Search Term: " roadside "
THC testing could soon come to a roadside stop near you
May 10, 2017 06:44 AM
Canada is working to put into effect the road-side testing for THC when they encounter a driver that appears to be impaired. THC is one of the chemicals that can be found in cannabis. It affects the user by giving them a high. In testing this roadside, the hope is to reduce the number of accidents caused by impaired drivers. With all the legalization of marijuana, it is important to protect all that are on the road. By testing roadside, and handing out punishment, hopefully safety will increase
Read more: THC testing could soon come to a roadside stop near you
Can I Increase Blood Oxygen With Periwinkle?
September 14, 2011 02:00 PM
The body is made of different cells and all of them depend on oxygen for them to keep on living. It does make sense doesn’t it? I mean, as human beings we live off oxygen, simply put, if we do not breathe in oxygen we die. We can find oxygen in the air around us and in fact that is the main source. Another thing that would tell you how important oxygen is to our body, just thinking requires us to have enough oxygen in the brain. That is why whenever someone is out of breath and unconscious for minutes the main concern is what damage will that time do to the brain when there is no oxygen travelling to it because the brain could not maintain its function without oxygen.
Blood Oxygen Levels
The levels of oxygen in our blood are related to how efficient our body is able to function. We have to understand that our cells run on oxygen and various health issues can arise with levels of blood oxygen being low. The good news though is that there are lot of different ways to build oxygen levels in the body. We have some natural ways that have been tested and proven to help. Firstly is to make sure we have foods high in antioxidants. These substances have been known for its health benefits and now we can also add to that list how it is able to initiate further release of oxygen from the blood.
Another one is by focusing on foods that are rich in Vitamin F because this vitamin helps the capacity of oxygen to hold haemoglobin which is important when trying to increase oxygen levels. Studies also have proven that constant exposure to fresh air and daily exercises are also beneficial as it aids in the increased capacity of our heart to pump blood which in turn will give more chances for your lungs to oxygenate blood, allowing once again for more oxygen to be used all throughout your body.
Perwinkle and blood oxygen levels
Periwinkle is primarily a ground hugging evergreen shrub and is known to be a native of Europe. It has shiny elliptical leaves and a five-petaled blue flower. Usually it is most abundant during spring and could be found in roadsides and is cultivated for use as a garden ornament all over Europe. The other variety is the Madagascar periwinkle which as its name suggest is a native of Madagascar. However in the modern world it is now common in the tropics and in many gardens around the world. Roots and the herbs are gathered in the summers.
Many studies have shown that periwinkle has the ability to increase blood flow and in turn aid in the increase of oxygen supply in the brain. In more severe scenarios it even has been used to aid in the relief of arteriosclerosis. Furthermore it has even been shown to be effective against brain function problems that are caused by lack of oxygen in the blood which impairs brain health.
Grab some Vinpocetine a periwinkle extract and increase brain blood flow today!
Reduce Inflammation, Nasal Drip, And Respiratory Infection With Natural Andrographis
August 11, 2011 01:02 PM
Can Andrographis Help Improve Respiratory Health?
Andrographis is an herb noted for its health effects on the respiratory tract. It has been recognized as an effective treatment for the common cold in several countries all over the world, though it is most popular in China and India. Practitioners of natural remedies have ascribed a number of medicinal properties to andrographolide, which is the major phytochemical constituent of this herbaceous plant.
Andrographis paniculata is a plant species that belongs to the family of plants native to the tropical regions of the Old World. It is found in large concentrations in Southern Asia, but it is also cultivated in the Americas. It grows up to 40 inches in height. It prefers shady places that retain a fair amount of moisture, but survives in open spaces, such as hills, farms, roadsides, wastelands, and even coastlines.
Alleviates Nasal Secretions
Rhinitis is a medical term that refers to the irritation of the nasal cavity. Otherwise known as stuffy nose, it often leads to uncontrolled nasal dripping. Excessive release of mucus characteristic of a congested nose or runny nose stems from the irritation caused by infections, or allergens in the case of allergic rhinitis. It is one of the most visible symptoms of hay fever and cold infections.
