Category Archives: Natural Medicine

Do Pomegranates Protect Against Neurodegeneration?

pomegranate

The CDC estimates around 5.3 million Americans are living with some form of Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to double by 2050. [1] Dementia, a generalized term used to describe neurodegeneration, is a disabling issue that have definitive roots in lifestyle and nutritional habits. While genetics may play a role in brain health, it’s lifestyle that is the driving force behind the progression of hereditary variables. A recent study is suggesting pomegranate, a red deciduous fruit rich in polyphenols, may be a potent protector against mental degeneration.

The Wonder Power of Pomegranate

One of the main factors in Alzheimer’s disease is the formation of amyloid plaque in the brain. This plaque divides irregularly and leads to beta amyloid, proteins that clump together and prevent proper cell-to-cell signaling. Certain metals–aluminum in particular–have been strongly implicated in the deposits of beta amyloid. [2] Research shows that exercise may reduce the extracellular accumulation of this plaque in the frontal cortex, possibly slowing or preventing the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia. [3]

A recent study looking at the effects of freeze-dried pomegranate found the fruit inhibited the formation of these plaques as well as the swelling of irritation in the brain normally accompanying Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. [4] Pomegranate is a highly-concentrated source of antioxidants, and it’s this fact that may be one of the contributing factors to the fruit’s neuro-protective properties. Pomegranate extract may provide even more benefit than the whole fruit, since it’s much more concentrated. This is one of the reasons we added pomegranate extract to Cell Fuzion™, choosing only the highest quality extract with a condensed source of polyphenols.

How to Protect Your Brain

Other than consuming pomegranate and small, antioxidant-rich berries, there are certain lifestyle habits you should adopt to protect the long-term health of your brain. As previously mentioned, exercise is essential for preventing amyloid plaque buildup. Getting enough sleep and managing blood sugar levels also appears to have beneficial effects on brain health. In fact, research shows Alzheimer’s disease is another type of diabetes, where the brain has a difficult time utilizing glucose for energy. [5] Reducing your grain and refined sugar carbohydrates could be helpful in this regard. Also, keeping your heart health in check may be helpful, as studies indicate atherosclerosis significantly raises dementia risk. [6]

What are you concerns with dementia? What steps have you taken to protect brain health?

References:

  1. Hebert LE, Scherr PA, Bienias JL, Bennett DA, Evans DA. Alzheimer disease in the US population: prevalence estimates using the 2000 census. Arch Neurol. 2003 Aug;60(8):1119-22.
  2. Exley C, House E, Polwart A, Esiri MM. Brain burdens of aluminum, iron, and copper and their relationships with amyloid-β pathology in 60 human brains. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;31(4):725-730.
  3. Paul A. Adlard, Victoria M. Perreau, Viorela Pop, and Carl W. Cotman. Voluntary Exercise Decreases Amyloid Load in a Transgenic Model of Alzheimer’s Disease. The Journal of Neuroscience, 27 April 2005, 25(17): 4217-4221; doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0496-05.2005.
  4. Velagapudi R, Baco G, Khela S, Okorji U, Olajida O. Pomegranate inhibits neuroinflammation and amyloidogenesis in IL-1β-stimulated SK-N-SH cells. Eur J Nutr. 2015 Jul 10.
  5. Kaushik Shah, Shanal DeSilva, and Thomas Abbruscato. The Role of Glucose Transporters in Brain Disease: Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease. Int J Mol Sci. 2012; 13(10: 12629-12655. doi: 10.3390/ijms131012629.
  6. Silvestrini M, Viticchi G, Falsetti L, et al. The role of carotid atherosclerosis in Alzheimer’s disease progression. J Alzheimers Dis. 2011;25(4):719-26. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2011-101968.

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

Wheat Grass Reverses Cataract-Associated Cloudy Lenses

wheat grass

The idea that one can reverse aging, especially in eye diseases like cataracts, is usually looked upon as an unrealistic expectation. And yet research increasingly reveals that dietary interventions can lead to remarkable improvements. Aloe gel, for instance, was recently found to significantly improve visible signs of skin aging. Who, after all, would not like to age slower and/or reverse the process when unnecessarily accelerated?  And especially when loss of vision and/or potential blindness are at stake.

Watchful waiting, some vague nutritional recommendations, increased use of sunglasses, and, of course, surgical intervention, are still the standard of care from the conventional medical viewpoint. With half of all Americans in their mid-80’s suffering from them, cataracts are generally considered a natural — and inevitable — part of the aging process. But there is a reason why not everyone in their 80’s (i.e. the other 50%) gets them, and it likely has far more to do with nutritional factors, than genetics. How do we know that? Well, the following research may bring the point home poignantly…

There are a broad range of natural substances which have been researched for their ability to prevent cataract associated lens opacity, but wheat grass steals the show when it comes to demonstrably improving the condition, at least in the animal model.

According to a study published in the journal Biogerontology in 2005, on aging reversal titled, “Aging reversibility: from thymus graft to vegetable extract treatment — application to cure an age-associated pathology,”1 wheat grass may actually REVERSE LENS OPACITY ASSOCIATED WITH CATARACTS:

“Old dogs were orally treated for a month and the lens opacity analysed before and after the treatment. Results showed a reduction from 25 to 40% of lens opacity. The efficacy of wheat sprouts in the recovery of age-related alterations and in treating age-associated pathologies could be due to the contemporary presence of small regulatory acid peptides, a remarkable level of highly energetic phosphoric radicals and antioxidant molecules, peculiarities that may be, to some extent, related to the aging process regulation.” [emphasis added]

Wheat grass, of course, is likely not the only sprouted cereal seed capable of providing these uniquely beneficial properties.  And green foods, such as green leafy vegetables from non-cereal plants, are also of great value.  It is also important to point out that not everyone will do well with the wheat lectin (aka wheat germ agglutinin (WGA)) that is found in wheat sprouts, as it may contribute to osteoarthritis, for example.  But the key point here is that a simple nutritional change — adding something living and green to the diet– may make a world of difference in age-associated degenerative eye conditions, and is at least worth trying before more invasive, expensive and dangerous approaches are utilized.

——-

1 Andrea Basso, Giuliana Rossolini, Anna Piantanelli, Domenico Amici, Isabella Calzuola, Loretta Mancinelli, Valeria Marsili, Gian Luigi Gianfranceschi. Aging reversibility: from thymus graft to vegetable extract treatment– application to cure an age-associated pathology. Biogerontology. 2005;6(4):245-53. PMID: 16333758


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

A Higher Level Of Freedom: The Benefit Of Cannabis To Health

frabz-Freedom-doesnt-Exist-along-as-Nature-is-Illegal-Cannabis-produce-17191f

“If the words “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on.” – Terence McKenna

While this article is not focused on the recreational use of cannabis, Terence McKenna’s quote speaks directly to a sacred right, increasingly being legislated against in our society, namely, the ability to choose and use substances that grow freely on this Earth as our medicine.

In a day and age where possession of an herb like cannabis is an offense punishable by incarceration, it is important for us to reflect on how we arrived at this dark point in time.

Herbs, after all, were put here by God. If you prefer the word Nature, the point is the same, and it was put best by Bob Marley when he said: “you can’t tell God it [cannabis] is illegal.”

And yet authorities are telling God, and you and me, that is is illegal, despite a growing body of scientific evidence that it has profound potential as a medicine. Does this not in some way call into question the very legitimacy and authority of those who would lay claim to the right to decide what a human can or can not use a natural substance to improve their health, or enliven their spirit? As long as no harm is being done to others in the act of choosing what is best for oneself, who can rightfully take issue with the freedom to choose one’s own “medicine”?

Were it not for the fact that the human body is hard-wired to respond to cannabis through the endocannabinoid system (ES), claims for its medicinal value would have much less weight. The ES, in fact, encompasses a wide range of physiological processes, including appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory. So fundamental are these processes to what motivates and defines human behavior, it is no wonder that a plant with the power to directly affect these functions would be the subject of such profound controversy, as well as brutal, socioeconomic and politically-mediated criminalization.

Indeed, the endocannabinoid system mediates the psychoactive effects of cannabis associated with its “highs” and sometimes “lows.” Any plant with the power to alleviate pain or illness and which grows freely in the wild represents a significant threat to a conventional medical establishment whose monopoly is founded on the coining of medicines from patented and proprietary chemicals.

Cannabis, however, is not a Johnny-come-lately to the fierce debate over whether traditional herbal medicines have proven safety and efficacy within the “evidence-based” model of medicine. In fact, few plants can lay claim to as much scientific, and particularly human clinical data supporting its right to exist alongside other prescribed medicines as a viable treatment option. Indeed, the GreenMedInfo.com project has uncovered 129 distinct disease categories that may benefit from this remarkable plant thus far, and new studies are being added on a weekly basis.

Given the glut of research establishing the likelihood of a legitimate medicinal role for the plant in human disease prevention and treatment, the tides are beginning to turn against the miseducation of the public about this valuable herb. The fate of the practice of traditional herbalism itself, and our health freedom as a whole, hinges, in many respects, on whether the pharmaceutically-driven medical establishment, and the drug conviction-dependent privatized-prison industrial complex succeeds in maintaining the media-articulated stranglehold on mainstream opinion. We hope the positive cannabis science will arm those advocating for health freedom with the truth, and ask that you distribute it widely to those who are receptive to rational, science-based discourse on this herb’s benefits.

Possessing and using any herb, but especially one that has such a high level of safety, should be the choice of that free adult, and not grounds for the termination of their constitutional and human rights associated with arrest and imprisonment, which in this day and age is equivalent to enslavement and torture.


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

Make Your Own Healing Boo-Boo Stick

Make-Your-Own-Healing-Boo-Boo-Stick

Lately it seems that I can not get through the day without banging my shins against something, getting bit by an insect, burning myself while reaching into the oven, or having a dry skin itch-attack then scratching my skin raw.  Nothing major, mind you, but I do look like I have been through a war zone.

