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Jun 29

Foods For Constipation

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Certain foods can help treat constipation, a common condition marked by infrequent bowel movements. On the other hand, some foods or dietary habits can worsen constipation or increase your constipation risk. Although constipation may require medical treatment in some cases, most people can ease constipation by making lifestyle changes and choosing the right foods.
Fiber-Rich Foods for Constipation Relief

Following a diet high in fiber-rich foods helps protect against constipation, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). By consuming 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily, you can help your digestive system to form soft, bulky stool that is easy to pass. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends slowly increasing your intake of high-fiber foods in order to prevent bloating, cramping, and gas.

Foods high in fiber include whole grains (such as brown rice, barley, and quinoa), certain vegetables and fruits (especially dried fruits), flaxseed, and legumes (such as beans and lentils). Here's a look at the amount of fiber found in specific foods that may help with constipation:

    navy beans (9.5 grams of fiber per ½ cup)
    kidney beans (8.2 grams of fiber per ½ cup)
    pinto beans (7.7 grams of fiber per ½ cup)
    artichokes (6.5 per artichoke)
    sweet potatoes (4.8 grams in one medium sweet potato)
    pears (4.4 grams in one small pear)
    green peas (4.4 grams per ½ cup)
    raspberries (4 grams per ½ cup)
    prunes (3.8 grams per ½ cup)
    apples (3.3 grams in one medium apple)

People with a sensitivity to gluten should opt for vegetables and fruit, quinoa, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, and brown rice, and avoid grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Oats are acceptable as long as they are certified gluten-free.

When increasing your intake of high-fiber foods, it's important to drink plenty of fluids. Liquids help the body to digest fiber, and provide constipation relief by adding bulk to stools (which makes bowel movements easier). Aim for eight glasses of water per day.
Magnesium-Rich Foods for Constipation Relief

There's some evidence that running low on magnesium may increase your constipation risk. For instance, a 2007 study of 3,835 women (published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition) found that those with the lowest magnesium intake were the most likely to experience constipation.

Adult males ages 19 to 30 need 400 mg of magnesium daily, while men ages 31 and up need 420 mg. Adult females ages 19 to 30 need 310 mg daily, and women ages 31 and up need 320 mg.

Here's a list of magnesium-rich foods that may help fight constipation:

    almonds (80 mg of magnesium per ounce)
    cashews (75 mg of magnesium per ounce)
    cooked spinach (75 mg of magnesium per ½ cup)
    shredded wheat cereal (55 mg of magnesium in two rectangular biscuits)
    fortified instant oatmeal prepared with water (55 mg of magnesium per cup)
    baked potato with skin (50 mg of magnesium in one medium potato)
    peanuts (50 mg of magnesium per ounce)
    cooked lentils (35 mg of magnesium per ½ cup)
    smooth peanut butter (25 mg of magnesium per tablespoon)

Foods to Avoid for Constipation Relief

Cutting back on refined, processed grains (such as white rice, white bread, and white pasta) and replacing them with whole grains can boost your fiber intake and protect against constipation.

Reducing your intake of fatty foods (including cheese, ice cream, and meats) may also decrease your constipation risk. In addition, it's important to limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages (such as coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks). These foods can cause dehydration, which may in turn trigger constipation.
Should You Use Foods to Fight Constipation?

To treat constipation effectively, it's important to combine a diet high in fiber-rich foods with certain lifestyle changes (such as regular exercise and adequate intake of fluids). In some cases, patients may also require further treatment (such as doctor-prescribed laxatives or biofeedback). If foods and lifestyle changes alone fail to relieve your constipation, talk to your doctor about other treatment options.

Source:http://altmedicine.about.com/od/coloncleanse/a/Foods-For-Constipation.htm?nl=1

Feb 17

Ayush health fair starts from Feb 23

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Arogya-2010, the annual health fair organised by the Department of Ayush, will be held in India from February 23 to 26. The fair will have a display of panels, books, research papers and other papers on the outcome of years of research by council of ayurveda, siddha, unani and homoeopathy systems of medicine and yoga and naturopathy. It will have live yoga demonstrations besides informing the people about home remedies based on medicinal plants. Exhibitions, sale of drug manufacturing equipment and allied plant and machinery will be organised. Ayush clinics will run simultaneously in separate chambers. Lectures and panel discussions on concept of siddha system and its specialities, management of skin diseases through unani system of medicine, geriatric health care through ayurvedic approach, yoga for healthy living, lifestyle disorders and their management through naturopathy and mother and childcare through homoeopathy will be organised.
Feb 06

Simple Home Remedies for Acne

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Acne is mainly related to the activity of sebaceous glands of dermis that responsible for the production of sebum. Sebum helps in carrying the dead cells and other waste products to the outer skin surface.

