Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Neem reduces renal tissue damage and oxidative stress

In 2014 study published in the BioMed Research International journal it was shown that neem extract fed to rats helped reduce damage to renal tissue and oxidative stress after they were injected with cisplatin - a drug normally used in chemotherapy.

4 groups of rats were injected with cisplatin. This caused damage to renal tissue as evidenced by microscopic examination of kidney tissue. There was an increase in serum uric acid, urea, and creatinine, malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitric oxide (NO). The level of glutathione and activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione-S-transferase (GST), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) were seen to be reduced. There was also an increase in the number of cells dying in kidney tissues and the expression of nuclear factor kappa B - a protein that causes inflammation.

Two groups of rats were given Neem leaves (Azadirachta indica) extract for 5 days before or after the cisplatin injections.

It was found that the administration of Neem extract before or after cisplatin injections significantly improved the kidney function. Nephrotoxicity was reduced and there was less histological damage in renal corpuscles and renal tubules. The Neem extract also attenuated malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitric oxide (NO) levels in kidney tissue. After being injected with cisplatin the kidney's ability to scavenge toxic H2O2, O2−, and lipid peroxides is reduced causing a drop in SOD, CAT, GPx, GST, and GR activities as well as decrement of GSH content. The Neem extract was able to restore these levels in the kidney tissues.

The study conjectured that the protective actions of Neem against cisplatin induced nephrotoxicity in kidneys may be due to its flavonoids (rutin and quercetin, flavonoglycosides, polyphenolics, tannins). Neem flavonoids have the ability to scavenge free radicals and inhibit lipid peroxidation. Moreover Neem leaves have polyphenols that are known for their potent antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties.

More information on Neem

Monday, August 25, 2014

Turmeric helps reduce pain and promotes recovery after surgery

It has been seen that despite using opioids, medications and regional anesthesia, upto 30% of patients feel acute pain after surgery. 10%-50% of patients suffer persistent pain after operation based on the kind of surgery performed. There are no established techniques to prevent such pain.

Since turmeric that has been used in traditional ayurvedic medicine as an antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic agent a study was conducted on mice to guage its effectiveness for treating postoperative pain.

The study was conducted by Stanford University's Dept of Anesthesia. Using the hind paw incision model the study attempted to assess pain by measuring sensitization to mechanical and thermal stimuli as well as effects on edema and temperature up to 7 days after surgery. Spontaneous pain after incision was determined by using conditioned place preference (CPP), and changes in movement were measured using multiparameter digital gait analysis.

Curcumin a phenolic constituent of turmeric administered to the mice at the rate of 50 mg/kg caused significant reduction in the intensity of mechanical and heat sensitization. No effects of curcumin on baseline nociceptive thresholds were observed. Curcumin also reduced swelling after incision. Moreover, treating the mice with curcumin before operation reduced hyperalgesic priming or the long lasting hypersensitivity to inflammatory stimuli when prostaglandin E2 was later given to the hindpaw.

Mice who had not been given the curcumin showed spontaneous pain 48 hours after incision in the CPP paradigm. However there was no observation of ongoing pain in the mice treated with curcumin. In gait-related indices, hindpaw incision caused changes, but most of these were normalized in the curcumin-treated mice. The peri-incisional levels of several pronociceptive immune mediators including interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor α, and macrophage inflammatory protein-1α were either not reduced or were even augmented 1 and 3 days after incision in curcumin-treated mice. The anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 was unchanged, while transforming growth factor-β levels were enhanced under the same conditions.

The study showed that turmeric extract was useful in reducing pain and promoting recovery from surgical incisions.

More information on Turmeric and its benefits:

  • Turmeric Capsules

  • Turmeric heals boils, cysts and wounds

  • Turmeric in the fight against cancer

    REFERENCE:

    Anesth Analg. 2014 Jun;118(6):1336-44. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000000189.
    Curcumin treatment attenuates pain and enhances functional recovery after incision.
    Sahbaie P1, Sun Y, Liang DY, Shi XY, Clark JD.
    Author information
    1From the *Department of Anesthesia, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California; and †Anesthesiology Service, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California.
  • Wednesday, August 6, 2014

    Holy Basil - Health Benefits & Uses



    Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is a plant indigenous to India. Worshipped in Hindu homes, this plant has remarkable health benefits giving rise to its name of Tulsi in Sanskrit or "the incomparable one".

    Himalaya Holy Basil 
    Holy Basil's benefits stem from its properties of being an adaptogenic and aiding the body in adapting to various kinds of stress. It has also been suggested to possess anti-bacterial, anti-viral, antioxidant, antidiabetic, antifungal, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, antiemetic, antispasmodic, anti-congestant properties.

