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No to Pain Pills and Yes to Safe and Effective Curcumin
September 04, 2020 11:05 AM
Many people turn to over the counter (OTC) drugs when they experience pain, the common ones are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, better known as NSAIDS. The problem with NSAIDS these drugs reduce an enzyme associated with pain called COX-1 and COX-2. There are a lot of hidden dangers behind prescription and OTC pain killers. Some of the most common ones consumed are Ibuprofen an d Acetaminophen.
Ibuprofen: a popular OTC pain reliever can cause stomach pain, nausea, gastric bleeding, ulcers, confusion, hypertension, increased heart attack and stroke. Also, swelling, rapid weight gain, reduced urination, which is a sign of kidney dysfunction, kidney failure, fever, sore throat, headache, rash, bruising, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, chills, light sensitivity, and seizures.
Acetaminophen: also known as Tylenol, is classified as an NSAID, but is also unsafe. The number one cause of liver failure in the United States is caused by acetaminophen next to alcohol consumption. If combined with alcohol, the damage to the liver is increased significantly. It also depletes glutathione, an important antioxidant needed by the liver to protect and detoxify the body. Over use of this OTC drug can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal tenderness, and it can interfere with blood clotting, weaken kidney function, and with severe over dose can cause death.
The alternative: Curcumin is a safe and effective pain reliever
Curcumin is a compound from Turmeric Root, unstandardized turmeric powder contains only two to three percent curcumin. It is important to get a standardized curcumin so that you can get a therapeutic response from consuming this herb. Not all curcumin is the same, look for a brand that blends turmeric essential oil with curcumin to enhance the absorption of the product because the product is hard to absorb.
Curcumin is one of the worlds best studied herbs, it works by reducing a COX-2 response to inflammation the same target as many prescription and OTC drugs that cause organ damage and side effects. Fortunately, Curcumin can target the same in a safe and natural way with no side effects. It can prevent a wide spectrum of inflammatory and oxidative damage, relieve chronic pain as effective and much more safely than drugs like NSAIDs.
Taking OTC or prescription pain relieving drugs are not a long term solution for pain. With the side effects associated with common pain relievers, one should only take them as a last resort and consider using a safer alternative that is as effective to relieving pain. Terry Naturally offers BCM-95 a patented curcumin that is blended with turmeric essential oils, BCM-95 has been the subject of many clinical studies demonstrating its effectiveness in relieving pain. We at VitaNet offer free shipping on any product in Terry’s brand. If you are struggling with pain, consider trying Terry Naturally to help relieve pain safely.
Health Benefits of ginger tea
April 13, 2019 11:20 AM
Ginger tea’s smell and hot taste is widely used in home remedies. There are many health benefits, including treatment of nausea. Drinking a cup may prevent nausea while traveling. Ginger tea improves digestion. The tea increases the absorption of food and reduces stomach pain. The respiratory system also benefits. Ginger tea can combat viruses that can cause cold, cough, and flu. The tea also improves blood circulation that can prevent fever, sweating, and chills. Curing menstrual cramps is another use for ginger tea. Simply dip a towel in ginger tea and place it over the lower abdomen. Remember doctors recommend consuming three to four grams maximum, too much ginger tea can cause gas and heartburn.
"Ginger tea may help with everything from motion sickness to cardiovascular diseases."
Read more: http://www.apnlive.com/lifestyle/health-benefits-ginger-tea-56216
6 Spices That Can Help Reduce Inflammation
March 15, 2019 10:32 AM
Although inflammation can be painful to experience, it is the body's natural response to any form of injury or attack. Your body may be trying to protect you with these inflammatory responses, but the symptoms that come with it can be quite troublesome. Fortunately, research is now showing that there are certain spices that can help aid in the reduction of inflammation. Black pepper, for instance, can decrease the prominence of inflammation markers by its powerful piperine levels.
"Turmeric is a yellow colored spice that originates from India and is added to curries and fresh vegetable juices. It can also be added to milk so that one’s immunity is strengthened. It contains a compound called curcumin. Curcumin is responsible for giving turmeric several of its health-benefiting qualities."
Read more: https://dailywellnesspro.com/6-spices-that-can-help-reduce-inflammation
Could eating chili peppers actually help you live longer?
February 17, 2019 02:42 PM
Do you enjoy your food spicy? Well, there is good news. The University of Vermont recently published a study of people who are chili peppers versus those who did not. They discovered that the chili eaters tended to live longer lives. In fact, a surprising 12% was the absolute risk reduction. Chili peppers have long been regarded as containing health benefits. They have been used to treat toothaches or other forms of pain. They are also loaded with antioxidants and vitamins A and C.
"It may not always feel like you’re going to live longer after you’ve consumed a very spicy meal, but it seems that those hot peppers are doing quite a bit of good."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-10-could-eating-chili-peppers-help-you-live-longer.html
10 herbs to cure inflammation (and how to grow them yourself)
January 06, 2019 04:20 PM
Dealing with chronic inflammation can lead to many troublesome symptoms such as joint stiffness and joint pain. Many natural herbs such as green tea and chili pepper have the ability to reduce inflammation, helping patients avoid these life-impacting symptoms. Green tea has been shown to not only help those suffering from arthritic pain, but it can also reduce the inflammation in the digestive tracts in those suffering from ulcerative colitis or Crohn's Disease. Chili peppers actually contain something called capsaicin which has been shown to reduce inflammation on its own.
"Recent studies have shown that green tea can effectively treat inflammation, especially in the treatment of arthritis."
Read more: https://rekordnorth.co.za/136842/10-herbs-cure-inflammation-grow/
Drinking chilled yerba mate can help you achieve your weight loss goals
July 27, 2018 09:53 AM
Consuming chilled yerba mate can enable humans to burn over 50% more calories than they would without drinking it! This boost in energy expenditure not only relates to more fat loss, but it also helps regulate and improve the cardiovascular system. A study that included 23 participants concluded these findings, showing just how beneficial the consumption of chilled yerba mate is much more useful to the body than simply consuming hot varieties of herbal teas.
"Data from the study showed that iced yerba mate tea produced over 50 percent more energy expenditure, or calorie burning, versus hot tea, or 8.3 percent compared to 3.7 percent."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-06-14-drinking-chilled-yerba-mate-can-help-you-achieve-your-weight-loss-goals.html
People really want their dogs to chill out with CBD and demand is sky high
July 26, 2018 01:53 AM
CBD is being used by children and adults across the nation. Scientists have proven that it has an immaculate number of health benefits, even stopping seizures in children when nothing else worked. Now, pet owners are reaching for CBD to stop their dogs anxiety and hyperactivity at rates so high it is not easy to keep the product on the shelves. CBD is all-natural, has instant results and has proven itself worthy of use time and time again and pet owners are thrilled with the results
"BarkShop became the first online retail retailer to sell CBD products to dogs in March."
Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/07/23/barkshop-cbd-products-for-dogs/
Cannabis Terpene Cocktails—Healthy and . . . Herbal
August 27, 2017 04:14 PM
Instead of chilling you out, this Cannabis Terpene Cocktail is meant to act as a mood lifter. As terpenes are legal in all states (not just the ones that have legalized recreational cannabis use) this cocktail can be served anywhere. The mixologists who make this even claim that imbibing could have potential health benefits. It can help with inflammation and work as a muscle relaxer and sleep aid. The terpene derived from cannabis has many positive uses and the mixologists who use it are looking to incorporate it into society in a positive and intelligent way.
"Terpenes from cannabis have some of the strongest anti-inflammatory properties of any plant, according to proponents, and a good number of doctors are now studying their effects and benefits in replacing opioids."
Read more: http://www.vogue.com/article/cannabis-terpene-cocktails-health-benefits
A Magic Trick With Tea Bags For Your Teeth That Your Dentist Does Not Want You To Know!!
August 24, 2017 12:14 PM
There is a magic trick with tea bags for your teeth that your dentist might not want you to learn about. Tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. Each kind of tea offers a unique set of benefits for people. There are many hidden benefits that tea bags offer. They are very good for your gums and they can also treat your sunburn. Tea bags help you get rid of itchy and irritated skin caused by the burn.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MqB9FhWJdY&rel=0
"Helps to clean dishes: A plate full of grease ends with the patience of anyone."
Jalapenos: The Jalapeno Pepper Helps Prevent Colds, Headaches & Chronic Disease
May 30, 2017 12:14 PM
Heavenly in cornbread, mango salsa, loaded down with cream cheddar or regularly appreciated as poppers at the nearby bar, most everybody knows the jalapeno pepper can be one genuine pepper. This compound offers path to its capacity to help you battle disease, get more fit, forestall bacterial development, battle the regular chilly through its cancer prevention agents. A review led at Luohe Medical College in China recognized capsaicin as a conceivable characteristic treatment for disease since it stops the development of tumors by killing the protein that advances their development.
"The jalapeno pepper lays claim to having more vitamin C than an orange, making it one of the top vitamin C foods."
Read more: https://draxe.com/jalapenos/
Relieve the Holiday Stress with Magnesium
The holiday season is meant for having quality time with friends and family, going on an adventure, taking time off work and so on. However, it can also be very stressful given the many guests to entertain, tight budget to stick to, preparing family meals, the shopping craze and so much more. It is important to gain control in this period of the year since too much stress can lead to depression alongside other physical and psychological issues. Fortunately, we have magnesium, the original chill pill, to get you back into the holiday cheer.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a huge role in cell functioning and relaxation. It has been used in hospitals to treat a myriad of complications including anxiety, irritability, muscle cramps and headaches. Magnesium accounts for over 250 enzyme reactions in our bodies and regulates the secretion of stress hormones. It is basically the fuel that your body runs on and hence its deficiency will lead to undesirable symptoms like brain fog, anxiety, aggression and fatigue among others. Modern farming and lifestyle changes have led to rather low levels of magnesium in our bodies as compared to decades ago. Magnesium will particularly be used up in greater quantities by your body during periods of extreme stress like this holiday season. This will usually translate in poor stress management, thus the more reason you should take some magnesium.
Some of the magnesium-rich foods include parsley, avocado, bananas, kelp, leafy greens like spinach, soy beans, brown rice, cashews and almond. In addition to providing this crucial mineral these foods also pack other nutritional benefits. Alternatively, you can also take a magnesium supplement like magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide to help rid some of that holiday stress. Lastly, taking baths in Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is also a great stress reliever plus it works wonders in treating colds, detoxifying the body, relieving back pain and sore muscles.
What are the Health Benefits of Beta-Glucans
December 22, 2014 04:54 PM
What are Beta-glucans?
Benefits of beta-glucan
Beta-glucans are use for cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and high cholesterol. Beta-glucans are also use for boosting the immune system in people whose body defenses have been weakens by emotional or physical stress, chronic fatigue syndrome or by treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation. Beta-glucans are also used for ulcerative colitis, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, aging, H1N1 flu, Lyme disease, allergies, fibromyalgia, ear infections, rheumatoid, asthma and crohn's disease.
Does Bilberry Have Healing Properties?
March 28, 2014 07:09 PM
What is a bilberry
The Bilberry fruit grows in Europe and North America. In Europe, it is known for its mending properties for a long time. Furthermore, Vaccinium myrtillus, is the Latin name for bilberry berries.
Benefits of bilberry
Bilberry discovered generally in dull cleaned fruits. It is utilized to treat loose bowels, varicose veins, and mucous film aggravation. The herb is valuable in the medicine of solidifying of the conduits (atherosclerosis) and in eye health.
This herb might additionally help night vision. Throughout World War II, British Pilots consumed bilberry stick before going out on night flights. They asserted it enhanced their vision. It is accepted that the bilberry herb helps the eyes to change in accordance with progressions in light rapidly. This is one of the best benefits of bilberry and could be exceptionally valuable for one’s eyes as stated by numerous studies.
In Europe, it is utilized to treat venous deficiency a condition that causes swelling and varicose veins. It further assuages torment and tingling, and it likewise. Helps battle skin ulcers on the legs. Reynaud's infection may profit from the bilberry. Reynauds reasons torment and deadness in the external limits (fingers, toes and nose) when chilly.
Bilberry enhances dissemination and makes course dividers. The herb may lessen aggravation, simplicity gastro-intestinal issues, and gum issues that have been joined to coronary illness. Loose bowels and mouth injuries can profit from Bilberry too. Bilberry has solid clean properties, alleviates peptic ulcers, diabetes, fibrocystic maladies, and tormenting feminine cycle.
In view of Bilberry's makes a great free radical forager, which helps battle the cell harm that prompts untimely maturing and malady. The most noted profit that we quickly talked about is its capability to treat an extent of issues identifying with one’s eye health. Case in point, the herb ensures collagen structures in the veins of the eyes, in this way, pushing solid vessels that convey numerous crucial supplements, for example, and oxygen-rich blood to your eye muscles.
What Is A Good Bladder Support Supplement For Women?
March 31, 2012 09:13 PM
The bladder is a muscle held and supported by the pelvic muscles. It's an organ shaped like a balloon. Its function is to act as a collection area for urine produced in the kidneys. It does this before excretion of the urine from the body, that is, urination.
Bladder infections are common to both women and men. A bladder infection results from the growth of bacteria along the urinary tract. The fact that it is a bacterial infection means that it is easy to cure and control. It is important however, for an individual to be aware of the symptoms of bladder infections. Common bladder infection symptoms are but not limited to: Nausea and vomiting, Painful urination and cloudy or bloody urine, Fever and chills, Lower back pain, Increased frequency of urination and an urge to urinate even when one has a small amount of urine or there is no urine at all.
Medication such as antibiotics are commonly used in treatment of bladder infections. However, herbal and natural supplements are readily available in treating bladder infections by relieving a patient of the symptoms experienced.
Taking bladder supplements helps in relieving symptoms and at the same time it helps in preventing re-occurrence of the bladder infections in the long term. These supplements may include Green Tea, Dandelion, Vitamin C & A, Cranberry and Colloidal Silver. Supplements are much more preferred rather than medication such as antibiotics because of the side effects experienced.Thus supplements are preferred to antibiotics in bladder support.
D-Mannose bladder supplement is water-soluble. When taken, rather than the bacteria binding itself on the wall of the bladder, it binds itself on the D-Mannose. It is the removed from the body during urination. Its action in the body does not involve killing the bacteria as most antibiotics treatment does. Antibiotic treatments result to yeast infections.
It is advantageous since its absorption and excretion is rapid from the kidneys. It is not limited to a specific age group or sex and it is safe to use during pregnancy. Research however has found out that it interferes with fertilization when taken while trying to conceive.
Cranberry bladder supplement is also a preferred supplement. It has the ability to prevent bacteria in the bladder from attaching itself to the bladder wall. The acidity in the berries also has the ability to create a non-conducive environment for bacteria growth. This leads to excretion of the bacteria together with the urine.
There are other ways of preventing bladder infections. For women, a recommendation is to wipe your genital from front to back in order to keep bacteria away from the urethra and the vagina. Prevention of bladder infection may involve the preference of showers rather than baths.
Before starting on any bladder support supplement, it is vital to consult a physician. This ensures one's moves as one method of treatment may not necessarily work for another. Bladder infections pose a threat to kidney infections when left untreated promptly and this can lead to more complications and problems earlier not anticipated.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Rhodiola Rosea?
February 26, 2012 07:02 PM
Rhodiola rosea is medicinal herb that has many beneficial health effects on humans. It grows in the cold regions of the world like Europe, Central Asia and Arctic region. The phytochemicals present in this medicinal plant are good antioxidants and they are quercetin, chlorogenic acid, gallic acid and proanthocyanidins. It also consists of essential polyphenols namely rosiridin, rhodioniside and rhodiolin in the extracts of Rhodiola. These substances are the active ingredients of this herb and helps in improving the overall health of the body. The extracts of this plant can be taken in the form of tea, pills or liquid form and must be taken after prescription by medicinal health expert.
Some of the health benefits of Rhodiola rosea plant are explained as follows
Stabilize the Nervous system: This nature gifted herb is very helpful to stabilize the levels of neurotransmitters in our brain and thereby increase the levels of tryptophan, dopamine and norenephrine in our body naturally. Thereby, improve the neuro-chemical reactions inside the body.A Good Anti-oxidant: It acts as a good antioxidant and also protects our nervous system. It helps to overcome the damage caused to nervous system by eliminating the free radicals present in our body.
Treat Depression: It is known though a scientific research that Rhodiola rosea gave good results to treat mild and moderate depression on people of age group from 18 years to 70 years. The prescribed dosage to get the complete health benefit is 340 mg to 680 mg per day. SHR-5, the extract of this plant enhances the mental performance and also helps the person to concentrate on healthier subjects. This medicinal herb can also be used along with other anti-depressant drugs as it has the synergistic effect. Regular intake of the plant's extract according to the prescribed dosage by expert doctor reduced the symptoms of fatigue and helped them improve their concentration power. This herb is being used in cold counties like Scandinavia and Russia to overcome the stressful life and chill climate. Improves the Overall Health: This medicinal herb is known to enhance the immune system of a person and also improve the overall health. It helps in preventing the side-effects of stress and improve the physical activity, enhance the mood, appetite, estrus cycle, reduce fatigue etc.
It also helps to overcome stress, anxiety, anemia, hormonal imbalance cardiovascular diseases, and neurological disorders of a person. It is also known to decrease the time needed for recovery after any strenuous muscular activity.
Treat Insomnia: It is also being used to treat Insomnia and has given good results. Sleeplessness can be cured effectively with this herb without any side effects. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should not take this medicinal herb as it has some side effects on them.
Always consult your medicinal health expert before taking the extracts of this herb and take the correct dosage.It is known to maintain creatine phosphate at high levels and this is especially useful for athletes to maintain their stamina levels. Rhodiola rosea is also used to overcome the side effects of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Why Is Capsicum Cayenne Good For The Heart?
December 27, 2011 07:48 AM
Cayenne and Heart Health
The heart is something that is vital to any one of us and that is a fact. Recent numbers have revealed that over a million Americans die each year of a heart attack. So all the more reason for us to be careful with our hearts, make sure we keep it in good health and make sure we do everything we can to keep it working like it should because I am pretty sure that you do not want to be part of that next million next year.
Our heart is one of those organs in the body that truly plays an integral role and the none functioning of it will cause your expiration in just a matter of minutes unlike other organs when damaged there is still a possibility for you to survive it, but no, not the heart, once you are done, you are done and that is why its health should be one of our main concerns. The heart’s main function is to supply blood to other parts of the body and it is literally our pumping station. It does not stop at any time in our entire life, I am sure no one will contend with that. So I feel that it is our obligation to find out how we can keep the heart healthy. Well, the usual will always be there like exercise and proper diet but if you want to look at other ways aside from that and aside from medication then the way to go is the natural way and what can be more natural than supplementing with something which is derived from an everyday vegetable like peppers.
This refers to the wide variety of tropical pepper plants and as such is also known by other names like cayenne pepper, chilli pepper, red pepper, paprika, Hungarian pepper and Mexican pepper. It is unclear as to what exactly is its geographical origin but it is commonly agreed upon that it is a native of tropical regions such as China, Philippines, Tonga, Samoa, Iraq, Haiti, Hawaii and Mexico. One of its benefits is its ability to regulate blood circulation and alter temperature regulation because of the substance found in it which is known as capsaicin. Its seed has been proven in various studies to have antibiotic properties and if applied topically can even desensitize nerves and can be used as an anesthetic. When used as a liniment it is able to help with the stimulation of circulation as well and aid in the removal of waste (detox) products therefore allowing an increase in nutrient flow to the different tissues in the body which is why it is effective in relieving muscle spasms, bursitis and shingles.
Good for the Heart
One of the reasons why it is good for the heart is because it has the ability to stimulate blood vessels dilation and help relieve chronic congestions which in turn will improve blood circulation. It also has the ability to lower blood cholesterol levels and increase metabolism which are both vital to maintaining heart health.
Natural Anxiety Remedies
November 11, 2010 05:44 PM
Anxiety disorder is a much more common problem than what was once thought. It often affects people in their teenage years through middle age and later. Anxiety disorder appears to affect twice as many women as men. However, there may not be that wide of a disparity between the sexes. Psychologists simply believe that men are far less prone to report or even acknowledge that they have a problem of this nature. Anxiety disorders can either be acute or chronic. Acute anxiety disorder manifests itself in episodes that are commonly known as panic attacks. A panic attack occurs when the body’s natural “fight or flight” reaction occurs at the wrong time. This is a complex response in which the body prepares itself to deal with an emergency situation. Stress can often cause the body to produce more adrenal hormones, especially adrenaline. The increased production of adrenaline causes the body to step up its metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to quickly produce energy for the body to use. Additionally, the muscles tense up and the heartbeat and breathing become more rapid.
