An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure!

The term “black seed oil” may not be familiar, but it is the general label given to oil extracted from certain seeds, including black cumin, black sesame, black caraway, Roman coriander and onion seed. However, though many people may not be familiar with this term, it has been the subject of research in over 630 peer-reviewed articles due to its amazing health benefits.

The benefits of this oil largely stem from its active ingredients, potent phytochemicals, botanically-based compounds which give potent health benefits to their parent plants. One of these is thymol, which also gives essential oil of thyme its amazing medical properties. Read on to learn more about what including black seed oil can do for you.

Fights Cancer
Due to its high levels of phytochemicals, many of which have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, black seek oil has been the subject of many studies for its ability to treat cancer. In one study out of Croatia, scientists studying the properties of two active ingredients of black seed oil, thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone, and found that they reduced the size of tumors by 52%.

Supports Liver Function
The liver is arguably one of the most important organs in the body, and one of the most significant of its functions is to help detect and remove toxins and other harmful substances from the body. It is thus important for overall human health. Use of black seed oil can help support good hepatic function and protect the liver from damage or disease.

Helps Treat Diabetes
In one study published recently in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers found that black seed oil can help to partially regenerate the beta cells in the pancreas. These beta cells are what produces insulin, the hormone which the body uses to take glucose out of the blood cells and deliver it to other cells of the body for insulin. This could make it important for both main types of diabetes.

Aids Weight Loss
Last June, the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders published a literature review of plants which have been discovered to have anti-obesity properties. Black seed oil was discovered to be one of the most effective and potent on this list. It aids weight loss on a number of levels, including curbing the appetite naturally, regulating blood sugar levels and aiding in absorption of glucose by the intestines.

Restores Hair Loss
Perhaps one of the most unique features of black seed oil is its ability to restore hair loss. The method by which it is able to accomplish this is not quite clear, though researchers suspect that it might have something to do with the oil’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties. At any rate, is have been shown to have a positive effect on the hair follicles and to promote the growth of thick, healthy hair.
These are just five of the reasons to consider the use of black seed oil in your diet. The potent active phytochemicals help your body in all sorts of ways, and it is very likely that the full extent of their beneficial powers has yet to be discovered!
Sources:
More From Meghan: draxe.comhealthyandnaturalworld.com,  oilhealthbenefits.com

Caisses Tea

HEALTH TEA

(NaturalNews) Since the 1970’s when the war on cancer formally began cancer rates have steadily increased. In the past decade modern medicine has heralded the increase in survival rates owing to breakthrough scientific research instead of admitting it was a change in the definition of “survivor” that accounted for a vast majority of the survival rate increases. Part of the reason for this subterfuge regarding survival rates and definitions is to cow the public into believing that western medicine has a better answer today in regards to cancer treatment.

In addition, modern medicine has not addressed why it has not stemmed the epidemic rates of cancer that continue to increase. Heredity is often to blame and environmental toxins are rarely a part of any public discourse in a meaningful way. The World Health Organization has already established that some 90 percent of all cancers are based on environmental toxins. So our medical response today is to fight toxin-related cancers with more toxins?

History of Essiac

Rene Caisse, a Canadian nurse, helped to bring Essiac into prominence in the early 20th century (Essiac is Caisse spelled backwards). She was instrumental in its use in clinical settings after witnessing the healing powers of Essiac, which could be described as nothing short of a miracle.

Her first patient was her aunt that had been diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer and given 6 months to live. After two months of drinking an Essiac brew she had recovered fully and went on to live another 20 years. Another of Nurse Caisse’s patients not only reversed her cancer but her insulin-dependent diabetes as well.

In 1959 Rene Caisse began treating terminally ill patients at the Brusch Medical Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts while supervised by no less than 18 doctors. After three months of treating these patients it was determined that, on average, the size of their tumors shrank due to a change in cellular formations and the patients began to regain weight noticeably. None of the doctors proclaimed Essiac to be a cure but once the research had concluded they did state essiac was of definite benefit. Dr. Brusch of the aforementioned Brusch Medical Center wrote a notarized letter in 1990 attesting to the efficacy of Essiac formula and how it alone cured his very own cancer some years after the research had concluded.

What is Essiac?

Essiac is a natural formulation passed on to Nurse Caisse from a Native American herbalist of the Ojibwa tribe. It consists of turkey rhubarb, slippery elm, sheep sorrel and burdock root. Each of these herbs has its own special abilities to aid our bodies. For example, burdock root increases liver function and insulin production, sheep sorrel is good for liver function as well and toning the heart, turkey rhubarb cleanses the bowels and slippery elm is great for wound healing and protecting the body from toxins that are released as the body heals itself. Herbalists believe that these four herbs, while being awesome individually, work together synergistically to reverse devastating disease conditions such as cancer and diabetes.

