Scientists study Canadian medicinal plants to explore natural cures for diabetes


Image: Scientists study Canadian medicinal plants to explore natural cures for diabetes

Diabetes is a complex disease that leads to a wide variety of complications, one of the most common of which is diabetic nephropathy (DN) or kidney damage. A team of researchers from Canada sought to identify natural extracts, found in the eastern James Bay area, with potent anti-apoptotic properties that can prevent kidney cell death characteristic of DN. Their study was published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

When it was first recorded in ancient Egypt, diabetes was considered mainly a rare disease. Today, it has exploded into a worldwide epidemic, with about 422 million sufferers on the planet in 2014. The prevalence of the disease is known to be spreading steadily, particularly in mid- to low-income countries.

One of the most dangerous complications of diabetes is DN, which is usually a precursor to kidney failure when left unaddressed. It is just one of the many results of the abnormal apoptotic process that occurs as a result of diabetes.

Apoptosis or cellular death is a natural process that’s essential to the continued balance of the human body. Because of it, old, dysfunctional cells are replaced by new ones. A proof of its importance is how its absence can cause the development of severe diseases, such as cancer.

But as with everything, too much apoptosis is hardly a good thing. In diabetes, the cells go through apoptosis at an abnormal rate. It usually starts with the death of the pancreatic beta cells, the cells responsible for producing the hormone insulin. The insufficiency in insulin results in a jump in blood glucose levels, which leads to more cellular death. Apart from kidney cells, those in the liver and the nervous system are also at a considerable risk.

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DN is one of the most common offshoots of diabetes among the people of the Cree nation in Canada, according to the study’s authors. This has prompted them to look into potential natural treatments that are readily available in the area. They compiled a list of 17 plant species:

  • Balsam fir – Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.
  • Speckled alder – Alnus incana subsp. rugosa (Du Roi) R.T. Clausen
  • Creeping snowberry – Gaultheria hispidula (L.) Muhl.
  • Ground juniper – Juniperus communis L.
  • Sheep Laurel – Kalmia angustifolia L.
  • Tamarack – Larix laricina Du Roi (K. Koch)
  • Common clubmoss – Lycopodium clavatum L.
  • White spruce – Picea glauca (Moench) Voss
  • Black spruce – Picea mariana (P. Mill.) BSP
  • Jack pine – Pinus banksiana Lamb.
  • Balsam poplar – Populus balsamifera L.
  • Labrador tea – Rhododendron groenlandicum (Oeder) Kron and Judd
  • Northern Labrador tea – Rhododendron tomentosum (Stokes) Harmaja subsp. subarcticum (Harmaja) G. Wallace
  • Tealeaf willow – Salix planifolia Pursh
  • Pitcher plant – Sarracenia purpurea L.
  • Showy mountain ash – Sorbus decora (Sarg.) C.K. Schneid.
  • Mountain cranberry – Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.

Extracts were obtained from specific parts of the different plants. The researchers then took cultures of Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells, which are cells from a cocker spaniel that are used for biological studies involving the kidneys. They induced damage on the MDCK cells by the administration of a hypertonic medium. This particular step was performed in the presence or absence of each of the 17 plant extracts’ maximal nontoxic concentrations. After 18 hours of treatment, the cells were examined to determine the cytoprotective and anti-apoptotic effects of the extracts. The researchers then looked at the effect of the treatment on the activity of caspases-3, -8, and -9, all of which play an important role in apoptosis.

After the test, the researchers identified Gaultheria hispidula and Abies balsamea as having the most potent cytoprotective and anti-apoptotic effects. The said extracts prevented apoptosis by blocking the activity of caspase-9 in the mitochondrial apoptotic signaling pathway.

Curcumin reduces the effects of a high-fat diet


Image: Curcumin reduces the effects of a high-fat diet

Diets high in fat are known as major contributors to many health diseases, such as heart disease, and cancer. Researchers at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in India discovered that taking curcumin supplements minimizes the damage caused by a high-fat diet.

In their study, the researchers looked at the beneficial effects of curcumin on inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance in high-fat-fed rats. They examined two groups of rats: one group fed with a high-fat diet only and another group given a high-fat diet with 200 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) body weight of curcumin every day for 10 weeks.

