Does D matter? The role of vitamin D in hair disorders and hair follicle cycling.

February 27, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Nutrients, Science

BaldThe following article gives another reason to make sure our vitamin D intake is sufficient.

BACKGROUND: The role of vitamin D in the proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes is well known within the field of dermatology. OBJECTIVE: We sought to evaluate the role that vitamin D and the vitamin D receptor play in the hair cycle and assess how this can be clinically applied to the treatment of hair disorders. METHODS: A MEDLINE search (1955-July 2009) was preformed to find relevant articles pertaining to vitamin D, the vitamin D receptor, and hair loss. RESULTS: The vitamin D receptor, independent of vitamin D, plays an important role in hair cycling, specifically anagen initiation. The role of vitamin D in hair follicle cycling is not as well understood. LIMITATIONS: The review is broad and there are limited human studies available to date. CONCLUSION: Additional studies to evaluate the role of vitamin D in the hair cycle should be done. Treatments that up regulate the vitamin D receptor may be successful in treating hair disorders and are a potential area of further study.

Grape products and oral health.

February 15, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Nutrients, Science

rasinsWho would have thought the lowly raisin could have such health benefits?

Oral diseases, including dental caries, periodontal disease, and tooth loss, affect the majority of the population and can affect a person’s overall health. Raisins contain polyphenols, flavonoids, and high levels of iron that may benefit human health. However, their oral health benefits are less well understood. We hypothesized that raisins contain antimicrobial phytochemicals capable of suppressing oral pathogens associated with caries or periodontal diseases and thus benefit oral health. Through antimicrobial assay-guided fractionation and purification, compounds identified with growth inhibition against oral pathogens were oleanolic acid, oleanolic aldehyde, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, betulin, betulinic acid, 5-(hydroxymethyl)-2-furfural, rutin, beta-sitosterol, and beta-sitosterol glucoside. Oleanolic acid suppressed in vitro adherence of cariogenic Streptococcus mutans biofilm. When the effect of raisins and raisin-containing bran cereal on in vivo plaque acidogenicity was examined in 7- to 11-y-old children, it was found that raisins did not reduce the plaque pH decline below pH 6 over the 30-min test period. Compared with commercial bran flakes or raisin bran cereal, a lower plaque pH drop was noted in children who consumed a raisin and bran flake mixture when no sugar was added (P < 0.05). Grape seed extract, high in proanthocyanidins, positively affected the in vitro demineralization and/or remineralization processes of artificial root caries lesions, suggesting its potential as a promising natural agent for noninvasive root caries therapy. Raisins represent a healthy alternative to the commonly consumed sugary snack foods.

et tu Prince Charles? “Herbal medicine must be regulated”

February 11, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Opinion and Comment, Politics

Prince Charles

In a recent BBC article (hat tip to Ed Smith of Herb Pharm for noting this) Prince Charles is quoted as saying “herbal medicine must be regulated.” Here in the United States, we often hear legislators and especially FDA officials calling for stricter regulation of herbal products and other dietary supplements. So my first reaction to the BBC article was “oh, no! The orthodox medical establishment has gotten to Prince Charles.” I even wondered if his opinion was colored by the fact that he is now in the herbal medicine business with his own herbal product line.

Prince Charles has been a consistent supporter of alternative medicine, and made a special appearance by video at the Columbia medical school course on botanical medicine. The Prince has been a consistent supporter of homeopathy and traditional herbal remedies. So this seemed like a bit of a betrayal of his former position.

On further thought, though, I had to reflect on the drama surrounding regulation of herbal products and nutritional products by the European Union. The “drama” featured a clash of different regulatory approaches employed by Great Britain and Germany. In Germany, nutritional and herbal products are regulated as drugs, and the German position has been adamantly in support of the entire world treating these products as such. Read more

Chamomile, a novel and selective COX-2 inhibitor with anti-inflammatory activity.

February 9, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science, Top Stories

ChamomileThe following article gives information on the usefulness of Chamomile in the possible treatment of inflammatory conditions and cancer.

Inducible cyclooxygenase (COX-2) has been implicated in the process of inflammation and carcinogenesis. Chamomile has long been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. In this study we aimed to investigate whether chamomile interferes with the COX-2 pathway. MAIN METHODS: We used lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated RAW 264.7 macrophages as an in vitro model for our studies. KEY FINDINGS: Chamomile treatment inhibited the release of LPS-induced prostaglandin E(2) in RAW 264.7 macrophages. This effect was found to be due to inhibition of COX-2 enzyme activity by chamomile. In addition, chamomile caused reduction in LPS-induced COX-2 mRNA and protein expression, without affecting COX-1 expression. The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, sulindac and a specific COX-2 inhibitor, NS398, were shown to act similarly in LPS-activated RAW 264.7 cells. Our data suggest that chamomile works by a mechanism of action similar to that attributed to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. SIGNIFICANCE: These findings add a novel aspect to the biological profile of chamomile which might be important for understanding the usefulness of aqueous chamomile extract in the form of tea in preventing inflammation and cancer.

PMID: 19788894 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]