When faced with an assault, accident, or a natural disaster, this type of reaction is perfectly normal. However, the symptoms that are caused by the surge in adrenaline can be distressing and frightening when they occur at the wrong time. A person having a panic attack is often overwhelmed by a sense of impending disaster or death, which makes it impossible to think clearly. Other feelings that can accompany a panic attack include shortness of breath, a smothering, claustrophobic sensation, heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, hot flashes or chills, trembling, numbness or tingling sensations in the extremities, sweating, nausea, a feeling of unreality, and a distorted perception of the passage of time. This disorder can eventually have other cumulative effects such as generalized aches and pains, muscular twitching and stiffness, depression, insomnia, nightmares and early waking, decreased libido, and abnormal feelings of tension with an accompanying inability to relax.
Panic attacks are usually abrupt and intense, occurring at any time of the day or night, and lasting from several seconds up to half an hour. To the panic sufferer, it often feels as though they are much longer. A person having a panic attack sometimes believes that he or she is experiencing a heart attack or stroke. The attacks themselves are very unpredictable, with some people experiencing one every few weeks, and others having several each day. Panic attacks are often triggered by stress or certain emotions, but they can also be a response to certain foods, drugs, or illness.
Many people with acute anxiety disorder become afraid of being alone and visiting public places because they fear having a panic attack. This only adds to the level of anxiety and leads to abnormally restricted lives. Psychologists often believe that at least in some cases, panic attacks are self-induced, meaning that the fear of the panic attack is the very thing that brings it on. The following nutrients are recommended for dealing with anxiety disorders: calcium, magnesium, B1, B12, multivitamin and mineral complex, SAMe, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, chromium picolinate, DLPA, L-glutamine, coenzyme A, essential fatty acids, GABA, melatonin, bilberry, ginkgo biloba, milk thistle, catnip, chamomile, cramp bark, kava kava, hops, linden flower, motherwort, passionflower, skullcap, fennel, lemon balm, willow bark, feverfew, St. John’s wort, skullcap, valerian root, and mandarin oil.
Natural vitamins and herbs can be found at VitaNet ®, LLC Vitamin Store.
Spearmint Is a Powerful and Natural Remedy for all who use its leaves
September 09, 2010 12:59 PM
The spearmint is a species of mint that is native to a lot of Europe and southwest Asia. However, its exact natural range is uncertain because of extensive early cultivation. The herb can be found growing in wet soils. It is also an invasive species in the Great Lakes region. There, it was first sighted in 1843. The spearmint plant is an herbaceous rhizomatous perennial plant. It can be found growing thirty to one hundred centimeters tall. The leaves are five to nine centimeters long and have a serrated margin. The plant produces pink or white flowers that are slender spikes. The name ‘spear’mint comes from the pointed leaf tips.
The spearmint plant is grown for its aromatic and carminative oil. This oil is referred to as oil of spearmint and grows well in nearly all temperate climates. The plant is often grown by gardeners in pots or planters because of its invasive spreading roots. The plant prefers partial shade. However, it is still able to flourish in full sun or even mostly shade. The plant is best suited for loamy soils that have plenty of organic material. The leaves of the plant can be used whole, chopped, dried and ground, frozen, preserved in salt, sugar, sugar syrup, alcohol, oil, or dried. After the plant flowers, the leaves lose their aromatic appeal.
Spearmint is very similar to peppermint in the action that it provides. However, it is milder in its activity. Spearmint was the original mint that was used for healing. It should be noted that peppermint is actually a hybrid of spearmint. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used the mint anciently for its medicinal value.
This herb is very valuable. Most individuals are able to tolerate spearmint well. It is excellent for the gastrointestinal tract. One of its best helps is in soothing an upset stomach by soothing the stomach and intestines. Spearmint increases circulation in the stomach. It also helps to control vomiting that is a result of morning sickness during pregnancy. The oil that is found in spearmint leaves is responsible for working on the salivary glands to aid digestion. It also stimulates gastric secretions. The herb is a gentle and effective remedy for babies with colic. The herb also helps to relieve smooth muscle spasms, increase blood circulation, promote sweating, and relieve pain.
In short, the leaves of the spearmint plant are used to provide alterative, antiemetic, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, nervine, stimulant, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, and vitamins A, B-complex, and C. Primarily, spearmint is extremely beneficial in treating colds, colic, flu, gas, nausea, and vomiting. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in treating bladder inflammation, chills, cramps, dizziness, edema, fever, indigestion, kidney inflammation, kidney stones, spasms, and inhibited urine.
In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by spearmint, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
Skin Infections - Abscess
April 26, 2010 03:21 PM
When puss accumulates in a tissue, organ, or confined space in the body due to infection, an abscess can be formed. Abscesses may be located either externally or internally, and can often result from an injury or a lowered resistance to infection. An abscess can form in the brain, lungs, teeth, gums, underarms, abdominal wall, gastrointestinal tract, ears, tonsils, sinuses, bones, breasts, kidneys, prostate gland, rectum, scrotum, or almost any other body part. Infections are the most common disorders found in humans and they can be produced by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. A boil is an external abscess.
The affected area can become swollen, inflamed, hot, red, and tender. The individual may also experience fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, and alternating bouts of fever and chills. In some severe cases, blood infection and/or rupture of the abscess can occur. The material that is found inside of an abscess consists of living and dead white blood cells, dead tissue, bacteria, and/or toxins. All of which must be discarded from the body. An abscess that suddenly appears is often referred to as acute, while those that are present for a period of days or weeks is often termed to be chronic. A chronic abscess is more resistant to treatment because of the damage being more severe and widespread. On the other hand, acute abscesses are less extensive and generally respond to treatment within a matter of days.
An abscess that is treated should usually begin to heal in a few days, with complete healing resulting in a week or two. An abscess that does not show any signs of healing within this amount of time can be an indication of problems in the immune system. Although complications are rare, they can include bleeding or recurrence of the abscess. An abscess is basically a sign that the body is trying to rid itself of impurities. These impurities can consist of cells that are deficient in nutrients, which often stems from poor diet and exposure to environmental pollutants, chemicals, and other harmful substances. Eating junk food cluters the system with foods that lack nutrients and prevents cellular wastes from being eliminated efficiently, as it causes problems like constipation and sluggish liver, spleen, and kidney function.
The following herbs are beneficial for healing abscesses and cleansing the blood: burdock root, cayenne, dandelion root, red clover, and yellow dock root. Chamomile tea is also good for treating dental abscesses and consuming distilled water with fresh lemon juice along with three cups of Echinacea, goldenseal, and astragalus or suma tea is also helpful. An Echinacea tea of extract in warm water can be used as a mouthwash for dental abscesses. Also, a poultice that combines lobelia and slippery elm bark is a great soothing way to fight infections. Milk thistle, when taken in the capsule form, is good for the liver and aids in the cleansing of the bloodstream. Also, tea tree oil, applied externally, is a potent natural antiseptic that kills infectious organisms without harming healthy cells. This solution will destroy the bacteria, hasten healing, and prevent the infection from spreading.
Herbs like the above mentioned ones are available at your local or internet health food store. Always choose name brands to ensure quality and purity of the herbal supplement you purchase for consumption.
Vitamins and Herbs to Fight Sunburns, and Sunblock to Prevent it
February 25, 2010 09:47 AM
Sunburn is the result of excessive exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. The amount of exposure that is required to cause a burn is unique to each individual, the geographical location, the time, and the atmospheric conditions. There are two types of ultraviolet rays, which are designated as ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB). Both types of ultraviolet rays are dangerous. UVB rays attack the skin’s outer layers, while UVA rays attack the underlying layers of the skin.
The majority of sunburns are first-degree burns that cause the skin to become red, warm, and tender to the touch. Depending on the severity of the burn and the individual’s skin type, the burn may subsequently “cool” into a suntan or thin layers of skin may peel off. More serious sunburn can be categorized as a second-degree burn. A second-degree burn consists of extreme reddening, swelling, pain, and even blisters. This is a sign that the burn has gone deeper than just the surface layer of the skin and has caused damage and the release of fluids from cells in the lower layers of the skin. The result of this is eruptions and breaks in the skin where bacteria and other infectious organisms can enter. In the most severe cases, a burn can be accompanied by chills, fever, nausea, and/or delirium. These types of sunburns are extremely painful and are extremely dangerous for children. Sunburn can often be accompanied by dehydration.
Those people who are fair-skinned are more prone to sunburn than those darker-skinned individuals. However, no matter what your skin color, you will burn if you get enough exposure. Symptoms do not always appear while you are in the sun, as they may begin from one hour to twenty-four hours after sun exposure and they usually reach their peak in two to three days.
The effects of sun exposure are becoming an increasing concern today due to the decline in the earth’s ozone layer. The ozone layer is responsible for screening out the most harmful ultraviolet rays, but it is becoming increasingly thinner all over the world. Holes that fluctuate in size have even developed in various places. Additionally, the incidence of skin cancer is growing at an alarming rate. It has been found that having two or more bad episodes of sunburn as a child can make you much more likely to develop skin cancer as an adult.
The following nutrients are recommended for prevention and treatment of sunburn: coenzyme Q10, colloidal silver, DMB, a free-form amino acid complex, L-cysteine, a multivitamin and mineral complex, potassium, Pycnogenol, vitamin A with mixed carotenoids, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, an all-purpose bactericide spray, calcium, magnesium, essential fatty acids, silica, a vitamin B complex, vitamin E oil, and zinc.
Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial in treating sunburn. Aloe vera gel has been noted to be remarkably effective in treating any kind of burn. It is responsible for relieving discomfort, speeding healing, and also helping to moisturize the skin and relieve dryness. A salve of calendula flowers and St. John’s wort can act as painkiller for burns and promote healing of skin wounds because these herbs have antiseptic properties.
Also, Lavender oil or chamomile oil used in a herbal bath can help to minimize the stinging and pain of sunburn. Comfrey and gotu kola tea can be made it to a compress for the affected area. Horsetail is good for tissue repair, while tea tree oil can help to heal sunburn and other skin irritation. Apple cider vinegar diluted with water is a great wash for sunburned areas.
To prevent sunburns, apply sunblock on any exposed skin before going out side to prevent skin damage before it starts.
October 30, 2009 12:45 PM
Peppermint was used by both the Romans and Greeks in some of their sacred rites. It was highly regarded for its medicinal purposes. The Romans used mint as a stomach aid and also to promote digestion. The Greeks also used this herb for a variety of different ailments. Mint can be found all throughout stories in Greek mythology. The leaf of peppermint was used by Native Americans in a tea form as a carminative, in order to prevent vomiting, nausea, and fevers. The peppermint plant is native to Europe. There are many different varieties of peppermint. The plant is actually believed to be a hybrid between spearmint and water mint.
Peppermint leaf is believed to be one of the great herbal remedies and is very useful to have around the house. It is very easy to grow, either in the garden or the home. The herb contains warming oil that is effective as a nerve stimulant. The oil is helpful in increasing oxygen in the blood and working to clean and strengthen the entire body. Peppermint is a great sedative for the stomach. It has been found to contain properties that stimulate the flow of bile and help to settle the stomach after vomiting. The herb is beneficial in dealing with nausea, chills, colic, fevers, gas, and diarrhea. It is able to cleanse, soothe, and relax the body. Peppermint has long been recommended by herbalists for digestive problems. Additionally, it is used for convulsions in infants, to increase respiration, for colds, and to strengthen the entire body.
The menthol that is found in peppermint is believed to be the major component responsible for the medicinal value that it provides. Peppermint plants contain somewhere between fifty and seventy-eight percent menthol. Studies have determined that there are numerous volatile oils in peppermint, which possess antibacterial activity in vitro. It is yet to be determined just how effective peppermint will be in clinical studies. It is also believed that the oil of peppermint is able to sooth gastrointestinal contractions and help to relieve gas. Peppermint’s volatile oils produce relaxation on the smooth muscles. This may be beneficial in conditions such as irritable bowel, abdominal pain, and other gastrointestinal complaints. Research done in 1979 found that peppermint oil capsules were very effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome. A study that was done using laboratory mice found that peppermint leaf extract produces a mild sedative effect. Additionally, animal studies have found that the azulene in peppermint oil contains anti-inflammatory properties.
The leaves and oil of the peppermint plant are used to provide antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, rubefacient, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are copper, iodine, inositol, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, silicon, sulfur, and vitamins A and C. Primarily, peppermint is extremely beneficial in dealing with appetite loss, colds, colic, digestion, fever, gas, headaches, heartburn, nausea, nerves, shock, bowel spasms, and vomiting.
Additionally, the herb is very helpful in treating chills, cholera, constipation, convulsions, stomach cramps, uterine cramps, depression, dizziness, flu, heart problems, insomnia, menstrual problems, morning sickness, motion sickness, neuralgia, shingles, mouth sores, stomach spasms, and sore throat. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this make sure the peppermint supplement is enteric coated. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by pennyroyal, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
October 20, 2009 12:02 PM
For thousands of years feverfew has been used for the treatment of various ailments. History is full of references to feverfew. Dioscorides, an ancient Greek herbalist, recommended the use of feverfew almost two thousand years ago, as he valued the herb for childbirth, fevers, melancholy, and congestion of the lungs. It was also suggested for arthritis. In 1772, feverfew was suggested to be used to treat painful headaches. Many people believe that feverfew obtained its name from its use as a remedy for bringing down fevers, but this has been determined to be incorrect. Instead, the name came from the traditional Old English name for feverfew, featherfew. Featherfew came from the feather-shaped leaves of the feverfew plant.
Feverfew has been used for a long time as a natural remedy for pain relief, as it is considered an excellent remedy for migraines. This herb was used to treat any kind of pain and helped with chills and fever. Additionally, it helps in relieving colds, dizziness, tinnitus, and inflammation from arthritis. The herb works gradually and with a gentle action that allows the body to heal itself.
The most popular use of feverfew is in the prevention and relief of migraine headaches. In a study, those given the placebo had an increase in frequency and severity of headaches, nausea, and vomiting. On the other hand, those given the feverfew capsules had no increase in frequency or severity of migraines. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study was done on seventy-two volunteers. One group received capsule dried feverfew leaves, while the other received a placebo. The group taking feverfew showed less severity of attacks and a reduction in symptoms that were associated with migraines, including vomiting. There was a definite improvement in the group using feverfew and no serious side effects resulted. Because some forms of migraines are believed to be associated with abnormal platelet behavior, feverfew may be beneficial as it has been found to help restrain the release of serotonin from platelets. This prevents a migraine from occurring.
It is thought that feverfew may also be a useful treatment in cases of rheumatoid arthritis. This is because of its ability to inhibit the formation of inflammation-promoting compounds like prostaglandins and leukotriene. This herb seems to have similar properties to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), like aspirin. Feverfew may actually be even more effective with a lot fewer potential complications. Some of the studies involving feverfew and migraines have shown that feverfew may also lower blood pressure.
The leaves and flowers of the feverfew plant are used to provide alterative, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, aromatic, bitter, carminative, emmenagogue, febrifuge, nervine, parasiticide, mild purgative, stimulant, and vasodilator properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are iron, niacin, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium, vitamins A and C, and zinc. Primarily, feverfew is extremely helpful in dealing with chills, colds, fever, headaches, sinus headaches, and inflammation.
Additionally, this herb is very beneficial in treating aches, ague, allergies, anxiety, arthritis, insect bites, poor circulation, dizziness, gastric disorders, nervous headaches, hot flashes, indigestion, and menopausal symptoms, absent menstruation, nervousness, tinnitus, and vertigo. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by feverfew, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
September 29, 2009 01:21 PM
Medicinally, ginger has been used for thousands of years. The herb was first used in tropical Asian climates. The Greek historian Dioscorides recommended ginger for the stimulation of the production of digestive juices and also to fight chills and colds. This herb has been used by the Chinese for many ailments including colds, nausea, and indigestion. The introduction of ginger to America is credited to the Spaniards during the sixteenth century. From 1820 to 1873, ginger was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia.
Ginger is believed to have blood-thinning properties, along with the ability to lower blood cholesterol levels. The herb is both a blood stimulant and a cleansing herb. Ginger is also used for respiratory problems like colds, sore throats, bronchitis, congestion, headaches, and pain. This herb is also known to help with nausea, kidney problems, heart problems, fever, vomiting, cramps, and in herbal combinations to aid in the effectiveness of other herbs. Ginger is well known for its medicinal properties, as it is used for a variety of ailments including menstrual symptoms, inflammation, arthritis, high cholesterol, liver problems, gastrointestinal problems, and motion sickness.
Recent studies have been very convincing as to the value of ginger. This herb contains terpenses, which are chemically similar to those found in camphor and turpentine. Additionally, researchers believe that there are two natural antibiotics that have been found in ginger. Ginger has been found to stop the growth of bacteria and also has the ability to relieve dizziness and motion sickness. This herb may help in preventing heart attacks and also contains anti-inflammatory agents. Studies involving seven patients with rheumatoid arthritis who have tried numerous conventional drugs, which provided only temporary or partial relief, were given ginger. All of the patients reported significant improvement, pain relief, reduction in swelling, and improved mobility from the ginger therapy. Additional studies found similar results, with 75 to 100 percent of the patients having relief and improvement as a result of ginger supplementation. Of all its effects, ginger is probably best known for its positive effect on the gastrointestinal system. One study found that powdered ginger was more effective in treating motion sickness than some common over-the-counter treatments, without causing drowsiness. Out of thirty-six volunteers for the trial, the twelve who were given ginger did better than the twelve who received an over-the-counter preparation and the twelve who received a placebo. Ginger contains zingibain, which is a digestive enzyme that is beneficial for digestion. Ginger root may have potential for easing the morning sickness that is often associated with the early months of pregnancy.
The root of the ginger plant is used to provide alterative, antacid, anti-inflammatory, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, rubefacient, sialagogue, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, sodium, and vitamins A, B-complex, and C. Primarily, ginger is extremely beneficial in treating bronchitis, childhood diseases, poor circulation, cods, colic, colitis, stomach cramps, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, fevers, flu, gas, gastric disorders, headache, heart problems, indigestion, morning sickness, motion sickness, nausea, sore throat, and vomiting. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with colon problems, coughs, uterine cramps, hemorrhage, intestinal problems, kidney problems, paralysis, sinus problems, and toothaches.
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.
April 15, 2009 01:20 PM
Thrombophlebitis is when inflammation occurs in the veins due to the formation of a blood clot in that vein. This problem usually occurs in the extremities, especially the legs. Thrombophlebitis can be considered superficial if it affects the subsutaneous vein, which is one of the veins near the skin’s surface.
In superficial thrombophlebitis, the affected vein can be felt and may be seen as a reddish line under the skin. Additionally, swelling, pain, and tenderness to touch can occur. If widespread vein involvement is included, the lymphatic vessels may become inflamed. Superficial thrombophlebitis is a relatively common disorder that can be brought about by trauma infection, standing for long periods of time, lack of exercise, and intravenous drug use. The risk of superficial thrombophlebitis can be increased by pregnancy, varicose veins, obesity, and smoking. Thrombophlebitis can also be associated with environmental sensitivities to allergies. This condition is usually diagnosed according to physical findings and a medical history that indicates an increased risk.
Deep thrombophlebitis (DVT) affects the intramuscular veins farther below the skin’s surface. DVT is a much more serious condition than superficial thrombophlebitis because the veins affected are larger and located deep within the musculature of the leg. These veins are responsible for the transport of 90 percent of the blood that flows back to the heart from the legs. Symptoms of DVT may include pain, warmth, swelling, and bluish discoloration of the skin of the affected limb. These symptoms are often accompanied by fever and chills. The pain is typically felt as a deep soreness that is worse when standing or walking and gets better with rest, especially with elevation of the leg. The veins directly under the skin may become dilated and more visible. Inflammation situated in a vein in the pelvis is referred to as pelvic vein thrombophlebitis.
