Cocoa benefits

Cocoa, one of nature’s many miracles, is in fact the great super-food that many people seek. Cocoa makes other so-called super-fruits pale in comparison. Cocoa is a titan of health benefits, the likes of which humanity has never known. It is the profound medicine that scientists and researchers toil to discover. If cocoa were a pharmaceutical drug, it would be hailed as the greatest medicine of all time, and its discoverer would reap the Nobel prize in Medicine. Cocoa is all of that. Cocoa is right out in the open, more protective than any other food, and more powerful than any medicine ever devised.

There is sweet irony in the fact that cocoa, once considered by some self-appointed health experts to be deleterious to health, has proven over time to be extraordinarily beneficial for health indeed. In fact, you could say that after water, cocoa is the healthiest known substance you can put into your body. If this statement seems to over-reach, consider that no other substance, of any kind, helps to prevent primary killer diseases as well as cocoa. In fact, if cocoa were consumed judiciously and regularly, it would prove the single greatest life-saving medication of all time.

But cocoa is a food, and this fact harks back to the proviso of Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine.” Not only is cocoa a food, but it is beloved around the world for its sumptuous flavor, and for the way it promotes a positive state of mind and mood. Can cocoa be the greatest medicinal food on earth? The answer is an unequivocal yes.

Over the past dozen of years or so, a steady stream of science has emerged, showing that cocoa and the confection made from it (chocolate) possess extraordinary life-imbuing and disease-fighting properties. Most notably, cocoa demonstrates significant benefits for the cardiovascular system, helping to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, reduce the risk of high blood pressure, and even reduce the risk of cancer. Furthermore, cocoa consumption is associated with reduced cognitive decline in old age.

Cocoa and Your Heart

Cocoa contains over 700 known compounds. And for all we know, there may be many more that remain undiscovered. Of particular interest to scientists are the antioxidant compounds in cocoa. Antioxidants are compounds that plants manufacture to prevent their own cells from premature destruction due to exposure to heat, light, air, moisture and time. In the human body, many of these compounds prevent reactive oxygen species (ROS) from destroying cells and causing premature aging and disease. Cocoa is especially rich in polyphenols, a group of protective antioxidant compounds found in many plant foods such as red wine and tea, and which are the subjects of scientific investigation for their beneficial influence on cardiovascular health. The polyphenols include anthocyanins, isoflavones, flavanones, flavonols, flavanols, and flavones. Of special interest to health researchers are flavanols in cocoa, including flavan-3-ols, catechins, epicatechins and proanthocyanidins. These naturally-occurring substances not only protect the cells of our bodies from premature destruction, but they also help to reduce the risk of killer diseases.

Cardiovascular disease is the primary killer of adults. The polyphenols in cocoa are cardio-protective in two ways. They help to reduce the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or so-called ‘bad cholesterol.” Oxidation of LDL is considered a major factor in the promotion of coronary disease, most notably heart attack and stroke. Additionally, polyphenols inhibit blood platelets from clumping together. This clumping process, called aggregation, leads to atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries. By inhibiting aggregation, polyphenols reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Since atherosclerosis is a major killer of American adults, the protection provided by the polyphenols in cocoa is of real value. It can literally mean the difference between life and death.

Thanks to various studies, we have learned that tea, apples, onions, and red wine all help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, due to their content of beneficial antioxidant polyphenols. Yet of all foods known, cocoa has the highest antioxidant polyphenol content, and provides the greatest cardio-protection. In fact, no heart drug, of any kind, comes even close to imparting the heart benefits of cocoa.

According to work performed at the Department of Nutrition at University of California, Davis, cocoa not only inhibits platelet aggregation, but it thins the blood, thus slowing coagulation. In healthy subjects given a strong cocoa beverage, platelet aggregation was reduced and fewer microparticles had formed than normal. Additionally, blood from the subjects took longer to form a clot than blood from control subjects. This shows that cocoa performs the same beneficial anti-clotting activity as aspirin.

UC Davis researcher Carl Keen noted “Our work supports the concept that the chronic consumption of cocoa may be associated with an improved cardiovascular health; yet some positive effects can even be observed on an acute basis.” He adds: “Cocoa and presumably other forms of chocolate can be part of a healthy diet”.

Even small amounts of cocoa can reduce cholesterol in the blood, and can lower blood pressure. Even more, regular intake of cocoa has been shown to improve overall function of vein and arteries.

Egg plant benefits

Botanical name: Solanum melongena

Asked to describe an eggplant, most would mention dark purple, glossy, and shaped like a very large teardrop. Eggplants are known as aubergines in other parts of the world, where they’re much more popular. India is said to be the native country of this strange-looking fruit – because that’s what it is, rather than a vegetable.

