Tag Archives: Anti-Microbial

Eggplant

Eggplants
Overview:

This deep purple vegetables has been described to have a pleasant bitter taste with a spongy texture. The eggplant is also available in many other colors like lavender, jade green, orange, and yellow-white. Eggplants are great sources of vitamins, minerals, and important phytonutrients.

Benefits :
The phytonutrient, nasunin, found in the eggplant skin, has been shown to be a potent antioxidant. It gets rid of free radicals in the body and protects the cell membranes from damage. It has been shown in animal studies that nasunin protect the lipids in brain cell membranes which protect the cell from free radicals and allow nutrients in and waste out.

Nasunin is more than just a potent free-radical scavenger, but also helps to get rid of excess iron. Although iron is necessary for the body, too much can increase free radical production and will increase the risk of heart disease and cancer. Nasunin lessens free radical formation with numerous beneficial results which include: protecting blood cholesterol from peroxidation; preventing cellular damage that promotes cancer; and lessening free radical damage in the joints.

Eggplants are a good source of phenolic compounds. These compounds act as antioxidants. The predominant phenolic compound found in eggplants is chlorogenic acid. This is one of the most potent free radical scavengers found in plant tissues. The benefits this phenolic compound is associated with are antimutagenic (anti-cancer), antimicrobial, anti-LDL (bad cholesterol) and antiviral activities.

Eggplants are also high in fiber, which helps in digestive processes and acts against coronary heart disease. They also contain potassium which balances salt intake, maintains hydration, and regulates blood pressure. The eggplant also contains folate, magnesium, niacin, copper, manganese and Vitamin B1.

Side Effects :
People with existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems should avoid eating eggplant. This is because eggpalnts have measurable amounts of oxalates, and when they become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. Oxalates have also been shown to interfere with absorption of calcium from the body.

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Goldenseal

Goldenseal
Goldenseal Overview :

Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis, is a small plant which is found growing in the northern regions of the United States. Many of Goldenseal’s medicinal properties are derived from the plant’s root. Goldenseal’s active compounds are berberine, hydrastrine, and canadine, Studies have shown that Goldenseal might have numerous indications including treatment of heart conditions, high cholesterol, cancer, and as an anti-microbial.

Benefits :
Studies have shown, berberine, one of the active compounds in Goldenseal, might be useful for patients suffering heart conditions. In a study, patients with Congestive Heart Failure given berberine had increased left ventricular ejection fractions (LVEF), and improved exercise capacity and dyspnea-fatigue index. The patients in the study noted an improved quality of life, and the mortality in these patients declined compared to CHF patients who were not treated with berberine (Zeng, Zeng, and Li 173-176).

Goldenseal may also be used to lower cholesterol. In a study conducted in 2004, patients with hypercholesterolemia were given berberine over a 3 month period. Patients’ cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL all decreased by 29%, 35%, and 25% respectively over that time span (Sheng, Jiddawi, Hong, and Abdulla 283-284).

Goldenseal’s active compound berberine has also been found to arrest replicating tumor cells in G1-Phase, leading to inhibition of tumor cell proliferation and induction of tumor cell death. In a recent study in 2010, berberine was found to be more effective against breast cancer cells than doxorubicin, a drug commonly used to combat breast cancer (Kim, Yu, Ko, Lee, Song, Park, Shin, and Han 436-440).

Research has also shown Goldenseal has anti-microbial activity as well. A 2010 study demonstrated Goldenseal inhibits the growth of Heliobacter pylori. H. pylori has been associated with some stomach ailments (Cwikla, Schmidt, Matthias, Bone, Lehmann, and Tiralongo 649-656). However, it also a part of the normal bacterial flora in our gastro-intestinal tracts, so too much Goldenseal could potentially disturb the balance of bacteria in our guts and cause unwanted side effects. Goldenseal may also have anti-microbial activity against Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae.

Goldenseal has also been used for infections, the common cold, constipation, muscle spasms, anorexia, cirrhosis, colitis, conjunctivitis, diabetes, edema, fever, menorrhagia, sinusitis, and as an anti-inflammatory agent. However, more research still needs to be done.

Side Effects :
A common side effect of Goldenseal has been gastro-intestinal complaints, and on rare occasions nervousness has been reported. Toxic doses of Goldenseal can also result stomach ulcerations, constipation, convulsions, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, depression, bradycardia, respiratory depression, and seizures. Goldenseal should not be used by women who are pregnant or nursing, or individuals with hypertension. Goldenseal is a CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 Inhibitor, so it may decrease the efficacy of drugs a patient may already be taking. Also, Goldenseal has had reactions with antihypertensives, barbituates, has inhibited the effects of anticoagulants, and decreaed Vitamin B absorption.