The researchers measured the rats’ food intake, body weight, and biochemical parameters at the start and the end of the study. After 10 weeks, they also measured the oxidative stress parameters in skeletal muscle and liver triglyceride levels.

The results revealed that the high-fat diet increased the body weight and liver fat. It also increased the levels of plasma glucose, insulin, insulin resistance, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-c), and decreased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

The high-fat diet also increased inflammation and oxidative stress in skeletal muscles. It also increased liver triglyceride content and caused fat buildup in the liver.

However, the supplementation with curcumin significantly improved these changes. Curcumin supplementation significantly reduced body weight, liver adipose tissue, glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance. In addition, it decreased plasma levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, VLDL-c, and inflammatory markers, and increased HDL cholesterol. Moreover, it reduced oxidative stress, hepatic triglyceride content, and liver fat deposition.

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With these findings, the researchers concluded that curcumin could improve lipid levels, oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin resistance caused by a high-fat diet.

Curcumin and turmeric

Curcumin is the active ingredient of the spice called turmeric and is responsible for most of the spice’s health benefits. It takes up about two to eight percent of most turmeric preparations and gives turmeric its distinct color and flavor.  Here are some health benefits of turmeric and curcumin backed up by scientific evidence:

  • Cancer: One of the most notable benefits of turmeric and curcumin is their ability to prevent cancer. Turmeric and curcumin may help prevent cancer by reducing the activity of colon and other cancer cells. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that curcumin inhibits to the DYRK2 enzyme. Inhibiting this enzyme stops protein complexes known as proteasomes that contribute to cancer development. This action interrupts the proliferation of cancer cells, reducing tumors, and slowing cancer’s growth. This is beneficial for preventing proteasome-addicted cancers, such as triple-negative breast cancer and multiple myeloma.
  • Antibacterial: Turmeric and curcumin have powerful antibacterial effects. They have been reported to inhibit the growth of many disease-causing bacteria.
  • Antifungal: Studies have also reported that turmeric and curcumin have antifungal effects. They can disrupt fungal cell membranes and could be used with other fungal medicines for better effect.
  • Diabetes: Turmeric and curcumin can improve blood sugar metabolism and potentially reduce the effects of diabetes in the body.
  • Heart disease: As mentioned in the Indian study, curcumin reduced bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. These effects, which were also seen in earlier studies, can cut the risk of heart disease.
  • Liver health: Turmeric and curcumin can also protect the liver from damage caused by oxidative stress.
  • Obesity: Research has shown that turmeric and curcumin may inhibit the inflammatory pathway related to obesity and may help control body fat.
  • Osteoarthritis: Plant compounds in turmeric, including curcumin, can decrease inflammatory markers and relieve osteoarthritis symptoms, such as pain and stiffness.

Marijuana and Diabetes: What You Need to Know


Medical views and public opinions on cannabis (marijuana) have come a long way in the last several decades. Today, medicinal and recreational use of the plant and its derivatives are quickly gaining both acceptance and popularity.

What does this mean for people with diabetes who may use the plant or its constituents (where it is medically or recreationally legal)?

This article summarizes the major effects of cannabis and the derived compounds on physiology and various health conditions, particularly as they may relate to people with diabetes. However, cannabis and many of the associated products remain illegal at the federal level. Anything written in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice.

Marijuana Laws in the United States

According to The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), thirteen states have decriminalized marijuana use, a whopping thirty-two states have enacted medical marijuana laws, and ten states have fully legalized recreational marijuana use for adults.

Image credit: NORML

Medicinal Uses of Cannabis

It is well-established that there are numerous medicinal properties of cannabis. Reports of medicinal cannabis use date back thousands of years, and more and more studies are being conducted today, with increased tolerance, legal status at the local level, and more widely-accepted view of the potential health benefits.

How does it work? Briefly, our bodies have what is referred to as an endocannabinoid system—that is, the specific cellular receptors that can interact with several different compounds that are found in marijuana and can affect a variety of physiological processes. As can be seen in the diagrams below, these receptors are present in a variety of organs and tissues in humans.

 

Cannabis contains many different compounds. The two major active compounds are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Researchers note that “available research indicates that the main two compounds, d-9-THC and CBD, whilst having similar effects in certain domains, also have almost opposite effects to one another in other aspects.” This highlights why specific preparations (e.g., CBD only) may be especially useful for treating a particular health condition.

