Nothing stated here should be considered as medical advice for dealing with a health problem. You should consult your health care professional for individual guidance for specific health problems. This blog is for informational, entertainment and educational purposes only, and is simply a collection of information in the public domain. Information conveyed herein is based on pharmacological and other records – both ancient and modern. No claims whatsoever can be made as to the specific benefits accruing from the use of any herb or nutrients.
Originally posted on Feel good, live healthy:
- To lose weigh
- For clear skin
- Helps burn fat
- To boost immune system
- To increase energy
- To reduce signs of aging
- High vitamin A & C
- Good for diabetes
- To promote heart health
- To lower cholesterol
- Good for arthritis
- They are delicious!
Ginger has been found helpful for expelling phlegm and is used to treat asthma, bronchitis, colds, coughs and respiratory congestion. Ginger also induces perspiration, making it useful in the treatment of fevers, including malaria.
Ginger has been shown to reduce inflammation by acting as a prostaglandin inhibitor, in much the same way as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) work. Studies show ginger relaxes muscle spasms and relieves pain and inflammation associated with rheumatic conditions.
A study published in Lancet showed ginger was an effective natural remedy for motion sickness. Two capsules of ginger taken 20-25 minutes before airflight or before embarking on a ship, followed by two capsules every 4 hours, was proven to work better than 100mg of dimenhydrinate (dramamine). Ginger has also been clinically proven to substantially reduce diarrhea, nausea and vomiting associated with the common 24-hour and three-day flus. Clinical trials conducted at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London in 1990, verified ginger’s effectiveness in treating postoperative nausea. In fact, ginger proved to work better than conventional medications. Of course, ginger is also a well-known remedy for morning sickness and may provide relief from nausea following chemotherapy treatments.
Studies have found ginger produces a strong stimulating effect on muscular contractions of the heart, validating ginger’s use for improving overall circulation. Ginger also helps lower serum cholesterol levels, again assisting circulatory improvement. Researchers have determined that ginger significantly reduces platelet aggregation—the tendency of blood cells to stick together or clot—which may help in the prevention of heart attacks.
Scientists have also confirmed ginger’s antimicrobial properties which are known to fight both bacteria and parasites, including flukes, roundworms and tapeworms. A trial study in China found 70% of patients with bacillary dysentery made a full recovery when given ginger. Ginger is also known to fight intestinal infections, including certain types of food poisoning.
According to Chinese medicine, ginger focuses its warming properties downward, toward the lower extremities, including the colon, kidneys, legs, ovaries, prostate and vagina. Ginger is often recommended to women with amenorrhea, menorrhagia and menstrual cramps.
Ginger is regarded by some herbalists as an aphrodisiac and tonic.
Many of ginger’s therapeutic properties are due to the presence of a volatile oil and its oleoresin content. In fact, gingerol, a type of oleoresin, is largely responsible for ginger’s hot or spicy taste, as well as the herb’s stimulating effects. Ginger contains vitamins B3(niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid) and B9 (folic acid), as well as high amounts of the minerals magnesium, manganese, potassium and silicon.
Used topically, ginger cools the heat of inflamed, painful and stiff joints. Ginger increases circulation and reduces arthritis and rheumatism by means of detoxifying the blood. Ginger has even been used to treat headaches and toothaches. Two to three tablespoons of ginger added to hot bath water helps to relax muscles and ease body aches and pain. Putting the ginger in a large tea bag keeps the water free from floating particles of ginger. The Chinese also employ an oil extract of ginger in massage therapy for helping dandruff and earaches.
