Anti-inflammatory activity of edible oyster mushroom is mediated through the inhibition of NF-kB and AP-1 signaling.

Mushrooms have long been recognized for their use in immune support.  This study shows another wonderful benefit to oyster mushrooms.

ABSTRACT:

BACKGROUND:

Mushrooms are well recognized for their culinary properties as well as for their potency to enhance immune response. In the present study, we evaluated anti-inflammatory properties of an edible oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) in vitro and in vivo.

METHODS:

RAW264.7 murine macrophage cell line and murine splenocytes were incubated with the oyster mushroom concentrate (OMC, 0-100 ug/ml) in the absence or presence of lipopolysacharide (LPS) or concanavalin A (ConA), respectively. Cell proliferation was determined by MTT assay. Expression of cytokines and proteins was measured by ELISA assay and Western blot analysis, respectively. DNA-binding activity was assayed by the gel-shift analysis. Inflammation in mice was induced by intraperitoneal injection of LPS.

RESULTS:

OMC suppressed LPS-induced secretion of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and IL-12p40 from RAW264.7 macrophages. OMC inhibited LPS-induced production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and nitric oxide (NO) through the down-regulation of expression of COX-2 and iNOS, respectively. OMC also inhibited LPS-dependent DNA-binding activity of AP-1 and NF-kB in RAW264.7 cells. Oral administration of OMC markedly suppressed secretion of TNF-a and IL-6 in mice challenged with LPS in vivo. Anti-inflammatory activity of OMC was confirmed by the inhibition of proliferation and secretion of interferon-gamma (IFN-g), IL-2, and IL-6 from concanavalin A (ConA)-stimulated mouse splenocytes.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study suggests that oyster mushroom possesses anti-inflammatory activities and could be considered a dietary agent against inflammation. The health benefits of the oyster mushroom warrant further clinical studies.

Nutr J. 2011 May 16;10(1):52.

Foods with a high fat quality are essential for healthy diets.

May 23, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

The following information gives us a clear description of the differences between healthy and non healthy fats in our diets.  Coconut oil is an excellent example of a quality and healthy fat that should be considered for our diets.

Fat is generally a highly valued element of the diet to provide energy, palatability to dry foods or to serve as a cooking medium. However, some foods rich in fat have a low fat quality with respect to nutrition, i.e., a relative high content of saturated (SFA) as compared to unsaturated fatty acids, whereas others have a more desirable fat quality, i.e., a relative high content of unsaturated fatty acids as compared to SFA. High-fat dairy products and fatty meats are examples of foods with low fat quality, whereas vegetable oils (tropical oils such as palm and coconut oil excluded) are products with a generally high fat quality. The aim of this paper is to explore the nutritional impact of products made of vegetable oils, e.g. margarines and dressings, and how they can be designed to contribute to good health. Since their first industrial production, the food industry has endeavored to improve products like margarines, including their nutritional characteristics. With evolving nutrition science, margarines and cooking products, and to a lesser extent dressings, have been adapted to contain less trans fatty acids (TFA), less SFA and more essential (polyunsaturated, PUFA) fatty acids. This has been possible by using careful fat and oil selection and modification processes. By blending vegetable oils rich in the essential PUFAs alpha-linolenic acid (vegetable omega-3) or linoleic acid (omega-6), margarines and dressings with both essential fatty acids present in significant quantities can be realized. In addition, full hydrogenation and fat rearrangement have enabled the production of cost-effective margarines virtually devoid of TFA and low in SFA. Dietary surveys indicate that vegetable oils, soft margarines and dressings are indeed often important sources of essential fatty acids in people’s diets, whilst providing negligible amounts of TFA and contributing modestly to SFA intakes. Based on empirical and epidemiological data, the public health benefit of switching from products with a low fat quality to products with a high fat quality can be predicted. For example, switching from butter or palm oil to a soft margarine shows a substantial improvement in the nutritional quality of the diet. These simple, practical dietary adaptations can be expected to contribute to the healthy growth and development of children and to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease.

