Search Term: " governmen "
Medical benefits of cannabis SUPPRESSED and banned throughout mostof the 20th century
March 23, 2019 10:59 AM
Cannabis sativa, otherwise known as marijuana, has been used as a natural medicine for thousands of years, prior to the development of western civilization. However, with the introduction of synthetic pharmaceutical drugs, governments deemed marijuana as evil and dangerous. By the 1930s, the U.S., England, and Canada all outlawed marijuana. However, over the last twenty years, there has been an overwhelming amount of cannabis research out of Spain, Israel, and Brazil, uncovering the human body’s endocannabinoid system and identifying marijuana as the new powerhouse drug of this century.
"By making cannabis “illegal,” governments of the West paved the way for Big Pharma to take over and declare its poisons as the only safe and effective medicine out there – “medicine” that, in some cases, was derived and synthesized from the very same cannabis plant that, under Schedule I designation, was deemed to have no legitimate medical use."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-20-medical-benefits-of-cannabis-suppressed.html
There is a STRONG link between exposure to endocrine-disruptingchemicals and vitamin D deficiency
January 22, 2019 04:39 PM
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as BPA are a group of over 80,000 manufactured chemicals that are present within the products that we use on a consistent basis. These chemicals can unfortunately lead to many health implications such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Studies have even shown that those who are exposed to higher levels of EDCs are more prone to developing Vitamin D deficiencies. All of these harmful health risks show just how dangerous these man-made chemicals can be to our bodies.
"But recent research has shown that the hazards of BPA and other endocrine disruptors can even cause vitamin D deficiency — which can cause a whole host of other health issues."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-22-strong-link-endocrine-disrupting-chemicals-vitamin-d-deficiency.html
Should You Try CBD for Your Pet?
December 19, 2018 08:03 AM
CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound, is now legal for use in humans in 47 states, but neither science nor the law has dealt extensively with CBD use for veterinary purposes. Only California explicitly allows vets to talk to clients about CBD as a veterinary medicine, and hard research on its effects in animals remains sparse. Despite this, pet owners across the country have been experimenting with the use of CBD to address problems like anxiety, pain, arthritis and other conditions in their four-legged friends.
"But recently, Powers says he has found a way to control his dog’s noise anxiety: cannabidiol—aka CBD, a compound that can be extracted from cannabis, which includes marijuana and hemp."
Read more: https://www.consumerreports.org/marijuana/should-you-try-cbd-for-your-pet/
5 Things You Didn't Know about the Hemp Plant
June 12, 2018 09:16 AM
Hemp is a nonpsychoactive but extremely useful variant of the same plant, Cannabis Sativa, that produces marijuana. It is a highly versatile plant that produces extremely durable, tough fiber that can be used to make textiles or ropes, as well as nutritious seeds rich in protein and other nutrients that may be one of the world’s most nutritious foods. It also contains compound called CBD whose diverse array of medical applications are just starting to be explored and understood.
"From June 4-10, grassroots organizers, farmers, producers, and hemp advocates are working together to educate consumers, industry associations, and government bodies about the benefits of hemp and the current regulatory landscape for industrial hemp in the U.S."
Read more: http://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/herbs-botanicals/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-hemp-plant
CBD can improve overall health and wellness, reduce inflammation, fight anxiety!
Australian father treats his daughters' Chron's disease by juicing cannabis... then gets raided by the government
April 22, 2018 05:17 PM
As a parent, what would one not do to prevent a beloved child from suffering? One Australian father chose to break the law. Stephen Taylor is the father of two daughters, both afflicted with a very serious and chronic gastrointestinal disease that routinely causes fatigue, cramping, diarrhea, and even hemorrhaging.
The girls, Ariel and Morgan, had both failed to thrive while under conventional treatment options, even acquiring horrible side effects. So, Taylor took matters into his own hands. He tried and was unable to obtain legal permission to administer medical marijuana to his daughters. So, Taylor placed the girls on a regimen of home-grown cannabis juice on his own. The regimen proved efficacious, with both girls obtaining stellar results. Unfortunately, however, the authorities caught on, impounding the marijuana and charging Taylor.
"Even though medical marijuana use has been legal in Australia since 2016, it is very difficult to obtain. Though experts estimate that around 100,000 Australians are self-medicating with cannabis for a variety of health problems, only 500 patients have official government authorization to do so."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-04-20-australian-father-treats-his-daughters-chrons-disease-by-juicing-cannabis.html
Even the World Anti-Doping Agency has warmed to CBDs
February 18, 2018 03:59 PM
Many government and regulatory agencies around the world are warming up to the important medical benefits of cannabidiol, an oil compound derived from medicinal marijuana. But, even more surprisingly, one of the most strict anti-substance-use agencies in the world is turning its interest to the idea as well. The World Anti-Doping Agency, the arbiter of doping in sport and one of the strictest regulatory bodies around, has been taking testimonials from athletes regarding the potential usefulness of this substance.
"Thanks to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) decision in September of last year, CBD is no longer a prohibited substance as of this year."
Read more: https://www.inlander.com/spokane/even-the-world-anti-doping-agency-has-warmed-to-cbds/Content?oid=8135746
Year to Watch: Six Exciting Areas For Cannabis Industry Development in 2018
January 04, 2018 03:59 PM
The cannabis industry has been booming since Colorados legalization and now with California's full legalization, it can get even larger. There are a few associated industries that will grow with it. The first is banking. Banking is key because currently, it is semi-illegal to have a bank account if you sell cannabis. It is still illegal and the government can seize your assets as well as freeze the bank's assets. Consumer goods will be another huge market, since they'll need to move into a new arena to make cannabis and cannabis products more mainstream.
"Whether it’s medical or adult use – one statistic I came across that’s very interesting is that by 2020, the cannabis industry will be at approximately $17 billion. To put that in perspective for packagers, the natural cheese market right now is at about $12 billion."
Read more: https://www.cashinbis.com/year-watch-six-exciting-areas-cannabis-industry-development-2018/
World's Largest CBD Extraction Plant to be Built in Western Ky.
December 26, 2017 03:59 PM
A company, called Kings Royal Biotech has decided to partner up with a Chinese industrial hemp development company, in order to open the largest cannabidiol (CBD) processing plant in the United States. CBD is a substance that is extracted from the hemp plant, but it is not psychoactive. In fact, CBD has been shown to be useful in treating a variety of medical conditions, including epilepsy and chronic pain. THC, on the other hand, is the substance in marijuana that can give a user a psychoactive effect. King Royal intends to grow hemp that is free of THC, so that the CBD could be isolated and utilized for medicinal purposes, without the risk of giving the user a psychoactive effect. Additionally, this means that the products are completely legal, in accordance with the laws of the federal government of the United States.
"Under Federal Law industrial hemp cannot contain more than .3 percent THC, so there is no chance of any users having an altered state of mind from this product."
Read more: http://surfky.com/index.php/muhlenberg/news-muhlenberg/179-news/kentucky/125400-world-s-largest-cbd-extraction-plant-to-be-built-in-western-ky
Scientists call on feds to allow research on CBD for pets
December 10, 2017 03:59 PM
Veterinarians, researchers and pet owners are looking to loosen federal regulations on the use of marijuana products to help treat sick animals. Medical issues in dogs, such as epilepsy, arthritis, anxiety, loss of appetite and inflammation could potentially by helped by marijuana-based drugs and extracts.
Some people are already using marijuana extracts on their animals, such as those containing CBD, which is an element of marijuana that is not psychoactive. However, such extracts continue to be listed as Schedule 1 drugs by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, even when they contain little or no THC. THC is the active component in marijuana that causes intoxication.
The Food and Drug Administration has warned that marijuana products for pets sold in animal hospitals or online pet stores are illegal, since such drugs are unapproved. The FDA has suggested it will pursue legal action against those in violation of the law.
However, the policy-making body of the American Veterinary Medical Association, in conjunction with two group councils, is considering making a recommendation to the DEA for marijuana to be declassified as a Schedule 1 drug in order to enable research for both animal and human medical purposes. Declassification could also help prevent pet owners from accidentally overmedicating their animals in the absence of proper guidance from a medical professional.
In September, Republican senator Orrin Hatch of Utah introduced a bill that would facilitate research on use of marijuana-based medications, concurring that the drug is over-regulated, although he continues to oppose recreational use of the drug,.
Some veterinarians note that without sufficient evidence, it remains unsafe to use marijuana products on animals, with concerns about potential toxicity.
Yet researchers are continuing to wait for clearance to proceed on various relevant studies, such as use of marijuana for dogs with osteoarthritis, pruritis and epilepsy. Some research on use of products with CBD has been stopped until federal approval is granted. Gaining approval has been difficult due to government requirements, which continue to be an obstacle to moving forward.
"The concern our membership has is worry about people extrapolating their own dosages, looking to medicate their pets outside the realm of the medical professional"
Read more: https://www.aspentimes.com/news/scientists-call-on-feds-to-allow-research-on-cbd-for-pets/
Why cannabis oil should be available on the NHS
November 28, 2017 03:59 PM
An article in an online English newspaper argues that cannabis oil should be made readily available for patients. The writer states that cannabis and hemp plants have a substance, Cannabidiol (CBD), which does not get a person high, but can be used to treat pain. He states that CBD is legal and is used by as many as 25,000 people in the UK. The author argues that further development of this product as an alternative to opioids is hindered by the perception of cannabis as dangerous.
"Cannabis is a plant that has been used effectively for thousands of years, causes no physical dependency, and has never been shown to cause a single fatality."
Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2017/11/27/why-cannabis-oil-should-be-available-on-the-nhs-7105262/
Weeding through marijuana: Experts, advocates talk cannabidiol (CBD)
October 26, 2017 01:14 PM
Cannabidiol is a chemical compound in marijuana that helps deal with a variety of ailments such as pain, swelling, anxiety, and depression. Unlike its more famous chemical compound THC, cannabidiol doesn't give you the sensation of feeling high. For people skeptical of the ability of marijuana to help, they can hear stories like the one shared by Sage Pierson, who started taking a mix of cannabidiol to put in her tea every morning. This drastically reduced the swelling she had as a result of her arthritis, helping her live a normal life. While doctors and government officials debate the merits of CBD, it is not officially endorsed by the FDA, so you won't be able to buy it at a pharmacy near you.
"Whenever a medicated herb can provide relief to a medical condition or illness it should not only be allowed, it should be encouraged before taking (Food and Drug Administration)-approved drugs with their long list of toxic side effects."
Read more: http://www.aspentimes.com/news/weeding-through-marijuana-experts-advocates-talk-cannabidiol-cbd/
Forbidden medicine: Caught between a doctor's CBD advice and federal laws
June 25, 2017 12:14 PM
Nancy, a special needs individual suffering from seizures, is in a medical gridlock. Her doctor and family know that CBD oil would provide a lot of relief but it is not legal in her state. Her family, like many others, is caught in a conundrum of federal regulations verses medical advice. Despite legal counsel, the family can not convince the state of New York to allow her to receive this medication due the federal laws against cannabis use, even it's non psychogenic components. It is a challenge that many around the country have to deal with.
"At one point, roughly five years back, the dosages on her medications were ratcheted up too high, hurtling her into a life-threatening, prolonged seizure."
Read more: http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/06/20/cbd-medical-marijuana-new-york-cannabidiol-cbd-oil/81926/
France is "decriminalizing" cannabis nationwide
June 11, 2017 11:14 AM
France appears poised to change the way it punishes cannabis users. While it seems France will continue levying fines against citizens found guilty of cannabis use, the prison elements will likely be removed soon. There are several reasons supporters of the change tout in their advocacy for the change. One, cannabis use is widespread among the populace. Two, many citizens feel the government should not mandate what they do or not do with their bodies. Three, cannabis has the potential to provide several medicinal benefits and research into these benefits would be aided by the move to destigmatize its use by removing the criminal aspect. Four, cannabis use has a low potential for abuse. And finally, it has been estimated a cannabis arrest consumed up to six hours of police office and magistrate time. By removing the criminal aspect of cannabis use, it would free the country's law enforcement to pursue other matters of greater risk to the populace.
Read more: France is "decriminalizing" cannabis nationwide
Learning the Health Benefits of Cannabis
June 03, 2017 04:14 PM
The cannabis debate continues to rage. Many feel it should be legalized because it can do a lot of good for the body. It is already being used medicinally in many areas. It's legal in some and illegal in others. This discusses some of the health benefits people are seeing when they use cannabis in its many forms. If you have never considered it you should check this out and you should also consider the different forms like oil, vapor and more.
"Most medical marijuana states stipulate the product has to be grown and produced and sold and consumed within that state."
Read more: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/04/28/learning-the-health-benefits-of-cannabis/
The 8 Most Important CBD Studies Ever Published
May 28, 2017 04:14 PM
A marijuana advocacy blog has a story listing the eight most significant CBD studies to date. The story states that CBD studies are easier to conduct because the substance does not have psychoactive properties. The studies cover topics such as effectiveness in treating seizures, anti-inflammatory properties, and pain relief. Each discussion is accompanied by a color photo along with an embedded link to the actual study. A brief description of the writer is contained at the end of the feature. There were no comments.
"And that’s beneficial because research continues to show the central role CBD plays in the medical benefits of cannabis."
Read more: https://www.greenrushdaily.com/2017/05/07/important-cbd-studies/
Dr. Sanjay Gupta presents: Weed, Weed 2 and Weed 3
May 23, 2017 04:44 AM
Throughout all the times people have been exposed to and experimenting with weed, marijuana, there are times now where the plant has been legalized in a couple states, as opposed to the full legalization of the plant in some countries, the medical use was prepared for however when it comes to recreational use there are all types of worries. Thinking about the fact that the plant is used medically, it does lead to question the recreational purposed of the plant because of the existence of it medically.
"Actually, I really believe I can be cancer free for a long time."
Expert calls for government to stop lying about cannabis
May 21, 2017 11:44 AM
Good grammar is extremely important. The rules are not just stuffy constructs from the past. They are a way to help you to sound educated and professional which can get you ahead in life. This is especially true if you write professionally. These writings can make or break your job prospects. Having a reviewer go over what you wrote can help because they can catch the mistakes you might otherwise miss. It could save you hassle and embarrassment.
"The drug war has been an abysmal failure at an awful cost to the taxpayer and even greater cost to human life. And as a physician I would say — to human health.""
Read more: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/92674696/expert-calls-for-government-to-stop-lying-about-cannabis
The Benefits of CBD Oil as a Dietary Supplement
May 20, 2017 11:44 AM
An entertainment website has a feature on the good uses that Cannabidiol, or CBD, has. The feature states that CBD is legal although it is derived from cannabis. The writer alleges the federal government has not acknowledged CBD as a supplement for diet because of the association with an illegal substance The writer states that CBD is good as an aid for sleeping and digestion, can reduce anxiety, and is a pain reliever. The story concludes that this substance should receive FDA approval.
"Any type of cannabis is still illegal on a federal level and although CBD is not the psychoactive compound in the plant and is legal for sale, there is that tension that needs to be resolved prior to accepting the validity of CBD research."
Read more: http://ppcorn.com/us/2017/05/15/benefits-cbd-oil-dietary-supplement/
Congress Gives Jeff Sessions $0 To Go After Medical Marijuana Laws
May 09, 2017 10:44 AM
Erin Elizabeth summarizes the current political climate as it relates to medical marijuana and the prevailing opinion of lawmakers on Capital Hill. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has consistently expressed an emphatically negative view of medical marijuana and has expressed interested in addressing users from his position in the federal government. However, congress, who are simply honoring the wishes of the voters in their home states, have allocated no money to sessions in this effort, solidifying the federal government’s actual stance on medical marijuana: States have the rights to make their own rules and laws to govern the use of this substance for medical purposes.
Read more: Congress Gives Jeff Sessions $0 To Go After Medical Marijuana Laws
Why marijuana became illegal
April 26, 2017 11:59 AM
Marijuana became illegal largely through the efforts of a businessman named William Randolph Hearst. Hearst operated in the paper industry and faced potential competition through the hemp industry. In order to stave off competition, he began campaigning to make marijuana illegal. His campaign involved lies and deceptions and played on primitive emotions such as racism and nationalism. The effort was extended by those in government and the medical industry. The experts who helped pass the anti-marijuana laws used similar tactics and had financial interests in the outcome of the legislation.
"For thousands of years, all good quality paints and varnishes were made from hempseed/linseed oil. After 1937, they were replaced with synthetic petrochemical oils made mainly by DuPont."
Read more: http://www.trinidadandtobagonews.com/blog/?p=10013
Did You Know Americans Could Pay Taxes in Hemp for Over 150 Years?
April 26, 2017 08:44 AM
The taxes we pay every year are rising. The more we progress in the evolutionary era the more we build and spend as a nation together, we spend our lives paying taxes on almost everything we do now, the job world has pretty much consumed the social world along with all its endevoures. When you look back to check on the hemp and the production of it all, it's shown that a 159 year timelasr of taxes could be paid off in hemp for the American public.
"In 2016, seven states replaced archaic laws with new legislature, breaking down barriers that previously stood in the way of industrial hemp farming."
Read more: https://www.marijuana.com/news/2017/04/did-you-know-americans-could-pay-taxes-in-hemp-for-over-150-years/
Health Ranger awarded U.S. patent for breakthrough anti-radiation formula that eliminates Cesium-137 from your body
April 05, 2017 06:44 AM
A patent has just been awarded for a formula called "Cesium Eliminator". The purpose of the formula is to eliminate radioactive cesium isotopes from the digestive tract in the event that contaminated water or food has been eaten, possibly as the result of a nuclear accident, terrorism or other catastrophic nuclear event.
The developer of the formula promises to donate the manufacturing and licensing rights to governments, anywhere in the world, that might want to use it. One of the ingredients of the formula is seaweed, and the developer has a large stockpile of raw materials used to make the product. He plans to donate the product for free to victims of nuclear incidents that might happen in the continental U.S.
The developer claims that this formula will remove 95% of cesium-137 from the digestive tract. This is to see that the cesium doesn't get absorbed into the bloodstream and thereafter deposited throughout the body. Radiation from cesium-137 when exposed to the human body can lead to an increased risk of cancer.
The formula is only to be used in cases of emergency; it's not a nutritional supplement.
Read more: Health Ranger awarded U.S. patent for breakthrough anti-radiation formula that eliminates Cesium-137 from your body
Cannabis Connection: From Paranoia and Panic to Calm and Cool
March 27, 2017 03:44 PM
Researchers have discovered that treating mice with CBD can block later symptoms of fear and anxiety from being close to a predator. These findings are highly indicative that cannabis may be a useful tool for treating anxiety in people. This can seem in contrast to some people's experience with cannabis causing them anxiety and paranoia. Researchers are prevented from fully exploring this anomaly by government regulations, but they suggest that many factors can play a role in this including environment, the tolerance level of the user, and the strain of cannabis. Read on for more details into this study.
"Animal and human studies confirm the anxiolytic potential for CBD, and a 2011 study in Neuropsychopharmacology even discovered that CBD helps people speak in public despite social anxiety disorders."
Read more: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/03/cannabis-connection-from-paranoia-and-panic-to-cal.html
Fake weed: Why does government marijuana look so weird?
March 27, 2017 08:59 AM
The government, yet again, is trying to control/discourage research and development of products related to marijuana. Outlined here is how the only products available for research studies are outdated, ineffective, and poor quality marijuana plants. Most plants that are used are grown in outdated environments and conditions. In states where the plant is legal, it can't be used for research purposes. The product must be the sub-standard, government issued plants. People who could benefit from this research, should pay attention to, and follow-up on this report.