In the old days, my solution to treating these surface wounds has been to reach for the Neosporin and slather it all over the place.  In the new days, meaning now, I ditch the petroleum based ointment in favor of a more natural remedy.

What I have come up with is my own version of a first aid stick, something I call my “Healing Boo-Boo Stick”.  Yes, there are plenty of DIY “Boo-Boo” and “Owie” stick formulations online as well as DIY Neosporin ointments.  But that said, this is not rocket science.  Here is my own formula and one that works for me.

Healing Boo-Boo Stick aka My Miracle First Aid Stick

Ingredients
20 drops Lavender essential oil
20 drops Melaleuca (Tea Tree) essential oil
10 drops Oregano essential oil
Witch Hazel

Directions
Add essential oils to a small, 10ML glass roller ball bottle.  Top with witch hazel.

Before using, give it a quick shake then apply liberally to cuts, scrapes, bug bites, blemishes and zits (admit it, we still get them) and just about anywhere else you would normally apply antiseptic ointment.

Options
1.  Use a small spray bottle instead of a roller ball.

2.  Instead of witch hazel, use fractionated coconut oil

3.  If you prefer an ointment, mix the ingredients into 2 teaspoons of BDS Simple Salve.  What’s that? See DIY Simple Salve: An All Purpose, All Natural Ointment and learn to make it your self!

How Does It Work?

The essential oils used in this miracle first aid stick are well known for their healing qualities.  With the addition of soothing and calming witch hazel, you have a combination that will seal the fate of those everyday cuts, scrapes, and bites that I so fondly call “boo boos”.

Lavender:  Lavender has historically been used to clean and help heal wounds and burns, and to address skin issues of all types.  It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antiviral.

Resource:  The Miracle of Lavender Oil: 25 Amazing Uses for Survival

Melaleuca (Tea Tree): Melaleuca acts as a stimulant and helps the body fight off bacteria, infections, viruses, and illness.  It is antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, and antiviral.

Resource:  The Miracle of Tea Tree Oil: 80 Amazing Uses for Survival

Oregano:  Historically, oregano was used by ancient Greek physicians to treat wounds and bites.  Many members of the modern medical community consider oregano to be natures antibiotic. It is antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-allergenic, and anti–inflammatory.

Resource:  25 Ways to Use Oregano Essential Oil for Health and Wellness

Witch Hazel:  Witch Hazel is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing.  Historically it has been used for acne, sunburn, stings and bites, razor burn and nicks, blisters, and other skin woes. It is perfect for cleaning wounds and reducing inflammation and swelling.

What Can I Use the Boo-Boo Stick For?

I could list all of the uses for this miracle first aid stick but let me just say this:

Use it anytime you would normally reach for a tube of Neosporin.

Use it for treating and preventing infections from minor cuts, scrapes, bites and burns.

Use it to calm itching, reduce inflammation and swelling, and to promote healing without reliance on chemical laden petroleum products.

Most of all, use it whenever you feel that an OTC first aid cream or ointment is warranted.

The Final Word

As with all of my lotions, ointments, salves and other concoctions, this is the formula that works for me.  I find that It is quick and effective plus it uses some of the more common and less expensive essential oils.  The one caveat I have is that you want to be mindful that oregano is a “hot oil” and even though it is well-diluted, you should keep it away from the eyes.

Something else to keep in mind is that if you happen to be in the kitchen and don’t have your boo-boo stick handy, reach for some honey.  It, too, has healing qualities that are proven to reduce the incidence of inflammation and infection.

And finally, it goes without saying that using essential oils for minor skin irritations is just fine.  For serious wounds, however, please seek medical attention and follow the advice of your healthcare practitioner.  Let common sense prevail.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

5 Proven Ways To Boost Testosterone Naturally

boost_testosterone_naturally_greenmedinfo

Boosting testosterone has become all the rage today, but unless you activate your body’s innate ability to do it naturally you will have to face the possibility of serious side effects.

As men reach their mid-forties their testosterone levels begin to decline, with approximately 1% to 2% decrease in measurable blood levels annually, and then dropping off precipitously after age 60 into full blown “andro-pause.”  This ever-increasing decline can have a wide range of adverse effects, both physically and psychologically, ranging from muscle loss to insulin resistance, low libido to depression.

Today, an increasing number of aging men are opting for testosterone replacement therapy, some with dramatic results. But this approach, while often positive in the short term, can have some serious drawbacks in the long term, especially if the underlying and modifiable factors causing the deficiency are not addressed at their root.

First, testosterone replacement therapy often involves administering levels far higher than a normal physiologic dose, which increases the risks of serious side effects, including certain cancers.

Second, when testosterone is replaced, a negative endocrine feedback loop is activated sending a signal to the gonads to reduce its production further, ultimately feeding the original deficiency and even leading to testicular atrophy.

Third, when testosterone levels are suddenly increased through exogenous sources, there is often a concomitant increase in testosterone metabolites such as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and estradiol, both which can lead to some particularly undesirable downstream effects, which include male pattern hair loss and excessive prostate growth.

Given these risks, the obvious alternative path is to support the body’s natural production of testosterone both by removing testosterone blocking chemicals and supporting one’s own body’s ability to produce more testosterone endogenously.

First, here are 5 things that one should avoid to keep testosterone production optimal:

1.     Statin Drugs: No category of drug is so thoroughly confirmed in the biomedical literature to suppress testosterone production and/or libido in men. Not only are these drugs misrepresented as ‘live saving’ for cardiovascular disease, but they may contribute to over 200 different adverse health effects. Any man concerned with preserving his production of testosterone should consider avoiding this drug class in favor of natural lipid lowering alternatives. [View supporting citations]

2.     Bisphenol A: This ubiquitous endocrine disrupter found mostly in plastics, canned foods, and thermal printer receipts, has been know found to block testosterone production in the testicles and to have potentially “feminizing” estrogenic effects. Also, don’t be fooled by so-called “Bisphenol A free” products, because it turns out that many contain other bisphenols which have at least the same toxicity profile.  [View supporting citations]

3.     Phthlates: Mainly used in plastics to make them flexible (i.e. a plasticizer), but also found in pharmaceuticals as an excipient and in cosmetic products, it has been found to suppress testosterone production. [View supporting citations]

4.     Parabens: Another ubiquitous petrochemical found as a preservative in a wide range of products, but especially cosmetics and body care productions, it has been found to disrupt testosterone levels. [View supporting citations]

5.     Glyphosate (GMO food): This testosterone-disrupting chemical is now found virtually everywhere in regions where GM agriculture predominates. Most GMO foods are designed to survive be sprayed with glyphosate, and therefore are contaminated with significant residues. But even explicitly non-GMO foods like oats are sprayed with the stuff as a pre-harvest desicant. Therefore the best way to avoid exposure is to eat 100% organically certified foods. [View supporting citations]

vitamin_c_testosterone

Now, here are five natural things that may help boost your testosterone naturally:

1) Zinc: It is well known that zinc deficiency can lead to testicular suppression, including suppression of testosterone levels.[1][2] The male prostate happens to have one of the highest concentrations of zinc of any organ within the body, indicating how important it is to the male reproductive system. Also, physical activity in both normally sedentary men and elite athletes can lead to both testosterone and thyroid hormone suppression, which can be mitigated by zinc supplementation.[3][4] Zinc has also been found to protect against heavy metal (cadmium) associated DNA damage to the testicles, preserving their ability to produce testosterone.[5] Animal research also indicates that it can improve erectile function along with optimizing levels of prolactin and testosterone.[6] Keep in mind that minerals are connected in a matrix of interdependence. Excess zinc can lead to copper deficiency and vice versa. This speaks to the importance of working with a licensed health professional versed in this area of expertise to help clinically ascertain your deficiencies and rectify them without causing unintended adverse effects. When in doubt, locate food sources of the minerals you are trying to replenish your body with from food, as minerals have a far lower risk of causing imbalances when found in food form. You can always use this USDA-based database to find the top nutrient-containing foods of your choice.

2) Vitamin C: One of the most important ways to optimize testosterone levels is to preserve its activity and regenerate it when it naturally converts to a transient hormone metabolite. Preliminary research indicates that vitamin C, a well-known electron donor, may be able to both regenerate testosterone and reduce levels of its toxic hormone metabolite.[7] Read “Sunshine Vitamin Regenerates and Detoxifies Your Hormones” to learn more.

3) Magnesium: Magnesium levels are strongly and independently associated with the anabolic hormones testosterone and IGF-1 in the elderly. This observation indicates that this mineral, which is involved in over 300 enzyme pathways, can help to positively modulate the anabolic/catabolic equilibrium which is often disrupted in elderly people.[8] One proposed mechanism for magnesium’s testosterone boosting role is that it inhibits the binding of testosterone (TT) to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) leading to an enhancement of bioavailable TT.[9]

4) Saw Palmetto/Astaxanthin: One of the best ways to increase testosterone naturally is to block it from converting to dihydrotestosterone and estrogen (estradiol). This can be accomplished through natural aromatase enzyme inhibitors and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors.  5-alpha reductase is an enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone and aromatase enzyme converts testosterone into estradiol.  A promising study from 2009 found that in healthy males between 37-70 years of age a combination of these two substances resulted in exactly such an improved ratio: increased testosterone, decreased estrogen and dihydrotestosterone.[10]

5) Phosphatidyl serine:  This critically important cell membrane component, mainly found in meat, fish and dairy products, but also found in soy and sunflower lecithin, has been found to decrease cortisol levels and increase testosterone levels following moderate physical activity in athletes.[11]

You can find additional research on natural ways to boost testosterone on our Testosterone database. Also, if you are interested in learning more about the related topic of increasing libido naturally you can read: 13 Alternatives to Viagra That Won’t Fall Flat. Finally, if you are looking for natural ways to detoxify testosterone-blocking chemicals in your body, check out this article: 8 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Detoxify Your Body. 