There are many eggplant varieties. One eggplant type is small, white, and looks a lot like an egg, another is long and skinny like a bean, while the “Toga” variety is yellow-orange with green stripes. But all of these hang suspended from tall plants that can reach several feet in height.

Eggplants made their first appearance in Europe in the 14th century, and Thomas Jefferson first introduced them to 18th century America. Florida, California, and Georgia are leaders in U.S. eggplant production.

When choosing an eggplant, it should be firm and not too large. The length of a cucumber and the general circumference of a large pear should be about right. Smaller eggplants are less likely to be bitter (a bit of salt can help with this) and have fewer seeds, although these are edible.

The above nutrition chart is for raw eggplant, but it’s a tad bland in its raw form. It’s usually served baked rather than raw or boiling, which some cultures do, although it makes the white flesh inside a little mushy. Grilled is a more healthful way to prepare this vegetable to retain the most natural goodness. Culinary creativity can bring out the best features of this veggie.

Health Benefits of Eggplant

While eggplants don’t have an overwhelming supply of any one nutrient, they do contain an impressive array across the board of many vitamins and minerals, such as excellent amounts of fiber, folate, potassium and manganese, as well as vitamins C, K, and B6, phosphorus, copper, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, and pantothenic acid.

Studies indicate that eggplant has a number of health benefits from all these ingredients, as well as traditional uses. Sometimes, the leaves and roots are juiced or boiled to make a tonic for throat and stomach troubles, asthma, skin diseases, rheumatism, inflammation, intestinal hemorrhages, foot pain, coughs, anorexia, toothache, or as a general stimulant.

Modern-day scientists found that the Black Magic variety of eggplant contains nearly three times the amount of antioxidant phenolics they found in other eggplant types. Phenols are known to be one of the most powerful free radical scavengers, which can prevent cancer development and heart disease, but it’s these very attributes that give eggplants a slight bitter taste.

Another study found that anthocyanin phytonutrients in the skin of eggplants, called nasunin, is a potent antioxidant that zaps free radicals and protects the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes from damage.

One interesting aspect of eggplant is its shady connections, since it’s a member of the nightshade family of plants with tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers, as well as chili peppers, habeneros, jalapenos, and paprika. Many nutritionists caution that too many servings of eggplant might cause problems. In fact, ancient Mediterranean people reportedly nicknamed it “mad apple,” believing that eating eggplant every day for a month would cause insanity.

India recently charged Monsanto with biopiracy for alleged attempts to genetically modify indigenous eggplants.

Eggplant Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 3.5 ounces (100 grams), raw

% Daily
Value
*
Amt. Per
Serving
Calories
24
    Calories from fat
2
Total fat
0 g
0%
    Saturated fat
0 g
0%
    Trans fat
Cholesterol
0 mg
0%
Sodium
2 mg
0%
Total Carbohydrate
6 g
2%
    Dietary Fiber
3 g
14%
    Sugar
2 g
Protein
1 g
Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 1% Iron 1%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie

Sprouts Benefits

The health benefits of sprouts make up quite an impressive list, and they include the ability to improve the digestive process, boost the metabolism, increase enzymatic activity throughout the body, prevent anemia, help with weight loss, lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, prevent neural tube defects in infants, protect againstcancer, boost skin health, improve vision, support the immune system, and increase usable energy reserves.

Sprouts may refer to a number of different vegetableor plant beans in the period of time after they begin to grow. The most common sprouts that people regularly use in cooking are alfalfa, soy, and mung bean sprouts, as well as various other types of bean sprouts. The reason that so many people turn to sprouts as a source of food is that they represent a much more significant amount of vitamins and nutrients than they do in an un-sprouted form. Typically, a week after sprouting, the sprouts will have the highestconcentration and bioavailability of nutrients. Beans must contain a packed storehouse of all the important nutrients that a plant will need to grow in its initial days, so those tiny caps are filled with important organic compounds, vitamins, and minerals that our body can also utilize.

There are a number of different cultures that highly value sprouts as an essential element of their cooking. Although sprouts can be cultivated anywhere that beans are grown (which is basically anywhere in the world), Asian nations seem to have adopted sprouts as a topping for various dishes, as well as a common ingredient in salads more than most other countries in the world. They are readily available no matter what market you go to, however.

The important thing to remember is that much of the nutritive value of sprouts is lost when they are heated. In other words, although they are a very important source of nutrients and beneficial health boosts, they should always be added to meal in their raw form to guarantee that they have the most impact. Let’s explore some of the components of sprouts that make them such a powerful, yet overlooked, source of so many health benefits.