Essiac today

Essiac formulas are in no short supply these days. You can now find it in capsules, liquids or tea form produced by many different companies. The most popular way of taking Essiac during the 20th century was to have it as a brew daily as a therapy or tonic.

Medical science definitely has its place in our lives. There is no question that the best acute care in the world can be found in nations that have a western medical model but we can ill afford to be one sided or narrow minded in our approach to devastating chronic disease conditions. Consider essiac as a part of your health care regimen to give your body a healing chance in a non-toxic way.

Sources

Boik, J. Cancer and Natural Medicine. Oregon Medical Press; 1st edition 1995

Murray M.T. The Healing Power of Herbs: The Enlightened Person Guide to the Wonders of Medicinal Plants. Gramercy; 2 Rev Exp edition 2004

A GOOD HEALTH TEA

By Martin Hajek

Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 05:05am EDT

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), is unfortunately usually known for being a pesky weed, which people commonly remove from their backyards (and often spray with herbicides). However, humans have been using dandelion in food and teas for its medicinal properties for most of the recorded history. Many people still underestimate the benefits of this plant.

When we talk about the dandelion tea, we are talking about two different teas: an infusion made from the leaves and the other made from the roots.

The best way to get all of the benefits is to put the dried root and leaves into a cup of boiling water (cover and let steep for 10 minutes or longer), strain and drink it as is. The more herb you use and the longer you let it steep, the stronger the brew.

In Chinese medicine, dandelion is used to support liver health, stimulate urinary function to promote cleansing, but also for bones and joint health.

Herbalists often use this plant’s root to cleanse the liver and gallbladder, and the leaves to aid in kidney function and also as a digestive aid.

Some people also use this super-weed to treat infections, skin problems like eczema, joint pain, and even cancer. It is also extensively employed and studied as a diuretic. It is also believed to help prevent age spots and breast cancer.

Dandelion is also beneficial for brain health and acts as a neuroprotective agent due to its high luteolin content.

You can also use dandelion greens in your salads since it is very rich in nutrients, vitamins (especially beta-carotene and vitamin K), minerals and antioxidants. Do not forget about the flowering part, which is especially rich in phytonutrients.

There are some great dandelion recipe books and ready-to-use dandelion products that you can use daily for your overall health. See my recommendations at the end of this article.

Let’s take a closer look at TOP 15 HEALTH BENEFITS and USES of DANDELION:

1. LIVER DETOX

Andrew Chevallier, in his book “Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine” says that Dandelion aids to detoxify the liver and promote increased bile production.

The function of our liver is to produce bile, which helps to filter and detoxify our blood.

This medicinal weed enhances liver function by eliminating toxins and restoring hydration and electrolyte balance. Dandelion contains bitter compound taraxacin, which makes the gallbladder to contract to increase bile flow. Dandelion’s ability to increase the flow of bile helps detoxify the liver.

According to Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, for all liver disorders, most effective is dandelion and burdock (+ milk thistle).

One study on mice states that dandelion leaf promotes healthy lipid profiles, lessens insulin resistance, and suppresses fat accumulation in the livers. Moreover, this plant shows a protective effect against hepatoxicity due to its antioxidant properties.

It is used with success in conditions like jaundice and hepatitis, but also cirrhosis of the liver. However, it should not be taken if you have obstructive jaundice.

2. KIDNEY CLEANSING

Dandelion leaf is a diuretic that increases urination which contributes to removing toxins and waste from the kidneys. It helps them to clean out waste, salt, and excess water. It is a good source of potassium, which helps to flush excess sodium through the kidneys.

Dandelion as a diuretic increases the excretion of water from our bodies, so it is imperative to drink enough water to compensate for the water loss. Also keep a check on your potassium levels while taking dandelion (Although it is quite rich in potassium, so it usually replenishes the levels itself).

Moreover, various herbs may have a therapeutic role in preventing and treating kidney and bladder stone formation, and Taraxacum is one of them, says the researchers.

3. PURIFIES THE BLOOD AND REMOVES TOXINS

It helps to purify the bloodeliminate toxins and improves blood circulation. Dandelions may also aid with anemia as it increases the iron in your blood.

Dandelion is rich in vitamin K (one cup fo the Greens contains over 500% RD) which was proved in a study that it could reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality significantly. One of the main benefits of vitamin K is its role in healthy blood clotting.

