Search Term: " viral infecions "
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
Protect yourself properly this cold season with oregano oil, plus 6other natural remedies
April 26, 2019 03:18 PM
CDC statistics indicate that most adults will get hit by the common cold at least a few times a year, but the antimicrobial properties of oregano oil may be able to help reduce your symptoms. A 2011 study, for example, found that an oregano oil throat spray could help control many cold symptoms. When combined with an overall healthy lifestyle, oregano oil can give your immune system an important boost. Ginger, probiotics, drinking herbal tea with honey and staying hydrated can also help.
"Be sure to look for a high quality oregano oil supplement (such as wild P73 oregano oil, which stands for “polyphenol 73%” and indicates a medicinal grade quality). To use, mix 3 to 10 drops of oregano oil in a tablespoon of water, swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds, then swallow."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/cold-natural-remedy-2811.html
Honey is medicine: 4 Scientifically proven perks to using Nature'ssweetener
March 29, 2019 08:40 AM
Hey, honey. It should be included in your diet. Sure, it's delicious when used as a sweetner, but it's benefits are just as sweet as this concoction. There are many proven benefits offered to people who enjoy the all-natural sweetener we know as honey. Four of the benefits of using honey include cough and sore throat suppression, healing of scrapes and wounds, supports a healthy immune system, and aids in heart health. Yes, honey is important part of your iet.
"This potent superfood has a long history of being used as a natural remedy due to its health-boosting properties."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-26-honey-medicine-4-scientifically-proven-perks-to-using-natures-sweetener.html
Monolaurin The Most Beneficial Compound in Coconut Oil?
January 11, 2019 08:19 AM
We're constantly hearing about the benefits associated with coconut oil, but many of us are unaware of what actually causes coconut oil to be so healthy for our bodies. The main compound found in coconut oil that has positive health benefits is called monolaurin. Monolaurin derives from lauric acid, and it is able to kill off viruses and bacteria due to it being a natural antimicrobial. It can also help in preventing the phenomenon known as antibiotic resistance.
"In nature, lauric acid is a precursor to monolaurin, which is an even more powerful antimicrobial agent than lauric acid. When your body digests lauric acid, certain enzymes within the digestive tract form this beneficial monoglyceride known as monolaurin."
Read more: https://draxe.com/monolaurin/
10 Reasons to drink lemon water on an empty stomach
November 08, 2016 12:59 PM
Lemon water is a nutrient powerhouse that some celebrities swear by. It is thought that lemon water ingested right away in the morning not only hydrates your body, but it also provides essential vitamins that help jumpstart your day. Everything from the enzymes to the antioxidants present in lemons does a great job of boosting most systems in the body to start the day off right. This simple drink can help detoxify the skin and curb hunger, while also providing some energy and bolstering the immune system.
"According to some health advocates, drinking lemon water on an empty stomach takes you one step closer to optimal health."
Curcumin Helps Alleviate Depression
Curcumin is a phenolic acid that can be sourced from the cooking spice turmeric. It acts as a powerful antioxidant in humans and protects the body's cells from dangerous free radicals (harmful by-products that are released into the cells during oxygen related reactions). Provisional studies suggest that it may also have many more health benefits. There is also some evidence that curcumin or turmeric may help alleviate the symptoms of certain skin diseases, viral infections, diabetes, colitis, stomach ulcers, and high cholesterol. Once again, the ancient herbal remedy is being celebrated as a modern wonder drug. But perhaps the most promising results have been seen in the use of curcumin to treat depression.
Curcumin vs. Prozac
If there's one thing Big Pharma fears more than anything else it's competition from the outside. Because herbal medicines have far fewer and less serious side effects than prescription pills, they would be the logical choice - if only they worked as well. Well, there is now irrefutable, ironclad scientific evidence that an herbal remedy is every bit as effective at treating depression as one of the most popular prescription antidepressants.
When researchers with the Department of Pharmacology of Government Medical College in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India conducted a controlled clinical study comparing the effects of curcumin and Prozac, they didn't expect to make national, even global news. Although the popular herbal remedy is widely used in India, curcumin had never been subjected to rigorous scientific testing for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). The most serious and chronic form of the disease, major or clinical depression affects about 3 percent of population at any given time. The idea that a chemical compound from a popular native spice could compete with Prozac seemed far- fetched to those conducting the study. But after 60 patients diagnosed with MDD were randomly administered curcumin, fluoxetine (Prozac), and a combination of the two, the results spoke for themselves.
With the help of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, 17-item version (HAM-D17), researchers determined that curcumin was just as effective as Prozac at treating serious depression. Because the study utilized the latest research tools and followed strict testing guidelines, it became the first published report that indicated the efficacy of turmeric or curcumin in the treatment of depression. What the report did not take into account, however, were the serious side effects those who take Prozac endure; the most serious of which include anxiety, seizures, racing heartbeat, trouble sleeping, and suicidal ideation.
How Curcumin Treats Depression
Shortly after the results of the aforementioned study made news, researchers started looking for answers. It was not enough for Western scientists to know that curcumin is effective in the treatment depression, they also had to know how. As you might imagine, the how has proved more challenging than the if. This is not at all surprising, since curcumin has diverse biological properties that are difficult to study separately. So, while the mechanism of action is poorly understood, the effects of curcumin intake are well documented, particularly with regard to neurotransmitters.
As their name implies, neurotransmitters send messages to the billions of neurons in the human brain. Some of these neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating brain functions such as mood, memory, appetite, and sleep. Known as "feel-good" neurotransmitters because they help maintain mood balance, dopamine and serotonin play a role in depression. How do we know? For starters, studies have confirmed that people who suffer from clinical depression have consistently low levels of both neurotransmitters.
Once again, we aren't sure how curcumin extract works its magic, but testing has shown that those who take it have higher serotonin and dopamine levels. That fact alone might account for the improved mood those that take the dietary supplement have consistently reported. Although researchers will undoubtedly get to the bottom of this ancient mystery, it enough for most patients to know that curcumin is a safe and effective treatment option.
Exploring The Benefits Of Cat's Claw Herb
Cat's Claw is a medicinal plant made from the root and bark. It has drawn the attention of Western herbalists and researchers while being ranked seventh of the best selling herbs around the world. The plant has two components that are vital; Uncaria tomentosa angUncaria guianensis.
Benefits of Chanca Piedra (phyllanthus niruri)
Chanca piedra also known as phyllanthus niruri and whose common names are stonebreaker, seed-under-leaf or gale of the wind is a tropical plant, indigenous to Amazon Rainforest in South America and India. It is a highly regarded plant, familiar to naturopaths. Read on to find why?
For centuries, the indigenous people of Amazon have used Chanca piedra to treat and remove kidney gallstones. In fact, the name Chanca piedra is a Peru word for “stone breaker”. In addition to curing gallstones, the plant has diuretic qualities which, is why over 300 studies have been done since the 1960s to ascertain its healing abilities.
From this research, the plant has been found to cure a number of diseases. These include;
Gallstones, and Kidney Stones – Chanca is believed to hold the most promising treatment for kidney stones, not only among the indigenous people but also, in the Ayurvedic medicine.
Preliminary studies indicate that the plant has the potential to protect the kidney from kidney stones by simply increasing the secretion of bile and reducing the formation of any obstructions in the kidneys and the gall bladders. The extra bile secreted enhances digestion and increase absorption fats, like fat soluble vitamins.
Chanca piedra and the Liver – the herb contains a protein which research has shown that it protects the tissues of the liver against oxidative stress by simply increasing antioxidative defense.
Antioxidant Activities – Chanca piedra has also been found to contain phenolic content which reflects antioxidant activities when tested. The antioxidants support optimal blood pressure levels in addition to supporting balanced blood sugar levels.
Defense against harmful organisms – water extracts from this herb have indicated toxic activities against several organisms that are harmful to human body. Additionally, Chanca piedra has been found to defend the body against;
Three Immune Boosting Mushrooms You Can't Ignore
Mushrooms are plants that belong to the fungi kingdom. These plants are not classified as vegetables, they provide essential and vital nutrients to our bodies. It is a common knowledge that the key to building strong immune systems and getting enough minerals and vitamins in the diet is by supplementing a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, the more the color the better. This knowledge has however left mushrooms, which offer a wide variety of nutrients and antioxidants to our bodies, in the dark. In many cases, foods are only considered to be nutritious if they are colored. However, this is not true for mushrooms.
Let's take a look at three most common mushrooms that positively impact the overall immune system and how they make it happen.
Maitake mushrooms are common in Asian countries. This mushroom subspecies has shown effectiveness in the treatment of cancer. They can also be used to treat some side effects that are commonly associated with various chemical treatments such as chemotherapy for cancer. It is also used in the other conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, high cholesterol, hay fever, weight loss, diabetes, hypertension and infertility due to poly cystic ovary syndrome.
How it works
This species of mushroom contains chemicals that might stimulate the immune system and help fight tumors. There is also evidence that it can also be used as an effective regimen in efforts to lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels, improve cholesterol levels. Studies have also shown that it is effective in weight loss management.
Reishi mushrooms are a type of fungi that some people describe as "woody" and "tough". The fruiting body of this plant and the filaments connecting a group of mushrooms has been used greatly as medicine. The plant is also used to boost the immune system, lung conditions including bronchitis and asthma, viral infections such as swine flu, influenza and avian flu, heart disease.
It is also effective in maintaining other contributing conditions such hypertension, high cholesterol, liver disease and cancer. Other conditions where Reishi mushrooms are used are insomnia, stomach ulcers, chronic fatigue, herpes pain and poisoning. In combination with other forms of herbs, they are also used in the treatment of prostate cancer.
How it Works
Reishi mushrooms contain a wide variety of antioxidants and chemicals that have potential benefits and effects on the immune system and activity against tumors.
An extract made from this mushroom is used as medicine. Although it is used widely as medicine, it is also consumed as food. Shiitake mushrooms are used to lower blood cholesterol levels, boost t-cells and as an anti-aging agent.
How it Works
This type of mushroom contains chemicals that help in lowering cholesterol levels. It contains chemicals that keep cancerous tumors from getting bigger.
What are the health Benefits of Cod Liver Oil
July 11, 2012 08:33 AM
Cod Liver Oil Benefits
This is a nutrient rich oil derived from Cod fish liver and can be in the form of capsules or oil. The Cod liver oil has been used for many generations to treat various health conditions and to boost the human's immune system. Otherwise, it is one of the recommended nutritional supplements especially when it comes to enriching your system with:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- DocoHexaenoic Acid (DHA),
- EicosaPentaenoic Acid (EPA)
All these nutrients are beneficial to the body in various ways and have proved to be great home remedies for conditions such as arthritis. So this is how all these nutrients will benefit the body.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant which helps protect the body from the development of free radicals and in the long run reduce the formation of cancer cells in the body. Therefore, your system will be protected from cancer and other diseases owing to the presence of beta carotene and alpha carotene. On the other hand, since Vitamin A is an immune booster it assists in treating measles, respiratory infections, viral infections, improves your eyesight, Inflammation Reducer, and cardiovascular performance.
One of the main benefits of Vitamin D is the fact that it helps the intestine absorb nutrients such as phosphorus and calcium which are vital for bone formation and strengthening. This is why Cod liver oil is an ideal home remedy for arthritis. It also prevents osteomalacia and weakening of muscles and rickets at the same time assist in regulation of blood pressure, reduces stress, tension, muscle aches and spasms and improves the general health of the skin.
EicosaPentaenoic Acid (EPA)
It it one of the main nutrients found in the Omega 3 fatty acids which normally assists in treating coronary heart disease, reduces formation of high triglycerides, controls high blood pressure and reduces inflammation. It also has a positive effect on depression, reduces formation of blood clots and improves the health of arteries. Actually, EPA is renowned for its positive effects on the health of the human heart.
DocoHexaenoic Acid (DHA)
DHA found in cod liver oil is a polyunsaturated fatty acid which is a main ingredient of the omega 3 fatty acids. Findings have it that DHA is an ideal component for controlling inflammatory disorders, arteriosclerosis, types of cancer, myocardial infection as well as thrombosis.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The omega 3 fatty acids are mostly beneficial owing to the presence of DHA and EPA. However, findings indicate that the the omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for the enhancement cognitive functions especially when it comes to the memory. It is also an ideal remedy for children with ADHD considering the fatty acids assist in enhancing behavioral functions.
In other words, the cod liver oil is one of the recommendable nutritional supplements owing to its overall benefits to the immune, circulatory, cognitive and cardiovascular systems. This means that one teaspoon of the cod liver oil could save you from many health situations in comparison to not having it at all. It is also advised that you take at least 1-2 tablespoons everyday especially if you need such nutrients to boost your immune system.
What are the Health Benefits of Green Tea?
June 21, 2012 08:33 AM
Benefits of green Tea
Green tea health benefits are not hidden from the world anymore. Antioxidants are one of the most beneficial properties of Green tea. This medicinal property alone can solve several health complications. A powerful antioxidant, which is found in green tea, is known as catechin. Medical experts say that among several types of catechin, Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) is the most effective one and green tea is a huge source of this type of antioxidant.
How Green Tea Helps to Achieve a Sound Health?
Being an immense source of various healing and beneficial properties, this tea is capable of providing numbers of health benefits. Below mentioned points can be referred to get a clear understanding about the efficiency of green tea.
Catechin has a sterilizing effect on the body. After consulting various research reports it was found that catechin helped to fights off the bad bacteria of the body. The report also showed that it encouraged the growth of the good bacteria, which exist in almost every human body. Therefore, it can be said that catechin helps to prevent viral infections like flu and cold by building a strong immune system.
Decreases the Probability of Heart Diseases
The antioxidant property of this tea is a perfect solution for lowering the risk of heart diseases. It is a well-proved fact that catechin in green tea helps to reduce level of cholesterol, stress and blood pressure. As a result, the overall health of the heart and the cardiovascular system improves. Anti-aging Effect
Nowadays, almost everybody knows that antioxidants are highly efficient for destroying the free radicals, which are responsible for body's degeneration process. So, by killing and reducing the numbers of these harmful elements, this tea helps to stay young for a comparatively longer period of time.
It Lowers the Risk of Cancer
Free radicals are also the same complex substances, which damage the healthy cells of the human body and brain. Antioxidants in green tea help to protect the healthy cells and reduce the chances of certain types of cancer by destroying the free radicals.
