Search Term: " Wool "
September 21, 2009 11:12 AM
Horehound has been around for thousands of years. The Romans used this herb in a combination as an antidote for poison. The horehound plant is a bushy plant that produces numerous annual branching stems. The plant is a foot or more in height and has whitish flowers. The leaves are much wrinkled, opposite, petiolate, and about an inch long. They are covered with white, felted hairs that give them a Wooly appearance. The leaves have a strange, musky smell that can be diminished by drying the plant. Horehound is known to flower between June and September.
An ancient Greek physician by the name of Galen first recommended horehound for use in treating respiratory conditions. Early European physicians also used horehound to treat respiratory ailments. Early settlers in North America brought horehound with them to treat coughs, colds, and tuberculosis. The herb was also used to treat hepatitis, malaria, and intestinal worms. Horehound was also used to promote menstruation and sweating. Most commonly, the herb is used to treat colds and coughs, to soothe the throat and loosen mucus in the chest. Horehound is a well-known lung and throat remedy.
Warm infusions of horehound are able to relieve congestion and hyperemic conditions of the lungs. They do this by promoting an outward flow of blood. In large doses, horehound will work as a mild laxative. Applying the dried herb topically is a great way to treat herpes simplex, eruptions, eczema, and shingles.
The Romans praised horehound because of its medicinal purposes. Its Latin name Marrubium is derived from the word Maria urbs, which is an ancient town of Italy. The plant was called the ‘Seed of Horus” or the ‘Bull’s Blood,’ and the ‘Eye of the Star’ by the Egyptian Priests. Horehound was a main ingredient in Caesar’s antidote for vegetable poisons. It was recommended, in addition to its uses in coughs and colds, for those that had drunk poison or had been bitten by serpents. Horehound was once thought of as an anti-magical herb. Additionally, horehound is a serviceable remedy against cankerworm in trees. Some believed that if it is put into new milk and set in a place where there are a lot of flies, it will quickly kill all of them.
The marrubiin content of horehound is believed to be the responsible component, giving it its ability to stimulate bronchial mucosa secretions. This information was obtained by German research done in 1959. Horehound can be used as a safe and effective expectorant.
The entire horehound plant should be used to provide alterative, anti-inflammatory, antitussive, aromatic, bitter, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, mild purgative, stimulant, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are iron, potassium, sulfur, and vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and F. Primarily, horehound is extremely helpful in dealing with asthma, colds, coughs, croup, lung ailments, excessive mucus, phlegm, and respiratory problems.
Additionally, this herb is beneficial in treating bronchitis, infectious diseases, earaches, external eczema, fevers, glandular problems, jaundice, absent menstruation, and external shingles. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by horehound, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
September 05, 2008 09:02 AM
Bilberry has been used most commonly for centuries as a food, with the English traditionally eating bilberries with a rich cream. Large amounts of bilberries were imported annually from Holland, Germany and Scandinavia for use by pastry cooks and restaurant keepers to make jams, liqueurs, wines, and desserts up until World War II. Bilberry’s use is not only limited to food, as the juice of bilberry yields a clear, dark blue or purplish dye that has often been used to color Wool in England.
Over the years, the bilberry fruit has gained recognition for its medicinal properties. Decoctions of the leaves and bark of the root have been used for a topical application to treat mouth and throat ulcers. Syrups have also been made from a mixture of the berries and honey to treat intestinal issues.
Additionally, the berries are very rich in vitamin C, with their astringent action explaining their historical use for diarrhea and dysentery. Many believe that the berries contain a pigment that can kill many strains of bacteria. Bilberry fruit and tea that are dried have been used to treat nausea as well as indigestion. Along with the above, other traditional applications of bilberry include inflammation of the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat, eyestrain or fatigue, and as a circulatory tonic. The leaves and berries have also been used for a homeopathic treatment of diabetes.
One of the main reasons that bilberry’s medicinal value came to attention in the Western world was because of its legendary ability to improve the nighttime vision of the British Royal Air force pilots during World War II. After consuming bilberry, it was found that they experienced improved visual acuity, making it easier to carry our nighttime bombing raids. It was also found that their eyes could adjust to darkness quicker and their vision was able to better correct after the effects of prolonged glare.
In the proceeding years, scientific research found that bilberry offered a wide range of benefits for both vision and other vascular disorders. French studies found that bilberry supplementation significantly enhanced the ability to adjust for glare and darkness. Bilberry can help to prevent compromised vision for anyone who is susceptible to eyestrain. In the last few decades, more studies have confirmed the medicinal value of bilberry for a variety of eye disorders. Bilberry is routinely used by European medical practitioners for patients with cataracts, venous insufficiency, visual disorders, peptic ulcers, capillary fragility, and even dysmenorrheal.
