Herbs and Uses

Top 10 Herbs For The Eyes

Eyebright

The name is an obvious indicator of the ancient belief in eyebright’s value in treating the eyes. Eyebright derives its name from its flowers that resemble eyes as well as its valuable property as an eye medication to preserve eyesight. [2] Studies show eyebright can be used to soothe red or itchy eyes like those present in conjunctivitis. [3] In one such study carried throughout 12 general practitioner and ophthalmologist clinics in Europe, a single dose of eyebright eye drops were administered to patients with inflammatory or catarrhal conjunctivitis. Complete recovery was seen in 81.5% of the patients while there was a clear improvement in  another 17%. [4]



Milk Thistle

They say the eyes are the “windows to your soul” but both Western and Eastern herbalists would also say the eyes are the “windows to your liver health.” Weak eyes and blurred vision can be signs of liver malfunction [4] which indicates that what is bad for the liver can also be bad for your eyes. Hence, although milk thistle and its primary active component silymarin are known for liver support, they have also been shown to benefit the eyes. The liver is a key organ for your eyes since fat soluble vitamins and glutathione are stored here and are responsible for helping repair eye damage. [2] Research shows that silymarin can also inhibit aldose reductase which has a significant role in sugar deposition on the eyes of diabetics. By effectively fighting free radicals and reducing sugar levels in the eyes, milk thistle is not just a liver protector but also promoter of proper eye care. [5]

Ginko Biloba

Used for centuries to remedy eye and central nervous system problems, ginkgo biloba is found to be a selective cerebro-vascular dilator that enhances circulation and increases blood flow at the back of the eye. In particular, ginkgo biloba has been associated with improvements in macular degeneration and glaucoma. [2] In 2012, scientists from Korea evaluated the effects of ginkgo biloba extracts on visual function of 332 patients with normal tension glaucoma. After treatment, visual acuity for many of eyes improved as well as mean deviation or visual fields tests. This evidence suggests the benefits of ginkgo biloba against various vascular disorders including glaucoma. [6]

Fennel

If you have inflamed or watery eyes, fennel is said to provide some relief and strengthen your eyes. [3] Aside from such mild cases, raw fennel, fennel tea or used as eyewash can aid more serious conditions like cataracts and glaucoma. [2] In 2008, a study tested a single drop fennel aqueous seed extract for its effects on experimental models of glaucoma. Results exhibited significant ocuhypotenstive activity comparable to that of timolol and a reduction in intraocular pressure. This proves promising for fennel’s role as an anti-glaucoma medication. [7]

Saffron

Like fennel, the culinary spice saffron has been linked to improved eyesight, including bettering results for cataracts. In one clinical trial, every participant who took saffron reported vision improvements, prompting researchers to hail this herb as a potential key for preventing loss of sight among the elderly. [2] In another study, researchers found that saffron improved retinal flicker sensitivity in patients diagnosed with early age-related macular degeneration. [8]

Bilberry (Vacinium myritillus L.)

This one is interesting: British pilots of World War II reported that eating the fruit of the bilberry bush helped to improve their night vision. Bilberry is considered potentially valuable for eye health because of its high anthocyanosides content and is considered beneficial to microcirculation (i.e. blood flow in the smallest blood vessels) in all parts of the body. [9] Anthocyanosides are powerful compounds known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. This herb may be of benefit in many eye disorders including retinopathy, macular degeneration and for reducing inflammation of the retina. [10]

Research shows that anthocyanosides help in boosting the production of pigments that enable the eyes to adapt to lighting changes. Furthermore, this compound offers 10X the antioxidant power of Vitamin C and 50X of Vitamin E. its bioflavonoid content is also beneficial in eliminating unwanted toxins from the eyes. [11] However, a systematic review found that several studies showed negative conclusions and speculated that bilberry from some regions may have lower anthocyanoside content; suggesting blackcurrant (Ribes nigru) as a possible alternative anthocyanoside source. [12]

Bilberry be found beneficial to the visual acuity of many healthy individuals, as well as in improving the vision of patients suffering from age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma. When combined with zinc and ginkgo biloba, bilberry is said to make an excellent herb for preventing vision loss.

Green Tea

Dark circles and puffiness around the eyes can be embarrassing. Green tea bags placed over the eyes (as if they were cucumber slices!) may be effective in reducing swelling and fluid around the eyes. Green tea contains high levels of tannin and antioxidants. It also contains caffeine which may help shrink the blood vessels that causes swelling around the eyes. The tannin, which is known for its astringent properties, may reduce the dilation of capillaries and blood vessels found under the eyes which trigger the occurrence of dark circles. [13]

Some studies further revealed that green tea has powerful components that promote a healthy heart and liver. [14] Green tea contains lutein, zeaxanthin, Vitamin C and Vitamin E which have been found by studies to be effective for protecting eyes against several disorders. [15]

Turmeric

Turmeric is known for its health and medicinal benefits including its positive effect on eyes. This herb is capable of promoting eye health by reducing the oxidation of the eye lens. According to research, oxidation of the lens is one of the major causes of many eye disorders.

Turmeric also contains curcumin content that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that this makes turmeric effective in reducing inflammation that is usually associated with dry eyes. [16]

Grape seed Extract

Widely heralded for health benefits, grape seed extract is regarded as one of the best in promoting eye health. It has been recommended for eye disorders like eye strain, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. [17]

Grape seed extract contains numerous phytochemicals thought beneficial for the eyes – including linoleic acid, flavonoids, Vitamin E, and oligomeric proanthocyanidins. Its oligomeric proanthocyanidins are known for their antihistamine and antioxidant properties, which are considered capable of enhancing eye health. [18]

Goldenseal

Known for astringent, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties, goldenseal is also claimed to be an excellent herb for enhancing eye health. When made into eyewash, goldenseal is effective in treating certain types of irritations. Furthermore, goldenseal has been said to be an effective treatment for infections, like trachoma, staph infection and sties that are triggered by allergies. [19]

Of course, herbs are not meant to be the sole promoter of eye health but serve to complement proper eye care, regular examinations, hygiene of the eyes and proper diet which includes adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals and carotenoids. If you are concerned about your eye health, schedule an eye exam from a qualified practitioner.



