Berry Good 7X

A while back I wrote about the natural goodness of Elderberry .  Recently I discovered that Brand’s has a new product ( well new to me anyways) called Innershine Berry Essence which has seven premium berries all in one bottle! Blueberry, chokeberry, cranberry, blackcurrant, acaiberry, elderberry and strawberry.  I must say that it is great tasting especially when served chilled.

The combination of seven berries is an excellent source of antioxidants, which neutralize harmful free radicals in the body and prevent degeneration of eye cells. It contains Zinc and is fortified with Vitamin A, C & E, providing the required nutrients to benefit ocular health.

A natural extract, it contains no artificial colouring and preservatives!

Brand’s Essence of Chicken is practically a household item here in Singapore that I actually thought Brand’s was a Local product. *smacks head*  It actually originates in the UK way back in 1820 when royal chef Henderson William Brand first developed it for King George IV to boost his health.  At least we should be content to know that we were the first port of call for Brand’s entry into Asia way back in 1920.

What I like best about Brand’s Innershine Berry Essence is that it not only taste great, it is affordable!  Try it!   ( And NO this is not a paid advertisement for Brand’s, just a note from a consumer….but hey if they ever read this and well you know…. 😀 )

More On Immunity Boosters – Elderberry

Elderberry aka Sambucus Nigra, Sambucus W. Hance

A little look into it’s history 

At sites in Switzerland and Italy, researchers have uncovered evidence that the black elderberry may have been cultivated by prehistoric man, and there are recipes for elderberry-based medications in the records dating as far back as Ancient Egypt. Historians, however, generally trace the tradition of the elderberry’s healing power back to Hippocrates, the ancient Greek known as the “father of medicine,” who described this plant as his “medicine chest” for the wide variety of ailments it seemed to cure.

Over the centuries, elderberry has been used to treat colds, flu, fever, burns, cuts, and more than 70 other maladies, from toothache to the plague. In the 17th century, John Evelyn, a British researcher, declared, “If the medicinal properties of its leaves, bark, and berries were fully known, I cannot tell what our countryman could ail for which he might not fetch a remedy [from the elderberry], either for sickness or wounds.”

In Austria…

Father Hermann Josef Weidinger conveys the contentment of a man who has performed great works. Austria’s most beloved herbal healer, the eighty-two year old Catholic priest has penned a dozen books, and more than a hundred botanical products bear his imprimateur. High on the list of his most favorite plants is elderberry. “Elderberry cleanses the digestive system and promotes healthy elimination,” he explains. “I believe that elderberry protects the body from serious diseases, and it balances the emotions. Elderberry is good for the soul.”

Father Weidinger’s reverence for elder Sambucus nigra , recalls the Austrian folk expression “tip your hat to the elder,” connoting the respect that should be extended to the bush whose berries and flowers are used for health purposes. This reverence can be traced back to 400 BC when Hippocrates called elder his “medicine chest.” Renowned classical healers Theophrastus, Dioscorides and Galen also declared the elder and its rich purple berries among nature’s greatest healing plants. Employed for a plethora of ills from arthritis and asthma to colds and constipation, elderberries occupy an esteemed position in European plant medicine.

But elderberry is not lost in a romantic past of bygone herbalists. Today at Germany’s research center for food, agriculture and forestry, Dr. Gerhard Rechkemmer is investigating the anthocyanins – purple antioxidant pigments – in elderberry. His research shows that elderberry enhances immune function by boosting the production of cytokines. “In vitro the anthocyanins in elderberry show very high antioxidant activity. But they are extremely hard to track in blood plasma, so we do not know exactly what they are doing in the body.” When asked if he thinks that further elderberry research will reveal additional health benefits, Rechkemmer nods. “I believe so, but we must go beyond belief to certain knowledge.”

With scientific examination of elderberry’s biological activity underway, Austrian elderberry production is increasing rapidly due to strong market demand. At 8,000 tons of cultivated elderberry per year, Austria’s commercial production is double that of 1995. Much of this is due to the work of Kurt Kaufmann, a seemingly indefatigable elderberry proponent who has organized one thousand Austrian growers into a co-op, and built Berenfrost, an immense non-profit berry freezing facility where elderberries are cooled immediately after harvest. “In September at harvest, the elderberries must be cooled immediately, or they spoil. Here at Berenfrost elderberries are chilled to –20øC in less than twenty-four hours.” I ask Kurt how much tonnage of berries he can take in on one day. “We can handle about 600 tons per day, but last year one day we took in 1,600 tons in twenty-four hours.” I ask him if he sleeps. “Not during harvest” he replies with a wide smile.