Which health conditions may benefit from the use of cannabis or its derivatives? Since the endocannabinoid system can affect numerous processes, there are many conditions that can be targeted.

Some major conditions that have been proposed for targeting include:

  • Anorexia
  • Autoimmune Diseases (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
  • Cancers
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Liver Disease
  • Nausea
  • Nephropathy
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases (e.g., Parkinson’s, Alzheimer;’s, Huntington’s)
  • Obesity
  • Pain
  • Psychiatric Disorders

So, marijuana can affect a variety of organs and exerts both physical and psychological effects.

Many of these uses are already approved in some or all states where medicinal marijuana is legal. As can be seen, some of these conditions (e.g., nephropathy, cardiovascular disease, obesity) are more prevalent in people with diabetes, which may make medicinal cannabis use more likely in this population. In fact, at least one study reported on the benefits of CBD for the treatment of diabetic cardiomyopathy, while other research has shown that the endocannabinoid system is intimately involved in the development of many diabetes-associated complications, and highlights that several clinical trials have recently explored targeting cannabinoid receptors for treatment.

Marijuana and Blood Glucose Management

The use of cannabis or its preparations can offer treatment for various health conditions, including ones that are more prevalent in the diabetes population. So, can the compounds affect blood glucose control and what should individuals with diabetes take into consideration to stay safe? 

Potential Effects on Blood Glucose Levels

Interestingly, some research has suggested that marijuana users tend to be thinner than non-users and that users may be less likely to develop diabetes. Another study suggested that “chronic cannabis smoking was associated with visceral adiposity and adipose tissue insulin resistance but not with hepatic steatosis, insulin insensitivity, impaired pancreatic β-cell function, or glucose intolerance.”

When it comes to the overall effects of marijuana or its components on blood glucose levels at any specific time of use, no conclusive research is available. Many variables affect blood glucose levels and can include food consumption, medication use, activity, anxiety levels, etc. This means that it’s very important for the individual to self-monitor their blood glucose levels to stay safe.

What to Look Out For

Of course, any person with diabetes should always be on the lookout for hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia and make the appropriate adjustments. Marijuana can affect one’s mental state, so it is important to prepare ahead of time, by setting alarms to check blood glucose levels, or by having another individual with you, who knows about diabetes and can help you check your blood glucose and make the appropriate treatment decisions, if necessary.

Interestingly, a recent study suggested an association between marijuana use and a higher likelihood of developing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a serious and life-threatening complication of diabetes. However, a causal relationship is not clear, the findings are limited by small sample size, and confounding variables, such as income and education level. Patients who used marijuana also happened to have a significantly higher A1c level. It could be that in this case, the cannabis-using population was generally less diligent in their diabetes care for various reasons.

Conclusions

As with using any new medication or recreation drug (such as alcohol), it is imperative that people with diabetes remain in control of their condition by checking their blood glucose levels frequently and adjusting accordingly. If a patient is prescribed medicinal cannabis, it is important to discuss any concerns with a healthcare provider ahead of time and to be extra diligent about checking blood glucose levels frequently during use.

Today, cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, but a gray area is increasingly emerging, for both medicinal and recreational use, as more and more states pass new legislature. We will update this article as more research is conducted, and as state and federal laws are updated.

References

Akturk HK, Taylor DD, Camsari UM; “Association Between Cannabis Use and Risk for Diabetic Ketoacidosis in Adults With Type 1 Diabetes” (2018) JAMA Internal Medicine doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.5142 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2712560

Atakan Z; “Cannabis, a complex plant: different compounds and different effects on individuals” (2012) Therapeutic Advances in Pharmacology 2(5): 241-254. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736954/pdf/10.1177_2045125312457586.pdf

Bancks MP, Pletcher MJ, Kertesz SG, Sidney S, Rana JS, Schreiner PJ; “Marijuana use and risk of prediabetes and diabetes by middle adulthood: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study” (2015) Diabetologia 58(12): 2736-2744. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-015-3740-3

Booth M; “Cannabis: A History” (2005) St. Martin’s Press, Picador 1stedition.