4. ANTI-CANCER

The leaves and flowers are particularly rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients which combat cancer. Due to the Dandelion’s free radical-fighting abilities, it was shown being effective in killing different cancers cells. Also, dandelion may slow cancer’s growth and prevent it from spreading. In addition, Herbal and folk medicine uses dandelion as a prevention for breast and prostate cancer.

As mentioned earlier, this plant is very high in vitamin K which significantly reduce the risk of cancer, according to a study. In fact, Vitamin K has been shown to be efficient as a natural cancer treatment.

Dandelion root has been lately studied for its cancer-fighting potential, and the results seem really encouraging. For example, a Canadian study from 2011 states that dandelion root extract induces melanoma cell death without affecting the healthy cells. Conlusioon of that study is : “dandelion root exhibits a potential non-toxic option to conventional leukemia treatment.”

Furthermore, this plant contains compound Luteolin, which is a potent flavonoid with potential for cancer prevention and therapy. In fact, it destroys vital components of cancer cells when it attaches to them, making them ineffective and unable to reproduce. (According to a prostate cancer study).

5. SKIN CONDITIONS AND INFECTIONS

Dandelion is also beneficial in several skin disorders. Topically, you can use it with success in several skin conditions, including acne.

The sap of dandelion stem helps fights skin infections as it is highly alkaline. The juice also aids in eczema and psoriasis, but also warts.

Excess toxins in our livers may be responsible for many skin and face problems, so drinking dandelion tea helps to clean out your skin as well.

6. DIGESTIVE AID AND WEIGHT LOSS

Dandelion improves digestion, may relieve heartburn and balances the beneficial bacteria in your intestines. In traditional medicine, it has been used for ages to improve appetite, ease minor digestive ailments, bloating, and relieve constipation, as it is a mild laxative.

Normal bile production supports healthy digestion. Due to its ability to increase the bile production, cholesterol and fats are broken down and eliminated from the body more efficiently. This improves the whole digestive process.

One study also shows the possible anti-obesity effects of dandelion (from a Korean study – says it could have similar effects on the body as the weight loss drug Orlistat).

7. IMMUNITY, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY, ANTIOXIDANT

This super-plant also strengthens the immune system. This weed contains plenty of antioxidants and phytonutrients that reduce inflammation and keep your immune system healthy. Several studies have shown potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of dandelion.

Vitamin A as a beta-carotene in dandelion provides immune support as well (just one cup of dandelion greens has over a 100% DV). It is also relatively high in vitamin C, which boosts your immunity.

Dandelion is high in antioxidants, therefore drinking Dandelion tea aids the body to avoid cell damage from free radicals.

In addition, studies suggest that dandelion can help fights off infections. In fact, a water extract of dandelion exhibits anti-influenza activity.

8. URINARY TRACT

Dandelion stimulate urinary function and inhibits microbial growth in the urinary system. This superweed’s roots and leaves may help prevent urinary tract infections as well as bladder disorders and kidney problems.

An especially effective combo is with another herb, uva ursi. This combination works because of potent anti-bacterial effects of uva ursi, and the increased urine flow associated with dandelion.

9. DIABETES HELP

Dandelion tea benefits people with diabetes by stimulating the production of insulin from the pancreas and regulating blood sugar levels. Keeping pancreas healthy, so it can produce proper amounts of insulin, is vital in the prevention of diabetes.

Modern mammal studies show that dandelion helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, mostly through its ability to control the lipid levels.

Also, thanks to its diuretic properties, Dandelion tea helps the body remove excess sugar stored in your body.

10. GALLBLADDER HEALTH

Dandelion raises bile production and lessens the inflammation to aid with gallbladder problems and blockages. It may also help prevent gallbladder stones (but you should not take it without medical supervision when you have active gallstones or any blockages).

For a stronger effect on your liver and gallbladder health, consider also taking artichoke, burdock root and milk thistle seed along with dandelion.

11. CHOLESTEROL AND HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

Dandelion root is often used to increase bile production to break down fats and remove cholesterol from the body.

Studies done on rabbits have shown that dandelion reduces and controls cholesterol levels while improving cholesterol ratios by raising the good ‘HDL’. The study also says that Dandelion is beneficial in preventing hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis and reducing risk factors for coronary artery disease.

This plant also assist in regulating blood pressure due to the fiber and potassium content and thanks to its diuretic properties.

12. BONE AND JOINT HEALTH

This plant is very rich in Vitamin K, which is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a major role in bone and heart health. Your body needs it for controlling binding of calcium in the bones and other tissues. Nowadays, good calcium supplements already contains vitamin K, D, and magnesium.