Quickens Weight Loss Process
It can also help to accelerate the weight loss procedure. The basic idea behind weight loss is restricting the intake of fatty foods and an increasing the rate of metabolism. During medical trials, researchers observed that this tea helped to increase the metabolic rate, which ensured a speedy fat reduction. It was possible as the body was able to burn the excess fat quickly. So, it can be said that green tea can really reduce the extra bulges, if a person accompanies the consumption of green tea with healthy diet and exercise regimen.
The alkaline nature of this tea helps to lower the level of glucose in blood. But, it should be consumed without sugar to get that benefit. The anti-oxidizing and astringent nature of the ingredients of green tea improves the functions of pancreas, which in turn ensures better insulin emission and absorption of sugar. The overall effect helps to keep diabetes away.
After the overall discussion it can be concluded that a careful and supervised intake of green tea can help to alleviate several health complications.
Benefits of Olive Leaf Extract
December 17, 2011 08:13 AM
Olive Leaf Extract
History of Olive Leaf Extracts (Olea Europaea) In Medicinal Use
Usage of Olive leaf for medicinal usage dates back to 2925 BC, with the ancient Egyptians. They regarded it as a symbol of power bestowed from the heaven for the benefit of humans. Later, in 776 BC, ancient Greeks awarded "olive leaf wreaths" to the Olympic Games winners, and it continues till today. It is believed in the Greeks mythology that Olive leaf was created by goddess Athena, who first planted it in Acropolis and endowed it with miraculous powers.
The first reported use of olive leaves for Fighting diseases was in year 1811 with Dr. Pallas using liquid extract from olive leaves to treat malaria. In the mid 1850's, olive leaf tea was used to treat fever and malaria in England. In the 1960's, in Italy, it was used to control blood pressure and treat heart problems and intestinal muscle spams.
Olive Leaf - An Inexpensive Solution For Diseases
Olive leaves are the leaves of olive tree (Olea europaea). Olive leaves are popular for their health benefits and flavor, and the leaves have been medicinally used in various places and times. Olive leaf Extracts (OLE) and natural olive leaf are in markets now as immunostimulator, anti-aging and antibiotic. It has been proven with clinical evidence that it regulates blood pressure and has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Recently, a liquid extract made from olive leaves got in international focus, when it was shown that its antioxidant capability was twice as powerful as green tea and much more that than vitamin C.
Health Benefits Of Olive Leaf Extracts
Olive leaf extracts are commonly used to fight viral infections like flu and cold, yeast infections, herpes and shingles. Olive leaves have also been shown to alleviate bad cholesterol or LDL (low-density lipoproteins). Researchers have established that olive leaf reduces blood pressure and increases blood flow by relaxing the arteries. Olive leaf extracts may also prove helpful in stroke, brain edema, infarct volume and other neurological disorders.
Olive leaf has strong antioxidant properties, which help the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals can damage the cells due to their reactive chemical nature, if they are not eliminated. Interestingly, a recent research also shows that the antioxidant properties of olive leaf are also effective in treatment of tumors, and in the cancers of breast, skin, liver, colon and prostrate.
Olive Leaf Usage
Olive leaf extracts are available, and can be consumed in various forms. It is obtainable as dried leaf tea, liquid concentrate, capsule or powder form; however fresh leaves or leaf extract are considered more beneficial.
Medicinal Nature Of Olive Leaf Extracts
1. Anti-Inflammatory: It has anti-inflammatory properties, useful to treat gastritis, acidity and other stomach problems.
2. Immunity: It increases immunity power against diseases.
3. Reduce pathogens: It curbs over the generation and spread of pathogens in the body. It controls the growth of viruses and bacteria.
4. Treat obesity: Olive leaf tea reduces obesity when consumed regularly.
5. Acne treatment: The strong antioxidant content s of Olive Leaf Extracts (OLE) clean the skin from inside, and help the skin to remain wrinkle free and maintain a youthful look.
6. Good for Heart: Olive leaf extracts are helpful to control cholesterol and blood pressure.
What is Fenugreek Seed and How Does It Boost Your Health?
July 07, 2011 11:16 AM
Fenugreek seed and your health
Fenugreek seed is a spice often added to curries and other Indian dishes. It is a good source of protein and nutrients. In folk medicine, it has been used in the treatment of pain and irritation characteristic of inflammation. It is historically utilized to promote lactation. More recent studies have shown that it displays antiviral properties. In particular, it has been tested in allaying symptoms of cold infections.
Trigonella foenum-graecum is a plant species that belongs to the legume family. As such, it has been cultivated as a vegetable even before the ancient times. It is believed to be an indigenous species of the Fertile Crescent, a historic region that comprises the modern countries Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria. To this day, it remains an important crop, herb, and food source in these countries.
Combats Diabetes Mellitus
Fenugreek seed has been the subject of scientific research in the past few years. Drawing on its use in traditional medicine, it has been employed in the management of blood sugar. It improves the effect of the hormone insulin in regulating glucose levels. In fact, it has shown great potential in treating both type I insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and type II noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus.
Alters Blood Lipid Profile
The phytochemical content of fenugreek seed enables it to effectively lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Clinical trials have recorded changes in lipids present in the systemic circulation after intake of fenugreek seed products. It is now postulated that it blocks the metabolic pathway for the synthesis of low density lipoproteins or bad cholesterol. Some sources say that it raises good cholesterol levels.
Increases Milk Production
Fenugreek seed is rich in organic compounds that promote the secretion of milk products within the mammary glands of lactating women by as much as 900 per cent. Traditionally, the seeds are ground into powder and consumed in large quantities by pregnant women. Today they are made into capsules, which have been reported to display the same benefits and remain popular in the Indian subcontinent.
Relieves Viral Infections
There is a growing body of literature devoted to the putative antiviral properties of fenugreek seed. A number of researchers have attested that the seed displays biochemical activity that interferes with the replication of viruses. For instance, topical applications of fenugreek extracts have shown desirable results in removing viral skin conditions, and oral intake has been effective in easing the common cold.
Promotes Skin Health
Fenugreek seed is a natural conditioner and moisturizer. It promotes retention of moisture in the skin and protects the outer layer of the skin from irritants. It has been used as salves to wounds, rashes, boils, bruises, allergies, and insect bites. It is made into a syrupy mixture that is directly applied to the hair. It regulates the production of sebum in the hair follicles and helps control dandruff.
Grab some fenugreek seed and feel the difference!
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.
Can Olive Leaf Boost My Immune System - answer is Yes
April 06, 2011 03:01 PM
Olive Leaf And Your Health
Olive leaf is highly prized for its antimicrobial properties in booth food and supplement industries. For centuries, the leaf of the olive tree has been utilized as a natural antibiotic. It has become the subject of modern day scientific research in the past few years, and preliminary studies appear to be in favor of its age-old claims. In addition, it is now known to modulate immune responses and display potent antioxidant activities.
Olea europaea may be best known for its long association with Mediterranean cuisines although cultures around the world have also used various parts of the plant as flavor enhancers. Its medicinal value continues to gain prominence as recent studies point to the health benefits of the organic compounds it contains. Olive leaf is identified to be an excellent source of the phytochemicals hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein, and oleocanthal, all of which are known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, fresh olive leaves are widely accepted to have an antioxidant content that is 400 per cent higher than vitamin C, that’s double the antioxidant capacity of green teas.
Fights Bacterial and Viral Infections
Olive leaf is antiseptic in nature. It was an important ingredient in poultices used to treat war wounds in the ancient world. Elenolic acid is an organic compound naturally occurring in olive leaf, which is under scrutiny for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. This compound is described to be both bactericidal and bacteriostatic, which means it is directly involved in killing bacterial strains and at the same time interferes with bacterial cellular metabolism. In addition, the antiviral properties ascribed to olive leaf are attributable to its ability to viral protein synthesis necessary for viral replication. This explains why it is effective in the treatment of many known infections, such as candidiasis, shingles, herpes, and Epstein-Barr virus infectious mononucleosis. It has also been reported to reduce the symptoms of colds and flu and shorten their duration.
Scavenges Reactive Oxygen Species
The natural antioxidants found in olive leaf are believed to be the most powerful antioxidants in the market, and as such often marketed as anti-aging. Antioxidants are indispensable in the prevention of the tissue damage caused by reactive oxygen species, or ROS. Free radicals, the best known ROS, are among the group of by-products of oxygen metabolism in the human body. They are also deployed by cells in response to invasive pathogens. Each cell does have its own antioxidant defense, but an imbalance between endogenous antioxidants and ROS is quite common. Chronic stress and physical fatigue are thought to compromise the antioxidant defense of the body, which is restored by antioxidants found in the diet.
Boosts the Innate Immune System
Furthermore, olive leaf strengthens the innate immune system. Its proponents believe that regular intake contributes to the non-specific responses of the immune system, such as the production of neutrophils during inflammation. This type of white blood cells is often the first to engage with pathogens. By speeding up their releases, olive leaf prepares the body against infections.
If you want an Immune Boost, Give olive leaf a try!
Chronic fatigue syndrom and your life styles
September 01, 2010 07:55 PM
Fight Chronic Fatigue SyndromChronic fatigue syndrome strikes more than two million people in the United States, with eighty-five percent of these people being women between the ages of thirty and fifty. The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome often resemble many other viral infections, making it very hard to pinpoint the real problem. This condition is possibly caused by stress as well as by mercury poisoning from amalgam fillings, hypoglycemia, anemia, hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, food and chemical allergies, weak adrenal function, parasitic infections, amino acid deficiencies, and Candida albicans infections. With all of this in mind, there are a couple of herbal combinations and healthful suggestions that can be followed to help prevent or deal with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Cordyceps sinensis is a natural Chinese supplement that contains high amounts of L-tryptophan. It provides nutrients that are necessary for relieving fatigue and improving endurance. It also helps to increase blood supply to the heart and brain. This herb increases the production of superoxide dismutase in the body. In China, this herb has been traditionally used to treat the nervous system. Additionally, it is used to help strengthen the kidneys and liver.
An herbal combination containing bee pollen, licorice, kelp, barley grass, schizandra, gotu kola, eleuthero, yellow dock, rose hips, and capsicum has been shown to help restore energy to the system. This combination is an excellent combination of herbs to feed and nourish the entire system. It provides nourishment for the adrenals, in the form of licorice, and also for the thyroid, in the form of kelp. The bee pollen in this combination helps to nourish and supply energy to the body. Barley grass nourishes and cleans the body, while schizandra, which is an adaptogen herb, increases the energy supply of cells in the brain, muscles, liver, kidneys, glands, nerves, and in the entire body. The combination of herbs will rebuild the blood, liver, and digestive system.
The following are a few suggestions that can be followed to help deal with and prevent chronic fatigue syndrome. Exercise is very helpful, with even mild exercise helping to increase stamina and oxygenate cells. Exercise also helps to improve sleep. Allergies can be involved in chronic fatigue syndrome, so it is important to look into food allergies, chemicals, and heavy metals, and eliminate them. Anytime there is inflammation in the body that is accompanied by pain, swelling, heat, and redness, allergies are likely the culprits. When the immune system is weak, candida is usually involved.
Candida and Chronic Fatigue Syndrom
A candida diet would help to restore natural flora to the system. Candida can prevent the body from using sugars properly, which blocks the body’s energy production and causes extreme fatigue. To restore the friendly bacteria, use acidophilus on an empty stomach and eat unsweetened yogurt. If candida is involved, it is important to eliminate sugar, alcohol, mushrooms and all fungi, molds, and yeast in any form. It is also important to eliminate fermented foods. Look into leaky gut syndrome, which typically allows germs, viruses, bacteria, worms, and parasites to flourish. When they flourish, the immune and nervous system become weak, causing diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome to weaken the body.
Trying natural remedies like Fatigue to fantastic herbal supplements may help ease chronic fatigue.
Germanium and Oxygen absorption
March 30, 2010 05:10 PM
Germanium, like gold and silver, is a naturally occurring trace element. Although it is considered a trace mineral, it is also referred to as a semimetal. There is no simple difference between a metal and a mineral. Many people have become interested in and excited about this product. However, little research was done on germanium until 1950.
This trace mineral is important in the body for many reasons. It helps to improve oxygenation on a cellular level which is essential for keeping the immune system healthy and also for eliminating toxins from the body. Life depends upon an adequate availability of oxygen. Germanium is responsible for enabling better usage of oxygen on a cellular level. Reports have stated that germanium has many beneficial effects. It has been used to reduce pain. Additionally, it has been found to help with respiratory diseases in order to improve oxygen utilization. Evidence has also been found that germanium is able to help improve circulation. In Raynaud’s disease cases, germanium is able to help improve warmth in the fingers and toes within one half hour. For those individuals who are healthy, warm occurred within minutes. Germanium may also benefit those people who are suffering from strokes or an insufficient amount of oxygen. This substance may also help to remove or detoxify the body of metal poisoning through its chelating ability. Germanium is often recommended for those dealing with liver disease and arthritis.
Germanium possesses both antiviral and antitumor properties. This trace mineral was found to slow the progression and speed of tumors, which in turn prolonged life. Research is continuing in Japan which is studying the effects of germanium-132, which is also known as Ge-132, on different forms of cancer and disease. It may help the body by increasing oxygen supply, to which cancer cells are extremely sensitive. With oxygen utilization improved, the cancer cells may not be able to survive. Additionally, American scientists are in the process of researching this product. Germanium was first discovered to be beneficial to one’s health by a Japanese scientist by the name of Dr. Kazuhiko Asai. Dr. Asai, a chemist, became interest in germanium extraction from coal. After hearing reports that Russians used germanium as a rejuvenator, he studied the germanium in plants. From studies he concluded that germanium was able to enhance oxygen utilization in both plants and animals. Additional studies with mice led him to find that less oxygen was required in order to maintain respiration, as long as those tissues were supplemented with germanium.
Research has determined that germanium may be beneficial in helping with conditions including cancer, allergies, arthritis, cholesterol, viral infections, and AIDS. This trace element has proven to be successful in a variety of studies. Additionally, the benefits of this substance are just beginning to be understood. Germanium will, undoubtedly, become an important supplement as more information continues to be made available. It is important that one consults their health care provider before using this, or any other form of vitamin supplements. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by germanium, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
Herbs, Serrapeptase, and your Sinus
February 18, 2010 04:26 PM
Sinusitis occurs when the nasal sinuses become inflamed. There are sinuses that are located above the eyes (frontal sinuses), inside the cheekbones (maxillary sinuses), behind the bridge of the nose (sphenoid sinuses), and in the upper nose (ethmoid sinuses). Sinuses are air-filled pockets in the skull that are connected to the nose and throat by passages designed to drain away mucous. The sinuses are the first line of defense to protect the lungs from infection. The majority of sinusitis cases affect the frontal and/or maxillary sinuses. However, any or all of the sinuses may be involved, with each individual tending to have problems with a particular set of sinuses. If the sinuses are too small or happen to be poorly position to handle the volume of mucous produced, they can become clogged. This causes pressure in the sinuses to increase, which causes pain. Those sinuses that are clogged for a long time are extremely prone to infection.
