Saffron Health Benefits

Saffron Health Benefits

Saffron means “yellow” in Arabic because when used in cooking, it confers a yellow tint to foods. Harvesting saffron requires intensive labor; an estimated 75,000 flowers are need to produce just 1 lb. of saffron, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. As a result, it may have the highest market value of all herbs in the world. Unfortunately, saffron’s purity is often compromised. Marigolds and other herbs are often added illegally to lower production costs. Be sure to buy saffron from a reputable source. Saffron contains medicinal substances such as vitamin B 2; crocin, a yellow flavonoid; picrocrocin, a bitter glycoside, and safranal, a volatile, aromatic compound. A physician should always be consulted prior to using saffron for medicinal purposes.

Treats Depression

The NYU Langone Medical Center notes that saffron might offer benefits for those suffering from depression. According to the website, saffron has comparable efficacy to fluoxetine for depression, but reports that conclusive studies are still needed to make a firm conclusion. Saffron may be beneficial when long-term treatments are needed to alleviate depression because there are no known side effects associated with taking the herb medicinally.

The Side Effects of Magnolia Bark Extract

 

The Side Effects of Magnolia Bark Extract

Overview

Magnolia bark has been used in Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years. This herb is aromatic, pungent, warming and stimulating and can help strengthen your stomach and digestive system, according to Herbalist. Magnolia bark may have antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties and may be used to treat various inflammatory conditions, colds and flu. Magnolia bark may also cause some undesirable side effects. Consult with your health care provider or certified herbalist prior to using magnolia bark extract.

Beneficial Effects

According to E Natural Health Center, magnolia bark can help remove dampness from your body, relieve asthma and improve your digestion. Herbalists commonly prescribe magnolia bark for abdominal pain and distention, constipation, coughing and shortness of breath. Magnolia bark may also help relieve chest tightness and phlegm congestion that is associated with asthma. Herb Wisdom states that this herb can also help improve menstrual cramps, gas, nausea and indigestion. 

Two chemicals found in magnolia bark are honokiol and magnolol, which both have strong antioxidant activity. According to Herbal Wisdom, these two substances may help reduce stress and balance your cortisol levels. Therefore, magnolia may also help combat the effects of excessive stress.

The Benefits of Thymus Extract

Thymus extract is derived from thymus glands of animals, most commonly from young bovine calves. The thymus produces white blood cells and releases several hormones that regulate immune functions. Because the thymus gland is a major factor in the immune system, thymus extract theoretically can boost immunity, and several studies support this theory when the extract is used for specific conditions.

Immune Compromising Disorders

Some people with HIV/AIDS or other diseases that compromise the immune system use thymus extract for its possible benefits. Some studies support the use for immune system deficiencies. A study published in the May 1987 issue of “Annals of Allergy” indicated effectiveness of the extract Thymostimulin for successfully resolving combined immunodeficiency in an infant, without need for continued therapy. Another thymus extract, Thymomodulin, showed benefits for enhancing the immune system in people over 74 years of age with reduced immune function. During this study, published in the October 1994 issue of the “Journal of Chemotherapy,” treatment with Thymomodulin for six weeks had a restoring effect on the immune system.

How Much Olive Leaf Extract Is Safe to Take Daily As an Antiviral?

How Much Olive Leaf Extract Is Safe to Take Daily As an Antiviral?

Viruses — microscopic infective agents consisting of protein-encased genetic materials — are responsible for a vast repertory of diseases, from Ebola and AIDS to influenza and the common cold. Viruses multiply by hijacking the host cell’s machinery to create more viruses; antiviral remedies disrupt this process and can help viruses run their course more quickly. Herbalists have long recommended olive leaves — powerfully resistant to invasion by microbes and insects — as a natural antiviral. While clinical studies are lacking, laboratory research supports olive leaf extract’s antiviral properties. Consult your doctor before using olive leaf extract.

Features

The olive tree, botanically known as Olea europaea, is a small evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean area. The tree features leathery, grayish-green leaves and produces small, bluish-black fruits that are high in beneficial monounsaturated fat. Olive leaves have been used in herbal medicine for thousands of years. As early as 3500 B.C., the leaves were used to clean wounds, promote healing and avoid infection; they were also used in poultices to treat dermatitis, boils, abscesses and skin ulcers. In addition, olive leaves were taken internally for fevers and systemic infections. Olive leaf extract was employed against malaria in the 19th century. Present-day herbalists advise olive leaf extract to boost the immune system, help prevent disease, and lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. An olive leaf extract has been patented in the United States as an antiviral against a number of diseases, including herpes, mononucleosis and hepatitis.

Senna Extract Drug Facts

Senna Extract Drug Facts

The most frequently used laxatives around the world are made from herbs, and senna extract is the most popular one. Senna, also known by the botanical names Cassia angustifolia and Cassia senna, has been used as a laxative for centuries. Side effects are possible, and there are guidelines and warnings related to its use.

How Senna Works

Senna extract is used to relieve constipation. Senna is classified as a stimulant laxative because it works by stimulating muscle contractions in the bowels. The substances in senna that cause bowel contractions are known as sennosides. Senna also causes the bowel to secrete fluid that softens stool, which contributes to its laxative effect. Senna is considered reliable and effective. It is available by prescription and over the counter.

