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How eating bitter herbs can fix digestive system problems
April 24, 2019 02:01 PM
Gastroesophagael reflux disease (GERD) is a common, vexing and potentially serious condition, but bitter herbs can sometimes help reduce its severity. The “bitters” used by herbalists usually include extracts from a variety of different plants. While plants produce bitter tastes to deter animals (including humans) from eating them, that bitterness can also indicate high concentrations of antioxidants and other compounds with valuable health benefits. Bitters can trigger the digestion-stimulating hormone called gastrin, as well as the release of bile and enzymes that break down protein.
"However, appropriate amounts of edible bitter greens, spices and herbs can provide important health benefits, and should be included in the diet."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/bitter-herbs-digestive-system-2779.html
Natural solutions to halt mosquitoes
August 17, 2018 03:53 PM
Summer is here, and that means that mosquitoes are out and multiplying at full swing. Fortunately, there are some safe and natural ways to fend off these pesky insects while you're enjoying the warm weather. If you're going to be at a campsite, it is best to opt in for jeans as long as you don't think you'll overheat. Mosquitoes can't bite through thick denim like they can other materials, so this alone should prevent them from breaking through.
"This great invention is not only meant to be used when traveling. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of these nets for covering cribs, strollers, and baby carriers. Some even use it inside their own bedrooms. Mosquito nets not only keep mosquitoes out, but other pests and insects as well."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-07-04-natural-solutions-halt-mosquitoes.html
The 5 health benefits of eating Millet you never knew
October 10, 2017 01:14 PM
Millet is a crop that is native to Africa and Asia, and is considered a primary source of both carbs and proteins for inhabitants close to where it is grown. Millet is garnering attention from scientists because it is almost impervious to insects and diseases, lending important components to the plant's potential positive impact of benefitting the health of those who ingest it. Millet has five main benefits, including anticancer attributes, it may play a pivotal role in stopping type 2 diabetes, it has a positive impact on the cardiovascular system, it may aid in partially lowering cholesterol, and finally, millet aids in positively impacting bowel health and movements.
"The nutritional value of Millet is also what is making this crop more attractive for western nations."
Read more: https://www.emaxhealth.com/13644/5-health-benefits-eating-millet-you-never-knew
Benefits of Coconut Oil Are Undeniable
March 15, 2017 01:59 PM
Coconut oil is now being viewed as a superfood. It's high in healthy saturated fat. Populations that have consumed coconut oil for generations have a low risk of vascular disease, stroke and heart disease as well as increase good cholesterol.Substances found in coconut oil have been proven to fight infections. It can also be used to clean or even repel insects.
"Nutritionally speaking, the fatty acids in coconut oil lend several health benefits, including improved brain function, stimulating your body’s metabolism, generating energy and helping you shed excess body fat, as has been shown among people from populations that regularly consume high amounts of coconut oil."
How to grow garlic from a single clove
February 24, 2017 11:19 AM
There is a way to grow garlic from a single clove. Garlic has been used for various purposes since ancient times. It was once described as being a cure for many different medical conditions. Over the years, science has actually backed up many of his claims. It can help to lower your cholesterol and also lower your blood pressure.
"While the optimal planting time to produce beautiful, large bulbs is fall, just after the first frost has passed, cloves can also be planted in late winter or early spring."
Why you should consider eating these insects this holiday season
February 15, 2017 10:59 AM
In many places around the globe insects are part of people's regular diet. This is called Entomophagy. It has many benefits for the environment and for the individuals who practice it, including a high protein content compared to other food sources. Find out the unbelievable in this absolutely amazing and crazy article!
"Different ants have different flavors -- from sweet to savory - but for Lemann they are a nice way to introduce skeptics to a bug meal."
What Are The Benefits of Cedar Essential Oil ?
Cedar essential oil is a type of oil which is typically extracted from the leaves and branches of cedar trees. For over a hundred years, cedar essential oil has been used to treat a whole range of health problems including respiratory problems, skin diseases, fungus and eczema.
Cedar oil can be cooked with tea to treat coughs, headaches and colds. It can also be mixed with bathing water to treat gout and rheumatism arthritis. This oil can be used to wash swollen feet in order to treat burns and other common problems.
Cedar essential oil is commonly used in making woodsy and rustic perfumes. The oil is normally mixed with lavender, pine and citrus to assist in boosting the smell of the perfume. Cedar acts as powerful fresheners which means it can help keep your room smelling better. It can as well be used for staving away bacteria and insects.
Cedar can freshen up your day. Consider adding it to your diffuser each day for better health and wellness.
The health benefits of citronella oil
February 14, 2014 10:23 PM
What is citronella
Citronella is a grass that is grown in Asian countries as well as islands in the South Pacific and has a rich and crisp aroma. Citronella essential oil is extracted from the Ceylon and Java variety of the grass. This oil is known to have so many benefits and these include:
Citronella oil is effective in repelling insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and black flies and thus prevents its bites. The oil can be used on human and their clothing in form of liquid, oil or patch. This makes it a natural and non-toxic alternative to chemical insect repellants. It is also available in products like insect repelling candles and cartridges.
If used well, citronella oil can help with oily skin as it is an astringent. You should apply a drop or two on the skin to test if it will cause irritation. You should then apply 2 to 3 drops of the oil to a cotton ball and wipe out any excess sweat. You should then complete your regular facial routine.
Citronella oil contains methyl isoeugenol that help in its antibacterial property. The oil can kill and even inhibit the growth of bacteria in the body. Therefore, the oil can be helpful in treating wound infections, as well as other infections in the urinary bladder, urethra, colon, stomach, urinary track, intestines, prostate and kidney.
Citronella oil can be helpful in sedating inflammation. This is particularly so in issues pertaining to the stomach, liver, intestines and other parts of the digestive system. The oil can be used to soothe inflammation caused by drug and alcohol use.
Citronella essential oil has a crisp and rich lemon aroma that is effective in driving away body odors. Therefore, it is used for body sprays and deodorants but in very small quantities as it can cause skin irritations if used in high quantities.
What Herbs Help Fight Against Worms And Parasites?
January 23, 2013 12:27 PM
Fighting Against Worms and Parasites
There are thousands of worms and parasites around in the environment and people are always becoming ill because of some of these insects which they come into contact with. Many people are under the impression that something like a tapeworm does not exist anymore. However, although this is less common, people are still being affected by this and it can cause all sorts of complications.
Flatworms, Flukes and Roundworms
The three main problematic worms are flatworms, flukes and roundworms. These all cause some form of damage and need to be dealt with. You have to treat this early on. You must make sure that you take precautionary methods, because then there is little chance of something going terribly wrong. Some of these worms feed on blood and tissue fluids. You will start to lose a lot of weight as a result of a flatworm and often you won't even know that you have one of these in your system. One of these worms can measure up to 20 meters in length.
Eventually the organs will also start to suffer. Parasites can be transmitted in a variety of ways, but most of the time you can't do anything about it. You may be in a tropical country where there are a lot of mosquitoes, fleas and flies buzzing around. These can be harmful and can even cause malaria. One can even be affected by something that passes by in the air. Vegetables and fruit are often contaminated and they need to be washed. Tapeworms have been known to be found in pork, and therefore this should only be bought once it has come back from a butcher. To look after yourself and make sure that you don't run into too many problems, it is important that you treat yourself from time to time.
Black Walnut, Garlic, And Wormwood
Using natural herbs, black walnut and garlic as well as wormwood will help prevent running into any of these complication. Ipecac and Myrrh are two of the well known herbs that work on getting rid of parasites. You will have to use these in a tea form because they are very powerful. They can have minor side effects for some, but it is a lot better than living with some of the worms in your body. Garlic works best with hook worms and is effective in treating parasites. It has been used over the ages and has a very good reputation in this regard. Wormwood is found in a lot of medication on the market and is recommended by many doctors as one of the better ways to clear out your system, especially working to get rid of the roundworm.
Research has said that pumpkin seeds work very well in getting rid of tapeworms. However, if this has got to a very advanced stage, then they may need to be surgically removed. Some experts suggest that these seeds be mixed with milk and honey for the best effects. Most people will tell you that it is a good idea to use herbs and other remedies on a regular basis on their own or in your cooking to keep your system clean and healthy. If you do this, there is less chance of an invasion. If you should have a problem, you will be able to be treated in the early stages.