    In traditional ayurvedic medicine, Holy Basil has been used in respiratory conditions, bronchitis, bronchial asthma, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, skin diseases, arthritis, eye diseases, fever and insect bites. Its active constituent Eugenol has been considered to be primarlily responsible for its benefial potential.

    The following studies reflect some of these benefits.

    A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed that the leaf extract of Holy Basil administered to rats protected them against mutation causing toxic agents. Lipid and protein oxidation was reduced and antioxidant defenses were raised.

    In a 2007 study in the Journal of Natural Products, new compounds from Holy Basil leaf extract were isolated. These along with known compounds were found to reduce stress in rats by normalizing hyperglycemia, plasma corticosterone, plasma creatine kinase, and adrenal hypertrophy.

    In a study published in the Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, a group of oral cancer patients were given radiation along with Holy Basil flavonoids while a second group was given radiation alone. In the group that received the Tulsi flavonoids, a significant reduction in glutathione levels was found. Results suggested that erythrocytes from cancer patients reacted to oxidative stress by raising glutathione levels, while the free radical scavenging effect of Holy Basil kept the glutathione levels low in patients who received the Tulsi flavonoids.

    Holy Basil leaves were fed to rabbits for 30 days. Anemic hypoxia was then induced in them chemically. Results showed that the Tulsi leaves inhibited cardiorespiratory changes in response to stress. There was also a decrease in blood sugar level, increase in antioxidants (superoxide dismutase and reduced glutathione). The results suggested that the antistress activity of Holy basil is partially due to its antioxidant properties.

    In a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacological Therapy, the effects of treatment with holy basil leaves on blood glucose and serum cholesterol levels in humans were shown. Results showed a significant decrease in fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels when holy basil leaves were administered compared to treatment with placebo leaves. Fasting blood glucose fell by 21.0 mg/dl, and postprandial blood glucose fell by 15.8 mg/dl. The lower values of glucose represented reductions of 17.6% and 7.3% in the levels of fasting and postprandial blood glucose, respectively. Urine glucose levels also showed a downward trend. Mean total cholesterol levels showed mild reduction during basil treatment period. Findings suggest that holy basil leaves may be useful as adjunct therapy in mild to moderate NIDDM.

    More information on Holy Basil / Tulsi

    References:

    J Med Food. 2007 Sep;10(3):495-502.
    Ocimum sanctum Linn. (Holy Basil) ethanolic leaf extract protects against 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced genotoxicity, oxidative stress, and imbalance in xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes.

    J Nat Prod. 2007 Sep;70(9):1410-6. Epub 2007 Sep 13.
    Constituents of Ocimum sanctum with antistress activity.

    Indian J Clin Biochem. 2005 Jan;20(1):160-4. doi: 10.1007/BF02893064.
    Effect of ocimum flavonoids as a radioprotector on the erythrocyte antioxidants in oral cancer.

    Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Jul-Aug;29(6):411-6.
    Antistressor activity of Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi) against experimentally induced oxidative stress in rabbits.

    Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1996 Sep;34(9):406-9.
    Randomized placebo-controlled, single blind trial of holy basil leaves in patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

    Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2005 Apr;49(2):125-31.
    Therapeutic uses of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) with a note on eugenol and its pharmacological actions: a short review.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    Male fertility and reproductive health can be enhanced by herbs

    Certain herbs like Orchis mascula, Tribulus terrestris, Leptadenia reticulata have been used in various traditional branches of medicine to promote male fertility and reproductive health. These herbs help to improve sperm count and quality, prostate health, promote production of reproductive hormones, act as aphrodisiacs and help in relaxation and rejuvenation. Speman which is a blend of these herbs helps to rejuvenate the male reproductive system and promote fertility.

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

    Natural remedies for urinary tract infection | Food herbs that prevent UTI


    Urinary tract infections are very common in women and often tend to recur in a few months. Conventional medicine tends to treat urinary tract infections with antibiotics but while they may work at first by suppressing the bacteria they become ineffectual after a while. The strain of bacteria may become drug-resistant and even more virulent. The other complications of antibiotics are that they deplete the body of healthy bacteria, and can even cause the bladder lining to inflame causing interstitial cystitis or chronic inflammation of the bladder.

    Food and herbs that help to build the body's own natural immunity are the best defence against urinary tract infections.

