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.

Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy young adults.

April 20, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

Ashwagandha is a very useful herb.  The following information shows its possible use for improved physical endurance and to help with strength.

Several medicinal plants have been described to be beneficial for cardiac ailments in Ayurveda like Ashwagandha and Arjuna. Ashwagandha-categorised as Rasayanas, and described to promote health and longevity and Arjuna primarily for heart ailments. coronary artery disease, heart failure, hypercholesterolemia, anginal pain and can be considered as a useful drug for coronary artery disease, hypertension and ischemic cardiomyopathy.

OBJECTIVE:

There are no scientific clinical studies showing effect of both these drugs on exercise performance after regular administration when given as supplements The present study was therefore designed and performed to assess the effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) individually and as a combination on maximum velocity, average absolute and relative Power, balance, maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max) and blood pressure in humans.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Forty normal healthy. Subjects (either sex, mean age 20.6 ± 2.5yrs and mean Body Mass Index 21.9 ± 2.2) were recruited after written informed consent was obtained. Institutional Ethics Committee permission was also obtained. Thirty participants were assigned to experimental group of which 10 received standardized root extracts of Withania somnifera, 10 received standardized bark extract of Terminalia arjuna and the rest of the 10 received standardized root extract of Withania somnifera in addition to bark extract of Terminalia arjuna both. Both the drugs were given in the form of capsules (dosage 500mg/day for both the drugs). Ten participants received placebo (capsules filled with flour). All the subjects continued the regimen for 8 weeks. All variables were assessed before and after the course of drug administration

OBSERVATIONS:

Our study showed that Withania somnifera increased velocity, power and VO2 max whereas Terminalia arjuna increased VO2 max and lowered resting systolic blood pressure. When given in combination, the improvement was seen in all parameters except balance and diastolic blood pressure.

CONCLUSION:

Withania somnifera may therefore be useful for generalized weakness and to improve speed and lower limb muscular strength and neuro-muscular co-ordination. Terminalia arjuna may prove useful to improve cardio-vascular endurance and lowering systolic blood pressure. Both drugs appear to be safe for young adults when given for mentioned dosage and duration.

Anti-acne activities of pulsaquinone, hydropulsaquinone, and structurally related 1, 4-quinone derivatives.

April 11, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

Pulsatilla is a beautiful flower with powerful medicine.  The following shows its antimicrobial uses in the treatment of acne.

Quinone type compound, pulsaquinone 1, isolated from the aqueous ethanol extract of the roots of Pulsatilla koreana exhibited antimicrobial activities against an anaerobic non-spore-forming gram-positive bacillus, Propionibacterium acnes, which is related with the pathogenesis of the inflamed lesions in a common skin disease, acne vulgaris. Compound 1 was unstable on standing and thus converted to more stable compound 2, namely hydropulsaquinone by hydrogenation, whose activity was comparable to mother compound 1 (MIC for 1 and 2 against P. acnes: 2.0 and 4.0 microg/mL, respectively). Other structurally-related quinone derivatives (3-13) were also tested for structure-activity relationship against anaerobic and aerobic bacteria, and fungi. The antimicrobial activity was fairly good when the quinone moiety was fused with a nonpolar 6- or 7-membered ring on the right side whether or not conjugated (1,4-naphtoquinone derivatives 3-5), while simple quinone compounds 6-9 showed poor activity. It seems that the methoxy groups at the left side of the quinone function deliver no considerable antimicrobial effect.

The Antioxidant Activity and Thermal Stability of Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) Infusion.

April 4, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

Lemon Verbena is not only an herb with a delecious flavor but as the article below states, it is used for its antioxidant consitutents.

Abstract Because of its good sensorial attributes, lemon verbena is used as a primary ingredient in infusions and nonalcoholic drinks. The present study was designed to assess the antioxidant activity (AA) of lemon verbena infusion (LVI) as well as the thermal stability of its AA and the content of polyphenolic compounds. The values reflecting the AA of LVI, including AA index, fast scavenging rate against 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl, Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity, and hydroxyl radical scavenging, are higher than those of many herbal infusions and antioxidant drinks estimated from reported data. In addition, the slope lag time and specific oxyradical antioxidant capacity values of LVI are comparable to those of a commercial antioxidant drink based on green tea. Hence, LVI is a source of bifunctional antioxidants, and thus in vivo studies of the antioxidant capacity of LVI would be useful to evaluate its potential as an ingredient in antioxidant drinks.