"Photographs of the government marijuana samples received by Sisley show a substance that bears almost no resemblance to commercial marijuana."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-03-23-fake-weed-why-does-government-marijuana-look-so-weird.html
Treading carefully on medical marijuana
March 24, 2017 11:44 AM
Medical marijuana has long been a controversial topic and countries all over the world are slow to make cannabis available for medical reasons. Many people swear by marijuana as an effective treatment for a variety of conditions. Unfortunately, there is limited scientific evidence to support some of these medical claims and proponents of the plant should be cautious when making such claims. This article provides an in-depth explanation of what has been proven in scientific research and what studies some countries are undertaking.
"The calls for legalisation of medicinal cannabis have been shrill and perhaps based on misunderstanding."
Read more: http://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/health-features/treading-carefully-on-medical-marijuana-35539393.html
Here Is Why Congress Believes Marijuana Is The Same As Heroin And Meth
March 12, 2017 11:59 AM
Congressman Garrett is working to get marijuana off the federal controlled substance list, which will put marijuana on a level similar to alcohol rather than heroin. The Controlled Substance Act, passed in 1970 by President Nixon, lists marijuana as a tier 1 substance (the highest possible tier, meaning no acceptable medical use), while only 2 years after it was discovered that marijuana posed no threat to the public. While marijuana is considered highly dangerous to the federal government, twenty-eight state governments so far have passes laws allowing medical marijuana. Even cannabis extracts with no THC are considered schedule 1 drugs. And yet, congress has no plan to reschedule any time soon, with several recent attempts all proving unsuccessful.
"Earlier this week, Congressman Tom Garrett, a Republican freshman from Virginia, introduced legislation aimed at federally decriminalizing marijuana."
Read more: https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https%3A%2F%2Fthefreshtoast.com%2Fcannabis%2Fhere-is-why-congress-believes-marijuana-is-the-same-as-heroin-and-meth%2F&ct=ga&cd=CAIyGjViYjkzZDJlODZhNjI0ZWE6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNGVMruuanmcWtstgLlU4juLWyStng
Are the Unique Phytocannabinoids Found in Cannabis Actually Essential Nutrients? The Answer ...
February 22, 2017 07:59 AM
Cannabis oil is steeped in controversy. Some want it to be illegal and others swear by its powers to heal and help. There are many supposed benefits to it. This discusses nutrients it may contain. If you're a skeptic or even if you already like it you may be interested in this.
"The sooner that governments of the world recognize that cannabis prohibition is detrimental to the health of mankind, the sooner the world can start getting healthy."
CBS News shocked to report local man cured his cancer with cannabis oil
February 16, 2017 10:59 AM
There are a lot of shocking stories in the news but CBS news may have topped all of them. CBS news appeared completely baffled while reporting on a story about a man whose cancer was cured through the use of cannabis oil. With more and more states pushing for cannabis to be legal in the United States more news has come out about its health benefits.
"The only reason that marijuana isn’t already legalized is that the federal government profits far too heavily from the alternatives."
Hemp is a Wonder Plant
February 10, 2017 10:59 AM
Hemp is a really amazing plant. Energy drinks are a huge industry, but most of them are very unhealthy and even illegal to be sold to minors. The government of the United States has outlawed a crop that was cultivated for 10000 years. However, there has been an easing on the restrictions from both the state and federal levels recently.
"As cannabis continues to legalize, hemp is a wonder plant with never ever benefits, and it will continue to integrate in consumer products like RMHB."
Possible new head of the FDA is a supporter of medical marijuana … Could Trump's FDA finally stop suppressing cannabis?
February 04, 2017 12:59 PM
Back on November 8th 2016 there was much celebration among the marijuana community. There were four more states that legalized adult use cannabis and several, including Florida, that legalized medical marijuana. However, there was still a lump in the back of many of our throats. Sessions has a long standing anti-drug stance and has made some strong comments against cannabis legalization. Recently the Trump administration has made a surprising announcement when they confirmed previous reports that Jim O'Neil is being considered to lead the Food and Drug Administration.
"For decades, cannabis advocates have pushed for universal legalization of medical marijuana. Citing scientific study after scientific study, they have forcefully (and truthfully) argued that legalization would provide much needed relief to millions of people suffering from a host of medical ailments."
Change likely to make CDB oil accessible
January 25, 2017 10:59 AM
Due to the efforts of one parent with a child that suffered from seizures, cannabis treatment for the disorder may be likely in the future. Sally Schaeffer helped pass Lydia’s Law in 2014, which hopes to allow research on the use of the drug. However, wording in the law has forced doctors to apply for an FDA investigational license. An alteration to the law next week is hoping to change that. The bill will hopefully at least allow people in Wisconsin to legally own the oil. The government is trying to get it legalized at a national level as well.
"After two years of a stalemate in the state government, a bill legalizing the use of cannabidiol as seizure treatment may finally become useful."
Vitamin deficiencies are now commonplace across all ages, research finds
January 18, 2017 12:59 PM
The modern diet does not give enough vitamins to anyone. New research shows that most people in almost every age group are deficient in some sort of vitamins. This can be bad as it can lead to sickness or some sort of health disorder. Supplementation will be needed to fix these problems.
"The Department of Health doesn’t want people to view vitamin and mineral supplements as a substitute for a healthy diet, and everyone would agree with that."
Did cannabis oil prove to be a miracle cure for this little boy with epilepsy?
January 16, 2017 12:59 PM
Bruno Delgado of Florida is one case that shows the miracle medicinal cannabis can provide to patients who suffer from seizures. He went from suffering from 300 seizures to barely any. It makes his condition much more manageable. In order to get to the point they are at, his mother had to go over the recommended dose imposed by Florida law. However, she says it is much more preferable to his suffering. Many people are calling for marijuana to be legalized so research can progress. Right now, they are hindered by legal restrictions.
""Though cannabis use has now been legalised by above 50 American states, it is still considered illegal for any sort of usage and labelled as a narcotic drug by the federal government.""
5 Reasons the DEA's Marijuana Ruling Is Absurd and Indefensible
December 31, 2016 11:59 AM
On December 14, 2016, in the Federal Register, DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg made cannabis a Schedule I controlled substance by making it illegal to use. People suffering from medical issues often use cannabis (CBD) and CBD oil in their treatment. Opponents to the new classification argue that cannabis should not be included in Schedule 1 drugs. For starters, they say it’s not psychoactive, addictive, or dangerous. Also, the US government has conducted research on the drug and concluded that it has medical benefits. In addition, it has been helpful in treating other coditions, like seizures and schizophrenia.
"While it’s possible to abuse marijuana (along with anything else), dependence and addiction are rare."
The empire strikes back: DEA quietly announces "Schedule I" status for CBD extracts to comply with United Nations demands... CBD Prohibition begins on January 13, 2017
December 23, 2016 10:59 AM
There is concern over a rumor that the DEA seeks to create a brand new schedule I class of drugs just for marijuana extracts, known as CBD. They must go through a scheduling action to get approval, but many are outraged over the possibility of losing access to any medicinal product made from Cannabis. This can include non-psychoactive drugs. Some are trying to soothe the panic by stating that it doesn’t include hemp products. As long as it is not a drug, it is not restricted. We will have to wait and see how this plays out.
"Big Media, Big Pharma, Big government, Big Banks and Big Agriculture are assaulting our bodies and minds by the hour, it seems."
Americans are changing their supplements of choice - CBS News
December 01, 2016 04:59 PM
This report indicates high use of dietary supplements in the U.S. adult population during the past 20 years, with adults using one or more dietary supplements. This is an increase from the 1970s when NHANES began monitoring use of dietary supplements. Because a high proportion of the U.S. population uses dietary supplements, it is essential for surveys and studies that assess nutrient intake to collect information on these important contributors. Of particular importance is vitamin D, which is found naturally in very few foods.
"The current findings are based on almost 38,000 U.S. adults who took part in a nationally representative government health survey between 1999 and 2012."
When energy drinks contained real (radioactive) energy
November 19, 2016 08:14 AM
When you grab an energy drink you expect it to provide you with an uplifting mood and alleviate tiredness for the next few hours. It isn't actual radioactive energy that you think about, but what if your drink actually contained traces of this substance? What you learn in this article might shock you but it is important to know.
"Today, the energy drink market is occupied by drink formulations that rely on the stimulant caffeine to invigorate their customers and provide them with the enhanced "energy" that they seek. Caffeine -- the commonplace ingredient in coffee, tea, chocolate and cola -- may not be as exotic as radium, but it actually is a stimulant, so customers do feel energized, and it isn't very dangerous to health."
World's oldest living person has eaten 3 eggs a day for over 90 years
November 11, 2016 04:49 PM
How many eggs do you eat each day? For one woman, who happens to be turning the tender age of 117 soon, eats two every day, as she has for more than 90 years now. She is doing something right with her diet as she still looks amazing. Perhaps there is something about eggs that help us live long lives!
"Currently government recommendations allow for moderate, not restricted, egg consumption, if that's what you want to do. Guidelines are for one egg per day, or about seven whole eggs per week."
Does eating fat make you fat? This physician says no
November 09, 2016 04:54 PM
One big myth surrounding weight loss is that in order to lose weight, you must not eat any fat. However, that is not the case. Mark Hyman says that dietary fat, like those found in avocadoes, actually helps cut fat, and even goes to say that all calories are not the same. Healthy fats can also speed up metabolism and cut cravings. Hyman suggests consuming foods such as spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and peppers along with up to six ounces of protein.
""The misinformation that has been pushed on our population by the food industry and our government, which is that all calories are the same - that's true in a laboratory, when you burn them," Hyman said. "It's not true when you eat them.""