Herbs For Eyes – References:

[1] http://www.everygreenherb.com/eyeProblems.html

[2] http://alignlife.com/articles/corporatewellness/top_herbs_for_vision_and_eye_health/

[3] http://www.the-herb-guide.com/herbs-for-eyes.html

[4] Prospective cohort trial of Euphrasia single-dose eye drops in conjunctivitis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11152054

[5] http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15623/1/Milk-Thistle-Benefits-and-Side-Effects.html

[6] Ginkgo biloba extract and bilberry anthocyanins improve visual function in patients with normal tension glaucoma. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22870951

[7] Oculohypotensive effects of foeniculum vulgare in experimental models of glaucoma. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18831355

[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20688744

[9] http://www.rxmed.com/b.main/b3.herb.monos/b3.1.monographs/bilberry.html

[10] http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/features/bilberry-extract-and-vision

[11] http://www.ehow.com/about_5100561_bilberry-eyes.html

[12] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14711439

[13] http://www.livestrong.com/article/93147-green-tea-bags-dark-circles/

[14] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7711535

[15] http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/news/20100218/green-tea-good-for-the-eyes

[16] http://www.livestrong.com/article/372428-turmeric-for-dry-eyes/

[17] http://www.naturalnews.com/029223_grape_seed_extract_health.html

[18] http://www.livestrong.com/article/500224-is-grape-seed-extract-good-for-the-eyes/

[19] http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-most-common-goldenseal-benefits.htm

Article researched and created by Cathy Ongking and Elfe Cabanas, © herbs-info.com 2013

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10 Herbs For The Heart

Garlic

Many studies have already demonstrated how a clove of garlic a day can lower unwanted cholesterol while raising the good kind. Small clinical trials have found garlic to be capable of regulating blood pressure, improving circulation and inhibiting platelet aggregation that can result in strokes. [3] Another study concluded that garlic extract exhibited cardioprotective effects against cardiac and mitochondrial dysfunction. [11]



Cacao

Cacao aids the heart through its natural source of theobromine, and epicatechin (a flavonol that boosts the healthy functioning of blood vessels). [3] In one randomized controlled trial in Switzerland, flavanol-rich chocolate was shown to benefit vascular and platelet function among patients with congestive heart failure on a long and short term basis by increasing nitric oxide bioavailability and decreasing oxidative stress. This effect was sustained through daily cacao consumption over a 4-week period. [4]

Hawthorn

Evidence links hawthorn to the dilation of blood vessels, strengthening of the heart and the lowering of blood pressure, cholesterol and fatty deposits. This is due to its active phytochemicals including bioflavinoids which possess antioxidant properties that gobble up free radicals. Likewise, hawthorn has been found to help distribute and use vitamin C to fortify capillaries. [1] However, some studies have found that hawthorn has no significant effect on those suffering from heart failure. [12]

Motherwort

This herb is traditionally used to alleviate a racing heart resulting from nervous tension, but with long term usage, this herb has also been found to reduce blood clot formation, cholesterol, triglycerides and to strengthen the heart muscles. [3] Compounds like phenylpropanoids, flavonoids and phenolic acids, as well as volatile oils, sterols and tannins, have been identified in motherwort. Pharmacological studies also confirm its antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity as well as its sedative and hypotensive properties. [5]

Bilberry

Bilberry is commonly known to improve microcirculatory health, strengthen vascular walls and stimulate the formation of new capillaries. [1] Thus, a study in 2011 found that there are potential protective effects of bilberry extract against cardiotoxicity due to its antioxidant properties. [6]

Ginseng

While the roots of ginseng have been used to treat various other disorders, more and more studies are discovering this herb’s clinical value in treating heart disease. Though more studies are needed to further investigate the complex mechanisms by which ginseng protects the heart, multiple trials have displayed promising results for ginseng’s role in fighting coronary artery disease, cardiac hypertrophy, heart failure, cardiac energy metabolism, cardiac contractility, and arrhythmia. This medicinal properties are due to the herb’s anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antioxidative, antidiabetic and antihypertensive activities. [7]

Ginkgo Biloba

Leaf extracts of ginkgo have been demonstrated in numerous studies to cause dilation and increase blood flow through arteries, capillaries and veins. Moreover, they also inhibit platelet aggregation, blood clotting and work using anti-oxidants to protect vascular walls from free-radicals. [1]

While herbs are definitely not meant to substitute a good diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle, they can, with proper usage and appropriate expert advice, boost the effects of these in protecting your heart.

Cayenne

Noted for its ability to prevent heart attacks, cayenne is a potent herb packed with over 26 healthy nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, selenium, zinc and dietary fiber. Research shows that this herb contains powerful compounds that play a vital role in optimizing heart health. It is thought to work by removing plaque from arteries, providing nourishment to the heart, improving circulation, emulsifying triglycerides, removing harmful toxins from the bloodstream, re-building blood cells and lowering cholesterol levels. [8] One study found that not only does cayenne prevent blood clots, but this herb can work as a pain reducer. [13]

Butcher’s Broom

Butcher’s broom is a wonderful lesser-known herb that is thought to help reduce one’s risk for cardiovascular diseases. Its main components, which include sterols and fatty acids are considered to be beneficial for improving blood vessel health as well as reducing one’s susceptibility to atherosclerosis.

