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Cinnamon’s Infection and Diabetes-Fighting Properties Revealed

Cinnamon’s Infection and Diabetes-Fighting Properties Revealed

Cinnamon's Infection and Diabetes-Fighting Properties Revealed

Cinnamon’s medicinal potential is as rich and complex as its flavor and aroma, with blood sugar balancing and infection fighting top on the list.

Cinnamon is a familiar spice, but few are aware of just how diverse are its medicinal properties.  The US National Library of Medicine houses well over 1300 abstracts on the subject of the various forms of cinnamon’s potential health benefits.

GreenMedInfo.com has gathered together research on no less than 60 potential health benefits of this highly valued spice on our research page dedicated to the topic: Cinnamon Medicinal Properties.

First, it must be clarified that there are a wide range of plants whose bark are sold as cinnamon. The first though less used form is known as Cinnamomum verum (literally “true cinnamon”) and is sometimes called Ceylon (the ancient name of Sri Lanka) cinnamon, as it is named after the geographic region where it was first commonly cultivated.  Due to its rarity, it is more expensive and harder to find on the market.

Other forms include:

  •  C. cassia (Cassia or Chinese cinnamon)
  •  C. burmannii ( Indonesian cinnamon)
  •  C. loureiroi (Vietnamese cinnamon)

One of the major differences between C. verum and varieties such as C. burmannii and C. cassia is that the latter types contain much higher levels of coumarin, a naturally occurring phytochemical with blood-thinning properties.  This has prompted European health agencies to warn against consuming large amounts of cinnamon varieties such as cassia.[i]  Natural blood-thinning activity, of course, within the proper context can be life-saving, but when mixed with already dangerous blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin, can be a recipe for disaster – all the more reason why folks using spices and herbs in ‘pharmacological’ or heroic doses should consult a medical herbalist, or physician with a nuanced understanding of the benefits and potential harms of using high-dose herbal therapies.

Another issue that the US buyer of spices must be fully aware of is the likelihood that unless explicitly labeled USDA certified organic the cinnamon they are purchasing was exposed to toxic levels of gamma irradiation in a controversial process known as “electronic” or “cold” pasteurization. To learn more about this serious threat to our food supply read: The Invisible Nuclear Threat in Non-Organic Food.

Lastly, be mindful of the differences between the powdered whole herb, various water or alcohol extracts, and the oil itself. Some of the studies below focus on solely the oil component (90% of the oil is the therapeutic substance known as cinnamaldehyde) whereas others use water soluble components. The information listed below is not provided as medical advice but to illustrate the vast potential natural substances have to be used in a therapeutic manner.

Blood Sugar Disorders

Probably the most well-known health benefit of cinnamon is for blood sugar disorders.  And this is for good reason. There is now a rather substantial body of clinical and preclinical research showing that it may help to improve the condition of both type 2 and type 1 diabetics in the following ways:

  •  Type 2 diabetics:  Improve fasting blood sugar,[ii] reduce glycated hemoglobin (A1C) and blood pressure,[iii] increase glucose optimization in a manner similar to metformin,[iv][v]improve insulin signaling and sensitivity,[vi] [vii] and improve blood lipid profiles.[viii]
  •  Type 1 diabetics: Protect against hypertension,[ix] protect against diabetes-associated kidney damage,[x] suppress post-meal blood sugar elevations,[xi] and contribute to ongoing reduction in blood sugar.[xii]

Infections

While there is extant folk medical lore indicating that honey mixed with cinnamon can help relieve a sore throat, or fight off infection, few realize it has been confirmed to have extensive anti-infective properties against a wide range of bacteria, viruses and fungi.

It makes sense that cinnamon bark would protect against infection, as one of the major biological functions of plant bark is defense against predation (i.e. infection).

What follows is an impressive range of pathogens that appear to succumb to cinnamon:

  •         Aspergillus niger[xiii]
  •         Campylobacter Infections[xiv]
  •         Candida Infection[xv]
  •         Coronaviridae (SARS-associated) Infections[xvi]
  •         Escherichia coli Infections[xvii]
  •         H1N1 Infection[xviii]
  •         Head Lice[xix]
  •         HIV Infections[xx]
  •         Insect Bites: Repellent[xxi]
  •         Klebsiella Infections[xxii]
  •         Legionnaires’ disease[xxiii]
  •         MRSA[xxiv]
  •         Pseudomonas aeruginosa[xxv]
  •         Staphylococcal Infections[xxvi]

Like many natural spices that have been used for thousands of years, we are only now just beginning to comprehend through scientific research how important they are in not simply flavoring our foods but helping keep us free of disease.