Can Resveratrol Help Fight DNA Damage?
January 21, 2013 01:32 PM
How resveratrol helps in fighting DNA damage
Resveratrol is a naturally occurring antioxidant produced by plants to protect them against attacks by predators such insects, bacteria or fungi. This antioxidant which has been the subject of several scientific studies is usually found in large quantities in grape skin or red wine. Although the body can function without it which means that you can not be termed as deficient of this nutrient, the compound is known to have immense health benefits. Scientists claim that human beings have not yet fully discovered the real benefits that can be derived from this antioxidant.
Scientists have demonstrated that Resveratrol is quite effective in fighting DNA damage which is responsible for aging as well as disorders that are associated with aging including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Cell degeneration in vital organs is usually linked to certain factors. An important factor that causes cell loss is the presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by mitochondria in the cell which is responsible for cell death and DNA damage. Preventing mitochondria turnover and bio-genesis guards against oxidative mitochondria thus promoting healthy aging.
Cell degeneration has been effectively controlled by using a diet that is low in calories so as to increase mitochondria biogenesis. Adding resveratrol to your diet has the same effect since this antioxidant mimics dietary restriction thus delaying diseases related to aging.
The compound has been known to stall the aging process by acting as sirtuin activator. It is also responsible for various effects on fat cells which alter fat mass by acting on cell viability and adipogenesis in mature preadipocytes. Laboratory tests have demonstrated that this compound stimulates bio-genesis which helps in delivering immense health-related benefits in mice. The antioxidant fights off cancer which occurs when there is cell damage during cell division. The compound stops cell division in order to allow enzymes repair damaged genes .It also prevents carcinogenic metabolism, a common cause of DNA damage.
What is Cordyceps Mushroom good for?
March 10, 2012 12:00 AM
Cordycep mushrooms have been receiving a lot of hype lately, as they are said to have many compounds that can benefit ones health. Cordycep mushrooms have been used for 1500 years in ancient Chinese history, and was proven to benefit a variety of factors. However, it seems as if people are having a tough time when it comes to looking for them, as they are known for being in natural habitats. Cordyceps itself is a type of fungus, and it includes over 400 kinds of described species. Cordyceps are abundant in tropical areas, as they tend to thrive better in humidity and high temperature. Cordyceps have also had an extensive history of being a medicinal fungi. Cordyceps are not really known in the Western world, as scientists have not been able to study it properly yet. However, since China has been studying the fungus for some time now, some of this fungus' secrets were already unfolded. The main reason to why Cordyceps have received so much attention is that the History Channel stated that if someone finds an ounce of Cordyceps, you will be given 900 dollars.
The Benefits To Taking A Supplement Of Cordycep.
One benefit to taking a supplement of cordycep is that it dilates the airways of your lungs, allowing more oxygen to your lungs. Cordyceps are also known for fighting the means of womens infertility. It also enhances mens sexual performance and fuction by stimulating the sex hormones. Cordyceps helps in building muscle and even improve ones physical performance as well. It also has the capability to reduce the effects of fatigue, and has anti-aging properties as well. These help in strengthening the liver and kidney, as it improves the natural flow of your blood. They help strengthen and even enhance your immune system because it has the capability to increase and improve a huge amount of natural killer cells.
Where Can You Find Cordyceps In Nature Habitats?
Cordyceps can be found in a huge array of areas such as Australia, Asia, Europe, North America, China, and Russia. However, they tend to grow in the South areas of tropical places. The best places to look for cordyceps would have to be in the areas where ants climb the moment before they pass away. Those areas are tree branches and the bottom of tree leaves. They can also be found in tropical forests as well. The fruiting body of a Cordycep sort of has a grass-like appearance, making it easy for them to be spotted. They also kind of look like worms, and though they are technically mushrooms, in wild areas, they can grow on plants, insects, caterpillars, and a variety of other fungus' as well.
Cordyceps can be found in a huge array of areas, so you must learn and know exactly what they look like to actually find a couple ounces. Cordyceps are said to be worth a fortune, and its value has even increased throughout the years. Even if it's tough to find cordyceps, at least the reward that you are given is decent.
What does GABA Do in the Brain?
November 02, 2011 07:41 AM
GABA or Gamma Amino Butyric Acid is a neurotransmitter of the brain. It is considered to be the main inhibitory brain chemical among mammals. In ordinary terms, it significantly regulates the firing of impulses by the neurons. This chemical is naturally produced by the brain and generally acts as a balancer together with other neurotransmitters. This neurotransmitter has a key role in the regulation of nerve excitability all throughout the nervous system. It effectively maintains the equilibrium of the body and the brain in excitation status. Chemically speaking, GABA is classified as an amino acid. However, GABA is not a building block of protein like the other amino acids. This is the reason why in the medical field, GABA is rarely considered as an amino acid.
Moreover, GABA is the prime brain chemical responsible for the regulation of muscle tone among humans. In a disorder called Spastic Diplegia, the absorption of GABA into the muscles is weakened because of damage nervous tissues and cells. This would significantly lead to hypertonic muscles in which the muscles will experience spasms and can not anymore recognize and process the neurotransmitter GABA. On the other hand, GABA in insects acts as both inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitter.
As mentioned above, GABA is an inhibitory neurochemical. It functions at the inhibitory synapses of the brain by attaching to receptor sites in the plasma membrane of both pre – and post – synaptic nerves. Once GABA has bind with the receptor sites, it will cause the ion channels to open and permit either the entry of chloride ion which has a negative charge or exit of potassium ion which has a positive charge. Potassium is the main electrolyte inside the cell. This opening of ion channels will then cause the cell to be either hyperpolarized or re – polarized.
During brain development, GABA also plays a significant role. It significantly controls the proliferation of brain progenitor cells and development of synapses as well as the differentiation and maturation of neurites. Furthermore, GABA is also responsible for the growth and development of embryonic and nerve stem cells. It also activates GABA receptors which lead to the halting of cell cycling in the S – phase. As a result, this will limit the growth of cell thus preventing abnormal growth and even malignancies.
If GABA is in inadequate level, muscle tone is disturbed making it always tensed and the mind will keep on working and working because there is no brain chemical to stop it. Therefore, GABA must be importantly maintained within normal limits.
GABA is naturally produced by nerve cells. However, GABA supplement is now available so that adequate amount of such brain chemical will be administered to the body as needed. GABA supplements can enhance the sleep onset and quality. It can also provide a relaxing feeling and reduce stress and muscle over – activity. Other theories also state that it can regulate mood and behavior thus promoting the total well – being of the person. Ongoing studies are being conducted to show more evidence on GABA’s effect with Human Growth Hormones.
Can tea Tree Oil Kill Bugs?
September 26, 2011 11:26 AM
Tea tree oil is known as an essential oil which is light yellow in color with a camphoraceous scent. It is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia which originates from the northeast coast of Australia. The other name of tea tree oil is melaleuca oil.
Tea tree oil has been studied on its medicinal benefits. Such studies revealed that tea tree oil has a potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. In fact, since the olden times, tea tree oil can administered topically as an antiseptic agent. In addition, tea tree oil is also popularly used as one of the ingredients among many cosmetic products. Industrially, tea tree oil has been controversial whether it can be used to kill bugs or not.
Experiments on "concentrated" tea tree oil and bed bugs have shown that it can effectively kill bugs and other insects. However, it cannot be used at home because concentrated forms of tea tree oil have been found to be toxic to the human body. The commercial preparation of tea tree oil is diluted so that it cannot cause harmful effects to the body. Diluted tea tree oil, on the other hand, cannot kill bugs and insects. Health experts also further stipulated that it is significantly dangerous to use “concentrated” tea tree oil at home specifically at your bedroom. If tea tree oil in undiluted form is introduced inside the body either by ingestion or inhalation, it can have a negative effect on the liver so it is wise to always dilute this oil before ingesting.