Bridgeman MB and Abazia DT; “Medicinal Cannabis: History, Pharmacology, and Implications for the Acute Care Setting” (2017) Pharmacy and Therapeutics 42(3): 180-188. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5312634/

Horvath B, Mukhopadhyay P, Hasko G, Pacher P; “The Endocannabinoid System and Plant-Derived Cannabinoids in Diabetes and Diabetic Complications” (2012) The American Journal of Pathology 180(2): 432-442. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002944011010273

Leung L; “Cannabis and Its Derivatives: Review of Medical Use” (2011) Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 24: 452-462. http://www.jabfm.org/content/24/4/452.full.pdf+html

Muniyappa R, Sable S, Ouwerkerk R, Mari A, Gharib AM, Courville A, Hall G, Chen KY, Volkow ND, Kunos G, Huestis MA, Skarulis MC: “Metabolic Effects of Chronic Cannabis Smoking” (2013) Diabetes Care DC_122303. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2013/03/20/dc12-2303.short

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) (2018) http://norml.org

Pacher P and Kunos G; “Modulating the endocannabinoid system in human health and disease—successes and failures” (2013) TheFEBS Journal 280(9): 1918-1943. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684164/

Penner EA, Buettner H, Mittleman MA; “The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults” (2013) The American Journal of Medicine 126(7): 583-589. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002934313002003

Rajavashisth TB, Shaheen M, Norris KC, Pan D, Sinha SK, Ortega J, Friedman TC; “Decreased prevalence of diabetes in marijuana users: cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III” (2012) BMJ Open 2: e000494. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000494.short

Rajesh M, Muhopadhyay P, Batkai S, et al.; “Cannabidiol Attenuates Cardiac Dysfunction, Oxidative Stress, Fibrosis, and Inflammatory and Cell Death Signaling Pathways in Diabetic Cardiomyopathy” (2010) Journal of the American College of Cardiology 56(25) http://www.onlinejacc.org/content/56/25/2115

Whiting PF, Wolff  RF, Deshpande S; “Cannabinoids for Medical Use: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” (2015)JAMA Network 313(24): 2456-2473. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2338251?utm_campaign=articlePDF&utm_medium=articlePDFlink&utm_source=articlePDF&utm_content=jama.2015.6358

DIY Bergamot, Ginger, Apple Cider Vinegar Tea Tonic


By Dr. Mercola

Ginger water, apple cider vinegar and bergamot oil are all known for their health benefits, so what could be better than combining them all into a tasty tea tonic that can be consumed hot or cold? A simple recipe to try is as follows:

Health-Boosting Ginger, Bergamot and Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon freshly grated ginger root [like this]
  • 2 to 3 drops bergamot oil [find here]
  • 1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar [like this]

Instructions:

  1. Add freshly grated ginger to boiling water (1 tablespoon per cup) and steep for five to 10 minutes. The longer it steeps, the stronger the flavor
  2. Strain the liquid to remove the ginger
  3. Stir in the bergamot and apple cider vinegar
  4. For a cold beverage, chill in the refrigerator before consuming

Ginger — A Powerful Pain and Nausea Reliever

In addition to its delicious taste, ginger is associated with a long list of health benefits that have been known for at least 2,000 years or more. The most commonly used medicinal part of the plant is the rhizome, the root-like stem that grows underground. It’s a rich source of antioxidants, including gingerols, shogaols and zingerones. It also has powerful broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic and analgesic properties, just to mention a few.

In all, ginger has about 40 different pharmacological actions. Two of its most well-recognized health benefits are easing pain and nausea. In one study,1 adults suffering from episodic migraines with or without aura had better outcomes when ginger was used as an add-on therapy, compared to pain medication alone.

In this case, the treatment group was given 400 milligrams (mg) of ginger extract in addition to 100 mg of intravenous ketoprofen. After one hour, those who received ginger reported a “significantly better clinical response” than the ketoprofen-only group. According to the authors, “ginger treatment promoted reduction in pain and improvement on functional status at all times assessed.” It can also help ease menstrual pain (primary dysmenorrhea). In fact, ginger has been found to be as effective as ibuprofen for this common condition.2

A 2015 review3 of nine studies and seven meta-analyses investigating ginger’s effectiveness against nausea showed it can help reduce nausea and vomiting associated with postoperative nausea, chemotherapy, viral infection and morning sickness.