So acne is an inflammatory disorder of the skin resulting from an overactive sebaceous gland (which secrets sebum) that blocks the hair follicle, the passage that leads from the sebaceous gland to the surface of the skin. Thereby the blocked substances, with sebum, bacteria and other substances form plugs in the follicle and the infection is manifested, first as white head, latter black head. It is marked by the eruption of pimples or pustules especially on the face.

What are the causes of acne?
1. External Factors: pollution, direct exposure to sun over longer duration etc.
2. Internal Factors: heredity, hormonal imbalances, stress, constipation etc.


How to prevent acne?
1. Do Pranayama (It is a breathing exercise for purifying the blood and vitalizing the inner organs), Khumbhaka(In yoga it is a breathing exercise in which the breath is retained in a state of suspense when the mind is relaxed).
2. Drink enough water.
3. Do not wash your face more with soap.
4. Try to avoid the causes.

Simple Home remedies:

Take  3 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamom powder. Make it paste and apply on affected area. or

Take  1 tablespoons of Lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of cinnamom powder. Make it paste and apply on affected area. or
Cinnamon has the antibacterial and antifungal properties; whereas lemon can remove dead skin cells.

-You can also rub fresh garlic on and around affected area.
Garlic has antibiotic properties that help destroying the bacteria thus containing the growth of acne.

 -Make a paste of neem leaves with turmeric powder. Apply this paste on the affected area.
Neem has got antibacterial properties making it effective in controlling epidermal dysfunctions such as acne.

- Apply fresh tomato pulp on the face.
Tomato is known to have anti-oxidants and contains vitamins A & C. Vitamin C in tomatoes can rejuvenate the dull skin and vitamin A is involved in formation of healthy skin.

Apply a paste of orange peel powder with water on affected area. Wash it off after 30 minutes with lukewarm water.
The citric acid in orange soothes and softens skin removing pore-clogging impurities.

-Apply cucumber juice on the face.
Cucumber has hydrating and astringent properties.


Jan 23

South Korea Develops Herbal Medicine For Swine Flu

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SEOUL, South Korean scientists have developed an herbal medicine for treatment of the A/H1N1 flu, a state-run research institute announced Monday, reported Yonhap news agency.

The Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine (KIOM) said it successfully extracted materials commonly used in traditional herbal remedies that showed immediate results of recovery when injected to mice infected with the disease.

The medicine, known by its scientific name KIOM-C, has been developed by combining such extracted materials from a dozen of common herbal substances, according to KIOM.

"Laboratory tests conducted at the local company BioLeaders Corp. revealed the strong anti-viral qualities of the drug made from a substance found in oriental medicine," Yonhap cited Ma Jin-yeul, head of KIOM's Center for Herbal Medicine Improvement Research, as saying here.

Ma said that more detailed tests would have to follow to corroborate his recent findings.

He added the medicine in a tablet form would be available in about three years, much like the Tamiflu anti-viral drug, which is currently in the market.
Jan 18

Cobra Venom Erases Arthritis Symptoms

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In 2002, arthritis sufferer Joe de Casa was working in his Northamptonshire garden in England when a venomous snake bit him. After surviving the bite, de Casa, who struggles with arthritis, claimed that the following months provided his only pain-free days in years.

Such anecdotal claims, including teachings in  centuries' old Ayurveda traditional medicine system, may hold some truth. Venom from cobras may not only treat arthritis, but also prevent further damage from the condition.

Scientists have just determined that Indian monocellate cobra venom displayed anti-arthritic activity during lab tests on rodents, according to a paper that will be in the February-March issue of the journal Toxicon.

While clinical trials on humans are still needed, a cobra venom arthritis ointment is in the works, lead author Antony Gomes told Discovery News.

