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Exotic spice saffron found to be safer, more effective thanantidepressants
April 23, 2019 02:51 PM
Saffron has been used for centuries in treating various ailments both mentally and physically. Recent studies are showing support in the fact that this exotic spice can do wonders for those who are suffering from depressive symptoms. In fact, a recent control group proved that when people take adequate amounts of saffron on a routine basis, it has the ability to alleviate their symptoms just as much as mainstream antidepressants such as Prozac and other serotonin inhibitors.
"Along with the growing rates of depression, the use of antidepressant medication has continued to skyrocket. Some 2013 estimates from the CDC reveal that usage of these drugs increased by upwards of 400 percent in just 25 years."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-27-exotic-spice-saffron-safer-more-effective-antidepressants.html
Help ward off infections and improve your immune system withoregano oil
November 13, 2018 08:51 AM
There are a lot of ways in which you can help enhance your immune system. Not everyone is blessed with a rock solid immune system in the sense that you can just fight off anything that comes your way. If you are feeling bad, your immune system will help you feel better over time. However, studies are showing that oregano oil can help sharpen your immune system. It is said to be very good to ward off infections.
"Oregano, the fragrant herb commonly used to flavor pasta and meat dishes, is renowned for its versatility in the kitchen. But did you know that it can also be transformed into an herbal oil with a wide range of benefits?"
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/help-ward-off-infections-and-improve-your-immune-system-with-oregano-oil/
These supplements are proven to reduce cortisol levels
September 04, 2018 09:53 AM
Cortisol is a hormone that is highly present in our bodies whenever we are facing some sort of emergency. If we are constantly under large amounts of stress, our cortisol levels can skyrocket, which can lead to troublesome conditions such as chronic anxiety. Fortunately, there are many natural ways to lower cortisol levels in drastic amounts. An herb called ashwagandha has the ability to lower your cortisol levels by up to 30% alone, and it has been used in Ayurvedic for centuries.
"The American Psychological Association reveals that a large percentage of Americans – both adults and children – suffer from chronic stress or symptoms related to it. Chronic stress pertains to extended exposure to stress."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-07-29-these-supplements-are-proven-to-reduce-cortisol-levels.html
Vitamin C Treatment of Whooping Cough
November 01, 2017 05:14 PM
Whooping cough is a tough infection to fight as vaccines do not work well against it. Antibiotics will not be effective after it has become a full blown infection. Doctors will still prescribe antibiotics though because they don't know what else to do and feel they need to try something. The best thing you can do is to rock your child as this will keep the infant relaxed and the mucus moving. You should also watch your child carefully and document how you and they are feeling. Vitamin C can be beneficial in helping heal also.
"Natural recovery from whooping cough has advantages for an entire life."
Read more: http://healthimpactnews.com/2017/vitamin-c-treatment-of-whooping-cough-where-vaccines-and-antibiotics-have-failed/
Does Pink Himalayan Salt Have Any Health Benefits?
July 05, 2017 12:14 PM
Some people may wonder if pink Himalayan salt has any health benefits. Pink salt is all over the place. You might winder if it is actually worth the attention it gets. There is a science behind this recent health phenomenon.Pink Himalayan salt is made from rock crystals of salt that have been mined from areas that are close to the Himalayas, often in the country of Pakistan. It gets its rosy hue from trace minerals in the salt.
"Pink Himalayan salt is made from rock crystals of salt that have been mined from areas close to the Himalayas, often in Pakistan."
Read more: http://time.com/4834865/himalayan-pink-salt-benefits/
Watch ANOTHER Man with Severe Parkinson’s Take Cannabis Oil to Settle his Tremors
March 16, 2017 11:14 AM
In considering whether cannabinoids are a suitable therapy for Parkinson's symptoms, the potential benefits must be weighed against the possible side effects. Used in moderation, cannabinoids appear to be relatively well tolerated. Even so, a review of clinical trials involving cannabinoids showed that nearly seven percent of participants discontinued them due to issues such as nausea, dizziness, weakness, mood and behavioral changes, hallucinations and impairment of cognitive (memory/thinking) abilities.
"His used just a single drop and his hands afterwards were Rock steady and the Dyskinesia left."
Spinning out of control: Vertigo
January 18, 2017 10:59 AM
Vertigo can occur many situations. One of the most common manifestations of vertigo occurs when someone travels on a boat. While on a boat, particularly when not standing on the deck, your visual system indicates that there is not much movement, and your surroundings appear still. ear, on the other hand, is telling your brain that there is back and forth Rocking movement, which naturally occurs with sea travel. The result is that one part of the brain is registering movement while the other part of the brain is registering no movement.
"To understand vertigo, one must understand that our sense of balance comes from multiple different systems in the body."
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.
Why wounds heal more slowly with age
December 01, 2016 06:59 AM
Our bodies undergo many changes when we age. Once potentially problematic change is that our bodies take longer to heal when we are older. This phenomenon has been observed since WWI. Recent studies at Rockefeller University have focused on observing young and elderly mice to determine why this happens. It has been discovered that our immune cells stop communicating effectively in old age, which leads to them not doing their jobs as quickly as when we are young.
"Recent experiments at The Rockefeller University explored this physiological puzzle by examining molecular changes in aging mouse skin."
Is your relationship with food on the rocks?
November 24, 2016 04:59 PM
Not everyone can manage to have a healthy relationship with food -- or, at least, that's the way it seems. Others seem like they're able to just eat whatever they want and stay alright, while others feel like they're addicted. Still, others bounce from diet to diet. Which are you? "Is your relationship with food on the Rocks?" helps determine if your relationship with food is healthy, and what you can do about it if it's not.
"Eat healthy, but treat yourself. What, when and why we eat is so wrapped up in social and emotional factors that it goes way beyond simply fueling the body."
Always Tired? Burnout and Adrenal Fatigue Solutions
Do you often feel run down and fatigued during the day? So tired you could sleep? Do you crave and use salty and sweet foods as well as caffeine to get you through the day?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions it is likely that you may be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue or "Burnout." It's a very common problem which often goes unnoticed. It affects significantly more women than men. The number of people suffering has Rocketed since the recession - money worries and job worries causing major stress.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal Fatigue is a term used to describe when the adrenal glands are exhausted. Adrenal fatigue is very commonly associated with stress levels. The adrenal glands release Cortisol in response to all stress, cortisol is your natural anti-inflammatory and reduces stress and inflammation levels when needed.
Your adrenal glands are located just above the kidneys and are the size of walnuts. They have a very important function within the body, they secrete over 50 different hormones which your body needs to survive. As well as cortisol some of the other hormones that the adrenal glands secrete include testosterone, estrogen, epinephrine, and progesterone.
People can live with this all their life and think it is just normal. This fatigue cannot simply be relieved by a good night's sleep. An estimated 80% of people at some point experience some form of adrenal fatigue and the physical symptoms associated with stress.
It is unlikely that a doctor will immediately diagnose you with adrenal fatigue, in my research I read about a female sufferer of adrenal fatigue who saw 27 different doctors before having her problem identified as adrenal fatigue! This is an extreme case.
Symptoms and negatives effects of adrenal fatigue
Adrenal fatigue can really wreck the life you live, in extreme cases, it can be so bad that you are only able to stay awake and move around for a couple of hours a day. Changes are made in your carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance is affected as well as your heart, cardiovascular system and sex drive as a result of adrenal fatigue.
The main symptoms of adrenal fatigue are:
Manuka honey may be the future of antibacterial superbug medicine
October 27, 2016 01:43 PM
For many years honey has been a home remedy for its antibacterial and medicinal properties. Now, a new honey from New Zealand, called Manuka honey, is becoming popular for pushing the boundaries of what honey is known for. Studies found that this honey was effective against chronic wound infections and can inhibit bacteria growth. Others say that it has beneficial vitamins and nutrients, bolsters the immune system, helps acne, heals eczema, and fights cold among others. Most of these claims are not proven, but it hasn't stopped the honey cost from skyRocketing to $80 a jar.
""Even low dilutions of Manuka honey can curb the activity and growth of bacterial biofilms – the thin but resilient layer of microbes that build up on, and stick to, any surface including plastic.""
Look Younger With This Natural Facial Exfoliator
Diatomaceous Earth (also called diatomite) is a siliceous sedimentary Rock. The Rock is naturally occurring, soft and can be crushed into a fine powder. Like the name suggests, it is extracted from fossilized remnants of diatoms. Diatoms were tiny, hard shelled algae that lived in water. The diatoms skeletons comprise of silica, a natural substance. Over a long time, the diatoms collected on river, lakes and oceans sediments. Because of its fineness, DE acts as a great facial exfoliant. Besides silica, Diatomaceous Earth contains calcium, zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium. These minerals can be absorbed through the skin to complement your diet.
Diatomaceous Earth for Facial Exfoliation
The use of DE as a facial exfoliant is becoming very popular. Today, more than 150 products contain DE as the main ingredient. For facial exfoliation, make sure you use food grade DE. Food Grade DE differs from the DE used in the pool filter. Food grade DE is finer (less abrasive and has been purified) than non-food grade DE.
It is easy to make a facial scrub. Simply mix the powder with enough water to make a paste. Be sure to apply the paste on your face immediately after preparing it. To increase its effectiveness as a facial exfoliator, rub the paste on your face with mild, circular motions. DE has abrasive properties which make it perfect for facial exfoliation.
You can use DE and water alone but for greater results mix DE with 1 tablespoon water, diluted honey or aloe vera juice and coconut oil. This way, not only do you remove microscopic dirt and oil deposits and dead skin but you also leave the skin moisturized. When massaging the paste to your face, refrain from applying it on the area around your eyes. The skin around the eyes is gentle and is often affected by powerful exfoliators and could lead to irritation. Leave the paste for a couple of minutes and use lukewarm water to rinse it off.
Diatomaceous earth looks cylindrical under a microscope. It is also known to carry a negative ionic charge that scientists claim to be the reason why pathogens are attracted to it and carried out of the body.
Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth as a Facial Exfoliator
DE is a naturally occurring ingredient. This means there are no side effects associated with its use. Food grade diatomaceous earth has anti-fungal properties. It acts as a detoxification agent and leaves the skin refreshed and clean. It is a nourishing, lightening and brightening facial exfoliator. It increases the elasticity of the skin and leaves the skin radiant. Diatomaceous earth has been tailored to boost skin immunity and act as an anti-oxidant to fight free radicals. Not only does DE rid your face of dead skin cells but also helps the skin fight premature signs of aging.
Salt and sugar scrubs are effective in facial exfoliation but they are too abrasive to be used every day. Diatomaceous earth is finer and thus a great alternative. You may choose to make a DE paste at home or a buy a product that contains DE (among other natural products).
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.
The Good and Bad of an iron supplement
April 25, 2010 06:04 PM
Iron holds a crucial role in the physiology of the body. It is a central part of the haemoglobin and myoglobin molecules. Iron is indispensable to the body’s ability to transport gases into and out of the cell. It is necessary in many important enzymes that are involved in energy production, metabolism, and DNA synthesis. Some iron is lost when red blood cells are broken down and excreted in the bile. However, because of iron’s importance, the body is able to conserve iron at all costs, as the kidneys do not eliminate the metal.
The dark side of iron supplementation comes when iron is consumed in amounts that are excessive to the body’s needs. Although unbound iron is more likely to cause oxidative challenges through the generation of free radicals, excessive iron supplementation in any form can cause huge problems for the cell. The overload of iron can cause deterioration of the gut lining, vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal and joint pain, liver damage, loss of weight, and intense fatigue. In children, acute doses as low as 3 grams can cause death.
About one out of every 250 North Americans suffer from haemochromatosis, which is a genetic defect that is common in a lot of those people of northern European descent. This disorder causes the body to accumulate and abnormally store high levels of iron. Those people with haemochromatosis store twice as much iron as others, which places them at increased risk for iron-related diseases. Symptoms of these diseases generally occur after fifty years of age and often include things ranging from fatigue, abdominal pain, achy joints, impotence, and symptoms that mimic diabetes.
Several studies have produced evidence which suggests that high levels of iron contribute to noticeable increases in the risk for cardiovascular disease. This is likely due to non-haeme iron’s aggressive pro-oxidant nature. Iron levels are one of the strongest biochemical markers for the progression of atherosclerosis, which results from increased oxidation of LDL cholesterol. A study in 1995 conducted on Finnish men found that those who had high body stores of iron also had a substantially increased risk of heart attack. Those men who posses the highest levels of stored iron often showed a levels of risk that was up to three times that of men who possessed the lowest levels of stored iron.
Disorders in iron accumulation contribute to a whole host of other disease states, all of which are degenerative in nature. Studies have shown that chronic iron overload contributes to increased infections, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, and various congenitive dysfunctions. The only way to remove excess iron is through blood letting, unless you are a woman with regular menses. That is why, for men, iron overload can provide quite a problematic issue. Recent research has found that long-term supplementation with iron at doses less than 5 mg/day can lead to iron-overload toxicity. Because of this, it is recommended that the upper limit of iron intake be at 5 mg/day when considering a product’s rating. Any product that contains iron at a daily dose greater than this limit is penalized with this rating criterion.
