Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Spirulina Powder Contains Antioxidants That Enhance the Immune System

Spirulina is one of hundreds of algae species and is commonly known as blue green algae. Algae, including spirulina, are tiny organisms that usually grow on inland waters throughout the world. It looks like a blue-green scum. Algae is usually divided by color. Some of the different algae are blue-green, green, yellow-green, red, and brown. World-wide there are 8000 species of green algae. Of the three main types of algae, spirulina is the easiest to digest.

Unlike most other herbal plants, spirulina does not have roots, leaves, or stems. Spirulina does contain chlorophyll and carries on photosynthesis. Unlike many other plants, spirulina creates proteins and sugars just as animals do.

The Aztecs of Mexico ate it as a staple food. They dried it and spread it on tortillas. Africans of the Sahara region also use dried spirulina with grains and vegetables. Around the world, spirulina is used as a food source for animals and humans.

Spirulina contains antioxidants that enhance the immune system. It is highly nutritious and is an excellent source of protein, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. For example, it has 26 times the calcium of milk. It also contains phosphorus, B12, iron, and is easily digested. It is a safe food with no side effects and is easy to store. In fact, it has been called the "Manna of the future." It is used to treat anemia, cataracts, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, glaucoma, hepatitis, and physical imbalances. It also aids weight loss.

Here is more on spirulina's ability to enhance the immune system. It appears to increase production of anti-inflammatory chemicals known as interferons and interleukins. Consequently, some believe that spirulina may decrease or prevent some allergic responses and block the release of histamine from mast cells during an allergic reaction. By doing this, spirulina may prevent or lessen histamine's effects. These would include muscle contraction, blood vessel expansion, and stomach acid production.

The antioxidant and immune-enhancing properties in spirulina may help fight cancer. It also helps to release tumor necrosis factor alpha, a chemical in the body that attacks tumor cells. Besides fighting cancer, spirulina also appears to block the entrance of viral cells into host cells. Several viruses, including HIV were apparently killed or damaged by spirulina in tests.

Spirulina is an exceptionally potent nutrient substance. NASA stated, "The Nutritional value of 1kg spirulina is equivalent to 1,000 kgs of assorted fruits and vegetables." Spirulina is 85 percent protein, compared with 20 percent in beef. It contains all the essential amino acids and most of the nonessential ones. In addition, as noted above, it is extremely high in vitamins and minerals.

Spirulina is available in tablets, capsules, and powder. One tablespoon of Spirulina powder is about 7,000 mg (7 grams). Follow the directions on the manufacturer's package that you buy. Doses recommended are from one gram to ten grams a day or about two teaspoons. More is needed for serious illnesses such as hepatitis where four tsp per day are recommended. Consume as much as you desire; it may be used as the primary protein source in the diet. Some make smoothies with spirulina; others just sprinkle it on their food like cinnamon. Spirulina powder can be added to fruit or vegetable juices or to dishes to make it more nutritious. It is tasty in soups, salads, pasta, or mixed with yoghurt. Just remember that it is most effective uncooked.

There are more benefits of the Spirulina powder to be discovered. Visit More Than Alive, an online store for bulk herbs and a trusted resource where you can get Spirulina herb and learn about the great advantages your body will receive from this and many other herbs.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spirulina The Latest And Greatest Superfood Defined

Spirulina is the latest and most touted superfood. It has been featured on numerous TV shows from the travel channel to Good Morning America. Spirulina is a form of bluegreen algae and happens to be the most nutritious food pound for pound known to man.

Spirulina is actually an ancient food and is 100% natural and highly nutritious algae. Recent research shows that it has great benefits for aging, cancer fighting and immune resistance. Scientists have recently discovered that this superfood has the ability to strengthen the immune system and fight problems associated with the aging process. According to Australian researchers:

Scientific studies occurring throughout the world indicate that spirulina, a blue-green algae that has been living on the planet since long before mankind, may be the best of these disease-preventing, anti-aging foods.

Spirulina was originally discovered in lakes and ponds in Africa. This spirulina was then cultured and after much research has been used in indigenous and remote areas to increase nutrition and reduce diseases like scurvy. People in indigenous and remote countries tend to have diets lacking in nutrition and substance. When treated with just a spoonful of spirulina per day it was found that nutrition and health levels greatly increased. Spirulina is now a major constituent of food and health programs all over the world.