References

[1] S A Hamdi, O I Nassif, M S Ardawi. Effect of marginal or severe dietary zinc deficiency on testicular development and functions of the rat. Arch Androl. 1997 May-Jun;38(3):243-53.PMID: 9140621

[2] A A Abbasi, A S Prasad, P Rabbani, E DuMouchelle. Experimental zinc deficiency in man. Effect on testicular function. J Lab Clin Med. 1980 Sep ;96(3):544-50. PMID: 6772723

[3] Mehmet Kilic. Effect of fatiguing bicycle exercise on thyroid hormone and testosterone levels in sedentary males supplemented with oral zinc. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2007 Oct;28(5):681-5. PMID: 17984944

[4] Mehmet Kilic, Abdulkerim Kasim Baltaci, Mehmet Gunay, Hakki Gökbel, Nilsel Okudan, Ibrahim Cicioglu. The effect of exhaustion exercise on thyroid hormones and testosterone levels of elite athletes receiving oral zinc. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2006 Feb-Apr;27(1-2):247-52.PMID: 16648789

[5] Salem Amara, Hafedh Abdelmelek, Catherine Garrel, Pascale Guiraud, Thierry Douki, Jean-Luc Ravanat, Alain Favier, Mohsen Sakly, Khémais Ben Rhouma. Preventive effect of zinc against cadmium-induced oxidative stress in the rat testis. J Reprod Dev. 2008 Apr;54(2):129-34. Epub 2007 Apr 10. PMID: 17420618

[6] Dmab Dissanayake, P S Wijesinghe, W D Ratnasooriya, S Wimalasena. Effects of zinc supplementation on sexual behavior of male rats. J Hum Reprod Sci. 2009 Jul;2(2):57-61.PMID: 19881149

[7] Nikola Getoff, Johannes Hartmann, Heike Schittl, Marion Gerschpacher, Ruth Maria Quint. Photo-induced regeneration of hormones by electron transfer processes: Potential biological and medical consequences. Radiat Phys Chem Oxf Engl 1993. Updated 2011 Aug ;80(8):890-894. PMID: 21814301

[8] M Maggio, G P Ceda, F Lauretani, C Cattabiani, E Avantaggiato, S Morganti, F Ablondi, S Bandinelli, L J Dominguez, M Barbagallo, G Paolisso, R D Semba, L Ferrucci. Magnesium and anabolic hormones in older men. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2002 Nov-Dec;20(6):767-71. PMID:21675994

[9] L Excoffon, Y C Guillaume, M C Woronoff-Lemsi, C André. Magnesium effect on testosterone-SHBG association studied by a novel molecular chromatography approach. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2009 Feb 20;49(2):175-80. Epub 2008 Nov 5. PMID: 19095394

[10] Fru Angwafor, Mark L Anderson. An open label, dose response study to determine the effect of a dietary supplement on dihydrotestosterone, testosterone and estradiol levels in healthy males. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2009 Sep;20(9):1055-60. Epub 2009 Apr 30. PMID:18700016

[11] Michael A Starks, Stacy L Starks, Michael Kingsley, Martin Purpura, Ralf Jäger. The effects of phosphatidylserine on endocrine response to moderate intensity exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008 Jul 28;5:11. PMID:18662395


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

Cinnamon Vs. Ibuprofen For Menstrual Pain

cinnamon as pain killer

Why risk using a pain killer with deadly side effects?  

New research reveals that cinnamon powder is effective at reducing symptoms of painful periods (primary dysmenorrhea) in college age students.

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Published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research and titled, “Comparative effect of cinnamon and Ibuprofen for treatment of primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized double-blind clinical trial,” Iranian researchers evaluated the effect of either 420 mg of cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), 400 mg of ibuprofen, or a starch placebo, in three groups of 38 females. Both pain intensity and duration were monitored in all groups, with the results reported as follows:

“The mean pain severity score and mean duration of pain in Ibuprofen and Cinnamon were less than placebo group respectively (p< 0.001). Of 4 hours after the intervention there were no statistically significant differences between the Cinnamon and placebo group (p> 0.05). Of eight hours after the intervention, the mean pain severity in the cinnamon group was significantly lower than placebo group (p< 0.001). At various time intervals the mean pain severity in the Ibuprofen group were significantly less than Cinnamon and placebo groups (p< 0.001).”

The researchers concluded:

“Cinnamon can be regarded as a safe and effective treatment for primary dysmenorrhea. More researches are recommended to study the efficacy of Cinnamon on reducing menstrual bleeding.”

Discussion

Why do we consider cinnamon superior to ibuprofen? Considering the well known dangers of ibuprofen, which is estimated to kill several thousand a year from its cardiovascular side effects alone, cinnamon’s potential role as a natural alternative to this drug is highly promising. Unlike ibuprofen, cinnamon is not known to have cardiotoxic properties. To the contrary, it is known to have both blood pressure lowering and blood sugar lowering properties, both which may confer protection against cardiovascular disease.

As far as the question of its role in menstrual bleeding addressed in the conclusion above, a recent randomized, double-blinded clinical trial found that it actually reduced the severity of menstrual bleeding in women, making it a win-win as far as difficult or inconvenient menstruation symptoms go.

For more information about either cinnamon’s health benefits, or other natural interventions for painful periods, consult the following articles and database sections on Greenmedinfo.com:


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

Turmeric Neutralizes Deadly Viral Infections, Study Suggests

turmeric_deadly_viral_infections

The global race for an Ebola drug or vaccine is on, with hundreds of millions of dollars of resources invested, but could our best bet already be hiding in plain sight within our spice racks? 

A new study published in the journal In Vivo titled,”Curcumin Suppression of Cytokine Release and Cytokine Storm. A Potential Therapy for Patients with Ebola and Other Severe Viral Infections,” has raised an intriguing possibility: that one of the world’s most prized spices could provide an effective treatment against deadly viruses like Ebola that have no known conventional treatment to date.

Turmeric is about 3-5% curcumin by dry weight. It is one of the most extensively researched substances on the planet, with over 1540 studies available to view on our database alone. Amazingly, it has been identified to have potential or actual therapeutic value in over 600 health conditions. The discovery that it may also be an important anti-Ebola agent while new, is not surprising, given how profoundly it appears to ameliorate hundreds of causes of physical suffering, many of them associated with opportunistic infections with viruses, parasites and bacteria.

The study findings are summarized in the abstract succinctly:

Background: The terminal stage of Ebola and other viral diseases is often the onset of a cyotkine storm, the massive overproduction of cytokines by the body’s immune system.

Materials and Methods: The actions of curcumin in suppressing cytokine release and cytokine storm are discussed.

Results: Curcumin blocks cytokine release, most importantly the key pro-inflammatory cytokines, interleukin- 1, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α. The suppression of cytokine release by curcumin correlates with clinical improvement in experimental models of disease conditions where a cytokine storm plays a significant role in mortality.

Conclusion: The use of curcumin should be investigated in patients with Ebola and cytokine storm. Intravenous formulations may allow achievement of therapeutic blood levels of curcumin.

In a previous article, Natural Treatments for Ebola Exist, Research Shows, we reviewed some of the preliminary research available on natural treatments for Ebola. Curcumin was not yet on the radar of researchers when the article was written. Now, considering the new study, and curcumin’s long history of safe usage, affordability, and widespread availability as a food ingredient, it should be considered top on the list of candidates for a natural anti-Ebola agent. Moreover, curcumin has already been found to inhibit a broad range of viruses, including HPV and Hepatitis C virus, indicating that future research should be performed to ascertain if it possesses direct anti-Ebola virus activity as well. You can peruse first-hand abstracts on the topic on our focused research page: Turmeric’s anti-viral properties.

The new study looked at the wide-ranging ways that curcumin may down-regulate the “cytokine storm” inducible through infection with potentially lethal viruses like Ebola, and even the more common influenza A. Below is a diagram of these specific beneficial modulatory actions:

(click image to enlarge)

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For further research, you can visit our curcumin database where you will find over 150 distinct modulatory properties possessed by this biomolecule, including many of those listed in these tables above.

One issue raised in the study’s concluding remarks is curcumin’s limited bioavailabity: 

The activity of curcumin in suppressing multiple cytokines, and its activity in experimental models of diseases and conditions associated with cytokine storm, suggest it may be useful in the treatment of patients with Ebola and cytokine storm. Curcumin is poorly absorbed from the intestinal tract; however, intravenous formulations may allow therapeutic blood levels of curcumin to be achieved in patients diagnosed with cytokine storm. Clinical status and levels of important cytokines, such as IL1β, IL6 and TNFα, should be monitored carefully when patients are treated with curcumin.”

While curcumin’s bioavailability may be a limiting factor, there are a number of formulas on the market today that include the curcumin in a phospholipid-based (usually lecithin-derived) delivery system which makes it much more water soluble and capable of passing through the liver’s imposing glucoronidation barrier, so it may gain systemic entry into circulation and the peripheral tissues. Some of these such as Meriva® or BCM-95 (non-affiliate links) are available over-the-counter. It is also possible to combine piperine, a compound found in black pepper, to enhance absorption and systemic delivery. It should also be noted that curcumin has an exceptionally high safety profile, with as high as 12 grams daily used in the clinical setting without side effects. For information on how to use turmeric in a medicinal though culinary way, watch the popular video on GreenMedTV on how to make a golden turmeric milk recipe:

Golden Milk

Watch the video

Keep in mind that curcumin is a non-patentable natural substance. This does not bode well for it gaining acceptance by the capital-intensive and/or capital-focused medical system which requires the passing of a gauntlet of expensive clinical trials (over 800 million dollars on average is required to receive FDA drug approval) in order to obtain FDA drug approval, not to mention market exclusivity. Of course they may try to synthetically alter curcumin, creating semi-synthetic or synthetic analogs, suitable for obtaining patent rights. But this approach amounts to a “kiss of death,” rendering a natural biomolecule into a xenobiotic, the latter of which often have dozens of adverse downstream health effects. This is why curcumin will not be broadcasted anytime soon as a viable therapy, despite the dire need for an alternative to conventional approaches which have yet to manifest.

For more information read the article: Why The Law Forbids the Medicinal Use of Natural Substances.


