Monday December 16, 2013
Many people use medicinal mushrooms to stay well and steer clear of the flu during the cold-weather months. One lesser-known mushroom said to fend off the flu is poria, a remedy long used in traditional Chinese medicine. While scientific support for poria's immune-stimulating effects is fairly limited, a 2011 report found that compounds found in poria may help bolster immune defense.
Several other medicinal mushrooms show promise for flu prevention. For instance, preliminary research shows that maitake may help increase production of proteins in the immune system, while cordyceps may give a boost to white blood cells involved in activating the immune response.
A number of everyday actions can also help fight flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention. These actions include limiting contact with flu-afflicted people, washing your hands often with soap and water, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Read the entire article on poria.
Thursday December 12, 2013
When consumed as a food, asparagus is a top source of folate (a type of B vitamin found to protect against depression and heart disease). But taking asparagus extract in supplement form shows promise as a natural treatment for a number of health conditions and ailments, including alcohol-induced hangovers.
In a preliminary study published in 2009, scientists found that amino acids and minerals available in asparagus extract may help fight hangovers. In tests on human and rat cells, the study's authors discovered that compounds sourced from young asparagus shoots and leaves helped shield liver cells from the toxic effects of alcohol.
For more help in alleviating hangover symptoms, consider taking prickly pear extract before you drink. Some research shows that this remedy may help prevent such symptoms as dry mouth and nausea when taken five hours prior to alcohol consumption. Alternating each drink with a glass of water can also help stave off hangovers.
Read the entire article on asparagus extract.
Wednesday December 11, 2013
Best known as a flavoring agent for absinthe and other alcoholic beverages, wormwood is often taken in supplement form to treat digestive troubles. Proponents claim that wormwood can stimulate the digestive system and aid in treatment of common ailments like heartburn and indigestion.
So far, few studies have tested wormwood's effects on digestive health. Still, there's some evidence that herb shows promise in the treatment of Crohn's disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease). For example, a 2010 study of 10 patients with Crohn's disease found that six weeks of treatment with a combination of wormwood and standard care helped promote remission of symptoms more effectively than standard care alone.
If you're looking to soothe heartburn naturally, try using herbal remedies like slippery elm and marshmallow. And for help in alleviating indigestion, there's some evidence that artichoke leaf extract and peppermint oil may be beneficial.
Read the entire article on wormwood.
Thursday December 5, 2013
For relief of menstrual cramps, some women turn to a natural remedy known as viburnum. Also called cramp bark, this herb is rich in antioxidants (including vitamin C) and said to soothe menstruation-related pain by reducing muscle tension. But while a number of studies published in the 1960s and '70s found that compounds in viburnum may help alleviate muscle tension and suppress muscle spasms, there's currently a lack of research to support the claim that the herb can tame menstrual cramps.
If you're seeking a natural remedy to help lessen menstrual pain, try sipping tea made with raspberry leaf or ginger, increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, or getting more magnesium in your diet. Several Chinese herbs, such as vitex and dong quai also show promise for relief of menstrual pain.
Read the entire article on viburnum.