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Oct 11

News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest News

News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest News

Latest News – For our clients and customers to keep up to date with current health and herbal medicine research and their conditions

  • The Value of Adaptogenic Herbs Friday September 08th, 2017

    Adaptogens and adaptogen supplements are herbs and herbal products believed to normalize body functions and strengthen systems compromised by stress. Some of the popular and better known herbs and herb-based supplements contain Withania somnifera (Aswagandha), Ocimum sanctum or tulsi, Ginseng, Astragalus, Rhodiola rosea, Lepedium meinii (maca), Schisandra chinensis and Glycyrrhiza glabra or licorice. This is not an exclusive list though.

    The history of adaptogens and their use by humans goes back to the dawn of human history. Ocimum sanctum (synonym Ocimum tenuiflorum) is referred to in ancient Hindu texts as “the elixir of life.” The plant is said to bring tranquility to the mind, assisting in meditation and concentration.

    The herb is mentioned in the ancient Hindu compendium of medicine—Charaka Samhita (circa second century BC). There are monographs on O. tenuiflorum published in the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India (Vol. II, 1999, and Vol. IV, 2004), Unani Pharmacopoeia of India (Vol. V, 2008), Thai Herbal Pharmacopoeia (Vol. I, 1995), Vietnamese Pharmacopoeia (1st ed., 1983), and World Health Organization (WHO) Monographs (Vol. 2, 2002).

    Ginseng is another a popular ancient adaptogen. It has been in use in Chinese medicine for millennia. Ginseng comes from the fleshy roots of perennial slow-growing plants belonging to 11 different species and two different genera. There are three popular varieties: Asian, American and Siberian.

    Asian or Korean ginseng is the oldest. The most famous and commonly found of the ginseng comes from Panax ginseng. American ginseng comes from Panax quinquefolius. Siberian ginseng is from a different genera—Eleutherococcus senticosus.

    Outside of this family, but still called ginseng are the Malaysian ginseng (Eurycoma longifolia), Peruvian ginseng (Lepidium meyenii), Southern ginseng (Gynostemma pentaphyllum), Brazilian ginseng (Pfaffia paniculata), Kerala ginseng (Trichopus zeylanicus), Thai ginseng (Kaempferia parviflora), Nam ginseng (Dracena angustifolia), Ashwangandha or Indian ginseng (Withania somnifera). A cheap substitute for Panax ginseng comes from Codonopsis pilosula.

    There are 3,944 prescriptions with ginseng as an ingredient in the Korean Clinical Pharmacopeia that has been in place since 1610 AD.

    The herb was popular with Chinese emperors, who paid for it in gold. In America, Native American tribes like the Iroquois, Menomonee, Cherokee and the Creeks all valued the herb for its curative powers, but cultivation of ginseng in the United States began in 20th century only.

    Traditionally, ginseng is regarded as both a physical and mental restorant. It is said to improve the cognitive ability of patients, improve the quality of life and behavior. Ginsenoides and other constituents in ginseng possess immune-suppressive properties.

    Studies conducted on healthy individuals given Panax ginseng doses of 200 mg of extract daily showed increased QTc interval (a measurement of the heart’s electrical cycle) and decreased diastolic blood pressure two hours after ingestion on the first day of therapy.1

    Cognitive enhancement ability tests with herbal treatment with Panax ginseng were conducted on healthy volunteers who had fasted overnight. The results confirmed the herb’s glucoregulatory and cognitive performance-enhancing properties.2

    It has also been shown that a dose dependent improvement in memory quality was seen in experiments conducted on volunteers who were administered Ginkgo biloba and Panax ginseng treatment.3,4 The highest improvement was observed in those who were given the highest dose.

    Positive results were also observed when Ginkgo biloba and Panax ginseng was given to the volunteer patients with neurasthenic complaints.5

    Similarly, ocimumosides A, B and ocimarin are three compounds isolated from extract of leaves of holy basil that were proven to have anti-stress effects. The anti-stress and neuroprotective properties of the herb have been validated in multiple studies.6

    The antioxidant properties of Ocimum tenuliforum (tulsi) was observed by Subramanian M et al7 and Samson J et al, who also observed that it caused a reduction in oxidative stress in the brain.8 Later research noted tulsi possesses amelioration property when the sciatic nerve was cut to induce neuro dysfunction in rats.9 This property could have value in finding treatments in the dysfunctions caused by damage to the nerves.