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

Beet Juice Boosts Cognitive Function In One Dose

beet juice

Could beet juice provide you a brain boost superior to coffee or tea?

Recently, Deanna Minich, PhD, founder of Food and Spirit, brought to my attention an amazing new study on beets and their role in promoting cognitive health. She summarized the study as follows:

One recent study in 40 healthy people showed that they were able to better perform on cognitive tests 90 minutes after drinking 450 mL beetroot juice compared with placebo (apple/blackcurrant juice, which is low in nitrates). What I really like about this study is that brain performance can be improved fairly rapidly in healthy people with a simple activity like drinking beetroot juice (high in dietary nitrates, which leads to more nitric oxide to open up oxygen flow in the brain).”

The abstract below goes into greater depth as to the plausible mechanism behind beet juice’s observed beneficial effects:

Nitrate derived from vegetables is consumed as part of a normal diet and is reduced endogenously via nitrite to nitric oxide. It has been shown to improve endothelial function, reduce blood pressure and the oxygen cost of sub-maximal exercise, and increase regional perfusion in the brain. The current study assessed the effects of dietary nitrate on cognitive performance and prefrontal cortex cerebral blood-flow (CBF) parameters in healthy adults. In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-groups study, 40 healthy adults received either placebo or 450ml beetroot juice (~5.5mmol nitrate). Following a 90minute drink/absorption period, participants performed a selection of cognitive tasks that activate the frontal cortex for 54min. Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) was used to monitor CBF and hemodynamics, as indexed by concentration changes in oxygenated and deoxygenated-haemoglobin, in the frontal cortex throughout. The bioconversion of nitrate to nitrite was confirmed in plasma by ozone-based chemi-luminescence. Dietary nitrate modulated the hemodynamic response to task performance, with an initial increase in CBF at the start of the task period, followed by consistent reductions during the least demanding of the three tasks utilised. Cognitive performance was improved on the serial 3s subtraction task. These results show that single doses of dietary nitrate can modulate the CBF response to task performance and potentially improve cognitive performance, and suggest one possible mechanism by which vegetable consumption may have beneficial effects on brain function.”

As you can see above, the beet juice intervention resulted in the modulation of haemodynamic response (HR) in the prefrontal cortex during task performance. In neurobiology the HR involves the rapid delivery of blood to active neuronal tissues. The blood vessel dilating effects of beet nitrate and subsequent increases in oxygen and nutrients may help explain the improvements in cognitive function in the intervention group.

As Deanna mentioned, it is quite amazing that a single dose of beet juice (450 mL = 15.21 ounces), could result in near immediate improvements in cognition.  This bodes well for those looking for a viable option to coffee or tea, since habitual users of these stimulant beverages have come to expect immediate results. The difference here, of course, is that beets are a food and therefore can be considered a more sustainable and nourishing brain supportive agent. Additionally, beet is a nutrition-packed food carrying a wide range of side benefits, which include cardiovascular benefits, cancer prevention, and liver support. For more in depth information of beet as a functional food, read our previous article “The Health Benefits of Beets.”

A Wide Range of Natural, Evidence-Based Brain Boosters Have Been Identified

At GreenMedInfo.com we have indexed a vast swath of information on both the causes and solutions for cognitive dysfunction. You can view the entire data set here: Cognitive Dysfunction.

A few of the the approaches that stand out are:

  1. Ginkgo Biloba

  2. Coconut Oil

  3. Turmeric

  4. Pomegranate Juice

  5. Avoid Wheat

For additional research, consult this article: “7 Proven Ways To Keep Your Brain Young,” or consult our database section: Aging Brain.


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

The Aspirin Alternative Your Doctor Never Told You About

aspirin

Millions use aspirin daily without realizing its true dangers. The good news is that there is a natural alternative which preliminary research indicates is safer and more effective.

WARNING: Never discontinue a pharmaceutical product without the guidance of a physician. Doing so could have serious, if not life threatening side effects. This article is for informational purposes only. Nothing here is intended as or should be substituted for medical advice. 

Aspirin is taken faithfully by millions every day as a preventive measure against heart attack, often without the user having any awareness of the serious health risks associated with it, some potentially fatal. You can view over 60 adverse effects of aspirin on the GreenMedInfo.com’s aspirin research page if you have any doubts about how serious a concern this is.

Aspirin’s widespread popularity is based on its much-touted blood-thinning properties. But there are safer, surprisingly more effective and far more natural alternatives on the market today.

For instance, pycnogenol, a branded form of an extract of French maritime pine bark, can be found on the shelves of thousands of health food stores around the country, and unique among natural products, has a broad base of human clinical research supporting its use for a wide variety of health conditions. You can view GreenMedInfo.com’s pycnogenol research page take a look at the published research.

Moreover, in cross comparison tests, pycnogenol has been found at least as effective as aspirin in preventing blood from clotting, but at significantly lower doses and with a superior safety profile.

Smoker’s Study Proves Pycnogenol More Effective and Safer Than Aspirin

In a previous article titled, “The Powerful Aspirin Alternative That Grows on Trees,” we featured a 1999 clinical study published in Thrombotic Research that found that when habitual smokers were given either 500 mg of aspirin or anywhere between 100-200 mg of pycnogenol, the pycnogenol group experienced equivalent platelet aggregation inhibiting effects but with much lower bleeding times:

“Thus, smoking-induced enhanced platelet aggregation was inhibited by 500 mg Aspirin as well as by a lower range of 100-125 mg Pycnogenol. Aspirin significantly (p<0.001) increased bleeding time from 167 to 236 seconds while Pycnogenol did not.These observations suggest an advantageous risk-benefit ratio for Pycnogenol.”

This is a highly significant finding, as aspirin-induced bleeding can result in significantly increased morbidity and mortality. One might ask, if pycnogenol is as effective a ‘blood thinner’ as aspirin but without the same side effects, then what is the downside of using the natural alternative?

New Study Confirms Pycnogenol’s Superiority to Aspirin

Research comparing pycnogenol to aspirin as a blood thinner has been sparse, but a new study promises to add additional weight to the previously reported finding of pycnogenol’s superiority. Published this year in the Italian journal Panminerva Medica and titled, “Recurrence of retinal vein thrombosis with Pycnogenol® or Aspirin® supplementation: a registry study,” researchers compared the use of either pycnogenol or aspirin in the prevention of retinal vein thrombosis recurrence after a first episode.

Retinal vein thrombosis is considered to be a relatively common condition intimately related to other conditions that afflict the vascular system, such as hypertension, arteriosclerosis and diabetes.[1]

The study methods were described as follows:

Possible management options – chosen by patients – were: standard management; standard management + oral Aspirin® 100 mg once/day (if there were no tolerability problems before admission); standard management + Pycnogenol® two 50 mg capsules per day (for a total of 100 mg/day). Number of subjects, age, sex, distribution, percentage of smokers, and vision were comparable.”

The results were reported as follows:

Recurrent RVT was seen in 17.39% of controls and in 3.56% of subjects supplemented with Pycnogenol® (P<0.05 vs. controls). There was RVT in 15.38% of the subjects using Aspirin®. The incidence of RVT was 4.88 times higher with standard management in comparison with the supplement group and 4.32 lower with Pycnogenol® supplementation in comparison with Aspirin®. Vision level was better with Pycnogenol® (20/25 at nine months; P<0.05). With Pycnogenol®, edema at the retinal level was also significantly reduced compared to the other groups. Pycnogenol® has a very good safety profile. In the Aspirin® group 26 completed 9 months and 6 subjects dropped out for tolerability problems. In the Aspirin® group, 2 minor, subclinical, retinal, hemorrhagic episodes during the follow-up were observed (2 subjects out of 26, equivalent to 7.69%). This pilot registry indicates that Pycnogenol® seems to reduce the recurrence of RVT without side effects. It does not induce new hemorrhagic episodes that may be theoretically linked to the use of Aspirin® (or other antiplatelets).”

As you can see, the clear winner in this comparison study was pycnogenol. Not only was the incidence of recurrent retinal vein thrombosis almost five times higher in the aspirin group, vision and retinal swelling (edema) was significantly lower in the pycnogenol group, as well. Moreover, whereas the pycnogenol group had no reported side effects, 6 of the 26 subjects in the aspirin group dropped out due to tolerability issues, and 7.69% of the aspirin group (2 subjects of 26) were found to have retinal bleeding as a side effect in the follow-up period.

Nature Provides Time-Tested Solutions

We really shouldn’t be surprised that a naturally occurring complex of phytocompounds (i.e. pycnogenol) should outperform a synthetic drug, considering that our bodies have co-evolved for millions of years with natural things, (e.g. foods, herbs, spices), and only a hundred or more with synthetic ones, (e.g. patent drugs). Pycnogenol, as a bark extract, is about 65-75 percent proanthocyanidins (procyanidins), a class of polyphenols found in a wide variety of plants, many of which have been in the human diet since the inception of our species and before. Some classical examples include green and black tea, cranberry, bilberry, cocoa beans, cinnamon, and black currant. Polyphenols, of course, are powerful antoxidants, as well as signaling molecules, which likely perform a variety of gene-regulatory functions, that may have value in a wide range of health conditions. Indeed, we have indexed over 150 health benefits linked to polyphenol consumption on our database alone.

Suffice it to say that as the biomedical machine moves forward, and we see an increasingly voluminous body of literature investigating the health benefits and mechanisms of action underpinning natural interventions for disease prevention and treatment, we will become increasingly compelled to choose time-tested, natural alternatives to synthetic chemicals, as the former are not only much safer but often more effective than most scientists and physicians ever dreamed possible.

Additional References

[1] Prisco D, Marcucci R. Retinal vein thrombosis: risk factors, pathogenesis and therapeutic approach. Pathophysiol Haemost Thromb. 2002 Sep-Dec;32(5-6):308-11. Review. PubMed PMID: 13679663.


