Resveratrol is a naturally occurring phytoalexin produced by some higher plants in response to injury or fungal infection. Phytoalexins are chemical substances produced by plants as a defense against infection by pathogenic microorganisms, such as fungi. Epidemiological, in vitro and animal studies suggest that a high resveretrol intake is associated with a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease, and a reduced risk for cancer. Resveratrol is touted by nutritionists and biochemists because of its potential as an anticancer and cardioprotective compound.
Resveratrol belongs to the phytoalexin class of phytochemicals and functions as a moderate antioxidant, quenching free radical damage linked to several cancers. The compound has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties that help it to block reactions associated with the cancer process.
Resveratrol, which is also known as 3,4',5 trihydroxystilbene and 3,4',5-stilbenetriol, exists in cis- and trans-stereoisomeric forms. Resveratrol is the parent molecule of a family of polymers called viniferins. Cis- and trans-resveratrol occur naturally as do their glucosides. Resveratrol-3-O-beta-D-glucoside is also known as piceid, and the respective cis- and trans-glucosides are called cis-piceid and trans-piceid. The molecular formula of resveratrol is C14H12O3 and its molecular weight is 228.25 daltons.
Some benefits of resveratrol include:
1) Powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances that can neutralize free radicals, which are highly reactive compounds that, if left unchecked, can lead to cellular damage. Free radicals are believed by some experts to be a major culprit in heart disease, cancer, and aging itself.
2) The study conducted by Dr. Pezzuto showed that resveratrol was effective against the progression of cancer. Most impressively, it was effective in all the major stages of cancer -- the initiation, promotion, and progression.
3) Resveratrol has been shown to help lower bad cholesterol (LDL), and, therefore, may be a potent nutrient in preventing cardiovascular disease. It has also shown to reduce the clumping of platelets. Thus, such conditions as atherosclerosis and heart attacks, which are often caused by arterial blockages, may potentially be reduced by this potent substance.
Resveratrol has several activities that may account for its possible cardioprotective action. These include inhibition of the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), inhibition of smooth muscle cell proliferation and inhibition of platelet aggregation. Resveratrol has also been found to reduce the synthesis of lipids in rat liver and to inhibit the production of proatherogenic eicosanoids by human platelets and neutrophils. Resveratrol's antioxidant activity may play an important role in its possible cardioprotective action. Above, was mentioned its ability to inhibit the oxidation of LDL. Resveratrol also has been found to exert a strong inhibitory effect on superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide production by macrophages stimulated by lipopolysaccharides or phorbol esters. It also has been demonstrated to decrease arachidonic acid release induced by lipopolysaccharides or phorbol esters, or by exposure to superoxide or hydrogen peroxide. It has hydroxyl-radical scavenging activity and has recently been found to possess glutathione-sparing activity. Resveratrol's possible phytoestrogenic activity may also contribute to its possible cardioprotective action. Resveratrol appears to act as a mixed agonist/antagonist for estrogen receptors alpha and beta. It has been found to bind estrogen receptor beta and estrogen receptor alpha with comparable affinity but with 7,000-fold lower affinity than estradiol. Resveratrol differs from other phytoestrogens, which bind estrogen receptor beta with higher affinity than they bind estrogen receptor alpha. Resveratrol also shows estradiol antagonistic behavior for estrogen receptor alpha with some estrogen receptors. It does not show estradiol antagonistic activity with estrogen receptor beta. Resveratrol's possible antiproliferative activity also may be accounted for in several different ways.
Kelp refers to several species of large, brown algae that can grow to enormous sizes far out in the depths of the ocean. Kelp is a type of seaweed, but not all seaweed is kelp: "seaweed" loosely describes any type of vegetation growing in the ocean, including many other types of algae and plants.
