All Natural Ingredients
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Salvia officinalis (sage, also called garden sage, or common sage) is a perennial, evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is a member of the family Lamiaceae and is native to the Mediterranean region, though it has naturalized in many places throughout the world. It has a long history of medicinal and culinary use, and in modern times as an ornamental garden plant. The common name “sage” is also used for a number of related and unrelated species. Common sage is grown in parts of Europe for distillation of an essential oil, though other species, such as Salvia fruticosa may also be harvested and distilled with it. In the traditional Austrian medicine Salvia officinalis herb has been used internally (as tea or directly chewed) for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, mouth, gastrointestinal tract, and skin. Saliva and “sage” are derived from the Latin salvere (to save), referring to the healing properties long attributed to the various Salvia species. It has been recommended at one time or another for virtually every ailment by various herbals. Modern evidence shows possible uses as an antisweating agent, antibiotic, antifungal, astringent, antispasmodic, estrogenic, hypoglycemic, and tonic. In a double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial, sage was found to be effective in the management of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The strongest active constituents of sage are within its essential oil, which contains cineole, borneol, and thujone. Sage leaf contains tannic acid, oleic acid, ursonic acid, ursolic acid, cornsole, cornsolic acid, fumaric acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, niacin, nicotinamide, flavones, flavonoid glycosides, and estrogenic substances. Investigations have taken place into using sage as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease patients. Sage leaf extract may be effective and safe in the treatment of hyperlipidemia.
The Acai Berry is an inch-long reddish, purple fruit. It comes from the Acai palm tree (Euterpe oleracea), which is native to Central and South America. Research on the acai berry has focused on its possible antioxidant activity. Theoretically, that activity may help prevent diseases caused by oxidative stress such as heart disease and cancer. Acai contains several substances called anthocyanins and flavonoids. The word anthocyanin comes from two Greek words meaning “plant” and “blue.” Anthocyanins are responsible for the red, purple, and blue hues in many fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Foods that are richest in anthocyanins — such as blueberries, red grapes, red wine, and acai — are very strongly colored, ranging from deep purple to black. Anthocyanins and flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that help defend the body against life’s stressors. They also play a role in the body’s cell protection system. Free radicals are harmful byproducts produced by the body. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants may interfere with aging and the disease process by neutralizing free radicals. By lessening the destructive power of free radicals, antioxidants may help reduce the risk of some diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. With a history of human use of over 7,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to Ancient Egyptians, and has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. A 2012 meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials looking at the effects of garlic on serum lipid profiles, found garlic was superior to placebo in reducing serum total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Compared with the placebo groups, serum total cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the garlic groups was reduced by 0.28 (95% CI, −0.45, −0.11) mmol L⁻¹ (P = 0.001) and 0.13 (95% CI, −0.20, −0.06) mmol L⁻¹ (P < 0.001), respectively. Regular and prolonged use of therapeutic amounts of aged garlic extracts lower blood homocysteine levels and has been shown to prevent some complications of diabetes mellitus.
Blueberries are perennial flowering plants with indigo-colored berries from the section Cyanococcus within the genus Vaccinium (a genus that also includes cranberries and bilberries). Species in the section Cyanococcus are the most common.Blueberries have a diverse range of micronutrients, with moderate levels (relative to respective Dietary Reference Intakes) of the essential dietary mineral manganese, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fiber. One serving provides a relatively low glycemic load score of 4 out of 100 per day. Blueberries contain anthocyanins, other pigments and various phytochemicals, which are under preliminary research for their potential role in reducing risks of diseases such as inflammation and cancer.
Kale or borecole (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group) is a vegetable with green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms. Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. Kale is a source of two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying do not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale has been found to contain a group of resins known as bile acid sequestrants, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease absorption of dietary fat. Steaming significantly increases these bile acid binding properties.
Ginger or ginger root is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It lends its name to its genus and family (Zingiberaceae). According to the American Cancer Society, ginger has been promoted as a cancer treatment “to keep tumors from developing”, but “available scientific evidence does not support this”. They add: “Recent preliminary results in animals show some effect in slowing or preventing tumor growth. While these results are not well understood, they deserve further study. Still, it is too early in the research process to say whether ginger will have the same effect in humans.” In limited studies, ginger was found to be more effective than placebo for treating nausea caused by seasickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy, although ginger was not found superior to placebo for pre-emptively treating post-operative nausea. Some studies advise against taking ginger during pregnancy, this precautionary measure is based on studies suggesting that ginger is mutagenic, though some other studies have reported antimutagenic effects. Other preliminary studies showed that ginger may affect arthritis pain or have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties, but these effects remain unconfirmed. Advanced glycation end-products are possibly associated in the development of diabetic cataract for which ginger was effective in preliminary studies, apparently by acting through antiglycating mechanisms.