Austria’s Haschberg variety of elder produces a high yield of sweet, richly purple berries. After freezing at Berenfrost, the berries move into the food and beverage industry, where they are used in juices, jams, fruit yogurts and wines. Demand is also growing for high anthocyanin elderberry extracts for the nutraceutical field. Amidst this berry boom, Doctors Werner Pfannhauser and Michael Murkovic at Austria’s University of Graz have conducted research showing that elderberry extract reduces oxidation of LDL cholesterol and exhibits a beneficial antioxidant effect in the body. These results do not come as a surprise. In vitro, anthocyanins from elderberry demonstrate unusually high antioxidant activity- much greater in fact than highly touted bilberry. “I am certain that elderberry is beneficial,” notes Murcovic.

At a large table a dozen of us dine at a recondite place near the Slovenian border. There endocrinologist Dr. Sepp Porta describes an exciting stress study he conducted using elderberry concentrate on a group of volunteers. “We only gave these people the elderberry for ten days,” he notes with expressive hand gestures. “We put them through typical stress tests, and the results were so remarkable, I checked them over and over.” In the study, various bio-markers of stress, including glucose, magnesium and other plasma chemical levels, were analyzed. “What we found was that elderberry has this extraordinary effect for reducing stress,” notes Porta. It is for this reason that researchers from the US Air Force sit with us. Elderberry may hold promise for stress reduction among military personnel.

Sitting beside me, Austria’s largest elderberry producer Josef Holler smiles at Porta’s words. “We are involved in a very good thing. It is good for people’s lives. This is satisfying.” He raises a glass of dark red Austrian wine for a toast to the noble elderberry, and we all drink to that.

A Few Facts…

  • Black elderberry extract has been found to be effective against the H5N1 strain of Avian Flu  (Zakay-Rones et al 1995)
  • Black elderberry extract contains a unique compound called Antivirin® that can help protect healthy cells and inactivate  infectious viruses
  • When given to patients, scientists have found the black elderberry extract, has the ability to ward off flu infections quickly  (Zakay-Rones 2004)
  • Black Elderberries are rich in anthocyanins which are a type of flavonoid –  anthocyanins are antioxidants that may protect cells from free radicals and support your body’s immune system.
  • Black Elderberries have almost 5 times as many anthocyanins as Blueberries and twice the overall antioxidant capability of cranberries 
  • Black Elderberry has a more potent antiviral effect than Echinacea
  • Some Age Old Traditions…

    • The Romans used elderberry juice as a hair dye
    • The word ‘Elder’ comes from the Anglo Saxon word ‘aeld’, meaning ‘fire ’
    • Pagans believe that the black elder tree is sacred to the Moon Goddess

    Understanding The Immune System

    Inside your body there is a protection mechanism called the immune system. It is designed to defend you against millions of bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins and parasites that are waiting to invade your body.

    The Immune System is made up of hundreds of different mechanisms and processes that are all kicked into action when it comes under threat from various ‘insults’ such as viruses, bacteria and pollutants. An example, are the cytokines which bring immune cells to the site of infection, to promote healing.

     Inflammation is one of the first responses of the immune system to infection. The signs of inflammation, redness and swelling, are caused by increased blood flow into tissues.

    Due to the environment we live in today we are constantly surrounded by these threats and having and maintaining a healthy Immune System becomes really important.

    Threats to the Immune System – Viruses

    The most common threat to your immune system is from viruses. A virus is a tiny disease causing particle that likes to live in your body’s cells.

    The virus that most of us know about is the common cold virus.  Although more than 200 viruses can cause a common cold, the rhinovirus is the most common culprit, and it is highly contagious.

    A cold virus enters your body through your mouth or nose, but it is likely you also had a “hand” in your own illness. The virus can spread through droplets in the air when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes or talks. But it also spreads by hand-to-hand contact with someone who has a cold or by using shared objects, such as utensils, towels, toys or telephones. Touch your eyes, nose or mouth after such contact or exposure, and you’re likely to “catch” a cold.

    Understanding Antivirin ( Elderberry)

    Treating Viruses

    Studies have shown that taking a supplement containing black elderberry may be beneficial to help boost the immune system at times when it may be weakened, such as when suffering with a cold, flu or other viruses. A study using an elderberry extract (Zakay-Rones 1995) showed inhibition of several flu viruses in vitro.

    An Antiviral Agent – ‘Antivirin’

    Viruses are unable to multiply on their own and need to be inside healthy cells to do so.  To help them enter a cell some viruses are coated with haemagglutinin spikes. Black Elderberry Extract is believed to contain an antiviral agent, ‘Antivirin’ which can help neutralise the activity of the haemagglutinin spikes. When these spikes are deactivated the viruses can no longer pierce cell walls to enter the cell and replicate.