The primary chemical constituents of Kelp include algin, carrageenan, iodine, potassium, bromine, mucopolysaccharides, mannitol, alginic acid, kainic acid, laminine, histamine, zeaxanthin, protein, and vitamins B-2 and C. Kelp is a nutritional source that is used to promote healthy glandular functions, focusing especially on the thyroid. Kelp is especially high in iodine, which must be present for proper glandular function. By regulating the thyroid, Kelp helps stimulate and balance the metabolism. The large amounts of iodine found in Kelp are important in the treatment of an under-active thyroid. Consequently, Kelp may contribute to weight loss if the weight gain is directly related to thyroid disorders. Containing algin, a fiber that absorbs toxins and nutrients from the digestive system, Kelp helps improve digestion, stimulate kidney function, increase circulation, and purify the blood. Kelp has also been known to treat inflamed joints and tissues caused by arthritis & rheumatism. Furthermore, Kelp enhances the immune system and eliminates the negative effects that stress may have on the body. It can help absorb and remove drugs, chemicals, heavy metals, and radioactive strontium 90 from the body. It can also help to normalize overly low blood pressure. Known topical uses for this herb include its use as a compress or oil for arthritic joints, as a bath herb for cellulite & weight loss and as a lotion for its skin-softening qualities.
Kelp is a source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and E, plus amino acids. Kelp also makes a popular salt substitute. Because the plant’s nutrients come in a natural form, they are easily assimilated by the body. The electrolytic magnetic action of kelp releases excess body fluids from congested cells and dissolves fatty wastes through the skin, replacing them with depleted minerals, particularly potassium and iodine. As iodine boosts thyroid activity, food fuels are used before they can turn into fatty deposits.
Kelp slowly releases nutrients, up to two years Kelp improves soil texture, promotes natural flora and worms. Kelp contains large quantities of the natural growth hormones auxins, gibberellin and cytokinin. Kelp promotes faster growth and germination. Kelp promotes the general health of the plant, including drought and frost resistance. Kelp is non-toxic and is an excellent tonic for plants. Kelp is a natural and safe replacement for chemical fertilizers. Kelp will not harm pets or children.
Kelp will promote stronger stem and leaf growth. Kelp contains Mannitol, which enables plants to better absorb nutrients from the soil. Kelp stimulates beneficial soil bacteria that fix nitrogen and make it available to the plant. Kelp is free of foreign seeds and contamination. Kelp greatly reduces the need for additional fertilizers...up to 90% less. Kelp has algin, which will retain moisture and cut irrigation 20-80%, depending on soil texture. Kelp studies at the Universities of Maryland and Clemson show an increase in plant resistance to fungi, molds, aphids, flea beetles, spider mites, and scabs. Kelp grown fruits and vegetables have a longer shelf life. Kelp adds humus to the soil.
Kelp has natural organic antibiotics, bromophenol, tanning, phloroglucinol, and terpenoid, which fend off bacteria and viruses and repel some insects in the garden. Kelp improves soil fertility as nutrients and hormones are directly available to the plant.
Kava Kava is a member of the pepper family and is Native to several pacific islands. The herb has been used widely for over 3,000 years by pacific native populations, and has become popular in Europe and North America. Kava Kava is a ceremonial relaxant used traditionaly by men indigenous to the Pacific islands. Today it is used by those in the West, to alleviate stress, and to promote a sense of well being. Kava Kava, or Kava for short, exerts its influence over its subjects by means of its active constituents, kavalactones. Kavalactones, bond to the same part of the brain as valium. However, unlike valium, Kava does not seem to "dumb down" the user. In fact, in one study, verbal recall (the intellect you use when you're trying to remember someone's name) is shown to improve under the influence of Kava. It seems, that Kava is more like another GABA acting substance, this substance being Piracetam, which has been shown to boost some aspects of intelligence.