Finally, bilberry has a great effect on the activity of many enzymes that participate in inflammatory responses. Those who bruise easily or have trouble with capillary weakness can benefit from the anthocyanidin content of bilberry. These anthocyanidins offer many actions including: stimulating the production of collagen; protecting existing collagen stores in the connective tissue; preventing the formation and release of inflammatory compounds including histamine, prostaglandins, and leukotrines; preventing certain enzyme reactions that occur as a result of inflammatory conditions; and scavenging for free radicals to reduce cellular damage from oxidizing agents.
May 17, 2008 10:17 AM
Recently, the Natural Products Association has experienced a flurry of activity on the legislative front. One month ago, Natural Products Association members went to Washington, D.C. to meet with their representatives and discuss legislation important to the association and the industry. Many who could not visit Washington in person were part of our "virtual march" on Washington that delivered e-mails, petitions, and videos to Congress on the importance of natural products. Natural Products Day was a great success, boasting higher than ever attendance at our evening Congressional reception, and resulting in additional co-sponsors for S. 771, the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act sponsored by Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). The bill now boasts co-sponsorship of more than a quarter of the Senate. Its companion bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1363, sponsored by Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), has gained an additional five co-sponsors as the result of Natural Products Day meetings and now has 140 co-sponsors. These bills continue to build momentum, thanks to your support.
More recently, the Natural Products Association urged supporters to contact their legislators to include an amendment to the "Farm Bill" allowing food stamp recipients to purchase dietary supplements. This provision was similar to free-standing bills that have been introduced in the current and previous Congresses by Sens. Harkin and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and have earned the association's support. Although the amendment advanced further than other versions in previous sessions, it did not make the final Farm Bill, which was reported out of conference today. The good news is that the Farm Bill did contain significant increases in nutrition programs and increased funding for organic farming, another supported goal of the Natural Products Association. Because of the strong effort of our supporters on the amendment's behalf, the bill was placed on Congress's radar screens and has greatly improved the chances as stand-alone legislation, S. 770, the Food Stamp Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act, of seeing passage. We will continue to ask for support on this important bill as this legislative session progresses.
In addition, the Natural Products Association has been leading the fight to protect Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and to keep this important, safe, and effective supplement available to elderly consumers. The same players behind S. 762, which would wrongly classify DHEA as an anabolic steroid, proposed S. 2470 in late 2007 as a misplaced reaction the release of the Mitchell Report, which chronicled the abuse of steroids by professional baseball players. Although DHEA has no performance enhancing attributes, this bill was proposed to limit the access of minors to DHEA. The Natural Products Association and its supporters have worked hard to inform Congress of the benefits of DHEA, and that it is not an anabolic steroid and should not be classified as one. We have been able so far to prevent any movement on the bill, but the association continues to monitor its progress and make sure that this supplement remains accessible to the seniors who need it most.
Thanks to your help, the Natural Products Association continues to have an active presence on Capitol Hill that is felt by legislators. We could not do it without the help of you, our supporters, who know how important it is to stand up for natural products. The impact of your messages to legislators continues to help the Natural Products Association to ensure all natural products - from natural and organic foods to dietary supplements and health and beauty aids - are accessible to Americans. With your continued support we will continue to be known as a vocal group with a wide base of support through the rest of this legislative session and beyond.
To get involved, please visit our action center at www.capwiz.com/nnfa/issues/
Tru-E Bio Complex
December 08, 2005 04:58 PM
Tru-E Bio Complex TMNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 7/27/05
LIKELY USERS: Most Americans are deficient in Vitamin E 8,9,10; People needing superior antioxidant protection3,5,6; People needing cardiovascular or cholesterol support27,30,31; People needing nervous system support7; Those wanting healthier skin6; Diabetics may need additional Vitamin E24 KEY INGREDIENTS: Tocopherols from IP-Preserved, non-GMO Soy; Tocotrienols and tocopherols from non-GMO virgin palm; Tocotrienols from non-GMO annatto seed
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: NOW Tru-E Bio ComplexTM is a unique biologically balanced, patent-pending formula designed to provide optimal Vitamin E activity. This product features 100% natural, Non-Genetically Modified sources of all 8 isomers (forms) of the Vitamin E “family” in ratios similar to what is found in a healthy diet. It provides the superior benefits of foodsource Vitamin E versus those obtained from traditional E supplements.
