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Omega-3s are a potent way to treat depression without resorting todangerous prescription medications
May 17, 2019 04:01 PM
One can treat poor mood and depression without using pharmaceutical drugs. One of these approaches involves using omega-3 fatty acid. Foods rich in this fatty acid can help. It has been shown by many scientific studies that the risk of having depression is reduced when one takes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid. Some of the means that have been identified as the pathways in which omega-3 fatty acids work is that they can make the CNS to release more serotonin, they can reduce the risk of an inflammation and also its severity, and they can stop phosphatidyl-inositol from releasing hormones that make a person to have depressive moods. The way omega-3 fatty acids do this has been found to be similar to the way anti-depressant drugs work. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to counter the release of serotonin in the brain that trigger depressive moods and they also have effect on the release of cytokines in the heart that relates to lowering the risk of one having coronary heart disease. And fortunately, heart disease is linked to major depressive moods. So, omega-3 fatty acid is a powerful compound that can be used to treat both problems. But what researchers have not agreed upon though is the required dosage of omega-3 fatty acid that a person should take each day to reap these benefits.
"The fatty acids achieve their natural antidepressant effects through several means. Omega-3s can raise the activity of CNS seratonin, reduce the risk and severity of inflammation, and stop phosphatidyl-inositol from sending signals that bring about depressive moods."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-15-omega-3s-are-a-potent-way-to-treat-depression.html
Prepping basics: DIY Elderberry remedies that can help preventcolds or the flu
April 30, 2019 03:54 PM
It is not useful to take a trip to the pharmacists when one can make DIY remedies for colds and the flu at home using elderberry. Elderberries have been used for several medicinal purposes for centuries. They are dark purple fruits growing from the elderberry shrub. Elderberries can reduce the duration and severity of viral infections such as cold and flu due to their antioxidant properties. To have maximum impact in using elderberry to treat cold and the flu, it is advisable to take them every three to four hours when one is down with these conditions. This piece contains the recipe for making a DIY elderberry syrup and tincture for treating the cold and flu.
"Due to their health-promoting properties, elderberries have been used for various medicinal purposes since ancient times. They are loaded with powerful antioxidants that can boost your immune system and reduce inflammation."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-19-elderberry-remedies-that-can-help-prevent-colds-or-the-flu.html
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
Medical News Today: Alpha-lipoic acid: Everything you need to know
April 17, 2019 02:34 PM
Alpha-Lipoic Acid(also known as ALA) may be the next great discovery of how to affect health for the better on a cellular level. ALA is made in the center of a cell, in the mitochondria, and seems to help with weight loss, lessening the severity of diabetes, memory loss, cell degeneration and more. Since humans only make a small amount in their bodies, some supplements are available. However, there have been only limited studies on effectiveness and none at all for children.
"Since humans can only produce ALA in small amounts, many people turn to supplements to increase their intake."
Read more: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323738.php
Emerging research finds inositol to be an effective treatment forpanic disorder
March 15, 2019 10:44 AM
Inositol is another name for vitamin B8, and it is showing to be highly effective in the treatment of panic disorder. Taking doses of approximately 20 grams per day has shown to reduce both the frequency and severity of panic attacks that those with the disorder experience. In a recent study, inositol was shown to be just as effective as fluvoxamine in treating panic disorder. Inositol has also shown to help in treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
"However, based on the results of study, a type of sugar called inositol could be used to reduce the frequency of these panic attacks."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-19-inositol-for-panic-disorder.html
10 Health Benefits Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
January 21, 2019 01:21 PM
Omega 3 fatty acid, which can be found in supplements such as wild salmon oil, salmon itself, avocados, and various nuts has proven to be beneficial in a wide range of body systems.One of the lesser known uses is to aid in the severity and even prevention of mood disorder and mood disorder episodes. It is also very critical for heart and eye health. The most interesting aspect however is how it interacts with the endocrine system, where it aids in metabolic regulation and among other things, insulin intolerance.
"Research says that omega-3 fatty acids can improve one’s health on several levels."
Read more: https://dailywellnesspro.com/10-health-benefits-of-omega-3-fatty-acids/690/
Fish, fish oil may lower your heart attack risk
January 21, 2019 01:20 PM
Omega 3 fatty acid, which can be found in supplements such as wild salmon oil, salmon itself, avocados, and various nuts has proven to be beneficial in a wide range of body systems.One of the lesser known uses is to aid in the severity and even prevention of mood disorder and mood disorder episodes. It is also very critical for heart and eye health. The most interesting aspect however is how it interacts with the endocrine system, where it aids in metabolic regulation and among other things, insulin intolerance.
"Research says that omega-3 fatty acids can improve one’s health on several levels."
Read more: https://dailywellnesspro.com/10-health-benefits-of-omega-3-fatty-acids/690/
Chronic Inflammation at the Root of Most Diseases + How to Prevent!
December 21, 2018 08:53 AM
Many people suffer from chronic inflammation and wonder how else to treat their pain. According to Harvard Medical School, chronic inflammation us the main source of problem in patient's suffering from heart disease, asthma, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer's. Symptoms of chronic inflammation include swelling and loss of blood vessels, lose or enlargement of kidneys, or even swelling or loss of muscle function. Eating food that are anti-inflammatory like vegetables, fruits, water, beans, healthy fats, protein and teas could reduce the severity of pain associated with chronic inflammation.
"The good news is that there are a lot of ways to avoid or reduce chronic disease-causing inflammation, including an anti-inflammatory diet plus other scientifically-proven inflammation-reducing tactics you can start doing today!"
Read more: https://draxe.com/inflammation-at-the-root-of-most-diseases/
Gut microbes can fight parasites: Probiotics may reduce infections, and severity of infections, in developing countries
June 08, 2018 09:16 AM
Parasites are a more common problem in some parts of the world, where soil quality is particularly conducive to their survival and growth. Unfortunately, for individuals that get infected with these parasites, it's becoming harder to get rid of them, as successive strains become more resistant to drugs.
Fortunately, new research is discovering that keeping parasites at bay and destroying those already present may have more to do with the environment of the gut. Individuals from villages in Indonesia and Liberia were the data pool used to find guts harboring parasites as well as those free of them. It was found that some bacteria were actually assistive of the parasites, while others made it hard on them. Since inflammation is the way that the gut generally fights off parasitic invasion, those bacteria that are anti-inflammatory are not useful in ridding the body, although those that aid in producing an inhospitable environment are. It may be that a eating a great deal more fermented foods could be a key, as such foods encourage the production of friendly and useful bacteria.
"Your ability to fight off parasitic worms may be aided by your gut microbiota."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-06-05-gut-microbes-can-fight-parasites-probiotics-may-reduce-infections-and-severity-of-infections-in-developing-countries.html
Treating Autism With Cannabis Now Has Scientific Support
October 20, 2017 10:14 AM
Autism is a hard thing to diagnose and treat. There are different forms of it. There are also different levels of severity. Cannabis is one way some treat it even though it is controversial. Most cannabis uses are. There is scientific evidence that this may work. It is at least looking into if you can get past the stigma, though it might not work for everyone. Some don't react to it just like any other medication.
"Looking at the quality of the social interactions, we found that our autistic-like mice tended to dart away from a social interaction and huddle in the corner of their testing box."
Read more: https://www.civilized.life/articles/cannabidiol-treatment-for-autism-scientific-support/
Is chronic fatigue syndrome an inflammatory disease?
August 02, 2017 04:14 PM
Chronic fatigue syndrome has been a very controversial thing for many years. Experts have not been able to gain much insight when it comes to the cause of it. There is a new study out that puts forward the suggestion that it is actually an inflammatory disease. There are wide ranging symptoms which makes it quite difficult to diagnose. It is characterized mostly by debilitating fatigue. it is also usually accompanied by pain and difficulties in retaining focus.
"Characterized by often debilitating fatigue, and sometimes accompanied by pain and difficulties in retaining focus, CFS/ME affects between 836,000 and 2.5 million people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)."
Read more: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318714.php
Is cannabis the cure-all for migraines? Scientists think so
July 10, 2017 12:14 PM
So many people suffer from the excruciating pain of a migraine headache and look for ways they can eliminate the issue from their life once and for all. o far, many people are unable to find such a product. But now, new evidence shed light on cannabis as the cure-all for migraine headaches and those who are suffering from the headaches. What do you need to know about cannabis and migraine headaches? The information is here.
"New research further validates the efficacy of cannabis in the alleviation of migraine symptoms. Researchers have found that a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol-cannabidiol (THC-CBD) was effective in reducing the severity and number of cluster headaches and migraines compared to prescription medicine"
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-07-05-is-cannabis-the-cure-all-for-migraines-scientists-think-so.html
Eating anti-inflammatory foods may reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
March 22, 2017 11:44 AM
As it happens your diet may have a significant impact upon the likelihood of Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) eating away at your joints as you age. 70% of white blood cells occupy the human intestinal tract - as RA is an auto-immune disease that turns the body's natural defenses against itself the link is worthy of further study. Several recent studies have made the connection between good diet (olive oil rather than butter) and RA incidence as well as severity and progression of the debilitating disease. The benefits of a good diet contrast with the current medical treatment prognosis for RA which actually weakens the immune system overall, opening the body up to any of a number of potential risk factors which eating right will strengthen the body's ability to resist.
RA is a life threatening disease which kills about 40,000 Americans annually and has a three to one preference to affect the female gender. A quarter of RA patients reported that a few specific dietary changes made noticeable impact, namely increasing blueberry and spinach consumption and reducing processed sugars.
"Recent medical research has suggested a strong link between the autoimmune illness rheumatoid arthritis and our food choices."
Read more: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20170318/entlife/170318970/
8 Signs That You Have A Leaky Gut And How To Fix It
December 06, 2016 02:59 PM
Do you have a leaky gut? It is a potentially dangerous condition that could cause a whole host of problems that you'd never guess had anything to do with intestinal health, from chronic fatigue and headaches to skin problems and joint pain. A healthy, happy gut is a key part of your overall health, and you can take some simple steps to ensure it stays in top shape.
"Leaky gut syndrome is just as it sounds. It’s an abnormal increase in the permeability of your small intestine."
Oral health and your heart
November 29, 2016 06:59 AM
Many people believe that they oral and cardiac health are not related. They are wrong. If bacteria cause an infection in your gums, they can cause inflammation throughout the body within the lining of the arteries as well. This increases our risks of heart attack, stroke, and cancer. It is very important to prevent gingivitis by flossing and using a toothpaste validated by the FDA.
"Gingivitis is very common. About 80 percent of adults will have some form of gingivitis, varying degree of severity, during their lifetime."
Diabetes and bone loss: Strategies to manage bone health with diabetes
November 23, 2016 08:06 AM
A recent study has indicated that bone density can be affected by diabetes in addition to the already long list of complications it causes. The high levels of glucose and possible loss of calcium in the urine can adversely affect the bones, which can lead to life-threatening bone fractures. Diet and exercise are already recommended to help deal with diabetes, but these things are also very important for maintaining bone health. A calcium supplement may also need to be added to the diet if absorption is low or loss of the mineral is high in the urine.
"Diabetes can increase the risk of bone loss, and the severity of diabetes can determine its impact on bone health."
4 Best Ear Oil That Will Help Improve Hearing And Reduce Ringing.
March 12, 2014 08:03 PM
Ear ringing is a clinical problem that affects 1 out of 5 people. It is also known as tinnitus and it can be a symptom of condition such as ear injury, hearing loss and circulatory disorder. There are many causes of this condition which can aggravate to completely hear loss.
Causes of ear ringing
There are many causes of hear ringing, causes varies from one person to another. Some of the causes includes.
Inner cell damage, this causes ear drum to echo sound even after the sound has been sent to the brain. This irritates ear and causes ear ringing.
Other ear problems including ear diseases are among the major causes ear ringing.
Treatment of ear ringing
There are many possible treatment of this condition including drugs and allopathic treatments such as removing ear wax, finding any possible vascular disorders and treating them. You can also change medication you are on which may be the cause of Tinnitus. Though drugs themselves cannot cure Tinnitus, they may help reduce the severity of the symptoms.
Changing lifestyle can also treat ear ringing and improve earing and ease ringing, for example, stress can exacerbate ear ringing. Reducing alcohol is another effective method to beat tinnitus, alcohol dilates blood vessels causing forceful blood flow to the inner ear.
While those methods though effective, they cannot cure ear ringing, one of the method that has been proved to be efficient is use of essential oil.
The aroma of essential oil enters the nose and stimulates the olfactory nerves. This then sends signals to the Limbic system (the control mechanism in the brain for memory and emotions). This sets in series of neuro-chemical impulses and response mechanisms that generate a natural healing response.
Many essential oils contain healing properties. They assist in natural, are anti- inflammatory, pain relief, anxiety, reduce stress and assist the endocrine system in improving hearing and reducing ringing.
The best oil to arrest ear ringing are;
The Health Benefit Of Grapefruit Oil.
February 18, 2014 06:47 AM
Grapefruit oils are known to be very important in improving and maintaining body health. Herbalist and medical doctors have recommended regular use of grapefruit oil because of variety of benefits it has.
Some of the amazing health benefits of grapefruit oil includes
Helps in Losing Weight
Grapefruit oil is rich in enzymes that burns excess fat in the body, they contains low sodium which helps to fight body weight since there is no absorption of excess water in the body.
By eating grapes and taking small exercises that will no strain your body, you are assured of fast weight loss.
Prevents Arthritis and antiseptic properties
Grapefruit oil contains salicylic acid which is effective in breaking down inorganic calcium in the body. Accumulation of inorganic calcium would lead to arthritis as it builds up in cartilage joints. Regular intake of grape fruit oil will also lower arthritis severity.
Additionally, it has antiseptic properties, it helps to clean congested skin.
