Natural approaches to prevention and treatment of infections of the lower urinary tract.

December 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

Uva Ursi is a wonderful herb to use as an alternative to problem causing antibiotics, for urinary tract infections.

Infections of the lower urinary tract are common occurrences in young women, during pregnancy, and in peri- and postmenopausal women. Because of the chronic nature of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and the potential for antibiotic resistance, a natural approach to prevention and treatment is desirable. Clinical research suggests the best natural options for long-term prevention include cranberry, mannose, and probiotics. Botanicals that can be effective at the first sign of an infection and for short-term prophylaxis include berberine and uva ursi. Estriol cream and vitamins A and C have also been shown to prevent UTIs, while potassium salts can alkalinize the urine and reduce dysuria.

Allicin induces apoptosis in gastric cancer cells through activation of both extrinsic and intrinsic pathways.

December 13, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

Garlic has many wonderful properties to help maintain our health.  The following article shows yet another possible health benefit of this useful herb.

Allicin is an active compound derived from garlic that has been shown to have antitumor properties in vitro. The current study was designed to explore the effects and the underlying mechanism of allicin on gastric cancer cells. The MTT assay was used to detect cell viability. Transmission electron microscopy, Rh123 and propidium iodide staining, annexin V/FITC assay and the mitochondrial membrane potential were used to assess for the presence of apoptosis. Immunocytochemistry, western blot analysis, and Q-RT-PCR were used to detect gene expression. We found that allicin reduced cell viability in a dose- and time-dependent manner, partly through induction of apoptosis in gastric cancer cells. At the molecular level, allicin induced cytochrome c release from the mitochondria and increased caspase-3, -8, and -9 activation, with concomitant upregulation of bax and fas expression in the tumor cells. Allicin treatment inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in SGC-7901 cancer cells. Both intrinsic mitochondrial and extrinsic Fas/FasL-mediated pathways of apoptosis occur simultaneously in SGC-7901 cells following allicin treatment. Data from the current study demonstrated that allicin should be further investigated as a novel cancer preventive or therapeutic agent in control of gastric cancer, with potential uses in other tumor types.

An examination of antibacterial and antifungal properties of constituents of Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) and oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) mushrooms.

December 3, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

Shitake mushrooms have long been known for their medicinal and health value.  The following is an excellent article on the antimicrobial effects of this useful mushroom. 

BACKGROUND: Antibiotic agents have been in widespread and largely effective therapeutic use since their discovery in the 20th century. However, the emergence of multi-drug resistant pathogens now presents an increasing global challenge to both human and veterinary medicine. It is now widely acknowledged that there is a need to develop novel antimicrobial agents to minimize the threat of further antimicrobial resistance. With this in mind, a study was undertaken to examine the antimicrobial properties of aqueous extracts of ‘exotic’ Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms on a range of environmental and clinically important microorganisms.

METHOD: Several batches of Shiitake and oyster mushrooms were purchased fresh from a local supermarket and underwent aqueous extraction of potential antimicrobial components. After reconstitution, aqueous extracts were tested qualitatively against a panel of 29 bacterial and 10 fungal pathogens, for the demonstration of microbial inhibition.

RESULTS: Our data quantitatively showed that Shiitake mushroom extract had extensive antimicrobial activity against 85% of the organisms it was tested on, including 50% of the yeast and mould species in the trial. This compared favourably with the results from both the Positive control (Ciprofloxacin) and Oyster mushroom, in terms of the number of species inhibited by the activity of the metabolite(s) inherent to the Shiitake mushroom.

CONCLUSIONS: This small scale study shows the potential antimicrobial effects of Shitake extracts, however further work to isolate and identify the active compound(s) now requires to be undertaken. Once these have been identified, suitable pharmaceutical delivery systems should be explored to allow concentrated extracts to be prepared and delivered optimally, rather than crude ingestion of raw material, which could promote further bacterial resistance.