The reason or reasons for the formation of the clots in the veins are often unknown. However, in most cases, clots are probably the result of a minor injury to the inside lining of a blood vessel. If the vessel lining receives a microscopic tear, clotting is initiated. Platelets clump together to protect the injured area, and a series of biochemical events is initiated that results in the transformation of fibrinogen, a circulating blood protein, into strands of insoluble fibrin, which are deposited to form a net that traps blood cells, plasma, and yet more platelets. This results in a blood clot. Other possible causes of the formation of DVT include abnormal clotting tendencies; poor circulation; certain types of cancer; and Behcet’s syndrome, which is a condition that affects small blood vessels that predispose an individual to the formation of clots. The following factors increase the risk of DVT: recent childbirth, surgery, trauma, the use of birth control pills; and prolonged bed rest.
The following nutrients are recommended for the prevention and treatment of thrombophlebitis: acetyl-l-carnitine, coenzyme Q10, flaxseed oil, garlic, l-cysteine, lecithin granules, l-histidine, magnesium, MSM, Pycnogenol, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, zinc, and vitamin B complex. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: alfalfa, pau d’arco, red raspberry, rosemary, yarrow, butcher’s broom, cayenne, ginger, plantain, witch hazel, skullcap, valerian root, ginkgo biloba, goldenseal, hawthorn, and olive leaf extract.
Natural vitamins are a great way to help prevent conditions such as these. If you suspect that you have thrombophlebitis, consult your doctor before trying to take the problem into your own hands. Natural vitamins such as the ones listed above can be found at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Natural vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
March 13, 2009 02:48 PM
The coming of winter brings the possibility of becoming sick for many people. Millions of Americans suffer from at least one bout of the flu or cold each year, which results in millions of hours of lost work time, millions of dollars spent on remedy products, and flat-out despair. Those people who do come down with a cold or flu end up seeking out syrups, lozenges, tablets, and pills that are not designed to get rid of the ailment, but suppress its various symptoms instead.
There has been no cure to date for the various strains of viruses that cause colds and flu. Although conventional medicine has attempted to suppress the symptoms of the flu and cold, most of the products are relatively ineffective and come along with a variety of side effects. Thankfully, there are natural methods and products that help to prevent infection from cold and flu viruses and also help to shorten the duration and lessen the severity of a cold/flu infection.
The differences between a cold and flu are often imperceptible. However, there are several differences. Although there are more than 20 identified major virus families, most colds come from only five of these. Three other virus families produce flu, which are usually identified as A, B, and C strains. Flu types B and C are generally mild in adults, both of which are often confused as bad colds. Once a person experiences a type C flu, they usually gain immunity, although children can get it more than once. The type A flu virus is the least stable and most volatile, as it changes genetic makeup frequently. Type A strains cause more severe symptoms than a cold and individuals do not generally develop an immunity to it. The virus found in the type A flu are generally the viruses that produce epidemics.
The flu is almost always more severe than a cold, as it is usually accompanied by fever, chills, and aches. The onset of a flu is also much more rapid than that of a cold, with a flu usually lasting anywhere from a few days to a week. However, residual effects from the flu can last up to a few weeks.
Most colds come from one of five virus families, with almost half coming from the rhinovirus family. The rhinovirus wasn’t officially detected until the late 1980s. Colds are usually restricted to the nose, throat, and surrounding air passages and usually do not bring fever, chills, or the more severe symptoms that often associated with the flu. Unfortunately, the duration of symptoms of a cold is usually longer than that of the flu, as it sometimes lasts several weeks at a time.
Viruses are the cause of the majority of symptoms that are found along with a cold or flu. They are involved in the cause of these symptoms in several ways. First of all, some of the symptoms of a cold are caused by the body’s own response to the infection. Some of these symptoms include cough, fever, runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. Viruses often prompt what is termed a disease process, in which antibodies are produced that attach to the viruses they’re fighting as both travel throughout the body.
The virus is able to destroy or damage vital organs that they invade. Depending on the extent of the infection in the organs, along with the overall virus invasion, the body’s immune system can be worn down, which makes it much more susceptible to other infections. Fortunately, natures provides relief. Those who suffer from the flu or a cold can take vitamin C which has been shown to reduce the severity and length of ones cold.
Year after year the flu will rear its butt and there is little we can do accept keep clean by washing our hands regularly. Even though the flu can not be stopped, vitamins like vitamin C can help reduce the length and severity the cold one experiences. Quality vitamin C is inexpensive and available at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamin C is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
February 27, 2009 02:34 PM
Mumps, a common viral illness mostly occurring during childhood, is caused by a type of virus that is known as a paramyxovirus that infects the parotid glands, which are the salivary glands that are located at the jaw angles below the ears. Symptoms include swelling of one or both glands plus headache, fever, chills, decreased appetite, sore throat, and pain when swallowing or chewing, especially when swallowing acidic substances such as citrus juices. A lot of times, one of the parotid glands will swell before the other, and as swelling in one gland subsides, the other begins to swell. Mumps travels from person to person by means of infected droplets of saliva or direct contact with contaminated materials. This illness can be contracted through sneezing, coughing, kissing, talking, breathing, drinking out of the same glass as an infected person, and sharing utensils. This virus has an incubation period that can vary from fourteen to twenty-four days, with the average period being about eighteen days. A person with mumps is contagious any time from forty-eight hours before the onset of symptoms to six days after the symptoms have started. Although this attack is not as contagious as measles or chickenpox, it is similar in that one attack usually gives lifetime immunity.
Mumps occurs most commonly in those children that range between the ages of three and ten. However, it can occur through teenage years and, rarely, in adulthood. If this illness does occur after puberty, the ovaries or testes may become involved and sterility may result. If the testicles are affected, they become swollen and painful, while abdominal pain will result if the ovaries or pancreas is affected. Other organs that can be affected by mumps in rare or severe cases include the brain, pancreas, and kidneys. All of these can potentially cause serious complications.
The following bacteria are beneficial in dealing with mumps. Unless otherwise specified, the dosages given are for adults. For children between the ages of twelve and seventeen, the dose should be reduced to three-quarters of the recommended amount. For children between six and twelve, one-half of the recommended doses should be used, while one-quarter of the amount should be used for children under the age of six. Bifidobacterium bifidus should be taken as directed on the label to provide friendly bacteria, which contains antibiotic substances that inhibit pathogenic organisms. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids helps to destroy the virus and eliminate toxins if taken in dosages of 500 mg every 2 hours until improvement is noted.
One 15 mg zinc lozenge should be taken every 4 to 6 hours to aid healing. Acidophilus should be taken as directed on the label, as it contains antibiotic substances that inhibit pathogenic organisms. A free-form amino acid complex should be taken as directed on the label, as it is important for tissue repair and healing. 50,000 IU of vitamin A with mixed carotenoids should be taken daily, as it potentates immune function. Kelp, which contains essential minerals, iodine, and vitamins, should be taken in dosages of 1,000-1,500 mg daily. Additionally, the following herbs are beneficial in dealing with mumps: catnip, chamomile, dandelion, Echinacea, elderflower, lobelia, mullein, peppermint tea, slippery elm bark, barley, and yarrow.
Vitamin supplements are great to help fight off colds, but with the mumps always consult your doctor, if left untreated further life threatening complications may occur which is not desirable by anybody. Vitamin and Herbs are available at your local or internet health food store.
Red Pepper, Cayenne, Capsicum
December 18, 2008 04:51 PM
A remarkable whole body stimulant, Capsicum can boost blood flow, tone the nervous system, relieve indigestion, promote sweating, help to cauterize and heal ulcers, ease persistent pain, and fight off infection. One study on African plants found that Capsicum, when regularly ingested, is highly beneficial in hemorrhoids varicose veins, anorexia, liver congestion, and vascular conditions. The therapeutic actions of capsicum can be attributed to the alkaloid or glucoside content of the herb.
Capsicum boosts peripheral circulation and stimulates organ secretion as it expedites the therapeutic delivery and action of other herbs. This allows the medicinal benefits of these herbs to reach the inflamed tissue more rapidly because of enhanced blood flow. Cayenne insures rapid and even distribution of the active parts of the rest of the herbs to critical parts of the body, which include those that are involved in cellular respiration, metabolism, data transmission, and neural-hormonal activation.
For this reason, cayenne is included in many other blends, as even extremely small quantities can dramatically increase the efficiency of most other herbs. Capsicum stimulates everything from blood flow to peristaltic action in the stomach, to intestinal transit time. Capsicum’s ability to stimulate organ secretion and heart action makes it one of the strongest natural stimulants that are known.
Capsicum is also known to be unequaled in its ability to boost circulation and increase heart action. Cultures that consume significant amounts of cayenne pepper in their diets have been found to have lower rates of cardiovascular disease. A variety of desirable actions on the entire cardiovascular system can be produced by Capsicum, with its extraordinary ability to enhance cardiovascular performance and lower blood pressure. Capsicum is considered a superior food for the heart by herbalists, where capsicum in hot water is thought to help lessen the severity of heart attacks.
Many studies have also been done on Capsicum’s ability to reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. When cayenne is ingested along with dietary cholesterol, the typical rise in liver and blood serum cholesterol levels that ordinarily results was significantly inhibited. Additionally, bile acids and free cholesterol were subsequently eliminated from the body through the stool.
Another bonus of Capsicum is its ability to lower blood serum cholesterol, as it decreases blood pressure. There is additionally evidence that suggested that the herb is able to initiate other mechanisms that help in fighting hypertension. Because Capsicum stimulates organ secretion and boosts peripheral blood flow, it is not shocking that is also facilitates the faster removal of toxins from the blood stream and lymphatic system.
Additional benefits of Capsicum include its ability to boost the circulatory system, as it has the ability to help in preventing cold hands and feet, as well as Reynaud’s Syndrome. Capsicum also has antioxidant capabilities, making it a great scavenger of free radicals. Anti-cancer research has also found that Capsicum does demonstrate anticancer properties, as it inhibits certain enzymes that initiate the mutation of cells. This implies that taking Capsicum can give the body some protection against cellular mutation.
Capsicum has also been found to be an impressive pain killer, an anesthetic to ulcerated tissue, an aid in weight loss, a helper in psoriasis and rhinitis, and a reliever of fevers and chills. The list goes on and on, about the benefits of this amazing herb. Cayenne or red pepper can be found at your local health food store.
September 22, 2008 09:48 AM
Panax is a type of perennial plant with fleshy roots, and grows in Eastern Asia. Ginsengs contain ginsenosides that are triterpene saponins, steroidal compounds that are found only in Panax ginseng. The effects of these saponins are difficult to establish, but they are believed to be behind the properties of ginseng.
Panax ginseng is found predominantly in Korea, China and Siberia, although a genus has also been found in Vietnam. Panax are adaptogenic herbs that help promote resistance to anxiety, fatigue and stress, and are said to adapt the body to resist a number of different stressors. It has been proposed that adaptogenic herbs can balance the endocrine hormones of the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal axis.
They also normalize the immune system, and increase the activity of phagocytes, the killer cells. Additionally, they not only help to maintain homeostasis, but are believed to go further and act as allostatic agents, adapting response to maintain system stability in a more dynamic fashion, by changing interactive functions as opposed to the individual adaption’s made in homeostasis.
Not all ginsengs are the same, and although Siberian ginseng is an adaptogen, it is not a true ginseng. Its roots are woody rather than fleshy, and it contains eleutherosides as opposed to ginsenosides. These also are triterpenoid saponins, but of a different adaptogen. The herb is actually Eleutherococcus senticosus as opposed to Panax ginseng and P. quinquefolius, both true ginsengs. Siberian ginseng was misnamed as a marketing ploy.
American ginseng is Panax quinquefolius, sometimes referred to by the Chinese as Huaqishen. It, too, is an adaptogen and a true ginseng, containing ginsenosides. However, it contains much less ginsenonide Rg1 than panax. This ginsenonide appears to possess estrogen-like activity and improves spatial learning. The other forms of ginesonide found in panax ginseng are:
Ginsenoside Rb1: This appears in greatest concentration in American ginseng, and appears to have an effect on the reproductive system. It not only has an effect on the testicles, but is believed to increase testosterone production through its stimulating effect on luteinizing hormone. It also helps to rdeduce the incidence of angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels from old, and also a stage in the development of malignant tumors from dormant ones.
Ginsenoside Rc: this possesses sedative properties, and in a study on breast cancer was found to have an effect in inhibiting the growth of these particular cancer cells. Ginsenoside Rc might therefore have use in the treatment or prevention of breast cancer. Studies have also suggested that this ginsenoside could increase the motility of sperm: the motiliy of sperm was found to increase significantly in a solution of ginsenoside Rc.
Ginsenoside Rf: this is present only in panax ginseng, and studies have indicate that it has an inhibitory effect on the Ca2+ neural channels in the brain, and so cokld have an analgesic effect. Studies have as yet failed to explain this effect that is seen in animal tests, but are continuing on this ginsenoside.
Ginsenoside Re: this ginsenoside has strong antioxidant effects and has a significant antidiabetic effect in that is reduces insulin resistance, which is likely why ginseng is taken to treat Type 2 diabetes. Studies are ongoing into the properties of this ginsenoside, and also on the other 10 or more that are known to be present in Panax ginseng. The effects of ginseng are difficult to establish with certainity because they work through so many different pathways and it is difficult to isolate one. More than one ginsenoside, for example, affects the calcium channels in the brain, and it is difficult to determine which does what.
There are fewer ginsenosides in Panax quinquefoilius, and in the USA it is only the panax version that can be traded as simply ‘ginseng’. One of the main problems with all ginsengs is that although it is one of the most studied plants, the majority of the studies have been on animals, and due to this, and the difficulties caused by the multiple pathways described earlier, many of the postulations have not been proved in humans.
However, if the theory as it is know today is taken into consideration along with the traditional uses of ginseng in traditional Indian (ayurvedic), Chinese and Native American medicine, it would be fairly accurate to say that ginseng is useful in helping your body to recover after illness or surgery, and to help you to deal with stress. It has also been proved to lower your blood glucose (sugar) levels, and help in the treatment of Type II diabetes, as already mentioned. There is evidence that it helps to boost your mental performance, memory and might help to slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Ginseng can also give a boost to your energy levels, and it is genarally accepted that panax ginseng is more effective than the American version. In traditional medicine, Asian ginseng is said to be warming, and the American variery cooling. Thus Panax ginseng is useful for people recovering from illness and trying to recover their strength, acts as a tonic, stimulant and supports the immune system. In other words it helps the body to get whole again after being depleted.
It should not be used if you get very hot and red, such as with heat stroke, unless you use it in combination with the American version, because these are conditions of high yang and this type of ginseng will increase the yang even further.
American ginseng, on the other hand, is good for those with fevers, hypertension (high blood pressure), and suffereing the effcts of heat. It helps build the yin and reduce the yang, so if you always feel flushed and hot or are hyperactive then go for the American, and if you easily get chilled or find your hands and feet get cold very easily, reach for the Asian ginseng to increase your yang.
You often find ginseng as an ingredient in soft drinks, but the concentration is so low that it has no metabolic or pharmacological effect. The dose to be taken should be as stated on the pack, since there is no specific standardization. It has been noted that the effects can be lost if an excess of ginseng is taken, but generally the herb is safe and if you feel a bit down or lacking in energy, ginseng can work wonders for you.
Capsicum - Cayenne Red Pepper
July 28, 2008 03:06 PM
Capsicum also known as cayenne pepper has been known to the natives of the tropical Americas for thousands of years. It was first introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus as Guinea Pepper and was originally used by Native Americans that were located south of the Mexican boarder as early as 700 B.C. The mixture of chocolate and red chilies was a taste treat that was reserved exclusively for Aztec royalty. Although the exact origin of the word Capsicum is somewhat a mystery, it is assumed to be derived from the Greek word kapto, which means to bite. Capsicum is a fruit found on a shrub-like tropical plant that is technically considered a berry. The designation of it as a pepper can be traced back to Columbus, who compared its hot taste sensation with that, a black pepper.
Gerard referred to Capsicum as extremely hot and dry in 1597 and prescribed it to those with skin and throat infections. The health practitioners of the 1800s used Capsicum to counteract rheumatism, arthritis, depression, and chills. Capsicum was used in the early 1800s as a potent and safe natural stimulant and was believed to be able to treat a large array of diseases. It was first used orally to treat tumors, toothaches, fevers, and respiratory conditions.
This cayenne red pepper was introduced to England by Dr. John Stevens in 1804 when it became the catalyst component in many herbal blends. Additionally, herbal and medical practitioners used Capsicum in order to fight infection and sustain the natural heat that the body produces. After, it became very well known in American dispensatories and pharmacopeia. In 1943, The Dispensary of the United States recorded Capsicum to be a powerful local stimulant that produces a sense of heat in the stomach and a general glow over the whole body when it is swallowed. It does all of this without having a narcotic effect.
Physicians in the twentieth-century recognized the medicinal value of Capsicum. This caused the herb to find its way to the American Illustrated Medical Dictionary, the Merck Manual and Materia Medica, where it is named a rubefacient, local stimulant, counter-irritant, gastric stimulant, and diaphoretic. Mexican Indians today use Capsicum as an intestinal disinfectant and protectant against contaminated food and, additionally, to treat fevers. In the world today, this cayenne pepper is no more appreciated and more widely used than in Mexico and a few other Latin American countries, which together are the original home of all the peppers. Practically every dish the Indians eat both in the morning and evening include Capsicum, just as it was 2,000 years ago. These peppers are a wonderful source of essential vitamins in a diet that is otherwise lacking of them.
Capsicum is a source of health and vitality in many countries which include the Bahamas and Costa Rica, in which it is used to treat colic and indigestion, in Africa for vascular disorders, and in North America as a tonic and natural stimulant. Currently undergoing a large variety of studies, Capsicum has emerged with an impressive list of actions. Scientists are currently taking notice and looking at Capsicum with a new respect and interest. Capsicum can be set apart from powerful pharmaceutical stimulants and pain killers because it possesses the potency without the delirious side effects.
Cranactin - Cranberry Extract
May 21, 2008 10:24 AM
Cranberry is a fruit native to North America. It typically grows in bogs, and commercial production is mainly performed in Massachusetts and Wisconsin.
For ages, cranberry has been used for the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections. Research suggests that it prevents bacteria from adhering to host cell surface membranes. It was used by Native Americans to treat ailments of the bladder and kidneys. The cranberry was documented in the 17th century as a treatment for several ailments, including:
* Blood disorders * Liver problems, vomiting and stomach ailments * Loss of appetite * Scurvy *Cancer
Cranberry was used as an effective treatment for urinary tract infections long before antibiotics were invented. It is still recommended by physicians to be used in conjunction with a prescribed round of antibiotics for treating bladder infections.
Statistically, one in every five women in the United States suffers from bladder infections in her lifetime. Three percent of these women suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Approximately 11 million women each year receive medications to treat UTIs. Studies show that women with a history of bladder infections can reduce the frequency of those infections by regularly drinking cranberry juice.
There have been no significant reactions discovered between cranberry and prescription drugs. Drinking cranberry juice a minimum of three times per day during treatment of a bladder infection will increase the need to urinate. This helps your body to rid itself of the infection through ingestion and expulsion of fluids.
Pharmacology of Cranberry
The use of cranberry for medicinal purposes has been the subject of many scientific discussions. At first, it was thought that acidification of the urine assisted in creating an antibacterial effect. However, the primary reason that cranberry works so well for treating bladder infections is its prevention of bacterial adhesion to cell walls. It also prevents adherence by other gram-negative uropathogens that cause infection. Cranberry's ability to inhibit the adherence of bacteria has been shown through in vitro research.
One study showed that the same property in cranberry juice that prevents bladder infections also aids in dental plaque prevention. Additionally, cranberry has been discovered to be a recommended treatment for Candida (yeast) infections.
Further in vitro studies show that cranberry has an inhibiting effect on certain types of fungi. However, there are no human trials that indicate its effectiveness in treating fungal infections when used alone.
Symptoms of a Bladder Infection
The most common symptom of an oncoming bladder infection is feeling a constant, urgent need to empty the bladder. This feeling is present even when there is little or no fluid in the bladder. Other symptoms may include:
* Frequent urination * Dysuria (burning or painful urination) * Bladder spasms * Cloudy urine * Bloody urine * Foul-smelling urine * Mild fever
A bladder infection that has gone untreated for an extended period of time could turn into a kidney infection. This brings with it much more serious symptoms which may include fever, chills and nausea. You may also experience cloudy or bloody urine, painful urination and abdominal pain. A common telltale sign of kidney infection is back pain just above the waist.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is wise to contact your physician. Bladder infection symptoms will not go away by themselves. They will continue to worsen, and your infection will become much more serious. Treatment for bladder infections is quick and easy. The sooner you begin the better.