Helps in Cancer Prevention
Grapefruit oil contains a compound known as lycopene, lycopene is a carotenoid which makes grape fruits have a red color. It eliminates cancer causing radicals and cancerous tumors.
Grapefruit oil is also rich in compound called naringenin which has anti-oxidant properties, naringenin will also repair damaged DNA in prostate cancer cases, by repairing damaged cell, naringenin helps in cancer prevention by preventing production of cancer cells.
Grapefruits will help to prevent mood swings and ant-depression properties. They are also very energizing and with a refreshing property.
It is also very effective in maintaining the color of your hair, maintaining healthy hair follicles and treatment of dandruffs.
Grapefruit essential oil is rich in fiber, which encourages better digestion by creating a laxative effect for more consistent bowel movements. It stimulates secretion of gastric enzymes to help break down of food and maintains digestion.
What Is Camphor Oil Good For
February 13, 2014 06:03 AM
What is camphor
Camphor oil is a medicinal substance extracted from the wood, leaves and roots of the camphor tree. Typically, the camphor tree is usually found in some parts of Southern Asia, South America and in various parts of the United States. Although the oil from camphor tree is harmful when ingested in excess amounts, it has various benefits if used topically. Basically, I did a decent research and got a lot of good information indicating how needful the oil is.
Camphor has been widely used to alleviate definitive skin medical conditions. The FDA has approved the oil extracted from camphor for the relief of any form of skin irritation or any other general pain related to skin issues. To provide pain relief for bruised areas, camphor oil is applied as a liniment on the affected skin part.
The oil is known to boost the functioning of the circulatory system and some metabolic activities of the body like digestion and excretion. Information on organicfacts.net reveals the importance of the oil in the treatment of ailments associated with improper circulation, sluggish or overactive metabolic rates and some other less common medical conditions.
Both the internal and external types of inflammation can be cured due to the cooling and penetrating effects of the oil. It can be mixed with bathing water to provide an extra sensation of coolness.
Respiratory conditions such as cold and coughing should worry you the less. Clear guideline indicate how the oil can be ingested in the form of tea, thus reducing congestion within the respiratory tract.
Camphor is a reasonably effective anesthetic that is widely used in local anesthesia. It increases the numbness of the sensory nerves at the area of application. Consequently the severity to develop nervous disorders or convulsions is greatly reduced.
Research studies shows that when camphor oil is applied, it numbs the nerve endings, then warms the painful area while stimulating the circulation to stiff muscles and limbs. Ultimately this makes camphor a favorite oil which can be effectively used to relieve muscular pain, back pain and arthritic pain.
February 04, 2014 06:59 PM
Sunflower seed nutrients
Sunflower seeds are a source of polyunsaturated oil. They are rich in nutrients. These nutrients comprise of vitamin E, B1, B6 & B3, copper, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, folate and selenium. Due to their high content of nutrients the sunflower seeds have various health benefits to a human body which include:
Health benefits of sunflower
Cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits - since they are a source of vitamin E. vitamin E has various functions in the body. They are fat-soluble antioxidants. It neutralizes free radicals in the body thus ensuring that fat containing structures and molecules are not damaged. It also stops radicals from oxidizing cholesterol thus preventing blockages in the arteries. It thus have anti-inflammatory effects leading to reduced symptoms in the conditions that are inflammatory in nature such as gastric ulcers, asthma, joint pain, skin eruption and also prevention of cardiovascular diseases, risk of colon cancer and reduce the development of diabetic complications. Vitamin E also helps ease arthritic pain. Vitamin E also reduces hot flashes during menopause
Lowering cholesterol - sunflower seeds have phytosterols which reduce the blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the body immune system and reduce the risk of certain cancers when taken in a diet.
Calms the nerves, the blood vessels and the muscles - sunflower seeds have magnesium nutrients that reduce the severity of asthma, reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack, prevents migraine headaches and lower high blood pressure. Magnesium is also important for healthy bone formation and energy production. Magnesium and copper are needed for the body to stay strong.
Improving detoxification and cancer prevention - sunflower seeds are a good source of selenium that is important for human health. Selenium induces DNA repair and synthesis in damaged cells. Thus they control cell damage hence playing a role in preventing cancer.
The vitamin E present - in the sunflower seeds help bring glow to the skin. The vitamin E prevents the skin from the ultra violet rays hence keeping the skin youthful.it also strengthens the hair and protects it from damage.
Can ButterBur Extract Help Fight Migraine Headaches?
November 25, 2013 06:21 PM
What is Butterbur?
Butterbur is a plant found in the daisy asteraceae and is in genus petasites. They are also known as sweet coltsfoot. They are mainly found in the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere in areas such as riverbanks, ditches and marshes it’s also found in Europe, Asia and North America. The plant was mainly used by Native Americans as a remedy for inflammation, coughs, asthma allergies and headaches. For many years its leaves and roots have been used as an important medicinal herb. In recent research, researchers have found out that extracts of butterbur contains an active ingredient that can be used to prevent migraines and also act as an antispasmodic supporting chronic cough or asthma.
What are the Benefits of Butterbur?
The plant contains two very active chemicals namely petasin and isopetasin. This chemicals are believed to be beneficial in treating headaches, the highest concentration of this chemicals mainly occurs in roots. Root extracts of the plant have been discovered to be very effective in the reduction of frequency and severity of migraines. Migraines are caused by rapid change in the blood flow to the head, they are characterized by episodes of headaches, sensitivity to light and sound and nausea. Treatment includes pain relievers and other medication that affect the openness of the blood vessels. Medication can help ease the pain as a short term measure but in the long run the may cause more headaches as a result of a condition known as medication overuse headaches. These resultant headaches are more difficult to treat than migraines; these medicines may also lead to other problems for people with other chronic illness.
Butterbur root extracts presumably contains isopetasin and/or petasin that are effective in relieving and preventing migraine, since the compound prevents blood vessel inflammation, although it’s said to have gastrointestinal side effects. From research it was discovered that petasin contains anti-spasmodic properties which helps in reducing spasms in vascular walls and smooth muscles. It also contains a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that prevents the synthesis of leukotrienes that is the pro-inflammatory agent in the blood vessel walls. Isopetasin also contains an anti-inflammatory by modulating prostaglandin metabolism. The two together have an antispasmodic effect on vascular walls.
According to a survey carried out in Germany where two hundred and two people who had migraines attacks three months prior to the survey and those who had stopped medication three months before were randomly assigned to receive 75mg of butterbur extract twice a day, the other group was assigned 50 mg or placebo. The results were recorded and it was discovered that people using a higher dosage of butterbur experienced a greater reduction in the frequency in migraines.
Other Treatment of Butterbur
Other than being used in migraine treatment butterbur have several other uses and benefits such as allergy relief without antihistamine side effects, while antihistamines have advance side effects such as fuzzy head and fatigue, when butterbur was used no side effects were evident. Butterbur extracts are also used to treat asthma; this is as a result of anti-inflammatory properties combined with bronchodilating properties.
All-Natural Red Marine Algae An Effective Cold Sore Treatment
January 24, 2013 03:15 PM
Can Red Marine Algae Help With Cold Sores? Lets Find out!
While a permanent solution for cold sores is not currently known, it has been realized for some time now that red marine algae topical ointments and oral supplements can both help prevent and reduce the number of and severity of your outbreaks. This treatment ensures safety as a priority considering it is an all-natural proper food that is used in a variety of different items. It directly aids the body's first line of defense, or neutrophils, against those pesky cold sores.
The active components in red marine algae are sulfated polysaccharides, which help with immune system response and the increased production of lymphocytes within the thymus. T-cells and antibodies are stimulated, causing the launch of an attack against the virus.
There are two primary sulfated polysaccharides, fucoidan and carrageenan, that help stop the outbreak and replication of cold sores. Carrageenan is often used as a topical application, and fucoidan has a specific focus geared towards limiting replication of the virus.
The two strains of the algae that are effective in fighting against cold sores are Gigartina and Dumontacea, meaning not all red algae are the same when battling this virus. It is common knowledge that there are many triggers that contribute to herpes outbreaks.
Cold Sore Triggers:
While you still should avoid as many triggers as possible, red marine algae is a significant factor in reducing the effectiveness of particular triggers. Some of these triggers include chocolate, nuts, coffee, alcohol and more.
When learning about taking a new supplement, one of the main concerns you might have is the side effects. However, this all-natural algae supplement has absolutely no known side effects.
This helps put your mind at ease.
Did you know that this specific algae has also been used traditionally for dealing with urinary infections, asthma, boils, ulcers and more? With this supplement containing so many immune-supporting qualities, it is definitely a safe bet for formulating a much stronger plan against cold sores.
Migraine Headaches and Feverfew
November 27, 2012 08:03 AM
Feverfew, the white flowered traditional herb, has been commonly used as an anti inflammatory to combat ailments like fever as well as the pain of arthritis and headaches. It belongs to the chrysanthemum family. This severe headache can have a debilitating effect on the sufferer's productivity. Feverfew has the compounds parthenolides and tanetin.
How it works:
It works by controlling the constriction of blood vessels that is so characteristic of migraine headaches. The constriction of blood vessels is affected by the levels of serotonin. On the other hand, feverfew helps to dilate blood vessels, thereby helping to reduce the pain of migraines. As the blood vessels regain normal tone, the severity of migraine as well as the frequency of incidents is considerably reduced. Migraines have also been linked with platelet disorders and feverfew is said to produce changes in platelet behavior and the general advice is that it should not be taken with other blood thinning drugs. The effect of this natural occurring herb has been studied extensively since it was first reported as an effective remedy for headaches. Results begin to show only after about a month's use. You should have it every day and not wait for your migraine to start as then it may not be as effective.
It is better consumed as a tincture or a capsule. Though generally it is safe to use one should not have feverfew during pregnancy or lactation. In addition to this, you should stop consuming it before any surgery as it has blood thinning properties.
Can Fenugreek Seed Help Lower Blood Sugar?
May 17, 2012 08:47 AM
The cells essentially need glucose since it supplies them with energy, and it is the simple sugar traveling in the blood that provides the cell with glucose. Glucose moves from the blood into the cells with the help of the insulin hormone. At times, the body fails at producing insulin or starts reacting abnormally to the insulin in the blood. This way, the cells are not able to use the glucose, which causes the glucose to continue accumulating in the blood until the glucose levels in the blood become really high.
The severity of this condition can lead to diabetes. Fortunately, people can keep their blood sugar levels in a healthy range by using fenugreek seeds, which is a herb this is capable of lowering blood sugar. Before consuming fenugreek, it is better if people consult their doctor and follow their doctor's advice.
What is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek or Trigonella foenum-graecum, is a plant that is also known as Greek hayseed, and it bears seeds. For thousands of years, the Fenugreek seeds have bee used in Ayurveda or traditional Indian medicine. Fenugreek is generally recommended as a remedy for digestive problems, since constipation is relieved and lactation is promoted by the seeds of this herb. Even diabetes, high cholesterol and inflammation can be treated using these seeds. Several biologically active components are contained fenugreek, which lessen the amount of blood sugar, lowering blood sugar levels.
What are the Properties Fenugreek?
Natural chemicals known as saponins and alkaloids are contained in Fenugreek. The way in which carbohydrates are converted by the digestive system into glucose and way in which insulin is secreted and used by the body is affected by some of these compounds. The saponins cause lesser glucose to be absorbed from digested nutrients. The amount of insulin secreted by the pancreas and the number of insulin receptors on red blood cells are increased by the rest of the compounds. Abundant fiber is also contained in fenugreek seeds, as a result of which the absorption of the glucose derived from carbohydrate after a meal is slowed down.
Is There Any Evidence that Fenugreek Helps Lower Blood Sugar?
It has been suggested by several laboratory studies that fenugreek indeed keeps the blood sugar levels in control. The benefits of fenugreek and its seeds have also been suggested by several clinical studies with human subjects. While large trials have not yet been conducted, the present findings seem to be quite promising and definitely suggest that fenugreek effectively lower blood sugar levels.
Precautions and Recommendations
A variety of health food stores are currently selling fenugreek extract and fenugreek seeds. While there is no standard dosage of consuming the extract or the seeds, but it is better if about five grams of the seeds per day or one gram of the extract per day is consumed. Fenugreek might result in mild abdominal bloating or gastric upset, but overall it is regarded safe to use. Thus, consuming fenugreek seeds or extract can prove to be beneficial for the people who are suffering from high blood sugar levels or diabetes.
Can Quercetin And Bromelain Be Used As An Antihistamine?
December 22, 2011 07:59 AM
Bromelain and Quercetin
One of the most discomforting things that anyone can experience is allergic reactions. In more severe cases it is a big concern health wise and can easily be a cause of death but in less severe cases it can be a cause of so much annoyance. Severe cases can shut your throat in a matter of minutes and keep you from breathing and the more annoying once are the ones sometimes that are caused by dust or cat hairs as a couple of examples and it will cause you to sneeze all day long or trigger a running nose or something of that sort.
Simply put, it is a type of drug that is used to fight allergic reactions and it covers the minor to the more life threatening conditions. Each type of reaction also has a matching type of antihistamine however the bottom line is that it does one thing and that is to do what its name suggests, to counteract the chemical in our body known as histamine. This is the chemical which is released by our immune system when an allergen which is defined as a harmless external chemical, is exposed to the body. In a way an allergic reaction is our immune systems way of protecting us the problem is, in this case it is a false response. Histamine is a very powerful stimulant and has the ability to cause so much irritation within the body. The symptoms depends on the severity of the reaction, it ranges from itching, watery eyes, skin rashes, runny nose and the most life threatening one is closure of airways.
It is a pigment from plants which are found mainly in onions, berries, apples and grapes. It is considered a flavonoid. Quercetin has been used in many countries for many years to improve blood vessel health naturally and has been part of natural medicine for years now. It also has been shown in some studies to have good potency as an antioxidant and has been shown to have the ability to reduce the risk of oxidative DNA damage which is a precursor to cancer.