Sinusitis can be either acute or chronic. Acute sinusitis is usually caused by bacterial or viral infections of the nose, throat, and upper respiratory tract, like the common cold. Over 50 percent of all cases of sinusitis are caused by bacteria. Air travel can also lead to acute inflammation of the sinuses, due to the changes in air pressure. Chronic sinusitis problems, on the other hand, may be caused by small growths in the nose, injury of the nasal bones, air pollution, dental complications, emotional stress, smoking, and exposure to irritant fumes and smells. Allergic sinusitis may be the result of hay fever of food allergies, especially those allergies to milk and dairy products. People who have compromised immune systems are susceptible to fungal sinusitis, which is a potentially dangerous condition that requires aggressive treatment.
Sinusitis is characterized by symptoms such as fever which is usually low-grade but can be higher in some cases, cough, headache, earache, toothache, facial pain, cranial pressure, difficulty breathing through the nose, loss of the sense of smell, and tenderness over the forehead and cheekbones. If pain results from tapping the forehead just over the eyes, the cheekbones, or the area around the bridge of the nose, the sinuses may be infected. Sinusitis occasionally produces facial swelling which can be followed by a stuffy nose and a thick discharge of mucous. Those who suffer from sinusitis can have other unpleasant symptoms as a result of previous symptoms. Postnasal drip can cause a sore throat, nausea, and bad breath, while difficulty breathing can cause snoring and loss of sleep.
The following nutrients are considered to be helpful in dealing with and preventing sinusitis: acidophilus, bee pollen, flaxseed oil, a multivitamin and mineral complex, Quercetin, raw thymus glandular, vitamin A with mixed carotenoids, vitamin B complex, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, colloidal silver, DMSO, garlic, MSM, proteolytic enzymes, Pycnogenol, sea mussel, serrapeptase, and zinc lozenges.
Additionally, the following herbs may be helpful in preventing and treating sinusitis: anise, fenugreek, marshmallow, red clover, bayberry, bitter orange oil, cat’s claw, ginger root, goldenseal, horehound, mullein, nettle, olive leaf extract, and rose hips. Serrapeptase is an enzyme that is able to help keep sinus fluid thin and flowing properly. Serrapeptase also possesses anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce sinus inflammation which will ease pain and speed healing of the sinus cavity.
June 18, 2009 10:54 AM
After going through puberty, our bodies gradually decrease in the production of immune and growth factors that generally combat disease. After losing these vital components, we are much more susceptible to the aging process, which shortens our life expectancy. Colostrum and its other components have the ability to fight off bacterial and viral invaders as well as stimulate tissue repair, which is something that becomes increasingly vulnerable as we age by boosting the immune system. For all of these reasons, it is important for an adult to supplement with colostrum.
Colostrum should be collected during the first 24 hours after birth. Also, a colostrum supplement should be processed in a USDA licensed facility. This insures the consumer that USDA guidelines are being followed. Additionally, consumers should make sure that products labeled Colostrum are actually 100% colostrum, not colostrum or concentrates of milk whey. Lastly, colostrum that is mixed with other supplements or herbs and additives may have a diluted colostrum concentration, which means the benefits you could obtain from this supplement may be compromised.
Even though colostrum has no interactions with drugs, side effects may be experienced from a cleansing or healing crisis, which is a necessary but somewhat inconvenient and adverse result. Fortunately, once the healing crisis is complete, you will feel substantially better and in good terms of health. Mediations may need to be re-evaluated by your medical profession for dose and need.
Although colostrum is generally believed to be very safe for those mothers who are pregnant and nursing, one should probably ask their medical professional prior to taking colostrum or its specific agents while they are pregnant. Just like any other supplement or drug, it is better to be overly safe and check with a healthcare provider before jeopardizing a pregnancy.
Colostrum is recommended specifically for children who have not already received the mother’s breast milk, as breast milk would have already provided the benefits that would be obtained through colostrum supplementation. Those children with flu, colds, bacterial or viral infections, or children who have been on long or short-term antibiotics or other drugs are good candidates for colostrum supplementation. Therefore, colostrum supplementation is safe and may be recommended for these types of children.
Many people wonder if colostrum products can pass on mad cow disease. At this time, no case of mad cow disease has been reported in the United States. With awareness of the disease being so high, it is extremely unlikely that one would contract mad cow disease from a colostrum product.
The overall supplementation of colostrum and other products that contain derivatives of colostrum has been shown to extremely safe. Additionally, it has been shown that colostrum is equally effective, whether it be taken by injection or by mouth. It has also been shown that the long-term administration of colostrum preparation is very safe to the human body. Because infants and the elderly are the two main groups that are especially at risk for infections, many people may wonder just how safe colostrum products are for these two groups of people. Not only is oral administration safe, it is also very effective and easily accepted by both of these groups.
Colostrum is available in capsule of tablet forms at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands like Kal and Source Naturals to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Colostrum 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.
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.
February 23, 2009 11:54 AM
Mononucleosis is an infectious viral disease that is most often caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. More rarely, it can be caused by cytomegalovirus. Both of these viruses are members of the herpes family. Once the virus enters the body, it multiplies in lymphocytes. Mono then affects the respiratory system, the lymphatic tissues, and glands in the neck, groin, armpits, bronchial tubes, spleen, and liver.
Symptoms of mono include depression, extreme fatigue, fever, generalized aching, headache, jaundice, and loss of appetite, sore throat, pain on the upper left side of the abdomen, puffy eyelids, swollen glands, and sometimes, a bumpy, red rash. Additionally, the spleen may become enlarged and liver function may be affected. Meningitis, encephalitis, and rupturing of the spleen are very rare complications that may develop as a result of mono.
The virus’s associated with mono are extremely contagious, often being transmitted from person to person by close contact such as kissing, which explains why mono is often referred to as the “kissing disease.” The disease can also be spread by sharing food or utensils, as well as through sexual contact or through respiratory droplets. The incubation period for mono is about ten days in children and thirty to fifty days in adults. A lot of mononucleosis cases occur in the military and in colleges, as living conditions are crowded and sleeping patterns are inadequate. High school students also have a high incidence of this disease. Mono is most common among children and adolescents, as about 90 percent of people over age thirty-five have mono antibodies in their blood, which means that they had the disease at some point in their lives, although many do not even know they had it.
The symptoms of mononucleosis are very similar to those of influenza, which often results in mono often being mistaken for it. However, with mono, the symptoms tend to be more persistent, with acute symptoms usually lasting from two to four weeks, and fatigue persisting for three to eight weeks after the other symptoms disappear. The disease can even linger for a year or more in some individuals. It can also produce recurring, but successively milder, attacks. If the immune system has been compromised by an organ transplant, HIV/AIDS, or other viruses, the mono symptoms can be extremely serious and chronic.
Mononucleosis is diagnosed through a blood test called a spot test. This test reveals the presence of specific viral antibodies and also confirms the presence of mono. Additionally, a liver function test can assist in the diagnosis.
The following nutrients are considered to be extremely important in dealing with mononucleosis: acidophilus, proteolytic enzymes, vitamin A with mixed carotenoids, and vitamin C with bioflavonoids. Other nutrients that have proven to be both important and helpful include: DMG, a free-form amino acid complex, garlic, vitamin B complex, zinc lozenges, maitake extract, reishi extract, shiitake extract, a multivitamin and mineral complex, and raw thymus glandular.
Astragalus and Echinacea are also beneficial in boosting the immune system, while cat’s claw has immune-enhancing properties that act against viral infections. Dandelion and milk thistle are beneficial in protecting the liver. Goldenseal helps to fight infection, while olive leaf extract helps to inhibit the growth of viruses that cause mono. Pau d’arco balances the bacteria in the colon and spirulina contains phytonutrients that are helpful in boosting the immune system.
Whether you want to combat mono symptoms naturally or use prescription drugs, always consult your family physician before taking matters into your own hands. A correct diagnosis is important to how one might want to combat sickness in general. Natural vitamins like the ones listed above are available at your 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.
Essential Fatty Acids (omega-3) ( Primrose Oil)
September 11, 2008 09:04 AM
A deficiency in essential fatty acids can be linked to many ailments. When the body lacks linoleic acid in the diet, adverse symptoms result. Such symptoms include: acne, changes in personality or behavior, gallbladder dysfunction, slow healing wounds, cardiovascular problems, prostate inflammation, thirst due to excessive perspiration, arthritis, miscarriage, poor growth, kidney problems, muscle tremors, skin disorders, and sterility in males. Low contents or a lack of linolenic acid in the diet can also cause many adverse symptoms. These symptoms include poor growth, learning disability, tingling in the extremities, impaired motor coordination, and poor vision.
When adequate amounts of dietary fatty acids are obtained in the deficient person, adverse symptoms will disappear. Unfortunately, long-term deficiencies of essential fatty acids can eventually lead to death. Because the human body requires forty-five known essential nutrients and requires linoleic acid more than any other, researchers estimate that the body needs at least three to six grams a day of linoleic acid in order to prevent deficiency symptoms. This is equivalent to one to two percent of your daily caloric intake.
However, a much larger amount can be helpful to encourage and preserve optimum health. Although the requirements are different for each person, factors such as stress, diet, and amount of physical activity that is engaged in daily must be taken into account. For example, an obese person who eats a lot of saturated fats will need a lot more essential fatty acids than a thin person who is cautious about the amount of saturated fats that are included in their diet. Saturated fats interfere with the absorption and metabolism of linoleic acid.
A well-balanced diet will include primary nutrients such as vitamins B3, B6, C, zinc, and vitamin A. This will help the body to utilize essential fatty acids much more efficiently. It should be mentioned that the ability of lipids to hold high levels of oxygen has negative effects for those who are obese. By having increased oxygen in fat reserves, one can experience lipid oxidation, which leads to free radical formation, which in turn increases many tissue pathologies. In order to avoid this process, a diet or supplementation that is rich in antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and E is encouraged. Many factors can get in the way of fatty acid metabolism. These include a diet that is high in saturated fats and cholesterol, aging, alcohol, high blood sugar, viral infections, and aspirin use.
It is recommended that people stay away from fats that have been altered from their normal, health-giving state to the point in which they actually cause damage to the cells of the body. In an ideal state, a person who is health conscious will avoid any foods that are deep-fried, as they are especially dangerous to the human body. However, because we are all humans, it is almost impossible to eat a perfect diet in this day and age.
Therefore, taking an essential fatty acid supplement is a great idea that is recommended by many health experts to offset the damage that is often done to your body by consuming the unwanted, yet inevitable, bad fats. Essential fatty acids can regulate hormone production in the body and stabilize ones emotional state if it is due to a hormone imbalance. Have you had your essential fatty acids today?
Health Comes From The Honey bee
August 08, 2008 04:08 PM
The substances found in the beehive have held a treasured place in history among the ancient cultures of Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, Middle East, and the Slavic and Native American peoples. Experts have long theorized that bees came into being when flowering plants first began blossoming in abundance. The fossilized remains of pollen, leaves, and even flowers have been dated back to when dinosaurs roamed the land back when time began.
Bees collect pollen from flowers and mix it with their nectar, which transforms it into a nutrient-dense super food with bioactive ingredients numbering in the thousands including enzymes, bioflavonoids, essential fatty acids, free amino acids, natural chelated minerals, and whole vitamin complexes. Ancient Egyptians, Orientals, Hebrews, and South American natives often applied a combination of honey mixed with bee pollen to wounds, burns, and boils, while Orientals used honey and bee pollen mixed with fruit or vegetable juice as a health drink. Norse mythology even states that honey and bee pollen were the secret to the eternal life of their gods.
Whether bee pollen is the secret to eternal life or not, there have been many studies done which show the connection between its consumption and healthy longevity. Bee pollen is seen as an immune system enhancer due to its ability to strengthen the body against viral infections. It is also effective in relieving fatigue, improving concentration, the treatment of asthma and of allergies, and in confronting skin problems and inhibiting wrinkles.
Bee pollen has also helped many women with painful menstrual cramps or hot flashes. It can also relieve headaches and heart palpitations as well as increase sexual potency, fertility, and benefit the prostate. Bee pollen can be used to regulate colon problems and as a diuretic for the kidney and bladder. Evidence has even been found for bee pollen’s effectiveness on children with ADD.
Bee pollen is packed with many different nutrients including amino acids, antibiotic factors, DNA/RNA, enzymes, glucosides, hormones, minerals, vitamins, and other ingredients that have not yet been determined. There are a total of 22 amino acids in bee pollen, including all of the essential ones, which makes it an extremely usable and complete source of protein. It is higher in protein than steak, eggs or cheese weight for weight, without large amounts of fat.
Bee pollen is rich in phytochemicals such as flavonoids, carotenes, and phytosterols, which allows it to provide important antioxidants including lycopene, selenium, quercetin, and beta carotene. Bee pollen also has the ability to regulate intestinal bacterial, which neutralizes toxic waste and improves blood health. Bee pollen contains 18 different enzymes including amylase, diastase, phosphatase, pepsin, and tryspin. Because bee pollen is such a rich source of enzymes, it greatly assists the body since they are required for all bodily functions.
Glucosides, which are natural sugars, are involved in the creation of energy within the body, can be found in bee pollen, as they promote better healing and coagulation and also control hypertension by regulating blood flow. Bee pollen contains plant hormones which activate and assist the body’s own endocrine glands, allowing them to function better, which can lead to an increased sperm count for men.
Twenty-seven different kinds of minerals can be found in bee pollen including calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, boron, chlorine, copper, iodine, molybdenum, phosphorus, selenium, silicon, sodium, sulfur, titanium, and zinc. All known vitamins, from A through K, are found in concentrated amounts in bee pollen. With all of these nutrients present, bee pollen is an excellent addition to the diet which will ensure healthy functioning of all your body’s processes.
August 06, 2008 11:21 AM
Traditionally, Cat's Claw has been used to treat arthritis, gastritis, tumors, dysentery, and female hormonal imbalances. Today, the plant has shown the ability to treat viral infections, minimize inflammation, and provide therapeutic action for stomach and bowel disorders including arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, ulcers, gastritis, parasites, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, several types of cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, herpes, allergies, lupus, diabetes, PMS, yeast infections, hypoglycemia, prostatitis, bursitis, and rheumatism. European studies are currently looking at Cat's Claw for its ability to treat AIDS and cancer. Additionally, the herb has been used for Athlete’s Foot, Ear infections, back pain, TMJ syndrome, fibromyalgia, canker sores, sinus infections, and asthma.
