Herbs and Vitamins
By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com
Maca (Lepidiium peruvianum) is an herb growing at high altitudes in Peru that has beneficial effects on the reproductive system. It has been observed that where maca is cultivated, the women do not experience menopausal problems such as hot flashes, osteoporosis, and circulatory problems. It is also used as a sexual tonic for men. Maca works by stimulating the hypothalamus gland and thus elevating levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. For more information on menopause, visit http://www.healthshop.com/article/default.asp?category_id=1&article_id=288&referid=tw
THE FACTS ON BITTER MELON By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com
Bitter melon (Mormordica chirantia) is an herb that has long been used in India to regulate blood sugar levels. It has been reported to improve glucose burning within the cells even without insulin. One of its active ingredients has been identified as p-insulin, which has positive results in clinical trials for patients with Type 2 diabetes.


Beta carotene is still being found as an effective way to enhance immunity. Recent studies show that beta carotene enhances immune cells so that they have a better ability to detect and combat viruses. Beta carotene also strengthens mucus membranes so they are less permeable to viral invasion. For more information on immune function, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=115&referid=tw


Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) appears to be effective in preventing altitude sickness as well as vascular problems related to the cold. In a controlled study of 44 healthy male climbers who had experienced altitude sickness on previous occasions, one group was given ginkgo twice daily (160 mg. total) and the other group a placebo. They then ascended over a period of eight days to an altitude of 14,700 feet.
None of the climbers using ginkgo experienced altitude sickness, whereas 41 percent of those using the placebo did. For more information on Ginkgo biloba, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=301&referid=tw


Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) extract derived from the seeds is helpful in treating varicose veins. In a study comparing horse chestnut to a placebo, horse chestnut was superior to the placebo. Horse chestnut reduced venous insufficiency that was the result of leg vessel blockage. It also reduced leg pain, leg circumference, and itching. For more information on horse chestnut, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=208&referid=tw


Green tea (Camellia sinensis), long a staple in the Orient, has been found to have antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties in its leaves. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a polyphenol that has been found to inhibit cancer growth, in particular pancreatic and rectal cancers. Green tea's cancer-preventing properties inhibit cancer formation, scavenge free radicals, encourage the disappearance of mutagens, and block mutagens on DNA from carcinogenic compounds. For more information on Green Tea, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/article/default.asp?category_id=766&article_id=284&referid=tw


Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous) root improves immune activity and has adaptogenic, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory effects. It is known to increase interferon production, thus making the body more resistant to viral attack. Astragalus can be used for long periods of time and is excellent for people who are prone to frequent infection. For more information on Astragalus, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=418&category_id=250


Maitake mushrooms, native to northeastern Japan, contain the polysaccharide beta-glucan, which is believed to enhance immune activity. Also a component in maitake is D-fraction, which increases the number of immune cells and is said to be even more orally effective than other medicinal mushrooms, Studies also indicate that maitake has strong tumor-inhibition properties. For more information on maitake mushrooms, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=326&referid=tw


Raspberries contain a substance known as "ellagic acid" and, though it is found in other berries, red raspberries have more than twice as much as any other known food. Subjects fed a daily dose of 150 grams of red raspberries had a decrease in cancer cell proliferation and, in some cases, cancer cells were decreased without any adverse physiological reactions. Ellagic acid is a phenolic compound that is being extolled as an anticarcinogen and antimutagen. The study was conducted at the Hollings Cancer Center of the Medical University of South Carolina. Additional tests concurred that ellagic acid was still potent even after being heated or frozen. For more information red raspberries, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=496&category_id=342 tepper

BITTER ORANGE AS WEIGHT LOSS SUPPLEMENT By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Unripe bitter orange (Citrus aurantium), known in Traditional Chinese Medicine as zhi shi, is being used in North America as a safe weight-loss supplement. It enhances metabolism, without straining the heart, aids in fat metabolism, and increases lean body mass and energy. Five amines have been identified that contribute to bitter oranges' thermogenic activity and increase adrenaline and noradrenaline release. It is not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers, but it is suggested for others in a 1600 mg daily dose, divided during the day and taken one half hour before meals. For more information on weight loss, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/lifestyle/default.asp?category_id=6&fromMenu=my_healthshop&toSubMenu=2&referid=tw

PSYLLIUM RECOMMENDED FOR TYPE 2 DIABETICS By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Psyllium husk (Plantago psyllium) is best known as a fiber laxative to promote bowel regularity. It is also being recommended by doctors and nutritional consultants as beneficial to those with type 2 diabetes (non insulin dependent) because it can help reduce elevated blood sugar levels. In a study conducted in Durango, Colorado, 125 people with type 2 diabetes were given psyllium supplements or a placebo three times daily before meals. After six weeks, those given psyllium had significantly lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It is important to consume large amounts of water to help psyllium be effective. For more information on psyllium, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=340&referid=tw

TOMATOES FOR YOUR PROSTATE HEALTH By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Lycopene is a carotenoid found in tomatoes and watermelon and also in high levels in human plasma. Early research indicated that the antioxidant effects of lycopene as found in tomato-containing foods decreased incidences of prostate cancer. More recent research on lycopene shows that patients who had existing prostate cancers and were given 15 mg of lycopene twice daily had smaller more localized tumors than those receiving a placebo, along with lower levels of PSA (prostate specific antigens) and decreased malignancy. These findings suggest that lycopene may be helpful not only in preventing prostate cancer, but also in treatment. For more information on lycopene, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=219&referid=tw

GET THE LEAD OUT By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Vitamin C appears to help lower blood levels of lead in individuals exposed to that toxin, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. A study done at The University of California San Francisco on 19,000 individuals, six years old and older, found those with higher levels of vitamin C were associated with lower levels of lead. Though the exact relationship has not yet been determined, previous studies suggest that vitamin C may actually help eliminate lead from the body. For more information on vitamin C, visit http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=221&referid=tw

MELATONIN FOUND IN SEVERAL PLANTS By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Melatonin was popular in the early 1990's for aiding sleep and counteracting jet lag. Canadian researchers begin inquiring whether herbs might contain melatonin and, indeed they found that some plants contained the substance. Plants found thus far to contain melatonin include feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), Saint John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum), Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis), which contained the highest levels. For more information on melatonin, visit http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=496&referid=tw

HERBS HAVE POWER By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Herbs rich in the alkaloid berberine are known for their powerful effects on the respiratory tract and immune system. These herbs include Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium), barberry (Berberis vulgaris), and Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). Berberine has antimicrobial activity against a wide range of parasitic and fungal infections. One study on berberine showed its ability to block strep bacteria from adhering to the epithelial cells that line the respiratory tract. Berberine has also been found to protect the thymus gland. Goldenseal is considered endangered in the wild, so please only use cultivated varieties or the other berberine-containing herbs. For more information on herbs, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/content.asp?category_id=907&referid=tw