If the room is exposed to “concentrated” tea tree oil, make sure to open the windows and provide adequate ventilation. Avoid entering the room for a short span of time because it the air is toxic. Eventually, if “concentrated” tea tree oil is smeared on the skin, it may cause inflammation as manifested by swelling and redness, blistering and itching. If swallowed, concentrated tea tree oil can cause significant diarrhea.
If diluted tea tree oil is employed for bed bugs, it can only make the bugs weak, not killed. The diluted form of tea tree oil is non – toxic to humans and is considered to be a cheaper remedy for the control of bed bug bites. Therefore, it can kill bugs but in concentrated form. However, concentrated tea tree oil must not be used as a household insect killer because of its toxicity. On the other hand, diluted form of tea tree oil is non – toxic but in cannot kill bugs and insects.
As mentioned earlier, tea tree oil is used as an ingredient of many cosmetic products such as facial creams, ointments, lotions, soaps, shampoos and even acne removing agents. Allergic reaction to tea tree oil is rare. However, if hypersensitivity occurs, manifestations include mild dermatitis, blister formation and rashes. It is important to remember that tea tree oil is for external use only. It must not be introduced inside the body even in very small amount because it can cause mild to severe adverse reactions. If untoward effects occur after use, consult your doctor.
October 29, 2009 12:56 PM
The pennyroyal herb is a member of the mint genus. It is an essential oil that is extracted and used in aromatherapy. Crushed pennyroyal leaves and foliage give off a very strong spearmint fragrance. Traditionally, pennyroyal is used as culinary herb, folk medicine, and abortifacient. This herb was commonly used by the Greeks and Romans as a cooking herb. The Greeks often flavored their wine with pennyroyal. Additionally, a large number of the recipes in the Roman cookbook of Apicius use pennyroyal along with herbs such as lovage, oregano, and coriander. Although it was still commonly used for cooking in the Middle Ages, it slowly fell out of use as a culinary herb. Today, it is seldom used. However, the essential oil of pennyroyal is extremely high in pulegone, which is toxic volatile organic compound, and is therefore poisonous to the liver and can stimulate uterine activity.
Pennyroyal was brought by European settlers to the New World. There, they found that Native Americans were using the American variety of pennyroyal for repelling insects, skin irritations, and many of the same illnesses that they were using their own variety for. Additionally, this herb was used to soothe the stomach and relieve cold symptoms. The pennyroyal that is found in America has similar properties to the herb that is found in Europe. However, the European variety is thought to be much more potent.
This herb possesses a volatile oil that works to remove gas from the stomach. It can be consumed as a tea of used as a footbath. If it is taken a few days before menstruation is due, it can help increase a suppressed flow. The pennyroyal tea is beneficial in relieving cold symptoms and also promoting perspiration. This herb has a strong, minty odor. It is used externally to repel insects like fleas, flies, and mosquitoes.
The oil of the pennyroyal plant is extremely concentrated and is often linked to toxic results. The oil is often associated with abortions and convulsions that result in death. It is believed that the oil irritates the uterus, which causes uterine contractions. The action is not predictable and is potentially dangerous. It is recommended that the oil be used only externally as a natural insect repellant. This herb is suggested for use as a decongestant for coughs and colds. Tea that is made from the pennyroyal herb is not associated with toxicity. In fact, it helps to relax the digestive tract and soothe the stomach.
In short, the entire pennyroyal plant is used to provide alterative, antispasmodic, antivenomous, aromatic, carminative, decongestant, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, nervine, oxytocic, parasiticide, sedative, stimulant, and stomachic properties. Primarily, pennyroyal is extremely beneficial in treating bronchitis, childbirth pain, colds, colic, uterine cramps, fevers, gas, lung infections, and absent menstruation. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with convulsions, coughs, abdominal cramps, delirium, earache, flu, gout, headaches, leprosy, measles, migraines, mucus, nausea, phlegm, pleurisy, pneumonia, smallpox, sunstroke, toothaches, tuberculosis, ulcers, uterine problems, and vertigo.
In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by pennyroyal, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
October 09, 2008 01:11 PM
The Indians in South American discovered that the Pau d’Arco tree possesses a lot of medicinal ability in the inner back by observing that the inner bark repelled the insects that flooded other trees in the rain forest. The Indians also found a bush that is found in a certain canyon increased their eyesight, so they named it Eyebright. Similarly, the Arizona Apache and Pima Indians found that if they took a twig of the Chaparral bush and heated it and placed it in or next to a tooth hoe, the pain and infection were relieved.
Because of the above, it can be inferred that man has been using herbs for an extremely long time. This is important, especially when taking it to comparison just how short-term the use of chemicals has been. There is no doubt to anyone that chemical use over a long period of time causes a negative effect on the human body. It seems extremely odd that the scientific community prefers their scientific laboratory experiments with chemicals over 4,000 to 5,000 years of herb use. It seems as if someone would see the inadequacy of trying to find a medicine in laboratories by working with animals over a period of months versus the use of herbs by humans in their natural habitat for thousands of years.
Chemicals are not food for the human body as they have all sorts of negative effects including unwanted immune responses which cause inflammation. They do not provide any nutritional affects. Herbs, on the other hand, are foods that fuel the human body, nourishing it and also cleansing it so that it may be energized. Additionally, these herbs have a lot of unknown positive effects. This seems so simple that some wonder how anyone in a professional status could see the truths in prescribing a drug for their spouse or client. A lot of times it is suggested that patients ask their doctors if they would prescribe the same drug or surgery for their wife or children. We need to become aware of the responsibility we have to our bodies. Many herbs have Glyconutrients and polysaccharides that can feed the immune system. These Glyconutrients or polysaccharides are simple sugars that provide raw materials for the body to build its self better and stronger. Every cell in the body is wrapped with instructions. When the immune system come in contact with each cell, it determines whether its friend or foe. Herbs can help the body build its self better.
Those people who ask if they will become dependant on an herb are thinking of the herbs as a drug instead of food. Although we are dependant on food, it is better to eat food that has been proven to help our body, rather than one which will poison it. Herbs are foods that have proven elements involved which will provide a positive effect on our body. Each specific herb can provide a specific need to our body.
Evening Primrose Oil
September 04, 2008 09:08 AM
The tiny seeds of the evening primrose flower are the source of oil that has been valued in the world for building health and overcoming a lot of common health problems. Evening primrose, also known as evening star, night willow herb, scabish, and tree primrose, has a recorded history of at least 500 years of use for its health promoting properties. Growing in a wider variety of climates, the plant can be found in rocky roadsides, shallow streams, or even high deserts.
The plant can even be found growing at elevations as high as 9,000 feet. This plant has yellow flowers from July through September that open after sunset and are pollinated by insects of the night. Open only until sunrise, the flowers die the next day, causing hundreds of small black seeds to form inside. These seeds are the source of the plant’s oil, with about 5,000 seeds being used for just one 500 mg capsule. Due to this, evening primrose can be relatively expensive. Evening primrose’s value in a variety of illnesses was recognized by American Indians and European immigrants. Indians used it to treat skin wounds, asthma, coughs, and also as a sedative. One of the first botanicals exported to Europe from North America, it was brought to Italy in 1619 and planted in the Padua Botanical Gardens. It was so valued by the Puritans that they called it the “King’s cure-all” and exported it to England. The ancients didn’t know scientifically why evening primrose was so effective for so many illnesses, but that didn’t affect its abilities. Modern science has found that the essential fatty acids that are found in the oil of the evening primrose seeds are the secret to the health-building properties.
Fat has gotten a bad name for itself in the past few years, but the truth is that there are actually certain types of fats that are vital for good health. One of these healthy fats is essential fatty acids, which are found in unprocessed vegetable, plant, and fish oils. One of the richest sources known is actually mother’s milk. Like vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids are nutritional substances that have far-reaching effects on many body processes.
These effects include reducing blood pressure, helping to prevent arthritis, reducing the growth rate of breast cancer, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, maintaining healthy skin, aiding in transmission of nerve impulses, playing a role in normal brain function, constituting the building blocks of body membranes, promoting proper hormone function, and forming the basis for prostaglandin production.