Vitamin K, like calcium, is classified as a bone-enhancing nutrient. Studies suggest that vitamin K can improve bone health and reduce the risk of bone fractures. Humans deficient in vitamin K are at a greater risk. Vitamin K seems to build bones better than a calcium! Vitamin K deficiencies are quite common, as you can find it mostly in Green Leafy Vegetables, and most of us do not eat enough greens.

Dandelion also contains 10% of calcium per cup which protects your bones as well.

Furthermore, a recent study from 2015 says that Taraxasterol (a compound isolated from dandelion) may be a useful agent for prevention and treatment of Osteoarthritis, a chronic degenerative joint disease.

13. TONSILS AND SORE THROAT

Chinese herbal remedies are commonly used to treat a sore throat in China and are used globally by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine.

Dandelion shows promise in Inflammation of the tonsils (Tonsillitis). An early study found that humans who had their tonsils removed recovered quicker if they ate soup bearing dandelion compared to those who ate soup without it. In fact, “Dandelion soup was more effective than sodium penicillin for acute purulent tonsillitis.”

14. BRAIN HEALTH, LUTEOLIN

Dandelion has a positive impact on your brain health as well. What makes dandelion useful as a natural nootropic is its large Luteolin content. Luteolin from dandelion is a natural nootropic that works directly within the brain.

“Tranquility Labs research has found that dandelion extract is one of the most potent sources of Luteolin in the world (almost 10 times stronger than artichoke).”

Luteolin is a flavonoid that can eradicate free radicals and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. This is crucial when it comes to brain function, memory, and cognition. It can lessen inflammation in the brain which is responsible for causing memory and cognitive dysfunction.

According to Dr. Johnson of the University of Illinois:

“Luteolin can be used to mitigate age-associated inflammation and therefore improve cognitive function and avoid some of the cognitive deficits that occur in aging.”

Furthermore, in a study, Luteolin has been shown to Reduce Alzheimer’s Disease Pathologies Induced by Traumatic Brain Injury.

15. DANDELION FLOWERS

Let’s not forget about dandelion flowering parts, which shows that:

  • have higher levels of polyphenols
  • have greater antioxidant properties
  • contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds
  • may act as chemopreventive agents

16. MORE POSSIBLE USES AND BENEFITS

  • excellent for fluid retention problems
  • may ease menopausal symptoms
  • reduces uric acid levels
  • improves the functioning of pancreas
  • helps with constipation (dandelion is a mild laxative), and contains fiber
  • muscular rheumatism (acording to Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Phyllis A. Balch, CNC)
  • may help with some hormone imbalances (especially oestrogen excess, according to Dr. Sarah Brewer)
  • hypoglycaemia
  • congestive heart failure: should be prescribed for every case of oedema of heart origin (according to Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine)
  • Dandelion is also used as a bitter tonic in atonic dyspepsia
  • A water extract of the roots and leaves demonstrated antidepressant effects in an animal model
  • extract of the root has protective action against alcohol-induced toxicity in the liver
  • may aslo help with lung inflammation “(compound Taraxasterol inhibits cigarette smoke-induced lung inflammation)”

Safety:

Dandelion is usually safe in food and medicinal levels. However, as with any herb, some people may have an allergic reaction to it. If you are pregnant, nursing, or taking any prescription medications (especially with effect on the liver), you should talk to a health care professional before taking. Dandelion is a potent diuretic, so don’t overdo it and do not combine with other diuretics ! Also not recommended for people with active gallstones, biliary tract obstruction, and obstructive jaundice. When you add dandelion to your diet in any way, start small and monitor your body’s response.

The Herb Hawthorn

Background

  • Hawthorn is a flowering shrub or tree of the rose family. It is native to Europe and grows in temperate regions throughout the world.
  • Historically, hawthorn has been used for heart disease as well as for digestive and kidney problems. It has also been used for anxiety.
  • Extracts from the hawthorn leaf, flower, or berry may be sold as capsules, tablets, or liquids.

How Much Do We Know?

  • Hawthorn has been studied for heart failure in people. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can’t pump as much blood as it should.
  • Not much is known about hawthorn for any other health conditions as there is little or no evidence.

What Have We Learned?

  • Although some older, short-term studies suggested that hawthorn may have benefits in patients with heart failure, two longer term studies completed in 2008 and 2009—including a 2-year trial involving almost 2,700 people in 13 European countries—did not confirm these benefits. In these studies, unlike some of the older ones, patients were given hawthorn in addition to the recommended conventional treatments for heart failure.

What Do We Know About Safety?