This refers to the plant extract which is obtained from pineapples to put it in simple terms. This substance is known to be protease enzymes as they initiate the digestion of protein which is its main function. It also has been shown on various studies that it has antiviral capabilities. However its best known medical use is for treatment of arthritis and other inflammation based illness.
Both as antihistamines
Quercetin, aside from the health benefits mentioned above has been shown to be able to fight against allergic reactions and bromelain helps with its absorption so if put together it could be a potent one two punch against the common cold or flu but for severe cases against severe allergic reactions further research needs to be done to cement the idea that these substance can take the place of antihistamines.
Your Diet May Be What's Causing Your Acne
September 19, 2011 06:05 PM
Although dieticians and physicians maintain that diet does not cause acne, this is not strictly true. Even dermatologists argue the point, but while it is generally agreed that eating fatty foods or excessive quantities of chocolate will not in itself lead to acne, there are certain valid arguments that diet has a role to play. Recent research has shed new light on dietary factors that can help to promote acne symptoms, if not being the sole cause of them.
Before discussing that, it is important to understand why acne gives rise to the symptoms that it does: lesions in the form of whiteheads and blackheads, pustules and cysts. While not necessary to discuss the biochemical details, the part that your diet has to play will not be understood without considering the effect of hormones on acne.
The reason that teenagers in particular appear to be more prone to acne is that an increased production of hormones has an effect on the condition that causes the symptoms of acne. Fundamentally, acne is characterized by the infection and inflammation of a mass of oil and dead skin cells within the pores of the skin, particularly on the face, neck, chest buttocks and back. If we discuss each of these elements first, and how they are created, then the relationship between diet and acne will become clear.
At a certain time in their lives, people experience a spurt of growth and develop sexually. This is initiated by the secretion of hormones, particularly of male sex hormones collectively known as androgens, and by various hormonal 'Growth Factors'. This stage of human development is known as puberty, although there is also an increase in androgen secretion by the adrenal glands just before menstruation and during pregnancy and menopause. Androgens such as testosterone are reserved not only for the male of the species!
An effect of androgens is to increase the rate of secretion of sebum from the sebaceous glands in the skin. The reason for this is unknown, though it has been hypothesized that its purpose is to waterproof the additional hair that is grown on the body at this time. Another suggested reason is as an olfactory warning to others to deter from sexual activity, in teenagers until their sexual development is complete, and in pre-menstrual, pregnant and menopausal women for obvious reasons. There is no substantial proof for any of these hypotheses, though the latter appears to make more sense than the former.
Irrespective of this, androgens also interfere with desquamation, and the dead skin cells within the pores tend to fall off irregularly and in clumps. This mix of dead skin cells and excess sebum clogs up the pores of the sebaceous follicles. Once this plug becomes infected with bacteria, the immune system is activated, inflammation occurs, and leukocyte action leads to pus formation. That is what is known as acne.
In order to determine how diet and acne are connected, it would be necessary to determine what components of our diet can either stimulate sebum production, or stimulate androgen secretion. If no such link could be found, then it would be fair to descry any connection between acne and the food you eat. However, there is a connection, and it is a positive one.
In addition to their main function, insulin and a hormone known as IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 that helps promote growth in children) promote the secretion of testosterone, a male hormone or androgen. Knowing, as we now do, that androgens promote the secretion of sebum, then anything that increases the levels of insulin or IGF-1 within the body will also lead to sebum production and hence to acne. What that infers is that any foodstuffs that increase the insulin levels in the blood can also lead to acne.
This inference is supported in many ways. For example, it has been found that while drinking milk promotes a greater risk of acne, eating yoghurt does not. Why is this? It is known that milk can increase insulin levels because of its high sugar content. The effect of bacterial activity to produce yoghurt reduces the amount of sugars in the milk it is made from because the bacteria live on the lactose. The same argument applies to cheese, which promotes lower insulin levels than milk, if not as low as yoghurt.
This being the case, then a diet low in sugars and carbohydrates should reduce the incidence of acne generally. Recent research has indicated that a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar increases both IGF-1 and insulin levels in the blood. This then creates a surge in male hormones which in turn leads to excessive sebum secretion and intermittent shedding of skin cells and so on to the growth of bacteria and acne. It is a logical progression, supported both by theory and by observation.
So how should a person with a propensity for acne change their diet? Switch to fruits, vegetables and grains. Non-fatty meats are also acceptable, and .lots of fish and other seafood. Studies have concluded that diets rich in seafood lead to very low acne rates. The Japanese and coastal Chinese suffer very little acne in comparison with those taking a Western diet, particularly an American diet.
One of the reasons for this is that omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce both inflammation and sebum production. The same is true of green tea that contains antioxidants that reduce the blood levels of dihydotetosterone and hence of sebum secretion by the sebaceous glands. We could go on, and list supplement after supplement that contain antioxidants and other substances that can reduce the production of sebum and hence of the symptoms of acne.
Vegetable oils, on the other hand, with their high omega-6 fatty acid content, can drive up sebum production and the activity of the immune system and the inflammatory response. There are few doubts left that, while acne is not specifically caused by what you eat, diet can contribute to it and that acne and its severity can be eased by eating a diet low in carbohydrates and other sugar-promoting foods.
How Does Zinc Boost the Immune System and What Else Does this Mineral Do
May 02, 2011 01:58 PM
Zinc And Good Health!
Zinc is considered a transition metal in general, and as such one of the most abundant transition metals in living organisms, including human beings. It plays a central role in the molecular structure of proteins, which is indispensable in catalytic activities of over a hundred enzymes. These proteins belong to all enzyme classes and have far-reaching effects on the human body, notably in the immune system.
In the past few decades, the scientific community has unearthed countless chemical reactions that take place inside the human body. A number of these reactions necessitate the presence of zinc. While zinc is considered toxic in high amounts, it is classified as an essential trace mineral, which means it has a daily value. A deficiency in zinc has serious effects on growth and development as implicated in the life cycle of cells.
Stabilizes Cellular Structures
Zinc is a trace mineral that is quite pervasive at the cellular level as all cells have zinc demands. This dietary element keeps cells in prime condition and maintains the health of cell organelles. For one, zinc is required to stabilize ions that functions as interaction modules responsible for binding DNA, RNA, and other particles found within cells. The absence of zinc in cells will cripple these activities.
The complete absence of this trace mineral is improbable, but low levels of elemental zinc in the body have been observed to have serious effects on cellular health. The capacity of cells to contain radical damage depends on the availability of zinc. Depleting levels of zinc result in an impaired antioxidant defense and greater susceptibility to free radicals and other reactive oxygen species.
Induces Enzymatic Reactions
Enzymes are proteins that play functional roles in the metabolism of bioactive compounds. They are categorized into many classes, depending on their catalytic functions. These functions are vital as they are one of the mechanisms in the employ of the body to sustain homeostasis. Some classes are involved in immune responses in the prevention of disease and the alleviation of chronic disorders.
All classes of enzymes are affected by the metabolism of zinc one way or another, with over a hundred requiring the direct involvement of zinc to induce catalysis. Zinc is of special note in a chemical reaction called hydroxylation, a process that helps cleanse the body of toxins. With hydroxylation, zinc participates in the conversion of lipid-soluble substrates into water-soluble products ready for excretion.
Modulates Immune Responses
The human body utilizes zinc in many different metabolic pathways that influence the processes needed for prompt immune responses. In the case of common infections such as colds and flu, zinc curtails severity of symptoms and raises immune responses to optimum levels. More importantly, healthy levels of zinc enable the body to take on preventative measures against diseases.
Remember even though zinc is an important mineral, to much can cause problems as well. Do not exceed 150mgs daily for extended periods of time to maintain safe levels of zinc. I suggest 15mg to 75mg daily.
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.
Is Elderberry Good for Colds and Flu?
April 14, 2011 03:32 PM
Elderberry and your Health.Elderberry is a plant species best known for its medicinal properties believed to effectively treat colds and flu. It is native to Europe and North America, but also has a significant presence in the Middle East. It is cultivated for its flowers and fruits, which are utilized for both culinary and medicinal uses. The flowers are often made into a popular juice, which is the flavor of many local soft drinks. The fruits are consumed raw, and only consumed when fully ripe.
Sambucus nigra is the plant species generally referred to as elderberry although the term elder encompasses the entire genus Sambucus, which comprises up to 30 species. Most species of elderberry thrive well in damp regions where the soil is moderately wet and the area quite shaded, and sambucus nigra is no exception. This species is noted for their dark purplish berries and creamy white flowers, both of which are edible. It is usually categorized as a shrub, but it can grow up to 10 feet on average, looking much like a small tree.
Elderberry has been ascribed with herbal properties since the ancient times, with an emphasis on the amelioration of flu symptoms. All its parts are historically noted for their specific uses. The bark is utilized as an herbal treatment for cardiovascular, digestive, and renal conditions. The leaves are used to disinfect wounds. The berries are for inflammation, allergies, and skin disorders. And the flowers are usually used to relieve sore throat, colds, and influenza. Today elderberry extracts found in health products are obtained from various parts of the plants.
Stimulates Faster Immune Responses
The organic compounds naturally occurring in elderberry appear to speed up the immune responses implicated in viral infections, notably the common colds and influenza B. In Europe, elderberry has enjoyed overwhelming popularity in comparison with other herbal remedies for colds. Indeed it contains unique flavonoids believed to be responsible for stimulating the immune system. Its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties are all attributed to the same organic compounds.
Reduces the Severity of Cold Symptoms
Researchers are enthusiastic about the outcomes of preliminary studies. Earlier studies in Europe recorded noticeable improvements in best known symptoms of the common cold, such as runny nose, nasal congestion, headaches, and sinusitis. Furthermore, it shortened the duration of cold infections. And since its preparations have not been associated with any adverse effect, it can be administered to people of all ages. Succeeding studies conducted in North America yielded very promising results, cutting the severity of symptoms and defeating infections fast.
Effectively Treats Influenza Infections
There have been several studies looking into the efficacy of elderberry preparations, and all of them pointed to a compound called Sambucol. It was first observed to be a viable treatment for Influenza B infections, but more recent studies came to a conclusion that it also effectively treats influenza A. In all studies, Sambucol helped over 80 percent of patients suffering from flu in less than 3 days.
Keep Elderberry on hand in case of emergencies
It is good to keep elderberry on hand for when a cold rears its butt. Starting elderberry at first signs of a cold can greatly increase its effectiveness.
How Does L-Lysine Help with Herpes?
February 08, 2011 01:36 PM
L-lysine has been proven effective in the reduction of herpes outbreaks. The viruses that cause herpes simplex successfully multiply at an exponential rate during symptomatic shedding, but their capacity to sustain replication is challenged in the presence of L-lysine, which at very high concentrations has shown to damage progeny of herpes virus. Hence, the severity and duration of outbreaks are curbed.
One of the limiting resources of protein synthesis in human beings and most other vertebrates is the availability of L-lysine in the body. Some of the amino acids implicated in protein synthesis can be manufactured inside the body from their substrates, but this amino acid does not belong to this group. The amounts of L-lysine in our body systems are completely dependent on its presence in our diet, thus dubbed essential amino acid.
Limiting Factor to Growth
L-lysine plays a variety of important roles in the human body, and a shortfall of this amino acid has been reported to limit growth, resulting in malabsorption or even malnutrition. It is a building block of all types of proteins in humans, including the visible mass that makes up a muscular physique. It is central to the absorption of calcium, the production of enzymes, and the regulation of hormones. In addition, it is greatly involved in functions that lead to recovery following physical trauma or surgery.
More importantly, L-lysine is a focal constituent in the manufacture of immunoglobulins, the front-liners against diseases. Immunoglobulins are a class of proteins in the blood that we commonly refer to as antibodies, which neutralize pathogenic microbes invading the cells and tissues of the body. In fact, L-lysine is one of the protein bases in use to monitor the activities of antibodies, detecting abnormalities at the molecular level and paving the way for future developments of drugs with medicinal potential.
Boosting the Body’s Defenses
While L-lysine is important to the overall production of antibodies, it has also been observed that very low levels of this essential amino acid in the body compromises the ability of the immune system to fight off infectious diseases. The incidence of symptomatic herpes in individuals known to consume L-lysine supplements are relatively low than those who don’t. Symptomatic herpes manifest in the form of painful skin lesions called fever blisters, also known as cold sores, around the mouth, but may appear and spread anywhere in the body, such as the eyes, the fingers, and the genitals.
When taken at recommended dosages, L-lysine in itself combats the replication process of herpes virus in the body, not only ending outbreaks promptly but also speeding up the healing process in the area of damaged tissues with very little scarring. Herpes virus has been noted to feed on another amino acid identified as L-arginine, and consumptions of sources of this amino acid like nuts and chocolates have been reported to give rise to symptomatic herpes. This is one of the things taken care of by L-lysine, since it out competes the effects of L-arginine to herpes viruses.
L-lysine is available in capsule, tablet, and powder forms at your local or internet vitamin store. Always choose name brands like Source Naturals to ensure quality and purity of the product you by for better health.
Vitamins and Herbs to Fight Sunburns, and Sunblock to Prevent it
February 25, 2010 09:47 AM
Sunburn is the result of excessive exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. The amount of exposure that is required to cause a burn is unique to each individual, the geographical location, the time, and the atmospheric conditions. There are two types of ultraviolet rays, which are designated as ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB). Both types of ultraviolet rays are dangerous. UVB rays attack the skin’s outer layers, while UVA rays attack the underlying layers of the skin.