To learn more about this article go to:  http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/cinnamons-infection-and-diabetes-fighting-properties-revealed-0

Healthy Nutrition

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Lavender Aromatherapy Proven to Calm Premenstrual Emotions

Lavender Aromatherapy Proven to Calm Premenstrual Emotions

While conventional medicine continues to drug women with PMS with addictive SSRIs, Japanese researchers have determined that Lavender essential oil can alleviate premenstrual emotional mood changes, confirming other research showing that Lavender aromatherapy produces overall calming effects.

The research comes from Japan’s Shitennoji University and Kyoto University. The scientists conducted a randomized crossover study using 17 women with an average age of 20 years old who experienced premenstrual emotional symptoms in the late luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. These emotional symptoms have been defined by conventional medicine as premenstrual syndrome, and in its worst stage, as premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD – which typically appear in the late luteal phase (about a week prior to menstruation).

The women were selected from Shitennoji University after the researchers conducted medical questionnaires and medical histories from a larger group of women.

The women were tested during two different monthly cycles. Their cycle phases were determined by measuring their body temperatures and their levels of estrone and pregnanediol-3-glucuronide – taken from urine samples.

During the first test, half the women inhaled the scent of Lavender essential oil – generally called aromatherapy – for ten minutes. The other half of the women were tested using water as a control.

During the second test, the control group inhaled the Lavender aromatherapy while the other group was tested with the control.

The researchers tested the effects of the aromatherapy using two different measurements. The first was heart rate variability (HRV) measured by electrocardiograph. Other research has established that reduced heart rate variability (HRV) is associated with increased stress and anxiety and related symptoms.

The other measurement used to test their emotional states was the Profile of Mood States index – a standardized test that uses a five-point scale (ranging from “not at all” to “extremely”) for 65 different adjectives describing a subject’s current state of mind and mood. Examples include “irritability,” “fatigue” and so on.

The researchers found from both tests that the groups inhaling the Lavender had increased heart rate variability – indicating improved moods and reduced stress. They also found that the Profile of Mood States test results were significantly better in the Lavender aromatherapy groups compared to the two control groups.

Some of the more significant improvements in the Profile of Mood States test were in the depression, dejection and confusion categories. These three categories are typically lower for premenstrual syndrome sufferers.

The improved symptoms of the Lavender aromatherapy groups continued for up to 35 minutes following the ten-minute aromatherapy.

The researchers surmised that the improvement from Lavender aromatherapy was due to Lavender affecting the women’s parasympathetic nervous system:

This study indicates that short-term inhalation of Lavender could alleviate premenstrual emotional symptoms and could, at least in part, contribute to the improvement of parasympathetic nervous system activity.”

Premenstrual syndrome and PMDD involve a number of symptoms, which include but are not limited to mood swings, anxiety, stress, panic attacks, fatigue, food cravings, insomnia and others.

While many doctors and scientists agree that the syndrome is related to changes in hormone levels, there have been differing opinions on which are responsible. However, a 2006 study from Sweden indicated that a reduction in serotonin availability appears to be related to increased occurrence of premenstrual syndrome and PMDD.

This finding has led to the widespread prescribing of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) by conventional medicine for premenstrual syndrome and PMDD. While in the U.S., PMDD is considered a disease and SSRIs the prescriptive course, many countries – including those in the EU – have rejected this notion that PMDD is a disease and SSRIs are the necessary prescriptive course, due to the fact that SSRIs have been shown to become addictive and have numerous side effects including nausea, headaches, drowsiness, mania and others.

Meanwhile, Lavender aromatherapy shows promise as a natural and safe way to boost serotonin levels. Recent research from China’s School of Pharmaceutical Sciences indicates that Lavender essential oil aromatherapy elicits the stimulation of both serotonin and dopamine from the brain – both of which can elevate moods and produce calmness.

Confirming this, in 2011 researchers from Taiwan’s Taipei Medical University Hospital found that Lavender aromatherapy elevated moods and increased sleep quality in a clinical study of 67 women who were aged between 45 and 55 years old. This study also showed that Lavender increased heart rate variability – another sign of serotonin boosting – among the women.

The Japanese researchers analyzed their Lavender essential oil and determined the major constituents included about 75% linalyl acetate and linalool, as well as ocimene, caryophyllene, ocimene and lavendulyl acetate.