  • Consume crushed garlic with a glass of water every morning. It should be taken on a empty stomach. Garlic helps to destroy and protect against various infections.
  • Include plenty of onions in cooked and raw form into your diet.
  • Drink plenty of water. This helps to flush out bacteria along with the urine flow. 
  • Drinking cranberry juice can help - however only the unsweetened form. 
  • Avoid sugar in all forms as sugar promotes bacterial growth.
  • Add fermented foods like pickles and yogurt to your diet as these foods contain healthy bacteria that can help fight infections.
  • Avoid milk, fat, cheese as these build toxins in the body.
  • Herbal supplements like cystone help to maintain a healthy urinary tract by flushing out toxins, maintain a proper pH balance and preventing recurrence of UTIs
  • Cystone is a blend of herbs
    that helps maintain urinary tract health

    Monday, April 21, 2014

    How does Diabecon keep sugar levels healthy?



    Studies have shown that Diabecon helped lower post prandial blood sugar (PPBS) levels in study subjects. Higher stimulated insulin levels and fasting C-peptide levels have also been reported.

    Diabecon has also been shown helpful in preventing sugar-induced cataract. In an organ culture, Diabecon decreased protein carbonyls and prevented the loss of beta(L)-crystallin.

    Diabecon has many herbs and minerals in its composition. We will discuss some of the herbal constituents and their mechanisms in keeping blood sugar levels healthy.

    One of the best known herbs for blood sugar regulation is Gymnema sylvestre. This herb helps to inhibit sugar cravings, improves insulin production by providing pancreatic support, stimulates enzymes that utilized glucose and inhibits the liver's production of glucose. Gymnemic acids, gymnemasaponins, and gurmarin are the phytoconstituents in Gymnema that cause sweet suppression activity and positive effects on blood sugar homeostasis. Gymnema has also been known to reduce weight, blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

    Guggul is another herb that helps keep cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels normal. Sugar in blood turns to cholesterol. Guggulsterones help reduce the cholesterol including synthesis of cholesterol in the liver.


    Studies have shown that Pterocarpus marsupium, also known as Pitasara help inhibit Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 and have a hypoglycemic action said to be due to an increase in plasma active glucagon-like peptide-1 levels.

    More information on Diabecon and its benefits

    You may also be interested in the following articles:



  • How Gymnema works to control diabetes, blood sugar, cholesterol and obesity

  • Foods that help in diabetes control

  • Diabetes and Beta Cell Regeneration : How herbs can prevent depletion of beta cells and promote growth for diabetes treatment

  • High Blood Sugar, levels, tests, causes, herbal remedies

  • Blood Sugar Control With Herbs - Herbal Remedies That Lower and Maintain Glucose Levels

    References:

    Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Dec 7;(12):CD008288. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008288.pub2. Ayurvedic treatments for diabetes mellitus. Sridharan K1, Mohan R, Ramaratnam S, Panneerselvam D.

    J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Feb 28;97(2):397-403. Epub 2005 Jan 18. Effect of Diabecon on sugar-induced lens opacity in organ culture: mechanism of action. Moghaddam MS1, Kumar PA, Reddy GB, Ghole VS.

    Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:830285. doi: 10.1155/2014/830285. Epub 2014 Jan 6. Phytochemical and pharmacological properties of Gymnema sylvestre: an important medicinal plant. Tiwari P1, Mishra BN2, Sangwan NS1.

    Pharm Biol. 2014 Feb;52(2):268-71. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2013.823550. Epub 2013 Sep 30. A molecular connection of Pterocarpus marsupium, Eugenia jambolana and Gymnema sylvestre with dipeptidyl peptidase-4 in the treatment of diabetes. Kosaraju J1, Dubala A, Chinni S, Khatwal RB, Satish Kumar MN, Basavan D.
  • Monday, April 14, 2014

    Ashwagandha for mental health | Withania Somnifera new research

    Ashwagandha also known as Withania somnifera or Winter Cherry is considered a very useful herb in promoting mental calm and relief from mental and physical exhaustion. Ashwagandha is also said to help improve memory functions in the brain.

    New research published in the Jan 2014 edition of the Pharmacognosy Research journal indicates that Ashwagandha may also be helpful in improving cognitive and psychomotor abilities. A double blind, placebo controlled study was conducted on 20 healthy adult males. They were given 2 capsules twice daily of 250mg of Ashwagandha root and leaves extract for 14 days. There were marked improvements in reaction times in tests of simple reaction, choice discrimination, digit symbol substitution, digit vigilance, and card sorting tests.

    The results showed that cognitive and psychomotor capabilities were definitely improved and this proves promising for further research in treating impaired cognition. More information on Ashwagandha