Dried ginger is more heating than fresh ginger; therefore, Chinese herbalists do not recommend it for those with “excessive heat” such as inflammatory skin conditions, peptic ulcers or other gastrointestinal inflammation, such as is associated with colitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is used throughout the world and is one of the most commonly prescribed medicinal herbs. Milk thistle’s reputation for protecting the liver has been studied and confirmed by laboratory and clinical research for the last 30 years, resulting in over 200 clinical studies.1,2
The liver is the largest organ of the body, with numerous essential functions to perform. The liver filters blood from the intestines, transforms toxic compounds into non-toxic substances, produces bile, inactivates pathogenic (disease-causing) microorganisms, synthesizes essential nutrients and compounds, regulates glucose levels, activates/deactivates hormones, stores fat-soluble vitamins, and provides a significant amount of the body’s heat and energy. Unfortunately, damage to the liver can adversely affect many of these important functions, causing a profound deterioration of one’s health—poor liver health directly affects metabolic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, obesity and thyroid dysfunction. Incidentally, the most common cause of liver damage is fat accumulation in the liver, known as fatty liver. Left untreated, fatty liver can progress to liver inflammation, fibrosis, hepatitis and cirrhosis. The American Liver Foundation estimates that over 50% of the population age 50+ has a “fatty liver.”2-4
Milk thistle demonstrates significant hepatoprotective (liver-protective) activity by stabilizing cellular membrane permeability and directly preventing toxic damage to hepatic cells; by providing antioxidant activity, including increasing intracellular concentration of glutathione; by facilitating cellular regeneration of damaged hepatocytes; and by inhibiting the synthesis of key chemical mediators of inflammation (i.e. leukotrienes and prostaglandins). Milk thistle has also been shown to facilitate production of hydrochloric acid, pancreatic enzymes and bile; improve the flow of bile through the biliary tract; stimulate peristalsis; and improve immune function. Furthermore, recent animal research on milk thistle has identified anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic and hypocholesterolemic (cholesterol-lowering) effects.3-14
Most of the pharmacological research conducted on milk thistle has focused on a complex of flavonolignans collectively known as silymarin, which has been identified as the active constituent. Silymarin is one of the most potent hepatoprotective (liver-protecting) substances known. Its anti-hepatotoxic activity has been proven against a variety of liver toxins, including the severe poisoning of Amanita phalloides (the deathcap or toadstool mushroom), the quickest-acting and most virulent of liver toxins.3-6,10
Silymarin not only protects the liver against toxic damage, but it also regenerates hepatocytes (parenchymal cells of the liver) by increasing the rate of RNA synthesis, which stimulates protein synthesis and accelerates cell-regeneration and hepatocyte formation. In other words, silymarin actually increases the production of new liver cells to replace damaged cells. Fortunately, silymarin has not been shown to have stimulatory effect on malignant liver tissue.1-3,5-10
Recognized as a powerful antioxidant, silymarin increases intracellular antioxidant activity, protecting liver cells from free-radical damage. Silymarin’s antioxidant activity is many times more potent than vitamin E. Silymarin has been shown to significantly enhance activity of the antioxidant enzyme SOD (superoxide dismutase) and prevent the depletion of glutathione—a major intrinsic antioxidant used to detoxify drugs such as acetominophen, hormones and chemicals. Tissue depletion of glutathione is an important factor in cell damage and is typically induced by moderate-to-heavy alcohol consumption. By facilitating glutathione synthesis, silymarin increases glutathione levels in digestive tract and hepatic tissues, thereby preventing oxidant-induced cell damage and providing the liver with a greater capacity for detoxification. Furthermore, silymarin has even been shown to increase glutathione levels in healthy subject by more than 35%.1-3,5,10,13,15-17
The German Commission E also approves milk thistle extract (standardized to 70-80% silymarin) for toxic liver damage and as a supportive treatment in chronic inflammatory liver disease and hepatic cirrhosis.5,8,9