Lavender (Lavandula sp.) aromatherapy has been used for centuries by herbal practitioners for calming anxiety and for mood disorders. There are more than three dozen medicinal varieties of Lavender, and Lavender’s recorded use dates back over two thousand years.

The typical way of utilizing aromatherapy is with a diffuser. Just a few drops (3-4) of an essential oil onto a diffusing element can quickly deliver its therapeutic scents throughout the room. An easy diffuser is a clean crumpled tissue. Other types of diffusers are available – including some that utilize heat to diffuse the scent. An essential oil may be diffused by dropping into boiled water as well – this will diffuse the scent via the vapor – but less oil should probably be used in this case. Aromatherapy scents may also be diffused via candles and lamp rings – but be careful because essential oils are also flammable.

To learn more about this article go to: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/lavender-aromatherapy-proven-calm-premenstrual-emotions

 

Healthy Nutrition

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Less Than 1 Tsp Ginger and Cinnamon Daily Relieves Muscle Soreness In Athletes

Less Than 1 Tsp Ginger and Cinnamon Daily Relieves Muscle Soreness In Athletes

Less Than 1 Tsp Ginger and Cinnamon Daily Relieves Muscle Soreness In Athletes

Many well-intentioned workout resolutions have been thwarted by the first signs of sore, stiff muscles in the days following a visit to the gym.  A new study finds that two common kitchen spices help relieve that post-workout muscle pain.

Researchers at Iran’s Isfahan University of Medical Sciences studied the effects of ginger and cinnamon on the muscle pain of 60 fit female competitive Taekwondo players, aged 13-25 years.  The women were divided into three groups. For six weeks, each group took three grams (1 tsp = 4 grams) of either powdered ginger, cinnamon or placebo every day.

During the study, the women were tested for an indicator of inflammation and for muscle soreness.  The results, published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, showed that women in both the ginger and cinnamon groups had significantly less muscle soreness after exercising than the placebo group.  A similar study from the University of Georgia, also confirmed ginger’s ability to relieve muscle soreness after strenuous exercise.

The researchers did not find any difference in the inflammation marker among the three groups despite other studies showing strong anti-inflammatory qualities of ginger and cinnamon.  They speculated that the three gram dose may have been insufficient to make a measurable difference.

Both ginger and cinnamon have been used medicinally for thousands of years.  Each contains a wide range of compounds shown to curb inflammation, reduce oxidative stress and modulate other healing mechanisms within the body.

Ginger has a long list of amazing health benefits.  It’s been proven more effective against bacterial staph infections than antibiotics; can kill cancer cells; eases ulcerative colitis and acid reflux; and alleviates the effects of gamma radiation.

Ginger has been shown to be helpful in a relieving stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea due to seasickness, motion sickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy.  It also relieves pain, swelling, and reduced mobility in those suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  Its anti-viral properties help in the prevention and treatment of the common cold.

Cinnamon, the most popular spice, has been used for millennia both for its flavoring and medicinal qualities. The many health benefits of cinnamon include lowering blood sugar levels; improving insulin sensitivity; relieving inflammation from arthritis; alleviating menstrual cramps; supporting healthy blood clotting; fighting the overgrowth of bacteria, fungus and yeast; preventing colds and flu; boosting memory; and improving digestion.

Ginger and cinnamon go together naturally, sharing the ingredient list in many healthy recipes.  Add fresh ginger to teas, marinades, stir-fries and salad dressings.

Add cinnamon to a daily smoothie, applesauce or yogurt.  You can also drop a cinnamon stick into your steeping tea or a pot of coffee.

Then hit the gym.

To learn more about this article go to: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/less-1-tsp-ginger-and-cinnamon-daily-relieves-muscle-soreness-athletes1

Healthy Nutrition

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Vitamin D (and thus Sunshine) Reduces Risk of Becoming Obese

Vitamin D (and thus Sunshine) Reduces Risk of Becoming Obese

Vitamin D (and thus Sunshine) Reduces Risk of Becoming Obese

A new study by researchers from Spain’s University of Carlos Malaga has determined that a deficiency of vitamin D leads to an increased risk of obesity. This supports the findings of previous research that indicate a clear link between vitamin D levels and obesity.

The Spanish researchers followed 1,226 adult human subjects initially, including 988 of those subjects through six years later, and then 961 subjects through another three years later. In total, 961 subjects were followed through the entire eleven years of the study, from 1996 through 2007.

The researchers analyzed each subjects’ body mass index, weight, height, waist and hip measurements, along with fasting blood glucose levels, vitamin D status and other blood analyses. They also conducted oral glucose tests each year on the subjects.