ANCIENT MEDICINE--ARTICHOKE By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Artichokes have been used as food and medicine as early as the fourth century BC. Long used as a digestive aid and to treat liver problems including jaundice, artichokes have been considered most valuable. One of its constituents, chlorogenic acid, is considered a powerful antioxidant. One of the main ways artichokes enhance digestion and liver activity is by the stimulation of bile flow, which helps emulsify fat and improves the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. For more information on nutrients and supplements, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/learn/default.asp?category_id=912&referid=tw

COLOSTRUM HELPS ENHANCE IMMUNITY By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Colostrum is the "premilk" a mother produces for her baby, before the actual milk comes in. It can also be sourced from dairy cows and helps to enhance immunity. Colostrum helps the body become more resistant to infection. For more information on immunity, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=115&referid=tw

EAT CHOCOLATE By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Chocolate might be good for you? In a study observing 7,800 Harvard graduates over a period of several decades, those who ate chocolate lived almost a year longer and had a death rate 36 percent lower than former classmates who never ate chocolate. It is being discovered that chocolate contains antioxidants. One theory is simply that those who ate chocolate were happier, which can increase life span. For more information on antioxidants, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=541&healthfacts_id=110&referid=tw

ENERGIZE WITH ENZYMES By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a coenzyme that aids in the body's repair. First used as a supplement in treating Parkinson's disease, it has also been used more recently to improve concentration and memory and to enhance the body's flow of energy. NADH helps by breaking down molecules that can then be used as energy sources as well an enhancing immune function. NADH is considered an antioxidant that increases the brain's production of dopamine, a chemical that improves strength, coordination, cognitive function, and sex drive as well as reduce the appetite. For more information on energizing, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/lifestyle/default.asp?category_id=7&referid=tw

ENERGIZE WITH ENZYMES By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a coenzyme that aids in the body's repair. First used as a supplement in treating Parkinson's disease, it has also been used more recently to improve concentration and memory and to enhance the body's flow of energy. NADH helps by breaking down molecules that can then be used as energy sources as well an enhancing immune function. NADH is considered an antioxidant that increases the brain's production of dopamine, a chemical that improves strength, coordination, cognitive function, and sex drive as well as reduce the appetite. For more information on energizing, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/lifestyle/default.asp?category_id=7&referid=tw


Sports enthusiasts might consider using special drinks during and after workouts to help provide the body with needed nutrients. Look for drinks containing carbohydrates for sustained energy, as well as the minerals potassium and magnesium, which are lost during perspiration. The addition of antioxidants vitamins A, C, and E are immune supportive. Some drinks also contain glutamine, an amino acid that can help muscle strength, reduce acid buildup during intense training, and support natural growth hormone production. For more information on sports health, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/lifestyle/default.asp?category_id=5&fromMenu=my_healthshop&toSubMenu=2&referid=tw
Brigitte Mars is an herbalist and nutritional consultant from Boulder, Colorado. She has been working with Natural Medicine for 30 years. She is the author of Herbs for Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails and the CD ROM Herbal Pharmacy.


EFAs are essential fatty acids that are essential to life, yet they cannot be manufactured by the body and need to be obtained through foods or supplementation. Essential fatty acid supplementation has been found in numerous studies to help ease arthritis and psoriasis, lower cholesterol, and even aid weight loss. Sources of essential fatty acids include nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables as well as supplementation of borage, flax, evening primrose, and hemp seed oil. For more information on essential fatty acids, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/article/default.asp?category_id=772&article_id=123&referid=tw


Calcium is not the only nutrient necessary for good dental health. Folic acid is needed for the health of the mucus membranes in the mouth. Vitamin C helps collagen production, thus building stronger gum tissue, and also reduces plaque buildup. For more information on dental care, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=162&referid=tw


Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that is sometimes referred to as "the sex vitamin," helps blood flow to all parts of the body, including the sex organs. It helps to increase sperm motility, aids in normal sex hormone production, increases stamina, is vasodilating, and improves erection and vaginal circulation. Vitamin E can also help ease the symptoms of hot flashes, vaginal wall thinning, vaginal dryness, and loss of libido. It increases fertility and nourishes the pituitary gland, regarded as the body's master gland. For more information on vitamin E, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=409&category_id=223&referid=tw


Bach Flower Remedies were formulated by a successful English physician who gave up his medical practice in 1930 and discovered that flower essences could be used to help balance the emotional body, which he saw as an underlying factor in physical conditions. Eventually he perfected 38 different flower essences that could help in negative emotions such as fear, despair, and resentment. In recent years, even more flower essences have been discovered and are used worldwide by health practitioners. One of the most popular is called Rescue Remedy and is helpful for conditions of fear, anxiety, shock, and trauma. For more information on flower remedies, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=129&category_id=785&referid=tw


Grapes contain phytochemicals (plant chemicals) from the flavonoid family known as polyphenolic antioxidants. In animal studies, these compounds show anticarcinogenic (cancer-fighting) activity. Research at the University of Illinois has isolated one of the flavonoids as resveratrol, which appears to have value in preventing cancer and heart disease. For more information on resveratrol, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=387&category_id=512&referid=tw


Chanca Piedra (Phyllanthus urinaria) is a South American herb, also known as Breakstone. It is used to help break up kidney stones and gallstones, as well as to treat bladder infections. Research conducted in Brazil points to one of its effective alkaloids--phyllanthoside, which occurs in both the leaves and the stem--as having a strong antispasmodic activity; other studies have found other compounds in the plant that inhibit pain. For more information on phyllanthus, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=337&referid=tw


Kava kava has been used in the South Pacific for centuries and for several decades in Europe as a natural tranquilizer. German research gave 58 patients suffering from anxiety either kava kava or a placebo. After one week, those using the kava kava showed significant reduction in their anxiety symptoms compared to those using the placebo. Also, those using the kava kava continued to improve during the duration of the study, which continued for 28 days. For more information on kava kava, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=473&category_id=315&referid=tw