Nutritional Value of Sprouts

All of the nutritional and medicinal benefits of sprouts are derived from their impressive vitamin, mineral, and organic compounds content. Sprouts contain a significant amount of protein and dietary fiber, as well as vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, thiamin, vitamin C, vitamin A, and riboflavin. In terms of minerals, sprouts contain manganese,copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. Many of these component nutrients increase dramatically as the sprout continues to develop. Along with all of those components, sprouts are also a rich source of enzymes that are essential for health.  It is best to eat sprouts that first opened one or two weeks earlier. Now, let’s explore some of the fascinating and vital health benefits that sprouts hold for us!

Health Benefits of Sprouts

Digestion: One of the best things about sprouts is that they contain an unusually high number of enzymes. This can help boost the various metabolic processes and chemical reactions within the body, specifically when it comes to digestion. Enzymes are an important part of the digestive process, and they help to break down food effectively and increase the absorption of nutrients by the digestive tract. Furthermore, the dietary fiber found in sproutsmakes it a very important boost for digestive functions. Fiber bulks up the stool, making it easier to pass through the digestive tract. Furthermore, dietary fiber stimulates gastric juices, which aid the enzymes already found in sprouts in breaking down food effectively and efficiently. Sprouts are a great way to clear up constipation, as well as diarrhea, and can even prevent colorectal cancer.

sprout-550x300Metabolic Booster:  As was already mentioned, sprouts contain a wealth of enzymes that usually aren’t available through food. This major influx represents a kick start for the body, and can seriously impact the metabolic activity of your body. Beyond that, sprouts also contain a significant amount of protein, which is the essential part of food that allows our body to perform all of its chemical functions. Protein is necessary for almost all bodily processes, particularly the creation and maintenance of cells, organ repair, skin regeneration, bone growth, muscle development, and a number of other very important aspects of health. This means that sprouts are an easy and delicious way to improve the overall functioning and development of your body. This high nutritive content is also why sprouts are so highly recommended for vegetarians and vegans, since meat is such a traditionally important source of protein. Sprouts can replace that source of protein for many people.

Anemia and Blood Circulation: Anemia is the technical word for an iron deficiency. If you don’t consume enough food with iron, your red blood cell count drops, because iron is an essential part of red blood cell production. This can result in fatigue, lack of concentration, nausea, light-headedness, and stomach disorders. By maintaining your red blood cell count with proper amounts of iron (and copper, which is also found in sprouts), you can improve the circulation of blood in your body, thereby increasing the oxygenation of organ systems and cells to optimize their performance.

Weight Loss: Sprouts are one of those foods that are very high in nutrients but very low in calories. This means that you can eat sprouts without worrying about compromising your diet. Furthermore, the fiber in sprouts helps to make you feel full, both by adding bulk to your bowels, but also by inhibiting the release of ghrelin, which is the hunger hormone that tells our mind that we are ready to eat something. This can reduce overeating and snacking, two of the biggest problems for someone suffering through the problems of obesity.

Heart Health: Sprouts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and although these are technically a form of cholesterol, they are considered “good” cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) and can actually reduce the amount of harmful cholesterol in your blood vessels and arteries. Omega-3 fatty acids are also anti-inflammatory in nature, so they reduce the stress on your cardiovascular system in that was as well.  The potassium content of sprouts also helps to reduce blood pressure, since potassium is a vasodilator, and can release the tension in arteries and blood vessels. This increases circulation and oxygenation, while reducing clotting and lowering the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.

Sauerkraut Benefits

Sauerkraut, a form of fermented cabbage, has been popular throughout Central Europe for hundreds of years. Sauerkraut combines one of the healthiest foods there is (cabbage) with one of the most beneficial and time-honored food preparation methods ever used (fermentation).

According to the Institute for Integrative Medicine at the University of Witten in Germany, sauerkraut is one of the most common and oldest forms of preserving cabbage and can be traced back as an important food source to the fourth century B.C.


The Secret to Sauerkraut’s Health Benefits: Fermentation

What is it that’s so special about fermented vegetables and foods? Fermentation simply refers to an ancient technique and perseveration method that naturally alters the chemistry of foods. Similar to cultured dairy products like yogurt and kefir, sauerkraut’s fermentation processproduces beneficial probiotics that are now linked to improvements in immune, cognitive, digestive and endocrine function.

People have been using fermentation to preserve valuable vegetables and other perishable foods for long periods without the use of modern-day refrigerators, freezers or canning machines. Fermentation is the metabolic process of converting carbohydrates, like sugars, into either alcohols and carbon dioxide, or organic acids. It requires the presence of a carbohydrate source (like milk or vegetables, which contain sugar molecules) plus yeast, bacteria or both. The yeast and bacteria microorganisms are responsible for converting glucose (sugar) into healthy bacteria strains that populate your gut environment and help regulate many bodily functions.