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

8 Foods That Boost Your Immune System

ginger

Maybe you have something as simple as a cold, or perhaps you’re just looking for a little boost in immunity. With the right vitamins and minerals, smart dietary choices can pack a healthy punch. Although diet gets little attention in conventional media when it comes to supporting the immune system, it is one of the most powerful methods for keeping colds and other illnesses at bay. While nutrition isn’t the only means of immune system support, it is one of the oldest and most reliable natural adjuncts.

Eight Foods for Immune System Support

The majority of your immune cells reside in your intestines, so doesn’t it make sense to consume healthy foods for keeping your immune system top notch? Here are 8 foods you can eat right now to boost your immune system.

  1. Bell Peppers

I know, right? I bet you thought citrus was going to be my first choice. Well, reach for all the bell peppers you want because they can actually have twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits. In addition, bell peppers are a great source of beta-carotene, which not only helps maintain healthy skin and eyes but studies suggest they could also provide an immune system boost. [1] [2]

    2. Citrus

Don’t be fooled by my first point! Those citrus fruits are certainly packed with vitamin C. Believed to increase the production of white blood cells, C is essential for fighting off infections. Since your body doesn’t produce or store this vitamin, stock up on citrus to help keep your immune system up and running. Supplementation with the vitamin may be helpful, but it’s always best to receive the vitamin from its natural source.

  1. Ginger

Ginger is thought to work much like Vitamin C in that it can even stop a cold before it starts. That said, it’s also a great food to reach for after you’re sick. Ginger can have a little heat due to the gingerol, a cousin of sorts to capsaicin—the stuff that makes chili peppers hot. It’s the “kick” of the gingerol that can even act as a strong soothing agent. [3]

  1. Turmeric

You can find this spice in many curries; it’s bright yellow in color, and a little bitter in taste, but it can definitely be pretty amazing for your health. While it’s already been used for its soothing capabilities for arthritis (among other things), a recent study suggests high concentrations of curcumin—what gives turmeric its color—could also reduce fever. [4] [5]

  1. Spinach

With vitamin C, beta-carotene, and plenty of antioxidants, spinach is a perfect vegetable for your immune system. If you want to get the most out of it though, cook it as little as possible, or even keep it raw. But don’t stop at spinach; a study suggests that other leafy green vegetables are good choices as well. [6]

  1. Broccoli

Like spinach, broccoli is another great vegetable choice packed with antioxidants and vitamins. With vitamins A, C, and E, broccoli could easily be one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table. Just like with spinach, cook it as little as possible to retain its nutrients.

  1. Yogurt

If you like yogurt, make sure you’re getting the full health benefit by eating the kind with live cultures. Recent research suggests these cultures may strengthen your immune system. [7] Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D, which can also help boost the immune system. [8]

  1. Almonds

When your immune system needs a boost, vitamin E sometimes loses the spotlight to vitamin C, but both are crucial for a healthy immune system. Vitamin E is fat-soluble, which means fat is needed in order for it to be absorbed properly. You can get almost all of your daily allowance of this vitamin by reaching for a half-cup of almonds. How easy is that?

What food would you reach for if your immune system needed a boost? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

References:

  1. Hughes, D. A. Effects of carotenoids on human immune function. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 58 (3).
  2. Chew, B. P. & Park, J. S. Carotenoid Action on the Immune Response. The Journal of Nutrition. 134 (1).
  3. Grzanna, R. et al. Ginger—An Herbal Medicinal Product with Broad Anti-Inflammatory Actions. Journal of Medicinal Food. 8 (2).
  4. Jagetia G. C, & Aggarwal B. B. “Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin. Journal of Clinical Immunology. 27 (1).
  5. Sultana, G. N. et al. Analgesic principle from Curcuma amada. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 163.
  6. Li, Y. et al. Exogenous Stimuli Maintain Intraepithelial Lymphocytes via Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Activation. Cell. 147 (3).
  7. Meydani, S. N. & Ha W. Immunologic effects of yogurt. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 71 (4).
  8. Aranow, C. Vitamin D and the Immune System. Vitamin D and the Immune System.

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

Light-Turmeric Extract Combo Treats Psoriasis Effectively

turmeric_extract_treats_psoriasis_greenmedinfo

Oral turmeric extract (curcumin) in combination with light therapy produces remarkable healing results in patients with severe-to-moderate psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a chronic, recurrent inflammatory skin condition characterized by itchy, dry, scaly plaques.  Conventional treatment, which involves drugs and sometimes surgery, is often ineffective, leading many to search for alternative treatments. Many of these, however, have not been studied clinically and while working in some circumstances, may not be taken as seriously as so-called evidence-based natural interventions.

Thankfully, there are a number of natural interventions that have undergone conventional research protocols, over thirty of which can be viewed on our psoriasis research page.  You will notice that curcumin, the primary polyphenol in turmeric, features high on the list, with four studies concerning its potential therapeutic value.  Now, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot clinical trial published in the European Journal of Dermatology has found that oral curcumin extract in combination with visible light therapy (phototherapy) is highly effective at improving the condition of adults with plaque psoriasis.

Titled, “Effects of Curcuma extract and visible light on adults with plaque psoriasis,” European researchers conducted a trial with patients suffering from moderate to severe psoriasis. They received curcumin extract orally for 17 days, about 15 days of which occurred in combination with either real visible light phototherapy (VLRT) or simulated visible light phototherapy (VLST) in only the experimental area, while the rest of the body surface was treated with ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation.

The study results were reported as follows:

Twenty-one patients were included in the study. In the intention-to-treat analysis, no patients included in the VLRT group showed “moderate” or “severe” plaques after the treatment, in contrast to the patients included in the VSLT group (p<0.01). Parallelisms in the evolution of PGA (Psoriasis Global Assessment), BSA (body surface area), and PASI (psoriasis area and severity index) scores were observed in the two groups following the treatment. At the end of the study period, 76% of all patients showed a response in the BSA exposed to UVA. Lesions on the experimental area showed a response in 81% of the patients in the VLRT group and 30% of the patients in the VLST group. There were no study-related adverse events that necessitated participant withdrawal.”

In other words, all three groups showed significant improvement, with the most pronounced effect involving a combination of real visible light phototherapy and oral curcumin who no longer showed “moderate” or “severe” plagues after treatment.

The study concluded:

The results suggested that moderate to severe plaque psoriasis should show a therapeutic response to orally administered Curcuma if activated with visible light phototherapy, a new therapeutic method that would be safer for patients than existing treatments.”

Because the full study was not available to us, we are not able to report how much curcumin they used. Despite this limitation, previous trials give us an idea of what constitutes a therapeutic dose. For instance, a phase II trial with psoriatic patients used 4.5 grams of curcumin, the results of which are described below:

A phase II, open-label, Simon’s two-stage clinical trial sought to determine the safety and efficacy of oral curcumin in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis (52). [1] Twelve patients with chronic plaque psoriasis were enrolled in the study and were given 4.5-g curcumin capsules every day for 12 weeks, followed by a 4-week observation period. Curcumin was well-tolerated, and all participants completed the study. The response rate was low, however, possibly caused by a placebo effect or the natural history of psoriasis. However, two patients who responded to the treatment showed 83% to 88% improvement at 12 weeks of treatment. Small sample size and the lack of a control (placebo) group were the limitations of the study (52). Therefore, large placebo-controlled studies are required before recommending oral curcumin for psoriasis.[2]

Additionally, since certain subtypes of psoriasis have been linked to wheat and gluten intolerance ad/or sensitivity, it is important to consider a broad-based strategy in preventing and/or treating psoriasis versus simply looking for “natural” magic bullets.

References

[1] Kurd SK, Smith N, VanVoorhees A, Troxel AB, Badmaev V, Seykora JT, Gelfand JM. Oral curcumin in the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis vulgaris: A prospective clinical trial. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 Apr;58(4):625-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2007.12.035. Epub 2008 Feb 4. Erratum in: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 Jun;58(6):1050. PubMed PMID: 18249471; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4131208.

[2] Gupta SC, Patchva S, Aggarwal BB. Therapeutic roles of curcumin: lessons learned from clinical trials. AAPS J. 2013 Jan;15(1):195-218. doi: 10.1208/s12248-012-9432-8. Epub 2012 Nov 10. Review. PubMed PMID: 23143785; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3535097.


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

23 Awesome Uses For Lemongrass Essential Oil

lemongrass

Anyone who has used essential oils for a period of time will find that they reach for the same tried and true oils over and over again.  In my case, there are the go-to standards lavender, peppermint, rosemary and frankincense but in addition, there is Lemongrass.

Three years ago, I thought lemongrass was an herbal plant used in tea and in Asian cuisine.  While I still enjoy a soothing cup of lemongrass and ginger tea, these days lemongrass essential oil serves an important role in my first aid kit as well.

The lemongrass genus has over fifty different species worldwide, but only some of the species are suitable for utilization as essential oil.  The two most commonly used in essential oils are are Cymbopogan citratus and Cymbopogan flexuosus.

Historically, lemongrass has been used to treat fevers, inflammation and indigestion as well as a sedative. These days, it is used for an armload of other ailments as well as for purification and odor control.  Today I share 23 uses for lemongrass essential oil that will set you a a path of wellness.

How is Lemongrass Essential Oil Used?

Lemongrass is effective in resolving a number of first aid woes. It has anti-microbial properties and is also an anti-inflammatory.  As a powerful analgesic, it offers immediate topical pain relief and reduces inflammation.  In addition, it is  antibacterial and antimicrobial which means it can prohibit bacterial growth and it is effective in controlling a fever caused by infection.

With its strong lemony scent and earthy, grassy undertones, it is also effective in aromatherapy and especially when used in a diffuser. If you drink lemongrass tea like I do, that will make perfect sense since the aroma of even the tea is quite lingering.

Used topically, a carrier oil is usually recommended as lemongrass is one essential oil that can cause sensitivity or irritation if utilized undiluted on the skin, or “neat”.  A common dilution is 2 drops of lemongrass to 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil but this is considered just a guide line and is quite conservative.  Still, this 2% dilution is a good starting point especially when using lemongrass for the first time.