Peruvians have trusted the anti-inflammatory abilities of Cat’s Claw for many generations, as it was traditionally used for any type of rheumatism or arthritic joint condition. Many studies on the plant metabolites found in Cat’s Claw have found that it does inhibit inflammatory response for a fact. The plant sterols that are found in Cat’s Claw have the ability to reduce artificially induced swelling. After extensive research, scientists have found that the strong anti-inflammatory activity is due to the presence of all the compounds together. These same compounds have an intrinsic anti-inflammatory effect as well.
These findings confirm what herbalists have advocated for many generations: the fact that plants are designed to be used in their whole form in order to be biochemically effective. Pharmaceutical synthetic versions of herbal medication shave so many bad side effects because they have been chemically extricated and isolated, which eliminates the very crucial role of other compounds that are vital to the function of the plant.
Natural botanical remedies, on the other hand, have been designed by nature to work together. Natural anti-inflammatories are extremely important for treating diseases such as allergies and arthritis because they have a lot less side effects than the prescription NSAIDs that are currently being used by thousands of individuals. Back pain, joint pain, inflammation caused by histamine release, and a whole lot of other maladies have resulted in millions of dollars worth of anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen to be purchased.
Diseases such as AIDS and flesh-eating viruses have received a good amount of press coverage over the last several years. Although a lot of us may not feel immediately threatened by these viruses, we may not be as strong as we could be immunologically. Most of us are battling a never-ending list of ailments such as colds, flu, sore throats, earaches, athlete’s foot, yeast infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and colitis.
With heart disease, cancer, and diabetes being responsible for thousands of deaths each year, our country as a whole is in poor health. Our immune systems, which are our build-in defense mechanisms, need to be kept in optimal working condition as infectious microorganisms and carcinogens constantly surround us. A healthy immune system has a great ability to fight off disease or at least minimize its stay in our body. By fortifying our defenses with certain herbs, vitamins, and antioxidants, we can greatly promote wellness in our bodies.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
May 06, 2008 05:14 PM
Grapefruit seed extract is regarded as being natural antibiotic that is effective against a broad range of bacterial infections. It has also been used to treat parasitic infections and a range of viral infections as well as having found uses for a wide variety of medical conditions.
So what is it about grapefruit seed that is so special? Most people are acquainted with grapefruit, which as a member of the citrus family of fruits, and not to be confused with grapes which are a totally different type of plant. Grape seed extract is also a useful natural medication, but used for totally different conditions.
Because of its efficacy against parasitic and viral infections, grapefruit seed extract is very useful in treating various forms of food poisoning. But, how was this remarkable property of the simple grapefruit seed noticed? The answer to that depends very much upon what version of the story of Einstein Laureate physicist and immunologist Dr. Jacob Harich you believe.
Dr. Harich was not only a scientist but a hobby gardener in Florida, and the two versions of his story tell either that he decided to investigate why grapefruit seeds tasted so bitter, or why the grapefruit seeds in his compost heap failed to compost, or rot. Whichever story is correct, and perhaps both are, the result was the discovery that grapefruit seeds appeared to be a very effective antibiotic.
In fact it has been shown to be effective against over 800 strains of bacteria and viruses and also effective against many fungi that lead to illness in humans. Because of this it is used in cased of food poisoning that involve bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract. In fact during the latter part of the 1980s, grapefruit seed extract was tested against a number of known antibiotics and found to be as effective as any of them. Similar results obtained in a number of tests in the USA and elsewhere in the world, and it appears that it is an excellent treatment for the symptoms of food poisoning.
Not only that, but it has been found effective in the treatment of some immunodeficiency diseases, presumably because its antimicrobial properties does much of the work that the immune system would normally do, and so relieves it of much of its hard work. This allows the immune system to concentrate on conditions which are exacerbated by deficiencies in its operation.
Bifidobacteria and Loactobacilli are bacteria that are beneficial to the digestive system. The measure of a good broad spectrum antibiotic is that it does not affect the beneficial bacteria, and grapefruit seed extract has no effect on the former and only a mildly inhibiting effect on the latter. It is also non toxic to humans, which is another measure of a good antibiotic. You would have to drink about two pints of the extract, around 4000 time the normal dose, for the treatment to be potentially fatal.
Among the many uses of the extract are not only in controlling gastrointestinal infections, but also general fungal conditions of the skin, vaginal infections and yeast infections, and also colds and sore throats. It is also believed to support the immune system, not only by its antimicrobial properties but through its effect on intestinal health upon which much of our immune system is dependent. It can also protect patients with symptoms of AIDs and other immunodeficiency conditions from infection.
Its effect on yeast infections around the nether regions of small children has been documented, and it has also been found to be very safe to young children. In fact many mothers have it as a permanent addition to their medicine cabinet.
It is not that long ago when doctors believed all diseases to be due to bacteria or viruses. It is now becoming clear that a large proportion is actually due to fungal infections and parasites. Many conditions such as allergies, circulatory disease and some forms of arthritis have been shown to be due to fungal infections that weaken the immune system. Grapefruit seed extract has been found to be effective in treating many types of fungal disease.
In using the extract in this way, and to treat bacterial infections, it is best to start with a low dose and gradually increase it. This is because when fungi and bacteria are destroyed they release toxins, and too high a dose could result in too much toxin being produced for your body to handle. If you take it gradually you will get the same result, but without the risk of the nausea and diarrhea which the toxins can cause.
Despite all of these benefits, grapefruit extract has not been given the credit it deserves, and much research has still to be done to establish the constituents of the seed that confer these properties. Among these are known to be proanthocyanadins, a class of flavanols with strong antioxidant properties, and a diphenol hydroxybenzene complex that destroys bacteria through the cytoplasmic membrane to prevent the uptake of amino acids and cause leakage of the cell contents. Other active components are Vitamins C and E, tocopherols, limonoids and sterols, in addition to a number of important minerals.
However, there is still much work to be done, although the extract will continue to be used by many devotees for the treatment, not only of food poisoning symptoms, but also of conditions such as acne, athlete’s foot, gingivitis, cold sores, sinusitis and parasitic infections. It appears to be practically a cure-all.
There appear to be no drug interactions, although some medications do react with grapefruit juice, such as some treatments for high blood pressure. If your treatment advises you not to take grapefruit juice, then do not take grapefruit seed extract. Another factor to be aware of is that since the extract is an effective bactericide, then it could deplete the digestive tract of friendly bacteria essential for digestion. You are advised, therefore, to take a supplement of acidophilus, which is easily taken in the form of yoghurt type drinks specifically formulated or dietary supplement for the purpose.
Blue Green Algae a Super Food that is Foods Packed With Nutrients. Vegetarian Friendly
April 11, 2008 11:24 AM
In the USA it is harvested in Oregon, in the upper regions of the Upper Klamath Lake, although it is also available in many other parts of the world. Blue green algae are about the best source of vegetable protein and amino acids available to the human diet, although are now generally used as a supplement rather than as a primary food source.
However, in spite of its name, it is not an alga at all: it is a bacterium: Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA), known as cyanobacteria, after the Greek for blue. Nevertheless, bacteria or not, blue green algae offer exceptional nutritional benefits and also health benefits to people suffering from certain conditions. Here are the best of its benefits:
1. It is natural and therefore easily assimilated and digested. You get a very high useful yield from its nutrient content, unlike other foods where a large proportion can be passed through the gut unchanged. In fact a large proportion of the food you eat passes through your body unchanged, although that is mainly due to a lack of chewing!
2. It is very high in protein, and helps to maintain healthy hair, nails and skin. If you are on a vegetation diet this is an ideal source of non-animal protein (unless you class bacteria as animals!). If you want numbers, at least 60% of the solid content of this material is vegetable protein human-ready for use.
3. It is packed full of enzymes that aid digestion, and so ensures that not only is it itself fully digested, but also that you get the most nutritional benefit from any other foods you eat. A lack of enzymes is very common in the western diet, especially the North American diet, and if you take a regular supply of blue green algae, then you need not also take enzyme capsules.
4. It possesses cleansing and detoxifying properties, and so helps to reduce the incidence of headaches and allow you better and more restful sleep. Toxins can act on your body to cause pain, and is associated with the free radicals discussed below.
5. It is very high in antioxidants that destroy the free radicals in your blood and tissues. Free radicals destroy body cells and can seriously damage your health. Among the health benefits that blue green algae provide due to its antioxidant properties are:
a) It supports the immune system and helps to prevent inflammation in your joints. It also enables you to fight off bacterial and viral infections quicker. b) It maintains the integrity of your body and skin cells, and reduces cell damage by free radicals. This has an anti-aging effect and preserves the youthful appearance of your skin, resisting wrinkling and maintaining its firmness. c) Blue green algae help to prevent the free radical oxidation of the LDL lipids that transport cholesterol that cause the atherosclerosis that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
6. It provides you with energy through its effect on your body’s metabolic conversion of blood glucose to energy within the mitochondria. This is partially due to its antioxidant effect and partially to the nutritional content of the bacteria. The bacteria are also a rich source of glycogen that is your body’s store of emergency energy. Your liver can use the bacteria to biosynthesize its own store of glycogen that your body can use if called upon for a sudden burst of energy.
7. The amino acids it contains are of low molecular size, and can cross the blood-brain barrier. It provides nutrition to the brain, and its high chlorophyll content helps to purify the blood. Its high content of trace minerals and naturally chelated minerals renders them extremely bioavailable, and able to provide a high degree of nutrition to the brain and other organs of the body. Blue green algae contain rhamnose that helps nutrients to cross from the blood to the brain, and then to the brain cells that need it.
8. Blue green algae have been shown to help memory and mood. This is likely due at least in part to its fatty acid content, and its effect on serotonin levels.
These eight benefits are more than any other individual food source can provide, and in themselves justify the claim that blue green algae is the best individual food source there is. However, when we have a look at the active ingredients, and nutritional content of the bacteria, then it seems even more impressive. There is more to blue green algae than just a few vitamins and minerals. You can get these in any multivitamin supplement: this stuff is completely natural and all of its ingredients are completely compatible with the human digestive system.
Many of the synthetic vitamins you find in boxes and tubs are only partially absorbed due to the form they are in. Either that or they need the presence of other substances before they can be assimilated. An example is calcium, which is next to useless without magnesium and vitamin C also being present to allow it to be incorporated in the structure of the bones and teeth. With blue green algae, every combination of substances that nature needs for them to work properly is there. Everything gets used and everything has a role to play.
The amino acids and proteins have already been mentioned, and these unusual bacteria contain all of the trace minerals that are necessary for the amino acids and proteins to be properly used. It also contains a large quantity of beta-carotene (a natural Vitamin A precursor and strong anti-oxidant), and is also rich in Vitamin B-12 that most vegetarians are deficient in. It is therefore the perfect food for vegetarians and vegans.
If you understand the health benefits of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which blue green algae are also rich in, then you will understand how a foodstuff containing these fatty acids and all of the other nutritional substances listed above could be regarded as a ‘Superfood’.
Blue green algae is probably the richest food available commercially to humans, but before you use it you should ensure that the content of blue algae in the supplement you purchase is clear and that you are purchasing a standardized amount in what you are purchasing.
Otherwise, it is difficult to see how anybody could go wrong with blue green algae, since it is indisputably an excellent source of protein, amino acids, vitamins and much, much more.
You Should Say: Please Pass the Broccoli, Not I’ll Pass
January 22, 2008 04:38 PM
'Please pass the broccoli': not something that many mothers hear from their children. In fact, not many children appear to like any green vegetables let alone broccoli. This is not important at such a young age, but there comes a time when the health benefits that broccoli brings become almost essential to your good health and well being. Parents are right, but your children won’t believe you.
Some say that the nutritional punch of broccoli is stronger than that of any other vegetable. Is this claim justified? Let’s have a look at the evidence and the facts and you can judge for yourself. First the ‘ordinary’ nutrients of broccoli: vitamin C (more than oranges) and A, folic acid and calcium and also lots and lots of fiber. However, this wonderful vegetable contains not only high levels of calcium, but is also the one of the richest vegetable sources of magnesium. Calcium needs magnesium in order to be properly incorporated into your bone structure, and so broccoli is a very important calcium/magnesium source for vegans that do not drink milk or eat any other dairy products.
It is also rich in protein, containing 3% by weight and is also rich in iron. It is therefore an important part of the diet of women during menstruation when iron is important to enable the blood to maintain its proper erythrocyte levels. A deficiency of iron in the diet of women can lead to anemia and render them more susceptible to infection. However, it is more than just iron that renders this vegetable an important part of the female diet. Broccoli has been established to be of major importance in preventing cancer.
It is likely the most potent anti-cancer vegetable in your diet, and it has been established over 20 years of study that broccoli can help to prevent cancers of the breast and the cervix. The indoles that it contains prevent estrogens from promoting tumor growth, and it also contains beta-carotene, a strong antioxidant that destroys the free radicals that can also cause cancer. However, there is more to broccoli than just that.
Broccoli contains the highest concentration of sulforaphane of all the cruciferous vegetables that include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, rocket and turnip, amongst many others. When you chew broccoli, the glucosinolate glucoraphan is converted to sulforaphane, not by the enzymes in your saliva, but by the actual physical damage done to the plant by the act of chewing. It could likely also be generated by hitting it with a hammer! It is glucosinolates that provide the slightly bitter taste many people experience when they eat vegetables such as brussels sprouts and broccoli, and that likely renders them somewhat unattractive to children!
Sulforaphane is an isothiocyanate containing the NCS functional group, and is actually bound loosely to the sugar as sulforaphane glucosinolate. It is the loose binding that allows it be released on chewing. Broccoli sprouts are its richest source, and it is a strong antioxidant which is why it is so effective in reducing the possibility of certain cancers.
When fighting cancers, your body produces phase-II enzymes, and since sulforaphane induces these enzymes, it stops the carcinogens before they can damage your DNA. This is achieved through the enhancement of the transcription of the proteins that suppress the tumors. In layman’s terms, it is the generation of tumor suppressant proteins from DNA that kills off the tumors before they can destroy the DNA.
