Wednesday March 12, 2014
For people struggling with irritable bowel syndrome, working to reduce stress may help to soothe such symptoms as pain and cramping. One stress-management strategy that shows promise in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome is autogenic training, a technique that involves carrying out verbal-command-based exercises designed to promote feelings of relaxation.
While research on the use of autogenic training in treatment of irritable bowel syndrome is somewhat scarce, a small study published in Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback in 2010 determined that the technique may be helpful for IBS patients. Compared to patients assigned to an intervention entailing discussions about their meal habits and lifestyles, those who practiced autogenic training were more likely to experience "adequate relief" by the study's end.
Although you can learn to practice autogenic training with the help of books and audio recordings, working with a teacher may be ideal for mastering the technique. And for more help in managing irritable bowel syndrome, consider natural remedies like enteric-coated peppermint oil and probiotic supplements (both found to benefit IBS patients in scientific studies).
Read the full article on autogenic training here.
Monday March 10, 2014
In traditional Chinese medicine, an herb called Coptis chinensis is sometimes used to boost cardiovascular health and fend off heart disease. Also used to ease gastrointestinal issues, Coptis chinensis contains such compounds as berberine (a chemical with anti-inflammatory effects).
While few studies have explored the potential health benefits of Coptis chinensis, some preliminary research shows that the herb may fight heart disease by curbing cholesterol and lowering blood sugar levels. What's more, preliminary research indicates that Coptis chinensis may help treat insulin resistance (a health problem closely linked to both heart disease and diabetes).
Your best bet for boosting your heart health is to follow such lifestyle practices as controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol, working out regularly, avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and following a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. There's also some evidence that getting your fill of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids may protect your heart health.
Read the full article on coptis chinensis.
Friday March 7, 2014
An herb found in the mustard family, shepherd's purse is sometimes taken in supplement form to stop heavy menstrual bleeding and soothe menstrual cramps. A source of several antioxidants (including a substance called fumaric acid), shepherd's purse is also said to aid in the treatment of bleeding disorders, as well as common conditions like headache.
Although a number of studies published in the 1960s and 1970s suggest that shepherd's purse may offer certain health benefits (including anti-inflammatory effects), there's currently a lack of support for the claim that this herb can treat heavy periods or provide relief of menstrual pain. For help in easing menstrual cramps, try taking herbs like ginger and vitex (both found to alleviate menstrual pain in scientific studies). There's also some evidence that loading up on omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in taming menstrual cramps.
Read the full article on shepherd's purse.
Thursday February 27, 2014
In some Native American tribes, an herb known as blue cohosh has long been used to improve muscle tone in the uterus and treat a variety of women's health troubles (such as menstrual cramps and PMS). But while preliminary studies suggest that blue cohosh may shield health by reducing inflammation), other research shows that taking this herb while pregnant may raise risk of birth defects.
The research on blue cohosh and birth defects includes a 2008 report from the Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, which found that using blue cohosh during pregnancy may disrupt the physiological development of the fetus. What's more, the report indicates that use of blue cohosh may be associated with increased risk of stroke and other cardiac events during delivery.
A number of other natural remedies hold promise for enhancing women's health. For instance, there's some evidence that consuming soy may slightly lower your risk of breast cancer and build stronger bones to stave off osteoporosis.
Read the full article on blue cohosh.