Andrographis has been utilized as an all natural remedy for excessive nasal secretions for centuries. In particular, it is an essential ingredient in herbal preparations associated with Ayurvedic Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Recent studies have shown that it produces a drying effect on the nose of participants suffering from colds after they took extracts of the plants in less than a week’s time.
Inhibits Inflammatory Mediators
Nasal dripping is tied to inflammatory responses in the employ of the immune system. Pathogenic microbes, such as viruses, bacteria, or even allergens, trigger immune responses that make use of endogenous chemicals known as inflammatory mediators. The process of inflammation attempts to contain infection, alerting immune cells. Production of mucus increases in the process.
The bitter taste of andrographis has been attributed to an organic compound called andrographolide, which is a natural diterpenoid now under investigation due to its pharmacological activity in vitro. It has been reported to exhibit anti-inflammatory action that even works as an antipyretic. It suppresses mediators of inflammation in the respiratory tract and allays fever tied to flu.
Combats Respiratory Infections
Modern herbalists have dubbed andrographis an immune booster. Indeed laboratory studies have documented that the organic compounds found in this plant prompt immune responses and modulate the disease fighting capacity of immune cells. Due to promising results of preliminary studies, it has often been linked to the amelioration of infections of the upper respiratory tract.
Andrographis is now becoming increasingly popular as an alternative treatment for sinusitis, cough, colds, and even flu. While it has been in use throughout the centuries, its efficacy remains under scrutiny. On the other hand, it is generally considered safe, and no side effects have been noted so far.
Grab some andrographis today and feel the difference!
What is The Herb Yellow Dock Root And How Does It Detox
April 20, 2011 03:02 PM
What is The Herb Yellow Dock Root Good for?
Yellow dock root is a health tonic best known for its detox properties. It has enjoyed a long association with folk medicine since the ancient times, especially in the treatment of what were believed to be diseases of the blood. Today it is often linked to the removal of heavy metals and other toxins from ingested foods, and thus has been attributed with digestive and hepatoprotective properties.
Rumex crispus is known by many names in the vernacular throughout the ages, but the most common is yellow dock, which to this day remains popular. It is a shrubby plant species native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is a flowering plant that grows up to 1 meter in height, with a circular arrangement of basal leaves similar to that of dandelion. It thrives well in the wild, preferring open spaces, even roadsides, rail beds, and car parks, as long as the soil has enough moisture. Its seeds are on its stems and quite exposed, making it easier to propagate. It is believed to be widespread in all continents, with the obvious exception of Antarctica, and considered an invasive weed in many countries.
The part of the plant used in herbal preparations is, as its name suggests, its root. Yellow dock root are dried and made into tea. Supplements in the form of capsules and tablets contain extracts of the dried root. Its active ingredients are phytochemicals with laxative properties, such as anthraquinones. It contains chrysophanic acid, which has been studied for its positive effects on skin disorders. In addition, it is a good source of vitamin C and iron, the reason why it is good for the blood.
Cleanses the Body of Toxins
Yellow dock root is thought to bind with toxins found in food and promote its excretion through the feces. It is particularly good for the organs close to the digestive tract, such as the pancreas, the liver, and the gall bladder as it promotes the production of enzymes needed for the breakdown of foods and protects the liver from the harmful effects of hepatitis. Also, it is believed to cleanse the lymph nodes. As it contains high levels of iron, intake of yellow dock root has been tied to healthier red blood cells.
Alleviates Skin Inflammation
Chrysophanic acid occurs naturally in several plants, including yellow dock root. This organic compound has been observed to allay the symptoms of many medical conditions of the skin that are inflammatory in nature, such as contact dermatitis, atopic eczema, and acne rosacea. Folk medicine practitioners believe that eating or drinking yellow dock root reduces the severity of herpes outbreaks.