Keep in mind that unlike many herbs that are considered to be good for the heart, butcher’s broom is only advised to people diagnosed with low blood pressure or hypotension. It helps to increase diastolic blood pressure, therefore, people with hypertension should avoid it. [9]

Grapes

The regular consumption of grapes is thought to be beneficial for the heart. Research shows that grapes are good sources of flavonoids that help fight high blood pressure and reduce risk for cardiovascular disease and heart muscle damage.

In a study conducted at the University of Michigan Health System, it was found that grapes contain high levels of antioxidants that improve the diastolic pressure of the heart, and reduce the occurrence of fibrosis, heart muscle enlargement and hypertensive heart failure. [10]



Herbs For Heart – References:

[1] https://shop.lakewinds.com/store/Herbs-for-Heart-Health-W4702C18760.aspx

[2] Active phytochemicals from Chinese herbs as therapeutic agents for the heart. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22632138

[3] http://www.care2.com/greenliving/heart-friendly-herbs.html?page=2

[4] Cardiovascular effects of flavanol-rich chocolate in patients with heart failure. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22173910

[5] Leonurus cardiaca L. (Motherwort): A Review of its Phytochemistry and Pharmacology. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23042598

[6] Protective effect of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) against doxorubicin-induced oxidative cardiotoxicity in rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21455099

[7] Roles and mechanisms of ginseng in protecting heart. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22772919

[8] http://www.thewellnesswarrior.com.au/2011/09/love-your-heart-with-cayenne-pepper/

[9] http://www.heart-health-guide.com/Butchers-Broom.html

[10] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130502120259.htm

[11] http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=3&sid=796c1b93-7cab-465f-

[12] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2754502/

[13] Jamison Starbuck, “6 Herbs for Your Heart. (Cover Story),” Better Nutrition 62, no. 9 (September 2000): 68.

Article researched and created by Cathy Ongk

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10 Herbs For Kidneys

Green Tea

The young, “unfermented” leaves of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) are widely considered to have great nutritional qualities. Most green teas are unfermented or very lightly fermented, as opposed to oolong teas which are semi-fermented and black teas which are fully fermented.

Tea has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, astringent and diuretic properties. It also contains compounds called polyphenols that have been known to inhibit kidney stones and even prevent certain cancers. [2] It is these polyphenols that are widely investigated for their anti-oxidant activities to prevent diseases caused by oxidative stress like kidney related disorders. As one recent Japanese study has shown, the biological activities and low toxicity of polyphenols have beneficial effects on pathological states related to oxidative stress renal disease. [3]



Couch Grass

Rich in polysaccharides, volatile oils, mucilages and other nutrients, couch grass has been traditionally used to increase urine production and treat urinary tract infections like cystitis and urethritis. It has diuretic, demulcent and antibacterial properties, couch grass is therefore also used to partially dissolve kidney stones. [2] Consequently, researchers in Italy discovered that when combined with potassium citrate, the dry extract of couch grass significantly reduced the total number and size of urinary stones among the treated group after a 5 month follow up period in a randomized controlled study. [4]

Rehmannia

Rehmannia is an herb that is less well known in the West but has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine since ancient times. The steamed roots of rehmannia have been widely used to fight various renal diseases. A 2009 study revealed that this herb has reno-protective effects on progressive renal failure by reducing angiotensin II, AT1 receptor, and by regulating TGF-β1 and type IV collagen expression. [5] Phytosterols, antioxidants, along with iridoid glycosides are reported to be responsible for rehmannia’s therapeutic benefits on the kidneys. [2]

Banaba

An ornamental plant indigenous to Australia, India and tropical countries in Southeast Asia, banaba has been used since ancient times as a natural diuretic and as a remedy for kidney and bladder problems. [6] While much research is focused on the herb’s high levels of corosolic acid and how this may improve blood sugar levels among type II diabetics, the leaves of banaba have also been used to relieve urinary tract infections. Evidence also suggests regular intake of banaba leaf tea can alleviate the discomfort associated with kidney stones and help prevent gallbladder stones. [7]

Java Tea (Orthosiphon stamineus)

Listed in French, Indonesian, Dutch and Swiss pharmacopoeias as a remedy for kidney ailments, java tea has diuretic properties and increases the kidney’s ability to eliminate nitrogen-containing compounds. Some experts believe java tea is an effective treatment against kidney stones, kidney infections and for promoting renal functions because of the flavones, glycoside, volatile oil and potassium it contains. [2] Recent studies have also revealed that java tea’s caffeic acid and rosmarinic content can trigger helpful biological mechanisms. [8] Java tea is also thought to treat gout, diabetes and rheumatism. [17]

Cranberries

Initially thought only to be beneficial for treating urinary tract infections, recent scientific studies revealed that cranberries may also contribute to preventing the formation of kidney stones. Research shows that cranberries are good sources of quinic acid, a very acidic substance which the body cannot dissolve. This substance helps make urine more acidic thereby preventing the phosphate and calcium ions from forming kidney stones.[9]

Dandelion

When made into tea, dandelion can be a helpful assistant to the liver and the kidneys. In addition to its diuretic properties, dandelion is an excellent source of nutrients such as zinc, potassium, iron, and Vitamins A, C, D and B-Complex. The roots of dandelion contain active ingredients that are thought may help dissolve kidney stones. [10]

Ginger

For more than 2,000 years, ginger has been used to treat different types of ailments including renal disorders. Scientific experimental evidence suggests that ginger contains active constituents that activate antioxidant pathways resulting to increased renal protection. [11]