The researchers measured blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D along with intact-parathyroid hormone (iPTH) levels. (Hyperparathyroidism can also produce low levels of vitamin D, so this possibility was screened).

Serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D that were below or equal to 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) were qualified as being deficient in vitamin D. This is consistent with the Endocrine Society standards.

Learn more about vitamin D, health from the sun and the many other benefits of sunshine.

A direct relationship between existing obesity and vitamin D deficiency was not established in this study. The researchers did find, however, that 39% of obese subjects were deficient in vitamin D at the second testing, compared to 33% deficient among non-obese subjects. This difference was considered not significant enough to make a broad conclusion.

However, when the standard of vitamin D deficiency was reduced to 17 ng/ml from 20 ng/ml, there was a definite and significant relationship between being deficient in vitamin D and becoming obese within the next four years. Those who had less than 17 ng/ml of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in their blood during the testing had more than double (2.35 times) the incidence of becoming obese in the next four years than those who had 17 ng/ml or greater levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the bloodstream.

In their discussion the researchers stated clearly:

“The results of the present study suggest that lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D values in obese subjects may not have been secondary to obesity, but may in fact precede obesity.”

Other studies have also found that obesity is related to low vitamin D levels. A 2010 study from Norway’s University of Tromsø studied 10,229 people and then followed 2,656 people for fourteen years. Their results concluded that increased body mass index was directly associated with lower vitamin D levels. The Norway researchers also found that:

“The very obese need higher vitamin D doses than lean subjects to achieve the same serum 25(OH)D levels.”

While vitamin D can be supplemented, one of the easiest and cheapest ways to produce adequate levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D is by safe sun exposure.

Written by Case Adams, Naturopath

You can learn more about this article at: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/vitamin-d-and-thus-sunshine-reduces-risk-becoming-obese

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Turmeric Produces ‘Remarkable’ Recovery in Alzheimer’s Patients

Turmeric Produces ‘Remarkable’ Recovery in Alzheimer’s Patients

Turmeric Produces 'Remarkable' Recovery in Alzheimer's Patients

Turmeric has been used in India for over 5,000 years, which is likely why still today both rural and urban populations have some of the lowest prevalence rates of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the world. A recent study on patients with AD found that less than a gram of turmeric daily, taken for three months, resulted in ‘remarkable improvements.’

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Disturbingly Common Modern Rite of Passage

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), sadly, has become a rite of passage in so-called developed countries.  AD is considered the most common form of dementia, which is defined as a serious loss of cognitive function in previously unimpaired persons, beyond what is expected from normal aging.

A 2006 study estimated that 26 million people throughout the world suffer from this condition, and that by 2050, the prevalence will quadruple, by which time 1 in 85 persons worldwide will be afflicted with the disease.[1]

Given the global extent of the problem, interest in safe and effective preventive and therapeutic interventions within the conventional medical and alternative professions alike are growing.

Unfortunately, conventional drug-based approaches amount to declaring chemical war upon the problem, a mistake which we have documented elsewhere, and which can result in serious neurological harm, as evidenced by the fact that this drug class carries an alarmingly high risk for seizures, according to World Health Organization post-marketing surveillance statistics.[i][2]

What the general public is therefore growing most responsive to is using time-tested, safe, natural and otherwise more effective therapies that rely on foods, spices and familiar culinary ingredients.

Remarkable Recoveries Reported after Administration of Turmeric

Late last year, a remarkable study was published in the journal Ayu titiled “Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer’s disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.” [ii]  Researchers described three patients with Alzheimer’s disease whose behavioral symptoms were “improved remarkably” as a result of consuming 764 milligram of turmeric (curcumin 100 mg/day) for 12 weeks. According to the study:

“All three patients exhibited irritability, agitation, anxiety, and apathy, two patients suffer from urinary incontinence and wonderings. They were prescribed turmeric powder capsules and started recovering from these symptoms without any adverse reaction in the clinical symptom and laboratory data.”

After only 3 months of treatment, both the patients’ symptoms and the burden on their caregivers were significantly decreased.

The report describes the improvements thusly:

“In one case, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score was up five points, from 12/30 to 17/30. In the other two cases, no significant change was seen in the MMSE; however, they came to recognize their family within 1 year treatment. All cases have been taking turmeric for more than 1 year, re-exacerbation of BPSD was not seen.”