Promotes Bowel Movement
Yellow dock root is rich in anthraquinones, notably emodin. In medicinal niches, these compounds are valued for their purgative properties. In the old days, herbal preparations containing yellow dock were heavily utilized in the treatment of different digestive problems such as indigestion and diarrhea. It is particularly helpful for constipation as it stimulates the colon and promotes bowel movement.
Red Clover Blossom
August 29, 2009 01:51 PM
Red clover is also commonly referred to as wild clover, purple clover, meadow clover, honeysuckle clover, or cow grass. This herb is a member of the pea family. It is commonly found in pastures, lawns, along roadsides, and in meadows. Many consider this herb to be a nuisance and, thus, they try to eliminate it from their lawns. However, this is not easily accomplished due to red clover’s hearty nature.
The use of red clover most likely originated in Europe. There, it was used as an expectorant and a diuretic. Additionally, it was burned as incense to invoke the spirits of the deceased. Some people even wore the leaves of red clover as charms against evil. The red clover was revered by early Christians because they associated its three leaves with the Trinity. The flowers of this plant were dried by the ancient Chinese and then put in pillows to help relax both the body and mind. The Native Americans used red clover as an infusion gargle for sore throats, whooping cough, and asthma. Additionally, they used it on children because it was a milder, safer way to fight debilitating childhood diseases.
This herb has been used for treating cancer, bronchitis, nervous conditions, spasms, and toxins in the body. It is considered by herbalists to be a blood cleanser. Herbalists also recommend this mild herb in formulas when using a cleansing program. Red clover is often mixed with honey and water to make a cough syrup and act as an expectorant. The herb is a mild sedative and is useful for spasmodic conditions, bronchitis, wheezing, and fatigue. Because red clover is mild, it can often be used by children.
Research has determined that red clover contains some antibiotic properties that are beneficial in fighting several kinds of bacteria. Among these types of bacteria is the one that causes tuberculosis. Additionally, red clover has a long history of use in treating cancer. Scientists at the National Cancer Institute have uncovered some anticancer activity in red clover, including daidzein and genistein activity. Even though the findings are preliminary and the use of red clover as a cancer treatment has not yet been validated, research is continuing to show promising results.
Externally, red clover has been used to treat skin problems such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and even vaginal irritation. It can also be applied topically to burns, boils, sores, and ulcers. Red clover has also been documented for use in treating AIDS, syphilis, and leprosy. This herb can be applied externally to help soothe lymphatic swelling and as an eyewash.
In short, the flowers of red clover are used to provide alterative, antibiotic, antispasmodic, blood purifier, nutritive, sedative, stimulant, and vulnerary properties. The primary nutrients found in red clover are calcium, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, nickel, selenium, sodium, tin, and vitamins A, C, B-complex, F, and P. Primarily, red clover is extremely beneficial in dealing with acne, AIDS/HIV, athlete’s foot, blood impurities, bronchitis, cancer, eczema, leukemia, liver disorders, nervous disorders, psoriasis, skin disorders, spasms, and the effects of toxins.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in treating arthritis, asthma, boils, burns, childhood diseases, colds, constipation, coughs, muscle cramps, fatigue, flu, gallbladder, gastric disorders, indigestion, leprosy, lymphatic irritations, rheumatism, sores, syphilis, sore throat, tuberculosis, ulcers, urinary infections, vaginal irritations, whooping cough, and wounds.
For more information on red clover, look for this wonderful herb at your local heath food store. Remember to always look for name brands to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.
August 24, 2009 11:32 AM
Caralluma is a succulent plant that is part of the cactus family. It can be found growing wild in Africa, the Canary Islands, India, and southern Europe, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan. The herb has been used in Indian for centuries in order to curb appetite. It is a portable food for hunting and also an endurance enhancer. This herb was also used during periods of famine in order to curb appetite.
The caralluma plant is part of the Apoxynaceae family. It has been eaten in rural Indian for centuries, raw, as a vegetable with spices, or preserved in chutneys and pickles. It is often found as a roadside shrub or boundary marker. Caralluma has been used as a portable food and thirst quencher for hunting. Caralluma is mainly used for its ability to suppress hunger and appetite, while enhancing stamina. Tribesmen on a daily hunt will often only pack some caralluma to sustain themselves, which is why it is commonly known as a famine food in India.