Bamboo shoots or bamboo sprouts are the edible shoots (new bamboo culms that come out of the ground) of many bamboo species including Bambusa vulgaris and Phyllostachys edulis. A study on the effects of fiber found in bamboo shoots published in the journal Nutrition in 2009 found that women who consumed bamboo shoots lowered their total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and experienced beneficial effects on bowel function. And the May 2011 Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety published a review of modern bamboo shoot research, reporting nutritional benefits due to the presence of cholesterol-lowering phytosterols and polyphenols, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
The beetroot, also known in North America as the table beet, garden beet, red or golden beet, or informally simply as the beet, refers to any of the cultivated varieties of beet (Beta vulgaris). Beetroot is an excellent source of folate and a good source of manganese, and contains betaines which may function to reduce the concentration of homocysteine, a homolog of the naturally occurring amino acid cysteine. High circulating levels of homocysteine may be harmful to blood vessels and thus contribute to the development of heart disease, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease. A recent study highlighted beetroot as a source of acute dietary nitrate, which was used to test the influence of nitrate supplementation on resting heart rate and sustained apnea. 70 ml of beetroot juice, containing approximately 5 mmol of nitrate, was found to reduce resting blood pressure by 2% and increase the maximum duration of apnea by 11% in experienced divers, relative to a control group receiving a placebo containing 0.003 mmol nitrate.
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum. Two studies have shown that including cinnamon and cinnamon extract in the diet may help type 2 diabetics to control blood glucose levels. In an experiment testing the effects of various plants used in traditional Indian medicine, an extract of Cinnamomum cassia had an effect on HIV-1. Another study found that eugenol, a chemical found in cinnamon essential oils, and in other plants, inhibited the replication of the virus causing herpes in vitro. The compound cinnzeylanine, from C. zeylanicum, also had antiviral properties in a model system using silkworm cells. A 2011 study isolated a substance (CEppt) in the cinnamon plant that inhibits development of Alzheimer’s disease in mice. CEppt, an extract of cinnamon bark, seems to treat a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.
The blackberry is an edible fruit produced by many species in the Rubus genus in the Rosaceae family, hybrids among these species within the Rubus subgenus, and hybrids between the Rubus and Idaeobatus subgenera. Blackberries contain numerous phytochemicals including polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, salicylic acid, ellagic acid, and fiber.Anthocyanins in blackberries are responsible for their rich dark color.Blackberries contain salicylic acidand ellagic acid which has been associated in preliminary research with toxicity to cancer cells, including breast cancer cells.Blackberries rank highly among fruits for in vitro antioxidant strength, particularly because of their dense content of polyphenolic compounds, such as ellagic acid, tannins, ellagitannins, quercetin, gallic acid, anthocyanins, and cyanidins.One report placed blackberry at the top of more than 1000 antioxidant foods consumed in the United States.
In herbalism, it is used in cases of liver diseases (cirrhosis, jaundice and hepatitis),
gallbladder disease, and is claimed to protect the liver against poisons. Silibinin (syn. silybin, sylimarin I) is a hepatoprotective (antihepatotoxic), antioxidant (radical-scavenging agent), thus stabilizing and protecting the membrane lipids of the hepatocytes (liver cells). Silicristin inhibits the enzymes peroxidase and lipoxygenase. Silidianin is a plant growth regulator. A 2000 study of such claims by the AHRQ concluded that “clinical efficacy of milk thistle is not clearly established”. However a more recent study did show activity against liver cancer cells in vitro. A 2005 Cochrane Review considered thirteen randomized clinical trials which assessed milk thistle in 915 patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases. They question the beneficial effects of milk thistle for patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases and highlight the lack of high-quality evidence to support this intervention. Cochrane concluded that more good quality randomized clinical trials on milk thistle versus placebo are needed.
Gymnema Sylvestre Leaf
A water-soluble extract of G. sylvestre caused reversible increases in intracellular calcium
and insulin secretion in mouse and human β-cells when used at a concentration (0.125 mg/ml) without compromising cell viability. This in vitro data suggests that extracts derived from Gymnema sylvestre may be useful as therapeutic agents for the stimulation of insulin secretion in individuals with type 2 diabetes. The rise in insulin levels may be due to regeneration of the cells in the pancreas. G. sylvestre can also help prevent adrenal hormones from stimulating the liver to produce glucose in mice, thereby reducing blood sugar levels. Clinical trials with type 2 diabetics in India have used 400 mg per day of water-soluble acidic fraction of the Gymnema leaves administered for 18–20 months as a supplement to the conventional oral drugs. During GS4 supplementation, the patients showed a significant reduction in blood glucose, glycosylated haemoglobin and glycosylated plasma proteins, and conventional drug dosage could be decreased. Five of the 22 diabetic patients were able to discontinue their conventional drug and maintain their blood glucose homeostasis with GS4 alone. These data suggest that the beta cells may be regenerated/repaired in Type 2 diabetic patients on GS4 supplementation. This is supported by the appearance of raised insulin levels in the serum of patients after GS4 supplementation. Though for the moment G. sylvestre cannot be used in place of insulin to control blood sugar by people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, further evidence of its positive effect is accumulating.
