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June Issue of Natural Alternatives
May 31, 2013
Hello, and welcome to this edition edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!
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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates
IN THIS ISSUE:
1) HEALTH BENEFITS OF BLACK CURRANT EXTRACT
2) 5 NATURAL REMEDIES FOR DRY HAIR
3) AYURVEDIC MEDICINE: ASHWAGANDHA
1) HEALTH BENEFITS OF BLACK CURRANT EXTRACT
Black currant is a natural remedy said to offer a variety of health benefits. Sourced from Ribes nigrum (a plant native to parts of Europe and Asia), black currant extract is typically derived from black currant fruit or from the oil of black currant seeds. Black currant extracts are widely available in dietary supplement form.
Black currant oil contains gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid found to reduce inflammation. In addition, black currant berries (a substance often consumed as a whole food) contain high amounts of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant.
Alzheimer's disease , arthritis, colds, coughs , high cholesterol, menopausal symptoms , premenstrual syndrome,
Additionally, black currant extract is said to boost the immune system and promote detox.
There's some evidence that consumption of black currant seed oil may help keep cholesterol in check. For example, a 2010 study from Phytotherapy Research found that regular consumption of black currant seed oil may help improve total cholesterol levels and reduce levels of triglycerides (a type of harmful blood fat). The study involved 2,154 patients with abnormal cholesterol levels, each of whom consumed black currant seed oil every day for six weeks.
In addition, a small study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in 2005 found that black currant seed oil was more effective than fish oil in decreasing levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol. However, it's important to note that the study involved only 15 participants and a four-week treatment period, and that a number of other studies have indicated that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may be of significant benefit in regulating cholesterol levels.
Black currant extract shows promise for treatment of glaucoma. In a 2012 study published in Ophthalmologica, for instance, researchers found that consuming black-currant-sourced anthocyanins, in combination with antiglaucoma medication, may benefit people with open-angle glaucoma.
For the study, 38 patients with open-angle glaucoma consumed either black currant anthocyanins or a placebo once daily for two years. Throughout the study period, all participants were also treated with antiglaucoma drops. Results revealed that patients treated with black currant anthocyanins experienced a significantly greater increase in ocular blood flow compared to those treated with the placebo.
Black currant fruit extract may help protect against oxidative stress, according to a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Physiology. In tests on human cells, the study's authors determined that anthocyanins found in black currant extract may help suppress oxidative stress, as well as enhance immune response to infection.
Although little is known about the safety of long-term use of dietary supplements containing black currant extract, there's some concern that black currant may interfere with blood clotting. Given this safety concern, it's important for people with bleeding disorders to take caution when consuming black currant extract. In addition, use of black currant extract should be avoided prior to undergoing surgery.
Widely available for purchase online, dietary supplements containing black currant extract and black currant seed oil are sold in many natural-foods stores, drugstores, and stores specializing in dietary supplements.
Hair is known to be a woman’s crown. It can change how a woman feels about herself like how a woman with shiny, healthy hair woman feels beautiful and a dull, lifeless haired one makes her feel ugly. Taking care of one’s hair is very important, not only to look good but to feel good. People who have bad hair day feel distressed and burdened; more so to those with dry hair who more than often feel that every day is a bad hair day.
What Causes Dry Hair?
Dry hair comes when moisture and oil escapes the hair and loses the soft and healthy texture you want it to have. Continuously unattended dry hair becomes brittle and dull, like straw: lifeless, unhealthy, and easily breaks. Just as there are as much causes to dry hair, there is no need to give up like there is no end to it. Causes of dry hair may range from improper hair care to serious illnesses. More often, finding out the main reason of your drying hair will give you the idea of how to properly treat it and prevent it from coming back. For serious illnesses causes, consulting your physician may be the best course of action.
Causes of drying hair mainly lie on improper hair care. Excessive using of styling products and harsh shampoos (containing damaging chemicals) will cause the hair to lose the elements that keep it moist. Overuse of heat like straightening irons, curling irons and blow dryers intensify dry hair. Undergoing salon treatments that involve using of products with damaging chemicals like hair perming and hair dying are also causes. Environment also contributes to the condition like residing in a humid area. Risks of developing dry hair increases with people who love to stay and play outdoors under the heat of the sun and those who love to jump in the cool waters of the swimming pool.
Eating disorders like anorexia is also a cause. The body is robbed of the vital nutrients it needs, including the hair as well, when you force yourself to vomit out the food you eat. The same as poor diet, the hair becomes dry and brittle as it lacks the vitamins and nutrients it needs. Medical conditions like hypothyroidism and hypoparathyroidism can also cause dry hair and produces too little of the thyroid and parathyroid hormone that can cause dry hair together with weakness, muscle pain and depression.
The hair’s moisture content must be between 8% and 10%, and if it falls below that level, it reduces the hairs ability to retain moisture. The sebaceous glands on the root of the hair also oftentimes do not produce natural oils, the oil that nourishes the hair and makes it look healthy. Whether your drying hair is caused by improper hair care or disorders, there are natural home remedies to get rid of a bad hair day.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are found in abundance in fish. It is generally necessary for a wide range of purposes, including preventing drying of hair. Fish oil lubricates hair follicles, provides Vitamin A necessary for hair health and stimulates sebaceous glands that produce natural oils. According to Donald O. Rudin’s book Omega-3 Oils, fish oil helps keep the smooth and gloss of the hair and skin. Vitamin A, a nutrient highly found in fish oil, is necessary for healthy hair and deficiency causes dry, dull and falling hair, according to John D. Kirschmann’s Nutrition Almanac. Fish oil also stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce sebum, an oily substance that maintains the softness of hair and skin and deficiency causes dry skin and hair, according to James Forleo’s Health is Simple, Disease is Complicated.