According to the authors, “recent evidence has provided … support for 5-HT3 receptor antagonism as a mechanism by which ginger may exert its potentially beneficial effect on nausea and vomiting.” Many also use it to ease nausea associated with motion sickness and sea sickness.

Additional Health Benefits and Usage Tips

Other health benefits of ginger include but are not limited to:

Prevention4 and treatment5 of Type 2 diabetes, in part by improving blood sugar control6 and limiting diabetes complications7,8 Neuroprotective effects,9 including slowing the loss of brain cells associated with Alzheimer’s disease,10 and improving cognitive function11
Mitigating brain damage and reducing memory impairment caused by cerebral ischemia (stroke)12 Lowering your risk of several types of cancer, including cancer of the lungs, ovaries, colon, breast, prostate, pancreas and skin13,14,15,16,17,18
Counteracting fructose damage such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease19 Aiding weight loss by promoting satiety20 and enhancing digestion of fats21
Improving digestion, reliving gas and improving symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome Reducing exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness22
Relieving heartburn Protecting against respiratory viruses23 and drug-resistant bacterial and fungal infections24

Ginger is an excellent cooking staple worth keeping on hand at all times, and will keep fresh stored in the freezer. You can freeze the ginger either whole or pre-shredded. There’s no need to thaw it, as you can easily shred it frozen. Simply peel off the skin with a knife or peeler, then shred using a microplane or ceramic grater. The latter will give you a smoother, creamier consistency.

Find a ceramic grater HERE

Bergamot Health Benefits and Contraindications

Bergamot oil, which has a sweet fruity orange-blossom aroma, is what gives Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas their distinct flavor. The fragrance alone has been shown to ease anxiety and depression. Like ginger, it also helps improve digestion and has powerful antimicrobial action. Bergamot oil is extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, which is native to Italy.

It should be used sparingly, however, as it contains a compound called bergapten, which acts as a potassium channel blocker. While rare, you could potentially end up with an electrolyte imbalance should you consume too much of it. Symptoms of potassium deficiency include muscle cramps and twitches, tinging sensations and blurred vision.

A 2002 case study25 published in The Lancet discusses the case of a man who drank up to 4 liters of black tea per day. As his favorite brand sometimes caused gastric pain, he switched to Earl Grey and developed muscle cramps after drinking it for one week.

His condition, “Earl Grey intoxication,” was deemed due to its potassium blocking effect. If you already have potassium deficiency, forgo adding bergamot to the recipe above.  With that caveat, bergamot does have a number of valuable health benefits. For example, bergamot oil has been shown to:

  • Alleviate symptoms and complications of bacterial infections, including Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis bacteria, which are resistant to the potent antibiotic vancomycin26
  • Speed the healing process for cold sores, mouth ulcers and herpes.27 It also has a similar antibacterial effect on shingles and chickenpox, which are also caused by the varicella zoster virus from herpes
  • Prevent and improve skin conditions from fungal infections when used topically28
  • Reduce anxiety and stress when used in aromatherapy29
  • Research30 also shows bergamot has statin-like principles and carries the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaric acid (HMG) moiety. In other words, it acts much like a statin does

Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another kitchen staple with myriad uses and benefits. Traditionally, apple cider vinegar is made through a long, slow fermentation process that renders it rich in bioactive components like acetic acid, gallic acid, catechin, epicatechin, caffeic acid and more, giving it potent antioxidant, antimicrobial and many other beneficial properties.