Omega 3 fatty acids may be helpful in treating bipolar disorder. A four-month, double-blind controlled study compared omega 3 fatty acids derived from flax, perilla, and fish to an olive oil placebo in 30 patients. The group given omega 3 fatty acids had significant remission in bipolar disorder in nearly every outcome compared to the placebo. For more information on omega 3 fatty acids, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=475&referid=tw AROMATHERAPY FOR HAIR LOSS By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Aromatherapy essential oils may be helpful in treating alopeica areata, a health condition characterized by hair loss. A study conducted at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in Scotland treated patients who have alopeica for seven months with essential oils topically, and 44 percent showed significant improvement; those using only carrier oils of jojoba and grapeseed had a 15 percent improvement. The essential oils used by the aromatherapy group included lavender, cedarwood, rosemary, and thyme diluted into a carrier oil. For more information on essential oils, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/article/default.asp?category_id=646&article_id=166&referid=tw ARTHRITIS RELIEF By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a naturally occurring sulfur compound that is found in the body and in foods. When used as a nutritional supplement, it can help relieve arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It is available in capsules, as well as lotions for topical applications. Most people have no side effects, but occasional reports of gastrointestinal discomfort have been reported, which tend to subside when the dosage is decreased. For more information on MSM, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=394&category_id=761&referid=tw BOOSTING BRAIN POWER By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Bacopa monniera--an Ayurvedic herb also known as Brahmi and a type of Indian water hyssop--is being studied for its ability to improve memory and concentration in people of all ages. Studies show that compounds in bacopa aid in the repair of nerve synapses. Bacopa is also used in India for nervous system disorders, asthma, and bronchitis. For more information on boosting brain power, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/article/default.asp?category_id=627&article_id=344&referid=tw EAR ALLERGENS By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Earaches can sometimes be due to both food and environmental allergies. Allergies can create fluid buildup in the ear, causing pain and/or pressure. This buildup can also be a likely habitat for infection. The most common food allergens include dairy, wheat, corn, soy, citrus, and peanuts. Environmental allergens can include smoke. For more information on ear infection, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=79&referid=tw FLAVONOID FACTOID By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Research in London indicates that a cup of green tea daily can reduce the risk of heart attack by 44 percent. Flavonoids, which are considered powerful antioxidants in tea, can make blood cells less likely to clot. Flavonoids can also help prevent the damaging effects of arterial fatty deposits. For more information on flavonoids, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=445&referid=tw HORMONALLY RELATED CANCER By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Flaxseed, taken daily in two rounded tablespoon doses, can help give protection against hormonally related cancers. Flaxseeds are rich sources of lignans and omega-3 fatty acids. The plant lignans in flaxseed help to block excessive estrogen activity. Flaxseeds should either be soaked overnight or freshly ground right before ingesting. They can then be added to cereal or yogurt. For more information on flaxseed, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=341&category_id=475&referid=tw MY GLUTAMINE By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com L-glutamine is considered a "non-essential amino acid," meaning that the body is able to manufacture this nutrient. It is becoming apparent that every body cell uses glutamine. It serves as an energy source, and without it, muscular atrophy can occur. It is also needed by the immune system, including T cells and macrophages. For more information on glutamine, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=481&referid=tw NUTRITION AGAINST CANCER By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Inositol hexaphosphate, most often called IP6, is actually a combination of the B vitamin inositol and phosphate that has gained attention recently in the realm of nutrition against cancer. According to the Medical Journal of Anticancer Research, IP6 not only prevented liver cancer formation, but also reversed existing cancers in mice. IP6 causes cancer cells to mature and behave like non-cancerous cells. It also works as an antioxidant, preventing free radical damage, and improves the function of natural killer cells to destroy cancer cells. For more information on inositol, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=353&category_id=236&referid=tw PMS HERBS By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Vitex agnus-castus, also known as chaste tree berry, is an effective herb for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome. One of the ways it works is by modulating progesterone levels and the function of the pituitary gland. Usually a dropper of extract is taken three times daily, or two capsules are used three times daily. Vitex can also help regulate irregular menstrual cycles. For more information on chaste tree berry, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=274&referid=tw TAKE VITAMIN B5 "B4" SURGERY? By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com When undergoing surgery, taking vitamin B5, also known as panothenic acid, may have some ability to speed wound healing and increase protein synthesis. Scientists have observed through in vitro studies that using B5 increases the number of repair cells and increases the distance they are able to travel. For more information on vitamin B5, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=405&category_id=231&referid=tw THE POWER TO AROUSE WOMEN By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba ) appears to be even more sexually stimulating to women than men. Ginkgo extract has been found to be 84 percent effective in treating sexual dysfunction due to depression. Ginkgo also is effective in enhancing all four phases of sexual arousal. For more information on ginkgo, visit: http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=460&category_id=301&referid=tw CALCIUM FOR STRONG BONES By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com When pre-menopausal women take calcium supplements, there are fewer fractures and less bone loss later in life, according to a report at the annual meeting of the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research. In a three-year, placebo-controlled study of 98 pre-menopausal women, the 44 who received calcium supplementation maintained their bone mineral density after receiving 500 mg. of calcium daily. Those that did not receive calcium supplementation had decreased bone mineral density. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=322&category_id=521&referid=tw CINNAMON--A NATURAL APHRODISIAC By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Did you know that cinnamon can boost your libido? Cinnamon warms the body and increases circulation to all parts of the body and is used in India and Asia as an aphrodisiac. Sprinkle it on French toast, apple pie, rice pudding, eggnog, rice dishes, and baked goods. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=441&category_id=276&referid=tw DETOX WITH VEGETABLES By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Indoles--chemicals found in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, Brussels sprouts, and collard greens--aid in the body's natural detoxification process and help to neutralize potentially dangerous chemicals and hormones. Be sure to eat these vegetables cooked to avoid flatulence when eaten raw. ENERGY ENHANCERS By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Ribose (specifically, D-ribose) is a simple sugar that increases the body's production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP occurs in all living cells and, when broken down, releases energy. Ribose is made by the body by converting glucose, which can be a slow process, sometimes requiring several days. Research is being conducted on ribose and how it enhances athletic activity. Those with heart conditions should consult a physician before using ribose. For more information on energy, visit http://www.healthshop.com/lifestyle/default.asp?category_id=7&referid=tw GOOD NEWS FOR SMOKERS By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Pycnogenol, an extract from French maritime pine trees, has been found to be just as effective as aspirin in inhibiting the blood platelet aggregation (clumping together) that occurs in smokers. A study was done in the U.S. with 19 smokers who were given pycnogenol in 100, 150, and 200 mg. doses. According to Thrombosis Research, the highest dose was the most effective and inhibited blood platelet aggregation for more than six days. You can find a summary of the research at The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center's Web site: http://www.ahsc.arizona.edu/opa/news/may98/watson.htm HELP FOR ACHY JOINTS By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane) is a sulfur-rich compound that helps to maintain healthy tissues and cells. Many of the joint components of the body are dependent on sulfur, and this nutrient can help rebuild the base material of joints. In a preliminary study done at the Oregon Health Sciences Center, MSM was found to have pain-relieving properties equivalent to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. HELP FOR COLD SORES By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Lysine is an essential amino acid that can help those who suffer from cold sores. Lysine helps to prevent the replication of the cold sore herpes virus and also aids in tissue repair. It is now known that lysine is also needed for calcium absorption. For more information on lysine, visit http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?category_id=493&referid=tw HERBS FOR IMMUNITY By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Olive leaf (Olea europaea) is being recognized in American studies as an herb to enhance immunity. Olive leaf shows activity against bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. It is rich in flavonoids and even exhibits blood pressure stabilizing properties. For more information on herbal remedies in general, visit http://www.healthshop.com/healthfact/content.asp?category_id=907&referid=tw MUSHROOMS FIGHT CANCER By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Maitake mushrooms are a source of beta-glucan, which helps the immune system fight off cancer and protects the body from the effects of aging. A substance known as D-fraction found in beta-glucan can shrink tumors and is considered by some to be a safe method of inhibiting cancer. Enjoy maitake mushrooms in teas, soups, and sauces or as supplement in capsule, tablet, or liquid extract form. For more information on increasing your natural healing abilities, visit http://healthshop.com/article/default.asp?category_id=8&article_id=180&referid=tw RELIEF FROM MENOPAUSE By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Like soy, red clover is a member of the legume family and contains isoflavones, which help the body produce precursors to hormones that can aid the symptoms of menopause. In a study of 25 post-menopausal women using a popular herbal tablet made from red clover, participants had a 52 percent decrease in the intensity of night sweats. The women also reported a decrease in the number and intensity of hot flashes. No weight gain or side effects were reported, unlike drugs that relieve menopausal symptoms. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=495&category_id=343&referid=tw THIAMIN AND MEMORY LOSS By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com If your diet is deficient in thiamin, also known as vitamin B1, you could experience memory loss and decreased cognition. The elderly, alcoholics, and anorexics are at a particularly high risk. Two separate studies on thiamin and memory loss have been done at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=401&category_id=227&referid=tw COMBAT COLDS AND FLU By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Elderberry extract is a delicious and safe way to combat cold and flu symptoms. In 1992, a double-blind study was conducted in Southern Israel where one half of the patients were given a placebo and the rest given elderberry syrup. After 24 hours, 20 percent of those who received the elderberry syrup had less muscle soreness, cough, and fever. By the second day, 75 percent of those receiving the elderberry extract were improved, and by the third day, 90 percent of them felt completely well. Among those receiving the placebo, only 8 percent were improved after 24 hours and the remaining 92 percent took six days to feel relieved of their flu symptoms. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=449&category_id=285&referid=tw NEED A COFFEE BREAK? By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Want to feel more alert at work? Skip the coffee break and try using aromatherapy. Spray diluted essential oils on your face (with eyes and mouth closed), inhale essential oils several times a day, or enjoy them through an aromatherapy diffuser. Peppermint, lemon, and rosemary are mentally invigorating scents. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=111&category_id=542&referid=tw ARE YOU GETTING YOUR VITAMIN B12? By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is the only vitamin containing an essential mineral, in this case cobalt. Vitamin B12 is necessary for nerve tissue and the health of the nervous system. Alcoholics, vegans (strict vegetarians), and the elderly are at the highest risk for deficiency. Pernicious anemia, which can also cause weakness, weight loss, paleness, and psychological disturbances, are all linked to a deficiency in vitamin B12. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=402&category_id=234&referid=tw IMMUNE SYSTEM BOOST FROM THE RAINFOREST By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Cat's claw (uncaria tomentosa) has been used medicinally for thousands of years by tribes living in the South American rainforests. Found in the bark of certain species of trees that grow there, it contains oxindole alkaloids, which have been attributed with potent immune-enhancing effects and are now being used by clinical herbalists and holistic M.D.s in the treatment of cancer, HIV/AIDS, and arthritis. Cat's claw has also been helpful in reducing the uncomfortable side effects from chemotherapy and radiation. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=437&category_id=271&referid=tw INCREASE MALE POTENCY By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a well-recognized antioxidant, may also increase sperm count and motility in men. Researchers have found a direct link between elevated levels of CoQ10 and higher sperm count and motility. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=329&category_id=459&referid=tw AMARANTH--THE ANCIENT WONDER GRAIN By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Cultivated by the ancient Aztecs, amaranth features a pleasant, nutty flavor. It is gluten-free and thus suitable for those with allergies. Higher in protein than either wheat or corn, this tasty grain is also high in calcium and iron, very high in fiber content, and very low in calories. It is available in either grain or flour form. More information on the possible advantages of avoiding wheat is available at http://healthshop.com/article/default.asp?category_id=7&article_id=15&referid=tw CAYENNE PEPPER IS DEFINITELY HOT! By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Cayenne pepper (capsicum annuum) contains an active ingredient known as capsaicin that has shown effectiveness in relieving pain. Used in diluted amounts (0.025% for example), it is applied topically to the head for headaches or to the arms or legs to relieve arthritic joint paint. Initially, a person experiences a burning sensation, which, in most cases, quickly subsides as the pain noticeably decreases. DEER ANTLER FOR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Deer antler is used in Chinese medicine to nourish the kidneys and improve a variety of conditions, including exhaustion, low back pain, depression, and coldness. Some sources provide anesthesia to the deer before their antlers are removed, so that the animals are not harmed in any way and experience no pain. Rich in minerals such as calcium and iron, deer antler, according to research conducted in New Zealand, increases stamina and athletic performance. For more information on Chinese medicine, visit http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=567&category_id=615&referid=tw OMEGA-3--A SOLUTION TO BIPOLAR DEPRESSION? By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Omega-3 fatty acids appear to improve bipolar depression. In a four-month, placebo-controlled, double-blind study, 30 patients suffering from bipolar conditions were given omega-3 fatty acids or a placebo containing olive oil, along with standard treatments. Those receiving the omega-3s had longer periods of remission than the placebo group. A press release from McLean Hospital--one of the organizations directing the study--is available online at the following address: http://www.mcleanhospital.org/PublicAffairs/199905b_FishOil.htm REDUCE THE RISK OF HEART DISEASE WITH VITAMIN E By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Controversy has surrounded the issue of which form of vitamin E is the most usable in the body. The form beginning with "d" is natural and the form beginning with "dl" is synthetic. Examples: d-alpha tocopherol and dl-alpha tocopherol. Research has shown that the body metabolizes the natural form more efficiently. In fact, this form is considered twice as potent as the synthetic version. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that reduces the risk of heart disease, promotes normal blood clotting, and helps prevent premature aging of the skin. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=110&category_id=541&referid=tw TRIPLE ACTION WITH VITAMIN K By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com First discovered in 1929, vitamin K is actually a group of three vitamins--K1, or phylloquinone, made from plants; K2, or menaquinone, made by bacteria in the intestines; and K3, or menaphtone or menadione, which is a synthetic compound. Vitamin K is best known for its ability to aid blood clotting. It also supports bone health and helps the conversion of glucose into glycogen for storage, which occurs in the liver. Vitamin K is found in foods such as spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and dark-green leafy vegetables, as well as in olive oil. It remains fairly stable when heated. Patients who are at risk for blood loss during or after surgery are sometimes given this vitamin to prevent problems. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=410&category_id=225&referid=tw GLUTATHIONE POWER! By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Glutathione is a protein made from the amino acids cysteine, glycine, and glutamic acid. It's a powerful antioxidant that helps remove heavy-metal contamination from the body. It occurs naturally in foods such as eggs, yogurt, meat, and wheat germ. When the body is under stress, glutathione levels decrease and the liver's ability to protect itself is impaired. Glutathione is available in supplement form. For more information on antioxidants, visit http://healthshop.com/article/default.asp?category_id=738&article_id=111&referid=tw SPIRULINA--NATURE'S SUPERFOOD! By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Spirulina is one of the foods highest in protein. It is actually a fresh-water cultivated algae with a spiral structure similar to DNA. In fact, its name means "spiral." Extremely rich in beta-carotene, iron, protein as well as the essential fatty acid GLA (gamma linolenic acid), spirulina is also a vegetarian source of vitamin B12. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=392&category_id=513&referid=tw A SALT THAT REGULATES BLOOD SUGAR By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Vanadium, or vanadyl sulfate (a salt of vanadium) is a trace element that may augment the effects of insulin, thus helping to regulate blood sugar levels. Recent human trials show that vanadium improved insulin sensitivity and glucose control in a group of people with Type II (adult onset) diabetes. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv1-0204s%2C00.html ADD A SPRIG OF ROSEMARY! By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ) has long been appreciated as an herb that improves memory. Recent animal studies indicate that it prevents carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals) from binding to cellular DNA and that it may possibly prohibit mutations of cellular DNA. Rosemary has also been found to increase liver enzymes that defuse carcinogens and reduce the enzymes that enhance carcinogenic activity. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv1-0204y%2C00.html FIGHT CHRONIC PAIN AND FATIGUE WITH 5-HTP By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com 5-HTP, a serotonin booster helpful in the treatment of depression, is quickly absorbed into the brain. It is currently being investigated as a remedy for fibromyalgia (a relatively common condition that manifests itself in chronic musculoskeletal pain and fatigue). A deficiency of serotonin is linked to fibromyalgia. In two 50 patient trials, 100 mg. of 5-HTP were given orally three times daily. This resulted in a 50 percent reduction of all the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Many of the patients retained benefits for up to 90 days after the trial was completed. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv1-0204u%2C00.html LIVE WITHOUT STRESS By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Suma (Pfaffia paniculata ) is a relatively new addition to Western herbal medicine. Native to South America, it is often referred to as Brazilian ginseng. According to Japanese research, suma is beneficial in treating bronchitis, fatigue, and stress. For more information on stress management, visit http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv1-0204o%2C00.html TURMERIC--WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Turmeric (curcuma longa) contains a bright yellow pigment that is rich in antioxidants called curcuminoids. Curcuminoids work as free-radical scavengers and are being researched for anti-cancer activity. Curcuminoids also seem to inhibit invading microorganisms. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=512&category_id=357&referid=tw A POT OF GOLD By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Goldenrod (Solidago species) is one of the safest genito-urinary antiseptic herbs. Widely used in Europe to treat kidney and bladder infections as well as the elimination of kidney stones, goldenrod has also been shown in clinical studies to be effective in the treatment of chronic and acute nephritis. More information on urinary tract health is available at http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv1-0204i%2C00.html A YUMMY FORCE AGAINST E. COLI By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Did you know that a delicious spice, cinnamon, is a weapon in destroying e. coli (one of the most virulent microorganisms that exist today)? In a study done at Kansas State University, apple juice was inoculated with about one million e. coli bacteria. Adding about one teaspoon of cinnamon powder killed 99.5% of the pathogens after three days at room temperature. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv1-0204e%2C00.html ARE YOU A CARBO LOVER? By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com If you crave carbohydrates--the herb garcinia cambogia may be a real friend indeed. It helps the body prevent converting carbohydrates to fats, thus reducing the appetite and helping to prevent weight gain. Grown in southern India, garcinia is a fruit that contains a substance called hydroxycitric acid. Reportedly, this acid helps the body burn calories. Usual dosage is 500 mg. taken three times daily. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv1-0204c%2C00.html ARE YOU BLACK AND BLUE? THEN BIOFLAVONOIDS ARE FOR YOU! By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Bioflavonoids are naturally occurring plant compounds that help strengthen the veins and capillaries. For people who get black and blue marks easily and who are susceptible to bleeding gums, supplements are recommended. Bioflavonoids are available in tablets by themselves or as part of the vitamin C complex. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv1-0204m%2C00.html BEES KNOW WHAT'S GOOD! By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Bee pollen serves as one of bees' main food sources. It is the flower pollen that honeybees collect from a variety of plants. The pollen grains are actually the male reproductive cells of the plants and are rich in carotenoids (gaining attention as immune-system enhancers), flavonoids (attributed with antioxidant properties), and phytosterols (said to lower cholesterol levels in humans). Many people enjoy bee pollen for its energizing properties. Those with pollen allergies should follow the advice of a health professional to avoid an allergic reaction, though when used properly in small amounts that increase gradually, bee pollen can actually help some people desensitize themselves to plant pollens. You can find more general information on boosting the immune system during cold and flu season at http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv1-0204n%2C00.html CHANGE YOUR MOOD By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine) is a replication of a compound that the body produces from the amino acid methionine and occurs naturally in foods such as fish and meat. It is synthesized in the body and was recently made available as a supplement. SAMe appears to raise levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter important in mood regulation. Thus it can be an effective antidepressant, but it shouldn't be used by those with bipolar conditions without first consulting a health professional. More than one hundred studies have been conducted using SAMe. Especially noteworthy is that it has been shown to be effective for people who have not derived benefits from other antidepressants. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv2-0204s%2C00.html ETERNAL YOUTH? By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Amla (Emblica officinalis) is one of the premier herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. It is renowned as a rejuvenating herb and is one of the plant kingdom's richest sources of vitamin C. Amla also contains the powerful anticancer antioxidant ellagic acid. You can find more on cancer prevention in general at http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv1-0204a%2C00.html FIGHT THE FLU! By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) helps fight off colds and flu by activating macrophages, which are key to the immune system's ability to destroy bacteria and viruses. Echinacea is also known to stimulate T-cell lymphocytes, which increases interferon production. Echinacea is ideally taken for short periods of time, usually no longer than two weeks, so that the body continues to be affected by it rather than habituated to its immune-stimulating properties. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv2-0204u%2C00.html FOR BEAUTIFUL SKIN By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com Health claims for Coenzyme Q10 include everything from weight loss to the reversal of gum disease. Recently, scientists have found that it possesses beneficial anti-aging properties for the skin. It is needed by the skin cells' mitochondria (a cell component that is responsible for transforming food to usable energy). Around age 30, the body's levels of Coenzyme Q10 decrease--perhaps due to aging, which contributes to cell degeneration and the breakdown of skin tissue. Research confirms that Coenzyme Q10 decreases free radical activity, and after six weeks of use, fine lines and wrinkles were reduced by 43 percent. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv2-0204o%2C00.html NON-ESSENTIAL, BUT VERY IMPORTANT By Brigitte Mars, for healthshop.com L-glutamine is classified as a non-essential amino acid, but don't let that fool you. Just because the body can synthesize it doesn't mean it is unimportant. L-glutamine is utilized as a source of energy and considered an important muscle building amino acid. Without it, muscles atrophy. It is also considered an important brain food. Users report more energy, better moods, less fatigue, and less cravings for sugar and alcohol. Not bad for something non-essential. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv2-0204y%2C00.html
If you suffer from frequent cold sores, lysine, an essential amino acid, can help. Lysine helps prevent cold sores as well as blocks arginine, an amino acid needed for the replication of cold sores. Lysine--found in Brewer's yeast, legumes, dairy products, and meat--is also an important element in the formation of collagen, the protein needed for healing skin and connective tissue. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv-314%2C00.html
If you suffer from memory loss or cluttered thinking, you may find help with DMAE. The supplement is thought to be used by the brain to make the neurotransmitter choline, which is needed for proper memory function. DMAE also improves learning and behavior in children with learning disabilities. Studies also show that DMAE improves immunity and athletic performance with virtually no side effects. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv-315%2C00.html
Vitamin E made from soybean or cottonseed oil is sold as d-alpha tocopherol, with the d standing for "dextro" or the "right-handed form." Synthetic vitamin E is sold as dl-tocopherol and contains both a right- and left-handed form of the vitamin. Natural vitamin E is more easily absorbed by the body, and it is believed that the left-handed form actually impairs the right-handed natural form from entering the cell membrane. More information on vitamin E and other antioxidants is available at http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv2-0204m%2C00.html
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a "friendly" type of flora that colonizes the gastrointestinal, urinary, and vaginal tracts. Acidophilus inhibits the growth of "unfriendly" types of microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast, and parasites and prevents them from overpopulating. Acidophilus is commonly used to treat yeast infections, improve digestion, and alleviate diarrhea. Recent studies indicate that acidophilus may offer some protection against colon and breast cancer by discouraging the reabsorption of estrogen back into the blood stream. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv2-0204i%2C00.html
NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is also known as Coenzyme #1 because it was the first coenzyme identified by scientists. It helps the body convert glucose (the body's fuel) into energy and because of this, it is being explored as a possible treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study done in Europe, 26 patients with chronic fatigue were given NADH. In this study, 31 percent of those receiving 10 mg daily after four weeks reported more energy, strength, and endurance. NADH is considered a safe, effective energy supplement. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv2-0204n%2C00.html
Saint John's wort (hypericum perforatum) is popular as an antidepressant. Originally it was believed that the active ingredient is the constituent hypericin. It is now known that this herb contains many important constituents including flavonoids, tannins, and proanthocyanidins--all of which may combine synergistically to give the plant antidepressant properties. It is believed that Saint John's wort may work due to inhibiting serotonin reuptake so that the brain's serotonin persists in the body for longer periods of time, resulting in higher levels of the neurotransmitter. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv2-0204e%2C00.html
For centuries in Chinese medicine, green tea has been used to improve digestion, decrease flatulence, and improve mental alertness. Green tea is now regarded as an important antioxidant, promoting cardiovascular health. Some reports also assign to green tea diuretic, antifungal, and immune-enhancing properties. Green tea is reported to lower cholesterol by inhibiting the lipid peroxidation of the more harmful low-density lipoprotein and to inhibit abnormal blood clotting. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv2-0204a%2C00.html
Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) is a Chinese herb and a member of the melon family. It is used to help the body adapt to stress as well as to prevent and treat heart disease. Currently, it is being used to give immune system support when a person is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. For more information on Chinese Medicine, visit http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv2-0204c%2C00.html
Women who suffer from irregular menstrual cycles and painful periods may take comfort in black cohosh, an herb traditionally used by Native Americans to treat snakebites and yellow fever. Although its method of action is still being studied, it is known that black cohosh suppresses luteinizing hormone levels and binds to estrogen receptor sites in the body. It should not be used during pregnancy unless directed by a health professional. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv-317%2C00.html
Hit the ski slopes too hard this season? Soothe sore muscles, strains, sprains and swelling with bromelain, a group of proteolytic enzymes that works as an anti-inflammatory agent. Bromelain, found mostly in the stems of pineapples, is available as a dietary supplement. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv-316%2C00.html
Essential oils make a wonderful addition to the bath. Their aromas can have a soothing effect on our moods. Fill the tub with water first and then add five to seven drops to the tub just before stepping in. This prevents the essential oils from evaporating too quickly. Some excellent stress relieving essential oils include chamomile, lavender, and rosemary. Be sure to keep the oils out of reach of children. Too much oil can cause skin irritation. http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv3-0204o%2C00.html
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are healthy fats that aid the body's peak function, unlike saturated fats, which are precursors to heart disease and stroke. Since the body cannot synthesize EFAs, add them to your diet with flaxseeds or by supplementing with evening primrose, hemp seed, and/or fish oils. The majority of Americans are deficient in EFAs, which can contribute to dry skin, acne, dandruff, hair loss, allergies, asthma, bumps on the back of the arms, and slow wound healing. http://healthshop.com/product/department.asp?category_id=772&referid=tw