Because essential fatty acids can not be manufactured in the body, they must be consumed in the diet, with at least three percent of an adult’s daily caloric intake being recommended to be comprised of essential fatty acids. Children and pregnant women should have a diet containing at least five percent essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are essential for normal functioning of all body tissues.
Because of this, the list of symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency includes reduced growth rate, skin disorders, male and female infertility, kidney abnormalities, decreased capillary resistance, susceptibility to infection, heart problems, anemia, enlarged liver, sparse hair growth in infants, poor wound healing, and an increased susceptibility to infection.
In conclusion, to prevent or heal these conditions, a diet that is rich in essential fatty acids must be present. Evening primrose oil is a good source of essential fatty acids, containing about 72 percent linoleic acid and 9 percent GLA. Have you had your evening primrose oil today?
August 01, 2008 12:58 PM
It seems more and more common that people are looking at every possibility to wellness before they make a decision on the best form of treatment for them, with many taking their time to search for the best possible solution. Feverfew is a medicinal folk remedy, used abundantly in the past, and is currently being used because of its beneficial effects. For thousands of years, feverfew has been used as a medical treatment and is now becoming one of the most common herbal relievers of migraine pain. Scientific research has recently become available on the use of this herb in treatment of migraines and other forms of inflammation and pain, making interest in feverfew grow rapidly.
The feverfew plant is a member of the Asteracea or Compositae family, along with flowers such as the daisy, sunflower, black-eyed Susan, Echinacea, calendula, dandelion, burdock, and marigold. Feverfew is often referred to by other names including featherfew, featerfoil, febrifuge, wild quinine, and bachelor’s button. A busy perennial that grows from one to three feet in height, feverfew looks similar to the daisy plant with white rays and a yellow center but is smaller in size. The entire plant has a strong bitter smell which allows it to repel bees and other insects. Many people believe that the name feverfew came from the use of the flower to bring down fevers, while others believe that its name originated from the English version, featherfew, which describes the shape of the leaves on the feverfew plant.
For thousands of years, feverfew has been used for the treatment of an abundant amount of ailments. Although the exact origin of the first use is unknown, references to feverfew can be found all throughout history. In ancient times, feverfew was used in childbirth, to treat fevers, melancholy, and congestion of the lungs, as well as inflammation and swellings. Feverfew was also used for many female problems and strengthening the womb, also promoting menstrual flow. Another use of feverfew was for painful headaches, especially migraines. Feverfew is an extremely complex substance, containing several essential oils such as L-camphor, L-borneol, terpens, and esters. Another active ingredient of the feverfew plant is parthenolide. Parthenolides have been found to inhibit prostaglandins, which are found to be partially responsible for migraines as well as the inflammation process.
With headaches being a problem since the beginning of time, they are one of the most common medical complaints. Migraines are caused due to inflammation of blood vessels in the brain, which causes an intense headache pain. To determine if a headache can be classified as a migraine one should note the following: if only one side of the head is affected; whether flashing lights, blind spots, or feelings of irritability and depression occur immediately before the headache; stomach distress along with nausea and vommitting; and someone in the immediate family also suffering from migraines. The two main contributors to the problem of migraines are the trigeminal nerve system and serotonin, the nerve chemical.
Migraines involve excessive dilation or contraction of the blood vessels that are found in the brain and make up about 6% of the total number of headaches, with about 10% of the population suffering from migraines at any given time of the year, and the majority of these people being women. Migraines can be triggered by the following factors: stress, eating certain foods, alcohol, food additives such as sodium nitrate, changes in weather, seasons, time zones, or altitude, disturbance in sleep patterns, disturbance in eating habits, hormonal fluctuations, pollution, loud noise, flickering lights, constipation, and low blood sugar.
In conclusion, an increase in some of the trigger factors previously listed is thought to be the cause for the fact that the number of individuals suffering from migraines continues to climb, with the occurrence of migraines increasing by almost 60% among all age groups during the past ten years. This may be due to pollutants and poor diets that lack essential fatty acids and plastics that mimic prostaglandins which regulate the inflammation pathways in the body. So if you are suffering from pain, specifically migraines, give feverfew a try.
June 19, 2008 04:06 PM
Many natural health practitioners are looking at chitin as a possible weight-loss tool in a diet program. While still under study, proponents of it have helped this natural product and formulations made from it popular. Those seeking to lose weight efficiently are buying this product in droves. Manufacturers and marketers of chitin have seen great sales growth in Japan and the United States in recent years.
Chitin is a positively charged polysaccharide that comes from an animal source. This source is shellfish in the form of shrimp, crab and lobster. A polysaccharide is a string of sugar molecules found in the outer shell of these crustaceans. Chitin is also found in marine coral and the outer shells of certain insects, such as beetles and ants. Chitin shares chemical similarities with cellulose and starch, which are plant fibers.
The weight-loss benefits of chitin are in its binding properties. Some researchers believe that the positively charged polysaccharides attract negatively charged bile acids and free fatty acids. These acids are now bound by the positively charged chitin and therefore are not absorbed into a person's system. The result is the prevention of an increase in dietary fat, which puts the pounds on a person's frame.
Some evidence from studies does suggest that chitin breaks down in the stomach and changes to a gel. Some researchers believe this is where the binding takes place as this gel traps fats and cholesterols. This process is believed to occur in the intestine, where chitin prevents the fat from becoming absorbed and digested.
All types of fiber are beneficial for preventing the absorption of fat into the body, at least to some degree. Studies show that chitin, as an amino polysaccharide fiber may do this to a greater degree. Some proponents believe chitin has the capacity to expel up to four times its weight in fat. Some claim it binds 10 times its weight in fat and does this better than any other kind of fiber.
Some believe chitin works best when used in conjunction with a high-fat meal. If it's going to be one of those high-fat intake days, they say taking chitin can help you counter the fat. Taking chitin may help bind the fat molecules and take them through your system until they're eliminated. However, chitin does not bind carbohydrates, protein, or alcohol. Over-indulgence in them, even with chitin added to your diet, may mean you will still put on weight.
Because chitin is a non-digestible, non-absorbable fiber, it acts as a carrier. It doesn't absorb into your body as other foods can. It helps carry harmful fats away through its binding capabilities before they have a chance to settle in. Studies suggest chitin may do this and help improve blood cholesterol levels as it goes about its work.
Chitin is a calorie-free fiber supplement. A product that is abundantly available, it is even used in food manufacturing as an edible film to protect foods from spoiling. It is often found at a reasonable cost and is a product known for having few side effects. One caveat with chitin is that those allergic to shellfish should not consume chitin. In addition, pregnant women should not take chitin products because of a possible reduction in calcium and vitamin D absorption. Of course, any weight-loss program needs to rely on healthy foods and exercise in addition to any weight-loss supplements. It's all part of an overall healthy approach to losing weight.
Along with its possible benefits as a weight-loss tool chitin has other benefits. It is used in the manufacture of surgical thread. Being biodegradable, it dissolves over time as a wound heals. It also has properties that allow for its use as a wound-healing agent.
Studies continue in the uses of chitin as a weight-loss product. As a natural product, readily available, diet supplement manufacturers strive to make innovative products from it. Their focus is to further research chitin so they can use it to help those striving to take control of their weight.
Benfotiamine A Natural Solution Or Miracle Substance To Control Blood Sugar?
February 19, 2008 04:25 PM
The term "miracle" has been in use for hundreds of years when it comes to products that are claimed to aid health. Does this mean that it's always false? Not necessarily. Occasionally a seemingly "new" product will enter the spotlight and draw the attention of the public. Often, after a series of tests and trials, these products fade into oblivion because they didn't actually perform in the ways purported. There are exceptions to this rule; as with the supplement benfotiamine.
Benfotiamine is a natural solution to many problems in the human body. This product is one of nature's best sources of thiamine; or B-1. The FDA has approved this additive as a dietary supplement. Vitamin B-1 is a necessary substance in the body because it maximizes the results of your carbohydrate intake. It also helps with stress, improves your mental health and strengthens your general nervous system.
Benfotiamine is commonly found in trace amounts within such substances as roasted garlic, onions, leeks and shallots. Many years ago, a Japanese pharmaceutical company attempted to bring attention to this substance. Unfortunately, their efforts gained little traction. Recently, a physician produced a published article detailing the benefits of benfotiamine and since then the product has rapidly gained popularity.