The majority of sunburns are first-degree burns that cause the skin to become red, warm, and tender to the touch. Depending on the severity of the burn and the individual’s skin type, the burn may subsequently “cool” into a suntan or thin layers of skin may peel off. More serious sunburn can be categorized as a second-degree burn. A second-degree burn consists of extreme reddening, swelling, pain, and even blisters. This is a sign that the burn has gone deeper than just the surface layer of the skin and has caused damage and the release of fluids from cells in the lower layers of the skin. The result of this is eruptions and breaks in the skin where bacteria and other infectious organisms can enter. In the most severe cases, a burn can be accompanied by chills, fever, nausea, and/or delirium. These types of sunburns are extremely painful and are extremely dangerous for children. Sunburn can often be accompanied by dehydration.
Those people who are fair-skinned are more prone to sunburn than those darker-skinned individuals. However, no matter what your skin color, you will burn if you get enough exposure. Symptoms do not always appear while you are in the sun, as they may begin from one hour to twenty-four hours after sun exposure and they usually reach their peak in two to three days.
The effects of sun exposure are becoming an increasing concern today due to the decline in the earth’s ozone layer. The ozone layer is responsible for screening out the most harmful ultraviolet rays, but it is becoming increasingly thinner all over the world. Holes that fluctuate in size have even developed in various places. Additionally, the incidence of skin cancer is growing at an alarming rate. It has been found that having two or more bad episodes of sunburn as a child can make you much more likely to develop skin cancer as an adult.
The following nutrients are recommended for prevention and treatment of sunburn: coenzyme Q10, colloidal silver, DMB, a free-form amino acid complex, L-cysteine, a multivitamin and mineral complex, potassium, Pycnogenol, vitamin A with mixed carotenoids, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, an all-purpose bactericide spray, calcium, magnesium, essential fatty acids, silica, a vitamin B complex, vitamin E oil, and zinc.
Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial in treating sunburn. Aloe vera gel has been noted to be remarkably effective in treating any kind of burn. It is responsible for relieving discomfort, speeding healing, and also helping to moisturize the skin and relieve dryness. A salve of calendula flowers and St. John’s wort can act as painkiller for burns and promote healing of skin wounds because these herbs have antiseptic properties.
Also, Lavender oil or chamomile oil used in a herbal bath can help to minimize the stinging and pain of sunburn. Comfrey and gotu kola tea can be made it to a compress for the affected area. Horsetail is good for tissue repair, while tea tree oil can help to heal sunburn and other skin irritation. Apple cider vinegar diluted with water is a great wash for sunburned areas.
To prevent sunburns, apply sunblock on any exposed skin before going out side to prevent skin damage before it starts.
October 20, 2009 12:02 PM
For thousands of years feverfew has been used for the treatment of various ailments. History is full of references to feverfew. Dioscorides, an ancient Greek herbalist, recommended the use of feverfew almost two thousand years ago, as he valued the herb for childbirth, fevers, melancholy, and congestion of the lungs. It was also suggested for arthritis. In 1772, feverfew was suggested to be used to treat painful headaches. Many people believe that feverfew obtained its name from its use as a remedy for bringing down fevers, but this has been determined to be incorrect. Instead, the name came from the traditional Old English name for feverfew, featherfew. Featherfew came from the feather-shaped leaves of the feverfew plant.
Feverfew has been used for a long time as a natural remedy for pain relief, as it is considered an excellent remedy for migraines. This herb was used to treat any kind of pain and helped with chills and fever. Additionally, it helps in relieving colds, dizziness, tinnitus, and inflammation from arthritis. The herb works gradually and with a gentle action that allows the body to heal itself.
The most popular use of feverfew is in the prevention and relief of migraine headaches. In a study, those given the placebo had an increase in frequency and severity of headaches, nausea, and vomiting. On the other hand, those given the feverfew capsules had no increase in frequency or severity of migraines. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study was done on seventy-two volunteers. One group received capsule dried feverfew leaves, while the other received a placebo. The group taking feverfew showed less severity of attacks and a reduction in symptoms that were associated with migraines, including vomiting. There was a definite improvement in the group using feverfew and no serious side effects resulted. Because some forms of migraines are believed to be associated with abnormal platelet behavior, feverfew may be beneficial as it has been found to help restrain the release of serotonin from platelets. This prevents a migraine from occurring.
It is thought that feverfew may also be a useful treatment in cases of rheumatoid arthritis. This is because of its ability to inhibit the formation of inflammation-promoting compounds like prostaglandins and leukotriene. This herb seems to have similar properties to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), like aspirin. Feverfew may actually be even more effective with a lot fewer potential complications. Some of the studies involving feverfew and migraines have shown that feverfew may also lower blood pressure.
The leaves and flowers of the feverfew plant are used to provide alterative, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, aromatic, bitter, carminative, emmenagogue, febrifuge, nervine, parasiticide, mild purgative, stimulant, and vasodilator properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are iron, niacin, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium, vitamins A and C, and zinc. Primarily, feverfew is extremely helpful in dealing with chills, colds, fever, headaches, sinus headaches, and inflammation.
Additionally, this herb is very beneficial in treating aches, ague, allergies, anxiety, arthritis, insect bites, poor circulation, dizziness, gastric disorders, nervous headaches, hot flashes, indigestion, and menopausal symptoms, absent menstruation, nervousness, tinnitus, and vertigo. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by feverfew, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
August 10, 2009 12:52 PM
The Cherokee tribe used scullcap as an emmenagogue. It was also used historically as an anti-convulsant. An Asian scullcap has been used by Chinese physicians as a tranquilizer, sedative, and to treat convulsion. The herb was used in the eighteenth century as a treatment for rabies by some physicians. Later, it was recommended by eclectic physicians for insomnia, nervousness, malaria, and convulsions. The herb was officially listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1863 to 1916. It was also found in the National Formulary from 1916 to 1947.
This herb is responsible for treating a variety of conditions. Among these include pain, anxiety, high blood pressure, and epilepsy. scullcap is well known for its ability to calm the nerves and also to help with all nervous system conditions. Additionally, it has been used to treat infertility, fatigue, inflamed tissues, digestion, coughs, and headaches. Some herbalists consider scullcap to be one of the best nervine herbs that is available. It has been used as a nerve tonic. It also can promote a feeling of well-being and promote relaxed sleep. Some people recommend scullcap for problems that are associated with drug and alcohol withdrawal, as it may lessen the severity of the symptoms. Traditional uses of this herb have included infertility, regulation of sexual desire, and as a remedy for cramps and pain.
Research one in both Europe and Russia has proven the benefits of scullcap as a tranquilizer as well as a mild sedative. The herb is recommended for use in nervous conditions in order to induce sleep and relaxation. Some evidence has shown that Asian scullcap contains component which inhibit the enzyme sialidase. This enzyme is known to increase in certain disease states like cancer, infections, and inflammations. Another study done in vitro found an antibacterial and antifungal activity in scullcap. Some early evidence has also been found of scullcap’s ability to treat high blood pressure. The herb is used and prescribed widely in Europe. Studies using animals in Japan showed that scullcap has the ability to increase the levels of good cholesterol and prevent serum cholesterol levels from rising. This study was done on rabbits, as they were fed a high-cholesterol diet. These findings suggest that scullcap may also act as a heart disease and stroke preventive.
The entire scullcap herb is used to provide alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, antispasmodic, febrifuge, nervine, and sedative properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and E, and zinc. Primarily, scullcap is extremely beneficial in treating anxiety, high blood pressure, convulsions, epilepsy, infertility, insomnia, nerve problems, and restlessness.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with alcoholism, poisonous bites, childhood diseases, chorea, poor circulation, coughing, delirium, drug withdrawal, fevers, hangover, headaches, hydrophobia, hypertension, hypoglycemia, insanity, neuralgia, pain, palsy, Parkinson’s disease, rabies, rheumatism, rickets, spasms, spinal meningitis, thyroid problems, tremors, and urinary problems. 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 scullcap, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
June 26, 2009 12:15 PM
Depression affects 22 percent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and older each year. It is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. Depression affects both young and old, and women twice as much as men. Depression is an illness of the whole body. It affects the nervous system, moods, thoughts, and behavior. It also affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you react to and think about the people and things around you. Symptoms of depression can last for weeks, months, or years. There are various types of depression, which vary in the number of symptoms, the severity, and persistence.
People with depression generally withdraw and hide from society, losing interest in things around them and becoming incapable of experiencing pleasure. Symptoms of depression include chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, headaches, backaches, digestive disorders, restlessness, irritability, quickness to anger, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies, and feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. Many people who are depressed think about death and consider suicide. Things appear bleak and time seems to pass slowly. Someone with depression can be chronically angry and irritable, sad and despairing, or display little or no emotion at all. Some people try to sleep off depression, while others do nothing but sit or lie around.
There are three main types of clinical depression: major depressive disorder, dysthmyic disorder, and bipolar depression. There are variations in the number of associated mental symptoms, severity, and persistence within these types. Dysthmic disorder is a chronic, but less severe type of depresses ion. It is characterized by milder, persistent symptoms that may last for years. It usually doesn’t interfere with everyday tasks. Bipolar disorders usually begin as depression but progress into alternating episodes of depression and mania, characterized by abnormally and persistently elevated mood, energy, restlessness, or irritability. Bipolar depression is commonly known as manic depression. It has other symptoms including inflated self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, and increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, distractibility, physical agitation, and excessive risk-taking.
The causes of depression are not fully understood. However, it is assumed that there are most likely many and they are varied. Depression may be triggered by tension, stress, a traumatic life event, a hyper-stimulated immune system, chemical imbalances in the brain, thyroid disorders, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, the consumption of sugar, mononucleosis, lack of exercise, endometriosis, any serious physical disorder, or even allergies. Whatever the factors that trigger it, depression starts with a disturbance in the part of the brain that governs moods. Most people can handle everyday stresses, with their bodies simply readjusting to these pressures. When stress is too great for a person and his or her adjustment mechanism is unresponsive, depression may be triggered.
The following vitamin nutrients are helpful for those who are suffering from depression: essential fatty acids, 5-HTP, L-tyrosine, SAMe, taurine, omega-3, vitamin B complex, zinc, choline, calcium, magnesium, chromium, GABA, lithium, NADH, and vitamin C with bioflavonoids. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: lemon balm, ginger, ginkgo biloba, licorice root, oat straw, peppermint, Siberian ginseng, kava kava, and St. John’s wort.
Great vitamin supplements like the ones listed above are available at your local or internet health food store. When looking for natural vitamin supplements, always look for name brands to ensure that you receive a high quality and pure product.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Colostrum, Vitamin C, Echinacea, Goldenseal, Pau D'arco, Garlic, Astragalus
June 19, 2009 11:05 AM
There are many supplements and herbs that compliment the supplementation of colostrum. Among these are Echinacea, vitamin C, garlic, goldenseal, pau d’arco, astragalus, and beta carotene (vitamin A).
Echinacea is one of the most well-known and respected herbal supplements when it comes to the maintenance and strengthening of the immune system. Various Echinacea species have yielded an impressive variety of chemical constituents which possess pharmacological properties. This suggests that there is some form of synergistic action that occurs between the compounds in order to achieve therapeutic benefits. The main therapeutic properties are found in polysaccharides, flavonoids, caffeic acid derivatives, essential oils, polyacetylenes, and alkylamides. These constituents are responsible for a large number of immuno-stimulatory, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer properties.
Echinacea has several effects on the immune system, including the alternate complement pathway, which enhances the movement of white blood cells into the areas of infection. Echinacea also affects many of the immune system’s cells that are responsible for slowing viral and bacterial infection. The aerial portion of Echinacea is known to be effective in warding off viruses such as influenza, herpes, and vesicular stomatitis, by blocking virus receptors on the cell surface. Echinacea is also able to indirectly kill viruses by encouraging the production and release of interferon, which is a substance that is capable of blocking viral RNA.
Vitamin C is one of the most well-known nutrients for promoting basic immune functions, with its benefits being known for many years. It is effective in reducing the severity and duration of colds and flu. Also, it has the ability to act as an immuno-stimulant by enhancing white blood cell production, increasing interferon levels and antibody responses, promoting the secretion of thymic hormones, and improving connective tissue. Vitamin C can be found abundantly in various fruits in vegetables, which means that it can often be consumed in acceptable amounts without supplementation through broccoli, sweet peppers, collards, cabbage, spinach, kale, parsley, melons, potatoes, tangerines, and Brussels sprouts, just to name a few.
Garlic is one of the most commonly used medicinal herbs, as it is found throughout the world and has been employed for various therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. Commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine and ayurvedic medicine, it has recently received much attention in the US media as well as other Western countries. Recent research has found that garlic possesses some powerful capabilities when it comes to the immune system and the body’s ability to fight infection. Garlic produces antiviral and antibacterial capabilities that stimulate and improve performance by the body’s immune systems. Additionally, garlic kills viruses and protects the body from invading virus cells by enhancing the body’s immune functions.
Goldenseal is native to North America, where it helps with a wider variety of ailments, including infection. Goldenseal is effective in combating invasion of colds and flu by stimulating the immune system and the activity of macrophages, which are one of the body’s defense mechanisms against viruses, bacteria, cancer cells, and other invaders.
Pau d’arco is also known for its powerful antiviral, antibiotic, and immune system enhancing capabilities. It has been shown to actively inhibit the activity of several viruses such as: both herpes viruses, the influenza viruses, polioviruses, and vesicular stomatitis virus.
Astragalus, which is extremely popular in Chinese herbal medicine, is an immune system enhancer. It has the ability to reduce the severity and length of the common cold through its application. Vitamin A, which has long been known to be effective in fighting infectious diseases, has antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Vitamin A deficiencies can manifest themselves through increased infection by cold and flu viruses.