But for those who need iron, it can easily be obtained through a vitamin supplement at your local or internet health food store. Men should avoid iron supplements and products containing iron, but women on the other hand due to monthly blood loss should supplement with iron regularly.
Myth: Agave Nectar is adulterated or mixed with HFCS.
April 08, 2010 04:08 PM
There are two methods of making the Agave Nectar from the juice of the plant. One uses a non-GMO enzyme and the second is via thermal hydrolysis. Both process achieve the same goal which is to separate the naturally occurring Fructans which are complex sugar molecules into their simple sugar components fructose and glucose.
Unlike the process of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), which creates fructose out of the glucose from the starch found in milled Corn, Agave Nectar simply separates Fructans or Inulin, a complex naturally occurring sugar into Fructose and Glucose.
Our producers do not use any sort of chemicals in the process and no foreign material is being added such as HFCS. Filtration and evaporation of excess moisture are the rest of the process. The evaporation is done in a vacuum evaporator.
No research has pointed that Blue Agave contains Anodin and Dinordin, the steroid derivatives with contraceptive effects that could lead to a miscarriage. This is clearly a cruel scare tactic. The truth is that there are many types of saponins and they are in a lot of foods we eat. Most beans and legumes, soya beans, onions, paprika, alfalfa - these all contain various saponins. Saponins are phytosterol compounds that occur naturally in some plants. Saponins have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, along with anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating properties.
From the prehispanic times, the only sweet treat available to Indians in Mexico was the cooked leaves of the agave plant. They are still in markets all over Mexico. If there would be any kind of dangerous substance, this would be the absolute extreme case of exposure to it; not a single case of any problem has ever been reported, this goes back over 700 years.
Agave Nectar in its present form has been sold for over 12 years all over the world, including western Europe, Japan and the U.S.. The product has a proven record of safety and is deemed safe by the FDA and all regulatory bodies all over the world and there has never been a report of agave nectar linked to a miscarriage.
Madhava's Agave Nectar does not contain corn syrup, corn products, or any adulteration of any sort. Guaranteed. Our Agave Nectar is 100% pure from the agave plant with no additives whatsoever.
We package our agave nectar at our facility in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. Madhava's Quality Control representatives routinely visit and inspect all our suppliers’ facilities in Mexico. The suppliers are Organically Certified and 3rd party audited or currently in the process. In addition our facility in Colorado is USDA Organic Certified and we are routinely audited.
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.
Raw Material Costs
September 27, 2008 01:20 PM
NOW has faced more tight supplies and substantial cost increases in 2008 than at any other time in memory. Currently, the entire Psyllium crop from India is in short supply and unusually high demand. As a result, raw material costs are substantially higher. We expect them to remain this way until the middle of 2009. The cost of organic, pure Maple Syrup has already increased about 30%, and this has forced us to increase our own prices in July of this year. Despite drastic cost increases on many individual nut products (from 10-40%), NOW is doing its best to lock current prices until our next wholesale catalog, in December. Both Vitamin C and Vitamin E, due to corn and soy costs, have skyRocketed. And as much as we dislike doing so, we will likely have to raise our Vitamin C prices soon.
These and many other ingredients are up substantially in cost, though we’re doing our best to maintain our excellent everyday values. The weak US dollar is a major contributing factor, as it has lost about 50% of its value vs. the Euro in recent years. Combined with many worldwide factors, our industry is facing price pressures that will lead to unavoidable higher prices. NOW is constantly working on innovative ways to keep our prices low without sacrificing our famous quality.
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.
Broken Cell Chlorella - Single Celled Micro alga
April 21, 2008 05:06 PM
Chlorella is what is known as a micro alga, a single celled vegetable organism that grows in fresh water. Microalgae are microscopic species of plant life that are likely responsible for the biological evolutionary history of our planet. Most people associate algae with seaweed: marine plant life. However, this is a restricted view since algae are also common on land, although are rarely conspicuous and still require an aqueous environment if not necessarily a salt water ocean.
The reason for this is that algae have no vascular tissue to draw moisture up into the body of the plant as terrestrial plants do, and they tend to be found in tropical regions, on snow in areas of the Arctic and also on exposed areas of stone and Rock in symbiosis with fungi in the form of lichens. They can also be found in freshwater ponds and rivers, and chlorella is one of these.
Its scientific name is Chlorella pyrenoidosa, and it occurs worldwide. It is said to have the highest concentration of chlorophyll of any other known plant in addition to its other highly nutritional content. The superlatives are almost limitless for such a small plant that most of the general population is unaware of. It is the first plant known to have a true nucleus, it has been around for about two and half billion years, and it can multiply itself fourfold making it the fastest growing species of plant known on earth. It beats other fast-growing algae and bamboo out of site.
So what of its nutritional content? It is believed by NASA to be the ultimate foodstuff for long-term travel in space and an ideal crop for colonizing communities. Were a space community to be established on Mars, chlorella would be the first to be cultivated under these big glass domes we all see in the movies! It is more than just a foodstuff though; it is also the most powerful known natural detoxifier for the human body, which makes it practically the ideal food. Why is this?
If any food deserves to be referred to as a ‘superfood’ it is chlorella. It consists of over 60% bioavailable protein, and contains six members of the vitamin B complex (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 12) and also vitamins A, C, E and K. It is therefore very high in antioxidants and excellent for destroying free radicals as soon as they are formed, and before they can cause problems such as atherosclerosis and excessive cell damage.
It also contains more than its fair share of minerals such as calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, and also iodine, folic acid and a high proportion of iron. That is not all: it contains many more nutrients essential for a healthy life, but above all chlorella contains all eight essential amino acids.
Human biochemistry and metabolism need 20 amino acids to function properly, twelve of which can be manufactured by the liver from these eight: leucine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine, and sometimes serine is added. These are called the essential amino acids from which all the others that your body needs can be manufactured.
Amino acids are needed to build proteins and DNA, manufacture body cells, repair damaged tissue, help the immune system to protect you from invading bacteria and viruses, ensure that the oxygen you breathe gets to the cells where it is needed to sustain life and carry out many other functions besides. Without them you could not exist. Chlorella contains five times more protein and amino acids than eggs do.
The Chlorella Growth Factor or CGF is a combination of these amino acids, together with nucleic acids, carbohydrates and peptides that have not yet been completely characterized. The CGF promotes the growth of body cells, and stimulates cell repair in a way not seen before in any other food. It has been shown to promote the growth of children in a natural and safe way.
Not only this, but it has been found not to promote the growth of diseased or cancerous cells, only healthy ones. The fact that that this accelerated growth does not happen with adults indicates that the Chlorella Growth Factor supports the natural growing process, although in adults it has been seen to accelerate the repair of damaged body tissue.
Chlorella also appears to strengthen the immune system, and researchers have found the presence of a polysaccharide in the cell walls of the microalgae that acts with CGF to produce an interferon that protects the helper cells that aid macrophages to destroy invading bacteria and viruses. It can help our resistance to influenza, choryza (common cold), fungi such as candida and many other forms of invasion by foreign agents into our bloodstream.
The detox effect of chlorella is largely contained within its cell walls that can bind with persistent toxic substances such as DDT, and bind with heavy metals to safely remove them from the body. In fact it is the ideal anti-toxin for life in today’s environment, full of vehicle exhaust fumes, pesticides and other chemical emissions. It has been claimed to be able to remove mercury from the body, but this has not been established.
Probably the only problem with the ingestion and the efficiency of the body to use Chlorella to its full extent is the strength of the cell walls. Chlorella has very strong cell walls, which could also account for the concentration of nutrients within them. the traditional method to overcome this was to mill them using small glass or ceramic beads to break the cell walls down, but the Japanese have come up with a more effective means. High frequency sound waves are used to break the cell walls down supersonically, a technique known as ‘cracking’, and once cracked the cells can release up to 65% of its nutrients, compared to the 50% of the milling method.
The nutritional content of single celled microalgae such as chlorella is amazing, and if the was only one food that you were able to eat, then this would be it. There is no other known species of plant or animal life that provides the range of vitamins, minerals, proteins and amino acids that chlorella does, and it truly is the king of all superfoods.
You Should Say: Please Pass the Broccoli, Not I’ll Pass
January 22, 2008 04:38 PM
'Please pass the broccoli': not something that many mothers hear from their children. In fact, not many children appear to like any green vegetables let alone broccoli. This is not important at such a young age, but there comes a time when the health benefits that broccoli brings become almost essential to your good health and well being. Parents are right, but your children won’t believe you.
Some say that the nutritional punch of broccoli is stronger than that of any other vegetable. Is this claim justified? Let’s have a look at the evidence and the facts and you can judge for yourself. First the ‘ordinary’ nutrients of broccoli: vitamin C (more than oranges) and A, folic acid and calcium and also lots and lots of fiber. However, this wonderful vegetable contains not only high levels of calcium, but is also the one of the richest vegetable sources of magnesium. Calcium needs magnesium in order to be properly incorporated into your bone structure, and so broccoli is a very important calcium/magnesium source for vegans that do not drink milk or eat any other dairy products.
It is also rich in protein, containing 3% by weight and is also rich in iron. It is therefore an important part of the diet of women during menstruation when iron is important to enable the blood to maintain its proper erythrocyte levels. A deficiency of iron in the diet of women can lead to anemia and render them more susceptible to infection. However, it is more than just iron that renders this vegetable an important part of the female diet. Broccoli has been established to be of major importance in preventing cancer.
It is likely the most potent anti-cancer vegetable in your diet, and it has been established over 20 years of study that broccoli can help to prevent cancers of the breast and the cervix. The indoles that it contains prevent estrogens from promoting tumor growth, and it also contains beta-carotene, a strong antioxidant that destroys the free radicals that can also cause cancer. However, there is more to broccoli than just that.
Broccoli contains the highest concentration of sulforaphane of all the cruciferous vegetables that include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Rocket and turnip, amongst many others. When you chew broccoli, the glucosinolate glucoraphan is converted to sulforaphane, not by the enzymes in your saliva, but by the actual physical damage done to the plant by the act of chewing. It could likely also be generated by hitting it with a hammer! It is glucosinolates that provide the slightly bitter taste many people experience when they eat vegetables such as brussels sprouts and broccoli, and that likely renders them somewhat unattractive to children!
Sulforaphane is an isothiocyanate containing the NCS functional group, and is actually bound loosely to the sugar as sulforaphane glucosinolate. It is the loose binding that allows it be released on chewing. Broccoli sprouts are its richest source, and it is a strong antioxidant which is why it is so effective in reducing the possibility of certain cancers.
When fighting cancers, your body produces phase-II enzymes, and since sulforaphane induces these enzymes, it stops the carcinogens before they can damage your DNA. This is achieved through the enhancement of the transcription of the proteins that suppress the tumors. In layman’s terms, it is the generation of tumor suppressant proteins from DNA that kills off the tumors before they can destroy the DNA.
There is even more however. Indoles have already been mentioned, and those in question are predominantly indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and 3,3-diindolylmethane (DIM). The latter is generated from the digestion of the former and possesses very potent anti-cancer properties. However, this indole can affect your health in ways other than just as an anti-cancer agent. It can modulate the immune system in a way that renders it suitable for the treatment of a number of viral infections, and is also believed to be a possible answer to the problem of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. It appears to operate synergistically with Interferon-Gamma, a cytokine that helps to prevent viruses from replicating within the cells of the body, to strengthen the MHC-I Complex, a part of the human genome that supports the immune response to viral attacks.
To put it plainly, broccoli can aid your resistance not only to certain cancers, but also to attack by viruses and some bacteria. It is not only cancers of the cervix and breast that broccoli can help to prevent, but also of the lung, prostate, larynx and bladder. I3C also helps to support the function of your liver in detoxifying your blood as well as supporting the cellular reproduction without which your body could not maintain itself after damage.
Broccoli is therefore an important vegetable to men as well as to women, not only for its anti-cancer properties, but also as a general antioxidant and consequent free radical scavenging properties. Its high fiber content is equally split between soluble and insoluble vegetable fiber, and so meets your dietary needs of both types.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli have been singled out by health organizations the world over as essential to your diet, and you should eat them regularly. Once daily would be good, but more is recommended if possible. As stated at the start, strong tasting vegetables containing glucosinolates might not be attractive to children and younger people, but their phytochemical content (the foresaid indoles and isothiocyanates) render them very potent antioxidants and anti-cancer foods.
Taken in relation to other foods, an ounce of broccoli contains as much calcium as a glass of milk, more vitamin C than a similar weight of orange, and a medium floret has more fiber than one slice of bran bread. It is rich in vitamin A and of course there are the other antioxidants and anti-cancer phytochemicals already detailed.
There are many ways of cooking broccoli to maintain its nutritional content, but if you do not like broccoli, then there are supplements available. You can purchase pure broccoli extract or an extract from a mixture of cruciferous vegetables. The choice is yours, but of one thing there can be no doubt. Broccoli is the king of green vegetables, and the nutrients it contains are not available in any other vegetable in such a concentrated and easy to assimilate form.