Spirulina has been proven to boost immune systems, bolster energy and greatly reduce the risks of many different cancers and infections. According to Australian researcher Anton Moore:

As we age and our bodies change and become less efficient at getting us the nutrition we need. It becomes more important to use highly nutritious superfoods like spinach, to achieve a well balanced diet and better health. Lately, it has become quite obvious that spirulina is the key or superior superfood and should be made a main part of every diet for optimum health and to ward off disease and sickness.

Spirulina is a complete food and boasts the highest amount of protein content of any food, many times higher than soy beans, at 60 plus percent. It is also packed with vitamins, beta carotene, more antioxidants and phytonutrients than green tea (research is currently being conducted on this by the National Cancer Institute), and is basically the best food and or supplement, pound for pound, available today.

So there you have it, a complete rundown on why spirulina is the latest leader of the superfoods and for the best in health it should be added as a daily staple to your diet.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Herbal Remedies to Lower Blood Pressure - Top 4 Natural Treatments for Hypertension

If you are ready to get started on your way to naturally lower blood pressure, there are some important herbs you should know about. New clinical trials have forced even the archaic medical community to take notice of these effective, natural remedies. Here are the top four supplements that build-up your cardiovascular system and work on the causes of hypertension.

Doctors and pharmaceutical companies agree that OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT decreases blood pressure. Clinical research proves it lowers blood pressure by increasing coronary flow with absolutely no side effects. It also protects the heart and circulatory system from free radical damage with the additional benefit of reducing LDL cholesterol.

The herb HAWTHORN has been used in many cultures for hundreds of years to treat high blood pressure. It is believed to dilate coronary blood vessels and maintain the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart.

CoQ10 is yet another natural treatment highly prescribed by cardiologists and medical doctors to prevent heart disease and related cardiovascular problems. By improving energy production in the heart muscle, CoQ10 has been documented as a natural means to lower BP after only 4-8 weeks of use.

GARLIC has long been recommended as the leading herb for the natural treatment of numerous health ailments. Studies show that raw GARLIC aids in overall cardiovascular health, including lowered blood pressure, with no side effects. Five to 10 minced raw garlic cloves per day, or 300mg of dried garlic three times per day, lowers cholesterol, prevents blood clots and destroy plaque in the arteries.

As always, before taking any herbs you should check with your doctor to see if they will interact with prescription medications you may be taking. And do not stop taking blood pressure medications without first discussing it with your doctor or a trained naturopath, herbalist or acupuncturist.

This is a list of herbs that have been found, or are suspected of, causing high blood pressure if not prescribed properly:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Organic herbs

Herbal remedies are one of the best ways to overcome sickness and health problems. Traditional cultures also still use herbs as medicines. They don't have access to all-night pharmacies like industrialized nations do. But even industrialized nations depended on many herbs before the development of antibiotics in the 20th century. They proved to be so effective, many folk alternative health remedies fell by the wayside. People didn't think it was important anymore to learn about herbs and how effective they could be in helping us resist and treat disease.

Now, however, people are getting more interested in alternative health supplements. Overuse of antibiotics has caused antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria to develop, which frightens many. We've actually learned that many of our common medicines, even aspirin, are derived from Alternative Health traditional healing sources.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Traditional medicine