    Elderberries are particularly rich in flavonoids, in particular anthocyanins.  These act as powerful antioxidants to help the immune system defend itself.   

    Anthocyanins are found in the pigment of purple, dark blue and red fruits such as the black elderberry. Elderberries contain higher flavonoid content than other fruits including cranberries, blackcurrants and blackberries and almost 5 times the anthocyanins content of blueberries. 

    Due to the high anthocyanin content, the black elderberry has powerful antioxidant properties to also help attack the viruses.

    Understanding Antioxidants

    Free radicals damage and the role of Antioxidants.

    Free radicals are molecules with one or more unpaired electrons. They are a by-product of a normal bodily process involving the metabolism of oxygen for energy. Environmental factors such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, radiation and ultraviolet light can also cause free radicals to form.
    Because free radicals lack an electron, they are unstable and highly reactive. As a result of their instability they steal electrons from other cells.  This in turn destabilizes those cells, turning them into free radicals. This can cause a chain reaction which can occur indefinitely, causing destruction to the body as cellular damage accumulates.
    Free radicals enter our bodies as we breathe in polluted air and cigarette smoke, and are generated during prolonged stress or illness and through every metabolic reaction involving oxygen.  When oxygen molecules become unstable they seek to stabilise by reacting with other chemicals. If left unchecked, this leads to inflammation and arterial wall damage.
    This sort of damage is the number-one cause of ageing and a significant contributor to diseases in those aged 60 or over.
    Defence of the Immune System – Antioxidants

    One of the best ways our body deals with attacks on the immune system is with its own natural antioxidants.  When a virus or pollutant enters the body these antioxidants work by attacking them to stop them damaging the body.  As the name suggests they do ‘anti’ or the opposite job to the attackers.

    Our bodies contain natural antioxidants in the form of vitamins, minerals and hormones, but due to the increased stress modern society puts on us it can be good to take in more in our diet.

    Antioxidants are natural substances that may slow or prevent damage to the body’s cells. They are thought to protect the cells from these unstable molecules by reacting with them .

    Antioxidants prevent free radicals from damaging cells by donating electrons to the free radicals, thereby stabilizing them. When an antioxidant loses an electron, it remains stable and thus does not itself become a free radical. Therefore, a diet rich in antioxidants could be beneficial to health. A study by Abjua et al (1998) conducted in vitro demonstrated antioxidant activity of elderberry juice.

    Studies throughout the last 30 years reveal that many of the so-called degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and arthritis arise because of a deficiency in antioxidants

    Understanding Flavonoids

    Flavonoids  – Natural antioxidants
    Flavonoids are powerful, natural antioxidants that work to protect the body’s cells from the potential damage thought to be caused by free radicals.  Flavonoids can be found in certain every day foods such as fruit and vegetables.

    The importance of one type of Flavonoid – Anthocyanins
    Of special interest are a particular group of flavonoids called anthocyanins. These can be found in the pigments of purple, dark blue and red fruits such as the black elderberry   (Mateus et al 2004). It is the activity of the anthocyanin pigments that give the black elderberry powerful antioxidant action.

    Elderberries may contain more than 1% of anthocyanins and other polyphenols. The colour of the berries is mainly due to the presence of the anthocyanin cyanidin-3-glucoside which has 3.5 times the antioxidative activity than that of a vitamin E analogue.

    The anthocyanins that occur naturally in the black elderberry are some of the most potent in the plant world. Therefore they can be extremely effective at preventing free radicals from causing any damage and have a remarkable ability which may help to stimulate the body’s immune system.  According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the highest concentration of anthocyanins are found in black elderberries – this is nearly double the amount found in any other fruit and almost 5 times higher than blueberries.

    Clinical Summary

    Research data from studies around the world have proven black elderberry extract to be effective in shortening the duration of influenza A and B. Below are some research highlights:

    • 1995 (Zakay-Rones)- A double blind placebo controlled study was conducted during an outbreak of influenza B Panama. 93.3% of the cases treated with black elderberry compound saw a significant improvement of the symptoms. A complete cure was achieved within 2 to 3 days in nearly 90% of those treated with the black elderberry extract within two-three days, three days less than the placebo group.
    • 2001 – (Barak, Halperin and Kalickman) 2 in-vitro studies have shown that extracts from black elderberry were beneficial to the stimulation of the immune system.
    • 2004 –( Zakay-Rones) In a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study, black elderberry extract was shown to significantly reduce the duration of the flu by around four days. Significantly less people who were taking the extract took pain relievers compared to the placebo group.
    • 2005 –(Balasingham ) During an in-vitro study carried out in London, black elderberry extract was found to be at least 99% effective against the H5N1 strain otherwise known as Avian Bird Flu.