“Mother” of vinegar, a cobweb-like amino acid-based substance found in unprocessed, unfiltered vinegar, indicates your vinegar is of the best quality. Most manufacturers pasteurize and filter their vinegar to prevent the mother from forming, but the “murky” kind is actually best, especially if you’re planning to consume it. Health benefits associated with apple cider vinegar consumption include but are not limited to:

Improved blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity in those with prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes31
Easing sore throat when gargled (mixed with warm water) or consumed with honey and ginger32
Improved heart health. Polyphenols such as chlorogenic acid help inhibit oxidation of LDL cholesterol,33 while acetic acid helps lower blood pressure.34 It’s also been shown to lower triglyceride levels and very low density lipoprotein cholesterol in animals35
Easing digestive ailments such as acid reflux, intestinal spasms and Candida overgrowth. For everyday gut health, a mixture of 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with 1 teaspoon of raw honey in 1 cup of warm water can be helpful
Improved weight management by increasing satiety36
Boosting energy. Apple cider vinegar contains potassium and enzymes to help banish fatigue. Plus, its amino acids may help prevent the buildup of lactic acid in your body, further preventing fatigue37
Easing sinus congestion when used as a nasal rinse,38 as it helps break up and reduce mucus. It also has antibacterial properties, making it useful for infections
Supporting detoxification and healthy immune function. According to the website The Truth About Cancer,39 “Especially in patients who are immunosuppressed, apple cider vinegar is an excellent natural antimicrobial tonic to rid the body of harmful bacteria and provide immune support”

Study Finds Pomegranate Juice Lowers Blood Pressure


Last year, the study Effects of pomegranate juice on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials was published in the journal Pharmacological Research. Eight different randomized placebo-controlled trials (RCTs) were analyzed to determine the efficacy of pomegranate juice for lowering high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

Many past studies have suggested antiatherogenic, antioxidant, antihypertensive, and anti-inflammatory effects of pomegranate juice. Potential cardioprotective properties of pomegranate juice warrant further investigation and discussion.

In the aforementioned study a meta-analysis of eight previous RCTs was conducted using a random-effects model. Publication bias, quality assessment, and sensitivity analysis were implemented to gain an objective overview of pomegranate juice’s potential efficacy for lowering high blood pressure.

In layman’s terms, roughly 8 fl oz (~240 ml) of pomegranate juice consumed on a daily basis lowered both systolic blood pressure (the first number) and diastolic blood pressure (the second number) across the board.

From the abstract’s conclusion,

The present meta-analysis suggests consistent benefits of pomegranate juice consumption on blood pressure. This evidence suggests it may be prudent to include this fruit juice in a heart-healthy diet.

Positive results were observed from patients that consumed pomegranate juice for less than the 12 week period as well as those that consumed pomegranate for an excess of 12 weeks. Results suggest that pomegranate juice is effective at lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure when consumed regularly.

The efficacy and effectiveness appear to be extremely favorable for long term use of pomegranate juice; however, the results of this study suggest that working pomegranate into your diet can have relativity quick, short-term cardiovascular benefits as well.

[Related: Study Finds Pomegranate Outperforms Drugs For Managing Cholesterol Level]

To reap the full benefits discussed in the study we recommend choosing 100% juice, not-from-concentrate, and organic options when possible (find here). At the moment, there is plenty of organic pomegranate juice sold in glass bottles available here. If you or someone you know pays for medication to reduce high blood pressure, this may be a more affordable solution!

As always, it is wise to discuss any changes you may want to make to your current prescription regimen with a qualified practitioner. Unfortunately finding an allopathic doctor that will consider a healthy alternative to expensive prescription pills is rare.

The good news is that trained naturopathic physicians can be found in most areas in this day and age. These are doctors that believe in healing the body holistically instead of simply prescribing pills to mask symptoms. They take the time to read studies such as this and will work with you to achieve the diet and health goals that you desire.

The appeal of naturopathic medicine to many people is that conventional medicine may be implemented in emergency situations, rather than a complete dependence on it. If you’re unsure of whether or not there is a practicing naturopath near you, a search feature is available here.

You can find organic pomegranate juice, not-from-concentrate, in glass bottles by following this link. You can find a cheaper-per-ounce alternative here that is not certified organic such as the first link provided. Regardless, both options taste great making the 8oz daily intake quite achievable.

Sources and References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/
https://realfarmacy.com/
https://www.heart.org
Ella Olsson/flickrCC 2.0

Ginger tea: Dissolves Kidney Stones, Cleanses Liver & Obliterates Cancer Cells (Recipe)


One of the most health-beneficial plants on earth – ginger, is abundant in medicinal properties, among which it reduces inflammation, stimulates digestion and boosts immunity.