Research shows that the active ingredients in Kava Kava (kava pyrones) do in fact have a calming, sedative effect. They also appear to relax the muscles, relieve spasms, and prevent convulsions. At least two scientific studies have confirmed the herb's ability to significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety. In a third study, researchers rated it as effective as prescription tranquilizers. . Kava is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract very rapidly so its effects are felt almost immediately. Kava's muscle-relaxant properties are similar to those of potent tranquilizers as they both act on the central nervous system. . In a double-blind crossover study conducted in Switzerland, the effects of Kava on short-term memory were compared with those of the anti-anxiety and muscle relaxant drug Oxazepam. While the drug was found to impair short term memory, Kava actually improved it slightly.
Kava is mildly narcotic and produces mild euphoric changes characterized by elevated mood, fluent and lively speech and increased sense of sound. Higher doses can lead to muscle weakness, visual impairment, dizziness and drying of the skin. Long term use of the herb can contribute to hypertension, reduced protein levels, blood cell abnormalities, or liver damage. Alcohol consumption increases the toxicity of the pharmacological constituents. It is not recommended for those who intend on driving or where quick reaction time is required. Kava is the most relaxing botanical herb with exception of the opium poppy. It has also been used in the treatment of ailments of the genitourinary tract including vaginitis, gonorrhea and menstrual cramps. Kava is a diuretic and an anti-inflammatory, thus useful for gout, rheumatism, bronchial congestion, cystitis and prostatis. It is an effective local anesthetic and pain reliever when applied externally as a liniment. The relaxed state and sharpening of senses also contribute to aphrodisiac effect.
Kava is promoted primarily for anxiety, nervous tension, stress, restlessness, and at higher doses, insomnia. Many users say the herb enhances mood and brings on a sense of well being, relaxation and even euphoria. In South Pacific folk medicine, kava has been used to treat uterine inflammations, headaches, colds, rheumatism, and menopausal symptoms. They also drink it to relieve headaches, restore vigor, promote urination, soothe upset stomachs, ease symptoms of asthma and tuberculosis, and to cure fungal infections. Some users believe that kava inhibits gonorrhea. Used as a cream, kava is used to soothe stings and skin inflammations. Recent clinical studies have shown that the herb Kava is a safe, non-addictive anti-anxiety medicine, and as effective as prescription anxiety agents containing benzodiazepines. While benzodiazepines tend to promote lethargy and mental impairment, Kava has been shown to improve concentration, memory, and reaction time for people suffering from anxiety. Kava has been clinically demonstrated as a means of achieving a state of relaxation without the adverse side effects.
Red clover, a wild plant used as grazing food for cattle and other livestock, has also been used medicinally to treat a wide array of conditions. These have included cancer, mastitis (inflammation of the breast), joint disorders, jaundice, bronchitis, spasmodic coughing, asthma, and skin inflammations, such as psoriasis and eczema. Red clover is thought to "purify" the blood by promoting urine and mucous production, improving circulation, and stimulating the secretion of bile. Recently, specific chemicals in red clover -- known as isoflavones -- have been isolated and tested for their effectiveness in treating a variety of conditions. Although isolated isoflavone products are very different from the whole herb, they have shown promise in the treatment of a number of conditions associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, cardiovascular health, and the bone loss associated with osteoporosis.
Red clover flowers contain a number of substances believed to facilitate healing, including a volatile oil and isoflavones. In traditional Chinese medicine, red clover is believed to help clean the blood, clear heat and remove toxins. Internally, red clover is used as an alternative medicine for hot flashes that occur during menopause; skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis; chronic degenerative diseases; gout; whooping cough; and dry coughs.