    Effective as an immune booster

    Medical science has only recently discovered the likely basis for the elderberry’s health-giving reputation. Studies (Pietta 2000, Mateus 2004) have shown that elderberries are unusually rich in the phytochemicals known as flavonoids. Among all fruits, elderberries are the most concentrated source of anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids that act as powerful antioxidants to boost the immune system and protect the body’s cells from harm.

    These anthocyanins are found in the purple pigment of black elderberries, and  according to Dr. Gerhard Rechkemmer, president of Germany’s Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and Food, they have significantly greater antioxidant capacity than common antioxidants such as Vitamin C.  In fact, Dr. Rechkemmer’s research has shown that the anthocyanins in black elderberry actually boost the production of cytokines, the proteins that act as messengers within our immune system, and thereby serve to enhance the body’s immune response.

    Cytokines play a crucial role in the immune system’s response to disease.  Cytokines work in ways very similar to hormones. They are released by immune cells into the blood stream or locally into body tissue during an immune response.

    There are many different types of cytokines including interleukins, interferons and tumor necrosis factors.

    Several studies have shown that extracts from the fruits of the black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) may help to activate the immune system by increasing inflammatory cytokine production. (Barak 2001, Barak2002))

    Both studies above found that extracts from black elderberries helped increase the production of interleukins 6 and 8 (IL-6, IL-8) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). All of which have been shown to have pro-inflammatory properties in fighting infection (2,3).

    One study (Barak 2002) also demonstrated that an extract of black elderberry increased the production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine Il-10.

     What the kids and I have tried…

    Well I bought a bottle of Sambucol to try and the kids love the taste.  Also it appears their immunity to viruses is improving but hey I guess it will take as long as 3 monthts to really ascertain that fact.  Also it is not exactly cheap since a bottle contains only 120ml.  Recommended daily dosage is 10ml for adults and 5ml for kids.

    SambucolImmunoForte

    Piohouse,Nigella Sativa,Bio-Detox Pads & Stuff

    Well I just spent the whole week nursing my kids back to health and apart from that I’ve been trying to keep fit by jogging, swimming and doing a little weight training.

    Oh and if you’re wondering why the unusual title for this post, well I’ve been researching on these products and trying them out. Also remember in my earlier post I was trying out that tinture well I am happy to say that it truly works for me and my other half! However I’ve decided not to advertise the product on this blog simply because it needs to be used with caution since it contain St John’s Wort. However if you’re interested, then email me and I will give you the full product name and link.

    PIOHOUSE

    This once a week Deodorant is amazing because it really works! I’ve been using it for a month now with no side effect whatsoever, probably because it is water based, alcohol-free,grease-free,colourless,fragrance-free and stain-free. It is available at Guardian pharmacy at $3.90 SGD for a pack of 3.

    Click on the picture for a link to more details.

    BIO-DETOX PADS

    Now for this product, I am a little skeptical because of the way it is suppose to work. Also initially I likened the change in colour of the pads to that of an apple left out in the open to oxidize but how then do you explain that according to user accounts that the colour of the these very same pads lightens out with regular usage? Then there is some accounts that the used pads were sent for lab testing and traces of metals etc. were found which was not present prior to use. Of course this fact can also be just a claim. Anyhow I personally have used it for 3 days now though I find little or no difference, then again I do not have pre-existing condition of pain etc. Anyhow madame on the other hand has, so will let you know in a weeks time.

    Okay for now here is a little of what I’m talking about…

    Bio Detox patches contain natural ingredients including the Agaricus mushroom from the jungles of Brazil. The Agaricus mushroom contains ample amounts of Beta Glucans – the major ingredient in natural cancer controlling substances – a steroid that can regulate the increase of cancerous cells.

    Dry powder in the patch also contains chitosan, bamboo sap, eucalyptus sap, ionic (absorbable) tourmaline minerals that contain negative ions, and saururus chenesis – the first plant to grow at the atomic bomb site in Hiroshima – and other potent plant ingredients.

    For hundreds of years Eastern medical studies have held the view that toxins progress towards the lower extremities in the body during the day. Assisted by gravity they accumulate from the tips of the toes to the ankles. That’s why Bio Detox patches work best when placed on the soles of the feet. There is also another Asian expression that says aging comes from the foot.

    The ingredients work together to draw out the toxic build-up in your feet, and in other parts of the body. The patches can be used at any time but preferably overnight as you sleep as they enhance blood circulation and improve sleep. We recommend wearing socks to prevent accidentally kicking the patches off while you sleep.