As a good reservoir of valuable dietary elements like Vitamin C, folic acid, Vitamin B3, iron, calcium and protein, ginger is a wonderful herb that also helps dissolve kidney stones. stones.[12]

Cucumber

Cucumber is a vegetable consist of 97% water. When made into juice or eaten raw, cucumbers are excellent sources of valuable nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, lutein, beta carotene, calcium, magnesium, protein, phosphorus and calcium. [13]

Noted for their diuretic and laxative properties, cucumber is highly recommended to people suffering from kidney problems. This vegetable helps to eliminate harmful toxins in the kidneys as well as dissolve bladder and kidney stones. [14]

Onion

Research shows that onions can be helpful in eliminating pain associated with kidney stones. Regular intake of onion juice is thought to be useful for making kidney stones pass within at least 24 hours. [15]



Herbs For Kidneys – References:

[1] Use of Herbal Supplements in Chronic Kidney Disease. http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/herbalsupp.cfm

[2] http://www.naturalnews.com/027211_tea_green_herbs.html

[3] Green Tea Polyphenols for the Protection against Renal Damage Caused by Oxidative Stress. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22844338

[4] Effects of the association of potassium citrate and agropyrum repens in renal stone treatment: results of a prospective randomized comparison with potassium citrate. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=couch+grass%2C+kidney

[5] Rehmannia glutinosa ameliorates the progressive renal failure induced by 5/6 nephrectomy. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19146934

[6] http://suite101.com/article/herbal-remedy-a27859

[7] http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-banaba-leaf.htm

[8] Evaluation of the genotoxicity of Orthosiphon stamineus aqueous extract. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21044879

[9] http://www.livestrong.com/article/264679-what-are-the-benefits-of-cranberry-juice-on-kidneys/

[10] http://www.livestrong.com/article/546304-the-benefits-of-dandelion-leaf-root-for-the-kidneys/

[11] http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-ginger-kidney-function-3019.html

[12] http://ezinearticles.com/?Do-Herbal-Remedies-Really-Dissolve-Kidney-Stones?&id=5895659

[13] http://www.livestrong.com/article/248685-what-are-the-benefits-of-lemon-cucumber-juice/

[14] http://www.livestrong.com/article/488376-vegetables-good-for-kidney-cleansing/

[15] http://www.ehow.com/way_5633357_onion-cure-kidney-stones.html

Article researched and created by Cathy Ongking and Elfe Cabanas, © herbs-info.com 2013

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Top 10 Herbs For The Liver

Milk thistle

One of the most popular liver herbal remedies and found in a large number of liver tonic formulas, milk thistle is considered beneficial to the liver because the anti-oxidant compounds of milk thistle have been found by researchers to aid in detoxification process by flushing out toxins like alcohol, regeneration of damaged liver tissue and stimulation of bile production. [3] Scientists have found that one of these active compounds is silibinin which alleviates hepatic conditions by reducing inflammation and fibrosis. [4]Consequently, 5 clinical trial analyses involving 602 cirrhosis patients have suggested that milk thistle can reduce liver-related mortality. [2]



Dandelion

In a scientific study, leaf extracts of dandelion leaves were fed to the mice for a month to investigate their hepaprotective effects. Results have confirmed the benefits obtained in hepatic functioning were due to the herb’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. [5] Aside from its leaves, the dandelion’s roots are a popular liver aid [1] that is known throughout centuries as a diuretic and used by herbalists to combat fatty liver and cirrhosis. [3]

Licorice

The American Cancer Society mentions licorice as a potent herbal remedy to treat liver diseases like hepatitis and cancer among others because of the chemical glycyrrhizin it contains. [6] Another study reports the benefits of licorice is linked to interferon production which is responsible for the plant’s ability to protect the liver from harmful poisons. [1]

Artichoke

Used in European medicine since 18th century, artichoke has been proven to provide protective effects on liver cells because of the influence of active antioxidant substances. [7] Specifically, artichoke has been found to support liver regeneration and bile production which is essential for digestion. Some clinical trials have also demonstrated the efficacy of artichoke in lowering triglyceride levels. [1]

Turmeric

Belonging to the same family as ginger, turmeric stimulates enzymes that detoxify and as researchers from UCLA have discovered, can likewise fight carcinogens by keeping malignant cells from spreading. [3] Initial researches on liver cells have suggested turmeric extracts may block the replication of hepatitis B virus. [2] Moreover, curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric has been demonstrated in clinical studies as effective in reducing liver triglycerides – which are also linked to metabolic disorders like visceral obesity, insulin resistance, fatty liver and diabetes. [8]

Greater Celandine

You may not have heard of this but greater celandine is probably one of the best herbs for the liver. It is widely used in treating many hepatitis illnesses, like jaundice, and it promotes liver detoxification. Best noted as a blood cleanser, greater celandine is known for its analgesic, antibacterial, anti-microbial and liver protecting abilities. Though there are limited studies that can prove greater celandine’s effectiveness in detoxifying the liver, researchers believe that it works by increasing the production of bile. According to research, increased bile production eventually results to improved digestion and detoxified liver. [9]

Chicory root

For a very long time now, chicory root extract has been widely used in treating many liver disorders. While the ancient Romans use this herb in cleansing their blood, old Egyptians use it to purify both the liver and the blood. Furthermore, chicory root is believed to be effective at increasing the body’s resistance against the formation of liver stones and gallstones. According to research, chicory root works primarily by increasing the production of bile. By so doing, digestion is improved because excess bile can break down additional fats, which in turn results to better blood composition. In the long run, this can positively affect the health of the liver and the gall bladder. [10]

Furthermore, chicory root is also effective in protecting the liver against the harmful effects of drinking excessive amount of coffee. The herb can be used to treat a wide range of liver disorders because of its phenolic compound content. Considered as a hepatoprotectant compound, phenolic inhibits the massive damage triggered by intake of carbon tetrachloride and paracetamol. [11]

Yellow Dock root

Considered as an excellent tonic for the liver, yellow dock root is also a good herb that promotes the health of the liver. Generally used as a blood purifier, yellow dock root is also famous for its liver-detoxifying effects. Just like most herbs that are beneficial for the liver, yellow dock root also works by enhancing the body’s bile production which results to improved digestion.