Curcumin Helps Alleviate Depression
October 26, 2016 08:24 PM
Curcumin is a phenolic acid that can be sourced from the cooking spice turmeric. It acts as a powerful antioxidant in humans and protects the body's cells from dangerous free radicals (harmful by-products that are released into the cells during oxygen related reactions). Provisional studies suggest that it may also have many more health benefits. There is also some evidence that curcumin or turmeric may help alleviate the symptoms of certain skin diseases, viral infections, diabetes, colitis, stomach ulcers, and high cholesterol. Once again, the ancient herbal remedy is being celebrated as a modern wonder drug. But perhaps the most promising results have been seen in the use of curcumin to treat depression.
Curcumin vs. Prozac
If there's one thing Big Pharma fears more than anything else it's competition from the outside. Because herbal medicines have far fewer and less serious side effects than prescription pills, they would be the logical choice - if only they worked as well. Well, there is now irrefutable, ironclad scientific evidence that an herbal remedy is every bit as effective at treating depression as one of the most popular prescription antidepressants.
When researchers with the Department of Pharmacology of government Medical College in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India conducted a controlled clinical study comparing the effects of curcumin and Prozac, they didn't expect to make national, even global news. Although the popular herbal remedy is widely used in India, curcumin had never been subjected to rigorous scientific testing for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). The most serious and chronic form of the disease, major or clinical depression affects about 3 percent of population at any given time. The idea that a chemical compound from a popular native spice could compete with Prozac seemed far- fetched to those conducting the study. But after 60 patients diagnosed with MDD were randomly administered curcumin, fluoxetine (Prozac), and a combination of the two, the results spoke for themselves.
With the help of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, 17-item version (HAM-D17), researchers determined that curcumin was just as effective as Prozac at treating serious depression. Because the study utilized the latest research tools and followed strict testing guidelines, it became the first published report that indicated the efficacy of turmeric or curcumin in the treatment of depression. What the report did not take into account, however, were the serious side effects those who take Prozac endure; the most serious of which include anxiety, seizures, racing heartbeat, trouble sleeping, and suicidal ideation.
How Curcumin Treats Depression
Shortly after the results of the aforementioned study made news, researchers started looking for answers. It was not enough for Western scientists to know that curcumin is effective in the treatment depression, they also had to know how. As you might imagine, the how has proved more challenging than the if. This is not at all surprising, since curcumin has diverse biological properties that are difficult to study separately. So, while the mechanism of action is poorly understood, the effects of curcumin intake are well documented, particularly with regard to neurotransmitters.
As their name implies, neurotransmitters send messages to the billions of neurons in the human brain. Some of these neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating brain functions such as mood, memory, appetite, and sleep. Known as "feel-good" neurotransmitters because they help maintain mood balance, dopamine and serotonin play a role in depression. How do we know? For starters, studies have confirmed that people who suffer from clinical depression have consistently low levels of both neurotransmitters.
Once again, we aren't sure how curcumin extract works its magic, but testing has shown that those who take it have higher serotonin and dopamine levels. That fact alone might account for the improved mood those that take the dietary supplement have consistently reported. Although researchers will undoubtedly get to the bottom of this ancient mystery, it enough for most patients to know that curcumin is a safe and effective treatment option.
Diatomaceous Eart (DE) is Safe For All Kinds Of Pets
September 16, 2016 05:01 PM
Diatomaceous earth is composed of silicon dioxide (Silica). The U.S. government has allowed Diatomaceous earth for agriculture uses since the 1960's. With decades of use, Diatomaceous earth is very safe.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Mixes well with kitten litter. Mix a handful of DE with litter. DE deodorizes and absorbs moisture. DE is odorless so it will not deter cats from using the box.
Lightly dust pets' bedding. DE will absorb oils, dirt, and smells. Keeps kennel area dry and odor free.
Backyard Chickens love DE. It keeps their coops cleaner, drier and odor free.
Anywhere you want to deodorize sprinkle Some DE there.
What Is GMO and Why Should We Avoid It?
June 21, 2014 02:40 AM
Cause of GMO
GMO's have been classified by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine as unhealthy, they were able to prove that GMO when ingested can cause organ damage, gastrointestinal as well as immune system disorders. This is due to the fact that GMO contains materials that are left behind the body, it can cause long term problems like accelerated aging as well as infertility. The genes inserted into a genetically modified crop like corn, can get transferred into the DNA of bacteria that is living inside the human body, this interaction can lead to a number of long term health problems.
Negative effects of genetically modified products have been observed in 1996, this was due to the number of Americans expressing a number of illnesses after consuming foods that have been engineered for 9 years.
Allergies increased including digestive problems and autism, while other research has yet to support this claim, many non-profit organizations such as Greenpeace are already making campaigns against the production of GMO infused crops and meat.
What are the other negative impacts of GMO?
1. Cancer causing components - GMO according to the American Public Health Association and American Nurses Association, have stated that the growth hormone present from cow’s milk treated by hormone IGF-1 can lead to cancer.
2. Long term negative effects on the body - GMO components can contaminate forever, it can cross pollinate, and the seeds can travel. Once it infects a certain area, it can contaminate the entire gene pool. This means, that the health of future generations is already compromised and for this reason, the production has to be stopped right away before it infects more population.
3. Dangerous side effects - the mere process of creation of GMO's can produce toxins, carcinogens, allergens and nutritional deficiencies.
The direct production and consumption is already endangering a number of species including bees.
Many governments continue to remain lax about the issue, GMOs are illegally being sold and created in many countries, and people need to learn as much as they can in order to learn how they can prevent GMO products from entering their market.
Can Magnesium Relax the Muscles?
March 04, 2011 04:27 PM
Magnesium The Miracle mineral
The biological role of magnesium is no longer the mystery it once was. Today we are well informed that the presence of minute quantities of magnesium in the human body is necessary for life. Moreover, a well balanced diet incorporating healthy levels of this trace element has been associated with lower susceptibility to fatigue, muscle weakness, and neurological conditions. Deficiency, on the other hand, brings on a long list of symptoms, including muscle spasms, insulin resistance, and even heart failure. It is an important factor of muscle health, and, not surprisingly, an effective muscle relaxant.
Facilitates Muscle Recovery
In the past few years there was a health concern in connection with the high incidence of magnesium deficiency among the general population, spurring the government to be actively involved in promoting the availability of elemental magnesium in the foods that we eat. Today with many food products fortified with magnesium, it is now becoming common knowledge that this dietary element is indispensable. What the average guy may not know is how important it is to the overall health of the muscles. First off, a significant fraction of magnesium is present in the muscle cells. The energy that you feel during physical exertion, which of course involves the muscles, is generated at the cellular level in the presence of magnesium. However, even when magnesium levels are depleted, each muscle cell still has to endure with the continuing muscular contractions, resulting in a slower rate of recovery.
Prevents Muscle Fatigue
Do be aware that longer hours at work take a toll on your muscular system. Doing the same things for long periods of time entails the repetitive use of the same muscles, straining these muscles and literally pushing them to the limit. Cumulative trauma disorder, or sometimes called repetitive strain injury, is in fact more common among individuals with low levels of magnesium, the muscles being more susceptible to stress as the body uses up its magnesium reserves. The same is the case with staying up all night or engaging in activities with fewer rewards in that the nervous system plays a role in controlling your muscles. The role of magnesium in combating muscle fatigue transcends its presence in muscle tissues for it is also actively involved in keeping undesirable neurological responses in check.
Strengthens Muscle Cells
Magnesium is not an herbal remedy for muscle spasms, but a vital constituent of strong, healthy muscles. That being said, there are formulations that must be taken at recommended dosages to produce a relaxing effect on the muscles. This will of course relieve the symptoms associated with muscle problems, including pain, tremors, and stiffness. What must follow is the incorporation of this mineral to your diet or supplementation to ensure that your muscles are protected against their continued exposure to daily wear and tear. Keep in mind that supplying your body with magnesium translates to developing healthier muscles, whether you lead an active life or spend long hours at the workstation.
Have your had your magnesium today?
April 08, 2010 04:31 PM
Comments by Craig Gerbore, CEO of Madhava:
Reading through the attack articles and blogs that have surfaced recently one could think that using agave is bad for one's health. These claims are utterly false and misleading. They are extreme views drawn from extreme examples and applied way out of context. They are propagandizing and clearly designed to frighten, not educate. All of the fears and concerns associated with the overconsumption of sugars and calories in general have been unfairly cast on agave.
What is a "healthy" sweetener? One that you use moderately and sensibly.
Health concerns related to fructose and caloric sweeteners are all dependant on the overconsumption of them. All foods have calories and it is the overall consumption of calories that lead to obesity and related issues, not any one food source.
Agave's caloric value is comparable to the other sweeteners in the category. Due to its greater sweetness though, less agave is used compared to the others, so agave actually can reduce caloric consumption per serving. This is due to a higher fructose content. The higher content does not mean higher consumption though, due to the smaller portion used. But, it is not the single serving that matters, it is the number of servings which lead to the overconsumption issues which may result in health concerns.
As a reference point, 9-10 teaspoon servings of agave would be the approximate caloric equivalent of one 16 oz soft drink. With this perspective, is agave really being overconsumed as a choice of sweetener for home use?
Every single health issue which the attackers have tried to associate with agave is really the result of a caloric overconsumption issue. There are no documented issues with normal, moderate consumption of agave or sweeteners in general as part of our everyday diet. For reasons unknown, some have attempted to isolate agave from the real world and real world conditions with the goal of inhibiting agave's use. They play on people's fears, reference false information and fail to address health issues in any meaningful way.
The purpose of this article is to debunk the controversial misinformation surrounding agave. All information debunking the myths and misinformation is based on current science and facts. It is our goal to provide you with useful information so that you can make your personal nutritional choices in a well-informed, science-based manner.