    Bio Detox patches can be attached to other parts of the body and acupuncture points where there are pains, health issues or swelling to remove toxins from the area. At the same time the patches should be applied to the soles of the feet for maximum detoxification as there may not be as much moisture removed from other parts of the body.

    For knee problems, place patch on the back of the knee.
    For eye problems, place on the back of the ears or on the temple, but not on the eye.
    For wounds and bruising (excluding cuts and eyes)

    Bio Detox patches can be used to help reduce inflammation and pain on the affected parts. Apply patch either side of the spine on the back of the neck underneath the ears but above the lymph nodes for mouth disorders or ear problems.
    The effect of the Bio Detox patch can usually be seen or felt sooner with more acute diseases, sometimes in a few days. It may however require a longer time to see the effect on less chronic diseases like lethargy and fatigue. Bio Detox patches can take longer to work on some people, especially if they have been on medication for a long time, but if the patch is still dry after use, they can be re-used.

    MIP Bio Detox Foot Pads contains tourmaline minerals that contain negative ions. Negative ions are oxygen atoms with an extra electron and they can help you feel better. Remember that feeling you’ve experienced near a waterfall or high in the mountains? Those are two places that thousands of negative ions occur. They create a positive effect on human biochemistry and Bio Detox pads allow negative ions to work their magic. The special sap used in Bio Detox increases the vibration of negative ions which can then be absorbed easily by the skin.

    Far infrared generation, the warmth of healing.
    Our tissues normally produce infrared energy for warmth and tissue repair. At times the infrared energy in our tissues may require a boost to a higher level to ensure the fullest healing possible for tissue repair. Our Bio Detox Foot Pads have been scientifically proven to produce warmth from Far infrared generation.

    The Bio Detox Foot Pad uses the highest quality wood vinegar after natural purifying. Wood and bamboo vinegar are dried for a period of 8 months in order to remove the water substance. Next, to remove the impurities, a filtration process is applied four times. Lastly, the drying process is applied again for a period of 8 months to obtain a complete pure wood and bamboo vinegar. The finished product of the drying process is outstandingly pure.

    Nigella Sativa

    A colleague introduced this to me in veg cap supplement form and I still can’t believe how cheaply available it is for us because of our neighbouring country Malaysia! Anyhow I am still evaluating this product but it is quite amazing considering the history of Nigella Sativa and it’s uses.

    Nigella Sativa is traditionally known in Middle Eastern countries as “Habbat al Barakah” – ‘The Blessed Seed’, due to it’s powerful healing qualities for many ailments. It has been used for thousands of years in the Middle East as well as ports of Asia and Africa and is now well known in the USA and Europe.

    Nigela Sativa can be compared to Echinacea, the well known immune booster but works in a very different way, which makes it even suitable for diseases of the immune system itself, eg. allergies; MS; TB; cancer; aids etc, where Echinacea could have detrimental effects.

    The oil of nigella sativa is so beneficial due to it’s content of over a hundred components such as aromatic oils, trace elements, vitamins and enzymes. It contains 58% of essential fatty acids including omega 6 and omega 3. These are necessary for the forming of Prostaglandin E1 which balances and strengthens the immune system giving it the power to prevent infections and allergies and control cronic illnesses. Healthy cells are protected from viruses thus inhibiting tumours. Blackseed oil also contains about 0.5 – 1.5% volatile oils including nigellone and thymochinone which are responsible for its anti-histamine, anti-oxidant, anti-infective and broncho-dilating effect.

    As an oil it is digested through the lymphatics consequently purifying and unblocking the lymphatic system.

    Nigella Sativa oil was found in Tutankhamen’s tomb. It is known to have been used by Cleopatra for it’s health and beauty giving qualities.

    The Greek physician Dioskorides used Blackseed to treat headaches, nasal congestion, toothache and intestinal parasites. Hypocrates, the grandfather of todays scientific medicine regarded Nigella Sativa as a valuable remedy in hepatic and digestive disorders.

    Ibn Sina, the author of the Canon of Medicine, one of the most famous books in the history of medicine recommends Blackseed stimulates the metabolism and to recover from dispiritedness and lethargy.

    Ayurvedic medicine appreciates its many qualities and bitter, warming, stimulant nature. Here it is used or a wide variety of diseases like haemorrhoids, hepatitis, fever, diarrhoea, cough, tapeworm, to mention only a few of them.

    The earliest written reference to Blackseed is found in the book of Isiah in the Old Testament 28:25-27. It is most famous for the saying of the holy prophet Muhammad (sws), ‘Hold on to use of the Blackseed, for it has a remedy for every illness except death.’ The wording ‘hold onto’ indicates a long term use.