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is an excellent medicinal herb for children. Gentle and mild, it can be used to soothe digestive distress, headaches, and aches and to lower fevers. It can also be used for its anti-viral properties. Lemon balm has a pleasant lemony flavor that children enjoy. It doesn't taste like medicine! http://www.pcworld.com/r/tw/1%2C2061%2Ctw-hv3-0204y%2C00.html
Coenzyme Q10 is an enzyme present in virtually every cell of the human body. The heart and liver have the greatest amounts of CoQ10, which has been found to help people with congestive heart failure. In a year-long, double-blind study comparing 319 patients using CoQ10 and 322 using a placebo, those using the CoQ10 had reduced rates of heart failure and less need for hospitalization.
Are you addicted to sweets? You may want to try the herb gymnema sylvestre to cut your cravings. The plant is also known as gurmar, which means "sugar killer" in Hindi. In both human and animal studies, gymnema is shown to inhibit the taste for sugar by blocking its receptor sites for a couple of hours. Those who are insulin-dependent should consult with a physician before using this supplement.
Soy isoflavones may help reduce your chances of bone loss. A three-year osteoporosis study conducted in China found that, in 134 women between the ages of 31 and 40, bone mass increased after consuming soy foods containing isoflavones. Those who practiced weight-bearing exercises also benefited from the protective and bone-enhancing effects of soy isoflavones.
The next time you feel a cold or flu looming, add plenty of garlic to your diet to resist the infection. Garlic is currently used worldwide to treat yeast infections, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, as well as a wide range of other ailments. Plus, in a study done at Loma Linda University in 1990, researchers found that garlic inhibits tumors and strengthens the body's natural immunity. Don't worry about garlic breath--garlic is available in a naturally deodorized capsule form.
Low vitamin K intake can be a contributing factor in increased hip fracture in women, according to studies at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Vitamin K is associated with protein levels in bones and low levels of vitamin K are associated with bone fractures and low mineral density. Vitamin K is available in supplement form and is also found in broccoli and spinach.
Alpha lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant that can play a vital role in health and longevity, as well as helping to prevent liver and heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Alpha lipoic acid aids in the cell's production of energy as it nourishes the mitochondria, considered the powerhouse of cells. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=310&category_id=438&referid=tw
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) extract improves the brain's utilization of oxygen and enhances neurotransmitter activity, the chemicals that enable brain and nervous system functions. Ginkgo improves memory, enhances mental alertness, and also increases mental energy. It is being recommended to treat senility and Alzheimer's disease, as well as depression. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=460&category_id=301&referid=tw
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps prevent cellular damage, and research indicates that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C should be at least doubled. Current RDA for vitamin C is 60 milligrams, just enough to prevent scurvy, a potentially fatal disease caused by a deficiency in vitamin C. Scientific findings indicate that higher dosages of vitamin C can reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cataracts. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=407&category_id=221&referid=tw
Echinacea is one of the premier herbs for treating colds, flu, and other infections, according to eight out of nine studies. In a study of patients experiencing early symptoms of colds, those given echinacea over an eight-day period developed few colds, had milder symptoms, and their colds lasted more briefly than those taking a placebo. Echinacea is better for acute treatment rather than long-term prevention because it boosts immunity when infection is occurring. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=448&category_id=284&referid=tw
Soothe away stress, fear, anger, or worry with two potent flower essences: Rescue Remedy and Five Flower Essence. Simply place two drops under your tongue, add to a glass of water, or apply to the inner wrists. The flowers in these formulas include cherry plum for despair; clematis for that "far away spaced out feeling;" impatiens for impatience; rock rose for terror and panic; and star-of-Bethlehem for shock. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=129&category_id=785&referid=tw
Homocysteine may be more of an indicator for heart disease than cholesterol, as high levels can put one at higher risk for heart attack. To lower your homocysteine levels, eat plenty of foods rich in folic acid. Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, and garbanzo beans, lentils, and black-eyed peas are all good sources. Folic acid is also available as a supplement (suggested daily dose is 400 micrograms). http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=342&category_id=233&referid=tw
Valerian is a favorite among herbalists to promote sleep. Prescription sleeping pills can be addictive, quickly tolerated where higher doses are needed, and can also impair dream states. A 1998 study compared the effects of a type of tranquilizer (benzodiazepine) with valerian. Both the tranquilizer and valerian improved sleep, but when treatment was stopped, the tranquilizer caused withdrawal symptoms, where the valerian did not. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=515&category_id=360&referid=tw
More new evidence indicates that the herb saw palmetto is an effective alternative remedy for men with enlarged prostates, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In a U.S. clinical trial, 41 men diagnosed with BPH were given a saw palmetto berry supplementation of 320 mg. During a six-month period, the men showed some improvements in BPH symptoms, such as urinary frequency and urinary flow rate. At the end of the study, biopsies revealed that saw palmetto helped to shrink enlarged prostate tissues. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=502&category_id=348&referid=tw
Damiana is an herb native to Central and South America that has long been used as a remedy for low libido and erectile dysfunction. Damiana increases circulation to the sex organs and also benefits prostate health. It is also considered a beneficial remedy for those who suffer from sexual "performance anxiety." http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=444&category_id=279&referid=tw
Some studies suggest that you can aid sleep, lift depression, and calm anxiety with kava kava, an herb native to the South Pacific. Since 1860, Europeans have relied on kava's antispasmodic and antimicrobial qualities to treat urinary tract infections. Later research on kava found that its active components, known as kava-lactones, have antianxiety properties. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=473&category_id=315&referid=tw
Selenium deficiency may be related to infertility. At Glasgow Royal Infirmary in Scotland, researchers tested the semen samples of 69 volunteers from an infertility clinic and found that those using selenium supplementation had increased sperm motility. Eleven percent even fathered children during the trial, compared to none of those receiving a placebo. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=389&category_id=530&referid=tw
Low magnesium levels can be a contributing factor in migraines. Magnesium helps relax constricted blood vessels and can be particularly helpful in preventing migraines associated with menstruation. In a 1996 study of migraine sufferers who did not respond to the migraine remedy prescription drug Imitrex, 83 percent were found to be magnesium deficient. After supplementing with 500 mg. of magnesium, 66 percent became responsive to the drug. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=365&category_id=527&referid=tw
Did you know that maitake mushrooms have powerful immune-stimulating effects? In 1992, the American Cancer Institute reported that in vitro experiments with maitake mushrooms may deter HIV-infected helper T-calls from being destroyed. Maitake is considered an adaptogen, helping the body acclimate to stress, as well as a tonic that strengthens and invigorates the body. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=480&category_id=326&referid=tw
