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News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest NewsFor our clients and customers to keep up to date with current health and herbal medicine research and their conditions

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  • Moringa Tree and Cancer: Side Effects and Research Studies Thursday December 05th, 2019

    Many people with cancer inquire about herbal medicine as a complementary therapy after reading anecdotal reports of herbal cancer cures online.

    One such herb, known as moringa tree, is reported to prevent and cure cancer.

    Research has investigated moringa as a treatment for cancer, asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other diseases.

    Moringa is a plant native to India, but it is grown worldwide in tropical and subtropical regions.

    There are 13 species of moringa that range in size — from leafy shrubs to tall trees. The most commonly harvested species, M. oleifera, is a small, fast-growing tree.

    Cancer research on moringa has been conducted in test tubes and in mice, but not in humans. The studies involving test tubes and mice show moringa can kill several different types of cancer cells, but this hasn’t been confirmed in human clinical trials.

    There are no studies about the effect of moringa on mesothelioma.

    What Are the Side Effects of Moringa?

    While the leaves are perfectly safe, consuming large quantities of the bark or pulp may be harmful.

    The side effects of consuming moringa may include:

    • Lower blood pressure and slow heart rate because of the alkaloids in the plant
    • Uterine contractions from moringa bark
    • Cell mutations caused by a chemical isolated from roasted moringa seeds
    • Interference with fertility

    Moringa leaves also increased the risk of liver and kidney damage in rats. Do not consume moringa if you are pregnant, taking the diabetes drug Januvia (sitagliptin) or taking drugs that are substrates of the cytochrome P450 family of enzymes.

    Cancer Research on Moringa

    All cancer research involving moringa has been conducted on mice or on cancer cells grown in labs, but not in humans.

    This means the available information on moringa and cancer is theoretical and hasn’t been proven or disproven in human clinical trials.

    Cancer research on moringa tree has involved cancer prevention and treatment:

    • A 2006 study published in the Journal of Experimental Therapeutics and Oncology reported that a molecule found in moringa killed ovarian cancer cells cultivated in a lab.
    • A 2013 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine examined the effects of moringa leaf extract on lung cancer cells cultivated in a lab. Researchers found the extract caused oxidative stress and DNA damage that killed the lung cancer cells.
    • A 2014 study published in PLoS One also looked at the effects of moringa leaf extract on lung cancer cells cultivated in a lab. This study found moringa limited tumor growth and caused lung cancer cells to die.
    • A 2015 review published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences reported on several studies that found moringa had anti-cancer effects on lab-cultivated cancer cells including pancreatic cancer cells, liver cancer cells, colon cancer cells and leukemia cells.
    • A 2017 study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention found an extract from moringa leaves tested on several cancers in a lab reduced cancer cell growth and promoted cell death.

    Nutritional Values of Moringa

    The 2018 National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference shows 1 cup of chopped moringa tree leaves contains:

    • 2 grams of protein
    • 11% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of iron
    • 9% of the RDA of vitamin A
    • 12% of the RDA of vitamin C

    The levels of vitamins C and A, which are antioxidants, help protect against cell damage caused by chemicals in the body, known as free radicals, which can play a role in the development of cancer.

    Vitamin C helps the body maintain a healthy immune system, while vitamin A can help maintain mucous membranes that protect against infections in the respiratory and digestive tracts.

    Moringa leaves also contain amino acids that may boost the immune system. This may help patients undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy, but no research has been conducted in this area yet.

    The National Institute of Nutrition’s 1989 book, “Nutritive Value of Indian Foods,” shows a handful of moringa leaves contains:

    • Seven times the amount of vitamin C in an orange
    • Three times the amount of iron in spinach
    • Four times the amount of vitamin A in a carrot
    • Four times the amount of calcium in one glass of milk
    • Three times the potassium in one banana
    • Two times the protein found in regular, plain yogurt

    Moringa leaves can be eaten fresh, cooked or crushed, and they can be stored as dried powder for several months without loss of nutritional value.

    Moringa leaves can be blended into fruit smoothies or used as a replacement for spinach in most recipes. Dried moringa powder may be added to a curry recipe and served over rice.

    Moringa and Herbal Medicine

    According to ethnobotanical records, moringa has been used by herbalists to help with a variety of symptoms, including common mesothelioma symptoms such as difficulty breathing, cough and other respiratory complications.