If you suspect that you are about to experience a bladder infection, begin a regimen of drinking cranberry juice or supplement at least three times a day and make an appointment with your doctor.
Preventing Bladder Infections
There are several precautions you can take to prevent bladder infections. Some may seem obvious or silly, but after your first infection you will think very differently. Some of these precautions include:
* Wipe from front to back after urination or a bowel movement. This prevents the spread of bacteria.
* Go to the bathroom frequently. Holding urine in the bladder for long periods of time invites an infection.
* Keep the genital area clean and dry. Avoid prolonged moisture in the area.
* Avoid frequent bubble baths. They can cause vaginal irritation.
* Try to urinate soon after sexual activity. If lubricants are used, use only those that are water-soluble.
* Underwear with a cotton crotch will aid in infection prevention as well.
Drink a lot of water throughout the day. Also, drink cranberry juice or cranberry supplement to keep the urine acidic. This will prevent natural bacteria from multiplying as frequently, thus avoiding bladder infection.
Detox your Body with Wasabi Rhizome
January 29, 2008 10:30 AM
The Wasabi rhizome, the underground fleshy stem of the wasabia japonica plant, is prized not only for its fiery flavour but also its effect in detoxifying the liver. However, make sure that you are getting the real McCoy since many restaurants in the USA do not use the genuine paste.
The wasabi is a plant of the cruciferous family, the same family as cabbage, broccoli, turnip, radish, horseradish and mustard, and is native to Japan and Korea and now grown on the Pacific coast of Canada. It grows best in temperate to cold climates, especially in mountainous areas where there are plenty of cold streams.
Anybody who regularly enjoys sashimi and sushi should be familiar with the wasabi rhizome, that green lump of paste lying on the side of the plate. It is hot and fiery, although not in the same way as the chilli pepper that is fiery on the tongue and in the mouth. This tends to affect the sinuses more, and leaves a sweetish taste once the initial heat has dissipated. However, it is not always what it should be.
The last comment there refers to the practise, especially in the USA, of using dyed common horseradish as wasabi paste, so be careful of that since the two are not equivalent in the health benefits they impart to your body. Although of the same family as the horseradish, and sometimes termed the Japanese horseradish, ordinary horseradish does not have the same health benefits as genuine wasabi, and does not contain the same active ingredients so do not confuse the two.
Real wasabi is normally used grated, and there are specific techniques that should be used to grate wasabi rhizomes to bring out the fullness of the flavour. True grated wasabi should be of a natural pale greenish color rather than the brighter green normally associated with sushi restaurant wasabi.
Traditionally, wasabi rhizome is used as a condiment with sushi, although their leaves can also be used in salad dressings and or as a delicacy pickled in soy sauce or sake brine. The genuine vegetable is difficult to cultivate which explains why ordinary horseradish is dyed and used in its stead, and the vast majority of non-Japanese do not know the difference because it is likely to be all they have consumed under the name of wasabi. The health benefits of the genuine article, however, are considerable greater.
So that’s what it is, but what does it do? What are the health benefits of wasabi rhizomes and why are they considered to be so good for your liver? Wasabi rhizomes contain substances that are very effective in detoxifying you liver, and that are also very strong antioxidants that provide you with good overall health benefits in their capacity to destroy the free radicals created by the pollution of modern living.
The active antioxidants in the rhizome are precursors of isothiocyanates, which are known as phytochemicals. These are chemicals that can protect or prevent diseases through its antioxidant properties. The term ‘precursor’ means that the isothiocyanates are synthesized by your body from the nutrients contained in the wasabi rhizome. Other examples of phytochemicals that you may have heard of are carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols that also possess antioxidant properties.
Other antioxidants are vitamins A and E, which is why these are used in anti-wrinkle creams, since their anti-oxidant effect helps to prevent the free radicals destroying the skin cells in the dermis and epidermis that leads to the wrinkles associated with aging. Wasabi is equally effective as an antioxidant, although it has other properties that are important to your liver.
The liver is your body’s chemical plant. That is where most of the chemical reactions take place that are essential for life. If your liver is unhealthy you can develop diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis, and a healthy liver is essential for life let alone a healthy life. Wasabi helps to detoxify and clean out your liver.
Apart from creating the wide variety of enzymes needed to process your food, and controlling the vast majority of the biochemistry of your body, your liver is also your detoxification plant that coverts toxins into biodegradable molecules that your waste disposal system can evacuate without harm. This occurs in two phases.
Phase I coverts the toxin to a form that your body can further process (the bioactive form), and Phase II breaks it down into a form that your kidneys can handle and eject it in your urine. Isothiocyanates are involved in the production of the enzymes that enable the chemical reactions of Phase II to proceed. They allow your body to cleanse itself of toxins, and without this process you would be less healthy and more prone to cancers and other undesirable conditions and diseases in your body.
It is becoming more important in this modern age with its increasing natural and synthetic pollution that your liver is working at peak efficiency. Your liver is equally as important to you as your heart and brain, and without it you cannot survive. Wasabi also contains glucosinolates that help the isothiocyanates to induce the production of Phase II enzymes, and it is general believed that eating this tuber cab help protect you against stomach, colon and breast cancers as well as help your cardiovascular system and blood clotting.
An interesting fact is how wasabi rhizome came to be traditionally served with raw fish. The isothiocyanates precursors, and the glucosinolates that wasabi also contains, apparently help to destroy the bacteria associated with raw fish, and help prevent disease and illness. It was likely found healthier to include a dollop of this green paste with your sushi than not, and so the use of common horseradish might be somewhat questionable if it has less of an effect.
Make sure, therefore, that your have the real thing, and apart from any specific health considerations associated with eating raw fish, you are best advised to take it as a supplement to help Detox your liver rather than visit sushi bars for your consumption. It will also help your wallet!
Papaya- May Be A Fountain of Youth
May 31, 2007 02:09 PM
Papaya- May Be A Fountain of Youth
Seventy years ago, when the Social Security Administration was developed during the Great Depression, age 62 was recognized as average life expectancy. These days, getting older is a whole different ball game. Not only are people living well into their 80s and 90s, they’re living better, too. People well into retirement are mountain biking, kayaking, jogging and hiking, as well as gardening, golfing and attending concerts – sometimes for their first time. Everybody, it seems, is on the go, from ages of 22 to 92.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until retirement to start planning for a longer more vibrant life. The best way to ensure happier and longer years ahead is to start young.
Nobody wants to spend retirement in the doctor’s waiting room or have their golden years intruded upon with illnesses or infirmities. And, most importantly, we don’t want to feel 80 years old even though our driver’s license says we are.
These desires and demands are not just wishful thinking. Huge advances in the understanding of how men and women age are being made almost daily. These findings are helping to improve our chances of living long, healthy lives. And, some of the most impressive findings have shown that using nutritional supplements can help – in particular, a specially formulated papaya preparation is able to fight two of the primary reasons we get old – oxidative stress and immune system decline.
This issue of Ask the Doctor is going to share the anti-aging secrets hidden in the papaya and how this tropical fruit may hold the key to a long, vibrant life.
Q. Why papaya? What does papaya have that other fruits and vegetables don’t?
A. Not many American moms put a papaya in their kids’ lunch boxes and papaya pie has yet to gain a following. But this tangy tasting fruit is now appearing fairly frequently in the produce departments of most grocery stores and its popularity seems to steadily increase each year.
The papaya’s bright orange flesh is fairly fibrous and very slippery – slicing a peeled papaya is a little like slicing a bar of wet soap. The core is filled with little black seeds that look a lot like caviar. And while eating a papaya will give you a day’s worth of vitamins A and C as well as potassium taking Fermented Papaya Preparation (or FPP) might just give you an additional 30 years of healthy vibrant life.
Q. What exactly is Fermented Papaya Preparation (FPP)?
A. It’s a specialized nutritional supplement. Backed by more than 30 studies to date, FPP has been used in
Q. How was FPP developed?
A. Japanese scientists noticed that individuals with higher amounts of papaya in their diets experienced certain health benefits.
Researchers who study aging decided to look at the papaya’s chemistry to see if it might have properties that could contribute to longevity. Several plant chemicals in the papaya showed promise. And when they combined papaya with specific yeasts and traditional Japanese fermentation techniques, FPP was born. This unique substance was then subjected to scientific studies to see its health impact; they determined that FPP is a superior antioxidant, a powerful immune-booster, and one of
Q. How does FPP help people live longer and healthier?
A. While getting older is an indisputable fact of life, aging, per se, is not. We can’t do much about our annual birthdays and we really shouldn’t even if we could. Every age is a cause for celebration and every life experience, both the difficult and the sublime, should be treasured.
However, we don’t have to accept the consequences of aging that can make a mockery of the “Golden Years” - heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and cancer. Our parents and grandparents and the generations that preceded them might have had little say in how they aged. But we can. We can slow down the harmful effects of aging and FPP can help by reducing oxidative stress and immune system decline.
Additionally, fighting oxidative stress helps people retain their youthful appearance longer. Oxidative damage is the number one factor in facial aging.
Q. What exactly does oxidative stress mean and what does it have to do with aging?
A. One theory of aging is that harmful molecules called free radicals wreak havoc in our cells. Many of our body’s normal metabolic processes produce free radicals. For example, free radicals are a normal by-product in the production of ATP (the energy molecule) from glucose. Certain types of white blood cells destroy invading microbes by the production of free radicals. Free radicals are also formed by the many normal enzymatic actions that take place every minute every day.
However, outside sources can also cause free radical formation, as well. If we are exposed to pollutants in the environment, chemicals, additives and preservatives in the food we eat, or even direct sunlight, excess production of free radicals can occur, causing profound damage. This free radical frenzy is called oxidative stress, and is linked to almost every disease of aging including arthritis, heart disease, cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer. In fact, the reason why these are called diseases of aging is because the longer we are alive, the longer we are subjected to these free radical assaults.
Q. How does FPP affect the decline of our immune systems as we age?
A. Our immune systems consist of specialized tissues, organs, and cells, including several different kinds of white blood cells. Each type of white blood cell works in specific ways to keep us healthy and free of disease. They not only stand guard – on the alert for invaders – they can fight and eradicate microbes, too.
However, as we age, our white blood cells become less efficient in keeping viruses and bacteria from infecting us. They often mistake invaders for good guys, like nutrients. As they age, white blood cells may recognize foreign invaders, but be too tired to fight and let them in. This age-associated immune decline also results in single cancer cells being able to “take hold” and grow into tumors. By the time the white blood cells realize their mistake, the cancer is a widespread disease.
That’s why older members of society have more urinary tract infections, more pneumonia, more cases of bacterial meningitis, tuberculosis, herpes zoster, and much more cancer than younger adults do. Moreover, mortality rates for these diseases are often 2-3 times higher among adults than younger people with the same disease.
FPP steps in and takes charge. One kind of white blood cells, the macrophage “eats” and digests bacteria, viral particles, and free radical fragments. Research has shown that FPP helps macrophages work faster and ingest more disease-causing microbes. Scientists have also discovered that FPP increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin that’s secreted by macrophages. Interleukin plays an important part in wound healing and keeping minor infections from becoming major infections.
Another important immune system cell is the natural killer (NK) cell, a white blood cell that is continually on the prowl for cancer cells. As the immune system ages, NK cells have trouble “seeing” cancer cells. Researchers have discovered that FPP boosts the activity of NK cells. Increased NK cell activity can result in the increased killing of cancer cells as well as cells infected by viruses.
Q. How does FPP help protect us from free radical damage?
A. FPP contains unique and powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radical damage. Antioxidants do this by donating an extra electron to the free radical without becoming frenzied or worked up into a free radical themselves. Although the antioxidant has donated an electron, it has a more stable “personality” and is less reactive. This action stops the domino effect and ongoing free-radical damage.
If you consider your body a temple, think of free radicals as stealing bricks from your temple’s foundation. FPP acts not only as policeman, but as a builder as well. It doesn’t just stop the theft of bricks; it helps create new ones, keeping the foundation strong and young.
FPP does this by affecting super oxide dimutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX), the very genetic pathways that eliminate free radicals from the system. FPP is more than an antioxidant – it doesn’t turn into a pro-oxidant if you happen to take a large dose the way standard antioxidants can. Consider it an “antioxidant plus.”
Since aging is largely determined by how well our bodies can fight oxidative damage, using FPP can slow down the clock as it bolsters natural abilities with its own potent neutralizing activities.
Q. What else does science say about FPP?
A. As the subject of over 30 clinical studies, FPP has been shown to inhibit dangerous hydroxyl free radicals. In addition, it is also being considered for its immuno-protective effects.
Researchers and medical professionals have been studying FPP for years, tracking its effect on the immune system and aging. In fact, no less a personage then Dr. Luc Montagnier, co-discover of HIV 1 & 2 virus, has been conducting research on this natural immune booster.
Dr. Montagnier recommends using FPP as part of a tri-therapy (including antibiotics) that reduces the proliferation of the virus and stimulates the immune system. Since FPP has antioxidant and immuno-stimulative properties, it seems like an obvious choice for a combined approach to combating AIDS. Because of the higher free radical production in stage II of HIV infection, Montagnier believes that reducing this oxidative stress at the earliest stage of HIV infection may be a key factor.
In HIV-infected patients, the glutathione system is depressed even at the early stages. As part of a combination treatment, FPP increased the numbers of CF4 lymphocytes helped with weight gain and increased hemoglobin levels.
One scientific study showed the ability of FPP to inhibit dangerous hydroxyl and hydroxyl-like free radicals, while enhancing the production of protective super oxide. Other research by Dr. Lester Packer, a professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology at the
And, in one randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, patients with cirrhosis of the liver were given FPP or a placebo. The results showed that 81.2% of the patients survived in the FPP group compared to 38.5% of participants in the placebo group.
These studies and many others like it, show that FPP can neutralize the effects of oxidative stress on disease states as well as slowing the normal aging process.
Q. So if we can prevent oxidative damage to our cells AND prevent decline in our immune systems, how much longer can we expect to live?
A. Most theories of aging and almost all researchers who study aging claim there IS a limit to how long the human body can remain viable. However, the oldest age achieved so far was 128 by a woman named Ma Pampo who lived in the
Right now, Japanese women have the longest life span of any country in the world, with an average life expectancy of 85.93 years. Japanese men live an average 78.87 years.
Q. Is FPP safe?
A. Yes, it is. Many health-conscious people in
Q. What is the recommended dosage level of FPP?
A. Dosages of FPP vary depending on individual needs and usage. For basic anti-aging support, 3 grams per day is fine. For additional support, up to 9 grams per day is recommended. To add a boost to your immune system when you need it, start out with 6-9 grams a day for the first 2-3 days (at the beginning of a cold, for example) and then move back down to 3 grams per day.
For individuals looking for optimum immune support, Dr. Montagnier advises morning and evening doses, preferably on an empty stomach.
Breast Cancer and Natural Supplements
May 11, 2007 10:47 AM
Breast Cancer and Nutritional Supplements
There is probably nothing more frightening for a woman than the discovery of a lump in her breast. Cancer and all its consequences quickly come to mind. This quick association may materialize, in part, because no woman is immune. Most have a friend, a sister, a mother, or a coworker who has been diagnosed with the disease. And they know how difficult dealing with this disease can be. Fortunately, 80% of all breast lumps are not cancerous. Most are cysts or a benign clump of tissue.
Over her lifetime, a woman’s breasts undergo many, many changes. From before puberty and on, breast tissue is continually evolving. Breasts often feel different before menstrual cycle, returning to normal a few days after. Pregnancy certainly causes changes in a woman’s breasts, as does breastfeeding. And as women age, breast tissue becomes less dense.
Because of these continual changes, breast tissue especially requires adequate nutrition. While everyone benefits from a healthy diet, there are additional nutrients from which women can specifically benefit.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss breast cancer and the vast amount of research that has explored the role nutrition plays in this serious and still deadly disease. Specifically, we will discuss how two B vitamins, calcium D-glucarate, broccoli extract, green tea, maitake mushrooms, and iodine can all help prevent breast cancer.
Q. How can these nutrients prevent breast cancer?
A. Scientists learn a lot about disease from simply observing what is happening around them. One observation that has been recognized for many years is that certain cultures have very low incidence of breast cancer. Women n
Moms (and dads) have also learned a lot about diseases simply by observing what is happening in their families. They have notices that certain vegetables play a large role in the prevention of all types of diseases, including cancer. And, accordingly, they have been urging their offspring to eat their vegetables for several generations.
Building on these observations, scientists have designed and carried out many studies to determine what it is about these nutrients that can prevent breast cancer. What they have discovered, so far, follows. Let’s start with the B vitamins.
Deficiencies of this vitamin can result in a serious type of anemia. Nerve damage can also occur if B12 levels are too low. Researchers are now investigating whether breast cancer may, in part, be caused by a B12 deficiency as well.
Another study, this one taking place in a laboratory setting, discovered that vitamin B12, applied directly against experimental breast cancer cells, actually stopped the cancer cells from growing. The researchers conducting the experiment believe that giving vitamin B12 to women with breast cancer as part of a chemotherapy regime, might help keep the cancer in check.
Low folic acid intake is linked to the development of all cancers. This is because folic acid is crucial to the making and continual repair of DNA, the molecule that carries our genetic code. A recent study discovered that high intakes of folic acid might actually reduce the risk of breast cancer. The researchers looked at the diets of over 2600 women. During interviews with the researchers, the women reported what they usually ate. Once the data was collected, the results showed that women, who ate lots of foods that contained folic acid, had much lower rates of breast cancer.
There is no clear-cut, single cause of breast cancer. Many factors are required for the disease to appear. One such factor is estrogen. A recent study showed that women who developed breast cancer tended to have higher levels of estrogen circulating in their bodies than women without breast cancer. This means that women who got their periods before age eleven or entered menopause after age fifty-five have a higher risk of breast cancer. This also supports the theory that the number of menstrual cycles a woman has affects her risk for breast cancer.
Another factor is drinking alcohol. Because alcohol raises estrogen levels, if a woman consumes even moderate amounts of alcohol her risk of breast cancer also is increased. The link between alcohol and breast cancer may even be stronger than other dietary links. However, an important study has discovered that folic acid may uncouple this link.
A very large study of over 34,000 women recently studied the effect of folic acid on the risk of breast cancer. This project was part of the Nurses’ Health Study, an ongoing, long-term study that looks at nutrition’s role in the development of disease. The women in the folic acid and breast cancer study were followed for 12 years. The participants completed detailed food questionnaires that provided the researchers with important data.
The women were divided into four groups:
1. Women with low folic acid levels and drink alcohol
2. Women with high folic acid levels and rink alcohol
3. Women with low folic acid levels and don’t drink alcohol
4. Women with high folic acid levels and don’t drink alcohol
Within these four groups the women were further divided into subgroups according to the amount of alcohol they consumed each day and their specific folic acid intake.
The researchers found that women who consumed the lowest amounts of folic acid and drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day had the highest rate of breast cancer. In contrast, women who had high intakes of folic acid and also drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day, had the same rate of breast cancer as the women with high folic acid intakes who did not drink. In other words, women who had high levels of folic acid in their diet erased their alcohol-related increase in breast cancer risk.
It seems estrogen can be both friend and foe. While women need the hormone to soften skin, thicken hair, and fill out hips and breasts, estrogen can also nourish breast tumors, helping them grow bigger, stronger, and more deadly. Thanks, in part, to good nutrition, American women get their periods early and go through menopause alter in life. Women today also have fewer pregnancies; families with one or two children are quite common.
All of these factors increase the time women’s bodies are exposed to estrogen. As we discussed before, longer exposure means increased opportunities for estrogen to cause trouble. It is also a troubling fact of modern life that we are continuously exposed to cancer-causing chemicals and toxins. These toxins come in part from contaminants in the food we eat and pollutants in the air we breathe.
The body does have a system that eliminates some of the excess estrogen and toxic chemicals before they can cause harm. In the liver, they are bound or attached to a chemical called glucuronic acid. The bound toxin or estrogen is then excreted in bile and eventually eliminated as a waste product in the stool.
However, an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase can break this bond between estrogen and glucuronic acid. When this happens, the hormone or toxin is released from its bone, capable of causing harm once more. Increased beta-glucuronidase activity is associated with an increased risk for various cancers, particularly hormone-dependant cancers like breast cancer.