The working class in India used this plant not only as an appetite suppressant, but also to increase energy and endurance. Caralluma can be coked as a vegetable, pickled, used in chutneys, or eaten raw.
This herb seems to block the activity of many fat-promoting enzymes in the body. It forces fat reserves to be burned. One double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial on caralluma extract, which involved fifty people, showed significant reductions in all key indicators of weight loss.
This plant is also believed to affect the appetite-control mechanism that is found in the brain. When we eat, nerves in our stomach send a signal to the brain’s hypothalamus. This is the appetite-controlling center. When the stomach is full, the hypothalamus informs the brain that it can stop eating. When a person feels hunger, it is the result of the hypothalamus sending a signal to the brain to eat. The interference with these signals, or even creating a sign of its own, is done by caralluma. Through this, the brain is tricked into thinking that the stomach is full, even if the person has not eaten.
Patients who use caralluma have reported having more energy. Additionally, they tend to gain lean muscle mass while they lose fat. This herb not only reduces fat synthesis, but it also boosts the burning of fat. This makes more energy available for the body as a whole.
The plant has no known toxicity or side effects. However, it is wise to consult a health care professional before supplementing with this, or any nutrient while on prescription medications.
The entire caralluma plant is used to provide anorectic and energy boosting properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are bitters principles, flavones glycosides, megastigmane glycosides, pregnane glycosides, and seponins. Primarily, this herb is extremely beneficial in dealing with low energy and obesity. It also acts as an appetite suppressant. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by caralluma, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
August 13, 2009 12:09 PM
The mugwort plant is one of several species in the genus Artemisia. In Northern America, this plant is considered to be an invasive weed. The plant is very common and can be found growing on nitrogenous soils, like weedy uncultivated areas such as waste places and roadsides. The mugwort plant is a tall herbaceous perennial plant that grows from one to two meters tall and has a woody root. The leaves, which are between five to twenty centimeters in length, are dark green, pinnate, with dense hairs on the underside. The stem has a red-purplish tinge. The flowers are rather small with many yellow or dark red petals. This plant can be found flowering from July to September.
The mugwort plant is native to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. Sometimes, it is referred to as the felon herb, St John’s plant, chrysanthemum weed, and wild wormwood. The plant’s root has a history of medicinal use. Mugwort was used in the ancient world as a treatment for fatigue and to guard travelers from evil sprits and wild animals. Roman soldiers are said to have placed mugwort in their sandals to keep their feet energized. One could curb fatigue by chewing mugwort leaves. Sometimes, mugwort is confused with wormwood.
Mugwort is popular in witchcraft. It is said to promote lucid dreaming and astral travel. Smoking or eating mugwort before going to sleep is supposed to make dreams much more intense. It also helps the dreamer to remember them upon waking. This herb contains wormwood oil, thujone, flavonoids, triterpenes, and coumarin derivatives. Thujone is toxic. For this reasons, expectant mothers should avoid consuming large amounts of mugwort. Due to toxicity concerns, the plant is recommended less often now.
In traditional Chinese medicine, mugwort still has a role in an aged, pulverized, and recompounded form. In this form, it is used to correct breech birth presentation. Additionally, mugwort can cause uterine contractions, so it has been used to induce abortion.
The leaves of the mugwort plant have been recommended for colic, diarrhea, constipation, stomach cramps, weak digestion, worm infestation, and persistent vomiting. This herb has also been used to stimulate the secretion of bile and gastric juices. It has also been used as a laxative, liver tonic, and sedative. Mugwort promotes circulation. Additionally, it helps with hysteria, epilepsy, convulsions in children, and menstrual problems. This herb has been used as a tonic to boost energy and strength. It has been used, combined with other ingredients, for neuroses, neurasthenia, depression, hypochondria, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety.