NOW® Tru-E Bio ComplexTM has been carefully blended to supply high levels of the natural gamma and delta “desmethyl” forms of both tocopherols and tocotrienols. This is important because recent research indicates that these isomers work best as a team to quench the lipid and nitrogen free radicals known to cause injury to cells and tissues. This product supports a healthy cardiovascular system, youthful skin and nervous system function with potent antioxidants. This science-based natural Vitamin E supplement is unlike any other and the first to combine all of these benefits in one convenient non-GMO formula! 25-32
Recent research indicates that these isomers work best as a team to quench the lipid and nitrogen free radicals known to cause injury to cells and tissues.1-4, 25-32
This product supports a healthy cardiovascular system, youthful skin and nervous system function with potent antioxidants.1,4-7
Levels of Vitamin E above 100 IU daily are associated with decreased risk of coronary heart disease and certain types of cellular disorders, as well as enhancement of immune function. These vitamin E intakes are considerably above levels obtainable from diet alone. 11,12,13
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES:
This is a product that is Patent Pending, based on months of research into optimal forms, potencies and ratios of the 8 isomers of natural Vitamin E. All of the Vitamin E formulas currently on the market use potencies of tocopherols that are very dissimilar to what is found in a healthy diet, with either too low or too high amounts of gamma and alpha tocopherols for a good balance. Some do not even include tocotrienols.
All of the Vitamin E formulas on the market that do contain a mixture of tocopherols and tocotrienols tend to use either 400 IU or 100 IU of alpha tocopherol, some as little as 50-60 IU, combined with varying doses of gamma tocopherol. We have reduced the alpha tocopherol from the standard 400 IU per capsule to 200 IU, allowing more gamma tocopherol in the capsule to follow the typical ratio in a healthy diet. Other brands either cut the alpha tocopherol too low (to keep the gamma tocopherol at a good level) or else cut the gamma and other tocopherols too low (to keep the alpha tocopherol at 400 IU).
Special care was used to maintain a certain ratio of tocopherols and of tocotrienols that is unique and from natural sources. Our formula is also unique in mixing sources of tocotrienols to achieve our desired balance, whereas other formulas include only one source, despite the dissimilarity of the mixture to what is found in a healthy, varied diet.
Other formulas use either Vitamin E derived from genetically engineered soybeans and/or add soybean oil from similar sources as a base. NOW uses expensive non-GMO sources, the first formula to do so, with no soybean oil added. This enhances the quality of our product compared to every other formula on the market.
We use the expensive virgin palm oil rather than the cheap palm distillates because it is un-denatured and contributes additional, valuable oil nutrients such as CoQ10, Squalene and Sterols. Also, much of the clinical research done on tocotrienols was done using virgin palm oil sources 32
Natural Vitamin E is more effective than synthetic Vitamin E.14 - 23
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: One or two capsules per day, preferably with meal(s). Oils enhance the absorption of Vitamin E. Concentrated fiber supplements may decrease the absorption of Vitamin E, so it is best not to take both at the same meal.
SYNERGISTS: Antioxidants (Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamin C Complex, Pine or Grapeseed Extracts, VitaBerry Plus+, CoQ10, etc.), Plant Sterols, Fish Oil, Flaxseed Oil, GliSODin, EGCg Green Tea Extract, Lecithin, Nuts and Seeds
SPECIFIC: Aspirin and blood thinners should not be taken with Vitamin E without physician’s approval. Many other pharmaceutical drugs deplete Vitamin E, adding to the likelihood that a person will be deficient.
GENERAL: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim. This document has not been reviewed by the FDA or by the company posting it. Information given here may vary from what is shown on the product label because this represents my own professional experience and understanding of the science underlying the formula and ingredients. When taking any new formula, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time.
1. Jiang Q, Christen S, Shigenaga MK, Ames BN (2001) g-Tocopherol, the major form of vitamin E in the US diet, deserves more attention. Am J Clin Nutr 74:714-722.
Progesterone Cream - Supports Hormonal Balance
June 28, 2005 09:40 AM
Recent medical reports have profoundly shaken popular beliefs about the safety of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for women in menopause. You may be one of the six million women who are searching for alternatives. Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM can help address normal menopausal discomforts, when used as part of a care for their own health needs. Source Naturals is committed to joining with your health food retailer to help insure that right.
Menopause and Hormonal Balance
Public confidence in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) suffered a major blow when the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health halted a large clinical trial out of concern for the safety of participants. Women are looking for natural alternatives to risky HRT.