Fortunately, scientists have discovered that a natural substance found in foods calcium D-glucarate (CDG) can stop the activity of beta-glucuonidase. CDG keeps the harmful estrogen bound to glucuronidase. While CDG is found in fruits and vegetables, the amounts may not be sufficient to maintain effective levels to stop beta-glucuronidase.
CDG has been shown in experimental studies to significantly stop beast cancer growth. And several human trials are currently underway with CDG to determine its capability to decrease the breast cancer risk in women at high risk for the disease.
There are some very interesting connections between breast tissue and thyroid tissue. Iodine is an essential trace element present in a hormone of the thyroid gland and is involved in several metabolic functions. One iodine function is the protection of breast tissue from cancerous cells.
In a laboratory study, researchers exposed breast cancer cells and breast tissue without any cancer to a type of seaweed that contains high levels of iodine. The seaweed killed all of the cancerous cells, yet did not harm the normal breast cells. Japanese women frequently eat this type of seaweed and have very low rates of breast cancer. The study’s researchers believe one reason for this low incidence of breast cancer may be the iodine in the seaweed.
And, for some as yet unknown reasons, women who have thyroid cancer are at higher risk of developing breast cancer. While they are unsure why this happens, researchers are continuing to study this link, and support of healthy thyroid function remains an important consideration.
For quite some time, scientists have observed that cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, significantly reduce the risk of disease, including cancer. It seems a phytochemical in broccoli sulforaphane, is one of the chemicals responsible for this beneficial activity. Sulforaphane increases certain enzymes in the body called phase 2 enzymes that deactivate cancer-causing chemicals.
Breast cancer cells exposed to sulforaphane in several lab experiments showed that the compound inhibited the growth of the cancer cells up to 80 percent. Researchers are in the process of setting up clinical trials to study sulforaphane’s effect in women who have breast cancer.
There is a tall amount of research, including finding from the Nurses’ Health Study, that suggest green tea beverage consumption is associated with a lower incidence of breast cancer. In fact, researchers have long noted the low rates of breast cancer in
The active compound in green tea responsible for breast cancer inhibition is epigallocatechin-3 gallate or EGCG. When breast cancer cells are exposed to EGCG in lab experiments, the cells stop growing, lose their ability to replicate, and die.
In a recent study, researchers discovered that drinking green tea prevented the recurrence of breast cancer in women who have previously been diagnosed and treated for the disease. This study involved over 1100 Japanese women. The women who drank green tea every day had very low rates of their breast cancer returning.
For thousands of years, maitake mushrooms have been linked to good health in those who eat them. Called “dancing mushrooms” (possibly due to their wavy, rippling appearance or possibly due to the little dance of joy mushroom hunters perform when they find them in the woods), maitakes contain an important compound called D-fraction.
Not only does the D-fraction in maitake mushrooms stop the growth of cancerous tumors, it also alerts and stimulates immune cells (including macrophages and natural killer cells) to fight the disease. Maitake also inhibits some of the mechanism that promotes metastasis, or spread, of cancer cells in the lymph and bloodstream.
Because of this success, maitake is now being used in clinical trials of women with breast cancer. One study reported significant improvement of symptoms, including reduction of the tumor. The maitake was given to breast cancer patients in addition to standard chemotherapy.
Q. Should these nutrients be used in place of traditional treatment for breast cancer?
A. Absolutely not. None of these nutrients can cure breast cancer. However, they can be a part of a validated plan of treatment. If you have breast cancer, talk to your health care practitioner about these nutrients. Remember, nutritional supplements are just that: supplements to food, medication, and treatment. They are intended to enhance and prevent, not replace.
Despite apprehension in performing self-breast exams, women are very proactive in their health. Yearly mammograms and pap tests have been an important part of their lives for many years, and newer and more accurate diagnoses are emerging. The prevention of health problems in themselves and their families has always been a high priority for women. And for women, nutrition has played an important part of health problem prevention.
Nutritionally speaking, what benefits your breasts benefit your whole body. However, as we have learned, there are specific links between nutrition and developing breast cancer that seem to be fairly strong.
Making a few changes may reduce the risk of developing the disease. The nutrients listed here, vitamin B12, folic acid, calcium d-glucarate, iodine, broccoli, green tea, and maitake mushrooms can be an important part of a woman’s preventative health regimen.
Selecting the Right Probiotic is the Key to proper digestion
May 05, 2007 01:16 PM
Selecting the Right Probiotic is the Key
Do you ever think about what goes into your body each day? You should. One of the key to feeling good and being healthy s eating nutritious food and making sure our gastrointestinal (GI) tract has the tools it needs to optimally digest and absorb nutrients. The GI tract includes the stomach and intestines, which work to digest foods and eliminate waste.
A variety of “good” intestinal bacteria helps to keep the digestive system running. These “good” bacteria are called probiotic bacteria, or probiotics. Probiotics digest food, process waste, and keep the “bad” bacteria – which have the potential to cause disease and illness – in check.
This issue of Ask the Doctor will look at the probiotic bacteria that play an important role in maintaining our health and wellness: we need them, what they can do for us, and how to make sure we are getting enough. Also, we will talk about an exciting process that truly delivers probiotic bacteria taken in nutritional supplements. Encapsulated in a pearl-like sphere, they survive transport to the intestines, set up house, and exert their beneficial effects. As we will see, probiotic supplementation can help prevent and treat many different illnesses, unless the beneficial bacteria reach the intestines alive and active, the supplement is worthless.
Q. I thought bacteria were bad. How can bacteria be good for us?
A. Some kinds of bacteria do cause illnesses and disease in humans. “Strep” throat is an example of an illness caused by bacteria.
However, the majority of bacteria do not cause disease. In fact, there are types of bacteria that are actually beneficial. “Good” bacteria, known as probiotic bacteria, are used in the manufacturing of food and beverages. Some examples of foods that have probiotic food ingredients are buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, sausage, and acidophilus milk.
These same kinds of probiotic bacteria are present in our intestines and help to keep the digestive system running by digesting food and processing waste.
Q. What are probiotics?
A. Probiotics are live bacteria that are non-toxic and do not cause disease (non-pathogenic).
Some of the best-understood probiotic bacteria include members of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium groups. Because of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium’s ability to break down lactose, these probiotic bacteria are also known as lactic acid bacteria. Both of these types of probiotic bacteria are well studied and are available in both food and dietary supplements.
Q. Is there a difference between the probiotic bacteria that is found in yogurt, and in nutritional supplements?
A. Actually, the bacteria that are in yogurt, our intestine, and most natural supplements are the same types of probiotic bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria longum. Because of this, these bacteria are referred in a generic sense as probiotics. So, the term probiotics may refer to the “good” bacteria that are present in food or that live in our intestine, or that are part of a natural supplement.
Q. Where do these probiotic bacteria come from?
A. As recently as the middle of the last century, bacteria found naturally in food ingredients were used to make a fermented food product. For example, the example, the lactic acid bacteria found naturally in milk were used to make cheese. This was known as wild fermentation.
Wild fermentations are no longer used. Today, the probiotic bacteria used in food and natural supplements are harvested via a highly controlled fermentation process. This process results in high numbers of bacteria and ensures quality and purity of the bacteria.
A. Normal microflora (the term commonly used for intestinal bacteria) is associated with good health. An imbalance in this natural microflora (when the beneficial probiotics are outnumbered by the harmful bacteria) is frequently associated with various disease states such as yeast infections and colon cancer.
Eating foods or taking a nutritional supplement containing probiotic bacteria can help support and modify the composition of the large intestine microflora. Microflora of the large intestine assist digestion through fermentation (by making the intestines more inhospitable to invading bacteria species), protection against disease-causing bacteria, and stimulation of the immune system.
The probiotics, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, occupy a central role in the intestinal and provide health benefits.
Q. How do probiotic bacteria help with digestion?
A. Lactose is an important sugar that is converted to lactic acid by lactic acid bacteria. Lactose intolerance results from an inability to digest lactose, due to the failure of small intestine mucosal cells to produce lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose. This often results because of genetics, gastrointestinal disease, or because of the decline in the amount of intestinal lactase levels associated with aging. Lactase deficient people accumulate non-absorbed lactose in the gastrointestinal tract, which draws water and electrolytes into the gut and speeds waste through the intestines, leading to bloating, cramping, and diarrhea.
Approximately 50 million people in the
Lactic acid bacteria have been shown to help the breakdown of lactose, specifically by enhancing the activity of lactase (beta galactosidase), which improves lactose digestion and tolerance. Furthermore, in a randomized, controlled clinical trial, Bifidobacteria longum was shown to assist in the breakdown of lactose and relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance (flatulence) in people with lactose intolerance.
Q. What is the difference between digestive enzymes and probiotics? Can they be taken together?
A. Digestive enzymes, such as protease, amalyse, and lipase, act upon food, breaking it down into simpler components that can be used by the body for energy. Without enzymes, digestion could not take place. Therefore, the food that we eat could not be absorbed and utilized by our bodies.
Probiotics help the enzymes to digest food and process waste. In essence, probiotic bacteria and enzymes work together to ensure that the digestive tract is running smoothly. When taken together, enzymes assure greater levels of digestion absorption of your food, and probiotic bacteria aid the enzymes in digestion and keep problems in check.
Q. Is helping to ensure a healthy digestive system the only use for probiotics?
A. Absolutely not! Probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, have been found to help prevent vaginal yeast infections in women that suffer from these reoccurring infections.
Approximately 35% of vaginal infections are caused by the yeast. Candida albicans, Candida, is a fungus that is a component of the normal gastrointestinal microflora. However, Candida must not be allowed to increase in numbers. An overgrowth is associated with adverse health effects like vaginal infections, oral thrush, or even serious systematic yeast infections. Probiotics have been shown to keep levels of Candida in check.
Probiotic bacteria have also been demonstrated to have anti-cancer properties. In baa clinical study, colon cancer patients given Lactobacillus acidophilus fermented milk showed a significant increase in numbers of intestinal Lactobacilli and a decrease in risk factors associated with colon cancer.
Patients suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can benefit from probiotic bacteria supplementation. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria assist in maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis and preventing reoccurrence of Crohn’s disease. Manipulating the intestinal flora may prove to be more effective and better tolerated than the drugs that are conventionally given to treat these diseases. I one study, Lactobacillus acidophilus was found to improve the intestinal barrier and clinical status in children suffering from Crohn’s disease.
Probiotics supplementation can also improve and prevent skin disease, such as eczema. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria can actually control inflammation associated with skin conditions. In one study, infants with eczema who were given probiotic-supplemented formulas showed a significant improvement in skin condition.
The chart below summarizes some of the diseases and conditions that probiotic bacteria can help prevent and/or improve.
Q. How often should probiotics be taken to ensure optimal support of the digestion system?
A. Probiotic bacteria do not permanently colonize in the body. They need to be replenished by the consumption of foods containing probiotic bacteria or by taking a probiotic natural supplement. Whatever form you choose to replenish the intestinal probiotics, they need to be ingested daily for their health-promoting effects to continue.
Q. If I take a probiotic nutritional supplement, how many bacteria should a good quality supplement contain?
A. The critical factor is not how many bacteria that a supplement contains, but rather how many bacteria reach the intestines healthy, vigorous, and ready to work.
A good quality supplement will deliver at least 3 billion living, healthy probiotic bacteria per dose to your intestines. The bacteria in the probiotic natural supplement should be a mixture of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.
Again, the critical key to a good quality probiotic supplement is that the bacteria must be alive to work. Only living probiotic bacteria can colonize in the intestines. A good quality probiotic nutritional supplement will have GUARANTEED levels of live bacteria at the point of consumption. Inferior brands will merely state levels of live bacteria at the point of manufacture.
Recently, a private laboratory tested various probiotic nutritional supplements in the marketplace, including one utilizing a new process that encapsulates the bacteria in a spherical, pearl-like coating. Each of these supplements were best-selling brands, two of them were enteric coated, and all had label guarantees about potency. The lab counted the levels claimed by each manufacturer.
Q. Then how do I know I am getting what I pay for?
A. First, look for a product that has a “use by” date or an “expiration” date clearly stated on the package.
It is also important to look for a probiotic supplement that does not require refrigeration. Probiotic supplements that require refrigeration often have been subjected to warm temperatures during shipment and storage that will inevitably kill off some or all of the bacteria.
It is also important that the product label guarantees live bacteria at the time of purchase, not at the time of shipment or manufacturing. However, from the laboratory test discussed, we see that sometimes these written guarantees are not worth the paper they are written on. There is one scientifically validated process that truly delivers live and vigorous bacteria to the intestine. This process suspends the probiotic bacteria in a moist paste and immediately seals the bacteria in a perfectly seamless, spherical, gelatin ball. This bacterial paste is completely protected from air and dryness so the bacteria are alive until the specialized gelatin dissolves – in the intestines.
Q. Why is it important to dissolve only in the intestine?
A. Lactic acid bacteria are not very resistant to the acids of the stomach. The harsh environment of the stomach destroys the majority of these bacteria.
This pearly-like coating technology protects bacteria from the stomach acid. The sphere is specially developed to only dissolve in the intestines. Enteric coating is not enough as it does nothing to protect the bacteria while they wait for purchase on the shelf.
Q. What does this proprietary coating technology mean to me?
A. This specialized process is an expensive processing step, but it has many advantages to you.
The pearl-shaped spheres actually “seal” the bacteria in the capsule, which protects them from air. Probiotic bacteria are anaerobic, meaning they do not require oxygen to live. In fact, the presence of oxygen can actually injure or kill probiotic bacteria. In addition, the special coating’s ability to seal the bacteria in the capsule stimulates the need for the nutritional supplement to be refrigerated – though they can be kept in the refrigerator, if desired.
By protecting the bacteria on the shelf and in the stomach, the probiotic bacteria successfully reach the intestine. As a result, there will be a greater number of healthy, intact bacteria that can colonize in the intestine.
Many health care practitioners believe all health issues are related in some way to the process of digestion. Probiotics play a crucial role in improving our digestive health, which, in turn, is interconnected to every single function in our bodies.
Taking a probiotic supplement is an excellent way to replenish the good bacteria in your intestinal microflora. A quality probiotic product contains two different types of bacteria from Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species with at least one billion live bacteria per dose.
But how do you know the bacteria re still alive? Look at the package. If there is no fate stamp, put it down. If it says the company guarantees there was a certain number alive at the time of manufacture, put it down. Tat means that the company is not willing to claim the bacteria are alive when delivered to the target site, the intestine. If the product must be constantly refrigerated, put it down. How do you know it didn’t sit in a truck for two days, or was in a warehouse before it was shipped to the health food store?
Find a probiotic that says the bacteria are guaranteed to be alive in the numbers stated on the label until the printed on the package. Find a product using unique, cutting edge science to deliver the probiotic bacteria in a form that uses spherical, sealed, triple coating to protect the bacteria. That company has gone to extra time and expense to make sure you reap the benefits that probiotics can offer.
An Interview with Congressman Sam Farr, Representing California’s Central Coast.
May 30, 2006 02:36 PM
Ambassador to Health Profile
An Interview with Congressman Sam Farr, Representing California’s Central Coast.
Congressman Sam Farr, a fifth-generation Californian, represents the state’s beautiful central coast. His district encompasses the length of the big Sur coastline in Monterey County, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Salinas Valley “Salad bowl,” the redwoods, mountains and beaches of Santa Cruz County, and the majestic rural landscape of San Benito County. The health and wealth of this region has been strengthened by Rep. Farr’s focus on the environment, education and the economy. Rep. Farr was raised in Carmel, California and graduated from Willamette University with a BS in biology. He later attended the Monterey Institute of International Studies and the University of Santa Clara. He is fluent in Spanish. As a tough advocate for the health food industry, he has lobbied for strict federal organic standards.
Todd: Congressman Farr, thank you for taking the time to speak with us! Id also like to thank you for all the great things you’ve done for our community, form funding marine sanctuaries and authoring the Ocean’s Act to expanding Pinnacles national Monument. The League of Conservation Voters and others have recognized you as an “Environmental Hero”. And, you’ve worked hard to support the economic vitality of central coast’s $3 billion agriculture industry which includes a substantial organic segment. Our backyard here is also the home of a robust group of nutritional supplement manufacturers. An estimated 187 million Americans are currently taking dietary supplements as part of their daily healthy diet. In California, we’ve got 792 natural product manufacturers and distributors. Where do you stand on the state of our industry?
Congressman Farr: Well, thank you for the introduction and for asking to talk to me about nutritional supplement issues. I am very supportive of this industry and include myself in the 187 million Americans taking dietary supplements. I think supplements offer many safe and viable tools to maintain your health. The continued growth of this industry is an indication of both consumer confidence in the products and the products’ ability to fill the gaps where conventional medical care falls short.
Todd: It is estimated that by 2030, more than 70 million Americans will be over the age of 65 and the cost of health care could reach $16 Trillion per year. A recent study by the Lewin Group showed that by taking certain dietary supplements, seniors can lead healthier, more productive, independent lives while saving billions in reduced hospitalizations and physician services. Do you share our view that a Wellness Revolution is needed to counter the dilemma of an aging population versus shrinking health care support in the future?
Congressman Farr: Our health care system is definitely facing a challenge, especially as the Baby Boomers hit their 60’s and Americans are living longer than ever before. As a Baby Boomer myself, I am well aware of America’s aging population and the impact that will likely have not only on our social institutions but also our fiscal well-being. I agree that dietary supplements do play and will play an even larger role in the future as more seniors look for a way to augment their diets in order to stay healthy and active longer than past generations.
Todd: Our industry is regulated by DSHEA (the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act), which was passed unanimously by Congress in 1994 to create a reasonable regulatory framework for access to, information about, dietary supplements. But many say that the FDA and DSHEA weren’t adequately funded to do the job as tasked. “Supplements are unregulated” is a false argument we sometimes hear. To ensure that the FDA is able to carry out the law as Congress intended, Representatives Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) introduced H.R. 2485, the DSHEA Full Implementation and Enforcement Act of 2005. Did you support this bill and where does it stand today?
Congressman Farr: I think the DSHEA is a critical law and was proud to support it when Congress considered it in 1993 and 1994. I would certainly support H.R. 2485 if it came up for a vote in Congress. Unfortunately this bill has not moved since it was first introduced and referred to the Subcommittee on health in the house energy and commerce committee. Since this is an election year we have a tight schedule with only about 60 legislative days scheduled before we adjourn. That means it’s likely Congress will only finalize bills such as the appropriation bills that fund government before adjournment.
Todd: Our business climate has included some valid and rigorous challenges to improve our industry, from good manufacturing practices (GMP), to allergy labeling, to implications of Prop-65 in California. It’s disconcerting that a new bill, H.R. 3156 The Dietary Supplement Access and Awareness Act would try to capitalize on misconceptions about the industry. In an era of declining health care and declining insurance coverage, this bill would regulate supplements as prescription drugs. Among other things, it would also require adverse event reports to be turned over to the FDA, even though other foods, including those with identical ingredients, do not have the same requirements. This has the potential to be the next Prop-65-like Lawsuit mill. The result of H.R. 3156 would be chilling. It will knock smaller producers out of the market. It will result in higher prices for all supplements. It will decrease the availability of health-giving supplements to the public. What’s your feeling on this?
Congressman Farr: I am similarly concerned about H.R. 3156 and would oppose it if it came up for a vote in Congress. Like H.R. 2485, this legislation has been referred to a subcommittee on Health in the House Energy and Commerce Committee without any further action. The supplement industry has worked in good faith with the FDA since passage of DSHEA and H.R. 3156 would re-invent a wheel that isn’t needed. Instead, adequate funding as proposed in H.R. 2485 would provide ample oversight for the industry.
Todd: According to a recent study, 72% of the general population believe the government should fund more research on health benefits of nutritional supplements. Do you agreen and what can be done to meet this need?
Congressman Farr: I definitely agree that the federal government should play a bigger role in support of research regarding the health benefits of nutritional supplements. As a member of the House Appropriation Committee, I sit on the subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the FDA’s budget and I know the tight fiscal restraints the agency is under. I’ve worked with my colleagues to provide adequate funding, but it’s an uphill battle especially when we’re in a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” kind of situation. I recommend that people within the industry organize and use your consumer base to actively lobby Congress for additional funds. I’m fond of reminding people that the squeaky wheel gets grease – so let every Congress member and Senator know how much this issue matters to you.
