of chestnut tree, and take, the Japanese name for mushrooms.
Shiitake is also referred to as the Forest Mushroom and the Black Forest Mushroom. Indigenous to Eastern Asia, primarily Japan and China, Shiitake is Japan’s leading agricultural export, accounting for about eighty percent of the world’s Shiitake production. While it’s culinary reputation is well-known, Shiitake is also a medicinal herb with a long history of use. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Shiitake is well-regarded and has been used to treat a variety of ailments. Modern research has shown that Shiitake supports healthy immune system function and cardiovascular health, primarily due to the naturally-occurring nutrients found in Shiitake. It contains an excellent B vitamin profile, as well as amino acids, protein, iron, and beta glucan, a major structural component in the cell walls of most fungi, including Shiitake. Beta glucan has been shown to support healthy immune system function by stimulating the activity of phagocytes, white blood cells and NK (natural killer) cells, vital components of the body’s immune system defenses. Astragalus and Shiitake Mushroom are just a few of the immune supporting herbal extracts to be found in the Nature’s Apothecary line. With over 250 SKU’s, Nature’s Apothecary is your best source for high-quality, effective herbal extracts.