Sources :

  • Cwikla, C, K Schmidt, A Matthias, KM Bone, R Lehmann, and E Tiralongo. “Investigations into the antibacterial activities of phytotherapeutics against Helicobacter pylori and Campylobacter jejuni.” Phytotherapy Research: PTR. 24.5 (2010): 649-656. Print.
  • Ehrlich, Steven. “Goldenseal.” University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., 03 Mar 2011. Web. 18 Jun 2012.
    http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/goldenseal-000252.htm
  • “Goldenseal.” Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. N.p., 21 Feb 2011. Web. 18 Jun 2012.
    http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/goldenseal
  • “Golden seal (Hydrastis candensis): Natural Drug Information.” UpToDate. UpToDate, n.d. Web. 18 Jun 2012.
  • Kim, JB, JH Yu, E Ko, KW Lee, AK Song, SY Park, I Shin, and W Han. “The alkaloid Berberine inhibits the growth of Anoikis-resistant MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines by inducing cell cycle arrest.” Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology. 17.6 (2010): 436-440. Print.
  • Kong, W, J Wei, P Abidi, et al. “Berberine is a novel cholesterol-lowering drug working through a unique mechanism distinct from statins.” Nature Medicine. 10.12 (2004): 1344-1351. Print.
  • Rabbani, GH, T Butler , J Knight , SC Sanyal , and K Alam . “Randomized controlled trial of berberine sulfate therapy for diarrhea due to enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae..” Journal of Infectious Diseases. 155.5 (1987): 979-984. Print.
  • Sheng, WD, MS Jiddawi, XQ Hong, and SM Abdulla. “Treatment of chloroquine-resistant malaria using pyrimethamine in combination with berberine, tetracycline or cotrimoxazole.” East African Medical Journal. 74.5 (1997): 283-284. Print.
  • Werbach MR, et al. Botanical Influences on Illness: A Sourcebook of Clinical Research. Tarzana, California: Third Line Press; 1994.
  • Zeng, XH, XJ Zeng, and YY Li. “Efficacy and safety of berberine for congestive heart failure secondary to ischemic or idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.” American Journal of Cardiology. 92.2 (2003): 173-176. Print.

Cinnamon

cinnamon
Cinnamon Overview :

Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known to man in the world. The benefits of cinnamon have been documents from as early as 2700 B.C. on the continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa. There are two types of cinnamon: Ceylon and Cassia which is Chinese. Cinnamon has many health benefits ranging from anti-clotting to brain boosting functions.

Benefits :
In 2003, a study published in Diabetes Care studied people with type two diabetes and the effects that cinnamon had on their blood sugar levels. It was found that 60% of the participants who had type two diabetes and were given daily doses of cinnamon saw a 18-29% decrease in fasting blood sugar, a 23-30% decrease in triglycerides, a 7-27% decrease in LDL cholesterol and a 12-26% decrease in total cholesterol (Wong).

It is believed that cinnamon helps to control rises in blood sugar levels after meals because it slows the rate at which the stomach empties after a meal. It is also thought that cinnamon can help patients with type two diabetes by improving the ability of the cells to respond to insulin. This occurs because of insulin’s ability to stimulate insulin receptors (Turcotte). Additionally cinnamon inactivates an enzyme that is responsible for activating insulin receptors which forces the body to use glucose more effectively.

Cinnamaldhyde is a compound found in cinnamon oil that works to prevent harmful blood platelet clotting which in turn ensures that there is proper circulation thought out the body. This process occurs due to the release of arachidonic acid which is found in the cell membrane. Due to this fact, cinnamon is very beneficial for any condition that involves inflammation (Turcotte).

Cinnamon also has an anti-microbial property which helps to stop the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi (Turcotte). The most common bacterial infection that cinnamon prevents and treats are yeast infections. The anti-bacterial properties of cinnamon also allow it for an excellent food preservative.

Additional studies suggest that cinnamon may be able to help relieve constipation and decrease the risk of cancer. Cinnamon contains manganese, dietary fiber, iron and calcium. Calcium and fiber in combination help to remove bile salts from the body by binding to them (Turcotte). Bile salts can damage the colon cells and lead to colon cancer so eliminating them helps to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. Since cinnamon contains high levels of fiber, it can also provide relief from constipation and the pain associated with it.

Side Effects :
As with all natural remedies, cinnamon must be taken in moderation. Some side effects that can occur when consuming cinnamon include skin and stomach irritation, uterine contractions, blood thinning, kidney and liver problems (Griffin). Those on insulin and antibiotics should talk to their health care professional before consuming insulin.

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