    While adaptogens have not yet been accepted in mainstream medicine, the popularity of this class of natural products-based supplements is more acceptable when compared to chemical-based stimulating anabolic and nootropic drugs. These have been found to influence the pituitary-adrenal axis. Some of these possess immunomodulatory and or anabolic activities.10

    Some of the plants studied for their adaptogen properties include Rhodiola rosea, Schizandra chinensis and Eleutherococcus senticosus.11 The subject is vast and there exists a vast body of scientific literature exploring multiple aspects of this class of natural products based supplement building blocks.

    It is a matter of time when industry will succeed in demonstrating the value of adaptogenic herbs to human health through human clinical trials. When that happens, FDA will be compelled to accord its approval and a new chapter in herbal medicine will emerge.

    Sudhir Ahluwalia is a business consultant. He has been management consulting head of Tata Consultancy Services, an IT outsourcing company in Asia, business advisor to multiple companies, columnist and author of upcoming book on herb, “Holy Herbs.” He has been a member of the Indian Forest Service.

    References

    Caron M et al. “Electrocardiographic and Hemodynamic Effects of Panax Ginseng.” Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 2002;36(5):758-63.
    Scholey AB et al. “Effects of Panax ginseng, consumed with and without glucose, on blood glucose levels and cognitive performance during sustained ‘mentally demanding’ tasks.” Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2006;20(6):771-81.
    Kennedy DO, Scholey AB, Wesnes KA. “The dose-dependent cognitive effects of acute administration of Gingko biloba to healthy volunteers.” Psychopharmacology. 2000;151:416-23.
    Kennedy DO, Scholey AB, Wesnes KA. “Differential, dose-dependent changes in cognitive performance and mood following acute administration of ginseng to healthy young volunteers.” Nutr Neurosci. 2001a;4:295-310.
    Wesnes KA et al. “The cognitive, subjective, and physical effects of a ginkgo biloba/panax ginseng combination in healthy volunteers with neurasthenic complaints.” Psychopharmacol Bull. 1997;33(4):677-83.
    Navratilova Z, Patokca L. “Holy basil and its effects on the nervous system.” Psychiatrie. 2015;2:85-89.
    Subramanian M, Chintalwar GJ, Chattopadhyay S. “Antioxidant and radioprotective properties of an Ocimum sanctum polysaccharide.” Redox Report. 2005;10(5):257-64.
    Samson J, Sheeladevi R, Rajan R. “Oxidative stress in brain and antioxidant activity of Ocimum sanctum in noise exposure.” Neurotoxicology. 2007;28(3):679-85.
    Muthuraman A et al. “Ameliorative effects of Ocimum sanctum in sciatic nerve transection-induced neuropathy in rats.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2008;120(1):56-62.
    Wagner H, Nörr H, Winterhoff H. “Plant adaptogens.” Phytomedicine. 1994;1(1):63-76.
    Panossian, Alexander, and H. Wagner. “Stimulating effect of adaptogens: an overview with particular reference to their efficacy following single dose administration.” Phytotherapy Research. 2005;19(10):819-838.

    Source: Natural Products Insider

  • Feel tired after meals? Unable to beat the bloat? Expert reveals the simple signs you could be a sugar ADDICT – and the natural remedies that could help Thursday September 07th, 2017

    Seemingly harmless foods often come loaded with hidden sugars

    52 per cent of Australians exceeding WHO recommended daily sugar intake
    Naturopath Erika Morvay reveals how to curb cravings with natural medicine

    Fatigue after eating, bad breakouts and difficulty concentrating could all be signs you’re possibly suffering from a sugar addiction.

    For some it can be a difficult addiction to break especially as sugar can be hidden in processed foods, fruit juice, low-fat ‘labelled’ foods, but also in many health foods.

    Doctors and medical experts have long called for people to cut back on their sugar intake because of the impact it’s shown to have on the body if consumed in excess.

    New Australian Bureau of Statistics data 52 per cent of Australians are exceeding the World Health Organisation’s recommended daily intake of 10 per cent (stock image)
    New Australian Bureau of Statistics data 52 per cent of Australians are exceeding the World Health

    New Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows 52 per cent of Australians are exceeding the World Health Organisation’s recommended daily intake of 10 per cent.

    Speaking to Whimn Australian naturopath Erika Morvay of Fusion Health said there are some key signs to look for that may show you could be on the slippery slope to sugar addiction, and selects some herbal alternatives to keep cravings at bay.

    ‘Sugar in its various forms is often hidden in most processed food and drinks, takeaway, fruit juice, fast food, low-fat ‘labelled’ foods, but also many so called ‘health’ foods,’ she told the publication.

    So what should you be on the lookout for?

    Medical experts have long called for people to cut back on their sugar intake because of the impact it’s shown to have on the body if consumed in excess (stock image)

    1. RAMPANT SUGAR CRAVINGS

    Health experts believe that sugar tolerance increases with every sweet morsel consumed so eventually food will have to be extra sweet for its sugariness to be noticed.