What is traditional medicine

Traditional medicine refers to health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating plant, animal and mineral based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises, applied singularly or in combination to treat, diagnose and prevent illnesses or maintain well-being.
Countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America use traditional medicine (TM) to help meet some of their primary health care needs. In Africa, up to 80% of the population uses traditional medicine for primary health care. In industralized countries, adaptations of traditional medicine are termed “Complementary“ or “Alternative” (CAM).
Increasing use and popularity
TM has maintained its popularity in all regions of the developing world and its use is rapidly spreading in industrialized countries.
• In China, traditional herbal preparations account for 30%-50% of the total medicinal consumption.
• In Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Zambia, the first line of treatment for 60% of children with high fever resulting from malaria is the use of herbal medicines at home.
• WHO estimates that in several African countries traditional birth attendants assist in the majority of births.
• In Europe, North America and other industrialized regions, over 50% of the population have used complementary or alternative medicine at least once.
• In San Francisco, London and South Africa, 75% of people living with HIV/AIDS use TM/CAM.
• 70% of the population in Canada have used complementary medicine at least once.
• In Germany, 90% of the population have used a natural remedy at some point in their life. Between 1995 and 2000, the number of doctors who had undergone special training in natural remedy medicine had almost doubled to 10 800.
• In the United States, 158 million of the adult population use complementary medicines and according to the USA Commission for Alternative and Complementary medicines, US $17 billion was spent on traditional remedies in 2000.
• In the United Kingdom, annual expenditure on alternative medicine is US$ 230 million.
• The global market for herbal medicines currently stands at over US $ 60 billion annually and is growing steadily.
Safety and efficacy issues
Scientific evidence from randomized clinical trials is only strong for many uses of acupuncture, some herbal medicines and for some of the manual therapies. Further research is needed to ascertain the efficacy and safety of several other practices and medicinal plants.
Unregulated or inappropriate use of traditional medicines and practices can have negative or dangerous effects.
For instance, the herb “Ma Huang” (Ephedra) is traditionally used in China to treat respiratory congestion. In the United States, the herb was marketed as a dietary aid, whose over dosage led to at least a dozen deaths, heart attacks and strokes.
In Belgium, at least 70 people required renal transplant or dialysis for interstitial fibrosis of the kidney after taking a herbal preparation made from the wrong species of plant as slimming treatment.
Biodiversity and sustainability
In addition to patient safety issues, there is the risk that a growing herbal market and its great commercial benefit might pose a threat to biodiversity through the over harvesting of the raw material for herbal medicines and other natural health care products. These practices, if not controlled, may lead to the extinction of endangered species and the destruction of natural habitats and resources.
Another related issue is that at present, the requirements for protection provided under international standards for patent law and by most national conventional patent laws are inadequate to protect traditional knowledge and biodiversity.
Tried and tested methods and products
• 25% of modern medicines are made from plants first used traditionally.
• Acupuncture has been proven effective in relieving postoperative pain, nausea during pregnancy, nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy, and dental pain with extremely low side effects. It can also alleviate anxiety, panic disorders and insomnia.
• Yoga can reduce asthma attacks while Tai Ji techniques can help the elderly reduce their fear of falls.
• TM can also have impact on infectious diseases. For example, the Chinese herbal remedy Artemisia annua, used in China for almost 2000 years has been found to be effective against resistant malaria and could create a breakthrough in preventing almost one million deaths annually, most of them children, from severe malaria.
• In South Africa, the Medical Research Council is conducting studies on the efficacy of the plant Sutherlandia Microphylla in treating AIDS patients. Traditionally used as a tonic, this plant may increase energy, appetite and body mass in people living with HIV.
WHO efforts in promoting safe, effective and affordable traditional medicine
The World Health Organization launched its first ever comprehensive traditional medicine strategy in 2002. The strategy is designed to assist countries to:
• Develop national policies on the evaluation and regulation of TM/CAM practices;
• Create a stronger evidence base on the safety, efficacy and quality of the TAM/CAM products and practices;
• Ensure availability and affordability of TM/CAM including essential herbal medicines;
• Promote therapeutically sound use of TM/CAM by providers and consumers;
• Document traditional medicines and remedies.
At present, WHO is supporting clinical studies on antimalarials in three African countries; the studies are revealing good potential for herbal antimalarials.
Other collaboration is taking place with Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe in the research and evaluation of herbal treatments for HIV/ AIDS, malaria, sickle cell anaemia and Diabetes Mellitus.
In Tanzania, WHO, in collaboration with China, is providing technical support to the government for the production of antimalarials derived from the Chinese herb Artemisia annua. Local production of the medicine will bring the price of one dose down from US $6 or $7 to a more affordable $2.
In 2003, WHO support has so far facilitated the development and introduction of traditional and alternative health care curricula in seven tertiary education institutions in the Philippines.
Training workshops on the use of traditional medicines for selected diseases and disorders have also been organized in China, Mongolia and Vietnam.
Priorities for promoting the use of traditional medicines
Over one-third of the population in developing countries lack access to essential medicines. The provision of safe and effective TM/CAM therapies could become a critical tool to increase access to health care.
While China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea and Vietnam have fully integrated traditional medicine into their health care systems, many countries are yet to collect and integrate standardized evidence on this type of health care.
70 countries have a national regulation on herbal medicines but the legislative control of medicinal plants has not evolved around a structured model. This is because medicinal products or herbs are defined differently in different countries and diverse approaches have been adopted with regard to licensing, dispensing, manufacturing and trading.
The limited scientific evidence about TM/CAM’s safety and efficacy as well as other considerations make it important for governments to:
• Formulate national policy and regulation for the proper use of TM/CAM and its integration into national health care systems in line with the provisions of the WHO strategies on Traditional Medicines;
• Establish regulatory mechanisms to control the safety and quality of products and of TM/CAM practice;
• Create awareness about safe and effective TM/CAM therapies among the public and consumers;
• Cultivate and conserve medicinal plants to ensure their sustainable use.