The Agave Controversy: Exposing the fraudulent article by Rami Nagel
By Dr. Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN
And Craig Gerbore, CEO Madhava
The controversy about agave syrup was manufactured by the publication of a single article on the internet, which has been reproduced and adapted for virtually every other article produced on the internet and other media venues. That article, written by Rami Nagel and published on Naturalnews.com, was highly biased and full of inaccuracies, half-truths and misinformation about agave. Since the Naturalnews.com article has been the sole source of nearly all other popular articles in public media, we want to set the record straight with science-based, reliable information to offer a more balanced resource to those interested in learning more about agave syrup. Who is the author, Rami Nagel?
According to the description on the Naturalnews.com website, Rami Nagel is a "citizen journalist". This means that Mr. Nagel is self-employed, and not employed as an in-house journalist by the website. He wrote and published the article without any editorial or content oversight, and the editor of the website, Mike Adams, makes it clear that the article was not checked for incorrect or inaccurate information or facts. The introduction to the article, written by Mr. Adams, states that readers had written to comment that Mr. Nagel's resources were biased with conflicts of interest due to their financial interests in competing sweeteners, such as brown rice syrup. So even the website editor himself states that the article is not fact-checked, and it is biased and unbalanced.
Who is Russ Bianchi?
The sole resource interviewed for the article is Russ Bianchi, identified by the author as Managing Director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc. Mr. Bianchi has clear conflict of interest ties to the sweetener industry. We have documentation of the fact that Mr Bianchi had plans to market a product named Replace. It was to be touted as a low calorie alternative sweetener composed of natural and artificial ingredients! Mr Bianchi was prevented from marketing this sweetener as the result of a lawsuit against him by the owner of the formula.
Mr Bianchi is quoted by Nagel extensively and exclusively. Many, if not all, of his statements are blatantly false or misrepresentations of fact. He is clearly propagandizing against agave nectar.
Was anyone else interviewed for this article?
Yes. Craig Gerbore, president and owner of Madhava Agave Syrup, was extensively interviewed by the author but no parts of that interview were included in the article.
It is important to note that neither Mr Nagel or Mr Bianchi have not made themselves available for questions on their statements since the articles appearance. They remain out of sight and have entirely avoided the controversy their statements created.
What is agave nectar?
The opening line of this paragraph in the article by Mr. Nagel states:
"The principal constituent of the agave is starch, such as what is found in corn or rice."
This is absolutely false. There is no starch in agave. The source of carbohydrate in agave syrup is inulin, a polysaccharide made up primarily of strings of fructose units. Starch is a polysaccharide made up of strings of glucose molecules. They are significantly different, and this difference is why agave syrup is naturally sweet.
The very basis of the argument presented by Mr. Nagel is false.
The agave plant is a succulent, similar to a cactus. The agave sweetener comes from both the Salmiana agave plant and the agave Tequilana (Blue Agave) which are both organically farmed in Mexico and certified organic by USDA approved certifiers. As the salmiana plant grows it produces a stalk called the "quiote" and when this is removed, a natural liquid called "aquamiel". The liquid is collected from the plant, while Blue agave pinons are harvested and shredded to remove the similar juice. Either can be naturally processed thermally or by enzymes into agave nectar.
The juice of the plant is not naturally sweet. The string of connected fructose units that makes up the major proportion of inulin does not have a sweet taste, but when the fructose units are separated (the process is called hydrolysis) by the addition of an enzyme, similar to digestion, or thermally for most blue agave, the syrup becomes quite sweet. That is the entire processing chain for agave nectar. There are no additives, other ingredients or chemicals in Madhava agave nectar. It is absolutely pure and organic and GMO free.
? Mr. Nagel claims that agave syrup is a "refined corn fructose" similar to high fructose corn syrup. This is absolutely false. There is no relationship between agave syrup and high fructose corn syrup in any way, including the source of the product, or the manufacturing process.
? Mr. Nagel refers to a "confidential FDA letter" from Mr. Martin Stutsman, claiming that agave is fraudulently labeled. We contacted Mr. Stutsman at the United States Food and Drug Administration, and his response made it clear that there was never a "confidential FDA letter". He did publish a public letter referenced in an FDA document as "FDA letter from Martin Stutsman to Dr. Eric
Wilhelmsen (Wilhelmsen Consulting), May 8, 2000", regarding evaporated cane juice, a topic wholly unrelated to agave syrup.
? He continued in his response to us that the paragraph in Mr. Nagel's article inaccurately reflected the substance of his comments in the document.
This link will take you to the original document in which the letter was referenced (reference #2):
In fact, Mr. Nagel fabricated the entire story of the letter. Mr. Stutsman is a lawyer, not a doctor. The quotes were completely taken out of context from the document, and the quotes never referred to agave syrup at any time. Nagel goes on to further misrepresent Mr. Stutsman's intent in the published document by weaving in other inaccurate information that is thoroughly unrelated to the original document. Mr Bianchi's subsequent statements on labeling issues are false and without merit.
Mr. Nagel is clearly caught red-handed. He has misrepresented the words of a government official, lied about the facts, and twisted the information to achieve his own agenda. This strategy is repeated throughout the article.
? Mr. Nagel continues his deceptive writing by referring to a quote by the late Dr. Varro Tyler in his book, The Honest Herbal. The first line of the paragraph is a direct quote from the book. Nothing else in that paragraph remotely resembles anything else found in Dr. Tyler's book. Mr. Nagel is trying to claim that agave syrup contains large quantities of saponins, and that they can be harmful to health. Here is the debunking of that paragraph:
1. Dr. Tyler does not include the variety of agave plant used for agave syrup.
2. The entire discussion is about the use of the sword-shaped leaves and the stem. Agave syrup is produced from the natural liquid in the plant. The saponins are isolated from the leaves of the plant.
3. There is no documented evidence to suggest agave syrup contains worrisome levels of saponins and the entire rest of the discussion about health dangers is fabricated and false.
People are going to continue to consume sweet food and drink. There are only three categories of choice to sweeten food. Those are artificial sweeteners, stevia, or caloric sweeteners from natural sources, sugars.
Most people will not choose artificial. Many will not choose stevia. That only leaves the category of sugars. In this group, agave is a good choice due to its organic quality, ease of
use, neutral flavor, low glycemic index and the fact that less is used to equal the sweetness of the others in the category.
The sweeteners in this category are composed of three primary sugars used to sweeten foods: glucose, fructose and sucrose. These sugars belong to a class of compounds known as carbohydrates. "Saccharide" is a term that denotes sugar, or substances derived from sugar. Monosaccharides are simple or single sugars; disaccharides are derived from two joined monosaccharides and when they are hydrolyzed, or separated, they yield two molecules of simple sugar. Strings of more than two sugar molecules are called polysaccharides. This category includes compounds such as starches, cellulose and inulin.
Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides. Glucose and fructose are found abundantly in nature in fruits and plants. Sucrose is the disaccharide formed by the joining of glucose and fructose, also known as table sugar. When comparing their relative sweetness, glucose is the least sweet tasting, sucrose is next, and fructose is the sweetest of the three sugars, measured as 1.4 times sweeter than table sugar. Because it is so sweet, people typically use less fructose when sweetening foods compared to sucrose.
? In the article by Mr. Nagel he states , "fructose is not what is found in fruit. Commonly, fructose is compared with its opposite and truly naturally occurring sweetener, known as ‘levulose' (made by nature)..."
Another fabrication. In fact, levulose is just another name for fructose. There are various nomenclatures used in the scientific naming of compounds. Fructose and levulose are exactly the same thing; the names are interchangeable. It is no different than if you called your father, "dad", and your sibling called your father, "father". He would still be the exact same person. Fructose and levulose are different names for the exact same thing: a sugar found in nature.
Mr. Bianchi also is quoted to say that the body does not recognize the fructose in agave. This is another false piece of propaganda which demonstrates just how far he is reaching. If this were true, it would have no impact on us. He immediately contradicts himself with the claims of detrimental effects caused by the overconsumption of fructose.
Sugars can be compared to each other in their ability to raise blood sugar levels by using the Glycemic Index. The scale is set from zero to 100, where low numbers do not have much impact on blood sugar levels, and high numbers raise blood sugar levels quickly. Fructose is very low on the scale. Because agave syrup is high in fructose, it has a rating of 32 or lower. Honey, which has a higher proportion of glucose to fructose, has a Glycemic Index of 58. Sucrose has a Glycemic Index of 68, and glucose, serving as the index standard, is 100.
All sugars, whether fructose, glucose, sucrose or others, contribute 4 calories per gram to our total diet. 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams = 16 calories
In addition to calories, sugars sweeten our foods offering a desirable taste and adding enjoyment and pleasure to our dining. During cooking and baking, sugars allow for browning and the unique consistencies of syrups, candies, frostings and frozen desserts. The varieties of sugars, such as crystallized table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, molasses, honey and agave nectar, among others, contribute different properties and flavors to foods.
When you add your own sugar to foods you are in control of how much sugar you use. Most people would never add as much sugar as do the food manufacturers. Moderate amounts of sugar can certainly be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet for an active individual. Natural sugars are easily metabolized and utilized by the body, offering a very efficient source of fuel for physical and mental activity.
Of course, sugars should be used in moderation in the diet. This can control calories and help create a diet that is dense in nutrients.
Impact of sugar on health and disease
? The remainder of Mr. Nagel's article works to link agave syrup with the increased incidence of obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, and the general rise of morbidity and mortality in the population. This is an overconsumption issue involving far more than the occasional use of agave. Here are the facts:
• Rats that are fed a high fructose diet become obese and will develop the chronic diseases associated with obesity: insulin resistance, diabetes and metabolic disease.
• No one should eat a diet that reflects this type of experimental diet.