There is even more however. Indoles have already been mentioned, and those in question are predominantly indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and 3,3-diindolylmethane (DIM). The latter is generated from the digestion of the former and possesses very potent anti-cancer properties. However, this indole can affect your health in ways other than just as an anti-cancer agent. It can modulate the immune system in a way that renders it suitable for the treatment of a number of viral infections, and is also believed to be a possible answer to the problem of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. It appears to operate synergistically with Interferon-Gamma, a cytokine that helps to prevent viruses from replicating within the cells of the body, to strengthen the MHC-I Complex, a part of the human genome that supports the immune response to viral attacks.
To put it plainly, broccoli can aid your resistance not only to certain cancers, but also to attack by viruses and some bacteria. It is not only cancers of the cervix and breast that broccoli can help to prevent, but also of the lung, prostate, larynx and bladder. I3C also helps to support the function of your liver in detoxifying your blood as well as supporting the cellular reproduction without which your body could not maintain itself after damage.
Broccoli is therefore an important vegetable to men as well as to women, not only for its anti-cancer properties, but also as a general antioxidant and consequent free radical scavenging properties. Its high fiber content is equally split between soluble and insoluble vegetable fiber, and so meets your dietary needs of both types.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli have been singled out by health organizations the world over as essential to your diet, and you should eat them regularly. Once daily would be good, but more is recommended if possible. As stated at the start, strong tasting vegetables containing glucosinolates might not be attractive to children and younger people, but their phytochemical content (the foresaid indoles and isothiocyanates) render them very potent antioxidants and anti-cancer foods.
Taken in relation to other foods, an ounce of broccoli contains as much calcium as a glass of milk, more vitamin C than a similar weight of orange, and a medium floret has more fiber than one slice of bran bread. It is rich in vitamin A and of course there are the other antioxidants and anti-cancer phytochemicals already detailed.
There are many ways of cooking broccoli to maintain its nutritional content, but if you do not like broccoli, then there are supplements available. You can purchase pure broccoli extract or an extract from a mixture of cruciferous vegetables. The choice is yours, but of one thing there can be no doubt. Broccoli is the king of green vegetables, and the nutrients it contains are not available in any other vegetable in such a concentrated and easy to assimilate form.
Your mom was right: it's not just 'eat your veg', but 'eat your broccoli'. No nutritional advice could be better than that. “Pass the broccoli please mom!”
Elderberry Can Boost The Immune System In The Winter
December 03, 2007 09:44 PM
The immune system is frequently overworked when the days get shorter and the temperature starts to drop, and elderberry can boost the immune system in winter for those that find themselves susceptible to all the colds, flu and other viral infections that seem to come out of the woodwork at that time.
Elderberry is the fruit of the elder tree that is native to Asia, Europe and North America. They are found just about anywhere due to their tolerance for a wide range of climates and soil types, and are frequently found by river banks. There are a number of different types of elder, in both small tree and shrub form, and it is those with the black and blue berries that are useful medicinally, not those with red berries. It is not only the berries that are used, but also the elder flowers. Elderflower wine has long been a favorite country wine, and the berries are used to make jam, pies and also drunk as juice.
Elder has been used for countless years for treating viral diseases such as influenza and colds, and it has also been found by some to be effective for the treatment of cold sores (herpes simplex). Its effect on flu is thought to be that it prevents the virus from entering and infecting the body cells, but more on this later. Historically, it has been used to promote the excretion of waste products through urination and sweating, which might be another reason why it is effective against colds and flu and some general respiratory problems.
The juice contains anthocyanins in the form of anthocyanidin-3-glycosides that appear to be very bioavailable to the body. The anthocyanins are more easily absorbed than those of blackcurrant juice, and are very strong antioxidants. The antioxidant effect is reinforced by the presence of large quantities of vitamin C. This difference in bioavailability has been proved though the administration of both blackcurrant and elderberry juice to volunteers, and testing the presence of the anthocyanins in the urine. This is a measure of their bioavailability, or how easily they are absorbed by the body, and the greater this bioavailability, then the more effective is their antioxidant effect.
Separate studies have indicated that anthocyanins derived from berries in general, not just elderberry, can reduce oxidative stress due to age, and also to help brain function. An improvement in the memory of the elderly has been seen to have improved after a course of berry juices rich in these powerful antioxidants. Elderberry antioxidants also improve the stability of LDL cholesterol by protecting against free radical oxidation, and thus helping to reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis that is promoted by the deposition of the oxidized LDL cholesterol on artery walls. This in turn helps to reduce the possibility of cardiovascular disease.
However, it is its effect on the immune system for which elderberry is generally studied by the medical professions. Elderberry helps to boost the immune system predominantly through the production of cytokines. To explain how these work, a quick summary of how part of the immune system works will first be necessary.
When intrusion into the body by an antigen (foreign body) is detected, the initial response is the inflammatory response. Chemical messengers called cytokines are released into the blood to inform the other parts of the immune system that an invader has been spotted.
The immediate effect is to increase the flow of blood to the affected part of the body by dilation of the blood vessels. The spaces between the cells in the vessel walls increase to allow the larger components of the immune system, such as the phagocytes that consume and destroy bacteria. Proteins also congregate and the temperature at the site rises to promote the reactions that the body uses to eject the invaders. The tissue therefore swells due to all the extra fluid and gets hot. The area becomes painful due to the accumulation of material aggravating the nerves, and if there is an infection, pus will eventually be formed from the dead neutrophils used to kill the bacteria or virus.
There are many different types of cytokine, including those that initiate the inflammatory response and others that stop the immune response once the invader has been killed off. Other cytokines, such as the interferons, stop viruses from multiplying, and others take part in the response only to specific types of antigen. Each cytokine has a specific message to pass to the relevant components of the immune system in order that the immune response is appropriate to the invasion concerned and does not overreact. Hence, a grain of pollen in the nose will elicit a lesser response than a varicella antigen that leads to those horrible chickenpox pustules.
In general terms, cytokines give the immune system a kick start once an antigen is spotted. The elderberry anthocyanins produce predominantly inflammatory cytokines, but also one anti-inflammatory cytokine, and so helping to boost the inflammatory response.
Some viruses use what are known as spike proteins that mimic the molecules of their host in order to gain access to cells by binding to the target cell receptors. However, these spikes are easily recognized by the immune system, and the elderberry anthocyanins are active in promoting this recognition. For that reason, viruses vigorously continue to change and mutate to overcome this, one manifestation of their success in achieving this being in the annual infections of influenza that have overcome last year’s antibodies by means of this mutation.
The influenza virus contains what are known as hemagglutinin spikes on its surface which, when deactivated, cannot break through your cell walls, enter the cell and replicate, thus leading to influenza. That is the mechanism by which the constituents of elderberries help to control influenza and reduce its effect on your body. If not deactivated, the spikes allow the virus to invade the cell and provoke the immune response that you know as the flu.
Many such winter ailments have a similar mechanism, which is why, apart from its general health benefits through its high antioxidant content, that elderberry can boost the immune system in winter.
Common Sense Guidelines for Avoiding the Flu and Colds
July 28, 2005 02:07 PM
Common Sense Guidelines for Avoiding the Flu and Colds
1. Eat a healthy diet. The most important way to prevent being infected is through a proper diet. Raw vegetables, fruits, sprouts, nuts, and seeds should be eaten in abundance. Fresh fruit juices such as apple and grape can help the body flush out toxins. Do not overeat. Avoid sugar, soft drinks, white flour products, chocolate, fried foods, alcohol and tobacco.
2. Exercise for health. Exercise at least three times per week to help strengthen the immune system. Regular exercise is known to help enhance the body’s resistance to disease. Exercise can improve the white blood cell count in the body, which fights germs. It stimulates the lymphatic flow and blood circulation, which allows for the blood flow to increase to the brain and all areas of the body. It can help release hormones that actually help you to feel good. Exercise can help relieve anxiety and stress in the body. It can help increase energy and an overall sense of well being.
3. Get plenty of rest. A good night’s sleep helps the immune system fight off illness. This keeps your immune cells powered up, according to research done at the San Diego Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In the study, 42 healthy volunteers were allowed only four hours of shut-eye overnight, which resulted in 30 percent drop in natural killer cells (key players in the battle against viral infections). Sleep deprivation also decreased immune cells, such as T-lymphocytes.3
4. Wash hands regularly. Viruses are easily transmitted during casual contact like shaking hands or touching a doorknob. Wash hands after coming into contact with someone who is ill. Keep hands away from face and mouth.
5. Use paper cups in the bathroom. Viruses can often spread through the family. Using small, disposable paper cups in the bathroom may stop some of the transmission. Toothbrushes should also be replaced regularly to avoid recontamination.
6. Wash towels and linens often. If someone in the family becomes ill, wash towels daily. Hot water should be used in washing to kill the viruses involved.
PRIMARY USES OF ST. JOHN'S WORT
July 15, 2005 09:51 AM
HERBS FOR LYMPHATIC AND BLOOD HEALTH
July 14, 2005 03:51 PM
HERBS FOR LYMPHATIC AND BLOOD HEALTH
The lymphatic system is involved in collecting and removing toxic material from the body’s connective tissue and delivering it to the lymph nodes. This allows for the immune system to function and break down offensive invaders. If the lymphatic system is not functioning properly, the immune system can be hindered in its activity.
The lymphatic system carries the lymph, a nearly clear fluid containing proteins, wastes, and other elements. Lymph comes from the interstitial fluid that surrounds the cells of the body, and brings them nourishment and removes wastes. The lymph travels in the lymphatic vessels, which lie right next to the blood vessels and eventually connect back to major veins.
It has been used traditionally on the blood, liver, lymphatic system, nerves and lungs. Herbalists consider it to be a blood cleanser and recommend this mild herb in formulas when using a cleansing program. The blood is important because of its job of carrying nutrients and oxygen through the red blood cells to the vital organs and tissue in the body.
Red root has traditionally been used as a cleansing herb. It may work to help expedite the transfer of waste material from the lymph to the liver. It helps the liver to perform its vital function. It is often recommended by herbalists as a lymph cleanser.
Modern research has found echinacea to be an effective alterative and blood purifier. Extracts of echinacea root have been found to contain interferon-like properties. Interferon is produced naturally in the body to prevent viral infections.
Echinacea is used for many different ailments and as a blood purifier. It is known to fight chemical toxic poisoning in the body. It has been used as a treatment for candida yeast infections and also has the ability to kill fungus.
Echinacea is known to stabilize the white blood cell count in the body. It contains antiviral properties which are known to increase the activity of the leukocytes (white blood cells) allowing them to do their job of fighting and destroying toxic organisms that invade the body. It also is known to increase the red blood cell count which helps to remove waste from the body. It contains antiseptic properties helping to cleanse and reduce pain with external and internal injuries.
Pain - Post Op and Relaxation
July 13, 2005 09:24 AM
Relaxation, Music Reduce Post-Op Pain. New research has found that relaxation and music, separately or together, significantly reduce patients' pain following major abdominal surgery. The study, published in the May issue of the journal Pain, found that these methods reduce pain more than pain medication alone. Led by Marion Good, PhD, RN, of Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, the study is supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), at the National Institutes of Health. "This is important news for the millions of Americans who undergo surgery and experience postoperative pain each year," said Dr. Patricia A. Grady, director of the NINR.
"Better pain management can reduce hospital stays and speed recovery, ultimately improving patients' quality of life." Dr. Good and her research team studied three groups of patients undergoing abdominal surgery. In addition to the usual pain medication, one group used a jaw relaxation technique, another group listened to music, and a third group received a combination of relaxation and music.
Findings revealed that, after surgery, the three treatment groups had significantly less pain than the control group, which received only pain medication. "Both medication and self-care methods which involve patient participation are needed for relief," said Dr. Good.
"These relaxation and music self-care methods provide more complete relief without the undesired side effects of some pain medications." The findings have important implications for the 23 million people who undergo surgery and experience postoperative pain annually in the United States. Pain can hamper recovery by heightening the body's response to the stress of surgery and increasing tissue breakdown, coagulation and fluid retention. Pain also interferes with appetite and sleep and can lead to complications that prolong hospitalization.
Dr. Good and her research staff worked with 500 patients aged 18-70, who were undergoing gynecological, gastrointestinal, exploratory or urinary surgery. Prior to surgery, those in the music, relaxation or combination groups practiced the techniques. The relaxation technique consisted of letting the lower jaw drop slightly, softening the lips, resting the tongue in the bottom of the mouth, and breathing slowly and rhythmically with a three-rhythm pattern of inhale, exhale and rest. Patients in the music group chose one of five kinds of soothing music--harp, piano, synthesizer, orchestral or slow jazz.
On the first and second days after surgery, all patients received morphine or Demerol for pain relief by pressing a button connected to their intravenous patient controlled analgesia pumps. The groups receiving the additional intervention used earphones to listen to music and relaxation tapes during walking and rest, while the control group did not. The research team measured the patients' pain before and after 15 minutes of bed rest and four times during walking to see if the sensation and distress of pain changed.
Dr. Good found that during these two days postsurgery the three treatment groups had significantly less pain than the control group during both walking and rest. "Patients can take more control of their postoperative pain using these self-care methods," says Dr. Good. "Nurses and physicians preparing patients for surgery and caring for them afterwards should encourage patients to use relaxation and music to enhance the effectiveness of pain medication and hasten recovery."
Dr. Good's findings have implications for future research into the effectiveness of self-care methods on other types of pain, including chronic pain, cancer pain, and pain of the critically ill.
Vitamin D Lack Linked to Hip Fracture. Vitamin D deficiency in post-menopausal women is associated with increased risk of hip fracture, according to investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass. In a group of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fracture, 50 percent were found to have a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency. In the control group, women who had not suffered a hip fracture but who were hospitalized for an elective hip replacement, only a very small percentage had vitamin D deficiency, although one-fourth of those women also had osteoporosis. These findings were reported in the April 28, 1999, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study, conducted by Meryl S. LeBoff, MD; Lynn Kohlmeier, MD; Shelley Hurwitz, PhD; Jennifer Franklin, BA; John Wright, MD; and Julie Glowacki, PhD; of the Endocrine Hypertension Division, Department of Internal Medicine, and Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR. These investigators studied women admitted to either Brigham and Women's Hospital or the New England Baptist Hospital, both in Boston, between January 1995 and June 1998.
A group of 98 postmenopausal women who normally reside in their own homes were chosen for the study. Women with bone deterioration from other causes were excluded from the study.
There were 30 women with hip fractures caused by osteoporosis and 68 hospitalized for elective joint replacement. Of these 68, 17 women also had osteoporosis as determined by the World Health Organization bone density criteria. All the participants answered questions regarding their lifestyle, reproductive history, calcium in their diet, and physical activity.