Source Naturals Progesterone CREAM and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM address the hormonal fluctuations that bring on the first disturbing hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. Used together or separately, these creams address declining levels of progesterone and estrogen.
Progesterone Cream from Woman-Friendly Soy
Progesterone is a steroid hormone made by the corpus luteum of the ovary at ovulation, and in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands. It is a precursor to most other steroid hormones, including cortisol, androstenedione, estrogen and testosterone. Because it is the precursor to so many hormones, progesterone is crucial for overall hormone balance. Yet progesterone levels can drop to near zero during menopause. Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM supplies natural progesterone from soy.
Unlike creams which don’t divulge their progesterone content, Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM is guaranteed to contain 500 mg of progesterone per ounce! This pure white cream softens and smoothes skin. Along with natural progesterone, it contains aloe vera, wild yam extract, natural vitamin E, lecithin phospholipid, jojoba oil, and extracts of ginseng root and grapefruit seed. Natural rosemary oil is added as a fragrance. Available in both tubes and jars for your convenience.
Phyto-Estrogen Cream: Plant Compounds Renowned for Menopause Estrogen levels drop 40-60% at menopause. Phytoestrogens—estrogens from plants—have been shown to bind to the same receptor sites as estrogen, helping maintain normal menstrual cycles and menopausal transitions. When there is too little estrogen (the situation during menopause), phytoestrogens substitute for the lack of human estrogen. Conversely, when estrogen levels are high (as in some women who experience PMS), phytoestrogens compete with human estrogen for binding to receptors and decrease overall estrogenic activity.
Source Naturals PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM is an almond-colored cream that can be massaged into smooth skin areas to add oil-rich, moisture-binding protection. PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM offers some of the finest phytoestrogens in the botanical world, including 60 mg of soy isoflavones per ounce. PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM also contains pomegranate seed juice (a natural source of estrone), red clover tops extract, black cohosh root extract, and dong quai root extract, along with aloe vera gel, natural vitamin E, cocoa butter, grapefruit seed extract, rosemary oil, and natural cherry almond fragrance.
Warning: Phyto-Estrogen Cream is not for use by women of childbearing age. DO NOT USE if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you may become pregnant.
Source Naturals offers you the first progesterone and phytoestrogen creams to utilize unique liposomal delivery of key ingredients. Liposomes are micro-penetrating lipid spheres made from lecithin, which pass through skin layers more easily than non-liposomal creams—for highest possible penetration of skin cells. Both creams are available in 2 and 4 oz jars. PROGESTERONE CREAM is also available in 2 and 4 oz tubes.
Lifestyle Tips for Menopause: A Strategy for Wellness
Eat Well: In certain cultures, hot flashes are practically unknown. It is generally true that women in these cultures eat foods rich in phytoestrogens. For example, in Southeast Asia, where soy proteins comprise 20% to 60% of daily protein intake, epidemiological studies suggest an association between a positive, trouble-free menopause and soy consumption.
Lignans—phytoestrogens found in flaxseed oil and unprocessed olive oil—may also have a protective effect. You should eat fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, cereals, beans, whole grains and small portions of fish or hormone-free chicken. Increase fluids and eat low-fat dairy foods. Avoid fatty meats, sugar, processed foods, fried foods, and chemicals. Adequate calcium intake— 1,500 mg per day—is crucial.
Use Supplements: Source Naturals HOT FLASH is an excellent complement to PROGESTERONE and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAMS. A recent comprehensive scientific review of natural menopause products (Annals of Internal Medicine 11/19/02) singled out soy isoflavones and black cohosh for their benefits in addressing hot flashes. Unlike most products, HOT FLASH contains clinical potencies of both soy isoflavones and standardized black cohosh extract. In addition, HOT FLASH contains additional herbs, renowned for use in menopause: vitex, licorice root and dong quai. To be sure you are covering all your nutritional bases, take a good daily multiple like MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE, especially designed for women 40+ years old.
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Women who are overweight have an increased risk of heart disease, while those who are thin or underweight are more susceptible to osteoporosis and hot flashes.