Microbial fermentation occurs when the bacteria or yeast organisms are deprived of oxygen (which is why fermentation was first described as “respiration without air” by early French microbiologists that discovered the science behind the process). The type of fermentation that makes most foods “probiotic” (rich in beneficial bacteria) is called lactic acid fermentation. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits harmful bacteria growth.


What Are the Effects of Sauerkraut’s Probiotics?

First and foremost, sauerkraut’s live and active probiotics have beneficial effects on the health of your digestive tract — and therefore the rest of your body too. That’s because a very large portion of your immune system actually lives within your gut and is run by bacterial organisms, what you can think of as “your gut’s bugs” that live within your intestinal flora. Microbial imbalances have been associated with enhanced risks of various diseases, but luckily obtaining beneficial microorganisms from probiotic foods has repeatedly demonstrated health benefits in clinical settings.

After eating foods like sauerkraut that provide probiotics, these gut bugs take up residence on the lining and folds of your intestinal walls, where they communicate with your brain via the vagus nerve. They also act like your first line of defense against various harmful bacteria or toxins that enter your body. Some beneficial probiotic bacteria found in sauerkraut and other cultured veggies are more or less permanent residents because they form long-lasting colonies. Others come and go more quickly but still have important anti-inflammatory effects.

As described in a 2009 report published in The Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology, “the use of antibiotics, immunosuppressive therapy and irradiation, amongst other means of treatment, may cause alterations in the gut composition and have an effect on the GIT flora. Therefore, the introduction of beneficial bacterial species to the GI tract may be a very attractive option to re-establish the microbial equilibrium and prevent disease.”

The good bacteria living in someone’s healthy gut environment have been proved to be crucial for lowering the risk of just about every form of acute or chronic illness there is. A 2006 report published inThe Journal of Applied Microbiology states that probiotic benefits from cultured foods include lowering the risk of:

This is due to probiotics’ direct and indirect influences on various organs and systems, especially the rate at which your body produces inflammation and controls hormone production. The “good bacteria” and other organisms living within your gut might as well be considered an organ in their own right, because they’re critically important to the health of your brain, hormones, heart, lungs, liver and digestive organs. The latest science tells us that probiotic-rich foodscan help:

  • Improve immune function, since they create a barrier against potential invaders including “bad bacteria” like pathogens, viruses, fungi and parasites
  • Aid in digestion and the absorption of various nutrients
  • Detoxify the body, since probiotics help prevent infections and combat toxins living within your digestive tract
  • Support brain function and cognitive health, even helping to prevent dementia, treat Alzheimer’s disease and stave off memory loss
  • Handle stress through the “gut-brain” connection, your microflora’s effects on your endocrine (hormonal) system
  • Control inflammation that is at the root of most diseases

Camu Camu Berry

Health Benefits of Camu Camu

Vitamin C Content: There’s no way to talk about camu camu without first mentioning the massive amount of vitamin C found in this remarkable little drupe. Camu camu has one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C of any food source, and since vitamin C is not only vital for human health, but also impossible to naturally create in our bodies, having a rich source like camu camu is a huge advantage. Also, the synthetic vitamin C that has recently been injected into foods to boost their potency is not nearly as beneficial as naturally occurring vitamin C. Ascorbic acid stimulates white blood cell production, which significantly boosts the immune system, and is also a key component in collagen production, which helps repair and develop cells, tissues, and organs. Just as a comparison, camu camu has 200 times more vitamin C than a banana in terms of vitamin C per ounce.

Cognitive Ability: The various antioxidant effects of camu camu, some of which are derived from the huge amount of vitamin C, also help to eliminate plaque build-up in the cognitive pathways, often caused by free radicals and oxidative stress. Camu camu has been linked to preventing certain cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It can also boost cognitive ability in younger people, increasing focus, memory, andconcentration skills.

Anti-Inflammatory Activity: Vitamin C is a natural anti-inflammatory substance, but the other nutrients and amino acids found in camu camu, such as anthocyanins, catechins, and flavonols, are also potent anti-inflammatory agents. For people who suffer from everything from arthritis and gout to hemorrhoids and headaches, camu camu can offer pain relief and soothe inflammation.

Cancer Prevention: Everyone is looking for the magical cure for cancer, and while it hasn’t been discovered yet, antioxidant compounds like those found in such abundance in camu camu, are often considered the best natural remedy to prevent the development or spread of certain types of cancers. Camu camu has dozens of antioxidant compounds in its tiny little package, so load up on these cancer-fighting drupes whenever you can!