Your mom was right: it's not just 'eat your veg', but 'eat your broccoli'. No nutritional advice could be better than that. “Pass the broccoli please mom!”
Do It Yourself
June 26, 2007 02:06 PM
You, too, can take part in this vital movement, starting right in your own backyard. First, get some education on remineralizing and the kind of Rock dust you need by visiting Remineralize the Earth’s website at www.remineralize.org. Then, discover how easy it really is—with the astounding results nutritionally and otherwise—to remineralize your own area. You can also become a contributor to remineralize the Earth and assist in their upcoming campaigns and remineralizations project worldwide.
The next logical step
June 26, 2007 02:04 PM
When you examine the minerals involved, it is not surprising that remineralization is so much more effective for healthy plants than current methods. “Agriculture in the last several decades has mainly relied on three minerals—nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, known as NPK,” says Joanna Campe. “Lately they’ve begun to add more minerals, maybe up to twelve, but that’s still nothing compared to the broad spectrum of a hundred or so minerals provided naturally by mineralized soil.”
Another great aspect to mineralization is that it can help eliminate our heavy reliance on petrochemicals (oil-based products). Modern farming relies on chemical fertilizers that are petrochemical based. “We can shift from an economics of scarcity to an economics of abundance by switching from reliance on chemical fertilizers to remineralizations.” Campe says. “Fossil fuels are quickly disappearing, and Rocks are the most abundant resource on the earth.”
This kind of economic effectiveness should come as great news to the organic food industry. According to current statistics, the U.S. buys nearly half of all the organic food produced in the world, and only 0.2 percent of its farmland is dedicated to organic growing. Much of the food produced is also of suspect quality. The reason for this scarcity and lack of quality lie partially in the expense and difficulty of growing organic food due to the poor soil. Such problems would be easily remedied by the next logical step in natural food production—remineralization—making it possible for farmers everywhere to grow natural food easily and within economic boundaries.
Organic growers are starting to take notice and participate in remineralization. For example, the largest carrot farmer in the world is turning over its acreage to remineralization, and remineralized carrots can now be purchased from cal-organic at whole food markets. World-renowned Chef Alice Waters, inventor of what has become known as California Cuisine, is also an advocate of remineralization and has up to 70 remineralized fruits and vegetables grown for her famous restraint, Chez Panisse, by Bob cannard.
An organic farmer’s perspective
June 26, 2007 02:03 PM
How effective can remineralization be? Just as Dan Kittredge, executive director of Remineralize the Earth, who is also an organic farmer. Prior to remineralizing his farm, he had weaker crops and a horrendous insect problem. “I put in two greenhouses a year and a half ago and planted Asian greens in them. Last spring, all the plants were inundated with tiny holes made by insects. Unless you are extremely diligent, it happens to all of a particular family of crops around here, including broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.”
This year, however, he had remineralized. “Under the exact same growing conditions and locations, with the exception of adding Rock dust last year, the crops are now growing virtually insect free,” he reports.
The crops themselves are extraordinary. “They have this incredible sheen,” Kittredge says. “The flavor is far, far better, and they last longer. We were harvesting broccoli all the way into December, which is pretty amazing, especially from Massachusetts.”
A simple solution
June 26, 2007 02:02 PM
Remineralization is a straightforward procedure. Simply apply a specific fine Rock dust (called glacial gravel) to a field, garden, forest, or even a planter. This type of dust creates a broad spectrum of minerals in the soil in a natural balance. Local sources of Rock dust are available as well as products that can be purchased. (www.remineralize.org)
Remineralization is also far less expensive and labor intensive than traditional fertilizing and pest control. A ton of Rock dust costs anywhere between nothing at all and $8.00 and only needs to be applied every 1 – 10 years, depending on the application. Compare this to chemical fertilizers, which cost over $400.00 per tone and need to be applied at least once each season.
What can we do about it?
June 26, 2007 02:01 PM
The answer to this problem is amazingly simple. It’s called remineralization. “Remineralization is important because we are missing the minerals and trace elements in our food that should be there,” says Joanna Campe, president of a non-profit organization called Remineralize the Earth. “We can address this by returning minerals to the soil just as the earth does. The natural formulation of soil occurs through the recycling of organic matter, the crushing of Rocks onto the earth’s soil mantle by glaciers, and volcanic eruptions that add minerals to the soil. We can add these minerals back ourselves and create fertile soils.”
Remineralized soils can provide two to four times the yield of current unhealthy soils, and greatly increase the health of plant biomass—a well-validated fat that even amazed a group of missoouri high-school students who, in conducting experiments with remineralization, watched pecan plants germinate 7-9 days earlier and grow consistently faster than non-mineralized plants.
Remineralization is also fundamental in solving global warming. “When forests are unhealthy and dying off, they release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,” Campe says. “When they’re healthy, they store carbon.” And remineralization’s effects are already being felt in this area. Highly successful remineralization on trees has been done by Dr. Lee Klinger, an independent northern California scientist. In the last three years his methods have been used on more than 5,000 Californian oak trees afflicted with malnutrition and other disease conditions, with all but a handful responding with a flush of healthy canopy growth (see www.suddenoaklife.org).
Additionally, there are early-stage studies indicating that spreading Rock dust can help bind up atmospheric carbon in the soil and contract global warming.
Supplements for Sexual health!
April 17, 2007 02:35 PM
Improving Sexual Performance Naturally
Sex. It’s everywhere. It’s on TV (a lot!). It’s in the books we read and the movies we watch. Even the radio seems a veritable hot bed of sex. (what would hard Rock, soft jazz, or Motown classics be without songs about sex?) Magazines are full of sex and it’s not just the “naughty” ones with glossy centerfolds. From Sports Illustrated to Good Housekeeping, sex makes for titillating headlines and cover stories. In fact, 21st Century
No one really knows for sure how many of the 113 million married Americans are living as couples with DINS (dual income, no sex). Estimates range from 15 to 50 percent. Even couples who have sex fairly often feel like they’re not having enough sex or that it’s not as enjoyable as it was in the past, or both. And while women are stereotyped as the sex refusers and avoiders, surveys show that both women and men decline spousal advances fairly equally.
What’s really interesting about this lack of sexual activity in
As a medicine hunter, I have discovered effective plants and herbs al over the planet that really do improve orgasms in women and erections in men. Now it’s your turn. I’m going to teach you how to enhance your sexuality and introduce you to an entire arsenal of libido lifting plants to help make sex fun, vibrant, and satisfying for both you and your partner.
Q. These plants sound too good to be true. Do they really work?
A. Yes, they do. Part of their success is their ability to work with your body’s innate mechanisms for healthy sex. Good sex is much more than just stimulated body parts. But it’s a good place to start!
A man needs an erect penis that remains firm past foreplay and on into intercourse. He also needs to sustain that erection and experience forceful and pleasurable ejaculation when he and his partner are both ready for his orgasm. A woman needs to feel desire and feel desired for her nipples to be aroused, her clitoris stimulated, and her vagina lubricated – the basics leading to her orgasm.
Plants that enhance sex can help men and women obtain these bare necessities of sex. And unlike other supplements, you’ll know if the medicinal plant you’ve purchased is actually doing what it promised to do. You can’t really tell if the calcium supplement you take each day is making your bones stronger. But you will be able to tell pretty soon if Catuaba, for example, is increasing your sexual desire.
Q. Night after night, my husband falls asleep on the sofa. And the honest to goodness truth is that I’m too tired for sex, too. I love my husband and once upon a time I loved sex. But my job, the kids, those never-ending errands, and trying to keep up with the laundry are too exhausting. Is there a plant that can rev us up?
A. Many women are in the same sexless boat you’re sailing around in and they don’t like it any more than you do. In fact, women all over the world put their family’s needs before their own, leading to some very tired moms and wives.
Life’s demands can also impair sexual performance in men. Work stressors, family demands, and home maintenance result in fatigue and lack of energy. Men find that they have no energy left to devote to to sex at the end of the day.
But, over 80 percent of married couples in the world have at their disposal a health care system that integrates sex into their personal health and well being. For centuries, millennia actually, practitioners of traditional medicine have prescribed Maca and Rhodiola to reduce “sexual fatigue” in women and men who are just too tired to make love.
Q. Since I had a baby four months ago, I have no desire for sex. This is making my husband pretty frustrated and me too, actually. I’d love to want sex again.
A. A married woman with a baby and a toddler or two can feel that her body isn’t really hers. So much for feeling sexy! While this fact can be a source of great pride and joy, it can also drain desire.
As women enter perimenopause – those years when they are still menstruating despite fluctuating estrogen levels – they often have no desire for sex. Since estrogen is the engine that drives women’s reproductive function, when it starts to go, sex goes too. Women who have reached menopause may find their minds wandering during sex. Pondering the car’s need for an oil change or if the milk in the refrigerator has reached its expiration date makes for pretty blah sex. It also makes it nearly impossible to achieve orgasm.
Once more, traditional medicine has some answers:
Q. My husband has a desire for sex, but sometimes it’s not enough. Even if we’re both in the mood, he can’t maintain his erection very long. It’s very frustrating for us both.
A. For men it’s often their equipment that lets them down. As men age, they find they can’t get an erection hard enough or keep an erection long enough to satisfy their partners and themselves.
While women can fake an orgasm if they’re tired, men have to perform every single time they have sex. Luckily, Mother Nature can help:
Q. There are hundreds of supplements that claim to make men hard and women weak with desire. I’ve tried some of these, and they don’t do anything. When should I believe that the herbs and plan medicines you have discovered are nay better?
A. There are a lot of “snake oil” companies out there pitching products that promise to improve our sex lives but do absolutely nothing. One reason for this glut of useless supplements is simple demand. Men and women trying to make their sex lives better, are willing to give most products the benefit of the doubt and buy one or two. Sex sells – and even products that are purchased one time only will make big profits.
To get the most for your money, make sure the sexual supplement you are considering is from a well-respected manufacturer. Ask store staff, surf the Internet, and do some searching for the best nutraceutical companies. Make sure the herbs are standardized and that the extracts are concentrated fro optimal benefit.
Q. Are these sex-enhancing plants safe?
A. Despite years of use by practitioners of traditional medicine, significant adverse effects have not been reported for most sex-enhancing plants. However, men who have already been diagnosed with certain health conditions such as high blood pressure, thyroid disease, prostate problems, or other illnesses should use caution when selecting any health supplement. The same advice applies to women, especially women who are pregnant or nursing. And always remember to keep your doctor informed about the supplements you are using, especially if you are also taking prescription drugs. But the sex-enhancing plants have been traveling on planet Earth for a long, long time. And hopefully they’ll be here for lot longer, continuing to work effectively and go about their business of safely improving orgasms and erections and making sex great for men and women all over the world.
Q. OK, exactly how did early native healers figure out which plants improve sex? Was it just simple trial and error?
A. It does seem pretty remarkable that tribal peoples have discovered the right plants to treat diseases and improve health without modern day scientific advances.
From my many years as a “medicine hunter” in rainforests and grasslands and marshes and mountains, I’ve learned that healing plants exist for virtually every health need. It’s up to the medicine man or women to put the plant into practice. These healers have been able to do this successfully for thousands of people, by intensively studying and working with the plants. By putting themselves into the plant’s world, becoming part of the world around them, native healers have intuitively discovered which plant helps which disease. It wasn’t mere luck that brought all those plants and all those healers together. It was the natural and spiritual connection existing between the two.
Q. Are there other “natural” remedies we can use to improve our sex lives?
A. The easiest way to naturally enhance your sex life is to practice, practice, practice! Because if you don’t use it, you might lose it. Studies have shown that couples in the Amazon rainforest as well as couples in the concrete jungle of New York City have better sex lives if thy make sex a priority. All the sex-enhancing plants in the world are useless if the men and women taking them don’t put them to the test.
Men who smoke need to quit. Research has shown that cigarettes send men’s sex lives up in smoke. Men who smoke more than 20 cigarettes daily have a 60 percent higher risk of erectile dysfunction compared to men who never smoked. That’s because smoking decreases blood flow making it difficult for men to obtain an erection.
And finally, since sex is a visual and tactile endeavor, there are quite natural and creative ways to give it a boost. Visually stimulating images can arouse even the tiredest of the tired. Premiere Magazine recently compiled a list of the most erotic movie sex scenes ever. You don’t have to feel embarrassed when renting these movies (as you might with pornography) at the video store and they are guaranteed to light up your life:
2. Hilary Swank pleasuring Chloe Sevigny in BOYS DON’T CRY (1999)
3. Brad Pitt and Claire Forlani making love in MEET JOE BLACK (1998)
4. Leonardo DiCaprio drawing Kate Winslet in the nude in TITANIC (1997)
5. Sharon Stone uncrossing her legs while she is being interrogated in a room full of en in BASIC INSTINCT (1992)
6. Patrick Swazye and Demi Moore in the pottery secene early on in GHOST (1990)
7. Michael Douglas and Glenn Close having sex in an elevator in FATAL A TTRACTION (1987)
8. Mickey Rourke caressing Kim Basinger’s body with an ice cube in 9 1.2 WEEKS (1986)
9. William Hurt and Kathleen Turner having sex in BODY HET (1981)
10. Julie Christine and Donald Sutherland making love in DON’T LOOK NOW (1973)
11. Rita Hayworth flipping back her hair and singing “Put The Blame on Mame” in FILDA (1946)
One Important Last Point
Sex always has consequences. And improving your sex life does not eliminate the requirement to practice it responsibly. Sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS must be prevented, pregnancy must be considered and consent between partners must exist.