Because it contains isoflavones, which belong to a larger class of plant chemicals known as phyto (plant-derived) estrogens, red clover is often taken to relieve symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Isoflavones are similar in shape to the female hormone, estrogen. Therefore, they may attach to estrogen receptors throughout the body -- particularly in the bladder, blood vessels, bones, and heart. For women with normal estrogen levels, red clover isoflavones may displace some of the natural estrogens, possibly preventing or relieving estrogen-related symptoms such as breast pain that are associated with PMS. This effect may also reduce the possibility of developing estrogen-dependent cancer of the endometrium. In addition, results from a review of nearly 1000 women suggest that red clover may interfere with an enzyme known to promote the progression of endometrial cancer. Red clover may also block enzymes thought to contribute to prostate cancer in men. In post-menopausal women, who have generally low blood levels of estrogen, red clover may act as hormone replacement, thereby relieving some of the symptoms associated with low estrogen levels. Clinical studies have been inconclusive, however, in determining whether or not red clover isoflavones are effective at relieving hot flashes associated with menopause. Some study participants experienced various degrees of relief from hot flashes, while others observed no change. In addition, red clover isoflavones may actually accelerate the growth of existing breast tumors. Before red clover can be recommended for use, more studies are needed to determine whether it has any effects on cancer or the symptoms of menopause and PMS.
Black Walnut Extract
Black Walnut is also known by the names English Walnut and Persian Walnut. The genus name "Juglans" or "jovis glans" means "Jupiter's nut." Mythology tells us that the 'gods' residing on earth lived off Walnuts. Because Walnuts are similar to the shape of the human head, they were historically thought to benefit the brain. Furthermore, in Asian medicine, Black Walnuts were regarded as a kidney tonic, which makes sense as they consider the brain to be governed by the kidneys. Walnuts have also been carried by some cultures as a charm for fertility. Black Walnut Bark, including the kernel and the green hull, have been used by the Asians to expel various kinds of intestinal worms, as well as by some American Indian tribes. A substance taken to expel or control parasites (most often referred to as "worms") is technically called a "vermifuge." The fruit, leaves and bark of the Black Walnut tree offer many other benefits.
Black Walnut is a rich source of iodine and trace minerals. It also contains linolenic acid and vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid. Alkaloids in black walnut may have anti-tumor properties. Taken internally, Black Walnut helps relieves constipation, and is also useful against fungal & parasitic infections. It may also help eliminate warts, which are troublesome growths caused by viruses. Rubbed on the skin, Black Walnut extract is reputed to be beneficial for eczema, herpes, psoriasis, and skin parasites. External applications have been known to kill ringworm. The Chinese use this herb to kill tapeworms with extremely good success. The high tannin content is primarily responsible for its anthelmintic property, although other constituents such as juglandin, juglone and juglandic acid may also be involved. It is known that Black Walnut oxygenates the blood to kill parasites. The brown stain found in the green husk contains organic iodine which has antiseptic and healing properties. Black Walnut is also used to balance sugar levels and burn up excessive toxins and fatty materials.
Black walnut hulls contain tannins and quinone compounds. These tannins and quinone compounds are the primary components that give this herb the ability to expel worms and other parasites. It has been used to expel intestinal parasites, worms, and yeast, lower blood pressure, help thyroid problems (especially low thyroid output), skin fungus, asthma, diarrhea, sore throat, and lung disease. Powdered black walnut has been used to clean teeth and tighten gums.
Forskolin is the main active ingredient in the Ayurvedic herb Coleus forskohlii. Coleus is a member of the mint family and grows in subtropical areas in India, Burma, and Thialand. Forskolin has been extensively researched in the medical field for use in the treatment of allergies, respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, glaucoma, and many other conditions. It has also recently gained popularity as a fat loss agent.
Forskolin resensitizes cell receptors by activating the enzyme adenylcyclase and increasing the levels of cyclic AMP in cells. Cyclic AMP is an important signal carrier that is necessary for the proper biological response of cells to hormones. It is required for cell communication in the hypothalamus/pituitary gland axis and for the feedback control of hormones, including thyroid, HGH, Cortisol, DHEA, Testosterone, and Melatonin.
Forskolin appears to bypass this need for direct hormonal activation of adenylate cyclase via transmembrane activation. As a result of this activation of adenylate cyclase intracellular cAMP levels rise. The physiological and biochemical effects of a raised intracellular cAMP level include: inhibition of platelet activation and degranulation; inhibition of mast cell degranulation and histamine release; increased force of contraction of heart muscle; relaxation of the arteries and other smooth muscles; increased insulin secretion; increased thyroid function; and increased lipolysis (fat destruction). Recent studies have found forskolin to possess additional mechanisms of action independent of its ability to directly stimulate adenylate cyclase and cAMP dependent physiological responses. Specifically forskolin has been shown to inhibit a number of membrane transport proteins and channel proteins through a mechanism that does not involve the production of cAMP. The result is again a transmembrane signaling that results in activation of other cellular enzymes.