• Too much sugar in the diet, whether from fructose, glucose or sucrose, can be unhealthy. Diets high in sugar promote tooth decay and periodontal disease; create an overabundance of calories and a deficit of nutrients. This scenario typically leads to weight gain and the development of chronic disease.
• Active individuals can include a moderate amount of added sugar in their diet without negative health consequences. When calorie intake is balanced with physical activity, sugar serves as an efficient source of fuel for muscles, the brain and the central nervous system.
• According to the World Health Organization (2003), individuals can healthfully include 10% of their daily calories from added sugars. This translates into 200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet, or 12½ teaspoons of added sugar daily. Clearly, one can safely add a couple of teaspoons of sweetener to a cup of tea or coffee, or have a little sweetened food without worrying about their risk of developing disease.
• Agave syrup, which is sweeter than other sugars and low on the Glycemic Index scale, is a good choice to include as one of the added sugars in your diet because you will use less sugar (and therefore fewer calories) and minimally raise blood sugar levels.
Just a teaspoon of agave: the healthy use of sweeteners in your diet
We all want to live healthier and longer lives. Diet and nutrition plays a key role, impacting our health and our ability to perform physically and mentally now and into the future. Food offers us not only sustenance, but also pleasure and enjoyment. Food is present in so many parts of our lives: at celebrations, business events, family events, religious and spiritual occasions, sports outings, the focus of our family meals, intimate dinners, and sometimes just the excuse to socialize.
Sweet foods make us feel good. Sugar allows for the elevation of serotonin in our brains, the "feel good" neurotransmitter that elevates mood, helps us focus, and in the evening, helps us relax and sleep.
Sugar is a source of energy for our muscles, brain and central nervous system. Without sugar our bodies will not function at peak capacity.
Too much sugar, however, is not good. In small amounts sugar energizes us, but in large doses, repeated throughout the day, day in and day out, sugar puts stress on the body. The extra calories can lead to weight gain and obesity, which in time can lead to chronic disease. In the short term, high sugar intakes can lead to a nutritionally deficient diet and a sense of being on an emotional roller coaster.
So be selective about your use of sugars and use them in moderation in your diet. Just like all foods, a variety will enhance the nutritional content of your diet and the flavor and tastes that you can enjoy. Since sugars come in different forms and have different flavors, they can be used most effectively in specific foods and beverages. For instance, agave syrup is liquid and less viscous than honey, making it easy to mix into cold liquids like iced tea and coffee, and is great to add to cold unsweetened cereals for a little sweet taste. Agave's mild flavor allows chefs and bakers to sweeten foods lightly, without overpowering the taste of the dish.
Pay attention to how much sugar is added to your diet every day. Read labels so that you know when sugar is added to manufactured foods. Keep the consumption of added sugars in your diet to no more than 10% of your total daily calorie intake so that you have plenty of room for nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein-rich foods, nuts, seeds and healthy oils.
Remember that nutrition is a science based on facts. We are making great advances in our understanding of the science of foods and nutrition. Beware of people with hidden agendas using fear tactics to influence your choices. Don't take their opinion at face value. What are their credentials? What conflicts of interest do they have? If they do not disclose conflicts, then assume that they are manipulating the truth.
Most of all enjoy food. Think about what you need to eat to promote whole health. Don't overindulge, but don't deprive yourself of the bounty of wonderful tastes, either. Use celebrations as occasions to enjoy your favorite foods and try new ones. A teaspoon or two of sugar easily fits into the diet of an active, healthy person. Agave syrup offers an organic low-glycemic choice for those looking for that option.
Resources for this article:
Charley H. Food Science, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, 1982.
Figlewicz DP et al. Effect of moderate intake of sweeteners on metabolic health in the rat. Physiology and Behavior 98:618-624, 2009
Johnson RK et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 2009
Tyler VE. The Honest Herbal, Third Edition. Pharmaceutical Products Press, New York, NY, 1993.
December 10, 2008 10:48 AM
Hoodia Gordonii is a South African succulent plant of the family Apocynaceae. They are remarkable similar in appearance to cacti, although they are totally unrelated to them and grow predominantly in the region of Central Namibia in the south west of Africa, up to the southern regions of Angola. They are most commonly found in rocky ground and on the plains.
There are several species of hoodia, some of them grown domestically, and it is Hoodia gordonii that is used as an appetite suppressant in hoodia weight loss pills. Although the plant has historically found use in the treatment of infections and gastric problems, most interest is displayed in its use by the bushmen of the Kalahari Desert to suppress their appetite during long hunting trips when food and water are scarce.
The active ingredient was isolated in 1977, and given the name P57: the product is therefore often referred to as Hoodia P57. It was patented by its discoverers, the CSIR (South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) and a license granted to UK company Phytopram, who worked together with Pfizer to isolate the active ingredients and manufacture them synthetically. This was found to be very difficult, if not impossible, since any synthetic form of the extract failed to display any hunger-suppressant properties.
Finally, the rights to the main ingredient were released by Pfizer in 2002, thus indicating that it was of no commercial benefit to them. The main problem they admitted with synthesizing P57 was not only the difficulty in doing so, but also that there were side effects of the extract on the liver caused by other components that could not be removed. No synthetic form of hoodia is therefore available, and only the natural plant is used in current Hoodia 57 preparations.
The rights of the San Bushmen to the plant were recognized by the CSIR in 2002, and not only do they receive a proportion of the profits of marketing hoodia, but also the plant is protected with wild-harvesting licenses provided to only certain individuals and companies. Due to the rising popularity of the hoodia weight loss industry, the plant has been named as an endangered species in the wild.
It is believed that the active ingredients are steroidal saponins that can fool the body into believing it is full. This theory is based upon the effect on appetite of glucose concentrations in the blood. Your appetite is controlled by the amount of unconverted glucose in your blood, and glycogen in the liver. When you eat carbohydrates, they are digested and converted into glucose which is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Under normal conditions your blood glucose levels increase to a level where a signal from hypothalamus stops you feeling hungry. Insulin is then secreted from the pancreas to prepare your cells to use that glucose in the mitochondria to create energy by means of the Kreb's Cycle, or Citric Acid Cycle as it is also known. This reduces the concentration of glucose in the blood, and once it reaches a certain level the body begins to use its emergency energy supply, glycogen, that is stored in the liver.
A signal then informs the brain that more glucose is needed. You then feel hungry again, and this cycle is repeated several times a day in a normally healthy person. This cycle is controlled by certain hormones in the brain, specifically in the ventromedial center of the hypothalamus, where it is believed that the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) availability controls the release of the hormones involved.
ATP is the molecule of energy, and as the concentration of blood glucose and of glycogen drop, then the amount of ATP produced also drops and this is detected in the hypothalamus, which reacts by releasing ghrelin. Increased leptin increases the feeling of satiety and ghrelin increases the feeling of hunger. Serotonin acts on the brain to increase the effect of leptin in the hypothalamus, and therefore make us feel less hungry, or more satiated.
It is believed that hoodia gordonii, or the Hoodia P57 component of it, fools the brain into believing that your blood glucose or glycogen levels have reached the point at which it should trigger a satiated response, so that you stop eating even though your ATP levels might be low. The steroidal saponins that it contains is believed to be ten thousand times more effective than glucose in stimulated the secretion of serotonin.
Hoodia has also been found to contain a number of glycosides, including pregnane glycosides that some studies have indicated to help control appetite of the subjects tested. Most of these tests have been carried out on animals, although Hoodia weight loss preparations are offered in a form standardized on both steroidal saponins and pregnane glycosides.
Hoodia gordonii is becoming so popular as a weight loss product that its export is being monitored by the South African government. It has become so endangered that, since 2005, only hoodia grown on commercial farms is permitted an export license, and exporters must obtain a license from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Importers also require a permit from the US department of Agriculture, and a CITES certificate is also needed to re-export the finished product.
Because of this, more hoodia weight loss pills are being sold than there is hoodia gordonii to produce them. It is not uncommon for cacti such as the prickly pear cactus from Mexico, to be used, or for low concentrations of hoodia to be bulked up with fillers. Neither of these is of any use as an appetite suppressant, the former having no active ingredients whatsoever and the latter containing only traces.
If you are purchasing hoodia, therefore, be aware of this. Request sight of the CITES certificate and USDA permit, and also the analysis results by an authorized laboratory to confirm that the product is what it purports to be. Otherwise, there is some evidence that Hoodia gordonii can help you reduce weight, although to date there are only four recognized analytical laboratories registered to analyze the active content of hoodia weight loss products.
Finally, check for the analysis certificates. All Hoodia weight loss products should be analyzed by each of three methods: Microscopy, High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC) and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) - all there are needed. The four authorized laboratories are: the University of Mississippi, Chromadex labs in Irvine California, Alkemist Pharmaceuticals and Advanced Laboratories, Smithfield, NC.
No others will do, so if your Hoodia weight loss preparation has not been analyzed using the three methods by one of these laboratories, don't buy it, even if it can show the CITES and USDA documentation.
November 10, 2008 10:30 AM
Guggul is a natural herb supplement that may help lower cholesterol, yet few in the Western hemisphere know much about it. Guggul is otherwise known as the Mukul myrrh tree, and is a plant of the Burseracae family with small red or pink flowers.
It is found across central Asia over to North Africa, although is very common in the northern areas of India where the climate is more semi-arid than equatorial. Guggul does not like a lot of water and can thrive in ground where the soil has few nutrients. Its Latin name is Commiphora wightii, and it grows about 12 feet high.
It has been predominantly used in the Ayurvedic medicine of ancient India, and like many such ancient remedies and treatments, is now used in modern medicine to treat specific conditions: conditions such as some forms of heart condition, where it has been found to be able to lower your blood cholesterol levels, weight loss and some forms of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
However, it has been used so successfully over the years, particularly in India, which it is now in danger of extinction and is contained in the Red Data List of the World Conservation Union that lists endangered species. So what is so special about this plant that makes it so popular? To get the answer to that we have to go back a bit in its history, although not quite as far as the two or three thousand years that it is known to have been used in traditional Hindu medicine.