Mood Swings: Some research has indicated that camu camu can have a relaxing effect on the body, acting almost as a sedative, which can certainly help to balance mood swings and soothe mental anxiety. Although the exact pathway isn’t completely clear, the high levels of magnesium and other vitaminsthat reduce inflammation and calm the body are likely the cause behind this important health benefit, particularly for people suffering fromdepression or menopausal mood swings.

Antiviral and Antibacterial Properties: Thenatural antiseptic qualities of camu camu make it ideal for fending off bacterial and viral infections, including E. coli and various sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes. This makes camu camu a powerful dietary supplement for everyone, as our immune systems are constantly under attack by these foreign agents.

Fertility: Camu camu has been shown to prevent infertility by specifically protecting the health of sexual organs and ensuring proper functioning of those systems.

Muscle Tone: The diverse blend of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and organic compounds found within camu camu make it one of the most complete health foods out there, but that combination also facilitates the growth and protection of muscles. If you are looking to boost your metabolism and increase your muscle tone, eating camu camu can be an ideal workout complement

Rhodiola Root Benefits

Rhodiola Rosea also known as “golden root” is an adaptogen herbwith tremendous fat burning, energy enhancing and brain boosting power.

Adaptogens are a group of plants that can help your body adapt to physical, chemical, and environmental stress and rhodiola is one of the most effective in this family.

This unique herb grows at high altitudes in the arctic areas of Asia and Eastern Europe.

Historically the Vikings used rhodiola to enhance physical strength and the Sherpa people used it to climb at high altitudes including Mt. Everest.

The Russians have used rhodiola benefits extensively over the past 70 years mostly for improving work performance, insomnia, fatigue, depression, and increasing athletic endurance.

Rhodiola has been proven to have four major health benefits including:Herbal Tea and Flowers Rhodiola rosea

  1. Burning Belly Fat
  2. Increased Energy and Athletic Performance
  3. Lowering Cortisol
  4. Fighting Depression and Improving Brain Function

Let me start off by going over how rhodiola can help you burn fat for energy.

1. Burn More Belly Fat with Rhodiola

One of the many incredible characteristics of rhodiola benefits is that it helps your body burn stored fat as fuel.  Rhodiola contains an active compound called rosavin that has been proven to trigger a fat burning response in your body.

Rosavin works by stimulating an enzyme called hormone-sensitive lipase which has the ability to breakdown fat that is stored in adipose tissue (belly area).  Also, human clinical studies found that if you combine taking rhodiola extract with doing moderate exercise the breakdown of belly fat increases even more.

A controlled placebo study done on 130 overweight patients at Georgian State Hospital showed that taking rhodiola rosea extract daily led to a mean weight loss of 19 pounds (11% reduction in body fat), compared to only 8 pounds of loss by the placebo group eating the exact same low calorie diet.1

We all know that exercise especially interval exercise like burst training can increase fat loss, but if you want an edge taking rhodiola along with exercise can accelerate your weight loss efforts.

2. Increase Your Energy and Athletic Performance

Rhodiola can increase your stamina and endurance by increasing your red blood cell count.  Red blood cells (RBC) carry oxygen to muscles, and having a higher count can dramatically improve an athlete’s performance and delay fatigue.  Rhodiola benefits work by boosting EPO also known as erythropoetin which stimulates RBC production.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in 2004 rhodiola has anti-inflammatory benefits to cause rapid recovery of muscles and improved endurance.2

Another study performed on rats found that supplementing with rhodiola could increase endurance by allowing the animals to swim 25% longer.  The improvements happened because rhodiola was found to increase synthesis of ATP which is essential for cellular energy.3

But you don’t have to be an athlete to experience the benefits of rhodiola.  Whether you’re a stay at home mom, business executive, or student rhodiola has been shown to increase workplace performance and the decrease the effects that a lack of sleep and rest can have on your body.4

According to author and naturopathic physician Tori Hudson, he prescribes rhodiola to his patients for several reasons including: adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, reducing recovery time from workouts and enhancing athletic performance.

So if you are looking for a natural way to boost energy and increase athletic performance rhodiola may be for you

Milk Thistle

What is Milk Thistle?

Milk Thistle is an herbal supplement that detoxifies and protects vital liver functions and more.

Milk thistle has been used for over 2,000 years as a natural treatment for liver disorders. The plant is known in scientific circles as the Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertner (syn. Cardous marianus), but it is more commonly known as “milk thistle,” “St. Mary Thistle,” “Holy Thistle” and “Lady’s Thistle.” It is an herbaceous annual or biennial plant belonging to the Asteraceae family that can grow to be ten feet tall with flowers that are red and purple in color.