Zohary and Hopf note that it is not certain which wild strain of the genus Trigonella gave
rise to domesticated fenugreek: they believe it was brought into cultivation in the Near East. Charred fenugreek seeds have been recovered from Tell Halal, Iraq, (carbon dated to 4000 BC) and Bronze Age levels of Lachish and desiccated seeds from the tomb of Tutankhamen. Cato the Elder lists fenugreek with clover and vetch as crops grown to feed cattle.
A June 2011 study at the Australian Centre for Integrative Clinical and Molecular Medicine found that men aged 25 to 52 who took a fenugreek extract twice daily for six weeks scored 25% higher on tests gauging libido levels than those who took a placebo. Fenugreek seeds contain a high level of palmitoylethanolamide, more than 25%. Palmitoylethanolamide is an endogenous lipid, which can be found in many plants and animals, but never in such high concentrations. Palmitoylethanolamide has been proven to be a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory compound.
Momordica charantia often called bitter melon, bitter gourd or bitter squash in English, has many other local names. Goya from the indigenous language of Okinawa and karavella from Sanskrit are also used by English-language speakers.
It is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean for its edible fruit, which is extremely bitter. Its many varieties differ substantially in the shape and bitterness of the fruit.
Bitter melon originated on the Indian subcontinent, and was introduced into China in the 14th century.
Bitter melon has been used in various Asian and African herbal medicine systems for a long time. In Turkey, it has been used as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly stomach complaints.
According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Momordica charantia has a number of purported uses. While it has shown some potential clinical activity in laboratory experiments, “further studies are required to recommend its use”.
Aloe /ˈæloʊ/, also Aloë, is a genus containing over 500 species of flowering succulent plants. The most widely known species is Aloe vera, or “true aloe”, so called because, though probably extinct in the wild, it is cultivated as the standard source of so-called “aloe vera” for assorted pharmaceutical purposes. Other species, such as Aloe ferox, also are cultivated or harvested from the wild for similar applications.
The genus is native to Africa; species are found in southern Africa, the mountains of tropical Africa, various islands off the coast of Africa including Sardinia, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula.
The APG III system (2009) places the genus in the family Xanthorrhoeaceae, subfamily Asphodeloideae. In the past, it has also been assigned to families Aloaceae and Liliaceae or lily family. The plant Agave americana, which is sometimes called “American aloe”, belongs to the Asparagaceae, a different family.
The genus is native to tropical and southern Africa, Madagascar, and Jordan to the Arabian Peninsula.
Historical use of various aloe species is well documented. Documentation of the clinical effectiveness is available, although relatively limited.
Of the 500+ species, only a few were used traditionally as a herbal medicine, Aloe vera again being the most commonly used species. Also included are A. perryi and A. ferox. The Ancient Greeks and Romans used Aloe vera to treat wounds. In the Middle Ages, the yellowish liquid found inside the leaves was favored as a purgative. Unprocessed aloe that contains aloin is generally used as a laxative, whereas processed juice does not usually contain significant aloin.
Some species, particularly Aloe vera, are used in alternative medicine and first aid. Both the translucent inner pulp and the resinous yellow aloin from wounding the aloe plant are used externally to relieve skin discomforts. As an herbal medicine, Aloe vera juice is commonly used internally to relieve digestive discomfort.
The notion of chromium as a potential regulator of glucose metabolism began in the 1950s when Walter Mertz and his co-workers performed a series of experiments controlling the diet of rats. The experimenters subjected the rats to a chromium deficient diet, and witnessed an inability of the organisms to respond effectively to increased levels of glucose within the blood. They then included “acid-hydrolyzed porcine kidney and Brewer’s yeast” in the diet of these rats, and found that the rats were now able to effectively metabolize glucose. Both the porcine kidney and Brewer’s yeast were rich in chromium, and so it was from these findings that began the study of chromium as a regulator of blood glucose.
The idea of chromium being used for the treatment of type II diabetes was first sparked in the 1970s. A patient receiving total parenteral nutrition (TPN) had developed “severe signs of diabetes,” and was administered chromium supplements based on previous studies that proved the effectiveness of this metal in modulating blood glucose levels. The patient was administered chromium for a total of two weeks, and by the end of this time-period, their ability to metabolize glucose had increased significantly; they also now required less insulin (“exogenous insulin requirements decreased from 45 units/day to none). It was these experiments that were performed in the 1950s and 1970s that paved the foundation for future studies on chromium and diabetes.