Additional clinical indications for milk thistle use, supported by trials using a standardized milk thistle extract (containing 70-80% silymarin), include abnormal liver function, acute and chronic viral hepatitis, alcoholic and non-alcoholic cirrhosis, cholangitis (inflammation of bile ducts) and pericholangitis (inflammation surrounding bile ducts), cholelithiasis (gallstones), cholestasis (impaired bile flow) and subclinical cholestasis of pregnancy, diabetes secondary to cirrhosis, fatty deposits in the liver, liver damage caused by toxic chemical exposure (anaesthesia, drugs, glues, halogenated hydrocarbons, paints, solvents), and deathcap mushroom poisoning. Milk thistle may also help psoriasis by reducing levels of circulating endotoxins and inhibiting leukotriene formation. Furthermore, milk thistle is especially well-indicated in patients with cancer, who are also undergoing chemotherapy, and in HIV-infected individuals on multi-drug protocol.2,3,6,10,13,15,18
A 4-week, double-blind, controlled study was conducted to determine the effects of milk thistle extract on 97 patients with elevated liver enzyme levels, representing slight acute and subacute liver disease, mostly induced by alcohol abuse. Patients receiving 420mg of milk thistle extract daily demonstrated a statistically significant greater decrease in liver enzymes than did the control group. In addition, normalization of hepatocellular changes occurred significantly more often in patients receiving milk thistle extract.3,9,10,19
A recent 12-month study found milk thistle extract to be effective for diabetes complicated by cirrhosis. Diabetic patients with cirrhosis often require insulin treatment due to insulin resistance—a cirrhotic liver takes up less glucose, causing high insulin levels in the blood, which can lead to insulin resistance. After 4 months of treatment (200mg of silymarin, 3 times daily, two hours after each meal), patients receiving silymarin demonstrated a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose levels, mean daily glucosuria levels (urine sugar levels), fasting insulin levels, and mean exogenous insulin requirements (patients’ daily need for insulin decreased). In addition, total cholesterol levels were reduced significantly in the silymarin group. There were no such changes in the untreated group.20,21
Furthermore, a double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial found that silymarin significantly decreased patient mortality from liver cirrhosis, especially for patients with alcohol-induced cirrhosis. Silymarin is believed to reduce the metabolic or toxic effects of alcohol on the liver, as well as reduce hepatocellular necrosis (cell/tissue death) which, in turn, may postpone or prevent hepatic failure. Results of the 41-month trial involving 170 patients found that the survival rate among the silymarin-treated group was 49% higher than the placebo group—the reduction in mortality was most pronounced in the alcoholic cirrhosis subgroup. This study also confirmed long-term treatment with milk thistle to be beneficial, particularly in cases of alcohol-induced liver damage.3,9,10,22
An important consideration for milk thistle use is its ability to protect individuals from medication-induced liver damage. In one study, milk thistle was shown to provide significant liver protection (as measured by serum liver enzyme levels) in psychiatic patients who were also taking phenothiazines or butyrophenones. Milk thistle demonstrated no interference with the efficacy of the antidepressants. Another study found that milk thistle reduced the gastrointestinal disorders and side effects experienced by Alzheimer’s patients taking the drug tacrine. Thus, concomitant use of milk thistle may improve drug tolerance and efficacy and serve to prevent liver damage during long-term drug therapy.3,9,10,13,17,23
Milk thistle extract has demonstrated no signs of toxicity and thus, may be used until clinical improvement is noted. There is no restriction on long-term use and no known contraindications or interactions. Milk thistle has also been determined safe for use during pregnancy and lactation. In fact, research suggests that milk thistle use may prevent and correct liver damage during pregnancy. However, due to the herb’s choleretic activity and depending on dosage, milk thistle may produce a mild laxative effect as a result of increased bile flow and secretion.2,3,6,8,10,14,24
NSP’s Time-Release Milk Thistle provides 350mg of milk thistle seed extract per tablet, standardized to 80% silymarin (providing 280mg silymarin). Since research indicates that silymarin absorption is enhanced by lecithin, simultaneous use of lecithin is recommended.6
1Alschuler ND, L. “Digestive Disturbances: The Fatty Liver Connection.” International Journal of Integrative Medicine; 2000, 2(2): 16-20.
2Wassef RPh, F. “Enhancing liver detoxification.” American Journal of Natural Medicine; 1998, 5(9):24-27.
3Alschuler ND, L. “Milk Thistle: Goals & Objectives.” International Journal of Integrative Medicine; 1999, 1(1): 29-34.
