Herbal Supplements

Herbal Supplements

Herbal Supplements
Herbal supplements are dietary supplements derived from nature. Herbal plants or parts of a plant are broken down and used for their scent, flavor and therapeutic benefits. When taken as a supplement, they can deliver strong benefits, however, herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA and can have dangerous side effects. They act like drugs once in your system and can affect metabolism, circulation and excretion of other substances in your body. It is important to discuss with your doctor if you are on prescription medications, are breastfeeding or have chronic illnesses and want to add herbal supplements to your health regimen.

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    Drinking regular cocoa is not likely to help improve your memory. In an experiment, 37 healthy adults ages 50 to 69 were randomly given diets either high or low in flavanols, a bioactive substance found in cacao beans, for three months. The high-flavanol group experienced improvements in the function of the dentate gyrus, a specific part of the brain related to memory, and performed better on a memory test than the low-flavanol volunteers. But researchers caution that the study subjects received a specially prepared high-flavanol cocoa drink; regular cocoa is most likely stripped of many of the flavanols. You can also get flavanols in tea and fruits such as apples and grapes.

    Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.
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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    Once mature, each cacao tree, planted in the shade of a larger tree, will produce 5 pounds of chocolate per year -- or about 15 to 30 pods since, once dried, the beans from an average pod weigh less than 2 ounces, and approximately 400 are required to make 1 pound of chocolate. Anywhere from 20 to 50 cream-colored beans are scooped from a typical pod, and the husk and inner membrane discarded.

    Exposure to the air quickly changes the color of the beans from cream to lavender or purple, but they are far from what we would recognize as chocolate and lack its characteristic fragrance. At this point, the cocoa beans are put into boxes or thrown into heaps and covered with burlap. The layer of pulp that surrounds each bean starts to heat up and ferment - a simple "yeasting" process that converts the sugars in the beans to acids, primarily lactic and acetic acid. Fermentation, which takes from three to nine days and generates temperatures as high as 125 degrees F., kills the germ of the bean, removes the beans' bitter taste, and activates enzymes that form the precursors of the compounds that will produce chocolate's luscious flavor when the beans are roasted. The result is a bean ready for drying.

    During drying, the beans lose more than half their weight and nearly all their moisture, reaching a moisture content of no more than 7 percent. Once dried, the beans are loaded into 130-to-200-pound sacks and sent to shipping centers, where they are inspected by buyers. To sample the quality of a crop, buyers cut open a number of beans to check that they are uniformly dark brown rather than purple at the center, which indicates incomplete fermentation. If the beans meet with approval, the grower is paid at the current market price, which depends not only on the abundance of the worldwide crop and the quality of farmers' crops in a number of countries, but on a number of economic conditions around the world. The chocolate industry has set up cocoa exchanges, similar to stock exchanges, in principal cities such as New York, London, Hamburg, and Amsterdam, where the prices are set.

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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered

    Royal jelly is a thick, milky substance produced by worker bees to feed the queen bee. The worker bees mix honey and bee pollen with enzymes in the glands of their throats to produce royal jelly. Royal jelly is believed to be a useful nutritional supplement because of the queen bee's superior size, strength, stamina, and longevity compared to other bees. It is used as a nutritive tonic.

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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    Research shows that cocoa polyphenols can interrupt the spread of breast, lung and colon cancer. As far as cancer goes, those are the biggies: The American Cancer Society says that in 2013, 39,620 people died from breast cancer,159,480 from lung cancer and 50,830 from colon cancer. Together they accounted for more deaths than all other types of cancer. Thus, almost a quarter of a million people every single year typically fall to these cancers. However, the available research to date indicates that cocoa polyphenols can interrupt the initiation, promotion and proliferation of all three of these cancers.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Pungent noni juice has powerful anti-aging properties to make you look and feel younger. Collected from noni fruit that is left to rot and ferment, the juice helps to lower inflammation and boost immunity. It's now taken for medicinal purposes and is available as a supplement or juice in health food stores.
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    A answered
    In Germany, Urtica dioica is widely used for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This extract of stinging nettle is thought to suppress cell growth and metabolism, inhibiting growth factors and blocking hormone receptors. But no single mechanism for alleviating urinary symptoms has been proved.

    Some randomized, placebo-controlled trials have shown positive effects from using Urtica dioca, but the trials generally have included small numbers of men and a short duration of treatment -- usually three months or less. With such limited evidence to date, recommending extracts of stinging nettle for BPH is difficult to support.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    As you age, keep your eyes sharp with lutein. It’s a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent cataracts and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in individuals over the age of 60, by protecting you from some of the harmful effects of sunlight.

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    A , Integrative Medicine, answered
    Lemongrass (Cymbopogon) has traditionally been used as an herb and a dietary flavoring for calming and digestive support. Various forms of Cymbopogon consist of several species native to India, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

    Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexusus) essential oil is steam distilled from the herbs/leaves of the plant and contains genanial, neral, and monoterpenes. It has been researched for its ability to deter microbe and fungus growth in vitro. It may also be immune supporting and contain anti-inflammatory compounds.

    Lemongrass has some evidence in vitro for its antioxidant and anti-tumoral properties. More studies are needed with human trials to verify these findings.

    Pregnant women and those who are on prescription medications should let their doctor know if they will be integrating lemongrass or any herb into their wellness routine. This is related to potential interactions.

    Sources:
    • J Infect Chemother. Dec 2001; 7(4):251-4.
    • Libyan J Med. 2014 Sep 19;9:25431. doi: 10.3402/ljm.v9.25431. eCollection 2014.
    • Braz J Microbiol. 2008 Jan-Mar; 39(1): 163–168.
    • J Pharm Pharmacol. 2014 Oct;66(10):1491-1496. doi: 10.1111/jphp.12278. Epub 2014 Jun 16.
    • Lemongrass. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/lemongrass
    • Essential Oils Desk Reference (4th ed). Life Science Publishing. 2007. 73-74
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    A , OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology), answered
    Six different studies looking at two different preparations of red clover concluded that it did not help to reduce hot flashes. Because there is no evidence that it has a significant effect on hot flashes, and because it contains processed isoflavones that do not have a track record for being safe or effective, I do not recommend red clover.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but if your cereal isn’t giving you the boost you need, try adding a pinch of guarana. Like coffee, guarana is a ground-up South American bean. The difference? Coffee beans contain 1-2% caffeine, while guarana seeds may contain up to 6% caffeine, making them the energy booster of choice in many energy drinks and supplements. Guarana’s got a bitter taste on its own, so simply add a pinch to your cereal or, better yet, steel-cut oatmeal to give you the energy you need to get going in the morning. But be careful: it is possible to overdose on caffeine, and it may do more than just cause jitters--some fatalities have been linked to large doses of caffeine.

    This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com