23 Uses for Lemongrass Essential Oil in the First Aid Kit

1. Muscle and tendon relaxer:  When muscles and tendons tighten up, an application of lemongrass essential oil will typically bring immediate relief.  It works extremely quickly on those “knots” and spasms that can come on very quickly in the middle of the night.

2. Headache relief:  When it comes to headaches, and especially allergy-related headaches, lemongrass is a super star. It is also useful for individuals who are sensitive to Peppermint essential oil which is usually the recommended EO for headaches.

3. Arthritis joint pain:  Lemongrass works well to resolve joint pain and works especially well when mixed with Birch EO and Geranium EOs.  (See Birch Essential Oil for Arthritis, Muscle and Joint Pain.)   Since the use of birch essential oil is not recommended for people on blood thinners, lemongrass is an effective alternative.  That said, layering “the Birch” over lemongrass works surprisingly well to relieve deep joint pain.

4.  Pulled muscles:  By treating the inflammation created by a pulled muscle, lemongrass essential oil can bring immediate relief.  (An easy peasy pain relief formula is shown below).  This will also work on tender bruised areas.

5. Shock:  If you feel that someone is in shock, add 1 or 2 drops to a cotton ball and place the infused cotton ball under the nostrils.  Do this as soon as possible then, if you can, summon medical help.

6.  Treat wounds:  Blend a few drops with Witch Hazel or Saline to flush wounds. Afterward, blend with some BDS Simple Salve for an antiseptic application. Apply a bandage or gauze to the wound to keep it clean and free from dirt.

7. Heartburn:  Spread a couple of drops mixed with a carrier such as coconut oil or BDS Simple Salve over the throat and chest area to relieve heartburn.

8.  Indigestion:  A drop or two massaged into the abdomen will assist digestion and relieve the symptoms of indigestion..

9.  Sprains and sports injuries:  Lemongrass essential oil will treat both the pain and inflammations associated with sprains and sports injuries.

10.  Reduce fevers:  Use lemongrass to help fight the infection that causes fevers and also to keep the toxins from spreading. To use, blend with your basic Simple Salve (or even plain coconut oil) and apply to the back of neck, chest area, and the bottom of feet.

11.  Flea repellant: Lemongrass will repel fleas.  For dogs, apply to a piece of cloth (such as a bandana) or collar.  Since cats are more sensitive to essential oils in general, check with your veterinarian before using any essential oil on your kitty.

12.  Insect repellent: Insects don’t like lemongrass!  Apply to the edges of your clothing edges to repel climbing insects like ticks, or to exposed skin to repel mosquitos and other flying biting bugs. Just remember to dilute with a bit of carrier oil or salve when applying directly to the skin.

13.  Acne: Lemongrass is a mild astringent and is also antimicrobial. To help clear up acne, add one drop  to a carrier oil and dab on to affected areas once or twice a day.

14.  Athlete’s Foot:  Athlete’s foot is fungal skin infection and lemongrass can help address it. Utilize a drop of lemongrass in a carrier oil of salve, and rub on the feet a few times a day. If you wear shoes most of the day, try rubbing it on first thing in the morning, as soon as your shoes come off, and again before bed.

15.  Oily skin:  Utilize lemongrass in the same manner as that for acne, or utilize a drop in warm water as a skin rinse. The astringent properties of lemongrass have a naturally drying effect, without the potential over dryness caused by stronger astringents.

16. Stress relief:  One of the best ways to use lemongrass essential oil to relieve stress is via aromatherapy. Add 5 to 6 drops to your diffuser, or put a drop on your palms and inhale the scent. You can also put a drop on a cloth, or pillow for nighttime or travel aromatherapy.

17.  Fatigue:  Like stress relief, you can use lemongrass essential oil aromatically to mitigate fatigue.  A diffuser or even a few drops on a cotton ball will work beautifully.  Topically, mix a drop or two with a carrier oil and either massage into your temples.

18.  Anti-depressant:  Use a few drops in a diffuser daily.  I find it works great at night while sleeping.

19.  Anti-bacterial cleaning products:  Use lemongrass in homemade cleaning products to reduce bacteria in your home.  You can also use it in a diffuser to reduce airborne bacteria.  See this article on making your own DIY cleaning products. As an added bonus, lemongrass has a wonderful, and uplifting aroma.  You home will smell fresh and inviting!

20. Reduce high blood pressure:  Lemongrass is a vasodilator and can help reduce high blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels.

21.  Water retention: The diuretic properties of lemongrass can help clean and flush toxic wastes out of the body.  This can be done via topical applications such as in a salve or by adding a drop to your glass of water or cup of tea.

Note:  normally I do not suggest ingesting essential oils although with high quality oils, the practice is safe.  Always do your own research and if in doubt, consult a physician first.

22.  Insomnia:  Applying lemongrass to the bottoms of your feet at night is calming and helps induce a deep sleep.  Sipping a cup of lemongrass tea also helps.

23.  Body odor:  Commercial deodorants often contain lemongrass.  If you are prone to body odor, adding a few drops of lemongrass essential oil to your moisturizing body lotion or salve will help combat unpleasant body odors.

Lemongrass Pain Relief Formula

I personally use lemongrass essential oil in a roller ball mixed with fractionated coconut oil to provide immediate relief to painful muscle and tendon cramps in my hands, feet, and calves.

Lemongrass Pain Relief Formula
10 to 15 drops of Lemongrass essential oil
Fractionated Coconut Oil (or other carrier oil)
10ML Roller Ball (about 2 teaspoons)

Optional:  Add 5 drops of Clove essential oil

Add the lemongrass to the roller ball then top with a carrier oil.  I use FCO (fractionated essential oil).  Shake well before each use then apply copiously. Rubbing the area gently will accelerate the relief.

I find that I get better results with the roller ball application but you could also make up a salve using 2 teaspoons of BDS Simple Salve (or other carrier) and up to 15 drops of essential oil.

Side Effects of Lemongrass

Although considered one of the safer oils, lemongrass should always be diluted before applying it to the skin.  Even with low dilutions, it can be an irritant to some people so use a conservative amount to begin with.  If in doubt, perform a patch test first.

As with all essential oils, lemongrass essential oil should be kept out of the reach of children and pets, and should not be used if pregnant or nursing unless approved in advance by a medical professional.

A Word About Carrier Oils

Using a carrier oil makes an essential oil application so much easier and less wasteful.  Although I personally prefer coconut oil or BDS Simple Salve (which you make yourself), feel free to experiment with olive oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, or even an organic, unscented lotion.

Where to Purchase Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass essential oil is widely sold both online and in health food stores.  I personally purchase therapeutic grade Lemongrass from Spark Naturals.  Their quality standards are high and because they sell direct and not through a membership or MLM program, their prices are affordable.

Spark Naturals also carries a number of supporting carrier oils as well as accessories such as roller ball bottles, dropper tops and more. Furthermore, you can use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL to get a 10% discount off your entire order.

The Final Word

It was close to two years ago that I tossed two drawers full of OTC remedies into a box in favor of essential oils.  To this day, I am still learning how to use the various oils to improve my health and to remedy everyday aches and pains.  Essential oils have become my band-aid of choice and not a day goes by when I don’t use them for one thing or another.

My own education continues.  A few months back I purchased a big fat book entitled “Essential Oils Desk Reference” and I use it almost daily.  If you can afford it, I highly recommend that you add this desk reference to your survival library.  Although it promotes another brand of oils, the information is presented in an unbiased manner and there is never a sales pitch one way or another.

It has been my pleasure to share this information about Lemongrass essential oil.  Over time, I will continue to share information on additional, less common, essential oils with a special focus on the less expensive, more affordable oils that can be purchased for $10 or less.

There are dozens of oils out there and I am convinced that we can all maintain our health and wellness during times of crisis with the proper selection of essential oils in our first aid kits.

Be well and stay safe!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

Eating Dates Produces Powerful Health Benefits, Religion And Science Agree

dates_health_benefits_greenmedinfo

Since biblical times, dates were to believed to possess profound healing properties, but only now is science catching up to confirm our distant ancestors knew exactly what they were talking about. 

If you go by the Nutrition Facts panel of an ordinary package of dates, they look more like sugar bombs than a healthy snack. Check this one out:

Dates_Nutrition_Facts_Label__7_

But are they really as nutritionally vapid as these label claims make them seem?

Not by a long shot.

When we apply the complementary lenses of modern scientific investigation and ancient wisdom, dates begin to look like both a holy- and a super-food of immense value.

Here’s a neat example.

From the Koran to Clinical Trials: Dates for Better Birthing

In the Koran, the central holy book of Islam, Allah instructs the Virgin Mary to consume dates when she gives birth to Jesus.[1] And so, not surprisingly, dates are commonly referred to within the Islamic tradition as beneficial to pregnant women. We might chalk this up as “pre-scientific” magical thinking without basis in medical fact, were it not for a remarkable human clinical study that confirmed their value in pregnancy…

Published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2011 and titled, “The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery“, researchers set out to investigate the effect of date fruit consumption on labor parameters and birth outcomes. Over the course of 11 months at Jordan University of Science and Technology, two groups of women were enrolled in a prospective study where 69 women consumed six date fruits per day for 4 weeks prior to their estimated date of delivery, versus 45 women who consumed none. These women were matched so there was no significant difference in gestational age, age and parity (the number of times a woman has brought a pregnancy to viable gestational age) between the two groups.

The results of the date intervention were reported as follows:

  • Improved Cervical Dilation: “The women who consumed date fruit had significantly higher mean cervical dilatation upon admission compared with the non-date fruit consumers (3.52 cm vs 2.02 cm, p < 0.0005).”
  • Less Damage to Membranes: “[The intervention group had] a significantly higher proportion of intact membranes (83% vs 60%, p = 0.007).”
  • More Natural (Spontaneous) Labor: “Spontaneous labour occurred in 96% of those who consumed dates, compared with 79% women in the non-date fruit consumers (p = 0.024).”
  • Less Drugs Required: “Use of prostin/oxytocin was significantly lower in women who consumed dates (28%), compared with the non-date fruit consumers (47%) (p = 0.036).”
  • Shorter Labor: “The mean latent phase of the first stage of labour was shorter in women who consumed date fruit compared with the non-date fruit consumers (510 min vs 906 min, p = 0.044).”