4Buhner, S. H. Herbs for Hepatitis C and the Liver.Pownal, VT: Storey Books, 2000.
5Hobbs LAc, C. “Milk thistle therapy.” Herbs For Health; 1997, 2(3): 47-49.
6Mills, S. & Bone, K. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. London: Churchill Livingstone, 2000.
7Flora, K., et. al. “Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) for the therapy of liver disease.” American Journal of Gastroenterology; 1998, 93(2): 139-143.
8The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council, 1999.
9Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 2000.
10Pizzorno ND, J. & Murray ND, M. Textbook of Natural Medicine, 2nd ed. London, England: Churchill Livingstone, 1999.
11Manna, S.K., et. al. “Silymarin suppresses TNF-induced activation of NF-kappa B, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, and apoptosis.” Journal of Immunology; 1999, 163(12): 6800-6809.
12Skottova, N. & Krecman, V. “Silymarin as a potential hypocholesterolaemic drug.” Physiological Research; 1998, 47(1): 1-7.
13Miller PhD, L. & Murray PhD, W. Herbal Medicinals. Binghamton, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1998.
14Deak, G., et. al. [Immunomodulator effect of silymarin therapy in chronic alcoholic liver diseases]. Orvosi Hetilap; 1990, 131(24): 1291-1296.
15Murray ND, M. The Healing Power of Herbs. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995.
16Muzes, G., et. al. “Effect of silimarin (Legalon) therapy on the antioxidant defense mechanism and lipid peroxidation in alcoholic liver disease (double blind protocol).” Orvosi Hetilap; 1990, 131(16): 863-866.
17Valenzuela, A. “Selectivity of silymarin on the increase of the glutathione content in different tissues of the rat.”Planta Medica; 1989, 55(5): 420-422.
18A-Z guide to drug-herb-vitamin interactions. Rocklin, CA: Healthnotes, Inc., 1999.
19Salmi, H.A. and Sarna, S. “Effect of silymarin on chemical, functional, and morphological alterations of the liver. A double-blind controlled study.” Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology; 1982, 17(4): 517-521.
20Jones, K. “Milk thistle may reduce some diabetics’ liver problems.” Herbs For Health; 1998, 3(2): 80.
21Velussi, M., et. al. “Long-term (12 months) treatment with an anti-oxidant drug (silymarin) is effective on hyperinsulinemia, exogenous insulin need and malondialdehyde levels in cirrhotic diabetic patients.” Journal of Hepatology; 1997, 26(4): 871-879.
22Ferenci, P., et. al. “Randomized controlled trial of silymarin treatment in patients with cirrhosis of the liver.” Journal of Hepatology; 1989, 9(1): 105-113.
23Allain, H. “Aminotransferase levels and silymarin in de novo tacrine-treated patients with Alzheimer’s disease.” Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders; 1999, 10(3): 181-185.
24Martines, G., et. al. [Silymarin in pregnancy and during hormonal contraceptive treatment. Blood chemistry and ultrastructural findings in the experimental model]. Arch Sci Med; 1979, 136(3): 443-454.
*Reprint from Hart NSP Master Reference
Herb Allure, Inc
Milk Thistle Time- Release by Nature’s Sunshine Products
Sustained Support for Optimal Liver Health
Among the 500-plus functions the liver performs are filtering and destroying toxins in the body. To help protect the health of the liver, we need to provide it with the nutrients it requires.
Milk thistle contains the constituent silymarin, which has shown remarkable ability to help liver cells regenerate and stabilize liver cell membranes.
- Increases the liver’s ability to filter blood.
- Helps prevent damage from environmental toxins, alcohol and bacterial compounds.
New time-release Milk Thistle provides a consistent supply of silymarin to the liver, giving it nourishment and protection against ingested toxins.
Research shows that silymarin actually changes the structure of the outer liver cell membrane, preventing liver toxins and poisons from entering the interior of the cell. It also stimulates protein synthesis in liver cells, which generates DNA and RNA. This helps regenerate damaged liver cells. Silymarin does not stimulate growth of malignant liver tissue.