Sexual activity keeps us connected – both tangibly and spiritually to our heart’s desire. It helps us feel secure and well loved and adds to our self esteem. In other words, good sex is important to good life.
But all of us need a little help now and then. Sex-enhancing plants that have been used for thousands of years by millions of people provide that help. You can have actual sexual healing with effective sexual supplements and maybe find out what you’ve been missing.
After all, 80 percent of the world’s married couples can’t be wrong!
Growing Older, Feeling Better
March 28, 2007 02:15 PM
Growing Older, Feeling Better
Not long ago, when a man turned sixty-five, he became officially old – the best years of his life far behind him. The milestone meant his working days were done and if he was lucky, he might get four or five years to spend as he wished before illness and infirmity set in. It was simply expected and accepted that the older a man got, the sicker he got.
Well, not anymore. Today, a man age 65 is just as likely to be found hiking in the hills, running in a marathon, or even dancing in the streets than Rocking in that proverbial front porch Rocker. Because it’s becoming more and more evident that the older a man gets, the healthier that man has been.
Eating healthy, exercising, and kicking harmful habits (like smoking) can add years to a man’s life. Aging research is proving over and over again, that we can prevent and delay heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease – the major causes of disability and death in men over 50.
Now, it’s very true that good clean living from early on is preferable to sixty five years of bad habits and five years of good. But it’s also true that it’s never too late for men to make changes and vow to take better care of themselves. And one of the easiest and most effective ways men can improve their health is the addition of high quality nutritional supplements.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’ll talk about specific dietary supplements that have been scientifically shown to improve the health of men over fifty, prevent the diseases that often strike at this crucial time in men’s lives, and actually slow the aging process.
Q. I just turned 50 and I’d like to begin taking nutritional supplements, but they seem so confusing. Where should I begin?
A. Many men feel the same way. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of nutritional supplements on health food store shelves. Figuring out which supplements provide the best health benefits for a 50+ man can be overwhelming.
The best foundation supplement is a high quality multivitamin. Research is repeatedly finding that even very healthy men who take daily multivitamins can significantly improve their health. In fact, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recommends that all adult Americans take a vitamin supplement. Look for solid doses of vitamin supplement. Look for sol doses of vitamins and especially minerals. Multivitamins designed to be taken once a day are often woefully deficient in calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The only mineral a man should avoid is supplemental iron. Iron should only be in formulas for women prior to menopause. Men over 50 get all the iron they need from food and too much iron can cause health problems.
Look for men’s multivitamins that contain lycopene in the formula. Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red. The redder the tomato, the more lycopene is present. Numerous studies have shown that when men have high lycopene levels in their blood, they have a much lower risk of heart disease, age-related macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss) and prostate cancer.
Other important considerations are antioxidant blends, especially fruit- and tea-derived extracts; ginseng for energy and stamina; and digestive enzymes to aid in absorption and compensate for age-related decreased enzyme levels.
In fact, years of research has shown the foods a man chooses to eat (or not to eat) can have a profound impact on the health of his prostate gland. Because of this close nutritional link, prostate cancer may be the most preventable type of non-smoking related cancers.
Q. Aside from taking a quality multivitamin for general health, what nutritional supplements prevent and treat prostate cancer?
A. Six vital and all-natural nutrients can prevent prostate cancer from developing and even help fight the disease.
When men are exposed to excess levels of hormones, their risk of prostate cancer increases. A natural substance found in fruits and vegetables called calcium D-glucarate (or CDG), helps men’s built-in detoxification systems get rid of these harmful excess hormones.
This antioxidant has powerful effects on the prostate gland. In a recent study, researchers recruited 974 men to take part in a large clinical trial to determine if selenium could prevent cancer. The researchers found that selenium cut the rate of prostate cancer by 63%!
Green tea is the most widely consumed liquid in the world, after water. Men in
For many years, maitake mushrooms, or dancing mushrooms, have been linked to good health in those who eat them. That’s because maitakes contain an important compound called D-fraction. A recent study showed that maitake D-fraction destroyed 95% of human prostate cancer cells in lab experiments.
Promising preliminary reports demonstrate that lycopene can actually kill prostate cancer cells, so there has been an explosion of lycopene and prostate cancer research.
Q. What exactly happens to men’s hormones as they get older?
A. Just as women experience significant hormonal changes as they age, so do men. In fact, the term andropause has been used to describe men’s mid-life changes. Similar to menopause in women (where the decline of estrogen causes a myriad of symptoms), andropause in men signals the slow decline of testosterone, the chief sex hormone in men. While estrogen levels decline faster and more abruptly in women than testosterone levels do in men, testosterone decline can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms. These include abdominal weight gain, hair loss, reduced energy and sex drive, heart disease, and prostate enlargement. Whether a man labels these age-related changes as andropause or just the consequences of aging, most men will unfortunately experience some or all of them as their birthdays mount.
Q. So, is there a supplement that can give me the hormone level of a 20 year old?
A. Sadly, no, at least not yet! But there is a nutrient that can help the testosterone in a man over fifty “behave” more like a younger man’s testosterone.
A study that took place at the
The secret of DIM’s prostate cancer prevention is its ability to metabolize estrogen. While estrogen is generally thought of as a “female” hormone, a precise ratio of testosterone-to-estrogen is needed to maintain a man’s healthy sexual response, effective sexual function (erection of the penis and intercourse), strong bones and muscles, viable sperm, and a well-functioning prostate gland. As men enter their fifties, this ratio begins to change.
When men take DIM, however, their estrogen metabolism improves, testosterone metabolism accelerates, and the unwanted conversion of testosterone into estrogen is eliminated. This results in higher testosterone levels, similar to those seen in young men. As a result, DIM may speed weight loss, reduce prostate gland enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), and help men over 50 feel stronger and leaner.
Some supplements on the market today contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a precursor to DIM. However, I3C is unstable and requires activation in the stomach to be converted into DIM. This means I3C must be taken at a much higher amount and can undergo unpredictable and undesirable chemical reactions in your stomach and colon. DIM is by far the preferred supplement.
Q. What is saw palmetto? Does it reduce symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH)?
A. Yes it does and very effectively too. Saw palmetto is a small palm tree native to
The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It wraps around the upper part of the urethra and its primary job is the production and storage of semen, the milky fluid that nourishes sperm. BPH is one of the most common health conditions in older men. Half of all men aged 40-60 and more than 90 percent in men over 80 have BPH. BPH causes the prostate gland to enlarge, putting pressure on the urethra.
Men have trouble starting or maintaining a stream of urine, find they can’t completely empty their bladders, and have to urinate frequently, even during the night. They may also have episodes of uncontrollable dribbling or complete loss of urine. BPH is caused by the conversion of estrogen to a very potent form of testosterone called, dihydrotestosterone (or DHT). When prostate cells are exposed to DHT, they multiply in number and get much larger.
BPH rarely improves. It most often remains the same for years or gets gradually worse. The need to continually urinate, interrupted sleep, dribbling, and loss of urine can significantly interfere with a man’s quality of life. Prescription medications that have been developed to treat BPH are only partially effective. And surgical removal of the prostate gland may result in even more persistent urinary incontinence and the inability to achieve an erection (ED).
However, saw palmetto berry extract relieves the symptoms of BPH by inhibiting the production of DHT. And, in study after study after study, saw palmetto caused none of the side effects that happen with prostate surgery or medications.
Q. There seem to be plenty of ads for supplements that claim they make men into Sexual Superheroes. Is there an “honest” nutritional supplement to help me sexually?
A. That’s a very good observation. And yes, there are honest nutritional supplements for men’s sexual health.
Sexual intimacy is an important, complex, and lifelong need. It makes us feel better physically and mentally and adds to our sense of security, belonging, and self-esteem. But just like other changes that happen to men as they get older, men’s sexual response most often changes, too. Declining testosterone levels, changes in blood flow to the penis, certain medications that older men are prescribed, and the presence of diabetes or heart disease can all affect men’s ability to engage in sexual activity.
When men have a chronic inability in obtaining and/or maintaining an erection, it’s called erectile dysfunction (ED). While ED is not an inevitable part of getting older, it does occur more frequently as men age. About 5% of 40-year-old men have ED, but more than 23% of 65-year-old men have difficulty maintaining erections.
The development of prescription medication Viagra (sildenafil citrate) has revolutionized ED treatment. When a man is sexually stimulated, Viagra helps the penis fill with enough blood to cause an erection.
Like all medicines, Viagra can cause some side effects, including headache, flushing of the face, and upset stomach. But because Viagra is a prescription medication, it requires a visit to a licensed healthcare practitioner. For many men, telling anyone (even a professional) that they are having trouble getting or keeping an erection is simply too embarrassing. Viagra is also fairly expensive and many older men do not have prescription drug health insurance.
These reasons may explain that while an estimated 30 million men in the United States – 10% of the male population – experience chronic ED, as few as 5% of men with chronic ED seek treatment.
Not every man can take Viagra, either. Men who use nitrate drugs, often used to control chest pain (also known as angina), must not take Viagra. This combination can cause their blood pressure to drop to an unsafe or life-threatening level. Men with serious liver and kidney problems who take Viagra must be monitored closely for possible serious side effects.
The good news is there is a nutritional supplement that’s formulated with vitamins, herbs, and glandular products that targets male sexual organs. The formula contains vitamin E, liver fractions, wheat germ, beta-sitosterol, and herbal extracts of muira puama, Mexican damiana, saw palmetto, cola nut, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and men’s testicles, adrenal glands, and pituitary glands need high levels of this fat-soluble vitamin for proper functioning. Extracts of Muira puama, Mexican damiana, and cola nut have been studied for their beneficial effects on male hormones.
Study of ginkgo in sexual response came about when a patient in a nursing home who was taking the herb for memory enhancement noted that his erections were improved. Since then, study of ginkgo has shown it helps blood flow to the penis. Sexual response research in one ginkgo study showed that 76% of men taking ginkgo experienced improved sexual desire, erections, and orgasms.
While other nutritional supplements sold to improve sexual stamina often make outrageous claims, reputable manufacturers rely on science and results to sell their products.
An important note
Most often sexual problems are simply part of the aging process. They can also be signs of serious health problems. If the use of nutritional supplements for two months does not improve your erections, you do need to see your healthcare practitioner. Almost all practitioners understand how difficult this problem is for men to discuss and are experienced in getting the information as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
No man has the power to stop the passage of time. But every man has the power to make aging more healthy and less harmful. Research conducted on men who live to be 100 and beyond, has determined that those who reach extreme old age do so by avoiding ill health, rather than by enduring it. As I like to remind my patients, “Age is not determined by years, but by function.” And it’s never too late for men to detour around the major illnesses of getting older. With good nutrition, healthy habits, and high quality nutritional supplements, the best years of a man’s life can absolutely and positively be those he spends in his 70s, 80s and even his 90s.
Pretend Medicine: let’s play doctor!
September 19, 2006 05:44 PM
(NewsTarget) Conventional medicine, as practiced today, is actually pretend medicine. Doctors and drug companies pretend to make patients healthier by giving them drugs. The FDA pretends to protect the safety of the public. Medical journals pretend to print only rigorous, scientifically-sound research papers. Drug companies pretend to care about the lives and health of patients. Non-profit disease front groups pretend to be searching for the cure while, in reality, most of them are only searching for more ways to recruit patients into conventional medicine treatments like drugs, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
How do we know it’s all pretend? Aside from the junk science, corruption fraud, collusion, conflicts of interest and intellectual dishonesty that characterizes modern medicine, there’s one more all-important thing to consider. The results. If modern medicine really worked, and wasn’t just pretend, wouldn’t we be the healthiest population in the world? (Instead of being 38th?)
Seriously. We Americans pay more for health care, per capita, than any nation in the world. We take more drugs, undergo more surgical procedures, and log more hospital visits than anyone else. If the drugs-and-surgery approach to medicine actually produced healthy human beings, shouldn’t we be the healthiest people on the planet?
But look around. We are the most diseased people on the planet. We have more disease, disorders and illness than any population that has ever been observed in the history of human civilization (Aside from plagues and the like). The reason is because the medicine being practiced today is pretend medicine.
As all of this unfolds, of course, the mainstream media will pretend to offer objective reporting on the health care crisis, relying on journalists who pretend to actually know something about health.