The active ingredient is found in the sap of the tree, and is used to fight against obesity and other diseases that can be caused by excess weight or cholesterol, such as arthritis, obesity and atherosclerosis. Until recently it has had very little support for its claims from conventional medicine. It was in the 1960s that an ancient Sanskrit text was found that recommended guggul as a treatment for high cholesterol levels. Since that discovery, research has focused on the plant's anti-cholesterol properties, and a great deal of evidence has been gathered supporting the claims of that ancient text.
So much so that the Indian government has approved the use of guggul for the treatment of high cholesterol levels, largely because it has been found very effective in reducing the levels of 'bad' LDL cholesterol in the blood while increasing the levels of the beneficial HDL cholesterol. Several trials have supported this, including one study involving 228 patients that showed the extract to be equally as effective as the anti-cholesterol drug clofibrate.
That is not all, and other studies included one in which a decrease in LDL cholesterol of almost 13% was measured in a double blind study involving 61 subjects, of which around half received a placebo. An average 12.7% reduction in LDL cholesterol, 12% in triglycerides and 11.7% in total cholesterol was experienced by the group given the guggul extract. Every 1% drop in total cholesterol is associated with a 2% decrease in the risk of heart disease.
Guggul reduces the levels of harmful cholesterol in your blood by converting it into bile. The plant extract contains substances given the name guggulsterones that block the activity of a protein that regulates the metabolism of cholesterol in your body known as FXR (the Farsenoid X Receptor). This protein can increase the risk of you contracting heart disease by preventing the liver from converting cholesterol into bile acids, so that the concentration of cholesterol in your blood continues to build up.
The problem with bile acids is that once they reach a certain concentration in your body, the FXR comes into play and stops more being produced. Guggulsterones prevent the FXR from doing this, and so helps the liver to destroy more cholesterol. There is a reason for the body not allowing too much bile acid to be generated, but for those with excess cholesterol, it is more beneficial for this regulation to be prevented, and more cholesterol to be destroyed by the liver.
It is the resin of the plant that is prized, being extracted from the bark in much the same way as rubber is tapped. It is also used in fragrances and perfumes in addition to its medicinal uses, and the dosage generally recommended is 1500 mg (1.5 grams) twice daily. However, it is not recommended for those suffering liver disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease or any form of diarrhea, and should not be taken by those on beta blockers.
It is not only for its cholesterol-lowering properties that guggul is prized, however. Another property it possesses is its ability to render blood platelets less sticky, and so reduce the risk of coronary disease, and prevent the formation of blood clots and thrombosis.
Another use it has found is in the field of weight loss, where it has been found effective in reducing the weight of obese adults. It does so by the activation of lipolytic enzymes and increased levels of triiodothyronine (T3), believed to be due to the formation of T3 from T4 (thyroxine) in the liver.
T3 increases the metabolic rate, and the rate of the breakdown of glycogen and gluconeogenesis: the biosynthesis of glucose. It also causes cholesterol to be broken down and increases the rate of lipolysis - the breakdown of fats stored in fat cells in the body. Studies have shown that those taking guggul lost up to 6 times the weight of a control group within 15 days, and the practice is going along with the theory.
Not only that, but when you are on a diet, your body is likely to respond by decreasing levels of triiodothyronine, and so reducing the rate at which fat burns. Hence, your diet does not help you top reduce weight as quickly as it could. Guggul, however, stimulates the production of T3, and so you are not only taking less fat into your body, but are also burning it up at an accelerated rate.
Other uses to which the resin has been put are based upon its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been found to be an effective treatment for some forms of arthritis and also in the treatment of acne. The active inflammatory ingredient is believed to be myrrhanol A, a polypodane-type triterpene, which would also explain the antioxidant effect of guggulipid on lipid peroxidation.
Guggul is a versatile plant, and a good supplement to take for anybody suffering increased lipid or cholesterol levels, and who wants to increase the weigh-loss effect of their diet. However, make sure that you purchase a supplement standardized on its guggulipid content.
July 31, 2008 02:46 PM
Feverfew is most commonly used in the treatment and prevention of migraine headaches. Migraines are extremely common and can be very difficult to treat. Other methods of relieving pain have been explored because, for many migraine sufferers, conventional treatments have not been successful. Feverfew is one of the most successful forms of alternative treatments that have been found for treating migraines. Many studies have been conducted which have validated the already existing knowledge of many herbalists: feverfew is a great tool for helping to prevent migraines in many cases.
Although feverfew had long been used for treating headaches, its popularity declined with the advent of modern medicine. The herb has resurged into medical interest after the wife of a doctor who worked for the British National Coal Board had been suffering from migraines and was told by a coal miner to trey chewing on two feverfew leaves a day. After trying the herb, the woman noticed improvement, with fewer and less severe migraines. Her husband then urged a migraine specialist in London, Dr. E. Stewart Johnson, to test feverfew, with the results of several studies now showing it to be effective.
Dr. Johnson agreed to try the herb because he had many patients who had been suffering from migraine pain for years and had yet to find a successful treatment. Originally, he tried the herbal remedy on only ten of his patients. The results of this trial were so promising that it led to a study of another 270 of his patients, with seventy percent reporting that they received significant improvement when receiving feverfew for their headache pain.
Following this, a group of researchers in the City of London Migraine Clinic were led by Dr. Johnson to conduct a study, which was reported in the British Medical Journal, investigating seventeen patients who had already been using feverfew for at least three months. All were asked to discontinue use of their original method of treating with feverfew. Eight patients were given a capsule of feverfew, while the other nine were given a placebo.
Those that were given a placebo had an increase in frequency and severity of headaches, nausea, and vomiting, while those that were given feverfew capsules had no increase in frequency or severity of their migraines. This research has led to the belief that feverfew is advantageous in the prevention of migraines. Many other studies have been done to further test the effects of feverfew. It has been concluded that feverfew treatment is effective and there were always definite improvements in the group that used feverfew. Additionally, there were no serious side-effects that appeared to exist.
Feverfew seems to have similar properties as NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Also, the parthenolide that is found in feverfew is the main inhibitor for the formation of compounds that promote inflammation. Parthenolide reduces the secretory activity of blood platelets and white blood cells. This is important because migraines are thought to be associated with abnormal platelet behavior, as they are responsible for the release of serotonin, which constricts blood vessels and leads to migraine pain.
Feverfew is now recognized by the British and Canadian governments as a migraine treatment and is often prescribed by doctors. Many physicians and pharmacists have recent began to take more interest in the use of herbal remedies, especially since patients are beginning to become more interested in natural methods of healing.
St. John's Wort
June 22, 2008 08:52 AM
St. John's Wort is a plant with yellow flowers that researchers continue to look at for its health and well-being benefits. A perennial herb, it is from Europe and found its way to America with settlers. It is commonplace in meadows and fields. The first recorded use of St. John's Wort was in ancient Greece. It also goes by the following names: hypericum, Klamath weed and goat weed.
For centuries, this plant has found use as a medicine for depression and anxiety. People often used it to treat mental conditions and nerve pain. Today, people use the herb to treat sleep disorders and anxiety as well as a treatment for mild to moderate depression. In Europe, St. John's Wort is available as a prescription medicine and finds wide use there.
In the United States, it is an herbal supplement and does not have classification by the government as a prescription medicine. However, there is great interest in the U.S. in this herb's capabilities as treatment for depression. Studies show St. John's Wort has a minimal effect on major depression. There is evidence though that it is a useful herb for treating milder depression. Some studies show it acts similar to synthetic antidepressants by affecting the neurotransmitters in the brain. There is also evidence that it produces fewer side effects than these synthetics.
In North America, St. John's Wort comes in capsule, tablet, liquid extract, oil-based skin lotions and tea form. The flower tops of the plant find use in tea formulations. The major active elements in the herb, considered by some researchers as antidepressants, are hyperforin and hypericin. Studies suggest that the hyperforin in the herb plays a part in helping people decrease alcohol consumption. In addition, hyperforin has beneficial antibacterial properties. The plant also contains essential oils and flavonoids. Native Americans have a history of use of St. John's Wort as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent agent.
If you decide to try St. John's Wort, you must consult with a health care professional first, as this herb interacts with other medications. Evidence shows that it can affect anticoagulant drugs and contraceptive pills. It can also affect medication needed to treat high blood pressure.
One study of St. John's Wort showed it was beneficial to a group who consumed 300 mg. three times daily compared to a group who took a placebo only. This study occurred over a four-week period. Sixty-seven percent of the St. John's Wort group experienced improvement of their depression compared to 28 percent of the placebo group. This study included only those suffering from mild depression. What was important in this study was that there were no adverse side effects from the St. John's Wort as compared to synthetic antidepressants. This was significant because many patients often refuse standard antidepressants because of the harmful and bothersome side effects they produce.
There is no denying that St. John's Wort has a long tradition as a medicine to treat anxiety and depression. This is why studies continue into its effectiveness. Researchers do not want to ignore repeated testimonials about the herb's antidepressant capabilities; they seek to make sure these claims are legitimate by having facts to back them up.
Thirty-seven trials that met criteria for being credible received recognition concerning St. John's Wort. They received summarization in a study. (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 1998, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD000448. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000448.pub2.)
The conclusion reached upon analysis of the studies showed St. John's Wort could benefit those with milder types of depression. No conclusive evidence exists that more severe types receive anything more than minimum benefits from the St. John's Wort products that were part of the studies. The researchers stress that their analysis applies only to certain products they tested, not every St. Johns Wort formulation on the market. Many are of different pharmaceutical quality and of different strengths and purities.
Research will continue into this natural product that the earth provides us. At the very least, St. John's Wort does help some forms of depression. The jury is out on whether its benefits will extend to those who suffer harsher forms of the debilitating mental condition that affects millions.