This product has been tested for individuals with conditions pertaining to diabetes, but the full scope of clinical testing does not end there. Benfotiamine has been tested for decades for its effects and capabilities in helping all types of conditions.
For those with diabetes, this substance has been reported to alleviate sciatica as well as improve general cellular and circulation health. Neuropathy is a painful condition encountered by individuals with diabetes. There are several other related conditions that have all responded well to this supplement.
This supplement has helped many with diabetes, but also helps those without it. This supplement has also been reported to have benefits for: nerve health, improved blood pressure, fibromyalgia and has been used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. It has been suggested that benfotiamine contains many anti-aging properties that help the body.
Vitamin B-1 is reported to combat motion sickness. It helps in the treatment of the painful condition known as "shingles," helps lessen post-operative dental pain and even repels biting insects. B-1 is found naturally in many products including whole wheat foods, dairy products, peanuts, oatmeal and rice husks.
Benfotiamine has no known interactions with prescription medications and, in turn, helps replenish the body with thiamine. There are some prescription drugs that will cause a B-1 deficiency if no supplements are taken.
Benfotiamine is lipid-soluble (or fat-soluble) and this quality means the idea of "overdosing" is nearly impossible. It metabolizes quickly and does not build up in the human body. There are certain individuals who require a higher dose to be most effective. Those who love caffeine, who are pregnant, who smoke or drink alcohol may have a B-1 deficiency.
There are many forms of this product, but capsules seem to be the most common outside of the food groups. The effects are noted to take anywhere from two to three weeks to fully develop. If you are interested in starting a regimen of benfotiamine, or any supplement, consult your physician first.
Natural Remedies For Bumps, Bruises, Scrapes, and Insect Bites
November 10, 2007 09:52 AM
Whether you are a child or an adult you are as susceptible to the damage done to skin and soft tissue by hard activities as anybody else. So what can you look for if you decide have a day outdoors and face the dangers that you will come across that want to leave you bruised ,scratched, scraped, cut and itching from all the falls, knocks, stings and bites that most people experience when they are more used to spending their time indoors?
Bruises are caused by a knock, and can happen without you even being aware of it. The blood vessels get damaged and leak. If you notice it right away, you can lessen the degree of bruising by applying ice or cold water to constrict the capillaries and cut down the flow of blood leaking from them. Some people bruise easier than others, and excessive bruising for no apparent reason could be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition and you should see your doctor.
A bump, or lump, can appear for many reasons, but generally settles down after a while. It can simply be the body's reaction to a hard knock that did not damage the blood vessels, but prompted a natural swelling to protect the area. They can also be caused by insect bites. You don’t always see these little pests – they have lunch then zip off without you even being aware of it until the area begins to itch and swell. However, if you have a lump under the armpit, in your neck or behind your ears it could be a swollen gland and you should contact your physician.
Everybody gets minor scrapes now and again, and when you spend any time outside you can get bitten by insects such as mosquitoes, midges, blackflies, horse flies – you name it, they will lunch on you as on any other animals. You can also get stung by vegetable nasties, though if you do then look around for a remedy. Strangely, many stinging plants have another plant close by that can be used as a remedy. This is likely because, after being stung, people just rubbed whatever was handy on the area and eventually these remedies were discovered.
Thus, dock leaves are often found beside nettles, and touch-me-not beside poison ivy. These are good natural remedies for stings caused through contact with these particular plants, and there are many other natural remedies that can be used for the other everyday hurts that people receive just for carrying out normal activities outside in a natural environment. Let’s have a look at some of the natural remedies that people have used through the ages, and that are still used to this day, even in proprietary creams and salves.
Calendula, or marigold, is very effective in relieving skin irritations and inflammation. It can be applied topically to relieve the symptoms of bruises, cuts and scrapes, and also for the initial treatment of burns and scalds. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used on inflamed or infected cuts and skin lesions. These properties are believed to be due to the high level of flavonoids found in calendula that have anti-oxidant properties and help the immune function to do its work. Among these is the powerful Quercetin with its strong anti-histamine properties.
It also appears to possess anti-viral properties, though the reason for this is not clear and is still under investigation. Marigold also contains carotenoids and triterpene saponins, both of which will contribute to the medicinal effects. The dried flowers or leaves, or the fresh flowers, can be used and it is an old adage that pus will not form where marigold is used. It is also good for the treatment of insect bites and boils, where it appears to either prevent infection or clear up any that are there. It has also been proven to prevent the seeping of blood from the capillaries in scrapes, and to promote blood clotting.
Calendula was used during the First World War by British doctors to dress wounds and prevent infection. A dressing steeped in a mild solution of calendula extract was enough, and it likely saved many lives.
Another plant with similar properties is the alpine Arnica, which is useful to reduce the swelling and pain of bruises. It works simply by rubbing the leaves on the area when you have a fall or a hard knock. The active ingredients here are again flavonoids, and sesquiterpene lactones along with tannins, carotenoids and thymol. These, along with the flavonoids, stimulate the circulation and carry away any fluids trapped in bruises and swellings.
The sesquiterpene lactones act as anti-inflammatories and boost the immune system, helping to reduce swelling and pain. In fact terpenoid chemicals are common to many of the herbs and flowers that have found a use in the relief of pain in swelling and bruises. The same is true of Ledum, better known as Rosemary, traditionally used for the treatment of burns, ulcers dandruff, and dry skin and to get rid of lice among many other internal and topical applications.
The active ingredients of rosemary (ledum) include mono-, di- and triterpenes and also the ubiquitous flavonoids and camphor and linalool. If you wash down burns, grazes and cuts with a wash of ledum extract, then you will protect the patient from infection at the time when they are most vulnerable to infectious agents.
Hypericum has uses as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, and is therefore useful for exactly the same conditions as all of the above. It also has astringent properties, so that like Calendula, Hypericum can be used to prevent the capillary seepage that frequently leads to infections. The active ingredients here are apparently flavonoids again, with their antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Considering that they are among the most common antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents in the plant world; it is no coincidence that flavonoids just happen to be contained in the vast majority of natural treatments for scratches, grazes and bruises. They reduce swelling, pain and inflammation, and also act as antiseptics by disrupting the cell walls of bacteria.
Hypericum is well known by its alternative name St. John’s Wort, where it is used in the treatment of depression. However, the active ingredients here are mainly hyperforin and hypericin, which have little to do with the topical benefits of the plant.
If you have suffered from insect bites and stings, then you would have been thankful had you brought some Apis Mellifica with you. Obtained from bees, this again contains terpenes among many other chemicals, and is used paradoxically in the treatment of bee stings and other insect stings and bites. It’s amazing how many of these old remedies contain terpenes of various types and also flavonoid chemicals. It is useful for most rashes that have raised puffy lumps, such as hives.
Finally, if you manage to stay out without getting any bruises, abrasions, scratches or bites, you will be very lucky. However, if you get sunburn through being out in the sun too long, just look around for some stinging nettle, or Urtica. The leaf contains polysaccharides and lectins that stop the production of prostaglandins in the body that cause inflammation. Your sunburn will ease and you be able to return home relatively symptom free from your day outdoors.
These natural remedies can be hard to find growing naturally due to many factors such as the time of year or your geographical location these herbs may grow in. Alternative sources are available at your local health food store where you can find all the above mentioned herbs in ointments and creams specifically formulated for your needs.
An organic farmer’s perspective
June 26, 2007 02:03 PM
How effective can remineralization be? Just as Dan Kittredge, executive director of Remineralize the Earth, who is also an organic farmer. Prior to remineralizing his farm, he had weaker crops and a horrendous insect problem. “I put in two greenhouses a year and a half ago and planted Asian greens in them. Last spring, all the plants were inundated with tiny holes made by insects. Unless you are extremely diligent, it happens to all of a particular family of crops around here, including broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.”
This year, however, he had remineralized. “Under the exact same growing conditions and locations, with the exception of adding rock dust last year, the crops are now growing virtually insect free,” he reports.