Conventional medicine exists in a fantasy. While cancer groups, researchers and drug companies promise enhanced health and quality of life, the reality is far different: accelerating chronic disease, skyRocketing health care costs that are putting U.S. companies like General Motors flat out of business, and hundreds of thousands of Americans being literally killed by medication side effects – an atrocity that the FDA still hasn’t seemed to notice. Conventional medicine is actually the leading cause of death in the United States, killing over 750,000 Americans each year (drug death, hospital deaths, latrogenic deaths combined, source: Death by medicine).
That’s the reality of the situation. Maybe its time we all stopped pretending. Perhaps its time that conventional medicine stopped playing doctor and started helping patients heal with natural, safe and effective treatments that work for real. Because once Americans are killed by prescription drugs, we cant merely pretend to bring them back.
Remifemin symptomatic relief, scientifically supported*
August 26, 2006 02:41 PM
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Night Health: A new approach to improving sleep.
May 12, 2006 05:41 PM
Our night health, including the quality of our sleep and dreams, may be the most critical overlooked factor contributing to both emotional and physical illness in modern times. For millions, night is a time of growing frustration and deepening struggle with insomnia as well as compromised and insufficient sleep. Mounting data has confirmed that sleep problems are strongly associated with virtually all major illnesses ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes, infections and cancer, and obesity to depression.
Night health refers to a new approach to sleep and dreams that integrates complementary and alternative medicine with effective conventional perspectives. It is essentially a comprehensive body-mind approach to sleep. The first in a series of articles introducing the concept of night health, this article begins with a closer look at the limitations of the simulated sleep offered by sleeping pills. It then examines the basic alternative of supplemented sleep: the place of natural sleep-supporting supplements. Finally, it offers suggestions for increasing the utilization of such alternatives by supplementing supplements with essential information, education and guidance offered by a new and unique software program and the first book about integrative sleep health.
As the public becomes increasingly aware of the health ramifications of sleep disturbances, more and more people are turning to sleeping pills. In fact, according to the IMS Health research, about 42 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were filled last year in the U.S. This represents a nearly 60 percent increase over the past five years alone. Some projections anticipate that the current $2.7 billion in annual sleeping pill sales will more than triple by 2010.
But instead of solving the problem, sleeping pills often make sleep problems worse. Sleeping pills commonly result in dependence. They can alter normal sleep architecture, cause amnesia and residual daytime “hangovers,” and they often result in rebound insomnias when discontinued. Some sleep specialists argue that sleeping pill use is further associated with significant increases in mortality. Given the sense of desperation that can accompany insomnia, even such very serious concerns have not prevented sales of sleeping pills from skyRocketing in recent years.
We are currently witnessing an unprecedented advertising campaign on the part of the pharmaceutical industry designed to convince the public that sleep medications are indeed a safe and effective strategy for addressing sleep problems. Despite clever and seductive advertising, however, it remains highly questionable whether sleeping pills can truly offer us sleep. I believe it is more accurate to say that they result in a kind of artificial or simulated sleep. Compared to natural slumber, sleeping pills cause a chemical knockout. Unfortunately, so many people have slept poorly for so long, they have forgotten what it is like to experience truly restorative, deep and refreshing natural slumber. Instead, many people now hold a naïve, limited sense of healthful sleep, confusing it with being knocked out. And sleeping pills satisfy that very naïve notion of sleep.
Rather than artificially simulating sleep with chemical knockouts, sleep-promoting supplements such as melatonin, valerian, and other botanicals support that body’s own sleep-facilitating mechanisms more naturally. Such products work in greater harmony with nature and, unlike conventional drugs, they do not stimulate sleep, they supplement sleep. I think of natural supplements inviting us to sleep. The very potency of many natural products lies in their very gentleness, which works cooperatively with both body and mind to induce healthful sleep.
I believe that the potential benefits and markets for such supplements remain largely untapped. Consumers’ expectations that sleep aids should knock them out rather than gently assist them in letting go into sleep must be addressed through targeted education and information campaigns. Consumers also need to learn how to use alternative sleep supplements in the context of a healthy sleep lifestyle or positive night health.
As helpful as they can be in promoting night health, sleep supplements alone will not do the trick. In fact, I believe many people get discouraged and discount the potentially positive benefits of sleep supplements after using them without proper guidance and understanding. Sleep supplements work best when they are geared to work synergistically as a part of a larger night health promotion program.
The availability of a wide range of over-the-counter health supplements offers an important freedom in healthcare choices. But with increased freedom comes increased responsibility. Consumers need to become significantly more informed. Particularly with regard to night health, such supplements need to be personalized and prescriptive. When it comes to sleep health, one size does not fit all. Whether we choose melatonin or valerian or a specific blend depends upon who we are and exactly what we need. By prescriptive I do not mean ordered by a physician, but specifically tailored to the needs of the individual.
Because of a significant shortage of health care professionals knowledgeable about sleep and the alarming trend towards increased use of sleeping pills, I have assisted in the development of a unique software program that provides sleep solutions that are both personalized and prescriptive. After more than a decade in development, the sleep advisor—an expert software system that thoroughly evaluates and provides personalized comprehensive recommendations for improving sleep—is now available.
More recently, I completed the first truly integrative book on night health. Healing night: the science and spirit of sleeping, dreaming, and awakening offers a new, comprehensive perspective on night health that complements the sleep advisors high pragmatic approach. Together, healing night and the sleep advisor offers essential supplements to sleep supplements.
Rubin R Naiman is a psychologist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the university of Arizona’s health sciences center. He is also the sleep and dream specialist for dr. Andrew weil;s world renowned program in integrative medicine. Currently he serves as the sleep specialist at Miraval Resort, and is in private practice in Tuscon, AZ.
The above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competent licensed professional health care provider. The information in this article has not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Rubin R. Naiman, PhD
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.
Chloride: The Forgotten Essential Mineral
November 20, 2005 07:54 AM
Chloride: The Forgotten Essential Mineral
Chloride is an “essential” mineral for humans. It is abundant in ionic trace mineral preparations. It is a major mineral nutrient that occurs primarily in body fluids. Chloride is a prominent negatively charged ion of the blood, where it represents 70% of the body’s total negative ion content. On average, an adult human body contains approximately 115 grams of chloride, making up about 0.15% of total body weight.1 The suggested amount of chloride intake ranges from 750 to 900 milligrams per day, based on the fact that total obligatory loss of chloride in the average person is close to 530 milligrams per day. As the principle negatively charged ion in the body, chloride serves as one of the main electrolytes of the body. Chloride, in addition to potassium and sodium, assist in the conduction of electrical impulses when dissolved in bodily water. Potassium and sodium become positive ions as they lose an electron when dissolved and chloride becomes a negative ion as it gains an electron when dissolved. A positive ion is always accompanied by a negative ion, hence the close relationship between sodium, potassium and chloride. The electrolytes are distributed throughout all body fluids including the blood, lymph, and the fluid inside and outside cells.2 The negative charge of chloride balances against the positive charges of sodium and potassium ions in order to maintain serum osmolarity.
Pivotal Roles of Chloride in the Body
In addition to its functions as an electrolyte, chloride combines with hydrogen in the stomach to make hydrochloric acid, a powerful digestive enzyme that is responsible for the break down of proteins, absorption of other metallic minerals, and activation of intrinsic factor, which in turn absorbs vitamin B12. Chloride is specially transported into the gastric lumen, in exchange for another negatively charged electrolyte (bicarbonate), in order to maintain electrical neutrality across the stomach membrane. After utilization in hydrochloric acid, some chloride is reabsorbed by the intestine, back into the blood stream where it is required for maintenance of extracellular fluid volume. Chloride is both actively and passively absorbed by the body, depending on the current metabolic demands. A constant exchange of chloride and bicarbonate, between red blood cells and the plasma helps to govern the pH balance and transport of carbon dioxide, a waste product of respiration, from the body. With sodium and potassium, chloride works in the nervous system to aid in the transport of electrical impulses throughout the body, as movement of negatively charged chloride into the cell propagates the nervous electrical potential.
Deficiency of Chloride
Deficiency of chloride is rare. However, when it does occur, it results in a life threatening condition known as alkalosis, in which the blood becomes overly alkaline. A tedious balance between alkalinity and acidity is in constant flux, and must be vigilantly maintained throughout the entire body. Alkalosis may occur as a result of excessive loss of sodium, such as heavy sweating during endurance exercise, and in cases of prolonged vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms include muscle weakness, loss of appetite, irritability, dehydration, and profound lethargy. Hypochloremia may result from water overload, wasting conditions, and extensive bodily burns with sequestration of extracellular fluids. In a situation in which infants were inadvertently fed chloride-deficient formula, many experienced failure to thrive, anorexia, and weakness in their first year of life.3
Excessive intakes of dietary chloride only occur with the ingestion of large amounts of salt and potassium chloride. The toxic effects of such diets, such as fluid retention and high blood pressure, are attributed to the high sodium and potassium levels.4 Chloride toxicity has not been observed in humans except in the special case of impaired sodium chloride metabolism, e.g. in congestive heart failure.5 Healthy individuals can tolerate the intake of large quantities of chloride provided that there is a concomitant intake of fresh water. Other situations in which increased blood levels of chloride are seen include diseases of improper waste elimination that occur in kidney diseases. Excess chloride is normally excreted in the urine, sweat, and bowels. In fact, excess urinary excretion of chloride occurs in high salt diets. Excessive intakes of chloride can occur in a person with compromised health in addition to an unhealthy diet. However, those that follow a healthy diet and lead an active lifestyle may need to consider supplementing their diet with this important mineral.
Chloride vs. Chlorine
The mineral supplement chloride is very different from the gas chlorine. While elemental chlorine is a dangerous gas that does not exist in the free elemental state in nature because of its reactivity, although it is widely distributed in combination with other elements. Chloride is related to chlorine however, as one of the most common chlorine compounds is common salt, NaCl. Chloride is a by-product of the reaction between chlorine and an electrolyte, such as potassium, magnesium, or sodium, which are essential for human metabolism. Chloride salts are essential for sustaining human metabolism and have none of the effects of isolated chlorine gas.
Sources of Chloride
Chloride occurs naturally in foods at levels normally less than 0.36 milligrams per gram of food. The average intake of chloride during a salt-free diet is approximately 100 milligrams per day. Unfortunately, chloride is found commonly combined with undesirable dietary sources. The most common of these negative sources is table salt. Table salt is made from a combination of sodium and chloride ions. Other unhealthful sources include yeast extracts, processed lunchmeats, and cheeses. Healthier sources of chloride include kelp (seaweed), ionic trace minerals, olives, rye, tomatoes, lettuce, and celery, although not in large enough amounts to supply the needs of an active adult.6 In its original form, however, chloride is leached from various Rocks into soil and water by years of weathering processes. The chloride ion is highly mobile and is transported to closed basins, such as the Great Salt Lake, or oceans.7
Chloride is a highly important, vital mineral required for both human and animal life. Without chloride, the human body would be unable to maintain fluids in blood vessels, conduct nerve transmissions, move muscles, or maintain proper kidney function. As a major electrolyte mineral of the body, chloride performs many roles, and is rapidly excreted from the body. Active adults that eat a healthy diet devoid of salt and illnesses in which vomiting and/or diarrhea are profuse warrant the supplementation of additional chloride. Replacement of chloride is essential on a daily basis to maintain regular metabolic function. Chloride is safely utilized by the body, without negative health effects. Of the negative health effects that have been associated with diets high in chloride, these are mainly attributable to the accompanying sodium and potassium, two other electrolyte minerals to which chloride is often attached
1 Wesson LG. Physiology of the human kidney. New York, NY, Grune and Stratton, 1969: 591
2 Weast RC, ed. CRC handbook of chemistry and physics, 67th ed. Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, 1986.
3 Kaleita TA. Neurologic/behavioral syndrome associated with ingestion of chloride-deficient infant formula. Pediatrics 1986 Oct;78(4):714-5
4 Beard TC. A salt-hypertension hypothesis. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 1990;16 Suppl 7:S35-8
5 Seelig M. Cardiovascular consequences of magnesium deficiency and loss: pathogenesis, prevalence and manifestations--magnesium and chloride loss in refractory potassium repletion. Am J Cardiol 1989 Apr 18;63(14):4G-21G
6 Altschul AM, Grommet JK. Food choices for lowering sodium intake. Hypertension 1982 Sep-Oct;4(5 Pt 2):III116-20
7 Gelb SB, Anderson MP. Sources of chloride and sulfate in ground water beneath an urbanized area in Southeastern Wisconsin (Report WIS01 NTIS). Chemical abstracts, 1981, 96(2):11366g.
Adverse Reactions to Foods and Dietary Supplements
August 27, 2005 08:27 AM
Adverse Reactions to Foods and Dietary Supplements
Answers to common Questions
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that between 60,000 and 106,000 deaths per year in the United States are caused by prescription drugs. See JAMA, April 15, 1998 – Vol 279, No. 15. Fortunately, adverse reactions to foods and dietary supplements are far more rare than adverse reactions to drugs. However, we each consume a larger variety and quantity of foods than drugs. Because of this, and because each of us can react differently, an allergic or isolated reaction to a food or supplement is a possibility. Here’s helpful information about what to do if you or someone you care for has what appears to be an adverse reaction to a food or dietary supplement.