May 16, 2008 02:12 PM
The health benefits of coral calcium were discovered in 1979, when a British journalist representing the Guinness Book of records traveled to Okinawa to talk to Shigechiyo Izumi, who at 115 years old was at the time the world’s oldest documented living human being. Not only was the journalist impressed and surprised at how healthy such an old man was, but he also found that good health to be shared by the majority of Okinawa’s aged residents.
After his report was filed on his return to England, a team of researchers were sent to the island to make further investigations in the phenomenon. They found that the key to their longevity was the water they were drinking. The water of Okinawa appeared unique, and coral calcium was discovered.
It was not only the calcium, of course, that made such as difference but the whole mineral balance of the water. Okinawa is formed of coral reefs built up over millennia, and rainwater filters down through the coral collecting minerals and other nutrients on its way. This water is both alkaline, with a pH of 8.6, and closely resembles the natural mineral composition, not only of the human skeleton but also of body fluids such as blood plasma and amniotic fluid. It seemed the ideal stuff to bottle, and there are now over 4 million users of coral calcium in Japan alone.
The commercial use of Sango coral, as it is called, is controlled by the Japanese government, and living coral is left untouched: only the dead coral sand lying on the ocean bed is used. The sand is collected and cleaned, and then pulverized and the calcium and all the rest of the minerals it contains are easily absorbed by the body.
It is this ease of absorption that renders coral calcium so useful. Most minerals find it difficult to pass from the intestine to the bloodstream, but this is not a problem for the minerals in Sango coral. Because they do not come from inorganic mined minerals, but from natural organic sources, they are present in a very bio-available form and are readily absorbed into the bloodstream. It not only contains the common minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and so on, but also many trace elements that are essential for life. Not only that, however, but they also contain antioxidants to help prevent the oxidative stress caused by free radicals, and also at a pH that allows the minerals to become naturally ionic very readily.
It is this ionic form of each mineral that permits it to be so readily available to your system. This was a major discovery at the time, since the form that inorganic minerals generally come in had been a problem prior to this to the extent that only 10% was absorbed by the body. In comparison, 95% of the coral calcium and other minerals are able to be easily absorbed since they are in an ionized form – an even higher absorbency than colloidal minerals allow.
Why are minerals so important and how can they possible lead to such an effect on the elderly of Okinawa? In fact minerals are very important components of human metabolism and biochemistry. Most believe vitamins to be significantly more important to human health than minerals, but this is not the case. Many vitamins are useless without the synergistic effect of minerals, and the reverse is also the same.
For example, calcium needs vitamin D to be present before it can be used by the body to strengthen bone structure. There are many other such interactions involving vitamins and minerals, and without chelation (the rendering of large organic molecules to a soluble form by combining them with metal ions) many of the essential biochemical processes of life would be impossible. Coral calcium contains all the minerals found in your body, and in very similar proportions, so that you are able to use it to maintain that all important synergism and not throw the mineral balance of your body out of balance. This is very easy to do if you take individual mineral supplements.
However, there is still more to come from this remarkable substance. It is also rich in antioxidants that spell death for free radicals. Free radicals can’t really die, because they are not living entities but molecules that have a free electron, and free electrons like to pair up with other electrons. Free radicals are therefore very aggressive when near any body cell from which they can rob an electron, and that, unfortunately, destroys the cell.
Not only that but they also oxidize molecules from which they take the electron, and if that is a low density lipoprotein, or LDL, that happens to be carrying some cholesterol to one of your arteries that needs a bit of repair work, then it will cause the LDL to deposit the cholesterol immediately and form plaques that constrict and narrow your arteries. That is called atherosclerosis and it can kill you or give you a stroke. Cholesterol is essential for good health, but once the free radicals get to work you are better without it.
However, Sango coral contains substances that prevent the free radicals from oxidizing other substances, and in so doing destroy them. That’s what antioxidants do. They prevent free radicals from oxidizing other molecules and creating all sorts of havoc with your health. Excessive amounts of free radicals have been associated with over 80 different conditions, and one of the benefits of coral calcium is that it is one of the most powerful antioxidants known.
It is not only the mineral content and antioxidant properties of coral calcium that are of benefit to the human body, but also its pH. The various fluids of your body are maintained at a specific pH, which is a measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of a fluid. This should be slightly alkaline without being caustic. If your body fluids are too acidic it becomes difficult for you to absorb minerals and vitamins, and it is essential for you maintain a balance of from around 6.4 to 7.0 Any lower than that and you will find it difficult to sleep and you will feel listless with no energy.
You can measure the pH of your body by testing your urine with pH strips available at any pharmacy. Coral calcium can be used to maintain a good pH level that allows your body to absorb the nutrients it needs, and keep you feeling not only well, but young and sprightly just like Shigechiyo Izumi did at 115 years old.
Una de Gato (Cat’s Claw)
April 26, 2008 09:36 AM
Una de Gato, otherwise known as cat’s claw, is properly Unicaria tomentosa. It has been used as an herbal medicine for at least two thousand years by the people of Central and South America who gave it the name vilcacora.
It grows in jungle areas and rainforest in South America and Asia, and gets its name from the small claw-like thorns at the base of the leaves. One of the environmental benefits of the Una de Gato is that when it is harvested at three feet above the ground, it grows back to its full size of up to 100 feet within a few years when it can be harvested again to three feet. Cat’s claw has been given dietary supplement status by the FDA.
The Peruvian Asháninka tribe has used the plant as a contraceptive and for the treatment of rheumatic conditions, diabetes, acne, diarrhea, cancer, urinary tract diseases and as an anti-inflammatory, and many of the studies of cat’s claw have centered on this tribe. The studies quickly showed the active ingredients to be alkaloids, both tertracyclic oxindole alkaloids and pentacyclic alkaloids that have been found both in the bark and in the root.
The extract is obtained by boiling both the inner part of the bark and the root, each of which differs in concentration of the various alkaloids. The root is believed to better for its anti-inflammatory powers due to the quinovic acid glycoside it contains, although the relative concentrations of the various alkaloids can vary according to the time of year and to the chemotype of the plant.
Cat’s Claw comes in two chemotypes, each of which differs in the relative concentrations of the two different alkaloid types. One predominates in the pentacyclic alkaloids that strengthen the immune system, and the other chemotype in the tetracyclic alkaloids that counter that effect and reduce the speed and strength of the contractions of the heart. It is not possible to tell which chemotype a particular plant is until it has been chemically tested. They look exactly the same and it is possible for both to grow sided by side. However, the root is generally richer in alkaloids, and sells at about twice the price of the bark. Alkaloids are not the only active ingredients in Una de Gato, and it also contains tannins and phytochemicals that have an antioxidant effect and are useful free radical scavengers. They have been studied for their effects in the treatment of HIV and cancer, though mainly due to the glycoside content that will be discussed shortly. The National cancer Institute has confirmed some anti-cancer properties of quinovic glycosides derived from cat’s claw.
The four pentacyclic alkaloids have been found to have a boosting effect on the human immune system, which it does by enhancing the ability of the white blood cells and macrophages to digest and kill off foreign organisms and debris in tissue and the bloodstream. The inference is that the herb is able to be used to treat a wide variety of infectious diseases, including many immune and autoimmune conditions including AIDS. The results with AIDs are inconclusive, although one particular study showed that cat’s claw produced accelerated healing of cold sores and genital herpes (herpes simplex virus) and shingles (caused by herpes zoster virus). Although the evidence is slight, there are indications of its possible use in treating viral conditions.
It is used in homeopathy for the treatment of a number of digestive ailments, such as Crohn’s disease, leaky bowel syndrome, colitis, gastritis and gastric ulcers among others. It is also used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism and some conditions of the prostate gland.
The tertracyclic indole alkaloids that appear to counter the immune-boosting properties of their pentacyclic cousins include rhynchophylline, hirsutine, and mitraphylline. Rhynchophylline prevents blood clots in the veins and arteries by reducing the formation of platelets, and can dilate the peripheral blood vessels of the hands and feet. It can also lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the heart rate. Due to this effect on blood vessels, it is though to be able to improve the circulation in the brain and be a useful treatment for Alzheimer’s sufferers. Hirsutine inhibits contractions of the smooth muscle of the bladder, and so finds uses in the treatment of urinary incontinence.
The pentacyclic alkaloids pteropodine and isopteropodine are believed to have important properties beyond their phagocytosis effect on the immune system. It has been reported that they have an effect on the 5-HT(2) receptors in the brain. These neurotransmitters are used as targets for many drugs used to treat a variety of conditions such as depression, eating disorders and anxiety, and such alkaloids have a positive modulating effect on them.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cat’s claw are largely due to the very potent quinovic acid glycosides previously referred to. These have been known about only recently, and they are thought to work synergistically to reduce the tissue swelling (edema) associated with the immune system’s inflammatory reaction. Although this is believed to be largely due to the glycosides, three of the alkaloids also possess anti-inflammatory properties. This property provides the scientific background for the traditional use of Una de Gato for rheumatism and arthritis, both inflammatory conditions. Many of the digestive conditions for which the plant has traditionally used are also inflammatory in nature.
A threat to cat’s claw is the destruction of the Peruvian rainforest, although not as much as a threat as the destruction of the plant itself. Cat’s claw has reached levels of popularity so high that it is in danger of extinction due to improper harvesting. New laws being enacted by the Peruvian government should help to protect the plant, and to promote its harvesting over cocoa.
When buying cat’s claw, make sure that it is the Uncaria tomentosa form you are purchasing since there is another type, Uncaria Guianensis that contains different alkaloids and is not as potent as the real Una de Gato. Also beware of a shrub known as cat’s claw acacia, grown in Mexico and the southwest USA, since it contains cyanide derivatives and could be very dangerous if taken by mouth.