    Since 1959 there have been over 200 different studies at universities and laboratories. At the Cancer Research Laboratory of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA, one of the largest experimental studies so far proved that Nigella Sativa oil had enormous success in tumour therapy without the negative side effects of common chemo-therapy. They found that it increased the growth rate of bone marrow cells by a staggering 250% and it inhibited tumour growth by 50%. It stimulated immune cells and raised the interferon production which protect cells from the cell destroying effect of viruses. They confirmed the strongly anti-bacterial and anti-micotic effects and that it has an effect in lowering the blood sugar level which is essential for the treatment of diabetes.

    Recently independent clinical studies published in the archives of Aids also established some astonishing effects of blackseed on the defence system by improving the ration between helper t-cells and suppresser t-cells by a significant amount while also enhancing the natural killer cell activity.

    Experiences of doctors in Munich displayed that 70% of patients with allergic conditions, among them being pollen and dust allergies, asthma and neuro-dermitis were cured by Nigella Sativa.

    Immunity Boosters

    jetpeng

    Sometime back I wrote a little about Alternative Medicines or Supplementation and well with all the new found worries about the latest flu viruses, I’m sure many people out there especially parents are looking for ways to boost their childrens or their very own immunity.

    And so it is not suprising that many companies are coming out with claims that their products are ANTI  H1N1! Able to treat, cure or even prevent an infection! And if you are skeptical then you are absolutely on the right path, because many of them out there are just bogus outrageous claims.

    Personally I would rather take precautions in terms of personal hygiene and cleanliness followed by a proper diet, nutrition and exercise.   However if and when I do feel a little under the weather or if I suspect that I could be coming down with something, especially now that both my sons are down with the flu then I will take something a little extra and so far it has helped me ( again I must emphasize on helped me personally).  

    So What do I do?…..well here goes…

    Apart from a once a day muti-vitamin and minerals regime, I take an extra Vitamin C tab.  Drink lots of green tea during the day and in the night I mix a teaspoonful of powdered ginger root and honey in cup of tea.  So far it has worked wonders for me.

    Immunity Booster On Trial (By Me that is)

    Just recently, I have come across a product to boost one’s immunity that caught my interest from ‘Pink Of Heath Pte Ltd’ at Millenia Walk.  I decided to buy it and give it a shot as I was prettly impressed with the selection of 100% organic herbs used to create this tinture.  However my only concern is the ingredient St John’s Wort which is known to contradict some form of prescription medications. 

    I have since tried it and I must say that it tastes rather awful, but I suppose that is why it should be rather effective eh?  Anyhow I am not mentioning the product name till I have fully evaluated it myself.  However here are the ingredients and what it’s suppose to be good for….

    Echinacea Purpurea

    Echinacea enhances the particle-ingestion capacity of white blood cells and other specialized immune-system cells, increasing their ability to attack foreign invaders such as viruses.

    Besides stimulating a healthy immune system to deal more effectively with invading viruses, echinacea helps accelerate healing if infection already exists.1

    Licorice (Latin: Glycyrrhiza Glabra)

    The glycyrrhizin in Licorice boosts the immune system’s T-cell count and stimulating production of protective compounds such as interferon.

    Other ingredients—including glabridin, glycyrrhizin, and licoricidin—soothe inflammation.2

    Wild harvested Cat’s Claw (Latin: Uncaria Tomentosa)

    Cat’s claw is a large, woody vine that derives its name from hook-like thorns that grow along the vine and resemble the claws of a cat.

    Cat’s claw has been used medicinally by tribes of Peru for at least 2,000 years. In Europe it is used since the early 1990s as an adjunctive treatment for cancer and AIDS as well as for other diseases that target the immune system.

    In herbal medicine today, cat’s claw is employed around the world for many different conditions, including immune disorders, gastritis, ulcers, cancer, arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatic disorders, neuralgias, chronic inflammation of all kinds, and such viral diseases as herpes zoster (shingles).3

    Green Tea (Latin: Camellia Sinensis)

    Green tea extract stimulates the immune system. It has long been used by the Chinese as medicine to treat headaches, body ache, poor digestion, and improve well-being and life expectancy.

    Green tea extract is bioflavonoid rich, and one of its main uses is fighting free radicals in your body. Green tea extract contains high level of polyphenols (a bioflavonoid), and it’s also a rich source of EGCG (an antioxidant), that’s over 200 times more potent than vitamin E in fighting free radicals and pro-oxidants. It also helps prevent some forms of cancer including colon, pancreatic, and stomach cancer.4

    Shiitake mushrooms (Latin: Lentinus Edodus)

    The healing power of shiitake mushrooms has been known for centuries throughout. Ancient healers prescribed them for a number of ailments such as fatigue, liver ailments, vision problems, sinus conditions, colds, gastro­intestinal ailments. Shiitake were also prescribed as a general prophyllactic to promote longevity, vitality, and well-being.