  • In most studies of hawthorn for heart failure, no serious safety problems have been reported. However, in one study, patients taking hawthorn were more likely than those taking a placebo (an inactive substance) to have their heart failure get worse soon after the study started. The reason for this is not clear, but one possibility is that hawthorn might have interacted with drugs the patients were taking.
  • Side effects of hawthorn can include dizziness, nausea, and digestive symptoms.
  • Hawthorn may interact in harmful ways with drugs, including some heart medications. If you’re taking medication and you’re considering using hawthorn, consult your health care provider.

Keep in Mind

  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

Key References

  • Guo R, Pittler MH, Ernst E. Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2008;(1):CD005312 [edited 2009]. Accessed at http://www.thecochranelibrary.com(link is external) on April 17, 2015.
  • Hawthorn. In: Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000:182-192.
  • Hawthorn. Natural Medicines Web site. Accessed at naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com on April 17, 2015. [Database subscription].

Whey Protein Benefits

 

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What is it?

Whey protein is the protein contained in whey, the watery portion of milk that separates from the curds when making cheese.

Whey protein is used for improving athletic performance, as a food supplement, as an alternative to milk for people with lactose intolerance, for replacing or supplementing milk-based infant formulas, and for reversing weight loss and increasing glutathione (GSH) in people with HIV disease.

Whey protein is also used for protein allergy, asthma, high cholesterol, obesity and weight loss, preventing allergies in infants, late-stage cancer, and colon cancer.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for WHEY PROTEIN are as follows:

Possibly effective for…

  • Red, itchy skin (eczema). Research shows that infants who consume whey protein by mouth during the first 3-12 months of life have a lower risk of developing red, itchy skin by the age of 3 years.
  • Prone allergies and allergic reactions (atopic disease). Research shows that infants who consume whey protein by mouth during the first 3-12 months of life are less likely to be prone to allergies and allergic reactions compared to infants who receive standard formula. However, taking why protein might not be helpful for treating atopic diseases once they develop.
  • Weight loss in people with HIV/AIDS. Some research shows that taking whey protein by mouth can help decrease weight loss in people with HIV.
  • Red, scaly skin (psoriasis). Some evidence shows that taking a specific whey protein extract (Dermylex Advitech Inc.) daily for 8 weeks can reduce psoriasis symptoms.

Possibly ineffective for…

  • Lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Taking a specific whey protein supplement (ImuPower) daily for 6 weeks can improve shortness of breath but not lung function or quality of life in people with COPD. Other research suggests that taking whey protein supplements does not improve lung function, muscle function, or exercise tolerance in people with COPD.
  • Osteoporosis. Research suggests that taking a drink containing whey protein daily for 2 years does not improve bone density in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
  • Weight loss. Most research suggests that taking whey protein alone, along with diet modifications, or while following an exercise plan does not seem to reduce weight for overweight and obese adults. However, whey protein might improve body composition in overweight adults when used along with a modified diet. In overweight teens, drinking a whey protein beverage for 12 weeks seems to increase weight and body mass index (BMI).

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…

  • Athletic performance. Some clinical research shows that taking whey protein in combination with strength training increases lean body mass, strength, and muscle size. However, other research suggests no effect of whey protein on strength or muscle mass. Taking whey protein seems to improve recovery from exercise better than carbohydrate supplements in untrained but not trained athletes.
  • Asthma. Early research suggests that taking a specific type of whey protein (HMS 90 Immunofec, Inc) daily for 30 days does not improve lung function in children with asthma.
  • Cancer. There is some evidence that taking whey protein might help reduce tumor size in some people with cancer that has spread.
  • Cystic fibrosis. Early research suggests that taking whey protein daily for 28 days improves lung function in children, but not adults with cystic fibrosis
  • Asthma caused by exercise. Early research suggests that taking whey protein daily for 10 days improves lung function in people with asthma caused by exercise.
  • Non-alcoholic liver disease (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, NASH). Early research suggests that taking whey protein daily for 12 weeks can improve liver function in patients with NASH.
  • Hepatitis. Early research suggests that taking a specific type of whey protein (Immunocal) daily for 12 weeks can improve liver function in some people with hepatitis B. However, it does not appear to benefit people with hepatitis C.
  • HIV/AIDS. Early research suggests that taking whey protein for 4 months does not improve immune function in children with HIV.
  • High cholesterol. Early research suggests that taking whey protein daily while participating in resistance training does not reduce cholesterol levels or body fat in overweight men with high cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure. Early research suggests that drinking a beverage that contains whey protein daily for 12 weeks does not lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. However, taking hydrolyzed whey protein daily for 6 weeks can reduce blood pressure
  • Infections developed while in the hospital. Early research suggests that taking a specific whey protein supplement (Beneprotein) daily for up to 28 days has a similar effect on the rate of hospital-acquired infections as taking a combination of zinc, selenium, glutamine, and metoclopramide.
  • Inherited disorders that cause mental and developmental problems (mitochondrial myopathies). Early research suggests that taking a whey protein supplement daily for one month does not improve muscle strength or quality of life in people with mitochondrial diseases.
  • Ovarian cysts (Polycystic ovarian syndrome). Early research suggests that taking a supplement containing whey protein daily for 2 months can reduce body weight, fat mass, and cholesterol in people with ovarian cysts. However, whey protein does not improve blood sugar and seems to decrease high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol.
  • Aching and stiffness caused by inflammation (polymyalgia rheumatica). Taking whey protein in a dairy product twice daily for 8 weeks does not improve muscle function, walking speed, or other movement tests in people with polymyalgia rheumatica.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate whey protein for these uses.