Ginger owes its flavor and aroma to several different essential oils: gingerol, shogaol and zingerone. These agents have really powerful anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial effects, which can ease pain, improve cardiovascular health, relieve asthma, strengthen immunity, and stimulate digestion among others.

Ginger Tea Benefits

Ginger tea is an amazing remedy for treatment of sore muscles, common cold, flu and headaches. This drink can actually destroy the virus causing influenza, cold sores and common colds.

In addition, only a cup of tea each day can considerably lower your risk of stroke due to the fact that ginger dissolves fat deposits which in fact block the arteries.

Moreover, due to ginger’s thermogenic properties, this vegetable has the ability to improve blood circulation and the delivery of oxygen, minerals and vitamins to the cells in the body.

Plus, the high content of antioxidants successfully eliminates infections and improves the immune system.

Ginger Tea Preparation

Ingredients:

Instructions:
This tea-making process is really simple. After adding the turmeric and ginger in boiling water, lower the heat and then let it simmer for 7-10 min.

Add the coconut milk and strain the tea into a cup. Improve your tea flavor by adding some organic honey. Enjoy one of the healthiest drinks there is!

Programming Your Mind for Success 9 Scientifically-Proven Benefits of Meditation


The ancient art of meditation has been practiced since antiquity in multiple religions. Since the 19th century, it has expanded from religious practice to a secular one and become popular in countries around the world as a way to achieve a deeper connection with one’s own body and soul.

It permits practitioners to find a deep well of calm within their mind that helps still the thoughts of focus and focus energy.

While many people would like to start a meditation practice, they often fail to continue because they fail to find the time or to see the results they were hoping for. Meditation takes practice, but this practice can result in some incredible benefits in your life.

If you’re considering starting a meditation practice, but aren’t sure of what the results will be like, here are nine proven benefits of meditation that will help start you on the road to a successful meditation practice:

It reduces stress

In our fast-paced world, it isn’t uncommon for people to suffer from stress. Rarely do we respect weekends or take our full vacation allotment, which leaves us overworked and very stressed out. While stress is generally unpleasant, did you know it’s also quite dangerous?

Stress can contribute to illness by suppressing your immune system, trigger migraines and weight gain, and cause gastrointestinal issues.

To prevent this, you have to find methods to control your stress. With regular practice, meditation has been shown to help reduce stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol. Meditation also helps reduce the adverse effects of stress, such as a headache, restlessness, brain fog, irritability and more.

It helps control anxiety

Anxiety is not just worrying. Worry is a natural and vital response that can help keep us safe. Anxiety is what happens when that worry becomes disproportionate and chronic and starts to affect your life negatively. Stress and anxiety often go hand-in-hand, luckily, meditation has the same positive effects on anxiety that it does on stress.

Meditation has been found to reduce symptoms of social anxiety, generalized anxiety, and lessen the frequency of panic attacks. Meditation can also reduce job-related anxiety and can help you cope with worry-inducing events better.

It enhances your self-awareness

A clearer understanding of yourself can help you better harness negative thoughts and impulses and help you better control urges that may be self-destructive. Meditation can give you this control by helping you channel your mental power to combat feelings of negativity, loneliness, and low self-esteem.

It can help fight addiction

Negative urges can be a contributing factor as to why many addiction sufferers fall back into the patterns that lead them to substance abuse issues in the first place. Meditation helps people become masters of urge surfing.

These urges can feel like a kind of tunneling sensation that makes you feel like the only outcome is to seek out your addictive or destructive behaviors. Meditation helps give practitioners a “natural high,” which allows sufferers to find peace within themselves instead of seeking out endorphins or dopamine hits through addictive substances.

It helps with sleep disorders

For anyone that has ever crawled under the blankets, exhausted, but was unable to fall asleep, the idea of getting a long, uninterrupted night’s rest must sound like nirvana.

Insomnia is a relatively common sleep disorder that people can experience at brief intervals, or it can become a chronic condition. Insomnia affects your work performance, personal relationships, and overall well being and can make you more susceptible to illness.

Meditation–and specifically mindfulness meditation–has been shown to evoke the relaxation response in people who practice it regularly, which helps people fall asleep naturally and stay asleep longer.

It decreases high blood pressure

If you have high blood pressure, you know that you have one of the number one risk factors for heart disease. If you have high blood pressure, your heart has to work harder than usual to pump blood through your arteries.