    What the ancients knew, modern medicine is just beginning to discover. Compounds in shiitake mushrooms—especially a phytochemical called lentinan—have been subjected to various clinical studies, and are thought to have possible benefit for a number of disorders, including cancer, heart disease, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, hepatitis, AIDS, and herpes (and other viral conditions).5

    St John’s Wort (Latin: Hypericum perforatum)

    St. John’s wort has interested herbalists since the first-century Greek physicians Galen and Dioscorides recommended it as a diuretic, wound-healer, and treatment for menstrual disorders. During the Middle Ages, remarkable, even mystical properties were attributed to St. John’s wort, thought to be best if harvested on June 24, St. John’s Day.6

    Russian researchers recently discovered that this complex herb contains substances that both stimulate and suppress immunity. This allows St. John’s wort to boost the ability of the immune system to fight infection, while at the same time decreasing the immune processes that promote inflammation in wounds and other injuries. Other studies indicate that St. John’s wort may very well play an important role in the fight against AIDS.7

    Lemon Balm (Latin: Melissa Officinalis)

    As far back as the ancient Greeks this plant was recognized for both its soothing smell and its medicinal properties. Like most herbs Lemon Balm is antibacterial and anti viral in nature. It is also a slightly sedative herb, lowering fever, relaxing spasms and improving digestion.8

    Lemon balm has potent antiviral properties useful for treating herpes and other diseases caused by viruses.

    And lemon balm’s growing reputation as a medicinal herb has just taken a dramatic new turn. Long a favourite for brewing relaxing herbal teas, a new study published in Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry shows that lemon balm improves mental function and reduces agitation in patients suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimers disease.9

    Olive Leaf (Latin: Oleae Europaea)

    The ancient Egyptians may be been the first to put the olive leaf to practical use, extracting its oil to mummify their kings. Later cultures found the leaf was better utilized for the living than the dead. Over the ages, there is documentation that it was a popular folk remedy for combating fevers.

    Around 1962, a Dutch researcher determined the active ingredient in oleuropein to be a substance he called elenolic acid. It was found to have a powerful anti-bacterial effect. By the late 1960s, research by scientists at a major American pharmaceutical company showed that elenolic acid also inhibited the growth of viruses. In fact, it stopped every virus that it was tested against.10

    Astragalus (Latin: Astragalus Membranaceus)

    The great Chinese Emperor Shen Nung around 5000 years ago first discovered astragalus. Today astragalus is slowly becoming one of the better-known Chinese herbs. Some of its popularity may be attributed to extensive scientific study that began in the 1970s confirming the herb’s ability to stimulate the immune system, fight bacteria, viruses, and inflammation, protect the liver, and act as a diuretic and adaptogen.

    Researchers believe on the basis of cell studies that astragalus augments those white blood cells that fight disease and removes some of those that make the body more vulnerable to it.11

    Ginger (Latin: Zingiber Officinale)

    Cultivated for millennia in both China and India, ginger reached the West at least 2,000 years ago. Most of the thousands of prescriptions in Traditional Chinese Medicine are combinations of many herbs, and ginger is used in nearly half to mediate the effects of other ingredients.

    It has been studied for its antibacterial, antifungal, pain-relieving, antiulcer, antitumor, and other properties.12

    Because of its remarkable thermoregulatory properties, ginger can assist in lowering a fever, as well as alleviate chills caused by colds as it warms the body. Its antibacterial/antiviral effects help reduce the incidence of colds altogether. Further research is looking into ginger’s anti-cancer properties, and immune enhancement properties. It is also an important antioxidant with more than 12 constituents superior to vitamin C.13

    Garlic (Latin: Allium Sativum)

    For centuries there has been a mystical folklore about garlic and its magical healing ability. Now scientists with years of serious research behind them, are convinced that garlic and aged garlic extract has been highly effective in reducing the two leading causes of death, cancer and heart disease and extending life itself.14

    Garlic is a pungent herb that prevents or clears bacterial infection, lowers fever by increasing perspiration, reduces blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels. It is also an expectorant and is regarded to rejuvenate, detoxify and is also seen as an aphrodisiac in some cultures. It has antibacterial, antiviral as well as lipid lowering properties.15

    Onion (Latin: Allium Cepa)

    Everything that’s been said about Garlic can be said about onion. Onions and garlic share many of the same powerful sulfur bearing compounds that work so effectively as anti-viral and anti-bacterial agents.16

    Onion is a pungent herb, protecting against infection, relaxing spasms, reducing blood pressure as well as blood clotting and blood sugar levels. It further has expectorant and diuretic properties.17

    Club Obesity

    Membership is free! Oh and if you’re already on the heavy side with a paunch then you’re already a member! And if you live in the States, parts of Europe and parts of modern Asia, are overeating and sucking up way too much sugar by way of soft drinks then you’re already a member too!