Forskolin causes the arteries to relax. Because this can lower blood pressure, forskolin should not be used in tandem with blood pressure-lowering medications. Forskolin relaxes the bronchial muscles and may dangerously increase the potency or action of certain asthma drugs, including albuterol, theophylline, and beclomethasone. The basic mechanism of action of forskolin is the activation of an enzyme, adenylate cyclase, which increases cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in cells. Cyclic AMP is perhaps the most important cell-regulating compound. Once formed it activates many other enzymes involved in diverse cellular functions. Under normal situations cAMP is formed when a stimulatory hormone (e.g., epinephrine) binds to a receptor site on the cell membrane and stimulates the activation of adenylate cyclase. This enzyme is incorporated into all cellular membranes and only the specificity of the receptor determines which hormone will activate it in a particular cell. Forskolin appears to bypass this need for direct hormonal activation of adenylate cyclase via transmembrane activation. As a result of this activation of adenylate cyclase intracellular cAMP levels rise. The physiological and biochemical effects of a raised intracellular cAMP level include: inhibition of platelet activation and degranulation; inhibition of mast cell degranulation and histamine release; increased force of contraction of heart muscle; relaxation of the arteries and other smooth muscles; increased insulin secretion; increased thyroid function; and increased lipolysis. Recent studies have found forskolin to possess additional mechanisms of action independent of its ability to directly stimulate adenylate cyclase and cAMP dependent physiological responses. Specifically forskolin has been shown to inhibit a number of membrane transport proteins and channel proteins through a mechanism that does not involve the production of cAMP. The result is again a transmembrane signaling that results in activation of other cellular enzymes. Research is underway in the attempt to determine the exact receptors to which the forskolin is binding. Another action of forskolin is on antagonizing the action of platelet-activating factor (PAF) by interfering with PAF binding to receptor sites. PAF plays a central role in many inflammatory and allergic processes including neutrophil activation, increasing vascular permeability, smooth muscles contraction including bronchoconstriction, and reduction in coronary blood flow.
Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis)
Green tea is tea that has undergone minimal oxidation during processing. Green tea is popular in China and Japan, and recently has become more popular in the West, which traditionally drank only black tea. A number of beneficial health effects are attributed to regular consumption of green tea and dried/powdered extracts of green tea are available as dietary supplements
Green tea is prepared by picking, lightly steaming and allowing the leaves to dry. Black tea, the most popular type of tea in the U.S., is made by allowing the leaves to ferment before drying. Due to differences in the fermentation process, a portion of the active compounds are destroyed in black tea, but remain active in green tea. There are four primary polyphenols in green tea and they are often collectively referred to as catechins. Powerful antioxidants, catechins have been shown in recent studies to fight viruses, slow aging, and have a beneficial effect on health. Clinical tests have shown that catechins destroy free radicals and have far-reaching positive effects on the entire body. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules and fragments of molecules that can damage the body at the cellular level leaving the body susceptible to cancer, heart disease, and many other degenerative diseases.
The active constituents in green tea are a family of polyphenols (catechins) and flavonols which possess potent antioxidant activity. Tannins, large polyphenol molecules, form the bulk of the active compounds in green tea, with catechins comprising nearly 90%. – with antioxidant activity about 25-100 times more potent than vitamins C and E. A cup of green tea may provide 10-40mg of polyphenols and has antioxidant activity greater than a serving of broccoli, spinach, carrots or strawberries.