When you’re looking to fix high blood pressure, you will most likely be required to take some medication, maybe lose weight, cut out salt, and exercise regularly, and you will also be required to lower your stress levels.

Meditation has been shown to help sufferers of high blood pressure by reducing their stress levels and by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function.

It improves your attention span

If you find your mind drifting and are unable to focus, meditation may help lengthen your attention span and encourage you to focus. Meditation can also help you remember details more clearly and retain information longer. Even short-term meditation can be beneficial so you will see results even after only a short period.

It can help control pain

Chronic pain can make living almost unbearable. Over time, chronic pain can significantly reduce one’s enjoyment of life and make people irritable, depressed, and withdrawn. The constant aching can make even the smallest task seem impossible, and painkiller use can become a dangerous habit.

Mindfulness meditation has been shown to soothe and slow brain patterns, making the pain more bearable and less noticeable. Meditation has even been prescribed by medical professionals to help patients cope with pain from illnesses like cancer, fibromyalgia, and heart disease.

When you’re looking for pain relief, you may find a lot of sites that compare hypnosis vs. meditation. Both can give you pain relief, but hypnosis is triggered by another person, while meditation is self-directed.

It can help with depression

Meditation has been found to be incredibly successful in treating depression. The brooding that depression causes can be counteracted with meditation. Meditation helps quiet the “noise” of depression and slow the negative cycle of thoughts that contribute to depression.

During mindfulness meditation, you are encouraged to allow negative thoughts to pass over you and understand that these thoughts will pass and that you only have to give them time to do so.

By doing this, you will find that depressive thoughts will become less overwhelming and you will be able to focus more on your recovery and on calming your inner turmoil.

Use of alternative medicine is associated with absenteeism


An analysis of the 2012 National Health Interview Survey Data examined the associations between self-reported use of various forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies (dietary supplements, mind-body practices) and the number of days missed from job or business in the past 12 months due to illness or injury. Multivariable Poisson regression was used to determine the association between CAM use and absence from work among individuals with one or more chronic disease (n = 10,196).

Over half (54 %) of the study population reported having one chronic disease, while 19 % had three or more conditions. The three most common chronic diseases were high cholesterol (48 %), arthritis (35 %) and hypertension (31 %). More participants used dietary supplements (72 %) while fewer individuals reported using mind-body practices (17 %) in the past twelve months. Over half of individuals reported missing any number of days from job or business due to illness or injury (53 %). Of those who had missed any days from work, 42 % missed one or two days, 36 % missed three to five days, and 23 % missed six days or more.

The authors concluded: Although nearly all individuals who practiced mind-body therapies reported being in good to excellent health, these individuals had a higher rate of absenteeism compared to non-users. Previous studies have shown that many individuals with chronic illness use CAM with the intent of alleviating the symptoms associated with chronic illness but this body of evidence is limited. Further studies are needed to examine the potential effects of these self-managed CAM therapies on the symptoms associated with chronic disease. Additionally, future studies should explore how managing these symptoms through the integration CAM therapies chronic disease management and employee programs could have a positive effect on absence from work, school, and other responsibilities.

How can these finding be interpreted?

The authors offer two possible explanations: Self-administered CAM practices may be more accessible to individuals with chronic disease regardless of socioeconomic status and other demographic factors. Alternatively, CAM use without the advisement of a practitioner may be harmful due to lack of knowledge on proper technique or dosage.

I am sure there are other ways to make sense of these data. How about this interpretation, for instance: CAM-use and absenteeism have in common that they are the things that the ‘worried well’ tend to do. Thus the two phenomena correlate because they are a characteristic of a certain type of consumer.

Yes, I am just guessing, because the data certainly does not give us anything like a conclusive explanation.

Nonetheless, one thing seems to be fairly clear: CAM-use in this population is not a thing that motivates consumers to go to work.

Snake venom may replace aspirin for heart disease patients


https://speciality.medicaldialogues.in/snake-venom-may-replace-aspirin-for-heart-disease-patients/

Scorpion venom may lead to improved treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis


https://speciality.medicaldialogues.in/scorpion-venom-may-lead-to-improved-treatment-option-for-rheumatoid-arthritis/