As an antioxidant, silymarin is at least 10 times more powerful than vitamin E. The level of the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase, is increased in cells with silymarin.
The German Commission E recommends milk thistle for toxic liver damage, supportive treatment in chronic inflammatory liver conditions and liver cirrhosis. Many clinical studies have examined the effects of this herb and find milk thistle highly effective with no side effects.
One tablet of NSP Time-Release Milk Thistle contains 350 mg milk thistle herb extract, providing 80 percent (280 mg) silymarin.
Take 1 tablet with a meal twice daily for all day protection.
Capsicum has long been used as a stimulant to increase circulation and cardiovascular activity, while at the same time lowering blood pressure and aiding in the prevention of heart attack and stroke. Capsaicin, a bitter alkaloid, is the active constituent responsible for capsicum’s ability to stimulate circulation and alter the body’s regulation of temperature, thus increasing perspiration. Capsicum’s warming properties are useful for poor circulation and related conditions, including cold hands and feet, cold stages of fevers and varicose veins.
Capsicum has been found to effectively stimulate production of digestive and mucosal fluids which helps improve digestion, soothes inflammation, enhances the removal of toxins from the body, and relieves gastrointestinal problems, including bleeding ulcers, colic, dyspepsia, flatulence and even diarrhea. Capsicum’s antiseptic properties have been proven active against various gastrointestinal pathogens (disease-causing agents).
Recent studies have found capsicum protects lung tissues from free radical damage by increasing the production of antioxidant enzymes such as SOD (superoxide dismutase).
Capsicum’s most common use is as a catalyst in herbal combinations, promoting the absorption of other nutrients. In fact, capsicum is commonly added to most any herbal formula, with the exception of some nervine or relaxing formulas. Capsicum has been proven beneficial for numerous ailments, including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, gastric ulcers, vascular headaches, impotence (resulting from venous insufficiency), infections, kidney problems, menstrual complaints, respiratory conditions such as asthma and pleurisy and thyroid dysfunction.
Capsicum is believed to help cardiovascular disease because of its stimulating action and ability to breakdown cholesterol buildup. Capsaicin, the active constituent which makes capsicum hot, promotes the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids which can then be excreted by the body—an action which may help prevent atherosclerosis.
Capsicum contains a rich supply of vitamin C and alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), the most potent form of vitamin E with the highest nutritional and biological value. Capsicum also contains carotenes—antioxidants known for their effect in helping to prevent cancer and cardiovascular disorders and for helping to protect the body from carcinogenic and toxic chemicals. The high amount of beta-carotene in capsicum, which gives the herb its color, has also been shown to provide a healing effect on ulcers.
A French study found capsicum beneficial for chronic fatigue. Other studies indicate capsicum may be useful for mild depression and for improving athletic performance.
A small pinch of capsicum added to warm water makes an excellent gargle for hoarseness and sore throats.
Topically, capsicum was used in poultices as an antibacterial agent and as a local analgesic (pain-reliever). When capsicum is first applied it can cause a burning sensation and a degree of discomfort; however, continued exposure actually desensitizes nerve endings to pain. The alkaloid capsaicin, is responsible for this “numbing” action. Capsaicin actually blocks the neuropeptide known as Substance P, from carrying pain signals to the brain. Recent studies have shown remarkable results in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy.
Capsicum is a rich source of beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as vitamins B1 , B2 , B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 and B9(folic acid). Capsicum also contains high amounts of cobalt and zinc.
Although large quantities of hot peppers or high doses of capsicum powder can severely irritate the esophagus, stomach, and possibly the kidneys, reports a few years ago implicating capsicum in stomach cancer or stomach ulcers have since been discounted. As a measure of safety, however, those with gastrointestinal or kidney disorders should avoid over-consumption of peppers or capsicum supplements. Also, pregnant women should avoid powdered capsicum leaves and stems, as they have been known to promote uterine contractions.
Capsicum Extract is formulated in a distilled water and grain alcohol base.