The crops themselves are extraordinary. “They have this incredible sheen,” Kittredge says. “The flavor is far, far better, and they last longer. We were harvesting broccoli all the way into December, which is pretty amazing, especially from Massachusetts.”
How to remineralize the Earth – Getting vital nutrients back into the soil
June 26, 2007 01:55 PM
We know that “traditionally grown” fruits and vegetables we see in supermarkets are both lacking in vitamins and minerals and have added chemicals from fertilizers and pesticides. These toxic additions in particular fueled the demand for organic produce but did not completely address the lack of nutrients.
Going back in time, our soil was rich with minerals, which found their way into our foods in healthy doses. Mineralized soil grew healthier crops providing the vitamins and minerals we now need to take as supplements. Additionally, hardier plants were capable of repelling insects and other pests that are now a constant and costly threat to growers.
Over the years (and accelerated with the advent of modern industrialized farming), soil all over the planet has become depleted of minerals, resulting in crops and forests that struggle to perform their parts in our ecology—either providing nutrition or, in the case of trees, putting vital oxygen back into our atmosphere.
It’s a serious problem. A recent report based on U.S. agricultural records has found that the nutrient content of fruits an vegetables has been dropping since these records were first taken in the early 1960’s—just over 40 years ago. To illustrate the point, we would need to eat five apples today just to get the same nutrients we would of found in one apple in 1965.
TEA TREE OIL (Meleleuca alternifolia)
July 11, 2005 09:32 PM
TEA TREE OIL (Meleleuca alternifolia)
Another important component of the first aid kit is tea tree oil. It can help with many minor conditions that commonly occur. Some include athlete’s foot, acne, boils, burns, warts, vaginal infections, tonsillitis, sinus infections, ringworm, skin rashes, impetigo, herpes, corns, head lice, cold sores, canker sores, insect bites, insect repellent and fungal infections. It is truly a remarkable oil with valuable properties for healing and to prevent infection. Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia which is a shrub like tree found in the northeast t ropical coastal region of New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. There are over 300 different varieties of tea tree but only a few are known to produce the valuable, medicinal oil.
Tea tree oil contains at least 48 different organic compounds. The compounds work together to produce the healing abilities found in the oil. Research done in the 1950s and early 1960s found that tea tree oil is a germicide and fungicide with additional characteristics of dissolving pus and debris.1 Recent studies have found it effective for thrush, vaginal infections of candida albicans, staph infections, athlete’s foot, hair and scalp problems, mouth sores, muscle and joint pain, pain, and boils.2
Tea tree oil is a valuable antiseptic for skin infections. It is able to penetrate the epidermis to heal from within. Clinical studies have found that tea tree oil can heal quickly and with less scarring than other treatments. The oil is even effective against Staphylococcus aureus, which is often difficult to treat and is becoming resistant to antibiotic therapy. The oil can be applied two to three times a day with full strength or diluted. If an irritation occurs, a diluted solution can be tried. Even highly diluted concentrations have been found to heal in clinical studies.
Organisms against which tea tree oil has been shown to be effective include aspergillus, baceroides, Candida, clostridium, cryptosporidium, diptheroids, E. Coli, enter-obacter, epidermophyton, fusobacterium, gonococcus, hemophilus, herpes viruses, meningococcus. microsporium, petococcus, proteus, pseudomonas, spirochetes, staph, strep, trichinosis, and trichophyton3
Tea tree oil is an effective bactericide. It is safe for healthy tissue. It is a strong organic solvent and will help heal and disperse pus in pimples and wounds. It has been used to neutralize the venom of minor insect bites. It is able to kill bacteria by penetrating the skin layers and reaching deep into abscesses in the gums and even beneath the fingernails. It has been found to have some of the strongest antimicrobial properties ever discovered in a plant.4 Tea tree oil can help with fungal infections such as candida. Dr. Eduardo F. Pena, M.D. has studied Melaleuca alternifolia oil for its value in treating vaginitis and candida albicans.5 In studying candida researchers have gone to the extreme of infecting healthy volunteers with the organism. The yeasts proceeded to invade the bloodstream and internal organs. Then they were cultured from these regions. However, within a matter of hours yeasts could no longer be cultured, indicating that the immune systems of these individuals efficiently cleared the organisms from the tissues. Unfortunately, in today’s era a great many people are afflicted with compromised immune function.6
Tea tree oil acts as a mild anesthetic when applied to painful areas and to soothe cuts, burns, and mouth sores. It can help heal as well as reduce scarring. Burn victims in Australia are often treated with tea tree oil to help prevent infection, relieve pain and speed healing.
Tea tree oil can help prevent and heal acne. Tea tree oil has a reputation of being gentle on the skin. It does not produce the side effects of some medications such as dry skin, stinging, burning and slight redness after application. Tea tree oil can help to heal and prevent infections from occurring. A minor scrape or scratch can sometimes result in infection. Tea tree oil applied to the area can help prevent infection. The oil is effective in healing many types of bacteria but the most amazing thing is that is does not damage the skin tissue. Many of the recommended treatments can actually do damage to the skin resulting in scarring and sensitivity.
Tea tree oil can be used to prevent bites and stings. Bugs don’t like the scent and may stay away. There is no way to entirely void coming into contact with insects. Anyone who likes to be outdoors is vulnerable. Whether you live in the city or the country or anywhere in between, bugs abound. Tea tree oil or lotions and creams containing the oil can also be used to prevent bites. Insects don’t like the scent of the oil and are actually repelled by it. The Australian tea tree oil has been found to be highly effective in treating infections and destroying microbes while not irritating the skin. Many antiseptics can cause skin irritation, but tea tree oil seems to cause no harm to skin tissue.
Tea tree oil is an antiseptic and generally not taken internally. Some evidence has suggested mild organ damage from internal use. The oil when absorbed through the skin is non-toxic. Tea tree oil is most often recommended for exposed surfaces of the body such as the skin tissue and the mucous membranes. It should be noted that the original Australian aborigines made tea from the leaves without adverse affects. And the early settlers followed their exam - ple with positive results. But the tea was a very diluted form and the distilled oil is much stronger.
CHITOSAN: The Fiber that Binds Fat
June 25, 2005 07:55 PM
Chitosan is a natural product that inhibits fat absorption. It has the potential to revolutionize the process of losing weight and by so doing, reduce the incidence of some of the most devastating Western diseases we face today. Chitosan is indigestable and non-absorbable. Fats bound to chitosan become nonabsorbable thereby negating their caloric value. Chitosan-bound fat leaves the intestinal tract having never entered the bloodstream. Chitosan is remarkable in that it has the abilty to absorb an average of 4 to 5 times its weight in fat.60
The same features that allow chitosan to bind fats endow it with many other valuable properties that work to promote health and prevent disease. Chitosan is a remarkable substance whose time has come.
Chitin, the precursor to Chitosan, was first discovered in mushrooms by the French professor Henri Braconnot in 1811.61 In the 1820’s chitin was also isolated from insects.62 Chitin is an extremely long chain of N-acetyl-D-glucoseamine
glucoseamine units. Chitin is the most abundant natural fiber next to cellulose and is similar to cellulose in many respects. The most abundant source of chitin is in the shells of shellfish such as crab and shrimp. The worldwide shellfish harvest is estimated to be able to supply 50,000 tons of chitin annually.63 The harvest in the United States alone could produce over 15,000 tons of chitin each year.64
Chitin has a wide range of uses but that is the subject of another book. Chitosan was discovered in 1859 by Professor C. Rouget.65 It is made by cooking chitin in alkali, much like the process for making natural soaps. After it
is cooked the links of the chitosan chain are made up of glucosamine units. Each glucosamine unit contains a free amino group. These groups can take on a positive charge which gives chitosan its amazing properties. The stucture of chitosan is represented schematically in Figure 2. Research on the uses of chitin and Chitosan flourished in the 1930s and early 1940s but the rise of synthetic fibers, like the rise of synthetic medicines, overshadowed the interest in natural products. Interest in natural products, including chitin and chitosan, gained a resurgence in the 1970s and has continued to expand ever since. Uses of Chit osan Some of Chitosan's major uses—both Industrial and Health and Nutritional—are listed in Tables 5 and 6.