Also, yellow dock root works by stimulating regular bowel movement thereby preventing waste from lingering any longer at the intestinal tract. It also promotes frequent urination. According to research, regular elimination of waste from the body is effective in preventing the accumulation of toxins in the bloodstream, gall bladder, and liver, most especially. [12]

Astralagus

Considered as one of the most important herbs discovered by the Chinese, astralagus proves to be one of the most beneficial herbs for the liver. Results of a scientific study revealed that this herb is capable of reducing liver damage that has already been incurred as well as in protecting the liver against further possible damage. [13]

More than its ability to lower acidity in the stomach, astralagus is also useful in improving digestion as well as in eradicating chemical toxins and heavy metals from the body. As mentioned earlier, improved digestion often leads to better bowel movement. In the long run, this can affect the liver positively. [14]

Like the above herbs which are all-natural, the American Liver Foundation recommends natural methods like healthy diet and weight, regular exercise, regulated / decreased alcohol intake and proper hygiene as most effective to boost liver health. [2] As the old saying goes, prevention is always better than cure.

Beets

Beets are regarded as a mighty natural remedy for the liver! They are considered detoxifying to the liver and have been used in this regard for many years. The substance betanin, found in beetroot juice, has been shown to be hepatoprotective. [15] Additionally, beets contain numerous other substances thought beneficial, including pectin which is thought to help flush toxins that have been removed from the liver. [16] For best benefits, eat some whole beets for the beneficial fiber, and some beet juice for the benefits of the nutritional components undamaged by cooking.



Herbs For The Liver – References:

[1] http://www.naturalnews.com/027607_liver_detox_herbs.html

[2] http://altmedicine.about.com/od/aznaturalremedyindex/a/liver_herbs.htm

[3] http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/top-9-herbs-for-liver-cleansing/

[4] Milk thistle and its derivative compounds: a review of opportunities for treatment of liver disease. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23140176

[5] Dandelion leaf extract protects against liver injury induced by methionine- and choline-deficient diet in mice. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23256442

[6] http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/ licorice

[7] Artichoke–untapped potential of herbal medicine in the treatment of atherosclerosis and liver diseases. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23421107

[8] Curcumin prevents liver fat accumulation and serum fetuin-A increase in rats fed a high-fat diet. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23430567

[9] http://www.buzzle.com/articles/celandine-herb-uses-and-side-effects.html

[10] http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-chicory-root/

[11] http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_chicory.htm

[12] http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/benefits-of-yellow-dock-root/

[13] http://www.livestrong.com/article/23233-astragalus-root/

[14] http://www.natural-health-and-healing-4u.com/benefits-of-astragalus.html

[15] “Betanin, a beetroot component, induces nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2-mediated expression of detoxifying/antioxidant enzymes in human liver cell lines.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23769299

[16] http://www.naturalnews.com/033025_beets_liver_function.html

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Top 10 Herbs For The Lungs:

Mullein

Both the flower and leaves of mullein are favorite natural remedies because they have been successfully used to combat colds, bronchitis, flu, emphysema and laryngitis among others. [1] Mullein has been found by herbal experts to contain saponines that soothe bronchial spasms and clear out sticky phlegm and thick mucus. Also as a mild sedative, mullein has thought to fight inflamed nerves along the respiratory tract and relieve pain. [3] Furthermore, a study conducted in 2013 found evidence that mullein may potentially possess antitumor and antihyperlipidemic properties. [18]



Licorice

Considered to be a demulcent herb which contains a great deal of vegetable gum to lubricate surfaces, licorice likewise softens and moistens irritated or inflamed mucous membranes and reduces the occurrence of spasms that trigger coughing. [3] A recent study showed that licochalcone A, a flavonoid in licorice root known for its antimicrobial property, also promotes anti-inflammatory activities that prevent cancer cell proliferation and improve acute lung injuries. The active ingredients in licorice significantly drive down inflammatory cells, dryness and protein leakage. [4]

Gingko Biloba

Research on this herb’s medicinal properties has been extensive. This herb is also thought to have beneficial effects on the lungs. For example, a 2012 experiment on dogs undergoing hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass showed gingko biloba extract stimulates systematic inflammatory responses in lung tissue. [5]

Echinacea

This is an anti-microbial herb known to fight pathogenic microorganisms while strengthening the body’s immune system. Echinacea works by activating white blood cell production and aggressiveness. [3] Studies that investigated the effects of the rhinovirus demonstrated how Echinacea can reverse the infection caused by this virus in humans and improve mucous secretion. Likewise, experts believe Echinacea may reduce mucous production during colds. [6]

Rosemary

Like Echinacea, rosemary is an anti-microbial herb that contains potent oils which have antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Herbal practitioners have long used rosemary for alleviating colds, sore throats, flu, coughs, bronchitis and chest infections. [3] One of the components of rosemary is carnosol which, in 2011 was evaluated for its anti-lung cancer properties. Researchers in Chicago have found carnosol to possess selective toxicity towards cancer cells without destroying non-tumorigenic cells. It was also found to be well-tolerated when given to animals. [7]