In summary, the root and leaves of the mugwort plant are used to provide abortifacient and anthelminthic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are lipophilic flavonoids and sesquiterpene lactones. Primarily, mugwort is extremely beneficial in treating anxiety, colic, constipation, depression, diarrhea, digestion, epilepsy, hysteria, insomnia, menstrual problems, vomiting, and worms. 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 mugwort, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
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?
June 20, 2008 02:08 PM
That common yard or roadside plant you see during the growing season can be your ally against sickness and disease. The common dandelion has many essential vitamins and minerals inherent in it that can be part of your health regimen. Dandelions are an all-natural way to promote good health when used wisely.
The dandelion root and leaves contain vitamins A, C and D, as well as the B-complexes. They also contain iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, manganese, choline, boron, calcium and silicon. Choline has shown to improve memory function. Dandelion has found use as a treatment for breast illnesses, bloating (water retention), aching joints, skin problems and gastrointestinal disorders. It is also as a gentle diuretic and a purifier for the bloodstream and liver.
This plant contains luteolin, which is an antioxidant and beneficial as an immune system enhancer. Luteolin helps inhibit the degradation and wearing down of the body's cells. What's great about dandelion and its antioxidant properties is the fact that there is no toxic effect on cells associated with it.
Dandelions are also a medicinal herb. They increase waste elimination in the body through the urine. Like green tea's effects, this excretion of water and waste can lead to weight-loss. Dandelion is available naturally, as well as in pill, liquid, tablets and tea form. The Puritans used it strictly as a vegetable, although some who eat it as a prepared dish consider it to have a bitter taste.
This plant has ranked high in many categories. It is one of the top six herbs in the Chinese herbal medicine chest. It is one of the top four green vegetables rated for overall nutritional value according to the USDA Bulletin #8, "Composition of Foods" (Haytowitz and Matthews, 1984). It is food rich in fiber. This is important because fiber is an essential component of a complete weight-loss program. Fiber absorbs fat molecules and aids in their elimination from the body. This prevents fats from absorbing into the body.
The dandelion is part of the sunflower family. It is prevalent in temperate regions in Europe, Asia and North America. This plant finds itself a big part of culinary recipes. Taking the dandelion in this form is good for health, as it is in its most natural, unprocessed state. Some use dandelion as a tea to help in the fight against fever, insomnia and jaundice. Dandelion tea can also aid those who have rheumatism, eczema, constipation and even skin diseases.
It aids digestion by stimulating stomach secretions. However, it does increase the flow of bile in one's system, so you should not take dandelion if you have obstruction of the bile ducts. While generally safe, like anything else, you should consult a doctor when trying something new in your diet. This is to make sure it doesn't have harmful side effects or interact negatively with other herbs and medications.
For women, dandelion helps because of its diuretic capabilities. This means it helps eliminate excess water from a woman's system, which causes bloating.
Those who experience premenstrual syndrome may find dandelion helps bring down their bloating and weight gain associated with water retention.
Another promising aspect of dandelion is the fact it contains lecithin. Lecithin is a lipid that contains choline primarily, along with inositol, phosphorous and linoleic acid. Lecithin elevates the brain's acetylcholine, which helps brain function. This, some researchers believe, may help slow down or stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Dandelion, again because of lecithin inherent in it, is beneficial for prevention of arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease too.
Sometimes we need to look only in our own backyards and surrounding environments to find plentiful foods that are healthy. Dandelions are one of earth's products that have found use for centuries. Whether as a recipe ingredient, a tea or a pill, dandelion is versatile. When used with care, it can help with weight-loss and be a health enhancer at the same time.
Exotic Herbs From The Amazon Basin
June 22, 2007 05:07 PM
Although many traditional herbal medicines have yet to find complete scientific corroboration in the West, it follows logically that people wouldn't use an herbal product for centuries if it didn't work.
Many of the popular herbs we all recognize as having great health benefits were only recently considered pretty exotic. Even green tea - a staple in China for centuries -has only lately gone main stream.