Chitosan has been used for about three decades in water purification processes. 67 When chitosan is spread over oil spills it holds the oil mass together making it easier to clean up the spill. Water purification plants throughout the world use chitosan to remove oils, grease, heavy metals, and fine particulate matter that cause turbidity in waste water streams.
Fat Binding/ Weight Loss
Like some plant fibers, chitosan is not digestible; therefore it has no caloric value. No matter how much chitosan you ingest, its calorie count remains at
fibers, chitosan’s unique properties give it the ability to significantly bind fat, acting like a “fat sponge” in the digestive tract. Table 7 shows a comparison of chitosan and other natural fibers and their ability to inhibit fat absorption. Under optimal conditions, Chitosan can bind an average of 4 to 5 times its weight with all the lipid aggregates tested.60 (NOTE: This assessment was made without the addition of ascorbic acid which potentiates this action even further.77 Studies in Helsinki have shown that individuals taking chitosan lost an average of 8 percent of their body weight in a 4-week period.76 Chitosan has increased oil-holding capacity over other fibers.108 Among the abundant natural fibers, chitosan is unique. This uniqueness is a result of chitosan’s amino groups which make it an acid absorbing (basic) fiber. Most natural fibers are neutral or acidic. Table 7 summarizes the in vivo effects in animals of various fibers on fecal lipid excretion. As can be seen from the results listed, ingestion of chitosan resulted in 5-10 times more fat excretion than any other fiber tested. D-Glucosamine, the building block of chitosan, is not able to increase fecal fat excretion. This is due to the fact that glucosamine is about 97 percent absorbed while chitosan is nonabsorbable. Fats bound to glucosamine would likely be readily absorbed along with the glucosamine. Chitosan, on the other hand, is not absorbed and therefore fats bound to chitosan can not be absorbed.
Chitosan has the very unique ability to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) while boosting HDL cholesterol (the good kind).78 Laboratory tests performed on rats showed that “chitosan depresses serum and liver cholesterol levels in cholesterol- fed rats without affecting performance, organ weight or the nature of the feces.”79 Japanese researchers have concluded that Chitosan “appears to be an effective hypocholesterolemic agent.”80 In other words, it can effectively lower blood serum cholesterol levels with no apparent side effects. A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that Chitosan is as effective in mammals as cholestryramine (a cholesterol lowering drug) in controlling blood serum cholesterol without the deleterious side effects typical of cholestryramine. 81 Chitosan decreased blood cholesterol levels by 66.2 percent.82 It effectively lowered cholesterol absorption more than guar gum or cellulose.83 Laboratory test results indicated that a 7.5% chitosan formula maintained adequate cholesterol levels in rats, despite a dramatic increase in the intake of cholesterol. 84
June 25, 2005 10:57 AM
Ginkgo has achieved unprecedented popularity within the last decade and has become a familiar household term. Because interest in treating diseases like Alzheimer’s has escalated over the last decade, the biochemical capabilities of ginkgo in regard to brain function have been investigated and are still being researched. Ginkgo is one of those herbs that has become intrinsically connected with notions of herbal elixirs capable of pre s e rving youth and promoting longevity.
Ginkgo comes from the oldest species of tree in the world dating back some 200 million years. Some ginkgo trees have been known to live well over an average of 1000 or more years. The ginkgo tree is also known as the “maidenhair tree” and would have probably become extinct if the trees had not been cultivated in Far Eastern temple gardens and nurtured by Oriental monks.
Ginkgo is a deciduous conifer with separate male and female types. It resembles the pau d’arco tree and like pau d’arco, possesses an unusual immunity to insects and diseases. Ginkgo’s remarkable hardiness enabled it to survive the atomic blast at Hiroshima. Because of its unprecedented longevity, ginkgo biloba has sometimes been referred to as a living fossil.
Ginkgo has been used in China for over 5000 years. The Chinese refer to the fruit of the ginkgo tree as pa-kwo. This fruit is sold in markets throughout China and resembles dried almonds. Ginkgo fruit is pleasant tasting when fresh, but can become quite disagreeable if allowed to get overly ripe. Asians have relied on extracts of the fan-shaped ginkgo leaf since 3,000 B.C. to heal a wide variety of ailments.
The Chinese have been acquainted with the curative powers of ginkgo for centuries and have typically used the herb for ailments related to aging, such as circulatory disorders, mental confusion and memory loss. In China, ginkgo seeds, called baigou, are considered lung and kidney tonics and are used in conjunction with acupuncture. Ginkgo seeds also help to tonify the urinary system, so they are used in cases of incontinence and excessive urination.1
Practitioners of Chinese medicine routinely use ginkgo leaves. Ginkgo was introduced into Eu rope in 1730 and was we l l received, not for its medicinal value, but for its ornamental appeal. It is used extensively in landscaping because of its lovely fern-like leaf. It was brought to America in 1784 to the garden of William Hamilton who lived in Pennsylvania.
Decades passed before the healing properties of ginkgo we re investigated. Consequently, it has been part of the herbal repertoire only since the 1980s. During this time, it became technically feasible to isolate the essential components of ginkgo. Pharmacologically, there are two groups of substances which are significant compounds found in ginkgo: the flavonoids, which give ginkgo its antioxidant action, and the terpenes, which help to inhibit the formation of blood clots. The majority of scientific interest has focused on Ginkgo’s ability to improve the circulation of blood. O ver the past twenty years, scientific testing on the plant has dramatically escalated. Ha rva rd professor Elias J. Core y, Ph . D , synthesized ginkgo’s active ingredient, ginkgolide B, for the first time in the laboratory. Consequently, stepped-up research in this country and in Eu rope resulted. Ginkgo has been the subject of over 300 scientific studies and continues to intrigue scientists. Much modern research has confirmed ancient applications of ginkgo as well as discovered new ones.
Ginkgolide, the active component of the herb, is what creates most of ginkgo’s biochemical attributes. Exactly how ginkgolide B functions is not yet known. One theory is that the compound somehow interferes with a chemical found in the body called PAF (platelet activating factor). PAF has been implicated in cases of graft rejection, asthma and other immune disorders. PAF antagonists have been identified from a variety of medicinal plants. These compounds help to explain the pharmacological basis of several traditional medicines and provide a valuable new class of therapeutic agents.
Particular attention has been paid to ginkgo’s powerful actions on the cardiovascular system. Thousands of Europeans use this herb for peripheral circulatory disorders. As a circulation booster, ginkgo has accumulated some impressive credentials. Because proper circulation is vital to each and every body function, virtually all body systems can benefit from ginkgo therapy.
Ginkgo’s relationship to brain function has also spawned considerable interest. In 1985, Rudolf Weiss said of ginkgo,
“ Significant improvement in mental states, emotional lability, memory, and the tendency to tire easily, have been reported.”
Ginkgo is currently planted in groves and used for a number of medicinal purposes. It is harvested in the summer and can be used in extract, tincture or infusion forms. The therapeutic properties of ginkgo seem endless. Continuing re s e a rch promises to further uncover additional health benefits of this remarkable botanical. Ginkgo extracts are among the leading prescription medications in France and Germany. Currently, millions of prescriptions for ginkgo are written by physicians worldwide.
June 24, 2005 01:19 PM
Echinacea increases the body’s ability to resist and fight infection, clears the blood of impurities and has been used for fevers, venereal diseases, hemorrhoids and as an aphrodisiac. Unquestionably, its most important function as a botanical is as an immune system booster and blood purifier. For this reason, it has recently been considered for AIDS therapy.
Echinacea is one of the most useful herbs available to practitioners because it functions to simultaneously stimulate the immune system, while it expedites the removal of toxins from the body.
Echinacea is recommended for common infections and can be tried in lieu of or in combination with conventional antibiotics.4 It is better to take the herb for two weeks at a time alternating with two weeks off to ensure its efficacy.
It is an effective therapeutic agent for healing wounds, treating abscesses, carbuncles, eczema, burns, psoriasis, herpes, canker sores, typhoid fever, viral and bacterial infections and tumors.