Bone mineral density of the spine, hip, and total body were measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) technique, as was body composition. Blood chemistry and urinary calcium levels were analyzed. The two groups of women with osteoporosis did not differ significantly in either time since menopause or bone density in the spine or hip. They did, however, differ in total bone density.
The women admitted for a hip fracture had fewer hours of exercise than the control group. Fifty percent of the women with hip fractures were deficient in vitamin D, 36.7 percent had elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels (a hormone which can stimulate loss of calcium from bone), and 81.8 percent had calcium in their urine, suggesting inappropriate calcium loss. Blood levels of calcium were lower in the women with hip fractures than in either elective group.
These researchers propose that vitamin D supplementation at the time of fracture may speed up recovery and reduce risk of fracture in the future. Current Dietary Reference Intake Guidelines contain a daily recommendation of 400 IU of vitamin D for people aged 51 through 70 and 600 IU for those over age 70.
"We know that a calcium-rich diet and regular weight-bearing exercise can help prevent osteoporosis. This new research suggests that an adequate intake of vitamin D, which the body uses to help absorb calcium, may help women to reduce their risk of hip fracture, even when osteoporosis is present," observed Dr. Evan C. Hadley, NIA Associate Director for geriatrics research.
"Osteoporosis leads to more than 300,000 hip fractures each year, causing pain, frequent disability, and costly hospitalizations or long-term care. "Prevention of such fractures would greatly improve the quality of life for many older women and men, as well as significantly reduce medical costs." The bones in the body often undergo rebuilding. Some cells, osteoclasts, dissolve older parts of the bones. Then, bone-building cells known as osteoblasts create new bone using calcium and phosphorus.
As people age, if osteoporosis develops, more bone is dissolved than is rebuilt, and the bones weaken and become prone to fracture. Also in many older persons, levels of vitamin D in the blood are low because they eat less or spend less time in the sun, which stimulates the body's own production of vitamin D.
Experts do not understand fully the causes of osteoporosis. However, they do know that lack of estrogen which accompanies menopause, diets low in calcium, and lack of exercise contribute to the problem. Eighty percent of older Americans who face the possibility of pain and debilitation from an osteoporosis-related fracture are women. One out of every two women and one in eight men over the age of 50 will have such a fracture sometime in the future. These fractures usually occur in the hip, wrist, and spine.
Sleep Apnea, Diabetes Link Found. Adults who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are three times more likely to also have diabetes and more likely to suffer a stroke in the future, according to a new UCLA School of Dentistry/Department of Veterans Affairs study published today in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Sleep apnea, a serious condition marked by loud snoring, irregular breathing and interrupted oxygen intake, affects an estimated nine million Americans. The culprit? Carrying too many extra pounds.
"The blame falls squarely on excess weight gain," said Dr. Arthur H. Friedlander, associate professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the UCLA School of Dentistry and associate chief of staff at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Los Angeles. Surplus weight interferes with insulin's ability to propel sugars from digested food across the cell membrane, robbing the cells of needed carbohydrates. Diabetes results when glucose builds up in the bloodstream and can't be utilized by the body. Being overweight can also lead to obstructive sleep apnea, according to Friedlander.
"When people gain too much weight, fatty deposits build up along the throat and line the breathing passages," he explained. "The muscles in this region slacken during sleep, forcing the airway to narrow and often close altogether." Reclining on one's back magnifies the situation. "When an overweight person lies down and goes to sleep," Friedlander said, "gravity shoves the fat in the neck backwards. This blocks the airway and can bring breathing to a halt."
Friedlander tested the blood sugar of 54 randomly selected male veterans whom doctors had previously diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. He discovered that 17 of the 54 patients, or 31 percent, unknowingly suffered from adult-onset diabetes. Using the same sample, Friedlander also took panoramic X-rays of the men's necks and jaws. The X-rays indicated that 12 of the 54 patients, or 22 percent, revealed calcified plaques in the carotid artery leading to the brain.
These plaques block blood flow, significantly increasing patients' risk for stroke. Seven of the 12, or 58 percent, were also diagnosed with diabetes. In dramatic comparison, the 17 patients diagnosed with diabetes showed nearly twice the incidence of blockage. Seven of the 17 men, or 41 percent, had carotid plaques. Only five of the 54 patients who displayed plaques did not have also diabetes. If he conducted this study today, Friedlander notes, he would likely find a higher number of diabetic patients. After he completed the study in 1997, the American Diabetes Association lowered its definition for diabetes from 140 to 126 milligrams of sugar per deciliter of blood.
"This is the first time that science has uncovered a link between sleep apnea and diabetes," said Friedlander. "The data suggest that someone afflicted with both diabetes and sleep apnea is more likely to suffer a stroke in the future." "Persons going to the doctor for a sleep-apnea exam should request that their blood be screened for diabetes, especially if they are overweight," he cautioned. More than half of the individuals who develop diabetes as adults will need to modify their diet and take daily insulin in order to control the disease, he added.
Stress, Surgery May Increase CA Tumors. Stress and surgery may increase the growth of cancerous tumors by suppressing natural killer cell activity, says a Johns Hopkins researcher.
Malignancies and viral infections are in part controlled by the immune system's natural killer (NK) cells, a sub-population of white blood cells that seek out and kill certain tumor and virally infected cells. In a study using animal models, natural killer cell activity was suppressed by physical stress or surgery, resulting in a significant increase in tumor development.
These findings suggest that protective measures should be considered to prevent metastasis for patients undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, according to Gayle Page, D.N.Sc., R.N., associate professor and Independence Foundation chair at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. "Human studies have already found a connection between the level of NK activity and susceptibility to several different types of cancer," says Page, an author of the study.
"We sought to determine the importance of stress-induced suppression of NK activity and thus learn the effects of stress and surgery on tumor development. "Many patients undergo surgery to remove cancerous tumors that have the potential to spread. If our findings in rats can be generalized to such clinical settings, then these circumstances could increase tumor growth during or shortly after surgery." The research was conducted at Ohio State University College of Nursing and the Department of Psychology at UCLA, where Page held previous positions, and at Tel Aviv University.
Results of the study are published in the March issue of the International Journal of Cancer. In laboratory studies, Page and her colleagues subjected rats to either abdominal surgery or physical stress, and then inoculated them with cancer cells. In the rats that had undergone surgery, the researchers observed a 200 to 500 percent increase in the incidence of lung tumor cells, an early indicator of metastasis, compared with rats that had not received surgery.
The experiment also showed that stress increased lung tumor incidence and significantly increased the mortality in the animals inoculated with cancer cells. "Our results show that, under specific circumstances, resistance to tumor development is compromised by physical stress and surgical intervention," says Page.
"Because surgical procedures are life-saving and cannot be withheld, protective measures should be considered that will prevent suppression of the natural killer cell activity and additional tumor development. "Researchers do not yet know how to prevent surgery-induced immune suppression, but early animal studies have shown increased use of analgesia reduces the risk."
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Health. Lead author was Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu, Ph.D., and other authors were Raz Yirmiya, Ph.D., and Guy Shakhar.
HERBAL FIRST AID KIT
July 11, 2005 09:44 PM
HERBAL FIRST AID KIT
It is important to know the area where you will be going to determine plants that will be available in case they are needed and access to emergency help if necessary. The herbal first aid kit is meant to be used for minor conditions that may occur while traveling. Any serious condition should be seen by a health care professional. Gathering herbs along the trail can be fun as well as useful. Simple plant remedies can be brought along in the first aid kit. Major injuries require immediate medical attention by a professional. Minor problems can often be taken care of with simple herbal remedies. Supplies can be obtained from the local health food store or by collecting plants locally.
Along with the herbs, a few supplies should be part of the kit available at the local drugstore or market.
ALOE VERA: Aloe is great for minor skin abrasions, burns and as a natural laxative. It is excellent to soothe and repair damage from a sunburn. Aloe can be applied to stings and bites to soothe and heal.
TEA TREE OIL: Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and contains many antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It helps to speed the healing process and is excellent to apply externally on wounds to promote healing and prevent infection. It is also a natural bug repellent and can soothe and promote healing after bites and stings.
ECHINACEA: One of the most often used herbs, echinacea is useful for pre venting infection by stimulating the immune function. It can be found in herbal salve preparations and applied directly to the wound. A salve can also be applied to skin irritations from contact with poison ivy or oak. LAVENDER: Lavender is a natural bug repellent and can be applied topically to bites and stings.
GINGER: Ginger root is excellent for an upset stomach. It is effective when used to combat motion and altitude sickness. Studies have found ginger to be just as effective when treating motion sickness due to riding in the car, boating or flying in and airplane, as over the counter remedies which often have side effects such as drowsiness. Ginger can be made into a tea or taken in capsule form. ARNICA: Arnica can be applied externally to areas of bruising and swelling, but not to broken skin. It can help to reduce inflammation.
PLANTAIN: A poultice of plantain can help reduce inflammation when applied to the affected area. It can also help with bites, stings, scratches and cuts. GARLIC: Along with being a natural antibiotic to help prevent infection, garlic also helps to keep mosquitoes away. They don’t seem to like the scent of garlic. Capsules or pills should be taken internally.
CAYENNE (CAPSICUM): This is effective for both internal and external bleeding. Externally, apply pressure and raise affected area. Sprinkle cayenne powder over the wound. MINT: Mint leaves, often found growing in the wild, can be made into a tea to help with digestion and calm the nerves. Some members of the mint family include peppermint, spearmint, catnip and horsemint.
FEVERFEW: This daisy like plant found growing in the wild, can help with migraine headaches and inflammation.
Chew the leaves, make into a tea or take in capsule form. Some have developed mouth irritations from chewing the leaves.
Tea Tree Oil Fights Staph Infection
There is much concern regarding the overuse of antibiotics leading to drug resistant strains of bacteria. Some forms of bacteria are difficult to control as they change form. Tea tree oil holds promise as an effective treatment for inactivating Staphylococcus aureus.
A study reported in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, (1995; 35: 421-45), and lead by Dr. C. F. Carson, researched tea tree oil at the University of Western Australia. The results were significant. Tea tree oil successfully inactivated the staph bacteria which was resistant to methicillin, a salt of penicillin. It is a versatile substance with a broad spectrum of capabilities. It is generally used topically.
Blueberries for Health
Blueberries are packed full of nutritional value. A study published in the Food and Nutrition Re s e a rch Br i e f s , January, 1997, found that two-thirds of a cup of blueberries had more antioxidants than the recommended daily amounts of vitamins E and C. Blueberries were followed by Concord grape juice, strawberries, kale and spinach in their antioxidant content.
Antioxidants are an important part of optimal health. They protect the body from free radical damage which can lead to a variety of conditions such as aging, cancer, heart disease and other diseases. Adding blueberries could aid in p rotecting the body and strengthening the immune response.
Worldwide Concern About Antibiotic Overuse
A recent report called for doctors throughout the world to be careful in administering antibiotics needlessly. Overuse of antibiotics has lead to germ mutations resistant and untreatable with current antibiotics. Pediatricians in the United States have received a brochure from the American Academy of Pediatrics urging them to take precautions before prescribing. Antibiotics are not always the answer as they do not work on viral infections which cause the common cold, sore throats and some ear infections. Staphylococcus aureus is one example of an antibiotic resistant strain. Over 90 percent of this staph strain are resistant to penicillin and other antibiotics. And other bacteria are also developing a resistance to antibiotic therapy. Save antibiotics for conditions that require their use.
Aloe Vera, Woodland Health Series
Aloe vera is one of the most widely used plants for medicinal purposes. It has been used for over 4,000 year for its therapeutic benefits. Aloe Vera, a pamphlet written by Deanne Tenney, offers valuable information and up to date research on the aloe vera plant.
The benefits of the aloe plant are truly amazing. It has been used to treat burns, radiation burns, skin disorders, wounds, scratches, sunburn, dermatitis, constipation, digestion, ulcer, kidney stones, bacterial and viral infections, and to relieve pain. It is widely used for skin disorders, but its benefits go far beyond the skin.
As a natural home remedy, there are few plants more valuable than the aloe. It is a simple and easy way to treat minor injuries. The plant contains antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, anesthetic and tissue healing properties. The Aloe Vera pamphlet offers historical as well as modern uses for this ancient plant. Aloe Vera is available through Woodland Publishing.
Tea Tree Oil, Woodland Health Series
Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, a shrub-like tree found in Australia. It contains significant medicinal value and beneficial properties. Another pamphlet in the Woodland Publishing Health Series, Tea Tree Oil offers historical uses as well as current scientific information.
The essential oil of the tea tree leaves is one of the most powerful essential oils. It is used extensively in Australia, and popularity is growing throughout the world. It contains antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties helping to prevent and heal infection.
Tea tree oil has been used successfully for many conditions such as athlete’s foot, acne, burns, warts, vaginal yeast infections, ringworm, skin rashes, herpes, cold sores, canker sores, insect bites and in preventing infection to name a few. Tea tree oil is a natural alternative that can be used effectively for extended periods of time without.
Immune Health - Herbs to Maintain A Healthy Immune System
July 01, 2005 04:21 PM
Immune Health By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt The immune system has been receiving a lot of media attention, especially since the rise in recognized immune system deficiency diseases. The efficient functioning of the immune system is of paramount importance to everyone, adults and children alike, since it controls our ability to fend off illness, whether it is a common cold or more deadly disease. The immune system is made up of a combination of specialized cells, chemicals, tissues and organs. These include the lymph nodes, thymus gland, spleen, bone marrow and tonsils, as well as specialized white blood cells, which recognize and engulf invading microorganisms and cellular debris.
The ability of the immune system to function optimally is influenced by many factors. These include inherent genetic makeup, environmental influences (such as pollution, pesticides, hormones, artificial flavoring/colorings in food), obesity, stress levels, exposure to infective agents, etc. Specific research suggests that consuming excessive amounts of sugar interferes with immune function. We can aid our immune system by eating a high amount of organic green vegetables, whole grains and nuts, while cutting down on 'junk food' consumption. Stress reduction, through prayer, meditation, yoga and moderate exercise can also help.
Herbs may be used in two different ways to help the immune system. Tonics strengthen the immune system over time, while strong immune system stimulants have a more immediate action, and are used during an acute infection.