    How did we get this way? Commercials? Movies and Television? Lack of self control? How or when did we start feeding our ‘Emotional hunger’ instead of ‘Physical hunger?’ If we are those who do not like to waste food, then why cook or place too large a portion on our plates to begin with? Does eating while under stress or pain make it go away? Perhaps momentarily but then the problem is still there and guess what? You’ve just added the guilt of eating the food your body DID not need to the equation!

    To change we need to first change our mindsets, habits and consciously be aware of our choices for food. Learn about the foods available, natural vs processed etc.etc.etc. Coupled with exercise then you’re on way to a fitter and healthtier lifestyle! Otherwise you can just remain a lifetime member of Club Obesity and perhaps chaulk up enough points to earn yourself a lifetime Platinum membership to Club Fat & Fabulous!!

    Pandemic Flu Masks For Fashionistas!

    Creative genius Samir Boon….

    And presenting one of my favs…

     

    There’s a few more you can check out on her site…..and there’s a cute doggy styled one too I believe!

     

    Oh yeah..I almost forgot..just click on the Orang Utan pic for the link…

    Facial Care For The Rugged Individualist…

    Facial care is for Women! the rugged individualist in me would say.  Afterall men would like to think that their skin is tougher and hence needs minimal or no care.  Some may even have fictional notions that we have an auto-renewal, auto-revitalising system ha!  How wrong can we get?  Our pores are larger and more supceptible to dirt, grime and generally 20% oilier.  Moreover the more active or rugged we are, the more likely we will be exposed to sun longer and that my friends is bad for our skin.

    Now there a whole lot of products out there especially designed for men, but do we really need so many of them?  Depending on your skin type and sensitivity you may need a little more and a careful selection of products specially formulated for sensitive skin. I for one believe that the average man does need some and a little common sense.

    Here are my general list of things to do and remember for a basic facial care system…..

    • Diet is important, junk food, bad eating habits are a NO NO!  Vegetables and fruit goes a long way.
    • Avoid excess alcohol, smoking, pretty sure you already knew this was bad for your skin eh? 
    • Supplements like a multi vitamin with minerals is beneficial and especially good for the skin is Vitamin E.
    • Drink lots of water, they were right when they suggested eight glasses a day just not drunk at once! Hydration is key…
    • The big scary word for some beginning with ‘E’ is a must….i.e.  EXERCISE, yes exercise too is important!
    • Get yourself a good facial wash preferably hypoallergenic, I use the clinique bar soap cos I think it is more cost effective.  Also always avoid using deodorant soaps on your face because they contain harsh cleansing ingredients and leave a detergent film behind. This will irritate your skin and will clog your pores.
    • At least twice a week you’ll have to do another scary thing ( for some) also beginning with E….i.e. EXFOLIATE. Easily done with a good facial scrub you can purchase over the counter. It will remove dead cells and leave the surface of your face feeling soft and smooth. The scrub should be strong without being damaging. Avoid scrubs that contain rough elements like ground bits of nut or seed extracts, as they will tear and damage skin.
    • Another necessity is a good light moisturizer, the product with the least amount of chemical additives is the best. Always use a light moisturiser on your face after cleansing and shaving.  I personally use ‘Simple Hydrating Light Moisturiser‘ because it is cheap and good.
    • Toning – now while this one is good to do, I find a little hard to remember because I generally like a fast and fast free regimen.  So why tone? *the next bit I got from the web* ‘Because if you spend a lot of time outside, environmental pollutants play a major role in your skin’s health. Toning helps keep your face clear and firm. As skin ages, it needs to work harder to maintain its elasticity. Astringents and toners with glycolic or alpha hydroxyl acids work the best for toning the face. These acids actually can reduce the pore size, and help avoid ingrown hairs.’
    • Sun Protection – Yes important if you spend a lot of time in the sun but remember not too use too much as Sun Blockers contain chemicals as well, in fact some moisturisers out there already have sun protection as well.

     

    Wow when I started writing this post, it did not occur to me that the list was going to be this long…..anyhow do remember that this is just basic facial care advice. Depending on your skin and problems if any, you may need to consult a doctor or dermatologist.

    Take care and stay healthy!

    julianwebsig