Echinacea is considered one of the best blood purifiers found in nature. It has been scientifically researched for its chemical ability to neutralize harmful venom from poisonous snakes, scorpions, insects and other toxic substances. Laboratory tests have found that certain complex chemicals found in echinacea have the ability to rearrange and recognize enzyme patterns in the body.5 It also improve s lymphatic filtration and drainage and assists in clearing the blood f rom damaging toxins. It has traditionally been referred to as the King of the Blood Purifiers. Any condition which is believed to be caused by an accumulation of toxins in the body can benefit from echinacea.
Immune System Booster
In 1885, Rudolf Weiss recorded, “It (Echinacea) has proved a useful drug in improving the body’s own resistance in infectious conditions of all kind.”6 Clearly, echinacea has potent immune system actions and impacts the thymus gland, the activation of Tcells, and the promotion of interf e ron production and secretion . Because of these attributes, it is an important herb in combating infections, especially viral ones like AIDS and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
The major component of echinacea called inulin is responsible for activating pathways in the body, which help neutralize viruses and bacteria, and boost the migration of white blood cells to infection sites. The natural polysaccharides, fatty acids and glycosides in this botanical all strengthen and nourish the immune system. Echinacea is considered an immuno-tonic, which supplies the immune system with specific nutrients.
Echinacea has the capability to stimulate the immune response which results in an increased ability to resist infections. It is the most widely used herb for the enhancement of the immune system and is valuable for treating virtually all infectious diseases. Studies have shown that echinacea has impressive immune system boosting properties, many of which are produced in the thymus gland.7 One way in which echinacea helps the body combat infection is by enhancing the immune function of white blood cells. In order for white blood cells to effectively fight bacterial or viral invasion, nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc are necessary.
Adding echinacea potentiates any nutrient mix, which helps facilitate the production of white blood cells. White blood cells surround and destroy bacterial and viral invaders. Technically, they digest disease organisms; a process called phagocytosis. Echinacea makes phagocytosis more efficient. The white blood cells which participate in phagocytosis are called macrophages. In several laboratory studies, echinacea has repeatedly stimulated the bactericide activity of macrophages. In other words, it potentiates their ability to destroy invading organisms.
Your Healthy Harvest
June 14, 2005 11:05 AM
Your Healthy Harvest by Marjorie Flakowitz Energy Times, August 15, 2004
Once frowned on by conventional farmers, organic food has won respect from everyone concerned about the health of both the earth and the people who inhabit it.
Today, organic farming is considered one of the most rapidly growing areas of American agriculture. Organic foods sales topped $9 billion in 2002 and grew about 20%, up to almost $11 billion in 2003 (Organic Trade Association).
So when you buy organic, you join an expanding market that takes advantage of great-tasting, good-for-you food. Long ago, when the practice of farming was first devised, all farming was organic farming. So today's organic movement is bringing farming back to its roots.
But, safe to say, that is not what's motivating most consumers. A main reason for the popularity of organic food derives from the reassurance that organic foods, raised without artificial chemicals and pesticides, cut your exposure to toxic residues. A growing body of research shows organic food is richer in beneficial natural substances, too.
" Organic food and organic farming represent a philosophy that goes beyond just the quality of the food," says Steve Meyerowitz in The Organic Food Guide (Globe Pequot). "It strives to maintain the integrity of the entire food chain-plants, soil, air, water, animals and people. We are all part of the same ecosystem."
By eating organic, you eliminate pollution both from your body and the earth. Because our bodies are made of the animal and plant products we consume, our internal, physiological ecosystem and the earth's environment are inexorably entwined.
Chilling Arctic Evidence
As evidence of this connection, consider what's happened in the Arctic. Researchers who have analyzed Arctic water, ice, snow, soil and plants have found that chemicals used in farming and industry in other parts of the world have traveled north and accumulated in alarming quantity. How and if these chemicals break down depends on sunlight and the amount of organic matter contained in Arctic waters (American Chemical Society, 9/11/03).
" Once pollutants enter the water column, their behavior is poorly understood-particularly the processes that govern their lifetime and concentrations," says Amanda Grannas, PhD, a researcher at Ohio State University. "Such pollutants are now being found in wildlife, from fish to seals to whales, and even in people living in the Arctic."
Dr. Grannas and others looked at the pesticides lindane and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), two chemicals that have migrated to Arctic waters. Lindane is used by American farmers to treat seeds before they are planted. HCB, banned in the US in 1984, is still used in other countries to protect wheat from fungus.
The scientists found that sunlight at the top of Arctic waterways can help break down some pesticides. At lower depths, however, cut off from the sun's rays, pesticides can remain largely intact. In this research, lindane proved to persist much more readily than HCB.
" Lindane is one of the most persistent of pollutants," warns Dr. Grannas. "This could be because it's photochemically inert, whereas pollutants like HCB degrade relatively quickly. The main message is that pollutants can behave quite differently. These pollutants already affect local ecosystems, and could have repercussions for human health."
Organics Means More Benefits
Researchers are also finding that organic produce contains larger quantities of beneficial natural chemicals. For instance, one study (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2/26/03) showed that berries and corn grown organically can have almost 60% more polyphenolics. Polyphenolics are antioxidants plants use for protection against disease and which are good for humans. Researchers believe that when crops are grown conventionally, protected by pesticides and herbicides, they produce fewer of these substances. " This really opens the door to more research in this area," says Alyson Mitchell, PhD, assistant professor of food science at University of California at Davis, who led the research.
These scientists compared levels of total polyphenolics and vitamin C content in marionberries (a type of blackberry) and corn grown organically, sustainably or conventionally, and also looked at chemicals in strawberries grown either sustainably or conventionally. (Sustainable farming falls between the organic and conventional methods, and concentrates on farming that's self-sufficient-for example, feeding cows hay you've grown yourself, and then using the cows' manure to fertilize another crop.) They found that organic marionberries and corn had 50% to 58% more polyphenolics. The sustainably grown strawberries had 19% more polyphenolics. And all the organic produce contained more vitamin C.
Self-Defense for Plants
According to Dr. Mitchell, the organic crops contained the high levels of polyphenolics you'd expect to find in wild plants, suggesting that, on conventional farms, pesticides reduce the necessity for plants to make these protective, natural chemicals. " If an aphid is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics to defend itself," she says. "[P]henolics guard the plant against these pests."
Pesticides kill insects like aphids and thereby reduce the antioxidants produced by the plant. " This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food," Mitchell says. "By synthetically protecting the produce from these pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are doing something to our food inadvertently.
" We know [polyphenolics] are beneficial [to human health], but we don't know what types of polyphenolics are beneficial, or in what quantities," Dr. Mitchell notes. " Originally, the question was just really intriguing to me. I found that the higher level of antioxidants is enough to have a significant impact on health and nutrition, and it's definitely changed the way I think about my food."
Vitamin C in Oranges
Meanwhile, nutritional research on the vitamin C in oranges turns up similar results: organic oranges are richer in this antioxidant nutrient than conventionally grown oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, American Chemical Society, 6/2/02).
The more common supermarket oranges are significantly larger than organically grown oranges, and they have a deeper orange color. Because of their larger size, "we were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges," says Theo Clark, PhD, chemistry professor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.
But when he isolated the chemicals in the oranges and further refined his search with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), spectroscopy demonstrated that organically grown oranges possess 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they are only about half as large.
Dr. Clark isn't sure why organic oranges are richer in vitamin C, but he says, "...[W]e speculate that with conventional oranges, [farmers] use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and does not have as much nutritional value.
" However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration." Along with analyzing oranges, Dr. Clark and his research team questioned about 70 people to measure their concept of the nutritional value of organic oranges. In this survey, 85% of the respondents thought that organic oranges have a higher nutritional content than conventionally grown fruit.
Dr. Clark's laboratory work shows that "they were right on." In Dr. Clark's view, these issues are important because consumers have a right to know the real nutritional content of organic produce, and the fact that analyses show that organic fruit has much more vitamin C validates the benefits of eating organic.
Both plants and animals protect themselves from disease with many of the same chemicals. The natural substances that, in a farmer's field, defend vegetables from insects and microbes before they are harvested for your dinner go to work defending your body after you eat and digest them.
When you eat organic you bolster your health with more of these natural wonders. No wonder organic is becoming so popular!