Todd: When there is overwhelming scientific evidence that nutritional supplements provides relief for a disease condition, it currently takes a lawsuit to get the FDA to relent and allow the claim. Even then, the FDA strictly limits the claim and requires a disclaimer that does more harm than good in communicating this important information to the public. There is a new bill, H.R. 4282, The Health Freedom Protection Act that would end FDA and FTC censorship of health information. As an example, the 50% of all adult males who suffer from an enlarged prostate could receive relief from that condition by consuming a simple and safe ingredient, saw palmetto derived from the fruit of the dwarf American palm tree. The FDA censors that information. The public deserves a better opportunity to be informed about omega-3 EFA and heart disease, folic acid and birth defects, phosphatidylserine and cognitive impairment. Do you agree and do you support this bill?
Congressman Farr: I agree the public needs to access to the best information possible so they can make well informed choices about their health. I likely would support H.R. 4282 if it came up for a vote in Congress. Unfortunately this bill is in a similar situation as other we’ve mentioned in this interview – and again because of the tight schedule of an election year, it’s unlikely action will happen this year.
Todd: According to the barometer study, 85% of the US population is currently using some type of dietary supplement. Do you? Looking at your busy schedule from co-chairing the House Oceans Caucus to your seat on the Travel and Tourism Caucus, you are one busy congressman! Are you popping nutritional supplements please tell us!
Congressman Farr: I do take some nutritional supplements, though they vary and since Ginkgo Biloba isn’t among them I cant remember their names off-hand! One product I do use faithfully is Airborne to help me combat germs and colds that I might get from sitting on an airplane. But, like many Americans my life is over-scheduled and combined with the amount of air-travel I do, I find nutritional supplements helpful as I try to stay healthy despite my hectic lifestyle.
Todd: Thank you Congressman Farr! Live long and prosper!
DSEA Release of Health/Cost Impact Study Conducted by the Lewin Group, Initial Results, Wash DC; Nov. 2, 2005
NNFA database. Adam.F on 3-15-06.
DSEA Nutritional Supplement Barometer Study, 2005 Report, Prepared by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).
Todd Williams; Source Naturals Marketing Programs Manager.
Acai is an exotic palm fruit from the Amazonian rain forest!
February 12, 2006 01:38 PM
Celadrin and MSM Fact Sheet
December 07, 2005 01:24 PM
Celadrin and MSM Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Diplomate in Advanced Nutritional Laboratory Assessment Revised 11/10/05
LIKELY USERS: People lacking flexibility or mobility; People wanting temporary control of aches and pains; People wanting to reduce pro-inflammatory body chemicals. KEY INGREDIENT(S): Celadrin® powder 500 mg. Provides 350 mg. of actual EFAC (esterified fatty acid carbons). This is a proprietary blend of Esterified Fatty Acid Carbons of Myristate, Myristoleate, Laurate, Oleate, Palmitate and Palmitoleate in a base of tapioca and silica.
MSM 100 mg.
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: CELADRIN® is an all-natural proprietary matrix of esterified (cetylated) fatty acid carbons (EFAC) derived from tallow of USA-raised cattle. This product is developed through a proprietary process of esterifying oil & has been clinically tested. Celadrin promotes joint health by improving flexibility, pain management and mobility. The myristoleic acids and the cetylated forms may alter the 5-LOX enzyme and change the leukotriene production, inhibiting inflammatory compounds.
Celadrin® may offer some noticeable benefits faster than other substances, like glucosamine and chondroitin. Though it is not a substitute for these important tissue-building nutrients. ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: MSM has synergistic abilities to reduce certain substances in the body which may affect the inflammatory process.
Contains Cetyl Myristoleate (CM, CMO), but in a patented blend of other fatty acid carbons. This product (Celadrin ®) has its own clinical studies showing safety and efficacy.
Also will be available in a softgel of the same potency (350 mg. of EFAC) as of December 2005 (product 3017, 90 softgels)
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: Three capsules a day, preferably with meals.
POSSIBLE SYNERGISTS: Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Joint Support Products, Manganese, Vitamin C, other Antioxidants
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 dietary supplement, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full-recommended dose over time, looking for possible side effects. Repeat this process for each new supplement that you start to use.
REFERENCES: 1. J Rheumatol. 2002 Aug;29(8):1708-12. Cetylated Fatty Acids Improve Knee Function in Patients with Osteoarthritis. Hesslink R Jr, Armstrong D 3rd, Nagendran MV, Sreevatsan S, Barathur R.
Flue and Cold Times – For relief from Flue & Cold Symptoms
November 07, 2005 02:34 PM
Flue and Cold Times – For relief from Flue & Cold Symptoms
Flue and Cold times is a fresh herb tincture containing Echinacea, Belladonna, Eupatorium and other herbs for temporary relief of fever, chills, postnasal drip, head and chest congestion, minor sore throat pain, cough, body aches, pains and soreness associated with cold and flu. For children and adults.
Berry Bash Smoothie
July 11, 2005 09:47 PM
Berry Bash Smoothie
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC ACTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH CAPSICUM
June 23, 2005 11:31 AM
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC ACTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH CAPSICUM
The following are specific actions associated with capsicum and the conditions it can help relieve.
PRIMARY MEDICINAL APPLICATIONS OF CAPSICUM
Substances that Complement Capsicum As previously mentioned, Capsicum is frequently added to herbal combinations in order to boost and potentiate their action.
The following herbs create particularly good herbal complements with Capsicum: garlic, ginger, hawthorn berry, peppermint, myrrh, yucca, gotu kola, parsley, ro s e m a ry, echinacea, kelp, ginseng, ginkgo, bayberry, slippery elm, black walnut, papaya, pep- permint, fennel, St. John’s Wort, and lobelia.
June 23, 2005 11:24 AM
Ironically, if you suffer from a peptic or duodenal ulcer, the last thing you feel probably feel inclined to take is hot Cayenne Pepper. While it goes against eve rything we’ve ever heard about what aggravates an ulcer, the facts are that most “spicy” foods do just the opposite. Capsicum has the ability to serve as a local anesthetic to ulcerated tissue and can even help to control bleeding. While some individuals may be bothered by eating “peppery” or spicy foods, these foods do not cause the formation of gastric ulcers in normal people. What is particularly interesting is that people suffering from ulcers who would normally avoid Cayenne Pepper, may actually benefit from its therapeutic action. In addition, taking Capsicum may significantly reduce the risk of ever developing a peptic ulcer. A Chinese study published in 1995 stated, “Our data supports the hypothesis that the chile used has a protective effect against peptic ulcer disease.”52 Another 1995 study found that Capsicum can even protect the stomach lining from aspirin induced ulcers.5 3 As most of us are aware, aspirin can cause stomach ulceration in certain individuals if a sensitivity exists or if taken with too little liquid. Researchers concluded after experiments with human volunteers that the capsaicin content of capsicum has a pronounced gastro - protective effect on the mucous membranes of the stomach.5 4 Eighteen healthy volunteers with normal gastrointestinal mucosa took chile and water followed by 600 mg of aspirin and water. The study was conducted over a period of four weeks. Endoscopy results showed that taking 20 gm of chile before the aspirin definitely demonstrated a protective action on the stomach lining.55 In short, Capsicum has the ability to rebuild stomach tissue. Note: The ability of Capsicum to bring blood to regions of tissue at a faster rate boosts the assimilation of foods that are consumed with it.56 Several clinical studies support this phenomenon. It is thought that Capsicum initiates the release of certain substances which increase secretions and facilitate better profusion of blood to the stomach and intestines.57 Capsicum can increases the flow of digestive secretions from the salivary, gastric and intestinal glands. Capsicum and the Gastro-Intestinal Tract In 1992, researchers tested the effect of chile or Capsicum on gastrointestinal emptying. Eight healthy volunteers were evaluated before and after the addition of Capsicum to their meals. The results conclusively demonstrated that the ingestion of Capsicum greatly effects intestinal transit time.58 If food moves faster through from the stomach through the intestines, caloric assimilation and bowel evacuation may be influenced for the better. Capsicum seems to “speed up” various physiological processes. To add transit time to the list of functions Capsicum boosts comes as somewhat of a surprise and additional benefit. Capsicum and Weight Loss Capsicum may be an unheralded weight loss aid that is perfectly safe to use. Studies have suggested that Capsicum can slow fat absorption in the small intestines and actually boost the metabolic rate so the thermogenesis (fat burning) is enhanced.5 9 In many instances excessive weight gain is thought to be a result of a sluggish metabolism. Capsicum has been singled out by herbalists as an herb which may boost the burning of fat.60 Unlike other stimulants, Capsicum does not cause palpitations, hyperactivity or a rise in blood pressure. For this reason, it may be a valuable weight loss supplement that has been generally overlooked.
As mentioned earlier, capsaicin has the ability to inhibit a neurotransmitter called substance P. Interestingly, an excess of substance P has been associated with psoriasis. Michael T. Murray, in his book, The Healing Power of Herbs, points out that this finding led researchers to study the effects of capsaicin ointments on psoriasis .61 Regarding the use of such an ointment for psoriasis, he states: “ . . . In one double-blind study, forty-four patients with symmetrically distributed psoriasis lesions applied topical capsaicin to one side of their body and a placebo to the other side. After 3 to 6 weeks, significantly greater reductions in scaling and redness were observed on the capsaicint reated side. Burning, stinging, itching, and skin redness were noted by nearly half of the patients initially, but these diminished or vanished on continued applications.”62 There is no question that capsaicin based ointments should be employed for psoriasis. Tests have conclusively found that treating psoriasis with capsaicin caused significant improvement in a variety of symptoms as well as the severity of the attack.63
Capsicum has also scientifically proven its value in people suffering from vasomotor rhinitis. By using Capsicum in spray form, researchers found that it was able to significantly reduce nasal obstruction and secretion.64 It is important to understand that in these particular instances, a Capsicum solution was applied directly to the mucous membranes of the nose. It did initially cause a painful burning and stimulated nasal secretion. However, in time, after repeated applications, these side effects disappeare d .6 5 Apparently, Capsicum may block the action of peripheral nerve endings which may stimulate nasal secretion and blockage. More study of Capsicum as a viable treatment for rhinitis has been recommended. Note: One of the many pro p e rties of Capsicum is its ability to b reak up mucous congestion which makes expectoration much easier.66 For this reason, Capsicum is recommended for upper respiratory infections which are characterized by excess mucus.
Fever and chills
While it may seem somewhat contradictory, Capsicum actually l owers the temperature of the body by stimulating the region of the hypothalamus, which cools the body.6 7 “The ingestion of cayenne peppers by cultures native to the tropics appears to help these people deal with high temperature s . ”68 Capsicum also pro- motes perspiration which helps to cool the body off. In tropical areas, local people eat substantial amounts of hot peppers on a daily basis which helps to boost the elimination of sweat and thereby keeps body temperature down. This same mechanism can be used to treat fever and chills. In addition to this action, using Capsicum for any infection that may be causing a fever is also warranted. Capsicum helps to boost immune defenses and fights microorganism invasion.
CLINICAL APPLICATIONS OF CAPSICUM
June 23, 2005 11:20 AM
CLINICAL APPLICATIONS OF CAPSICUM
Capsicum is a remarkable whole body stimulant that can boost blood flow, tone the nervous system, relieve indigestion, promote sweating, help to cauterize and heal ulcers, ease persistent pain and fight off infection. One very authoritative work on African plants suggests that Capsicum’s “regular ingestion is highly beneficial in hemorrhoids, varicose veins, anorexia, liver congestion and vascular conditions . . .the indigenous inhabitants of Africa and of the Antilles are remarkably free form all of these conditions as they use Capsicum fruit in their diet.”10 Most of the therapeutic actions of Capsicum are attributed to the alkaloid or glucoside content of the herb.11 The latest scientific studies conducted with Capsicum will be discussed in subsequent sections.
Because Capsicum boosts peripheral circulation and stimulates organ secretion, it expedites the therapeutic delivery and action of other herbs. In other words, the medicinal benefits of these herbs reach infected or inflamed tissue more rapidly due to enhanced blood flow.12 Consider the following statement: “Cayenne will insure the rapid and even distribution of the active principles of the rest of the herbs to critical function - al centers of the body, including those involved in cellular respiration, metabolism, data transmission, and neural-hormonal activation. Cayenne is included in several other blends for this reason. In extremely small quantities it can dramatically increase the efficiency of most other herbs.”13 Many health practitioners believe that the key to healing is CAPSICUM stimulation. Capsicum stimulates eve rything from blood flow to peristaltic action in the stomach, to intestinal transit time. The re m a rkable ability of Capsicum to stimulate organ secretion and even heart action makes it one of the strongest natural stimulants known. Se veral different kinds of herbal blends targeting various body systems will utilize Capsicum to boost the formula’s efficacy.
Capsicum is said to be unequaled for its ability to boost circulation and increase heart action. Interestingly, cultures who consume significant amounts of cayenne pepper in their diet have much lower rates of cardiovascular disease.14 Capsicum exerts a variety of desirable actions on the entire card i ovascular system. It has the extraordinary ability to enhance cardiovascular performance while actually lowering blood pressure.15 A quote taken from a card i ovascular publication re a d s , “Capsaicin has also been shown to prolong cardiac action potential in atrial muscle . . .”16 Michael T. Murray, N.D., has stated, “ Cayenne pepper [Capsicum] should be recommended as a food for its beneficial antioxidant and cardiovascular effects.”17 Herbalists have considered Capsicum as a superior “f o o d” for the heart. In fact, in cases where a heart attack is suspected administering capsicum in hot water has been thought to help lessen the severity of the attack. Capsicum can also be placed on or under the tongue in emergencies involving heart attack, stroke or hemorrhaging. 18 Note: Using Capsicum for any heart-related problem, especially a suspected heart attack should never take the place of medical attention or a physician’s care.
CAPSICUM Blood Cholesterol Reducer
Various studies have conclusively demonstrated that Capsicum reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the a rteries) by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels .19 Additional clinical studies conducted in India found that when cayenne was ingested along with dietary cholesterol, the typical rise in liver and blood serum cholesterol levels was significantly inhibited. In addition, bile acids and free cholesterol were subsequently eliminated from the body through the stool.20 Interestingly, these tests revealed that using Capsicum was actually more effective in reducing cholesterol that capsaicin alone.2 1 Daniel Mowrey, Ph.D., emphatically points out that this is just one of many examples of the superiority of whole botanicals as opposed to their isolated components.22 Note: Using Capsicum in combination with Hawthorn is a particularly good cardiovascular tonic.
Blood Pressure Equalizer
While an added bonus of Capsicum’s capability to lower blood serum cholesterol is a decrease in blood pressure, additional evidence strongly suggests that the herb initiates other mechanisms that fight hypertension .23 “Cayenne, according to another study, also reduces the blood pressure in an even more direct manner: a number of years ago, a team of researchers discove red that capsaicin acts in a reflexive manner to reduce systemic blood pressure, a kind of coronary chemoreflex.”24 Adding Garlic to Capsicum creates an even better therapeutic blend for treating hypertension.
Blood Detoxification CAPSICUM
“Cayenne is a kind of catalyst in the blood purification process . . . it acts as a diaphoretic, stimulating the excretion of wastes in the swe a t . ”25 Because Capsicum stimulates organ secretion and boosts peripheral blood flow, it would only stand to reason that it would also facilitate the faster removal of toxins from the bloodstream and lymphatic system. You may have already noticed that Capsicum is frequently added to blood-purifying herbal combinations. Circulatory Booster Researchers have found that the simulating action of Capsicum on surface capillaries can help to pre vent cold hands and feet.2 6 For this reason, it may be helpful for Reynaud’s Syndrome. Old remedies using Capsicum have even recommended placing it in socks to warm the feet and to help prevent frostbite. An old folk cure for a chilled body was a steaming hot cup of Capsicum tea. Free Radical Scavenger The rich flavonoid content of Capsicum gives it significant antioxidant capabilities. A recent study conducted in 1995 showed that Capsicum has a higher ascorbic acid content than chiles from the jalapeno or serrano varieties .27 Vitamin C and bioflavonoids can scavenge for dangerous free radicals which cause tissue damage and can predispose organs to degenerative diseases. Free radicals are found everywhere and are created as by-products of metabolic p rocesses including the act of breathing itself. Pollutants can expose the body to free radicals. An interesting study done in Mexico City and published in 1993 found that Capsicum extract was able to modulate the mutagenic activity of urban air samples.28 In other words, these potentially dangerous nitro - a romatic compounds found in polluted air were kept from mutating by red chile extract.29 Chemical breakdowns of Capsicum have also found that CAPSICUM the pepper is high in Provitamin A, which significantly contributes to its healing ability and immune fortification.30 Anti-Carcinogenic Compound Anti-cancer research recently tested Capsicum on laboratory rats and found that it does indeed demonstrate anti-cancer properties by inhibiting certain enzymes which can initiate the mutation of cells.31 What this implies is that taking Capsicum can afford the body some protection against the cellular mutation which occurs in malignant growths. Capsicum actually inhibited the formation of dangerous metabolites under laboratory conditions where they should have normally been activa t e d .3 2 This study implies that Capsicum may have many more sophisticated bio-chemical actions than previously thought.
An Impressive Pain Killer
Capsaicin has recently emerged as a remarkably effective pain reliever and has become the subject of recent clinical research . Applying capsaicin in cream or ointment form to painful joints, scar tissue or other painful conditions involving peripheral nerves confuses pain transmitters. In other worlds, capsaicin temporarily disrupts sensory nerve cell biochemistry there by impeding the relay of pain sensations from the skin surface. It does this by inhibiting a neurotransmitter called substance P. This specific compound is thought to be the main mediator of pain impulses from peripheral nerve endings.33 Substance P has also demonstrated its ability to inhibit inflammatory pain generated in arthritic joints in much the same way.34 Today, several over-the-counter topical preparations utilize capsaicin for the pain of arthritic joints. The ability of Capsicum to control severe and unresponsive pain is significant, to say the least. Modern clinical utilization of topical capsaicin may offer signifi-cant relief for a number of painful conditions including: diabetic neuropathy, cluster headaches, post-amputation pain, post-mastectomy pain, shingles and painful scar tissue.35
In the early spring of 1996, prime time national news show s reported that scientists had found that individuals who had suffered from chronic pain in post-surgical scars (heart bypass, arterial grafts, etc.) were successfully treated with topical preparations containing capsaicin. While this may have been news to many of us, clinical studies had been already published for several years that capsaicin held profound value for various kinds of pain which did not respond to established medical treatments. Typically surgical scars and regions around them can produce persistent pain or can be very sensitive to the touch even when completely healed. This type of pain phenomenon seems to respond well to capsaicin ointments and creams.
When capsaicin preparations were applied following mastectomy or breast reconstruction, pain was significantly relieved. Se veral double blind studies found that using capsaicin creams four times daily for 4 to 6 weeks resulted in much less frequent occurrence of sharp, jabbing pain.3 6 All thirteen patients studied had a 50 percent or greater improve m e n t .3 7 Various unpleasant sensations other than pain also improved with topical applications of capsaicin creams.38
MOUTH SORES FROM RADIATION OR CHEMOTHERAPY
A fascinating study conducted at the Yale Pain Management Center discove red that capsaicin could ve ry significantly lessen pain caused by mouth sores which frequently develop after chemotherapy or radiation.39 Apparently delivering the capsaicin in the form of soft candy (taffy) enabled the substance to be retained in the mouth long enough to desensitize the nerve endings causing the pain. Each one of the eleven case studies re p o rted that their pain had decreased and in two patients, it stopped entirely.40
Diabetic neuropathy is a painful nerve condition which can develop in cases of prolonged diabetes. Several double-blind studies have supported the considerable value of capsaicin creams for relieving the pain associated with this disorder.41 The results of a controlled study using Capsicum for seve re cases of diabetic neuropathy which did not respond to conventional therapy were published in 1992. A cream containing Capsicum was applied to painful areas four time a day and pain was carefully e valuated for 8 weeks at two-week intervals. The results we re impressive, to say the least. In the 22 patients who used the Capsicum the following results we re re c o rded: “Capsaicin tre a tment was more beneficial than vehicle treatment in the overall clinical improvement of pain status, as measured by physician’s global evaluation and by a categorical pain severity scale . . . In a follow-up study, approximately 50 percent of the subjects reported improved pain control or were cured . . .”42 No t e : While there was a burning sensation when the Capsicum c ream was first applied, some subjects found that its magnitude and duration lessened with continued application.43
The FDA has approved capsaicin-based ointments for the treatment of pain that results from diseases like shingles. Again, numerous studies have documented the value of capsaicin for decreasing the miserable nerve-related pain associated with shingles. The general consensus derived from these tests were that approximately 50 p e rcent of people suffering from shingles responded well to capsaicin creams, some even after 10 to 12 months.44
Note: If blisters accompany a shingles outbreak, it is better to wait until they have healed before using any capsaicin-based ointments or creams.