The role of enzyme supplementation in digestive disorders.

March 18, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

Bromelain has many wonderful uses.  The following information shows its usefulness as a safe and effective digestive aide.

This article reviews various forms of enzyme supplementation used clinically in digestive and absorption disorders. Enzyme supplementation plays an integral role in the management of various digestive disorders, particularly with regard to exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. However, application of enzymes may also be beneficial for other conditions associated with poor digestion including lactose intolerance. Historically, porcine and bovine pancreatic enzymes have been the preferred form of supplementation for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Use of microbe-derived lipase has shown promise with studies indicating benefit similar to pancreatic enzymes, but at a lower dosage concentration and with a broader pH range. Safety and efficacy of enzymes derived from microbial species in the treatment of conditions such as malabsorption and lactose intolerance is promising. Plant-based enzymes, such as bromelain from pineapple, serve as effective digestive aids in the breakdown of proteins. Synergistic effects have been observed using a combination of animal-based enzymes and microbe-derived enzymes or bromelain.

Constituents of Ocimum sanctum with antistress activity.

March 8, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

Holy Basil, Ocimum sanctum, has been used for thousands of years for its help with stress. 

Three new compounds, ocimumosides A (1) and B (2) and ocimarin (3), were isolated from an extract of the leaves of holy basil (Ocimum sanctum), together with eight known substances, apigenin, apigenin-7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, apigenin-7-O-beta-D-glucuronic acid ( 4), apigenin-7- O-beta- d-glucuronic acid 6”-methyl ester, luteolin-7-O-beta-D-glucuronic acid 6”-methyl ester, luteolin-7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, luteolin-5-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, and 4-allyl-1-O-beta-D-glucopyronosyl-2-hydroxybenzene (5), and two known cerebrosides. The structures of the new compounds were determined on the basis of extensive 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopic analysis. The new compounds (1- 3) and the known compounds 4 and 5 were screened at a dose of 40 mg/kg body weight for acute stress-induced biochemical changes in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Compound 1 displayed promising antistress effects by normalizing hyperglycemia, plasma corticosterone, plasma creatine kinase, and adrenal hypertrophy. Compounds 2 and 5 were also effective in normalizing most of these stress parameters.

The antiplaque efficacy of pomegranate mouthrinse.

February 24, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

We all know that pomegranate juice is a healthy drink.  The following shows another use for this wonderful plant.

OBJECTIVE: to evaluate the effect of a pomegranate-containing mouthrinse on plaque, determine whether it has any adverse effects, and evaluate its antibacterial properties against selected periodontopathogens in vitro.

METHOD AND MATERIALS: thirty periodontally healthy volunteers, randomly divided into three groups, refrained from all mechanical oral hygiene measures for 4 days and used one of the randomly assigned mouthrinses (A, pomegranate; B, chlorhexidine; or C, distilled water [placebo]) twice daily. The Plaque Index (PI) was assessed at days 0 and 5. Adverse effects were also evaluated. Pomegranate extract was tested against Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (A.a.), Porphyromonas gingivalis (P.g.), and Prevotella intermedia (P.i.).

RESULTS: in all groups, the PI significantly increased from the baseline to day 5 (P < .1). The pomegranate mouthrinse created no adverse effects. There was a statistically significant difference (P < .05) between the chlorhexidine and placebo rinse and the pomegranate and placebo rinse, but no statistically significant difference was found between the chlorhexidine and pomegranate rinse with respect to the PI. Pomegranate extract showed inhibition of all three strains of periodontopathogens at various concentrations.

CONCLUSION: these results indicate that the pomegranate mouthrinse has an antiplaque effect. Pomegranate extract is efficacious against A.a., P.g., and P.i. strains in vitro. Pomegranate mouthrinse should be explored as a long-term antiplaque rinse with prophylactic benefits.

St. John’s wort – an overview.

February 17, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

The following abstract gives clear information on the usefulness of St. John’s Wort with mild to moderate depression.