Recommended Dose

For relief of constipation, 20 to 60 mg of sennosides per day for no longer than 10 days is recommended, according to PeaceHealth. When using over-the-counter products containing senna extract, carefully follow the instructions on the label. If you use a prescription formula, follow your doctor’s instructions. If senna fails to relieve your constipation, notify a medical professional.

Does Cranberry Extract Clean Your Kidneys?

Does Cranberry Extract Clean Your Kidneys?

Kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs that filter blood and remove waste and excess water from your body. Factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and family history increase the risk of kidney diseases, such as kidney stones, kidney infections, cancer and kidney failure. Kidney diseases are often asymptomatic. The treatment could involve medications and surgery. Certain supplements and natural foods, such as cranberry, could help cleanse the kidneys and ward off diseases.

Cranberry

The red-black, ripe fruits of the cranberry, or Vaccinium macrocarpon, plant possess immense medicinal and commercial value. The fruit is a rich source of antioxidant proanthocyanidins, which help prevent free-radical mediated damage of various cells and organs. Apart from the fresh fruit and juice, supplements are also available as capsules and tablets. Your doctor might recommend the supplements to help treat a variety of conditions, including urinary tract infections, ulcers, heart disease and certain cancers. The dose may vary, depending on your age and overall health. Talk to your doctor to find the dose and form that is right for you.

Is Pine Bark Extract Good for Your Eyes?

Is Pine Bark Extract Good for Your Eyes?

Pine bark extract comes from the maritime pine tree. This extract contains proanthocyanidins, chemical components that have significant amounts of antioxidants. If you have risk factors for eye disease, you may want to talk with your doctor to determine if the components of pine bark extract may help protect your eyes. Your doctor can help you determine if this extract is appropriate for you.

Antioxidants

Pine bark extract is known for containing significant amounts of antioxidants, and these nutrients may help prevent certain eye conditions. For example, antioxidants may help reduce your risk for macular degeneration damage, an eye disease that may damage your straight-ahead vision. If you intend to use pine bark extract for the health of your eyes or any other condition, you should first talk with your doctor. Pine bark extract may contain other components that may interact with health conditions or interfere with treatment of certain conditions.

Uses for Dandelion Herbal Supplement

Uses for Dandelion Herbal Supplement

Teas, extracts, pills and capsules made from dandelion leaf or root have been used for medicinal purposes in the West and Asia for centuries. Although official public health agencies in the U.S., Canada, Germany and the European Union acknowledge the dandelion plant’s place as a traditional herbal remedy, there is currently no established scientific evidence that supports its use as a treatment for any medical condition. Before you take an herbal supplement containing dandelion herb, talk with your physician to ensure it’s safe and appropriate for you.

Diuretic

An assessment report on dandelion herbal products from November, 2009, by the EMA, or European Medicines Agency, considers its use as a diuretic to be “plausible” based on empirical observations while concluding that its established use can’t be supported because of the lack of clinical studies. Except for one study involving human volunteers that has not yet been duplicated, there are no solid medical studies linking a specific chemical in dandelion leaves or roots with diuresis. The EMA is responsible for the scientific evaluation of medicines used in the European Union.

Effects of Tribulus Terrestris

Effects of Tribulus Terrestris

Overview

Tribulus terrestris, a flowering plant native to warm and tropical regions, is known by other names including puncture vine, yellow vine, and goat head among others. The extract is found in many common dietary supplement products with claims of increasing testosterone levels and thereby helping to build muscle and improve sexual performance. Though there is little evidence regarding the effectiveness of this extract, it is still widely used by many athletes.

Increase Muscle Mass

According to a study published in “The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,” elite male rugby players who supplemented with 450 mg/d of tribulus terrestris extract for five weeks did not experience large gains in strength or muscle mass. In addition, the testosterone levels as measured by urinary excretion of the test subjects did not differ significantly from placebo users.

Increase Testoserone Levels

Another of the putative effects of supplementation with tribulus terrestris exract is that it is claimed to boost testosterone levels. Tribulus terrestris extract contains steroid saponins which were thought to mediate this effect. From a study published in “The Journal of Ethnopharmacology,” young males who consumed 20 or 10 milligrams of extract per kilogram of body weight for four weeks did not increase their androgen levels relative to placebo users.

Laminaria Extract & Weight Loss

 Laminaria Extract & Weight Loss

Commonly known as kelp, Laminaria digitata is a sea vegetable that is most typically used as a source of certain nutrients. Kelp may have many other uses for your health, however, including benefits for weight loss. Before you begin taking Laminaria extract to promote weight loss, consult your doctor to discuss the potential risks and proper dosage.

Identification

Kelp is a type of brown seaweed that can be different species belonging to the Laminaria genus, but the most common form is Laminaria digitata, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Kelp is rich in vital minerals like iodine, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Laminaria species also contain high levels of folic acid and numerous other vitamins, making it a nutrient-rich food source in many countries, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Kelp is also made into extracts and other medicinal remedies that are used for specific health purposes.

Function

Kelp’s high concentrations of iodine can help treat an iodine deficiency, notes the University of Michigan Health System. The iodine in kelp may also increase your metabolism, Drug Digest says. Laminaria species contain large amounts of soluble and insoluble fibers that have laxative effects in the intestines, both by stimulating intestinal contractions and by bulking stools. Additionally, kelp could offer antihypertensive, antiviral and anticancer actions, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.