Eucalyptus

Considered to be the world’s fastest growing tree with over 700 varieties and 300 species, eucalyptus is plentiful and has many medicinal purposes. The oil derived from this tree has been used to treat various respiratory conditions including influenza, meningitis, common colds, fever, sore throat, sinusitis and bronchitis. Eucalyptus is believed to have powerful antiseptic, expectorant, vermifuge, analgesic, decongestant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and antiviral properties, several of which can benefit the lungs. [8]

Eucalyptus is also believed to be beneficial for the lungs because of its cineole content. This active ingredient acts as a powerful agent that eases coughs and fights various types of respiratory problems. In fact, one study claimed that consuming 200 grams of cineole three times a day can help improve the symptoms of viral sinusitis. One study conducted in Spain further claimed that eucalyptus has anti-inflammatory properties because of its natural ability to inhibit the production of nitric oxide. Eucalyptus is believed to have antioxidant properties that strengthen the immune system during illness and helps the body fight infections. [9]

Lastly, a study conducted in 2012 found that eucalyptus extract may have anti-proliferation effects on cancerous cells. [19]

Irish Moss

Irish Moss is an amazing herb that is believed to be capable of treating a host of respiratory illnesses. In fact, it is one of the core ingredients of many prescription drugs used to treat bronchitis, coughs and other lung problems. In addition to the fact that this herb is an excellent source of magnesium, iodine, sodium and calcium, Irish moss is noted for its anti-viral properties that help fight mumps and influenza B viruses. [10]

Irish moss is also known for its anti-inflammatory, demulcent and expectorant properties. It is even used to speed up recuperation from illnesses like pneumonia and tuberculosis. [11] For thousands of years, Chinese herbalists have been using Irish moss to treat respiratory illnesses like colds, flus, pneumonias, dry coughs, and sore throats. Irish moss is also capable of abating the symptoms of common colds and flus. In addition to its ability to relieve dry coughs, Irish moss is known to contain potassium chloride that dissolves catharrs, which are responsible for the congestion commonly associated with coughs. [12]

Hyssop

Known for its anise-like aroma, hyssop is a fragrant herb that is well known for its beneficial effects on the lungs. Hyssop contains expectorant properties that are thought to eliminate congestion caused by sinusitis and other viral infections. Furthermore, this herb has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and diaphoretic properties that are known to help reduce fever and rid the body of unwanted toxins. [13]

When taken as a syrup, hyssop is believed to be an effective reliever of stubborn coughs and other pulmonary infections. In ancient times, this herb was prescribed to resolve asthma, stomach aches, nasal catarrh and pleurisy. Today, hyssop is understood to have antiviral properties and to relax peripheral blood vessels. [14]

Slippery Elm

Slippery elm is thought to be an herb with several medicinal qualities. In particular, slippery elm is an excellent herb for treating the respiratory ailments. This herb contains a perfect blend of anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, mucilage, diuretic, emollient, laxative and expectorant properties which can assist the lungs. It is believed to treat bronchitis, bleeding within the lungs, and coughs. It can also be used to soothe mucous membranes and the entire respiratory system in general. [15]

This herb also contains anti-allergenic and antiseptic properties which can be effective for those suffering from asthma. By softening mucous membranes in the nose, slippery elm offers immense relief from various respiratory conditions. [16] Lastly, slippery elm has an overall calming and refreshing quality that can be useful in many situations. [20]

Coltsfoot

Known for its healing benefits, coltsfoot is a powerful herb that can be very beneficial to the lungs. Widely cultivated in Asia and Europe, coltsfoot makes an excellent remedy for whooping cough, common colds, and other types of lung ailments. In general, this herb is thought to be capable of relieving the symptoms of bronchitis. Furthermore, it has been found to heal mucous membranes, and as a potent expectorant, it helps the body get rid of excess mucus. Coltsfoot’s anti-inflammatory effects enable the fast recovery of infected and irritated lungs. [17] A coltsfoot tea is believed to combat emphysema, benign coughing and asthma attacks caused by allergies. [21]



Herbs For Lungs – References:

[1] http://www.everygreenherb.com/lungs.html

[2] http://www.care2.com/greenliving/3-herbs-to-boost-your-lungs.html

[3] http://evenstaronline.com/articles/respiratoryease.html

[4] Licochalcone a inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory response in vitro and in vivo. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22400806

[5] Protective effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on the lung injury of dogs undergoing hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23019955

[6] The efficacy of Echinacea in a 3-D tissue model of human airway epithelium. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19998417

[7] Carnosol: a promising anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agent. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21382660

[8] http://www.anandaapothecary.com/articles/eucalyptus-essential-oil.html

[9] http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/lung-cleansing-benefits-of-eucalyptus/

[10] http://www.bellybytes.com/herbs/irish-moss.html

[11] http://www.healthy.net/scr/mmedica.aspx?MTId=1&Id=233

[12] http://store.newwayherbs.com/irish-moss–chondrus-crispus-p50.aspx

[13] http://www.livestrong.com/article/312113-how-does-hyssop-work-in-the-body/

[14] http://voices.yahoo.com/the-health-benefits-hyssop-1851764.html?cat=68

[15] http://naturalhealthtechniques.com/herb-slippery-elm.htm

[16] http://www.mommyser.com/myblog/spotlight-slippery-elm-bark

[17] http://www.buzzle.com/articles/coltsfoot-side-effects.html

[18] http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0102-695X2013000600948&script=sci_arttext

[19] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23350280

[20] Anny Schneider, Wild Medicinal Plants (Stackpole Books, 2002)