Probiotics in gastrointestinal pathology

May 11, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

Probiotics are of great value to our overall health as outlined in the following study.

There are a variety of conditions in which the use of pro-biotics has proven effective:diarrhoea with its various causes, inflammatory bowel diseases, irritable bowel disease, colon cancer chemoprevention and hepato-portal encefalopathy. The pro-biotics have shown to be a promising therapeutical alternative for the future due to their lack of side effects and convenient mode of administration. Further, the potential of other pro-biotics is awaiting validation by clinical trials.

Evaluation of antioxidant activities and phenolic content of Berberis vulgaris L. and Berberis croatica Horvat

Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)is an herb which is not often discussed.  Like goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) it also contains berberine which herbalists use for its antibacterial properities and to help support the immune system.  The study belows indicates barberry has antioxidant activity which suggest its use would be beneficial for the support of the immune system.

Antioxidant activities of the ethanolic extracts of roots, twigs and leaves of common barberry (Berberis vulgaris L.) and Croatian barberry (Berberis croatica Horvat) were studied. All the extracts were found to possess some radical-scavenging and antioxidant activities, as determined by scavenging effect on the DPPH free radical, reducing power and beta-carotene-linoleic acid model system. With the exception of the beta-carotene-linoleic acid test, antioxidant activity correlated well with the content of main plant antioxidants, phenols and flavonols, which suggests an important role of these compounds in overall antioxidant activity of investigated plant organs. The antioxidant activity varied mostly in relation to the organ, while no significant statistically differences were found between B. vulgaris and B. croatica.

Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Aug-Sep;48(8-9):2176-80. Epub 2010 May 17.

Taraxacum–a review on its phytochemical and pharmacological profile.

May 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Herbs, Nutrients, Science

It is that time of year when dandelions are popping up in lawns everywhere.  It has long been known by herbalist what to do with these plants.  The leaves are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and has diuretic, choleretic and anti-inflammatory actions.  The root has choleretic, cholagogue, tonic, anti-rheumatic, bitter and alterative actions. 

Below is a study supporting many of dandelion’s wonderful actions.   

The genus Taraxacum is a member of the family Asteraceae, subfamily Cichorioideae, tribe Lactuceae and widely distributed in the warmer temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere. The perennial weed has been known since ancient times for its curative properties and has been utilized for the treatment of various ailments such as dyspepsia, heartburn, spleen and liver complaints, hepatitis and anorexia. However, its use has mainly been based on empirical findings. This contribution provides a comprehensive review of the pharmacologically relevant compounds of Taraxacum characterized so far and of the studies supporting its use as a medicinal plant. Particular attention has been given to diuretic, choleretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-coagulatory and prebiotic effects. Finally, research needs such as quantification of individual Taraxacum constituents and assessment of their pharmacological activities in humans have briefly been outlined.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Oct 11;107(3):313-23. Epub 2006 Jul 22.

Ovicidal effects of a neem seed extract preparation on eggs of body and head lice.

May 2, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

Head and body lice are not the most pleasant of topics but we see in this article the effectiveness of Neem in getting rid of these unsavory bugs.

The eggs (nits) of head and body lice (Pediculus humanus capitis, Pediculus humanus corporis) were incubated for 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 or 45 min into a neem seed extract contained in a fine shampoo formulation (e.g. Wash Away® Louse), which is known for its significant killing effects of larvae and adults of head lice. The aim of the study was to test whether the developmental stages inside the eggs are also killed after the incubation into the shampoo. It was found that an incubation time of only 5 min was sufficient to prohibit any hatching of larvae, whilst 93 ± 4% of the larvae in the untreated controls of body lice hatched respectively about 76% of the controls in the case of head lice. Apparently, the neem-based shampoo blocked the aeropyles of the eggs, thus preventing the embryos of both races of lice from accessing oxygen and from releasing carbon dioxide. Thus, this product offers a complete cure from head lice upon a single treatment, if the lice (motile stages, eggs) are fully covered for about 10 min.