Herbs & supplements

January 9, 2008 RENU

  1. Acidophilus: Healthy micro-organisms called microflora reside in all areas where mucus membranes r exposed to the envt i.e skin, dig tract, resp tract, genital-urinary tract. They protect, synthesize imp vits, nutrients & enzymes such as lactase needed to digest lactose, allows removal of foreign metals or substances. There r 100,000billion bacteria in dig tract & 1000billion on skin. Total no of cells in body is 10,000billion, less compared to bacteria. Probiotics r supplement form of microflora, most familiar being yoghurt. 2strains of bacteria, lactobacilli which is more prominent in sm intesine & bifidobacteria that resides in L intestine r found in curd, cheese & other fermented foods. They produce organic acid & H2O2 which have lethal effect on harmful bacteria like E.coli etc. Probiotics also reduce gas, bloating, bad breath, replenish good bacteria lost during antibiotic use/due to aging/dig disorders etc, improves lactose digestion, prevents diarrhea, improves hypersensitivity in infants with food allergies. Probiotics shd always be refrigerated before & after opening at 3-4*C. Each capsule or dose shd contain more than 1billion viable bacteria since they must survive during shelf life, then after ingestion, during transit through acidic stomach, hydrolytic enzymes, bile salts in sm intestine.
  2. Alfalfa- Age old reputation as nutritious food. Contains chlorophyll, prot, minerals, beta carotene, BCEK vits. Folk remedy for indigestion, arthritis, bladder problems, high cholestrol, allergy, hayfever, irregular mensus. Contains phytoestrogens so may be useful for menopausal symptoms.
  3. Allspice: Pepper that tastes like combination of pepper, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, juniper. Its oil has eugenol & so used as antiseptic & pain reliever. Mainly used for toothpain, gas & bloating, muscle aches, improve digestion.
  4. Aloe vera: Its long green leaves contain aloe gel & a sticky yellow residue called latex. Aloe latex has stong laxatives & other concerns, so better dont use. Gel is mostly used for healing wounds, burns, sunburn. For heartburn, take 1/4c aloe vera juice 20mts before meals.
  5. Alpha lipoic acid: Is a fatty acid made naturally inside every cell in the body. It converts glucose(blood sugar) into energy. It’s an antioxidant, so neutralises harmful chemicals called free radicals. It is found in sm amounts in spinach, broccoli, peas, brewer’s yeast, brussel sprouts, rice bran, organ meats. For max absorption, take supplements on an empty stomach.
  6. Althea/marshmallow: Its root is white & tastes slightly sweet. It is used in m.mallow recipe. Root contains high % of mucilage, a substance that swells & becomes gel like with h20. Once swelled, used to soothe irritation of cough, sorethroat. Boil root in h20 & drink as tea. Used in cough syrups. Coats stomach lining & reduces inflammation.
  7. Apple cider vinegar is made by fermentation of apple cider. Sugar is broken down by bacteria & yeast into alcohol & then into vinegar. Unlike white vinegar, it is a light yellow-brown color. Not used for cooking like other vinegars. Lower blood sugar levels, for wgt loss, for dandruff. If undiluted, may damage oesophagus, teeth.
  8. Artichoke: For liver & gall bladder concerns as stimulates bile. Lowers cholestrol, improves appettite, for indigestion.
  9. Asian ginseng: Is an adaptogen i.e increases resistance to physical, chemical, biological stress & builds energy & vitality.
  10. Beta carotene: Carotenes give color to fruits & vegs along with chemicals called flavanoids. It is converted to vitA, is an antioxidant like CEvits. Sources-green & colored vegs. Gives yellowish tinge to skin.
  11. Biotin: B vit for energy metabolism, helps 4essential enzymes break down CHO’s, prots, fats. Sources- brewers yeast, nutritional yeast, whole grains, nuts, egg yolk, sardines, legumes, liver, banana, c.fl, m.room. Used for brittle nails.
  12. Bitter melon: For mgt of non-insulin dependent diabetes. Drink juice of 1sm, unripe melon.
  13. Black cohosh/Cimicifuga: For mensus cramps, menopausal symptoms. Juice is an insect repellent.
  14. Bromelain: Mixture of enzymes found in pineapple. Helps with digestion of protein, so meat tenderizer.
  15. Capsaicin cream: From capsicum as pain reliever.
  16. Chamomile: For digestive ailments as anti-inflammatary.
  17. Cinnamon/cassia: For cold, flatulence, indigestion, for people who feel hot in upper body but have cold feet.
  18. Creatine: Increases production of ATP(adenosene triphosphate) which is an enegy source for muscles.
  19. Dandelion: Great dietary source of Ca, AKvits, antioxidant lutein that is imp for healthy vision. They r natural diuretics & detoxifiers.
  20. DHEA: Is a steroid hormone produced by adrenal glands. It is converted to estrogen & testosterone. Their levels r peak at 20yrs of age & decline with age, so used as anti-aging hormone.
  21. Echinacea: Popular as prevents & cures cold.
  22. Eyebright/euphrasia: Reduces redness, swelling of eyes.
  23. Garlic: Allicin is antibacterial, antifungal. cold remedy
  24. Ginger: Anti inflammatory so good for stomach.
  25. Gingko: To improve mental function, enhance blood circulation
  26. Goldenseal/Hydrastis: Used for infections of all mucus membranes. It stimulates secretion & flow of bile & can also be used as expectorant.
  27. Glucosamine: Found naturally in body. Used for arthritis as needed for repair of cartilage & other body tissues.
  28. Green tea: For stomach cancer.
  29. Hamamelis/witchhazel: for haemorrhoids
  30. Hypericum/st.john’s wort: Folk remedy for emotional disorders as has anti-depressent effects. Became popular as has fewer side effects. Can be used for 1-3mths for mild to moderate depression.
  31. VitD- fat soluble. Maintains normal functioning of Ca & P in blood to support hardening of bones, cell functions, proper nerve & muscle function. It enhances absoption of Ca & P, prevents cancer, diabetes, etc. Without it bones become weak. Mainly from sun, but also in fish, e.yolk
  32. VitE- Antioxidant, prevents & dissolves blood clots, prevents Ca deposits in blood walls & heart diseases, prevents sterility, muscular distrophy, fibrocystic breast disease. Found in sesame & sunflower seeds, w.germ, p.butter, almonds, many veg oils.
  33. Melatonin: Hormone that regulates sleep. So used for insomnia, jet lag. Melatonin is made from an amino acid called tryptophan. When our surroundings are dark, the SCN tells the pineal gland to produce melatonin, which is thought to trigger sleep. Some melatonin is also made in stomach & intestines.
  34. Milk thistle: To protect liver from toxins.
  35. MSM: Methyl suphonyl methane. It contributes sufur which helps to strengthen collagen in joints. It occurs naturally in cows milk, meat, seafood, fruits, vegs so there’s no dietary reqt.
  36. Peppermint: Carminitive i.e aids digestion. Reduces gas, bloating, abd cramping, increases bile flow from gallbladder. Its oil can be used topically to relax muscles, decrease pain, headaches but shdn’t be applied to broken skin. Chamomile tea, another carminitive better for children as can cause choking due to menthol.
  37. Rhubarb root: Powerful laxatives called anthraquinones irritate colon & stimulate bowel movements. Tannins in it reduce inflammation. Used for constipation, as stool softener, but dont use too long.
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Entry Filed under: Alternative therapies

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