Hemp seed oil contains beneficial essential fatty acids, including omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamin E. Supplement daily by adding one tablespoon to salads and smoothies, or simply eat it off the spoon. Applied topically, hemp seed oil can also help relieve dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis. http://healthshop.com/article/default.asp?category_id=772&article_id=123&referid=tw
Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is used all over the world to stimulate libido. In fact, ginseng has gained scientific support as a sexual rejuvenator. When animals are fed standardized forms of Chinese and Korean ginseng, not only do their testes increase in size but sexual activity increases as well. Ginseng can also benefit erectile dysfunction. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=417&category_id=300&referid=tw
Studies show that the more stressed a person is, the greater their loss of magnesium. On top of that, if magnesium levels are already low, then one becomes more reactive to stress. Good sources of magnesium include buckwheat, lima beans, kidney beans, navy beans, soybeans, tofu, barley, millet, almonds, bananas, shrimp, and tuna. If you are chronically stressed, you may need to supplement with magnesium, especially if you experience muscle spasms and twitches, palpitations, sleeplessness, hypersensitivity to loud noises, migraines, and breathlessness. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=365&category_id=527&referid=tw
Even if you have a healthy diet, taking a multivitamin is still a good idea. Most people have gaps in their nutrient intake that can be covered by a multivitamin, according to a report from the United States Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. Women on birth control pills are often low in B vitamins and those watching calories may be missing some of the nutrients found in fats, such as vitamin E. http://healthshop.com/article/default.asp?category_id=635&article_id=21&referid=tw
Treat digestive ailments with Nux vomica, which should be diluted into homeopathic dosages and never used as an herb, because it is toxic in large amounts. Its indications are for heartburn and digestive pains that worsen from 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. and when lying down. It also helps the person who craves and overindulges in fats, spices, and alcohol and then feels weighted down. Nux vomica is also a specific remedy for one experiencing digestive cramps and spasms and for the person who tends to be irritable and somewhat of a perfectionist. http://healthshop.com/article/default.asp?category_id=2&article_id=392&referid=tw
Tilting your head back to swallow a pill can be dangerous as it allows unguarded access to your trachea, which can cut off breathing. The safest way to swallow a pill is to put it in your mouth, take a swallow of water, and tilt your head forward so that your chin almost touches your chest. This uses the benefits of gravity as when you tilt your head back, the pill floats forward. Tilting the head forward causes the pill to float to the back of the throat, which makes swallowing pills easier.
While red clover has been used for thousands of years to treat acne, eczema, and psoriasis, recent research shows the herb also works as a natural estrogen replacement. It contains phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) called isoflavones and coumestrol, which can reduce hot flashes and cholesterol levels and even help protect bones. Preliminary research also shows that red clover can help prevent vaginal tissue atrophy and help maintain healthy lubrication. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=495&category_id=343&referid=tw
Vitamins C and E can help preserve mental dexterity, according to a report in the Washington Post. A federally funded study on Alzheimer's disease found that those who used vitamin E were able to delay problems of not being able to feed and groom themselves. What's more, according to a Swiss study, people with higher blood levels of vitamin C did better on memory tests.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is made by the body in small amounts and also occurs in small amounts in the super foods lecithin and brewer's yeast. PS has been found to help improve memory. When 35 patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease were given either the PS or a placebo, those receiving PS showed memory and learning improvement. Other increases during the period of supplementation included initiating activities, motivation, and desire for socializing.
Colostrum is the pre-milk fluid produced from a mother's mammary glands during the first 24-48 hours after birth. It provides life-supporting immune and growth factors that ensure the health and vitality of the newborn. Now, colostrum from cows is proving to be a beneficial supplement for asthma, candida, and multiple sclerosis. It's also effective against the swelling and inflammation of arthritis.
If you've never tried maca, you might want to consider it: It's an annual plant that grows in Peru and produces a radish-sized tuber. Maca was used during the Incan empire to enhance energy and libido, and there are legends that recount how Incan warriors would consume maca before battle. Now it is once again being touted for its energizing and sexual benefits, including improved fertility. Maca is a rich source of carbohydrates and contains beneficial fatty acids including linoleic acid and palmitic acid as well as being high in sterols. Maca surpasses both carrots and potatoes for nutritional value.
Nettles (Urtica dioica), also known as stinging nettles, is an extremely rich source of minerals, especially calcium and iron. It has healing and nourishing effects on the kidneys and adrenal glands. It has also been found successful in reducing allergies and in relieving the symptoms of hay fever.
A newcomer to the American health scene, olive leaf (Oleum olviva, O. europea) was used to treat parasites in the mid-nineteenth century. It reportedly weakens and even destroys a wide range of viruses and bacteria, including those that cause colds and flu, and stimulates white blood cell production to help the body further fight off infection.
Glucosamine sulphate is a substance naturally synthesized by the body as a component of cartilage. Glucosamine is now being included in products to treat many types of arthritis. In a three-year Belgium study, 212 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee were given either glucosamine or a placebo. None of those receiving the glucosamine had any detectable narrowing of their joint lining, while 106 of those receiving the placebo showed signs of joint narrowing. Those using the placebo said their knees felt slightly worse, while those receiving glucosamine reported their knees improving.
Pyruvate, a byproduct of carbohydrate metabolism, is available as a dietary supplement that can improve athletic endurance (it's an antioxidant as well). Although pyruvate is found in many foods such as fruits and vegetables, it is usually in very small amounts. When sold as a supplement, pyruvate usually is combined with minerals, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium. One study showed that when a pyruvate mixture was given, the group experienced a 20 percent decrease in perceived exertion and felt that physical activity was easier to perform. http://healthshop.com/healthfact/default.asp?healthfacts_id=385&category_id=658&referid=tw
Bromelain is the name of a family of enzymes derived from pineapple. Bromelain contains proteolytic enzymes that help split proteins into other fragments such as proteoses and peptones. Bromelain helps reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation after surgery or injury and has an excellent safety record. Bromelain is also used as a digestive aid, but individuals who are allergic to pineapple should avoid it.
Guggul (Commiphora mukul) is an Ayurvedic herb that has been shown to reduce total cholesterol levels while increasing the beneficial high-density lipo-proteins. Guggulsterones, found in guggal extract, are believed to be the components that help maintain healthy levels of cholesterol. In clinical studies where 25 milligrams of gugglusterones were given three times daily, cholesterol and triglycerides were lowered in 70 percent of the patients.
Zinc is an important trace mineral for male sexual health, supporting virtually every aspect of a man's reproductive system, including hormonal production, sperm formation, and its motility. Zinc deficiency can result in decreased testosterone levels as well as sperm count. Zinc is found in nuts, seeds, fish, eggs, nutritional yeast, and oatmeal and is also available in supplement form.

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Brigitte Mars is an herbalist and nutritional consultant from Boulder, Colorado. She has been working with Natural Medicine for 30 years. She is the author of Herbs for Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails and the CD ROM Herbal Pharmacy.