    Nutritionist Lorraine Kearney has said that foods high in sugar give us a quick ‘fix’ which tempt us back time and time again.

    ‘Sugar is like a drug in that it keeps needing more and more sugar to reach the same level that it had at first.’

    Natural remedy: Cinnamon has been shown to help reduce sugar cravings by controlling blood glucose levels. Research has found it can help minimise insulin spikes after meals.

    Sugar is like a drug in that it keeps needing more and more sugar to reach the same level that it had at first (stock image)

    2. FEELING TIRED AFTER MEALS

    While sugar gives us a temporary rush of energy, the down side is that it can lead to a ‘sugar crash’ which can increase feelings of fatigue.

    Health expert Natalie Lamb explained that sugar consumption can create a cycle where the body is always in a state of needing more and that the higher the peaks, the lower the dips.

    ‘Following the consumption of sugar, the pancreas releases insulin to help transfer glucose to the cells, meaning we may experience a rush of energy.

    ‘Once used up, we can experience a dip in energy as the body demands more sugar to start the cycle all over again. It is not hard to imagine that the higher the sugar peak, the more extreme the sugar dip that will follow!’

    Natural remedy: Chromium, which is an essential nutrient involved in carbohydrate production, can help people with a high intake of dietary sugars.

    The higher the sugar peak, the more extreme the sugar dip that will follow (stock image)

    3. UNMANAGEABLE MOODS

    It’s been found sugar has a significant impact on mood, and can contribute to feelings of irritability and stress.

    According to research excess sugar can block your ability to turn a substance called GLA (gamma linoleic acid) into the DGLA (dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid) needed to produce prostaglandins that improve mood.

    Natural remedy: Magnesium plays an important role in supporting blood sugar regulation and normal cellular energy production. Taking magnesium has also been shown to help with sleep, memory and mood.

    4. STRUGGLE TO BEAT THE BLOAT

    While most of us think of sugar as the ‘white stuff’, hidden sugar such as fructose – which is derived from fruit – can be found lurking in most process foods.

    According to Ms Lamb the substance is responsible for bloating because it can be easily absorbed into the body.

    ‘An overproduction of gas can lead to pain after eating, uncomfortable bloating and embarrassing flatulence.’

    Natural remedy: Cinnamon bark has been found to be an effective herbal medicine for digestive disturbance such as indigestion, mild spasms, bloating, flatulence and loss of appetite.

    When the body has too much sugar, it stores it to be converted into energy later. But if sugar isn’t used as energy it becomes fat

    5. GAINING BELLY FAT THAT’S HARD TO SHIFT

    Weight gain is one of the most obvious signs a change in diet needs to be made.

    Ms Kearney explained that when the body has too much sugar, it stores it to be converted into energy later. But if sugar isn’t used as energy it becomes fat.

    ‘Processed foods don’t have high levels of fibre and are loaded with sugar.

    ‘This means that the sugar is turned into fat and there is nothing to rid the body of waste, which leads to weight gain.’

    Natural remedy: Gymnema leaf – used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine – contains active compounds called gymnenic acids which are known for its suppressing qualities.

    Source: Daily Mail

  • 6 Peruvian Cures For Cancer, Inflammation, Staph Infections And More Tuesday September 05th, 2017

    When most people think of Peru, they picture soaring mountains, lush jungles and exotic people. Despite rapidly becoming a booming tourist hotspot, this South American country retains much of its traditional ways, and in many respects, the real Peru very much conforms to our exotic notions of the place.

    Eager to explore this Andean wonderland for myself, I made a brief but exciting foray into Peru in mid-2010. Even then, the influx of Western tourists was beginning to erode some of the millennia-old traditions imbued on the various cultures inhabiting the country. Despite this, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Peru remains a unique land filled with indigenous knowledge and fantastic natural beauty.

    As I traveled from the capital, Lima, down the coast to the desert oasis of Huacachina and then up into the highland strongholds of Arequipa and Cusco, the disparity between landforms and ecosystems astounded me. As we flew from the ancient Incan city of Cusco to Puerto Escondido, deep in the Amazon rainforest, I was once again blown away. In less than two weeks, I’d gone from 200-foot sand dunes to mountain passes higher than 16,000 feet, then all the way back down to lush Amazonian rainforest.

    Unsurprisingly, this diversity of landscapes and ecosystems means a vast plethora of plant species are native to Peru. And it is for just this reason that the Peruvian people have such an impressive array of natural cures for anything from rheumatism to liver disease.