Along with the above, it is also important to eat healthful foods (fruits and vegetables), drink plenty of fluids, exercise, avoid smoking, avoid consuming alcohol, get plenty of rest, and reduce stress in order to increase the benefits that colostrum supplementation provides. Natural supplements can help boost the immune system and help one live a healthier longer life.
Fight Acne Naturally
May 06, 2009 12:13 PM
Acne treatment therapies focus upon two aspects of acne: its prevention and management, and the removal of its more lasting effects.
Looking at the latter first, acne scars can be unsightly, and there are several methods currently used either to remove them or to hide them. Some of the more radical are surgical, while others involve modifications the surface of the skin by means of techniques akin to sandpapering, and also cosmetic techniques.
However, such therapies are needed only if the condition is permitted to have a significant effect on your skin. There are therapies that can be used to mitigate the condition if not remove it altogether. Before discussing these it will be necessary to consider what causes acne, because without that knowledge there can be no effective treatment.
Acne is cause by blockage of the sebaceous pores in the skin. That blockage is generally caused by a mixture of dead skin cells and skin oil, otherwise known as sebum. Why should this occur with acne sufferers and nobody else, when all of us have the ingredients of acne as normal components of our skin? The answer lies in our hormones.
The reason that acne is most prevalent in teenagers is that the generation of sebum is promoted by our hormones: specifically the male hormones known as androgens that both males and females begin to create in quantity during puberty. These cause the sebaceous pores to enlarge, and sebum to be produced in larger than normal quantities.
The hormones also tend to disrupt the usual desquamation rate, or shedding of dead skin cells. What happens is that the skin cells within the pores begin to shed in clumps, rather than singly, and when mixed with the excess skin oil form a plug that clogs up the pores. This plug of oils and skin cells then gets contaminated with bacteria that in time initiate the immune reaction, resulting in pus being formed through the action of macrophages on the bacteria.
The therapy needed to reduce the incidence of acne, then, can be either proactive or retroactive. Proactively, they can reduce the production of the sebum/skin cell plug. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) as found in Omega-6 oil can block androgen receptors and so decrease the amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) produced. The less the amount of DHT, then the less will be the severity of your acne.
Evening primrose oil contains large quantities of GLA, and even applying this topically on your skin will dilute the sebum and reduce the likelihood of sebum and skin cells blocking your pores. This is an extreme simplification of what GLA does, but it does accurately represent the end result of its use. There are also medications you can take to reduce the rate of shedding of your skin cells, so that your pores have less chance of being blocked.
Retroactively, you can apply antibiotics to kill off the bacterial that act on the plug and that initiate the immune response responsible for the lesions. You can also give your skin a good wash with an effective skin cleanser, including a mild antibiotic to enhance the cleansing of the bacterial plug. However, there are alternative treatments, such as the proactive diet control, and the use of vitamins and appropriate herbs to control or even prevent the condition.
When you think of diet, don't think chocolate. Acne is not caused by eating too much chocolate, or even by fatty foods. We have already discussed the causes of acne, and if we can find any components in our diet that can create these conditions, then by eliminating them we should be able to avoid the condition. As a corollary, if we can identify any substances that could prevent androgens from creating excess sebum, or even control the androgens themselves, or that could help the skin cells to shed more evenly, then we could include these in our diet.
In fact such substances do exist. By going deep into the science, we will find that the secretion of testosterone is promoted by a hormone known as IGF-1 and also by insulin. IGF-1 stands for Insulin-like Growth Factor 1, and is important in the growth of children. It also promotes acne! Insulin does the same, and what that infers that anything in the diet that promotes the production of insulin will also promote acne.
What promotes insulin? Sugars and carbohydrates! Therefore, if you eat a diet low in sugars and carbs then you should have less production of sebum, and hence less acne. What this is leading to is that if you have a tendency to get acne; then switch your diet from carbohydrates and sugary foods to vegetables, grains and seafood. The Japanese get very little acne, which supports this theory.
You should also take foods rich in zinc, since a zinc deficiency has been found to lead to acne. Nobody knows why yet, but use the information and either take a zinc supplement or eat zinc rich foods such as shellfish. Strangely, it is a deficiency of zinc that causes an increase in testosterone, not the surplus of zinc provided by eating oysters! These have another effect.
There are also herbal treatments that can be effectively used for acne. Most are topical, and tea tree oil is one the more recent such treatments used to treat acne. Among the chemical constituents of tea tree oil is terpinen-4-ol, with powerful antimicrobial properties. Little wonder then that it is effective in preventing the bacterial infection of the sebaceous gland pores. The oil helps to dry out the skin, again creating conditions alien to bacteria.
You could use tea tree oil by itself, though many people simply mix it with the acne creams they are currently using. That makes them much more effective. Another option goes back to the zinc again, but rather than take it as a supplement, use it topically. Chamomile and lavender are useful in calming skin that has been inflamed both by over-zealous use of skin scrubs and also the immune system's inflammatory response to the infection of the pores.
There are many healthy options to the severe pharmaceutical treatments offered by your physician. These can be used in place of, but preferably as supplements to, the treatment recommended by your doctor. Each of the natural treatments has a sound scientific basis, and if you suffer from acne can be well worth trying.
Fight Cold Sores And Build Collagen
April 29, 2009 10:18 AM
Lysine is an essential alpha-amino acid, in that it cannot be biosynthesized by the human body, and therefore must be taken in your diet or as a supplement. It is synthesized in plants from aspartic acid, and metabolized in the body to produce acetyl-Coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA).
Before discussing its action on herpes, we shall first have look at how Lysine helps with the formation of collagen. Collagen is a protein that is produced in the body from lysine and proline, another amino acid. In fact the primary role of amino acids in your diet is as building blocks to form the much larger protein molecules.
Collagen is fibrous, and forms the connective tissue such as cartilage, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and skin. Even the external parts of the ears. It literally holds our skeletons together, and wraps the whole body up in skin, so if we had no collagen we would literally fall apart! Collagen is also used by body cells to form the matrix that the body cells use to attach to each other and is one of the most important types of tissue in your body.
It is so ubiquitous that over 30% of the protein contained in your body is collagen, and it is designed for its structural strength as opposed to its ability to take part in chemical reactions as other proteins are. Lysine and Vitamin C are essential for the maintenance and formation of collagen.
There is not a lot of lysine in collagen - only about 4%, but it is very active in the cross-linking that forms the fibrils of collagen. Fibrils are the hair-like structures formed in a triple helix arrangement by three protein chains twisting round one another. The fibrils are bundled together in a straight line that has amazing tensile strength. The tensile strength of collagen is, weight for weight, stronger than steel!
In order for lysine to take part in this process effectively, some molecules have to be hydroxylated and others oxidized, forming aldehydes. Things can go wrong here, and deficiencies in the metabolic process can lead to some heritable conditions, or diseases of connective tissue. Among these are lathyrism, Cutis-Laxa and the Menkes kinky hair syndrome.
However, lysine is a very versatile amino acid, and not only is it necessary for the biosynthesis of all proteins, but is also heavily involved in the production of enzymes, hormones and antibodies. It is an important component of the calcium absorption process, and also, as previously stated, can be used in the treatment of herpes simplex.
This form of herpes is known commonly as 'cold sores', and is a result of the activity of the herpes virus. Viruses do not reproduce in order to ensure the 'continuation of the species', but replicate. In order to achieve this it requires the help of another amino acid, arginine. This is a common amino acid whose sources include grains, seeds, peanuts, raisins and chocolate.
Lysine and arginine competes for the absorption and entry of tissue cells, and reduces the strength of arginine, so preventing the growth of herpes. For this reason a supplement of lysine can be used to reduce the effects of the herpes simplex virus, and lessen the symptoms of the cold sore.
However, it is not only cold sores but other forms of herpes that lysine can help to relieve. Herpes zoster is a virus that causes shingles. This virus is generated by the reactivation of the dormant varicella-zoster virus left in the tissues after chickenpox. It is a recurrent condition, and lycine can help to reduce recurrences as well as its severity. Apart from being an effective defense against herpes, and forming collagen, the amino acid imparts several other benefits to the human body.
Among these is osteoporosis. L-lysine is involved in calcium absorption in the intestine, and also helps to reduce the loss of calcium in the urine. In osteoporosis we have to try to make every calcium molecule ingested in the diet to be incorporated in the bone structure. L-arginine can work with lysine to enhance the activity of the body cells that produce bone.
Canker sores are often mistaken for cold sores, but they are actually quite different. They are small sores inside the mouth, and appear in the form of very painful ulcers. The cause is unknown, but is believed to be a virus, and lysine appears to help the condition. Although there have been no proper clinical tests carried out on its use as a remedy for canker sores, lysine appears to help, and a supplement is recommended as a treatment by many doctors. It will do no harm, and anybody suffering from these tiny but painful sores will try anything.
Although lysine deficiency is rare, it can occur, particularly amongst those observing a vegetarian macrobiotic diet, and also in athletes who frequently undertake vigorous exercise, especially with too little recovery time. The effects of a deficiency are fatigue, nausea, appetite loss, anemia, slow growth and kidney stones. The latter is likely due to a failure to absorb calcium, that L-lysine promotes, and the formation of calcium oxalate and other insoluble salts in the kidney.
Dietary sources include beans and other legumes, and although it should be available in cereals, baked foods and doughnuts, for example, the carmelization of sugars binds the lysine to the sugar, and so reducing its bioavailability. However, you can also get it in cheese, eggs, tofu and red meats.
If you are taking an arginine supplement, you should consult your physician prior to taking lysine. The reason for this is that lysine and arginine share biochemical pathways, and arginine can reduce the effective concentration of lysine.
However, it has not been tested by the FDA, nor approved, and any use is at your own risk. This risk appears to be very small, although its manufacture is not regulated. However, do not let this bother you: the proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say.
Many have found lysine to be effective with collagen or herpes problems, and a supplement of between 3,000 and 9,000 mg per day is recommended for those with herpes viral infections. It is not recommended for children under two years old. Lysine is available at your local or internet health food store at discount prices. Look for name brands to ensure purity and quality of the product you purchase.
Another Great Cold Sore Remedy is Red Marine Algae!
Fight Inflammation naturally
March 19, 2009 02:36 PM
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that often affects many of the body’s organs. An autoimmune disease, it occurs when the immune mechanism forms antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues. The majority of experts believe that lupus is caused by a virus that has yet to be identified. According to this theory, the immune system develops antibodies in response to the virus that proceed in attacking the body’s own organs and tissues. This causes inflammation of the skin, blood vessels, joints, and other tissues to result. Other possible contributing factors to the development of lupus include heredity and estrogen and testosterone hormones.
This disease was named lupus, which means wolf, due to the butterfly-shaped rash that many people get over their cheeks and nose, which gave them what many people considered to be a wolf-like appearance. However, the rashes may appear elsewhere on the body, including the chest, ears, hands, shoulders, and upper arms. At least 90 percent of those people who contract lupus are women, with women of Asian background appearing to be at greater risk for developing lupus than other women. Although lupus may occur at any age, it usually develops between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five.
There are two different types of lupus: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE). SLE is a systemic disease that affects many different parts of the body and severity ranging from mild to life-threatening. The first symptoms in many cases of SLE seem to resemble those of arthritis, with swelling and pain in the fingers and other joints. The disease can also appear suddenly, with acute fever and the characteristic red rash appearing across the cheeks. Additionally, there may be red, scaling lesions elsewhere on the body, with sores possibly forming in the mouth.
Other symptoms of SLE include abdominal and chest pains, blood in the urine, fatigue, hair loss, loss of appetite, low-grade fever, nausea, poor circulation in the fingers and toes, shortness of breath, ulcers, vomiting, and weight loss. Many times, the lungs and kidneys are also involved, as about 50 percent of those with SLE develop nephritis, which is inflammation of the kidneys. The brain, lungs, spleen, and heart may also be affected in serious cases. Additionally, SLE can cause excessive bleeding and an increased susceptibility to infection. Amnesia, deep depression, headaches, mania, paralysis, paranoia, psychosis, seizures, and stroke may also be present if the central nervous system is involved.
DLE is a less serious disease, which primarily affects the skin. The butterfly rash forms over the nose and cheeks, with other possible lesions elsewhere, primarily on the scalp and ears. These lesions, which are small, yellowish lumps, can recur or persist for years. When they disappear, they often leave scars or permanent bald patches on the scalp. Although DLE is not necessarily dangerous to overall health, it is a chronic and disfiguring skin disease.
Both types of lupus follow a pattern of periodic flare-ups, with alternating periods of remission. These flare-ups can be caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays, fatigue, pregnancy, childbirth, infection, some drugs, stress, unidentified viral infections, and chemicals.
In order for a diagnosis to be made, the following eight symptoms have to occur either separately or at the same time: abnormal cells in the urine; arthritis; butterfly rash on the cheeks; low white blood cell count, low platelet count, or hemolytic anemia; mouth sores; seizures of psychosis; sun sensitivity; and the presence of blood of a specific antibody that is found in 50 percent of people with lupus.
The following nutrients are considered to be extremely important in dealing with lupus: calcium, magnesium, l-cysteine, proteolytic enzymes (Serrapeptase and nattokinase), essential fatty acids, glucosamine sulfate, garlic, raw thymus glandular, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, zinc, acidophilus, kelp, a multivitamin and mineral complex, pycnogenol, vitamin A, vitamin E, alfalfa, goldenseal, burdock root, feverfew, pau d’arco, red clover, licorice root, milk thistle, and yucca.
Natural alternatives can help support the body in the fight against lupus, but one should always consult a physician before taking matters into their own hands regarding this disease. Natural supplements like the ones listed above can all be found at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Psyllium Husk Fiber
March 18, 2009 12:01 PM
Hemorrhoids occur when veins in the anus and in the rectum swell and may protrude from the anus. The word hemorrhoid comes from the word hemo which means blood and rrhoids which means discharging. Hemorrhoids are also known as piles, which comes from the Latin word pila, meaning ball. Hemorrhoids are a lot like varicose veins, as they enlarge and lose their elasticity. This results in a saclike protrusion into the anal canal. Hemorrhoids are not tumors growths. Instead, they can be caused and aggravated by sitting or standing for prolonged periods, violent coughing, lifting heavy objects, and straining at bowel movements. This occurs especially when constipated.