"We have already prepared such an oil-based preparation (for topical application), which is showing very promising results on humans," Gomes, a professor of physiology at the University of Calcutta, said.

"As soon as the patent protocol (period) is over, we wish to go for industrial collaboration for marketing," he added.

For the study, Gomes and his colleagues induced arthritis in lab rats by injecting them with a saline and olive oil solution containing tuberculosis bacteria, which can cause arthritis.
he researchers collected Indian monocellate cobra venom from adult males and females housed at Calcutta Snake Park. The team then administered a nonlethal dose of venom to some of their lab rodents.

Rats without the venom treatment suffered from cartilage damage and swollen limbs. These symptoms, however, were not present in the venom-treated rats, based on paw weight and measurements.

Chemical analysis, according to the researchers, revealed that the venom actually prevented cartilage damage by inhibiting collagen breakdown. Collagen is one of the main proteins found in skin, bone and other parts of the body.
Dec 13

Prince Charles: 'Herbal medicine must be regulated'

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Prince Charles is urging government to press on with regulating herbalists to safeguard the public.

His Foundation for Integrated Health charity says without regulation new EU laws will ban most of the trade, forcing patients to use bogus outlets.

From 2011 EU legislation will permit only statutorily registered professionals like doctors to prescribe manufactured herbal remedies.

The government says it will reach a decision in the new year.

Britons spend about £1.6?billion a year on alternative remedies.
    

There is currently no official system of regulation in the UK, meaning anyone can treat.

But there are codes under which practitioners use remedies manufactured to recognisable standards.

The EU Directive that will be implemented from April 2011 will restrict herbal medicines that can be supplied over-the-counter to licensed "traditional" medicines used to treat "mild and self-limiting" conditions - basically meaning nothing worse than a cold.


Black market

At the same time, it will become unlawful for anyone except "statutorily regulated" professionals to treat patients with any other herbal medicines, except those that a herbalist prepares personally on his/her own premises.

The Prince's Foundation says this will mean many herbalists will no longer be able to offer remedies to their clients and patients will instead turn to the black market.
    

There have been cases where people have died because the remedies they have bought from dubious sources have contained unsafe ingredients, such as arsenic or lead.

The Foundation believes regulation would resolve this, by bringing vetted herbalists within the EU law.

But this is at odds with eminent scientists who sceptical about herbalism and are against statutory regulation on the grounds it would make such treatments "respectable".

Professor George Lewith, a doctor and expert in complementary medicine, said: "Failing to introduce statutory regulation will amount to a Quack's Charter.

"It is the incompetent and the irresponsible we need to stop. Not the well-trained, dedicated herbalists who put their patients first.

"We cannot wash our hands of responsibility for herbal medicine and the patients who use it.

"No-one deserves to die for no better reason than preferring herbal remedies to conventional medicine."

Professor David Colquhoun, an expert in pharmacology at University College London, said the Prince's suggestions were wrong and would not safeguard patients.

"We do need regulation, but not the sort of ineffective regulation the Prince wants. Proper regulation should be on whether these products work.

"The rules should be the same as for all drugs."

A spokeswoman from the UK charity Sense About Science said: "The professional regulation proposed by the Government and supported by the Foundation for Integrated Health for herbal medicine practitioners, and which doesn't include any requirement for evidence of efficacy, imitates the regulation of science-based medical practice.

"It suggests to the public that these practices are part of, or equivalent to, science-based medical practice when they have none of the content of science-based medical practice."
source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8388985.stm
Dec 09

High Salt Intake Linked to Strokes, Heart Disease

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  Eating high amounts of salt is linked to a significantly higher risk of strokes and heart disease, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.
     
 The study looked at the relationship between the level of habitual dietary salt intake and the occurrence of stroke and  heart  disease by reviewing 13 prospective studies from the UK, Japan, the United States, the Netherlands, Finland, and China, including more than 170,000 participants, followed up for 3.5 to 19 years, who experienced nearly 11,000 vascular events.

      The study provides unequivocal evidence of the direct link between high dietary salt intake and increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.