    Additional scientific research and clinical studies are needed to understand the potential of moringa to prevent and treat cancer.

    Keep in mind that cancer treatments affect people differently. As with any complementary treatment, it is best to talk with your doctor before adding moringa to your treatment regimen or diet.

    If you experience any side effects, you should seek medical attention immediately.

    Source: Asbestosis

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  • Botany at the Bar Thursday December 05th, 2019

    Three scientists discuss the plant science and history of bitters—and share a Thanksgiving cocktail

    Three researchers have prepared a delightful concoction: equal parts plant science, cultural history and recipe book. The result is Botany at the Bar, an introduction to the fascinating world of bitters, complete with recipes for all manner of cocktails and elixers, prepared with the help of a mixologist. The three authors— Selena Ahmed, an associate professor of sustainable food systems at Montana State University; Rachel Meyer, an assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz; and Ashley DuVal, a plant breeder who works on tropical tree crops—formed a company in 2011 called Shoots and Roots Bitters. They answered questions from Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook, and were gracious enough to share a specialty cocktail for Thanksgiving.

    How did you get the idea of combining botany with craft cocktails?

    AHMED: Our integration of botany and cocktails started when we were all graduate students through the New York Botanical Garden with fellowships and grants that emphasized broader impacts of science for society. As ethnobotanists who have carried out fieldwork in diverse communities around the world, we have encountered plants with fascinating attributes and cultural histories whose aromas and tastes captivate us.

    I had just gotten back from Yunnan province of China where I had been studying biodiversity associated with tea production and consumption systems along ancient trade routes. Rachel had also been studying the origin and domestication of eggplants in this region. Ashley was examining diversity and management around acai in the Amazon. We were geeking out about some of the plants we had tasted such as nuo mi xiang cha. This plant is found around home gardens in Xishuangbanna prefecture of Yunnan and extracted and consumed as a tonic. It has a unique aroma reminiscent of sticky rice. We decided to collaborate on sharing samples of nuo mi xiang cha and others from our fieldwork as part of a research talk. This is when we tapped into our phytochemical lab protocols with the botanical infusion practices that we had seen in the field to make bitters that optimally bring out flavor and other plant compounds.

    DUVAL: Presenting botanical research through drinks also created a forum for conversation. We learned even more about the plants from anecdotes that others shared with us. I remember a cocktail we made of goji berries and tartary buckwheat was found to be pleasant and reminiscent of home to a Nepalese couple; they described in detail the mouth feel and throat tickle from the goji berry infusion as an indicator of quality.

    What do you mean by “bitters”?

    DUVAL: Broadly defined, botanical bitters are infusions or extracts of plants that pull out their medicinal and flavor properties into a liquid. Most often, bitters are prepared by infusing botanical material in a fermented alcohol base including grain alcohol, fruit wine, or beer. This process serves to extract, concentrate and preserve the desired plant properties. Bitters can also be prepared by infusing plant material in nonalcoholic liquids such as water, as in the case of tea and tisanes as well as vinegar and fat.

    People have been preparing bitters for thousands of years using plants from their surroundings for multiple purposes, and the infusions of plants in alcohol follows shortly after the innovation of fermentation arising in different parts of the world. Historically, bitters primarily had a medicinal function and evolved into key ingredients of cocktails. Although it has been used for over a thousand years, the term “bitters” is considered to have become popularized in its current meaning almost 300 years ago in England during the reign of King George II to market medicinal alcoholic products in response to government liquor taxes. Apparently, bitter herbs were added to liquor and sold as medicine as a way to escape taxation.

    MEYER: Bitters serve a multifunctional role. Orally, they are taken for medicinal purposes including to aid in digestion, boost immunity, strengthen the body, for energy and for prevention of disease. Bitters also have an important social function in many cultures including for celebrating marriages and other life transitions. Bitters continue to play an important ritual function in many traditional communities. Traveling between villages in Togo, it was customary to stop and share bitters made from local herbs, along with local water, as a way to get acquainted with the area and culture, while they also provided a dose of restorative phytochemicals and hydration after the journey.

    Can you tell me a bit about the bitters tradition in the United States?