However, bouts of diarrhea accompanied by involuntary spasms can further the problem. Other factors that contribute to the formation of hemorrhoids include obesity, lack of exercise, liver damage, food allergies, and insufficient consumption of dietary fiber. Hemorrhoids are extremely common during pregnancy and after childbirth, with hormonal changes and pressure exerted by the growing fetus are a huge being the main reason. About half of all Americans have had hemorrhoids by the age of fifty, with the incidence increasing with age until age seventy, and then decreasing again.
The most common symptoms of hemorrhoids include itching, burning, pain, inflammation, swelling, irritation, seepage, and bleeding. The bleeding can be startling or even frightening, as it is usually bright red during bowel movements. Although it does signal that something is slightly off in the digestive system, rectal bleeding is not necessarily an indication of a serious disease.
There are three different kinds of hemorrhoids, which are categorized depending on their location, severity, and the amount of pain, discomfort, or aggravation that they cause. These three types include external, internal, and prolapsed.
External hemorrhoids develop under the skin at the opening of the anal cavity. They may form a hard lump and cause painful swelling if a blood clot forms. When an external hemorrhoid swells, the tissue in the area becomes firm but sensitive and often turns blue or purple in color. Most often, this type of hemorrhoid affects younger people and can be extremely painful.
Internal hemorrhoids, which are located inside the rectum, are usually painless, especially if they are located above the anorectal line. This is because rectal tissues lack nerve fibers. However, internal hemorrhoids tend to bleed, with blood appearing to be bright red.
Prolapsed hemorrhoids are internal hemorrhoids that collapse and protrude outside the anus. These are often accompanied by a mucous discharge and heavy bleeding. Prolapsed hemorrhoids often become thrombosed, forming clots within that prevent their receding. Thrombosed hemorrhoids can also be extremely painful.
To our knowledge, hemorrhoids are unique to human beings, with no other creature developing this problem. This can be taken as an indication that our dietary and nutritional habits play a greater role in this disorder than anything else. About 50 to 75 percent of this country’s population develops hemorrhoids at one time or another, with many people being unaware of them. Hemorrhoids can occur at any age, but they tend to become more common as people grow older. Those younger people, pregnant women, and women who have had children seem to be most susceptible, with heredity also playing a part in the tendency to develop hemorrhoids. Although hemorrhoids can be quite painful, they usually are not a serious threat to our health.
The following nutrients can help prevent and treat hemorrhoids: calcium, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, vitamin B complex, coenzyme Q10, DMG, garlic, potassium, shark cartilage, vitamin A, and vitamin D3. Additionally, the following herbs are also beneficial: aloe vera gel, bayberry, goldenseal root, myrrh, white oak, comfrey root, elderberry, yarrow, witch hazel, buckthorn bark, collinsonia root, parsley, red grape vine leaves, and stone root.
Looking at that list one might think wow that could be expensive. Fortunately, the single most important factor to prevent hemorrhoids is fiber. Adding dietary fiber to ones diet can eliminate constipation and all the complications that follow with bowel problems. Fiber supplements can be an easy solution to the lack of fiber on ones diet. Psyllium husk is a natural fiber that can be taken daily to help alleviate constipation and is relatively inexpensive. Fiber supplements are available at your local or internet health food store.
Cold And Flue Remedies
March 16, 2009 03:42 PM
Echinacea, zinc, vitamin C, and garlic are all the most well-known and respected supplements concerning the maintenance and strengthening of the immune system. Echinacea contains polysaccharides, flavonoids, caffeic acid derivatives, essential oils, polyacetylenes, and alkylamides, which contribute to the herb’s therapeutic benefits. These constituents are responsible for a variety of immuno-stimulatory, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer properties.
Echinacea possesses the ability to enhance the movement of white blood cells into infected areas of the body. Echinacea also affects many of the immune system’s cells that are responsible for slowing viral and bacterial infection. Additionally, this herb enhances the performance of macrophages in the immune system, which are responsible for engulfing foreign material like bacteria, viruses, and dead cellular matter. Echinacea also has the ability to kill viruses that indirectly encourage the production and release of interferon, which is a substance that potentially blocks the transcription of viral RNA.
Zinc has been recognized for an extended amount of time as a protection against colds. It is well known that zinc deficiencies are linked to immune system-related disorders as well as the increased susceptibility to infectious diseases. Zinc throat lozenges have become very popular in treating colds over the last few years. One recent study found that zinc is not only beneficial to the immune system, but also necessary for its optimal function.
Vitamin C is one of the most well-known nutrients for battling the effects of colds and flu. Its benefits have been known for years, with a large body of research indicating its effectiveness in reducing the severity and duration of colds an flu. Additionally, vitamin C acts as an immunostimulant by enhancing white blood cell production, increasing interferon levels and antibody responses, promotes secretion of thymic hormones, and improves connective tissue.
There is conflicting information on how much vitamin C one should take, but most experts agree that the FDA’s recommended dietary intake is not sufficient. Many doctors suggest taking large doses, as much as 10,000 mg when suffering from a cold or flu. One of the great things about vitamin C is that it can be found abundantly in many fruits and vegetables. The best food sources include broccoli, sweet peppers, collards, cabbage, spinach, kale, parsley, melons, potatoes, tangerines, and Brussels sprouts.
Garlic, which is extremely well known as a culinary additive, is actually one of the most commonly used medicinal herbs as it is found throughout the world and employed for various therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. It is common in Chinese herbal medicine and has recently received a great deal of attention in the U.S. and other Western countries. Recent research has found that garlic possesses powerful capabilities relating the immune system and the body’s ability to fight infection. Garlic possesses antiviral and antibacterial capabilities and has been shown repeatedly to simulate and improve performance by the body’s immune systems. Studies on garlic have shown that it has the ability to actually kill flu and cold viruses. Garlic also can protect the body from invading virus cells by enhancing the body’s immune functions.
Additional herbs and natural supplements that are useful in fighting cold and flu viruses include goldenseal, pau d’arco, astragalus, licorice, peppermint, and beta carotene. No matter what you choose to do by way of a doctor or natural alternative, supplements such as these discussed have zero side effects if taken as recommended on the bottles label. Natural vitamins and herbs can be found at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
March 13, 2009 02:48 PM
The coming of winter brings the possibility of becoming sick for many people. Millions of Americans suffer from at least one bout of the flu or cold each year, which results in millions of hours of lost work time, millions of dollars spent on remedy products, and flat-out despair. Those people who do come down with a cold or flu end up seeking out syrups, lozenges, tablets, and pills that are not designed to get rid of the ailment, but suppress its various symptoms instead.
There has been no cure to date for the various strains of viruses that cause colds and flu. Although conventional medicine has attempted to suppress the symptoms of the flu and cold, most of the products are relatively ineffective and come along with a variety of side effects. Thankfully, there are natural methods and products that help to prevent infection from cold and flu viruses and also help to shorten the duration and lessen the severity of a cold/flu infection.
The differences between a cold and flu are often imperceptible. However, there are several differences. Although there are more than 20 identified major virus families, most colds come from only five of these. Three other virus families produce flu, which are usually identified as A, B, and C strains. Flu types B and C are generally mild in adults, both of which are often confused as bad colds. Once a person experiences a type C flu, they usually gain immunity, although children can get it more than once. The type A flu virus is the least stable and most volatile, as it changes genetic makeup frequently. Type A strains cause more severe symptoms than a cold and individuals do not generally develop an immunity to it. The virus found in the type A flu are generally the viruses that produce epidemics.
The flu is almost always more severe than a cold, as it is usually accompanied by fever, chills, and aches. The onset of a flu is also much more rapid than that of a cold, with a flu usually lasting anywhere from a few days to a week. However, residual effects from the flu can last up to a few weeks.
Most colds come from one of five virus families, with almost half coming from the rhinovirus family. The rhinovirus wasn’t officially detected until the late 1980s. Colds are usually restricted to the nose, throat, and surrounding air passages and usually do not bring fever, chills, or the more severe symptoms that often associated with the flu. Unfortunately, the duration of symptoms of a cold is usually longer than that of the flu, as it sometimes lasts several weeks at a time.
Viruses are the cause of the majority of symptoms that are found along with a cold or flu. They are involved in the cause of these symptoms in several ways. First of all, some of the symptoms of a cold are caused by the body’s own response to the infection. Some of these symptoms include cough, fever, runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. Viruses often prompt what is termed a disease process, in which antibodies are produced that attach to the viruses they’re fighting as both travel throughout the body.
The virus is able to destroy or damage vital organs that they invade. Depending on the extent of the infection in the organs, along with the overall virus invasion, the body’s immune system can be worn down, which makes it much more susceptible to other infections. Fortunately, natures provides relief. Those who suffer from the flu or a cold can take vitamin C which has been shown to reduce the severity and length of ones cold.
Year after year the flu will rear its butt and there is little we can do accept keep clean by washing our hands regularly. Even though the flu can not be stopped, vitamins like vitamin C can help reduce the length and severity the cold one experiences. Quality vitamin C is inexpensive and available at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamin C is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Red Pepper, Cayenne, Capsicum
December 18, 2008 04:51 PM
A remarkable whole body stimulant, Capsicum can boost blood flow, tone the nervous system, relieve indigestion, promote sweating, help to cauterize and heal ulcers, ease persistent pain, and fight off infection. One study on African plants found that Capsicum, when regularly ingested, is highly beneficial in hemorrhoids varicose veins, anorexia, liver congestion, and vascular conditions. The therapeutic actions of capsicum can be attributed to the alkaloid or glucoside content of the herb.
Capsicum boosts peripheral circulation and stimulates organ secretion as it expedites the therapeutic delivery and action of other herbs. This allows the medicinal benefits of these herbs to reach the inflamed tissue more rapidly because of enhanced blood flow. Cayenne insures rapid and even distribution of the active parts of the rest of the herbs to critical parts of the body, which include those that are involved in cellular respiration, metabolism, data transmission, and neural-hormonal activation.
For this reason, cayenne is included in many other blends, as even extremely small quantities can dramatically increase the efficiency of most other herbs. Capsicum stimulates everything from blood flow to peristaltic action in the stomach, to intestinal transit time. Capsicum’s ability to stimulate organ secretion and heart action makes it one of the strongest natural stimulants that are known.
Capsicum is also known to be unequaled in its ability to boost circulation and increase heart action. Cultures that consume significant amounts of cayenne pepper in their diets have been found to have lower rates of cardiovascular disease. A variety of desirable actions on the entire cardiovascular system can be produced by Capsicum, with its extraordinary ability to enhance cardiovascular performance and lower blood pressure. Capsicum is considered a superior food for the heart by herbalists, where capsicum in hot water is thought to help lessen the severity of heart attacks.
Many studies have also been done on Capsicum’s ability to reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. When cayenne is ingested along with dietary cholesterol, the typical rise in liver and blood serum cholesterol levels that ordinarily results was significantly inhibited. Additionally, bile acids and free cholesterol were subsequently eliminated from the body through the stool.
Another bonus of Capsicum is its ability to lower blood serum cholesterol, as it decreases blood pressure. There is additionally evidence that suggested that the herb is able to initiate other mechanisms that help in fighting hypertension. Because Capsicum stimulates organ secretion and boosts peripheral blood flow, it is not shocking that is also facilitates the faster removal of toxins from the blood stream and lymphatic system.
Additional benefits of Capsicum include its ability to boost the circulatory system, as it has the ability to help in preventing cold hands and feet, as well as Reynaud’s Syndrome. Capsicum also has antioxidant capabilities, making it a great scavenger of free radicals. Anti-cancer research has also found that Capsicum does demonstrate anticancer properties, as it inhibits certain enzymes that initiate the mutation of cells. This implies that taking Capsicum can give the body some protection against cellular mutation.
Capsicum has also been found to be an impressive pain killer, an anesthetic to ulcerated tissue, an aid in weight loss, a helper in psoriasis and rhinitis, and a reliever of fevers and chills. The list goes on and on, about the benefits of this amazing herb. Cayenne or red pepper can be found at your local health food store.
September 10, 2008 09:23 AM
Found growing on trunks or stumps of trees in deciduous forests in temperate climates, the maitake mushroom is native to Eastern Canada and the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Maitake also can be found thriving in northeastern Japan and parts of Europe. With fan-shaped caps on stalks that may be fused together in masses, the mature maitake plant can weight up to twenty pounds. Also called dancing mushroom because of people dancing for joy when they found the maitake mushroom, one legend explains that the name refers to the fact that maitake overlaps other forms of fungi and has the appearance of butterfly wings flapping in a dance.
Only thirty years ago this type of mushroom had yet to become cultivated or well-known. Before 1979 maitake could only be found in the wild. However, now cultivation techniques have made it possible for maitake to be enjoyed all over the world, with some Japanese research finding that it is useful for the healing of a variety of ailments. Maitake is quickly becoming more and more important in the field of natural health. Like other mushrooms, maitake is rich in polysaccharides, which are complex natural sugars that have great benefits in healing as they work to strengthen the immune system to help it fight disease. Beta D-glucan is the powerful polysaccharide that is found in maitake, a compound that helps to stimulate the immune response.
Studies have found that maitake mushroom has the ability to reduce blood pressure in laboratory experiments that took place on animals. A study that was conducted in 1994 at the Ayurvedic Medical Center of New York found that maitake can also be of great value for humans too. This study, which involved individuals who had mild to moderate hypertension, was performed on eleven volunteers. Each volunteer was given three 500 mg doses of maitake twice a day for one month.