This article aims to summarize the current state of knowledge on St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum L.) which is one of the oldest and best investigated medicinal herbs. Dried alcoholic extracts are the most important preparations on the market although a variety of other preparations are available. Depressive disorders according to modern diagnostic standards are the best known and most widely investigated indication although the more traditional, broader indication of ‘psycho-vegetative disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety and/or nervous agitation’, including diagnoses such as somatoform disorders, might more adequately describe what Hypericum extracts are actually used for by many practitioners. The exact mechanisms of action are still unclear, but the available research clearly shows that various bioactive constituents contribute to the clinical effects reported, often in a synergistic manner. Hypericum extracts have consistently shown activity in pharmacological models related to antidepressant effects. Randomized clinical trials show that Hypericum extracts are more effective than placebo and similarly effective as standard antidepressants while having better tolerability in the acute treatment of major depressive episodes. The most important risk associated with Hypericum extracts are interactions with other drugs. Therefore, physicians need to be informed whether their patients take St. John’s wort products. If the risk of interactions is adequately taken into account, high quality Hypericum extracts are an effective and safe tool in the hand of qualified health profession-als in primary care

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) a bio-sweetener: a review.

February 3, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

If you are thinking of lowering your sugar intake you may want to consider using Stevia as a healthier alternative.

Studies revealed that Stevia has been used throughout the world since ancient times for various purposes; for example, as a sweetener and a medicine. We conducted a systematic literature review to summarize and quantify the past and current evidence for Stevia. We searched relevant papers up to 2007 in various databases. As we know that the leaves of Stevia plants have functional and sensory properties superior to those of many other high-potency sweeteners, Stevia is likely to become a major source of high-potency sweetener for the growing natural food market in the future. Although Stevia can be helpful to anyone, there are certain groups who are more likely to benefit from its remarkable sweetening potential. These include diabetic patients, those interested in decreasing caloric intake, and children. Stevia is a small perennial shrub that has been used for centuries as a bio-sweetener and for other medicinal uses such as to lower blood sugar. Its white crystalline compound (stevioside) is the natural herbal sweetener with no calories and is over 100-300 times sweeter than table sugar.

Prospective cohort trial of Euphrasia single-dose eye drops in conjunctivitis.

January 22, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

Eyebright Euphrasia, has long been used as an effective treatment of  conjunctivitis.  The following study shows how well the eye drops of this herb work for this condition.

INTRODUCTION: Eye drops made from Euphrasia rostkoviana Hayne have been used in anthroposophical medicine for more than 70 years for the structuring of the fluid organism in the eye, especially in inflammatory and catarrhal conjunctivitis. The aim of this prospective cohort trial was to describe the efficacy and tolerability of these eye drops in a community-based setting. To evaluate these questions, prospective cohort studies are the best method. This enables the investigator to attain real insights as to which treatment administered related to specific results in a specific group of patients.

DESIGN: Prospective, open label, one-armed, multicentered, multinational cohort trial.

SETTING: The trial was carried out in the clinics of 12 experienced anthroposophical general practitioners and ophthalmologists in Germany and Switzerland.

PATIENTS: Patients with inflammatory or catarrhal conjunctivitis, treated with Euphrasia single-dose eye drops were included in the trial.

INTERVENTION: One drop of Euphrasia single-dose eye drops 1-5 times a day was prescribed. The prescription was determined solely by medical therapeutic needs.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Efficacy variables were: redness, swelling, secretion, burning of the conjunctiva, and foreign body sensation. Tolerability variables were: conjunctival reddening, burning of the conjunctiva, foreign body sensation, and veiled vision. All symptoms were given for the right or left eye separately, with degree of severity in relation to baseline after approximately 7 days (+/-3 days; first follow-up examination) and after approximately 14 days (+/-3 days; second follow-up examination). If, after the first follow-up, all symptoms had disappeared, no second follow-up was done.

RESULTS: Sixty-five (65) patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria for the protocol evaluation. A complete recovery was seen in 53 patients (81.5%) and a clear improvement in 11 patients (17.0%). A slight worsening could only be determined in 1 patient in the second week of treatment (1.5%). No serious adverse events were observed during the entire trial. The efficacy and tolerability were evaluated by the patients and doctors as “good” to “very good” in more than 85%.

CONCLUSION: Euphrasia single-dose eye drops can effectively and safely be used for various conjunctival conditions by general practitioners and ophthalmologists. A dosage of one drop three times a day seems to be the general prescribed dosage.

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