The researchers concluded:

“It is concluded that the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favourable, but non-significant, delivery outcome. The results warrant a randomised controlled trial.”[2]

Thanks to research like this we can see how the mythological and scientific ways of understanding now converge and confirm one another. I believe that rather than contradict and/or negate one another, the mythos and logos are beginning to assume a far more productive complementary relationship as we move into a new era of understanding where the profane and sacred are perceived as intimately entwined in our direct experience. The field of nutrition, as you can see, is no exception.

Dates Contain Nourishing Information

Dates, of course, are in the palm tree family, and along with coconut and red palm, are some of the oldest cultivated plants known in the historical record; in fact, they are so old we don’t know where they first originated.  They have provided life-sustaining nutrition in regions that are often sparse in edible resources, and are increasingly being researched as a powerful medicinal food that could reduce much suffering in malnourished and disease prone populations, especially in underdeveloped countries.

Even while scientific analysis of dates are beginning to reveal that they are actually densely packed with a wide range of minerals, vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids, it should be emphasized that they are not just sources of energy and material building blocks for our body. We must acknowledge that they are also sources of biologically valuable (perhaps indispensably so) information. We can not analytically decompose a food into the minerals, vitamins, and macronutrients (e.g. lipids, fats, and protein), that we believe are responsible for its nourishing and life-sustaining properties, without losing quite a lot in the process. Foods contains hundreds, if not thousands, of physiologically important biomolecules, together which modulate the expression of thousands of genes in our body, as well as affecting our microbiome. In fact, our microbiome works on the foods we ingest, and together produce an intermediary layer of biomolecules known as the metabolome, many of which may be indispensable to our health.

This is why when we say food is medicine, we are not simply using a metaphor. We now know that food is capable, on a molecular level, of positively modulating a wide range of biological pathways simultaneously, in a manner that drugs simply can not replicate. In fact, I believe food contains an immense, if not infinite, amount of information which our bodies draw from to realize optimal gene expression, especially in times of stress or imbalance. Looking at it granularly, I believe food contains discrete units or packets of gene-regulatory energy and information. This can be inferred by the way curcumin, for instance, which is only one of hundreds of biomolecules found in the spice turmeric, is capable of modulating over 2,000 genes simultaneously within a cancer cell line, with a positive end result. Both the specificity and broadness through which these food compounds are capable of correcting imbalances is simply astounding and speaks to an intelligence within certain plants of particular food and medicinal purpose that can not be exhaustively explained through terms and methods of the reductionistic sciences that still form the backbone of our understanding of conventional nutrition.

So if my theory holds true, and dates, which are a food type (namely, fruit) we co-evolved with for quite some time, are more than just a package of mainly simple carbohydrate (half fructose/half glucose) and mineral quantities of alphabetic vitamins and minerals, but also possess gene-regulatory energy and information, shouldn’t it perform a number of therapeutic effects?  Indeed, the research now bears testimony to exactly this fact.

I took the liberty of doing a cursory meta-analysis of the extant research on dates available through the National Library of Medicine’s biomedical database MEDLINE, accessible of course through the google-like search engine pubmed.gov. And to my pleasant surprise the research on dates as a whole (including the fruit, pollen and seed extract) reveals approximately 19 specific beneficial modes of action, and a preventive and/or therapeutic role in about 40 different health conditions.

Consider for a moment that most of the blockbuster drugs on the marketplace only have one therapeutic mode of action and one condition they are approved to treat. Additionally, there are on average 75 adverse health effects for each drug. The fact that it is classified and sold as a food and not a drug should not delude us into thinking it is not as powerful as a pharmaceutical. In fact, it should be clear that foods are actually far more powerful in affecting root cause resolution of health conditions by nourishing us deeply, nutritionally, and again, informationally (literally: to put form into).

To gain greater familiarity with the literature demonstrating the various therapeutic properties of dates, view our Date research page.  You will notice that one of the potential therapeutic properties of dates are its beneficial properties in diabetes – which underscores our original point, that if you go by nutrition facts panels alone you are bound to miss out on a number of healthy foods include fruits like dates.

For more information on Food as Information & Medicine you can watch my lecture below:


 

Notes

[1] The Holy Koran, Chapter 12 – verses 22-25, retrieved on Feb. 28 2015, “So she [Virgin Mary] conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. she cried (in her anguish): ‘Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!’ But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree): ‘Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee; And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree; it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee.'”

[2] [Note: “non-significant” here means insignificant in statistics, which is often due to insufficient numbers of subjects enrolled to draw results with adequate statistical power]


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

Saffron: Ancient Healing Powers Confirmed By Science

Saffron

Clearly there is something magical about the Crocus sativus flower, from which the spice saffron is derived.  If its striking beauty does not immediately cast a spell on its beholder, often it simply takes experiencing the spice to fall into full enchantment with it.  While saffron is exceptionally expensive, because it takes approximately 150 flowers to yield just 1,000 mg (0.035 oz) of dry saffron threads, and costs approximately $1,000 a pound, it does not take much to have an effect. Its uniqueness is also illustrated by the fact that it shuns mechanization, requiring of its would-be possessors that it be painstakingly harvested by hand , as no doubt has been done for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years. Because each Crocus sativus flower bears no more than four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas from which the spice is derived, at most only 12 stigma are produced by each, which yields the equivalent of 30 mg (0.011 oz) of fresh saffron or 7 mg (0.00025 oz) dried.

saffron

Saffron has been documented to have been used as a versatile medicine since ancient times. In 2004 researchers studying 3,500 year old frescoes at Thera, a Greek island in the Aegean, found depictions of a goddess presiding over the manufacturer and use of a drug from the saffron flower. [i]   Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that 50,000 year-old depictions of prehistoric places in northwest Iran contained saffron-based pigments, indicating the human relationship with saffron is as old as time itself.[ii]

saff(1)

A Minoan goddess supervising saffron use

Saffron’s chemistry expresses otherworldly complexity. It contains over 150 volatile and aroma-yielding compounds – a biochemical symphony that ensures its mystery will never fully be plumbed, at least insofar as it great medicinal power remains refractory to the reductionist gaze of modern pharmacology. What power might that be?

While recent mainstream coverage of saffron weight loss promoting properties (via appetite suppression) on the Dr. Oz show has caused quite a surge of renewed interest in this exotic spice, saffron has far more to offer than that. It may, in fact, hold promise for serious neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease…

A 22-week multicenter, randomized, double-blind controlled trial of saffron in the management of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease published in 2010, showed 15 mg twice a day was as effective as donepezil (Aricept) at 5 mg twice a day, with significantly less vomiting as a side effect. Another 16-week, randomized and placebo-controlled trial also published in 2010, showed that 15 mg of saffron twice per day was both safe and effective in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

The petals of the Crocus sativus plant have also been shown nearly equipotent to Prozac (fluoxetine) as a treatment for depression.  According to a study published in the journal Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry in 2007, 15 mg of Crocus sativus petals were as effective as 10 mg of Prozac in treating mild to moderate depression, putting 25% of the participants into full remission. Another depression study published 2004 showed that saffron, at 30 mg a day, was as effective as the drug imipramine, at 100 mg a day, in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.

Other experimentally confirmed, potential medicinal properties of Saffron are:

Anxiety Disorders Asthenozoospermia (low sperm) Cardiac Hypertrophy
Chemotherapy-Induced Liver Toxicity Colorectal Cancer Diabetic Neuropathy
Dysmenorrhea (irregular menstrual cycles) Erectile Dysfunction Hypertension
Inflammation Liver Cancer Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion
Multiple Sclerosis Opiate Addiction/Withdrawal Pancreatic Cancer
Psoriasis Respiratory Disease Wound Healing

Saffron has been shown to modulate at least 22 biological pathways through the following pharmacological actions:

Anti-anxiety Anti-inflammatory Anticarcinogenic
Antidepressive Antimutagenic Antioxidant

AntiproliferativeAphrodisiacApoptoticBronchodilatorCalcium Channel BlockerCardioprotectiveChemopreventiveChremotherapeuticCyclooxygenase inhibitorExcitatory Amino Acid AgonistHypnotics and SedativesHypotensiveNeuroprotectiveProstaglandin AntagonistsTumor Necrosis Factor Alpha Inhibitor

A note of caution is due with saffron, as any plant with such a great many modes of action and high biological activity at exceedingly low quantities, should be used with caution. In very small amounts, an herb like saffron may nudge a system into balance, or in a direction that the user may experience as a positive shift — for example, as occurs when saffron is used in a dish as a spice, or consumed as a tea.  However, in higher “pharmacological dosages,” especially when mixed with over-the-counter and prescribed drugs, there is a risk of doing serious harm. Therefore please be careful, and consult a medical herbalist and/or physician whenever possible before using more than culinary doses of saffron.

[i] Honan, W. H. (2004), “Researchers Rewrite First Chapter for the History of Medicine”, The New York Times, 2 March 2004, retrieved 13 September 2011

[ii] Willard, P. (2002), Secrets of Saffron: The Vagabond Life of the World’s Most Seductive Spice, Beacon Press (published 11 April 2002), ISBN 978-0-8070-5009-5


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

3 More Great Supplements For Gut Health

Apfelsaft

I’ve talked a lot about the importance of maintaining a healthy gut flora because it truly is key for optimal health. Many studies suggest all sorts of illnesses actually “start” in the gut, from weight gain right down to depression. [1] All kinds of bacteria live in your gut—good and bad—but the “friendly” kind actually helps keep the “unfriendly” population in check. Many modern diets tend to be high in things that aren’t exactly great for gut health. Sugar, for example, is one of the worst offenders, causing harmful bacteria to proliferate in the intestines. We all know that people today consume far much sugar than necessary (actually, refined sugar consumption–no matter the amount–is unnecessary). And when bad bacteria grows too large in number…well, there’s cause for concern. [2]

How to Protect Gut Health

Maintaining your gut health through supplements–while still consuming an overall healthy diet–is an excellent way to up the ante. You’ve likely heard of probiotics from some of my other posts; these are actually live bacteria that can help with your digestion. Though science has just begun to scratch the surface of the benefits of probiotics, more and more studies suggest definite health perks. [3] But there are also other things you can take to support gut health. Here are 3 more great supplements you should check out.