Milk thistle gets its name from the milky white fluid that comes from the plant’s leaves when they are crushed. It is native to southern Europe, southern Russia, Asia Minor, and North Africa, and has also been naturalized to North and South America.

Europeans were among the first to use milk thistle seeds as an herbal treatment for liver disorders. However, the plant’s remedial capabilities have been known since ancient times. Milk Thistle was mentioned by Theophrastus in the 4th century B.C. by the name of “Pternix” and it was also referred to by Pliny the Elder in the 1st century A.D. by the name of “Sillybum.” Additionally, in 1744, Von Haller documented the specific use of the plant for liver disorders in its “Medizinischen Lexicon.” In more recent years, many authors such as Johann Gottfried Rademacher, Volker Schulz, and Henry Leclerc mention the benefits of Silybum Marianum (milk thistle) when used as a treatment of liver diseases as well as in the treatment of disorders of the bile duct and spleen.

What are the Benefits of Milk Thistle?

Over the past forty years, intensive chemical, pharmacological and clinical research has confirmed the mechanisms of action and therapeutic value of milk thistle in a wide range of human liver-related and non-liver-related conditions. Literally hundreds of modern research studies have confirmed the remarkable ability of milk thistle to protect the liver and the body against virtually all types of damage.

Additionally, the United States National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have cataloged more than 400 scientific studies of milk thistle and its active compounds in their medicine database. These studies reflect what generations past knew and depended on – that milk thistle is one of the most valuable and beneficial herbal remedies and treatments available anywhere in the world.

Today, milk thistle is still one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world and is also the number one recommended natural herb for liver health. In fact, in Europe, milk thistle is a prescribed medication. The milk thistle extract is prescribed to treat mushroom poisoning, alcoholic cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, drug and alcohol-induced liver damage and acute viral hepatitis, just to name a few.

Milk thistle extract is used to maintain liver health and to protect the liver from the effects of toxins such as alcohol, a polluted environment or workplace, and a host of liver related diseases.

Liver related conditions indicating the use of milk thistle are varied, including, but not limited to:

  • Alcoholic cirrhosis
  • Chronic active hepatitis
  • Drug and alcohol induced liver damage
  • Acute viral hepatitis
  • Fatty liver, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
  • Fibrosis and Cirrhosis
  • Hepatic toxicity caused by steroid usage
  • Environmental sensitivities and toxins
  • A medical condition that necessitates the use of hepatotoxic medications
  • Regular moderate-to-heavy alcohol use

Additionally, experimental and clinical studies suggest that milk thistle extracts also have the following non-liver related benefits:

  • Lowers cholesterol levels, which benefits the heart
  • Reduces the growth of cancer cells in breast, lung, colon, prostate, cervical and renal cancers
  • Functions as a therapeutic agent for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Improves blood sugar levels
  • Contains numerous anti-aging properties
  • Reduces cell damage caused by radiation and chemotherapy treatments
  • Supplements sunscreen protection and may be useful against multiple types of skin disease
  • Works as a free radical scavenger and powerful antioxidant
  • Reduces hot flashes and other related menopausal symptoms
  • Helps with intestinal / indigestion issues
  • Reduces the effects of deathcap mushroom (Amanita phalloides) poisoning

How Does Milk Thistle Work?

Milk thistle seeds contain a bioflavonoid complex known as silymarin. Silymarin, which is the active ingredient in milk thistle, is simply the purified extract of the fruits (seeds) of the milk thistle plant. It is responsible for the main medical benefits of the milk thistle plant, and it is made up of three main flavonoids:

  • silybin – also know as silibinin
  • silydianin – also known as silidianin
  • silychristin – also know as silicristin

Silybin makes up 50% – 70% of silymarin and has been shown in clinical studies to be the most biologically active and beneficial constituent of the milk thistle extract, silymarin.

Double blind studies on the effect of milk thistle on toxic liver damage (mostly alcohol-related), chronic liver disease and disease caused by certain drugs have been reviewed by medical experts. The experts all concluded that milk thistle is an extremely therapeutically useful medicinal plant product that stabilizes the cell membrane and stimulates protein synthesis while accelerating the process of regeneration in damaged liver tissue. These effects are important in the therapeutic efficacy of milk thistle.

According to other studies, milk thistle may protect the cells of the liver by blocking the entrance of harmful toxins and helping remove these toxins from liver cells. As with other flavonoids, milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant which works to maintain health and energy by protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals and lipid peroxidation, which can injure healthy cells and tissues. Just as grapes and red wine, for example, are touted as excellent sources of antioxidants, milk thistle also contains the properties needed to offer the body the same antioxidant benefits.