RELIEF FOR BURNING FEET
Frequently an uncomfortable “burning” sensation in the feet will occur in many people, particularly in diabetics. As ironic as it may seem, using capsaicin creams may actually alleviate this burning. “In various studies, diabetics who treated their burning feet with capsaicin got greater improvement and we re able to walk more easily than those not using the cream.”45 In addition, using topical applications of capsaicin as opposed to strong, oral drugs is much more preferable.
Clinical tests have confirmed that topical capsaicin ointments substantially alleviate the miserable pain that characterizes osteoand rheumatoid arthritis.46 These studies revealed that using 0.075 capsaicin cream reduced tenderness and pain.47 Dr. Michael T. Murray writes: “ . . . seventy patients with osteoarthritis and thirty - one with rheumatoid arthritis received capsaicin or placebo for 4 weeks. The patients were instructed to apply 0.025 percent capsaicin cream or its placebo to painful knees four times daily. Significantly more relief of pain was reported by the capsaicin-treated patients than by the placebo patients throughout the study . . .”48 Anyone suffering from osteo or rheumatoid arthritis should evaluate the effectiveness of capsaicin ointments for joint pain. Ester Lipstein-Kresch, M.D., has studied the effectiveness of capsaicin creams for arthritis and has stated: “You need to apply it three or four times a day on the affected area for at least two weeks before you’ll see any improvement. An initial burning sensation at the site is not unusual for the first few days, but this goes away with continued application.”49 Note: Capsaicin is also useful for tennis elbow due to its ability to block the transmission of pain.
MIGRAINE HEADACHES (CLUSTER TYPE)
Topical applications of capsaicin ointments intranasally may also help to relieve the pain of a specific kind of migraine headache called cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are characterized by s e ve re pain which typically radiates around one eye. The term “cluster” refers to the fact that these headaches tend to occur in clusters of one to three per day and can recur at intervals. Headache pain and severity we re reducing in groups using intranasal capsaicin.5 0 This type of capsaicin treatment should be done under a physician’s care. There is some speculation that capsaicin may be more effective in pre venting migraines before they develop into a full blown attack.51
June 23, 2005 10:53 AM
Known to the natives of the tropical Americas for millennia, Capsicum, or Cayenne Pepper, was introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus and became known as “Guinea Pepper. ” Originally used by Native Americans located south of the Mexican border, archeological evidence supports its cultivation from 7000 B.C. Apparently, mixing chocolate and red chiles was a taste treat exclusively reserved for Aztec royalty.5 The exact origin of the word Capsicum remains somewhat of a mystery. However, it is assumed to be a derivative of the Greek word kapto, meaning “to bite,” an appropriate reference to its fiery pods. Capsicum is the fruit of a shrub-like tropical plant and is technically considered a berry. Its designation as a “pepper” can be traced back to Columbus, who equated its hot taste sensation with that of black pepper.
In 1597, Gerard referred to Capsicum as extremely hot and dry and prescribed it for throat and skin infections. Health practitioners of the nineteenth century called phsysiomedicalists used Capsicum to counteract rheumatism, arthritis, depression and chills. In the early 1800s, Dr. Samuel Thompson utilize d Capsicum as a potent and safe natural stimulant. His followe r s , who would become known as Thomsonians, believed that Capsicum should be used to treat a wide variety of diseases. It was used orally and as a poultice to treat tumors, toothaches, feve r s , and respiratory ailments.
In 1804, Dr. John St e vens introduced the red pepper to England where it became the catalyst component in a variety of herbal blends. Subsequently, herbal and medical practitioners used Capsicum to fight infection and sustain the natural heat of the body. It became well known in American dispensatories and pharmacopeia. In 1943, The Dispensary of the United States recorded that, “Capsicum is a powe rful local stimulant, producing when CAPSICUM swallowed, a sense of heat in the stomach and a general glow over the body without narcotic effect.”6 Twentieth-century physicians recognized the medicinal value of Capsicum which eventually found its way to the American Illust rated Medical Dictionary, the Merck Manual and Materia Medica, where it was referred to as a rubefacient, local stimulant, counter-irritant, gastric stimulant, and diaphoretic.7
Today Mexican Indians continue to use Capsicum as an internal disinfectant and protectant against contaminated food and also to treat fevers.8 “Today the pepper is nowhere in the world more appreciated and more widely used than in Mexico and certain other Latin American countries, which together form the original home of all the peppers. Both at morning and at evening, practically eve ry dish the Indians eat included Capsicum, just as their food did 2,000 years ago. The diet of the Indians was, and still is, rather bland . . . maize, beans, squash, pumpkin, yucca, potatoes . . . little wonder that the pepper was so highly regarded. And of course . . . the peppers were a wonderful source of essential vitamins in a diet otherwise lacking in them.”9 Capsicum continues to be a source of vitality and health in numerous countries including the Bahamas and Costa Rica, where it is used to overcome colic or indigestion, in Africa for vascular disorders and by North Americans who use it as a tonic and natural stimulant.
Capsicum is currently experiencing a renaissance in that a number of recent studies have emerged adding to its already impressive list of actions. Scientists are taking notice and looking at Capsicum with new respect and interest. Perhaps what sets Capsicum apart is that unlike powe rful pharmaceutical stimulants and pain killers, Capsicum possess potency without deleterious side effects.
The Colds & Flu Report
June 18, 2005 08:38 AM
The Colds & Flu Report by Sherrill Williams Energy Times, October 13, 2004
The nose knows the misery of a cold: stuffiness, watery eyes, sore throat and nagging cough. These annoyances are especially frustrating when there's not enough time in your busy schedule to be sick.
Traditional remedies help: Slurping a cup of Grandma's chicken soup. Sweating in a hot bath. Climbing under the covers until further notice.
While no one can guarantee you won't catch a cold this year, a few simple measures can limit your sick days and give you the best chance to dodge upper respiratory distress. The common cold is a frequent and expensive problem, causing about 15 million lost work days for Americans each year. Some people seem just about immune to the group of viruses that cause colds. But others may endure as many as 12 colds per year. For the lucky ones, a cold's irritations last a couple of days. For the unfortunate, a cold can drag on for a couple of weeks.
Influenza (commonly known as the flu) has many of the same discomforts as a cold, and both disorders originate in the upper respiratory tract. But while a cold usually stays on tract, the flu is often accompanied by fever, prominent headaches and severe aches and pains around the body. Fatigue from the flu can last as long as two to three weeks during recovery. All this distress demonstrates that your body is fighting off the invaders.
Traditional healers advocate the use of the herb echinacea at the first sign of getting sick. Echinacea, commonly known as purple coneflower, is native to North America and was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia until the 1950s.
Rosemary Gladstar, a Vermont herbalist and author of Family Herbal (Storey Books), suggests taking echinacea (Echinacea ssp.) in frequent small amounts in tincture or tea form at the first sign of cold or flu.
" Most of the compounds in echinacea are water soluble, so it makes a fine tea," says Gladstar. She also encourages echinacea tea as a gargle or spray to relieve sore throats.
Research at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts validates what traditional healers such as Rosemary Gladstar have known: echinacea works best if taken at the onset of colds or flu. In an animal study, scientists found that echinacea triggered a humoral immune response, an immune reaction that spurs the production of special proteins that latch onto and destroy viruses (Immunopharmacology & Immunotoxicology 2003 Nov; 25(4):551-60).
In another study, researchers found that echinacea enhances immune actions called T cell subsets or helper cell activity (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 2004 Jul; 27(7):1004-9). Helper cells are lymphocytes that take part in the destruction of viruses. In the quest for the kind of immunity that makes you less vulnerable to infection by troublesome viruses, Gladstar says that "echinacea is safe for children, the elderly and everyone in between."
C Is for Colds-And So Is E
The reputation of vitamin C as the anti-cold nutrient has been batted back and forth in the media for decades. Your body can't store up much of this antioxidant water-soluble vitamin, so you have to consume it every day on a regular basis. And while vitamin C may not prevent the common cold, research does demonstrate that it can help reduce a cold's severity and make it go away faster (Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 1999 Oct; 22(8):530-3).
Adequate vitamin C is crucial for a healthy immune system. Even a marginal deficiency of this nutrient can leave you more vulnerable to the viruses that cause cold and flu. Plus, if you get a runny nose, researchers believe vitamin C can act as a mild antihistamine, slowing that runny nose to a walk.
In a University of Texas study reported at the 60th Anniversary meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in 2003, daily doses of vitamin C were shown to significantly aid immunity.
After two weeks of taking vitamin C, the people in this study had their blood examined. Researchers found increased numbers of NK (natural killer) cells, immune warriors that destroy infected cells. In addition, vitamin C activated T cells, a class of immune cells that also fight viruses.
And now a newsbreak: you can add vitamin E, vitamin C's antioxidant companion, to your cold prevention shopping list, at least if you're a senior citizen. According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2004; 292(7):828-36), nursing home residents aged 65 and older who took vitamin E enjoyed a 20% risk reduction when it came to developing upper respiratory infections.
Don't Be Sick, Stay Happy
" When you smile, the whole world smiles with you" is a melody that is music to immunity. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have found that folks who are relaxed, happy and maintain positive emotions are less likely to catch colds. In addition, people who are depressed, nervous or angry are more likely to complain of cold symptoms whether or not they actually have a cold (Psycho Med 2003 Jul; 65:652-7). According to Sheldon Cohen, PhD, "Study participants who had a positive emotional style weren't infected as often and experienced fewer symptoms compared to people with a negative emotional style."
So you don't have to be a passive cold victim this winter. When viruses threaten you, according to Mary L. Hardy, MD, you can also try:
" The first caution I give people is to get a good diagnosis," says Dr. Hardy. "If your cold is not acting like a normal cold, or if it has lasted more than a short amount of time, make sure you don't have a more serious condition, such as pneumonia." In that case, seek professional help.
But if you've contracted a run-of-the-mill winter cold, keep your spirits and immunity up! Even if you've been impulsively singing and dancing in the rain, the chill and wet won't result in a cold if you let a smile be your immune umbrella!
Your Healthy Harvest
June 14, 2005 11:05 AM
Your Healthy Harvest by Marjorie Flakowitz Energy Times, August 15, 2004
Once frowned on by conventional farmers, organic food has won respect from everyone concerned about the health of both the earth and the people who inhabit it.
Today, organic farming is considered one of the most rapidly growing areas of American agriculture. Organic foods sales topped $9 billion in 2002 and grew about 20%, up to almost $11 billion in 2003 (Organic Trade Association).
So when you buy organic, you join an expanding market that takes advantage of great-tasting, good-for-you food. Long ago, when the practice of farming was first devised, all farming was organic farming. So today's organic movement is bringing farming back to its roots.
But, safe to say, that is not what's motivating most consumers. A main reason for the popularity of organic food derives from the reassurance that organic foods, raised without artificial chemicals and pesticides, cut your exposure to toxic residues. A growing body of research shows organic food is richer in beneficial natural substances, too.
" Organic food and organic farming represent a philosophy that goes beyond just the quality of the food," says Steve Meyerowitz in The Organic Food Guide (Globe Pequot). "It strives to maintain the integrity of the entire food chain-plants, soil, air, water, animals and people. We are all part of the same ecosystem."
By eating organic, you eliminate pollution both from your body and the earth. Because our bodies are made of the animal and plant products we consume, our internal, physiological ecosystem and the earth's environment are inexorably entwined.
chilling Arctic Evidence
As evidence of this connection, consider what's happened in the Arctic. Researchers who have analyzed Arctic water, ice, snow, soil and plants have found that chemicals used in farming and industry in other parts of the world have traveled north and accumulated in alarming quantity. How and if these chemicals break down depends on sunlight and the amount of organic matter contained in Arctic waters (American Chemical Society, 9/11/03).
" Once pollutants enter the water column, their behavior is poorly understood-particularly the processes that govern their lifetime and concentrations," says Amanda Grannas, PhD, a researcher at Ohio State University. "Such pollutants are now being found in wildlife, from fish to seals to whales, and even in people living in the Arctic."
Dr. Grannas and others looked at the pesticides lindane and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), two chemicals that have migrated to Arctic waters. Lindane is used by American farmers to treat seeds before they are planted. HCB, banned in the US in 1984, is still used in other countries to protect wheat from fungus.
The scientists found that sunlight at the top of Arctic waterways can help break down some pesticides. At lower depths, however, cut off from the sun's rays, pesticides can remain largely intact. In this research, lindane proved to persist much more readily than HCB.
" Lindane is one of the most persistent of pollutants," warns Dr. Grannas. "This could be because it's photochemically inert, whereas pollutants like HCB degrade relatively quickly. The main message is that pollutants can behave quite differently. These pollutants already affect local ecosystems, and could have repercussions for human health."
Organics Means More Benefits
Researchers are also finding that organic produce contains larger quantities of beneficial natural chemicals. For instance, one study (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2/26/03) showed that berries and corn grown organically can have almost 60% more polyphenolics. Polyphenolics are antioxidants plants use for protection against disease and which are good for humans. Researchers believe that when crops are grown conventionally, protected by pesticides and herbicides, they produce fewer of these substances. " This really opens the door to more research in this area," says Alyson Mitchell, PhD, assistant professor of food science at University of California at Davis, who led the research.
These scientists compared levels of total polyphenolics and vitamin C content in marionberries (a type of blackberry) and corn grown organically, sustainably or conventionally, and also looked at chemicals in strawberries grown either sustainably or conventionally. (Sustainable farming falls between the organic and conventional methods, and concentrates on farming that's self-sufficient-for example, feeding cows hay you've grown yourself, and then using the cows' manure to fertilize another crop.) They found that organic marionberries and corn had 50% to 58% more polyphenolics. The sustainably grown strawberries had 19% more polyphenolics. And all the organic produce contained more vitamin C.
Self-Defense for Plants
According to Dr. Mitchell, the organic crops contained the high levels of polyphenolics you'd expect to find in wild plants, suggesting that, on conventional farms, pesticides reduce the necessity for plants to make these protective, natural chemicals. " If an aphid is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics to defend itself," she says. "[P]henolics guard the plant against these pests."
Pesticides kill insects like aphids and thereby reduce the antioxidants produced by the plant. " This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food," Mitchell says. "By synthetically protecting the produce from these pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are doing something to our food inadvertently.
" We know [polyphenolics] are beneficial [to human health], but we don't know what types of polyphenolics are beneficial, or in what quantities," Dr. Mitchell notes. " Originally, the question was just really intriguing to me. I found that the higher level of antioxidants is enough to have a significant impact on health and nutrition, and it's definitely changed the way I think about my food."
Vitamin C in Oranges
Meanwhile, nutritional research on the vitamin C in oranges turns up similar results: organic oranges are richer in this antioxidant nutrient than conventionally grown oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, American Chemical Society, 6/2/02).
The more common supermarket oranges are significantly larger than organically grown oranges, and they have a deeper orange color. Because of their larger size, "we were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges," says Theo Clark, PhD, chemistry professor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.
But when he isolated the chemicals in the oranges and further refined his search with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), spectroscopy demonstrated that organically grown oranges possess 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they are only about half as large.
Dr. Clark isn't sure why organic oranges are richer in vitamin C, but he says, "...[W]e speculate that with conventional oranges, [farmers] use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and does not have as much nutritional value.
" However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration." Along with analyzing oranges, Dr. Clark and his research team questioned about 70 people to measure their concept of the nutritional value of organic oranges. In this survey, 85% of the respondents thought that organic oranges have a higher nutritional content than conventionally grown fruit.
Dr. Clark's laboratory work shows that "they were right on." In Dr. Clark's view, these issues are important because consumers have a right to know the real nutritional content of organic produce, and the fact that analyses show that organic fruit has much more vitamin C validates the benefits of eating organic.
Both plants and animals protect themselves from disease with many of the same chemicals. The natural substances that, in a farmer's field, defend vegetables from insects and microbes before they are harvested for your dinner go to work defending your body after you eat and digest them.
When you eat organic you bolster your health with more of these natural wonders. No wonder organic is becoming so popular!
June 10, 2005 05:32 PM
Allergy Alleviation by Cal Orey , February 2, 2002
Allergy Alleviation By Cal Orey
Welcome to the stuffed up world of seasonal allergic rhinitis: the wheezing, sneezing "inhalant allergies" that torment 35 million Americans. Adding insult to sinus pain, other allergens attack year-round. Air pollution, dust mites (microscopic gremlins that infest bedding, upholstery and rugs) and animal dander trigger allergies-or other respiratory ailments-in any season. Urban air is full of rubber tire particles, a true blowout for those with latex sensitivity. Altogether, roughly 50 million Americans-about one in five-suffer from some form of allergy, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Tired of cross-pollinating with plants or being bowled over by dust balls? Vitamins, herbs and other nutrients can help you nip allergy discomfort in the bud.
The Allergy Response
Your immune system triggers an allergic response when it overreacts to otherwise harmless substances or antigens (we're talking dust, pollen and mold).The alarmed immune system then launches a defensive chemical reaction, releasing potent chemicals (antibodies) supposed to destroy the "invaders." The antibodies, called IgE, carry the invading substances to special cells, which zap them with more biochemicals. Among these protective cells are mast cells: they release histamine, the substance that causes swelling and inflammation to the linings of the nose, sinuses and eyelids, resulting in sneezing, upper respiratory congestion and itchy, watery eyes.
Just Blame The Folks
Most allergies are determined by your genes. If your Mom or Dad sneeze and scratch, there's a good chance you will, too. "That is not to say that we directly inherit an allergy to any specific substance. Rather, it seems as if we might inherit some kind of immune system defect or weakness that leaves us more vulnerable to allergies," explain co-authors Glenn S. Rothfeld, MD, and Suzanne LeVert in their book Natural Medicine for Allergies: The Best Alternative Methods for Quick Relief (Rodale). For some people, allergies lurk in food, throwing the immune system into overdrive. "Many natural medicine practitioners believe that a diet high in animal fats will contribute to the development of allergy and asthma, as does a diet high in food additives, such as preservatives and dyes," says Gary McLain, PhD, in his book The Natural Way of Healing: Asthma and Allergies (Dell). Worse, allergies can up the risk of asthma, which afflicts 15 million Americans. Most people afflicted with asthma also suffer allergies: the two are linked, according to the AAAAI. Allergy triggers of asthma include pollen, mold spores and house dust mites. Remember Helen Hunt's asthmatic son in the movie As Good As It Gets? His character endured allergies to dust, and living in New York (and watching his mom date Jack Nicholson) didn't help his immune system. Coughs, ear infections, fevers and visits to hospital emergency rooms curtailed his social life (and limited his close-ups as well). That kind of routine happens in real life, too. (Well, maybe close encounters with Jack N. are not included for most.) But when we breathe substances such as molds, they can induce swelling and inflammation of the bronchial airways which narrow and restrict air flow. This, in turn, causes wheezing and shortness of breath and can trigger an asthma "attack," according to Andrew Engler, MD, who specializes in allergy and asthma in San Mateo, California.
The Nose Knows: Chemical Sensitivities
Imagine a picture-perfect, crisp, clear Saturday morning. You make a final stop on your weekly errand run to the dry cleaner, where you drop off your laundry and spend a moment chatting up the owner. Back in your car, your eyes tear and you feel a bit woozy. Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin, writing in The Road to Immunity: How To Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) sense that your reaction could be chemical sensitivity, a difficult to diagnose but, in their opinion, very real malady. (Of course, a clinician can test you for immune responses to certain chemicals.) Reactions to chemicals produce the typical allergic responses: puffy or red-rimmed eyes; swelling; aching or stiff joints and muscles; irritability or dizziness; respiratory inflammations; headaches and the like. Villains include aerosol sprays, tobacco smoke, glues, insecticides and herbicides, household chemicals and fragrances. Identification and avoidance are key, say the authors. Vitamin C, which binds with chemicals, is one of the best nutritional defenses.