Herbal tonics work to help maintain a dynamic balance in the body and usually need to be taken long-term. Astragalus is said to build "Wei chi". "Chi" is the Chinese concept of life energy force. "Wei chi" is thought of as 'protection'. Current scientific studies confirm the positive benefits of Astragalus on the immune system. One study by the National Cancer Institute demonstrated Astragalus' ability to help strengthen resistance of the immune system, especially to viral infections. Reishi, called the "mushroom of immortality", has been used for centuries as an overall tonic. Chinese physicians have used Ligustrum berries specifically for their immune-enhancing activities. They are often combined with Astragalus for a synergistic effect. Coptis is another Chinese herb that contains the bitter yellow compound, berberine. This herb helps the immune system prevent infections. Many of these herbs can be found in the unique combination formula called Immunotonic™ (alcohol-free). Immunotonic™ offers the ideal way to experience the benefits of many herbs in one convenient supplement.
Other immune system tonic herbs include Siberian Ginseng and Schisandra. Siberian Ginseng is an adaptogen that helps to balance the immune system. It gives strength and fortitude, especially when dealing with environmental stress. Schisandra has been shown to build non-specific resistance, improve brain function, increase work capacity and build strength.
Osha Root has been used traditionally by both Chinese and Native Americans (who called it Chuchupate) for colds and flues, sore throats and other health ailments requiring a higher level of immune support. Echinacea is a well-researched and respected immune system stimulant. (Refer to our Echinacea article for further information). It helps increase the activity of white blood cells, which engulf invading microorganisms. Thuja is an herbal extract from the Northern White Cedar tree. It is a strong immune stimulant that Native Americans used for colds, coughs, bronchitis and other respiratory infections. Possibly the mushroom with the greatest capability of stimulating the immune system is the Maitake. It is known as the "dancing mushroom" because it was so highly prized that whoever found some would dance for joy. Maitake contains specific chemical components that have been scientifically studied for their strong immune enhancing effects; (refer to Maitake Bio-Beta-Glucan™ article for further information). Nature's Answer® combines these herbs in Immune Boost™, a combination formula for use during acute illness and infections. Try it along with the combination formula Echinacea & Goldenseal. Nature’s Answer® offers a selection of all these herbs in liquid and/or capsule forms. Check with your local health food store, or visit www.naturesanswer.com, for more information.
Children can often use a boost to their immune system to help ward off colds and flues. Nature's Answer® comes to the rescue with three alcohol-free formulas specifically designed for their special needs - E-KID-nacea™, E-KID-nacea Plus™, and NatChoo™. All of these outstanding formulas help promote a healthy immune system.
INFECTIONS AND GARLIC
June 25, 2005 10:12 AM
INFECTIONS AND GARLIC
With the advent of modern antibiotic drugs, garlic lost its status as an effective infection fighter. Unfortunately, Garlic’s past track record was diminished by the arrival of new and potent antibiotics like penicillin. Ironically, several years ago, garlic was reported to be more valuable than penicillin when treating throat infections.26
One reason for this may be that the allicin component of garlic is effective against the streptococci bacteria. Traditional Oriental medicine utilized garlic in a variety of forms to treat all kinds of infections: garlic juice for typhoid, and meningitis, garlic vapors for whooping cough, garlic suppositories for yeast infections and garlic soup for pneumonia.27 According to studies in the Journal of the National Medical Association, Garlic has proved its ability to act as a potent antibiotic against various gram-negative, gram-positive and acid fast bacteria.
In view of the fact that garlic has even been shown to be effective against some antibiotic-resistent organisms, it should be utilized more in standard medical treatments. Several medical practitioners have discovered that like throat infections, ear infections also respond nicely to garlic. The great advantage of using garlic over antibiotics is that Garlic will not kill friendly intestinal bacteria or make one more susceptible to future infections. Antibiotics will. In cases where antibiotics are deemed necessary, they should at the very least be supplemented with garlic.
Current research supports the fact that garlic does indeed inhibit bacterial growth.28 Several strains of Mycobacterium are suppressed by the presence of garlic. For anyone who fights chronic bladder infections, garlic may prove invaluable. It has been shown to inhibit the growth of several organisms associated with urinary tract infections.29
Evidence suggests that garlic can effectively treat bacterial ear infections, sore throats, and infected wounds. Several reports have shown that aged garlic extract is particularly effective for the kind of ear infections that children are prone to develop. (Note: Ingesting raw garlic is not a practical way to utilize its allicin compounds as an effective antibiotic. Too much raw garlic would be required to be effective.)
It is common knowledge that as of now, viruses do not respond to antibiotics and are extremely resistent to other forms of treatment. A virus usually has to run its course, as those of us who suffer periodically from colds and flu know all too well. Because viruses are so hardy, it is important to know that garlic possesses antiviral as well as antibacterial properties. Dr. Andrew Weil M.D. states that the best home remedy he has found for the treatment of colds is to eat several cloves of raw garlic at the first indication that a cold is developing.30 Several laboratory tests have shown that garlic is an effectual treatment for both the influenza B virus and herpes simplex virus.31
Two independent researchers in Japan and Romania have found that garlic is able to protect living organisms form the influenza virus.32 Chinese scientists have studies the effect of garlic on viral encephalitis for almost 30 years.
Clarissa McCord of Cloverdale, British Columbia used garlic extract to treat a stubborn virus that attacks horses. She relates:
“A bottle of liquid garlic administered on two successive days to each animal does the job of curing. One of my race hors es developed the virus symptoms and was to be scratched from the racing program scheduled for the following day. I gave one bottle of liquid garlic to the animal and he improved sufficiently to enter the race. He hit the board first, second and third.”33
In relation to human beings, it would seem that Garlic is especially effective in cases of influenza as both a treatment to shorten the duration of the disease and as a preventative. Again, garlic’s ability to stimulate the immune system seems intrinsically linked to its anti-viral action. Whether the infection is bacterial or viral, garlic mobilizes immune function, thereby potentiating the body’s ability to defend itself against infectious organisms.
Garlic in certain forms is considered a potent antibiotic and can be particularly effective against certain fungal infections. Like viruses, fungal infections are particularly difficult to treat . Traditional medical treatments for fungal infections are usually toxic and can be ineffectual over the long term. To the contrary, garlic has proven itself as an effective anti-fungal agent against candida, aspergillus and cryptococci.
A report from a Chinese medical journal delineates the use of intravenous garlic to treat a potentially fatal and rare fungal infection of the brain called cryptococcal meningitis. In the report, the Chinese compared the effectiveness of the garlic with standard medical treatment which involved a very toxic antibiotic called Amphotericin-B. The study revealed that intravenous garlic was more effective than the drug and was not toxic regardless of its dosage.34
One study using liquid garlic extract found that candida colonies were substantially reduced in mice that had been treated with the garlic. This same study also revealed that garlic stimulated phagocytic activity. This implies that infections such as candida may be controlled because garlic stimulates the body’s own defenses. Applied externally, garlic oil can be used to treat ringworm, skin parasites and warts. Lesions that were caused by skin fungi in rabbits and guinea pigs were treated with external applications of garlic extract and began to heal after seven days.35
Allicin is primarily a fungistatic substance which can slow or completely stop the proliferation of the microorganisms. As an external treatment, garlic has also been found to effectively treat acne and thrush.
June 25, 2005 09:58 AM
Garlic can rightfully be called one of nature’s wonders. It can inhibit and kill bacteria, fungi, parasites, lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar, prevent blood clotting, protect the liver and contains anti-tumor pro p e rties. If that wasn’t impre s s i ve enough, garlic can also boost the immune system to fight off potential disease and maintain health.
Garlic has the ability to stimulate the lymphatic system which expedites the removal of waste from the body. It is considered an effective antioxidant and can help protect cells against free radical damage. In addition, it nourishes and supports the heart, stomach, circulation and the lungs. Current research suggests that garlic may help prevent some forms of cancer, heart disease, strokes and viral infections.
Garlic alone can provide us with over two hundred unusual chemicals that have the capability of protecting the human body from a wide variety of diseases. The sulphur containing compounds found in garlic afford the human body with protection by stimulating the production of certain beneficial enzymes. Most experts agree that garlic does not have to be eaten in its raw form to be effective. Cooked garlic or various aged extracts and oils can in some cases provide better protection against free radicals and infection than raw garlic. In countries like Germany and Japan, it is customary for large segments of the population to take a garlic supplement on a daily basis.
Cancer and Echinacea
June 24, 2005 03:45 PM
Cancer and Echinacea
Some experts believe that over the last 40 years, science has lost its battle with cancer. Progress has been slow and cancer mortality rates continue to rise despite the enormous amount of money spent on research. While most of us are aware of potential carcinogens which surround us at every turn, most of us do not take a preventative approach.
In other words, even if we eat nutritiously and try to protect ourselves from toxin exposure, cancers still develop. The role of the immune system in cancer pre vention is significant to say the least. Why some people develop cancerous tumors and others do not may be linked to immune function.
We’re all aware of the new emphasis on antioxidants today. Likewise, stimulating and strengthening the immune system may also provide significant protection against certain types of malignancy. It’s time to concentrate on why some of us don’t get cancer instead of focusing all our attention on why some of us do.
In addition to boosting the immune system, echinacea has been shown to increase pro p e rdin levels in the body which may be responsible for its anti-cancer activity. By increasing the production and secretion of interferon, echinacea may help enable the body to neutralize carcinogens.15
USDA researchers have found that echinacea contains a tumor inhibiting compound. This compound is an oncolytic lipid-soluble hydrocarbon. This particular substance which is found in the essential oil of echinacea, has shown its ability to inhibit lymphocytic leukemia and other types of cancers.
One theory concerning this activity is that it probably does not involve creating a cytotoxic effect directly on cancer cells, but rather stimulates the action of anti-cancer cells such as natrual killer cells already present in the body.
The fact that echinacea inhibits the enzyme, hyaluronidase may also be a factor. The same type of mechanism that breaks down the protective barrier around cells so that disease microbes can enter is thought to occur in the initial stages of tumor formation. Because echinacea prevents the formation of hyaluronidase, it may play a role in preventing the development of certain types of cancer.16
Allergies and Echinacea
German research has demonstrated echinacea’s ability to treat certain allergic reactions.17 It may be the cortisone-like activity of echinacea which accounts for its anti-inflammatory action. In the case of allergic reactions, the immuno-suppressive action of echinacea kicks in.
An allergy occurs when the immune system becomes overly stimulated by the presence of an allergen. Each time that the allergen enters the body an allergic response is initiated. Echinacea can temper this cascade of symptoms by stabilizing mast cells, which are responsible for the histamine release which creates havoc with our bodies. This action results in a substantial reduction of allergy symptoms.
The fact that echinacea actually suppresses the immune system is nothing less than remarkable. This herb might be referred to as “the botanical with a brain.” In other words, it can either stimulate or inhibit immune response as determined by the status of the body. Synthetic drugs do not have this ability.
Healing Stimulation by Echinacea
Because echinacea has antiseptic pro p e rties, it can be used both internally and externally to heal conditions such as bed sores, boils, burns, ulcers and wounds of any kind. The inulin Echinacin B content of echinacea extracted from the rhizome gives echinacea its wound healing pro p e rties. It also accelerates the production of granulomatous tissue which is necessary for tissue healing in the body. 18
Russian studies have shown that echinacea also helps to stimulate healing in wounds and prevents blood clotting.19
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Echinacea
Because echinacea contains the polysaccharides inulin and echinacin it may be helpful in fighting stubborn viral infections such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Anytime the immune system becomes c o m p romised due to exhaustion, allergies, or depression, viral and bacterial invasion can occur. The chemical compounds contained in echinacea promote improved resistance to all septic or infectious conditions.20
Prostate Disorders and Echinacea
Echinacea is believed to be one of the best herbs in the treatment of enlarged prostate glands or other prostate disorders .21 Its anti-inflammatory properties are believed to help decrease swelling and irritation. Tests on mice have shown that using echinacea to control inflammatory responses has resulted in a decrease in edema or swelling.
Weight Loss and Echinacea
When combined with chickweed, echinacea has been used to promote weight loss.22 Scientifically, there is a lack of data to explain this particular effect.
Echinacea and Skin Damage
Any type of skin damage, whether caused by injury or infection can be treated with echinacea. One of the major actions of this herb is its ability to inhibit a specific enzyme that weakens connective tissue cells when they are exposed to certain microorganisms. This enzyme is called hyaluronidase .23 Whenever skin cells have been compromised by infectious organisms, echinacea can help prevent the spread of infection and speed the healing of the skin by preventing the break down of skin tissue at the cellular level. The anti-hyaluronidase action of echinacea, especially when applied as a poultice, can significantly prevent infection and enhance healing in burns, cuts, and abrasions.
In addition, topical applications of echinacea are valuable in treating snake and insect bites. German research suggests that echinacea extracts and salves can benefit a variety of inflammatory skin conditions including: psoriasis, eczema, and herpes.24
Yeast Inf ect ions and Echinacea
Yeast infections are caused by an fungus called Candida albicans. This particular organism has been the subject of intense interest, research and controversy over the last several years. Standard medical therapies for yeast infections usually involve the use of antibiotics and antifungal drugs which can, in themselves, compromise the immune system. In laboratory tests using control groups, subjects who received echinacea we re compared to those who took standard antifungal treatments. In these cases, better results we re obtained with the echinacea.25 It is the polysaccharides contained in echinacea which seem to enhance the resistance of the immune system against the Candida fungus. This finding again stresses that echinacea may have important therapeutic applications for anyone who is in a weakened state and susceptible to opportunistic infections.26 Echinacea in both external and internal forms can be used to treat yeast infections. It has been suggested that anyone who has recurring yeast infections should consider adding echinacea extract to their repertoire of health supplements.
Inflammation, Arthrit is and Echinacea
Some laboratory tests have demonstrated that echinacea has certain anti-inflammatory pro p e rties which can help prevent or decrease the inflammation and swelling typically found in arthritis sufferers. Unlike the inflammatory response of the body to infections, the chronic inflammation of joint diseases such as arthritis is not desireable. In these cases, echinacea can help to inhibit chronic inflammation. Its effect is considered equal to approximately half of that resulting from steroid drugs like cortisone in arthritic patients.27
Apparently, echinacea contains a specific factor which prevents inflammation and swelling when observed in certain laboratory tests. This particular tonic action may be quite helpful for people who suffer from chronic arthritis. Arthritis symptoms result from an immune response which creates inflammation in the joints. As is the case with allergies, when arthritis is present, echinacea inhibits the inflammatory action of the immune system.
It is interesting to note that another component of echinacea actually boosts the inflammatory response when it is appropriate. For this reason, wounds respond well to echinacea.
Steroids are commonly prescribed for inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. Because steroid drugs have so many negative side-effects, echinacea may prove to be an invaluable treatment for improper immune system reactions that cause conditions like arthritis.