So it will likely be with herbs from the Amazon basin and its environs. The Amazon basin is one of the most bountiful environments on the planet. Explorers and botanists from the West have looked to this region for generations for the "next big thing." Of course, in many cases, the "next big thing" has already been in use for centuries.
In this issue of Ask the Medicine Hunter, we're going to look at some energizing and life- stimulating herbs that also happen to have great antioxidant properties, too. Best yet, many of them are available to us here from companies that practice fair trade policies.
Let's take a look at some of the herbal powerhouses coming out of the Amazon (and its nearby neighborhoods):
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) has been cultivated for a long time at least 2000 years. Related to brassica family plants like radishes, mustard and cabbage, its foliage does actually look somewhat radish-like, but grows close to the ground.
Maca is cultivated by the Andean people in Peru's central highlands, and contains a plethora of beneficial compounds that enhance overall health and vitality. The tradition of cultivating maca is an old one some strains have been found in Incan sites that date from 1600 B.C. During early European colonization, maca was used by the local native culture as a form of currency, much of the way cocoa was used by the Aztecs, further north in pre-Columbian Mexico.
Maca thrives in high altitudes - between 10,000 and 16,000 feet. The harsher the conditions, the better it grows, or so it seems. In fact, efforts to grow the plant in Central Europe haven't been as successful - maca seems to enjoy its home turf the best. In Peru, maca is a popular and beloved nutrient-packed superfood, and is commonly powdered and mixed into drinks at roadside stands throughout the Andes.
Q. I've heard of maca being used for healthy libido - are there any other benefits?
A. Maca is a natural energizer, and although it is recognized for it's libido enhancing abilities, it has other uses, too, acting as an adaptogen - similar to rhodiola or ginseng. In fact, in South America, maca is known as "Peruvian Ginseng." Though maca is not ginseng at all, some of the benefits of both plants are similar.
In any event, maca is recommended for boosting the immune system, menopause support, and hormonal balance in general. For daily use, maca is most recognized as a great source of energy and all-day endurance. Alkaloids from maca root may be partially responsible for both maca's energizing and libido boost. Research shows that maca affects the hypothalamic-pituitary (HPA) axis - boosting energy and overall aphrodisiac prowess in men and women. Maca contains novel compounds called macamides and macaenes, which have been proven in animal studies to significantly enhance energy, stamina and sexual function reasons people have been so consuming maca for 2000 years.
There are other serious reasons why maca is such an excellent plant. One group of compounds in maca is the isothiocyanates-aromatics constituents that are responsible for the "hotness" of mustards and radishes - fellow members of the brassica family. Isothiocyanates from other members of the brassica family may reduce the risk of breast and stomach cancer. Although the same constituents specifically from maca haven't beentested, it's plausible that they could have the same effects.
Q. I've heard a little about guarana extracts - is it just caffeine?
A. Guarana is widely loved for its mild stimulating effect, which is due to caffeine. But this is by no means this Amazonian herb's sole beneficial compound. Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is so logically ingrained in the culture of Brazil that it's practically a rival (actually out-sells) Coca-Cola in its soft-drink form. Like many other indigenous herbs, guarana was in use locally well before European settlement. Its Latin name comes fromthe German botanist C.F. Paullini, who first encountered the herb in the 1700s. This evergreen vine typically climbs fairly far up the Brazilian forest trees. The seed is the part that gets used. In one clinical study, guarana boosted the memory alertness of participants, even when the caffeine level per dose was a low 9 mg., as compared with approximately 100 mg for a cup of coffee. This effect suggests that other agents than caffeine contribute to a feeling of well being.
Guarana also contains powerful antioxidants including catechin, epicatechin and proanthocyanidins, which protect cells against destruction from free radicals, and impart benefits to the body's tissues and blood. The small seed of this plant is powerful in its health benefits.
Catuaba (Erythroxylum catuaba) is a common tree found in South America from Brazil to Peru, in the same genus as the coca plant. Catuaba contains components known as alkaloids. These alkaloids (called catuabine A, B, and C) are probably responsible for themental boost most people get when they take catuabe-based supplements or mixes.