      A 5 g lower daily salt intake would reduce stroke by 23% and total cardiovascular disease by 17%, thus averting 1.25 million fatal and non-fatal strokes, and almost 3 million vascular events worldwide each year. The effect is greater, the larger the difference in salt intake and increases with time.

      "We have seen reductions in the salt content of several food items, due to the collaboration between governments, public health bodies, and sectors of the industry on a voluntary basis," said Francesco Cappuccio, World Health Organisation Collaboration Centre at Warwick Medical School.

      "However, the progress towards the recommended targets has been slow. For population salt intake to approach the WHO targets within a reasonable time, a regulatory approach is necessary, in addition to health promotion campaigns, to reduce the burden of avoidable death, disability and associated costs to individuals and society caused by unacceptable high levels of salt in our diet".
Nov 15

Dashmool is good for DN, New Research Says

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Even as the region is witnessing increasing cases of diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic neuropathy (DN), health experts of Banaras Hindu University are also coming up with new researches to control such diabetic disorders.

While the department of Davyaguna, faculty of Ayurveda, BHU, has come up with special dashmool preparations that act as wonder drugs for controlling DN, department of Ophthalmology is already working on gene therapy to control DR.

According to Prof KN Dwivedi, head, department of Dravyaguna, Banaras Hindu University, researches have shown that Dashmool preparations that witness hard concoction made from water soluble solid extracts of as many as 10 plant roots, possess useful qualities to control DN. "Similarly, modern medicinal drugs including Mecobalamine, Pregabalin and Alpha-lipoic acid are also useful in controlling DN," he adds.

As per Prof Shri Kant, head, department of Ophthalmology, research on implications of gene therapy for controlling DR will provide a new dimension for prevention, control and treatment of DR cases in the region.
Source: times of India
Nov 08

Obesity responsible for 100,000 cancer cases annually

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More than 100,000 cases of cancer each year are caused by excess body fat, according to a report released Thursday in Washington.

Researchers with the American Institute for Cancer Research looked at seven cancers with known links to obesity and calculated actual case counts that were likely to have been caused by obesity.

Specifically, the report says that 49 percent of endometrial cancers are caused by excess body fat. That number is followed by 35 percent of esophageal cancer cases; 28 percent of pancreatic cancer cases; 24 percent of kidney cancer cases; 21 percent of gallbladder cancer cases; 17 percent of breast cancer cases; and 9 percent of colorectal cancer cases.

"This is the first time that we've put real, quantifiable case numbers on obesity-related cancers," said Glen Weldon, the American Institute for Cancer Research educational director. In addition, he said, it's not just causing cancer that's an issue.
"Obesity not only raises the risk for getting cancer," Weldon said. "It also has a negative effect on survival and can make treatment more difficult."

Although there is no concrete science on why obesity increases a person's risk for cancer, scientists hypothesize that excess estrogen released by body fat could be the culprit in cancers such as estrogen-receptor positive breast cancers.

Studies have also shown that increased body fat can lead to increased levels of oxidative stress and inflammatory compounds in the blood, which are linked to DNA mutation and diseased cell growth, as is seen in many cancers.

The American Cancer Society applauded the new research, but said the report is only the first step.

"This helps to communicate the magnitude of the problem," said Dr. Michael Thun, vice president emeritus at the American Cancer Society.

"While the study addresses the magnitude of the problem, it does not propose potential solutions. The bottom line for people concerned about this issue is to try to balance the calories you take in with those your body expends every day."

In addition to cancer, obesity is a known cause of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and strokes.

source: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/11/05/obesity.cancer.link/index.html
Nov 04

How safe are herbal medicines?

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Herbal remedies made from plant leaves, bark, berries, flowers, and roots have been used to heal illnesses, diseases, and psychological disorders for centuries. Today, with the ease of the internet, you can self-diagnose, order next day delivery, and even learn how to make your own. Last year three million Britons took herbal remedies to treat everything from fever to joint pain.

But renewed debate about the safety of these remedies was sparked last week following the news of an EU crackdown on herbalists and Chinese medicine practitioners who operate unregulated at present. Under the new law, from 2011 sales of all herbal remedies except for a small number of products for minor ailments will also be banned. Regulators warn that many of us believe that "herbal" is synonymous with "safe", whereas herbal remedies can be deadly"Research we conducted last year found a significant proportion of people believed 'herbal' means 'benign'," says Richard Woodfield, Head of Herbal Policy at the Medicines and Health care products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). "That means people are more liable to self-medicate, and to neglect to inform their doctors, even though there's a risk that the herbal remedy will react with any prescription drugs. They're also more vulnerable to fraudulent, even criminal operators who put products out which are heavily adulterated with dangerous pharmaceuticals."