HIV and Echinacea
At this writing, the possible role of echinacea on HIV has not been established. While some preliminary studies look promising, much more research is needed to determine whether or not echinacea’s stimulation of immune function will benefit AIDS patients.
What Infections Respond to Echinacea?
June 24, 2005 01:31 PM
What Infections Respond to Echinacea?
Echinacea extracts are excellent when used for various kinds of acute infections. Colds and throat infections seem particularly vulnerable to the immunostimulant action of echinacea. Infections such as influenza and strep are also affected by the herb. Again, taking echinacea on a regular basis does not guarantee that the body will not develop an infection, howe ve r, the duration and seriousness of the infection should be decreased.
Antibacterial Action of Echinacea: It is interesting to note that echinacea renders a mild effect on bacteria. It must be remembered, however, that the ability of echinacea to stimulate the immune system may explain its long historical use for bacterial infections. The echinacoside and caffeic acid content of echinacea have been found to inhibit the growth of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Corynebacterium diphtheria and Proteus vulgaris. 13
Viral Infections and Echinacea : Viral infections are notoriously difficult to treat. Even with all the strides that medical technology has made, finding a cure for viral disease has remained elusive. Echinacea stands out as one of the more effective antiviral herbals. The plant has undergone several studies to determine what exactly makes it an effective virus fighter. Se veral studies have confirmed that when certain laboratory samples were pre-treated with echinacea compounds, they became protected against exposure to several viruses including: influenza, herpes and vesicular stomatitis (canker sores).
Scientists believe that the polysaccharides contained in echinacea called inulin are primarily responsible for the immuno-stimulant effect of this herb. The following listed actions make echinacea especially effective in fighting viral infections and cancero u s conditions.
•. Promotes macrophage activity
It is echinacea’s ability to stimulate T-cell activity, that subsequently produces interf e ron which may be responsible for its anti-viral effect. While this theory has been disputed, ingesting certain forms of echinacea has resulted in some degree of protection against viral infection. Fresh echinacea juice appears to be the most effective form of the herb.
In any case, research strongly suggests than anyone who consumes echinacea regularly can expect protection against some viral infections to a certain degree.
Respiratory System Infections and Echinacea: Echinacea has become well known for its ability to treat respiratory infections including: influenza, tonsillitis, whooping cough, and colds. In addition, bronchial and ear infections respond well to echinacea therapy. The majority of research that supports this action of echinacea was done in Europe with injectable forms of echinacea which are not legal here.
Using whole, powd e red, capsulized echinacea on a daily basis during the winter months may also provide significant protection against these respiratory diseases. Concentrated liquid extract is also recommended.
Capsicum, Infection and Immune Power
June 23, 2005 11:29 AM
Capsicum, Infection and Immune Power
Capsicum not only stimulates organ secretion and circulation, it has a tonic effect on the immune system, making the body less vulnerable to microorganism invaders. Dr. John R. Christopher writes of an artist who observed that natives of Coyoacan, Mexico seemed to be particularly resistant to intestinal infection. He writes: “He [the artist] observed that the natives had a remarkable immunity to amoebic dysentery due to their fondness of raw chile peppers which they ingested in tremendous quantities as part of their normal diet.”69 In addition to intestinal infections, Capsicum has significant value for upper respiratory ailments including colds, influenza, s o re throats etc. Because it can increase blood flow to peripheral tissues, it insures the better deliver and assimilation of nutrients which are required by infected areas in order to heal quickly. This same action enhances the re m oval of waste material and tox i n s from inflamed areas thereby facilitating faster recovery. Whatever area of the body is afflicted, it is imperative that blood supply is adequately infused over the region. The constituents of the immune system which include macrophages, T-cells, etc., are blood-borne, there fore the better capillary delive ry of blood, the faster the healing process can occur.
A study published in 1994 found that Capsicum even had the ability to exe rt an anti-giardia effect in vitro.7 0 The effect of Capsicum was so impressive that a notation was made that its performance was considered superior to tinidazol (the pharmaceutical drug used to treat Giardia).71
The Preventive Power of Capsicum
Taking daily doses of Capsicum can help to protect the body f rom colds, flu, sore throats, other bacterial or viral infections, h e a rt disease, indigestion and fatigue.72 Capsicum is frequently combined with Garlic to create a potent immune system fortifier. Capsicum for Fatigue and Depression The natural stimulatory action of capsicum can provide better performance under conditions of stress. Laboratory studies involving animals which were stressed under a variety of conditions, performed better if Capsicum was added to their diet the day before testing.73 In addition, this study discovered that Capsicum was not as effective if taken two to three days prior to evaluation, indicating that its results were short-lived.74
Other studies found that the ability of Capsicum to stimulate circulation and respiratory reflexes may help to enhance physiologic performance under periods of stress or fatigue.7 5 Scientists in France have accrued additional evidence that taking Capsicum does indeed help to counteract fatigue.76 In addition to physical stress, mental disorders like depression may also respond to the stimulating effect of Capsicum. Ma n y health practitioners look upon depression as a “slowing down” of brain impulses and neurochemical reactions. Because Capsicum can increase peripheral blood flow and promote cellular function, its usage for mental disorders like depression should be further evaluated. Traditionally, pungent aromatics like clove have been utilized through aroma therapy to uplift the spirits and invigorate the mind. Capsicum works much in the same way. “Cayenne or Capsicum helps to stimulate circulation and has an energizing effect on the system. It has traditionally been used for ove rcoming fatigue and restoring stamina and vigor. It is considers a natural stimulant without the side effects of most stimulating agents.”77
Nothing to Sneeze At
June 18, 2005 08:41 AM
Nothing to Sneeze At by Carole Poole Energy Times, August 14, 2004
To many, nothing is more annoying than a persistent allergy. Runny nose, itchy eyes, hives, sneezing, coughing...Frequently, allergies seem to represent suffering with no end.
When you are sensitive to something in your environment, often your only hope for relief appears to be to flee to an elsewhere that eludes the problematic, trouble-making allergen.
Complementary measures are available that can lower your risk of allergic reactions. Heading off allergic reactions before they strike can help you enter a comfort zone that leaves nothing to sneeze at.
Limit Your Antibiotics
While people have always suffered allergies, today, many experts agree, allergies are on the rise. One possible explanation: antibiotics. For instance, research at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit demonstrates that kids who get antibiotics within six months of being born run an increased risk of being allergic to dust mites, ragweed, grass and animals. At the same time, if two or more cats or dogs live with them, they reduce their chances of allergies (Eur Respir Soc ann conf, 2003).
" I'm not suggesting children shouldn't receive antibiotics. But I believe we need to be more prudent in prescribing them for children at such an early age," Christine Cole Johnson, PhD, says. "In the past, many of them were prescribed unnecessarily, especially for viral infections like colds and the flu when they would have no effect anyway."
Dr. Cole's investigators found that by age 7, kids who got one or more rounds of antibiotics were:
When antibiotics are necessary, they are crucial to quelling bacterial infections. However, if you or your children suffer colds or flus, diseases caused by viruses, antibiotics have no effect on your illness but could increase your chance of developing allergies.
" Over the past four decades there has been an explosive increase in allergy and asthma in westernized countries, which correlates with widespread use of antibiotics and alterations in gastrointestinal (GI) microflora," says Mairi Noverr, a researcher on a study linking allergies to antibiotic use (104th Gen Meet Amer Soc Microbiol, 2004). "We propose that the link between antibiotic use and dysregulated pulmonary immunity is through antibiotic-induced long-term alterations in the bacterial and fungal GI microflora." While a lot of research needs to be done, it may help to fortify the probiotic, or good, microbes in your intestines with probiotic supplements. One study has shown that giving probiotics to pregnant women helped their children avoid allergic eczema, a skin condition (Lancet 2001; 357:1076-9).
Green Tea Relief
Research has demonstrated that various types of tea can produce a range of health benefits. Tea drinkers can add allergy relief to that list.
Research in Japan demonstrates that for the allergy-oppressed, green tea may help them have nothing to sneeze at. In laboratory tests, scientist found that green tea contains a substance that blocks one of the immune cell receptors which is often a part of the allergic response. The substance, methylated epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is believed to have a similar effect in the real world (J Agr Food Chem 10/9/02).
" Green tea appears to be a promising source for effective anti-allergenic agents," notes Hirofumi Tachibana, PhD, the study's chief investigator and an associate professor at Kyushu University in Fukuoka. "If you have allergies, you should consider drinking it." Traditionally, many people have consumed tea as part of their effort to suppress sneezes, coughs and itchy eyes caused by allergies. This experiment supports the evidence that green tea, in particular, has a reliable effect.
According to Dr. Tachibana, green tea's anti-allergenic benefits have not been completely established, but tea apparently has the potential to be effective against allergens like dust, chemicals, pet dander and pollen.
EGCG has also been shown to be a very active antioxidant, helping to quell the destructive effects of the caustic molecules known as free radicals. Green tea is richer in EGCG than black tea or oolong tea (a type that falls between black and green).
Although other research has demonstrated that EGCG offsets allergic responses in lab animals fed this substance, scientists don't completely understand why it works for allergies. Researchers theorize that EGCG restricts the production of histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), two substances secreted in the body as part of the chain of chemical reactions that lead to an allergic reaction, says Dr. Tachibana.
This study shows, for the first time, that a methylated form of EGCG can block the IgE receptor, which is a key receptor involved in an allergic response. The effect was demonstrated using human basophils, which are blood cells that release histamine. As of now, nobody knows how much green tea you need to guzzle to have the best protection against allergies and, of the several varieties available, nobody knows which green tea is best.
Outside of the US, green tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, right behind water. In the US, however, black tea is more popular than green. But the allergy sensitive should think and drink green.
Stay Away from Diesels
Those who are allergic to ragweed or pet dander usually know they should avoid the source of their allergies. But now scientists have found that, for many allergy sufferers, diesel exhaust can also worsen sneezes and wheezes.
Scientists at two southern California schools have shown that about half of us have inherited a sensitivity to diesel pollution that can make our allergies significantly worse (Lancet 1/10/04). "[T]his study suggests a direct way that pollution could be triggering allergies and asthma in a large number of susceptible individuals...," says Frank D. Gilliland, MD, PhD, the study's lead author. Diesel exhaust particles are thought to act as destructive free radicals in the lungs, forming caustic molecules that damage lung tissue. This irritation can cause your immune system to create larger amounts of compounds that make you sneeze and wheeze more.
The Antioxidant Advantage
Antioxidants, scientists believe, can help defuse this damage and ease the body's allergic responses. The California scientists looked at two antioxidant enzymes the body makes to protect the lungs called glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) and glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1). Only about five of ten people's immune systems can make all the effective forms of these enzymes. The rest of us lack this protection to some degree, and the immune system in about one in five people can't make any effective form of these enzymes.
The research team found that people allergic to ragweed who lacked these antioxidant enzymes suffered more when they took in both ragweed pollen and particles from diesel pollution.
Breathe Easier With C
This research may help explain why many health practitioners recommend vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, to allergy sufferers. Vitamin C "prevents the secretion of histamine by the white blood cells, increases the detoxification of histamine and lowers the blood-histamine levels," says Sylvia Goldfarb, PhD, author of Allergy Relief (Avery/Penguin).
Scientists continue to study the allergy conundrum. Meanwhile, sip a cup of green tea and shut the window before the next truck comes by.
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May 18, 2005 05:30 PM
There is no doubt that antibiotics have saved numerous lives since their development. But many health care providers in the past have seen them as a panacea for all ailments including viral infections that are not affected by antibiotic therapy. They have been overused and with disastrous results. Antibiotics are used to help the body in fighting infection, but unfortunately, they also may encourage recurrent infections caused by a destruction of the good as well as the bad bacteria lowering the immune function and leading to a dependence on antibiotics. Because of an overuse and misuse of antibiotics, some forms of bacteria are now resistant to them. Diseases which were aided with antibiotic therapy are now resistant to the treatment. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed by physicians even when they are not appropriate.4
Medical professionals almost felt guilty a few years ago when not prescribing some form of antibiotic when patients visited the office. After all, what good is a doctor if the patient does not leave with a cure. Fortunately, most doctors now know the detrimental affects that can follow excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics. Most doctors now will be honest and up front with their patients when there is not a cure-all answer to their problem. An investigative reporter a few years ago visited a number of physicians around the country asking for antibiotics. It was interesting to note
that almost all of the physicians agreed to prescribing antibiotics upon the patients request even when it wasn’t warranted. In being confronted after, most replied that they had to do what the patient asked in order to keep their practice flourishing. No wonder antibiotic overuse has resulted in drug-resistant strains of bacteria. The negative affects of antibiotics are well known. Antibiotics interfere with the growth of bacteria, both good and bad. But they are crafty creatures and have the ability of changing their chemistry and genes to avoid destruction by antibiotics. They want to survive and thrive. They grow at a very rapid rate allowing for a whole generation of drug resistant strains to develop in just a relatively short period of time. Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, warned of the problem that could occur with resistant strains if antibiotics were overused.5 The weaker bacteria may be killed while the stronger endure. This causes the strong, resistant bacteria to invade and take hold in the body. Mitchell L. Cohen, a researcher with the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control, issued this warning about antibiotics in 1992: “Unless currently effective antimicro b i a l agents can be successfully preserved and the transmission of drug-resistant organisms curtailed, the postantimicrobial era may be rapidly approaching in which infectious disease ward housing untreatable conditions will again be seen.” Patients, doctors, scientists and Acidophilus
public health officials must all play their part in finding ways to reduce reliance upon antibiotics.6 Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the most essential bacteria found in the intestinal tract. It helps to keep the disease causing organisms under contro l . Antibiotics can reduce the quantities of good and bad bacteria often allowing negative organisms to flourish. Broad spectrum antibiotics are the worst offenders often making way for an overgrowth of yeast which can affect the entire body. The broad spectrum antibiotics work just as they are called, broadly throughout the body, to kill just about all the bacteria around. If an antibiotic is warranted, the most specific type for the condition should be tried first in order to protect as much of the normal intestinal flora as possible. When taking antibiotics, Lactobacillus acidophilus can be taken by mouth to help restore normal intestinal flora. Acidophilus will not interfere with the effectiveness of the antibiotics but protect and aid in the healing process. Antibiotic use should be minimized; used only when essential to health and survival. The beneficial bacteria are the first to be destroyed from the antibiotic therapy. Lactobacillus acidophilus can also help to fight the bad bacteria and organisms that invade the body.
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Probiotic Multidophilus 180ct
May 12, 2005 05:14 PM
VitaNet ® Staff