  1. Enzymes

Digestive enzymes help break the food you eat into smaller molecules. As you can imagine, this can go along way in helping the digestive process. For example, someone who is lactose intolerant would have a hard time digesting milk sugar. That person could take the enzyme lactase, and eating dairy might become a little easier. But enzymes do a lot more than just help digest food! Some studies suggest proteolytic enzymes can actually reduce irritation in the body. [4] [5]

  1. Antioxidants

Eating antioxidant-rich foods or taking antioxidant supplements are two easy ways to support gut health by reducing gut irritation. One report suggests antioxidant vitamins C and E could even relieve the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease. [6] Blueberries, red berries, nuts, and dark green vegetables are just some of the antioxidant-rich foods you could introduce into your diet.

  1. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw apple cider vinegar, as with all these supplements for gut health, provides beneficial enzymes that may be helpful for digestion. By taking the vinegar, you’re also making conditions friendlier for all those good bacteria. But, remember, in order to get the full effect, you need to make sure that you are using raw apple cider vinegar.

There are so many easy ways that you can support and maintain your gut health. Whether it’s eating healthy, taking probiotics, or even meditation. Cutting out gluten and sugar are also helpful steps you can take to support the health of your gut, and consuming more raw, living foods is also great measures.

Would you take supplements for a healthier gut? Tell us your gut feeling in the comments below.

References:

  1. Sekirov, I. et al. Gut Microbiota in Health and Disease. Physiological Reviews. 90 (3).
  2. Foxx-Orenstein, A. E. & Chey, W. D. Manipulation of the Gut Microbiota as a Novel Treatment Strategy for Gastrointestinal Disorders. The American Journal of Gastroenterology Supplements.
  3. Behnsen, J. et al. Probiotics: Properties, Examples, and Specific Applications. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine.
  4. Brien, S. et al. Bromelain as a Treatment for Osteoarthritis: a Review of Clinical Studies. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 1 (3).
  5. Viswanatha Swamy, A. & Patil, P. A. Effect of Some Clinically Used Proteolytic Enzymes on Inflammation in Rats. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 70 (1).
  6. Aghdassi, E. et al. Antioxidant vitamin supplementation in Crohn’s disease decreases oxidative stress. a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 98 (2).

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

Antineoplastons: A Cure For Cancer Ignored For 45 Years?

Antineoplastons

Could a cure for advanced, chemotherapy and radiation resistant cancer have already been discovered as far back as 1967? Could this curative substance have been so close to us for all this time, as to be part of our own blood and a constituent of our own urine?

As crazy as it may sound to conventionally-minded folks in both the general public and medical professional spheres, the discovery of powerful anti-cancer peptides secreted by our own bodies only adds to hundreds, if not thousands of already extant natural and/or naturally-derived anti-cancer treatments, some which scientists have known about for over a century, e.g. turmeric has been proven to have therapeutic potential in over 100 cancers, but which threaten the financial and political hegemony of far more toxic and less effective therapies, e.g. chemotherapy and radiation.

Dr. Burzynski’s Cancer Cure

dr-burzynski

Antineoplastons are a group of naturally-occurring peptides and amino acid derivatives which control tumor growth, and have been proven in clinical studies on a number of advanced cancer cases to be highly effective and non-toxic, relative to chemotherapy.

First identified by Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski  in human blood in 1967, he observed  “[T]here were significant differences in the peptide content in the serum of cancer patients as compared with the control group.”

Owing to the fact that similar peptide fractions are found in human urine and can be purified as a bulk source of antineoplastons, Dr. Burzynski began a research program “for the identification of antineoplastic peptides from urine” known as the Burzynski Research Institute (BRI), which was incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware in 1984.[i]

The discovery that urine contains therapeutic compounds is not novel. According to Dr. Burzynski:

“Medicinal use of urine and urine extracts has been known for centuries in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, India and North and Central America. In modern times, the first study of growth-inhibiting substances in urine was conducted in 1937. The research on urinary peptides has a long history and was initiated by a Polish researcher, S. Bondzynski, in 1897.”[ii]

Dr. Burzyinski’s research lead to the discovery of five different peptide fractions which he named Antineoplaston A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5. The first active component was identified as 3-phenylacetylamino-2,6-piperidinedione and was named Antineoplaston A10. Two synthetic derivatives of Antineoplaston A10 were named Antineoplaston AS2-1 and Antineoplaston AS2-5.

GreenMedInfo.com has done an exhaustive index of the research on the topic as found on the National Library of Medicine, which can be found on its Antineoplastons research page. The information found there indicates the preventive and/or therapeutic value of antineoplaston therapy in up to 30 diseases.

Watch the first 36 of 108 minutes of the critically acclaimed “Burzyinski – Cancer is a Serious Business” free below.

 


[ii] Antineoplastons: history of the research (I). Drugs Exp Clin Res. 1986 ;12 Suppl 1:1-9. PMID: 3527634


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

Allow Cherries To Relieve You Of Gout Pain

 

By: Batool Ali |

Arthritis happens due to joint disorder and this disease causes inflammation of joints. Gout is a kind of arthritis in which sodium urate crystals accumulate around the joints, leading to swelling and inflammation. While the most commonly affected area is the joint of the big toe, it can affect just any joint. Symptoms develop rapidly and in anywhere between 6 and 24 hours they could easily last for 3 to 10 days and this is termed as a gout attack. After this the pain will start subsiding and gradually relieve completely. It may return later on though, and the time period between each attack may vary from person to person.

Considering the intensity of the pain gout attack causes and how it may render you unable to work, it is very important to treat and reduce it. It has been found that cherries eliminate this pain. The reason is the nutrients present in these fruits to which the pain responds. Cherries have high levels of antioxidants and anthocyanins and these two together help in reducing pain, inflammation and stiffness. The rich, reddish-purple color of cherries is owing to poly-nutrients and anthocyanins and the richer the color, the more antioxidants that fruit contains.

The different forms in which cherries can be consumed

Raw or cooked: the University of Michigan Health System has found that the form in which cherries are consumed does not matter; you can have them raw or cooked and you will be getting the same anti-inflammatory substances. Their research claims that you will find a major relief in joint pain if you consume around half a pound of cherries every day till four consecutive weeks. In case you are having them in cooked form make sure to include the cooking juices.

Canned: canned cherries are equally helpful in relieving you of joint pain, as concluded by the University of Michigan. So, make sure to have a couple of cans handy in your pantry just in case you run out of fresh cherries and need it urgently. Remember, though, that maraschino does not count because of the added preservatives and sugar in it.

Juice: tart cherry juice is thought to be the savior for those having intense gout pain. Tart cherries also contain high levels of potassium which stimulates the production of an alkaline-forming state and gives protection against acidosis which assists in disease formation. Six ounces of tart cherry juice needs to be taken in, which equals half a pound of raw cherries. In case you find tart cherry juice too unpalatable for your taste, try mixing it with black cherry juice to sweeten it up.

Powder: cherry powder is another alternative, portable and easy to consumer. A study funded by the Cherry Marketing Institute in 2008 concluded that rats who were given dried cherry powder showed reduced inflammation.

Concentrate: you get cherry concentrate when you remove all extra water from the normal cherry juice. Being a concentrate it has pain-relieving nutrients in saturated form and greatly helps with pain. Also, since it is concentrated just about two ounces diluted with water is enough to relieve joint pain. One thing to look out for is that the concentrate you are going for is organic and void of any chemicals.

Supplements: supplements containing cherries are available in different forms; capsules, extracts and snack bars. Although cherry supplements are not a cure for gout but they definitely help with relieving pain. Since these are supplements they also have other nutrients commonly required by our body, such as vitamin C. Though you normally require about a total of 2,000 mg of cherry extract each day, consulting a medical practitioner is preferable prior to taking on supplements you do not know about.

Other benefits of cherries

The health benefits of cherries are not limited to just relieving joint pain. The benefits of this fruit go beyond that and you may have more than one excuse to consume cherries.

Diabetes: cherries protect you against diabetes. Due to a low glycemic index, of just 22, cherries are a much better fruit snack for diabetics as compared to other fruits such as apricots (glycemic index 57).

Sleep: if you find it difficult to fall asleep at night, try having cherry juice twice a day; once thirty minutes after waking up and the second time 30 minutes prior to your snack in the evening. According to a study this habit allows for an increase in melatonin intake, a hormone responsible for sleep cycles.

Heart problem: tart cherries are a great and simple way to ward off heart problems. The anthocyanins present in cherries activate PPAR that regulates genes concerned with metabolizing fat and glucose. This decreases risks of high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. Thus, helping the heart as well. Besides, cherries contain high levels of potassium which are beneficial for heart rate and blood pressure regulation along with reducing hypertension. Considering that heart disease is the number one cause of death and around 600,000 people in the US die due to heart problems, it is certainly time to include tart cherries in your daily meals and snacks.

Post workout soreness: remember when you overdid on your workout and ended up all sore and had trouble even walking? This post workout soreness can be easily cured with cherries. Raw cherries or cherry juice helps reduce muscle inflammation to a great extent and therefore is a great way to combat soreness.

These petite stone fruits, sweet or sour, are loaded with nutrition and yet they are often overlooked. Including them in your diet is a great idea, whether you need to regulate your sleep, keep your heart safe, or need help with joint pain. Hesitate no more and replace the more harmful sweet snacks such as candy with cherries.


Batool Ali is an enthusiastic blogger with a particular interest in health and science.