    DUVAL: In the U.S., everyone is most familiar with Angostura as a key ingredient for their Manhattan or Pink Gin. What people often don’t realize is that Angostura, the oldest bitters brand in the United States, is also rooted in traditional knowledge, ethnobotany and herbal medicine. A German doctor, Johann Siegert from Simón Bolívar’s army, was stationed in Venezuela in the 1820s, and developed a blend of local herbs he called “amargo aromatico” to improve appetite, digestion and other ailments the sailors and soldiers were afflicted with. The rest is history, but the contribution of local healers familiar with the medicinal plants of the region was not acknowledged in the development of the remedy. Of course this oversight was not uncommon for that time—but today we recognize the obligation we share to value traditional knowledge, and that this associated knowledge is important and vulnerable just like the plants.

    Many of the bitter liquors that we are familiar with today—absinthe, Chartreuse, Campari and Jägermeister—started out as patented medicines. Stoughton’s elixir, created in 1712, were among the first medicines in England to receive a British royal patent and eventually became a successful British export to the American colonies. After the American Independence, local distillers in Boston and other cities began producing local versions of bitters and elixirs previously imported from Europe. Lash’s Bitters Company was one of the successful bitters companies in the United States during the 20th and early 21st century that show the evolving use of bitters from a medicine to an alcoholic beverage. Early ads in 1901 show a little boy needing to use the chamber pot, promoting its use for digestion and constipation, but an ad in the 1920s suggests its use as a night cap.

    AHMED: I live in Bozeman, Mont. The whole landscape is rife with medicinal and bitter plants with unique flavors such as bitter root, camas, chokecherries, service berries, huckleberries, wild rose, ponderosa pine and Rocky Mountain juniper. Native American communities have been making infusions of many of these plants for centuries both as a well-being practice and for purifying the spirit. The bitters tradition in the United States is a juxtaposition of this long use of botanicals by Native American communities along with the assimilation of people from around the world who have made this their home.

    When you look at someone sipping on a drink today, what parallels do you see to someone, say, 1,000 years ago, sipping on a bitters concoction?

    DUVAL: Sometimes it is more than a parallel; often we are actually enjoying the same beverages. Many of the world’s earliest bitters and botanical infusions are still widely consumed today or enjoying a revival. Mead, a spiced beverage from fermented honey and water, and the mulled apple cider we enjoy around the holidays connect us to the very first documented uses of wine, which were spiced with herbs as medicine or preservatives. There is also an enormous revival of interest in tonics for health, and options for beverage bars such as kava bars that don’t serve alcohol but still offer the social ritual experience.

    AHMED: Many of the plants are the same as well as their functionality. For example, Chinese materia medicas from 1,500–2,000 years ago include hundreds of plants in which dozens are used in drinks today such as great yellow gentian, ginseng and cinnamon bark. There are hundreds of gentian species, with the root of Gentiana lutea being a key ingredient of apéritifs, bitters, liqueurs and tonics to this day. Gentians have long been used for treating and preventing digestive issues. We see these overlaps of plants used past and present in regions around the world. For example, hops, American ginseng and wild black cherry were common plants used by several Native American groups and are found as ingredients of bitters today.

    Would you be so kind as to suggest a cocktail for a Thanksgiving Day?

    MEYER: Thanksgiving may first bring to mind turkey. As enthusiasts of domestication history, we love that many places where early turkey domestication took place displayed concurrent agave domestication. This spans Veracruz and Jalisco to Arizona. But to many who have to prepare a Thanksgiving meal, they might first think of the stress of handling cooking, family politics and everyone’s entertainment, so let’s make a boozy drink with lots of Agavaceae species that also provides those gracious overworked hosts with some nutrition and a dose of antianxiety, endurance-boosting adaptogens that will kick in immediately.

    This cocktail, which we developed with the mixologist Christian Schaal, features chestnuts as part of a chestnut pepita orgeat. In the U.S., only those of us living in the Pacific Northwest might be able to access the American chestnut (Castanea dentata), a towering tree that used to be widespread but was wiped out by a disease. Now, after decades of work spearheaded by William Powell at State University of New York, the American chestnut has just become the first GMO tree to be approved for release, just this year, and it’s expected to replenish our forests and orchards. We find this is one of the most beautiful examples of genetic engineering to de-extinct species and restore ecosystems.