Breathing Problems Expand
Americans now freely take lifesaving medicines such as antibiotics and insulin but, in some people, "they have the potential to alter the immune system, which is where allergies begin," says Dr. McLain. (Consult your pharmacist if you have questions about your prescription medication.) We, as a nation, are also eating more chemicals, from the pesticides drenched on plants to the preservatives poured on prepared foods. We're breathing polluted air, which can lead to or exacerbate asthma, and then we choke on recycled air in sealed buildings. And while a century ago you were likely to have spent much of your time close to home, you can now hop on a supersonic plane and be taken to the other side of the globe within a matter of hours. With travel comes exposure to even more exotic allergens that can drive your immune system to distraction.
The All-Natural Gesundheit
Certain allergy-relief nutrients and herbs can help make life more bearable. Here's how they work: n Vitamin C for the lungs. According to experts, when vitamin C is low, asthma is high. Vitamin C carries the major antioxidant load in the airways and therefore contributes mightily to the health of the lungs. A study in the Annals of Allergy (73(1994):89-96) reported that in seven of 11 clinical trials since 1973, vitamin C supplementation provided "significant improvements" in respiratory function and asthma symptoms. n Vitamin E and carotene to suppress allergic reactions. These antioxidants may also help protect the respiratory tract from caustic pollutants. Vitamin E is reputed to be one of the most important nutrients for antioxidant protection in the lungs. In addition, these two substances decrease production of allergy-related compounds called leukotrienes. n Zinc for the immune system. Research shows that a deficiency in this trace mineral can weaken your immune system, setting you up as a target for allergies and infections. (Some vegetarians may not store sufficient amounts of this mineral and should take supplements.) Zinc comes to the body's rescue by taking part in the production of IgA, the gastrointestinal antibody that lines the digestive tract. "When IgA binds to an allergen, it keeps it from being absorbed into the bloodstream and thus from causing an allergic reaction," report Rothfeld and Levert. Also, zinc protects mucous membranes and helps convert beta carotene to vitamin A, another anti-allergy, immune-boosting nutrient. In a study of 100 participants at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, half took a zinc-based lozenge, while the other half received a dummy preparation. The participants taking zinc experienced a 42% reduction in the duration and severity of their common colds (Annals of Internal Medicine, 7/96). n Quercetin as an antihistamine. A valuable, anti-allergic flavonoid (plant coloring agent that is a powerful antioxidant), quercetin shines as a potent weapon against allergies and asthma. Believed to inhibit histamine release from mast cells and slow the production of other allergy-related compounds, it stabilizes mast cell membranes. Other flavonoid-rich extracts include grape seed, pine bark, green tea and Ginkgo biloba. n Additional helpful nutrients: Vitamin B-12, particularly to combat sensitivity to sulfites (The Nutrition Desk Reference [Keats]); selenium, an antioxidant that breaks down leukotrienes (Clinical Science 77, 1989: 495-500); and magnesium to relax bronchial tissues (Journal of the American Medical Association, 262 : 1210-3).
Herbal Remedies To The Rescue
n Nettles for hay fever relief. Research at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, showed that 40 of 69 folks suffering from hay fever found moderate to extreme relief from taking freeze-dried stinging nettles (Planta Medica,  44-47). "It is nontoxic, cheap and preferable to antihistamines, which I think are significantly toxic," reports Andrew Weil, MD, in his book Natural Health, Natural Medicine: A Comprehensive Manual for Wellness and Self-Care (Houghton Mifflin). n Cayenne to reduce inflammation. Cayenne, known as hot red pepper, is rich in capsaicin, a potent flavonoid "counter-irritant" that dilates and soothes inflamed nasal and bronchial tissues, according to experts. A bonus: Cayenne also contains a rich amount of antioxidant vitamin C, which can help enhance your immune system. n Echinacea for allergy prevention. This popular Native American herb provides cold and allergy protection, particularly when you take it before encountering allergens. Studies reveal that echinacea aids your body's tissues and protects you from germs and allergens. In fact, German studies have found it possesses valuable antiviral, antibacterial and immunity-boosting properties.
Make Your World Allergy-Free
For the most effective allergy relief, make sure you stay clear of allergens that wreak allergy havoc. Visit an allergy-savvy health practitioner and get tested to find out which substances rock your respiratory world. Plus, allergy experts recommend: n Banish dust mites: sweep out clutter and have your house power-vacuumed, if necessary; wash bedding and linens in very hot water. n De-pollinate your environment: flip on the air conditioner to sift out pollen (keep its filter and any forced air registers clean); exercise indoors; machine dry, rather than line dry, your clothes. n Buy a home air filter, especially if you experience dust, pollen or pet dander allergies. n Avoid allergy triggers that dog your days: cats and canines (or consider the hairless or shed-less breeds), mold and tobacco smoke. No matter what you do or actions you take, allergies may always remain an annoyance in your life. But attention to the foods you eat, the places where you exercise and the right combination of anti-allergy nutrients can limit your discomfort.
Leveling The Leukotrine Playing Field
On a microscopic level, a series of biochemicals implicated in allergic reactions are leukotrienes, substances that may constrict the bronchial tubes (breathing passages). In some people, consuming the food additive tartrazine can cause severe asthmatic breathing difficulties by boosting leukotrine release. In turn, this can interfere with the body's use of vitamin B-6. The process in which lack of B-6 or "errors" in how your body uses B-6 causes allergic reactions and is complex. According to Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND in the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), breathing problems may begin when the metabolism of tryptophan (an amino acid) goes awry: "Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a compound that, among other things, can cause the airways of asthmatics to constrict...Vitamin B-6 is required for the proper metabolism of tryptophan." Accordingly, a study of vitamin B-6, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that people with compromised breathing may possess less B-6 in their blood than others who breathe normally. When people with asthma were given B-6, their wheezing and asthmatic attacks dropped.
Fat Fix For Allergies
The fat in your diet or supplements can also influence your susceptibility to allergies and asthma linked to allergies. Epidemiologists have found that countries where children eat fish at least four times a month cut their risk of asthma by 67% compared to other parts of the world where they consume fewer fish. Research on omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fat found in fish, flax and hemp oil, demonstrates that some of these substances can improve breathing. In particular, fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help open up bronchial tubes. Studies in the American Review of Respiratory Disease and the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology show that breathing passageways may not react so negatively to the presence of allergens when you eat more fish or take supplements containing these types of fats. Many of the scientists who study the kinds of fats we eat believe that the increase in allergies and asthma in the US during the twentieth century may be due to both increasing air pollution (which irritates our lungs) plus a simultaneous increase in our consumption of what are called omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 oils are contained in most of the vegetable oils Americans eat, including sunflower and peanut oils. While experts believe that we would be better off consuming a diet containing about five times as many omega-6 fatty acids as omega-3s, today we eat about 40 times as much omega-6s. The chemistry of how these fats influence our allergy susceptibility is complex. It begins in our cell membranes which consist mostly of fat. When we consume omega-3 fatty acids, in our diet or in supplements, and these fats enter cell membranes, the change in structure cuts the availability of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid your body can make and which is found in meat, eggs and dairy products. Eventually, it is thought that this change in cellular metabolism and reduction in arachidonic acid forces the body to make less 4-series leukotrienes, substances which are quite prone to provoking allergic inflammation and, instead, produce 5-series leukotrienes, leukotrienes which don't cause nearly as much trouble. This process requires patience. According to Pizzorno and Murray. "It may take as long as one year before the benefits are apparent, as it appears to take time to turn over cellular membranes in favor of the omega-3 fatty acids."
Chinese Medicine Versus Allergies
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views allergies as an imbalance of the liver, says Jason Elias, co-author with Katherine Ketcham of The Five Elements of Self-Healing (Harmony Books). "The average American's (liver) deals with about fourteen pounds of chemicals a year. What would normally be a minor irritant becomes major because the liver can't process them anymore," explains Elias. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has traditionally been used to fight allergies since this herb battles inflammation as evidenced by Japanese research and a study published in the journal Allergy. Much of this anti-allergy action is thought to proceed from licorice's interaction with a biochemical called cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisol (along with epinephrine, another adrenal hormone) relaxes the muscles controlling airways. By slowing the liver's breakdown of cortisol, licorice prolongs circulation of this hormone which, in turn, can help breathing passages stay clear. In addition, glycyrrhetinic acid, a compound in licorice, slows the body's manufacture of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, substances which exacerbate allergic inflammatory reactions. Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica) has been employed for thousands of years to aid breathing since chemicals in this plant widen breathing passages.
Homeopathic Remedies for Allergy
Homeopathic treatments consist of highly diluted substances designed to coax the body into healing itself. The effectiveness of homeopathy for hayfever has been demonstrated by research published in Lancet performed at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. There, scientists showed that homeopathically-prepared medicines produced statistically significant improvements in allergy sufferers. The appropriate homeopathic remedy for any illness depends on the personality type of the person suffering an allergy. These treatments are among those recommended by Dana Ullman: n Allium cepa: appropriate for burning nasal discharge that grows worse in warm rooms and improves outdoors. Relieves non-burning tearing from eyes, raw feeling in the nose with tingling sensation and violent sneezing. n Nux vomica: used when feeling irritable and chilled, with daytime fluent nasal discharge and night congestion that grows worse indoors. Also for those sensitive to cold and to being uncovered. n Pulsatilla: best for women and children with daytime nasal discharge and night congestion who are gentle, yielding, mild, impressionable and emotional. Used when congestion is worse in warm rooms, hot weather or while lying down.
Food Allergy Conundrum Food allergies can prove to be the toughest allergies to identify and eliminate. Jason Elias believes that people may develop food sensitivities from eating the same foods too often. "If someone has an allergy, I might say 'Let's get you off dairy for three weeks,'" he says, noting that some people have limited their hay fever problems by ceasing to consume dairy products. Many have also found relief by maintaining a food diary, keeping track of which foods are associated with allergy attacks and then eliminating those foods. So the next time you sneeze, don't just reach for your hanky, think back to the meal that you just ate. Your allergy problem may be sitting in your stomach as well as making you sneeze and stuffing your sinuses. Taking these kinds of anti-allergy preventive measures can provide life-enhancing relief that feels like a godsend. That lets you attain your healthy best.
This article included reporting by Judy Pokras.
June 10, 2005 02:48 PM
by column Energy Times, April 1, 1999
If you've ever felt burned out, bored and/or just plain tired of your exercise program, you may be in need of a taste of cross training. When your exercise routine becomes too routine, you run not only the risk of losing your motivation for physical activity, but you may also run an added chance of injury. The possible cause: overusing particular muscles that receive an excessive amount of stress as other muscles practically atrophy while waiting for a chance to show off their stuff.
For instance, if you are a devoted runner who spends hours jogging, your upper body may wither unless you give it a reason not to. At the same time, your achilles, hamstrings, knees and lower back muscles may protest those miles after miles. As Frank Jobe, MD, Neal EllAttrache, MD, and Karen Mohr, PT, point out in Athletic Forever (Contemporary), "Dedicated runners are among the most injury-prone of all athletes. If running is your main form of exercise, you have a 37 to 56 percent chance of sustaining an injury each year and your chances for a recurrence of that injury are as high as 70 percent."
The basic principle of cross training is simple: take part in various activities that supplement each other. Runners should lift some weights or at least shoot a few hoops to keep those arms and shoulders toned. Bikers should walk or run now and then to keep their bones healthy. (Bicycling, since it is not a weight bearing exercise, does little to promote bone strength.) Swimmers should find something to do on dry land so that their bones react to gravity and grow stronger. And, no matter what your sport, you should stay well-nourished and supplied with plenty of antioxidants.
As Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, points out in Optimum Health (Bantam), while athletes may enjoy health benefits from exercise, "The vigorous training pursued by competitive athletes renders them more prone to catabolic stress-a situation in which tissues are constantly broken down."
He goes on to point out that the low fat diet many athletes follow may be short of antioxidant nutrients. Unfortunately, that shortage can lead to injury. The metabolic acceleration caused by athletic activity may increase potentially harmful oxidative stress at the cellular level. Without antioxidant nutrients to help quell that stress... Well, the results may not be pretty. Potentially, that kind of oxidative damage may, theoretically, lead to cancer or heart disease. As Dr. Sinatra says, in those circumstances, "the supplemental use of glutathione, vitamins C and E, coenzyme Q10 and magnesium seems reasonable. Some athletes, such as menstruating women, may also need iron supplementation."
In addition, water is crucial for athletes to stay adequately hydrated during activity. According to Daniel Gastelu and Fred Hatfield, PhD, in Dynamic Nutrition for Maximum Performance (Avery), when you run short of water "this can adversely affect performance and, in the long run, can cause peaks and valleys in the athlete's performance." In addition, they advise using sports drinks to stay adequately supplied with electrolytes. "The major electrolytes found in bodily fluids are chloride, magnesium, potassium and sodium."
Electrolytes serve a host of duties, including keeping the heart muscle functioning properly. Gastelu and Hatfield explain, "An electrolyte is an ion that is required by the body to regulate the electric charge and flow of water between the cells and the bloodstream."
Getting Better All the Time
Even if you cross train religiously and try to avoid overdoing one particular sport, sooner or later you may incur injury. If you do (or even before you hurt yourself), the trio of Stanley W. Jacob, MD, Ronald M. Lawrence, MD, PhD, and Martin Zucker, authors of The Miracle of MSM (Putnam), believe that methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) can provide reliable relief for pain and suffering.
"Many people experience rapid relief after starting MSM," say this trio. They go on to claim that "this nutritional supplement has real potential to make a significant impact on the quality of life."
"Your main enemy in the hours following an injury is inflammation," warns Athletic Forever. For injury, they recommend RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. In other words, put the injured body part in a firmly wrapped bandage (don't cut off the circulation!) Keep the injury cold but don't put ice directly on it (watch out for frost bite). Rest a while and keep the injury elevated. Then, don't exercise again until you've fully recovered.
June 10, 2005 02:35 PM
by Jane Lane Energy Times, February 7, 1999
The cholesterol story packs enough subplots to satisfy a soap opera. There's Cholesterol: The Good, the Bad and the Awful. Cholesterol: The Stalker Behind Every (Restaurant) Door. Cholesterol Steals Your Heart Away-to the Mediterranean.
The very image of cholesterol chills the imagination. Lurid and unsavory, it would seem to bob through the bloodstream like blobs of fat congealed on cold soup, slathering itself onto arteries.
Cholesterol is in fact a normal, natural substance in our bodies, found in the brain, nerves, liver, blood and bile. Cholesterol is so crucial that each cell is equipped with the means to synthesize its own membrane cholesterol, regulating the fluidity of those membranes when they are too loose or too stiff.
We manufacture steroid hormones-the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, and the male hormone testosterone-from cholesterol. Adrenal corticosteroid hormones, which regulate water balance through the kidneys, and the hormone cortisone, the vital anti-inflammatory that also governs our stress response, come from cholesterol. Other jobs of cholesterol: production of vitamin D and bile acid (for the digestive process); healing and protecting skin, and antioxidant compensation when vitamin and mineral stores are low.
How can mere mention of this invaluable component in our body chemistry make our blood run cold?
Guilt by Association
Cholesterol's reputation as a bad character actually originates in the crowd it runs with: the lipoproteins, protein molecules to which it binds in order to travel back and forth through the bloodstream to the liver, where it is manufactured.
Not really a nasty round glob of fat at all, cholesterol is a crystalline substance, technically a steroid, but soluble in fats rather than water, thus classified as a lipid, as fats are. Thousands of cholesterol molecules bind with lipoproteins, spherical fat molecules that transport them through the bloodstream.
Three different kinds of lipoproteins participate in this necessary process, not always with the same salutary effect. Here's how they work:
High-density lipoprotein (HDL): referred to as the "good cholesterol." Carries relatively little cholesterol. Travels through the bloodstream removing excess cholesterol from the blood and tissues. HDLs return the surplus to the liver, where it may once again be incorporated into low-density lipoproteins for redelivery to the cells.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): the so-called "bad cholesterol," heavily laden with cholesterol, hauling it from the liver to all cells in the body.
Ideally, this system should be in balance. But if there is too much cholesterol for the HDLs to pick up, or an inadequate supply of HDLs, cholesterol may aggregate into plaque groups that block arteries.
Lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a): the "really bad" cholesterol, can step in, providing the glue that actually sticks to the arterial wall. Lp(a) is an LDL particle with an extra adhesive protein wrapped around it, enabling it to attach fat globules to the walls of blood vessels. The potentially deadly results are atherosclerotic ("plaque") deposits. Simple LDL lacks adhesive power and presents little risk for cardiovascular disease.
Researchers confirmed the existence of Lp(a) in the August 1996 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, disclosing that high levels of Lp(a) in the blood can double a man's risk of heart attack before age 55. Doctors estimate that about 20% of all Americans carry elevated levels of Lp(a).
One troubling aspect of the report, part of the ongoing 40-year-old Framingham Study, concerned the fact that the men who suffered heart attacks entered the project with no signs of heart disease and only slightly elevated cholesterol.
But during the 15-year investigation, 129 men out of 2,191 developed premature heart disease.
The culprit? High levels of Lp(a)
Experts don't know for certain where Lp(a) comes from, or its normal function, although they suspect the body's quotient of Lp(a) is mostly due to your genes. According to the study, they also believe that aspirin, a blood thinner, and red wine (or its grapeseed and skin extracts) may mitigate the damage of Lp(a). That also would explain why the French, who tend to wash down their fat-rich diet with red wine, experience a relatively moderate incidence of cardiovascular disease
The Terrible Triglycerides
The body also transports fats via triglycerides (TGs), the main form of body fat and the storehouse for energy. Edible oils from seeds, egg yolk and animal fats also are composed chiefly of TGs. Although not as corrosive as LDL, excess TGs intensify heart disease potential when they oxidize and damage artery linings or induce blood cells to clump.
An "acceptable" level of triglycerides is thought to be 200 milligrams, although under 150 is probably healthier. And some researchers think your triglyceride reading should be below 100. High triglycerides and low HDL often occur together, increasing the risks of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, heart and kidney failure and other degenerative diseases.
What To Do About Your Cholesterol
Have it checked. High cholesterol alone shows no symptoms. Your health practitioner can perform a laboratory test to measure your levels. Thoroughly share your own medical history and as much as you know about your family members: heredity and related illnesses definitely are important influences. People with diabetes, for example, can have high levels of triglycerides, which also may lead to pancreatitis (painful inflammation of the pancreas) at extremely high levels.
According to the National Cholesterol Education Program, a reading of under 200 mg/dL is desirable; 200 to 239 is borderline high; 240 and above is high. Your LDL level should be 130 or under; HDL should not be lower than 35. A triglyceride level below 200 is considered desirable; readings above 400 are high.
Adjust your diet. Cholesterol levels are readily controllable, primarily through changes in your diet. Leslie C. Norins, MD, PhD, suggests all-out war in his Doctor's 30-Day Cholesterol Blitz (Advanced Health Institute) with saturated fats, which raise cholesterol more than any other component in your diet, as your number-one target. Out with saturated fats like butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, red meat and some vegetable fats found in tropical oils like coconut and palm; in with fruits, vegetables, brown rice, barley (a good source of soluble fiber, the kind that soaks up fats and cholesterol and escorts them out of the body), beans, potatoes and pasta, prepared or dressed with monounsaturated fats in olive and canola oils (the so-called Mediterranean diet concept). Feast on cold-water fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines and herring) rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce serum lipids, among many other healthful advantages.
Exercise. Move it and lose it are the words to live by when it comes to cholesterol. Researchers from the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention reported in the July 2, 1998 New England Journal of Medicine (vol. 339, pages 12-20) that a weight-loss diet like that of the National Cholesterol Education Program plus exercise significantly lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol levels for men and postmenopausal women. The diet alone failed to lower LDL in these folks with high-risk lipoprotein.
Educate yourself. In addition to your health practitioner, books and magazines can guide you in cholesterol management. A trove of information is the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), launched in 1985 by the National Institute of Health. Their address is: National Cholesterol Education Program, Information Center, P.O. Box 30105, Bethesda, MD 20824-0105; telephone (301) 251-1222; they're on the web at /nhlbi/.
Recommended Reading: Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill (Alive, 1993), by Udo Erasmus.
Prescription for Nutritional Healing (Avery, 1997), by James F. Balch, MD, and Phyllis A. Balch, CNC.
The Healthy Heart Formula (Chronimed, 1997), by Frank Bary, MD.
Eradicating Heart Disease (Health Now, 1993), by Matthias Rath, MD.