[21] http://books.google.com/books?id=SNKWzlTuaT4C&pg=PA214

Article researched and created by Cathy Ongking, © herbs-info.com 2013

10 Herbs For The Pancreas

Horsetail

It is thought that the rich silica content in horsetail helps to heal and rebuild damaged tissues caused by inflammation from pancreatitis. [2] Moreover, one study that analyzed the effects of horsetail extract on diabetic rats found that after 5 weeks of treatment, the herbal extract produced significant anti-diabetic activities and regeneration of the pancreas. [5]



Oregano

In traditional medicine, oregano has been thought to be a promising treatment for oxidation-linked disorders like diabetes because of its rich natural phenolic antioxidants. In 2004, researchers at the University of Massachusetts studied the anti-diabetic mechanisms of oregano extract and found that they can inhibit porcine pancreatic amylase. These results support the belief that oregano could be a potential anti-hyperglycemic agent for managing hyperglycemia and diabetic complications long term. [6]

Haritaki

In 2007, scientists from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute discovered that this herb has cancer-fighting properties and may prevent or decelerate the growth of pancreatic cancer tumors. Doctors believe this is done by causing pancreatic cancer cells to die off naturally though a process known as apoptosis without causing toxic side effects. [3] During that same year, oral intake of haritaki aqueous extract was shown to reduce elevated blood glucose by 43.2% and hepatic and skeletal muscle glycogen content by 75% and 62.9% respectively, suggesting it may have potential value as a diabetic treatment. [7]

Calendula

Phytopharmacological studies of various calendula extracts have exhibited anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-genotoxic therapeutic properties. In 2006, scientists from Spain revealed that calendula extract displayed activities that could potentially inhibit tumor cell proliferation from 70-100% when tested on a wide variety of human and murine tumor cell lines, including pancreatic cancer cells. This indicates this herb has cytotoxic tumor cell properties and that calendula can trigger lymphocyte activation. [8] Likewise, when pancreatitis results from alcohol abuse, application of calendula salve may help to prevent dehydration. [2]

Dandelion

Like calendula and haritaki, dandelion is thought to be an effective treatment against aggressive and resistant pancreatic cancer cells. In 2012, researchers from Canada discovered that dandelion root extract can induce apoptosis and autophagy to combat cancer cells without any significant effect on noncancerous cells. [4] Teas made from dandelion have also been known to flush out the intestines and aid the recovery and healing of damaged pancreatic tissues. [2]

Gentian

This herb has proven itself to be one of the best in promoting a healthy pancreas. The roots of gentian can stimulate the pancreas, gall bladder and mucous membranes of the stomach to increase secretion of pancreatic enzymes, bile, stomach acid and digestive juices. [9]

Goldenseal

Now considered to be an endangered species, goldenseal is one of the most highly valued herbs today because of its medicinal and therapeutic benefits. More than its ability to lower blood sugar and aid the overall functioning of the pancreas [14], goldenseal also helps to stimulate the beta cells of the pancreas which is beneficial to people suffering from diabetes.

Goldenseal is considered to have diuretic, antibacterial, antiseptic, detergent, laxative, tonic, stomachic, muscle stimulant, anti-inflammatory, emollient, detergent, and antispasmodic properties. According to research, goldenseal is capable of promoting the healthy functioning of the colon, spleen and the pancreas. Goldenseal also works by enhancing the production of bile. [10]

Cedar Berries

A native fruit in the American Southwest, cedar berries are powerful grape-like fruits that promise to offer large amounts of health-promoting nutrients which are beneficial to the human body. The seeds and pods of cedar berries are believed to be effective in improving the functions of the digestive and pancreatic system of the body. By regulating the normal functioning of the pancreas, stabilized sugar levels are achieved. This in turn can be extremely helpful to those suffering from diabetes. [11]

Olive Leaves

Over time, many people have become more aware of olive leaves and their health benefits. These leaves actually contain powerful ingredients that help to improve the circulatory system, detoxify the blood, eradicate free radicals and lower blood pressure. In the long run, these benefits help to strengthen thyroid, liver, and pancreas functions.

Olive leaves contain oleuropein, a chemical compound that serves as the anti-inflammatory agent within the pancreas. It helps to reduce swelling and pain associated with pancreatitis. Furthermore, its oleic acid content is useful for getting rid of free radicals that impose significant cellular damage to the organ. Olive leaves were found to have the potential of also inhibiting cancer cell proliferation. [15] Research further shows that the use of olive leaves is beneficial for reducing one’s risk for breast and pancreatic cancer. [12]

Licorice

Licorice is considered to be an excellent treatment for many pancreatic disorders – especially in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). According to research, licorice is fortified with anti-inflammatory compounds that work to reduce the pain and swelling associated with pancreatic conditions like pancreatitis. [13]



Herbs For Pancreas – References:

[1] http://www.nativeremedies.com/ailment/symptoms-of-pancreas-problems.html

[2] http://www.herbs2000.com/disorders/pancreatitis.htm

[3] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070417114757.htm

[4] Selective induction of apoptosis and autophagy through treatment with dandelion root extract in human pancreatic cancer cells. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22647733

[5] The effect of Equisetum arvense L. (Equisetaceae) in histological changes of pancreatic beta-cells in streptozotocin-induced diabetic in rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=horsetail%2C+pancreas

[6] Inhibitory effect of clonal oregano extracts against porcine pancreatic amylase in vitro. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15563448

[7] Long-term effects of Terminalia chebula Retz. on hyperglycemia and associated hyperlipidemia, tissue glycogen content and in vitro release of insulin in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Terminalia+Chebula%2C+pancreas

[8] A new extract of the plant Calendula officinalis produces a dual in vitro effect: cytotoxic anti-tumor activity and lymphocyte activation. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=calendula%2C+pancreas