Rest and Relax: It is important to get adequate sleep, take naps if you feel tired, and avoid stress. Meditation and yoga can be helpful in reaching a state of calm. Take Care of Your Skin: A 1997 study of 3,875 postmenopausal women documented the relationship between low estrogen levels and skin dryness and loss of elasticity. Research has associated wrinkling with consumption of full-fat dairy products, butter, margarine, fatty meats and sugar. Drink lots of water—at least 1.5 liters daily. Water flushes out wastes, and acts as an internal moisturizer, keeping skin hydrated and supple. Spring water is beneficial since it contains trace minerals vital to healthy skin. For radiant skin, you should also try the Source Naturals SKIN ETERNAL™ family of creams and serums. This advanced cosmetic system recharges and revitalizes all skin types. Keep Cool. Avoid triggers such as spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, overheated rooms, hot beverages and stress. Wear layered clothing, and choose natural fabrics, such as cotton or Wool.
Stay Active: Exercise benefits the heart and bones, helps regulate weight and contributes to overall well-being. Weight-bearing exercises are especially important for increasing bone mass. Kegel exercises (tightening and relaxing of the pelvic muscles) can improve bladder control, and may enhance sexual pleasure. Try Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM): Alternative therapies— herbal remedies, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine and much more—can help you cope with the physical and emotional changes of menopause.
June 13, 2005 01:18 PM
by Cal Orey Energy Times, August 2, 1999
Depression plagues the creative and the mundane. The disparate desperate driven to distress by depression include painters, poets, actors and musicians as well as truck drivers, clerks, electricians and physicists. The victim list encompasses Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Audrey Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and Ludwig von Beethoven, as well as millions of other sharers of melancholy misery.
More than 17 million American men and women experience depression in one form or another every year, according to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This includes the deeply destructive major, or clinical, depression, the wide mood swings of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and dysthymia, a milder, long-lasting form of emotional suffering.
Twice as Many Women In the depression scenario, women suffer twice as much: Two times as many women as men endure clinical depression, reports the NMHA. The mood-deteriorating effects of the hormonal disruptions women are heir to may be partly to blame.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one of 10 Americans wades through at least one depressive swamp sometime during his or her life.
The good news: Research shows that diet and lifestyle can lower your risk of depression.
Birth of the Blues
Nowadays, mounting evidence suggests that depression may result more from physiological factors than psychological woes.
Some of the hidden reasons why you may be depressed include: nutritional deficiencies, exacerbated by overdosing on too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and high fat foods; allergies; anxiety and chronic stress; and a chemical imbalance in the brain's gray matter. According to the NMHA, people with depression often possess too little or too large a quantity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Changes in levels of these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.
The NMHA also reports that an imbalance of melatonin, a chemical made by the body's pineal gland (located at the base of the brain), contributes to a form of wintertime depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This hormone is made at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, the body may oversupply this hormone during winter's shortened daylight hours.
Since the B vitamins are often involved in the production of energy, and a large component of depression may encompass the inability to get out of bed and deal with the world, experts believe that at least some of the signs of depression are linked to B deficiencies. For instance, studies cited in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, demonstrate that folate deficiency and lack of vitamin B12 can compromise mental health (Drugs 45, 1993: 623-36; Lancet 336, 1990: 392-5).
Inositol: This vitamin is also part of the B vitamin complex, and it, too, has shown its ability to lift spirits. Research work in Israel shows that daily inositol given to 28 depressed patients for four weeks produced an overall positive effect. (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 7:2, May 1997: 147-55). Inositol is found in whole, unprocessed grains, citrus fruits (except lemons) and brewer's yeast.
NADH: Allan Magaziner, DO, in his book The Idiot's Complete Guide To Living Longer & Healthier (Alpha), reports that brain energizing NADH, a metabolite of vitamin B3, enhances the production of the key neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. "In a recent clinical trial," he claims, "nearly all patients given NADH for depression reported improvement in their symptoms and the absence of side effects or adverse reactions."
Another substance winning the spotlight for its effect on mood is SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine. In New York on February 24, a symposium coordinated by the American Health Foundation met to hear researchers present information from studies of SAM-e's ability to possibly ease depression.
"SAM-e is a natural product. You and I have it but as people age it declines in production in the body. And that's why we believe supplementation in older people is a beneficial means of bringing that back up and helping people that have depression," said the lead symposium researcher, John H. Weisburger, PhD, MD, Director Emeritus, American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York.
Another researcher, Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Studies and Neurology, Director of Neuropharmacology at Baylor University reported: "SAM-e has been shown to enhance brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter metabolism and receptor function. It may also aid in the repair of myelin that surrounds nerve cells. These mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the antidepressant effect of SAM-e."
(Bottiglieri is co-author with Richard Brown, MD, and Carol Colman of Stop Depression Now, a report on the powers of SAM-e just published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.)