What types of reactions could I have?
The most common adverse reaction is an allergic reaction. In order to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction, carefully read all labels and buy products from reputable manufacturers who accurately disclose the ingredients in their products. If you need help finding these manufacturers, ask your local health food retailer for recommendations.
How do I know what caused my reaction?
Take time to carefully review what might have caused the reactions. Doctors and experts in toxicology look at several different factors in trying to determine the cause of a particular reaction.
1. Is this reaction a side effect of drugs I am taking?
Asking your self these questions can help limit the number of possible causes and may lead you to an answer more quickly.
What should I do if I have an adverse reaction?
Weather or not you know the potential cause of the reaction, follow these steps:
How can I reach the FDA or another government agency about my concerns?
Various state and federal agencies employ personnel who can help respond to concerns or questions about adverse reactions. Following is contact information for some of the agencies:
How can I report an adverse event?
FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) has an Adverse Event Reporting System (CAERS) that can be contacted in any of the following ways:
You can contact FDA’s MedWatch Program in any of the following ways:
For Non-emergencies related to products purchased via internet, fill out an online form on FDA’s website at vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qa-top.html (see link to “form to report unlawful sales”)
You may also contact any local poison control center, local or state health agencies, the department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Trake Commision, the Consumer Products safety Commission, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and t hey will forward your report to the FDA.
July 25, 2005 10:37 PM
July 12, 2005 10:28 AM
HERBS FOR SUMMER HEALTH
July 11, 2005 09:29 PM
HERBS FOR SUMMER HEALTH
Just about everyone looks forward to the summer months when school is out and more time can be spent outside. Backpacking, hiking, camping, boating, and bike riding are just a few of the adventures available. It’s a time for connecting and becoming reacquainted with nature while exploring the out of doors. Family camping trips and backpacking through the wilderness can help us put our hectic lives in perspective and renew as well as refresh the body. Along with the adventures, a few bumps, bruises, bites and stings are expected. Before the summer holiday begins, prepare by having some herbal remedies on hand to help with minor accidents that may occur.
Aloe is one of the best choices for the first aid kit. Commercial preparations can be taken along on trips. A leaf from the plant can be sealed in a zip lock bag and tucked in the first aid kit for short term use. The plant has numerous healing abilities and can be used on minor burns, rashes, bumps, scrapes and bruises. The aloe plant is very useful for many conditions.
Modern research has proven many of the benefits of Aloe vera. It has been used effectively for treating radiation burns, skin disorders, wounds, sunburn and dermatitis, to name a few. Aloe vera can help clean, soothe and relieve pain on contact. It penetrates through all three layers of the skin rapidly to promote healing. There are many different types of aloe products. Some include:
Aloe gel: This is the undiluted gooey substance that is found in the center of the leaves. Aloe concentrate: The concentrate is the gel when the water content has been removed.
Aloe juice: The juice is a digestible version of the aloe plant made from the gel with at least 50 percent Aloe vera gel. Aloe latex (aloin): The latex is the bitter yellow liquid from the pericyclic tubules of the outer rind of the leaf. The main constituent of this is aloin.1
Aloe is known for its healing and soothing effect on burns, wounds, and rashes. It can help clean, soothe and relieve pain on contact. It is able to penetrate all three layers of the skin rapidly to promote healing. It contains salicylic acid and magnesium which work together to produce an aspirin like analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect. The transparent gel on the inner leaf is applied directly to areas of the skin to treat burns, wounds, skin irritations and frostbite. The gel can is commonly found in many first-aid creams.
Research has found that aloe when applied externally can actually help speed healing and restore skin tissue.2 It also aids in healing when used externally in cases of wounds, frostbite and burns.3 The healing of burns may be due in part to the moisturizing effect of aloe. It is easily absorbed into the skin preventing the air from drying the damaged skin tissue.4 Aloe can help with many minor irritations that can occur during the summer months. Steven R. Schechter, N.D. conducted a study in 1967 at the Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati to determine the healing benefits of aloe. Research animals were being treated for laser burns. Dr. Schechter used several different preparations and consistently found the aloe vera gel to produce the most healing results. He found the gel to help with many skin disorders including burns, lesions and cancers. 5
As much as we try to avoid sun exposure, it is almost impossible to completely avoid getting a sunburn at some point in our lives. We may forget the sunscreen or stay out longer than expected. Excessive exposure to the sun can be detrimental to health. But, aloe vera may help to lessen the damaging effects of the sun. A sunburn can damage the skin as well as the immune system. Research by Dr. Faith Strickland of the Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas points to the possibility of aloe vera helping to eliminate the damage done to the immune system and skin. It may even help to restore the immune system to full function.
Many individuals have found that having an aloe vera plant growing in the home, within easy access, is an easy and simple way to treat common injuries. Commercial p reparations are also available which contain aloe. Scientists have found the plant to contain antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, anesthetic and tissue healing properties.
So why shouldn’t it be useful as a natural home remedy? Simply break off a leaf of the plant and slice down the middle of the leaf. Apply the thick inner gel to the injury whether it be a burn, insect bite, abrasion, scrape, rash, or other injury. The cut leaf can be placed directly on the wound and wrapped with gauze to secure it into place for a more serious injury. The skin will soak up of the gel as it soothes the affected area.
Toxicity is rare, but some do have allergic reactions to Aloe vera products. The aloin, found in the bitter yellow latex, containing anthraquinones, may cause severe cramping and should be avoided by pregnant women and children. Aloe can also help with the following:
Holy Basil - For Natural Stress Reduction and COX-2 Inhibition
June 29, 2005 01:02 PM
SkyRocketing stress is one of our nation’s most pervasive public health problems. Daily stress can cause imbalances in inflammatory COX-2 production and cortisol levels, which can influence blood sugar changes and, ultimately, result in challenges to our health. To regain balance, Source Naturals introduces HOLY BASIL, a legendary Ayurvedic herb that is making news for its ability to inhibit the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme, balance cortisol levels and normalize blood sugar. HOLY BASIL is rich in beneficial compounds—such as rosmarinic acid and eugenol—which work together to reduce stress. This herb also typically contains ursolic acid, shown to inhibit COX-2 in in vitro research. As a result, HOLY BASIL has a positive effect on mental well-being, and can support minor pain relief from everyday activities. Source Naturals brings you this special herb, used daily in India by millions, in a high-potency, 450 mg extract tablet.
Stress, Blood Sugar and Nervous System Protection
For over five millennia, Tulsi (holy basil) has been used to improve digestion and restore imbalances of the body and mind. Now research has documented that HOLY BASIL may do this by decreasing levels of cortisol, a hormone produced and secreted by the adrenal glands. Nicknamed the “stress hormone,” cortisol production increases in response to chronic stress. Cortisol triggers the body to make glucose from amino acids, which causes blood sugar to rise. Through normalizing cortisol levels in times of stress, holy basil may prevent not only the mood changes associated with stress, but also prevent the increases in blood sugar that researchers say can contribute to numerous health imbalances affecting more than half of all Americans. HOLY BASIL has also been found to normalize neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Researchers found in animal studies that HOLY BASIL counteracted stress-induced changes in neurotransmitters and enzymes. Stress leads to a positive increase in brain serotonin levels, increases in dopamine levels and increases in SDH (succinate dehydrogenase) levels, while holy basil may help people maintain normal levels of these brain chemicals in times of stress. Another study found that animals that received the extract showed significant normalization of epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, MAO, and SDH. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are used in coping with stress. The researchers suggest that when dopamine levels rise, these two neurotransmitters may be replenished since dopamine is a precursor for their synthesis. This may be the mechanism by which holy basil assists with stress adaptation.
A Powerful Adaptogen
HOLY BASIL is classified as a premier “adaptogen,” an herb that can normalize body processes and restore overall health by maintaining body systems. Adaptogens support our systemic response to stress and give us stamina. HOLY BASIL is not to be used if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you may become pregnant. Taking personal responsibility for your health and exploring safe natural alternatives to support prevention is the basis for the current revolution in health care. And health food outlets are the center of this wellness revolution. It is here that Source Naturals HOLY BASIL and hundreds of other advances in nutritional science and natural health can be found.
FEARING FATS: There's Plenty of Cause Overview
June 25, 2005 07:34 PM
FEARING FATS: There's Plenty of Cause Overview
A wealth of scientific evidence now exists which should have turned each and everyone of us into a fat “phobic.”1a-e In other words, virtually every health expert agrees that a high fat diet is directly linked to cardiovascular disease, various types of cancer and premature death. It’s no secret that excess dietary fat poses a tremendous health risk. The United States National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and many other scientific institutes have confirmed the frightening hazards of fat. Health proponents generally concur that excess fat can significantly shorten one’s lifespan. More than 10,000 medical papers are published every year dealing with obesity and cardiovascular disease, two of the most insidious killers of Americans. Western eating habits, which promote fatty, salty, sugary foods, have created massive widespread disease and tremendous suffering. Studies have shown that fat is the macronutrient associated with overeating -
TABLE 1. Total fat grams in single servings.4
and obesity.2 In spite of this finding we are eating more fat and becoming fatter. The average absolute fat intake has increased from 81 to 83 grams per day over the last ten years.3 Our obsession with fatty foods has exacted an enormous toll in the form of rampant obesity, clogged arteries, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, etc. Many of us remain oblivious to the fat gram count of foods we routinely pop into our mouths, unaware that one fast food entree may contain more fat grams than one should consume in one given day. Take a good look at the following list of foods which have been assessed for fat content. Fast food has become a 20th-century sensation which continues to boom and expand throughout our society. Many of us literally exist on fast food, which is frequently also “fat” food. It’s no wonder so many of us “battle the bulge”, and have skyRocketing cholesterol counts. Our love affair with greasy, fried, rich, creamy foods has burdened our bodies with the dilemma of excess fat “baggage,” resulting in phenomenal amounts of money being spent on weight loss programs. Worse still, thousands of Americans are dying before their time or living extremely compromised lives only because they ingest too much fat. Why is this? The bottom line is that fats taste good!5 Many of us were raised on seemingly innocuous foods that are loaded with fat. Some of these include:
macaroni and cheese battered fish sticks hot dogs cheese-filled casseroles pepperoni pizza burritos pancakes, waffles doughnuts pies and pastries ice cream candy bars ramen soup
Fat is also a major ingredient in most of the snack food we constantly nibble on, including chips, crackers, cookies, and nuts. Check ingredient labels to find the fat gram content of most snack foods. You’ll be surprised to find out just how fatty these foods are. Even a healthy sounding food like a “bran muffin” can contain 36 grams of fat! No wonder they stay so “moist”. In addition to the above foods, fat can add wonderful flavor to breads, vegetables and the like, and is usually used liberally in the form of butter, sour cream, whipping cream, melted cheese, cream cheese spreads, dips, cream sauces, and gravies. Fruits can also be high in fats. Did you know that one avocado has 30 grams of fat? One half cup of peanuts contains 35 grams of fat and only one glazed doughnut has 13 grams of fat. The majority of research points to fat as a much more dangerous culprit than anyone might have imagined. Saturated fats such as lard, palm, coconut oil, and beef tallow are particularly menacing. Research scientists have found over and over again that fats can contribute to the growth of tumors in animal studies.6 The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences reported that even a relatively small amount of extra body fat increases the risk of certain diseases for women and may compromise their longevity.7 Even being mildly overweight may be much more risky than anyone previously assumed.8
The Relat ionship between Breast Cancer, Fat s, Fiber And Indoles
Dr. Leonard Cohen, of the Dana Institute of the American Health Foundation at Naylor, believes that pre-cancerous lesions found in breast tissue will develop into cancer only if they are stimulated by certain agents such as fat.9 Women increase their risk of developing breast cancer when they consume a diet high in fat and animal protein and low in fiber, vegetables and fruits. When women put on weight, they have a tendency to create more estrogen since adipose tissue produces estrogen. Certain forms of estrogen, the so-called “bad estrogens” can act as carcinogens and are anything but desirable.10 High or unbalanced estrogen levels stimulate concerous tissue in the breast. Obesity is also associated with increased breast cancer mortality.11 The three most important ways to inhibit “bad” estrogen from inducing breast cancer are:
June 25, 2005 01:11 PM
REFERENCES 1Steven R. Schechter, N.D., Let’s Live. July, 1994, 60. 2Ibid., 58. 3Michael T. Murray, N.D., The Healing Power of Herbs, (Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995), 266. 4Ibid., 266. 5Varro E. Tyler, Ph.D.., The Honest Herbal, (New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1993), 156. 6Rob McCaleb, Better Nutrition, “Ginseng, Mental Booster,” July, 1993, 48. 7Claire Kowalchik and William H. Hylton, Editors, Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, (Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1987), 226. 8“Ginseng,” The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Sept. 1990, 1. 9Ben Charles Harris, Ginseng, What it is...What it can do for you, (New Cannan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing, Inc., 1978), 6. 10Steven Foster, Asian Ginseng. Botanical Series No. 303, 1991, 4. 11Harris, 18-19. 12Jack Ritchason, The Little Herb Encyclopedia., (Pleasant Grove, UT: Woodland Publishing, Inc., 1994), 102. 13Ibid., 1. 14Louise Tenney, The Encyclopedia of Natural Remedies, (Pleasant Grove, UT: Woodland Publishing, Inc., 1995), 25. 15James F. Balch, MD.. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Prescription For Nutritional Healing, (Avery Publishing Group Inc.: Garden City Park, New York, 1990), 337. 16James Duke, Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. (Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, Inc. 1985), 174. 17Murray, 268. 18Arnold and Connie Krochmal, Garden Magazine, Sept.-Oct., 1978. 19Foster, 5. 20Ibid., 5. 21Murray, 268. 22Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D., The Scientific Validation of Herbs, (New Canaan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing, Inc., 1986), 192. 23Ibid., 103. 24Janet Zand, OMD, L.Ac. Herbal Medicine (Internet), “Siberian Ginseng.” (Health World, 1996). 25Foster, 5. 26Simon Y. Mills, The Essential Book of Herbal Medicine, (London: Penguin Books, 1993), 531. 27Michael T. Murray, N.D., Male Sexual Vitality, (Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1991), 127. 28Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. 228. 29Ibid., 228. 30Readers Digest Family Guide to Natural Medicine, (Pleasantville, New York: The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., 1993), 310. 31Foster, 6. 32Murray, 270. 33Paul Pitchford, Healing With Whole Foods, (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1993), 393. 34Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D., Herbal Tonic Therapies., (New Cannan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing, Inc., 1993), 48. 35Murray, 275. 36Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, 229. 37Harris, 25. 38Murray, Male Sexual Vitality., 126. 39Mowrey, 152. 40Ibid., 266. 41The Lawrence Review, 1. 42Schechter, 60. 43Mowrey, Herbal Tonic Ther apies., 49. 44Tyler, 155.