    Cocktail name: The good gene
    Preparation time: 1 hour
    Drinks: infusions are enough for >10 drinks and can be saved, refrigerated, for up to two weeks


    Ingredients for infusing

    350 mg of powdered Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)—this plant is stress-fighting adaptogen becoming popular in the natural products industry and as a new crop in arctic areas facing climate change. It’s rosavin and salidroside contribute to the functionality of the drink. This arctic species is common to find as a ground root powder that can be consumed as a tisane or in capsules. For this drink, we just broke open two gel capsules.
    1/8 tsp cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) an Indonesian tree brought to Mexico by the Spanish
    1/2 cup, or about 10 chestnuts (Castanea spp—there are six species to choose from, and soon maybe you’ll have the American chestnut available to make this drink!)
    ½ cup pepitas (Styrian pumpkin seeds, Cucurbita pepo) —green seeds that have no hull, descended from a pumpkin with a special mutation that was discovered in Austria. Pumpkins of this species originated in mesoamerica (along with turkeys and agaves).
    Pinch of salt
    1 pint of sugar
    1 pint of water
    3 oz tequila (Agave tequilana) —a bright, likely familiar, nectar-like spirit from Jalisco
    Equipment: blender, fine mesh strainer, cup, spoon
    For the rest of the drink
    1 oz mezcal per drink (Agave spp)—an oft smoky, complex spirit made from one to several of over 30 agave species
    0.5 oz sotol per drink (Dasylirion spp)—a grassy, earthy spirit made from species in a genus related to Agave
    0.5 oz lime juice, lime peel for garnish
    Equipment: Shaker, fine mesh strainer, coup glass

    Prepare the infused tequila: Mix tequila, cinnamon, and rhodiola in a cup, let sit for 45 minutes, strain to retain liquid. During that infusing time, you can prepare the orgeat.

    Prepare the orgeat: Make a simple syrup by boiling 1 pint of water and 1 pint of sugar. Refrigerate to cool. With a paring knife, score an X on the round side of the chestnuts, soak chestnuts in water for 1 minute, lay scored side up on a baking tray, and bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Peel the chestnuts immediately. Don’t worry about the papery layer between the seed and the shell. Toast the pepitas on the stove or in the oven until fragrant. Put the chestnuts, pepitas, simple syrup, and a pinch of salt in the blender and blend until fully homogenized. Let rest 15 minutes, strain to retain the liquid.

    To prepare one cocktail: Add 0.75 oz orgeat, 0.5 oz lime juice, 0.25 oz infused tequila, 1 oz mezcal, and 0.5 oz sotol to a shaker with ice, shake, and pour over the fine mesh strainer into a coup glass. Garnish with a lime peel on the glass rim.

    Source: Scientific American

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  • What Is Mulberry Leaf? All You Need to Know Thursday December 05th, 2019

    Mulberry trees produce flavorful berries that are enjoyed around the world and often deemed superfoods due to their concentration of vitamins, minerals, and powerful plant compounds.

    However, the fruit isn’t the only part of the mulberry tree that may offer health benefits. For centuries, its leaves have been used in traditional medicine as a natural treatment for a variety of conditions.

    In fact, the leaves are highly nutritious. They’re loaded with powerful plant compounds like polyphenol antioxidants, as well as vitamin C, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).

    This article reviews mulberry leaf, examining its uses, benefits, and potential side effects.

    How is mulberry leaf used?

    Mulberry (Morus) belongs to the Moraceae plant family and includes several species, such as the black mulberry (M. nigra), red mulberry (M. rubra), and white mulberry (M. alba) (1Trusted Source).

    Native to China, this tree is now cultivated in many regions, including the United States, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

    Mulberry leaves have a variety of culinary, medicinal, and industrial applications.

    The leaves and other parts of the tree contain a milky white sap called latex, which is mildly toxic to humans and may result in symptoms like an upset stomach if ingested or skin irritation if touched (5, 6Trusted Source).

    Yet, many people consume mulberry leaves without experiencing adverse effects.

    They’re said to be very palatable and commonly used to make tinctures and herbal teas, which are a common health beverage in Asian countries. Young leaves can be eaten after cooking.

    You can also take mulberry leaf supplements, which have become increasingly popular for their potential health benefits.

    Additionally, these leaves are the sole food source of the silkworm — a caterpillar that produces silk — and sometimes used as feed for dairy animals (1Trusted Source).


    Mulberry leaves are commonly used to make tea in Asian countries, though they can be eaten as well. They’re likewise available as tinctures and herbal supplements.