SAM-e was first touted as an antidepressant in Italy in 1973. It's been reported that nearly 40 clinical trials demonstrate its beneficial effects as a natural antidepressant.
For instance, an analysis of more than 1000 people suffering depression showed that the effect of antidepressants in patients taking SAM-e was 17% to 38% better than dummy preparations. Conventional antidepressants show a 20% effectiveness rate (Bressa G. Acta Neurol Scand S154, 1994: 7-14).
5-HTP: Another popular supplement to boost mood and relieve depression is hydroxytryptophan. "This medication is actually a brain chemical that is metabolized from tryptophan into serotonin," says Magaziner. And since low serotonin levels have been linked with depression, and certain prescribed medications may up serotonin levels, 5-HTP is in demand.
"One of the more impressive studies supporting the efficacy of 5-HTP for depression evaluated 100 people who had previously found conventional antidepressant therapy to be inadequate. Forty-three of these folks reported a complete recovery, and eight showed significant improvement," reports Magaziner. Not only has 5-HTP been shown to work slightly better than drugs known as SSRIs (these include Prozac), he adds, it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants, too. DHEA: Medical experts also believe that levels of the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may influence mood. Ray Sahelian, MD, in his book All About DHEA (Avery) reports an interesting study conducted by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. A group of six depressed middle-aged and elderly individuals who took DHEA found that within a month they had better memory and mood. (Biological Psychiatry 41, 1997: 311-18.) "In addition," adds Sahelian, "other studies have also found that DHEA increases energy levels and a sense of well being." But follow package directions: Some people complain of greater irritability and overstimulation with DHEA, when they take large amounts.
St. John's wort: still the most touted natural therapy for defeating depression. In Europe, 23 clinical studies, reviewed in the August 3, 1996 British Medical Journal, found that this herb, also known as Hypericum perforatum, can be helpful in alleviating cases of mild to moderate depression. The work, which included 757 patients, has shown that hypericum produced fewer side effects than conventional anti-depressants.
Although experts have never satisfactorily explained exactly how St. John's wort benefits the brain, some theorize that it boosts serotonin levels. And it can help SAD sufferers.
"In a recent study of 20 people with SAD, four weeks' worth of St. John's wort significantly alleviated feelings of depression. Those people who added full-spectrum lights to the treatment program gained an even greater benefit," notes Dr. Magaziner.
Valerian: Anxiety and stress, which can cause depression and insomnia, may be helped by this herb, says the prolific Dr. Sahelian in his book Kava: The Miracle Antianxiety Herb (St. Martin's). In 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave), Steven Foster reports that "Ten controlled clinical studies have been published on valerian...one of which suggests that valerian should be used for two to four weeks before daily mood and sleep patterns improve."
Amino Acid Help
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may also help improve mood. (For more on protein, see page 65.) These chemicals are used by the body to construct neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that facilitate mental activity.
For instance, the amino acid L-tyrosine is necessary for the formation of transmitters adrenaline and dopamine. This substance, therefore, is given to alleviate depression and anxiety.
The substance L-dopa which is given to victims of Parkinson's disease is concocted from tyrosine. And several antidepressants alleviate bad moods by boosting the interaction of brain chemicals related to tyrosine.
In addition, since tyrosine is used to make adrenaline, this amino acid may be helpful for folks trying to cope with the mood problems related to stress.
Another amino acid that experts believe useful for better moods, L-methionine, is used by the body to make choline, a crucial substance for brain function. (Choline goes into the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.)
Methionine has been given to people suffering from schizophrenia and depression as well as to those with Parkinson's. Methionine plays a number of crucial roles in the brain and body since it helps form other vital proteins.
For those concerned about preserving a positive mood, researchers are positive that smoking worsens depression. A study at the Department of Behavioral Services at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan found that daily smokers run twice the risk for major depression compared to those who only smoked occasionally.
Unfortunately, the investigators found that not only did smoking seem to lead to depression, depression, in turn, led to more smoking (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2/99).
"Smokers who have depression tend to see their smoking become a daily habit and it may be because they use nicotine to medicate their depressed mood," reported Naomi Breslau, PhD, who headed the research. Over a five year period, the researchers looked at about a thousand young people aged 21 to 30. They found that daily smokers generally start smoking in adolescence, and those who report early depression are three times as likely to eventually become daily smokers.
If you're feeling down, don't give up hope. Although depression can prove to be a depressingly complicated malady, daily, healthy habits can offset its effects. Getting consistent exercise, dousing your cigarettes and turning to herbal and nutritional help to treat mild depression may defeat those blues.
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).