The results showed that blood pressure was reduced by 5 to 20 percent. Maitake may also be able to help lower blood cholesterol levels, which is a major factor in fighting and preventing heart disease. Several studies on humans have found impressive results, with three out of four patients with hypertension showing reduction in blood pressure after taking three to five grams of maitake each day.
Maitake also contains properties that are able to protect the liver from damage and even potentially reverse the damage that has already occurred. Demonstrating a hepato-protective effect, maitake works against toxins and potential liver damage. It has also been found to help protect the liver from harmful effects of hepatitis, as a group of thirty-two chronic hepatitis-B patients were studied. Each patient was give maitake extract, with the results showing that 72 percent recovered while only 57 percent of the group the used traditional therapy recovered.
As cancer continues to be leading cause of death in the western world, Human studies are beginning to find that D-fraction polysaccharides in maitake mushroom can help to treat various types of cancer. D-fraction seems to inhibit carcinogenesis and metastatis. Maitake also seems to help to lessen the severity of treatments that are hard on the body and produce debilitating side effects.
Finally, maitake was also the first mushroom that was found to inhibit the activity of HIV in laboratory studies, as it possesses the ability to kill the HIV virus. It stimulates T-cell action and prevents T-cells from being destroyed by HIV cells. Maitake is valuable for increasing the lifespan of individuals who are infected with HIV, but also there quality of life as it may help to slow the development of AIDS symptoms.
August 05, 2008 01:13 PM
Unlike macro-minerals such as calcium, which the body needs in gram amounts, trace minerals such as iron, selenium, zinc, silicon, chromium, sulfur, and copper are only needed in milligram or micrograms. However, these small quantities do not reflect the importance of trace minerals, as inadequate intake can have huge effects on the body. Lets discuss a few of these trace minerals.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide, with 20 to 50 percent of people affected. The average body contains only one teaspoon of iron, but this mineral is crucial in oxygen transportation throughout the bloodstream and into cells. A lack of iron will starve the body of oxygen and energy, which cause the symptoms of iron deficiency to be fatigue, foggy thinking, irritability, headaches, and lethargy.
A lot of athletes have inadequate iron intake, impairing their exercise performance as it decreases hemoglobin levels and the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the muscles while it increases the time that is needed to recover from exercise. Iron is also important in immunity, with optimal iron intake strengthening the immune system and building resistance to colds, infections, and diseases. Even though inadequate intake is a common concern, too much can also cause health problems including stomach and intestinal cramps, nausea, and constipation.
The most important function of selenium is its antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase. This enzyme is invaluable in protecting red blood cells and cell membranes from free radical damage. Selenium works closely with vitamin E, sometimes replacing it in certain situations. Selenium holds an important role in maintaining the immune system and has been shown to reduce the risk of many health problems which include several types of cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain birth defects.
Zinc is a valuable antioxidant that supports many aspects of the immune system. Zinc works in the eyes to protect them against sunlight-related free radicals. Zinc supplements have been found to slow the progression of macular degeneration, but high intakes of zinc and other antioxidants have been shown to lower the risk of developing this eye disease in the first place. This mineral can reduce the severity and duration of the common cold when in lozenge form, if started within 24 hours of the first cold symptom and taken every couple of hours. Taking 50mg of zinc daily or higher amounts for short periods of time is a good idea, but amounts over 150mg daily could cause metallic taste, stomach upset, or impair immune function.
Many modern diets contain extremely low amounts of silicon, especially since food processing removes much of the silicon. Silicon improves the elasticity and suppleness to skin that has been damaged by excessive skin exposure. Silicon is also important in natural bone formation, since deficiencies in silicon lead to bone weakness and sluggish wound health. Bone mineral density can be improved in people with osteoporosis by raising the intake of silicon.
Chromium is important in maintaining blood sugar levels, as well as many other roles in the body. Chromium deficiency impairs the blood sugar-insulin relationship, while chromium supplementation improves insulin response. Studies have shown that supplementing with chromium picolinate improves diabetes management by lowering blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol, or triglyceride levels and reducing the reliance on blood sugar medications. This mineral is also important in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates.
Finally, Sulfur is needed in the joints to keep the connective tissues within them strong and stable. One source of sulfur, MSM, has been shown to significantly relieve pain and improve use of knee joints in studies. Through all of the above, one can see that trace minerals are extremely important contributors to health, even in small amounts.
July 31, 2008 02:46 PM
Feverfew is most commonly used in the treatment and prevention of migraine headaches. Migraines are extremely common and can be very difficult to treat. Other methods of relieving pain have been explored because, for many migraine sufferers, conventional treatments have not been successful. Feverfew is one of the most successful forms of alternative treatments that have been found for treating migraines. Many studies have been conducted which have validated the already existing knowledge of many herbalists: feverfew is a great tool for helping to prevent migraines in many cases.
Although feverfew had long been used for treating headaches, its popularity declined with the advent of modern medicine. The herb has resurged into medical interest after the wife of a doctor who worked for the British National Coal Board had been suffering from migraines and was told by a coal miner to trey chewing on two feverfew leaves a day. After trying the herb, the woman noticed improvement, with fewer and less severe migraines. Her husband then urged a migraine specialist in London, Dr. E. Stewart Johnson, to test feverfew, with the results of several studies now showing it to be effective.
Dr. Johnson agreed to try the herb because he had many patients who had been suffering from migraine pain for years and had yet to find a successful treatment. Originally, he tried the herbal remedy on only ten of his patients. The results of this trial were so promising that it led to a study of another 270 of his patients, with seventy percent reporting that they received significant improvement when receiving feverfew for their headache pain.
Following this, a group of researchers in the City of London Migraine Clinic were led by Dr. Johnson to conduct a study, which was reported in the British Medical Journal, investigating seventeen patients who had already been using feverfew for at least three months. All were asked to discontinue use of their original method of treating with feverfew. Eight patients were given a capsule of feverfew, while the other nine were given a placebo.
Those that were given a placebo had an increase in frequency and severity of headaches, nausea, and vomiting, while those that were given feverfew capsules had no increase in frequency or severity of their migraines. This research has led to the belief that feverfew is advantageous in the prevention of migraines. Many other studies have been done to further test the effects of feverfew. It has been concluded that feverfew treatment is effective and there were always definite improvements in the group that used feverfew. Additionally, there were no serious side-effects that appeared to exist.
Feverfew seems to have similar properties as NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Also, the parthenolide that is found in feverfew is the main inhibitor for the formation of compounds that promote inflammation. Parthenolide reduces the secretory activity of blood platelets and white blood cells. This is important because migraines are thought to be associated with abnormal platelet behavior, as they are responsible for the release of serotonin, which constricts blood vessels and leads to migraine pain.
Feverfew is now recognized by the British and Canadian governments as a migraine treatment and is often prescribed by doctors. Many physicians and pharmacists have recent began to take more interest in the use of herbal remedies, especially since patients are beginning to become more interested in natural methods of healing.
Echinacea Purpurea Root
June 17, 2008 06:38 PM
There are nine known species of Echinacea native to the United States and southern Canada. The most commonly used and most potent of them is Echinacea purpurea.
Other common names for Echinacea are purple coneflower, American coneflower and coneflower. The plants contain large heads of flowers that bloom in early to late summer.
In North America, Native Americans used Echinacea more than any other herb for its healing properties. For Europeans and Americans, it was believed to aid in curing Anthrax and snakebites as well as contain antimicrobial properties.
Echinacea is well known for its abilities to boost the immune system and to help fight infections. It is also widely used to prevent infections, colds and the flu. In lesser known medicinal practices, it is used to treat wounds and such skin problems as acne and boils. Some studies have shown that Echinacea has been effective in treating upper respiratory infections.
The whole Echinacea plant is used for treating various indications. Fresh or dried, the plant and roots are used to make teas, extracts, juices or external salves, creams and ointments. As a general rule, the fresh-pressed juice of the Echinacea plant is most effective in treating colds in children. In adults, both the root and herb in combination are most effective.
When taken at the first signs of a cold, Echinacea has been found to reduce the length and severity of cold symptoms. Be aware that Echinacea is not a one-dose fix-it remedy. Begin taking recommended doses at the first signs of a cold. Subsequent doses should be taken regularly, according to the product label, until all symptoms have disappeared.
Unfortunately, many herbal preparations can vary in effectiveness due to a lack of systematic extraction and refining. It is best to research the manufacturers of herbal products to find out how they cultivate and store their herbs. Their methods will cause the chemical compositions to vary greatly. The different parts of the plant that are used vary widely in their chemical makeup as well. One part may be extremely useful as an antimicrobial, while another may stimulate stronger reactions from the immune system. Other factors that may affect the quality of the product you purchase are:
* Species * Plant part * Extraction method * Contamination * Adulteration
Side Effects and Warnings:
When taken orally (by mouth), Echinacea usually does not produce any side effects. In rare cases, some people have experienced allergic reactions and side effects that include:
* Rashes or dermatitis * Pruritus (itching) * An increase in asthma symptoms * Anaphylaxis (life threatening allergic reaction) * Hepatoxicity * Nausea * Dizziness * Dyspnea (difficulty breathing)
All of these symptoms tend to be mild and infrequent. If you suffer from asthma symptoms, you should probably avoid using echinacea. In most cases the most common side effects are gastrointestinal in nature, such as gas or mild cramping. People are much more likely to experience side effects if they are allergic to other plants in the daisy family. These plants include:
* Ragweed * Chrysanthemums * Marigolds * Daisies
Use of Echinacea in children younger than 12 years is not recommended due to lack of sufficient data to support safety. It is also not recommended for use in pregnant or nursing women.
Echinacea should not be used if you have progressive systematic or auto-immune disorders, connective tissue disorders or other diseases that may be related to these. It should not be taken if you are taking immune-suppressants and heap-toxic drugs. It may also interfere with anesthesia.
It is important to communicate with your health care providers. Be sure they are aware of any alternative herbs or other substances you are using and what their purpose is in your daily diet.
June 04, 2008 02:39 PM
Every year people get bogged down with stuffy noses, watery eyes, congestion, sore throats, headaches and sneezing. The common cold rears its ugly head when the snow finally melts away and the trees get their tiny buds. Spring is normally a time when a lot of colds and viruses are passed around. It is inconvenient not only because of the annoying symptoms; it also makes us miss days of work or school. It interrupts our lives for days at a time. Few people can afford the luxury of taking off from everything they are expected to do for that period of time.
The springtime cold season doesn’t have to be a problem for you, though. You can boost your immunity to cold and flu symptoms with echinacea. This herb can reduce the time you spend nursing a cold and get you back on your feet much faster than waiting it out or taking prescription drugs.
What is Echinacea?
Echinacea is a flowering plant, also known as the purple coneflower, found in the North American plains. This powerful plant has long been used as a medical alternative to stimulate the immune system and protect the body from infection and disease. Echinacea is most commonly found in herbal teas and in extract form and is used as a home remedy for the spring time cold season.
How Echinacea Boosts Immunity
Echinacea works like a natural antibiotic. It attacks toxins in the blood to fight off disease and strengthen the immune system. It also reduces inflammation in the body. Typically, it is more effective if you start taking it at the first sign of a cold. The most popular use for echinacea is to reduce the duration and severity of colds, respiratory infections and sinus problems.
Inconclusive Data and Controversy about Echinacea
There are a large number of studies that have been done of the echinacea herb to determine if it is actually helpful in reducing the common cold. The problem is the results are not consistent. Part of this is because different parts of the flower have been used in different studies. Some report that echinacea is effective at boosting immunity and speeding up recovery from the springtime cold. Others say there is not a significant difference in the duration of a cold when using Echinacea.
One thing to consider about the herb is the possible side effects. No major side effects have been cited regarding the use of echinacea; however, it could cause an allergic reaction. It is also possible to develop rash or asthma from taking echinacea.
Recently, researchers have started to look at the collective data on echinacea to determine if it is truly effective at treating colds and preventing diseases. According to a review in The Lancet Infection Diseases, "published evidence supports echinacea’s benefit in decreasing the incidence and duration of the common cold." The review went on to state: "Echinacea decreased the odds of developing the common cold by 58 percent and the duration of a cold by 1.4 days."
This is promising news, which confirms the use of Echinacea can reduce the severity of a cold and speed the recovery process along so you can get back to your regular routine that much faster.
April 29, 2008 10:49 AM
Butterbur extract is taken mainly from the rhizome, root and leaves of the butterbur, a member of the daisy family. They are very hardy and have creeping underground rhizomes and large leaves like those of rhubarb. Another name given to it is the sweet Coltsfoot, and they generally grow in the temperate climates of Europe, North Africa and South west Asia. They like damp conditions, specifically marshes and ditches, and also riverbanks where there are always plentiful supplies of moisture.
It has been used by Native Americans for headaches and inflammation, and has been shown to be an effective remedy for hay fever and to provide relief from painful menstrual cramps. Butterbur has also been used throughout the middle Ages to treat fever and the plague, and has been recorded in the seventeenth century as being used for asthma, wounds and coughs. However, one of its most important applications is in restore bladder function in the incontinent and semi-incontinent.
Urinary incontinence is typified by an unusually high frequency of urination – more than 8 times a day, an immediate strong urge to pass water or leaking and involuntary urination. Any two of these three indicates urinary incontinence. As people age their bladders become smaller, and by definition the periods between urination will reduce. This does not, however, suggest that bladder size is the cause of urinary incontinence.
Urination is caused by the contraction of the smooth layered muscle that surrounds the bladder, called the detrusor, a contraction in turn caused by neurons both in the brain and in the detrusor itself. This naturally contracts and expands according to the volume of urine in the bladder, and once the bladder is about half full the brain will tell you that the detrusor is ready to contract to expel the urine. However, if the time is not convenient, the cortex will suppress this desire until a more convenient time.