Green Tea lowers total cholesterol levels and improves the cholesterol profile (the ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol), reduces platelet aggregation, and lowers blood pressure. The polyphenols in Green Tea have also been shown to support a lower risk of several types of cancers, stimulate the production of several immune system cells, and have antibacterial properties - even against the bacteria that causes dental plaque. It is interesting to note that Green Tea supports the prevention of certain types of cancer, whereas black tea increases the risk of certain cancers, such as cancer of the rectum, gallbladder, and endometrium.
Ginkgo Biloba Extract
Ginkgo Biloba Extract is is an herbal supplement widely used to improve memory and cognitive function and also in the treatment of intermittant claudication, a vascular constriction disorder of the lower legs that results in calf pain upon exertion. It is also used in the treatment of tinnitus. Improving circulation in the brain and enhancing mental performance are the key benefits of supplementing the diet with Ginkgo Biloba.
Due to the high levels of natural phytochemicals such as terpene lactones, it is among the most recognized, respected and recommended botanicals throughout Europe and the U.S.A. Terpene lactones are found in the leaves of the Ginkgo Biloba tree. These phytochemicals are responsible for the beneficial effects and actions of Ginkgo extract. The biochemically-friendly extraction process ensures that the important Ginkgolides A, B, C and Bilobalide potencies are maintained at their highest levels.Health benefits derived from this unique extract formulation include improved circulation to the extremities. A potent vasodilator, Ginkgo allows more oxygen to the brain, enhancing mental acuity and performance. This highest-quality Gingko supplement is encapsulated easy-to-take soft gelatin capsules in a base containing Rice Bran oil, Carob Extract and Lecithin.
Ginkgo Biloba comes from the ornamental Chinese Tree. The ginkgo biloba tree originated in China thousands of years ago. The extract from it's fan shaped leaves is a very popular herbal product. The Flavone Glycosides present in the extract have shown to have an effect on the body's vascular system. Medicinal use of ginkgo can be traced back almost 5,000 years in Chinese herbal medicine. The nuts of the tree were most commonly recommended and used to treat respiratory tract ailments. The use of the leaves is a modern development originating in Europe. Research has shown that ginkgo Biloba reduces the tendency for dangerous clots or thromboses to form in the veins and arteries, aiding in the recovery from strokes and heart attacks.
The medical benefits of Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) are attributed primarily to two groups of active constituents: the ginkgo flavone glycosides and the terpene lactones. Ginkgo flavone glycosides, which typically make up approximately 24% of the extract, are primarily responsible for GBE’s antioxidant activity and may mildly inhibit platelet aggregation (stickiness). These two actions may help GBE prevent circulatory diseases, such as atherosclerosis, and support the brain and central nervous system.1 In addition to the cardiovascular system, GBE’s antioxidant action may also extend to the brain and retina of the eye. Preliminary trials have suggested potential benefit for people with macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. The terpene lactones found in GBE, known as ginkgolides and bilobalide, typically make up approximately 6% of the extract. They are associated with increasing circulation to the brain and other parts of the body and may exert a protective action on nerve cells. GBE regulates the tone and elasticity of blood vessels, making circulation more efficient.
Oregano oil is a completely natural substance derived from wild oregano species. The plant grows in remote mountainous regions free of pollution. Only the leaves of the flowering plant are used. They are picked precisely when the plant is highest in essential oil. The oil is extracted via a completely natural process - no chemicals or solvents are used. The oil is the source of virtually all of the plant's active ingredients.
Oregano oil (Origanum vulgare) is well known in the Mediterranean world (Greece and Crete) for its ability to slow down food spoilage through its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-oxidant activity. The related herbs thyme and marjoram sold in most North American supermarkets, are labeled incorrectly as oregano and possess little of wild oregano's miraculous healing properties.
The essential oil distilled from oregano contains varying amounts of thymol and carvacrol, compounds that can apparently inhibit the growth of fungi, worms, and possibly other organisms. In fact, some sources even recommend rubbing a drop or two of oregano oil into an area that is itching due to athlete's foot, a common condition caused by the Tinea versicolor fungus. Oregano contains the most powerful phenols known to man. The primary phenol is called carvacrol. It also contains thymol. Synthetic toxic phenols, frequently used as cleaning disinfectants, have never been able to match the germ killing power of the natural and non toxic phenols found in oregano oil.