This study illustrates just how powerful a simple natural intervention using a time-tested culinary herb can be.  Given that turmeric has been used medicinally and as a culinary ingredient for over 5,000 years in Indian culture, even attaining the status of a ‘Golden Goddess,’ we should not be surprised at this result. Indeed, epidemiological studies of Indian populations reveal that they have a remarkably lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease relative to Western nations, [3] and this is true for both rural and more “Westernized” urban areas of India.[4]

Could turmeric be a major reason for this?

Turmeric’s Anti-Alzheimer’s Properties.

The GreenMedInfo.com database now contains a broad range of published studies on the value of turmeric, and its primary polyphenol curcumin (which gives it its golden hue), for Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment.*

While there are 114 studies on our Turmeric research page indicating turmeric has a neuroprotective set of physiological actions, [5] 30 of these studies are directly connected to turmeric’s anti-Alzheimer’s disease properties.**

Two of these studies are particularly promising, as they reveal that curcumin is capable of enhancing the clearance of the pathological amyloid–beta plaque in Alzheimer’s disease patients,[6] and that in combination with vitamin D3 the neurorestorative process is further enhanced.[7] Additional preclinical research indicates curcumin (and its analogs) has inhibitory and protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease associated β-amyloid proteins.[8] [9] [10]

Other documented Anti-Alzheimer’s mechanisms include:

  • Anti-inflammatory: Curcumin has been found to play a protective role against β-amyloid protein associated inflammation.[11]
  • Anti-oxidative: Curcumin may reduce damage via antioxidant properties.[12]
  • Anti-cytotoxic: Curcumin appears to protect against the cell-damaging effects of β-amyloid proteins.[13] [14]
  • Anti-amyloidogenic: Turmeric contains a variety of compounds (curcumin, tetrahydrocurcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin) which may strike to the root pathological cause of Alzheimer’s disease by preventing β-amyloid protein formation.[15] [16] [17] [18]
  • Neurorestorative: Curcuminoids appear to rescue long-term potentiation (an indication of functional memory) impaired by amyloid peptide, and may reverse physiological damage by restoring distorted neurites and disrupting existing plaques. [19] [20]
  • Metal-chelating properties: Curcumin has a higher binding affinity for iron and copper rather than zinc, which may contribute to its protective effect in Alzheimer’s disease, as iron-mediated damage may play a pathological role.[21] [22]

Just The Tip of the Medicine Spice Cabinet

The modern kitchen pantry contains a broad range of anti-Alzheimer’s disease items, which plenty of science now confirms. Our Alzheimer’s research page contains research on 97 natural substances of interest. Top on the list, of course, is curcumin. Others include:

  • Coconut Oil: This remarkable substance contains approximately 66% medium chain triglycerides by weight, and is capable of improving symptoms of cognitive decline in those suffering from dementia by increasing brain-boosing ketone bodies, and perhaps more remarkably, within only one dose, and within only two hours.[23]
  • Cocoa: A 2009 study found that cocoa procyanidins may protect against lipid peroxidation associated with neuronal cell death in a manner relevant to Alzheimer’s disease.[24]
  • Sage: A 2003 study found that sage extract has therapeutic value in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[25]
  • Folic acid: While most of the positive research on this B vitamin has been performed on the semi-synthetic version, which may have unintended, adverse health effects,  the ideal source for this B vitamin is foliage, i.e. green leafy vegetables, as only foods provide folate. Also, the entire B group of vitamins, especially including the homocysteine-modulating B6 and B12,[26] may have the most value in Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment.
  • Resveratrol: this compound is mainly found in the Western diet in grapes, wine, peanuts and chocolate. There are 16 articles on our website indicating it has anti-Alzheimer’s properties.[27]

Other potent natural therapies include:

  • Gingko biloba: is one of the few herbs proven to be at least as effective as the pharmaceutical drug Aricept in treating and improving symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.[28][29]
  • Melissa offinalis: this herb, also known as Lemon Balm, has been found to have therapeutic effect in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[30]
  • Saffron: this herb compares favorably to the drug donepezil in the treatment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[31]

As always, the important thing to remember is that it is our diet and environmental exposures that largely determine our risk of accelerated brain aging and associated dementia. Prevention is an infinitely better strategy, especially considering many of the therapeutic items mentioned above can be used in foods as spices.  Try incorporating small, high-quality culinary doses of spices like turmeric into your dietary pattern, remembering that ‘adding it to taste,’ in a way that is truly enjoyable, may be the ultimate standard for determining what a ‘healthy dose’ isfor you.

You can learn more about this article at: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/turmeric-produces-remarkable-recovery-alzheimers-patients

 

Healthy Nutrition

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