In incontinence, the desire is suppressed but the neurons still fire to contract the detrusor, expelling urine at inconvenient moments. Butterbur contains the sesquiterpenes petasin and isopetasin, which are known to reduce spasms in smooth muscle tissue and in vascular walls. It can therefore be used to control the involuntary spasms that cause urine leakage or expulsion against the patient’s wishes. These sesquiterpenes are at highest concentration in the roots of the plant.
The effect that the sesquiterpenes have in inhibiting the synthesis of leukotriene in leukocytes tends to support this effect, since leukotrienes can cause contraction of vascular and smooth muscle tissue. Not only this, but the spasmolytic effect could also be explained by the inhibition of cellular calcium caused by the petasin isomers.
Many studies have indicated that the effectiveness of butterbur extract is also useful in the prevention of migraines. There has been a lot of research carried out on the use of butterbur extract on migraine sufferers, and the effective dose appears to about 75 mg twice daily. There is little evidence of it being a cure but as a prophylactic there appears no doubt of its efficacy: there have been too many positive results against placebos for its effect to be deniable.
It is significant that leukotriene can cause constriction of the small blood vessels in the veins, and so affect the flow of blood. Butterbur, in inhibiting its biochemical production, helps to keep these blood vessels open. Lekotrienes are also important components of inflammation, and altogether it appears that whatever the real cause of migraine, the petasin isomers in butterbur have an effect in inhibiting its initiation. Add to that the potential reduction in calcium content that can cause blood vessels to become less flexible, and the argument for its effectiveness is both irrefutable and well explained.
In one example of such a double blind study that is representative of many, a group of patients given 50 mg butterbur extract twice a day for twelve weeks experienced a 60% reduction in the frequency of attacks, a reduction in the severity of the attacks they did have, and a reduction in the length of the attacks. Although the vascular theory of the cause of migraine is no longer supported, maintenance of the vascular system appears to at least reduce the likelihood of attacks.
The effect of butterbur on asthma and other allergic reactions is also well documented. This again is due to its anti-spasmodic properties and inhibitory effect on the inflammatory immune response through the inhibition of leukotriene synthesis and the consequent positive effect on the metabolism of prostaglandin. Prostaglandins also constrict vascular smooth muscle cells, regulate the mediation of the inflammatory response and constrict general smooth muscle cells. All of these can lead a to a variety of disorders cause by smooth muscle spasms in additional to urinary incontinence, such as menstrual cramps, liver and gastrointestinal disorders and asthmatic conditions.
In one study of allergic rhinitis, administration of butterbur extract appeared to result in a reduction in the histamine and leukotriene content of nasal fluids and no difference was noticed between this treatment and histamine treatment. This was a useful study because histamines causes drowsiness and butterbur can be used as a substitute for histamine without the sedative effect. A study in Germany in 1993 has shown that the stomach ulceration caused by the anti-inflammatory medications for arthritis was reduced by the administration of butterbur extract
Cetirizine is a commonly prescribed prescription treatment for allergic conditions, and studies comparing that with butterbur demonstrated them to be equally effecting in reducing the symptoms typical of allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose and nasal congestion. 50% of the patients in the group took each and there was no difference in results. Again it was explained by the petasin limiting the production of leukotriene and histamine, both of which are produced by the immune response and promote mucous secretions and inflammation. They also constrict airways that can be serious to asthma sufferers
These studies are simply providing scientific evidence and explanations for the tradition use of this plant for such conditions. Butterbur has been used for centuries to treat such conditions all over Western Europe, and once again the use of traditional medicine has been supported by modern investigative techniques.
Activated Charcoal - Highly absorbent material to combat poisoning
April 24, 2008 02:44 PM
Activated charcoal has been treated by heat to open up millions of small spaces between the carbon atoms and turn it literally into an atomic sponge that adsorbs both organic and organic impurities.
This heat treatment is carried out in the absence of oxygen, so the charcoal cannot burn. Instead, what oxygen it did contain is driven off leaving behind all of these interstitial gaps that multiply the effective surface area by factors of ten. Since it is the surface area of the charcoal that determines its potency, then the greater this is the better.
Activated charcoal has a massive surface area, and just ten grams has the same surface area as nine American football pitches or 77 tennis courts. Ten grams is just marginally more than a third of an ounce. The term adsorb has a different meaning to absorb, and while a real sponge absorbs water by mopping it up through capillary action and suction, activation carbon adsorbs substances through a form of chemical attraction. You get rid of water from the sponge by squeezing it, but that doesn’t work with activated charcoal, since the substances are bound to it, not just physically constrained.
This huge surface area provides activated charcoal with innumerable bonding sites, and when chemicals that are attracted to carbon pass by they are attached to the surface. They cannot get free again, as water in a sponge can, but are bound to the surface of the carbon. Because the digestive system has no effect on charcoal then whatever is bound to it passes naturally through the body.
It is most effective at binding other carbon-based materials, and other substances with the right electronic arrangement, but others will just pass straight through. Because it is a chemical process, once all of the empty bonding sites have been taken up, the charcoal loses its effectiveness and has to be replaced. It is possible to regenerate it, but hardly worthwhile for you to do so because of the small quantities you use.
Because of the way it works, activated charcoal can help people to recover from some forms of food poisoning. It can adsorb gases in the intestine and help to relieve the pain of excessive gas in the gut. It has many additional uses that will be touched on later, but for now we will look at its effect on poisons because that is where activated charcoal is of greatest benefit to us.
It does not adsorb and neutralize all poisons, but is very effective with those that it can be sued for. Professor Touery proved a point when he drank a lethal dose of strychnine in front of colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine in 1831 and came through unscathed. He had mixed the strychnine with activated charcoal, and the fact that he lived after drinking a dose that would certainly have led to a very painful death within minutes testifies to the powerful effect of activated charcoal as an potential antidote for poisoning.
Ever medicine cabinet should have an emergency supply of activated carbon, especially those with young children in the household. However, this is not good news for the pharmaceutical companies who have reacted by refuting some of the claims made in its favor: they have claimed that it is not effective against arsenic. If that is so, then how did Michel Bertrand survive after swallowing 5 grams of arsenic trioxide – 150 times what is regarded as the lethal dose? He did this is 1813 after mixing it with activated charcoal, just as Professor Touery was to do 18 years later with ten times the lethal dose of strychnine.
It is true, however, that it does not have this degree of activity with all poisons, and it has no effect on cyanide, alcohols, antifreeze (glycols) and lithium. It also has no effect on corrosive poisons such as the strong alkalis used in oven clearers, or hydrocarbons such as kerosene. The way it works is adsorb the poison and prevent it being released into the body. For that to happen, the poison must have an affinity for carbon, and its adsorption site, and not all substances possess that property. Those that do however are permanently bound and therefore safe.
For charcoal to be effective in neutralizing a poison, it must be swallowed within an hour of taking the poison, or the poison will be too far advanced ion the digestive process for the charcoal to do any good. Keep in mind, though, that it is not selective, and activated charcoal can adsorb nutrients and other beneficial constituents of your body’s chemistry. It is important therefore that you take in only when necessary: you might need several doses if the poison was severe, but once it has done its job it is not meant to be used as a maintenance material to take ‘just in case’. Used like that, it can do harm.
If charcoal can adsorb poisons then it makes sense to believe that it can also adsorb some of the harmful agents that cause food poisoning. Not all food poisoning of course, but certainly those organisms that emit toxins that are attracted to carbon. And this is, in fact, the case. Food poisoning is caused by bacteria rather than viruses, and is not the presence of the bacteria that make you vomit and feel very ill.
As bacteria grow in your body they release toxins, or poisons, into your digestive system. These poisons are what make you ill. They can seriously affect the complete gastro-intestinal tract, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation and swelling of the small and large intestine. The latter can cause abdominal cramps and severe colic, and the severity of the symptoms depends very much upon the type of bacteria and the number of them in your body.
Many of these toxins are attracted to carbon since they are frequently organic based, and activated charcoal can be used to adsorb them. Once adsorbed they lose their potency, and since carbon is not digested by the body, they are passed harmlessly through the colon and eliminated in the faeces. It can also be used to eliminate many other foreign bodies from your gut, including viruses and fungi and might possibly reduce the concentration of uric acid, which can bring relief to gout sufferers.
Activated charcoal has many uses, and is normally available in capsule form. It can be dangerous to take too much, particularly if you suffer from intestinal problems that cause constipation, because the charcoal itself can have that effect. However, there is no better emergency treatment for accidental poisoning in the home, although, since it is not suitable for all poisons, you must still regard poisoning as an emergency and contact the emergency services.
Activated charcoal, or activated carbon as it is sometimes called, is also a good emergency treatment for vomiting and the other unpleasant effects of food poisoning. It deals with bacterial toxins in the same way as any other, though once again you must refer to your physician before or after using it – preferably the former.
Biotin For Better Health!
April 14, 2008 12:42 PM
Biotin is one of the B vitamins, known as vitamin B7 and also, for some reason, vitamin H. If you have a deficiency of this vitamin you will know about it because it makes you bald. So keep up your vitamin B7 intake girls!
However, this should not be difficult since it is contained in cooked egg white (not raw), tomatoes, chard, onions, cabbage, strawberries, walnuts, halibut, carrots, liver, brewers yeast and cucumber to name but a few of the many sources. It makes sense that it has so many sources because biotin is essential for many of the biochemical reactions that take place continuously in your body.
It is contained in raw eggs, but is bound too tightly to the protein to be available to your body. It has to be cooked before the bond is broken sufficiently to render it bioavailable.
Included in these is the all-important Krebs cycle that releases energy from food. It is necessary for the growth of your body cells, for the metabolism of the fats you consume and for the biosynthesis of the fatty acids that are eventually converted to proteins and then the DNA that is essential for life. In other words, without biotin we would not be here.
However, do not get overly worried about the necessity of biotin in your diet, since the same applies to all of the other vitamins you consume. That is what vitamins are chemicals that have been identified ages ago as being essential to life. Without vitamins we could not survive which is why the vitamin supplement industry is so strong and healthy.
So, what does biotin do specifically, other than being necessary for some of the essential biochemical processes in your body? These tend to look after themselves, so what are the physical attributes that biotin provides for you? The name should give you a clue. In fact it should be familiar since it is one of the more commonly mentioned ingredients of hair care products: “Biotin for Healthy Hair” - ring a bell?
Although a deficiency of biotin is rare with a healthy balanced diet, it can happen, and when it does your first sign might be your skin drying out, your cholesterol levels will increase, you will feel continually tired and depressed with a poor appetite and you will be nauseous. You will also frequently vomit, which puts the icing on the cake of a set of very undesirable symptoms. It is important, then, that you do not suffer from a deficiency of biotin, vitamin B7 or vitamin H, whatever you want to call it, and is why many people take a supplement just to make sure.
This is normally taken as part of a general B complex supplement or even a general multivitamin supplement, since almost everybody has no idea what this vitamin is and why it is so necessary for your continued health. So let's have a look at why biotin is so important, with specific reference to your hair, skin and nails. However, we shall also examine its deeper biochemical uses and explain why it is such an essential vitamin.
With regard to biotin supplements in hair preparations, it benefit’s by helping one grow thicker hair, symptoms of a deficiency is brittle hair. If you are deficient, you will lose your eyelashes and eyebrows in addition to your hair, depending on the severity of your deficiency. As stated, however, that is particularly rare. The biotin content of shampoos is likely useless since it is not absorbed through the skin.
What it does in the diet, however, is to thicken the nails and also the hair fiber giving it a fuller appearance, so that you appear to have more hair than you actually have. It also increases the flexibility of the hair, skin and nails rendering them less brittle and less liable to breaking and scaling. However, as previously stated if you eat a good balanced diet you should avoid these problems, although a vitamin B complex supplement will do the job just as well.
So what else does vitamin B7 do for you? Lots in fact, so let's have a look at the more important of them starting with the function of your body cells in the production of energy. Biotin takes part in the Citric Acid Cycle, otherwise known as the Krebs Cycle, whereby energy is created by the conversion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide and water. It is one of the essential metabolic pathways of life, and biotin is needed to recharge the Krebs cycle with metabolites when mitochondria become deficient in these essential components.
Without them you would begin to feel tired and lack energy, and this would get increasingly worse without a biotin supplement. It is amazing that your energy is created in the mitochondria which are a part of the tiny cells that make up the tissue of your body, and equally amazing that it depends upon, among other substances, a vitamin of which very few people are even aware of.
In spite of any other effect biotin has on your body, including providing healthy hair, skin and nails, its primary role in your body is in the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates into a form that can be used by your body for the production of energy. Biochemically, it functions as a coenzyme, which is a molecule needed to help an enzyme do its work. In fact an alternative name give to biotin is Coenzyme R.
It helps in the biochemical conversion of sugars to energy, and is a component of enzymes such as pyruvate carboxylase. That enzyme is protein contained within the mitochondria that contains a biotin prosthetic group, without which it could not function to help the body to generate energy during exercise. Suffice it to say that without biotin you would find it difficult to generate energy, especially when the demand for it is at its highest.
Biotin's biochemical role is not restricted to energy production however, and it is involved in the biochemical synthesis of amino acids and also of glucose from other sugars. Glucose is the main blood sugar that is manufactured in the body from the other saccharides that you eat, such as fructose.
A reasonable level of supplementation to ensure that you do not suffer from a deficiency is around 100 micrograms daily, although up to 5 milligrams (5000 mcg) are safe for the treatment of brittle nails or hair loss. Much depends on age and it is best taken as a vitamin B complex supplement, since the B vitamins appear to give best results as a team!
So, while you can have healthy hair, skin and nails with biotin, without it you will have no energy and likely have no need for your hair, skin and nails!