What are the Side Effects of Milk Thistle?

One of the best things about milk thistle is its gentle nature. Compared to many other supplements and herbal remedies that bring with them side effects such as headaches, virtually all parts of the milk thistle plant have been used with no reports of toxicity. Adverse effects in clinical and lab studies related specifically to the seed extract (silymarin) are also virtually nonexistent, although it may have a mild and short-lived laxative effect for some people. Milk thistle can be used safely and effectively by a wide range of people, including pregnant and nursing women.

What is Standardized Milk Thistle?

Milk thistle as an herb is made up of both active and inactive ingredients in varying amounts, with the active ingredients providing all of the supplement’s benefits and therapeutic value. When purchasing a non-standardized milk thistle product, you have no way of knowing what proportion of active to inactive ingredients will be present in the final product.

Thus, to ensure consistency throughout the herbal supplement market, milk thistle is available in a standardized form. When purchasing a standardized milk thistle product, you are supposed to receive the same proportion of the active and beneficial ingredients to inactive ingredients each and every time.

Today, most standardized milk thistle products sold in the United States are standardized to reflect 80% silymarin. This means that silymarin, the active ingredient, makes up 80% of the total weight of the product, and the inactive ingredients make up the remaining 20%. So if you purchase a standardized milk thistle product that is 250 milligrams of 80% standardized silymarin, you would actually have only 200 milligrams of the active, beneficial ingredient.

It is important to understand this so that you know what you are comparing when you are looking at different milk thistle products to determine those that offer the best value and those that offer the best concentration of the active ingredient.

Which Milk Thistle is the Best and Most Effective?

Many milk thistle products are available in health food stores, drug stores, and on the Internet, but none of them are very bioavailable. This means they are not absorbed well by the body. A person would therefore need to ingest large amounts of milk thistle to experience its beneficial effects. This is not only impractical, but can also become quite expensive

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I would like to thank all of you who have subscribed to my web site.First and foremost I’m a regular guy who is struggling with the body i want, the six pack,the big arms,the big chest,the whole package.well I’m here to let you know that there is no magic pill.It’s just hard work and dedication, no excuses, ladies i know your in the same struggle. Who does’nt want to look good,feel good,feel sexy,feel confident,walk with your head up because your getting the looks you weren’t getting before you started working on the body you want.Enough lets get to work, who’s with me on this struggle. Lets get our body back. UNITED WE STAND.

Stinging nettle

It may be a brash statement to say that one prickly green herb is the panacea for almost everything that ails you; but, in the case of stinging nettles, it’s mostly true. If there’s one plant to have on hand at all times that provides a cure for arthritis, an herbal treatment for allergies, relieves hair loss, treats Celiac disease, bleeding, bladder infections, skin complaints, neurological disorders and a long list of other conditions — it’s nettle leaf.

Nettle plants grow wild across the U.S., Europe and around the globe; they are used for both medicinal purposes and as food. Highly nutritious, the prickly plant is often used as a spring tonic. It’s a natural cleanse that removes metabolic wastes and is both gentle and stimulating on the lymph system, promoting easy excretion through the kidneys. All parts of the nettle plant are used; and it’s available in a wide variety of medicines ranging from dried leaf, to ointments, tinctures, homeopathic remedies and herbal extracts.

Stinging nettle cure for arthritis

Nettle leaves are used to treat painful symptoms of arthritis, gout, rheumatism, and soft tissue conditions such as fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Patients with Lupus and other auto-immune disorders suffering from joint pain experience relief from drinking a cup of nettle tea or eating stewed nettle leaves daily. Its diuretic action alkalizes and releases uric acid from the joints ofgout patients eliminating pain.

Stinging nettle health benefits for women

Nettle is high in iron making it excellent for combating anemia and fatigue. It supports the liver and the female hormonal system. Pregnant women benefit from stinging nettle as it protects against bleeding and strengthens the fetus. Known as a galactagogue, it promotes milk production in nursing mothers. Stinging nettles reduces PMS symptoms, processes estrogen to relieve menopausal symptoms and curbs excess menstrual flow. It’s often used in herbal tonics to remove fibroids and regulate the menstrual flow.

Herbal treatment for allergies

Stinging nettle leaves have been used both as an herbal treatment and a homeopathic remedy for the relief of nettle allergies such as asthma, hay fever, hives and other allergic dermatitis.

Urinary tract support

Stinging nettles are helpful for bladder and urinary tract function in both sexes. The tea acts as a natural diuretic, increases urination and helps break down kidney stones. Nettles acts as a pelvic decongestant and reduces an enlarged prostate.