    The many natural remedies and cures of Peru

    Researchers have found 974 herbal preparations used for medicine in Peru.
    Throughout my Peruvian travels, I caught the occasional glimpse of natural remedies and cures derived from the native plants of the region. Tiny homes housing herbal dispensaries that boasted cures for colds, flu, respiratory illness, and any number of maladies and diseases. Market stalls advertising natural concoctions designed to treat kidney problems or blood poisoning. I saw women on little mobile carts selling their herbal decoctions in town squares. Clearly, this was a nation that still put great faith in natural cures.

    But that was only the tip of the iceberg. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine uncovered a whopping 974 herbal preparations within the indigenous cultures of Peru, while another study found that 510 different plant species are used in natural Peruvian cures in the northern part of the country alone. Researchers theorized that these herbal cures dated as far back as the Moche period, beginning almost 2,000 years ago.

    So the question is: can we draw a little remedial knowledge from the ancient (and modern day) Peruvians? How many of those natural cures can we utilize to effectively cure our own infections, both inside and out? Plenty, as it happens.

    Natural Peruvian cures for infections

    A 2011 investigation found that 96 species of plants in Northern Peru were being used as anti-infective herbal remedies at the time of publication. Considering that’s just in the northern part of the country, it’s fair to say that there’s plenty more where that came from. Here’s just a few.

    Llanten

    Llanten is the Peruvian indigenous name given to the species Plantago linearis, an herbaceous plant native to Peru and other parts of northern South America. Llanten is used as a cure for urinary tract infections, tuberculosis, hepatitis, asthma, bronchitis, conjunctivitis and a whole lot more. Research shows that both the whole fresh plant and the roots of llanten are used in traditional Peruvian cures, and can be applied as a poultice or salve for the cleansing of wounds to prevent infection.

    Schinus molle

    The Peruvian pepper tree is used to treat coughs, cancer and more.
    Known simply as “molle” to many Peruvians, Schinus molle or “Peruvian pepper” is an evergreen tree that grows to a height of around 50 feet (15 meters). Found in the arid Andean regions of Peru, the tree produces bright pink fruits that are often sold as “pink peppercorns” — although there’s no actual relation to real pepper.

    According to scientific sources, molle is something of a jack-of-all-trades in the remedy arena, and is traditionally used for vaginal infections, bronchitis, coughs, colds, chills, inflammation, cancer, tuberculosis and more. If just half of these claims are true, it seems this small evergreen would give any adaptogen a run for its money.

    Peperomia galioides

    This species is a slender, ground-covering plant native to Amazonian Peru and other tropical regions of South and Central America. Its range is impressive, and it can be found as a weed around houses close to sea level or in damp mountainous areas as high as 8,200 feet (2,500 meters). As with many such hardy plants of South America, the leaves and stems of P. galioides are loaded with active compounds that have been utilized by indigenous Peruvians for centuries.

    A 2004 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology examined the medicinal potential of organic and water-soluble extracts of P. galioides. Researchers found that high levels of both grifolin and grifolic acid in the stem and leaves were responsible for the plant’s effective inhibition of infection, especially against Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Another study showed that this Peruvian plant could also exhibit strong antibacterial activity over Leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease affecting over 12 million people worldwide.

    Perezia pungens

    Known as Lengua de Vaca to the native Peruvians, the fresh leaves of this plant have long been used as a way to cleanse surface wounds and prevent infection. Conveniently, the leaves can also be crushed up to form a poultice that reportedly prevents the peeling of skin after a sunburn.

    Matricaria chamomilla

    In Peru, chamomile is used for wound infections and blood purification.
    You can probably guess from its Latin name what most people would know this herb as: chamomile! While not native to Peru, traditional Peruvian cures using tinctures of the fresh whole plant are numerous. Otherwise known as manzanilla (it took me a long time to remember that in Mexico, whenever I wanted to order a chamomile tea), M. chamomilla is used for treating wound infections, vaginal cleansing and blood purification.

    This is one Peruvian cure that you’re bound to have sitting around at home — just steep a strong brew of pure chamomile tea!

    Bixa orellana

    This shrub is one of the more famous of the natural Peruvian cures — otherwise known as achiote. It’s sometimes called the lipstick tree and is best known as the source of annatto, a natural orangey-red condiment.

    But beyond its culinary uses, achiote is also used to treat a number of common ailments. These include urinary tract infections, kidney inflammation, enlarged prostate, bronchitis and hemorrhages.

    Do your research!

    While many of these Peruvian cures have been used for thousands of years, not all of them are necessarily safe or effective. Before using any of them, do your research — and if in doubt, ask your doctor! But chances are they won’t have heard of it…

    Source: The Alternative Daily

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