June 25, 2005 12:57 PM
Ginseng is one of the oldest and most beneficial herbs in the world. It is probably the most popular adaptogenic herb used in traditional medicine. Shen- Nung’s Pharmacopoeia (A.D. 206-220) rated it the highest and most potent of herbs. People in northern China began using ginseng thousands of years ago. In fact, in 1904, it was suggested that all of the 400 million individuals who lived in China were familiar with and used ginseng to some degree.6 It was used to restore the “yang” quality in the body to heal disorders such as t u b e rculosis, coughs, diabetes, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, kidney problems, rheumatism, gout, infected sores, insomnia, leprosy, and impotence. It was often used, and is still today, as a tonic to rejuvenate the body after an illness or prolonged stress.
Early herbalists recognized the shape of ginseng as resembling a human figure. They felt this was a sign that the root was valuable for healing the entire body.7 It is often referred to as the “man root” and is the subject of many legends and folk history. Proponents of the “Doctrine of Signatures” felt that because of the roots shape, it could heal any disorder in the body.8 The Chinese were so enthralled with the ginseng root that they even fought wars over the land used for growing it.
The Native Americans also enjoyed the healing, tonic benefits of the American ginseng plant. It was valued by the natives long before the arrival of the Europeans. Many tribes knew well the therapeutic powers of ginseng. They used it to relieve nausea, indigestion, vomiting, stomach problems, bronchitis, earaches, bleeding, asthma, headaches and as an aphrodisiac. The Cherokees referred to ginseng as “The Plant of Life” and used it to help relieve female problems such as menstrual cramps and excessive bleeding. The Mohawks were familiar with the value of ginseng and used it to help relieve fevers accompanying illness.9 The Seneca tribe was known to use ginseng to help elderly individuals prevent difficulties associated with the aging process.10 The Native Americans saw nature as a friend and looked for healing agents within the plant kingdom. American ginseng was used and valued for its medicinal properties. Folklore and customs are now being investigated in this world of modern medicine to rediscover the natural approach in healing and health.
Father Jurtoux has been credited with discovering the American ginseng. He was a French priest transferred from China to Canada around 1709. He collected some of the root near Montreal because they resembled the Panax ginseng. He shipped some back to China where it had a favorable reception. The French soon began employing some of the Native Americans to collect and then exported the American ginseng to China. Word of this fabulous and profitable ginseng spread to the United States. Soon the American ginseng was gathered and exported to China by Americans. Ginseng was a popular item in the early frontier days. It was used not only for trade but for consumption locally. George Washington mentioned ginseng in his personal journal, and famous frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone and Davy CRockett were known to have been involved in the exporting of ginseng.
June 25, 2005 12:40 PM
1Penelope Od y. The Complete Medicinal Herbal. ( New Yo rk : Dorling-Kindersley, 1993) 64. 2I. Hi n d m a rch and Z. Subhan. “The Ps yc h o p h a r - m a c o l o g i c a l Effects of Ginkgo biloba Extract in Normal Healthy Volunteers.” Int. J. Clin. Pharmacol Res., (1984), 89-93. 3B. Gebner and M. Klasser. “Study of the Long-Term Action of Ginkgo biloba Extract on Vigilance and Mental Pe rformance as Determined by Means of Qu a n t i t a t i ve Pharmaco-EEG and Psychometric Measurements.” Arzneim-Forsch. (1985) 35, 1459-65. 4James Brady MD. “A Scientific Herb for Symptoms of Aging.” Doctor’s Best. (Laguna Hills, California). 5G. Vorberg. “Ginkgo biloba Extract (GBE): A Long-Term Study of Chronic Cerebral Insufficiency in Geriatric Patients.” C l i n i c a l Trials Journal. (1985) 22, 149-57. 6Michael Murray N.D., and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Encyclopedia of Na t u ral Medicine. ( Rocklin, California: Prima Publishing, 1991) 34. 7F. Juguet, K. Drieu and A. Piriou. “Decreased Cerebral 5-HT1A Receptors During Aging: Re versal by Ginkgo biloba Ex t r a c t , ” J . Pharm. Pharmacol. 1994 Apr. 46(4): 318-8. 8Ody, 64. 9Today’s Herbs, “Ginkgo.” (Provo, Utah: Woodland Health Books, September, 1992) 49. 10Today’s Herbs, 50. 11 F. Hoffmann, C. Beck, A. Schutz and P. Offermann. “Ginkgo Extract EGb 761 (tenobin)/HAES versus naftidr o f u ry l ( Du s o d r i l ) / Haes. A Randomized Study of Therapy of Su d d e n Deafness.” Laryngorhinootologie. 1994 March 73(3): 149-52. 1 2Rita Elkins. The Complete Home Health Ad v i s o r. ( Pl e a s a n t Grove, Utah: Woodland Books, 1994) 233. 13N. Kobayashi, R. Suzuki, C. Koide, T. Suzuki, H. Matsuda and M. Kubo. “Effect of Leaves of Ginkgo biloba on Hair Regrowth in C3H Strain Mice.” Yakugaku-zasshi. 1993 Oct. 113(10): 718-24. 14R. Kaezelmann and F. Kade. “Limitation of the Deterioration of Lipid Parameters by a St a n d a rd i zed Ga r l i c - Ginkgo Combination Product: A Multicenter Pl a c e b o - C o n t rolled Do u b l e - Blind St u d y. ” Arzneimittelforschung. 1993 Sept. 43(9): 978-81. 15A. Tamborini, and R. Taurelle. “Value of Standardized Ginkgo biloba Extract (EGb 761) in the Management of Congestive Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome.” Review Gynecol. Obstet. 1993 Jul-Sep 88(7-9): 447-57.
June 24, 2005 04:34 PM
1Claire Kowalchik and William H. Hylton, Editors, Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia. (Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1987), 176. 2Louise Tenney, “Echinacea”, To day’s Herbs. ( Provo, Utah: Woodland Publishing, Vol. XIII, Number 1, 1993), 1. 3Family Guide to Na t u ral Medicine. ( Pleasantville, New Yo rk : Reader’s Digest, 1993), 303. 4Andrew Weil, MD, Natural Health, Natural Medicine. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990) 236. 5Gary Gillum, Editor, “Echinacea” To day’s Herbs. ( Provo, Utah : Woodland Books, Vol. I Issue 11, July, 1981), 1. 6PenelopeOdy, The Complete Medicinal Herbal. ( New York : Dorling-Kindersley, 1993), 53. 7Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. (Rocklin, California: Prima Publishing, 1991), 58. 8V.H. Wagner and A. Proksch., “Immunostimulatory Drugs of Fungi and Higher Plants”, Economic Medicinal Plant Research . (1985), 1, 113-53. 9Louise Tenney, The Encyclopedia of Natural Remedies. ( Pleasant Grove, Utah: Woodland Publishing, 1995), 50. 10Ibid. 1 1Daniel B. Mowre y, The Scientific Validation of Herbs. ( New Canaan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing, 1986), 119. 12Murray, 59. 13Michael T. Murray, N.D.. The Healing Power of Herbs. (Rocklin, California: Prima Publishing, 1995), 100. 14J. Mose, “Effect of Echinacin on Phagocytosis and Natural Killer Cells”, Med. Welt. (1983), 34, 1,463-7. 1 5M. Stimple, A. Proksch, H. Wagner, etal., “Macrophage Activation and Induction of Macrophage Cytotoxicity by Purified Polysaccharide Fractions From the Plant Echinacea Purpurea”, Infection Immunity. (1984), 46, 845-9. 16Mowrey, 119. 17Ibid., 250 18Ibid., 119 19Ibid. 20Ody, 176 21Velma J. Keith and Monteen Gordon, The How To Herb Book. (Pleasant Grove, Utah: Mayfield Publishing, 1983), 29. 2 2Louise Tenney, To day’s Herbal Health. ( Pleasant Grove, Utah: Woodland Publishing, 1992), 60. 2 3Daniel B. Mow re y, Ph.D., Echinacea. ( New Canaan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing, 1995), 31. 24Ibid., 33. 25Ibid., 41. 26C. Steinmuller, J. Roesler, E. Grottrup, G. Franke, H. Wagner and Matthes Lohmann, “Polysacharides Isolated From Plant Cell Cultures of Echinacea Purpurea Enhance the Resistance of Immunosupproes Mice Against Systemic Infections with Candida Albicans and Listeria Monicytogens,” Int-J-Immunpharmacol. 1993, July: 15(5): 605-14. 27Ibid., 43. 2 8U. Mengs, C. Clare and J. Poiley, “Toxicity of Echinacea Purpurea. Acute, Subacute and Genotoxicity Studies , Arzneimittelforschung. 1991, Oct. 41(10): 1076-81.
Becker, V. H. Against snakebites and influenza: use and components of echinacea angustifolia and e. purpurea.. Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung, 122 (45), 1982, 2020-2323. Buesing, K.H. Inhibition of hyaluronidase by echinacin. Arzneimittel- Forschung. 2, 1952, 467-469. Foster, S. Echinacea, Nature’s Immune Enhancer. Healing Arts Press, Rochester, VT., 1991. Hobbs, C. The Echinacea Handbook. Eclectic Medical Publications, Portland, Oregon, 1989. Keller, H. Recovery of active agents from aqueous extracts of the species of echinacea. Chemie Gruenenthal G.M.B.H., GER. Oct . 11, 1956, 950, 674. Kuhn, O. Echinacea and Phagocytosis. Arzneimittel - Fo rxchung, 3, 1953, 194-200. Mc Gregor R.L. The taxonomy of the genus Echinacea (Compositae). Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 48, 1968, 113-142.
June 23, 2005 11:50 AM
Home on the Range
June 13, 2005 03:52 PM
Home on the Range
by Janis Jibrin, RD Energy Times, September 5, 1999
Got chicken? Americans can't seem to get enough of this bird. Last year each of us ate, on average, just about 80 pounds of chicken, a whopping increase over the 49 pounds we each devoured in 1980 and an eight-pound increase from 1995. Part of this food's popularity comes from its lean image as a healthier, less fatty alternative to red meat (don't forget to take the fatty skin off). Chicken's also a cheap protein source: At many popular supermarkets you'll find weekly specials at about a dollar a pound.
But at health food markets, chicken can cost upwards of $1.69 a pound. These birds may be touted as raised in an organic, stress-free environment and on a vegetarian diet, free of antibiotics. For many people, this poultry is a better buy.
The Alternative Chicken
Most of the supermarket chicken you pick up in grocery refrigerated cases are broilers, birds bred to mature in about eight weeks. In comparison, in the '60s, chickens needed 14 weeks to become adult poultry. Conventionally-raised broilers eat grain mixed with whatever's cheapest on the market, such as recycled cooking oil that's been used to fry fast foods and animal parts.
These birds reside in chicken coops the size of football fields and don't see the light of day until transported to the slaughterhouse. On the other roost, alternatively raised chickens are brought up in a variety of ways (see box), but usually enjoy a more relaxed life and diet.