Stinging nettle health benefits for hair loss and skin conditions

Nettle tea relieves eczema and acne, removes warts when applied topically, and relieves itching from nettle rash. It has a stimulating effect on the scalp when used as a hair rinse and helps regenerate both hair growth and restore original color. It works to relieve dandruff and as a conditioner for the scalp.

Stinging nettle digestive aid

Nettle leaf is effective at reducing symptoms of the digestive tract ranging from acid reflux, excess gas, nausea, colitis and Celiac disease. Additionally, it’s medicinal action on mucous membranes makes it an effective herbal treatment for sore throats, swollen hemorrhoids, nose bleeds and mouth sores.

More nettle cures

— Reduces gingivitis and prevents plaque as a mouth rinse.
— Relieves chest congestion and coughing, bronchitis, COPD and TB.
— Is helpful in the treatment of Alzheimers.
— Relieves neurological disorders such as MS, ALS and sciatica.
— Remedies made from the plant’s roots prevent night time urination in children.
— Destroys intestinal worms and parasites.
— Supports the endocrine system including the thyroid, spleen and pancreas.

Warning

Because stinging nettles can produce side effects and interact with other drugs and natural treatments, consult your healthcare practitioner before using i

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/036080_stinging_nettles_remedies_arthritis.html#ixzz3xtqGEmIh

Fenugreek seeds

The health benefits of fenugreek include relief from anemia, loss of taste, fever, dandruff, stomach disorders, biliousness, respiratory disorders, mouth ulcers, sore throat, diabetes, inflammations, wounds and insomnia. It is beneficial during pregnancy, lactation and helps in improving digestion, as well as in various hair care applications. It is also shown to reduce cholesterol levels and protect heart health, while simultaneously boosting the immune system and protecting you against flu and various infections.

Fenugreek is an annual plant that is also known as methi in many places of the world. It is native to the Middle and Near East, and is widely used on the Indian subcontinent. It has small round leaves that can be dried, as well as seeds. There is even evidence that the ancient Egyptians understood the benefits of fenugreek, since fenugreek seeds have been found in tombs, particularly of Tutankhamen.

This plant is grown in countries across the globe, but the majority is cultivated and consumed in India. Fenugreek is interesting, because it can be used for three distinct purposes. The leaves can be dried and used as herbs, the seeds can be ground into a spice, and the plant matter itself can be used as a vegetable, like sprouts and microgreens. This makes fenugreek so important, because there are healthy attributes in all of those plant parts that can boost your health!

Most of the health benefits of fenugreek are due to the presence of saponins and fiber that it contains. Fenugreek is also used for herbal healing. Its seeds contain a gumming substance called mucilage and when mixed with water, mucilage expands and becomes a gelatinous salve for irritated tissues.

It is a member of the bean family and its scientific family name is Fabaceae. These health benefits are due to the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in this powerful plant.

Nutritional Value of Fenugreek

Fenugreek contains a wide variety of beneficial nutrients, including iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper, as well as vitamin B6, protein, and dietary fiber. Fenugreek also contains a number of powerful phytonutrients, including choline, trigonelline, yamogenin, gitogenin, diosgenin, tigogenin and neotigogens.

Health Benefits of Fenugreek

The health benefits of fenugreek are explained in greater detail below.

FenugreekseedsGood for Breast Feeding Mothers:India’s traditional ayurvedic physicians prescribe fenugreek to nursing mothers. This benefit is attributed to the presence of diosgenin in fenugreek. This can help increase the amount of milk that is produced by the breasts, and the magnesium and vitamin content of fenugreek also help the milk’s quality to keep your infant healthy.

Reduces Menstrual Discomfort: Fenugreek is considered as a potent substance that eases the process of menstruation and relieves the associated symptoms. It is an emmenagogue, which means that it can open up obstructed menses to make the most feminine of processes work smoothly and comfortably.

Minimizes Symptoms of Menopause: Fenugreek contains the chemicals diosgenin and estrogenic isoflavones, which are similar to the female sex hormone, estrogen. Loss of estrogen causes menopausal symptoms. So, eating fenugreek helps to reduce menopausal symptoms like mood swings, depression, cramps, and abnormal hunger pangs. Fenugreek helps to monitor a number of other hormones as well, keeping many other bodily processes in line as well.

Reduces Cholesterol: Research studies show that fenugreek consumption helps to reduce cholesterol level. Fenugreek helps to reduce the level of low density Lipoprotein (LDL) significantly, which can prevent various conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. Fenugreek is a rich source of fiber, which scrapes excess cholesterol off of the arteries and blood vessels of the body. By reducing cholesterol content in the bloodstream, you reduce the chances of clots forming or becoming stuck in the vessel