How does it work?

Whey protein is a source of protein that might improve the nutrient content of the diet. Whey protein might also have effects on the immune system.

Are there safety concerns?

Whey protein is LIKELY SAFE for most children and adults when taken by mouth appropriately. High doses can cause some side effects such as increased bowel movements, nausea, thirst, bloating, cramps, reduced appetite, tiredness (fatigue), and headache.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking whey protein if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Milk allergy: If you are allergic to cow’s milk, avoid using whey protein.

Are there interactions with medications?

Major
Do not take this combination.
Levodopa
Whey protein might decrease how much levodopa the body absorbs. By decreasing how much levodopa the body absorbs, whey protein might decrease the effectiveness of levodopa. Do not take whey protein and levodopa at the same time.
Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Albendazole
Whey protein can decrease how much albendazole the body absorbs. Taking whey protein and albendazole at the same time can decrease the effectiveness of albendazole. Do not take whey protein while taking albendazole.
Alendronate (Fosamax)
Whey protein can decrease how much alendronate (Fosamax) the body absorbs. Taking whey protein and alendronate (Fosamax) at the same time can decrease the effectiveness of alendronate (Fosamax). Don’t take whey protein within two hours of taking alendronate (Fosamax).
Antibiotics (Quinolone antibiotics)
Whey protein might decrease how much antibiotic the body absorbs. Taking whey protein along with some antibiotics might decrease the effectiveness of some antibiotics. To avoid this interaction take whey protein supplements at least one hour after antibiotics.

Some of these antibiotics that might interact with whey protein include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), enoxacin (Penetrex), norfloxacin (Chibroxin, Noroxin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), trovafloxacin (Trovan), and grepafloxacin (Raxar).

Antibiotics (Tetracycline antibiotics)
Whey protein contains calcium. The calcium in whey protein can attach to tetracyclines in the stomach. This decreases the amount of tetracyclines that can be absorbed. Taking calcium with tetracyclines might decrease the effectiveness of tetracyclines. To avoid this interaction, take whey protein two hours before or four hours after taking tetracyclines.

Some tetracyclines include demeclocycline (Declomycin), minocycline (Minocin), and tetracycline (Achromycin).

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For improving athletic performance: 1.2-1.5 grams/kg of whey protein in combination with strength training for 6-10 weeks.
  • For HIV/AIDS-related weight loss: 8.4-84 grams of whey protein per day, or 2.4 grams/kg per day in a high-calorie formula, or 42-84 grams per day in a glutamine-enriched formula.

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

References

  1. Exl, B. M., Deland, U., Wall, M., Preysch, U., Secretin, M. C., and Shmerling, D. H. Zug-Frauenfeld nutritional survey (“Zuff Study”): allergen-reduced nutrition in normal infant population and its healthrelated effects: results at the age of six months. Nutr Res 1998;18:1443-1462.
  2. Porch, M. C., Shahane, A., and Leiva, L. Influence of breast milk, soy or two hydrolyzed formulas on the development of allergic manifestations in infants at risk. Nutr Res 1998;18:1424.
  3. Lam, B. C. C. and Yeung, C. Y. The effect of breast milk, infant formula and hypoallergenic formula on incidence of atopic manifestation in high risk infants. 1992;

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What is it?

Willow bark is the bark from several varieties of the willow tree, including white willow or European willow, black willow or pussy willow, crack willow, purple willow, and others. The bark is used to make medicine.

Willow bark acts a lot like aspirin, so it is used for pain, including headache, muscle or joint pain, menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis, gout, and a disease of the spine called ankylosing spondylitis.