Residues from shampoos, conditioners and other styling products can leave hair dry and dull. These residue remains on the hair’s outer layer and are called cuticle. Refreshing dry hair with white or apple cider vinegar improves cleanliness and add shine, as vinegar’s properties remove hair residues.
Mix ¼ cup of white distilled vinegar to 1 cup of water, or 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to 2 cups of water. Apply white vinegar after conditioning and apple cider vinegar before conditioning. Apply to scalp and leave of for 3-5 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. Avoid rinsing more than once for every one to two weeks, too much vinegar can bring the opposite of the desired effect.
Applying hair mask made of avocado and banana can help with the hair’s shine and beauty. Bananas have amino acids that protect the hair from environmental damages. Avocados have Vitamins A, B6 and rich oils that are easily absorbed by the scalp. In a blender, mix half of each banana and avocado, a few cantaloupe and plain yogurt. Blend until smooth and rub unto hair and scalp. Cover your head with shower cap for 30 minutes and rinse out thoroughly, washing with shampoo and water.
One of the most widely used over-all beauty aid is olive oil, especially in improving hair health. For dry hair, applying a small amount of oil, specifically olive oil, will make hair soft, silky and easy to manage. Rub the oil unto hair and cover it with shower cap. Leave it on overnight and when you awake, make sure to focus in removing the oil and taking the remedy out using shampoo. Using coconut oil is a good alternative as well.
Like omega-3 fatty acids and avocados, foods that highly contain Vitamin A or beta carotene help in improving hair heath. Vitamin A deficiency causes hair to become dry and dull. Fruits with orange color are those that are high in Vitamin A. These include cantaloupe, papaya, mangoes, carrots and sweet potatoes. Spinach and other dark green and leafy vegetables are also advised. Organ meat and cod liver oil may also satisfy your Vitamin A needs. Aside from eating Vitamin A rich foods, you can also resort to Vitamin A supplementation.
3) AYURVEDIC MEDICINE: ASHWAGANDHA
Withania somnifera, better known as ashwagandha or “Indian ginseng,” has been a staple of Ayurvedic medicine for over 3000 years. The herb has a wide range of activity that promotes physical and mental health, body rejuvenation, and longevity. It is known to inhibit anxiety and improve energy. In certain cases, ashwagandha may also promote healthy fertility.
Long distance cycling is an endurance sport that requires aerobic fitness and energy. Many products have been developed to provide energy in a quick, easy form: gel packets, energy chews, sports drinks, and more. Generally, these products just provide extra calories, which are necessary if you’re expending energy, but do nothing to actually support physical ability.
In 2012, the Faculty of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy at India’s Guru Nanak Dev University conducted an eight week study in which forty elite cyclists supplemented with ashwagandha. By the study’s conclusion, significant enhancements in both cardiovascular and respiratory endurance were reported. Perhaps even more importantly, research out of Malaysia found that when ashwagandha root extract was regularly administered to persons receiving chemotherapy, it had potential to relieve related fatigue and improve their quality of life.
In Ayurvedic medicine, one of the main uses of ashwagandha root extract is to enhance memory and improve brain function. One of the mechanisms responsible for this effect is ashwagandha’s antioxidant action. Since oxidative stress contributes to neurodegenerative disorders, lessening oxidative damage may offer neuroprotection. Multiple studies have been performed to evaluate the neuroprotective properties of ashwagandha root extract on rats and found that it helps to prevent some instances of memory impairment and oxidative stress of the brain.
Stress affects both mind and body and can be a strain that leads to underperformance. Most people will also testify that stress reduces quality of life. Ashwagandha has been documented in Ayurvedic and Greek medicine for its stress-combating properties.
The Department of Neuropsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry at India’s Asha Hospital orchestrated a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving sixty-four subjects with a history of chronic stress. After separating the participants into control and study groups, the study group began supplementing with high-concentration, full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract. After two months, the study group reported significant improvements in all stress measurements and quality of life; all without serious side effects.
Additionally, stress is known to be a contributing factor for male infertility. Along with Tribulus terrestris, Ashwagandha is prized for its stimulating effects on fertility.
The Department of Biochemistry at C.S.M. Medical University conducted a study involving sixty infertile men who, however, did have normal sperm production. Participants were given five grams of ashwagandha root powder every day for three months. At the study’s conclusion, stress reductions and improvements in semen quality were observed in many of the participants and 14% of the participants’ partners ended up becoming pregnant.
Ashwagandha might cause drowsiness so if you’re taking any medications that could interact with that effect, it’s best to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new nutritional supplement programs- which many conventional practitioners, unfortunately, thumb their nose at anyway. Will we see the day when the medical establishment accepts and promotes ashwagandha root extract as a therapy for stress or infertility? Time will tell.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!
Thank you for reading.
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This newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge, to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health. You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advices are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes in order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.
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