The wild oregano is rich in a long list of minerals that includes calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, copper, boron, and manganese. Vitamins C and A (beta carotene) and niacin also are contained in oregano. Judging from its mineral content alone, it is not hard to figure out why oregano is such a valuable commodity. Consider some of oregano's other useful purposes and it becomes even more obvious. Additional uses for oregano and oil of oregano are multi-dimensional. It has been found helpful in combating diarrhea, intestinal gas, and digestive problems, as well as sore throat and breathing difficulties. Oil of oregano can be immediately help against bee stings and many venomous bites until medical attention can be reached. Oil of oregano has even been suggested as a treatment for dandruff, diaper rash, and other skin disorders. Among the natural antioxidants, oregano oil is one of the most powerful. It protects cells from free radical damage in the same way it prolongs the shelf life of foods. Take a few drops daily under the tongue to slow the effects of aging and maintain healthy cell structure. Oregano oil is capable of neutralizing venomous bites, making it invaluable in the wilderness or when traveling abroad. It's an effective first aid treatment for venomous bites of all varieties including bees, snakes and spiders. Oregano oil is also useful for preventing infection from animal bites and other puncture wounds. It reduces inflammation and stops the pain associated with bites and stings. Apply directly to stings or bites. The oil will penetrate into the wound and neutralize toxins and pathogens. Take a few drops internally to amplify the effect.
Echinacea is a very popular herb and it is used throughout the world. It is also known as purple cone flower.. As a natural buttress to immunity, Echinacea has become one of the hottest items in the current herbal renaissance--and its reputation is not unwarranted.
Researchers have found that an extract of Echinacea purpurea leaves provides significant relief from symptoms of the common cold. Likewise, an extract of Echinacea pallida root has been shown to shorten flu symptoms by as much as four days. Echinacea owes its effectiveness to a proven ability to stimulate the immune system. Researchers have found that it causes an increase in the number of white blood cells, spleen cells, and other disease-fighting agents such as T-helper cells and interleukin. It also has an interferon-like effect on viruses. Originating in North America, Echinacea was used by the Sioux tribe for snakebites, and by other Native Americans as a general antiseptic. It is now cultivated in the United States and Europe. Its taste is slightly sweet, then bitter, leaving a tingling sensation on the tongue.
Echinacea increases the "non-specific" activity of the immune system. In other words, unlike a vaccine which is active only against a specific disease, echinacea stimulates the overall activity of the cells responsible for fighting all kinds of infection. Unlike antibiotics, which are directly lethal to bacteria, echinacea makes our own immune cells more efficient in attacking bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells, including cancer cells. Echinacea facilitates wound healing, lessens symptoms of and speeds recovery from viruses. Anti-inflammatory effects make it useful externally against inflammatory skin conditions including psoriasis and eczema. It may also increase resistance to candida, bronchitis, herpes, and other infectious conditions.
Echinacea is a hardy perennial plant that grows 1-2 feet tall and has a spiny appearance from which it derived its name (echinos being Greek for sea urchin or hedgehog). It is a member of the daisy family and its flowers can resemble Black-eyed Susans with rich purple petals radiating from the center. The rhizome has circular pith. It has a faint aromatic smell. It grows throughout the United States from the mid-west to the prairie regions of Pennsylvania. Each of the varieties has a slightly different appearance. E. Purpurea demonstrates the classic purple flower and so too does E. Angustifolia though with narrower leaves and smaller flowers. However, E. Paradoxa has yellow flowers, E. Atrorubens and E. Sanguinea have dark red flowers, and E. Pallida and E. Simullata have pale purple flowers.
Echinacea is considered a safe herb. Incidents of adverse reactions are rare and there is no known toxicity.