Chickens on the farm receive antibiotics for two reasons: To fight off the diseases that can run rampant through a crowded chicken coop and to encourage faster growth.
Antibiotics Stimulate Growth
Mark Cook, PhD, professor of animal science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, explains, "Gut bacteria trigger an immune system assault, which makes chickens a little feverish, suppresses appetite and slows growth. Antibiotics stimulate growth indirectly, by keeping bacteria levels down, and preventing the immune reaction." When birds get sick, they often get dosed with even more antibiotics.
This widespread antibiotic use has come home to roost and may contribute to the growth of bacteria that, frequently exposed to chemicals, have evolved ways to keep from being killed by pharmaceuticals.
This development threatens human health. Bacterial infections that people contract, once easily cured by penicillin or other drugs, are now tougher to eradicate. For instance, campylobactor, a common bacteria found in chicken, and responsible for some food poisonings, now demonstrates signs of resistance to drugs like floroquinolones. A powerful class of antibiotics, floroquinolones used to dependably conquer this infection.
"Floroquinolones are an extremely important class of antibiotics, used to treat many types of infections such as urinary tract infection, a wide variety of gastrointestinal illnesses, pneumonia, almost everything," says Kirt Smith, DVM, PhD, epidemiologist, acute disease epidemiology section, Minnesota Department of Health.
A study by Dr. Smith, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (340, 1999: 1525-32), showed that the percent of floroquinolone-resistant campylobactor appearing in infected people in his state-Minnesota-climbed from a little over 1% in infected people during 1992 to 10.2% in 1998. He and other scientists strongly suspect that the rise is a direct consequence of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to allow floroquinolones in poultry feed beginning in 1995.
Although it was nearly impossible for Dr. Smith to trace the precise origin of campylobactor poisoning, he believes chicken was usually the source-and not just U.S. chicken. Many of the infected people had returned from Mexico and other countries.
"Sales of floroquinolones for poultry use in Mexico has increased dramatically," notes Dr. Smith.
Many alternative chicken producers do not use any antibiotic-laced feed at all. Other farmers adjust the feed to lower gut pH, making it more acidic and lowering chances of bacteria. At the U. of Wisconsin, Dr. Cook is developing antibodies to suppress the immune response to bacteria so chickens won't need antibiotics to spur growth. Buying and dining on chicken raised with little or no antibiotics could beneficially lower your risk of contracting a hardy bacterial infection. Better to catch campylobactor from an antibiotic-free chicken than a conventional chicken, speculates Dr. Cook. "There's less likelihood the bug will be resistant, and a better chance your problem can be cured with antibiotics," he explains.
And, looking beyond your own immediate health risk, buying antibiotic-free chicken makes a small contribution to stopping the spread of antibiotic resistant bugs. A Matter of Taste Conventionally raised chickens get little exercise and live only eight weeks, so they're tender but bland.
"There's not much taste in a modern chicken. Free range or organically grown, older birds usually have more taste," notes Dr. Cook.
The days of barnyard chickens happily clucking and strutting around in picturesque nature have disappeared with the family farm. Today, chickens lead a meager existence. After hatching, baby chicks are tossed into a gigantic hen house that is home to up to 30,000 birds. Their short lives are lived within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandated 3/4 square foot per chicken. In that squeeze, birds can catch "chicken influenza," especially in winter when it's too cold to let in much fresh air.
Laying hens don't experience much more of a peaceful existence. These birds live their years with about five other hens, so crowded they can't flap their wings. Cages, suspended in the air, let eggs roll into a holding area. So they don't peck each other, hens are often debeaked, a painful process that can cause infection.
Hens go through natural laying and "dry" cycles. Growers manipulate this cycle by "forced molting," depriving hens of food for four to 14 days to keep them constantly laying. By the end of two years, hens are worn out. Their inactivity weakens their bones enough that electrical stunning, the usual method for knocking chickens out before slaughter, shatters their bones. So some wind up being plucked and boiled alive, according to Mary Finelli, program director for farm animals and public health at the Humane Society of the United States. The meat from these hens, tougher than other birds, was probably in your deli lunch sandwich. It's also used in the school lunch program or may end up in dog food.
"Generally, organically-grown broilers and hens have it better because room to move is part of the organic certification process," says Finelli. Finelli suggests visiting chicken suppliers to find out how chickens are treated. Or, she advocates a Humane Society book listing reliable firms. For a local producer call the society: 202-452-1100. According to a Consumer Report report, some growers force chickens out the last week of their lives to brand them "free range." So free range isn't a prime standard for choosing a decently raised chicken. However, turkeys thrive outdoors, so choosing free-range turkey is often a good idea for better tasting poultry.
In any case, organic is your best bet for chicken without pesticides. Make it your main choice for your 80 pound yearly consumption!
To fight cruel treatment of poultry:
• Forced Molting Ban. Forced molting is shocking hens for more eggs. To support petitions banning forced molting write: Docket Manage-ment Branch, FDA, Dept. Health & Human Serv-ices, 12420 Parklawn Drive, Room 1-23, Rock-ville, MD 20857. Include docket # 98P-0203/CP
• Downed Animal Protection Bill (House Bill 443, Senate Bill S515) spares some animals from the tortuous journey from chicken house to slaughterhouse. Mandates humane euthanization.
Clearing the Air
June 13, 2005 10:34 AM
Clearing the Air by Robert Gluck Energy Times, August 1, 1999
One crisp winter morning in Vermont, Alan hoisted his skis over his shoulder and tracked through the dazzling snowpack to the lift about a quarter-mile away. He had trekked this gently uphill route many times and valued it as an invigorating warmup for a day on the ski trails. The path seemed to grow steeper, however, and the winter sun more blazing as Alan struggled for breath, sweat dampening his woolen cap. Weak and wheezing, he paused for what seemed like an eternity and finally turned back, plodding arduously through the ice.
Fit and athletic, the 42-year-old Alan heard the alarming news from his health care practitioner: asthma. The therapy: inhaled steroids.
The incidence of asthma-a chronic condition characterized by narrowing of the bronchial tubes, swelling of the bronchial tube lining and mucus secretion that can block the airway, making breathing difficult-has ballooned to alarming rates.
In the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of people reported to suffer from asthma increased from 10.4 million in 1990 to 15 million in 1995. In 1998, the epidemic cost about $11.3 billion.
Worldwide, experts estimate that the prevalence of asthma increased approximately 50% over the last 10 to 15 years. Nations with the highest rates are the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia; lowest are Indonesia, Albania, Romania and Georgia.
Deaths from asthma have doubled in the last decade and, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, asthma is the seventh most common chronic health condition in the United States. Children constitute the most disturbingly burgeoning segment of the asthma explosion, its sufferers numbering five to six million. The rate of asthma among children five to 14 years old increased 74% between 1980 and 1994; the rate for preschool kids skyRocketed 160%. Asthma is the number one chronic childhood illness and the third leading cause of hospitalization for children under age 15. More than 5000 Americans die from asthma annually; the fatality rate among children five to 14 years old more than doubled from 1979 to 1995, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.
Waging War on the Wheeze
Asthma is indeed chronic, but it can be prevented and controlled and its effects reversed. Mainstream MDs command an arsenal of pharmaceuticals, some of which are essential for severe or urgent conditions. Consult your health care practitioner about any breathing difficulties.
Because of its complexity, however, asthma requires a balanced therapeutic approach: careful attention to diet, exercise and stress reduction while taking supplemental nutrients and botanicals can help ease asthma's discomforts. Antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C and E, fruits and vegetables rich in phytochemicals plus herbs like echinacea and garlic, all possess the potential for helping the body fight asthma.
Induced by an array of inherent physiological vulnerabilities, some of which may not manifest until adulthood, as well as environmental factors, asthma benefits from extra sleuthing into its causes and planning for relief.
Triggers and Therapies
Asthma is derived from the Greek word meaning panting or breathing hard, which pretty much sums up the malady: Wheezing and shortness of breath typify the attack.
In bronchial asthma, the commonest variety, the passages that carry air from the throat to the lungs narrow as a result of muscle contraction, local inflammation or production of excess mucus. Breathing becomes difficult and wheezy as air is expelled.
"Asthma symptoms are triggered by various factors such as allergens, irritants, infections, pollutants, medications, and emotions," says Anthony Rooklin, author of Living with Asthma: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Controlling Asthma While Enjoying Your Life (Penguin). "Triggers are substances or situations that would be quite harmless to people with ordinary airways, but that bring on asthma symptoms in susceptible individuals."
According to Ellen W. Cutler, nutritionist, enzyme therapist, chiropractor and author of Winning the War Against Asthma & Allergies: A Drug-Free Cure For Asthma and Allergy Sufferers" (Delmar), asthma is an allergic disease that is always triggered by allergens. "These allergens include not only foods, pollens and environmental factors such as perfume, animal dander and chemicals but also bacteria, climactic conditions and emotions," says Cutler.
"When these allergies are active from birth, asthma can be diagnosed early in life, even in infancy," she adds.
Cutler believes every individual with asthma should be able to lead a normal, drug-free life.
"Most asthmatics have been told that asthma is a chronic problem they will have to contend with for the rest of their lives. Asthma can be cured, not miraculously and instantaneously, but inevitably and permanently, once the allergies that cause it have been eliminated," she adds.
Dilating on Nutrients
Although it is vitally important for folks with asthma to develop a treatment plan with a trusted health care provider, that plan, according to experts, may lend itself to a rich variety of complementary options, especially nutrients, phytochemicals, minerals and enzymes.
According to Ruth Winter, author of A Consumer's Guide to Medicines in Food: Nutraceuticals That Help Prevent and Treat Physical and Emotional Illnesses (Crown), researchers in Nottingham, England, linked magnesium and lung function.
"Magnesium is involved in a wide range of biological activities, including some that may protect against the development of asthma and chronic airflow obstruction," Winter says. "Dr. John Britton and his colleagues at Nottingham University measured the magnesium in the diets of 2,633 adults aged 18 to 70 and they found that low magnesium was associated with reduced lung function and wheezing" (The Lancet 344, 1994: 357-62).
Magnesium actually boasts a long history as a bronchial relaxant, first demonstrated in 1912 on cows. Its potential was eclipsed, however, by pharmaceutical antihistamines and bronchodilators until its recent rediscovery.
Defending the Lungs
Antioxidants, with their ability to bolster the lungs' defense mechanisms by battling oxidizing free radicals that constrict bronchial tissue, wield tremendous force in the anti-asthma offensive. Michael T. Murray, ND, and Joseph E. Pizzorno, ND, in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), connect the steady decrease in dietary intake of antioxidants to the burgeoning incidence of asthma.
Among the top asthma-busting antioxidants:
Vitamin C. Murray and Pizzorno note that C is the major antioxidant present in the lining of the airway and cite generous evidence that when vitamin C is low, asthma incidence is high (Annals Allergy 73, 1994: 89-96). Vitamin C, taken over time, effectively suppresses histamine secretion by white blood cells.
Flavonoids. Also credited with reducing histamine production, flavonoids, notably quercetin and the extracts from grape seed, pine bark and ginkgo biloba, are key asthma-fighting antioxidants (J Allergy Clin Immunol 73, 1984; 769-74).
Carotenes. They limit production of allergy-related compounds (called leukotrienes) and bolster the lining of the respiratory tract (Biochem Biophys Acta 575, 1979: 439-45).
Vitamin E and selenium. Both reduce secretion of leukotrienes (Clinical Exp Allergy 26, 1996: 838-47).
Vitamin B12. Murray and Pizzorno cite the work of Jonathan Wright, MD, whose clinical trials with supplemental vitamin B12 proved strongly effective, especially for children with asthma.
A Bundle of Botanicals
Herbal remedies for asthma date back more than 5000 years to the Chinese emperor Shen-nung. The ancient Egyptians treated respiratory ailments with herbs as well; the Greeks favored mint, garlic, cloves and myrrh for pulmonary problems.
Today, the power of plants has been validated by clinical research and standardized for predictability. (Always consult a health care practitioner when seeking complementary therapies, and read the package labels carefully for dosages and cautions.)
In their book, Asthma: An Alternative Approach (Keats), Ron Roberts and Judy Sammut provide a concise guide to asthma-easing botanicals: Garlic: acts as antiviral, antibacterial and antihistamine; enhances immune response; contains the antioxidant selenium. Garlic also is an expectorant.
Echinacea: a traditional treatment for immune disorders and infections of the upper respiratory tract, known to shorten the duration of colds, coughs and flus.
Ginkgo biloba: inhibits the chemical responses that induce asthma discomfort (Br J Clin Pharmacol 29, 1990: 85-91).
Ginseng: stimulates immunity and the production of steroid-like hormones; helps chronic coughs.
Licorice: an expectorant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic that also inhibits leukotriene production (Acta Med Okayama 37, 1983: 385-91).
Tylophora asthmatica: an Ayurvedic treatment that many respected experts believe can act both as an antihistamine and antispasmodic (Planta Med 57, 1991: 409-13).
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.