The actress Sophie Winkleman is reported to have taken aconite, or monkshood, found in some 'herbal Valium' last month to calm her nerves prior to her wedding to Freddie Windsor.

The plant while relatively harmless in licensed homeopathic remedies in which it is rigorously diluted, can be extremely dangerous, in herbal remedies, even lethal.

"If you were to buy aconite root, which is banned from licensed herbal products in the UK, but can still be found in products bought over the internet, and make yourself a herbal tea with it, you'd be dead within five minutes," says Dr Linda Anderson, Pharmaceutical Assessor of the MHRA.

Last year, scientists at Boston University found that a fifth of Ayurvedic medicines – popular traditional Indian herbal remedies – bought over the internet contained dangerous levels of lead, mercury or arsenic, which could cause stomach pains, vomiting or liver problems.

Earlier this year, herbal arthritis remedies came under scrutiny when looked at as part of the Arthritis Research Campaign's (ARC) study of complementary therapies. "Not only did we find that in two-thirds of cases, there was no evidence they actually worked, but one Chinese remedy used to combat rheumatoid arthritis – Thunder god vine – was also reported to be extremely poisonous if not extracted properly," says ARC spokeswoman Jane Tadman.

Menopause remedies also came under fire after a study reported in the Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin, a journal that reviews medical treatment, found no evidence they actually worked. Gynaecologist Heather Curry of the British Menopause Society says: "Our feeling is that there isn't enough scientific evidence either on effectiveness or safety." A German study last year found the "herbal antidepressant" St Johns wort to be as effective as standard antidepressants such as Prozac.

However, side effects such as dry mouth, dizziness and stomach pains have been widely reported and it interacts strongly with some prescription drugs such as Warfarin and oral contraceptives. And in April, an MHRA investigation into Jia Ji Jian, sometimes marketed as 'herbal Viagra', revealed it contained up to four times the level of pharmaceuticals found in legally prescribed anti-obesity and anti-erectile dysfunction medicinal products, which can cause serious side effects including heart and blood pressure problems. As a herbal remedy it should not contain any pharmaceuticals at all.

"Drug interaction is a big area of concern," says Professor Edzard Ermst, professor of Complementary Medicine at Exeter University. "Herbal medicines may have been around for thousands of years, but the new synthetic drugs haven't and how they interact is still uncharted territory."

The MHRA believes regulating the herbal medicine industry is the best way to limit abuses and ensure consumers are aware of potential dangers. All herbal medicines sold over the counter in the UK should according to the law be licensed. The MHRA assesses them on safety, quality and patient information. By 2011 a new scheme, which is currently being rolled out, will be in place.

"Check for products which have the THR (Traditional Herbal Register) or Product Licence (PL) number on the label," advises Richard Woodfield.

Many herbal practitioners want even further regulation."We want to be registered," says Dee Atkinson, spokesperson for the National Institute of Medical Herbalists and herself a qualified medical herbalist. "Herbs are not harmless, they are drugs, just as pharmaceuticals are drugs and as such they should be prescribed by a qualified, registered practitioner.

"As a rule of thumb, I'd say that for any conditions or problems you'd normally go to a chemist for, you can visit a shop that sells over-the-counter herbal medicines, but anything beyond that you should be seeing a qualified, and we'd like to see registered, professional. Never order anything off the internet unless it's from a UK-based, recognised herbal company."

Richard Woodfield of the MHRA agrees. "Avoid unlicensed herbal remedies, particularly those sold on the internet and steer clear of anything claiming to be "100% safe" or "safe because it's natural". Like any other drugs, herbs can have side effects. Look for the THR or PL standard on the label and consult with your doctor if taking any prescription medicine."

Source:
By Tammy Cohen
Published: 7:00AM GMT 02 Nov 2009
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/alternativemedicine/6466718/Just-how-safe-are-herbal-medicines.html
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