There may be little confusion regarding catuaba, because various species and genus typesuse the common name. As a result, "catuaba" gets bandied around a lot, and one person'scatuaba may not be the next. Read labels carefully. The catuaba I've had the best luck with is Erythroxylum catuaba.
One of my favorite drinks in the world is coffee, and I'm sure at many people reading thisconsider it the essential part of their morning, too.
The part of coffee that we use the most is the seed of the coffee fruit - which appears as a bright, red berry. Most of the time, this fruit is sloughed off and left behind in the process of making coffee - it's really too delicate to last long in hot conditions.
But advances in technology have tapped a previously discarded resource. Though the fruit of coffee is available in any coffee-growing economy, a high antioxidant commercial extract of "coffee cherry" is now available from the fruits of coffee plants in Mexico.
Coffee fruit has many of the attributes of other dark-colored, anthcyanin-rich fruits. Coffee fruit (also referred to as "coffee cherry") appears not to be just another antioxidant, however. Current research on this once-forgotten, former castoff shows impressive abilities to decrease tumor size, and possibly even prevent their formation in the first place. It seems that the elements in coffee berry activate T-lymphocytes in such a way that mammary tumors are shrunk or simply put on hold. It will be fascinating to see how this science plays out.
Muira Puama Bark:
Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) grows between 15 to 45 feet high. Native to theAmazon basin of Brazil, the dried bark has been used for centuries as a traditional energysupport. Components include beta-sitosterol, campesterol and lupeol.
Muira puama, like other central nervous stimulants has been researched lately for its ability to boost memory retrieval and protect neural (brain) tissue. Who knows? Maybe this traditional ingredient could someday be on the cutting edge of natural medicines fighting Alzheimer's, much the way green tea and turmeric are currently. In one unpublished French study of 262 men with low libido and poor erectile function, 62% experienced significant improvement after taking an extract of Muira puama for two weeks.
Acai (Euterpe acai) berry is a traditional favorite (and readily available) food source for people in the Amazon. The tree is a tall-growing palm with berries that provide - a rich source of anthocyanins, potent purple pigments with extraordinary high antioxidant activity.
Once harvested, acai fruits decay rapidly. As with coffee fruits, special processing is the surest way to make certain the nutrients of acai berry make it to those of us outside the Amazon basin.
However, these wonderful fruits not only fight against free radical damage, but help our natural digestive enzymes and boost natural immune defenses, too. In fact, current research is investigating whether compounds in acai may have a fighting effect on leukemia, too. So far, the results have been very positive.
Look for supplements made using organically-grown, fair trade acai berry. The best companies ensure that the local people harvesting acai and the communities where they live gather more than just short-term benefits. The best companies work not just to provide jobs, but better lives for generations to come.
Q. What is sustainability and fair trade, anyway?
A. Sustainability refers to a set of naturally occurring circumstances, or intentionally designed practices and principles, which ensure that all parts or members of a situation are adequately nourished to promote their healthy continuance. In current parlance, sustainability often refers to practices and programs designed and implemented to keep natural systems healthy and flourishing. Many such programs focus on environmental protection and preservation of traditional cultures. In the world of medicinal plants, sustainable practices include organic agriculture, species management, fair trade, and benefit-sharing programs.
In other words, sustainability pays people fair wages, puts resources back into their communities, and ensures that the resources that benefit us all are going to be around for a long time. It is an earth-friendly, people-friendly concept of commerce that happily, is taking root around the world.
The traditional cultures that use - and have used - these ingredients for generations wouldn't have done so if they hadn't been effective. Fortunately we live in an era when formerly locally-used herbs are now available far beyond their previous range. We are also fortunate to have companies and individuals working hard to make sure that the people who tend and care for these precious resources are paid fairly for their efforts, andthat their families and communities benefit from this commerce as well.
The great thing about using traditional herbs and ingredients that have been gathered in this manner is that you know they'll be around for a long time.