    Potential health benefits of mulberry leaf

    Mulberry leaves may help lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and inflammation levels. These attributes may make them useful for fighting heart disease and diabetes (3Trusted Source).

    May lower blood sugar and insulin

    Mulberry leaves provide several compounds that may help combat diabetes.

    These include 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ), which prevents the absorption of carbs in your gut (2Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).

    In particular, these leaves may reduce high levels of blood sugar and insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.

    In one study, 37 adults ingested maltodextrin, a starchy powder that rapidly boosts blood sugar levels. They were then given mulberry leaf extract containing 5% DNJ.

    Those who took either 250 or 500 mg of the extract experienced a significantly lower rise in blood sugar and insulin levels than the placebo group (2Trusted Source).

    Also, in a 3-month study, people with type 2 diabetes who took 1,000 mg of mulberry leaf extract 3 times daily with meals experienced significant reductions in post-meal blood sugar levels, compared with a placebo group (8Trusted Source).

    May promote heart health

    Some research suggests that mulberry leaf extract may improve heart health by reducing cholesterol and blood pressure levels, decreasing inflammation, and preventing atherosclerosis — a buildup of plaque in your arteries that can lead to heart disease.

    One study gave 23 people with high cholesterol 280 mg of mulberry leaf supplements 3 times per day. After 12 weeks, their LDL (bad) cholesterol dropped by 5.6% while their HDL (good) cholesterol increased by 19.7% (9Trusted Source).

    Another 12-week study noted that 10 people with high triglycerides who took daily mulberry leaf supplements containing 36 mg of DNJ reduced their levels of this marker by 50 mg/dL, on average (10Trusted Source).

    Additionally, animal studies indicate that this leaf may prevent atherosclerosis and reduce cellular damage and high blood pressure levels, all of which are risk factors for heart disease (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).

    May reduce inflammation

    Mulberry leaf contains numerous anti-inflammatory compounds, including flavonoid antioxidants.

    Some research suggests that mulberry leaf may combat inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are linked to chronic disease (14Trusted Source).

    Studies in mice on high fat diets demonstrate that supplements from this leaf reduced inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein, as well as oxidative stress markers like superoxide dismutase (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).

    A test-tube study in human white blood cells likewise revealed that extracts of mulberry leaf and its tea not only reduced inflammatory proteins but also significantly lowered DNA damage caused by oxidative stress (17Trusted Source).

    Although these results are encouraging, human studies are needed.

    Other potential health benefits

    Although research is limited, mulberry leaf may offer several other health benefits. These include:

    • Anticancer effects. Some test-tube research links this leaf to anticancer activity against human cervical and liver cancer cells (13Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
    • Liver health. Test-tube and animal studies have determined that mulberry leaf extract may protect liver cells from damage and reduce liver inflammation (13Trusted Source).
    • Weight loss. Rodent studies note that these leaves may increase fat burning and promote weight loss (19Trusted Source).
    • Consistent skin tone. Some test-tube research suggests that mulberry leaf extract may prevent hyperpigmentation — or patches of dark skin — and naturally lighten skin tone (20Trusted Source).


    Research suggests that mulberry leaf promotes heart health, reduces inflammation, and combats diabetes. It may provide other benefits as well, but human studies are needed.

    Mulberry leaf precautions

    Although mulberry leaf has largely been shown to be safe in both human and animal studies, it may lead to side effects in some people (21Trusted Source).

    For example, some people have reported adverse effects, such as diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, bloating, and constipation, when taking supplements (9Trusted Source).

    Additionally, individuals taking diabetes medications should consult a health professional before trying mulberry leaf due to its effects on blood sugar (13Trusted Source).

    What’s more, further human studies are needed to establish this leaf’s safety when taken over long periods. Children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid it due to insufficient safety research.

    It’s always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider before using any herbal supplement, especially if you take medications or have a health condition.


    While it’s widely considered safe, mulberry leaf may cause side effects like diarrhea and bloating. Children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid it due to a lack of research on its safety.

    The bottom line

    Mulberry leaves have long been used in traditional medicine and are associated with several impressive health benefits.

    This unique tree leaf may combat inflammation and improve various risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. All the same, further human research is needed.

    You can take it as a supplement or eat cooked, immature leaves. Still, due to its potential side effects, you may want to consult your healthcare provider before adding mulberry leaves to your routine.

    Source: Health Line

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