Willow bark’s pain relieving potential has been recognized throughout history. Willow bark was commonly used during the time of Hippocrates, when people were advised to chew on the bark to relieve pain and fever.

Willow bark is also used for the common cold, flu, and weight loss.

Salicin, the active ingredient in willow bark, seems to have contributed to the death of the composer, Ludwig von Beethoven. Apparently, Beethoven ingested large amounts of salicin before he died. His autopsy report is the first recorded case of a particular type of kidney damage that can be caused by salicin.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for WILLOW BARK are as follows:

Possibly effective for…

  • Treating lower back pain. Willow bark seems to reduce lower back pain. Higher doses seem to be more effective than lower doses. It can take up to a week for significant improvement in symptoms.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…

  • Joint pain. Research shows that taking a specific product containing glucosamine sulfate, methylsufonlylmethane, white willow bark extract, ginger root concentrate, boswellia extract, turmeric root extract, cayenne, and hyaluronic acid (Instaflex Joint Support, Direct Digital, Charlotte, NC) in three divided doses daily for 8 weeks reduces joint pain. But this product doesn’t seem to help joint stiffness or function.
  • Weight loss. Early research suggests that taking willow bark in combination with ephedra and cola nut might cause slight weight loss in overweight and obese people. However, it is not wise to use this combination because of safety concerns about ephedra. Ephedra has been banned in the United States due to severe harmful side effects.
  • Osteoarthritis. Research on willow bark extract for osteoarthritis has produced conflicting results. Some research shows it can reduce osteoarthritis pain. In fact, there is some evidence suggesting that willow bark extract works as well as conventional medications for osteoarthritis. But other research shows no benefit.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early research suggests that willow bark extract is not effective for rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Joint pain.
  • Treating fever.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of willow bark for these uses.

How does it work?

Willow bark contains a chemical called salicin that is similar to aspirin.

Are there safety concerns?

Willow bark is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth for a short time (up to 12 weeks).

It may cause headaches, stomach upset, and digestive system upset. It can also cause itching, rash, and allergic reactions, particularly in people allergic to aspirin.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the safety of using willow bark during pregnancy. It’s best to avoid using it.

Using willow bark while breast-feeding is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Willow bark contains chemicals that can enter breast milk and have harmful effects on the nursing infant. Don’t use it if you are breast-feeding.

Children: Willow bark is POSSIBLY UNSAFE n children when taken by mouth for viral infections such as colds and flu. There is some concern that, like aspirin, it might increase the risk of developing Reye’s syndrome. Stay on the safe side and don’t use willow bark in children.

Bleeding disorders: Willow bark might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Kidney disease: Willow bark might reduce blood flow through the kidneys, which might lead to kidney failure in certain people. If you have kidney disease, don’t use willow bark.

Sensitivity to aspirin: People with ASTHMA, STOMACH ULCERS, DIABETES, GOUT, HEMOPHILIA, HYPOPROTHROMBINEMIA, or KIDNEY or LIVER DISEASE might be sensitive to aspirin and also willow bark. Using willow bark might cause serious allergic reactions. Avoid use.

Surgery: Willow bark might slow blood clotting. There is a concern it could cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using willow bark at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there interactions with medications?

Major
Do not take this combination.
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Willow bark might slow blood clotting. Taking willow bark along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Acetazolamide
Willow bark contains chemicals that might increase the amount of acetazolamide in the blood. Taking willow bark along with acetazolamide might increase the effects and side effects of acetazolamide.
Aspirin
Willow bark contains chemicals similar to aspirin. Taking willow bark along with aspirin might increase the effects and side effects of aspirin.
Choline Magnesium Trisalicylate (Trilisate)
Willow bark contains chemicals that are similar to choline magnesium trisalicylate (Trilisate). Taking willow bark along with choline magnesium trisalicylate (Trilisate) might increase the effects and side effects of choline magnesium trisalicylate (Trilisate).
Salsalate (Disalcid)
Salsalate (Disalcid) is a type of medicine called a salicylate. It’s similar to aspirin. Willow bark also contains a salicylate similar to aspirin. Taking salsalate (Disalcid) along with willow bark might increase the effects and side effects of salsalate (Disalcid).

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting
Willow bark can slow blood clotting. Using it along with other herbs that can also slow blood clotting might increase the chance of bleeding and bruising in some people. These herbs include clove, danshen, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, ginseng, meadowsweet, red clover, and others.
Herbs that contain an aspirin-like chemical (Salicylate)
Willow bark contains a chemical that is similar to an aspirin-like chemical called salicylate. Taking willow bark along with herbs that contain salicylate may increase salicylate effects and adverse effects. Salicylate-containing herbs include aspen bark, black haw, poplar, and meadowsweet.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For back pain: Willow bark extract providing 120-240 mg salicin has been used. The higher 240 mg dose might be more effective.