[9] http://www.springboard4health.com/notebook/herbs_gentian.html

[10] http://www.globalherbalsupplies.com/herb_information/goldenseal.htm

[11] http://www.livestrong.com/article/550852-cedar-berry-dosages/

[12] http://www.soyouwanna.com/olive-leaf-extract-pancreas-healing-7876.html

[13] http://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/herbal-pancreatitis-treatment.aspx

[14] Dónal O’Mathúna and Walter L. Larimore, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook (Zondervan, 2001)

[15] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.200800204/abstract

Article researched and created by Cathy Ongking and Elfe Cabanas

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10 Beneficial Herbs for the Skin

Calendula

Also known as pot marigold, calendula is believed to heal and regenerate skin tissue. For example, calendula has been found to improve firmness and hydration of skin in human tests. [4] There is also some evidence that suggests calendula oil-based cream may be effective against Ultraviolet B radiation-induced alterations in skin tissue. [5]



Aloe

The gel of aloe vera is well known for its ability to repair damaged skin and heal wounds, making it a common ingredient in skin care products. One study has found aloe vera cream to be slightly more effective than topical steroids in reducing inflammation and skin itching. Other studies indicate the value of aloe in relieving dermatitis, frostbite, burns and psoriasis. [1]

St. John’s Wort

Externally applied as a cream, ointment or macerated oil, St. John’s Wort is found to have calming effects on skin irritation. [4] An investigative study has shown that oleum hyperici, an oil extract of St. John’s Wort may be used for topical treatment of wounds, burns, bruises, nerve injury, cuts, hemorrhoids and may even serve as an antiseptic. Because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial characteristics, St. John’s Wort oil extracts exhibit antimicrobial activities against common microorganisms. [6]

Peppermint

In a 2011 experiment, scientists ascertained that when peppermint oil was liberally applied onto the skin, a sensation of freshness was experienced. [7] Its cooling and refreshing qualities allow peppermint to stimulate and revitalize skin, restore skin elasticity, close pores, reduce swelling and unpleasant odor, and lessen redness and irritation. [4]

Green tea

Green tea is not just for drinking. Green tea extract can also be applied to the skin. One study has found that a 2% green tea lotion can work as an acne solution. Aside from alleviating acne, green tea contains antioxidant flavonoids that protect skin from the dangers of ultraviolet light, thereby supporting skin to heal from sunburns, aging and cancer. [1]

Chamomile

Undeniably, chamomile is one of the most common herbal ingredients in many skin care products today. This herb is an excellent source of a potent compound called alpha bisabolol that is thought to be effective in accelerating the healing process of skin as well as in reducing the occurrence of wrinkles and fine lines. [8]

More than its wonderful aroma, chamomile is also known for its anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that are beneficial for the skin. When applied, chamomile is useful for relieving allergies, eczema, minor burns, sunburn and skin rashes. [9]

Lavender

Outside of its relaxing and calming effects, lavender is also beneficial for skin repair. The herb contains the compound linalool that soothes the skin, prevents tissue degeneration, and keeps the skin firm and taut. Lavender also acts as an excellent anti-aging agent because of its cytophylactic properties that promote regeneration of new cells. It promotes faster healing of wounds, cuts, scar tissue, inflammation, irritation, psoriasis, sunburns, eczema, acne and other skin disorders. Lavender is also thought to have antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-toxic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. [10]

Comfrey

Just like chamomile, comfrey is also one of the most popular ingredients in skin lotions today. What makes this herb effective and high in demand? It is commonly believed that comfrey’s allantoin content plays a vital role in protecting the skin as well as in promoting skin cell regeneration. When applied to the skin as poultice, comfrey has the potential to heal abrasion and laceration. [11]

This herb is also known as knitbone and can be used to treat a wide range of skin ailments. Allantoin also works by promoting skin repair and soothing skin inflammation. Despite its effectiveness, the US Food and Drug Administration banned the consumption of comfrey because it is thought to cause damage to essential organs of the body such as the liver. [12]

Licorice

Known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, licorice is a wonderful herb that promotes skin health. It is beneficial for people suffering from rosacea, eczema or psoriasis. [13] When applied onto the skin as a gel, licorice helps to relieve symptoms like itching, redness and swelling. [14]

Tea tree

Found in Australia, tea tree oil is known for its antiviral, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. [17] The results of recent studies revealed that tea tree oil is beneficial for treating various skin conditions and ailments including skin blemishes, acne, and scabies. [15]

For people with acne, tea tree oil helps by acting as a natural exfoliant that destroys bacteria that causes flare-ups. Furthermore, it is useful for eliminating symptoms of skin ailments like irritation, itching and scaling. [16]



Herbs For Skin – References:

[1] http://www.herbco.com/t-herbs-for-skin.aspx

[2] http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/05/24/great-herbs-skin/

[3] Skin ageing: natural weapons and strategies. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23431351

[4] Calendula extract: effects on mechanical parameters of human skin. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21928714

[5] Effects of Calendula Essential Oil-Based Cream on Biochemical Parameters of Skin of Albino Rats against Ultraviolet B Radiation.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23008814

[6] Estimation of dermatological application of creams with St. John’s Wort oil extracts. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22205093

[7] Freshness evaluation of refreshing creams: influence of two types of peppermint oil and emulsion formulation. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22682397

[8] http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4151/Top-5-Herbs-For-Glowing-Gorgeous-Skin.html

[9] http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-chamomile.html

[10] http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4151/Top-5-Herbs-For-Glowing-Gorgeous-Skin.html

[11] http://www.herbco.com/t-herbs-for-skin.aspx

[12] http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/comfrey-000234.htm

[13] http://www.herbco.com/t-herbs-for-skin.aspx

[14] http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/licorice-000262.htm

[15] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_tree_oil

[16] http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/tea-tree-oil-treats-skin-problems

[17] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22998411

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