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

References

  1. Wuthold K, Germann I, Roos G, et al. Thin-layer chromatography and multivariate data analysis of willow bark extracts. J Chromatogr Sci. 2004;42:306-9. View abstract.
  2. Uehleke B, Müller J, Stange R, Kelber O, Melzer J. Willow bark extract STW 33-I in the long-term treatment of outpatients with rheumatic pain mainly osteoarthritis or back pain. Phytomedicine. 2013 Aug 15;20:980-4. View abstract.
  3. Beer AM, Wegener T. Willow bark extract (Salicis cortex) for gonarthrosis and coxarthrosis–results of a cohort study with a control group. Phytomedicine. 2008 Nov;15:907-13. View abstract.

HOW IS WILD YAM USED?

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What is it?

Wild yam is a plant. It contains a chemical, diosgenin, which can be made in the laboratory into various steroids, such as estrogen and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). The root and the bulb of the plant are used as a source of diosgenin, which is prepared as an “extract,” a liquid that contains concentrated diosgenin.

There are over 600 species of wild yam. Some species are grown specifically as a source of diosgenin for laboratories to use in making steroids. These species are generally not eaten due to a bitter flavor. Only about 12 of the 600 species are considered edible.

Diosgenin or wild yam is often promoted as a “natural alterative” to estrogen therapy, so you will see it used for estrogen replacement therapy, vaginal dryness in older women, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), menstrual cramps, weak bones (osteoporosis), increasing energy and sexual drive in men and women, and breast enlargement. Wild yam does seem to have some estrogen-like activity, but it is not actually converted into estrogen in the body. It takes a laboratory to do that.

Similarly, you will also see wild yam and diosgenin promoted as a “natural DHEA.” This is because in the laboratory DHEA is made from diosgenin, but this chemical reaction is not believed to occur in the human body. So taking wild yam extract will not increase DHEA levels in people. Individuals who are interested in taking DHEA should avoid wild yam products labeled as “natural DHEA.”

Wild yam is also used for treating a disorder of the intestines called diverticulosis, gallbladder pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and for increasing energy.

Some women apply wild yam creams to the skin to reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for WILD YAM are as follows:

Possibly ineffective for…

  • Menopausal symptoms. Applying wild yam cream to the skin for 3 months does not seem to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. It also does not seem to affect levels of hormones such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol, or progesterone, which play a role in menopause.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…

  • Use as a natural alternative to estrogens.
  • Postmenopausal vaginal dryness.
  • PMS (Premenstrual syndrome).
  • Weak bones (osteoporosis).
  • Increasing energy and sexual desire in men and women.
  • Gallbladder problems.
  • Painful menstrual periods.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Infertility.
  • Menstrual disorders.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of wild yam for these uses.

How does it work?

Wild yam contains a chemical that can be made into various steroids, such as estrogen, in the laboratory. However, the body can’t change wild yam to estrogen.

Are there safety concerns?

Wild yam is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. Large amounts can cause vomiting.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking wild yam if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Wild yam might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, do not use wild yam.

Protein S deficiency: People with protein S deficiency have an increased risk of forming clots. There is some concern that wild yam might increase the risk of clot formation in these people because it might act like estrogen. There is one case report of a patient with protein S deficiency and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who developed a clot in the vein serving the retina in her eye 3 days after taking a combination product containing wild yam, dong quai, red clover, and black cohosh. If you have protein S deficiency, it is best to avoid using wild yam until more is known.

Are there interactions with medications?

Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Estrogens
Wild yam might have some of the same effects as estrogen. Taking wild yam along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.

Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The appropriate dose of wild yam depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for wild yam. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

References

  1. Hudson t, Standish L, Breed C, and et al. Clinical and endocrinological effects of a menopausal botanical formula. Journal of Naturopathic Medicine 1997;7:73-77.
  2. Zagoya JCD, Laguna J, and Guzman-Garcia J. Studies on the regulation of cholesterol metabolism by the use of structural analogue, diosgenin. Biochemical Pharmacology 1971;20:3471-3480.
  3. Datta K, Datta SK, and Datta PC. Pharmacognostic evaluation of potential yams Dioscorea. Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 1984;5:181-196.
  4. Araghiniknam M, Chung S, Nelson-White T, and et al. Antioxidant activity of Dioscorea and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in older humans. Life Sciences 1996;59:L147-L157.

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